The Fertilisation Bill: the rational counter-attack

March 24, 2008 at 10:24 pm (Catholicism, James P. Cannon, Jim D, labour party, religion, science)

In the present war between superstition and reason, human progress and reaction, those who rely on what they hear and read must believe that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is a massively sinister and dangerous measure, opening the way for (in the words of Cardinal Keith O’ Brien), a “monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life” which would allow experimentations of “Frankenstein proportion.” All the press and commentators agree that a free vote is required, even if you don’t go along with the Catholic Church’s extreme reaction on this issue.

You’d never guess that this bill is merely an updating of the 1990 Tory legislation, taking into account important developments in embryo research that have happened since and which offer potentially life-saving solutions to many degenerative diseases. The Bill also reforms the law on surrogacy and IVF in the light of experience and legal changes with regard to same-sex couples. Key clauses relate to human admixed embryos, combining human and non-human material. As Dr Robin Lovell-Badge, head of developmental genetics at the MCR Institute, London, told today’s Daily Telegraph:

“Ultimately, understanding how adult cells can be re-programmed to become stem cells could lead to a step-change in treating human disease, potentially allowing transplantation of cells containing a patient’s own DNA, thus avoiding problems of tissue rejection.”

But in the face of this hope for the alleviation of human disease and suffering, the Catholic Church (whose own edicts against contraception and abortion have brought so much misery and suffering to the world), tries to blackmail politicians by spreading utterly ignorant and false scare-stories about human-animal hybrids and “Frankenstein” experiments.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, Vincent Nichols told the Telegraph that “This Bill permits the commercialisation of aspects of human birth: the donation, is fundamental elements and the use of surrogates.

“Research is opening up for us the possibility of engineering human birth away from the natural mother. Because we can do these things, does it mean that we should do?”

In this situation, with (it is said) Catholic cabinet members Ruth Kelly, Paul Murphy and Des Browne threatening to rebel, and Catholic bishops and cardinals urging Labour MP’s to put their religious beliefs first, a brave and principled MP has stepped forward as the defender of the democratic, secular tradition so crudely violated by the bishops, cardinals and their agents within the government and the PLP: Jim Devine MP, a Catholic, has described Cardinal O’Brien’s “Frankenstein” remarks as “completely unacceptable” , declared his support for the Bill, and even questioned whether a free vote is appropriate on the matter. While even “liberal” commentators and supporters of the Bill (like the craven Guardian) quail before the Catholic Church, Mr Devine speaks out fearlessly like a real statesman, putting the cowering policians and media to shame.

This man seems to be a tough fighter (he voted against the Government over the renewal of Trident), full of roast beef and the love of Jesus, and no respecter of persons. He practically challenges O’Brien to take off his coat and grab his best hold for a rough-and-tumble. In his blistering attack on the Catholic hierarchy there is no tone of subservience, or even respect: excellent! “Liberal” commentators and “progressive” politicians have been showing organised religion far too much respect for far too long.

When the working people of this country realize the full implications of the Catholic Church’s  latest attempt to strengthen the trend towards reactionary clericalism here, they will have no choice but to join people like Jim Devine in the fight against it. If the workers want to know what clerical domination means, let them take a good look at Spain in the 1950′s and 60′s, or Iran today.

Devine doesn’t go all the way, but as far as he goes it is in the right direction and his fight on this issue is the people’s fight too.

(After James P. Cannon)

98 Comments

  1. voltairespriest said,

    Who’s Jim Devine? I don’t remember him from anything before this dispute. Is he a Campaign Group MP?

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Not as far as I know.

  3. modernityblog said,

    again science is facing reactionary theocracy, the Catholic hierarchy would gladly turned back the hands of time, which is why it is so important to ensure that rationalism and secularism dominate the scientific and cultural discourse, or social progress will be impeded

    I wonder what Archbishop Newman of Swindon diocese has to say on Cardinal O’Brien comments, ye Gods, SU blog is taking on a distinctly religious flavour, A REVIVAL OF FAITH? http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=1958

  4. a very public sociologist said,

    Hold on a moment … could this be a rare moment of left unanimity?

  5. Will said,

    comment at stalinoid camp…makes me feel better anyway…

    “You people make me vomit into my soup.

    You thick fucking cunts.

    Stalinist scum and filth. I would gladly put a bullet into your stupid fucking dolt heads.

    There are thousands dying each and every day in sub-Saharan Africa thanks to the Catholic church. You thick scum — bang in your face stalinist filth.

    Comment by Will — 25 March, 2008 @ 12:54 am”

  6. voltairespriest said,

    Translation for those who have never encountered Will before: he has gotten his dander up about Andy Newman’s latest post where (as happens increasingly often) the SU blog proprietor witters on about religion. Will’s comments above are a cut’n’paste of his comments on that thread.

  7. Jim Denham said,

    Couldn’t have put it better myself, Will!

  8. Lobby Ludd said,

    Jim, have you read the article and comments at the SU blog?

    The question is posed whether or not there is a revival in Christian church attendance but there are no comments approving of that putative revival.

    Get a grip.

  9. Claims said,

    Watch Respect Renewal activists when Galloway comes out against the bill.

  10. Claims said,

    “The courts killed this woman and I don’t think there can be any justification for it.”
    –George Galloway on the death of Terri Schiavo (BBC Question Time, 3/31/05)

  11. modernityblog said,

    as for the Newman thread, I think that the readers of SU haven’t undergone such a “conversion” so they find it hard to take the religious pandering that Newman indulges in, and bear in mind that Newman is constantly trying to test the water and float religious ideas so I suspect he doesn’t go on as much as he’d like to

    still, Galloway’s attitude to the Bill will be interesting to see and how RRers justify it

  12. stroppybird said,

    Galloway has already come out against it. Dave http://www.davidosler.com/2008/03/embrylogy_bill_in_defence_of_l.html
    links to his comments on this.

