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STEM CELLS
Category: Rant
Thursday, July 20th, 2006 @ 06:56 pm
Posted By Brent

First off, there is no ban on stem cell, embryonic stem cell, adult stem cell, cord blood stem cell, or any kind of of stem cell research. At all. There is no ban on harvesting them from embryos (no matter the source, in vitro clinics, etc), adults, or crack heads off the street. You can do research on any aspect of stem cells harvested from whatever you want. Then entire debate (and the recent bill) is over whether or not the federal government should fund stem cell research.

Secondly, there is no ban, much to my chagrin, on federal funded research into stem cells. The Bush administration decided that there was a cut off date in 2001 and that any research done on lines of stem cells harvested before that point were fully usable for federally funded projects. If you wonder why you can't receive federal funding for research using stem cells harvested after that point, well, Bush's target demographic are right wing Christians, and any debate about this eventually leads to the slippery slope of abortion. Not an argument I want to delve into here. Just suffice to say that you can get (grr) federal funding for stem cell research. Not only is there not a ban, you can get the government to foot the friggin' bill.

With all that said, I think stem cell research is possibly one of the most promising things to come out of medicine ever. So why do I sound vehemently opposed to any federal funding of stem cell research? I quote Samuel Broder, former researcher at the National Institutes of Health and former director at the National Cancer Institute:

"If it were up to the NIH to cure Polio through a centrally directed program you'd have the best iron lung in the world but not a polio vaccine."
That is to say the government should have no say in medical research. None. They're horrible at it. The government doesn't hire the best in the field, just look at the fucking patent office if you need any proof. Any medical research funded by the government is mainly a coosh job where nothing is expected and you ride it out until your grant is over. Have a private entity fund you and see if you can skate by with shit for results.

In addition, me being a fiscally conservative fellow, despises the idea of tax money going to fund research. Oh, you think without that money we'll never get anywhere? Oh wait, human Embryonic Stem Cells were isolated and cultured for the first time in 1998 using privately funded research, after Clinton(!!!) signed off on the Dickey Amendment, banning federal funding for any research that involves either creating an embryo, or destroying an embryo in the course of the research. Damn, how'd they pull that off?

After all of that, I still have one more reason why funding this stuff with tax money is a bad idea: if the federal government funded your stem cell research, it would be under their guidelines on how it was carried out, to what end it would be for, what spin could be put on it, and to what purpose it would serve. For example, do you think a republican administration would care if any effort went into AIDS treatment? While I'm not sure of exactaly what control they have over projects that get funded, it would be ludicrous to imagine they would hold no sway at all.

There, I'm done. Maybe I didn't change your mind, but at least you heard a semi-lucid explanation from the other side that doesn't involve when life actually begins or who gets to play God.




Comments

NAME: El Scientifico
Monday, July 31st, 2006 @ 07:33 pm
It wouldn't be worthwhile if it wasn't personal. :)
Honestly, it's complicated. I think since Einstein was government funded that's good enough proof for me. But it's true that private industry has made major advances.
I just think the dark side of the private sector is alot scarier than the dark side of government funding without better results.

The open source comparison is in relation to scientists who are government funded and free do to what research they please without commercial interference and share that research with others. Much like open source software development like Linus Torvalds except with a million dollar price tag.

You don't know me. I like most of what's on the g13. I'm a puerto rican scientist. I do hubcap research. Peace out.


NAME: brent
Monday, July 31st, 2006 @ 06:21 pm
As much as I love internet fights, I'm going to go ahead and say my final piece on this, and you can go ahead and follow up if you like, but I probably won't be responding unless your call my mom a ho.

1: I apologize for any personal attacks during this discourse, as I usually hate people who resort to ad hominem attacks, I can almost always be expected to go that route at some point.

2: We are not going to agree.

3: Yes, government funding has produced quite a bit of innovations, but my point will never actually see the light of day as long as companies can off load R&D cost to grants and colleges like MIT can fund R&D with grants then run with the patents into the private sector. We'll never see how a fully free market could materialize these innovations.

4: Yes, pharmacuetecal companies are acting like fucking satan. That's not my fault, that's a corrupt government's fault for letting lobbyists sink their claws that deep into the system. If you want to make a post about it, feel free and we can pontificate it until we're blue in the face, but that is beyond the scope of what this argument is about. To discuss it here would be like discussing the stupidy of the war on drugs at your trial for possesion.

5: For the last time, any mention by me about the founding fathers and constitutional framers was pertaining to one point and one point alone: They knew any government of any size given any power would grow to exploit that power at any opportunity. Period. I still hold that idea to be true even today, no matter how long ago it was relayed.

PS: Who the hell are you?


