back to article Religious MPs get free vote on hybrid embryos

An Easter of intense religious lobbying has forced Gordon Brown to allow a free vote on whether the law should be changed to allow new research on embryos and stem cells. The Catholic Church used its louder voice at this time of year to launch a co-ordinated campaign against the new fertilisation and embryology bill, …


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  1. Mike Crawshaw

    Jesus Wept....

    And we complain that Iran, Saudi etc are too controlled by "religion" holding back development... Things like this should be decided on scientific merits alone, rather than demands of some bloke in a dress that represents one of the most corrupt establishments in the world.

    When an MP has a choice between the Wrath of Gordon or the Wrath of God, which way will he jump? My money's on an easy life right now and taking his chances on the New Testament being more accurate than the old (ie a "loving, forgiving father" god rather than a "vengeful, wrathful" god).

  2. adnim


    So the church interfering with state is not monstrous?

    It is bad enough having a government obsessed with control based on an agenda that does not serve the public interest making decisions. But when an irrational minority like the catholic church can influence such decisions it becomes ever more the frightening.

    A religious faith or belief should actually preclude a person from becoming an MP. We need the rational making decisions that affect the greater good and public interest. Not those with misguided preconceptions who try to shape law to their own sense of morality.

  3. Liam


    im sorry but i dont think im alone in thinking that VERY religious people shouldnt even be allowed in parliament, let alone make decisions for the rest of us. i dont want some religious freak telling me that they wont look into stem cells due to their religion.

    well, if your god hadnt given my father, and possibly myself, parkinsons disease maybe we wouldnt need to look into these things! (dont even get me started - im sure god botherers would just say the usual 'being tested' or 'god's great plan' mumbo jumbo) but to tell people they will not look into treatment because some fanatics still believe in fairy tails. the vast majority of ENGLISH people here are not religious and do not want people who believe in fairy tails making decisions about their future.

    the fact that tony blair had to resign before telling people he was a god botherer says it all methinks

  4. andy
    Thumb Down


    "Downing Street now says Labour MPs will be allowed to vote with their personal conscience"

    And there was me thinking they were representing us not their own beliefs

  5. pAnoNymous

    Religion and Politics, please no.

    I respect people's right to hold their religious beliefs but please don't try to impose them on me trough the legal system. If Catholics don't want to take part in this research then there is a very easy solution - don't - don't take any medicines developed and refuse to do the research if you work in those fields of science.

  6. James Anderson
    Thumb Down

    In future dont vote for religious looneys.

    I think anyone who is "represented" in parliament by cultists such as Ruth Kelly should ask themselves: Is she representing me or her Bishop, Priest, Shaman or Imman.

    If the answer is yes then do not vote for them!

    I think the religonists have scored a massive own goal here, any self confessed God Botherer standing for office should now rightly be viewed with suspicion.

  7. Billy Goat Gruff

    As an athiest

    This is a good thing.

    The religious people have asked that MPs vote with their conscience, based on their beliefs, and this is how every vote should be.

    If the religions could decide then it'd be a bad thing. But they're not. They're asking that your MP can make up his own mind, hopefully representing the views of his constituency and not those of, say, Scotland.

    Personally this science is probably a good idea, but I do like the idea that science is tempered by conscience irrespective of whether other countries then storm ahead and profit.

  8. Johnny FireBlade
    Paris Hilton

    Religion is the root of all evil

    Agreed with all above.

    People can believe what they want to believe, but when they start forcing their beliefs on others, that's when they cross the line. How much more "forced on others" can you get, if ministers are forcing their beliefs on policy?

    Paris because even she'd have more common sense.

  9. Emrys Capati

    on and on same song

    I'm all for people saying that their religion precludes them from doing certain things (like eating meat for example) but for them to dictate the direction of scientific inquiry would be a throwback to the days where science was viewed as witchcraft.

    It should be: "objection noted, now sit down."

    Alien: cause i am

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Chill, people

    @Mike Crawshaw

    "Things like this should be decided on scientific merits alone,"

    That's nonsense.

    Are you in favour of continuing the experiments of Josef Mengele et al in the concentration camps?

    Of course you aren't.

    Why not?

    Because the scientific merits of his experiments cannot trump your *moral objections* to the process of experimenting on humans against their will.

