Yes to stem cells

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Last updated on August 5th, 2017 at 09:03 am

As a motor neurone disease sufferer and a former Marist Brother, Paul Brock is uniquely placed to join debate over stem cell research:

I am frightened by what lies in front of me and my family. Unable to speak and swallow; fed by a tube into my stomach; breathing with a respirator; having a fully alert mind within a vegetative body capable only of eyelash-blinking …

Can Christians support therapeutic cloning? Of course they can. And they do … Can Catholic Christians support therapeutic cloning? Of course they can. And they do.

Read whole thing. Meanwhile:

Stem cell research legislation has passed its first stages in NSW Parliament with MPs exercising their conscience vote this morning.

The MPs voted 65:26 on the cloning bill which has sparked an emotive debate across the state.

UPDATE. Papists and Stemmers battle it out in comments.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/06/2007 at 11:35 PM
    1. Go the stem cells…

      Posted by closeapproximation on 2007 06 06 at 11:40 PM • permalink


    1. I don’t understand the objections here to cloning on stem cells.  The cells are not embryos, and we already use almost the same techniques to grow skin cells for burns victims.

      It is not a case of doing something bad for the rgeater good, but doing something awesome for the greater good.

      I have read Pell’s objection but fail to see where this fits in with his teachings.

      To me, modern technology has been created for a good purpose – people will always find a bad purpose, but never overlook the good which it should be used for.  Eg a nuclear reactor making clean energy, and isotopes for cancer treatment, can also be used to make nuclear bombs (well the old reactors anyway).  Just because he fears this technology in the wrong hands can be evil, doesn’t mean we bury it.

      go go researchers!!

      Posted by peter m on 2007 06 07 at 12:02 AM • permalink


    1. pell wilfully misrepresents the technology by talking about the creation of chimaeras.  he and abbott are disgraceful

      Posted by KK on 2007 06 07 at 12:08 AM • permalink


    1. I have as much of a problem with Christian zealots as I do with Mullahs who want everyone to burkha up or Buddhists who expect everyone to immolate (made that one up)- if you object to this research, don’t accept any beneficial treatments that result, and kark it from some horrible disease that would be otherwise subject to some relief if not cure.


      My missus may need a kidney in a few years, and if the possibility of being able to grow a non-rejectionable one using her own tissues is derailed by god-bothering, flat-earth, pious hypocrites I’ll personally go after theirs with pinking shears.

      (And seeing they don’t drink, smoke or dance I should be able to find a particularly low mileage model).

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 12:14 AM • permalink


    1. I made the comment on the article first up this morning.

      My mother was diagnosed two years ago with musclar dystrophy (she’s only 58) and has gone from being fully ambulatory to being confined to a motorised wheelchair.

      As a result we’ve followed the development of treatments quite closely. In fact Nick and I are part of IBM’s World Community Grid – using our computer’s idle time to perform calculations on medical projects including muscular dystrophy.

      I’ve said all that to say this: While stem cell research is an exciting area of study there is a fundamental difference between adult stem cell research (the most promising type) and fetal stem cell in which human embryoes are created, experimented on and discarded.

      As a Christian, as is my mother, I have a personal and moral objection to fetal stem cell research created under the circumstances described above.

      The problems with the debate appears to be these:

      1. Misrepresentation or confusion over stem cell research is

      2. Confusion over the difference between adult stem cells and ebryonic stem cells

      3. Potential misrepresentation over the level of success encountered with embryonic stem cell research

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2007 06 07 at 12:16 AM • permalink


    1. Who cares if it works? You have the option to refuse the resulting treatments.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 12:18 AM • permalink


    1. And it’s errant bollocks to suggest that researchers are wilfully destroying a future human- the tissue and cells used are destined for the biohazard incinerator, they’re not magically going to gestate into a combination Don Bradman/Mahatma Ghandi/Ludvig Beethoven.

      There’s enough pillory of the primitivism exhibited by Moslems on this site, maybe Christianity needs an urgent stroll through the haouse of mirrors.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 12:21 AM • permalink


    1. I am appalled that the Catholic Church has waded into a semi-religious matter. Do they not realise that Guantanamo Bay still exists and as we speak capitalist pig employers are raping small children at $2.10hr???

      I was under the impression that the church had ceased to comment on matters religious in 1968. For shame.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 06 07 at 12:21 AM • permalink


    1. I think Brock’s article is a tragic example of the moral confusion, stemming from moral relativism, which has permeated the Church.

      The Church considers that it has been given by Christ Himself the authority to teach on matters of faith and morals. This statement is either factually true or false.

      The Church has also long taught that life begins at conception and that this is not just a case of sperm meeting egg, but that God creates a soul. Again, either this is true or not – it really doesn’t matter what one’s opinion is.

      The sanctity of life, the dignity of the human person, the notion that persons are ends in themselves and never means to an end, none of these principles should be suprising to anyone who claims to be Catholic.

      Brock’s illness is tragic, but the amelioration of tragedy can never warrant the deliberate creation and destruction of a human life.

      Why would anyone consider themselves a member of a Church whose edicts they cannot support? Perhaps they want to remake the Church in a form which suits their preferences. I suspect it is human nature to say “I support everything the Church teaches except those things that do not suit my preferences.”

      Posted by fidens on 2007 06 07 at 12:23 AM • permalink


    1. What a bunch of left wing hypocrites telling the Church to stay out of politics.

      Most of the protestant churches are de facto political pulpits. One church in Brunswick has replaced its sign with ‘Refugee Centre’. These churches don’t even pretend to be non-political – let alone preach any kind of moral directive – but scream blue murder when a church leader with a little backbone and the courage of his convictions provides a perfectly valid comment on an important moral issue.

      One idiot MP in NSW compared Pell to Sheik Hilaly. Take a cold shower. Please.

      John Howard skewered this nonsense perfectly, counterpointing shrill Labor MPs complaining about being leant on by the Church with their spineless caving in to the union movement.

      Posted by ilibcc on 2007 06 07 at 12:29 AM • permalink


    1. Make that “house”. And I wouldn’t mind being able to sprout a new set of lungs, liver and ticker when the current issue is totally kippered, and that’s not too far off. If I snuff it because I can’t grow a new stemcell-generated set of beer and fag filters, I’ll personally come back and haunt each and every opponent of scientific advancement. If I can be arsed. Pity I don’t believe in ghosts either.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 12:30 AM • permalink


    1. #7

      And it’s errant bollocks to suggest that researchers are wilfully destroying a future human- the tissue and cells used are destined for the biohazard incinerator, they’re not magically going to gestate into a combination Don Bradman/Mahatma Ghandi/Ludvig Beethoven.

      I agreee Habib. I think the concern is the “slippery slope”, people purchasing embryos, etc.

      My grandfather developed Parkinson’s Disease in his 50s and was dead within 10 years. He went from the life of the party to a shell, his body no longer under his command. We could see in his eyes that he was still there. It was heartbreaking.
      (My Nanna eventually couldn’t look after him at home, if he fell off his chair she needed help to lift him, he was a big man, in the last few months of his life he was in a nursing home, it broke Nanna’s heart).
      Grandad was only 63 when he died.

      Posted by kae on 2007 06 07 at 12:44 AM • permalink


    1. I’m Catholic and you can all go get stuffed.

      Pell’s statement was obvious and unremarkable.  Nobody’s going to get stoned to death – Catholics won’t vote for you if you support a bill that is contrary to what we believe.

      Big deal.  Get some perspective fucknuckles.

      The Catholic vote kept the labor party out of office for 17 years from 55 to 72.  I don’t see how its any different from the Green vote or the gay vote.

      Posted by Pig Head Sucker on 2007 06 07 at 12:45 AM • permalink


    1. What a world we live in when we can more readily accept a genetically modified human than a GM tomato.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 06 07 at 12:57 AM • permalink


    1. Atheists condone embryo experiments, believers don’t and agnostics can’t make up their fucking minds.

      Posted by mad doc on 2007 06 07 at 01:03 AM • permalink


    1. I’m not a Catholic and you can all go get stuffed.

      Pell’s statement was obvious and unremarkable.

      If you directly violate the teachings of the Church, and remain unrepentant, you should not be receiving Holy Communion.

      In EVERY Christian tradition, repentence is a key component to forgiveness – a fact ALWAYS overlooked by the every-forgiving Christian Left.  Sure, Christ, forgave the harlot who was about to be stoned, but His final invocation was “Go, and sin no more…”

      There are a lot of useful fools who have been led astray by Left wing clergy on a range of issues, so I say “Hooray” to George Pell for his stance – and I wish to God that that the Anglican Church had the same commitment to the Bible as written.

      Posted by Apparatchik on 2007 06 07 at 01:05 AM • permalink


    1. And I also oppose the gay/green/elvis lives crews forcing their views on the rest of us who don’t share their vision of lower garden dwelling mythical creatures. Believe anything you like- don’t force it on anyone else, or you’re little better than the yahoos who caterwaul from minarets.

      And another thing- this research may let you grow a bigger willy- think about it.

      (There’s about as much logic in this hysterical debate as there is about GM research- alsos the matter of euthenasia, rather well brought up by John Roskam of The Age, in reference to some hyperbole from David Marr:- … He takes the Howard Government to task for overturning the Northern Territory’s euthanasia laws, arguing that to do so is “profoundly undemocratic: Australians endorse euthanasia overwhelmingly”. So they might. But a majority of Australians also support the reintroduction of capital punishment. And in both cases I think the Howard government is extremely undemocratic, out of touch and patronising- but it nails Marr and his fellow travellers hypocrisy- public opinion is just jim dandy if it complies with my own narroew agenda, if it doesn’t they’re dribbling hillbillies who shouldn’t be allowed out without keepers let alone able to formulate opinions.)

      Either you subscribe that all principles of personal liberty, freedom of choice and acceptance of responsibility apply, or none do- you can’t cherry-pick the ones that mirror your own views.

      (And I don’t want to hear about FGM being OK under those principles- it is a criminal act of violence that has no support among reasonable thinking people. Using human tissue that is destined for destruction for a worthwhile purpose is widely supported, except for those driven by dogma- the same process that actually supports FGM).