NAME: foo
Monday, July 31st, 2006 @ 05:23 pm
Linux Torvalds began Linux as a student. Sure, he was most likely at a public university, but I hardly think you could qualify that as government funded research. In the 10 years that I have been using Linux, Linux been on the payroll of one company or another (Transmeta etc.)

And you probably shouldn't use John's work on Hardcrawler in this argument since...er...I'm John :P

We clearly disagree on the source of innovation. Fine, it's a complex topic. But comparing our argument (Private sector producing innovation, government ultimately being an obstructive force) to flat earth theory or creationism is just silly. It's, as Brent said, a straw man.

This argument can (and has) spiraled all over the place. I usually try to focus on one topic at a time in a situation like this. Therefore I'm sticking to the Open Source thing.

Where are these government funded Open Source projects? You can certainly make the argument that the Internet itself, with its beginnings in Arpanet, is a good example of a government funded research put to good use. This is something that I think SHOULD have government funding. It is infrastructure. Roads, police, communications, etc. I am happy to pay taxes for these things.

That being said, I honestly can't think of one government funded Open Source project in the western world. China is working on Red Flag Linux (but they promised this like 5 years ago too). I know India is playing around with the idea, but I can't think of any actual implemented program.

Off the top of my head, the big projects I can think of are Firefox, Apache, PostgreSQL, MySQL, PHP, Gentoo, Ubuntu, Wine, KDE and QT. Of these, the primary developers for every one of them work for a commercial entity who pays them to develop the software. I honestly cannot think of even one government funded programmer in any of those projects. And no, I do not consider a Computer Science teacher or student at a university to be government funded unless they have received grants specifically for these projects.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I certainly have never read of a grant being awarded for one of these projects. I'd imagine it would be on Slashdot if this were a trend. And I imagine Microsoft would be lobbying to make it illegal.


NAME: El Scientifico
Monday, July 31st, 2006 @ 04:21 pm
read this:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17244


NAME: El Scientifico
Monday, July 31st, 2006 @ 04:19 pm
""And by the way, the reason you think government funding would produce superior results is the same reason I think it would produce inferior results: they don't have to answer to anything.""


First of all the reason our founding fathers came to America and started a war is so they wouldn't have to answer to anyone. They were under a monarch who had a monopoly of power over everyone and was taxing the colonists to finance britain. The colonists weren't trying to escape a government they were escaping a despot and they weren't trying to escape taxes they were trying to escape taxation WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.
Did you graduate from high school?

You are right though. Everyone roots for the underdog. The individual scientist funded by the government isn't more special than a big corporation who has profit margins to worry about. But who does big pharma have to answer too?
Not their pocketbooks!

They have patents on the drugs, and if there wasn't government funded labs there would be no new discoverys to compete with in the science market aside from the 6 other drug companies who all essentially lobby together anyway.

Unfortunately, science companies can't be started up in a college dorm room like software companies. They require large investment and expensive equipment. That's what your tax dollars are paying for. A million little potential buisnesses. It keeps the science market free and competitive and the big medical research companies worrying about what every other major industry (like tennis shoes or peanut butter) has to worry about: competition. And hopefully keep health care and pharmaceuticals from turning into the petroleum industry.
I hope that wasn't too complex of an argument for you to understand.

Second of all: A scientist does have to continually keep making progress and publishing his research in science journals or his funding is cut and he looses his job and his lab. It's that simple. Publish or perish. And there's a huge glut of scientists waiting for the money who will do a better job.





NAME: brent
Monday, July 31st, 2006 @ 12:12 pm
You're right. Everything is so different and advanced now that we just need to sign our entire paychecks over to the government every two weeks and have them decide what we need, they do know what's best for us. You truly are a product of your retarded generation.

In addition, your argument has officially jumped off the radar. People write open source software because they have a genuine interest in it? Yes, that makes it privately funded. Just because David is smaller than Golliath doesn't make him instrisically better, it just makes him the underdog, and people love underdogs.

And by the way, the reason you think government funding would produce superior results is the same reason I think it would produce inferior results: they don't have to answer to anything. But then again, according to you, only people working on grants are people who actually enjoy working. Everyone's happier suckling the government teat.

"Good news though. On this issue you are in the same boat as other like minded people. People who think the world is flat and that evolution doesn't occur. Other people who ignore the weight of the evidence and facts but who share their own grand philosophy."

Man, that little strawman sure is ugly, go ahead and beat the shit out of him, it won't hurt me any.


NAME: El Scientifico
Monday, July 31st, 2006 @ 12:17 am
That's complete bullshit! The VAST majority of open source software is originally developed by computer scientists like Linus Torvalds on their own because they couldn't afford the expensive poorly made stuff by the corporations. How much is John getting for hard crawler? He's doing it because he loves it. And you can bet that if he interferes with the big bad corporations he would be up shit creek.
Do they care if you're doing it better than they are?
Did Caldera welcome a better made sister software to unix with open arms? Hell no they tried to sue the crap out of Torvalds. I think it was for a billion dollars.
That's the real world for you. Not this idealistic philosophic conservative bullshit from the year 1700 that you all have. Before monopolies. Before sweat shops. Before environmental pollution. Before turning the all of America into an abercrombie and fitch strip mall.
Corporations are about money that is all. Not innovation, not progress, not human rights, not improving of the world.

The reason you think corporations would be so good at science research is the same reason is the same reason I think they would be so bad at it: They have to compete to make money. But in your naive thought process you neglect to consider the possibility that maybe the huggable corporations in addition to making advances in science would also work to stifle any competition ESPECIALLY if it is a better product than theirs. And they would have lobbyists in Washington to make sure they do.
Does this ring a bell: "The internet is a series of tubes."

Good news though. On this issue you are in the same boat as other like minded people. People who think the world is flat and that evolution doesn't occur. Other people who ignore the weight of the evidence and facts but who share their own grand philosophy.


NAME: foo
Friday, July 28th, 2006 @ 04:07 pm
Open source software?!?!?! Dude, you are in the wrong fucking place if you think you're going to be able to pass off bullshit about Open Source. The VAST majority of major Open Source software is privately funded by corporations. You can find mozilla developers, wine developers, ad infinitum employed by the big bad evil corporations.

In fact, OSS is having a very difficult time getting acceptance into the "government space" due to lobbying money from Microsoft et al.

So exactly WHICH OSS projects are being funded by government grants? Just what in the holy fuck are you talking about?


NAME: mc
Wednesday, July 26th, 2006 @ 08:11 pm
I think Brent won now, I want my Five dollars!


NAME: brent
Wednesday, July 26th, 2006 @ 06:52 pm
"...he IS ALLOWED to patent it personally. And the private company comes in and produces it. It's the absolute best way to sustain innovation."

"Commercialization stifles innovation holmes."

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/self-contradiction

"We're not talking about the 1700's here when the founding fathers were around and a horse and buggy with doors was amazing technology. We're talking about 2006 when a single instrument for medical research costs half a million dollar."

This doesn't even make sense. So, in a hundred years when this hypothetical device is no longer cutting edge technology, will your argument be null ex post facto? Besides, my original statement about the founding fathers had to do with a personal philosophy about the role of government, and nothing to do with whatever point you're trying to make there.

"If you're against government funded research then you are against open source software..."

This is the most horrible analogy ever seeing as open source projects are contributed to by employees of, and financed by, IBM, RedHat, Novell, The Mozilla Foundation, Google, GNU, Sun, ad infinitum. You think Linus Torvalds lives off of government grants?

"If you had only private companies developing products they would NEVER share their discoveries or even publish any of their discoveries for other scientists to use. You're naive if you think so"

I don't think so. I think that private companies would patent their discoveries and market them exclusively until that patent expires and then the free market is allowed to market and improve upon it. Which is exactally what happens. Hell, Viagra isn't even expired yet and you already have Cialis and Levitra (not that I'm comparing boner pills to cures for Parkinsons).

"You actually may come from the same school as the population of the dark ages when the governement just kept all the publics money. "

No, I come from the "don't take my tax money and use it on shit that 'El Scientifico' wants to use it for without letting me have my say in it" school.

"I'm sorry. I said the first aids drug's' were all government funded.That includes not only AZT but also almost every other aids drugs currently in existance.

http://www.cptech.org/ip/health/aids/gov-role.html "


Wow, a comprehensive list of how people are patenting and making money off of shit that my tax money paid for. Amazing.

"Also why would a private company try to find a cure for a disease when they are making so much money on people who already have it?
That's not smart buisness sense to cut out your customer base."


The govermment must have followed the same philosophy with their AIDS medications that you insist they made. In what cases did they deliberately bury results in order to bilk people out of money (and remember, absense of evidense isn't evidence of absence). Who in their right mind wouldn't want the money and prestige that would come from your company finding the cure for diabetes?

"And the wonderful example of your conservative buisness philosophy Kenneth Lay probably would have also."

Now all you need to do is compare me to Hitler and we can wrap this up.


NAME: scott
Wednesday, July 26th, 2006 @ 02:34 pm
I'm thinking drug companies are in the business of creating new diseases.

Restless leg syndrome, anyone?


