The Next Space Race: Human Engineering
by, 4th July 2010 at 08:04 PM (2320 Views)
Make no mistake - this is a race.
A race not only to discover a cure for some of the most debilitating, vicious diseases known to us, but also to re-define what it means to be human.
In 2001, president Bush allowed federal funding for stem cell research on stem cell lines that were not obtained by unethical means, ethical being a term of his own personal definition.
September 2006 he went on to veto a bill that would grant funding for other, more promising stem cell lines.In August 2001, Bush announced that his administration would allow federal funding only for research on about 60 stem-cell lines that existed at the time. Researchers have since found that many of those lines are contaminated and unusable for research.
The political firestorm that followed emphasized the fact that the stem cell lines were scheduled for destruction anyway, and would never be capable of implantation in a human being. However, as I see it, this is not really a debate about politics. At least, it really shouldn't be a debate about politics. This issue was used as a political tool, for the most part, to galvanize support from pro-life voters who were gearing up to vet a republican candidate in the upcoming elections (McCain/Palin)."This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others," Bush said Wednesday afternoon. "It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect. So I vetoed it."
And that's the last of the political component that I'm going to talk about.
What the real meat of the issue is time and brain-power. While we were arguing over the ethical permissibility of stem cell research over here, other countries have been studying all kinds of stem cells at full capacity for years before we decided to step into the game, and that time, those 8 years that we lost, may have cost us the future.
Flying in from as far away as Tennessee and Pennsylvania, many of these Americans have traveled to China with disabilitating conditions such as spinal cord injuries and cerebral palsy in hopes that Chinese businessman, Sean Hu, may hold the key to their recovery.
Hu and his company, Beike Biotech, believe they can offer these Americans what they can't get at home: the promise of stem cell therapy.This article is referring to a specialist who left the United States for Singapore to pursue his research, something that is becoming alarmingly common in many industries as of late.
Truth be told, this should be frightening. More frightening than the supposed war on terror we've been fighting for the past decade.
This scientific development, this landmark occasion in the history of human-kind will be a milestone that measures the end of the road of humanity's susceptibility to disease. What happens if such technology is discovered, and subsequently owned by a government that has already cemented its stance on human rights issues by enforcing a limit on the number of children a citizen is allowed to have? Can it be trusted to use it responsibly? Can it be trusted to use it ethically?
Despite the fact that safe, sustainable technologies currently exist to prevent widespread water contamination, air pollution, and space exploration, the Chinese government has shirked responsible use of high technology in favor of the cheap and dirty methods.
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/Scienc...sp?NewsNum=931However, the total number of objects from this single incident reaches into the tens of thousands. NASA estimates that the number of debris fragments larger than one centimeter exceeds 35,000.
"Any of these debris has the potential for seriously disrupting or terminating the mission of operational spacecraft in low Earth orbit. This satellite breakup represents the most prolific and serious fragmentation in the course of 50 years of space operations,” said NASA’s Nicholas Johnson, Chief Scientist for Orbital Debris at the space agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
My answer is a solid no. At this point, I trust no government other than those of Iceland, the European Union, or the United States (in that order) to responsibly develop and use the technology to alter human stem cells to cure disease.
The United States had already lost much valuable time debating the politics of this issue. I wonder where our space program would be if a similar amount of time was lost debating the moon landing?
(Next: Most common arguments to the contrary "Why don't we let private industry take care of it?")