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Obama To Reverse Bush Limits On Stem Cell Work

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the stem-cell-stimulus-package dept.

Medicine 508

An anonymous reader sends this quote from the Associated Press: "Reversing an eight-year-old limit on potentially life-saving science, President Barack Obama plans to lift restrictions Monday on taxpayer-funded research using embryonic stem cells. ... Under President George W. Bush, taxpayer money for that research was limited to a small number of stem cell lines that were created before Aug. 9, 2001, lines that in many cases had some drawbacks that limited their potential usability. But hundreds more of such lines — groups of cells that can continue to propagate in lab dishes — have been created since then, ones that scientists say are healthier, better suited to creating treatments for people rather than doing basic laboratory science. Work didn't stop. Indeed, it advanced enough that this summer, the private Geron Corp. will begin the world's first study of a treatment using human embryonic stem cells, in people who recently suffered a spinal cord injury. Nor does Obama's change fund creation of new lines. But it means that scientists who until now have had to rely on private donations to work with these newer stem cell lines can apply for government money for the research, just like they do for studies of gene therapy or other treatment approaches."

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508 comments

Proven to kill... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27103987)

"Reversing an eight-year-old limit on potentially life-saving science..." Currently unproven to save even one life, but proven to destroy human embryos.

Re:Proven to kill... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104015)

Indeed, and now that a reliable method of making stem cells WITHOUT KILLING has been invented.

Asshole.

Re:Proven to kill... (3, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104041)

Except your both idiots because stem cells came from nonviable sources that would have been destroyed no matter what to begin with like fertility treatment leftovers and umbilical cords.

Inconvenient how those facts get in the way of righteous anger isn't it?

Re:Proven to kill... (1, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104095)

The difference is between taking part in evil (destroyed embryos due to fertility treatments) versus having no part in it. There are some things that the government should have nothing to do with.

Re:Proven to kill... (4, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104187)

Nice attempt but aside from the non-embryo sources of embryonic cells you're also arguing for respecting one establishment of religion's views over the rest, arguing that both fertility treatments and deriving benefit from what would otherwise be wasted is evil, AND inconsistently with your OWN logic arguing that it's also evil to try to derive some good from something you consider evil and thus work against the evilness of it.

Re:Proven to kill... (-1, Flamebait)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104291)

Establishment of religion? Hardly. The principle that life begins at conception is not necessarily any more religious than the principle that human life is generated by movement through the birth canal. And my position is somewhat easier to defend. No, no, you are confused on that point.

Your "inconsistent" statement is simply strange. You say I am "arguing that it's also evil to try to derive some good from something you consider evil and thus work against the evilness of it"? (Hard to parse!) Well here the New England Journal of Medicine happens to agree with me. They refuse to publish results based on unethical research (the decision having to do with Nazi experiments in WWII, I believe). And that was inconsistent? Where is the inconsistency? My post only had two sentences, you will have to search hard to find one.

Re:Proven to kill... (4, Insightful)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104389)

The whole controversy over the "life beings at conception" is completely religious, and affects only the Abrahamic faiths. In Asia and other parts of the world it is a non-issue.

I wish you would apply your moral panic to causes that could actually help people.

Re:Proven to kill... (1, Insightful)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104585)

The whole fact that life begins at conception is biological/scientific. Granting of "personhood" is a legal distinction that has no basis in science. If it were, then African Americans (or anyone else with black skin) would never have been enslaved, and women would have always had a vote. The fact is, science shows that the child is a distinct lifeform from its mother from the moment of conception, and the law has chosen to ignore that until the child is completely removed from the womb.

As long as we get our terminology right ("life" vs "personhood"), there is no dispute.

Re:Proven to kill... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104615)

If I manage to find a way to cut someone open and get inside them without killing them, do I cease to exist as a separate person?

Re:Proven to kill... (2, Insightful)

MinistryOfTruthiness (1396923) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104637)

But can't you see that entire industries, agendas, and personal freedom from responsibility hinge on the idea that life and non-life are decided by location? It's scientific and everything!

The idea that "life" could possibly exist in direct conflict with the desires of a selfish person is preposterous!

Re:Proven to kill... (3, Insightful)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104323)

The difference is between taking part in evil (destroyed embryos due to fertility treatments) versus having no part in it. There are some things that the government should have nothing to do with.

This is the government having nothing to do with it. Now decisions on what research is needed and is ethical will be taken by ethics committees and funding bodies and not by politicians who don't understand either the ethics or the science and are trying to grab votes. Its really impossible to argue for or against embryonic stem cell research as a whole - each piece of research should be judged on its own merits by the right people. Blanket bans are wrong.

Re:Proven to kill... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104599)

There are some things that the government should have nothing to do with.

