The politics of feti...(ie the stem-cell debate)

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by blackfox, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #1
    OK kids, here you are...play nice...I will join in later.




    remember:
    PLAY NICE.

    For those in the cheap seats:
    PLAY NICE.

    I look forward to a SPIRITED and FRIENDLY and most importantly SUBSTANTIAL, FACT-BASED debate...go.
     
  2. Bobcat37 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado
    #2
    Well, I know I pretty much started this, so I might as well be the one to post first... I would just like to start out with a few things

    1) I am PRO adult stem cell research. I am ANTI embryonic stem cell research.

    2) Ron Reagan. Personally, I think he is using his Dad's disability to push his agenda, which is wrong. Ron Reagan was in fact quoted as saying that stem cell research would not cure Alzheimer's, so using his father's disease to promote this seems very inappropriate. (Unfortunately, I heard this quote on the radio, and I assure you it was HIS VOICE, so I cannot give you a source unless someone can perhaps find it online) Also, his father would have been against this, since he was a strong Pro-lifer.

    3) The only real controversy behind this research, and the reason I am against embryonic stem cell research, along with many others, has to do with the question of when human life begins. Personally I believe it begins at conception. Some or many of you will disagree with this. You have to do your best to view the situation from my perspective to understand my position, as I will view it from your perspective to understand your position. This is only fair and I hope everyone will be reasonable. (PLAY NICE like teh wise blackfox said)

    I look forward to a spirited discussion on this, I have become quite educated on stem-cell research the past month, so I hope to offer plenty to you guys. This is all I will say for tonight, because it's late.

    Sleepy time!
     
  3. Bobcat37 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado
    #3
    Well Stelliform, I promise to give you some good food for thought tomorrow. And knowing that you come from a VERY similar stance as me, I think you will enjoy it. I too am a pro-life Conservative who also loves science and progress, I'll try not to disappoint. :)
     
  4. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #4
    What would RR have said about it had he known he would be getting Alzheimers? Unanswerable of course, but I think it underlines the "It won't happen to me" attitude that so many people have. I don't think his son was out of line. It's a big issue and it deserves all the attention it gets.

    As far as fetal stem cells are concerned, and abortion for that matter, let's make it illegal for those who find it immoral and let the rest of us get on with our lives.
     
  5. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #5
    Three comments before I call it a night...(and I admit, I am NOT well-versed in stem-cell research)

    1. To somewhat side-step the issue of "when life begins" that rages in the Abortion debate...if abortion is legal, should it not follow that stem-cell research is making the most of an ethically-charged situation...(ie, better than the trash)...I apologize, I couldn't think of better wording...

    2. How is this in many cases different than donating organs or your body to science?

    3. As PseudoBrit mentioned in another thread, are the left-over embryos from fertility clinics to go to waste? what is their life status?

    enough for now...I will let those better armed with facts battle it out for a while...
     
  6. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #6
    I think anyone who opposes stem cell research now should state here and now that they will refuse, out of moral commitment, to be administered any medical treatment that might derive from it in the future.

    Takers?
     
  7. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #7
    This is why stem cell research should be a non-issue. The stem cells are taken from embryos (a handful of cells), not fetuses.

    The embryos are left over from fertility treatments where a couple has had dozens of eggs fertilized in vitro and subsequently frozen to be implanted into the woman in waves. Either a pregnancy occurs or the couple gives up, and there are leftover embryos from the procedure.

    If you're anti-stem cell research, you first must be anti-fertility treatments and oppose those who spend thousands of dollars and months of careful planning, procedures and medication just to be able to pass along their bloodlines.

    Pro-life indeed. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Waluigi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #8
    That is really a profound statement that most christian fundamentalists (read republicans) have never thought about. Except to be fair, Bush doesn't have the capacity to think about it, so we should let him off as usual.....

    --Waluigi
     
  9. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    #9
    I"ve only just learned about this and there really is nothing to debate!

    Stem cells come from embilical cords and can be harvested immediately after a baby is born. You can also swab the inside of a newborn's mouth to get stem cells.

    I don't see any controversy in that!

    I think it is males (sorry guys) who don't really understand what it is like to have a Vagina who would be crazy enough to think a woman would get pregnant just to have an abortion to do stem cell reserach! We hate having pap smears and pelvic exams. Do you really think we'd do go through getting pregnant and then an abortion?

    The woman I've dialoged with who have had abortions feel that it is their only option. It is a desparate decision on their part, not taking the easy way out. And from a purely medical standpoint having multiple abortions (as I understand it) is not healthy as it can weaken the cervix. I just don't see woman going around getting pregnant and then having abortions for reasearch.

