The passing of a man who was both himself an author as well as the onscreen portrayer of many authors' fictional characters makes me very, very sad. Christopher Reeve had made such wonderful progress and I thought if anyone could find a cure for such an affliction as his, he could. All of the very best thoughts and feelings to his family and to his many loyal, devoted, wonderful, and supportive fans around the world!
Wow, and I'd just recently read an article on him in Readers' Digest. How sad!
He was such a fighter. I always admired that about him. I truly thought the day would come where I would see him walk again.
I was impressed by the grace he was able to manifest (at least in public). In spite of the circumstances he found himself under, I felt he handled his appearances with grace and charm. Very impressive.
I was sorry to hear that he passed away. Also, Jacques Derrida should be mentioned. Two great men dead over one weekend. Pity.
Good reminder, Translator. I forwarded the announcement of a Derrida's passing and a brief summary of his work to my philosophy class. A significant modern thinker, no doubt. He had some intellectual enemies, but what significant innovator doesn't?
Reeves hoped one day to walk. Because of him and his undying support of stem cell research, others may be cured. And walk. Now that's a legacy.
Don't forget Kenneth Bigley, and many others.
Green Shadow. Why should frozen embryos be given a chance to walk? They are not a person, legally speaking.
If a farmer, who relied on his crops for his family to live on, had thirty bushels of corn seed in his barn, and you said to him that it didn't matter, these corn in the barn, because they really are not corn, but were just seeds, well, he would probably lock you off his property permanently. Wonder what the precentage of farmers think that way about embryos?
Small promise for the future is envisioned for these unborn. Because you would have to have a concept of what is really there, that is not seen, which is a baby. I throw away a parakeet egg, I'm throwing away lots of work in cleaning the cage, buying extra seed, and perhaps having hours of enjoyment with knowing the little fellow. It is not only a promise of things, but the promise is all already there, given love. The stem cells the President Bush has okayed, were already from destroyed embryos. He simply doesn't want to destroy more under his watch. And yes, thousands and thousands are frozen, and with bills unpaid and disinterest from many of the parents, some now seperated or divorced, they will soon become unfrozen. Ethical implications abound like never before.
Why don;t you read a bit about stem cells and cloning, library? If you did, you would realize that nearly every cell in our body is a potential embryo. Babies could be made from you cheek cells. If you are against using stem cell research, you should be against cutting nails, shaving, or amputating gangrened hands and feet.
Translator. Interesting point. Since God took mud to make man, I'd say better not walk outside. You may trample on some unsuspecting individual in the garden, especially since from mud God made a person without a childhood, fully grown. Anyway, it's oh so natural, isn't it? Pluck an eyebrow and look around for a new way to procreate. In fact, why not put a fingernail and a toenail from some else, mix it together in a canister, and put some wheels on it so it pipes around town like a living breathing tin can. Wow! Let's mix together some veggies while we're at it and have trees with 'souls' in our backyard. Heck, they're supposed to talk with each other already. So why not add, thru our ingenious mixings, with some lips and lungs and a set of vocal chords while we're at it. Hey, this is science! This is a new world ahead. What the heck. God didn't do a very good job of everything. Look around! Let us give it a shot. Whatta you say, Translator?
Two recommendations inspired by the last couple entries on this thread:
(1) Ray Bradbury edited a collection of short stories years ago that included a story by Roald Dahl, "The Sound Machine" where a man creates an invention where he can hear the sounds of plants. When people edge their hedges or mow their lawns, he hears these horrendous screams. A great story the Library's entry reminded me of.
The book is: TIMELESS STORIES FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW. Ed. Ray Bradbury. Bantam, NY. 1961. (My copy cost $.75!!!!! And it has not fallen apart! Oh, how sweet it was. I could go to McDonald's and get a hamburger for $.25, fries for $.25 and a shake for $.18. What a life!)
(2) When Bush was elected, Dolly had recently been cloned. If you can clone a sheep, odds are you can clone a person. But should you? Bush put together a team of scientists, doctors, theologians, bio-ethicists, philosphers, etc. and told them to define the issues and make some recommendation. The resulting book is fascinating and does away with the simplifications of both sides. These questions are complex and the ethical issues arising from them are complex. If the subject is of interest, I recommend the book:
HUMAN CLONING AND HUMAN DIGNITY: THE REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON BIOETHICS. Leon R. Kass, M.D., Chairman. Public Affairs, NY. 2002. ISBN: 1-58648-176-2
It's ignorant attitudes such as yours, libRArY, which inhibit important scientific research. Two of the worst and greatest misconceptions about stem cell research are that its proponents are:
1. In favor of destroying the innocent and defenseless unborn, and
2. Some sort of mad scientist freaks intent on creating life through Frankensteinish means.
Celebrity proponents of stem cell research, such as Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox, besides suffering from their own disabilities, have had to suffer the attacks brought on by such ignorance. Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox are each the father of three. They have no interest whatsoever in destroying anyone's unborn children. They only wish to discover a cure for people with their own and similar problems.
As Christopher Reeve explained in a special aired awhile ago, DNA from the specific area of a person wishing to be treated is taken from that person and placed in an UNFERTILIZED human egg. The egg and the donor cells are the ONLY ones involved--that is, spinal cord cells turn ONLY into other spinal cord cells. If they were to sit in test tubes in that farmer's barn till doomsday, they would NOT develop into an unborn child OR a Frankenstein monster as they simply don't contain that potential--any more than a donated liver or kidney would turn into an entire person given time! The stem cells cloned from this are then placed back into the afflicted area to regenerate. Results on some Parkinson's Syndrome patients have been dramatic, and there is hope for treatment of spinal cord and brain injuries IF valuable research weren't blocked by Bush and similar primitive-minded, backwards buffoons!
There was also an advertisement (aired, I believe, during the Academy Awards Ceremony on which Christopher Reeve appeared) showing him walking via computer animation. Naysayers attacked it as morbid and gruesome, as if people in Mr. Reeve's condition walking again was as impossible, not to mention inadvisable, as reanimating a corpse. When I saw it, I immediately (like any true Bradbury progeny) said, "NO, that's not morbid, that's Science Fiction! You must IMAGINE the achievement first in order to be able to DO it!" Such connections make this topic VERY relevant to a Bradbury board!
Sure, as Ray has warned so often, there's always the chance of misuse of any dramatic new development, so we musn't be overwhelmed by science, but it IS very important to get SCIENCE to work for US!
Again, the issue is not that simple. Persons who support this research are not child-killing sadists; but those who oppose it are not primitive-minded, backwards buffoons, either. Issues of human life -- abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, stem cell research -- consist of elements that are heavily laden with emotional, religious, and yes, scientific complexity.
I think we would all do well to approach subjects like these in the same spirit Justice Blackmun manifest in his opening comments in the Roe v Wade abortion ruling:
"We forthwith acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires. One's philosophy, one's experiences, one's exposure to the raw edges of human existence, one's religious training, one's attitudes toward life and family and their values, and the moral standards one establishes and seeks to observe, are all likely to influence and to color one's thinking and conclusions about abortion."
These are not simple ideals subject to slogans and platitudes.
"The hand of God creates, it does not conceal. God created the monsters, too. And he wants everything to be spoken of." William of Baskerville, in THE NAME OF THE ROSE, p. 478.
The issue is using embryo stem cells.
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