A Different Kind of Blog

news and things sacred and irreverent put together by opinionated people.

Obama overturns Bush policy on stem cells

Posted by kayms99 on March 9, 2009

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Obama signed an executive order Monday repealing a Bush-era policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research.

President Obama signs the executive order on stem cell policy Monday at the White House.

President Obama signs the executive order on stem cell policy Monday at the White House.

Obama’s move overturns an order signed by President Bush in 2001 that barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at that time.

Obama also signed a presidential memorandum establishing greater independence for federal science policies and programs.

“In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values,” Obama said at the White House.

“In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research — and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.”

The president pledged to develop “strict guidelines” to ensure that such research “never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction.”

Such a possibility, he maintained, is “dangerous, profoundly wrong and has no place in our society or any society.”

Obama’s order directs the NIH to develop revised guidelines on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research within 120 days, according to Dr. Harold Varmus, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and co-chairman of Obama’s science advisory council.

“The president is, in effect, allowing federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research to the extent that it’s permitted by law — that is, work with stem cells themselves, not the derivation of stem cells,” Varmus said in a conference call with reporters Sunday.

While conceding that “the full promise of stem cell research remains unknown” and “should not be overstated,” Obama nevertheless expressed hope that the order will help spur faster progress in the search for cures to afflictions such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer and spinal cord injuries.

Researchers highly value embryonic stem cells because of their potential to turn into any organ or tissue cell in the body. Stem cells have this ability for a short time. A few days before the embryo would implant in the uterus, it starts to develop into specific cells that will turn into skin or eyes or other parts of a developing fetus.

When the embryo is 4 or 5 days old, scientists extract the stem cells and put them in a petri dish. With the removal of these stem cells — of which there may be about 30 — the embryo is destroyed.

Twenty-one of the 60 stem cell lines authorized for research under the Bush policy have proven useful to researchers. Bush twice vetoed legislation — in July 2006 and June 2007 — that would have expanded federally funded embryonic stem cell research.

At the time, Bush maintained that scientific advances allowed researchers to conduct groundbreaking research without destroying human embryos.

Conservative leaders echoed Bush’s rationale in their criticism of Obama’s decision.

“Advancements in science and research have moved faster than the debates among politicians in Washington, D.C., and breakthroughs announced in recent years confirm the full potential of stem cell research can be realized without the destruction of living human embryos,” House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Sunday.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, said the Bush policy imposed proper ethical limits on science.

“My basic tenet here is I don’t think we should create life to enhance life and to do research and so forth,” Shelby said Sunday. “I know that people argue there are other ways. I think we should continue our biomedical research everywhere we can, but we should have some ethics about it.”

The issue of whether to lift the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research has, however, exposed a clear rift between the more moderate and conservative factions of the GOP.

In February, a group of six moderate GOP congressmen sent a letter to Obama urging him to lift the funding ban.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan also issued a statement Monday thanking Obama for lifting the ban.

“These new rules will now make it possible for scientists to move forward,” Reagan said. “Countless people, suffering from many different diseases, stand to benefit from the answers stem cell research can provide. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to do everything in our power to find cures for these diseases.”

President Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease after leaving office — an affliction that many scientists say eventually may be cured with the help of embryonic stem cell research.

Obama’s presidential memorandum, however, may turn out to have a broader impact than his executive order.

The memorandum is expected to create a clear change of tone from the Bush administration on a broad range of scientific issues.

Bush’s critics argued the former president allowed political factors improperly to influence funding decisions for science initiatives as well as to skew official government findings on issues such as global warming.

Obama’s memorandum directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy “to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making.”

In a thinly veiled criticism of his predecessor, Obama reiterated a promise to base “public policies on the soundest science” as well as to “appoint scientific advisers based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology.”

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13 Responses to “Obama overturns Bush policy on stem cells”

  1. kay~ms said

    A Conservative Christian’s view on this topic…

    From Bill Keller’s Website.. Liveprayer.com

    President Barack “Joseph Mengele” Obama is preparing to reverse
    eight-year-old limits on using federal money for embryonic stem cell
    research. This research is controversial because days-old embryos must be
    destroyed to obtain the stem cells. It is just another move in the first 60
    days of our new President’s term, to further the culture of death that he
    promotes. President Obama has already singed and executive order freeing up
    US tax dollars to pay for abortions around the world, and he will soon be
    signing into law the Freedom of Choice Act to insure killing babies at any
    stage of the pregnancy will continue in all 50 states.

