Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Stem Cell Bill Passes in Australia

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the dolly-unavailable-for-comment dept.

Biotech 253

nickd writes "Having recently being passed in the Senate by only 2 votes, an Australian bill to overturn the ban on 'theraputic cloning' has now been passed in the House of Representatives by 82-62. The amendment that was seeking to prevent stem cells being extracted from the eggs of aborted late term female fetuses has also been voted down. The changes will allow scientists to create and use embryos up to 14 days old for research."

cancel ×

253 comments

Damn you secularists! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131884)

You will reap what you sew! You hear me?!

Pssshhhaw (3, Funny)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132002)

Everyone knows that 6,000 years ago Australia was created by God as a place where the Hebrews could send "uncooperative" members of the tribe. The fact that this stratergy wasn't follow through with until much later (by a different tribe) doesn't make it any less true. ;-)

Re:Pssshhhaw (3, Funny)

emor8t (1033068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132176)

England was a tribe? Or even better yet, Australia is only 6,000 years old? This facts are so new and strange to me. I blame their backwards flushing toilets.

No.. (2, Interesting)

The Creator (4611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134100)

the *whoosh* sound was not the toilet.. :)

Visit to Australia (5, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132706)

My friend went to visit Australia, but he got into a big hassle with Customs. When he arrived the asked him if he had a criminal record. He said " I didn't realize it was still required"

After that... (5, Funny)

le0p (932717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132030)

"The changes will allow scientists to create and use embryos up to 14 days old for research."

The article failed to mention that after 14 days they will be used to create a Shaky's Pizza for each scientist!

Re:After that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17132820)

that was just dumb. apparently sitting on /. just waiting for a chance to get modded funny doesn't improve your comedic skills. get a job.

Good (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17132074)

Glad some country isn't taking Christian fundamentalist BS.

Re:Good (1, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132392)

So only fundamentalist Christians are made a bit uncomfortable with some of these new concepts of cloning, use of aborted embryos for research. I would find that a bit surprising. Perhaps this just looks like a good opportunity to insult some group of people that you disagree with, while adding nothing to the debate. Big surprise there.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132580)

I'm generally surprised by the need people feel to insult the religious, but on Slashdot, I expect it in droves.

Re:Good (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133144)

the key is to create a good foes/friends list. Make sure you have the trolls and brats on your foes list then suppress foes. It really filters out the riffraff. For example, i never saw the parent to your post. I suspect the slashdot I see is completely different.

Re:Good (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17133312)

First up I should state I'm a secular agnostic.

Now, with that out of the way, it's a two way street. On slashdot I've seen plenty of religion bashing, but elsewhere you see plenty of atheist bashing from the religious right. "Atheists have no morals" - that's a common one.

Given that religion has been dominant for almost all of western history (and still is in many parts of the world), and further given that up until fairly recently (in historical terms) non-believers were subject to punishment, can you really blame the secular crowd for having a chip on their shoulder? You'd be mad too if "the religious" were constantly ragging on your beliefs.

Want to stop seeing your religion trashed? Start telling your kin to stop annoying/insulting/trying to convert everyone who doesn't share their faith. You can't tell the opposition to stop without looking like a whiner, but you can tell the religious to stop hurling stones of their own.

Re:Good (0, Troll)

brainburger (792239) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133860)

Want to stop seeing your religion trashed?


Give it up. Demolish your church. Sack your minister. Recycle your leaflets. Put your books in the library in the fiction section. Distribute your church's wealth to something worthwhile.
See the cosmos as it is, not as you would wish it to be.
Tell your kids it was all a bad dream.
Apologise to society at large.
Get up off your knees.
Take responsibility.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132776)

So only fundamentalist Christians are made a bit uncomfortable with some of these new concepts of cloning, use of aborted embryos for research.


No, they aren't the only ones but almost all fundamentalists Christians are made at least a bit uncomfortable, and they are the group against the use of both stem cells and cloning technology that carries the most political clout, at least in the U.S., where the Conservative movement and, in particular, the Republican Party have set back important and potentially life-saving stem cell research by decades because they wish to impose their religious and moral views on everyone else who may or may not agree with them through legislation.

Go ahead, fundies, mod me down! Join me on the Dark Side!

Re:Good (0, Flamebait)

lgw (121541) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133346)

I'm no fundamentalist, but creating embryos for research purposes strikes me as a bit creepy. Are you sure that creating (at least the beginning of) a human life simple for the purpose of destructive testing is OK? It seems to me that "shoot first and ask moral questions later" might not be the best approach, if the goal is saving lives. Historically, thos who have said "they are really people, and real people can be helped by killing them" haven't been judged well.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133822)

I'm no fundamentalist, but creating embryos for research purposes strikes me as a bit creepy.

As opposed to dying of Parkinson's or various other diseases that cloning research may cure?

I would suppose putting dead viruses into my body is a bit creepy too, but I'd rather do that than die from a disease that could have been prevented with a vaccination.

Rather than looking at just the creepiness factor, you should consider how much human suffering you can cause or alleviate by the choice.

If the choice will save lives and end suffering while not causing suffering to a sentient being, then the choice is clear. Of course this depends on your definition of what a sentient being is...