    You also have plenty of women who have miscarriages and still births, etc. from which to harvest stem cells, too. MUch like organ donations.
     
  10. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    #10
    Human LIfe begins at implantation, at the earliest, not conception. (Unless I'm confusing my terms and conception is not Mr. Sperm meets Ms. Egg but when the zygote (??) implants it self.
     
  11. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #11
    The Vatican does not write laws, it can only advise Catholics on what it thinks is moral. Individual Catholics are allowed by the country they live in to make choices based on the laws extant in said country. The pope with his newest statement that men and women are not equal and should not be treated as such is seemingly intent on subjugating women and their ability to bear children.

    I wonder how people who don't agree with the pope and his cohorts feel about the relevance of the church in general?
     
  12. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #12
    Yes, but neither are Catholics allowed to use birth control.

    So the Catholic standards are clearly quite outside the practiced norm.

    I say again, if someone is against stem cell research, they MUST be against fertility treatments first, just as someone who is against abortion MUST be against it even in cases of rape and incest.
     
  13. Bobcat37 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13
    Ok I'll address your issues in order, and then get on to my own points.

    Well, I can say for myself that I am not one to go against my personal convictions if I find out I will personally gain from it. I'm sure this is a concept that isn't easily understood in our world today, but I would imagine Reagan would have been the same way with this issue (the man wrote a book against abortions even). And as I already have stated, there have been various scientists who have said that stem cell research won't do anything for a disease like Alzheimer's, and even Ron Reagan admitted this. So your point is kinda moot.

    1. Yes, you would be correct that stem-cell research would be making the most of an ethically-charged situation. Obviously I'm not going to say that throwing these embryos away is better than using them in attempts to improve our world.

    2. Um... when I donate my organs to science, I CHOSE to do so. The embryos obviously did not.

    3. Yeah, they are basically trashed. As for life-status, I'm not sure what you mean. They are living things, going off of the definition of "living", but they will not continue to grow into a full-grown human unless they are implanted in a woman.

    Well at least at this point in time, that ain't too bad of a wager to take. I'll explain further down.

    Well, that's a clever way to word it, and it's exactly how Ron Reagan worded it at his DNC speech, but anyone who knows about science knows that an embryo is just the earlier stages of a fetus. Just like a teenager is the early stages of an adult, I don't see a difference.

    Err, I've thought about it. And let's avoid Bush bashing in (what is basically) my topic please. (I did suggest the topic after all)

    Me neither.

    Interesting theory, I've never heard someone say that they believe life begins at implantation before. BTW, the definition of conception is "Formation of a viable zygote by the union of the male sperm and female ovum; fertilization." Anyway, the point is, I can't prove "life" begins at conception, nor can you disprove it. That isn't the point of this topic anyway.

    I would like you all to ponder one thing. Sometimes it helps put things in perspective when you think about yourself. When do you think YOU became a "human"? I am an adult now. However, I was a zygote, then a morula, then a blastcyst, then an embryo, then a fetus, then a baby, then a child, then a teenager, and now an adult today. Someday I will be elderly (gasp). So, when did I become a human being? Well, when that sperm and egg met, and the zygote was formed, right then my genetic structure was created, my DNA. At that very moment in time, everything I am today was predestined, how tall I would be, what color my hair would be, etc etc etc. I believe that is when I became a human. Maybe you all should think about that. Now back on topic.

    Well, glad to know you're making the rules. First off, in vitro fertilization is the only fertility treatment I know of that makes excess embryos and then discards them in the end. So no, I don't HAVE to be against all fertility treatments, there are many other options. Secondly, even though this topic is not about abortion I will state my brief case on it.

    I am against abortion except if the mother's life is in danger, incest, or rape. A) If the mother's life is in danger, I believe the mother takes precedence, for if she lives on, she can hopefully have many more babies in the future, but if she dies, she obviously cannot. Also, as far as I know, usually if the mother's life is in danger, the babies life is also. Better to only lose 1 than both. B) Rape, I don't believe any man should be able to force a woman to have a baby. V) Incest, well come on now, that is just wrong. Look at what it did to England! (just kidding of course) Seriously though, incest is probably the iffiest of the 3 in my opinion, but another concern is children of incest can have serious birth defects. Besides those 3 reasons, I can think of NONE OTHER to have an abortion besides "I don't want to take responsibility for what I did." Can you?

