Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ethics Debate - Biochem - Stem Cell

Very interesting discussion arose today related to stem cell research. On one side of the debate is the group who has relatives, friends, acquaintances that have acquired a disease that is potentially treatable and curable via stem cell. On the other side, is the group that believes all life starts when sperm meets egg and is thereafter, sanctified. There is, of course, an entire mid-section of people who tend to be in the middle of the bell curve, so to speak, and not swayed drastically to one side or the other.

Normally, our biochem class is very quiet. There are few of those in class who raise hands, ask questions, point out novelties (or not) and who hope add to the discussion (/looks around). Then there are those who sit there, taking it all in, not saying a word but hearing everything... and thinking.

Today, the class was very definitely not quiet. Stem cell research. Biochem. The ethics debate begun mid-afternoon could have easily taken the remainder of class and then next few.

When does life start?

What is more valuable - a life already begun in earnest and working, paying taxes, and bearing children? Or the life that has yet to do those things?

What should be done with embryonic cells when the donating parents no longer want them?

Where should the cloning of cells stop? If we start, some would say, we cannot stop. If we don't start, people die of diseases that ravage their systems leaving them physically feeble and in some cases, mentally as well.

If scientists resolve the religious issue, what about the ideological one?

Fascinating day in biochem. Loved it!

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