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Jae Onasi
03-15-2007, 11:57 PM
(Thread split from "Evolution: The discussion and the Theory")

There is no scientific evidence for the existence of anything resembling a soul. It is strictly a religious device.
Maybe just a device for you. Not for me. :)

Here's a question for your regarding souls and stem-cell research: Stem-cell research is considered immoral by religious people but not by scientists.
The moral dilemma is solved by developing a way to harvest stem cells in other ways that don't involve the destruction of a zygote. I heard there may be a technique that can obtain embryonic stem cells without destroying a zygote that may be an option, and umbilical cord blood has plenty of stem cells. I believe I heard a radio story about stem cells in amniotic fluid, but I could be wrong.

The argument put forth by the religious community is that the soul enters the zygote at the moment of conception. Fine.

The rare (but not incredibly rare) case of identical twins....
Does the chimera have two souls? If not, where does the other one go?....

Now that we've potentially blown a big hole in the idea that this unproven thing called soul enters the zygote at the moment of conception, when would it enter the embryo?
Stay with me now. :xp: A God who can create an entire universe can take care of one tiny little cell just fine.

This is just one of many cases where science does not support the religious doctrine and religion turns its back on science.
And this is one situation where the media has way blown this entire subject out of proportion. Do you know where most of the stem cell treatment advances have come from? _Adult_ stem cell research, not embryonic. In fact, no treatments that I know of currently in use have been derived from embryonic stem cell research, despite all the effort going into it. We do, however, have treatments derived from adult stem-cell research. We should be putting research dollars into studying areas where we'll get the most benefit for the cost, and there's far, far more successful research going on with adult stem cells than anything in the embryonic realm.

Oh Lordy, time for an adult/embryonic stem cell debate. :D I'll see if there's a good spot to split the thread.

Achilles
03-16-2007, 12:25 AM
Maybe just a device for you. Not for me. :) ...and you're a religious person. Case in point. Thanks. :D:xp:

The moral dilemma is solved by developing a way to harvest stem cells in other ways that don't involve the destruction of a zygote. I heard there may be a technique that can obtain embryonic stem cells without destroying a zygote that may be an option, and umbilical cord blood has plenty of stem cells. I believe I heard a radio story about stem cells in amniotic fluid, but I could be wrong. Yep, if that works out, that would be great. Still irks me that nearly a decade of scientific progress (in the U.S., not overseas where such research isn't privvy to the same restrictions) will be lost because science had to cater to religion.

Stay with me now. :xp: A God who can create an entire universe can take care of one tiny little cell just fine. Could you be more specific? I'm not sure that this response answers any of my questions.

And this is one situation where the media has way blown this entire subject out of proportion. Do you know where most of the stem cell treatment advances have come from? _Adult_ stem cell research, not embryonic. <snip> And considering that embryonic stem cell research has not recieved any goverment funding, forcing U.S. researchers to use adult stem cells only, why does this surprise you? :D

That's like saying I didn't get wet because I didn't go in the water. :xp:

Jae Onasi
03-16-2007, 11:40 AM
...and you're a religious person. Case in point. Thanks. :D:xp:
:D


Yep, if that works out, that would be great. Still irks me that nearly a decade of scientific progress (in the U.S., not overseas where such research isn't privvy to the same restrictions) will be lost because science had to cater to religion.
Respect for life shouldn't be limited to religion. Respect for life keeps us from devolving back into barbarism.

Could you be more specific? I'm not sure that this response answers any of my questions.
Eh, that was one of those questions that got split out--you had asked how God adds souls to twins and what happens to the souls of chimerae. I was replying that if you believe that God created the universe, I'm pretty sure He can handle one individual soul with no problem. If you don't believe in God, there's no soul, so no big deal. If you do believe in God, and you believe there is a spiritual aspect to a person called a soul with which God imbues us, then God's got it under control. There's nothing in the Bible that addresses souls in twins, triplets, or chimerae, likely because a. those writers didn't know much about embryology other than what they observed after a miscarriage or birth, nor was such a miniscule issue relevant to developing a relationship with God and b. we can't do anything about it anyway--souls are God's purview, not ours. If He can weave together an entire universe, I don't think He's going to have a problem with taking care of one person's soul and handling the cases of twins, chimerae, etc. My guess, since I don't know for sure, is that at the point a twin becomes a separate embryo, s/he is given a soul, and when an embryo is absorbed, that soul goes to God. However, I'm not entirely sure how souls of an absorbed embryo work into the stem cell debate. :)


And considering that embryonic stem cell research has not recieved any goverment funding, forcing U.S. researchers to use adult stem cells only, why does this surprise you? :D
Actually, Bush authorized funding for research on stem cell lines that already existed at the time, you just couldn't create new stem cell lines from new embryos. It also doesn't prevent private funding for research. I have a problem with my tax dollars going to something that kills life, and if they can find a way to do this without killing embryos, then I'm all for it. I'm also not going to gripe if someone feels like donating to a university either monetarily or with their own embryos that they had frozen through fertility treatments but now were not going to use (for whatever reason). I may not like it, but that's their private choice.

That's like saying I didn't get wet because I didn't go in the water. :xp: :D Well, we've done research, quite a bit actually, and the fact remains that adult stem cell research looks to have far more promise of significant medical advances than embryonic stem cell research.
I think part of all this overblown controversy is the implications of decisions on embryonic stem cell research have on abortion, and that is unpalatable to a number of pro-abortion groups.

Achilles
03-16-2007, 04:30 PM
Respect for life shouldn't be limited to religion. Respect for life keeps us from devolving back into barbarism. Blastocyst do not have a heartbeat (let alone a heart) nor do they have brainwaves (let alone a brain). If you consider a collection of 150 cells "life" then I would encourage you to begin repenting now for all the lives you smother every time you bathe or scratch an itch :D

I would argue that respect for life is the reason why scientists want to open up embryonic stem cell research. I'm not so altruistic to ignore the fact that a lot of money and prestige could also be factors, but that does not preclude the actual advances in medical science.

The question that keep popping up in my mind is how do religious opponents of embryonic stem cell research weigh value of life in a blastocyst against the life of young burn victim (old man with Parkison's, 30-something year old woman with a spinal cord injury, etc) and allow the blastocyst to win every time?

Eh, that was one of those questions that got split out--you had asked how God adds souls to twins and what happens to the souls of chimerae. I was replying that if you believe that God created the universe, I'm pretty sure He can handle one individual soul with no problem. If you don't believe in God, there's no soul, so no big deal. Please help me to clarify this:

So it's not that the soul is real and non-believers have it wrong. Rather the soul is relative and scientists are being asked to cater to religious doctrine because of an opinion (as opposed to an absolute truth)?

Or to put it another way, because you are religious and believe in souls, you have one. But because I am not religious and don't believe is souls, I do not?

I don't think He's going to have a problem with taking care of one person's soul and handling the cases of twins, chimerae, etc. My guess, since I don't know for sure, is that at the point a twin becomes a separate embryo, s/he is given a soul, and when an embryo is absorbed, that soul goes to God. However, I'm not entirely sure how souls of an absorbed embryo work into the stem cell debate. :) I introduced it because the argument of embryonic stem cell research and abortion opponents is that the soul enters the zygote at the moment of conception, therefore anything that would kill the zygote would be to kill a human being.

Introducing twin zygosity raises some serious questions about that hypothesis. Since there are important questions left unanswered, I don't believe that it's reasonable to continue to operate under the assumption that the soul enters the zygote at the moment of conception. Furthermore, I do think it is reasonable to go back and objectively determine what demarcation we are going to set for when a collection of cells ceases to be a collection of cells and should be considered a human life. One other poster in LF suggested the end of the first trimester. I would personally propose brain and heart activity which generally occurs in the 9th week of pregnancy.

Actually, Bush authorized funding for research on stem cell lines that already existed at the time, you just couldn't create new stem cell lines from new embryos. He was still able to effectively stymie the research before it had a chance to get off the ground. 60 stem cell lines out of potential thousands. Scientists had been aware of embryonic stem cell for only about 3 years.

It also doesn't prevent private funding for research. Agreed. But government funding accounts for about 36% of research spending. More comes from universities (which could put their government funding at risk if they openly went against another government policy). Corporate funding is in a similar boat because funding controversial research might put their ability to attract or retain government contracts at risk. Therefore, how much money do you really think is going to come from the private sector? I think it's commonly accepted that your best bet at being able to do real science comes from government funding.

Not arguing that you are wrong, Jae. Just that this out isn't a viable an option as you may think it is.

I have a problem with my tax dollars going to something that kills life The United States military kills life. Do you object to your tax dollars that go towards it? :D

and if they can find a way to do this without killing embryos, then I'm all for it. No embryos. Blastocysts. :xp:

Well, we've done research, quite a bit actually, and the fact remains that adult stem cell research looks to have far more promise of significant medical advances than embryonic stem cell research. Source please?

I think part of all this overblown controversy is the implications of decisions on embryonic stem cell research have on abortion, and that is unpalatable to a number of pro-abortion groups. I'm assuming you meant to say "anti-abortion" here? I think you hit the nail right on the head. Which goes back to my earlier point about science catering to religion.

Emperor Devon
03-17-2007, 08:42 PM
The moral dilemma is solved by developing a way to harvest stem cells in other ways that don't involve the destruction of a zygote.

I fail to see the point in protecting a cluster of cells incapable of any form of thought, emotion, or pain, regardless of when it has a "soul". You might as well say rocks are entitled to rights too.

I heard there may be a technique that can obtain embryonic stem cells without destroying a zygote that may be an option, and umbilical cord blood has plenty of stem cells.

I heard about that as well. What an age where science and logic must bow down to the whims of people who can't even rationally justify their beliefs. :)

And this is one situation where the media has way blown this entire subject out of proportion. Do you know where most of the stem cell treatment advances have come from? _Adult_ stem cell research, not embryonic. {snip}

Source please?

QFE. I can't guess why scientists would want to use up cells that don't contribute at all to their research, and only use up funding and generate controversy in the process. But I'd trust their judgment to determine how many non-sentient masses of cells they need to use up.

In fact, no treatments that I know of currently in use have been derived from embryonic stem cell research, despite all the effort going into it. We do, however, have treatments derived from adult stem-cell research. We should be putting research dollars into studying areas where we'll get the most benefit for the cost, and there's far, far more successful research going on with adult stem cells than anything in the embryonic realm.

SilentScope001
03-17-2007, 11:01 PM
I heard about that as well. What an age where science and logic must bow down to the whims of people who can't even rationally justify their beliefs. :)

Rational Justification For Stopping Stem Cell Research, No God Needed!:
(a summary of views gathered from Samuel Darvis, Marqius [the sane one], and SilentScope001)

Techincally, each cell has a potential for life.

You are taking away that potential when you test on that stem cell, extracting the embryos.

This means you are taking away ALL their happiness. That stem cell won't become a baby, won't experience the joy of eating food, won't have fun, won't grow up to be an adult, won't go to college, won't graduate, won't go and get a job, won't get married, won't...yadda, yadda, yadda.

You are taking away that potential. Without the consent of the Embryo. You have not offered the Embryo an incentive to give up that potential to life. You are getting rid of that potential, without consulting with what the Embryo wants.

As for the stone...the stone is not living. But the cells are living. And because they are living, and have the POTENTIAL to be a human being, then therefore, you cannot take that potentitality away.

You are causing beniefts to the human race, yes, but at the cost of hurting an embryo, hurting a potential human being. So, it's really a conflict between beniefence and nonmalfenence.

[BTW, I'm in full support of stem cell research. But there are atheistic objections to stem-cell research as well. I want to point that out, because not all atheists HAVE to support science. :)]

Secondly: The testings are done with discarded embryos yes. But if cures are found, you'll need to massproduce them in LARGE volumes. And where can you can get these large volumes of embryos? Cloning these cells...or by asking women to sell off the embryos to be "processed" (illegal in the USA, btw...all they can ask for is women to donate embryos, with fees being paid for operations). Either of these things can be far, far more conterversial than the question over stem cells.

Emperor Devon
03-18-2007, 12:30 AM
Techincally, each cell has a potential for life. {reasons why}

I would disagree. Even if one goes along with the idea that those embryos will become people, (doubtful if they were being given away in the first place) it's still a fairly obvious enough choice to me. Stem cell research would benefit real people, whereas doing away with it would only benefit potential people. Between the two, I'd consider the ones who are alive more important.

I would hesitate to call them potential people anyway. If the embryos were being given away, why on earth would people bother to be pregnant with them and raise them? Most people view having kids a more important priority than donating to stem cell research. The idea that all those embryos would become children if stem cell research was banned is an incorrect one. If a woman wanted kids she'd have them anyway, regardless of how many embryos she donates. Women have more eggs than they'll ever be able to use.

Now that we've put the idea that embryos are potential children aside, the anti-stem cell research position comes off to me as silly. Totally mindless and inhuman lumps of cells who will never become people shouldn't be used in stem cell research because... they have souls. Somehow they're more important than living people who, going along with the idea that there are souls, also possess them.

So the debate comes down to whether something that isn't even alive and possesses a soul is more important than living, feeling people who also possess souls.

The answer is glaringly apparent (even moreso if you don't believe in souls). :)

And where can you can get these large volumes of embryos? Cloning these cells...

Bingo, unless you have religious qualms against cloning. :p

SilentScope001
03-18-2007, 02:24 AM
I would disagree. Even if one goes along with the idea that those embryos will become people, (doubtful if they were being given away in the first place) it's still a fairly obvious enough choice to me. Stem cell research would benefit real people, whereas doing away with it would only benefit potential people. Between the two, I'd consider the ones who are alive more important.

1) According to this position, giving away the embryo might be condemened. The women does not have the right to the potentiality of the Embryo. The Embyro has the right to the potentitality of the life of the Embryo.

If you are referring to embryos discarded after IV treatment, then I can understand, those embryos are to be thrown away. When massproduction occurs, though...you got problems.

2) You may want to discuss about helping out "real" people, but to be quite fair, you must recognize that you are still taking away the potentitality of that embryo. If you are an Act Utilitranist, then this is good. You are beniefting far more people by destroying the embryo, regardless if it is a potential human being or not.

If, however, you are a person who believe in some denotlogical belief like "sanctiy of life" (or something quite similar to Kantian thought, altough Achilles, to my knowledge, is Kantain and is in support of stem cell research), and you believe life MUST be protected, then this would not be okay. What's next? Is it okay to test on human beings, say, poor people in Africa, so that we can get more accurate results? Yes, I understand, stupid sliperry slope logical fallacy, but the fact remains that these people think that protecting life should be foremost, and that destroying life (even in the sake of perseving more life) is wrong, because you are destroying life.

Here, we got ourselves an ethical problem.

I would hesitate to call them potential people anyway. If the embryos were being given away, why on earth would people bother to be pregnant with them and raise them?

When you are doing Into-vito fertizalaiton, you have a ton of embryos that are created. Only one is implanted. The others are tossed away. They had to. You can't implant 5 eggs into one uterus, you can only place in one.

Most people view having kids a more important priority than donating to stem cell research. The idea that all those embryos would become children if stem cell research was banned is an incorrect one.

It's about 'implication' here. If experiments are succesful, and one develop a cure from stem cells...then we have to start mass-producing it.

If a woman wanted kids she'd have them anyway, regardless of how many embryos she donates. Women have more eggs than they'll ever be able to use.

..You know the reason WHY some females has to donate?

It's because she's using Into-Vitro Fertilization, to have a child. They inject her with drugs to go and produce some eggs, take them out and inject the eggs with sperm to create an embryo, and then they have to place one back into the body. She has no say in the matter...all she gets to choose is WHICG egg to place (meaning she can select traits, finding the "best child", which doesn't have certain genetic dieases)...

Still, it's more about the 'sancity of life' than anything else.

Now that we've put the idea that embryos are potential children aside,

You haven't. :) They are potential childeren, UNTIL the moment the humans who decide the fate of the potential childern fates for that embryo to go and be sent to testing, and to be "donated". Had the humans not intervened, and that embryo was implanted, then the embryo would indeed become an actual child, realizing his potential.

the anti-stem cell research position comes off to me as silly.

Only when you go and attack the argument of the religious person instead of my argument. Remember, I'm arguing from the postion of "an atheist"! One who doesn't believe in souls, but believes that embryos can become potential humans, and because of that, killing them would be immoral, because you are denying those potential humans the right to life.

Yes, the potentital humans, if discarded, won't be of use. However, there is a differnece between letting a potential human die naturally...and killing the potential human outright. In the first case, we did nothing. In the second case, we actually committed the crime.

So the debate comes down to whether something that isn't even alive and possesses a soul is more important than living, feeling people who also possess souls.

No it does not. It comes down to wheter something that MAY have the potentital to become like us...should be treated like us. That's it. Forget the problems with souls, the embryou can, if given the nutrients, become like us. Should we accord it the same rights...or not?

Bingo, unless you have religious qualms against cloning.

I actually don't see any religious objections to cloning, personally. I love it, anything that can cause us to evolve from this outdated system of "marriage" and "biological reproduction".

But, returning back to topic, defending the view of the Atheist Who Is Pro-Life:

1) You would be creating potential life only to destroy potential life. It's going to be a "embryo-killing" factroy, with the embryos being born to be 'harvested'. That would be an exploitiation of the embryos. If you don't see embryos as being potential persons or you find that the ends justify the means...fine, but others do not share your viewpoint, and will start freaking out at this factory when it is made.

2) Threaputic cloning can allow us to refine and perfect the technology of cloning...which can allow us to do Reproductive Cloning. While some (like me) may support it, others may dislike it for one reason: Eugenics. They aren't worried about playing God, they're worried that people might want to go and have clones of people with special talents...or clones of people that they miss or such. Either way, the people who do start cloning may put too much emphasis on the genes of that person, prehaps dehumanizing the person to be noting more than a "clone"...

EDIT: 3) Last thing. If embyros can be manufractured at will, then scientists could use these embryos to do more studies. Prehaps, for example, they may irradiate the embryo, to see how much cancer the radiation can cause. You could make a point that you are saving countless lives with the thearpy, but you miss the point that, sometimes, you may NOT save any life at all with a manufractured embryo. This technology doesn't just produce cures, it also produce ways for scientists to experiment. To gain knowledge. But, well, this research doesn't save lives at all, it's just the scientists being curious.

Achilles
03-18-2007, 02:50 AM
ED,

It is my understanding that fertility clinics were on track to be one of the largest sources for the blastocysts necessary for embryonic stem cell research (women would sign release forms allowing extra fertilized eggs to be donated for research). Since fertility doctors aren't very good at fertilizing specific eggs, they tend to take a "shot gun" approach where they fertilize a lot of eggs and then implant two or three that look like they'll have a good chance of becoming embryos and then fetuses (you'll notice that a lot more news stories of women having 3, 4, 5, or more babies at a time started popping up after fertility clinics started gaining ground a decade ago). Instead, these fertilized eggs will simply be destroyed.

So it's ok to destroy unused blastocysts but not to use them for scientific research.

Any way you slice it, the arguments against embryonic stem cell research don't make much sense.

JediMaster12
03-22-2007, 01:39 PM
I heard there may be a technique that can obtain embryonic stem cells without destroying a zygote that may be an option, and umbilical cord blood has plenty of stem cells.
Actually this is one technique that they have tried and I did read an article recently that they were looking at the ammiotic fluid stem cells. This is where they inject a needle and withdraw the fluid. the drawback is that there is a risk for both the mother and the baby.

There is also another technique that is being explored. I actually have a friend who did reasearch in this. They were using fat cells, regular body fat cells and they tried to stimulate the stem cells to different cell types. It was a two year research project and I think he and Dr. Thompson are still working on it. Still this brings to mind that doctors have used stem cells from the nose for patients who have been paralized. The result was that the stem cells rejuvenated into the cells that are in the spinal cord. The patients who have had this treatment still have a ways to go but they have gained some movement.

Personally I think embryonic stems cell research is crossing a line. A cell is life. Just because it doesn't think like us human beings doesn't mean that it is any less on the evolutionary scale. It has DNA, it has specific cell functions therefore it must be alive. I am not arguing from a religious standpoint but rather from one that respects life. Life is a miracle. Just being able to get up each morning and see the sun is a gift. True that a cell can't voice their happiness at being alive but it is still alive. If we can't show respect for tinniest of lives, what's to stop us from respecting bigger forms of life?

Achilles
03-22-2007, 02:58 PM
Personally I think embryonic stems cell research is crossing a line. A cell is life. Just because it doesn't think like us human beings doesn't mean that it is any less on the evolutionary scale. It has DNA, it has specific cell functions therefore it must be alive. I don't know if I accept your definition of "alive". Any cell with a nucleus has the potential for life. Your body jettisons thousands if not tens of thousands of skin cells every day. That same amount if not more are lost when you bathe. Or when you scratch an itch. Hair that falls out when you comb or brush it. The list goes on and on.

The brain of a fly contains 100,000 cells and is much more physiologically advanced than a blastocyst, but I don't hear many people protesting the destruction of innocent houseflies using these same arguments.

To summarize, I think that the argument for blastocysts as "potential humans" doesn't hold much water for the reasons that I raise here as well as elsewhere in this thread. I think if we were talking about destroying blastocysts for the sake of doing so, that would be one thing. However we are talking about advancing research that could save the lives of millions of people that have already gestated and are unequivocally alive.

If you had a blastocyst in one hand (here's (http://www.olduvaigeorge.com/ds/250px-Blastocyst.jpg) a picture for you) and a person suffering from Parkinson's Disease in the other (choose either of these guys (http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2006/03/14/0045/ap-muhammad-ali-michael-j-fox-2002-13mar06.jpg)), you're telling me that the blastocyst should win every time. And that's just one disease that stem cell research has a strong potential to help cure. There are a lot of others.

I am not arguing from a religious standpoint but rather from one that respects life. Life is a miracle. Just being able to get up each morning and see the sun is a gift. True that a cell can't voice their happiness at being alive but it is still alive. If we can't show respect for tinniest of lives, what's to stop us from respecting bigger forms of life? I appreciate the emotional nature of your argument. I'm not sure how much is helps to move the dialog forward and it seems to completely ignore the life and happiness (and suffering) of actual human beings, but it does allow me to see where you're coming from. The last part of your argument is a slippery slope fallacy. Allowing stem cell research is not a argument for allowing people to kill other people whenever they want. :)

Emperor Devon
03-22-2007, 08:45 PM
The women does not have the right to the potentiality of the Embryo.

Now that's a topic we could argue for pages.

Is it okay to test on human beings, say, poor people in Africa, so that we can get more accurate results? {snip} Here, we got ourselves an ethical problem.

No. Treating living people as guinea pigs is unacceptable - treating cells less aware than guinea pigs is. But you're probably aware that that's an extremely jaded view of putting it. :)

When you are doing Into-vito fertizalaiton, you have a ton of embryos that are created. Only one is implanted. The others are tossed away.

Irrelevant to my point. Those embryos would not all have become people regardless of whether they were used for that, or the woman who had them simply chose not to get pregnant. She would still have more than eggs to have a child if she wished to; the rest would not become one whether she simply did not use them or chose to donate some for stem cell research. At least with the later it can accomplish something.

It's about 'implication' here. If experiments are succesful, and one develop a cure from stem cells...then we have to start mass-producing it.

My previous point. Those embryos/eggs would not have become children regardless of that.

..You know the reason WHY some females has to donate? {snip}

Yes. I still see no sin it. To repeat myself again, most of those eggs wouldn't have become children in any case.

