Controversial Science

By Jack R, Sam W, Rachel B, Brennan M

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Part 1 Limiting Science

Editorial By Sam W.

I will begin with saying that I believe that limiting science is a futile thing to do. Not only is it futile but it is contrary to our advancement as a species. But I believe that it is possible to advance science for the embetterment of humanity without sacrificing human life, no matter what “insignificant” form it takes. I believe that science should be met with ethical restrictions, but not hindered.

For the sake of this paper, we shall use the controversial topic of stem cells research; embryonic stem cell research specifically. In the third paragraph of my previous essay I wrote “An embryo is alive; it moves and grows. It may not be of much consequence or importance, nor may it even be able to have a conscious thought. But an embryo is alive, and its life is not indirectly, not occasionally, not circumstantially, but always and directly orchestrated and created by human beings with their own genetic and physical material.”

If human embryos are genetically speaking, biologically speaking, and scientifically speaking human, then are they not human ethically speaking? And if they are, wouldn’t destroying human embryos by harvesting their stem cells be considered a serious degradation of human life?

I also wrote in paragraph five “Science is the past, present, and future of humankind. To limit science, is to hinder this. However, there are certain things, such as human life, that should ethically speaking, be held as sacred. Cutting short the lives of human embryos to further advance the wellbeing of human adults is like bombing another country in the name of peace; it helps, but in the end is very detrimental. Science should not be limited, per sé; but rather it should continue to be respectful of human life.” Human life is amazing, beautiful and full of potential.

It would be severely one sided and naïve of me to ignore the many, many possibilities and medical advancements that embryonic stem cell research could reap for humanity as a whole. And I can most certainly see how sacrificing a few embryos for such a helpful cause can seem very reasonable. But it would also be one sided to say that doing so would not be degrading to human life as a whole.

Should science be limited? Simply put, yes, but never in a way that would hinder its progression. Embryonic stem cell research is not the only method of researching stem cells; it is merely the kind that produces the most helpful results in advancing the field. But I still believe that human life, no matter what stage it is in, is worthy of basic dignity; and to used as just another material in a lab would deeply contradict this. Science should not be limited, but if science pushes to degrade or even destroy human life, then it should.

Supporting Article By Sam W.

Stem Cell Research is humanity’s attempt to advance science and medicine in a way that does not destroy or degrade human life. Unfortunately, if you think about it, it does. The number one method of extracting stem cells is from human embryos. Human life.

A common argument to justify this is that embryos are not human. Well to successfully rebuttal this, we need to define what an embryo is. Essentially, an embryo is a cluster of cells that is the result of a developed zygote. Doesn’t seem that important or human-like does it? Many people choose to see this as just that: a cluster of cells ripe with stem cells that if taken, render the embryo as just a lifeless clump of dead cells no bigger than a bread crumb. No big deal, right?

An embryo is alive; it moves and grows. It may not be of much consequence or importance, nor may it even be able to have a conscious thought. But an embryo is alive, and its life is not indirectly, not occasionally, not circumstantially, but always and directly orchestrated and created by human beings with their own genetic and physical material. They are alive, and they are by definition, human. And while they may not presently have the mental or physical capabilities of juvenile or mature human beings, they have the genetic blueprints and potential to be if given the time to develop. Just because they do not have the physical or mental attributes of a well-developed human, does not make them not human and, ethically speaking, no better than another material in a medical advancement facility. While stem cell research would open the doors to so many medical advancements and potential treatments for presently untreatable diseases, it should not come at the cost of a human life even if that life is undeveloped. To use human life as a material to use in a lab is degrading to the amazing potential of the human person. “We must not sacrifice one class of human beings to benefit another,” argues Richard Doerflinger, an official with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. However, in 2011, the Roman Catholic Church announced its support for adult stem cell research. Explaining why adult stem cell research was considered acceptable as it left the adult subject alive and unharmed, Cardinal Renato Martino said, “This research protects life.”

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the Monster shared great potential as a creature in this world, but due to his mere appearance and nature of his creation, any and all of that potential was rendered vain. He was an amalgamation; a twisted form inhumanely composed of the degraded bodies of human beings. He was met with a plethora of grievances from physical encumberments to rejection from others. But above all he was miserable. From the moment we was given life by Frankenstein’s experiment, the Monster felt insufferable misery saying in the second paragraph of chapter eleven “It was cold when I awoke; I felt cold also, and half frightened, as it were, instinctively, finding myself so desolate. Before I had quitted your apartment, on a sensation of cold, I had covered myself with some clothes, but these were insufficient to secure me from the dews of night. I was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch; I knew, and I could distinguish, nothing; but feeling pain invade me on all sides, I sat down and wept.”

