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An Ethical Cul de Sac

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ESCR 1 Running Head: ESCR ESCR: A 21 st Century Ethical Cul de Sac John Alan Fox Kenneth Jaynes Lee Oikle Darin Porter Cindie Poulson University of Phoenix GEN/480 Interdisciplinary Capstone Matt Fellows August 8, 2005
  • 1. ESCR 1Running Head: ESCR ESCR: A 21st Century Ethical Cul de Sac John Alan Fox Kenneth Jaynes Lee Oikle Darin Porter Cindie Poulson University of Phoenix GEN/480 Interdisciplinary Capstone Matt Fellows August 8, 2005
  • 2. ESCR 2 Executive SummaryESCR, or embryonic stem cell research, is one of the hottest topics for debate of this generation.While proponents promise cures for many diseases, ESCR is unproven. Is ESCR unethical?Does it open too many modern Pandoras boxes? Questions arise such as when does life begin.What role does choice play, and how does this affect our western civilization? Alternatively, isbeing against ECSR a narrow-minded view? Does ESCR represent an ethical cul de sac?
  • 3. ESCR 3 ESCR: A 21st Century Ethical Cul de SacIntroduction Do you have a relative suffering from Alzheimers or Parkinsons? What if embryonic stemcell research could obliterate these terrible diseases? Would you be apt to rally for the cure? Itis probably a safe bet that most people want world peace, no disease or suffering, and no povertyor hunger in the world. If research provided a solution to change even one of these ills in theworld, would it not be the ethical thing to do? Stem cell research appears to be a step towardtreating or curing some of the most debilitating diseases plaguing our modern world. The purpose of this paper is to discuss both sides of embryonic stem cell research(hereinafter ESCR) and then take an ethical stand against it. Following this introduction, thepaper will have the following: Overview; Con Argument; Pro Argument; Team Position,Summary, and Conclusion. Herein you will notice a running theme: when does life begin?Overview Before expecting others to understand our ethical stand against ESCR, we must first clearlydefine it. We must first understand what a stem cell is and what its technological potential is forsaving lives. We must differentiate between the types of research containing different stem cellsand recognize their application in therapy and research advancements. To begin, Stem cellresearch has been around almost as long as microscopes, though it is only since the 1980s thatmore sophisticated gene technology developments have allowed culturing (growing of cells) inlaboratories (http://www.clearlyexplained.com/nature/life/cells/stemcells.html#history, 2005).Please see Exhibit I for a short history, from mouse stem cells to human.
  • 4. ESCR 4 According to the National Institutes for Health, stem cells differ from other types of cellsfound in the body (http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics2.asp, 2005) with three generalattributes; they are unspecialized, not a specific type of cell such as a red blood cell or nerve cell;they evolve into specialized types of cells; and they are able to divide and renew for sustainedperiods Please see Exhibit II for the illustration and document entitled What are Stem Cells? A stem cells acts like no other cell because it is unspecialized. It has the ability to beintroduced into specialized cells such as blood cells, nerve cells, and heart muscle cells, and inturn stem cells can give rise to them please see illustration marked as Exhibit III. Stem cells differ from other cells by their ability to replicate and remain unspecialized.When cells change to a specific type, there are internal and external factors that influence thechange. What signals these changes? Scientists are still researching in this area: Addressing these questions is critical because the answers may lead scientists to find new ways of controlling stem cell differentiation in the laboratory, thereby growing cells or tissues that can be used for specific purposes including cell-based therapies http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics2.asp, 2005). There are two types of stem cells: adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Again quotingfrom the National Institutes for Health, The adult tissues reported to contain stem cells includebrain, bone marrow, peripheral blood, blood vessels, skeletal muscle, skin and liver(http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics4.asp, 2005). The NIH further define embryonic stemcells as, Embryonic stem cells, as their name suggests, are derived from embryos. Specifically,embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilizedinvitro in an in vitro fertilization clinic and then donated for research purposes with informedconsent of the donors (http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics3.asp, 2005). Please seeExhibit IV for document entitled Why we call them stem cells.
