The fight about the cell is going on and on.

Stem cell research, especially when conducted from embryonic stem cells, is a hotly debated topic for a long time already. The point of view from science and medicine is that embryonic stem cell research is necessary and ultimately very benefiting to a lot of very, and often chronically, sick people, children and adults alike. If we look at it from an ethical point of view, stem cell research was for a long time fraught with problems. Using embryonic stem cells means that the embryo from which they are harvested, is not able to live anymore and will be discarded at the end. The embryos used in these cases are embryos from parents who allowed them to be used for research purposes. Many European countries have accepted the fact that the embryos will be discarded but see the benefit of the research and the possible cures it can provide and therefore have allowed the research under strict rule and guidelines. Continue reading “The fight about the cell is going on and on.”

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UN climate conference in Copenhagen: Yet another case for evidence based politics?

The climate conference in Copenhagen has ended with an accord brokered by President Obama between China, India, Brazil, and South Africa to do something about climate change. What that something actually is supposed to be remains to be determined as it seems. The accord is non-binding and therefore incredibly weak. World leaders, among them Ban Ki Moon, call the agreement a start and a first step in the right direction. To many people, including me, that does sound somewhat cynical. For years already we are aware that our environment is changing. Science is providing us with evidence about that fact. But Science is not giving us results to use as they are, as apparently some politicians hope. Since the science explaining climate change is so highly complex, it is not only bound to produce errors once in a while, it is also only usable to a certain degree as 100% reliable evidence for action. Continue reading “UN climate conference in Copenhagen: Yet another case for evidence based politics?”

Does justice matter after death?

In 1908, Jack Johnson became the first African American to win the heavyweight title in boxing. In 1912, after marrying a white woman named Lucille Cameron, Johnson was twice charged with, and later convicted of, violating the Mann Act, which banned inter alia the transportation of women across state lines for “immoral purposes.” Johnson eventually spent a year in prison for this alleged crime. Continue reading “Does justice matter after death?”