Monday, January 16. 2006
It seems the Clone the Truth campaign has ruffled some feathers. I have been having a lively discussion about embyonic stem cell research and cloning in the comments section of the Clone the Truth entry. I have decided to move them here.
Rebecca, there is no doubt that any kind of SCR except adult SCR kills a living human embryo or blastocyst. That is not what the argument is about. What is at stake is are we killing a person or not in order to benfit another person? I say no, you say yes. This is the question folks will be required to answer when determining where they stand on this issue. I seriously doubt whether anybody would favor killing another person to benefit herself. But if you think a blastocyst is a person and an acorn is an oak tree I say you are distorting the issue for your own reasons.
i have a suggestion to add to your Clone the Truth campaign.
I asked a group of friends whether they thought the process said to produce a "cloned human embryo" involved the union of egg and sperm. Of the nine people who answered, five said they thought it did - duh, they said, that is what an embryo IS, anuket, the recent union of egg and sperm.
So clearly there is a need for some more truth out there - clearly there are people whose definition of "embryo" rests on the union of egg and sperm.
The product of SCNT is not the product of the union of egg and sperm.
Some of those people’s opinions about SCNT would be influenced by the knowledge that what was being called an “embryo” wasn’t exactly an “embryo” as they define it.
Those people are being mislead.
So I suggest the Clone the Truth campaign start advocating that every use of the word “embryo” in the context of SCNT or cloning be accompanied by an explicit statement that this is not an “embryo” in the egg/sperm sense – go ahead, tell them about Dolly, but tell them about no union of egg and sperm, too. Either that or the campaign could come up with some qualifying prefix for the word “embryo” that would make it clear that its creation had nothing to do with the union of egg/sperm – sorry, but “cloned” clearly doesn’t do that.
Moreover, not only is the product of SCNT not the product of the union of egg and sperm, which IS the definition of the word “embryo” for many people, regardless of what James Thomson says, it is also even arguably not "embryonic" even in the most general sense of the term, i.e., an entity at the very beginning stages of development, because it is created using adult DNA - in my case, it would be 41 year old DNA - all of it, both in the cytoplasm of the egg cell (I am a woman) and in the transferred nucleus.
Go ahead – point out that the extraction of stem cells destroys the entity from which they are extracted, whether that be an actual donated IVF embryo or the product of the SCNT. Point out any verifiable** piece of information you like.
But if you want to bill yourself as being about truth, you must also advocate for the inclusion of both of the above-described widely omitted facts (and many others – I am only just beginning) in all writing about SCNT. Otherwise, clearly, it is not about making sure people have all the information they need to make an informed choice – rather, it is about making sure people have the information that you think will sway them toward your view on the subject.
** as in supported by evidence from a reputable (a subjective categorization, to be sure, but we have to start somewhere) source – if you want supporting evidence of the results of my survey, I suggest you try it yourself – or I could forward you the responses. Also, as distinguished from opinion, which is often put forth as fact.
I beleive the link I provided for the tutorial on SCNT by Princeton's Dept. of Molecular Biology does just what you suggest. It clearly shows the creation of an embryo by means other than egg and sperm.
excellent! however, surely you know how lazy people are - if you really want them to read something, you can't just link to it, you must quote and link.
also, are you planning on making the rounds of all the pro-life blogs and online periodicals and correcting these omissions there? i mean, this is a campaign, right?
i really am quite excited about your commitment to providing people with all the information they need to make an informed choice. i am quite happily preparing to supply you with a long list of glaring omissions made regularly by folks on your side of the fence, so that you can be balanced and fair about the information you are providing in your quest to disseminate the truth.
for an overview of the issues i will be raising, feel free to read my letter to the cinncinnati catholic telegraph in january 2005:
but don't worry - i'll list them out here, as well, for other readers who may not be the clicking-through type.
