Participants: Dr. James Marcum (Host), David Lindsey
Series Code: BRX
Program Code: BRX00007B
00:01 Welcome back to Bible RX.
00:03 Biblical prescriptions.
00:05 Our program today is dealing with science and medicine
00:08 and we are talking to Dr. David Lindsey from
00:11 Walla Walla University.
00:13 Before our break David, you were talking about stem cells.
00:16 There seems like they is so much controversy
00:19 regarding stem cells.
00:20 First of all I want our listeners, we have this question
00:24 about how stem cells can help leukemia.
00:26 Where do stem cells come from?
00:29 What are some of the controversies that exist
00:31 regarding stem cells?
00:32 If we think back to the beginning of human development
00:36 where we have what we call embryonic stem cells.
00:40 After a few days of development we are a ball of cells.
00:43 A certain mass on the inside of that ball are embryonic
00:47 stem cells from which the entire human will develop.
00:50 Those cells have the potential, or potency, to become
00:53 every cell in the body.
00:55 So we say that those cells are pluri-potent.
00:59 An important word in stem cell formality.
01:01 So the stem cell can go in any direction?
01:03 Yes they can.
01:04 And not only that, they are the cells that have the
01:08 regulations in place to form an entire human.
01:11 So some very interesting things are happening
01:14 in embryonic stem cells.
01:16 And scientists would like to know what those are.
01:19 So to scientists those are important cells to study.
01:22 To those who are interested in solving medical problems,
01:26 and using them therapeutically, there is the idea that
01:30 because of their potency, we can use them to solve many
01:34 different health problems.
01:35 Because we can make them turn into nerve cells,
01:37 if we need nerve cells, into blood cells if
01:38 we need blood cells.
01:40 And leukemia we talked about that.
01:42 A lot of potential there, but there is also some ethical
01:47 dilemmas that others feel very strongly about.
01:50 In order for one to get those cells and use them in
01:55 research or clinical application,
01:58 you would need to destroy the embryo to do that.
02:00 Oh I see.
02:02 As a consequence that is a very hot area
02:06 that people are discussing.
02:08 You know I hear politicians talking about
02:10 this quite often.
02:12 Yes, on the other hand, on the other end of the spectrum,
02:15 in our everyday lives we have stem cells in our body that
02:19 are performing generative functions all the time.
02:21 Our skin is replaced.
02:24 Stem cells are responsible for generating those new cells.
02:28 Most of our stem cells, it is thought, reside in
02:31 the bone marrow, but we can find
02:32 stem cells all over the body.
02:34 It is extremely rare though
02:36 that one, scientist can
02:38 find those cells and pull those cells out and
02:41 culture them in a Petri dish.
02:43 Now are these are the pleurotential ones that can go
02:45 different directions?
02:46 That's a good point, they have a certain potency in that,
02:50 like there are stem cells that are called Hematopoietic
02:53 stem cells that are able to form all the different
02:56 types of blood cells.
02:57 But that is what they form, whether they have any wider
03:01 potency is a matter of discussion in research right now
03:06 Ever so often, in the last few years, we hear that adult
03:10 stems cells in some new research that is coming out,
03:13 that adult stem cells may have a greater potency than
03:16 that was once believed.
03:18 So some emphasis would suggest that maybe adult stem
03:23 cells can give us all the potency that we need to make
03:29 all the different kind of cells
03:31 we can use therapeutically.
03:32 But that is still a matter of controversy, and research
03:37 it seems to be more evidence for that, but I think
03:42 we are a long way from knowing that with some confidence.
03:45 And certainly from being able to use those
03:47 cells in that fashion.
03:48 But there is another source of stem cells that might
03:52 come from the umbilical cord, or from the placenta.
03:56 Oh, okay!
03:57 These stem cells, fairly recently have been learned,
04:01 do appear to be pluripotent.
04:03 Even better than that, they are able to be transplanted
04:09 into people without a fear of host rejection like would
04:15 be true of adult stem cells.
04:17 That is what the current thinking is.
04:20 So it is quite possible that we may find the use of stem
04:25 cells from the umbilical cord and placenta in which
04:28 there is a lot of sources for that.
04:30 We might be able to use those to solve many medical
04:34 problems, without the ethical concerns, and without the
04:38 concerns of host rejection.
04:40 You know there are lots of babies born every day.
04:42 That is right!
04:43 So you could just take all those placentas and all that
04:45 and use this to further research to help people get
04:48 better, boy that is very exciting.
04:50 Stem cell research along this line I think it's a real
04:53 fascinating area with lots of potential in the future.
04:55 Well let's get to our next question.
04:57 This will be a good one for you,
05:00 this is actually from a college student.
05:02 And this college student asks.
05:04 I am a college student in need a general biology class,
05:07 and they say, what would you recommend?
05:11 General biology class, I do not know if they are not a
05:14 science major, if someone is not a science major and
05:18 just wants to learn a little bit about science,
05:19 what would you recommend?
05:21 Also let's talk about, let's consider before we talk
05:24 about that, why do you consider science important?
05:27 Why should our listeners even tune into that?
05:30 You know we used a lot of big words Dr. Lindsey.
05:32 A lot of people have never heard these big words.
05:35 Why do you think it is important that we hear
05:37 these big words?
05:38 What we think about it, when we think of science we
05:42 are thinking about everything from matters of climate
05:45 change and global warming all the way to stem cell
05:48 research like we have talked about, and various forms
05:51 of gene therapy.
