Embryonic Stem Cell Research - Ferrari Life
 
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post #1 of 15 Old 02-25-2009, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Embryonic Stem Cell Research

I recently went to an Honors Symposium on embryonic stem cell research, and I was curious to what people though about it. It got pretty bitter between the Professors, but I'm sure that won't happen here.

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post #2 of 15 Old 02-25-2009, 08:45 PM
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Stem cell research is definately beyond my knowledge and expertise so I cannot speak with any resemblance of an understanding of the issues. In my ignorance, I don't have a problem with it. From my understanding they can now draw the stem cells without destroying the embryo. So what's the problem?

Even if the embryo is destroyed, it is just tissue until it has a brain. In spite of what the Catholic church says. Those are my opinions. Are you destroying human life with this research? Well in America abortion is legal therefore America can have no legal objection to embryotic stem cell research. Might cure cancer? Sure, go ahead.

It's like the chicken and the egg. An egg has the potential to be a chicken, but it doesn't look like a chicken, it doesn't sound like a chicken and it doesn't taste like a chicken. People probably wouldn't crave an omlette if you said it was made with embryotic chickens. I know the egg needs to be fertilized to actually become an embryo but that raises a new question. When does an egg actually become a chicken?

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post #3 of 15 Old 02-25-2009, 10:07 PM
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Tony chiming in here with the Catholic viewpoint:

First, I read in a few places in the past couple of years that they can get "better" stem cells from the umbilical cord. I also heard something about wealthy people paying big money to have their newborns' umbilical stem cells frozen/preserved/whatever in case they lose a limb later on, in the hopes of growing a new one. Something like that. I admit my relative ignorance beyond the above. In a nutshell, I've heard and read the argument a few times now from different sources that embryonic stem cell research probably isn't necessary; other stem cells work.

Now, for a little Catholic Church teaching, since it was brought up:

Let's start with the simle question of "When does 'it' become a human life?"

Let's answer that with more questions:

When can it survive outside of the mother?
When does it have a heart beat?
When does it have brain waves?
When does it have its own, unique, complete DNA? Let me answer this last one: DAY ONE

So, this cell is 1) human (it's not dog or fish, it's human), 2) alive (showing all the functions of life), and 3) has its own unique DNA (not part of the mother's body). After all, we use DNA as the single absolute identifier of people in every other realm of society!

So if it's not a human being, what is it?

Let me also add the spiritual element: Catholics (and most other religions and millions of non-religious) believe that humans have a spiritual element (i.e. a soul). Obviously, any super-intelligent athiest out there can say, "well, I can't see it or detect it with this measuring equipment, so I don't believe it exists." Well, that's fine for you, but your not believing that something exists is no more valid than another's believing that it does. Nor are you proving the nonexistence of it by failing to measure or record it. In reality, there is much more evidence of all kinds -- not just certain types of scientific evidence -- to suggest the existence of the soul rather than the lack thereof. But some people think they have it all figured out -- they have no faith, and thus they think they're soooooo smart -- "Ha ha! I see no God, therefore there must be no God! I am such an intellectual! I am sooo much smarter than you foolish peons who believe in nonsense . . . you must only do it to fulfill a need for purpose/hope/existence/etc." . . . whatever.

But I digress.

Back on topic: When does "it" become a person? Well, it all comes down to what standard you choose to measure -- the facts are all known. The 3-part argument of "human-alive-unique DNA" seems the most logical to me, not to mention it is the most conclusive and predictable.

And if you choose any other point, you start down the "slippery slope": Brain waves? Heartbeat? Brain waves and heartbeat? . . . Can feel pain . . . Can survive outside of the mother? . . . . next big step is . . .IS outside of the mother . . . but how different in development is an 8 1/2 month "fetus" from a 2-week old newborn? And many babies are born early . . . or would be born late were it not for artificially-induced labor . . . so is the age of the fetus/baby since conception a reliable indicator? And in the big picture, a human being does not stop developing once out of the mother! . . . or ever, until death! And the majority of human development comes after birth, not before. There is even still some formative development, such as sutures healing, hairline advancing, vision focus, etc., occurring as an infant. It's not like birth is a starting or finishing point -- it's just the baby going from the inside to the outside of the mother.

Again, getting back to just embryos -- here is another philosophical question: If we are dealing with human life -- even if it is only potentially human life -- what reason do we not have to err on the side of caution?

Finally, let's look at the weight of each side of the argument: One side keeps saying "it might cure cancer . . . some day." The other side is saying "it is killing human lives . . . every time." Since when is the potential to save a life worth taking a life? Well, I know you all have your beliefs about what/when it becomes a human life; just beware of this simple fact: If you want to sell something to the American public or convince the uninvolved, uninterested, ignorant, mass/general American public of anything, just tell them that IT'S TO CURE CANCER, and they'll feel good and agree. (Never mind that we're STILL not even close, after decades . . .)

So, in summary, why should we:
1) Not err on the side of caution and kill what MIGHT be human lives at the very least,
2) ARE human lives by the reasoned scientific account of many,
3) ARE human lives insofar as the spiritual belief of many (which can not be disproven)
4) when there are other sources for the same research
5) that (said research) might all amount to nothing anyway?!?!?!


I'm all in favor of stem cell research, just take it from the cord.

Tony K.

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post #4 of 15 Old 02-25-2009, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Wow, that is extremely in depth Tony! Great post! I will respond later with my reply. Too much to do, so little time.

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post #5 of 15 Old 02-26-2009, 12:16 AM
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Excellent post Tony. I like where you said that you can call anything a cure for cancer and the public will buy it. How true.

One comment about the "sanctity of life" though. I put forward that Christians have killed more people in the name of God then researchers have killed in the name of science.

As I said, I'm no expert on this and I can't say whether I'm for it or against it. If someone asks me if I objected to it though I would say no. But I drive ships for a living. No one has ever said to me, "What do you think is the moment where life begins?" I've never been asked that question.
What I get is "Hey!! Look out for that rock!"

"Yeah yeah, I see it. But back to my omlette, that delicious yellow goo all mixed in with mushrooms and onions and bacon and bell peppers and sprinkled with a little ground black pepper and splashed with just a little Tabasco sauce......Do you think I should have let it grow into a full chicken instead and had it served to me deep-fried by KFC?"

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post #6 of 15 Old 02-26-2009, 05:06 AM
 
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In my opinion the Catholic church is quite the hypocrite. I do believe the Bible says that live only starts when the blood of the unborn starts flowing (although I don't really know what chapter/verse). That moment is somewhere around the first month or something. Until then it's just a bunch of cells clumped together. Accepting that, embryo's younger than this month can be aborted without Catholic breach of morals. Said embryo's would then also be usable in embryonic stem cell research since they're not life anyway.

Also... I'm very much against the pro-life/pro-chouce divide. One can be pro-life AND be pro-choice.

"Yes I think there are too much abortions and the number should get down, but I also think that any woman has the right to decide what happens to her body. Some nerdy (and/or religious) old guys should have NOTHING to say about that."

It's comparing apples and oranges. Either you are pro-life or anti-life. Pro-choice or anti-choice. In my opinion (humble or otherwise) it's become a stupid discussion in the US where the opposing sides seem to be each other's opposites just because they want to oppose the other side.

As for Tony saying that true atheists disclaim the existence of a soul because they intelletualize everything: I take offense to that. Not everybody thinks like that. I think there might be something called a soul, I just don't know how it works. And THAT's what I want to know. If it exists, how does it work? I also accept that it might never be (dis)proven. There are after all some things we as a human race will probably never know. The whole Heisenberg principle is a great example of that.

The argument that it might NOT work is a flawed one in my opinion. Since when have humans not done something that might not work? We would still be in the stone age with that attitude. We do because we think we can. It's in the nature of man to push the boundaries of the known and unknown.

Having said all that... I oppose the church's position on just about everything (contraception, abortion -I'm for it-. morning after pill for war rape victims, evolution) and this is no exception. I think the "cure cancer and everything is OK" argument is pretty accurate, but it's not just cancer. They are researching several types of dementia, "cancer, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and muscle damage, amongst a number of other impairments and conditions." (wikipedia) so there might be huge potential for medical advancements.

All in all... I'm for more research.
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post #7 of 15 Old 02-26-2009, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Tony K View Post
I'm all in favor of stem cell research, just take it from the cord.
Completely agree.

I think my view would have been different before I was a father, but the moment my wife told me she was expecting my attitude changed. That 4 or 5 week old embryo was a growing person, a living thing, it was my child and I would do anything and everything I possibly could to protect it.

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post #8 of 15 Old 02-26-2009, 06:54 AM
 
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Tony said what I think better than I ever could.

Another great post from this man!

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post #9 of 15 Old 02-26-2009, 10:27 AM
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Like Tony's post.

I believe we should pursue stem cell research and most importantly, put it into use.

I could use some new disks in the spine.....not to mention the weak brain cells that died off during excessive wine bouts

however, humor aside. Embryonic touches on a lot of issues, where the cord should not be a problem.

I've seen recent reports on adult stems being used with great results, like from nose throat etc. passages. IIRC, and I know little of this, I understand stem cells have been used for decades in patients getting Kemo. They must have their cells taken then re-introduced after treatment. [off to google]

This is exciting stuff with real results.

I have a step daughter, who was born with Human growth retardation. When she was about five, she was more like an infant. Age 10, she was just over only 2' tall.

Genentech, used her, among the first three, to test their HGH many years ago, early 80's even naming the syndrome after her, and now after having taken the HGH for 10 years, she's about 5'1" and an active member of society doing work...quite a good thing. How does this relate to Stem cells..not quite, but science in these new areas have given us some better quality of life and I would have like to see my mother, for instance, or this daughter, for another, get more natural repairs without all the seeming side effects.

Stands to reason, if it can work well, we should not be afraid to use that knowledge.

as for the moral implications which I see few I'll leave that to god...when/if god gets to me.

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post #10 of 15 Old 02-26-2009, 04:24 PM
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If they can grow me a new 3rd gear synchro....I'm in.
Uhh
Gonna need a clutch disc, pressure plate, and throw out bearing also.

maybe I shouldn't shoot so high...How about soem good gasket material

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post #11 of 15 Old 02-26-2009, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Granucci View Post
I could use some new disks in the spine.....not to mention the weak brain cells that died off during excessive wine bouts
Rik...Its not the wine that gets you...its the bitch and moan

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post #12 of 15 Old 02-26-2009, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Bastage View Post
If they can grow me a new 3rd gear synchro....I'm in.
Uhh
Gonna need a clutch disc, pressure plate, and throw out bearing also.

maybe I shouldn't shoot so high...How about soem good gasket material
Good call Lane. If this embryotic stem cell research can lead to a leak proof gasket I'm all for it.

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post #13 of 15 Old 02-27-2009, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Saint Bastage View Post
Rik...Its not the wine that gets you...its the bitch and moan
lol

Quality, once again from wise sage Cliff.
cheers
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post #14 of 15 Old 02-27-2009, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Haha that is amazing Rik. Cliff was always the best!

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post #15 of 15 Old 02-27-2009, 12:38 PM
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great cast and writing.....

Guide to the Galaxy: Don't Panic
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