- 12 (gallons) x 13 (weeks) x $1.70 (2004 price) = $265.20
- 12 (gallons) x 13 (weeks) x $2.93 (2006 price) = $457.08
This is a four-part essay I did back in November and December 2008 to describe my views on abortion.
Click on the links below to read the separate parts.
“Abortion, Part 1: Introduction And Disclaimer,” November 3, 2008.
“Abortion, Part 2: What Is It?,” November 4, 2008.
“Abortion, Part 3: How I Vote,” November 21, 2008.
“Abortion, Part 4: Why Abortion Is A Deal Breaker,” December 9, 2008.
Posted by: Luke Dockery at 4:17 PM
A four part series deal with five common (and often legitimate) criticisms of youth ministers. Click on the links below to read the separate parts.
“What’s Wrong With Youth Ministers? Part 1,” February 15, 2012.
“What’s Wrong With Youth Ministers? Part 2,” February 17, 2012.
“What’s Wrong With Youth Ministers? Part 3,” February 22, 2012.
“What’s Wrong With Youth Ministers? Summary and Conclusions,” February 29, 2012.
Posted by: Luke Dockery at 4:08 PM
Posted by: Luke Dockery at 3:54 PM
“What seems lost in the current debates [about stem cell research] is a sense of how difficult it really is, in practice, to get stem cells to do what you want them to.”4It is very possible that even with “patience, dedication, and financing to support the work, we will never be able to replicate in a culture dish the nonmolecular factors necessary to get embryonic stem cells to do what we want them to.”2 Condic goes on to point out that failure to replicate all of the factors necessary for proper embryonic stem cell differentiation could lead to the development of cells which appear normal (based on the limited knowledge scientists have of exactly what a “normal” cell is) and are used for treatment, but turn out to be quite abnormal, lead to potentially serious side effects later on, and leave the patient in worse shape than before the treatment. The final scientific problem with using human embryonic stem cells is based on sound and accepted scientific practice: there simply has not been enough evidence gathered from experiments with animals to justify attempting similar procedures with humans. According to Condic,
“To date there is no evidence that cells generated from embryonic stem cells can be safely transplanted back into adult animals to restore the function of damaged or diseased adult tissues.”Until such evidence is produced based on experiments with animals, it goes against common scientific and medical practice to go ahead and begin experiments on human beings (or in this case, with human embryos).2
“Some experiments suggest these [adult] stem cells have the potential to make mid-career switches, given the right environment, but in most cases this is far from conclusive.”4This characteristic is not unique to adult stem cells however. As was already noted, it is extremely difficult to induce even embryonic stem cells to follow the “career path” that you would like them to. In fact, in this regard, adult stem cells have an advantage: whereas embryonic stem cells must be fully converted into the desired specialized cell before it could be used for treatment, an adult stem cell is already partially specialized. Therefore, with an adult stem cell, there are fewer genetic buttons to push before it becomes what you want. And when it comes to medical utility, the “limits” of adult stem cells are largely irrelevant. As Condic points out, “If a patient with heart disease can be cured using adult cardiac stem cells, the fact that these “heart-restricted” stem cells do not generate kidneys is not a problem for the patient.”2
“Unless we are willing to assign personhood proportionate to ability (young children, for example, might only be 20 percent human, while people with myopia, 95 percent), the limited abilities of prenatal humans are irrelevant to their status of human beings.”5The eminent ethicist Dr. Joseph Fletcher proposes a “profile of man” which lists twenty characteristics that one must possess in order to be human including a minimum intelligence, the capability to relate to others, and the ability to communicate.6 The problems with this view are obvious and numerous: is one person less human than another because he is not as smart, or because he has trouble forming relationships with others? Was Hellen Keller, a source of admiration and inspiration for millions, subhuman before she learned how to communicate? Such a profile seems entirely subjective and insufficient to determine one’s personhood. Some argue from a Biblical standpoint that a person’s life begins at birth. Genesis 2.7 says, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Some suggest that this verse implies that a person’s life begins at birth, when he draws his first breath. However, the word translated “breath of life” in this verse is the Hebrew word nephesh, a word which is usually translated “soul” or “life.”7 Besides, Adam was a special case, and can’t always be used to infer general principles of human life. After all, the Bible indicates that Adam was never a baby at all, but that he was full-grown when created.
“Death occurs when the body ceases to act in a coordinated manner to support the continued healthy functions of all bodily organs.”Life doesn’t end when a person stops breathing, or the heart stops beating, as science has now given us the ability to resuscitate people at times, or when every last cell has ceased to live, as cellular life may continue for some time following the cessation of the body’s ability to act as an integrated whole. So, what does the nature of death tell us about the beginning of life? According to Condic,
“From the earliest stages of development, human embryos clearly function as organisms. Embryos are not merely collections of human cells, but living creatures with all the properties that define any organism as distinct from a group of cells; embryos are capable of growing, maturing, maintaining a physiologic balance between various organ systems, adapting to changing circumstances, and repairing injury. Mere groups of human cells do nothing like this under any circumstances.”5There are also numerous Biblical passages that suggest that a person’s life begins at conception. First, in Jeremiah 1.5, God says to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” This passage implies that Jeremiah was a person whom God had already singled out for a specific purpose even before he was born. A second argument comes from the book of Luke, when Mary, pregnant with the baby Jesus, goes to visit Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. In Luke 1.44, Elizabeth, speaking to Mary, says, “…When the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.” That the unborn John the Baptist was able to recognize the unborn Jesus indicates that the power of the Holy Spirit was involved, but also indicates that both were already people, and not merely large collections of cells awaiting the receipt of personhood upon birth. Also, the Bible makes no distinction in terms when referring to a baby before and after birth: the word translated “baby” in this passage is the Greek word brephos, a word used in the Bible to refer to unborn infants, newborn babies, and young children alike.7 Finally, James 2.26 states that “…the body without the spirit is dead….” If the body is dead without the spirit, then it follows that the body must have the spirit in order for it to be alive. There is no argument as to whether or not an unborn fetus is alive; that is universally accepted. The argument comes over whether or not a living fetus is a person. But, since an unborn fetus is alive, according to the Bible it must have a spirit. And since it is alive and has a spirit, how can we deny that it is a person?