They are potential childeren, UNTIL the moment the humans who decide the fate of the potential childern fates for that embryo to go and be sent to testing, and to be "donated".

Technically, yes. If what you're getting at is that some embryos might become children if they weren't donated, that only leaves the ones which would've as eggs. Either way you've "killed" just as many - only different ones.

The atheist pro-life arguments don't hold much weight IMO, given that they're using the same value as the pro-research ones. With the religious ones you're debating taboos over embryos over what benefits life the most - whereas with the atheist ones, both sides are arguing which one does the latter better. Not a very defendable position, as it comes down to whether the rights of potential people are more important than the lives of living ones.

So it's ok to destroy unused blastocysts but not to use them for scientific research.

Any way you slice it, the arguments against embryonic stem cell research don't make much sense.

The only argument in defense against that is how the embryos all had a chance of becoming fetuses, though IMO it's very shallow. All that argues is that the intent of of using a "shot gun" approach towards fertilizing eggs justifies the supposedly immoral results, which seems rather silly to me.

SilentScope001
03-22-2007, 09:29 PM
Now that's a topic we could argue for pages.

/shrugs. (The Pro-Life Atheist would probraly be against abortion, but that is not the topic of discussion here.)

No. Treating living people as guinea pigs is unacceptable - treating cells less aware than guinea pigs is. But you're probably aware that that's an extremely jaded view of putting it.

While those cells feel no pain whatsoever, these cells do have the potentital to become human beings, to live the same life we are living, and purposely taking away that potential may be seen as wrong.

Listen, if life is "scared", if life is potentitally good, then the ethical prinicple of "nonmalfecne" comes into play. We must not harm anyone. There is good that comes of it, but that good is tainted with the evil of harming something, and it is better to not do evil than it is to do good.

Irrelevant to my point. Those embryos would not all have become people regardless of whether they were used for that, or the woman who had them simply chose not to get pregnant. She would still have more than eggs to have a child if she wished to; the rest would not become one whether she simply did not use them or chose to donate some for stem cell research. At least with the later it can accomplish something.

Well, let us assume that an embryo is a "potential person", in this example, so that you can understand the Pro-Life Atheist's belief.

Now, you know that a potential person is going to die, regardless. How it dies...is quite important. Will you let the potential person die? Or will you kill it?

I see a moral difference. If you let the potential person die, you let nature takes its toll. If, however, you kill the potential person, you taken away that potential person's life, and, well, it might not be right to call it murder, but you did take away a potentital person's property, that of his potentital to live. In the former, you did nothing, but in the latter, you did something.

And if embryonic stem cells work as a cure, you realize that argument won't help you. You will need a lot of stem cells, and fertilery clinics will not provide you with the embyros you need in order to manufractre the cures. You will need to find other methods, like cloning, or buying embryos from women, both of which will inflame the religious conservatives and the pro-life atheist. You could say, "Oh, those potentital people are going to die." But...later, we are going to need to manufracture potential persons, via cloning (which leads up to much screaming and kicking) or embryo "donations" (which will also leads to much screaming and kicking). Either way, had the embryo donation or cloning did not occur, then the potential person would not have lost his potentitality at all.

Technically, yes. If what you're getting at is that some embryos might become children if they weren't donated, that only leaves the ones which would've as eggs. Either way you've "killed" just as many - only different ones.

If we let nature takes it course, we did not purposely harm the embryos at all. We let nature handle the embryo. But if we experiment on the embryo, we kill that embryo, so we are morally responsible for the killing of the embryo.

It's the reason why the medical community says it is okay to go and take out life support and let people starve themselves to death (because you are letting nature takes it course)...and injecting them with a drug that kills them outright (because you are killing someone, and therefore, violating the purpose of a doctor: "Do no harm"). Only difference is that, in stem cell research, this potential person is unable to communicate his wishes on if he wants to live or die, and his body will be used for scientific research, and later, for producing cures.



The atheist pro-life arguments don't hold much weight IMO, given that they're using the same value as the pro-research ones. With the religious ones you're debating taboos over embryos over what benefits life the most - whereas with the atheist ones, both sides are arguing which one does the latter better. Not a very defendable position, as it comes down to whether the rights of potential people are more important than the lives of living ones.

We are not saying that the life of potential person are more important than the lives of the living ones. Not at all. We are merely stating that the potential person has the potential to be a person, and that therefore, we should go and treat him with respect and not go and use him in stem cell research.

If you are arguing that I am disrespecting the rights of living people, well, there are OTHER ways of treating dieases other than using embroynic stem cells research. You have adult stem cell research, first off, but there are other technologies that may come in the future. There is more than one way to stop cancer, or to get rid of bacterium. Nowhere am I saying, "Since the potential person is important, we will let 'real' humans live." I am saying that we should realize that this potential person must be respected, and that other forms of curing dieases should be taken up.

Let me take an example: Scientists want to create a chimera, that is, a combiniation of the genetic information between an animal and a human (say, an ape and a human). We will grow the new chimera, which combined of human and ape parts, allowing for them to reproduce, and then we harvest the chimeras for its organs.

Now, I, personally, am okay with this. The chimera is not a human, it is an ape/human hybrid, and therefore, do not have any rights. It is also pretty cool for us to do such a thing. But, I am not like most people. Most people would see this as totally immoral. The scientists doing the experiment may say, "But we are able to go and create new organs, save 'pure' Humans! We should treat 'pure' Humans with more respect than these savages that we made in a lab!"

We acknowledge that we need to have new organs...but we will simply shrug and say, "Nope." We will not do something that we consider immoral, even if it would solve the problem...even if it is the most effiecnt way of solving the problem. We'll find another source of new organs, to heal people, Science will find a way to cure our dieases. We just would not do it via building the Chimeras.

This, of course, presumes that embyronic stem cell research is immoral, a premise you do not agree with. But if one agrees with the premise, then I believe this conclusion logically follows. We can still save people's lives, without having to engage in research that could harm a potential person. We can cure Parkisons without needing to do stem cell research.
===
NOTE: I am not trying to convince you that my belief is right, ED. What I am trying to do is show you that there are valid points of the "potential human" argument. I am sure that some people share these arguments, and maybe, it is the same arguments that religious people are using, behind their breath. Many people do agree with them, showing that to these people, the arguments hold merit.

But, to be quite fair: You DON'T care about their argument. Neither do the scientists. If America suddenly bans stem cell research, scientists will pack their bags and move somewhere else. You cannot stop the progress of science. So, all the protests by the pro-life atheists and the religious conservatives, are in a sense, stupid. They have to persuade the scientists to abandon their research...but all we are doing is attacking the scientists doing the research. Attacking the scientists means the scientists will have to defend their viewpoint, and therefore, it cause a bit of conterversy. This debate is a non-starter, it is, in other words, useless. We are not the ones that decide if potential persons should be protected...it is the scientists. And they have sided with you ED. No amount of government regalation in America will stop them. You win. The End.

But, my arguments do make sense, even if the people that I am supposed to persuade don't believe in them. What I fear though...is that what if my arguments are right? If so, then the scientists are going down a path of great wrong, prehaps they always was on a path of great wrong.

Achilles
03-22-2007, 09:50 PM
The only argument in defense against that is how the embryos all had a chance of becoming fetuses, though IMO it's very shallow. All that argues is that the intent of of using a "shot gun" approach towards fertilizing eggs justifies the supposedly immoral results, which seems rather silly to me. If there was an argument based on reason, I would be more than willing to reconsider my stance. Up to this point however, one has not been presented. At the end of the day, it becomes apparent that embryonic stem cell has been (largely) pushed overseas due to legislation that was crafted and passed to cater to religious groups.

For those of you that haven't heard about this, here's what the National Institutes of Health has to say: link (http://news.wired.com/dynamic/stories/S/STEM_CELLS?SITE=WIRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT)

JediMaster12
03-26-2007, 04:00 PM
I don't know if I accept your definition of "alive". Any cell with a nucleus has the potential for life. Your body jettisons thousands if not tens of thousands of skin cells every day. That same amount if not more are lost when you bathe. Or when you scratch an itch. Hair that falls out when you comb or brush it. The list goes on and on.
This is probably one of those thing that you can't make heads nor tails of because of what I am. You are knowledgeable and obviously a student of science but because you can't understand why I think in a way that seems to reflect science and religion, you have a hard time understanding the meaning behind my argument. You are not the first who has been perplexed by me nor are you the last. I think a cell does have life because it exists in our world and it performs functions that are necessary to survive. Even though it has no feelings like humans, it still performs the functions that is programmed in its DNA.


I appreciate the emotional nature of your argument. I'm not sure how much is helps to move the dialog forward and it seems to completely ignore the life and happiness (and suffering) of actual human beings, but it does allow me to see where you're coming from. The last part of your argument is a slippery slope fallacy. Allowing stem cell research is not a argument for allowing people to kill other people whenever they want. :)
What I am saying is that people tend to pride themselves on their respect for life. The United States in particular has this idea that we are great humanitarians and the like. Since we have such great respect for life, how is it that we cannot acknowledge that it exists even on the tinniest of scales?

CSI
03-26-2007, 04:03 PM
Personally I agree with Stem Cell research, and it can save people's life, why don't we do that esteem?

Achilles
03-26-2007, 10:48 PM
This is probably one of those thing that you can't make heads nor tails of because of what I am. You are knowledgeable and obviously a student of science but because you can't understand why I think in a way that seems to reflect science and religion, you have a hard time understanding the meaning behind my argument. I think you've expressed yourself adequately. I could be mistaken, but I don't think our seeming inability to see eye-to-eye is the result of a communications failure. Rather I think it's a difference in the nature of the rationale behind the arguments. You appear to favor subjectivity and limit your ethical considerations in a way that I cannot. As a personal opinion, I accept that but taken as a discourse for public policy, I find it reprehensible.

You are not the first who has been perplexed by me nor are you the last. I think a cell does have life because it exists in our world and it performs functions that are necessary to survive. Even though it has no feelings like humans, it still performs the functions that is programmed in its DNA. A cell certainly has potential for life, but that does not make it "alive". I appreciate your taking the time to reframe your position. However I could still use some help understanding the rationale behind the argument which states that the consideration of a hundred cells should always trump the consideration of a fully formed human being.

Most people participating in an ethic thought exercise will readily allow one person to die if it will save one or more other people (circumstances depending), but yet our discourse on this subject says that we won't destroy 150 cells to cure millions of diseased people (this comparison is an exaggeration, but only a slight one).

What I am saying is that people tend to pride themselves on their respect for life. The United States in particular has this idea that we are great humanitarians and the like. Since we have such great respect for life, how is it that we cannot acknowledge that it exists even on the tinniest of scales? I disagree with this assessment. Purposely blocking funding for research that is universally accepted to be the most promising potential source for life-saving medicine does not seem to be aligned with such a philosophy. I don't agree that it speaks to our humanitarianism at all.

I had considerably more here, but most of it had to do with Bush's inconsistent devotion to the "Culture of Life". If you would like to introduce it, I will happily include my thoughts, but I thought it might be something of a red herring to use it in my response (so I deleted it).

PoiuyWired
03-27-2007, 02:25 AM
1) Science should not cater to religion, at least not legally.
2) Church and State are two different thing. And government funding is not from a church.
3) A technology that saves lives w/o the expanse of real humans should be supported.

Obviously there are some different views on (3). I mean, there are still some prehistorics around that thinks every sperm is sacred. :) But that is not the concern of the state. As we know it legally embryos are not humans. By that, shouldn't stem cell research be supported legally if it is a technology that would save lives?

PS: Not getting into the "when is there a soul" an the whole "pro life" argument here. Topic is stem cells, not that.

Darth InSidious
03-27-2007, 09:54 AM
Stem cell research? Go ahead. Fine, get on with it. Saving lives, good.

But by the same token, don't kill of a person-in-9-months on a technicality. You cannot deny that if carried to term, that zygote/blastocyst/whatever-you-want-to-call-it would in all probability grow to become a living, breathing, thinking human being. By the same token, by killing it, you kill that person just 9 months away. So how is it any different to, hypothetically, going back in time, and killing someone as a child? Or any different to going back in time and pushing someone's mother into having an abortion?

I fail to see the point in protecting a cluster of cells incapable of any form of thought, emotion, or pain, regardless of when it has a "soul". You might as well say rocks are entitled to rights too.
Because barring accidents it will be a person, no different from you in most respects. You are just being temporally narrow-minded to suit your own purposes.

I heard about that as well. What an age where science and logic must bow down to the whims of people who can't even rationally justify their beliefs. :)

You can't prove atheism any more than I can prove theism or deism. And before you start the 'oh, but the Flying Spaghetti Monster', if one accepts the multiverse theory, it must exist. And even if not, the most that can scientifically be said, is that such a creature *seems* unlikely.

QFE. I can't guess why scientists would want to use up cells that don't contribute at all to their research, and only use up funding and generate controversy in the process. But I'd trust their judgment to determine how many non-sentient masses of cells they need to use up.

So...you'd place an irrational trust in scientists?
Marvellous. How logical of you.

In fact, no treatments that I know of currently in use have been derived from embryonic stem cell research, despite all the effort going into it. We do, however, have treatments derived from adult stem-cell research. We should be putting research dollars into studying areas where we'll get the most benefit for the cost, and there's far, far more successful research going on with adult stem cells than anything in the embryonic realm.
Quite.

I would agree so long as it does not contravene the right to life.

@PoiuyWired: As something of a 'prehistoric' in this regard, I'd suggest you watch your tongue. Just because a belief is not in fashion does not make it less valid. I do not appreciate having such labels applied to me, and neither, I would imagine, do others who hold this belief. I do not label you, show me the same courtesy at least.

Jae Onasi
03-27-2007, 10:59 AM
Folks, be gentle. Please avoid labels like 'prehistoric' and 'irrational'.

Adult stem cell research (http://www.citizenlink.org/pdfs/fosi/bioethics/science_reveals.pdf) has shown a number of medical benefits in treating 70+ diseases already. Despite world-wide research on embryonic stem cells, including the US because scientists can experiment on existing embryonic cell lines, no diseases (http://stemcells.nih.gov/StemCells/Templates/StemCellContentPage.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRNODEGUID=%7bA604DCCE-2E5F-4395-8954-FCE1C05BECED%7d&NRORIGINALURL=%2finfo%2ffaqs%2easp&NRCACHEHINT=NoModifyGuest#success) have yet been treated with therapies derived from embryonic stem cell research according to the NIH. Since adult stem cells can differentiate into any tissue like embryonic cells can, and since we've already had successful treatment of a number of patients using therapies derived from adult stem cell research, why aren't we putting more research dollars into research that's showing tremendous promise and progress? I don't see the reasoning for pouring research dollars into something that's not nearly as effective as adult stem cell research. From a financial standpoint, we should be putting research dollars into something that's going to work.

I think part of all this overblown controversy is the implications of decisions on embryonic stem cell research have on abortion, and that is unpalatable to a number of pro-abortion groups.
I'm assuming you meant to say "anti-abortion" here? I think you hit the nail right on the head. Which goes back to my earlier point about science catering to religion.
I meant pro-abortion--if embryos are valued as the humans they are by one section of the government, it has implications on abortion rights. Abortion rights activists are concerned that if the government declares life begins at conception and that we shouldn't kill the unborn babies at any point, it could affect the legal side of the abortion debate.

Achilles
03-27-2007, 12:21 PM
But by the same token, don't kill of a person-in-9-months on a technicality. You cannot deny that if carried to term, that zygote/blastocyst/whatever-you-want-to-call-it would in all probability grow to become a living, breathing, thinking human being. By the same token, by killing it, you kill that person just 9 months away. This sounds very similar to the "soul" argument sans a direct invocation of souls. The fact is that it's not the same thing. Even if I were to completely concede your point, we're still left with the dilemma of how it is morally justifiable to put a "potential person" above the suffering of actual people.

So how is it any different to, hypothetically, going back in time, and killing someone as a child? Or any different to going back in time and pushing someone's mother into having an abortion? It's different because it's not the same thing. These hypothetical situations have nothing to do with the actual argument at hand (strawman fallacy).

No one is advocating time travel for the express reason of killing children. Secondly, eggs used for research have to be donated so no force and no abortion are required.

Because barring accidents it will be a person, no different from you in most respects. You are just being temporally narrow-minded to suit your own purposes. Here's a brief overview of the process:

A woman donates egg cells
Research scientists fertilize the egg cells
Research scientists wait 3-4 days until the fertilized egg becomes a collection of 50-150 cells called a blastocyst.
The stem cells are removed from the blastocyst and research is conducted upon them.

The entire process is in vitro. The egg is not fertilized in a natural process with the intention of bearing a child. In other words, the argument of "potential humans" doesn't really apply to the argument.

Scientist would be completely happy to work with cloned embryos, however the ban on government funding extends to opening new stem cell lines via cloned embryos as well.

Similarly, there are all the frozen embryos that women are willing to donate (a al fertility clinics), but the government would rather see them destroyed than given to science. Not much wringing of hands for them ;)

You can't prove atheism any more than I can prove theism or deism. And before you start the 'oh, but the Flying Spaghetti Monster', if one accepts the multiverse theory, it must exist. And even if not, the most that can scientifically be said, is that such a creature *seems* unlikely. Implying that atheism is something that can be or needs to be proven seems to miss the point of atheism entirely. Atheism isn't the antithesis to belief; it is a lack of belief. How does one "prove" that they don't believe in something for which there is no evidence? Which begs the question, how would one prove that there is no evidence? Conundrums such as these are the reason why the burden of proof always falls on the one making the claim.

Additionally, I'm pretty sure it's obvious to everyone that the FSM does not exist. That's the point of the FSM :D

The FSM is unlikely because there is no evidence for His existence. Such is the case for all deities or theistic religious figures.

So...you'd place an irrational trust in scientists? Recognizing that "irrational" is an adjective (a word used to describe) rather than a label (something used to categorize), could you please help me understand why it would be irrational to trust in the scientific method?

Thanks!

Achilles
03-27-2007, 01:29 PM
Adult stem cell research (http://www.citizenlink.org/pdfs/fosi/bioethics/science_reveals.pdf) has shown a number of medical benefits in treating 70+ diseases already. Is this the same source that you were referencing earlier? It's not an academic source. CitizenLink is clearly a conservative group, therefore the source is biased:

This Web site serves to bring timely, critical analysis to bear on the most important cultural and policy issues of the day. Written and edited by some of the country's most knowledgeable family advocates, the resources featured here are designed to educate and energize concerned citizens within religious, political, educational, and activist spheres working to apply Christian principles to the struggles that face our nation.To be fair, we could go to the medical studies that it cited and check them for peer-review, analyze the methodologies used, etc, but I don't particularly care to and I assume that you don't either :D

Perhaps if you could provide an academic source we could save each other the trouble.

PS: the preface of this article contains several fallacies on top of being guilty of poor citation ;)

Despite world-wide research on embryonic stem cells, including the US because scientists can experiment on existing embryonic cell lines,no diseases (http://stemcells.nih.gov/StemCells/Templates/StemCellContentPage.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRNODEGUID=%7bA604DCCE-2E5F-4395-8954-FCE1C05BECED%7d&NRORIGINALURL=%2finfo%2ffaqs%2easp&NRCACHEHINT=NoModifyGuest#success) have yet been treated with therapies derived from embryonic stem cell research according to the NIH. The NIH FAQs seem to focus entirely upon U.S. research. I think if we're going to read about breakthroughs, we're going to have to look at sources from other countries and/or industry journals (the ones with peer-reviewed articles of course :D)

Since adult stem cells can differentiate into any tissue like embryonic cells can While research has recently shown that adult stem cells are more mailable than previously believed, there is no evidence to support the claim that they are equal or superior to embryonic stem cells, in this regard.

and since we've already had successful treatment of a number of patients using therapies derived from adult stem cell research, why aren't we putting more research dollars into research that's showing tremendous promise and progress? I think we're starting to go in circles :D

Adult stem cell advances are what we hear about because that's where the money is already going. The evidence (and the logic) would seem to support the argument that if the money was going into embryonic stem cell research, that's what we'd be hearing about and we'd be hearing a lot more about it (i.e. more advances, more often).

This is like saying "See? That guy ran a mile in 45 minutes. Isn't that amazing!?" while all the guys that can do it 5 were tied up and tossed in their lockers. Adult stem cells aren't getting the limelight because they are better. They're getting it because of an unequal playing field.

I don't see the reasoning for pouring research dollars into something that's not nearly as effective as adult stem cell research. From a financial standpoint, we should be putting research dollars into something that's going to work. A preponderance of experts don't seem to share your opinion that ESTs are ineffective.

When EU, Brazil, Japanese, and Australia (just to name a few) begin churning out medical advances based on stem cell research, I hope that we don't find ourselves hopelessly behind.

I meant pro-abortion--if embryos are valued as the humans they are by one section of the government, it has implications on abortion rights. Abortion rights activists are concerned that if the government declares life begins at conception and that we shouldn't kill the unborn babies at any point, it could affect the legal side of the abortion debate. Thanks for clarifying.

Darth InSidious
03-27-2007, 02:03 PM
You are overcomplicating the argument, and using these complications as strawmen.

The fact is that none of the embryonic stem cell research done so far has led to any benefit, despite *worldwide* research into the field. Only adult stem cell research has yielded results and benefits for these suffering people - you are advocating the destruction of potential people for a very unlikely gain, based on the evidence.

Scientist would be completely happy to work with cloned embryos, however the ban on government funding extends to opening new stem cell lines via cloned embryos as well.

Similarly, there are all the frozen embryos that women are willing to donate (a al fertility clinics), but the government would rather see them destroyed than given to science. Not much wringing of hands for them ;)

Personally, I don't see any difference between any of these three options. They all seem to involve the same moral dilemma to me. If you accept the one you must accept the other two as well. Likewise if you reject the one you must reject the other two.

Implying that atheism is something that can be or needs to be proven seems to miss the point of atheism entirely. Atheism isn't the antithesis to belief; it is a lack of belief.

It is a belief- there is no evidence. We've been over this before. Phenomena and noumena cannot be proven to be equal - you cannot prove that only what you see is what is there. And only accepting the existence of the phenomenal is intellectual dishonesty.

How does one "prove" that they don't believe in something for which there is no evidence? Which begs the question, how would one prove that there is no evidence? Conundrums such as these are the reason why the burden of proof always falls on the one making the claim. But you are also making a claim, and as always overcomplicating to confuse the issue. Which is the phenomenal and the noumenal.

Additionally, I'm pretty sure it's obvious to everyone that the FSM does not exist. That's the point of the FSM :D

How? We haven't even got a full understanding of our own ecology, let alone the entire multiverse. Prove to me that there isn't a Flying Spaghetti Monster anywhere in spacetime.

The FSM is unlikely because there is no evidence for His existence. Such is the case for all deities or theistic religious figures.
Wrong. The FSM is unlikely because it is biologically improbable. Deities fall (for the most part) outside the biological, and so this isn't a problem.

Recognizing that "irrational" is an adjective (a word used to describe) rather than a label (something used to categorize), could you please help me understand why it would be irrational to trust in the scientific method?

Re-read Devon's post.

Achilles
03-27-2007, 02:46 PM
You are overcomplicating the argument, and using these complications as strawmen. Ok. Please show me where I've done this.

The fact is that none of the embryonic stem cell research done so far has led to any benefit, despite *worldwide* research into the field.
Here's (http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/jun2006/ninds-20.htm) one example that I purposely spent no more than 20 seconds trying to find.