  • 5. ESCR 5 Research has shown that adult stem cell differs from embryonic cells in terms of their limitedability to differentiate. This means stem cells from the liver replicate as liver cells, brain cellsreplicate as brain cells, etc. Adult stem cells also have a shorter shelf life, meaning limited selfrenewal, whereas embryonic stem cells have been shown to replicate up to 300 times(http://www.stanford.edu/group/hopes/rltdsci/stemcell/z4.html. 2005). Please see Exhibit V fordocument entitled How it works. The foregoing is a basic overview of stem cells and the differences between embryonic andadult stem cells. What is the ethical issue? The main controversy is the use of humanembryonic stem cells http://www.clearlyexplained.com/nature/life/cells/stemcells.html#history,2005). The controversy arises due to the source of stem cells. Some scientists believe that stemcells from human embryos have a greater potential to produce results than cells from othersources. For illustration of Stem Cell Cultivation, please see Exbibit VI. Some believe these embryos should be used for research since many will eventurally bedestroyed. Others believe human life even at its most immature stage should not be usedlike this, and that to a degree, the lack of regulation and public scrutiny of the infertility industryis the real reason behind both this opportunity and controversy. As Fellows admonished us inClass 2 of Gen/480 Interdiciplinary Capstone, we have tried to Go where the evidence takesyou (Poulson, Lecture Notes, 2005). And the sheer volume of data on this controversialsubject is overwhelming, thus our paper can provide only a thumbnails sketch. The following sections of the paper will present arguments both sides of the ESCR debate.These presentiments will be based upon the opinions of researchers, ethics, and critical thinking.Our position will follow, then the summary, and finally the conclusion.
  • 6. ESCR 6Con Argument ESCR has generated heated debate, political rhetoric, and inflamed opinion please seeExhibit VII for one example labeled ES Farm. Advocates claim ESCR could cure a multitude ofdiseases and imperfections such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons, spinal cord damage, and others.The main arguments against ESCR follow the same lines as abortion. These are best summed upwith one question: when does life begin? (Porter, Team Notes, 2005). According to one Internetsource, (http://www.clearlyexplained.com/nature/life/cells/stemcells.html, 2005), Issues arewhen is a human human, [and] misuse. If life begins at conception, then ESCR is murder. All the ethical questions surrounding theissue revolve around this question. The Pro-life camp holds theview that life begins at conception. As soon as the egg isfertilized, it is a human. To be fair, it is generally felt thatfertilized eggs are incapable of feeling. However, the potentialof each egg is at stake. Several ethical questions must beanswered when evaluating whether or not ESCR should go on. For this team, ESCR can be seenas the lesser of two evils. Dr. Tom Peters asked a relevant first question, Whats in the Petri dish, property orperson? (emphasis added, http://www.meta-library.net/stemtp/index-frame.html, et al. 2005).Pro-life advocates feel life begins at conception. Thus, the Petri dish contains a person, notproperty for experiments. Richard Land, head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commissionof the Southern Baptist Convention stated, Human cells, tissues, and organs should not be commodities to be bought and sold in a biotech slave market. Some researchers have established in their own minds an arbitrary lesser moral status for human beings in their embryonic stage of development (OLeary, Christianity Today, 1999, Pg. 27).
  • 7. ESCR 7 Also, the Catholic Church sees full human personhood, dignity, and moral status from themoment of fertilization on see Donum Vitae, a Papal encyclical by Pope John Paul II ondiscussing The dignity of procreation [as it] replies to certain questions of the day(http://www.vatican.va/romancuria/congregations/cfaith/documents/rcconcfaithdoc19870222respect-for-human-lifeen.html, 2005). Will ESCR be fair, or will it further divide classes rich and poor, smart and not so smart,upper and middle class and so forth? This research could increase the desire for perfect eggsand sperm. For example, if in the future we are able to grow things from these stem cells, certaintraits may be desired. Maybe we need a sports stars stem cell; so a well-known sports star couldbe paid a large sum of money to donate to the cause. Maybe a very intelligent trait is wanted;so we could grab a genius scientist not literally. Those on the bottom or in the middle will beleft out. This is along the same lines as the research the Nazis did during World War II, trying tocultivate the master race. They had their view of perfection and brutally proceeded accordingly. Will the funding of stem cell research lead to increased embryo destruction and abortions?(Peters, http://www.meta-library.net/stemtp/index-frame.html, 2005). We are currentlyharvesting more eggs in fertility clinics than will ever be used. If ESCR is funded, the demandfor harvested eggs may increase. This also goes back to another ethical question, are thesefertilized eggs property? And if so, whose? If eggs are the property of the donating parties, thenthey could be paid for their services. Is selling living beings ethically viable? Moreover, iffunding is federal, a political conflict of interest has arisen. This could have serious implications. Adult stem cell research has enjoyed success, versus none yet with ESCR. Therefore, weshould proceed with adult research. Because adult cells do not require the destruction ofembryos, there is no potential for the loss of human life.
