July 31, 2005

INDC vs. RedState
— Ace

On stem cells, natch.

Bill points out that seven or so (lost count) frozen embryos were destroyed in the process of creating "snoflake baby" Trey Jones. Which I think is a good point, though I'm not really sure why.

But better is his point about a Red State contributor calling Bill Frist a "traitor."

Please. Can't we be above that sort of crap?

I take solace when the Kosmonauts punch up Hillary! for having the temerity to suggest a truce with the moderate-posturing DLC. The woman calls for a truce -- the most anodyne and disposable bit of speechifying there is; who's against unity, for crying out loud? -- and the Kosmonauts go batshit crazy.

But it appears it's going on on the right, too.

I know a lot of readers disagree with me on the stem-cell issue but I trust most don't think I'm a "traitor" for having a different set of assumptions and priorities.

Posted by: Ace at 12:41 PM | Comments (33)
Post contains 162 words, total size 1 kb.

1 I'm not sure of the traitor name either, but if you get into office as a pro-life politician, and then favor stem cell research, you're probably falling into that category with a lot of voters. At the very least, he's shot himself in the foot when it comes time for the next nominations.

Posted by: digitalbrownshirt at July 31, 2005 01:13 PM (ipjUv)

2 Even natural conception has a lot of misfires per successful birth.

But that's not really the issue. Based on a religious perspective (I don't share) lots of people don't want tax money used to fund abortions or embryo harvesting.

For political reasons I'd rather have a large number of slightly kooky supporters on my side than a small number of moderate whiners who are always threatening to bug out and take every chance they get to make trouble between the religous and the secular.

Bill in particular wraps his opinions in hyper-rational terms but point out a flaw in his logic and he throws a hissy fit just like the moonbats.

Posted by: boris at July 31, 2005 01:21 PM (S+qVM)

3 boris, boris, boris -

That's the second cheap shot you've thrown at me in as many days. One might think I banned you and you had something personal against me.

Oh wait - I did.

I also believe I was the first to point out that YOU argue like a moonbat. Now, I don't mind if you dislike me - in fact, it helps validate my place in the universe - but the least you could do is get your own insults instead of stealing mine .

Because that's just weak.

And Ace, the 7 of 10 snowflake babies destroyed in the process were meant to make the point that it's hard to argue for the embryo adoption process from an absolutist pro-life position, as the process destroys life, just like any IVR.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 31, 2005 01:52 PM (wpnFq)

4 meow

Posted by: boris at July 31, 2005 01:57 PM (S+qVM)

5 It's not Frist's position. It's his Sully-style turnaround.

Posted by: someone at July 31, 2005 02:06 PM (Z+KtA)

6 Bill, I agree with you, kinda, on the policy of this but Boris is right about your tone.

When it comes to SCR, or Schiavo, or similar stuff, you fly off the handle and/or get downright nasty - and you sound just like "Augustine," maybe even the dread "Armando," in your threats and taunting.

Just my two cents. Feel free to disregard.

Posted by: Knemon at July 31, 2005 02:13 PM (QaHR7)

7 someone,

But I believe Frist's position was the old 'wait and see attitude," as in, "I'll give the Bush compromise a chance and see how it goes."

I've read it too many places to discount what I take as fact-- that is, these "78 lines of pre-existing stem cells" are nothing of the sort. There's far fewer than that and many are useless.

It's not treachery to give a provisional "we'll see how your plan works out" okay and then, having decided it isn't working out (at least not to Frist's satisfaction) withdraw that provisional support.

Posted by: ace at July 31, 2005 02:21 PM (sYxc4)

8 Bill equates the seven failed embyos somehow with fertilizing an egg for the purpose of killing it to harvest the stem cells. This is very disingenuous; but very Bill.

FWIW, I have no problem with people who disagree with me on this issue. There is so much I don't know about the subject I feel it's imperative to keep an open mind. I also don't mind people who change their minds if its sincere. I don't trust politicians though and think Bill is pulling a Hillary, i.e. trying to move to the center.

Posted by: BrewFan at July 31, 2005 02:22 PM (95UaF)

9 Regardless of content, I notice Bill's post's held Insty's primo traffic slot most of the day. Nice little Sunday there for him I'm sure.

Posted by: H. Moseley at July 31, 2005 02:47 PM (kUNrb)

10 Brew,

Okay, but you're saying it's okay to kill 7 embryos for the chance of creating one life (and there are no guarantees; all could fail) but it's not okay to take embryos slated for destruction and use them to try to find a cure for paralysis?

I'm sorry, but again I fail to see this as a major difference. The only difference is that the one procedure is done to create life, whereas the other is done to improve or possibly SAVE it.

Posted by: ace at July 31, 2005 02:49 PM (+Nd6o)

11 The 7 had their chance like any fertilized zygote.

I am not opposed in principle, just don't like to see another brick in the wall between secular and religious.

