Stem-cell research rules


Madam, – I refer to the letter from Prof William Binchy (April 23rd).

Prof Binchy accurately reflects my view that the unimplanted human embryo at 14 days or less, while having the potential to become human, is not fully human in the accepted sense. This seems to me to be perfectly clear.

At 14 days or less the embryo is an undifferentiated cluster of cells. It possesses no intellect, no spinal cord, no organ development, no capacity to experience the material world, no consciousness etc. To say, as Prof Binchy does, that this entity is inherently the equal of a fully developed human being in terms of worth and dignity stretches credulity in my view. I certainly regard Prof Binchy as infinitely the superior of a microscopic cell cluster.

I might also point out that nature in its own way is very cavalier indeed concerning the fate of these tiny entities, happily destroying hundreds of millions of them. Nature, that is, not man and this is all despite Prof Binchy’s quixotically amiable feelings towards them. – Yours, etc,


Leinster House,

Kildare Street,

Dublin 2.