05:53 That is a lot of area, a lot of topics.
05:58 These topics, very clearly, just listen to the media.
06:01 People get very excited about climate change.
06:03 People are very concerned about stem cell research.
06:08 People are concerned about their health.
06:12 At its basic level, medicine is a biological science.
06:17 If we are going to try and understand how we should
06:20 treat our environment and how we should use the
06:23 environment to solve some of our health problems,
06:26 we are going to have to understand science.
06:27 At some level?
06:29 At some level.
06:30 Do you think, as a scientist, do you think that science
06:33 is a way to understand God, and worship God?
06:36 You can't consider it like when you find something new,
06:39 and you are doing an experiment and see something for the
06:41 very first time, that no one else has ever seen before.
06:43 Do you feel like you know God a little bit better
06:45 when that happens?
06:46 Is it a spiritual experience?
06:48 Well you know what Romans and says that through nature
06:51 we can know God.
06:52 In fact if all some people have is nature,
06:55 they can learn the character of God.
06:58 So certainly there has been things in nature that has
07:01 taught me a lot.
07:02 I can't honestly say that every day when I go into the lab
07:05 or I talk with my students, that I am thinking about what
07:09 lessons, we are looking for lessons from God at a
07:13 conscious level, but science has become a tool of God
07:17 in my life to teach me things.
07:20 To teach me lessons when I'm receptive to those things.
07:24 Yeah because I experience the book and it talked about DNA
07:27 and genetics and said, DNA and genetics in some the stuff
07:30 we have been talking about, is the language of God.
07:32 What do you think they meant by that when they entitled
07:35 the book, The Language of God?
07:36 I thought the language of God was the Bible?
07:39 Well you are probably thinking of the book that
07:42 Francis Collins wrote, The Language of God.
07:45 He is a Christian, who has been involved with, in fact,
07:51 he was the person in charge of sequencing
07:55 the human genome for the National Institute of Health.
07:58 Now that Genome, that is all the genetics?
08:00 That is all those genes encoded and proteins that are
08:02 in our cells.
08:03 He wrote this book because he is convinced that there
08:09 is a God, and God had something to do with
08:14 us being here today.
08:16 Now he got the phrase, I think, from the speech writers
08:20 of Clinton, President Clinton's speech to announce the
08:24 rough graph of the human genome when he said something like
08:27 this is the language that God used.
08:32 We are learning the language that God used
08:34 in our creation.
08:37 Certainly that is a good way to think about the DNA,
08:43 because it carries the information.
08:45 It might be even more of a parts list,
08:47 but without the parts list,
08:49 our cells would not exist.
08:51 So when you think about...
08:53 It has the code to make life.
08:55 So when you think about
08:56 science as a language of God,
08:58 or God speaking to us.
08:59 Or by understanding science we can get to know God better.
09:02 To make our chemistry better, that is pretty exciting.
09:05 I'm going to get back to this college student that wants,
09:08 I guess she is studying something else.
09:10 What would be a good place to start,
09:12 I think we have told her why some of the reasons
09:14 are to understand science.
09:15 What would be a good thing for her to take?
09:17 Should she take botany or general biology?
09:19 What would be a good recommendation just for someone
09:21 who wanted a good basic, let's say she is going to go into
09:24 business, what would be a good basic class?
09:26 She has all these to choose from in college I am sure.
09:29 Most schools, certainly Walla Walla College will have
09:33 two different classes to teach introductory biology.
09:37 One of those classes will last an entire year,
09:39 maybe even longer than a year in some places.
09:43 It is really designed for majors, biology majors.
09:47 It is designed for other science majors.
09:48 It's designed for people who want to go into medicine
09:51 or dental school.
09:52 It is going to be a pretty challenging class.
09:55 You learn a great deal about biology but also it is
09:57 going to be very challenged.
09:59 Then departments, biology
10:01 departments usually teach
10:03 another class which may be a year-long, or part of a year.
10:06 At Walla Walla we teach a two quarter class,
10:10 that we called contemporary biology.
10:12 Other universities will have similar courses that are
10:15 better designed for non- majors and non-pre-professionals
10:19 so they can learn something about biology.
10:21 That class would probably meet the desires of the
10:25 student to learn something about biology without
10:29 overwhelming them with a lot of big words.
10:33 I think it is so important now as we have talked
10:35 about how science is touching our lives.
10:38 In medicine it touches our lives.
10:40 Environment it touches every aspect of our life.
10:42 And it also touches our relationship
10:44 with God, it looks like.
10:45 It is some that is very important to take and I can see
10:49 why somebody would want to ask that question.
10:51 That is a great question.
10:52 As a part of a general education,
10:54 you would want to know that.
10:55 You know we have gone through only 3 or 4 questions
10:58 today and we have already ran out of time.
11:00 We are going to have to continue these questions at
11:04 some other point, but this has been very fascinating.
11:07 How little things make big things.
11:09 How God is in control of things.
11:11 I mean this is very exciting.
11:12 We are all out of time on this program, but we have
11:15 answered some interesting questions from people.
11:18 I want to thank you for joining us Dr. Lindsey.
11:20 Thank you!
11:21 If you have a question regarding science and medicine
11:25 please send us a letter at:
11:37 I want you to remember that science and medicine interact.
11:40 God has a plan for helping us to understand these,
11:43 and as we understand these we can become into a better
11:46 love relationship with our Savior.