NAME: El Scietifico
Wednesday, July 26th, 2006 @ 12:13 pm
I'm sorry. I said the first aids drug's' were all government funded.That includes not only AZT but also almost every other aids drugs currently in existance.

http://www.cptech.org/ip/health/aids/gov-role.html

Also why would a private company try to find a cure for a disease when they are making so much money on people who already have it?
That's not smart buisness sense to cut out your customer base.

Shit, I'd think a private company would be researching new diseases just as much as cures.
It's got a whole world before it to create lucrative new markets.
That's what I would do if I was a CEO. And the wonderful example of your conservative buisness philosophy Kenneth Lay probably would have also.


NAME: mc
Wednesday, July 26th, 2006 @ 01:37 am
I got $5.00 on Brent!


NAME: El Scientifico
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 @ 10:54 pm
You obviously have no idea how government funding works. A government grant gives a scientist money. The scientist uses that money to work and publish and share his research to further his career.
If along the way he develops a product he IS ALLOWED to patent it personally. And the private company comes in and produces it.
It's the absolute best way to sustain innovation.

We're not talking about the 1700's here when the founding fathers were around and a horse and buggy with doors was amazing technology. We're talking about 2006 when a single instrument for medical research costs half a million dollar.

If you're against government funded research then you are against open source software because government funds are the only way scientists can raise the enourmous amount of money to do what they do without strings attached and share their research with others.

If you had only private companies developing products they would NEVER share their discoveries or even publish any of their discoveries for other scientists to use. You're naive if you think so. Commercialization stifles innovation holmes.

You actually may come from the same school as the population of the dark ages when the governement just kept all the publics money.



NAME: brent
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 @ 10:54 am
I think you highly underestimate the level of corruption in the government as well as the complete incompetence of everyone in it at every level.

Holy fuck! You're going to use AIDS treatment AND patents in the same fucking argument?

First off, yes AZT was made using federal grants, for cancer in like the 50's or something, and guess what, it didn't fucking work (I bet that guy still liked his job and enjoyed going to work everyday). Also, even though it was made with your precious federal funds, it's fucking patented by GlaxoSmithKline. Man, you're right, the goverment apperently does everything right.

Look, you're never going to agree with me because you come from the wacked out school of thinking where you imagine the government has done something else with our money besides prove time and time again that they are completely inept. You think we should hang all of our hopes and dreams on what they can accomplish for us. They are our knights in shining armor.

I come from the same school as our founding fathers who set up our systems of checks and balances because they knew, historically and from experience, that any installed government has a natural inclination towards complete incompetence and missuse of the public trust.


NAME: mc
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 @ 01:20 am
good pic of Van Gogh's Starry Night!


NAME: El Scientifico
Monday, July 24th, 2006 @ 07:28 pm
You are insane! The first aids drugs, the first cancer drugs, the first tuberculosis drugs, the first antibiotics including pennicillin, NUCLEAR POWER. All government funded research. You were wrong about birth control too, government funded.
As a matter of fact almost every major medical discovery in modern history was made with government funding. All the commercial interests do is buy the patent and produce the product. The reason being is that in commercial research the corporations focus on near-term commercialisation possibilities that will make them money rather than "blue-sky" ideas or technologies.
A scientists entire career is determined by how much work he's done demonstrated in his published research. His publications determine his ability to get a job(private or commercial), his ability to get funding, essentially his ability to survive.

Why would a scientist spend 8 years of his life devoted to one subject and then get a government grant and fuck off? I think you undestimate people who actually like their jobs and enjoy going into work every day.


NAME: Brent
Friday, July 21st, 2006 @ 11:41 pm
Please, for every federally funded advance in technology that you can name, I can name 10 privately funded ones. Television, cars, airplanes, radio, electricy, birth control, tacos that you can stand up, etc, etc. Stop regurgitating shit you heard on NPR or from your professor and start thinking for yourself.

Besides both examples you give are products of the industrial-military complex. Those people have deadlines and contracts, that doesn't apply here.

Just because there have been successful federally funded advances in tech doesn't make it the rule. Do you really thing the government can do a better job than people who actually have a stake in progression? I don't care what side of the debate you are on, you have to realize that the federal government is a huge, bloated, corrupt, ineffective, and incompetent tax burning machine. Look a few weeks back in my archives and check out an ananlogy of the internet made by a man who is in charge of regulating it.


NAME: El Scientifico
Friday, July 21st, 2006 @ 01:52 pm
Basically every single Nobel prize winner ever has had government funding. You need to make a distiction between commercial science and basic science research which advances the knowledge of the human race but has no immediate commercial purpose like the discovery of DNA's structure.
Look at the microchip industry and the internet ALL originally government funded research.


NAME: shit
Thursday, July 20th, 2006 @ 07:43 pm
Fuck dat. Superman is dead because of Bush maaaaan.


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