Sep 05

Sacrilege and Medical Science

Fabian of Report from Greater Tokyo has responded to Jerry's stem cell primer.

"On the medical science issue, once upon a time, it was considered sacriligious to cut open a human corpse. Early doctors' methods were notoriously unreliable, and early post-mortems were unlikely to either find the exact cause of death or provide immediately useful data for medical research.

However, although no one knew exactly how that research might be beneficial in the future, we know now that it was invaluable to almost every modern surgical technique.

Similarly, although we don't yet know which way stem cell research may take medical science, and we don't even know of any specific benefits, but it seems reasonable to believe that there will be some tangible medical benefit in the future. If the anti-stem cell research people had won back then, modern medical surgery would still be at the amputate and cauterize stage. Stuff as basic as resetting a broken bone would be life-threatening, and almost certainly result in long term problems.

Comments? Criticisms? My gut reaction is to say that cutting open a corpse is not the same as destroying a living creature. Whether killing that creature is killing a person or not is a matter for debate, but that a living thing is killed is not."


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