Parenting, Ideology & Stem Cells

This past Monday,
March 9, 2009, President Obama reversed George W. Bush’s executive order
regarding human embryonic stem cell research. In supporting his decision
President Obama used extraordinary reasoning. He stated that scientific
decisions should be based upon facts, not ideology. The President’s new
executive order will have a major impact on your parenting. What does this have
to do with parenting? That’s the critical question, but we need a little more
information before giving the answer.

First, here is the
President’s quote in context:

government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science
and moral values," Obama declared, as he signed documents changing U.S.
science policy and removing what some researchers have said were shackles on
their work. "It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted
or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific
decisions based on facts, not ideology," Obama said.  (March 10, 2009 AP)To clarify, here is how
The American Heritage Dictionary defines ideology:

1. The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and
aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture. 2. A set of
doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other

So President Obama is saying that a decision to destroy
human embryos is a decision that should not be based upon a set of ideas,
doctrine or beliefs that define a culture. This is shocking. Here is another
point to help frame the seriousness of this issue. The Boston Globe
reported on the President's order in its March 10th edition.
Included in the article is a succinct comment about embryonic stem cell

Human embryonic stem cells have the
capacity to develop into any tissue in the body, such as insulin-producing
cells that might eventually be used to treat diabetes, or neurons that could
replace ones that die off during Lou Gehrig's disease. The potent cells are
seen as important research tools, as well as promising treatments. But they
have caused much political and ethical debate because human embryos are
destroyed when the cells are extracted

The Boston Globe believes that the destruction of human
embryos is subject to ethical debate. Apparently, the President does not.

This executive order then, has important implications for
your family. The logical conclusion from the President’s remarks is that
science and ethics can be divorced from each other. When your child learns
scientific data in the context of this line of thinking, he must not consider
the data as having ethical implications. Scientific facts stand alone. But is a
"scientific fact" reliable? Many of us were taught the scientific
fact that there are nine planets In our solar system. But now it is possible
that there are only eight planets, because Pluto might be only a dead comet
instead of a planet. The nature of science is discovery, not dogma. Science, by
its nature, is a dynamic process. Scientific “facts” are properly understood as
things to be tested and retested. In order for these facts to have constructive
meaning they must be placed in an ideological framework. Your children need to
know this. Apart from placement within some kind of worldview, a scientific
fact has no direction for good or evil. For example, the process of splitting
an atom is a scientific fact. But this fact has profound ideological
implications. This process can be used to provide power for light bulbs, run a
huge aircraft carrier, or be the instrument of destruction for hundreds of
thousands of people. To say that the decision to split an atom must be made
apart from ideological considerations is unthinkable. The same is true for the
decision to destroy human embryos in order to accomplish a potential greater
good. This decision has huge ideological import: for the sake of attempting to
cure a lethal disease, it is now deemed appropriate to destroy living human
embryos. And further, the President is saying that this is a scientific
decision only and has nothing to do with ideology!

Parents, that is just a little information on a large topic,
but it is enough to show why you must be concerned. Only biblical truth,
properly used to form a biblical worldview, provides the wisdom to navigate the
treacherous waters to which science has opened the door. You must not leave the
idea of worldview to the academic ivory tower while the waters are flooding the
homes and the marketplace. Forming a biblical worldview starts when you rise
up, when you lie down and when you walk along the way. Talk with your pastor,
your friends at church and others. Do not let your children believe that the
noble cause of scientific research justifies the taking of life. Like it or
not, postmodernism has come to your living room. You must talk about this with
your children.
Ideology matters. It matters for life and death.


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