Human Embryology and Church Teachings


For the last 40 years debates have been raging over abortion, the use of abortifacients, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other artificial reproductive technologies (ARTs), pre-natal genetic diagnosis, human embryo and fetal research, human embryonic "stem cell" research, human genetic engineering, human cloning, and other related issues. During that time the "scientific facts" used as the "starting points" for arguments both "pro" and "con" have been astoundingly and boldly deconstructed - to the point that such scientific fabrications have now become assumed and appealed to as the "norm". Scientific fictions such as the "pre-embryo" and its many and various (often ingenious) "substitutes" have been incorporated into a variety of scientific fields, medicine, bioethics, philosophy, theology, law, public policy making, industry, even concretized for posterity in libraries, textbooks, journals, government regulations, professional societies, and information technology around the world - truly a massive and destructive epidemic of scientific misinformation. This politicization of science is astounding.

The consequences of this scientific misinformation to the individual formation of conscience, as well as to the public good and welfare, has already been staggering and yet to be finally weighed. Both individual and professional intellectual honesty and integrity would seem to be a thing of the past. It is now almost impossible for people to even think clearly or rationally about these issues. Yet it goes without saying that, if the starting point of any argument consists of false or erroneous scientific "facts", then any and all presumed conclusions that are drawn from such "facts" are by definition invalid and worthless. Such is the case when false and erroneous scientific "facts" of human embryology and human molecular genetics are used in these debates in order to "scientifically" justify essentially unethical actions.

This article is an attempt to start the process of correcting this shameful historical record by documenting the objective scientific facts of human embryology that have been known scientifically and professionally for over a hundred years. It is hoped that more professionals and leaders will finally understand the depth of the problem and come forward as well. This article will also demonstrate briefly how well a realist-based philosophy, as well as the formal teachings of the Church on these various related issues, coincide with the objective scientific truth. Clear thinking on these critical issues is the objective.

Next Page: I. Human Embryology
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