Exactly!
I could not have stated it better. Let's name a few:

  • Stem cell research
  • Space exploration
  • Bank bailouts
  • Sports stadiums
  • Fine arts funding

The list continues. Keep in mind that the proper role of government (and spending of taxpayer money) doesn't change because some special interest group favors something over another interest group. It shouldn't matter that I'm a geek as opposed to an actor or a medical doctor or anyone else to decide if it's okay for the government to fund a project.

Special projects should be funded privately - just like what happened for stem cell funding during the Bush terms of office. It's hardly a moral question but a question of what the role of government is.

Heathens! Spawn of Lucifer!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104113)

We salute you!!!

For those about to rock!V

We salute you tooV

Re:Proven to kill... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104161)

Except your both idiots because stem cells came from nonviable sources that would have been destroyed no matter what to begin with like fertility treatment leftovers and umbilical cords.

Inconvenient how those facts get in the way of righteous anger isn't it?

Sorry sir, but you are wrong. Stem cells that come from umbilical cord blood are not considered embryonic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell [wikipedia.org]

Furthermore, those "nonviable" leftover embryos have, in some cases, been adopted, implanted in a mother, and ultimately birthed as a child.

http://www.embryoadoption.org/testimonials/index.cfm [embryoadoption.org]

Re:Proven to kill... (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104247)

Huh, got me and most of the MSM on the umbilical blood but that some people have found a use for ""nonviable"" embyos does not automatically mean that ALL of them will ALWAYS be saved and it's still better to put them by default to some use and then pull them out of that for embryo adoption than by default to throwing them away and pulling them out of THAT for embry adoption.

Re:Proven to kill... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104063)

Does it hurt to be that stupid, or do you just wake up one morning and find you've gotten over it?

Re:Proven to kill... (5, Informative)

mrtwice99 (1435899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104105)

"Reversing an eight-year-old limit on potentially life-saving science..." Currently unproven to save even one life, but proven to destroy human embryos.

To back up my post:

After nearly ten years of research[14], there are no approved treatments or human trials using embryonic stem cells.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell#Embryonic [wikipedia.org]

Re:Proven to kill... (3, Insightful)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104125)

Chicken and egg problem, we know so little about stem cells that I do not know whether it is possible to make stem cells available by another route. If we discover that it is possible to remove this method of acquiring cells for research then the method can be stopped at a later date removing the religious objection.

On another front it is clear that religious intervention in science has severely limited the progress of some societies on Earth. Religion does change its interpretation of what the fundamental rules of living should be as societies change and science provides more accurate knowledge about the world but it often takes many lifetimes for this adjustment to occur.

All societies are facing severe threats from the overpopulation of the world, resource shortages, climate change and poverty. Scientific progress is the only source of solutions to these problems unless we are prepared to allow the problems to multiply to the point where a dramatic population crash occurs. We are at a crossroads, the choice is in our hands, use our creativity and intelligence to take charge of our own destiny or allow our environment to expell us. 2000 year old books prefer the second solution, by default they select the lemmings fate of allowing the environment to kill us off.

Pick you side, I know which one I find more human.
 

Re:Proven to kill... (4, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104263)

Currently unproven to save even one life, but proven to destroy human embryos.

Fortunately, they're a renewable resource.

Re:Proven to kill... (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104457)

"Reversing an eight-year-old limit on potentially life-saving science..."

Currently unproven to save even one life, but proven to destroy human embryos

You are correct that is what 'potentially' means.

Gives moral justification to abortionists (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27103989)

Anti-abortionists are going to have a field day with this. If stem cells can be harvested from aborted fetuses, and stem cells actually fulfill their promise as everyone expects they will, then getting an abortion suddenly becomes not so much the destruction of one life but the preservation of many.

If Star Trek has taught me anything, it's that neither "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one" nor "the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many" provide a solid foundation to base morality upon. It's sad that babies have to die to save lives, and it's sad that lives have to be sacrificed because of unwillingness to kill a baby. However, this dilemma can't be resolved at this level. But this latest policy move certainly gives some ammunition to one side.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (5, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104019)

Anti-abortionists are going to have a field day with this. If stem cells can be harvested from aborted fetuses, and stem cells actually fulfill their promise as everyone expects they will, then getting an abortion suddenly becomes not so much the destruction of one life but the preservation of many.

Embryonic stem cells do not come from aborted fetuses, at least not from the traditional type of abortion. Embryonic stem cells come from left over fertilized eggs at fertility clinics that are to be thrown away. These are thawed, encouraged to begin development, then harvested for stem cells, which destroys them.

(I find it ironic that the last time stem cells came up, someone accused pro-lifers of trying to say that stem comes come from abortions)

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (4, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104045)

If life begins at conception, then even the harvesting of zygotic embryos is antithetical for anti-abortionists.

If the fertilized eggs are rejected naturally after implantation, that is one thing. If they are separated and destroyed deliberately, that is no longer natural and can only be considered abortion.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (5, Insightful)

lhbtubajon (469284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104163)

How can a pregnancy be aborted if there is no pregnancy at all?

