A few emails:
I’m surprised that anyone could honestly make the sort of argument you posted. It sounds great until you realize the implications: the exact same logic would condone pretty much ANY ethically dubious enterprise which might produce positive results. We made use of Japanese biological research following World War II despite the fact that it was obtained using human test subjects, but does that in any way condone the detestable methods which produced those results? Should we now throw up our hands and say, “Well, we used the Japanese data, might as well carve up Muhammed here to see if this new idea works!”.
Also of concern is the old debate over whether unethically obtained data should be published and used or not. This is largely irrelevant and purely hypothetical, however, as any beneficial research is still only theoretical. No matter which side of that debate one takes, their argument still manages to completely avoid any of the truly important areas of debate surrounding this issue as it stands today while simultaneously saying something quite disturbing about their views on research ethics.
I read your entry in the Corner about people emailing you the same arguments. These nutcases need to know:
1) Stem cell research is not illegal.
2) The Feds have been providing funding.
3) Stem cell research is not illegal.
4) The Feds will stop providing funding.
5) Stem cell research is not illegal.
6) A Google Search for “donate to stem cell research” produces 76,000 English hits.
7) Stem cell research is not illegal.
8) Here’s just one place accepting donations http://www.stemcellresearchfoundation.org/Give/give.htm
9) Stem cell research is not illegal.
“Donations to the Stem Cell Research Foundation are tax-deductible under the Internal Revenue Code of the Internal Revenue Service for computing income and estate taxes. The Stem Cell Research Foundation is a program of the American Cell Therapy Research Foundation, a federally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization.”
The main problem with your e-mail flood regarding stem cell is exceedingly (non-existent?) flawed logic. If embryonic stem cells do work their usage would still be immoral (at least in my self-righteous, sanctimonious, moral, religious-type view). I could solve the need for kidney dialysis by kidnapping people – checking them to see if their kidneys were healthy and then harvesting their healthy organs without their consent and transplanting them into those needing dialysis. Problem solved – under that line of thinking. Following your correspondents’ line of logic, we could solve drug addiction by shooting drug addicts – after all bullets are cheaper than rehab. I guess functionality is the key to morality. And those nimrods compare Bush to Hitler!
Just reading the e-mail you posted calling out us “religious, moral, sanctimonious” people called to mind a conversation I had the other day with a friend of mine. He’s mid-40’s, confined to a wheelchair with MD. He told me point-blank that if it came down to choosing between a life-saving treatment derived from embryonic stem-cell research or dying, he would, with God’s help, choose death. This comment comes from someone who’s actually facing the choice, if it ever comes. His dignity and quiet, Christian faith in the face of death inspires me every day that I live. I guess your e-mailers don’t understand that there are some people who can still look beyond themselves. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Sorry for venting. Appreciate all you do for the cause.