Wednesday, July 04, 2007

On Stem Cell Research

I'm bringing yet another article of mine back from the grave to cover a topic that came up again today.

Originally posted on Sunday, June 26, 2005 @ 4:37 AM

Make special note of the section entitled "Blastocyst stem cell ethical debate" around half way down the entry. Notice that these Blastocysts, from which the stem cells are extracted, are already being legally used by in vitro fertility clinics, "and when not used in additional therapy or in embryonic stem cell research are destroyed or frozen indefinitely by the thousands."

So... rather than actually try to help humankind by destroying a 5 day old clump of cells with no nervous system etc, which will absolutely be destroyed anyway if not used in an actual fertility procedure... let's just hose the whole thing because we're a bunch of bleeding heart religious conservatives with a personal agenda who can't put 2 and 2 together to see how stupid we're being.

Bush pledges to veto stem cell bill - May 23rd 2005

US stem cell research in jeopardy - January 24th 2005

Make special note of the last two sentences in that article: The existing rules cited are designed to prevent the destruction of further embryos from which stem cells are extracted. The process has provoked considerable polemic in the US, with George Bush coming down firmly on the side of the antis.

*ahem* Let me make this clear...

They're going to be destroyed anyway. Now because of your ignorant dogmatic politicking, we're going to lose all the possible benefits that might be had.

Bush is such an idiot.Have I made myself clear?

Thanks Chief.

Now, I'm going to head one argument off at the pass by playing the devils advocate here.

<devils_advocate> Being frozen indefinitely does not mean destroyed. Doing the stem cell extraction procedure on the blastocysts will actually destroy them, whereas being frozen indefinitely doesn't. </devils_advocate>

Fair enough I suppose.

However, we know that not all are even frozen indefinitely (or as the following article states, "for a long time"), but that at least some, if not most are destroyed under the current procedures, and they have been handled as such for awhile now.

From that we know that this has been going on since roughly 1978. 27 years now. While we see that many of the same "concerns" being raised, obviously this procedure has been allowed to continue because of it's obvious, directly observable, desirable effects... namely, allowing parents who might not be otherwise able, to conceive and bear their own children.

That's the trouble with ignorant people... the more abstract or complicated an issue is, the less likely they are to understand or accept it.

Put simply, some of the issues here are:
  • Lack of knowledge of all the pertinent information.

  • Lack of ability to comprehend the pertinent information even when available.

  • Lack of ability to perceive long term benefits.

  • Desire to adhere to the religious/conservative group ideology.

Put very simply, fear of the unknown.

Warning, sarcasm and a bit of aggravation ensues beyond this point.

Remember kids, the following things are wrong! Now can you tell me why?

  • Bypassing the natural method of conception.

  • Creating life in the laboratory.

Because only the imaginary sky god is supposed to be able to do that! If we can create life ourselves, we're heading down the path of making the imaginary sky god obsolete.

We just can't have that! We need to stay in the dark ages where intellectual thought and literacy were suppressed to maintain belief in the church (And yes, I know that there were mainly "political" motivations behind that, to maintain a power structure dependent on the absolute belief in the Catholic Church as the sole means of communication with God, the sole channel of biblical learning and hence the sole means of salvation.), the bible, and it's imaginary sky god and outdated, backwards, and downright heinously erroneous ignorant fictitious world view.


Anonymous said...

You must be frustrated to write so abusively. Even if those with whom you disagree cannot articulate well their positions they probably have some rational . (But I am not referring to the guy in the picture.)

I can see in this position on stem cell research an underlying principle of the preservation of individual life expressed, for example, in the rejection of human sacrifice for the appeasement the gods. I also see in this position the valuation of life as might be expressed by a troop of soldiers risking their lives to rescue a single entrapped comrade.

And while we are in this case speaking of a small cluster cells, these ignorant people readily recognize the abstract notion of a potential life. For them perhaps this is more real or important than the abstract potential benefit to humankind.

Inconsistencies in positions are likely due to ignorance (rather than a lack of ability to comprehend) and apathy towards issues that don't immediately strike their sensibilities, both of which result in a falling back on group ideology.

You seem to suggest that these failings steer them to their positions. But I would say that such failings merely lead us to inconsistencies.


Jeff said...

I like Ron Paul’s view:
“Unfortunately, in the Washington environment of “either subsidize it, or else ban it,” it is unlikely there will be much focus given to the issue of federal funding. Instead, virulent charges will fly regarding who is willing to sacrifice the lives and health of others to make a political point.... [The founding fathers] intended to keep issues such as embryonic stem cell research entirely out of Washington’s hands. They believed issues such as this should be tackled by free people acting freely in their churches and medical associations, and in the marketplace that would determine effective means of research."

But it begs the question - how is it going to be funded if the federal government doesn't do it?

"Medical research has never ground to a halt when government has declined to support it. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported last September that between 1994 and 2003, the U.S. nearly tripled spending on biomedical research, and in any year where federal funding decreased, private funding increased to make up for the difference. The private sector can easily compensate for fluctuations in government spending, and more importantly, can move forward without any federal funding at all.

The great advantage of private funding is that it allows research to proceed even -- especially -- when it is politically touchy. When the federal government refused to fund in-vitro fertilization research in the mid-1970s, critics cried that the U.S. would fall behind, that there would be a brain drain, and that infertile couples would suffer. None of these dire predictions came true. Instead, the research proceeded privately and today reproductive technologies -- IVF and related technologies for humans and animals -- represent a $16 billion a year industry in the U.S. alone.

So not surprisingly, when President Bush exercised the first and only veto of his presidency to stop federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in 2006, private interests donated millions upon millions of dollars to continue embryonic stem cell research without federal assistance." (

At first Glance, I though Dr. Paul’s view was simplistic or idealistic, but upon closer inspection I find his genius…

Largo said...

The problem we've seen however is that the with the research funding moving into the private sector, along with that has came large scale patenting of parts of the human genome etc, that are enabling pharmaceutical companies to reap enormous profits to the detriment of the public good. This could be better addressed by directly confronting the issue of patenting genes in the first place... but the issue still stands.

Many other forms of research have been hard pressed due to the fact that there is no inherent immediate profit. When private research needs to try to market itself to gain funding, the base scientific principles take a backseat and the research suffers as a result ad we have seen numerous times in recent years with "research" being tailored to fit the desires of the highest bidder etc.

While in principle I agree with and support Ron Paul's ideas, the fact of the matter is that there are still related fundamental issues that need to be addressed for it to truly work.