OYB June 11

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: I Kings 8
NT: Acts 7:51-60, Acts 8:1-13
Ps: Psalm 129
Pr: Proverbs 17:1

Today´s notable verse:

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 7:59-60 (NIV)

The One Year Bible Blog's comments for today.

Cloning and Women’s Health

Filed in Science, Social IssuesTags: Cloning, Sanctity of Life, Stem Cells

Just how safe is it for women to donate eggs for SCNT research?

Someone Finds Me Humorous!

Filed in Science, Social IssuesTags: Cloning, Sanctity of Life, Stem Cells

Apparently, the Primacy of Awesome (who can't seem to follow blog-linking protocol well enough to trackback to my original post), considers me to have made a humorous attempt at reasoning.

To set the stage, from this post at Mary Meets Dolly, I had quoted this article (link appears not to be working at the moment), as follows:

In fact, to attribute rights to embryos is to call for the violation of actual rights. Since the purpose of rights is to enable individuals to secure their well-being, a crucial right, inherent in the right to liberty and property, is the right to do scientific research in pursuit of new medical treatments. To deprive scientists of the freedom to use clusters of cells to do such research is to violate their rights–as well as the rights of all who would contribute to, invest in, or benefit from this research.

I then made the following comparison:

The last person to try such reasoning did so in order to implement said scientific research on another group of humans deemed unworthy of the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The end result: the death of millions of Jews in the Holocaust.

Somehow, the apparently reading-comprehension impaired Primacy of Awesome then came to the following conclusion:

That’s right! Pro-stem cell research equals genocide. And for some reason Ayn Rand is rolling in her grave because… Objectivists are now pro-holocaust? You really gotta see this one to believe it.

First, let me point out that Primacy of Awesome fails to distinguish between embryonic and adult stem cell research; therefore, the first statement of his conclusion is specious. On the matter of embryonic stem cell (ESC) research, that conclusion isn't nearly as hyperbolic as the author would lead you to believe. Considering that the authors of the original article failed in their attempt to redefine the definition of a "human being", the fact that ESC research will require the destruction of countless human embryos may lead some to consider the line of research analogous to genocide.

Second, Primacy of Awesome apparently missed the point of the comparison completely. The original authors tried to use a rationalization that to oppose ESC research in order to defend the sanctity of all human life no matter what age or stage of development equates to denial of the right of other humans to perform scientific research on human embryos for the securement of well-being of other humans. Let me quote again my response to this reasoning:

The last person to try such reasoning did so in order to implement said scientific research on another group of humans deemed unworthy of the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The end result: the death of millions of Jews in the Holocaust.

In that comparison, I did not in any way address the purpose of using such a reasoning, but rather the reasoning itself. Primacy of Awesome missed this point entirely. The similarity lies in the use of the same form of reasoning in order to obtain a desired end.

The Nazis rationalized that Jews were inferior as humans, and thus reasoned that their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were subservient to the Nazis' right to perform scientific experiments on them. The authors rationalized that human embryos are not human beings, and thus reasoned that their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were in violation to the rights of scientists to use them for research for the securement of the well-being of other humans.

The comparison is especially germane, since in both cases, the preliminary rationalization is clearly and demonstrably false. The Jewish victims of the Holocaust were every bit intrinsically valuable has human beings as were the Germans who carried out the Holocaust; likewise, human embryos are every bit intrinsically valuable as human beings as are those who wish to use them for scientific research.

To be quite clear (since, apparently, Primacy of Awesome requires the carification): to compare the use of faulty reasoning in two circumstances makes no inherent value judgement concerning the relative evil of one end versus the other.

I reserve that judgement for abortion.

Update: Primacy of Awesome added a trackback to the original post. Thanks, Mike!

OYB June 10

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: I Kings 7
NT: Acts 7:30-50
Ps: Psalm 128
Pr: Proverbs 16:31-33

Today´s notable verse:

Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

Proverbs 16:32 (NIV)

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

I have heard it said before - "If you are in relationship with God through his son Jesus, you are God's temple." Do you believe this is true? Do you believe that your body is a temple that God can live in?

