Three items appear below:

1     Employment and the Bible Anon #99
2    The Bible and Stem Cell Research Edwards #101
3     Bible Principles – Useful Now Anon #102



(Investigator 99, 2004 November)


Investigator (#97 p. 4) published a request for Bible guidelines on stem-cell research.

Discussion in church on how to apply Bible principles to the workplace is common. It's therefore easy to find testimonies by employees who applied principles from the Bible  – such as honesty, diligence, doing one’s best, and cheerful cooperation – and who got promoted and attribute their promotion to following Bible advice.

The request in #97 p. 4 is therefore a request for standard church sermon material and standard testimonials.

There is also an encyclical titled ENCYCLICAL LETTER LABOREM EXERCENS OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF JOHN PAUL II ON HUMAN WORK. This gives the Catholic Church's teaching about work and employment, not all directly from the Bible, but in harmony with it.

If anyone still wants to see how Bible principles apply to stem-cell research in particular he should obtain a copy of the occupational health and safety standards for that industry as well as a copy of the ethical guidelines the researchers are obliged to follow. If there are earlier and revised versions we'll need both.

Then we may be able to examine such questions as:

1.    Whether the industry rules and guidelines agree with the Bible;
2.    Whether the Bible anticipated any of the rules and guidelines;
3.    Whether, by using the Bible, we can suggest improvements to the rules and guidelines. 

Applying Bible principles to the job of stem-cell research should be no more difficult than applying Bible principles to employment in an iron foundry where water and sewer pipes are manufactured.

Consider McWane and ACIPCO:


Australia's Four Corners television program broadcast on July 12, 2004 was titled "A Dangerous Business".

According to this program McWane Inc – which owns factories in the USA which manufacture water and sewer pipes – had 4,600 workers hurt on the job in its USA factories in seven years including nine killed.

Furthermore,"In those seven years McWane notched up more safety violations than all its major competitors combined."

One interviewee said, "they’d rather pay the fines than bring their plants into compliance…they think…it's more profitable for them to take the risk by not having safety programs in place than to comply with the law."

The Four Corners program then introduced another American Cast Iron Pipe Company called ACIPCO.

ACIPCO is in the same business as McWane – it melts metal and casts pipe – but has a much safer workplace.

ACIPCO's chief executive officer, Van Richey, said,"We believe the safety of the workers is number one. If we can't do it safely, we don't do it."

Workers in pipe-casting endure temperatures up to 130o F. In Texas, McWane rationed the ice cubes whereas ACIPCO installed air conditioners: "And the employees are much more comfortable, and they're more productive."

The founder of ACIPCO, John Eagan, died in 1924. He was a devout Christian and tried to run the company based upon the Golden Rule of Jesus.

Van Richey explained, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Before you make a rule, say, "…what if it applied to me? Is it fair?""
When John Eagan announced he would operate his foundry on the Golden Rule the president of the company, J R McWane, quit. McWane started his own pipe company with a philosophy now called "disciplined management practices" with one of the worst safety reputations in America.

If the Golden Rule helps workers in an iron foundry it can also be applied to stem cell research and to every other legitimate business! And the same can be said of many other Bible principles!

ACIPCO is only one example of employees benefiting from the Bible. History and current events supply thousands of examples of people applying Bible principles and changing industries, societies and nations for the better.


Stem-cell research is interesting for another reason besides the question of whether Bible ethics can be applied to it. Some researchers have such high expectations for stem-cell research that they echo Bible prophecies of a world without disease, physical handicaps or human aging:
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like the hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy… (Isaiah 36)
When I began investigating the Bible, in the 1960s, critics considered such prophecies silly. Now, however, science is expressing a similar vision and even saying things like: "…nothing is now impossible.”

Biotechnology – stem-cell research, genetic engineering, cloning, transplant technology, electronic implants – and nanotechnology raise the possibility that Bible predictions of perfect human health for everyone are achievable by technology.

