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Question: Embryonic stem cell debate!?
Okay in my college class I was put in a debate I wasn't really prepared or sure that I was going to get!. Seeing how you see the title embryonic stem cell research!. I said that it was cool to do it!. Yeah, yeah I'm going to get the people who gasp and say that's wrong, I don't want to hear that!. I just need some ways, ideas, opinions, options to back up my decision!. Please can anyone help!? Thanks!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker:
I'm sympathetic to this - I am getting into pretty formal debates about the subject myself!. Here's a few things that might help (I assume you'll argue for the research!?):

If they take a moral principle stance: If they argue that it is wrong because it is a living human being, or that in some way it has special 'living' standing, I would say first that they confuse what 'living human' means: by their definition, a human arm hooked up to a machine constitutes the same kind of life - that is clearly not a legitimate thing to say; a human arm does not deserve any protection from the law, does it!? no!. An embryo possesses none of the qualities that make us deserving of rights, responsible for our duties, and it is certainly not capable of decision making, which is the only way someone can be considered responsible at all (without that faculty, a human is just another animal, same as a fish!. No decisions, no responsibility, no special status)!. This usually leads someone to the next type of argument:

If they argue about 'potentiality': some people like to argue that an embryo deserves protection because it has the potential to become a rational, human being!. This is a poor argument because a thing's potential does not change what it actually is at the moment!. A seed has the potential to turn into a tree, but is still merely a seed!. This is why nobody cries when we destroy a seed, but - rightly - cry out when trees are going to be cut down!. Although the two are connected, they are still distinct beings subject to their individual characteristics: in the case of a human person, he/she is rational, capable of decision making, responsible (inherently so), and accountable!. An embryo is such a basic organic thing much too abstract to defend the rights of!.

If I were finishing off the debate, I would do so with the following: "We need to first establish what makes any human special in the first place!. This is usually done through appeals to rationality, or personhood: this is the crux!. To be a PERSON and not simply a human is what makes us deserving of rights and duties!. All the complexity of persons - their thoughts, loves, desires and beliefs, and their flaws - is what makes them special and we should defend that!. In present times what is needed most are solutions to the problems that are bearing down on the 6 billion persons we share the world with!. We need to support justice, equality, and prosperity and desperately need to find a solution to the abhorrent suffering that we see every night on the news!. What matters are people, not a distant abstract organism that can only rely on its biology - which is not enough!."

Sorry for the rant, but I hope it helped getting the juices flowing!. Good luck with the debate!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

Religious people will say, "No stem cell research, because life must be protected", yet when it comes to the 100 million victims of religious killing, they bury their heads in the sand and don't voice a peep!. Aren't they really saying!. "Life must be protected and we will determine the exceptions to the rule"!? Too many diabetics are being deprived a cure because of a God Concept that is based not on proof, but on ancient beliefs!. The biggest hypocrisy is religion that wants to protect life, while believers continue killing in the name of God!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

Evidently embryonic stem cell research can lead to treatments and even cures for all sorts of diseases, among them Alzheimer's and Parkinson's!. Googling your topic will probably provide you with much more, and more specific, information on that aspect of it!.

It may also help to have some answers to the "No! It's wrong!" school of thought!. Many people have strong moral objections to the idea of creating embryos only to destroy them, but suppose anyone who has a miscarriage or a therapeutic abortion were asked to donate the embryo for research!? (Not too different from harvesting the organs of brain-dead patients for transplantation!.) Would that even be feasible!? Would it provide a big enough supply!?Www@QuestionHome@Com

no ideaWww@QuestionHome@Com

The entire argument essentially boils down to whether you consider a blastocyst to be a full human being!. Obviously from a biological perspective, it is not; it has no brain or central nervous system, no sentience!. It has human DNA and, if allowed to grow, would probably _become_ a human being at some later time!. It is a _potential_ human being!. But with advanced cloning techniques, potentially any cell in your body could be developed into another human being!. So since we humans shed thousands of our skin cells every day, is this the equivalent of having thousands of abortions every day!? I'm guessing those opposed to embryonic stem cell research wouldn't go this far!. It would make their argument meaningless!.

Another view, typically argued by religious believers, says that even a blastocyst is a human being because it has a soul!. Oh really!? Can they prove that it does!? (Never mind that it's impossible to prove the existence of souls in full-grown adults!) Where would such a soul reside!? It couldn't be in the brain, because there is no brain present yet!. The only thing that makes a blastocyst human is its DNA!. Are our immortal souls, then, all wound up in the double-helix of DNA!? If so, then we are back to square one, all of us being mass murderers every time we shed a skin cell or bite our lip!. And yet, most religious people believe that the soul is supposed to survive beyond bodily death!. This would imply that the soul is not anchored to the physical body at all!. So if destroying a blastocyst doesn't also destroy its associated soul (assuming it had one to begin with), and it causes the blastocyst no suffering since it can't feel anything, and since no life memories or experiences are being destroyed, then what's the harm!? All I see are potentially great benefits for mankind, aka the already-living!.Www@QuestionHome@Com