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Embryonic stem cell research.

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BoogieMonster
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« on: August 24, 2010, 16:32:04 PM »

A slashdot summary:

Quote from: slashdot.org
"A US district court issued a preliminary injunction Monday stopping federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, in a slap to the Obama administration's new guidelines on the sensitive issue. The court ruled in favor of a suit filed in June by researchers who said human embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of human embryos. Judge Royce Lamberth granted the injunction  after finding that the lawsuit would likely succeed because the guidelines violated law banning the use of federal funds to destroy human embryos. '(Embryonic stem cell) research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed,' Lamberth wrote in a 15-page ruling."


Article here

We are frequently accused of being utter immoral douchebags by our opponents. In this case, there's one thing in which they are right. Under certain conditions, I condone killing fetuses. But the whole thing about skeptics is that we differ in opinions, and feel fine with that. So, what do you guys think about Embryonic stem cell research? Is it for the good of all mankind to grow some human cells in a test-tube and kill it. Or is it simply baby-murder?
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 16:46:02 PM »

it's very debateable as to when, exactly, the fetus start 'feeling', considering that each cell in our bodies react to stimuli to a degree.  so untill they can establish when the fetus starts feeling pain, experiencing its environment, etc.
i had an abortion at 4 weeks, and i dont feel guilty.   since i know, at that point, its a bundle of cells to tiny, i cant even see it with the naked eye.  my family, of course platsed.
do condone stem cell research? hell yes.  the manner of tissues they work with, hardly reaches the stage of even remotely looking like a fetus.  i think they call that an oocyte?  i might be wrong.
one could then argue, too, that scientists who practice in vitro, where only the strongest fertilized egg is chosen, is murdering a potential number of babies.
i donated my eggs, and if they used my eggs to do research, well power to them.
i would say, reserach needs to stop before there is a heartbeat, simply cause in my opinion, that is when the bundle of cells stop being cells, and become a living thing.  i may be grossly ignorant, but that's a laymans view in any case.

i'm just wondering, with thousands of abortions being performed daily, are they not able to get stemcells from the aborted foetuses?  i havent the foggiest as to how they grow these cells, or the environment surrounding the harvesting.

on the flipside, do i really want the human race to live longer, healthier lives?  so that people can spend more time killing each other off, and destroying our planet?
and inevitably, the rich will have access to the medicine, and the poor will still die in drones.
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Teleological
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2010, 17:01:01 PM »

I've been involved in a few mouse embryonic studies. After a 12-15 day pregnancy, the mice are sacrificed (yes that is the terminology used) and the embryos are harvested (about 2-8). The embryos, some of which the tails are quite visible, are chopped/minced and grown in vitro in order to use the mouse embryonic fibroblasts to test all kinds of compounds/substances. Of course there are ethical dilemmas with these studies.
1) Are the mice treated in such a way that they do not experience no pain.
2) To what end is the data going to be used?
3) Are the cells going to be implanted back in vivo again?
4) how are you going to modify the cells?
etc.

You might ask if we do it to mice, why can't we do it to humans? From a purely materialistic-cum-naturalistic-cum-mechanistic view of reality, I see no reason why logically and rationally you can not do it.

Perhaps some naturalists and/or materialists could try and argue (from their view of reality) why they think it should not be applied to humans IN PRINCIPLE from a logical and rational point of view. Why do they think there is an ethical and moral dilemma?

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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2010, 20:55:00 PM »

Considering that there is no debate on the ethics of putting out Rattex for rodents, which causes an extended painful death, concerns about the possibility of them suffering in embryonic state would be somewhat rich.   The progression of human life from conception to adulthood does not have any significant cutoff point, not even birth.   Murder and torture are clearly unacceptable, but banning embryonic stem cell research on primitive life would amount to throwing out the baby with the bathwater, which is also somewhat undesirable.
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Peter Grant
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2010, 21:44:40 PM »

You might ask if we do it to mice, why can't we do it to humans? From a purely materialistic-cum-naturalistic-cum-mechanistic view of reality, I see no reason why logically and rationally you can not do it.

Perhaps some naturalists and/or materialists could try and argue (from their view of reality) why they think it should not be applied to humans IN PRINCIPLE from a logical and rational point of view. Why do they think there is an ethical and moral dilemma?