Had the human race not squandered its wealth on war, crime and other conflict and instead followed Bible instructions to seek wisdom and peace and do useful work, and thereby developed technology faster, Bible prophecies of paradise under the "Kingdom of God" could have become reality long ago.


Four Corners transcript:

The Bible and Stem-cell research

Harry Edwards

(Investigator 101, 2005 March)

In #99 p20, Anonymous attempts to justify his claim that Bible guidelines and principles are being, or can be, applied to Stem-cell research. He cites honesty, diligence, doing one's best and cheerful cooperation as examples.

Unfortunately, the argument falls flat when perusing the Old Testament wherein less desirable attributes such as deceit, infidelity, abhorrent punishments and questionable ethics not only abound but are also commanded, sanctioned and condoned by God. One could argue therefore, that this compilation teaches exactly the opposite and certainly has no relevance to scientific research.

Testimonials from those who uncritically believe in the supernatural and the metaphysical are not based on reality, and as such, can hardly be relied upon as worthwhile evidence.

In the New Testament, God evidently realises what a mess he’s made of creation and "sends his only son" to be a scapegoat.

To say, as does Anonymous, that discussion in church on how to apply Bible principles is commonplace, equates with discussions about the predictions of Nostradamus. Given a lengthy timeframe, the expediential increase in world events and multi-interpretations of words and meanings, just about any prediction can be made to fit.

The ethics of Stem-cell research is far more complex than a simple "Golden Rule". As far as the Pope's encyclical endorsement of the rule is concerned, I suggest a reading of the Catholic Church's history would show an unbridgeable chasm between it and their activities over the centuries.

The bottom line in my opinion is therefore, that there is no direct, indirect or implied references in the Bible to any scientific discovery made in the past 2000 years. How could there be when it was compiled by scientifically illiterate authors centuries before the discoveries?

H Edwards



(Investigator 102, 2005 May)

Mr Edwards had claimed that Bible ethics are not useful in today's world. In rebuttal I reviewed a television report about two American pipe manufacturing companies. (#99)

One company allegedly seeks increased profits by circumventing safety regulations and had 4,600 employees hurt on the job in seven years. The other follows the "Golden Rule” of Jesus and has a safer work place. The chief executive explained: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Before you make a rule, say, "what if it applied to me? Is it fair?" We believe the safety of the workers is number one. If we can't do it safely, we don't do it.”

Clearly, ethical rules that promote health, prosperity and life are valid across time as long as people still want health, prosperity and life.

But to Edwards 4,600 people hurt means nothing – the important thing is to define the Bible as wrong and ignore escalating proof to the contrary. He did that too in the "Child Sexual Abuse" debate. He didn't censure the child sexual abusers who abused an estimated 1,000,000,000 children in the 20th century. He criticised only the Bible which teaches principles opposing sexual abuse.

Edwards argued that beneficial Bible principles should be ignored because there are, he alleged, questionable ethics in the Old Testament. However, those are separate things and need to be separately investigated. Imagine if someone argues, "I won't obey any Australian laws because in the 1940s Australian law allowed killing of Japanese, but now Australia invites Japanese as tourists and prosecutes anyone who kills them – and that's contradictory."

Such a person has ignored common distinctions such as war vs peace, guilt vs innocence, contract vs no contract, general rules vs particular rules, etc. If such distinctions are ignored then any set of instructions or of rules can be made to appear contradictory.

Edwards also argued that the evidence of people who testify they applied Bible principles at work and thereby got a job promotion is comparable to discussing Nostradamus.

On the contrary, to get the testimonies of promoted workers is scientific method because we can check their statements by:

(a)    Interviewing their employers;
(b)    Comparing the statements against government pamphlets that advise on how to behave at work.

Finally, I invite Edwards to admit that:
1.    Bible principles that apply today often promote health and peace;
2.    To circumvent safety regulations and hurt workers is wrong;
3.    Child sexual abuse is wrong.
If he agrees with "2" or "3" then he also agrees with "1".  Another time I'll discuss some of the Bible's alleged "questionable ethics".