Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stem Cell Compromise

Here's an interesting proposal by a clear fan of embryonic stem cell research. Recognizing that advances have been made in the non-stem cell area, he nonetheless asserts that it is important to continue with embryonic research (federally funded,that is). While the reasons he gives for not concentrating solely on non-fetal cells seem straightforward, it occurs to me that there is no accompanying discussion of what some of the downsides of fetal cell research have been.

That said, this train is leaving the station. The President-elect and a good bit of the Congress are in favor of plowing ahead with fetal research, so some kind of compromise must be had if foes of stem-cell research are to not be completely marginalized. His proposal to allow couples to "donate" their reproductively produced embryos (as opposed to embryos produced in order to be destroyed) to scientific research strikes me as a common-sense approach.

His equating this donation to organ donation however, strikes me as indefensible. We should not forget what is going on here...the destruction of nascent life for research ends. Dumbing it down morally to a decision to donate your eyes when dead is simply a way to make us feel better.


Mudge said...

Kind of like being against hunting but having no trouble picking up a package of chicken at the supermarket to cook up for dinner. As long as you don't have to think about where it came from (or what activities preceded the bright shiny package)...bon appetit! To that end, I am always amazed that the party who tends overwhelmingly to want protections for anything cuddly and furry and who would (and do) become apoplectic about anyone harming a cuddly, furry baby of any kind, have absolutely no compunction, indeed they fight vehemently for the "right" to kill, their very own babies. It is the oddest of contrasts that escapes my, admittedly, limited ability to comprehend.

Anonymous said...

A blastocyst is hardly a baby. At most it has a couple hundred cells.

Mudge said...

Anon - where do you, Anon, believe it becomes a baby?

Anonymous said...

Not until it starts looking like a sea-monkey. Conservatively speaking, not before day 15. Once emergence of the neural groove begins, I believe it becomes a baby.

By the way, I think you paint with a rather broad brush on your assertion of their defense of the cuddly [animal] versus killing their very own babies. Additionally, your argument really is just demagoguery.

Will you do me the favor of describing why you think it is a baby upon conception?

Dan said...

Anon, why don't you list for me every human being born who didn't pass through the blastocyst stage.

Anonymous said...

Adam. Eve. Or are those two not enough, or not important enough.
Shoot, why don't we subscribe to the "every sperm is sacred" rule then. Half of everyone came from a sperm. Additionally, we should not allow women, to the extent possible, to ovulate without trying to impregnate them. One more, back to the sperm. Men should be fined if caught wearing tightie whities as high temps down there can decimate the lil' fellahs.

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