    Galloway is also ranting about this godless country !! Sounds good to me.

  13. modernityblog said,

    thanks Stroppy, I missed that, this is the key, Galloway states:

    “And the proposals in the Embryo Research Bill before the House imminently blasphemes against the very idea of God.

    I wonder how Respect Renewalers will square that with their belief in rationality, science and human advancement?

  14. Red Maria said,

    Can anyone name so much as one – one! – disease which has been cured through embryonic stem cell research?

  15. modernity said,

    early days yet but then so:

    “However, as a first indication that the induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology can in rapid succession lead to new cures, it was used by a research team headed by Rudolf Jaenisch of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to cure mice of sickle cell anemia, as reported by Science journal’s online edition on 6th of December.[13]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embryonic_stem_cell

  16. modernity said,

  17. Red Maria said,

    So that’s a no, then.
    And no, it’s not early days anymore. That line isn’t sustainable when work using adult stem cells – a perfectly ethical alternative – is powering ahead. Nothing has come of embryonic stem cell research, nothing. The excitable claims haven’t translated into actual results.

  18. modernityblog said,

    did you read the articles?

    they have already cured sickle cell anaemia in mice, the very first step of a long process before implementing a human cure

    So yes, they have cured something, not that will matter much to the God squad, we’d be back to leeches and hot pokers if it was left to them :)

  19. Red Maria said,

    Read all of them. The fact remains Embryonic Stem Cell Research has resulted thus far in a big fat nothing.

  20. modernityblog said,

    scientific and medical research does not produce viable treatments for humans in days, weeks or even months

    sometimes years go on before such complicated research comes to fruition, unlike exorcisms or self flagellation which are immediate “cures”!

    but as the article said:

    “All the parameters we can measure are now normal,” Jaenisch said. “The mice are cured.”

    “I think it is a really exciting proof-of-principle that clinical applications of iPS cells are technically feasible,” said George Q. Daley, a stem cell researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston. “There will be lots of unanticipated setbacks before we end up in the clinic, but this work suggests that we will ultimately get there.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/06/AR2007120602444.html

    thus a treatment which works on mice today, may well evolve into a successful cure for sickle cell anaemia in humans in a few years

  21. Lobby Ludd said,

    Red Maria, I’m not sure what point you are making.

    That embryonic stem cell research has yet to deliver human benefit is neither here nor there from a research point of view. What matters (from the point of view of research) is whether , from our current understanding, it looks likely to do so – that is the nature of research. (It could of course be a blind alley, but again, discovering that in itself is an advance.)

    I suspect that you find embryonic stem cell research morally unacceptable, and denying its scientific worth is a convenient way of removing it from the ‘moral landscape’.

    Tell me if I am wrong, but (to repeat myself) I think you are shunting your moral qualms into the scientific arena in the hope that science will make your moral dilemma go away.

  22. a very public sociologist said,

    Oh dear, I didn’t know about Galloway’s comments until tonight. I suspect his radio show this Friday will make interesting listening.

  23. Not from Dundee said,

    Preserve us from Falangist dimwits.

  24. Lobby Ludd said,

    “You people make me vomit into my soup.”

    No, Will, I think you’ll find that it’s minestrone with added parmesan – an easy enough mistake to make.

    I’m pleased that you don’t get knife and fork stuff, though – sharp, sharp, sharp, stab stab, stab and all that. Please give the spoon back after use, hiding it will only get you into trouble.

  25. Will said,

    Sobby Loob:

    I will not be responding to your cod psycho-babble and shit — that’s cos you are a stupider than stupid dumb cunt.

  26. voltaires_priest said,

    Lobby: Maria doesn’t have a “dilemma” about this question. She’s quite certain of her stance.

    Yo Maria;

    What’s your line on whether the AIDS epidemic can be stopped by anti-contraception campaigns, or whether abortion is a mortal sin?

    (Just setting the discussion in context for those unaware of your issue positions, you understand ;) )

  27. paddy garcia said,

    Fair enough if it stops in a test tube and its benefits can be proven. But where well this lead? What next? There’s nothing stopping these Frankenstiens and Mengeles, they will soon demand more. Well, maybe human/animal hybrids may be a way to increase the depleted ranks of new labour.
    PS my mother died of MS too, a very long, slow and painful death.

  28. Lobby Ludd said,

    I dunno, you try to be nice, and look what happens.

  29. voltairespriest said,

    Maria’s a good tough cookie Lobby; she can take a hit in a strident debate. And as she knows, I think she’s OK even in spite of her weird religio-political views :D

    Paddy, what are you blithering on about? Have you found a “socialist” reason to object to medical research now?

  30. paddy garcia said,

    Just more than a bit suspicious of some scientists and doctors that.s all. Not against necessary medical research but to be honest some of these mad professors have truly warped minds.

  31. Will said,

    garcia — now there’s a truly mad cunt.

  32. Lobby Ludd said,

    “I will not be responding to your cod psycho-babble and shit…”

    I think you have, Will.

    As to ‘cod’ psycho-babble, that really hurts. Or does it? Perhaps bollocksy bollocks is better than the ordinary kind. Tell me.

  33. Red Maria said,

    I think the point I’m making is abundantly obvious: that gullible lefties will buy snakeoil from any smooth-talking salesman so long as he sticks the magic word “progress” on the label and throws in some bishop-bashing for good measure. I mean, Christ, some seven years after parliament legislated for human cloning on the grounds that it would cure Parkinsons, Alzheimers, Diabetes etc etc the best Modernityblog can come up with is a cure for mice.
    The question isn’t what I find morally unacceptable – though endless demands by bored science dons to experiment on human life backed by promises of miracle cures which never but never materialise do grate on the nerves – but how far the Gullible Left will go to suspend ethics on the basis of ever more fanciful returns. Breeding babies for their spare parts, perhaps? The slaying of the first born?
    I realise that hard-nosed investment decisions don’t come naturally to leftwingers but honestly, would anyone sink money into a company which had consistently underperformed its sector benchmark.

