Saturday, April 7, 2012

stem cell research

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Stem cells look to be nothing more than a hollow sphere composed of a clump of tiny,


roundish balls. In reality, they are much more than that. Those 40 cells contain all the


potential to become a living, breathing human being. Many scientists believe that these


cells also have the potential to cure a myriad of diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease,


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Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and many others. The cells of the four day old human


embryo can be programmed to become virtually any cell in the body making them a very


valuable commodity. All this sounds very promising until one realizes the cost of


acquiring these miracle cells. Gathering stem cells from human embryos can be looked


at as nothing less that taking a life. (Begley )


There are multiple reasons that the government should not fund research on


embryonic stem cells but the most important has got to be the inevitable destruction of


life involved. What good is saving lives when they are being taken at the same time?


How much since does that make? Who are we to decide whether these embryos get their


chance at life or not? Making a decision like that is playing God. Pure and simple. We


don’t even know for sure that stem cells can live up to the expectations that scientists


have for them. That fact makes stem cell research nothing more than a gamble that


might save some lives, but will definitely cost some in the process. Can it really be worth


it?


Even if stem cells could turn out to be the miracle cure that scientists hope they


are, think of the effect on the population and economy. Imagine what it would be like if


there was a sharp increase in the elderly population. Perhaps two or three times the


number of citizens eligible for social security. The drain that such an occurrence would


put on the economy is almost immeasurable. It would lead to a host of undesirable


effects, most notably an inevitable tax increase to support all of the elderly who would


depend on their monthly social security check as their only source of income.


While the harvesting of embryonic stem cells should be out of the question,


research on adult stem cells could be looked at as a very real possibility. As Sen. Sam


Brownback put it why “kill anybody,” when we can use the cells of willing adults for


research by simply drawing blood. Last fall, researchers announced that they been able to


transform human bone marrow cells into neurons. This research is a substantial piece of


evidence in the campaign for the use of adult stem cells instead of the embryonic variety.


As Dr. Ira Black of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School stated “It raises possibility


that all of us are harboring the seeds of our own self-renewal.” Adult stem cells are


vastly easier to obtain, and they are also more plentiful. Using these cells would


irradicate the need for the embryonic variety and end the current assault on human life.


(Begley 7)


Many advocates of embryonic stem cell research would argue that “No paper


shows definitively any adult stem cell in humans turning into anything else,” as


Stanford’s Irv Weissman put it. There are also several claims that adult cells proliferate


much more slowly than embryonic ones, and that they may not provide a renewing source


of new stem cells. Many also reason that banning research on the precious cells would


cause future people to suffer and die when there might be a way to save them. Still


others don’t even consider the cells as life. (Begley 7)


These arguments might raise some questions until the we realize that they ignore


the issues of ethics and morality. Adult cells are more easily obtained, therefore research


on them is easier. If there is any way that stem cells can benefit us medically, the answer


will be found through them. Early research suggests that adult cells reproduce slower


than embryonic cells, but the supply of adult cells is seemingly infinite. This cancels the


issue of slower proliferation. Advocates of stem cell research are so caught up in the


future and what could be accomplished, they fail to focus on what is important, the


present. To get to their cures, they must first destroy living human embryos to obtain the


stem cells. There is no justifiable reason to take this route, especially with the Presidents


promise to provide “aggressive federal funding of research on the umbilical-cord,


placenta, and adult and animal stem cells, which do not involve the same dilemma.”


(Lacayo 1)


The bottom line on this issue is that we don’t know for sure if embryonic cells


can cure anything, and researching them requires us to destroy something that is alive.


Something that given the opportunity can become a full fledged, living, breathing, human


being. They have the right to live, and not to be destroyed, just like anyone else. Taking


one life to save another, it cant possibly be worth it. Experimentation like this is a crime


no less than abortion and cannot be morally justified. We should think long and hard


before giving government money to a project like this.





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