Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Here’s the lede from an article in the Economist inappropriately subtitled “American attitudes to stem-cell therapies are changing fast”:

For the past eight years, America’s government has declined to fund new research into one of the world’s most promising medical technologies: the use of human embryonic stem cells to repair or replace damaged tissue in the diseased and injured. Embryonic stem cells are special for two reasons, one scientific and one ethical. The scientific reason is that they are able to turn into any of the body’s myriad cell types, which is why they might be used in this way. The ethical reason is that, at the moment, harvesting them usually involves killing human embryos . The embryos in question have no future anyway (they are usually “spares” from in vitro fertilisation procedures). But it was this destruction of potential human life that disturbed George Bush and his supporters. [emphasis added]

Now here’s a real puzzler. Embryonic stem-cell research admittedly involves ” killing human embryos.” But it also involves the “destruction of potential human life.” If something is killed , you’d think it’d have to be alive first. But if something is alive, then it certainly has more than potential for being alive.

Oh well. I guess these types of questions don’t matter, as long as we get results .



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles