November 01, 2006

Stem Cell Clarification

Kirsten Powers, a pro-life Democrat, wrote an excellent post about embryonic stem cell research earlier today. This issue is overly generalized by the media and a great many politicians. Kirsten's post, while written from a pro-life perspective, helps illuminate its complexity in a very clear manner, and is worth a read regardless of your position.

Posted by Andy at November 1, 2006 10:24 PM to the Politics category

Dude, where's your link?

Posted by: Mei at November 2, 2006 08:26 AM

Ah, I had a dash instead of an equals sign in there. Fixed now.

Posted by: Andy at November 2, 2006 11:50 AM

Interesting article. She touches upon an important point: I think one problem with the stem cell debate is that some people don't understand there is a difference between _adult_ stem cells (where the cells are created from certain cells in the adult body, not creating an embryo but simply duplicating the cells) and _embryonic_ stem cells.

A lot of people say "Stem cell research" and immediately assume it means _embryonic_ stem cell research and get quite huffy about it regardless of their actual stance. The merits of adult versus embryonic research get lost in there somewhere. One wonders if the embryonic stem cell research supporters approached Michael J. Fox with their cause and never explained to him the difference between the different kinds of stem cell treatments.

One thing _I'm_ not clear on is what embryonic stem cell research can accomplish versus adult stem cells. I doubt the supporters of embryonic stem cell research are like, "Yay, let's destroy potential babies just for fun!" There has to be a reason for it. At the same time, what can be accomplished by using adult stem cells gets played down. Supporters of such either research would do well to make clearer to the public what one can do that the other cannot.

She gets a touch preachy during her "ethical" argument, though understandably, it's hard not to. As with so many pro-life arguments, she gets a tad too "OOOOH look at the evil babykillers," and thus doesn't really do the ethical argument justice (just as pro-choice and pro-embryonic stem cell supporters get ridiculous with their "They hate women and killed Superman, the bad bad bad pro-lifers!"). She still makes some good points, but could have served herself better with a slightly more balanced analysis and looked more in depth at HOW other people really view embryos and perhaps, why they don't view embryos the same way she does, before trying to refute it.

I actually agree with a lot of her points, but some of them could have been presented better.

Posted by: DQ at November 2, 2006 01:22 PM

I'm not sure it is possible for anyone to explain opposing views on how they view embryos. I'd like to see it done, but I haven't yet.

If you can find a solid, reasonable counter-argument out there, I will link it here as well to round out the picture. You are entirely correct in the way each side portrays the issue unfairly or incompletely. The media in general prefers to call everything plain ole stem cell research, and I have seen my share of blog arguments on the opposite side suggesting that because little to no research has been done on embryonic lines, no greater benefit exists from adult cells.

Posted by: Andy at November 2, 2006 03:04 PM
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