  • 8. ESCR 8 An article found on a website called The Great Stem Cell Debate provides the perfectconclusion to the section. The authors stated: Embryonic stem cell research is still very immature in progress and has not been able to be clinically tested. More attention needs to be spent on adult stem cell research; the only type, which includes using aborted fetuses, that does not require the halting the potential of a fully developed life. Adult stem cells are available from many sources such as bone marrow, human fat cells, placenta, and blood from umbilical cords. There are limitations to the types of tissues they are able to form, unlike embryonic stem cells, but do not cost potential lives (Day, Gibson, Parikh, 2005, http://student.xu.edu/~parikhkp).Pro Argument What advantage do embryonic stem cells have over adult stem cells? What is the potential ofESCR? Is it ethical to kill a zygote? When does life begin? It is a gift to give life to others(Oikle, Team Notes, 2005). Here is the Pro-choice argument: if ESCR helps others, it isunethical not to do so. Questions like these frame this super-heated debate, polarizing Americasconscience: please see Exhibit VIII for article entitled House passes embryonic stem cell bill.This shows why ESCR is important and should continue, as does this section of the paper. An article, Research Ethics and Stem Cells, from the National Institutes of Health, said: Stem cells show potential for many different areas of health and medical research; studying them can help us understand how they transform into the dazzling array of specialized cells that make us what we are. Some of the most serious medical conditions, such as cancer and birth defects, are caused by problems that occur somewhere in this process. A better understanding of normal cell development will allow us to understand and perhaps correct errors that cause these medical conditions (http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/ethics.asp, 2005). Embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells are similar in many ways. They both self-replicateindefinitely and specialize in the human body. Both can also be isolated from other cells and keptin a laboratory environment unspecialized. When transplanted into an animal with a loweredimmune system, these cells will travel to the injured or diseased area, replicate, and specialize(http://www.stanford.edu/group/hopes/rltdsci/stemcell/z4.html, 2005). So what are the advantages of embryonic stem cells? Let us look at some facts.
  • 9. ESCR 9 Embryonic stem cells are abundant and easily identified. We have already shown their abilityto double up to 300 times. Adult stem cells are rare and harder to find. They also have limitedreplication abilities. Other differences are that embryonic stem cells are derived from the innercell mass of a blastocyst, a five-day-old embryo, whereas adult stem cells are derived fromdeveloped, specialized tissues. Also, embryonic stem cells have the potential to become any cellin the body, referred to as pluripotent, whereas adult stem cells are limited to become onlycertain cell types, referred to as multipotent. Embryonic stem cells could potentially becomereplacement cells for any body part, whereas adult stem cells can only replace the same tissuethat the cell came from (http://www.stanford.edu/group/hopes/rltdsci/stemcell/z4.html, 2005). Pro-life opponents of ESCR claim life is destroyed when zygotes are used for this research.But where do these zygotes come from? They are donated with written consent from the donors.When conceiving in vitro, more eggs are fertilized than can be used, and not every egg will beviable. Usually 4 or 5 fertilized eggs are inserted into a recipients womb, but sometimes more aswe will see later. Again, not all these eggs will attach to the uterus and become babies. Spareeggs can be frozen in case the pregnancy fails, therefore these eggs can be used for another try.Once the couple has no use for the remaining zygotes, the eggs can be frozen, donated to otherinfertile couples, released for research, or destroyed. What could be more pro-life than working for a cure for a loved one? asked Rep. JamesLangevin, a Rhode Island Democrat. Langevin suffered a spinal cord injury at age 16 and isunable to walk (see http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/05/24/stem.cells, 2005.) Anotherquestion is, do we see life in terms of intrinsic value or in terms of its utilitarian value? If apossibility exists to help the paralyzed walk, repair a damaged, or fix a failing heart, do we notfeel compelled to help these individuals? Sometimes the lesser of two evils is the correct choice.
  • 10. ESCR 10 If these zygotes could potentially enhance the lives of countless individuals; that would be agreat gift. That is why ESCR holds such great potential, because stem cells areundifferentiated, meaning these cells have not started to turn into a specific part of the body,Scientists hope to learn how cells differentiate. This is where many serious medical conditionsand birth defects occur. What scientists need to research is how signals turn genes on and off toinfluence the differentiation of stem cells (http://stemcells.nih, 2005). Perhaps the most important use of stem cells is the generation of cells and tissues. Donatedorgans and tissues are now being used to replace ailing or destroyed tissue. There is currently afar greater need for these organs and tissues than are available. Stem cells, when differentiatedinto specific cell types, may be a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues and be ableto treat diseases including Parkinsons and Alzheimers diseases, spinal cord injury, stroke,burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis (http://stemcells.nih, 2005),If scientists can know how cells differentiate, they may potentially be able to treat many otherdiseases or birth defects and improve the quality of life for many who now suffer. To summarize, the promise of stem cell therapies is exciting. Embryonic stem cells areimportant because they replicate quickly and are undifferentiated, which means they hold morepotential to repair more diseases or defects. We may not even be able to imagine the advancements in human health that could bepossible through the use of embryonic stem cells. That is why more research is so important.Our Position Is ESCR ethical? We cry a unified No! This section will show why in three ways. First, we will address the primal question, When does life begin? As we will see, this istruly the heart and core of the matter. This became our categorical moral imperative.
