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Tilting at Windmills

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October 27, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE C-WORD....Ramesh Ponnuru, responding to a sensible letter from a reader, gives the stem cell game away. After complaining that Michael J. Fox's ad for Claire McCaskill didn't explain the details of stem cell research in enough detail, he says this:

People don't know much about these issues, and the pro-cloning side has revised the lexicon repeatedly over the last four years to keep people off balance. Everyone doesn't know that Fox is talking about human cloning.

The extremist pro-life forces are bound and determined that no discussion of stem cell research should be allowed unless it includes the word "cloning." Why? Because it's scary. It brings to mind The Boys From Brazil and warehouses stacked with human bodies ready to have their organs harvested.

Needless to say, supporters of stem cell research tend to avoid the word for the same reason. And they should. Therapeutic cloning, in which microscopic groups of cells are duplicated in order to provide embryonic stem cells for research, isn't scary at all. Unless you take the extreme position that a blastocyst is a human person, there's simply no reason to connect this kind of research to reproductive cloning (i.e., the scary kind).

But pro-life extremists want to scare people. So they insist that any discussion that doesn't include the C-word is dishonest. That's horsepucky.

POSTSCRIPT: By the way, who are these people who Ponnuru says are opposed to adult stem cell research? This is a genuine question. I've never heard of anyone taking this position.

UPDATE: A reader who's familiar with the stem cell debate writes to explain the origin of the claim that some people oppose adult stem cell research:

It comes from the opposition of some Democrats to the Santorum-Specter bill, introduced at the same time as the embryonic stem cell bill that Bush vetoed earlier this year. Santorum-Specter would have required the NIH to pursue alternative methods of making stem cells without destroying embryos. Ponnuru thinks that because some Democrats opposed Santorum-Specter (and ultimately killed it in the House), that means they're opposed to adult stem cell research. Kathryn Jean Lopez has called it the "embryos-or-nothing" school.

Total bunk. NIH is already free to fund alternative methods of making stem cells. In FY 2005, NIH received $199 million in funding for research on human non-embryonic stem cells, vs. $40 million for work on human embryonic stem cells. There's absolutely no statutory restriction on adult stem cell work, and no one has proposed such a thing. Santorum-Specter was a superfluous earmark, but a convenient way for Republicans opposed to embryonic stem cell research to say they voted for stem cell research.

It's fair for Ponnuru & Lopez to argue that alternative methods are morally preferable to research involving embryos. But it's bizarre and cynical for them to pretend that anyone actively opposes research on adult stem cells. No one does.

More details here.

Kevin Drum 3:33 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (128)

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Comments

Ponnuru! The definition of a hack. Just like his buddies, Uncle Kate OBierne, and Auntie JPod.

Posted by: gregor on October 27, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

I've heard that "some Democrats" are opposed to adult stem cell research. I've also heard that "some Democrats" are actually beings from outer space who want to conquer Congress and institute a neo-xykorgian system of government. Mind you, I can't name a single Democrat who either opposes adult stem cell research of wants to change our government in the manner suggested above. But I don't have to; that's the simplicity and effectiveness of the word some. Try it yourselves; it's great fun at a party.

Posted by: mrjauk on October 27, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Want stem cell research explained in plain English? Click this link.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Unless you take the extreme position that a blastocyst is a human person, there's simply no reason to connect this kind of research to reproductive cloning (i.e., the scary kind).

But how is the view that a blastocyst is a human person a extreme position? This is in fact the SCIENTIFIC view and basically true by definition. Liberals who question that life begins at conception simply don't understand the definition of life or conception. Ramesh Ponnuru explains this point very well.

Link

"Of course it is truenearly by definitionthat a newly conceived human embryo is a living organism belonging to the human species. What science can't do is to prove that we should treat that new living human organism as expendably as we treat a mosquito, or as protectively as we treat a newborn. It's a mistake to confuse the two questions."

Posted by: Al on October 27, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

holy crapoli it's all about money and all of this "pro life" shit is just a smokescreen.

The real opponents of stem cell research is big pharma, who make gazillions of dollars every day treating diseases that remain "uncurable".

One disease they will never provide a cure for is the terminally progressive case of rectal-cranial inversion that seems to have infected many Americans.

Posted by: marblex on October 27, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

The current repubs - mistake upon mistake; misdirection upon misdirection; lie upon lie. Hopefully the popping sound you are hearing is the exploding heads of suburban values voters and security moms.

Posted by: Keith G on October 27, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

What science can't do is to prove that we should treat that new living human organism as expendably as we treat a 19 yr old Marine or an Iraqi civilian.

Al you are such a putz!

Posted by: Keith G on October 27, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

It is a bit surprising that zombies at the National Review would be worried about clones.

Posted by: jerry on October 27, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans have three choices when it comes to Stem Cell Research:

1. Take the position of 70 to 80% of Americans, that it is OK and should be done.

2. Take the position of 25-30% of Americans, that is should never be done.

3. Punt and try not to make such a big deal about it, like the Democrats do with guns.

Looks like position 1 is totally off the table, even though more than 50% of the GOP rank-and-file share that opinion. Position 3 is smart politics, especially in a rough election.

What do Republicans do? Go nuclear on option 2, trying to smear and badmouth American's male Sweetheart, Michael J. Fox. Keep in mind this is a country that think's it's beyond the pale for South Park to make fun of Steve Irwin, who was basically a zookeeper and gator wrassler with a TV show.

Rush Limbaugh may just have singlehandedly handed the Missouri Senate seat to the Democrats.

Posted by: Alderaan on October 27, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

As I've said many times in the past, we need to hunt down all identical twins and shoot them because that's what god commands me to do.

Posted by: The Fool on October 27, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

the Fool - I'll give you my Aunt's address if you will just leave my Mother be, deal?

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Ponnuru! The definition of a hack

Totally....IMO, Ponnuru doesn't believe 80% of the shit he says - it's just a gig. Leftie political writing gigs are harder to come by, and don't pay as well. I'm sure he laughs at the dumb-ass white conservatives who eat up his boiler plate pablum.

