Thursday, June 28, 2007

Latest Religious News

Pope backs adult stem cell research

I am really pleased about this news. When I'm not being a grad student/writing instructor, I do web design and other media writing for the Stem Cell Research Center at my university, so over the past six months stem cell issues have become incredibly important to me. I think this news shows some serious progress in the way religion views scientific research. Unfortunately, I don't see the Catholic view on embryonic stem cells changing anytime soon, which is a little frustrating, because if you're actually paying attention to the research, you'd see that scientists have been finding ways to access embryonic stem cells without actually killing embryos. The findings are not yet confirmed, but science is moving in that direction. Still, I just don't see those opinions changing in the face of new evidence. Look how long it took the Pope to develop this opinion on adult stem cell research!

I'm not saying that stem cell research of any kind needs the backing of religion. Scientists are getting along just fine without Catholicism condoning their work. However, I'm happy about this news because I think it shows that some religions are recognizing the value of stem cell research and regenerative medicine. No, there isn't going to be full acceptance of stem cell treatments anytime soon, but these things take time. This is a small step in the right direction towards the acceptance of scientific research to treat heart attacks (by regenerating damaged heart muscle), cancer (they help replenish areas damaged from cancer surgery, as well as re-establishing the immune system), and a whole host of other severe conditions. Scientific research is starting to be seen as a positive part of society.