I will not be policing Catholic or other pro-life blogs or periodicals, just like I will not be looking for errors in pro-cloning or pro-choice blogs or periodicals. There are not enough hours in the day and I do try to have a life.
This campaign is for media outlets like newspapers and online journals that are supposed to be neutral and unbiased.
Also go to www.stemcellresearch.org. On the right is a scoreboard with current adult stem cell treatments, with references. (But you'll have to do some clicking! )
Rebecca, looks like you've met your
Also, why must I live by your faith-based notion of what a person is when I do not share your faith or has a theocracy really arrived?
Ovarian cancer 1979
Parkinson's Disease 1996-
Rebecca, you would have to pay tax dollars just like I hve to pay tax dollars for a war I believe to be immoral. We don't get to pay for just what we support.
I noticed you never used the word "person" and I think you think you can avoid the issue by calling it a human life. So what is the difference between a new human life and a person? As photos of mangled fetuses in Catholic churches in Poland are compelling, so are cells seen through a microscope. No matter what you call them I think most people who saw them would not object to their use for research or believe they were dismembering a human being or person and commiting murder. I just responded to a Baptist church blog where they called blastocysts human beings.
In the real world, outside the philosophy class(my college minor), one has to decide what the issues really are.
I called Dr. Levesque's office before I had my DBS brain surgeries (for which you must be awake)2-1/2 years ago. DBS is currently the state-of-the-art treatment for Parkinson's Disease and Medicare paid for mine. Cures would be cheaper. You will also have to pay to warehouse me when I turn to stone.
You are trying to argue from a scientific basis, but I believe you are really coming from your faith, which is not scientific, nor is your science. As the expert in this dialogue has pointed out there is more than one kind of ESCR. Two additional procedures jave been developed to avoid the killing the embryo objection:
(1) as in IVF genetic testing, take one cell from the IVF embryo to develop a stem cell line. (Dr. Lanza) Of course you still have an embryo in limbo.
(2) in SCNT (an unfertilized egg and one's own DNA), disable the embryo so it can never under any circumstances implant.
I doubt that either of these ways to avoid cell murder will satisfy opponents of the research because it amounts to "playing God'. As long as people have that attitude there will be little or any progress, something the Catholic Church is well-known for over the centuries - obstructing science.
I do think your attempt to stick to science is commendable and agree that people should know what it is they are rejecting or accepting. I don't think what a blastocyst is called is as important as what you think it is.
thank you, rayilyn!
My apologies, I misunderstood the planned scope of your campaign. However, I am sure that even in purportedly unbiased periodicals, you will find articles that omit things like the fact that the “embryo” to which they refer is, in fact, different from what many people define as an “embryo,” so you should still have ample opportunity to present the whole truth. I look forward to reading your corrections and contributions.
Jumping over to the subject of stem cell research (as distinguished from SCNT), speaking of corrections, I must thank you for directing me to stemcellresearch.org - I have been searching for some time for the source of the ridiculous notion that adult stem cells (ASCs) have 65 (or 50 or 140 or… the number varies widely and is never sourced) “current applications” (which is cleverly not defined) for human patients.
I will take the claim that there are “current applications” for Parkinson’s as my example, since it is my particular area of expertise.
Of the three studies listed to support that claim, the Love and Gill studies have nothing to do with stem cells of any kind. They are looking at a neurotrophic factor called GDNF , not ASCs. Look the Gill abstract up yourself on Pubmed. Unfortunately, one cannot access the Love study without paying $18 for the article, but either trust me or look it up yourself – GDNF has nothing to do with ASCs.
The third study does, indeed, involve ASCs being transplanted into the brain (or back into the brain, as the case may be.) There are so many things wrong with this as an example of “current applications” I hardly know where to begin. I will try to be brief.
1) Dr. Levesque has never published his results – apparently he presented them at a scientific meeting, but they have never been published (i.e., undergone peer-review) much less replicated.
2) As of 2002, Dr. Levesque’s study consisted of one (1) subject, whose name is Dennis Turner. One person, even if he experiences improvement (which he did, for about four years, and then he started to deteriorate again – see his testimony before the US Senate), does not a “current application” make. Then you must take into account the fact that it couldn’t have been double-blind, placebo-controlled (impossible with one participant.)
3) Even Cedars Sinai had the wits to put the following caveat in their press release during their media blitz in 2002: “Doctors caution it’s too early to be sure the procedure works.” (WCHS8, W. VA - http://www.wchstv.com/newsroom/healthyforlife/1901.shtml)
So, there are NO current applications of ASCs in Parkinson’s disease – and yet there it is, on stemcellresearch.org’s list. (I have just written to Dr. Levesque asking for an update – it will be interesting to see what he says.)
And just taking a another study on the list – Kondziolka’s stroke study. While improvement was observed in some participants, this study was designed to evaluate the safety and feasibility of transplantation in the case of stroke. The conclusion of the study is “Neuronal transplantation is feasible in patients with motor infarction.” Please note that there isn’t a word about efficacy. How can that be evidence to support “current applications?” And yet there it is, on stemcellresearch.org’s list. (by the by, the Phase II study results were published in 2005 and they “did not find evidence of a significant benefit in motor function as determined by the primary outcome measure.”)
I looked at four of the studies they list as supporting their claim of “current applications,” and every single one of them was invalid.
Do you think stemcellresearch.org might be a little biased? Do you think it is possible they are engaged in a teensy bit of distortion of the truth?
In fact, according to NIH (http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/health.asp):
Adult stem cells, such as blood-forming stem cells in bone marrow (called hematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs), are currently the only type of stem cell commonly used to treat human diseases.”
Also, and here is another of the right’s habitual omissions, ASC research has been underway for about 40 years – of course there has been more headway made, of course there are more human clinical trials underway. Embryonic stem cell (ESC) research has only been under way for about eight years – and as you may know, the FDA requires rigorous animal testing prior to any human testing – which takes time, time, time – of course there are no “current applications” of ESC research just yet.
So, yet another couple of things to add to your list.
Listen – I have nothing against ASC research – if it helps people, terrific - and in fact, NIH does acknowledge that the clinical potential of adult stem cells has also been demonstrated in the treatment of other diseases (diabetes, kidney cancer.) but NIH also points out that these are studies as opposed to *current applications*, and they have involved a very limited number of patients.
My problem with ASC is the right’s use of it as a hammer to try and clobber ESC research, and the vast number of glaring omissions made by the right about both areas of research, omissions that are clearly intended to mislead.
It is far too early in ESC research history to know that it is useless (and animal trials indicate otherwise anyway) – if one wants to argue against it, go ahead, but leave ASC out of it – your side’s arguments involving ASC research fall apart when the omissions are revealed. Use the argument that life begins at conception, since that is the fundamental problem those opposed to [federal funding for] ESC research have with it anyway – since that argument is a matter of opinion (define “life,” define “conception”) as opposed to fact (ASC research has received BILLIONS in government funding, to ESC research’s $40 million, or so) it could go on forever – very difficult to destroy an argument or alter a perspective that is based on opinion, in my opinion, though that is not to say I don’t try.
But, I suppose that is why the right has resorted to using ASC to try and eradicate (let’s not be disingenuous here – that is the ultimate goal) ESC research – because that can be presented as fact – as long as no one points out the whopping omissions, the distortion of the “facts” will go right over people’s heads. Actually, not a bad strategy, now that I think about it… to move the argument out of the realm of opinion and into a [totally distorted] realm that is presented as fact. I must admit, the right is much more wiley than the left.
Anyway, thank you for providing a forum in which I have the opportunity to expose some of that distortion. If I have the time, I will do a little more.
Rayilyn, I posted this response to your comment on the cross post from pro-life blogs. I will post it here as well...
