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Thread: Stem Cell Research

  1. #1 Stem Cell Research 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    One of the most politically affected aspects of scientific research involves stem cells.

    I recently looked at the robots.txt file for Time.com, the Time Magazine website, and I came noticed an article on health that was excluded from search engines. If you don't know, the robots.txt file lists directories and/or files that are to be excluded from the bots of search engines & crawlers that index the Internet for searches. Google actually caches the page so if it disappears you can view the saved copy.

    The article that was excluded is If You Believe Embryos Are Humans... and is a "web exclusive" dated Sunday, Jun. 17, 2001.

    I don't know the significance of excluding the ability of search engines from indexing the article, but the article is interesting and reminded me that this, Stem Cell Research, might make a good topic of discussion here.

    What's that? Why was I looking at Time Magazine's robots.txt file? Don't ask.

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    Stem Cell Research

    The article above calls into question the oppositions to stem cell research on the basis of ethical and moral objection. It poses some very interesting arguments, most notably that to agree that an undeveloped embryo has the same rights as a fully developed post-natal person, or even a late stage fetus, is hypocritical. Attitudes toward things like the rates of miscarriage (about 15% of all pregnancies, usually at the embryonic stage according to the article) don't receive similar outrage nor do they have a crusade to affect change by the same opponents to stem cell research.

    Of course, the objection to this type of research is almost completely grounded in religious ideology. But, even though this is the case, I ask that those that disagree with the religious argument to refrain from "religion bashing" comments to make their points. Even I'll tone myself down a bit in th e interest of discussion and I'll moderate those posts that go too far on either side of the debate (should one emerge).

    Opponents of Stem Cell Research

    "In order for scientists to isolate and culture embryonic stem cells, a living, human embryo must be killed. It is never morally or ethically justified to kill one human being in order to help benefit another (Focus on the Family 2004)."

    Opponents see this as the basis for their moral arguments against. The embryonic cell, the blastocyst, from which the stem cells are obtained, is considered to opponents to be people. Where life begins isn't clearly defined across the board with the opponents, but it is clear that they define life as having begun before the blastocyst.

    "By requiring the destruction of embryos, the tiniest human beings, embryonic stem cell research violates the medical ethic of 'Do No Harm(Focus on the Family 2004).'"

    This again calls into question the point at which life is considered to be sentient-human.

    Proponents of Stem Cell Research

    Stem cells can be used to generate healthy and functioning specialized cells, which can then replace diseased or dysfunctional cells (ISSCR 2005)."

    This has huge implications for solving health problems ranging from Parkinson's Disease to cancer to Alzheimer's Disease.

    Which is right?

    It's pretty clear that the anti-stem cell crowd is also the anti-abortion crowd. It's my feeling that being opposed to stem cell research is something that opponents like the Focus on the Family use for the purpose of pushing the front against abortion as deep into enemy territory as possible.

    "Most opposition to abortion relies on the premise that the fetus is a human being, a person, from the moment of conception" (Thomson 1971) but it's clear that the development of the fetus is a continuous process that begins at the egg & sperm making their acquaintances through the point at which the child is born. Like looking at a color chart, there is no point at which one can say yellow becomes red -there are many shades in between. But one can look at a shade of orange and say it is more red than yellow or vice versa. To draw a line in the middle of the chart and say "everything on this side is yellow and this side is red" would be illogical and so would it be if you defined a point in human development at which you said, "this is human and this is just cells."

    But I think we can all agree that a woman who miscarriages at 2 weeks doesn't feel the same emotional pain of a woman who miscarriages at 8 months (not that the early stage miscarriage cannot be an emotional strain). So there is, indeed, a point at which an embryo is not sentient. I want to remind us that this thread isn't about abortion or the ethics of abortion, but it *is* the ethics of abortion that influence stem cell research opponents. It is the very fact that an embryo might develop into a human being that groups like Focus on the Family oppose such research. But this is a slippery slope argument and one could just as easily assert that since acorns could become oak trees, we should be careful not to run over one when driving down a country road.