  34. paddy garcia said,

    Maria is spot on this one. Its not an issue of religion, but of ethics and morality. Its about time the left took a lead again on dare I say, moral and ethical issues without bringing god into it.
    As someone who opposes vivisection as bad science the mice argument is rather hollow.

  35. modernityblog said,

    “Breeding babies for their spare parts, perhaps? The slaying of the first born?”

    fairly typical of the irrational Left’s attitude towards science, throw around the hyperbole and hope that it clouds the issue sufficiently

    we should prepare ourselves for the spectre of the following exaggerations (Galloway’s Friday show is probably already scripted): Frankenstein science, BSE technology, scientists and mad cow disease, the arrogance of science, playing God, Hammer horror geneology, etc

    who knows maybe the Holy See has faxed/emailed out a briefing sheet on the subject with suitable inflammatory words for acolytes to use?

    I do hope, however, that along with this whole escapade that the religious cranks learn a bit of humility, and if they ask a question then it is probably best for them to read the article, honestly, and when their wild assertions have been shown to be false, they could for the sake of good manners at least acknowledge it, eh Maria?

  36. modernityblog said,

    geez, is Paddy “bombing civilians is acceptable for the right cause” Garica talking about moral and ethical issues?

    that’s a bit fucking surreal eh?

  37. Red Maria said,

    Yes, Veep, I’m a tough cookie who can take a punch but oh fuck, here comes “mentally” Will with his deeply rational and progressive Kill-the-Falangist-Bitch-tear-her-head-off-and-shit-down-the-trunk-as-I-wank-all-over-a-picture-of-Christopher-Hitchens trip. And I don’t know about you but maybe, just maybe I find such a deranged psyche in full online shriek mode less than conducive to thoughtful debate after a long day.

  38. Lobby Ludd said,

    “The question isn’t what I find morally unacceptable – though endless demands by bored science dons to experiment on human life backed by promises of miracle cures which never but never materialise do grate on the nerves – but how far the Gullible Left will go to suspend ethics on the basis of ever more fanciful returns.”

    I’m sorry, Red Maria, but it is a question of what you find morally unacceptable.You state:

    “The question isn’t what I find morally unacceptable …..but how far the Gullible Left will go to suspend ethics on the basis of ever more fanciful returns”

    I don’t think I have unfairly clipped what you wrote. You talk about the ‘Gullible Left’ suspending ethics. That is precisely about finding things morally unacceptable.

    Would you change your mind if the returns looked more certain?

  39. modernityblog said,

    Volty,

    why not post on the question on evolution vs. creationism/ID and the socialist attitude??

    that should prove to be a laugh as parts of the Irrational Left try to square 7 days, adam, eve, apple, etc with reality and the fossil records!

  40. Red Maria said,

    Lobby it is not just a question of what I and many others find morally unacceptable. When more and more ethically dubious practices – research on human embryos, cloning of human embryos for spare parts and the deliberate creation of human animal hybrid embryos -are justified on the basis of excitable claims of miraculousness – all of which have yielded precisely nothing, it is reasonable to ask when, or whether at all, ethical lines are drawn. Is anything justifiable for scientific research purposes? Is experimentation on the human embryo good in and of itself? If so, let’s drop the pretence that this has anything to do with curing diseases, since clearly it doesn’t.

  41. Red Maria said,

    One of Modernityblog’s earlier comments has just caught my attention.

    “I do hope, however, that along with this whole escapade that the religious cranks learn a bit of humility, and if they ask a question then it is probably best for them to read the article, honestly, and when their wild assertions have been shown to be false, they could for the sake of good manners at least acknowledge it, eh Maria?”

    I take his charge seriously. If he can show what wild assertions I have made and how they have been proven false I will indeed be happy to acknowledge the error.

  42. voltaires_priest said,

    Maria I quite agree that Will’s use of lingo isn’t conducive to debate, although I wouldn’t be looking over your shoulder on the way to the local supermarket either – it’s also not to be taken entirely seriously. ;)

  43. modernityblog said,

    “I take his charge seriously.

    then maybe you should READ what people write and in particular when you ask a question:

    RM (March 25, 2008 at 5:07 pm): “Can anyone name so much as one – one! – disease which has been cured through embryonic stem cell research?”

    MB: “as a first indication that the induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology can … cure mice of sickle cell anemia, “

    RM: “Nothing has come of embryonic stem cell research, nothing. ”

    MB: “did you read the articles? they have already cured sickle cell anaemia in mice, the very first step of a long process before implementing a human cure”

    RM: “Read all of them. The fact remains Embryonic Stem Cell Research has resulted thus far in a big fat nothing.”

    MB: “scientific and medical research does not produce viable treatments for humans in days, weeks or even months…“All the parameters we can measure are now normal,” Jaenisch said. </B“The mice are cured.” …“I think it is a really exciting proof-of-principle that clinical applications of iPS cells are technically feasible,” said George Q. Daley, a stem cell researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston. “There will be lots of unanticipated setbacks before we end up in the clinic, but this work suggests that we will ultimately get there.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/06/AR2007120602444.html

    thus a treatment which works on mice today, may well evolve into a successful cure for sickle cell anaemia in humans in a few years”

    RM: [big fat silence]

  44. paddy garcia said,

    What works with mice doesn’t necessarily mean it will work on humans does it?
    So as well as being one of Israels best friends you think its ok to torture and kill little animals in the name of “science” do you mod?

