Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, January 04, 2007

England Docs Want To Clone, Kill Almost-Human Embryos

If you're not allowed to kill a human embryo for research, then why not kill a 99.5% human embryo instead?

That's' the proposal UK scientists are making. Since it's not legal to produce cloned human embryos in England for research, they want to strip most of the gunk out of a rabbit or cow embryo, pack it with human DNA from a sick person, and manufacture "chimeras," human-animal hybrids, so stem cells can be harvested. Harvested. Such a nice word for "99.5% humans will be slaughtered, processed, sliced and diced with chemical washes."

The scientists are only concerned with the ethics of the situation insofar as it could restrict their work. That's obvious in this attempt to find an ethical loophole to squeeze through so they can continue looking for cures for diseases like Alzheimers. Can't blame 'em; they're scientists, not pastors.

And besides, they can counter ethical concerns with medical concerns:
Professor Chris Shaw from Kings College London, along with his colleague Dr Stephen Minger, has applied for a licence for stem cell work on Motor Neurone Disease.

He said: "To shut this down at the moment is a real affront to patients. We do not have a single drug that makes a difference to the disease course." (BBC)
Doc Shaw, you also don't have a single proof that your research has a reasonable chance of leading to such a drug.

England's regulatory board for such matters appears disinclined to open the door to this nightmare. Scientists and secularists are outraged. But I've read reports in the Times of London and BBC, and neither quote disease sufferers saying "Kill the baby almost-humans for us!" Not that their opinion matters here; their self-interest disqualifies them; but it would be interesting to know if there's a consensus of the sick on this matter, and if that consensus is that they don't want cloning and embryo-killing on their behalf.

I'm at risk of Alzheimers myself (runs in the family), but my morality sensors are blaring over this news story. If 100% cloned humans aren't allowed, then let's try 99.5% humans. If that doesn't work, let's try 98.2%.

Conversely if 99.5% humans are OK with the Brits, how long will it be before that little step of stripping out the cow or rabbit embryos is mixed, and they just get on with cloning 100% humans to be destroyed?

It is the very definition of a slippery slope.

Art: STK/Ether Forge
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