Rayilyn, you are cleary a subscriber of the Personhood theory. I have never used the term person in the Clone the Truth campaign, nor will I ever. The debate over personhood belongs in a philosophy class not in a discussion of scientific terminology.
Clone the Truth is about the facts which are:
An embryo is a new human life (as described in any embryology book) and cloning creates an embryo and embryonic stem cell research destroys that embryo.
Any respresentation of cloning or ESCR any other way is misleading and scientifically incorrect.
That being said. You ask "why [you] have to live by [my] misunderstanding" and insist that I "don't ever have to participate in or be a beneficiary of any such research." Actually, if state or federal funding goes to this research then I am FORCED to participate with my tax dollars. So I ask you, "Why do I have to pay for your misunderstanding?"
“An embryo is a new human life (as described in any embryology book)”
Well, I don’t have an embryology book, as I am sure most people don’t, never mind having multiple to compare to one another, but I do have Google, and if you Google define:embryo, you get about 30 definitions of “embryo,” including one from the embryology dept of the University of New South Wales and one from the FDA. I deleted those that used the word “animal,” unless there was a subsequent reference specific to humans. I also deleted the ones about music – and plants, and those that were about a specific kind of animal.
Of the 15 that remain, 11 specifically included in their definition one or more of the following:
The meaning of fertilization is clear – the union of egg and sperm.
If you google “define:conception,” you will get 14 hits (after deleting those that define it as an “idea,” and those that either reference only animals or are about a specific kind of animal)
12 of those hits define “conception” as the union of egg and sperm. Two of them define it as the moment when the embryo implants on the uterine wall.
So out of 15 definitions of “embryo” that are either explicitly human or not explicitly animal, 11 of them have the union of egg and sperm as an integral component of the definition.
I think it is very safe to say that the word “embryo” in the context of human beings does not just refer to the earliest stages of development, it refers to the earliest stages of development *resulting from the union of egg and sperm*.
Also, as I pointed out earlier, the entity created via SCNT using my egg and my somatic cell would not even be embryonic, really, in the most general sense of the word, i.e., at the earliest stages of development, because it would be starting out with 41 year old DNA.
So of the two parts to the definition of the word embryo, one is simply not the case for the product of SCNT, and the other is at the very least somewhat unclear. Therefore, the use of the word “embryo” to describe this entity, without explicit clarification of the differences between the two, can not be construed as anything but deliberately misleading when used by someone who is familiar with these differences.
The product of SCNT is not an embryo – it is like an embryo, but it is not an embryo, as the word embryo in the context of humans is defined by most.
No question – the extraction of stem cells from the product of SCNT destroys it – but it is not an embryo.
You are not off the hook yet! (My internet went down and just came up!)
It is true that there are many definitions of embryo on the internet. You need to get an embryology book, it would be more accurate.
Here is an excerpt that is pertinent to the discussion:
"Although human life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed. ... The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity."
(O'Rahilly, Ronan and Müller, Fabiola. Human Embryology and Teratology, 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29).
The product of SCNT is a diploid human organism, therefore it is an embryo. It doesn't matter that the donor DNA may be 41 years old, the egg reprograms the DNA (resets the telomeres) back to embryoinc age. Hence James Thomson's (ESC expert) assertion that the product of SCNT is indeed an embryo. If it is implanted it will grow into a fetus.
Also, there is the natural cloning process called twinning. The twin is not an direct product of egg and sperm and is still called and embryo.
There is a movement afoot to redefine the embryo, as you are trying to do, for political reasons. In his book Remaking Eden, Dr. Lee Silver (Professor of Molecular Biology and cloning advocate) discusses how the embryos is slowly being re-defined because it makes people feel better about cloning and IVF even if it scientifically incorrect.
You clearly know more about stem cells and Parkinson's than I do, but you are guilty of omission as you claim that I am.
