Those are specific cases of specific situations. If we had all the underlying principles sorted out, most of these issues wouldn't exist, as we'd know what was important and what wasn't, 99% of the time.
Stem cell research is a classic example of a very bad debate. It focusses on a single source of stem cells (neglecting all other possibilities) and pits values against values.
In reality, sciectists already know how to create stem cells from bone marrow cells, and a few other cell types. If they used those, there would BE no debate. There would also be a much higher success rate in the research, too, as somebody is much less likely to reject cells from their own body.
Abortion is tougher, but the same idea applies. The "heated debates" exist only because people want them to, not because they're inherent. The arguments aren't designed to pursue "The Truth", they are designed to create hostility and sell papers.
Cryogenics is NOT a new field. We know plenty about how to suspend and revive life, provided it isn't too complex. (I believe Russian scientists have managed to freeze and revive a cat's brain, and show "normal" EEG activity afterwards.)
At least -some- cases of abortion =could= have been handled much the same way, with the foetus being given a water-substitute, to prevent cell rupture, and then being frozen. The mother-to-not-be is unlikely to give a damn, but it could produce some fierce competition with the infertility clinics.
Another aspect is that many abortion clinics are cold, sterile places, with minimal to zero information on options. In other words, they want your money, and they know damn well how to get it. And the majority of people who go to such places are unlikely to have the state of mind to think things out themselves.
(To complicate matters, the pro-lifers outside just intensify the shame and guilt these people feel, making any kind of thought process nearly impossible. If I were running a place like that, I'd probably =hire= the protestors to be as cruel and verbally abusive as possible. It would make customers much less likely to change their minds.)
The important questions of life have nothing to do with "what do I do today", "is what I'm doing -right-", or any other such bullshit. That's just your ego talking. You're one peon out of six BILLION peons. The difference your opinions will ever make are worth less than the edible components of a Big Whopper.
The fundamental questions of life underlie all of that. They have nothing to do with individuals, with "free choice", with current affairs, or anything like that. The fundamental questions, if they are truly fundamental, address timescales that are unimaginable, over populations uncountable, and thereby guide a finite person in the here-and-now.
But people don't like being guided. They like being "right" and righteous. They like being angry, dominating, controlling and manipulative.
IMHO, the fundamental questions have nothing to do with life and death, because those exist at a much more concrete level. The fundamental stuff is infinitely more abstract.
The best I can get to the "Meaning Of Life" is to point to the 12-step programs. These, in a nutshell, state that your real power extends no further than your skin, and that anything outside of that is not your problem; that by making it your problem, you WILL end up losing all control entirely.
That tells me that the meaning of life, the questions and answers, everything, comes from within. What you think of me really is none of my business. Your issues are not my problem. Therefore, you cannot be a part of the meaning of life. You can only be a consequence of that meaning.
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