Archive - May, 2005

Class and Black Elites

Brent Staples writes that Black elites held
class antipathies toward poor Blacks, similar to white upper class antipathy
toward poor whites.

Little known to those outside the culture, black elites have held class antipathies toward poor blacks in a way similar to white upper class antipathies toward poor whites according to Brent Staples in Sunday’s New York Times. He writes of the growing awareness of class among Blacks in the aftermath of remarks by comedian Bill Cosby last year about poor parenting among some Black families.

Staples says class has always been a part of black society, as it has been in white society. However, racial discrimination by the majority culture made it seem black society was homogenous. In fact, it was as subtly tiered as white society.

Staples says Cosby’s remarks have brought new attention to class attitudes in black society, noting that even among blacks the awareness of class antagonisms has been unknown by many.

In white society, class is mostly denied, or rendered as insignificant. To do so is a convenient device. It justifies the existing order while also placing blame on the poor for their plight.
Class remains something we’d rather deny or shove under the carpet. Cosby opened old wounds and has provided us the chance to talk about a subject most of us seem unable or unwilling to attend to seriously.


Baseball has been romanticized and idealized
by dozens of writers. It’s understandable, if a bit over the top at times. I
see baseball as a rung in the ladder of opportunity, a ladder that for many has
broken rungs making the climb up harder than it is for others.

Baseball is often romanticized and idealized. That’s understandable. It’s a wonderful game of skill and team effort. It’s a strategy game, a thinking game. If your head’s not in it, you could get whacked, embarrassed or put out unceremoniously. It’s a metaphor for life that has resonated in this country for years.

I was a fairly decent third baseman. I liked the hot spot at third because the balls come faster and harder. That’s because the distance from home to third is shorter than home to second. It’s also where right-handed hitters pull the ball. That means a greater chance for action. I liked that, too.

My earliest memories of sports are playing baseball. It was the game that I and a lot of other kids in small town Oklahoma aspired to play well. It was accessible, affordable and organized, to a degree.

It was a working class game. African-American, Native American and working class white kids got together and became as one. They worked on individual skills and practiced team skills such as turning double plays, shifting positions according to hitters, advancing base runners with sacrifice bunts. Imagine a game that teaches an individual to sacrifice his advancement for that of another.

I remember getting up early on crisp fall mornings to get to school in time to go the football field where “Blue” Gaither, our highschool principal, would hit towering fly balls with a long, slim fungo bat to a dozen of us who brought our gloves to school with us. He had to call out names, it was so competitive.

Imagine kids coming to school early, pumped to play baseball–at the start of football season, no less. In the crisp autumn air, on green grass, in the great outdoors. I know what the songwriter meant when he penned the line “I’ve never been to heaven, but I’ve been to Oklahoma.”

The kids who played baseball were, for the most part, rough and tumble types. We lived across the tracks, or in the country, or at the edge of town, literally and figuratively. We didn’t leave town during the summer for vacations, as some kids did. Vacations were a luxury others could afford. Given economic realities, we were there for the long, hot summer, which meant we were a reliable pool for a baseball team.

And adults with savvy knew it was best for us to be engaged in something to keep us busy and out of trouble. So they coached us and wheeled us around to games in neighboring towns and gave us an outlet for our energies that was the only one many of us had.

They were smart people. They knew it takes a village. And they knew they were the ones who had to shoulder responsibilities. They didn’t do a lot of analysis, they just did it. “It” means teaching us about good conduct, fair play and getting along with each other. And we did. They even had us work on maintaining the field so it would be in good shape when we played. And the amazing thing to me is that it worked.

They told us we could become better at the game, and we did–through practice, work and concentration. And that lesson spilled over into other areas, even if we didn’t intend it. They taught us they cared about us without saying it. We knew. Even when they were angry at some bonehead thing we did, we knew.

They were shrewd. While he was hitting fungoes to us, Blue was also assessing our behavior and character. We didn’t know it. But I found out one day when I was called into his office for doing something stupid like playing hooky and showing up on Main Street during school hours. Word got to him immediately, of course. His remarks about my need for education were so searing that I can still feel the embarrassment of having let him down. He knew me and how to ring my bells, in a way that still leaves me chastened.

It took only one other episode to turn me around. This was a more egregious offense, for which I was called in to give an account and face the music. This was in the days of “corporal punishment,” otherwise known as paddling. I had committed a paddling offense. When he re-counted my opportunities and how I was blowing them, I prayed for an end to the speech and for the pain of the paddle. That would hurt less. I had let myself down. I had let down the school. I had let him down. I had let down my teacher. I was letting down Western civilization. This hung heavy on my soul.

