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To cure sickle cell in mice just add skin -- no embryos necessary

DailyTech has long covered developments in stem cell research -- everything from using the stem cells in practical medical research to creation printable blood vessels to using the cells in more outlandish experiments such as the human-sheep "chimaera," which sounds like something straight out of The Island of Dr. Moreau

Most importantly new research allowed for the creation of pseudo-stem-cells from somatic (differentiated) cells, via an induction process.  The research was first pioneered by Japanese scientists and later confirmed by American researchers at Whitehead Medical Center in Massachusetts.  This new non-embryonic technique has the reluctant blessing of traditional stem cell opponents, including U.S. President George W. Bush and the Catholic Church.

The cells are dubbed induced Pluripotent Stem cells, iPS cells for short.  Last month it was shown that the cells could be created as easily from human skin tissue as mouse skin tissue.  Further, the research showed that the iPS cells behaved like true stem cells and could differentiate into the more than 200 types of cells in the human body.

Now scientists have completed groundbreaking research which gives an exciting glimpse into the tremendous potential the synthetic creation of stem cells can hold.  Researchers at Whitehead have used the artificially created stem cells, created from mouse skin tissue, to cure mice of sickle cell anemia, a potentially fatal inherited disease.   The research is published in the journal Science and is titled "Treatment of Sickle Cell Anemia Mouse Model with iPS Cells Generated from Autologous Skin."

The research
sounds so good that many might wonder why the scientists at Whitehead are not rushing to put the process to work curing human disease.  The reason for Whitehead's reluctance is that they are trying to change aspects of their creation approach in order to make it human safe.  Researchers currently utilize genetically modified viruses in the induction process.  The viruses have the potential to trigger tumor growth in healthy mammalian tissues. 

"The big issue is how to replace these viruses", commented Rudolf Jaenisch co-leader of the research at Whitehead, in an interview with the Washington Post.

The current treatment method uses multiple rounds of viruses to modify genetic behavior of the cells.  The first round of gene-modified viruses induces the cells to behave like stem cells.  Next the scientists used a gene splicing technique to snip out the undesirable sickle-cell gene and replace it with a healthy gene.  Finally the scientists used an additional round of viruses which induced the cell to develop into a bone marrow cell.

The marrow cells were injected into the mice with sickle-cell and anchored in the bone marrow and began to release healthy red blood cells. 

"All the parameters we can measure are now normal," Jaenisch enthused. "The mice are cured."

Hopefully the researchers can modify the technique to avoid tumor induction as the potential of curing sickle-cell disease would help save many human lives.  In humans sometimes sickle cell is treated by a bone marrow transplant, but only 20% of humans have a donor close enough to them to allow for a safe transplant.  And over 20% of those who do receive transplants experience failure, often resulting in death.  However, bone marrow created from a modified version of this process would be completely safe as the cells are genetically identical to the donor.

In the mice radiation was used to kill the bone marrow of the mice, but in humans chemotherapy drugs such as Idarubicin and Cytarabin can be used to kill the bone marrow in a less caustic manner.  In mice 80 percent of the marrow cells now are the genetically healthy cells and they have experienced no tumor growth.

George Q. Daley, a stem cell researcher at Children's Hospital in Boston, said the test was proof that human clinical applications of iPS cells were feasible.  He said,  "There will be lots of unanticipated setbacks before we end up in the clinic, but this work suggests that we will ultimately get there."

Jaenisch surprised some by emphasizing that despite his group's success, research on embryonic stem cells should be pushed ahead, not halted.

"All the progress in this field was only possible because we had embryonic stem cells to work with first.  We need to make more ES cells and really define which are going to be the best ones for different applications," he said.

Regardless, for stem cell proponents and opponents alike, this new research demonstrates a exciting process that may someday hold the cure for human diseases such as sickle-cell anemia, Parkinson's Disease and diabetes.

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By daftrok on 12/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Huzzah!
By ImSpartacus on 12/8/2007 8:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
Lol, well that's a more brutal way to look at it, but I hope this new method avoids protesting.

I bet there's still someone that will protest, lol.

RE: Huzzah!
By baseball43v3r on 12/8/2007 9:02:23 PM , Rating: 1
there will always be somebody protesting something.

RE: Huzzah!
By Ringold on 12/8/2007 9:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
Bitter much?

RE: Huzzah!
By Flunk on 12/8/2007 9:46:09 PM , Rating: 1
Gee, it's a good thing this "God" fellow doesn't exist then isn't it? Might as well claim that this offends the Care Bears.

RE: Huzzah!
By Pythias on 12/9/2007 2:58:06 AM , Rating: 2
How about you get raped and pregnant and see what your views are then!

Why create two victims where there was only one before?

RE: Huzzah!
By clovell on 12/9/2007 9:51:52 AM , Rating: 3
They're not dead bodies. They're human embryos. Many people regard them as living people. Furthermore, there's nothing for anti-abortionists to 'take' here - anti-abortionists win. They stopped federal ESC funding and forced technology to be developed down a path that is acceptable to all parties - and more beneficial than ESC as it is genetically identical to the donor.

On another note, wishing rape on anyone is sick and uncalled for, and I gaurantee you that if you said that to my face, the only view that would change would be yours - face down on the pavement.

RE: Huzzah!
By sweetsauce on 12/9/2007 11:55:01 PM , Rating: 1
You said it yourself
Many people REGARD them as living people.
Meaning, its an OPINION. An OPINION based on religious FAITH, which should never affect government policy. Its a damn embroy, not a life. An embroy still requires sperm to become a leech, and that leech isn't a life until it can live on its own.