You and Rayilyn may not be aware that "tailor-made" stem cells from cloning will never be feasible unless the problem of eggs is overcome. For every patient to get a "tailor-made stemcell line an ENORMOUS amount of eggs are needed. The cost alone is prohibitive. Unless researcher use animal eggs, which may be dangerous, or eggs from aborted fetuses, which I know many people besides myself find unacceptable, cloning for ESC's will never be used in clinical practice unless the patient has money.
That is why many favor adult stem cells. No need for cloning, no need for eggs, no worry about rejection because of mitochondrial DNA leftove from the donor egg. They are already there, and 100% compatible.
#7.1.1 Rebecca on 2006-01-15 23:33
Thank-you for your contributions. I hope that you do more. Although, I don't think using this comments section is the best way. Do you have a blog? Can I link to it? That way this comments section doesn't go on forever and the readers lose interest.
Thank you for your feedback, Rebecca. Yes, I do have a blog, and you may surely link to it – it is called Anuket’s Crusade.
As fate would have it, our paths crossed and as it happens, we have something in common. While I would never have the grandeur of vision to try and get other people onto my bandwagon, I have quietly been correcting the many half truths, whopping omissions and outright lies from you side of the fence very intermittently for the last year or so.
So, I know my stuff. I don’t try to present opinion as truth, I have sturdy arguments to support every opinion I put forth, I never [I hope!] present something as fact unless I can back it up with hard evidence.
Regarding my comments, you have put yourself out there as the righteous one, leading the charge into TRUTH. You can’t do that without being prepared to be challenged. I don’t know what you have invested in this issue, but my life is at stake – could be my quality of life, could be my life itself – rise to the challenge or not – it’s up to you. But know that you invited it. And if credibility is a consideration in your charge into TRUTH, you might consider rising to it.
This blog has a reader, Anuket of Anuket's Crusade with whom I have been having a lively discussion started off by the Clone the Truth campaign. He (I apologize if Anuket is a female) contends that if Clone the Truth was really about truth, I would be ob
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thank you for responding, rebecca - now i wouldn't be too hasty about tossing the "omitting" word around - it is possible that i have not yet considered something that you bring up.
1) you are correct, there are multiple definitions of "embryo," even in the scientific community - which tells us two things, in my opinion. first, that what an "embryo" is is a matter of opinion, ultimately, and 2) since it is a matter of opinion, one must try and ascertain the prevailing definition of the word in order to evaluate whether a certain usage of it is misleading or not. one embryology book does not the prevailing definition make, although this one happens to support my assertion that the process of fertilization is integral to the prevailing definition.
2) regarding "twinning" - i assume you mean the development of identical twins - well, considering that the "twinning" happens within 1-4 days of fertilization, which created a genetically distinct human organism that almost immediately, in the scheme of things, divided into two (also, note the use of the word organism as opposed to "being") as opposed to SCNT, where there is no fertilization of any kind ever, it is a little disingenuous to compare them.
3) however, even if i were to concede that twinning constitutes the genesis of a being without fertilization, which i don't, but even if i were, my argument rests not on what you or i define an embryo to be, or even what an embryology text book defines it as - my argument rests on what the prevailing idea of what an embryo is, is - and it is my contention, and i think i have provided ample evidence to support it, that based on both my informal survey of friends and my trolling the web for definitions, that fertilization is integral to the definition, in which case...
4) the use of the word "embryo" to describe the product of SCNT remains misleading, and can be construed as nothing short of deliberately misleading if it is being used by someone who is aware of the differences between the two entities - a real embryo and the product of SCNT - i wouldn't even insist that the word embryo be struck entirely from the term that is used to describe the thing - all i ask is that there be some qualifier that makes it clear that it is different in some way from what everyone thinks of when they hear the word "embryo."
personally, i think that is a very reasonable desire/goal, and it is pretty much impossible to argue with - you want to be scientific, be scientific - there ain't no sperm in SCNT - therefore, both the process and resulting entity are - indisputably - not the same as an embryo that was created in part with sperm. indisputably.
