Center for Inquiry challenges Vatican on Biomedical Technology position statement

  (12 December 08)
  by Jim Norman

The Catholic Church is becoming yet more conservative and anti-science. One would have thought that they had learnt from the taste of humble pie in finding that Galileo was right and they were wrong centuries after his death.


The Center for Inquiry is a nonprofit, educational, advocacy, and scientific-research think tank based in Amherst, New York. Their research and educational projects focus on three broad areas: religion, ethics, and society; paranormal and fringe-science claims; and medicine and health. They have released a statement condemning the Vatican’s recently published position on biomedical technology.

To quote the opening paragraphs: “CFI Calls Vatican’s Position on Biomedical Technology Deplorable and Scientifically Insupportable

December 12, 2008


“Amherst, New York—In a move designed to firm up faith-based opposition to embryonic stem cell research and other cutting-edge biomedical technologies, the Vatican has released a 32-page document titled “Dignitas Personae” – meaning “the dignity of a person.” The document condemns a host of procedures considered “immoral” by the Catholic Church, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), the freezing of unfertilized eggs, embryonic stem cell research, and the testing of embryos to help identify those with defects.


“The Center for Inquiry, a think tank headquartered in Amherst, New York that supports research on bioethical questions, deplores the Vatican’s pronouncement. The Vatican’s position has no justification other than religious doctrine, according to the Center for Inquiry, and may have a serious adverse effect on scientific research and the development of medical therapies.


““I regret the renewed effort by the Vatican to censor—indeed prohibit—research in reproductive science,” said Paul Kurtz, chairman and founder of the Center for Inquiry. “Do we have to wage the Galileo battle again? The Vatican claims that their objections are “moral,” but they are based on a theological doctrine that a formless fertilized egg is a full human being, a position which most scientists reject.””


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