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Human Stem Cells Found in Amniotic Fluid

Well this is pretty cool:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Stem cells nearly as powerful as embryonic stem cells can be found in the amniotic fluid that protects babies in the womb, U.S. researchers reported on Sunday.


They used them to create muscle, bone, fat, blood vessel, nerve and liver cells in the laboratory and said they believe the placenta and amniotic fluid can provide one more source of the valued cells, which scientists hope will someday transform medicine.

They would also provide a non-controversial source of the cells, which are found with difficulty throughout the body and in days-old embryos.


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Comments (61)

Oh, my Gawd, Kim! Don't yo... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

Oh, my Gawd, Kim! Don't you see the danger herein???? Those from the Left Coast wanting stem cell research and the latent Dahmerite forces in the Democrat__ Party combining forces to produce new-borns for the dual purpose of research and eating.

It is a logical place to lo... (Below threshold)

It is a logical place to look for them, after all. Surprised they didn't look before.

It won't be long before the... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

It won't be long before the pro-embryonic (aka pro-abortion) groups declare this source inferior or insufficient. A steady source of embryos from abortions is the only thing which will satisfy them. They will accept no substitutes.

jpm100...hope you eschew ea... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

jpm100...hope you eschew eating eggs because, who knows, maybe the Good Lord sees omelets like you see stem cell research.

jpm100 - How nice for you t... (Below threshold)
Lee:

jpm100 - How nice for you to be able to use your butt cheeks to keep your ears warm on these cold winter days. And your new hat fits right in with the fashion statement being made by rightwing bloggers these days.

Looks like the wingnut lies about Kerry's photo has been debunked as just more wingnut bullshit also...

Another Setback for Conservative Bloggers: The Great 'Kerry Photo' Flap

NEW YORK As if the finding of the allegedly non-existent Associated Press source in Iraq, Capt. Jamil Hussein, wasn't enough, conservative bloggers suffered another setback Friday in the far more trivial flap over a photo of Sen. John Kerry.

The "controversy" started last week when rightwing bloggers cackled over a photo sent to one of them which allegedly showed Kerry on a Dec. 17 visit to Iraq being shunned by troops at breakfast. Indeed, it did seem to show Kerry at a dining hall table with only a couple of non-uniformed people nearby. The blogs charged that this proved that the troops had completely turned on the senator (and decorated Vietnam vet) after his so-called "botched joke" in October, if not before.

Michelle Malkin, for example, wrote that "lonely John Kerry" had been "spurned by the troops," and some other comments were far more mocking. She and others maintained the attack even when other photos surfaced of Kerry surrounded by troops on that visit.

On Friday, the full truth emerged.

It's a veritable wingnut (wrongnut?) hat fashion parade!

jpm100...do you ever look a... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

jpm100...do you ever look at what you post?

"the pro-embryonic (aka pro-abortion) groups "

If one is "pro-embryo", kindly explain how that makes them the same as "pro-abortion."

Do you have the vaguest idea as to what are a "zygote," "blastocyst," "fetus," "sperm cell," "ovum" are or do you just regurgitate pavlovian response?

Explain, if you can, how one can be "pro-embryonic" and "pro-abortion," unless, of course, one is a Democrat.

"They would also provide a ... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

"They would also provide a non-controversial source of the cells, which are found with difficulty throughout the body and in days-old embryos."

Lee and Puke,

Is that difficult for you to understand? The reason that private donors haven't gotten very much behind embryonic stem-cell research is its lack of results. Adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood cells, and now, amniotic fluid cells, actually have proven useful without ANYONE raising any moral or ethical questions about it. Maybe jpm didn't state his case very eloquently, but that certainly doesn't make you right.

A steady source of embry... (Below threshold)
Brian:

A steady source of embryos from abortions is the only thing which will satisfy them. They will accept no substitutes.

That's exactly right. The left feels that no cure for disease is acceptable unless it comes from destroying embryos. Although insulin is now made in a laboratory, it is unacceptable because no fetuses are harmed. We're still reeling from the recent chicken pox vaccine, made without the destruction of a single embryo. We long for the days when Luden's cough drops contained the fetus juice liquid center, and Band-Aids were made of embryonic skin. Although there is hope, in the form of ongoing research into whether Advil can be produced from a blastocyst. Stay tuned.

The life of Brian (no pun i... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

The life of Brian (no pun intended), Lee, Brian, and arepukelian: Wait for every post to appear on a single coservative website, then pounce on it with every ounce of energy in the comments section. Amazing! Do you guys ever go anywhere?

Mentioned Brian twice. Thin... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

Mentioned Brian twice. Think I meant Hugh. Oh well, now comes a raft of posts about how stupid I am!

No, John F Not Kerry, ...un... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

No, John F Not Kerry, ...unnecessary...your post speaks volumes for itself.

Rubber/glue.... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

Rubber/glue.

This ain't good. The dems ... (Below threshold)
Jo:

This ain't good. The dems aren't happy unless they're destroying some human life.

Lee, the truth of the picture still holds. People avoided Kerry like the plague.