(am i supposed to have the ability to delete other people's comments? it sure looks like i do... doesn't seem like i should - also, if i hit "reply" i get bounced to the Clone the Truth page, from which i have been exiled - wondering if this will even work...)
fortunately, no one deleted any of our words of wisdom.
now i gotta tell you that i think your choice of headline is inaccurate, at best, and sensationalistic, at worst. i don't oppose your campaign - i am all about the truth - it is important that both sides be held accountable, and i have no problem with you exposing omissions or actual factual inaccuracies. however, if you are going to bill yourself as the purveyor of truth in the interest of giving people all the information they need to make informed choices, you have to be cognizant of several things;
1) for every inaccuracy, omission, and lie (though those are hard to prove) you can find on my side, i can find one on yours - if you are going to go around with the word TRUTH emblazoned on your forehead, you risk being a hypocrite if you ONLY expose the other side's transgressions - you can't claim to be about giving people ALL the info they need to make an informed decision and then only give them half the story - well, you can't do that and still be credible...
2) also, you have to be really careful to make distinctions between "truth" in the factual sense (ASC research has been under way for over 40 years) and "truth" in the "my truth," or "opinion" sense. our discussion about the meaning of the word ''embryo" is a perfect example - you are embracing the "scientific" definition and making it your own because you want to fight fire with fire - but even scientists are not in agreement about what an "embryo" is - the bottom line is, it is a matter of opinion - and if you are going to put yourself out there as the purveyor of the TRUTH, you can't be trying to make opinion into fact - because it is not true.
i think it would actually be really interesting to work with someone from the other camp -- just rambling here -- we could exchange our lists of factual transgressions and differences of opinion - fact check the factual ones and come up with a final list that we both agree to.
the opinion part would be harder - perhaps the hardest thing would be agreeing on what goes under the heading Opinion and what goes under the heading Fact - but if we could agree that these X things are opinion, and maybe have a [short?] list of things we can't agree on in terms of whether they are opinion or fact... and then present both sides, side by side - both sides factual inaccuracies, as acknowledged by both of us, opinions from both sides, acknowledge by both of us as opinion and supported with whatever arguments we may use to support them - and then the stuff we can't agree on, in a section called "she thinks these are opinion, i think they are fact" (catchy, eh?)
i think it would be a great way to learn about each other''s positions and also to truly educate people in as objective a way as possible, so that they really would be being given all the info they needed to make an informed choice.
i really am not afraid of the truth -- as long as where our truths diverge (i.e., opinion) they are acknowledged as "our truths"' and not as facts, and as long as we grant each other the right to that opinion.... and here is where it starts to get complicated.
anyway, it's late and i am probably sleepwriting. i can delete this tomorrow if i want, right? i am in no condition to evaluate its ridiculousness quotient at the moment.
It is not an opinion that SCNT creates an embryo. Dr. Hwang's paper in Science was titled "Evidence of a Pluripotent Human Embryonic Stem Cell Line Derived from a Cloned Blastocyst" A blastocyst is an embryo.
Defined by Websters: "blastocyst: An early preimplantation embryo which consists of an inner and an outer cell layer surrounding a fluid-filled central cavity. The surface cells will give rise to extra-embryonic tissues, and the inner cells will become the foetus. The mammalian embryo in the post-morula stage in which a fluid-filled cavity, enclosed primarily by trophoblast, contains an inner cell mass which becomes the embryonic disc."
Also, from a Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research press release:
"To create a clone, a scientist removes the nucleus from a donor cell, then places it into an egg from which the nucleus has been removed. The researcher then tricks the egg into thinking it’s been fertilized. The egg develops into a blastocyst, an early stage embryo consisting of no more than 100 or so cells. The scientist can then either remove the stem cells from this blastocyst, or place it into a uterus where it has the potential to develop into a fetus."
