Talk:Stem cell research

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EL, Please discuss before enforcing your rather limited point of view. You're not the only one on this wiki. Bob Soles (talk) 02:29, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Do you want to say that what Bill Clinton said makes sense in some way? Of course it doesn't. What is a "fertilized embryo"? How can an embryo "be fertilized"? What nonsense is it? Furthermore, simply pointing out that most encyclopedias regard embryo as a human individual is merely "my limited point of view", while the previous article gave a really objective and truhful overview of the controversy, right? --Earthland (talk) 08:40, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it did. It very briefly gave the two sides of the argument with a clear pointer that this is not supposed to be an authoritative resource. What it didn't do was cherry pick quotations and citations to give only one side of the controversy which is what trying to do to push your pro life agenda. As for the Bill Clinton quote - it's an appalling piece of quote mining - picking one bit out of a much larger whole. Whilst it is true that he is confused between a fertilised embryo and a viable embryo the gist of what he is saying is clear and it's nothign like as laughable as you make out. Bob Soles (talk)
For any that are interested the un quote mined version goes...
I don't know that I have any reservations, but I was -- he has apparently decided to leave to the relevant professional committees the definition of which frozen embryos are basically going to be discarded, because they're not going to be fertilized. I believe the American people believe it's a pro-life decision to use an embryo that's frozen and never going to be fertilized for embryonic stem cell research, especially since now, not withstanding some promising developments, most of the scientists in this field and the doctors will tell you they don't know of any other source as good as embryonic stem cells for all the various things that need to be researched.

But those committees need to be really careful to make sure if they don't want a big storm to be stirred up here, that any of the embryos that are used clearly have been placed beyond the pale of being fertilized before their use. There are a large number of embryos that we know are never going to be fertilized, where the people who are in control of them have made that clear. The research ought to be confined to those.

And I think the committees will surely do that. But that I think is the only area of debate that I sort of saw. I appreciated the fact that the president wants to send a strong signal that scientific research on everything from climate change to the genome to the embryonic stem cells was too politicized in the previous eight years, and he wants to put it back to science. I agree with that.

But there are values involved that we all ought to feel free to discuss in all scientific research. And that is the one thing that I think these committees need to make it clear that they're not going to fool with any embryos where there's any possibility, even if it's somewhat remote, that they could be fertilized and become human beings.
—Bill Clinton

Oh yes, Bill Clinton was simply "confused". Of course he was not, he was simply incredibly dumb or a real liar. How could someone suggest such insane gibberish like "it's a pro-life decision to use an embryo that's frozen and never going to be fertilized for embryonic stem cell research" ?! Gupta who interviewed him didn’t do anything to clarify the biological and scientific facts, although he is neurosurgeon and definitely knows that there is no such thing like "unfertilized embryo".

The whole quote is completely laughable, an absolutely stunning set of statements winding up in a complete untruth.

But there are values involved that we all ought to feel free to discuss in all scientific research. And that is the one thing that I think these committees need to make it clear that they’re not going to fool with any embryos where there’s any possibility, even if it’s somewhat remote, that they could be fertilized and become human beings.

This glaring mis-statement and delusional thought process has grave consequences. Many women who go into abortion clinics out of desperation or under pressure do not realize that the baby - the unique, separate, individual human being she conceived - is already in her womb. Perhaps it’s even the majority who think that. They think (and often hear repeated by abortion clinic workers) that it’s a blob of tissue at that stage, and abortion will prevent that child from coming into existence. So they go ahead with it (which is why the abortion movement so fiercely resists ‘informed consent’ laws) and later suffer the horrible trauma of post-abortion syndrome when they come to learn or understand (which they usually do) that abortion took the life of their child.

