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December 3, 2011 by admin

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, recently passed in the UK, was a triumph for reason, science and common sense. But not everyone has seen it that way: one religious group has tried to have the law overturned.

One of the advances permitted by the Bill is the use of cross-species research. Scientists believe this research – monitored and regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) – may unlock the secrets of cures for such devastating diseases as cancers and HIV/AIDS. Two licences have been issued by the HFEA – to Newcastle University and King’s College London – allowing work on human hybrid embryos.

This research can only be of great benefit to mankind. It has the potential to release untold numbers of people from suffering and premature death. Yet one small section of society feels that its archaic and bizarre supernatural fantasies give it the right to deny this benefit to the whole of society. The scaremongering by certain factions – that this research would create ‘monsters’ – shows an ignorance of science that one might expect from people whose intellectual framework was formed 2,000 years ago and hasn’t evolved since.

The Christian Legal Centre (CLC) brought an action in the High Court in an attempt to have the law overturned. Fortunately, common sense prevailed. The judge threw out the case saying that it had no merit whatsover and was “unarguable”. More importantly, she underlined that this kind of research is clearly “the will of Parliament” (you know, the democratic body that represents everyone, not just minority cults). CLC was ordered to pay £20,000 costs.

I’m sure this won’t make these arrogant Christians change their minds about this research. Nor will it help them bring their thinking into the 21st Century. But it might just give them pause for thought the next time their try to impose their narrow beliefs on a society that doesn’t share them.

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