Tag Archives: president

Freedom in the 50 States 2015-2016 | Overall Freedom …

Posted: August 25, 2016 at 4:35 pm

William P. Ruger

William P. Ruger is Vice President of Policy and Research at the Charles Koch Institute and Charles Koch Foundation. Ruger is the author of the biography Milton Friedman and a coauthor of The State of Texas: Government, Politics, and Policy. His work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Armed Forces and Society, and other outlets. Ruger earned an AB from the College of William and Mary and a PhD in politics from Brandeis University. He is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

Jason Sorens is Lecturer in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College. His primary research interests include fiscal federalism, public policy in federal systems, secessionism, and ethnic politics. His work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Peace Research, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, and other academic journals, and his book Secessionism: Identity, Interest, and Strategy was published by McGill-Queens University Press in 2012. Sorens received his BA in economics and philosophy, with honors, from Washington and Lee University and his PhD in political science from Yale University.

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Freedom in the 50 States 2015-2016 | Overall Freedom …

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Human spaceflight – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: at 4:32 pm

Human spaceflight (also referred to as manned spaceflight) is space travel with a crew or passengers aboard the spacecraft. Spacecraft carrying people may be operated directly, by human crew, or it may be either remotely operated from ground stations on Earth or be autonomous, able to carry out a specific mission with no human involvement.

The first human spaceflight was launched by the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961 as a part of the Vostok program, with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard. Humans have been continually present in space for 700849902926700000015years and 297days on the International Space Station. All early human spaceflight was crewed, where at least some of the passengers acted to carry out tasks of piloting or operating the spacecraft. After 2015, several human-capable spacecraft are being explicitly designed with the ability to operate autonomously.

Since the retirement of the US Space Shuttle in 2011, only Russia and China have maintained human spaceflight capability with the Soyuz program and Shenzhou program. Currently, all expeditions to the International Space Station use Soyuz vehicles, which remain attached to the station to allow quick return if needed. The United States is developing commercial crew transportation to facilitate domestic access to ISS and low Earth orbit, as well as the Orion vehicle for beyond-low Earth orbit applications.

While spaceflight has typically been a government-directed activity, commercial spaceflight has gradually been taking on a greater role. The first private human spaceflight took place on 21 June 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight, and a number of non-governmental companies have been working to develop a space tourism industry. NASA has also played a role to stimulate private spaceflight through programs such as Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) and Commercial Crew Development (CCDev). With its 2011 budget proposals released in 2010,[1] the Obama administration moved towards a model where commercial companies would supply NASA with transportation services of both people and cargo transport to low Earth orbit. The vehicles used for these services could then serve both NASA and potential commercial customers. Commercial resupply of ISS began two years after the retirement of the Shuttle, and commercial crew launches could begin by 2017.[2]

Human spaceflight capability was first developed during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR), which developed the first intercontinental ballistic missile rockets to deliver nuclear weapons. These rockets were large enough to be adapted to carry the first artificial satellites into low Earth orbit. After the first satellites were launched in 1957 and 1958, the US worked on Project Mercury to launch men singly into orbit, while the USSR secretly pursued the Vostok program to accomplish the same thing. The USSR launched the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin into a single orbit in Vostok 1 on a Vostok 3KA rocket, on April 12, 1961. The US launched its first astronaut, Alan Shepard on a suborbital flight aboard Freedom 7 on a Mercury-Redstone rocket, on May 5, 1961. Unlike Gagarin, Shepard manually controlled his spacecraft’s attitude, and landed inside it. The first American in orbit was John Glenn aboard Friendship 7, launched February 20, 1962 on a Mercury-Atlas rocket. The USSR launched five more cosmonauts in Vostok capsules, including the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova aboard Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963. The US launched a total of two astronauts in suborbital flight and four in orbit through 1963.

US President John F. Kennedy raised the stakes of the Space Race by setting the goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely by the end of the 1960s.[3] The US started the three-man Apollo program in 1961 to accomplish this, launched by the Saturn family of launch vehicles, and the interim two-man Project Gemini in 1962, which flew 10 missions launched by Titan II rockets in 1965 and 1966. Gemini’s objective was to support Apollo by developing American orbital spaceflight experience and techniques to be used in the Moon mission.[4]

Meanwhile, the USSR remained silent about their intentions to send humans to the Moon, and proceeded to stretch the limits of their single-pilot Vostok capsule into a two- or three-person Voskhod capsule to compete with Gemini. They were able to launch two orbital flights in 1964 and 1965 and achieved the first spacewalk, made by Alexei Leonov on Voskhod 2 on March 8, 1965. But Voskhod did not have Gemini’s capability to maneuver in orbit, and the program was terminated. The US Gemini flights did not accomplish the first spacewalk, but overcame the early Soviet lead by performing several spacewalks and solving the problem of astronaut fatigue caused by overcoming the lack of gravity, demonstrating up to two weeks endurance in a human spaceflight, and the first space rendezvous and dockings of spacecraft.

The US succeeded in developing the Saturn V rocket necessary to send the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon, and sent Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders into 10 orbits around the Moon in Apollo 8 in December 1968. In July 1969, Apollo 11 accomplished Kennedy’s goal by landing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon July 21 and returning them safely on July 24 along with Command Module pilot Michael Collins. A total of six Apollo missions landed 12 men to walk on the Moon through 1972, half of which drove electric powered vehicles on the surface. The crew of Apollo 13, Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise, survived a catastrophic in-flight spacecraft failure and returned to Earth safely without landing on the Moon.

Meanwhile, the USSR secretly pursued human lunar lunar orbiting and landing programs. They successfully developed the three-person Soyuz spacecraft for use in the lunar programs, but failed to develop the N1 rocket necessary for a human landing, and discontinued the lunar programs in 1974.[5] On losing the Moon race, they concentrated on the development of space stations, using the Soyuz as a ferry to take cosmonauts to and from the stations. They started with a series of Salyut sortie stations from 1971 to 1986.

After the Apollo program, the US launched the Skylab sortie space station in 1973, manning it for 171 days with three crews aboard Apollo spacecraft. President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev negotiated an easing of relations known as dtente, an easing of Cold War tensions. As part of this, they negotiated the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, in which an Apollo spacecraft carrying a special docking adapter module rendezvoused and docked with Soyuz 19 in 1975. The American and Russian crews shook hands in space, but the purpose of the flight was purely diplomatic and symbolic.

Nixon appointed his Vice President Spiro Agnew to head a Space Task Group in 1969 to recommend follow-on human spaceflight programs after Apollo. The group proposed an ambitious Space Transportation System based on a reusable Space Shuttle which consisted of a winged, internally fueled orbiter stage burning liquid hydrogen, launched by a similar, but larger kerosene-fueled booster stage, each equipped with airbreathing jet engines for powered return to a runway at the Kennedy Space Center launch site. Other components of the system included a permanent modular space station, reusable space tug and nuclear interplanetary ferry, leading to a human expedition to Mars as early as 1986, or as late as 2000, depending on the level of funding allocated. However, Nixon knew the American political climate would not support Congressional funding for such an ambition, and killed proposals for all but the Shuttle, possibly to be followed by the space station. Plans for the Shuttle were scaled back to reduce development risk, cost, and time, replacing the piloted flyback booster with two reusable solid rocket boosters, and the smaller orbiter would use an expendable external propellant tank to feed its hydrogen-fueled main engines. The orbiter would have to make unpowered landings.

The two nations continued to compete rather than cooperate in space, as the US turned to developing the Space Shuttle and planning the space station, dubbed Freedom. The USSR launched three Almaz military sortie stations from 1973 to 1977, disguised as Salyuts. They followed Salyut with the development of Mir, the first modular, semi-permanent space station, the construction of which took place from 1986 to 1996. Mir orbited at an altitude of 354 kilometers (191 nautical miles), at a 51.6 inclination. It was occupied for 4,592 days, and made a controlled reentry in 2001.

The Space Shuttle started flying in 1981, but the US Congress failed to approve sufficient funds to make Freedom a reality. A fleet of four shuttles was built: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis. A fifth shuttle, Endeavour, was built to replace Challenger which was destroyed in an accident during launch which killed 7 astronauts on January 28, 1986. Twenty-two Shuttle flights carried a European Space Agency sortie space station called Spacelab in the payload bay from 1983 to 1998.[6]

The USSR copied the reusable Space Shuttle orbiter, which it called Buran. It was designed to be launched into orbit by the expendable Energia rocket, and capable of robotic orbital flight and landing. Unlike the US Shuttle, Buran had no main rocket engines, but used its orbital maneuvering engines to insert itself into orbit; but it had airbreathing jet engines for powered landings. A single unmanned orbital test flight was successfully made in November 1988. A second test flight was planned by 1993, but the program was cancelled due to lack of funding and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Two more orbiters were never completed, and the first one was destroyed in a hangar roof collapse in May 2002.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought an end to the Cold War and opened the door to true cooperation between the US and Russia. The Soviet Soyuz and Mir programs were taken over by the Russian Federal Space Agency, now known as the Roscosmos State Corporation. The Shuttle-Mir Program included American Space Shuttles visiting the Mir space station, Russian cosmonauts flying on the Shuttle, and an American astronaut flying aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for long-duration expeditions aboard Mir.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton secured Russia’s cooperation in converting the planned Space Station Freedom into the International Space Station (ISS). Construction of the station began in 1998. The station orbits at an altitude of 409 kilometers (221nmi) and an inclination of 51.65.

The Space Shuttle was retired in 2011 after 135 orbital flights, several of which helped assemble, supply, and crew the ISS. Columbia was destroyed in another accident during reentry, which killed 7 astronauts on February 1, 2003.

After Russia’s launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, Chairman Mao Zedong intended to place a Chinese satellite in orbit by 1959 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC),[7] However, China did not successfully launch its first satellite until April 24, 1970. Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai decided on July 14, 1967, that the PRC should not be left behind, and started China’s own human spaceflight program.[8] The first attempt, the Shuguang spacecraft copied from the US Gemini, was cancelled on May 13, 1972.

China later designed the Shenzhou spacecraft resembling the Russian Soyuz, and became the third nation to achieve independent human spaceflight capability by launching Yang Liwei on a 21-hour flight aboard Shenzhou 5 on October 15, 2003. China launched the Tiangong-1 space station on September 29, 2011, and two sortie missions to it: Shenzhou 9 June 1629, 2012, with China’s first female astronaut Liu Yang; and Shenzhou 10, June 1326, 2013.

The European Space Agency began development in 1987 of the Hermes spaceplane, to be launched on the Ariane 5 expendable launch vehicle. The project was cancelled in 1992, when it became clear that neither cost nor performance goals could be achieved. No Hermes shuttles were ever built.

Japan began development in the 1980s of the HOPE-X experimental spaceplane, to be launched on its H-IIA expendable launch vehicle. A string of failures in 1998 led to funding reduction, and the project’s cancellation in 2003.

Under the Bush administration, the Constellation Program included plans for retiring the Shuttle program and replacing it with the capability for spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit. In the 2011 United States federal budget, the Obama administration cancelled Constellation for being over budget and behind schedule while not innovating and investing in critical new technologies.[9] For beyond low earth orbit human spaceflight NASA is developing the Orion spacecraft to be launched by the Space Launch System. Under the Commercial Crew Development plan, NASA will rely on transportation services provided by the private sector to reach low earth orbit, such as Space X’s Falcon 9/Dragon V2, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser, or Boeing’s CST-100. The period between the retirement of the shuttle in 2011 and the initial operational capability of new systems in 2017, similar to the gap between the end of Apollo in 1975 and the first space shuttle flight in 1981, is referred to by a presidential Blue Ribbon Committee as the U.S. human spaceflight gap.[10]

After the early 2000s, a variety of private spaceflight ventures were undertaken. Several of the companies formed by 2005, including Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and XCOR Aerospace have explicit plans to advance human spaceflight. As of 2015[update], all four of those companies have development programs underway to fly commercial passengers before 2018.

