July 11, 2001
8:54 PM   Subscribe

This breaking story brings a new aspect to a complex debate. Reasearchers in a private clinic in the US have created human embryos specifically for the purpose of extracting stem cells. This seems a good platform on which to discuss the wider issue of the interaction between public/private research funding, technology and life. Here's hoping it won't just end up a pro-life/pro-choice bloodbath.
posted by davehat (7 comments total)
Gah! Please scroll up if you click the link I put up front, or click here.
posted by davehat at 8:57 PM on July 11, 2001

"BOTTOM LINE: The president has not set a timetable for his decision on federal funding of stem cell research, saying he must weigh all sides of the issue carefully, but White House officials say a decision is expected sometime in July. "

Thank you CNN for giving me the bottom line. I realize this *sarcasm* is a thread-hijack, but at this point in the evening I find the way the regular ol' media chooses to report this stuff more interesting than the 'story' itself.

And you?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:34 AM on July 12, 2001

stavros: Well, I agree that the media isn't helping in debate on this issue. I chose this site to link to as it raised these points for discussion within the article:

• Could stem cell research really hold the promise scientists hope it holds?

• Is there an ethical difference between creating human embryos specifically for stem cell extraction versus extraction from embryos left over from fertility treatments or abortion?

• Would a breakthrough in stem cell research change the nature of the debate?

I read this background a few days ago. I then realised that media coverage surrounding it is bi-polar to say the least.

On the one hand there is this type of article. On the other there is this kind of arcticle.

Furthermore, MeFiers have recently become worried about posting to articles that they feel will descend into mud slinging. I realise that that is the only destiny for a post like this.

Myself, I am undecided on the issue of cell stem research but since there appear to be people from both sides of the pro-life/pro-choice view point who find themselves in the same boat, I had thought that we could at least cover some of the points here on this thread and that other more informed people, or people who have found other interesting sources of material about the issue might post here.

Unfortunately I feel I have to call a close before anyone started because it just seems impossible for someone not to end up offending someone else.

I think this is a shame.
posted by davehat at 5:04 AM on July 12, 2001

I saw this article on the subject at Wired, and I know people take this stuff seriously, but this quote towards the end really cracks me up:

My bottom line is: Little babies are dying a horrible death. What's wrong with the president?

Stop giggling, y'all. This is serious, isn't it?
posted by techgnollogic at 7:22 AM on July 12, 2001

Yes, it is serious. Serious enough to warrant horseshit like:

Little babies are dying a horrible death.

No, they aren't. Embryos are being used. They are not babies.
posted by Skot at 8:48 AM on July 12, 2001

Can anybody who understands this better than me explain why this is even an issue when it seems we're already getting stem cells from marrow?

Are the stem cells fetuses produce better or different in some way?
posted by willnot at 4:44 PM on July 12, 2001

willnot: for a scientific background, try reading the paper I linked to above. It has a whole section on the supposed limitations of using adult stem cells. The bit you're after is under the heading:

Why not just pursue research with adult stem cells?
posted by davehat at 6:17 PM on July 12, 2001

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