Joe Carter on Embryonic Stem Cells

Joe Carter writes

In other words, embryonic stem cell research will start producing cures as soon as we figure out how to cure cancer. Sherley thinks that “the public largely believes that developing therapies from human embryonic stem cells may be difficult, but not impossible” and that if they if they only “understood that no wonder therapies were likely to come from embryonic stem cells, the discussion would be over, and human embryos would be safer.”

Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen. Because the scientific evidence clearly weighed against ESCR, the issue had to be reframed as a political issue: the fundamentalist pro-lifers who choose embryos over sick people versus the progressively minded acolytes of science who wish to pursue research that has great biomedical “potential.”

This misuse of “potential” has reached the level of Orwellian doublespeak. Imagine if in the 1960’s scientists at NASA had advocated spending less money on Saturn V rockets in order to use the funds for the an anti-gravity device because it held more “potential.” A similar absurdity is occurring now where adult stem cells—which are being used for treatment of diseases-- are considered to have less “potential” than ESCs which have never advanced to the human testing stage – and likely never will.

Empirical evidence against ESCR is all but ignored in favor of the hype and faith-based speculation over its miraculous potential. Just today I watched political campaign ads that trumpeted how the candidate would spend millions of taxpayer dollars on ESCR while in the Washington Post an article noted that “Scientists have long feared that human embryonic stem cells could turn into tumors, because of their pliability.” Contrary to Lincoln’s claim, as long as people choose to be willfully ignorant, you can fool most all of the people all of the time.

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