Sunday, November 4, 2007

Final Post: Self Reflection

Exploring stem cell research with its issues and controversies has made me grow as a thinker. I have gained more knowledge from a scientific, political, moral, and religious perspective regarding the advancement of both embryonic and adult stem cell research. Also, I have grown to enjoy expressing myself and learning from other people as I have had many comments being made on each of my postings. I take pride and gratitude in writing everybody back, as I give my opinion and share my beliefs with others.
As far as research, I have learned how to distinguish creditable and non-creditable sources. There were times when my binary opposition was difficult to research because there were many sources of biased opinions. I know where to get my resources. Scholarly journals help, however, I've found many creditable internet sources from national news websites and even scholarly blogs. I have taken everything I've learned from these sources and applied it to my argument that stem cell research should be supported.
I have learned so much more about about scientific experimentation with stem cells. Because of this, I have a better knowledge of embryonic and adult stem cells. Upon all of my research regarding the scientific portion of stem cell research, I have discovered that there are many benefits that can be derived from this scientific experimentation. Also, prior to researching stem cell research, I had barely touched bases on my research of cloning. Now, I have a better knowledge of what cloning has done from a scientific perspective and what it can provide for the future, such as replicating human organs.
Along with the scientific standpoint of stem cell research, I've had a learning experience with seeing how religion affects the way people make decisions regarding certain topics such as scientific experimentation. From day 1, typing "religion and stem cell research" into a search engine, results posted titles such as, "Christians oppose scientists in stem cell research" and "Thou shall not kill." I knew how to define my binary opposition of stem cell research. As a Christian, I have related to people who believe that stem cell research can be immoral, but I believe that God works in mysterious ways. I believe that he gave a purpose to everybody living on this planet, and I believe God put scientists on this planet to discover cures to many diseases. Years ago, I believed stem cell research was wrong, but then I began to realize that stem cell research will bring many benefits and it can save lives.
From a broader perspective, researching religion vs. science opened many doors to me for exploring what people considered right and wrong based on their cultural predispositions. I looked at two main controversial topics that molded peoples negative views on stem cell research: embryos and cloning. Upon further review of embryos, I've learned that my topic to stem cell research parallels with the topic of abortion because people have different definitions of when life truly begins. Some people define embryos as living human beings, so when scientist extract stem cells from embryos , it can be the equivalent of killing humans. As far as cloning goes, people believe that replicating humans is wrong. I believe that this is wrong also, but after researching cloning, it has come to my attention that a full human body doesn't have to be replicated. Organs can be replicated and this can solve the problem of not having a consistent genotype when performing transplants. If someone needs a liver transplant, there would be more replicated livers for surgeons to work with when it comes to finding an anatomical match with the patient.
Before diving into a pool of scientific and religious standpoints on stem cell research, I didn't know the political aspects of this scientific experimentation. I didn't know how democrats and republicans felt about this scientific experimentation. I also didn't know how President Bush felt about embryonic stem cell research and what he's done to influence the advancement. It's better for me to know that most democrats support stem cell research while republicans are split because the standpoints of the majority political party will influence the rate at which stem cell research advances. I am aware that the 2008 presidential election will have a big impact on whether or whether not stem cell research will move forward in discovering cures to various diseases. Not only have I learned how to research more efficiently, but I've learned how do deal with other people's opinions.
Prior to researching, I was heavily influenced by my family and my closest friends when it came to controversial issues such as stem cell research. Now, I am less influenced by my family and peers, however I still do base my decisions on them. After researching, my authorities have become the creditable resources and the news. Furthermore, I have become more open minded and independent, so I consider myself a much stronger authority. I'm basing more of my decision of where I stand on stem cell research on what I have learned within the past couple of months because I've been able to isolate myself from my peers and family.
I end this post on my standpoint on stem cell research. I am still supportive of stem cell research. In fact, exploring various topics of stem cell research has made grow to support stem cell research even more. The world will be a better place with stem cell research. I can imagine that one day, I will need some sort of medicine to help me through the days when I get older. I'm not predicting I'll have Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, however it would be wonderful to know that there is some medicine out there that will help me live a better life. When I look at stem cell research, I can't help but think about the future generations. As my future children and grandchildren grow older, it would be wonderful to know that I supported something that gave them an advantage: The advantage of the cures derived from stem cell research.