Fri, 14 February 2014
After shooting the Life Report episode on arguments for embryonic stem cell research, Dr. Buratovich graciously stuck around 37-minutes to answer more questions! This audio includes my new favorite fact about early human development!
1: Ronald Bailey has argued that since somatic cell nuclear transfer can transform a nucleus from an adult cell into an embryo, then every cell in our body is a potential embryo. Since we do not get upset about all those cells we lose when we sneeze or scrape our knees, we shouldn’t get upset about the death of a bunch of embryos. I train people to respond to that by saying they’re confusing parts with wholes and talk about what an organism is. How do you respond?
2: Some argue that embryos are like acorns as opposed to oak trees. The loss of a majestic oak tree is a genuinely sad, but an acorn? We trample hundreds of those while playing with our kids at the park and think nothing of it. So people argue that embryos are similar, in that they only become valuable when they grow up. How do you respond to that argument?
3: Respond to the more intelligent pro-choice argument that would say that sentience or some other capacity is a necessary condition for being valuable.
4: But if self-awareness really is what's important, then it seems like the pro-choice person could respond by agreeing that the threshold of self-awareness isn't epistomologically knowable, but that doesn't mean that that threshold doesn't ontologically exist. Then they could do what Boonin and Singer do and just draw the line several weeks before that threshold could possibly exist. How would you respond to that person?
5: The early church made a distinction between abortion after quickening (the maternal sensation of fetal movement), which was viewed as murder, and abortion before quickening, which was not viewed as murder. Is the pro-life movement inconsistent with early church teaching?
6: How would you argue that the unborn is a living, human organism?
7: Clarify how the mother's uterus communicates with the embryo, signalling it to the optimum location to implant.
8: Can we use dead embryos to ethically make embryonic stem cell lines?
9: Should people freeze their baby’s umbilical cord blood as a deposit on future research?