Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog


Last Word on ESC (for now)

Did I change any minds?

Probably not.

Did I cause anybody to at least think about it?

I hope so, but I'm not all that optimistic.

This is an issue where people make up their minds, then refuse to re-examine their decision. What makes it even harder is that ESC research is being so heavily sold as a miracle cure for what ails you, which pulls hard on the old self-interest lever. After all, we all know somebody who has suffered and possibly even died from one of the many ailments that researchers claim ESC's will cure, if only the Fed would fund the research.

So why do I do it? Knowing that I'm probably not changing any minds, why do I keep writing about ESC research, and why it's so very wrong?

It sure ain't to win friends, I'll tell you that much. All the cool kids are all for it. Say you're against ESC research, and not only are you an ignorant, hyper-religious luddite standing in the way of progress, you're also a cruel, inhuman monster that wants people to die just to protect a small lump of undifferentiated tissue.

I guess it's the Don Quixote in me.

People ask those of us against ESC research if we would refuse treatment derived from ESC if it would save our lives.

I would.

But ask me if I would refuse to allow my child to be treated, and you would probably get a different answer. My self interest would triumph over my ethical principles.

But that doesn't mean my ethics were wrong, now does it? Nope, just that I'm a typical human, weak and imperfect.

I think what gets to me the most is the hypocrisy inherent in the whole debate.
It's not really a life; it's just a lump of tissue. We can use it however we want without ethical qualms. But for God's sake let's not make it on purpose and harvest it! That would be icky.

If you take noting else away from these posts, carry that one with you. After all, it represents the "thinking" of the majority of our representatives.

Ask yourself why it's ok to harvest cells on a retail basis, but not a wholesale one. Why is it icky?
Posted by Rich
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interesting posts, to be sure, and ones that definitly are worth thinking about.

it's true, there is zero evidence that stem cell research will produce the desired results. but that's the nature of research--many strategies are attempted, few succeed. and at this stage, who knows?

now these stem cells, these tiny 10-100 celled organisms, are what i would consider proto-life. they are living in the most basic sense of the word, yet they are insensate. human, yes. people, not even close. (i suppose this is the heart of the discussion--when does life begin? iw ould say when there is actual sensation, when the nervous system fuses. i'm probably wrong, but i think it takes a few months at least).

personally, i would accept the "icky" idea of "farming" stem cells. i agree with your logic on this matter. it sounds awful, it conjurs up images from the matrix, but we're talking about specific cells, not even embryos, as the notion is often vaguely suggested. to quote lee silver, author of "challenging nature":

"There's a word biologists use to describe a cell, or group of cells, that by itself can develop into a whole animal or person: That word is "embryo." Each random bunch of eight to 10 human ES cells is nothing more or less than a "naked" human embryo -- that is, an embryo without its pre-placental "coat.""

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meanwhile, large multicelled babies are born into situations where they likely won't recieve the necessary care (mental, physical, emotional)that ex-utero humans require to lead healthy lives. i find that more troubling.
Posted by howie  on  07/25  at  07:59 PM

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