All entries for Friday 05 January 2007

January 05, 2007

Hybrid embryos

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6230945.stm

Some scientists afraid that this line of research will be blocked are blaming religious groups for their bigotry. As an atheist I want to stand up and be seen as saying that that is a cheap shot. It’s not just religious people who have strong feelings about this. It’s about whether or not we place a real value on human lives.

Or whether humans can be farmed and used as laboratory animals. Have humans simply become one more commodity to be traded and profited from?

I have nothing but sympathy for people who have uncurable diseases but we are not gods. We cannot cure every illness by applying our considerable science to it. We have to draw a line, in my opinion, between what we can treat easily and conditions that we can only treat by turning sufferers into monuments to medical engineering. Where is the dignity in long term suffering just to avoid death? We all die sooner or later and I have written before ( http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/richardstevenson/entry/planet_earth_standing/ and http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/richardstevenson/entry/how_will_you/) about the need to preserve people’s dignity in death. Why are we so afraid of death now as a society?

In the past (quite recently, too) a person who gave birth to a handicapped child would do its best to save the child, feeding it and caring for it but when it died from natural causes there would of course be grief. The point is, though, that the child would not have suffered for long and there was no long drawn out lingering death for the parents to cope with. Why can we not act like this now?

And if we value human life so much as try to act like magicians or gods and save everyone, where is the sense in farming other humans? It is a contradiction to say that it is okay that humans have no value because humans are so valuable.

Perhaps it is fine as long as someone is making some money from it.


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