BTW, how did that indictment of Karl Rove turn out? lol.

Again with your stupid argu... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Again with your stupid arguments?

ALL options should be researched and funded (period)

To say one is the only GOD approved method of medical research is a sin against God.

Oh, no! There goes the 200... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Oh, no! There goes the 2008 wedge issue for the Dims! Nooooooooooooooooooooo!

Jo..."The dems aren't ha... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

Jo..."The dems aren't happy unless they're destroying some human life."

How absurd, all the whilst you and your Wizsymps are advocating desperately for the increase of American troop deaths with your support of the Chimp-in-chief's surge, aka escalation in Iraq. You are the blood-sucking flesh-eating kin of Dahmer.

aRepukelican:If on... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

aRepukelican:

If one is "pro-embryo", kindly explain how that makes them the same as "pro-abortion."'

If you read what I wrote, you'd have noticed I said 'embryon[b]ic[/b]' and not embryo

I accidentally omitted the term "stem cell". However if you really wanted to understand what I said, instead of just bitch for the sake of bitching, you could have figured it out.

And you're the last person who should be criticizing people for unclear statements.

Nice try Mitch, the Dems do... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Nice try Mitch, the Dems don't have wedge issues. The Pubs turn the progressive evolution of advances in science and society as an assault against God.

Keep up the good work, and watch the results as Hillary is the Prez and Obama as the VP. Watch as the 16-years of Dems control (over the two we have now piss ant) destroys the Pub party.

You mean like "Cristopher R... (Below threshold)
914:

You mean like "Cristopher Reeves should be able to get out of His grave and walk now?" COOL

Everyone in D.C. needs a new influx of brain cells since they obviously suffered from oxygen deprivation while they were floating around in the amniotic abyss!! Including the chimpazoid in chief!

Brain:That's ex... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Brain:

That's exactly right. The left feels that no cure for disease is acceptable unless it comes from destroying embryos. Although insulin is now made in a laboratory, it is unacceptable because no fetuses are harmed. We're still reeling from the recent chicken pox vaccine, made without the destruction of a single embryo. We long for the days when Luden's cough drops contained the fetus juice liquid center, and Band-Aids were made of embryonic skin. Although there is hope, in the form of ongoing research into whether Advil can be produced from a blastocyst. Stay tuned.

Don't embryonic stem cell advocates reject Adult stem and cloned stem cell as well as substitutes for embryonic stem cells? Don't they also reject anencephalic fetuses/embryos as well? Generally they do when advocating for expanded embryonic stem cell research.

Brian, Lee, aRetard may be surprised when this is method is also rejected. I won't be.

BarneyG2000, Can we substit... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

BarneyG2000, Can we substitute "Feingold" for "Hillary". I mean, REALLY!

I would vote for Feingold i... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

I would vote for Feingold in second, but he can't win (nomination). Just like any Repub can't win the general.

As an Illini, I would first vote for Obama, and than for Feingold (either prefered over Hillary).

Mike

"Brian, Lee, aRetard may... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Brian, Lee, aRetard may be surprised when this is method is also rejected. I won't be."

Thanks for the laugh, jpm100 -- I haven't heard someone use "retard" since I was in elementary school.

If embryonic stem cell rese... (Below threshold)
Wethal:

If embryonic stem cell research had promise, venture capital would be pouring in. The investors know what the Dems don't want the voters to know: there are other, more promising avenues that don't involve the moral issue of embryonic life.

Stem cell research is about the moral status of the embryo. If it's off limits to experiment on, then it could become off-limits to abort.

Well, it's now too late for... (Below threshold)
Hermie:

Well, it's now too late for amniotic fluid research.

California, Illinois and other states have already committed billions of taxpayer dollars towards embryonic stem cell research. The embyronic stem cell people have already conned politicians to spend these funds on them.

Parties such as pharmacutical companies, which don't need government funding for their research, now have an advantage in that instead of just theoretical 'cures', there has been demonstrated positive results.

Of course, the government could just defund the embryonic stem cell people and fund this more promising research, but we all know that'll never happen.

We should use the most prom... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

We should use the most promising stem cells wherever we find them. Incidentally, a stem cell is not a human being.

And the world is more than 6,000 years old, fossils weren't created by Noah's flood, the globe IS warming, and evolution is good science and should be taught in schools.

"Well, it's now too late fo... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

"Well, it's now too late for amniotic fluid research."

Not true. If you think it's promising, lobby the Federal Government to commit dollars for this kind of research. That some money is going to stem cell research doesn't preclude doing other kinds of research as well.

"If embryonic stem cell res... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

"If embryonic stem cell research had promise, venture capital would be pouring in."

These would be the same genius capitalists that created the first internet boom?! I think there's a silly myth that capitalists are smart----some are, and some aren't. And even the smart ones make mistakes.

Guess what: this is complex science which guys who can operate a spreadsheet might not understand, nor should they be expected to. And, if you don't understand something, you might not want to invest in it.

