Tuesday, August 24, 2004
They just lost my vote
Most scientists believe that embryonic stem cells hold the greatest medical promise. Just as a tiny embryo can develop into a baby, with all its exquisitely specialized organs and parts, so embryonic stem cells can become virtually any type of human cell, with a facility seemingly greater than adult stem cells. But embryonic stem cell research is in its earliest stages,
And this is where right-wing idiots want to crush the research process. Backwards, reactionary neanderthals who have been trusted with the machinery of the State by unsuspecting idiots like myself who expected that the GOP would, I don't know, reduce the role of the State in dictating all matters of life and death.
Again, I guess I was wrong.
and no one knows whether these powerful cells can be directed in ways that are therapeutically useful.
Not like you do, you're a fucking copy editor. Let the scientists work on it.
Moreover, it is hard to say whether the scientific establishment, in its political quest to secure more funding and stave off regulation, is overstating the promise of embryonic stem cells and understating the promise of non-embryonic stem cells. Nevertheless, one cannot deny the scientific potential of embryo research, or the large stake the scientific community now has in its success.
You just tried to, you insoucient twit.
Nor can one deny the ethical problem this research poses.
Yes, forbid that we allow a concerted effort to save the Elderly and the infirmed at the expense of BABIES THAT WILL DIE ANYWAY.
Funny, for a party whose intellectual pedigree castigates the left for the left's unwillingness to confront reality...
When one speaks with leading embryonic stem cell researchers, it is disarming to discover that the destruction of human embryos is already normal. An embryo is just a "clump of cells," the scientists say, as "small as the period at the end of this sentence." But if embryos were just clumps of cells, scientists would not want them so badly.
That makes no sense at all.
The unique biological power of an embryo is inseparable from the kind of organism it is: an integrated, developing, genetically whole human creature in the earliest days of life. Three decades ago, scientists gained the power to initiate life in the laboratory; now they destroy it routinely, without fear and trembling.
It's not life. There, I said it. Let's just look at the criterion required for an organism to be living:
(1) Living beings are systems that have three simultaneous features: they are self-supported, they reproduce themselves and they evolve through interaction with the environment.
(2) Life is a chemical system able to replicate itself through autocatalysis and to make mistakes that gradually increase the efficiency of the autocatalysis.
(3) Living beings are protein-made bodies formed by one or more cells that communicate with the environment through information transfer carried out by electric impulses or chemical substances, and capable of morpholigical evolution and metabolism, growth and reproduction.
(4) Living beings are beings able to elaborate information in such a way that in the sequence "environmental stimulus - construction of knowledge - motor response", the possible results in terms of input cannot be mechanically predicted.
Which one is your group of cells?
The embryos needed for embryonic stem cell research can come from three sources: (1) They can be produced by in vitro fertilization (the union of egg and sperm in the laboratory) performed on behalf of infertile couples, who often produce more embryos than they actually implant to have children. (2) They can be produced by in vitro fertilization solely for the purposes of research. Or (3) they can be cloned--that is, produced using "somatic cell nuclear transfer," in which a person's DNA is inserted into an enucleated human egg. This is the technique that produced Dolly the sheep, and it is the first step on the way to reproductive human cloning.
Which one is objectionable?
So it seems Democrats are now poised to cross yet another ethical and political boundary: federal funding for the creation, study, and destruction of cloned human embryos. After all, if cloned embryos are necessary to provide stem cells tailor-made for the individual, and if stem cell research can succeed only with federal funding, then the day has come for a national project of cloned embryo research. The ideology of stem cells has made the Democrats the party of cloning. And like all true believers, they believe inconvenient facts can be ignored and that history is on their side.
And in the process, they pick up my vote. Now, copy-editor, tell me which inconvenient facts they are ignoring and disprove that history is on their side. Are you really willing to gamble against human ingenuity and advanced biotechnology?
If Kerry wins, the stem cell debate will be over, at least politically. He will reverse the three-year-old Bush policy of limiting federal funding to certain existing embryonic stem cell lines, and he will work to overturn the eight-year-old Dickey Amendment prohibiting federal funding for any research that directly involves the destruction of human embryos. He will begin a national project of embryo creation and destruction, enshrining it in American national policy.
That right there might be the most compelling reason for a man like me to vote for John Forbes Thorne Kerry.
Perhaps this is the direction America is heading already--toward the normalization of the radical in biotechnology, and toward the loss of all qualms about using human embryos as research materials. Or perhaps, years from now, the embryo destruction project will be another embarrassing wart on American history--a moral error, corrected by those who follow us. But it is a distraction to look too far into the future, with either excessive despair or excessive optimism. Today's election is what matters now, and John Kerry has given America a clear choice: the party of cloning or the party of moral limits.
Embarassing wart and moral error. When President Kerry is sworn in, you ignorant and backwards hicks can ponder long and fucking hard at the costs of being aligned against technology.
I said to my Comrade on here earlier that the Conservatives are generally the Party opposed to technology (e.g. Kass and Fukayama) but that there was a unique chance to turn the corner. I was wrong.
Eric Cohen is a resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the editor of the New Atlantis.
No BS in Biology, Chemistry, any of the relevant fields? But he can push paper...good for that fucktard.