Commercial suborbital spacecraft aimed at the space tourism market include Virgin Galactic SpaceshipTwo, and XCOR’s Lynx spaceplane which are both under development and could reach space before 2017.[11] More recently, Blue Origin has begun a multi-year test program of their New Shepardvehicle with plans to test in 20152016 while carrying no passengers, then adding “test passengers” in 2017, and initiate commercial flights in 2018.[12][13]

SpaceX and Boeing are both developing passenger-capable orbital space capsules as of 2015, planning to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station as soon as 2018. SpaceX will be carrying passengers on Dragon 2 launched on a Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Boeing will be doing it with their CST-100 launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle.[14] Development funding for these orbital-capable technologies has been provided by a mix of government and private funds, with SpaceX providing a greater portion of total development funding for this human-carrying capability from private investment.[15][16] There have been no public announcements of commercial offerings for orbital flights from either company, although both companies are planning some flights with their own private, not NASA, astronauts on board.

Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space on 25 July 1984.

Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. Eileen Collins was the first female shuttle pilot, and with shuttle mission STS-93 in 1999 she became the first woman to command a U.S. spacecraft.

The longest single human spaceflight is that of Valeri Polyakov, who left Earth on 8 January 1994, and did not return until 22 March 1995 (a total of 437 days 17 h 58 min 16 s). Sergei Krikalyov has spent the most time of anyone in space, 803 days, 9 hours, and 39 minutes altogether. The longest period of continuous human presence in space is 700849902926700000015years and 297days on the International Space Station, exceeding the previous record of almost 10 years (or 3,634 days) held by Mir, spanning the launch of Soyuz TM-8 on 5 September 1989 to the landing of Soyuz TM-29 on 28 August 1999.

For many years, only the USSR (later Russia) and the United States had their own astronauts. Citizens of other nations flew in space, beginning with the flight of Vladimir Remek, a Czech, on a Soviet spacecraft on 2 March 1978, in the Interkosmos programme. As of 2010[update], citizens from 38 nations (including space tourists) have flown in space aboard Soviet, American, Russian, and Chinese spacecraft.

Human spaceflight programs have been conducted by the former Soviet Union and current Russian Federation, the United States, the People’s Republic of China and by private spaceflight company Scaled Composites.

Space vehicles are spacecraft used for transportation between the Earth’s surface and outer space, or between locations in outer space. The following space vehicles and spaceports are currently used for launching human spaceflights:

The following space stations are currently maintained in Earth orbit for human occupation:

Numerous private companies attempted human spaceflight programs in an effort to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. The first private human spaceflight took place on 21 June 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight. SpaceShipOne captured the prize on 4 October 2004, when it accomplished two consecutive flights within one week. SpaceShipTwo, launching from the carrier aircraft White Knight Two, is planned to conduct regular suborbital space tourism.[17]

Most of the time, the only humans in space are those aboard the ISS, whose crew of six spends up to six months at a time in low Earth orbit.

NASA and ESA use the term “human spaceflight” to refer to their programs of launching people into space. These endeavors have also been referred to as “manned space missions,” though because of gender specificity this is no longer official parlance according to NASA style guides.[18]

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has begun work on pre-project activities of a human space flight mission program.[19] The objective is to carry a crew of two to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and return them safely to a predefined destination on Earth. The program is proposed to be implemented in defined phases. Currently, the pre-project activities are progressing with a focus on the development of critical technologies for subsystems such as the Crew Module (CM), Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), Crew Escape System, etc. The department has initiated pre-project activities to study technical and managerial issues related to crewed missions. The program envisages the development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying 2 or 3 crew members to about 300km low earth orbit and their safe return.

The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing a plan to land humans on Mars by the 2030s. The first step in this mission begins sometime during 2020, when NASA plans to send an unmanned craft into deep space to retrieve an asteroid.[20] The asteroid will be pushed into the moons orbit, and studied by astronauts aboard Orion, NASAs first human spacecraft in a generation.[21] Orions crew will return to Earth with samples of the asteroid and their collected data. In addition to broadening Americas space capabilities, this mission will test newly developed technology, such as solar electric propulsion, which uses solar arrays for energy and requires ten times less propellant than the conventional chemical counterpart used for powering space shuttles to orbit.[22]

Several other countries and space agencies have announced and begun human spaceflight programs by their own technology, Japan (JAXA), Iran (ISA) and Malaysia (MNSA).

There are two main sources of hazard in space flight: those due to the environment of space which make it hostile to the human body, and the potential for mechanical malfunctions of the equipment required to accomplish space flight.

Planners of human spaceflight missions face a number of safety concerns.

The immediate needs for breathable air and drinkable water are addressed by the life support system of the spacecraft.

Medical consequences such as possible blindness and bone loss have been associated with human space flight.[32][33]

On 31 December 2012, a NASA-supported study reported that spaceflight may harm the brain of astronauts and accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.[34][35][36]

In October 2015, the NASA Office of Inspector General issued a health hazards report related to space exploration, including a human mission to Mars.[37][38]

Medical data from astronauts in low earth orbits for long periods, dating back to the 1970s, show several adverse effects of a microgravity environment: loss of bone density, decreased muscle strength and endurance, postural instability, and reductions in aerobic capacity. Over time these deconditioning effects can impair astronauts performance or increase their risk of injury.[39]

In a weightless environment, astronauts put almost no weight on the back muscles or leg muscles used for standing up, which causes them to weaken and get smaller. Astronauts can lose up to twenty per cent of their muscle mass on spaceflights lasting five to eleven days. The consequent loss of strength could be a serious problem in case of a landing emergency.[40] Upon return to Earth from long-duration flights, astronauts are considerably weakened, and are not allowed to drive a car for twenty-one days.[41]

Astronauts experiencing weightlessness will often lose their orientation, get motion sickness, and lose their sense of direction as their bodies try to get used to a weightless environment. When they get back to Earth, or any other mass with gravity, they have to readjust to the gravity and may have problems standing up, focusing their gaze, walking and turning. Importantly, those body motor disturbances after changing from different gravities only get worse the longer the exposure to little gravity.[citation needed] These changes will affect operational activities including approach and landing, docking, remote manipulation, and emergencies that may happen while landing. This can be a major roadblock to mission success.[citation needed]

In addition, after long space flight missions, male astronauts may experience severe eyesight problems.[42][43][44][45][46] Such eyesight problems may be a major concern for future deep space flight missions, including a crewed mission to the planet Mars.[42][43][44][45][47]

Without proper shielding, the crews of missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) might be at risk from high-energy protons emitted by solar flares. Lawrence Townsend of the University of Tennessee and others have studied the most powerful solar flare ever recorded. That flare was seen by the British astronomer Richard Carrington in September 1859. Radiation doses astronauts would receive from a Carrington-type flare could cause acute radiation sickness and possibly even death.[49]

Another type of radiation, galactic cosmic rays, presents further challenges to human spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit.[50]

There is also some scientific concern that extended spaceflight might slow down the bodys ability to protect itself against diseases.[51] Some of the problems are a weakened immune system and the activation of dormant viruses in the body. Radiation can cause both short and long term consequences to the bone marrow stem cells which create the blood and immune systems. Because the interior of a spacecraft is so small, a weakened immune system and more active viruses in the body can lead to a fast spread of infection.[citation needed]

During long missions, astronauts are isolated and confined into small spaces. Depression, cabin fever and other psychological problems may impact the crew’s safety and mission success.[citation needed]

Astronauts may not be able to quickly return to Earth or receive medical supplies, equipment or personnel if a medical emergency occurs. The astronauts may have to rely for long periods on their limited existing resources and medical advice from the ground.

Space flight requires much higher velocities than ground or air transportation, which in turn requires the use of high energy density propellants for launch, and the dissipation of large amounts of energy, usually as heat, for safe reentry through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Since rockets carry the potential for fire or explosive destruction, space capsules generally employ some sort of launch escape system, consisting either of a tower-mounted solid fuel rocket to quickly carry the capsule away from the launch vehicle (employed on Mercury, Apollo, and Soyuz), or else ejection seats (employed on Vostok and Gemini) to carry astronauts out of the capsule and away for individual parachute landing. The escape tower is discarded at some point before the launch is complete, at a point where an abort can be performed using the spacecraft’s engines.

Such a system is not always practical for multiple crew member vehicles (particularly spaceplanes), depending on location of egress hatch(es). When the single-hatch Vostok capsule was modified to become the 2 or 3-person Voskhod, the single-cosmonaut ejection seat could not be used, and no escape tower system was added. The two Voskhod flights in 1964 and 1965 avoided launch mishaps. The Space Shuttle carried ejection seats and escape hatches for its pilot and copilot in early flights, but these could not be used for passengers who sat below the flight deck on later flights, and so were discontinued.

The only in-flight launch abort of a crewed flight occurred on Soyuz 18a on April 5, 1975. The abort occurred after the launch escape system had been jettisoned, when the launch vehicle’s spent second stage failed to separate before the third stage ignited. The vehicle strayed off course, and the crew separated the spacecraft and fired its engines to pull it away from the errant rocket. Both cosmonauts landed safely.

In the only use of a launch escape system on a crewed flight, the planned Soyuz T-10a launch on September 26, 1983 was aborted by a launch vehicle fire 90 seconds before liftoff. Both cosmonauts aboard landed safely.

The only crew fatality during launch occurred on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff, due to failure of a solid rocket booster seal which caused separation of the booster and failure of the external fuel tank, resulting in explosion of the fuel. All seven crew members were killed.

The single pilot of Soyuz 1, Vladimir Komarov was killed when his capsule’s parachutes failed during an emergency landing on April 24, 1967, causing the capsule to crash.

The crew of seven aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia were killed on reentry after completing a successful mission in space on February 1, 2003. A wing leading edge reinforced carbon-carbon heat shield had been damaged by a piece of frozen external tank foam insulation which broke off and struck the wing during launch. Hot reentry gasses entered and destroyed the wing structure, leading to breakup of the orbiter vehicle.

There are two basic choices for an artificial atmosphere: either an Earth-like mixture of oxygen in an inert gas such as nitrogen or helium, or pure oxygen, which can be used at lower than standard atmospheric pressure. A nitrogen-oxygen mixture is used in the International Space Station and Soyuz spacecraft, while low-pressure pure oxygen is commonly used in space suits for extravehicular activity.

Use of a gas mixture carries risk of decompression sickness (commonly known as “the bends”) when transitioning to or from the pure oxygen space suit environment. There have also been instances of injury and fatalities caused by suffocation in the presence of too much nitrogen and not enough oxygen.

A pure oxygen atmosphere carries risk of fire. The original design of the Apollo spacecraft used pure oxygen at greater than atmospheric pressure prior to launch. An electrical fire started in the cabin of Apollo 1 during a ground test at Cape Kennedy Air Force Station Launch Complex 34 on January 27, 1967, and spread rapidly. The high pressure (increased even higher by the fire) prevented removal of the plug door hatch cover in time to rescue the crew. All three, Gus Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger Chaffee, were killed.[55] This led NASA to use a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere before launch, and low pressure pure oxygen only in space.

The March 1966 Gemini 8 mission was aborted in orbit when an attitude control system thruster stuck in the on position, sending the craft into a dangerous spin which threatened the lives of Neil Armstrong and David Scott. Armstrong had to shut the control system off and use the reentry control system to stop the spin. The craft made an emergency reentry and the astronauts landed safely. The most probable cause was determined to be an electrical short due to a static electricity discharge, which caused the thruster to remain powered even when switched off. The control system was modified to put each thruster on its own isolated circuit.