Apparently the mental midge... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Apparently the mental midgets on the Left here don't realize this is a NEW discovery, and as has been pointed out, embryonic stem cell research is at present INFERIOR to adult research.

There is virtually no evidence to support your delusions that embryonic stem cells will do what you imagine. So, you're basically just talking out of your ass, and it's a bonus for you you get to disparage those of us who are troubled with the ethics of this and abortion.

Mental Freakin' Midgets, I tell you.

Perhaps Ms. Pelosi can donate some of her daughter's or granddaughter's embryos for this "earth shattering" research into embryonic stem cells.

Mitchell:Embryonic... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Mitchell:

Embryonic stem cell research----like all research----involves investigating the unknown. An embryonic stem cell comes from an early stage embryo (a blastocyst which is a 4-5 day old embryo consisting of 50-150 cells) which is what you are so concerned about.

Because of the properties of these cell, scientists believe they may prove useful for regenerative medicine and tissue replacement.

You may believe that a blastocyst is a human being and therefore killing it to obtain a stem cell is murder. Many of us do not agree with you. In any case, even if you deem embryonic stem cells to be immoral to use, most scientists DO believe that they show promise for finding very beneficial new medical procedures.

Needless to say, those who want to pursue this research (and the scientists behind it) are not mental midgets.

PublicusEmbryonic ... (Below threshold)

Publicus

Embryonic stemcell research has not been banned. It is only finite Federal funds which have been limited.

I see this as prudent in face of controversy. Certainly, such engagement in anti-religious bigotry that you have demonstrated does nothing to ameloriate the legitimate ethical concerns many may have with human experimentation.

Don't embryonic stem cel... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Don't embryonic stem cell advocates reject Adult stem and cloned stem cell as well as substitutes for embryonic stem cells?i>

Well, you just explained why you seem so misinformed on the issues. Because you are.

Embryonic stem cell advocates don't limit their advocacy to only embryonic stem cells. They advocate all stem cell research. I recently listened to a stem cell researcher talk about his work. He said there are basically four horses in the race for effective stem cell therapy. Embryonic cells, adult cells, and two others (I don't recall). His position was that he and other researchers don't care which horse wins, but it's irresponsible and ludicrous to just take two horses out of the race altogether (as those who oppose embryonic stem cell research want to do).

That's the position of stem cell advocates. But you just go ahead and keep thinking that the Democrats just fuel their secret world domination plans with more abortions.

Darleen, I agree! As you sa... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Darleen, I agree! As you say, "Embryonic stemcell research has not been banned. It is only finite Federal funds which have been limited."

This is true. I have not said otherwise.

What about my alleged "engagement in anti-religious bigotry"? Was it my statements about the age of the earth? Or that I pointed out that evolution is supported by science?

As for the "legitimate ethical concerns", I asseted that such concerns were, in my opinion, sincere but mistaken. Many people (I assume including yourself) believe that a 50-150 cell 4 or 5 day old blastocyst is morally identical to a human being. Others, such as myself, do not.

If this new discovery proves to be medically as valuable as embryonic stem cells, then I would happy to support that research over embryonic stem cell research. At this point, it is too early to say.

"Or that I pointed out t... (Below threshold)
914:

"Or that I pointed out that evolution is supported by science?"

You meant supported by certain scientists Im sure..!

Damn, ethical discussions <... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

Damn, ethical discussions do bring out the trolls...

sigh.

First of all, people, W did not ban embryonic stem cell (ESC) research. All he did was prohibit Federal funds from being spent on it.

Oddly enough, adult stem cell (ASC) research seems to be showing far greater results for the research dollars being spent on it, rather than on ESC. As other commenters have noted, several states, including California, have spent millions on ESC with no results in sight for years to come (google is your friend). With ASC, however, research results are being used now in therapies ranging from spinal cord injuries, artery repair after heart attacks, and in reducing the effects of Parkinson's Disease (again, google is your friend) - all of this while avoiding the extremely thorny ethical issues that come with ESC.

Yet for some reason, so many commenters here seem to go to great lengths to cast those of us who celebrate ASC successes (as Kim did with this post) as backwards religious nuts who don't properly bow down and worship their favorite god, Science. How dare we.

In every textbook I have ever read regarding the subject, Evolution is properly labeled, "the Theory of Evolution". You know: theory. Possible, but not proven. However, to suggest that any other theory might better explain the facts, as true scientists would encourage, is laughed at, derided, and dismissed as "religion". Backwards. But I digress.

Publicus, your statement above, that you do not "believe that a 50-150 cell 4 or 5 day blastocyst is morally identical to a human being" statement makes me wish I could go back in time to when YOU were a blastocyst, so I could practice your ethics on you. If I am alive when the technology for time travel becomes available, I will be all too happy to do so. I'll wave the thousands of dollars of incentives girls are given these days to donate eggs in front of your mother, and see if she takes the cash, instead of caring for the "insignificant little blastocyst" that just began to grow in her womb. If your ethics are reflective of your mother, I'll have fun drawing out every ESC from your blastocyst, and watching you die as a result.

