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Debate Info

133
118
Yes No
Debate Score:251
Arguments:83
Total Votes:387
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 Yes (47)
 
 No (36)

Debate Creator

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Should the US government fund stem cell research?

Is it morally/scientifically defensible?

Yes

Side Score: 133
VS.

No

Side Score: 118
11 points

Yes. Stem cell research is the most promising aspect of medicine today. It is the obligation of the US federal government to fund this research. It doesn't make any sense for the government to hold religion over science.

The human embryos that are destroyed only contain about 150 cells. The brain of a fly has over 100,000 cells. Watch this video to hear the best argument that I have heard in favor of stem cell research.

Sam Harris on stem cells & morality
Side: Yes
5 points

Allowing itself to be "cowed into respecting religious faith" at the expense of alleviating the "enduring suffering of millions", the US federal government is in violation of the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Side: Yes
pvtNobody(642) Disputed
5 points

How is not funding stem cell research a violation of the first amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Congress is not establishing a state religion, nor is it infringing on the rights to worship as an individual chooses. Instead it is legislating based off expressed opinions of a majority of the population through their election of Congressmen and women.

Side: No
mcmurr(15) Disputed
1 point

It is because people's faith(which condems ES) have their hard earned money going toward something they competely oppose and violates their religious beliefs. Therefore, their rights are being violated.

Side: No
1 point

Religion over Science is a crime! Science is key to our survival and Governments shouldn't confuse ethic beliefs with our rights to survive as the human race.

Side: Yes
pvtNobody(642) Disputed
9 points

You make it seem as if humanity cannot survive without stem cell research. This is, quite frankly, not at all true. We have as a species existed with considerable success over the course of our existence without stem cell research. While this research will undoubtedly help make our life spans longer, healthier and more productive and more importantly alleviate the suffering of millions it is not absolutely necessary to the survival of humanity as a species.

Furthermore science without ethics is more than dangerous it's absolutely wrong. At some level all human actions should be measured against a system of ethics. Whether this system is defined entirely religiously, secularly or a combination of the two is of little consequence. But a system of ethics is absolutely necessary for the success of any human society.

Side: No

I'd like to point out that in the very near future scientists will be able to generate stem cells without embryos from regular cells.

Stem Cells have such a broad potential for curing many (to date incurable) diseases that we cannot afford to idle on this research.

Side: No
mcmurr(15) Disputed
1 point

This makes me laugh because humans are their own worst enemy and are destroying themselves. Science over religion is not the truth, that is just a fasade and a way to get around a moral and ethical questions. Religion is just brought into the debate to misguide people on the unproven benefits of Stem cell research

Side: No
geoff(738) Disputed
1 point

The vital difference is that the human embryo has been fertilised and has the potential to become a human. Sam Harris' argument [in the video] that 'every time you scratch your nose you have committed a holocaust of potential human beings' is facile and is prefixed with weasel words.

Side: No
1 point

Yes, indeed he maybe be facile in the respect that he seems to be making bold assersions, but his argument relating to the 'soul mathematics' is nonetheless still valid. Because we have no way to determine the starting point of a soul, it seems, to me at least, that the notion of soul is an invalid argument against stem cell research.

Yes, also, that the human embryo has been fertilised, and has the potential to become human, however I dont believe we should be preoccupied with bringing more potential humans into this world as it is limping it's way into the future.

Side: Yes
townsend(29) Disputed
1 point

What does a fertility clinic do with all the left-over fertilized eggs?

If they can't be used for research purposes, they have to burn them.

It's a waste.

Side: Yes
2 points

Of course; right now the government is spending money on many less productive things. And stem cell research is very promising. But embryonic stem cell research is different. Not only is it morally wrong because it destroys human life, but there is a significant lack of evidence that it will even be as productive as adult stem cell research, which for years has been used to succesfully treat such deadly diseases as leukemia.

Supporting Evidence: Adult stem cell research and leukemia (www.ucsfhealth.org)
Side: Yes
2 points

There are too many unknowns about this science not to research it. Once we find out what its many implications are, then we should debate whether we should use it or not. Government should never make a decision based solely on religion. But, thats obviously gonna be the view from an atheist.

