A few weeks ago we had a post regarding the great controversy over stem cells. I was reading Slate and discovered that there is yet an other new controversy. I’m curious of what people here think of it, especially in light of LDS theology.
Is it allright to create and destroy something almost human? That’s the big topic at Friday’s meeting of the President’s Council on Bioethics. Council member Bill Hurlbut, a Stanford biologist, wants to end-run the moral debate over stem cells. He proposes to follow the recipe for human cloningâ€”put the nucleus of a body cell into a gutted egg cellâ€”but turn off a crucial gene so that the resulting “biological artifact” produces stem cells without organizing itself into an embryo. According to a draft white paper prepared by council staff, “Several scientists have indicated that they believe [the plan] can easily be made to work, and a few are apparently ready to try it out in non-human animals.”
Note how this avoids the biggest worry about normal cells. That they can develop into a human being. These are made genetically so the explicitly can’t so develop. In other words, they are essentially just a cell culture.
Needless to say many people still find the idea appalling. But do they do so rationally? That is, beyond charges of playing God, or that it is “weird,” is there anything ethically wrong about it? I can’t think of anything.