Posted by: luci on October 27, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Here is the link to Rush Limbaugh mocking Michael J. Fox. We in Missouri are so proud he is a native - and so very relieved he took his bloviating, drug-addicted self to Florida.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Al, life doesn't begin at conception. No scientist anywhere will claim that. Both sperm and ovum are alive prior to conception. So the whole idea of life "beginning" at some time point, is just romaticized ignorance.

But I guess if you accept that an unfertilized egg or sperm is just as alive and just as human as a blastocyst it makes all your culture of life grandstanding untenable.

Posted by: dk on October 27, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Alderaan wrote: "Looks like position 1 is totally off the table, even though more than 50% of the GOP rank-and-file share that opinion. Position 3 is smart politics, especially in a rough election."

There is a fourth option, and that's to obfuscate:

- to state that they of course support stem cell research, glossing over the fact that they only support certain types of this research.

- to state that they support embryonic stem cell research but only if no embryos are harmed.

- to state that they support embryonic stem cell research but they just don't think that the government should fund it, since private industry can handle this just fine.

I'm sure there are others, as well. Sadly, such techniques usually work.

Posted by: PaulB on October 27, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

no discussion of stem cell research should be allowed unless it includes the word...

This is why the Republicans and evangelical activists have the upper hand when debating the opposition. They understand the power of rhetoric and the inability of the electorate to discern between words meanings and the fears they arouse.

Democrats and moderate liberals seem to have difficulty understanding that rhetoric can be used effectively to persuade people to their accept their point of view.

In none of the Democratic advertising for this upcoming election have I seen the expression Bush's War or Bush's Mission in Iraq used to pound an incumbent Republican. No Democrat is saying their Republican opponent supports Bush's War and wants to send the political district's children to serve Bush's Mission in Iraq.

Democrats and moderates spend too much pondering the rhetorical obfuscations of their opponents instead of creating their own and confounding the ridiculous arguements of those who want to send American children to serve Bush's War in Iraq.

Posted by: Hostile on October 27, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Rush Limbaugh may just have singlehandedly handed the Missouri Senate seat to the Democrats.

Posted by: Alderaan on October 27, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

The polls seem to change daily, always within the margin of error, but lately they seem to be favoring Talent.

My fear is Amendment 2 will energize the religious right to come out and vote. I was kinda hoping they would sit on their hands.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 27, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

For some reason, I attended a Republican fundraiser this morning in a California district which will probably become apparent as I give my impressions. In my usual social circles, politics is really not a front burner discussion, especially if a friend is a known Republican. Therefore, I found a trip to the center of the Republican party interesting, and some of the less intense posters here might find this interesting.

1. Guests were Pat Caddell, Christy Todd Whitman, Sherriff Baca, and some guy running for Attorney General. The masters of ceremonies was an 83 yeard old guy who is "the honorary Mayor of Hollywood." The crowd at this $250 per seat event looked, frankly, skewed towards the 55+ demographic.

2. The MC made tons of the type of jokes my parents would probably have found hilarious. Everyone with a non-Anglo Saxon last name got some sort of a Don Rickles like jab, which is the reason I still don't know the name of the guy running for A.G.. In the cross-hairs, for example, was some California assemblyman (presumably a Republican) with the last name Woo. The MC told him he should visit HollyWOOd some time. Chuckles all around. It was a straight up copy of the Rat Pack era when Frank Sinatra used to make fun of Sammy Davis Jr.

3. Related to this point was the overt prayer to begin and end the event. It was the type of prayer in which specific things, like re-electing this congressman, were specifically requested. I'm not sure the crowd was that into it, frankly.

4. As for substance, Bush was not named even once. All you got was a discussion of "the results of this Presidency"

5. Whitman's speech was a specific, very specific, appeal for less anger in politics. No speach got anywhere near right-wing social issues, no gay discussion, no stem cells, no abortion, just straight up economics, and national defense. Interestingly, nothing on immigration, although this was Southern Cal.

6. Pat Caddell is crazy. I mean, not due to his opinions -- they guy cannot string a coherent paragraph together. He makes Bush look like David Boies. He spoke for at least 45 minutes, and people were wispering for the hook. Not because he was billed as a Democrat, but because no one could figure out what the hell he was talking about, other than that this election might be close. I know there are people on this board who actually see him on talks shows, but give the guy more than 30 seconds and the wheels come off completely. At the very, very end, he said that even though he was a Democrate, both D's and R's should support the congressman in question because he's a good guy. That much I understood.

7. Despite the fact that valet parking was only $6, the vast majority of the several hundreds in attendence elected to self park.

B.E.L., a sock.

Posted by: Behind Enemy Lines on October 27, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:


I think the cloning issue is NOT as clear cut as you assume. In many states, I think, and in my home state I a prettysure, the laws enacted or being cosidered to promote stem cell research don't specifically identify a different treatment for a small group of cells and for what you call "reproductive cloning."

I believe taht in many cases these laws allow could be read to allow the cloning of a human being but stipulate a certain number of weeks after which such clones are not allowed to remain viable.

If my understanding is correct (and it is only second hand knowledge for a state representative) then the issue is quite different from the way you ahve portrayed it. And by the way, I support stem cell research.

Posted by: Kim Hanson on October 27, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK
But how is the view that a blastocyst is a human person a extreme position? This is in fact the SCIENTIFIC view and basically true by definition.

Er, no, its not. "Person" is a moral category which cannot be empirically determined. Insofar as there are generally accepted (e.g., legal) definitions of persons where it would be answerable either empirically or by definition whether blastocysts are included, blastocysts are quite often excluded.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 27, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

There is a fourth option, and that's to obfuscate

Which is, naturally enough, the one the GOP chooses every time.

Posted by: Gregory on October 27, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Every sperm is sacred!

Every fertilized egg is more important than John Kerry, and way better than Howard Dean.

Posted by: Al's Mommy on October 27, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

From Ponnuru's response:
"If a conservative runs an ad charging that his opponent "doesn't want America to fight the war on terrorism" when that opponent really just opposes the Iraq war, he's going to be called on it, too. And should be."

