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Biotech Government It's funny.  Laugh. Politics

Louisiana Rep. Preps State Bill Banning Human-Animal Hybrids 422

mikeljnola writes with an excerpt from that says state senator Danny Martiny (R-Kenner) will introduce a bill to the Louisiana legislature on April 27 to "'make it illegal to "create or attempt to create a human-animal hybrid, ... transfer or attempt to transfer a human embryo into a non-human womb ... (or) transfer or attempt to transfer a non-human embryo into a human womb."' With budget cuts all around, our struggling state is concerned with the eminent danger of human-animal hybrids. The upside is that the odds of the Louisiana becoming the Bayous of Dr. Boudreaux are now even slimmer."
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Louisiana Rep. Preps State Bill Banning Human-Animal Hybrids

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  • Religion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PowerVegetable ( 725053 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:37AM (#27614097) Homepage
    I live in New Orleans. from the article, this was filed "on behalf of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops". If you've never been here, Catholicism is huge in south Louisiana.

    This bill has nothing to do with any sort of research or proposed research in the state. There are no biomedical companies here threatening to build mutant humans. Louisiana doesn't generally have the sort of biomedical research centers that would do work of that sort. We're happy if the Germans build a steel mill here.

    This is just another one of those ideas based on a garbled sci-fi fear of Science, made by people who'd rather not have to learn anything before forming an opinion, and who have far too much access to lawmakers.

    I have no doubt the law will pass, the religious community here will crow about it for a few days, and then absolutely nothing tangible will have changed. Except that a few hundred thousand more of my state tax dollars will have been spent on bullshit.
  • by gringofrijolero ( 1489395 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:37AM (#27614099) Journal

    Ahem.. Aren't we supposed to ban government-religion hybrids?

  • by Bob Cat - NYMPHS ( 313647 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:42AM (#27614221) Homepage

    As the day is fast approaching when we can create less-than-human intelligent creatures, it makes sense to be certain it is made illegal before anyone tries it. Might I remind you what history that very state has with beings once considered to be subhuman?

    It is not silly for the legislature to be doing it during a recession, they're not out creating jobs, you know.

  • by SoundGuyNoise ( 864550 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:45AM (#27614309) Homepage
    I am not a female, but I seem to notice that women do seem to be pretty able to handle their workforce chores quite well during the gestation period. It's the time they need after the little squirt comes out that makes them need to take a few extra days off.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:54AM (#27614527)

    I love the internet! It allows people to display their complete lack of intelligence for the whole world to see. If you only knew how the Catholic Church has advanced scientific understandings.

  • Re:Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:55AM (#27614537)
    That would reduce the risk for the mother; I doubt it would reduce it for the child. The child is under far more risk than the mother in most pregnancies.
  • by youngdev ( 1238812 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:10PM (#27614849)

    blame the church if you like but the real problem here is a government powerful enough to regulate every aspect of our lives.

  • Re:Damn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zencyde ( 850968 ) <> on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:15PM (#27614959)
    Yeah, but the mother's life is far more valuable than that of the child's.
  • Re:Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:17PM (#27614995) Homepage

    OK, I've dumped my Karma bonus and am expecting to earn a couple of new Freaks, because this is the single most heartless thing that I've ever posted on /.

    That would reduce the risk for the mother; I doubt it would reduce it for the child. The child is under far more risk than the mother in most pregnancies.

    Who cares? The mother is far more important than the child. The "child", at least in the most risky period of the pregnancy, is just a collection of tissue that will hopefully develop a nervous system and eventually become a person. If we can halve the risk to the mother while doubling the risk to the embryo - I'm all for it.

    When my wife was pregnant with our first child, she asked me very seriously how I would respond if something went wrong and the doctor told me that he could only save either her or our child (she watches too much TV). I told her that I'd pick her and we could try for another baby or adopt. She was satisfied with that and responded with something to the effect of "Damn straight." Reduce the risk to the mother at (almost) all cost - Babies are easy to assemble, far more difficult to transform into productive adults.

  • by geobeck ( 924637 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:18PM (#27615017) Homepage

    If you only knew how the Catholic Church has advanced scientific understandings.

