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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Final Thoughts On The Jackson Labs - Ave Maria Forum

Some final thoughts about the Ave Maria forum on Jackson Labs.

The Jackson Labs representative, Mike Hyde, admitted on several occasions that Jackson Labs would never agree to ruling out certain immoral scientific practices. I don't know why this doesn't give JAX supporters more concern.

Now, one interesting point in the forum starts around minute 54. Hyde begins saying "We are not a center for human embryonic stem cell research. ... It's not what we do. If for some reason we decided to become center of human embryonic stem cell research, why in the world would we come down here...." At this point, a couple of people begin clapping, because I think they were thinking that Hyde was going to end his point right there. At first, this sounds like a compelling argument: We don't do HESC research, and if we were serious about wanting to do that in the future, why would we move to Ave Maria? That's silly! We know Ave Maria is against HESC research! So don't worry!

But Hyde is not done. He continues ".... why in the world would we come down here when we have 3/4 of a million square feet of laboratory available to us where we are?" By then, the clapping has stopped. Later in the forum, Hyde said the same thing with regard to research into contraception: why would they do it in Florida, when they can do it elsewhere?

And so we come to another moral issue that I don't think has been adequately addressed by the JAX supporters. Suppose JAX guarantees that nothing immoral will happen at the Florida facility but decides to do HESC research at its other facilities. Isn't that a big problem? Wouldn't supporting JAX-Florida then be material cooperation with JAX and its HESC research at its other facilities? Is it possible to financially support and encourage the morally acceptable or neutral work happening in JAX-Florida (which clearly facilitates the gravely immoral work happening elsewhere), while still claiming that one doesn't support or condone the immoral work by JAX? Because of this, I don't think Hyde's promise "don't worry, we won't do HESC or contraceptive research at JAX-Florida because we have plenty of lab space to do it elsewhere" should be a comfort.

My opponents might respond and give the faulty answer put out by the NCBC: that because JAX doesn't currently do HESC research, JAX currently doesn't do evil and therefore there can be no cooperation with evil at this moment, and who can be culpable for someone's future evil acts? My response: But JAX does currently do evil in the form of marketing and providing resources specifically for HESC research and by conducting HESC workshops. Hyde had to admit that at the forum (starting at about minute 120) when pressed by Marielena. Unfortunately, Marielena did not immediately turn to Prof. Waldstein and ask him whether this marketing and providing services and resources specifically for HESC research and this conducting HESC research workshops, admitted by Hyde, is moral or immoral.

And so my final impression of the townhall is that there were many lost opportunities by the questioners to ask the right questions. Hopefully participants at future townhalls will consider my advice.