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« Take THAT, Skeptics! The RantsSylvia Browne Outs Herself (Or, "Summer is Nothing But Reruns") »

New Method of Creating Stem Cell Lines, Same Old Bullshit Opposition
2006.08.24 (Thu) 15:14

As all of our readers are presumably aware, the debate over what some call the "morality" of stem cell research has been a hot topic over the past few years. Despite the fact that there are plenty of embryos that are discarded (as in, "thrown away with the leftovers from the embryologists' dinner") for reasons having nothing to do with stem cell research, the religious right has vehemently argued that it is wrong to destroy embryos. What's their alternative plan for these embryos? They have no fucking idea, obviously. They certainly aren't lining up their wives and daughters as vessels in which to implant the clumps of cells to try for that 1 in 2 (more or less) chance at bearing a child — so apparently throwing the embryos out is more in line with God's Plan™ than using them for important medical research.

And while we firmly believe that the current methods of creating stem cell lines should be used, it's also good to see that scientists are working on alternative methods that, whether intentionally or not, attempt to sidestep these so-called "moral dilemmas." As reported on MSNBC:

[Dr. Robert] Lanza's method, employed on mouse cells last year by his company, is derivative of a diagnostic technique used in in vitro fertilization known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). In order to test embryos thought to be at risk for serious genetic defects, PGD removes a single cell, or blastomere, from a couple's embryo and examines it in a lab for irregularities. If determined to be healthy, the embryo can then, in many cases, be implanted into a woman's uterus and is able to regenerate the lost cell and continue developing. In practice, Lanza's technique would take a blastomere from an embryo donated for PGD, allow it to divide, and use the new cells to create stem-cell lines while sending one of the cells off for genetic diagnosis.

As part of many in vitro fertilization procedures, a single cell is removed from each tiny embryo in order to test for genetic disorders. And if the tests produce no sign of abnormalities, the group of remaining cells — the rest of the embryo — is implanted into a woman's uterus where it will hopefully develop into a baby. This is already done today as part of in vitro. The new wrinkle added is that the cell removed for testing is allowed to divide once, creating one cell for the tests, and another cell to harvest for the creation of a new stem cell line. So the net result — both to the woman in question and to the clump of cells — is the same. Surely that's no problem, right? Who could possibly oppose this? Oh, right — the fucking religious nutbags.

Meanwhile, hard-line opponents of stem cell science argue that the technique solves nothing, because even the single cell removed by the new approach could theoretically grow into a full-fledged human. Some also object over the possibility the procedure could harm the embryo in an unknown way.

Even the single cell removed could develop into a full-fledged human? What the fuck?! Next, they'll try to stop us from masturbating lest we waste a handful of sperm!


Seriously, this position is asinine. The only way that this one cell could develop into a human (one separate from the one who was and still would be developing already as part of the in vitro process) is if we used it in human cloning. Of course, that's also "immoral" according to these same people, so to them, the chances of this one cell developing into a new human should be nil. And yes, the removal of one cell could have an impact on the development of the embryo — but that's a risk that would-be parents already take as part of their voluntary in vitro process. This new step adds no more risk to the already accepted process. Where's the problem? What would they have us do? Not extract the cell for testing in the first place? Not engage in any in vitro fertilization at all? Who would make such idiotic statements? Oh, right — the fucking religious nutbags.

Though the new procedure may satisfy the president's objections to stem cell research, it does not meet the ethical standards of the Roman Catholic church, which opposes both PGD and in vitro fertilization.

In short, the fucking-religious-nutbag position is that no one should do anything that interferes with God's Plan™ for procreation. No birth control, no emergency contraception, no abortions, no in vitro or other fertility treatments, no testing for genetic disorders, no masturbation, and no sex that isn't meant to produce offspring. Nothing will satisfy these fucks short of a full-on Christian theocracy. No new method of creating stem cells will make them happy, because they can't get past their asinine, ill-founded, delusional beliefs. Seriously, scientists could somehow develop a way to harvest human stem cells from fucking banana daiquiris, and these fucks would probably still raise moral objections to the process. (Which makes one wonder: are their objections really about human life and über-judgmental ethics, or just a basic opposition to any forward scientific progress?)

