Hm…

Now I’m back to wondering about that Nobel Prize breakthrough with stem cells.

  • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

    I am opposed to the way Modernity is set on manipulating the tiniest blocks of material to yield new things, because this is God’s job. Full Stop.

    But if you are going to let this latest revolution pang your conscience, it seems necessary to acknowledge a lot of us are in sin over the vaccines too. I am pretty sure they gave those to me when I was very small. My parents were ignorant, true, and I wasn’t even capable of reason.

    But my problem with all this can be summed up in a nutshell: Revolution vs Revelation. And revolution is the motto and watchword of the entire world surrounding us.

    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

      Man, I swore I wouldn’t bother responding but this is just too much.

      I am opposed to the way Modernity is set on manipulating the tiniest blocks of material to yield new things, because this is God’s job. Full Stop.

      Really? God’s job is determined by scale? So building a house out of bricks isn’t stepping on God’s toes but building things out of smaller bricks… is? Oh I can’t wait to see this reasoning. Please tell us how many brick molecules it takes before it’s ok for man to build with them, because apparently 1 brick molecule is wrong but trillions is ok. I’d like to see how you came up with your number for sin’s cut off there.

      But if you are going to let this latest revolution pang your conscience, it seems necessary to acknowledge a lot of us are in sin over the vaccines too. I am pretty sure they gave those to me when I was very small. My parents were ignorant, true, and I wasn’t even capable of reason.

      Vaccines now? So let me see if I can follow this. God creates Man’s body to adapt to disease so… now we’re sinning? No that can’t be right. Creating controlled, weak infections to make people healthier and save lives is a sin now? Weird, I could have sworn the Boss told us to heal the sick.

      But my problem with all this can be summed up in a nutshell: Revolution vs Revelation. And revolution is the motto and watchword of the entire world surrounding us.

      First, false dichotomy. There’s nothing mutually exclusive about revolutions and revelations.

      Second, as CS Lewis pointed out, Jesus told us to feed the sick, He did not give us a cookbook nor instructions on the best way to feed malnourished individuals. He told us to heal the sick, He didn’t tell us what medicines or therapy to use. He told us to clothe the naked, He didn’t tell us how to sew.

      Revelation only goes so far. The rest we have to work out the best we can.

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

        I am sorry your education is so lacking as to actually comprehend what is being said. It isn’t that you disagree with me. Then we could argue. It is that you do not understand what is even being said.

        Strike that. The problem is that you assume that what you do not comprehend must be wrong. You did this with Martha Lepine on the subject of economics. You didn’t comprehend her point and dismissed her as an uneducated hack. When, in fact, she has a better education in economics than you, by far. She just does not buy your suppositions.

        When you begin to question your own beliefs and positions, even if you eventually still accept them in the end, then you will be able to engage the other. I can argue for your positions, nearly as well, as well, and sometimes better, than you can. I just don’t agree with them. You don’t understand what is being said by the other well enough to mimic it, much less argue it in your own words.

        Until then, this is me dusting off my sandals. I will pray for you. It is the only sensible thing to do.

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          A single point that debunks most of your post:

          Strike that. The problem is that you assume that what you do not comprehend must be wrong. You did this with Martha Lepine on the subject of economics. You didn’t comprehend her point and dismissed her as an uneducated hack. When, in fact, she has a better education in economics than you, by far. She just does not buy your suppositions.

          How do you know? You know what my educational experience is compared with ML? Are you drawing it based upon posts because in the comment thread I’m thinking of, there was no evidence provided one way or another, just lots of wishful thinking and apparently you assume that those whose wishful thinking agrees with yours is “better educated”.

          As they say, you can reject the suppositions that the earth is round and orbits the sun, but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to assume you’re better educated in physics than many. (not to mention, if you are going to go against common suppositions, then it’s up to you to provide the working definitions you are using instead of insulting people for not reading your mind)

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s humorous to watch Catholics deride Evangelicals for rejecting evolution then turn around and behave the exact same way when it comes to economics. Even a lot of the reasoning is the same, you’re just picking different topics, picking different suppositions.

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

        And for the record, I agree with everything you wrote in this comment that was meant to refute my position. But I still hold my position, with no paradox, much less dichotomy. The intellectually credible position is “How can this be?” not “You drunken Injun!”

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          The intellectually credible position is “How can this be?”

