It's been way too long. I'm back and hoping that I can attract a few hardcore conservatives to this blog to explain something to me. Conservatives seem to have the high ground on morality in the public imagination lately (aside from the current presidential candidates) and they are most vocal on this issue so I feel they should have their say.

Why are Pro-Life people so bent out of shape about harvesting stem cells from embryo's yet they are not protesting or attempting to limit the use of the in-vitro procedures which create many more embryos than are ever used? I haven't heard of a single Pro-Life protest outside a fertility clinic and yet thousands more embryo's die every year within those walls than within the walls of academic stem cell research labs.

#1: If the moral issue is killing embryos than isn't creating embryos which will most certainly die just as bad as killing them?

#2: Do the ends justify the means? Is creating extra embryo's (which we know will be killed) offset by the noble effort to produce a single child.

#3: If #2 is correct than wouldn't killing a relative few embryos (which would otherwise die a much more ignoble death in the trash bin of the fertility clinic) in order to potentially save thousands of lives, be considered more moral than question #2 using the same logic since the embryo's are at least serving a noble purpose in thier short lives prior to the trash bin?

#4: If #2 and #3 are incorrect than why isn't the Pro-Life movement protesting fertility clinics?



Now, to be clear. I'm not some rabid "lets all go get abortions to solve or problems" radical. I think they are a nasty deal that nobody should get into. I haven't settled my position on abortion because I don't think they are a good thing, but I also think maybe women should have a choice in the matter (mabye pregnancy is a bit of a two way street). In short I'm conflicted on abortion. I am not conflicted on the use of embryonic stem cells.

I am a proponent of using embryonic stem cells, however, for two reasons. First, as a biologist and an athiest (no, the two are not related) I don't see the importance of quibbling over a small packet of cells with no ability to respond to outside stimuli. Two, were I that blastocyst, and I just so happened to have the ability to respond and process outside information, I would take one look at the bottom of that trash can and say, "Please, use me for something before throwing me away!". (There I go anthropomorphizing blastocysts again, please forgive me) Three, if I were slowly dying of insulin dependant diabetes while working at a fertility clinic I would be saying to myself, "Why don't we at least try to produce me some Islets of Langerhorn from those little cell balls in the freezer before we throw them away".

To me the question is less about the morality of murder (an open and shut case) and more about the starving children in Africa my parents always talked about at the table. In other words, you eat what's on your plate rather than throw it away. In a similar vein I think we should use what we have before throwing it away (And mabye give those unborn children the chance to do something noble with their short lives since we are responsible for getting them here in the first place).

I'm looking forward to some answers to the above questions.