I for one do no consider human embryos to be sentient nor conscious. Since they were never going to exist anyways in a conscious form seeing these embryos would never be used to create human life.

However, I would more likely to object to research on humans or embryos that was going to be a conscious human unless perhaps they died of natural causes and the next of kin agreed or had some organ donor agreement before hand.

Re:Good (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134256)

This stem cell debate being pushed by those "pro-choice" people who are looking for benefits to abortion. It serves their agenda to dehumanize unborn children. They call them "blastocysts, fetuses, genetic material, but never unborn children. All that aside, when it comes to stem cells, they have yet to give me an decent, honest answer to these questions:
What's wrong with the stem cell lines we already have?
Why the push to create endless stem cell lines when a stem cell will reproduce to more and more stem cells forever?
Why are we wasting money, time and energy creating more stem cell lines when those resources could be spent on the actual research?
What's wrong with adult stem cell research?

Wouldn't it serve these "suffering people" to stop arguing about creating new lines and instead use those resources on the research itself? After all, it's the research that has the potential to cure people, not the production of stem cells. How many stem cell lines does it take to cure Parkinson's? If you really cared about these people, you'd be screaming for more money for research, not lines.

Re:Good (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134494)

Actually I was very surprised to see 'creating embryos' listed as part of that legislation. I would think that Australia, like the U.S. would have so many unused embryos from in-vitro fertilization clinics that there would be absolutely no need to worry about creating new ones just for science.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17132812)

So only fundamentalist Christians are made a bit uncomfortable with some of these new concepts of cloning, use of aborted embryos for research.
No, but I have yet to meet somebody stupid enough to think that stem cells come from abortion clinics who was not also a fundie loon. So you'll forgive me if I don't take that line seriously anymore.

(Look up "IVF" clinics, and do some research. There are no aborted fetuses used for research. That lie was fed to you by your religion, and you bought it, hook line and sinker. There are only unused and unimplanted fertilized eggs.)

Re:Good (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133248)

My religion has never told me anything about the subject. So much for that theory. I think most people are aware that in most cases we are talking about fertility clinics. At least that is what is repeated in most news articles whenever the subject comes up. You seem to think that you know so much more than anyone else. I bet you are a real blast at parties.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17134226)

While you are right that it is in reality fertility clinics, the really uninformed (read: most people) typically associate it with abortions, for some reason.

Re:Good (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133496)

So only fundamentalist Christians are made a bit uncomfortable with some of these new concepts of cloning, use of aborted embryos for research.

Well there are the Luddites, but we don't bother insulting them because they don't use the internets and would never know that we are making fun of them.

Re:Good (4, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133590)

Genetic research is not and never has been about "aborted embryos". This is one of the most common misconceptions of genetic research.

By the time an abortion has happened, it's WAY TOO LATE to use for genetic research.

What is used are frozen results from fertility clinics. When a couple has trouble reproducing, they'll sample some eggs and sperm from the couple, and put them together. They usually end up with a number of results, perhaps a dozen or more. They then try them, one by one.

When the woman gets pregnant, they're done - and there's usually a few left over.

So, once again: Genetic researchers do not use aborted fetuses.

Re:Good (1, Troll)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134424)

So only fundamentalist Christians are made a bit uncomfortable with some of these new concepts of cloning, use of aborted embryos for research. I would find that a bit surprising. Perhaps this just looks like a good opportunity to insult some group of people that you disagree with, while adding nothing to the debate. Big surprise there.

Actually, as far as I can tell, Fundamentalist Christians have objections to the concept of Women's Lib.

Observe.

Originally, the argument was that Women should be subservient to men. This was added when King James re-wrote the bible as an "interpretation."

Next, the argument was that women should be at home, married, with children. They could run the household, sure, as long as the man didn't care.

Then, it was "Birth Control is for Harlots", and they ran around either harassing, firebombing, or in general making it very, very difficult to find for a rather long time. (The current "I'm sorry, I may be paid to fill your prescriptions, but I refuse because you're a whore." theme with some southern pharmacists is a throwback to this.)

After that sunk, the next argument was that Abortion is murder. The Embryo is sacred life, and aborting it before it becomes able to live on it's own is evil and wrong. (Important note: Fundamentalists, as a whole, don't care what happens after the kid is born, just beforehand.)

The current argument is that the mere PREVENTION of pregnancy is murder -- at least when the prevention comes from a purely chemical means. (Unless you're daring to try and make condoms available to poor people, that's apparently bad too.) This is the official reasoning for the objections to the Morning After pill. Of course, this intentionally (at least, I hope it's intentional misdirection and not unintentional ignorance) ignores the fact that the Morning After pill is not a "take a pill, your baby is dead" situation, but rather, "You take a pill, your womb prevents the egg from being fertilized".

There's only a few common themes here. If you take the most recent arguments, you get a trend that the real argument is "Women -- or people in general -- shouldn't be allowed to enjoy sex". If you take the arguments a bit further, you get a trend that says "Women do not have the right to make their own decisions" -- be it reproductive decisions, legal decisions, what have you.

But, anyway.

The Stem Cell research bit is wrapped up in this. You see, you can't really avoid being against Stem Cell research when you are still trying to put on a public face about being against abortion due to "honestly" believing that life begins at orgasm. (Not conception, since with the Morning After pill, there is no conception that takes place. Again, that's the entire point of the morning after pill.) (Nevermind that every time someone goes to a fertility clinic, the same stem cells get created at Fertility Clinics -- indeed, most stem cells for research COME from Fertility Clinics [washingtonpost.com] .

Of course, calling Fertility doctors "mass murders" and putting pictures of their faces, homes, and children up on websites (in a King Henry the 2nd, "Who will rid me of this troublesome Heretic" type situation) would probably get a bit of a backlash, considering that, well, who's going to complain about doctors being able to help infertile couples have children?

But hey, "genocidal, devil worshiping Nazi-doctor-like abortionists" like those evil stem cell researchers? Sure thing!

Re:Good (4, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132786)

Glad some country isn't taking Christian fundamentalist BS.

WOW! I smoke, drink, do drugs and download porn. I had no idea I was a fundamentalist!

What happens when they pass a law that allows for experimentation on people your age?

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132982)

People can volunteer for experimentation right now.

Too abd this isn't about people, it's about a ball of about 128 cells.

Or do yo cry for all the 'people' that your body sheds every day?

Re:Good (0, Troll)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133114)

People can volunteer for experimentation right now.

Too abd this isn't about people, it's about a ball of about 128 cells.

Or do yo cry for all the 'people' that your body sheds every day?


I have volunteered myself. I have no problem with experiments on humans (read: people) as long as the person agrees to it. My problem is the potential for women to get pregnant so they can get an abortion and get paid by an equally unscrupulous scientist. Why not pay little Betty $100 to get an abortion instead of the $1000 it would cost to get the "material" from a reputable source. (prices and fees entirely fabricated, of course)

Re:Good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17133618)

> Why not pay little Betty $100 to get an abortion instead of the $1000 it would cost to get the "material" from a reputable source.

Err... because that would be illegal, just like any unregulated trafficing in illegal tissue. Same reason Betty won't sell you her kidney.

There's already laws to protect 'little Betty' from unethical harvesting, the only thing the ban is about is whether it's ethical at any level to use discarded blastocytes or embroyos (sp?), so fundamentally it's an issue of whether you consider the embroyo sentient. Trying to make it a free market issue is just silly and distracting (probably the latter is why you wrote what you did.)

Banning stem cell creation != banning resarch (0, Troll)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134112)

> Why not pay little Betty $100 to get an abortion instead of the $1000 it would cost to get the "material" from a reputable source.

Err... because that would be illegal, just like any unregulated trafficing in illegal tissue. Same reason Betty won't sell you her kidney.

There's already laws to protect 'little Betty' from unethical harvesting, the only thing the ban is about is whether it's ethical at any level to use discarded blastocytes or embroyos (sp?), so fundamentally it's an issue of whether you consider the embroyo sentient. Trying to make it a free market issue is just silly and distracting (probably the latter is why you wrote what you did.)


Good point. However, saying that this will not create a market for aborted children (yes, I called them children), is equally silly. Maybe Betty won't see the benefits, but the clinics, the scientist, or whoever does the collection/harvesting will.

You are correct that this is an abortion issue. I consider a growing baby (call it whatever you want) an honest to goodness human being. Having a two month old at home changes your perspective. I have no reason to love my daughter. Honestly, all she does it eat, shit cry, and not occasionally enough, sleep. She can do little more than she could as a "blastocyst" (as I've heard it called). She barely discovered her hands, I'd hardly call her sentient. I love her because of the person she will become. I love her because of her potential.

I see this stem cell debate being pushed by those "pro-choice" people who are looking for benefits to abortion. It serves their agenda to have unborn children made into something other than humans. They call them "blastocysts, fetuses, genetic material, but never unborn children. All that aside, when it comes to stem cells, they have yet to give me an decent, honest answer to these questions:
What's wrong with the stem cell lines we already have?
Why the push to create endless stem cell lines when a stem cell will reproduce to more and more stem cells forever?
Why are we wasting money, time and energy creating more stem cell lines when those resources could be spent on the actual research?
What's wrong with adult stem cell research?

Re:Banning stem cell creation != banning resarch (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134484)

What's wrong with the stem cell lines we already have?
Those limited stem cell lines are contaminated with mouse genes.

Why the push to create endless stem cell lines when a stem cell will reproduce to more and more stem cells forever?
No cell can reproduce forever. Telomeres inside each cell dictate how many times it can reproduce.

Why are we wasting money, time and energy creating more stem cell lines when those resources could be spent on the actual research?
You can't properly carry out the research if you don't have a clean supply of stem cells to work from.

What's wrong with adult stem cell research?
Nothing, but why not pursue all avenues of possibility?

Reading your previous posts, I can appreciate your "pro-life" outlook with the birth of your child, but you have to temper your euphoria with reality at some point. Blastocysts and an actual living breathing baby have about as much in common as a sunflower seed and a sunflower. A sunflower seed can blossom into a sunflower, but no one could mistake the seed for the full-blown real thing.

If experimenting on microscopic cells can credibly lead to a cure for some horrific diseases, I'm all for it. When the image of babies/children are brought into the mix on pretty much any issue, common sense and logic go right out the window.

Re:Good (0)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134028)

My problem is the potential for women to get pregnant so they can get an abortion and get paid by an equally unscrupulous scientist.

Conflating two significantly different situations like this is blatantly dishonest. You should be ashamed of yourself - *ESPECIALLY* if you actually do consider yourself Christian.

Re:Good (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134296)

You're partially correct, my example sucked. Read my response to someone else who said the same thing you did, but in politer terms.

No, I like where this is going. (1)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133156)

The standard response to your assertion is that embryos are genetically unique, and that's when they become people, endowed with immortal souls and whatnot.

So, are identical twins one person? Which one gets the soul? Does it alternate? Do they each get half a soul? What about chimeras [wikipedia.org] --do they have two souls? Do they get to vote twice?

Now, you might be thinking, that's ridiculous! But if you're going to start accepting criteria like sapience or a fully-formed nervous system, then you're back onto the slippery materialist slope and you'll be sucking down delicious baby smoothies within the week. None of that! Like begins at conception, twins share a soul and chimeras have two. If you disagree, you eat babies.

Re:Good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17133078)

What happens when they pass a law that allows for experimentation on people your age?
If a two-week-old pre-embryonic blastocyst ever beomes comparable to someone my age, I want to play chess with it. Until then, I want it to be available to any and all researchers who can get some use out of it before it gets trashed with all the other biohazard waste.

Re:Good (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133214)

If a two-week-old pre-embryonic blastocyst ever beomes comparable to someone my age, I want to play chess with it. Until then, I want it to be available to any and all researchers who can get some use out of it before it gets trashed with all the other biohazard waste.

There are many Alzheimer's patients around the world that have the mental capacity as two-week-old pre-embryonic blastocyst and would probably do about as well against you in a game of chess. Do these people (I can't think of a term as cold as pre-embryonic blastocyst) have no rights?

Personally, I do not determine the rights of a person on their ability to play chess!

YES! (-1, Flamebait)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132094)

Well, it had to happen.

A political body has done something sensible.

I mean, it's like proton decay. It *had* to happen eventually.

Re:YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17132180)

I dont believe creating a market for human embryos is a good idea, which is why Bush was/is so against it.
But hey, Bush was responsible for hurricane Katrina too.....

Ethical Science. (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132924)

All this stuff about Stem Cell Research, Abortion... Is really about one thing really which no one want to define.
Where is the line between Ethical Science and Unethical Science. This is the issue which needs to be debated not every single thing that falls in the gray area.

We know there are some things that are defenatly beyond the range of ethical science. Like Killing healthy and productive people to examin how a perfectly working body and mind works, or taking identical twins away from their parents at birth and giving one a loving family and putting an other one in a box with no human interaction to see where the limit of Nature vs. Nuture lays. Even though these things if widly experemented could help out greater humanity but it beyond the range of Ethical Science, and should be avoided.

Now things like Stem Cell resheach is falling in a Gray areas. Where people feel both ways about it. For Sciencetist there is no real line for this gray area so it is up to them to realize how far to go. This could be good or bad. But that is where the problem lays.

For those people who are against this type of science, it is not because they are religios extreamest or sciencetificly enept. It is just that when they look into the gray area it seems to dark for them to say yes this is right. As well the people who are for it are not always Unreligious, imoral, who only listen to science as the only source of wisdom. They look at the spot in the gray area and they see it is more light then dark.

We can't allow Scienctist to do whatever they want just because they want to see the results, just as much we can't prevent sciencetist from learning more just because interpration of books written over a thousand years ago say it is not right.

So Stem Cell research is actually a very difficult topic and not something that is compleatly sensible at all. It is a difficult decision.

Re:Ethical Science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17133236)

If you're going to try and make a reasoned argument, or just state your point in a credible manner, please run it through a spell checker first. Reading this stuff is like trying to listen to someone speak when they keep spitting in your face. It just ruins our ability to concentrate on what you're trying to say.

Re:Ethical Science. (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134564)

We know there are some things that are defenatly beyond the range of ethical science.

Yes, but the question is, what is the basis for caring about doing things ethically? If it's just aesthetic, i.e. unethical = that which makes us feel bad, and there's nothing deeper about it than that, then you may as well do an aesthetic cost/benefit analysis for even those actions that at first strike you as unethical. Besides, what one generation finds unethical, the next generation might be more willing to accept, so maybe doing research that kills blastocysts is worth it despite it being troubling, because future generations may benefit from the research without being troubled.

If the grounding for caring about ethics is more than just wanting to avoid feeling icky, however, then there's a possibility that we should act ethically even when doing so seems to cost us. For instance, forgoing a chance to heal Parkinson's victims so that we can avoid unethical science.

So even when Christians and non-Christians agree on that a particular act is unethical, they may disagree on how much other apparent benefit is worth forgoing to avoid that unethical act.

For God's sake stop this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17132098)

The Limbo of Children is *not* prepared to accomodate so many -8.5 month old babies.

Re:For God's sake stop this! (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132218)

Actually, I think it limbo for blastula at that point...

Re:For God's sake stop this! (2, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134192)

Well, they'd better make room so we can see how low they can go.

Finally the neo-con world agenda is slippin (-1, Flamebait)

arcite (661011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132106)

Now we can get back to building the future, this is the 21st century after all.

We Do It Because We Can (-1)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132244)

Science must proceed. Ethics, moral qualms _can_ be outvoted.

Re:We Do It Because We Can (3, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132306)

believe it or not, some people find *not* doing this more unethical/immoral than doing this.

This can take something that is rather upleasant in the first place, that would not be avoided, and turn it into something that can save millions of lives.

That being said, I hope the bill has a rider in it that says a person cannot recieve compensation for donating the genetic material.

Re:We Do It Because We Can (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132666)

I used to be one of those hard core christian types until my mother got multiple myeloma cancer. Fortunate for her they were able do a self stem cell transplant by harvesting them from her bone marrow. This stuff WILL SAVES LIVES and when it their mom people will start to understand.

Re:We Do It Because We Can (3, Insightful)

frederec (911880) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132856)

I think the problem most Christians have with stem cells is not using them, but where they came from. So using stem cells from someone's bone marrow is okay, but using them from an aborted child is not. The big problem is the same that people have with organ donation. Not that what can be done with them is bad, but people become afraid that if someone's life is on the line, a doctor may not be as inclined to save them if their organs can be harvested. It's similar with stem cells, why not just encourage abortion and harvest the cells? It can be a little to close to Soylent Green for most people's taste.

Re:We Do It Because We Can (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132910)

Thank God we are spending so much on *adult" stem cell research. Without it, there is a very high possibility that the same treatment from embryonic stem cells would have given her cancer (irony not meant to be humorous).

I'm glad things worked out for your family.

Re:We Do It Because We Can (1)

whatever1856 (985063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134052)

christians are not against stem cell research. the media just makes it seem that way because whenever they are talking about embryonic stem cell research, they leave off the embryonic part. Christians for the most part are all for research into the many other types of stem cells that don't involve ending a human life to study.

Re:We Do It Because We Can (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132850)

believe it or not, some people find *not* doing this more unethical/immoral than doing this.

And some people believe that *not* killing infidels is more unethical/immoral than letting them live. Does that make them right?

That being said, I hope the bill has a rider in it that says a person cannot recieve compensation for donating the genetic material.

Excellent point. Granted, these are aborted babies that will be tossed anyway, but I'd hate to see a market for this "material" spring up.

Re:We Do It Because We Can (2, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132988)

believe it or not, some people find *not* doing this more unethical/immoral than doing this.

And some people believe that *not* killing infidels is more unethical/immoral than letting them live. Does that make them right?
No, but the OP said something suggesting that this was basically a voteout against morals or something like that, which I will argue it wasn't, because there are certain camps of morality that believe there is nothing wrong with this.

I think there is nothing wrong with stem cells being harvested/used instead of decaying in the ground.

I believe that there is nothing wrong with a fetus being developed used, in a lab (not in a woman) and terminated before there is a chance for any neural tissue (and hence brain activity) to form. No one is being hurt by this, the life that was created wouldn't have been created anyway, and it has less ability to feel pain than the average lab animal used for various experiments.

Ethics? (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133800)

Why whould it be unethical to experiment on an unconsious lump of cells?

Re:Ethics? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134560)

Why whould it be unethical to experiment on an unconsious lump of cells?
It wouldn't be unethical at all. Now if you could just give an accepted definition of unconsciousness, that would be really great.

Re:Ethics? (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134594)

accepted by whom?

Australia has a "house" and "senate"? (0, Flamebait)

carn1fex (613593) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132256)

I figured they just sorta split into two teams with rival pieces of legislation on opposite goal posts and played some sort of mad max rugby with no pads to determine what passes.

Re:Australia has a "house" and "senate"? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132594)

Be careful what you ask for. A lot of Republicans played football and a lot of Democrats were in the marching band. ;-)

Re:Australia has a "house" and "senate"? (1)

golgoj4 (993133) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132948)

Maybe its just me, but football seems a lil to close to manual labor. I figure a high school tom delay would have been taking bets. And what sport did mark foley play? Or was he on the cheer squad?

Re:Australia has a "house" and "senate"? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132998)

Be careful what you ask for. A lot of Republicans played football and a lot of Democrats were in the marching band. ;-)

And George Bush was a cheerleader! Cheney is armed, however.

Re:Australia has a "house" and "senate"? (1)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132902)

I figured they just sorta split into two teams with rival pieces of legislation on opposite goal posts and played some sort of mad max rugby with no pads to determine what passes.

Yeah, that's pretty much what they do - it's called parliament.
Oh, don't act all shocked! It works most of the time.

Is there bias showing the article itself? (5, Informative)

BirdDoggy (886894) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132346)

Using the term embryo conveys a level of development not present at up to 14 days of development. At 14 days, we're talking about a blastocyst. Technically, it needs to be 3 weeks old before it can be considered an embryo.

Re:Is there bias showing the article itself? (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132582)

If they wanted to show some real bias, they would have called them dead babies.

Re:Is there bias showing the article itself? (3, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133540)

If they wanted to show some real bias, they would have called them dead babies.

No, they would have called them "possible future Einsteins and Ghandis." Although I always get a laugh out of that one since they avoid the "possible future Idi Amins and Stalins," too. Look, mah, no Godwin!

It's what the public knows... (1)

Marnhinn (310256) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132724)

I doubt its bias, the term is used simply to convey the message to general public. For your average person that reads the article, they may not know what a blastocyst is, and so the author decided to use embryo.

