Friday, October 10, 2008

The Stem Cell Debate

Ted Peters, 2007, The Stem Cell Debate, Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press

Ted Peters teaches systematic theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He is an associate of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences and is the co-editor of the center's journal Theology and Science.

Peters gives a good overview of the stem cell debate by framing the discussion into three frameworks:

(1) The embryo protection framework

The moral status of the ex vivo embryo (not implanted) and the principle of non-maleficience are central

(2) The nature protection framework

The fear that we may cross the line to manipulate genetics as in 'playing God'

(3) The medical benefits framework

Beneficience that puts relief of human suffering as the core of its reasoning

It is out of these three frameworks that a fourth will arise-The research standards framework which will essentially be government policies informed by the other three frameworks.

Peters essentially calls for more theologically informed ethicists to help people make the right decisions.


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