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Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research: Approved

By earthling in News
Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 07:59:36 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

After months of debates and consultations, United States President George W. Bush announced yesterday in his first televised address to the nation his decision to split the apple in half: the federal government will provide funding for limited medical research on existing stem cell lines.

"I have made this decision with great care, and I pray it is the right one."


Embryonic stem cells come from blastocysts, human embryos a few days after fertilisation. In order to use them for study, stem cells must be removed from inside the blastocysts, thereby destroying the embryos. Under proper conditions, the removed cells are able to replicate themselves indefinitely and can be made to develop into any kind of tissue.

Many scientists believe that these cells offer an incredible potential to discover cures for some of today's worst diseases such as Parkinson, Alzheimer, diabetes or even cancer.

Opponents to the research claim that, however noble the goal, it does not justify the means, and that the destruction of embryos, the equivalent of killing a human being, can never be justified. They also suggest that scientists should focus on adult stem cell research since, while less promising than embryonic stem cell research, it does not carry this moral problem.


President Bush, a fierce anti-abortionist, thus faced an agonizing dilemma: can we allow ourselves to saves lives if, to do so, we must destroy human embryos? And should we be doing all this with the taxpayers' money?

Mr Bush's decision consisted of authorizing federal funding for research on existing stem cell lines from embryos that had already been destroyed. About sixty such lines exist in various research facilities around the world. Funding would not be available, however, for research on stem cells removed from the tens of thousands frozen embryos stored in fertility clinics across the country, nor would it be available for research on any new sources of stem cells, including those comming from embryos created specifically for research purposes or from cloned embryos, which are illegal in the United States. The amount of federal funding available to researchers should be around $250 million for the current year.

In addition, Mr Bush announced that he was creating a President's Council on Bioethics to "monitor stem-cell research, to recommend appropriate guidelines and regulations and to consider all of the medical and ethical ramifications of bio-medical innovation". It will be chaired by Dr. Leon Kass, a conservative biomedical ethicist from the University of Chicago.


After learning of his decision, none of the two sides in this debate seemed pleased with the half-apple they received.

Most conservative opponents and anti-abortionists condemned the decision by accusing him of supporting an immoral research project. "He knows those cells were obtained by killing a person, and that makes him complicit in an illicit action" said Father Joseph Howard, executive director of the American Bioethics Advisory Commission. Some groups, however, supported the President's choice, such as the National Right to Life Committee, saying that it "prevents the federal government from becoming a party to any further killing of human embryos for medical experimentation".

Reaction from the scientific community as so far been mixed. While researchers expressed relief that funding was not completely prohibited, they also shared concerns over the severe restrictions of federal funding, particularly on the restriction of research to the existing stem cells lines. Many scientists hoped to have access to the regularly destroyed excess embryos at fertility clinics. "It's ideology first, science in the back seat," commented Dr. Steve Miles, a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics.

About sixty percent of Americans support federal funding for stem cell research.

BBC News Videos (RealMedia): 1 2 3


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What do you think of Bush's decision?
o Agree, it's perfect! 14%
o Disagree, he should have made the research illegal. 5%
o Disagree, he should have denied federal funding. 5%
o Disagree, it doesn't go far enough: it's too restrictive. 42%
o Remind me again why I haven't left for Canada yet? 23%
o Frankly, I don't care. 7%

Votes: 88
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o first televised address
o Dr. Leon Kass
o 1
o 2
o 3
o Also by earthling

Display: Sort:
Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research: Approved | 71 comments (67 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
No effect on private research (4.09 / 11) (#4)
by duxup on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 05:51:11 AM EST

One thing I don't see people mention about this story is that this decision does not effect private research. It is only regarding federal funding of a certain number of cells. If you've got stem cells sitting around, you can go ahead and research away (you just don't get federal $). However, scientists are currently only aware of a limited amount of special stem cells that fit the specifications that make them fit for research (the exact number is debatable).

Also it should be noted that some scientists have noted that with federal dollars involved the findings of such research should be available to all. Had research began on these cells by a private company/organization, results and benefits would have been limited by that group.

Ethical decissions are not easy. (3.22 / 9) (#5)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 05:51:41 AM EST

I can't envision any circumstances in which any decission would have made happy everybody.

From a scientific point of view I have no doubts that an embryo under certain age and before a certain stage of development can't be considered a human been.

In the other hand I understand the moral dilemma of some religious groups because they assume that an embryo is a human, from the moment of conception.

Given the completely arbitrary nature of our definition of what a human been is, this kind of debat will never be settled, so it is good that politicians don't try to settle something by imposition.

Both parts should recognize that the "adversary" has got valid points, and under these circumstances a full ban or complete acceptance of this kind of research would be wrong.

A little bit of caution does help, when one drives too fast one is more prone to accidents. Sometimes it is necessary to slow down the technology Ferrari just a bit.

"They only think of me as a Mexican,
an Indian or a Mafia don"
Mexican born actor Anthony Quinn on
CNN reviews: so glad he thought about it (4.33 / 15) (#6)
by netmouse on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 06:41:24 AM EST

I watched the president's speech on CNN and caught large parts of the following discussion on Larry King Live afterward. The reactions all reminded me of the reaction to his performance in the presidential debates: "Wow, we thought what he would do would really suck, and it only mostly sucked, so hey, we're impressed!"

Everyone praised how much thought and consultation with various people the president had put into the subject.

Mary Tyler Moore, one of the heads of a Juvenile Diabetes group that anticipates advances from stem cell research said smilingly that 60 stem cell lines was good news, nobody knew there were sixty lines, so that's good.

Christopher Reeve, consulted on the phone, was more cautious. He pointed out that we don't know the condition of these stem cell lines, or if the use of them will be available to U.S. researchers. He was obviously disappointed in the speech.

Arshad Mohammed reports today through Reuters,

Fewer than 10 such stem-cell lines -- self-replenishing colonies of cells because they have the ability to regenerate themselves indefinitely -- are in the United States. The rest are in Australia, Singapore, India, Israel and Sweden, a top Bush aide said.
Reeve also pointed out that congress and the senate are opposed to the president on this one, and we can anticipate some legislation from that direction.

