July 28th, 2006


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12:22 pm - on children, clones and cell research...

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on children, clones and cell research... - graffiti.maverick

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Comments:


[User Picture]From: bogosort Date: July 28th, 2006 - 05:59 pm (Link)
Not that I've formed enough of an impression on the topic to really decide on whether I'm in favor or against it without reading the specifics of what's allowed, but here's a bit of anti-stem cell funding material to consider(and the anti-stem cell stuff is probably less of what you'll see based on your membership).

While stem cell research does hold the promise to save many lives, the scientists are also playing the politics game in order to get more funding and fame for their research. Not do discount scientists for their work, but it's important to note they have biases like everyone else. Because of this, events like the Korean scientists who lied about their advances in stem cell research occur. With this level of pressure to produce results, scientists will often cross the lines into what's morally wrong in order to make advances. It's easy to look at the end state and find a morally acceptable spot, but the path there is filled with temptations for humans on the path to get there. Harvesting embryos, creating people for organs and then zapping their brains, implanting these embryos into women without their knowledge, growing farms of fetuses and killing all of the non-suitable ones. None of those may make sense scientifically, but I'm sure the researchers can come up with many ways to do worse that I haven't considered. Many do say that the embroys that are going to be used for such research are going to be destroyed anyways, so that's not so much of an issue. Still, keeping funding of research public and having lots of open inquiry is probably the best way of us getting the benefits of the advances while not falling into a bad moral state.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 28th, 2006 - 06:12 pm (Link)
actually, you are right. I am very much looking for opinions contrary to mine, so thank you.

But what your info didn't get into was my point of "who says its immoral?" What is the rational for saying that its wrong to create mindless clones to harvest for organs, for instance? Its the same problem with the abortion argument. Pro-lifers tend to give the "of course its wrong to kill innocent life" argument. Whereas pro-choicers give the "it's not really life" argument. My response is "what defines life, and who says its wrong to kill it?"

Anyway, the other big problem with what you said is it isn't causal. Yes I agree that scientists are human and therefore subject to the same selfishness that the rest of us are. But it doesn't follow that just because someone might do immoral research that no one should be able to do it at all. Someone might use a gun to rob a bank. Somone might get behind the wheel of a car while drunk. But I am still in favor of people having the rights to carry guns and drive cars.
[User Picture]From: bogosort Date: July 28th, 2006 - 06:58 pm (Link)
Deciding what's right and wrong is a very philosophical question, and there is no universal truth as to what is right or wrong. I try to think of things along the lines of what would people in the future consider of our present as barbaric, rather than what we envision as bad. And with that perspective, it's often easier to err on the side of caution rather than tread the line finely. Slavery for example was considered morally right when it was practiced. Had people thought about how future people perceived the past, they might've decided that slavery was wrong. Abortion can be looked at in a similar way. It is a very brutal way of killing human life(another question to be discussed, but one can go with the Star Trek rule of if it can ask for life it's worth defending). Abortion, like slavery, does have many practical benefits to society. Reducing the crime rate is one that's talked about a lot. So there are many who believe that abortion is wrong, yet still think that it should be legal in our society because of the benefits to society. From that perspective, funding stem cell research does benefit society and could outweigh the cost in embryos(which were doomed to the incinerator anyways). However careful monitoring is necessary for when actual tests and trials are done in order to make sure that there is no suffering for people that are born/grown or people that get subjected to such experimentation without proper knowledge.

Also remember that the Bush veto is for a bill for public funding, not to stricly disallow the research. Private corporations are quite welcome to do the research if they want to. Granted public oversight and inquiry into the research is what I'm hoping for with this topic, the Bush administration line is that we haven't exhausted potential research on non-embryonic stem cell research.
[User Picture]From: zyrain Date: July 28th, 2006 - 07:35 pm (Link)
Your first line there is an assertion that is not universally held. In fact, it is held in the minority. Most people do believe that there is a universal right and wrong. Religion is such a powerful force exactly because of that fact.
[User Picture]From: bogosort Date: July 29th, 2006 - 03:24 pm (Link)
Actually, I think you've just argued to me that I am in fact correct in my assertion. There are many religions out there who each believe in their own view of universal right and wrong. Since they are different, clearly there is no such thing from one who takes a step back and takes an objective glance at it.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 31st, 2006 - 02:11 am (Link)
but that's the point really. Its not about universal truth the way its true that gravity always pulls down. Its about conjective truth, like whether or not there's a god. What matters is whether the population in question believes in god (or a soul, or abortion or stem cell research), the rationales behind their beliefs, or the particulars of slight differences between their beliefs isn't strictly relevant.
[User Picture]From: zyrain Date: July 31st, 2006 - 02:53 pm (Link)
That doesn't follow. The holding of different beliefs by different groups yields the conclusion that there is no consensus on what is universally right or wrong, not that universal right and wrong does not exist. One or none of the groups could hold the 'correct' beliefs.

Now, this is playing devil's advocate in some sense, since, personally, I agree with you and that it's obvious to any rational person that morality is subjective. However, rational people only make up about 5% of the population. As such, using rational arguments to justify a stance that affects the whole population may not be useful.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 31st, 2006 - 02:07 am (Link)
exactly...
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 31st, 2006 - 02:06 am (Link)
first paragraph: well, yes, but that's essentially what I'm asking in the question. Where do people stand on that argument?

second paragraph: yeah, I am well aware of that. But again, I'm kind of orthogonal to that point, as I'm not really criticizing Bush's specifc policies, so much as the impetus behind them. Bush didn't veto the bill to save government money. He vetoed the bill to save innocent lives. He clearly personally thinks that the research is wrong. I'm not asking for the opinions of the president, I'm asking for the opinions of the man.
 

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