And here are some of the highest members of government and media perpetuating the lies and myths and misinformation. --Earthland (talk) 14:34, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

"What it didn't do was cherry pick quotations and citations to give only one side of the controversy which is what trying to do to push your pro life agenda."

the article stated that "Despite the fact that these embryos are a long way from becoming human lives..." without any citation. If all encylopedias regard embryos as individual human beings, people have at least right to know that.--Earthland (talk) 14:34, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

And here we go again...[edit]

Many women who go into abortion clinics out of desperation or under pressure do not realize that the baby - the unique, separate, individual human being she conceived - is already in her womb. Perhaps it’s even the majority who think that.

Oh, EL, how kind of you to look down on those poor deluded women who fail to realise that only the pro-lifers know the truth and any who disagree are deluded, immoral axe grinders who salivate at the mouth at the thought of destroying innocent lives before making baby stew for supper. Maybe if you write another article, another essay, another.... then we evil, noxious, inhuman baby murderers will finally see the light and be brought before your golden throne of righteousness.

Alternatively when are you going to be sufficiently open minded to accept that there are two points of view on this one and that you do not have the monopoly on truth. The strength of your convictions doesn't make them right. Bob Soles (talk) 14:54, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Earthland, RW is not NPOV & is not going to adopt your POV. Writing off everyone and everything that does not agree with you as idiots or nonsense is not persuading anyone. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:47, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

If we[edit]

Leave the Clinton's quote without criticising it, we give an impression that there are creatures such like "unfertilized embryos", which is completely untrue. We must either make a comment on that or leave it out at all. --Earthland (talk) 16:54, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

You're right, but there are tons of frozen embryos in fertility clinics which, like chicken eggs, eventually must get thrown away because they are too old to get transplanted into someone's womb. As a result, the choice is either throw them away, or use them for research. Lord Goonie Hooray! I'm helping! 17:00, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Oh, what I wouldn't give to eat just one... — Sincerely, Neveruse513 / Talk / Block 17:08, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
They do sound like a delicious delicacy. The Spikey Punk I'm punking my punk! 17:12, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Might as well have a whole cracker full. Just one sturgeon egg never satisfies. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:16, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
One would only spark an insatiable lust. — Sincerely, Neveruse513 / Talk / Block 17:25, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Then write this, instead of this idiotic quote! --Earthland (talk) 17:32, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm having a hard time understanding the opposition to the quote. — Sincerely, Neveruse513 / Talk / Block 17:33, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
As am I. I think the quote stands unless someone can cite proof that stem cell research is being conducted on embryos that would have grown in to humans if not specifically used for stem cell research, or that there is a plan to clone human beings in their entirety. --ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 18:22, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, forgot to add something. I'm reverting it back to Goonie's revision. Either Clinton's quote needs to be proven incorrect, in which case there could be some commentary provided, or perhaps a quote in opposition provided if there's a feeling that the quote is subjective.--ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 18:23, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

The problem is that Clinton uses words "...would allow them to be fertilized", but embryo already is fertilized. Do I need to prove that?

As for the other thing, embryos don't have to grow into human beings, they already are.

Encyclopedia Britannica: Embryo - the early developmental stage of an animal while it is in the egg or within the uterus of the mother. In humans the term is applied to the unborn child until the end of the seventh week following conception; from the eighth week the unborn child is called a fetus.

The Gale Encyclopedia of Science 1996, v 3, p 1327: ”For the first eight weeks following egg fertilization, the developing human being is called an embryo.”

Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia 2002, v 1, p 1290: ”Embryo. The developing individual between the time of the union of the germ cells and the completion of the organs which characterize its body when it becomes a separate organism. [...] At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun.”

But of course, you preffer the words of a politician rather than quotes from encyclopedias?

