The blastocyst caucus was out in force today.
“I believe Barack Obama is turning the clock back and ten years ago, it sounded like embryonic stem cells were the future,” Republican New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith said on CNN. “They're not.”Yah, turning the clock back to the age of reason, to a time when even conservatives were embarrassed to admit that they had scotched the future and because they did, we should keep giving the future a shiv between the ribs whenever it peeps, "I'm not dead yet."
All this stupidity relies on the absolute belief that ensoulment happens at conception, and after that the 32 or 64 or 96 cells of the barely differentiated blastocyst are a human being. Not only is this a non-empirical religious doctrine, it's recently made up. Or, I should say, made up again after many different and contradictory incarnations (heh) over the millennia.
Never mind that conception itself has no obvious biological definition. Does it happen when the sperm penetrates the ovum? When meiosis starts? Or in a later phase? Does that mean identical twins share a soul? (And what if only one of them commits a mortal sin! Heaven or hell?)
Even more, these cell masses are flushed by the hundreds of thousands every year after infertility treatments. How is it better to throw them away?
The blasto caucus would have consigned us to the Dark Ages had they been around then.
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