What does he mean by "If"? Equating opposition to the Iraqi debacle to not wanting to fight terrorism has been the primary tactic of the Republicans for more than two years. Has Ponnuru ever gone after a Repoblican about that? I don't think so.

Ponnuru: The poster boy for intellectual dishonesty.

Posted by: arkie on October 27, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

pAUL - I answered your question on the other site. It was a good one. Thanks for asking it.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

My understanding is that no one openly opposes adult stem cell research. However, embryonic stem cell research and treatments are more easily patented, so even though more advances have come through research on adult stem cells, they are less profitable than embryonic stem cells.

Posted by: Russ on October 27, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Now, cloning Bush would be Very Scary!

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 27, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

" If a conservative runs an ad charging that his opponent "doesn't want America to fight the war on terrorism" when that opponent really just opposes the Iraq war, he's going to be called on it, too. And should be."

Just not by National Review Online!

Posted by: plunge on October 27, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you don't do nearly enough to point out that what he's accusing you of is the EXACT same thing he's doing with the "cloning" headlines... except that your excuse has a lot more merit than his (since virtually everyone OTHER than careful pro-life pundits says stem cells and means and understands that its embryonic stem cells we're debating over).

Posted by: plunge on October 27, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, G.C. Might as well reproduce it here (no pun intended), since it's relevant to this discussion. I had asked:

Question: Some Republican candidates are now taking the position that they don't oppose embryonic stem cell research so long as such research does not destroy the embryo. My gut reaction is that this is obfuscation and that this is effectively opposition to all embryonic stem cell research.

Is my gut instinct correct? Or can you have this kind of research and never actually destroy an embryo?

G.C. responded:

This is possible, and is due to a development in fertility treatments. By the time most people get around to trying in vitro the female in the equation is usually old enough for genetic problems to be a higher than normal risk.

Finally we figured out that we could take once cell from the embryo and test it for genetic anomalies. Embryos with genetic anomalies are not used. This is a relatively new technique in a field tht is only thirty years old.

In theory, we can do this - which would totally blow the opponents out of the water. It is an area that bears further research.

If we can perfect this technique, there goes the argument for outlawing it because it destroys the embryo.

Basically, this is a new technique, and it pissed everybody off. That means it is probably a good thing.

Here is a link to an article about it from August.

Posted by: PaulB on October 27, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Given G.C.'s response, it would be really interesting to ask some of the Republican obfuscators how they feel about that technique and whether they would be willing to fund further research in it.

Posted by: PaulB on October 27, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

They move the goalposts to something like "even though it doesn't destroy the embryo, it still makes human cloning possible so we shouldn't do it."

For the record, mammals are extremely difficult to clone, and the replicated animals have forrific health problems. Dolly the sheep took moret han 450 tries, and she had to be put down about halfway through the lifecycle that that breed of sheep normaly experiences. We have cloned one monkey and it took (IIRC) 768 tries.

Humans, the most complex mammal would be even more difficult to clone, and no reputable scientist would consider it.

The Raellians are not reputable scientists and neither is that nut-job in Kentucky with his Dr. Moreau fetish. (One of my collegues went to grad school with him and he was a nut-job then.)

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

The real shit hits the fire once people are specifically cloned for organ harvesting. I am betting we are about 10-15 years out from that battle.

Posted by: Olijah Navaroon on October 27, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why people are so afraid of technology that we don't even have. Being so terrified of cloning is like being afraid of the Death Star.

Posted by: New Talking Wall on October 27, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Olijah, that is a Never Let Me Go nightmare scenario.

The research taht is going on now involves (for example)coaxing heart cells (or whatever cells are needed) to grow from an undifferentiated stem cell, then injecting those healthy cells into the organism to replicate and replace the the unhealthy or diseased cells.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Not very surprising that Johnny Grant, the emcee mentioned above is still making Bob Hope and Rickles type jokes - He had made almost 60 USO tours with Hope and Rickles types. When he passes, wonder whether he will be entombed at Grauman's Chinese Theater, ala a right wing Lenin?

Why does Caddell still try to pass himself off as a Democratic strategist?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 27, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - what's up? All week you have been putting up posts that I have more than just an opinion about. (Thanks!)

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

ponnuru is just mad he was born with no balls.

Posted by: mestizo on October 27, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know what the story is with Caddell. I mean, there is exactly 0 percent chance that anyone in the audience would ever ask the guy to speak at any other event. It was almost as if he had a combination speech impediment and mental problems.

He sort of makes rambling points of occassional interest, which bear absolutely no relationship to each other at all.

Hearing him speak, you would have not idea what party he was affiliated with.

Posted by: Behind Enemy Lines on October 27, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

We are down to stems and seeds with the fundies. Nothing can change their state of semi-consciousness.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on October 27, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

ponnuru is just mad he was born with no balls.

Which is exacly why he should support the research. Eventually we might be able to grow him a pair.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

down to stems and seeds

Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen! Thanks for the memory!

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps this can be turned on around.

The fundies could be sold on the very idea that Bush could be cloned. After all, he slew the Dragon - That is, he defeated Clinton, via Gore and he lowered taxes. These are the primary reasons his base clings to him, so if he could be cloned, war could be continued until eternity.

Of course, some fundies are starting to turn on Shrub, because his ineptness in pursueing the war in Iraq is holding back the days of The Rapture. See Informed Comment today.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 27, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

GC,

That research may succeed, or it may not. What is certain is that humans will be cloned, and there is no better way to get a completely compatible heart than to have a human body grow one for you. We have the ability to clone today, and all that is needed is a "womb" for growth, and perhaps methods of accelerating that growth.

Just think of how many elderly people with deteriorating bodies we will have 25 years from now. Things that seem horrifying to you now may not seem so awful when the old liver is giving out.

Posted by: Olijah Navaroon on October 27, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Ponnuru via Al: "Of course it is truenearly by definitionthat a newly conceived human embryo is a living organism belonging to the human species."

