Hurlbut has also worked on astrobiology projects with NASA. Vision contributor Dan Cloer recently asked him about one of his primary fields of interest:
However, most of those who oppose the research argue that the constraints against killing innocent persons to promote social utility apply to human embryos.
Thus, as long as we accept non-consequentialist constraints on killing persons, those supporting HESC research must respond to the claim that those constraints apply to human embryos.
In its most basic form, the central argument supporting the claim that it is unethical to destroy human embryos goes as follows: It is morally impermissible to intentionally kill innocent human beings; the human embryo is an innocent human being; therefore it is morally impermissible to intentionally kill the human embryo.
It is worth noting that this argument, if sound, would not suffice to show that all or even most HESC research is impermissible, since most investigators engaged in HESC research do not participate in the derivation of HESCs but instead use cell lines that researchers who performed the derivation have made available.
To show that researchers who use but do not derive HESCs participate in an immoral activity, one would further need to establish their complicity in the destruction of embryos.
We will consider this issue in section 2. But for the moment, let us address the argument that it is unethical to destroy human embryos. A premise of the argument against killing embryos is that human embryos are human beings.
The issue of when a human being begins to exist is, however, a contested one. The standard view of those who oppose HESC research is that a human being begins to exist with the emergence of the one-cell zygote at fertilization.
An individual who is an identical twin cannot be numerically identical to the one-cell zygote, since both twins bear the same relationship to the zygote, and numerical identity must satisfy transitivity.
That is, if the zygote, A, divides into two genetically identical cell groups that give rise to identical twins B and C, B and C cannot be the same individual as A because they are not numerically identical with each other. This shows that not all persons can correctly assert that they began their life as a zygote.
However, it does not follow that the zygote is not a human being, or that it has not individuated. But this seems implausible. The prospect of our going out of existence through fission does not pose a threat to our current status as distinct human persons. Likewise, one might argue, the fact that a zygote may divide does not create problems for the view that the zygote is a distinct human being.
There are, however, other grounds on which some have sought to reject that the early human embryo is a human being. While each of the cells is alive, they only become parts of a human organism when there is substantial cell differentiation and coordination, which occurs around day after fertilization.
Thus, on this account, disaggregating the cells of the 5-day embryo to derive HESCs does not entail the destruction of a human being.
This account is subject to dispute on empirical grounds.In the midst of the debate over using embryonic stem cells in research, a more fundamental issue has often been overlooked.
It is a reality that will not only affect the outcome of this debate, but of numerous moral quandaries in the days ahead. Stem Cell Research In the midst of the debate over using embryonic stem cells in research, a more fundamental issue has often been overlooked.
It is a reality that will not only affect the outcome of this debate, but of numerous moral quandaries in the days ahead. Ethics of Stem Cell Research First published Fri Apr 25, ; substantive revision Mon Jan 28, Human embryonic stem cell (HESC) research offers much hope for alleviating the human suffering brought on by the ravages of disease and injury.
Until recently, the only way to get pluripotent stem cells for research was to remove the inner cell mass of an embryo and put it in a dish. The thought of destroying a human embryo can be unsettling, even if it is only five days old. Ethics of Stem Cell Research First published Fri Apr 25, ; substantive revision Mon Jan 28, Human embryonic stem cell (HESC) research offers much hope for alleviating the human suffering brought on by the ravages of disease and injury.
Watch video · In the case of embryonic stem cell research, it is impossible to respect both moral regardbouddhiste.com obtain embryonic stem cells, the early embryo has to be destroyed.
This means destroying a potential human life.