Science is the past, present, and future of humankind. To limit science, is to hinder this. However, there are certain things, such as human life, that should ethically speaking, be held as sacred. Cutting short the lives of human embryos to further advance the wellbeing of human adults is like bombing another country in the name of peace; it helps, but in the end is very detrimental. Science should not be limited, per sé; but rather it should continue to be respectful of human life. Frankenstein’s science was revolutionary. It broke scientific barriers and potentially forever changed the science of the fictional world he lived in. But it came at the cost of a severe loss of human dignity and the lives of many innocents such as William Frankenstein and Henry Clerval. Advancing science for human embetterment is not something that should be hindered, but merely something that should be spearheaded in a way that leads it away from that which is detrimental to its cause: the loss of human life.

Supporting Article By Jack R

The advancement of science has seen the creation of biological and nuclear warfare. Both forms of warfare have the potential to wipe out entire population and to even allow the human race to self-destruct. Never before was this level of devastation possible and therefore development in these areas of science must be limited.

Nuclear weapons are a fairly recent invention, and have only been around for a few decades. There are a few types of nuclear weapons: fission or atom bombs, thermonuclear or fusion bombs, small thermonuclear or neutron bombs, and dirty bombs. All of these weapons rely on radiation in some sense. A fission bomb, like those used in WWII by America against Japan, use a conventional explosive to split an atom and start a chain reaction of atom splitting, resulting in an atomic explosion. A fusion bomb is somewhat the opposite. It uses a conventional explosive to start a chain reaction of atom combination and is far more powerful than a fission bomb. Neutron bombs are for antipersonnel and antitank use in a standard battle field but work the same way as a fusion bomb, simply on a smaller scale. Dirty bombs are technically not nuclear weapons but are very similar. A dirty bomb uses a conventional explosive to scatter radioactive material over an area. The explosive does more damage than the radiation and would mostly have a psychological effect on people.

Countries all over the world have built stockades of fission nuclear weapons and some even have fusion weapons. There are enough of these weapons that, should a nuclear war start, all life on earth could be extinguished by these weapons. There has been a major push by international organizations to disarm and dismantle nuclear weapon arsenals. Nuclear weapons are the most destructive weapons ever used. The majority of the damage is at the hypocenter or ground zero. The explosion alone is so powerful and so hot that “At the hypocenter, everything is immediately vaporized” (Harris). The amount of damage possible through nuclear warfare is proof that science needs limits.

Biological warfare is a recent innovation in war. Rudimentary forms of biological warfare have existed for thousands of years. Many early examples did not understand the biology behind the weapons but were able to use them in a variety of ways, from poisoning wells with rotting carcasses to ancient archers infecting their arrows by “dipping them in decomposing bodies or in blood mixed with manure” (Hooker). Biological warfare also includes organic toxins such snake venom and poisonous mushrooms. Biological warfare has existed since the dawn of civilization but has recently been innovated in an extreme manner.

Today’s scientists are capable of not only using a particular disease in biological warfare, they can even modify a disease to be extremely infectious. Now disease can be distributed through missiles, spray cans, and even through the mail. As our ability to manipulate diseases increases so too does the potential threat. A group could create a disease that could bypass the immune system of most people, leading to a potential pandemic. The innovations in biology show that science must be limited in order to protect people from these threats.

Many of the advancements came from scientist seeking “knowledge and wisdom, … and hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you” (Shelley). Through Victor Frankenstein, Mary Shelley spoke of the dangers of scientific exploration. This supports the statement that science requires limits to prevent disastrous outcomes. Dangerous nuclear and bio technologies need limits to help prevent misuse and potential destruction.

Part 2 Unrestricted Science

Editorial By Brennan M

Limits on scientific advancement, innovation, and invention is restricting our growth into what science can be, and despite the sacrifices made, can prove to be more beneficial in the long run. There should not be limits against innovation and invention if we want to exponentially grow this society in the upcoming years.

When it comes to embryonic research, extracting stem cells from an embryo will kill it. What stems cells can do is act as a “master key” for cells that normally can’t be reproduced at a fast rate. “Meaning that anyone with any sort of medical problem whether it’s paralyzation or even diabetes, can actually get heal just by embryonic stem cells.” In short, that is the reason this specific topic is controversial (and can be turned into other topics). “Stem cells is controversial topic involving the death and usage of human embryos to use their typically hard to produce cells as a solution to potential damages others have that typically couldn’t be fixed (Such as on the spinal cord, brain, lungs, heart. and even teeth). So the issue is that is it worth it to end a human life to continue an existing one?” “Stem cells, found in humans and animals; Stem cells are unspecialized, meaning they contain no specialized coding like our nerve, muscle, and skin cells. Stem cells are also pluripotent, having the ability to divide and make specialized cells. Stem cells have these just simple coding in the cell themselves, but with the use of science and innovation, stem cells can help restoring damaged tissue in people or treating or curing certain diseases.” Limiting this would cause a slow in scientific growth medical-wise that otherwise could have been prevented.

