There has been some discussion that this advance makes the moral and ethical debate over embryonic stem cells moot. The scientific community has reacted very positively to this advancement, which was made in November There have been many additional scientific studies published on the topic since then, and it appears increasingly likely that the cells produced using skin cells are the equivalent of embryonic stem cells.
Do you agree with Professor James Thomson, who led the American research team that made this breakthrough, when he maintains that this advance does not, for the time being, abrogate the need for embryonic stem cell research?
Thomson also argued that there will still be a need to use embryos in the future. But given that there are concerns, the case for destroying embryos does become a lot weaker. But for a lot of people, the stem cell debate has always been a matter of balance.
People are aware that there are ethical concerns and that there is enormous scientific promise. Now the debate is: Given the ethical questions at stake, is the scientific promise sufficient to make us put the ethical concerns aside and support the research?
I think that balance has changed because of this advance, and having an alternative to embryonic stem cell research that achieves the same result will obviously affect the way people think about the ethics of this issue.
But I do think it means that people are going to change the way they reason about the balance between science and ethics because of this advance. I know that you believe that human embryos have intrinsic worth. Do you believe that they have the same intrinsic worth as a five-year-old child or a year-old man? The question of intrinsic worth is complicated. The question of when life begins is a biological question, and the answer actually is fairly straightforward: The life of an organism begins at conception.
I think that the embryonic stem cell debate is ultimately about the question of human equality. What it means is that our common humanity is something that we all share. The protection of human life comes first. And to the extent that the debate is about whether it is acceptable to destroy a living human being for the purpose of science — even for the purpose of helping other human beings — I think that in that sense, the embryo is our equal.
So in other words, even though you would grieve the death of a year-old man more than a five-day-old embryo, on at least the most basic level you believe that they both have the same right to life. And right to life derives from human equality. The right to life is, in a way, drawn out of the political vocabulary of the Declaration of Independence. And so, to my mind, the argument at the heart of the embryonic stem cell debate is the argument about human equality.
Recently in The New Republic magazine, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker wrote that conservative bioethicists like yourself consistently predict the worst when looking at developments in biotechnology. From the beginning of the scientific revolution, science and technology have tried to allow us to manipulate and shape the world around us for the benefit of man.
For the benefit of what? But there are newer scientific developments, such as certain types of human enhancement technologies that raise very complicated questions of how we should judge the ends and the means of technological advancements. That being said, Pinker has a point, in a larger sense — that judging the risks of new technologies is very difficult. In general, I think we ought to give the benefit of the doubt to our ability to use new technologies.
But there are specific instances, which are few but very important, when we do need to be cautious. First, it was a matter of life - something impossible to measure. And in this case, researchers had to do exactly that: Both an abortion and someone dying, suffering from a possible curable disease, is a tragedy.
Which have the highest value? Does a big breakthrough in the research justify the use of the method in the present? Would the benefits of studying abortions outweigh the costs? The choice was subjective: Nobody knows all the risks or all the possible outcomes, so we had to value it with our perception of the outcome. Perception is influenced by our individual feelings, morals and knowledge about the issue. Second, at the time we did not know whether the research was necessary and sufficient to give us the mentioned health benefits.
Third, other consequences of the research are uncertain. Could the research be misused in the future or not? We simply do not know. All knowledge acquired, within research or other arenas, may be used for evil causes in the future - it is impossible to know.
The Stem cell research-debate is an example on how people value various aspects differently. It is also an example of how critics and debate can lead to significant improvements for both sides. Check out our quiz-page with tests about:.
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Aborted fetuses are not the only source of stem cells There are stem cells in the both placenta and blood contained in the placenta. Also the primary source of stem cells is from blastocysts. These are fertilized human eggs that were not implanted into a woman. Check out our quiz-page with tests about: Back to Overview "Ethics in Research". Related articles Related pages: Search over articles on psychology, science, and experiments.
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What are the arguments against stem cell research? Stem Cell Research I strongly oppose human cloning, as do most Americans. We recoil at the idea of growing human beings for spare body parts, or creating life for our convenience.
Mar 15, · This decision comes amidst a heated debate regarding the medical and economic potential of stem cell research as against its ethical pitfalls. The scientific, legal, ethical and philosophical arguments have been discussed extensively (Mieth, ; Colman and Burley, ).
Aug 09, · The Case Against Stem Cell Research. Opponents of research on embryonic cells, including many religious and anti-abortion groups, contend that embryos are human beings with the same rights — and thus entitled to the same protections against abuse — as anyone else. 1) Stem Cell Research - Arguments Regarding the Usage of the Knowledge. As you will most probably notice, the following arguments are not exclusively in use when talking about stem cell research. Pros. Stem cell research can potentially help treat a range of medical problems.
The final arguments against stem cell research deal with the actual cost of such treatments is simply too high to be implemented on a large scale. Stem cell research pros and cons have gained a lot of attention lately due to President Obama lifting a ban on stem cell research. Home > Stem Cells > Arguments Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Arguments Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research 1) Embryos are lives. An embryo is actually a human; it should be valued as highly as a human life.