In spite of the Manifest enacted in the V Medical-Spirit Congress (1), which is against the use of embryonic stem cells both in research and therapy but approves their use in individual adults and the umbilical cord, we insisted on this theme. Since we know many doctors favor the research and use of embryonic stem cells and also since we do not conceive such a document as being positioned in the Spiritualistic Doctrine. In other words, it is not a position of Spiritualism but an institutional opinion that will, hereafter be, confirmed or not by the facts.
In view of this and through the logic of the "obvious", every spiritualistic knows that the reincarnation process, as the Spiritualistic Doctrine teaches us, begins at the moment of the ovule fecundation (2), from the instant in which life starts in the natural biological process. However, it is not so "obvious" and clear when trying to look at the artificial process (in vitro.)
Another obvious situation is that any attempt of interruption in the development of the future zygote. That is the human being in formation (in the natural biological process), constitutes a crime. This situation is completely different from the artificial (in vitro) process. There are institutions and people that impertinently insist on the explanation by fundamentalist foundations, that the results of the research with the embryonic stem cells are still uncertain and insecure although theoretically positive. We know that Science still did not prove that the results are the desired ones, because even in practice, there is high risk of generation of tumors, making the body more susceptible to provoke rejection. Now, any research in the field of genetics or in another domain of knowledge has a degree of risk that is not only applicable to the embryonic cells.
Embryonic stem cells have been studied since the 19th century, although only 20 years ago researchers immortalized them, in other words, they were indefinitely cultivated in a laboratory. For that, they used cells from the inner cell mass of blastocysts (one of the initial stages of mammal's embryos) of mice. Those cells are known by the acronym ESC, from English embryonic stem cells and are denominated pluripotent, because they can proliferate indefinitely in vitro without differentiating themselves and also differ themselves, once modified under cultivation conditions. Due to their capacities, today stem cells have been the objects of intense research, since in the future they can work as substitute cells in injured or sick tissues, as in Alzheimer, Parkinson and neuromuscular diseases in general, or also be used in the place of cells that the organism stops producing in some deficiencies, such as diabetes. However, it is worth mentioning that the immediate application is still far away. (3)
Inside the rhetoric of the OBVIOUS, all spiritualism is absolutely against abortion, there is no favorable justification. But, between this situation and the research of embryonic stem cells, there is a distance without logical limits. It is seen that, on the basis of the movements against the research, there is a great quantity of selfishness, in other words, the parties are interested in political positions. There are those parties that submit their allegiance, to show the "pro life" flag, at festivals and in" protest parades", to recruit their voters' so that their leaders stay in the luxury of the high wages of congress. It is also seen, that in the unconscious of certain spiritualistic leaderships, there is a clear Vatican atavism, of the ones who are authors of the ultramontanism ideologies of "medieval beliefs or deaths." This is fanaticism!
We can see a reductionist posture of the Medical-Spirit Association that is against the liberation of that research with ESC, since, at this moment, we cannot be sure if there is or is not a Spirit linked to the embryo, as they believe. However, common sense impels us to infer that in the process of artificial fecundation (in vitro), before being an embryo we are not that which characterizes a human being; for that purpose, it needs to be linked to a spiritual element. Without the spiritual connection, the obvious whispers us that we do not have a human life, but a vegetative life. In that case, the spiritualistic concepts make crystalline differentiation between vegetative life and spiritual life, connected to the issues raised in 25, 62 and 354, of The Spirits Book. (4) Therefore, there is no crime without the presence of the Spirit linked to the embryo, as well as there is no crime when we take cells from the body, for histopathologic study, in a biopsy. Also, there are no transgressions to the Laws of God when we despise extracted blood cells, in the bleeding method, from a patient that needs the process.
Therefore, there is no translucent justification that fertilization in vitro (frozen embryos in laboratories of human reproduction) will produce discarded objects or be "dungeons for further reincarnations" which are destined for our brothers from the spiritual world that obviously have more yet to do.
Although certain embryos, destroyed by the retreat of a stem cell, once had a spiritual entity, for whatever reason, linked to them, nevertheless, we have to consider: Where is there more cruelty? To maintain a spirit, indefinitely linked to the dungeons of useless cells in a laboratory or to free it for effective reincarnations, allowing its few cells to be used in favor of the thousands and thousands of spirits reincarnated to fight with their own difficulties?
After all, do frozen human embryos have or not have a spirit linked to them? The question 356 of The Spirits Book explains that the gestation development without a spirit can be possible. (5) André Luiz elucidates the mechanism of this process, on the second part of the book Evolution in Two Worlds, considering "that the perispirit mold is the maternal, given by the mother's spiritual command that possesses a strong desire to have the child." (6) In this regard, the question 136-a of The Spirits Book, stresses again:" (...) Organic life can animate a body without a soul (...)" (7) this idea that lead us to consider about the possibility that there are embryos without spirits linked to them. Furthermore, wouldn't we be committing a great misunderstanding in just expecting thousands of frozen (disposable) lives waiting for death? It is worth to meditate more deeply on this question!
