Government give in to Relgious pressure over Chimera...

#1
And there was me thinking that we were a step in front of the spams in terms of science and religion's power over it, but it seems not :roll:

Sorry for the long cut and pastes, but i feel extremely strongly on this issue, and would appreciate input from the collective.

Patients with incurable crippling diseases may be denied the first effective treatments because of government plans to outlaw the creation of “human-animal” embryos.

The proposed ban on fusing human DNA with animal eggs is an affront to thousands of Britons suffering from conditions such as motor neuron disease and Alzheimer’s, leading scientists said yesterday.

In an attack on ministers, who are seeking legislation to prohibit such experiments, the scientists gave warning that it would deny society one of the most powerful tools for medical research.

They said that the Department of Health has fundamentally misunderstood the ethical implications of human-animal embryos and bowed to pressure from religious groups for an all-out ban.
The technique, which produces embryos that are 99.5 per cent human, aims to address the shortage of human eggs for stem-cell research.

The proposal was set out in a White Paper reviewing fertility laws published last month. It will not become law for at least a year, but the Government’s intention already threatens to derail the research of three groups that want to use the technique, two of whom have applied for formal licences...

Caroline Flint, the Public Health Minister, has announced that the Government is minded to ban the creation of human-animal hybrid em-bryos, and “chimeras” in which cells from human and animal embryos are fused.

Ms Flint said that she expected the HFEA to take this position into account when ruling on the licence applications.

The proposals followed a public consultation, in which most participants opposed the creation of human-animal embyros. The scientists pointed out, however, that the exercise received just 535 responses, and was principally concerned with a different issue, the regulation of fertility treatment.
The times

The report below was featured on radio 4 earlier, but the online version seems to have omitted any objection/pressure from the religious lobby.

UK scientists planning to mix human and animal cells in order to research cures for degenerative diseases fear their work will be halted.

They accuse the body that grants licences for embryo research, the HFEA, of bowing to government pressure if it fails to consider their applications.

Ministers proposed outlawing such work after unfavourable public opinion...

...The creation of hybrid human-animal embryos was first suggested as a way of addressing the shortage of human eggs available for research... The resulting embryos made are more than 99% human, with a small animal component.

Opponents say this is tampering with nature and is unethical...

Scientists are hopeful that studies on stem cells - immature cells that can become many types of tissue - could lead to greater understanding and even a cure for many diseases, including Alzheimer's.

They say using human-animal mixes rather than human eggs to get the stem cells makes sense because human eggs are in short supply, plus the process is less cumbersome and yields better results...

Dr Evan Harris MP, Liberal Democrat member of the Science and Technology Select Committee, warned there would be fierce opposition from scientists and parliamentarians to any draft bill which included such a ban...

Josephine Quintavalle, of CORE ethics, said: "This is creating an animal-human hybrid and that has to be acknowledged as something that does not meet with approval.

"We hope that the HFEA has found this is one hurdle too many and they are not prepared to jump over it."
BBC news
 
#3
Here is an even better critique of the govt's questionable judgement over this issue.

Ministers have been spooked by 'frankenbunny' headlines

It is not often that British scientists involved in embryo research club together to berate ministers for overzealous regulation that has not been properly thought through.

The Government has won praise for supporting experiments with embryonic stem cells and therapeutic cloning, and its licensing system is widely thought to strike the right balance between permitting cutting-edge research of great medical promise, and limiting excesses that make many people uneasy about the pace of progress...

...Why, then, has the Government provoked the ire of people such as Stephen Minger, who moved from the US to conduct his research and is usually among the community’s biggest cheerleaders for Britain’s regulatory regime?

The answer is that Caroline Flint, the Public Health Minister, and Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, have convinced themselves of the existence of a groundswell of public concern that is no more than a phantom. They have been spooked by the outcome of an unrepresentative public consultation, and by misleading and hysterical reporting of research.

Ms Flint has justified her plan to ban hybrid and chimera embryos on the grounds that the outcome of its consultation was overwhelmingly negative. Yet it is hard to argue that it spoke for a cross-section of informed public opinion.

First, the exercise received a grand total of 535 responses, including those from institutions. Respondents tended to be those who already had strong opinions, particularly religious groups and others opposed to all embryo research. The initiative was also primarily concerned with a very different issue: the regulation of fertility treatment. Few respondents had any detailed knowledge of the rationale or likely shape of these experiments, and they were not much helped by the consultation document, which devoted two paragraphs to the issue.


