The other night I watched a show called catalyst, an Australian science program that discusses a number of current scientific issues and the latest research etc. One of the segments involved the ongoing ethical debate surrounding the use of stem cells for scientific purposes. This sparked my mind into thinking, where do I stand on all of this?
To flesh the argument out, the basic dispute lies in the stage at which something can be considered to be a human life. Is for example, a group of cells, such as the ones being considered for scientific purposes, a human life? If not, at what stage in the early development of humans can we consider there to be human life?
If we transfer this onto a religious stage, the program pointed out that Islam considers human life to only be fully formed 40 days following conception, and Jewish people believe a similar thing. This is very different to views held by other religious faiths, and considering my own upbringing as a Catholic adherent, I disagree with this, naturally.
In a Christian sense, the main problem arises when those ethically opposed to the use of cells for research clash with those that believe that to help people with a number of disabilities; it is ethical TO use them. Is either side wrong? Those with a number of disabilities, of which we currently have little understanding, often rely on the use of stem cells to uncover the basis of their disease, and in doing so, hopefully uncover a form of cure for it. This dispute creates major religious tension, and pushes the faith of those involved.
In my own opinion, I have to say, while I have relatively little understanding of the concept, that I am understandably lost on the notion of when it is that “life” as such, begins. I feel however, that there are enough people to benefit from the use of stem cells that it is acceptable to undergo research, but these cells must be treated with respect, and used in a way which minimizes the need to simply throw away such potentially valuable resources.
Immigration: A Different perspective
2 years ago