An article from a friend about Stem Cells

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An article from a friend about Stem Cells

Most of us accept the logic of stem cell research. But this article a friend wrote spells a lot out and provides some great ammunition when it comes time to defend stem cell research. I felt it needed to be shared.

Quote:

AMWW#135: OF ELEPHANTS AND EMBRYOS
by Abe Munder, the Wheeled Wonder
(AbeMunder@aol.com)

You knew I wasn't going to let this one slide. That cockamamie political maneuvering a few weeks back that took the wind out of the sails of stem-cell research.

The vetoed measure, overwhelmingly popular and backed by rare bipartisan Congressional support, proposed using extra embryos from fertility clinics. These embryos are destroyed regardless.

That is a phrase that's difficult to read: human embryos destroyed. I don't like it, just as I don't like abortion. Personally, I'm against it. But it's happening every day, human embryos destroyed, whether or not this legislation was passed or even proposed in the first place.

Fertility clinics destroy untold thousands of embryos each year. It's part of their normal operating procedure. Couples and fertility doctors create more embryos than are required. They implant more than are wanted. Then, the most promising embryos are kept and developed into fetuses. The others are all destroyed. It's in the manuals that way. A regular day at the office. In this way, fertility clinics bless couples with brand new healthy babies.

I've heard a lot of yelling about stem-cell research. A lot about supporters like me being godless Dr. Mengeles, moral relativists, or science-worshiping pinkos who've got it out for Mel Gibson and the baby Jesus.

I'm none of those, and I've not harmed a single human embryo.

But on the other hand, I've not heard anything about fertility clinics. And they, and their clients who only want to be loving parents, well . . .

Let's just say that if you are serious about saving embryonic life, you need to go after fertility clinics.

Me, I've got nothing against fertility clinics. I'm against those hiding their heads in the sand, pretending they've taken a stand by derailing this proposal.

They've accomplished nothing. They've saved not one cell.

In fact, if stem-cell research ever moves to a point where it can be done without replacing or destroying an embryo--as implied by the announcement this week that parts of an embryo, called blastomeres, can be extracted for use while preserving the viability of the original embryo--even then, the very same number of embryos will be destroyed. But it won't be the bloodthirsty stem-cell researchers destroying them. No, it will be the same people who are doing so right now, today, under our noses.

That's the comforting thing about silence. Like Blanche DuBois did, you can fill it with any sort of pretending that you wish. And if we think pleasant thoughts, we won't have to dwell on the hundreds of embryos destroyed this week. Destroyed for nothing.

So we are retreating from our technological edge, from our ability to create high-paid American jobs, and from the dawn of a new generation of healing medicine. To retreat to the land of pretend.

If the argument about saving embryos does not wash, what about the other objections to this proposal?

One is that adult stem cells are the more ethical alternative. Adult-cell supporters say their way is more successful, that adult cells have actually produced results, while embryonic cells have not. Claims that are disputed by embryonic-cell supporters, who say embryonic cells are more promising. Who's right? Doesn't matter. Pursue both. Adult and embryonic cells are on parallel but separate tracks. You don't do science with one eye closed. Besides, some competition between the two can only be beneficial. Competition got us to the moon awful quick.

The other counterargument I hear is the Snowflake babies: those discarded embryos adopted and born to other couples. President Bush was flanked by several of these children while he vetoed the stem-cell proposal. It's a nice, heart-warming idea. But there are tumbleweeds blowing through Snowflake Station, and the turnstiles are creaky from lack of turning. Of the hundreds of thousands of available embryos, less than 150 have been adopted as Snowflakes. Come on, you Snowflake boosters, let's get adopting! Those freezers are cold!

These are emotional appeals. None holds up under scrutiny. Like so much policy lately, they do not stand when followed to their logical conclusions. But who wants to think that hard, when it feels better not to?

Instead, opponents talk around the uncomfortable truth and congratulate themselves as if they've done something, but they've not. They set themselves on a moral high ground, and talk down to the rest of us. But their pedestal is made of sand. It's phony. As Senator Arlen Spector of the president's own party remarked, the next generation will look back in disbelief that we even had this debate.

Simply, it doesn't matter where you stand on stem-cell research: by killing this bill, not a single additional life will be saved. Not one. And by passing this same measure, not a single additional life will be claimed. Not one.

Either way, tens and hundreds of thousands of embryos are thrown away each year. Perhaps 1,000 since you woke up this morning. Down the toilet. Most unsanctimonious. Did you yell any about it?

It's like ignoring an elephant in the middle of the room. Everyone can pretend the elephant is not there, but it is.

By the way, that stench you smell may be elephant dung. But it may be something else.

