Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Ethical Experimentation

Thanks to the Book of ThoTH website I was directed to an interesting article about stem cell research and the moral issue of mixing human cells with that of animals.

On the surface this sounds like something from a horror film. The article sites, "The Island of Dr. Moreau” as one example.

Go and read the article, then come back here for my take on the issue.

Without experimentation our scientific knowledge will stagnate. These scientists have already stated that they are learning more from these experiments then they ever wood have.

I think the risks are worth the end if it can bring cures to things like Parkinson's, cancer, Alzheimer's, etc...

We are reaching yet another point in our lives where science fiction meets science fact. Already the ability to have almost every body part replaced is upon us. Add to this the addition of bionic pieces like appendages, hearts, eyes and we can medically do just about anything.

How close are we to being able to walk in to the hospital and get replacement parts just because we can? Once we start replacing body parts, at what point do we cease to be who we were, and change into something we were not?

Should there now be laws that we can only replace a certain percentage of our current bodies to regain our own humanity? Once we reach adulthood should we be allowed to go into a medical hobby shop and get replacement organs that are genetically superior then the ones we are born with?

Medically speaking we are doing things now that would have been unheard of even 20 years ago. We got to this point by scientists doing experiments. By restraining the hands of the scientists we may be signing the extermination of our own race.

To adapt for the future we must continue to explore, experiment, and grow scientifically. Scary or not, this is the way it will be and I really don't see anyone being able to stop this forward progress.

Unfortunately, if this type of research “gets away” from us, I can foresee something like the Planet of the Apes movie actually coming to pass. How far fetched would it be for our scientists to create several primate chimera, and allow them to breed for experimental purposes.

Once these human/primates become more cognoscente of who they are, they could potentially demand their rights. Before you know it, there are primate sections in cities. Far fetched? These days I think it's only an experiment gone out of control away.

All of these horror stories aside, I still think that if the end result is the cure of major diseases that now haunt our population, it will be worth the effort and the risks.

So where do we go from here?

As is our way, we'll cinch up our morals and march on into the future.

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