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 01:08 AM • permalink


    1. Habib’s comments illustrate my earlier post about confusion, misinformation – and now hysteria on the issue of stem cell research.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2007 06 07 at 01:14 AM • permalink


    1. Can Catholic Christians support therapeutic cloning? Of course they can.

      No, they can’t.

      Note: avoid theological advice offered by ex-Brothers.

      First it was John Edwards promising that Superman would walk again and now Brock evokes Stephen Hawking and Pro Hart. Who knows, with a little tweaking from the scientists maybe all future humans can be celebrities who never die.

      Posted by C.L. on 2007 06 07 at 01:15 AM • permalink


    1. The Left will be laughing that they are able to ‘wedge’ social conservatives and libertarians over this issue.

      Posted by Apparatchik on 2007 06 07 at 01:17 AM • permalink


    1. #19 CL

      future humans can be celebrities who never die.

      Done already.

      Joan Rivers.

      Posted by kae on 2007 06 07 at 01:24 AM • permalink


    1. #4 In the case of your missus, Habib, if it is possible to grow a new kidney from her own stem cells (not outside the realms of possibility) that is a perfect example of adult stem cell progress, not embryonic.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2007 06 07 at 01:25 AM • permalink


    1. Habib

      Get a grip man – no one is forcing anyone’s view on anybody else.  The bill has passed – game over.  Allow us to argue our case though.

      Subscribing to the “all principles of personal liberty” does not mean you can’t take moral positions on issues that are contrary to the popular consensus and argue them as forcefully as you like.

      Posted by Pig Head Sucker on 2007 06 07 at 01:33 AM • permalink


    1. #22- It’s possible with either stream- the research is in its infancy, and there’s a small but noisy minority who wants it to stay there. If you’re not being asked to provide any material, take part in any trials or forced to accept any resulting benefit, how is it any of your business? I’m not confused, hysterical or misinformed on this issue- I (and most others making comments) don’t know enough to make a judgement; however it’s apparent that there is potential benefit from both streams of research, and I can’t see any logical, ethical or judicial reason to hamper same.

      I’m also opposed to a reccomendation that daphnes be given free access to Victorias IVF program, but not from any philisophical or dogmatic perspective; if they are required to fund the full cost, the donors are given full disclosure of the intended purpose of the donation and the recipients are not going to be eligible for any welfare benefit I don’t give a shit, it’s no longer my business.

      All this carry-on is futile anyway- if research is blocked here (where it is at least carried out in controlled circumstances) it’ll go offshore where there’s a bit more prgmatism, not only reducing access to benefits for Australians but handing over any future revenues as well.

      Personally I’m all for genetically modified, irradiated stemcells. I reckon a bit of mutation could be the ducks guts.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 01:42 AM • permalink


    1. $23- I’ve already stated that I have no problem with anyone believing anything they like- it’s when they try to force said views on otherw who don’t share them that gets my dander* up.

      *And who wouldn’t like a jim dandy dander, courtesy of some Frankenstein-like fiddling with the laws of nature?

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 01:45 AM • permalink


    1. fidens, I think it is worse than that.  Brock’s article is a tragic example of not knowing what words mean or how to differentiate between different uses of the same word when they have different meanings.

      An egg fertilised by a sperm creates a human embryo.  This whole issue has revolved about that whole understanding and the ruckus has imbued embryo and embryonic with that special condition and meaning.  Yet Brock goes on to explain a method of growing stem cells which is entirely alien to the above meaning.  It is not an “embryo”, it has not gained a soul, and calling attention to implantation to the uterus is irrelevant.

      A similar confusion occurs wrt theraputic cloning which has seemed to me to be a little more intentional for ulterior purposes.

      Regarding the polls, I haven’t much comment as I don’t follow Aussie domestic politics closely.  It does seem silly, however, morally and scientifically, I mean.

      Brock makes it sound as though the Church is opposed to this method of stem cell research, but I haven’t seen it.  But let me be clear, the embryonic stem cell research the Church condemns is the embryonic kind that produces humans.  I have seen no such condemnation of research using an egg *fertilised* by a skin cell.  Has that occurred?  My skimming of sites that usually post on things Catholic found nothing to indicate the Church opposes this.

      What bothers me though is he uses the anecdote of McCombe’s conversion to create the impression of McCombe dissenting with Church teaching with segue into drivel about the what he knows about conscience and on it’s face I don’t see that she did.

      Posted by Dusty on 2007 06 07 at 01:49 AM • permalink


    1. Habib,

      I’m a little confused as to how the “principles of personal liberty” relate to using another human life to prolong one’s own.

      I have little doubt you would object if some boffin proposed drinking blended babies as a means of growing your willy, shedding unwanted pounds or even curing cancer. Even if baby juice could do all these things it would be unconscionable (unless you’re Peter Singer) – whether one believed in God, pixies, Elvis or nothing.

      The question in this debate isn’t “does God exist?”, it’s “what does it mean to be human?”. I believe that the Catholic Church has a very coherent answer to this question, and that those who profess to be Catholic but don’t want to follow the teachings should have a better challenge than “I don’t feel like it.”

      Posted by fidens on 2007 06 07 at 01:54 AM • permalink


    1. Well that’s what I get for not reading the second link first!  LMAO

      This sounds similar to the Missouri brouhaha about a year ago and that the theraputic cloning legislation is much broader than Brock indicates in his article.

      Posted by Dusty on 2007 06 07 at 01:57 AM • permalink


    1. Over the last couple of days I’ve heard half-a-dozen ABC newsreaders wrongly describing Pell as Catholic Primate of Australia, though no such position exists.

      Here’s <a href=”mms://”>audio</a> of Tony Eastley doing it but the interesting thing is that it’s been removed from the <a href=””>transcript</a>, making it a non-transcript.

      How many other transcripts do they doctor?

      Posted by monaro on 2007 06 07 at 02:00 AM • permalink


    1. Pell’s pontifications on the subject are more likely to be have been based on his barely disguised aspirations for the keys to the Popemobile.His hard line position was only ever likely to impress local politicians who were too stupid or too lazy to adequately inform themselves of just what exactly they were prepared to vote against.However a hard-line position might just do him some good if the present Pontiff were drop off the twig.I’ve got no idea of how the numbers line up amongst those other Cardinals who would vote the replacement in but I’ll bet Pell does.

      Posted by Lew on 2007 06 07 at 02:03 AM • permalink


    1. An unviable cluster of cells in a petri dish is not a human. It is basically detritus, and great volumes of this very item get flushed down dunnies around the world, particularly after a big Friday night. (RU486, ayone?)

      I can’t see where the argument lies, frankly; I think it’s very much a case of science advancing well past the point where religion holds any relevance. I daresay when a lot of the precepts of all religions were laid down there was still conjecture as to what actually caused pregnancy.

      Let’s be realistic- the average schoolboy gets rid of more genetic material than is used worldwide in research after a lively school dance or perusal of a Victorias Secret catelogue, and healthy females past puberty discharge their own contribution to the mix every 28 days or so into the lav unless they’re actually infested by the alien; what is the problem?

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 02:05 AM • permalink


    1. #29- Could this be the Australian Primate?

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 02:07 AM • permalink


    1. One should be careful making moral judgements based on texts 2000+ years old.
      The ignorance of the time meant that disease wasn’t understood and thought to be a result of evildoers being punished by God.
      Anecdotally, those in high office in the Church (e.g. Catholic) are cosseted in ivory towers and way out of touch with society in general: the ‘How much is a litre of milk?’ test et al …
      Women’s place in the Church? … previous ignorance that women were ‘unclean’, as menstrual periods were not understood …
      No wonder the progressives get their dander up … such good fodder for ‘em …

      Posted by egg_ on 2007 06 07 at 02:09 AM • permalink


    1. Are the Mafia Catholic?
      Good ole Italian contradictions.
      Sin on Monday, repent on Sunday …

      Posted by egg_ on 2007 06 07 at 02:15 AM • permalink


    1. #33.If that’s not Tony Abbott it’s a very close relative.

      Posted by Lew on 2007 06 07 at 02:25 AM • permalink


    1. I have an intereseting twist on this situation.
      My wife went through IvF to conceive our first child, 5yrs old now & I want my money back, and we agreed to release the other other fertilsed eggs for research as they were not going to survive past 8-10days, and were not viable for implanting or freezing.

      This was a huge moral decision for us as we are both catholics but we agreed that this reearch would actually help other couples to conceive or at least find out why they can’t conceive.
      We had full “faith” in the clinic to do whats right.
      But the underlying acceptance of the research was in the knowledge that these eggs would not go on to be people.

      Posted by dino on 2007 06 07 at 02:28 AM • permalink


    1. #27- “Infant Formula” is no bloody good, doesn’t do squat. Monkey glands on the other hand are really the go- I’m chewing on a gibbons pineal at the moment, and I can feel the depredations of age falling away like limbs off a leper.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 02:29 AM • permalink


    1. Is it wrong to object to a technology that creates a human life to destroy it for simple experimentation?

      Especially when there are better alternatives?

      Reading some of the commenters here, that would appear to be the case.

      Why is it considered silly, out-moded, old fashioned, prehistoric to believe that human life has sanctity and dignity?

      Or is it that only some life matters and others don’t?

      If this is the case, then where do we draw the line? Perhaps into Peter Singer territory and let ‘science’ determine who lives and dies?

      ::Sigh:: I shouldn’t have to consider it necessary, but I will point out, again that I have no problem with stem cell research, only the part that creates/clones a human embryo in order to experiment upon it.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2007 06 07 at 02:30 AM • permalink


    1. The germ theory of disease, also called the pathogenic theory of medicine, is a theory that proposes that microorganisms are the cause of many diseases. Although highly controversial when first proposed, it is now a cornerstone of modern medicine and clinical microbiology, leading to such important innovations as antibiotics and hygienic practices.

      I also believe that religion has had ideas about this topic through the ages that differ to todays accepted views.

