Sunday, July 10, 2005

How far will we go?

Mike the Token Conservative ofThe Beginning of Human Life raises some important points:
When people get giddy about stem cell research, they fail to mention the capitalist society we live in. They smugly reveal their toothy smiles when it comes to sacrificing maybe-babies to cure Parkinson's Disease or growing new limbs for those lacking them. Great. But man, wouldn't it be great to use stem cells to grow new hair for my balding head? Or bigger muscles on my already-ripped arms? Say, I don't really care for this big ol' southern European nose I've got. Howabout I just cut it off and then harvest some new cells to smear down to grow something a little more...I don't know, Dutchy-cute? If you don't think there are private companies simply salivating at the thought of the profits you might be interested in some swampland? mudpit? hornet infested? beautiful lakefront property behind my house.

What? I can magically lose excess weight while growing larger genitals all with a little gene therapy? Sign me up!

Ok, this might be an exaggeration but you get the idea. Sure, SCR might be more socially acceptable when the patient was disfigured in a fire and not Pamela Anderson (Lee?). As a race, while we have exhibited an enormous amount of compassion, love and respect. We have also established ourselves as pretty darn selfish.
Other than his reference to embryos as "maybe-babies", I agree with him. ESCR affectionados are naive if they believe research will end at terminal or chronic disease treatment. The ka-ching! will not allow that. Dollar signs motivate. Especially when disgruntled investors keep demanding a return on their money. Do we as a society truly want to go there?

Especially when ASCR can accomplish the same goals without the undue moral burden?

I still hear no answer from the affectionados.