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December 30, 2006

Stem-cell research

I am starting to wish Missouri’s Amendment 2 didn’t pass. It looks clear that stem-cell opponents are bound and determined to keep cutting-edge science out of Missouri.

If there is one thing that history can tell us about scientific advancements, it’s that science will prevail and religious zealots will fall into obscurity. Only a few hundred years ago, it was heresy to speak of dissecting a human body. Renaissance anatomists fled their homes to London, Copenhagen and Amsterdam to make groundbreaking discoveries in medicine.

Whether it is California, Japan, China or in European countries, advancements will be made and diseases cured. Missourians have the choice to keep cutting-edge science here at home, or outsource it like everything else.

Disappointed science teacher,

D. Tufte
Kansas City

Comments

bmmg39

"I'm pointing out that you insist that your position is strictly science driven, when it is actually based on your set of morals."

Only in the same way that every OTHER position on every issue on earth is based in morals, even when one person's morals conflicts with another's. I write with the assumption that most people in this world are opposed to killing human beings for the sake of medical research. The clear science comes into play when I point out that the human embryos in question are irrefutably human beings. Those who favor destroying them cling to their "morals" just as strongly as I cling to my "morals." The difference: when I refer to the embryos as human beings, I have actual science texts on my side, whereas they have the arguments made by yet other people who wish to perform embryo-destructive research. The whole point of this thread is my taking issue with yet another person accusing ESCR opponents of bringing religion into the debate, when the personhood of the embryos is quite obviously a scientific fact.

"Finally, after months of debate, the people of MO have reached a conclusion on the ethics of ESC research. Contrary to the arguments of many opponents, the decision was made with plenty of facts on the table."

The facts were most certainly NOT on the table because Missourians were told time and time again that A2 "bans cloning," when even people who favor research cloning have described that ploy as deceptive. Support for A2 dropped from around 70% to around 51% in the two months before Election Day, as more people investigated the amendment further. If the vote had taken place a week later, it's very likely that it wouldn't have passed, the support was dropping that quickly. It's wishful thinking on the part of A2 supporters to say that "the people have spoken" and "the issue is closed."

tomw

"You're engaging in what we call a circular argument, Tom."

You've worn that one out, also. One problem, in this thread, I haven't made ANY argument on whether or not we should proceed with ESC research. I'm pointing out that you insist that your position is strictly science driven, when it is actually based on your set of morals. The role of "science" is to explore. The responsibility of society (government or the law) is to determine how to act on science discoveries.

"You seem to suggest that the law is sacrosanct and therefore cannot be changed."

Never said that. In fact, that goes right in hand with my point. Let's use your examples...at one time we thought it was just to consider slaves as 3/5 of a person. Society chose to change that. We have had numerous votes on the restictions of rights of homosexuals. Regardless of my opinion, society has taken a stance. Finally, after months of debate, the people of MO have reached a conclusion on the ethics of ESC research. Contrary to the arguments of many opponents, the decision was made with plenty of facts on the table. You're free (maybe even compelled) to work to change the results of Missouri's decision, but to keep insisting it's all based on science is disingenuous. Society and individuals choose to create and end life everyday. Those decisions are based on individual or collective morals.

bmmg39

If you wish to dismiss the belief that it's wrong to kill people as "morals," fine. "Morals" are the basis for just about every law. Why is it illegal for me to steal your credit-card number? Because I would be infringing upon your right to privacy and taking away your money, which we deem as immoral.

My view most certainly IS based upon science. Science tells us that human embryos (or homosexuals or women or Asians or men or whoever) are human beings. Morals come into play if we then announce that it's wrong to kill human beings, but I think you'll have a hard time finding people who disagree with that basic concept, whether they believe in a higher power or not.

You're engaging in what we call a circular argument, Tom. You argue that embryos should not be given legal protection because the law does not consider them to be human beings. At various times in history, the law has denied other groups of people this same legal protection: Native Americans, African-Americans, women. You seem to suggest that the law is sacrosanct and therefore cannot be changed. History disagrees with you there.

tomw

"No, Tom, the law doesn't trump scientific fact."

You still don't get it. The law determines who has what rights everyday. You have proven once again that your position is based on morals, not science as you claim.

bmmg39

That certainly is a frightening concept, Tom: that the government or the law can decide that a human being isn't really a human being, and thereby it will immediately become so. Do you recall that the law once considered one human being to be, essentially, 3/5 of another?

Once I heard a scary woman call in to a radio show, revealing that she didn't think homosexuals were actual people. I'd like you to imagine several like-minded people obtaining control in some state government, and declaring that gays and lesbians can be legally destroyed because they're "not people."

No, Tom, the law doesn't trump scientific fact. If the government were to pass a law stating that pigeons are members of the plant kingdom, that wouldn't make it so.

tomw

bmmg39-After four months of making the same argument, I think it's time for you to realize something. The debate is not and never has been about scientific definitions. It's about legal definitions.

bmmg39

If you really are a science teacher, D. Tufte, perhaps you'd care to open one of the biology textbooks your school uses. In it, you will likely read that human embryos are, SCIENTIFICALLY, human beings. Then, perhaps, you'll understand that those who oppose it are not religious zealots, but rather people who choose not to ignore seventh-grade science for their own convenient purposes.

 
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