It's not the pregnancy that's aborted (1, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104579)

If life begins at conception, then even the harvesting of zygotic embryos is antithetical for anti-abortionists.

How can a pregnancy be aborted if there is no pregnancy at all?

"Abortion" in this context doesn't necessarily mean that a pregnancy is aborted but that the life of a conceived but unborn child is aborted.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104193)

If life begins at conception...

Well, of course *life* begins at conception, thats not the point. We have no problem destroying all kinds of life. Ever swat a mosquito? Ever eat a salad?

Arguing about where life begins is misleading, since its not life that we respect, but that certain something that makes us "human". To some people this is sentience - once the fetus developes an active brain, it should be given the same rights as humans. For others, it is a "soul", or some other etherial, hard-to-pin-down item that makes us different from other, "lower", life forms.

Based on the assumptions that the a "soul" is what makes us special, and that a "soul" is given at conception, the logical conclusion is that abortions are wrong because it is the killing of what essentially amounts to a human being. I submit, however, that the assumptions that this conclusion is based upon are absurd. Not because they *could not* be so, but because there is no evidence (or even a compelling reason to believe) that it *is so*.

I further submit that the only logical way to determine the point at which a fertilized egg becomes worthy of the protections afforded to humans is by noting when it developes those characteristics of humans that we believe sets us appart. We cannot observe a soul, nor can we demonstrate its existance. We can, though, determine when the brain develops, determine when the fetus becomes sentient in some small way.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (2, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104307)

Life does not begin at conception, it merely gets passed on. Life began long long long ago and is still being passed on today.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104375)

Perhaps, but *this* life begins at conception, which I think is the point trying to be made.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104491)

So at what point does HUMAN life begin? If the fertilized egg is alive, are you arguing that it is not yet human? If not, what kind of life is it? I think you are saying that cognitive function is what defines us as human.

These may seem a little nit picky but we are talking about the destruction of human life on a grand scale (50M+ and counting). Culturally, we are struggling to define the crucial binary event after which the destruction of life is morally acceptable. Current law clearly allows destruction well past the binary events expressed in this thread. But, here is the crucial question?

At what point is life "human" and thus off limits for destruction and experimentation?

Pro-lifers are arguing that the crucial moment is conception...

A fertilized egg is both human and alive. There is no other developmental point that allows such clarity.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104565)

Well, of course *life* begins at conception, thats not the point. We have no problem destroying all kinds of life. Ever swat a mosquito? Ever eat a salad?

Please pause and define the logical error before modding this down...

Replace the word "embryo" for "mosquito" and "salad". The author correctly identifies humanity as being the crucial element. Ask yourself why my replacements are so horrific.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104587)

I further submit that the only logical way to determine the point at which a fertilized egg becomes worthy of the protections afforded to humans is by noting when it developes those characteristics of humans that we believe sets us appart.

Exactly. At what point does that life acquire unique human DNA?

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (2, Insightful)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104605)

no.. PARASITE begins at conception... it's not a discrete life until it can survive outside of its host (mother) without teh aid of modern medical technology.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104219)

But if life starts with spermatozoids (after all why not, these are about as sentient and lively as a fertilised egg), then even wet dreams are a crime against humanity!

And if she swallows it, I guess that's a cannibalistic genocide?

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104297)

Some religious people would concur with your statement that wet dreams are a crime against humanity (and so is masturbation).

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (5, Interesting)

durrr (1316311) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104235)

Life does not begin at conception, the sperm and egg cells that exists before conception are very much alive themself already. Albeit lacking the ability to divide into anything useful without first combining their genetic materials and finding a generous donor of nutrients and growing space.

As for the eggs, the fertility treatment doesn't work by picking out one egg, fertilizing it, putting it into a female and then seeing if it falls out again or gets stuck. It's more like picking a basket of eggs, fertilizing them all, screening them for defects, picking out the best one(s) and putting them back into the mother. This leaves us with a basket of motherless embryos(or zygotes in the early stages, but still motherless)(which in reality looks something like a basket full of seemingly empty petri dishes, not a pile of screaming dying babies as some would prefer us to belive). Calling them aborted is retarded simply because they aren't.

Oh, and they're only called fetuses after 8 weeks. they're embryos until then. And as they'll be put to the torch either way, why not try to derive something useful from them? If a few human cells lacking a nervous system is of so great importance then the prospect of saving several billions of human cells with a nervous system by providing reconstruction of failed organs and systems should be a national top priority.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104397)

Life does not begin at conception, the sperm and egg cells that exists before conception are very much alive themself already.

Yeah right... that's like saying that my grandma didn't really die last year because she was an organ donor.

Yes, her corneas and one kidney are presumably 'very much alive' out there somewhere, but it ain't her.