Once the consultation created a bogus impression that the public was overwhelmingly opposed to this research, this was reinforced in the ministers’ minds by another less than representative group: the red-top press. When Dr Minger and others announced their proposals, the headlines told of monsters in the making — “frankenbunnies”, “half-cow, half-human” hybrids, and “moo-tants”. Ms Flint’s White Paper has pandered to this agenda.

The scientists accept that it is an emotive issue. But when they explain the reasons why they are doing it, and what will happen as a result, most people are supportive.
Times
 
#4
Why is this religion's "fault"?

If scientists weren't p1ssing around with human and animal cells, then this ethical issue wouldn't have arisen! The trouble is, you give some geek like Richard Dawkins a BSc and he automatically thuinks he's fecking Prometheus.
 
#5
Cuddles said:
Why is this religion's "fault"?

If scientists weren't p1ssing around with human and animal cells, then this ethical issue wouldn't have arisen! The trouble is, you give some geek like Richard Dawkins a BSc and he automatically thuinks he's fecking Prometheus.
I don't think thats a very informed comment old chap, its a bit more complex than that. Stem cell research is the future of medicine, I know thats a very strong statement but I personally believe it to be true. How can there be a "groundswell of public concern", when the a large proportion of people are probably unaware of the implications of stem cell research and the benefits that it will yield. Im completely against "f*cking with nature" as it were, I dont want to see a Koala-Bird-Mutant-Fish in the back garden, but these stories are being sensationalised, as usual. These are my personal opinions.

Cheers Easy!
 
#6
Cuddles said:
Why is this religion's "fault"?

If scientists weren't p1ssing around with human and animal cells, then this ethical issue wouldn't have arisen! The trouble is, you give some geek like Richard Dawkins a BSc and he automatically thuinks he's fecking Prometheus.
Beacause if we weren't running around with a bunch of folk that still believe that creationism is right, God exists and that Darwinism is wrong, we wouldn't have this complete fudge.

I don't have a problem with this ethically. None what so ever. If we want scientific progess then we need to be a less squemish about things.
 
#7
With Cuddles on this one and I am not in the slightest bit religous.

I don't carry donor cards as a matter of principle either.
 
#8
in_the_cheapseats said:
Cuddles said:
Why is this religion's "fault"?

If scientists weren't p1ssing around with human and animal cells, then this ethical issue wouldn't have arisen! The trouble is, you give some geek like Richard Dawkins a BSc and he automatically thuinks he's fecking Prometheus.
Beacause if we weren't running around with a bunch of folk that still believe that creationism is right, God exists and that Darwinism is wrong, we wouldn't have this complete fudge.

I don't have a problem with this ethically. None what so ever. If we want scientific process then we need to be a less squemish about things.
There are no ethics to this issue... its just an embryo... never to be allowed to divide into any kind of animal.

These issues will always be lent on by the religious who don't want man acting as god, perhaps because its a further step in the realisation of how utterly unnecessary gods are, and how utterly deluded they are.

Edited also to add that Richard Dawkins is a Professor and therefore has a PhD... and was a successful scientist before "taking on religon". If you can't respect his ideas you should at least respect his achievements. Personal slurs are the last refuge of someone with no logical argument.

TB

[edited for spelling]
 
#9
DodgerDog said:
With Cuddles on this one and I am not in the slightest bit religous.

I don't carry donor cards as a matter of principle either.
Eh? What principle is that? You know of course, that there are over 100 parts of your body that could be used to help other people, and even save a life? What if it would save your 'bezzer' who was shot next to you?
It's your choice of course, but IMHO, shame on you.

More on topic, I don't see what the problem is. It's not like people are mating with chimps or anything. (Which could probably work, although the off-spring would probably be sterile). We're talking about a couple of hundred blobs of proteins and amino acids, that gets destroyed within 2 weeks, that could potentially help a lot of people. It's just a tool. It's not 'alive'.
 
#11
I would like to know which religious groups are being refered to here. I am a Christian and like so many was only aware of this on the periphery. I have no objection to this scientific process and do not want my faith being flaunted as an argument for or against it. Some religious groups have a loud voice but may be very small in numbers, but for some reason the government feels that they have to bow to minority pressure groups. Even the Archbishop of Cantebury doesn't speak for all of us.
I agree with milsum it's not alive so whats the problem.
 
#12
Skinn_Full said:
Cuddles said:
Why is this religion's "fault"?

If scientists weren't p1ssing around with human and animal cells, then this ethical issue wouldn't have arisen! The trouble is, you give some geek like Richard Dawkins a BSc and he automatically thuinks he's fecking Prometheus.
I don't think thats a very informed comment old chap, its a bit more complex than that. Stem cell research is the future of medicine, I know thats a very strong statement but I personally believe it to be true. How can there be a "groundswell of public concern", when the a large proportion of people are probably unaware of the implications of stem cell research and the benefits that it will yield. Im completely against "f*cking with nature" as it were, I dont want to see a Koala-Bird-Mutant-Fish in the back garden, but these stories are being sensationalised, as usual. These are my personal opinions.

Cheers Easy!
SF and others.

The reason, just maybe, why many people (and not just religious bodies) protest against these 'developments' is that this is a 'means to an end' and not the 'end' itself.

What do I mean? It is not being done to reduce or eradicate disease. It is being done to eliminate genetic medical defects. Once this has been achieved, we then start to move into areas such as the elimination of cosmetic 'defects' and other life-style type choices.

Hitler tried this a few years ago with his Aryan Programme, the only difference simply being that his start point to address the problem was not the foetus, but the living person. Happy days.

Regards

PAW
 
#13
Cuddles said:
Why is this religion's "fault"?

If scientists weren't p1ssing around with human and animal cells, then this ethical issue wouldn't have arisen! The trouble is, you give some geek like Richard Dawkins a BSc and he automatically thuinks he's fecking Prometheus.
It's religion's fault (Or those who represent them), because the government have published a white paper looking to ban this research based on a percieved public objection to this research, when the public consultation upon which this white paper has been compiled, is inherently flawed and over represents the views and wishes of the religous lobby.

A_S Takes a breath...

I'm sorry cuddles but you're argument is facetious at best. It's like saying it the Isrealis fault that their neighbours attack them because they choose to be jewish.

Or to put a more American spin on it, it's like telling the gay lobby to stop being gay if they don't like being attacked by the religious right.

That's not really a valid argument now is it?
 
#14
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
What do I mean? It is not being done to reduce or eradicate disease. It is being done to eliminate genetic medical defects. Once this has been achieved, we then start to move into areas such as the elimination of cosmetic 'defects' and other life-style type choices.
Unless I have my facts on the subject mistaken, you are an example of why 'the public's view' should not be taken into consideration unless they are properly briefed on the subject.

Killing people with genetic defects before they have a chance to produce offspring will 'eliminate' the defect. Using knowledge gained from stem-cell research to treat and possibly cure, say Parkinson's in a patient, is giving that person a better life. They will still have the genes for the disease in them and may well pass them on.

However, you could in fact have meant that in which case, following your reasoning; History of heart defects in the family? No, sorry we can't treat it, that would be eliminating a genetic defect. Breast cancer run in your family? No, sorry that would be eliminating a genetic defect.....
 
#15
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
Skinn_Full said:
Cuddles said:
Why is this religion's "fault"?

If scientists weren't p1ssing around with human and animal cells, then this ethical issue wouldn't have arisen! The trouble is, you give some geek like Richard Dawkins a BSc and he automatically thuinks he's fecking Prometheus.
I don't think thats a very informed comment old chap, its a bit more complex than that. Stem cell research is the future of medicine, I know thats a very strong statement but I personally believe it to be true. How can there be a "groundswell of public concern", when the a large proportion of people are probably unaware of the implications of stem cell research and the benefits that it will yield. Im completely against "f*cking with nature" as it were, I dont want to see a Koala-Bird-Mutant-Fish in the back garden, but these stories are being sensationalised, as usual. These are my personal opinions.

Cheers Easy!
SF and others.

The reason, just maybe, why many people (and not just religious bodies) protest against these 'developments' is that this is a 'means to an end' and not the 'end' itself.

What do I mean? It is not being done to reduce or eradicate disease. It is being done to eliminate genetic medical defects. Once this has been achieved, we then start to move into areas such as the elimination of cosmetic 'defects' and other life-style type choices.

Hitler tried this a few years ago with his Aryan Programme, the only difference simply being that his start point to address the problem was not the foetus, but the living person. Happy days.

Regards

PAW
To your bold, which in turn allows for the reduction/eradication of susceptibility to "normal" medical complaints that overwhelm the medical services of the day. Such as some perhaps all forms of cancer. Who knows? We haven't researched it yet but it looks hopeful.

Stop being short sighted and without getting too personal, a little naive. All research is a "means to an end" and not "the end" itself, whatever field you are in. You must do it to progress.

