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View Poll Results: Stem cells. Yay or nay?
Yes! Bring it on! 35 97.22%
No. I'm against it. 1 2.78%
Undecided 0 0%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-10-2010, 01:43 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I can understand the moral dilemma here...but there will be abortions whether we like it or not. Why not honor that potential life by allowing it to provide life to someone else?
One ethical argument against using embryos would be that it violates Kant's categorical imperative to not use others as a means to an end.

If one feels this is an important ethical stand, then the question becomes this: how do we define "others" and which "others" matter? In other words, which organisms have "moral standing?"

For example, consider medical knowledge gained through Nazi experimentation on child and adult victims: medical ethics may require (if I recall correctly) that the results of those experiments should *not* be used to add to the pool of human knowledge, because humans were used as a means to an end, which many view as unethical.

If someone feels an embryo has moral standing, then that person would probably similarly oppose any use of embryonic cells, regardless of the potential or actual benefits to others of doing so.

As a vegan, I often find the concern for minute embryos perplexing and speciest (speciesism being the belief that one species is better and more valuable than another), since many people who oppose the killing or use of embryos are not moved emotionally at all by the slaughter of fully-functioning, thinking, feeling, healthy, adult, non-human animals, whose sentience (sense of awareness) is, oh, probably 1 trillion times that of a human embryo, if not more.
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Originally Posted by Neapolitan:
If a chicken was smart enough to be able to speak English and run in a geometric pattern, then I think it should be smart enough to dial 911 (999) before getting the axe, and scream to the operator, "Something must be done! Something must be done!"
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Old 05-10-2010, 01:48 AM   #22 (permalink)
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^

I can totally see where those who oppose this are coming from, as I said. What I was pointing out, though, is that many women in the US will abort their fetuses. As it is, those fetuses are then simply "disposed of" (excuse how blunt that sounds). That fetus was going to be killed regardless of what our country's stance on stem cell research is...why not use its stem cells, then? As I said, honor the embryo in such a way that it can provide life to another, despite not getting a chance at life itself.

With enough research, we won't even have to worry about it. For now, though, we have to get the cells from an embryo.
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Old 05-10-2010, 01:57 AM   #23 (permalink)
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^

I can totally see where those who oppose this are coming from, as I said. What I was pointing out, though, is that many women in the US will abort their fetuses. As it is, those fetuses are then simply "disposed of" (excuse how blunt that sounds). That fetus was going to be killed regardless of what our country's stance on stem cell research is...why not use its stem cells, then? As I said, honor the embryo in such a way that it can provide life to another, despite not getting a chance at life itself.

With enough research, we won't even have to worry about it. For now, though, we have to get the cells from an embryo.
Someone who opposes the killing or use of embryos might argue that the best way to honor those embryos is to burn and bury them and not use them for anything.

Using an aborted, soon-to-die embryo to help others might be seen as being similar to harvesting organs and tissues from an old patient, without that person's permission, since the person is going to die soon anyway. If you inject sleep medication and then harvest the organs when the patient is asleep, the patient won't even be aware of what's happening. A practical choice, but perhaps not ethical by most ethical standards.

I like ethical debates! You, too, duga?
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Originally Posted by Neapolitan:
If a chicken was smart enough to be able to speak English and run in a geometric pattern, then I think it should be smart enough to dial 911 (999) before getting the axe, and scream to the operator, "Something must be done! Something must be done!"
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:00 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by VEGANGELICA View Post
Someone who opposes the killing or use of embryos might argue that the best way to honor those embryos is to bury them and not use them for anything.

Using an aborted, soon-to-die embryo to help others might be seen as being similar to harvesting organs and tissues from an old patient, without that person's permission, since the person is going to die soon anyway. If you inject sleep medication and then harvest the organs when the patient is asleep, the patient won't even be aware of what's happening. A practical choice, but perhaps not ethical by most ethical standards.
Of course I wouldn't condone harvesting stem cells from an aborted embryo unless permission was given by the mother. I feel any argument past that is your typical right vs. left squabbling that will never be solved.

I would never support outright stem cell harvesting, though. That would be horribly wrong.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:33 AM   #25 (permalink)
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There are adult stem cells and embryonic stem cell. Human embyonic and aborted fetuses stem cell research is unethical, period. Just because they don't look like a fully formed adult does not mean those experiments does not violate the natural law. From what I heard adult stem cells provide positive results, sceintist really don't need to experiment on human embryos.
If you read the post carefully, you'll see it says "simplified, quick" summary. You'll see I've stayed away from terms like totipotent and pluripotent and how they describe different kinds of stem cells. You'll see I used the term "brain cells" and not "neurons" to make it simpler to understand what I mean. My goal was to communicate in the simplest way what stem cell research is and how it can benefit us. There's an obvious compromise between communicating something efficiently and being informative and in my initial post, I was trying to be effective.

I assume if anyone needs more information about stem cells, they can ask in the thread.

The fact there are "adult" stem cells with much less potential than embryonic ones wasn't something I thought of as interesting because that's not what the controversy is about and we're obviously gonna want to do research on the stem cells with the highest level of potential.


