Bioethics & The Stem Cell Debate E-mail
On Tuesday evening, September 28th, 2010, Maggie Karner gave an easy to understand yet delightfully educational overview of the ethics of cloning and embryonic stem cell research in a presentation at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.  Maggie began the night, in front of many college students from UWM and Concordia University Wisconsin, by stating upfront that the most important starting point for this conversation is to answer this question: When does human life began?  She proceeded to given the foundational reasons (both biblically, ethically, reasonably, and scientifically) that human life begins as a zygote (a fertilized female egg).  With this definition in place, she continued the presentation by listing problems (once again biblically, ethically, reasonably, and scientifically) with embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. Simply stated, cloning and embryonic stem cell research takes a human life.

Maggie continued by explaining (in an easy to understand manner) the definition of  both cloning and stem cells.  She stated that human cloning takes place everyday (a shocking revelation).  While science has yet to clone a human being in the same fashion that they have cloned animals, they have generated human zygotes (see the definition above) that are exact clones of their parents.  These zygotes are then used for the stem cells to benefit scientific research.

If there was one point that Maggie wanted to get across, it was that Christians are not completely against stem cell research. This might be a shock when considering the first two paragraphs above.  Maggie's point was that embryonic stem cell research is not the only research taking place that uses stem cells.  Adult stem cell research has proven to be more effective, produced more results, and with less harmful consequences.  Most importantly, adult stem cells may be taken out adults without any threat to the destruction of human life.

Near the end of the presentation, Maggie presented the wonderful news of the Gospel.  She tied in clear Scriptural Confession of our sin ("Behold, in sin did my mother conceive me - "If I was sinful, then its reasonable to know that I was a person) with a clear proclamation of the gift of life that Jesus gives.  Jesus died for all, and that includes zygotes.

She focused the end of her presentation on the Son of God, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  What does this mean to all human life? There was a point in history that the Son of God, the one through whom all things exist, was a zygote ("Jesus was a zygote!").  This fact speaks magnitudes about how our loving God views human life.

Maggie was open to questions and comments, not only after the presentation, but also throughout her presentation.  She was the first to admit that she is not a scientist and does not have all the answers.  However, she was able to answer all the questions, along with a few oppositions, with comfort and ease.  Thanks be to God for great men and women like Maggie Karner for leading us through these difficult topics with intelligence, mercy and love.

An audio recording of Maggie Karner's presentation
Download Now (MP3 - 35.2 MB)

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