As for "worldwide", I guess you'll have to operationally define that for me. Based on the information (http://mbbnet.umn.edu/scmap.html) that I've seen, only a handful of countries are conducting stem cell research. Only 8 of those appear to operate without restriction (i.e. they can manufacture blastocysts, rather than rely on donations from fertility clinics).

Only adult stem cell research has yielded results and benefits for these suffering people - you are advocating the destruction of potential people for a very unlikely gain, based on the evidence. As I have pointed out elsewhere, adult stem cell research has an unfair advantage. ASC research progress is not evidence of it's superiority to other forms of stem cell research. The argument that states otherwise appears be be based on begging the question fallacies.

Furthermore, the argument that these are "potential people" is based on fallacy, as I have pointed out before. Thus far, no one appears to be interested in showing me how this conclusion is wrong. I'm completely willing to accept your point if you can walk me through the rationale or show me where there is flawed reasoning in mine.

Personally, I don't see any difference between any of these three options. I'm ok with this so long as you aren't asserting that there is no difference.

They all seem to involve the same moral dilemma to me. If you accept the one you must accept the other two as well. Likewise if you reject the one you must reject the other two. I accept that you see no difference. I have a problem if such thinking is used to dictate public policy, but as a personal opinion, it is what it is.

It is a belief- there is no evidence. Huh?

We've been over this before. Phenomena and noumena cannot be proven to be equal - you cannot prove that only what you see is what is there. And only accepting the existence of the phenomenal is intellectual dishonesty. Yes we have. IIRC you opted not to continue that discussion because "it wasn't worth your time", but I don't think anything was resolved. You argue here as though it was, however I believe my points have yet to be addressed.

PS: Phenomenon is not limited to what you can see, rather what you can observe. I can observe lots of things without seeing them and accept them as evidence for other things. If such observations are empirical, then they deserve to be the foundation for reasoned explanations. For the purposes of finding reasons, empirical study will always be superior to other forms. I fail to see how this is intellectually dishonest.

But you are also making a claim, and as always overcomplicating to confuse the issue. Which is the phenomenal and the noumenal. You haven't answered my questions, sir.

How? We haven't even got a full understanding of our own ecology, let alone the entire multiverse. Prove to me that there isn't a Flying Spaghetti Monster anywhere in spacetime. I repeat: How does one prove something doesn't exist? Since you've mentioned Bertrand Russell's work before, perhaps you are familiar with his teapot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_teapot)?

Wrong. The FSM is unlikely because it is biologically improbable. Deities fall (for the most part) outside the biological, and so this isn't a problem. Doesn't it seem like a case for special pleading that lack of biological evidence is a case for no FSM, but not for other deities? If we can accept other deities with no evidence, then we have to accept FSM as well. The difference comes in what we choose to believe. Not in what we have evidence for. That's the point of FSM.

Re-read Devon's post.I'm not sure how something posted by ED will answer a question that I posed to you. I've read all of Devon's posts in this thread, but I'm still not sure why you would think that it would be irrational to trust the scientific method.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Jae Onasi
03-27-2007, 03:08 PM
Is this the same source that you were referencing earlier? It's not an academic source. CitizenLink is clearly a conservative group, therefore the source is biased:

To be fair, we could go to the medical studies that it cited and check them for peer-review, analyze the methodologies used, etc, but I don't particularly care to and I assume that you don't either :D

Actually, I do care about those things, and if they'd quoted crap sources, I wouldn't have bothered with that link. All of those studies were published in highly regarded medical journals for those fields, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and Ophthalmology, both of which I've read (Ophthalmology on a pretty regular basis). Articles don't make it into those journals, or the others cited, without significant scholarly review. Ophthalmology is _the_ scholarly journal for the ophthalmology field, and the New England Journal of Medicine comes out of the Harvard Medical School. The other journals are likewise the scholarly journals for their particular specialties. If those are not acceptable sources, then nothing is.

Perhaps if you could provide an academic source we could save each other the trouble.
Look up any of the articles cited in that PDF on Medline.

The NIH FAQs seem to focus entirely upon U.S. research. I think if we're going to read about breakthroughs, we're going to have to look at sources from other countries and/or industry journals (the ones with peer-reviewed articles of course :D)
The NIH would not have said that if it was true outside the US, otherwise they'd have been guilty of misleading the public.

While research has recently shown that adult stem cells are more mailable than previously believed, there is no evidence to support the claim that they are equal or superior to embryonic stem cells, in this regard.
The fact remains that there are treatments using adult stem cells, but not embryonic stem cells. From both an ethical and financial standpoint, we should be putting the research dollars into something that's actually working. The malleability of embryonic stem cells is irrelevant if you can't do anything useful with that feature.


Adult stem cell advances are what we hear about because that's where the money is already going. The evidence (and the logic) would seem to support the argument that if the money was going into embryonic stem cell research, that's what we'd be hearing about and we'd be hearing a lot more about it (i.e. more advances, more often).
Then why aren't we hearing about such things from other countries that allow embryonic research?

A preponderance of experts don't seem to share your opinion that ESTs are ineffective.Certainly there's potential, however, there appears to be far more potential with adult stem cell research, and it doesn't have the same ethical concerns.

When EU, Brazil, Japanese, and Australia (just to name a few) begin churning out medical advances based on stem cell research, I hope that we don't find ourselves hopelessly behind.

Thanks for clarifying.
And they can live with the fact that they're doing human experimentation, apparently.

Achilles
03-27-2007, 03:37 PM
Actually, I do care about those things, and if they'd quoted crap sources, I wouldn't have bothered with that link. All of those studies were published in highly regarded medical journals for those fields, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and Ophthalmology, both of which I've read (Ophthalmology on a pretty regular basis). Articles don't make it into those journals, or the others cited, without significant scholarly review. Ophthalmology is _the_ scholarly journal for the ophthalmology field, and the New England Journal of Medicine comes out of the Harvard Medical School. The other journals are likewise the scholarly journals for their particular specialties. If those are not acceptable sources, then nothing is. My point is that without reading each of those articles, I have no way of knowing if the authors of your source were quoting studies out of context. If the source you quoted wasn't blatantly biased, I might not be as concerned, however I'm highly suspicious of anything it says.

If the conclusions offered in that article (not the sources it cited) are sound then surely you can find a similar academic source to cite. If not, then I think it would further my reasons for being skeptical of your source.

Look up any of the articles cited in that PDF on Medline. I could, but I don't think my request for a non-biased source is unreasonable. I don't see why I should be required to do the legwork necessary to back up your speaking points. Just trying to be fair :)

The NIH would not have said that if it was true outside the US, otherwise they'd have been guilty of misleading the public. The NIH would be guilty of misleading the public if their audience was international or if the purpose of the paper was addressing international stem cell research. I don't see evidence for either case. Furthermore, the "National" part of National Institutes of Health would seem to indicate that their scope is limited to the U.S.

Please let me know if I'm missing something.

The fact remains that there are treatments using adult stem cells, but not embryonic stem cells. From both an ethical and financial standpoint, we should be putting the research dollars into something that's actually working. The malleability of embryonic stem cells is irrelevant if you can't do anything useful with that feature. I'm not denying that fact. I'm questioning the reasoning behind the argument that adult stem cells are better than embryonic stem cells. So far the logic is circular.

You assume that EST aren't useful, but have not yet offered any intellectually rigorous sources that support that claim.

I agree that from an ethical and financial standpoint, it makes sense to support the line of research that appears to offer the best return on investment. If EST research hadn't been hamstrung by our Federal government, then we would have a chance to truly evaluate both lines of research on their individual merits. This has not been allowed to happen in this country and the reasons behind it are entirely religious (i.e. not ethical, scientific, safety-related, etc).

Then why aren't we hearing about such things from other countries that allow embryonic research? We are (per an earlier link I provided for DI).

Certainly there's potential, however, there appears to be far more potential with adult stem cell research, and it doesn't have the same ethical concerns. Repeating it doesn't make it true :)
There appears to be far more potential in the U.S. because it has an inequitable, artificial advantage.

Additionally, there are no ethical concerns. The only concerns that have been voiced are religious. The "ethical concerns" don't hold up to scrutiny and are quickly revealed to have their basis in religious thinking.

And they can live with the fact that they're doing human experimentation, apparently. Depends on how you define it. Using the same emotionally-laden term that you did, I guess an argument could be made to discontinue the human trials that the FDA requires before approving new medications. That would be closer to human experimentation than embryonic stem cell research, wouldn't you agree?

Jae Onasi
03-27-2007, 06:09 PM
Have a few links.
By the way, just because a source is conservative doesn't mean it's inaccurate.

Peer-reviewed references (http://www.stemcellresearch.org/facts/asc-refs.pdf)

Some are articles, some are abstracts, I'm not purchasing the articles for you, too. :xp:

http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/full/46/9/1651
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12756590&dopt=Abstract
http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/cgi/content/abstract/blood-2006-08-042820v1
http://www.springerlink.com/content/r1346535814k6511/
http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/cgi/content/full/106/5/1755
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=16126798&dopt=Abstract
http://www.springerlink.com/content/jg54m6m226734241/
http://www.springerlink.com/content/k300j413l05v4038/
http://jco.ascopubs.org/cgi/content/abstract/18/18/3256
http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/cgi/content/full/104/12/3527
http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/cgi/content/full/105/9/3749
http://jco.ascopubs.org/cgi/content/full/24/1/145
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/350/13/1287
http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/133/7/555
http://www.euchromatin.org/Childs01.htm
http://www.ophsource.org/periodicals/ophtha/article/PIIS0161642003002586/abstract
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/75501747/ABSTRACT?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
http://www.springerlink.com/content/t342qp84h035q30p/
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioo/research/daniels.htm
http://www.revophth.com/archive/newsletter/ro_092704.htm#Article1
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15949330&dopt=Abstract
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?itool=abstractplus&db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=abstractplus&list_uids=16086277
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WW3-441P55W-7&_user=10&_coverDate=09%2F30%2F2001&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=e41d58b8456d911290cb9ed436a3fbcf

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I figured 23 of them would keep you busy for awhile.

Your link to DI shows experiments on rats, not humans. There is a lot of animal research going on, but nothing that's been applicable to humans yet.

Worldwide, there's plenty of research funds flowing to both adult and embryonic stem cell research, so the lack in the US is not relevant. It's still clear that adult stem cell research has produced benefits for humans, embryonic research has not.

Achilles
03-27-2007, 07:45 PM
By the way, just because a source is conservative doesn't mean it's inaccurate. No, it absolutely does not. But bias does hurt credibility and therefore biased sources cannot be taken a face value. Non-biased sources will always be preferable to biased sources (unless one is looking only looking for viewpoints that support their own). This is why academic institutions insist that students use peer-reviewed sources rather than wikipedia when writing papers, etc.

Peer-reviewed references (http://www.stemcellresearch.org/facts/asc-refs.pdf)I think we might not be on the same page anymore.

If you go back to post #4, you'll see that I'm asking for a source that supports your argument that ASCs are superior to ESCs. I had assumed that your citations in post #20 were an attempt to provide that source. My first sentence in post #22 was an attempt to clarify this.

I think at post #25, we went off in separate directions. I'm not looking for sources that show that ASC research is beneficial (a point that I've never argued), rather I'm looking for a source that supports your original argument: That adult stem cells are superior to embryonic stem cells.

Your first source in post #20 claims to be able to show this, but does not. Furthermore, the bias of the authors calls into question the rigorousness of their research, hence why I disputed the source and asked for something academic.

I appreciate you taking the time to provide the other links. Unfortunately, they appear to support an argument that I haven't questioned.

Your link to DI shows experiments on rats, not humans. There is a lot of animal research going on, but nothing that's been applicable to humans yet. I could be mistaken, but I thought it was common practice to experiment on laboratory animals (commonly rats) before experimenting on humans. A breakthrough in a laboratory is typically taken as a good sign that the results can be reproduced in human test subject later in clinical trials. Was that not your understanding as well?

Worldwide, there's plenty of research funds flowing to both adult and embryonic stem cell research, so the lack in the US is not relevant. It's still clear that adult stem cell research has produced benefits for humans, embryonic research has not. I appreciate the tenacity of your thoughts on the matter, but I'm not sure how repeating this statement is going to move the conversation forward. I haven't seen anything yet that attempts to refute the points that I raised in regards to this particular argument, so I see no reason to assume that my thinking is flawed or my conclusions incorrect.

I raised several other points in my last response to you. Can I assume that you will address those later (when you have more time) or should I assume that you're conceding them?

Thanks again for your reply.

Jae Onasi
03-27-2007, 08:58 PM
Oh, yeah. I do think we ended up in different spots.

However, you asked for a source showing ASC is better than ESC--I provided a bunch of sources on the medical advances and direct human benefits from ASCs, and there are none from ESC, and I think the conclusion becomes pretty clear.

You're going to find proponents on both sides, obviously, but here's a few more that I haven't researched extensively so please don't give me too much grief about it. :)
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/stemcells2.php

The results quoted in this article are the salient part: http://www.lifeissues.org/cloningstemcell/bradsarticle.html

The financial side, not terribly scholarly but money's always a concern: http://money.cnn.com/2006/08/09/news/companies/stemcells/index.htm?section=money_latest

On your link--there's plenty of research on adult stem cell research on animals as well--it doesn't refute the argument that no successful human treatments have been developed from the embryonic side of the equation.

So why do you believe embryonic stem cell research is superior? If various adult stem cells can differentiate to create every body tissue that embryonic stem cells can, what's the point, other than just to learn something at the expense of someone else? Why are we diverting research funds from successful treatments to fund something that hasn't shown a lot of progress?

Post 4--questions answered in no particular order....
The soul question is unanswerable, and irrelevant to the actual human benefit of the research. What we do know is that at conception that new cell has a unique DNA pattern and so is a unique creation that will develop into a person. Other than that, it's about as thrilling as debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and about as useful. :) Do you have a soul? Yes. Do you believe it? No. Is that going to get us anywhere in this discussion? No.

Since that embryo cannot give consent to be killed, while adults can give consent for being experiments in medical trials, you're comparing 2 different things entirely.

'The embryo's life is more/less important than a Parkinson's victim's life'--all life is important, and we shouldn't be killing one for the other. Should we kill children and harvest their organs for adults? Is that somehow different from sacrificing an embryo for an adult? A life is a life.

Embryos aren't 'destroyed vs. experimented on'--they end up in storage indefinitely, and actually sometimes get adopted by people who can't get pregnant by other means. Since in-vitro technology is evolving, there's not nearly as many embryos being created anymore for implantation. The eggs can be stored frozen, thawed, and fertilized fairly soon before implantation so there are fewer lost to the technology.

Do I like my tax dollars going to the military? Not for wars we've gotten into because of idiotic reasons. Do I want a military to protect our country in legitimate ways? Yes, and I'll gladly pay taxes for that. Of course, I'm going to pay taxes regardless--I rather like not being in jail. :D

Achilles
03-28-2007, 12:41 AM
However, you asked for a source showing ASC is better than ESC--I provided a bunch of sources on the medical advances and direct human benefits from ASCs, and there are none from ESC, and I think the conclusion becomes pretty clear. I don't share your confidence in the conclusion. Conservatives tend to favor free-market conditions, that is: let the market decide which product is better. If we applied the same model to the stem cell debate, it would be apt to say that this is communism.

We have no way of knowing how much further along we could be with ESC research because ESC research has not been allowed equitable conditions to operate within. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the philosophy, you can surely acknowledge that this much is true, can't you?

In regards to whether or not ESC has anything is store for humans, I think it would be foolish to conclude that because there aren't any (published) right now means that there won't be. Especially in light of articles like these (http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/06/22/stem.cells.cnn/index.html) (same study as before but different source...with video).

You're going to find proponents on both sides Both sides of what, Jae? :)

Can you find one legitimate (e.g. not funded by ultra-conservative special interest groups or think tanks) scientist out there saying that ESC research is a bad idea?

Yes, there are two sides. The first side is comprised of true scientists that want a chance to do some research and the other side is comprised of religious people ("scientists" and non-scientists) that don't want to let them.

but here's a few more that I haven't researched extensively so please don't give me too much grief about it. :) Fair enough.

http://www.i-sis.org.uk/stemcells2.php Do a Google search for the author's name (Mae-Wan Ho) and then let's talk :)
Because you have to pay to see the cited version of the study, I can't say much more beyond that other than, "she's clearly biased".

The results quoted in this article are the salient part: http://www.lifeissues.org/cloningstemcell/bradsarticle.html

1) This is a pro-life web site (clear bias)
2) The first sentence contains emotionally-laden wording which makes it clear that objective discussion about the facts is not its goal.
3) The article is an editorial, not a scientific publishing.
4) The "salient part" that you wanted me to look at wasn't published by a scientific journal, rather a financial magazine. Interestingly, the owner of said magazine is a signed member of the PNAC, along with other prestigious scientific contributors including "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Jeb Bush.

You asked me to go easy, so I'll stop there. I have additional commentary on the "salient part". Please let me know if you would like for me to share it.

The financial side, not terribly scholarly but money's always a concern: http://money.cnn.com/2006/08/09/news/companies/stemcells/index.htm?section=money_latest Taken from your source:
Embryonic stem cells might hold the secrets to curing paralysis and brain damage, but they've also garnered plenty of controversy with the anti-abortion lobby because they're harvested from embryos.
President Bush recently vetoed a bill that would loosen federal restrictions on funding for embryonic stem cells, and some analysts fear that as a result the best developments in this area will be made overseas.

But work with adult stem cells isn't being held back by funding restraints and political opposition, analysts say.
Emphasis mine.

Kudos to CNN Money for attempting to cover both sides. They largely gloss over the implications of the two sections that I quoted, but at least the author mentioned them.

On your link--there's plenty of research on adult stem cell research on animals as well--it doesn't refute the argument that no successful human treatments have been developed from the embryonic side of the equation. If one completely ignores the implications that the existing published research has on the future of stem cell-related treatments, then one might be able to agree with your argument.

So why do you believe embryonic stem cell research is superior?
I'll quote directly from the NIH page that you referenced earlier:
Human embryonic stem cells are thought to have much greater developmental potential than adult stem cells. This means that embryonic stem cells may be pluripotent—that is, able to give rise to cells found in all tissues of the embryo except for germ cells rather than being merely multipotent—restricted to specific subpopulations of cell types, as adult stem cells are thought to be.
They are much more polite about it than other sources I've read, but essentially it comes down to the malleabilty of the cell lines. Despite breakthroughs with ASC, they still aren't as flexible as ESCs.

Another (important) factor that isn't mentioned here is the investigative nature of the research. Working with ESC allows researchers to understand what causes certain cells to eventually become heart cells, brain cells, big toe cells, etc. ASC research can't address this as well because it's like trying to investigate a crime scene based on 20 year old testimony instead of secuity camera film footage.

If various adult stem cells can differentiate to create every body tissue that embryonic stem cells can, what's the point, other than just to learn something at the expense of someone else? But they currently don't. You can't take a stem cell from bone marrow and turn it into a nerve cell in the spine. You can turn it into a few things based on which classification of ASC it is, but they aren't nearly as undifferentiated as ESCs.

Furthermore, the research isn't done at the expense of another person. Saying that it is is a red herring.

I don't know if I've raised this question before, so I'll do it now: What do you think is the motivation of a ESC research proponent?

Why are we diverting research funds from successful treatments to fund something that hasn't shown a lot of progress? I've addressed this several other places. I can't tell if I'm just not communicating well enough or if my points are being ignored intentionally.

Let me try another question to see if I can break the impasse: Do you think that ESC research would have made just as much, if not more, progress than ASC research if not subjected to the limitations imposed by the Federal government? Why or why not?

The soul question is unanswerable, and irrelevant to the actual human benefit of the research. I agree but I doubt for the same reasons. :D

What we do know is that at conception that new cell has a unique DNA pattern and so is a unique creation that will develop into a person. We don't know that. Many pregnancies are aborted naturally for no discernable reason. If conception takes place in vitro, then the fertilized egg could spend eternity in a freezer or destroyed at the donor's request. Therefore we can't say that we know that fertilized egg will make it the gestation period and become a person.

This is the same thing as the soul argument, you just opted to use different words.

Other than that, it's about as thrilling as debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and about as useful. :) Depends on whether or not you believe in angels (68% of Americans).

Do you have a soul? Yes. Do you believe it? No. Is that going to get us anywhere in this discussion? No. I agree that we're probably not going to get anywhere with this, but I disagree that it's irrelevant to the discussion.

The existence of souls is central to arguments of anti-abortion/anti-hESCR proponets.

Since that embryo cannot give consent to be killed, while adults can give consent for being experiments in medical trials, you're comparing 2 different things entirely. Right, so you can agree that referring to ESC research as "human experimentation" is probably not accurate? Can't have it both ways. ;)

'The embryo's life is more/less important than a Parkinson's victim's life'--all life is important, and we shouldn't be killing one for the other.Except blastocysts aren't alive. Therefore the argument doesn't hold up. No "killing" takes place.

And if you want to argue that blastocysts are alive, then you have to accept that the skin cells that are sacrificed every time you take a shower or wash your hands are alive to. You can't have it both ways.

Should we kill children and harvest their organs for adults? Is that somehow different from sacrificing an embryo for an adult? A life is a life. See points above. Blastocysts aren't children. Nor are they alive. Pick any definition for "alive" or "life" that you would like to and we can debate the point further if you would like. As I have said before, I'm willing to go whereever the evidence leads. At this point, I haven't seen any compelling evidence that would encourage me to change my current views.

Embryos aren't 'destroyed vs. experimented on'--they end up in storage indefinitely, and actually sometimes get adopted by people who can't get pregnant by other means. I would encourage you to double check your sources.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_inco.htm (I would encourage everyone viewing this post to read this source entirely).
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/08/20/MN58092.DTL
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/jul/06072105.html (this one is a particularly biased editorial. I thought I would include it so that you could take pot-shots at me for a change :D)

In conclusion, not all embryos are stored indefinitely. Also, your conclusions regarding adoption appear to be rather generous in light of the evidence.

Since in-vitro technology is evolving, there's not nearly as many embryos being created anymore for implantation. The eggs can be stored frozen, thawed, and fertilized fairly soon before implantation so there are fewer lost to the technology. But losses won't be negated entirely correct? Doesn't that still pose a problem?

Do I like my tax dollars going to the military? Not for wars we've gotten into because of idiotic reasons. Do I want a military to protect our country in legitimate ways? Yes, and I'll gladly pay taxes for that. Of course, I'm going to pay taxes regardless--I rather like not being in jail. :D So unintended result of military funding = creation of weapons technology = destruction of fully formed human beings = ok, but intended result of research funding = destruction of blastocysts = creation of life saving treatments = not ok?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-military, I'm just trying to better understand your thinking on this one.

Thanks.

JediMaster12
03-28-2007, 02:12 PM
Non-biased sources will always be preferable to biased sources (unless one is looking only looking for viewpoints that support their own). This is why academic institutions insist that students use peer-reviewed sources rather than wikipedia when writing papers, etc.
Give one un biased report to explain. Truth of the matter is Achilles there are no perfectly objective people. Everything has some hint of bias, with some being good at hiding it. I have read some articles as examples for food taboo and they differed significantly and often reflected the personality of the author. One was on the sexual politics of meat and even by not reading the preface, you can tell that the author was a feminist vegetarian. Yeah I scorn wikipedia myself because the information can be changed and I find it incredible that some people could take it as truth. Truth be told, there is always going to be some form of bias. Look at history texts.