      Posted by ratman on 2007 06 07 at 02:37 AM • permalink


    1. #38- But you ignore the fact that human embryos are created and discarded constantly, more often than not without any externl intervention. It’s part of the natural phenomenon of redundancy, where vastly more viable zygotes are produced throughout an organisms lifespan than will ever ybe used for reporduction. It’s not as if we’re talking about a scarce commodity, or one that is even held in any respect most of the time.

      We’re talking about bodily fluids which are basically waste products unless implanted in a receptive uterus.

      Enough emotive hyperbole, please.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 02:38 AM • permalink


    1. And if anyone mentions “soul” outside the context of Levi Stubbs or Jackie Wilson I’ll invoke a new version of Godwins Law- Habib’s Commandment, whereby anyone who introduces any faith-based concept into an argument has already lost same due to a lack of evidence.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 02:44 AM • permalink


    1. #38- I also disagree with the concept of the sanctity of human life- I’d quite happily switch off the likes of this pair, and many more like them.

      If a poor bloody dog bites some bastard that was probably tormenting it there’s no question about the hound getting a jab, yet calculating, depraved swine who prey on those unabel to defend themselves are cossetted by a limp, vascillating judicial system, and their rotten behaviour excused by all manner of shrinks, prison visitors and sociologists.

      All in all we’re a pretty fucked up species, but some of said species are worth saving.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 02:55 AM • permalink


    1. #41

      Too late, Habib.  I already did (#26, 2nd graf, 4th line).

      Posted by Dusty on 2007 06 07 at 02:57 AM • permalink


    1. well, i for one dont have a problem with it

      1. because im not a catholic

      2. because i dont believe that a God could allow to reign over a world that serves up such largesse when it comes to cruel and brutal treatment,irrespective of age,sex or gender to his flock and not consider sacking himself.

      3.why make “man”in his own image in the last 100,000 years when he spent hundreds of billions of years dicking around making dinosaurs? and whats his excuse for making a Paul Keating??

      and 4. because i was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease just on 18 months ago and am gradually losing the use of my limbs, my left arm is totally ratshit,(left handed) the other is going by degrees, legs getting weaker and just noticing slight breathing difficulties now.

      i will however fight it to to the point where i cannot continue….i will not be a burden to my family and i will then decide my choice of exit..not being a tyke , im not worried about eternal damnation:)

      i suggest to those who like to split moral hairs, dont be too hasty until u walk in my shoes or cant walk in your shoes..whatever.

      ps: i dont tell spastic jokes anymore either.:)


      Posted by bailador on 2007 06 07 at 02:59 AM • permalink


    1. Thankyou Nora et al for some sensible comments on this debate.
      Habib, you have your point of view, some of us don’t share it, so please stop shouting.

      Posted by calliope on 2007 06 07 at 03:00 AM • permalink


    1. Fuck me.  This is going to be interesting to watch.

      {cracks neck of a fresh Bundy 700 ml, adds ice and Coke, arranges seat cushions}

      Posted by Kaboom on 2007 06 07 at 03:02 AM • permalink


    1. James Brown – Godfather of Soul The self-aware essence unique to a particular living being.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 06 07 at 03:02 AM • permalink


    1. #46,
      Move over Kaboom, you’re hogging the lounge.

      I’ve brought crisps.

      Posted by Pogria on 2007 06 07 at 03:06 AM • permalink


    1. I am always fascinated by Habib’s contributions to Tim’s threads. Passionate, adolescent and always good for a laugh. (I hope I have provided enough ambiguity in this statement so that everyone can agree with me.)

      Posted by quillpen on 2007 06 07 at 03:09 AM • permalink


    1. #40, Lemme get this right – according to you an embryo created in vitro (outside the body) is only of substance when it is implanted?

      Okay, that’s your right. I just happen to believe differently.

      And surely Habib, you do appreciate there is a difference between abortion and miscarriage.

      If there is anyone skating on the outer edges of reason mate it’s you.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2007 06 07 at 03:18 AM • permalink


    1. SHIT..i hope i didnt kill the thread!

      hey kaboom , slide one of those bundy and cokes over mate….ill need a straw ..tah!

      (eyes Pogrias chips)

      Posted by bailador on 2007 06 07 at 03:19 AM • permalink


    1. Conspiracy theorist Lew, take some of the space in your head and place it between your sentences. Thanks.

      Posted by ilibcc on 2007 06 07 at 03:31 AM • permalink


    1. Whilst this site has no peer when it hunts as a pack, it is blessed with an eclectic mix of members and is at it’s best when subjects such as these come up.

      Best of luck bailador.

      Kaboom, put the rum away. It draws blood eventually and when our gun totin mates from the other side of the Pacific turn up, there’s bound to be a clucking falamity .

      Posted by Pickles on 2007 06 07 at 03:32 AM • permalink


    1. Here you go bailador,

      I brought four bags and a pack of corn chips. It’s going to be a long night!

      Posted by Pogria on 2007 06 07 at 03:35 AM • permalink


    1. Hey everyone,

      Tim has just posted a juicy distraction for us!

      We can still share the cisps, bailador.

      Posted by Pogria on 2007 06 07 at 03:40 AM • permalink


    1. re #10

      One idiot MP in NSW compared Pell to Sheik Hilaly. Take a cold shower. Please.

      More than one.  This effort came from National Party MP Adrian Piccoli:

      And I think in Australia, if Sheikh al-Hilali had made that same kind of declaration to members of Parliament of the Muslim faith, telling them how to vote, I think there’d be outrage, I think it would be front page of every newspaper and there would be outrage against him. And, you know, I see this by the Catholic Church as being a similar thing.

      No, His Sheikhness wouldn’t do something as crass as that.

      CONTROVERSIAL cleric Sheik Taj el-Dene Elhilaly yesterday accused Federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd of “Islamophobia”.  He also told The Daily Telegraph his plans for his all-inclusive party – dubbed the Australian Peace Party – would go ahead despite Mr Rudd’s opposition…

      …The Sheik said he would not run for Parliament himself but would play a key role in selecting candidates.

      I guess it’s too much to ask that an elected member of parliament actually have some vague grasp of current affairs or what goes on a few miles away from Parliament House.

      No, there wouldn’t be the same response to His Sheikhness.  Even his ‘cat meat’ speech didn’t get the shrill reaction from New South Wales parliamentarians that Pell got.

      Kid gloves for Muslims, brass knuckles for Tykes.

      Pell’s non-Catholic critics, on the other hand, have no such qualms about telling him how to run his Archdiocese or telling Catholics what to believe.  Those who vote their way do so for reasons of conscience, while those who don’t must be driven by dogma.

      As Grand Pooh-Bah of the Sydney Archdiocese (not the Primate of Australia as ABC news keep calling him), directing his flock on moral issues is part of Pell’s job description.  His title is Archbishop not Diversity Facilitator.

      And in a liberal democracy, unlike Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s homeland, members of that flock have the right to ignore him, as did Premier Iemma, who ran with the slogan, “family, faith and community,” in the last election.

      Of course the difference here is that, although there are no Muslim members of Parliament, it hasn’t prevented His Sheikhness laying down the law to said house.

      And irony upon irony, we had Don Sartor calling someone else an autocrat – the pot calling the kettle obsidian.

      Posted by monaro on 2007 06 07 at 03:41 AM • permalink


    1. Tim B to prove I know it’s true, please read my email, and find out if there is a silver cross infront of a table before entering his room. Please! Believe me Tim B.

      Posted by 1.618 on 2007 06 07 at 04:00 AM • permalink


    1. You’re all that I have to tell.

      Posted by 1.618 on 2007 06 07 at 04:02 AM • permalink


    1. Cause they used group Ritual abuse on me as well Tim B… I just want to die..

      Dminor, they did it. That’s the trigger Dminor.

      Posted by 1.618 on 2007 06 07 at 04:03 AM • permalink


    1. #56,

      that was breathtaking in it’s eloquence and simplicity.

      I am going to pin that up in my office.

      Thank you.

      Posted by Pogria on 2007 06 07 at 04:07 AM • permalink


    1. If shit like this keeps happening, my in the works thriller based on the nefarious and far reaching tentacles of Opus Dei is stuffed. Pull your finger out you rotten Catholics.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 06 07 at 04:08 AM • permalink


    1. bailador, best of luck, mate.

      {slides across a strong Bundy & Coke}

      I’m always worried about the appelation “former Marist Brother” – in the interests of full disclosure, I’m a lapsed Tyke, having gone to a Marist Brothers schools for most of my K-12.

      The only time I get to hear about former Marist Brothers is when they are doing the perp walk for rock spider offences, and of course they are charged under their proper names, like “William Smith” rather than “Brother Venantius”, and so on.

      Frankly, I don’t know enough about stem-cell research to argue sensibly or coherently.

      Best of luck to you, anyway.

      Pogria: Pass the chips!

      Posted by Kaboom on 2007 06 07 at 04:14 AM • permalink


    1. Good Luck bailador, you’re gonna need it.

      And a medical breakthrough.

      The nature of research is to exhaust all avenues.

      Posted by kae on 2007 06 07 at 04:26 AM • permalink


    1. #53
      Pickles, well said!

      and clucking falamity very funny.

      Posted by kae on 2007 06 07 at 04:30 AM • permalink


    1. Hey Kae,

      we need some dip!

      Posted by Pogria on 2007 06 07 at 04:30 AM • permalink


    1. Careful, stem bashers.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 06 07 at 04:39 AM • permalink


    1. #56 Thanks monaro, well put.

      Posted by fidens on 2007 06 07 at 04:53 AM • permalink


    1. Nora is absolutely right.  Leaving aside ethical concerns about the use of embryos, adult stem cells are already successfully being used to treat people for a variety of ailments – spinal cord injuries and diabetes to name just two – whereas embryonic stem cells not only cause rejection problems but also have a nasty habit of forming cancers.  You may get yourself a big willy but, before too long, it is likely to be a very lumpy willy with the lumps eventually breaking down and becoming weeping sores and, of course, there will be other lumps growing less obviously elsewhere.