Look, it's quite simple. These people are welcome to their beliefs, and they're welcome to live their lives in accordance with the teachings of a poorly written, moldy old piece of propaganda. But they cannot be allowed to force the rest of us to subscribe to their bullshit dogma. Either we call this out for the bullshit that it is, or we continue to slide back into the dark ages.

So if we can't satisfy these zealots under any circumstances, why bother looking into alternative methods like this one? Well, what we can hope for is that the more rational opponents of stem cell research begin to see that those who still oppose procedures like this one are just fucking insane. And if we can convince those on the fence that they don't want to be lumped in with the bible-humping (not a typo) fanatics, maybe we'll start to get somewhere.

Don't get us wrong — we're willing to bet that this method of creating stem cell lines is less efficient and more costly than the traditional methods, and we firmly believe that we shouldn't have to explore alternatives like this in order to pacify a group of idiots who, quite frankly, will never be pacified no matter what we do (banana daiquiri procedures included). But the more we expose these extremists as the raving, frothing lunatics that they are, the better our chances will be of shaking free of their influence and getting on with the business of scientific progress. And, hey — we're all for that.

— • —
[  Filed under: % Civil Liberties  % Religion  % Science & Technology  ]

Comments (17)

Todd Adamson, 2006.08.25 (Fri) 12:49 [Link] »

Taking these arguments to their logical conclusion, it appears any women who menstruates is guilty of murder.

The Two Percent Company, 2006.08.25 (Fri) 13:47 [Link] »

Actually, it's quite a predicament for young women. Let's assume that a girl's menstruation begins at 13 years of age. If she menstruates, the ovum (which could develop into a full-fledged human) is lost, and that's immoral. If she has sex and manages to fertilize that first egg out of the fallopian gate...well, premarital (and teen) sex is immoral, too. If she has the egg harvested in advance, that's wrong because all fertility treatments are apparently also immoral. So she's an immoral, sinful spawn of evil no matter what she does.

Gee, no wonder women are second class citizens in the extremist Christian worldview.

Infophile, 2006.08.25 (Fri) 22:56 [Link] »

I've talked with my share of fundamentalists, and apparently any eggs lost in menstruation, plus any miscarriages, are part of God's Plan (TM). Same deal with any eggs that get fertilized but don't implant (happens all the time). That is, unless you took a pill to ensure they don't implant. That's against God's Plan, despite the fact that an omnipotent god could easily counteract the pill's effects, right?

But anyways, look at it this way: As soon as Bush is out of office, they'll try to pass that bill to federally fund stem cell research again, and, unless we get another looney in the White House, it will likely pass. So, just two years.

Let's just hope McCain isn't turning into a looney himself, as he's a likely front-runner. His comments about teaching the controversy might have just been because the media tricked him into believing there was one. I hope.

Pool Guy, 2006.08.28 (Mon) 13:47 [Link] »

I tend to look at these "controversies" with a less focused view.

My interpretation of the religious wingnut objection to (enter your topic here - stem cell research, in this case) is that it doesn't matter what the topic is. The wingnuts are not actually saying "We don't believe in stem cell research". They are saying "Everything you do, say, or think must be filtered through our insane beliefs". This is actually a pretty good working definition of Fascism. It is probably the most important reason why there is such a synchronization of the goals of the religious wingnuts and the current administration.

The Two Percent Company, 2006.08.29 (Tue) 10:01 [Link] »

Don't worry, we know that menstruation isn't actually considered sinful. We were mostly pointing out the stupidity of the (so-called) logic behind these rules. An omnipotent God could presumably stop menstruation (or nocturnal emissions for that matter) if he wanted to. But by the same logic, couldn't he stop in vitro and get rid of all the condoms as well? It's all just so mindbogglingly stupid.

Of course, as Pool Guy points out, trying to apply logic to the views of religious believers is an exercise in futility. Logic simply plays no part in religion. That's all we're trying to say when we showcase the illogical conclusions that religion leads us to (when logic is misappropriated and applied to it).

