Embryonic Stem Cell Debate

About: charles krauthammer - president obama and stem cells -- science fiction - washingtonpost.com

Obama on the question of the question of at what point will a baby get human rights says it is above his pay grade!

source: ...
I suggested the bright line prohibiting the deliberate creation of human embryos solely for the instrumental purpose of research -- a clear violation of the categorical imperative not to make a human life (even if only a potential human life) a means rather than an end.
On this, Obama has nothing to say. He leaves it entirely to the scientists. This is more than moral abdication. It is acquiescence to the mystique of "science" and its inherent moral benevolence. How anyone as sophisticated as Obama can believe this within living memory of Mengele and Tuskegee and the fake (and coercive) South Korean stem cell research is hard to fathom.
Science has everything to say about what is possible. Science has nothing to say about what is permissible. Obama's pretense that he will "restore science to its rightful place" and make science, not ideology, dispositive in moral debates is yet more rhetorical sleight of hand -- this time to abdicate decision-making and color his own ideological preferences as authentically "scientific."
 Does he not think that a cloned human would be of extraordinary scientific interest?
And yet he banned it. Is he so obtuse as not to see that he had just made a choice of ethics over science? Yet, unlike Bush, who painstakingly explained the balance of ethical and scientific goods he was trying to achieve, Obama did not even pretend to make the case why some practices are morally permissible and others not.
...I would like to quote the whole commentary, but won't.  I only repeat my often repeated statement that human reproduction from conception to birth is none of the governments' business. No taxpayer money should go to any interference in the process including using embryos as a farm for so-called scientific curiosity. The subject should be included and kept as sacred as the first amendment.
So far nobody has answered the thrice asked on fbi question of how Obama justifies passing judgement against cloning for reproduction but not using embryos for experimentation.
Obama's executive order is here.

Tags

  1. stem cells
  2. embryos
  3. embryonic stem cells
  4. ethics
  5. science
  6. executive orders

Comments


Seth says
source: MR asks above
how Obama justifies passing judgement against cloning for reproduction but not using embryos for experimentation.
... because they are radically different things.  One is research done under strict guidelines for the purpose of better medicine.  The other is a radical change in the human predicament.  He is permitting research for better medicine and saying that this step cannot be used to re-engineer the way we reproduce.   Here is the exact quote ...
source: Obama at whitehouse.gov
I can also promise that we will never undertake this research lightly. We will support it only when it is both scientifically worthy and responsibly conducted. We will develop strict guidelines, which we will rigorously enforce, because we cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse. And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.
Now i do understand the argument that goes: once you do not allow faith based assumptions to restrain scientific research, you have no justification for drawing the line anywhere.  But there is no way that Obama has accepted or espoused that argument.  Nor should he - it is a ridiculous argument.  So he has drawn this line in the sand.  I think it is a good line to draw. Don't you?



Mark de LA says
seth 2009-03-14 13:36:18 11631
... because they are radically different things. 
It's not much different than which already goes on in fertility clinics to make babies for the childless!
source: Obama at whitehouse.gov
I can also promise that we will never undertake this research lightly. We will support it only when it is both scientifically worthy and responsibly conducted. We will develop strict guidelines, which we will rigorously enforce, because we cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse. And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.
This is 95% spin. Is his promise like his no earmark promise? It is all generalizations wordsmithed to give an impression - symbolism over substance. He gives no clue as to how he arrived at the last sentence in the quote.
Now i do understand the argument that goes: once you do not allow faith based assumptions to restrain scientific research, you have no justification for drawing the line anywhere.  But there is no way that Obama has accepted or espoused that argument.  Nor should he - it is a ridiculous argument.  So he has drawn this line in the sand.  I think it is a good line to draw. Don't you?
Nope! Your strawman notwithstanding, the line in the sand should be drawn before experimenting on human embryos.

Seth says
source: MR above
Your strawman notwithstanding, the line in the sand should be drawn before experimenting on human embryos.
I did not introduce the strawman, Krauthammer did.  I simply stripped out some of the confusion and plainly stated the assumption that gives meaning to your question: "how Obama justifies passing judgement against cloning for reproduction but not using embryos for experimentation." 

