Ethics, embryos, and e-rants

Kevin T Keith (His often profane blog, Sufficient Scruples, focusing on why it’s wrong to be religious, pro-life or pro-abstinence is here) wonders (in 1700+ words) how scientists ever began to speak in terms of “ethical” and “unethical” about sources of stem cells at the Women’s Bioethics Blog:

To emphasize that: the search for “ethical” stem cells has no importance whatsoever, other than the fact that it responds to objections raised by a certain segment of the religious right and grounded on their religous (sic)beliefs. There is no need for them otherwise, and they are less desirable therapeutically than the already-available alternative of actual embryonic stem cells. Such lines of research, and the diversion of time and resources they represent, have no point unless that religious objection is demonstrated to be a compelling moral claim.(Italics in the original)

Let’s forget that embryos require that oocytes be harvested from women, risking their health or that embryonic stem cells from embryos created by in vitro fertilization can never be “patient-specific” until and if human cloning is perfected. Let’s forget growing evidence that the differentiation of stem cells is dependent on local factors and conditions – the ‘niche’ in which the cells are found. And, along with Kevin, we can forget that there are in fact people who object to the destruction of human embryos without a religious objection.

Let’s look at the question of applying the concept of ethics to research.

Kevin obviously has very strong feelings that there is a right side and a wrong in determining whether or not destructive embryonic research is “ethical.”

Isn’t the act of determining one position right and others find that position wrong making “ethical” or “moral” decisions?

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)


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