Sunday, December 20, 2009

Spheres of Little Influence

Last week the Detroit Free Press editorialized that the voters’ approval of embryo-destructive stem-cell research in Michigan should not be thwarted by “burdensome rule-making.” (“The People’s Will”, Detroit Free Press). Some state legislators are trying to put limits on that research, for ethical reasons, but the Free Press thinks that the standards the researchers have placed on themselves should be enough.

The Free Press is impatient for the miracle cures promised by John Edwards. To clear up any misinformaiton, they editorial helpfully reminds its 3,000 readers:

“Embryos, or spheres containing about 100 undifferentiated cells, are used.”

Now, one of the hollowest of leftist charges is that anyone daring to be skeptical of the man-made global warming theory, or who believes the material world is the result of an intelligent creator, is anti-science. The really smart people, they tell us, are not only pro-science, but are especially scientific in the way they reach their opinions. That’s why they should be ruling over the rest of us.

But how has their record been, really? The same side is adamant that anyone who still suggests that human biology recognizes only two complementary sexes, male and female, is a gibbering bigot. The same team that congratulates itself for being pro-science recognizes no fewer, at last count, than 5 distinct “genders,” and probably more yet to be discovered, or at least, acted out. The same brainiacs who are keening that the planet has a fever, swore to us thirty years ago that overpopulation would reduce us to cannibals by 2000, if the Ice Age didn’t kill us first.

Yet the Left’s most glaring instance of anti-science has been the utter refusal to recognize the thoroughly uncontroversial scientific consensus over when human life begins. As far as I’m concerned, no one who expresses agnosticism over whether or not life begins at conception has any right to lecture me about empirical science.

Certainly a lot if it is simple dishonesty by people who know better, but aren’t going to have their agendas sidetracked by any inconvenient truths. But we shouldn’t be too quick to rule out genuine anti-science ignorance. One would expect a generation educated in schools where science had to become secular leftism’s handmaid to lack the needed for close observation and drawing conclusions from evidence without reference to ideological preconceptions. It was the American public school system, I believe, that spoon-fed baby-boomers on the myth of the “population explosion.”

I don’t know how else to explain how the former living President most widely recognized by Americans for his braininess, Bill Clinton, could have made the following remarks on stem-cell research earlier this year:

“Clinton: I think – the answer is I think that we’ll work it through. If – particularly if it’s done right. If it’s obvious that we’re not taking embryos that can – that under any conceivable scenario would be used for a process that would allow them to be fertilized and become little babies, and I think if it’s obvious that we’re not talking about some science fiction cloning of human beings, then I think the American people will support this….”
In the 1970s, abortion proponents dismissed the fetus as a “blob of tissue,” the better to persuade mothers to dispose of them as waste products. Denoting a human embryo as a “blob” wasn’t science, of course. It still isn’t. It’s only a cynical trick to reduce the value of the unborn to zero.

Apparently, the embryo that was only a “blob” in pro-abortion orthodoxy is getting elevated, at least at the Free Press, to a “sphere” for purposes of supporting embryonic-destructive scientific research. That’s somewhat of a promotion, since a blob sounds like an accident, whereas a sphere almost sounds like some design hours went into it. Not that anyone’s suggesting design was involved, you gibbering bigot! But we have to describe what is unique about it so you’ll understand why it’s so valuable to scientists.

My point is that the Free Press needs to suggest that destroying embryonic “spheres” is as morally harmless as popping a balloon. But this isn't science. Nor does this kind of thing fairly convey the potential and complexity of the thing. (In fact, the “blastocyst,” as the little thing is known in its spherical stage, is actually not yet an embryo.)

But to return to my point, the Free Press is hardly being scientific trying to fake us out that all that’s at stake is the equivalent of a period-sized meatball. There are spheres, and then there are spheres. An ophthalmologist could tell you that your own eyeball’s just a sphere containing viscous fluid, and then ask if he can gouge it out to further his research on mirror-coated contact lenses. You wouldn’t think that was a fair description of your baby blue.

As a middle-aged former blob and current sphere-in-process boasting millions of cells, I speak out for spheroid- and other-shaped humanity when I say that no scientist worth his Z-Coil shoes would ever think he was finished with a description of a human blastocyst by just saying it was a sphere containing about 100 undifferentiated cells. Science would describe the origin of this entity, and what it was likely to turn into if allowed to follow its proper course, among other fascinating things--maybe like we all started out that way, even Free Press editorialists. If science were truly allowed to speak without the interference of agenda-driven advocates, it would say we were looking at a human being in its earliest stages.

If these little spheres were so unremarkable, people wouldn’t be fighting so hard, and willing to pay so much, to procure an endless supply of them.

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