(Although there may be different reprecussions from using embryo since some critics may take it to mean 3 weeks rather than 14 days.)

Repurcusions for the U.S.? (4, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132418)

If we begin seeing stem cell harvesting/research being allowed in other industrial countries, what are the repurcussions for the U.S.? I don't think we can hold out forever, at some point I'd expect some researches to start moving to more hospitable countries, and pharmaceutical companies in those countries (such as Australia) taking a definitive lead in stem cell therapy and research. As a nation, can we afford to just let the world pass us, even if there are "moral" concerns regarding the technology by our government?

Re:Repurcusions for the U.S.? (1)

Thunderstruck (210399) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132630)

What, exactly, prohibits stem cell research in the United States? Is there a federal law that says "stem cell research impacts interstate commerce, and is hereby prohibited." Or is it more like "We're not going to provide any funding for groups that do stem cell research?"

Re:Repurcusions for the U.S.? (1)

Amandyke (1036458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133096)

The only kind of stem cell research that is illegal in the US is embryonic stem cell research (stem cells harvested from aborted fetus's). Adult stem cell research has never been illegal and is the only form of stem cell research that has shown progress and led to huge advances in medical science. Embryonic stem cells simply tend to be rejected by the host body.

Re:Repurcusions for the U.S.? (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133610)

The only kind of stem cell research that is illegal in the US is embryonic stem cell research (stem cells harvested from aborted fetus's).

The u.s. federal government actually legislated this into law? I was under the impression it was an executive order that Dubya signed that banned federal money from being used on projects that use embryonic stem cells, private research would not be affected (is that the proper use of the a?)

Re:Repurcusions for the U.S.? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133728)

The only kind of stem cell research that is illegal in the US is embryonic stem cell research (stem cells harvested from aborted fetus's). Adult stem cell research has never been illegal and is the only form of stem cell research that has shown progress and led to huge advances in medical science. Embryonic stem cells simply tend to be rejected by the host body.

Not necessarily true. Embryonic stem cell research is allowed in the US, from unwanted, lab fertilized eggs. It is even federally funded, but only on the stem cell lines that existed in August of 2001 when the executive order was given. What is NOT FUNDED is the experimentation on, or creation of, new EMBRYONIC stem cell lines.

Re:Repurcusions for the U.S.? (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134512)


But as your brother post points out, private embryonic stem cell research is legal.

You cannot get federal funding for stem cell research on new cell lines. Everything else is fine.

Re:Repurcusions for the U.S.? (1)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133090)

It's allowed in most of the developed world already. The prolife / prochoice debate is almost uniquely a catholic / american thing. Its not an issue throughout most of Northern Europe or Asia.

(In NW Europe, the only country blocking this is Ireland)

Re:Repurcusions for the U.S.? (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134558)


It is allowed in the US. Privately funded embryonic stem cell research is allowed.

Federally funded is allowed, if you use existing stem cell lines.

So technically, W was the first president to fund stem cell research... He actually came up with a compromise on the issue (that satisfies neither side, thus the compromise).

Re:Repurcusions for the U.S.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17134438)

As a nation, can we afford to just let the world pass us

Sure we can, we already have a higher infant mortality rate than Cuba. I'd say if Cuban babies have a better chance of living than American babies, the world done passed us.

This won't help us in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17132458)

We need stem cell lines from the Northern Hemisphere. Everything is different down there. They're having summer down there while we have winter, and the toilets flush in the opposite manner. The Australian stem cell lines come from adults and they keep getting younger. Up here in the Northern Hemisphere the embryonic cell lines grow up to become adult lines, but in Australia, they take stem cells from adults that grow back into embryonic lines.

Ewwwww (3, Funny)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134166)

and the toilets flush in the opposite manner
You mean in Australia when you flush the loo, it shoots back out at you? I for one don't think I'll be visiting there anytime soon. :P

U.S. the new "down under"? (-1, Flamebait)

shabushabu (961717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132632)

It's incredible how countries around the world are prepared to take bold steps to further science, while we are still mired in our ridiculous issues. (I'm sorry, but squashing a potential cure for a disease like Parkinson's, to protect an embryo that was going to be destroyed anyway, does not fall under my definition of "ethics") Leave it to the fundamentalists, and our country is going "down under".

Re:U.S. the new "down under"? (5, Insightful)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133172)

True. Throughout the 30's, european scientists often had moral issues with the medical research they were performing, but their work expanded the field of medicine greatly. True, many complained that the test subjects were not being given a choice, or that the experiments were a bit cruel and often resulted in maiming or killing the patient. However, science won out over ethics at that time, and it was science and the extent of human knowledge that benefited. Of course, it also left psychological scars on the world that won't go away for a very long time.

I do not have a significant qualm regarding stem cell research. I have limited issues with cloning ONLY for the purpose of producing more research material. I also do not consider an embryo to be on the same moral level as a fetus, or a fetus to be the same thing as a viable baby. But I do think every major advance in science presents us with a new slippery slope, and that concepts of morality change drastically over time, based primarily on the decisions made by previous generations.

You can rest assured that whatever you consider slightly dubious but warranted or necessary today with either be absolutely shunned by your children's children, or embraced in ways that would horrify you.

Without a clear line being drawn, I guarantee you that some parts of the world will do whatever is possible. Once you loosen the boundries in one area (creating biologically human lives, even if of highly dubious status), the rest can quickly fall like dominoes. Then you end up with debate over how far a test subject should be allowed to gestate before it's consumed, or debate over the legal status of a human created by humans specifically for study. Genetic manipulation only makes the lines blur further.

Progress is the core of modern society. But err on the side of caution, because the last century has shown what happens when you let morality take a back seat to that progress.

It's the new "FOR THE CHILDREN!' catch phrase! (3, Insightful)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133398)

>potential cure for a disease like Parkinson's

Look, I'm as pro-stem cell research as you can be. I think it's great, and I think someone is going to do it no matter what so we might as be the ones who do it.

But I'm tired of the arguement that says, "We must do X, because it could possibly do Y".

It might NOT do Y, also. We do scientific research to gain knowlege. Sometimes there's even a goal in mind behind the search for that knowlege. But this constant shrieking that "We must do stem cell research because it could cure disease (fill in the blank) smacks to much of the the old saw "We must do it FOR THE CHILLLLLLDREEEENNNNN!".

Steve

Re:U.S. the new "down under"? (2, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133514)

It's incredible how countries around the world are prepared to take bold steps to further science, while we are still mired in our ridiculous issues. (I'm sorry, but squashing a potential cure for a disease like Parkinson's, to protect an embryo that was going to be destroyed anyway, does not fall under my definition of "ethics") Leave it to the fundamentalists, and our country is going "down under"

You, who speaks so highly of ethics, have just told a boldfaced lie. You know as well as I do that the US government is funding embryonic stem cell research by an executive order by George W. Bush. This is the first funding of such research in US history. The US government is also funding "adult" stem cell research, which strangely enough has shown much more promise than embryonic stem cell research. What the executive order forbids is the harvesting and destruction of human embryos to create new and unnecessary stem cell lines. This is done to prevent a market for human embryos and cloning.

Please, stop lying and tell the truth. (If you didn't know this, please accept my apologies for calling you a liar. Please replace all reference to liar with ingoramous. You should really do some genuine research before posting or even forming an opinion based on sound bites and bumper stickers)

Societal Degeneration From The Non-Christian Left (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17132686)

We live on this Earth for a finite time, but our eternal fate is really what's in question. Just remember that if Christians are wrong, they have really lost nothing other than some time and effort. If Christians are correct, then you, as a non-Christian, have lost everything. Are you willing to make that gamble?

Re:Societal Degeneration From The Non-Christian Le (3, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133056)

If Christians are correct, then you, as a non-Christian, have lost everything. Are you willing to make that gamble?
s/Christian/Muslim, and that's still just as accurate. How do you know that your god is real and theirs is not? I don't see you wearing a turban though (or a burqua, though I somehow doubt you're a woman).

Since you can't join every religion (many of them won't allow it), and since you cannot know for a certainty in advance which of them is right (out of several thousand), plus you cannot rule out the possibility that the "one true faith" died out thousands of years ago (have you ensured you can get into Valhalla?)... basically you're screwed no matter what you do. The odds are against Christians as much as they are against everyone else.

Pascal's wager is bunk, and always has been.

Re:Societal Degeneration From The Non-Christian Le (1)

mrpeebles (853978) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133350)

No, Muslims and Christians are both right. Muslims go to Christian Hell, and Christians go to Islamic hell. :-)

Re:Societal Degeneration From The Non-Christian Le (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133890)

The Mormons are the ones that are correct. Anybody who watches South Park knows that.

Re:Societal Degeneration From The Non-Christian Le (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133164)

And what if it turns out the Almighty is, in fact, a giant chicken? We're all screwed then.

Cept for some of those extreme vegans that won't even eat eggs. They might luck out.

Just because they may end up being 'wrong' doesn't mean they don't have a worse fate coming to them. You may call my argument absurd, but on what grounds? Your belief that I'm wrong? I don't mind you having your own system of belief, but I'll be damned if you attempt to squelch my recent conversion to Chickenanity.

Re:Societal Degeneration From The Non-Christian Le (0, Offtopic)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134634)

Even if Christians are correct, I find their deity morally reprehensible-- while their God may have the power to absolve sins, it would be immoral for me to accept such absolution. Might makes right is not a valid basis for morality-- even a Christian God must be subject to universal moral principles, else the basis of morality is whimsical. Consequently, God-- xtian or otherwise, can have no moral authority to absolve, as the concept itself is anti-moral.

So to answer your question, Yes, if the Christians are right, I will march off to Hell proudly. However, I expect that it is you who, allowed to enter the Christian Heaven, but without many of your loved ones who didn't believe, who will have found the true hell.

This is not about stem cells... (-1, Flamebait)

RecycledElectrons (695206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132704)

This is not about stem cells, this is about totempotent stem cells, which show no use in treating anyone ofr anything.

Polypotent stem cells, OTOH, are imensely useful, and can not be obtained from embryos.

This is about providing a phony claim that abortion can cure diseases. This is purely political.

The single most amazing thing is that feminisits want to kill baby girls and harvest their ovaries to make more babies to kill. Hitler was a kind & gentle man compared to these NAZIs.

