Stem cells being harvested from live babies?

Posted by: ST on December 13, 2006 at 10:47 am

Very disturbing news from the BBC:

Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells, evidence obtained by the BBC suggests.

Disturbing video footage of post-mortem examinations on dismembered tiny bodies raises serious questions about what happened to them.

Ukraine has become the self-styled stem cell capital of the world.

There is a trade in stem cells from aborted foetuses, amid unproven claims they can help fight many diseases.

But now there are claims that stem cells are also being harvested from live babies.

Wall of silence

The BBC has spoken to mothers from the city of Kharkiv who say they gave birth to healthy babies, only to have them taken by maternity staff.

In 2003 the authorities agreed to exhume around 30 bodies of foetuses and full-term babies from a cemetery used by maternity hospital number six.

One campaigner was allowed into the autopsy to gather video evidence. She has given that footage to the BBC and Council of Europe.

In its report, the Council describes a general culture of trafficking of children snatched at birth, and a wall of silence from hospital staff upwards over their fate.

The pictures show organs, including brains, have been stripped – and some bodies dismembered.

A senior British forensic pathologist says he is very concerned to see bodies in pieces – as that is not standard post-mortem practice.

It goes without saying that whether it’s happening from a desire to harvest stem cells or for other purposes, it’s sick. This is what happens in a world where unborn babies aren’t looked upon as human but instead ‘parasites’ and/or ‘not human’ (I know not everyone believes that, but it does seem to be the prevailing viewpoint). It doesn’t take a Harvard grad to be able to figure out that if people can look at a human being inside the womb as something other than a human, than a certain segment of those same people will start looking at human beings barely out of the womb as expendable in the name of ‘research’ and ‘finding cures.’

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    Comments

    1. Lorica says:

      This is very sick and gruesome. It is to be expected. These are the same people who laid their children on the alter of Asher, burning them alive. The conversion to Christianity and the tearing down of the pagen religions is what stopped baby sacrificing. I reiterate myself, all of this stem cell research is just to close to necromancy and pagen religions for my convienence. I hate the thought that so many babies have lost their lives on the alter of “progress” or “convienence”. – Lorica

    2. Pgizzle says:

      I support stem cell research, and I support legalized abortion, but I don’t support this. So much for your Sophistic false syllogism. There is also trafficking in kidneys, eyes, etc. Should we also oppose research on these organs?

    3. “I support stem cell research, and I support legalized abortion, but I don’t support this. So much for your Sophistic false syllogism.”

      Then I guess you’re not part of the certain segment of people I was talking about, as mentioned below (again).

      It doesn’t take a Harvard grad to be able to figure out that if people can look at a human being inside the womb as something other than a human, than a certain segment of those same people will start looking at human beings barely out of the womb as expendable in the name of ‘research’ and ‘finding cures.’

      “There is also trafficking in kidneys, eyes, etc. Should we also oppose research on these organs? ”

      Non sequitur.

    4. Pgizzle says:

      My comment was not a non sequitur. I am in favor of kidney tranplants, but I am not in favor of killing people to get these kidneys and sell them on the black market, capiche? Additionally, your “Harvard grad” argument could be applied to almost any actions that we morally oppose. I respect your views against abortion, but it is intellectually dishonest to jump to conclusions that do not logically follow. You can be in favor of legal abortion and against the murdering of babies to steal their stem cells and sell them on the black market. We have laws that delienate what our society thinks is ok. The fact that morally repugnant behavior that is distantly related to legal activity is entered into does not mean that it logically follows from the legal behavior or that we should ban the legal behavior, which has a completley separate rationale.

    5. Yes, your comment WAS a non sequitur, because I never suggested that EVERYONE who was in favor of embryonic stem cell research was in favor of killing new born babies over it. That’s why I specifically stated “a certain segment of those same people will start looking at human beings barely out of the womb as expendable in the name of ‘research’ and ‘finding cures.'”

    6. ervington says:

      Wow, I wonder if there were, say, a regulated market for stem-cells in which they could be produced or procured legally, say from donated sperm and egg cells, or from say, miscarried fetuses who parents are willing to offer to science, then maybe there would not be a black market for stem cells in which they are procured by horrifying and disgusting means.

      Naw, let’s keep any form of stem cell research or production completely illegal, because that will surely stop this kind of atrociousness from happening.

    7. Another non sequitur. *Sigh* Maybe the outraged lefties who are commenting on what I wrote might actually try to read it, rather than read something into it that is not there.

    8. Karl says:

      Welcome to the slippery slope folks.

      It gets steeper the longer we stay on it too…

    9. ervington says:

      *Sigh* yourself, I read what you wrote. See, you’re complaining about how once we allow abortions and start viewing fetuses not as humans or “persons” but as “parasites,” then it can lead some down a slippery slope to viewing actual, already born babies as “parasites” or nonpersons as well.

