“I Think I Get It Now,” by John Podhoretz, The Corner, 6 August 2005, http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_07_31_corner-archive.asp#072197.
“I support stem cell research using embryos left over from fertilization…,” by Sophia, Clean Cut Kid, 8 August 2005, http://www.cleancutkid.com/2005/08/06/dobson-stem-cells-and-the-right.
Liberal CCK commentator Sophia abrasively defends embryonic stem cell research from an overbearing “culture of life”
Those embryos and blastocysts are just little gobs of cells for Peteâ€™s sake! They donâ€™t think, talk, plan, experience. They are just little blobs of cells, and those little blobs of cells could make dramatic changes for millions and billions of suffering people.
We donâ€™t have proof that those stem cells will vastly improve quality of life – because we havenâ€™t had the opportunity to do the research. We donâ€™t have proof that they wonâ€™t make those wonderful changes either.
Yup, they could be misused. As George Will said in todayâ€™s column, we live our lives on a slippery slope of one kind or another.
This â€œsanctity of lifeâ€ thing has gone way overboard. When there is a death, even of a real, living, breathing, existing child, there is something to mourn. At a funeral for a five month old, the pastor related the familyâ€™s story of how this little boy liked to ride in his stroller, how his hair was growing, etc. What is there to say about an embryo, a blastocyst?
But, but, but it might become. . . Yeah, it might become anything. Or nothing.
Conservative NRO commentator John says almost the exact same thing, echoing the ancient Talmud
But as I’ve been trying to argue, the morality here isn’t as clear-cut as you would like it to be. Perhaps it is for a practicing Catholic, for example, because the doctrine of the church is that all embryo creation outside the womb is a sinful act to begin with. But for a practicing Jew like me, for instance, the moral framework has a different baseline.
The Talmud says any embryo-fetus under the age of 40 days is to be deemed “like water.” That sounds harsh, though I believe its initial intention was to limit the emotional involvement of parents in the very early stages of pregnancy, when something like 25 percent of all fetuses naturally abort.
In any case, the code of ethics outlined in the Old Testament and the Talmud is based in the admonition in Leviticus to “choose life.” In the case of embryonic stem-cell research, an argument can be made that such research does just that.
John concludes his thoughts by criticizing the increasingly empty arguments of the anti-researchers, and sees himself drifting to support federal funding of such research. Increasingly, I agree with John
Now here’s the thing. I am not even ARGUING in favor of embryonic stem-cell research. I find myself in some sympathy with the argument that any such research represents a journey down a potentially treacherous and immoral road. But I have to tell you, if brilliant polemicists like you can’t make better arguments than the ones you’ve been making, you’re helping to lead me toward that slippery slope….And here endeth my disquisitions on this subject. (For now.)