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By David Lyons

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However, it is not an incontrovertible fact that this diversity and disagreement goes all the way to the foundations of people’s moral perspectives. The unity and interactions of diverse peoples surely suggests some common moral understandings … (2004, 4). That formulations of basic moral categories are contradictory, he argues, does not in itself imply that each is of equal merit. Although philosophers’ formulations of basic moral principles plainly are contradictory, the merits of these different formulations can be and are rationally debated (2004, 5).

Mastery of nature for the benefit of those suffering from vital organ failure is an obligation. Human embryonic stem cell research holds that promise. The recently announced joint effort between Geron Corporation and Roslyn Labs of Scotland (of Dolly fame) has its focus on the use of human embryonic stem cells to bolster a failing heart or liver, without need for immunosuppressive drugs or dependency on organ donors (Tendler, 2000, H4). 10 From a general secular perspective, embryo research, whether for improved reproduction or scientific research, is generally sanctioned and endorsed by the international bioethical community.

It is assumed that human flourishing and general well-being ought to be appreciated in terms of an individual-oriented, rather than family- or communityoriented, conception of liberty and autonomy. Access to adequate health care without market- or income-based barriers is essential for eliminating natural and social disadvantages so that each individual may equally enjoy the liberty to fulfill his own potential, however individualistically defined. Preserving personal capacities for forming, revising, and achieving one’s own goals and objectives, for defining individual meaning and self-satisfaction, requires removing, as much as NATURAL LAW AND MORAL PLURALISM 25 possible, the physical, mental, and social, handicaps of illness, disease, and disability.

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