Cloning Cells for Medical Treatment
The main thrust of Kavanaugh’s article was to state the unethical nature of stem cells and stem cell research. Stem cell research makes use of the principles of cloning in order to create a large number of these totipotent cells for the treatment of diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, Parkinson’s and ALS. Kavanaugh pointed out three things about stem cell research in his article. First, stem cell research has become a well-funded and widely approved activity. Second, although the terminology has changed from “cloning” to “somatic cell nuclear transfer”, what is meant is still the same and it is still unacceptable. And third, the Catholic Church should not sit idly by while the first two points take place. There should be a united and concerted effort among Catholics to provide funding for their own research in the hopes of offering a more ethical, potent, and applicable alternative to stem cell research.
The article began by describing and enumerating the different aspects of stem cell research that were pertinent to the Catholic Church today. The main problem tackled, however, was concerned with what the Catholic Church needed to do to and what type of response was needed to address the issue of cloning masked in the terminology of stem cell research and somatic cell nuclear transfer.
The article stressed that stem cell research or somatic cell nuclear transfer was an unethical activity that disregarded the right to and respect for life. Kavanaugh (2008) concluded that in order to keep abreast of the fast changing scene of stem cell research and funding, the Catholic Church needed to create its own research facility and to fund its own research team and project regarding stem cell research and its possible alternatives. The article stressed the need to arrive at alternatives that would prove to be more effective than the results yielded by the actual stem cell research. Stem cell research was admonished by Kavanaugh and Catholics who supported it, like the Catholic governor, were frowned upon.
Evidence used to support the conclusion
The only evidence presented by the author was scientific facts stating why stem cell research or somatic cell nuclear transfer is the same as cloning. The dogma of the Catholic Church was also utilized in order to emphasize why cloning, stem cell research, or somatic cell nuclear transfer is unacceptable. Evidence to support the fact that the Catholic community needed to create its own research facility to compete against stem cell research was taken from the fact that the money needed was already available within the said community and was simply not being allocated towards the proper channels.
Analysis and personal position
The conclusion was based on weak evidence and the evidence itself consisted of general biology terms that were not specific to the problems about stem cell research or of somatic cell nuclei transfer. Because it was based on weak evidence, the conclusion itself was weak. It was mostly based on emotion and religion when it should have been concerned with providing scientific explanations for why the philosopher believed stem cell research is bad and why the Catholic Church should take a pro-active stance against it.
Stem cell research or the cloning of cells for later medical purposes is, in my opinion, of great value. The fact that the cloned cells were not implanted indicates that this was not a test-tube baby. Also, even if it was, there should be stricter bases for declaring when such cloning mechanisms are already in violation of the right to preserve life. It should also be taken into consideration that the goals of stem cell research, and other like forms of cell cloning, are actually oriented towards continued preservation of already existing life. Although it will not lead to a solution for death, as Kavanaugh indicates, it will lead to a longer and lifeline for those with diseases that could be treated by the perfection of stem cell research.
Kavanaugh, J. F. (2006). Cloning, by whatever name, smells bad. America, 194(21), 9.