blog.bioethics.net notes that there may be a change in the direction of stem cell research, with Ian Wilmut’s announcement that he and his lab won’t be focusing on cloning or embryonic stem cell research.
Blogger Greg Dahlman states that if there is a change, it’s because the science, and not the ethics, is driving that research.
Forget for a moment that we’re discussing nascent humans and whether or not they are “life.”
Imagine instead that we’re discussing global warming and I say that I’ve invented a machine that will eventually turn sewage into clean water and unlimited energy for everyone, but the cost is a definite increase in the mean global temperature. The benefits of cleaning our water and the environment, along with the energy to grow crops and build homes all over the world are obvious. But the polar caps will probably melt and we’ll have to use some of that energy to move water across new deserts and abandon lowlands.
Now, imagine that there are two ways to approach the development of the machine, one might be faster while also speeding warming, but the other is much, much less efficient and slower and we just might be able to avoid half of the warming.
Will we debate whether science or ethics is driving the research?