--Earthland (talk) 18:40, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

It's really ironic that the first one who introduced this quote was me, though. --Earthland (talk) 18:44, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Heh heh, that is ironic. Yes Clinton is wrong in that regard, but he's a politician commenting on a scientific subject. I had a quick look at some transcripts, and it seems Clinton's stance is clear, even if he incorrectly described the embryos as being unfertilized. I've add a footnote to this effect. What do you think of that approach?--ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 18:54, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand why we are quoting Clinton at all. Why is his opinion special?--BobNot Jim 18:56, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Seems to be mostly of historical value, showing the contrast between the administrations at the time when these decisions were being made. --ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 18:58, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Who cares about the option of some out-of-office foreign politician? I don't.--BobNot Jim 18:59, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Why shouldn't we quote The Gale Encyclopedia of Science instead? I'm naive, I know... --Earthland (talk) 19:03, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
I suppose we could turn into a series of battling quote mines, but I'm not sure what that would serve.--BobNot Jim 19:07, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
As it is now, the use of that quote just looks pedantic - we seem to be quoting Clinton only in order to debunk the terminology he used. Either we discuss what point he is making, or scrap the quote. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:55, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

What's wrong with David's sentence[edit]

"They believe that human life is inviolable and that human life begins when a sperm cell fertilizes an egg cell to form a single cell."

as opposed to

"They believe that human life is inviolable, combined with the fact that human life begins when a sperm cell fertilizes an egg cell to form a single cell."

Three references follow, three relevant quotes from (scientific) encyclopedias. If we leave it David's way, it gives an impression that Encyclopedia Britannica, The Gale Encyclopedia of Science and Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia are all pro-life organizations who give their opinion that human life starts at conception. Obviously false.

And this is not an assumption. One should just look at the definition of ontogeny to see that. --Earthland (talk) 05:31, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Shut up, you are tiresomely wrong. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:58, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
I am tiresomely right, I believe you wanted to say? --Earthland (talk) 10:41, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
There seems to have been a couple of reverts over the phrase, when speaking about those who oppose this research: They believe that human life is inviolable ...
I would suggest that, if it's left in then the section about those in favour of this research should also begin: They believe that human life is inviolable ..
Either that or the phrase be left out of the article as it is at present.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:24, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

I cannot understand why those encyclopedias are relevant at all. Obviously many people believe that a fertilized cell is in some sense a human being, but on what planet are encyclopedias an authority on such a question? Indeed, the statement being cited probably doesn't need a citation at all (it's common knowledge for anyone with a minimal understanding of the controversy), but if it did get one, shouldn't that link to the Catholic Church or an activist group or someone who actually gives moral or philosophical bullshit guidance to people and actually has something to do with the belief mentioned? Or a poll showing how many people actually take this position? --Quantheory (talk) 10:54, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Because this is a biological question and has nothing to do with "believing". Encyclopedia's are reference literature and therefore they base their articles on what most of the scientific works write on given question. Hence, they try to reflect scientific consensus. In this case, scientific consensus tells that an embryo is a living human individual.
Now, I'm obviously not going to fight in another pointless edit war, but the degree of your intellectual honesty is stunning. Really. --Earthland (talk) 10:41, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
First: I'm sorry, but was I supposed to take a sentence that begins with "They believe that" is about widely accepted facts and not people's beliefs?
Second: The version of that sentence which you were advocating is grammatically incorrect in a way that confused me. If the first half describes someone's beliefs, and the second half is meant to be accepted fact, they should not be connected so clumsily.
Third: Anyone with a basic knowledge of human reproduction is aware that human bodies grow out of fertilized eggs, and certainly the first time one's genome is assembled in a single cell could be considered an important milestone, maybe even worthy of being labeled "the beginning of a human life". I have no reason to believe that this needs to be sourced, much less three times, because most people already know this much about fertilization works (and the ones who don't should probably be going elsewhere for that information).
This information is also only roughly accurate, since of course identical twins came from a fertilized cell, and they could probably argue that the beginning of their lives occurred when the embryo split. Even more troubling, some people (generally known as "chimeras") came from multiple fertilized eggs and thus the genetic material that formed them was not all in one place until the fusion of the multiple embryos that they grew out of, well after conception.
Fourth: To talk about "the beginning of a human life" or "a living human individual" is a statement loaded with moral significance. It is of course a biological question to ask whether a piece of tissue is alive, or whether it is human in the sense of being descended from human cells, with human genes. However, to assert that a collection of tissues is a person (which is what is implied by the word "individual" or the phrase "a human life") is a philosophical and moral statement. One has to establish what a "person" is, and what it is that justifies assigning moral value to human beings in the first place. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't call an encyclopedia entry on human reproduction to be a reliable source for that kind of information, no matter how it's worded. Nor do I think that there's an established scientific consensus on exactly what things are or are not morally valuable "people".
Finally: Your statement about my "intellectual honesty" is astounding. I don't believe that we've ever met before. I made a cranky comment about a sentence that confused me because you communicated poorly, and David and I (and apparently Human) all independently interpreted that sentence in the same way. From this you seem to have concluded that I am somehow being dishonest.
If you'd made your case and merely been irritated at me, I could have taken it, and maybe have maintained some degree of respect for you. But given your apparent willingness to not simply correct me, but instead judge my character and unload some kind of resentment about "edit wars" on me that I don't know anything about, I instead have this to say:
Go fuck yourself with a rusty chainsaw.
Sincerely, Quantheory (talk) 11:37, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Sorry for for my bad communication. My remark about intellectual dishonesty wasn't meant for you. Starting from a new line probably didn't make that clear enough.