Similarly, you were once a baby, and that baby was once a fetus, and that fetus was once a zygote... but it doesn't make much sense to say that the zygote used to be a sperm cell. That's about as nutty as saying that I used to be a bunch of food, water, and air. There is a difference between a thing and its constituent parts.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104281)

Actually, life begins at four billion years ago. Mitosis begins after fertilization.

And the people who whine about a thing being "natural" and another thing being "artificial", with the implication that "natural" is always better, should have been aborted. That's a stupidity we need to be proactive in weeding out of our genome.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104295)

Life is contained in cells. Certain combinations of cells go on to produce other combinations. So arbitrarily choosing conception as the point is silly. Is every sperm sacred ? It moves under its own volition, it has a purpose, so is it alive ? Should wanking be ranked along-side abortion ? If a woman menstruates is she guilty of a crime against the unborn child because she didn't get pregnant and use that precious ovum ?

By artificially fertilising eggs we are in no way creating a life, because unless you put them into the womb, they will die anyway - unless you really can get test tube babies grown completely in test tubes. It has no more significance to life (viz abortion) than combining penicillin and hostile bacteria in a petri dish. The word you need to research is viable. Do you look at a ploughed field and mourn the fact that you're not looking at a bustling city ? Potential is not the same as inevitable.

Life begins BEFORE conception. (2, Interesting)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104425)

Sperm cells and egg cells are demonstrably alive and demonstrably human -- they contain human DNA (although they're short half their chromosomes).

A woman kills a potential future baby with every period. A man kills millions of them with every wet dream, to say nothing of, uh, other activities. In fact, a man kills millions of them even when he DOES make a baby with one of them.

These protesters really are pathetic. How much energy do they put into stopping the mass murder of actual, real, not potential, human beings in Darfur or the Congo, I'd like to know?

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (5, Insightful)

ebuck (585470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104515)

Life begins much earlier than conception. You cannot take a dead egg and a dead sperm and make anything living out of it. Stop co-mingling the idea of life with the idea of sexual reproduction, and you'll realize that there's a lot of life out there, and only some of it is sexual. Even in sexual organisms, living sperm and eggs are not where life begins; they are literally byproducts of the life they are made from.

Life is a continuum. Of course, now that I've stated the only consistent obvious rationalization, you'll definitely agree.

The millennia of pre-scientific religious training is the barrier that's prompting people to pipe up and say, "Well when I said Life I didn't mean it that way. I meant we as-in super-special HUMAN animal life." Which again doesn't make sense from the human angle, because you can't take a dead human sperm and a dead human egg and make a living anything either.

So what it boils down to is the "super-special" part. We become super-special at inception, and to prove it to ourselves, we'll state that we have an exclusive something that no other animal in the universe has. So we don't get called out on it, let's make it undetectable. Call it a soul, if you will.

Now all the arguments boil down to, "The soul is first present at inception." Which is actually a decent argument, even if it can never be proven or dis-proven. But somehow it feels like a hollow argument, like you're not really arguing for your betterment. It's almost like you're arguing for the preservation of the Church, and you really couldn't give a damn if it means that Alzheimer's disease is cured as long as nobody shatters the super-special soul idea the Church has created which makes you better than everything else that's alive, with the exception of Jesus, who despite being alive hasn't been seen for 2000 years.

The arguments concerning "independent self sustaining" to equate to life don't make sense; infants are far from independent or self-sustainable for years. The arguments for possibly self-sustainable outside the womb equates to life don't make sense either. Possibly doesn't indicate the percentage of chance, so it could range from 100% to 0%. Assuming you dictate that it has to be more than 0%, I can pick a percentage so small that it's practially zero.

But the "possibly could be self-sustaining" is a tilted argument in other ways too. A severely premature child in a hospital is in no way self-sustaining. It's a wonder that we have such a good success rate at keeping them alive. And sooner or later the technology will be developed to have a in-vitrio child. Then the outside-the-womb self-sustaining argument won't even make sense, as the technique will remove the womb from the picture.

Perhaps we'll never develop out-of-the-womb pregnancies. But if we do not, I'll wager that it has more to do with researchers leaving certain aspects of our development untouched due to respect or fear of nearly two millennia of reasoning not based on observation, but based on patting ourselves on the back due to our super-special-nees. We have souls, hooray for us!

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104023)

I think your comments are insightful, but prepare to modded to oblivion because someone disagrees with you.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (-1, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104033)

It is -now for over 8 months- not necessary anymore to terminate babies in order to create stem cells.

first hit on google [sciencedaily.com]

But why stop killing when you can have so much fun hurting babies ?

Here's another way of putting this that's no less correct : Obama forcing people to pay for killing babies. Because that's what "funding embrionic stem-cell research using taxpayer money" is.

(and btw, if one thing is NOT a solid foundation to build morality upon, it's star trek. If you don't know why don't you just "build one" upon the foundation that's worked thousands of years now ? On Jesus Christ).

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (0, Flamebait)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104073)

Adults with imaginary friends should be given medical help, not Slashdot accounts.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104233)

Assholes with Slashdot accounts should respect that others may believe in something bigger than themselves, even if you disagree with them.