      My point was to counter that thinking, by pointing out that the illegality of stem cell research in some places, like the US, makes the stem cell supply low while demand is high…which means high prices. And what happens when prices are nice and high simply because the US government chooses to over-regulate based on ridiculous moral assumptions? Well, a black market for stem cells in which their “production” is unregulated.

      That is, if we were to allow stem cell production on a regulated basis, the “price” of stem cells would not be so high, and there would be no motivation for these crazies to kill babies in order to get them. Money is money, unfortunately, and the ban on stem cell research makes getting ahold of them quite lucrative to psychopaths. I condemn what they did, but I also wanted to point out that it is not some vague “disregard” for the fetus that caused these people to then kill babies…it was the fact that we are already living in a world in which you all have gotten your way and stem cell research/production is illegal.

    10. Pgizzle says:

      If abortion were illegal would that solve the problem? I am not “outraged,” merely trying to point out ridiculousness of arguing a connection between legalized abortion in America and murdering babies in the Ukraine to steal their stem cells. Any connection could only be of the most attenuated kind. I get it- abortion bad. I will leave you in peace now.

    11. If I were grading papers between the two of you I’d give you an “A” for effort’ and an “F” for comprehension.

    12. Drewsmom says:

      This is very disturbing indeed. I didn’t know this kind of thing went on and I hope somehow this practice is stopped.
      Ukraine is not a place I’d care to live to say the least.

    13. Lorica says:

      Naw, let’s keep any form of stem cell research or production completely illegal, because that will surely stop this kind of atrociousness from happening.

      I would like to know where Stem Cell Research is “illegal” please. I am unaware of any state that has made it illegal. Please provide proof of the above statement erving. – Lorica

    14. Severian says:

      Bingo Lorica, you hit the nail on the head with that one. Stem cell research is not illegal, not in the US, and definitely not in most of the world.

      But erving has the usual liberal reaction of blaming not the criminals murdering children but excusing them with simplistic “money talks” explanations, in other words, blame capitalism!8-|

    15. S. Bahl says:

      Is anyone really surprised by this news? This is what happens when liberals take over congress.

    16. Robert says:

      I blame it on TiVo.

      Once people start getting TiVo some feel they should get anything they want at any time, day or night.
      In the good old days we just watched the shows that were on at the time they were on.

    17. J says:

      Edited. –ST. You can’t harvest *embryonic* stem cells from live babies, because live babies aren’t *embryos.* What you can get from live babies are *exactly* the same things you can get from adults — bone marrow stem cells. And last time I checked, virtually everyone on the right supports bone marrow stem cell research.

      If there is organ harvesting or bone marrow harvesting going on in the Ukraine, that is horrible and appalling. But don’t tie that horror to embryonic stem cell research, which has *nothing to do with it!*

    18. Take a freaking chill pill. My poorly worded sentence written in haste should have read: “Yes, your comment WAS a non sequitur, because I never suggested that EVERYONE who was in favor of embryonic stem cell research was in favor of killing new born babies over bone marrow stem cells.” But I have to admit that I believe that some of the more radical pro-embryonic stem cell research proponents will one day find a way to justify killing newborns in the name of ‘finding cures’ etc … especially if that newborn’s life is considered not worth living, due to webbed feet, or some other deformity or disorder that is considered a ‘hindrance’ to being able to live a full and active life.

    19. Scott says:

      Hmmm … doesn’t this story, if true, argue AGAINST the point you are trying to make?

      I.e., if stem cells were available in sufficient numbers from “normal” sources (something our current administration prevents), there would be no market whatsoever for obtaining them by these grotestque means.

      By the way, I could create a similar argument regarding, say, guns:

      “It doesn’t take a Harvard grad to be able to figure out that if people can easily and freely obtain guns, than a certain segment of those same people will start looking at guns a means of ‘reapportioning wealth’ or ‘bettering themselves’.”

      The point being these examples speak more about the repulsiveness of individual people than anything about the inherent morality (or lack thereof) of the topic under discussion (stem cell research, gun ownership rights).

    20. “I.e., if stem cells were available in sufficient numbers from “normal” sources (something our current administration prevents), ”

      That’s not true. Do you guys just think if you keep repeating this that people will believe it? Goebbels would be proud of such efforts.

      “there would be no market whatsoever for obtaining them by these grotestque means.”

      Um, I think there would be “no market whatsoever for obtaining them by these grotesque means” if arrogant liberals didn’t promote stem cell research in general as the magic cure-all for everything under the sun!

      “The point being these examples speak more about the repulsiveness of individual people than anything about the inherent morality (or lack thereof) of the topic under discussion (stem cell research, gun ownership rights).”

      Right. I can understand why people who support any kind of stem cell research possible (including embryonic stem cell research) would hate to have their morality questioned, but this is a MORAL issue. Deal with it.