RE: Huzzah!
By emarston on 12/10/2007 8:47:11 AM , Rating: 2
By your form of logic all babies(that have been born) and really toddlers are leeches. Without someone to provide them food they would die. Heck many parents would say the same of their own offspring until they are finally out on their own. Or you could say that about people in Intensive Care who cannot survive without the help of life support equipment. These people in many cases make a full recovery, but I guess they are just leeches when they are unable to live on their own.

Whether you want to believe it or not an embryo is a human. It just happens to be a part the steps we take to develop as humans. Nothing more and nothing less. Just because we give something a name there is no science proving that it isn't a human. Oh and just a thought, but it does have a heart beat, a brain, really all those organs we all have as adults (just not fully developed).

I just laugh (sadly) when I hear people argue about things due to it being convenient. Either way when I look at the sonogram of my unborn child waving it's little arms and legs around and hear it's heart beating, I'll never understand why someone could think of a little unborn baby as anything other than human.

Argue what you will, faith, for me has nothing to do with it. I've seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears through the use of science to form my thoughts on the subject.

RE: Huzzah!
By theapparition on 12/10/2007 12:22:47 PM , Rating: 5
We kill life daily. All of us. We kill animals and eat their flesh, or murder plants to digest thier starches. Walking across the grass kills hundreds of invertibate life. We are all killers and we live from the death of other living things.

Sounds pretty harsh when put this way, but it is the truth.

So where do you draw the line? That's the question, and I'm not going to even atempt to adress that here.

My issue with "organized" religion is that they are constantly changing where the line is. It was OK for knights to kill during the crusades. It was OK to kill non-belivers. It was OK to burn witches. So "morality" has signifigantly changed over the millenia.

Your reasoning about toddlers is out of line. That toddler, or newborn for that matter, can be raised in any household, in another country for that matter. A 1st trimester ebryo can't.

And I also support that we should be able to euthenize terminally ill people.

While I personally don't like abortion, or would recommend it as an option to anyone, I think that it should be a leagal and safe option for one who choses it.

What astounds me is the number of people who are against something when its not them. How many people against abortion changed thier minds when its they who has to make the choice? How many against the death penalty until a loved one gets murdered? We love telling other people what to do, but no one wants to tell us what to do. Funny?

Coincidently, the majority of people who are anti-abortion also support the death penalty. So its OK to kill, but it's not OK.
The majority of people who are anti-death penalty are also pro-choice. Go figure?

Me. Leave me alone to make my own decisions. Don't tell me what I can't do. I think everyone else just has too much free time on their hands.

RE: Huzzah!
By clovell on 12/10/2007 12:12:37 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, no, dude - the point is that your view is just as much of an opinion as mine. Defining where life begins is an axioms - something that can't be proven on its own - it's taken for granted.

By the way, an embryo is already fertilized and doesn't require sperm. For having such a strong opinion on the matter, you sure are misinformed.

Daily Tech Reporting Style
By zaki on 12/8/2007 10:40:51 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know if im just being impatient, but it seems like more and more news on dailytech starts off with an overly long background/introduction, and by the time i get to the real "NEWS" im already bored out of my mind after reading a high school type essay introduction.

it would be nice to keep these news updates to just the news, and separate the whole story into feature articles (it sort of used to be like this before, but now even small news updates begin with 3-4 paragraph long background info).

really taking the fun out for me, i like my news quick, thats why I liked dailytech reporting.

RE: Daily Tech Reporting Style
By KristopherKubicki on 12/8/2007 11:35:29 PM , Rating: 2
Point taken. It has to do with the research style we push here: the authors are stressed to find previously related material before diving into a story.

I agree though, sometimes its easy to lose focus of the present article though. I'll see what I can do about that.

RE: Daily Tech Reporting Style
By Alexvrb on 12/9/2007 11:55:07 AM , Rating: 1
So... you've decided to cater future news articles to someone with the attention span of a 6-year-old who lacks the ability to skim articles?

I'd rather you had links to your source(s) at the bottom of every news post, and maybe less unsupported additions like "reluctant blessing". That seems like a better idea than shortening your articles.

RE: Daily Tech Reporting Style
By retrospooty on 12/9/2007 12:47:43 PM , Rating: 2
LOL - you will never make everyone happy.

Just be happy yourself that your site gets alot of hits. You guys are doing something right.

Anandtech (and now dailytech) has been my start page for over 10 years (from navigator to communicator, to explorer to firefox), and I am a picky SOB ;)

By KristopherKubicki on 12/9/2007 1:42:18 PM , Rating: 2
Point taken.

RE: Daily Tech Reporting Style
By zaki on 12/10/2007 1:13:08 PM , Rating: 2
yeah i mean i can see how this new style is better "reporting" but god knows we dont want to emulate the CNNs and FOX news channel.

one good example is BBC they have a very great style of writing in my opinion, and have very direct information.
Only in rare cases do the authors express their own feelings or extra information.

RE: Daily Tech Reporting Style
By T4RTER S4UCE on 12/9/2007 3:51:39 PM , Rating: 3
I just skip to the comments section. Im able to peace everything together through Savage Potatos ramblings, daftroks complaints and retrospooty's... retrospootyness.

