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21 / 02 / 2009 - Prentice and Smith speak against embryo research to packed venues
See also: Youth Defence says James McInerney’s excuses for not debating are “pathetic”
More than 300 people crowded the Boole 2 theatre in UCC on Tuesday to hear Dr David Prentice and Wesley Smith urge UCC not to begin experiments on the embryo-child. The speakers drew sustained applause from the audience, who pledged to join Youth Defence’s campaign to stop embryo research in UCC.
The ethicist Wesley Smith said that the failure of UCC academics to debate the proposal at the seminar was indicative of their understanding that embryo research enjoyed no public support. Law lecturer Deirdre Madden who made the proposal to begin experiments on human embryonic stem cell lines, refused to take part in the debate, as did UCC President, Michael Murphy. Youth Defence said that UCC academics seemed “unable or unwilling to defend the deplorable decision they had made.”
In a succinct and learned presentation, Dr David Prentice described the basics of stem cell research and cloning, explained that embryonic stem cell research isn’t working because treatments using these stem cells are likely to cause tumours, and revealed the astonishing power of adult stem cells, which are being used to treat 73 different conditions. Dr Prentice also confirmed that each of the successful treatments he described were published in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals.
“He explained everything very clearly,” said one student. “I’m not a science student, but his presentation could be followed by anyone looking to know more about stem cells. The most interesting thing to me was that even though 28 years of research on human embryos has taken place, nothing good has been produced – not one treatment. That’s astonishing.”
The speakers are in Ireland as guests of Youth Defence, and also spoke to packed venues in Maynooth and Dublin on Wednesday and Thursday.
At the Dublin seminar in Wynn’s Hotel spokeswoman for the Mother and Child Campaign, Niamh Uí Bhriain said that the actions of the government both in setting the stage for Madden and others to push their agenda, and in approving the Attorney General’s attack on the rights of the human embryo were intolerable and would not be tolerated by the pro-life majority.
Youth Defence says James McInerney’s excuses for not debating are “pathetic”
Youth Defence student members have described the reasons offered by NUIM lecturer James McInerney for pulling out of Wednesday’s debate on embryonic stem cell research as “childish and pathetic”.
McInerney said that he would not debate with Dr David Prentice because he didn’t like Youth Defence. “Is this the response of an academic to a challenge?” said Íde Nic Mhathúna of Youth Defence. “I don’t like my opponent so I won’t debate. It’s immature, unprofessional and pathetic, and let’s be honest, it smacks of the excuse offered by someone who doesn’t feel he would be able to match the expertise and knowledge of his opponents.”
McInerney’s opponent at the debate would have been Dr David Prentice, one of the world’s leading experts on adult stem cell research. “It you’re not up to the competition, just say so,” said Ms Nic Mhathúna. “But don’t cast about wild allegations in protest when everyone can see that it’s just a feeble excuse.”
Ms Nic Mhathúna added that she could see how the success of the event would have enraged McInerney and “his few peevish supporters whose arguments in favour of stem cell research were shown to be absolutely erroneous by Dr Prentice and ethicist Wesley Smith.” She said that supporters of embryonic stem cell research were shown every courtesy despite being rude and badly-behaved, “stomping out the lecture hall when the majority opinion was shown to be in support of life”. The seminar in Maynooth was a great success with a full theatre listening to the latest information showing the unethical and irresponsible nature of embryonic stem cell research.
“Most importantly, we reached out to students and interested parties,” said the Youth Defence spokeswoman. “While some may throw a strop about that, they simply can’t stop the growth and success of Youth Defence’s pro-life message.”