And yes, as long as we don't elect another fucking idiot like Bush, stem cell research will move forward in the near future. We're glad for that, but pretty pissed off at the years of lost progress. Just as with space exploration, we feel that each year of delay adds far more than a year to the eventual process; the effects of eight years of an utter asshole like Bush in the White House will be felt for a long time to come.

As an aside, PZ recently linked to a clip of a frozen embryo actually being tossed in the trash. How timely.

To recap: in vitro is bad, but if you elect to do it (even though it was God's Plan™ for you not to reproduce), then you'd better throw out the unused embryos rather than using them in stem cell research. After all, God created all of the world's diseases and genetic disorders for a reason, damn it! Praise Jesus!

Jason Spicer, 2006.09.21 (Thu) 21:15 [Link] »

God is a piss-poor Planner if two drunk teenagers can remember to put on a condom and thwart his cosmic designs. Not to mention a big wuss. Omnipotent, my ass. Weaker than a thin layer of latex, more like.

Speaking of which, I'd say more than a few human embryonic stem cells are the direct result of banana daiquiris.

And let's face it, choosing your mate is playing God with your offspring. If the FRNBs (I can't believe you spelled out "fucking religious nutbags" so many times in the rant) are serious about this playing God argument, they'd damn well better be solidly in support of completely anonymous and random sex. And not just between priests and altar boys. That doesn't get the job done.

Tom from the Two Percent Company, 2006.09.27 (Wed) 11:41 [Link] »

Sheesh, what do you expect from these people, Jason — logic? If God had wanted people to be logical, he wouldn't have pretended to exist in the first place.

The Raptor, 2007.01.23 (Tue) 16:08 [Link] »

You know what all this reminds me of? Spontaneous generation and the fight the religious community made over that. People tried for years to disprove it. The one they show in the biology books, with the meat inside a glass jar, and cheese cloth pulled over the top, where the fly larva hatch on the top... Even religion said that one didn't disprove spontaneous generation, it just proved that the fowl air was causing the maggots to appear. It took a certified genius to finally disprove it, with a flask filled with broth, that had a bent neck on it to allow air to enter (since that was ALSO a prerequisite for spontaneous generation was that it had to 'breath), but not allow dust and other particles to get in.

Why I started thinking of this when reading through this article, I don't know.. But it just goes to show that religion can't stand when science does something and does everything in its power to halt progress.

Also reminds me of the guy who said that it was immoral for women to be given painkillers while in childbirth, because God wanted there to be pain.

Oh yes, and I suppose also that if a women's dying in child birth, we should just stand there and let her die too, since you know, it's God's way.

You know, we play God every day. When we try to save animals from extinction, when we wipe Clorox across our counter tops, or wash our hands, or give our children vaccines, or put chlorine in our water, or countless other things which we do to control our environment. To make it safer. I'm actually glad we've pretty much wipped out small pox from the world. Let's do it to the rest of the little buggers too. Oh wait, that'll be interfering.

But, I suppose some of these high raking religious people, who live in wealth, get food and clean water every day, live in nice houses and in nice neighborhoods have a right to complain about how miserablives their lives are and how immoral the rest of us are.

To them, other people get cancer, other people have liver failers, and heart attacks. And they are in their full right to protect these unborn children, and decide that we should force people to give up their lives for an embroy that may or may not be the one who comes up with the cure to cancer (even though, they seem to forget the fact that the embroys are destined for the trash can - oh but wait, I forgot.. abortion is immoral in the first place. Let's force ever women who's rapped, or will lose her life for it, or will have a child with sever gentic problems, or who just made a mistake, to give up their life, just in the sliver of the hope that the child is the next coming of Jesus. - Like it's the child that's the saint and not the mother, who's life has now been ruined by the church, putting her in the poor house, instead of doing something like going to college. And yeah, I know there's single mothers out there who make it, even those with MR children (and bravo to them). If they cared so much about that child, they'd pay the mother to have it, and then adopt it themselves, so she could go on to a better life, rather than being forced onto welfare.)

