Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Quizzical on Stem Cell Research

When I as a young bitch in training I, like so many other young people, was full of questions and wonder at the world. I gobbled up books and biographies, as if I could achieve absolute knowledge if I only tried hard enough. On the issue of disease, a bitch really only knew about two of them - Autism, which my older brother has, and Cancer. Later, Lupus was added to that list when my mother’s friend was afflicted. My mind swirled with options for treatments or cures. Being twisted, even at a young age, a bitch immediately began to speculate on the exploitation of the afflicted should a cure be found.

A bitch was amazed by the news last week that South Korea had cloned a human embryo and harvested new stem cell lines from it. Apparently, South Korea does not have the same moral and ethical division on the topic that we have. China has made advances as well. A bitch is convinced that science is about to make some rapid advances. Evolution isn’t held prisoner within a gradual pace; it leaps and stalls and then leaps forward again. So now what? Science is advancing while American politicians debate whether it should advance here.

Walk with me for a moment. Lets travel beyond this outdated notion that America discovers everything first or invents shit before the rest of the world. Lets explore reality.

Imagine...

China develops a treatment for paralyzed folks. The treatment was developed based on stem cell research; specifically, stem cells harvested from human embryos created for that purpose. The initial question would be could Americans be allowed to utilize treatments/cures born out of medical research practices banned here. Beyond that, China now has the cure for all spinal cord injuries. Imagine the power. Well, you don’t have to really imagine it. America has Africa by the balls because we manufacture HIV and AIDS drugs, and those don’t cure a goddamned thing. Fascinating, isn’t it?

India develops a cure for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) from stem cell research. Again, they utilized stem cells harvested from human embryos created for that purpose. India then spins off cures for Lupus, Parkinson’s and MS. India, a country that we are presently bitching about America exporting jobs to. India, huge and populated and poor and neglected for far to long. India…the most powerful medical power in the world because of stem cell research?

I could go on and on, but let me stop here. A bitch is fucking pissed! Not because of the possible benefits of stem cell research. Those could be debated until a bitch dropped to the ground and convulsed. No, I’m pissed because this debate is fucking trapped in our knee jerk American ethnocentric view of all things. Fuck it all, this isn’t about what we are willing or not willing to do! Stem cell research is the genie and it is out of the bottle. We…us…Americans…need to think back to the birth of the nuclear arms race. Reach back to that recent past, when science was without borders and knowledge meant power. Not a damn thing has changed. Insert stem cells for nuclear, and you have the same basic debate.

Should we? What if we do? What if we don’t? They already are, aren’t they? How do we control this? Can limits be maintained? And so on and so on until a bitch wants to scream and shout that this is happening! It is spun! "It" has begun…

Whether we acknowledge it…. or not.

Whether we allow it...or not.

"It" is.

Now, what are we going to do about it?

14 comments:

Tiger Lilly said...

Seriously, why were certain politicians with certain political affiliations parading kids around who once upon a time had been frozen embryos in a lab somewhere? This assholes and their culture of life schtick are so myopic and self righteous that they cannot see the possibilities because they are too busy forcing their ways down everyone elses throats. The day will come when an Asian nation makes that ginormous leap forward, and we will all be here looking confused with our thumbs up our asses. The fools won't be willing to do anything until we are truly left behind and our collective superiority complex is crushed.

Times a wastin' ya'll.

Shark-fu said...

MmmHmm. It is sooo time for me to learn Chinese or something. Or maybe I'll go to India! My ass would look cute in a Sari...

iopine said...

I'll never understand the President's stance on this issue. But then, I have a hard time understanding any of his stances. I wish he'd stop trying to roadblock it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the proposals going around are for doing research on embryos that would have been discarded anyway, aren't they? I think that it would help if we (America) could pull our ostrich heads out of the sand and pitch in for everyone's (i.e.: the world's) benefit, instead of just focusing on our own. Hiding from stem-cell research isn't going to make it go away. And we're slowing down world progress.

GN said...

The GOP has made its bed, now it has to lie in it. Bush HAS TO veto the stem cell research legislation, because the Republican Taliban has the GOP by the balls. Now that the Republican Taliban has been issued a defeat on the nuclear option, their demands to return this country to the dark ages will become more shrill, more pronounced, and more ridiculous.

China all but owns this fucking country because of our enormous amounts of foreign debt necessary to fund the GOP's orgasmic looting of the treasury; other countries actually do silly, quaint things like EDUCATE their fucking kids in math and science.

The past three sets of elections ('00, '02, and '04) have put our political system solidly in the category of banana republic. The Republican Taliban's reversal of the age of enlightenment will ensure that in two generations, the standard of living of most in the country will resemble that of a developing nation also (of course, African Americans live like this now, but the Republican Taliban could care less about the coloreds).

It's Me, Maven... said...

All this kind of adds to what other nations already think of us. How PITIFUL it is, that a country that puts itself out there as a SUPER POWER is so BACKWARDS. These same fundies who are queefing out (YES, I SAID QUEEF:) their rhetoric as if it's LAW, transfiguring the BIBLE as if it were the CONSTITUTION itself. Fighting against PROVEN SCIENCE about evolution and natual selection to justify this and that, all for their theocratic agendas. The mere RIGHT to life for "SOME" (subtext: the embryos), versus the QUALITY of life for MANY. Narrow-minded, indeed.

Look at India, which for the most part is a predominantly HINDU nation. A good majority of Hindus won't even eat an EGG because of it being an embryo that could have brought forth life--yet, look at them, they are CREATING embryos for that set purpose, (not "repurposing" aborted unwanted fetuses) to put them to use for stem cell research and therapies, with the end result of those embryos being destroyed.

