Stem Cell Research

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They had a huge discussion on one of the news shows the other night, ( I think it was Dateline but could be wrong) and they were talking about how President Bush for the first time in office used his religious beliefs to back a decision he made to stop stem cell research. Using stem cells to actually cure people that are right now facing a death sentence would give them new purpose and hope. If the embryonic cells were going to be destroyed anyways and not use to produce life then why is it not allright? I’ll see if I can find the actual show

16 thoughts on “Stem Cell Research

  1. Bush’s veto (his first) was to shore up his political base (Christian conservatives) some of whom have a faulty understanding of science, (they still can’t accept that religion and science are not mutually exclusive). Not all Christian conservatives are against stem cell research. Orrin Hatch (the only time I will ever agree with him) is for it.

  2. Religion and science are mutually exclusive? Gee, and no one’s told my Stake President who teaches chemistry at the U.S. Naval Academy. They are not mutually exclusive nor should they be. We need religion (and other moral guidelines) to tell us what to do with the things we discover through science.

    The religious objection to stem cell research is not limited to “why can’t we use these cells that were going to be destroyed anyway to help people?” The religious objection to stem cell research is an objection to the creation of embryonic stem cells for research purposes. You cannot treat the origins of human life so casually. Limit research to existing stem cell lines. Provide for scientific access to the stem cells from cord blood that so many people are putting in storage after their child’s birth. Those could be good things. The wanton creation of life to play with– no matter the beneficial intentions– is wrong. We would look askance at a family that had an extra child just so that child could donate blood to a sibling and then when they had done so simply threw the “surplus” child out. That is, in essence, what happens with embryonic stem cells. You may argue with me about whether or not they constitute life all you want; I believe that even if they are not then it is far to uncertain and grey an area for us to be meddling in.

  3. On further reflection, my analogy of the family with the bone donor is a little off. Donating bone marrow doesn’t necessarily destroy or use up a child. What about one child has a heart defect and the parents concieve another to be donor? It would be wonderful if we could simply take the right stem cells and grow only the heart from scratch. Unfortunately, I think that getting to that point technologically would take us through such horrors as to make the process not worthwhile.

    Saving people is good but remember that there is more to life than life and no cure is permanent. We will all die some day. I think that what we have done in our lives and how we have stayed alive will be weighed heavily.

  4. Nope Religion and Science are not mutually exclusive. Those against stem cell research are those who do not understand it, or it’s worth. Or understand God and what He wants. However, I do believe the process needs a lot of study and further understanding so it isn’t abused.

  5. APDoE: “Limit research to existing stem cell lines.”

    You should know that this greatly limits research. Of the sixty that Pres Bush approved, less than ten at best are useful. Imagine telling your car mechanic that he can only use ten tools to work on your transmission.

    “Provide for scientific access to the stem cells from cord blood that so many people are putting in storage after their child’s birth. Those could be good things.”

    Absolutely. The more resources scientists have, the more able they are to make important discoveries.

    “The wanton creation of life to play with is wrong.”

    I completely agree, if you modify your statement to read: “…creation of human life for research purposes…” Scientists create animal and plant life all the time for experiments.

    But this argument isn’t related to the current debate over embryonic stem cells. Scientists are not creating the embryos. The embryos already exist, but are unused and headed for disposal. How would your statement read with that in mind? “The wanton destruction of life….”

    “You may argue with me about whether or not they constitute life all you want.”

    This is the point where I think you and opponents of embryonic stem cell research can make a strong argument. The other points are scientific in nature–but scientifically unsupportable.

  6. I don’t agree with Bush’s position, but I do respect his convictions on the issue. And yes, when a certain political faction gets one into office, it is reasonable to expect that the loyalty runs both ways. Just try getting through life forgetting about your benefactors along the way. Bush’s Daddy did that; so give the guy credit for not repeating Dad’s mistake. BTW, embryonic stem cell research isn’t banned in the USA but Federal funding for it. Why is it so many equate declined sponsorship with a prohibition?

