Sunday, May 22, 2005

Stem Cells

Special treat for today.... I was watching NOVA about a month ago and thought this segment of the program was particularly interesting/enlightening. Here's one exchange:

SAM BROWNBACK: What is a human embryo? What is a human clone? Is it a person or is it a piece of property? And most Americans look at this and they say, "Life beings at conception." And if that's so, that, that life...there's a sacredness to it, and we shouldn't be violating it.

DOUG MELTON: Often times this issue is couched in terms of, "When does life begin?" I think of it more as an issue, "When does a person begin?" And personhood for me is a process. The fertilized egg has the potential to become a person, but it won't necessarily become a person. Imagine you and I are sitting in an IVF clinic with my son and the fire alarm goes off. So now I have the choice of taking my son out of the room or grabbing a freezer with 100 fertilized eggs, which would I choose? I think for me that emphasizes the difference between a real life, a person who exists, and a potential.

Very brief explanation of how stem cell cloning works.

I encourage you to watch the segment and read more about the issue on NOVA's Science Now page. It's really worth it.

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