As to materials regarding stem cell research, it is out there. Probably the best place to look is a scientific journal where the writers are usually the ones involved in the research. In scientce it is probably easier to present in a non biased manner but it is still there.

Achilles
03-28-2007, 08:45 PM
Give one un biased report to explain. Sure. How about the religioustolerance.org site that I referenced above. It seems to be completely free of any emotionally-laden terms, it is well-sourced, and even goes so far as to use the preferred labels of the groups it references ("pro-life" and "pro-choice", opposed to "anti-abortion" or "pro-abortion").

Truth of the matter is Achilles there are no perfectly objective people. I agree that objectivity is tough. That's why it should be valued when found and sources that abandon it should be avoided.

No one is perfect, which is why I find many conservative opinions to be unrealistic, and in some cases, hypocritical (Rush Limbaugh's stance on drug abuse, for instance). No one is arguing this. But it's not as though these writers just jot stuff down without checks and balances. There are editors, fact-checkers, etc that all have to review each article (not to mention peer-review for academic quality work), so the problem is systemic, not isolated.

Everything has some hint of bias, with some being good at hiding it. Absolutes are a tough thing to defend.

Yeah I scorn wikipedia myself because the information can be changed and I find it incredible that some people could take it as truth. Wikipedia is a great source for information in the cases where articles are well-cited. It's also a good idea to get into the habit of checking sources from articles that you read. Keeps you from getting burned when conducting research (at least that's been my experience).

Truth be told, there is always going to be some form of bias. Look at history texts. Another good argument for checking multiple sources and familiarizing oneself with basis for the "opposition's" arguments. I feel comfortable defending my stance on stem cell research because I'm fairly well-read (for a layman) on both sides of the debate.

As to materials regarding stem cell research, it is out there. Probably the best place to look is a scientific journal where the writers are usually the ones involved in the research. In scientce it is probably easier to present in a non biased manner but it is still there. Yep, but as shown elsewhere in this thread, only looking to science journals can influence what information you have access too. My initial citation from the NIH probably won't appear in a science journal because it's not a research paper.

As for bias in science journals, the peer-review process (when followed correctly) will catch that. This is why you don't see pseudo-science (ala intelligent design, paranormal stuff, etc) in legitimate science journals.

Achilles
03-31-2007, 02:16 AM
Two news stories (and one interesting link) regarding the stem cell debate:

Senate plans stem cell vote in April (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070330/ap_on_go_co/congress_stem_cells)
States Take Lead in Funding Stem-Cell Research (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9244363)
Q&A: Embryonic Stem Cells: Exploding the Myths (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5376892)

Achilles
04-10-2007, 04:18 AM
Hi all. More new information (http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20070409/sc_livescience/sexdifferencesfoundinstemcells). Not necessarily specific to the (seemingly dead) debate, but interesting nonetheless.

Jae Onasi
04-10-2007, 01:17 PM
Meh, NPR is a bastion of left-wing liberalism and is hardly an unbiased source.


Furthermore, the research isn't done at the expense of another person. Saying that it is is a red herring.
Since when is truth a red herring?
The objections to ESC are inconvenient for those who want to pursue research without examining the ethics of their experimentation, and using a term like 'blastocyst' to make human experimentation more palatable semantically is a red herring itself.
The embryo is a separate life--has its own DNA and cell processes. Just because it cannot yet live out of the womb doesn't mean it is not another person. The embryo cannot give consent either for its own death or to be experimented on, and killing an embryo to service another person is blatant disregard for that embryo's fundamental right to life.

Adult stem cells cannot turn into as many tissues as embryonic stem cells can, true. However, there are enough different types of adult stem cells that any type of tissue can be developed from one type of adult stem cell or another. The biggest problem they're having with ESC right now is tumorgenicity--the embryonic cells reproduce just fine, but the mechanism that turns them off from dividing at the right point doesn't work or is not present, and so they grow out of control and form tumors. Adult stem cells have the mechanism that turns them off from dividing at the right point so tumors don't form.

And to clarify--I don't object to ESC research itself, I object to embryos being killed for that research. If there's a way to harvest stem cells without killing the embryo (and I believe in the NPR article it mentions one company has figured out how to take one cell out for research before an embryo is implanted ), then my objection is answered. The experimentation on embryonic stem cells they can harvest from amniotic fluid or cord blood is fine with me.

On a more practical side of things, I'd rather have my tax dollars paying for something that's going to show more effectiveness, which currently appears to be adult stem cell research right now.

Achilles
04-10-2007, 03:55 PM
Meh, NPR is a bastion of left-wing liberalism and is hardly an unbiased source. Right-wing rhetoric is hardly an argument. I'm glad you're making an attempt to recognize bias though. :)

Since when is truth a red herring? When it's not the truth, but red herring. We're dealing with blastocysts, not people. Referring to it as a "person" is just as misleading as referring to the anti-abortion movement as "pro-life".

The objections to ESC are inconvenient for those who want to pursue research without examining the ethics of their experimentation, and using a term like 'blastocyst' to make human experimentation more palatable semantically is a red herring itself. I've repeatedly invited you to examine the ethics and thus far you've declined. Calling your religious objections "ethics" is disingenuous. Repeating this argument is not going to make it any more true.

The embryo is a separate life--has its own DNA and cell processes. Just because it cannot yet live out of the womb doesn't mean it is not another person. It has to be able to metabolize on its own to meet the textbook definition of life. I find that definition a little cold and would much prefer to use the same criteria for life that I would for death: heartbeat and brain activity. Neither of these are present in 3-day old embryos.

The embryo cannot give consent either for its own death or to be experimented on, and killing an embryo to service another person is blatant disregard for that embryo's fundamental right to life. How could an embryo give consent? It doesn't have a consciousness, let alone self-awareness. Nor a fully formed brain which is prerequisite for both of these things.

Perhaps we could clear this matter up if you could provide a sound argument for why an embryo has a fundamental right to life.

Adult stem cells cannot turn into as many tissues as embryonic stem cells can, true. However, there are enough different types of adult stem cells that any type of tissue can be developed from one type of adult stem cell or another. Source? Everything I've read would indicate that ASCs are limited in source, difficult to harvest, and extremely limited in what they can be manipulated into becoming. If ASCs are so flexible, why is the lion's share of nerve research being done with ESCs is laboratory rats instead of human test subjects with ASCs?

The biggest problem they're having with ESC right now is tumorgenicity--the embryonic cells reproduce just fine, but the mechanism that turns them off from dividing at the right point doesn't work or is not present, and so they grow out of control and form tumors. Adult stem cells have the mechanism that turns them off from dividing at the right point so tumors don't form. No one is denying that this is a problem with ESCs or an advantage of ASCs. Are you taking the position that ESC research will never be able to overcome this obstacle? That would be the only way I could see this argument having any significance at all. It would be similar to saying that a child will never run because it's too young to crawl.

And to clarify--I don't object to ESC research itself, I object to embryos being killed for that research. If there's a way to harvest stem cells without killing the embryo (and I believe in the NPR article it mentions one company has figured out how to take one cell out for research before an embryo is implanted ), then my objection is answered. The experimentation on embryonic stem cells they can harvest from amniotic fluid or cord blood is fine with me. I've repeatedly invited you to discuss the embryos that are available from fertility clinics and cloning, but you've declined. You offered that all extra embryos are successfully frozen forever and that a lot are adopted out. I provided sources that refute all these points and you did not respond. Rather, you repeat step 1, seeming to ignore steps 2-10 (or whatever). This loop is very frustrating for me.

On a more practical side of things, I'd rather have my tax dollars paying for something that's going to show more effectiveness, which currently appears to be adult stem cell research right now. Jae, you seem to be ignoring my point that ASC is being given an artificial advantage. Please address my comment that ASC research cannot be rationally shown to be more effective because ESC research has not been provided an equal opportunity to compete.

Totenkopf
06-07-2007, 04:02 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070607/ap_on_go_co/stem_cells_23

No doubt this will make some breathe a little easier...

We're dealing with blastocysts, not people. Referring to it as a "person" is just as misleading as referring to the anti-abortion movement as "pro-life".

Or the pro-abortion movement as "pro-choice" :xp:

SilentScope001
06-07-2007, 05:53 PM
Yes.

It always will take a long, long time for it to actually work, and the scientists don't want their research to interfere with funding problems. It does sort of side-step the issue, but I guess in the long run, why not side-step the issue? Why bother bringing up very conterversial topics? :)

My best bet is that we need to create Frankenbunnies (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23369688-details/Scientists+to+create+'frankenbunny'+in+big+researc h+leap/article.do)
as a way to deal with the issue. These brand new bunnies are 99% Human, but also 1% Bunny (this is because that 1% Bunny is the cytoplasm of the cell), meaning that they are not able to have the potential to actually become humans, and do not have the ability to rationalize or think. It's okay to kill bunnies for meat, after all, few Pro-Lifer are going to start protesting butcher shops because of their disrepsect for life. Why not butcher an "1% Bunny" for research purposes?

Darth InSidious
06-07-2007, 06:17 PM
It seems there's good news all round:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/21/AR2005082101180.html


So much for the necessity.

SilentScope001
06-07-2007, 08:29 PM
DI, that's the exact same "good news" Totenkopf posted. :)

Jae Onasi
06-07-2007, 11:28 PM
It bears repeating that researchers have found a way to create ESCs without killing embryos. :xp:

Achilles--I didn't say 'a lot of embryos are adopted out'. Many, if not most, are not adopted out. I just said it's available. A person is a person as soon as they have independent DNA in a living, independent cell. Saying a child isn't living because it needs to be sustained in a uterus for awhile is like saying someone on a ventilator isn't alive because they need machines to breath for them. You can't have it both ways.

The reason I haven't addressed the 'where would ESC research be without the restrictions' is because it's sheer speculation. We don't know where it would be at. We could divert all money from ASC in favor of ESC and still have absolutely no effective treatments derived from ESC, or we could have a lot. So that question is not very relevant--it's a crap shoot and that's it.

Where would adult stem cell research be at if we had diverted those research dollars to ESC research? That I do know--we would not be nearly as far ahead as we are now in effective medical treatments. With all the embryonic stem cell lines we do have in the US and all the research going on in the rest of the world, if it was going to have some kind of beneficial outcome, we should have seen _something_ by now.

Adult stem cells are easy to harvest--it's done routinely in bone marrow transplants all the time. Other types of adult stem cells are likewise relatively easy to obtain. While 1 adult stem cell can't differentiate into every single kind of cell, the combination of different adult stem cells will differentiate into all the different cell types.

The point is moot anyway if they can derive ESC without killing an embryo. I don't have an objection to ESC research itself, I have an objection to killing embryos to get those stem cells.

Totenkopf
06-08-2007, 01:01 AM
DI, that's the exact same "good news" Totenkopf posted. :)

Not exactly. The first article was about the politics of the funding issue and the second about a new possible breakthrough at the scientific level that could render the political battles moot by obviating the "need" to destroy embryos to continue research on potential cures.

Emperor Devon
06-08-2007, 01:39 AM
A person is a person as soon as they have independent DNA in a living, independent cell.

Pish posh. They have literally no intelligence, don't have a heart rate, are incapable of feeling pain, and are for all intents and purposes about as human as a clump of dirt only a few days after conception.

Before you bring up how its "soul" makes it human - we're dealing with science, not religion. If something cannot be seen, felt, touched, heart, or sensed in any other way, I do not believe it should have any place in a field of study that revolves completely around the physical. Science is a field independent of Christianity. I think it seems utterly ridiculous to attempt to force Christian values upon it when the people participating it aren't even all Christians. Strikes me as violating the separation of church and state (and the Constitution) when laws are passed solely for religious reasons.

Saying a child isn't living because it needs to be sustained in a uterus for awhile is like saying someone on a ventilator isn't alive because they need machines to breath for them.

Biased way to put it. See my above statement on the lack of any human characteristics...

Jae Onasi
06-08-2007, 02:13 AM
Pish posh. They have literally no intelligence, don't have a heart rate, are incapable of feeling pain, and are for all intents and purposes about as human as a clump of dirt only a few days after conception.

Before you bring up how its "soul" makes it human - we're dealing with science, not religion. If something cannot be seen, felt, touched, heart, or sensed in any other way, I do not believe it should have any place in a field of study that revolves completely around the physical. Science is a field independent of Christianity. I think it seems utterly ridiculous to attempt to force Christian values upon it when the people participating it aren't even all Christians. Strikes me as violating the separation of church and state (and the Constitution) when laws are passed solely for religious reasons.
Since when is respect for life limited to the religious? I would think atheists would be even more respectful of life or its potential and not want to rob someone of their chance to experience it.



Biased way to put it. See my above statement on the lack of any human characteristics...
Guy in a coma on a respirator--doesn't feel, doesn't communicate, doesn't have any functioning intelligence--has about as much a heartbeat as a 10 week old embryo--how is that different?

Emperor Devon
06-08-2007, 03:02 AM
Since when is respect for life limited to the religious? I would think atheists would be even more respectful of life or its potential and not want to rob someone of their chance to experience it.

With that logic it's murder to use condoms when having sex, or even not yelling "Want to give someone the gift of life and have a good time?" to strangers. A person can't miss what they won't ever experience (life).

No, I think it's quite clear in the mindset of most atheists that it isn't murder to use totally non-sentient and non-living clumps of cells to save lives. Since most of us don't consider embryos humans (or even animals) it's not even murder.

However, there is no doubt as to the fact that the main reasons Christians and other religious folk consider it "murder" is because of this mysterious, immeasurable and undetectable "soul." It's only because of the whole "babies get souls the minute mommy and daddy have sex" idea that they don't consider abstaining from sex a form of murder.

I highly doubt you'll deny that physically and mentally a 3-day old egg has nothing in common with humans. If you go along with the whole "it's a potential life" idea, that can be applied to the "birth control prevents potential lives" idea (which you disagree with) and would contradict your other opinions. The only logical reason you can feel the embryo is a human is because of its "soul," clearly a religious reason that has no place amongst an nonreligious field with nonreligious practitioners. My previous post on separation of church and state and why religion-based laws are bad...

Guy in a coma on a respirator--doesn't feel, doesn't communicate, doesn't have any functioning intelligence--has about as much a heartbeat as a 10 week old embryo--how is that different?

Other than the fact that he has loved ones who don't want to see him die, not much. Clearly that isn't the case with women giving away embryos by their own free will.

GarfieldJL
06-08-2007, 09:54 AM
To be completely blunt, isn't there brain waves in an embryo before the tenth week? Seems to me one could argue the embryo is alive once there is brain waves.
Because signs of motor functions occur earlier than week 10, while measurable brainwaves are sometime later, one has to bear in mind that one is trying to measure brainwave activity through the mother's womb.

Another argument against embryo stem cell research is that it has been shown that umbilical cords from a newborn also have stem cells that can be used instead of embryonic stem cells. That means there are other ways to get stem cells without having to go out and kill embryos. So I am completely against harvesting stem cells from embryos and aborted fetuses (in many cases done after it can be done legally barring danger to mother has been discovered now occur still by abortion clinics) we're looking at the possibility of people getting pregnent and get paid to have abortions so people can harvest stem cells. So in all honesty I'm going to go for an actual complete ban of harvesting embryonic stem cells, there are other ways to get stem cells in large amounts without destroying life.

Before anyone accuses me of not caring about people with debilitating conditions that stem cells could be possibily used to cure, I had a grandfather with Parkinsons whom passed away a few years ago. While I would have loved to see him cured, he wouldn't have wanted unborn infants to die which is arguably what an embryo is, while they can't survive on their own, a newborn can't either without someone taking care of it are we going to say next that babies aren't people? One could then argue this about toddlers, and then children under 10.

So I'm going to support President Bush's decision to veto this latest House bill, because quite frankly there are other ways to get stem cells like a newborn's umbilical cord that has to be cut off after birth anyways.

Jae Onasi
06-08-2007, 10:24 AM
With that logic it's murder to use condoms when having sex, or even not yelling "Want to give someone the gift of life and have a good time?" to strangers. A person can't miss what they won't ever experience (life).
Using birth control controls my own cells (eggs) or Jimbo's (sperm). They haven't yet combined to become 'someone else different from us.' Therefore, it's not murder.

No, I think it's quite clear in the mindset of most atheists that it isn't murder to use totally non-sentient and non-living clumps of cells to save lives. Since most of us don't consider embryos humans (or even animals) it's not even murder.Actually, the cells _are_ alive. If they were non-living, they wouldn't split, change, and develop into people.

However, there is no doubt as to the fact that the main reasons Christians and other religious folk consider it "murder" is because of this mysterious, immeasurable and undetectable "soul." It's only because of the whole "babies get souls the minute mommy and daddy have sex" idea that they don't consider abstaining from sex a form of murder.
That may be for others, but it's not exclusively that issue for me. I don't like the slippery slope that develops of using someone else's life, or potential life, for my gain. I'm not comfortable with those ethics. Where do you draw the line at stopping experimentation? I mean, Barbara Boxer says it's not a baby until you take it home. Someone like that would consider experimentation even after the baby's born acceptable, because they aren't a person yet. Since the embryo is a separate entity from conception, it's a definitive starting point. I'm not comfortable with the start of life being determined wherever the 'general consensus' determines it should be.

I highly doubt you'll deny that physically and mentally a 3-day old egg has nothing in common with humans.
Yeah, I will say the embryo has something in common with humans--he or she has his/her own DNA and functioning cell processes.

If you go along with the whole "it's a potential life" idea, that can be applied to the "birth control prevents potential lives" idea (which you disagree with) and would contradict your other opinions.
See discussion above--what I do with my own eggs and what a guy does with his own sperm is one thing--that's our own genetic material and our own cells. They've not combined into a separate person.

The only logical reason you can feel the embryo is a human is because of its "soul," clearly a religious reason that has no place amongst an nonreligious field with nonreligious practitioners. My previous post on separation of church and state and why religion-based laws are bad...
The 'separation of church and state' is very specific, and says that the state will not endorse a specific religion. Jefferson never intended for his letter to be used as it is today, which is to try to stomp religion out of public life because radical atheists 'don't like it'. My definition of life is pretty basic and doesn't have anything to do with religion. It's just not as 'convenient' for some whose ethics on this issue are far looser than mine.


Other than the fact that he has loved ones who don't want to see him die, not much. Clearly that isn't the case with women giving away embryos by their own free will.
So what if he's a hermit with no family and friends? Does that devalue his life more?

True_Avery
06-09-2007, 08:46 AM
Now, I will say upfront that I am not of a very valuable opinion at all for a few reasons.
1# I care little about human life but those I choose to care about.
2# I have never had children and do not plan to.
3# I believe women should have abortion rights and women should have control over their own body legally, including the baby inside them.

Now, onto stem cells.

I don't have a full understanding, but from what I gather it is using the cells in embryos to further scientific research. The main debate is wether to use them for science, or let them live as humans.

I find this debate odd for a few reasons. The thousands, if not millions of embryos that are being kept from being used for stem cells are just sitting, frozen in labs around the world. If we choose to not use them, they get destroyed. If we use them, they go to a purpose. The pro-life debate on this is flawed for that reason.The embyos will be destroyed either way. You cannot put all of those embryos into women, it is just not possible. Or rather, it is possible but you can't get that many volunteers. You make it illigal or just stop it, they die anyway. Please, put their "lives" to use instead of destroying them for no reason.

Some believe it will lead to mass abortions or something stupid. I personally believe that the law has no right to a womans body and a baby is apart of her body until the baby is out or at least in advanced development. She wants to get an abortion? Fine by me, its not my baby or body and if you feel you cannot handle something as VASTLY, and I mean VASTLY, complicated and hard as a baby then go ahead. I have seen enough people raised by idiot parents.

As for my view, I consider an embryo in the same category as a -severely- retarded or person in a vegitative stage. All three have no concept of reality, have no way of communication, and have limited to no brain power. You can argue with me that an egg is a human once fertilized, but I care for an embyo in the beginning stages as much as I care about the egg that is destroyed during my period.

You care about babies and embryos so much? I really hope you don't eat chicken eggs or the eggs off of any other birth. I have not had termites or ants killed and their eggs destroyed. Problem with this? People consider humans to be above or not even animals. Laughable statement. Humans are animals, we just don't like other animals. If you care so much about a baby, then STOP eating, killing, or adopting the babies of other animals. Period.

Should all humans, embryo or not, live a full life? From a humane perspective, yes. All people deserve the right to live, regardless of circumstance. I know a few people who have said that their parents considered abortions who are great friends to this day. Using people as puppets for science seems cruel, but then again we do use animals as puppets. Fancy that.

From a natural perspective, which is the one I mainly follow, nope. The world is overcrouded with humans anyway. We spread like a virus everywhere and are slowly destroying this world, a few less of us being born would be a good thing. A problem is we consider ourselves to be above other animals, humanity's and many Religion's greatest fault. We are animals by all definition, the only differences between us is the fact we know we are going to die and we have sex for pleasure. Having sex for pleasure I think makes us more animal like, not less.

How does this tie in? We use baby animals and animals all the time for scientific gain, fun, pleasure, pets, etc. A baby is just another animals from a natural perspective. A carnivor is not going to look at a baby alone and say "nope it's a human baby. Better not touch it." No, it eats the baby just as many animals eat their young.

Humans care vastly VASTLY about babies. It's a little funny how much we care. The incredible irony of this is that once the baby is born and out of the mother, people other than the family don't give a damn about it anymore and move onto raving about the next baby.

It's just an embryo. I probably sound really cruel saying that, but it's just that. It is an egg that has been fetilized, on its way to becoming a human but not quite there yet. It has no brain, and thus no "soul" in a scientific perspective to a degree in my opinion. I feel no need to consider an embryo as anything special until it at least devops into something resembling a human, and even then I only care about humans I choose to care a about. I am far too jaded about the world to see people as anything less than the ants I see walking around everyday.

I feel that Jae is going to use the "little bit pregnant" thing on me. I got nothing much to say to that but that she is right. So, it is a life. I still don't really care about it, and I wont pretend like I will. The woman has as much control over that baby as she has over her own body, and I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to be refered to as an incubator if I ever get pregnant. If she wants to give it up to science, go ahead. Chances are you and I will have never met the person anyway if they had grown up and they would simply be another person using up space... as we all are. Terrible mind I have, don't I? Never did understand the unconditional love that people like to have for all other people, especially when they think the world can be defined in "good" and "bad".

Maybe if I consider having a child my view will change, maybe not. But for now, regardless of what I think, all of those embryos are going to die regardless, making this entire arguement revolving around the fact if we should kill them outright or use them for science and possbly save millions of lives in the process.

Oh, and don't feel bad for using humans for personal gain. We have most of our medical information due to the holocaust and World War II anyway. Proving that all actions have an equally "good" and "bad" reaction.

Anyway, thats my 2 cents. I wrote this at 4 in the morning, so feel free to tell me what I said wrong or overstepped in.

Emperor Devon
06-09-2007, 04:21 PM
Using birth control controls my own cells (eggs) or Jimbo's (sperm). They haven't yet combined to become 'someone else different from us.' Therefore, it's not murder.

How? With the cells feel any pain when they die? With they feel emotionally unsettled? No. It's just as much a form of murder as swatting a fly, if not less of them. At least the fly can miss existence since it's experienced it.

Actually, the cells _are_ alive.

When they are incapable of thought or emotion I would hesitate to label them alive in the same manner we are.

That may be for others, but it's not exclusively that issue for me. {baby murder} I'm not comfortable with the start of life being determined wherever the 'general consensus' determines it should be.

Irrelevant to this topic. We're talking about embryos the donors likely had no intention of turning into children.

