technological inroads into the beginnings of human life social ethical and religious repercussions n.
Download
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
D Gareth Jones PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
D Gareth Jones

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 44

D Gareth Jones - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 139 Views
  • Uploaded on

Technological inroads into the beginnings of human life: Social, ethical and religious repercussions. D Gareth Jones. Introduction. ‘Human life is sacred from conception’ Regarded by some as foundational for Christian witness Propounded with assurance; biblical concept?

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'D Gareth Jones' - ida


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
technological inroads into the beginnings of human life social ethical and religious repercussions

Technological inroads into the beginnings of human life: Social, ethical and religious repercussions

D Gareth Jones

introduction
Introduction

‘Human life is sacred from conception’

  • Regarded by some as foundational for Christian witness
  • Propounded with assurance; biblical concept?
  • Sacredness of human life from first glimmerings (what does this claim mean?)
introduction1
Introduction

‘Human life is sacred from conception’

  • Is this position necessary to keep in check the rampant run-away forces of modern science?
  • Should our worldview depend upon it?
  • Many accept the sacredness-conception combination as basic dogma
  • Should it be mark of faithfulness to Christian fundamentals?
  • Relevance to reproductive technology debates
introduction2
Introduction
  • Multifaceted challenges
  • Biblical teaching
  • Place of scientific concepts in theological thinking
  • Pastoral issues
the arts in historical context
The ARTs in historical context
  • Manufacturing Humans: The Challenge of the New Reproductive Technologies
the arts in historical context1

Scientific developments continue to outstrip the ability of our ethical (and theological) systems to cope with them

Modern medicine – hopes; perils

What room is left for God and faith?

Increasing life expectancy and overcoming infertility – more dependent on technology than God’s grace

The ARTs in historical context
the arts in historical context2

1989 > 400,000 children born via IVF

Todayc. 4 million

Technological developments

development of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI); enabling older women to have children

health status of IVF children; rare genetic ‘imprinting’ disorders

The ARTs in historical context
1989 preimplantation genetic diagnosis pgd developed selection of embryos eugenics
1989 - preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) developed; selection of embryos; eugenics?The ARTs in historical context
  • 1998 – embryonic stem cells first derived from human embryos; dominate debate on ARTs especially in theological circles
1997 birth of dolly first cloned mammal dire warnings predicting the end of humanity as we know it
1997 - birth of Dolly (first cloned mammal)

Dire warnings predicting the end of humanity as we know it

The ARTs in historical context
slide10
1987 - therapeutic or research cloning unknown

Today- seen as the way forward for regenerative medicine’; threat to human dignity?

The ARTs in historical context
the arts in historical context3

1987 - chimeras and hybrids part of Greek mythology or science fiction

Today- serious science; vociferous objections by Christian groups to ‘inter-species embryos’

The ARTs in historical context
1980s 8 of babies born at 23 weeks gestation and 40 45 of those born at 28 weeks survived
1980s - 8% of babies born at 23 weeks’ gestation and 40-45% of those born at 28 weeks survivedThe ARTs in historical context
  • Today- 50% of babies born at 23 weeks survive and 80% of those born at 28 weeks
responses to ivf in the mid 1980s

1984 - Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Warnock Report)

Human embryos have special status, but not equal to that of actual persons

Research on human embryos allowed up to 14 days

Responses to IVF in the mid-1980s
responses to ivf in the mid 1980s1

Infertility is condition meriting treatment

IVF and donor insemination are established treatments

Egg and embryo donation acceptable with provisos

Responses to IVF in the mid-1980s
oliver o donovan begotten or made 1984
Oliver O’Donovan, Begotten or Made? (1984)Responses to IVF in the mid-1980s

“When we start making human beings we necessarily stop loving them; . . . that which is maderather than begottenbecomes something that we have at our disposal, not someone with whom we can engage in brotherly fellowship.”

responses to ivf in the mid 1980s2
Responses to IVF in the mid-1980s

“I do not know how to think of an IVF child except . . . as the creatureof the doctors who assisted at her conception.”

Oliver O’Donovan (1984)

thomas torrance test tube babies 1984
Thomas Torrance, Test-Tube Babies (1984)Responses to IVF in the mid-1980s

“What is at stake is nothing less than the future of the human race, but what also at stake is the integrity of the scientific and moral conscience. . .

