Saturday, March 07, 2009

On Stem Cell Story, Media Still Lying to Beat the 'Ban'

This from the current U.S. News & World Report online:

Obama to End Stem Cell Ban Monday

By Amanda Gardner

SATURDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- President Barack Obama will lift the eight-year ban on embryonic stem cell research on Monday, the White House has announced.


To the other 80 million mentions of it elsewhere in the nation's alternative information sources, I will add my insignificant reminder to all and sundry that there never was a “ban” on stem-cell research.

Former President Bush merely “limited federal funding for stem cell research only to human embryonic stem cell lines that already existed.”

The denial of federal funding no more acts as a ban on stem-cell research than the failure of the U.S. Government to finance my next Hot-'n-Ready from Little Caesars qualifies as a to a ban on pizzas.

Why is this deliberate dishonesty so important to proponents of embryo-destructive technology?

Because the barely-reported successes of stem-cell technology using adult stem cells is quickly undermining all the justifications for destroying human embryos by emotional appeals to the rights of your grandmother to be cured of Alzheimer’s.

Just yesterday, for example, a scientific journal reported that adult stem cells were successfully reprogrammed back into their “embryonic,” “free of the cancer-causing viruses and genes needed to make them.” (“Cancer threat removed from stem cells, scientists say”).


Since the donor cells came from adult victims of Parkinsons's, this study is hardly going to bolster the case for embryonic-destructive research.

7 comments:

Johnny Cakes said...

I won't pretend to know a lot about this because, well, I don't. Can you please explain why it is such a big deal to use embryos for research purposes? And by big deal, I mean why not use them? Is this a taxation thing? Is it an ethical thing?

In my own humble opinion, if it has the potential to uncover cures or treatments for any kind of disease - especially the debilitating, chronic kind - why not do it. It sounds like it could potentially save people a lot of heartbreak with loved ones who've become irreversibly stricken with some kind of degenerative disease. Presumably, it could save money on health care costs too.

I guess what I'm thinking is, if we already help to fund adult stem cell research why not cast the widest net we can on the stem cell front and explore all of our options?

T.R. Clancy said...

Johnny Cakes:

Thanks for commenting.

You asked:
"Can you please explain why it is such a big deal to use embryos for research purposes? And by big deal, I mean why not use them? Is this a taxation thing? Is it an ethical thing?"

It is an ethical thing, and in a much lesser secondary way a taxation thing, because some of us don't want our taxes to go to pay for an unethical practice.

It's an ethical thing because human embryos, by definition, are human beings. The easiest way I can make the point is to re-phrase your own question, "why is it such a big deal to use human beings for research purposes?"

I have an ethical objection to using human beings who are unable to lend their consent to being sacrificed on the chance of contributing to cure a third party to whom he does not owe his life.

Johnny Cakes said...

Okay, that is kind of what I figured. So then are you against any kind of fertility clinics at all?

T.R. Clancy said...

Actually, I am.opposed to creating embryos artificially, personally. It's the Catholic position and the most consistent, logically, in my view.

But not all people opposed to stem-cell research go that far.

Aside from being unnatural, the artificial creation of embryos necessarily leads to the creation of surplus embryos that will never be allowed to develop, and will end up being destroyed. This is exactly how we got here, with people saying that these embryos are going to be thrown out anyway, so why not use them for research? I say don't make them in the first place. The tragedy of a childless couple does not outweigh the tragedy of creating and destroying human lives on an industrial scale.

Johnny Cakes said...

Okay, Mr. Clancy. While I am not of the same opinion, yours is ideologically consistent and that I can respect. I have always wondered about that discrepancy for the bunch that is pro-fertility (or at least not anti) but anti-stem cell. It just seems so illogical. But, expressed as your thoughts are, everything follows.

T.R. Clancy said...

Thanks for looking at both sides.

But the point of my post is that, even if you do support fertility treatments, there is no scientific reason to use embryonic stem cells when there is an unlimited supply of adult stem cells, and that’s where all the progress is being made, anyway. There is no need to cast a wider net because there is no shortage where every patient can contribute his own cells.

I believe the underlying motive of the people who want to experiment on embryos is their desire to do cloning, though they call it somatic cell nuclear transfer. http://www.genome.gov/10004765

But they’re dishonest about what they want to do. They know that most Americans don’t approve of cloning humans, and so pretend the reason they want embryonic research is to find a cure for diabetes and Alzheimer’s. The proof of this is that, regardless of the steady advance in the science using adult stem cells, and the complete failure of any embryonic research to lead to cures or treatments for anything, there has been no letup in people lobbying for embryonic research.

Johnny Cakes said...

I was under the impression that the only embryonic stem cells that are eligible for research are those excess ones that came about in the fertility process and are destined for destruction anyway. While I have heard that adult stem cells have as-of-yet proved to be most effective, I just feel, geez, if we are destroying the embryos anyway, might as well see if they hold some unknown key to end human suffering.

A little bit of hyperbole, to be certain. But, with such little research done on the matter, who knows?

And like I said, I respect your opinion on it, Mr. Clancy, because it is consistent. It is only the people that seem to ride both sides of the fence by speaking out against the aforementioned administration of embryonic stem cell research, but not against fertility clinics in general.