          Which I asked, along with details on the parts I find incredulous and… you give no answer (and like most hack writers, claim the problem is with the readers – who can only read what you have written). Though I note that many of your posts show little awareness of intellectual honest or credibility.

          not “You drunken Injun!”

          Why would I say that when I have no idea about who or even what you are – nor do i care as neither your biological nor temporal background hold no relevance to the truth or falsehood of your statements (unless your unfamiliarity with English is causing you to say one thing when you mean another). Only when you post something so incoherent and irrelevant to the topic at hand (or as a reply to a statement) is being “drunk” the more charitable interpretation. Otherwise it’s insanity, stupidity, wickedness, or incompetence.

  • Rob

    Just my opinion here, and would certainly be interested to hear the views of those who have more insight into how this actually works. But the site to which Mark links seems to only be making the point that, in the research that was conducted, use was made of certain cell lines that are derived from aborted babies. This is wrong, and taints the research. But those who remain nevertheless excited about this research point to the fact that use of these cell lines is not necessarily required. Other cell lines may be used. And thus this research points to the possibility of creating a certain type of stem cell without resorting to destruction of embryos.

    I keep thinking of the words of the Pope, when he spoke about how the use of a condom, in certain specific situations, might be considered a first step towards a moralization of the individual. Likewise here, I think this research could be considered a first step towards the moralization of a certain type of stem cell research. There are some issues with the research in question, no doubt. Use of unethical cell lines is wrong. But it can still be seen as a very hopeful step in the right direction, where certain treatments *may* one day be able to be derived by moral means.

  • Chris Erdman

    Mark,
    I get your concerns. The HEK293 cells are definitely of unethical origin. However, it is not a requirement that those cells be used. A variety of other cell lines could be used to generate the genetic material for transfection.

    That being said, I think this method is useful for research and that’s about it. Transfection has thus far proven problematic when used in humans. This however is just personal opinion.

    FYI, I spent 4 years doing research on adult stems cells before starting medical school.

  • Alma Peregrina

    Dear Hezekiah Garrett:

    I recomend the reading of Dignitatis Personae, nº 35.

    Use of vaccines by parents is ethically different from use of stem cells by researchers, even if both use embryonic stem cells.

    Neither you, nor your parents comited any sin. The researchers, on the other hand, did.

    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

      I will read it, but of course we committed no sin, regardless of DP 35. They were invincibly ignorant, I was not yet even at the age of reason. I thought I said this?

  • Dan C

    For further clarification:

    HEK293 cells were obtained from a fetus that was aborted, but not aborted to obtain this cell line. The intent of the aboriton was not to create these cell lines. Use of such a cell line does not support a market that continues further abortions.

    Many a “fruit of the tree” occurs. We live on land that was obtained by theft, by most historical accounts, certainly by the reckoning of most Native Americans. African Americans will point to many a valued commodity or industry they claim was built on their ancestors enslaved backs that have done little to make amends for such derivation of such a tragic source of labor.

    Pro-lifism experiments with a moral calculus that determines its evils are the greatest of all evils, and such an established calculus does not exist in any certainty.

    The question then: does one cooperate with evil with the use of cells derived from an aborted fetus, when that fetus was not aborted for the purpose of obtaining such cell lines, while the use of the cell line does not promote further aborted fetuses.

    I would say, as such, this does not constitute any cooperation with evil, and any consideration that it is cooperation with evil is experimental in approach. Such a calculus will insist that one cooperates more with evil by remaining on these occupied lands once held by Native Americans, in which one continues the theft by failing to ensure the return of occupied lands to the rightful Nations.

    This is my opinion.

    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

      You’re being sneaky, Dr. C. ;-) I like it.

  • Irenist

    Mark’s link informs us that Dignitatis Personae teaches that:
    “…there is a duty to refuse to use such ‘biological material’ even when there is no close connection between the researcher and the actions of those who performed the…abortion, or when there was no prior agreement with the centers in which the artificial fertilization took place. This duty springs from the necessity to remove oneself, within the area of one’s own research, from a gravely unjust legal situation and to affirm with clarity the value of human life.” (section 35)
    I accept this, of course. But in a spirit of faith seeking understanding, why is the sort of research here different than the following grotesque scenario:
    An evil monster cuts the limbs from lots of children, leaving them to die in a field. A group of still living children is huddled in fear. Dr. Yamanka, to protect the living children, picks up one of the limbs of a dead child and starts whaling on the evil monster with it, eventually bludgeoning it into incapacity. Dr. Yamanaka’s act is ethical, if not exactly edifying.


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