And Eve created Eve!!

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Ryano
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And Eve created Eve!!

Post by Ryano » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:46 pm

aiseiri47
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Re: And Eve created Eve!!

Post by aiseiri47 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:30 pm

Indeed fascinating, but also a little worrying. The problem with trying to artificially create sperm cells is there's a risk it's not close enough to the real thing. As the article says, they managed to produce a litter of mice with this science, and six of the seven pups survived, but the survivors "did suffer problems". What sort of problems? How severe?

The assertion that "I think, in principle, it will be scientifically possible" is not very reassuring, either. Sounds like they're still looking at the practical application of the research to be still theoretical and a long way off. And, even if they do reproduce human reproduction perfectly, who will be prepared to take the first step in creating a human child, not knowing if an undetected flaw could produce developmental defects.

Again, amazing science, even if nothing comes from it. But I think the article is sensationalising the theoretical outcome too much. A little unfair to hopeful lesbian couples who might come across it, especially if they aren't very science minded.
patterson1
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Re: And Eve created Eve!!

Post by patterson1 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:29 am

I have mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, I encourage this kind of science
On the other hand, I think messing around with human life is a bit creepy.
Dr Raskolnikov
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Re: And Eve created Eve!!

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:04 pm

It raises the possibility of lesbian couples one day having children who share both their genes as sperm created from the bone marrow of one woman could be used to fertilise an egg from her partner.
My bold

I think this article is written in a measured tone and is not at all worrying or shocking. It's essentially basic scientific research; who knows what the beneficial medical applications may be from the new knowledge and technical know-how developed from such projects?

Certainly there are no ethical grounds at this stage for hampering this kind of research.

Patterson, would you mind fleshing out your concerns a bit more as to why this feels "creepy" to you?
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
aiseiri47
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Re: And Eve created Eve!!

Post by aiseiri47 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:49 pm

Dr Raskolnikov wrote: think this article is written in a measured tone and is not at all worrying or shocking. It's essentially basic scientific research; who knows what the beneficial medical applications may be from the new knowledge and technical know-how developed from such projects?
I don't think the article is worrying; the research itself worries me slightly (emphasis on slightly), not in it's current stage, but as they get to the more complex applications of it, it could produce less than pretty results (as it clearly did with the mice).

And I do believe the article is sensationalising the science; no, it's not a tabloid article, but it is misleading. Journalism articles, as a rule, contain the most important, relevant information first; each consecutive paragraph should contain less important information. The story leads with the possibility of procreation for lesbian couples, and repeats this possibility again in the fourth paragraph. The fact that this possibility is still highly theoretical isn't highlighted. You have to read rest of the article before you cop on that this claim is a bit premature (the most optimistic quote they have uses the qualifier "in principle"; I wouldn't consider that the basis of a lead in for a news story, myself.)

Aside from the implications made on the basis of journalistic style, there is the very simple fact that this is a featured story of the Health section of a national news publication. It is not in a science journal or even a science section - the Health section. The people reading it are unlikely to be science minded. Which presents the following problems:

"Possibility" in everyday language can easily sound like "likely". And when people read about scientific research that might improve their life, they tend to interpret "one day" to be relevant to their own timeframe, when it, in reality, could mean several decades from now.

Furthermore, they take the time to explain about sex chromosomes (something I assumed common knowledge since I was at least 11) as if to an ignorant audience, but then they skip right through the bit about the fact that this theoretical sperm is still only primitive and must go through meiosis in order to be viable for fertilisation. To me, that sounds like another rather large, complex obstacle. We can assume that not all members of the audience are unlikely to understand this, since we've already taken to time to explain to them the fact that women do not possess Y chromosomes.

The step from primitive to viable sperm put aside, it still stands that it's for people who are not science-minded (and I meet very few such people in Ireland outside of this forum), it is a misleading article. And as it's an article in the Health section, it's likely to reach an audience that are interested in the "we can have babies!" aspect and not the "this is still highly theoretical research!" aspect.
patterson1
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Re: And Eve created Eve!!

Post by patterson1 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:07 pm

Dr Raskolnikov wrote:
Patterson, would you mind fleshing out your concerns a bit more as to why this feels "creepy" to you?
You never know the outcome of such research. When I repair my automatic watches I know the outcome.
At most I screw up a component.
I'm a little worried about quality of life issue. How important is that particular factor in such an experiment.
The results can possibly be seen years later, and that the people all have disorders at the age of 20.
That would be a disaster.


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Dr Raskolnikov
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Re: And Eve created Eve!!

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:25 pm

patterson1 wrote:
Dr Raskolnikov wrote:
Patterson, would you mind fleshing out your concerns a bit more as to why this feels "creepy" to you?
You never know the outcome of such research. When I repair my automatic watches I know the outcome.
At most I screw up a component.
I'm a little worried about quality of life issue. How important is that particular factor in such an experiment.
The results can possibly be seen years later, and that the people all have disorders at the age of 20.
That would be a disaster.
Yes, the scenario you describe would be disastrous. But who is suggesting this is a likely outcome? Your argument appears to a case of the "slippery slope", e.g. some scientists are doing basic biomedical research, the outcome of which may help people to have children comprising their own genetic material, therefore those children will all have disorders at the age of 20.

You don't consider the possibility of a middle ground. Isn't it possible to progress with new technologies and apply our moral and ethical sensibilities to the outcome of such research as we go along? Or to accept the possibility that our techniques will develop such that these problems can be avoided. Not so long ago the idea of "test tube babies" was genuinely for a lot of people to accept, similar to the sentiments you have expressed here.

I don't agree that we need to look for the worst possible outcome of any potential future technology and apply the dreaded "precautionary principle".

[Edited by moderator to remove spam link from patterson1]
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
Dr Raskolnikov
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Re: And Eve created Eve!!

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:34 pm

aiseiri47 wrote:...The step from primitive to viable sperm put aside, it still stands that it's for people who are not science-minded (and I meet very few such people in Ireland outside of this forum), it is a misleading article. And as it's an article in the Health section, it's likely to reach an audience that are interested in the "we can have babies!" aspect and not the "this is still highly theoretical research!" aspect.
Okay, I agree that non-science minded people may miss some of the nuances, but isn't this the job of society, or at least the education system, to ensure that we have a population who are capable of basic comprehension in science / health matters. I know this is not the case, but it should be. A society that doesn't understand the rules of scepticism risks being bamboozled by every homeopath and astrologer that floats through their transom.

I actual stand by my point about it being a measured article. They make sure to give voice to opposing views:
However, Dr Robin Lovell-Badge, a stem cell and sex determination expert at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, doubts it will work: “The presence of two X chromosomes is incompatible with this. Moreover they need genes from the Y chromosome to go through meiosis. So they are at least double-damned.”
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
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Re: And Eve created Eve!!

Post by funkyderek » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:21 pm

[[This thread went off-topic to a discussion on spam and moderating, so I split the topic. The "spam" thread continues at viewtopic.php?f=40&t=4924]]
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paolovf
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Re: And Eve created Eve!!

Post by paolovf » Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:44 pm

I found an amusing joke about Chromosomes and Adam&Eve:

http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20111026.gif
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