Ken Tremendous is Feeling Punchy

Mose dressed as fear in the "Initiation.&...

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Ken Tremendous was the snark king of the baseball blogging world and I love him for it. He now keeps his sarcastic quips to 140 characters or less these days, having retired from Fire Joe Morgan; the blog that set the gold standard of snark for the rest of the baseball blogging community. He’s a busy guy these days, either writing funny stuff for sit-coms or playing Cousin Mose.  So I hope I’m not coming across like a jerk, because I usually enjoy the guy’s work, but every now and then Mr. Tremendous veers into the realm of politics, and I can’t let this one go by without commenting. And I can’t keep my comments under 140 characters, so all seven of you get this enthralling blog post.

If this turns out to be true, everyone who opposes stem cell research should be punched in the face.

Call together the face-punching mob, they have some work to do. The link goes to the story about a patient with AIDS in Berlin who has been cured through a stem cell transplant. Now let’s cut the bull-dookie Mr. Tremendous is seemingly assuming. (Watch out! Christianese cursing happening here!)

Being pro-life clearly does not mean you’re anti-stem cell research. This is a caricature that paints pro-lifers as anti-science yokels who are universally anti-stem cell research, without even taking the time to notice the distinction between adult, cord blood and embryonic stem cell research. In fact, many in the pro-life camp champion stem cell studies of the former sort. And waddya know? Low and behold, the man in this story was cured by stem cells donated by an adult.

What we as pro-life peeps are against is one kind of stem cell research that we believe requires killing defenseless human beings so that others may allegedly benefit. But human embryos are not human beings, right? I’d say that they are, and I don’t have to appeal to my faith in the bible to make that argument.

We all like science, right? Well, science tells us that from the earliest stages of development, embryos are distinct, living, whole human beings. Yes, they have yet to grow and mature, but they are still whole human beings. I’m not just making this up, leading embryology textbooks make this assertion. Embryologists Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller write,

Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed…The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity.”

This isn’t anything new, we’ve known this fact for years. Before advocating elective abortion, former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Alan Guttmacher was befuddled about how any educated person would confuse this fact.

“This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge” – Life in the Making, 1933.

The gist of it is that science tells us you didn’t come from a zygote, you once were a zygote. You began as a human being and will remain one until death.

Then there are the philosophical questions.  What makes human beings valuable? Does a size of a person, or their level of development, or their environment or degree of dependency give a person lesser or greater rights to life?  There is no essential difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today that would justify killing you at that earlier stage of development.

“But the embryos are going to die anyway!”, someone might say.  Inmates on death row are going to die anyway as well. Does that mean we can destroy them now for the purpose of harvesting their organs for medical research? We should put these prisoners’ bodies to good use if they’re going to die anyway, right? Of course we would never claim the right to kill and exploit those of us who are going to die sooner than us.  If embryos are human beings, then there’s only one morally acceptable option I can see that follows – waiting for their adoptive parents.

If there’s anything this man cured from AIDS shows us, it’s that cells drawn from adults can produce some rather (ahem) tremendous achievements. And it does not cause the death of the human being from whom they are drawn from. The extraction of stem cells from human embryos does, however, result in the destruction of defenseless, unborn human beings.

But no, pop culture tells us that if you’re against embryonic stem cell research, you’re some anti-science, right-wing fruitcake who can’t think for his or herself.  For this reason (and my obvious utter lack of talent),  I could never write for TV.


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