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The end of the stem cell debate as we know it?

by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / June 6, 2007 11:33 PM PDT
Scientists Use Skin To Create Embryonic Stem Cells.
(Washington Post login: semods4@yahoo.com; pw = speakeasy)

>> Three teams of scientists said yesterday they had coaxed ordinary mouse skin cells to become what are effectively embryonic stem cells without creating or destroying embryos in the process -- an advance that, if it works with human cells, could revolutionize stem cell research and quench one of the hottest bioethical controversies of the decade.

In work being published today, the scientists describe a method for turning back the biological clocks of skin cells growing in laboratory dishes. Thus rejuvenated, the cells give rise to daughter cells that are able to become all the parts needed to make a new mouse. <<

However, I fear this will not in fact end the debate, as deeper in the article it is reported that the stem cells can be used to create both sperm and eggs, and so in fact (not just metaphorically) a clone of the original mouse, or by in vitro fertilization with sperm and and eggs created from different mice. If this holds up with humans, do they have a soul? Will the extreme right-to-lifers declare that the mere cells are "alive," because they have all the potential of a fertilized embryo? Stay tuned...

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!
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I could have posted that,
by drpruner / June 7, 2007 4:20 AM PDT

but I knew you would. Happy

That's good news for all, as I see it. (Remember that every stem cell therapy is a yet far from a routine trip to the doctor's office.)

That "stem cells can be used to create both sperm and eggs" doesn't mean they will be. The demand is much greater for, e.g., Parkinson's-free brain cells.

The question, "If this holds up with humans, do they have a soul ..." will indeed be argued by those whose churches have convinced them that creatures "have" a soul. Not a bible teaching. (If a Mod asks, we never had this conversation.) BTW official RC doctrine is that God 'puts the soul into the person at conception', so not likely that particular group of "right to lifers" will get involved.

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I would think the ones who would be most disappointed...
by EdH / June 7, 2007 6:28 AM PDT

would be those who used embryonic stem cell research as a justification for abortion.

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Ed, there few if any such people, except as a straw dog

for "pro-lifers" to argue against.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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"few if any".
by EdH / June 7, 2007 6:59 AM PDT

Ha ha. You so funny.

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He's right Ed,
by duckman / June 7, 2007 7:20 AM PDT
In reply to: "few if any".

those idiots in Kansas don't know crap.

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I suspect I know a lot more about the pro-choice
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / June 7, 2007 9:28 AM PDT
In reply to: "few if any".

mentality than you do, EdH -- except for the distortions you've heard from the "right to life" groups. Because of the new rules I won't argue that issue here.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Yeah right..
by EdH / June 7, 2007 10:10 AM PDT

you've posted how many articles about the benefits of embyonic stem cell research and maybe one about non-embryonic stem cell research. It's used as a club to beat down abortion opponents. Happened on teh floor of Congress today. And what was that Michael Fox debacle about?

BTW, "pro-choice" is a hideously misleading and dishonest moniker. Completely inaccurate. What are they hiding? I don't care for "pro-life" either, but at least that's not an outright lie.

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I'd like to think that this topic
by Steven Haninger / June 7, 2007 10:37 AM PDT

and others could be discussed without dragging in religious and political debate contrary to forum policy. Perhaps it's possible to appeal to human sensibilities and omit the high emotions of the radical extremes. It's too bad we only seem to hear from these folks in our media. Surely theirs a lot of good thoughts available from those not wearing (non adjustable) blinders.

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You don't need any religion behind it to say
by duckman / June 7, 2007 11:16 AM PDT

that abortion is wrong.

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"Stem cell" is biology, not religion - EXCEPT ...
by drpruner / June 7, 2007 2:01 PM PDT

I believe the only controversies come from religion-based viewpoints. So your point should be irrelevant, but isn't in the real world. Perhaps "stem cell" will have to be added to the list. Especially since some who chime in here and on some other topics use what we might call "simmer" language. (The flame is hidden underneath. Happy )

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"Stem cell " is not the issue...
by EdH / June 7, 2007 7:55 PM PDT

"embryonic stem cell" is. No one is opposed to research per se. It's the source of the material.

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(NT) So why so much choler already on a "skin cell" thread?
by drpruner / June 8, 2007 6:05 AM PDT
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Did you miss Dave's zingers?
by EdH / June 8, 2007 6:28 AM PDT

Look again.

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(NT) I haven't missed any, Ed.
by drpruner / June 8, 2007 6:52 AM PDT
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(NT) Then you know why.
by EdH / June 8, 2007 6:58 AM PDT
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(NT) I meant, I haven't missed anyone's, Ed.
by drpruner / June 8, 2007 2:01 PM PDT
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Maybe not real world but maybe possible
by Steven Haninger / June 7, 2007 8:47 PM PDT

for an instant or two. I'll just maintain my thinking that religion and ethics, while "married" are entities of their own....that one possesses belief, thoughts, etc. that align with religious ones that create an attraction. Those fundamental ethics and morals exist on their own. It's only when we drag out our written word and manifests that we get into trouble with those who do not accept these as truths or evidence. If we cannot argue without them, we probably need to refrain from entering the fray.