Medical science has brought us to an ultimate boundary beyond which a civilised and God-fearing society committed to the sanctity of marriage and the structure of the human family, may not go.”

responses to ivf in the mid 1980s3
Responses to IVF in the mid-1980s

A number of church bodies took an uncompromisingly negative view of IVF

Pontifical Academy for Life (2004)

ARTs“constitute an unworthy method for the coming forth of a new life, whose beginning depends . . . in large measure on the technical action of third parties outside the couple and takes place in a context totally separated from conjugal love.”

responses to ivf in the mid 1980s4
Responses to IVF in the mid-1980s
  • Board of Social Responsibility of the General Synod of the Church of England (1985) supported most of the recommendations of Warnock Report
  • Up to 14 days human embryos not entitled to same respect and protection as embryo implanted in uterus
  • Accept use of surplus IVF embryos in research
responses to the arts post 2000
Responses to the ARTs post-2000
  • The science has moved on dramatically
  • Is theological debate of 2010 different from that of 1987?
  • Little has changed; those who accepted IVF tend to accept PGD etc; those who saw IVF as entering illicit divine territory are appalled at subsequent developments
responses to the arts post 20001
Responses to the ARTs post-2000
  • Roman Catholicism
  • Donum Vitae (1987) – IVF rejected because of use of artificial means to achieve conception
  • Dignitas Personae (2008) – does not challenge artificiality; human life is personal from conception onwards; protects dignity of embryo
  • Other reproductive techniques rejected on a variety of grounds
responses to the arts post 20002
Responses to the ARTs post-2000
  • Roman Catholicism
  • ICSI - domination of technology
  • Embryo freezing – embryos may be harmed
  • Freezing of oocytes – permits ARTs
  • PGD – eugenics
  • Embryo destruction – injustice
  • Embryo donation – illicit family relationships
responses to the arts post 20003
Responses to the ARTs post-2000

Shannon and Walter, The New Genetic Medicine(2003)

Willing to wrestle with new scientific findings

Individual not present until 2-3 weeks after fertilization

responses to the arts post 20004
Responses to the ARTs post-2000

“[w]hile the preimplantation embryo contains the appropriate genetic information for the organism’s development, that genetic information is not necessarily associated with a specific individual and cannot, therefore, claim moral privilege through such an association. The genetic uniqueness is associated with what is common to all – human nature – not a particular individual because such an entity does not yet exist”

Shannon and Walter (2003)

responses to the arts post 20005
Responses to the ARTs post-2000
  • The early embryo is valuable due to its human genetic code and genetic uniqueness
  • The preimplantation embryo has premoral value
  • Allow embryo research (including embryonic stem cell research and therapy; therapeutic cloning)
responses to the arts post 20006
Responses to the ARTs post-2000

Seek to reinterpret traditional theological viewpoints in the light of contemporary scientific understanding

Do not wish to weaken the religious tradition, but speak in contemporary terms

responses to the arts post 20007
Responses to the ARTs post-2000

Celia Deane-Drummond

Concerned about the gap opening between official pronouncements and pastoral care

Problems alleged without empirical assessment

Alternative approach:

recovery of prudence

within ethic of feminist care

responses to the arts post 20008
Responses to the ARTs post-2000

Ann Marie Mealey

Criticizes outdated physicalist version of natural law, and excessive concern with ‘eugenic mentality’

Should lay groundwork for responding to

developments and protecting

‘common good’

All three contributions wish to make

Christian faith more relevant in

contemporary biomedical debates

responses to the arts post 20009
Responses to the ARTs post-2000
    • Protestantism
    • Hostility towards ARTs often taken as representing the Christian view
  • Hui, At the Beginning of Life: Dilemmas in Theological Ethics (2002)
  • Evangelical, and intensely conservative
  • The human soul is present at conception
  • Concerned that science has replaced God
responses to the arts post 200010
Responses to the ARTs post-2000
  • opposition to any technological inroads into the reproductive process
  • ARTs force God to accept the child when he has not given that gift of life
  • human embryo research is unacceptable
responses to the arts post 200011
Responses to the ARTs post-2000

Science and theology are staring one another in the face

Many evangelical exponents of prohibitionist stances; embryo protection framework

Stephen Bellamy (2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill)

Populist evangelical literature opposes PGD, tissue typing, cybrid and hybrid embryos

Complete protection from fertilization onwards

responses to the arts post 200012
Responses to the ARTs post-2000

Absolutist view of status of in vitro embryo

No unanimity on IVF

Cautionary approach; alternative evangelical views ignored

Pastoral concerns: apparent certainty and rigidity of absolutist views creates unnecessary heartache for those faced with infertility

Impression that there is only one orthodox evangelical view

responses to the arts post 200013
Responses to the ARTs post-2000

“We […] must be unashamed and unafraid for […] unbiased medical technology is on our side. Time is on our side. The Bible is on our side. God is on our side. And if God be for us, who an be against us?”

Other views are ignored

Christian position is prohibitionist one

Kendall (2002)

responses to the arts post 200014
Responses to the ARTs post-2000

“Too many Christians turn a blind eye to the destruction of embryos in IVF and to the harsh and grotesque reality that this technology also means the destruction of human life ”

IVF out of bounds for faithful Christians

Mohler (2008)

responses to the arts post 200015
Responses to the ARTs post-2000
  • Ted Peters, Sacred Cells? Why Christians Should Support Stem Cell Research, 2008
  • Three contending frameworks:
        • embryo protection
        • human protection
        • future wholeness
responses to the arts post 200016
Responses to the ARTs post-2000

God’s eschatological call to become what we are destined to be

Gifts given us by God

Human dignity conferred by God; we are to confer it on others; relationalin character

Future orientation: dignity is derived more from destiny than from origin

Conferring dignity on someone who does not yet experience it, is gesture of hope

responses to the arts post 200017
Responses to the ARTs post-2000

Beneficence– what groups might benefit from embryo research?

Melding of divine action and human response

Dignity is not regarded as an automatic outworking of genetic characteristics

Theological framework – God’s love for all; eschatological hope based on God’s promises

The good of others in the community may trump the good of embryos

exploring the borderlands
Exploring the borderlands

Traditional perspective: err on the side of caution

Technology intrudes into every facet of our existence

Do we have theological quibbles when we take a pill to subdue pain or bring blood pressure under control?

The quality of our lives is improved compared with 100 years ago

exploring the borderlands1
Exploring the borderlands

BUT

Some of the effects of the ARTS may be dehumanizing (note responses to Robert Edwards’s 2010 Nobel Prize)

Fragmentation of families

Deeply troubling commercial pressures

Problems due to instant gratification; serving one’s own interests; need to accept givennessand giftedness of our existence; lack of concern for poor and neglected

exploring the borderlands2
Exploring the borderlands

Thedevelopmentof ARTs is scientifically driven and their applicationis community driven

A Christian commitment should be directed at arguing for ways in which the technologies should be applied rather than in whether the technologies should or should not exist

See people in their wholeness and treat them accordingly: with respect, dignity and preciousness in God’s sight

Have to learn to live alongside those with different outlook from ours (including within Christian community)

exploring the borderlands3
Exploring the borderlands

“Just as you do not know how the breath comes to the bones in the mother’s womb, so you do not know the work of God, who makes everything.”

Ecclesiastes 11: 5

Profound uncertainties

Perplexity of our beginnings is set to increase, not decrease

addendum on the role of the bible
Addendum on the role of the Bible

Concepts not from Scripture

precautionary principle

genetic uniqueness of embryo

dangers of procedures

population imbalance

lack of cures from embryo research

Pragmatic and scientific

addendum on the role of the bible1
Addendum on the role of the Bible

Additional theological arguments:

Christian ethics based on God’s revelation

Christian hope over medical intervention

made in God’s image

all human life equally valuable

Children special gift from God

value of embryo determined by God’s grace

God does not improve upon what he has already done

addendum on the role of the bible2
Addendum on the role of the Bible

Two characteristics:

open to competing interpretations

fail to provide specific options for bioethical practice

Different theological positions reflect differences in scientific understanding and interpretation as much as differences in theological worldviews

Changes in theological perspective following changes in the science?