Posted by: boris at July 31, 2005 03:39 PM (S+qVM)

12 Ace, To be honest, I never heard of this high of a failure rate in thawing embryos (50%according to the article linked to Bill's post) before so I don't know what to think. Is this representative of all frozen embryo's or just those frozen for a very long time? But, I'll stand by what I said before and that's that these embryo's were made for a procreative purpose and not for research.

Let me ask you a question which should help explain my reservations: At what stage of development of a human embryo/fetus/baby is it no longer ethically acceptable to 'harvest' parts? Therein lies my position; none. Its a road I don't think we need to go down. At least not yet. You've bought into the idea that this research might lead to a cure for paralysis but isn't it equally likely that adult stem cells might also lead to this cure? Or fetal stem cells from the umbilical cord blood?

Posted by: BrewFan at July 31, 2005 03:54 PM (95UaF)

13 So, ace, are you arguing that because we know 7 will probably die, that we are purposefully killing 7 embryos? Seems quite a leap. That's kinda like equating a life-saving surgery that has only a 30% chance of success, with assisted suicide. In one procedure, we are trying to create/save a life - unfortunately, sometimes it doesn't work out. On the other side, we are deliberately killing something - 100% chance of failure.

Ever see "Steel Magnolias"? Sappy chick-flick, but a point is made - a woman decides to give birth, even though she knows it might kill her. Is there a logical problem with her calling herself "pro-life", knowing that a death might result?

As far as the "can't we all just get along" shtick - look, if you believe a fertilized embryo is human life, then purposefully killing it is a bad thing. What you are asking true "pro-life" believers to do is basically say, "Hey, I think its murder, but ya know, I'd hate to impose my views on anyone else - so get to killing, y'all!".

Posted by: drc at July 31, 2005 04:23 PM (KRj9x)

14 DrC,

No, I'm saying these embryos are going to be destroyed anyway, and yet people seem to rather have them, I don't know, "destroyed with dignity" rather than being put to some life-saving use.

Please explain to me: How on earth is it better to just kill them rather than use the cells for research in the process of killing them? This is what I don't get, and which I find very dogmatic. I hate using capital letters, but indulge me, because I find this important:


Why is it preferrable they simply be flushed down the drains?

Posted by: ace at July 31, 2005 04:51 PM (+Nd6o)

15 Situation One: They're killed because the "parents" only paid for ten years' refrigeration and so, once the refrigeration rental fee expires, they're killed.

Situation Two: Their "parents," having no further use for them, agree to let a medical research co. use the cells to research cures for paralysis and the like before killing them.

Please explain to me why Situation One is more "moral."

And please explain-- if these are human lives, as you maintain, and you know these "human lives" are being destroyed everyday simply for failure to pay for refrigeration costs, why are you not attempting to "adopt" embryos and setting up a trust fund to keep them refrigerated for eternity?

Posted by: ace at July 31, 2005 04:55 PM (+Nd6o)

16 why are you not attempting to "adopt" embryos and setting up a trust fund to keep them refrigerated for eternity?

If I do, can I name them all ace?

Posted by: at July 31, 2005 05:39 PM (WObae)

17 Ah, misunderstood the point. I apologize.

And I agree - flushing = bad. I would agree with you that anyone claiming to be "pro-life" should be against both stem-cell research and "fertilize 10, flush 9". With one caveat...

Embryonic stem-cell research raises the ugly possibility of breeding embryos for the sole purpose of killing them for use in live humans. This puts a distinction between the two procedures - one is selective killing of unwanted (abortion) in the process of creating a new life, the other is mass murder in the name of saving lives (or "improving" the lifestyle of someone suffering a non-lethal condition).

Otherwise - point to you (and Bill).

Posted by: drc at July 31, 2005 05:43 PM (KRj9x)

18 One other objection occurs to me:


So, Terry McAuliffe should have been subjected to human experimentation before she was offed?
I guess I fall on the side of "killing unused embryos is bad - killing unused embryos and using them for research is worse". There is intrinsic value and dignity to human life - even leaving alone the "slippery slope" of what embryonic stem-cell research may lead to, I think the moral reduction of Humanity to nothing more than a collection of proteins and DNA is...troubling.

And as far as "why are you not attempting to adopt". My response would be approx. the same as yours to "Why haven't we invaded North Korea?"

Posted by: drc at July 31, 2005 05:57 PM (KRj9x)

19 Terry Schiavo, of course - Freudian slip, there.

Posted by: drc at July 31, 2005 05:58 PM (KRj9x)

20 Er, Terri Schiavo. Too much gin, not enough vermouth...

Posted by: drc at July 31, 2005 06:00 PM (KRj9x)

21 Interesting.

Bill Ardolino is an arrogant jerk, and RedState doesn't do much other than incorrectly predict events based on information from its "sources" (i.e., mail-sorting interns in Sen. Cornyn's office).

