What Are Stem Cells?
Definitions at the Intersection of Science and Politics
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
Title Page, Copyright
Download PDF (48.8 KB)
Download PDF (82.9 KB)
This project is the result of serendipity as much as it is the result of any intention on my part. It began with an interest in science and an inability to do well in math—despite the best efforts of my accountant father and math teacher mother—which led through a circuitous path to graduate studies in the rhetoric...
1. Science-Based Controversies and Idioms of Public Argument
Download PDF (188.5 KB)
In August 2000, PBS’s NewsHour aired a debate on embryonic stem (ES) cells. The representatives of the two sides—Richard Doerflinger, from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Daniel Perry, chairman of the Patients’ Coalition for Urgent...
2. Timely and Powerful: Defining Stem Cells through Appeals to Application
Download PDF (303.7 KB)
The applications of scientific research—how the results of research can be used to further a scientific or societal purpose—are possibilities, nothing more than a hypothetical conjecture, but “the determination and operationalization of consequences, hypothetical conjectures and the like are therefore levers with which...
3. Abortion and the Embryo: Right-to-Life Arguments as a Source for Rhetorical Invention
Download PDF (315.9 KB)
Opponents of ES cell research have a difficult time challenging the language of future medical applications and its innate appeal to hope. Attacking the hope of curing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease is quixotic at best. Instead, opponents deploy other lines of argument to dissuade people from supporting ES...
4. Blastocysts, Spare Embryos, and Embryo Adoption: Redefining the Beginnings of Human Life
Download PDF (217.1 KB)
Opponents turn to the public fetus, a key rhetorical figure from the abortion debate, to help make their case against ES cell research. Because some scientific and cultural practices have destabilized the public fetus, the public fetus and the rights of actual humans must be explicitly extended to the 14- day- old...
5. Power, Potency, and Plasticity: Hierarchies of Stem Cells and Their Inherent Ambiguities
Download PDF (304.0 KB)
One issue common to both the scientific and political debate about stem cell research is the issue of stem cell “potency”—the capacity of various stem cells to differentiate into the 210 tissues that constitute the human body. over the course of the debate, rhetors increasingly focus on stem cell potency...
6. Stalemate and the Idioms of Science-Based Controversy: George W. Bush’s Manichean Idiom and Barack Obama’s Return to a Scientistic Idiom
Download PDF (297.0 KB)
On August 9, 2001, President George W. Bush delivered his first televised policy address to the nation. He announced his policy for ES cell research, what the administration called a compromise policy that allowed funding for research only on ES cells that had been derived prior to his speech...
7. Scientistic and Manichean Idioms of Public Argument
Download PDF (141.8 KB)
Rhetorical scholars have identified a variety of idioms, modes, styles, and fashions in public argument. This multiplicity finds its genesis in the variety of issues publics must address and in the interactions of the individuals, social movements, and political concerns that constitute those publics...
Download PDF (117.2 KB)
Download PDF (239.3 KB)
Download PDF (107.7 KB)
Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critique
Series Editor Byline: John Louis Lucaites