  • 11. ESCR 11 Second, we will touch on two broad views dividing ethical thought, the Platonic/Socraticview versus the Aristotelian. As we will see, this frames our debate. Finally, we will compare these points against a fundamental concept Fellows styled inGEN/480 Interdisciplinary Capstone as the most important facet of western civilization . . .the Salvific Paradigm (emphasis added, Fox, Lecture Notes, et al. 2005). We are not sophistspracticing narrow-minded sophism; rather, our motive has been to have ethical congruence in ourdiscovery, debate and in the written and oral presentations. While we mean no offense to anyone,we stake our position with conviction.1. When does life begin? After looking at many aspects and debating the pros and cons of ESCR, our team distilledthis issue to one question: when does life begin? Some feel life begins when the newborn firstinhales; one team member considered a baby breathing in the watery womb environment assimilar to aquatic breathing. Some see this as when a person receives the soul, whereas others seeeach individual person as being a soul, a concept firmly based in Hebrew thought, Man becamea living soul (Gen. 2:7, Holy Bible, 1970), where soul was translated from nephesh, whichmeant a breathing creature (Strong, Concordance, Pgs. 80 and 960, 1890). Along with this was aHebrew concept discussed in our team meeting, that the life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11,Bible), therefore the baby is alive in the womb. Others base their belief on the hearts beat: whenit starts, we live; when it stops, we die. Finally, others see life beginning at conception, i.e., at themoment when the male sperm pierces the female ovum,creating a zygote, a cell formed by the union of two sexualcells (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 1974, Pg. 817).
  • 12. ESCR 12 Regardless whether this occurs artificially in a Petri dish or naturally with sexual intercourse,this conjoining is where life begins. That is the position of this team. There are numerousramifications with this view that we could neither escape, nor avoid. We had to confront issueslike: Human dignity versus disrespect would we freeze or discard another living being? Yet that is what occurs with zygotes. Freedom of a living entitys right of choice versus slavery this evil has already been outlawed in our society, yet a living being can be robbed of its cells against its choice, then it will be discarded. In another milieu, this is called dismemberment and murder. Self defense versus genocide in our society, it is lawful to defend ones self against an attacker, a right not allowed to the zygote held against its will in a cell; this is not unlike other torture holding units; mass murder in the past was and still is called genocide. Again, the fundamental issue at stake is when does life begin? If life begins at conception,then all rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness accorded to infants, children, andadults should be afforded to the zygote; otherwise, there is an ethical disconnect. An issue we found abhorrent upon consideration was the removal of stem cells forimplantation into another zygote. What happens to the specimen whose identity has beenremoved? It is selected for termination. What happens to the enhanced specimen? It isimplanted in vitro into a mother. Human life has been reduced to a commodity. We came to see ESCR as an outgrowth of infertility clinics. We allowed for good intentions,irrespective of the aforementioned aspect of greed and selling human beings. Nevertheless, weunequivocally see the possibility of deconstructive use replacing constructive use, and we alsosee the in vitro industry as gateway for two other industries:
  • 13. ESCR 13 ESCR disease research an unproven hypothesis fraught with issues of conflicting medical ethics. Cloning a futuristic outgrowth of ESCR this is genetic manipulation fraught with potential issues of abuse, selective breeding and selected death.More will be said about this in the third point of this section.2. Two broad views Fellows alluded to a fundamental issue in the opening lecture: To the degree that were notGod, we will have ethical disputes (Fox). This carries weight, for God is seen in the religiousworldview as a life-giver, the One who makes the rules governing the giving and taking of life. Yet many hold the view that life evolved without a Higher Power, therefore ethical decisionsrespecting life, i.e., abortion or stem cell research, are ours alone to make. This impasse isdeeply rooted in the Platonic versus Aristotelian traditions and debates. According to lectures notes (Fox), Fellows spoke about two main views: Platos worldview was metaphysical and embraced dualism, a spiritual reality behind the temporal physical Aristotles view was earthbound and physical only, the here and now This broad divergence in ethical philosophy was confirmed by Foxs initial research. In anarticle on Ethics from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy(http://www.iep.utm.edu/e/ethics.htm, July 5, 2005), Fox further learned that, Ethics can be divided into two basic perspectives, specifically whether moral values are eternal truths that exist in a spirit-like realm, or simply human conventions. Discussions are either other-worldly or this-worldly (Fox, Perspectives, Pg. 3, 2005).
