Local doctor challenges speaker's beliefs
Dr. Robert F. Onder of Washington University School of Medicine, president of the board of Missourians Against Human Cloning, challenged embryonic stem-cell research advocate William B. Neaves during a question-and-answer session following Neaves’ presentation.
The room grew tense as the exchange between the two men briefly became heated.
Onder said Neaves’ comment that legislators in Missouri tried to criminalize embryonic stem-cell research was not true.
“Jim Lembke’s bill in the House, Matt Bartle’s bill in the Senate sought to criminalize only cloning, cloning of human embryos for research, cloning of human embryos for reproduction. So no one in the last four years or before that that I’m aware of has ever tried to ‘illegalize’ all embryonic stem-cell research, only cloned human embryo research.”
Responded Neaves, “The presumption is earlier legislation in Missouri has already essentially defined a blastocyst as a person, as a child, and therefore any attempt to conduct research with those cells would stand the risk of contravening that.”
Onder acknowledged there was a Missouri revised statute that states that life begins at conception.
“And I should tell you that Lembke’s bill and Bartle’s bill have stated that anyone who participates in somatic cell nuclear transfer is subject to criminal action,” Neaves said.
Onder denied that, saying he had read the material in question the day before.
But Neaves persisted, “The definition that those folks applied to this is that that blastocyst in a lab dish is a person, is a living human being.”
Onder again said the legislation did not say that. He accused Neaves “of playing games with the terminology, with the definition of embryo. You’re misquoting the National Library of Medicine Web site dictionary. It does not make the mammal vs. non-mammal distinction.
“You are simply wrong in that respect,” Neaves said.
Continued Onder, “And likewise, Cloning, the journal Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences have all used the term ‘cloned’ to mean a cloned embryo, whether a cloned sheep embryo, a cloned human embryo.”
“Those journals use the term clone to mean a copy of any cell or any molecule,” Neaves said. He added that the presidents of the National Academy of Science and the Institute of Medicine “had authored a paper in Science three years ago that said ‘please don’t call it cloning because it isn’t cloning.’”
Both men raised their voices and spoke over the other. They accused each other of misrepresenting facts. Neaves ended the exchange by saying he had not come to engage in a debate with Onder and suggested they talk afterward. The statement was met with applause.
Onder charged afterward that Neaves “ignores a vast body of literature, including a journal called Cloning and Stem Cells that refers to SCNT as cloning. He ignores the fact that if you ask a fertility clinic doctor what he has frozen in the freezer, he’ll tell you embryos. If you ask a couple undergoing in vitro fertilization what they’re having made in the test tube, they’ll say embryos. Really what we have here is someone changing the terminology to distort the political debate in Missouri. Really what we have is these people misleading us — lying to us, honestly.”
A member of the audience later asked who Onder was. He reacted with surprise when told Onder was a physician. The man wondered aloud how two such people as Onder and Neaves could have such differing positions and said it showed just how confusing the issue of embryonic stem-cell research really is.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Thank God for Dr. Bob Onder who exposes the lies!
From the St Louis Review, an article by Jean M. Schildz
Posted by Prodigal Son at 9/22/2006 10:26:00 AM