Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Wednesday January 31, 2007

Leading Scientist Charges Colleagues With "Misleading" Public on Humanity of Embryos
Asks them to justify why other human embryonic life is less worthy than their own was

By Gudrun Schultz

BOSTON, Massachusetts, January 31, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.Com) - A leading U.S. Researcher in adult stem cell technology has stated there is no legitimate scientific justification for questioning when human life begins

In an interview with Anita Crane for Celebrate Life magazine, Dr. James Sherley--recently denied tenure at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he says for his views on embryo research--accused some of his colleagues of deliberately misleading the public about the beginnings of human life in order to justify embryonic research.

"I am upset when I hear knowing scientists needlessly confuse and mislead people who look to them for objectivity and integrity," he said. "The world is a complicated place and there is a vast amount that we do not know about how it works and how we in it work.

"Science, in its best formulation, seeks to define how the world works in terms that transcend human belief, human psyche and human mystery," Dr. Sherley said. "It seeks to define the world in terms that are universal and knowable by all.

"For this specific discussion, within this clear framework of scientific principle, scientists can define when a human life begins. Like thousands of other multicellular organisms on this planet, human beings start life as a single cell embryo, the product of the union of a complete human genome and the programming cytoplasm of a human egg. This union occurs at fertilization."

The only issue, Dr. Sherley said, is, "When does a human life begin?"

"Whether or not the embryo has yet developed spinal nerves or self-awareness is an irrelevant point made to distract and confuse. I challenge the promoters of human embryonic stem cell research to justify why another human embryonic life is less
Worthy than their own was."

While Dr. Sherley said he initially attributed the MIT chair's refusal to consider him for tenure to racism--Dr. Sherley is of African descent--suggestions by colleagues during the two-year investigation of his complaint pointed to his outspoken opposition to embryonic research as a major factor in the case.

Dr. Sherley, who has concentrated his research on techniques to improve the multiplication capability of adult stem cells, has been a significant player in the effort to expose the immorality of embryonic research. Dr. Sherley participated in the campaign to prevent the passage of a bill permitting human cloning for research purposes in Missouri last November, and earlier in the fall spoke to an international group of scientists, theologians and bioethicists in Rome at a congress entitled "Stem Cells: What Future for Therapy?" organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life and the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations.

"My father is a Baptist minister and one of my important role models for life. The strength that has sustained me through life's many difficulties and allowed me to be forever optimistic of the goodness that begins every human life is my Christian faith," Dr. Sherley told Celebrate Life.

Objections to embryonic research are dismissed if a scientist is found to have any religious beliefs, he said.

"How convenient for promoters of human embryonic stem cell research. My objections are on both moral grounds and scientific grounds, independent of my religious bearing. Religious belief is not required to recognize and seek to prevent a human atrocity; and religious belief cannot invalidate the scientific facts that human life begins when a human genome meets the wonder of the human egg."

With 15 patents pending for Dr. Sherley's technique of multiplying adult stem cells, the researcher's contributions to the field are evident.

Dr. Sherley warned MIT in December that he would begin a hunger strike in protest Feb. 5 if the Institute did not acknowledge his denial of tenure was unjust.

To respectfully express your concerns, contact MIT at:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Tel: (617) 253-1000

Read complete coverage from Celebrate Life:

See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

Prestigious MIT Professor Who Opposes Embryo Research Faces Ousting by University


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