The third lunar landing expedition Apollo 13 in April 1970, was aborted and the lives of the crew, James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, were threatened by failure of a cryogenic liquid oxygen tank en route to the Moon. The tank burst when electrical power was applied to internal stirring fans in the tank, causing the immediate loss of all of its contents, and also damaging the second tank, causing the loss of its remaining oxygen in a span of 130 minutes. This in turn caused loss of electrical power provided by fuel cells to the command spacecraft. The crew managed to return to Earth safely by using the lunar landing craft as a “life boat”. The tank failure was determined to be caused by two mistakes. The tank’s drain fitting had been damaged when it was dropped during factory testing. This necessitated use of its internal heaters to boil out the oxygen after a pre-launch test, which in turn damaged the fan wiring’s electrical insulation, because the thermostats on the heaters did not meet the required voltage rating due to a vendor miscommunication.

As of December 2015[update], 22 crew members have died in accidents aboard spacecraft. Over 100 others have died in accidents during activity directly related to spaceflight or testing.

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NATO – Council on Foreign Relations

Posted: at 4:21 pm

Op-Ed What Trump Doesnt Know About Allies Author: Stephen Sestanovich July 30, 2016 New York Times

Donald Trump’s suggestion that NATO allies would lose U.S. protection unless they “pay” more for their defense is a reminder of how easily presidents can blunder their way into trouble, writes CFR’s Stephen Sestanovich.

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Inthe last year, some39,000 migrants, mostly from North Africa, tried to make their way to the United Kingdom from the French port of Calais by boarding trucks and trains crossing the English Channel.

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A close call. It is tempting to view the chaos in Libya today as yet one more demonstration of the futility of U.S.-led military interventions. That is precisely the case that Alan Kuperman makes in his article (Obamas Libya Debacle, March/April 2015), which asserts that NATOs 2011 intervention in Libya was an abject failure that set free Libyas vast conventional weapons stockpiles, gave rise to extremist groups, and even exacerbated the conflict in Syria.

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Janine Davidson presents an interactive model of NATO members’ military spending from 1949 to the present day. This visualization also tracks the total proportion of U.S. contribution over time.

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This document was issued on September 5, 2014, after a summit with NATO leaders which addressed the instability in Europe between Russia and the Ukraine and the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The declaration includes increased sanctions against Russia and a rapid-reaction force based in Eastern Europe to act against moves from the Russian military.

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John Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison distinguished service professor of political science at the University of Chicago and author of “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault” in the September/October 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs, on the unintended effects of NATO expansion.

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Listen to Ivo Daalder, former U.S. permanent representative to NATO and president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia and professor of political science at Stanford University discuss NATO’s role in addressing global challenges, including Afghanistan, Ukraine, and ISIS.

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Adam Mount and Hans Kristensen argue that tactical nuclear bombs in Europe are no longer useful for defense, deterrance, or assurance. They have had little effect on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s transgressions in Eastern Europe and instead detract from more useful defense initiatives.

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Janine Davidson and Emerson Brooking argue that, on the eve of the 2014 NATO Wales Summit, the ongoing war in Afghanistan should not be relegated to a “side issue” in light of the crisis in Ukraine and growing threat of ISIS. The next few months will be critical in determining that Afghanistan does not follow the path of Iraq.

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When Western leaders gather for the NATO summit in Wales next week, they will be expected to answer calls to revive the old alliance in order to confront Russias gradual invasion of Ukraine. Despite this new clarity of purpose, however, the alliance remains profoundlydivided.

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With crises brewing in Ukraine and the Middle East, the transatlantic alliance must develop new capabilities to address the rising threat of unconventional warfare, says CFR’s Janine Davidson.

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U.S. President Barack Obama and Polish President Bronisaw Komorowski held a press conference on June 3, 2014, to discuss commitments to NATO and Ukraine.

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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke at the Woodrow Wilson International Center Forum on May 2, 2014. He discussed strengthening NATO, in the context of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and U.S. defense budget constraints.

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Russian aggression in Ukraine has breathed new life into the Cold War-era security alliance, prompting allies to reinforce defenses in Eastern Europe and expand cooperation with nonmembers.

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The Foreign Policy Initiative organized fifty-two former U.S. government officials and foreign policy experts to sign a bipartisan letter to President Obama regarding policy to respond to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

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NATO’s response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea may require it to bolster eastern European members with both military and non-military actions, says expert Christopher S. Chivvis.

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NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke at a Brookings Institution event, The Future of the Alliance: Revitalizing NATO for a Changing World. Secretary-General Rasmussen’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are titled “Why NATO Matters to America.”

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“Europe is under pressure, both internally and from its allies, to take more responsibility for defence and security, especially in its immediate neighbourhood. The post-Cold War history of European deployments in Europe and joint NATO missions provide abundant evidence of such demands. Currently, US defence spending represents 72 percent of the NATO total up from 63 percent in 2001.”

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Although there is no formal institutional connection between India and NATO, India and the NATO allies, most importantly the United States, informally share an interest in maintaining maritime security in the Indian Ocean and have spent significant resources to combat piracy in this vast area.

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U.S. missile defense in the twenty-first century is focused on emerging threats from North Korea and Iran, but critics say these systems are too costly and largely unproven.

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Alternative Medicine – Christian Research Institute

Posted: August 21, 2016 at 11:12 am


Over the past decade, governmental agencies, medical schools, influential voices in the media, and the public at large have seen a remarkable surge of interest in alternative medicine in the United States. While many therapies focus on unproven but otherwise spiritually neutral approaches (for example, nutritional supplements), others arise from or validate worldviews especially the monism (All is One) of the New Age movement that are hostile to the teachings of Scripture. The cultural developments that have brought alternative (still often called holistic) therapies into the cultural mainstream are complex and often understandable. However, a number of general cautions are still in order regarding this movement.

Twenty years ago a nurse tending to pediatric patients at Santa Monica Hospital handed me a rather unassuming publication bearing the title, Journal of Holistic Health. Along with more than 2,000 health-care professionals and other interested parties, she had just attended a conference in San Diego entitled, The Physician of the Future. In more ways than one, she had got religion at this meeting, and spoke with great enthusiasm about the new paradigm that would soon revolutionize our understanding of health and disease.

The future of health care, she explained, lay in the concept of holism, understanding the whole person body, mind, and spirit who was in fact a great deal more than the sum of several organ systems. It would become much more important to understand the patient who had the illness, not merely the illness that had the patient. Prevention, lifestyle, stress reduction, and self-awareness would displace the invasive and often destructive approaches specifically, drugs and surgery that had for so long dominated Western medicine. Eventually, we would begin to define health in more uplifting terms: not merely as the absence of disease, but as a state of increasing energy, productivity, insight, and personal transformation.


It sounded intriguing. After all, I was training as a resident in family practice the specialty whose interest extended not only to the whole patient, but also to her or his family, work, relationships, and even the community where she or he lived. I glanced through the articles in this home-grown journal (which actually was a transcription of the previous years conference), and then began to read more carefully, with increasing concern. This movement appeared to have more on its mind than changing dietary habits, encouraging exercise, and coping with stress.

The conference director, David J. Harris, who bore the title Founder and President of the Association for Holistic Health, had rhapsodized in his opening remarks that this gathering is part of a process that is bringing about a new way of thinking, a new science merged with religion. James Fadiman, Ph.D., at that time Director of the Institute of Noetic Sciences at Stanford University, declared that we are not primarily physical forms. We are primarily energy around which matter adheres. Richard Svihus, M.D., President of the California Academy of Preventive Medicine, proclaimed that the holistic health movement is desired by higher forces and consciousness within the universe. Harold Bloomfield, M.D., a psychiatrist who had written the best-selling TM: Discovering Inner Energy and Overcoming Stress, extolled the benefits of Transcendental Meditation. Dr. Elisabeth Kbler-Ross, widely recognized as the worlds authority on the dying process, stated unequivocally that death does not exist, and that after transitioning from this life, you will have the opportunity not to be judged by a judgmental God, but to judge yourself. Many others with strings of initials after their names and impressive titles used engaging anecdotes that described healing through aligning the bodys invisible energies, developing psychic abilities, and most important altering, expanding, and transforming consciousness.

The pediatric nurse really had gotten religion but not a gospel that would set well with Luke, the doctor who followed Jesus. It was, instead, a gospel better suited to Luke Skywalker, master of the Force, the impersonal energy allegedly pervading the universe. The holistic health movement, it turned out, appeared to be yet another banner under the We are all energy / All is One / I am God / You are God / We are all God / Aint that great? spirituality of the New Age movement. Such spirituality was storming the gates of Western culture and hoping to be welcomed with open arms.

In my subsequent explorations of the holistic phenomenon I attended two of the annual Association for Holistic Health conferences in San Diego. For the most part, the speakers were interesting, energetic, and sincere in their desire to promote health and healing, while the audiences were far more attentive than many I had observed at other medical conferences. These total immersion experiences left no doubt in my mind that the spiritual agenda of the new medicine at least as presented by its most active proponents was of utmost importance. Furthermore, a few direct questions to some of the speakers made it abundantly clear that this spirituality, which presented itself as generously inclusive of all religious traditions, did not in fact harbor warm and fuzzy feelings about such concepts as the sinfulness of humankind, Christs atoning death on the cross, or our need for individual repentance.

Ask a speaker about Jesus, and you would hear He was a Master Teacher, Enlightened Healer, Bearer of the Christ Consciousness, and so forth. Mention atonement, and you would be gently corrected, for Jesus demonstrated at-one-ment an understanding of His (and our) unity with God. Bring up repentance, and you would be told that what we really need is enlightenment a direct experience of our own divinity. Bear down on that distasteful event at Golgotha, and the air would suddenly become rather chilly.

Over the next several years, I both wrote and spoke of my concerns about the holistic health movement in a variety of settings, and while doing so, made a few observations:

First, a number of conventional medical practitioners were miffed over the idea that unorthodox healing systems were promoted as treating the whole person more effectively. Indeed, even the most narrowly focused subspecialist could truly keep the patients entire life in focus, attending to the mind and spirit as well as the body. Furthermore, there was no guarantee that an unorthodox practitioner might not see a patient as little more than a tangled wad of energy fields needing to be balanced through some esoteric formulation. (Take these supplements/herbs that I have chosen for you through the most inscrutable and subjective criteria, and call me in the morning.)

Second, many people including committed Christians who would go to the mat over the interpretation of a grammatical detail in a passage of Scripture appeared quite willing to lay critical thinking aside while dealing with unorthodox healing methods. Does it work? or, more specifically, Does it make me feel better? were often far more important questions than Does it make any sense? or Is there any empirical proof? or On what world view is this healing system based?

Third, the holistic health movement appeared to be having little impact on the practices of mainstream physicians. It had somewhat greater success among nurses, particularly with a specific healing technique known as therapeutic touch (see below).

Fourth, the new medicine also seemed to be making little headway within medical schools, government bodies, and insurance companies. Holistic health proponents repeatedly expressed a desire to leave the fringes and enter the cultural mainstream via research, public policy, and finance, but for many years this goal proved elusive.

Indeed, the persistent inability of holistic practices to gain widespread acceptance by the powers that be was undoubtedly a sore point for this movement for a number of years. Despite the grandiose optimism expressed during the San Diego conferences and others during the late 1970s and early 1980s, holistic health seemed to sputter through the 1980s, keeping itself alive primarily through paying clients who beat a path to the doors of unconventional practitioners. I concluded that there would always be holistic voices crying in the wilderness, but that our culture would probably keep them there.

My unspoken prediction, however, was proven wrong by some startling developments over the past few years. A dramatic turnabout has brought the gamut of holistic therapies including those with New Age and Eastern mystical flags fully unfurled squarely into the mainstream of American culture under a new banner: alternative medicine. Some proponents prefer the more conciliatory term complementary medicine, while a few describe themselves as promoters of integrative medicine, seeking to unite all forms of health care into a coherent system. Alternative medicine, however, is the most widely used term.