      I heard Brock give a speech at a university graduation ceremony a few years ago.  He blathered on about Voltaire in fawningly adulatory terms and then he talked about motor neurone disease.  He didn’t give a stuff about the disease or those who suffer from it until he got it himself.  So now, because he’s got it, he wants us all to care very much.  He wants us to give our time and money, and abandon our scruples, so that he (oh yeah, and the other MND sufferers too) can benefit.  I don’t like him at all.

      Posted by Janice on 2007 06 07 at 04:57 AM • permalink


    1. re #60, #67

      You’re welcome. I’m nothing if not simple.

      Posted by monaro on 2007 06 07 at 04:59 AM • permalink


    1. #69,

      In that case Monaro,

      you can go out and get the dip!

      Move OVER Kaboom and stop hogging the mouse!!

      Posted by Pogria on 2007 06 07 at 05:02 AM • permalink


    1. #13, Pig Head Sucker,

      I very much admire your forthright, no-nonsense approach.

      Posted by Janice on 2007 06 07 at 05:02 AM • permalink


    1. #41 Habib, questions of the existence of the soul are first and foremost philosophical rather than strictly theological.

      Philosophy addresses questions which science simply cannot, especially related to the “why” of existence. If there is no “why” then you are right, there is no reason why cloning should not be permitted.

      Moreover, if there is no “why” then it’s hard to justify why the strong shouldn’t enslave the weak, why we should liberate Iraq, why we shouldn’t eat our young etc. To paraphrase the D-Man: if there is no “why” then everything is permissible. And we are nothing but pleasure maximizing, pain minimizing, animated carbon units.

      #56 Thanks monaro, well put.

      Posted by fidens on 2007 06 07 at 05:08 AM • permalink


    1. Another area of politicized science. Michael Fumento has a good review of this issue.

      There is a deliberate confusion, for political reasons, with the terminology. Stem cell research does not necessarily mean embryonic stem cell research. There are many other sources of stem cells.

      Posted by Wimpy Canadian on 2007 06 07 at 05:08 AM • permalink


    1. #50- Not in the outcome, anything else is semantics.

      We going to punch on over abortion now? I for one think it should not only be legal, in some cases it should be compulsory and retrospective.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 05:22 AM • permalink


    1. Habib has a point. Don’t think small, abortion fans! Admit it, ultimately it’s no fun just killing unborn babies—let’s see the look on Paris Hilton’s face when she’s being ripped apart by a vacuum tube. Now that’s entertainment.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2007 06 07 at 05:44 AM • permalink


    1. 13 Ii’m with Pighead sucker.
      “Catholics won’t vote for you if you support a bill that is contrary to what we believe.
      Big deal.”

      Anticatholicism is the anti-Semitism of the middle classes. The positions on all sorts of issues taken by other churches and of course various nondenominational pressure groups never arouse such umbrage.

      Why shouldn’t the Church take any view it likes on this issue? It’s not running the country.

      And George Pell is a great guy.

      Posted by arrowhead ripper on 2007 06 07 at 05:48 AM • permalink


    1. #72- Fine, If you need some Bryan Law* lookalike to part the clouds and give you guidance as to right and wrong, I and many like me are able to formulate our own philosophies and standards of acceptable behaviour, sometimes ammended in the presence of intoxicants. Certainly the Judeo-Christian ethic has had a lot to do with establishing a rule of law (but then again the Romans and Greeks stole a bit of a march on that as well) but I think as a foundation for ethics and guidance for human advancement its past its use-by date.

      The entire basis of the secular, pluralist state is the seperation of church(mosque, ashram) and state- pity we can’t include Gaiea-worship in the division; people can believe what they like, but have no right to force their views on others- this is my entire argument. If you think cloning/stemcell research is naughty, don’t provide ant material or funds to the Mengele-like misanthropes performing the work, or utilise any benefits of the research- easy peasy, a lot easier than escaping the gaze of the bloke in the white beanie.

      #49- What’s adolescent about reason, logic and objectivity? Oh I see, you mean the willy gags.

      I believe Richard Gere is putting funding into research- he wants to gene splice a gerbil with a tapeworm.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 05:54 AM • permalink


    1. pell can direct catholics to do whatever takes his fancy.  but he knows zip about stem cell research, having been fed his lines by tonti-filippini et al

      Posted by KK on 2007 06 07 at 05:57 AM • permalink


    1. Oops, left out the *- Bry was flapping his soup cooler on ABC radio this afternoon, his defence seems to be that he was acting in the interests of Iraqi civilians when he admittedly broke into a restricted area. I would’ve reccomended the Chewbacca tactic myself- I hope the rest follow suit, Fanny Bay’s going to get a bit more cosy.

      #75- Andrea has a valid point as well- there’s millions of abortions performed monthy, and the embryos are treated as biohazardous waste- why not utilise them? Pragmatism has its value, and there could be an earner in it- Providores Of Cells (Ovarian) could corner the market.

      It’s another winner, like my idea to set up whale abbatoirs adjcent to the beaches where the dozy cetaceans regularly beach themselves- rather than bulldozing all that rancid blubber into the dunes, they can be portioned, packed, chilled and on the next JAL flight to Narita within hours of “getting lost” (Ixnay on the arsonay uyboay).

      Enough of this jiggery papery.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 06:09 AM • permalink


    1. Oops, should be Procure All Cells (Ovarian).

      And I agree with KK- a good friend of mine is an ICU specialist and has had run-ins with Nick Tonti-Fillippini, and would quite happily crack open his skull and feast on the goo inside.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 06:12 AM • permalink


    1. Atheistic types are always bleating about how moral they are, or can be, even though their worldview provides them with no foundation whatsoever for moral behaviour.  But here we see how that plays out at crunch time.  As far as they’re concerned human beings can be experimented on when they’re very, very small simply because they are very, very small.

      It reminds me of a show I once saw about the heirs of the entrepreneurs of the Industrial Revolution in the UK.  They lived off the income of the ventures their fathers had set up but never re-invested.  Consequently they eventually lost everything and were reduced to pauperdom.  Vulture capitalists, the show called them.

      Today’s atheists/agnostics are vulture moralists.  They (and the rest of us) are very lucky we’re living now, while there is still some moral capital left.  Another 20 odd years of more of the same and, for instance, there will be no more dispute about voluntary euthanasia.  It will be compulsory for selected classes of people.

      I’m not a Catholic but I’m very glad for the existence of the Catholic church.  It’s not perfect but it is about as Christian as any other denomination I’ve had anything to do with and the very good thing about it, for these days, is that it still has some residual power over its clergy.

      So there you go Morris Iemma and Barry O’Farrell.  Get denied communion and see how you like it.  Maybe you don’t give a damn.  Your choice.  Accept the consequences of that or start treating life a bit more seriously.  At least be bothered to find out how unnecessary “therapeutic cloning” is.  That you obviously haven’t bothered makes it impossible for me to regard either of you as people capable of good leadership.

      Posted by Janice on 2007 06 07 at 06:26 AM • permalink


    1. I loved the ignorant rant by some NSW political bint on ABC radio the other day about “didn’t we have separation of Church & State?”
      Tell it to the Victorian Labor Government, who have still to be adequately punished for the prosecution of Christian Pastors under their stupid “religious vilification” laws.
      Parliament makes the laws, not the Church. That’s the separation, for those who did not notice.
      Lobbyists can say what they like, and they appear in all sorts of guises.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2007 06 07 at 06:35 AM • permalink


    1. Very O/T but really good.

      I just became a Grandpa! I’m now officially known as “Poppy Gibbo”. How good is that?

      There are a couple of photos up already at my place featuring young Lily for those who’d like to feel clucky.
      Gibbos Place

      Posted by Gibbo on 2007 06 07 at 07:09 AM • permalink


    1. #83- So chez Gibbo is going to resound with the pitter patter of tiny carbon footprints, eh? Congrats mate on adding to to Gaiea’s burden! Remember, disposable nappies add to landfill and kill shitloads of trees, but cloth ones burn heaps of coal and contaminate fresh water by the megalitre- a hard choice, so why not use both?

      And has Heinz got a line in fois gras puree and mashed bibly?

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 07:29 AM • permalink


    1. #81- Describing an embryo as a very, very small person is drawing a bow that’d make Leonardos look like a paperclip ging; I’m not necessarily an ahteist, more an agnostic as I’m yet to see any sort of emperical evidence to convince me that any religion is other than either a delusion entrenched by time or a primitive method of civil control, long since replaced by democracy and enlightenment values.

      This debate seems off thepoint anyway- the legislation is only bringing NSW in line with the Commonwealth, and all other states are likely to comply. The Catholic Church used to have a bit of clout over the ALP, those days are long gone- ever since the schism of the 1950s and the dominance of Archbishop Mannix the ALP has moved away from Catholicism- this has more to do with the prosperity and secularisation of the Irish than anything else; I’ve got a heap of mates who are titular tykes, and not too many would even know where the nearest church was, let alone what Vatican policy was on anything.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 07:43 AM • permalink


    1. I’m somewhat bemused why people don’t want to embrace a technology that has the power to eliminate or reduce suffering by disease, to prolong life, and possibly bring a revolution to how medicine treats disease.  I’m all for life, we only have one, so let’s go. Yes, I’m pro-life … your life, my life, and everyone’s life.

      Posted by Stevo on 2007 06 07 at 07:45 AM • permalink


    1. It is really quite simple.

      Say you were both a MP and a member of an exclusive all-male club, err… no, not THAT type of all-male club, but one with brandy snifter, Chesterfields and cigars.

      Anyway, the club’s rules say that women cannot be members of the club.  But a Bill comes before Parliament which will prohibit single-sex clubs, and will force open the doors to women.

      It will be a conscience vote – you can’t claim that you are “forced” to vote in a particular way because of the Party’s agreed position.

      So what do you do?

      Or, more particulalry, what would you expect your fellow club-men to do with you, if they know that you are about to violate one of the principal by-laws of that Club?  Surely they would seek to warn you that your vote would place you in an untenable position, with respect to remaining a member?

      And that is just what Pell has done – he has warned CINO’s (Catholics in Name Only) that they not only risk grave moral danger by voting to support this legislation, but they will not be welcomed back into an institution whose fundamental beliefs they have violated.