    I really hope there's an obscure reference that's setting me up for a 'whoosh' here, because if you're serious, you should look into a few names:

    • Aristarchus and his work with Eratosthenes
    • Ptolemy
    • DaVinci
    • Copernicus
    • Galileo
    • Darwin name just a few. The first pair and their connection to the second name were probably the longest knowledge setback in scientific history. The Catholic church has always opposed any knowledge that would allow common people to think freely and question its dogma.

  • Re:Damn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:20PM (#27615061)

    Whoah, finally somebody who is actually against motherhood and/or apple pie. Never thought I'd see the day.

    If you don't think the complications I've mentioned warrant any intervention then there's really no point in discussing this. When epidural anesthesia was introduced, there were outcries by religious people that this was unnatural, that the pain of birth must be experienced as a human condition. Seriously, why do we listen to these types of crackpot ramblings? Because they speak the loudest?

  • Re:Damn (Score:1, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:33PM (#27615373) Homepage Journal

    While rational, your point does not coincide with the values of our society. So they won't be very receptive to those ideas.

  • Re:Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:37PM (#27615445)

    Law of Unintended Consequences, we've all evolved to be in a womb. There's a whole list of things that go on during pregnancy that I don't think we're even close to completely understanding.

    Babies pickup up the basic phonemes of the mothers language in the womb. Babies respond to their mother's voice after birth because they've been 'hearing' it for the last 9 months.

    Babies constantly hear the mother's heart beat. It's why you can calm a baby by placing it close to your chest, it hears the heart beat again.

    Babies' immune system get bootstrapped with antibodies from the mother's body.

    The mother's body (kidney, hearts, lungs, livers) act as the baby's for the first 9 months. We haven't perfected artificial copies of those yet, so what is the artificial womb supposed to do? We're already seeing problems where a constant flow motor in place of a heart causes problems in the rest of the body that had grown accustom to a (1/60) Hz throbbing.

    Artificial / Cow milk is no substitute for breast milk during young development. The fatty chains and stuff can't be replicated by any formula, what makes them think that the fluids the mother and baby exchange?

    The human body is an infinitely complex system of feedback loops and control systems. I can't ever see us getting this right artificially. If the baby is low on X, the mothers body will give it more X.

    How many versions of this will we go through of very very messed up babies/people before we get it right?

  • Re:Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cream wobbly ( 1102689 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:59PM (#27615887)

    Actually, no point of view would "coincide with the values of our society", because there is such a wide range of views.

    If you meant that his point of view wouldn't be accepted by a significant majority, well, even there I think that's up for debate.

    The GP's anecdote is far from isolated: my wife and I had that same conversation, and I hear this kind of thing all the time from other mothers and fathers.

    Let's put it in the coldest terms possible: until it's breathing air, human spawn is worthless tissue. Actually, not. Because you can recover stem cells from them.

    We're emotional creatures. That's why the above paragraph is sickening to me. But that doesn't make it incorrect. As adults, we learn to cope with uncomfortable truths [].

    Oh, and the tooth fairy and Santa Claus? They were your parents. And Jesus might have been a real person, but he's as dead as doornails. And God is a figment of your imagination; as are the voices of your dead relatives.

    Now, once they're born, children are the center of their parents' lives. We invest all our waking hours in them. Within the first month of their lives, we sacrifice our former selves to their development and wellbeing. They are the heart and soul of our home life. We run our finances on the edge to ensure they have a comfortable, safe, and stimulating environment.

    Before that? Pf. It's just a heartbeat and a fuzzy picture. Sometimes a foot. But don't go making them into people before they're ready.

  • by tjstork ( 137384 ) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Friday April 17, 2009 @01:05PM (#27616043) Homepage Journal

    I mean, I'm pro-life, and yeah, mom's life is more valuable than the child. Mom can get pregnant again and has chores to do for Daddy, not to mention providing for the other children. If you had to make the terrible choice between mom and a child, I'd say the lose the child.

    Now, when mom gets old, that role gets reversed. Like, once you retire, the kids become more important than you.

  • Re:Damn (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aldhibah ( 834863 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @01:06PM (#27616057)
    Would you also agree with the consequences of this logical chain? Would you start throwing babies and then young children off a sinking boat based on the theory that society does not have as much invested in their productivity? The decisions we make about protecting lives are based upon societal morals that are not rooted in logic. That creates some devastating consequences but the alternative purely rational approach is also quite dangerous.
  • by tjstork ( 137384 ) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Friday April 17, 2009 @01:10PM (#27616145) Homepage Journal

    While rational, your point does not coincide with the values of our society. So they won't be very receptive to those ideas

    What do you mean? America is a society that really doesn't like children at all. It's only that Europeans and Japanese positively hate children that makes America seem child friendly.

