Playing God? -- Genes, Stem Cells, and/or Immortal Cultures?

Speaker: Categories: Sep 08, 2001


[1hr, 18min, 1sec / 53min, 21sec]


If you had the privilege of going to the polls to express your convictions regarding federal funding for stem cell research, would you welcome such an opportunity? Is your mind made up -- or might you feel more comfortable sharing your views AFTER hearing this month's San Diego Adventist Forum presentation -- either in person or by means of the audio recording?

From time to time a current newsworthy topic is also the topic for discussion at San Diego Adventist Forum. Certainly this is true for the presentation scheduled for September 8. Over the past several weeks, funding for stem cell research seems to be an ever-present item worthy of discussion in local and national news media. So, to get more informed on this timely topic, do plan to hear Drs. Carr and Zuccarelli share some of the story - the part of the story which may not have made its way into the headlines -- as yet!

Dr. Zuccarelli has pointed out"public awareness of the potential uses of genes, genetic information and cell biology has expanded as a result of a rapid-fire series of high-impact advances: DNA fingerprinting, genetic testing, genetically modified plants, transgenic animals, the Human Genome Project, human gene therapy, animal and human cloning, stem cells, and human embryonic stem cell lines. The pace and sophistication of these developments suggest that they will produce an explosion of medical, agricultural, and commercial applications surpassing those that grew out of physics, chemistry and the material sciences in the previous half-century."

How's that for an introduction? Doesn't sound much like the Freshman Biology of college days, does it? Dr. Zuccarelli continues:"With increased technological awareness there has been a growing sensitivity to the ethical and environmental implications of biomedical innovations. During the last few decades the public has come to expect ethical debate and assessmentbeforeintroduction, rather than after the fact”.

Did you know that, according to Dr. Zuccarelli,“The Seventh-day Adventist Church has contributed to this trend by commissioning a group of scholars, medical practitioners, ethicists, educators and administrators to examine selected biomedical topics? After study and debate the group produced documents on each topic, outlining fundamental concepts and highlighting applicable ethical principles with Biblical references. The General Conference has approved and distributed seven statements composed by the Christian View of Human Life Committee regarding biomedical procedures and advances. During this meeting September 8 we will present the documents, as handouts, onGenetic Interventions and Human Cloningwith the aim of stimulating a discussion of their content, utility, and purpose."


After failing freshman organic chemistry in 1978 at the University of Montana (Missoula), Mark Carr seriously reconsidered his career objective(s). To help pass through this trying time (which is not at all unusual to the energetic young), he returned home to Alaska where he became a commercial pilot and fisherman. After attending aRevelationSeminar, he enrolled at Walla Walla College where he earned his B.A. in Theology before continuing on at Andrews University to prepare for pastoral ministry in Alaska. Several years later Mark moved his family across the continent to Virginia where he completed his Ph.D. in Religious Ethics. He joined the faculty at LLU in 1998. In July of this year he became the Theological Co-Director for Lorna Linda's Center for Christian Bioethics. .

"Tony"Zuccarelli, a native of New York, completed his baccalaureate degree in Bacteriology at Cornell University in 1966. He obtained his M.S. in Microbiology, with honors, at Lorna Linda University in 1968 before enrolling at Cal-Tech, Pasadena, where he completed his Ph.D. in Biophysics in 1974. He enjoyed an American Cancer Society post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Constance (Germany), 1974-76, and then joined the faculty at LLU where he serves as Director, Medical Scientist Program and Graduate Coordinator, Professor of Microbiology and Biochemistry in the School of Medicine, and a member of the Center for Molecular Biology and Gene Therapy, Lorna Linda University.

To post even a sampling of the publications and honors accredited to Drs. Carr and Zuccarelli would require more than tripling the size of this introduction. Suffice it to say, each has made a very major, academic contribution to the discipline each represents. Their expertise will become evident to Forum members on September 8.

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