However, to assert that a collection of tissues is a person (which is what is implied by the word "individual" or the phrase "a human life") is a philosophical and moral statement. One has to establish what a "person" is, and what it is that justifies assigning moral value to human beings in the first place.

Not necessarily. Biology sorts out who is individual organism, to what species this organism belongs to and is it alive. But I agree that the question of personhood is not necessarily decided by these facts.

For these and another questions see my Essay:Why I oppose abortion

Happily enough, I don't know what is a chainsaw. But saying things like that is not being disrespectful. I was disrespectful. You were rude. --Earthland (talk) 11:58, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

"My remark about intellectual dishonesty wasn't meant for you."
If that's the case, then I'm somewhat mollified and regret having told you to cause yourself painful physical trauma, although I can't really tell what you expected me to think when you put that sentence in in a reply to me. If we can speak constructively about issues, that's great. Understand however, that if I believe that my personal character is being unfairly attacked, rudeness is my standard response and I will not apologize for that ("disrespectful" I can handle, generic rudeness I can also handle, but making unjustified accusations about my actions or personality ticks me off). I don't care for grudges; I make myself clear and have done with it.
"Biology sorts out who is individual organism, to what species this organism belongs to and is it alive. But I agree that the question of personhood is not necessarily decided by these facts."
Yes. However, the word "individual", when used as a noun in the English language, implies personhood, not just "one individual thing". The phrase "a human life" is a phrase which is specifically designed to take advantage of the fact that "human" is, in daily usage, a synonym for "person", and "a life" is usually a synonym for "a lifetime". To take advantage of multiple meanings like this is equivocation, and I'm not sympathetic to propagating such a technique. The pro-life case, of course, needs to rest on demonstrating that embryos have value, not that several words and phrases can be defined so as to refer both to embryos and to people.
--Quantheory (talk) 12:30, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
By the way, this statement: "The beginning of human life is the heart of the abortion debate." is where I start disagreeing with you in your abortion essay. I don't think that being alive gives something value, nor do I think that being human gives something value. The reason I value human lives is entirely about the capacity for abstract thought and invention, and for meaningful relationships between human beings. That's what, to me, morally sets a "person" apart from, say, a dog, or a rock. Even "playing it safe", no one is capable of thinking or playing a meaningful part in a relationship until several weeks after conception. If I don't "really" value human life unless I value certain living things that happen to contain human genetic material and don't have those capacities, then so be it, I don't really value human life. The idea that such an damning statement can be made about me seems, to me, to be a statement about the flexibility of words, not about the way I approach reality. --Quantheory (talk) 12:44, 5 September 2010 (UTC)