I’ve been hesitant to wade into the stem cell debate due to the politicized nature of it, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to write this post. Ultimately, I decided to go ahead and write it and see what happens. With the advent of a new technique, however, the political aspect may soon disappear.
I’ve struggled with this issue ever since it came on the scene. The potential of stem cells is huge, off the charts huge even, but at what cost? On the one hand, I can see the scientific side of this. We can cure diseases that we never had a shot at before. We can possibly regrow lost body parts (organs, limbs, etc). We can provide a better life for humanity and discover amazing new things that we didn’t expect in the process, and all by taking the cells of some embryos and learning how to program them (ID science anyone?) to become what we need them to become. It’s rather amazing.
On the other hand, it required us to destroy a life. Those are living human cells, complete with the genetic code that can determine everything about a person: their skin color, eye color, height, and so many other things. Those embryos are human. They have the genetic code of a human, with all of the traits preprogrammed in and just waiting to be expressed. Is it right to destroy these embryos in order to obtain a better life for the rest of humanity? I won’t pretend to have the answer to that.
Of course, that’s what makes this new work so wonderful. We now have the ability to replace embryonic stem cell research with this new technique which is not destructive. It’s a win-win for everyone.