zenmondo: (Yinyang)
So, again, listening to the news on the way home from dropping [livejournal.com profile] buffalogal off at work. Today it is news that really encourages me. Bill Frist has broken away from the President's view and is now supporting stem cell research!

Its nice to see the legislature trying to be a balance to the executive branch instead of its lapdog.

Ofcourse stem cell research has a bit of an ethical quandry, with the use of human embryos as a source for stem cells. The president and those that agree with him see this as a destruction of human life. Those on the other side of the divide see this is an acceptable sacrifice for the potential of cures and improvement of life to those who could benefit from embryonic stem cells. So, like most things, I am conflicted, but I lean more towards favoring research that can help human beings who are suffering, as oppossed to protecting potential human beings who may or may not ever be anything beyond an embryo.\

Thinking about this today in the car, I also came to a small realization. It is pretty likely that these embryos do not have a mind. Certainly they are human cells, but they are not human beings. Just as cells that are seperated from my mind are alive, but not "me".

I think it comes down to weighing the amount of suffering that each action would take. The destruction of a mindless group of human cells is a suffering -- for the human being that collection of chromosomes will never become -- but it is a very abstract suffering. Then there are those that can directly benefit from embryonic stem cells, and the relief of suffering. To deny these people that are already suffering a potential relief from this, is in my opinion evil.

Evil is a very, very tricky thing to define. I have been thinking about what constitutes evil for a few years now. "Knowing it when I see it" is not good enough for me, so I have been struggling for a definition. I've been hesitant to say "I got it" and write it down anywhere, but I think I may be ready to "test drive" my current working definition.

Evil is the infliction of suffering.

That is as concise as I can get. There were other working versions such as "the intention infliction..." and "... of suffering in others" or the addition of "... by action or inaction". But I think the short version covers it. Ofcourse we open up the can of worms as to what constitutes "suffering". So maybe in another 3 years I might have that one -- it took about that long for this definition of evil. Right now its "I know it when I see it".

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