Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Stem-cell research opponents are unethical

Let's say we have a microproduct just 100 micrometers long, made through nuclear transfer technology, and let's say we have a human being who has lived in pain all his life. To argue that there is a balance (in considering the humanity of the two) would not be ethical.

-Woo Suk Hwang, Seoul National University, quoted on MSNBC

3 comments:

Peg said...

Hi Doc, long time no controversy! ;-) About four years back I wrote a book (fictional novel) about cloning and the endless possibilities of "housings" of these unbrained cloned individuals and the profits brought about by unethical people who put money and their greed before the scientific needs of the dying. It was truly a fictional mystery book designed to show the corruption in not only the political arena but the scientific arean.
Interesting enough after I had completed that unpublished work, there was controversy aurrounding our (PA) ex-governor Casey and how he was in dire need of a transplant and happened to be a recipient of the needed organ way before others who had less financial or political clout!

I have not a single problem with stem cell research by donors who are of legal age of consent. Beyond that I believe another fictional novel could sum up the endless possibilities.

Doctor Logic said...

Hi Peg,

Welcome back!

I think someone has stolen your idea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Island_(2005_film)!

First of all, reproductive cloning has nothing to do with stem cell research. I oppose reproductive cloning, myself. Even if the risks of birth defects were low, there's no good reason to clone a person and bear a child with identical DNA to someone else. None that I can think of. Mainstream scientists and doctors do not advocate this practice.

In contrast, therapeutic cloning is the technology that enables us to copy stem cells from an embryo or an adult donor for use in therapies, e.g., skin grafts.

When you see advocates get reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning confused (or simply fail to differentiate between them), it's a sign that they don't know what they're talking about.

Second, it is meaningless to talk about the age of consent for non-sentient biomass. Does the hair I leave on the hair salon's floor have an age of consent?

If your argument is based on some ethical danger, then you should explain the dangers and why you think it cannot be defended against using specific laws for each case.

My suspicion is that your stand is based on the superstition that an embryo is a person. Yet, it is a simple fact that embryos are not people. If a fertility clinic is burning down, who do you save, the trapped 4-year-old or the petri dish containing 100 embryos?

Peg said...

Okay, good point! But irrelevant, we are not talking about a fire that is a completely spontaneous/random act.
My point being that a seed is still a living thing (as is its desgin) even before it takes root and an embryo is still a living baby as is its design even before it takes hold!
Superstition? A little callus don't you think?