Thursday, August 5, 2010

WARNING: A high school stem-cell curriculum created

California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has created the country's first high school, stem-cell curriculum and is proffering it to science teachers in California's Bay Area. Read the article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here are some excerpts from the article that concern me.

  • California is home to some of the world's most promising stem cell research, but to sustain the industry, the state will need an ever-increasing army of trained workers - from lab technicians to top-level researchers - and a healthy backbone of non scientists who understand the issues at stake, say stem cell research advocates.
    With that in mind, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has developed the country's first high-school stem cell curriculum, which will be pitched to science teachers this fall. It is already being taught at a handful of Bay Area high schools.Read more:

The stem cell researchers aren't stupid. They will build up their own army of workers to carry out their wishes. I like how they recognize the need for such vital research but the obvious concern is how will these trained workers/soldiers be indoctrinated? Will adult stem cell research be an option? Will embryonic stem cell research require even more harvesting of human life? Will there even be a debate about this issue?

  • And even if students aren't compelled to follow a career in science, what they learn from the classroom will, it is hoped, follow them home, where they can teach their families and friends about stem cells, said Laurel Barchas, a doctoral student in integrative biology at UC Berkeley, who led the institute's effort to create the high school curriculum.
    "We hope it will have a trickle up effect," Barchas said. "It's a good way to educate the public at large about stem cell research."

What will the public learn about stem cell research? I see what the public learns about evolution in public schools. It certainly is not taught as a theory, but fact. Doubt this? Ask your local public school science teacher when the world was created? Will the response be, "Well, Mrs. Smith, some scientists believe it was created millions of years ago after developing from primordial ooze. Other scientists believe it was created from intelligent design creationism. So there are several theories. We teach both equally." If that's the response, my concerns with this stem cell curriculum are all for naught. Common sense and twenty-five years in education seem to indicate I have justifiable concerns.

UC Berkely "led the institute's effort to create the high school curriculum"? Sorry, but the halls of academia at UC Berkely don't exactly scream or whisper a conservative philosophy on social issues.

  • The curriculum doesn't shy away from touchy ethical discussions. Each unit contains some political or ethical topic such as addressing whether it is appropriate to screen for certain genetic traits when doing in vitro fertilization or discussing ethical standards in clinical trials. "We are not there to force an idea or a belief on anybody. We're allowing students to have a discourse," Barchas said. "It's really good that teachers are not afraid to start talking about this stuff."

Liberal ideas in stem cell research will not be forced on any student, no matter what the age, the same way evolution is not forced upon any student in public grade schools, high schools and higher education. If you believe this then you would believe the mayor of New York City supports the idea of building a Mosque at Ground Zero....My point, exactly.

Yes, we all need to be educated about stem cell research but there is no way I trust that the sanctity of human life will be revered by the UC Berkeley in the construction of this curriculum or in the way that it's implemented in school systems. Unfortunately, too many parents won't know or care about the curriculum and lives will be lost after being harvested for "scientific research".

My concern with this stem cell curriculum is that God's Word will be sacrificed, along with human lives. Listen to Scott Klusendorf's recent broadcast on Issues Etc. where he discusses the difference between embryonic stem cell research vs. adult stem cell research to hear why this is an important issue.


Anonymous said...

Brandt's concern is not exactly a conflict between science and God's word, but between science and his notion of what God is saying.

Red Right Hand said...

Ask your local public school science teacher when the world was created? Will the response be, "Well, Mrs. Smith, some scientists believe it was created millions of years ago..."

Any science teacher who makes such a statement should go back to school and learn some science. Try thousands of millions of years.

The earth is about 4.5 billion years old, John. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. We don't use our pre-existing ideologies to filter and deny what we learn about the real world; rather we use what we learn about the world to construct our world-views. You've got your cart before your horse.