I wonder if it ever occured to them that maybe God gave us stem cells to start with so that we could find these cures. Or that maybe God gave us the people with the intellengece, to find, grow, and intellegencly use stem cells.

Thank God for my three month birth control pills. My periods are painful and because I'm sensitive to drugs, I can't take pain killers without being officially disabled from society. Those pills make the period less painful, not last as long, and I don't have to deal with it but four times a year. Wonder if these people have even read the warnings for these pills. They can cause heart attacks (but the numbers are lower than the deaths that result from child birth). You'd think God would give us all one for taking them.

If religion applied the same rules it did when trying to debunk science, they'd blow themselves up.

Actually, that might not be a bad idea.

todd, 2007.01.25 (Thu) 22:08 [Link] »

why would we even care what the catholic church thinks, the priests are gay, child molesters.
how are the religious retards going to justify that.
we need to do what benifits mankind.

The Two Percent Company, 2007.01.25 (Thu) 23:37 [Link] »

Sure, you're all sarcastic now, Raptor, but Sexist Asshat Bill Napoli of South Dakota has made it pretty clear that the mother is worthless compared to the unborn child. Rape, pregnancy complications, potential health problems — fuck that, right? We can't let any fetuses be damaged to save a measly human being.

On another note, none of the regular Two Percenters are female, but with sisters, mothers, wives and girlfriends, we can certainly empathize with how wonderful it is to have stuff like Seasonale on the market today. Frankly, it's just as much of a boon for the male half of each heterosexual couple...er, if you know what we're getting at....

As for the Catholic church's opinions, todd — we don't care what they think, directly, nor would any rational modern individual. The problem, though, is that the Catholics (and religions in general) have a huge influence on national and international politics in this bewildered era; so while we don't give a crap what their misguided opinions might be, we do need to stay aware of them, and prepare to fight them in the public and political arenas. It's not "what they think" that's the problem; it's the combination of their avowed policies and their powerful political pull.

We totally agree that the church — like most, if not all, religions — is incredibly corrupt and intellectually backward. But for now, we still have to deal with their existence. But don't worry: we're not talking about "appeasement," we're talking about "confrontation."

GOD777, 2007.02.04 (Sun) 20:35 [Link] »

The reason the FRNBs want to halt all scientific progress, is that in the bible adam and eve ate from that tree which made them smart, so god punished them so they would die and feel pain in childbirth. So a perfect extremist christian society would involve everyone running around in the jungle naked having sex with random people, abandoning all logic and reason, so we would basically become cave people

TimmyAnn, 2007.02.05 (Mon) 02:19 [Link] »

All the while I was reading this thread, I was trying to remember the lyrics to that Monty Python song. You know, the one about, "Every sperm is sacred....."

Tom from the Two Percent Company, 2007.02.08 (Thu) 11:22 [Link] »

Unlike asking God, ask us and ye shall receive. You can see the lyrics, or view a somewhat low quality version of the video clip.

Jeff from the Two Percent Company, 2007.02.08 (Thu) 12:49 [Link] »

You know, GOD777, aside from the jungle, the cave thing, abandoning all logic and reason, the presumably iron-fisted theocracy, and the inevitable STDs, that perfect extremist Christian society you describe sounds pretty fun. Do I have to accept Jesus for real, or can I just sign up for the enjoyable bits?

TimmyAnn, 2007.02.08 (Thu) 12:53 [Link] »

Cool! Thanks for the links!

GOD777, 2007.02.13 (Tue) 21:39 [Link] »

Yes it does sound pretty fun Jeff but alas the bible thumpers won't allow a person to be on both sides of the fence, you either become a mindless zombie, or be burned at the stake.... oh wait a moment that was a hundred years ago. Time sure does fly when your running from torch weilding religeos!

Tom S. Fox, 2008.01.04 (Fri) 22:44 [Link] »

Another thing I wonder is:
If god is against stem cell research, why doesn't he turn the scientists into pillars of salt like Lot's wife, or something.

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