Embryonic Stem Cell Research Back On; God Pissed

President Obama has announced that US federal funding will resume for embryonic stem cell research. Burn victims, suffers of Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, heart disease, type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and any number of other horrific conditions have moved one small step closer to having their daily pain ameliorated.

Meanwhile, Kansas Senator and general all-around real-good-Christian-type Sam Brownback, says:

“If an embryo is a life, and I believe strongly that it is life, then no government has the right to sanction their destruction for research purposes.”

Nothing like moral equivocation between the demonstrable, quantifiable pain experienced by millions of sentient people around the world each and every day for the rest of their lives and the “destruction” of an otherwise-non-viable mass of cells. Nothing like comparing the agony that families have to go through watching their loved ones die a slow, excruciating death to the termination of a pregnancy.

A fine example of just how religion replaces real moral values (like trying to lift the suffering of your fellow humans) with imaginary ones (like trying to do the will of your particular version of the invisible creator of the universe).

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7 Responses to Embryonic Stem Cell Research Back On; God Pissed

  1. elfy says:

    Women lose ova every month. Men lose spermatosoids at even higher rate. In broad sense, the DNA set of gametes is not identical to that of the organism they were produced in. So it’s basically «a destruction of a life» to quote Brownback. Why doesn’t religion have any concerns with this?

  2. roscoe says:

    Becuase if you’ve done your research there are good, philosophical reasons not to care about sperm and ova. Specifically, they are still parts of the original person. Neither of the gametes are in self-directed growth. They fulfill roles for the being they came from, namely, to propagate their genes. These parts of the parents cannot be considered persons because they do not constitute, in and of themselves, a unique being. Obviously, this is a very poor formulation of a very good philosophical argument. I urge you to educate yourself before commenting. But of course, it’s all too easy to chalk it up to ‘placating an invisible being’ if you aren’t willing to debate.

    And as for the original article, it’s nice to see that scientist over here so obviously knows about morality enough to make such a bold assertion about “real moral values” without critically assessing the valid arguments of the other side. Again, it’s easy to show your arguments are right when you juxtapose them with the “invisible being” argument. Of course, sentient beings that feel are clearly more important than beings that don’t feel. That’s just a prima facie truth, is it?

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling you a Satinist for believing what you do, that would be judging you, and only God can do that. That is for proud Christians. I merely wish to point out how little weight anyone should place on your posts because you do not present a balanced discussion. And, granted, it probably isn’t your duty to provide others’ arguments, merely your own, but in a true academic setting, which it doesn’t seem you are familiar with, intellectuals are comfortable enough with their beliefs that they present both sides for critique in the spirit of truth. You’re probably all about infanticide too, right? Which is fine, but when it comes to something so repulsive as that, it takes strong philosophical arguments to back them up, so as to show that our initial revulsion is not rationally warranted. So far, you haven’t provided any.

  3. edge100 says:

    Roscoe,

    You’re quite right; it’s not my responsibility to make the other side’s ‘case’ for them. If you feel the argument is more complex than ‘real human suffering vs. invisible being disapproves of certain types of biomedical research’, then make the case. You can use these forums, and we can have a legitimate debate, where we discuss the nuances of the topic. I always (always!) invite theists to come on here and tell me I’m wrong and explain why. Don’t just say “there are good, philosophical reasons not to care about sperm and ova”; give the reasons.

    That said, should you wish to invoke ‘god’ at any point, I have to ask that you provide valid evidence for god’s existence; otherwise, I get to use leprechauns at my discretion.

  4. roscoe says:

    edge100 (I seem to not know your name),

    Thanks for the invite. I tried to make a simple outline of the philosophical argument, specifically that the sperm and ova are part of the mother and father. I’m sorry I didn’t add anything more. This quote is taken from Patrick Lee and Robert P. George’s article “The Wrong of Abortion”:

    “Sometimes it is objected that if we say human embryos are human beings, on the
    grounds that they have the potential to become mature humans, the same will have
    to be said of sperm and ova. This objection is untenable. The human embryo is radically
    unlike the sperm and ova, the sex cells. The sex cells are manifestly not whole
    or complete organisms. They are not only genetically but also functionally identifiable
    as parts of the male or female potential parents. They clearly are destined either
    to combine with an ovum or sperm or die. Even when they succeed in causing fertilization,
    they do not survive; rather, their genetic material enters into the composition
    of a distinct, new organism.”

    And, of course, I would never bring up God in any of our discussions if we are not talking about religious arguments. Most people don’t know what they are talking about when they say God, anyway, (including me), so how can He possibly be used to argue anything coherent?

  5. elfy says:

    Your position has some weak points. At first, ova are capable of partenogenesis, though this is rarely if anytime seen in humans, this is a fact. An ovum may develop into an organism.
    Also, speaking of genetical identification — this is obviously not true. As a result of crossingover, the chromosomes of a gamete are very different compared to ones of a parent organism. Well, yes, they do share genes, but that is also applicable speaking of offspring.
    As to ovum life cycle — it clearly survives the fertilization and then divides into a first pair of embryo cells. How do you tell the ovum dies or not?

  6. roscoe says:

    So, first off, thank you for your thoughtful comment, elfy, it is clearly educated and in the spirit of discourse. I will preface by saying that I am not a biologist nor will I pretend to be, so feel free to criticize anything I say, but, given that I’ve studied a tad on this stuff, allow me to comment on your counter-arguments.

    To your first objection: This is the easiest to refute, as mere potential does not constitute the same thing as the unique organism that is the zygote and then the embryo. Just because it MAY develop into an organism does not mean that it is an organism in the way that is described above.

    To your second point: while it may be true that both offspring and gametes are genetically identifiable as that of the parent organism, it cannot be said that the offspring is in any way functionally identifiable as a part of the parent organism. That is where the distinction is best seen. I will quote from the paragraph before the one I did in my previous post.

    “There are three important points we wish to make about this human embryo. First,
    it is from the start distinct from any cell of the mother or of the father. This is clear
    because it is growing in its own distinct direction. Its growth is internally directed to
    its own survival and maturation. Second, the embryo is human: it has the genetic
    makeup characteristic of human beings. Third, and most importantly, the embryo is
    a complete or whole organism, though immature. The human embryo, from conception
    onward, is fully programmed actively to develop himself or herself to the mature
    stage of a human being, and, unless prevented by disease or violence, will actually do
    so, despite possibly significant variation in environment (in the mother’s womb). None
    of the changes that occur to the embryo after fertilization, for as long as he or she
    survives, generates a new direction of growth. Rather, all of the changes (for example,
    those involving nutrition and environment) either facilitate or retard the internally
    directed growth of this persisting individual.”

    As for the last point, when you say that “it clearly survives the fertilization” I think you mean to say that it becomes a fertilized ovum, which, I believe, is the exact definition of a zygote. The ovum no longer is, rather a new and unique organism is found in the zygote.

    Please let me know if I have not addressed your points properly or if you wish to comment on anything I have presented. Thanks for your time, elfy.

  7. Tony Kaye says:

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