Embryonic Stem Cells

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by csubear, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. csubear macrumors 6502a

    csubear

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    Aug 22, 2003
    #1
    I've been having a back and forth email concerning stem cell research. We don't seem to align with our views.

    What the MR community think about this very touchy area?
    Will it result in the commodization of life?
    Is it in-moral?
    Can it be done ethically?
    At what point is the line between ethics and science drawn?
    Does it benefits to humanity outweigh the risks?

    I really want to know what people think. I know what I think, but ethics and morality is a very touchy area.
     
  2. Archaeopteryx macrumors regular

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    Oct 4, 2003
    #2
    I think consiouce intelligence is Life.. If you disagree you are a murderer... Since we all have killed bacteria on our hands with soap, squashed a bug with a shoe, and eaten beef :-D

    Ive never seen anything wrong with Stem cell research.. DNA altering and Cloning.. Even cloning a human should be ethical.. CHild birth is legal and its the same thing.. You arent taking life.. you are giving it...
     
  3. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    Jul 4, 2004
    #3
    a) Life is already a commodity: women & children are trafficked by their thousands globally. Animals are cut up & injected with god knows what.
    Countless wars rage left, right & centre... life is cheap.

    b) Morality is subjective. Open your eyes, see how others live. No-one speaks for God... that's if you even believe in one to start with.

    c) We don't know whether the benefits will come. But the potential is enormous and may save the lives of thousands.

    Anyway, regardless of what the US does, other countries will pursue this research. If bio-research & the pharmaceuticals in the US can make a buck out of it, then it will happen there too, eventually.
     
  4. csubear thread starter macrumors 6502a

    csubear

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    #4
    One of the arguments that's been made is will this research lead to a high demand for embryo's which could lead to economic compensation to would be mothers for their embryo. All this could lead to big business and fetus harvesting. Which I think anyone could agree is wrong.

    But should to possibilities of in-moral behavior stop the research?

    Also this comes back to the age old question of where does life being. Does it the start with the intent to create life? Birth? Or are we just stupid Americans arguing about something while the rest of world lives in poverty?
     
  5. davecuse macrumors 6502

    davecuse

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    #5
    I'm all for stem cell research, there are many problems that plague this world. I believe that disease is a far greater concern than any theoretical dilemna that might occur as a side effect. I read a very interesting article in Wired a few months back about a researcher (in Singapore I believe) who had been given a great deal of money by the local government to continue to his work on using stem cells to create a vastly improved delivery system for insulin. More recently I've read articles about stem cells being used to cure blindness.

    I've always been someone who looks towards the bright possibilities rather than the dark potential that is brought forward by any new technology. Call me crazy, but I have a little faith in people. Some people anyway...
     
  6. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #6
    science has yet to prove the existence of a life within embryos, at least in the human sense. Do i think they're alive? sure. My religious perception of abortion? wrong. but i'm pro-choice politically, because i don't think the government has any business basing policy on religious doctrine, just science. so yeah, i think both science and the government should persue any and all advances in this area.

    plus, you're talking about excess embryos here, that would have been destroyed otherwise (or kept frozen indefinitely, but that's hardly practical or even moral). If abortion clinics were paying women to become pregnant so they could harvest the embryos/fetuses, i'd be pissed... because i don't want to see women's health turned into an industry.

    paul
     
  7. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

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    #7
    I'm definitely all for Stem Cell Research.

    Just like a host of other things, this is one of the issues that people tend to change their mind about when it hits close to home, a la Nancy Reagan.
     
  8. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

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    Oct 11, 2003
    #8
    Squashing a bug is not murder. Killing an innocent person is. Why? Because only humans, out of all of creation, were created in the image of God. We are not a commodity. The same logic that sees value in saving a damaged life should also see the wisdom in banning embryonic stem cell research. It surprises me that productive research in other stem cells has not received much publicity. One may be led to think that the embryonic method is the only choice.
     
  9. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

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    #9
    I have no problem with "Stem Cell Research." But I have serious problems with "Embryonic Stem Cell Research." There is a difference. This can be done successfully without killing embryos.
     
  10. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    Jul 4, 2004
    #10
    Tell that to a Buddhist.

    "Because only humans, out of all of creation, were created in the image of God."

    Are you speaking for God, then?

    Does God look like you & me?


    ...open your mind.
     
  11. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

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    #11
    I'm not at all speaking of appearance. I'm talking about the uniquely human qualities that allow us to even have this discussion. Consider the complexity of language, the existence of art and music, the willingness to die for those we love, the unquenchable desire for creativity...
    I would ask a Buddhist what a bug has to do in order to achieve a level of karma that would allow it to move up. That's just something I wonder about. What is a good bug?

    Edit: Sorry, that question would be more accurately directed at a Hindu, I think.
     
