Wednesday, July 15. 2009
Okay, I know I said I was on vacation, but I just had to blog about a couple of things. The first is that members of Congress have introduced the Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2009 which would ban the production of certain animal-human hybrids in research. This announcement has made some bloggers go all apoplectic. Like Pharnygula who asks "Why do they hate the Manimal." He thinks that this bill will injure scientific progress. He gives the following examples:
Then he asks:
Let us actually look at the Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2009 and see what it actually says. This bill defines an animal-human hybrid as:
So they want to ban the adding of animal DNA to a human embryo (not embryonic stem cells), the production of human sex cells like egg and sperm in animals, fusing human and animal egg and sperm, and creating animals with all or mostly human brain tissue. The bill also bans the implantation of animal embryos in human wombs and human embryos in animal wombs.
So the procedures that Pharyngula talks about are not prohibited by the legislation. This legislation deals with genetically engineering human embryos with animal genes NOT genetically engineering animals with a few human genes. This bill will not "shut down a good chunk of the pharmaceutical industry."
What is prohibited is the manipulation of human life at its earliest stages by introducing animal DNA, implanting human embryos into other species (and vice versa) and creating animals with mostly human brain tissue. I believe these are very reasonable restrictions and I believe the majority of American would agree. Scientists like Pharyngula may think such restrictions are not needed, but they are. Scientists in this country are already producing cloned human embryos using cow, rabbit and mouse eggs. Most of the other procedures have not yet been accomplished, but someone will try. I think the majority of Americans will agree that this kind of science is not the kind we want to allow in our country.
Thursday, February 5. 2009
I just cannot let this one go. Just because I truly believe that the enormity of what is going on in labs around the world is not sinking in. I do not want to underplay the importance of the fight against the Freedom of Choice Act. On that we should never back down. But we also should not ignore other pressing life issues.
Wake up people! We are cloning human embryos to see if they can develop normally right along with cloned human embryos made with animal eggs and then these results are being published in reputable journals. Moreover, the media makes it sound like this is all so normal and mention little, if anything, about the ethics of such research.
Read this headline and study the picture and tell me that the world has not gone totally mad:
I have just posted a picture of a human-bovine embryo. You have just seen one. Let that marinate.
Saturday, July 7. 2007
I am back. I apologize to my readers for such a long absence. The Taylor clan is considering a big move to another state to be near family and the weighing the pros and cons has been time consuming. Thank-you to Monica for bringing me back.
Well, IVF has made a lot of children since Louise Brown in the 1970s. Figuratively, IVF has also had some of her own children. Embryo-destructive research and human cloning are two. We are now becoming aquainted with another, the chimera. What is a chimera? It is an organism that is a mix of two species. A chimeric embryo would be one that let us say part mouse and part human or part monkey and part human.
Now, it is important here to distingush between a chimeric embryo and a chimeric adult. Placing animal DNA into a human embryo is entirely different from growing a human liver in a pig for transplantation into a human patient. It is different because adding animal DNA to a human embryo at the embryo stage fundamentally changes the entire organism, not just one organ.
The British Parliament is considering allowing the creation of such chimeric embryos as long as they are destroyed after two weeks. From the Telegraph:
If you accept the creation of a human chimeric embryo for research purposes, then seems reasonable that the law mandate that they be destroyed.
Now, here is where things get interesting and we Catholics may need to reevaluate what we think we know. In response to the possiblility of the creation and destruction of human chimeric embryos in the UK, Britian's Catholic Bishops have said that if they are created, chimeric embryos should be allowed to live.
How outrageous does that sound? Allowing a human-monkey to be implanted and born to a human or monkey mother? Have they lost their minds? No, I do not think they have.
The Bishops are very clear. Human chimeric embryos should not be made in the first place, but if they are they should be allowed to live:
I know what you are thinking...your gut is telling you this is wrong, all wrong. But, it is analogous to the reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning lesser of two evils scenario. We are told that therapeutic cloning, the creation and destruction of acloned human embryo for research is a lesser evil than creating a cloned human embryo that is implanted and becomes a cloned infant. But that is not true. All human cloning is evil, but reproductive cloning is the lesser of the two evils because it does not mandate that a human life be destroyed for research.
Will we ever see a human-monkey born to a human woman? Probably not. The image is grossly disturbing. But I think that is the point. If everyone could really understand and see the horrors of abortion with their own eyes do you think it would be legal? By bringing the possibility of the implantation of a chimeric embryo out from behind the laboratory doors the Catholic bishops have made us face the reality of what is actually going on: Scientists want to create all kinds of inter-species embryos in the name of research without any of the consequences, devaluing human life even more in the process.
The Bishops at first glance may seem like the crazy ones, but really they are a voice of sanity.
Saturday, April 7. 2007
From Engalnd's Guardian:
Stop and read that headline again, and again if need be. Has the world gone crazy? Even 10 years ago the above headline would have been unthinkable, absolutely unthinkable.
But the slippery slope keeps getting steaper and more slippery. So now instead if the headline reading that it is unacceptable to make animal-human embryos for research, some are saying that it is unacceptable NOT TO.
Is there any question where this is heading? Once we get comfortable destroying existing human life for parts, we can start creating human life for the same purpose and now we will genetically engineer that human life anyway we see fit.
But, it is all for curing disease so it is okay, RIGHT? WRONG! Creating an animal-human embryo to be used as a research subject cheapens the value of all human life. I will quote some very forward thinking men who see the writing on the wall:
Update: Threat to science? How about a threat to humanity?
Friday, January 5. 2007
Scientists in the UK are upset the government wants to prevent them from using cow or rabbits eggs instead of human ones in their cloning experiments. After all human eggs are expensive and hard to get and a hydrid embryo would only be .1% animal. From Scotsman.com:
Cures at any cost is the mantra these days. Scientists "must be allowed to continue their work" or people will die.
What else can I say? Although, one commenter on this article I thought was right on. I'll let RF say what I couldn't:
Hat Tip: Life Ethics
Saturday, November 11. 2006
As I have written many times before some cloning researchers want to get around the human egg problem by creating embryos with SCNT using cow or rabbit eggs instead of human ones. Animal eggs are cheaper, more abundant and don't have the whole "exploitation of women thing" attached. Scientists in Britain have applied for permission to do just that.
As creepy as that is, Pharyngula has a better idea. PZ Myers, the blogger behind Pharyngula, wants to go even further. He wants to see someone implant a human/cow embryo into a cow's uterus. He thinks it would be great:
Of course PZ is being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but just a bit. What is apparent in his entry and in the comments is a complete abhorance for anyone that might want to stop and ask if this research is ethical.
See for PZ, and many scientist like him, the only time a "real discussion about biotechnology" can happen is after the fact. It has to be accomplished first before we can discuss whether or not we should. A bit "bass ackwards" no?
Monday, October 9. 2006
From the Guardian:
99.9% human and 0.1% rabbit or cow huh? I mean, what is .1% animal DNA among friends? But wait, don't humans only differ from chimps by 1%?
Well, I suppose anything for research these days. Seriously, what are ethics good for anyway, other than getting in the way of biotech progress?
Wednesday, September 27. 2006
Law-makers in Australia are considering allowing cloning for research purposes. A new bill has been proposed that would allow for the cloning of embryos with human or animal eggs, but punish the implantation of those embryos in either humans or animals. This is a great graphic from the Herald Sun that breaks it down for you:
Yes, you read that correctly. Not only would it allow for cloning human DNA into animal eggs, but it would also allow for creating embryos with the genetic material of more than two people. Only for research purposes you understand. (Atleast the Australian media is giving Australians the truth instead of some bull about how cloning isn't really cloning and somatic cell nuclear transfer doesn't create embryos just "balls of cells".)
Even though some scientists have come out against creating animal-human hybrids, Senator Kay Patterson is still backing the legislation saying:
Yes of course Senator Patterson, anything to stay at the forefront of medical research. Everybody knows that is more important than anything else, including ethics.
Friday, August 11. 2006
I am sorry that I have been scarce this week but an Internet goblin has prevented me from getting on the web. I am currently borrowing a computer to get this entry up.
Lifesite has a story on the reality of animal-human hybrids. The Scots have called for a ban on certain types of animal human-hybrids:
Note that I say certain kinds of animal-human hybrids because not all are bad. Not all bad you say? How is that? Well, here is a great quote from Benjamin Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution and member of the President’s Council on Bioethics:
He is right. Using a pig heart valve is not the same as creating a pig with huge amounts of human DNA or a human with any amount of pig DNA. Those genetic changes are the kinds of changes that are proliferative, or in others words, passed on. So creating and animal-human hybrid embryo by fertilizing a pig egg with human sperm would be a big no-no.
So could there possibly be anyone who would be for such an experiment. Apparently there is, but only because it would put Christians and other religious in our place. David P. Barash, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, advocated creating chimpanzee-human hybrids in an Op-Ed piece in the L.A. Times. According to Lifesite:
Is there any doubt that the push for this kind of experimentation, and its first cousin embryo-destructive research, is about anything more than shoving the atheist "Homo sapien-hating" agenda down everyone else's throats? I am with Wesley J. Smith. This isn't about stem cells or cures. It is really a struggle about ethics and morality (dare I add: between those that have them and those that don't!)
Monday, March 20. 2006
This is a great article on the issue surrounding the animal-human hybrid or chimera. Pres. Bush's statement calling for a ban on the creation of chimeras has stirred a debate. Unfortunately, this issue is not clear cut. Here is why:
So chimeras have great promise to help cure disease, but:
And believe you me, if left to their own devices, scientists will take the creation of chimeras as far as it will go. Example:
We need to address this issue instead of ignoring it until its too late. Some people say that scientists know what they are doing, just leave them alone and they will make the right desicions I love this quote from Nigel Cameron on just letting scientists decide good policy:
So, where am I on this issue? I definitely think a total ban on any animal-human hybrid is a mistake, but I also think strict guidelines need to be adopted to prevent The Island of Dr. Moreau. Adding a few human genes or cells to an animal for research is one thing. Adding animal cells or DNA to a human embryo is another. I am with David Prentice:
Friday, February 3. 2006
This story from Monsters and Critics is supposed to be funny, but I find it frustrating and sad. It seems that this statement from Bush's State of the Union, has sparked a "craze":
It is an excellent statement that caught many Americans unaware because most Americans (Catholics included) are grossly ill-informed on what is going on in research labs all over the world. I have written before on the use of animal eggs for human cloning and the creation of cow-human hybrids. Apparently, some (dare I say ignorant) people think it is something to make light of:
I am speechless.
Thursday, January 12. 2006
As I have said before, because of the expense and the shortage of human eggs for cloning, researchers will push for the use of egg from animals like cows or rabbits. Here is an article from the BBC that proposes using rabbbit eggs for cloning instead of human eggs. Read this:
Comment on Reproductive Ethics impresses once again:
The governing UK body, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, looked into using rabbit eggs for cloning and concluded:
Well, that is reassuring....
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