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


darth_josh
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Unfortunately, that elephant

Unfortunately, that elephant is only six inches tall. Fear of reprisal and ostracization when you raise your awareness past the level of a farm animal causes the elephant to become as a meercat. So many times this happens that when the elephant tries to trample the sheep then it dies in a pile of hopelessness.

If everyone would just read something besides the lyrics to pop songs.

I move for another bill to be introduced. For everyone who speaks against stem cell research then they shall not reap the benefits of it.
If they are so adamant in their hatred of science then science should reject them.
Medical breakthroughs are attributed to god's intervention. For every person grateful to their god for a doctor's or scientist's work we let one die for want of science's cure. Fuck 'em. Let god help them cure their cancer.
When that happens, the elephant will reclaim its place as chief among the animals.

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As much as I hate to use the

As much as I hate to use the word.. the idea of not allowing those against stem cell research to reap the benefits of it.. AMEN. It's the same thing as motorcycle accidents. In Ohio, you don't have to wear a helmet. If yo get in a mororcycle accident and weren't wearing a helmet, you shouldn't get to ask the system for help in my opinion. Falls into the idea of 'reasonable precautions' Same for smokers and those who don't wear seat belts. Sure, if you've PAID for such things in advance (insurance, etc), great. If you don't take reasonable precautions, and you gey hosed.. your bad. I know it's a tad on the harsh side. But hey.. it's how I think. Sure, I have MS, and recieve government assistance. But I also work for the MS society doing peer councilling and fundraising work. The system helps me, I help the system. Hooray for recognizing my place in society and keeping useful to it... and wanting to help the organism of society comes from MY will and desires. No skydaddy needed. Smiling

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


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BEWARE THE MYTH MAKERS

AMWW#138: BEWARE THE MYTH MAKERS
by Abe Munder, the Wheeled Wonder
(AbeMunder@aol.com)

This storm over stem-cell research has stirred up a lot of disinformation, kind of like sediment from the bottom of your fish bowl. It's murky, you don't know what's in there, and it's certainly not suitable for ingestion.

Starting with Rush Limbaugh's initial broadside on the Michael J. Fox political ad, the opponents of embryonic stem-cell research have been putting out a lot of propaganda. They are crafty and so they accuse their opponents of something they themselves are guilty of: that their arguments are driven not by science but by ideology.

Politically, the Limbaugh side equates embryonic stem-cell research with abortion. And so, in their arguments and even in their news coverage of the current controversy, they are advancing plenty of inaccurate claims and, as journalists, passing them off as general knowledge.

Limbaugh himself does this each day, and judging by the call-in transcripts at his website, he's got much of his audience under the sway of his falsehoods. But in the news coverage, I have also heard Bill O'Reilly echo Limbaugh's arguments, joined by an editor from the National Review and several writers at the Weekly Standard.

Like a lot of policy lately, the arguments are driven not by facts but by ideology. In other words, tailoring the truth in order to advance one's political agenda.

I don't need to be partisan in making this point. Both sides do it. Republicans embroider ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda to justify an invasion. Democrats slap aside anything remotely critical of day-care and abortion. Invent the truth and call the other side liars.

Is it any wonder incumbents are quaking in their boots a week before this election?

Then in this stem-sell debate, don't take these people at their word--they aren't interested in accurately informing you as much as they are in pushing their politics, or else they are just too lazy to check their facts. (I'm giving them the benefit of a huge doubt there.)

I include myself in this invitation. Check my facts. This field is too important to leave to mealy-heads and political hacks. They don't care about your welfare, or your children's welfare.

The sad part is that they won't allow us to have an open and honest debate on this topic of great national importance.

(For a decent grounding in stem-cell research, and both sides of the controversy, spend a while reading the range of articles at the Time magazine website, http://www.time.com/time/2001/stemcells/)

Here are the myths I'm hearing the past few days:

CLAIM: With the availability of adult stem cells, there is no need to pursue embryonic stem-cell research.
ACTUALLY: Most scientists advocate pursuing both. They are not mutually exclusive.

CLAIM: Adult stem cells have already led to a long list of treatments, while embryonic cells have led to none.
ACTUALLY: Adult cells are leading to treatments. Today, preliminary results were announced of scientists growing liver tissue using adult stem cells. That's exciting. However, the number of "cures" cited by adult-cell advocates is typically sketchy or exaggerated. Limbaugh holds up a list of them; others claim 60, 70 treatments or more. It's just not true. They are leads, not cures. Which is not to discourage research with adult stem cells. But it's wrong to cite proven treatments or cures from any type of stem-cell research: it's simply too early to do so. Meanwhile, the embryonic stem cells possess much more flexibility and promise in developing all sorts of neurologic and other types of treatments. This is due to their pluripotent abilities, which allow them to develop into many different types of cells. Adult cells, on the other hand, are more fixed in their purpose: it's more unlikely to grow brain tissue, for instance, from bone cells, which are mature enough to be inclined toward being just what they are, bone cells.

CLAIM: All the advocates of embryonic stem-cell research have to show for their efforts are vague possibilities of what might come to be in 15 years or so.
ACTUALLY: Consider the exciting prospects of this budding field. We are talking about growing new spinal columns, regenerating entire organs, reversing horribly painful and crippling degenerative diseases, where now there exists no hope, but only eventual death. Is 15 years too long to look ahead for such historic progress? Is 15 years a long time in order to create and develop an entirely new branch of science? Of course not. Really, the question doesn't matter. The notion of fixing a timetable on science is preposterous. If we can envision it, we will make it so. That is the nature of science, the nature of mankind itself. Orville Wright soared at Kitty Hawk in 1903, some 400 years after Leonardo da Vinci sketched his flying machines; Neil Armstrong stepped to the moon in 1969, seven years after John Kennedy's speech at Rice University; before Armstrong and Wright, mankind had been chomping at the bit to fly for thousands of years. There was no stopwatch constraining our ambitions. Despite the politicians, we are going to do this.

CLAIM: Missouri's Amendment 2 (which Fox and other advocates support) is not about stem-cell research at all, but about legalizing cloning.
ACTUALLY: No, and yes. Amendment 2 is indeed about stem-cell research. It is about enabling and promoting embryonic stem-cell research. And yes, it is also about cloning. Not cloning as in creating a race of subhumans, in order to harvest their organs or serve as slaves or whatever. That type of cloning, cloning to the point of conception, is specifically banned by Amendment 2. Nobody except nutjobs and paranoiac preachers are interested in anything like that. But embryonic research technically does require cloning, in that the nucleus of a stem cell is destroyed and then replaced by the nucleus of the desired type of mature cell (nerve cell, bone cell, etc.). That act, and not the nightmares found in movies and horror novels, is called cloning. Now, can this type of cloning be abused? Sure. All science can be abused. That's how we make so much money every year selling weapons to Third World countries. But these types of cloning abuses can occur already now. We'll have to be vigilant against abusers, in either case.

CLAIM: Missouri Senator Jim Talent, opposing the Claire McCaskill-Michael J. Fox effort, is indeed for stem-cell research.
ACTUALLY: He supports adult stem-cell research, not embryonic. Make that distinction. The same is true of Maryland Lt. Gov. and Senate candidate Michael Steele, whose sister with MS taped a famous reply to the Michael J. Fox ad.

CLAIM: New treatments using placental cord blood cells have surpassed the need for embryonic stem-cell research.
ACTUALLY: No. Again, they show promise, like adult cells do, but not as much as embryonic cells. It is yet another avenue to pursue.

CLAIM: Embryonic stem-cell research already takes place, regardless of government policy.
ACTUALLY: Yes, but without federal funding, and painstakingly or quarantined from all facilities and equipment procured to any degree by government funds. The separation results in a confusing division of resources that has put the brakes on full-fledged pursuit of a very promising science. These red-tape headaches (at which we know government excels) have thrown a monkeywrench into progress, and discourage scientists away from the field, or from the country altogether, leaving for other lands with more sensible policies.

CLAIM: Embryonic stem-cell research is akin to abortion and murder.
ACTUALLY: Altering a handful of cells, a few hours old, is the same as murdering a child? Fine, let's respect that point where it's made. (Although, by this measure, we probably shouldn't be throwing away amputated limbs, or scrubbing blood from the pavement in the wake of auto wrecks, either. Mustn't waste human cells.) However, the compromise bill vetoed by the president allowed for use of stem cells discarded by fertility clinics anyway. That is where murder occurs, not in the research, but in the needless destruction of these those embryos. And if embryonic research truly is murder, then the president already sanctions infanticide each day when he approved those 60 or so lines of stem cells to be subject to experimentation since 2001. If this is the standard, then those original cell lines are alive, too. The ethics are indeed troubling, yet I see no effort to rein in fertility clinics from their practice of destroying those valuable cells. A truly ethical stand requires consistency.

CLAIM: That's right, what about those 60-something lines of stem cells already approved by the president for federally funded research?
ACTUALLY: Scientists say that those lines, through the constant replication caused by great demand by the entire research community, have deteriorated down to 22 or less. Even those are not is useful as new lines would be, because they were replicated using older technology, and so are not as productive as before.

