Re: George Will on stem cell research

From: phil osborn (
Date: Thu Jan 20 2000 - 22:27:02 MST

>From:>Subject: George Will on stem cell research
>Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 09:37:25 -0800
>Conservative columnist George Will writes today about the controversy
>over using aborted fetus cells in stem cell research.
>(That URL probably won't last long.)
> > A disquieting era of genetic manipulation is coming, one that may
> > revolutionize human capacities, and notions of health. If we treat moral
> > scruples impatiently, as inherently retrograde in a scientifically
> > advancing civilization, we will not be in moral trim when--soon--our
> > very humanity depends on our being in trim.
>Unfortunately Will takes up most of his space explaining the current
>controversy, without elaborating on his cryptic last paragraph. What does
>it mean to be in "moral trim", such that our very humanity depends on it?
>One would think that the ability to turn mature cells into stem cells
>(what Will calls "undifferentiated" cells) would actually help with the
>moral dilemma. There would no longer be a need to use aborted fetuses
>for medical research or even medical therapy. Right to lifers would
>not have to balance the evil of promoting abortion against the good of
>life-enhancing medical treatments from stem cells.
>Will wrote last June about post-humanism in
> He is
>a representative of "old school" conservatism (a conservative approach to
>conservatism, as compared to the radical fire-breathing conservatives).
>As such he may be a bridge between the extremists on the far right and the
>technologists who are carrying us forward.

Personally, I was wondering about the morality of scrounging a tissue sample
from one of my personal heroines - Heddy Lamar. What a tragedy if no one
ever analyzed or cloned from her genes! Also, it's really too bad, in
retrospect, now that I learn that she was financially poor off in her old
age, that I didn't follow thru in time on my idea of convincing her to
freeze some tissue. I figured she must be rich and I would never get
through to her. Turns out I probably could have.

I suspect that there are some investors savvy enought to realize that intact
DNA from Heddy will be worth a few cool $billion in ten to twenty years when
parents start seriously using cloning or selective chromosome replacement.
It's likely that a timely visit from some intelligent cryonicists could have
convinced her to make a deal - health care and the top of the line liquid
nitrogen coffin when the health care didn't take any longer, in exchange for
enough tissue samples or maybe eggs (are eggs any good in women of advanced
Heddy had just the right techno-friendly, iconoclastic, live for the day
attitude throughout her life to have thought it a great lark at worst.

If anyone out there has friends or connections to the Florida DA or coroner,
this might be the time to ask for a favor or a tour... Even dusting around
the Lamar house or car or yard might make your fortune. But hurry!! (I'll
happily take a small gratuity - say .5% of the profits for making the

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