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Human Genetics

My DNA

image Published: Nov 07, 2013

Dr Sheena Wurthmann, a SRT Committee Member, finds out about her biological heritage.

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Human Cloning: Ethical Issues

image Published: Oct 13, 2011

In 1997 Dolly the cloned sheep caught the world’s imagination and caused a media sensation. Despite hoaxes and speculations, no one has yet cloned a human being. Aside from the hype, what are the real issues? Why would it be wrong to clone human beings?

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Response to the review of human embryology act

image Published: May 05, 2006

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has considered in detail many matters to do with reproduction, stem cells, the embryo and research as well as a range of wider issues of the family. Study groups of the Board of Social Responsibility reported on human genetics and genetic selection in 1995, on embryology and IVF in 1996.  In 1997 the SRT Project reported on animal and human cloning.  Both groups reported on stem cells and ‘therapeutic’ cloning in 2001,  and further stem cell reports were made from 2002-4. Sex selection issues were considered in 2002 and 2003. Our responses draw on this body of work and also on a multi-disciplinary expert working group on stem cell issues which is currently in progress and which will report to the May 2006 Assembly.

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Problems with New Human Cloning Proposals

image Published: Feb 19, 2004

Hard on the heels of the news that South Korean scientists have produced cloned human embryos (see SRT Comment), Roslin scientist Ian Wilmut proposes, in an article in the New Scientist, the production not only of cloned embryos for various types of research, but also of cloned babies under some circumstances. He declares that he is still implacably opposed to reproductive human cloning, in the sense of producing a new individual who is the genetic copy of a person who already exists, but describes future circumstances under which he would advocate using the technology of cloning to produce babies without genetic disease. Dr Donald Bruce, Director of Society Religion and Technology Project of the Church of Scotland, who has been in the forefront of ethical evaluation of cloning since 1996, says “It is already highly controversial to advocate the use of cloned human embryos in research, but I am concerned that this new suggestion causes at least as many ethical problems as it might seem to solve. It needs to be thought through more carefully in ethical terms. It would be illegal in many countries, including the UK, and runs contrary to worldwide opinion.”

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