    We are living in a unique time of human history, where medical science has
    evolved greatly. Once a subject of fiction novels, human cloning appears to
    be more possible than ever. Science has taken great strides to help man live
    longer, and have a better quality of life. I am a big advocate of using all
    the tools we have to improve our life here on earth. After all, never forget
    that it is God who gives even unbelieving scientists the gifts they have.

    This whole battle was on center stage in August 2001 as President Bush
    announced his decision on government funding of stem-cell research. Powerful
    arguments were made by those who supported this funding, based on the
    potential cures this research may yield for many diseases. Those on the
    other side of this issue were opposed since it involved the killing of life
    to make the research possible. Without getting caught up in the politics of
    the issue, let me focus strictly on the theological elements, and tell you
    what the Bible, our final authority in all matters, says.

    The first fact that cannot be ignored is that life is from God. Neither man
    nor science can produce life. Only God can. Cloning is NOT creating new
    life, only an attempt to duplicate existing life. It is a clear Biblical
    truth that life comes from God, and only God has the right to end it. The
    second important fact is that death is part of the human condition. God
    originally made man to live forever. However, one of the consequences of man
    ‘s sin in the Garden was physical death. Death is inevitable and something
    each one of us will face one day.

    Taking these two Biblical truths, life is from God and only God can say when
    it is over, and death is something we will all one day face, we can now look
    at this issue much more clearly. This means that nobody, no matter how noble
    the purpose, has the right to end a life God has created. Destroying a
    living cell to extract its stem cell is not an option! Period!

    The natural question then becomes, “What about finding cures for these
    terrible diseases?” Don’t forget, one of our Biblical truths is that death
    is an inevitable experience. No matter how advanced science becomes, there
    will never be a cure for death. Even if they figure out ways for us to live
    to 300 years old, death will still be an event we each will face. Even
    Lazarus, who died, was raised from the dead by Jesus, eventually died again.

    Would it be nice to find cures for diseases that affect the quality of life
    of so many? Of course!!! But to destroy life in order to try and find those
    cures is NOT an option. The fact is, even if we find cures to this disease
    or that disease, SOMETHING will lead to the death of each one of us. THAT IS
    A FACT! If they found a cure for cancer tomorrow, you will simply die some
    other way. One day we will all die from something.

    That brings us to the bottom line. Our purpose in this life is to serve and
    glorify Him with our lives. God is the one who gave us life, and it will be
    God who decides when our life is over. In the middle, our goal should be to
    use each moment of each day of this precious gift to serve and glorify Him.
    I tell you often to make the most of each day. The Bible clearly tells us
    tomorrow is promised to no one. We never know when we will wake up one day
    and find we have cancer, heart problems, or any number of health issues.

    WE SIMPLY CAN’T TAKE OUR LIVES FOR GRANTED. We need to wake up each day,
    thank God for that day, and set out to do all we can to serve and glorify
    our Creator. If that is our focus, then everything else in life falls into
    place. Including the fact that one day this life will be over, and those who
    know Christ as their personal Savior will spend eternity with Him.

    I love you and care about you so much. The entire premise of stem cell
    research is impossible from a Biblical standpoint since it involves killing
    a life given by God. The real focus in all honesty should not be trying to
    figure out to live longer, but live better for Him. If we understand and
    accept that death is an event we will all face, then the goal should be
    clear. How can we succeed in fulfilling our purpose of serving and
    glorifying Him with the time God gives us during this brief journey here on
    earth.

    You see, God has a plan for each one of our lives. Surrendering to His will,
    His way, to allow His plan unfold should be our number one concern and
    focus. I pray daily for the sick. I often have special prayer vigils for the
    sick. I believe God is still in the healing business. But don’t get
    confused. God heals for His reasons, usually which we never know or
    understand.

    However, one reason God heals is that He still has work for the person He
    heals to do. Until God says our work is over, we aren’t going anywhere. But
    when HE says it is finished, there is nothing left in this life for us, and
    we can go on to spend eternity with the ONE who gave us this life.

    Some will say this was very cold hearted of me to say what I have today,
    that if there is any hope of curing some of these horrible diseases we
    should do it. We all have friends and loved ones afflicted by some terrible
    disease. But you CANNOT compromise the Word of God. Taking life is something
    only God, the Author of life, can do. There are NO exceptions!!!