    Pseudobrit, are you against killing humans? Because then you MUST be against killing someone in self-defense. See, that game just doesn't work.

    Now, back to the stem-cell debate, and onto the points I wanted to make.
     
  14. Bobcat37 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado
    #14
    (Had to make 2 seperate posts because this is so large)

    Point 1) President Bush has not banned embryonic stem cell research. This seems to be one of the biggest misconceptions I hear with stem cell research. I repeat, President Bush HAS NOT BANNED stem cell research. He merely cut off government funding for embryonic stem cell research (NOT adult stem cell research). Feel free to completely read up on it in the link I posted a few sentences above.

    Point 2) Personally even though I am against embryonic stem cell research, you aren't going to see me out there calling for it to be outright banned. At this point, I just want to make sure the government keeps MY money out of it (which is what Bush did). Again you have to look at this from my point of view. Let me provide one other example- Let's say that we discover this great new branch of research that could do many amazing things for our society, but for whatever reason it HAS to be tested on some animals, or perhaps we have to kill animals to obtain it. Do you think members of PETA would want their tax dollars going to this? Hell no they wouldn't, they would think it is wrong and unethical. Do you think that they should have no say in the matter and be forced to support this new form of research through tax dollars? I would hope not. This is exactly the same argument for me, as I don't want my taxpayer money going to killing (what I believe are) human lives for science.

    Point 3) In the capitalistic system we live in, here is something to ponder. If embryonic stem cell research is so amazing, can it not survive without government funding? Don't you think there would be private funders itching to get at it? Sure, I suppose most major research projects do depend on some government funding, but you still would think there would be plenty of private funding out there too. More on this later.

    Point 4) Obviously, as pseudobrit pointed out, for my beliefs to be consistent I would have to be "against" in vitro fertilization clinics due to their disregarding of human embryos. I don't know the in-depth process of how in vitro fertilization works, but I am curious if there isn't a way they could do it without wasting so many lives. Also as I said earlier, there are several other options you can take if you are infertile. Which brings up one other point, I am curious when, if ever, in vitro fertilization is required over ALL other infertility treatments. Maybe someone could fill me in on that.

    Point 5) Returning to IJ's point about not accepting any treatments derived from embryonic stem cell research, well, at this point in time that is a pretty easy offer to take. I recently heard a radio program devoted to stem cell research, and according to the program, there is no human currently being treated by embryonic stem cell research. After a little searching on the internet, this claim seems to be true to me (if you want, see if you can disprove it). Will this still be true down the road? Hard to say, maybe, maybe not, more on this later.

    Point 6) A brief point, one other thing that bothers me about embryonic stem cell research is the fact that it seems to be a fairly logical step to human cloning, which I am VERY against.

    Point 7) On the other hand, adult stem cell research is currently being used to treat MANY people. MS and Lupus could potentially be cured, they could repair damaged hearts, they could potentially cure diabetes, etc.

    For about another 1 million articles on the success of adult stem cell research, among other things, feel free to look here.

    And to end with, guess what? Embryonic stem cells might not even be needed in the future according to this article along with several articles I've read.

    That would end this debate right now and we'd all be happy :)

    I hope you enjoyed this, feel free to ask questions or kindly challenge my positions, as I said, I've been educating myself on this issue a whole lot lately.
     
  15. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #15
    Good post Bobcat...

    I take issue with a few of your points (which I will cover later), but find your position well-argued and reasonable. Thanks for the contribution.
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
  17. Bobcat37 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado
    #17
    Thanks blackfox, I was hoping that huge post would maybe earn this n00b a little more respect from you guys. I look forward to addressing your issues.

    zim- Gender is a little bit more complicated. Normally the egg has an X chromosome, and the sperm either contains an X or a Y. Generally, if the sperm is an X, the egg will develop into a female, if it is a Y, then the egg develops into a male. So in that sense, it is predetermined. However, there is one complication because there are some situations where a fertilized egg with a Y chromosome will still develop into a female or an intersexual (unclear gender). This irregularity is because at week 6:
    So, I still think you can argue that it is predetermined unless the SRY gene is mysteriously missing (and as my source says, scientists don't even understand what causes that gene to be absent) As for developing into an intersexual, I would assume that is probably some sort birth defect, and of course I wasn't including birth defects in my "predetermined list of attributes".

    Also, you have to remember that just because we can't really see what gender the baby is until about week 8, that doesn't mean it hasn't been building up to that point the whole time.

    Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/gender/determined.html#

    (Ah, good 'ol PBS)

    Edit: Oops sorry zim, I completely edited my post after you edited yours. The gender question was definitely legit if you want to edit it back in, lol!
     
  18. Bobcat37 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado
    #18
    LOL, so is that why I only have FOUR freakin posts?!?!

    I wondered what was up with that! How lame :p

    (Haha, now that I think about it, my friend Colirio will probably be stuck at around 0 forever since I doubt he will post much, if at all, outside of here. How funny.)

    Anyway, thanks for the compliments, back to the topic at hand...
     
  19. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #19
    OK, I admit I am not well-versed on stem-cell research or even fertility science, but I am not sure that it will matter to my argument...

    In my opinion this comes down to ethics and morality and pragmatism. Which are of course priorities. Which involve judgements and choices. With particularily complicated choices, such as those surrounding Abortion, War, Death-Penalty, Stem-cell research, Sex-Ed, we often find ourselves at odds with what seems correct morally (abstract) with what seems to be the most effective way with dealing with the problem that brought up the choice (concrete). This often involves compromise and rationalization to attempt to bring the mind to agreement. This is done on an individual and societal level.

    So, Humanity has since it's inception, had to deal with the reality of Murder, which is unamimously declared "wrong", and is punished by socities of all stripes. In Christian Cultures, this is codified in the Ten Commandments.

    Humanity has also had to deal with the reality of War. War and battle require the killing of fellow humans. This is murder. To those who had no moral problem w/ murder (as a individual and/or society) this was not an issue (and there are always some). To those that it did pose a problem, they were faced with a problem. This was reconciled (even by the Church) as saying killing done in certain circumstances is not murder (despite there being no asterix by the commandment to allow exceptions). This was done because it was a greater priority for a society to be able to protect itself and pursue it's growth and stability, than to continue to acknowledge the inherent wrongness in taking another's life.

    I am not making a judgement call here on that rationalization, I am merely saying that that rationalization, however needed, is ultimately a conceit, a sham and a corruption of that principle. It is as simple as that.

    So, humanity has long held the sanctity of life sacred, but for various reasons has amended that over the centuries for whatever reasons, which rationalized or not, means it was moved down the totem of priorities.

    With regards to Abortion and Stem-cell research, it is again a battle of priorities and rationalizations. On the pro-choice side (or pro stem-cell) side, many feel the rights of the woman, or the stability or cohesion of the society (or added costs) are more important than this life. It is a rationalization to not call it a life, but not necessarily a wrong one. Although it is a corruption of a principle, a moral, it may be the best way to proceed from a pragmatic sense, and it is definitely not unprecendented.

    On the pro-life side, many feel that they right of that life takes precendence over the choices of an adult human, or that of society and/or that of science (w/regards to stem-cell). However, to be true to that, they must not favor Abortion under any means. It is a position that makes everything else secondary to the life. It is admirable, but it also involves rationalizing away the costs and repurcussions of such a principled position, and the rather hypocritical stance they may have, or society does have on the value of life as opposed to other concerns...

    So you must ask, what is more important? and why? And you must try to be consistent and take into all factors, not just the ones that make your decision easier or that you do not rationalize away.

    OK, you will have to read between the lines here, to understand my point (if possible), I did not want to go on and on...

    I am dissapointed in this effort, I may try again later...hopefully, someone sees what I am trying to get at...

    Sorry.

    *EDIT* To mention in passing, what bearing does being self-aware have to do with the abortion/stem-cell debate. After all, plants are alive, yet not self-aware...we kill them all the time. Animals, including mammals, are alive, but not self-aware (in the sense I use the term for humans)...we kill them for sport or food. So, might that not be a better debating point than merely Life?...

    Just a little note...
     
  20. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    #20
    I don't think a lot of people realize that fertilization does not = pregnancy. I'm not sure what the stats are (and they are probably on a guess, don't know how they'd know anyhow) many, many eggs are fertilzed and are never implanted. only 1 in 4 pregnancy's are even known to the female. 3/4ths are miscarried and blown off as a heavy period. (again, don't know how they figured this out...)

    Then I'd say life begins at the earliest at implantation. I think ignorance is why someone would say conception. (Not stupidity, simply not understanding that many conceptions don't implant).

    I don't need to prove anything. I can't get pregnant so aboriton is a non-issue for me. And it is part of the topic because the controversy over stem-cell research is the fear that "they" will start getting women pregnant and abort the fetus in order to harvest stem cells! So when life begins is a huge part of the discussion.

