Wednesday, October 29, 2008

UCC and Embryonic research.

"The governing body of UCC yesterday voted in favour of the proposal, but the controversial vote was only won by the narrowest of margins — 16 to 15 votes."
The rest of the article is here.
naturally the Church is up in about it but they wouldn't be the only ones. I find it a strange decision myself, not that I am against scientific research, but why we are importing embryos? Doesn't it strike you as slightly hypocritical? We export our abortion problem and import embryos? What is the objection to the research? Is it a moral quagmire? Is it belief in the value of an embryo? But aren't thousands of embryos destroyed routinely during IVF in this country already? I don't know enough about it really, but I believe stem cell research can benefit people who are suffering from all manner of genetic diseases. Surely the value of lives already lived is worth more that non-implanted potential lives? Or is that just a slippery slope?
What do you think?

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23 Comments:

Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Its a complete grey area for me FMC - I don't know enough about the research to have a valid opinion on it, but I'm generally in favour of stem cell research and pro choice.

Docky James should be able to enlighten us.

10:11 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Aye, that's what I was thinking. It's such a divisive issue that you really need to keep and open mind and listen to the pros and cons.
Cold isn't it? I think it's snowing across the country and it looks like it might start here too.

10:13 a.m.  
Blogger Kim Ayres said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:39 a.m.  
Blogger Kim Ayres said...

In order to clarify your thoughts, you need to reflect on:

a) at what point you believe life begins,
b) at what point you believe that life has value, and
c) whether you believe the value of life is absolute, or on a hierarchical scale
(c-supplemental - what is your criteria for hierarchical placement on various lives)

Looking at these questions helps to give you a framework from which to start evaluating the issues from a perspective that is meaningful to you.

Hope that helps.

But never ask a philosopher for a straightforward yes/no answer:)

10:41 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Yikes, I'm not sure that won't cause me a fuddled brain for most of the afternoon.
I would always put more value on an actual living breathing person before a non- conscious embyro. I don't believe life begins at conception and I don't believe in souls, so the religious objection is moot.
I think what irks me more is the importing. It's like we're washing our hands of the icky question of where the embryos might come from, but allowing ourselves to profit from them none the less, not monetarily, but from their use.
We're funny that way I think, we like to do the whole, 'oh if it's under the carpet we don't have to think or deal with anything unpleasant'. I've alway found it vile that we export our unwanted pregnancies to the UK, this just smacks of more head in the sand antics.
Damn you Philosophers!

10:49 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

No precise knowledge in this area. I always wonder if there are different categories of stem cell and whether embryonic stem cells are, so to speak, the 'best' for research purposes? Doccy James?

10:49 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I always thought it was because embryonic cells had the capacity to develop- like they were almost raw data, but I could be completely wrong.
Have you got snow Conan?

11:10 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Unfortunately not, too low-lying or southerly or both. Just drizzle, constant drizzling damp...

11:36 a.m.  
Blogger Kim Ayres said...

Ah well, how you feel about holding on to 2 entirely contrasting beliefs is another question.

It's a bit like being pro-life and pro-war.

Not that I mentioned Sarah Palin out loud.

11:38 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Kim, if you look up the words 'cognitive dissonance' in a dictionary you'll see that vile woman wink back at you.

Conan, it's the same here, but sleet and bloody freezing.

12:49 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

I'm pretty much with you, Cat. Seems a bit hypocritical to export a problem, then import the results of the solution to the problem to study and fix other problems. Why not save them the trip?

To me, a group of cells in a petrie dish are nowhere near as important as living people who are suffering with some dread disease or spinal injury. Not sure if I believe in a soul or not - I think that's pretty much an unanswerable question - but I DON'T believe those cells are conscious or capable of suffering in the same way as a living person with said diseases or injuries...

Christ, you had to bring up the Palin moron. Can you believe the ignorance? This fruit fly comment has my head spinning. Good article by Hitchens in Slate about it. I would love to be inside his head for an afternoon. I bet it'd be exhausting.

1:35 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

Add stem cells to a soup or stew to give it a delicious spicey kick!

1:37 p.m.  
OpenID grimsaburger said...

My imperfect understanding of stem cells is that non-embryonic stem cells need a lot of intervention to make them do what embryonic stem cells do more naturally, and even then, we haven't reached a point of parity with regard to research capabilities. Embryonic stem cells are still the gold standard.

I think you're perfectly right to point out the ridiculousness in importing embryos to try to get around moral implications. Head in the sand indeed.
As far as I'm concerned, if you give embryos a special status, legal or moral or otherwise, you have to deal likewise with miscarriage--an astonishingly high percentage of pregnancies (as much as a third) end for no reason except cells didn't divide quite like they were supposed to. Do you simply call that a sad story while calling the intentional use of leftover IVF embryos murder or some such? Slippery slope be damned (it's the last refuge of a losing debater, anyway), no one is going to take up embryo farming to feed biomedical research.

I'm 11 weeks pregnant, and very, very happily so, but I'm just now getting around to maybe, possibly feeling comfortable with thinking of the little bean as a future person. This may just be self-defense in case something terrible happens before the magic 12-week mark, and argument by anecdote is not terribly convincing, but there it is anyway.

1:42 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

Congratulations, Grims!

1:51 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Mazel tov, Grims!

I'm all for embryonic stem cells for research.

2:06 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Top bunning Grims! I think around the 12 week mark is when most women begin to get comfortable telling other folk. Many many happy congrats to you and Mr Grims.

2:11 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Congrats Grims!

2:24 p.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

congrats, grims!

i'm pro-stem cell research. 100%, all the way. you start saying that life begins at conception, and you start making abortion illegal. in montana they tried to pass an initiative that clearly stated life began at conception, and anyone who terminated that would be considered a felon - even in the cases of spontaneous miscarriage.

not every sperm deserves a name.

as for why stem cells are so hotly debated, i think that a lot of it comes down to the persistent disconnect between the language of science, and public perception of science. there's a big philosophical debate over whose responsibility it is to translate, and for whom.

3:29 p.m.  
OpenID grimsaburger said...

Thanks, y'all! I apologize for having derailed the conversation somewhat... carry on!

5:19 p.m.  
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