    In His love and service,
    Your friend and brother in Christ,
    Bill Keller

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  2. This lifting of the ban does not just mean for embryonic stem cells which can be harvested from aborted fetuses. Abortion is not illegal yet and most women who get an abortion do not ask for a burial these aborted fetuses can be used for research with about as much guilt as using a cadaver for scientific studies. But there is something else very useful in the treatment of genetic disorders and diseases, and I am including cancer in the list of genetic disorders and diseases due to the fact all cancer is is a cell that is malfunctioning. But there are other types of stem cells this ban included such as core sample stem cells. They are usually found in the umbilical cord. Stem Cells can also be found in a multitude of places in the human body. But the two that can actually treat genetic disorders and diseases are core and embryonic. While the core sample does the same exact thing as the embryonic stem cells and in most cases can treat many things. While when you think of treating these things you think of adults. But what about the multitude of children dying because of diseases like cancers for instance. Is it wrong to try to save their lives? For someone who is against abortion are you against something that can save lives of born children? That is what it seems like when you say this person has fufilled god’s will. But a child with cancer? How does that fufill god’s will? The suffering of children with a multitude of other painful diseases like MS, Degenerative Spinal disorder and I can go on and on and on. Children have these diseases as well and these diseases are painful and methadone is the usual prescription for these kinds of diseases to ease the pain. (Methadone by the way is used as a pain killer as well as an opiate inhibitor. Methadone is not as bad as many say it is but it is not prescribed unless there is an extream amount of pain.) How can you say stem cell research that can save these children from these diseases are wrong? I am talking about the stem cells that are just as effective as the embryonic that most researchers believe has more of a chance to save lives and does not consist of killing a developing fetus to get it. Some scientist believes these stem cells are best if harvested after a successful life birth. Which is why you are asked if you want the umbilical cord to be sent for stem cell research. Before you successfully deliver your baby. Technically this kind of research that effects children who have not had the chance to do God’s will is not going against the word of god. I would think actually condoning an action that can be done without the loss of any life to save lives would be in accordance to God’s Will. Who is to say that it is not in God’s Plan for these researchers to be able to save lives because of their research? What if God did not create these diseases? These are theological questions that can be debated. Fact is no one knows God’s Will. The only thing we do know theologically is that to presume to know God’s Will is in itself against God. God usually lets us know when he is unhappy. Take the last eight years for example, if you want to put all of the terrible things on God, because he did it to Israel in the Old Testament to challenge the resolve of his creation, so that they would learn something from the trials he put them through. So he may have been doing the same to the world these past eight years. We do not know for sure, we can pray about it and interpret our feelings on the subject but we will not completely know for sure since our interpretations are sometimes clouded by our own thoughts and ideals. Stem Cell research will not create life stem cell research will save countless lives.

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  3. dorian9 said

    in a six-year span, i personally know three people who survived cancer because of stem cell treatment. two were given the autologous treatment, using their own harvested healthy stem cells and one was given a cell transplant from a matched sibling’s. this wouldn’t have been possible without the research. countless others were treated using umbilical cord and embryonic stem cell transplants. stem cell treatments are not limited to cancer. there’s diabetes, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, etc…all these people given lives are from england and other parts of europe. how many americans have died from cancer alone? a total of 1,437,180 new cancer cases and 565,650 deaths from cancer were projected to occur in the United States in 2008, according to the national institute of health http://www.nih.gov/. one can only imagine how many cancer patients’ lives could’ve been saved by this life-giving treatment. they were denied this chance because of the restrictions mandated by george w. bush on stem cell research in his country. what was his reason for his mandate? moral reasons of the misplaced kind.

    “..those on the other side of this issue were opposed since it involved the killing of life to make the research possible.” ???

    why is it that keller hasn’t done any research? there is no killing involved here. he only sees what he wants to see and those are the words embryo and abortion. our own body has been given the God-given capacity to heal, it just needs help from the God-given intelligence of scientists to discover the way to do this. that is why we have medical research. alexander fleming, pierre and marie curie, to name a few..their discoveries saved countless lives. imo, a ban on stem cell research would essentially be mass murder.

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  4. dorian9 said

    on God’s will: how does one know God’s will, is that something that can be determined by reading a book? holy or not, the bible was written by man. to speak of God’s will as being this or that would indeed be presumptuous and blasphemous.

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  5. kay~ms said

    It seems logical that our Creator would want to make himself known to us and it also seems logical that it would be done with the written word. Especially if He wants us to know His will. So therefore, it does seem reasonable that we can determine His will from the Bible, which is the book that people have lived and died by for almost 2 thousand years now, the book that has withstood the test of time, the most read book of all time, with historical accuracy supported by other historical writings and archeological findings as well. The Bible was written by many different men.. not one, like for example, Joseph Smith’s Book that Mormons believe takes precedence over the Bible (which is not sensible or practical). The Holy Bible was written by men who were inspired by God. It is His word. I did make a statement that I feel that the Bible does have contradictions and I am still inclined to believe that in the literal sense but I also believe that what God wants us to know, what we need to know, is made clear in the Bible.

