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Friday, January 19, 2007

Stem Cell Nonsense
Yuval Levin, a member of the Presidents Council on Bioethics writes an anti-stem cell op-ed for the NYT.

The kicker? He calls it, "A Middle Ground for Stem Cells". What a jackass.

How do we know he's a jackass and is full of shit? Well, this paragraph sums it up nicely:

But that does not mean the stem cell debate is about when human life begins. It is a simple and uncontroversial biological fact that a human life begins when an embryo is created. That embryo is human, and it is alive; its human life will last until its death, whether that comes days after conception or many decades later surrounded by children and grandchildren.

Ummm, no. It is a simple and uncontroversial fact that the Pope believes that life begins at conception, it is not a scientific fact. The scientific fact is that the sperm is alive, the egg is alive, and the fusion of the two is also alive. Levin's attempt to pass off the theology of ensoulment as science, and further that this is the "middle ground" is a total joke. Life began once, over a billion years ago, and it has been going strong ever since. There is no "dead" stage in human reproduction.

The jackass then goes on to assert that Thomas Jefferson was talking about embryos when he wrote that whole inalienable human rights thing.

America’s birth charter, the Declaration of Independence, asserts a positive answer to the question, and in lieu of an argument offers another assertion: that our equality is self-evident. But it is not. Indeed, the evidence of nature sometimes makes it very hard to believe that all human beings are equal. It takes a profound moral case to defend the proposition that the youngest and the oldest, the weakest and the strongest, all of us, simply by virtue of our common humanity, are in some basic and inalienable way equals.

Yes, that's right, these people believe that you, I, everybody, we're all equals with blastocysts. Little balls of a hundred cells that nature doesn't even see fit to allow to survive 50% of the time. These little blastocyst-Americans deserve every right in the constitution. By the way, that means no more abortions, IUDs, or IVF ladies, and probably no pill either, because pre-empting the release of the components to make blastocyst-Americans is also wrong. We certainly can't start discriminating against the right of any blastocyst-American to have a chance to come into existence. Sorry, it's up to you to make sure that blastocyst-Americans' rights aren't violated by being forced to carry every single one of them to term. And as far as IVF? Well, all those freezers holding those embryos are like Guantanamo bay for the most innocent Americans among us. We must set them free! I propose an immediate draft of all women of childbearing age, in the interest of the liberal belief in the inalienable rights of equals, to carry all 400,000 embryos being stored in freezers to term. We must not allow the false imprisonment of all of these precious blastocyst-Americans for one more day.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we actually took such bad arguments as Levin makes seriously? Basically, women would be hostage to their freaking ovaries, and deep down I suspect that's what's behind all of this. This idea that women are punished for sex by getting pregnant, and the real concern is the control over the uterus. By promoting these idiotic "life begins" fallacies, they're trying to make reproductive control out to be murder, the natural consequence? Ending abortion, ending contraception, ending scientific pursuit of embryonic stem cells, and curtailing all the success in women's rights over the last 40 years.

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minimalist said...

Needs the "neocon" tag as well, since Levin is (surprise!) a neocon in the Straussian mold, and has written a breast-beating screed called Tyranny of Reason all about how science shouldn't be used to study or influence society because STALIN and HITLER and blah blah blah. Nothing you haven't seen before, I'm sure.

Question is, why does the NYT see fit to publish a piece from such discredited yahoos? Is it to demonstrate that they can be utterly, disastrously wrong in areas other than foreign policy?

11:47 AM, January 19, 2007

Rev. Dr. said...

He's also a student of Leon Kass, asshole extraordinaire, who believes girls should ask their parents permission to marry a man.

It's bizarre, none of these people have ever been right about anything, ever. Why does anyone care what they think.

12:46 PM, January 19, 2007

Jessica Smith said...

hear, hear

7:57 PM, January 20, 2007


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