Zoo Station

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Still missing an important point: Possible breakthrough in stem-cell research

Posted by Chance on November 20, 2007

An article from Wired states that

In an unprecedented feat of biological alchemy, researchers have turned human skin cells into stem cells that hold the same medical promise as the controversial embryonic stem cells.

Scientists believe stem cell research will be able to cure numerous diseases and regenerate failing bodies. The new technique, however, doesn’t require the destruction of embryos, or use human eggs or cloning. Thus, it sweeps aside the ethical objections to stem-cell research.

I think this is great, because there are ethical questions involved when using embryonic stem cells.

However, some people are still missing an important point when it comes to stem-cell research. Ethical dilemmas are not the only reason to question government funding of medical research. To support stem-cell research does not automatically mean one must support government funding, though most people think the two are synonymous. I don’t want to get into a detailed list of pros and cons for government funding right now, but I think it is a question that we should at least consider.

The problem with our culture is that we assume all things good and true must be funded by government. We think the arts are important, well, let’s use tax money to fund the arts! We want to support our farmers; well, make sure they get subsidies! Ethanol can increase fuel efficiency, well, by all means, give lots of money to car or oil companies to research the issue! Like baseball, well, let’s give billionaires some money so they will build a stadium in this city! Think faith-based initiatives are great, well, we better throw tax dollars at them!

The idea that government is a type of benefactor is so pervasive in our minds that we think anything that needs to be done in society should be done so through laws and tax dollars. And that’s unfortunate, because I believe government corrupts so many things. People complain that we should fund stem-cell research because we shouldn’t let politics corrupt science, but that is exactly what happens when you fund the research.

Some people prefer a “broader view” of government. But I prefer a “separate spheres” approach. Now, I don’t mean that are values shouldn’t inform how we interact in politics as one can take that statement to mean. What I mean is that we shouldn’t be so quick to ensure that government infests every area of our lives. So many good and pure things happen outside the reach of government. Sure, we must ensure that we have a just society and that everyone is treated equally under the law. At the same time, however, many revolutionary things, Jesus’ mission for one, happened outside, and in spite of, and even contrary to, the realm of government. Other institutions, such as the family, the church, and charities, are the ones that truly change lives.

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2 Responses to “Still missing an important point: Possible breakthrough in stem-cell research”

  1. Josh said

    Hey Man, just thought I’d stop in to say hi! Have a great Thanksgiving, and I’ll talk to you later!

  2. Josh said

    I hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

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