Andy Out!

Re:This is not about stem cells... (1)

Isotopian (942850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133038)

Before you get all high and mighty on us, and people actually listen to what you're saying, perhaps you should make sure you mean TOTIpotent [wikipedia.org] , not "totempotent," whatever that means. Stem cells that create totem poles, perhaps?

Re:This is not about stem cells... (2, Informative)

EmTeedee (948267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133094)

Totipotent stem cells can differentiate into any other cell type. Polypotent (I guess you refer to pluripotent) are a later type of cells. The point is, totipotent stem cells are as good (or better) than pluripotent cells. But I agree, that it should never be an excuse for abortion. There should be no benefit (be it monetary or whatever) for donating stem cells.

Re:This is not about stem cells... (1)

cpbrown (794387) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133166)

totempotent and polypotent?

Surely totipotent and pluripotent. totipotent stem cells are the least differentiated, and so yield the most potential, it is just that we do not know fully how to harness it - since pluripotent stem cells are further down the developmental line to totipotent, then we can use the new legislation to legally derive pluripotent cells, which admittedly are of better use at this moment in time, though resarch needs to be done with totipotenc cells more. And as for multipotent, oligopotent and unipotent HES lines .. these all follow suit.

Re:This is not about stem cells... (1)

freeweed (309734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134218)

George, they let you use the internets now?

Enlighten me please! (1)

SCO STINKS (858283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17132938)

I know embryonic stem cells are a good source for research. However, I have heard that adult stem cells (somatic stem cell) are also becoming easier to harvest. Is there any difference in these types of cells?

Isn't somatic stem cell research ok in the U.S.?

Somatic research legal and gov. funded (1)

maddogsparky (202296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134298)

"Isn't somatic stem cell research ok in the U.S.?"

Yes. Somatic (adult) stem cell research is even endorsed by many religious groups (e.g. mainstream protestant and Catholicsm both support adult stem cell research). The main conflict is over the use of embryonic stem cells due to unresolved conflict about when human life begins.

However, the mainstream media distorts the issue and tries to make the conflict appear to be either for or against stem cell research in general. It almost always reports on how some people believe embryonic stem cell research is not funded by the government. Often within a single article, a reporter touts the potential benefits of "embryonic stem cells" and mentioning that "stem cell research" is not being funded by the government. Some attribute this to an apparent desire by the media to report on health issues in a manner that is favorable, or at least not harmful, to views on abortion.

The truth is that most cases of successful stem cell therapies that have been developed use adult stem cells (embryonic stem cells tend to cause tumors) and that adult stem cell research IS funded by the government.

Moo (0, Offtopic)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133322)

Having recently being passed in the Senate by only 2 votes

You think they had a fever of 30c?

/me cries. Why could not noone speech English no more?

Babykillers!! ..? (2, Insightful)

SantaClaws04 (1029422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17133868)

I do love it when people compare taking an embryo to killing a baby. Like saying its the same as putting a bullet to little baby Annie's head. Or something straight out of the bible, egypt first borns etc. Something like that.
I, for one, do see a slight difference between a cell and a full life-size baby, though. And if that makes me a "terrorist, who disregards human life", so be it. I just see it as a baby-could-be, if anything other than a cell. But hey.. I women "kill" a "baby" about once a month too, by failing to get pregnant! They should all fry! That'll teach 'em. But thats no suitable solution, either. And men.. Don't even get me started on how many potential babies we men kill each time we jerk off. Hell, i just done went and convinced my self. We should all die. Eventually.

Anyways, back to killing ba... Jerking off.

And no, I haven't read the article. And I'm no expert on the subject either. He who is may throw the first stone.

Re:Babykillers!! ..? (1)

whatever1856 (985063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134294)

. But hey.. I women "kill" a "baby" about once a month too, by failing to get pregnant! actually they don't. life begins at conception. that's not a religious belief its scientific fact. if the eggs haven't been fertilized yet it's not a human life yet. the issue isn't with killing babies. the issue is with ending an innocent human life.

Math? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17134060)

It passed 82 to 62, by 2 votes ... which begs the question, will they be able to replicate braincells with this technology?

I had to be the one to say this?!?!? (1)

glowingsnowball (973747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134122)

/moveToAustralia New Zealand is that far away maybe I catch a Hobbit and clone him.

Please correct me if I'm wrong (2, Informative)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134530)

This may stray off topic a bit, but aren't the existing restrictions against federally fundedstem cell research in the US? Under current policy I don't believe private corporations are under any restrictions except those against cloning. One may disagree with the official government policy, but is any privately funded stem cell research going on in the US, and if so is it legal?

Once again, people are asking the wrong question. (4, Interesting)

Baba Ram Dass (1033456) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134546)

Don't ban cloning, but don't pay for it with my taxes.

Everyone wins. The fundamentalists don't have to finance something they don't agree with, yet modern science is allowed to continue promising research.

Re:Once again, people are asking the wrong questio (1)

Baba Ram Dass (1033456) | more than 7 years ago | (#17134646)

I might add that stem cell research might just very well allow me to hear again in my left ear, in which I'm deaf. But I don't want to force you to pay for fixing my deafness, and I expect the same from you.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...