    To say that it is presumptuous or blasphemous to claim to know God’s will when we have His word to tell us His will is what is truly blasphemous.

    So, after dealing with the question of our source for learning God’s will, then it leads us to these two fundamental questions: What is God’s will? and.. How important is it to do God’s will?

    The statement that we do not know for sure what God’s will is, is just not true. The Bible clearly tells us God’s will. “Thou shalt not kill” is a commandment from God. At the moment of conception a UNIQUE individual is created. It is the work of God… of all the work He does… this is His very special work…our creation.. because He loves us. The Bible states that He knew us before we were born. Another question then would be.. could His will be that some of us are created for the sole, sacrificial purpose of helping others who’s lives are more developed? As far as I know, the Bible doesn’t answer that question… but does answer the question of God’s will concerning taking another life.

    So then the next question is… How important is it to do God’s will? The Bible says it’s our purpose in life… as Bill stated “Our purpose in this life is to serve and
    glorify Him with our lives”. He has given His life for us in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross… He loves us more than we can ever comprehend… He is our Creator… we are in His control and at His mercy, how blessed are we that our Creator is Good and loves us!!

    Things in this life seem unfair but they are part of God’s plan. His reasons are just even if we cannot see that justice now. How sad it is that there are people who are sick or were born with birth defects or any of the other atrocities that have befallen man. But these things fullfill His ultimate purpose… some of the ways I know of are… to help those that are more fortunate praise God and be greatful for their fortune…and another is to give us the opportunity to help these people out of our gratitude and to display what is in our hearts, our love for others… to do God’s will. If there weren’t people who were less fortunate… how could we truly display what is in our hearts???

    And for everyone who is less fortunate… there is always someone else less fortunate than them. And for those who seem more fortunate… they have their own misfortunes, manifested in other ways. For some, it doesn’t seem fair; their misfortunes seem greater… but it is some of those very people who display the greatest happiness! Because they know God, they know that He loves and cares about them and they will be with Him… the ultimate happiness! They understand that their earthly life is just temporary… a blink of an eye. They are fullfilling their purpose here…they are teaching us about God’s love! And they are displaying the true faith that can save us all if we come to know God as they do.

    Yes, we should do all we can to help those afflicted and in need of help BUT we must not go against God’s will in order to do so. This issue, like all social issues, presents questions of what is in each of our hearts… Are we doing all we can to help people in need now? Are we only interested in helping people if it’s easy to do so? Do we want abortion to be legal because it’s the easiest way for us to ‘help’ people? The cheapest way? How does the easy (or cheap) way justify casting morals aside?? Don’t we, as a society, have enough integrety to do things the right way? DO WE LOVE GOD? And trust that He will right all wrongs in His good time?

    It may be hard to see now but doing God’s will IS best for ALL of us.

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  6. Again I am not speaking of killing fetuses because the human body does do something called miscarrying which is the natural version of an abortion and you can donate miscarriages to science if you so choose. Also as I said before the Umbilical Cord Stem Cells also does not end in death and is identical to Embryonic Stem Cells. Actually a good portion of the stem cells for research is actually donated with no murder committed.

    And for the we knowing the Will of God theory. We do not truely know the will of god only fragments. This is due to the fact things have been taken away from and added to the bible since the conception of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. This organization made of men has decided what is heretical and what is not and this so-called heresy from the beginning was so that this organization actually benefited from these supposed hersays’. The fundamental differences from the official translation of the bible and the Torah and Talmud and the history behind the KJV of the bible. This shows that it is no longer the Word of God but the Word of Man. Or is the original “Old Testament” heresy because the KJV is the only true version?

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  7. kay~ms said

    See… this is similar to the idea that if something can be proven scientifically, it disproves God… When the truth is that God actually created the science.

    Just because changes were made by men doesn’t mean that God was not involved… that these men were not inspired by God…

    To think that God couldn’t be involved in the outcome of the Holy Bible is the same as thinking that He is not capable of understanding science.

    God’s capabilities are limitless, as seen by our existence, but man (the intelectual man) doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge that.

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  8. Anonymous said

    It breaks my heart so see that our Country is at this point. For so many reasons. For one, that we are all searching for the thing to give us ‘quality of life.’ Yet the thing thats missing is the God shaped hole. Then there is the disregard for ’embryos’ as tho they are nothing more than tissue. Thats tough cause I see more than just destruction of human life, I see what it opens the doors for… and it saddens me.