Yeah, I will say the embryo has something in common with humans--he or she has his/her own DNA and functioning cell processes.

So do houseflies and vermin. :) It's their sentient mind that makes humans humans, not the fact they're composed of organic material.

See discussion above--what I do with my own eggs and what a guy does with his own sperm is one thing--that's our own genetic material and our own cells. They've not combined into a separate person.

Arguably it's still as much a form of murder as using condoms or taking a morning afterpill. You've caused the fetus just as much emotional land physical pain, and you've gotten rid of a potential life.

The 'separation of church and state' is very specific, and says that the state will not endorse a specific religion.

That's definitely hard to do when nearly all members of the state are followers of that religion and a good number of them fundamentalists. Quite easy to pass a religious law for a non-religious matter when that happens.

Jefferson never intended for his letter to be used as it is today, which is to try to stomp religion out of public life because radical atheists 'don't like it'.

What do you mean by 'stomping it out of public life'? If it's things like having monuments to Christ erected on public public property, I would agree with the atheists.

So what if he's a hermit with no family and friends? Does that devalue his life more?

Unapplicable situation. How would a friendless and family-less hermit go into a coma and get put on life support?

Pavlos
06-09-2007, 04:54 PM
How? With the cells feel any pain when they die? With they feel emotionally unsettled? No. It's just as much a form of murder as swatting a fly, if not less of them. At least the fly can miss existence since it's experienced it.

Well, when one considers the fact that the fly as no ability to realise that it is alive - its sensory perceptions are for living, surviving, and reproducing... just as our own ones are (but that's beside the point) - it has no ability to miss being alive :).

When they are incapable of thought or emotion I would hesitate to label them alive in the same manner we are.

Your definition of life is obviously a very... unscientific one, ED. The cells respire, they replicate, they do all the wonderful things that living things do.

If I may take the risk of entering this discussion?

I understand where you come from on this matter, Jae, but I also disagree with a lot of what you are saying :) - perhaps having children of my own, one day, will change my perspective; I don't know. I think that stem cell research is very, very important to enhancing our understanding of genetic disorders and how to treat them successfully - and as far as I have gathered, you agree with this assessment.

However, I do have to ask the question: what is the difference between an undifferentiated, totipotent zygote and an undifferentiated, totipotent umbilical cord cell is? Surely, because both the cell types are non-specialised, they both have the potential to be a human being - both given the right conditions? And the business of turning normal body cells into stem cells: surely that is creating the potential for a new, human life then destroying it?

My understanding of this area, however, is limited so feel free to strip away the illusion of knowledge and throw a book/source/site at me :).

SilentScope001
06-09-2007, 04:57 PM
Unapplicable situation. How would a friendless and family-less hermit go into a coma and get put on life support?

I seen a video in my Bioethics class where that actually happened. A friendless and family-less female person who spoke Spanish had a medical problem and was given to a Hospice where she was treated and given a feeding tube. So they went looking for the persons who are firends or family of that hermit.

There was a boyfriend of that hermit, and the boyfriend wants to keep that person alive, with a feeding tube. However, the doctors did not want that. They let the feeding tube stay in the person, and she never totally recovered. She still needs help, and the boyfriend left her. However, now, she is able to say that she wants to stay alive, therefore, the doctors cannot end treatment. They later transfered her to some other place, made it someone else's problem.

And the doctors really wanted her to die.

I'm serious. The doctors who showed this video in the Bioethics class mentioned it to me, mentioned it to the whole class. She said her life was miserable, and she would be better off dead, because then the Hospital would save money, and she would be out of her misery. And I agree with her. But the doctors also note that this is very cold, and I agree too.

There is something in Bioethics called "person's best interest". If you can't find anyone connected to anyone else, then the doctors decide what to do with this female hermit. They would have chosen to end treatment.

GarfieldJL
06-09-2007, 09:05 PM
The issue is there is absolutely no reason to destroy embryos to get stem cells when they can get stem cells from the umbilical cord of a mother whenever a baby is born...

Jae Onasi
06-10-2007, 03:53 AM
Pavlos--the stem cells are harvested from an embryo, but an embryonic stem cell is not the same as an embryo. The stem cells are one of a number of different types of cells that an embryo has, like nerve cells or skin cells, etc. So an umbilical stem cell may be the same as one from an embryo, but that's just a part of the embryo, not the whole embryo.

Nancy Allen``
06-10-2007, 08:31 AM
Excuse for wandering in here with comments that may have already been addressed, but stem cells, they can help a lot of people right? We should be doing everything we can to help people shouldn't we? But there's a lot of concern over what this does over the sancity of your soul if this goes ahead? Let's talk about that, could the moral issues over stem cell research be explained to me? Isn't it something about using or killing off body parts, stem cells to encourage strong growth or something?

SilentScope001
06-10-2007, 10:41 AM
Excuse for wandering in here with comments that may have already been addressed, but stem cells, they can help a lot of people right? We should be doing everything we can to help people shouldn't we? But there's a lot of concern over what this does over the sancity of your soul if this goes ahead? Let's talk about that, could the moral issues over stem cell research be explained to me? Isn't it something about using or killing off body parts, stem cells to encourage strong growth or something?

Currently, the only proven method to extracting embyronic stem cells is to destroy an embryo and harvest its stem cells. Once that happens, you can then test on their stem cells.

The destruction of the embryo is a bad, bad thing according to conservaties and pro-lifers, who claim that an embryo should have rights and not be killed for research purposes. They are calling for the resepct of the life of an embryo. This leads to scienitsts trying to define "life" in stating that one cell in one stage is not living but another cell in a second stage is not living, pro-choicers coming in with their arguments, and these recent experiments to generate stem cells without harming the embryo.

GarfieldJL
06-10-2007, 05:39 PM
Excuse for wandering in here with comments that may have already been addressed, but stem cells, they can help a lot of people right? We should be doing everything we can to help people shouldn't we? But there's a lot of concern over what this does over the sancity of your soul if this goes ahead? Let's talk about that, could the moral issues over stem cell research be explained to me? Isn't it something about using or killing off body parts, stem cells to encourage strong growth or something?


The thing that in my mind makes taking embryonic stem cells from embryos just an excuse to butcher human life is that they can get stem cells from the umbilical cord of a newly born infant. Something that has to be cut from the infant anyways and is then part of the afterbirth. See stem cells without killing embryos.

Windu Chi
06-11-2007, 07:09 AM
The thing that in my mind makes taking embryonic stem cells from embryos just an excuse to butcher human life is that they can get stem cells from the umbilical cord of a newly born infant. Something that has to be cut from the infant anyways and is then part of the afterbirth. See stem cells without killing embryos.
Well, it looks like this issue is going to be never resolved.
The religious arguing with the atheists. :lol:
I won't lose no sleep if stem cell treatment can save someone in my family, from the clutches of death.

This whole argument is ridiculous, but that is my bias opinion. :)

Jae Onasi
06-11-2007, 10:25 AM
This whole argument is ridiculous

If you think it's ridiculous, don't post in the thread. Otherwise, don't make these characterizations.

Darth InSidious
06-11-2007, 11:33 AM
Isn't this all a moot point now that the skin-cell conversion is possible? Provided that it is viable, it seems to me that it offers a more practical use, given that the minute chance of cell rejection.

?

Windu Chi
06-11-2007, 01:38 PM
If you think it's ridiculous, don't post in the thread. Otherwise, don't make these characterizations.
What you are going to get mad at everything I say, now?
The argument over stem cell debate is about protecting cells, it's ridiculous the religious fight to save cells why people continue to die from horriable diseases.
I lost my grandmother and aunt to the cluthes of death that, if these religious republicans didn't stall stem cell research over the years, they probably could've been saved.

If you don't like how I see it, then I really don't care, Jae.

GarfieldJL
06-11-2007, 06:45 PM
What you are going to get mad at everything I say, now?
The argument over stem cell debate is about protecting cells, it's ridiculous the religious fight to save cells why people continue to die from horriable diseases.
I lost my grandmother and aunt to the cluthes of death that, if these religious republicans didn't stall stem cell research over the years, they probably could've been saved.

If you don't like how I see it, then I really don't care, Jae.


Trying to remain calm, I'm going to state flat out that I take offense to what you just said. I lost my grandfather due to complications from parkinsons disease, you think I didn't want my grandfather cured. Well get this I did, however I know that my grandfather wouldn't have wanted to be cured at the cost of several human lives that hadn't even been born into the world yet! Republicans haven't stalled stem cell research on adult stem cells or stem cells from umbilical cords, Republicans (myself included) take issue with killing human life for the purpose of research.

What will we have next, clones being grown to be slaughtered for new organs? Slaughtering embryos for the sake of research is a devaluing of human life in my opinion.

Pavlos
06-11-2007, 07:44 PM
What will we have next, clones being grown to be slaughtered for new organs? Slaughtering embryos for the sake of research is a devaluing of human life in my opinion.

Pure science fiction. From a business point of view, why grow a clone when you can just grow an organ? Our ability to create new organs that are anything but a sort of callus tissue is limited... but so is our ability to clone a human successfully - you'd need a factory just to get one successful clone, what with the minuscule success rate in these things.

If there is a method as efficient, or effective as extracting stem cells from an embryo then that would be fine and dandy. But until such time as it is as cheap and effective as our current methods, there is no point and no justification in switching over - especially when we run the risk of slowing down vital research. Human life takes priority over potential human life. I know, I have muddled views... it's what I get for being a liberal, humanist student of science (who's also studying English Literature for some reason...).

And shall we leave political parties out of this? The debate is already charged enough without introducing the "I'm a Democrat/Republican/Liberal/Conservative/Standing at the back dressed stupidly and looking stupid party member, thus better than you" element...

Edit: In other words... I have no qualms about stem cell research, or the methods used.

Nancy Allen``
06-11-2007, 07:55 PM
I should have voted for Al Gore. Last time Bush didn't win the election, Kerry lost, and I'll be voting Democrats in 08. Okay, I know, not funny.

One of the things that is always muddy for me is that people treat organs or cells as being more important than human life. A fetus takes presidence over a person? In whose eyes? And not to knock people who are against stem cell research for this reason, or enviromentalists for that matter, but this is the same reasoning people such as Earth First and the Sierra group hold, that they are against something such as spiking trees. Not because it would break a chainsaw and potentially kill loggers, no, because that's all it'll do, for them that type of action isn't good enough.

GarfieldJL
06-11-2007, 08:09 PM
I'm against murdering innocent human life just to possibly save a human from some sort of ailment, especially when they can save the human in question without murdering the innocent. Seriously, they can get Stem Cells without even using embryos or fetuses. There are several ways now, it's just people seem to want to cheapen the worth of human life in my view.

Also Bush won in 2000 by the way, there is something called the Electoral College for a reason, so that people that live in states like Rhode Island have a say in whom the President is going to be, that makes it so a few big states doesn't determine whom our President is.

Windu Chi
06-11-2007, 11:58 PM
Trying to remain calm, I'm going to state flat out that I take offense to what you just said.
You take offense too what I said, I don't care.
That is how I feel about this issue, you must understand that, GarfieldJL. :)

I lost my grandfather due to complications from parkinsons disease, you think I didn't want my grandfather cured.
What do you mean, I think I didn't want your grandfather cured.
I don't know you, I don't know your life.

My family mean everything to me, you must understand this.
I don't give a damn about no cells, if they will save someone in my family from the cluthes of death.

Well get this I did, however I know that my grandfather wouldn't have wanted to be cured at the cost of several human lives that hadn't even been born into the world yet!
I'm a open-minded individual I do believe in souls, but I think when the brain is formed the soul maybe come into existence, wherever the hell it comes from.

Republicans haven't stalled stem cell research on adult stem cells or stem cells from umbilical cords, Republicans (myself included) take issue with killing human life for the purpose of research.
Yeah, but adult stem cells has not bared no fruit.
Also won't the religious be concern about the life of adult stem cells, since they believe cells are alive and worth saving.

This seems to be a bit ironic, you know.


What will we have next, clones being grown to be slaughtered for new organs?
Hmm, I figure that the religious would consider clones souless, since they believe their god can only insert souls in life.
Now, I will be against that if that happen; hell no on the slaughtering of clones for new organs.
But I will like to have a clone, it seems a clone will be the only one that understands me. :lol:
Slaughtering embryos for the sake of research is a devaluing of human life in my opinion.

Yeah, thats your opinion, but if God is so powerful should it have the ability, not to allow that to happen?
Heh, I thought it was all powerful and all knowing, should it know to take the souls out of embryos, that who's life become at risk?

Jae Onasi
06-12-2007, 12:32 AM
My family mean everything to me, you must understand this.
I don't give a damn about no cells, if they will save someone in my family from the cluthes of death.
Death is as much a part of life as any other life event. Stem cells are not going to be the cure-all and won't make death go away. You can be angry at death, or you can enjoy life. ;)


Yeah, but adult stem cells has not bared no fruit.
Also won't the religious be concern about the life of adult stem cells, since they believe cells are alive and worth saving.
This seems to be a bit ironic, you know.


Adult stem cells won't turn into another separate life.

Adult stem cell research has absolutely bore fruit. A _lot_ of fruit. See a previous post on that for all the results that have come out of _adult_ stem cell research--bone marrow transplants for cancer patients being one of the biggest uses right now out of the dozens of different treatments derived from adult stem cells.

Windu Chi
06-12-2007, 12:56 AM
Death is as much a part of life as any other life event. Stem cells are not going to be the cure-all and won't make death go away. You can be angry at death, or you can enjoy life. ;)
I'm sorry to disappoint you, Jae.
But I don't enjoy my present life now.
I'm not as happy go lucky about my life as you seem to be. :)

Also I don't think stem cells will cure all, but the possibility of new organ growth, bone growth etc.
Is a very tempting prospect.
Death is as much a part of life as any other life event. Stem cells are not going to be the cure-all and won't make death go away.
You must realize, I believe that absolutely nothing is impossible, so...death will meet it's end one day.
Looking from my perspective! ;)
We just aren't going to come to an agreement on this issue, Jae. :)


Adult stem cells won't turn into another separate life.
Well, I'm ignorant of that, but I will look it up and get a scientific understanding of it.
I study mathematics and physics, biology rarely.

Adult stem cell research has absolutely bore fruit. A _lot_ of fruit. See a previous post on that for all the results that have come out of _adult_ stem cell research--bone marrow transplants for cancer patients being one of the biggest uses right now out of the dozens of different treatments derived from adult stem cells.

If that is the case, then why do I continue to see the religious battling the atheists over this issue? :confused:

Jae Onasi
06-12-2007, 01:32 AM
I'm sorry to disappoint you, Jae.
But I don't enjoy my present life now.
I'm not as happy go lucky about my life as you seem to be. :)
Well, life isn't always great for me, either, Windu, but it is way too short to dwell on the crap and miss out noticing and enjoying the good parts. Check out Leo Buscaglia. Being angry at the world takes way too much work. :)


You must realize, I believe that absolutely nothing is impossible, so...death will meet it's end one day.
Looking from my perspective! ;)
We just aren't going to come to an agreement on this issue, Jae. :)
a. why do we have to come to an agreement?
b. death may meet its end one day, but the probability that death will be eliminated in our lifetimes is extraordinarily small, so I'm going to work with what I've got now.


If that is the case, then why do I continue to see the religious battling the atheists over this issue? :confused:

The fundamental issue isn't the stem cells themselves. The fundamental issue is the definition of life and when it starts or stops, and the right to life. A secondary issue is the possible effects on abortion rights.

Windu Chi
06-12-2007, 01:55 AM
Well, life isn't always great for me, either, Windu, but it is way too short to dwell on the crap and miss out noticing and enjoying the good parts.
Well, you should realize from my colorful posts over the past...3 years I have been here, that I don't see the good parts, yet. :)

Check out Leo Buscaglia. Being angry at the world takes way too much work. :)
Not the world, the universe, the world alone is far to insignificant, when you are as open-minded as I'm, Jae. :)

a. why do we have to come to an agreement?

Well, you know, I'm always prepare to battle aggressively over the issues.

So I'm going to work with what I've got now.
And I'm going to continue to decipher the secrets of existence, as I do on my spare time at home. ;)

The fundamental issue is the definition of life and when it starts or stops, and the right to life.
Well, I'm open-minded, so keep it coming. :)
A secondary issue is the possible effects on abortion rights.
Now this may come as a surprise, but I'm against that abortion stuff, concerning fetuses.

Jae Onasi
06-12-2007, 11:45 AM
Well, you should realize from my colorful posts over the past...3 years I have been here, that I don't see the good parts, yet. :)The good stuff is there. Sometimes it gets drowned out by the cacophony of nastiness, but if you listen and look for it specifically, you will find it. :)


Not the world, the universe, the world alone is far to insignificant, when you are as open-minded as I'm, Jae. :)OK, substitute 'universe' where I wrote 'world' then. :) It takes a whole lot of effort to be angry at an entire universe/multiverse/whatever's out there. That's more than I want to expend with the limited time I have on earth.


And I'm going to continue to decipher the secrets of existence, as I do on my spare time at home. ;)Well, since I got that part figured out already, I can move on to other things. :D


Now this may come as a surprise, but I'm against that abortion stuff, concerning fetuses.
What's the difference between killing an embryo for stem cells and killing an embryo or fetus in an abortion? They're just as dead either way.

Windu Chi
06-12-2007, 12:40 PM
The good stuff is there. Sometimes it gets drowned out by the cacophony of nastiness, but if you listen and look for it specifically, you will find it. :)
If I listen! :)
Heh, girl you sound like a Jedi: Kreia, before she was the betrayer. :lol:

OK, substitute 'universe' where I wrote 'world' then. :) It takes a whole lot of effort to be angry at an entire universe/multiverse/whatever's out there. That's more than I want to expend with the limited time I have on earth.
That substitution, already had occurred, before the statement existed. ;)

Well, since I got that part figured out already, I can move on to other things. :D
Yes, the code breaker I have become. :lol:


What's the difference between killing an embryo for stem cells and killing an embryo or fetus in an abortion? They're just as dead either way.

I don't know, I'm ignorant of biology, Jae. :)
But I will use philosophy and ponder on that question.

Pavlos
06-14-2007, 07:38 PM
I thought that this (http://comment.independent.co.uk/columnists_a_l/johann_hari/article2655896.ece) column from The Indy would be relevant to the discussion.



In the black gloop of down-beat news on global warming and Iraq, we sometimes forget that, in at least one respect, we are living through a shimmering moment of progress that should fill us with awe. The 21st century is - as the science writer Ronald Bailey puts it - an era of Liberation Biology. Every week now, scientists are steadily defusing the diseases that have cut human life short for millennia, and stolen from us the grandparents we never knew or the lovers who died too soon. They are setting us free.

Only yesterday, it was revealed by Yale University scientists that they have been able to make primates with severe Parkinson's disease walk and eat unaided, by injecting them with human neural stem cells. The implications for further research into humans are obvious - and dazzling.

Even those of us who are not privileged to be scientists can get the gist of what is happening. In 1998, researchers were first able to isolate embryonic stem cells - immature cells taken from human embyros.

These cells matter because they have the potential to develop into many different types of tissue. Scientists are now slowly discovering which molecular signals make them develop in different ways. If they can unlock this code - if they can make the cells grow into whatever we need - they will be able to transplant nerve cells into broken spines, making the lame walk. They will be able to inject insulin-producing cells into diabetics. They will be able to generate motor-neurone cells to treat Parkinson's. And on the list goes, each one freeing millions of humans from misery.

But - incredibly- there is a large slice of humanity that stubbornly refuses to see any of this as progress. Instead, they see it as a massacre.

The religious backlash against Liberation Biology has been viciously successful, holding back scientific progress in almost every part of the world. In Nigeria, mullahs have this year successfully prevented the World Health Organisation from finally eradicating polio from the human condition, by claiming the vaccine is part of an "anti-Islamic plot" and ordering their congregations to refuse it.

In the US, President Bush again pledged this week to veto legislation sent to him by Congress that would permit federal funds to be used for stem-cell research. And - lest we Europeans get smug - Britain is about to introduce new laws restricting the development of "hybrid embryos" that will slowly strangle life-saving research.

This is all part of an old story: the conflict between science and religion. For all the prattling by bishops that there is "no incompatibility here", in reality they are based on fundamentally contrasting ways of understanding the world. Science is based on strict empirical observation of the world, and deductions based on reason from it. Faith is based on divine revelation (that is, hallucination), or following the words of men who claim to have experienced it.

This battle has been playing out ever since modern science developed. The religious damned autopsies, organ donation, IVF, and even pasturised milk. Today, they are trying to halt the latest wave of Liberation Biology because they claim that blastocysts - hollow spheres of cells almost invisible to the naked eye - are "human beings," and therefore cannot be harvested for life-saving stem cells.

What fact or reason can they point to, to make this point? There are none. We can see through empirical observation that blastocysts have no brains, no thoughts, no capacity to feel pain. So the religious ignore empirical fact. Instead, they say that an invisible thing called "the soul" magically appears at the moment of conception. How do they know? They just do. Okay?

These beliefs have animated the hardcore evangelical base in the US to fight to retard and suppress research - and they have won. If they can delay research in America - which is the world's laboratory, due to its pro-science Enlightenment constitution - they can do it anywhere.

Scientists have been forced by this backlash into a massive diversion, where they have had to try to use adult stem cells instead. Until recently, it was thought that they are only capable of forming their tissue of origin, making them far more limited. But it seems there has been a breakthrough: researchers at UCLA claimed last month that they have been able to take normal adult tissue cells and reprogramme them to act as embryonic stem cells.

So is there, at last, a chance to dodge this debate with fanatics and make progress? Sadly, it's not that simple. Previous "breakthroughs" in this area have turned out to be dead-ends. And even if this isn't another one, adult stem cells are much harder to harvest at a reasonable cost. It takes human embryonic stem cells 25 days to grow from 10 million cells to 10 trillion cells. It takes adult stem cells two weeks longer, and it takes a hundred times more tissue culture surface to do it. So research based on adult stem cells will be slower, burn up more of the limited research funds - and therefore save fewer lives.

Here in Britain, we have a more subtle problem, with the debate focusing on the plea by scientists to allow them to create "hybrid embryos" - taking an animal egg and injecting it with human DNA. They need to do this because there are so few fully human stem cells to experiment with. At the moment, they are dependent on the cast-offs from IVF. By contrast, acquiring and adapting animal eggs offers an almost unlimited supply.

But a string of tabloid headlines immediately conjured images of "chimpmanzees" and "pig-girls" being made by latter-day Dr Moreaus. One headline shrieked: "Can centaurs and talking pigs be far behind?" This is a pig-ignorant question. At Newcastle University, for example, the team led by Lyle Armstrong wants to use cow eggs to develop treatments for diabetes and paralysis. These are not villains; they are heroes. We should be cheering them on, not throwing obstacles into their paths.

But the Government is doing just that. In December, they announced an outright ban on hybrid embryo research. Last month, they backed off - but only a little. The 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act - which has covered these issues until now - outlined a few general ethical rules of thumb, but left the science to an independent body of experts to assess. The new legislation junks this approach, instead offering mind-boggling detail outlining very narrow confines within which scientists can operate.

There is none of the openness to new development of the old system; in time, it will choke off innovations in the name of primitive, unfounded fears.

Progress, it seems, never comes without a punch-up. Even the most beautiful advances are fought against, by people speaking in the name of "prophets" who thought demons and witches caused illnesses. Every day they succeed in delaying this research is a day thousands of us die unnecessarily.