Yet, here we are in this nation (which we as a society have to remind the theocrats IS A SECULAR NATION), where abortion IS legal, yet countless embryos are not being preserved for stem cell research. How many decades have women been giving birth, only to have their placentas discarded--decades worth of valuable stemcells being destroyed willy-nilly.

And as far as the HIV and other vaccinations--this is not a new concept of being such a great country, yet mercinary. Google "Tuskegee Syphillis Study" or read the book summary on "War of the Weak," and you will have an idea of how backwards and mercinary the USA has been when it comes to health and science.

GN said...

How PITIFUL it is, that a country that puts itself out there as a SUPER POWER is so BACKWARDS.

They're laughing at us, hysterically. Then they sober up when they realize we put the village idiot in charge of our nuclear weaponry...

This is our fault; we didn't take care of these motherfuckers during reconstruction. We let the same components which are now heading up the Republican Taliban languish in their ignorance, their poverty, their hate, their misplaced sense of victimhood, and their rage. I read an article about peak oil and the author asserted that the regions of the country controlled by the Republican Taliban wouldn't survive the crisis. We are seeing the truth of his words as we speak.

Nemebabe said...

Well - I think there is another factor that needs to be taken into consideration here. See my boyfriends dad held a bunch of patents for medications to be used to treat patients with alzheimers (I probably spelled that wrong, forgive me) and unfortunately, due to side effects, the FDA couldn't release them here. The side effects included some possible heart irritations, but only a chance of it. One of the problems with medical research in this country is the frivlous lawsuits that we are so fond of. Alot of doctors and scientists are just flat out afraid to try anything. Not that lawsuits have anything to do with people taking a moral stance on stem cell research...personally I think if you are morally against it, fine, don't give them your DNA, asshat. When Little Johnny falls down and goes boom - don't ask for any help either. You tell little Johnny he can't play with the other kids because your MORALS won't allow you to treat him. Anyway - that is a smidgeon of what is wrong with the US and patient treatment.

dmfinny said...

Are we really surprised by the christocracy's reticence to get behind anything that smacks of modern scientific advances? We're talking about education boards that are actively rewriting science textbooks to make them sound pretty (BIRDS CHIRP HERE...)

And, we're talking about a political party that actually thought the trickle-down theory of economics didn't have anything to do with shit rolling downhill.

BaltimoreLenore said...

We're just legislating ourselves into obscurity. I think by the end of the century we'll be a pathetic shell of the so-called world power that we are today.

Part of the problem are the current bunch of idiots spending our grandchildren's money while pandering to extremist religous types.

It's Me, Maven... said...

They're laughing at us, hysterically. Then they sober up when they realize we put the village idiot in charge of our nuclear weaponry...

Um... the unfortunate thing with that statement is that other countries don't "get it" that there might be Americans that did NOT vote Chimpy, excuse me, "Scooter," into office. He, all he stands for, all his cronyism, "Scooter, Patron Saint of the Oppressive Theocrats," truly scares me.

Sidenote, yeah, I read some articles involving how some Bible Belt school districts are actually putting labels in the science books saying that they contain certain theories involving evolution, and as such "theories," they haven't been proven and should be read with an open mind.

iopine said...

I should have added to my post that I'm sure W will change his mind about approving stem-cell research once someone in HIS family is affected with a disease that could be cured or alleviated with treatments that such research could provide.

Jeff said...

Yeah, and he might change his mind about abortion when one of those little tramps of his—err, I mean daughters of his—gets herself knocked up. The whole stem cell issue is just another example of how this country has become the standard-bearer for the championing of mediocrity. Pisses. Me. Off.

It's Me, Maven... said...

I agree, Jeff! There's a book I'm reading, "50 Things You're Not Supposed to Know," by Russ Kick. In it, there's a blurb about GHANDI. How when his wife had bronchial pneumonia, Ghandi refused to allow her to take pennicillin, saying, "If God wills it, He will pull her through." Needless to say, SHE DIED as a result. His reasoning: Allowing her to take the medication would have meant the bankruptcy of his own faith. (Truly egotistical--if she took it, it would have meant a bankruptcy of HER faith, not his; however his stance could have illustrated how hiw wife was under his thumb). Conversely though! When Ghandi's own ass was on the line, and he had malaria, he did not hesitate to take quinine.

I could easily see Scooter's stance on the "A" word changing to suit his own personal needs. However, to put an even more fitting spin on the notion or speculation of one of Scooter's progeny getting half a load on and getting knocked up, it would only be fitting if the father were an illegal alien, and not a Christian one, either:)

Billy the Bootlegger said...

I am not from the US and therefore I do not know what Bush's reasons are to not allow stem cell research. Can anyone answer that question for me? I was wondering, because some people seem to think that cells used for cloning and stem cells are the same thing which they aren’t. And even some politicians are against stem cell research, because they think it is the same as or closely affiliated with cloning.

Anyway a stem cell is a cell which can evolve into any kind of cell that the body needs at that point in time (a heart muscle cell or a white blood cell for example). They can replace any damaged cell by taking their place and their function. They are “creative life” and they are produced by the human body itself.

A cloned/cloning cell however, is a cell which has already evolved or specialised into a certain kind of cell and its origin is found in another human being’s body. Cloned cells are copies of existing life and they can only reproduce cells that are exactly like them. A cloned white blood cell can never produce anything other than another white blood cell. The new red blood cell is nothing more than a replica of the original cell. There is a distinct difference between cloned/cloning cells and stem cells.

I also believe that Bush is objecting to stem cell research because an embryo has to be destroyed in order to get a stem cell. Well, scientists have found a way to extract stem cells without using embryo’s. The molecule reversine causes cells to evolve into their original condition, which means that, for example a white blood cell, becomes a stem cell again. Therefore, it seems to me that reason is rather outdated.