Tag Archives: stem cells cloning

Pet Peeve: “All Stem Cell Research is the Same”

It drives me nuts when I see the media referring to both adult and embryonic stem cell research under a single title. One of the uphill battles the prolife movement is currently fighting is making that distinction obvious to non-scientists. Those who support ESCR have done a terrific job of making people believe that opposition to ESCR is unscientific and medieval. They’ve done this by removing distinction between adult and embryonic stem cells. Their propaganda dupes people into thinking that those who oppose ESCR oppose all SCR.

Unfortunately, sometimes those opposed to ESCR play right into their opponents’ hands by playing their name game. This has to stop. If we want to change peoples’ minds and stop the frankensteinian field of ESCR, we need to educate the public. Let’s start by calling things by their proper names.

The Church in the Modern World

There’s been much talk lately of what the Church should do and/or change – according to American Catholics. It’s driving me nuts. First off, I wish Americans would get over their own self-importance. There are lots on non-American Catholics throughout the world. Secondly, the Church is not run by popular opinion. The Church seeks to conform the world to Christian principles when and where it can and to form sub- and counter-cultures if that fails. We are to be in the world but not of it. Divine Truth does not change with time. True, it sometimes must be reworded or re-examined in light of temporal realities, but that only means that implementations change, not their bases. Last, but not least, the pope does not have sole power to change a lot of the things people want changed. That which has been stated infallibly, either ordinarily (i.e. implicitly) or extraordinarily (i.e. explicitly), cannot ever be changed.

That said, I do think we have a fascinating topic for discussion here (not pontification – no pun intended). The following are commonly reported issues “the majority” of American Catholics (at least in name – they weren’t asked about their devotion) would like and my reactions to them. Rather than just say, “My way or the highway!”, I’d like hear your opinions. Please specify the source of your viewpoint – Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Jedi, Sith, atheist, etc. – and explain how your group would be affected by choices made by the Church after the election. I hope this isn’t too tall an order. 😉

[NOTA BENE: These are my opinions. I believe some of them are based on solid Church teachings, some of them dogmatic. Some are very strong opinions about issues that push my buttons. Please don’t let that discourage you from responding and offering opinions of your own. I do want a truly open and honest discussion/debate of these issues. I do not

think that is possible to any reasonable degree without total honest. Thus, I haven’t pulled any of my punches. I hope you won’t either (within the limits of civility). – Funky]

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Politicizing Terri

“And those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by
the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right
and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small
government conservative.” – Hullabaloo

Since when does someone have to be a conservative Republican to look out for the
underdog? I’m getting really sick of the Left accusing the Right of grandstanding
and manipulating people by supporting pro-life causes. Heaven forbid they accept
. Are some Republicans using Terri’s
condition, the fight over abortion, and the stem cell debate to get votes? Probably.
Are they all? There are probably as many of them doing that as there are Democrats
spinning gay rights and environmental issues into votes. When are Americans going
to wake up and realize both sides are corrupt and self-serving?

Anyhow, I am not a conservative. Most of my good buddies are not conservatives.
Stop labeling us as such on account of life issues! While you’re at it, stop accusing
all Republicans of being evil soul-sucking wet blankets who only care about money
and power. Sometimes watching the news and reading blogs is like watching immature kids fighting at recess. “You’re a booger head!”, says the Lefty to the Righty. “You smell like poo!”, responds the Righty to the Lefty.

Then again, abusus non tollit usus. Sometimes criticism is deserved:

“By now most people who read liberal blogs are
that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals
the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope
of revival, regardless of the patient’s family’s wishes. It is called the Texas
Futile Care Law. Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against
his mother’s wishes in Texas just this week. A 68 year old man was given a temporary
reprieve by the Texas courts just yesterday. ”

After this Schiavo business calms down, Dubya ought to be taken to task for his hypocrisy. However, just because Bush was wrong to sign that law in Texas doesn’t make a cruel death for Terri Schiavo right, either.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. Three lefts do. And three lefts make a right. Keep that in mind the next time you hear extremists from both sides calling each other names.

Embryonic Stem Cells: A Bum Deal

New Technique Devised For Human Stem Cells
Scientists in Massachusetts reported yesterday that they have developed a new means of growing human embryonic stem cells, the versatile cells that show promise as treatments for various diseases.

Interesting, as this bears on how many of the nominally-approved hESC lines in 2001 turned out to be corrupted by the mouse cells in those lines. However, while the ESCR people fiddle around with parameters for *in vitro* work , we are seeing the real deal with adult stem cells. I know this is something of a broken record on this issue, but so is the media. At least I’m a broken record on the facts. 😉

Take a hypothetical situation: If you were a real estate developer, and the contractor building your homes came to you and bragged about a big breakthrough–they dug a whole foundation that day!–while the other developer had people *moving into* his subdivision, wouldn’t it be time to fire your contractor?

People invoke progress and the inevitable march of scientific knowledge when they try to sucker the public into supporting ESCR. But if it’s so inevitable, why are the ESCR advocates spending their time kicking and screaming for state and federal money in lieu of getting FDA approval for human trials, as their adult stem cell counterparts are doing? If this field is so robust, why does it always need legislative life support and tender loving care and protection from those evil Christian luddites? And always, more money. We’ve seen several advanced countries dive into this research head-first (e.g., the U.K., South Korea and Singapore), so even in countries where the opprobium against government funding for this research doesn’t exist, we don’t see magic happening.

This does not mean that ESCR won’t deliver significant results in the future–I’d be surprised if it didn’t, though I doubt it’ll do anything clinically that we will not be able to do better with other methods–but perhaps some of its advocates should tone down their rhetoric about its tremendous benefits, and the huge disservice its opponents are doing by blocking funding for it. The evidence does not seem to justify such inflammatory means.

Frankenstein’s Intellectual Progeny

A Consumer's Guide to A Brave New World

By Wesley J. Smith

"Will the cost of biotechnology’s alleviation of human suffering be our acceptance of a ‘Brave New World,’ where scientists wield godlike power to refashion our biological nature’ If so, we will not get there in one giant leap. Rather, we will descend into the darkness in small steps, all but unaware that the shadows are lengthening."

Welcome to Our Brave New World: An Interview with Wesley J. Smith
By John Zmirak

"Wesley Smith has exposed corporate corruption with Ralph Nader, and warned against the eugenic implications of the ‘right to die’ movement. In his new book, ‘A Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World,’ he tells how the Biotech industry’s push for stem cell research and human cloning threatens the rights of the poor, the sick, and the unborn."