The stem cell debate

The stem cell question facing President Bush is simply a question of whether the federal government will fund such research.  It is not a question of the morality of such research because the decision has already been made world wide that this science will proceed.  And it will proceed because it has the capability of reducing a great deal of misery that presently exists for many people in the world.  The importance of the federal question relates to the amount of money that could be applied to stem cell research as opposed to the limited private sources that must fund it presently.

From a practical point of view, there are virtually no human beings who would object to the research if it held out a ray of hope for the healing of their sick or imparied children, parents, brothers or sisters.  When the decision directly impacts on one's loved ones, the morality question, even though it may be considered, will virtually always take a back seat to the attempted healing and the reduction of pain and suffering of one's loved ones.

The majority of people who are presently considering the morality of such research are those who do not have a personal stake in the outcome.  (It is the people who have health insurance that determine that the 20 million Americans who do not have health insurance don't need it.  It is the people who have not had loved ones die as a result of HMO decisions to deny testing that oppose limiting the damages that can be extracted from HMO's for pursuing profits as opposed to humanity.  It is not the people who have loved ones with AIDS that determine the level of funds for research.  It is much easier to moralize these issues when one does not have a personal stake in the outcome.

I believe that all people who are confronted with a loved one who can benefit from stem cell research will advocate the advancement and governmental funding of that science.  Therefore, I am for governmental funding of stem cell research regardless of the source of the stem cells.

I believe that the soul attaches at conception but I also believe that we have the moral obligation to expand the science of stem cell research for the purpose of releving the human suffering that presently exists in the world.  I believe that harvesting stem cells from an embryo that has not yet begun to even resemble a human being and one which has absolutely no chance of survival outside the womb is ethical and moral.  I do not believe that it is God's plan to make humanity conscious of the possibility of improving the human condition and then place a prohibition against pursuing that avenue of research.

I do not presume to know God's plan for humanity but I believe that the holy scriptures tend to mandate that human beings use all the tools possible to improve the human condition.  Without question, as these questions present themselves, they must be debated and considered from all perspectives. 

In the matter of stem cell research, I believe it is immoral and sadistic to insist that human beings suffer because certain unaffected individuals have determined that they know God's will.  When Job asked God why some people suffer and some do not, and why the wicked prosper and the goodly suffer, and why there seems to be no justice in the world,  God refused to answer.  Instead God simply asked Job who Job was to question what God was doing.

I personally believe that we have a mandate from God to do everything possible to uplift the human condition, to relieve pain and suffering, to empty all the hospitals, to eliminate all the genetic defects that are a natural product of conception, to extend human life as much as possible, and to continue to explore all avenues of medical research to those ends.

There is no doubt that society is presently evolving through millennia of years in decades of years.  Our science and technology are expanding geometrically but our social and spiritual philosophies have not similarly expanded to give us easy answers to complex ethical, moral and spiritual questions.  Due to the revolution in genetic research which will soon allow is to not only grow replacement human organs and extend and improve the human biology but will also one day soon allow us to genetically engineer a new race of beings to carry the human seed to distant planets and stars, it is important that the people elect leaders of our states and nations who have a firm ethical, moral and spiritual foundation from which to lead the debate with regards to these enigmatic and paradoxical issues.

It is hard to know what to do in these times.  Therefore, it is mandatory that we immediately begin to place great emphasis on the ethical, moral and spiritual aspects of our technology or we shall surely lose our way as we continue to rapidly expand our conscious understanding of God's infinite universe. 

John WorldPeace

August 12, 2001