  7. If you truly believe that human life begins at conception, then you MUST believe that the destruction of that life, even if it is the very first cell division after sperm and ovum unite, is a form of homicide. It follows that, if the story Joseph Smith made up is true, the destroyed…”killed” or “murdered”…”life” will go on to have its own planet, become a God, etc., etc. Shouldn’t Christians and Mormons also give those dead cells names, birth and death certificates, and funerals? Since Bush is a True Believer in whoever is now making the rules for Christianity, I’ll give him credit for his integrity. As with the abortion debate, Christians and Mormons value the “life” of an embryo or fetus more than that of a person who has been born. (Note that there is no record of Jesus opining about whether life begins at conception…how could the Son of GOD screw up so monumentally?!)

    While the religious nut-jobs in the U.S. prevent stem cell research from progressing, other more advanced (i.e., pragmatic) cultures — including, perhaps, Canadians — will discover the cures for innumerable ailments, and Yanks will one day be at their mercy for treatment.

  8. Forgive me for being unclear. I was attempting to point out that while Bush almost certainly used his veto power to placate the religious right/wrong, there is still considerable hypocrisy of approving ANY lines of stem cells to exist, let alone the 60 that Brian J mentioned. Also, I was trying to show how religious teachings simply don’t mesh with the actions of so-called believers.

    You have a point, though, in that none of these blog posts mentioned that life begins at conception. But this does seem to be a crowd fairly steeped in religious beliefs, and the premise of the Christian and Mormon opposition to abortion (and stem cell research) is that life does begin at conception.

    BTW (lest there be any doubt), I’m not the same “Dan” who submitted the first post on this topic.

  9. Steve EM: “…but I do respect his convictions on the issue.” It’s both easy to agree and disagree with you here. I can respect Bush’s convictions, but at some point I wonder where is the line between convictions and stubbornness?

    Dan the Second: While I clearly disagree with Pres Bush’s decision, I refrain from calling him and his supporters “nut-jobs.” Such talk shuts down communication and with it cooperation.

    “considerable hypocrisy of approving ANY lines of stem cells to exist”

    Yes, that is a problem.

  10. Yep, BrianJ, you’re right…”nut-jobs” was inappropriate, and I apologize.

  11. “the premise of the Christian and Mormon opposition to abortion. . .is that life does begin at conception.”

    For the record, the Mormon church does not take a stance on when life begins. If you heard Mormons say that life begins at conception, that is their own opinions.

  12. “Yanks will one day be at their mercy for treatment”

    Oh please! So if I’m a USA patient buying a treatment from a Canadian or French, etc company that was originally pioneered from a Canadian or French, etc University, I’ll somehow pay more than I would to a USA firm, or be at another country’s mercy. I’ll have to remember that the next time I take a French supplied med I take, how I’m so fortunet they’ve overlooked my nationality and hatred of me and were so gracious to sell me the stuff. Thank G-d the profit motive overrides the nonsense of human bigotry.

  13. Steve EM

    I don’t think all French hate Americans. Or all Americans hate French (in spite of the “freedom fries”). Profit always overrides, or at least usually. Anyway, it’s the drug companies that control it all anyway, no matter where they are. They don’t care about nationality at all. They care about money money money. For that matter, they don’t care about health. They would love to keep everyone sick so they keep taking their drugs. Money money money. Oh sorry, off topic.

    A question, why do you use the spelling “G-d” as orthodox Jewish people do, when referring to Heavenly Father?

  14. “Yanks will one day be at their mercy for treatment”

    Makes me think of rabies and smallpox.

    I suspect that our next president–whomever that may be–will promptly retract Pres Bush’s executive order.

  15. All,
    I was poking fun at the idea that one country purchasing a good or service developed in another country somehow puts the purchaser at the seller’s mercy.

    IMHO, we Yanks should have bought French nuclear electricity technology and service rather than developed our own. They do a much better, safer, less expensive job of it. There’s just no reason not to buy from the best supplier, whereever they might be.

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