      Jeez, if they don’t want to be real Christians, they can just hive off and join the Uniting Church!

      Posted by Apparatchik on 2007 06 07 at 07:59 AM • permalink


    1. Habib

      In a few places above you suggested that those who were opposed to the procedure should simply not accept any benefits that might come from the research. Their moral obligations in respect of this matter would thereby be fully met. I don’t think that that is the case. My obligation to oppose killing people to make lampshades out of their skin is not fully met by refusing to buy said lampshades. Nor, of course, does my (in)action change the inherent evil of that practice.

      This comment does not indicate my position on the procedure, only my objection to your argument.

      Carry on.

      Posted by SteveGW on 2007 06 07 at 08:08 AM • permalink


    1. #83 Gibbo
      Congratulations – and a great video on your site to go with Donovan’s Hurdy-Gurdy Man.

      Posted by SezaGeoff on 2007 06 07 at 08:14 AM • permalink


    1. #88: SteveGW

      Straw man. What is your position?

      Posted by Stevo on 2007 06 07 at 08:39 AM • permalink


    1. You’ve gotta love Hurdy Gurdy Man.

      Congrats Gibbo.  Buy some TZN and put it in a trust fund for her – at anything under $3 it’s a steal. By the time she’s 18 she’ll be living the life of Paris Hilton.

      Habib – I may not agree with everything you say but I will defend to the death your right to be a tosser.

      Posted by Pig Head Sucker on 2007 06 07 at 08:43 AM • permalink


    1. First up, condolences, bailador, although I do still tell spastic jokes.

      I also tell wog jokes, blonde jokes, baby jokes and more. I just make sure my audience is 100% anti-pc.

      As for the topic, I’m a catholic, so I’m with Pell.

      The small amount of reading I’ve done on the matter indicates that it’s the adult stem cells that are proving successful, but that is nowhere near as sexy as embryonic stem cells for some scientists and their followers. It’s also not pushing the boundaries as much as some think we must.

      I’m all for adult stem cell research and the development of therapies.

      When it comes to embryonic, however, there is no middle ground for me.

      It’s not acceptable to me.

      We can talk about miscarriages and menstruation being only so much bodily fluids or unviable genetic material being washed away, but humans a more than animals and more than the sum of our cells.

      I happen to believe in the sanctity of human life, and if that means no creation of embryos for stem cells, so be it.

      Abortion is something for another thread, although I do sometimes think that retrospective abortion is a good idea. Again, for another time.

      And just to lift the mood a little, Congrats, Gibbo!

      Where’s 1.6 with her sparkles when you need them?

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2007 06 07 at 08:51 AM • permalink


    1. #91- It’s starting to get a whiff of Lavatory Rodeo ‘round h’yar.

      I suppose dissection and experimentation on cadavers is an abomination, as they were real live human beings as well; the genome porject is the work of beelzeebub, we don’t want to know what makes homo sapiens tick.

      I just had to attend the funeral of a good mates wife last week- 43 years old, with two children below 15.
      She fell to bits over 15 months with a malignant ovarian cancer that metatasised and destroyed her in a bit over a year- save your pious piffle for talking to the Big Hippy in the Sky, I’d sooner have to see less of this sort of shit if experimentation with otherwise discarded genetic material can mitigate these horrors.

      This is all a bit too precious for me, I’m off.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 09:02 AM • permalink


    1. Regardless of the objections, the research will continue.  Once the genie is out of the bottle, yada yada.  The Church is going to have to make itself crystal clear as to its stand on the differences between embryonic stem cell research and the other kind, and not just issue some kind of blanket condemnation.  Unfortunately, people who want to dismiss the Church’s objections can cite far too many examples of it standing in the way of actual scientific progress.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 06 07 at 09:09 AM • permalink


    1. #91 Pig Head Sucker:

      Ad hominem.  Habib is a very intelligent person, and he puts his arguments up front.  He doesn’t need to be called a tosser.

      Posted by Stevo on 2007 06 07 at 09:09 AM • permalink


    1. Incidentally, here is something that will make this entire argument moot.  Apologies if it was posted previously.

      h/t Instapundit

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 06 07 at 09:20 AM • permalink


    1. #93. I’m all for experimenting on cadavers. I’d personally love to become a crashtest cadaver, but I don’t think it’s allowed.

      A cadaver is the opposite end of the life cycle to an embryo, so as long as there’s a bit of respect for the dead, I’ve no problems.

      Condolences for your mate’s wife – cancer of any sort is a dog of a way to go.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2007 06 07 at 09:27 AM • permalink


    1. #83 Congratulations, Gibbo!

      Imperial Keeper

      Posted by Elizabeth Imperial Keeper on 2007 06 07 at 09:57 AM • permalink


    1. #76. And George Pell is a great guy.

      Bullshit, he’s a Richmond supporter and not to be taken seriously. Any Catholic who doesn’t support Collingwood is destined for hell; Pell’s hell.

      Posted by JAFA on 2007 06 07 at 02:10 PM • permalink


    1. Hmmmm.

      @ Habib

      All in all we’re a pretty fucked up species, but some of said species are worth saving.

      I find it hard to believe you’re still mixing up adult stem cell research with embryonic stem cell research so perhaps I’m reading your writing wrong.

      Look nobody objects to adult stem cell research.  So far there’s about 4,000 clinical treatments coming down the line based on adult stem cell research and adult stem cell research doesn’t depend on embryos whatsoever since the stem cells are harvested from the patient’s own body.  The objection comes from embryonic stem cell research which does depend on embryos.

      Now I realize that you don’t give a damn about embryos but many people, including myself, do.  It’s not just about embryos or the fact that they are genetically human.  It also goes back to the definition of what is it to be human.  Here in the USA this country started off with one definition of humanity that excluded blacks.  A definition that specifically excluded one group of people from the rights accorded to humans.

      Then in 1865 we got another definition where nobody was excluded from the definition of humanity and that lasted until the 1970’s when Roe v Wade came along and we ended up with yet another definition that once again excluded a group.

      Part of the problem is ethical. Another is moral.  But the large part of the problem is that in order to dispose of embryos and/or clone them at will you have to treat them as property.  Perhaps they cannot wear shackles or look good in a photo-op but treating them as property offends a lot of people because it once again changes the definition of humanity.

      And, if this matters, I have kidney failure myself.  I’ve already lost about 10 years off my lifetime and I’m on a transplant list.  But if I were offered a perfect treatment that would instantly cure me and all I had to do with sign off on the destruction of an embryo to do it, would I?

      No I wouldn’t.  Life is sweet.  But my life has no greater value than that of a child.  And I do consider embryos to be children who haven’t yet had their chance at life, but perhaps might.

      It’s a curious thing really.  All over the world adults risk their lives, and often enough die, rescuing the children of strangers.

      Posted by memomachine on 2007 06 07 at 02:16 PM • permalink


    1. Have to go with Habib, here (as I do with most topics, but usually come in too late to add my voice). I get the contrary point, but can’t bring myself to consider a discarded cluster of cells with human DNA as “human”. If you’re against this research, then you better be against IVF in general, as it creates redundant embryos – mass murder, for the sake of one life, according to that logic.

      Bailador, there’s one smart guy out there whose told all the doctors where they can stuff their prognoses!

      I don’t go for public funding, if that helps. Not for anything, really, but especially embryonic stem cell research – it’s been around for a while, with very poor results, and I’ve heard the private funds are drying up rapidly.

      Posted by Dminor on 2007 06 07 at 03:43 PM • permalink


    1. #81 Today’s atheists/agnostics are vulture moralists

      Congratulations Janice! You win the prize for the most pig-ignorant comment I’ve read on this blog by a non-troll. Your prize? You get to star in a fantastic new reality tv show, ‘Hitched’, in which for six months you get to be Christopher Hitchens’ wife.

      Posted by JonathanH on 2007 06 07 at 06:17 PM • permalink


    1. I’m waiting for some hyperbolic hystrionics to describe unused laboratory embryos being bunged in the biohazard incinerator as being akin to the gas ovens at Treblinka.

      Emotive claptrap and religious dogma of any colour have no place in an argument over scientific ethics- is a petri dish of human genetic material an independant human being, or not? If not, what is your point?

      I also understand the difference between embryonic and adult stemcells- one is being trumpeted over the other, and given the lions share of funding; guess which one’s showing the greatest potential? I reckon give both a go and see which one works. The new skincell splicing looks promising as well, but why chop one off because of a fantasy about zygoticide?

      Bottom line- millions of embryos are disposed of as being surplus to requirements for IVF- why bin them when they may prove to be of value?

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 06:53 PM • permalink


    1. Habib,
      I can appreciate that you are upset by the death of your friend’s wife. That indeed is a tragedy and you have our sincere condolences.

      You are angry (and from the anti-religious tone of your comments appear angry at God), I understand that too.

      Unfortunately, even if everyone was to agree that ebryonic stem cell research was great and wonderful and work started today, it still would not have saved the life of your friend.

      It’s not fair, but unfortunately life isn’t fair.

      I encourage you go through whatever grieving process you need to.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2007 06 07 at 08:05 PM • permalink


    1. Habib, I usually agree with you 100%, but your last comment from my experience isnt exactly true.

      At the IVF clinic I was at, only failed embryos were destroyed at patient request.  To be used for scientific purposes you had to sign a request. Implantable embryos were automatic stored if not imediately implantable. They did not do research on someones potential child.
      If those embryos were no longer required the clinic had to get consent to dispose of them.

      Yes it is a moral choice, but after spending all the money, time and emotions going through the process you dont want to see your potential kids experimented on.

      Posted by dino on 2007 06 07 at 08:14 PM • permalink


    1. #105- And you don’t have to, donation of material should (and is) entirely voluntary. Personally I’d have no problem with doing so- if you feel an ethical dilemma, don’t do it but the unused material will go up a chimney rahter than potentially helping someone- to me it’s rather akin to refusing to be an organ donor, a bit selfish but a personal choice.