I don't care about this issue at all, yet I feel oddly compelled to pick a side. Quite the conundrum...

Posted by: Larry Jones at July 31, 2005 06:51 PM (BUB23)

22 And for the love of God, is it possible for anyone to argue about this issue without trying to divine the motives of every person with whom they disagree?

Proponents of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) believe that the research is necessary to find cures and treatments for debilitating diseases. Opponents of ESCR believe that we should not destroy innocent life in pursuit of treatments that can be developed through non-life destroying means (e.g., adult stem cell research, cord blood, etc.).

Calling one side baby killers and the other side anti-science religious troglodytes accomplishes nothing. Your viewpoint on this matter doesn't make you any more enlightened or virtuous or compassionate than somebody with a different opinion.

P.S. Ardolino smells like poo. Neener.

Posted by: Larry Jones at July 31, 2005 07:01 PM (BUB23)

23 I flushed a palmetto bug down the loo the other day who was encroaching on my "personal space" in the bathroom. I can't really say there was anything dignified about that sort of disposition for the palmetto bug - it was practical and quick though...

Seriously - dead is dead, no matter how it happens.

Posted by: tony at July 31, 2005 08:31 PM (Sixm1)

24 Hey -- I noticed that pretty much everyone who has ever lived has died... does that mean anything goes now? (A little more extreme version of drc's argument.)

Natural pregnancy involves quite a few failures, which only now are people realizing... many of the failures occur within the first few weeks, so often the miscarriage is seen as just an odd menstrual period. But just because there's a high death rate for a particular time of life or condition does not mean anything goes.

There's high mortality rates, especially among children, in Africa due to all sorts of things -- diarrhea, AIDS, malaria, etc. Why can't we harvest their body parts to make some new, untested medical cure?

But as you say, there are bunches of embryos currently frozen. What do we do with those? What if we had put a bunch of kids in suspended animation? Our choices are as follows: a) thaw them out, realizing that 6/7 of them are going to die in the defrosting process; b) just let them die; c) instead of letting them "go to waste" by letting them die, use them as tissue sources; d) keep them frozen, hoping you can improve survival stats later. That's the moral dimension... there's the money dimension to consider, too.

I know that many people don't consider these embryos as people (though we can all agree they're human... no one is proposing using sheep embryos.) I don't consider such people "traitors". Even those who once thought of embryos as people w/ rights and then changed their minds -- that's an honest difference of opinion, too. But I don't get is someone saying "yeah, embryos are people... but they're expendable just in case killing them might produce the cure for cancer."

It's like Kerry saying that fetuses are indeed babies, but no one should prevent their mothers or other interested persons from killing them, even if only a little finger of said baby still resides in utero. One gets the idea that such a person is lying about his views, or is a moral monster. Thinking that it is okay to kill a particular class of people for the material benefit of other people is not a view that's seen as okay outside the realms of Princeton.

I'm asking for a little moral consistency here. I think most of the people supporting embryonic stem cell research, where embryos are destroyed, do not see embryos as human beings. So I understand their point of view. I just don't understand Frist's stated point of view.

Posted by: meep at August 01, 2005 02:24 AM (9Bj9e)

25 And before someone tries to get on my case over moral consistency, I'm also against IVF and birth control pills (yes, I'm Catholic...and an American, to boot! Who'd've thunk it?).

I've mentioned this in another thread, but I doubt anybody would remember me or what I've said elsewhere.

Posted by: meep at August 01, 2005 02:27 AM (9Bj9e)

26 I'm sure nobody has forgotten this small fact but I'm going to restate it just to be sure: there is no law against fetal stem cell research and in fact it goes on as we speak. There is no law against using embryos frozen for procreative purposes for stem cell research. What started this discussion is who pays for it. The private sector has turned their collective backs on this research for presumably good reason but be that as it may there seems to be a reasonable solution here that might be acceptable; if you support this research then make a charitable contribution to whatever organization you choose. This makes all in the conservative camp happy; Ace gets to support a cause he believes in (and his gift is tax deductible!) and I get the satisfaction of knowing my money is not being spent on practices I find objectionable on moral grounds. What do you think guys?

Posted by: BrewFan at August 01, 2005 04:01 AM (D9nK5)

27 So, Terry McAuliffe should have been subjected to human experimentation before she was offed?

Absolutely! Just what the hell was his deal, anyway? Are you saying he was some kind of cosmic hyper-loser because he was really a transexual? Is that it?

Come to think of it, I can't think of too many circumstances under which it wouldn't be appropriate to subject Terry McAuliffe to gruesome medical experiments.