Meanwhile, those of us who have moral questions regarding ESC and abortion do not wish to have our tax dollars, and our Government, supporting research into systems that destroy human beings at the blastocyst stage. That ASC shows promise where ESC does not should all the more reinforce our stance. No one has said that private funds cannot be used on ESC research (although if you asked us our thoughts on it, we would time and time again reinforce our position: any research that results in the damage or destruction of fertilized human embryos is morally reprehensible). Yet in case after case where stem cell research funding questions have come before voters (in statewide referendums), the question of funding always involves ESC, not ASC.

I believe there is another, unspoken reason why ESC advocates are so desperate to have Federal funds plowed into their research, despite the overwhelming lack of results: it constitutes a litmus test at the Federal level regarding abortion. To allow Federal funding of ESC reinforces the Government's position regarding Roe v Wade. But if the Feds do not fund ESC, it can be argued that at least one branch of the Government (Executive) disagrees with another branch (Judiciary) regarding abortion and the moral question of where life begins. And, as everyone knows, the Humanist cannot stand for life to be defined at the point of conception. Because other thorny little issues such as moral responsibility for sexuality, and the acknowledgment of humanity as a spiritual being (and not a law and end unto itself) just might come up.

And, as everyone knows, to the Humanist, everyone is equally important. When someone's equal importance infringes upon my needs, though, well, some will just have to understand that some of us are just more important than others.

That's pretty heady proof t... (Below threshold)
Booby:

That's pretty heady proof there 914.

Which version of that bible you using son?

That's pretty heady proof t... (Below threshold)
Booby:

That's pretty heady proof there 914.

Which version of that bible you using son?

Want proof of my last state... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

Want proof of my last statement? Just ask Christopher Reeve or Michael J. Fox.

Wanderlust ==Thank... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Wanderlust ==

Thank you for your detailed response! We disagree on many things, but we can talk.

"First of all, people, W did not ban embryonic stem cell (ESC) research."

Yes. This is something I am aware of and have never disputed that this is the case. I DO believe that prohibited Federal funds from being spent on it is a bad decision.

"As other commenters have noted, several states, including California, have spent millions on ESC with no results in sight for years to come"

The same could be said about our first few decades of spending on cancer research. I agree that I would like results faster, but these things take time.

RE: ASC --

We both believe that research in this area is worthwhile. I have not denegrated it, although I am unaware of the results you claim for it. I DO know that ASC is better funded by the Federal Government. Also, ASC is simply different than ESC because ASC has a limited capacity for cell differentiation.

You bring out the tired old idea that "evolution is only a theory". Do you know what a theory is?! A theory is NOT a fact; a theory EXPLAINS facts. And so, evolution is a theory which best explains numerous observations in nature. It is overwhelmingly believed by the majority of scientists because there is overwhelming evidence for it.

Regarding destroying me when I was a blastocyst, I of course wouldn't care if that happened because a
blastocyst has no consciousness. Nor would it have made any difference to me if my mother had spontaneously aborted, as happens in nature many, many more times than a doctor carries out an abortion.

"I believe there is another, unspoken reason why ESC advocates are so desperate to have Federal funds plowed into their research, despite the overwhelming lack of results: it constitutes a litmus test at the Federal level regarding abortion."

I am interested in research that helps human beings and I really don't care which kind of stem cells it comes from.

"And, as everyone knows, to... (Below threshold)

"And, as everyone knows, to the Humanist, everyone is equally important. When someone's equal importance infringes upon my needs, though, well, some will just have to understand that some of us are just more important than others."

Exactly. I was reading your comment and thinking that it really *ought* to be humanists and liberals who express concern about the implications of defining human life... situationally. Defending those who can not defend themselves and working for justice for those without a voice? Who's agenda does that most resemble?

Yet, in the end, who expresses concern for those who can not represent or defend themselves? Who worries about longer term implications of attitudes that some people aren't People after all (sounds a bit like deciding that some native populations are animals, without souls, doesn't it?) and what that may mean in the future?

I don't think that linking ESC research to abortion is at all out of line. Morally they are certainly linked. If an embryo is a moral issue than what is abortion? So it is, in fact, portrayed as religious benightedness, hating women and hating people who are sick (just go ahead and die, it's what God wants?) devaluing humans instead of a concern about how we value them.

Can we value humans without valuing them when they begin?

How does that work?

How do we decide, on the basis of dependancy (a fetus is wholy dependant on its mother's body, therefore she can dispose of it, since she has absolute authority over her own self) that some life doesn't count yet without creating a situation where humans don't count if they fail some sort of dependancy test? How do we say that it's okay to start a human life for the purpose of detroying it for the purpose of saving the lives of others without that "test" working it's way into other situations?

A few weeks ago Tim Blair had a link to some PhD fellow talking about involuntary methods of decreasing population and how we needed to stop favoring individual rights over the good of the world.

Is it linked?

It must be. Everything is. And the idea that the right of the individual, to life, to decisions about reproduction, to anything, should be denied by someone elses ideas of the greater good, is repugnant is so many ways and certainly in ways that should make the skin of a humanist or a liberal crawl.