Suppose you take that blastocyst from the petri dish and set it on a lactating woman's nipple. Would it be a living organism? For how long? Could you distinguish a 16-cell "embryo" from any other human effluent?

Al, supposed you had to choose between saving from a fire five 1-day-old "embryos" and one 1-day old born baby. Which would you choose?

PaulB on the technique of taking cells without killing the blastocyst:

Paul, my understanding is that they think this can be done, but when this was actually tried, all the blastocysts did in fact die. The a

Posted by: anandine on October 27, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Olijah, may i ask your science background? I am not being dismissive, I want to know how you arrived at your position.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Can anyone source ANY ESCR that is currently being performed on humans? Has there EVER been any ESCR that did not cause cancers? Why is private money not pouring into ESCR?

BTW, the private dollars ARE pouring into Adult Stem Cells. Intellectual curiosity would seem to ask why....

Posted by: nikkolai on October 27, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK
The real shit hits the fire once people are specifically cloned for organ harvesting. I am betting we are about 10-15 years out from that battle.

I expect that we completely miss that; we're farther along, as I understand, on work that would let us grow organs on "scaffolds" than anything that would let us clone and grow to adulthood (without consciousness) adult humans to harvest organs from.

I think we'll bypass the human-cloning-for-organ-harvesting scenario.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 27, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

We will have to get a hell of a lot better at cloning non-human mammals than we are before cloning a human is even considered.

And does anyone really believe that outlawing something will prevent the determined from pursuit of that goal? (How's that drug war coming along?)

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Embryonic stem cell research is only five years old. Where did the "causes cancer" comment come from? I'm pretty up on this subject and this is news to me. Especially since we aren't even to the human testing phase in this country yet.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK
Can anyone source ANY ESCR that is currently being performed on humans?

Yes.

Has there EVER been any ESCR that did not cause cancers?

Well, as none has been tested in humans except the one trial that is just getting started, that's kind of hard to say.

Why is private money not pouring into ESCR?

It is.


Posted by: cmdicely on October 27, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

"The real shit hits the fire once people are specifically cloned for organ harvesting. I am betting we are about 10-15 years out from that battle."

Hey, I read that book!

Posted by: EmmaAnne on October 27, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

all that is needed is a "womb" for growth

That is a lot. According to R. Dawkins, the complexity of embyology far surpasses that of DNA structure and evolution. A human being develops via a recipe not a blueprint. We cant reverse engineer it.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on October 27, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the links Chris - I hadn't gotten around to the Sept. issue of New Scientist yet.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Some people object, for example, to funding research on non-embryonic sources of pluripotent stem-cell research.

I think he means "placental" for "non-embryonic" in that sentence. there are people who object to placental stem cell research.

I have never read objections to adult stem cell research.

Posted by: papago on October 27, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

keep up the good work

Posted by: pedro on October 27, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

GC,

A human will be cloned within a decade. I agree, it can't really be outlawed from occurring, but it will be nasty battle.

Cmdicely,

I am aware of the scaffold methods of organ growing, but that technology has a long way to go before producing fully functional organs. Overcoming the complexity of cell-differentiation into specific organs is a gargantuan task. Technically, it appears organ harvesting will be possible first, at least for the more complex organs such as hearts or kidneys. Though, someday, single organ cloning will overtake and replace it.

Posted by: Olijah Navaroon on October 27, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Ponnuru sounds like a little girl. It's quite unnerving to listen to him and it's difficult to take him seriously ... even if he had a manly voice.

Posted by: Vincennes on October 27, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen: And does anyone really believe that outlawing something will prevent the determined from pursuit of that goal? (How's that drug war coming along?)

The other common example is trying to outlaw murder.

Embryonic stem cell research has not been outlawed anyway. What has been "outlawed" at the federal level (but funded in the state of California) is federal funding for embryonic stem cell research on new cell lines.

Posted by: papago on October 27, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

For anyone who care, Ponnuru has another post about this over at NRO where he repeats his complaint that because the Fox ad didn't specifically frame the issue in exactly the way Ponnuru wanted, it is "innacurate". That a supposedly educated man like Ponnuru really thinks that's a legitimate complaint demonstrates why the clock is ticking on conservative dominance in American politics. These people are losing the ability to think rationally and are becoming meglomaniacal 6 year olds who demand that the world be oriented to their whims, and throw fits when it isn't.

Democrats may not win this November, but that day can't be long off.

Mike

Posted by: MBunge on October 27, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

A human will be cloned within a decade.

What is your source?

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Where I live, the state lege has attempted to outlaw the research, and Jim talent offered legislation to criminalize research on embryonic stem cells at the federal level. he failed, of course, but he still tried, and is singularly focused in his opposition to embryonic stem cell research.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

"A human will be cloned within a decade."

Hovercrafts will be in every garage, jet-packs in every coat-closet and abiotic oil will no longer be a fallacy.

I have some beachfront property in Oklahoma if you are interested.

Posted by: Joyfully Subversive on October 27, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

IVF (Invitro Fertilization) involves creating and destroying embryos. (as I understand it, only the ideal embryos are implanted in the woman). Are these Republicans against IVF as well?

Posted by: Andy on October 27, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ponnuru has now pointed out that Drum misinterpreted him; he never claimed that some people were opposed to adult stem cell research, and in fact Drum's misinterpretation shows his ignorance of basic terms of the issue.

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NjkyY2VlYTU3Y2FiODQzMDliOGY0MDcxYzAzYjliYTY=

Posted by: James Kabala on October 27, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone catch the PBS show on IVF about "test tube" babies in the late 70's? Good stuff. There are somewhere around 500K IVF babies in the US now. In 25 years will look back at this as a whole bunch of silliness.

Posted by: Robert on October 27, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Please learn to link people. Just type "html" into your search bar. Or email me and I'll send you a cheat-sheet.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK
I am aware of the scaffold methods of organ growing, but that technology has a long way to go before producing fully functional organs.

True, though for cloning there is a long way to go before we have any "artificial womb", either.