  45. Red Maria said,

    Forgive me, Modernityblog but I think the nature of my challenge was perfectly clear: name me one disease in humans which has been cured through embryonic stem cell research. The necessity of embryonic stem cell research and the creation of chimera embryos is not sold on the basis of its therapeutic efficacy among rodents. I think you knew perfectly well – it was, after all obvious – that I was referring to humans but yourself dishonestly tried to impugn me. I trust you will have the good grace to admit you were wrong to do so and stop evading the question, since my challenge remains.
    Name me one disease which has been cured as a result of embryonic stem cell research.

  46. Red Maria said,

    Just be absolutely explicit – so that Moderntiyblog quite understands – can he name one disease in humans which has as a matter of fact been cured through embryonic stem cell resarch. Could he give me just the fact itself, not a claim, not a maybe, not a probably or at-some-point-in-the-distant-future-this-is-the-first-step-and-its-very-exiting quotation forecasting fabulous miracles, just the fact itself. No claims, just facts. And if he could do so without recourse to the heavy type that would be even better.

  47. modernityblog said,

    “And if he could do so without recourse to the heavy type that would be even better.”

    it sometimes helps to indicate the precise point of disagreement, but then again as you seem to change the goalposts and solely want any discussion on your criteria then it is hard to argue with such an illogical approach

    1. I have already pointed out that this technology is in its early stages;
    2. anyone familiar with research would know that the development of full treatments for humans is the long process;
    3. the fact that this method has cured sickle cell anaemia in mice indicates that it MIGHT be part of a cure for that disease in humans

    (NB: might, because unlike God-given commands there are no absolute certainties in this type of research and we don’t know how it will unfold, unlike deities scientists do not know the extent of future events)

    thus if a technology is relatively new it is illogical to assume that it represents the full extent of that technology and that it will not develop into a potential cure for human ailments.

  48. modernityblog said,

    sociopathic Paddy Garcia wrote:

    you think its ok to torture and kill little animals in the name of “science” do you mod?

    there is no evidence that in this particular medical trial that mice were tortured, unless you think that every piece of research should be tried on humans from the outset and if that leads to deformities or death, it worth while paying the price?

    I would assume that is your position? although I’m never sure because you don’t seem to think your thoughts through

    I find it a rather strange that someone like you who thinks that blowing up pubs and killing civilians is not a big issue suddenly goes all weepy over mice, when they usually contribute to the valid development of medicines and research

    let’s remember Paddy’s views on Pub bombings:

    “If it was a pub full of squaddies, I would give them unconditional and uncritical support yes, no warning even the bastards deserve every nail that gets implanted in their brains.”

    never mind civilians in those pubs, Paddy thinks they are “Collaborators, anyone who hangs out with squaddies becomes a target.”

    http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2007/11/09/open-thread-on-the-middle-east/#comments

    so there is the contradiction

    Paddy is happy for pubs to be blown up, if it suit his political cause, but almost weeps at the thought of mice being used in medical research, which could benefit humanity in the long-term

    what a peculiar thought process Paddy has?

  49. paddy garcia said,

    How tiresome, you always bring up those links rather than engage in debate, guess it must make you feel better.
    Of course I don’t advocate testing on humans, we all know the arguments against vivisection as bad science, there are alternatives, here is one of many websites.
    http://www.uncaged.co.uk/vivisect.htm#relevance
    As a supporter of the Israeli apartheid regime am sure its you who doesn’t have a problem with testing on humans as long as they are Arabs.

  50. Red Maria said,

    Modernityblog, if anyone is moving goalposts it is you. You have referred thus far only to embryonic stem cell research therapies in rodents – I asked for successful applications in humans. You have speculated as to why embryonic stem cell research has thus far failed to live up to the wild claims made for it. But you have studiously avoided giving a straight answer to my very direct question. Since you are so obviously familiar with the research I find this decidedly odd.
    I must press you for a direct answer: can you name one disease in humans which has been cured as a result of embryonic stem cell research?

  51. modernityblog said,

    Paddy wrote:

    “How tiresome, you always bring up those links rather than engage in debate, ”

    I am merely pointing out your sociopathic inclination, how you continually argue in bad faith and the discrepancy between your love of mice and salivating at the thought of pubs being blown up (for the right cause) and civilian deaths (humans, that is)

  52. modernityblog said,

    RM wrote:

    I asked for successful applications in humans.

    NO, you didn’t

    RM (March 25, 2008 at 5:07 pm):

    “Can anyone name so much as one - one! – disease which has been cured through embryonic stem cell research?”

    that **disease** (note) the word was sickle cell anaemia, albeit in mice

  53. Little Bat-faced Girl said,

    As an addendum to this thought provoking discussion, is it just me to notice the amazing coincidence that Lord Sainsbury made a £2 million donation to the Labour party towards the end of last year? Not the first time that the multi-million pound investor in human biotechnology has made such a donation immediately before legislation with such implications governing the future of biomedical research – after donating around £7 million to Labour during the build-up to the 1997 election, Sainsbury subsequently awarded a peerage before being made Government Minister for Science in 1998. Less than a year before the Human Cloning (Amendment) Act, in fact.

    Now Modernityblog, back to Maria’s challenge to produce a example of a disease or condition as a result of embryonic stem cell research – the world is waiting.

  54. paddy garcia said,

    Actually I have no great love of mice or other rodents, just don’t agree with animal cruelty and like many others am opposed to vivisection.

  55. voltaires_priest said,

    In other words you’d rather not do medical research, than do it on iddie biddie micies. Do have this argument with someone who was seriously ill and has benefitted from animal medical research.

  56. voltaires_priest said,

    Maria – albeit that you’re clearly not a scientist of any kind, I’m sure you know the difference between research and sales figures. Going “where are the results! positive outcomes now!” would work if we were discussing sales figures for toasters but we’re not. The whole point of scientific research of any kind is that it’s an ongoing process, and incomplete processes don’t give you “results” of the a+b=c kind that you seem to be demanding.