    When you say it should be allowed, you are not being objective or scientific, just as when a bishop says it should be banned he is not being objective or scientific.

    Both viewpoints are moral judgements, and science can never make moral judgements for us.

    Every human being -- religious, agnostic or atheistic -- makes moral judgements every day of their lives, and we are all well within our rights to do so.


    "im sorry but i dont think im alone in thinking that VERY religious people shouldnt even be allowed in parliament,"

    No, you're not alone -- but you are in the minority. If the majority agreed with you, they wouldn't get voted in -- I call this idea "democracy", and I have an application pending with the European patent office....

  11. G R Goslin

    A new kind of Whip

    So, now, we're replacing the Government Whip with the Ecclesiastcal Whip. Strange that I don't see this as an advance in rational government, by the people, for the people

  12. Gavin Nottage

    Religion getting in the way?

    I too thought the MPs were elected to represent their constituents rather than themselves.

    As someone also with a Parkinsons sufferer in the family, who also follows the Christian faith (very non Catholic, and I would never call myself religious - it's a very different thing to faith), I have no problem with the proposed research using these stem cell techniques. I hope that there is a real debate, and parliament is educated to understand the real issues, not vote with some pre-conceived idea that it's wrong. The only thing that's wrong is to be prejudiced!

  13. Daintree Peters
    Thumb Down

    NOT just religious 'free vote'

    Headlines like this one imply that the moral high-ground and conscience votes are the exclusive domain of the religious - a false and offensive claim to the non-religious.

  14. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    You dolts...

    I think you've missed the point of the article and the accompanying news stories over the weekend. This isn't about allowing some religious "loonies" in parliament some overarching legislative power that will decide your fate... this is about Gordon Brown granting (finally) the MPs elected by you, the freedom to vote on this issue based on their own beliefs rather than being "supervised" by the party whip.

    Grow up you over-reactive morons.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I find it extremely odd that the supposedly rational and democratic side of the argument is insisting that MPs should put aside any personal concerns or concerns of their constituents and blindly vote the way their leader tells them.

    Which is more democratic? That MPs should decide 'Aye' or 'Nay' for themselves, or that Gordon Brown should be able to wield one huge block vote?

  16. Nev

    What next?

    This is the thin edge...

    Next they'll be wanting to ban condoms.

  17. Steve

    Who decides God's will?

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."

    --- Galileo Galilei

  18. Hollerith

    Funny the ground on which they decide to plant their flag

    Medical science used bits of animals all the time. An empty egg 'shell' from a non-human is about as disturbing as using non-human insulin sources, etc. But this is where the Church decided to make a stand.

    It would be nice if they made a stand on child abuse, poverty, war, the dumping of unsafe medicine on the Third World, etc., and pushed it with all the power and fury they are giving to opposing this bill. But no. Last time they made a big fuss was over gay adoption, and then the Government rightly said: if you don't like it, don't get involved in it, and the Church, which (IMHO) had hoped to spearhead a salient into the halls of power on this platform, had to slink away, defeated.

    But now they have this new topic. 'Heal the sick' is never on their agenda, the 'purity' of human cells (because, after all, we are not animals like every other Vertebrata) is more sacred than kids getting lousy educations in schools where they are knifed by gangs, to choose one outrage out of so many.

    Every time we allow those who oppose a general good to society, such as healing certain diseases through medical research and techniques, we give them power over us, and next time it is a little easier, and finally you are living in the USA.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Double Standards

    So let me get this right:

    They can object to Embryo research, a scientific issue, on moral and religious grounds

    But it is illegal to object to moral issues, on moral and religious grounds. e.g Catholic Adoption agencies MUST BY LAW, consider homosexual parents.

    I love this country, so consistant and balanced.

  20. Neil Charles

    Hang on...

    So MPs who are 'religious' get a free vote?

    And anybody who objects on their own moral grounds doesn't?

    Nice of Gordon Brown to let us know that he believes religious morals are 'better' than atheist / agnostic / confused / lapsed catholic (insert your belief system here) morals.

  21. Geoff Mackenzie

    The real WTF is ...

    ... that allowing MPs to vote based on their own morals and understanding of the situation is some kind of exception. How weird is that, when you think about it? Aristotle's slow and dimwitted horse may have been a little more vicious than I think is warranted about it but I do essentially agree.

    Personally, I agree with the view that religion is a virus - it says "I am truth, you can't know I'm not, the consequences of assuming so would be terrible, and by the way, my opponents are worthless, misguided, immoral or unfortunate and you should spread me to your friends." Its victims act in its favour rather than their own or in favour of other people. It survives by deception. It is a parasite, riding on human effort by exploiting human good will. Most of the time it's moderately harmless, like a tapeworm in an otherwise healthy individual, but occasionally it has disasterous consequences for its hosts and for bystanders.

    I feel angry that religion has an influence on science, but it is unreasonable to suggest that religious people and their views should be excluded from a representative democracy. Nobody walks through life believing themselves to be wrong but there's a lot of disagreement - just because I think religious people are wrong about this issue (and I do - to call something 'monstrous' doesn't ex) doesn't mean they should be excluded from, or have their vote forced, when it comes to voting on this issue.

    This is (allegedly) a democracy. I think science should be guided by scientific merit and human conscience, and yes, I actually think it would be nice if society was governed by these things as well - but you'd be hard pushed to find a religious person who didn't also think society would be better lived by his or her preferred set of rules, so let's not throw out democracy in favour of fascism just because people we disagree with have the same influence we do.

  22. Luther Blissett

    Acts of Parliament vs Acts of God

    The pro argument seems to rest largely on faith. Brown conducts himself like a pope, dispensing here, flogging a little indulgence there. (Maybe a show for his old boss here too). Conscience is good - as long as it doesn't turn into objection (vide my original namesake). The conflict is dialectical, the common premise hidden elsewhere (in plain view, as it happens) - the continued presence of Ruth Kelly, Opus Dei, after the adoption legislation change recently is testament (ha) to that. No matter of course that if the proposal were put to referendum it would be voted down, what the Nu Insect Overlards want, the Nu Insect Overlards shall have. The argument, as the parliamentary vote itself, are hyper-real constructs.

    As it shows people have not lost their faith, merely adjusted its target, perhaps Reg commenters should rather ask themselves which monsters they would prefer - the old time religion ones, now mostly reduced to pale shadows of their former glory, or the new ones, whose arriving pale shadows can be glimpsed in the nu Revelations of science fiction. But then people would seem to have reached some such conclusion already.

  23. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Bun fight in the stalls/pews.

    "I think the religonists have scored a massive own goal here, any self confessed God Botherer standing for office should now rightly be viewed with suspicion." .... By James Anderson Posted Tuesday 25th March 2008 15:38 GMT

    Methinks they are, James, which is why they normally keep their personal religious views to themselves and only come out of their secret closet whenever all is lost and they need to invoke some hocus pocus magic.

    Is there any mechanism for the people who are paying them to know of their elected representative's strength/weakness/guiding light? Or is it going to be like some little incestuous underground sect with everyone kept in the family?

    Hmmmm. That's just what Britain needs Today. Government thinking 2000 years old. Which is rather bizarre considering in those days, it was radical NeuReal Thinking pushing boundaries and tearing down walls.

    And I'm with Galileo Galilei on this one. He was one SMART dude.

  24. Peyton


    It's hardly as simple as that (at least in the US). You don't have to physically work in a laboratory to take part in the research - your tax dollars can do that for you. As a democratic country, individuals have a right to have input as to how their tax dollars are spent. If a person feels something is morally wrong, then they have a right to say "I don't want to support that by having my money spent on it"

  25. Neil Charles
    Paris Hilton


    So it's a free vote for all. Damn you El Reg and your tabloid headlines...

    Would never have been free if the God botherers hadn't kicked off though, so I'm sticking by my point above.

    Paris, because she makes her own headlines.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The likes of Ruth Kelly and Des Browne were in the Cabinet that voted for war on Iraq and were expected to toe the government line, but when it comes to this all of a sudden their consciences are paramount.

  27. Jimmy

    Consiencious objectors

    Considering the long and well-documented history of the Catholic church's fierce opposition to scientific advancement and knowledge in general, we shouldn't be surprised that they are now whipping their foot soldiers into line with the intention of creating as much noise as possible. Mission accomplished.

    The fact that the bill will be passed in parliament anyway is beside the point. The voice of ignorance and doctrinal bigotry has been heard at full volume throughout the land.

