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April 24, 2006

Exploiting the Suffering

Topics: Stem Cells

The New York Times reports that Democrats are pressing their support for embryonic stem cell research in Congressional races around the country, seeking to move back to center stage an issue they believe resonates with voters and to exploit a division between conservatives who oppose the science and other Republicans more open to it.

To be clear, we are talking about embryonic stem cell research which results in the destruction of a unique human life. Other stem cell applications involving adult or umbilical cord stem cells have been profoundly successful and are almost universally supported.

Democrats have seized this issue because it enables them to market a bill of goods based upon the hyped potential of ESC to cure every disease under the sun. Accountability is years away and unlikely to effect short-term election success. Selling a promise is easy, its what keeps that masses buying lottery tickets despite the statistics and is the modus operandi of every con artists.

Here it is, in words of Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat campaigning for Congress in Denver:

"This is a personal issue because it holds out hope for a lot of people," said Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat running for Congress in suburban Denver. Mr. Perlmutter knows that firsthand: his daughter has epilepsy, and his in-laws have diabetes, disorders that may be helped by stem cell research.
Selling "hope" for those who are suffering has been a useful strategy for many politicians despite the lack of ESC sucess and the scandals (fraud) that have plagued ESC research. Even Senator Jim Talent, a Republican running for re-election in Missouri, has succumbed to the ESC lobby.

However, even ESC researchers admit their research has been oversold:

"Many of the technologies we hyped to the general public haven't worked yet," Celgene Corp. president Alan Lewis said at a biotechnology trade show in Philadelphia earlier this year.
Why the hype? "To start with, people need a fairy tale," the Washington Post quoted Ronald D.G. McKay, a stem cell researcher at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [source ]. "Maybe that's unfair, but they need a story line that's relatively simple to understand."

Unfortunately, the problems with harnessing embryonic stem cells as treatments appear to be growing, not shrinking... By contrast, studies continue to show that cord blood stem cells have effectively treated a variety of diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, myelodysplasia, severe aplastic anemia, genetic diseases of the blood and immune system as well as certain genetic metabolic diseases like adrenoleukodystrophy ("Lorenzo's oil disease"), as well as Krabbe disease and Hurler's disease, genetic neurological diseases that kill infants by the age of two. (Source: FRC)

To fully exploit the stem cell hype, Democrats will also deny the humanity of the unborn, and assert those who have matured are far more valuable that the unborn lives that will need to be sacrificed in the name of science and potential cures. On this point I refer the reader the to excellent article by Robert George and Patrick Lee titled, Acorns and Embryos. Needless to say, they conclude,

We were individuals with a rational nature even during the early childhood, infant, fetal, and embryonic stages of our lives. If we are persons now, we were persons then. We were never "human nonpersons".


Stem Cell Research

Stem Cell Research Cures

Cross-posted: ProLifeBlogs

Posted by tim at April 24, 2006 4:25 AM

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