And, of course, the ethical (and resource) issues are no different than simply breeding people the natural way as organ donors, which we have all the technology to do now (and have since organ transplantation was invented), but hasn't taken off. Sure, its a traditional scifi horror plot (usually with some twist that things aren't what they seem, as in, in the most recent popular iteration, The Island), but I just don't see it as the likely direction of real practice.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 27, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

In ordinary language, a clone is a fully-functional replica of the original. Any artificial genetic reproduction which fails to fully replicate the original isn't a clone, and anyone who knowingly uses the word to refer to anything but a fully-functional replica is a liar.

Posted by: kth on October 27, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

We will be growing cloned organs from a patient's own adult stem cells with 5-10 years. It will be an exact genetic match, of course. We are currently doing clinicals that show pancreas regeneration in diabetic lab mice. The future is coming, fast....

Posted by: nikkolai on October 27, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Adult stem cells are not undifferentiated. That is the key word in this debate.

Only embryonic stem cells ahve been coaxed into producign nerve cells.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Pope opposition to IVF

Answered my own question.. another reason to disregard the Pope..

Posted by: Andy on October 27, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Preview is my fred...

Back later - I have homework, and exams to grade, and rough drafts of papers to look over...Sheesh. I've been here far to long today. Damn you Kevin! Go back to housing bubbles and stuff so I can get something done.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who writes a book titled 'The Party of Death', with 'Democratic Party' in the subtitle, and then protests that he is not referreing to the Democratic Party as the Party of Death, does not deserve to be taken seriously in any discussion among sentient human beings.

Posted by: gregor on October 27, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

The real shit hits the fire once people are specifically cloned for organ harvesting. I am betting we are about 10-15 years out from that battle.
Posted by: Olijah Navaroon on October 27, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

No doubt;
Growing a new liver will be cheap too. But the IP encumbrance will ensure that only the ultra-wealthy will have this technique available.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on October 27, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK
Ponnuru has now pointed out that Drum misinterpreted him; he never claimed that some people were opposed to adult stem cell research, and in fact Drum's misinterpretation shows his ignorance of basic terms of the issue.

Aside from the usual kind of "live" embryonic sources, from what I can tell, pluripotent stem cells have not been derived from any other source. Suggestions have been made, according to NIH, that pluripotent stem cells might come from any of the following sources:

1) Biopsied blastomeres from embryos (i.e., and embryonic source).

2) Failed, "dead", embryos, rather than viable ones.

3) Blastocysts that are created artificially in such a way that they cannot develop a placenta and umbilical cord, and therefore is guaranteed to never become a viable fetus. This is an organism, though a doomed one, and one that has been argued by promoters of this method to not be a "human embryo" and therefore be acceptable for hESC research, whereas "real" live embryos are morally unacceptable, though this semantic claim is itself debated rather harshly.

4) Reprogramming somatic cells to return them to pluripotent but not totipotent state.

#3 is apparently what Ponnuru was referring to, though #4 is the only way that indisputably is not using an embryonic source. Note that what all of these have in common is that they are all apparently completely speculative methods which have not been demonstrated, even in non-human models.

Ponnuru was deliberately, I suspect, not describing waht he was referring to in detail, since when you look at the details of the method, his painting of it as something that pro-lifers support and others oppose would break down; its something that Republican political activists who want to find some thread to justify claiming to be "pro-life" while at the same time not paying the political price for being "anti-stem-cell-research" support because they think that the base will remain largely ignorant of the details.

The people in the base that look at the product of conception as a human being deserving of full protection aren't likely, if they are aware of the details, to say "oh, well, if you make something that's the same except that its crippled by design so it will fail to get the resources it needs to develop, that's okay then."

And he deliberately avoids discussing the details also because the fact that its an speculative method that has no demonstrated ability to actually produce pluripotent stem cells would reveal one of many good reasons opponents don't see funding it as an alternative to funding the only method provent to provide pluripotent stem cells.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 27, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

...It will be an exact genetic match, of course. We are currently doing clinicals that show pancreas regeneration in diabetic lab mice.

In the case of the pancreas, there are probably cases where you don't WANT it to be an exact genetic match. (Why in hell would someone want to catch diabetes TWICE?)

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on October 27, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen: And does anyone really believe that outlawing something will prevent the determined from pursuit of that goal? (How's that drug war coming along?)

the other common example is trying to outlaw some monetary contributions to political campaigns. The money just flows through other channels to the same destination.

Has anybody succeeded in outlawing embryonic stem cell research?

Posted by: papago on October 27, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Matthew - not yet. But look for Missouri to try again if Amendment 2 fails this fall.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen

Now I have a better understanding of why Sen. Talent is in trouble.

I don't think that embryonic stem cell research will pay off in my generation, but I support it, and I think that Michael J. Fox is gutsy for speaking out in favor. People don't like displaying their infirmities in public. In the 2004 Presidential campaign Sen. Edwards made a ridiculous claim.

Posted by: papago on October 27, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

well, yeah, Edwards had people convinced that the lame were about to walk, the blind to see, etc.
it was all very evangelical and all very ridiculous. but that's politics.

as a sidenote, in a technical sense, human clones almost certainly exist. accidental twinning has almost certainly occurred in embryo clinics. (and in a sense, that is the only true clone since somatic cell nuclear transfer preserves the mitochondrial dna of the oocyte).

but, cloning humans via SCNT is a different matter altogether.

Posted by: Nathan on October 27, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

We will not see any human treatment using ESCR in my lifetime (meaning 35 years or more, for me). We will, however, see treatments for heart, liver, pancreas, skin, gum, inner ear, and more, using Adult stem cells. That's why the lion's share of investment dough is going that way. And the ESCR people have to mislead and scam the public to receive government money.

Follow the money. Always.

Posted by: nikkolai on October 27, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Since the first trial has only started, treatments might be down the road beyond my lifetime, but that does not mean we just quit.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

And the ESCR people have to mislead and scam the public to receive government money.

Ah, yes, those evil scientists -- always trying to make the world a better place via scientific discovery.

BURN THEM! BURN THEM ALL!