    Perhaps these biddable MPs could now be persuaded to direct their troubled consciences towards the Aids epidemic in Africa where the church continues to use its influence to prevent the availability of condoms which are considered to be the most effective ways of spreading the disease.

  28. Geoff Mackenzie


    The parenthetical remark in my earlier comment was supposed to read: "Calling something monstrous doesn't explain what your objection to it is, just states in emotive language that you have an objection." Unfortunately I'm an eejit :)

  29. Graham Bartlett

    @AC and "moral objections"

    The point isn't that moral objections are bad, but that moral objections should be based on objectivity.

    From first principles, there can be no moral objections to any experimentation on anything that's completely unable to feel or respond to any sensation. We then have a sliding scale of acceptability after that point based mostly on mental complexity, from fruit flies which can be (and are) used for anything, through to primates which don't get a choice but where experimentation is very limited, and finally experiments on humans where the people concerned get to say whether the experiment is acceptable to them or not. Note that these may indeed be more dangerous than some primate experiments, but the participants choose whether to participate. I know if I had 6 weeks to live, I'd happily take part in the human version of an MD50 trial if it meant someone else later might survive.

    Under that system, acceptability of Josef Mengele's experiments still fails. (And ditto the Porton Down anthrax tests on servicemen, incidentally.)

    The problem comes when religion hits the scene. Religion says that a particular cluster of inanimate, insensate cells contain a "soul" and therefore cannot be used for experiments. This lacks any objective basis in science, medicine or philosophy. If you believe that, fine; I can't change your mind on something that's inherently unprovable. But should you then have the right to stop other people who *don't* believe that from taking actions based on *their* belief: namely the belief that these cells aren't sacrosanct and that the human lives saved from these experiments *are* worth saving?

    The heart icon, because the religious groups opposed organ transplants and IVF treatment using precisely the same reasoning. Do we still think organ donation and IVF are the work of the Devil? Not round my way, pal.

  30. Robert Simpson

    i was going to post a huge anti-christian rant...

    ...but i really can't be bothered. everyone should listen to norwegian black metal :D

  31. amanfromMars Silver badge

    A legitimate question?

    "What next? " ... By Nev Posted Tuesday 25th March 2008 16:20 GMT

    Apparently a private and secret Public Money slush fund for extra perks over and above what would reasonably be considered legitimate expenses. A den of thieves right at the heart of British democracy painting the good as black as the bad? Not very bright, are they?

  32. Anonymous Coward

    @Chill, people: Josef Mengele

    Mengele's sadism is not an example of unacceptable scientific research because there was no science involved.

    In science, a hypothesis is only worth testing with a new experiment if the hypothesis is consistent with the results of previous experiments and can make useful predictions about untried experiments.

    You can find out more about Mengele here:

    """As surviving Mengele subject Alex Dekel states:

    I have never accepted the fact that Mengele himself believed he was doing serious work — not from the slipshod way he went about it. He was only exercising his power. Mengele ran a butcher shop — major surgeries were performed without anesthesia. Once, I witnessed a stomach operation — Mengele was removing pieces from the stomach, but without any anesthetic. Another time, it was a heart that was removed, again, without anesthesia. It was horrifying. Mengele was a doctor who became mad because of the power he was given. Nobody ever questioned him — why did this one die? Why did that one perish? The patients did not count. He professed to do what he did in the name of science, but it was a madness on his part."""

    Using Mengele as an example of a scientist is like using Rev. John T. Sullivan as an example of a priest.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    it really worked out well for old Galileo.

    I hope those that vote against the bill get altzheimers. It would only be fair.

  34. Neil Cooper

    Ethics not Religion

    Firstly let me say I am not religious and am a scientist by occupation.

    Perhaps you would now be surprised to see that I applaud the church in this.

    It seems to me that the real issue here is one of ethics not religion.

    Is it right that we sacrifice unborn children to save existing lives? Who knows... at least the church is attempting to find some line to define acceptable and non-acceptable human behaviour, instead of sitting on the sidelines and whining.

    With the new bio sciences and especially genetic science we are on the verge of opening a Pandora's box of new technology that can irreversibly alter the human genome itself. The responsibility attached to the use of these technologies is consequently enormous on a scale never dealt with by humans before. The advent of nuclear weapons and their corresponding threats and decades of fear were as nothing to society compared with the potential damage of bio and genetic manipulation this technology presents.