    21. Lorica says:

      Scott the real problem is the depth that some on the left will go to trivialize life. What are “normal” sources?? Does an Embryo have to die? Or is life destroyed in your “normal” sources?? Yes to both of those questions. If you want an honest answer, I believe that Embryonic Stem Cell reseach would be expanded beyond the 78 lines that are presently being worked, IF those lines were actually developing something, but they are not. From my understanding, one of the best sources for embryonic stem cells is Umbillical cords, with the millions of babies born each year, why don’t you all put your energies into getting a law passed so that these can/should be harvested. Sadly you don’t do that, you just want to piss and moan about the administration. If you all were so damn serious about your care for the peoples of the world then I would think that just once you would try to work with this administration, instead of just constantly bitching about it.

      You really need to ask yourself, where is the private funding of stem cell research, and your answer to that question is in adult stem cells. If the big tech companies think embryonic is a dog with fleas, then so should the Federal Government.

      Also, you set up a false arguement when you blame this administration. This administration really would have little to nothing to do with the scientists outside of the United States. That is just silly to think. – Lorica

    22. ME says:

      A “normal” source would be emryonic stem cells generated during IVF treatment slated for destruction anyway.

      And if embryonic stem cells are so useless, where is the black market cash coming from? (I actually don’t buy the “harvesting for stem cells” explanation. It doesn’t make any sense: A healthy baby is worth much more alive on the black market.)

    23. Severian says:

      I don’t think it’s a case of harvesting stem cells, at least not for traditional research. I suspect, given what I’ve read and heard about a lot of these types of activities, that if stem cells and/or other body parts from babies were harvested, they were not to get money from scientific researchers. Rather, they were to supply a booming trade in Asia and Europe for “alternative” medical and anti-aging treatments, kind of like a mega dose of ground up rhino horn. Unfortunately, there exists a large market for underground health and beauty clinics and treatments among the unscrupulous, the easily deluded, and those desperate enough for a treatment, whether it is valid or will work or not. Huge black markets exist to supply parts of endangered species just because a lot of people in Asia think ground up rhino horn will cure their sexual problems, etc. It’s not a large stretch to realize that the same thing exists for parts harvested from people. Some fool with no concern for anyone else will want it, and some reprobate scumbag will be willing to step up and provide it for a price.

      This entire thing about blaming it on ESC researchers and the “restrictions” on such research is just another tool of the left to push their agenda and come out against the current administration.

    24. ME says:

      I think Sev is right, except for the whole “tool of the left to push their agenda and come out against the current administration.” ending.

      It’s not a “tool of the left” as much as a lame argument trying to tie the two issues together. Just like the argument that these babies are being harvested for stem cells. Or the argument that embryonic stem cells are useless. It’s BS, on all counts.

      A newborn isn’t even a possible source of embryonic stem cells (other than umbilical stem cells, which can be harvested without killing), as the cells in a newborn are fully differentiated.

    25. Severian says:

      ME, your opinion that this isn’t a leftist argument would be more compelling and convincing if we hadn’t just witnessed a ton of lies and misrepresentations over embryonic stem cell research during the last election cycle. Bush made it illegal! Er, no, he just won’t approve federal funding for it outside the existing lines. The Missouri ballot initiative was completely misrepresented, and the leftist supporters lied thru their teeth about it. I see the same thing with people arguing that these babies were harvested for stem cells because the evil administration keeps it illegal, yada yada yada. The same kind of lies and misrepresentations made to make a broader point. I’ve seen numerous leftists actually admit that lying and distortion is acceptable if the goal is “worth and noble” in their minds. So lying and distorting this to make it seem that you can get embryonic stem cells from a fully developed baby and that the reason it’s being done is because of the evil Bush admin restricting stem cell research, making killing babies profitable is completely in line with what I’ve witnessed over the past few months on this issue.

      The other issue, that of ESC research effectiveness, is also true. To date, embryonic stem cells have had not only a complete failure to generate encouraging results (the exact opposite to adult and bone marrow stem cell research) but they have shown monsterous side effects and problems, including tumors, cancers, and the like. The simple fact is, that no matter how much people would like them to work, how promising it sounds to lay people, the potential is unrealized and has not show up demonstrably, it’s a theoretical argument that so far has not panned out at all.

      This entire issue has become part of a larger philosophical/ideological debate between the pro-abortion/anti-abortion crowds and part of the ideological issue of who should do things, private industry or government. And the majority of the lies and misrepresentations I’ve seen have come from the left side of the issue.

    26. Scott says:

      Sister Toldjah,

      If we want to raise the discussion to the level of morality (and, of course, there is such a component to the debate), then how one frames the question is significant.