No my reasons aren't logical or rational, I just know that it is morally wrong kill pregnant women and harvest their embryos. This is a belief I feel no need to justify to you or anyone else.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2010, 22:00:41 PM »

There is nothing about conception that should mark it as the beginning of life. I would hammer that peg into the testes, the seat of meiosis - the process by which gametes are made. The chance that any given sperm cell will have the opportunity for a date is so small that it makes no difference. As far as a sperm is concerned, it will simply die unhappy. And yet we do not agonize over all this wasted potential at all. Nor do we go out of our way to ensure a happy outcome for as many as possible of these hopeless contenders. Similarly, we do not normally bemoan the unfertilized egg that is unceremoniously aborted on a monthly basis.

But conception, now that grabs our attention. Yet it is nothing more than an event that massively improves the chances of two completely ordinary (and no doubt utterly gobsmacked) cells to grow into a human. We assign to these two lucky cells a totally novel, sentimental and probably undeserved status. A status that they certainly would not have enjoyed otherwise. It suddenly, and without reason, becomes valuable and worthy of ethical consideration.

So I think whatever status the zygote enjoys, must be extended to all gametes. Or vice versa.

Mintaka


« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 22:16:18 PM by Mintaka, Reason: Canged visa to vice, not the other way round » Logged
Peter Grant
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 22:17:57 PM »

It's the typical inability of both religious and some legal minds to think in shades of grey. To them, something must be either alive or dead, a person or not a person. Some want to draw the line at conception, some at birth. Both are wrong, we gradually become alive and very few of us die suddenly. We gradually acquire the rights and responsibilities of personhood and we sometimes gradually, sometimes suddenly, loose those rights either all at once or slowly bit by bit.
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 22:57:45 PM »

And yet we do not agonize over all this wasted potential at all.
Unless you happen to be a pope bound by 1,700+ years of tradition and burdened by the weight of your many predecessors’ infallibility on such questions.  In that case, you’re doomed to a farcical pretence of agonising with much solemnity along the lines of “Every sperm is sacred…

The decision of where to place the cut-off point at which life begins is not so much bedevilled by indecisiveness or a lack of/reluctance for greyscale thinking as it is by the absence of universally acceptable criteria for gauging this.  Also, there’s a psychological size/genomic remoteness/familiarity impeding factor.  We feel few moral qualms about swatting a fly or a mosquito.  Killing a snake or lizard is harder, though not as hard as doing in a mouse or a chicken.  A dog or cat or cow would be really hard and a chimpanzee or orang-utan almost impossible for most normal people, especially if we view the means of death as horrific.  It says a lot about our moral perceptions.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2010, 07:48:12 AM »

I'm very outspoken about abortion, I've seen far too many birth defects - both physical and mental - not to be, if the research at the end of the day can prevent any congenital defects, then I'm all for it, and I'm pretty sure it would come up with something. Back in the day deformed babies were left to die, and although it does make me cringe in a corner of my heart, I can see the purpose in that, there is no true life for a family after having a severely disabled child (unless said child are institutionalised and it becomes "society's" problem).

I'm a bit ignorant of the type of research they intend doing, so I wont comment on the broader ethical/moral issues surrounding it, but if it can aid congenital defects or present a cure for existing conditions, why the hell not? We'd still be in the dark ages medically if experiments on animals were'nt done 60 - 80 years ago, and THAT also caused huge outcries of morals and ethics.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2010, 09:21:06 AM »

Indeed, dissecting human corpses used to be a huge taboo, and if people didn't break the laws of the church and do it anyway, we may not have come as far as we have.
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2010, 09:34:22 AM »

I agree with Faerie: the issue is about the purpose and value or research to human/animal life. We've allowed the ethics enshrined in religion to dominate debate about whether stuff is 'good' or 'bad'. Remember when Chris Barnard removed a heart from a brain dead man to transplant to a dying patient, the woo woos started with BS about the man's soul 'sy gevoelentheid' etc. etc? Clearly there are ethical issues but these need to be based on clear reasoning and logic and not emotions.
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Teleological
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2010, 10:17:53 AM »

Indeed, dissecting human corpses used to be a huge taboo, and if people didn't break the laws of the church and do it anyway, we may not have come as far as we have.

Please read here and post anything about the church during the Dark ages and/or middle ages there. Thanks.
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2010, 10:41:19 AM »

interresting fact i found a few days ago.  buddhists allso deny the existance of a soul.  didnt know that. 
just random piece of info.
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Peter Grant
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2010, 12:35:39 PM »

interresting fact i found a few days ago.  buddhists allso deny the existance of a soul.  didnt know that. 
just random piece of info.

Yes, I have also often been surprised by the similarities between Buddhism and naturalism, they also don't believe in a supervisory controlling self or "free will" either.
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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2010, 12:52:06 PM »

really?  didnt know that.
generally i quite enjoy busshist teachings. havent come accross the no free will bit.  obviously werent paying attention all that well.
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