Religious leaders had mixed reactions of course, but generally were pleased that Bush affirmed this concept of a 5-cell pre-embryonic cell group being the beginning of a life and thus deserving the protections of a human life. This is the crux of the pro-life anti-abortion stance and will probably be increasingly raised in that debate now that the president has changed the stem cell research funding rules for the government.

I have never been so impressed by Montel Williams as when he got in there and actually did not give the president some sort of smarmy thumbs up for this decision. Montel also brought up the issue of parent-child donor priviliges in connection with adult organ donor rights as being related to this issue. Unfortunately Larry King paraphrased him wrongly, turning the question into the stoic question "is it right to take on person's life to save another?" As Montel repeatedly pointed out, we're not talking about the research being the basis for the end of the embryo's life, the embryos are already dying. As he put it, just let him and others go to the trash and take them out and put them to use.

That image is a little graphic, but it makes a good point. One religious commentator was saying all dead embryos should be burried whole just like any other human and he's ignoring the fact that, even if we accept his comparison, many humans are not burried whole, they give of themselves living tissue for medical purposes before the rest of their remains are so entombed.

Out in the news today, some religious enthusiasts are still complaining.

''The trade-off he has announced is morally unacceptable: the federal government, for the first time in history, will support research that relies on the destruction of some defenseless human beings for the possible benefit to others,'' said Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
This is of course not true: the federal government was previously funding stem cell research from the point of working with harvested stem cells on; the research funding did not previously include the stem cell harvesting procedure, but it did not preclude the introduction of new stem cell lines into one's federally funded research.

As has already been commented in this forum, this decision does not affect private research. I was frustrated with CNN's scrolling subtitles "President allows .." etc. in that they kept giving the impression this was akin to a limitation on all research in the U.S. It's not, and I'm thankful that it's not.

Finally, everyone was "thumbs-up" to the creation of a bioethics cousel, and I support this as well. There used to be a non-partisan Office of Technology Assessment that helped consider some of these kinds of issues. It was established in 1972 but it was reduced under the elder Bush and finally shut down in 1995. A few archives are available.

probably preaching to the choir but... (2.20 / 5) (#45)
by h310ise on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 06:43:27 PM EST

Isn't the support of '...research that relies on the destruction of some defenseless human beings for the possible benefit to others...' virtually the same as supporting the destruction of defenseless human beings' lives by other methods, economic, etc.? Where were and are these great moralists while we implicitly or explicitly support poverty and war around the world? How do they care more about a bunch of cells then about full-grown humans? Hrm. Could be that these bunches of cells *have* to be human in order for thier whole religious epistomology to hold up; these cells, or at least thier 'humanity' are at the base layer of thier house of cards. I don't know, but consistency seems lacking in most of these arguements.

Even if I thought the little globs were humans, I'd still say kill 'em, send thier souls straight to purgatory or rebirth or wherever they go, so the [bigger?] living might live better. Same decision I make every day when I purchase goods or food or whatnot. We *are* at the top of the food chain (taken metaphorically or literally) and *are* demi-gods and we might as well start acting like it.

[ Parent ]

Bush doesn't debate well (4.00 / 2) (#57)
by ryancooley on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 09:45:13 AM EST

I know there were a lot of reporters praising Bush after one of his final debates, but I saw that debate myself, and am convinced they all simply saw what they wanted to see. He made just as much of an idiot of himself at that debate as any other.

On the subject of his stem-cell decision, it's not hard to make a well thought-out decision when you have a large cabinet of intelligent people telling you what you should think, as well as a vice-president that appears to be the real president behind the scenes.

[ Parent ]
Good choice by the President (3.18 / 11) (#7)
by DeadBaby on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 07:51:44 AM EST

I know bashing the president is the "HIP" thing to do because a few people saw it on the Daily Show or SNL but this is a case where I think the President made a pretty good choice.

Obviously his base doesn't want any research done and the President himself even leans in that direction. However, since most medicinal innovation comes from federal money allowing research money to go to the cells already out there makes a lot of sense.

This way, there's chance for new discoveries but no need to destroy more embryos.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
That's one... (3.00 / 5) (#17)
by Abstraction on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:01:56 AM EST

I know bashing the president is the "HIP" thing to do because a few people saw it on the Daily Show or SNL but this is a case where I think the President made a pretty good choice.

It was only a matter of time he made one good decision.

[ Parent ]
Re: That's one... (3.75 / 4) (#33)
by Perpetual Newbie on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 02:40:44 PM EST

It was only a matter of time he made one good decision.

Well, Bush did also say that the World Bank should forgive loans to poor countries after the people throw out their dictators and install someone elected, and he also managed to not start WW3 with China over the recon plane incident, so this isn't only his first good decision of his presidency.. maybe his third.

I am impressed that this is the first time I've seen Bush actually make a compromise. For the first time since his inauguration, Bush is acting as a uniter, not a divider. He's uniting both sides against him, but hey, you can't please everyone. He even appears to have made some independant thought on the matter. It's a good thing, he should keep it up.

Maybe communing with cows had an effect on him. Y'think if Bush sacked half his cabinet and replaced them with cows, we'd be better off?

[ Parent ]
embryos (3.42 / 7) (#27)
by treat on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 12:44:41 PM EST

This way, there's chance for new discoveries but no need to destroy more embryos.

Fertility clinics create and destroy many embryos, and they will continue to do so. These newly destroyed embryos just won't be used for stem cell research.

[ Parent ]

Not exactly (3.00 / 2) (#56)
by ryancooley on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 09:41:08 AM EST

While many are created and frozen, they are not usually destroyed. And you cannot deny that when scientists are doing research, they will want to endow specific traits in their subjects, which means there would be many purpose-made embryos. I think that Bush made the best decision possible at this time.

