Friday, March 13, 2009

Stem Cell Research

3/13/2009--Last week President Obama dropped Bush Administration restrictions on stem cell research. This research usually destroys a human embryo. Since I think a human embryo is an early stage of an existing human life, I oppose this change. The fact that such research is scientific makes no difference to me. The Nazis conducted real scientific research on human subjects too. It never occurred to me to ask whether their research might save more lives than it took.

Some people who support stem cell research do not agree with me and think that these embryos are the equivalent of any other cells. I have no beef with them. They are just mistaken. They are not immoral. Of course, they should not object to grinding the embryos up for cattle feed, or using them for electricity generation, like the Matrix movies.

But many people, including President Obama, apparently have moral qualms about the destruction of human embryos, even if it potentially helps others. These are the people who emphasize that the embryos are going to be destroyed anyway, which they are. These people remind me of the Chinese government reportedly harvesting organs from condemned prisoners. Such moral blindness is worse than simple intentional evil.

The problems with this position are basically two. First, as long as the destruction of human embryos is pointless, there is the possibility we will wake up and stop it. Stem cell research justifies the creation and destruction of human embryos in fertility treatments. Once that happens, there is no chance that the practice will be halted.

Second, as Marx might have said, stem cell research turns human embryos into a valuable commodity. I don’t know yet what uses capitalism will come up with for them, but don’t be surprised if big money eventually produces embryos just for these uses. Satan without horns is hard to see.

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