Researchers from Stemagen a private stem-cell research company in California, have created human clones by the same techniques used to clone other mammals. The clones only went through a few cell divisions before being discarded [Ethical storm as scientist becomes first man to clone HIMSELF].
There's nothing remarkable about the science. It's one step toward cloning humans using standard procedures that have been worked out over the past three decades. What's remarkable is the reaction to this announcement. I'm still having trouble figuring out what is the ethical problem here.
I think it's all related to abortion. If you are opposed to allowing a woman to decide what to do with her own body then you're also against stem cell research. The "ethical issue" is mostly confined to religious people (men?) who oppose abortion. At least that's how it appears to me.
Stemagen isn't doing anything wrong; they make this clear on their webpage.
All research at Stemagen is performed in strict accordance with US Federal Regulations for the ethical treatment and protection of human subjects covered in the 45 CFR Part 46 policy issued by the Office of Human Research Protection (OHRP). More specifically, this requires that all research involving human eggs, embryos or human subjects be approved and carefully monitored by an independent Institutional Review Board (IRB) composed of members of the medical and general community, with additional ethical and legal expertise sought when required.This is an important point in so-called "ethical" debates. The scientists are not being unethical and many observers, like me, don't see any ethical problem. Others see an ethical problem as described in the newspaper article.
Those who choose to donate oocytes (eggs) and embryos for this type of research do so through informed consents that follow the guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research from the National Academy of Sciences (www.nationalacademies.org).
Stemagen's mission is to maintain exemplary standards in human embryonic stem cell research in accordance with the highest ethical and research principles.
John Smeaton, of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: "We have got scientists wandering around in an ethical wilderness, forgetting about matters of justice relating to our fellow human beings.Here's the issue. At what point does something become an "ethical" issue for society? How many people have to be against something on "ethical" grounds" in order for it to become an ethical problem?
"We have people creating human beings with the intention of destroying them. That's appalling."
And the Vatican condemned the cloning of human embryos, calling it the "worst type of exploitation of the human being".
"This ranks among the most morally illicit acts, ethically speaking," said Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the Vatican department that helps oversee the Church's position on bioethics issues.
What if their objections are irrational? For example I imagine that US Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is against stem cell research but his reasons are likely to be as ridiculous as his reasons for opposing same-sex marriage. Does that still count as an ethical problem? It seems to me that elevating stupidity to the level of "ethics" is not the way we want to go.
Why couldn't the headline have been "No Ethical Problem, According to Most Atheists?" Why do we let religious groups define ethics for us? I don't subscribe to their version of ethics, do you?