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For that to happen, people would have to agree...
by EdH / June 7, 2007 9:01 PM PDT

with your premise: Those fundamental ethics and morals exist on their own. I suspect that a huge number do not. Especially on a topic like abortion.

But, I think it CAN be argued without relying on religion...just not sure it should be.

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Fundamental ethics and morals
by Steven Haninger / June 7, 2007 9:18 PM PDT

We all have them to some degree or other. I don't believe they magically appear when we join a religious community. We joined the community because we have like minds. The religious part reinforces and sustains our values and we tend to argue our cases from that platform as it's easier to for ourselves and others to visualize. When we state our religious affiliation, the label carries a lot of information. That info can work for or against. Those who's label does not show causes confusion in a debate....the same as would two teams competing in plain clothes and not uniforms.

But I'll agree that it seems some are morally and ethically "challenged" to an extreme degree.

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by EdH / June 7, 2007 9:35 PM PDT
We all have them to some degree or other. I don't believe they magically appear when we join a religious community. Some feel that they are inextricably linked. Doesn't make them morally and ethically challenged; it's just a different point of view.

They don't believe what you believe.

From their point of view YOU might be considered morally and ethically challenged for trying to separate religion from morality.
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Or, to put it anpoythert way...
by EdH / June 7, 2007 9:42 PM PDT

you are asking people to discuss a topic leaving out what they consider to be the most important factor. Not very fair, and as you said, not the real world.

Kinda like saying, "describe the appearance of the sky without making any reference to the color blue." It might be possible, but...

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You've helped me make my point by your example
by Steven Haninger / June 8, 2007 3:25 AM PDT

To describe the sky by saying it's a shade of blue to a person who either did not see blue as you do or have seen and accepted your color chart as valid isn't going to work. You're not on the same page. To say that an act is wrong because (and I'll use as example) the Bible says so when speaking to a person who does not accept the Bible isn't going to work. That person might accept that the act is wrong however...but not because of the reason you may have cited buy it's a dead end to think you can convince a person to accept your position using reference material you have not, first, gotten them to accept as having value in the argument. Now, two people who claim to accept the authority of the reference material might disagree in how certain offering should be interpreted. At least they are sharing some common ground. The color of their books are the same. But when one person waves a red book and the other one a blue book...each citing their own to hold the truth...you have yourself a struggle that lasts as long as does the determination of the parties who are at odds over which book is the better. Happy

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Paul (if he were not a mythical character)
by drpruner / June 8, 2007 6:37 AM PDT

would agree with you. enim gentes quae legem non habent naturaliter quae legis sunt faciunt eiusmodi legem non habentes ipsi sibi sunt lex ..., with which you are no doubt familiar Happy is his admonition to his fellow religious that outsiders also observe much of the law in their consciences. ) 'So why don't you guys do as well?' he said. (Rom 2:14~)

"morally and ethically challenged" includes, for most of us, Hitler. Yet his euthanasia campaign was based on his own ethics. When the fray came to his people, they weren't ready for it. Again, I don't see anything like that coming out of skin cell 'stem cells'. (Dave raised the problem of sperm and egg cells; I said I think that's a straw man. If someone comes to me with a Petri dish full of such, I'll pass. Others may not.)

Say, didn't we have an admonition against using foreign languages?

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(NT) Who said Paul is/was mythical?
by Bill Osler / June 8, 2007 9:43 AM PDT
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For Dr. Bill about D.P.s reference to Paul
by Steven Haninger / June 8, 2007 10:50 AM PDT

Since it was a response to my post, I took it as tongue-in-cheek. I suppose there are some who think more of Paul as a wannabe than an original because he's said to have never known Jesus personally but only through a vision. I suppose Paul's apostolic authority might be argued. Of course such discussions are to be avoided here.... and D.P. is trying to stay legal and keep his neck away from the block. It might be killing him in another way, however. Happy

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For Steve re Paul
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / June 8, 2007 12:42 PM PDT

The major problem with Paul (more so than the original Eleven, though I think they may also have had a major problem in that regard, as I'll discuss a bit later) was that he came from a traditional Jewish background that (unlike Christ) did not highly value women (remember Paul's admonition that women keep their heads covered lest they be unclean, or some such). On the other hand, it was he who was inspired to write that "in Christ Jesus there is no Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, woman nor man." Christian Churches long ago accepted the first two equalities (in that temporal order, about 1800 years apart), but many demominations (especially Catholics and Southern Baptists, but numerous others as well) have not yet accepted that fundamental equality of male and female in "the Mystical Body of Christ" (to use the Catholic Church's long-term definition, more recently broadened by Vatican II to become "the People of God").

