[extropy-chat] Stem cell breakthrough claims

Brett Paatsch bpaatsch at bigpond.net.au
Mon May 23 12:11:13 UTC 2005

From: "Amara Graps" 

> Brett Paatsch:
>>Do you know where to find sources for the fact that something
>>like 1 out of 4 or 1 out of 5 fertilized eggs don't go on to 
>>become babies?   I can give you some sources if you don't, but I'd
>>prefer that you look for yourself first. These sort of facts can help
>>put the issues into biological perspective. These sort of facts can
>>be shown to people as facts rather than as mere opinions. 
> Please send it to the Italian transhumanists
> (http://www.transumanisti.it/, riccardo_campa at yahoo.com)
> as well, so that they can distribute it. 

My apologies Amara for not getting back to this sooner. 

A book entitled Stem Cells : Controversy at the frontier of science
was first published in Australia in April 2005.  I know the author
slightly and reviewed one of the chapters for her. 

Although the author gives the clear impression that there is rock
solid evidence for her assertion that it is a "fact that four out of five
naturally conceived embryos are defective and flush away with a
woman's menstrual period" and on my first reading of her cited
sources I thought she was right, on a closer second reading I am 
concerned that her enthusiasm may have caused her to stretch
or overstate what the sources actually amount too. 

Here are the two sources she cites, I'd be interested to see
what percentage people thinks can be fairly claimed on the
basis of these.   The author claims 80 per cent. Thats the 1 in 5.

For a recent discussion see John M. Opitz, Transcripts for
President's Council on Bioethics, 16 January 2003, 

See also Robert Edwards The bumpy road to human in vitro 
Nature Medicine  October 2001 Vol 7 No 10. p 1091 - 1094

> The Referendum
> for removing the most restrictive portions of the Italian
> ART law is next month, and the positions/debates are in
> all of the Italian newspapers now.
> ( Italian ART Law
> http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/2004-April/005345.html )
> If the laws are not overturned, the blocks are too large
> against my trying to build my life in this country, and I must
> give up.  (*)

It know that it is not your imagination, Italy IS especially tough with respect
to its ART laws.  If I was a woman seeking to make use of ART and I could
leave Italy I would.  

> Amara
> (*) The futility of trying to live in this country has become 
> too discouraging and I might give up anyway. My fiftieth-something 
> visit to the Polizia  to try to get my permit-of-stay, yielded, as
> usual, nothing. To the Italian government, I'm  'just off the boat'.
> Certainly some better nights of sleep will help me make a 
> rational decision, but if you have suggestions, ideas, offers, 
> I'm all ears. [To your question : why doesn't my work help me
> with this political stuff, the answer is: they cannot. I'm the
> first extracommunitari scientist my department has who has 
> stayed longer than one year, and they have no experience. Not 
> even the Italian Space  Agency has anyone who can help. It is 
> rare  for a  scientist  to immigrate _into_ Italy, you see.]

Unfortunately I don't know enough about Italy to be likely to be
of much assistance.  I am willing to help you if I can. Feel free to
mail me off list if you want. 

Brett Paatsch
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