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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Biotech/Bioethics Potpourri



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Here are few stories I saw today that are worth noticing.

1. Canadian scientists have cured mice with Type 1 diabetes using a substance that counteracted malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas. This is the second experiment in recent years that cured mice with juvenile diabetes, and both are ready for human trials. The first experiment, by Denise Faustman at Harvard, used a similar substance and adult stem cells. Perhaps that is why she is having a tough time getting the money for human trials. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has, so far, has refused to fund it, even though it put $1 million into the passage of Proposition 71, which creates a state right to clone in California. This second experiment also has nothing to do with embryonic stem cell research, so we will see how much support its researchers receive. Also, Canada bans all human cloning, yet lo and behold, there is good biotechnological research going on.

2. Cloned cat has kittens: The first cloned cat has had naturally conceived kittens. So did Dolly and have other cloned animals. The point is that SCNT is a form of mammalian reproduction--asexual reproduction--in which the cloned mammal begins life, just as in sexual reproduction, as a one cell zygote. This is true of humans too, even though the junk biology purveying political-scientists pretend that it doesn't.

3. The UN has agreed to a treaty to protect the disabled: Among its provisions, is Article 25 (f) that is intended to "prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability." Hmmm. Sounds like a shot across the bow against Futile Care Theory, and seems a lot like the Nebraska Humane Care Amendment. I am going to look into this further and perhaps write about its provisions and import at some length.

This much is sure: The issues we deal with here at Secondhand Smoke are going to continually grow in importance and controversy in the coming year.


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