      For example, is it “more” moral to prevent research which can lead to assistence of who knows how many actual living, breathing human beings in favor of mindless small collections of small cells which, regardless of their potential, are not going to develop any further in their existence?

      I would say no, but if you favor continuation of human suffering then by all means continue arguing against stem cell research.

      (Of course, this isn’t the position as you would present it, but I portray it this way to establish there are moral points to be made on both sides of the argument, not simply the side you favor).

      Lorica,

      It’s been well established business are unwilling to fund even promising research avenues unless they can clearly see profit down the road. This makes sense, of course, as businesses tend, by definition, to be profit-driven.

      This is why govenment financing of research is such a significant resource for science. Governments have other motives than profit (such as public welfare) that can make such investments rationale without the necessity of making profit from it (although profit would be nice).

      Umbilical cord stem cells are not interchangeable with ESC’s, although they are most certainly promising and research with them should continue. However, it should be noted that while research with adult stem cells dates back 35 or 40 years, at least, serious research of ESC’s is less than a decade old, and public funding of such research (important for reasons previously noted) is only about five years old.

      Given the time needed to develop research plans, get funding, run the research, gather the data, evaluate the data, get permission for animal trials, run those, evaluate, get permission for human trials, etc., it’s a 12-15 year process. Nothing turns up overnight.

      While you are correct other nations can (and do) condunt their own stem cell research, the US has been by far the leader in the field in terms of possessing the individuals with the needed expertise in the field.

    27. “I would say no, but if you favor continuation of human suffering then by all means continue arguing against stem cell research.”

      Shove it, Scott. This is so typical for how liberals frame the stem cell research debate: if you are against embroynic stem cell research, then you are “pro human suffering.” It’s patented liberal dishonesty and demagoguery at its most blatant and your use of the tactic tells me you really aren’t interested in having any type of meaningful discussion on the issue. There are MANY KINDS of stem cell research, some people oppose and others they don’t. If you guys would be honest just for five seconds and ackowledge that rather than paint everyone who is against embryonic stem cell research as being “against stem cell research” in general and ‘against cures’ then maybe, just maybe, the debate could be advanced. Perhaps you guys really don’t want that, though, do you? Because a real debate on the issue in front of the American people over this very complex issue might sway public opinion away from your pushing for embryonic stem cell research as the magic cure-all.

      There are moral issues as it relates to other stem cell research as well. Case in point, the story I referenced in my post, and Sev brought up some good points as well about the cosmetic end of it. But don’t mistake that for conservatives like me being against ALL stem cell research, we just question the claims made by people who claim stem cells (embryonic or otherwise) have the capability of performing miracles (claims which, in turn, lead to increased demand on places like the black market for stem cells). God HELP we actually question your claims!

    28. Scott says:

      Sister Toldjah,

      You mean as opposed to your sides completely impartial framing of: “If you favor embyonic stem cell research you are in favor killing small children?”

      As someone said: this is a MORAL issue, deal with it.

      Ooops … didn’t realize you had a monopoly on morality. My bad.

      I am fully aware of the different forms of research involved, and that it’s fully possible to support some forms of stem cell research and not others. However, there are research paths open using ESC which are most certainly NOT available using, say, adult stem cells.

      I’ll state it may turn out that ESCs lead nowhere. I don’t think that’s what will happen, but it’s certainly possible. Research paths that initially appear promising end up as dead ends in all scientific fields … but we won’t know unless we actually do the research.

    29. “You mean as opposed to your sides completely impartial framing of: “If you favor embyonic stem cell research you are in favor killing small children?””

      That is not how conservatives frame the issue and you know it. The issue is what advocating this type of research can lead to, and liberals seeming ignorance of it. And even if it was how conservatives frame the issue, your “but you do it too” justification for YOU doing it is noted with no surprise.

      “Ooops … didn’t realize you had a monopoly on morality. My bad.”

      I’ve never claimed any monopoly on morality, but when it comes to framing this issue between me and you, I think I have a monopoly on honesty.

    30. Lorica says:

      It’s been well established business are unwilling to fund even promising research avenues unless they can clearly see profit down the road. This makes sense, of course, as businesses tend, by definition, to be profit-driven.

      Thank you for proving my point. It is ridiculous to think that the Government should put more money in something that hasn’t even shown a hint of a promise. As I said orignally, when the present 78 lines of Embryonic Stem Cells start to show some sort of a promise of anything, then let’s talk about expanding it. I am fairly confident that no such hint will ever be found in ESC research. Scott do you know how much money we have put into ESC research since George Bush has become President?? I bet you don’t have a clue.

