npr and stem cell research

From: jack syme <drsyme@cablespeed.com>
Date: Tue Nov 22 2005 - 20:18:36 EST

Perhaps a worthwhile article from NPR today.

http://www.npr.org/takingissue/takingissue_stemcells.html

Some pertinent points:

Robert George in his essay against research on stem cells, claims that the answer to when does a human life begin is not answered by looking at religious texts or "moral intuitions""Rather, the answer is to be found in the works of modern human embryology and developmental biology. In these texts, we find little or nothing in the way of scientific uncertainty: ".human development begins at fertilization." write embryologists Keith Moore and T.V. N. Persaud in The Developing Human (7th edition, 2003), the most widely used textbook on human embryology."

And later he says: "Some today deny the moral premise of my position, namely, that human beings possess inherent dignity and a right to life simply by virtue of their humanity. "

Overall I find his essay oversimplistic. He ignores the problems of twinning and chimerization. Are there two potential human beings at fertilization? If two fertilized eggs fuse into one embryo, is that two humans or one?

Personally, I find it hard to claim, without reference to moral or spiritual guidance, "that human beings possess inherent dignity ...simply by virtue of their humanity" which for him means having been conceived.
Received on Tue Nov 22 20:21:34 2005

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