Human Progress Is the Ultimate Target Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1620 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Biology

Human progress is the ultimate target of the development of technology and science. It represents the most important reason for continuous research aimed at improving human existence. That is why, there are numerous attempts to try to combat and exterminate the dangers facing humanity. Terminal diseases or acute poverty have been the cause for millions of deaths throughout the world. This is one of the reasons why nowadays more and more emphasis is placed on research in areas such as genetic research on the one hand, or on possible means of intervention in order to stop and reduce the effects poverty has on the populations of the least developed countries. Still, each initiative has both sides, which transfers the interest in the area of public debate.

Stem cell research is one of the most controversial scientific projects of our time. It became the subject of criticism in all fields of discussions, from the actual concepts of genetics, to the eventual transformation of the matter into a political issue. It brought together arguments and counters from academics, from fields such as religion, ethics and morality. This in the end divided the debate while each of the sides supports their stand through different arguments.

There is an important argument supported by medical experts who argue that indeed, stem cell research would eventually lead to major breakthroughs in the treatment of illnesses such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The scientific explanation is based on the idea that "stem cells in the human body have a unique ability to renew themselves and give rise to the more specialized cell types that do the work of the body (...) Early human stem cell research is viewed by many as a key to understanding many of the most fundamental questions in basic and clinical biology that can lead to treatments and cures, and ultimately save lives. With a better understanding of early cell development, researchers expect to increase their knowledge of why cells behave abnormally and produce diseases such as cancer (...) it is expected that early human stem cells could be used to create an unlimited supply of cells, tissues, or even organs that could be transplanted to restore function lost to disease and injury." (the University of Kansas Medical Center) Despite the early enthusiasm, there is still much to be done in order for the technique to be properly used in achieving its declared goals. Nonetheless, it is believed that this approach could be a solution for devastating diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, spinal cord injuries, and birth defects which, according to the National Academy of Sciences give a large part of U.S. sick population. (National Academy of Sciences, 2005)

Opposing this stand, there are those who argue against the use of live embryos or stem cells derived from aborted fetuses. From a religious point-of-view "an embryo is life." (Reaves, 2001) Ronald Cole Turner presents this perspective as a debate between two approaches, "on the one hand, there are many Christians who look at the embryo and see a member of the human family (...) on the other side of the debate, are the many Christians and Jews who see the human embryo not as another human person but as a cell with an extraordinary potential to divide and develop into a person." (Waters & Turner, 2003) it is therefore up for discussion when can be this research be considered to be a crime against a living organism.

This perspective has also drawn a more complex problem, dealing with the morality of the process. What is the limit to which doctors and researchers can conduct their studies and, even more, to which extent can they exercise their authority over the lives of people? It is in fact a matter of questioning the nature of human life and the intervention of man in its course. (Holland, Lebacqz and Zoloth., 2001) on the other hand, the encouraging results of these types of research can offer, in return, the possibility of achieving cures for the treatment of spinal injuries and nerve cell damage, which means that they can contribute to saving lives as well. (Ruse, 2003)

This debate has been taken to a higher level as President Bush was required to take a stand in the matter. However, due to the fact that the debate became political, it demanded a wider approach and therefore the attention focused on the issue of abortion and the presidential opinion on the problem. Practical issues such as vote numbers make a clear position to be highly improbable. The issue of federal funding of the research was somewhat dealt with by Bush who in the end, after a thorough analysis of the different points-of-view, decided that "Embryonic stem cell research offers both great promise and great peril. (...)This year, your government will spend $250 million on this important research. I will also name a President's council to monitor stem cell research, to recommend appropriate guidelines and regulations, and to consider all of the medical and ethical ramifications of biomedical innovation." (the White House, 2001)

Stem cell research represents indeed a heated subject for debate; it is a matter of perspective and of point-of-view. However, the official stand is supporting the innovative and advanced ideas of scientists in search of a better life for those in suffering. Still, there are numerous voices against such actions. All in all, it remains to be seen whether scarifying moral ethics and religious beliefs will in the end benefit man.

Another issue which is controversial for both its positive and negative effects is globalization. As in the case with stem cell research, here too is a matter of point-of-view. On the one hand, from the perspective of developing countries, globalization represents the natural outcome of the complex interdependence our world is facing in the last century. However, from the point-of-view of the least developed countries, it is a continuous process of impoverishment which will eventually lead to their lack of basic resources of life.

The implications of a global trade flux and of the free movement of products, labor force and services have created both an inclusive and an exclusive reality.

Firstly, the period after the end of the 2nd World War represented a great time for the economies of the victorious countries which managed to take advantage of their superior stand in the world architecture. Therefore, many former colonies which ultimately gain their independence were encouraged to strengthen their trade relationships with developed countries such as the U.S., the UK, France, Japan or even the U.S.S.R. Still, in many occasions such exchanges resulted in the exploitation of the natural resources from recently independent states from the African continent. This practice did not benefit young local industries which, as a result of massive western imported goods, became suffocated and failed to attract a certain degree of professionalism in their achievement. In time, this came to be associated with small productivity and low quality market products which could not keep the pace with western goods. This is how, in time, and especially after the fall of the communist regimes throughout the world and the liberalization of most economies, poor countries s became even poorer and can nowadays rely solely on the export of their raw material.

It is therefore questionable the degree in which developing countries are really gaining in the era of globalization. According the IMF, there is a mix answer to that "Developing countries as a whole have increased their share of world trade." However, graphics "show great variation among the major regions. For instance, the newly industrialized economies (NIEs) of Asia have done well, while Africa as a whole has fared poorly." (IMF, 2000)

On the one hand, it is an inclusive process because one of the most important achievements is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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