Limiting scientific growth causes us to stay in the past, in stem cells, we can prevent people from dying just by extracting stem cells in some form. It isn’t all about the medical benefits either, it’s also the research we put in to find better and safer ways to do the same job. Potentially, we can make our own type of embryonic stem cells in a lab without having to worry about killing an embryo. “Furthermore, with the legalization (this specific example of) medical research can grow at an exponential rate. We have the potential to grow artificial stem cells over time. If we can get to that point, millions of lives can be saved every year onwards.”

Of course, this is just covering only one issue. We could talk about all sorts of topics if we had the time. All scientific topics can be measured in a way of its benefits and the potential moral boundaries that it can cross. Most things over time can be more moral with the help of research and artificially-made items, but we would need a way to study those specific types of topics. It’s up to the people to grow a society and limiting scientific discoveries and hindering the growth will hinder the growth of society as a whole. It is always important to weigh out the pros and cons of any situation, but it is much more important to notice what the end goal is, and will be.

Supporting Article By Brennan W

Stem cells is controversial topic involving the death and useage of human embryos to use their typically hard to produce cells as a solution to potential damages others have that typically couldn’t be fixed (Such as on the spinal cord, brain, lungs, heart. and even teeth). So the issue is that is it worth it to end a human life to continue an existing one? Should it be illegal to kill a human embryo for stem cell research? “The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted and that the elixir of life is a chimera but these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles. They penetrate into the recesses of nature and show how she works in her hiding-places. They ascend into the heavens; they have discovered how the blood circulates, and the nature of the air we breathe. They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the invisible world with its own shadows." Frankenstein (3.14). With stem cell research being legal, it will have many benefits that we can’t pass up.

If stem cell research became legal, we will prevent deaths that should be prevented. We have the ability to heal wounds and diseases not meant to be healed by other means. ‘If scientists can reliably direct the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into specific cell types, they may be able to use the resulting, differentiated cells to treat certain diseases in the future. Diseases that might be treated by transplanting cells generated from human embryonic stem cells include diabetes, traumatic spinal cord injury, Duchenne's muscular dystrophy, heart disease, and vision and hearing loss.” ( stemcells.nih.gov). “Adult stem cells can divide or self-renew indefinitely, enabling them to generate a range of cell types from the originating organ or even regenerate the entire original organ.” (medicalnewstoday.com).

Furthermore, with the legalization medical research can grow at an exponential rate. We have the potential to grow artificial stem cells over time. If we can get to that point, millions of lives can be saved every year onwards.

Of course, to research these stem cells, we need to kill an embryo. This is morally a very bad choice for a ton of people (Mostly due to religion), because that an embryo despite it being born is still a human life and we shouldn’t have the choice to decide their fate just to continue scientific research.

Stem cells is on the same level as abortion, is it worth it to continue a human life to end one? In my opinion, if we were going to end one anyway we shouldn’t waste their stem cells so we can save at least one life and potentially millions at the cost of none over the course of time.

Supporting Article By Rachel B

Stem cells, found in humans and animals; Stem cells are unspecialized, meaning they contain no specialized coding like our nerve, muscle, and skin cells. Stem cells are also pluripotent, having the ability to divide and make specialized cells. Stem cells have these just simple coding in the cell themselves, but with the use of science and innovation, stem cells can help restoring damaged tissue in people or treating or curing certain diseases. Why should we limit this science when it can do so much?

In “Stem Cells”, there were two types of stem cells, Embryonic Stem Cells and Adult Stem Cells, that could be used in stem cell research. But, there was a huge controversy towards the use of embryonic stem cells because it “involves the destruction of the blastocyst or embryo”(Stem Cells) creating a difficulty towards any sort of reproductive actions. Though since embryonic stem cells are developed at an young age, it is to be said that; “Human embryonic stem cells have been touted as having potentially dramatic and lifesaving properties. If such cells can be specifically directed to produce various specialized cells, scientists argue that patients can be treated with transplanted cells.”(Stem Cells) Meaning that anyone with any sort of medical problem whether it’s paralyzation or even diabetes, can actually get heal just by embryonic stem cells.

“Therapeutic cloning (also called embryo cloning) is the creation of embryos for use in biomedical research. The objective of therapeutic cloning is not to create clones but to obtain stem cells.” (Therapeutic) Since stem cells are called “master keys”, what they can do is in an sense clone themselves into other forms of cells such as muscle, blood, nerve, and brain cells. As scientist explore them more, they learned that alongside of treating for replacement cell, can be used to be better treatment for common diseases. “Embryonic stem cells are “starter cells” that can be coaxed into becoming any of the specialized cells of the body, meaning they are “pluripotent.”(NSCF) How these two thing correspond together is that scientist use embryonic stem cells to undergo therapeutic cloning to create the cells needed to be replaced.

Stem cell research is an very helpful for the fact that they can do more than just replace cells. We shouldn’t have to limit science if something as amazing as this to help cure the world's worst medical problems.

Bibliography

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