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Stem Cells
October 30, 2003 7:03 PM   Subscribe

A case study in modern Washington dishonesty. Michael Kinsley responds to Bush's former chief domestic policy adviser's reply to Kinsley's recent article on Bush's stem cell policy. [Via Fark.]
posted by homunculus (18 comments total)

 
I'd like to be the first in _this_ thread to say 'fark bush'.

That is all.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:21 PM on October 30, 2003


I am becoming more and more convinced of the Frankenstein warning, that 'just because you can play god, doesn't mean you should.' Is this completely O/T or does this research suggest a slippery slope?

There now seems to be a conscious effort on the part of lots of people to first try to come up with the unthinkable, and then to *do* the unthinkable.

I'm not talking just about human embryos, but the whole gamut of abhorrent things: torture, murder, genocide, dehumanization in its many forms, destroying the environment, etc. ad nauseam. Not a political left and right issue, but the total absence of any morality and ethics.

Right now, corporations are considering legally copyrighting 99.9% human DNA, just "not human" enough so that they can perform "animal experiments" on the "non-human" humans. "It's the closest thing to testing them on *real* human beings!" Maybe cloned genetically identical bodies without brains for organ xplants. Maybe eugenics to make children look "more like cats and dogs." Huge genetic databases to control people, shared between corporations and the government.

So what? has become the catch word about abuses that only a short time ago were unthinkable, except in sci-fi/horror novels.

Big deal that we had to horribly kill 100 people to keep an aged industrialist alive.

So we require microchips to be implanted in children's brains, to give them painful shocks if they disobey. Who cares?

So what if prisoners starve to death in their cells. They broke the law, they should be punished!

Is there no end to this horror?
posted by kablam at 7:29 PM on October 30, 2003


kablam: I have some tinfoil if you need to borrow some.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:41 PM on October 30, 2003


>It is the work of minutes to Google Lefkowitz's storyline into shreds.

Maybe Lefkowitz thought that the whitehouse.gov robots.txt file applied to the whole internet?
posted by skallas at 7:54 PM on October 30, 2003


It's about time people recognized the true horror that lies in our future if we permit organ transplantation! Allowing the monstrous practice will surely result in rampant anarchism, reduce our children to gibbering blasphemers, and create vast armies of sodomizing communists.

Medical science must be stopped before it is too late! Vaccinate at your own risk! If you fill out an organ donor card you'll be put on a list of people that can be legally euthanized!
posted by aramaic at 7:57 PM on October 30, 2003


I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
Making science political is about as smart as making it religious.

Scientology, anyone? Creation science? I didn't think so.
posted by spazzm at 8:03 PM on October 30, 2003


And when it comes to determining the boundaries of what is acceptable science, I don't think scientists are well equipped for making these moral judgements. In fact, the only people less suited to make the call are politicians and religious leaders.

So that basically leaves scientists as our best choice.
posted by spazzm at 8:18 PM on October 30, 2003


and all she wants to do is dance.
posted by quonsar at 9:06 PM on October 30, 2003


Big deal that we had to horribly kill 100 people to keep an aged industrialist alive.

So we require microchips to be implanted in children's brains, to give them painful shocks if they disobey. Who cares?

So what if prisoners starve to death in their cells. They broke the law, they should be punished!


whoa, I think I missed some clippings, or MeFi posts, somewhere along the line.
posted by palegirl at 9:15 PM on October 30, 2003


Just remember: microscopic clumps of cells are nascent baby girls and boys. And evilution is just a theory-- Creationism Intelligent Design must be taught as well! May God continue to bless the United States of America.
posted by AstroGuy at 9:46 PM on October 30, 2003


Astroguy, It doesn't even matter if you think these microscopic lumps of cells are human life. EVEN if you do, fertility clinics are allowed free reign, and the majority of the 400,000 frozen embryos sitting around will be destroyed. In that case, one would think, what difference does it make if medical science uses some of these embryos for research and healing purposes. I believe there are even ways for science to take only one cell from an embryo and not kill it (i.e. similar to a blastomere biopsy).
posted by nads at 10:18 PM on October 30, 2003


nads: you missed my <sarcasm> tags obviously. Did you read the links? I do not support the ban in any way. This is just another example of the right pushing their agenda against science.
posted by AstroGuy at 11:00 PM on October 30, 2003


So that basically leaves scientists as our best choice.

But they're an appalling choice, they pour out of universities and - largely - take a job with whoever's paying the most and regardless of any ethical considerations. I have a lot of friends who are PhDs/professional researchers and have seen this frequently.
posted by biffa at 2:02 AM on October 31, 2003


Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which they live is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one's self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice.

Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.


-Michael Rivero
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:18 AM on October 31, 2003


When you masturbate you are not only killing kittens but untold numbers of unborn children.
Aren't you ashamed?

The next steps after outlawing abortions and stem cell research is to stop all forms of birth control.
Keep 'em barefoot and pregnant.
America needs the teeming hordes of impoverished and uneducated citizens to serve our corporate state.

It really hasn't that long ago that many states really did have laws against contraception. Can you imagine condoms being illegal to sell or possess? Three will get you twenty!
posted by nofundy at 5:13 AM on October 31, 2003


And when it comes to determining the boundaries of what is acceptable science, I don't think scientists are well equipped for making these moral judgements. In fact, the only people less suited to make the call are politicians and religious leaders. So that basically leaves scientists as our best choice. -- spazzm


Ah....not so. There are many people with degrees in Bioethics. I never finished my PhD in it, because I got distracted by neurolinguistics...and wandered off for 10 years to figure out what the hell I was going to do with a PhD in Philosophy since I despised teaching...but still, there are lots and lots of of people who've spent the majority of their lives learning how to discuss, debate and determine ethics in the biology arena.

Scientists have spent their lives learning how to be scientists. Politicians have spent their lives learning how to cover up their past with flags and glorious speeches. The people with training in bioethics should be the ones leading these debates.
posted by dejah420 at 7:26 AM on October 31, 2003


Scientists have spent their lives learning how to be scientists. Politicians have spent their lives learning how to cover up their past with flags and glorious speeches. The people with training in bioethics should be the ones leading these debates. --- dejah420

The people who should lead the debate are the trained experts? That is a very unsettling statement. It's profoundly exclusionary, and is a recipe for terrible injustice. What about interested non-specialists? Many (most?) of the most effective activists are self-educated, informed by crucial factors not taken into account by the experts' groupthink. What about the common folk? Shouldn't they get the deciding vote?

Informed experts, technocrats, are all very well, but they must remember that they are resources, not leaders. Experts should inform policy, but not direct or make it. That's the distinction between a bureaucratic technocracy (like the PRC) and a real democracy.

Note that I say this as a fully-credentialed bureaucratic technocrat myself.
posted by bonehead at 8:20 AM on October 31, 2003


yes, but my comment was in reference to the comment that I quoted in my response. Nothing I said suggested that others couldn't be involved in the debate...what I was arguing was that there were more than "just scientists" who were qualified to participate in the debate.

That being said however, I don't think that people who are uniformed about ethics and biology should have any voice in the decisions about how science should proceed. I don't particularly want someone who's only frame of reference are words that many consider fictional, making life and death decisions that impact the world as we know it.

Religion and personal beliefs are all well and good...but it's a far cry from science...and should stay that way.
posted by dejah420 at 2:14 PM on October 31, 2003


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