View Full Version : Info I can share with an uninformed audience in stemcell/religion debate?
10-18-2006, 09:11 PM
Hi everyone, I don't normally post here, but my college is having a 'religion and public life symposium' and there's going to an open discussion of stem cell research and spiritual matters tomorrow. I want to participate, but I don't feel as informed as I'd like to be. Can a few of you give me some basic statistics and general information that i could share with a diverse audience who doesn't really know fact from fiction? The embryonic ethical conflict will definately come up.
I was going to argue that my right to at least support and then eventually access groundbreaking research and healthcare and 'cures' should trump zygote rights. And something about rights to quality of life as opposed to the general idea of right to life. [too many humans for the earth to sustain anyways ; ) ] Most people have no idea the progress that china is making in this field either.
thanks, you guys, much appreciated... : )
10-18-2006, 10:09 PM
May I suggest, if you have not yet already, listen to former Senator John Danforth (see http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=70953 for link) and consider the following arguments:
1. A zygote is not a baby. Zygote rights is a subject that you cannot win on, in my opinion. Those who believe that the zygote is a baby will ask whether you would ever kill a baby in order to save another person. The answer is of course no. So, the key to the debate is whether a zygote is a baby. If the zygote is not a baby, then the debate is over.
2. Trash it or use it to save lives. This is the most effective argument. Hundreds of zygotes are being discarded every day in in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics. Every IVF procedure involves fertilizing a dozen or more eggs, of which probably no more than half will ever be used. The rest are discarded. There is no outcry about these. Why not? Rather than throwing them out, why not use them to save lives?
3. There is no slippery slope. The greatest fear that opponents to embyronic stem cell research have is that it is the beginnings of a slippery slope towards baby and clone factories. This fear has been fueled by fanciful science fiction movies and books that have exaggerated this potential. This potential is false. There is no intent to use embryonic stem cells in baby and clone factories, and I don't believe that society will allow this to happen.
4. The goal of embryonic stem cell research is to understand what makes the cells able to grow forever and produce all the different cells of the body. Once we understand this, we should be able to make any cell behave like a stem cell. Stopping human embryonic stem cell research has slowed progress in this important branch of biomedical science.
5. President Bush's policy has not saved any zygotes and has promoted unregulated and unmonitored use of zygotes. The policies have forced us to continue discarding many thousands or even millions of zygotes over the past six years. It has resulted in the United States falling behind in a critical field of biomedical research.
10-18-2006, 10:23 PM
A lot of people don't know (people who I have talked to) that
embryonic stem cells are what you have 4 or 5 days after fertilization
of a woman's egg.
I would make a list of the potential cures that esc research offers,
it is quite long.
When people make the ridiculous comment that embryonic stem cells
haven't cured anything, remind them that the first embryonic stem
cell line was only first discovered 8 years ago.
I would also point out that the reason esc's show so much more
potential than adult stem cells, is becuase of their pluripotency
(ability to give rise to many different cell types).