Aquarius, the water-bearer

If a child is made in a lab, is it still a child?

 

with the increasing awareness about ALS, comes the increasing controversy among the Pro-Life movement. It’s known that ALS researchers use embryonic as well as adult stem cells. It’s a controversy because laymen are outraged that people are donating embryos to be used for testing. They’re saying that a life should not be saved at the cost of a life that hasn’t even started yet.

This is a cause of struggle for me, mainly because I am first and foremost a follower of Jesus, the Christ. But secondly I am a scientist, and believe that science can be used to help others. So where does life begin? Where does a child become a child? I don’t think we should play God, as I am against abortion; but I don’t know if we should stop searching for a cure for a disease that literally entombs sufferers in their own bodies.

Where do we draw the line?

I am a supporter of adult stem cell research–the stem cell is a pre-differentiated cell that is a great treasure trove of potential knowledge. Embryonic stem cells are even more so. So is there a way that we can morally obtain such cells? I don’t know if we should boycott the entire ALS research movement, as one article I read today suggested. To halt research for a disease that cannot be prevented is just cruel. ALS patients didn’t obtain the disease through poor diet, poor life choices, or anything they did. 1/10 of the time, it’s genetic. The other 90% of the time, it just happened. So what are we to do? Usually the patients are nearing or past 50 when they get the onset of symptoms. Should we just euthanize them, and save them from an excruciating death? No, I don’t think so. That would be unethical. But what kind of sacrifices are we to make? Snuff out the life of test-tube embryos? That’s unethical, too.

I don’t know the answer, and I don’t think anyone does right now. I think that we should always be aware of the causes to which we donate. But I don’t know if we should just not help fund a research movement that could potentially change the lives of those with ALS. I can’t just not help. I’m caught between a rock and a hard place, and that’s a hard place to be.

Degenerative disorders are horrifying. They’re cruel, and at this point, incurable. Should we try to cure them? Or should we let the natural Malthusian scissor do its work?

 

Food for thought.

 

M

 

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