Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Religion of Stem Cell Research

William Saletan of the liberal online magazine Slate provides some much needed clarity in the stem cell fog being generated by the Democrats these days.

Among the points that Saletan makes in his piece, titled "Revelation of the Nerds: The Religion of Stem Cell Research":
"Three years ago, the president enacted a far-reaching ban on stem-cell research," Kerry asserted in his radio address. Repeating a pledge made by Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention, Kerry promised twice that he would "lift the ban on stem-cell research." But no such ban exists. Embryonic stem-cell research is unrestricted in the private sector. State and local governments can fund it as they wish. The federal government spent nearly $200 million on adult stem-cell research last year and nearly $25 million on research involving the roughly 20 approved embryonic lines. As today's Washington Post observes, what Bush actually did was "to allow, for the first time, the use of federal funds" for embryonic stem-cell research.

Why does Kerry call it a "ban on stem-cell research" instead of a ban on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell lines derived after Aug. 9, 2001? Because the shorter phrase, while scientifically inaccurate in four egregious ways, is more politically effective.
Kerry, Ron Reagan, and much of the media are just downright dishonest when they claim the Bush Administration "opposes stem cell research." As I pointed out the other day, they don't. Nobody does. The issue is embryonic stem cell research--a line of research that has yet to yield a single successful human treatment.

As evidence that stem cells have become a Democrat religion, Saletan shows that they're attempting to impose it at the expense of other, more promising treatments:
To protect the symbolism, facts must be shaded. Kerry's pollsters must phrase the destruction of embryos in the past tense to dissociate this unpleasant necessity from the benefits of stem-cell research. The research must be insulated from comparative cost-benefit analysis by asking voters, through ballot measures, to designate billions of dollars exclusively for stem-cell work instead of other medical studies.
Amy Ridenour, on whose blog I found the link to the Slate story, makes one of the best arguments demonstrating that Democrat fervor for embryonic stem cells far outpaces the real potential of the research:
I would be more impressed by the claims of scientists regarding embryonic stem cell research if any of them took the time to satisfactorily explain how it is that research on embryonic cells can simultaneously be immensely promising and yet also unable to attract private funding.
I guess those greedy drug companies suddenly stopped wanting to make money.

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