RE: Daily Tech Reporting Style
By retrospooty on 12/10/2007 9:55:37 AM , Rating: 2
LOL - I'll take that as a good thing (also part of retrospootiness) ;)

By SilthDraeth on 12/9/2007 11:20:59 AM , Rating: 4
I know a limited amount of people, like my uncle for instance, that I would call a true Christian. He doesn't belong to any denominational church, but he reads his Bible, has faith in his Lord, and does honest work. He believes most "Churches" are blasphemers, bordering on being cults.

I personally believe the Catholic church is the larges cult religion in the world. The commit atrocities in the name of God all the time, and use it to manipulate people. The same with a ton of other churches.

True Christians in my opinion just want to have their faith, and be honest in society. They expect the same back, irregardless of the other persons faith, or lack of it. They don't hold God over your head to try and control you, or scare you.

That is my take, and I count myself a Christian, but I also believe in evolution, and science. Being a Christian is about salvation, faith, grace, love, honesty. There is nothing in there that denounces science.

The nice thing about it, is if you believe in a God that is all powerful, then that same God that created life etc, also created the Universe, and all the laws of science, and mathematics that apply. You can't disprove the existence of God using the laws of the universe created by that same God.

By retrospooty on 12/9/2007 11:38:53 AM , Rating: 2
You make some very important and good points.

Christianity as a religion is very positive. No one could argue that the teachings of Jesus are good and fair and pure. He was a great man, who taught peace and love.

Christian churches on the other hand have perverted his values so badly that it gives the whole religion a bad name.

I agree with you about science vs religion. Evolution happened, no doubt there... The question of faith is not "did god pop us into existence 7000 years ago", but "did god create the universe and the laws of science that allowed us to evolve into what we are today"

By clovell on 12/10/2007 12:19:13 PM , Rating: 3
That's your opinion, but remember that the Catholic Church compiled the Bible.

You throw a lot of dirt with very few examples. There is a lot of good that the Catholic Church does.

Prefacing inflammatory and unsubstantiated with 'I personally believe' doesn't innoculate them. If your okay with your religion, then don't bash mine, please.

By SilthDraeth on 12/10/2007 1:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I am not ok with your religion. It does not mean I am not ok with you. You may be a perfectly decent human being. But that does not mean I have to be ok with your religion.

By clovell on 12/10/2007 5:05:49 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not asking you to be okay with what I believe, I'm asking you to not make inflammatory remarks and duck behind the guise of opinion.

By SilthDraeth on 12/11/2007 10:33:39 AM , Rating: 2
Well I can't claim my remarks are facts, because I can't even claim my own beliefs are facts. So I claim them as opinions, they are what I believe to be facts, but believing something does not necessarily make it true. I am not ducking behind anything.

Our tax dollars at work?
By Fnoob on 12/8/2007 10:34:06 PM , Rating: 2
Gee, I would hope not.

I'd much rather the $50K/yr I throw them go to waste management in Iraq.

RE: Our tax dollars at work?
By sweetsauce on 12/9/2007 12:31:52 AM , Rating: 2
I rather my money go towards abstinance courses, since those seem to work so well....

RE: Our tax dollars at work?
By Alexstarfire on 12/9/2007 4:03:21 AM , Rating: 2
Or the Catholic Church could encourage the use of condoms, or at least not condemn them.

RE: Our tax dollars at work?
By clovell on 12/9/2007 9:57:50 AM , Rating: 3
I don't want to start us on another tangent, but the Catholic Church has some very good reasons for not doing this. You may not agree with them, but it's not an arbitrary decision. By the same token, the Catholic Church does allow for natural methods of birth control, which can be used just as effectively if not moreso than a condom and provide ancillary benefits such as lower divorce rates.

The main reasons, though, are theological, and most people aren't going to agree with them. To each his own.

RE: Our tax dollars at work?
By Ringold on 12/9/2007 1:18:43 PM , Rating: 3
The main reasons, though, are theological, and most people aren't going to agree with them. To each his own.

I can see debating politics, as DT comments often end up doing -- at least issues there are quantifiable and in theory should revolve around clear and present issues. All these posts dealing with religion, though.. what, do these trolls (in some cases the same people who tithe to the Holy Church of Global Warming) think they're going to finally settle any aspect at all of issues going back tens of thousands of years? :P

And furthermore, does any of it even matter outside ones public life? To a degree this is no different then attacking gays. Saying religion is categorically useless is just like pointing out homosexuality is useless in an evolutionary sense. It's clearly not useless in the private life of people, and it doesn't impact much how they perform as members of society.

It's not stem cells people are opposed to..
By sqrt1 on 12/9/2007 12:30:56 AM , Rating: 2
Statements like this.
"traditional stem cell opponents, including U.S. President George W. Bush and the Catholic Church."

Are not of the caliber of daily tech.
I am not aware of ANYONE that is against stem cell research. The only issue is the sourcing of the stem cells.

This is why most of the developments in usage of adult-sourced stem cells are vastly under-reported - there is no controversy - therefore no media hype.

RE: It's not stem cells people are opposed to..
By sweetsauce on 12/9/07, Rating: 0
RE: It's not stem cells people are opposed to..
By sqrt1 on 12/9/2007 1:35:17 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, could you back that up? (it would be news to me) Even this article states:

"This new technique has the reluctant blessing of traditional stem cell opponents, including U.S. President George W. Bush and the Catholic Church."

which seems to indicate that not all stem cells are "sacred".