About ESC research... it's not hating sick people to say that we ought to find a way to respect all human life, and not just the sort that can advocate for itself.

We're smart, there's no excuse to define life at our convenience.

This administration was the... (Below threshold)

This administration was the FIRST to provide government funds for ESC research; the limitation is that it was only for EXISTING lines of such cells, and would not fund the creation of more.

I am unaware of any proven therapy from ESC research; adult and cord cells have provided many - I've seen counts from 72 to 100.

To the commenter who said "ALL options should be researched and funded (period)", I submit that you have not thought this through.

Human vivisection, for example, would probably offer any number of fruitful research avenues - but I ain't volunteering!

Also, research money is finite, as is the human intellect needed to conduct such research.

Finally, for those who believe in the promise of ESC research, they are welcome to organize themselves and commit their own money. I would prefer that mine not be spent this way.

Incidentally. I support hu... (Below threshold)

Incidentally. I support human experimentation including cloning. I see no moral need to ban such things *on the condition* that a cloned human or other embryo be considered human at every step of the process (a clone is just an identical twin, time-removed, when all is said and done) and a standard of "good faith" is applied to allowing the subject of the study to live.

That's all a normal embryo in a womb gets. Many fertilized ova don't implant, don't develop. It's natural to lose a great many of them. Extrodinary measures to keep from losing them aren't necessary, just *ordinary* measures and good-faith.

In every textbook I have... (Below threshold)
Brian:

In every textbook I have ever read regarding the subject, Evolution is properly labeled, "the Theory of Evolution". You know: theory. Possible, but not proven. However, to suggest that any other theory might better explain the facts, as true scientists would encourage, is laughed at, derided, and dismissed as "religion". Backwards.

Gravity is a theory. It has gaps. It has not and cannot be proven. Yet if some religious group were to propose that God pushes objects to the ground with an invisible hand, would you embrace that as a legitimate possible alternative that should be taught in schools?

<a href="http://ww... (Below threshold)
Brian:
The researchers emphasized that they do not believe the new cells will make embryonic stem cells irrelevant.

``There's not going to be one shoe that fits all,'' Lanza said. ``We're going to have to see which ones are most useful for which clinical conditions.''

George Daley, a Harvard stem-cell researcher, echoed that sentiment. ``They are not a replacement for embryonic stem cells,'' he said.

Synova--I can't sp... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Synova--

I can't speak for others, but I think that when human life starts IS an important and difficult question--although people on both sides seem to think it's easy.

On one end of the spectrum, the formation of an embryo is already morally a human being. On the other end, a 3rd trimester embryo is still fair game for an abortion. I think everyone should recognize that a just-fertilized ovuum and a near-birth embryo are not identical.

I disagree with both extremes on this and apparently most Americans do too. They accept abortion early in pregnancy and oppose it later down the line. Of course, majorities can be wrong.

However, it is not unreasonable to believe that a small number of cells with no consciousness is not yet a human being. I know you disagree with this; I have not proved this point here. I am only trying to explain to you why this is a reasonable position----even if you believe it to be wrong.

Incidentally, I enjoy your posts; you express yourself well and raise the level of debate. So, thank you!

Brian--"In every t... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Brian--

"In every textbook I have ever read regarding the subject, Evolution is properly labeled, "the Theory of Evolution". You know: theory. Possible, but not proven. However, to suggest that any other theory might better explain the facts, as true scientists would encourage, is laughed at, derided, and dismissed as "religion". Backwards."

There is a large body of evidence for the theory of evolution. And, indeed, ID would be laughable because it is a poor--one might say absurd--"explanation" for observations made in the real world. But I say it WOULD be laughable if it were not being used to distort and destroy science education and make our kids stupider.

I use conception and a stan... (Below threshold)

I use conception and a standard of "good faith" effort to allow what is conceived to develop as my "rule", not because I believe absolutely that this is where life begins (well, certainly it begins there, but does it count yet?) but because the "somewhere between conception and the third trimester" isn't a point that is determinable. You might talk me into "brain activity" as a standard for both the beginning and end of life, because it has a nice balanced logic to it.

Practically, my concern is in which direction do we prefer to err? Being human is about making mistakes, but we can decide which mistake we're going to make, which mistake we'd prefer to make. If I'm going to be wrong, I'd prefer to be wrong by defining and defending life that isn't really life yet.

As for ID in schools. I think it's a reaction to a tendancy for Evolution (big "E") to be taught Evangelically. I don't think that ID should be taught in school, but I also think that evolutionary *origins* should not be taught in school. There's plenty of darn good objective science to go around without making claims that aren't scientific in nature and putting people of faith on the defensive.

So I find myself defending, not ID so much as those who defend ID and want it in school. I think they are reacting to bad science teaching, even if I don't agree with their solution.

My solution is to homeschool.

Syniva--"Practical... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Syniva--

"Practically, my concern is in which direction do we prefer to err?"

I think this is a strong point, and one I rarely hear. I think that you are being more cautious than I am on this. But the principle you are making is the same for both of us.