    Why do I applaud the church's attempts? Because if someone doesn't deal with the very difficult decisions then it will be left to corporate (and by extension, governmental) greed, which knows no boundaries in seeking more profit and control for its own ends at any cost, including the total loss of all humanity and decency, and moral responsibility.

    The bottom line is there will always be sick people who can benefit from some new technique. The 'do-gooder' mentailty that we should always do something just because we could no matter what the cost is terminally short-sighted. Just how far are we prepared to go just to extend someone's life? Is the abuse and termination of a new human life acceptable to extend an already relatively old human life?

    This new technology demands that we need definite and clear answers to these difficult questions, and solid lines drawn beyond which it is ALWAYS unacceptable to go beyond. Perhaps the church has a role in helping define these moral boundaries. They have centuries of experience in dealing with morality after all.

    Each time we allow the moral no-go lines to be fudged further, even in response to a touching case, we move irreversibly closer to condemning future generations to a genetically modified hell.

  35. Richard Kay


    "I respect people's right to hold their religious beliefs but please don't try to impose them on me trough (sic) the legal system."

    You certainly are not respecting my religious rights by wanting my convictions excluded from the democratic process. Where do you imagine current laws on murder and theft first come from anyway? Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal - both are from the 10 commandments. Where democracy decides law, every kind of philosophy has to compete for votes, based on rational debate including from religious and non religious philosophical positions. The desire that religion can be somehow castrated into private space and kept out of public life understands the basis of neither religion nor democratic public life.

    Clearly you feel threatened by the convictions which those with religious beliefs hold. What is so weak about the basis of your own convictions that you can't bear to have the convictions of those with religious views expressed and considered as part of the democratic debate ?

  36. Mark
    Thumb Down

    @Stu Reeves

    That could either mean this should NOT be allowed to avoid concerning the christians (who have the option of not using this technology: assuming that they already don't do the research), or that christian run adoption agencies (who chose to run adoption agencies) should be allowed to ban people they find morally offensive. Like blacks or asians...

    Me? I'd take the first one.

    Then again, the use of the whip should be disallowed, IMO.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Considering the long and well-documented history of the Catholic church's fierce opposition to scientific advancement and knowledge in general, ..."

    Really? No doubt you can back this up with evidence, rather than just wheeling out Galileo again. For my part, I will put forward Copernicus who was very highly regarded by the pope at the time, to whom he dedicated "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres".

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Religious nutters

    I think that any religious people who hold up this research should be charged with murder/manslaughter for causing people to die who could otherwise have possibly been saved. Unfortunately being religious isn't a crime in itself yet.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nuclear weapons

    Threat of nuclear war meant that there was no third great war in Europe. You think the USA and USSR would have been so afraid of all out military conflict if there wasn't the very real threat that if they went to war the soldiers would have no homes to return to?

    Mutually Assured Destruction goes a long way to nullifying threats of conflict.

    When Neil Cooper you are dribbling in a pan, wetting yourself and with no idea where you in the morning. A deep tearing helpless hole in your mind that makes you sob for hours. When such a thing happens... well once it happens it's probably too late because the medications that could save you were never made.

    Also they arn't unborn children they're fertilised embryoes.

    I suppose you're anti-abortion too?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ethics not religeon

    Once again the anti-religeous, predominantly anti-Christian rabid, pig ignorant and stultifyingly ill informed are out en mass.

    There is a religeous element to this, but there is a very healthy chunk of basic good old fashioned scientific ethics, matters that should not only be investigated by "scientists" but by all of us. Consider:

    This bill allows for the creation of a human life designed as a donor for (an example in the article) bone marrow for an existing, ill person. There are very serious considerations about creating a life specifically to be a donor, there would be a massive ammount of pressure on the created life to donate it's bone marrow. This is a very painful, fairly dangerous operation and with no certainty of a sucessfull cure for the existing ill person. Now donating blood may be one thing, lots of us do it, but donating bone marrow is an entirely different thing, are you on the bone marrow register? Did you even know it existed? Are you prepared to have the (very painfull) biopsy (possibly a week off work) to find out if you are a suitable candidate? Most people I'd wager would say no. If you can't see an ethical dilema here you must be blind. It is right and proper that our leaders, be they religeous, political or scientific etc.etc. along with ourselfes should discuss this.

