The Stem Cell Controversy

Bertha Alvarez Manninen reviews The Stem Cell Controversy: Debating the Issues by Michael Ruse and Christopher A. Pynes (Editors), in Metapsychology:

StemcellrevisedNow in its second edition, The Stem Cell Controversy has been an invaluable anthology for my own personal research, and in my teaching as well. I should say, right away, that in my experience this is one of the best books available for introducing the issue to students and really discussing the scientific, ethical, and religious implications of embryonic and adult stem cell research. One of the main reasons that this book is so helpful and accessible is that it is broken down into five distinct sections that provide comprehensive overview of the different aspects of this current and divisive issue. I will mostly deal with the contents of the second edition, since this is the one currently available, but will refer back to the first edition if I believe that it was superior to the second edition in any respect.

The book begins with the full text of President George W. Bush’s August 9, 2001 speech, where he announced his decision to allow federal funding for stem cell research only on existing stem cell lines derived from embryos prior to that point in time, but that no new embryos were to be killed for the research using tax-payer dollars. I like that the students, and readers in general, are able to read exactly what Bush’s reasoning was when he made this decision, and I usually go through it carefully with them, extracting some philosophical arguments from the speech and then critically evaluating them.

More here.