Upon close reading, it really does seem as if the basic moral quandary in stem-cell research has now been overcome. That moral quandary was real, and it is a mark of a certain non-religious fundamentalism that some enthusiasts for the research refused to acknowledge that the objections were indeed serious. But we’re facing another moment when science in effect rescues us from our political and moral impasse.
Hogwash. It is only a moral dilemma in the sense that if I somehow, out of the blue, decided my sperm was a human being and then got myself wrapped into a moral quandary over whether or not I was committing murder while I had meaningless sex in the shower. It was a stupid artificial debate, little more than pandering, and pretending it is a real moral dilemma is to cede the ground to people we should be ignoring.
Additionally, no one on my side of this debate wanted to do this research because we just like ‘killing’ embryos. I will leave the sadism to the pro-torture right, of whom a not insignificant number are all wrapped around the axle about a blob of cells that is not human, will never be human, and shouldn’t be treated as such (in that regard, Sullivan is at least consistent with his regard for ‘life.’ He and I just strongly disagree as to what constitutes life- the folks we tortured in Abu Ghraib- human. A bunch of cells under a microscope- not human). Regardless, those of us who wanted this research to continue wanted it done because it had promise to help lead to cures that actual living people might need. If the science can progress without it, fine. If it can not, expect me to be calling out the faux moralists again.
*** Update ***
One thing I should probably make clear- I have no doubt that some people think this is a real dilemma, and are serious in their concerns. My position is not that they do not struggle with the dilemma, but that the dilemma/quandary really is no such thing.