[ Parent ]
Fence sitting can be a dangerous occupation... (3.91 / 12) (#8)
by hillct on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 08:11:37 AM EST

Bush now has two problems, where previously he had one. His conservative constituants aaren't happy there will be federally funded research using embrionic stem cells, and the scientific community is up in arms claiming that his refusal to make all research in this area eligable for federal funds.

It appears that Bush (and his excelant speech writers) have used his first live televised address to demonstrate that he can think, and that he is at least trying to reach a fair and mutually acceptable middle ground on this - both politically and emotionally - highly charged issue. The probably outcome of this exqussite job of fence sitting is that congress will not abide his recommendation when passing legislation regarding this issue. This, however, actually works to his advantage, since it will have the effect of distancing him from the legislation that eventually passes through congress, which is politically important considering the highly inflamatory nature of the issue.


--Got Lists? | Top 31 Signs Your Spouse Is A Spy
Socialist curmudgeon pov (3.75 / 8) (#9)
by perdida on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 08:16:31 AM EST

He has put federal funding forward for the limited number of lines already funded by *private* research. He is indeed creating a stem cell industry, but he's limiting the source.

I smell a rat!

Which universities and companies have cultivatd these lines? How will they profit from the distribution of these blastocyst lines to many public universities, hospitals, and other research facilities? Will they get a patent-based royalty, or another kind of fee? Will taxpayer dollars be significantly diverted from research towards profit?

I am wondering if any drug companies or other large medical firms that gave money to Bush will come out as major beneficiaries of this decision.
The most adequate archive on the Internet.
I can't shit a hydrogen fuel cell car. -eeee
[ Parent ]
Exactly the point I was making here last night. (3.77 / 9) (#10)
by hillct on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 08:41:21 AM EST

You're completely correct. Regardless of how upset the republican party is regarding Bush's decision, he's being true to his republican roots. In what turned out to be a poorly recieved, short oppinion piece, I commented that:
Since there exist only five dozen stem cell lines some owned by private corporations and federal funds can not be used to purchase the genetic material to create more, Bush's position on the issue creates an artificially limited resource and in so doing creates a market and an extremely high valuation for these privately held human genetic resources. The license based revenue source Bush has opened up for these companies is unprescedented. They in effect now hold some of the most valuable patents (for lack of a better term) in history.
I'm glad I am not the only one with this oppinion. The markets yesterday anticipated a favorable result as discussed here and that's exactly what they got, but in a way they could only have dreamed of.


--Got Lists? | Top 31 Signs Your Spouse Is A Spy
[ Parent ]
not *that* valuable. (3.66 / 6) (#20)
by delmoi on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:39:07 AM EST

The license based revenue source Bush has opened up for these companies is unprecedented. They in effect now hold some of the most valuable patents (for lack of a better term) in history.

Um, you're assuming that only Americans can extract Stem cells.

Most likely, most research will be done in other countries.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
also, (3.66 / 3) (#58)
by Delirium on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 06:55:32 PM EST

In addition, this entire decision only regards federally-funded research. If these lines of stem cells do become as valuable as hillct envisions, then researchers will just shun federal grant money and use others with private research money. That effectively puts a cap on how much they can be worth - if the licenses become too outrageously expensive, people will just not buy them, and do privately-funded research instead.

[ Parent ]
I was surprised (3.10 / 10) (#11)
by Ender Ryan on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 08:54:13 AM EST

I thought this decision was very surprising, I expected an all out ban. I thought he was taking his time because he wanted to present the appearance of actually considering it, but he actually did.

I realize many people will still be pissed with this decision and spew a ton of vitriol towards Mr. Bush, but you have to recognize that this was a huge comprimise on his part.

After Bush spoke with the pope(who Bush recognizes as actually meaning something... I sure don't) and the pope told him not to allow any funding for stem-cell research I thought that was going to be final. I was pissed because it seemed to me that Bush was going to allow the pope to make his decision.

But Bush actually spoke to all the people he respected to gather input, then made his own decision, which was in large part against the wishes of his supporters.

Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!

Well.... (4.20 / 5) (#12)
by TheCaptain on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 09:09:49 AM EST

Whether or not you believe the pope means anything isn't important. The Pope might not even have any personal meaning to Bush....the thing is, is that there are still millions of Catholics who he does mean something to...and they have pretty clear feelings about this. It's a significant enough number to be seriously considered anyways, as his decision isn't just a personal thing...it's for the people of his Country. I think he actually did pretty good on this one.

[ Parent ]
Good Compromise (3.37 / 8) (#13)
by catseye on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 09:28:54 AM EST

I consider this a good compromise. I think he probably wanted to ban it since personally it offends him; however, he cannot deny the medical importance of pursuing this research. By allowing Federal funding for current stem cell lines, he's basically given scientists the go-ahead to see what this technology can actually do.

I have a feeling that if this medical technology can actually do what scientists think it will do, such as cure diabetes, parkinson's, and other diseases/conditions where a persons organ (including the brain) is deficient, then more funding will become available, along with regulation. If it were left to the private companies, you'd probably see a lot of conduct many people, especially conservatives, would consider unethical and immoral.

I have mixed feelings about the whole "when does life begin" issue, so would really hesitate to give an opinion on whether or not I think embryos should be created for this specific purpose, but I don't really have any problems with existing embryos that are going to be destroyed anyway being used.

What Bush should have done. (3.15 / 13) (#15)
by hoops on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 09:49:04 AM EST

What President Bush should have done, is refused Federal funding for stem cell research because the Constitution of the United States does not allow the Federal government to do so. The only power the government has with regard to scientific matters is explicitly stated in Article I Section 8
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
That is, they can grant and enfore copyrights and patents, but that is all. And according to Amendment X, if a power is not granted to the US by the Constitution, and not explicitly prohbited to the states, then the states or the people retain those powers.

Why do we always assume that the US government has the power to do anything it pleases?

If I were a koala bear, the first thing I would do is urinate all over you and bite you in the scrotum. - bri4n

But they fund other science (4.00 / 5) (#16)
by simon farnz on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 09:59:15 AM EST

To do that, Bush would also have to terminate all federal funding for science; that's a rather tall order for him. Easier to go with the flow, and find a fair compromise between the extreme positions (which is what he has done, and should have done).

