Tuesday, May 24, 2005

To Those Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research

    To those who argue against embryonic stem cell research because they feel that it destroys a human life in order to save one and because they believe that it is not our place to determine which is more worthy of life, I submit the following hypothetical question.
    Imagine that you are behind a two-way mirror looking in to a room where there is a furnace, a 5-year old girl, and a 5-day old human embryo in a test tube. In 1 hour one of the two will be thrown into the furnace. You decide which one it is. The girl cannot see you through the two-way mirror so you have no feelings of guilt associated with her looking at you and begging for her life. The embryo doesn't even know where the fuck it is, so don't worry about it. Which would you chose? I'm assuming you'd say the girl, and that makes sense. You believe that they are both worth the same, but you have to chose, and you decide to chose the girl. Great.
    Now let's change it up a bit. Now there's 2 embryos in the test tube. Which would you save now? If you would save the embryos (because of reasoning outlined in the first paragraph) then we are indeed very different people. But I'm guessing that almost everyone, in their heart, would chose to save the girl. But what about 3 embryos? 4? 5? How many would it take to make you decide to kill the girl? What if just one test tube full of embryos would be killed to save the little girl? If that seems like a good deal to you, you'll need to justify how you decided that that one girl's life was worth more than the 500 million embryos that were in that test tube (yeah I did the math, I feel soo clever now I probably won't sleep tonight). I believe that most people would save the girl, despite whatever "moral" arguments have been pounded into their heads.
    But this doesn't apply to the real debate you say. In the real world we can save both you say. However, that is incorrect. We do have a furnace in real life. It is called disease. It not only destroys little girls, but boys, women, men, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, best friends, husbands, wives, etc. By fighting against embryonic stem cell research you are effectively throwing the little girl into the fire.
     As for me, I'd destroy all the 5-day old embryos I needed to save someone's loved one.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Tragedy That is the Pro-Life Movement

      Pro-life is a very catchy adjective, it's not hard to tell someone that you're a supporter of life. That is probably the main reason why so many people are persuaded by the pro-life movement's arguments, the name alone. But the problem is that if you look at the arguments, you can plainly see that they aren't for the protection of life, but instead are used to further goals with actually destroy lives.
      First let's talk about the stem-cell research. Stem cells could offer us miraculous ways at bettering people's lives, with the potential for being used to treat diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, spinal cord injury, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and the list goes on. These treatments could save a person's life, thereby greatly increasing their happiness as well as the patient's family and friends. Pro-lifers think this would be great too, except they don't believe that the benefits outweigh the costs. They think that an organism, which is roughly made up of 150 cells, is not worth destroying so that lives can be saved. They feel more compassionate to this cell which has no conciousness and doesn't even know that's it human, than they do to the sick and their family. Here's an interesting parallel: we (especially the republican pro-lifers) believe that war is necessary in order to protect American lives, even if it destroys both American and (in the most recent case) Iraqi lives. It's a sacrifice that must be made to protect those at home from threats that would kill them. Now, let's say that the Iraqis are a dangerous disease. Our American soldiers represent stem cells. Wouldn't it make sense to sacrifice the stem cells in order to save American lives from the disease? It would appear so. The interesting part of this analogy is that it comes to the conclusion that stem cell research is okay even while assuming that a stem cell is worth the same as a human being! Now of course that's ridiculous, but that's exactly what most pro-life supporters believe. I spoke with a christian friend of mine about this a few months back and it was clear that he believed that all human life, no matter at what stage it was at, was equal and that it always was more important to save than any other life, whether it be animal, alien, whatever. I made the argument that the worth of a life was related to the level of conciousness that the living thing experiences. This would put human beings that have been born above all other animals on this earth, but it would not put things as silly as stem cells above or equal to a human being which has memories, desires, a loving family, etc.
      So now that we've seen how the pro-life movement actually harms life, it's also important to realize that the pro-life movement is hypocritical in that they ignore on a daily basis people dying when they could otherwise save them. People all over the world, especially in Africa where it hits hardest, die from starvation. This would seemingly be something that the pro-life movement cares about, but do you hear them talking about it? They got into a huge uproar about Terri Schiavo, who was in a vegetable-like state. Pro-life supporters stood outside the hospital and cried. They demonized her poor husband, who after almost 10 years of caring for her, wanted to move on with his life once he saw she wasn't going to improve. But is anyone crying for the African children who die everyday? No, and it's not because they aren't aware.