It is difficult to pinpoint when or how this reversal began. Promoters of alternative health care would likely argue that this movement hasnt actually enjoyed a revival, but that it has been alive and well all along, and that the power elites of the press, government, and medicine have only recently noticed. This idea is supported to some degree by a now-famous 1993 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, a publication not exactly known for tabloid excesses.

The report detailed the findings of a 1990 survey of health care utilization in the United States, suggesting that more than 30 percent of American adults availed themselves of at least one form of alternative therapy that year, paying an estimated 425 million visits to providers of such treatments about 40 million more than the number made to primary care physicians! The tab for this care was nearly $14 billion, of which more than $10 billion was not covered by insurance and thus was paid out of pocket. The survey indicated that unconventional therapies were used mostly for chronic rather than life-threatening conditions, that most people using these alternatives didnt discuss them with their physicians (no great surprise since conventional practitioners tended to dismiss such options with eye-rolling disdain), and that the elderly represented a significant proportion of the clientele.1


It would not be surprising if a survey taken today showed even more widespread involvement in alternative practices. Recent indications of a surge in public interest include the following:

A Time cover story entitled Faith and Healing (24 June 1996) painted its subject with broad strokes, encompassing traditional faith in God, meditative techniques, and biochemistry. It described controlled studies designed to determine whether patients who were the recipients of prayer defined in a variety of ways fared better than others.

A bumper crop of books on alternative therapies now line the shelves of the Health and Medicine section of the typical neighborhood bookstore. No longer limited to the off-label and self-published material that was once the staple of New Age outlets, the newer titles come from mainstream publishers, and place unconventional treatments on equal footing with Western medicine. One prominent example is The Medical Advisor: The Complete Book of Alternative and Conventional Treatment,2 published last year by Time-Life Books. This handsome volume describes health problems in encyclopedic detail, noting for each the conventional medical approach and then listing several alternatives: ancient Chinese, homeopathic, herbal, and so on.

The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) has repeatedly broadcast presentations of alternative healing. Bill Moyerss 1993 series, Healing and the Mind, attracted almost twice the normal PBS viewing audience. Andrew Weil, M.D., a popular author who now teaches Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine, has offered articulate distillations from his book Spontaneous Healing on a program of the same name. Deepak Chopra, M.D., a publishing hot-ticket and Americas foremost purveyor of Indias ancient healing system known as ayurveda, captivated viewers in the PBS specials, Body, Mind and Soul: The Mystery and the Magic and The Way of the Wizard.

Websites devoted to alternative therapies abound on the Internet. If one tells the Yahoo search engine to look for alternative medicine, he or she will be escorted to more than 200 sites, many of which provide links to dozens of others. On the other hand, cautionary notices and critical analyses by organizations such as the National Council against Health Fraud and the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP, a humanist think tank that publishes Skeptical Inquirer) are few and far between.

Periodicals promoting alternative therapies are now available both for the general public (for example, Natural Health) and health care providers. The monthly journals Alternative and Complementary Therapies and Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine contain articles and studies of variable quality, which in some cases (unlike standard medical journals) freely wade into metaphysical and promotional material.

The most striking foray into the realm of conventional medicine occurred last November when American Family Physician, the official journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians (normally a reliable resource), published as its cover article, Alternative Medicine and the Family Physician.3 Authored by James M. Gordon, M.D., who directs the Mind-Body Center in Washington, D.C., the article offered a bland overview of alternative care, admonished family physicians to convey a sensitive acceptance and an openness to.their patients interest in alternative therapies, and encouraged practitioners to explore this realm themselves starting with Gordons own book, Manifesto for a New Medicine. An accompanying editorial strongly endorsed physician involvement in alternative therapies, and a duplicable information sheet did likewise for patients. Nowhere in these materials was there a note of caution or concern about any of the approaches mentioned.


Manifestations of increasing interest in alternative health care have not been limited to the general public and news media. In 1991, Congress mandated the formation of the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM), now permanently established within the National Institute of Health (NIH). OAMs mission is to encourage and support the investigation of alternative medical (AM) practices, with the ultimate goal of integrating validated alternative medical practices into health and medical care (emphasis added).4 To this end, 10 exploratory centers have been established at institutions such as the University of Minnesota Medical School, Stanford University, and Columbia Universitys College of Physicians and Surgeons. NIH guidelines for these centers call for a systematic analysis of alternative treatments and their effect on major diseases, health, and wellness.5

It remains to be seen whether the centers, each of which will focus on a specific health care issue, will approach alternative therapies with open arms along with open minds. Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, for example, has already established the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the first of its kind at an American medical school. A quote in the Rosenthal Centers brochure from Woodson Merrell, M.D., sounds less than dispassionate: The fact that medical schools are beginning to incorporate alternative modes of healing into their curriculum is a major step in medical education. It is very exciting.

The enthusiasm for alternative medicine displayed by those involved with OAM certainly raises some doubt that its programs will provide evenhanded analysis of the therapies they study. Representative John E. Porter (R-Ill), Chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services Education Subcommittee, which oversees funding for NIH, not only supports OAM but also sees it as fulfilling a specific mission: As I see it, the most important contribution the OAM can make to the practice of medicine is to provide that link between alternative and conventional medicine.Therefore, it is important to continue making contacts on Capitol Hill and to deliver the message: alternative medicine is integral to biomedical research, provides effective results, and is a priority for spending decisions.6 James Gordon, M. D., who wrote the above-noted Manifesto for a New Medicine, also serves as Chairman of the Program Advisory Council for OAM.


What might explain this surge of interest in alternative therapies? There are many possible reasons, but the heart of the matter is this: for all of its technological prowess, especially with acute and critical conditions, Western medicine continues to bump against the limits of its effectiveness when dealing with many disabling chronic conditions especially those related to aging, such as degenerative arthritis as well as complex diseases, such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. A massive tide of baby boomers is now facing mid-life and menopause, and, having challenged the status quo at every stage of life, this generation is not about to accept a just deal with it approach to the health problems of its golden years.

Moreover, stress and common lifestyle-induced problems, such as chronic fatigue and depression, do not always find sympathetic ears and definitive solutions in the doctors office. Many conventional practitioners drive large numbers of people to alternative therapists by spending as little time as possible with their patients and by clinging to outmoded authoritarian roles (I know whats best for you, so dont ask me those irritating questions.). Alternative practitioners may listen more attentively to their patients, and they frequently promote themselves as encouraging a more collaborative relationship.

Yet encouraging mutual respect, open communication, and informed decision-making are not the exclusive province of alternative therapies. In fact, many conscientious doctors within the conventional model have inadvertently contributed to the popularity of alternative therapies by candidly admitting the limits of their capabilities and carefully explaining the pros and cons of treatment options. Maintaining this evenhanded approach requires using words such as might, maybe, and I dont know. Furthermore, an increasing and appropriate emphasis on informed consent over the past few decades requires physicians to present both the risks and the benefits in connection with a given medication or surgery.

As a result, in many situations a physician may not be able to bring the power of positive expectation to bear on the patients problem. Alternative therapies, on the other hand, are typically brimming with optimism, often inversely proportional to their ties to reality. After hearing more than one doctor say, I dont know what is causing your problem or what we can do about it, someone with a complex illness may feel a breath of hope when the alternative practitioner announces, I can find out why you feel so poorly, and I have a specific plan that will get you on the road to recovery.

Other reasons for the rising interest in alternative therapies include:

1.) The appeal of natural approaches often touted as helping the body to heal itself over drugs and surgery. There is no question that ounces of prevention are better than pounds of cure, and positive lifestyle choices (regular exercise, prudent eating habits, and avoidance of harmful substances) are very likely to reduce medical problems in the future. But all too often the term natural is misapplied to bizarre, illogical treatments or the use of huge (and unnatural) amounts of vitamin and mineral supplements. Eating a variety of wholesome foods every day is natural; taking a tackle-box full of supplements is not.

2.) The current cultural enthronement of choice the need to have options, to have it my way has become a national credo. The word alternative implies that there is a choice to be made regarding health care, as opposed to simply following doctors orders.

3.) Skyrocketing costs, especially related to high-tech procedures and expensive medications, continue to plague the conventional health care system. Because alternative therapies tend to be relatively lowtech and often stress activities that the individual can do for himself or herself, some managed care/HMO systems are investigating their potential for lowering health care bills.

4.) A deep and widespread spiritual hunger. A number of therapies serve as a gateway to spiritual technologies and world views that address needs for meaning, knowledge, and power.

So what is the problem with alternative medicine? Before addressing that question, it is important to state what is not at issue.

1.) Turf battles. As a conventional, Western-trained practitioner, I can readily affirm that any concerns that I or others raise about alternative practices are not driven by possessiveness for patients or the income derived from them. Furthermore, it is important to counter an allegation that circulates with variable fervor in alternative circles: The A.M.A., the medical establishment, the pharmaceutical industry, or some other nefarious conglomerate is suppressing effective alternative treatments especially for cancer as part of an evil scheme to keep people sick so that billions of dollars can be made treating them. This paranoid delusion has as much basis in reality as a Stephen King novel, and begs the obvious question: What do these plotters do when any one of them or a loved one develops cancer? This rumor needs to be given a decent burial.

2.) Optimizing lifestyle. Many alternative devotees pay close attention to their daily living habits and make wise decisions (although sometimes for odd reasons). Primary care physicians are always delighted to have low maintenance patients who make wholesome dietary choices, exercise regularly, shun harmful substances, and deal effectively with lifes stresses. If this were the sum of alternative or holistic health, there would be little to be concerned about and much to applaud.

3.) Effective treatments based on rational thinking and solid research. One of the potential benefits of the Office of Alternative Medicine is the sponsorship of studies to separate alternative wheat from chaff. For example, the Rosenthal Center is conducting a double-blind, randomized study to determine whether a specific Chinese herbal preparation is effective in treating menopausal hot flashes. If such research validates this particular herbal remedy as a useful therapeutic tool and provides guidelines for its appropriate use, many women will be grateful beneficiaries.

4.) Recognizing the spiritual dimension to health. Human beings are indeed more than a collection of complex biochemical reactions, and their spiritual values can play an important role in both health and illness. Research psychiatrist David Larson, M.D., at the National Institute for Healthcare Research has collected a large number of studies that indicate that regular churchgoers are, among other things, more likely to have a reduced risk of coronary artery disease, lower blood pressure, less depression, and fewer anxiety-related illnesses. Furthermore, these benefits appear to be independent of lifestyle decisions (such as abstaining from smoking) that might arise from spiritual commitments. However, a number of alternative therapies and conceptions of health embrace metaphysical orientations overtly hostile to the teachings of the Old and New Testaments.


Presenting a detailed critique of even a sampling of alternative therapies is beyond the scope of this article. The following basic problem areas are presented, however, as a caution to those involved in this realm.

Excessive promoting. To say that the realm of alternative medicine is characterized by optimism is an understatement, and undoubtedly much of its success is due to its unabashedly positive outlook. Unfortunately, this buoyancy tends to pervade even its serious journals, such as Alternative and Complementary Therapies, raising doubts about the willingness of alternative practitioners to engage in any serious form of peer review. For all of its faults, Western medicine has progressed by honoring skepticism and doubt, and by demanding that the efficacy of its interventions be validated by controlled studies. Even the extensive advertising to physicians and patients by the pharmaceutical industry is governed by strict guidelines regarding claims that can be made about a given product.