    Stem cell research is conducted on non-sentient cellular material. There is no possibility that these cells could have any form of consciousness as there is no neural network or brain established. The benefits of researching the nature of stem cells and perhaps establishing therapy protocols with them are potentially the most significant medical advancement since the establishment of the practice of vaccination.

    How can the arguments of the opposition to stem cell research be considered logically valid?


    References:

    Focus on the Family (2004). Bioethics/Sanctity of Human Life: Quick Facts

    ISSCR (2005). International Society for Stem Cell Research: FAQ

    Thomson, Judith J. (1971) A Defense of Abortion Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol 1, no. 1, 47-66.


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  3. #2 Re: Stem Cell Research 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    How can the arguments of the opposition to stem cell research be considered logically valid?
    In my view they cannot. However, this does not necessarily make them wrong.

    The arguments for stem cell research are firmly set within a logical, scientific, risk-reward, cost-benefit framework. Within this context they are unassailable.

    The arguments against stem cell research are immersed in a spiritual, emotional, emotive, passionate world view. Within that context they are unassailable.

    Resolution of the two opposing views, if it is ever does occur, will come about not because one argument is victorious, but because the two underlying philosophies build sufficient common ground to accommodate their differences.


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  4. #3  
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    They are scared that we might overpower g-d or something.
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  5. #4  
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    No. They believe it is wrong, immoral , unethical, even evil.
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  6. #5  
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    Q. cells can be cloned, and can be grown out of the body, can't they. So clone a cell grow it to an embryo and extract the stem cells,

    I wrote that in an easy. Im now (on further study of DNA and genetics) thinking that that mightn't work? Cause the DNA nucleolus might be too old no?

    But ill make the point anyway. In the form of a quote form my easy?
    ...However, a new and alternative way of producing embryonic stem cells is possible. Stomatic (normal/healthy) cell nuclear transfer is the process were the nucleus of a normal cell is transferred to an unfertilised egg with a removed nucleus. This is the basics of cloning, where the egg placed in the womb in-vitro and let grow. However in the interest of stem cells, they can be grown in a lab under the right conditions, and let grow into a blastryoclyst, where the stem cells would be created. They could then be isolated and separated to form cell lines. In theory these stem lines can continue to be split and separated re-grown for research....
    so if that’s a alternative way ( and so my researcher told me ) can not that be used instead of the natural growing embryos? That would eliminate the need for abortion related and such arguments. And its not actually cloning in the "dolly the sheep" way, it’s just using DNA to make a new cell. The new cell can be coxed in a suitable way so as to be useful?
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  7. #6  
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    Yes that would work. But those that struggle to prevent any "stem cell" research r CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS IN N AND S. AMERICA.

    I dunn know.. maybe you should take research to IZRAEL or somwhere where ISLAM is main religion. Maybe they can let u do it there.

    Bottom line... u know this research is very bemnefitial to Humanity. Let the competition do it first.
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  8. #7  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katulus
    Bottom line... u know this research is very bemnefitial to Humanity. Let the competition do it first.
    I know I am sounding like a broken record on this, but: it may well be beneficial to humanity in a physical sense. Those who oppose it believe it would be detrimental in a spiritual sense.
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  9. #8  
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    that may be the case. i know im cristian, but i would like to see stem cell research to go ahead. it would benifite me, but i don't think extra life is the reason to go a head with it.

    the thing thats really blocking it is politics. and the dependantcy on major groups.

    I dunn know.. maybe you should take research to IZRAEL or somwhere where ISLAM is main religion. Maybe they can let u do it there.
    small minded. just becasue the us and other countrys are stumbling on research , dosen't mean other countrys again aren't carring out such research.
    and the referance to islam: well dosen't mean they will open up to it any more than we do, just to get one over on bush or the us.

    stem cells are also used today in marro transplants and such, sorta. meaby we should start to devolpe more treatments like that, and then move on to the other ones when they see all the good they are already doing!
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