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Concordia Seminary Announces Bioethics Conference on May 4

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, will host a bioethics conference titled, “Cloning for Stem Cells: A Scientific, Theological and Medical Perspective,” on May 4, 2002 on the Seminary campus. Questions such as “What is the moral status of the human embryo?” and ” Is it merely a blob of cells to be experimented on and discarded, or is it a human being morally equivalent to a newborn?” will be addressed in relationship to human cloning, as well as adult and embryonic stem cell research.

Scientific and medical research addressing the perils and promises of cloning and embryonic stem cell research have raised numerous questions in theology and human experimentation. These issues have been highlighted by the presidential order limiting research on embryos, the creation of cloned human embryos by Advance Cell Technology, and more recently, “cc” copy cat, the first recorded cloning of a domestic animal.

“The moral status of the human embryo remains one of the central focal points of the debate over the ethics of cloning for stem cells,” commented Dr. Robert W. Weise, associate professor of practical theology and occupant of The Lutheran Charities Chair of Pastoral Ministry and the Life Sciences at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. “This is a critical question that needs to be addressed in order to establish a foundation from which health care professionals, clergy and the public can set the stage for caring for the unborn, the newborn, the young and the old alike. For if you lose respect for one form of human being, you soon lose respect for all human beings.”

Weise, who has lectured internationally and published a number of articles on bioethics, will be one of three presenters at the Bioethics Conference. Recently, he has appeared on local television and testified before the Human Embryo Research Panel and the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, both in Washington, D.C., regarding bioethics. He also edits a newsletter called “Bioethics and Faith.”

Dr. Dianne Irving, full professor of philosophy in the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., also will be a presenter at the conference. Irving is a fellow of the Linacre Institute of the Catholic Medical Association and a consultant for the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. She has co-authored two books on human development and appeared on “CNN-Live” and “CBS News Up to the Minute” to discuss medical and research ethics related to the human embryo.

Dr. Curtis Harris, associate clinical professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma, will be a third presenter. Harris is also an adjunct professor of law at the School of Law, University of Oklahoma, and a fellow of the American College of Legal Medicine. He holds membership in the American College of Endocrinology, the Christian Medical and Dental Society, and the Oklahoma Bar Association. He has lectured internationally, published a number of articles on law, medicine and ethics, and appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey” show and the “Today” show on NBC.

The conference is open to the public. A $15 registration fee covers the conference, refreshments and a box lunch. Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credit of .5 is available for Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod pastors. There is a $5 fee for processing the credit and shipping the certificate.

For information about the conference, contact Dr. Robert W. Weise, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63105; 314-505-7141; bioethics@csl.edu. Additional information and a registration form also are available on the Seminary’s Web site at csl-edu-staging.mrhxrwi0-liquidwebsites.com.