        Have you ever taken toddlers out with you and gotten a bunch of dirty looks from all the people? It's like, you shot someone. People should like to hear children laughing and stuff and instead everyone expects them to sit in silence in public places. What kind of a screwed up society is that!

    Similarly, we have no problem blowing tons of money on old people, spending hundreds of billions on medicare and medicaid so grandma can get a new pacemaker on the public dime, but lets see what happens if you suggest that grandma just dies so that kids can get better schools.

  • Re:Damn (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17, 2009 @01:20PM (#27616383)

    What if it turns out that bovine or pig immune systems are far better than the standard human immune system? What if we learn that a fetus that matures in a pig womb ends up with a higher natural resistance to diseases that are fatal to us currently? What if, just what if, bovine wombs end up being safer growth mechanisms for human development? I think that if we were to learn that it would greatly benefit humanity, the option should not be eliminated.
    It wasn't all that long ago that science believed that an overabundance of "black bile" was what caused depression, and that leaches were the best cure. Hell, it wasn't even one generation ago that doctors were pushing prescription cigarettes to asthma patients. Science is constantly evolving, and to dampen it permanently because of ethical issues we find to be pertinent now does an injustice to later generations. If this isn't a pressing issue right now, why create legislation concerning it? Is someone in LA actually attempting to grow a human in a non-human environment?

  • Re:Damn (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tmosley ( 996283 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @01:30PM (#27616589)
    Mod parent up. A book with writing in it is far more valuable than a blank notebook. It's the same with people. If the child dies, you can make another one in less than a year, if the mother dies, it'll take twenty years to replace her.
  • by coolsnowmen ( 695297 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @01:33PM (#27616643)

    Why is this flamebait?

    Because the parent stated something controversial as fact instead of an opinion (which it is), with out backing it up. Then again, by his sig, I'm not really surprised at the position.

    I think there would have been less of a problem
    had [s]he said:

    Yeah, but the mother's life is far more valuable than that of the child's to me.

    The bigger logical problem with his statement is that it is subjective. If my wife and I are having a kid, but we are some of the last members alive of some racial group (say an American indian tribe), then our kid might be more important).

    But, if a couple had to chose at childbirth who lived and who died,for most males, this is probably true. Until you spend time with your children you don't have nearly the emotional connection to them that the female does. The female has spent months with the child inside her body and has hormones to enforce that bond. The choice of whether to live or die with the opposite happening to her unborn child would be much harder for her. Especially if complications made it impossible for her to ever have kids again...

    That is, without an artificial womb

  • Re:Damn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fish_in_the_c ( 577259 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @01:52PM (#27616959)

    That is an interesting religious argument. So you claim a person isn't a person until someone has an emotional attachment too it? I don't have any emotional attachment to you , what does that make you?
    Subjective personage aside, the human life-cycle begins at the same point as all other mammals , check your biology book on that one. That thing you develop a later emotional attachment too can be altered or destroyed before you ever see it. what that thing is or is not , cannot be objectively changed by your emotional attachment. In other words a fetus does not become a human, it always is a human or at least a human fetus, with fetus being a term that describes a specific state of development in a change of ongoing development. Aka embryo, fetus, infant, toddler, child, adolescent, adult all of which would have the term human as an adjective because these stages are common to all mammals.
    Legal, definitions of what is and isn't a individual protected by law, need to at least be objectively measurable, so until you can build me an emotion-o-meter that can tell me if anyone likes a given human , I think we need a different definition and a better reason.

  • Re:Damn (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @02:05PM (#27617229)
    Duh. People contain all the nutrients a human body needs. That's another layer of value GP probably analytically considers.
    Sorry, couldn't resist a cannibalism joke at GP's expense.
  • Re:Damn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fujisawa Sensei ( 207127 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @02:16PM (#27617425) Journal

    Yeah, but the mother's life is far more valuable than that of the fetus.

    There I corrected you.

