Thursday, August 24, 2006

Life (Science) Finds A Way

The whole stem cell thing is a bit beyond my scope of logic. I have pretty clear emotional responses, but I could easily argue either way on the use of "spare" embryos for research. On the one hand, I'm against the creation of embryos for the sole purpose of testing; on the other, many embryos that are currently "on ice" will never be used for anything and could potentially save many lives.

At any rate, all the heartache and hoopla over embryonic stem cell testing may well be a thing of the past - a new paper has been published in Nature that demonstrates you can have your cake and eat it, too:

Now a team at Advanced Cell Technology - a private company - has found that it is possible to create human stem cells using one or two cells from an early embryo, without doing any damage to the embryo.

The implications of this, if true, are amazing. For one, they could keep a few "master cells" from each baby on ice somewhere. Later, if that baby suffered from debilitating diseases that involve damage to cells adults cannot regenerate, they could actually culture and replace those cells. This could effectively end diseases such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, as well as potentially heal people with spinal damage.

Also, new embryos could have one or two of the cells harvested before the embryo is inserted to the mother. This basically opens the door for all the good of embryonic stem cell research (embryonic stem cells are much "better" for research than adult stem cells because they have the potential to create any type of cell whereas adult stem cells are more limited) with none of the bad, namely, destroying life to help life.

Perhaps this will lift some of the ethical concerns of many folks out there. Hopefully we can use this exciting new science to save lives.


Matt said...

Now if there were only a way to stop all terrorists without the invasion of nations and the killing of innocents.... I'd be all for the War On Terror. You see, brought up as a Lutheran, I was taught that ALL killing was bad. Not just embryos in the United States that have no brain cells, or organs, or sense of self.

k2aggie07 said...

Bible says thou shalt not murder. Killing in self defense and fighting in wars is not only tolerated but condoned in "religions of the book" (i.e. Judaism, all forms of Christianity, and Islam).

Killing is not bad or wrong. If that were the case, eating food of any sort would be bad.

Matt said...

You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. (Mat.5:33-41).

"Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword." (Mat.26:50-54)

On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom.12:17-21).

This is why I'm no longer religious. Contradictions, contradictions. You say they all condone war... they all do. But all religious texts also say turn the other cheek, love your enemy. Yes... even in the Quran.

k2aggie07 said...

"A text without a context becomes a pretext for whatever we would like it to mean."

Christ wasn't speaking of flat out strikes; there is a parable here, as in almost all of His teachings. If someone struck you on the right cheek, presumably this would have been with their right hand, thus meaning they backhanded you. A backhand was considered an insulting gesture, the way you would strike a slave or otherwise insignificant person. Turning them your other cheek is, in a way, a defiant move; it demands that they strike you as an equal, with the palm of their hand.

This is smothering your enemy with kindness, "living such good lives among the pagans" that they can find no wrongdoing with you.

I have no problem with folks who want to be pacifists. There are many reasons why thats a justifiable recourse. However, you've stated openly that we were right to go into Afghanistan. At that point, your "neo-pacifism" is null and void, because you're just picking and choosing when you want to apply your principles.

Matt said...

Okay, now give me the "context" for all the other passages that I presented you with. You chose part of one, and twisted it to mean something else. You were the one who took it out of context. Read the whole thing again:

You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. (Mat.5:33-41).

Your claim that this is suppose to mean, "defy your master by turning him the cheek that is suppose to recieve a strike from an equal" is ridiculous when you look at the passage in its entirety. It's clear that he's specifically saying, "if someone does you wrong, continue doing right, blind them with your righteousness and do not reciprocate". That's pretty clear, or are you using this as a pretext for whatever you would like it to mean? Explain the rest of them please. I can find more if you like.

I find that at my very core, I resent the fact that we invaded Afghanistan. But I'm not a neo-pacifist through and through. When looking at whether or not the war in Afghanistan is justified and comparing it to the reasons for invading Iraq, the invasion of Afghanistan looks like a GREAT idea. You know I'm not all black and white, that's impossible. I'm an ideologue, but I also like to think of myself as a bit of a realist, even if what I say usually doesn't reflect that.

k2aggie07 said...

If you want to get into the theological context, I'm game.

Jesus and Paul both confessed that the scriptures were the Law, and were right (2 Tim. 3:16). Based on this starting fact, it concludes that Christ both understood, condoned, and believed in the scriptures. Indeed, the scriptures comprised the basis for much of what He taught.

What Christ is addressing (Eye for an eye) is an idea that comes out of Jewish law. It is stated in Leviticus, Exodus, and Dueteronomy. However, this was law to be enacted by Elders (or Judges) in Jewish society. However, this law (like many others) were being warped, twisted, and taken out of context by priests of the time. Eye for an eye was not approval of vigilante violence, or a means for people to treat one another in such a fashion. Eye for an eye was a societal punishment doctrine.

To paraphrase Christ (if I may), Society can hand out "equal repurcussion" punishments - YOU may not.

In addition, the "walk one/ two miles" goes to the Roman occupation. Roman soldiers could, at any time, force any non-citizen to carry their packs (50-60 pounds) for one mile. Christ is, again, giving a model for passive resistance. Just as He says "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's" (Matt. 22:21)which was not what the people expected or wanted, he is telling them to do precisely what the soldier demands, and then some.

Its not defiance, per se. Its an alternative to individual violence.

Nowhere in the scripture does Christ (or Paul) say that war (especially wars fought in non-agression or in the interest of safety) is bad.

For being not black-and-white you sure are rock solid on disapproval of Iraq.