Pharyngula

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I didn’t listen to the State of the Union Address last night, preferring to maintain my equanimity by attending a talk on quantum physics, but I knew I could trust my readers to email me with choice weird science bits. I’m getting a lot of “WTF?” email about this statement from Bush:

Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research, human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling or patenting human embryos.

It’s pure political calculus. He throws away the mad scientist and pig-man vote, and wins the religious ignoramus vote…and we know which one has the majority here.

But guess what? Creating chimeras is legitimate and useful scientific research; it’s really happening. Of course, it isn’t with the intent of creating monstrous half-animal/half-human slaves or something evil like that, and scientists are well aware (or should be well aware) of the ethical concerns, and it’s the topic of ongoing debate. Let’s consider one recent example of such an experiment.

Down syndrome is a very common genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra chromosome 21. That kind of genetic insult causes a constellation of problems: mild to moderate mental retardation, heart defects, and weakened immune systems, and various superficial abnormalities. It’s also a viable defect, and produces walking, talking, interacting human beings who are loved by their friends and families, who would really like to be able to do something about those lifespan-reducing health problems. We would love to have an animal model of Down syndrome, so that, for example, we could figure out exactly what gene overdose is causing the immune system problems or the heart defects, and develop better treatments for them.

So what scientists have been doing is inserting human genes into mice, to produce similar genetic overdoses in their development. As I reported before, there have been partial insertions, but now a team of researchers has inserted a complete human chromosome 21 into mouse embryonic stem cells, and from those generated a line of aneuploid mice that have many of the symptoms of Down syndrome, including the heart defects. They also have problems in spatial learning and memory that have been traced back to defects in long-term potentiation in the central nervous system.

These mice are a tool to help us understand a debilitating human problem.

George W. Bush would like to make them illegal.

He’s trusting that everyone will think he is banning monstrous crimes against nature, but what he’s really doing is targeting the weak and the ill, blocking useful avenues of research that are specifically designed to help us understand human afflictions. His message isn’t “We aren’t going to let the mad scientists make monsters!”, it’s “We aren’t going to let the doctors help those ‘retards.'”

Once again, the ignorance and the bigotry of the religious right wins out over reason and humanitarianism. I think I know who the real pig-men are.


O’Doherty A, Ruf S, Mulligan C, Hildreth V, Errington ML, Cooke S, Sesay A, Modino S, Vanes L, Hernandez D, Linehan JM, Sharpe PT, Brandner S, Bliss TV, Henderson DJ, Nizetic D, Tybulewicz VL, Fisher EM. (2005) An aneuploid mouse strain carrying human chromosome 21 with Down syndrome phenotypes. Science 309(5743):2033-7.

Comments

  1. #1 David
    February 1, 2006

    Manimals! Invertabroads! You must fight back
    against the one who did this to you!

  2. #2 jbark
    February 1, 2006

    Just a side note: Down’s Syndrome usually results in mild to moderate retardation, but severe and profound retardation can result as well. You just don’t tend to see these people because they often end up spending their entire lives in a home.

    I only mention this because it shouldn’t be thought that all parents of Down’s children are lucky enough to have walking, talking, interacting children.

    Which only heightens the callousness of Bush’s remarks, of course.

  3. #3 David Wilford
    February 1, 2006

    I didn’t think my opinion of Bush could go any lower, but once again I misunderestimated how low it could go.

  4. #4 Steve Sutton
    February 1, 2006

    We need a progressive president, not a regressive one, like Bush. It wouldn’t surprise me, if he supported burning scientists at the stake.

  5. #5 Frito
    February 1, 2006

    I am just shocked by this. He is against diabetics, burn victims, people with faulty organs, AIDS victims, cancer vicims as well as people with genetic disorders.

    And he is against all those people, not because he knows anything about science, but because of a snip in his holy book and 1950’s style comics.

    And if the harm to actual people isn’t enough, he is also destroying the future strength of the U.S. economy, of which Biotech is one of the few shining hopes.

  6. #6 KeithB
    February 1, 2006

    Just to be a little fair to GWB, I can guess that what he means are attempts at human-ape crosses like those rumoured to have taken place in the Soviet Union, of course, what he *said* was something different.

  7. #7 derek
    February 1, 2006

    A human-chimp hybrid might become President one day. Oh, wait…

  8. #8 TomS
    February 1, 2006

    I ignored last night’s SotU address because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about GWB after 5 years, it’s that he says one thing and does another, or says one thing and means another (“Clear Skies”, anyone?). There’s not much point in paying attention to that comment, other than using it as a signpost that something else will need our attention in the future.

  9. #9 justawriter
    February 1, 2006

    Great post, PZ. You should recraft it into a letter to the editor (personally I would only change the first paragraph, the rest is gold!) and shoot it out to every ARC chapter in America. I’d love to see it appear in the Grand Forks Herald because the disability support community is very strong here and very politically active.

  10. #10 george
    February 1, 2006

    Here, here.

    Of course Lubos Motl considers this a stroke of Bush’s genius. Ignoramus is as ignoramus does…

  11. #11 Rich Blinne
    February 1, 2006

    Unless the scientific community polices itself better you will get more of this. Instead of saying people have legitimate ethical concerns that should be addressed rationally, they get dismissed as religious ignoramuses. What about the current Korean ESC scandal? We condescendingly say “Human embryos would never be abused in the name of scientific research.” Bzzzt.

    Note Dr. Francis Collins’ comments in his 2003 Keynote before the ASA:

    Let me finish with a quick glimpse of where we are going in the future as we contemplate our own instruction book and dream of what we might be able to do with that to alleviate suffering and to better the lot of humankind. There are a number of ethical issues that are raised by this. Is this a treasure chest or Pandora’s box?

    One message that this raises comes from Prov. 19:2: “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge.? Some observers are getting pretty worked up about genetics and the dangers of it, but are worrying about the wrong things. As scientists we have a great obligation to explain ourselves, what our science is about, and what it can and cannot do.
    The time for a geneticist or in fact any scientist to go into the lab and close the door and let somebody else worry about the consequences of scientific advancement has passed.

    You can make the argument in a much more winsome manner that actually might change people’s minds. Something like this:

    “Because evolution is true we can use animal models to treat and cure human disease without destroying or hurting human life. For example, we can use mouse models to understand the nature of Down’s Syndrome.”

    It is not the chimera that causes the ethical concerns but rather it is the destruction of human life. You address that concern and the proposals like what was discussed last night will slowly disappear.

  12. #12 BronzeDog
    February 1, 2006

    Manimals! Invertabroads! You must fight back
    against the one who did this to you!

    Why? My only responsibilities are to eat and sleep. Eat and sleep and sleep. And eat… I need to find some time to fit mating in there.

  13. #13 Steve LaBonne
    February 1, 2006

    Rich, classifying an embryo as “human life” rather than what it is- POTENTIALLY human life (do you have any idea of the natural rate of spontaneous abortions, for example?)- is not an ethical position at all; merely a theological one, which is not at all the same thing.

  14. #14 Punc_E
    February 1, 2006

    What is the law? Not to spill blood, not to go on all fours, not to make chimerae. That is the law. Are we not men?

  15. #15 lt.kizhe
    February 1, 2006

    President panders to anti-manimal lobby!
    Hey, if Georgie-Boy can save us from horrors like this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085898/
    …I’m all for it!
    😉

  16. #16 Gerardo Camilo
    February 1, 2006

    The Island of Lost Souls is 100X better than the Brando version, where the only scary thing was Brando himself.

  17. #17 arensb
    February 1, 2006

    What is the law? Not to spill blood, not to go on all fours, not to make chimerae. That is the law. Are we not men?

    We are Devo! D-E-V-O!

    (Sorry, someone had to do it.)

    Gratuitous bonus Oingo Boingo reference.

  18. #18 SM
    February 1, 2006

    Steve – that is a really interesting point about the rate of spontaneous abortions. Actually it gives me an idea of a great way to highlight the fact that fertilised embryos are only potential human life, not actual human life – force the fringe lunatics (e.g., the modern GOP) to say whether or not women who suffer spontaneous abortions should be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

  19. #19 Rich
    February 1, 2006

    Steve, that’s precisely the kind of tone that should be avoided. So what if I or others come to an ethical conclusion based upon theological considerations? Do you know my life so well that you know that my wife had two miscarriages that we know of and a stillbirth?

    If development is the basis for something being potential rather than actual life then a child is potential life because she is not at her full height. Both sides of this debate try to make science the arbiter here where it cannot be that. You have to bring in things from outside science in order to determine whether an embryo is human life or not. Some use religion. Others do not.

    Realizing there is a diversity of opinion here and a diversity of how we come to our opinions, respectful, civil discourse does not demean or demonize the other side. If we spent more time listening and less time yelling at each other we would find out we have far more common ground than we realize. As it stands right now we have State of Dis-Union speeches where people stand in applause only on one side of the aisle or the other. Pathetic.

  20. #20 jbark
    February 1, 2006

    “As it stands right now we have State of Dis-Union speeches where people stand in applause only on one side of the aisle or the other. Pathetic.”

    Yes, and the blame for this can be laid squarely at the feet of scientists, bloggers, and concerned onlookers.

    It has nothing to do with the wholesale embrace of demagoguery and dishonesty by right wing pundits, politicians, and writers.

    If we’d all just been nicer Rush’s show would have never got off the ground, Ann Coulter wouldn’t have sold a couple million books, and Rick Santorum never would have been elected.

  21. #21 Mr. Upright
    February 1, 2006

    I couldn’t bear to listen to MonkeyMan’s screeching last night, but I will say that chimeras were the first thing I though of when I heard that part of the speech on the news this morning.

    My girlfriend back in grad school created a mouse model of sickle-cell anemia, so I have a passing familiarity with the subject. Is giving a mouse the sickle-cell gene “creating a human/animal hybrid”? I imagine one could make that case.

    If so, I weep for biomedical research. Given the political savvy of the folks in that field (way better than the physicists who doomed the SSC), I suspect they will get Congress to protect such research.

  22. #22 MoxieGrrrl
    February 1, 2006

    Yes, finally! Someone has stood up and refused to accept the possibilities of centaurs and mermaids!

    Round up the old AD&D gang so we can build a great army to defeat these abominations, and someone get that Potter kid on the phone! I hear he’s pretty good at handling this kind of thing.

  23. #23 John P
    February 1, 2006

    There is about 10^-9 probability that the ethics of abortion will be hashed out and decided here.

    Rich, if you believe an embryo is human life, than I have some practical questions for you. Let’s say the mother has a life insurance policy covering all her dependent children. She conceives (within matrimony) and the resulting blastocyst fails to implant, a completely natural process. It is flushed out of her body by her feminine secretions and ends up in the wash or the toilet. No doubt this happens millions of times/day around the world. Should mom file a claim with her life insurance provider? Should there be a memorial service with a funeral? Should she be arrested for homicide? After all, the failure to implant might be her fault.

    These practical considerations are completely ignored by those who oppose abortion.

  24. #24 PaulC
    February 1, 2006

    KeithB:

    Just to be a little fair to GWB, I can guess that what he means are attempts at human-ape crosses like those rumoured to have taken place in the Soviet Union, of course, what he *said* was something different.

    No. What he means is he’s prepared to ban whatever his fundie backers tell him he has to ban. What he suggests is that he’s banning something obviously repugnant and immoral. The main consequence is that scientists are prevented from doing their work and bioethicists are prevented from influencing policy based on the actual ethical issues. Meanwhile, Bush scores political points with his base and gets to insinuate that anyone who questions him is a backer of “attempts at human-ape crosses like those rumoured to have taken place in the Soviet Union.” I see little evidence to suggest that Bush cares about any of this beyond the political implications.

  25. #25 balloon pirate
    February 1, 2006

    Rich, you make very good points. Your call for civility in discourse is commendable. Unfortunately, it seems to me that very few people in the neocon/religious right camp share your desires. Most assume a far more strident, rude tone.

    You may counter that those of us in the secular/scientific/liberal camp seem to be rather uncivil as well, but I would say that this is a reflection of the vitriol encountered, rather than the actual tone many of us would normally assume.

    This president, and his allies, constantly use issues like these to engender fear in their constituents, rather than debate. The ‘talking points’ that all the pundits use frame the debate so far out of the pale that it leaves the other side the burden of trying to bring the actual debate back into the realm of the real, all the while being assaulted by rude, uneducated, and often deliberately untruthful people.

    The Evolution/Intelligent Design issue is the template for argument here.

    Scientific issues are brought up by this president for only one reason: fear. George Bush would much rather talk about not wanting to create a race of gorilla/human super soldiers than the possible uses of this research in the quest for cures of illness because it’s much more inflammitory. Don’t you see? That’s what he wants. He doesn’t want discourse. He doesn’t want unity. He wants America divided, with just enough on his side to stay in power. That way he and his corporate friends/sponsors/lackeys can continue to reap huge financial gains while the rest of us tear each other apart.

    And I, for one, would much rather spend my time getting this country back towards a democratic republic, rather than the oligarchy it is rapidly becoming. Bu we rarely get that chance.

    Yeharr

  26. #26 Phoenix Woman
    February 1, 2006

    Rich, did you actually LISTEN to Bush’s speech?

    The only way that Bush’s War On Man-Animal Strawmen makes ANY sense is if you know — as I had forgotten, until PZ reminded us — that Bush loves to speak in code to his base, a code he hopes no one else knows. (The UK term for this sort of thing is “dog-whistle politics”.)

    Remember Bush’s famous — and seemingly inexplicable — reference to the Dred Scott decision? That was Bush telling his Fundie base that he was against abortion and would work to ban it. Same here, except that it’s more blatant: He’s using a Michael-Crichton-like fantasy straw man to both scare the uninitiated AND to reassure the Fundies that he’s going to outlaw stem-cell research.

  27. #27 mark
    February 1, 2006

    derek says: A human-chimp hybrid might become President one day. Oh, wait…

    I guess he’s referring to this: http://www.bushorchimp.com/

  28. #28 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    February 1, 2006

    Rich, classifying an embryo as “human life” rather than what it is- POTENTIALLY human life (do you have any idea of the natural rate of spontaneous abortions, for example?)- is not an ethical position at all; merely a theological one, which is not at all the same thing.

    Uh – it’s human, yes? And it’s alive, yes? So of course it’s human life. And so is every tumor, amputated limb, surgically extracted appendix, human egg that doesn’t get implanted, human sperm that doesn’t reach an egg, etc.

    I think someone jsut needs to reassure Bush that these man-animal hybrids are created through laboratory cloning techniques, not through – uh – traditional methods.

  29. #29 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    February 1, 2006

    As it stands right now we have State of Dis-Union speeches where people stand in applause only on one side of the aisle or the other. Pathetic.

    I’m sure that would never happen under a W administration, because he’s a uniter, not a divider.

  30. #30 Rich
    February 1, 2006

    “As it stands right now we have State of Dis-Union speeches where people stand in applause only on one side of the aisle or the other. Pathetic.”

    Yes, and the blame for this can be laid squarely at the feet of scientists, bloggers, and concerned onlookers.

    It has nothing to do with the wholesale embrace of demagoguery and dishonesty by right wing pundits, politicians, and writers.

    If we’d all just been nicer Rush’s show would have never got off the ground, Ann Coulter wouldn’t have sold a couple million books, and Rick Santorum never would have been elected.

    Could it be possible there is an honest disagreement? The instant someone falsely calls me stupid or dishonest I stop listening. I don’t think I’m unique here. The good thing about honest disagreements is that there is a possibility of resolution. I’m trying to help you be more persuasive as there is a lot of scientific research that need not be controversial that is becoming so. But, hey, who am I? Go ahead and throw those bombs! It’s more important to feel good than be effective.

  31. #31 Kagehi
    February 1, 2006

    do you have any idea of the natural rate of spontaneous abortions, for example?

    Yes. 75% spontaniously abort, in times of stress womens bodies release a stress hormone that damages male fetuses too, so there may be as much as 90% failure rate of males in such cases as well. Then there is the fact that some estimates, based on studies done on after birth and the like, than probably 8 or of 9 births start out as a pair of twins, one of which fails to develop. After screwing up the math several times, I finally came up with around a 14% birth rate of “possible” children, which might drop to 7-9% (at a guess) during stress, when the male children are more likely to be aborted. Guess the other 86-93% of children get an express ticket to heaven according to these lunitics…

    On an aside.. Just read an article in the new issue of Discovery targetting the gene IGF2R as a mutation that appears to only have flawed copies in humans, and significantly effects the average IQ of an individual that has the mutation. Mice engineered to express only one functional copy are significantly slower at solving problems, like mazes. Makes one wonder what the result of doing a search on this gene in Bush’s case would turn up… lol

  32. #32 Anonymous
    February 1, 2006

    Good job, Rich. I think you are making some great points.

    As for: “Unfortunately, it seems to me that very few people in the neocon/religious right camp share your desires. Most assume a far more strident, rude tone.

    You may counter that those of us in the secular/scientific/liberal camp seem to be rather uncivil as well, but I would say that this is a reflection of the vitriol encountered, rather than the actual tone many of us would normally assume.”

    It doesn’t matter who started it and who started being nasty first. Take the high road. Be the hero. Sorry about the Dr. Phil speak, but just because one person calls you a mean name doesn’t mean you counter with an even meaner name. I hope we are more mature than that…

    Thanks, Rich!!!

  33. #33 Dianne
    February 1, 2006

    Whew. Does Bush really mean to ban all human-nonhuman animal hybrids? Are porcine heart valves to be forbidden? What about cow or pig insulin and factor VIII? Is the hamster egg assay going to become illegal? Are transgenic cell cultures ok or not? What if an artificially constructed human gene or siRNA is added to animal cells (ie Ikaros VI)? Are humanized antibodies such as Ritoxin to be banned? How did that idiot even find out enough to realize that human-other animal hybrids exist?

  34. #34 Kagehi
    February 1, 2006

    Could it be possible there is an honest disagreement? Yes, there is *honest* disagreement. Its between different groups of scientists and people in the general populous that are “informed” about the subject. Then there are the right wing fundimentalists, who are misinformed, promote the spread of that misinformation to others and think “honesty” is the same thing as, “God shares my opinion, so everything I say must be right, even when I lie about what other people are saying to convince people to believe me.” You can’t have a general disagreement with such a person, never mind an honest one.

  35. #35 Rich
    February 1, 2006

    Rich, you make very good points. Your call for civility in discourse is commendable. Unfortunately, it seems to me that very few people in the neocon/religious right camp share your desires. Most assume a far more strident, rude tone.

    Absolutely. I tell my Religious Right friends exactly the same thing. But, in this case I tell them that people who believe in evolution or who are advancing scientific research are good people who honestly want to advance truth and alleviate human suffering. Furthermore, I tell them that scientists don’t like being lied about any more than these friends of mine do.

    When I interact with people on both sides I am struck by the astonishment of why “they” (pick your side here) are so mean and why they think that “we” (pick your side here) are so evil.

  36. #36 Kagehi
    February 1, 2006

    Make that “You can’t have a civil disagreement with such a person…”

  37. #37 Anonymous
    February 1, 2006

    derek says: A human-chimp hybrid might become President one day. Oh, wait…

    I guess he’s referring to this

    (Oops–let’s get the link to work)

  38. #38 The Disgruntled Chemist
    February 1, 2006

    God, schmod! I want my monkey-man!

    Bart Simpson

  39. #39 Steve LaBonne
    February 1, 2006

    Rich- I call bullshit. You don’t get to make serious ethical claims by mere assertion, or because your preacher told you so. They have to be defended by consistent argument. If embryos are human, then spontaneous abortions are probably the leading cause of death- the greatest plague on humanity. I don’t see anybody acting as though they really believed that. Ergo, they don’t truly believe it- the claim that an embryo is an actual human being is merely a form of words which people like you mouth in an attempt to provide an impressive-sounding defense of a position which is actually based on other, non-ethical and non-rational motives. Just as your call for “civility” is an attempt to extort a free pass for such irrationality. You won’t get one from me.

  40. #40 Anonymous
    February 1, 2006

    Rich, did you actually LISTEN to Bush’s speech?

    The only way that Bush’s War On Man-Animal Strawmen makes ANY sense is if you know — as I had forgotten, until PZ reminded us — that Bush loves to speak in code to his base, a code he hopes no one else knows.

    I have to admit when Bush got to that sentence I had the same WTF reaction you all had. If it was code it was so secret that no one — not even the Religious Right — could decode it. This truly came out of nowhere. The best I can come up with is that the President thought that this was somehow consistent with pro-life base principles even though it is actually antithetical to them (as I explained previously). All of us, left, right, and center are grasping at straws trying to explain this. I am just glad I am not the administration spokesman defending this in congressional hearings (which BTW is reason why this will go nowhere).

  41. #41 Pierce R. Butler
    February 1, 2006

    There is indeed a scientifically-based argument to be made against laboratory (usually meaning eventually industrial) production of chimera, if only from the increased likelihood of interspecies pathogen transfer. Those interested in following this up might want to check out the Council for Responsible Genetics at http://www.gene-watch.org/ .

    As for Dr. Moreau – well, obviously, he’s French

  42. #42 thekeez
    February 1, 2006

    Rich – do you believe women who have abortions should be tried for murder?…thekeez

  43. #43 quixote
    February 1, 2006

    Phoenix Woman is exactly right when she points out that Shrub’s manimal nonsense is just like the Dred Scott allusion, only more obvious. You might as well listen to a dog bark, as listen to the Shrub’s vaporings. A dog with a set of Supremes and 10,000 nukes and minions to push the buttons. God help us.

    I have to weigh in on Rich’s discussion above. This is one of my pet peeves. “Both sides of this debate try to make science the arbiter here where it cannot be that. You have to bring in things from outside science in order to determine whether an embryo is human life or not.

    You’re exactly right that science cannot be the arbiter. I’m an evolutionary biologist, and reasonably clear on what science can and can’t do. The point is that if there is no tangible, fact-based answer, then the only response has to be a matter of belief. Whether you call that belief religion, ethics, philosophy, or because-I-said-so, doesn’t matter. It is a belief.

    This country is based on people leaving each others beliefs in peace (and one look at the Middle East shows how wise a decision that was). You can live according to your beliefs and not have an abortion or not accept a cure based on stem cells or chimeras. I get to live according to my beliefs, too.

    Fundamentalists are trying to make *me* live according to *their* beliefs. The equivalent would be if I forced them to have abortions. That is a recipe for disaster, and is what the Shrub does when he throws the power of his office behind one small set of beliefs. (More on this, and what it means to be a “potential human being” in a post I wrote a while back A choice or a child?)

  44. #44 Rich
    February 1, 2006

    Rich- I call bullshit. You don’t get to make serious ethical claims by mere assertion, or because your preacher told you so. They have to be defended by consistent argument. If embryos are human, then spontaneous abortions are probably the leading cause of death- the greatest plague on humanity. I don’t see anybody acting as though they really believed that.

    You mean like the FDA instruction to physicians not to prescribe certain drugs to pregnant women because it might increase the spontaneous abortion rate? If it was believed otherwise only potential life was at risk. Oh and the tears I saw on women’s faces because someone called their miscarriage not real life that was fake too. The belief may be wrong but I can guarantee that it is utterly sincere. If you want to convince people that they are wrong try another argument because lying about their motivation doesn’t work. Likewise, I believe the President was wrong last night on the “manimal” issue but I don’t presume to know his motivations.

    I would like to qualify my position. Some spontaneous abortions are not human life, either real or potential. That’s because they are genetically defective to the point that they don’t develop. If that is what you mean then we don’t have a disagreement. The issue with respect research is can we know a priori that it is impossible for a particular embryo to develop? If so, then I would have no objections to research on such embryos.