If you wish to push this one, then feel free to try and convince Congress to stop it.
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns
[ Parent ]

rights to restrict != ability to support (3.80 / 5) (#18)
by netmouse on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:19:11 AM EST

The constitution is potentially infringing on the rights or actions of citizens by giving the covernment the power to secure copyrights and patents for authors and inventors. It is giving the government the right and power to restrict the freedoms of people in this way. That is such a serious thing that it needed to be included in the constitution.

In terms of power to fund things, be they charities, military advances, medical research, administrative assistants, flowers for the white house, etc, this power is given to congress and then, in detail to the cabinet and administration (which is governed by the president), which carries out the federal budget.

You're confusing two different types of powers and their sources in our government.


[ Parent ]

If it is not listed in the Constitution... (3.00 / 4) (#21)
by hoops on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:44:47 AM EST

Then the Federal government can not do it!

In terms of power to fund things, be they charities, military advances, medical research, administrative assistants, flowers for the white house, etc, this power is given to congress and then, in detail to the cabinet and administration (which is governed by the president), which carries out the federal budget.

True. But the government can only fund those activities specifically listed in Article I Section 8. Funding for the military is listed; funding for White House flowers is allowed there too. Funding for scientific research is NOT listed specifically, and such power is not prohibited to the states in Article I Section 10, therefore the states or the people should fund scientific research.
If I were a koala bear, the first thing I would do is urinate all over you and bite you in the scrotum. - bri4n
[ Parent ]

constitutional basis for funding research (2.66 / 3) (#23)
by netmouse on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:52:19 AM EST

Nod. I'm not really an expert on this but it seems like some time ago they decided that funding basic research was necessary to the medical and technological advances that give our military an advantage in the worldwide arena.

probably the fact that they advance us as a society is considered an aside to that.

[ Parent ]

Please. (2.11 / 9) (#19)
by delmoi on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:30:50 AM EST

You're an idiot. That just says the government can't restrict certain things, Funding things is not a 'power'

If you really feel so strongly, sue the government and see if you can get the supreme court to agree. I doubt you'd get very far.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Funding things is most certainly a power (3.50 / 4) (#22)
by hoops on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:51:07 AM EST

Funding things is not a 'power'

Then why is the funding of the army listed as a power in Article I Section 8? As in

The Congress shall have power...
To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

Why does my post make me an idiot? Is it because I want the government to play by the rules to which it has agreed? Or is it perhaps I disagree with you?
If I were a koala bear, the first thing I would do is urinate all over you and bite you in the scrotum. - bri4n
[ Parent ]

And funding isn't a power? (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by VitaminSupplementarian on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 09:43:15 PM EST

Funding can be a matter of life or death for a project. It can also determine who gets the results, how they're released, if they are released, etc. Federal funding has so many strings attached that anyone that takes it is strung up like a puppet.
"A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy" --F.A. Hayek
[ Parent ]
Section 8 also says... (4.50 / 2) (#31)
by Perpetual Newbie on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 02:23:58 PM EST

The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the Unites States; but all Duties, Imposts, and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.

Emphasis added. This paragraph deals primarily with the power to tax, but can be taken as to also grant to Congress the powers to provide a common defense for the states, and to provide for the general welfare of the USA. Unless the definition of general welfare back then is far off from what it is now, the funding of medical research certainly falls under it.

Then again, "common Defense and general Welfare" could mean nothing more than general words to summarize the specific powers that are then laid out in the rest of the Section. While I wasn't there and don't know the Founders' true intent at the formation of the Constitution, the government has been funding science since at least the Lewis and Clark expedition, which according to a quick Googling was in 1803 and funded by Congress with the support of President Thomas Jefferson.

[ Parent ]
Many other powers (5.00 / 4) (#39)
by krlynch on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 04:19:27 PM EST

While I understand your statements, they are clearly unsupported by the history of Constitutional Jurisprudence in the U.S. There are many things that are not included in so many words in the powers of Article I section 8 that are constitutional and legal exercises of Legislative authority (or so the Supreme Court has agreed since its founding). Consider laws against kidnapping, the establishment of rules of evidence in courts of law, the granting of public lands to railroads in the last century, the construction of the interstate highway system, the anti-drug laws. How about the establishment of the air force? or environmental laws? or Judicial review? How about the authority to even hire government employees? or the authority to outlaw yelling "fire" in a crowded place, or requiring news reports to be non-libelous?

My point is that NONE of the foregoing items (unless I had a brain fart) are explicitly enumerated in the Constitution, but all of them have been determined by the Courts (under the principle of Judicial Review... see above :-) to be a proper and legal exercise of Legislative power because they are "all laws which [are] necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof." To suggest otherwise is a huge misunderstanding of the role of the U.S. Constitution in the legal framework of the country. I mean, if you have the authority to create "courts inferior to the Supreme Court", doesn't it kind of follow that you necessarily have the authority to allow the hiring of judges to fill those courts, even though the constitution is silent of that issue?

As to the specific question of whether the Constitution permits scientific research to be paid for out of Federal funds, I direct your attention to "provision and maintenance of a navy", "raise and support armies", "fix the standard of weights and measures", "regulate commerce", and "provide for ... the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings". Along with the preamble's discussion of the entire point of the constitutional form of government, to "promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty", the above clauses have all been taken (in Courts) to provide all of the necessary authority to support relevant scientific research How, for example, do you "fix the standards of weights and measures" without understanding how to make accurate measurements? Or "raise and support armies" if you can't allow those armies to do the research necessary to carry out their job of fighting wars, rebellions, and insurrections? To think otherwise of the legislature is to be ridiculously narrow-minded in your understanding of "narrowly construing" constitutional powers.

[ Parent ]

Article I, Section 8. (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by Count Zero on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 07:28:54 PM EST

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States

If potentially life-saving research does not promote the general welfare of the U.S., I don't know what does.