      #106- I can’t be angry at a deity I don’t believe in; I am angry however at busybodies who insist on inflicting their own morals and often primitive beliefs on others who don’t share them. I realise the current standard of research would have made no difference in this case- I do however speculate on if this would have been the same if grandstanding politicians, encouraged by zealots hadn’t blocked substantial amounts of research to mollify a substantial voting bloc, and occasionally to pander to their own beliefs, neither of which is in the public interest.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 08:23 PM • permalink


    1. Habib #25: I suppose you find it really objectionable that Cardinal Von Galen of Munich interfered in politics in the 1930 when he publicly objected and issued Pastoral Letters condemning the democratically elected German Nazi Government policy of euthanazing by carbon dioxide poisoning of the disabled and the mentally defective who were considered a drain on the health budget as well as an affront to the myth of the German Master race.

      Or is it a case that if you agree with me by all means “interfere” but if you don’t ‘shut up” and keep your opinions private.

      Democratic participation for some but not for others. Incidentally did you hear of the soccer player that was banned from playing soccer because he insisted on using his hands to play the game and when he was told he would be banned if he continued to do so told the referee and FIFA to shove it and to stop interfering with his freedom of choice and that he was still going to keep playing soccer using his hands.?


      Posted by LaVallette on 2007 06 07 at 08:32 PM • permalink


    1. I have yet to see any evidence to support the case that embryonic stemcell research is “extreme”; I note also that the murder of the disabled by nazis has been used as an example, pretty close to the predicted Treblinka anology- well done!

      (Kind of ignores the fact that the research being hindered may have actually been of some benefit to the people gassed by the Hun, but never let reason get in the way of a hyperbolic burst of self-rightousness).

      I’m increasingly starting to see why the likes of Tim Floppery and the Goracle attract such a following who are outraged that anyone would dare question the veracity of their beliefs- they advocate measures which will be harmful to living, breathing human beings, with little evidence of any actual benefit, but this is of little consequence when you believe you are right.

      As a result I expect any criticism of the likes of this pair to be limited, as it seems to be quite OK to enforce a view that holds negative outcomes for others, as long as the proponents of those views are acting in line with their own ethical and moral standards, and in accordance with their beliefs.

      Mass Hysteria and Atavism 1, Personal Liberty 0.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 09:01 PM • permalink


    1. #107- BTW, the NSDAP was never democratically elected into government- another popular myth. They were a minority that used the flawed system in the Reichstag to get Hitler appointed chancellor, then used the power of the Chancellor to dissolve parliament, abolishing all other parties; at best they polled about 34% of the vote, less than JWH at his lowest polling (and at which level would be a disastrous loss to the coalition).

      Catholics and anyone else are welcome to express whatever views on whatever subject they like- when a senior member of the clergy tries to leverage an outcome based on threats to MPs it is not acceptable; if Catholic dogma is so strict on this issue perhaps MPs who don’t agree should review their choice of faith. Any religion* which doesn’t allow free thought and different opinion is pretty fucked up in my view anyway.

      *More than a whiff of the rigidity of the ROP seems to be evident here.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 09:11 PM • permalink


    1. So, what do you guys think of that whole Terry Schiavo kerfuffle?

      Posted by Dave S. on 2007 06 07 at 09:12 PM • permalink


    1. 108. I’m increasingly starting to see why the likes of Tim Floppery and the Goracle attract such a following who are outraged that anyone would dare question the veracity of their beliefs…

      Well, yes, you’re giving us a very good example of someone who is outraged because people are questioning the veracity of your beliefs.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2007 06 07 at 09:28 PM • permalink


    1. I’m not trying to force mine on the general population- even social conservatives like Howard have seen which way the winds blowing, and have acted accordingly.

      Access to any benefits of theraputic cloning are purely voluntary- if you think it evil, don’t use it; I don’t see how you have the right to prevent others who don’t share your views from accessing resultant therapies.

      I’m not trying to force anyone to do anything.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 09:31 PM • permalink


    1. #110

      Dave, I think Terry Schiavo was killed by her lying, philandering husband who botched the job when he tried to kill her the first time.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2007 06 07 at 09:37 PM • permalink


    1. #113- I agree. The poor bugger was cactus though, I wouldn’t want to live like that and have a living will that says so; not many of my bits will be of much use though, except perhaps as petfood, crab bait or for research into the amount of punishment organs can sustain through exposure to poisonous substances, and still function.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 09:42 PM • permalink


    1. 114 I agree Habib.

      You’re much better organised than I am. Nicky and I need to get our act together regarding wills, living wills etc.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2007 06 07 at 09:55 PM • permalink


    1. You really have to now- even my 75 yr old mum has raised one and lodged it with the registry as well, even has do not resuscitate provisions. It’s ludicrous that family members can over-ride such clearly stated instructions. If any member of my clan tried to the rest would quite rightly slap some sense into them.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 07 at 10:19 PM • permalink


    1. My mother and I encouraged my 83-y-o grandmother to do the same just so there was no ambiguity. She’s made her wishes perfect clear regarding DNR and we completely respect her wishes in that regard.

      Speaking of family members overturning people’s wishes, are you aware that a family member can overide an individual’s consent to organ donation?

      The subject came up at a family gathering (we tend to talk about life, the universe and everything). We all agreed that when the time came, doctors were welcome to take anything useful.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2007 06 07 at 10:32 PM • permalink


    1. There’s already been occasions- the endorsement on your licence means nothing.

      Some people just losetheir shit at times like this, especially ones who’ve had fuck-all to do with the poor sod who’s cashing their chips. My mate the quack calls it the “Daughter From California Syndrome”.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 08 at 12:01 AM • permalink


    1. Habib #109:

      The NSDAP got into government legally through the democratic processes then available in the Weimar Republic, very much like we have coalition governments in Australia. At no stage did I say they had a majority vote in their own right. Still this is a red herring.

      However you say : If Catholic dogma is so strict on this issue perhaps MPs who don’t agree should review their choice of faith. Ahemmmmmmmmmmmmm; this is exactly the point. The problem is not Pell but those so called Catholics who insist they are catholics in good standing but do not want to follow the teachings of the Catholic faith. You cannot play soccer using Rugby League rules. As for the ROP there is nothing in Catholics which says if you apostate your life is forfeit.
      I think raising the ROP as a point of comparison indicates you are getting desparate.

      Posted by LaVallette on 2007 06 08 at 02:29 AM • permalink


    1. Not desperate, it’s a matter of semantics; with one you’re apostate, another you’re excommunicated. It’s only in the last couple of centuries that the latter hasn’t basically been a death sentence. The ROP is a few centuries behind, but the dominance and total opposition to dissent is still present in Catholicism- the Protestant churches are basically socialist social clubs these days.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 08 at 06:03 AM • permalink


    1. #119 May I suggest that you consult “The Coming of the Third Reich” by Richard Evans.  The Nazis did not come to power by purely democratic means.

      Habib, I have a great deal of respect for your views but here you are letting your obvious hatred for organised religion to blind you to an important distinction betweeen the types of stem cell research being proposed.  As I understand it, despite the hype, it is adult stem cell research which is yielding the real results.  The opponents of cloning and embryonic stem cell research do not as a rule oppose stem cell research per se.

      Posted by Just Another Bloody Lawyer on 2007 06 08 at 06:23 AM • permalink


    1. I don’t have a hatred for organised religion, I just don’t see the point to it, but to each their own.

      Theraputic cloning and embryonic stemcell research may well be a bling alley, but it deserves to be explored like any other valid research- dogma based on ancient beliefs and texts found to be mostly twaddle should not be used as a blocking agent.

      We’re supposed to be a secular society.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 08 at 06:58 AM • permalink


    1. Here you go, Habib, have a beer. You’ve been taking it from all sides, all day, and giving it back in spades. Never knew the details of the Nazi’s rise to power before, but wow, the knowledge has really helped define my ideas on stem cell research.

      Posted by Dminor on 2007 06 08 at 07:24 AM • permalink


    1. Already had several, it’s too fucking cold to go out tonight in the sub-tropics. I blame global stemcell change.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 08 at 07:41 AM • permalink


    1. I noticed from very early on when reading this blog that Habib is a hard man to put down. We will all have views on this matter, and that is understandable. I support George Pell in putting his, and I appreciate where Habib is coming from too.
      Australia is not an exclusively secular society, nor are we hide-bound by the religions.
      We are not so much racist as ratbagist. We take onboard that which is worthy from other cultures, but expect them to take freely and wisely in turn.
      When it comes to the kernel of life we might get a bit heated, and tempers may fray. But we have all much more to gain from continuing the conversation than from slamming the door.
      Genetic research has opened secret passages to amazing remedies, but at the same time tempts behaviour which might be, or at least be seen as, assuming god-like prerogatives.
      Was the Garden of Eden a mythical concept, or was it, allegorically, where we all lived until we came to the realisation of our manifest imperfections? Can we ever go back there? Or is it now an unattainable nirvana, part heaven, part heathen and savage; actually red in tooth and claw.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2007 06 08 at 08:21 AM • permalink


    1. Habib:

      A bit cold and rainy here in Sydney.  If people make their own mind up about the research, rather than be told how to think, that would be good.  I’m not told how to think by anyone.  Yes, I sometimes think, and my boss says I’m not too dumb.  I’ll leave it at that.

      Apart from think for yourself.


      Posted by Stevo on 2007 06 08 at 08:30 AM • permalink


    1. Habib,
      “Independent human being”? I call straw man – it’s quite obviously not independent. But neither is a new born baby, nor an adult in an iron lung.

      All persons but.

      Posted by fidens on 2007 06 08 at 08:31 AM • permalink


    1. Look- if you want to get down to it, all potential humans are humans.

      On that basis most sheets on a saturday morning should be enfranchised.

      A bit of reality please. BTW, I feel a bit pleased with myself in that I found a home for a pup that was on its way to the pound, all on line. A sentinent being? Debatable. A critter capable of feeling? Definately.

      I prefer to deal in reality rather than supposition.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 08 at 08:38 AM • permalink


    1. There’s actually little evidence that fetal stem cells offer any real value over other forms of adult stem cell.

      Most of what clouds this issue is the hard left blending the stem cell/fetal stem cell lines in order to further support the idea of nationally sanctioned abortion.