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Originally Posted by VEGANGELICA
I like ethical debates! You, too, duga?
I like ethical debates as well, although much of philosophy seems so flaky and opinionated compared to the natural sciences I'm used to Anyways, I think in life and death situations like helping survivors after a car crash and what abortion in a sense is, it's typical to use a utilitarian approach. The reason is so many ethical standards or ways of thinking are not able to account for different people and their lives having different worth. Utilitarianism does this and says someone's worth and how much ethical consideration they deserve depends on their capability of feeling pain and pleasure, their ability to emotionally experience the consequences of your moral actions. As a moral being, your job is to cause the most happiness/reduce the amount of suffering in the world.

To use a practical example, if you are the only paramedic at a scene of an accident and there's a young man and an old man both about to die and you can only save one of them, then you have an moral dilemma. Many ethical standards say both these deserve the same amount of consideration on your part and so they can't really help you. Thinking utilitaristic, you could easily argue that you should save the younger man because he likely has more capacity to feel happiness and suffering (the old man might be senile or have alzheimer f.ex) and is more likely to live a happy life and when you take everyone else affected by your choice into consideration, you may think saving the young man is the choice that causes the most happiness or reduces the most suffering in the world.

Most of us are not pure followers of one moral standard only and I'm not a utilitarist, but I accept it's arguments when it comes to abortions and stem cell research. Fetuses do not require a lot of moral consideration on their own because they are, when compared to the average human, little able to feel happiness or suffering. In a moral dilemma concerning abortion, you should prioritize the mother and her happiness/suffering over that of the unborn fetus. If abortion maximizes her happiness or eases her suffering the most, then abortion is the right moral course of action.

From a utilitaristic point of view, a fetus which is dead doesn't require much ethical concern at all. If you don't know if using it in stem cell research will cause suffering but you think it is likely to cause "happiness" in the rough shape of advances in medical treatment, then using them for research becomes the right moral action.

Also, from a utilitaristic point of view, using data from holocaust victims is not a problem if you can maximize happiness/reduce suffering that way. Using a non-utilitaristic argument, I guess you could also say it would be sad if they died for "nothing".
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:00 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Of course I wouldn't condone harvesting stem cells from an aborted embryo unless permission was given by the mother. I feel any argument past that is your typical right vs. left squabbling that will never be solved.

I would never support outright stem cell harvesting, though. That would be horribly wrong.
Mind you, duga, I'm playing "Devil's advocate" here, because I support a mother's choice to have the embryo in her body killed, after which I feel that both parents' permission should be needed when dictating what happens to their offspring once out of her body.

However, I think people who oppose killing/murdering a very undeveloped human organism might argue that the crux of the problem is that permission was not gained from the killed/murdered individual, who had the potential to develop greater awareness if left unharmed. They might argue that the ethical thing to do would be to let that individual grow until its potential for future awareness comes to fruition. If one wants to gain permission about what to do with someone, shouldn't one wait until that person "wakes up?"

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I like ethical debates as well, although much of philosophy seems so flaky and opinionated compared to the natural sciences I'm used to
Yep, there is no "right" or "wrong" in ethical views, although there are ethical fallacies we can attack. Science is much simpler in some ways (and sometimes much more boring, which is why I'm typing this and delaying going to work!).

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Utilitarianism does this and says someone's worth and how much ethical consideration they deserve depends on their capability of feeling pain and pleasure, their ability to emotionally experience the consequences of your moral actions. As a moral being, your job is to cause the most happiness/reduce the amount of suffering in the world.
Agreed. This is the main moral approach I use for determining if a being deserves my ethical consideration. However, when Utilitarianism violates what I perceive as someone's rights (to life, etc.), then I pause and reflect more. For example, if you had to kill one person to save five, I don't know if I could do it. I wouldn't want to take an action that directly harms someone.

Quote:
To use a practical example, if you are the only paramedic at a scene of an accident and there's a young man and an old man both about to die and you can only save one of them, then you have an moral dilemma.
Like in this example, I would save the young man. Non-profit organizations face this sort of issue all the time: do you use your limited funds to get food or resources to some children who live in an easily accessed city, or to children who live out in rural areas, which are more costly to reach. And, unfortunately, you have to choose because you can't save both sets of children. It's like a scene, Tore, that haunts me in the movie Sophie's Choice, in case you've seen that movie.

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Fetuses do not require a lot of moral consideration on their own because they are, when compared to the average human, little able to feel happiness or suffering. In a moral dilemma concerning abortion, you should prioritize the mother and her happiness/suffering over that of the unborn fetus. If abortion maximizes her happiness or eases her suffering the most, then abortion is the right moral course of action.
I have the same view.

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From a utilitaristic point of view, a fetus which is dead doesn't require much ethical concern at all. If you don't know if using it in stem cell research will cause suffering but you think it is likely to cause "happiness" in the rough shape of advances in medical treatment, then using them for research becomes the right moral action.
I'd say a fetus who is dead doesn't require any ethical concern. When I'm dead, someone can flush my ashes down the toilet...I don't care!

