Tuesday, December 06, 2005

New Questions on a Breakthrough in Human Stem Cell Research - New York Times

Here we have a description of typical adult stem cell cloning research. Let me explain it in ordinary non-scientific language. An adult cell is taken from a patient. The DNA of the cell is used to begat multiple "identical" twins with very similar DNA to the patient. These twins are then killed in order to extract some of their cells. Those extracted cells are then used for a therapy for the patient.

Once we describe what is going on in everyday language another ethical dilemma, unnoticed by the scientific community, becomes more evident. This "therapy" involves killing human beings in order to use their parts to help another human being. True, the humans being killed are very young, and were bred to be used for this purpose. But people made similar arguments in favor of slavery. Any time we try to ignore basic human dignity of some human beings we are on moral thin ice.

It is time for basic moral truths to be re-admitted into the realm of law and public policy. Truths like the fact that we are not justified in ignoring the humanity of some human beings just because killing them is useful. Human cloning for extermination and cloning for reproduction should both be illegal. The first is homicide and the second is child abuse. When will our law makers and courts catch on to this? If they wait too long recognizing the truth will only be more painful. There will be a new class, not unlike the southern slave owners of the 1800's, who have a vested interest in the status quo. Let's learn from history and ban immoral uses of technology before they become extensive industries.

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