I knew he cared. It wasn’t just words. I knew others, whose names he invoked, cared. They showed up and stood by kids like me when it was hard to do. I’d let them down. I was muffing an opportunity.

“When those balls come screaming at you at third, Larry, you gobble them up and get it across the field to first base and you throw the runner out with a perfect strike. You take advantage of that opportunity, but here you’re muffing it. This is stupid. You think it’s cute to shoot Mrs. Harris in the butt with a spitball? It isn’t. Do you think the coaches with scholarships are going to ask me if you can hit your teacher in the butt with a spitball or get the baseball from third to first with speed and accuracy? Now, you bend over here and think about this the next time you get the urge to be cute.”

I can tell you the reprimand hurt ten times worse than the paddling. And it left a deeper impression. I’m not making a case for or against paddling and I’m not advocating psychological abuse. But I am saying that this man had a relationship with young people in his care that allowed him to inspire them to be better than they thought they could be and allowed him to call us to accountability when we were patently in need of accountability. And I’m glad for that.

Baseball also gave us a view of a wider world than the circumspect little town by which we were bound. My first foray into the world was to Busch Stadium in St. Louis when I sold enough subscriptions to the the Tulsa World and Tulsa Tribune to earn an expense-paid weekend to see the Phillies and the Cardinals. Stan
Musial at first base. Until that time I had never been further east than the fifty miles from Stroud to Tulsa. Did you know they open the stores on Sunday in St. Louis!

Baseball gave us people to look up to. If you’re a baseball fan you know these names: Mickey Mantle, Carl Hubbell, Warren Spahn, Allie Reynolds, Dizzy Dean, Daffy Dean, Paul Waner, Lloyd Waner and Pepper Martin. These were guys like us (we thought) who made their way from small towns in Oklahoma to the majors playing this game. If they could do it (we thought), so could we. (If you’re not a baseball fan, these players were each unique and superb in his own way–hitting, fielding, or pitching. Most were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.) And, of course, they had superior talent, far beyond what we possessed. But they loomed large in our imaginations and they were from the same red dirt that nurtured us, so we could identify with their exploits and imagine that we were capable of the same, even if it were not true. We could dream, and that’s more important.

Mickey was hitting enormous long balls out of Yankee Stadium. Dizzy had moved from peerless pitching for St. Louis to providing Saturday game-of-the-week commentary on television, irritating every English teacher in the nation with his ungrammatical constructions. “He ‘slud’ into third base.” We knew what he meant. We could conjugate the verb–slide, slid, slud.

It didn’t occur to me until years later, long after I’d gotten through graduate school and was able to reflect back on those youthful days, that poor kids (we honestly didn’t know how poor we were), had few rungs on the ladder of opportunity upon which we could climb out of poverty. Athletics was one. Education another. The church another.

Each provided experiences that enlarged the world. Each was conducted by engaged adults who demonstrated mentoring skills that we didn’t have through other means. Each offered us opportunities for education beyond high school through scholarship assistance that we didn’t have otherwise.

It’s this background that makes me so concerned to preserve effective public education. It’s one of the few rungs on that ladder that has few steps accessible to the poor.

It’s why, in part, the church must be concerned to reach kids who aren’t in the middle class and don’t have the same opportunities that more privileged kids have.

And it’s why baseball is so important.

Throwing Out the First Ball

I had the joy of throwing out the first ball
at a Nashville Sounds game. It was a great evening.

Throwing out the first ball tonight at the Nashville Sounds vs. New Orleans Zephyrs game was great fun. The sounds are the triple AAA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. I shared the first ball toss with several others, youngsters from kid’s ball leagues and a veteran who had just returned from Iraq.
Watching the kids watching the players down on the field before the game was a treat in itself. Their eyes were fixed on the Sounds players and they were transfixed on the activity around the dugouts. It was good to see this kind of interest and intensity. It brought back memories of my youth when baseball was, quite literally, the center of my life.

It was one activity in which I excelled, and so it took on much larger meaning to me. Besides, Mickey Mantle was a small-town Oklahoma boy made good. He made it possible for hundreds of us from similar circumstances to have hope. Hope in poor, small Oklahoma towns in those days was a great gift.

Whether the kids in Nashville share that same hopeful spirit, or whether they even have the need for a transcendent hopefulness, I don’t know. But for a time tonight, I re-connected with what baseball means to me, and it was a pleasant journey back to red earth, green grass and wonderful hope.