By Ringold on 12/9/2007 1:46:21 AM , Rating: 2
Of course he can't; he's mindlessly trolling.

The ethical disagreement has always been purely about the use of embyros; those taken from skin, therefore, will likely have the same number of people, and same type of people, in opposition that still question the Moon landings.

To him, though, I'd point out he was a leech, and unless he happens to be in an above average income tax bracket, may very well still be a leech. If leechs are bad in his view, and the connotation of 'leech' isn't often kind, then I'd suggest a high bridge or half a dozen bottles of Crown Royal.

He sounded every bit as balanced as the same types of extremists who, on the other end of the political spectrum, bomb abortion clinics.

By sweetsauce on 12/9/2007 11:45:25 PM , Rating: 1
You can dance around the facts all you want, but the most promising research was done using embryonic stem cells. The fact that we've lost years of research because scientists had to search for a work around to appease the current administration is a crime in itself.

By clovell on 12/9/2007 10:23:36 AM , Rating: 3
Stem cells aren't embryos. Who's shrooming, again?

We're almost there...
By fxyefx on 12/8/2007 10:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
"Immortality: take it, it's yours!!!"

RE: We're almost there...
By Pythias on 12/9/2007 2:54:49 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed. It's a brave new world.

RE: We're almost there...
By gradoman on 12/9/2007 2:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
Until I remove your head. /quickening

Differences in Stem Cell Research/Treatment
By AggressorPrime on 12/9/2007 11:31:50 PM , Rating: 2
You have embryonic stem cell research, placenta stem cell treatment, and adult stem cell treatment. The Roman Catholic Church supports placenta and adult. The Church does not support embryonic because it uses live human beings who have not been born yet. Of course to use them, they have to kill them. Reasons for this go even beyond this. As seen in my use of words, embryonic stem cell research is still research. It simply doesn't work. The cell changes unpredictably and therefore fails to do its task. Many times it becomes cancerous. It simply fails to work. On the other hand, placenta and adult stem cell treatments have been proven to work. They do what they are supposed to do and can be used to treat anything. Moreover, there is nothing ethically wrong about them. So when you say Bush and the Roman Catholic Church opposes technology, think again. Bush and the Roman Catholic Church support progress, not an expedition to nowhere that along the way kills people in the name of atheism. Moreover, you should note that this is not just a religious issue. It is a moral issue which means it involves atheists too. The ethics of the preservation of life affects everyone. No one deserves to die because someone wants to force their agenda. The people pushing embryonic stem cell research are either ignorant of its failure or are so driven by their liberal agenda that they could care less about the thousands they sacrifice to spread cancer and greater death among those looking for hope.

RE: Differences in Stem Cell Research/Treatment
By SilthDraeth on 12/10/2007 1:04:41 PM , Rating: 2
I would of rated you up, except for this quote "Bush and the Roman Catholic Church support progress, not an expedition to nowhere that along the way kills people in the name of atheism. Moreover, you should note that this is not just a religious issue. It is a moral issue which means it involves atheists too."

First, you say embryonic is done in the name of Atheism, which it isn't. But then you say it isn't just religious, but moral, so it involves atheists.

Atheism, versus any religion is a religious issue. The only issues that they have with each other is the belief in a deity. Subsequently, the belief in a deity has nothing to do with your moral character. There are tons of criminals that are both religious and atheist, as well as vice versa. Pro life atheists, and pro choice, same for any other religion. Believing in a deity does not actually mean you will obey the laws, or adhere to the beliefs of that religion.

By AggressorPrime on 12/10/2007 4:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
What I'm saying is those who actually respect their authority, namely the ones who follow the teachings of the Pope, are against embryonic stem cell research. The only logical defence against the Church is that the soul does not exist sense even believing it exists would bring up the question of when it is instated. It is unknown and therefore one must not try to guess and therefore must call life to begin at conception.

Modified Virus'
By shamgar03 on 12/9/2007 12:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone else a little concerned about the use of modified virus'....especially ones that can cause tumors? Like a virus like that got out in the wild it would be pretty bad right?

RE: Modified Virus'
By Cogman on 12/9/2007 6:48:08 PM , Rating: 2
not really, I don't know the details of this particular virus, but it is very possible that it only targets sickle cells, the only person that would be in danger is on who is entirely comprised of said sickle cells.

You have to understand that there are literally billions (maybe even billions of billions) of viruses out there, each day you come into contact with millions of them. The human immune system is really quite good to the point that only thousands will actually (noticeably) effect us and among them only hundreds of them are usually fatal if untreated. and even then, most of those are not extremely contagious.

Wow, Just Wow
By MrHanson on 12/9/2007 2:16:18 PM , Rating: 2
I knew an article like this would spawn a ton of "christianity and religion has held us back" threads, that it is just sad. It seems like the high priests of the church of Darwin are in full force these days. Did Christianity ever keep Charles Babbage or Verner Von Brahn in the dark ages? There is even a famous quote by Albert Einstein:

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

So please stop on all these anti-Christian/religion spewing threads. It's only making you look misinformed.

