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May 20th 2009

Stem Cell Research Controversy


There is a way to cure terrible diseases with cells that humans naturally make. These cells are called stem cells. Using certain stem cells is a major controversy in todays society because of the need to destroy embryos. In the next few paragraphs the history of the controversy of using stem cells and the non-use side of the argument will be discussed. Stem cells are cells that are programmed to become any cell type ranging from skin to spinal tissue (Morris 1). There are 3 different types of stem cells: embryonic, adult and umbilical cord. Even though embryonic stem cells were just discovered in 1998, other stem cells have been used for several decades (Weiss 1). The controversy revolves around using the embryonic stem cells because obtaining them requires the destruction of early stage embryos (Weiss 3). Most embryonic stem cells are the bi-products of unused embryos used in vitro fertilization (Morris 3). Scientists are more interested in using embryonic stem cells because adult stem cells have more limitations in their utilization (Weiss 1). The debate of this subject is an issue because of the need of government funding for the research. The need for government funding is because private research is limited nationwide on the accumulation of the embryonic stem cells (Weiss 2). One igniting point of this argument was in August of 2001 when President George Bush restricted federal funding except with 78 embryonic stem cell lines (Weiss 2-3). An embryonic stem cell line is an established stock of the same genetic stem cell. George Bush appeased the scientists and researchers by making a compromise providing $35,000,000 towards embryonic stem cell lines (Weiss 3). With the new presidency, this subject of government funding is back up for discussion. Obama, so far, is in favor of increasing the funding.

May 20th 2009

There are many reasons why stem cell research should not be funded by the government. Because scientists cant use the same stem cells over and over again, scientists have to keep obtaining more. Stem cell researchers are like farmers with cells as their crop, and they must maintain high-quality seed (Viegas 31). Some scientists even make embryos in their own laboratory just to destroy them while studying stem cells. No matter what, it is always wrong to create an embryo that isnt going to be implanted in a womb (Freedman 16). Other embryos that are used, are the surplus from in vitro fertilization clinics that would be disposed. Using embryos that are going to be discarded is like killing someone just because that person is going to die anyway (Freedman 19). This mentality will lead to acceptance of experimenting on other people who are going to die, such as inmates on death row, terminally ill people, and more (Freedman 22). The above argument has a few interesting points to ponder on, but it does use several fallacies. The first fallacy used is Stem cell researchers are like farmers with cells as their crop, and they must maintain high-quality seed. This is a faulty analogy because the two subjects being compared are not related at all. Researchers are not like farmers and cells are not like crops. The second fallacy presented is in the sentence, No matter what, it is always wrong to create an embryo that isnt going to be implanted in a womb. This fallacy falls under the category of an either/or fallacy. An either/or fallacy gives only two choices in a complex issue. This fallacy is stating either its always right or always wrong, which in their mind it is always wrong. The third fallacy is Using embryos that are going to be discarded is like killing someone just because that person is going to die anyway. This fallacy is an ad populem, which is when the reading appeals to emotions of the reader. This is shown when the words used are, killing someone because that person is going to die anyway. This is making the readers feel sympathy

May 20th 2009 for an undeveloped embryo. The fourth and final fallacy is, This will lead to acceptance of experimenting on other people who are going to die, such as inmates on death row, terminally ill people and more. This fallacy is an appeal to pity because it pulls on the emotions of the reader without giving any facts. There is no fact at all that embryonic stem cell research will lead to acceptance of experimenting on the terminally ill. In the last few paragraphs, we have discussed the history of stem cell research and the opposed side of the argument. Even though the argument showed mind-stimulating ideas, using fallacies discredited the argument. Further investigation and enforcing your beliefs without using fallacy statements will bring society closer to coming to a conclusion regarding the use of embryonic stem cells in research and treatment of the ill.