Study, Dark Energy and Prayer

The study of the universe is in its own way
an act of prayer.

As you can see from the last few posts I’ve had the opportunity to get into some reading that I’ve been wanting to get to but have not been able to tackle due to time constraints.

I’m not well-read in cosmology and theoretical physics. I was educated a generalist. Liberal arts. This isn’t preparation for these two specialties nor any other, for that matter.

But as a generalist, I dip into areas I’m interested in, even if I’m not versed in them. My only regret is that I don’t have the in-depth tools to comprehend how energy converts to matter, for example. Or, how energy can disperse, as it fills space. These mysteries are beyond me.

But something struck me last night as I finished reading an article about dark energy and got ready for bed. I felt a sense of peacefulness and comfort that I had not consciously cultivated. As I read, it seemed almost as if it were in an act of prayer. Attempting to understand the mysteries of the cosmos, even with my admittedly elementary knowledge, led me to deep appreciation for the order of the creation. I don’t understand it, nor do the scientists–cosmologists or physicists–who are theorizing about it.

This lack of understanding doesn’t unsettle me, it leaves me deeply appreciative. There is so much more to learn. I’ve long thought this. There’s just more to know than I have time to absorb. That’s not self-inflation, it’s just to point out that we (or I) know so little and sometimes it seems I am only dipping my toes into the pool of knowledge.

In any case, it strikes me that it’s an act of faith to search, not merely for fixed answers, but for a sense of direction, purpose and comprehension of the universe. And living with the mystery doesn’t prove or disprove anything. Tentative “answers” don’t undermine a thing. Certainly not the Creator, nor the place of humankind in the cosmos.

In fact, the mystery only reminds us of the expansiveness of the creation and the limits of our own knowledge. This is the spirit that inspired the Psalmists and led them to sing praises to the Creator. It’s the spirit of inquiry that has led to an openness toward the Spirit of Creation for millenia. Facing the mystery leads many to affirmation, not doubt. It leads to a search for deeper meaning. To believe there is deeper meaning is, in my opinion, an act of faith.

Instead of picturing God as a medieval monarch on a marble throne, imagine God as the living awareness of the space between the atoms, “empty” space that makes up about 99.99 percent of the universe.
Thinking of God that way gets us past some of the great theological divides of the past. Is God immanent or transcendent, internal or external, composed or compassionate? Like the question of whether the atom is wave or particle, the answer is: yes.

–Tom Mahon
“The Spirit of Technology”
from The Hand of God:
Thoughts and Images
Reflecting the Spirit
of the Universe

All’s Well With World

The first eastern Swallowtail butterfly
arrived today at 1:15 p.m. I know there is suffering in the world. And i know
there is plenty of serious business that affects human lives. But in this one
small act of nature there is reassurance and hope. So small a thing and yet
enough to remind us that in this moment of delight all is well with the

The first Eastern Swallowtail butterfly arrived in our yard today at 1:15 p.m. I’ve been looking for one for several days. The temperatures have been unusually cool at night. And early mornings have been more like fall than spring. I’m not a cold weather person, so I’ve been looking for a sign that winter has passed.

This small act of nature is enough. I can live on the hope in this moment of delight. Despite all the suffering, despite death and destruction, despite hatred and division that crush the life out of the human community, the butterflies keep coming back. Winter has gone and new life is being born.

Thank God for butterflies. It is well with the world.

New Journalism-Old Journalism

Jay Rosen asks what correctives might be in
order for journailsm to return to a better, more sound and principled

Jay Rosen offers a thorough overview of the discussion about what good journalism is, what’s been lost and what steps might be taken to return to a principled and responsible practice.

Viewed in the backdrop of the Newsweek article and the commentary of Rush Limbaugh criticizing Bill Moyers, it offers insight into just how are afield some public storytelling has drifted and how long the return trip toward responsibility will be.

Is it so much noise without significance? Should we be concentrating on other, more critical human issues and solving problems that pull us together, as David Brooks suggests? At what point do we get so tired of the name-calling and vitriol that we tune out permanently? What happens after that? Do we give license to the vitriolics to shape public policy because the rest of us have closed our ears, eyes and minds? That’s the great threat.

Bolivian Hip Hop

It’s been said that music forms us. Music
is what it is. It doesn’t represent something else. It stands on its own. So
it’s intriguing that Bolivian youth have adapted hip hop from urban United
States to express their frustration with poverty and an unresponsive government
that discriminates against young, urban indigenous poor.