    God’s will- is in other words his desires, plans… his heart reveals his will. If you know someone, like your spouse.. bf.. mom… dad.. whoever, you know what they would our would not want. If you were house sitting for you best friend. You would know if they would be mad if you had ppl over and sat in their hot tub.. or they would not care at all. Cause you KNOW them. Well, God is no different. he made us in HIS image. The Bible referrs to him as a man. So, when you get to know him, you love what he loves, and hate what he hates. You can feel his heartache at times. When I sin I feel his hand on me heavy until I repent, then I feel (FEEL) the grace overwhelm me. He said he searches for a heart thats completely his. (Abraham is a perfect example. B4 God destroyed Soddom for its sin, he talked to Abraham about it..)

    As far as the bible…
    The one thing the Bible does that no other book in the world even dares to do is accurately predict the future.
    There are about 3856 verses directly or indirectly dealing
    with prophecy- about 1 in 6 verses tells of future events.
    Buddhists, Confucianists, and Muslims all have their own
    sacred writings, but in them the element of prophecy is
    clearly missing. Yet, Biblically as you read, you will see the invasion of Jerusalem, the fall of Babylon and Rome- each accurately predicted & fulfilled to the smallest detail!
    In the brief life of Jesus alone there are over 300 prophecies fulfilled. The odds that all would be fulfilled in 1 man by accident are laughable. By the
    laws of chance, the odds of even just 48 prophecies being
    fulfilled by one man are 1 in 10157- that’s a one followed by 157 zeroes!!!

    The Bible IS perfect!!!! Everything about it. Its inexhaustable!!! you could dig your entire life and NEVER find everything there is to know.

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  9. Wyndee said

    heheeee. I hate it when I forget my name…

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  10. wow okay I do have to say this. Many different religions have prophecy but they do not use prophetic writings in their core belief system or their core teachings. The main reason is that prophecies only work when unseen factors come into place. When someone has a prophetic vision 90% of the time it is the outcome of an event the person having the vision has no knowledge of. For instance you can have a prophetic vision that someone is going to die. You meet this someone at the market and try to save him or her. It may show that your actions to stop the event in question actually is the reason that person died. The dangers of prophetic visions is it may or may not come true because you only see a portion. You only see the outcome. To see the rest takes a lot of spiritual practice and training most of which the Church has deemed as heretical. It may be possible the Bible is only there to tell of God’s basic wants to prepare you for your spiritual journey but without the rest of the spiritual practice we are lost spiritually. It should also be pointed out that all of the prophets were practitioners of Quaballah which requires the practitioner to have a mastery level understanding of the Torah, be married and be at least 40 years of age. of course there are exceptions for the truly exceptional who attain mastery level understanding of the Torah at a young age.And yet that is only another small portion. Anything created to facilitate the Christian Spiritual Journey has been supressed and hidden by the church so we do not know how to really proceed and grow. We hope devoting ourselves to the Church will do this but it does not and that is the main problem of the organization in and of itself.

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  11. Wyndee said

    ya i have heard of other religions prophecying but dont know of any that were ever fullfilled.

    i dont know about all the Quaballah but the unseen facts coming into place is what makes the Bible unique. Prophecy is a divinely inspired revelation or interpretation as well. Have you ever had someone tell you something and you’re like, ‘wow they just read my mail’? A stranger tells you the answer to the thing you have been praying for? Its awesome. i love it when that happens. To me or thru me. its just plain cool. its the power of the spoken word. it forms something in you. Then God breathes life. Like Adam, first he spoke it, then formed him, then breathed life.

    i know whatcha mean when you say we think devoting ourselves to the church will bring us closer to God. i went thru that very thing. We’re human ‘beings’ not human ‘doings’. Gotta be with him first then do for him. serving is good. but its hard not to get out of balance. we’re human still. tho the Bible says we flourish when we’re planted. so devoting yourself to a church is necessary for growth. You can grow even under corrupt leadership.. David did.

    i feel bad that we are so way off subject from the original post… but i guess thats life eh. 🙂

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  12. My point was this we put too much importance on the Bible and not enough importance on God.

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  13. Wyndee said

    How else do we get to know him…..? How do we know when recognize false teachings, and discern spirits??? The Bible says: 2 Corinthians 11:14- Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. How do we know that?
    and Hebrews 4:12 says
    For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

    Its not possible to put too much importance on it… ITS HIS. He gave it to us.
    2 Tim. 3:14 There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

    but i guess if you dont love the Bible, you wont see it telling you its worth itself… ya know.

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