As for that other point where Jewish tradition may well have been superimposed on Christ's original intent, find me a place in the Gospel where He says that the priesthood is reserved for a special, ordained group. To the contrary, Paul says that we were all baptized to share in Christ's kingly, priestly, and prophetic mission (in high school I learned that via the acronym PPK, like James Bond's Walther!) I submit that the Apostles may well have imposed their own Judaic tradition of a separate priestly caste (the Levites) onto what was originally intended.

By the way, I know this is a highly religious discussion, and that the statement pinned to the top of the forum says that Speakeasy is a "politics- and religion-free zone." I had a phone discussion with Lee about some important forum-related issues on Wednesday, and mentioned that it's not usually religion that leads to name calling and insults in Speakeasy. In response he said that we could relax that aspect of the rules if we wished, but should of course delete any messages on religious topics that degenerate into name-calling and bile.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

(except for the last paragraph!)

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Steve and Dave,
by drpruner / June 8, 2007 1:38 PM PDT

You're partly right. Along with the tongue-in-cheek there's my continued amazement at the arguments that used to erupt over facts that were facts even if the bible were myth (which, of course, I do not believe).
A very hypothetical illustration:
Poster A says, 'The phrase "go forth" doesn't belong in the bible!'
Poster B says, 'No, here it is, on page 17 of the KJV, page 18 of the RSV and NWT, etc.'
Poster A replies with a flame. (Or perhaps B says, 'Here it is, you blithering idiot ...!')
Now imagine (as I've often said) that I tell you, 'In Moby ****, the title character is the ship captain.' Am I crazy or what?? That Moby **** is definitely fiction doesn't allow us to make up "facts" about it. (If you do, don't expect a passing grade in Eng 205, "The American Novel")

So ... If it eases some minds to "be allowed" to consider the bible as myth, that doesn't hurt my feelings. (Some, of course, think of God as female, but they gonna burn!! Happy ) Just don't try to tell me there's no "Paul" in the myth.

As to this Paul person, he [is said to have] said, "In this way husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever hated his own flesh; but he feeds and cherishes it, as the Christ also does the congregation." And this to people from cultures which condoned or even encouraged wife-beating. Pointing this out to those who have been taught (by mainstream "Christians", not cultists) about Paul's alleged misogyny can make them testy. That's when the flames start. In that case, Lee Koo and I say, "But a slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all, qualified to teach, keeping himself restrained under evil, instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed;" (2 Koo 2:24,25)

Another thing. Steve referred earlier to approaching a non-believer with "Thus saith the LORD; believe or die!" Waste of time, he and I agree. Best way, I've found, is to show someone a statement that ought to surprise them. If they're constructively surprised they'll ask themselves, 'What else might there be of which I was ignorant or poorly informed? Perhaps I should look into it.' In the post under discussion, I was just showing Steve that a point he made was also in the bible. That's always nice to know, even if Steve is a myth.

Steve, you might be interested in this:

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For DP....re....the approach
by Steven Haninger / June 8, 2007 8:07 PM PDT

As I interpret my church's suggestion of how to win people over it's to not approach at all. Of course, and as you know, we use lots of symbolism. We are taught that Jews did as well. There are certain numbers that have a meaning other than mathematical representation. We apply symbolism to such as water, fire, and much that even considered pagan. We don't consider pagans as necessarily bad people either. At any rate where I am going is that we are told to become "beacons" which would be a symbol for some sort of guiding light that attracts. How is this done? Well, my own thinking is that we need to be of such good character that others want to be like us....not always easy and few do it well. We are all human and we mess up. But that's the goal. There's no hard selling or threatening words that should come from us. Gone are the days of Europeanization of the natives as well. It wasn't a good idea.

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For DaveK
by Cindi Haynes / June 9, 2007 1:27 AM PDT
especially Catholics and Southern Baptists, but numerous others as well) have not yet accepted that fundamental equality of male and female in "the Mystical Body of Christ"

You are misinformed, at least where Southern Baptists are concerned.

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Steve, some of that approach is found here:
by drpruner / June 9, 2007 8:57 AM PDT

1 Pet 3:15,16. But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you. But with modesty and fear*, having a good conscience: that whereas they speak evil of you, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conversation [NWT conduct] in Christ.
(Because of this scripture, Catholics acquire the title "defender of the faith" upon confirmation.)

Php 2:15. That you may be blameless and sincere children of God, without reproof, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation: among whom you shine as lights in the world.

(FYI, here's my source: "The Holy Bible. Old Testament First Published 1609 by the English College at Douay; New Testament First Published 1582 by the English College at Rheims; Revised and Annotated 1749 by Bishop Richard Challoner; Online Edition Copyright

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