Perhaps you'd like to herd all those "Adults with imaginary friends" into a gas chamber somewhere?

Anti-Semite, Anti-Christian, you assholes are all the same.

Really ? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104305)

So this "imaginary friend" is the only reason you might want to refrain from killing ?

Nice to hear a few atheists finally admit it.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104405)

No serious person debates the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. His existence is well-documented in both spiritual and secular historical manuscripts, if only you would take the time to look. If you insist on remaining willfully ignorant in the face of a mountain of evidence, then you are the one who needs help, medical and spiritual. The Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104039)

New techniques that allow scientists to harvest stem cells from sources other than fetuses are already under development and will likely be available in a couple of years.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (2, Insightful)

sisukapalli1 (471175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104069)

Many stem cells can be obtained from IVF clinics -- in fact, they have many embryos, and often do tests [using a single cell] to see if there is anything wrong with the embryos. Many embryos are left frozen or discarded.

There is a vast potential for stem cell based research. If we develop science and technology to selectively differentiate the cells, it would be good for all.

Morality is relative. At one time, sex not intended for procreation was considered "immoral". With science developing, all that is needed for stem cells is just a sample of sperm and an egg. The term "killing a baby" is a strong term -- almost as inappropriate as using it to describe birth control.

S
 

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104473)

At one time, sex not intended for procreation was considered "immoral".

As was spilling one's seed on the ground. Or wherever those spending their time watching internet porn and committing the trifecta of lust, envy and covetousness choose to spill it. Sperm-killers all of them!

The term "killing a baby" is a strong term.

A polite understatement. Admirable on your part, but I wonder whether that's appropriate for those trying to re-frame a debate using terms that are deliberately deceptive, ambiguous, and inflammatory. If two sides can't agree on the terms of a discussion, there can be no meaningful discussion, yes? And those with rigid or otherwise dogmatic views typically can't risk such discussions.

Hypocrisy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104093)

I honestly don't understand how the "destruction of embryos" for medical research is worse than the "destruction of embryos" for IVF. The only difference I can see is that IVF is a procedure that conservatives have done all the time, while medical research is done by the evil liberal scientists.

All this hand-waving over stem cells strikes me as dishonest. The people who call killing embryos for research a tragedy have no problem letting them die en masse in other circumstances. For example, why aren't they pushing for medical technology to save every last fertilized ovum? I guess life isn't as important as scoring political points.

Re:Hypocrisy (3, Insightful)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104143)

Its also ironic that people are still dying of starvation and easily treatable diseases all over the world but this does not come in for the righteous anger of these religious zealots. I am appalled by their double standards.

Re:Hypocrisy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104437)

Don't forget how it's HORRIBLE TO TAKE A LIFE when it's a 4-week-old fetus, but traveling halfway around the world to kill brown people is something WE HAVE TO DO.

Hypocrites, the lot of them.

Re:Hypocrisy (1, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104505)

That's fine, those people must have done something bad to deserve being poor or ill. Or maybe their grandparents did; doesn't it say in the bible that the sins of the father shall be visited on the son for seven generations? Some people really do rationalise like this, and they are among the loudest objectors to science.

Re:Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104471)

I honestly don't understand how the "destruction of embryos" for medical research is worse than the "destruction of embryos" for IVF. The only difference I can see is that IVF is a procedure that conservatives have done all the time, while medical research is done by the evil liberal scientists.

Actually, the US government had a policy of not funding IVF research up until 1993. Sound familiar? And I don't know about conservatives or liberals, but the Catholic Church has been consistently against IVF.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (0)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104099)

Well done BAG, I bashed out a couple of paragraphs before I realised what I was doing....

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104211)

Anti-abortionists are only anti-abortionists until their daughter is impregnated by a minority. To hear them tell the story babies are being harvested 24/7 by Satan, yet most stem cells are not harvested by Satan (google it), nor is burning a baby the only way to retrieve the cells.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104475)

Anti-abortionists are going to have a field day with this.

Like all Repuginats, "anti-abortionists" (otherwise known as "Creationists") need to shut the fuck up. But that will never happen. The next best thing is to simply ignore them and move on. Their time is over, they failed, and now we need to get on with reality.

Re:Gives moral justification to abortionists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104533)

Since the beginning of time; life is cheap. No amount of praise for saving people's lives changes the fact that so many are sacrificed for the welfare of others whether it be a "just cause" or religious mandated slavery of an entire group of people. Life is cheap just like your shoes made in the 3rd world country by children. Life is cheap; just like the products sold at Walmart manufactured by the poor in Asia. Life is cheap just like the animals you ate for breakfast, lunch, an dinner and will eat for the rest of your life. Life is cheap. Life is cheap. Life is cheap. It's a never ending cycle as long as people lack the perspective of the other. But even then.........

So, if work didn't stop, but advanced dramatically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104011)

Why do they need federal subsidies?
 

Didn't Bush restricted ALL stem-cell science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104031)

I was told that Bush prohibited all stem-cell science when fetal tissue was involved. The article seems to imply that he only limited federal funding for such science.

Something doesn't add up.

Re:Didn't Bush restricted ALL stem-cell science? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104097)

You mean when the Republicans were crying about one-sided reporting, or reporting of biased, half-truths, they were actually correct?!

Bush's PR department sucked.

Re:Didn't Bush restricted ALL stem-cell science? (4, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104169)

I was told that Bush prohibited all stem-cell science when fetal tissue was involved. The article seems to imply that he only limited federal funding for such science.

You were 'told' wrong. The article is correct. There was no blanket ban on stem cell research. Just no govt funding of new embryonic stem cell research. Fed funding for other stem cell research was ok, as was private funding for any stem cell research.

Re:Didn't Bush restricted ALL stem-cell science? (4, Informative)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104369)

And that prohibition led to surreal situations where they had to keep two of every piece of equipment, one for federally funded work, and one for private - right down to electricity bills. (as demonstrated in the BBC TV Horizon program A War on Science [bbc.co.uk] ). [thepiratebay.org]

Re:Didn't Bush restricted ALL stem-cell science? (1)

sisukapalli1 (471175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104537)

Seconding parent's point that there was no blanket ban on stem cell research. At least two major states, CA and NJ have funded embryonic stem cell research. It is a different point altogether that both states are in a bad financial situation -- NJ has cut funds drastically, and I presume CA has done the same.

I think the constraints from Bush administration were strict though. No federal funds for labs pursuing embryonic stem cell research.

S

Re:Didn't Bush restricted ALL stem-cell science? (1, Flamebait)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104175)

Even what the article implies is incorrect. President George W. Bush was the first president to allow ANY federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. So let's go over it. President George W. Bush:
did not ban embryonic stem cell research
did not ban federal funding of embryonic stem cell research
did not REDUCE federal funding of embryonic stem cell research
Contrary to these first three ideas, George W. Bush actually provided the first federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Re:Didn't Bush restricted ALL stem-cell science? (4, Informative)

sisukapalli1 (471175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104607)

You seem to imply that George W. Bush actually championed the cause of embryonic stem cell research. He *vetoed* the bill that allowed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research [with new cell lines beyond the already available lines -- fewer than 20?].

This reminds me of an assertion that George W Bush made in one of the debates with Al Gore, that he [Bush] got the legislation passed on Patients Bill of Rights as governor of TX. However, the truth is that he vetoed that bill, the legislation then overrode his veto, and then he claimed credit for signing it.

S

Why? (5, Insightful)

Belisarivs (526071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104077)

Given the deep moral objection a significant part of the community has to the use of embryonic stem cells, and given that it looks like there have been large advances in the use of adult and other stem cells, why lift the funding ban? I mean, all other things being equal, wouldn't it be better to not wander into a moral gray area?

As I understand it, one of the major points of the ban was to discourage the field from becoming reliant on stem cells that required further destruction of embryos. I might be wrong, but from my understanding great leaps have been doing just that - that adult and other non-destructive forms of stem cell research have been fruitful. If that's the case, I don't understand the point of lifting the ban other than for purely political purposes.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104131)

The point of lifting the ban is to allow research on real stem cells, to understand how development works and how early development diseases start. It's to understand deadly and debilitating diseases.

The anti-stem cell research crowd seem to conveniently leave out why real stem cells are desired, there are a set of properties that make embryonic stem cells a "gold standard". There are other ways to get stem cells, but apparently they don't actually behave the exact same way.

I think there is a misconception on both sides that embryos are going to be used to cure people, that's not really true, there might never be enough embryos made to treat everyone with the debilitating and deadly diseases, but the research coming out of it should help understand the diseases and cellular biology for better treatment, and to learn how to improve the other means of making stem cells.

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104461)

The point of lifting the ban is to allow research on real stem cells

The point of lifting the ban is to allow federal funding of research on real stem cells.
The research itself was never banned, and apparently thrived on private funding.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104133)

There is a great deal to be learned from the study of embryonic stem cells. They are, after all, what the people working with adult cells are trying to emulate.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104135)

It is only a moral grey area for people who have no idea what embryonic stem cells actually are. If 'pro-lifers' aren't up in arms about fertility clinics it is simply ignorant for them to be up in arms about stem cell research. And although adult stem cell research has advanced, adult stem cells are not embryonic stem cells. That's like saying, "Well they've put probes on Mars, why bother putting probes on other planets?" Science wants to know things while bureaucrats and religious fanatics want to stay ignorant.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

Belisarivs (526071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104541)

I think you're being a bit unfairly dismissive of the pro-life side (and most pro-lifers I know of do have objections to fertility methods that result in destruction of embryos). Science may want to know things, but most people accept that there are ethical limits on where science should go and how it gets there. Rejecting, out of hand, the ethical concerns of the pro-life movement as "want[ing] to stay ignorant" also condemns those scientists who had moral objections to the development of the atom bomb as wishing for ignorance. I might disagree with them, but that doesn't mean that I consider them luddites.

Re:Why? (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104213)

Another thing that is often overlooked is that even IF some viable therapy were to be developed using embryonic stem cells, they would quickly run out of stem cell supplies and then what?

Would you rather have a therapy based on scraping the insides of someone's cheek or one that requires all the hoopla in acquiring a fresh embryonic stem cell and/or maintaining a line of cells, which according to proponents, degrade over time?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104285)

Given the deep moral objection a significant part of the community has to the use of embryonic stem cells, and given that it looks like there have been large advances in the use of adult and other stem cells, why lift the funding ban? I mean, all other things being equal, wouldn't it be better to not wander into a moral gray area?

It seems to me the moral area is a somewhat lighter shade of gray than you imply. These stem cell lines already exist today, the circumstances of their generation notwithstanding. Banning federal funding of research using these particular lines would be like prohibiting the use of any human tissue from a cadaver of a murder victim.

Re:Why? (1)

Ruvim (889012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104337)

The lift of the ban is needed to at least stop the ridiculous practice of scientists having to use 2 sets of the same equipment: one for tests and observations of the "government-approved" stem cell lines and another for the privately-funded. Talk about waste elimination...

Re:Why? (1)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104631)

The adult stem cells are not nearly as powerful or easy to obtain than the embryonic ones.

What I think its wrong is imposing an artificial limitation on a very promising field because of the moral difficulties that a religious minority have with it. This is clearly a case of failing to separate church and state. And this is a particularity of the christian religion. Hinduism springs to my mind as an example of a religion that has no problem with it. I thought that everyone agreed that religion has no say in science. Why go backwards in this point?

Now just imagine if the millions of dollars that were wasted trying to make adult stem cells were spent on actual research. I bet the US wouldn't be in such a sorry state of advancement in this field.

Obama's rich African heritage. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104117)

It is always interesting to see what training a non-scientist like Obama really has. One way is to examine his background. Let's take a look at Obama's rich African heritage. [resist.com]

Christ Almighty (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104209)

Not even a dozen posts in we already have shitheads bemoaning that 'babies die' when these cells are harvested.

1. According to the Department of Bioethics, anywhere between sixty to eighty percent of fertilized eggs fail to attach to the uterus naturally.

2. Though a precursor to a fully formed human being, these little balls of cells have neither brains nor senses. They have no qualia, no conscious phenomena. They are at most minuscule fragments of tissue - kind of like the smears most of you leave on the sheets at night.

3. If the cells that precede the formation of a human being that will never grow to become even a fetus, much less a fully formed infant, can be used to save lives that exist today, why not? A human that will never be is effectively dead.

4. All of these things can be taken into consideration without devaluing conscious human life, because conscious human life this is not.

We're not giving permission to Anton LaVey to tear the fetuses of misbegotten children from the rancid wombs of unwed women of color while Marilyn Manson and 50 Cent plays over the back alley abortion clinic's P.A. system, you stupid fucking hicks. If you believe that human life begins 'when the sperm hits the germ' then every mother that has attempted to get pregnant and failed repeatedly could very probably be guilty of negligent homicide because of point number one.

And besides, we can get plenty of cells from elsewhere so the debate is now largely moot save for those few situations where adult cells may not suffice.

Writing a terrible wrong has cost the U.S. (0, Troll)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104265)

This is great news. The puritanical and backwards thinking of the W years has hurt America while other countries not hindered by superstition have moved ahead to become leaders in this field.

No wonder America has lost it's edge.Maybe we can get back to the godless heathen science that made us so great.

Give us a date for the cure then. (0, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104365)

The fact of the matter is, if stem cells and science were going to be so great for the American taxpayer, then why cannot they just sell the products produced by it?

Bottom line is, there's no hope in stem cells. There's no cures in sight for any disease. If there was, then, there would be a private investor making stuff with stem cells, and Bush never blocked that. But you see, there's no hope in stem cell research, which is why, the government is stepping into to pay for it.

You want to know what made this country great? It's scientists and inventors making USEFUL discoveries, and USEFUL products. Pile stem cell researchers onto the other pool of scientists doing nothing economically useful, sucking at the federal tit. Some crackhead on government cheese is as much economically useful as a scientist taking federal money. It's all just welfare for people that don't want to produce.

But I'll ask you this. If you think I'm wrong, then please tell me how. Tell the date when stem cell research will cure ANY of the diseases it has been claimed to cure. Tell me when stem cell research will cure alzheimers, or paralysis, or parkinsons, or cancer. What's the date that's going to happen by? Just give me a date that you can guarantee success by.