  • 14. ESCR 14 So in effect, our team took the other-worldly view, irrespective of individual worldviews.Our position evolved as a virtue driven ethical construct, versus one rooted in utilitarianism andmoral relativism, i.e., where the individual decides. Here was our teams syllogism: if life begins at conception, and if we embrace this as true,then we violate our truth by accepting any position not in keeping with our values. To do anyless would be . . . unethical. We saw this critical point in the following spotlight. In the opening lecture of GEN/480 Interdisciplinary Capstone, Fellows gave the followingchallenge: Were all capable of the major (meaning the big issues) but its all going to stemback to the initial compromise of values in the smallest way (emphasis added, Fox, LectureNotes, et al. 2005). In the second lecture, Fellows also said, A good ethical paradigm [always]connects back to a source. Congruity honesty and ethics must be in the process. Ethics[always should be] the common ground (emphasis added, Fox). Finally, Fellows chargedstudents to Go where the evidence takes you and the consequences be damned (Fox) and that isexactly what occurred. As we explored and investigated and questioned, our teams positionevolved and then solidified. How ironic: as we evaluated ESCR, we each had to face our ignorance and confront our beliefs, to examine where they stemmed from. We tried to look at all angles. Through our discovery process, we did find little areas for compromise and large areas, too. As we explored the issues, we came to see a crossover as the graphic shows. Thus, in spite of our differentworldviews, we were able to arrive at consensus.
  • 15. ESCR 15 That is not to say that we five share the same values. We do not. In actuality, only two of thefive share a similar theological construct. In fact, aside from the definitions, none of us cancategorically say that we know when life begins. Our position incorporated this scientific view,in allowance with our individual worldviews. The class text confirmed that, We cannot be critical thinkers and accept the influence that the mass media continually fosters. Whether our viewpoint is conservative or liberal; right, middle, or left; Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Agnostic, or atheistwe need to resist mass media influence in our lives (Elder and Paul, Pg. 134). Thus, ours was a group dynamic of being Socratic, of asking questions, supported bythorough research. Empiricism and polite but spirited debate sessions helped us arrive atconsensus. As a collective, regardless of background, we had to get out of our easy armchair offaith, to employ a teammates aphorism discussed in class (Fox). What was the result? One of us changed our view, from cautious pro to qualified con. One of us had to admit thepotential for future good albeit this remains highly theoretical. Yet another team issue was theissue of abortion, which we did not agree on as a team, yet this is in the background of ourdebate. Because this also begs the primary question . . . when does life begin?3. The Salvific Paradigm Finally, it occurred to us that due to the primal problems of disease and infertility, sciencewas offering humankind a return to Eden, but without a redemptive character-driven component,without a need for recognition of wrong behavior (sin) and the need for a sacrifice. In otherwords, this became the Salvific Paradigm in reverse. This concept was discussed in Classes 2and 4. As we debated, the thought gradually dawned on us how important a construct this was.We came to see how we could be missing the point: we could be trying to avoid the naturalconsequences of our actions which may well have caused the disease science offers to cure.Rather than finishing the cycle to return to Eden, we are trying to short circuit the process.
  • 16. ESCR 16 Whom does this include? All of us! From well-meaning scientists to those well-meaningcitizens among us who support ESCR to each one of us: we all try to avoid the naturalconsequences of our actions. However, a major life lesson seems to be that life offers fewshortcuts. We cannot abrogate responsibility for our actions. As this illustration shows, takenfrom the hand-drawn diagram taken in Class 4 (Fox, August 1, 2005), there is always a cycle. A point not missed on this team is the prevalence of this cycle in both eastern and westernreligious traditions. Another point not missed is the fact that this paradigm is not just a religiousallusion to the past that supports our western civilization. Indeed, each us is part of that fabric, each one of us lives this cycle throughout our lives, eachof us is faced with this every day, for each one of us makes choices that lead us out of Eden.Each of us can choose behavior to lead us back. Choice is the true power of the paradigm. Let us not underestimate the importance of this value in our ethical consideration of ESCR: The main difference between the laws of cause and effect in the physical universe and cause and effect in human affairs is that humans have the capacity to choose how they respond to events (Ruggiero 2004, Thinking Critically about Ethical Issues, et al. Pg. 118).However, like this perhaps not-so-mythical scenario, ESCR is also a paradox. While sciencepotentially offers solutions to disease, this remains highly theoretical see Exhibit IX for thedocument entitled, Does ECR work?