There is no similar oversight for the myriad of herbal formulations, supplements, homeopathic remedies, and other concoctions heavily promoted in magazines, health food stores, and infomercials. (On weekends, some Christian radio stations literally transform into alternative therapy flea markets, without any apparent regard for the credibility of the material emanating on their airwaves.) Expansive claims abound for restoring energy, improving digestion, and solving a variety of poorly defined ailments (heart problems, kidney disease, etc.), all unspecified. Testimonials and anecdotes serve as proof positive, and any attempt by the Food and Drug Administration to bring some order to this Dodge City are met with howls of protest from merchants and buyers alike.

Everything you know is wrong. A number of alternative therapies also postulate alternative realities convoluted explanations of how things work in the human body (or the universe in general) that are totally at odds with the most basic facts of physiology. These are politely referred to in OAM literature as traditional and ethnomedicine therapies, and include such far-flung systems as ancient Chinese medicine and its offshoots (classical acupuncture and acupressure, among others), ayurvedic medicine from India, and homeopathy. Each operates as a self-contained system with its own internal logic, and while they seem to coexist happily under the big tent of alternative medicine, each is quite incompatible with the others. Questions about the validity of each systems basic assumptions are usually deflected with references to the accumulated wisdom of thousands of years of careful observation or the hundreds/ thousands/millions of treatment successes/satisfied customers or (best yet) the many scientific studies documenting the effectiveness of _____ . What proof is there, for example, for the ancient Chinese notion that invisible energy called chi circulates in equally invisible channels called meridians, and that disease results from disturbances in that flow?

The reference to many scientific studies is the most ironic because the methodology of modern scientific inquiry clearly came up with an understanding of health and disease that bears absolutely no resemblance to the precepts of these systems. For a quick reality check, imagine for a moment the reception that would greet an alternative system of mechanical engineering, aeronautics, or navigation based on ancient Eastern mysticism. Imagine, for that matter, an effort by your local emergency room to revive Hippocratess doctrine of the four humours as the basis for diagnosis and treatment.

Postmodern thinking. The fact that fanciful healing systems thrive in industrialized nations is partly due to the fact that postmodernism has penetrated Western cultures to a significant degree. This world view rejects both scientific rationalism and biblical notions of absolute truth, and substitutes for them intense subjectivism: Truth is defined by my experience/my feelings/my understanding. The scientific method and all that it entails rational hypotheses, logical deductions, controlled studies, and revising ones opinions based on this arduous process are seen as no more valid a way of understanding the world than any individuals mystical experiences or intuitive hunches. Any claim that one approach to obtaining knowledge might, in fact, be better than another, or that there is any absolute truth especially a transcendent God who is the truth is viewed as a power play, an attempt by one person to suppress and oppress someone else.

One alternative well suited to a postmodern culture is therapeutic touch, a practice that has continuously gained in popularity among nurses since its introduction in 1975 by New York University Professor Dolores Krieger, R.N., Ph.D. Now taught at more than 80 universities and hospitals, therapeutic touch purports to detect and adjust invisible energies supposedly flowing within and emanating from the human body. This involves entering a meditative state, moving the hands slowly about two inches above the patients skin in an effort to detect subtle sensations such as tingling or heat, using the hands to sweep away excess energy that might have been detected, creating mental images of desirable energy states, and then directing these images to the patient through the hands.

Aside from its misleading title (it should be therapeutic nontouch), the utter lack of objective validation for an invisible human energy field and the spectacular subjectivism of its technique (how in the world can anyone tell whether someone is doing it correctly?), therapeutic touch possesses a mystical heritage that should chill any practitioner who possesses even the faintest belief in the veracity of Scripture. Dr. Kriegers book The Therapeutic Touch makes it clear that she views Eastern mysticism and the Hindu concept of a universal energy called prana as the cornerstone for her therapy. She writes, The idea that prana might be transferred from one individual to another may not be so readily apparent to us unless we have gotten into the practice and literature of hatha yoga, tantric yoga, or the martial arts of the orient.7

Whenever therapeutic touch is called into question, a chorus of protest even from some Christian nurses who embrace this technique (often erroneously equating it with the laying on of hands in the New Testament) is a virtual certainty. But regardless of the benign intentions of its practitioners and its frequent proclamations of validation by some scientific studies, this technique represents a florid invasion of Eastern mysticism into the corridors of Western medicine.

The hijacking of prayer. Alternative medicine has embraced prayer as a healing modality, and in doing so, it has repeatedly fooled even mature Christians. This has occurred in two ways. One is exemplified by a 1988 study reported in the above-noted Time article, Faith and Healing. Nearly 400 patients in the coronary care unit at San Francisco General Hospital were randomly assigned to two groups. Patients in the experimental group were prayed for by born-again Christians, while those in the control group were not. Neither group of patients knew this was being done. Lo and behold, the prayed-for group had one-third the number of complications. Some Christians who become aware of such studies are thrilled: Finally science is validating what the Bible says about prayer.

But is God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, an appropriate subject for a controlled study? Is the potter going to be subject to a randomized protocol of the clay? Is prayer merely a form of spiritual technology? This type of experiment encompasses the worst of both worlds misdirected science and presumptuous theology and indirectly validates the misguided assumption (prevalent even among many Christians) that prayer is a cosmic call button, in response to which an omnipotent butler automatically fulfills human desires.

The other fake-out, involving some inventive verbal sleight of hand, is exemplified by the writings of Larry Dossey, M.D., author of the bestselling Healing Words and the more recent Prayer Is Good Medicine. Dossey is widely quoted even in reputable Christian publications because of his encouraging thoughts about the role of prayer in healing. But his notions of prayer extend well beyond the basic concept of communication between a human being and the omniscient, omnipotent, and loving Creator. He views prayer as a nonlocal extension of human consciousness: Prayer actually enlarges the reach of human consciousness. It is a way for us to transcend our physical limitations to be nonlocal, like gods.8 It doesnt matter much whether one prays to Jehovah or to the entire universe, or merely extends positive thoughts in another persons direction. To him its all prayer and its all good.

In the Bible, however, the importance of worshiping and honoring the one true God is of paramount concern. It does matter to whom we pray, and with what attitude. Furthermore, doing so requires that we have a clear understanding that God is God, and we arent which brings us full circle to the last and most serious problem with alternative medicine.

Health is godhood. As noted at the beginning of this article, the holistic health movement of 20 years ago embraced a concept that was in fact deeply embedded in many of its therapies: Matter and energy are different forms of the same reality. We are all congealed energy the same energy that fills the universe, which some call God. Therefore we are God. Alternative medicine in the 1990s has in no way distanced itself from this world view.

Perhaps the most successful proponent of this philosophy in the United States is Deepak Chopra, M. D., author of numerous best sellers including Ageless Body, Timeless Mind and The Way of the Wizard, ubiquitous endorser of other alternative medicine books, and favorite of PBS viewers and movie stars. Originally trained in Western-style endocrinology and once the prime promoter of Maharishi Mahesh Yogis foray into health care, Chopra is now in command of his own Chopra Center for Well Being in La Jolla, California.

Chopra shouts the virtues of ayurveda from the media housetops. He promotes the notion that we are all local nodes in the infinite, universal energy field (call it God if you wish): All of us are connected to patterns of intelligence that govern the whole cosmos. Our bodies are part of a universal body, our minds an aspect of a universal mind.9 So when the physical body dies, we have nothing to fear. As he explains in a recent column in Natural Health, Once our physical body disintegrates, we go through a period of deep slumber as an astral body.after which we gradually awaken to experiences that we need to work out. Eventually we get in touch with our karmic software and then re-emerge on the physical plane with a higher level of awareness. With each cycle of life and death we move into a higher or more refined vibratory frequency of consciousness.10


This is, of course, the old reincarnation shuffle, presented to reassure readers of this alternative health magazine that all will be well during their next several appearances on earth, until ultimate health a final unity with the universal mind takes place. Obviously, in such a scenario there is no need for God to have become a man to become a ransom for many, and no need for repentance, but only a need for each of us to experience our godhood.

These are yet another presentation, in all of their primal seduction, of the two most basic lies ever told to human beings: You shall be as gods, and you will not die. Unfortunately, despite an abundance of optimism and good intentions, many who are involved in alternative medicine especially those who claim to detect and manipulate invisible energies are unwittingly distorting Gods true identity as creator and Lord, and our true identity as creatures who need first to be saved by Him and then to serve Him.Paul Reisser, M.D., is a family physician in private practice in Southern California. He is the coauthor of several books, including New Age Medicine (InterVarsity Press, 1988) and the upcoming Focus on the Family Complete Book of Baby and Child Care (Tyndale). He is a member of the Focus on the Family Physicians Resource Council and medical commentator for the radio broadcast Family News in Focus.


1D. M. Eisenberg, R. C. Kessler, C. Foster, F. E. Norlock, D. R. Calkins, and T. L. Delbanco, Unconventional Medicine in the United States: Prevalence, Costs and Patterns of Use, New England Journal of Medicine 328 (1993): 246-52.2The Medical Advisor: The Complete Book of Alternative and Conventional Treatment (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1996).3James M. Gordon, Alternative Medicine and the Family Physician, American Family Physician 54,7 (1996): 2205,124Exploratory Centers for Alternative Medicine Research, NIH Guide, vol. 23, no. 15 (RFA: OD-94-004), 15 April 1994.5Ibid.6John E. Porter, OAM Funding: A Shared Responsibility, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 1,3 (1995): 80.7 Dolores Krieger, The Therapeutic Touch: How to Use Your Hands to Help or Heal (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979), 13.8 Larry Dossey, Prayer Is Good Medicine (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996), 79.9Emperor of the Soul, Time, 24 June 1996, 68.10Deepak Chopra, Soul Searching, Natural Health, January/February 1997, 192.

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Human Cloning | The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity

Posted: August 19, 2016 at 4:14 am

We live in a brave new world in which reproductive technologies are ravaging as well as replenishing families. Increasingly common are variations of the situation in which “baby’s mother is also grandma-and sister.”1 Sometimes extreme measures are necessary in order to have the kind of child we want.

This new eugenics is simply the latest version of the age-old quest to make human beings–in fact, humanity as a whole–the way we want them to be: perfect. It includes our efforts to be rid of unwanted human beings through abortion and euthanasia. It more recently is focusing on our growing ability to understand and manipulate our genetic code, which directs the formation of many aspects of who we are, for better and for worse.

We aspire to complete control over the code, though at this point relatively little is possible. This backdrop can help us understand the great fascination with human cloning today. It promises to give us a substantial measure of power over the genetic makeup of our offspring. We cannot control their code exactly, but the first major step in that direction is hugely appealing: You can have a child whose genetic code is exactly like your own. And you didn’t turn out so badly, did you?

Admittedly, in our most honest moments we would improve a few things about ourselves. So the larger agenda here remains complete genetic control. But human cloning represents one concrete step in that direction, and the forces pushing us from behind to take that step are tremendous. These forces are energized, as we will see, by the very ways we look at life and justify our actions. But before examining such forces, we need a clearer view of human cloning itself.

It was no longer ago than 1997 when the president of the United States first challenged the nation and charged his National Bioethics Advisory Commission2 to give careful thought to how the United States should proceed regarding human cloning. Attention to this issue was spurred by the reported cloning of a large mammal–a sheep–in a new way. The method involved not merely splitting an early-stage embryo to produce identical twins. Rather, it entailed producing a nearly exact genetic replica of an already existing adult.

The technique is called nuclear transfer or nuclear transplantation because it involves transferring the nucleus (and thus most of the genetic material) from a cell of an existing being to an egg cell in order to replace the egg cell’s nucleus. Stimulated to divide by the application of electrical energy, this egg–now embryo–is guided by its new genetic material to develop as a being who is genetically almost identical to the being from which the nucleus was taken. This process was reportedly carried out in a sheep to produce the sheep clone named Dolly3 but attention quickly shifted to the prospects for cloning human beings (by which I will mean here and throughout, cloning by nuclear transfer).

