“It is ridiculous for people who have already decided that it is moral to kill babies in the Middle East to show some squeamishness about destroying human embryos in a petri dish. Hell, man, once you decide to become a child-killer, their ages no longer matter. Or the numbers. Damnation of your soul is completed with the first one."”
“Ammurica we cannot continue this robotic research.”
When a sperm fertilizes an egg the resulting cell begins to divide. The embryonic cells in this ball of proto-organism are stem cells which can later differentiate into any of the body's tissue types. They even produce the solid bone which fills the skulls of American Christian fundamentalists.
For centuries mankind has known that some animals, like the lowly newt, can lose arms and legs and then grow them back. Humans have long wished to do the same:
- Marie Antoinette lamented "Bubble gurgle burbble" when her head did not grow back after she was guillotined.
- Johnny "Longjohns" Silver said "Yarr, Jim boy! If only I was a newt I'd not have ta make do with no wooden leg. Yarr!"
- Confucius say "What is meaning of one hand clapping? Means man got hand chop-off! Newt with hand chop-off grow new one, but man just makes one-hand-clapping, even at Jimmy Buffet concert."
Indeed, early stem cell researchers implanted cells from newts and salamanders at the site of human amputations. Little known in the West are the Soviet-era successes in this field. For instance, Chechen terrorists blew up Vladimir Putin's head in 1983 and Soviet scientists cloned a salamander head in its place. Just look at his lips and his eyes: definite salamander.
But most people do not want salamander hands, feet, or tails. They want to grow human limbs.
Diabetics want human pancreatic cells so they don't have to inject themselves with depleted uranium anymore. Alzheimer's patients want their diapers changed, but other people want the nutty old droolers healed so they don't shit in their pants anymore. Cancer patients want healthy cells that can attack and crowd out the cancer cells. Michael Jackson wants some balls.
Human stem cells might help achieve some of those dreams. but a bunch of
fucking mal-informed whinners validly opinionated protesters may get in the way
They also might be able to create musical talent in Snoop Dogg but don't hold your breath.
Scientists investigating embryonic stem cells want to find out how to coax them to grow into different kinds of body tissue. Although some people find it baffling, to do this research the scientists need actual stem cells. They can't do it with empty petri dishes and thin air. However, certain people don't want anybody messing with human pre-embryos. They would rather let grown-up people die than allow such a travesty.
Hence the next section.
Christian conservatives in the US of A believe that human embryos should end up rotting in trash cans and not go to medical research facilities.
Hundreds of thousands of human pre-embryos have been flushed down sinks, incinerated, or tossed in waste bins in the USA. This does not bother Christian conservatives, because it is done in fertility clinics. These clinics make money helping people whom God has cursed with infertility produce perhaps several dozen fertilized embryos, only one or two of which will be allowed to grow into a human being. The rest end up dead.
Thus Christian conservatives in the American clown society known as Congress reject stem cell research, preferring a garbage can as the fate for the hundreds of thousands of embryos. Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, made the case for outlawing stem cell research: "It is immoral to destroy the youngest of human lives," he said, "unless it is done systematically, by the thousands, in a fertility clinic and the results are flushed down the toilet. THEN it is A-OK. By God, in that case it is morally WAY COOL to kill 'em!"
Jim Bunning, a Kentuckistan Communist, said "Who knows how many human embryos we will have to destroy before any tangible progress is made? After all, we already destroy tens of thousands of human embryos every year, so God forbid we should use any of these wasted embryos for anything that might save other lives."
Neither man spoke in favor of banning fertility clinics, however.
This Godly Christian logic -- kill embryos in profitable clinics but denounce using the waste for anything else -- is of course one of the hallmarks of these kooky lovable Christian Republican funsters.
Former President Bush, a Republican from Texas, praised the Christian conservative stand. "These here ferdilidy clinics, uh, kill off more fetuses than I got brain cells," he joked. "But there ain't nothing wrong with that! It's when them dern scientists get ahold of 'em that the bad stuff starts." The former Prez then winked at reporters and continued, "I'll let you in on a little secret -- them fetuses make a mighty tasty addition to Texas chili! They taste just like chicken, only more tenderer."
Two minutes later Tony Snow went before the TV cameras to deny that former President Bush eats human fetuses. He said the Prez meant to say veal cutlets. A reporter then asked if that means the former President believes veal cutlets come from fertility clinics. Mr. Snow responded "Oh, shut up."
While it was a particularly stupid rejoinder, we have to admit that Tony Snow does not have an easy job.
Stem cell scientists really enjoy causing controversy. After the embryo thing cooled down, a team of French scientists at Le Paris Univércitaire de Controvércy et le Croissant mixed humans and cows together just to piss everyone off. When asked about this Dr. Couche Avec Moi, director of the experiment commented "Je surrender!" Plans are now underway to inject human DNA into sheep. However this deliberate controversy has caused controversy amongst the Stem Cell Research Board (SCRB) as some believe that the idea will have little impact in places such as Wales where injecting human DNA into sheep is already a common practice. The SCRB is now considering hacking the heads of baby puppies and getting fags with AIDs to piss in pregnant women's eyes for the purposes of *ahem* stem cell research. "I think that the controversy caused by this," said Dr. Whooe, a fartologist from Stratfordshire-upon-Topsmart, England, "Would really piss everyone off. Perhaps there would even be riots! That would be super cool!"
The World Beyond the USA
Most of the civilized world allows scientists to pursue stem cell research using unwanted human embryos. Many people in the rest of the world are not illogical, self-righteous morons.
In conservative Muslim Egypt one fertility clinic director put the matter succintly: "Instead of leaving [the embryos] to perish, why not use them for research for the benefit of human beings?" This position is simple common sense.
The Vatican, meanwhile, repudiates any procedure in which human zygotes, embryos, or fetuses are harmed: fertility clinics, in the Catholic view, are morally reprehensible for killing unwanted zygotes. This position is at least logically consistent.
Great Britain, Sweden, Iran, Australia, Japan, Brazil, India, and the former Russian republics all allow greater latitude in stem cell research than President Bush allows in the USA. As is increasingly the case, the rest of the world leads and the USA falls behind.
72% of the general public in the USA supports stem cell research. However, the 28% which oppose it includes George Bush, who has made it his Presidential mission to turn his office into an Ayatollah-like despotism. In matters like the stem cell controversy Bush can and does impose undemocratic, unconstitutional, and frankly idiotic measures whenever he chooses. Until the American citizenry throws off the chains of Bush's tyrannical monarchy the erstwhile most powerful nation on Earth will continue to decline into cretinism, hyprocrisy, and barbarism. Also... Cocks.
In the future Americans will no doubt go to Swedish and Japanese clinics (or just move there) for stem cell-derived treatments, as the USA will have become a technological and cultural backwater dominated by religious nutcakes. Sic transit gloria mundi, eh? lol
whaaz, a science wiki site, have updates on stem cell biology and other related topics.