It is interesting that if you remove faith from that assumption it becomes even clearer: "once you do not allow ethics to restrain scientific research, you have no justification for restraining science at all".  If you accept the premis of the assumption, then Obama has no rational whatsoever for drawing the line at cloning for reproduction.  That was Krauthammer's point and i had though it was your point as well.  Me i think the assumption is rediculous because obviously we must allow ethics to restrain scientific research ... at least at the point where it changes the basic human perdicament in an dangerously unpredicatable way.

But I respect that you would draw the line differently. 

Mark de LA says
The question is still unanswered. The question is legitimate.  What is the source of Obama's ethics if not faith?  Remember it's above his pay grade to decide.  I say Obama's ethics are purely opportune & pragmatic.  There are a lot of lobbyists looking for stem cell research dollars. He has a gigantic slush fund to spend.  There is a lot of press against cloning. Some of the anti-clone people bring up images of Nazi concentration camp medical experiments to make their case.  The liberal lobby is for the $$$ & the use of embryonic stem cells; half-way making a nice outcome to assuage the guilt of those who have abortions. Somewhere I read that stem cells can be harvested from other body cells & in particular slunk. The argument is specious that real scientists need stem cells from embryos. Stem cell experimentation has not been illegal in the US or Europe. It's all about the money.

Mark de LA says
seth 2009-03-14 15:22:20 11631
source: MR asks
What is the source of Obama's ethics if not faith?
You don't need faith to draw the line at cloning for reproduction.  Obama gave the secular reason in his speech: "It is dangerous [,...,] and has no place in our society, or any society".

Also i don't see any problem with pragmatism in ethics.  Impractical ethics is ... err .. impractical. 

Now did he take this opportunity to make a stand against cloning to pull the rug out of those  propagandists who were twisting stem cell research into shades of "images of Nazi concentration camp medical experiments" ... yes, certainly.  Good for him!
His statement is just a declaration without any source explanation, unless he is indeed the messiah & his words the words of God.


Seth says
The cartoon in this item is indeed funny.  I think a more interesting discussion would be to examine the premises of that cartoon.  When does a soul attach to a body?  Sure it is a question of faith ... but it might make a interesting discussion.  My point would be that if you go with the Pope, then you need to recognize that there are a whole lot more souls than if you go with the Roe.  I would ask what is the content or value of those souls?  Are they all new souls or do they cycle through in a mad dash to grow up?  Where does it hurt, who is damaged, were some of them to recycle through again in the hope that medicine will improve?  What is the difference between that and a soldier sacrificing himself on the battlefield to defend freedom? 

Mark de LA says
seth 2009-03-14 16:01:15 11631
The cartoon in this item is indeed funny.  I think a more interesting discussion would be to examine the premises of that cartoon.  When does a soul attach to a body?  Sure it is a question of faith ... but it might make a interesting discussion.  My point would be that if you go with the Pope, then you need to recognize that there are a whole lot more souls than if you go with the Roe.  I would ask what is the content or value of those souls?  Are they all new souls or do they cycle through in a mad dash to grow up?  Where does it hurt, who is damaged, were some of them to recycle through again in the hope that medicine will improve?  What is the difference between that and a soldier sacrificing himself on the battlefield to defend freedom? 
Why not throw in suicide bombers as well? I don't know that it would be a very fruitful discussion since it would be heavily laden with beliefs.  I lean toward RS & Anthroposophical World outlook with anectdotal evidence from my experience etc. Anyway, open another item if you so choose - this one is beginning to draw to a close.


Mark de LA says
seth 2009-03-14 16:07:02 11631
source: MR above
His statement is just a declaration without any source explanation
Yes indeed, but it is common sense.  Where is it written that every common sense judgment must be sourced?
It is not necessarily common sense to me when weighing one against the other - cloning versus embryo experimentation. I don't take him as a god or king or dictator. The point in fact is that if he sourced his comment from faith then he would have to begin to wonder about his stand on abortion.
 

Mark de LA says
WTF?
source: ... On Wednesday, President Obama signed a law that bans federal funding of any research that leads to the destruction of human embryos just two days after lifting Bush-era restraints on it.
... just so he could get his slush fund through congress? or did he just not read the bill in the first place?  He got caught in a sticky wicket or was it Dickey-Wicker?
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Mark de LA says
source: ... This provision, known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment, was included in the 465-page omnibus spending bill that will fund government agencies through September. The amendment is a measure Congress has included in spending bills in every fiscal year since 1996.
... apparently then even Clinton signed bills with this in it. And they beat up on Bush for restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, WTF?


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