Friday, July 28, 2006

Opinion page grab bag

So I read the opinion page of the Wisconsin State Journal yesterday, which I shouldn't do, because it always frustrates me greatly, but I did anyway.

Apparently only some murder is wrong... how does [Bush] justify executing living, breathing human beings when he was governor of Texas?

Ah yes, the old, pro-life-people-are-hypocrites-because-many-of-them-support-the-death- penalty argument. Is the concept of "innocent" life really that difficult?

But the president is worried more about murdering a clump of cells which most likely would have been discarded...

Here is my real fear about the embryonic stem cell debate. The primary justification is that they would be wasted anyway (without questioning whether having these cells available to waste is ethical in the first place), will shortly become a justification for the practice of harvesting such cells.

Do right-to-life people not see discarding of viable embryos as an affront to their religious beliefs? Why are they not storming fertility clinics to save embryos that would otherwise be "killed" during disposal?

The pro-life movement can't get people to stop sucking the brains out of full term fetuses. How the heck do you think they'd be able to stop people from killing zygotes when you have a tearful woman on TV saying, "But I just wanted to have a baby!" It's not hypocrisy; it's not fighting a battle you know you cannot win.

Many routine medical technologies of today were once vehemently opposed for being "unnatural".

And many of them were at the time unnatural, and, were they practiced today, would be banned. We transported the smallpox vaccine across the ocean before the dawn of refrigeration by deliberating infecting orphans, one after another, on the trip over.

A collection of less than 100 cells does not constitute a human being.

But 101 cells would? Curse my slow cellular division! Had I replicated a few minutes faster, I would have been a human! The author provides no rationale why such a collection is not a human being, but simply asserts that this is the case.

What is the difference between taking organs from a dead person or using stem cells?

Here's the difference: one of the two is already dead.


Blogger Noumenon said...

That detail about the smallpox orphans is so vivid! Never heard that before. And they protected hundreds of thousands.

"We can't stop brain sucking" is another great argument. "101 cells" isn't that good, because we know five grains isn't a pile of sand, and six grains isn't a pile either. You can assert that without proof. You bought into their "number of cells is important" idea.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

You bought into their "number of cells is important" idea.

Did you notice the irony in that statement? I thought the further sarcasm of "curse my slow cellular division" would underscore the silliness of trying to find a precise definition of life.

9:06 PM  

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