Thursday, September 02, 2010

Embryo Destructive vs. Actually Creative Research

Recently, a court ruling put a stop to the Obama administration’s work to pour tax dollars into embryo-destructive stem cell research. It was the right ruling for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is that it is actually illegal to do what the Obama team tried to do.

But the best reasons are highlighted in Matt Bowman’s opinion in USA Today, “Pointless Research.” He notes that since to congressional ruling in 1995,

science itself has ended the debate. Adult stem cells actually help people, and a new technique creating "induced pluripotent stem cells" (IPSCs) gives every benefit of embryonic cells and more, without destroying embryos. Stem cell pioneer James Thomson told The New York Times that IPSCs spell the "end" of the embryonic stem cell field. Meanwhile, embryonic-destructive research has yielded little beyond tumors, wild promises and the demand for more taxpayer dollars.

So why are certain parts of the scientific and political world still pushing for hundreds of millions to fund research that has been a dead end and promises to be that way for a while (especially when there is useful research being done without the embryos)?

That’s a good question, and I’m not sure I have a satisfactory answer. And I am honestly looking for one. It is outright intellectual dishonesty? Group-think? Political power-plays in the halls of hallowed science?

1 comment:

Dominic said...

If a human embryo is only a clump of cells, then it's no big deal to use them for research. If it's unethical to use them for research, perhaps it's unethical to destroy them in an abortion as well. There is quite a bit more than possible future funding to lose if that comparison is made.