What Are Stem CellsQUESTION: What are stem cells?ANSWER:
What are stem cells? Stem cells are primitive cells that are the basis of other types of cells. Also called undifferentiated cells, they are promising for medical research, and could possibly give rise to a cure for some of the hardships that plague us. What has largely been ignored by society is the question of where these stem cells originate.
There are several types of stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are what raise an ethical dilemma. If the embryo is in fact inanimate matter, then the resistance to embryonic stem cell research is ludicrous. Conversely, if the embryo is alive, then embryonic stem cell research is immoral.
In order for the destruction of embryos to be a moral action, one must differentiate between human beings and persons. Historically, this has resulted in catastrophic crimes against Africans, Natives, women, Jews, and many others. However, in the name of compassion, Christian ethicists must demonstrate that this human being is also a person.
This is nothing more than an extension to the ethical debate of when life begins
, and what it means to be human. Life is something universal to all, therefore the definition of its origins is not relative, and it is certainly more than a choice. The zygote is distinct from the mother, and has its own unique DNA pattern. This DNA pattern is a human DNA pattern. From this we deduct the zygote is an autonomous human. Autonomous in this sense is not to say the zygote isn't dependent and doesn't require a proper environment to survive. In that sense, no one is autonomous, as we are all dependent on a proper environment to survive. The autonomy is the autonomy of life; a separate DNA pattern denotes a separate entity.
The result of ignoring the ethical dilemma that is attached to the slaughtering of embryos has proven itself unproductive. The alternative is adult stem cell research (which doesn't involve ethical concerns). Adult stem cell research has been the treatment of many ailments, including brain cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, stroke, and much more. Ignoring ethics, adult stem cell research is advantageous to stem cell research.
We know there is a major ethical dilemma pertaining to embryonic stem cell research. Ignoring the autonomy of the embryo has been a fruitless endeavor upon observing empirical results. The alternative to this immoral action is a more beneficial option.