Dobson's Comparison of Stem Cell Research to Nazi Experiments Stirs Controversy

Melanie Hunter | Senior Editor | Friday, August 5, 2005

Dobson's Comparison of Stem Cell Research to Nazi Experiments Stirs Controversy

( - A Jewish group is criticizing a pro-family group leader for comparing embryonic stem cell research to Nazi experiments during the Holocaust.

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, called Focus on the Family founder and Chairman James Dobson's comments regarding the controversial research during Wednesday's broadcast of his radio show "reprehensible" and "abhorrent."

"As scientists, public officials and interested Americans consider the potential of scientific developments, including stem cell research, Dr. Dobson's recent comments contrasting stem cell research and Nazi experiments on Jews and other victims of the Holocaust are reprehensible," said Saperstein.

During his radio show, Dobson criticized supporters of embryonic stem cell research for excusing the destruction of embryos by touting the research's potential to cure illnesses like juvenile diabetes.

"But I have to ask this question: In World War II, the Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps, and I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind," Dobson said, according to a transcript.

"You know, if you take a utilitarian approach, that if something results in good, then it is good. But that's obviously not true," said Dobson.

"We condemn what the Nazis did because there are some things that we always could do but we haven't done, because science always has to be guided by ethics and by morality. And you remove ethics and morality, and you get what happened in Nazi Germany," said Dobson.

"To link for political purposes research on blastocysts that will be destroyed anyway (research done to eliminate diseases that afflict countless millions of human beings) and the Nazi's inherent efforts to destroy the Jewish people while utilizing them as less than human beings (including for torturous scientific experimentation) to fulfill their pseudo-scientific and ideological goals is abhorrent," added Saperstein.

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