One potentially valuable use of cloning is to provide a source of tissues or organs for transplantation. The most important objection to this use of cloning is that a human clone would be the sort of entity that it would be seriously wrong to kill. I argue that entities of the sort that you and I essentially are do not begin to exist until around the seventh month of fetal gestation. Therefore to kill a clone prior to that would not be to kill someone like you or me but would be only to prevent one of us from existing. And even after one of us begins to exist, the objections to killing it remain comparatively weak until its psychological capacities reach a certain level of maturation. These claims support the permissibility of killing a clone during the early stages of its development in order to use its organs for transplantation. (+info)
Should we clone human beings? Cloning as a source of tissue for transplantation.
The most publicly justifiable application of human cloning, if there is one at all, is to provide self-compatible cells or tissues for medical use, especially transplantation. Some have argued that this raises no new ethical issues above those raised by any form of embryo experimentation. I argue that this research is less morally problematic than other embryo research. Indeed, it is not merely morally permissible but morally required that we employ cloning to produce embryos or fetuses for the sake of providing cells, tissues or even organs for therapy, followed by abortion of the embryo or fetus. (+info)
Beware! Preimplantation genetic diagnosis may solve some old problems but it also raises new ones.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PIGD) goes some way to meeting the clinical, psychological and ethical problems of antenatal testing. We should guard, however, against the assumption that PIGD is the answer to all our problems. It also presents some new problems and leaves some old problems untouched. This paper will provide an overview of how PIGD meets some of the old problems but will concentrate on two new challenges for ethics (and, indeed, law). First we look at whether we should always suppose that it is wrong for a clinician to implant a genetically abnormal zygote. The second concern is particularly important in the UK. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990) gives clinicians a statutory obligation to consider the interests of the future children they help to create using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques. Does this mean that because PIGD is based on IVF techniques the balance of power for determining the best interests of the future child shifts from the mother to the clinician? (+info)
Equality and selection for existence.
It is argued that the policy of excluding from further life some human gametes and pre-embryos as "unfit" for existence is not at odds with a defensible idea of human equality. Such an idea must be compatible with the obvious fact that the "functional" value of humans differs, that their "use" to themselves and others differs. A defensible idea of human equality is instead grounded in the fact that as this functional difference is genetically determined, it is nothing which makes humans deserve or be worthy of being better or worse off. Rather, nobody is worth a better life than anyone else. This idea of equality is, however, not applicable to gametes and pre-embryos, since they are not human beings, but something out of which human beings develop. (+info)
In search of planets and life around other stars.
The discovery of over a dozen low-mass companions to nearby stars has intensified scientific and public interest in a longer term search for habitable planets like our own. However, the nature of the detected companions, and in particular whether they resemble Jupiter in properties and origin, remains undetermined. (+info)
Atmospheric energy for subsurface life on Mars?
The location and density of biologically useful energy sources on Mars will limit the biomass, spatial distribution, and organism size of any biota. Subsurface Martian organisms could be supplied with a large energy flux from the oxidation of photochemically produced atmospheric H(2) and CO diffusing into the regolith. However, surface abundance measurements of these gases demonstrate that no more than a few percent of this available flux is actually being consumed, suggesting that biological activity driven by atmospheric H(2) and CO is limited in the top few hundred meters of the subsurface. This is significant because the available but unused energy is extremely large: for organisms at 30-m depth, it is 2,000 times previous estimates of hydrothermal and chemical weathering energy and far exceeds the energy derivable from other atmospheric gases. This also implies that the apparent scarcity of life on Mars is not attributable to lack of energy. Instead, the availability of liquid water may be a more important factor limiting biological activity because the photochemical energy flux can only penetrate to 100- to 1,000-m depth, where most H(2)O is probably frozen. Because both atmospheric and Viking lander soil data provide little evidence for biological activity, the detection of short-lived trace gases will probably be a better indicator of any extant Martian life. (+info)
Human embryonic stem cells and respect for life.
The purpose of this essay is to stimulate academic discussion about the ethical justification of using human primordial stem cells for tissue transplantation, cell replacement, and gene therapy. There are intriguing alternatives to using embryos obtained from elective abortions and in vitro fertilisation to reconstitute damaged or dysfunctional human organs. These include the expansion and transplantation of latent adult progenitor cells. (+info)
A qualitative study of physicians' own wellness-promotion practices.
OBJECTIVE: To delineate the specific practices that physicians use to promote their own well-being. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: 304 members of a primary care practice-based research group responded by mail to a survey on physician well-being. From the original survey, 130 subjects responded to an open-ended survey item regarding their own wellness-promotion practices. METHODS: Qualitative content analysis was used to identify the common themes in the physicians' responses to the open-ended question. A validated 18-item instrument, the Scales of Psychological Well-Being (SPWB), was used for measurement. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Similarities and differences between the various wellness-promotion practices that respondents reported using and associations between the use of these practices and SPWB scores. RESULTS: The 5 primary wellness-promotion practices that evolved from thematic analysis of the survey responses included "relationships," "religion or spirituality," "self-care," "work," and "approaches to life." The use of the last type of practice was significantly associated with increased psychological well-being (SPWB) scores compared with the use of any of the other wellness-promotion practice categories (P<0.01), and there was a trend toward increased well-being among users of any category of wellness-promotion practices. Comments by our respondents provide specific descriptions of how physicians attend to their emotional, spiritual, and psychological well-being. CONCLUSION: Physicians use a variety of approaches to promote their own well-being, which sort themselves into 5 main categories and appear to correlate with improved levels of psychological well-being among users. (+info)