I wasn't trying to be boring here, only exhaustive. (Though I may have grown only exhausting!)

On any of these points, copy the key phrases and run them through Google. Read several articles on each question. The more you read, the more you will see through the smokescreen, and the more convinced you will become to support embryonic stem-cell research. If after you've read a great deal of the material on both sides and still think it's wrong, then that's honorable.

The people spreading these faulty arguments are banking on your fear and your ignorance. But don't be cowed, and don't accept opinion as fact (not even my own), but live your life by knowledge.

* * *

Read my latest column: http://TheWheeledWonder.com

Daily news and mayhem at the WonderBlog: http://TheWheeledWonder.spaces.msn.com

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


darth_josh
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THAT WAS FUCKING

THAT WAS FUCKING AWESOME!!!!

Missouri's proposed amendment sucks though in my opinion.

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Abe is one of my heroes.

Abe is one of my heroes. He's got MS too. And it was talking to him that showed me my own strengths which kept me fighting.

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


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I have several friends with

I have several friends with MS.

I am in Missouri.

I will be in line to vote YES on amendment 2 on Tuesday.

(Now if I could just put a muzzle on the Bible Thumper at the Day Job that keeps putting up "You Must Know The Truth About Human Cloning" posters on the company bulletin boards....)

I propose that everyone who votes against Amendment 2 should be denied any medical treatments that come from this research. However, I have no doubt that they would be the first in line for any treatment that results from stem cell research.

If their ethics truly indicate this is wrong, they would go ahead and allow their loved ones to suffer with MS, Parkinson's, etc.

My ethics demand that I will never be treated with any of the drugs that are derived from pregnant mares that are confined and their foals destroyed because their only purpose was to have the mare pregnant. Opponents of Amendment 2 should be held to the same level of committment.

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Quote:My ethics demand that

Quote:
My ethics demand that I will never be treated with any of the drugs that are derived from pregnant mares that are confined and their foals destroyed because their only purpose was to have the mare pregnant.

Ah.. there's the rub. You actually LIVE your ethical code as opposed to christian lip service. Look at Haggard. He can't 'ethically' stand homosexuality. Didn't stop him from his secret flings. That's why I'd believe you if you told me you were going to do something, and not people like him. Agreed on the 'Denial of Stem Cell therapies for those who vote against it'.

Haggard pisses me off even more, because when the stories of his 'alleged' trysts came to the public eye, the evil humor part of my brain made me visualize Haggard's 'O' face. And with that mouth.. the visual was positively Cthuloid...shudder..

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


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By the way, Missouri PASSED

By the way, Missouri PASSED the Stem Cell Initiative Amendment! Considering how much slanted advertising and outright lies that I saw against it, this is pretty darned amazing.

YES 51.2%
NO 48.8%

Of course, had I written it, there would have been:
(4) No person or persons voting in a democratic election against this initiative shall benefit from any therapy or cure derived from Stem Cell Research.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Section 38(d). 1. This section shall be known as the “ Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.”

2. To ensure that Missouri patients have access to stem cell therapies and cures, that Missouri researchers can conduct stem cell research in the state, and that all such research is conducted safely and ethically, any stem cell research permitted under federal law may be conducted in Missouri, and any stem cell therapies and cures permitted under federal law may be provided to patients in Missouri, subject to the requirements of federal law and only the following additional limitations and requirements:

(1) No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being.

(2) No human blastocyst may be produced by fertilization solely for the purpose of stem cell research.

(3) No stem cells may be taken from a human blastocyst more than fourteen days after cell division begins; provided, however, that time during which a blastocyst is frozen does not count against the fourteen-day limit.

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Susan wrote:By the way,

Susan wrote:
By the way, Missouri PASSED the Stem Cell Initiative Amendment! Considering how much slanted advertising and outright lies that I saw against it, this is pretty darned amazing.

Isn't it a heartwarming feeling to know that over half of the people who are willing to get off their asses and vote aren't total morons? Peace

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


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Jesterspace wrote:Susan

Jesterspace wrote:
Susan wrote:
By the way, Missouri PASSED the Stem Cell Initiative Amendment! Considering how much slanted advertising and outright lies that I saw against it, this is pretty darned amazing.

Isn't it a heartwarming feeling to know that over half of the people who are willing to get off their asses and vote aren't total morons? Peace

True.

Conversely, isn't it sad that almost half of the Missourians that voted (over a million of them) are morons?

Constitutional Amendment No. 2 - 2006
Stem Cell Initiative
Yes . . . . . . . . . .1,077,276 . . 51.2%
No. . . . . . . . . . .1,028,495 . . 48.8%
Total Votes . . . . .2,105,771

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