Posted by: Disputo on October 27, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'll torch you first, then you spark me up, Disputo.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK
We will not see any human treatment using ESCR in my lifetime (meaning 35 years or more, for me).

This is based on, what? Your own self-serving assumptions?

We will, however, see treatments for heart, liver, pancreas, skin, gum, inner ear, and more, using Adult stem cells.

Maybe, maybe not on each of those, but some of them certainly.

That's why the lion's share of investment dough is going that way.

The "investment dough" is going to adult stem cell research because it is a more mature science where it appearst that the public- and privately-funded basic, non-commercial, research has produced results that may be suitable for short-term turnaround for commercialization, whereas embryonic stem cell research, which has promise to address demonstrated limitations of adult stem cells, is still mostly in the early, basic-research stage where largely publicly-funded, basic research is, for almost any science, key.

"Investment" dough rarely goes to anything like basic research, it swoops in at the end to create a commercial profit once the funds once charitable private funding and public funding has fueled enough research to show clear and immediate commercial potential.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 27, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

You have much more patience with the hand-wringers than I do, Chris.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

How to answer this question about the Missouri Amendment?

"Would you mind explaining what the amendmend is asking for that we don't have in place right now?"

Posted by: confused on October 27, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'll field that one, confused. In Missouri we have a pretty good welfare system for those among us who serve no useful purpose - we sequester them in the statehouse by making them legislators.

They have tried in the past to outlaw the research. Passage of amendment two would guarantee that the morons we repeatedly send to JC would try once more to criminalize the research.

It is a prophylactic measure, but one that is desperately needed.

I addressed the issue in detail in a post that you can find here.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Flubbed the tag. Thy this one. Amendment 2

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen:

"Embryonic stem cell research is only five years old. Where did the "causes cancer" comment come from? I'm pretty up on this subject and this is news to me. Especially since we aren't even to the human testing phase in this country yet."

This came up on Think Progress, I believe, yesterday or the day before. There was an article written recently which supposedly talked about rats with a Parkinson-like disease. Embryonic stem cells had shown some success in ameliorating the disease, but the article also suggested that the stem cells could also become cancerous. The person posting this considered the possibility of cancer to be an argument against stem cell research.

I replied that the article was probably talking about the fact that stem cells and cancer cells share lack of differentiation. However, this doesn't mean that we shouldn't do stem cell research.

I just did a wee PubMed search. I think this is the article:

Transplantation of human embryonic stem cell-derived cells to a rat model of Parkinson's disease: effect of in vitro differentiation on graft survival and teratoma formation. Brederlau A, Correia AS, Anisimov SV, Elmi M, Paul G, Roybon L, Morizane A, Bergquist F, Riebe I, Nannmark U, Carta M, Hanse E, Takahashi J, Sasai Y, Funa K, Brundin P, Eriksson PS, Li JY. Stem Cells. 2006 Jun;24(6):1433-40. Epub 2006 Mar 23.

Osama been Forgotten:

"In the case of the pancreas, there are probably cases where you don't WANT it to be an exact genetic match. (Why in hell would someone want to catch diabetes TWICE?)"

You have a point here. I believe what is being discussed is transplantation of Islets of Langerhans, as those cells are the insulin-producing cells.

My understanding is that people with Type I diabetes seem to be unusually susceptible to a certain virus which selectively destroys Islets of Langerhans. So the relevant thing here to do is to also figure out how to help these people become resistant to this particular virus, so their new Islets of Langerhans remain functional.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on October 27, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Wolfdaughter; Thanks for the link. Unfortunately I can't access it at home, but I am not paying for it until I try it from campus. I can get a lot of stuff off the academic databases.

I have not read the study yet, but one thing to always keep at the front of your mind when we use rat models...These animals were bred to get cancer.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Here is the abstract of the article Wolfdaughter referenced.

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have been proposed as a source of dopamine (DA) neurons for transplantation in Parkinsons disease (PD). We have investigated the effect of in vitro predifferentiation on in vivo survival and differentiation of hESCs implanted into the 6-OHDA (6-hydroxydopamine)-lesion rat model of PD. The hESCs were cocultured with PA6 cells for 16, 20, or 23 days, leading to the in vitro differentiation into DA neurons. Grafted hESC-derived cells survived well and expressed neuronal markers. However, very few exhibited a DA neuron phenotype. Reversal of lesion-induced motor deficits was not observed. Rats grafted with hESCs predifferentiated in vitro for 16 days developed severe teratomas, whereas most rats grafted with hESCs predifferentiated for 20 and 23 days remained healthy until the end of the experiment. This indicates that prolonged in vitro differentiation of hESCs is essential for preventing formation of teratomas.

So, if the cells cultivated in vitro for a few days longer, the animals did not get cancer, at least not during the span of time the studies covered, apparently.

So no need to stop right there!!! This is why we do research and don't rush off into human trials. Five days of development in vitro makes a big difference, apparently.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 27, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

Therapeutic cloning, in which microscopic groups of cells are duplicated...

Well, if the eggheads would call it "Microcloning", it might help a bit...

Posted by: Doozer on October 27, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "It brings to mind The Boys From Brazil ..."

Which reminds me of the absolutely faaaabulous times I had in Rio during Carneval, with the rum and the samba dancers and all those floats with those a-dor-able Latin dreamboats that adorned them ...

Posted by: Former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) on October 27, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Anandine: Suppose you take that blastocyst from the petri dish and set it on a lactating woman's nipple. Would it be a living organism? For how long? Could you distinguish a 16-cell "embryo" from any other human effluent?

Certainly, breast milk doesn't grow into fetuses and infants. Of course, I assume that you are human and therefore existed in as an sixteen cell embryo at some point in your life and even lived to joke about it.

Anandine: Al, supposed you had to choose between saving from a fire five 1-day-old "embryos" and one 1-day old born baby. Which would you choose?

Anandine: Supposed you had to choose between saving from a fire your 1 day old child and a 50 year old HIV infected, heroin addict. Which would you choose? Does your choice mean that the other isnt a human being or a person?