GarfieldJL
06-14-2007, 08:09 PM
There is a significant difference here Pavlos, we're talking about murdering innocent humans to potentially save some other group of humans from an ailment. This doesn't have to do with being against scientific advancements, this has to do with the ethical implications. I'm not against using Adult stem cells or stem cells from the umbilical cord for research that in my view is ethical. The idea of slaughtering embryos to harvest stem cells in my view is completely unethical. The ends do not necessarily justify the means.

ET Warrior
06-14-2007, 09:41 PM
Yeah, I will say the embryo has something in common with humans--he or she has his/her own DNA and functioning cell processes.And so does my appendix, but nobody cries murder when appendectomies occur. And yeah, my appendix wasn't going to eventually develop into a full-grown person, but it's every bit as aware as a newly fertilized blastocyst.

See discussion above--what I do with my own eggs and what a guy does with his own sperm is one thing--that's our own genetic material and our own cells. They've not combined into a separate person.Yet, if you are taking active measures to not get pregnant at every opportunity you are actively working to ensure that your egg (which is half-human) does not receive the opportunity to join with a sperm cell (also half-human) and grow up to experience all of the wonders that life has to offer. It just does not seem rational to believe that a cell goes from not-human to 100% human almost instantly.

GarfieldJL
06-14-2007, 09:55 PM
We're not talking a blastocyst, we're talking an embryo, unlike your appendix an embryo does have motor functions which indicates a functioning nervous system.

Jae Onasi
06-15-2007, 01:15 AM
And so does my appendix, but nobody cries murder when appendectomies occur. And yeah, my appendix wasn't going to eventually develop into a full-grown person, but it's every bit as aware as a newly fertilized blastocyst. So? Does a person lose his status as a human if he's in a coma? Besides, your appendix is a part of you and has your genetic structure. That's not the same thing at all as a baby, who is a separate person from his/her mother and father.

Yet, if you are taking active measures to not get pregnant at every opportunity you are actively working to ensure that your egg (which is half-human) does not receive the opportunity to join with a sperm cell (also half-human) and grow up to experience all of the wonders that life has to offer. It just does not seem rational to believe that a cell goes from not-human to 100% human almost instantly.

That's the beauty of a cutoff--at some specific point in time, yes, it goes from not-human to human. When s/he has his or her own unique DNA structure, s/he's no longer my egg or Jimbo's sperm (both of which only have half our DNA anyway (26 singles instead of 26 pairs of chromosomes)). That unborn person has his or her own unique genetic structure separate from either Jimbo or me.

How is that definitive cut-off any different than the irrational methods used to define life in a variety of different ways depending on what a given group feels like making it at that time? What should we use? First heartbeat? First movements? First time s/he sucks a thumb? Pees in the womb? Has distinguishable features? Those in favor of killing embryos justify it by saying 'oh, it's not alive until it takes it's first breath.' How very convenient that one doesn't have to worry about the ethics of experimenting on or killing fetuses when one defines life in whatever way they want to justify actions and prevent the guilt. Conception is the only point where we can definitively establish a cutoff between parents' sperm/eggs and a new person who is distinct from them.

ET Warrior
06-15-2007, 03:30 AM
We're not talking a blastocyst, we're talking an embryo, unlike your appendix an embryo does have motor functions which indicates a functioning nervous system.No, actually, this thread is about Stem Cells, not abortion. Stem Cells are harvested from blastocysts.

So? Does a person lose his status as a human if he's in a coma?/sigh
Honestly, there is OBVIOUSLY a difference between a collection of cells that can't be seen without a microscope and a fully developed human who has temporarily lost conscious brain functionality. My question to respond, however, would be if you would consider somebody a human if their brain were removed, destroyed, and their body sustained only by machine.

That unborn person has his or her own unique genetic structure separate from either Jimbo or me.Possibly not strictly on-topic, but a clone of you wouldn't have a unique genetic structure, does that invalidate it's right to development? Does a blastocyst in your body with your DNA put it in the realm of appendix?

How is that definitive cut-off any different than the irrational methods used to define life in a variety of different ways depending on what a given group feels like making it at that time?I don't really see why something like "Neurological activity" is so irrational. The thing that really makes us who we are is our ability to perceive.

Windu Chi
06-15-2007, 05:27 AM
So? Does a person lose his status as a human if he's in a coma?
Hell nah!
That's cruel Jae, for anybody who believes that.
And I'm not saying that you believe that. :)




experimenting on or killing fetuses
Experimenting on or killing fetuses, now that's unacceptable, to me.
Conception is the only point where we can definitively establish a cutoff between parents' sperm/eggs and a new person who is distinct from them.

This question is still touchy. :)

SilentScope001
06-15-2007, 10:35 AM
I don't really see why something like "Neurological activity" is so irrational. The thing that really makes us who we are is our ability to perceive.

Does that mean it's okay to kill an actual baby, not a fetus? Why? That baby cannot perceive anything at all, he's a newborn, and since preception is so important, we can terminate the baby without any moral qualms.

Oh, and it's okay to terminate people who are sleeping. Sleeping people cannot preceive anything. All they have are dreams, but really, that's not preceptions of the outside world, so it does not count. They are unaware. So murdering someone who is walking around, that's bad, but as soon as he goes to sleep, I can now terminate with ease! It's not killing if he does not preceive it, as you say so. I just need to do so steathly, so that the person does not recover his ablity to preceive, but as long as he does not preceive anything, he is not human.

If he's unconsicuss? If he's antheizied? Well, it's okay to terminate then.

Since law should conform to Science, we could decrease the "murder" rate by tensfold, because obivously, it's not murder if the person is unaware it's murder...:)
Snipped non-contributory comments. Keep it polite, please. --Jae
===
I did not want to intervene in this topic, but I honestly see that statement as being...well, quite strange. Basically, come up with a different reason why the abortion of a fetus is okay, but the murder of a child recently born is not. It seems artibrary that you choose the "ability to preceive" as the key factor to determing if a person is alive or not, and without any justifications, I just feel quite upset.

ET Warrior
06-15-2007, 11:07 AM
and without any justifications, I just feel quite upset. If there is neurological activity going on, then there is some manner of perception taking place. That's all I said.

Non-contributory comments removed. Please see your PM. --Jae

Windu Chi
06-16-2007, 02:20 AM
Oh, and it's okay to terminate people who are sleeping. Sleeping people cannot preceive anything.
No!

If he's unconsicuss? If he's antheizied? Well, it's okay to terminate then.
Hell, no!

because obivously, it's not murder if the person is unaware it's murder...:)
Now, that is ridiculous!

Totenkopf
06-16-2007, 02:45 AM
My question..., however, would....you ...consider somebody a human if their brain were removed, destroyed, and their body sustained only by machine.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...... :xp: However, if you're asking if somebody could be considered a "viable" human being, then at current levels of medical technology such a person would no longer be "viable", just a carcas (sort of like the embryo after you abort it, btw). Now, if we could grow a new central nervous system to put in place of the old one...then that person would be a "patient". ;)

Windu Chi
06-16-2007, 02:49 AM
My question to respond, however, would be if you would consider somebody a human if their brain were removed, destroyed, and their body sustained only by machine.

Now, this is ridiculous, of course they aren't human no more. :lol:

ET Warrior
06-16-2007, 03:24 AM
Except how is it a strawman? It doesn't appear to be something orchastrated to easily argue against.
An entire post relegated to comparing my post to an advocation for murder of sleeping people isn't designed to be easy to argue against?

I rather think it is, although my post which further explains my point seems to have been either deleted by moderation or the server. If the former an explanation via PM would be delightful. If the latter, damn yous Lucas Forums. Damn. Yous.

I thought you could see mod comments here, sorry. Check your PM. I edited the previous post. --Jae

SilentScope001
06-16-2007, 04:08 AM
An entire post relegated to comparing my post to an advocation for murder of sleeping people isn't designed to be easy to argue against?

What I was saying is that you said the term preceive.

Perceive (Per*ceive") (?), v. t.
[imp. & p. p. Perceived (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Perceiving.]
[OF. percevoir, perceveir, L. percipere, perceptum; per (see Per-) + capere to take, receive. See Capacious, and cf. Perception.]

1. To obtain knowledge of through the senses; to receive impressions from by means of the bodily organs; to take cognizance of the existence, character, or identity of, by means of the senses; to see, hear, or feel; as, to perceive a distant ship; to perceive a discord. Reid.
2. To take intellectual cognizance of; to apprehend by the mind; to be convinced of by direct intuition; to note; to remark; to discern; to see; to understand. "Jesus perceived their wickedness." Matt. xxii. 18. "You may, fair lady, Perceive I speak sincerely." Shak. "Till we ourselves see it with our own eyes, and perceive it by our own understandings, we are still in the dark." Locke.
3. To be affected of influented by. [R.] "The upper regions of the air perceive the collection of the matter of tempests before the air here below." Bacon.

To preceive, you must be aware of your surrondings. I was not attempting to use a strawman, instead, I was stating that that definition of "life" is very strange to use, since we can lose our ability to preceive many times. Your definition seems to be a bit inaccurate, and I want to draw that out...It is a more of attempting to rebut your arguments by reducing it to the absurd.

You claim that it is all about nerological activity then, and that as long as you have a working brain, you preceive...So, I'll assume what you mean is that if you have an active brain, then that means that the person is "alive", in which case, it would be okay to terminate a child until he is 8 weeks old, because according to wikipedia, by the time a child is 8 week old, he has a brain, and since brains create neurons, the child would be alive by that time.

8 weeks (condition at start of fetal stage). The risk of miscarriage decreases sharply at the beginning of the fetal stage.[5] At this point, all major structures, including hands, feet, head, brain, and other organs are present, but they continue to grow, develop, and become more functional.[6]

What I really want is just a consitent definition on what is living and what is not that the pro-lifers might agree with. I can provide one that would sastify you and me, but well, I don't like artibrary deadlines. I don't want doctors saying that, "I'm sorry, but you cannot abort this child. If you came in 24 hours ago, then we can abort the fetus, but since you diddly-daddled, the fetus is now offically alive, and therefore, I cannot terminate the fetus. Sorry."

Nancy Allen``
06-16-2007, 10:08 AM
I'm not sure if we can keep this particular topic going, but here goes. I think it's quite a valid point to raise, whether or not concience has to do with whether or not something should be allowed to be terminated. We do not kill the living simply because they are not able to, given their present state (sleep for example) sense what's happening around them. IMO laying the strawman claim in this case is a cheap way to debase the arguement rather than confront it and trying to counter what had been put forth. Just because it argues your points doesn't make it a fallacy.

As for what Silentscope had said, for a woman to go through her pregnancy and decide at the last minute to have an abortion or something is more than a little rich. I don't think that's even possible, but if the pregnancy is unwanted (rape for example) then I think there are legitimate grounds for termination. On the other hand an unplanned pregnancy caused through negligence a woman should have the baby, and give them up for adoption rather than abortion. That's not to say they can't but if it's their own fault...but that's getting off topic.

How about stem cells, ect from death row convicts or something, harvesting what's needed from criminals put to death if that's possible?

Windu Chi
06-16-2007, 10:17 AM
How about stem cells, ect from death row convicts or something, harvesting what's needed from criminals put to death if that's possible?
Death row convicts, you're funny, Nancy. :lol:

But I doubt alot people here will diagree with that, since they harvest organs from death row convicts, when death comes to collect it's due.

But I think that someone will only be able to collect adult stem cells. :)
Unless on the rare occasion when women get executed.

Darth InSidious
06-16-2007, 10:31 AM
Frankly, the existence of 'death row' is wrong. But that's another topic.

At the moment, there's a great deal of upheaval in this area. Personally, I don't think we will necessarily need embryonic stem cells, and I hope the skin-cell research proves true, not just because of my moral standpoint on embryoes, but also because the chance of those cells being rejected is virtually minimal, since they already contain the person's DNA.

ET Warrior
06-16-2007, 11:40 AM
To preceive, you must be aware of your surrondings.No, you mustn't. You just need brain functionality. Even fully anesthetized our brain is working and responding to external stimuli. This is why dreams sometimes incorporate things that are going on around us, and why we wake up if someone yells our name.

The ONLY time we lose our ability to perceive completely is a complete loss of brain functionality. Of course at this point you're just arguing semantics with me. The crux of the argument was that neurological activity is a definitive cutoff that wasn't illogical.

How about stem cells, ect from death row convicts or something, harvesting what's needed from criminals put to death if that's possible?I think the problem would be finding enough blastocysts that are on death row. There aren't really problems harvesting adult stem cells, the debate is over embryonic stem cells.

Jae Onasi
06-16-2007, 11:51 AM
If there is neurological activity going on, then there is some manner of perception taking place. That's all I said.


Actually, that's not accurate. We have afferent and efferent pathways, along with reflex pathways in the neurological system. You certainly can have neurological activity without any perception whatsoever. A number of reflex pathways go through the spinal cord and never go to the brain. You can (and do) have all sorts of signals going out from brain to the body without any perception whatsoever coming into the brain.

How would you measure perception in an embryo, anyway? It's hard enough measuring it in people outside the womb.


But I doubt alot people here will diagree with that, since they harvest organs from death row convicts,

They can't harvest convicts' organs (at least in the US)--the methods used to put them to death either electrocute or poison the organs, rendering them unusable.

On embryonic stem cells in general--if we can get more stem cells from umbilical cord blood and I just read recently from amniotic fluid, why are we even bothering killing embryos? It's a lot easier to get the embryonic stem cells from these other sources, and there are as many easily, if not more, stem cells there than in an embryo.

Windu Chi
06-16-2007, 11:59 AM
How would you measure perception in an embryo, anyway? It's hard enough measuring it in people outside the womb.
I think probably some nano circuit, when that tech become available. :)


They can't harvest convicts' organs (at least in the US)--the methods used to put them to death either electrocute or poison the organs, rendering them unusable.
They still electrocute people, I thought that was ban, because they said, it was inhumane. :)

Inhumane, which is ridiculous, how some people say that. :lol:
Well, some other people will call execution, inhumane.

Pavlos
06-16-2007, 12:23 PM
On embryonic stem cells in general--if we can get more stem cells from umbilical cord blood and I just read recently from amniotic fluid, why are we even bothering killing embryos? It's a lot easier to get the embryonic stem cells from these other sources, and there are as many easily, if not more, stem cells there than in an embryo.

I'd be quite interested in reading that, Jae; if it is on the web, of course :).

Jae Onasi
06-16-2007, 02:11 PM
Wake Forest article (http://www.wfirm.org/news5.htm) on amniotic fluid-derived stem cells.

Scientific American (http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=F4BB3ACB-E7F2-99DF-349FD71C1164C66D) had a nice article, as did National Geographic (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070108-stem-cells.html). There are lots of articles on it but these seem to have more of the science than the news media puts into theirs.

Here's a National Geographic article (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060823-stem-cells.html) on harvesting embryonic stem cells without killing the embryo.

For source purists: National Geographic and Scientific American are decent secondary sources that typically do a good job of synthesizing and quoting the primary sources and probably work better for the non-science folks here than the primary sources. Feel free to check out the original sources quoted by these.

@Windu Chi--introducing something that can alter electrical/chemical signals around a developing embryo/fetus could have some bad effects. There's so much development that's going on as a result of specific biochemical/electrical signals at very specific times that we just don't want to mess with in an embryo. If you alter just 1 cell at a very precise point in an embryo's development, you end up with major defects like missing limbs or organs.

Pavlos
06-16-2007, 02:35 PM
Wake Forest article (http://www.wfirm.org/news5.htm) on amniotic fluid-derived stem cells.

Scientific American (http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=F4BB3ACB-E7F2-99DF-349FD71C1164C66D) had a nice article, as did National Geographic (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070108-stem-cells.html). There are lots of articles on it but these seem to have more of the science than the news media puts into theirs.

Here's a National Geographic article (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060823-stem-cells.html) on harvesting embryonic stem cells without killing the embryo.

Thanks, Jae, they should prove to be an interesting read :).

GarfieldJL
06-16-2007, 04:08 PM
They still electrocute people, I thought that was ban, because they said, it was inhumane. :)

In the United States, capital punishment is only reserved for extreme crimes such as 1st degree murder...


Inhumane, which is ridiculous, how some people say that. :lol:
Well, some other people will call execution, inhumane.

That's a pretty bad example there is a significant difference between executing a murderer and killing an infant, fetus, or embryo. A murderer killed another human being, the infant, fetus, or embryo did not do such a thing.

Windu Chi
06-16-2007, 10:49 PM
That's a pretty bad example there is a significant difference between executing a murderer and killing an infant, fetus, or embryo. A murderer killed another human being, the infant, fetus, or embryo did not do such a thing.
What in the hell is you talking about, why are assuming I'm okaying bady killing, I said, I was against the damn abortion thing, concerning fetus. :)

@Windu Chi--introducing something that can alter electrical/chemical signals around a developing embryo/fetus could have some bad effects. There's so much development that's going on as a result of specific biochemical/electrical signals at very specific times that we just don't want to mess with in an embryo. If you alter just 1 cell at a very precise point in an embryo's development, you end up with major defects like missing limbs or organs.

Yes, there is always difficulties, Jae, but there is always away. ;)

I was talking about a nano circuit that the embryo will act like a resistive circuit element, that if there is some neurological signal spectrum, that will register with some help of a computer analog to digital signal converter, as neurological activity.
Of course the embryo's electrical resistance, will have be low enough to alow current to past in whatever the embryo's physical threshold tolerances to voltage levels and current levels, are.
Don't won't too high resistance, or it will heat the embryo up and cook it.
PH=I^2 Reb where PH is the heat dump into the embryo, I is the applied electrical current; and Reb is the embryo's resistance to electrical current.

The calculations I did with my Mathcad 11 software:
if: the applied electrical current I=0.20Amp and the the embryo's resistance to electrical current Reb=0.0005ohm or 50 milliohms
the heat dump into the embryo PH=2e-5W or 200 milliwatts.
That might be to high!
So, I will need to know also the specific heat, thermal conductivity and of course it's physical mechanical structure properties, like it's threshold tolerances to pressure and stress.

But I will ponder on how this can be done, Jae :)

GarfieldJL
06-17-2007, 01:14 AM
Okay, let me put it this way, at what point in development does one have a soul? Seriously, and infant cannot survive on its own without help from its mother or someone else. Does that mean the infant isn't a person, no it doesn't. One could argue that you're committing murder because embryos have a soul, it doesn't matter that they can't survive on their own yet, cause infants can't either.

Windu Chi
06-17-2007, 01:32 AM
Okay, let me put it this way, at what point in development does one have a soul? Seriously, and infant cannot survive on its own without help from its mother or someone else. Does that mean the infant isn't a person, no it doesn't. One could argue that you're committing murder because embryos have a soul, it doesn't matter that they can't survive on their own yet, cause infants can't either.
Well, I'm open-minded GarfieldJL, so I believe animals have souls. :)
But I'm not really sure how, to figure that out.
I think souls may be compose of pure energy of EM waves, that maybe linked consciously through some kind of hyperspace dimension or couple to the zero-point vacuum energy field, of our universe. :)

But that's me, "thinking outside the box". ;)

Jae Onasi
06-17-2007, 02:16 AM
I was talking about a nano circuit that the embryo will act like a resistive circuit element, that if there is some neurological signal spectrum, that will register with some help of a computer analog to digital signal converter, as neurological activity.
Of course the embryo's electrical resistance, will have be low enough to alow current to past in whatever the embryo's physical threshold tolerances to voltage levels and current levels, are.
Don't won't too high resistance, or it will heat the embryo up and cook it.
You'd also mess with the embryo's cell electrophysiology--the resting potential of a cell is around -60mV and can go to +40mV when it's firing/active. If you cause a cell to fire, it might send an inappropriate nerve or cardiac signal (for instance), or make a chemical at the wrong time (or too much or not enough at the right time), any of which would be detrimental to the baby. You don't want to mess with the electrical/biochemical actions in an embryo--if you make a mistake in just one cell in an embryo, it can end up causing major defects later, as I noted above.

I think souls may be compose of pure energy of EM waves
*Jae suddenly hears the song "What's on your mind (pure energy)" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijAYN9zVnwg) going through her head....*

tk102
06-17-2007, 02:27 AM
Okay, let me put it this way, at what point in development does one have a soul? Seriously, and infant cannot survive on its own without help from its mother or someone else. Does that mean the infant isn't a person, no it doesn't. One could argue that you're committing murder because embryos have a soul, it doesn't matter that they can't survive on their own yet, cause infants can't either.

I think ED mentioned something about that (http://www.lucasforums.com/showpost.php?p=2325139&postcount=43) on page 2.

Before you bring up how its "soul" makes it human - we're dealing with science, not religion...

Windu Chi
06-17-2007, 02:39 AM
You'd also mess with the embryo's cell electrophysiology--the resting potential of a cell is around -60mV and can go to +40mV when it's firing/active.
So, -60mV firing and +40mV active, well, I will play with those values, with my software. :)
That data will be the wave voltage high/low signal amplitude.
If you cause a cell to fire, it might send an inappropriate nerve or cardiac signal (for instance), or make a chemical at the wrong time (or too much or not enough at the right time), any of which would be detrimental to the baby.
Yes, that's why one must know how to decipher the signal specturm properly with a analog/digital frequency analyser and know what threshold voltage level when one will send an inappropriate nerve or cardiac signal.
You don't want to mess with the electrical/biochemical actions in an embryo--if you make a mistake in just one cell in an embryo, it can end up causing major defects later, as I noted above.
Of course, you don't want to make a mistake, Jae. :D
But someone will figure all that out, one day. ;)

*Jae suddenly hears the song "What's on your mind (pure energy)" going through her head....*
What's you talking about, Jae. :)

Jae Onasi
06-17-2007, 03:44 AM
So, -60mV firing and +40mV active, well, I will play with those values, with my software. :)
That data will be the wave voltage high/low signal amplitude.That's polarization/depolarization/repolarization.

Yes, that's why one must know how to decipher the signal specturm properly with a analog/digital frequency analyser and know what threshold voltage level when one will send an inappropriate nerve or cardiac signal. about -40 mV is the point where the cell is triggered to depolarize completely to the +40 point and then repolarize back to its resting state.


What's you talking about, Jae. :)A song from 1988. Click the link to see it. :)

Windu Chi
06-17-2007, 06:29 AM
That's polarization/depolarization/repolarization.
Ok! :)
about -40 mV is the point where the cell is triggered to depolarize completely to the +40 point and then repolarize back to its resting state.
40 millivolts depolarize/repolarize!
Then this value will be a threshold trigger level.
I assume the potential voltage tolerance can't be much higher( like in a range factor of 10 or so or 400mV) then this value depending on potassium (K)/sodium ion concentrations or to much potassium (K)/sodium ion concentrations will diffuse across, and cause imbalance of charge across the cell membrane or a inappropriate signal.

Or, the mass of the ion flow might put to much stress and pressure on the cell membrane, and destroy it's structure, but of course this is just a guess, so I will have to calculate that by using dimensional analysis and the other information from the many 100's pdf files on physics and biology on my computer; the internet etcetera, Jae. :)

Also I found some good information here~Membrane potential (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Membrane_potential) and here~ Length constant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Length_constant), if it is accurate of course, wikipedia.
And here~The Action Potential (http://www.du.edu/~kinnamon/3640/actionpotential/ap1.html).
I will study this data! ;)

GarfieldJL
06-17-2007, 03:15 PM
I think ED mentioned something about that (http://www.lucasforums.com/showpost.php?p=2325139&postcount=43) on page 2.