  • 17. ESCR 17Summary In our view, the Aristotelian scientific method has yet to offer a verifiable proven hypothesiswith respect to ESCR, whereas the potential risks as touched on herein are a given. Stem cellresearch potentially offers life. Yet this life in the form of impregnated eggs is catalogued,stored, manipulated, frozen, sold or discarded. All these are unethical ways of treating livingentities, including now being able to discard embryos in advance for health reasons , a chillingthought for viable citizens with birth defect: see website Aborting Embryos with Genetic Defects(http://forums.livingwithstyle.com/archive/index.php/t-162733.html, 2005). Another dichotomy involves the case where a mother was implanted with the standard elevenzygotes in her uterus. Typically, only one survive, but in her case, ALL survived! The motherwas physically unable to carry and then give birth to eleven children. She had to choose whichfetuses lived and which ones died. Yet a cloning organization stated there was no issue becauseit is normal for 11 out of 12 natural embryos to die. That is a 91% failure rate for naturalembryos today (Rader, http://www.humancloning.org/essays/embryos.php, 2005). Despite this,none of us wanted this choice of power of life over death. Where does life begin? As anothersite put it, ESCR involves new origins of life. Worse still was the potential future we could envision involving cloning. What if we couldcreate smarter people? Alternatively, what if we could make more athletic and healthy citizens?This falls into the mindset of the bermensch, German for superman: Nietzsche coined his thinking around a mythical superman who lived beyond the conventional standards of good and evil. Superior to all others, he was morally justified in using force to achieve goals (emphasis added, (Article on Nietzsche, Columbia Encyclopedia, 2003, Pg. 2016). As in all capitalistic societies, donors offering their stem cells for impregnation could do soand be paid a lot why? Because sellers would market to buyers willing to pay a lot of money.
  • 18. ESCR 18 This is the law of supply and demand. We based our scenario on the current expense of invitro fertilization, as witnessed by two team members. One teammate called all of this theslippery slope of genetic manipulation (Poulson, Team Notes, 2005) while another called itgenetic racism (Fox, Team Notes, 2005). The key seems to be intent. As shown, ESCRextracts stem cells from a zygote and implants those into a host specimen. This results in thedeath and discarding of the now violated zygote a life. The intent is for good, but the resultkills the living. When it comes to selection, how is this different from the Chinese policy ofkilling female babies? In Nazi Germany, the sick were selectively killed and medicallyexperimented on. It was noted that two team members would not be alive today had selectionbeen carried out (Jaynes, Team Notes, 2005). ESCR is selection, and we find this ethicallywrong because it is abortion please see Exhibit X for Important Definitions. Here is a syllogism worth considering: if life begins at conception, and it is unethical to takelife except in self defense, then ESCR is an ethical cul de sac. As Fellows said in Class 2, Lifewithout progression is entropy death (Jaynes, Lecture Notes, 2005). This is exactly whatESCR does, it stops the progression of life. To repeat, ESCR is an ethical cul de sac. Too often, we think of an embryo as a thing that can be donated or thrown away, the way someone donates unwanted clothes to charity or throws them in the trash. Yet a human embryo is a living human being a being with a human destiny and a purpose. History has proven the greater good" type of utilitarian logic to lead to horrible abuses, whether on mentally ill patients in Nazi Germany, or on minorities injected with syphilis at Tuskegee, or on soldiers exposed with radiation during World War II. Applying the logic that aborted- babies-are-dead-anyway-so-why-not-use-them, Ken Connor writes, look for using victims of partial birth abortion as the next objects of medical research (quote taken from article at http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ethics/hodges_stem_cell_research.htm). It is important to consider that embryonic stem cell research and cloning are both based on asimilar premise: the genetic DNA can be manipulated and replicated. One of our teammates whotook the pro position said, Where do we stop? (Fox, Team Meeting Notes, et al. 2005).