      Also Scott, I agree with Sister. It is completely dishonest for you to say we are for human suffering because we disagree with you. We are not against Stem Cell research, as you would have people reading your post think, we are all for it, what we are against is Embryonic Stem Cell research and have been very clear about that. Why you folks on the left want to paint us as heartless beasts is intellectually dishonest and shows, again, the depth of deceptive behavior that we conservatives have really come to revile. Now here is a question for you. Why do you, instead of resolving that suffering, only want to pass it onto little babies, in the form of Embryos??? Seems to me if anyone is against human suffering it is you all who want to continue it, but just put it in a place where it is easier for you to ignore. – Lorica

    31. Severian says:

      For example, is it “more” moral to prevent research which can lead to assistence of who knows how many actual living, breathing human beings in favor of mindless small collections of small cells which, regardless of their potential, are not going to develop any further in their existence?

      Yeah, like experimenting on concentration camp inmates. I mean, they’re just Jews, it’s immoral to let their well being and survival interfere with the potential to come up with cures for all sorts of diseases and help human beings. It’s not like Jews are human after all.

      Same principle, different levels of extremeness. For the left, unable to come up with a firm moral position, all too often starts down these kinds of slippery slopes, and the rationalizations lead to more and more extreme and immoral measures as you find that more and more can be justified without a strong ethical and moral compass. Part and parcel of what moral relativism brings you. As soon as you start finding excuses to rationalize that an embryo isn’t a human or a baby, a viable baby isn’t a baby (as in partial birth abortion), soon it’s a baby isn’t a baby, then a person isn’t a person. Sacrificing some humans to find cures for others is a very ethically challenged viewpoint.

    32. Scott says:

      Excuse me, ST, but that my description is, if not the specific words, how those opposed to ESC research tent to protray those in favor of it, at least in my experience. In fact, the last lines of Lorica’s reponse is roughly tantamount to the same accusation. I could even argue your post which led to this topic implies it.

      Having said that, you (and Lorica I guess) apparently completely overlooked the part where I said you wouldn’t frame things that way. I don’t think it was a “fair” representation, and essentially said as much, just as I don’t think the “baby-killer” tag I get labeled with isn’t a fair representation.

      Lorica,

      I completely disagree with the “never even shown a hint of promise” part of you premise. As such, I disagree with your conclusion.

      If it was demonstrated this small collections of cells actually had any awareness and felt pain, I would completely agree with you. Since they don’t, I don’t consider them to be “suffering” when used for research purposes.

      I do not, in fact, consider you to “be in favor of human suffering” — I used that as a countervailing morality argument to the one ST originally posited. This should have been clear from the context of my post.

      I just consider you to be wrong.

    33. Scott says:

      Severian,

      Except, of course, the Jews in concentration camps were living, breathing humans who feel pain, are aware of their surroundins, capable of independent actions and thoughts, etc.

      None of which is true of blastocysts.

      To accept your parallel, one would have to equate blastocysts with being a living, breathing, self-aware human being. Since this is not, in fact, the case, the premise fails.

    34. Severian says:

      No, Scott, it doesn’t, and if you’d have actually read and understood my post you’d realize that. You obviously either deliberately or inadvertently failed to look at the fact that I discussed a spectrum of things. Once you start saying “it’s just a group of cells” then it’s easy to rationalize partial birth abortions, where a viable human being is destroyed as just “a larger group of cells.” Whether you want to or have the vision to see it, this is how things always start, a creeping slide towards the most heinous of acts, starting out with an easily rationalization, that just keeps growing. Just because you don’t have the historical perspective to realize this doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

    35. Severian says:

      I completely disagree with the “never even shown a hint of promise” part of you premise. As such, I disagree with your conclusion.

      Perhaps you’d be so good as to link us to any sources that have shown promise, other than the theoretical kind, you know, like “this holds promise because we think so” as opposed to actual results of tests?

    36. Scott says:

      Severian,

      I read the argument, even understood it. It just fails. You could as easily say a mountain and a grain of sand are essentially the same thing, just different ends of a spectrum (and, in terms of scale, the sand mountain spectrum is roughly the same as the blastocyst baby spectrum). That doesn’t make a mountain equivalent to a grain of sand.

      You also manage to apply the, typically invalid yet ever popular, “slippery slop” argument.

      My spectrum of what constitutes humanty certainly slides far enough down the scale to include already extent babies, and certainly does NOT slide far rnough down to include blastocysts. It’s entirely possible and rationale to support the use of the latter without it somehow inevitably leading to “justifying” the use of the former, despite your claims to the contrary.

      One recent example of a promising development involving ESCs.

    37. peteathome says:

      The article is pure bull from a scientific point of view.
      Embryonic stem cells are only available while the fetal cells are in an undifferentiated state, a small mass of cells called a blastocyst. Once they begin to differentiate, they are no longer embryonic stem cells.

      An advanced embryo or baby would be useless for this sort of research. The only stem cells they would offer are the same ones an adult has, such as bone marrow stem cells. These aren’t in short demand at all. In fact, an adult would be a much better source.