You missed my point, the point is at what point during development does one have a soul, and when they have a soul they're a person from that instant on. That's why abortion is such a sticky issue, balancing the rights of women against the rights of a person whom cannot take care of themselves yet. So the destruction of embryos to harvest stem cells could be argued as murdering people in the name of science.

It's very hard to measure brain wave activity through a mother's womb because you can't put the electrodes on the embryo/fetus directly. So my question is at what point are we past the point of a woman's right to choose, because once the embryo/fetus has a soul I'd say the right to live trumps the right to choose.

Achilles
06-27-2007, 08:34 PM
Ugh...so much catching up...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070607...o/stem_cells_23

No doubt this will make some breathe a little easier... Unfortunately, the link is no longer available. Do you happen to recall the topic?

Or the pro-abortion movement as "pro-choice" I agree, hence why you'll never see me use either term without parenthesis. FWIW though, "pro-choice" is less misleading than "pro-life". "Pro-choice" implies that the opposition opposes choice which is true. "Pro-life" implies that the opposition opposes life which is a blantant misrepresentation.

It seems there's good news all round:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy...5082101180.html


So much for the necessity. Maybe in the future, but this technique is still several years off from being a truely viable alternative. You can find a audio archive of an interview with the head researcher here (http://wamu.org/programs/dr/07/06/11.php#13218) where he says as much. Exciting breakthough? Certainly. But not an immediate alternative. In other words, so long as ESCR remains the gold standard, it should be the primary course for research.

...not to mention developmental research that cannot be done with ESC alternatives :D

It bears repeating that researchers have found a way to create ESCs without killing embryos. Sure. Doesn't that then create an ethical concern for the newly created embryonic stem cell? I mean we do have a cell that has the potential to become a human life? Doesn't it have a soul? Who's going to defend that soul's right to life?

Unless, of course, you want to tell me that this is somehow different. :)

Achilles--I didn't say 'a lot of embryos are adopted out'. Many, if not most, are not adopted out. I just said it's available. Then I'm afraid that I don't understand what your point is. Your argument does nothing to address my point that most frozen embryos die during the freezing process, the thawing process, remain frozen forever, or are left to "die" regardless. If you point was not to say that there is another viable alternative, then I'm not sure what it was and will need some clarification please. Thanks in advance.

A person is a person as soon as they have independent DNA in a living, independent cell. I acknowledge that this is the definition that you choose to accept, however you've yet to produce a compelling argument for why it should be generally accepted, let alone "correct" or "true". There are other available definitions that I (and others) consider to be just as viable and perhaps a little more logical.

Saying a child isn't living because it needs to be sustained in a uterus for awhile is like saying someone on a ventilator isn't alive because they need machines to breath for them. You can't have it both ways. I'm sorry, when did I make any statement at all regarding someone on a ventalator? I don't believe that I ever did, so your argument seems very much like a strawman.

FWIW, my official stance is that lack of heartbeat and brain activity = not alive. If someone is on a ventilator, with no brain wave activity, and cannot survive without said machines, then they aren't alive. Not sure how that's having it both ways.

The reason I haven't addressed the 'where would ESC research be without the restrictions' is because it's sheer speculation. We don't know where it would be at. We could divert all money from ASC in favor of ESC and still have absolutely no effective treatments derived from ESC, or we could have a lot. So that question is not very relevant--it's a crap shoot and that's it. Good, so this means you can stop making definitive statements about the ineffectiveness of ESC research, correct? I mean, you can't say it's worthless right after admitting that you don't really know, right? Thank you for reinforcing my point.

Where would adult stem cell research be at if we had diverted those research dollars to ESC research? That I do know--we would not be nearly as far ahead as we are now in effective medical treatments. With all the embryonic stem cell lines we do have in the US and all the research going on in the rest of the world, if it was going to have some kind of beneficial outcome, we should have seen _something_ by now. Ah, but by your own point, we could be much further ahead. To quote you (quoting me), "you can't have it both ways".

We have seen lots of "somethings", however your tendency has been to dismiss them because they tend to be promising lines of research rather than FDA approved cures.

Adult stem cells are easy to harvest--it's done routinely in bone marrow transplants all the time. Other types of adult stem cells are likewise relatively easy to obtain. While 1 adult stem cell can't differentiate into every single kind of cell, the combination of different adult stem cells will differentiate into all the different cell types. Source? ASC are currently very limited. And as I pointed out for Darth InSidious, neglecting ESCr in favor or ASCr does nothing to move developmental research forward. Another huge negative for the current course of action in the U.S.

The point is moot anyway if they can derive ESC without killing an embryo. Not true for the reasons provided above.

I don't have an objection to ESC research itself, I have an objection to killing embryos to get those stem cells. Sure, and are those objections based on rationale, ethical, and/or scientific reasons or are they based on your religious beliefs? If it's the former, please be so kind as to expand on what they are. If it's the latter, then we can just acknowledge that and move on if you would like.

*Skips over some back-and-forth between Jae and ED*

To be completely blunt, isn't there brain waves in an embryo before the tenth week? Seems to me one could argue the embryo is alive once there is brain waves. Because signs of motor functions occur earlier than week 10, while measurable brainwaves are sometime later, one has to bear in mind that one is trying to measure brainwave activity through the mother's womb. Quite possibly a valid point, but a little bit of apples and oranges when compared to the "every living thing has a soul at the moment of conception" argument posed by the religious right. If research shows that there is measurable brain and heart activity at conception, I would be willing to change my views on abortion because of where the evidence leads, not some arbitrary religious argument.

Another argument against embryo stem cell research is that it has been shown that umbilical cords from a newborn also have stem cells that can be used instead of embryonic stem cells. That means there are other ways to get stem cells without having to go out and kill embryos. So I am completely against harvesting stem cells from embryos and aborted fetuses (in many cases done after it can be done legally barring danger to mother has been discovered now occur still by abortion clinics) we're looking at the possibility of people getting pregnent and get paid to have abortions so people can harvest stem cells. So in all honesty I'm going to go for an actual complete ban of harvesting embryonic stem cells, there are other ways to get stem cells in large amounts without destroying life. Again, an interesting point. I'm not sure it what relevance it has in the context of what to do with unused human embryos in fertility clinics. Which raises the point: If Bush and the religious right are so interested in creating a culture of life, why aren't they moving to ban the practice of embryo destruction? It seems that the policy is that human embryos can be destroyed, however they cannot be destroyed for scientific research. It would really help me to understand the arguments if there weren't so many inconsistencies.

Before anyone accuses me of not caring about people with debilitating conditions that stem cells could be possibily used to cure, I had a grandfather with Parkinsons whom passed away a few years ago. My sincere condolences.

While I would have loved to see him cured, he wouldn't have wanted unborn infants to die which is arguably what an embryo is, while they can't survive on their own, a newborn can't either without someone taking care of it are we going to say next that babies aren't people? One could then argue this about toddlers, and then children under 10. Slipper-slope fallacy.

So I'm going to support President Bush's decision to veto this latest House bill, because quite frankly there are other ways to get stem cells like a newborn's umbilical cord that has to be cut off after birth anyways.I would support it too, if it made sense.

I don't have a full understanding...<snip> For someone that claims not to have a full understanding, you seem to have a pretty firm grasp on the main issues. Kudos.

Well, when one considers the fact that the fly as no ability to realise that it is alive - its sensory perceptions are for living, surviving, and reproducing... just as our own ones are (but that's beside the point) - it has no ability to miss being alive . And how much time do we spend arguing for houseflies' rights to life? :)

However, I do have to ask the question: what is the difference between an undifferentiated, totipotent zygote and an undifferentiated, totipotent umbilical cord cell is? To my understanding: none. However, Federal law prohibits funding of embryonic stem cell research regarless of the source. ESC from the umbilical cord are eligible for just as much federal funding as those taken from the embryos that would have been destroyed in the fertility clinics. Exactly zero dollars and zero cents. That's the first big problem.

The second big problem is the fact that no sound argument has been presented for why embryos taken from fertility clinics should not be used. There are more, but these two are showstoppers and should be sufficient for the sake of this conversation. I personally don't care where the ESCs come from, I simply think that we should be doing the research and take offence to the fact that said research is limited in the U.S. for no logical reason.

Surely, because both the cell types are non-specialised, they both have the potential to be a human being - both given the right conditions? And the business of turning normal body cells into stem cells: surely that is creating the potential for a new, human life then destroying it? Again you are correct. It seems to me that the religous conservative argument would be much more powerful if it were consistent. The fact that it's not leads me to think that most of the people adopting said arguments don't truly understand the issue.

My understanding of this area, however, is limited so feel free to strip away the illusion of knowledge and throw a book/source/site at me . Doing fine so far :)

Pavlos--the stem cells are harvested from an embryo, but an embryonic stem cell is not the same as an embryo. The stem cells are one of a number of different types of cells that an embryo has, like nerve cells or skin cells, etc. So an umbilical stem cell may be the same as one from an embryo, but that's just a part of the embryo, not the whole embryo. I'm unclear on many of the point here, however with that said, on the surface, you appear to be wrong. Embryonic stems cells are not techincally an embryo (they are a blastocyst), however they will eventually become an embryo much later in the development cycle. Stem cells eventually become nerve cells and skins cells, so to say that they are different is technically correct, but at the very least also somewhat misleading.

One of the important aspects of embryonic stem cell research that gets glossed over in the "theraputic benefit debate" is the fact that studying embryonic stem cells might help us to understand/prevent birth defects. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how tricking ASCs into acting like ESCs will help us in that regard. Even if we find a viable theraputic alternative, we still leave all of that scientific discovery untouched by ignoring this research.

Excuse for wandering in here with comments that may have already been addressed, but stem cells, they can help a lot of people right? We should be doing everything we can to help people shouldn't we? But there's a lot of concern over what this does over the sancity of your soul if this goes ahead? Let's talk about that, could the moral issues over stem cell research be explained to me? Isn't it something about using or killing off body parts, stem cells to encourage strong growth or something? Hi Nancy, the big problem here is that there is no evidence that the soul exists. Trying to argue the possible affects on the soul is a little bit like debating the tooth fairies favorite flavor of ice cream. The moral issue is that there's isn't one. The only opposing arguments (that I've seen) are religious in nature and have no firm grounding in morals/ethics. I'm sorry that I don't have an answer more definitive than that. Perhaps if you had a more specific concern I could try to address your question(s) better.

The thing that in my mind makes taking embryonic stem cells from embryos just an excuse to butcher human life <snip> An interesting perspective. Why do you think scientists would be interested in "butching human life" for the sake of doing so? Wouldn't that contradict their stated position that they want to help save human lives? If the true goal is to kill for the sake of killing, wouldn't there be easier ways to satisfy that desire (pets, abortion clinics, trigger-happy cop, etc)?

*skips over a bunch of stuff I've already addressed*

Adult stem cells won't turn into another separate life.Sorry, this statement is incorrect. Link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatic_cell_nuclear_transfer)

If any human cell can be used to generate a human being, then abortion is no more tragic than bathing or scratching an itch.

Adult stem cell research has absolutely bore fruit. A _lot_ of fruit. See a previous post on that for all the results that have come out of _adult_ stem cell research--bone marrow transplants for cancer patients being one of the biggest uses right now out of the dozens of different treatments derived from adult stem cells. It sure has. However if ASC is patently *so* much better than ESC then why isn't ESC allowed equitable access to research dollars? I've made this argument before Jae and I'm still awaiting your reply. If ASC is the real-deal and ESC has no potential, then research scientists would quickly figure this out on their own with artificial barriers being put up.

I think my point is conspicuously supported by the fact that so many researchers are trying to find ways to manufacture ESCs from ASCs and ESC's pluripotent nature is regarded as the gold standard. If ESCs were truly defunct as you seem to want for all of us to believe, then I don't understand why so much effort is being made in there arenas. Perhaps you could shed some light on this for me?

The rest of the thread seems to veer a little off-topic so I'll leave it there for now. Thanks to everyone for reading.

Totenkopf
06-27-2007, 09:17 PM
Ugh...so much catching up...

Unfortunately, the link is no longer available. Do you happen to recall the topic?

Not sure, but I think it had something to do with the political situation vis-a-vis congress's potential to override Bush re ESC research. Given the vagaries of politics, it might have proven unduly optomistic at the time the article was published.

I agree, hence why you'll never see me use either term without parenthesis. FWIW though, "pro-choice" is less misleading than "pro-life". "Pro-choice" implies that the opposition opposes choice which is true. "Pro-life" implies that the opposition opposes life which is a blantant misrepresentation.

Frankly, pro-choice was the euphemism to put a "nicer/friendlier" face on the pro-abortion movement, thus a disingenuous marketing ploy to soften it's image. The reason I don't use the term pro-life is that I never got into the "whole cloth" concept. Technically, if you're pro-life, it might be expected that you'd oppose capital punishment as well. Hence I think in terms of anti-abortion, pro-capital punishment.

GarfieldJL
06-27-2007, 09:53 PM
Death row convicts, you're funny, Nancy. :lol:

But I doubt alot people here will diagree with that, since they harvest organs from death row convicts, when death comes to collect it's due.



Uh last time I checked that happens in China not the United States.

Jae Onasi
06-28-2007, 03:11 PM
Exciting breakthough? Certainly. But not an immediate alternative. In other words, so long as ESCR remains the gold standard, it should be the primary course for research.
Please explain to me how a course of research that has had no medical advances to date, despite world-wide research, can possibly be a gold-standard for anything.


It bears repeating that researchers have found a way to create ESCs without killing embryos. Sure. Doesn't that then create an ethical concern for the newly created embryonic stem cell? I mean we do have a cell that has the potential to become a human life? Doesn't it have a soul? Who's going to defend that soul's right to life?

Unless, of course, you want to tell me that this is somehow different. :)

The stem cell has the potential to become a particular tissue, not the entire being. Sure, it can become any of the tissues, but by itself it cannot develop into anything other than one tissue type.

It's a respect for life issue, not (merely) a religious one.

Achilles--I didn't say 'a lot of embryos are adopted out'. Many, if not most, are not adopted out. I just said it's available. Then I'm afraid that I don't understand what your point is. Your argument does nothing to address my point that most frozen embryos die during the freezing process, the thawing process, remain frozen forever, or are left to "die" regardless. If you point was not to say that there is another viable alternative, then I'm not sure what it was and will need some clarification please. Thanks in advance.There are options available besides experimenting with someone's life.

A person is a person as soon as they have independent DNA in a living, independent cell. I acknowledge that this is the definition that you choose to accept, however you've yet to produce a compelling argument for why it should be generally accepted, let alone "correct" or "true". There are other available definitions that I (and others) consider to be just as viable and perhaps a little more logical.
Your 'definitions' are no more logical than any others, and in fact are less logical because they are variable. There's no way to test for brain waves, for instance, without possibly harming the child or causing risk of miscarriage. Heartbeat? It can't always be heard right away. Conception is the one definitive, indisputable point where a separate life is formed. There is no variability, there is no hedging, there is no 'adjusting the definition because we want to do experimentation on a week-16 fetus and we're currently limited to week 14 so now we'll justify it with this new thing'.

Saying a child isn't living because it needs to be sustained in a uterus for awhile is like saying someone on a ventilator isn't alive because they need machines to breath for them. You can't have it both ways. I'm sorry, when did I make any statement at all regarding someone on a ventalator? I don't believe that I ever did, so your argument seems very much like a strawman.

FWIW, my official stance is that lack of heartbeat and brain activity = not alive. If someone is on a ventilator, with no brain wave activity, and cannot survive without said machines, then they aren't alive. Not sure how that's having it both ways.A baby in-utero can't survive outside the uterus, just like someone in surgery can't survive without a ventilator breathing for them during/after the procedure. Both are alive, both need life support.

The reason I haven't addressed the 'where would ESC research be without the restrictions' is because it's sheer speculation. We don't know where it would be at. We could divert all money from ASC in favor of ESC and still have absolutely no effective treatments derived from ESC, or we could have a lot. So that question is not very relevant--it's a crap shoot and that's it. Good, so this means you can stop making definitive statements about the ineffectiveness of ESC research, correct? I mean, you can't say it's worthless right after admitting that you don't really know, right? Thank you for reinforcing my point.
I NEVER said ESC was ineffective. I said ASC has accomplished far more. That's very different.

Where would adult stem cell research be at if we had diverted those research dollars to ESC research? That I do know--we would not be nearly as far ahead as we are now in effective medical treatments. With all the embryonic stem cell lines we do have in the US and all the research going on in the rest of the world, if it was going to have some kind of beneficial outcome, we should have seen _something_ by now. Ah, but by your own point, we could be much further ahead. To quote you (quoting me), "you can't have it both ways". You want to bet on something that has shown no medical benefits, or something that has?

We have seen lots of "somethings", however your tendency has been to dismiss them because they tend to be promising lines of research rather than FDA approved cures.
What's benefiting people more now?
If you have a manufacturing process that is currently creating a product and shows promise for accomplishing more, and you have another process in R&D that shows it could do the same thing but has some major problems associated with it, which process should you put your money into? My point is that if you have limited research dollars, you should put the money where it's going to have the most impact, and that's ASC. If we had unlimited research dollars, it becomes a different ballgame, but right now there's only so much NIH grant money to go around.

Adult stem cells are easy to harvest--it's done routinely in bone marrow transplants all the time. Other types of adult stem cells are likewise relatively easy to obtain. While 1 adult stem cell can't differentiate into every single kind of cell, the combination of different adult stem cells will differentiate into all the different cell types. Source? ASC are currently very limited. And as I pointed out for Darth InSidious, neglecting ESCr in favor or ASCr does nothing to move developmental research forward. Another huge negative for the current course of action in the U.S.
Why aren't we seeing those advances in world research? Because there aren't any currently, and the problems of tumorgenicity in ESC is a tremendous problem that ASC does not have. If you have umbilical cord cells, you certainly have the ability to consider developmental research.


The point is moot anyway if they can derive ESC without killing an embryo. Not true for the reasons provided above.
You're ignoring a variety of articles saying otherwise.


I don't have an objection to ESC research itself, I have an objection to killing embryos to get those stem cells. Sure, and are those objections based on rationale, ethical, and/or scientific reasons or are they based on your religious beliefs? If it's the former, please be so kind as to expand on what they are. If it's the latter, then we can just acknowledge that and move on if you would like.
It's unethical to experiment on someone and kill them without their consent.



Which raises the point: If Bush and the religious right are so interested in creating a culture of life, why aren't they moving to ban the practice of embryo destruction? It seems that the policy is that human embryos can be destroyed, however they cannot be destroyed for scientific research. It would really help me to understand the arguments if there weren't so many inconsistencies.
I wasn't aware they were. And they indeed should be consistent.


While I would have loved to see him cured, he wouldn't have wanted unborn infants to die which is arguably what an embryo is, while they can't survive on their own, a newborn can't either without someone taking care of it are we going to say next that babies aren't people? One could then argue this about toddlers, and then children under 10. Slipper-slope fallacy.
Why is your definition of life any more valid than Barbara Boxer's, who allegedly once said 'it's not a life until the baby's taken home from the hospital'?

Well, when one considers the fact that the fly as no ability to realise that it is alive - its sensory perceptions are for living, surviving, and reproducing... just as our own ones are (but that's beside the point) - it has no ability to miss being alive . And how much time do we spend arguing for houseflies' rights to life? :)
About as long as it takes for me to smack them with the fly-swatter and render the argument moot.

However, I do have to ask the question: what is the difference between an undifferentiated, totipotent zygote and an undifferentiated, totipotent umbilical cord cell is? To my understanding: none. However, Federal law prohibits funding of embryonic stem cell research regarless of the source. ESC from the umbilical cord are eligible for just as much federal funding as those taken from the embryos that would have been destroyed in the fertility clinics. Exactly zero dollars and zero cents. That's the first big problem.

I do have an issue with that, because a stem cell, while it has the embryo's DNA, is not the embryo. It's a cell that's already differentiated within the embryo, and the stem cell will develop into a specific tissue at some point, but it can only become 1 tissue, not the whole baby. It's past the initial zygote stage. And yes, that's splitting hairs, but it's an important distinction. If you take a stem cell out and expose it to a variety of different hormones or biochemicals, it will turn into a variety of different tissues. However, it will not turn into another entire embryo--it's already differentiated beyond that point.

The second big problem is the fact that no sound argument has been presented for why embryos taken from fertility clinics should not be used. There are more, but these two are showstoppers and should be sufficient for the sake of this conversation. I personally don't care where the ESCs come from, I simply think that we should be doing the research and take offence to the fact that said research is limited in the U.S. for no logical reason.
Because we shouldn't be taking another life as a sacrifice for our own. I'm not sure how much more anyone needs than that.

Surely, because both the cell types are non-specialised, they both have the potential to be a human being - both given the right conditions? And the business of turning normal body cells into stem cells: surely that is creating the potential for a new, human life then destroying it? Again you are correct. It seems to me that the religous conservative argument would be much more powerful if it were consistent. The fact that it's not leads me to think that most of the people adopting said arguments don't truly understand the issue.
Um, yeah. I had to study embryology as part of brain and eye/vision development in doctor school. I understand it pretty damn well, thank you. Neither of you are correct in this instance. Stem cells, barring somatic cell nuclear transfer which is another subject entirely and not applicable to this argument because it involves different techniques entirely, cannot become an entirely new person. They can only differentiate into different tissues. You can take an adult cell, turn it into a stem cell, but you cannot make that stem cell turn into another entire person. You can make that stem cell turn into any other tissue that belongs to that person, but you can't make it an entire person. You can only turn that one stem cell into one tissue at a time.

Pavlos--the stem cells are harvested from an embryo, but an embryonic stem cell is not the same as an embryo. The stem cells are one of a number of different types of cells that an embryo has, like nerve cells or skin cells, etc. So an umbilical stem cell may be the same as one from an embryo, but that's just a part of the embryo, not the whole embryo. I'm unclear on many of the point here, however with that said, on the surface, you appear to be wrong.
Actually, he is correct here. It's a part, but not the whole, embryo.

Embryonic stems cells are not techincally an embryo (they are a blastocyst),
ESCs are also not blastocysts. ESCs are derived from a very specific part of the blastocyst. (http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics3.asp)

however they will eventually become an embryo much later in the development cycle. Stem cells eventually become nerve cells and skins cells, so to say that they are different is technically correct, but at the very least also somewhat misleading.
I don't consider the 2 or 3 days between blastocyst-hood and embryo-hood 'much later'. We go from conceptus to zygote to blastocyst to embryo within about 1 week from fertilization. Some call the group of cells an embryo from fertilization to about week 8 in humans the embryo and blastocyst is just one stage of that.

One of the important aspects of embryonic stem cell research that gets glossed over in the "theraputic benefit debate" is the fact that studying embryonic stem cells might help us to understand/prevent birth defects. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how tricking ASCs into acting like ESCs will help us in that regard. Even if we find a viable theraputic alternative, we still leave all of that scientific discovery untouched by ignoring this research.That's a valid concern and it'd be interesting to see why folic acid prevents neural tube disorders, for instance. If we have other ways to get ESC without killing embryos, fine. I'm all for that.

[quote=Jae Onasi]Adult stem cells won't turn into another separate life.Sorry, this statement is incorrect. Link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatic_cell_nuclear_transfer)
Come on. That's a completely different issue entirely. You have to take a nucleus out of two cells and put the nucleus from the first cell into the denucleated second cell. That's completely different from taking a stem cell, exposing it the the appropriate hormone, and getting it to differentiate into a new tissue. If you want to discuss cloning, feel free to put that into a separate thread, and that'll be an interesting debate as well. :)

If any human cell can be used to generate a human being, then abortion is no more tragic than bathing or scratching an itch.
Wow. That is a frightening concept. So killing a 36 week fetus is no more tragic than scratching oneself.

