The Slippery Slope

Finding out the human body’s capacity to endure and survive high altitude
Learning how to treat hypothermia
Investigating immunization for and treatment of malaria
Researching ways to treat soldiers wounded by mustard gas
Treating the soldiers with bone, muscle nerve regeneration and bone transplants

As barbaric and inhumane as we may envision the Nazis, the above are just a few of the reasons for their human experimentation. They wanted to help people. They were at war. They wanted to help the soldiers. They were truly thinking of what was best for all the people and for the future of their nation.

I think it is critical that we remember that as monstrous and evil—in a very non-human, no way we can relate to such heartlessness—actually had good motives. Motives to help alleviate suffering, pain and devastation.

Comparing our current debate over embryonic stem cell research to Nazi experimentation is far from extreme when we consider it all principally.

Last week, Senator Bill Frist declared his support of embryonic stem cell research while simultaneously defining his position on life: "I am pro-life. I believe human life begins at conception." Just to clarify, that statement implies that life at conception, in the form of an embryo is deserving of the same value and protection as a five-year old boy or a 60-year old woman. It’s all life. It’s all a gift. It’s all worthy of living.

Only God Himself can determine its course, its start and its end. Just as we would never tolerate a neighbor or a stranger dictating how we are to raise our own children or coming into our homes to harm those precious lives, it would surely be arrogant, presumptuous and even evil to delineate between those we deem worthy to live and those who we consider better served by sacrificing their lives for the sake of “medical advancement.”

How can anyone hold the position that human life begins at conception and allow ANY form of experimentation that would harm, much less destroy, that life? How do we justify delineating between lives? Can we use embryonic cells from a baby aborted at eight months but not a prematurely born one at seven months? These are the questions we must answer if we are to consider such a crime against humanity if we dare destroy some lives in the name others.

“Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude…that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived…Gradually the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted and finally all non-Germans…” (Professor L Alexander, a consultant to the United States chief counsel for war crimes during Nazi doctors’ trial.)

God forbid that be our fate. We say we are enlightened. We are leaders in western civilization. People from around the world want to live like we do. They import everything from our music to our fashion and our movies. What value will we export in regards to life?

I call on all who value life to pray, to speak out and to call your Senator regarding this issue.

God is watching. The world is watching. And, history will judge us.


At 8/01/2005 06:18:00 PM, Blogger Daffy76 said...

Not only in regard to stem-cell research can we be likened to Nazi Germany. What about early testing for birth-defects, and amniocentisis? These tests are only to give parents a chance to abort a potentially handicapped child. This kind of thing is the reason why so many people no longer have a concept of unconditional love.

At 8/01/2005 09:26:00 PM, Blogger Poison Pero said...

Ah, Lores, you have hit on one of my very favorite topics....On my blog I title these as "Dr. Mengele's successors".

Of course the Nazi's were out of their minds, and of course the current group of Frankensteins are equal to the task of their Nazi predecessors.

That said, I'm amazed how the Japanese always escape this topic...They were every bit as bad as Hitler's Henchmen, and should never be given a pas.

Check out Unit 731:

At 8/02/2005 02:00:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

It becomes obvious what the real agenda of those who are pushing so hard to destroy human fetus's for the purpose of harvesting stem cells, when there is solid evidence that adult cells taken from living breathing adults are more viable and don't require the taking of any life.

At 8/02/2005 04:17:00 AM, Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Wow, lady, you are quite a writer and a thinker!
This post is excellent and makes you have to think hard about the choices we are making.

At 8/02/2005 04:28:00 AM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

daffy, you are exactly right. the existence of the test itself communicates an expectation to qualify life.

pero, i went to the link on mark's site to your site on that. good point about the japanese. i'll check it out! thank you for what you're doing on your site. i check it every day!

yes, mark. i haven't really talked about adult stem cells yet. i will absolutely refer to the article you mentioned. it all points to an agenda.

jaime, thank you. i hope you'll keep comin...and writing in :)

At 8/02/2005 05:03:00 PM, Blogger Yurri said...

Lores, I think you make a very apt comparion to the Nazis. I once visited the Holocaust Museum and was horrified and disgusted when I learned about all the human experimentation on the Jews. Just because they weren't considered worthy. So the same thing makes me angry when i think of the unborn and using aborted fetuses for research. Once you devalue life--at whatever stage of development--it's so easy to take that next step into well, research.

At 8/02/2005 05:08:00 PM, Blogger Yurri said...

dear pero,

it may seem that the Japanese escape the topic in the Western world, but i can assure you that in many, many parts of Asia, people haven't forgotten or forgiven the Japanese government for their atrocities.

check out the article on yahoo news: Food means having to say you're sorry
at http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20050712/od_nm/japan_restaurant_dc_1

At 8/02/2005 06:10:00 PM, Blogger mlwhitt said...

Lores, you just keep on trucking! That was one of the best writings that I have seen on the subject to date. It amazes me how we can say "we are mature because we have left behind our racist ways" all the while slaughtering innocent lives. Often it appears to me that we just replaced on truly evil thing (racism) for something even more evil (the disregard for unborn children). And even worse government officials trying to say that it can be justified by using murder for scientific research.

As you put forth, a lot of the medical wisdom we have today came from the horrors concentration camps of Nazi Germany. But just because we use that information doesn't give us the right to repeat such evil by killing unborn children and using their parts for research.

As much as I love by soon to be born baby girl, I couldn't justify the slaughter of thousands of innocent babies even if it meant medical advancements that might one day be able to save her life.

The difference in using the knowledge gathered by the Germans in WWII is that it is a past event that we can not chance. We can only make their lives count for something. But using yet unborn babies to be slaughtered and using that knowledge is blood on our hands, and the face of the nation.

Like Mark puts forward, adult cells can be used to the same ends. Heck even if using human cells meant the killing of people, we could justify that by all the evil convict deathrow inmates. I would rather see a million murders, child molesters and rapist be "havested" for the advancement of science than even one baby.

Also aborting a child with handcaps to me is evil as well. Why is it that a child that might be blind, slow or forever confined to a wheelchair have less value than a healthy person? Aren't they still human? To me this is almost always just an execuse for parent's that don't want to be troubled by a "special needs" child.

I hope and pray with all my heart that my daughter will be born without any defects. Any sane parent would and should pray for the same thing. But if my girl was born with some disability does that mean that I should feel like throwing her away? NO, I would NEVER dream of it. She is my daughter no matter what, and she deserves to live. It if it God's will that she not have to live long with disabilities, then I leave that up to him, for it is not my place or right to make that choice.

I think Lores finished up the posting perfectly. God is watching us, and folks if we go through with this, he might just decide to damn the country for it.

At 8/02/2005 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous KO said...

Addressing daffy76's point: With my two pregnancies my husband and I declined to have the amniocentisis testing for the reason that we would value and keep this life we had created regardless of what any test would show. (which, by the way, many if not most of the tests return with a false positive for problems the first time around.) With that, the doctors and nurses (two each at two different ultrasounds) not only were shocked that we would do such a thing, but then we were fairly aggressively counseled by them, as well as given three release forms, two of which go to the government saying, "I understand and accept the consequences of this decision."

If only the research scientists, health physicians, and those going in to terminate a pregnancy or even begin IVF were aggressively counseled and made to sign the same statement.

At 8/03/2005 03:55:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

"God is watching us, and folks if we go through with this, he might just decide to damn the country for..."

Billy Graham once said, "if God doesn't judge America soon, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gommorrah."

At 8/03/2005 04:39:00 AM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

Billy Graham once said, "if God doesn't judge America soon, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gommorrah."

Wow, Mark! That is a GREAT quote! If anyone walks in integrity, it is God Himself. I continue to pray for mercy for our nation.

At 8/03/2005 02:04:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

How you get from stem cells to Auschwitz is amazing. Having lost much of my family in the Holocaust, I think I can say that you are completely missing the point.

You first have to assume that zygotes, fetuses, and/or embryos are exactly equal to, as you say, a "60-year-old." Once you make that hand-waving, faith-based argument, you're off to the races.

Hey, all: why not just start shooting all abortion doctors? Why are you sitting back and letting this slaughter continue? Aren't you all collaborators -- perpetuating this "worse" holocaust by your inaction? Why write your Senator when you can blow up a Planned Parenthood center?

That's where your slope slides to -- and that's the inherent danger of an absolutist ideology. Lots of fundamentalists think God is on their side. They also think that homosexuals brought 9/11 down on the US. This is the realm of psychosis, and it has infected our body politic.

Luckily, those of us who are not extremists have mobilized. Y'all have the advantage for now. But we have money, time, the will, and we are gaining ground back from this most recent Great Awakening, regardless of what the "president" says about intelligent design. I'd like to see some intelligent design in the global war on terrorism -- oh, I'm sorry, I meant Karen Hughes' newly minted ad campaign: "The global struggle against violent extremism."

Hilarious. Read The Wealth of Nations -- how many of you actually have? I am right now. As of yet, no mention of "marketing," just of markets. Did you know he was almost as irreligious as his good buddy David Hume?

Ah, what's the use. Sorry for tainting this blog, which had been advertised as worthwhile by the Thornblog folks, with some reality-based thinking.

I shall retire. Thanks for the forbearance.


At 8/10/2005 06:55:00 AM, Anonymous Perkins said...

Alright Doug. Perhaps I can explain this to you.

So, you don't think that a human zygote is equivalent to "a 60 year old" Ok. That's a fair statement. So, when then does it become equivalent? At birth? Well then what about say 5 minutes before birth? Are they still relatively worthless? Where do you draw the line? Do they then become unworthy again if their development regresses? Tough question, isn't it? I won't pretend to know the answer, but I will say that if you simply assume that life becomes worthy at conception, then it's no longer a problem.

I fail to see how you can possibly get shooting abortion doctors out of believing that abortion is wrong. Killing the doctors who are merely providing a perfectly legal service would also be wrong. We are a civilized society. We believe in the rule of law. We must follow it whenever possible, or else it becomes a hollow victory.

I find it interesting that you like to label anyone who disagrees with you as an extremist. I agree with you about the fundamentalists, but you know, there really aren't that many of them.

I agree with you about the reality based thinking. We definitely need some. The reality is that there is a major discrepancy in this country. If you kill a pregnant woman, you can be charged with a double murder. Women who drink or smoke during pregnancy can often be charged with child abuse... And yet abortion is legal... Am I the only one who sees the paradox here? We as a culture need to make up our minds. Either the unborn are people and should be treated as such, or they are not. If they're not, then that places our feet upon a dangerous path. Forget Wealth of nations. Read Brave New World instead. If a human embryo can be destroyed for research purposes, then why should we not manipulate them to create different classes of people? If they never develop enough mentally to be considered human, then there wouldn't be anything unethical about it, now would there. We could create a utopian society. All it would require is that we sacrifice all out beliefs about self-determination.

embryonic stem cell research is a crock. It's a moral minefield, plus it simply doesn't work. Researchers working on adult stem cells have managed to do almost everything that the embryonic people have promised, but never been able to deliver. I don't think that we as a society are ready yet to tackle the moral decisions involved in this. We risk becoming exactly the kinds of monsters that we have always despised.

At 8/13/2005 11:44:00 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Simplicity and Platonic Forms don't apply well to biological systems -- even Aristotle realized that. Life doesn't begin all at once, just as death is a temporal process, not an instantaneous event.

So, yes, it's tough, but the point is that we've determined this as a society: up to third trimester.

Further, those laws you cite (double-murder of pregnant woman) are indeed perversions -- they were passed by abortion-choice foes. So, to use them as evidence for banning abortion is kind of begging the question.

I've read Brave New World; abortion isn't related. Genetic engineering would be, but the point is that abortions have always happened and will always happen. We need more contraception, a lack of inhibitions about sex (less chance for risky behavior), and then you'll see fewer abortions.

Beyond all the sound and fury of the not exactly small number of Christian (and other) rightwingers, that's the solution.


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