Posted by Peter Lawler
Here’s a small symposium on the newest way of acquiring pluripotent stem-cells without destroying embryos. It includes a contribution by me!
Of course, this is very good news and, at the very least, is evidence that the breakneck speed of scientific advancement warrants and even encourages a cautious prudence when it comes to the potential destruction of life. However, there is a danger that this will be spun as another luddite moment for benighted pro-lifers whose antiquarian concerns will be resolved if they only let science take its course. It's good to find technical solutions to moral problems when we can but not at the expense moral clarity; there are issues at the heart of biotechnology in this country that still beg for serious debate.
How happy for us pro-life "Luddites" that we do not have to trim our ethics to suit the scientific tide. Certainly the debate continues. Today, especially, I thank God for this technological answer to a contentious moral question. This was such good news.
I agree, Kate, and in reference to the "Luddite" remark I was characterizing a position that is not my own. This is wonderful news and yet another thing to be grateful for today.
It is good news, but the moral problem hasn't quite been solved. It simply no longer applies in this case.
The moral problem is the commodification of human life. Some scientists will continue down this path, and even those who have abandoned it reserve the right to resume embryo destruction.
And if we discover that embryos make, say, sturdy shoes, there is no bar to using this "raw material". Only recently have we even been able to protect babies as they are being born, let alone an embryo in a dish.
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