I don't think brain activity, by itself, offers enough of a solution to "where human life begins", because development of the brain and consciousness offers no clear line...it develops over time. This is what makes conception such an attractive option. Although I disagree with conception as the benchmark, I see how it offers a clear and specific marker.

I really wish that the new discovery provides cells that are close enough to stem cells that they would work just as well. Who know? Of course, cells like other things develop over time so it may be that these new cells are more adaptive than ASC but less than ESC...

As far as evolution is concerned, science is a process and not a body of knowledge. Nothing in science is ever a "fact", just the best information that we have at the moment. In schools they should teach evolution AND the process that led Darwin to his theory and scientists to endorse and refine it. Maybe this is being done; I don't know. But science isn't received wisdom; it's hard-earned investigation...

Gallileo's greatness wasn't that he discovered moons around Jupiter. It was that he investigated by building a telescope and pointing it skyward to find out. THAT is more important than the moons, or even evolution.

I think it's a reaction ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I think it's a reaction to a tendancy for Evolution (big "E") to be taught Evangelically.

How exactly is it taught "evangelically"? Are gravity or atomic theory taught evangelically?

I don't think that ID should be taught in school, but I also think that evolutionary *origins* should not be taught in school.

What do you define as "evolutionary origins"? That evolution points to a common ancestor for all life on the planet? The big bang? Do you think that science education should ignore what are the best explanations we currently have for the natural state of life and the universe?

There's plenty of darn good objective science to go around without making claims that aren't scientific in nature and putting people of faith on the defensive.

Please tell us which claims you think "aren't scientific in nature" that are being taught in schools. Anecdotal evidence is fine, but if you could point to an actual policy in use that would be preferred.

I think they are reacting to bad science teaching, even if I don't agree with their solution.

If they are reacting to bad science teaching, then how come they don't object to any other aspect of science other than evolution? More pointedly, if they are not religiously motivated and are truly concerned about quality science instruction, how come biology is their only area of contention? Don't you think they could find other areas where they think science education could be improved? I certainly think that astronomy education often leaves something to be desired, for instance.

My solution is to homeschool.

That comes with a host of problems as well.

Publicus, that blurb you at... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Publicus, that blurb you attributed to me was actually from my post where I quoted what Wanderlust said. Those were not my words.

There's plenty of darn g... (Below threshold)
Brian:

There's plenty of darn good objective science to go around without making claims that aren't scientific in nature and putting people of faith on the defensive.

The theory of evolution is excellent objective science. The fact that it's even still called a "theory" just goes to show how much science values the truth and objectivity. Although many scientists would just as well call it proven, it doesn't meet the rigorous scientific definition of proof, and therefore must remain a "theory".

However, just because it is a "theory" and doesn't answer every question doesn't make it not science. All conclusions about evolutionary science are published and reviewed by other scientists. Despite the wishes of those who want to obfuscate the issue, there is no debate in the scientific community over its validity.

"People of faith", as you say, are on the defensive because they choose to so narrowly define their beliefs as to be incompatible with the natural world. Many (I would even guess the "majority") of evolutionary scientists are also people of faith--just those who find ways to incorporate what their logic tells them into their beliefs. Those who support ID make the conscious choose to not do this, so it is they who put themselves on the defensive, and no one else should feel responsible for that.

Publicus, The brain and con... (Below threshold)

Publicus, The brain and consciousness do certainly develop over time and much of that time is *after* a child is born full term. This is one reason why I don't care for a "no one is home" test for an organism to pass for human.

Mantis, Origins can certainly be taught evangelically. "Science" is right and God is wrong? Yes, it's a religious issue. That observed evolution and genetic simularities point to a common source for life on Earth does not justify presenting that common source in a way that insists that God does not exist. Does all school science do that? Not at all. Does it happen? Yes.

Science *must* consider only the natural and limit its theories to the natural. This is a limit on Science, not on the world or existance. Taking that limitation and insisting that it apply to everything... that not only can science not measure God, but that anything science can not measure is a lie, is being evangelical in a very real sense of the word.

ID is essentially an attempt to compromise, to say, just leave room for God, give our kids an "out" so they can learn about our world without feeling as though their faith is under assault. Sometimes it's just a request for a "Science does not address the question of the existance of God" disclaimer pasted in the front of books.

By reactions you'd think that it was the New Earth Creationists attempting to push "spontaneous generation" of mice in rag boxes and insisting teachers call it science.

The outrage and the anger at the idea of Intelligent Design is the outrage and anger of people who's God has been blasphemed. It's incredible.

Is there any real effort to adress the concerns of parents who worry that the "science" being taught their children is being used as an active assault on their religious beliefs? Or do we only have to be sensative to *legitimate* concerns? All those fruitcake religionists can just be ignored because they are wrong?

Does anyone step forward and say, "You're right. Science class should not be percieved as an attack on religious faith, so lets figure out a way to do this that gets the job done that we both can live with?" No. They don't.

ID is already a *huge* concession by those who anyone would call "Creationist". But lord almighty does it gore someone's sacred cow.

