Bizzy asks the question: “When does it become OK to ask how many lives that could have been saved or improved by other stem cell research efforts have instead been sacrificed because of money diverted to the ‘Hail Mary’ black hole of embyronic stem cell research?”

First off I think to call embryonic stem cell research a hail mary black hole is a bit over the top – especially for the usually measured Tom Blumer. I’ll do my best to respond in a very measured fashion.

Tom, don’t be a fucking idiot. To treat embryonic and adult stem cell research as mutually exclusive does a real disservice to the science and to the potential both have to save lives now and into the future…not to mention quality of life issues as treatments for things like Parkinson’s Disease gets better. The reason embryonic stem cells have such promise is due to a concept called pluripotency. Cells that have the ability to become many different types of tissues. This flexibility is a huge plus:

Because of their unique combined abilities of unlimited expansion and pluripotency, embryonic stem cells are a potential source for regenerative medicine and tissue replacement after injury or disease. (WP)

The small thinking that Tom quotes from “Life News” is the real danger here. The line of thinking is that since nobody has yet been treated with embryonic stem cells we should stop right now. What reasoning. “You don’t have a degree kid, you should just drop out now”. “We’ve not once stepped foot on the moon, let’s cancel the Space Program”. You get the idea.

The reason we aren’t further along is due to this type of dogmatic obstructionism. There is no ethical concern, unless you consider it a holocaust that millions of days-old leftover embryos are discarded as a result of infertility treatments.

There is a reason the general public supports embryonic stem cell research by 50-58% while evangelical polling is precisely the opposite (Pew). The driving force here is dogma, not ethics.

More recent polling shows support more like 61/31 for embryonic stem cell research. 54/36 even among Republicans.

I’ll have more later on stem cell research and the effect it is likely to have on the next Congressional election here in Ohio.

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