Theology and Science 1 (1):51-77 (2003)

Public policy debates such as we find in the Untied Nations, the Singapore Bioethics Advisory Committee, and the US President’s Council on Bioethics reflect behind-the-scenes theological debates. Although religious spokespersons agree nearly universally that human reproductive cloning should be banned; moral ambivalence rises when confronting human embryonic stem cell research. Rather than focus on beneficence (medical benefits), religious bioethicists focus on nonmalificence (embryo protection). The Vatican claim that stem cell research should be banned because it destroys embryos appears at first to rely upon ensoulment at conception; but a closer analysis shows that the Vatican position relies upon genetic uniqueness. Appeal to genetic uniqueness is inadequate for Christian anthropology; what needs to be added is a relational and proleptic understanding of human dignity
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