The Instigator
questionmark
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
34 Points

That Stem Cell Research should be legal.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/29/2009 Category: Health
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,680 times Debate No: 9875
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (6)

 

questionmark

Con

The title is self-explanatory, I'm con, so whoever takes this is going to support stem cell research (SCR), I'll throw my first two points out there and let Pro have at it.

Point 1:In order to harvest embryonic stem cells, you have to destroy an embryo, which is a human life, which makes it murder. Murder is spelled out as illegal in America, yet if you are murdering for science, apparently that is okay. Where is the logic there?

Point 2:Supposedly, SCR can cure dozens of diseases and medical problems. Yet where is the proof? There has been no example of success from SCR in curing things; as a matter of fact, "Mice treated for Parkinson's with embryonic stem cells have died from brain tumors in as much as 20% of cases." (http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org...) So how are we to expect that it will fare any better for people? We can't.

Good luck Pro, I look forward to you accepting my debate.
Danielle

Pro

Thanks, Con.

I'll begin by dissecting my opponent's two premises:

1. Destroying the embryo is murder.

A) I should point out that not all stem cell research deals with embryonic stem cells. In fact, there is "adult" stem cell research; these cells are more accurately called somatic stem cells, because they come from not only adults, but other sources. As such, no embryos or potential life are being destroyed in this regard, therefore this premise - at least in one sense - is entirely negated.

B) Murder is defined as the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. Since the law permits abortion, then destroying an embryo is not committing murder. Legal abortion should mean legal stem cell research, logically speaking.

C) On that note, any embryonic research is done on aborted fetuses. So, instead of "wasting" the potential human life, science has decided to gain from it and put that potential life to good use. Since the alternative to stem cell research on aborted fetuses is doing nothing with aborted fetuses, I'd argue that it's most beneficial and moral to try and gain potentially help others as a result of that research -- especially if the mother agrees to it.

D) While life begins at conception, human beings don't have rights until they're born. As such, stem cell research is not violating the fetuses rights. I could go on, but let's take a look at Con's second argument.

2. There is no proof that stem cell research is useful.

Bone marrow transplants have been performed for decades and involve the infusion of adult stem cells. Research based on embryonic and adult stem cells has yielded promising results for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and diabetes. Stem cell research also has generated new knowledge about basic cell mechanisms that is critical to understanding the causes of disease, such as cancer. While adult stem cells have been studied for decades, human embryonic stem cells were first isolated in 1998. There has not yet been time to develop new therapies using embryonic stem cells, though the overwhelming majority of stem cell scientists believe that to make the most rapid progress against disease, researchers must use all the weapons in their arsenal. That means using both embryonic and adult stem cells [1].

Moreover, neural cells in the brain and spinal cord that have been damaged can be replaced by stem cells. In the treatment of cancer, cells destroyed by radiation or chemotherapy can be replaced with new healthy stem cells that adapt to the affected area, which could be any given part of the human body. Dead cells of almost any kind, no matter the type of injury or disease, can be replaced with new healthy cells thanks to mind-boggling flexibility of stem cells [2].

Finally on this point, the phase 1 goals of human embryonic cell research has already been achieved. HEC have become an important vehicle for learning about tissue development and discovering the genes involved in self-renewal. Additionally, researchers have learned how to coax HEC cells to form many kinds of cells in the human body, including heart cells, motor neurons, and dopamine-producing brain cell amongst others. Plus, Con's only point in this regard was that 1/5 (which is a significant minority, by the way) died as a result of this research. Two things about that -- One, millions of animals are slaughtered for our enjoyment (food) each year; why is their death any less significant than the mice that die as a result of this? Two, Con has not supplied any research indicating any harm to (already born) human beings as a result of this research.

-------------- Arguments for the Pro --------------

While adult stem cell research has been useful in the past, the reality is that HEC are more valuable to science. For instance, HEC's can develop into any cell type in the body, so they can form unlimited quantities of any cell type in the body thereby helping us understand inherited diseases, and allowing us to study human cells bearing the exact genetic defects that cause disease in patients. They will also allow us to discover safer and more effective drugs by making it easier to screen drug candidates.

Research from stem cells can provide us with with information to offer new ideas for cures, treatment and prevention of things like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer disease, stroke, heart disease, etc. Obviously this distinct understanding would provide significant social benefits for individuals, as well as economic gains for the society. While Con may argue that these economic gains are irrelevant, the fact remains that this research is conduced on aborted fetuses.

Con's source says that those who value human life from the point of conception oppose embryonic stem cell research because the extraction of stem cells from this type of an embryo requires its destruction. In other words, it requires that a human life be killed, so they equate it to murder. Well first of all, I've already demonstrated how it's not technically murder, and second, the tiny blastocyst affected has no human features and more importantly no rights. Even if Con disagrees, the LEGAL aspect of this debate is to uphold the law. Since the embryo doesn't have rights, no laws are being violated and thus the research should remain legal.

I'll now await my opponent's response.

References:
[1] http://www.umich.edu...
[2] http://theviewspaper.net...
Debate Round No. 1
questionmark

Con

Thanks for accepting, I'm looking forward to this debate.

You said that, "not all stem cell research deals with embryonic stem cells." So why do they use E=embryonic stem cells at all then? If you can use adult stem cells, then why do they use embryos at all? If you can just use adult stem cells, then you shouldn't need any embryos at all.

You also said that "destroying an embryo is not committing murder." because "human beings don't have rights until they're born." First, abortion is only legal up to a certain point, 24 weeks if I'm not mistaken, so they get their rights before birth. That aside though, even if they don't have rights until birth, killing something before it has a chance to say no can't be considered a good thing. You can't say 'it's alright to kill someone because they aren't born yet.' Ironically, one of these embryos you killed could have been the one who would figure out how to use adult stem cells. So if people are deciding to use fetuses that are aborted anyways for SCR, the abortion rate will rise. They will want more embryonic stem cells, and they will find ways to get people to have abortions and give the stem cells to them.

In your first source, from which you had us gather that stem cell research has yielded promising results. However, in your first source, "Research with embryonic stem cells may lead to new, more effective treatments for serious human ailments". I would like to direct your attention to the fact that it says may. there is no PROOF, undeniable, beyond a shadow of a doubt proof. So embryos are being killed (whether it is human or not, murder or no, it is still being killed) for something that MAY help, but we can't guarantee it.

If all you had to do was place a stem cell in an affected area to make it work, then why aren't they doing it now?

You said that HEC's can become any type of cell, but what about adult stem cells? If a stem cell is just a blank cell, then why is an adult stem cell any different from an embryonic stem cell? Again with the helping cure diseases, that has not yet been proved, nor do we know for sure that it will in fact help. For all we know, they only work where they were naturally put.

You said that the blastocyst had has no human features. However, in a few months, you can be charged with murder for killing it. So we all know that it will be a human anyways, even if it isn't now, therefore , it is still a human life, albeit not one protected by law. Just because it isn't protected by law doesn't make it inhuman. African-American people were not protected by law, yet they are still human.

I'm only going to throw out one point, so here it is.

We could be growing organs, and one step later, growing people (cloning) from this research. How do we keep this knowledge from being abused? Once we have this stuff down, what will happen with the knowledge? we may end up using it for the wrong reasons. What happens if we start using this in warfare like with our knowledge of chemicals? This could have effects that last as long as humanity, because it is messing with how the body works. So playing God may not be the best idea.

Thank you Pro, I look forward to your next arguments.
Danielle

Pro

1. Con begins his argument by asking why embryonic stem cells are used at all. I've already answered this in my R1 argument. Embryonic stem cells are more valuable, because they retain the ability to divide and make copies of themselves indefinitely. Adult stem cells are more limited and specialized than embryonic stem cells. They have the ability to make just one or two kinds of tissue, such as blood and immune system cells, brain or muscle cells. Adult stem cells also have a more limited capacity to replace themselves than do embryonic stem cells [1]. Additionally, in only five years between 2000 and 2004, adult stem cells used in some 25,000 bone marrow transplant treatments have been complicit in at least 3,629 American deaths, 624 of which involved children under the age of 18 [2].