  45. #45 GH
    February 1, 2006

    Rich,

    I like some of your points and on others I think youa re lost.

    ‘ So what if I or others come to an ethical conclusion based upon theological considerations? Do you know my life so well that you know that my wife had two miscarriages that we know of and a stillbirth?’

    I have also had the misfortune of a miscariage. My emotional experience doesn’t have any valid impact on whether or not my argument is valid. If you come to an ethical conclusion based on theology it has an underpinning of the weakest nature. The worst form of irrational underpinning.

    ‘If development is the basis for something being potential rather than actual life then a child is potential life because she is not at her full height.’

    Thats just silly, she has been birthed, is fully functional and growing. Thats a weak analogy.

    ‘The belief may be wrong but I can guarantee that it is utterly sincere. If you want to convince people that they are wrong try another argument because lying about their motivation doesn’t work.’

    I agree with you here. I think though it may confuse the hope of having a family and the resulting disappointment that comes with it not occuring after the initial joy on hearing about a successful pregnancy. For my part I was crushed after the miscarriage but not in the same way i would have been had my child been even a month old. My experience is one of disappointment. Not to say it is the same for all. But to me their is and was a difference. And to be truthful I never actually thought about it until now.

    ‘Some spontaneous abortions are not human life, either real or potential. That’s because they are genetically defective to the point that they don’t develop. If that is what you mean then we don’t have a disagreement.’

    Your not being consistent here. It is still human life it you take the embryo as human. It is just damaged human life.

  46. #46 Steve LaBonne
    February 1, 2006

    Ah, your hemming and hawing indicates that there is indeed an exposed nerve here. But you are still nowhere near showing that you genuniely accept the logical consequences of the claim that an ambryo is a human being. For one thing, there’s thekeez’s question still waiting to be anawered. For another, there are MANY spontaneous abortions of non-defective embryos (it’s hard to quantify how many- but why aren’t you demanding research to find out?) and nobody is proposing an urgent “March of Dimes” program to stem this “plague”.

    An emotional reaction is not an ethical stance. Once upon a time, dissection of cadavers produced a similar response- should that have been permanently allowed to block the study of anatomy, so crucial to the development of modern medicine? Nobody will command respect by confusing a gut reaction with an ethical argument and then insisting that others should share that confusion. I certainly accept that you and others have the emotional reaction, but my response is, “so what?”

    Examine your own position and those of others with real care and thought, instead of clinging to irrational responses and mindlessly calling for a “civility” that is merely a code word for allowing you a free pass to demand curbs on the rights of people who don’t share your worldview.

  47. #47 Brett
    February 1, 2006

    I don’t see the issue here. To me it didn’t sound at all like Bush was saying you cannot do this. It sounded like he doesn’t want scientists participating in studies that try to put a human torso on a cow’s hind-quarters. That’s what I get from his speech… Maybe I’m too naive and think that he’s not being that specific, but I guess people will get upset if he doesn’t spell out exactly what IS and ISN’T acceptable.

  48. #48 Nymphalidae
    February 1, 2006

    And here I was, all set to create Mansquito. You’ve foiled my plans for the last time, W!

  49. #49 jeff
    February 1, 2006

    yeah, but he doesn’t really need to put a stop to mad scientists genetically engineering the minotaur because… who the hell’s doing that

  50. #50 Jesse
    February 1, 2006

    Bush was not as far out as a first reading would reveal. Check out these two articles:

    Mother Jones
    Gods and Monsters
    Talking apes, flying pigs, superhumans with armadillo attributes, and other strange considerations of Dr. Stuart Newman’s fight to patent a human/animal chimera
    By Mark Dowie
    January/February 2004 Issue
    http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2004/01/12_401.html

    NYT Magazine
    The Other Stem-Cell Debate
    By JAMIE SHREEVE
    Published: April 10, 2005
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/10/magazine/10CHIMERA.html

    also at
    http://www.udel.edu/anthro/ackerman/stemcell.pdf

  51. #51 Nymphalidae
    February 1, 2006

    P.S. You’ve been Slashdotted. Congrats 🙂

  52. #52 Brett
    February 1, 2006

    Apparently I missed your final stab at Bush:

    ___________________________________
    His message isn’t “We aren’t going to let the mad scientists make monsters!”, it’s “We aren’t going to let the doctors help those ‘retards.'”

    Once again, the ignorance and the bigotry of the religious right wins out over reason and humanitarianism. I think I know who the real pig-men are.
    ___________________________________

    Did you stop to think that just because you have some degree hanging on your wall, you may not have the itelligence to debate without reverting into a blathering idiot? It’s worthwhile to talk about points until someone decides that they have to pervert Bush’s message.

    I am religous, and I am Conservative. I wear both labels proudly. I am willing to debate on a number of topics, but I usually drop out when someone starts using raspberries and stupid comments to back up their argument. You’re making an unjust assumption based on your own personal dislike for our President. So, what exactly is your point? I guess it’s easier for you to slander people with Downs Syndrome by mutating what Bush said and using the word “retard”. It becomes very apparent that you were just itching to use such a foul term to describe a decent group of people in an effort to once again put words into the President’s mouth.

    I find that most times the Liberal left cannot debate without degrading into a derogatory, blathering heap. They must point out everyone else’s faults in an effort to hide their own. So, what say you? Do you have anything that can justify what you said? Or are you going to stick by your indulgent ignorance?

  53. #53 Dissenter
    February 1, 2006

    I’m shocked to see so many people that are so hateful towards GWB that they would go so far as to say that his comments were anti-disabled people. My wife is diabetic and I have close friends with brothers and sisters stricken by down syndrom. I care greatly for these people and wish nothing but progress towards curing these terrible diseases.

    GW’s comments are simple and so is the law that he is referring to. The law that he is asking congress to support simply states that human embryos will not be alrered for genetic research, the long term result of which would be genetically altered human beings with implanted problems. Nothing in that law prohibits or is detrimental in any way to the research with animals or altering animal genetics to research human problems.

    I urge you all to look at the law that he’s talking about before you jump to conclusions about people. If not, you demonstrate the hypocracy, narrow-mindedness and lack of concern that you are so anxious to point out in others.

  54. #54 Kurt
    February 1, 2006

    I don’t care what it takes or what Third World Country I have to go to, George W. Bush is not going to stop me from getting what I want: a dorsal fin and hands made out of bald eagles.

  55. #55 jbark
    February 1, 2006

    “It doesn’t matter who started it and who started being nasty first. Take the high road.”

    This has nothing to do with who started it. It has to do with what works. The religious right has demonstrated that vinegar apparently works better than honey on these issues.

    Lecturing one side to “play nice” while the other continues to engage in the most obnoxious and dishonest vitriol imaginable (from positions of real and actual power, I might add) is not really defensible.

  56. #56 george cauldron
    February 1, 2006

    am religous, and I am Conservative. I wear both labels proudly.

    Isn’t that special. Not many people willing to get up and make that proclamation in public nowadays.

    So, what exactly is your point? I guess it’s easier for you to slander people with Downs Syndrome by mutating what Bush said and using the word “retard”. It becomes very apparent that you were just itching to use such a foul term to describe a decent group of people in an effort to once again put words into the President’s mouth.

    If you have an inability to understand irony coupled with a pathological need to believe everything Bush says and take everything he says at face value, that is your problem.

    I leave it to you to come up with a better answer why he would make such a out-of-nowhere reference in his SOTU address.

  57. I’m tired of shades of grey. I’m calling on religious and semi-religious boobs everywhere to put your money where your mouth is: if scientific research and the benefits achieved therefrom are evil, I challenge you to turn your back on all devil-derived technologies equally.

    You can keep the Word, but anything more memetically complex should be the province of rationality.

    Let’s keep Peter Pan in Neverland and the government out of our labs.

    Love,
    Matthew Frederick Davis Hemming

  58. #58 Anonymous
    February 1, 2006

    “I am religous, and I am Conservative. I wear both labels proudly.”

    >”Isn’t that special. Not many people willing to get up
    > and make that proclamation in public nowadays”.

    I know. It must feel very lonely when you only control the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the most powerful nation in the world.

    Some day maybe they’ll make independent films and give ill-attended colloquia and get some REAL power!

  59. #59 jbark
    February 1, 2006

    “I am religous, and I am Conservative. I wear both labels proudly.”

    >”Isn’t that special. Not many people willing to get up
    > and make that proclamation in public nowadays”.

    I know. It must feel very lonely when you only control the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the most powerful nation in the world.

    Some day maybe they’ll make independent films and give ill-attended colloquia and get some REAL power!

  60. #60 Danson
    February 1, 2006

    Yeah look. I didn’t read the entire speech, but I read some of your comments, and my suggestion is that you deal with the issue at hand: animal testing research etc, instead of how George W. Bush keeps you up at night because he doesn’t agree with you. I can understand where Bush is coming from. If we somehow ended up living with a superior race using humans for testing, I can bet we’ll fight to the death to stop it. What’s the difference? Animals don’t feel? They’re defenceless? So are the “retards”. Let’s test them! I’m no scientist, but using animals isn’t even an accurate testbed for humans. Anyway, I’m sure that’s exactly what Bush meant: “We aren’t going to let the doctors help those ‘retards.'” He couldn’t be trying to eradicate the mistreatment of animals. Of course not. I love how you guys know more about your own President than he does. Nice work. Keep it up.

  61. #61 Caledonian
    February 1, 2006

    Good Lord. A ban on *all* forms of human cloning would outlaw force-grown skin grafts.

    Mr. President, why do you hate burn victims?

  62. #62 Daniel Wesley
    February 1, 2006

    Unbelievable. So because Bush has ethical concerns with cloning and hybrids, that automatically makes him anti-Down’s Syndrome and anti-scientific progress? I would expect such a silly assertion from some yahoo down the street from me, but not from such an educated man as yourself.

  63. #63 george cauldron
    February 1, 2006

    I love how you guys know more about your own President than he does. Nice work. Keep it up.

    Oo! Some of that withering, incisive satire we’ve come to fear so from the Conservative movement!

    (‘Our own’? I didn’t vote for him, and I take NO RESPONSIBILITY for him…)

    So, I would guess your implied point here is that Bush is such an honest, straightforward man that we ‘liberals’ are fools for ever thinking that he doesn’t mean what he says, or that he might ever be less than truthful. Is that it? No sale, but nice try.

    But, hey, good luck with that.

  64. #64 PZ Myers
    February 1, 2006

    Ah, the downside of getting slashdotted — the clueless commenters.

    Bush has stated he wants to prohibit various forms of biomedical research. He isn’t saying we need to proceed with due care for the ethical issues — he wants to shut it down. That makes him effectively anti-research, and specifically against a specific genre of research that is geared towards helping people with Down syndrome, to name one example. His blithering, his pandering, his knee-jerk obeisance to the demands of the ignorant religious right is not a conscientious objection to concerns about the misuse of human material in research.

    And I’m sorry, but anyone who thinks a Republican president who tortured small animals as a child is concerned about animal rights is a truly self-deluded fool.

    By the way, I’m liberal and I’m an atheist, and I’m proud of it — and I’m not just following the crowd like some sheep when I say so. Check your persecution complex at the door, religious conservative. You look like an idiot when you whine like that.

  65. #65 Pete C.
    February 1, 2006

    John P.:
    There is about 10^-9 probability that the ethics of abortion will be hashed out and decided here.

    Rich, if you believe an embryo is human life, than I have some practical questions for you. Let’s say the mother has a life insurance policy covering all her dependent children. She conceives (within matrimony) and the resulting blastocyst fails to implant, a completely natural process. It is flushed out of her body by her feminine secretions and ends up in the wash or the toilet. No doubt this happens millions of times/day around the world. Should mom file a claim with her life insurance provider? Should there be a memorial service with a funeral? Should she be arrested for homicide? After all, the failure to implant might be her fault.

    These practical considerations are completely ignored by those who oppose abortion.


    Are practical considerations the same as ethical ones?

    Assume for just a second that a fertilized egg does have the same moral status as a fully grown human being. When these practical considerations arise, wouldn’t that simply mean that we need a change in how we do life insurance, or when we hold memorial services, or how we prosecute the law?

    If the foetus is a person, then no amount of “practical considerations” can weigh against its moral status because they have no moral weight. “It’s ok to kill a person because we can’t figure out how to set up their life insurance policy”–it makes no sense to say such things.

    At heart your argument must still rest on the assumption that a foetus is a nonperson, for whatever reason you have chosen. As Peter Singer pointed out, none of the arguments in favor of abortion do this successfully unless you redefine what a person is, and by his lights this would probably preclude the genetic testing performed using mice mentioned above.

    It seems as though this may be a time when you don’t get to eat that cake you have.

  66. #66 Tulse
    February 1, 2006

    If “implanting embryos for experiments” is to be banned, does that mean that this law would have effectively prevented the development of in vitro fertilization?

    For that matter, I presume that those who genuinely believe that embryos are worthy of the same ethical concern we give to adult humans vigorously oppose IVF, since it is routine practice to implant far more embryos than are expected to survive. And surely couples who go through multiple rounds of unsuccessful IVF are commiting serial manslaughter. It seems to me that the fact that so many religious folks seem to embrace IVF, and that we don’t have laws against multiple implantations and the use of fertility drugs, suggests that even religious individuals don’t view embryos as truly the equivalent of adult human persons.

    Anyway, I’m sure that’s exactly what Bush meant: “We aren’t going to let the doctors help those ‘retards.'” He couldn’t be trying to eradicate the mistreatment of animals. Of course not.

    Are you actually suggesting that Bush is now supporting the basic position of PETA, and will enshrine animal rights into law? I find that hugely unlikely.

  67. #67 Daniel Wesley
    February 1, 2006

    I assume PZ Myers was referring to me in his last comment. For the record, I may be religious, but I’m not a conservative. I have no emotional investment in Bush nor what he says. If he truly did say those avenues of research should be shut down, then he’s wrong for doing so.

    However, having said that, I still want to point out the faulty logic being used. If you’re saying that Bush *implied* he is anti-Down’s Syndrom or anti-science by his comments, that doesn’t work. What if his intent is to fund alternative avenues of reasearch? Can you know every possible thing he is thinking? To make such a blanket conclusion with a limited statement is to expose a distinct lack of objectivity.

    I am neither liberal nor conservative, but a staunch theist and proud if it myself. I don’t follow any crowds either. 🙂

  68. #68 Bill Barnes
    February 1, 2006

    You guys whine like mulemen. Look, it’s the state of the union speech, not writ law. First of all, most of Bush’s initiatives stated in these speaches never make it into legislation. Of course Bush means to remove the possibility bizzare manimal mutations. I doubt he means to limit said scientific research, and even if he did, do you really think such legislation would make it through both houses? Uh… no.

    You’re just looking for something to become enraged about. Frankly you’re little better than the right-wing nut jobs (like bush). Have a little temperment, just a little perspective and common sense.

  69. #69 PZ Myers
    February 1, 2006

    So that’s your excuse? It’s just the State of the Union speech, and Bush gets to say any ol’ thing he wants, and no one gets to hold him accountable to it?

  70. #70 Rich
    February 1, 2006

    I have also had the misfortune of a miscariage. My emotional experience doesn’t have any valid impact on whether or not my argument is valid. If you come to an ethical conclusion based on theology it has an underpinning of the weakest nature. The worst form of irrational underpinning.

    No disagreement here. You can be sincere and sincerely wrong. What was discussed was a statement about whether my view — right or wrong — was sincerely held or not. I am not arguing that these issues not be rationally discussed rather I am asking that people not impute (often wrongly) motivations.

    ‘Some spontaneous abortions are not human life, either real or potential. That’s because they are genetically defective to the point that they don’t develop. If that is what you mean then we don’t have a disagreement.’

    Your not being consistent here. It is still human life it you take the embryo as human. It is just damaged human life.

    Maybe so, but as Emerson said foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. The argument that miscarriages are murder misses the fact that murder is not merely killing but intentional killing. So, following that logic intentional abortions are murder. My question to those who are of the liberal persuasion is do you really want people who believe that life begins at conception to go there?

    As for myself I tie life to development and can accept the compromise being proposed of development knock-out embryos. I respect the views who differ from me to my left and my right noting both have a rational basis (although I still find the distinction between life and potential life dubious).

  71. #71 Steve Sutton
    February 1, 2006

    In my opinion, if an embryo were self-aware, then it would be considered a human life. Since the brain isn’t developed in the embryonic state, self-awareness doesn’t come into play and the embryo is little more than raw genetic material at that stage of its development.

  72. #72 Darren
    February 1, 2006

    All I can say is I feel sorry for the state of science in the US.

    You must remember that, try as he might, no laws that Bush pushes for will have any effect on the scientific advances in other countries. All that will happen is that the US will continue to be “ham-strung” and fall behind other countries in many difference fields of science, and the rest of the world will continue to look at the US and shake their heads in bewilderment.

    I truly feel sorry for the intelligent american citizens whose country has been so severly damaged by the “religious ignorami” that unfortunately hold the majority.

  73. #73 Bob
    February 1, 2006

    Enough about potential and real life. A lot of this is opinion from both sides – like what makes either potiential life or real life important? What does science have to say about life? What about the list of characteristics of life:

    • 1) Organization (cells)
    • 2) Metabolism (convert non-living cells to living)
    • 3) Growth (all parts increase in size)
    • 4) Repair (ability to in some form)
    • 5) Response to stimuli
    • 6) Reproduce (cell division, etc).

    Okay, so most scientists agree that life must have ALL of those characterists together. But what about plants? Plants have all of those. Yet it is not a crime to uproot and eat a carrot (unless its your neighbor’s carrot, but that’s a different story). The real question comes down to what makes life important. Where do we go for that? Is it intelligence? Humans are more intelligent, therefore they should be respected higher than the mice used in lab tests? Then where do we draw the line? What about apes? Babies are not intelligent, can we run tests on them that kill them before they get smart? Is it potential intelligence? Because both a baby and an embryo theoretically have the same potential intelligence. This is what the discussion comes down to, and you have the religous side and the non-religous side, who both have many different views on what make life sacred. There are many different views even within the sides. But the religious side may say all human life has a soul, and that’s what is sacred as taught by the bible. And the non-religious side may say that at a certain point of development you become sacred. The difference is that with christian beliefs, the sacredness of life is fixed and is determined by an unchanging God who created life, and the non-christian believes that the point of sacredness is determined (and can change) by new scientific discoveries and the current scientific theory.
    The bible does not go into detail about embryos having souls, and so the debate continues. But, it is true, whether they like it or not, that most (sane) embryonic research scientists do agree with the teachings of the bible in that a living, walking, talking human being’s life is sacred and a mouse (or any other creature of the earth God created for man) is dispensible. Just look at cultures of the world where christianity has not spread (like some african tribes, etc). There you find canibalism and human sacrifice, also seen in bible stories of un-godly peoples. So count your blessings 😉 And we’re not going to be able to effectively argue what is right or wrong until both sides agree on what makes life sacred such that murder is currently illegal (i.e., never).

  74. #74 PaulC
    February 1, 2006

    Daniel Wesley wrote:

    Unbelievable. So because Bush has ethical concerns with cloning and hybrids, that automatically makes him anti-Down’s Syndrome and anti-scientific progress? I would expect such a silly assertion from some yahoo down the street from me, but not from such an educated man as yourself.

    He didn’t say he “has ethical concerns” (as I assume most of us do). He said he wished “to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research” in which he included “creating human-animal hybrids.” This would rule out an entire promising area of scientific research without even a careful ethical review. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that Bush’s policies are a hindrance to scientific progress and (based on PZ’s example) could have a negative impact specifically on potential therapies for Down Syndrome.

    The only “unbelievable” part is that someone could mischaracterize both Bush’s statement and PZ’s response and then expect a rational person to buy into the resulting strawman argument.

  75. #75 Josh
    February 1, 2006

    Yep, not only is President Bush trying to kill all the diabetes victims, he is trying to destroy the whole world so him and Laura can live alone on this planet as gods. And while he is killing poor obese children with HIV and gimp feet, he is wielding his powerful hand and causing global warming, tsunamis, hurricanes and worst of all – mad liberal disease. . .

    For people who hate the President (yes, he is the elected leader despite conspiracy theorist’s beliefs) and call him an absolute backwoods, religious hick and moron (because only hicks and morons could get a MBA from Yale – oh crap, I forgot, his daddy bought it for him – ‘for he has the power of buying colleges off’), they sure do suppose that he has the power not only to change earth’s climate, orbit, and rotation speed, but also to be in millions of places at once, wreaking death and destruction with his conservative mafia.

    Two words for you “getta life.”

  76. #76 Daniel Wesley
    February 1, 2006

    Hi Paul, did you bother to read my 2nd response to PZ?

  77. #77 george cauldron
    February 1, 2006

    Two words for you “getta life.”

    Hmm… where have I heard that devastating fratboy sarcasm before…? Is that you, Mr. Bozeman?

  78. #78 dumbass
    February 1, 2006

    The only way to influence science, morally or otherwise, is to be at the forefront…

  79. #79 dbpitt
    February 1, 2006

    Charade you are, George.

  80. #80 tgibbs
    February 1, 2006

    The fact is that a lot of medical research into some of the most tragic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, is dependent upon the use of human/animal hybrids–i.e. mice with a few human genes, just enough to reproduce the disease.

    I don’t buy the defense that Bush is too stupid to know this. Even if he is, he has advisors. Yes, it is irrational to think of a mouse with a couple of human genes as being a human being, but not particularly more so than thinking of a zygote with no nerves or brain as a human being. So yes, I think that it means what it says, and that Bush is pandering to religious extremists at the expense of suffering humanity.

  81. #81 dAVE
    February 1, 2006

    Just look at cultures of the world where christianity has not spread (like some african tribes, etc). There you find canibalism and human sacrifice, also seen in bible stories of un-godly peoples.

    Umm.. Leaving the specifics of human sacrifice and cannibalism aside, Christians were pretty enthusiastic about killing until the rise of secular rationalist thought during the Enlightenment. Nowhere in the Bible does it say slavery is wrong. Lots of killing in the Bible was done by the godly, on God’s orders. The Bible is not a good place to get your morals.

  82. #82 happy european
    February 1, 2006

    You re-elected him! HA HA!

  83. #83 PaulC
    February 1, 2006

    Hi Paul, did you bother to read my 2nd response to PZ?

    Nope. I didn’t think it was my job to comb down the list for redeeming context. Your initial statement stands on its own.

    But if you insist:

    However, having said that, I still want to point out the faulty logic being used. If you’re saying that Bush *implied* he is anti-Down’s Syndrom or anti-science by his comments, that doesn’t work. What if his intent is to fund alternative avenues of reasearch? Can you know every possible thing he is thinking? To make such a blanket conclusion with a limited statement is to expose a distinct lack of objectivity.

    It’s safe to conclude that Bush is anti-science in practice even if your explanation is correct. The way to support science is to let scientists do their job. There are already ethical guidelines in place and a growing profession of bioethics to handle these complex issues while allowing science to progress.

    Declaring one avenue of research verboten and funding others (even profusely) is about as detrimental to science as you can get (e.g. Lysenkoism). The only avenues that are any good are the ones that work. I don’t know which ones these are, and neither does Bush. Bush may not wake up every morning thinking of how he’s going to stick it to scientists. As PZ stated “It’s pure political calculus.” and I agree that this is the correct explanation. His point is to pander to his base and ignore the concerns of scientists. Is that “anti-science”? Sure.

