Stem Cell Research

Stem Cell Research

I came across this article on Popular Science: Another Major Stem Cell Advance

To summarize: In the U.S. in order to do any research on embryonic stem cells, the Bush administration has required that the orignal embryos  suffer no harm. Up until now this has been impossible, but scientists at Advanced Cell Technology announced yesterday that they developed five human embryonic stem cell lines without destroying the original embryos.

Does this really meet the ethical guidelines though? The motive for them is to prevent the death of the embryo (yes, I believe it is actually a living human, and therefore they are killed) ? What happened to these embryos after Advanced Cell Technology created these stem cells? Where they allowed to develop into fetuses? Obviously these are concepts that combine the disciplines of theology, philosophy, science and morality. (Weren’t all those fields already all mixed up anyways?)

I’m excited for research like this because I see all the benefits it will have for us. However, I’m first and foremost pro-life and I value all human life and want to see medical results where no one is harmed.

You Know What to do…

A funny thing happens as exam period goes on and I finally reach the last exam. Its usually the one that I should have studied the most for. This happens every year, and is probably related to some form of burnout…

I also don’t care about my marks any more and just want to be done. I’ve yet to figure out if that has seriously impacted my grades at all.

Although this might not be of interest to many people reading this blog, there is quite the interesting discussion going on over at Joel Timmerman’s blog on sermons.

Genetically Modified Organisms: Part 2

Sorry this was delayed but my internet service has been down all weekend

Previously I talked about the need for third party monitors on GMO crops. In this post I’m going to look in a little more depth about what that would mean. For the most part I don’t like groups like Greenpeace and other militant environmentalists, but I must agree with their tactics regarding GMOs.

Europeans have the most stringent guidelines for the labelling of GM foods. Any product with any amount of genetic engineering must be labelled as such. When Europeans discovered a batch of soy travelling to Europe had been intentionally mixed with GM soy they became enraged. Civil disobedience against Monsanto, a major biotechnology company involved in many GMO foods, was rampant across the continent and the UK.

Both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth were involved in blocking shipments and organizing supermarket boycotts. Because of their actions the soy was not used unknowingly in non-GMO labelled foods.

In the end though it was the private citizen who really got things accomplished. By standing up to big companies and letting their voices be heard private citizens can impact change. Ultimately North Americans must realise that neither corporations nor governments are looking out for the consumer, we are nothing more then potential customers and therefore potential profits. Getting informed and making your opinion heard is the only way to ensure what’s good for you is getting done. No one is going to do it for you.

Genetically Modified Organisms: Part 1

The idea of whom the public should look to for protection, I’m not talking about physical but consumer protection, has been on my mind lately. This might have something to do with my studying for philosophy of biology and the readings from “From Naked Ape to Superspecies” by David Suzuki and Holly Dressel on the impact of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). When I talk about products in this post I’m focusing on food.

I don’t want to get into a discussion on the merits or disadvantages of GMOs, mostly because I don’t completely know what to make of them myself. What I do know is that trusting any company that seeks to make a profit to have my best interests at heart will not work. The bottom line motivates all decisions a corporation makes. Despite the implications to my own heath if a product makes money it will be forced on the market. You can call this what you want, even the inherent problems of capitalism.

However the consumer must be made aware of the risk associated with any product and therefore we require, and have the right to a regulatory body to oversee the introduction of new products. The manufacture cannot be trusted to give an honest assessment and often the government is swayed by their own potential profits in these deals.

A third party organization is the only viable third option. They can avoid the profit motivation and focus entirely on fair judgment of a product. This is not to say that they don’t have their own agenda, it just isn’t going to potentially harm me. In my next post I’m going to look at what such an organization might look like and accomplish.