2. Regarding the rights of the unborn, only 36 states have a ban on partial birth abortions at the moment. That means that a lot of people disagree with your ideology that "killing before it cannot be considered a good thing." There are various philosophies that dictate moral values, and I'd rather not get into the abortion debate since this debate is about stem cell research. So moving on, you said, "So if people are deciding to use fetuses that are aborted anyways for SCR, the abortion rate will rise. They will want more embryonic stem cells, and they will find ways to get people to have abortions and give the stem cells to them." That is a completely fallacious and unsupported argument which cannot be accepted, because you have provided no reasoning or evidence to support it. If you can in R3, so be it.

3. Your next point was that embryos are being killed being killed despite there being no proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that embryonic stem cell research is helpful. First of all, this is a blatant lie considering that in R1 I've already explained how embryonic stem cell research has already been successful and helpful in its first phase. Second, these embryos aren't being killed despite anything; these embryos have already been set aside to be killed, and would be destroyed via abortion whether stem cell research was being utilized or not, so this is a moot point.

4. Next, you asked, "If a stem cell is just a blank cell, then why is an adult stem cell any different from an embryonic stem cell?" Answer: Adult stem cells are more limited and specialized than embryonic stem cells. They have the ability to make just one or two kinds of tissue, such as blood and immune system cells, brain or muscle cells. Adult stem cells also have a more limited capacity to replace themselves than do embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells could never be used in patients because the use of viruses to reprogram these adult cells predisposes the cells to cancer. As a result, these cells cannot replace the use of embryonic stem cells. There is widespread agreement among leading stem cell researchers, including the scientists that developed iPS cells, that research must continue on all types of stem cells including those derived from embryos [1].

5. Con continues by claiming that a blastocyst should be considered a human being because it will ultimately develop into a human being. Well, a caterpillar will eventually develop into a butterfly, but until it does, it's still considered a caterpillar... because that's what it is - a caterpillar, not a butterfly. Nevertheless, this argument is completely useless because abortion is legal. If abortion is legal, then it is logically absurd for stem cell research to be illegal. Again, issues regarding morality, rights and values stem from philosophy. I am from the camp that believes an unconscious fetus (a fetus younger than about 20 weeks old) has no rights, and therefore embryonic research is morally permissible. You said, "just because it [the fetus] isn't protected by law doesn't make it inhuman." Whether I agree or disagree, this debate IS about the law and what should be legal. Something not protected by law has no legal rigts.

6. Finally, Con says that embryonic research may lead to human cloning or other scientific development that he considers immoral. This is a blatant example of the slippery slope fallacy, and as such cannot be held against me. Stem cell research - the topic of this debate - is not about "growing people" so it's irrelevant. Not only are the two unrelated with different procedures and purposes, but it would be abusive for me to have to defend something (cloning and the like) since it does not pertain to the resolution. As such, I'll extend all of my arguments from the previous round and send this debate back to my opponent. Good luck!

[1] http://www.umich.edu...
[2] http://www.wired.com...
Debate Round No. 2
questionmark

Con

questionmark forfeited this round.
Danielle

Pro

Stem Cell Research saves lives. Aborted fetuses don't. Keep it legal :)
Debate Round No. 3
questionmark

Con

questionmark forfeited this round.
Danielle

Pro

Obviously I won my opponent over. That seems like a good enough reason to vote Pro :)
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Alex 7 years ago
Alex
Freeman, who's choice should it be on who gets the right to life?
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
You can't "murder" something that isn't conscious and doesn't have a right to life.
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Vote Placed by LaSalle 6 years ago
LaSalle
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Vote Placed by LB628 7 years ago
LB628
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Vote Placed by Danielle 7 years ago
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