    This is not anything like as simple as a Church leaders bad, scientists good story.

  41. Justin

    @ RIchard Kay

    "You certainly are not respecting my religious rights by wanting my convictions excluded from the democratic process."

    Your *own* convictions are most welcome in the democratic process - but by definition, morals which you class as 'religious' are not your own. Why should the democratic process & subsequent legislation be subject to such impersonal superstitions?

    "Where do you imagine current laws on murder and theft first come from anyway? Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal - both are from the 10 commandments.""

    I think you'll find that such basic ethics of morality are common to all 3 of the mainstream Abrahamic religions and even pre-date them, not just yours. Indeed, such moral codes have been found to exist in civilisations many thousands of years B.C. Moral codes like this offer a survivalistic advantage to any civilisation / species, one could almost call it Darwinian, as such ethical morals actually have nothing to owe to any religion.

    The only points worthy of note which the bible makes about various morals, are the pretty grotesque ones demonstrated in the Old Testament such as genocide is ok, providing the civilisation in question is not Christian - to name just one. Some of the most religious countries have some of the most messed up morals e.g. excecutations in Iran & the States.

    One final point: If you genuinely believe that your basic morals come soley from your religion, then clearly you don't have any of your *own* - which if I were you, would be quite worrying.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pissed again

    Tony Blair for Pope!

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe someone could actually get the headline right:

    And the story is not about the democratic voicing of opinions of a small minority of the population, it's about the silencing of democracy by the Absolute Leader, who is forcing his beliefs on the rest of us.

  44. This post has been deleted by its author

  45. Mr Larrington


    From the way the bishops have been reacting, you'd think that this time next year the streets would be awash with half-human half-warthog monsters, doubtless taking our women and our jobs. They won't.

    The alien, because the bishops have been watching "The X-Files" and think it's a documentary,

  46. Stew Wilson

    @ Richard Kay

    "Where do you imagine current laws on murder and theft first come from anyway? Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal - both are from the 10 commandments.""

    Don't talk such utter tripe.

    The biblical "commandments" are nothing more than a simplified retelling of the more obvious parts of the Law Codes in use at the dawn of civilization, dressed up with a lot of threats to keep people worshipping a latecomer sky-beard even through the slow development of bicameral thinking (at which point Gods became an external construct, rather than a necessary face on human intuition). That they're a plagarism of the Code of Hammurabi (1760BC) would be good enough to disprove them being the first codified sets of laws against murder or theft, I can do you one better.

    The first recorded laws against murder and theft (and even GBH and perjury) date back to the Code of Ur-Nammu, a Sumerian law tablet dating to between 2100BC and 2050BC. Hell, the Code of Ur-Nammu was a damn sight more advanced than the Babylonian (and later Abrahamic) idea of Lex Talionis (an eye for an eye)---bodily harm was repaid with monetary compensation, rather than mutilating the offender. That said, murder, theft, adultery, and rape were all punishable by death.

    We've got records of the existence of the even *earlier* Code of Urukagina, though nobody's yet recovered the actual tablets. The bible's a latecomer, based on less-advanced Babylonian laws, and thus has no relevance.

    Facts trump religious fairy-tales *once again*

  47. TeeCee Gold badge

    @Tony Blair for Pope.

    Nice one! How long do you give him before the boss loses His patience and converts the grinning vicar into a pair of smoking shoes in a scorched patch?

  48. Mike Crawshaw
    Thumb Down

    @ AC, Chill People

    As someone else has stated - Mengeles' experiments weren't anything like this. I'm tempted to invoke Godwin's Law on you for comparing legitimate, controlled, medical research with a goal of reducing the impact of genetic disorders that cause anguish for millions of people (sufferers and those close to them) with a Nazi looney-tune with a scalpel and a bunch of live subjects who weren't able to say no. Injecting ink into children's eyes to try and change their eye color? Using dissection to prove the inferiority of the Jewish race? Yeah, that was a measured and rational approach just like this research...

    I stated that "THINGS LIKE THIS (added emphasis) should be decided on scientific merits alone" - I would have thought that it would be obvious I wasn't talking about dissection for fun and profit. But I guess not...

    Scenario: My MP is a Catholic. The majority of his constituents are not. So the RC Church should dictate to him the direction of his vote based on the threat of "The big nasty Sky-Fairy won't like it!!"?