RE: Wow, Just Wow
By AggressorPrime on 12/10/2007 4:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
Great quote. If you look at the Roman Catholic Church, she does not reject science. She embraces what works. She didn't always have this history, true, but that is due to the careful nature for which she operates. Now, the Catholic Church is one of the leading promoters of technology. Pope John Paul II was the example of this as he was the one who connected the beauty of science with the mystery of religion as feeding off of one another as Eintein stated long ago. Science can't explain everything since it is limited by time. Religion, by recognizing that the world operates as a spaceless and timeless equation understands the origin of existance, the statement all human beings know and can only know, I am (or I exist). This statement is the foundation of choice, for at first it is the recognition of existence, of the ability to think without the bonds of predetermined action. The ability to identify one's own existance is what makes humans human and finds no origin inthe physical world, for it is most unnatural to know anything.

By Silver2k7 on 12/10/2007 6:24:27 AM , Rating: 1
Finally ye yoke of ye churche lifted lol

I find it disturbing that religion still have any kind of power to disturb science in this day and age.

RE: Finally
By werepossum on 12/10/2007 6:24:34 PM , Rating: 2
Let not religion interfere with the true purpose of science, which is of course creating a race of immortal mice.

Good News
By clovell on 12/9/2007 10:28:02 AM , Rating: 2
I'm glad to see stem cell research progressing to a point where we can get closer to having some of the actual treatments in humans that have been heralded.

It's also great to have news on this issue without having a cross-country debate on it.

it's hard to argue evolution
By knowom on 12/9/2007 1:23:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think the fact that all land dwelling animals and plants require water is proof enough that everything on this planet evolved from the sea not god science disproves religion on so many levels it isn't even funny. The only reason religion still exists and believed is people in power use it to brainwash other people for there own political needs.

By Noya on 12/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: Religion:
By retrospooty on 12/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Religion:
By ImSpartacus on 12/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: Religion:
By retrospooty on 12/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: Religion:
By bunnyfubbles on 12/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: Religion:
By Samus on 12/8/2007 11:46:29 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sure if we spent the money we spend on the military elsewhere, it would have far greater benifit to civilization. Military contracts have a habbit of being inflated, and often don't even meet the research or construction quality of honest civilian contracts.

RE: Religion:
By therealnickdanger on 12/12/2007 9:05:08 AM , Rating: 2
Look at mandatory versus discretionary spending. You'll be amazed at how well our military operates, despite it's poor funding compared to other services that just hemorage cash.

RE: Religion:
By KristopherKubicki on 12/8/2007 11:32:12 PM , Rating: 2
There's a lot of evidence that also suggests we'd still be in the stone ages without religion.

Organized religion may take the backseat to science and discovery today, but there are lots of examples of fallen civilizations that occurred because or concurrently with the loss of religion.

The Anasazi cave-dwellers disappeared in conjunction with a the failure of a prophecy of rain. The Khmer Empire nearly collapsed after god-king Suryavarman II's death, which is why Angkor Wat is unfinished.

That isn't to say maybe as humans we need to look beyond religion once in a while. There aren't a whole lot of Positive Christians anymore, and nobody would argue that that's a bad thing!

RE: Religion:
By nosfe on 12/9/2007 4:19:28 AM , Rating: 2
and how the aztecs got wiped out because instead of fighting the crusaders they considered them *and* their horses gods and then died because of small pox

RE: Religion:
By therealnickdanger on 12/12/2007 9:06:09 AM , Rating: 2
That's because they had poor medical science, not religion.

RE: Religion:
By KernD on 12/9/2007 4:35:37 AM , Rating: 4
Your example are rather bad, if there had been no religion, there would have been no rain prophecy that would have failed. If they didn't think the king was a god, his death would have been less a tragedy to them.

The real positive impact of religion is that it unified people under a set of guidelines under fear of god, at the expense of others and there freedoms.

It just one more system of control, one more human invention, one more lie to tell when you don't know the answer to a question. I think we are evolved enough to accept the fact that we don't know everything, and be organized. We need no god's law, we have our own laws.
The origin of the 10 commandments is just that, they needed a code of law and had none, what better way to convince your people to follow the law than tell them it's GOD's laws and if you don't follow them you will be damned, cursed and whatever. Men can lie to each other, cover the truth about there crimes, but not from God, how convenient...

God's are a great invention, but a deprecated one.

RE: Religion:
By gradoman on 12/9/2007 2:37:34 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't you hear? Earth is the center of the universe. Get with the program, buddy. Okay, they've come a long way since then, but Copernicus only just recently got some praise for his achievements. Too bad he's somewhat dead.

RE: Religion:
By Shining Arcanine on 12/9/2007 12:33:51 AM , Rating: 3
A study showed that five percent of all major scientific advances throughout known history have been made by Jesuits, who are members of a religious order within the Catholic church.

Crop rotations were introduced by Jesuits. Major advances in seismology were also made by Jesuits. I believe major advances in astronomy for purposes of navigation were also made by Jesuits. The Jesuit order was established in the 16th century and was persecuted for two centuries in which they could not accomplish much work.

Georgor Mendel, an Augustinian monk in the Catholic Church is the father of modern genetics. He is the one that discovered what we now know to be genes and he would have never done so if it had not been for his work in the monastery with pea plants. If there was no monastery, he would have had no pea plants to observe.

During the dark ages and middle ages, monks worked to preserve the bulk of knowledge from the Roman Empire. Such information preserved mathematics and enabled Marin Mersenne to do his work with mersenne prime numbers. His work enabled mathematicians to discover that every number of the form 2^n - 1 that is prime corresponds to a perfect number of the form 2^(n-1) * (2*n - 1) and that all perfect numbers are of that form. If it was not for him and the work of those monks that enabled his work, we would not have GIMPS today.

Furthermore, many of the greatest scientists in the world were religious. If it was not for religion, they would not have had the state of mind necessary to accomplish their work. Such scientists include Albert Einstein, Carl Fredrich Gauss, Issac Newton and Blaise Pascal. With the exception of Einstein, who was Jewish, all of the scientists (and mathematicians if you consider Newton's and Gauss' mathematical accomplishments) went to mass regularly. If you do not believe me that religion gave these people the states of mind necessary to do their work, look at the gallup poll, which shows a clear correlation between good mental health and mass attendance:

RE: Religion:
By sweetsauce on 12/9/2007 12:42:38 AM , Rating: 2
LOLOL this made my day.
Crop rotations were introduced by Jesuits. Major advances in seismology were also made by Jesuits. I believe major advances in astronomy for purposes of navigation were also made by Jesuits. The Jesuit order was established in the 16th century and was persecuted for two centuries in which they could not accomplish much work.
Funny how those same jesuits have access to libraries of ancient text that have "mysteriously" been missing from historical evidence. Do some research before you spout crap like this. I think the Sumarians or perhaps the Babylonians might take offense to your comments.

RE: Religion:
By Lonyo on 12/9/2007 6:46:29 AM , Rating: 2
People have also been doing forms of crop rotation since the ancient Greek times (500 years before Jesus was around). The Jesuits invented time travel and kept it a secret?

RE: Religion:
By retrospooty on 12/9/2007 10:46:14 AM , Rating: 5
Shiney was right about Georgor Mendel - He was a monk and did sort of spawn modern genetics research with his observations and experiments on peas, but to say religion caused this is kind of off... The guy was studying what happened to peas when interbreading with other peas with diff charachteristics it wasnt like it was part of his religious work. In addition to his curiousity, he just happened to be a monk.

The rest of his post is kind of "iffy". The catholic church with their book burning mentality destroyed alot of vital scientific info gathered by greeks and Romans setting us back 1000 years until these things were discovered again (info such as the fact that the earth is round and the sun is the center of the universe). Not until the renaissance did true scientific discovery start again.

RE: Religion:
By KristopherKubicki on 12/9/2007 3:17:12 AM , Rating: 2
I was actually about to bring up the topic about Jesuits and math. Good points.

RE: Religion:
By TSS on 12/9/07, Rating: -1
RE: Religion:
By clovell on 12/9/2007 10:19:50 AM , Rating: 3
> religion is forcing people into a structured living on the punishment of *eternal* damnation. it's a form of control based on fear, more precisely forcing fear onto people so they don't deviate from the set pattern.

I'm not sure where this is coming from, but I don't live my religion out of fear. Also, structure is a good thing.

> those who do, will be punished, the spanish inquisition showed that. also, those in power want to remain in power, as shown by christians and muslims, "kill the infidels", or the crusades in short.

That was a long time ago. Times change.

> here's a difference between beeing a catholic and beeing a devout cataholic (:P). the parents have the decision to baptize their child or not and in those days it was very abnormal to have them not baptized. hell my dad doesn't belive anything in the form of god but he was baptized, since even in my grandmother's day it was still normal. was it really god or rather their own intelligence to give them the mindset they needed? i know for a fact that if my dad would have belived in god he would've been held back in his music making. good thing that didn't happen.

So, through this crystal ball of yours, religion is proven to be a very bad thing, eh? That's your call there, slick, but I'm not buying it.

> besides for every great man that was affected by religion i can show you 1000 stupid ones that are a lot more dangerous. besides that, how many great future scientists did religion get rid of, because they where of another religion?

On the other side of the same coin I can say 'How many great future scientist did a split from religion get rid of by legalizing abortion?' We can play numbers all day.

> there has been no greater greed then the catholic church, claiming to follow jesus's lifestyle of poverty and giving to the needy with golden chandeliers. the gluttony of their priests has also yet to be matched, spouting fat monks in a time where food was scarce. lets skip lust, but priests/young boys should say enough, it's not normal to hold it all back. since the definition of sloth has evolved over the years (one of the sins evolving?!? yes. consistency people.) i can't really think of a case, save maybe their adaptation of technology (Galileo, and other scientisis pursecured and burned for their CORRECT also later by the church adopted beliefs). there has been no greater wrath then the christian one, i think even god's shocked at this point. and envy? well i can't think of that one right now, i'll bet somebody else can though.

First, the Catholic Church gives more money to worldwide missions annually than any other organization in the world. As for celibacy, it works just fine - Catholic priests have about the same rate of child abuse as third grade teachers. That in no way excuses their horrendous actions, but it does show that there are lots of good priests.

> as wikipedia tells me... pride is biggest sin of them all. and the biggest source of pride on this planet right now is religion. just look at the riots when you show Mohammed's face. it's the muslim pride of their profit. christians have it as well, the ban on stem cell research, no abortions, no eutanism... it's the pride of their precious book telling them what to do that causes that.

Uh, no. It's the belief that all life is sacred and worth defending. Very simple concept that has zero to do with pride.

> the world would be better off with religion, there isn't a question about that. however people are not better off without beliefs. i just wish that in this day and age such a mass of people didn't need to belive in something they can not see, hear, toutch, smell or taste and has yet to leave any evidence in history that it's there, save for the word of 1 man.

There's been a lot more than the word of 1 man. You need to give that crystal ball a rest - not only do you not know what the world would be like without religion, it doesn't do us any good to talk about something like that.

> i smoke weed (don't worry i'm dutch it's legal) however i take every precaution to make sure nobody gets even a whiff of it, simply because i don't think they should suffer because of my nasty habbit (to put it simple). why on earth do i have to suffer from yours?

Good for you. How is my religion hurting you? My opposition to ESC is my right in my country. I also think an embryo is a life, so your 'habit' or 'beliefs' also cause suffering from my point of view.

RE: Religion:
By retrospooty on 12/9/2007 10:54:59 AM , Rating: 3
I think the main point he was making is that religion divides humanity far more than it unites us. Most major wars have been fought for it, most unnatural deaths that have happened are due to it. Scientific advances have been stifled by it and ignorance prospers from it.

There are many christians that are humble and do not force thier views on others, and good for them... But from what I see in history and what I see currently in this country is that most christians look down on non christians and see them as lesser people. This holier than thou attitude is very destructive -just ask the 6 million people Hitler killed for his beloved christianity. That mentality lives on in our country today and it scares the hell out of me.

RE: Religion:
By Etsp on 12/9/2007 7:47:13 PM , Rating: 4
With the concept of religion causing wars, religion is most often just a convenient excuse that allowed the masses to accept and embrace a war... If there had never been any religion, I'm sure there would have been a similar amount of wars, but they would have had to find a different excuse to start it. Religion is usually an excuse, not a cause.

RE: Religion:
By AggressorPrime on 12/10/07, Rating: 0
RE: Religion:
By retrospooty on 12/10/2007 9:21:44 PM , Rating: 2
1. They do not protect against STDs.
Umm, yes they do, maybe not 100% effective, but 99% is better than zero.

2. They fail 10-30% of the time.
Thats a load of crap. Condoms are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy each year of use. This means the whole year, not 2% of each sexual encounter, but 2% for each years worth of sexual encounters amongst sexually active couples
(not your average teen that scores once in a while)

3. They make sex less meaningful.
Well, that is true, but sex with a condom is better than sex without risking death or unwanted pregnancy.

Here is a link for you. Please put down the bible and get the facts straight.

RE: Religion:
By clovell on 12/12/2007 2:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
This is a late comment, so retro probably won't get the chance to respond, but I just wanted to add that the 98% figure for condoms is an 'ideal use' number - meaning that when they're used correctly condoms fail 2% of the time. Real-world numbers are generally lower than 'ideal use' figures.

RE: Religion:
By SilthDraeth on 12/9/2007 11:10:52 AM , Rating: 2
If there was no monastery, he would have had no pea plants to observe.

So at that time pea plants only existed on monasteries. That is good to know.

RE: Religion:
By AvidDailyTechie on 12/8/2007 9:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
I don't like to bash other people's POV or anything but that's a pretty catchy line... it's like BEEF:... but more profound :-)

RE: Religion:
By Avatar on 12/8/2007 9:43:13 PM , Rating: 5
What does this have to do with religion? It's about stem cells. Are you trying to say that every single non religious person in this world has no moral compass? If that's the case, all the immoral people in this world is gonna cause so much suffering and hatred that the crusades will look like nothing in comparison. Next thing you know, everyone will be saying "having no religion is holding back civilization" because everyone will be miserable and people like you will be laughing from insanity...

RE: Religion:
By AggressorPrime on 12/8/2007 10:06:26 PM , Rating: 1
Without religion, man holds no purpose. They fall back to their animalistic instincts and therefore have no future. It is relgion that allowed the Greeks and Romans to conquer the world and spread their ideas of justice. It is religion that allowed the Judeo-Christian churches to hold onto their classical heritage, inspire art, and move forward in technology. Technology is meaningless without religion, for the purpose of technology is to understand the meaning of life. You can't understand the meaning of life if you don't believe there is a meaning to life.

RE: Religion:
By retrospooty on 12/8/2007 10:26:53 PM , Rating: 1
wow, that is wrong and misguided on so many levels. I dont know where to begin. Lets just say that is your opinion.

Judeo-Christian church held back technology so bad it created the dark ages... setting technology back 1000 years.

As far as meaning to life - You CAN beleive that life has a meaning even if a god is not in the equation.

RE: Religion:
By KristopherKubicki on 12/8/2007 11:33:25 PM , Rating: 5
The leaders of Judeo-Christian church held back technology so bad it created the dark ages... setting technology back 1000 years.

Fixed that for you.

RE: Religion:
By falonofthetower on 12/9/2007 10:35:05 AM , Rating: 2
Um, actually the dark ages were created by the barbarians who came in and wiped out Rome etc. The period that followed was possible only because the Christians did much to preserve the writings and then spurred on the great technological advances that followed.

RE: Religion:
By retrospooty on 12/9/2007 10:59:32 AM , Rating: 5
No, wrong. It started with the sacking of ROme but that was not the 1000 year ordeal called the dark ages.

The church surpressed science and people, and furthermore re-wrote your beloved bible to match their own agenda. They killed people for scientific research for the next 1000 years, if that research led to any conclusion other than the world is more than 7000 years old and is the center of the universe. 1000 years later when the renaissance started and the church eased up on the scientist killing then, things started to flow again.

RE: Religion:
By clovell on 12/12/2007 3:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
The church translated the bible, it did not radically alter its content.

The original Bible was compiled under duress, as many gnostic factions used highly embellished accounts of the New Testament to bend it to their will. A council was called of all the bishops and cardinals to put together a manuscript which would be officially sanctioned for Christian instruction. Later, books were found that were so widely used and accepted that they were considered canon, but another council was required to formalize this. Councils were usually only called in times of overwhelming need.