Quickly people began to see opportunities for profit and notoriety. By 1998, for example, scientist Richard Seed had announced intentions to set up a Human Clone Clinic–first in Chicago, then in ten to twenty locations nationally, then in five to six locations internationally.4 While the U.S. federal government was pondering how to respond to such initiatives, some of the states began passing legislation to outlaw human cloning research, and nineteen European nations acted quickly to sign a ban on human cloning itself.5 However, the European ban only blocks the actual implantation, nurture, and birth of human clones, and not also cloning research on human embryos that are never implanted. Such research has been slowed in the United States since the president and then Congress withheld federal government funds from research that subjects embryos to risk for non-therapeutic purposes.6 Moreover, a United Nations declaration co-sponsored by eighty-six countries in late 1998 signaled a broad worldwide opposition to research that would lead to human cloning.7

Yet there are signs of this protection for embryos weakening in the face of the huge benefits promised by stem cell research. Stem cells can treat many illnesses and can have the capacity to develop into badly needed body parts such as tissues and organs. One way to obtain stem cells is to divide an early stage embryo into its component cells–thereby destroying the embryonic human being. Under President Clinton, the National Institutes of Health decided that as long as private sources destroyed the embryos and produced the stem cells, the federal government would fund research on those cells.8 During 2001, President Bush prohibited federally-funded research on embryonic stem cells produced after the date his prohibition was announced. In 2002, his newly-formed Council on Bioethics raised serious questions about even this form of embryonic stem cell research, through the Council was divided on this matter.9 These developments underscore that there are a number of technological developments that are closely interrelated and yet have somewhat different ethical considerations involved. While embryo and stem cell research are very important issues, they are distinct ethically from the question of reproducing human beings through cloning. Reproduction by cloning is the specific focus of this essay.

While no scientifically verifiable birth of a human clone has yet been reported, the technology and scientific understanding are already in place to make such an event plausible at any time now. There is an urgent need to think through the relevant ethical issues. To begin with, is it acceptable to refer to human beings produced by cloning technology as “clones”? It would seem so, as long as there does not become a stigma attached to that term that is not attached to more cumbersome expressions like “a person who is the result of cloning” or “someone created through the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer.” We call someone from Italy an Italian, no disrespect intended. So it can be that a person “from cloning” is a clone. We must be ready to abandon this term, however, if it becomes a label that no longer meets certain ethical criteria.10

In order to address the ethics of human cloning itself, we need to understand why people would want to do it in the first place. People often respond to the prospect of human cloning in two ways. They are squeamish about the idea–a squeamishness Leon Kass has argued we should take very seriously.11 They also find something alluring about the idea. Such fascination is captured in a variety of films, including “The Boys from Brazil” (portraying the attempt to clone Adolf Hitler), “Bladerunner” (questioning whether a clone would be more like a person or a machine), and “Multiplicity” (presenting a man’s attempt to have enough time for his family, job, and other pursuits by producing several live adult replicas of himself). Popular discussions center on the wonderful prospects of creating multiple Mother Teresas, Michael Jordans, or other notable figures.

The greatest problem with creative media-driven discussions like this is that they often reflect a misunderstanding of the science and people involved. The film “Multiplicity” presents human replicas, not clones in the form that we are discussing them here. When an adult is cloned (e.g., the adult sheep from which Dolly was cloned), an embryo is created, not another adult. Although the embryo’s cells contain the same genetic code as the cells of the adult being cloned, the embryo must go through many years of development in an environment that is significantly different from that in which the adult developed. Because both our environment and our genetics substantially influence who we are, the embryo will not become the same person as the adult. In fact, because we also have a spiritual capacity to evaluate and alter either or both our environment and our genetics, human clones are bound to be quite different from the adults who provide their genetic code.

If this popular fascination with hero-duplication is not well founded, are there any more thoughtful ethical justifications for human cloning? Many have been put forward, and they cluster into three types: utility justifications, autonomy justifications, and destiny justifications. The first two types reflect ways of looking at the world that are highly influential in the United States and elsewhere today, so we must examine them carefully. They can readily be critiqued on their own terms. The third, while also influential, helpfully opens the door to theological reflection as well. I will begin by explaining the first two justifications. In the following sections I will then assess the first two justifications and carefully examine the third.

Utility justifications defend a practice based on its usefulness, or benefit. As long as it will produce a net increase in human well-being, it is warranted. People are well acquainted with the notion of assessing costs and benefits, and it is common to hear the argument that something will produce so much benefit that efforts to block it must surely be misguided.

Utility justifications are common in discussions of human cloning. Typical examples include:

The second type of justification appeals to the idea of autonomy, an increasingly popular appeal in this postmodern age, in which people’s personal experiences and values play a most important role in determining what is right and true for them. According to this justification, we ought to respect people’s autonomy as a matter of principle. People’s beliefs and values are too diverse to adopt any particular set of them as normative for everyone. Society should do everything possible to enhance the ability of individuals and groups to pursue what they deem most important.

Again, there are many forms that autonomy justifications can take. However, three stand out as particularly influential in discussions of human cloning:

Utility and autonomy are important ethical justifications. However, they do not provide a sufficient ethical basis for human cloning. We will examine them here carefully in turn.

While the concern for utility is admirable, there are many serious problems with this type of justification. Most significantly, it is “unworkable” and it is “dangerous.” It is unworkable because knowing how much utility cloning or any other practice has, with a reasonable level of precision, is simply impossible. We cannot know all of the ways that a practice will affect all people in the world infinitely into the future. For example, it is impossible to quantify accurately the satisfaction of every parent in future centuries who will choose cloning rather than traditional sexual reproduction in order to spare their children from newly discovered genetic problems that are now unknown. In fact, as sheep cloner Ian Wilmut was widely quoted as observing, shortly after announcing his cloning of Dolly, “Most of the things cloning will be used for have yet to be imagined.” The difficulty of comparing the significance of every foreseeable consequence on the same scale of value–including comparing each person’s subjective experiences with everyone else’s–only adds to the unworkability.

What happens in real life is that decision makers intuitively compare only those consequences they are most aware of and concerned about. Such an approach is an open invitation to bias and discrimination, intended and unintended. Even more dangerous is the absence of limits to what can be justified. There are no built-in protections for weak individuals or minority groups, including clones. People can be subjected to anything, the worst possible oppression or even death, if it is beneficial to the majority. Situations such as Nazi Germany and American slavery can be justified using this way of thinking.

When utility is our basis for justifying what is allowed in society, people are used, fundamentally, as mere means to achieve the ends of society or of particular people. It may be appropriate to use plants and animals in this way, within limits. Accordingly, most people do not find it objectionable to clone animals and plants to achieve products that will fulfill a purpose–better milk, better grain, and so forth. However, it is demeaning to “use” people in this way.

This demeaning is what bothers us about the prospect of producing a large group of human clones with low intelligence so that society can have a source of cheap menial labor. It is also what is problematic about producing clones to provide spare parts, such as vital transplantable organs for other people. Both actions fail to respect the equal and great dignity of all people by making some, in effect, the slaves of others. Even cloning a child who dies to remove the parents grief forces the clone to have a certain genetic makeup in order to be the parents’ child, thereby permanently subjecting the clone to the parents’ will. The irony of this last situation, though, is that the clone will not become the same child as was lost–both the child and the clone being the product of far more than their genetics. The clone will be demeaned by not being fully respected and accepted as a unique person, and the parents will fail to regain their lost child in the process.

To summarize: The utility justification is a substantially inadequate basis for defending a practice like cloning. In other words, showing that a good benefit, even a great benefit, will result is not a sufficient argument to justify an action. Although it is easy to forget this basic point when enticed by the promise of a wonderful benefit, we intuitively know it is true. We recognize that we could, for example, cut up one person, take her or his various organs for transplant, and save many lives as a result. But we do not go around doing that. We realize that if the action we take to achieve the benefit is itself horrendous, beneficial results are not enough to justify it.

As significant a critique as this is of a utility justification for human cloning, there is more to say. For even if it were an adequate type of justification, which it is not, it is far from clear that it would justify human cloning. To justify human cloning on the basis of utility, all the consequences of allowing this practice have to be considered, not only the benefits generated by the exceptional situations commonly cited in its defense. What are some of the consequences we need to be concerned about? There is only space here to note two of the many that weigh heavily against human cloning.

First, as suggested earlier, to allow cloning is to open the door to a much more frightening enterprise: genetically engineering people without their consent, not for their own benefit, but for the benefit of particular people or society at large. Cloning entails producing a person with a certain genetic code because of the attractiveness or usefulness of a person with that code. In this sense, cloning is just the tip of a much larger genetic iceberg. We are developing the genetic understanding and capability to shape the human genetic code in many ways. If we allow cloning, we legitimize in principle the entire enterprise of designing children to suit parental or social purposes. As one researcher at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations has commented, Dolly is best understood as a drop in a towering wave (of genetic research) that is about to crash over us. The personal and social destructiveness of large-scale eugenic efforts (including but by no means limited to Nazi Germany’s) has been substantial, but at least it has been restricted to date by our limited genetic understanding and technology.12 Today the stakes are much higher.

The second of the many additional considerations that must be included in any honest utilitarian calculus involves the allocation of limited resources. To spend resources on the development and practice of human cloning is to not spend them on other endeavors that would be more beneficial to society. For many years now there have been extensive discussions about the expense of health care and the large number of people (tens of millions), even in the United States, that do not have health insurance.13 It has also long been established that such lack of insurance means that a significant number of people are going without necessary health care and are suffering or dying as a result.14 Another way of observing similar pressing needs in health care is to survey the specific areas that could most benefit from additional funds.15 In most of these areas, inadequate funding yields serious health consequences because there is no alternative way to produce the basic health result at issue.

Not only are the benefits of human cloning less significant than those that could be achieved by expending the same funds on other health care initiatives, but there are alternative ways of bringing children into the world that can yield at least one major benefit of cloning children themselves. If there were enough resources available to fund every technology needed or wanted by anyone, the situation would be different. But researching and practicing human cloning will result in serious suffering and even loss of life because other pressing health care needs cannot be met.

An open door to unethical genetic engineering technologies and a misallocation of limited resources, then, are among the numerous consequences of human cloning that would likely more than outweigh the benefits the practice would achieve. As previously argued, we would do better to avoid attempting to justify human cloning simply based on its consequences. But if we are tempted to do so, we must be honest and include all the consequences and not be swayed by exceptional cases that seem so appealing because of the special benefits they would achieve.

Many people today are less persuaded by utility justifications than they are by appeals to autonomy. While the concern for freedom and responsibility for one’s own life in this way of thinking is admirable, autonomy justifications are as deeply flawed as utility justifications. More specifically, they are selfish and they are dangerous.

The very term by which this type of justification is named underscores its selfishness. The word autonomy comes from two Greek words, auto (meaning “self”) and nomos (meaning “law”). In the context of ethics, appeals to autonomy literally signify that the self is its own ethical law that it generates its own standards of right and wrong. There is no encouragement in this way of looking at the world to consider the well-being of others, for that is irrelevant as long as it does not matter to me. Although in theory I should respect the autonomy of others as I live out my own autonomy, in practice an autonomous mindset predisposes me to be unconcerned about how my actions will affect others.

As long as the people making autonomous choices happen to have good moral character that predisposes them to be concerned about the well-being of everyone else, there will not be serious problems. In the United States to date, the substantial influence of Christianity–with its mandate to love others sacrificially–has prompted people to use their autonomous choices to further the interests of others alongside of their own. As Christian influences in public life, from public policy to public education, continue to be eradicated in the name of separation of church and state, the self-centeredness of an autonomy outlook will become increasingly evident. Consciously or unconsciously, selfish and other base motives arise within us continually, and without countervailing influences, there is nothing in an autonomy outlook to ensure that the well-being of others will be protected.