    I think not.

    If an MP represents a community where the majority of his or her constituents have a single viewpoint (e.g. in NI where the Catholic population will be quite large in some constituencies) then I have no problem with him or her voting against this bill, because, whether I agree with him or not, he is representing the people who he is supposed to.

    When an MP votes according to his own religious beliefs, in line with his religious leaders' views, AGAINST the wishes of the people he is supposed to represent, THAT'S what annoys me.

  49. Wayland Sothcott

    Science can't explain everything

    but it should at least have a go.

    However just because something is not explained by science does not mean we are powerless to make sensible and moral decisions.

    Science can only explain things in a very strict and limited sense. We may understand every part of something but fail to understand the whole, at least scientifically. And yet we are able to function and make use of what we do know and use faith for that we don't know.

    Many cruel but useful experiments have been carried out by scientists. This stem cell stuff is undoubtedly useful, growing new cells to replace damaged ones, that's fundamental to healing. However creating (or at least allowing) life to develop has the potential to be very cruel.

    Every human can tell if something is alive or dead. Doctors with specilist knowledge can look for the signs and are better at it. However no scientist can actually create life and no computer has a mind, for heavens sake they are not even that good at text recognition. (Please correct me if I am wrong) Science is derterministic, this causes this then causes this. Ok then heads or tails?

    It's correct that religion has a say in this as it is organised faith. If the scientists knew everything then they would not need to carry out these experiments. Faith and belief are nessasary here as well.

  50. Slaine
    Dead Vulture

    what a choice

    Who should decide the fates of (wo)men? politicians or religious zealots?

    What would you like in your sandwich? dogshit or catshit?

    As long as personal views, fears and petty vendettas have any sway in science, the future is as dead as that parrot over there.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    @Ethics not Religion by By Neil Cooper

    Bollocks I think that sums up my feelings, so hybrid cells cause unborn babies to die, well so does masterbation, never mind the "evils" of birth control!

    or maybe we should worry about people who are alive dying horrible drawn out painful deaths from diseases that may (or I'll be balanced may not but I'd like to know the answer before we stop the research) be cured as a result of this research

    "we move irreversibly closer to condemning future generations to a genetically modified hell."

    and more Bollox

    ok so my argument lacks a tad there but speaking as someone alive purely due to the GM process (Insulin it's a wonderful thing you should try it sometime oh wait you can make it naturally so you don't need stem cell research) I don't think we need to worry about a GM hell there's enough to worry about here at the moment.

    and to follow I honestly hope that anyone who's against this kind of reseach never needs it, cos trust me it ain't nice or fun

    oh and don't get me started on GM crops

    for the record I don't work in the Sciences (though I do have a Biology BSC)

    and I'm not massivly religious (though I do come from a massive Catholic family)

  52. Andy Gates

    "I hope they get Alzheimer's"

    They probably *will*, as science has cured so many of the other things that would send a fellow to his grave.

    Bah, tiny cell-balls aren't people. They're lost every single day in vivo and nobody even notices.

  53. Anonymous John

    Re Hybrids won't help

    All that's being proposed is producing human stem cells from say human skin cells inserted into an animal egg..An egg with most of the animal DNA removed.

    Not really a hybrid in my opinion. I think the scientists have shot themselves in the foot by using the word.

  54. adnim

    @Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    "...the freedom to vote on this issue based on their own beliefs rather than being "supervised" by the party whip."

    I accept your point, But when beliefs are based on superstition and not rationale, I beg to differ.

    @The coward.. Chill out.

    "Are you in favour of continuing the experiments of Josef Mengele et al in the concentration camps?"

    A bunch of cells does not breathe, feel or think nor does it have any sense of self. This is a ridiculous comparison.

    "Every human being -- religious, agnostic or atheistic -- makes moral judgements every day of their lives, and we are all well within our rights to do so."

    I agree with you entirely, however that judgment should be restricted to ones own actions and not forced on others who may not share those same morals.

    I do not want the superstitious deciding what is right and wrong and inflicting the rules of an illogical and irrational belief system on my actions, rights or anything else for that matter.

    I do not harass my christian church going neighbors, who are constantly leafleting my house with jesus propaganda. Nor do I try to force my views upon them. I respect their rights to live their lives however they wish, and resist my strong desire to re-educate them.

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