The issue in embryonic stem cell research, though, is whether benefitting from someone else's loss (of its own life) is ethical. I think people who oppose abortion and embryonic stem cell research feel it is wrong to ignore that this little, living being has the potential to develop greater awareness.
I would counterargue, when talking with someone holding this view that "potential" is what matters, that every cell of my body could potentially be used to clone me, so all cells have that potential and thus potential alone isn't a precise enough criterion to use to determine if some group of cells should be protected.

Also, fertility clinics go through a lot of fertilized eggs that don't successfully attach to a woman's uterus, yet I don't hear opponents of embryonic stem cell research decrying the death of fertilized eggs/embryos that occurs during assisted reproduction. Do people complain about fertility clinics because of the embryos who die there?

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Also, from a utilitaristic point of view, using data from holocaust victims is not a problem if you can maximize happiness/reduce suffering that way. Using a non-utilitaristic argument, I guess you could also say it would be sad if they died for "nothing".
Use of Nazi experiment data is still controversial and I feel mirrors somewhat the controversy over embryonic stem cell research, since both ethical issues involve how to use something from humans who have been killed. Here's an interesting article written about it in on Jewish Virtual Library website created by an American-Israeli group: The Ethics Of Using Medical Data From Nazi Experiments
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Originally Posted by Neapolitan:
If a chicken was smart enough to be able to speak English and run in a geometric pattern, then I think it should be smart enough to dial 911 (999) before getting the axe, and scream to the operator, "Something must be done! Something must be done!"

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Old 05-10-2010, 03:48 PM   #27 (permalink)
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We need some people who strongly oppose this. So far everyone seems to like it except Alfred, who didn't even post anything. I want a debate!
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:49 PM   #28 (permalink)
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We need some people who strongly oppose this. So far everyone seems to like it except Alfred, who didn't even post anything. I want a debate!
afaik he is a christian and doesn't believe in having reason behind belief
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:31 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I support stem cell research. An embryo is "non-sentient," lacking a structured and "wired" brain, and so using embryo cells does not bother me.

I also support a woman's right and choice to have an abortion when the fetus has not yet developed substantial brain wiring and thus presumably awareness, although I would like to reduce the incidences of unwanted pregnancies, such as through improvements in contraception methods and increases in contraception use by both women and men.
Definitely this x100000. Safe sex needs to be fuc‎king PREACHED in schools today.

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There are adult stem cells and embryonic stem cell. Human embyonic and aborted fetuses stem cell research is unethical, period. Just because they don't look like a fully formed adult does not mean those experiments does not violate the natural law.
How about something concrete instead of some abstract "natural law"? Who defines it? How is it enforced? Not to mention that there are indeed differences between the two..

What one considers immoral one considers fine. And that's one reason arguments over stem cells are usually so nasty, because one side is waving around scientific evidence while those on the opposite end are screaming about ethics and being morally clean.

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Originally Posted by VEGANGELICA View Post
Using an aborted, soon-to-die embryo to help others might be seen as being similar to harvesting organs and tissues from an old patient, without that person's permission, since the person is going to die soon anyway. If you inject sleep medication and then harvest the organs when the patient is asleep, the patient won't even be aware of what's happening. A practical choice, but perhaps not ethical by most ethical standards.
Wait a second. Since when can you compare an embryo to a fully grown person? Regardless of whether or not the person is dying, it's a conscious, thinking, matured human being. An embryo isn't. And now we're entering the dreadful gray area.

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Old 05-10-2010, 05:19 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Definitely this x100000. Safe sex needs to be fuc‎king PREACHED in schools today.
Agreed, Octane! I feel people shouldn't fear knowledge but, rather, should be afraid of ignorance about a subject. I am always surprised that there are still people who don't want kids to know how to follow safer sex practices.

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Wait a second. Since when can you compare an embryo to a fully grown person? Regardless of whether or not the person is dying, it's a conscious, thinking, matured human being. An embryo isn't. And now we're entering the dreadful gray area.
Well, I was playing Devil's advocate there. However, there *are* fully grown people who are no longer substantially aware of what is going on, and thus might be considered equivalent to an embryo in terms of sentience.

The clearest example would be a brain-dead person. Many but not all people feel it is okay to harvest their organs, since the hope of recovery is slight. But what if someone is in a coma? When do you decide it is ethical to harvest *her* organs?

Now, back to embryos, some people may feel it is wrong to kill a tiny individual and would ask instead that we wait until that individual is mature enough to make her or his own decisions about when to become an organ and tissue donor.

The basic question surrounding our treatment of embryos and birthed humans is how do we decide when we should keep our hands off them. And then the next question becomes this: once someone has decided to kill them, what is the right thing to do with their bodies?
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If a chicken was smart enough to be able to speak English and run in a geometric pattern, then I think it should be smart enough to dial 911 (999) before getting the axe, and scream to the operator, "Something must be done! Something must be done!"
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