David Barton promoting scientist who believes vaccines currently made from aborted babies

David Barton, the well-known evangelical Christian historian, of Wallbuilders, who has a history of rejecting peer-review in scholarship, is now supporting the work of Dr. Theresa Deisher, of the Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute, claiming that cells from aborted babies are currently being used to produce newer vaccines.

The following quote from Dr. Deisher is from a transcript from David Barton’s show, April 8, 2019, found here:

There were two conferences recently in Rome. One was the end of January, and one was just about two weeks ago I guess. So the first conference was held by the Italian Society of Biologists. They were very concerned about vaccines that have literally not had any correct safety testing of them.

They became concerned when they actually went and tested some of these vaccines to see what actually was in them. At times could not find the viral component that was supposed to be there but found some very concerning contaminants. And the second conference was just held recently in Rome right outside of the Vatican.

Again, I was talking about not just the safety of the vaccines but the ethics and the use of the bodies of aborted babies to develop cell lines that are used to manufacture some vaccines.

Later in the program, we have this interchange with Rick Green, presumably of Wallbuilders, and Dr. Deisher:


I saw the part of the deposition with the doctor that admitted to using aborted babies in his vaccine research and apparently from that people are now willing to ask more questions. Has that been a catalyst for this? I forget the guy’s name but Kinner Plotkin or something like that?

Dr. Deisher:

Plotkin. Stanley Plotkin. I think that it has been a catalyst in many areas but particularly because he actually admitted that the babies in many cases are still alive when they are dissected. He admitted that in a court of law.

Now that’s another thing we’ve been working to educate people about and actually, I worked with David Daleiden was the one who told him you know that I think they’re harvesting these babies alive. They have to be, to be getting the cells that they’re getting for this research. When David first contacted me to get some advice about what was going on.

According to pediatricians that I know, there were two aborted babies from the 1960s or early 1970s, that had their cell tissue used to help generate several cell lines, that have been used to create vaccines over the years. But those abortions happened at least 45 years ago, and so whatever cells are used in today’s vaccines, only have trace material derived from those original abortions.

But the claim made by Dr. Deisher suggests that vaccine makers are illegally using cells from RECENT abortions to help generate vaccines today.

In Barton’s defense, he is not arguing that parents should not vaccinate their children. However, he is suggesting that the potential association of current vaccines with recent abortions would lend support for religious exemptions to vaccination, based on a pro-life moral argument. Whether or not religious exemptions for vaccination are OK (I happen to believe that they are), I have serious questions about the research Dr. Deisher is using to make these claims, that might wrongly inform the conscience of such religious objectors, all in the name of evangelical Christian faith.

Dr. Deisher has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Physiology from Stanford University.

I think this is an issue that should be in the wheelhouse of Biologos, as the outbreaks of measles currently in several states, is a major public health concern. If the non-Christian population develops the idea that misinformed Christians are largely and wrongly responsible for these measles outbreaks, it could prove harmful to the cause of spreading the Gospel.

This goes beyond debunked claims that vaccination is linked to autism, claims that Deisher apparently nevertheless supports, despite the current consensus. I would rather stick with the abortion-vaccine argument for now.

Dr. Deisher’s summary of her views are found here:

I would agree with the Vatican letter from 2005 that efforts should be made to create cell lines, free from any trace of aborted babies, but that risks associated with NOT vaccinating children far exceeds any moral concerns, linking abortions from years ago with vaccination today.

Does anyone know if there is any credibility to Dr. Deisher’s work?

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I skimmed the attachments and looked this person up on PubMed. Dangerous and not credible. This is probably to be expected given willingness to be on Barton’s show. I would describe this as worse than nonsense. Potentially dangerous. Stay far away.


https://www.nature.com/news/2011/110209/full/470156a.html might give you some background on Dr Deisher

Regarding your assessment [quote=“sfmatheson, post:2, topic:40416”]
I would describe this as worse than nonsense. Potentially dangerous.
I would think the same about your assessment :slight_smile:

and the vaccines are not “made from aborted babies” but by cell lines derived from embryonic stem cells. If those were derived from cord blood, a “waste product” from the umbilical cord of delivered babies, this would be ethically acceptable, but the problem of contamination of the vaccines with human DNA is independent of the human cell line used, embryonic or adult.

If you are cynical you could argue from the argument of induced labour from the exposure to free human DNA that it is not surprising that so many children get gender confused if they have already experienced labour at such a young age, albeit only “conceptually”, but I do not know where she gets her numbers from and how solid they are, as it is not my subject, but one surely could check this against the literature.

Oh dear. I’ve never heard of him nor are exactly sure what you mean but that’s certainly not off to a good start.

These sound rather similar to anti-vaccine rhetoric. List scary sounding things in vaccines and voila!

The religious exemption doesn’t seem to fool viruses. Even if there can be reform in some kind of way this is a very dangerous idea.

Curious- how come? I used to think so but no longer do.

I hope that’s a joke. But it’s probably not. It appears she has some funny goggles on that prevent her from understanding medical research and claims that she just argues with facts. All the while teaching about horrible ethics and conspiracy type stuff.

Which part? But it sounds like probably not.

Here is one medical doctors take on her scare tactics:

You could do that for us as well. I’ll anxiously await your research. But let me get this straight:

Your idea is that there is free human DNA (what’s that exactly?) just floating around vaccines that can integrate into children’s genomes and that leads to ‘gender confusion’ because they’ve already experienced labor?