    And whilst we’re at it, why don’t you be straight up about your reasons for objecting to stem cell research, which I don’t believe have anyhing at all to do with results?

  57. stroppybird said,

    Perhaps the results would be quicker of we packed all sick people off to lourdes.

    I believe they do a rather nifty line in quickie miracles and snakeoil superstition.I mean , scientists can’t do resurrections can they.

    Of course, as Volty says, we could stick to slower, more rigourous evidence based research…

  58. Little Bat-faced Girl said,

    Excellent point, stroppybird.

    Now just show me what nearly twenty years of such “research” has generated in terms of cures in humans since experiments on embryos were permitted by the original Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, and I will be happy to concede the point.

  59. stroppybird said,

    As a number of us have pointed out science is slow, it takes time.

    I am not saying stem cells will work, but we have to try all options. But I would rather put my ‘faith’ in science, which has produced cures, treatments and better understanding of human illness . Mod has pointed out where it is at, early stages re mice, but as Volty also points out this takes time. 20 years is not a long time in terms of finding cures.

    What is the alternative, prayer and hope for an afterlife for those who die early from incurable diseases? A bit of faith healing? Where is the evidence for miracles and superstition.

    So no, its not produced a quick fix, and it could take many many more years. And from reserach other options may come up . But to say its not quick enough is not really the real reason behind the religious lobby objecting is it, its based on their beliefs. if there was a quick result, oh you know, on a par with the lourdes quickie, then would you be happy?

    Be honest, you would still disagree, as would the bishops and priests .

    So wat do you suggest as an alternative ?

  60. Little Bat-faced Girl said,

    Re: Stroppybird (9.17)

    An excellent alternative, as has been pointed out by another commenter, is adult stem cells. Unlike ESCs, these have already produced cures in humans (for 59 conditions including sickle cell disease, thallasaemia and leukaemia), with none of the scientific obstacles that have occurred through ESC research. Genuine cures versus hit and hope – I know which form of science I choose to put my “faith” in.

    Sadly your flippancy in disregarding a proven treatment source is repeated by many other commentators – including Parliamentarians – who fail to understand the nature of commercial science, i.e. that where Government funding is provided to one outlet, it is therefore withheld or reduced for another. Funding for embryonic stem cell research is not only unlikely to result in any cures (hence figures such as Prof. Ian Wilmut, creator of Dolly the Sheep and originally cheerleader-in-chief for ESC research, has now discontinued using ECSs and moved onto using adult stem cells), but will restrict funding from adult stem cell technology which has demonstrated genuine therapy potential.

    With regards to your point around cures taking time, no-one in the scientific community doubts that – but as authorities such as Prof. Neil Scolding, Director of Neuroscience at Bristol University has stated, when scientists give a figure of over fifteen years before a possible insight is found, this invariably means they have no idea. And as I suspect from your previous postings, neither have you.

  61. stroppybird said,

    So are your only objections how long it takes and whether it can be proven, without any doubt and quickly? Nothing else that may be affecting your judgement on this?

    Do you apply the same rigour to, Oh I don’t know, the belief that some bloke years back rose from the dead, that people are cured at Lourdes and other such evidence based asserions ?

    Would you have no qualms if someone had been cured quickly with this type of research? Is this the basis of the Catholic and CofE’s objections ?

    I mean the catholic church are happy to ignore evidence when it does not fit, such as the role condoms play in preventing HIV transmission.

    The argument from religious spokespeople is not on grounds of how effective it is, but on their belief that this is wrong morally.

    When it comes to research into cures, surely all options should be tried and given time?

  62. stroppybird said,

    Oh and bat faced girl, not by any chance a clone of Red Maria…you seem so alike .

  63. twp77 said,

    I don’t understand why we should be in favour of funding for some types of research and not others. Ok keep funding adult stem cell research but also start funding embryonic research as well.

  64. Little Bat-faced Girl said,

    My objections to the use of embryonic stem cells is the same as any other form of research, namely that if assurances are made these must be accounted for.

    Any pharmaceutical company will carry out a minimum annual audit of the progress of its research projects and drug developments. If these do not cut the mustard, funding is withdrawn and transferred to other projects with a greater chance of success. If this is the case in the corporate research world, why should this be any different in the case of Government funding and legislation?

    Pro-cloning campaigners Robin Lovell-Badge and Stephen Minger have assured both Parliament and the research world that embryonic stem cell research can hold the key to curing debilitating conditions. They have produced nothing to date, and must be held to account for these assurances.

    Or perhaps you would prefer money earmarked for medical research to continue to be diverted in the direction of white elephants, as long as any “scientist” can be dug up to show support – or are your objections exclusive to procedures opposed by the Catholic Church? What an insightful starting point for scientific debate.

  65. Little Bat-faced Girl said,

    Oh and Stroppybird, are you perchance related to twp77? You sound so alike.

  66. modernityblog said,

    if we were to apply the “time and effectivity” argument from Red Maria, then you wouldn’t be using personal computers nowadays

    when “modern” computers* were first developed around WW2, they were large and fairly useless, massive calculators, incredibly costly, mostly valves based and required specialist staff just to keep them ticking over, much later as computing entered business these machines were still massive (the size of a dozen or more upright fridge freezers) and still you couldn’t wordprocess a document or use a spreadsheet, as computing developed machines got slightly smaller but costly and the idea of personal computers was an absurd idea, rejected by leading figures in the industry

    but low and behold, from the first general-purpose massive computers to the advent of the IBM PC was nearly 40 years, and over a decade after that before we had web browsers, so in total about 50 years between the start of the “process” and the result

    just one example how science and technology can take time

    on the basis of the time and effectivity arguments, which still be using pencils and paper, instead of communicating internationally across the Web and taking for granted laptops, PDA, mobile phones and personal computers, which are all later developments of those first computers


    * I’m excluding Babbage and other mechanical versions

  67. stroppybird said,

    So if it could be shown that it worked, would you no longer have any objections and would the Catholic Church support it?