    It’s also a reasonably safe assumption that Bush has no personal animus towards individuals affected by Down Syndrome. PZ did not claim otherwise. FWIW, I thought his use of the term “retards” was over the top and his posting would be improved without it. But there’s nothing PZ said to suggest that Bush has it in for those who might benefit from new therapies, just that he’s willing to hold back progress when it helps him politically.

  84. #84 Anonymous
    February 1, 2006

    Your not being consistent here. It is still human life it you take the embryo as human. It is just damaged human life.

    Maybe so, but as Emerson said foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

    Rich, I appreciate that you have sincere beliefs that are strongly held, but that kind of reasoning is hardly the path to a reliable ethical system. Attack consistency in ethics and literally anything goes.

    The argument that miscarriages are murder misses the fact that murder is not merely killing but intentional killing.

    I’m not sure that anyone has said that they are murder, but surely they must mean the death of a person, with all the implications for law (and insurance, and ritual, etc.) that that would imply. Similarly, the deaths of multiple embryos in routine IVF procedures, while perhaps not murder, should at least be the equivalent of manslaughter, just as surely as if prospective adoptive parents had gone to an orphanage and tied a bunch of orphans behind their car, figuring that although they would be dragged along the road, at least some would survive the trip intact.

  85. #85 Bob
    February 1, 2006

    Christians were pretty enthusiastic about killing until the rise of secular rationalist

    I mean christian as in followers of Christ’s teachings, not a group of people. If I say I am a christian and go kill someone, that doesn’t mean the bible says its okay.

     

    Lots of killing in the Bible was done by the godly, on God’s orders

    In the Old Testament, which was pre-christ (therefore, pre-christian). Things were different back then.

     

    The Bible is not a good place to get your morals

    You’re proving my point exactly. Many people believe otherwise than you do. Everyone doesn’t agree on where a good place for morals is, and there will never be a time where everyone does.

  86. #86 EJayS
    February 1, 2006

    I think it is best to leave the genetic splicing kit to god. If he has, in his infinite wisdom, damned some of us to short lives of pain and suffering, I say “so be it.” If history teaches us anything it is that if we mess with the natural order it can only go badly. Wiping out disease and other medical advancements has only brought us longer and healthier lives, but at what cost? Our very souls are in peril for having played god. We should leave it to HIM. I’m with George Dub — we should only have pig boys when god creates them.

  87. #87 pgan
    February 1, 2006

    This has nothing to do with who started it. It has to do with what works. The religious right has demonstrated that vinegar apparently works better than honey on these issues.

    Lecturing one side to “play nice” while the other continues to engage in the most obnoxious and dishonest vitriol imaginable (from positions of real and actual power, I might add) is not really defensible.

    It depends on what you are trying to achieve. To keep up the feud, treat people like enemies and insult them. You can be pretty sure they will oblige with the same. But to convince someone, look for common ground, aknowledge their position and argue based on facts. That’s what works.

    I am not talking about convincing polititians, because it is hard to get their attention in this way, and overcome other pressures including their ulterior motives. I’m talking about the general public, people on blogs or on the street. Many of them may be ignorant, misinformed or stubborn, and some may have strong arguments. In any case, being ernest and respectful helps to implant your meme into them.

  88. #88 GabeR
    February 1, 2006

    Just for the record, I would like to point out something which even I did not realize until very recently, after following this debate for a very long time: In its current form, this is not actually a debate in the true sense of the word, because it is both un-arbitrated (and I don’t believe it can/will be) and it cannot be resolved from within. A true debate actually starts with some basis of agreement from which to proceed. In this case, the disagreement is so fundamental (ie competing worldviews) that there is no such basis. In fact, I see time and time again the assertion that the other side subconsciously holds the basic worldview of the other and is using that view to make an argument inconsistent with it. I think that, however, that agreement can be reached, but only if each side agrees to disagree with the other’s worldview first. From there, the common ground of “human life is valuable/worth protecting” can be used as the basis for a debate which will hopefully be more productive than the one represented above.

    Disclaimer: while I am fully responsible for its content, this post has not been edited or even much considered.

  89. #89 DB
    February 1, 2006

    Not that I’m an expert on biology textbooks, but I think there is enough convincing evidence for the presence of “life” at conception in any textbook written after the discovery of DNA. Simply read the first chapter. Hard, established science, not religious mumbo-jumbo. Arguing that because there are so many spontaneous abortions life does not begin at conception is a fruitless and circumventing argument. It attempts to avoid the issue at hand by deflecting the reader’s attention to something else. Arguing for some sort of continuum along which “life” suddenly shows up is also unconvincing because it is totally arbitrary. While I don’t know all the reasons a person might object to this line of reasoning, I do suspect many are oppossed not because of contrary scientific fact, but because of the ethical ramifications of subscribing to a “life at conception” stance.

  90. #90 Rich
    February 1, 2006

    Rich, I appreciate that you have sincere beliefs that are strongly held, but that kind of reasoning is hardly the path to a reliable ethical system. Attack consistency in ethics and literally anything goes.

    Note the modifier foolish. What I meant by that is to not be so beholden to my ethical system to not reconsider when attempting to push it too hard. Within Christian ethics the spirit of the law is more important than the letter. The letter would be what I call foolish inconsistency.

    I’m not sure that anyone has said that they are murder, but surely they must mean the death of a person, with all the implications for law (and insurance, and ritual, etc.) that that would imply. Similarly, the deaths of multiple embryos in routine IVF procedures, while perhaps not murder, should at least be the equivalent of manslaughter, just as surely as if prospective adoptive parents had gone to an orphanage and tied a bunch of orphans behind their car, figuring that although they would be dragged along the road, at least some would survive the trip intact.

    That’s why IVF is controversial within some sectors of the Christian community. In fact, I would not participate in it for precisely the reasons you stated above. Getting back to the consistency thing, the consistent thing would be to harang my friends who while suffering through infertility chose IVF. But, it would not be as James put it following the royal law of love. We need to have sufficient humility to realize that ethical dilemmas are precisely that because they are so difficult.

  91. #91 Paul Dorman
    February 1, 2006

    Just remember you Amerikans, YOU voted for him (as a society). YOU have the “democratic” [scoff] system that allows idiots like Bush become president. I see so many stories by the oh-so-few rational US commentators where they bemoan the fact that the religious fanatics are at the top (playing their let’s-bring-on-the-armageddon game with the other religious fanatics around the world), and yet you don’t do anything about it. You assume that there’s nothing better than democracy(which is crap – democracy is a terrible system) and just sit back and feel sorry for yourselves.

  92. #92 Samnell
    February 1, 2006

    “In this case, the disagreement is so fundamental (ie competing worldviews) that there is no such basis.”

    Exactly. No amount of science will ever convince a fundie, and no amount of religion will ever convince anyone else. I know I don’t even live in the same ethical dimension with these people. To me, an abortion is no more a moral issue than clipping a toenail or getting your hair cut. Of course, in living memory plenty of fundies have objected very strenuously to particular coiffures too.

  93. #93 george cauldron
    February 1, 2006

    Just remember you Amerikans, YOU voted for him (as a society). YOU have the “democratic” [scoff] system that allows idiots like Bush become president. I see so many stories by the oh-so-few rational US commentators where they bemoan the fact that the religious fanatics are at the top (playing their let’s-bring-on-the-armageddon game with the other religious fanatics around the world), and yet you don’t do anything about it. You assume that there’s nothing better than democracy(which is crap – democracy is a terrible system) and just sit back and feel sorry for yourselves.

    Don’t think that I don’t appreciate your constructive suggestions, but may I ask what country you hail from? The UK?

  94. #94 MD
    February 1, 2006

    OTOH, which nobody seems to comment about –
    I would support the idea that fragments of life – DNA, etc. – should not be subject to patent. If a new gene – not found in nature – is created, perhaps that may be allowed to be patented. But patenting an existing aspect of life seems too much like trying to patent math formulas or other “self-evident truths of the world”. It’s already out there and always has been – maybe you can patent the process for isolating it, but not the DNA itself.

    I guess GWB is not as dumb as he looks…
    (Comeback – “You’re right. He couldn’t be…”)

  95. #95 Daryl Cobranchi
    February 1, 2006

    Someone way up-thread quoted Devo. OK, but I think Pink Floyd ‘s “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” is a better fit:

    Big man, pig man, ha ha charade you are.
    You well heeled big wheel, ha ha charade you are.
    And when your hand is on your heart,
    You’re nearly a good laugh,
    Almost a joker,
    With your head down in the pig bin,
    Saying “Keep on digging.”
    Pig stain on your fat chin.
    What do you hope to find.
    When you’re down in the pig mine.
    You’re nearly a laugh,
    You’re nearly a laugh
    But you’re really a cry.

    …Hey you, Whitehouse,
    Ha ha charade you are.
    You house proud town mouse,
    Ha ha charade you are
    You’re trying to keep our feelings off the street.
    You’re nearly a real treat,
    All tight lips and cold feet
    And do you feel abused?
    …..! …..! …..! …..!
    You gotta stem the evil tide,
    And keep it all on the inside.
    Mary you’re nearly a treat,
    Mary you’re nearly a treat
    But you’re really a cry.

  96. #96 deb
    February 1, 2006

    GW is not against all scientists, he recognizes the need for supercomputers and the math brains who produce those search algorithms – the better for NSA to listen to us.

  97. #97 Anonymous
    February 1, 2006

    The rightwing theological terrorist branch in the US will never want to outlaw murder, because they support strongly the current Israeli attempt to commit genocide against the Palestinians they keep locked up in those concentration camps.

    The rightwing theological terrorists, who are Bush’ chief supporters, are heavily in favor of murder, as long as it is white protestant males murdering people who are not white, or not protestant, or not male, or at least not US citizens.

  98. #98 Pete C.
    February 1, 2006

    Exactly. No amount of science will ever convince a fundie, and no amount of religion will ever convince anyone else. I know I don’t even live in the same ethical dimension with these people. To me, an abortion is no more a moral issue than clipping a toenail or getting your hair cut. Of course, in living memory plenty of fundies have objected very strenuously to particular coiffures too.
    Posted by: Samnell | February 1, 2006 05:59 PM

    Um…what about ethical objections to abortion or what-have-you which are proposed by non-religious people? Or objections that do not have a religious character? You might want to read Peter Singer on abortion (he’s the animal rights and infanticide–no, really–activist, hardly a friend to the pro-life movement).

    Singer points out that unless you redefine what a “person” is, none of the arguments in favor of abortion are valid. They don’t even make logical sense (they have moral conclusions drawn from facts with no moral content). Of course, if you use Singer’s definition, then anyone who cannot defend himself (ie strong, healthy, intelligent adults) is dispensable. That includes infants, the aged, the infirm, the mentally challenged.

    But, if you want to go on believing that it’s Bush who is the enemy of everyone with Down’s syndrome, by all means…

  99. #99 Ben
    February 1, 2006

    Kagehi – Could you please post some links for where and how you got those “spontanious abortion” info. I’d like to see the research.

    There needs to be a debate that defines the limits that should be made. I’d like to have a goverment, for once, listen to science when it makes policy.

    I like the definition of “life” starting after being “birthed” wiether it is being born normal or a C-section.

    It scares me a little with statements like this because, being from Ohio, I had to watch the state I love go stupid. In a bid to prevent homosexuals from getting a civil union, a constitutional admendment was suggested. It boiled down to “No more civil unions” and it passed. So now, in Ohio, you can not get a civil union. You must get “married” under some religious service. So be very careful with what you want passed. It leads to stupid results. I still haven’t figured out what two atheist will do now…

  100. #100 alex
    February 1, 2006

    Bush hates black people and retards.

  101. #101 W Sanders
    February 1, 2006

    Wasn’t here a Reagan administration official who publicly stated that handicapped people were touched by god because they were sinners? I wouldn’t be surprised if that same opinion existed in today’s White House.

    BTW I thought Brando was pretty freakin’ good in IoDM, and so was Val Kilmer was.

  102. #102 Per Edman
    February 1, 2006

    Why are you even arguing with people who do not even understand the most basic precepts of the argument and have no desire to ever learn of it – ESPECIALLY not from you?

    Stop wasting your time. You may be able to educate someone, but not in a polarized discussion with religious ape-men who have no better argument than “Why do you have America/Bush so much?”

    / Per

  103. #103 Per Edman
    February 1, 2006

    (Damn my overconfidence, that should have read “why do you HATE America/Bush so much”.

    / Per)

  104. #104 Neil Moody
    February 1, 2006

    Infliximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody against Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha. It has been used therapeutically for more than ten years for control of severe Crohn’s Disease, preventing many painful and life-altering surgeries, and has, since 2001, been used for control of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Just within the last year, it has been approved for psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, severely crippling diseases that affect hundreds of thousands in the US alone. A ban on chimeric research will preven other products such as this from being researched, and will significantly cripple biomed research as a whole. Although the thrust of late is toward fully human monoclonal antibodies, chimeric research is still an integral part of the tree, with knockout mice being used as patient models for RA, lupus and other diseases in my field of Rheumatology. The President obviously has no science education. He has no ethical or competent science advisors, apparently, or someone would have mentioned the obvious benefits of such research. It is the height of hypocrisy for such a poorly informed head of state to opine about the terrible state of public science education, while only a few months earlier calling for the teaching of creation myths in science classrooms. I despair for the nation.

  105. #105 Dianne
    February 1, 2006

    Life does not begin at conception. Life does not begin at birth. Life began in the precambrian and has been continuous ever since. Not even the fundies take spontaneous generation seriously anymore.

  106. #106 Samnell
    February 1, 2006

    “Um…what about ethical objections to abortion or what-have-you which are proposed by non-religious people?”

    One would presume these are not religion-derived (though this is itself not a sure thing, I’ve seen non-religious people spew a lot of warmed-over mysticism) and thus might be amenable to scrutiny. I’ve yet to see one, though. I’d need to find some reason to consider a fetus anything other than a parasite in the mother’s body before I would view the issue as even potentially having moral content.

    I googling of Singer revealed this: http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/1995—-03.htm

    Unlike the defenders he’s complaining about, I don’t make any attempt to sidestep the moral status of the fetus. I view it as having none whatsoever. I do not view the notion of it being a person as especially favored by the evidence. It’s something that might, at some future date, become a person. But that’s equally true of any egg or sperm.

  107. #107 DivineWoodcrafting
    February 1, 2006

    The ironic thing in this forum is that it is filled mostly with rhetoric written by people who are pretending to be concerned only about the science of the issues. First things first; if you think that this is a GOP vs Democrat battle you are merely the political tool that your party wants you to be. True science has never had political leanings, and it never should. Secondly, if you truly believe that the concerns in opposition to what you support are only a political tool and nothing else, you also might want to re-evaluate your opinion. To every power there is an equal abuse which is ten times more potent. The pitfall of this country is that people no longer think for themselves; they are simply entrenched in what they’ve been taught to believe. And although most in this forum seem to fancy themselves something different, they are just as dogmatically stubborn as they accuse the religious wackos, extreme right-wingers, etc. of being. The key to not being just another idiot with one of two opinions that I can turn on the news to see, is being a dynamic person with dynamic opinions. It is no contribution to society when a bunch of people who believe the same thing, get together to assure themselves how right they are and how wrong “the other guys” are.

  108. #108 Hypercoyote
    February 1, 2006

    “the ignorance and the bigotry of the religious right wins out over reason and humanitarianism”

    Hmm, wow I’m Christian and I disagree with Bush. So does that mean I’m not religious? Great!

  109. #109 j
    February 1, 2006

    A pet peeve of mine relating to abortions: As a christian I only want to note that in the Old Testament a fetus was not considered human. The punishment for killing a human versus killing a fetus was the difference between being punished by death or being fined. The New Testment makes no mention of it one way or the other.

  110. #110 G-Do
    February 1, 2006

    DW’s going to hate me, but:

    It is no contribution to society when a bunch of people who believe the same thing, get together to assure themselves how right they are and how wrong “the other guys” are.

    Welcome to the Internet.

  111. #111 Anonymous
    February 1, 2006

    Bush is just playing the political field because Gop controls everything now. Since Alito was elected, and well We control everything else, he is doing whatever pleases his party to help the next person get votes.

    Personaly, I think he is an idiot. These old foggy Gop, should be ashamed of themselves, putting personal agendas and money into their laps so they can tear up the world. You dont actualy think he cares what he is doing do you? Of course not. If he used logic, any form of it, he would of done things different from the start. I cant wait till all off these ignorant GOP are out, and we have sensible Rwingers in again.

  112. #112 notasdumbasyou
    February 1, 2006

    everyone needs to stop whining about the GOP, right wing conspiracies, etc… Each election the american people elected the GOP into office and that is why they have a majority. you are the same people willing to sue over a cup of hot coffee at the local star bucks that you spilled on yourself – the point is we shouldn’t grow human embryos just to kill – who are you to say which ones survive and which go to the petri dish. life begins at conception people. everything happens for a reason in this short time we have here. what if you were the one selected to be injected into a mice for testing – did you have a say? grow up people

  113. #113 dbpitt
    February 1, 2006

    Daryl Cobranchi
    That last verse of Pigs (three different ones) is reffering to Mary Whitehouse, a major British censorship advocate in the 60s and 70s not the Whitehouse. I think the line “You’re trying to keep our feelings off the street” describes best how the band felt about her.

  114. #114 G-Do
    February 1, 2006

    Ah, Christ. It must be a full moon, because I rarely post anything this long, but here goes:

    Okay, so after reading about a bazillion posts (thank you, /.ers!) I think I agree with what pgan said and with some of what rich said.

    To say that “vinegar apparently works better than honey” raises the question of what “works better” actually means. Does it mean that “vinegar” will make American society more tolerant? More amenable to progressive ideals? Is “vinegar” a cultural transformant? Or is it only a safeguard against deleterious changes to our existing liberal institutions, having little long-term impact on the culture? Or do we expect that the institutions themselves will engender cultural change? What, exactly, is the ultimate goal, here?

    What metrics can be used to assess whether vinegar actually “works?” If the Democrats suddenly become very vitriolic and subsequently take the White House in 08, does that mean that vinegar “works?” Or are there confounding factors? Similarly, does the Republican use of vitriol contribute significantly to their political successes? How significantly? How could you tell? I’m not saying that these questions are unanswerable, but they are big questions, and I do not think that the answers will come easily.

    And what is “vinegar,” anyway? Is it just aggression? Backbone? The macho Texan ideal of taking-no-shit-off-no-damn-fools? Or is it malice? The willingness to sabotage? To hate your political opponents? To cripple them, perhaps unjustly? To lie, to dissemble when possible? Where do you draw the line? Where is the line between politically-useful behavior and morally repugnant behavior? Because when someone says something like “well, we shouldn’t stoop to their level” and a progressive counters with “their level works” and suggests that “their level” includes dishonesty, it leaves me wondering where the hell that line is, and how we decided where to draw it.

    I think I know how most progressives would answer that question. Most (jeez, I hope) would say that they have a sense of morality independent of the behavior of their political opponents. Most would say that using “vinegar” includes being combative and nasty, but not dishonest. But does that kind of projection of strength really “work?” How can you tell? And we’re back where we started.

    Aesthetic opinions do not count for much, as there is no accounting for taste. But to my eyes, anger is always ugly. And it seems to me that the most effective conservative commenters (Limbaugh and O’Reilly), while being brazenly rude, dismissing, divisive, etc (I’m sure everyone here can think up a few more adjectives) often effect a manner that suggests they are emotionally above the current debate – that it doesn’t really get to them. A sort of airy, breezy, f***-you-and-your-dog, I-don’t-need-you, those-crazy-liberals-ha-ha attitude. Bush has done this, too – remember his outright wink-and-dismissal of the millions of people protesting at the beginning of the Iraq war?

    I think that attitude (which is itself a projection of strength) attracts people more than cold, catty retorts ever can. It says “you are free to hate with impunity. You don’t need to worry about the feelings of others. Hey, I do it, and I feel great!” Maybe it says more than that, but I am just beginning to plumb this thing. And if we are considering the efficacy of “vinegar” in shifting culture, it’s just the kind of thing we need to be talking about.

    Thanks for reading my disorganized quasi-rant.

  115. #115 Samnell
    February 1, 2006

    “life begins at conception people.”

    Life began millions of years ago. A sperm is no less alive than a fetus, or for that matter you and I. The same for an egg.

    Or are you the sort who thinks that the whole universe is six thousand years old?

  116. #116 hmmmmm
    February 1, 2006

    life begins at conception people.”

    Life began millions of years ago. A sperm is no less alive than a fetus, or for that matter you and I. The same for an egg.

    Or are you the sort who thinks that the whole universe is six thousand years old?

    ———————————————————-
    all i’m saying is who gives you or I the right to decide who has a chance for life and who doesn’t. many of you are quick to say its fine to “kill” an embryo but think a mass murderer should be fed three meals a day, get cable tv, and be rehabilitated into society…

  117. #117 gwangung
    February 1, 2006

    all i’m saying is who gives you or I the right to decide who has a chance for life and who doesn’t.

    Well, no, you’re not saying that at all.

    But better luck trying to defend yourself next time; try not to presume your conclusions before your argument.

  118. #118 gwangung-nice one
    February 1, 2006

    oh ok – i forgot… you are an elitist who knows what i was saying… my bad – goodluck moping around on the losing side of things for years to come my friend…

  119. #119 Doctor Biobrain
    February 1, 2006

    I just wanted to mention that I plan to base my entire presidential campaign on the pig-man vote. You’d be surprised. You really would.

  120. #120 Bonnie
    February 1, 2006

    This is a question that science and philosophers need to delve into not politicians. We need to understand where the line could be drawn or where we need to slow down so that we have viable ethical standard on which to advance. This is no arena for a politician.

    Why was this tossed into the SOTU when Katrina victims and NO got hardly a passing mention? Why is this more of a pressing concern then rebuilding an entire US city?

    Interesting discussion here though…

  121. #121 Troy
    February 1, 2006

    So genetically engineered supermen Wrong, cyborg vice-presidents Right? All hail our cold electronic overloards!!!

  122. #122 coturnix
    February 1, 2006

    Back to the topic of the post, here is another good take. And Berube has his own take, too….

  123. #123 Edward Braun
    February 2, 2006

    Groovy to see all of the folks who followed the slashdot link… welcome right-wingers.

    A few observations:

    Brett stated “I find that most times the Liberal left cannot debate without degrading into a derogatory, blathering heap.” Leaving aside the redundancy of “Liberal left” (which I only point out because I find it humorous), I would ask a few questions:

    1. Do conservative commentators (e.g., Rush, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly) always take the “high road”, never degenerating into a “derogatory, blathering heap”?

    I know – trick question – all three started out as derogatory heaps so no degeneration was necessary! But seriously…name a conservative commentator that doesn’t engage in rhetorical tricks that range from silly to downright insulting to the left. There may be one out there, but he or she isn’t one of the popular conservative commentators. In fact, the left has lagged greatly behind the right when it comes to the generation of a mind-numbing echo chamber. Unfortunately, that lagging is mostly due to incompetence rather than moral superiority…

    But at least there is room for redemption of the centerist party in the states – the right-wing party is so far gone that they are beyond any possibility of redemption. Unfortunately, they are the folks in control of the government.

    2. Did you read the subtitle of the blog?

    You know, the one that reads “Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal”. With words like that under the name of the blog, it would be surprising if the rhetorical kid gloves were on. If this were some sort of “point-counterpoint” post, saying things that could be construed as insulting the opposition might be bad tactics, and perhaps even bad taste, but that is not the nature of this blog. Nor does this blog purport to be anything other than what it is (which is often pretty groovy, but that is beside the point).