      There’s all sorts places to acquire stem cells that don’t require an abortion or destroyed embryo. But that’s often hard to hear through all the reentrant levitations surrounding the issue.

      I’m a Christian and have no particular issue with stem cell research but I am also unable to see how embryonic stem cell usage would be anything other than another form of cannibalism.

      Posted by Grimmy on 2007 06 08 at 07:26 PM • permalink


    1. freep posting on adult stem cell research Unfortunately, that links to an expired Yahoo source so take it for what it’s worth.

      Null Is a link to a search page on freep for “stem cell” that links to a variety of sources.

      There is a lot of noise and disinformation surrounding this issue as well as agendas that have nothing to do with the actual research and everything to do with what the research can be morphed into justifying.

      Posted by Grimmy on 2007 06 08 at 07:34 PM • permalink


    1. oops. The second link just goes to the search page not the listing from that search, sorry…should have checked in link in preview.

      Posted by Grimmy on 2007 06 08 at 07:48 PM • permalink


    1. Habib:
      #109: You said “if Catholic dogma is so strict on this issue perhaps MPs who don’t agree should review their choice of faith.”

      #119: I said “Ahemmmmmmmmmmmmm; this is exactly the point. The problem is not Pell but those so called Catholics who insist they are catholics in good standing but do not want to follow the teachings of the Catholic faith.”

      You have not addressed this point yet.

      #109: You said “More than a whiff of the rigidity of the ROP seems to be evident here.”

      #119: I said “As for the ROP there is nothing in Catholics (sic) which says if you apostate your life is forfeit.
      I think raising the ROP as a point of comparison indicates you are getting desparate.”

      #120: You said “It’s only in the last couple of centuries that the latter hasn’t basically been a death sentence. The ROP is a few centuries behind, ……..

      So, if years ago we lived under a feudal system, and there are some societies that are still feudal today (most ROP states by the way) the fact that we are now a democracy does no make us any better than those states.

      #120: you added “(The ROP is a few centuries behind,) but the dominance and total opposition to dissent is still present in Catholicism- the Protestant churches are basically socialist social clubs these days.

      Yes, in essentials there is no room for dissent. If you are incapable of holding on to your principles then you are not worth your existence as an organization. You yourself have pointed to the Protestant Churches who have become shells of their own former selves because of the constant compromising of their principles for the sake of “modernity” and fitting into the prevailing popular fads.  Do you allow for dissent from fundamental Human rights; e.g the UN Declaration on Human Rights? Do you allow any nation to ethnic cleanse for what they claim is the ultimate good of peace and harmony in the region and avoidance of conflict and the atrocities that may otherwise ensue.?

      As far as belonging to any organization that holds fast to its principles and allows no dissent:

      I repeat, if you belong to it and don’t like it, leave it. Don’t be a hypocrite and still claim to be a member in good standing and claim all its privileges. Don’t bleat deprivation and blame its leaders if you are threatened with deprivation of these rights. It is your call.

      On the other hand if you are not a member don’t join it.

      However so long as that organisation comprised of its members is functioning in a democratic society it has every right like any other organisation and its members to take a legitimate part in arguing its principles in the public arena and to call on its members to support in the public area the principles that membership in that organisation purportedly adheres to and supports. Deprivation of and attempts to deligitimize this right is a denial of Human Rights. The Catholic Church has never been nor will it ever become just a Sunday morning social club interested only in religious embroidery. Besides it plays too strong a part on the moral and social fabric of this society through its educational, health (including AIDS care), charitable and employment endeavours for it to be ignored. It is the biggest private contributor in all these fields.

      Habib. I know you are fighting on all sides, however you do not win by avoiding the issues raised and constantly jumping to another argument without addressing important points that are raised or glibly dismiss them.

      You do not do your well known intelligence justice by such statements as “On that basis most sheets on a saturday morning should be enfranchised.” A piece of iron ore in the Pilbara does not a car make!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By itself it was it is and it will remain a piece of iron ore. Lots of manufacturing in between is required before it becomes a potential car.

      Posted by LaVallette on 2007 06 08 at 07:53 PM • permalink


    1. Habbib:

      The main point I think you might be missing is that there is no more pointing to the supremacy of embryonic stem cells as the only or even best or even better option than there is justifying the current hysteria over global warming.

      The same agenda drivers, the same propaganda style of constant repetition of a lie designed to play on emotions.

      There is no research backing the myth that embryonic stem cells are any better than adult stem cells harvested from bone marrow, or stem cells harvested from placenta or umbilical cords.

      There is a need to drive justification for abortions and full removal of any constraints on human cloning and that’s where embryonic stem cells serve their purpose.

      Posted by Grimmy on 2007 06 08 at 08:13 PM • permalink


    1. Hmmmm.

      @ Habib

      Look- if you want to get down to it, all potential humans are humans.  On that basis most sheets on a saturday morning should be enfranchised.

      Nonsense.  A “stain” on the sheets isn’t a fertilized egg that’s already begun dividing.  Even the technology you advocate, SCNT, results in a viable fully dividing egg that will, with luck, result in a human being.

      So let me ask you this Habib.  You want SCNT technology to cure members of your family.  How far are you willing to go?  At what point is that viable and dividing egg a human being and at what point is it simply a stack of spare parts?

      Assume that individual organs cannot be produced and that an entire body has to be created because it’ll take another 50+ years to discover how to isolate specific organs for “production”.

      Just how far does your sense of ethics go?  Where is the line in your morals?

      You seem to hate religion, that’s fine.  I think you’re completely wrong, that’s your choice.  But one thing religions often do is give guidance on where the lines are that shouldn’t be crossed.

      Where is your line?

      Posted by memomachine on 2007 06 08 at 11:54 PM • permalink


    1. Hmmmm.

      @ Habib

      #107- BTW, the NSDAP was never democratically elected into government- another popular myth. They were a minority that used the flawed system in the Reichstag to get Hitler appointed chancellor…

      Nonsense.  There wasn’t any “flawed system”.

      Hindenburg appointed Hitler.  And then Hitler rammed through the laws necessary for him to takeover completely.

      Hugo Chavez is echoing Hitler pretty well as an example.

      Posted by memomachine on 2007 06 09 at 12:00 AM • permalink


    1. Last thoughts on all this:

      I think part of the problem people have in conceptualising an embryo as a human being (or a person) lies in our shared post-industrial mindset.

      LaVallette’s comment recalled to mind a good illustration of this: in a car manufacturing plant, cars are assembled piece by piece on a production line. An unpainted, galvanised chassis is quite obviously not a car. Add an engine; still not a car. Panels and wheels; now more like a car, but definitely incomplete. Wiring, paintwork etc… now it’s a car (unless it’s a Miata).

      Attempts to apply this logic to human development appear strained. Do we judge whether someone (thing?) is a person by his (its?) utility? By her capacity? By his independence? Catholics, and indeed not a few atheists, state that humanity begins at conception.

      I think intuitively most people accept this, which is why when a woman miscarries you won’t hear many atheists saying “never mind, it was just a clump of cells.”

      Posted by fidens on 2007 06 09 at 12:08 AM • permalink


    1. I mightn’t say it, but I would definately think it.

      Frankly I’ve never been able to understand the fuss about abortion; it might be a nasty, intrusive procedure (RU486 seems to be a way around that) but who can possibly justify the forced gestation and birth of an unwanted child?

      Fact is, peole fuck, and not necessarily with someone they want to procreate with.

      Comparing personal lifestyle choices (and I include donation of genetic material in this) with eugenics and the criminally demnted excesses of the nazis is creating a strawman of Al Gore dimensions.

      Another point- if people with known gentic flaws continue to breed and cause their flawed genes to be oncarried, how can you oppose reseach that can repair these problems? Frankly I find the opposition to this research to be more in line with AGW proponents than the other way- both are driven more by ideology than science.

      Perhaps the main reason why embryonic stemcell and theraputic cloning haven’t shown positive results so far is because they have been blocked at every stage by governments keen to appease zealots.

      I’m happy to argue with anyone, and appreciate contrary views- my main point is that I oppose government interference in peoples lives, particularly in matters which cause no harm or hinderance to others. Mind your own business is a wonderful principle in many cases.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 09 at 12:32 AM • permalink


    1. #102, You win the prize for the most pig-ignorant comment I’ve read on this blog by a non-troll.

      Why, thank you, JonathanH.  I try.  But you haven’t said why it was so pig-ignorant.

      Posted by Janice on 2007 06 09 at 03:26 AM • permalink


    1. It boils down to this: a human embryo is a human life. Think about this for just a second, without getting het up about ethics or morality. It’s life, and it’s our species. Scientifically verifiable.

      Arguments over whether that life has special moral significance (is a “person”) are not scientific, but neither are they at any stage of development.

      “Mind your own business” obviously stops working if you mess with another “person”, and the fact that “persons” get messed with all the time makes no difference. People die all the time- that makes no difference to whether they are people or whether killing them is wrong.

      Where Habib differs from me is in defining when and where a human cell cluster gets rights. I happen to take the materialistic view that we’re all just cell clusters, and the idealistic view that we should have rights. His argument that we should all “mind our own business” assumes that “person” status gets assigned… sometime… well, sometime, but only (by definition) to a subset of our species (those that pass a developmental stage that he feels sympathetic to?)…. otherwise he’d let the embryo mind its own business too, right?

      Posted by wreckage on 2007 06 09 at 03:59 AM • permalink


    1. There are stem cells all over the freakin’ place and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what we can do without buggering viable embryos. Since at this stage the embryos actually have to be braked (too much potential) what exactly is the harm in working with adult stem cells?

      C’mon, clue me in. What have we actually proved we CAN’T do without killing a viable embryo? Why is the issue important? Why bother, at this stage, with embryos at all? Why, because those damn Catholics (and more than a few Protestants… and Buddhists in point of fact) really don’t want us to. We’ll show them who’s running this show!

      Posted by wreckage on 2007 06 09 at 04:06 AM • permalink


    1. H, last one I promise.

      “…I oppose government interference in peoples lives, particularly in matters which cause no harm or hinderance to others. Mind your own business is a wonderful principle in many cases.” Concur absolutely – we happen to disagree on what constitutes “others” i.e. other people.

