If a scientific breakthrough happened that would essentially eliminate a moral quandry and move mankind closer to cures for numerous diseases and no one really talked about it, would it be a scientific breakthrough?
Do you remember how President Bush and conservative Christians were attacked and ridiculed for their stand. Well, let me specific since that is an regular occurrence. Do you recall how the press and liberals vilified conservatives over Bush’s veto of the embryonic stem cell research bill? I was personally labeled uncaring, a hypocrite, a liar, etc. How dare I, along with other conservatives, stand in the way of scientific progress that could cure diseases?
As John Edwards famously said, once he and John Kerry were elected, ESCR would be federally funded and Messianic miracles would ensue – the sick would be healed, the lame would walk. I was just waiting on him to yell “Lazarus!” and use ESC to call forth the dead out of the grave.
Hollywood stars and former First Ladies campaigned around the country and on television sets for “pro-science” candidates – politicians who would not let the simple-minded moral questions of a few get in the way of benefits for us all.
I think I was told that to promote adult stem cell research was to hinder the more promising ESCR. Any federal funds and attention given to ASCR would postpone the promised miraculous cures that were just around the corner with ESCR.
A funny thing happened recently:
Two different teams of scientists have figured out a means to obtain pluripotent stem cells without creating — or destroying — an embryo. In fact, no human reproductive material was used at all, including eggs. Now, most pluripotent stem cells are known as embryonic stem cells, meaning they come from an embryo. The new technology, called Direct Cell Reprogramming or Induced Pluripotent State, takes adult cells and regenerates them back to the pluripotent state. It’s quite similar to embryonic stem cells, but they are not embryonic stem cells.
So we now have published scientific research that enables the creation of pluripotent stem cells, aka embryonic stem cells, without the destruction of an embryo. Why is this not the lead story on every nightly news cast? Why was this not trumpeted on the front page of all the major newspapers?
If the research continues on these lines, the ESCR debate is over. There is no moral quandary to discuss. Scientists will be able to create as many pluripotent stem cells as they need without ever having to destroy a single embryo.
But there was no major news splash. There was no wall to wall network coverage. The two leading Democratic presidential candidates never even mentioned it. And for good reason.
Supporters of ESCR became so vested in the research that they began ignoring everything else to their detriment. How dare those conservatives get in the way of their science? The only pro-science position became their political position, which was anything it took to cast conservatives in a bad light.
Does someone, anyone, care to explain to me why this is not the biggest scientific news in years? If ESCR was (and is) going to be the cure for all of mankind’s ills and the only thing standing in the way were the moral objections of few “crackpot religious nuts,” is the removal of those moral objections not equal to the discovery of the fountain of youth.
Personally, I’m still not convinced that pluripotent stem cells will lead to all of the miraculous cures claimed by so many, but I can’t help but wonder why so many of those who do believe in it are so silent about this advancement. I was asked why my morals should interfere with scientific advancement. Can I ask why your politics should do the same?
UPDATE: In a further indictment of those that criticized President Bush and voted against federal funding for ASCR, it appears that federal funding was used for this specific research project.
This news comes on the heels of cloning pioneer Ian Wilmut, who’s team cloned Dolly the sheep, announcing that he was discontinuing his human therapeutic cloning research. Wilmut, who received a license two years ago in Great Britain to clone human embryos, said that the “reprogramming” method used in this recent reserach showed more potential.