Adult stem cell research has absolutely bore fruit. A _lot_ of fruit. It sure has. However if ASC is patently *so* much better than ESC then why isn't ESC allowed equitable access to research dollars? I've made this argument before Jae and I'm still awaiting your reply. If ASC is the real-deal and ESC has no potential, then research scientists would quickly figure this out on their own with artificial barriers being put up.
See above analogy to manufacturing process--a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush. We only have so many research dollars to go around. And there's nothing stopping private organizations from conducting their own research. I just don't want my tax dollars going to something that kills another person's life, even if it's at an early stage.

I think my point is conspicuously supported by the fact that so many researchers are trying to find ways to manufacture ESCs from ASCs and ESC's pluripotent nature is regarded as the gold standard.
Pluripotency is more convenient than using a couple different multipotent cells that accomplish the same goal, which is generating any tissue.

If ESCs were truly defunct as you seem to want for all of us to believe, then I don't understand why so much effort is being made in there arenas. Perhaps you could shed some light on this for me?
Where did I say it was defunct? I said I'd support research on ESC if they could obtain the cells without killing embryos. I would hardly consider that line of research defunct. I simply want research dollars to go to a. something that is currently producing the most results so I get more for my money, and b. something that doesn't kill another life to obtain results.

Another consideration--the number of embryos produced by in vitro fertilization has gone down as the drugs used to cause ovulation for ovum harvesting have gotten better and the harvesting techniques themselves have gotten better. Fewer eggs are harvested, so fewer embryos are being produced and implantation techniques have improved, so women are going through fewer harvesting cycles before successful pregnancy. The number of embryos available for experimentation are decreasing, so developing other ways of obtaining ESC are going to become even more important.

Achilles
07-18-2007, 12:42 AM
Generally, I try to reply point-by-point, but this time I'm compelled to jump around a little. Hopefully, I don't make my response too difficult to follow.

Firstly:

Where did I say it (ESC research) was defunct?

Forgive me if I find it amusing that this is in the same post as these:

Please explain to me how a course of research that has had no medical advances to date, despite world-wide research, can possibly be a gold-standard for anything.

Why aren't we seeing those advances in world research? Because there aren't any currently, and the problems of tumorgenicity in ESC is a tremendous problem that ASC does not have.

Those are only from your most recent post, however there are several other examples I could find from older messages. It seems pretty clear that you don't consider ESC research to be successful or anticipate it being successful in the future. That would seem to meet the definition of "defunct" don't you think? If I'm missing something in the translation, please feel free to set me straight.

Moving on.

I said I'd support research on ESC if they could obtain the cells without killing embryos. I would hardly consider that line of research defunct. I simply want research dollars to go to a. something that is currently producing the most results so I get more for my money, and b. something that doesn't kill another life to obtain results. This seems contradictory. Now you're saying that you would support ESCr if the stem cells could be obtained without "killing another life".

Ok.

Considering how vocal you've been about the effectiveness of ASCr vs the ineffectiveness of ESCr, why would want to pursue a course of research that has so many problem? Because you think it has potential? More potential that ASCs? Wouldn't this seem to be an admission that ESCs are superior (for research sake) to ASC?

Please explain to me how a course of research that has had no medical advances to date, despite world-wide research, can possibly be a gold-standard for anything.
Please don't blame me for pointing out that ESCr is the gold standard. It certainly isn't my doing. If it were not, we wouldn't see researchers wasting their time trying to gerry-rid ASCs into ESCs and we certainly wouldn't see other researchers getting excited whenever someone announces a breakthrough. If you see smoke, odds are good that there's a fire.

For someone that works in the industry, you seem to have rather bewildering expectations for medical research. It seems your stance is, "since ESC has only produced results in a lab, but has yet to yield any treatments that can be used today, it's clearly not capable of doing so. Oh, and ignore the field of research has been artifically stymed by the federal government almost since the moment it was discovered."

The stem cell has the potential to become a particular tissue, not the entire being. Sure, it can become any of the tissues, but by itself it cannot develop into anything other than one tissue type. It's been a while since I took a biology class, but if I recall correctly, cells make up tissues, tissues make up organs, and the body is comprised of organs. Unless I'm missing something obvious, your statment seems akin to saying that cars don't contain any iron ore, simply because we see processed steel (...and plastics and composites).

Back to my original point, the stem cells present in a blastocyst eventually become a fully-developed human being. So ESC from an umbilical cord, presents the exact same "ethical problem" as the ESC from the blastocyst. You can clone a real-life human being from any cell in the human body. Any cell. So any cell has the potential to be a human being. See the problem for your "ethical" argument?

Let's just call a spade a spade and admit that the opposition argument hinges on the existence of a soul. Even if we did, we'd still run into the problems that I pointed out before, but went ignored (see post #1 for a refresher). At the end of the day, the entire anti-ESC argument is based on an unclear, inconsistent, religious argument. The "ethical problem" has been decontructed many times and found to be a complete fabrication. So I repeat, there is no ethical reason to prevent, prohibit, what-have-you ESCr.

It's a respect for life issue, not (merely) a religious one. Then shouldn't that respect for life be consistently fought for? Abolishment of the death penalty? Federal action to close down all fertility clinics until technology can be developed that eliminates the need for destruction of embryos? If you want to play the "respect for life" card, feel free, but as I've stated before it creates more problems for that argument than it solves.

There are options available besides experimenting with someone's life. No one's life is being experimented with. Problem solved :)

Can't call "life" unless it's alive. I would certainly concede to calling it "potential for life" but then every cell has the potential for life. Since we lose thousands of cells every day, we then have a very serious problem that has been ignored for a very long time: The needless slaughter of trillions of "potential human lives" every day. At some point we can no longer blindly accept an arbitrary definition of "life".

Your 'definitions' are no more logical than any others, and in fact are less logical because they are variable. There's no way to test for brain waves, for instance, without possibly harming the child or causing risk of miscarriage. Heartbeat? It can't always be heard right away. So medical science has yet to determine milestones for embryonic development? I could be wrong, but I seem to recall the OB/GYN having pretty specific expectations about my son's development. If the OB/GYN cannot hear a heartbeat at 8 1/2 do they just blow it off and say "well, you can't always hear it right away. I'm sure everything's fine"? Or do they have a point at which they begin to worry much sooner than that? About 5 weeks maybe?

Conception is the one definitive, indisputable point where a separate life is formed. I guarantee you that every human that has ever lived had a heartbeat and brain activity at some point. Hardly arbitrary. By way of comparison, not every fertilized egg has complete the gestation process and been born a living baby. Doesn't seem as though conception is very definitive after all.

A baby in-utero can't survive outside the uterus, just like someone in surgery can't survive without a ventilator breathing for them during/after the procedure. Both are alive, both need life support. Using one arbitrary definition of "alive", I suppose. Unfortunately, you change the analogy, so that makes this a little bit of a red herring.

I NEVER said ESC was ineffective. I said ASC has accomplished far more. That's very different. Should I interpret this as a "yes"?

You want to bet on something that has shown no medical benefits, or something that has?I want to bet on the avenue that has the greatest potential. If you can show me how ESCs can't do the things that ASCs can, then I'll happily go whever the evidence leads. However, I know that you can't because insufficent research has been done to support the argument.

PS: In an effort to save you some time and effort: Providing a list of ASC advances will not show that ESC aren't capable of producing similar results. It will only show that the inequitable advantage provided to ASCr has allowed some progress to be made.

What's benefiting people more now? Completely beside the point. I mention this each time you raise it :)

If you have a manufacturing process that is currently creating a product and shows promise for accomplishing more, and you have another process in R&D that shows it could do the same thing but has some major problems associated with it, which process should you put your money into? Poor analogy. If I manufacture a product in the most effective way possible with the existing technology, I'm pretty happy. If R&D says that they have a line on a more effective and efficient technology which will allow me to improve my process, you'd better believe I'm going to invest in it before my competitors figure out how to do it first.

One of the first things that they teach you in business school is that it isn't smart to do things a certain way "just because you've always done it that way". Innovation = success. But perhaps Edison shouldn't have worked so hard to overcome the obstacles surrounding the lightbulb. We'd all be much better off had he opted to churn out a better candle, right?

My point is that if you have limited research dollars, you should put the money where it's going to have the most impact, and that's ASC. If we had unlimited research dollars, it becomes a different ballgame, but right now there's only so much NIH grant money to go around. NIH's registry for Active Funding Opportunities related to ESCs (http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/guide/search_results.htm?scope=pa-rfa&year=active&text_curr=embryonic+stem+cell&Search.x=46&Search.y=1)

Unfortunately, this isn't a case of the scarcity model ruining all our fun. This is artificial barriers to scientific research. If they were barriers truly based on ethics, then I would support them. However they are not, so I choose to oppose them.

Why aren't we seeing those advances in world research? You must not have liked my answer all the other times I've offered. I can only hope that once more does the trick.

1) We have (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9401832/) (I used MSNBC because the article it fairly non-technical. I can provide more technical sources upon request).

2) If this is the future of medicine and the rest of the world has a jump-start, why do you think they would be inclined to give us updates? If Russia had a head start on nuclear weapons in the 40's and 50's do you think they would have been advertising to us? No, they would have done just like we did and announce the technology in a more memorable way.

Because there aren't any currently, and the problems of tumorgenicity in ESC is a tremendous problem that ASC does not have. If you have umbilical cord cells, you certainly have the ability to consider developmental research. It's very difficult to prove that something *doesn't* exist. Careful what statements you make, as someone might ask you to support them.

PS: My request for a source still stands. Please let me know if you do not intend on honoring it.

You're ignoring a variety of articles saying otherwise. I'm not ignoring them if they have absolutely nothing to do with my point.

It's unethical to experiment on someone and kill them without their consent. Right. So what if you are dealing with something that is incapable of giving concent? Like a laboratory rat, for instance. Regarding capacity for pain and/or suffering, a adult lab rat should have significantly more consideration than collection of 50-150 cells. Can we extend our "right to life" movement to lab rats as well?

Or can we concede that consent is not necessary unless consent is possible and/or some other ethical consideration?

I wasn't aware they were. And they indeed should be consistent. You weren't aware that embryos are lost during the freezing and thawing processes and that un-implanted embryos are permitted to expire naturally? You sure seemed to be aware of it when you were arguing that some of those frozen embryos can be adopted out to other families instead of destroyed.

Why is your definition of life any more valid than Barbara Boxer's, who allegedly once said 'it's not a life until the baby's taken home from the hospital'? Red herring, but I'll play. Because Barbara Boxer's definition ignores the fact that an embryo show signs of life long before it goes home in a carseat.

About as long as it takes for me to smack them with the fly-swatter and render the argument moot. Very clever. Am I to take your point that you have no problem killing a living organism which clearly displays every single characteristic necessary to qualify as "life"? Is this not hypocritical considering your stance regarding abortion and/or embryonic stem cell research? Could you please help me understand why a housefly with billions of cells is so easily cast off while a blastocyst with a maximum of 150 cells should be defended with the full force of our legal system?

I do have an issue with that, because a stem cell, while it has the embryo's DNA, is not the embryo. It's a cell that's already differentiated within the embryo, and the stem cell will develop into a specific tissue at some point, but it can only become 1 tissue, not the whole baby. It's past the initial zygote stage. And yes, that's splitting hairs, but it's an important distinction. If you take a stem cell out and expose it to a variety of different hormones or biochemicals, it will turn into a variety of different tissues. However, it will not turn into another entire embryo--it's already differentiated beyond that point. I believe that I already tackled this elsewhere, but in case I didn't:

This is splitting hairs (as you point out) however I fail to recognize the significance. Scientists, armed with sufficient understanding of the process, could potentially "build" an embryo out of a stem cell. Nature already does it, so we know it can be done, we just don't know how.

With that said, I'm not sure what this has to with the original point, which was "it doesn't matter where the embryonic stem cells come from because the current law doesn't differentiate by source, only by type. Therefore any embryonic stem cell is sequestered from gov't funding". I hope that helps to clarify.

Because we shouldn't be taking another life as a sacrifice for our own. I'm not sure how much more anyone needs than that. That doesn't address the point, Jae. A majority of these embryos are going to die anyway regardless of what laws exist surround stem cell research. You seem to be ignoring this fact even though it's been raised several times.

My response is fashioned in such a way as to deliberately keep us on point. If you would like to branch out into a separate discussion about the ethics of sacrifice, please let me know.

Um, yeah. I had to study embryology as part of brain and eye/vision development in doctor school. I understand it pretty damn well, thank you. Neither of you are correct in this instance. Stem cells, barring somatic cell nuclear transfer which is another subject entirely and not applicable to this argument because it involves different techniques entirely, cannot become an entirely new person. They can only differentiate into different tissues. You can take an adult cell, turn it into a stem cell, but you cannot make that stem cell turn into another entire person. You can make that stem cell turn into any other tissue that belongs to that person, but you can't make it an entire person. You can only turn that one stem cell into one tissue at a time. Well then how does nature do it? If it weren't possible, then multi-celluar organisms wouldn't exist. "Human understanding being temporarily insufficient to duplicate in laboratory conditions" is not the same thing as "not possible". Besides, your reponse does not address my point, which is that ultra-conservative rhetoric on this matter is inconsistent, even though you presume to tell me that I am wrong.

Actually, he is correct here. It's a part, but not the whole, embryo. Clearly you were able to comprehend his point where I was not. Since he has not opted to clarify, I'm still not sure what he hoped to communicate, therefore, I still cannot offer a response.

ESCs are also not blastocysts. ESCs are derived from a very specific part of the blastocyst. (http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics3.asp) The link was not necessary, Jae. I think I've demonstrated in dozens of other posts that I am well aware of the difference. I do appreciate your effort to correct the minor error that I made in my haste though.

There seems to be some "fun with tags" here, so I'll try to weed out what's your's from what's mine.

I don't consider the 2 or 3 days between blastocyst-hood and embryo-hood 'much later'. We go from conceptus to zygote to blastocyst to embryo within about 1 week from fertilization. Some call the group of cells an embryo from fertilization to about week 8 in humans the embryo and blastocyst is just one stage of that. I was thinking of the context of a fully formed human ready for birthing, per the context of the conversation, however you are technically correct. Since you didn't address the thrust of my point, I'm assuming that it's uncontested?

That's a valid concern and it'd be interesting to see why folic acid prevents neural tube disorders, for instance. If we have other ways to get ESC without killing embryos, fine. I'm all for that. I suppose I'm happy to hear that you'd be on board with that. I guess I'd be curious to know what *ethical* argument you could present for why we should wait.

Come on. That's a completely different issue entirely. No it is not. More on this in a moment...

You have to take a nucleus out of two cells and put the nucleus from the first cell into the denucleated second cell. That's completely different from taking a stem cell, exposing it the the appropriate hormone, and getting it to differentiate into a new tissue. If you want to discuss cloning, feel free to put that into a separate thread, and that'll be an interesting debate as well. :) The point is that *any* living cell can be used to create a human life. If you would like to present an argument (within an ethical context) of why some cells deserve special protection, while others do not, I'd be more than happy to hear it. In fact, considering that I've raised this point several times, I will make a point of letting you know that I am specifically interested in anything you have to say on the matter.

Wow. That is a frightening concept. So killing a 36 week fetus is no more tragic than scratching oneself. Was that a question or a statement? From a clinical perspective, you are correct. Luckily, most humans are not so cold. However, I do think such a realization speaks volumes for the ethicality of aborting a 20-25 week fetus for medical reasons. On a side note, I can't tell you how pleased I am that you at least acknowledged this point, considering how many times I've raised it. Perhaps there is hope for true dialog after all :)

See above analogy to manufacturing process--a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush. We only have so many research dollars to go around. And you, in turn, can see my response which shows the multitudes of organizations willing to contribute to NIH-managed research.

And there's nothing stopping private organizations from conducting their own research. I know I've addressed this elsewhere, but I'll do it one more time here.

How about the fear of reprisals, ala denial/removal/reduction of gov't funding and contracts for other research projects? If Bush is willing to suspend habeas corpus, I'm sure he wouldn't bat an eyelash at blacklisting some NGO's that didn't play by his rules.

How about businesses not wanting to waste millions or billions of dollars chasing after a line of research that someone (everyone? No one?) else is working on? One of the major concerns that state gov'ts funding this research have voiced is that without centralized management (ala NIH), two or more groups could be working on the same research at the same time and no one would know. If this is daunting for gov'ts then I can easily see where it would be orders of magnitude moreso for private businesses or vulnerable corporations.

I just don't want my tax dollars going to something that kills another person's life, even if it's at an early stage. I'll point out once more that you already do (HINT: United States military).

Pluripotency is more convenient than using a couple different multipotent cells that accomplish the same goal, which is generating any tissue. Not sure how this contradicts either of my points. You seem to acknowledge that pluripotency is preferable, however this does nothing to address the more common observation that everyone seems to be trying to find a way to emulate embryonic stem cells. I'll ask the question again: If they are not superior, then why the mad dash to be the research group that patents the technology? If the cell type is defunct, it sure would seem as though a lot of people are wasting a lot of time. If ASC are clearly so much better, then wouldn't it make more sense to stop dickering around with ESC? The fact that the research community does not seem to share your (or Dick Cheney's) scientific sensibilities tells me that maybe they know something that you don't.

Another consideration--the number of embryos produced by in vitro fertilization has gone down as the drugs used to cause ovulation for ovum harvesting have gotten better and the harvesting techniques themselves have gotten better. Fewer eggs are harvested, so fewer embryos are being produced and implantation techniques have improved, so women are going through fewer harvesting cycles before successful pregnancy. The number of embryos available for experimentation are decreasing, so developing other ways of obtaining ESC are going to become even more important. While this is all good news, it does little to present a valid argument for why research scientists should have been prohibited from using discarded embryos for the past 6 years (and will continue to face such prohibitions for the rest of the current presidency). This is a red herring.

My sincere apologies for the delayed response. I've been chipping away at this for a couple of weeks and I'm glad to have finally completed it. My apologies for any spelling or grammatical errors. Thank you for reading.

Achilles
08-27-2007, 10:45 AM
Embryonic Stem Cells Repair Human Heart: Problems with cell survival, functioning may have been solved in rat experiments.
MONDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Experiments in rats show that human embryonic stem cells can repair damaged heart muscle, improve heart function and slow the progression of heart failure. Link (http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/healthday/070827/embryonic-stem-cells-repair-human-heart.htm)

I heard about this on the news yesterday and thought others might find the results of the study interesting.

Achilles
10-08-2007, 07:42 PM
Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I thought this news might be worth it.

Link (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071008/ap_on_he_me/nobel_medicine) NEW YORK - As a child in Italy during World War II, he lived for years on the streets and in orphanages. Six decades later, as a scientist in the United States, Mario Capecchi joined two other researchers in winning the Nobel Prize in medicine.

Their work led to a powerful and widely used technique to manipulate genes in mice, which has helped scientists study heart disease, diabetes, cancer, cystic fibrosis and other diseases.

Achilles
01-23-2009, 10:55 AM
Bumping again:

US approves 1st stem cell study for spinal injury

Full Story (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090123/ap_on_sc/sci_stem_cells)

Whatever its outcome, the study will mark a new chapter in the contentious history of embryonic stem cell research in the United States — a field where debate spilled out of the laboratory long ago and into national politics.

While some overseas doctors claim to use human embryonic stem cells in their clinics, stem cell experts said they knew of no previous human studies that use such cells.

"It's a milestone and it's a breakthrough for the field" because Geron passed the safety hurdles for getting federal clearance to launch the study, said Ed Baetge, chief scientific officer of Novocell Inc. His company hopes to begin a similar human study for treating diabetes in a few years.

Stem cell testing on humans. Enjoy.

Volar the Healer
02-03-2009, 05:32 PM
I've no idea why this is even being asked on a game forum...
But, as a scientist, my answer is simple;

1) Adult stem cell research has shown a few sucesses. Embryonic stem cell research has shown none. +1 point adult stem cell research, 0 points embryonic stem cell research

2) Adult stem cell research can be done without any ethical questions. Many people object to embryonic stem cell research for a variety of reason, many of which make sense (or at least merit thought). +1 point adult stem cell research, 0 points embryonic stem cell research

3) Private investors are willing to invest in adult stem cell research. No private investors are willing to invest in embryonic stem cell research. The government does not need to be involved; the market has already decided. +1 point adult stem cell research, 0 points embryonic stem cell research

4) The poster of this web site errs grievously when he says scientists don't object to stem cell research, only religious people do. He is wrong, Wrong, WRONG. I work with several scientists who object to embryonic stem cell research on purely ethical (non-religious) grounds. And, of course, most scientists ARE religious people! The poster's mischaracterization of the discussion only confuses the issue. +1 point adult stem cell research, 0 points embryonic stem cell research

NOW, can we get back to playing Knights of the Old Republic!? I came here to play a game and get away from this for awhile.

Welcome to the forum, please refrain from questioning someone's honesty or integrity.- mimartin

Ray Jones
02-03-2009, 06:02 PM
Then you supposedly chose the wrong path when heading down here into Kavar's Corner, a place to discuss more serious issues not necessarily connected to KotOR that much. ;~

jonathan7
02-03-2009, 06:24 PM
I've no idea why this is even being asked on a game forum...
But, as a scientist, my answer is simple;

1) Adult stem cell research has shown a few sucesses. Embryonic stem cell research has shown none. +1 point adult stem cell research, 0 points embryonic stem cell research

2) Adult stem cell research can be done without any ethical questions. Many people object to embryonic stem cell research for a variety of reason, many of which make sense (or at least merit thought). +1 point adult stem cell research, 0 points embryonic stem cell research

3) Private investors are willing to invest in adult stem cell research. No private investors are willing to invest in embryonic stem cell research. The government does not need to be involved; the market has already decided. +1 point adult stem cell research, 0 points embryonic stem cell research

4) The poster of this web site errs grievously when he says scientists don't object to stem cell research, only religious people do. He is wrong, Wrong, WRONG. I work with several scientists who object to embryonic stem cell research on purely ethical (non-religious) grounds. And, of course, most scientists ARE religious people! The poster's mischaracterization of the discussion only confuses the issue. +1 point adult stem cell research, 0 points embryonic stem cell research

NOW, can we get back to playing Knights of the Old Republic!? I came here to play a game and get away from this for awhile.

Welcome to the forum, please refrain from questioning someone's honesty or integrity.- mimartin


Also, you don't *have* to post or read things here if you want to get way from "this" for a while, so you could just stick to the KotOR section of the forums ;) And welcome to the forums btw, I hope you enjoy your stay here -- j7

Volar the Healer
02-03-2009, 07:12 PM
Ray Jones and jonathen7 have both suggested I do not *have* to be on this thread. Both are correct.

Since my work in a National Laboratory gives me an insider's view into the latest scientific research, I often have the opportunity to correct the tremendous amount of misinformation and propoganda that is repeated in a variety of scientific fields. The current state of scientific research is far different than the media and some college professors say it is. But, being half Italian, my passion sometimes gets the best of me. For my outburst, I apologize. The four facts I quote are correct, but I should have expressed them in a kinder way.

I really did come here just for KotOR, and to the KotOR thread I shall go.

Clone trooper: "Sir, it's time for you to leave!"
Senator: "And so it is."