  • 19. ESCR 19 Again, the key question to ponder is where does life begin? We cannot escape this issue. Another issue worth mentioning is that we viewed this entire debate as a no-win scenario.Moreover, we feel it was thrust upon society with perhaps little thought for the ethicalrepercussions of fertility centers with frozen and discarded zygotes, not to mention other ethicaldisconnects associated with the fertility industry and we use that term in its fullest sense.Conclusion This was a huge assignment with too many side roads and countless cul de sacs. Yet wewere able to agree on life beginning at conception; we clearly saw a bifurcation with respect todivergent ethical paths; and we came to embrace the Eden paradigm proposed by Fellows. WithESCR, we have opened a modern day Pandoras box, in every sense of the metaphor. Considerthe topics found on just one website listing articles on topics ranging from, Conflicts over so-called designer babies Divorcing couples fighting over zygotes What happens to the zygotes if both parents die, are the eggs they kept or tossed? Lesbian and gay couples and subsequent parental rights The risk of HIV with in vitro fertilization (IVF) Lawsuits over in vitro mistakes Possibilities that IVF could cause cancer or Downs Syndrome One BBC article styled fertility clinics as baby factories There was even an article entitled So what about a mans right to choose?(http://www.a-little-wish.org.uk/www.a-little-wish.org.uk/End%20index%20comp/Articles/IVF.htm, 2005). Yet another website, Cambridge University Press, compared disability to enhancement(Dickenson, http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521662664, 2005).
  • 20. ESCR 20 All of this involves the slippery slope referenced earlier. The ethical cul de sacs stemmingfrom ESC are countless and frightening fodder for exploitation and litigation. Candidly, even inour team debates, we found concepts we both liked and wrestled with. Yet this prevalence forethical dissonance helped us take a firm position against embryonic stem cell research. In fact, Fellow argued this was a sign of a healthy society versus totalitarianism. Moreover,Ideals, like obligations, do not always harmonize . . . In many situations, they compete(Ruggiero, Pg. 109). We experienced the frustration of having to determine which idealrepresented the greater good or the lesser evil (Ruggiero, Pg.110) as we considered ESCR. So this ESCR project forced each one of us to research, dig deeply, and then produce anethical conclusion in harmony between our ought and is (Fox, Lecture Notes, July 11, 2005).Fellows warned that hypocrisy is the distance separating our values and behavior, whereascharacter is the unifying link (Fox, June 26, 2005). Since the Socratic ideal is unity (Fox), wewere able to achieve that goal. Additionally, we learned in the best Hebrew fashion, for as Fellows reminded us,Knowledge is that which is acquired through experience (Fox). We have more knowledgeabout a difficult topic, ESCR, and we have gained practical experience since class taught us noeducation is worth its salt unless there is applicability (Fox), we are truly better off. In conclusion, suffice it to say we came to see ESCR as similar to the path Indiana Jonescrossed over in the 1989 movie The Last Crusade: one false misstep and he plunged to the abyss.The primal question we returned to repeatedly herein has been when does life begin? If webelieve that life begins at conception, then we must act on this ethical conviction, regardless ofpersonal opinion or desire. To act otherwise would be . . . unethical.
  • 21. ESCR 21 References Page OneArticle on Nietzsche. Columbia Encyclopedia (2000) (6th Ed.). Columbia Press. New York.Conan-Davies, Richard (2005). Why are stem cells called stem cells? Accessed August 5, 2005 via http://www.clearlyexplained.com/nature/life/cells/Extrastemcellinfo.html.Dawn Bennett; Laura Alexander-Hartman (2003). Employment Law for Business (4th Ed.) Accessed via https://mycampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/resource.asp, April 25, 2005.Day, Alexis; Gibson, Christopher, Parikh, Keyur (2005), http://student.xu.edu/~parikhkp, August 3, 2005.Definition of Selective Abortion. Accessed August 7, 2005 via http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/abortion_selective.jsp.Dickinson, Donna (2002). Ethical Issues in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Accessed August 7, 2005via http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521662664.Donum Vitae or Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation; Replies to Certain Questions of the Day (1987). Accessed August 3, 2005 from http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rcconcfaithdoc19870222 respect-for-human-life_en.html.Elder, Linda; Paul, Richard (2002). Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life. Financial Times, Prentice Hall, Inc. Pearson Education, Inc. Accessed via https://mycampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/resource.asp August 1, 2005.Fox, John (2005). Lecture Notes. Matt Fellows. GEN/480. Interdisciplinary Capstone. June 26-August 1, 2005. University of Phoenix. Salt Lake City, UT.Fox, John (2005). Team Meeting Notes. August 3rd and 4th, 2005.Fox, John (2005). Which Way is Best? Two Ethical Perspectives. June 11, 2005. Matt Fellows. GEN/480. Interdisciplinary Capstone. University of Phoenix. Salt Lake City, UT.Graphic of Fellows Salvific Paradigm created by Ken Jaynes (2005). Adapted from hand drawn diagram by John Fox. Lecture Notes. GEN/480. Interdisciplinary Capstone. August 1, 2005. University of Phoenix. Salt Lake City, UT.House passes embryonic stem cell bill. May 25, 2005. Article accessed August 6, 2005 from http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/05/24/stem.cells.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluripotency, August 5, 2005.http://forums.livingwithstyle.com/archive/index.php/t-162733.html, August 7, 2005.