Side: Yes
2 points

NO offence Rev...but religion should not interfer with science and science should not interfer with religion...two different structures! Apples and oranges...both of which never fall far from the trees.

Stem cell is cruetial to many illnesses...I know, I have one that could benifit from it, but by the time the dust settles it might be too late for me...

THAT is how important stem cell research is.

Southern smiles and world peace,

Sharon

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

babyboomeradvisorclub

Side: Yes
mcmurr(15) Disputed
1 point

And no offense to you BB, but to a religious person, God is the ultimate creator of science and scientists are always too busy trying to play God, so it is not a apples to oranges comparison. Look how much time, effort and money is spent in the scientific community to "disprove" creation. I have several family members that could benefit from it in the future as well, but at the cost of detroying life, they would not want it and niether would I. It is kind of like an adult hiding behind a child while under attack...cowardly in my book. Funny thing is that we get persecuted for animal research which is a big no no, but human research is not...I don't get you people and I am in the scientific field (neuropsychology). Just another self-destructive path in science, and I am glad there are people like me in that field. Where is the hope and faith of humanity..in a Petri- dish?

Side: No

The government should fund it if there's a potential for improving the country's economy or if it has any military applications.

Side: Yes
2 points

A comment was made above that we will soon be able to create stem cells without destroying embryos. We're actually already there. While some of the work of South Korea's Hwang Woo Suk was found to be bunk, the methodology of non-embryonic stem-cell creation was proven recently by scientists working at the University of California. Utilizing cells from a single donor, the scientists chemically forced the cell to blastosphere stage and thus harvested a complete line of stem cells.

The scientists implanted the nucleus of a skin cell into an egg cell (thus creating a diploid egg). This diploid was then stimulated chemically, and "grew" in the nutrient solution of incubation, a technique that has already been known. However, the scientists managed to get the total growth to around a hundred cells, far more than we have ever managed before, and large enough to create the full line from the blastosphere stage. The mechanism created no life; in fact, cannot, since the central nucleus of the cell is being replaced by a mature code, not one that can control the complex procedures of embryosis. The hundred-cell volume is probably the largest this can even grow to; scientists reported eugenic decay in the blastosphere even at the time when the stem cells were being harvested (eugenic decay is a total systemic failure of the DNA sequence to adapt to embryosis).

So should the government fund such research? Yes, indeed. Extrapolation of the technique identified above will satisfy the religious concerns; man is neither being created nor destroyed to continue the work. And the potential benefits of such research go far beyond the ability to repair the human body. Indeed, the knowledge gained simply from the study of it allows better surgical techniques, better treatments, better and more targeted medications, and better knowledge of human risks, behaviors and illness.

That said, I do not advocate wholesale fattening of private enterprise on governmental teats, though; the government should retain and disseminate such research without limitation. If the private enterprises wish patent protection, they must get there without public funding. Public funds should yield public benefits.

Side: Yes
1 point

Absolutely, stem cell research holds untold possibilities for medicine. The government should be funding more scientific endeavors, there are much much worse ways to spend taxpayers' money. However it is morally wrong to conduct embryonic stem cell research.Luckily there are just as effective alternatives to destroying a fertilized embryo, such as adult stem cells and perhaps even more versatile multipotent adult progenitor cells.

Supporting Evidence: Alternatives to Embryonic Stem Cells (www.uq.edu.au)
Side: Yes
1 point

Seems like a no-brainer. If we have trillions for war, and "obviously" government funded war is to help humanity. Why shouldnt govt fund science/medicine, especially something like Stem Cells that is so universally accepted as something that has and will benefit humanity.

Side: Yes
0 points

Duh! The money that we pay should be used to kill people! What use is it to kill people and then revive them???

Side: Yes
1 point

I remember watching a show on the discovery channel about ancient civilizations. This program demonstrated that some cultures were literally centuries ahead of other cultures in developing certain technologies. The program gave some specific examples of mechanical technologies that were developed by the Chinese hundreds of years before other cultures discovered the principles that made these technologies beneficial to the citizens.

