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Stem Cell Research

Instant Event Idea

Soylent Green Movie Summary:

In the year 2022, the starving masses depend upon the government-manufactured food item Soylent Green to exist. But in the midst of a murder investigation, a cop named Thorn (Charlton Heston) uncovers the chilling source of the product.

Suggested Ethical Questions for Discussion:

1. In the movie, dead bodies were used to keep starving citizens alive. Compare and contrast this to the use and sources of stem cells. Of the two combinations – soylent green and starving people, and aborted fetuses and sick people in need of stem cells – which one(s), if either, is/are acceptable?

2. The government in Soylent Green had some control over the manufacturing of the soylent products, just as the government has some control over how stem cells are produced. Is it right for the government to control how scientists conduct their research?

3. Is it acceptable for the government to hide the sources of life-saving products (soylent/stem cells) if the public reaction would be too strong?

4 . Should there be some sort of public monitoring (somewhat like Thorn's investigation) of stem cell research to ensure that it does not occur in ways that the public finds unethical?

5. If so many people have such different opinions of what stem cell sources are acceptable, how can society as a whole decide which sources to use?