I do not care
if my music is
pirated. The
money is not
important. What
we want is
to send out
our lyrics so
they can influence.
–Grover Canaviri

Music shapes us. It is what it is. It doesn’t represent something else. It’s an esthetic experience and a message. It’s entertainment and communication.

In a world where everything points to something else, or is used for profit, thus not valuable on its own but valuable because it represents some other form of gain, money, prestige, power or self-esteem, music stands as the last authentic form of communication.

Of course, it too can be exploited, but knowing this, we tune it out because we recognize the cynical use of an art form for commerce. We’re not fooled and we let it pass by without biting the bait.

I read with interest a piece in the New York Times about Bolivian youth who have adapted the pose of urban U.S. hip-hop and are expressing their social discontent through the music,

There is a global youth culture. I’ve seen young folks in Ghana taking the dress and pose of hip-hop. I’ve watched young folks in South Korea not only “do” hip-hop but also break-dance. The global communications delivery system spreads culture immediately and young people appropriate it and make it their own.

As I’ve seen it, it isn’t just affectation. It’s not just kids posing as if they are trying out some new identity. Certainly there is some of that, but it seems to be more than playing a role.

What I’ve observed is young folks taking an expressive form and making it their own. They customize it, if you will, and infuse it with their own life experience and apply it to their own social circumstances. This makes it authentic, I think, in a way that goes beyond the surface appearances and gets at the root of the lived experience in their own culture.

This deserves more discussion than I’ve given it here. But I note it because it seems to be a culture without borders. And it seems to be a culture created by young people themselves, taking elements from wherever they wish and re-mixing them into a fresh expression that is authentic for them in a particular place and time.

I think it’s another example of reality being shaped by the sharing of images, sound and visuals through digital and electronic media. These ingredients are appropriated, re-mixed and transformed into a new and authentic expression of the life experiences of the young people who refine them and use them.

The Culture Wars and Ending Poverty

David Brooks writes that we can have culture
wars or a war on poverty, but we can’t have both.

we can have
a culture war
in this country,
or we can
have a war
on poverty,
but we can’t
have both
–David Brooks

David Brooks writes that many moderate evangelicals are not satisfied with the public figures identified as their leaders and they are more interested in a war on poverty than the culture wars. He says they could find common ground with other Christians and create an alliance to end poverty.

Mike McCurry, Robert Edgar and Jim Wallace have said the same. With the growing concern that the culture wars are leading us nowhere and doing more harm than good, maybe the time is coming when we can, in fact, start to work seriously at ending poverty and overcoming division. Poverty is a concern for many Christians. Some have consistently sought to bring it to an end for years. But as the country moved the right, other issues took center stage.

Ending poverty is a traditional value that cuts across all Christian theological streams. It’s rooted in Jesus’ commitment to the poor. Few would dispute it. It’s biblical and all who take the biblical record seriously must take seriously the responsibility to ease the suffering of the poor.
While it’s a way to overcome divisions, it’s also a way to express meaningful Christian community and witness to the healing concern of Christian faith. My hope is that this idea takes hold and mobilizes people of faith. And further, I hope it gains public attention and generates public discourse about hope and healing.

On Not Having All the Answers

One of the challenges of living in a time of
great change is that ideas don’t stay tied down. They move. Or they get
replaced and disappear. Or they transmogrify into some other form. It’s
exuberating sometimes. Frightening at others. But it’s part of creation and
it’s part of understanding life today.

The challenge of living in a time of great change, such as our time, is that ideas don’t stay tied down. They move. They get replaced or disproved and some disappear. Others transmogrify into another form. In times of change we re-discover that knowledge is pliable. This is a part of the great conversation occurring in many disciplines today. Technology provides information that alters knowledge so fundamentally that it leads us to change our way of thinking or acting. Part of the struggle that is called culture wars is the attempt to hold onto orthodox standards to maintain integrity and a sense of order in a sea of swirling change.

For our survival
and well-being,
Wilson says, we
need a consensus
about our origins,
our nature as
human beings, our
place in the
natural world
and our purpose,
or what it
is that makes
life worth living.
–Steve Pope
reviewing Consilience: The
Unity of Knowledge
By Edward 0. Wilson

I think it’s necessary to try to understand the change that technology introduces in our quality of life and to reflect on how it alters our thinking. We experience change at an increasing pace and we accommodate to it or get left behind, and not in the goofy way some writer of Christian pulp novels has described being left behind.

