December 13, 2005
STEM CELLS ARE NOT PEOPLE!!!
On a related note, people are so stupid about cloned humans, too.
CLONES ARE PEOPLE!!!
Every time I hear someone seriously questioning whether or not cloned humans have rights, I almost freak out and slap them about the head and face.
So, meanwhile, some folks are putting human cells in mice.
SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- Add another creation to the strange scientific menagerie where animal species are being mixed together in ever more exotic combinations.
Scientists announced Monday that they had created mice with small amounts of human brain cells in an effort to make realistic models of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease.
Still, the work adds to the growing ethical concerns of mixing human and animal cells when it comes to stem cell and cloning research. After all, mice are 97.5 percent genetically identical to humans.
"The worry is if you humanize them too much you cross certain boundaries," said David Magnus, director of the Stanford Medical Center for Biomedical Ethics. "But I don't think this research comes even close to that."
Researchers are nevertheless beginning to bump up against what bioethicists call the "yuck factor."
Stem cell researchers argue that mixing human and animal cells is the only way to advance the field because it's far too risky to experiment on people; so little is known about stem cells.
"The experiments have to be done, which does mean human cells into non-human cells," said Dr. Evan Snyder, a stem cell researcher at the Burnham Institute in San Diego. "You don't work out the issues on your child or your grandmother. You want to work this out in an animal first."
Snyder is injecting human embryonic stem cells into monkeys and is convinced that there's little danger.
"It's true that there is a huge amount of similarity, but the differences are huge," Snyder said. "You will never ever have a little human trapped inside a mouse or monkey's body."
Naturally, I think the bigger story is about how these mice give birth to human babies after just a 3 month gestation period and the ethical question is whether or not scientists should be allowed to have sex with mice even in the name of science. However, since we have to work with what we have, I would like to call your attention to how stupid the CNN bioethicists are.
Please tell me that no bio-ethicist is considering "yuck-factor" as a serious ethical concern.
I understand bringing it up as part of the list of reasons why people come to stupid conclusions about certain bio-medical procedures. But at the same time, no one wants to see athroscopic surgery either. Well, I do, but I'm a weirdo like that.
Have you see that show on TLC where they show the surgery happening? It's awesome! But many people have threatened me with bodily harm if I try to make them sit through a show like that.
Meanwhile, ethicists are clearly not doing their jobs because they haven't told scientists the difference between a regular mouse, a mouse with human cells, and a human being. Apparently, there is confusion.
In all seriousness, the question of determining the exact level of consciousness required to entitle a being with rights is a tricky and important issue. Due to our inability to account for it scientifically at this point in time, we grant the benefit of the doubt to all human beings. Other species with human cells in them doesn't count any more than having a baboon heart is grounds for disenfranchisement.
The interesting part about this to me is how the question comes to rise as implanting human brain cells into a mouse brain changes the level of consciousness in the mouse, bringing it closer to human level mental capacities.
Anyway, the "yuck factor" thing set me off and I just wanted to share.
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