Well, according to Paul, it is true:

19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

I Corinthians 6:19-20

Think For Oneself, Come To The Right Conclusion

Filed in Politics, ScienceTags: Media Bias, Stem Cells

At least, that's what happened for Jason Kotecki of the Escape Reality blog:

A lot of really good scientific information is out there, if you look for it. And yet I’m still left scratching my head. If adult cells have a proven track record for making people better, why all the hullabaloo about the embryonic incarnations? Why the big push for embryonic stem cell research when it clearly involves tinkering with life and has nowhere near the track record of the other types of stem cells anyway? Why all this talk about being "for" or "against" stem cell research? In my estimation, we should all be for it. But why aren’t the distinctions between the types of stem cells spelled out in the media? Is it because the media can’t resist the juiciness of pitting two sides against each other? Is it because an accurate distinction between the different types doesn’t fit nicely into a 30-second sound byte? And why do politians always feel the need to jump in and muddy the waters?

My advice, Jason: follow the money.

Ayn Rand Institute Hypocrisy

Filed in Politics, Science, Social IssuesTags: Clone The Truth, Cloning, Media Bias, Sanctity of Life, Stem Cells

Mary Meets Dolly parses a despicable attempt at rationalization of the inhumanity of human embryos by David Holcberg and Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute.

The authors use several tactics. Here is the first:

But embryos used in embryonic stem cell research are manifestly not human beings--not in any rational sense of the term. These embryos are smaller than a grain of sand, and consist of at most a few hundred undifferentiated cells. They have no body or body parts. They do not see, hear, feel, or think. While they have the potential to become human beings--if implanted in a woman's uterus and brought to term--they are nowhere near actual human beings.

Unfortunately for them, human embryos are, by unbiased definition, human beings. Genetically, they are fully human. They are not "potential" humans. The self-direct their growth and development, meaning the human embryo manifestly exhibits initiative toward that end. Just because some activist SCOTUS judges arbitrarily conferred "personhood" on human beings only upon the point of birth does not change the scientific evidence, knowledge, and general belief that life exists intrinsically at the moment of conception.

The second tactic is as follows:

The "pro-lifers" accept on faith the belief that rights are a divine creation: a gift from an unknowable supernatural being bestowed on embryos at conception (which many extend to embryos "conceived" in a beaker). The most prominent example of this view is the official doctrine of the Catholic Church, which declares to its followers that an embryo "is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized."

But rights are not some supernatural construct, mystically granted by the will of "God." They are this-worldly principles of proper political interaction rooted in man's rational nature. Rights recognize the fact that men can only live successfully and happily among one another if they are free from the initiation of force against them. Rights exist to protect and further human life. Rights enable individual men to think, act, produce and trade, live and love in freedom. The principle of rights is utterly inapplicable to tiny, pre-human clusters of cells that are incapable of such actions.

I guess, by this logic, every one of our Founding Fathers was a "pro-lifer". May I remind of the following:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

The endowment of rights is not a function of nor dependent upon the capacity of the person to take advantage of those rights; rather, the intrinsic worth of the person is recognized by the unconditional endowment of those rights. The authors' same logic applies to justification for euthanasia of the elderly, the incapacitated, the mentally retarded, or anyone else not deemed inherently "worthy" of such rights as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is the height of arrogance that these authors would deign to set themselves up as arbiters of the inherent worth of any person, no matter at what stage in that person's development.

The logical progression of this line of rationalization leads to the following harrowing statement:

In fact, to attribute rights to embryos is to call for the violation of actual rights. Since the purpose of rights is to enable individuals to secure their well-being, a crucial right, inherent in the right to liberty and property, is the right to do scientific research in pursuit of new medical treatments. To deprive scientists of the freedom to use clusters of cells to do such research is to violate their rights--as well as the rights of all who would contribute to, invest in, or benefit from this research.

The last person to try such reasoning did so in order to implement said scientific research on another group of humans deemed unworthy of the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The end result: the death of millions of Jews in the Holocaust.

