Thursday, August 14, 2014

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

:: UPDATE: I accepted the challenge. See post. 

Folks, this "Ice Bucket Challenge" from the ALS Association has been doing the rounds and going viral. It's a good cause, to support research into ending this terrible neurodegenerative disease (aka "Lou Gehrig's Disease"). I had been tagged in one of videos and was actually thinking of a creative way to douse myself with ice water (ok not much creativity required there), while also donating.

There's a problem however.

The ALS Association apparently supports embryonic stem-cell research. The have actively lobbied for the expansion of federal funding for ESCR. This means that part of the money you donate will be used to do research on tiny innocent human beings. The ALSA page on stem cell therapy only hints at "ethical questions" raised by ESCR, but doesn't say more at all, and goes on to talk about the potential of this research. There is no way, therefore, that I can support this challenge, or give money to a cause, no matter how worthy, which also involves the destruction of innocent human life.

Research involving stem cells from adult tissue (bone marrow, spinal fluid, etc.) is not only very promising, but does not involve the destruction of innocent human persons.

We definitely need to support those who are looking for a medical cure for ALS, or any of the other horrific diseases that afflict humanity. But doing evil directly, so good may come of it,is never permissible.

I am sharing a link from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City which lists major organizations that actively support or not support embryonic stem cell research. This is worth paying attention to.

On a completely separate note, a Time magazine article I link in the comments raises some other questions about this kind of a social media blitz. It's worth taking a look at. (Ironically, the author alludes to the principle of "ends not justifying the means." He uses it to talk about the nature of the media campaign. However, he seems unaware of the ethical issues surrounding embryonic stem-cell research.)

[I originally posted this on Facebook.]

Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Family Life Office: Survey of Medical Research Foundations & Associations.

Time: "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, we need to do better." 


Gary Vetter said...

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was not started by the ALS Association. ALSA has benefited the most from the Challenge because it is the largest group out there working to cure the disease. There are other fantastic groups out there working with ALS patients that would love your donations as well. One I have been following a lot is Team Gleason. Their biggest concern is assisting those diagnosed with the disease and making their lives easier after the diagnosis.

Fr. Gaurav Shroff said...

Thank you for that comment!

Gary said...

In an email to ALL from Carrie Munk at the ALS Association:

The ALS Association primarily funds adult stem cell research. Currently, The Association is funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC), and the stem cell line was established many years ago under ethical guidelines set by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); this research is funded by one specific donor, who is committed to this area of research. In fact, donors may stipulate that their funds not be invested in this study or any stem cell project. Under very strict guidelines, The Association may fund embryonic stem cell research in the future.

I found this as well.

Fr. Gaurav Shroff said...

Thank you for taking the time to add to this post. The American Life League mentions what you've quoted above. They, however, do not recommend giving to the ALSA.