    I don’t base my views on whether the Catholic Church agrewes or opposes btw, just as I don’t read horoscopes or now walk under ladders…all to me are nonsense with no basis in evidence.

    What I find interesting is the shrieks for evidence from people who believe fairy stories such as that people can come back from the dead and that there is a god.
    Why is not the same intellectual rigour focused on the supposed miracles of religion ?

    So, if it could be proved to work, and produce quick results of cures, would you support this research with embryos?

    Would the Catholic Church come out in favour of it?

  68. stroppybird said,

    Not related, but then again I don’t use lots of made up names unlike some people, I just stick to ‘stroppybird’.

    Perhaps I should create some more names to boost my argument, all agreeing with me of course.

  69. stroppybird said,

    Mod

    perhaps a few prayers might have speeded up the process with computers and such like.

  70. twp77 said,

    Hmm well given your opposition appears to be because you do in fact support the Catholic Church’s opposition on “moral” grounds, I find it harder to take your word that your real reason for opposition is because of the necessity of proof.

  71. twp77 said,

    And yes I am a separate person – mind you’ve never had the good fortune to meet me in person I suspect but most people here have.

  72. stroppybird said,

    Tami

    Which is why RM/BFG hasnt answered the question as to whether she would support it if there was conclusive eveidence of quick results and cures .

    I somehow doubt she or the catholic church would.Its nothing to do with effectiveness, just as it isnt with condoms and HIV.

  73. modernityblog said,

    Stroppy

    pray in front of computers? what blasphemy! heresy

    burn the heretic :)

    which reminds me:

    “The Catholic Church dominated medieval Europe, and Christian teaching often implied that illness was the result of sin. Prayer became an important part of healing. St Lucy was martyred in 304 AD during the persecution of the Christians by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. She became a patron of eye problems because legend told how she never wished to marry, and when a suitor admired her eyes, she plucked them out in scorn to discourage his advances. Miraculously they grew back again. St Lucy is often depicted holding a pair of eyes on a plate.”

    http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/images/I023/10284994.aspx?keywords=became

  74. stroppybird said,

    “burn the heretic”

    or perhaps a little Catholic BDSM a la opus dei would suffice ;-)

  75. Little Bat-faced Girl said,

    Glad to hear it Stroppybird – though from your previous posts which appear to revolve almost entirely around what the Catholic Church thinks about any particular subject, one could be forgiven for thinking you have more than a passing obsession.

    To answer your question, I would take some convincing that the difficulties with embryonic stem cells, namely the high incidence rate of ESCs forming potentially cancerous tumours, had been completely overcome before I allowed these to be used on me or mine:

    http://www.iovs.org/cgi/content/abstract/45/12/4251

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16846010

    Notice in the second study, the author referred to experiments being performed on human foetuses – hardly an opinion likely to be swayed either way by the views of any faith group. Speaking of which, I have no idea whether the Catholic Church or any other would come out in favour of ESC research – I don’t claim to know the minds of others. My guess is that, not unlike the studies collated from human experiments carried out on interred Jews and trade unionists during WW2 (the results of which pharmaceutical firms have continued to use in comparisons alongside modern drug research data), it would object to results gleaned from destructive research – but we digress.

    The cures via adult stem cells are demonstrable, safe and active – once again, where are the cures from embryonic stem cells to back up your arguments?

    Evidence needed, please.

  76. twp77 said,

    This is a ridiculous catch-22 question. You ask where are the embryonic stem cell cures when you know full well that this is a new area of science. That’s the whole point – to give funding to a new area of science so that they can possibly find cures base on scientific hypothesis – this is how new science begins. Due to the work that you yourself have highlighted on adult stem cells, scientists then postulate that similar and perhaps superior reults can be had by undertaking more work on embryonic stem cells.

    Let me ask you a question as well on this so called “destructive research” – do you have a period every month? Ok maybe you’ve hit menopause by now but who knows. Anyway, if you were sexually active at any point in your life where there was any possibility an egg could be fertalised then you are dealing – scientifically – with an embryo. Do you know what happens to the overwhelming majority of fertilised eggs? Most of them get flushed out every month with your cycle because they fail to become implanted in the wall of the ueterus. But these are still “embryos” – do you think it is “destructive” for women to have their normal monthly cycles because some embryos may be destroyed? This is the logic of claiming that stem cell research is “destructive” because the unstated assumption is that embryos are somehow human beings.

  77. Little Bat-faced Girl said,

    A “new” area of science, TWP? Embryo research has taken place since the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, and even before following the 1984 Warnock Report (incidentally, Baroness Warnock herself stated within that same report that “only a fool would deny that life does not begin at fertilisation” – congratulations on proving that assertion).

    Once again however, you fail to address the central point – embryonic research has FAILED to live up to its initial expectation/assurances, and this particular crack cannot be papered over.

    Unless practitioners of embryonic stem cell research can produce evidence to back up the hype, they should be defunded, and their funding transferred to viable alternatives that will produce the goods. Adult stem cell research has done this, and has demonstrated that further treatments can be reached with greater funding.

    Instead, you are talking about further extensions to an already out-of-date law, and continued funding being diverted away from scientifically sound research. It is precisely this approach which will lengthen the time taken to discover cures for debilitating conditions – and all the religious/anti-religious hyperbole does not change that fact.

  78. stroppybird said,

    Nope batface, Im not a single issue obsessive . Just take a pop at the superstitious and those who would impose their own religious beliefs on others, such as women being able to control their own body or making vile statements about LGBT people. Just so happens that is often the catholic Church, but hey Im happy to take a pop at anyone who thinks a religious belief has any more validity than any other. In fact I have been accused of fosusing on Islam on my blog and you say the Catholic Church.

