This study was conducted to assess people’s knowledge on stem cells, and compare that knowledge to their personal feelings on the matter. A variety of sources were used, mainly media websites such as, CNN, CBC, and the BBC. In addition, the National Geographic magazine was used as a resource, which had extensive information on stem cells. The survey was answered by all ages, ranging from 15 – 53. Most people knew what a stem cell was, but few knew the full potentials of stem cells, and the history behind them. Majority of the people surveyed supported stem cell research, despite their limited knowledge. On the other hand though, the people whom knew the most about stem cells strongly supported the research.
Ethics Behind Stem Cell Research vs. Knowledge on Stem Cells
Stem cell research is an extremely controversial issue. For that very reason, this study was conducted on stem cells. The most beneficial stem cell research is essentially taking them from human embryos, and then using them to regenerate human tissue and organs. This is possible, because a stem cell that is taken from a human embryo at its early stages is essentially a blank cell. In other words this blank cell (stem), can be put along side any other cell, say a liver cell or blood cell, and it will copy that exact cell(Kahn, 1999). So, if one was to have a lot of stem cells, they could recreate a liver or any other organ that is needed by the patient. Stem cells are so useful, because once you get one; you can clone it over and over again, in essence making an endless supply (Kahn, 1999). Because of this ability that stem cells propose, doctors would be able to cure such diseases as, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, burns and spinal cord damage. On the other hand, scientists predict that stem cells may very well spread diseases, although that is unknown at this time (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4562235.stm, 2005). Not all stem cells come from human embryos, but the potentially most beneficial ones do. This draws a lot of controversy to the ethics behind the research. Generally, there is a lot of hypocrisy surrounding the issue, because people whom are pro-life (anti abortion) who disagree with embryonic stem cell research, are contradicting themselves. This is so, because if an abortion was performed, that pre-baby would be disposed of irregardless of whether or not a stem cell was taken from it. Therefore, if they’re going to perform an abortion, they might as well benefit from it by taking a stem cell, which would in turn save other lives in the future (Reaves, 2001). With all this debate around stem cell research (mostly in North America), other countries are starting to excel in this field. For example, while the U.S. is debating the ethnicity of the issue, the United Kingdom has condoned the research and created a stem cell bank, the first of its kind (Weiss, 2005). This stem cell bank is dedicated to researching stem cells from human embryos to cure diseases and other conditions in the future (Weiss, 2005). In addition, the United States government’s number one reason for not funding stem cell research is to keep the votes from the religious population. The only thing is, a lot of religious people believe it is ethical. For example, there are Roman Catholic extremists in England, whom condone the research, and say that it would be hypocrisy to condemn the research (Weiss, 2005). With all this research on stem cells, I became extremely interested in the subject. I decided that it was a worth while cause to pursue, but I wanted to know what other people thought about the issue. Through this research, I will question other people’s knowledge on the issue, than at the end ask them what they think of the matter. My hypothesis is that generally, most people will no little to none about stem cells, and that once they find out its