It’s more about how we come to terms with an unfolding understanding of the universe, and how we adapt to new-found information borne on new technology. As I write this, the morning paper tells of new proposals about how planets in our solar system developed their current orbits after a period of chaotic interaction. Last week, the largest planet yet-to-be-discovered, was announced. We cannot comprehend all of this, nor accommodate to it in so brief a time. Yet, eventually we must because each of the new pieces of the puzzle of the universe will alter our self-understanding and our ways of arriving at whatever is true for us in a given period. In a letter to the editor of the New York Times, John Ehrenfeld recently wrote in four succinct paragraphs the core of this issue:

Buried in the faulty rhetoric of intelligent design theory is the presumption that the human mind should be able to comprehend everything about the world. This position, completely ungrounded in science or religion, is perhaps the most arrogant claim one can make on behalf of our species.

Modern understanding of the wonders of nature is built on an appreciation that ecosystems behave in fundamentally unpredictable ways that we know we cannot describe with even our most sophisticated scientific laws.

As much as anyone would want science to be able to explain everything about the world we perceive, the very nature of science must always leave something out.

And what is left out is nothing more than a reflection of the limits of science and the humans who do its hard work.

–John Ehrenfeld
New York Times, May 22, 2005

Well, maybe. While this statement makes eminent sense, it posits the absence of information in a way that makes me concerned. I believe there is more in the unknown than the statement seems to imply. There is more than can be observed. There is mystery. There is purpose. And it does not get its meaning from our comprehension. It is.

When the theory of everything is arrived at, it will still be limited if it explains only the observable. If it does not lead us to those dimensions that remain a mystery beyond observation; if it does not lead us to the yearning for meaning and purpose, it will not explain everything.

To get to meaning in this way will require us to step from science to theology. It’s not as great a leap as one might think, for theology is no less than a careful and systematic effort to capture what we know, and what we leave out, when referring to the ultimate meaning of our lives. It’s an attempt to comprehend what is. I’m aware that some scientists reject this outright and others are driven to apoplexy by such a statement. But the Big Bang theory, while widely accepted, remains a theory. It’s accepted because there’s no better explanation for how the universe started.

Therefore, taking due note from the outset that scientists don’t “believe,” they “accept,” based on observable evidence, I also note that lacking conclusive evidence, many, never the less, accept the theory of the Big Bang because existing evidence points them in that direction. But their acceptance goes beyond the observable. This neither discredits nor undermines science, but it should be a reason for humility. And it says something about taking a leap of inference, if not a leap of faith.

Theologians, who work with other information and theoretical structures, come to similar stages of acceptance in their discipline. Reading the work of a theologian and that of a theoretical physicist is to read how these thinkers not only accept theory, but also how they convert it into statements that attempt to explain the nature of the universe and the place of human beings in it.

In a process as fluid as this the two disciplines employ similar practices to arrive at conclusions which, of course, don’t stay tied down. I read an exchange between two theologians recently in which one claimed the other didn’t know where he stood, meaning that he did not identify sufficiently with orthodox teaching and practice to have a foundation upon which to make claims about life. I thought to myself, what if, in fact, he knows precisely where he stands? What if he know he stands in an expanding universe about which we know precious little? A system in which 70% of the energy is called dark energy and 25% is made of dark matter also undefined. And some of this mysterious dark energy appears to be causing the universe to expand.

So I ask, what if the theologian has fixed his gaze on a distant star, as humans have done for centuries to locate themselves in the universe. He’s rooted in time-honored knowledge. But, his star is moving! Physicists say it’s moving away from him at an astonishing, accelerating rate.

The universe is dynamic, not fixed. How do you anchor to a fixed referent when the foundation is moving?

Lest someone contend I can’t mix theology and cosmology, I have to argue that the mix is already done. My hypothetical theologian is attempting to define meaning in a context–the universe–and the context is changing as he/she works. Theology must be responsive to this reality, or be irrelevant. The theologian and the physicist are asking many of the same big questions: How did we–and all other things–get here, what is our purpose, and how do the pieces fit together? Put another way that last question could be, “what is the meaning of all of this?”

I am compelled to ask, even with my admittedly rudimentary understanding, “What is hidden in that mysterious energy and dark matter that we don’t even have words to adequately describe? How can we stake a claim to eternal verities in a universe that is unfolding itself to us in what seem to be be palatable bites that sometimes take us a few hundred years to digest?”

What could be more humbling than the realization that we can’t even describe the known universe, much less comprehend the Source of this magnificent and mysterious creative process? Or that the wild card of unpredictability takes us in new directions, when we thought our theories were tied down? Theologians and physicists should gulp a huge dose of humility as they stake out claims to explain life. Viewed from this perspective, it seems to me that theology cannot be done apart from theoretical physics, or at least it’s a mistake to try.

Scientists argue that the telling difference is verification; the scientific method makes science different. But, the theory of black holes leads to questions about verification that, on this side, are substantial. If black holes warp time and space how can the observer entering a black hole return to report the observation? It requires a leap of inference, if not faith, just to discuss it.

But even more than this, the ability to observe directly is increasingly difficult, if not beyond our present capabilities. Crashing atoms into each other at high velocity under the controlled parameters of the super collider is creating as many hypotheses as verifiable data, and in the microcosm these datum cannot be observed with the naked eye, they require the mediation of technology. More about that in a moment.

Science and religion are not the same. But each can inform the other, for both seek to deal with unknowable mystery. Moreover, in a world that often seems alienating the two, each in its own unique way, could lead us to deeper understanding of our connection to the universe and the sacred. The knowledge and understanding derived from each could be unifying and healing.

Knowing the limits of my rudimentary understanding, I can’t do anything but remain open to unfolding revelation and comprehension. Thus, for me to deal with the surprising unpredictability of the universe is to also discover new ways of comprehending the Creation and appreciating the work of the Creator, mysterious and unfathomable as it is.

It might puzzle you how a communicator gets engaged in this line of thought. Here’s how. The new information that is propelling us to these questions and leading us to even more, is possible only because new technology provides us the means to explore the universe outside the bounds of earth and the subatomic universe too minute for the human eye to see.

The human race has moved beyond “naked-eye” observation. We now live in a mediated universe. Reality is being conveyed through digital images on screens. Without these media our understanding of reality would be significantly lessened. The most popular tool known to the general population is the Hubbell Telescope. Hubbell images have opened our minds to the vastness of the universe in ways words could never do.

At first this seems yet another step in a sequence of adaptation, but it seems to me it’s more. We live in what Thomas De Zengotita calls a representational culture. A culture in which screens provide images that represent reality. In the case of exploration of the universe, it’s screens and Adobe Photoshop. Reality is now being constructed of x’s and o’s and pixels manipulated by a software program.

Interpreting the universe is no longer about the world as we know it. It’s about the world as presented to us through the mediation of technology, interpreted through the limits of machines and software, interpreted through the limits of language and theories tested under conditions that developed before these technologies and this software existed.

It’s no longer simply (I use that word with great appreciation for the fact that it isn’t so simple) about deconstructing language. It’s about constructing a new theoretical framework to describe the information this technology is making available to us and this will inevitably change our beliefs and our appropriation of knowledge as surely as the printing press created the modern era and gave humans new self-awareness.

There is much work to do in comprehending how learning, comprehension and reasoning occur in a mediated reality based on representational images. Much of the examination of media today is cultural critique. But the challenge before us is greater than critiquing the content of television and video games, as much as I enjoy doing that. The challenge is to consider how these media are changing us, our culture, our community, our sense of selfhood and our relationship to the universe.

And finally, the most important piece of it all, for me. How does this new knowledge affect faith? How are we to grasp the meaning of Creation and the Great Spirit as we also seek to grasp the makeup of the greatness of the universe?
It can’t get much more exciting than this.

Stem Cell Research

Scientists in the U.S. say stem cell
research is falling behind in the U.S. because they face too many

We’ve had hurdle after
hurdle thrown at us
in this country, both
politically and financially.
Unfortunately, you’re
going to see more and
more of the major
stem-cell breakthroughs
occurring overseas.

–Robert Lanza,
vice president of
medical and scientific
Advanced Cell Technology

Stem cell research is lagging behind and will increasingly be advanced outside the United States according to an article in Wired magazine this week. The Wired article reports on the techniques perfected by the South Korean researchers who cloned embryos by harvesting stem cells and fertilizing human eggs to create embryonic stem cells.

The Wired article says scientists in the U.S. thought the cloning procedure perfected by the South Koreans was ten years away.
Tonight the BBC is covering the story with a British angle. The story concentrates on liver disease, but also discusses the range of conditions that could be treated with cloned stem cells. Cells cloned from the affected individual are not rejected, thus persons undergoing stem cell therapy in this manner don’t require anti-rejection medication, a life-long requirement using cells from other sources.

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