With the tutorial from Princton and the interview with James Thomson, I have provided much evidence that the product of SCNT is a cloned embryo. Please provide a reputable source that specifically states that the product of SCNT is NOT an embryo.
I think that all the defintions of embryo that include fertilization that you are focusing on, do not mention SCNT because creation of a human embryo by SCNT is still science fiction.
When cloning humans becomes a reality one of two things will happen, the definition of an embryo will include creation by SCNT or the product of SCNT will no longer be called a cloned embryo. For now "cloned embryo" is the accurate term. Clone the Truth is about making sure the "cloned embryo" part does not get skipped over.
As I have said before, I am only focusing on media that claims to be or is supposed to be unbiased, namely the NEWS outlets. In other words, I am not peering over fences, I am making sure that those that are supposed to be on the fence stay that way.
i can't' tell whether you don't get the point i am making or are intentionally not addressing it. and perhaps i confused the issue by bringing the question of opinion vs. fact into it.
first i will make my original point one more time.
Choose 10 friends at random - and i am talking people whose level of knowledge on this subject is unknown to you, but as far as you know, they have no reason to be especially informed - and you asked them the following question:
does the process in the headline below involve the union of egg and sperm:
"Scientists create cloned human embryo"
now, if anything, the way the question is phrased is a clue that the answer is no - why else would i be asking it if there were egg and sperm involved? so if anything, that question would bias the results in the direction of people answering no - and yet five out of nine answered yes - and not just yes, but um, anuket, are you ok? do you need a little time off? that is what an embryo is, anuket - the product of the union of egg and sperm.
for those five people, fertilization is an integral part of the definition of the word embryo. if my little microcosm can be extrapolated, that means about 60% of the country considers fertilization to be iintegral to the definition of the word embryo. my google search confirms this.
when those people hear the word embryo in conjunction with the words cloning and SCNT, they think that somewhere somehow there was the coming together of egg and sperm.
they are wrong, and it is the use of the word that historically has been inextricably linked in most people's minds with fertilization to describe an entity that was created without fertilization that is misleading them.
in the context of the point i am making above, it doesn't matter what dr. hwang or dr. thomson call it - after all, they already know the difference - and it doesn't matter how you or i define the word - the only thing that matters is that there are people out there who don't know there is a difference because the word "embryo' is being used *as if there is no difference*.
you are going to have to find yourself a new embryology textbook - let's look at your scientific definition of the word "embryo":
"Although human life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, *a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed*. ... The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity."
ok so we got fertilization, we got 23 chromosomes in each pronucleus coming together to make 46 in the zygote, but better than all of that is this;
your definition clearly states that an embryo is a genetically distinct human organism - you can't have your cake and eat it to. rebecca - by the definition of the word "clone'' and your chosen definition of the word "embryo," your pet phrase for the product of SCNT is an oxymoron - a "cloned embryo," cannot exist. an entity cannot be both a perfect genetic copy and a genetically unique organism simultaneously.
you are going to have to find a new definition.... i don't know if you will, but you could, which means there are different definitions out there (as we have seen already) - if there are different definitions, there are differing beliefs behind those definitions - for every scientist you can hold up who calls it an embryo, i can hold up another who calls it something else. for every book you hold up i could hold up another.
in the end, "embryo" is a sound used to identify something as distinct from other things. these sounds become words when meaning is conferred on them, and meaningful meaning can only be conferred when there is some critical mass of agreement that this sound refers to that thing. it is this agreement that makes communication possible. communication happens when the sounds one person says to another have the same meaning to both parties. you are using a sound that is widely agreed upon to refer to that thing to refer to something else.
I think that all the defintions of embryo that include fertilization that you are focusing on, do not mention SCNT because creation of a human embryo by SCNT is still science fiction.
and i say exactly!! well, except i didn't "focus on" anything - i didn't google "pre-SCNT embryo," i googled plain old "embryo," and the vast majority included fertilization in the definition. what i am saying is that the critical mass out there doesn't know that the word "embryo" has a new meaning. it is ironic that you should point the "redefining" finger at me - you are the one using the word "embryo" to refer to something that, in your own words, "is still science fiction." you are the one who is taking a word that has been around forever and slapping it on something that doesn't even exist yet.
I didn't say the product of SCNT was not an embryo - well, i did once but it was in the context of my whole point - it is not an embryo *as the word embryo is defined by most people."
i didn't even say "you can't use the word embryo." all i said was - or all i meant to say was (assuming i didn't get carried away) to use the word embryo to refer to sometjhing that has never been created is misleading becuase most people don't realize you are referring to something that has not yet been created. and then i said i don't even demand you not use the word embryo - all i would argue for is some qualifying prefix - like NT-embryo, for example, so that the ffact that there is a difference is made explicit in the name.
not to agree to that simply exposes you as wanting to mislead, wanting people to misunderstand, because it can only help your cause.
I am not trying to ignore your point. I am just saying that "cloned embryo" is sufficient to differentiate the embryo from SCNT and that from IVF.
I think we have something we can agree on: if you are correct, then most people think the only way to generate an embryo is by sperm and egg. By omitting the embryo from a despription of SCNT, the general public is being deprived of knowing there is another way to create an embryo. That is what Clone the Truth is about. Making sure that people know that not only is an embryo created by egg and sperm, but by SCNT as well. People need to understand what SCNT creates before they can make an informed decision if they want that to be legal in their state.
Also, a cloned embryo IS a distinct organism because it DOES NOT have an identical genetic make-up to the person cloned. There is mitochondrial DNA in the egg from the donor of that egg. The resulting cloned embryo is a HYBRID not an exact copy. It is truly a distinct organsim.
sorry for the delay!
you are ignoring the results of my survey - the headline i quoted was "scientists create cloned human embryo," and 60% of the people who responded thought it involved egg and sperm. the word clone is insufficient, as i said in my very first (i think) post.
and why do you insist on using the word clone, anyway?
if you google define:clone you will end up with 22 definitions after deleting those pertaining to plants, computers and unspecified digital items. of the 22, 12 specifically say that a clone is "genetically identical." an additional 3 use the terms "exact replica," "identical copy," and "exact copy. only two state that in some cases, the product of SCNT is not necessarily identical genetically to the donor of the somatic cell.
you can't claim it is informative because clearly people don't understand what it entails.
you can't call it accurate because, as you point out, in cases in which the egg and the somatic nucleus come from different people, the resulting entity is not identical, and therefore it is not a clone, according to the majority of definitions on the web, including your chosen source of stem cell information, princeton.edu.
it is general enough not only to refer to multiple methods, but to be open to interpretations that don't include what you are really referring to when you use the word "clone", at which point your side splutters "but that legislation doesn't ban SCNT!"
SCNT is SCNT is SCNT is SCNT - no interpretation, no ambiguity, no other types of SCNT...
the scientific term for the procedure to which you refer is somatic cell nuclear transfer - and as you say in one of your clone the truth letters, it is essential that we use the proper scientific terminology....
or is it only essential that the proper scientific terminology (as defined by you) be used when it contains the hot button words 'embryo' or 'embryonic'; otherwise it appears that it is preferable to take advantage of a public for whom the word clone not only obscures the reality of what you are talking about but actively conveys the myriad connotations that have become associated with the word via all the "science fiction" you alluded to in an earlier post.
so, why do you insist on using the word "clone?"
quick question; if you don't really have one, imagine you have a child.. then imagine that some 10 years from now, your child is diagnosed with juvenile diabetes or is paralysed in an accident. in the interim, your side has lost and cures for diabetes and spinal cord injuries have been developed using IVF embryos or SCNT. what would you do?
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