Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Cult(ure) Of Life

The Grand Deacon of the Great Theocratic Empire Formerly Known As The United States of America has made it clear that he will veto the latest attempt to join 21st century genetic science.

Worried by news reports that South Korean scientists have created 11 new embryonic stem cell lines for medical research, President Bush yesterday emphatically insisted that he would veto a measure pending in Congress that would ease current restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research in the United States.

The bipartisan bill, which has caused immense fissures among Republicans on Capitol Hill, could come up for a vote as early as next week. Supporters are cautiously optimistic that it will pass; opponents are braced for an emotional battle.

Yes well, by all means, let us inject rank emotionalism into a scientific debate. Hell, it's worked great on our 34th replay of the Scopes Trial down in Kansas, hasn't it? Why, Kansan children will soon infest all our institutions of higher learning with the well-known scientific fact that the Grand Canyon was created by the Noah's Ark flood.

See, you thought you knew different, because you read the atheist textbooks. They don't want you to know the truth, because....well, because they want America to not be a Christian nation no more.

Which has worked out quite nicely for the atheist scientist conspiracy, if you stop to look around and think about it for two hot seconds. I mean, if it weren't for those commie bastards, we'd be able to have the Ten Commandments up in public buildings, and people would suddenly burst into renditions of God Bless America for no good reason at all, and....oh hell, you get the idea already. These whiny pearl-clutching ninnies are full of shit. You can't persecute a majority.

Anyway, back to Science Minute, with Professor/Reverend Cuckoo Bananas:

Bush, who has yet to veto any bill after more than four years in office, told reporters in the Oval Office, "I've made my position very clear on embryonic stem cells. I'm a strong supporter of adult stem-cell research, of course. But I have made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is -- I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it."

Leaving aside the supreme irony of the "destroy[ing] life in order to save life" sound bite, which he clearly hasn't contemplated very deeply, let's hear it for capital-p Principle. It is truly something to be committed to your Principle so much, that you will subvert your own self-interest. I have no doubt he believes this; watering the potted plants of the Dobsonite faction is as incidental as playing them soothing renditions of Toby Keith in the greenhouse.

So I assume that 10-20 years from now, if Poppy or Bar are in the throes of Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, if W himself were afflicted (though really, how the hell would you be able to tell if George W. Bush had Alzheimers), if one of the twins accidentally got paralyzed during a Spring Break bender, that W will stay the course. In his manly-man demeanor of resolved resoluteness and steadfastery, he will look them in the eye with his steely, Gary Cooper gaze and say, "Sorry. You lose."

Perfect Principle ain't easy, boys n' girls. It's for your own good.

He added that he was concerned about the South Korean research, arguing that unless it were stopped, such projects could lead to a widespread practice of creating human embryos solely for medical experimentation.

The House vote would be on a bill sponsored by Reps. Michael Castle, R-Del., and Diana DeGette, D-Colo., to permit federal funding for research on stem cells from embryos left over from fertility treatments that were already slated for destruction. It would also ban payments to anyone who would provide them.

There is certainly a valid ethical argument against recreational cloning, and unsurprisingly, nobody is proposing anything of the sort. Nobody is proposing "creating life in order to destroy it", or whatever the catchy little feel-good phrase of moral superiority happens to be today. (No doubt the phrase will undergo several focus-group revisions, à la the Social Security scam. Probably the exact same scriptwriting elves.)

I hate being right all the time. I hate pointing out that we are rapidly turning into a scientific and technological backwater, oohing and aahing over our goddamned iPods while the South Koreans make advances in stem-cell research. The South Koreans? Are you fucking kidding me?

Very well. Let W whip out his Li'l Red Pen, and veto this puppy, and all the seniors who let this huckster bamboozle them can see exactly what they're stuck with.

And again, let us operate under the presumption that the high-and-mighty who pass amongst us mere mortals with their perfect ethics n' morals will abstain from any and all fruits of this anti-life technology, should Their God see sufficient to smite them with Alzheimers.

The always excellent Digby has an even more stark and abrupt take on this issue. The Baby Jesus insists that you check it out.


cavanaghjam said...

It's been a while since my school days, but it used to be that an embryo was defined as a zygote implanted in the walls of the womb. An agglomeration of cells culled from a petri dish is not an embryo.

The Holy Fathers, before the invention of the microscope, thought that life began when the woman felt a quickening, i.e., when the child stirred in the womb. Nowhere in any scripture does it say that life begins when first two gametes join.

To say that a blastocyst is a human being is like eating a fertilized egg (and one laid in an industry the sole purpose of which is to provide eggs for eating, at that) and saying, "This chicken sure tastes good."

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