Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Horrifying Vision

James Kelly, biotech writer for The Seoul Times, explains what changed his mind about backing embryonic stem cell research:

In 2002 I changed my stem cells course because of a horrifying vision – the image of millions of desperate and trusting humans holding plates of hope to an empty sky.
The actions of scientists have confirmed my course. While telling the American people that they only want "to keep all research options open," science and industry convinced the people of California to commit three billion dollars to ES cell research and human cloning – ten times the annual NIH budget for adult stem cell research. They're pursuing an additional billion dollars in public funds in both New York and Illinois, and another $750,000,000 from Wisconsin.  Under the guise of "keeping all options open," colossal resources are being siphoned away from practical and foreseeable causes for medical hope.
Kelly, who has testified before Congress and debated the late Christopher Reeve, has been paralyzed since 1997 and is Director of the Cures 1st Foundation in the US. His article reveals numerous ways that the public is purposefully misinformed and misled by backers of embryonic stem cell research. Here's an example:
One Washington-based science reporter, an avowed atheist, often writes that embryonic stem (ES) cells "can become every cell in the body." But he fails to mention that nine months of fetal development in the fetus are needed to do this. Nor does he report that ES cells matured in vitro (in a petri dish) tend to be genetically unstable and often function abnormally. Yet issues such as these determine whether publicly funded science leads to medical treatments in a foreseeable future, in a decade or two, or never.
Kelly has come to the conclusion that embryonic stem cells are of little practical worth for therapeutic purposes and gives ample support for his position. His thoughtful article should lead us to question who is really being anti-scientific and dispassionate. (HT: stem-cell-therapy.blogspot.com)

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