The program didn't explore the WHY of this. But being a wonderer, I wondered why it was. And one possible answer that came to mind was that religions have historically been "nay-sayers" of some scientific advances. And so, I postulated that religion in a given culture may very well have stood in the way of scientific research and the resulting discovery and practical use of those discoveries.

I had no specific evidence to back up my postulations, but while trying to come up with possible modern day examples of why some cultures might be technologically ahead of others, my mind latched onto the current events example of stem cell research. I observe that right here in my own country, we have religious influences hindering the advance of a particular scientific avenue of research, while other countries are more aggresively looking for practical uses of this promising field.

I can't help but wonder if America is setting itself up to be left behind (or left to play catch-up) in whatever practical applications can be made from pursuing stem cell research?

Side: Yes

What, you think they should only fund wars????

Prison camps??

Their own pockets???

...or perhaps something that will benefit all like stem cell research.

Wait until you get ill or someone that you love...and tell me then if you don't change you all might high horse attitude then!!!!

I say stop the space program and do stem cell.

...now that ought to get you scientists going out there...

...let me tell you...there is dirt, rocks and ice on most planets...BIG whoop! People are more important!

...and if there are ET people out there they will find us...and they will be smarter then us because we don't have the sense to have our government fund stem cell research!

You have colonized the world, leave the galaxies alone!

'nough said...

Sharon

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

babyboomeradvisorclub

Side: Yes
JSparsky(24) Disputed
1 point

"perhaps something that will benefit all like stem cell research."

Stem cells do NOT benefit all people, just those with cancer or other health problems (only a small segment of society). Now, why poor people's money be going to support richer people with cancer? Don't you think there are more important things for THEM, like food etc. Check out the argument below

Supporting Evidence: Stem cells benefit the few at the cost of everyone (arg.umentum.com)
Side: No
mcmurr(15) Disputed
1 point

I have a family member (father) that has already died due to a disease that they say ES could cure in the future and again, I say, at what cost? I agree with the space program elimination though and believe in scientific research, but not at the cost of destroying human life and immoral acts. All religion aside, when your number is up, you are going and there is nothing on earth that can save you, so maybe protecting your soul is not a bad idea. On the other hand, it appears to me that you are probably ill or know someone who is and my heart goes out to you, but we do not need to destroy life to prolong another life. I understand your passion and I agree with much of what you have stated, I just disagree with ESCR. My prayers are with you BB.

Side: No

Stem cells are an extremely promising medical resource. Doctors have told me I may be unable to walk by the time I'm 30 due to degenerative joints. Stem cells could change this. I support stem cells wholeheartedly and believe that the government should fund this research for the good of the people.

Side: yes

In order for the possibility of curing cancer and other diseases, stem cell research is just one way in achieving this goal.

Side: yes
1 point

And now scientist can extract stem cells from our bone marrow, so there is no longer a morality issue. I'm looking forward to a new set of ears.

Side: yes
1 point

Those who do not support stem cell research condemn what they do not fully understand. today, stem cells are being taken less from embryos of those who voluntarily allow it and are being genetically created in a petri dish (man-made). People need to know that the world population is on the rise and is increasing rapidly. For this reason, demand for superior pharmaceutical technology and advancement to keep up with the heavy population is increasing rapidly. Please realize that cancer can be reversed, and diseases that have been labeled incurable can finally be cured with this massive reform in medicine and science. Some incurable diseases include diabetes, heart disease, auto immune diseases such as Parkinson's, end-stage kidney disease, liver failure, cancer, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer's disease. Stem cells can regenerate the human body in a way that the human body could never as amazing as it is. People will not have to donate organs as much with stem cells because stem cells can replace damaged or dying organs that can't possibly be saved with any measure of treatment or surgery. Now, i am a Christian an i do not believe in abortion nor do i believe in embryonic stem cells. Science is working it's way around embryonic stem cells so that is in not a curse but a blessing. i don't think that god would condemn such an advancement in medicine that can cure diseases that nothing else can cure, and make peoples lives better, more comfortable and less painful mentally and physically. The world is already screwed up enough... We need to try to fix and clean up what we can. think about this very, very carefully. Think about whats at stake.