    The point a number of us are making is that science takes time, so no, no miracles, but then I dont happen to believe in such fairytales.

    Oh and I though you were the resident expert on the teachings of the catholic Church, so might have been able to give an educated guess on whether they would change their position on this if it was shown to result in cures for any serious illnesses.

    So, speaking for yourself, and perhaps of course the strangely quite Red Maria, would you change your position.

    Hypothetically speaking, if suddenly there was some breakthrough tomorrow bringing about a cure for say MS, would you support the research?

    As you are so fond of saying, answer the question .

    Is it just effectiveness that is the issue ?

    And come on, im sure you can make a stab at it, would the Catholic Church change its views or has it nothing to do with effectiveness at all in their case?

  79. Red Maria said,

    I can speak for myself as Little Bat Faced Girl can speak for herself and so leave it to her to take her interlocutor for a gentle walk around the philosophical block. It would be infra dig for me to do so. After all, would Anna Pavlova dance a pas de deux with Miss Piggy?

    I must however do justice to Veep’s questions by answering him with a question of my own. Why, precisely, is he in favour of the creation of human-animal hybrids? In his evidence to the parliamentary Joint Committee on the Bill, the government’s own Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, said that “there was no clear scientific argument as to why you would want to do it… the scientific arguments for wanting to do it are not particularly strong or convincing, or even existent”.

  80. voltaires_priest said,

    I’m in favour of medical research on stem cells because it might find medical knowledge that could cure sick people, Maria. Now are you really: against it, sinnuh? ;)

  81. stroppybird said,

    Ahh yes, Red Maria feels it below someone of her great intellect to debate with me.
    Such as shame, as one of the left’s leading authorities on the catholic church, i’m sure she could have helped with the question as to whether they would back this if it could be shown to produce cures, albeit a little slower than Lourdes .

    And of course not avoid those difficult questions herself and be upfront about why she is unlikely to ever agree with the research.

    ‘Miss Piggy’, slipping a bit on the insult department , usually much more scathing of me than that, still perhaps it was early and only the one bottle of wine had been consumed. Don’t really hit your stride in the insult department till bout 4am .

    So Bat face, care to answer the questions.

  82. Little Bat-faced Girl said,

    Some rather petulant responses Stroppybird. I’m interested in debating the merits of proven scientific therapies, but feel free to wallow in any point that evades the central question of evidence. It’s a tactic which you seem to repeat pretty often.

    As I have said, ESCs must demonstrate both safety and efficacy as in the case of any other drug or medical therapy, to the satisfaction of NICE and the MHRA. However, this is unlikely to happen since, as demonstrated by your continued evasion of the question in point, there is not a whiff of a cure in sight, after twenty years of trying. Not one.

    As for a cure or breakthrough for MS arising, I would – and do – support the research. See the below:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1904310/posts

    http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2007/5625.html

    http://www.thisisms.com/ftopicp-26636.html

    As Prof. Scolding states in the latter articles, adult stem cells are already providing insights not only into MS, but Parkinson’s and diabetes. More funding into adult stem cells will generate more cures, faster and safer. More funding into ESCs however offers only promises of something in twenty years plus.

    Now, if you were a patient currently suffering from Parkinson’s or MS, which form of treatment would you want Government funding to support?

    I await your answer with my usual anticipation.

  83. Little Bat-faced Girl said,

    Stroppybird,

    I must say that your last few responses have been rather petulant, some might say childish. You might say that I have an interest in debating the merits of proven scientific therapies, but feel free to wallow in any point that evades the central question of evidence. It does seem to be a habit which you repeat pretty often.

    To answer your question (again), ESCs must demonstrate both safety and efficacy as in the case of any other drug or medical therapy, to the satisfaction of NICE and the MHRA. However, this is unlikely to happen since, as demonstrated by your continued evasion of the question in point, there is not a whiff of a cure in sight, after twenty years of trying. Not one.

    As for a cure or breakthrough for MS arising, I would – and do – support the research. See the below:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focu…t/1904310/ posts

    http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2007/…/2007/ 5625.html

    http://www.thisisms.com/ftopicp-…picp- 26636.html

    As Prof. Scolding states in the latter articles, adult stem cells are already providing insights not only into MS, but Parkinson’s and diabetes.

    In short, this discussion concerns efficacy, not ethics. More funding into adult stem cells will generate more cures, faster and safer. More funding into ESCs however offers only promises of something in twenty years plus. If you were a patient currently suffering from Parkinson ’s or MS, which form of treatment would you REALLY want Government funding to support?

    The question still stands, and I will await your answer with my usual anticipation.

    Maggie
    (LBFG)

  84. modernityblog said,

    “More funding into adult stem cells will generate more cures, faster and safer. More funding into ESCs however offers only promises of something in twenty years plus. If you were a patient currently suffering from Parkinson ’s or MS, which form of treatment would you REALLY want Government funding to support?”

    again a supposition, adult stem cell research MIGHT generate more cure, but without a crystal ball we won’t know that for certain

    but it is false to counterpoise the various forms of stem cell research, it may well be, in the future, that there is a crossover of methods and that they prove complimentary fields of research

    so research in ALL aspects should continue, in my view

    and this nonsense about “Frankenstein science” is surely reactionary intent and consequence

  85. Little Bat-faced Girl said,

    Not a supposition at all, Modernityblog – as stated previously, adult stem cell research has already yielded 59 cures (and counting) in humans for conditions including sickle cell, thallasaemia and spinal-cord injury. Do try to keep up.

    In terms of other conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimers and MS, the very fact that adult stem cells are being used in live HUMAN trials following successful experiments in both rodents and cadavers demonstrates their superiority in terms of both safety and efficacy. The question still remains: where are the comparable results from embryonic stem cells?

