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Ethics of Stem Cell Research
momo
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Post: #1
Ethics of Stem Cell Research
This is in my Biology exam, so I thought I'd put it up for discussion here. As with all topics that could turn into a debate, please be civil when putting across your opinion and be respectful and mindful of others participating.

What are your thoughts on stem cell research on human embryos? Do you consider an embryo a human being? They are human cells, indeed, but are they also humans with rights?

(Here's a Wiki article on it: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell_controversy">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell_controversy</a><!-- m -->)

The following is my opinion:
Personally ... if it leads to medical advances, such as new treatments and cures for illness, I do agree with it, particularly as we've had quite a bit of illness in the family. With in vitro fertilisation, there are thousands of 'unused embryos' each year that will be destroyed regardless; surely we should use them for research to benefit humanity? I definitely do see where the anti-stem-cell argument is coming from - the embryo has the potential to develop into a human child, indeed - but at the end of the day, my opinion is if we develop advances in cures and treatments, I am going to prioritise grown humans over a small bundle of developing cells.

(Well, uh, that's my two pennies. ^^Wink

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2008-05-07 10:27
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Post: #2
Re: Ethics of Stem Cell Research
I say stem cell research is alright, but as with anything, only as long as it's done for the benefit of humanity as a whole and not used for the tomfoolery of lab nerds. Curing diseases is fine. But if the government starts trying to create superhuman soldiers or some such nonsense I'll be the first one to grab a pitchfork.

I do not consider human embryos living humans with rights until they are about 5 months into development. The reasons for that are personal and mostly based around my experience with my family. Like Momo, I do not consider a mass of developing cells a human.

And for the record, since I'm sure someone will start up an abortion debate here soon, if an embryo is inside a woman, she controls it's life. Her body, her call.
2008-05-07 11:05
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momo
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Post: #3
Re: Ethics of Stem Cell Research
Kayako Wrote:But if the government starts trying to create superhuman soldiers or some such nonsense I'll be the first one to grab a pitchfork.

That's another good point - as soon as a medical advancement is made, there could be potential ways to exploit that. For example ... (seriously digressing here) genetic engineering in humans has the potential to change character and appearance. Parents could choose the eye colour, the hair colour and the height of unborn foetuses. Genetic engineering developed to treat hereditary disease is one thing, but using it to change a perfectly healthy unborn foetus's appearance just because the parents aren't satisfied with the physical-appearance alleles their child got is another thing entirely.

Any discoveries made from stem cell research could be definitely beneficial, but some people'd try to exploit it too (for example, like you pointed out, Kayako - superhuman soldiers).

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2008-05-07 11:43
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Post: #4
Re: Ethics of Stem Cell Research
I have no problem with stem cell research or genetic engineering on (willing) humans.

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2008-05-07 18:58
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Post: #5
Re: Ethics of Stem Cell Research
I don't count the "potential to become a human being" a reason to treat a small cluster of cells as holy any more than I count the "potential to stop killing people" a reason to spare a homicidal maniac's life.
A single stem-cell can, in theory, be the source of a lot more life if used for the sake of a cure than if it is allowed to grow into yet another human.
And what's to say that the "potential" is enough? A small cluster of cells "could" become a human being, it could also miscarry before it even takes shape. It could also grow up to take human life. It could easily die of the very diseases it otherwise would have become the cure for. It's all unknown.

I have the "potential" to commit murder, does that mean that I should be incarcerated already?
Potential is worthless until fulfilled.

Moral implications of stem-cell-research for me are simple. There are No logical, nor moral, reasons against the research. There are No logical, nor moral, reasons against employing that research for the sake of saving lives or making the lives worth living at all. There are No logical, nor moral, reasons against allowing people to be tested on as long as they freely choose to be.
There is a reason, in my mind, against creating super-humans and that is more for Gattaca reasons (Watch that movie if you don't know what I mean.) than anything else.

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2008-05-08 12:59
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Post: #6
Re: Ethics of Stem Cell Research
I'm of the belief that since mammals give birth to living offspring, it denotes that the offspring is alive prior to being born. Where the line is drawn when an embryo ceases to be a multiplying mass of cells and becomes a pre-natal Human, that is a question I won't even try to answer.

However this does not mean I do not support stem cell research. While I believe that the embryo in many of the stages is very much alive and sentient, many others will not. Those others that are going to kill the child through an abortion are going to do it no matter what I say to them, so at least let the child's life actually provide something to the Human race.

The benefits of stem cells and the research of them is potentially unlimited, and the research only has to go so far as to when we can generate them without the use of the embryo. At that point, the ethical queries are over except for those who wish to watch others die because medical science did something they felt was wrong in order to save those lives.

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2008-05-08 17:42
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Post: #7
Re: Ethics of Stem Cell Research
One of the largest reasons I'm for stem cell research and practice (beyond the obvious medical and such reasons) and not at all concerned about "OMG, you're killing a baby!" syndrome is the sheer fact that, um, we kinda have an overpopulation problem as it is. No need to compound it by having 18 children (like a certain someone)

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2008-05-11 4:47
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Post: #8
Re: Ethics of Stem Cell Research
it's like people who are against animal testing... sometimes you have to take risks in order to save someone, and in order to gain medical technology, some people are all about saving one living being, but not willing to to point the finger to another test subject.

From Chai (who is feverishly studying at the moment), not all people have been in the position where such technology would save them or a loved one. We make sacrifices now in order to not have to in the future.

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2008-05-11 18:57
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chaitea
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Post: #9
Re: Ethics of Stem Cell Research
I do consider embryos to be human life since I see anything from conception on is well on its way to becoming one.

“Human rights” is a ridiculously subjective term to me.
But how I feel in this case is that abortion basically comes down to ending a life. I’m more for adoption or taking better precautions in the first place but I am aware that shit does happen and some people will do what they feel they must in certain situations. People are going to do what they set out to if they’re mind is that set on it.
Besides, I’d rather not have an extra patient then take care of someone who punctured their uterine wall with a hanger (or used bleach as a douche…*sigh*).

So rather then letting something go to waste, might as well apply that decision to a decent cause. The rest I’d have added here has already been said, so yay.

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2008-05-14 9:14
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momo
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Post: #10
Re: Ethics of Stem Cell Research
chaitea Wrote:(or used bleach as a douche…*sigh*).

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O-ouch.

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2008-05-14 9:58
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