Science is incapable of supplying manking with answers to the ultimate questions - why things exist, what their purpose on Earth is, etc. - and these philosophical questions can be met with an answer in religion. Michael Mason's article "How to Teach Science to the Pope" discusses that science does not have to be an answer to religion and that it does not have to explain it. Instead, he suggests that both can remain present and powerful social factors in the present day world. It is impossible, after all, for science to provide mankind with all the answers. Science does not explain many aspects of human life such as love, friendship, etc. However, more and more the Catholic Church is beginning to accept the finding of science as truth and is beginning to re-examine the way the clergy members interpret the Holy Scripture, as they are historically known to have done. Bible interpretations are beginning to move from a literal perspective to a spiritual one.
The current relationship between religion and science is this, according to the Mason article: scientific issues have received unprecedented levels of importance within the church. The Vatican readily admits the increasingly dominant role that science and technology is beginning to play in society and even has gone as far as to acknowledge that science, for the most part, is yielding positive results. It is the persistence of a mechanistic view of humanity that troubles church officials. Ethical issues (cloning, euthanasia, contraception) are a large concern for the church because they immediately affect the human body and are not scientific questions. It has been proven by science that they are possible and now it is up to religion to say whether they are ethical.
After reading this article, I began to think about the chruch and its stand on ethical issues, such as cloning. I found an interesting article explaining the church's stand on the topic and why it has decided that cloning is immoral. In Terese Auer's article "Cloning: A Catholic Moral Evaluation", he tells the reader how cloning is done. Through in vitro fertilization, an embryo splits two cells to begin development. At this point scientists remove the coating around the embryo, split the two developing cells, and apply an artifical coating around the new embryos in which they could grow. This is known as cloning because the new cells formed are the exact replicas of the original ones.
The act of splitting the cells within the embryo with the purpose of producing a new human life is immoral to the Catholic Church because it opposes the idea that human procreation is preserved for the union of a man and a woman. The embryo is not being brought into existence though a personal act in which the spiritual love of the spouses is being demonstrated. To seperate the physical from the spiritual is to act in an unhuman way, according to Auer, thus degrading those involved in the act of creating a human life. It is not humane to either the parents or the child to be raised in such a scientific environment - a human child shown not be a piece of technology and the scientist who concieved him or her should not be the master of the destiny of the embryo. That job should be left up to God.
In order to obtain a balanced argument, I sought to find an article that would explain all the benefits of cloning. The problem that arouse while doing this was that all I was able to find where useless pages that did not reference and were not written by experts in the field of cloning. Finally I found an article that i think might be creditable, at least in comparison to the other sites I looked at.
"Human Cloning Benefits" by Jayashree Pakhare discusses that cloning has many benefits to society. Firstly, the production of clone tissue could prove to be helpful in rejuvenation, or making skin look more youthful and could one day reverse the aging process. More helpful to society, however, cloning could aid in heart attack treatment by cloning healthy heart cells and injecting them into the damaged area of the heart to help it recover from a heart attack. Combining clone cells with stem cells could help to repair or place damaged organs in suffering people and help to save lives. The benefit that most relates to the Catholic argument against cloning is the treatment for infertility. Right now, the success rate for infertility treatment is extremely low, but with cloning it would increase the chances for infertile couples to concieve a child.
Although the Catholic Church and modern day science may never agree on ethically blurry issues, they are building bridges between science and religion. The Mason article has proven that you can be Catholic and scientific.
Auer, Terese. "Cloning: A Catholic Moral Evaluation." Jan-Feb 1994. Trinity Communications. 23 Oct 2008. <http://www.ewtn.com/library/prolife/cloning.txt>
Mason, Michael. "How to Teach Science to the Pope." Discover Magazine. 18 Aug 2008. 22 Oct 2008. <http://discovermagazine.com/2008/sep/18-how-to-teach-science-to-the-pope/article>
Pakhare, Jayashree. "Human Cloning Benefit." Buzzle.com. 27 Apr 2007. 22 Oct 2008.