Side: yes
1 point

The moral arguments are ethnocentric and non-secular, they have no merit insofar as government policy is concerned. Stem cell research could advance medicine. I do think that there are limits to the advancement both technological and ethical, but we should keep pushing the frontiers.

Side: Yes

I think some diseases will find a cure through stem cell research.

Side: Yes
0 points

Stem cell research—yes. Embryonic stem cell research—no. Why do people never mention this distinction when they ask a question like this? Stem cells can come from almost every type of tissue. Most stem cell research doesn't involve using embryonic tissue.

Side: Yes
0 points

Yes, because it will advance our society

Side: Yes
-1 points

Stem Cell Research, just like Space Exploration, impacts humanity not just the economy. All of the world's nations should be involved in these issues.

Side: Yes
-1 points

Big pharma doesn't want you to be cured. They profit by treating your symptoms. Religion is a smoke-screen. Follow the money.

Side: Yes
-1 points

It has numerous benefits to the health of our society, and it can be obtained without harming anything, even an unborn child.

Side: Yes
-3 points
-3 points
sparsely(495) Disputed
1 point

Sarcasm or not, that's a blatant appeal to emotion. Abortion is not the topic. We're talking about whether taxpayers should be forced to fund research for it by the government.

Side: Yes
Bradf0rd(1425) Disputed
0 points

Someone slap me for appealing to human emotion. After all, I am only human... and this is only a humanitarian issue that people don't want to be responsible for.

Side: Yes
-3 points
-4 points
-5 points
11 points

Like jwitter, I don't think it's the government's responsibility to subsidize private corporations. If they want to research stem cells, let 'em. Heck, if they want to research dog poop, let 'em. But don't expect the tax payers to foot the bill for it.

Everyone is talking about how promising it is. Well, that nice. But in the end this sort of research is a gamble. That's why the pharmaceutical companies want the government to pay for it. Because they know that no matter how promising it is, it could take years or even decades for something marketable to come out of it (if ever). There are more pressing issues for the government to support.

Side: No
7 points

So true. Why does the government have to fund something that is so "promising." Did they have to fund the creation of the automobile, the airplane, the personal computer? You would think that private corporations would be swarming for a piece of the pie that will one day "make the lame walk," but that's not happening. Instead what you're seeing is people begging government to spend billions of taxpayer's dollars on an emerging science that is untested and largely theoretical, because nobody else is willing to take the risk just yet.

People have to understand that unless the government or a corporation really wants it, like they really wanted the atom bomb, then like all scientific advances, it will take time.

Side: No
KnwledgNinja(10) Disputed
2 points

The government most definitely did (and still does) fund advances in the automobile, aeronautic, and computer industries, as well as many other areas of pharmaceutical research. It's not about corporate profit; it's about benefit to the country as a whole. The most revolutionary scientific advances are most often utilized by the military before the public gets hold of them. Stem cell research also falls into that realm. One of the biggest focuses of current military medical research is regenerative medicine. This is one area where stem cell research shows promise.

So in a nutshell, yes, the government, at the very least, funded the advancement of those technologies, and, yes, the government wants to utilize stem cell research. It's called an investment. Investments are sometimes risky.

Side: Yes
townsend(29) Disputed
0 points

You need to read up on the history of aviation and the history of computers.

And probably the history of atomic energy and space exploration. You think CERN was built for corporate purposes? You think we build telescopes in space to prop up the bottom line?

Side: Yes
Bradf0rd(1425) Disputed
2 points

We are funding research for nanotechnology aren't we? What's the difference? They are both at the bleeding edge of medical science and innovation.

Side: No
2 points

hmm, yes, it is very risky, but indeed all scientific research is risky. Think of the Large Hadron Collider, immense resource drain and potential apocalypse scenarios, but yet we persist, because the possibilities are boundless.