      Since the 60s the lodestar of woman’s liberty has become her purported “right” to kill her offspring. The only way to justify this is to consider her offspring as her property (hers alone, not the father’s), to be disposed of as she deems fit. Bizarrely, at some points during the pregnancy, the baby magically goes from being the mother’s property to being her responsibility. So: abortion OK; smoking while pregnant, evil.

      The debate around embryonic cloning is simply the next logical step – the fate of human life is now being determined by the state and will become the property of a lab.

      Human life is never property.

      Posted by fidens on 2007 06 09 at 06:49 AM • permalink


    1. There is the tiny matter of 9 months baking, then about 18 years of parenting to result in a viable human.

      I’m a big fan of life- I spend a fair bit of time and money in helping out other life forms; I think there’s more important issues than arguing semantics about when life starts. If you’re an ameoba, a single cell will do the trick- we more complicated critters need a fair bit more than that.

      A laboratory embryo is a collection of cells that can (with a great deal of luck) become a human if it is subjected to a very rigorous series of events; on its own, it is unviable.

      I know I’m wasting my time, but try to add a dash of pragmatic reality to ideology.

      When an embryo wins the Indy 500 or comes up with a viable quantum physics theory I’ll regard it as a human being.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 09 at 08:36 AM • permalink


    1. And there we end up with the precise opposite of Habib’s ideal. Instead of the gummint keeping their noses out, they own us.

      Posted by wreckage on 2007 06 09 at 08:38 AM • permalink


    1. hab; you’ve never won the Indy 500 or come up with any new quantum physics theories.

      Posted by wreckage on 2007 06 09 at 08:43 AM • permalink


    1. Why would social status endow something with rights? Bundle of cells, it’s all any of us are.

      Posted by wreckage on 2007 06 09 at 08:45 AM • permalink


    1. But some of us can go to the shop for a six-pack and twenty Bensons.

      There’s never going to be consensus on when life starts. My view it’s at viable birth.

      Let’s face it, humans produce great wads of material, all containing DNA and in the right circumstances capable of cellular growth- the latest breakthrough using skin cells shows this; we get a new hide nearly once a month– the resulting detritus is what clogs the laser reader in your DVD recorder. Is this human life?

      Just because certain tissue is reproductive in nature doesn’t accord it any special status, or possession of the elusive “soul*”.

      *Not entirely sure this is a phenomena I’d be

      keen on having personally.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 09 at 09:33 AM • permalink


    1. Hmmmm.

      @ Habib

      Perhaps the main reason why embryonic stemcell and theraputic cloning haven’t shown positive results so far is because they have been blocked at every stage by governments keen to appease zealots.

      1. You accuse people with firm religious or ethical beliefs as “zealots”.  Here’s a clue for you: you’re quite the zealot yourself as shown in your writings.  You’re unwilling to accept anyone else’s point of view.  You’re unwilling to allow anyone else to have a differing point of view.  And you’re rather quick to make accusations and denigrations of those that differ from you.

      You are quite the zealot.  Perhaps not a religious one.  But many zealots through history didn’t need religion to be one.

      2. The absolute nonsense I quoted from you (above) shows either a willful ignorance or just and abject willingness to use baseless strawmen in furtherance of your argument.  There are many countries in the world today that have NO restrictions whatsoever on genetic research.  South Korea is one example.  The UK and other countries in Europe I believe are another.  Neither China nor Japan have any restrictions, and with China that’s a certainty.

      And yet in all these countries with all of the fabulous potential for profits resulting from clinical treatments for disease through ESC research nobody, NOT ONE SINGLE RESEARCHER, has come up with a viable technique for using embryonic stem cells in ANY treatment whatsoever.

      The fact is that embryonic stem cells when used in medical research results in malignant tumors about 1/3rd of the time.  And I have yet to hear differently.

      Call it a sign from God.  Call it a fact of nature.  Call is a son-of-a-bitch.  None of that will change that fact.

      The fact is that there are around 4,000 treatments being researched, developed or **going through the approval process** right now using adult stem cells.  Not embryonic stem cells.

      You know what I find curious.  That the direction of your arguments doesn’t really have a frigging thing to do with cures or treatments at all.  It has nothing to do with any of those and they are in fact nothing but a cover for you.  The entire point and thrust of your arguments is the industrialized use of embryos and nothing more.

      If the direction of your argument were entirely about treatments, then why have you been so dismissive of adult stem cell therapies?

      Frankly something stinks here and it isn’t the kimchee in my refrigerator.

      Posted by memomachine on 2007 06 09 at 01:07 PM • permalink


    1. Hmmm.

      @ Habib

      Let me reiterate for you something quite plain.  The Japanese are becoming a society of wealthy elderly.  A combination that offers both wealth and an enormous pool of potential customers to ANYONE who can offer viable treatments for diseases and ailments common to the elderly or even treatments that offer to reverse the flow of aging OR that would allow aging Japanese that have become infertile to have children again even if they are clones.

      The Japanese have little or no ethical objections to embryonic stem cell research whatsoever.  There’s no lacking of funding or money considering the vast wealth in that country and there are no government impediments to research.

      So here’s a question for you:

      Why haven’t they come up with anything useful with regards to embryonic stem cells?

      Frankly I think you’re dancing on the knife edge here.

      Posted by memomachine on 2007 06 09 at 01:13 PM • permalink


    1. Hmmmm.

      @ Habib

      Let’s face it, humans produce great wads of material, all containing DNA and in the right circumstances capable of cellular growth- the latest breakthrough using skin cells shows this; we get a new hide nearly once a month- the resulting detritus is what clogs the laser reader in your DVD recorder. Is this human life?

      Rhetorical nonsense.

      A skin cell is not a human being.  It’s rather ridiculous that I have to bother pointing this out.  A single discarded **dead** cell of a complex multicellular organism is not a human being.

      A viable dividing human egg, even though it is a single cell, IS a human being because that human being has no other cells and if that cell dies, the human dies.

      Thus the simple difference between single cell and multiple cell life.

      Posted by memomachine on 2007 06 09 at 01:17 PM • permalink


    1. Bollocks.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 09 at 10:00 PM • permalink


    1. Habib: a skincell is not omnipotentate. I think I’ve got the right word for it- an embryo before the 8-cell stage can develop into an entire adult human. After the 8-cell stage the cells can develop into any given human system but not an entire adult human. So, a single embryonic cell after the 8-cell stage could not be considered a human.

      A skin cell does not at all have the potential to develop into anything other than a skin cell so there’s quite simply no ethical question. Was that your point?

      Are you assuming my argument is based on the idea that there’s some amorphous blob in your head somewhere pulling the levers? The existence of a soul is irrelevant to my argument and to be perfectly frank I don’t believe in a “soul” as some supernatural extra component that gets magically injected into a human body at some point. We either assign special consideration or value to humans or we go down the road of valuing only certain humans… like, only men, only believers, only adults, only those 3+ years old, only those in the third trimester…

      You can do better. My argument has weak points. Skin cells aren’t one of them; I can win that on straight science, as follows:

      “Is a skin cell an embryo?”
      “No, no it’s not.”
      “Huzzah! I win!”


      Posted by wreckage on 2007 06 10 at 03:15 AM • permalink


    1. Hmmmm.

      @ Habib


      And you sir are full of crap.

      You whine and pout and all the while accuse everyone else of being a “zealot”.  And yet when you’re taken to task and required to give a response that doesn’t consist of denigrations all you can offer is “Bollocks.”.

      Frankly I thought you were full of crap before this.  I think you’re full of crap now.  And I doubt this view of you will change in the future.

      As always, frolic.

      Posted by memomachine on 2007 06 10 at 10:41 PM • permalink


    1. Hmmm.

      @ wreckage

      Even more importantly Habib’s example is that of a skin cell removed from the body, i.e. a *dead* skin cell.  Even if that skin cell were somehow capable of independently growing into a new human being a dead skin cell is vastly more unlikely to do so.

      Posted by memomachine on 2007 06 10 at 10:42 PM • permalink


    1. Point is a skincell can’t. Habib’s argument was along the lines of “oranges don’t grow on orange trees because it is quite obvious that orange trees don’t grow apples”.

      Posted by wreckage on 2007 06 11 at 05:06 AM • permalink


    1. Can’t seem to recall too much whining, pouting or even mincing on my part.

      I’m not a zealot- zealots want to enforce their views on others, as you do.

      I’m not a geneticist or a scientist of any kind, so I have no idea really (like yourself) as to what is likely to yield results and what isn’t; I don’t however allow personal prejudices or beliefs to cloud my opinions, or use them to interfere with a procedure which has passed muster in the often daffy playpen of the legislature.

      If theraputic cloning isn’t recieving public funding and the gene squad don’t bust down your door to swipe your genetic material, please explain to me in rational terms why the fuck it’s your business?

      If not, I suggest you shut the fuck up, and whether or not you think I’m full of shit is of about as much import to me as the consequences of rampant human-caused climate change- I have air conditioning.

      Maybe you’d have more fun playing over here, where your views are no doubt shared.

      Now please go fuck yourself, you intolerant ideologue.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 06 11 at 08:10 PM • permalink


    1. You first Habib!

      How is telling someone they’re not allowed to participate in the political process tolerant?

      Posted by wreckage on 2007 06 11 at 10:43 PM • permalink


    1. 1. No, no mincing.
      2. You’d enforce your views on FGM quite happily, and so would I.
      3. I’m not a geneticist but I have bothered to do a smidgin of reading on this subject, and know the difference between an ova and an embryo.
      4. ‘Cause it’s a democracy, and everyone gets to try to make things work the way they want them to. Besides, I’m not a collectivist. If society disagrees with me, screw society.
      5. Just explained. But you’re right, ad hominem attacks are pointless.
      6. No way! I like it here!
      7. See post 156, and your point #5.

      Posted by wreckage on 2007 06 11 at 10:57 PM • permalink


    1. Memomachine: ad hominem attacks are classless.

      Posted by wreckage on 2007 06 11 at 10:59 PM • permalink


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