In fact, to come around to the topic, I think we should ban all experimentation using big-eyed, cute li'l human embryos, and instead use Terry McAuliffe.

Because, really, it's not like the man has anything better to do these days, does he?

Posted by: The Claw at August 01, 2005 07:06 AM (lFfi9)

28 Brew, yeah, I think I called it a reasonable compromise with those who find it morally objectionable to fund it with tax dollars.

If it were just me and a few other Americans, I'd shut up about it. It's more than a few.

Most people on the other side of the argument do not accuse me of being a "snake-handling Luddite", which is appreciated, anymore than I would use the expression "traitor" as ace brought up the other day (although I think that was really in the context of Frist's change of heart, but no matter, "traitor" is out of line.

I remember a story when I was younger about J.R.R. Tolkien paying his taxes, and writing on the back of the check "and not one pound for the Concorde!"

That made me laugh.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at August 01, 2005 09:20 AM (pzen5)

29 Meep writes:

Thinking that it is okay to kill a particular class of people for the material benefit of other people is not a view that's seen as okay outside the realms of Princeton.

We implicitly do just that by sanctioning IVF. We, and the couples that spend enormous money to create them, make a moral choice that giving a childless couple the opportunity to have kids is worth the "wastage" involved in the process of getting there. Otherwise, we'd ban in vitro, and insist couples adopt surplus 3rd world babies instead.

For all the talk of how we "can't morally distinguish" between classes of people, be they babies in a petri dish or not, we instinctively know once we leave the area of religion and get into the area of common sense, that is just not true.

Consider the Less-than- Hobbesian choice a hypothetical firefighter squad confronts. A raging fire at a medical clinic threatens a cannister full of surplus embryos hauled out of the cooler for disposal. 10,000 of them, with 280 to be flushed down the toilet because paperwork was signed to get rid of them. The other 9,720 are surplus leftovers awaiting decisions. In an ajoining room is a frantic young woman in a wheelchair on her cell phone to 911, begging to be rescued. Time exists to save what some hold to be 10,000 human beings - or just one.

Now, who honestly thinks that any....any...rescue squad would let the women in a wheelchair burn to
save "Snowflakes in a petri dish"???

We clearly value the living over the potentially living.

Medical care & society makes this choice routinely in allocating medical, taxpayer, societal resources. How much potential "useful life" a patient has matters. Why the 14-year old gets the liver over a 68-year old.

Posted by: Cedarford at August 01, 2005 10:17 AM (M7kiy)

30 The "Life should never be destroyed with my tax dollars, no matter how noble the goal" argument........

Lots of people in the anti-research camp say that.

I assume they also oppose paying for the War in Iraq.

They ignore saving the lives of the living are also important. And the huge drain on society and taxpayers are incurred by caring for diseases we might be able to cure or control - both saving lives and lowering costs.

Heart disease - 725,192 dead at an annual cost, 214 billion dollars
Diabetes - 71, 792 dead at an annual cost of 172 billion.
Spinal Cord Injury affects 200,000 - annual cost 9.7 billion.
Parkinsons Disease - affects 1% of the American population over the age of 50. Annual cost 4.8 billion.
MS and MD - 550,000 affected. Annual cost 13 billion.
Bone, ligament degeneration, injury - annual cost 19 billion.
Other afflictions where embryonic stem cells offer promise, excepting cancer: 56,000 deaths. 22 billion in costs.

Cancer 555,800 deaths. Cost 280 billion. Embryonic stem cells not thought to be a potential cure, but may be a valuable costsaving, life-prolonging adjunct in existing and new therapies...
Opposition to embryonic stem cell research that saves ZERO petri dish dwellers from whatever fate awaits & saying "not with my tax dollars" puts the Right to Life people in a position of hoping to keep more living people dying and suffering from major afflictions, at a higher taxpayer cost.

Posted by: Cedarford at August 01, 2005 10:40 AM (M7kiy)

31 Jeez, Ace. How often are you going to let Bill's rabid ravings on stem cell research spill onto your blog? I stopped visiting INDeCent Bill long ago because on this and Terry Shiavo, he just went all Sulivan on the Republican Party/Conservatives. It's fine to passionately hold a position, but to Bill turns into a moonbat on these issues.

Posted by: kbiel at August 01, 2005 10:59 AM (KSCkS)

32 Waptrick 
I am glad to read this post, its an interesting one. I am always searching for quality posts and articles and this is what I found here, I hope you will be adding more in future.
This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. You’ve got a design here that’s not too flashy, but makes a statement as big as what you’re saying. Great job, indeed.

Posted by: Kata Kata Bijak at April 12, 2012 01:42 AM (DBRPr)

33 nice  i like this post .

Posted by: Waptrick at April 12, 2012 01:44 AM (DBRPr)

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