[ Parent ]
Nothing unexpected (2.00 / 7) (#24)
by l0gichunt3r on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 11:20:41 AM EST

The only decision that George Bush really made was to pass the buck.

He has pushed the real decision into the hands of the clinics and the researchers.

If any of the 'stem cell lines' turn out to be empty or extremely limited, Bush can sit back and say, 'Not my fault.'

If any of the researchers decide to use government funding on non-government approved stem cell lines, Bush can sit back and say, 'Not my fault.'

And once again, America is blessed with a political leader that stands for everything by standing up for nothing.

On a side note, I found this quote: "The trade-off he has announced is morally unacceptable: the federal government, for the first time in history, will support research that relies on the destruction of some defenseless human beings for the possible benefit to others," said Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Does any one else find this ironic? The crusades, inquisition, WWII, etc.

It would only be ironic. (2.50 / 4) (#25)
by Vermifax on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 12:22:00 PM EST

If they we still perpetrating these acts.
- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]
iraqi sanctions? (2.40 / 5) (#28)
by doviende on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 01:14:38 PM EST

sanctions on iraq are causing the deaths of thousands of children every month, even though the weapons inspectors have said that the sanctions are no longer needed.

see here for more info on the injustice of the sanctions.

The US also exports small arms to many different oppressive regimes all over the world, and those small arms are used to kill thousands of people. The government assists and encourages these weapon-making companies, and calls them great examples of successful businesses.

the IMF (international monetary fund) and the World Bank make profits upwards of $22 billion every year from loans made to the poorest countries, and that money comes from the coffers of governments that should be using it to feed and house their starving people. Instead, the loans are used to build infrastructure to "encourage" US -based multinationals to go to those countries to make a buck, and whatever is left after that has to be paid back to Wall Street banks as interest.....so, poor people continue starving, while rich americans get richer.

don't forget the CIA sponsored overthrow of many democratically elected governments just because those governments didn't grovel before the US multinationals and the IMF

all of these, and more, are big blaring examples of US imperialism and state-sponsored terrorism, but in the US media, you just see people complaining about "destroying human life for profit" by taking stem cells from a tiny embryo that's about to be tossed into a bio-waste disposal unit.

i think it's time to view things in perspective.

[ Parent ]
follow-up links (2.00 / 3) (#29)
by doviende on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 01:54:09 PM EST

(a short follow-up to my previous post about other ways the US contributes to killing people in the name of profit)

here's a link to some info on problems with the IMF and World Bank.

on the general topics of declining democracy, CIA anti-democratic practices, and global corporate control, here's a summary of some interviews with Noam Chomsky, a prominant critic of US foreign policy.

there's a lot more stuff out there, if you look for it, and can see past the spin of the US corporate-controlled media...and i'm sure most people here can recognize that spin when it's applied to things like the DMCA and DeCSS, etc. It doesn't take much to see that the spin affects many more issues than just software patents, DeCSS, and the DMCA.

[ Parent ]
Iraqi sanctions are causing no suffering (5.00 / 2) (#34)
by error 404 on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 02:55:31 PM EST

The sanctions have been loosened for humanitarian purposes. And the benefit has gone straight to the military.

There is currently plenty of wealth and food and medicine streaming into Iraq, easily enough to feed and care for all those children. But not enough to build the war machine fast enough for a certain person's liking and have enough left over to build palaces and still feed the children.

Iraqi children are dying because of the global ambitions, pride, and greed of a man who is willing to gas his own people, not because of the remaining sanctions. Lifting the sanctions further would kill children in countries that he has his eyes on and Iraqi children who live in upity or ethnicaly "wrong" towns.

The US does a lot of very bad things. This ain't one of them.

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

regional comparison (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by doviende on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 04:13:24 PM EST

Israel is known to have biological, nuclear, and chemical weapons...why aren't there sanctions on Israel? because it obeys the US.

Also, you might not remember that the US supported Saddam's takeover. Iraq had a nationalist government that was democratically elected, but it wanted to cut off US profits and oil to keep it for the people of Iraq. So, the CIA supported the uprising of Saddam's party (i believe saddam was second in charge at the time). they murdered thousands of people, but the CIA continued helping to keep them in power because they helped the US. After a short time, Saddam took the leader into a back alley and shot him dead, thereby gaining leadership.

saddam continued his murderous reign for quite a while, and was a preferred trading partner with the US, and continued to receive CIA assistance when other groups tried to overthrow him. It wasn't until he started invading Kuwait and endangering US interests there that they finally talked about the horrible human rights record and dropped the favoured trading status. plus, the US pretended it wasn't the one that put him in power in the first place and helped him stay there. Also, Bush Sr. begged the people of Iraq to stand up and overthrow the tyrant, but then the US armed forces stood by passively while there was an actual attempt to kick out saddam....the rebels got slaughtered while the US watched, all because they weren't sure if the overthrowers would favour US interests.

now, i think that Saddam is a murderous insane dictator too....i just don't like the hypocrisy of the US in their application of sanctions against Iraq to prevent biological and chemical weapons programs that have already been dismantled, while there are other countries where the US sends them shit-loads of assistance in building their chemical and biological arsenals (like Israel).

also, i believe most of the United Nations favour dropping the Iraq sanctions, but the US keeps vetoing.

[ Parent ]
I pretty much agree (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by error 404 on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 05:14:12 PM EST

Setting Saddam up in the first place, and then keeping him there even while fighting a war against him, is one of those many bad things.

But the drumbeat of "sanctions are killing thousands of children" does not reflect the reality of the situation, and it is more important to say what is true than to be on the correct side. The sanctions are one of the very few situations where the US is doing the right thing even though it is expensive. Hypocrisy, yes. But the solution to hypocrisy is to fix what's wrong, not to change what's right in order to be consistantly wrong.

I get the impression that the point of howling about sanctions is that it gives a good rhetorical body count. If the children were really dying as a result of the sanctions, it would mean that the US is responsible for a large and ongoing tragedy with specific real dead innocent victims. So much better, rhetoricaly, than the more vague and philosophical crimes like interfering with the sovreignty of other nations (for example, by installing vicious dictators like Saddam) and selling out entire economic systems to campaign contributors.

