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?
Tue, 11 February 2014
Join the discussion at http://ProLifePodcast.net/187
Dr. Michael Buratovich is Professor of Biochemistry at Spring Arbor University and the faculty advisor for the SAU Students for Life club. Josh interviews him on what stem cell research is and how to respond to common arguments for embryonic stem cell research.
Purchase "The Stem Cell Epistles: Letters to my Students about Bioethics, Embryos, Stem Cells, and Fertility Treatments:" http://amzn.to/1f2rM3b
Read Dr. Buratovich's blog at http://BeyondTheDish.wordpress.com.
01:09 - How did this book come along?
04:10 - Can you explain for our listeners what a stem cell is, and why they are sought after in research for regenerative medicine?
11:03 - Can you talk about the differences between embryonic stem cell research, adult stem cell research and induced pluripotent stem cell research?
17:18 - Many people argue that the embryo is just a tiny clump of cells with no nervous system; no heart, no consciousness, no ability to feel pain. They think it's crazy to call that an intrinsically valuable human being. What do you say to them?
18:49 - Some people think we should use cloned embryos to solve the practical issues with embryonic stem cell research? Do you believe that to be an ethical alternative?
21:08 - Some people make a utilitarian argument that all those millions of embryos in storage units are going to die anyway. They argue that we should put them to good use instead of wasting them in a cold storage unit or flushing them down the drain. How would you respond to that utilitarian argument?
24:39 - What should pro-lifers be doing about stem cell research?
Stay tuned for bonus audio with Dr. Buratovich to be posted later this week at http://ProLifePodcast.net
Mon, 3 February 2014
Listen to Josh's speech at the Students for Life of America 2014 West Coast National Conference:
Josh responds to these four common statements: