Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On the inconsistency of moral outrage

I have mentioned this before, but I am always surprised that many religious and other conservatives profess to have a moral problem with embryonic stem cell research while professing no such concern with in vitro fertilization, a process which almost always results in the creation of embryos that will either be frozen indefinitely or will be destroyed. Other than in cases like the "octomom" there are more embryos than can be implanted and quite often many of the implanted embryos, if they are viable, are "selectively reduced", i.e., aborted.
If you believe that morally relevant human life begins at conception then you ought to be troubled by embryonic stem cell research but you ought to be just as troubled—probably more troubled because of its breadth as a practice and the relatively small good that comes out of it—by the entire practice of IVF. This is, for instance, the conservative Catholic view.
If you are going to engage in moral outrage, you ought to be consistent.
In the interest of full disclosure, I find both morally objectionable, though for slightly more complex reasons.

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