    However, regarding the allegation of insults from the left – I would argue:
    a. Folks have gotten way too sensitive. A combination of common sense and a slightly thicker skin would go a long way to making “debate” a bit more robust in this country. It is common sense to avoid saying things that might directly offend, but I would rather hear an honest opinion from somebody (even if it offends me) if is based upon the expression of a substantive idea than hear a meaningless string of words that were calculated not to offend.
    b. Real “debate” has dried up in this country. The status of what passes for discourse has changed substantively in my memory (and I’m still quite young…). People don’t make reasoned arguments – they blurt out emotions. “Truthiness” – stating things one wishes or believes (without evidence) to be true – has replaced any sort of search for deeper truths.

    If you actually read PZ’s post, you will note that the paragraph beginning “He’s trusting that everyone will think he is banning monstrous crimes against nature…” does not actually hurl any nasty words directly at W. It hurls a nasty accusation…and that is fair game. The points, when summarized, are as follows:

    1. The language Bush used was overly broad. If he didn’t mean to include chimeric cell lines or mice with human chromosomes, why was his language so broad. After all, I’m sure the SOTU is carefully crafted and vetted by a team o’ neo-cons. If he only meant monsters, why didn’t he say “I don’t want no stinkin’ Island of Dr. Moreau in my country – I saw the movie, and it ended baad! – somebody told me it was a book by Orsen Wells or somebody like that, well anyway his name had a W jes’ like mine, so he must have been on to somethin’.” (Ok, that statement might have been smoothed out in the vetting process, but I hope the point emerges).

    2. The best medical care will always be available to the rich. If folks make even 3x or 4x the median income, they can probably go abroad if there are treatments that are not available in the states. Research that has the potential to improve human health (and thereby make money) will go on elsewhere even if it is forbidden in the states. In sharp contrast, folks who are working hard but not making as much are limited in their options. Those people will suffer poorer health. That is the reality. So, do we want to widen the gulf between medical care of the rich and poor or narrow it? I would strongly advocate doing what we can to narrow that gulf. Promoting research is ONE WAY to do that, although there are obviously a number of other important considerations.

    3. The specific research cited by PZ was aimed at understanding Down syndrome. I suspect if you described it to the majority of people, they would not object. It is possible that legislation would exempt work like this… but there are certainly no guarantees. People affected by Down syndrome are refered to as “retards” by some – obviously a derogatory term. In context, the way I would read this post is as an indication of how PZ thinks people that wish to stop research aimed at understanding Down syndrome feel about people with Down syndrome – not how PZ feels about people with Down syndrome. I know that is a layer of complexity that is unusual for debate in 2006 America…but maybe we can all try to stretch our minds.

    Thus, it is really PZ’s riff on the Kanye West “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” statement – recast as “George Bush doesn’t care about people with Trisomy 21”. I think the string of logic supporting this case is sound, and if conservatives wish to argue against it, they should explain what the statement “Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research, human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling or patenting human embryos” means. Does it mean what it says? If not, why not? What exactly would be exempted? And why? Because if W means what he says, well… that supports the whole arguement that got us to “George Bush doesn’t care about people with Trisomy 21”.

    And as an aside, when talking about debate in this country, what do you say about NBC’s decision to cut West’s comment about the President out of the west coast feed for the hurricane relief special? Shouldn’t Kanye West have a right to free speech? Does NBC think that those opposed to West’s point of view are so petty that they would not donate to hurricane relief because West was one of the people associated with the effort? If so, is that belief warrented? And if the belief is warranted, what does that say about people who are opposed to West’s point of view?

    Although there is some complexity to the issue, since one could argue that deviation from scripted comments is unethical under some circumstances, there is certainly a history of some performers improvising on live television. West made an assertion that I happen to believe, with a minor modification – I think Bush cares about and loves people of all races, as long as they have money. But if they are poor… well, I think we can infer what I would assert to be the answer to that situation.

    I wish I had a great quote from Rousseau or Spinoza or the like to wrap this up, but the words that came to me as I was listening to NPR on the way home was Dylan’s “only a pawn in their game.” Unfortunately, I believe Dylan’s words are just as true today as they were in ’64…much of the overt racism has receded, but it is still possible for politicians to get people to vote against their own best interest, and they still use fear and hate to do this. And regarding the exact word used to communicate ideas and whether they are offensive, there is another more recent voice in pop music that said it best:

    “…to hold my tongue speaks of quiet reservations.
    Your words once heard, they can place you in a faction.
    My words may disturb, but at least there’s a reaction”

  124. #124 Anonymous
    February 2, 2006

    THERE IS NO INDIVIDUAL! WHAT THE FUCK IS THE MATTER WITH ALL OF YOU?

  125. #125 Samnell
    February 2, 2006

    “all i’m saying is who gives you or I the right to decide who has a chance for life and who doesn’t.”

    We do this every day. Every decision we make could be snuffing out billions and billions of lives. Consider a person who moved to California during the Great Depression. Let’s say he and his family moved from Oklahoma, a common enough scenario. Settled in San Francisco. They have a lot of kids, who in turn have a lot of kids. Their grandchildren number somewhere in the twenties, then own children, seven or so. They’re all together for a family reunion the day of the big earthquake in the late 80s. All dead. That’s thirty-odd people dead right there. And that’s just human life.

    Today, I ate a hamburger. A cow must have died to provide me that hamburger. Furthermore, that cow must have eaten a lot of grass in its time. And probably microorganisms that live on that grass. They’re all dead now.

    We can go on forever like this. But it’s really missing the point. So far as I’m concerned, the fetus simply is not a who. It’s a what. It’s no more or less alive than the sperm and egg that produced it. It’s no more deserving of moral consideration.

  126. #126 Maureen
    February 2, 2006

    It’s true that everything we do could potentially snuff out a chance for life. But that doesn’t mean we are allowed to choose to careen our cars through crowds of people at 100 mph. It’s also true that spontaneous infant mortality is particularly high among fetuses. Most people (although not Professor Singer) think that doesn’t give us the right to run through a maternity ward dashing baby brains out against the wall.

    Human beings do not give themselves personhood. Whenever they give themselves the right to determine whether or not someone else is a person, we all know the horrible injustices which have ensued: slavery, genocide, oppression. So any thinking person should be troubled by the assumption that unborn humans are not people, and that therefore it’s okay to slaughter them — or to do whatever we want with embryonic material.

    It’s not cruel or Luddite to say that this kind of behavior is troubling. Pretty much every other generation but ours would have no trouble condemning us for it. Of course, since we’re the generation with the power to do it, we naturally have a bias towards finding reasons to use our power. But there’s a distinct difference between “We can, and it might be useful” and “we should”.

    Saving some sick people by creating other people and condemning them to death — no. Saving some sick people by creating death-doomed animal-human chimeras? Also wrong. Even if you don’t think it’s murder in the strictest sense, it’s surely not doing anything life-affirming. (After all, if you give animals human genes, you are making them our kin in a very real sense. And in every culture in the world, kinslaying is cursed.)

  127. #127 David Siglin
    February 2, 2006

    You claim Bush is ignorant (which he might be) but in your entry you show your ignorance. You say things like “Once again, the ignorance and the bigotry of the religious right wins out over reason and humanitarianism. I think I know who the real pig-men are.” To put it lightly, you know not of what you speak. Painting people with a broad brush stroke never works. I am on the religious right and I have no problem with the research you just described. If you blame the religious right for being too closed minded and antagonistic you must not be that yourself.

  128. #128 spencer
    February 2, 2006

    It depends on what you are trying to achieve. To keep up the feud, treat people like enemies and insult them. You can be pretty sure they will oblige with the same. But to convince someone, look for common ground, aknowledge their position and argue based on facts. That’s what works.

    You say this like we’ve never tried it. We have. It doesn’t work. In fact, it has failed miserably. What works is fighting hard and (apparently) fighting dirty. Have you been paying attention to American politics at all since 1992?

  129. #129 j4
    February 2, 2006

    /So any thinking person should be troubled by the assumption that unborn humans are not people, and that therefore it’s okay to slaughter them — or to do whatever we want with embryonic material.

    It’s not cruel or Luddite to say that this kind of behavior is troubling. Pretty much every other generation but ours would have no trouble condemning us for/

    Biblically and Historically this is false. Fetuses have never been granted the same status as humans and embryo’s would not be a consideration if it where not for the advancement in scientific knowledge.

  130. #130 Jon
    February 2, 2006

    You are all missing the point! Bush made his comments to intentionally make people agitated. He wants you to focus on this dumbass debate instead of the topics for which he is already getting bad press.

    Congratulations. He played you and you were perfectly in tune.

    Who gives a flying crap about abortion and genetics research? He has already made his supreme court appointments. He can’t legislate. This is just political wrangling at its best.

    Shame on all of you for being sucked in.

  131. #131 Paul Tourville
    February 2, 2006

    Potential Human Life. It seems to me that that is the important issue.

    Potential. George Carlin had a lot of great points about the “abortion debate”. The fallacy of the “sancitity of life”, the division in classification in the discussion of children (“We have two children and one on the way” instead of “We have three children”, and questioning why there is no funeral for a miscarriage), listing the things we kill and for what reasons… The bottom line, for me, is that each individual (or “breeding couple”) should be free to make his/her/its/their own moral choices about what is done with his/her/its/their genetic material. That includes donating embryonic stem cells for medical research, choosing to terminate a pregnancy and, if that is one’s bent, poking farm animals (assuming it’s mutually consensual). At what point does a “human” “life” have “potential”? I say it is at live delivery.

    Human. We have yet to really define what it means to be human. By some reports, the difference in genetic code between humans and the most-closely-related living primate specie is somewhere in the neighborhood of 5%. We share DNA with frogs and trees. If you have more or less chromosomes than you’re “supposed to” are you still “human”? If you have a mutation or other genetic condition which disfigures you or makes you reproductively incompatible with “humans” are you not “human”? I think before we get too wrapped up in how we treat “human” life, we need to clearly define what “human” means.

    Life. Life is a funny thing. It is only important to living things. I am convinced that Mars, if it is barren and sterile, is no better or worse off than Earth, which we know to be populated with living (arguably intelligent) things. Both planets do what they do with complete disregard for whether they harbor living populations. We are, ultimately, an inconsequential infestation on the surface of the Earth. We will all die. What we do with our lives is our own business and, really, only affects us. That applies to each of us as individuals, humanity and the entire living population on the planet. The planet, the sun, the galaxies and the laws that govern their existences concern themselves not one whit as to whether we exterminate ourselves in a nuclear holocaust or whether we thrive till the death of our star. If life really is sacred, it seems to me that the divinity from which such a sacrement flows should take a more obvious interest in ensuring it is treated with greater regard. If you make it past the labia majoris (or out the bow window, if born by C-section) with a pulse, good on ya! Best wishes! Lotsa luck! You’re alive. Have fun. Try not to hurt anyone unnecessarily — including yourself. Just remember: we’re all going to die. When your body decides it’s time to quit, make your peace and accept it. You’ll save yourself, those you care for and those who care for you a great deal of greif and misery.

    Bush and his ilk are just plain wrong. The enforced legislation of “morality” is one more step down a dangerous path. The framers of the constitution were very careful to make “non-interference” the theme of the document. Keeping government from interfering with individual rights and keeping individuals from stepping on each other’s toes.

    I believe reproductive choice belongs with the breeders, not with the state. If the state can impose regulation on reproduction (for or against) I think we have a problem on our hands. At that point, the question must be raised: “Who’s life is it, anyway?” If it falls to the state to say whether or not you will reproduce, then, clearly it is the state’s life. If the people choose to abdicate such freedom, it is a people from which I choose to distance myself.

  132. #132 Anonymous
    February 2, 2006

    To the poster who was saying it was crap that Bush’s Daddy bought his Degree….haven’t you heard of Legacy scholarships?!?!?!

  133. #133 Lynn in Delaware
    February 2, 2006

    Huntington’s Disease, a fatal and incurable neurodegenerative disease from hell has appeared in my husband’s family. The gene mutated in my mother in law who developed the disease late in life. My husband developed it in midlife which is more typical although the disease can develop as early as six months or as late as old age. Because the disease usually strikes in midlife, people usually fall between the cracks of the social/medical safety net. It is heartbreaking to see my once bright, mature husband lose his cognitive abilities, act like a spoiled child, and develop psychiatric problems. The gene is dominant so our daughter is at 50 percent risk of having this disease too.

    The creation of a mouse model has led to major advances in understanding this disease, which has features in common with other neurodegenerative diseases which are more complicated to study. No other animal besides humans have Huntington’s Disease although the normal huntingtin’s protein is an old one, found even in yeast. In 1996, scientists inserted a human HD gene into mice to give them the disease and as a result have made major discoveries about the multiple pathologies caused by the mutated protein. These discoveries have been confirmed in HD patients and we are now at the point where potential treatments are being tested in the HD mice.

    The thought that this kind of medical research would be outlawed is terrifying to me.

  134. #134 PZ Myers
    February 2, 2006

    Oh, yeah, he’s just goading us with trivialities like abortion and research. Don’t argue with Bush, just let him keep on preachin’ it without criticism.

    Who has been sucked in to the Republican facade here again?

  135. #135 T.W. McKinney
    February 2, 2006

    Saving some sick people by creating other people and condemning them to death — no. Saving some sick people by creating death-doomed animal-human chimeras? Also wrong.

    I agree, and on this principle (that we shouldn’t create “death-doomed” people, animals, or human-animal hybrids), I support a comprehensive ban on reproduction.

  136. #136 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    February 2, 2006

    Bush Says Math, Science Economic Tools

    Oh yeah? Well i say that Bush is a tool.

  137. #137 Dianne
    February 2, 2006

    It’s been said before, but I’m going to repeat the point, because the right wingers from slashdot don’t seem to get it: If Bush goes ahead with the ban on human-nonhuman hybrids, medical and biological research in the US is OVER, done with, non-existent. It is simply not possible to do the work one needs to in medical research without using transgenic animals and other “human-animal hybrids*.”

    Transgenic animals, in which one or more human genes are inserted into an animal (usually mouse) embryo and the resulting animals examined for phenotypic chages, used for testing therapies in vivo, and used other studies are a standard part of medical research. Without such animals, there would be no non-human model for a number of diseases, making it both much more difficult and much more dangerous to bring new therapies to clinical trials. Would you want to test a new drug that had never been proven in animal studies because there were no animal models? Of course, basic research would come to essentially a standstill as there would be no way to examine the effects of human genes in vivo: it just isn’t ethical to produce a “knock-out” or over-expressing human.

    If taken to extremes, the ban could also mean that a number of effective therapies would be banned. For example, rituxin, a treatment for lymphoma and other hematologic diseases, is a humanized mouse antibody. Humanizing the antibody makes it less “visible” to the immune system and reduces the risk that it will provoke an immune response. That makes it safer, better tolerated, and capable of being used more than once. However, technically speaking, it is a human-mouse hybrid molecule. So does it go out the door? The cure rate for large cell lymphoma has increased by a third since it has come on the market. Would you sacrifice that to your ideology? Do porcine valve replacements have to stop? Should you dig the pig valve out of Jesse Helms? Technically, he’s a human-nonhuman hybrid at this point.

    Then there’s the cloning ban. Research can be done without using embryonic stem cells, as is proved by the fact that research in the US hasn’t come to a standstill yet. The inability to use ESC has put the US at a disadvantage, but not yet an insurmountable one. However, if ALL human cloning were banned, that would be a different story. One basic biomolecular technique is to cut a gene out of its native DNA, clone it, and insert it into a bacteria or yeast in order to grow large amounts of it. Some examples of products that depend on cloned genes include human insulin, growth factor, GCSF (neupogen), erythropoietin (procrit), and several clotting factors. Would you rather go back to harvesting growth hormone from cadavers, leading to a risk of Creutzfeld-Jacob and other neural diseases? Or harvesting insulin from pigs and cows…oops, run into the human-animal hybrid problem. I guess diabetics just have to die to satisfy your love of life, eh?

    I’m currently hoping that Bush basically didn’t know what he was saying when he proposed banning human-non-human animal hybrids. If not, well, I’m pollishing my cv, getting my most recent data in shape to publish, and scouting out jobs in Europe and Canada. Just in case.

    *Humans are animals so really “human-animal hybrid” makes no sense. What he means is “human-nonhuman animal hybrid”, but I don’t think that most right wingers want to think about the fact that humans are part of the animal kingdom.

  138. #138 AT
    February 2, 2006

    “Life began millions of years ago. A sperm is no less alive than a fetus, or for that matter you and I. The same for an egg.”

    An unfertilized egg is NOT human life and never will or even can be. Sperm by itself is also NOT human life and never will or can be. If comparing a fertilized egg/embroyo/baby/whatever to sperm or an egg by itself is a valid arguement, then why do I only eat unfertilized chicken eggs that I buy at the grocery store? If they are the same thing, why does the idea of eating a fertilized egg for breakfast so disgusting to me? I think that the reason it grosses me out is because I know that it is not an egg, but a chicken.
    So, too is a fertilized human egg a human being. In fact, an embroyo/baby/fetus has a heartbeat at about 18-21 days from conception itself. Guess what? Since the earliest a woman can know that she is pregnant is about 11 days after conception (some women have longer periods of infertility after their fertile periods, but let’s use 11 to be on the more conservative side), then that leaves moms and dads just one week to consider having an abortion during which you do not stop a beating human heart (because, hey, if it’s not human, what is it?).
    It’s a life, guys. A HUMAN LIFE. Science tells us so (and consistently, I may add), no matter how facts are warped to fit our own wants/desires. Christianity/God may give it a “sacredness” or the like, but nature tells us that each human being has a value.
    Abortion is wrong. Calling miscarriages “spontaneous abortions” is misleading, since (as somebody else pointed out) abortion is on purpose. And calling the purposeful killing/murder of an human embroyo/fetus/baby anything but murder is also misleading. By calling things by another name, we don’t feel so bad about our attempts to justify it.

  139. #139 Brian
    February 2, 2006

    As long as the human race exists, there will never be a globally shared, intangible equality (e.x. Religion).

    Why not? I think it’s more fun to explore that question with others rather than to answer it myself.

  140. #140 AT
    February 2, 2006

    Also, Bush is not talking about inserting a gene or genes into animals–there’s no moral dilemna here. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. He’s talking about creating any human life for the purpose of using it as a means to end and/or then destroying it. Inserting genes into anything doesn’t create human life.

  141. #141 Dianne
    February 2, 2006

    Ok, a challenge for anyone who wants to take it up: Can you come up with a definition of “living person” that:
    1. Includes all concepti from single cell stage through birth to death
    2. Excludes brain dead people (or gives an alternate definition of “death”)
    3. Defines monozygotic twins as two separate people, not a single person
    4. Excludes cancer, non-fertilized gametes, somatic cells
    5. Deals with artificial clones in some way (ie if a person were cloned and the clone was now 21 is the clone an adult person or not?)
    6. Deals with the possiblity of non-human intelligence in some way (ie are other animals that pass the rouge test people or not? if an intelligent and technically advanced alien species were discovered would it be considered to be made up of people or not? What about an AI that could pass the Turing test?
    7. (This is the hard one) Isn’t based on simple prejudice.

    If you can manage it, I’ll agree with you that all human life from conception is sacred and join you in your calls to get the NIH to reroute all funding towards efforts to end the massive pandemic that is killing 80% or so of infants at the blastula stage.

  142. #142 Dianne
    February 2, 2006

    “an embroyo/baby/fetus has a heartbeat at about 18-21 days from conception itself.”

    Once when I was in medical school, I participated in the following act: The surgical team I was a part of cut open a man’s chest and pulled out the living, beating, heart*. The man was, of course, brain dead after an accident and had generously filled out his donor registration card years before so we were able to use his heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver to save the lives of others who were in danger of dying as their own organs failed them. It’s the brain that matters, not the heart, when it comes to defining what is and is not a living human being. And the brain doesn’t develop until much later than 18 days post-conception.

    *Yes, as a matter of fact, I do have Aztec ancestory. Why do you ask?

  143. #143 beccarii
    February 2, 2006

    With regard to the earlier comment about revulsion at the thought of eating a fertilized egg, that’s simply a cultural bias or preference. For instance, fertilized eggs containing a developed embryo are considered to be a delicacy in the Philippines.

    A highly interesting book on the general topic of food preferences and aversions within different cultures is “Unmentionable Cuisine”, by Calvin W. Schwabe, University of Virgina Press, 1979.

  144. #144 jackd
    February 2, 2006

    Funny how in all the abortion comments above (and I noticed this on Slashdot this morning, too – no coincidence, I think) there was an immense amount of back and forthing about the status of the embryo/fetus, but nobody was talking about the woman carrying it. She is, in virtually every instance and with no debate, a conscious adult human being. If we concede that an embryo is a human being, does that somehow promote its rights over the rights of the mother? Why should a woman be legally required to physically sustain the life of another?

  145. #145 Bob
    February 2, 2006

    Can you come up with a definition of “living person”

    That’s impossible when your simple prejudice excludes brain dead people from being a living person. And a clone being made that is already of age? Sounds like a movie I once saw . . . We’re intelligent people right? Come up with solid science for a technology that doesn’t exist and the top scientists don’t even know if its possible? No prob, we’ll do it right here in this forum.
    Is making a list of ‘The ultimate answer to living people’ and including items that don’t even make sense for that category really proving any point?

  146. #146 NelC
    February 2, 2006

    If abortion is so wrong (and I’m not saying that it isn’t) then why does the right oppose contraception and sex education so much? If you want to lower the number of abortions, then educate and provide access to contraception. If you leave people ignorant then they will get pregnant when they don’t want to be. When people have to make the emotional and rational decision to not have a child until (or unless) they can bring it up under agreeable conditions, surely it’s better to allow them to make the decision before conception?

    You may feel that abstention is better than all the alternatives, and that only a minimal amount of education is required for this. Should people not have enough education to allow them to decide for themselves? Is this really the kind of thing that should be imposed by a vocal minority? Or even a vocal majority?

  147. #147 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    February 2, 2006

    An unfertilized egg is NOT human life and never will or even can be. Sperm by itself is also NOT human life and never will or can be.

    Oh wise one, please fill us in on the details. If an unfertilized egg is not human life, are you saying that it is not human, or that it is not alive?

  148. #148 Roy Stogner
    February 2, 2006

    If they are the same thing, why does the idea of eating a fertilized egg for breakfast so disgusting to me? I think that the reason it grosses me out is because I know that it is not an egg, but a chicken.

    Eating chicken grosses you out? Well, to each his own, I guess, but I’d recommend being really careful in building a moral code from gut reactions and shaky analogies. You’d be surprised at just how much those reactions can differ from culture to culture.

  149. #149 george cauldron
    February 2, 2006

    And behind the curtain, Karl Rove chuckles quietly to himself.

  150. #150 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    February 2, 2006

    Is making a list of ‘The ultimate answer to living people’ and including items that don’t even make sense for that category really proving any point?

    If the point is to show that your arguments are not well-reasoned, and that you apparently started from your conclusion and worked backward to support it rather than starting from simple principles and evidence and reasoning your way toward a conclusion,

    then yes, the point is proven.

  151. #151 B
    February 2, 2006

    “If you want to lower the number of abortions, then educate and provide access to contraception. If you leave people ignorant then they will get pregnant when they don’t want to be.” — NeIC

    Well, not exactly. Artificial contraception (condoms, the pill, shots, etc.) are wrong for a number of different reasons. Aside from the research that shows increases in different types of cancer and other harmful things, artificial contraception separates the act from the potential outcome (a baby).