  12. csubear thread starter macrumors 6502a

    csubear

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    #12
    That relies on the assumption that a Judaeo-Christian god exists, which when dealing with politics can not be assumed, and I always thought that the whole created in the image of God thing was rather narcissistic.

    I would like to think that the criteria for life would be being able to form rational thoughts, and the ability to use reason. But again, is stopping the intent to create life murder?

    And here is an interesting paradox if this is true. Using these stem cells you could save someone's life, who in-turn intends on creating life. If you don't use stem cells then this persons dies, and with them their intent to create life.

    Where does life begin?


    Edit: Incomplete thought
     
  13. Dros macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Certainly cloning has made some clear boundaries less clear. Potential for life is a common criteria. But now skin cells can be used for cloning, meaning they have the potential for life.

    Adult stem cells is an interesting area of research. But I feel, why not use embryos that will be thrown away to improve the number of embryonic stem cell permanent lines available. Scientists don't need thousands of different lines, just a few more that aren't contaminated. I don't think this will encourage "abortion factories".
     
  14. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

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    #14
    It is sad that we have these embryos that may be thrown away. We've already moved in the direction of cheapening life, and now it is gaining momentum. Who has read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley? It seems to me that we are headed to this type of existence.
     
  15. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #15
    if labs have excess embryos that may be thrown away then we might as well use them for research. The research can lead to a cure for a disease, being thrown in a garabe can won't.
     
  16. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

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    #16
    True. But let's not farm new ones with the intent of destroying them.
     
  17. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #17
    using them for research is not destroying them. As long as the embryos are used for a good cause, I'm all for any sort of stem cell research
     
  18. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

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    #18
    I'm sorry, I don't see how it is not destroying them. Could you explain? Is not the life of the embryo taken, or in some other way mutilated?
     
  19. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #19
    no, the life is not taken because it's not a life until it's been in the mom for 9 months and has been born.
     
  20. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

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    #20
    Well, that's where we disagree. And I'm left to wonder if you regard every person who was born prematurely as not meeting the requirements of life?
     
  21. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #21
    With Christopher Reeve's death, I had a feeling that this topic might re-emerge. For those interested, there is a previous political thread on the same topic, although I am too lazy to look for it. There was some interesting opinions within, if i remember...a search should turn it up...FWIW.

    To briefly respond to this thread, I would say this:

    I believe that Christianity mentions "free-will" of men (and women, you would assume). This concept is much of what makes us "special" and "human" as a Creation of God, right?

    So why, as a Christian, would you want to legislate away that choice? Is that not missing the point of the whole thing?

    If the argument is about the sanctity of human life, as somehow exceptional, I believe you are talking about the "soul" and much of that involves this "free-will" that makes us unique, then wouldn't you naturally:
    a. believe that a certain amount of consciousness and self-awareness has to be present to constitute the ability to exercise free-will.
    b. understand that the mother fits this definition as a adult, whereas an embryo does not.
     
  22. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #22
    You do all realize that stem cell research doesn't necessarily have to do with fetuses right? There are numerous ways to harvest stem cells, many of which can come from sources like "left overs" from fertility clinics or just samples from human skin or fluids. Even unfertalized eggs and embryonic cells aren't necessarily destined to have been humans. Why does funding research automatically have to equal abortion?
     
  23. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #23
    According to the Christian doctrine, life does not begin until the child takes it's first breath. Breath = soul. Science is what says that life begins when a fetus begins to form. However it does take around a week for the egg to become fertilized and start to turn into an actual embryo, so even a fertilized egg does not equal unborn fetus.
     
  24. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

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    #24
    First, about the free will. Yes, God gave us free will, but he also told us which way we ought to choose, and what the consequences will be for the wrong choice. This does not limit our capacity to choose; it simply makes us aware of the natural results of those choices. This is no different in function from the laws of a nation. If I murder someone, I would expect to be put in prison or executed, depending on which state I live in. Free will is not synonymous with free reign. I have a free will to do whatever I like, but I understand there will be consequences from my government. In the same way, God makes it clear that we can freely choose, but a natural result of choosing unwisely is not pleasant in the long run.

    Second, about the reasoning ability of the embryo. If I'm honest, I will recognize that my own reasoning ability is not as well-developed as some who have been at it longer than I have. But, I do not consider myself to be less human they are. The same created potential is there. Nor would I consider a mentally challenged individual to be less human than others. I see the embryo as a human in an earlier stage of development than I am. I certainly do not consider myself to be complete. There is much work to be done with me. So, why would I think that an embryo is any less human? Is a two-year-old more human than a one-year-old? They are just at different points on the human path.
     
  25. igucl macrumors 6502a

    igucl

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    #25
    Solvs, where do you get this "Christian doctrine"? Obviously there can be a huge variety of Christian ideas on this topic.

    Edit: That's not to say that there isn't one right way of looking at it, through sound principles of Biblical interpretation. Do I claim to have the unquestionably correct interpretation? Certainly not.
     

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