Having fully lost all grasp of reality, the authors resort to what is now the commonplace argument for ESC research:

And to the extent that rights are violated in this way, we can expect deadly results. The political pressure against embryonic stem cell research is already discouraging many scientists and businessmen from investing their time and resources in its pursuit. If this research can lead, as scientists believe, to the ability to create new tissues and organs to replace damaged ones, any obstacles placed in its path will unnecessarily delay the discovery of new cures and treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and osteoporosis. Every day that this potentially life-saving research is delayed is another day that will go by before new treatments become available to ease the suffering and save the lives of countless individuals. And if the "pro-lifers" ever achieve the ban they seek on embryonic stem cell research, millions upon millions of human beings, living or yet to be born, might be deprived of healthier, happier, and longer lives.

Yet these hypocrites ignore new treatments for such conditions being developed and used every day, when such treatments are derived from adult stem cell research. They gloss over the glaring failure thus far of ESC research to yield even a single viable treatment. They facilitate the propogation of false hope for those suffering from diseases that likely no stem-cell (adult or embryonic) derived treatments will ever help, such as Alzheimer's.

The authors leave us with this conclusion:

The enemies of embryonic stem cell research know this, but are unmoved. They are brazenly willing to force countless human beings to suffer and die for lack of treatments, so that clusters of cells remain untouched.

To call such a stance "pro-life" is beyond absurd. Their allegiance is not to human life or to human rights, but to their anti-life dogma.

If these enemies of human life wish to deprive themselves of the benefits of stem cell research, they should be free to do so and die faithful to the last. But any attempt to impose their religious dogma on the rest of the population is both evil and unconstitutional. In the name of the actual sanctity of human life and the inviolability of rights, embryonic stem cell research must be allowed to proceed unimpeded. Our lives may depend on it.

To claim that an embryo is not a human being is beyond absurd. The proponents of embryonic stem cell research know this, but are unmoved. They are brazenly willing to force their dogmatic, culture-of-death views on the rest of the American people, who continue to demonstrate their disdain for human cloning for any reason, and their disapproval of the destruction of human embryos for research purposes. So, let's recap:

Pro-Life

  • Recognizes intrinsic value of life at every age and stage of deveopment
  • Supports the entirely ethically uncontroversial, already proven, and immensely promising adult stem cell research
  • Opposes embryonic stem cell research because the process destroys human embryos, recognized as intrinsically valuable human life

Culture of Death

  • Denies the inherent worth of life based on developmental stage, mental capacity, age, ability to contribute to society, or any other socially or politically expedient reason
  • Ignores the many advances in adult stem cell research, and the tens of thousands of people whose lives have been improved or even saved by such research
  • Rationalizes an untenable position by attempting to redefine terms and change boundaries, and intentionally give false hope by knowingly making unrealistic claims

Ayn Rand is rolling over in her grave.

Cord Blood and MS

Filed in ScienceTags: Stem Cells

An umbilical cord blood stem cell treatment appears to have yielded positive results in treating Multiple Sclerosis.

The UK resident traveled to Rotterdam for the treatment, which the report inexplicably refers to as "controversial" and claims is "banned" in the UK.

Also noteworthy, the report claims that the MS Society (UK) opposes the procedure. I found this, this, and this on their website.

Blogging Grammatically

Filed in MiscellaneousTags: Blogging, Humor/Satire

The View From Her delivers some excellent grammatical advice for bloggers.

OYB June 9

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: I Kings 5-6
NT: Acts 7:1-29
Ps: Psalm 127
Pr: Proverbs 16:28-30

Today´s notable verse:

3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127:3-5 (NIV)

One of the two greatest desires of my heart is to have a family (the other is to be released into full-time mission work). I pray for the day that I am blessed by the Lord with the reward and heritage of children.

The One Year Bible Blog's comments for today.

Alzheimer’s and Stem Cells: The Reality

Filed in Politics, ScienceTags: Media Bias, Stem Cells

Dennis York lays out the reality concerning Alzheimer's and potential stem-cell related treatments.