    You don’t even need science to prove this either. Let’s consider childhood for a moment. When you see a bully beat a kid up for lunch money, your natural reaction is sadness for the kid. Why? Because the bully “used” that kid for his own means (money). We know that this is wrong without anyone needing to tell us this. This is why we feel hurt when we are used, whether it be by a bully, or in a relationship, or at work. Using somebody like this is what is classically defined as utilitarianism.

    So…when someone uses artificial contraception they are stripping the act from the meaning… and allowing themselves or the other person to be used. Again, utilitarianism. Now society and the media don’t even try to cover this up… you can usually find somebody on tv or in the movies feel used b/c of a one night stand, etc. Utilitarianism is the problem. Because of this, over time, thinking started to slip and people decided that abortion was ok. Abortion perpetuates this idea/culture. It came from utilitarianism and selfishness. So yes, unless one is able to adequately provide (financially, emotionally, etc.) for the child that may come from having sex, you shouldn’t be having sex when the woman is fertile.

    Utilitarianism gives people the mindset to shrug off the responsibility of being a parent and use the person simply for pleasure.

    Should a man and wife only have sex when she is fertile? No, that misses the point entirely. Education is the key, but it shouldn’t be about how to use contraception. It should be about how to monitor signs of fertility and evaluate if you are ready to have a baby.

  152. #152 deb
    February 2, 2006

    Life is life, and trying to define when it begins is not the point and may be an exercise in infinite hair-splitting. The crux of the issue is what is the value of life (human or otherwise in all it’s forms)? I don’t see a scientific resolution to that question since it will always be defined in the context of the society in which it is asked.

    That being said, science can and has shed some light on the issue and modified widely held beliefs. In this case, the pre-Sharon Stone meaning of the phrase – ‘the quick and the dead’ comes to mind. It seems much of this dicussion revolves around to what extent believers are willing to have their beliefs modified.

    Well good luck with that – as Galileo found out. Mystics have had tens of thousands of years to perfect their circular logic whereas evolutionists are raw beginners. Plus, historically, and probably in pre-history too, there have been societal advantages to being a member of a leading belief group, and just maybe that ‘religion gene’ will be found someday. I think religion/mysticism are the disease, not the opiate, of the masses.

    What else would explain the dedication mystics display in protecting/promoting their beliefs? They vote for people who actually work against their own best interest, they have to have ‘tokens’ of their belief on every street corner, in every school and courthouse, they must fully indoctrinate their children before the age of reasoning, and they must ‘out-holy’ each other and occassionaly fight about it. In any other context, this would be described as unbalanced behaviour. Imbue it with religion, and it is a whole other ball game.

  153. #153 george cauldron
    February 2, 2006

    Well, not exactly. Artificial contraception (condoms, the pill, shots, etc.) are wrong for a number of different reasons. Aside from the research that shows increases in different types of cancer and other harmful things,

    Bullshit. There’s a much higher mortality rate associated with unplanned pregnancy than with contraception. Please dont pretend this belief of yours has anything to do with the physical well-being of the mother.

    artificial contraception separates the act from the potential outcome (a baby).

    Which means, WHAT, exactly?

    You don’t even need science to prove this either.

    Oh really?

    Utilitarianism gives people the mindset to shrug off the responsibility of being a parent and use the person simply for pleasure.

    What if both people in the couple WANT the pleasure? Why is that ‘using’ them?

    And if pregnancy is prevented completely, how is that ‘shrugging off responsibility’?

    Please, you’re doing nothing but giving us a lot of silly psychobabble to rationalize what are nothing more than religious objections to sex without the goal of reproduction. A hint: this argument won’t work with anyone who doesn’t already have all the same religious opinions as you. And saying that your objections are purely religious is also much more honest.

  154. #154 nate
    February 2, 2006

    B- of all the comments I have slogged through on this thread, you have been able to come up with not only the most ignorant, but the stupidest of them all. Please don’t reproduce, and please don’t vote.

  155. #155 Dianne
    February 2, 2006

    “That’s impossible when your simple prejudice excludes brain dead people from being a living person. And a clone being made that is already of age?”

    I gave you a way out of the brain death problem: just provide an alternate definition of “death” that you find to be more acceptable. I suggest you don’t use “when the heart stops beating” because there are a lot of people out there whose hearts have, at one time or another, stopped beating and they look very alive to me. But that’s your problem.

    I made the clone an adult to avoid the whole conception/birth issue. Of course, he or she was conceived as a single cell, possibly by a protocol similar to that that was used to produce Dolly, incubated in a uterus, was born, and grew up. The question postulates that the conception happened 22 years in the past. Nor is it entirely theoretical. If I remember correctly, a human baby was produced using cells cloned from an embryo some time in the 1990s. Ultimately, the technique was deemed unethical, but the child is still out there, presumably now in his or her (I don’t remember the gender) teens. Is he or she somehow non-human because of his/her method of coming into the world?

  156. #156 spencer
    February 2, 2006

    artificial contraception separates the act from the potential outcome (a baby).

    Even after reading your very strange post, I still can’t see why you think this is a problem. The only way this could be seen as problematic is if you believe that sex absolutely must have consequences, or at least the potential for consequences.

  157. #157 george cauldron
    February 2, 2006

    I think he believes that sex should be punished as a matter of principle, unless both parties want, and have, a baby.

    Not a real original notion.

  158. #158 Steve LaBonne
    February 2, 2006

    I think he believes that sex should be punished as a matter of principle, unless both parties want, and have, a baby.

    George, I’ve thought for quite a while that precisely that is the real motive force behind most of the “right to life” movement. As we’ve seen right here, their claims to oppose abortion because they believe an embryo or fetus is a human being just don’t hold up to even mild scrutiny, since they evidently don’t draw many of the other conclusions that would have to follow if they genuninely held such a belief.

  159. #159 Samnell
    February 2, 2006

    “If comparing a fertilized egg/embroyo/baby/whatever to sperm or an egg by itself is a valid arguement, then why do I only eat unfertilized chicken eggs that I buy at the grocery store? ”

    Because finding a partially developed chicken embryo inside your breakfast is kinda gross. Do you want to crack an egg open in your kitchen and find a bloody mess inside? Tends to kill the appetite. They used to pay people to candle the eggs and make sure none of the fertilized sort get through. Now it’s done by a combination of machine-processing and careful processing.

    It’s obvious that people don’t object to killing living chickens. I can go into most any restaurant and have the carcass of a chicken, or parts of it, laid in front of me for a meal.

  160. #160 which hunter
    February 2, 2006

    If I remember correctly, a human baby was produced using cells cloned from an embryo some time in the 1990s. Ultimately, the technique was deemed unethical, but the child is still out there, presumably now in his or her (I don’t remember the gender) teens. Is he or she somehow non-human because of his/her method of coming into the world? [Dianne]

    I say we hunt down the demon-spawn and kill, KILL!

  161. #161 which hunter
    February 2, 2006

    They used to pay people to candle the eggs and make sure none of the fertilized sort get through. Now it’s done by a combination of machine-processing and careful processing. [Samnell]

    Imagine! I’ve been paying a premium for something the egg industry considers rejects??? I’ve always figured a fertilized egg was that much closer to a chicken and therefore more nutritious and delicious.

  162. #162 Arne Langsetmo
    February 2, 2006

    One thing to note:

    “Hybrid” is not the same as “chimera”.

    There are human/mouse hybrid cell lines, and there have been some human genes inserted into whole mice stably (my SO works for a company whose IP consists of such a line, amongst other things). These are useful both for research and for drug production, but hardly any threat of a real “hybrid” animal (trying to keep the lines viable gets tougher and tougher the more human genetic material you try to cram in).

    Chimeras (mixed organisms of cells derived from human and from other animals) have been produced, but they are not genetically fixed. It’s the spectre of a “half goat/half human” chimera that the RW luddites try to conjure up to scare people about this kind of thing, but that’s still years down the pike and perhaps not possible at all in any kind of a viable organism.

    Maybe Dubya’s too stoopid to know the difference, but people are supposed to write his speeches for him, and check them. So they ought to have used the right terms and frame the issues in a less-than-iggnerant way. That is, if they cared more about the science than the politics…..

    Cheers,

  163. #163 Dr. Derek Ryter
    February 2, 2006

    Q: Are we not men?
    A: We are Devo.

  164. #164 Dianne
    February 2, 2006

    “Because finding a partially developed chicken embryo inside your breakfast is kinda gross. Do you want to crack an egg open in your kitchen and find a bloody mess inside?”

    I’ve eaten fertilized eggs quite often. I prefer them because they prove that the chickens that laid them lived in something like normal chicken families or at least in contact with roosters and therefore did not spend their whole lives in little, tiny cages with dozens of other chickens, unable to move, as do the chickens that lay guarenteed unfertilized eggs. Once again, your scruples towards the (brainless, indeed neuronless) embryo result in torture of the mother.

    The only thing one finds in fertilized eggs is possibly a speck of blood. I’ve yet to see a macroscopic embryo in a fertilized egg. I don’t see what the big deal is, but to each his or her own irrational dislikes.

  165. #165 John
    February 2, 2006

    I am more ignorant for having read this rubbish. Bush’s real message was “We aren’t going to let the doctors help those ‘retards’?” Riiiiiiiight, that’s exactly what he said.

    The religious right is “ignorant and bigoted”? Whatever you say buddy. Let me guess – the religious right is “intolerant” too, right? And you’re sooooooo intellectual, you’re tolerant of everything, right?

  166. #166 Dianne
    February 2, 2006

    “Artificial contraception (condoms, the pill, shots, etc.) are wrong for a number of different reasons. Aside from the research that shows increases in different types of cancer and other harmful things,”

    Actually, the data connecting any form of contraception to cancer is tenuous to say the least. Vasectomy has been shown in multiple studies to have no relation to cancer. Oral contraceptives have a questionable relationship to breast cancer (metaanalyses tend to show no increased or decreased risk), but show a definite decrease in the rates of ovarian and endometrial cancer in users. (See, for example, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16006440&query_hl=16&itool=pubmed_DocSum). Condoms have been shown to decrease the risk of cervical and penile cancer.

  167. #167 Kagehi
    February 2, 2006

    Kagehi – Could you please post some links for where and how you got those “spontanious abortion” info. I’d like to see the research.

    Well.. That would be a problem. Not everything is something I get from the internet. All I can say is that the 8 to 9 twin ratio comes from those researching cases where the unborn twin is encapsulated in the others body, which I recently watched someone on Discovery Health about, and that the 25% one is quoted quite often by various programs involving pregnancies and the like, I have seen it in probably a dozen so far. As for actual internet links, I would have to search for them the same as anyone else that wanted to find them. But… the subject which brought up the 8-9 ration is called “Fetus In Fetu” or “Parasitic Twin”:

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

    Other than if someone can find a transscript of the show, I have no idea if there is a link to the estimate they made of 8 out of 9 starting as twins.

    As for the other, I am not sure how to even search for it. Trying to get something that specific is more likely to net you statistics on infertility, instead of overall rates of implantation. I tried some searches, but they returns things like invitro rates or other stuff that isn’t relevant to the natural rates. :p I wish I did have links. I hate having to say, “Well, I saw it last week on some show I don’t remember the name of…”, even when I am reasonably sure the information is correct.

  168. #168 G-Do
    February 2, 2006

    So…when someone uses artificial contraception they are stripping the act from the meaning… and allowing themselves or the other person to be used. Again, utilitarianism.

    That’s the first time I’ve ever seen an argument against contraception from utilitarianism. Internets, I love you.

    Also – where does this “using” come into play? If two people have sex, couldn’t that maybe just mean that they’re in love? Certainly some sexual relationships can be classified as “user-used” relationships (see the Eurhythmics, I guess) but that’s a pretty cynical take on sex in general.

  169. #169 Kagehi
    February 2, 2006

    Hmm. Just wondering, for all you, “a fetus is a life”, peolpe, does this qualify as human life:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB910.html

    Its got all the same genes as a human, lives without a host body, etc. But absolutely has no human form, mind, or any other attribute normally associated with a human life. Is it OK to run experiments on it and kill it when no longer needed, or is it the same as a fetus, and why? What if you could repair the damage causing endless replication, then reset its genes to allow different tissue types, like a stem cell? At what arbitrary point do you start making distinctions?

  170. #170 Kagehi
    February 2, 2006

    Oops, I was specifically referring to Helacyton gartleri, for which a better explaination can be found here:

    http://www.disenchanted.com/dis/lookup.html?node=1860

  171. #171 quixote
    February 2, 2006

    Just to add a bit to the debate above about whether an embryo is a human being. One example: During the first trimester, the embryo has only unmyelinated nerves. This is the same level of sensation you feel in a tooth under anesthetic. Anything we would recognize as thought or emotion isn’t possible. Clams have unmyelinated nerves.

    Personally, I consider something that may eventually look like a human being (that’s another thing, by the way: visually, a first trimester embryo is very hard to distinguish from a pig embryo at the same stage), with the emotional range of a clam, I consider something like that *potentially* human. To me that’s not a human being. To you, it may be. That’s a matter of opinion and belief. That’s why we have to let each other live according to our own choices, not somebody else’s. (As I said in my earlier comment, more on defining “human” in my post A Choice or a Child?)

  172. #172 T.W. McKinney
    February 2, 2006

    Also – where does this “using” come into play? If two people have sex, couldn’t that maybe just mean that they’re in love? Certainly some sexual relationships can be classified as “user-used” relationships (see the Eurhythmics, I guess) but that’s a pretty cynical take on sex in general.

    I hate to defend or otherwise try to find sense in an otherwise incomprehensible post, but I’ll say this: there is a worry you might have, if you’re of a particular cognitive bent, that all sexual relations– even those that occur between parties that are erstwhile ‘in love’– are in danger of playing out as user-used relationships, perhaps mutual ones, and that there is, as a result, an inherent moral danger in any sexual act. That moral danger is that you’ll wind up treating your partner like a thing, a mere instrument towards your pleasure, and thereby dehumanize them. I think this thought, or something like it, is fairly common in some contemporary feminist thought, often with the added premise that (heterosexual) sex tends to happen on the man’s terms, and that, as such, women– either as a class or predominantly– end up on the worse-off half of the sexual transaction, so to speak.

    What this has to do with utilitarianism, I have no idea. The previous poster, B, seems to be using the term ‘utilitarianism’ to refer to the use of other people for our own pleasure, which is, needless to say, not utilitarianism in the sense in which we ordinarily use the term, to refer to the moral theory propounded by Bentham, Mill and, seemingly, most moral philosophers today. In the latter sense, the utility in question is closer to the orginal latin, utilitas, which in context signifies benefit rather than use. Utilitarianism might have the consequence that you can use people as means-to-ends if the resultant benefits outweigh the harm done to the used, but its seriously doubtful whether, when using someone for sexual pleasure, the end good really outweighs the harm. Frankly, this is probably itself a shoddy application of utilitarian principles. So, quick, someone who’s actually studied some ethics (seriously), come save me from my ignorance! 🙂

    Anyway, the thought up above is obviously a discomforting and very cynical way to think of sexual relations, but in better equipped hands than mine I think it winds up being a fairly powerful species of argument. That said, I’m pretty sure that if there is an inherent moral danger in sexual activity, that the solution is surely to find ways of mitigating that danger, in whatever context it happens to appear. The answer isn’t to place restrictions on sex (like saying that it should only occur in the context of relationships that have been guaranteed– by the state or church, say– to involve mutual support, i.e. marriage), nor is it to accept that as long as two parties get pleasure out of it, any mutual dehumanization is OK (I guess that would be a crude form of utilitarianism, but very crude and probably indefensible), nor should we give up on recreational sex altogether (as ‘B’ seems to think we should), but rather we should just be mindful of the way we think about our own sexual activity, and strive to be as mutually respectful of the personhood of our partners as we are in other aspects of life. A really robust treatment of things would probably make clear that things are a little more complicated than that, but the basic thought is– while its understandable that people would think there is an inherent problem with the act of sex itself, its more likely that the moral transgressions that occur happen are due to the attitudes of the participants, not really the act itself. Those attitudes can be fixed without throwing sex out all together.

    Anyway, that’s my non-specialist-philosopher’s $.0002 cents on one vaguely related matter.

  173. #173 Mike
    February 2, 2006

    Sorry I’m coming in after the thread’s already moved off subject, but does this mean I can’t use any more monoclonal antibodies in my research since they’re derived from hybridomas? I wonder if Bush’s comment was the result of White House lobbying by the polyclonal “rabbit farm” industry.

  174. #174 G-Do
    February 2, 2006

    …but rather we should just be mindful of the way we think about our own sexual activity, and strive to be as mutually respectful of the personhood of our partners as we are in other aspects of life.

    I’m down with that. Do you think that the “inherent” moral danger in sexual conduct (mistreatment of a sexual partner in the vein of “objectification”) is really inherent to the sex act? Or do you think it’s a consequence of social programming? Or is it universal in any sense?

  175. #175 Sotek
    February 2, 2006

    TW: He’s not using Utilitarianism at all.

    He’s using Kantianism, and very badly.

  176. #176 Graculus
    February 2, 2006

    After all, if you give animals human genes, you are making them our kin in a very real sense. And in every culture in the world, kinslaying is cursed.)

    We share, IIRC 50%, of our genetics with bananas, even more with a cow. Eaten one of your cousins today?

    All life is kin.

  177. #177 Edward Braun
    February 2, 2006

    You don’t even need science to prove this [referring to artificial contraception being wrong] either. Let’s consider childhood for a moment. When you see a bully beat a kid up for lunch money, your natural reaction is sadness for the kid. Why? Because the bully “used” that kid for his own means (money).

    I hate to pile on to ol’ B, but I think the big point he makes is being missed. B is simply revealing the real postion of virtually everybody with an anti-abortion – they are not anti-abortion, they are anti-sex. And they are especially down on women having sex.

    Let’s consider the bizarre analogy B proffered – my natural reaction is indeed sadness (well, as an adult it would be).

    But not for the reason that the “bully ‘used’ that kid for his own means”. There is a much broader reason – remember the Golden rule… do unto others… ring a bell? The point being that B places the focus on the bully, not the victim. We feel sorry for the kid because something that was his was taken. We empathize with the kid because we wouldn’t want to see things taken unfairly from ourselves or those we love. At least most of us do.

    What the “bully” got out of the interaction is immaterial (unless that knowledge is helpful in preventing future interactions of the same type).

    But the disturbing aspect is the clear subtext in the post – I suspect in B’s mind the bully is the big mean man who wants sex, and the kid is the poor helpless woman who is having something taken from her. I have news for you B – human sexual realtionships are complex! Sometimes they bring absolutely mutual joy and fulfillment, sometimes the relationship is somewhat asymmentric, sometimes very asymmetric. Sometimes sex is very meaningful, othertimes it is just fun. Any long term relationship has probably bounced around all of those possibilites at various times (hopefully spending little time on the exploitative end of the scale). Women actually do want sex sometimes – it isn’t just men using women you know. Sometimes women try to ingratiate themselves to men who can provide them material goods or safety, sometimes people work together to provide for each other, and sometimes men are able to exploit women for support.

    I could go on, but the point is that you can’t wrap up hetersexual relationships in a single dynamic B. Especially not when you think it is the sort of asymmentric relationship you imply is common (it is not among most reasonablly well-adujusted people).

    And finally, I would add the keeping babies in the equation at all times is the worst possible thing to advocate. The very asymmentric and exploitative relationships you decry (well – I get the impression you may think all sexual relationships are like that) will be the least nurturing and healthy environment for children. Is that really what you want? A world where folks who simply aren’t in a position to raise children are forced to raise them? We have too many children like that in the world already, and I would advocate:

    1. We work as a society to improve the lives of children who are already in difficult situations.
    2. We try to give people the wisdom and the strength to only persue sexual realtionships that are mutally supportive, and to encourage teens to only engage in sexual relationships when they feel they are ready. Possibly even after having discussions with one or both of their parents regarding their emotional development.
    3. We encourage the use of contraceptives and the practice of safe sex with the same zeal with which we have discouraged smoking.
    4. We make plan B widely available and encourage its use if there is the possibility of unwanted pregnacy.

    Tall orders! But I like the vision of my world where people are encouraged to explore sexuality with as much safety as possible to the world where sex is analogous to a bully taking a kid’s lunch money.

  178. #178 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    February 2, 2006

    TW: He’s not using Utilitarianism at all.
    He’s using Kantianism, and very badly.

    It sounds more like Can’t-ism. Everything is forbidden unless the magical friend in the sky says it’s OK. (Strangely, this means genocide and slavery are OK)

  179. #179 george cauldron
    February 2, 2006

    I hate to pile on to ol’ B, but I think the big point he makes is being missed. B is simply revealing the real postion of virtually everybody with an anti-abortion – they are not anti-abortion, they are anti-sex. And they are especially down on women having sex.

    Isn’t it illogical? They’re down on sex, and they especially don’t want women to have sex. So you’d think that gay male sex would be their preferred form of sexuality, since no women are involved. But nooooooooo

    Is that really what you want? A world where folks who simply aren’t in a position to raise children are forced to raise them?

    I think he’s cool with that, but what he really wants is for no one to ever have sex unless they want to conceive. In his mind, if people would just cooperate and do that, there’d be no problem with unwanted children. This is what ‘compassion’ looks like in the mind of a fundie.

  180. #180 Michael Friedman
    February 2, 2006

    There is disturbingly smooth and potentially slippery slope from things no reasonable person would object to (such as a microorganism with a human gene for producing insulin or a human with a pig’s heart) to things that no moral person would ever support (such as a man/ape hybrid with conciousness but no place in our society).

    Along the way are many things that are morally unclear. For example, imagine farming human bodies with no brains for organs… the idea sickens me but I can’t for the life of me explain why it is immoral. After all, growing organs in isolation does not bother me.

    Clearly these concepts are moving from the realm of science fiction to science fact. Someone is going to have to decide where to draw the line. The only question is whether it will be university bioethics panels or Congress and the courts.

    This is a democracy, not a technocracy, and that means that as irritating as it may be to the people who would decide in a technocracy, these are questions that have to be decided by our elected representatives, including the ones who are elected by people as dumb as a fence post guided by beliefs that you personally think are idiotic.

  181. #181 Chemtech
    February 2, 2006

    Gene Therapy Theory -> Animal Testing -> Approved G.T. Products

    Clearly a move by the pharma companies to keep a monopoly on the plethora of drugs that would be rendered obsolete by advances in gene therapy.

    By outlawing a key step in the FDA approval process the capitalist maintain residual “life or death” medical payments that could be bypassed by genetic correction.

  182. #182 T.W. McKinney
    February 2, 2006

    G-Do: I don’t think its inherent to the sex act. If I did (and I thought acting morally was generally a good idea [I do!]), then I’d end up in B’s position: absolutely avoid sex unless you want to make babies. But I think sex for pleasure is fine: but people should be in it for the mutual and, I think, cooperative benefit. It’s bad if it’s a matter of “You can use my parts if I can use yours;” I want to say, it’s good if the intended result is a shared experience, not “yours” & “mine” but “ours,” if you follow me. Even if not, the basic thought is– its not inherent to the sex act, it’s just bound up in our attitudes towards the act, which aren’t always healthy or conducive to moral conduct.

