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05_AXE_53612_CH05_p184-263 - RRRR Finding Common Ground IN...

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R R R R 184 IN COLLEGE COURSES For a course in sci- ence research ethics, a biology major writes a paper on the debate over stem cell research. She begins with a surprising quote: “Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders are welcoming the National Institute of Health’s (NIH’s) new draft guidelines for federal financing of embryonic stem cell research, in recogni- tion of their common interest in establishing strong ethical parameters in scientific research.” She explains that groups with seemingly irreconcilable views on these issues had found common ground in the NIH’s guidelines, which provide that research be limited to stem cells from embryos that would have been destroyed because they are no longer needed for in vitro fertilization. In addition, the rules bar research on embryos created solely for stem cell research and require donors to give their consent. The student points out that the NIH guidelines represent a compromise and that not everyone is happy. Some scientists argue that they will be a serious impediment because developing matched organs for transplantation would only be possible if banned techniques like therapeutic cloning or so- matic cell nuclear transfer were allowed. Opponents of stem cell research such as the National Right to Life Committee make a slippery slope counterargu- ment, claiming that the new guidelines are “part of an incremental strategy to desensitize the public to the concept of killing human embryos for research purposes.” The student concludes by pointing out that, despite continuing points of disagreement, support for the guidelines among parties traditionally opposed to such research represents a step toward an eventual resolution of the issue. Finding Common Ground 5 05_AXE_53612_CH05_p184-263.indd 184 9/2/09 11:57:30 AM
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185 IN THE COMMUNITY The chair of the School Uniform Committee of a middle school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) writes an e-mail to the members reporting on a recent meeting about whether to adopt school uniforms. She begins by summarizing outside research undertaken by the committee: anecdotal information, primarily from school administrators, supports the claim that school uniforms can have a positive effect on dis- cipline, achievement, and safety; however, studies by sociologist David Brunsma, among others, have found no positive correlation between uniforms and school safety or academic achievement. The committee chair then presents the arguments made at the meeting by those on both sides of the issue. She reports that those who support the adop- tion of uniforms argued that they encourage school spirit, eliminate unnecessary social tensions by ob- scuring differences in socioeconomic background, and forestall gang violence by eliminating the use of gang colors. Those opposed agreed that reducing class distinctions and forestalling gang violence are worthy goals, but expressed concern that school uniforms stifle individuality and are costly and wasteful because they would not be worn outside of school.
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