The deutero-canonicals were printed with the original canon for hundreds of years without incident, up until the beginning of the reformation, at which point the church realized that officially including these books in the canon was indeed, more than a formality. However, the original canon was left intact, as were newly canonized deutero-canonicals.

RE: Religion:
By rninneman on 12/8/2007 10:44:31 PM , Rating: 2
Whoa, I think your getting ahead of yourself. Technology is allowing me to look at lots of porn right now and that has nothing to do with the future or understanding the meaning of life. Although I forgot, religious zealots don't like porn.

On a more serious note, your view is biased because you firmly believe in your religion. (Which is fine.) But what works for you is not necessarily universal. I for one am not religious nor do I believe in a higher power in any form yet, I have found meaning in life. I have found a path to self-actualization that does not involve religion. If your path does require religion, thats great too. Just don't kid yourself that religion is source of all greatness in the world.

RE: Religion:
By Scorcher on 12/8/2007 10:57:17 PM , Rating: 2
Classic church vs enlightenment argument, The "enlightented" educated people have been putting up with this crap for far too long.

RE: Religion:
By AggressorPrime on 12/9/07, Rating: 0
RE: Religion:
By ziggo on 12/10/2007 12:16:35 AM , Rating: 5
to think that religion has a monopoly on giving people a purpose in life is arrogant and blind. I do no not need the threat of a supernatural decision that decides my fate to infinity do drive me and give me purpose.

I care for the world because I have the desire to leave it a better place than I found it. To leave humanity in a better situation than I was born into. I can gain satisfaction from this effort in THIS life.

I do not consider myself a fatalist, and I may someday develop into one, but the choices we make are based on what we have experienced at the time of the choice. For someone with a logical and sequential mind like mine this develops into an understanding that if I were given the chance to make the choice again, knowing the same things I did before, I would make the same decision as before. For someone that is not as logical maybe this does not hold.

I do not believe however, that someone knows my path before I do.

We do not in any way understand all the things that make the brain function, but if it really is only flashing neurons, then I am alright with that fact. I do however have at least the illusion of choice, and certainly a purpose in life, without religion.

RE: Religion:
By AggressorPrime on 12/10/2007 4:39:05 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you want to leave this world a better place after you die than before you found it? What is in it for youself? Don't you see? That very statement is a proof of choice. No logical being would put the world above himself unless if doing so is a calling from some unnatural purpose. Without consideration of an afterlife, this makes divine purpose ever more recognizable.

Logic from the physical world dictates: Do what is best for oneself, be it help the world or not. (Not: Do what is best for the world, even if it hurts oneself in the longrun.)

RE: Religion:
By OrSin on 12/12/2007 2:24:20 PM , Rating: 2
Are you insane. The thought of make the life and world better for those genetical close to you is found in every animal the exist. Ants will die for thier colonies. Mothers will fight for thier offspring (all species). So wanting better for the world and the people in it, comes from a greater being? I guess ants and dogs have souls now too. Please that level of crap is little much. And for the record Christain made not a since dicovery in it first 1000 years. All they did is translate the writings of other cultures.

RE: Religion:
By sqrt1 on 12/9/2007 12:25:17 AM , Rating: 2
I think you mis-typed - you meant to type:
instead of

as the url..

RE: Religion:
By geddarkstorm on 12/10/2007 1:28:02 PM , Rating: 2
If science had just gone forward with embryonic stem cells without looking at alternatives, we wouldn't have this incredible, and much more powerful, breakthrough now. Using unrelated genetics verses your own, identical cells, is words different and far more problematic. Now that we can turn our own cells into stem cells, regeneration technology will be a lot easier without the worry of rejection, weird genetic events, or stem cells causing tumors as has been observed with embryonic ones (popular science had an article all about that awhile back). This is truly a much greater breakthrough; and amoral investigations would never have lead to such alternative thinking.

You need to learn more about the scientific process: it's been around since the Greeks and was never set back as much by religion as people would want to believe. Does the sun revolve around the earth, or the earth around the sun? Without a telescope, and just standing on the ground and looking at the sky, it's impossible to prove in any scientific way which one is happening; absolutely impossible because it is a relative issue (you can't tell who's doing the moving). That is until technology enabled observations of other planets and their moons orbiting them. And even then the Copernicus system stated the rest of the universe revolved around our sun as well as the earth and the planets. And again, all this only started once technology got to that level. Science can only go as fast as technology, but once it's there, nothing can stop it.

As for religion, politics is what corrupts it and uses it to dark ends. Politics starts wars due to Man's lust for power, influence, resources, and the like. The crusades were a political issue wrapped in religion to motivate the masses to get that major trade city, Jerusalem, which sat at the cross roads of several major routes. The Galileo events were also political, not so much about his observations. There's a Princeton University lecture series about the history of Religion and Science, and it concludes that it's only a modern day phenomenon that the two have become at odds with each other for the majority's part; it's not historical and religion has not been holding back civilization. One must not confuse religion with politics (i.e. using religion as a thinly veiled excuse to kill any challenges to your power in ways contrary to its teachings) or political systems (i.e. the feudal system which probably developed in part out of the Roman governance system for provinces once its central government fell, and it was the feudal system which did most of the harm of the "Dark Ages", though science was still progressing all that time).

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