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I do not know the literature, but I am interested to find out what is behind Dr. Deisher’s latest claims. If there is any glimmer of truth to what she is saying, then it merely indicates that someone is doing something illegal. But that is not how things work with those who tend to follow David Barton. It is like being given a football and told to run with it long and hard.

This is apparently new territory for David Barton, and his influence is far and wide in evangelicalism. If this can be nipped in the bud somehow, it would be good. Posting references here for those “in the know” might be a good place to start.

Warren Throckmorton, a Christian professor who has made it a mission to lessen that influence, is all over this story: https://www.wthrockmorton.com/2019/04/09/david-barton-goes-full-anti-vax/


David Barton is a crackpot historian who also (with zero evidence) claims the founding fathers debated evolution and chose creationism.

Christy: Throckmorton is where I picked up the story, just this past week. It would just be good for a BioLogos person to step in and address this. This could get out of control real quick.

This is an interesting subject, and very popular among the fundamentalist anti-vax crowd. In some respects, Barton is way behind the curve, but ultimately is just pandering to his audience. Of course, there is an element of truth as the cell culture lines were derived from elective abortions in the 1960s, but none since (details: https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-ingredients/fetal-tissues ) So it is a legitimate area to discuss, but David Barton is still way off the mark, not unusual for him, as Warren Throckmorton has pointed out in his critical remarks through the years.
It is interesting how good can come of evil in many ways. Of course, a similar ethical problem has been discussed with HeLa cells, and much cancer research as well as other studies have resulted from that, yet we do not see Barton advocating to his followers that they forego chemotherapy and cancer treatment.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HeLa). Rockets and space exploration arose from Nazi rocket development. Atomic energy from research of nuclear weapons.
Even in Biblical areas, evil often leads to good. While examples are many, the most striking example is the fruit of David’s and Bathsheba’s sin of adultery and murder being part of the genealogy of Christ as recorded in Matthew.


He may not come out and say that, but within insular walls of fundamentalism it doesn’t take many “influential thinkers” at all to voice “concern” for something to lead to a host of knee-jerk reactions. Granted, if this is true, I would certainly see reason for concern, but I have little trust for Barton anyway, so it sounds like standard anti-vax fearmongering to me – but I have not read the research.

Yeah, it could. But if anyone was going to influence fundamentalists to a more pro-vax position, organizations like AIG would be in a better position to do it, as much as I hate to say it. BioLogos would probably be preaching to the choir (though it might not hurt to provide some resources anyway).

I don’t think Barton is all that influential among evangelicals in general – moreso among the more fundamentalist/homeschooled crowd. I mean, I was homeschooled in a conservative environment and I don’t remember even hearing about him until I was an adult, though I’m sure I learned similar ideas.

Anti-vax sentiment seems to thrive on the extremes though, so while some anti-vaxers will be religious people on the conservative side, others will be extremely liberal politically, with morals that would seem very opposite to conservative Christians – it’s interesting what kinds of ideas overlap.


Elle, You have a good point here: AiG should be the folks stepping up here, but they appear to be strangely silent. But some of their YEC brethren are speaking out:

Carl Wieland has discussed the issue in general at Creation.com:


Jay Wile, formerly of Apologia home schooling products, has been pointedly vocal:

You would think that AiG would be stepping up here. They do critique the pseudo-archaeology of Ron Wyatt, and they are quite critical of the Flat Earthers. So, why not jump into the vaccine discussion?

This has nothing to do with the “deep-time” paradigm of them “compromising” folks at BioLogos. This is all within the parameters of “operational science,” and not the “historical science” that they find so “anti-Scriptural.” You would think that taking a strong pro-vaccine stance would help their street-cred.

Anyway, perhaps you are right, but I would not underestimate David Barton’s influence. Eric Metaxas leans heavily on Barton, and Metaxas is quite mainstream in the evangelical world.

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It would be interesting to postulate that free DNA would integrate into your genome. It must have happened to you whilst you were reading my reply, as I did not suggest anything like that. That would make molecular biology much easier :slight_smile:
The stimulation of labour by DNA release seems to come from independent sources, so she may have a point about it’s effect on the immune system, so it remains questionable if the DNA fragments from cell cultures can eludicate the same response due to their different methylation state and their point of entry / location.
https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(17)31108-0/pdf and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002937817306361
might give you some idea.
Interestingly the DNA in cell culture would be likely to be hypomethylated due to the cancer like physiology of immortalised cells.

It appears that the lady does not say you should not vaccinate, but you should use ethically derived vaccines that also minimise the risk of exposure to DNA from the cell culture. She clearly aims to provide such vaccines which therefore might present her with a conflict of interest in her publication but I don’t think she hides that.

I used Dr. Wile’s textbooks in high school and I remember him making a point of advocating for vaccines at the appropriate point in the biology textbook. I appreciate him doing that, though I’ve since come to disagree with him on other subjects that he’s equally vocal about (i.e. young-earthism).

They may simply not see it as being related to Christian apologetics in the way that subjects such as Ron Wyatt’s claims have the potential to be. Their primary focus is apologetics, and science seems to just be the biggest topic within that. But I have to wonder how financially risky it would be for them to get more vocal about vaccines.

In the news today:https://nypost.com/2019/04/14/measles-has-killed-over-1k-people-in-madagascar-most-victims-children/

It is a serious concern, affecting the poor and weak the most. Perhaps I am more cynical, or perhaps more cognizant of the depraviy of humankind, but I tend to see the promotion of self interest in most of the positions taken by organizational spokesman.


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