Two days, same underlying issue.

March 12, 2009

Today I’ll be much more direct, thanks to Father Raymond J. DeSouza’s article from Full Comment.  He discusses how the most promising stem cell research isn’t coming from embryonic stem cell research but from discoveries like reprogramming adult stem cells to be pluripotent, (to develop into any tissue).  He goes on to say:

So the science is clear. Adult stem cells (which generally are not pluripotent) have already produced many successful human therapies.  Embryonic stem cells have not. And if pluripotent stem cells are still desired, then they can now be produced without having to destroy embryos.

Yet despite the science and ethics increasingly being on the same side, namely against embryo-destructive research, Obama chose to go with politics. Indeed, while the President spoke at length about his funding announcement on Monday, he was curiously silent on another action he took at the same time. He reversed a Bush executive order from 2007 which directed funding toward adult stem cell research and reprogramming research — that is, research that offers the same promise with no ethical objections. President Obama had no pretty words for that part of his policy. While presenting himself as a champion of science, he moved to reduce federal funds to stem cell research that is more promising than ESCR. Obama’s stem cell policy is positively hostile to research that does not destroy embryos. It is perverse on the science, and disingenuous on the politics.

Somehow the victory of science begins to look much more like the victory of rhetoric.  Read the whole article.


One comment

  1. It is slightly ironic that in the US, where there was a more or less blanket ban on stem-cell research, the more dangerous (politically and morally) research is now being pursued in favor of safer study. But in Canada, when the…field of science…was less heavily proscripted, we made several discoveries in the last few years that led to adult-stem cells being viable treatments (at least, on their way.) I wonder why that is.

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