    As for the opinion that “ALL aspects should continue” (I think you mean “both disciplines”, but then neither definition nor grammar appear to be your strong points), I have already pointed out that funding for one such pharmaceutical project inevitably means diluted or withheld funding for another – so further support of such white elephants as embryonic stem cells, regardless of the ethical debate, will hold up cures arising from adult stem cell research.

    And that, I can assure you, holds very great consequence.

  86. modernityblog said,

    let’s look at your points:

    1. “More funding into adult stem cells will generate more cures, faster and safer. ”

    that is your contention, and whilst I’m not denying it I am making the bloody obvious point, that such cures will be in the future, and by definition and logic we don’t know what is going to occur in the future, do we?

    you are suggesting it is highly probable, that might be the case, then again it might not be, there may be some plateau, who knows? where’s your crystal ball?

    2. “I have already pointed out that funding for one such pharmaceutical project inevitably means diluted or withheld funding for another ”

    again this is not some iron rule of government or science, you are suggesting that because in the past there has been limited funding that there must be some restriction in the future, I assume that such projects are assessed on some criteria? and that projects with potential are granted funding?

    if you have some specialist knowledge which suggests that any old project gets funding and thus that automatically removes funding from other areas, then please inform us

    but we seem to have moved the goalposts somewhat?

    PS: don’t worry about my grammar and I won’t worry about your petulant insults :)

  87. curly said,

    There are some very strange and worrying concepts in this proposed legislation.
    A free vote over certain clauses is not enough, Brown should allow a free vote on the third reading too!

  88. voltaires_priest said,

    Curly;

    I’m told you’re South Tyneside’s Premier Blogger. Any truth in this grandiose claim from amongst a crowded field?

  89. Red Maria said,

    Speaking of grandiose claims, those made for the fabulous properties of embryonic stem cell research are still being glibly trotted out by the Gullible Left. One wonders what prompts this collective suspension of disbelief among those who trumpet their commitment to enlightenment values. The chance, the mere possibility that it could lead to some medical knowledge which could lead to therapies for debilitating and fatal diseases. Rarely has so much been demanded for so little. This prompts the inevitable question, which I cordially bat back to Voltaire’s Priest: how far would you go in pursuit of the still-distant holy grail of disease elimination and what, if any, ethical boundaries would you draw?

  90. Jim Denham said,

    None: just so long as our political system is under the control of bourgeois democracy, and not Nazis supported (as they were during WW2) by the Catholic Church and people like Hitlers’ Pope, Pius X11.

  91. voltaires_priest said,

    Maria. You still haven’t answered my initial question, and the fact that you’re being disingenuous to this degree suggests you know what an achilles heel the answer is for you.

    Again – why do you really disagree with embryonic stem cell research?

  92. Little Bat-faced Girl said,

    Dear oh dear, Modernityblog. Despite your “bloody obvious point”, you persist in ignoring the most obvious point of all – ADULT STEM CELLS HAVE PROVIDED CURES. Not as a possibility far off in the future, but in the here and now – to the extent that adult and umbilical cell banking services are now offered to mothers of new-borns as a matter of course.

    You point towards (failed) experiments on rats, ASCs have cured patients of 59 previously terminal/persistent debilitating conditions. There is no evidence whatsoever that ESCs have the potential to even compete with adult cells, despite embryonic experimentation having been around for twice the time. Quite simply (as previously discussed, displayed and demonstrated), adult stem cells have outstripped their embryonic counterparts in terms of efficacy, safety and speed – so yes, adult stem cells have and will generate more cures, faster and safer.

    Like your equally gullible comrade Stroppybird, you seem to have bought into the idea that if a church or faith group supports a practice or principle, it must be opposed – if opposed, support it in the face of all evidence to the contrary. You clearly have no other points to make, still less any salient evidence, and your desperate scrabbling for an incisive-sounding question makes this all the more obvious.

    If however you have in mind an study on humans using embryonic stem cells, which have provided anything like the level of cure or improvement as those using adult stem cells that I have mentioned, feel free to prove me wrong.

  93. curly said,

    Voltaire’s Priest,

    Premier, doesn’t the word mean “first”?

    Now, as I was the first political blogger in South Tyneside way back in 2004, I think I am entitled to the claim. I have since been joined by four or five others.

  94. Red Maria said,

    Not at all, Veep. I don’t think rejecting the view that the end justifies the means – which is what your position boils down to – is anything like an achilles heel. Mind you, I do think the unshakeable faith (I use the word deliberately since it doesn’t seem to rest on empirical evidence and the excitable rhetoric employed has a definitely evangelical flavour) in embryonic stem cell research, is at variance with the oft asserted commitment to enlightenment values.

  95. Will said,

    “Now, as I was the first political blogger in South Tyneside way back in 2004, I think I am entitled to the claim. I have since been joined by four or five others.”

    Arsehole — fuckpig and ignorant cunt.

    http://www.gentheoryrubbish.com/2004/05/intent.html

    Killl tories — exterminate them.

    X

  96. Lobby Ludd said,

    It is, of course, very understandable that quite who was the first political blogger on ‘South Tyneside ‘ should enrage certain people.

    Death-threats are perfectly understandable in such matters.

    After all, you don’t go about saving all your pocket-money from your paper-round, only to discover that somebody else has got a blog too.

    I’m not sure where ‘South Tyneside ‘ is, but I expect it is very important.

  97. modernityblog said,

    in fairness Will’s very early entries are very informative and funny, not a feck, fuck or what have you in sight.

  98. Lobby Ludd said,

    Moralityblog re comment #97, you are wrong – check his comments.

    Will is a silly little boy of no consequence – his violent fantasies re fighting fascists (or anyone, really) mean nothing. He hasn’t done it, won’t do it, and doesn’t understand what it means.

    God save us from keyboard warriors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 460 other followers

%d bloggers like this: