Religion Vs. Science: The Issue Term Paper

"Embryo cloning is the technology that would make the creation of eugenically engineered 'designer babies' commercially feasible." (Darnovsky M. 2002) This also relates to the growing concern in some quarters that technologies such as stem cell manipulation can be subject to abuse. "Many disability rights activists argue that it is being used in a misguided search for 'perfect' babies, and many feminists voice concern about its use to satisfy 'gender preference'." (Darnovsky M. 2002) There is therefore, from a religious point-of-view, strong objection to this new technology from many large churches, particularly the Catholic Church. From a conservative religious perspective stem cell research and the cloning of body parts are seen to be tantamount to saying that man can create himself instead of God. This means that man and not God becomes the creator; which obviously undermines the foundations of many of the world's prominent theologies.

Therefore many who are opposed to the scientific worldview based only on reason see the implications of cloning technology as being in direct conflict with ethics and theology. Many of these critics are of the opinion that cloning will reduce the intrinsic worth of what it means to be a human being.

Experts like Jeremy Rifkin, the author of The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World, states that, "... we are shocked and dismayed that clonal human embryos have been patented and declared to be human 'inventions'. We oppose efforts to reduce human life and its various parts and processes to the status of mere research tools, manufactured products, and utilities." (Rifkin 23)

The above view possibly summarizes the central conflict between the scientific and the religious worldviews in many other areas of modern society as well. The critics of new technologies such as stem cell research, while they are aware of possible heath benefits, are concerned that the very act of human reproduction...

...

In their view if stem cell research is carried to its logical conclusion it will mean that the act of reproduction and human creation will become a 'production of a product', which will exclude human nature and active creation and deprive culture of a necessary sense of awe and mystery at life.
In conclusion, history has shown that there is often an initial negative reaction to new techniques. This may be the case with stem cell research but the debate about this technology goes much deeper than just a debate about new science. Issues such as cloning and stem cell research reveal the underlying conflict and division between the religious and scientific views of life. The scientific view is essentially concerned with human development and does not, in many instances, take into account ethical and religious issues. Religion on the other hand is concerned with seeing humanity in the context of higher values and ideals that go beyond rational science. There are however a number of scientists and theologians who are attempting to find common ground between these two viewpoints.

Works Cited

Antiaging. December 5, 2006. http://www.antiagings.co.uk/

Darnovsky M. Embryo Cloning and Beyond. December 5, 2006. http://www.genetics-and-society.org/resources/cgs/200207_tikkun_darnovsky.html

Goldenberg S. Religious right fights science for the heart of America. 2005.

December 6, 2006. http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1407422,00.html

McGillion C. Religion vs. science might be all in the mind. 2003. December

5, 2006. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/04/28/1051381900365.html

Rifkin, Jeremy. "Why I Oppose Human Cloning." Tikkun July-Aug. 2002: 23+.

Stem Cell basics. National Institutes of Health. December 3, 2006. http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics1.asp

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