      Probably routine autopsies.

    38. Severian says:

      Thanks for the link Scott, it’s rare for someone to actually post something to back up their arguments. But, I would point out that this “promising” result is only related to the ease and practicality of culturing more ESC’s, not to any real or imagined benefit demonstrated in actual use. I did find it interesting though.

      I understand your point, and I, personally, do not consider a barely formed embryo a person. But it is undeniable, when things like partial birth abortion are justified, that the “slippery slope” argument has more weight than you would tend to give it credit for. We do ourselves no favors when we, out of hand, reject ethical and moral arguments such as these. These people’s positions should be carefully weighed, but are too often rejected completely out of hand by liberals in this whole ESC and abortion argument.

      In ancient Rome, as well as many other civilizations, babies less than a year old could be just left on the trash heap outside of town. If anyone wanted them, they could take them, otherwise they died. In the past thousand or two years, I’d like to think that our increased knowledge would be used to keep such practices from ever being repeated, rather than used as a rationalization for ever more abusive acts. We’ve already seen this in other countries, first abortion, then partial birth abortion, then pushing for legal euthanization of handicapped children and elderly. If that’s not the start of a slippery slope…

    39. Scott says:

      Sevarian,

      You make a valid point as well about needing to weigh people’s counter-arguments, and I am as guilty as anyone about simply disregarding positions I think are untenable (although I note this is not solely a failing of liberals :) .

      Peteathome,

      The article referenced is most certainly not “pure bull” as you describe it. One, purely hypothetical, potential future application just off the top of my head — it might be possible to take ESCs and, using the way they react to different topologies, create a specific topology which would then “design” ESCs to be particularly adhesive to the types of cells which, say, spread the AIDs virus …

      … which again gets to the fact we don’t know what we can or can’t do unless we actually do the resarch.

      Someone (Lorica I think) asked if I knew how much money had been spent on stem cell research … and of course, of the top of my head I didn’t. However, a quick google search did turn up that in 2005 something like $607 million was spent in the US on all forms of stem cell research, $39 million of which was on ESCs.

      Given they difference (in both time and money) between the resources placed in ESC research and adult stem cell research, it should surprise no one we are finding uses for adult cells fiarly quickly in comparison.

      There’s nothing that says the US has to take the lead in all forms of bio-medical research, and other countries (Singapore most notably) are definitely putting a lot of resources into the field. Still, we should be playing too, not ceding the field to other nations.

    40. Scott says:

      Sevarian,

      As an addendum, I grabbed that brief article largely because it happened to be from today. You’re right about the basis of it, although it does have wider potential applications.

      For someething a little more substantial, you might look at this.

      I am not at this time aware of any successful research actually involving humans yet … however, that’s because, so far as I know, the FDA has yet to approve any human tests. Even when those are approved, it will take several years to run the experiments and analyze the data.

    41. Severian says:

      An even better link!

      What’s more, new research suggests that embryonic stem cells may be a little too plastic. “The emerging truth in the lab is that pluripotent [embryonic] stem cells are hard to rein in,” University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Glenn McGee told MIT’s Technology Review. “The potential that they would explode into a cancerous mass after a stem-cell transplant might turn out to be the Pandora’s box of stem-cell research.” In a recent Weekly Standard article, author Wesley J. Smith, who opposes embryonic stem-cell research on moral grounds, cites a chilling report from China in a study in the May 1996 edition of Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology, in which implanted embryonic and fetal stem cells became bone, skin and hair cells–inside a test subject’s brain. He died.
      …..
      It’s easier to transform, say, a pancreatic adult stem cell into pancreatic tissue than to turn an embryonic stem cell into pancreatic tissue. “It is inherently a shorter biological step to make a beta cell from a duct [adult stem] cell than it is from other possible cells, such as embryonic stem cells,” according to the British Medical Journal. Human adult pancreatic stem cells have already been grown in culture and differentiated into insulin-producing cells.

    42. Scott says:

      Severian,

      While I hadn’t seen the Fox news link before, I am well aware of the issues it mentions. As for the WSJ editorial, I had read it before when it first came out … five years ago, right about the time real research in the field was just starting. (By comparison, both the links I provided are from this year).

      Having said all of that, I don’t dispute it’s possible ESC research will end up being a dead end. I’ve stated that earlier in this thread. My point has been unless we actually _do_ the research, we won’t know. If we don’t do the researh, then it becomes self-fulfilling.

      On that note, I’m off to see a movie … I wish you all the best, and it’s been a pleasure exchanging views with you.

    43. Lorica says:

      Scott the only reason I said what I said was to prove a point. Just like you didn’t like being called a baby killer, I don’t appreciate the human suffering comment, and I was too harsh in my reply to you.

      I won’t apologize for believing that life begins with conception. I figure if a group of cells in a plant can feel pain, it is a good assumption that any given cells can feel pain.

