2006-10-02

What is Life?

Is each individual cell of a complex organism equivalent to the entire organism. Genetically speaking, yes. This has now been demonstrated. An entire mouse has been generated from a single non-reproductive blood cell. An egg cell was also used, but eggs are not themselves viable nor reproductive. This finding makes it clear that there is nothing particularly special about an embryonic stem cell from a philosophical point of view. Real scientists have known this for years despite what religious or political forces may imagine. In 'Monty Python's The Meaning of Life' there is the song 'Every Sperm is Sacred.' This parody of absurd religious thinking now should to be changed to 'Every Cell is Sacred.'

People should have the right to reproduce as they see fit assuming they have paid their dues/taxes to society and are not through recklessness creating a malformed or diseased offspring in an artificial way. Scientists should have the right to experiment with whatever cells they want to which are created artificially and have no possibility of causing human suffering.

1 comment:

Mark said...

What I find interesting is that the so-called concerned religious parties that demand to protect "life" in a philosophical sense by development in reproductive sciences have no concern about the quality of life that those people live. I suppose that it would be "natural" or "god's way" for us to reproduce with abandon until there are 10+ billion of us, but then it would be equally "natural" for Malthusian economics to kick in and for the population to die off.

This is where the "Culture of Life" argument falls flat: why is it wrong to interfere in the "natural" processes of reproduction and "play god", as religious extremists claim, yet prolonging someone's life beyond usefulness or their own desire is necessary? In a "natural" world, such people, as well as say all diabetics, would be dead!!

As far as abortion and stem cells go, I find it interesting that in the reproductive cycle human females have something like 25 miscarriages in their lives without even knowing it. Where's the outcry against these "abortions"? The fanatics opposing scientific development ultimately have an untenable position, but one that sadly somehow motivates enough voters and donors to remain a virulent problem.