It is easier to get sympathy for thousands of dead children than to explain economics and self-determination. But truth is more important, in the long run, than easy politics. And the truth is, US foreign policy killed those children when it interfered in Iraqi politics to install Saddam, and when it halted the invasion of Bagdad out of fear that Saddam's replacement might be worse than him, and when it stabbed the Kurds in the back, not now that it is refusing to fund Saddam's next invasion force.

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

What are you talking about? (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by Vermifax on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 04:30:32 PM EST

Follow the thread please.

1)l0gichunt3r posts saying that a quote from a Catholic Bishop is ironic, because the Catholic church has done bad things in the past.

2)I say it would only be ironic if the Catholic church was still doing these same things.

3)You blow up about the United States and Iraq sanctions.

- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]

irony (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by doviende on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 04:44:59 PM EST

someone else posted and said that it would only be ironic if "we" were still doing those bad things (indicating that the inquisition and WWII are over). So, i just wanted to mention some ongoing atrocities that the US is contributing to.

it's just my personal experience that many americans don't realize what their country does in other parts of the world. i wanted to supply some interesting links so people could hear about them, but it was directly related to the irony comment.

[ Parent ]
My bad..... (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by Vermifax on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 04:46:46 PM EST

That should have said 'were' instead of 'we'. Indicating the Catholic church.
- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]
Soviet Union distributed a hell of a lot more guns (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by VitaminSupplementarian on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 09:40:07 PM EST

Ever noticed how most of those small arms happen to be AK-47s? Gee the last time I checked that wasn't a NATO weapon.... and the US government only employs NATO weapons for its military/defense operations. Get a clue, the left has caused most of the arms proliferation. In reality the small arms proliferation has done nothing in the worst parts of the world like Rwanda. The weapon of choice in the Rwandan massacres that killed over 200,000 civilians were Machetes and similar weapons, not guns. Ironically private firearm ownership was illegal in Rwanda at the time.
"A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy" --F.A. Hayek
[ Parent ]
Russia == the left?? (none / 0) (#63)
by doviende on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 02:55:26 PM EST

heh....dude, if Russia is "the left", then definitely count me out of that. heheh.

seriously though, there's a company in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, called Diemaco, and they make (among other things) M-16s. In canada, they're called something different, but it's basically an M-16 clone. See here for a description from the canadian department of "national defense" (a.k.a. the war department). This weapon is sold around the world to murderous regimes.

So, it doesn't really matter if Russia does it too, because canada and the united states are heavily involved in this immoral conduct. It's no excuse just because someone else does it too.

[ Parent ]
Where will it lead? (3.40 / 5) (#26)
by Sawzall on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 12:41:05 PM EST

The debate of when life begins is not as easy as one likes to think. I do not think it is too far away in science to be able to raise that "test tube" baby. Already the trimester system that the US courts use is flawed by the advancement of the medical arts - a fetus can be legally aborted tis pretty close to the time that it can be sucessfully raised if born prematurely. So that house of cards is falling. Sorry, medical ethics is hard. Having been involved in running human drug trials, I will almost always support third party oversight - it is too easy for the researchers to lose perspective. I have questioned a doctor who continued a patient on a drug that he knew was actually causing the patient to regress - this was a mental health situation. He exploded that I even dared ask him - to him the data was more important than the suffering patient - and if the patient left the protocol, it would be lost. Without oversight, things like that would happen even more than they do.

The crux of the biscuit (2.25 / 4) (#49)
by johnny on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 07:39:05 PM EST

What is a human life? Is there such a thing as a "partial" human? Is there room for the concept of the "sacred" (as in, "(innocent?) human life is sacred") in USian political discourse? Can we trust clinicians (whose careers and ambitions depend on, for example, stem cell research) to make these decisions for us?

I think these are important and legitimate questions for us all to ponder. I think the stem cell decision was important. I think it was worth a network prime time address. I'm a deadly bore about this kind of stuff. I find these topics hard to joke about.

Sawzall introduces a crucially important fact into this discussion: we may quibble whether Bush or Congress or the Supreme Court is the proper arbiter of this decision, but one thing is clear: it sure as hell ain't the scientists who should decide this kind of thing for us. Quite the contrary: inasmuch as they are human, and inasmuch as their personal agendas (whether noble or petty or somewhere in between) will prosper or sink by this decision, to that extent they should recuse themselves or be removed from the judicial process.

I voted for Nader. I think Bush is a moron. I think the Florida election was theft, and I think the Supreme Court, in giving the Presidency to Bush, shit on the entire nation, especially those who gave their lives for her. I don't watch television except for the Simpsons, Xfiles, and baseball (mostly Red Sox; any game in a pinch). I consider Bush a welfare cheat; he got more than $60 million welfare for his baseball shenanigans. I fear and loathe the "Christian Coalition." I really, really, really, really, really dislike Bush and 97% of what he stands for.

I think he got this one right.

I pray he did.

yr frn,
Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.
[ Parent ]

And furthermore (1.00 / 3) (#50)
by johnny on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 07:49:53 PM EST

I hope he rots in hell for the Texas death industry, er, prison system, on whose colossal mountain of corpses he climbed into the White House.

yr frn,
Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.
[ Parent ]
death penalty (none / 0) (#68)
by zhermit on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 02:42:32 PM EST

And as he passed his "competition" for kill count (Illinois), they passed a moratorium to figure out how many innocents they were killing...


I have a sig?
[ Parent ]
Isn't this congress' call? (1.33 / 6) (#30)
by SvnLyrBrto on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 02:01:55 PM EST

Well, it's been awhile since I took a civics class, but this isn't the way I remember the constitution working...

Just where the hell does that crackmonkey get off banning said research? Last I can recall, the way something gets banned, or not, in this country is that congress passes a law, and the president has the option of passing or vetoing said law.