    Not really. It wasn't determined, the parameters were set and assuming there was no interference your potential was there.

    When do I believe I became alive? When I was viable. In 1969 that would have been approximately in my mother's 7-8th month of pregnancy. Approximately September, 1969.

    If for some reason my mother had decided to terminate her pregancy and I didn't exist, so what? It isn't like I'd miss myself. I just never would have been.
     
  21. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #21
    So what's your answer? Implant every one? Ban in vitro fertilisation?

    Nothing clever about it; I didn't see Ron's speech.

    You know oftentimes an embryo fails to implant and is flushed out? What's that? Should there be an obituary for 128 cells that ended up in the toilet?

    The better question to ask is: when do you stop being a human being? For most societies and religions, it's when you're brain dead. The shell is alive but the spirit has passed. Embryos of the age we're talking about don't have a brain or brain activity; they don't have consciousness, a conscience or a soul.

    You don't think any random events that happened in the womb and after birth had any effect on what you became? Why do identical twins have (often very) different features?

    Logic makes the rules, and you're about to find out what they are:

    If you don't think stem cell research is something that should be legal (or publicly funded or whatever you cutoff point is), then you MUST oppose fertility treatments that involve in vitro fertilisation.

    Do you?

    I'll address abortion in the next post...
     
  22. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #22
    I'm afraid to inform you that logic dictates that because of your view, you CANNOT believe that the fetus is an innocent life (more on that later).

    What about her health? Should a woman be crippled so that her baby can be born?

    Ironic that you would say this, because that's exactly what outlawing abortion does! Which will shortly bring us home to the flawed and guilty logic behind most anti-abortion arguments:

    So, if a embryo/fetus will be born with defects or is the result of a rape, it ceases to be an innocent human life?

    Which is it, man? You CANNOT have it both ways. Either the fetus or embryo is an innocent human being which must be protected as such or you condone murder against it! It's not the embryo/fetus' fault it was the product of rape, afterall!


    Which is why most people who oppose abortion paradoxically approve of it in cases of rape and incest:

    This is why you're opposed to abortion. Spare us the crap about "innocent human life," because you've already proven that you're not interested in the life if it's not the mother's fault.

    This is about punishing the women who get pregnant. This is about punishing them for having sex. It has nothing to do with "innocent life."

    (Stelliform and others, I know your [and the Catholic Church's] position also opposes abortion in the cases of raepe & incest. Kudos to you for your consistency and genuine beliefs)
     
  23. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #23
    Thank you, Bobcat, you could not possibly have set up and proven my argument for me any better.
     
  24. Bobcat37 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado
    #24
    Well I see what you are saying, but I'd have to disagree. First off, murder and killing are not the same. So, going off of that, if you check back to the original Hebrew text of the Bible, the word used in the Ten Commandments is the equivalent to our word murder, which means the UNLAWFUL or WRONGFUL killing of a human. Surely the Bible would have never outlawed any kind of killing, because dang, that thing is full of killing (just one example, Israel's army was commanded by God to kill people all the time). So obviously, God sees a difference between the two. Now, I know I'm getting pretty theological here, and I don't want this to change the subject of the topic, but I want you to see where I'm coming from. If you don't believe any of this, you'll have to look at it from my perspective, since I do.

    This is the same argument pseudobrit tried to use against me. It partially comes down to the difference between murder and killing again. I am against abortion when it is the murder of babies. Now, obviously I will be the first to admit that this is a subjective thing, which is why not all pro-lifers would completely agree, but in the cases of incest, rape, or if the mother's life is in danger... I wouldn't necessarily consider the killing of that baby to be wrong. (edit: wow that didn't come out right, should have said "more wrong", refer to post #34 and 38 for clarification)

    No need to apologize, I understood your points, and I hope I sufficiently answered them. And to address your last point, I agree, the fact that humans are self-aware is huge, that does set us apart from most, if not all, other lifeforms on this planet. However, basing the beginning of human life on when that human becomes self-aware seems a bit iffy. First off, how do we even know when a human becomes self-aware? I'm not sure if anyone could prove it happens at a certain point in time (but maybe I'm wrong on that). Just trying to comprehend it seems impossible because NONE of us remember our early childhood, or at least when we were in the womb, so were we not self-aware then? Don't ask me, I can't remember. :)
     
  25. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #25
    (color emphasis mine)
    that's exactly why i'm pro-choice. it's not society's call, it's the mother's.

    note that i think abortion is a horrible thing, i just don't think it's my place to tell some woman what to do w/ her body.
     

Share This Page