Snubbing neo-Luddites

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Tue Sep 04 2001 - 09:48:28 MDT

Donor Withholds $60M for Research
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Netscape founder Jim Clark is withholding $60
million he pledged to build a biomedical research center at Stanford
University to protest President Bush's restrictions on stem cell
research and congressional attempts to ban human cloning.

``Our country risks being thrown into a dark age of medical
research,'' Clark wrote in an opinion column in The New York Times on

Clark said he was suspending payment of the balance of $150 million
he pledged in 1999 because it would be futile for private funding to
supplant federal grants. He also cited recent decisions to limit
research to existing stem cell lines.

``It now seems that creating genetically compatible new skin cells for
burn victims, pancreas cells for diabetics, nerve cells for those with
spinal cord injuries and many, many other potential advances will
soon be illegal in the United States,'' wrote Clark, a billionaire
who also founded Silicon Graphics, Healtheon and MyCFO.

``Driven by ignorance, conservative thinking and fear of the unknown,
our political leaders have undertaken to make laws that suppress this
type of research.''

Earlier this month, Bush announced a policy to limit federal funding
for medical research on embryonic stem cells. Bush, an abortion
opponent, said it was important to ``pay attention to the moral
concerns of the new frontier.''

Stem cells are created by removing an inner cell mass from a 5- to
7-day-old embryo, a procedure that kills the embryo. When properly
nurtured, the cells are able to replicate, or divide, virtually
creating what is called a stem cell line.

Clark was apparently also objecting to legislation passed by the
House of Representatives that would ban human cloning -- not just
cloning for reproductive ends but also so-called therapeutic cloning.
Such cloning would produce stem cells by creating embryos from the
cells of a single person, giving scientists an exact tissue match to
develop treatments for that person.

Construction of the Stanford facility is already under way and
university officials said Friday that Clark's decision would not
its 2003 completion target.

Stanford President John Hennessy said the university was ``saddened''
by Clark's decision, though he also expressed concern that
restrictions on stem cell research and cloning could slow development
in disease treatments.

The center will house projects that include efforts to grow healthy
organs from other tissues. Construction of the 225,000-square-foot
building, informally known as Bio-X, has been estimated to cost
around $200 million.


Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego

     Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
     but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
     (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)

We won't move into a better future until we debunk religiosity, the most
regressive force now operating in society.

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