Posted by: GG on October 28, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

Drum: Needless to say, supporters of stem cell research tend to avoid the word [cloning] for the same reason. And they should. Therapeutic cloning, in which microscopic groups of cells are duplicated in order to provide embryonic stem cells for research, isn't scary at all. Unless you take the extreme position that a blastocyst is a human person, there's simply no reason to connect this kind of research to reproductive cloning (i.e., the scary kind).

1. The transfer of a somatic nucleus into an enucleated ovum resulting in a new organism nearly identical to the somatic cell donor is cloning.

2. The new organism may be destroyed and harvested for embryonic stem cells or if destroyed later, fetal tissue cells or if destroyed later, umbilical cord stem cells etcTechnically, at this time, only the destruction of the newborn for umbilical cord blood stem cells could truly be considered therapeutic since there are actual therapies involving umbilical stem cells. Otherwise, at this time the destruction of cloned blastocysts or embryos is simply experimental cloning.

3. Of course, all cloning is reproductive. Zygotes, blastocysts and embryos are all products of reproduction.

Posted by: GG on October 28, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

thanks, global citizen!

Posted by: confused on October 28, 2006 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK

电脑维修
计算机维护
电脑维护
计算机维修

电脑维修,网络维护,计算机维护,windows,

Posted by: 565654 on October 28, 2006 at 5:17 AM | PERMALINK

Now if we can just solve the problem of conservative reproduction. The last thing this old world needs is an Oxycontin-addicted loudmouth college dropout with a radio program, like Rush Limbaugh or rash-faced middle age perverts who have phone sex with their employees, like Bill O'Reilly.

Involuntary sterilization of Ann Coulter should also be a major public health initiative, although I suspect she would promptly eat her young, if anyone was twisted enough to fertilize her in the first place!

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger on October 28, 2006 at 6:36 AM | PERMALINK

TLA, you really shouldn't hold back. It's not healthy.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 28, 2006 at 6:40 AM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen--PLEASE SEND ME THE LINK CHEAT SHEET. I am TRYING REALLY HARD, BUT STILL I.T. challenged. And thanks for the patience. I am the founder of an adult stem cell bio-medical company. We've got some pretty interesting stuff in the pipeline, the regeneration of insulin-producing cells being among them.

Posted by: nikkolai on October 28, 2006 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

hey Al and all others who say they oppose stem cell research using embryos....why arent' ANY of you or the organizations that all oppose this research, why arent' fertility clinics being demonized? Why aren't any of these groups proposing legislation to shut down the clinics where embryos are experimented on, frozen and "killed" during the thaw etc etc......

I think I know. Reasonable people of all political groups understand the heartbreak of not being able to conceive and carry a baby for the couples who seek help. These voters are everyone's neighbors and family members and the GOP will not touch this. THAT is hypocrisy.

Posted by: llilybart on October 28, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

I have some beachfront property in Oklahoma if you are interested.

I'll buy it. Send title. Check is in the mail.

Posted by: bobbyp on October 28, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

nikkolai said:

"And the ESCR people have to mislead and scam the public to receive government money."

Just wondering, since you are the founder of an adult stem cell bio-med company, what exactly do you have against embryonic stem cell research, and what exactly have the ESCR people done to "mislead and scam the public"?

It would help many of us here to understand your position a lot better if you went into more detail on these things.

Posted by: JC on October 28, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Adult stem cell treatments are currently being done with great success, and much more is on the near term horizon. My company has struggled to raise funds for 6 years--mainly from family, friends and fools, like any start-up company. ESCR firms should go through the same process and succeed on their own merits. But, for some reason, they need to be propped up by tax payers.

Trust me, if anything was there, Amgen or J&J would be all over it.

Posted by: nikkolai on October 28, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

nikkolai wrote: "Trust me, if anything was there, Amgen or J&J would be all over it."

I'm sorry, but you've given us no particular reason to trust you on this. In fact, given the nature of your comments in this thread, we actually have reason to distrust you. So, sorry, but I'll take my information from more credible sources.

Posted by: PaulB on October 28, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Nikkolai - I sent the link.

I also found the study where you would have gotten the "causes cancer" bit from. Nerve cells that were implanted at 16 days in vitro were implicated with the formation of teratomas. If they developed in vitro for 20 to 23 days, none of the animals studied developed teratomas.

That is why we do research deliberately and slowly. Who wants a cure that is worse than the disease?

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 28, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

As to you investment arguments, CM Dicely addressed them very adequately in this very thread. Here is the permalink.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 28, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

As to private investment - Google the Stowers Institute. The owners of American Century Finance (six blocks from my home) have endowed a world-class research facility 10 blocks from my house with Billions.

Adult stem cells are fabulous, no doubt. But the success we have had with them are precisely why the nascent and emerging technology of ESCR is so promising.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 28, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Yes--I agree with everything you just stated. I do not agree with using public funds to prop up ESCR. They should have to jump through hoops like the rest of us. And what is to become of the wealthy investors (seems there were two of them) that stand to benefit finacially if this MO amendment passes? They cannot possible appreciate this spotlight on them.

Posted by: nikkolai on October 28, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, let's take the argument that a blastocyst has free will.
Would you rather be modified and help someone live, or get tossed in the trash?

Posted by: doug r on October 28, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

nikkolai:

Is there a ban on public funding for adult stem cell research?

Posted by: JC on October 28, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

None that I know about.

Posted by: nikkolai on October 28, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Then I don't really understand what you mean when you say that "they should have to jump through hoops like the rest of us." There is no ban on public funding for adult stem cell research, yet there is for embryonic. It looks to me like ESCR people are having to jump through a lot more hoops...

Posted by: JC on October 28, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think that is because many millions (right or wrong) believe ESCR to be repugnant morally. Adult SCR has no such stigma.

Posted by: nikkolai on October 28, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

So, then, who is being forced to jump through more "hoops" here... Adult stem cell researchers who have access to both public and private funding, or embryonic stem cell researchers who can only seek private funding?

I really don't understand your argument against ESCR at all.

Posted by: JC on October 28, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Put the money where it would do the most good for the most people right away--not 50 years from now. And not many people are arguing that ESCR is the answer any time soon. And if they are, they're lying.

We chose not to go with public funds due to headaches and regulations and inept control that they would have demanded.

Again, my argument breaks down like this: if ESCR is so promising, let it succeed on its own merits. Not some freaking political debate-snakes on both sides.

Posted by: nikkolai on October 28, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

You make it sound as if "the money" can only go to one type of research, which is certainly not the case.

The fact is, ESCR is not being given an equal chance to succeed on its own merits, because its sources for funding have been severely restricted.

And, of course ASCR is going to be more useful in the short term than ESCR; it has had more time to establish itself and its funding hasn't been restricted in any way.

Your argument that ESCR should succeed on its own merits--but without the benefit of public funding--is kind of like me betting you a million dollars that I can beat you in a foot race... but, oh yeah... you're only allowed to use one leg while I get to use both of mine... and, oh yeah... I get a head start, too.

On one hand you're arguing for "fairness" in how each type of research is funded, yet on the other you seem to be saying that the ban on public funding for ESCM should remain.

That doesn't make a bit of sense. I'm left to conclude that there's some underlying religious aspect to your argument that you've left unmentioned.

Posted by: JC on October 28, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

You have some misconceptions about the amendment in Missouri. it is a pre-emptive check on our state legislature (Motto: 1886 here we come!) to keep them from outlawing research and treatments that are allowed by federal law.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 28, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

if ESCR is so promising, let it succeed on its own merits. Not some freaking political debate-snakes on both sides.

Have you still not read Dicely's response. he addressed this very adequately, and upthread I posted the permalink. Here it is again.

Please read the answer that was posted in response to your question yesterday. ontinually posing it does not mean it has not been answered, in this case it means that the answer has not been acknowledged.

And as to research funding - Lets discuss the first adult stem cell therapy developed: Bone Marrow transplants. Bone marrow transplantation was pioneered at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center from the 1950s through the 1970s by E. Donnall Thomas, whose work was later recognized with a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. Dr. Thomas' work showed that bone marrow cells infused intravenously could repopulate the bone marrow and produce new blood cells. His work also reduced the likelihood of developing a life-threatening complication called Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).

The initial research was all public funded.

For someone who claims to be in the biotech field, you seem woefully ignorant of the rules of the game.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 28, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

"You have some misconceptions about the amendment in Missouri. it is a pre-emptive check on our state legislature (Motto: 1886 here we come!) to keep them from outlawing research and treatments that are allowed by federal law."

Hmm. I didn't realize this discussion was limited to ESCR as it applies to Missouri. In most of the rest of the U.S., we want Bush's ban lifted so that ESCR can have access to public funding instead of being strangled out.

But if we're talking about outlawing ESCR altogether, how does nikkolai's argument make any more sense? Let ESCR succeed on its own merits... while it's being criminalized?

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what nikkolai is trying to argue here. I mean, it's pretty obvious that he's against ESCR. Does he think ESCR deserves to be denied access to public funding or not? Does he think it should be outlawed or not? Or is he simply miffed because he's doing ASCR while ESCR is getting all the publicity? If the latter is the case, how in the world is that relevant to the local or national debates regarding ESCR?

Posted by: JC on October 28, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

JC - Nikkolai has been to my site too. I live in Missouri and have been devoting some effort to the issue. Suddenly our amendment is a national issue.

The whole flap came storming onto the national stage over the Michael J Fox commercial for Claire McCaskill and now the fur is flying.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 28, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

I see. Thanks for the background.

I think that maybe Michael J. Fox's ad and Rush Limbaugh's ensuing personal attack are the things that have gained national attention rather than the amendment itself. I'd imagine that most people don't even know what's in the amendment. (I, myself, admit ignorance, but you've shamed me into looking it over sometime this weekend!)

Michael J. Fox did similar ads for other politicians, including Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Ben Cardin (in my state, Maryland), and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle.

Posted by: JC on October 28, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

It is available through the link in my previous post, and the discussion in comments is worthwhile too.

Just say that I do not lose control of my classroom, and people leave my classes having learned something.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 28, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen,

Today you are fighting on the side of the angels. Don't despair or tire.

Eventually, almost every state will be funding some embryonic stem cell research; and the next president will almost for sure overturn Bush's ruling, which I think was a mistake.

Posted by: papago on October 28, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Matthew. Sometimes it feels tireless, but my time in the public health trenches have strengthened my resolve, rather than sapped me into defeat.

Posted by: Global Citizen on October 28, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

"how does nikkolai's argument make any more sense?"

It doesn't. In fact, none of his arguments make sense, regardless of the context of this discussion. For example, the discussion here is not that we think that ESCR should be required to be funded, it's that the ban on funding should be lifted. After that ban is removed, ESCR would, in fact, have to compete on precisely the level playing field that nikkolai has asked for. All stem cell projects, embryonic and adult alike, would be judged on their individual merits and funded accordingly.

As for his "follow the money" argument, it's absurd. If anything, it's an argument in favor of funding embryonic stem cell research, since if the research is still in the embryonic stage (sorry), then it's not exactly a surprise that it may not be getting the attention and funding that the more mature adult stem cell research is getting. And if such research is controversial, which it is, it's not too surprising that some companies might want to steer clear of it. Both of these arguments favor more attention from the federal government, not less.

I could also argue that federal attention is required to act as a central clearing house where ideas, along with information on promising paths, dead-end paths, and so on can be exchanged, all of which are important for a new field.

Then there's that little matter that if a lab does want to engage in multiple types of stem cell research, something that one would expect from the larger laboratories, the current ban on federal funding places some fairly nasty barriers in their way regarding the sharing of facilities, equipment, and the like, all of which can actively discourage ESCR.

In short, not one thing nikkolai has written in this thread makes any sense at all, even if he had backed up his assertions with anything like real data, which he still has not done.

Posted by: PaulB on October 29, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: mmf铃声 on October 29, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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