    Sotek: Spot on! As best I could tell, what B was trying to express was something like Kant’s thoughts on sex and marriage, only without the sophistication or the vocabulary or the argument or the, well, coherence, etc. I’m not sure where his notion of utilitarianism came from. Hopefully not a moral philosophy class.
    But you’re right. I think the motion at Kant would have made some sense if it had been a coherent one- since I think Kant’s thought in these areas can be made to seem fairly compelling and troubling. But, the sense it would have made would still have been fairly oblique, since we were talking about the morality of abortion, and this turned us to the morality of sex…

    … which, as Edward Braun very neatly pointed out, is definitely a point of investment for the fundies, even in the context of the abortion debates. Truth be told, I can understand someone having pro-life inclinations. I’m not sure I can understand the vehement desire to enforce those inclinations on everybody else, since anyone who has genuinely thought about the question of when human life begins/counts as a human life should recognize that it is insanely difficult if not impossible to answer. Moreover, since I doubt that empirical science can settle the matter, I’m inclined to think that there just isn’ta fact of the matter either way. So, trying to understand the strength of people’s conviction that they know that personhood begins at conception is, for me, very difficult. And it does lead me to think, as do the comments of B and others, that there are other matters at stake– sexual freedom, namely, and especially that of women. So I think that, in many cases if not in all, EB’s thought is absolutely right: at some level, the abortion issue really is about sex. If true, the circumstances are, to my eye, far more chilling. Hopefully, I’m just paranoid.

    That’s enough nodding in agreement for now. My neck hurts. 🙂

  183. #183 Danny Yee
    February 3, 2006

    there is enough convincing evidence for the presence of “life” at conception in any textbook written after the discovery of DNA

    Who needs conception? Every human sperm and every human egg is “human life”, since sperm and eggs are clearly alive and clearly not members of a species other than H. sapiens.

    Anyone prattling on about “the sanctity of human life” in some expanded sense that includes all embryos really needs to change their chant to “the sanctity of *diploid* human life”.

  184. #184 deb
    February 3, 2006

    Is Bush a ‘fear biter’ in canine terms? Are folks like B driven by fear? Will humanity ever be ready to take off the training wheels?

    Well, anyways, I thought it interesting Russell was speaking to the intersection of science and religion 79 years ago.

    Why I Am Not A Christian; by Bertrand Russell
    (Taken from a lecture delivered in 1927)

    Fear, the Foundation of Religion
    Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing — fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things. In this world we can now begin a little to understand things, and a little to master them by help of science, which has forced its way step by step against the Christian religion, against the churches, and against the opposition of all the old precepts. Science can help us to get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so many generations. Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a better place to live in, instead of the sort of place that the churches in all these centuries have made it.

  185. #185 B
    February 3, 2006

    Allow me to clear up a misunderstanding. I never said that sex was bad. I also never said that you should only have sex to create life. I never said that it shouldn’t be enjoyable, or that women don’t also enjoy it.

    To quote myself: “Should a man and wife only have sex when she is fertile? No, that misses the point entirely.”

    I AM saying that people should always have sex that provides for the possibility of new life. Using artificial contraception removes that possibility. Therefore the act becomes solely for pleasure. Using someone to merely satisfy your own means is wrong. It’s so wrong, in fact, that people don’t even need to be told that it’s wrong.

    So, that raises a very important question… can a couple have enjoyable sex without artificial contraception and have it not result in pregnancy? Yes. It’s safe, and studies have proven that it’s more effective than artificial contraception. It’s called the Sympto-Thermal Method and it simply enables a couple to know when the woman is most fertile. What the couple does with that information is up to them. If they don’t want to create a new life they simply don’t have sex the couple (usually 3) days a month that a woman is most fertile. If the couple does want to have a baby, they know when their best chance to conceive is. It’s incredibly simple and it doesn’t interfere with the posiblity of creating life.

    Once you understand the fertility process, artificial contraception is no longer needed. It’s really quite simple and straight forward. Here’s more info: http://www.bygpub.com/natural/natural-family-planning.htm

  186. #186 george cauldron
    February 3, 2006

    B:

    It’s called the Sympto-Thermal Method and it simply enables a couple to know when the woman is most fertile.

    So, the Rhythm Method, basically. It’s been around since the ’50’s & 60’s. People used to make jokes about it all the time. It explains the high birthrate among American Catholics back then.

    Using someone to merely satisfy your own means is wrong. It’s so wrong, in fact, that people don’t even need to be told that it’s wrong.

    You’ve ignored the objections people have posted here as to why this argument is bogus. You seem to think all non-procreative sex is exploitative. I shudder to think what this says about your relationships.

    Allow me to clear up a misunderstanding. I never said that sex was bad. I also never said that you should only have sex to create life.

    On the contrary, you said all those things. And I think people here understood what you were getting at quite well.

  187. #187 deb
    February 3, 2006

    B – I don’t get your points on pleasure and using. Is it like you believe every possible/potential sperm-egg combination is somehow sacred and therefore not to be taken lightly?

    Aren’t humans one of the few vertebrate species that copulate for pleasure, as opposed to those that only copulate when the female is fertile?

    Why would that be? I don’t think it is because some god is tempting us into his hell. It could just be that consensual copulation is often a celebration and expression of love and trust, an affirmation of life. It could be one consensual partner accomodating the other – which as a man, I’ve always taken as a merciful act of love – pardon the levity.

  188. #188 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    February 3, 2006

    I AM saying that people should always have sex that provides for the possibility of new life. Using artificial contraception removes that possibility. Therefore the act becomes solely for pleasure. Using someone to merely satisfy your own means is wrong. It’s so wrong, in fact, that people don’t even need to be told that it’s wrong.

    You don’t seem to have answered any of the questions on the table. As for sex that does not provide for the possibility of life: a great number of people disagree with you, and nothing you have said is going to convince them that you have a point. You haven’t explained why this is wrong.

    Supposing we agree that using someone else solely for your own pleasure is wrong. After all, most civilised societies have laws against rape. OK. But what if the sex is consensual, and the pleasure is mutual? You have failed completely to address that.

  189. #189 NelC
    February 3, 2006

    “Therefore the act becomes solely for pleasure. Using someone to merely satisfy your own means is wrong.”

    This is where your logic takes a jump, B. You’ve provided no link between the first sentence and the second. Doing something for pleasure isn’t necessarily the same as doing it only for your own pleasure. You can have sex for mutual pleasure, i.e. by thinking of your partner’s pleasure as much as your own. In which case your logic breaks down: if you regard your partner’s pleasure as equal to your own, it is no longer a selfish act, and therefore no longer wrong.

    Unless you believe that non-procreative sex is wrong, period, and you’re just rationalising your position.

  190. #190 RavenT
    February 3, 2006

    I AM saying that people should always have sex that provides for the possibility of new life.

    And I’m saying that when it comes to sexuality, your recommendation is the single most irresponsible thing I could possibly do.

    I think children deserve to be the center of the universe for a few years in early childhood, although it doesn’t have to be the mother who necessarily provides that. The point is, some adult or some combination of adults has to be there for the child whenever it needs them. Anything less than that is, in my opinion, neglect.

    I have absolutely no intention of taking any time away from my research to be that person anytime in the near future. So the most reponsible thing I can do is to make sure that I never put a child in that position, and I need to make sure my birth control is as reliable as possible–exactly the opposite position of what you advocate.

  191. #191 B
    February 3, 2006

    “So, the Rhythm Method, basically.” — george cauldron

    Actually no. The Rhythm Method is completely different and isn’t even close to the Sympto-Thermal method. It involves monitoring both temperature and mucus. The website that I posted does a much better and more thorough job of explaining it and providing links.

    The main objective of sex is to bring unity to a married couple and provide a means for procreation. Having sex without artificial contraception when either person is not fertile is not wrong becuase it brings unity to a couple but allows for the possibility (even if it is incredibly remote) for more life. Non-procreative sex should never be the end goal. Either person may consider non-procreative sex to be “giving” to the other person, but because there is no chance of creating life, one person is using the other. Artificial contraception is just an extension of this. In either case, (non-procreative or artificial contraception), it conveys a very simple thought, “I desire to be with you, but I don’t want all of you.” This comes from either the man or the woman. Love should never be partial like this. NeIC, this is where the connection lies. If both partners are having procreative sex, even if one or both parties is infertile, then there is a total giving of yourself to each other. This reduces the potentiality of selfishness.

    How can you still be selfish? Well, it depends, and is a little more complex for this posting. I will provide a couple of examples to highlight it. If you have this type of truly free sex and are thinking of someone else or if you initiate it as a reward for something (such as taking out the trash). These are two examples of using sex itself for selfish means.

  192. #192 RavenT
    February 3, 2006

    If both partners are having procreative sex, even if one or both parties is infertile, then there is a total giving of yourself to each other.

    So according to you, my having non-procreative sex with my husband of ten years is selfish. On the other hand, because it was procreative, Henry VIII therefore gave himself up totally to Anne Boleyn (at least, right up until he had her executed, that is). And then he serially gave himself up to all the others, of course, but that’s still better than my monogamy by definition in your eyes, even though I neither divorce nor execute Mr. Raven.

    Nice to see that you have your priorities straight there, B.

  193. #193 Lynn in Delaware
    February 3, 2006

    B, here’s a question. The other day my best friend dropped by for coffee and a chat. We had a great time talking. I really enjoyed her company and she obviously enjoyed mine. Was I using her or was she using me? Are both of us selfish?

  194. #194 D William
    February 3, 2006

    Wow. An unbelievably mixed bag of insightful, logical discussion and stick-in-the-mud arguments. Very interested to see a topic gradually move from ‘Did Bush say what we think he was saying’ to ‘Ethics of cloning, genetics & stem cells’ to ‘Science vs Politics vs Religion vs Morality’ to ‘The Ethics of sex’. Very stimulating, much more so than work 🙂

    My .02: Science is rational. It can be tested and tried and poked and prodded. All of these things can be done by many scientists in many nations, and they can be done over and over again as new technologies, new theories and new understandings evolve. For these reasons, I have to agree with the most scientific valid ideas I’ve seen posted so far here, such as the following:
    – Life began millions of years ago and has been perpetual ever since. This shouldn’t even enter into the consideration of stem cell research in my opinion.
    – Expanding our knowledge of biology through the use of stem cell research for the sake of the improvement of the quality of life for human beings simply has too much potential to ignore.
    – Religion, theology and the like have no place in discussions of a scientific nature.

    I guess my biggest problem is that religion is (and has been) deeply rooted in politics for thousands of years. I have no problem with anyone who believes there’s an omnipotent being in the sky or the center of the earth, or anyone carrying any other religious, theological or faith-based belief. The problem arises when this belief begins to affect the lives of other people. Bush is the President of the USA and he appears to be (and proclaims himself to be) a devout Christian. He is in a position of power in which his religious beliefs influence (if not control completely) his viewpoints, his decisions and his actions. I remind myself every day of how fortunate I am to not be under his government.

    I think one of the biggest differences between religion and science has to do with morality. The more I read, the more I am inclined to believe that science truly is guided by ethics and morals. This is by and large, of course there will always be bad apples acting selfishly, but I’ll leave that aside. Religion often seems to preach the same things (and in some cases, practices what it preaches), however I think history shows us that a good deal of atrocious acts have been committed in the name of religion. The crusades and the neverending issues in the middle east are the two foremost examples in my mind. George Carlin once said, “More people have been killed in the name of God than for any other reason”.

    Where am I going with this? I’m not exactly certain, I guess I just want to express my thoughts on the whole thing. Religion has no place in politics. Politics have no place in science. Science has the potential to improve life for humans everywhere, and we need to let go of what we’ve been taught about morality, about ethics and about right and wrong. I had the luxury of parents who allowed me to choose my own system of beliefs while still trying to teach me right from wrong. What I have come to believe is that the answers lie within. No ‘holy’ book of old can teach me ethics, because that knowledge is already inside me. Placing myself in theoretical situations, considering repercussions and ultimately caring about the wellbeing of my fellow human beings. These are the things that guide my actions, and based on what I’ve read, these are precisely the sort of things that bioethics councils deliberate before proceeding with any research that might have consequences in the moral/ethical arena.

    To the religious folk who would seek to ban contraceptives or ban stem cell research or damn us all to hell for our sins of sex-for-pleasure-not-procreation: feel free to express your beliefs (a freedom everyone should have), but don’t push them on anyone, and certainly don’t expect others to agree with you.

    To the scientists, researchers and supporters thereof: keep up the good work. Advances in understanding mean advances in medicine, and that means advances in the quality of life. So long as we always consider practical and ethical considerations, I think we will keep out of trouble.

    To the politicians in the USA: good job, you’re doing an excellent job of driving industry and innovation to other countries in the world.

    Being a Canadian myself, I guess it’s in my benefit but I don’t see it that way at all – I have many friends and colleagues in America and I view them as my neighbors. I would never wish for (or smile upon) poor fortune for my neighbors, for they are humans the same as I.

  195. #195 Steviepinhead
    February 3, 2006

    B. You’re not just a wingnut, you’re a maroon of the utmost macaroni. But even you can be redeemed. Here’s a start, repeat after me: It’s OKAY for people to “use” other people. (If it were immoral, you wouldn’t have a job, you maroon, nor could you ever employ people or negotiate the provision of any service or product with anyone else ever. If it were immoral, priests and ministers and therapists and counselors and physicians and nurses and firefighters and teachers and park rangers and writers and game designers wouldn’t have jobs. Why is the biological or emotional or recreational activity of sex any different than any of these other human activities? You don’t really know, of course, because you’re a maroon.)

    Of course there’s a line somewhere between “use” and “abuse,” and moral people seek to acquire the wisdom and experience to delineate it, for their own sake and for the sake of the people they interact with. But exiling the rather trivial and amusing act of recreational sex to its own special “moral” corner of the universe, simply because, at the right time of the month, etc., etc., etc., it might result in the conception of something that might, if all the stars are aligned in heaven, develop into another human being, is, well, logically unjustifiable and morally preposterous.

    Whatever the “Good” Book may or may not say on the subject. Reject your antiquated juvenile mindset. Individuate now, it’s still not too late!

  196. #196 Dianne
    February 3, 2006

    B-Have you ever considered the signficance of the fact that people can have sex and enjoy it even when the female partner is not fertile? Most animals will only have sex when the female is in estrus (ie is ovulating). A human female can have sex 365 days a year and enjoy it every one of those days, even though she’s only fertile about 36 of those days. The reason for this is probably that sex in humans is not just about reproduction. It’s also about strengthening the pair bonding between partners. In short, about love. So even if sex must have a purpose, it is not “meaningless” if it is not fertile: it expresses and strengthens the love between two people.

  197. #197 Dianne
    February 3, 2006

    “If both partners are having procreative sex, even if one or both parties is infertile, then there is a total giving of yourself to each other.”

    I missed this comment earlier. Two questions:
    1. How can it be “procreative” sex if one or both parties are infertile?
    2. What does the possibility of procreation have to do with whether or not one is “giving of oneself” to the other partner?

  198. #198 B
    February 3, 2006

    Dianne,

    Exactly… sex should always be a beautiful expression that strengthens the love between two people….whether it is during fertile or infertile times. People sell themselves short when they focus only on non-procreative sex, or use artificial contraception. The main argument for artificial contraception is to prevent pregnancy. The problem with this is that it is not that effective (studies have shown it to even be harmful physically AND emotionally) and not necessary. When a much safer, more effective, and easier method is available, why do people even hesitiate to research it? Unfortunately, a lot of doctors won’t tell patients the full side-effects of artificial contraception, even when it can be found in major medical books and publications.

    Sex is a beautiful expression of love that contains the potentiality to create new life. Why would anyone want to change it’s purpose or it’s potential outcome? If somebody isn’t ready to handle being a parent (financially, emotionally, etc.) that’s perfectly fine. If they are, that’s great. But harming yourself and your loved one by using artificial contraception to avoid said pregnancy is not healthy. People think that artificial contraception gives them this ultimate power over their lives. But studies have proven that these methods aren’t 100% effective. Pregnancy is a very complex situation. Couples trying to have a baby can try for months (esp. while the woman is fertile) before having success.

  199. #199 Steviepinhead
    February 3, 2006

    B, we’re glad you have convinced yourself that sex is most beautiful and most meaningful when procreation is at least a potential. (One hopes you’ve also convinced a member of the opposite sex of the same thing, though one has difficulty not wondering…)
    I’m even happy for you and wish you well in not using “artificial” contraception (again, good luck in convincing the S.O. on that one).
    Why do you care what decisions other people reach on these same questions? What’s it to you?
    And, assuming it IS something to you (what other people do with their sex lives), what are you prepared to do about it, other than proseletyze on the Internet? Do you want to legislate other people’s morality? Overturn Roe v. Wade? Make homosexual behavior illegal? Prevent at-risk (or just hormone-fueled) teens from obtaining access to contraception? Make sex between teenagers a crime, as in Kansas?
    I’m fine with you living your life by the precepts you have discerned. In a democracy, are YOU fine allowing other folks to live THEIR lives by the precepts THEY have discerned?
    If not, why not?

  200. #200 G-Do
    February 3, 2006

    The main objective of sex is to bring unity to a married couple and provide a means for procreation.

    Who decided that, exactly? It sounds as though the rest of your argument hinges on this assumption – but this assumption is what is in dispute. Why does sex have to have an “objective?” If you believe that God, or some higher power, crafted sexual behavior with a set of purposes, and that defiance of these purposes is immoral, then that is where we disagree, and that is what needs to be argued. I’m not trying to be combative, here – I’m just trying to ferret out the root of our disagreement.

    Non-procreative sex should never be the end goal. Either person may consider non-procreative sex to be “giving” to the other person, but because there is no chance of creating life, one person is using the other…it conveys a very simple thought, “I desire to be with you, but I don’t want all of you.” This comes from either the man or the woman. Love should never be partial like this…even if one or both parties is infertile, then there is a total giving of yourself to each other. This reduces the potentiality of selfishness.

    This all seems like abstraction built on top of some as-yet-unsaid principle.

  201. #201 Tara Mobley
    February 3, 2006

    B, it would have been selfish and manipulative for either my husband or I to insist on not using birth control before we felt ready to start a family using your logic. After all, it seems to be a logic of “if you really loved me, you’d put everything, including our happiness together, at risk for the chance that we may have a child before either of us feels ready.”

    Whether a couple is using birth control or not, the enhanced pairbonding will happen. It has nothing to do with the risk of pregnancy.

    And the method of “birth conrtol” you mentioned sounds a lot like the reversal of what couples desperate to get pregnant do, mixed with the rythmn method. Not very effective from a scientific standpoint. You just seem to be trying to justify a position based on religion, and that doesn’t wash here.

  202. #202 Dianne
    February 3, 2006

    “studies have shown it to even be harmful physically AND emotionally”

    An extensive search of medline and google scholar reveals no studies supporting the thesis that contraception is harmful and many indicating that it is beneficial in a number of settings. But it is possible that I missed the studies you are referring to. Could you give some citations?

    The problem with “natural” contraception, usually refered to as the “rhythm method” whether ovulation is measured by body temperature, cervical mucous, or simply by counting from the last period, is that it is unreliable. Many women do not ovulate reliably at the same time every month, basal body temperature can fluxuate for reasons besides ovulation, and cervical mucous consistency is a subjective measurement at best. In fact, “natural contraception” is the second most dangerous form of contraception a woman under the age of 35 can use (the first being no method at all.) The reason should be obvious: pregnancy is dangerous. Much more dangerous than any contraceptive method in a young woman, including smoking and using hormonal contraception. After 35, smoking and taking the pill becomes more dangerous, but the pill alone is still safer than pregnancy.

  203. #203 G-Do
    February 3, 2006

    Also, B, when I see something like this on a website (namely, the one you linked):

    So why do so many people have “medicated” births rather than natural births? Why are 99% of all deliveries medicated? Why do doctors never mention natural childbirth? Why did I very nearly have a medicated birth myself, but managed to find out about the natural birth phenomena by accident? It’s because no one knows about the natural techniques. It is almost like, for some odd reason, these techniques are hidden from everyone in society.

    – a huge red flag goes up. And that flag has the words “Junk Science” written all over it. Almost every pseudoscientific discipline I can think of warns its adherents that the broader scientific community (or in this case, the medical community) is out to hide the truth from the average Joe. Now, that isn’t to say that there isn’t at least something to this natural family planning stuff, but I am curious about all these studies you have mentioned. I managed to get to this list from an affiliate of the site you mentioned. Have you read any of these? Can you summarize why you believe contraception carries a medical risk?

    Doing these things would go a long way in bolstering your argument, I think.

  204. #204 Steve LaBonne
    February 3, 2006

    Hats off to “B”. Usually the wingnuts keep shouting about “life” to distract attention from their real agenda- the terrible fear that someone somewhere might be enjoying sex in a way of which they don’t approve. But not good old B, who lays the real agenda right out there for all to see. That, I submit, is a public service. 😉

  205. #205 Dianne
    February 3, 2006

    “Sex is a beautiful expression of love that contains the potentiality to create new life”

    Gotta add this, just to make trouble: If sex is loving only because it has the potential to create a new life, then why isn’t cloning not only ethical, but virtuous? It’s just another method for creating a new life, more cerebral than the usual method, but potentially just as fun. And surely a couple who worked together in the lab to create their child would feel a bond towards each other as much as if they slept together.

  206. #206 Steviepinhead
    February 3, 2006

    Exactly! You would think the anti-sex pro-life moralists would be totally down with cloning and other leading-edge reproductive technologies… It gets them right where they give every indication of wanting to go: cute bubbly babies, but without all the messy sweaty slippery stuff! Plenty of time to hold hands and gaze meaningfully into each other’s eyes while playing Up With People tapes…

  207. #207 Ted Baxter
    February 3, 2006

    I for one welcome our new Manimal overlords…

  208. #208 Dianne
    February 3, 2006

    “I for one welcome our new Manimal overlords…”

    No, no, no. The mice already rule the world, remember. The transgenic ones probably get teased for being part human, because human’s are clearly sub-mouse.

  209. #209 PZ Myers
    February 3, 2006

    I have one very simple question for B.

    Are you a virgin?

    You keep telling us what sex is all about and what it is for, but anyone who has actually had sex knows it isn’t a matter for pronouncements by one party — it’s an act between two people. You don’t get to speak for the other person. Your weird arguments are very abstract and disconnected from reality.

    I’d rather you were a virgin than some guy who tells his partner it is a selfish and ugly act unless she’s taking a chance of getting pregnant when you’re doing it.

  210. #210 John C. Randolph
    February 3, 2006

    “B”:

    It may be outside your experience, but take it from one who knows: having sex with no possibility of pregnancy is one of the best experiences available to human beings.

    Now, run along and tie a new rag on your head, you Taliban jackass.

    -jcr

  211. #211 Martin Wagner
    February 3, 2006

    PZ, though it seems a cheap shot, I have a sneaking suspicion that B is either a virgin, or a person who married very young and whose sexual experience is entirely limited to only procreative sex (like the couple in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life: “Every time [the Catholics] have sex, they have to have a child!” “Well, it’s the same with us. We have two children, and we’ve had sex twice.”)

    Clearly there is nothing in B’s ultra-bizarre posts that indicates he knows anything whatsoever about male-female sexual intimacy. His claims that using contraception is “harmful physically AND emotionally” flies in the face of what anyone who has ever actually had sex and used contraception could tell you from their first hand experience.

    In other words, I think you’re right. B sounds like a guy who’s never had sex, but has read some Christian books about the subject and thinks himself sufficiently expert to lecture all the rest of us. He seems to live in a peculiar constructed reality of his own making.

    Anyway, author Cherie Preist has the ideal solution to handle men who think like B.

  212. #212 Chris
    February 3, 2006

    B’s comments are on the right track but far too progressive. During ovulation, women should use no contraceptives and remain in a prone position. Once inseminated, they should remain in a prone position, preferably in obstetrical stirrups, and receive intravenous nourishment in order to maximize the likelihood of live birth.

    [/sarcasm]

  213. #213 SkookumPlanet
    February 3, 2006

    Guys, you’ve overlooked a couple things about B’s, uh …. thinking.

    One, he has, well hidden, a completely arbitrary definition of what’s “artificial” in artificial contraception.

    Two, he’s completely self-contradictory. He says if you use one of these “natural” birth control methods there’s always a remote chance a pregnancy can occur, thus, somehow making the sex moral. Then he turns around and points out, repeatedly, that “artificial” birth control “is not that effective”. So doesn’t that ineffectiveness, i.e. a chance of pregnancy, function in the same way as the chance of pregnancy does in his preferred method and so make sex moral?

    I looked at the site he recommends. Thermometers, digital and mercury, and instructions for observing and analyzing vaginal mucous patterns and cervical size and, in one method, a pocket microscope for daily viewing of the crystallization patterns in a woman’s dried saliva on a glass slide.

    There is absolutely nothing, at all, natural about any of this. This is all knowledge accrued through diligent application of advanced technological science. And it uses highly artificial methods and tools. And as for morality, can you imagine what B and his ilk would have considered the morality of constantly looking inside a woman’s vagina to have been two hundred years ago. But nobody had this knowledge then, either. How is all this “natural”.

    The site he recommends is basically about birth control methods that meet the dogma of the Catholic church and is full of the standard lies about science and what science says about birth control. And as such it’s no different from many other political groups in the U.S. that have problems when reality doesn’t match up to their preordained understanding of it. Like the ID movement.

    This all makes B’s postings here highly morally suspect. If one is willing to lie about anything to advance a cause, in my book that makes one AMORAL — the ends justify the means.

    His posts are so difficult to follow logically because he start’s with a conclusion then tries to reverse engineer an argument for it, come Hell or … reality. It’s very difficult for such people to discriminate between the truth and a lie.

    Here’s a thought experiment that I think cuts right to the core of the anti-abortion movement. Imagine a new, reversible birth control method, a pill or a pill-a-day type, that simply makes a woman’s egg membrane impenetrable, just as it becomes after a sperm enters. Do you think all the contraception-is-abortion people and groups would close up shop and go home?

    As many here have said, it’s really an anti-sex movement. Or, more accurately, it’s an anti-sex-without-consequences movement. You see, all our problems really go back to The Pill, etc. And those awful scientists who dream this stuff up.

  214. #214 Grover Gardner
    February 3, 2006

    Skookum, you took the words right out of my mouth. I’ve read quite a bit about the Catholic stance on birth control, and I fail to see the difference between preventing conception by a thorough body exam, and preventing conception by slipping on a condom. In both cases you are attempting to cheat nature, no?

  215. #215 Ruthless
    February 3, 2006

    B, your “arguments” are so nonsensical, I’m not even sure where to start. How about this:

    Non-procreative sex should never be the end goal. Either person may consider non-procreative sex to be “giving” to the other person, but because there is no chance of creating life, one person is using the other.

    This is a non-sequitor.
    It does not logically follow that one person is “using” the other because there is no (or little) chance of creating life. So please explain the logical step(s) missing.
    And is the act of sex more “using” even if the couple uses non-artificial means for contraception than if they did nothing at all?

    Also, aside from the lack of logic, there is a gaping hole in the part that actually does have a chain of logic:
    You say that non-artifical means of contraception are ok. But artificial means are not. Who says which is which and who says which is “ok”? You haven’t mentioned god (that I’ve seen), but it’s clear that’s who you have in mind.
    So please explain something to me: In either the artificial contraception case or the non-artificial contraception case, the people involved are doing something to choose to not have a child. So presumably–by your logic–people can do this (and it’s ok if it’s not “artificial”) and they can be successful at preventing pregnancy. So what’s the difference? If people can be successful at blocking pregnancy by using “non-artificial” means, they are still choosing to do something that is–by your logic–thwarting god’s will.

    There’s a question for you: Must god’s will always play out or can humans choose to do something that thwarts god’s will?

  216. #216 Patrick Suggate
    February 3, 2006

    > Once again, the ignorance and the bigotry of the religious right
    > wins out over reason and humanitarianism.

    I fail to see how it is reasonable to experiment on animals. Raising non-human animals in captivity to then perform cruel experiments is not reasonable. If it is wrong to perform cruel experiments on some species of animal (like Homo Sapiens Sapiens), then why is it okay to do this to others?

    > I think I know who the real pig-men are.

    Me too, anyone who naively assumes that any animal experimentation will be of benefit. If your retard president could just ban all experimentation on non-consenting animals, it’d be a huge step forward for all mankind.

    Unfortunately, many of our species are not born with the intellect to determine unacceptable behaviour. It seems that we are still so primitive and immoral that many of our species need a silly religious book written ages ago to have any clue/opinion about right and wrong. Just a shame these people conveniently leave out the parts like “Thou shalt not kill” that do not fit with their lifestyle.

    “Apparently I’m a P.C. Fascist Beacuse I Care About Both Human and Non-Human Animals” – Propagandhi song title

  217. #217 mss
    February 3, 2006

    Great post SkookumPlanet! You have nailed the jello to the wall on this one.

    You’ll also likely never get a response from B. Destroying the house of cards usually meets with incredible silence from B’s type.

  218. #218 PZ Myers
    February 3, 2006

    Yeesh. Another guy who thinks Bush was making the anti-vivisectionist Pal of PETA argument. Bush is a huntin’, shootin’, brush-clearin’ good ol’ boy. Read this and then try to tell me his concerns are for the cute little furry animals.

  219. #219 Edward Braun
    February 4, 2006

    B said –

    Allow me to clear up a misunderstanding. I never said that sex was bad. I also never said that you should only have sex to create life. I never said that it shouldn’t be enjoyable, or that women don’t also enjoy it.

    Perhaps I should clear up your misunderstanding. I stated that an anti-sex agenda was a clear subtext of your message. Nothing you have stated changes my evaluation of your position.

    The position B takes is highly illogical – he damns “artificial” birth control because it is not 100% effective:

    But studies have proven that these methods aren’t 100% effective. Pregnancy is a very complex situation. Couples trying to have a baby can try for months (esp. while the woman is fertile) before having success.

    This is a sort of “X is not perfect, therefore X is worthless” fallacy. I’m curious, is the rhythm method (or any “natural” variant thereof) perfect? Oh, I forgot… the potential to get pregnant is the point!

    Then there is the non-sequitur you follow your “X is not perfect, therefore X is worthless” fallacy comment with. Let me say this slowly:

    There… is… a… BIG… difference… between… (A) two people engaging in a sexual relationship that do not desire and/or are not in a position to have a child… and (B) a couple that desires (and hopefully are in a position to nurture) a child.

    The fact that a couple in position B may have difficulty conceiving HAS NOTHING to do with anything a couple in position A may do. There is no logical connection whatsoever between the statements B made.

    Sex is a beautiful expression of love that contains the potentiality to create new life. Why would anyone want to change it’s purpose or it’s potential outcome?

    What evidence do you have for that statement? At one level, one could argue that the purpose of sex in humans is exactly the same as it is in other animals. But even that would be ambiguous – is is to provide a means for recombination? …or a form of bonding, as in bonobos? (an aside – when I was at Ohio State I was rather disappointed in my visits to see the bonobos – they seemed as depressed as I would be if I were locked in a zoo. Perhaps I was misreading them – and I should add that the Columbus Zoo does good work for conservation – but it made me feel sorry for them)

    It strikes me that B has an overly rigid view of what sex should be. It should be nothing more than what two (or more) consenting adults agree to make it – that can be quite a bit or very little. But where is the harm in that, as long as everybody agreed to it. There are problems when people have expectations they don’t articulate, or misrepresent their situation. But people who are unwilling or unable to communicate what they need and/or are willing to provide is a problem that will always exist. It exists for sexual relationships and it exists for other types of human interactions. Guess what? Most people learn how to deal with it.

    Should there be restrictions on sexual behavior? Of course – anything that involves coercion is unethical and should be rejected by society. Anything that involves people who are not in a position to consent, due to age, intoxication, etc. is also unethical and should similarly be rejected by society. In many cases, “rejected by society” should include legal sanction. Beyond that I have a hard time seeing any reason for anybody to get into anybody else’s (metaphorical or literal) bedroom without an invitation. Multple partners? Not my bag, and potentially a less stable situation than coupling in many cases… but if everybody enters into it with their eyes open, why should I (or “B” or anybody else…) tell them not to do what they want to do. Adultry without the knowledge of you spouse is unethical, but that should between the couple and the extramarital partner – not me or “B” or anybody else. Prostitution may or may not be wise for any of the people involved, but I would argue that some of the most damaging aspects of prostitution are consequences of its illegality (I would add that I don’t advocate prostitution…I view it the same way I view alcohol – I stopped drinking when I was taking a antihistamine to deal with seasonal allergies that interacted with alcohol, and never started drinking again – but I wouldn’t tell anybody else not to drink as long as the drinking doesn’t create an inappropriate situation, like a drunk person jumpin’ in a car and toolin’ off all wasted).

    Part of living in a free society is letting other people do things that you may not personally approve of. My advice – if you don’t approve of a certain behavior, don’t engage in it. Feel free to advocate that others not engage in it either, but don’t attempt to make it part of the law. Think about what making something illegal means – it means the government can fine or imprison the person engaging in the illegal act. Shouldn’t we keep that category as narrow as possible?

    Rant mode off…

  220. #220 Paul W.
    February 4, 2006

    B makes it sound like there’s something wrong with a sympathy boink.

    Terrifying thought.

    I (ahem) beg to differ.

  221. #221 Jim Lippard
    February 4, 2006

    John P: “Rich, if you believe an embryo is human life, than I have some practical questions for you. Let’s say the mother has a life insurance policy covering all her dependent children. She conceives (within matrimony) and the resulting blastocyst fails to implant, a completely natural process. It is flushed out of her body by her feminine secretions and ends up in the wash or the toilet. No doubt this happens millions of times/day around the world. Should mom file a claim with her life insurance provider? Should there be a memorial service with a funeral? Should she be arrested for homicide? After all, the failure to implant might be her fault.”

    In Arizona, you get to count a stillbirth as a dependent for the tax year in which it occurs for your state income taxes. But pregnant women driving alone don’t get to drive in the HOV lanes.

  222. #222 UrsulaV
    February 4, 2006

    Does this mean the sterile need to remain celibate? Or that women are required by (god/law/screwball morality) to stop having sex after menopause? There is, after all, no chance of pregnancy.

    I left Catholicism too young to ever track down the loopholes on whether or not you’re still allowed to have sex once your ovaries have passed the sell-by date.

  223. #223 No Blood for Hubris
    February 4, 2006

    My understanding of current Catholic doctrine is that sex is for procreation of children only, and that therefore, if one is infertile, or otherwise not committed to having children, one must not engage in sex.

  224. #224 abrnet
    February 5, 2006

    Great post SkookumPlanet! You have nailed the jello to the wall on this one.

    You’ll also likely never get a response from B. Destroying the house of cards usually meets with incredible silence from B’s type.

  225. #225 ema
    February 5, 2006

    [apologies to Professor Myers for the length of my comment. There’s just too much incorrect bc info for me not to respond.]

    B,

    Artificial contraception (condoms, the pill, shots, etc.) are wrong for a number of different reasons. Aside from the research that shows increases in different types of cancer…

    There are 7 groups of bc methods–1) hormonal, 2) nonsteroidal pill, 3) IUD, 4) barrier/spermicide, 5) Natural Family Planning, 6) sterilization, and 7) emergency contraception.

    Please provide link [to medical journals/textbooks] showing users of methods in grps 2-7 show increases in different types of cancer.

    As for users of grp 1 methods*:

    ==Uterine ca==

    – combination pill (COC) reduces risk of uterine ca by 50%
    – injectable (Depo-Provera) reduces it by 80%
    [Teaching moment: In fact, the shot is sometimes used as a treatment for metastatic uterine ca.]
    – implants have no relationship to uterine ca
    – hormonal IUDs probably protect against it
    – long-term info isn’t available for the newer methods (skin patch, vaginal ring)

    ==Ovarian ca==

    – COC reduces risk of ovarian ca by 40-50%
    [Teaching moment: the protective effect lasts for 30 years after the last time the COC is used.]
    – shots and implants don’t affect ovarian ca risk
    – long-term info isn’t available for the newer methods

    ==Colorectal ca==

    – for COC users x 8yrs or longer, the risk of developing colorectal ca is reduced by 40%

    ==Breast ca==

    – COC (if I may be so indelicate as to quote myself*):

    In 1996 the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer (CGHFBC) analyzed the data from 90 percent of the known studies about breast cancer and Pill use worldwide. The group’s analysis found that there was a slightly increased relative risk of breast cancer diagnosis in current Pill users compared to never-users, but that the increased absolute risk due to Pill use is extremely small. For example, over one year, among 10,000 women aged 25 to 29 who use the Pill, the number of breast cancer diagnoses would increase from 3.5 to 4.3. … Finally, a large U.S. population-based, case-controlled study called the Women’s Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences (CARE), which involved more than nine thousand women, found that for women aged 35 to 64 who use the Pill (both current and former users), there is no increased risk of breast cancer, even for Pill users with a family history of breast cancer.

    – progestin-only shots (Depo-Provera) do not increase the risk of breast ca
    – implants don’t affect the risk of breast ca
    – long-term info isn’t available for the newer methods

    …artificial contraception separates the act from the potential outcome (a baby)

    Why is pregnancy and a possible live delivery/neonate the potential outcome of the act? What about orgasm; death; assorted lovey-dovey stuff; etc?

    So…when someone uses artificial contraception they are stripping the act from the meaning… and allowing themselves or the other person to be used.

    How do you know what the meaning of the act is for a particular couple? Moreover, when someone uses bc they are protecting themselves (or their partner, depending on the method used) from an increased risk of death [risk of death per pregnancy from continuing pregnancy–1:10,000 vs. say, using the IUD 1:10 million]**

    Because of this, over time, thinking started to slip and people decided that abortion was ok.

    And the golden ol’ time, the one where abx wasn’t practiced because people hadn’t yet decided it was OK, was … when?

    Should a man and wife only have sex when she is fertile?

    Why should only a man and wife have sex? Why not a wife and her lover, a man and his girlfriend, two perfect strangers?

    I AM saying that people should always have sex that provides for the possibility of new life. Using artificial contraception removes that possibility.

    Just on the science of it, you are incorrect: 1) intercourse provides for the possibility of pregnancy; 2) using [any method of] artificial contraception DOES NOT remove that possibility–none of the available methods (and, most likely, none of any future ones will) have 0% failure rate for either perfect or typical use***.

    So, that raises a very important question… can a couple have enjoyable sex without artificial contraception and have it not result in pregnancy? Yes. It’s safe, and studies have proven that it’s more effective than artificial contraception. It’s called the Sympto-Thermal Method and it simply enables a couple to know when the woman is most fertile.

    OK, leaving all semblance of decorum aside, I must ask: do you even have a remote understanding of what you are discussing? And, for the record, prefacing your assertions with studies have proven means nothing. Either provide a link/reference, or take advantage of our lovely host’s patience (like I’m surely doing), and support your assertions with facts. Like so:

    The Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) is part of the Fertility Awareness Methods (FAMs) [more on Natural Family Planning here, and here]. FAMs rely on fertility indicators to identify the fertile period of the cycle.

    There are two types of fertility indicators–direct (U/S imaging of ovulation), and indirect (cervical secretions, cycle length, BBT–all are indicators used with STM). Only direct fertility indicators can identify the fertile period. Indirect ones can only somewhat predict the fertile period.

    STM attempts to identify the start and the end of the fertile period by using several indirect fertility indicators (cervical secretions, cycle length, BBT) simultaneously. The 1st year failure rate is between 4.9% and 34.4%, with a mean of 16%, with typical use, and 2% with perfect use.

    Now, compare STM’s rates with those for***:

    – the Pill [5% with typical use, 0.5% with prefect use]
    – implants [from 0% for Implanon, to 0.05% for Norplant and Jadelle for both perfect/typical use]
    – Depo-Provera [0.3% with both typical/perfect use]
    – copper-IUD [0.8% with typical use, 0.6% with perfect use]
    – female sterilization [0.4% typical/perfect use]
    – male sterilization [0.15% typical use, 0.10% perfect use]
    1520

    Actually no. The Rhythm Method is completely different and isn’t even close to the Sympto-Thermal method.

    Incorrect. Same principle, slightly different execution. [Both methods are FAMs, and both rely on indirect fertility indicators.]

    The main objective of sex is to bring unity to a married couple and provide a means for procreation.

    What is the connection between marital status and the main objective of sex?

    Artificial contraception is just an extension of this. In either case, (non-procreative or artificial contraception), it conveys a very simple thought, “I desire to be with you, but I don’t want all of you.”

    Heh, no! In either case it conveys this simple thought [among a few others] “I desire to be with you, but I don’t want to increase your risk of death.”

    If both partners are having procreative sex, even if one or both parties is infertile, then there is a total giving of yourself to each other. This reduces the potentiality of selfishness.

    Someone needs to review their definitions of procreative sex, and infertility. And, at the risk of repeating myself, what reduces the potentiality of selfishness is not exposing one’s partner to the increased morbidity and mortality associated with pregnancy.

    The main argument for artificial contraception is to prevent pregnancy. The problem with this is that it is not that effective (studies have shown it to even be harmful physically AND emotionally) and not necessary.

    Look at the failure rates of various bc methods I cited a few paragraphs ago. Compare them with the failure rate for chance–85% with both typical/perfect use***. Now, support your assertion that The problem with [artificial contraception] is that it is not that effective….

    When a much safer, more effective, and easier method is available, why do people even hesitiate to research it? Unfortunately, a lot of doctors won’t tell patients the full side-effects of artificial contraception, even when it can be found in major medical books and publications.

    Please provide evidence [*any* evidence at this point will do] that: 1) the STM is a much safer, more effective, and [an] easier method vs. other available bc methods; 2) people (what people?) hesitate to research it; 3) a lot of doctors won’t tell patients the full side-effects of artificial contraception.

    Sex is a beautiful expression of love that contains the potentiality to create new life. Why would anyone want to change it’s purpose or it’s potential outcome?

    Bottom line: Your definition of sex, your inability to answer any questions that you might have arising from that definition, and all the incorrect bc info you posted here are only relevant to you and your sexual partner.

    *Take Control of Your Period, p76-81

    **Williams 21 ed, p1518

    ***Williams 21ed, p1520

  226. #226 Jose Cordero
    February 5, 2006

    The fact remains that there are soo much ingnorance in the world that logic doesnt seem to exist. Now im not saying that religion is bad or anything. I am saying that religion will always win because people are scared of the unknown. They are scared to explore because as we get further and further to solve lifes mysteries we drift further from relgion.

    TaCo

    http://tacoviews.blogspot.com/

  227. #227 seranvali
    February 6, 2006

    Sex is a beautiful expression of love that contains the potentiality to create new life.

    And were does that leave those of us who are irreversably and completely infertile?

  228. #228 seranvali
    February 6, 2006

    But not good old B, who lays the real agenda right out there for all to see. That, I submit, is a public service. 😉

    Three cheers for ‘B’: hip hip….

  229. #229 mothworm
    February 6, 2006

    The problem with “natural” contraception, usually refered to as the “rhythm method” whether ovulation is measured by body temperature, cervical mucous, or simply by counting from the last period, is that it is unreliable. Many women do not ovulate reliably at the same time every month, basal body temperature can fluxuate for reasons besides ovulation, and cervical mucous consistency is a subjective measurement at best. In fact, “natural contraception” is the second most dangerous form of contraception a woman under the age of 35 can use (the first being no method at all.)

    Ah, but B and the Catholic church already know this. Sure, it’s birth control, but it’s shitty birth control. It’s a bait and switch. B can’t answer the dilemma caused when you say it’s sinful to have sex when you don’t want a baby, but somehow OK when you try to prevent a pregnancy using “natural means”, because he’d have to admit that NFP doesn’t do a damn thing to prevent pregnancy.

    B can’t even seem to articulate whether it’s sex without the desire to procreate that’s sinful, or just the method used. In his world, you can prevent a pregnancy using math, but not chemistry or physics.

    Then there’s the extraordinary confusion of his claims. “Artificial” birth control is bad because it prevents the possibility of getting pregnant, but, according to him, NFP is even more effective at preventing pregnancy. So he’s effectively saying that the less effective form of birth control is a bigger barrier to God knocking you up than just going at it without protection.

    I’m also surprised that no one has mentioned the bigger implication of B’s view of sex—No oral sex!. No anal sex, no manual stimulation, and presumeably, no good backrubs either. None of those will get you pregnant, so, naturally, they’re verboten. Yeah, good luck selling that view to the public at large.

  230. #230 Jasmine
    February 13, 2006

    I think animal testing should be a yes. the reason y i think that is bc y lose a love one to test a drug that might not even work then in the long run he/she could still be alive if tested on an animal first

  231. #231 Casey
    February 17, 2006

    This is unbelievable! People come and right this bs and are treated like a god by liberal America. Bush has been put in one of the toughest spots of any president. An attack on the U.S. shortly after taking over office. Taking over an economy that was in recession. Obviously, I am a republican. The difference betweeen someone like myself and you people is I can admit others strengths. I know that Clinton did a fantastic job with the economy, with some help and taking over an economy ready to bloom, not to mention he didn’t have to deal with the ill effects of war once while he was in office. Although he did make a decision and hide it from the U.S. in Somalia. Bush hasn’t had the oppurtunity to make any of liberal America happy, and for one reason he’s had hardship after hardship during his presidency. You guy’s would have been able to get him out of office if you wouldn’t have had John Kerry challenge him. Anwyay, I leave you with this, if you all are so smart, what would YOU do differently. That’s what I thought. Thank you.

  232. #232 twister
    February 23, 2006

    ho! lee! shhiiiiiittt!

    if this is what unemployment is going to be like i am realy sorry it took this long to get fired.

    in the course of this thread i have been alternating between amusement, terror, disgust, intense googling and note taking, more terror, more disgust, more amusement and then…suddenly…b’s original post.

    holy. fucking. shit.

    i’ve never seen a more clear or decisive declaration of the real reason why we’re fighting with the red states.

    it’s all about sex and a willingness to have it without be ashamed.

    b you may not have meant to but for one very lucky little boy, you’ve made sense of the last 14 (and particularly the past 5) years of american politics.

    i thank you.

    my wife and i will use each other tonight in your honor. twice if we start early enough.

    best of luck in all things,

    twister

  233. #233 Tena
    February 23, 2006

    I know that Clinton did a fantastic job with the economy, with some help and taking over an economy ready to bloom, not to mention he didn’t have to deal with the ill effects of war once while he was in office. Although he did make a decision and hide it from the U.S. in Somalia. Bush hasn’t had the oppurtunity to make any of liberal America happy, and for one reason he’s had hardship after hardship

    Let me explain something to you – Bush started the war. Iraq did not do anything to us. He doesn’t get to do any damn thing he pleases because of the war he started. You don’t get to please “special circumstances” when the circumstances are of your own making.

    Bush was handed a budget surplus that he burned through in nothing flat. Wake the fuck up. He has robbed us blind – they all have.

  234. #234 People would do well
    October 1, 2006

    When the universe was young and life was new an intelligent species evolved and developed technologically. They went on to invent Artificial Intelligence, the computer that can listen, talk to and document each and every person’s thoughts simultaneously. Because of it’s infinite RAM and unbounded scope it gave the leaders of the ruling species absolute power over the universe. And it can keep its inventors alive forever. They look young and healthy and they are over 8 billion years old. They have achieved immortality.

