What Ever Happened to Stem Cell Research?

In about the 1980′s, stories about stem cell research began to appear.  They said embryonic stem cells could be implanted into a human body and grow new healthy organs.  Apparently, something like this had happened with mice.

The logic of taking stem cells from aborted fetus’ was that the fetus was already dead and the stem cell had no other use but to heal some aliment in a child or adult.  This small positive outcome from abortions enraged the religious anti abortion right and use of embryonic stem cells was condemned.

Along came something called adult stem cells.  It was claimed these could do everything embryonic ones could do.  The Vatican pumped one million dollars of research money into documenting the success of adult stem cells.  Positive results were touted from this research.

The problem is, no one has been able to replicate the Vatican-funded results.  The results now stand as an embrassment to the Vatican and the researchers it hired.  A prominent researcher even claims that what were called adult stem cells never existed.

While the early predictions of healing by stem cells appears to have been exaggerated, the entire saga is one which should never have happened.  The Catholic Church, or any other church, getting deeply into scientific research while obviously holding a political agenda is a bad event waiting to happen.

Now would be a good time for the Church to drop out of the entire stem cell issue and let scientists and individual people make their own moral judgements.

http://religionandpolitics.org/2013/09/25/the-vaticans-new-clothes-very-small-embryonic-like-cells-and-faith-in-evidence-not-seen/

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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18 Responses to What Ever Happened to Stem Cell Research?

  1. entech says:

    smallpox is “a judgment of God on the sins of the people,” and that “to avert it is but to provoke him more”; that inoculation is “an encroachment on the prerogatives of Jehovah, whose right it is to wound and smite.” Among the mass of scriptural texts most remote from any possible bearing on the subject one was employed which was equally cogent against any use of healing means in any disease–the words of Hosea: “He hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.”
    Boston 1721 when a move was made to try Dr. Zabdiel Boylston for murder, for “injecting poison into his son”

    To counter all the good things claimed by the religious we get such things as the smallpox vaccination nonsense, and stem cell research essentially comes down to the same thing – interfering with God’s plan.
    Surely if God loved us all he would want us to cured of all things.
    Surely if God loves us all he wouldn’t have made us sick in the first place.

    Surely if God loved us all he wouldn’t have made Adam and Eve Gullible enough to fall for the Serpent Spell.
    Surely if God loved us all he wouldn’t even have made the serpent in the first place.

    Not trying to argue against the existence of God, although a very strong doubter myself. Just want to argue against all those religious people who want to hold us back, if some had their way we would still be treating leprosy by killing birds and sprinkling blood.

    • wolfy32 says:

      Hmm. I don’t know enough about what was used.. But, there are known working methods of stem cell therapy.. I have a friend, local to Fargo here, that has full first hand knowledge. She researched the options in the US, and due to laws preventing stem cell research she had to research Europe. She found a Dr in Germany capable of performing the procedure needed. They used stem cells from deep within the bones of her child. Her child has Cerebral Paulsy. Born with it, bound to a wheel cheer and unable to take care of himself. Barely able to feed or well do anything other kids do..

      At the age of 6 completely bound by the terrible disease the mom went to fight for her child, seeking financial resources as well as scientific options. She found hope in a dr. in Germany. They told her that 80% of the Stem cell procedures they do, take, and the child shows some types of improvement. The improvement varies, but, their quality of life has an 80% chance of improving through this stem cell therapy. The child underwent the procedure, they were in Europe for 2 -3 weeks to monitor recovery and if the cells were going to take.

      Everything went fine. That was a few years ago. Now.. That child, that little boy is able to walk, he’s begun to be able to control his feet, legs, and arms. He still wears braces because his muscles were fully atrophied and due to the full uncertainty of how much control he has, but, he has been able to go from walking with crutches and start walking with braces. That childs goal is to be able to run and play in a few years. No one knows, not even the doctors that did the procedure, how much that child will get back. However, that single procedure has given that a life. Allowing him to potentially become a productive member of society instead of being bound to being cared for by society.

      I don’t know about you, but, that’s a miracle, the fact that Christians want to block this progress and make people stay sick because of some moral issue… Yeah.. Let’s start getting over things and allow the U.S. to move forward.

      That wasn’t adult stem cell therapy, nor was it fetus stem cell therapy… It was stemcells from deep within bone marrow. Yet, it’s banned in the U.s. I believe it’s tied to the Fetus stem cell therapy law.. Preventing the U.s. from developing this technology.

      That mother went to Washington to lobby for changes to funding of stem cell research and to legalize stem cell funding. She’s a Christian with the same back ground as me, highly evangelical, but, she’s fighting for her child!

      Christians on the other hand simply fight for themselves. Very selfishly.. Contrary to what Christianity touts…

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Wolfy32 “the fact that Christians want to block this progress..”

        Thanks for that case–had not heard about it.

      • StanB says:

        If the stem cells are from the patient, why is funding blocked? Adult stem cell just means non-fetal doesn’t it?

      • wolfy32 says:

        Stan, very good question, I don’t know the answer, and I’m not sure it’s about funding or if it’s just that most stem cell research is banned because Christians don’t understand anything more than stem cells come from fetus’s therefore ban it… Or it’s seen as us playing God so, ban it…

        That’s the level of logic that many of these laws are passed under…. And although I’d be perfectly happy with obamacare being repealed, shutting down the government is children playing chicken… And all of America becomes the aftermath..

