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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

No Morality In Stem Cell Veto

Going to go politico for a bit. Lighthearted readers looking for funny pictures and snarky analysis related to electronics, please standy by.

President Bush is poised to veto a bill which would effectively overturn his own executive decision to limit funds for stem cell research. He does this despite being far removed of the mainstream on the decision. He says he does it out of moral imperative.

Let's get one thing clear: his veto will not save a single embryo. Not a one. Thousands of embryos will be discarded in fertility clinics around America regardless of his actions. Bush may claim his actions aren't political, but it doesn't take much to realize that's all his decision actually amounts to being. A political show of force for the political fringe which has tipped elections in his favor.

Not many people, even in real life, know this - but I'm a spiritual agnostic. This will seem to many a contradiction of terms. That's why not many people know this about me. It's not that I'm shy about it - it's that I'm generally too lazy to explain it. The most succinct description I can give is that I feel that fundamentally speaking the supernatural is beyond normal understanding. I would even suggest that it's in the definition of supernatural. If I can claim complete understanding of something - it's probably natural. Spiritually this is something of a double edged sword. I disavow being enough of an authority to believe completely ... but I also don't accept anyone else's authority.

It's not that I think everyone else is wrong. I just certainly don't think they're completely right. Again, it's easy to confuse this with athiesm ... simply because there is a healthy does of cynicism involved. I can only assure you that in my heart of hearts I hold the opposite. I am highly respectful of deeply spiritual people and quite often somewhat envious of their faith. For me, devout faith would be a kind of resignation. However, I don't deny that someone else out there might still be more of an authority than I am ... so for all I know I'm missing out on one giant religious party.

That rambling explanation is meant to explain one thing: death freaks me out. I know that's not a terribly unique position. Death is pretty scary stuff. Many people, though, have the comfort of faith. Dogs go to heaven. Sinners will get what they deserve. Nirvana is pretty nice this time of year. That kind of thing.

I have none.

So when I say that I think this is one of the most immoral actions Bush can take - I don't want anyone to be confused that I'm some ultra-rational liberal who has never given thought to the loss of life. I don't even like killing bugs, people, and not because I'm afraid of them ... but because I think it's cruel. No, I say that because to stop research which has any potential to solve problems like cancer and Parkinson's is nothing short of barbarism. To do so simply to bank political credit is outright sinful.

Bush and his kind often like to speak of the "slippery slope", especially when logic and facts stand before them. They talk about harvesting embryos and women farming off their young. Despite the fact that nobody is realistically considering this ... it's their defense. It's similar to the gay marriage defense of "we don't want people to think they can go marry a dog". Well, thanks. Way to defend the nonexistent line.

Years from now ... that defense may be responsible for killing a cancer patient. Bush accuses the proponents of this bill of exchanging human life for science. Clearly, he has no problems with exchanging human life for his own political agenda. Science versus faith? I live in that grey zone.

Science versus Bush's agenda? Not even a contest.

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Citizen Wii said...

First, Josh, I echo what you feel about spirituality. I can only hope to one day achieve the same kind of inner peace that some folks have through their own faith. But, I'll take my "agnosticism" in a bit of a different direction by mentioning that I am also of the belief that spirituality is a very private affair that occurs between one and one's faith, which should make it pretty clear what I think about organised religion and the presence of religion in government.

Anyhow, it's important to note, just like you pointed out, that not all these embryos are TORN FROM THE WOMB THROUGH THE EVIIILS OF ABORTION. The fact is that most of the stem cells which were hoping to be harvested come from already "dead" embryos.

It's funny how we can stomach an autopsy, but not this.

Josh said...

Right, we've got many embryos as part of the fertility process which will simply be destroyed. If they want to put limits on how that transaction could made, ok, let's talk about that. To simply cut federal funding from these stem cell lines completely is ridiculous.

On that echo, my distrust with organized religion mostly comes from when I feel it's meant to supplant true spiritual insight. Listen to the preacher on TV instead of making your own voyage, that kind of thing.