Monday, August 08, 2005

One More Reason Fund Stem Cell Research (or Not)

"Placenta has versatile 'stem cells'" says the Reuters news story:

It is not yet certain that the cells they found are true stem cells, said Stephen Strom, who worked on the study. But they carry two important genes, called Oct 4 and nanog, which so far have only been seen on embryonic stem cells...

Strom said the cells he worked with also do not appear to be immortal, meaning they die out after a while in the lab, unlike true stem cells.

In other words, true stem cells are immortal.

I guess, like most people, I've been paying only fleeting attention to the details of stem cell science, preferring to form my opinions based on the self-interested celebrity testimony of Michael J. Fox, Nancy Reagan and Tom Delay, plus modern homunculist thinking as in today's Strib asserting, "the scientific fact that embryos are tiny humans.*" All of which is filtered, of course, through my own secular humanistic moral relativism to arrive at a conclusion that satisfies me. Just like everybody else, except using a different filter.

So I'm not about to get all technical on you now. But that word, immortal, just struck me.

Why, in the name of Creationism, haven't some of these homunculists fastened on the immortal nature of stem cells, and their proximity to the moment life begins. What if stem cells proved to be the locus of the soul? Or perhaps more important, proved the existence of the soul?

What type of government funding might stem research attract then? What embryonic stem cell strip mining might ensue?



* A very tiny human being, to be sure, about soooo >.< big.

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