And let us admit, please, that we're talking nothing higher than high school science here. Nothing at all would be lost from it by teaching what can be observed and repeated and avoiding "One day life just started and eventually it turned into us. We don't know anything much about how, but we do know without a doubt that God didn't do it."

Science education could be much better. Part of what could make it better would be if the elementary through high school abberation of presenting everything as hard and fast answers was replaced with a more scientific focus on questions. If one is focused on the pure joy of discovery and the way every thing we learn or observe leads to ever more inquiry and questions and even uncertainty, it would make no difference at all if part of the class viewed it as exploring and discovering the glory of God's creation. It would all be better.

Insisting on the doctrinal purity of science isn't *useful*.

As for why not complain about astronomy... some sorts of science are less squishy than other ones. More like math. Physics and astronomy come close. Biology is probably the most squishy and the most likely to leave the strictly observable and what can be measured. It's the sort of subject teaching candidates who like science but can't do math tend to go into.

A Creationist could make a fabulous brain surgeon. When people complain about how "bad science" (i.e. Intelligent Design or Creationism) will have all sorts of bad results because people won't be properly or adequately informed and won't understand the issues... they're gonna be talking about the lack of "right thinking" about population growth, climate change and disease control. Right thinking about social rather than scientific issues.

Test it.

Brian --Oops. Sorr... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Brian --

Oops. Sorry to misquote you.

:-(

Brain, there are two sorts ... (Below threshold)

Brain, there are two sorts of evolution. There is, as you said, evolution that is basically a fact. We can observe it. We understand the mechanism. It hardly counts as a theory. And then there is Evolution, or evolutionary origins. The fact is, that we don't *know* where life on Earth originated. Seriously, we could be seeded by aliens for all we know. I've argued and observed arguments about evolution often enough to know that what is being argued is most often two separate and distinct things. It's not *just* that some people narrowly define their faith, it's that some people on both ends of the spectrum narrowly define their faith.

Jo.Re: Rove's indict... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Jo.
Re: Rove's indictment.

Yeah. That went as well as W's Iraq war, without the half-million fatalities and war-profiteering for his buddies, of course.

"Science" is right and G... (Below threshold)
mantis:

"Science" is right and God is wrong?

Not sure where you're getting this. What is "God" in this sentence, and how is it wrong? If you are saying that "God" is the literal truth of the bible, than yes, science is right and God is wrong. If you are saying that the position is "science is right, and there is no God" than I want to know what schools you think teach biology this way. When I asked for examples, either policy or anectdotal, I was serious. Without them many of the claims you make about how science is taught are merely straw men.

That observed evolution and genetic simularities point to a common source for life on Earth does not justify presenting that common source in a way that insists that God does not exist. Does all school science do that? Not at all. Does it happen? Yes.

Where does it happen? Is it policy or simply a teacher here and there? Examples please.

Science *must* consider only the natural and limit its theories to the natural.

You do realize that this statement clearly places ID outside of the realm of science, right? ID presupposes existence of the supernatural, thus according to your definition (and mine), cannot be science. I'm glad we agree on this.

This is a limit on Science, not on the world or existance. Taking that limitation and insisting that it apply to everything... that not only can science not measure God, but that anything science can not measure is a lie, is being evangelical in a very real sense of the word.

Who says anything science cannot measure is a lie? Is this taught in schools? Which ones?

What is actually insisted is that anything science cannot measure is not science, and thus should not be taught in science classes. Simple enough for me.

ID is essentially an attempt to compromise, to say, just leave room for God, give our kids an "out" so they can learn about our world without feeling as though their faith is under assault.

If they feel their faith is under assault by the existence of scientific inquiry, too bad. Their faith, such as it is, should not even be mentioned in science class, let alone disputed. I agree that if that is what happens in the science classroom, it would be wrong, but I see absolutely no indication that anyone is doing that. Science need not be sullied by unscientific speculation, which is exactly what an ID "compromise" would do.

Sometimes it's just a request for a "Science does not address the question of the existance of God" disclaimer pasted in the front of books.

This goes without saying. If students want to take a class discussing the question of the existence of God, they can take a comparitive religion, theology, or philosophy course. The mention of God is inappropriate to science classes, for the reasons you yourself gave above.

By reactions you'd think that it was the New Earth Creationists attempting to push "spontaneous generation" of mice in rag boxes and insisting teachers call it science.

Scientists get a bit pissed when people try to inject supernaturalism into their fields, and rightly so.

Is there any real effort to adress the concerns of parents who worry that the "science" being taught their children is being used as an active assault on their religious beliefs?

If any evidence existed that this is what is happening, then there would be. But it's not.

Or do we only have to be sensative to *legitimate* concerns? All those fruitcake religionists can just be ignored because they are wrong?

Yes, we should only respond to legitimate concerns. Yes, religionists can be ignored because they are wrong. What they are wrong about is their contention that biology teachers are teaching atheism. They're not, just accepted science.

Does anyone step forward and say, "You're right. Science class should not be percieved as an attack on religious faith, so lets figure out a way to do this that gets the job done that we both can live with?" No. They don't.