Re:Give us a date for the cure then. (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104453)

"Tell the date when stem cell research will cure..."

The day pissants without a clue stop bitching about funding science.

Re:Give us a date for the cure then. (1)

outZider (165286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104655)

Give me a date when Windows will be stable and usable. Give me a date when Linux will be ready for the desktop. Give me a date when MySQL will have a storage engine that is both fast AND reliable.

You can't, because you don't know. All of these things are theoretically possible, and being worked on, but no one knows if it's September 17, 2024 or March 7, 2009.

Oh cool (1)

Sam36 (1065410) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104287)

Now I can eat all the food I want until I blow my heart out and then they can just inject me with some of this fetus crap and I will be well again. And hey obama wants to make all this free of charge. Joy Joy Joy

If stem cells are so great? (-1, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104315)

I bet that there are NO cures for cancer, NO blind man seeing, and NO crippled people walking due to stem cell research, in our lifetimes. All of this talk about the immediate need to fund stem cell research is just so much hype.

After all, if stem cells are so great, and the cures so close, then why cannot the private sector have funded this research? If there were real products in stem cells, I would think somebody would have invested in them, as the benefits are so self evident to the potential consumer that they could recover nearly any cost of development. Stem cell research might be interesting basic science, that's all it is. The hype is ridiculous.

The reason that stem cell research needs federal funding is because THERE ARE NO CURES IN SIGHT FOR ANYTHING FROM THEM.

Re:If stem cells are so great? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104603)

Really? [abc.net.au]

A closed mouth gathers no feet. I suggest you heed this advice.

Re:If stem cells are so great? (3, Informative)

lifejunkie (785838) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104621)

Stem cells are used currently for the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma.

Give it a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104319)

Why is this on Slashdot - "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters." ?

Move it to The Huffington Post dipshits!

You are not ready for immortality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104373)

You and the rest of your kind take blind comfort in the belief that we are monsters, that you could never do what we did. The key ingredient in the anti-agathic cannot be synthesized. It must be taken from living beings. For one to live forever, another one must die. You will fall upon one another like wolves. It will make what we did pale by comparison. The billions who live forever will be a testimony to my work. And the billions who are murdered to buy that immortality will be the continuance of my work. Not like us? You will become us.

  - Jha'dur, aka Deathwalker

AP failing again (5, Insightful)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 5 years ago | (#27104381)

But it means that scientists who until now have had to rely on private donations to work with these newer stem cell lines can apply for government money for the research,

Because the State of California is giving out private donations?

I was kind of pissed at Bush for blocking federal funding on new lines until I really thought about it for awhile. There's nothing that precludes researchers from doing research on new lines.

If people wanted this so bad, what prevented them from pulling out their checkbooks? Hello, there, Silicon Valley. There's lots of rich people there. How about a donation? You, too, Hollywood, if this is such a big issue.

As to why Obama's doing it, well, two reasons. First, it satisfies a niche constituency, who like to see abortion-related topics pressed to the forefront at every opportunity. Second, his tax plan does probably kill off the possibility of private funding.

(I'm pro-choice, BTW. But to look past Obama's shallow political motives, and to ignore the reality of the situation while Bush was president is very foolish.)

Proper role of government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104419)

This is not a question of morality it is a question of the proper role of government.

If it's okay for the federal government to fund stem cell research then it's also okay for the government to be giving away billions of dollars to various failed banks; giving billions to artists to create works; spending billions on space research; spending billions on casinos; etc..

It's odd to see that people approve of government dollars (viz. our money - because the government really doesn't have any money) when it's something they want but disapprove of the spending when it's not something interesting to them. People never stop to think that the abuse of government to take money from people and use it to fund some special project that's favored by some group is simply a broken idea:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

--Alexander Tyler

Let's consider this quote from the summary:

But it means that scientists who until now have had to rely on private donations to work with these newer stem cell lines can apply for government money for the research . . ..

So why were the private donations so bad? That's exactly how it should operate: people that want the research are paying for it. Why do we laud Scaled Composites, Armadillo Aerospace and others? Because they are privately funding and building business plans for productive, private space exploration rather than improper use and wasteful spending of federal dollars as practiced by NASA.

Let those that want things privately fund and develop productive business plans for stem cell research, space exploration, arts, etc. - not the general public voting for cake and circuses out of other peoples pockets. In economic times like these it should be most obvious that the federal government shouldn't be frivolously spending our money.

I propose a deal... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104581)

I think it's time for religious people and atheists to start to mutually respect each others views in this country.
So to that end - I promise not to use any stem cells from the families of any religious people who object to this practice. I also promise not to use any of the knowledge gained from this research to cure the families of these same people of any diseases or injuries.

In return, the religious can respect MY views, and stop worrying about families of people who do not subscribe to their particular morality. We can take care of our own families without their intervention.

Reason behind the tag thegreatpretender? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27104589)

What's the reason behind the tag thegreatpretender?

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