  • Where do I start? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LionMage ( 318500 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @02:18PM (#27617461) Homepage

    OK, so the summary already is a source of hilarity to me... "eminent danger"? Eminent means prominent, distinguished, or noteworthy. The correct phrase here is likely "imminent danger." Based on that, and the comments in TFA (most of which were riddled with similar typos and malapropisms, many of which were bemoaning the state of education in Louisiana, and some of which fell under both of the previous two categories), it seems to me that Louisiana should be working extra hard to try and funnel more money into education, not cut it. Yeah, comments in TFA brought up the topic of cutting funding for education in Louisiana.

    It should also be noted that this bill is being promoted heavily by the Catholic Church. TFA takes pains to also talk about a medical conscience bill that would protect doctors, pharmacists, etc., from repercussions if they opt not to participate in any procedure that violates their conscience or faith. In other words, this would allow pharmacists to refuse to prescribe the morning-after pill if they oppose abortion. It's worth noting that TFA is a bit slanted in its coverage -- it does not, for example, discuss whether the claims of equivalence between the morning-after pill and abortion are in fact valid. (Other news sources have openly questioned the validity of this comparison, usually citing opposing viewpoints.)

    I'm hoping there will be an intelligent discussion here about the dangers of setting up different classes of organisms for experimentation -- those who are fair game for genetic experiments and in-depth analysis of fundamental cellular mechanisms, and those who are not. Reasonable scientists might point out, for instance, all the benefits of using a hybrid approach to solve a vexing technical issue, even if that's just a stopgap measure. They might also warn of the dangers of missing out on crucial insights because we're not working with material sufficiently close to our own genes and cells. But instead, I fear this whole thing is going to degenerate into a bunch of jokes about furries...

    That said, some of the comments in TFA about mermaids and "centars" were hilarious. :-)

  • Re:Damn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rts008 ( 812749 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @03:08PM (#27618299) Journal

    Either your reading comprehension is sub-par, or you just want an argument.
    I vote for the latter, as I find it difficult to believe you suck so thoroughly at understanding what you read.

    All of the questions you ask, he answered before you asked:

    Now, once they're born, children are the center of their parents' lives. We invest all our waking hours in them. Within the first month of their lives, we sacrifice our former selves to their development and wellbeing. They are the heart and soul of our home life. We run our finances on the edge to ensure they have a comfortable, safe, and stimulating environment.

    As for your mindless ranting about 'values':

    For that matter what is this term "value"? Is it how much money you are willing to spend to obtain one?

    He never alluded to monetary values, that is purely your clueless twist. The only time he even mentioned value was in a completely different context:

    Actually, no point of view would "coincide with the values of our society", because there is such a wide range of views.

    [my emphasis]

    Note that he is replying to a phrase(hint:it is in between the quote marks) that has nothing to do with money.

    Congratulations on painting yourself as an imbecile with a broad brush! Well and thoroughly done!

  • Re:Damn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @03:34PM (#27618731) Homepage

    Dude, have you even been in a hospital in the past twenty-five years? Even if the list of horrors that you cite were true (most of them aren't), the hospital involved would have so few maternity patients that no one would go there.

    In addition, you act as if these things you mention are forced upon the unsuspecting parents by the evilllllll doctors who want to make sure that babies and mothers never bond and the child remains a sickly degenerate for all of its life. In reality, most of the "horrible" things you mention are of medically debatable value and usually the parents are given a choice about them. You really should read up on the current state of childbirth, both in and out of hospital from some unbiased sources.

    However it's more entertaining to watch you spout alarmist stupidity, so please feel free to carry on.

  • by HerbanLegend ( 758842 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @03:34PM (#27618733) Homepage

    Why do so many posters keep conflating this with religion? Even IF this were submitted by an organization with religious ties, isn't this a common sense / human dignity issue?

    We shouldn't be screwing around with the future of our own species. If we want to engineer devices that augment the human body to make it work better, I guess that's fine - but we should be respecting what nature evolved over millions of years. It's a finely tuned machine that we cannot fully understand, certainly not now, probably not ever.

    I always think back to ST:TNG; despite the advanced technology, they left the human animal in it's natural state. Geordi had a visor, not artificial eyes. Picard had a mechanical heart, they didn't grow him a new one.

    Now, obviously ST:TNG is just a show. However, I've always thought that vision of the future was more dignified than the direction we seem to be going with this biomechanical research.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson