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An Annotated Bibliography
Academic affiliation: Oklahoma State University
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Cahill, Lisa Sowle. "Stem Cells: A Bioethical Balancing Act." America 184.10 (2001):
14-19. There are two strongly opposing viewpoints when considering stem cell research. The strongest opposition is in embryonic stem cells being used for research. Many view this as a disrespectful act that will eventually lead to an overall decrease in the respect we currently have for human life. These people argue that no matter what stage the embryo is in, it is a human life and so has rights. The opposing viewpoint, however, believes the embryo is not a human life in the beginning. Some of these people not only believe research should be allowed to continue on embryonic stem cells, but also think they should be able to be created for the sole purpose of research. This article does not require a lot of foreknowledge and could be read by almost anyone. It did not, however, have any references, so not many inquiries were made for preparation of this article.
Friedrich, M J. "Debating Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Research." JAMA 284.6 (2000):
681-82. Many legal and ethical questions arise when talking about stem cell research. Whether or not it should be allowed to take place is a concern of some people. Others who have accepted it then argue how it should be done and by what means. Currently, the stem cells are usually obtained from human embryos that were donated by those going through the in-vitro process. Yet another controversial aspect is whether or not it is moral to create human embryos for the sole purpose of research. Many think such an action would demolish the respect we currently have for human life. Others, however, do not consider such embryos as human yet and argue they are vital to further research. This article does an excellent job of revealing both sides of the issue, but is not well researched.
Green, Ronald M. The Human Embryo Research Debates: Bioethics in the Vortex of
Controversy. New York: Oxford UP, 2001. For the most part, those researching human embryonic stem cells use leftover embryos from in-vitro fertilization, IVF. The opposition argues that only the minimal amount of embryos needed for fertilization should be extracted from the woman. There is also the possibility of creating embryos for scientific use, however, this has caused an uproar in society. Such embryos might be vital for several reasons. A couple of these being it is sometimes required to have normal, healthy embryos to use as a control in research, and there is a lack of healthy embryos donated from IVF couples because they are having fertilization difficulties and consent to the donation of only the poorest of embryos. Overall, society needs to decide whether the unborn or those people alive and suffering diseases are more important. The author of this book does a mediocre job of offering information on this subject to the reader.
Holden, Constance, and Gretchen Vogel. "'Show us the cells,' US Researchers say."
Science 297.5583 (2002): 923-25. In President Bush's speech in 2001, he stated 60 embryonic stem cells lines were available for research, however, such has not proved to be completely true. Due to legal situations like model materials transfer agreements (MTA), very few lines are truly being supplied to scientists. A company by the name of WiCell attained a patent on all hES cells, which is yet another issue to complicate things. Companies must first ask permission to use the cells, and then wait on WiCell's response. Many of those with patents supply only collaborators, and withhold them from the competition. The length of time required to culture the cells and ensuring they are indeed pure human embryonic stem cells also takes a considerable amount of time. These setbacks are affecting research and slowing it down tremendously. This article was very informative, however, there were no citations probably due to the brevity of the article.
Holland, Suzanne, Karen Lebacqz, and Laurie Zoloth, eds. The Human Embryonic Stem
Cell Debate: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. Cambridge: MIT P, 2001. Two opposing sides hinder human embryonic stem cell research. One side's key argument is that such research is sure to answer many questions we currently have about diseases. Due to the damage embryos endure as a result of the process, the other stance proclaims it is immoral and does not care how much the research could benefit society. Society accepts embryos being made for the in-vitro fertilization process, but many refuse to accept them being made for research. Those who believe this argue the difference lies in the reason for creation of the embryo. These people also worry about women thinking donating embryos is tolerable, which might lead to embryos being thought of as commodities rather than a possible human being. This book presented clear ideas on the human embryonic stem cell debate and exposed the reader to a wide variety of viewpoints and beliefs.
Juengst, Eric and Michael Fossel. "The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cells-Now and
Forever, Cells Without End." JAMA 284.24 (2000): 3180-84. Ethical issues arise when considering using human embryos for research, especially creation of them solely for scientific purposes. There are two strongly opposing sides on this issue that both fervently support their beliefs. One side considers the intentional creation of human embryos for research to be comparable to slavery and disabling mutilation. They worry about the effect that would have on our respect for human life. The other viewpoint, however, believes that by hindering this research, it is merely others that are consequently going to die. So much respect is shown to the unborn, yet diseased individuals who are currently alive are not fully taken into consideration. If one life form is saved then the other must be sacrificed. This article was straightforward and provided both sides of the debate, allowing the reader to chose his or her own stance.
Kaji, Eugene H. and Jeffrey M. Leiden. "Gene and Stem Cell Therapies." JAMA 285.5
(2001): 545-50. Stem cell therapies have the potential to greatly further the science community in regards to treatments for diseases. Experiments have been underway for several decades now and many accomplishments have been made. Results thus far look very promising and scientists are eager to develop definite treatments or cures for diseases. Certain discoveries have been made that will greatly assist in this. One being the detection of stem cells in parts of the body, such as the brain and muscle, that were not previously thought to contain stem cells. Research on stem cells, however, arouses ethical concerns. Some of these concerns are merely initial fears due to experimentation that are formed any time scientific advances are being made. Other apprehensions based on the human condition, however, are viable. The language of this article uses very specific terminology and is for PhD level experts.
Mahowald, Mary B. "Reflections on the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate."
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 46.1 (2003): 131-41. There are several different stances individuals take when considering human embryonic stem cell research. Some people focus on the importance of individuation, which occurs two weeks after fertilization. This is the point when the embryo cannot recombine anymore and is considered to be when the embryo becomes a human life. Another side of the argument compares using embryos from in-vitro fertilization to active euthanasia. This side explains how the embryos in the petri dishes are sure to die anyhow, so rather than waste them, they believe the embryos should be put to use. One other common viewpoint considers using human embryonic stem cells as abortion. These individuals cannot justify killing an embryo for research to possibly save another's life. This article provides a wide stance of information and is very useful to the common person in understanding the arguments of human embryonic stem cell research.
Moran, Jim. "Embryonic Stem Stem Cell Research." The Humanist 63.4 (2003): 41.
In February the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2003 was passed by the US
House of Representatives, which greatly inhibited stem cell research. The bill, is very restrictive and only allows research to continue on those stem cell lines that were cultured before August 9, 2001. It might possibly even forbid all treatments and medicines made by therapeutic cloning techniques. This bill has caused much outrage, especially for those families in need of a cure for a disease. Stem cell research is rather new and is believed to have the ability to cure many diseases. In this research, embryonic cells are indeed used, however, they are leftover embryos from in-vitro fertilization. Under normal circumstances, such embryos are simply thrown away, so the waste of these cells is merely being eliminated. This article seemed to be informative, however, it is not well researched due to its shortness.
Wertz, Dorothy C. "Embryo and stem cell research: Views from the USA." Journal of
Commercial Biotechnology 8.3 (2002): 200-208. There is much debate over stem cell research in the US. The controversy lies mostly in the embryonic stem cell portion of research. While some believe even doing research on the adult stem cells is unethical, more opposition lies in the embryonic research. Many people are contesting the use of embryos in research for fear of what will happen as a result. They believe it would lead to a decrease in respect for embryos and human life. They feel it could eventually lead to a societal norm to sell embryos for money. Their concern focuses on the poor women and teenagers of America. Opposition is much more fierce in the USA than in the UK. The UK not only allows embryonic stem cell research, but also allows the creation of embryos for the sole purpose of research. This article is very informative and is very well researched.
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