Sunday, 23 March 2008

BBC News: Have Your Say about the HFEB

In general, I am quite impressed looking through the most recomended comments on the BBC News HYS page about the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Most of the top comments are along the lines of:
"How dare he comment on issues that are obviously above his intellectual capabilities. Leave the science to the scientists." - Tariq, London
"If people wish to engage in debate on this issue, they should at least try to construct a rational argument. Empty rhetoric along the lines of 'it's sick', or references to religious beliefs offer nothing to the debate." - Bella, Glasgow
I find this quite pleasing to be honest. Unfortunately I'm fairly sure MPs don't bother reading HYS so I guess we still have to write to them ot let them know we're not all religious lunatics. sadly, you will also still run across things like:
"I agree with the Cardinal, this is a step too far. An embryo contains blood cells, kidney cells, and nerve cells, if it has nerve cells, doesn't that mean that it can feel pain?"
which pretty much sums up the lack of knowledge on the part of the opposition. Fourteen day old embryos do not have any differentiation of cells. That is kind of the point. The cells are more useful before they have differentiated.

The prize for most random highly recommended comment has to go, however, to this gem:
"And do we really want to allow Science to change the course of Human evolution? Imagine if they switched on a Gene in every new born baby that made them super intelligent. Then imagine if they made a mistake and turned on the Serial Killer gene instead."
Yes, my considered argument against this piece of legislation is that something else that I have just made up on the spot is really really bad, therefore the legislation must also be bad. And we should also ban chocolate because being run over really hurts.

I thought I'd just leave the names off the stupid comments. After all, there's no need to rub it in.

Oh yes, and something fairly hilarious has happened involving Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers and Ben Stein's ridiculous (and apparently also really badly put together) Expelled documentary. It's covered in detail over at Pharyngula (Just scroll odwn til you see the word Exand at the RDF so I won't bother going into any detail now.


Laurie said...

I caught that hilarious Pharyngula post when there were only about 120 comments. There are currently 1271, which has got to be a record. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

This cartoon almost made tea come out my nose.

Harespring said...

If the Mad Starey-eyed Scientists and Stepford Midwives did switch on the serial-killer gene in every newborn, all the planet's problems would be solved! Unless of curse a mythical omnipresent being decided to do a bit of Re-Creation...pass the spare-ribs...

Stephen Bain said...

I am also enjoying the fairly large wave of bad publicity for Expelled that has resulted form the Dawkins Incident. The spectacular lack of both knowledge (ie. basic Google competence) and quality of writing in the press releases from the Expelled people is hilarious.

As a further update on the HFEB "controversy", I got this from one of the Passion for Lifers as a response when I suggested that prayer had no scientifically observable effects:

"Trust me, the letters (and I sure hope they do work) will only be effective because of prayer."

I know the Royal Mail can be unreliable at times, but I'm sure they can deliver propaganda postcards to MPs without the need for prayer...

Mr Farty said...

There's a serial killer called Gene who wants to ban chocolate? Noooooooooooo!

No cell differentiation? So there's no chance of this happening? Drat!

Stephen Bain said...

You've got to be careful with the human/tree hybrids, someone'll go do something silly like start a religion about them...

I too am distressed that we will not be able to make cool manbeasts. But never fear, everyone knows this is the true Ultimate Goal of Science (TM).