They would if such "perceptions" had any basis in reality, which they don't.

ID is already a *huge* concession by those who anyone would call "Creationist".

Who cares if it's a concession? It isn't science, so it shouldn't be taught in science class. Real simple.

And let us admit, please, that we're talking nothing higher than high school science here. Nothing at all would be lost from it by teaching what can be observed and repeated and avoiding "One day life just started and eventually it turned into us. We don't know anything much about how, but we do know without a doubt that God didn't do it."

Once again, examples please. Who is teaching this?

Science education could be much better. Part of what could make it better would be if the elementary through high school abberation of presenting everything as hard and fast answers was replaced with a more scientific focus on questions.

Well, we can agree on that. I would love if more science curriculum approached it as a method of exploration, a means to arrive at knowledge, as opposed to a series of facts. However, such science classes would still have no room for ID. It isn't science.

As for why not complain about astronomy... some sorts of science are less squishy than other ones. More like math. Physics and astronomy come close. Biology is probably the most squishy and the most likely to leave the strictly observable and what can be measured. It's the sort of subject teaching candidates who like science but can't do math tend to go into.

Define squishy. If the definition is "likely to leave the strictly observable and what can be measured," then physics is way squishier than biology. Much of quantum physics and astrophysics has not yet been directly observed or measured.

A Creationist could make a fabulous brain surgeon. When people complain about how "bad science" (i.e. Intelligent Design or Creationism) will have all sorts of bad results because people won't be properly or adequately informed and won't understand the issues... they're gonna be talking about the lack of "right thinking" about population growth, climate change and disease control. Right thinking about social rather than scientific issues.

No, the problem is that high school students going on to university study will be unprepared as they have been misinformed about the very basis of science itself, not to mention the unifying concept of all biology.

Again, I request examples, preferably policy examples.

The fact is, that we don... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The fact is, that we don't *know* where life on Earth originated. Seriously, we could be seeded by aliens for all we know.

Yes, we might. I don't believe evolutionary theory discounts this possibility. It begins with life starting. How did it start? Alien seeds? Random amino acid concoction? God's will? That doesn't matter. What matters is that once it started, it evolved.

That's why evolution is wholly compatible with a belief in God. Why can you not believe that God affected change on His earth through an evolutionary process that He invented? It seems the only reason is that the Bible says the earth is only 6000 years old. In that case, your faith denies you not only biology, but also geology and a host of other sciences. But given that a large population of scientists are also of faith, it seems that they have reached a compromise that you and others are just flat-out unwilling to consider.

"the Bible says the ear... (Below threshold)

"the Bible says the earth is only 6000 years old"

The Bible says no such thing. Not in any translation of any language currently spoken on earth. Not in the ancient Greek texts. Not in the ancient Hebrew texts.

Someone with poor reading comprehension, bad math skills, and an agenda said that the earth was 6000 years old based on their own shody scholarship. Some Christians who want it to be so believe it. The majority of us know better and recognise that the real significance of the Genesis account has nothing to do with how old the earth might be or how long it took God to make it all.

People who want to believe that Christians would believe something that is so demonstrably false continue to act as if we all believe that the earth is only 6000 years old.

People who want to belie... (Below threshold)
Brian:

People who want to believe that Christians would believe something that is so demonstrably false

It's only demonstrably false if you believe in the science that demonstrates that. I'm glad you seem to be so enlightened. But there are those who say that rocks are carbon-dated to 4 billion years because God faked it for us to think that.

Regardless, if you don't believe the earth is 6000 years old, then there's one less reason to reject that perhaps evolution is a mechanism of God.

if you don't believe th... (Below threshold)

if you don't believe the earth is 6000 years old

Not only do I not believe such a thing I also pointed out why. I also pointed out the majority Christians world wide know better than to believe such a thing. In fact quite a few of us know and readily admit that evolution has absolutely nothing to do with matters of faith. What scientists speculate about about how life came to be on this earth is irrelevant to our belief that God exists.

The next time you come across someone who actually states that they believe that the earth is 6000 years old based on what the Bible says then you can point out to them (as I did to you) that there is no biblical basis for that belief. As no one asserted here that they believed that the earth was 6000 years old I thought you might need informing about the reality concerning that bit of fluff.

Just as a reminder you did say,
It seems the only reason is that the Bible says the earth is only 6000 years old.

But there are those who say that rocks are carbon-dated to 4 billion years because God faked it for us to think that.

Again no one here has argued such a thing so I'm curious why you bring it up. Anyway, when you do come across someone who actually argues such a thing feel free to point out the same things to them that I have to you.

As I said, I'm glad you don... (Below threshold)
Brian:

As I said, I'm glad you don't think the earth is 6000 years old, but there are plenty of those who do. If I meet one of these people, I will certainly tell them what you've said.

Anyway, as I also said, if you don't believe the earth is 6000 years old, then there's one less reason to reject that perhaps evolution is a mechanism of God. And if you don't reject that notion, then my comment isn't really directed at you anyway.




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