      Also the whole mountain and grain of sand discussion isn’t right either. The basic premise is that a grain of sand will never be a mountain, but that doesn’t hold true for a human embryo, it can develop into a person.

      Lastly I do stand corrected about the “hint of a promise” comment. Thank you for the link. – Lorica

    44. Severian says:

      It’s true that if we don’t do the research we will never know Scott, but the research is being done and is not illegal. It’s a matter of funding more than anything, and personally, believing in less government, I don’t think it’s the taxpayers responsibility to fund research that offers such a small probability of success. The whole argument has become less about the science or technology, and more about a cover, or proxy, battle of ideology, between the pro/anti abortion groups and between the government should do everything and the limited government folks.

      As for doing the research, 39 million dollars went into ESC research in the last year. Granted over 500 million went to adult stem cells, but 39 million is not an insignificant amount of money. You can do a lot of research for that kind of change, so it’s not like it’s not being pursued at all. And one of the reasons for the large disparity in funding, other than the obvious issues we’ve been discussing, is that the research on adult stem cells has moved beyond basic research, and the dollar amount reflects the fact that money is being put into actual development of specific treatments for testing and marketing. Spending always ramps up as you start getting ready to actually produce a product.

      I am not willing to outlaw ESC research, but I’m also not willing to force the taxpayer to pay for it, particularly as it is a subject of questionable morality.

      Anyway, have enjoyed the discussion, and hope you enjoy the movie.

    45. J says:

      Sister Toldjah wrote: But I have to admit that I believe that some of the more radical pro-embryonic stem cell research proponents will one day find a way to justify killing newborns in the name of ‘finding cures’ etc

      Well, that’s about the just ridiculous. I mean, I have to admit that I believe that some of the more radical elements of the the Bush Administration will one day find a way to justify locking up and torturing liberals in the name of ‘national security’, etc, but that doesn’t make it true, or worth posting on the internet!

    46. “Well, that’s about the just ridiculous.”

      No it’s not, considering the slippery slope the we’ve been headed down for years WRT to right to life issues.

      “I mean, I have to admit that I believe that some of the more radical elements of the the Bush Administration will one day find a way to justify locking up and torturing liberals in the name of ‘national security’, etc, but that doesn’t make it true, or worth posting on the internet!”

      You’re right, it doesn’t make it true because it isn’t true, and it’s not worth posting on the Internet (unless you were at a lefty blog that would lap it up), because you have no basis for your statement – there hasn’t been a single incident in the Bush administration where the admin has been accused of ‘locking up liberals in the name of national security.’ Nice try, though.

    47. Severian says:

      To all those people who reject the “slippery slope” argument on this, here’s an example of something that proves the point. You may say that a “real baby” would never be treated the same way as an embryo or not fully developed fetus, but recently there was a case when a woman who had already entered labor, was a couple of hours away from delivering her child, decided she didn’t want it and shot herself in the stomach, killing the baby. A judge refused to try her on murder, considering it basically just another abortion. Excuse me? This kid was hours away from birth, the baby was completely viable, if she’d died they could have cut the baby out of her womb and it would have done fine.

      So, if no one would ever think of killing babies for research, how can it be that a living baby shot to death by it’s mother was not considered a crime merely due to the fact that it hadn’t popped it’s head out yet? That’s as close to killing a newborn as it’s possible to get, and anyone, such as the judge, who says otherwise is splitting hairs with a laser.

      I will never underestimate the ability of people to rationalize the most heinous of things.

    48. Lorica says:

      ervington said:
      Naw, let’s keep any form of stem cell research or production completely illegal, because that will surely stop this kind of atrociousness from happening.

      I would like to know where Stem Cell Research is “illegal” please. I am unaware of any state that has made it illegal. Please provide proof of the above statement erving. – Lorica
      Comment by Lorica @ 12/13/2006 – 5:59 pm

      Apparently Erving is to busy to answer my question or like so many others just wants to throw out the accusations. It is moronic statements like the this that really are not conducive to a quality debate. – Lorica

    49. Scott says:

      Severian,

      Regaring “slippery slope” arguments, it’s not that they NEVER occur. It’s that they are logically meaningless. IN that form of argument, cause A does NOT necessarily lead to result B.

      Gay marriage MIGHT lead to legalization of beastiality. Losing in Vietnam MIGHT lead to all of Asia going Communist. Etc.

      It’s an argument form that plays on emotions and fears, rather than actually relying on logic.

      You also said:

      “It’s true that if we don’t do the research we will never know Scott, but the research is being done and is not illegal. It’s a matter of funding more than anything, and personally, believing in less government, I don’t think it’s the taxpayers responsibility to fund research that offers such a small probability of success. The whole argument has become less about the science or technology, and more about a cover, or proxy, battle of ideology, between the pro/anti abortion groups and between the government should do everything and the limited government folks.”

      Which I can fully, 100% understand and support while still disagreeing with you on the ultimate conclusion you reach. It’s the best argument against public funding of stem cell research I’ve seen someone make in various postings.

      I think the primary point where we differ is on the probability of success question.

      Anyhow, I am going to let this thread die from my part. Take care all, and enjoy the holidays.

    50. Louise says:

      Every time someone on the site uses the term, “liberal,” on many sites such as this one, I know I will be reading some sort of ridiculous lie next. It should be sad to go through life with such simplistic answers to all of your uncomfortable issues: it is the “bad” liberals that cause everything horrible. But you all seem comforted by this view. I can think of another recent society where a one-word scapegoat was handy in this way.

      In any case, things are not simple: history, personal choices, economic situations and systems, religion, personal morality and more — create shades of grey and an atmosphere that make it difficult for moral absolutists to function without scapegoats and “boogey-men.” Life, in the Ukraine has always been cheap. Blaming being pro-choice (we are NOT pro-abortion — why must you be so myopic about that?), liberals and/or stem cell research for atrocities there is, well, is just plain silly.

      In any case, it is silly for us to keep arguing with people who claim to be “logical” and “rational” but who are mostly intellectually and morally simplistic, who see the world without much knowledge of culture and history and who have a view that is black and white.

    51. As usual, Sev, you nail the argument regarding slippery slopes. I commend you on your patience, as I’ve run short of it these days ^:)^

    52. PCD says:

      Louise, don’t try to force your one-color vision on the rest of us. Don’t condescend, all that does is dismiss you from serious debate, but in condescending, you do not want to debate, but to dictate.

      Yes, there are bad liberals like you in life. I do my best to keep you out of my life.

    53. Severian says:

      Well Scott, it’s interesting that, in general, the very same liberals who are dismissing the “slippery slope” arguments here are the ones who are shrieking that things this administration does, like NSA surveillance of foreign calls to the US from suspected terrorists, are the beginning of a slippery slope to total fascism and domination and throwing liberals into interment camps. Y’all make a LOT more noise and use the argument a lot more than conservatives do in my experience.

    54. J says:

      Sister Toldjah wrote: there hasn’t been a single incident in the Bush administration where the admin has been accused of ‘locking up liberals in the name of national security.’ Nice try, though.

      There hasn’t been a “single incident” of any embryonic stem cell supporter calling for the death of born children either. Of course, that’s what makes my argument right, and your slippery slope argument WRONG.

    55. ibfamous says:

      Where do I start? Sev, how do you base any argument on the actions of a clearly disturbed person? And Scott, your argument is persuasive, however, as far as public funding goes; Edwin Armstrong had been given mathematical proof by the top engineer of the day showing frequency modulation was not viable. Armstrong ignorantly invented FM radio anyway. So, in science, “a small probability of success” has changed the world many times and in this hyper-economic climate not many commercial entities push for these successes, leaving government backed projects as our only hope of any breakthroughs that don’t involve hair growth or relief from erectile dysfunction.

      As for this story about selling babies for stem cells, if true, it just points out the consequences of thwarting reputable research using tissue that is scheduled for destruction anyway.

    56. Um, WRONG, J – it’s strongly suspected of happening in the Ukraine, and there’s a lot more evidence to back it up than your uberlame “Bush administration officials may one day lock up liberals in the name of national security” analogy.

      I generally find that people who argue that there is no such thing as a slippery slope or who say or imply that the ‘odds of the slippery slope happening are slim’ are generally people who don’t want to think about the long term consequences of what they advocate. It’s all about NOW with no thought whatsoever for tomorrow. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

    57. J says:

      You are missing the distinction between embryonic stem cells and bone marrow stem cells. The important point is that it is impossible to get embryonic stem cells from born children, or anything else other than 4-to-8 celled embryos. Accordingly, there is no way to reason that embryonic stem cell research leads to killing of babies. It’s like arguing that because I eat fish I must therefore eat chicken.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cells

      Every single thing I’ve posted in this thread rests on that distinction. The “Bush” thing wasn’t a real argument — it was an attempt to point out, by analogy, that the reasoning that you’re engaging in is specious when based upon a false or unsupported premise. Slippery slope argument isn’t per se wrong, but it is when the original premise is flat-out false.

      I posted a similar set of comments last night, which were deleted, and I haven’t been able to post any comments since–anything I try to post disappears into the ether, leading me to conclude that I’ve been banned.

      As I replied to you in email: Your comments did not show up last night to anyone but you. That is what typically happens when comments fall into the moderation que. You post something, it looks like it shows up but if you refresh the page you won’t see them. So they were deleted in error (as I explained in my update to this post), but they did NOT show up on the blog last night. –ST