Side: No
7 points

I'm all for stem cell research, but I don't think that the government should spend the money in research just so a company can come along and make huge profits.

Side: No
pvtNobody(642) Disputed
4 points

You do realize that a huge number of modern convinces where funded by the government, whether through the space program or the military. Things like ball point pens, microwaves, radios to some extent, satellite dishes, and medical imaging were either invented or extended by government funded research and later marketed by private corporations.

(Yes I know my source cited is from NASA's children's site. It was the first thing on google that supported my case. But there are many, many more resources to support this argument.)

Government funding is a huge key to scientific developments many technologies that we now take for granted would never have been developed had it not been or government grants. Funding of science is one of the few areas of government spending that need to be expanded rather than reduced.

Supporting Evidence: NASA's Commercialized Contributions (spaceplace.nasa.gov)
Side: Yes
jwitter(141) Disputed
3 points

I do realize that, but I appreciate you bringing it into the argument.

Just because the government has done something in the past does not justify the continuation of the practice. The Three-Fifths Compromise goes back to the founding of the US, well beyond the practice of Federal funding of the sciences. I'm totally against bring back the Three-Fifths Compromise.

I take exception to your argument that government funding is key to scientific development. Capitalism has had more influence than Federal sponsorship. Also, which technologies do you suppose would "never have been developed"?

Side: No
Muaguana(154) Disputed
1 point

If it's government funded, then corporations wouldn't have as stringent a control over the results as the pharmaceutical industry. One reason why medication is so expensive these days is because pharmaceutical corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars just on R&D;for a new drug. After testing and making modifications to pass FDA standards, the costs of producing and marketing the drug are huge. If stem cell research were privatized, treatments given based on the findings would be very expensive - more so than if the government covered R&D;costs. And if health insurance companies were to not cover stem cell-based treatments, those in the middle and lower socioeconomic classes would likely not be able to afford them.

Either way, companies will make profits off stem cell technology, but the cost of treatments would probably be far greater than if the government subsidized the research. Of course, with the Iraq war and our mountainous deficit, the chances of the government funding this already controversial prospect are slim, and the large number of citizens against additional domestic spending won't likely take this lying down.

Side: Yes
BabyBoomerQu(60) Disputed
2 points

Where have you been living in a banana tree...???

The reason drugs are so expensive is because they can charge the American public what they want because they have lobbyists in their pockets...pharmaceuticals are poison, anyway. More people die from pharmaceuticals every year than people die from street drugs! PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT!

Sharon

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

babyboomeradvuisor club

Side: No
Bradf0rd(1425) Disputed
0 points

Because there's no profit to humanity if a human is saved, right?

You know, it's not just about curing brain disorders, or re-growing limbs naturally. A stem cell is like a seed that you can use to grow just about anything on any body. Human embryos aren't even the only place to get these, but there are so many humans aborted that... we are essentially throwing away recourses, with TAXES.

In the fiscal year 1987, the most recent year for which figures are available, the Federal Government paid for 322 abortions at a cost of $160000... Government paid for abortions, but we cannot take the aborted or wasted material and use it to cure diseases, because that's just not what the government should be doing.

Why is assisted suicide illegal? Huge Profit? Why are we paying taxes for schools in the south that teach religion? Huge Profit?

Side: Yes
mcmurr(15) Disputed
1 point

Wasted material Brad?? You were almost making sense until your obvious disregard and lack of respect for a growing human life surfaced...wow.

If you want people (over 90% of the human population surveyed are of faith) to understand your argument, then you need to be respectful their beliefs as well. You said, "Because there's no profit to humanity if a human is saved, right?" That is hypocritical because ES destroys human life and so does abortion...hmmm.

Side: No
6 points

Taxpayers should never be forced to fund any non-essential, non-infrastructure related, extra-constitutional endeavors. Good of humanity or not. There are people who will be glad to fund it of their own free will because of their belief in it and the ability to profit from it.

Taking our money by force in order to funnel money to corporations for the next big breakthrough is unacceptable. Unless it's going to be free to everyone when it's available (which with most new technologies, is the way its sold [see the TV]), we don't owe any investment money to anybody.