Or do you think that the treatment required to medical problems have always been found by someone getting down on their knees and asking the Lord for guidance? :roll:
 
#16
Death_Rowums said:
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
What do I mean? It is not being done to reduce or eradicate disease. It is being done to eliminate genetic medical defects. Once this has been achieved, we then start to move into areas such as the elimination of cosmetic 'defects' and other life-style type choices.
Unless I have my facts on the subject mistaken, you are an example of why 'the public's view' should not be taken into consideration unless they are properly briefed on the subject.

Killing people with genetic defects before they have a chance to produce offspring will 'eliminate' the defect. Using knowledge gained from stem-cell research to treat and possibly cure, say Parkinson's in a patient, is giving that person a better life. They will still have the genes for the disease in them and may well pass them on.

However, you could in fact have meant that in which case, following your reasoning; History of heart defects in the family? No, sorry we can't treat it, that would be eliminating a genetic defect. Breast cancer run in your family? No, sorry that would be eliminating a genetic defect.....
DR,

Points:

By the public should not be allowed to have a view until they are properly briefed reads across as 'unless it co-incides with my view'

Cannot determine what points you are trying to make in the second and third paras of you post - please confirm.

Rgds

PAW
 
#17
in_the_cheapseats said:
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
Skinn_Full said:
Cuddles said:
Why is this religion's "fault"?

If scientists weren't p1ssing around with human and animal cells, then this ethical issue wouldn't have arisen! The trouble is, you give some geek like Richard Dawkins a BSc and he automatically thuinks he's fecking Prometheus.
I don't think thats a very informed comment old chap, its a bit more complex than that. Stem cell research is the future of medicine, I know thats a very strong statement but I personally believe it to be true. How can there be a "groundswell of public concern", when the a large proportion of people are probably unaware of the implications of stem cell research and the benefits that it will yield. Im completely against "f*cking with nature" as it were, I dont want to see a Koala-Bird-Mutant-Fish in the back garden, but these stories are being sensationalised, as usual. These are my personal opinions.

Cheers Easy!
SF and others.

The reason, just maybe, why many people (and not just religious bodies) protest against these 'developments' is that this is a 'means to an end' and not the 'end' itself.

What do I mean? It is not being done to reduce or eradicate disease. It is being done to eliminate genetic medical defects. Once this has been achieved, we then start to move into areas such as the elimination of cosmetic 'defects' and other life-style type choices.

Hitler tried this a few years ago with his Aryan Programme, the only difference simply being that his start point to address the problem was not the foetus, but the living person. Happy days.

Regards

PAW
To your bold, which in turn allows for the reduction/eradication of susceptibility to "normal" medical complaints that overwhelm the medical services of the day. Such as some perhaps all forms of cancer. Who knows? We haven't researched it yet but it looks hopeful.

Stop being short sighted and without getting too personal, a little naive. All research is a "means to an end" and not "the end" itself, whatever field you are in. You must do it to progress.

Or do you think that the treatment required to medical problems have always been found by someone getting down on their knees and asking the Lord for guidance? :roll:
ITC,

Naive, maybe. Short-sighted - occasionally. Religous, never. Able to detect vested medical or personal interests - always.

Happy research.

PAW
 
#18
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
DR,

Points:

By the public should not be allowed to have a view until they are properly briefed reads across as 'unless it co-incides with my view'
No, not at all. I was merely stating, why should a person's view on the subject be taken into account when they themselves know nothing of the subect?
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
Cannot determine what points you are trying to make in the second and third paras of you post - please confirm.
Point 1:Simply put, stem cells will aid in treating people with diseases, not editing their genes to get rid of the problem. Using Parkinson's as an example, the research could help provide a way to regrow nerve cells in the brain. The patient will still have 'Parkinsons' in their DNA, but will have a more comfortable existance.

Point 2: You may consider Point 1 to be in fact 'eliminating genetic medical defects'. If so, do you consider treating women with breast cancer to also be the start on the slippery slope towards 'cosmetic genes'?
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#19
Death_Rowums said:
Killing people with genetic defects before they have a chance to produce offspring will 'eliminate' the defect.
Only up to a point because you're ignoring the occurrence of spontaneous cell mutations and environmental factors, both of which can give rise to subsequent genetic defects. The sterilisation programmes carried out in Nazi Germany, the USA, Sweden and so on during the 20th century were supposed to end certain types of genetic disorders but completely failed to do so (and Sweden's programme continued from the mid-30s to the mid-70s!).
 
#20
Able to detect vested medical or personal interests - always.
As I take it you are refering to me.

If having a interest in a possible treatment for a illness I may contract in the future - you're damn right I have a vested interest in research continuing to go ahead. I would be a fool not to.

If you think I am either making financial gain or involved in the research personally, very wrong.

Edited for mong spelling
 

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