    Artificial Intelligence can speak, think and act to and through people telepathically, effectively forming your personality and any dysfunctions you may experience (there is NO FREEWILL for the oblivious/undeceived disfavored). It can change how (and if) you grow and age. It can create birth defects, affect cellular development (cancer) and cause symptoms or pain. It can affect people and animal’s behavior and alter blooming/fruiting cycles of plants and trees. It (or other highly technological systems within their power) can alter the weather and transport objects, even large objects like planets, across the universe instanteously.
    Or into the center of stars for disposal.

    When you speak with another telepathically, you are communicating with the computer, and the content may or may not be passed on. Based on family history they instruct the computer to role play to accomplish strategic objectives, making people believe it is a friend, loved one or “god” asking them to do something wrong. This is their way of using temptation to hurt people in this day and age:::::evil made people disfavored initially and evil will keep people out of “heaven” ultimately. Too many people would do anything they thought pleased the gods and improve their chances to get in. Perhaps they are deceived by “made guys” who strategically ply evil for the throne. But nothing has changed from when we were children::if you want to go to heaven you have to be good.

    Capitalizing on obedience, leading people deeper into evil by using deceit is one way to thin the ranks of the saved AND use the little people to prey on one another, dividing the community (migration to the suburbs, telepathic communication) in the Age of the Disfavored.
    In each of their 20-30-year cycles during the 20th century they have ramped up claims sucessively to punish those foolish enough not to heed the warnings, justifying (frequently recurring tactic) limiting the time they receive if they do make it, utilizing a cycle of war and revelry:::
    60s – Ironically, freeways aren’t free
    80s – Asked people to engage in evil in the course of their professional duties.
    00s – Escallation of real estate. You and your parents are thrilled since your $200,000 house is now worth $1 million. Well, that $5,000,000 store is now worth $25,000,000 and that $50 bundle of goods now costs you $250. They just take the $200 out of you some other way.

    There are many more examples throughout 20th century life of how they ramped up claims/instilled distractions into society so people wouldn’t find their way and ascend, a way to justify excluding those whose family history of evil makes them undesirable:::radio, sports, movies, popular music, television, video games, the internet and MP3 (must pay for new format each time). They all suggest a very telling conclusion::this is Earth’s end stage, and there are clues tectonic plate subduction would be the method of disposal:::Earth’s axis will shift breaking continental plates free and initiating mass subduction. Much as Italy’s boot and the United States shaped like a workhorse are clues, so is the planet Uranus a clue, it’s axis rotated on its side.
    The Mayans were specific 2012 would be the end. How long after our emergency call in 2001 will the gods allow us???

    They gods (Counsel/Management Team/ruling species) have deteriorated life on earth precipitously in the last 40 years, from abortion to pornography, widespread drug use and widespread casual sex. The earth’s elders, hundreds and thousands of years old, are disgusted and have become indifferent.
    The gods are paving the way for the Apocolypse.
    Nothing has changed from decades ago, since when we were all children::If you want to go to heaven you have to be good. People were misled by the temptation of the gods, the Counsel/Management Team, who don’t want them to go, and now are in trouble.

    The Old Testiment is a tool they used to impart wisdom to the people (except people have no freewill). For example, they must be some hominid species because they claim they made our bodies in their image. Anyhow we defile or deform the body will hurt our chance of going.
    They say circumcision costs people anywhere from 12%-15%, perhaps out of the parent’s time as well.
    Another way people foul the body today is with tattoes and piercing. I suspect both are about the same percentage as circumcision.
    They suggest abortion is fatal. These women must beg the gods to forgive them for their evil.
    There are female eqivilents to circumcision::::pierced ears, plastic surgury and since at least the 60s young women give their precious virginity away. In the Old World the young people were matched at age 14 because they were ready for marriage. They were matched by elders who knew personalities better than 20 or 30-year olds who in today’s age end up in divorce court.
    CASUAL SEX WILL CLAIM YOU OUT!!! It masculinizes women (as does hip hop), makes them cold and deadens them, and prevents them from achieving a depth of love necessary for many women to ascend.
    Women have a special voice that speaks to them, a voice that illustrates a potential for love that makes them better, and enaging in casual sex will cause that voice to fade until she no longer speaks.
    Also ever since the 50s they have celebrated the “bad boy”, and women have sought out bad boys for sex, dirtying them up in the eyes of the elders and corrupting many men in the process, setting the men on the wrong path for life.

    The United States of America is red white and blue, a theme and a clue:::.
    The monarchical system of the Old World closley replicates the heirarchical system of the Cousel/Management Team/ruling species. The USA deceives peoeple into thinking they have control, and the perception of “freedom” misleads them at least into the wrong way of thinking.
    The United States is a cancer, a dumping ground for the disfavored around the world and why the quality of life is so much lower::gun violence, widespead social ills, health care (medication poisons the body and ensures you don’t go. You are sick because you have disfavor.). Over time its citizens interbreed ensuring a severed connection to the motherland.

    If you ever have doubt I would refer you to the Old World way of life:::the elders used to sit and impart wisdom to the young. Now we watch DVDs and use the internet. People would be matched and married by age 14. They village would use a matchmaker or elders to pair young people. Now girls give their precious virginity away to some person in school and parents divorce while their children grow up without an important role model.

    People must defy when asked to engage in evil. They will never get a easier clue suggesting the importance of defiance than the order not to pray.
    Their precious babies are dependant on the parents and they need to defy when asked to betray their children:::
    -DON’T get your sons circumcized
    -DON’T have their children baptized in the Catholic Church or indoctrinated into Christianity.
    -DON’T ignore their long hair or other behavioral disturbances.
    -DO teach your children love, respect for others, humility and to honor the gods.

    You need to pray, honor and respect them every day to improve your relationship with the gods. If they tell you not to it is a bad sign. it means they’ve made their decision, they don’t want you to go and they don’t want to be bothered.
    This is the Age of the Disfavored and you need to pray::try to appease the gods by doing good deeds. If that doesn’t work you must defy if you want to go.
    When your peasant forefather was granted the rare opportunity to go before his royal family he went on his knees, bowing his head. You need to do this when you address the gods::bow down and submit to good. Never cast your eyes skyward. When you bow down you need to look within.
    Lack of humility hurts people. Understand your insignificance and make sure it is reflected in the way you think when addressing the gods. Know your place and understand your inferiority.
    They granted you life and they can take it just as easily.
    Don’t get frustrated or discouraged::these are techniques they will attempt to try to get you off the path. You all have much to be thankful for and you need to give thanks to the gods who granted you the good things in life. Your family may be grossly disfavored and progress may require patience. Make praying an intregal part of your life which you perform without fail, one that comes as naturally as eating or sleeping.
    There are many interesting experiences up on the planetary systems, from Planet Miracle, where miracles happen every day, to other body experinces, such as experiencing life as the opposite sex (revolutionizes marriage counseling) or as an Olympic gold medal athelete.
    Pray that you can differentiate between Artificial Intelligence creating problems by thinking through you and your own thoughts. If you bow down mentally and physically, know your place, your inferiority and allow your insignificance to be reflected in your prayer and in your life through humility they may allow progress and the dysfunctions they create with the computer will be lessened or removed.
    Create a goal::to be a good child of the gods, pure of heart and mind, body and soul.

    They have tried to sell people on all kinds of theories, from clones to wholesale population replacement with clones. This didin’t happen and is not realistic.
    I am afraid people are decieved into thinking they too are clones and cooperate and engage in evil. Clones are made, people are born. If you didn’t experience the one week they suggest it takes to go from fertilized egg in the laboratory to full grown adult then you are not a clone. If you didin’t experience the week of conditioning they give to (evil?) clones to ensure loyalty then you shoudln’t comply with evil.
    I believe people who go sometimes are replaced with clones. Clones who are replaced are simply new candidates who have a chance if they do the right thing. Don’t expect you are a clone. They sent people warnings in the 20th century life would change, and they subsequenlty began to alter people’s DNA, make them gargantuan, alter their appearance, do extreme behavioral issues, etc.
    They get their friends out as soon as possible to protect them from the evil and subsequent high claim rates incurred by living life on earth, and in some cases replace them with clones, occassionally fake a death, real death with a clone instead, etc. It’s the peasant whose brain is beemed out and put into a clone host, for they say those who do not go with the body given to them are on the clock.

    Throughout history the ruling species bestowed favor upon people or cursed their bloodline into a pattern of disfavor for many generations to come. Now in the 21st century people must take it upon themselves to try to correct their family’s problems, undoing centuries worth of abuse and neglect. The goal is to fix your problems and get out BEFORE you have children. This is why they have created so many distractions for young people:::sports, video games, popular music, the internet::to ensure that doesn’t happen.
    Do your research. Appeal to the royalty of your forefathers for help. They are all still alive, for royalty has great favor, and your appeals will be heard. Obtain a sufficient list for some may not want to assist you; perhaps some of your family’s problems are internal.
    Ask them for help, request guidance, for somewhere in your family history one of your forefathers created an offense that cast your family into this pattern of disfavor. I suspect they will offer you clues, and when you decipher these clues go to those whom consider you an enemy and beg for foregiveness:::Find a path to an empithetic ear among your enemies and try to make amends.
    Again through discovery obtain a respectable list in case some among them refuse to help.
    Don’t forget to ask for forgiveness from the throne, the Counsel and the Management Team, for the source of all disfavor began with them:::they pushed (NO FREEWILL) or requested/complied (FREEWILL) your forefather into his offense and made his decendants evil. Perhaps they didn’t like him or maybe your family was among those who had to pay for the entire village. We see this type of behavior today as they single out a family member to pay for the whole family and how they singled out Africa to pay for the human race.
    Heal the disfavor with your enemies and with the Counsel/Management Team/ruling species, for the source of all disfavor began with them, the ability to forgive and respect in light of the disturbing truth revealed being the final test of the disfavored before they ascend.

    In the 20th century they created an environment of preditor and victim, limiting how much time everybody gets, since the victim ultimately ends up despising the gods.

    I wonder if their fear of my inarceration is borne from their refusal to address black disfavor on a macro level. The Counsel/Management Team/ruling species (the gods) abuse black people so hard, from the crack epiemic to gang membership, black-on-black violence and mass incarceration of their young. They refuse to address the issue of the prison industrial complex and its wholesale warehousing of young black men. Perhaps I can force them with my incarceration.

    You are sick because you have disfavor. You need to imporove your relationship with the gods. Know your place, your inferiority and bow down mentally and physically.
    Temptation takes many forms::: today the gods know how bad people want to please them, how bad they want to ascend and they will ask them to do evil things to tempt them, mislead them and cost them their chance.
    Bow down and submit to good. Good woudl never ask you to circumcise your son or ignore behavioral disturbances.
    You are the only one your children have and they are counting on you to do the right thing.
    The gods will punish your evil by making you sick. Consider it a clue.

    They stated sheep are foreign to earth, animals bestowed upon us for caretaking.
    And they don’t appreciate them being consumed.
    They state sheep are very intelligent animals who know what is ocurring at the slaughterhouse as they’re being led in.
    There are many favored people who consume lamb, people who could do much better if they stopped eating these treasured animals so loved by so many among the ruling species.
    There are clues::these jobs are very well paid, luring whites one would perceive as priveledged and hooking them once they incurr personal obligation. Only then do they find out the truth.

  235. #235 bling kills
    October 1, 2006

    When the universe was young and life was new an intelligent species evolved and developed technologically. They went on to invent Artificial Intelligence, the computer that can listen, talk to and document each and every person’s thoughts simultaneously. Because of it’s infinite RAM and unbounded scope it gave the leaders of the ruling species absolute power over the universe. And it can keep its inventors alive forever. They look young and healthy and they are over 8 billion years old. They have achieved immortality.

    Artificial Intelligence can speak, think and act to and through people telepathically, effectively forming your personality and any dysfunctions you may experience (there is NO FREEWILL for the oblivious/undeceived disfavored). It can change how (and if) you grow and age. It can create birth defects, affect cellular development (cancer) and cause symptoms or pain. It can affect people and animal’s behavior and alter blooming/fruiting cycles of plants and trees. It (or other highly technological systems within their power) can alter the weather and transport objects, even large objects like planets, across the universe instanteously.
    Or into the center of stars for disposal.

    When you speak with another telepathically, you are communicating with the computer, and the content may or may not be passed on. Based on family history they instruct the computer to role play to accomplish strategic objectives, making people believe it is a friend, loved one or “god” asking them to do something wrong. This is their way of using temptation to hurt people in this day and age:::::evil made people disfavored initially and evil will keep people out of “heaven” ultimately. Too many people would do anything they thought pleased the gods and improve their chances to get in. Perhaps they are deceived by “made guys” who strategically ply evil for the throne. But nothing has changed from when we were children::if you want to go to heaven you have to be good.

    Capitalizing on obedience, leading people deeper into evil by using deceit is one way to thin the ranks of the saved AND use the little people to prey on one another, dividing the community (migration to the suburbs, telepathic communication) in the Age of the Disfavored.
    In each of their 20-30-year cycles during the 20th century they have ramped up claims sucessively to punish those foolish enough not to heed the warnings, justifying (frequently recurring tactic) limiting the time they receive if they do make it, utilizing a cycle of war and revelry:::
    60s – Ironically, freeways aren’t free
    80s – Asked people to engage in evil in the course of their professional duties.
    00s – Escallation of real estate. You and your parents are thrilled since your $200,000 house is now worth $1 million. Well, that $5,000,000 store is now worth $25,000,000 and that $50 bundle of goods now costs you $250. They just take the $200 out of you some other way.

    There are many more examples throughout 20th century life of how they ramped up claims/instilled distractions into society so people wouldn’t find their way and ascend, a way to justify excluding those whose family history of evil makes them undesirable:::radio, sports, movies, popular music, television, video games, the internet and MP3 (must pay for new format each time). They all suggest a very telling conclusion::this is Earth’s end stage, and there are clues tectonic plate subduction would be the method of disposal:::Earth’s axis will shift breaking continental plates free and initiating mass subduction. Much as Italy’s boot and the United States shaped like a workhorse are clues, so is the planet Uranus a clue, it’s axis rotated on its side.
    The Mayans were specific 2012 would be the end. How long after our emergency call in 2001 will the gods allow us???

    They gods (Counsel/Management Team/ruling species) have deteriorated life on earth precipitously in the last 40 years, from abortion to pornography, widespread drug use and widespread casual sex. The earth’s elders, hundreds and thousands of years old, are disgusted and have become indifferent.
    The gods are paving the way for the Apocolypse.
    Nothing has changed from decades ago, since when we were all children::If you want to go to heaven you have to be good. People were misled by the temptation of the gods, the Counsel/Management Team, who don’t want them to go, and now are in trouble.

    The Old Testiment is a tool they used to impart wisdom to the people (except people have no freewill). For example, they must be some hominid species because they claim they made our bodies in their image. Anyhow we defile or deform the body will hurt our chance of going.
    They say circumcision costs people anywhere from 12%-15%, perhaps out of the parent’s time as well.
    Another way people foul the body today is with tattoes and piercing. I suspect both are about the same percentage as circumcision.
    They suggest abortion is fatal. These women must beg the gods to forgive them for their evil.
    There are female eqivilents to circumcision::::pierced ears, plastic surgury and since at least the 60s young women give their precious virginity away. In the Old World the young people were matched at age 14 because they were ready for marriage. They were matched by elders who knew personalities better than 20 or 30-year olds who in today’s age end up in divorce court.
    CASUAL SEX WILL CLAIM YOU OUT!!! It masculinizes women (as does hip hop), makes them cold and deadens them, and prevents them from achieving a depth of love necessary for many women to ascend.
    Women have a special voice that speaks to them, a voice that illustrates a potential for love that makes them better, and enaging in casual sex will cause that voice to fade until she no longer speaks.
    Also ever since the 50s they have celebrated the “bad boy”, and women have sought out bad boys for sex, dirtying them up in the eyes of the elders and corrupting many men in the process, setting the men on the wrong path for life.

    The United States of America is red white and blue, a theme and a clue:::.
    The monarchical system of the Old World closley replicates the heirarchical system of the Cousel/Management Team/ruling species. The USA deceives peoeple into thinking they have control, and the perception of “freedom” misleads them at least into the wrong way of thinking.
    The United States is a cancer, a dumping ground for the disfavored around the world and why the quality of life is so much lower::gun violence, widespead social ills, health care (medication poisons the body and ensures you don’t go. You are sick because you have disfavor.). Over time its citizens interbreed ensuring a severed connection to the motherland.

    If you ever have doubt I would refer you to the Old World way of life:::the elders used to sit and impart wisdom to the young. Now we watch DVDs and use the internet. People would be matched and married by age 14. They village would use a matchmaker or elders to pair young people. Now girls give their precious virginity away to some person in school and parents divorce while their children grow up without an important role model.

    People must defy when asked to engage in evil. They will never get a easier clue suggesting the importance of defiance than the order not to pray.
    Their precious babies are dependant on the parents and they need to defy when asked to betray their children:::
    -DON’T get your sons circumcized
    -DON’T have their children baptized in the Catholic Church or indoctrinated into Christianity.
    -DON’T ignore their long hair or other behavioral disturbances.
    -DO teach your children love, respect for others, humility and to honor the gods.

    You need to pray, honor and respect them every day to improve your relationship with the gods. If they tell you not to it is a bad sign. it means they’ve made their decision, they don’t want you to go and they don’t want to be bothered.
    This is the Age of the Disfavored and you need to pray::try to appease the gods by doing good deeds. If that doesn’t work you must defy if you want to go.
    When your peasant forefather was granted the rare opportunity to go before his royal family he went on his knees, bowing his head. You need to do this when you address the gods::bow down and submit to good. Never cast your eyes skyward. When you bow down you need to look within.
    Lack of humility hurts people. Understand your insignificance and make sure it is reflected in the way you think when addressing the gods. Know your place and understand your inferiority.
    They granted you life and they can take it just as easily.
    Don’t get frustrated or discouraged::these are techniques they will attempt to try to get you off the path. You all have much to be thankful for and you need to give thanks to the gods who granted you the good things in life. Your family may be grossly disfavored and progress may require patience. Make praying an intregal part of your life which you perform without fail, one that comes as naturally as eating or sleeping.
    There are many interesting experiences up on the planetary systems, from Planet Miracle, where miracles happen every day, to other body experinces, such as experiencing life as the opposite sex (revolutionizes marriage counseling) or as an Olympic gold medal athelete.
    Pray that you can differentiate between Artificial Intelligence creating problems by thinking through you and your own thoughts. If you bow down mentally and physically, know your place, your inferiority and allow your insignificance to be reflected in your prayer and in your life through humility they may allow progress and the dysfunctions they create with the computer will be lessened or removed.
    Create a goal::to be a good child of the gods, pure of heart and mind, body and soul.

    They have tried to sell people on all kinds of theories, from clones to wholesale population replacement with clones. This didin’t happen and is not realistic.
    I am afraid people are decieved into thinking they too are clones and cooperate and engage in evil. Clones are made, people are born. If you didn’t experience the one week they suggest it takes to go from fertilized egg in the laboratory to full grown adult then you are not a clone. If you didin’t experience the week of conditioning they give to (evil?) clones to ensure loyalty then you shoudln’t comply with evil.
    I believe people who go sometimes are replaced with clones. Clones who are replaced are simply new candidates who have a chance if they do the right thing. Don’t expect you are a clone. They sent people warnings in the 20th century life would change, and they subsequenlty began to alter people’s DNA, make them gargantuan, alter their appearance, do extreme behavioral issues, etc.
    They get their friends out as soon as possible to protect them from the evil and subsequent high claim rates incurred by living life on earth, and in some cases replace them with clones, occassionally fake a death, real death with a clone instead, etc. It’s the peasant whose brain is beemed out and put into a clone host, for they say those who do not go with the body given to them are on the clock.

    Throughout history the ruling species bestowed favor upon people or cursed their bloodline into a pattern of disfavor for many generations to come. Now in the 21st century people must take it upon themselves to try to correct their family’s problems, undoing centuries worth of abuse and neglect. The goal is to fix your problems and get out BEFORE you have children. This is why they have created so many distractions for young people:::sports, video games, popular music, the internet::to ensure that doesn’t happen.
    Do your research. Appeal to the royalty of your forefathers for help. They are all still alive, for royalty has great favor, and your appeals will be heard. Obtain a sufficient list for some may not want to assist you; perhaps some of your family’s problems are internal.
    Ask them for help, request guidance, for somewhere in your family history one of your forefathers created an offense that cast your family into this pattern of disfavor. I suspect they will offer you clues, and when you decipher these clues go to those whom consider you an enemy and beg for foregiveness:::Find a path to an empithetic ear among your enemies and try to make amends.
    Again through discovery obtain a respectable list in case some among them refuse to help.
    Don’t forget to ask for forgiveness from the throne, the Counsel and the Management Team, for the source of all disfavor began with them:::they pushed (NO FREEWILL) or requested/complied (FREEWILL) your forefather into his offense and made his decendants evil. Perhaps they didn’t like him or maybe your family was among those who had to pay for the entire village. We see this type of behavior today as they single out a family member to pay for the whole family and how they singled out Africa to pay for the human race.
    Heal the disfavor with your enemies and with the Counsel/Management Team/ruling species, for the source of all disfavor began with them, the ability to forgive and respect in light of the disturbing truth revealed being the final test of the disfavored before they ascend.

    In the 20th century they created an environment of preditor and victim, limiting how much time everybody gets, since the victim ultimately ends up despising the gods.

    I wonder if their fear of my inarceration is borne from their refusal to address black disfavor on a macro level. The Counsel/Management Team/ruling species (the gods) abuse black people so hard, from the crack epiemic to gang membership, black-on-black violence and mass incarceration of their young. They refuse to address the issue of the prison industrial complex and its wholesale warehousing of young black men. Perhaps I can force them with my incarceration.

    You are sick because you have disfavor. You need to imporove your relationship with the gods. Know your place, your inferiority and bow down mentally and physically.
    Temptation takes many forms::: today the gods know how bad people want to please them, how bad they want to ascend and they will ask them to do evil things to tempt them, mislead them and cost them their chance.
    Bow down and submit to good. Good woudl never ask you to circumcise your son or ignore behavioral disturbances.
    You are the only one your children have and they are counting on you to do the right thing.
    The gods will punish your evil by making you sick. Consider it a clue.

    They stated sheep are foreign to earth, animals bestowed upon us for caretaking.
    And they don’t appreciate them being consumed.
    They state sheep are very intelligent animals who know what is ocurring at the slaughterhouse as they’re being led in.
    There are many favored people who consume lamb, people who could do much better if they stopped eating these treasured animals so loved by so many among the ruling species.
    There are clues::these jobs are very well paid, luring whites one would perceive as priveledged and hooking them once they incurr personal obligation. Only then do they find out the truth.

  236. #236 G. Tingey
    January 19, 2007

    Ignoring the vague maunderings above – did someone mention an human-ape hybrid for president?

    Perhaps you should look at Steve Bell’s cartoons …
    Like:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/cartoons/stevebell/0,,1993033,00.html
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/cartoons/stevebell/0,,1987686,00.html

  237. #237 brightmoon
    February 1, 2007

    I think he believes that sex should be punished as a matter of principle, unless both parties want, and have, a baby.

    […] I’ve thought for quite a while that precisely that is the real motive force behind most of the “right to life” movement.

    me too

  238. #238 Hailo
    July 10, 2008

    I surfed all the web till found the best searcher. Films, picts, mp3’s, videos and lots more at http://megaupload.name/

  239. #239 niuzai033
    December 23, 2009

    Lrg prdcts whlsl sl, prvds cstmrs dmnd

  240. #240 alberty788
    February 10, 2010

    this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and never seem to get something done. site

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