  2. Michael Ross says:

    “Now would be a good time for the Church to drop out of the entire stem cell issue ”
    Or anyone with any moral absolutes for that matter. Doctors Kermit Gosnell and Joseph Mengele would hardily agree.

    • entech says:

      Yep, and by analogy if God didn’t feel that it was an absolute moral imperative that millions of children die unnecessarily in Africa he wouldn’t permit it to happen. To claim moral imperatives derived from an entity that slaughtered so many in ancient Egypt so that he could glorify himself and say “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” in the first of his top ten is pretty hard to justify.
      Read the book closely enough and you will find precedents for just about every evil the world knows.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 1:07 “Or anyone with any moral absolutes..”

      When God killed Lot’s wife and children, my interpretation is he did it for his own amusement. I don’t know what we’re supposed to make of God’s moral values.

      • Michael Ross says:

        Lot ran, his daughters close behind. “But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26). She lagged behind. She turned and watched the flaming sulfur fall from the sky, consuming everything she valued. Then it consumed her. The Hebrew for “looked back” means more than to glance over one’s shoulder. It means to regard, to consider, to pay attention to. The Scriptures don’t say whether her death was a punishment for valuing her old life so much that she hesitated in obeying, or if it was a simple consequence of her reluctance to leave her life quickly. Either she identified too much with the city—and joined it—or she neglected to fully obey God’s warning and she died.

        Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/pillar-of-salt.html#ixzz2gWq1dblo

        • entech says:

          or she neglected to fully obey God’s warning and she died.
          “she died” – doesn’t say that – “turned into a pillar of salt”.

          As I say the ultimate unspoken commandment, “lest ye perish.”
          I am not a tyrant like Hitler or Stalin, they will taunt and punish you until death – that is when I take over for eternity.

  3. StanB says:

    Embryonic stem cells have tendency to go rogue, creating tumors. Have you even researched adult stem cells? The latest is used for repairing heart muscles killed by heart attacks.

    Again your aim has a wide focus. The Catholic Church has been building and administering hospitals for 1500 years. While some of the practices may seem bizzare today, they were doing more then abandoning the sick on hillsides as the pagans in Greece and Rome did.

    • entech says:

      Tendency is perhaps too strong, has been known to, all the more reason for research. The potential if developed is very beneficial.

      The Catholic history in Health and Education is very good but hardly relevant to stem cell research now.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Stan 3:53 “The Catholic Church has been building and administering hospitals for 1500 years.”

      And, at least some of that time, has pushed religious demagoguery into health care–as the conflinct between medical staff and clergy in Denver illustrated a couple of years ago. It would be nice to see health care without the demagoguery.

    • wolfy32 says:

      Stan, you need to research your assumptions.. The technology has continued to be refined… Maybe early on it had issues, but things can improve with time. See my use case at the top.

      And back the original question, why is anyone fighting the technology. Seriously? Trying to find ways to debunk something’s usefulness… Who are the experts? The scientists or people that just assume they enough to say ban it…. It’s no wonder our government is shut down right now.. :)

  4. Michael Ross says:

    “Now would be a good time for the Church to drop out of the entire stem cell issue and let scientists and individual people make their own moral judgements. ”

    Good thing early Christian scientists didn’t drop out. We wouldn’t have science as we know it today:

    http://godfatherpolitics.com/12738/islam-christianity-atheism-origin-science/

    • entech says:

      Here’s the key to all of this, the key that Dawkins will not — cannot — argue against: “[M]any of these scientists did not just assume or assert by faith that the universe had been designed; they argued for the hypothesis based on discoveries in their disciplines.”
      This is the penultimate paragraph in DeMar. It is true “Many” argue for the existence of a creator based on science, it is also true that for hundreds of years it was Islam that kept science and knowledge alive while Christianity vegetated in a stupor while everything had to have a scriptural basis, Galileo comes to mind. Newton worked out a pretty good model of how the solar system worked through mutual gravitational influences, but after working the relationships for two bodies, then three he decided it was all to complicated and that as he believed in God he could invoke god to give it all a little tweak now and then to keep it all in order.
      This same religious belief in “Many” cases held science back, as soon as the scientist invokes God he has the answer and gives up on any more. This was not beyond Newton, to explain the elliptical orbits he knocked up the Calculus over Sunday lunch (bit of Hyperbole there, I think it was a month or two). LaPlace built a solar model that was self contained and accurate without as he said “the need for the God Hypothesis” (probably apocryphal, but I love it anyway).

      His final bit says that modern science is built on the shoulders of Christian scientists, an exaggerated claim, until the last few hundred years science has been in spite of religion. The modern religious scientists, Catholic and Church of England priests amongst them, have a science without God being an essential part, but a science that does not diminish their faith, but still allows them to make significant contributions accepted by religious and non religious colleagues.

      Then, of course, we have the creation scientists, :?:

      • Michael Ross says:

        If atheism or polytheism are true, then there is no way to deduce from these belief systems that the universe is (or should be) orderly.

        If the world came into being by random chance there would be no order or science. Order and design require and intelligent designer. You may or may not accept a personal God but cosmic accident did not result in the universe. To believe that takes great religious faith.

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