October 29, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

The Vatican Stem Cell Meeting…is mixing religion and science a good idea?

Why does it worry me that the Vatican is having a stem cell conference?

One of the hallmarks of Democracy is separation of church and state. When states mix religion into politics and government, the results have during human history been disastrous.

Equally dismal has been the relationship between religion and science.

Ever since the time when a common myth supported by the church was that the Earth was the center of the universe, scientists have had trouble when their experiments and ideas conflicted with religious doctrine.

You can view the list of speakers here.

Of the speakers, there are only a few names I recognize from the stem cell field including only one established stem cell scientist: Konrad Hochedlinger.

I’d be very interested in hearing about his experience at the meeting if he is interested in talking about it afterwards.

Arthur Caplan, a Bioethicist, is an interesting speaker to be sure who will be there.

Also present will be FRC anti-ES cell guy, David Prentice.

Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Tommy Thompson will also be present. In the past Thompson has publicly supported ES cell research so apparently his position has evolved. It’ll be interesting to hear what he has to say at this particular conference. As with most Republican candidates the safest prediction is that he has flip-flopped on this issue.

Also part of the conference is the biotech NeoStem, which has received substantial funding from the Vatican.

The meeting is to take place in mid-November.

Of course anybody can have a meeting if they like and pay for it themselves, but what we can expect is a slew of alleged news items coming out of this particular meeting about how great adult stem cells are and how horrible ES cells are.

Stay tuned.


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