Side: No
3 points

Why do you want my money to push your science. Don't get me wrong, I love science, I am an atheist. Just don't steal my money for your studies. If you care about this issue you and your friends can collect some money and donate your own money. Otherwise when you say you care about the issue, you care just enough to use my money, but clearly not enough for you to use your own money or effort.

On the other hand, I may one day give money to stem cell research, but I don't trust the government to handle the money. I have a feeling most of the money will land in the hand of bureaucrats. That's what usually happens when the government is put in charge of something like this.

Side: No
1 point

Greater stem-cell research would come from competition between private corporations, so no. Plus, why should anyone pay for something they do NOT support?

Side: Government interference is wrong
1 point

While in no way should the government stop scientists from conducting any and all types of research, funding for stem cell research is wrong not only because it forces some taxpayers to act against their own morals, but because it skews the activity of the brightest minds towards stem cells, when other fields may be more promising and or interesting. Stem cell research would be funded by private organizations anyway, since there are numerous charities devoted to cancer and health. There are far fewer charities devoted to theoretical physics, for reasons which I do not quite understand.

Some of my friends have been arguing over at Argumentum, so I'm more likely to respond there (link below).

Supporting Evidence: Some arguments about this subject.. (arg.umentum.com)
Side: No
1 point

Just to be clear:

There are 3 different types of stem cells; embryonic, adult and induced pluripotent stem cells. All originally come from humans.

1. Adult stem cells (ASC) [are often referred to as REPAIR stem cells because they are the body's natural healing cells ] have been used in bone marrow transplants for 40 years. They can currently treat 130+ diseases. They produce virtually zero side effects. The are originally derived from many locations in the human body including blood, umbilical cords, bone marrow, fat, nose, breast milk, menstruation, placenta and many other places. There are about 1,300 clinical trials that prove the safety and efficacy of adult stem cells.

2. Embryonic stem cells (ESC) can currently treat zero diseases. They are associated with a lot of problems (tumors, rejection, controversy, etc). They are originally derived from embryos. There are no completed embryonic clinical trials.

3. Induced pluripotent stem cells (IPsc) are fairly new. They have many of the same problems as embryonic (cysts, tumors, rejection…). They come from regular adult cells like skin cells that are then transformed (regressed to an embryonic state) by scientists into stem cells.

For an extensive explanation on the differences between stem cells, go here: http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/stem-cells-101/

To see if ADULT stem cell treatments work for diabetes, heart disease, cerebral palsy, amputation, stroke and multiple sclerosis, go here: http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/do-stem-cell-treatments-work/

For FREE Stem Cell Patient Advocacy, go here: http://RepairStemCells.org

Now, ask the question again and we'll see what people really think! :)

Side: STOP THE DEBATE
1 point

why should tax payer pay for something that probably will not work

Side: STOP THE DEBATE
1 point

It is a matter of how you value human life and your morals. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that an embryo is a growing human, but since it is just in the growing stages it is okay to kill it? That is close to "lets call an unborn baby a fetus so that we can feel all better about ourselves we we destroy IT and do not have to have any guilt." Wrapping it up in a scientific terms does not help the argument of destroying life in its growing stage...Stem cell research is just plain wrong and does not help humanity, but takes the humanity out of us.

Side: No
1 point

Another waste of money on something that is not all that promising

Side: No
1 point

Honestly i think No.

Yes it would save Alot of Lives, but why distroy one?

I mean C'mon, Baby lives?

Thats important. This gornment is Wrong, these scientist are wrong.

Just imagine You losing a chiold?

It hurst huh?

Side: No
0 points

Wow you really must have no heart if you think about killing a life form, even if it is not fully human yet

Side: No
rtimlin(2) Disputed
1 point

ok fine, ur potential life forms are saved, but now millions of suffering people have died because the research was abandoned. it is true that no life is greater than the other. but sacrificing one potential life to save one hundred actual lives is more jusitfiable. food for thought.

Side: yes