The theme is complex and many other observations can be made. The subject must and can be debated intelligently and freely from the impenetrable religious rancidity, which takes us to more satisfactory future conclusions. Radical positioning is no good, especially because in Brazil the scientific proposal is the use, in research, of spare embryos from the clinics of assisted reproduction. (8)
The geneticist Oliver Smithies, 82 years-old, Nobel Prize of Medicine and Physiology in 2007, has been alerting others that our Country should accelerate the process of research in stem cells that has already began (thanks God!) with the approval of the Biosecurity Law by the Supreme Court of Brazil (STF). Otherwise, it will be back in the world scientific process. Smithies works with stem cells for more than 20 years and recently affirmed, in São Paulo, that "A country that does not take part in the researches with embryonic stem cells will lose the opportunity to offer its contribution to the humanity." With his experience of 60 years as a molecular biologist, he also said that "there is a lot of discussion on killing embryos. But, actually, it is concerned with preserving the life of the embryo." The scientist believes that "The beginning of any field of research is controversial but with the time the restrictions, including the religious ones, tend to decrease and disappear." (9) We have already seen this history before with the church striking against the scientific research and then science moving forward and the dogmas expiring.
Following our argument about the physical body/spirit relationship, we have the question 356, in The Spirits Book, where they teach us that there are bodies to which some Spirit had never been destined; in other words, there are physical bodies that grow without the purpose of reincarnation. (10) If there is a reincarnatory planning with the cooperation of superior Spirits, why would these specialists of the other world designate a Spirit that has tasks to do, to a group of cells that will be only organic matter and that do not have the evolution of the gestation as their purpose? This is a situation, which is at the least, bizarre. It is here worth explaining that there is a difference between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells in a patient's treatment. The adult cells have a limited capacity of transforming themselves in tissues and the embryonic cells can originate in all the tissues of the human body.
In the last months, several religious people and specialists are meeting in several different parts of the Globe to discuss the progress of science and their controverter ethical subjects. Some believe that this is an "abortion." We cannot disrespect that the spiritual Mentors, specialists in this area, are intelligent enough to know that this or that ovule will be, or not, destined to stem cells production for therapeutic purposes, and therefore, that no spirit should be linked to it, magnetically. Otherwise, we will be enthroning the vigorous power of the unpredictability, of "chance."
Will it be possible that today, those who opposed the scientific researches at issue, can be quite secure that in the future, they will not benefit themselves of that innovative proposal of human therapy? Before these subjects become controversial, it is necessary that society as a whole shows itself through it's legislators and defines what is socially acceptable in the use of human embryonic stem cells for medical purposes.
It is unacceptable to prevent scientific progress, based on the premise that the use of the knowledge can infringe concepts ingrained in staunch, medieval, or moral dogmas that use the defense of the life. In fact, there are many fellows that are "intransigent defenders" of the festive parades for life and deny, systematically, a piece of bread or a plate of food to the miserable and abandoned child who begs and implores attention in the cold sidewalks of the great cities.
We cannot remain in ignorance. Science has to reach the purpose that Providence assigned it. Kardec teaches that we instructed ourselves by the force of things. The moral revolutions, as the social revolutions, are infiltrated little by little by ideas; they germinate during centuries; then, all of a sudden they break out and produce the collapse of the old building of the past. Those that stopped being in harmony with new needs and aspirations. (11) For those who believe that researchers would be subverting the divine order when manipulating embryonic stem cells, it is important that they are moved before this great truth: transgression to the order of nature is in the undernourished child, bombed cities, terrorist actions, sick people without treatment and workers without jobs. (12) Let's think about it.
1 Letter of Principles established in the V Medical-Spirit Congress (MEDNESP) - 05/28/2005
2 Kardec Allan. The Spirits Book, Rio de Janeiro: Ed FEB, 2002, question 344
3 Lygia da Veiga Pereira, from the Center of Human Genome Studies of São Paulo University - USP (Centro de Estudos do Genoma Humano da Universidade de São Paulo - USP - ).
4 Kardec Allan. The Spirits Book, Rio de Janeiro: Ed FEB, 2002 questions 25, 62 and 354
5 Kardec Allan. The Spirits Book, Rio de Janeiro: Ed FEB, 2002, question 356
6 Xavier, Francisco Cândido. Evolução em Dois Mundos (Evolution in Two Words), Dictated by the Spirit André Luiz. 5th Ed. 2nd part. Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Ed FEB, 1972
7 Kardec Allan. The Spirits Book, RJ: Ed. FEB, 2003, question 136-a
8 Maybe are careful and necessary that the Government, through ANVISA, demands the register of the embryos not implanted. To establish a better regulation in the production and use of the embryos, in order to avoid abuses in the surpluses. It is obvious that it is important that the clinics of assisted reproduction should be supervised to restraint the crime of sale of ovule or production of embryos for sale. However, if the problem is to radicalize, then why not to close the clinics of assisted reproduction? Thus, the problem of the stem cells would be solved. The surplus embryos would not be at the mercy of the ignorance of some people, or even, the spirits that, by chance, were linked to them, would not remain arrested to a useless life, frozen, waiting the death, as the ones that have other interests think. Then they said: To close the clinics would be an absurd! Why? This would constitute a great damage for the medical class?
9 Available in http://g1.globo.com/Noticias/Brasil/0,,MUL344213-5598,00-USO+DE+CELULASTRONCO+PRESERVA+A+VIDA+DIZ+NOBEL.html access in 03/21/08
10 Kardec Allan. The Spirits Book, Rio de Janeiro: Ed FEB, 2001, question 356
11 Comment to question 783 of The Spirits Book
12 Simonetti Richard. Reincarnation: Tudo o que você precisa Saber (Everything you need to Know) Bauru/SP ed. CEAC, 2003