  • 22. ESCR 22 References Page Twohttp://image.pathfinder.com/time/2001/stemcells/images/stemcells.jpg, August 5, 2005.http://pedsinreview.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/20/8/e34, August 7, 2005.http://pregnancyandbaby.com/read/articles/5580.htm, August 7, 2005.http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/faqs.asp#whatare, August 5, 2005.http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics6.asp, August 5, 2005.http://stemcells.nih.gov/research/mouselit, August 5, 2005.(http://www.a-little-wish.org.uk/www.a-little-wish.org.uk/End%20index%20comp/Articles/IVF.htm, 2005).http://www.clearlyexplained.com/nature/life/cells/stemcells.html, August 5, 2005.http://www.clearlyexplained.com/nature/life/cells/stemcells.html#history, August 5, 2005.http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ethics/hodges_stem_cell_research.htm, August 5, 2005.http://www.stanford.edu/groups/hopes/rltdsci/stemcell/z4.html accessed August 3, 2005.http://www.sumanasinc.com/webcontent/anisamples/stemcells.html, August 5, 2005.Image downloaded via http://academy.d20.co.edu/kadets/lundberg/invitro/, August 4, 2005.Image downloaded via http://www.clearlyexplained.com/nature/life/cells/Extrastemcellinfo.html, August 5, 2005.Image downloaded August 5, 2005 via http://cmgm.stanford.edu/biochem118/images/Stem%20Cell%20Slides/04%20Pluripotent%20Stem%20Cells.jpg.Imagine downloaded via http://www.clearlyexplained.com/nature/life/cells/stemcells.html, August 5, 2005.Image downloaded via http://www.ethics.org.au/images/article_0149a.gif, August 4, 2005.Image downloaded via http://student.xu.edu/~parikhkp/criticalessays/embryonicdrawbacks.html, August 4, 2005.Image downloaded via http://whyfiles.org/127stem_cell/stem_cell_graphic.html, August 7, 2005.
  • 23. ESCR 23 References Page ThreeJaynes, Ken (2005). Team Notes. GEN/480. Interdisciplinary Capstone. August 3, 2005. University of Phoenix. Salt Lake City, UT.Materials Safety Data Sheet. http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/p5631.htm, August 7, 2005.Neumayr, George (2005). The Abortion debate that wasnt. Seattle Post Intelligencer.July 17, 2005. Accessed via http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/232776_focus17.html, August 7, 2005.Oikle, Lee (2005). Team Notes. GEN/480. Interdisciplinary Capstone. August 3, 2005. University of Phoenix. Salt Lake City, UT.OLeary, Denyse (1999). Embryo Research Contested. Christianity Today. May 24, 1999.Peters, Tom (2005). The Stem Cell Debate: Ethical Questions. Accessed August 4, 2005 via http://www.meta-library.net/stemtp/index-frame.html.Porter, Darin (2005). Team Notes. GEN/480. Interdisciplinary Capstone. August 3, 2005. University of Phoenix. Salt Lake City, UT.Poulson, Cindie (2005). Lecture Notes. Matt Fellows. GEN/480. Interdisciplinary Capstone. July 11, 2005. University of Phoenix. Salt Lake City, UT.Poulson, Cindie (2005). Team Notes. GEN/480. Interdisciplinary Capstone. August 3, 2005. University of Phoenix. Salt Lake City, UT.Rader, Linda (2005). Killing Embryos. Accessed August 7, 2005 via http://www.humancloning.org/essays/embryos.php.Research Ethics and Stem Cells. http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/ethics.asp, August 5, 2005.Ruggiero, Vincent (2004). Thinking Critically about Ethical Issues (6th Ed.). McGraw Hill. Accessed June 27, 2005 via https://mycampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/resource.asp.Strongs Exhaustive Concordance (1890, 1977) (36th Ed). Abingdon Press. Nashville. TN.The Holy Bible (1970). Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville, TN.The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (1974). Pocket Books. Simon and Schuster. New York, NY