X-Message-Number: 19116
Date: Sat, 18 May 2002 19:12:22 EDT
Subject: Small Pox & the Roman Catholic Church (& More)


Not to be picking on the Roman Catholic Church as they seem to have enough to 
deal with these days (and also since they seem to have an acceptable attitude 
towards all forms of life extension / extenuation), but I found the following 
somewhere on the Internet recently and thought I would pass it on -- I guess 
nobody always gets it right the first time around.

Speaking of, for some reason, I neglected to record the author's name or the 
URL where I came across it. Yep, kind of slack, but what can I say?

"For the Faculty of Theology, inoculation was an attempt by human beings to 
play, indeed, to be God, to interfere with the divine order, to refuse to 
submit to the providential order of things. Inoculation was an act of hubris, 
a wanton and insolent human intrusion onto God's domain, and if we crossed 
that line, how would we ever find our way back to our rightful place in the 
natural order? In the end, King Louis XV died of smallpox, the Court 
panicked, and the royal council hastily decreed its legalization across 
France. The Papacy, however, in its temporal authority over the Papal States, 
maintained a ban on inoculation until well into the 19th century."

New Subject:

Three or four billion years since primordial soup is sometimes difficult to 
fathom.  Just for fun, here is a graphic that helps put things in 
perspective.  Actually, considering that the recorded history of man only 
extends a few thousand years back, in our short time period, we have come 
quite a way.  Take notice of the simple black line below the category 
"Epochs" consisting of only one line of computer screen pixels -- that's us.  
Go ahead and arrow all the way down to the bottom -- "it's quite a trip" as 
Dr. Leary might say -- or was it his brother, Really, that said that? (Yeah, 
I use to get Mad Magazine pretty regularly).


On the Petition ("therapeutic cloning" / "research cloning")

I posted the following on a real estate appraisers' forum today and thought I 
will put it here too (below the "double line" below in this post).  By the 
way, another error of mine from the original posting is that it appears that 
human cloning is currently NOT specifically unlawful in the States (while it 
will be soon).  On my list of people to alert about the petition was a 
medical doctor or two (which is how I was corrected on the human cloning law 
issue -- I believe I must have misinterpreted something that I had originally 
read regarding the petition).

I got some return email on the subject.  Not all were against the passage of 
this bill.  I have included this section in this post to provide a little 
insight as to the thinking of part of the established medical community. The 
concern was for potential grand standing, reckless behavior on the part of 
some researchers, and also about the temptation to implant a cloned human egg 
for maturation once they are readily available for research.  The concerns 
included an all out race -- caution and ethics thrown to the wind -- with all 
the spoils going to the winner / victor (necessarily of the least moral 
restraint) to include onerous patients, super egos, and massive fortune and 
fame, etc.  Some of these concerns may be legitimate.  In my opinion, it 
would be nice for some of these issues to be better addressed, however, the 
collective costs implicit to the proposed legislation "as is" are simply too 
high.  The alternative bill (alluded to below) under consideration is likely 
much better (while I have not read it).

Dr. West of ACT was specifically mentioned (yes, I understand he may be a 
"progressive thinker" in many respects) as was Kentucky's Dr. Panayiotis 
Zavos.  Wrote one MD: "These are the types to worry about."  The following 
article was included in a return email (which I have truncated here -- but 
you can get the idea) and also the URL to follow it:

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Kentucky doctor said he expected to have made a woman 
pregnant with a cloned embryo by the end of the year as House members sought 
to nudge the Senate toward action on a cloning ban.

``This is no time for half measures,'' Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Fla., said of a 
Senate bill that would ban reproductive cloning but allow cloning for 
research. ``We must pass an effective ban.''

The Senate has delayed until June its debate on whether to ban all cloning or 
allow the research exception. Aides estimate about 18 senators remain 
undecided. The House passed a bill banning all cloning last year.

``It will be nearly impossibly to prevent attempts at reproductive cloning 
once cloned human embryos are available in laboratories across this nation,'' 
Weldon said..."


Here is today's post to another online forum:

Posted: Sat May 18, 2002 1:12 pm  
Thank you for those who signed the petition. 

It was presented to Congress this week on the 15th. 

(Thanks also to those who considered signing it.) 

It is now closed but can be viewed in its entirety with all signatures at the 
following URL. In the end, there were only 900 signers. Some of these were 
certainly "power hitters" including at least one Nobel laureate, and numerous 
scientists, medical researchers, authors and publishers across the country, 
as well as a scattering of concerned individuals like us -- (i.e., voters) 
which were probably equally important in many ways. 


A mistake in my original post above was that the Senate had already passed 
the bill. No, it was in fact the House that had. It is now in the Senate's 
court. It appears that this effort and others have alerted our 
representatives of what is really at stake with this bad bill. Another, 
better proposed bill exists, and now the Senate will hold hearings next month 
with an apparent, significantly expanded scope. 

This was the intent, so: 

Mission Accomplished. 


David C. Johnson 

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