Now, since the topic in question is not an actual ban on the research, just a ban on federal funding, it should become even moreso the exclusive domain of congress. IIRC, the constitution states specificly that not only does congress control the money, but that all such bills must originate only in the House of Representetives.

So just where does that POS get off spewing his sorry self across six channels of prime time television last nite?


Imagine all the people...

Banning Research (3.00 / 4) (#32)
by Brandybuck on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 02:37:50 PM EST

Bush didn't ban any research. He only banned the used of federal funds for said research. Very big difference.

[ Parent ]
That's what I said! (1.00 / 3) (#36)
by SvnLyrBrto on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 03:38:55 PM EST

To be more specific, it's the House of Representetives, tjat is supposed to be the origin of any legislation regarding federal funding, not that shit sandwich pretending to be president.


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Reality cheque (2.66 / 3) (#35)
by finkployd on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 03:26:17 PM EST

(1) Bush did not ban or make any ruling on research, simple federal funding of reasearch. I suggest you dig up those civics books again.

(2) As for a president overstepping bounds, why not research the most arrogrant, constitution circumventing, executive order signing, POS president in US history: Bill Clinton. If the thought of Bush banning something without congress's approval pisses you off, you should really hate the dozens of laws Clinton "passed" in this manner.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Clinton was Similar to 'Dick' Nixon (2.00 / 2) (#60)
by AArthur on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 09:16:45 AM EST

Many of President Clinton's actions where similart to what Nixon did in the late '60s and early '70s. Just like Nixon, many of his domestic policies helped out the country (especially EPA), but many also hurt the country (HMO act of '73).

Nixon like Clinton was a pure conservative or liberal, he tended to be moderate, so that gave him a lot of power. While Nixon ran with conserative Agnew (which still is pathetic compared to Cheney), he himself had many liberal leanings.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

wow (none / 0) (#67)
by zhermit on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 02:34:40 PM EST

pos president = bill clinton? ooh, this could be a fun debate when we have a monkey who has problems stringing coherent sentences together in office...in 50 years, people will be a lot less vehement about clinton, and see what he actually did: today, we can see the good that Nixon did, esp. in the area of social programs. Lewinsky, Watergate, Iran Contra...whatever. Sidenotes in the long run. Nearly every administration has had a major scandal. What do we remember about Andrew Jackson? Nullification, the national bank conflict, trail of tears - but the Peggy Eaton affair? A quick biography mentions the first 3, but ignores the latter - the first large presidential scandal our nation faced.

I have a sig?
[ Parent ]
Federal Funding (5.00 / 4) (#37)
by Merk00 on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 03:43:30 PM EST

Money for scientific research sponsored by the Federal government is given out by the National Science Foundation. This is part of the Executive Branch. Congress allocates a certain amount of funding for the National Science Foundation every year including money for research grants. The National Science Foundation determines who is eligible for grants and divies them out accordingly. Now, Congress may pass laws that govern the distribution of the money but in the case of stem cell research they have not. Given that the National Science Foundation is part of the Executive Branch, it is therefore responsible to the President of the United States. The President may issue Executive Orders regulating the actions of any of the non-independent Executive Branch Departments. In this case, President Bush order to not allow funding for research on newly created stem cell lines. This was totally Constitutional and legal.

"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Try again (2.20 / 5) (#41)
by krlynch on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 04:35:09 PM EST

Even if what you said were strictly correct (and it isn't), have you considered the fact that Congress can hand over authority to make certain decisions to other branches of Government? And have you considered that maybe, just maybe, the President is operating within the strictures of laws that Congress has passed?

Congress, for example, does not review each and every grant proposal for scientific funding. No, it grants a certain amount of funding to Executive departments, which are under the control of the Executive Office of the President, along with the authority to select and promulgate rules and regulations about how and when projects will be funded, to what level they will be funded, and who gets to decide whether the recipients are meeting those responsibilities. The president has the authority under the laws passed by Congress to make the restrictions he discussed last night. And those restrictions are legally binding until such time as Congress changes the rules by new legislation, something that is not likely to occur in the present legislative context.

So I ask: did it ever occur to you before you went off spouting obscenities that perhaps, just perhaps, you don't have a clue as to what you are talking about?


[ Parent ]

Well, that's why I was ASKING... (2.80 / 5) (#47)
by SvnLyrBrto on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 07:11:53 PM EST

>So I ask: did it ever occur to you before you
>went off spouting obscenities that perhaps,
>just perhaps, you don't have a clue as to
>what you are talking about?

So just what do you think I was ASKING about?

If you had bothered to read my post, you'd have seen that I freely ADMITTED to being somewhat confused on the topic, and was seeking clarification.

I guess I shouuld have just gone with the slashdot paradigm, and assumed that what I already knew was the complete and whole truth. That would make MUCH better material for right-wing bigots to play off.

But no, don't bother replying to an honest question. Just flame anyone who appears to question the will of your master and keep goose-stepping along.

You disgust me.


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Someone asked the same question on NPR (2.00 / 3) (#46)
by eean on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 07:04:43 PM EST

On the Diane Rim (Rym, Rime ?) show, someone called in with the exact same question. IIRC, one of the journalists reponse was that ever since Teddy Roosevelt (could have been Franklin...) the president has had a lot more power on how money is spent.

That was news to me as well. The problem is that schools teach the consitution by teaching why it was written that it is and how it appears to be written instead of how it is implemented currently. The latter is more useful.

I did hear some representative talk about how it should be an issue for congress to decide before he made his announcement. I don't think they will now, as it is a lose-lose for both parties if they debate. Personally, I would have only drawed the line on creating new embroyos just for the purpose of stem cell testing.

[ Parent ]
It's called an executive order....... (2.50 / 4) (#51)
by VitaminSupplementarian on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 09:34:52 PM EST

Welcome to reality. We are a Republic with an executive that can rule by decree. The President should never have been given the executive order power. An executive order has the effect of law and no time limit. That is how the DEA came into existance. It was never created and chartered by Congress yet we still have it.
"A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy" --F.A. Hayek
[ Parent ]
Saving humans through loss of life (4.50 / 2) (#54)
by Saxifrage on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:14:44 PM EST

The religious right is, as we all know, vehemently opposed to abortion. Unfortunately, for the moment (and I'm crossing my fingers on the topic), abortion is still legal in this country. Stem cells are obtained from abortions. By that logic, the religious right must be opposed to stem cell research. Right?

Wrong. As it so happens, while the average Christian Crusader foot trooper may be ambivalent on the topic or even oppose it, there are growing numbers of anti-abortionists, high-profile and low-profile, who concede that stem cell research should be a totally separate debate. It has, unlike abortion in general, the potential to save lives. Certainly, if you presume, although I don't, that from the moment of conception a fetus is a human life, this is a difficult presumption.

But let us look at this in a different perspective. There is no organized opposition to organ donations. As a matter of fact, they're unbelievably popular, because they have the potential to save lives.

Stem cell research, if it turns out that it does what we think it can, could potentially provide relief tenfold, or more, what organ donations can provide. As we stand, because people are living longer, there is a tremendous list of people waiting for organ donations. Even excluding Parkinson's, diabetes, and perhaps even Alzheimer's, stem cells could provide a base to cut the waiting list to near-oblivion.

Why is the religious right opposing this? It is perhaps the best way to turn something they dislike into a positive force. In fact, if they would consider exactly that, they would embrace it -- they would be its most wholehearted proponents.

With a Type I diabetic sister, I can only hope, for her sake, that our Congress recognizes that which Bush did not, and provides federal funding for life-saving research. Without that funding, projects will flounder. How many more need die before the religious right gives up their George Wallace-like crusade against science to save lives?

"I may disagree vehemently with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." - Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire
NOT Abortion (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by ryancooley on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 09:29:20 AM EST

Your first assumption is incorrect. These embryos are actually not from abortions at all. They are concieved in a test-tub. That is why this is slightly tricky. However, morally, it is the same situation. If any pro-lifers are supporting embryonic stem-cell research, they are very confused and conflicted.

I believe that Bush's decision was as good as could be hoped for... Just as is done with the study of corpses, scientests will not be allowed to kill, but will be allowed to study the already deceased. I personally am not conflicted at all because I believe nothing significant will come from embryonic stem-cell research.

[ Parent ]
Nothing significant.. (none / 0) (#66)
by Wah on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 09:29:50 PM EST

..but some Israeli scientists have grown heart cells using embryonic stem cells. Yahoo blurb here. Not that I'm going to use Israel's morals as a good example to follow, but the science is there. Of course, I'm so pro-life I support cloning. And abortion.
Information wants to be free, wouldn't you? | SSP
[ Parent ]
So what? (none / 0) (#71)
by ryancooley on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 03:27:41 AM EST

You know, they were just as successful growing heart cells from heart cells. The use of embryonic stem cells is not resulting in anything significant, and I fell it wont in the future either.

[ Parent ]
decision completely misunderstood (3.66 / 3) (#59)
by mj6798 on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 03:46:58 AM EST

The decision doesn't protect embryos at all. Rather, it drives stem cell research entirely into the private sector. This means it will take place completely outside any kind of public sector supervision. It also means that all the results will be completely proprietary.

Bush wasn't "splitting the apple". He made a calculated political move that looks like compromise and plays well in the press, but that ultimately just ends up a government handout to the biomedical industry (who doubtlessly contributed greatly to his campaign).

Bush's Deccision (2.50 / 2) (#61)
by AArthur on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 09:22:57 AM EST

Or as Barry Goldwater once said, "Regan stands for the fiscal irresponsiblity that the Republican party has come to stand for".

I don't understand how the Republicans can cut taxes, keep the national debt down, yet sponser corprates that will put little back into country except to the rich, and sponser military research that puts little back into the economy either.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

Ha! This is proof! (3.33 / 3) (#62)
by vfvthunter on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 09:53:31 AM EST

There are 666 words in the body of this article! If that's not proof that stem cell research is the work of the devil, I don't know what is! Down with the infidels!

This is a work of fiction. None of these bits are true. Except the bits about the cocaine-fueled gay sex marathons with Steve Ballmer. Those bits are true.

stem cells (none / 0) (#64)
by kpeerless on Tue Aug 14, 2001 at 07:39:40 AM EST

And today the Canadian University, McGill, announced that they have perfected a technique for harvesting stem cells from your skin. Perfect matches... no rejection. Yup. All that soul searching and angst for diddley. Too little too late George. The nefarious Canucks have euchered you again.

Not That Simple (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by freebird on Tue Aug 14, 2001 at 01:01:50 PM EST

There are more than one kind of stem cell. Stem cells are defined (in Mol. Bio. of The Cell) by three properties:
  1. Not Terminally differentiated
  2. Can divide without (practical) limit
  3. daughter cells can be a further differentiated cell - or another stem cell.
The problem with your comment is (1). While epithelial stem cells are indeed relatively undifferentiated, they are not the 'universal' stem cells that embryonic stem cells are thought to be. Great for skin, but pretty hard to turn into pancreas tissue, for example. I do, for the record, think that there will eventually be more sophisticated ways of getting undifferentiated stem cells than 'harvesting' embryos. But I think its important to understand the complexities of the present situation. The discovery you mention is interesting, and suggests futher progress, but has essentially no bearing on the present issue. -scot

[ Parent ]

maybe (none / 0) (#69)
by kpeerless on Fri Aug 17, 2001 at 01:47:29 AM EST

but so far they've managed to grow fat cells, muscle cells and brain cells (neurons) fron the skin stm cells. Plus in an unrelated piece of work, it was announced today that McMaster Uni. has regenerated spinal cord cells.

[ Parent ]
Eventaully, sure... (none / 0) (#70)
by freebird on Fri Aug 17, 2001 at 02:36:03 PM EST

Sure - I in fact agree that eventually using embryos will seem primitive and ungainly. But that is not yet true, so for the time being, doesn't make the current debate meaningless, as was suggested.

[ Parent ]

Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research: Approved | 71 comments (67 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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