When autonomy rules, then, scientists, family members, and others are predisposed to act on the basis of their own autonomous perspectives, and the risk to others is real. Herein lies the danger of autonomy-based thinking, a danger that is similar to that attending a utility-oriented outlook. Protecting people’s choices is fine as long as all people are in a comparable position to make those choices. But if some people are in a very weak position economically or socially or physically, they may not be able to avail themselves of the same opportunities, even if under more equitable circumstances they would surely want to do so. In an autonomy-based approach, there is no commitment to justice, caring, or any other ethical standards that would safeguard those least able to stand up for themselves.

An autonomy justification is simply an insufficient basis for justifying a practice like human cloning. In other words, showing that a freedom would otherwise be curtailed is not a sufficient argument to justify an action. We have learned this lesson the hard way, by allowing scientific inquiry to proceed unfettered. The Nuremberg Code resulted from research atrocities that were allowed to occur because it was not recognized that there are other ethical considerations that can be more important than scientific and personal freedom (autonomy).16

While the autonomy justification itself is flawed, there is more to say about it as a basis for defending human cloning. For even if it were an adequate type of ethical justification–which it is not–it is far from clear that it would actually justify the practice. An honest, complete autonomy-based evaluation of human cloning would have to consider the autonomy of all persons involved, including the people produced through cloning, and not just the autonomy of researchers and people desiring to have clones. Of the many considerations that would need to be taken into account if the autonomy of the clones were taken seriously, space will only permit the examination of two here.

First, human cloning involves a grave risk to the clone’s life. There is no plausible way to undertake human cloning at this point without a major loss of human life. In the process of cloning the sheep Dolly, 276 failed attempts occurred, including the death of several so-called “defective” clones. An alternative process used to clone monkeys added the necessary destruction of embryonic life to these other risks. It involved transferring the genetic material from each of the cells in an eight-celled embryo to other egg cells in order to attempt to produce eight so-called clones (or, more properly, identical siblings). Subsequent mammal cloning has continued the large-scale fatalities and deformities that unavoidably accompany cloning research. Were these experimental technologies to be applied to human beings, the evidence and procedures themselves show that many human embryos, fetuses, and infants would be lost–and many others deformed–whatever the process. This tragedy would be compounded by the fact that it is unlikely human cloning research would be limited to a single location. Rather, similar mistakes and loss of human life would be occurring almost simultaneously at various private and public research sites.

Normally, experimentation on human beings is allowed only with their explicit consent. (Needless to say, it is impossible to obtain a clone’s consent to be brought into existence through cloning.) An exception is sometimes granted in the case of a child, including one still in the womb, who has a verifiable medical problem which experimental treatment may be able to cure or help. However, human cloning is not covered by this exception for two reasons. First, there is no existing human being with a medical problem in the situation in which a human cloning experiment would be attempted. Second, even if that were not an obstacle, there is typically no significant therapeutic benefit to the clone in the many scenarios for which cloning has been proposed. For the experiment to be ethical, there would need to be therapeutic benefit to the clone so huge as to outweigh the substantial likelihood of the death or deformity that occurred in the Dolly experiment. To proceed with human cloning at this time, then, would involve a massive assault on the autonomy of all clones produced, whether they lived or died.

There is also a second way that human cloning would conflict with the autonomy of the people most intimately involved in the practice, that is, the clones themselves. Human cloning would radically weaken the family structure and relationships of the clone and therefore be fundamentally at odds with their most basic interests. Consider the confusion that arises over even the most basic relationships involved. Are the children who result from cloning really the siblings or the children of their “parents”–really the children or the grandchildren of their “grandparents”? Genetics suggests one answer and age the other. Regardless of any future legal resolutions of such matters, child clones (not to mention others inside and outside the family) will almost certainly experience confusion. Such confusion will impair their psychological and social well being–in fact, their very sense of identity. A host of legal entanglements, including inheritance issues, will also result.

This situation is problematic enough where a clearly identified family is involved. But during the experimental phase in particular, identifying the parents of clones produced in a laboratory may be even more troublesome. Is the donor of the genetic material automatically the parent? What about the donor of the egg into which the genetic material is inserted? If the genetic material and egg are simply donated anonymously for experimental purposes, does the scientist who manipulates them and produces a child from them become the parent? Who will provide the necessary love and care for the damaged embryo, fetus, or child that results when mistakes are made and it is so much easier just to discard them?

As the U.S. National Bioethics Advisory Commission’s report has observed (echoed more recently by the report of the President’s Council on Bioethics), human cloning “invokes images of manufacturing children according to specification. The lack of acceptance this implies for children who fail to develop according to expectations, and the dominance it introduces into the parent-child relationship, is viewed by many as fundamentally at odds with the acceptance, unconditional love, and openness characteristic of good parenting.”17 “It just doesn’t make sense,” to quote Ian Wilmut, who objected strenuously to the notion of cloning humans after he succeeded in producing the sheep clone Dolly.18 He was joined by U.S. President Clinton, who quickly banned the use of federal funds for human cloning research, and by the World Health Organization, who summarily labeled human cloning ethically unacceptable.19 Their reaction resonates with many, who typically might want to “have” a clone, but would not want to “be” one. What is the difference? It is the intuitive recognition that while the option of cloning may expand the autonomy of the person producing the clone, it undermines the autonomy of the clone.

So the autonomy justification, like the utility justification, is much more problematic than it might at first appear to be. We would do better not even to attempt to justify human cloning by appealing to this type of justification because of its inherent shortcomings. But if we are to invoke it, we must be honest and pay special attention to the autonomy of the person most intimately involved in the cloning, the clone. Particular appeals to “freedom” or “choice” may seem persuasive. But if only the autonomy of people other than clones is in view, or only one limited aspect of a clone’s autonomy, then such appeals must be rejected.

As noted near the outset of the chapter, there is a third type of proposed justification for human cloning which moves us more explicitly into the realm of theological reflection: the destiny justification. While other theological arguments against cloning have been advanced in the literature to date,20 many of them are somehow related to the matter of destiny. According to this justification, it is part of our God-given destiny to exercise complete control over our reproductive process. In fact, Richard Seed, in one of his first in-depth interviews after announcing his intentions to clone human beings commercially, made this very argument.21 No less a theologian, President Clinton offered the opposite view when he issued the ban on human cloning. Rather than seeing cloning as human destiny, he rejected it as “playing God.”22 Whether or not we think it wise to take our theological cues from either of these individuals, what are we to make of the proposed destiny justification itself? Is human cloning in line with God’s purposes for us?

To begin with, there are indeed problems with playing God the way that proponents of human cloning would have us do. For example, God can take utility and autonomy considerations into account in ways that people cannot. God knows the future, including every consequence of every consequence of all our actions, people do not. God loves all persons equally, without bias, and is committed and able to understand and protect the freedom of everyone, people are not. Moreover, there are other ways that the pursuit of utility and autonomy are troubling from a theological perspective.

The utility of human cloning, first of all, is that we can gain some benefit by producing clones. But using other people without their consent for our ends is a violation of their status as beings created in the image of God. People have a God-given dignity that prevents us from using them as mere means to achieve our purposes. Knowing that people are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27), biblical writers in both the Old and New Testaments periodically invoke this truth to argue that human beings should not be demeaned in various ways (e.g., Gen. 9:6; James 3:9). Since plants and animals are never said to be created in God’s image, it is not surprising that they can be treated in ways (including killing) that would never be acceptable if people were in view (cf. Gen. 9:3 with 9:6).

An autonomy-based justification of human cloning is no more acceptable than a utility-based justification from a theological perspective. Some Christian writers, such as Allen Verhey, have helpfully observed that autonomy, understood in a particular way, is a legitimate biblical notion. As he explains, under the sovereignty of God, acknowledging the autonomy of the person can help ensure respect for and proper treatment of people made in God’s image.23 There is a risk here, however, because the popular ethics of autonomy has no place for God in it. It is autonomy “over” God, not autonomy “under” God. The challenge is to affirm the critical importance of respect for human beings, and for their freedom and responsibility to make decisions that profoundly affect their lives, but to recognize that such freedom requires God. More specifically, such freedom requires the framework in which autonomy is under God, not over God, a framework in which respecting freedom is not just wishful or convenient thinking that gives way as soon as individuals or society as a whole have more to gain by disregarding it. It must be rooted in something that unavoidably and unchangeably ‘is.” In other words, it must be rooted in God, in the creation of human beings in the image of God.

God is the creator, and we worship God as such. Of course, people are creative as well, being the images of God that they are. So what is the difference between God’s creation of human beings, as portrayed in the book of Genesis, and human procreation as happens daily all over the world (also mandated by God in Genesis)? Creation is “ex nihilo,” out of nothing. That means, in the first sense, that God did not just rearrange already existing materials. God actually brought into being a material universe where nothing even existed before. However, God’s creation “ex nihilo” suggests something more. It suggests that there was no agenda outside of God that God was following–nothing outside of God that directed what were acceptable options. When it came to the human portion of creation, God created us to be the way God deemed best.

It is no accident that we call what we do when we have babies “procreation.” “Pro” means “for” or “forth.” To be sure, we do bring babies “forth.” But the deeper meaning here is “for.” We bring new human beings into the world “for” someone or something. To be specific, we continue the line of human beings for God, in accordance with God’s mandate to humanity at the beginning to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). We also create for the people whom we help bring into being. We help give them life, and they are the ones most affected by our actions. What is particularly significant about this “procreation,” this “creation for,” is that by its very nature it is subject to an outside agenda, to God’s agenda primarily, and secondarily to the needs of the child being created.

In this light, the human cloning mindset is hugely problematic. With unmitigated pride it claims the right to create rather than procreate. It looks neither to God for the way that he has intended human beings to be procreated and raised by fathers and mothers who are the secondary, that is, genetic source of their life; nor does it look primarily to the needs of the one being procreated. As we have seen, it looks primarily to the cloner’s own preferences or to whatever value system one chooses to prioritize (perhaps the “good of society,” etc.). In other words, those operating out of the human cloning mindset see themselves as Creator rather than procreator. This is the kind of aspiring to be God for which God has consistently chastised people, and for which God has ultimately wreaked havoc on many a society and civilization.

Leon Kass has observed that we have traditionally used the word “procreation” for having children because we have viewed the world, and human life in particular, as created by God. We have understood our creative involvement in terms of and in relation to God’s creation.24 Today we increasingly orient more to the material world than to God. We are more impressed with the gross national product than with the original creation. So we more commonly talk in terms of re”production” rather than pro”creation.” In the process, we associate people more closely with things, with products, than with the God of creation. No wonder our respect for human life is deteriorating. We become more like that with which we associate. If we continue on this path, if our destiny is to clone ourselves, then our destiny is also, ultimately, to lose all respect for ourselves, to our peril.

Claims about utility, autonomy, or destiny, then, are woefully inadequate to justify human cloning. In fact, a careful look at any of these types of justification shows that they provide compelling reasons instead to reject human cloning. To stand up and say so may become more and more difficult in our “brave new world.” As the culture increasingly promotes production and self-assertion, it will take courage to insist in the new context of cloning that there is something more important. But such a brave new word, echoing the Word of old, is one that we must be bold to speak.

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Human Cloning | The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity

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Trump foes miss the mark on Clinton’s Second Amendment …

Posted: at 4:08 am

Donald Trump keeps saying that Hillary Clinton wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment. But the media fact checkers are having none of it. Last week, CNN called his accusation persistent and false. At the same time, a Washington Post editorial also called the claim absurd.

In his analysis for CNN, Eric Bradner acknowledges Clintons support for many different types of gun control — a 25 percent tax on handguns, an assault weapons ban, repeal of laws allowing permitted concealed handguns, and background checks on the private transfer of guns. Clinton also has supported increased fees and a variety of regulations that her husband imposed. Thanks to Bill Clintons regulations, the number of licensed firearms dealers from 248,155 in 1992 to 67,479 in 2000 — a 73 percent reduction.

The media picks and chooses when to take Clinton at her word. CNN pointed to a recent Fox News Sunday appearance where Hillary Clinton claimed: “I’m not looking to repeal the Second Amendment. I’m not looking to take people’s guns away.” The Washington Post noted a statement from her campaign website about how gun ownership is part of the fabric of many law-abiding communities.

But in June, ABCs George Stephanopoulos pushed Clinton twice on whether people have a right to own guns. But that’s not what I asked. I said do you believe that their conclusion that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right? Clinton could only say: If it is a constitutional right . . . .

Similarly, in New York Cityin the fall, she told donors: The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment, and I am going to make that case every chance that I get. In Maryland in April, Chelsea Clinton promised that her mom would appoint to the Supreme Court justices who would overturn past decisions that struck down gun-control measures. But the only lawsthat the Supreme Court evaluated were complete gun bans and a law that made it a crime to use a gun.

Washington, D.C., had a complete handgun ban in place until 2008. It was also a felony, punishable by five years in prison, to put a bullet in the chamber of a gun. This amounted to a complete gun ban on using guns for self-defense. The U.S. Supreme Courts ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller struck down that ban.

Clinton told Stephanopoulos her opinion of this ruling: I think that for most of our history, there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment until the decision by the late Justice Scalia. She continued, There was no argument until then that localities and states and the federal government had a right, as we do with every amendment, to impose reasonable regulation.

Clinton went on to talk about her push for expanded background checks, an issue that was irrelevant to Scalias decision in Heller. Instead, the question is why was D.C.s local gun ban a reasonable regulation. Why should people be imprisoned for five years for defending their families?

In McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent: “I can find nothing in the Second Amendments text, history, or underlying rationale that could warrant characterizing it as fundamental insofar as it seeks to protect the keeping and bearing of arms for private self-defense purposes. Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor signed on to Breyers opinion.

Breyer and Ginsburg were both appointed by President Bill Clinton. Sotomayor was Obamas first nominee to the Supreme Court. Obamas second nominee, Elana Kagan, would clearly have voted the same way had she been on the court at the time of McDonald. Indeed, Kagan served in Bill Clintons administration and helped lead the Presidents gun control initiatives.

The Washington Post dismisses all this talk about the Supreme Court by saying that appointing Justices to the court would not be anything like abolishing an amendment, which no court can do. And it is true that the court cant simply remove the amendment from the Constitution. But the media is appearing to be deliberately obtuse. If the court reverses Heller and McDonald and changes its interpretation of the Second Amendment as Hillary promises, what will really be left of the Second Amendment?

The media might not like to admit it, but The War on Guns is real. If Hillary wins in November, she will appoint Scalias successor and the Supreme Court will overturn the Heller and McDonald decisions. Make no mistake about it, the government will again be able to ban guns. Her claim that she isn’t looking to take people’s guns away is not consistent with her promise to overturn existing Supreme Court decisions.

John R. Lott, Jr. is a columnist forFoxNews.com. He is an economist and was formerly chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission. Lott is also a leading expert on guns and op-eds on that issue are done in conjunction with the Crime Prevention Research Center. He is the author of nine books including “More Guns, Less Crime.” His latest book is “The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies (August 1, 2016). Follow him on Twitter@johnrlottjr.

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Trump foes miss the mark on Clinton’s Second Amendment …

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Freedom in the 50 States 2013 | Overall Freedom | Mercatus …

Posted: August 16, 2016 at 4:33 pm

William P. Ruger

William P. Ruger is Vice President of Policy and Research at the Charles Koch Institute and Charles Koch Foundation. Ruger is the author of the biography Milton Friedman and a coauthor of The State of Texas: Government, Politics, and Policy. His work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Armed Forces and Society, and other outlets. Ruger earned an AB from the College of William and Mary and a PhD in politics from Brandeis University. He is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

Jason Sorens is Lecturer in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College. His primary research interests include fiscal federalism, public policy in federal systems, secessionism, and ethnic politics. His work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Peace Research, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, and other academic journals, and his book Secessionism: Identity, Interest, and Strategy was published by McGill-Queens University Press in 2012. Sorens received his BA in economics and philosophy, with honors, from Washington and Lee University and his PhD in political science from Yale University.

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Freedom in the 50 States 2013 | Overall Freedom | Mercatus …

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Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS)

Posted: August 10, 2016 at 9:15 pm

The Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) program was created in response to a pressing need. Despite the continued best efforts of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to protect the health of U.S. servicemembers and veterans, the effects of neuropsychological illness brought on by war, traumatic injuries, and other experiences remain challenging to treat. Current approachessurgery, medications, and psychotherapycan often help to alleviate the worst effects of illnesses such as major depression and post-traumatic stress, but they are imprecise and not universally effective. Through SUBNETS, DARPA hopes to generate the knowledge and technology required to deliver relief to patients with otherwise intractable neuropsychological illness.

The SUBNETS vision is distinct from current therapeutic approaches in that it seeks to create an implanted, closed-loop diagnostic and therapeutic system for treating, and possibly even curing, neuropsychological illness. That vision is premised on the understanding that brain functionand dysfunction, in the case of neuropsychological illnessplays out across distributed neural systems, as opposed to being strictly relegated to distinct anatomical regions of the brain. The program also aims to take advantage of neural plasticity, a feature of the brain by which the organs anatomy and physiology alter over time to support normal brain function. Because of plasticity, researchers are optimistic that by using SUBNETS-developed technology the brain can be trained or treated to restore normal functionality following injury or the onset of neuropsychological illness.

Through measuring pathways involved in complex systems-based brain disorders including post-traumatic stress, major depression, borderline personality, general anxiety, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse and addiction, and fibromyalgia/chronic pain, SUBNETS will pursue the capability to record and model how these systems function in both normal and abnormal conditions, among volunteers seeking treatment for unrelated neurologic disorders and impaired clinical research participants. SUBNETS will then use these models to determine safe and effective therapeutic stimulation methodologies. These models will be adapted onto next-generation, closed-loop neural stimulators that exceed currently developed capacities for simultaneous stimulation and recording, with the goal of providing investigators and clinicians an unprecedented ability to record, analyze, and stimulate multiple brain regions for therapeutic purposes. The program plan calls for research to be conducted along a schedule of prescribed milestones, culminating in technology demonstrations and submission of devices for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The SUBNETS approach is directed to advance neuropsychiatry beyond the realm of dialogue-driven observations and into the realm of therapy driven by quantifiable characteristics of neural state. In doing so, the program would create one of the most comprehensive datasets of systems-based brain activity ever recorded. If successful, SUBNETS will lead to informed and precise neurotechnological therapy to produce major improvements in quality of life for servicemembers and veterans with neuropsychological illness who have very few options with existing therapies.

SUBNETS and related DARPA neuroscience efforts are informed by members of an independent Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) panel. Communications with ELSI panelists supplement the oversight provided by institutional review boards that govern human clinical studies and animal use.

SUBNETS is part of a broader portfolio of programs within DARPA that support President Obamas brain initiative.

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Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS)

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Evolution : Pictures , Videos, Breaking News

Posted: August 2, 2016 at 4:38 pm

Mostly evolution this week, except for one excellent piece on “what about that 3% of climate scientists who reject the consensus?” Could they be on to…

Ann Reid

Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

Let’s pretend for a moment that you are a giraffe. You live on the grasslands of the African savannah. You have a neck that is 7 feet long (2.1 meter…

James Clear

Entrepreneur, weightlifter, and travel photographer at http://jamesclear.com

One thousand years ago, when the United States of America did not exist and Oxford and Cambridge were backwaters of ignorance, the light of human reason shone brightly in places like Tunis, Cairo, and Baghdad. During the Abbasid caliphate for much of the 8th through middle 11th centuries, and also sporadically thereafter, tolerance of certain non-Muslim groups was enshrined in law.

What do you think? Does the sacred express itself in the material world? Or are we mortals pretty much on our own here in this humongous universe? Here’s what a friend of mine, neonatal pathologist Geoff Machin has to say on the question:

Lots of great stuff last week, but if you only have time to read one thing this week, read the interview with Mary Schweitzer below. What might the wo…

Ann Reid

Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

“So shall I do to the freshest things now reigning, and make stale the glistering of this present” (TIME, as the Chorus in The Winter’s Tale by Shakes…

Ajay Chaturvedi is the founder of HarVa, the first BPO set up in rural India which employs only women and author of the widely acclaimed, Lost Wisdom …

Ajay Chaturvedi

Entrepreneur, Thinker, Author, Wanderer, Yogi, Apprentice to a Himalayan Master! Founder – HarVa, Author – ‘Lost Wisdom of The Swastika’, http://www.ajaychaturvedi.in

We must realize we aren’t grown up. We must realize we have to grow up and extend the vision that change is possible. We must learn about the nature of the human mind and ego and how it traps us in limited, fear-based thinking, and then teach our children how to be greater.

Cate Montana

Author of The E Word: Ego, Enlightenment & Other Essentials

One of the great things about the minds of creatives is how well they think outside the box. They – or you – have the ability to see things not only f…

We all are guilty of procrastination from time to time, putting off those important tasks and saying ‘oh, I’ll do it tomorrow.” For many of us though, tomorrow never comes. So how do we defeat procrastination?

Atif Rashid

Freelance writer, community events organiser, speaker on religious platforms and aspiring journalist.

I concur with the New York Times editorialists who, among others, declared President Obamas speech in Dallas this week a rhetorical highpoint…

STEM is steadily earning a place as the dazzling star in the high school curriculum and for good reason. The benefit of high-level science and math co…

We are a species. Perhaps thats a bit of a blow to our modern, so-over-biology, Homo sapien arrogance; but its true just the same. Lik…

Owing to a technical difficulty, I can’t provide any illustration to accompany today’s What We’re Reading feature. But hey, you don’t only read it for…

Ann Reid

Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

While a bunch of NCSE staff members are rafting down the majestic Colorado River and another is making his way to Washington DC for the National Edu…

Ann Reid

Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

Playing ‘Spore’ is a good way to explore evolution. ‘Spore’ screenshotBy Alex Leith, Michigan State University You look down from the …

The Conversation US

Independent source of news and analysis, from the academic and research community.

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Evolution : Pictures , Videos, Breaking News

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American Institute of Alternative Medicine

Posted: July 31, 2016 at 5:48 am

Diane Sater-Wee, BS LMT Chief Executive Officer

Diane is responsible for AIAM’s strategic direction and compliance with legal and accrediting standards. She has served on the National and State of Ohio Boards of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), the Executive Committee for the National Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, the founding board of the Ohio Council of Massage Therapy Schools, and on various committees for the State Medical Board of Ohio and the Asian Bodywork Therapy Association.

Diane worked as an Account Representative for five years and as an Engineer for another five years with IBM. Diane received her undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University College of Engineering and her massage diploma from the Central Ohio School of Massage. email

Helen co-founded AIAM with Diane in 1990. She is responsible for setting the schools administrative and financial objectives, policies and practices. She also directs the acquisition, development, implementation and operation support systems. In addition to her work at AIAM, Helen serves on the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) site visit team for the evaluation of acupuncture schools across the country.

Helen serves on the Stonewall Columbus Board of Trustees and is on the Board of Directors for State of the Arts Productions. She previously served as President of the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists. Helen has competed in both national and international martial arts competitions throughout her career and was an alternate in the 1988 Olympics. She competed on the U.S. Tae Kwon Do team in 1990, earning a silver medal in the World Cup in Madrid, Spain. Helen was inducted into the Bruce Lee Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2015. email

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American Institute of Alternative Medicine

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