Considering Stem Cells

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:05 AM

Note: I'm sorry about the political focus on my blog at the moment. If you're not into these kinds of posts, please don't leave, you only have to endure this for 21 more days — unless we have “Florida Reloaded.”

With Christopher Reeve's (“Superman”) death, stem cell research has taken an even more prominent roll in the coming election. The opportunist in Sen. Edwards came out today as he capitalized on the said death to emphasize why voters should vote for Kerry-Edwards instead of Bush-Cheney.

I have not seen, to date, a single example of embryonic stem cells appearing to offer any promising abilities not available in stem cells from the umbilical cord or adult stem cells. The only difference here is that embryonic stem cells require the death of human life, however tiny, whereas the others do not. Edwards appeals to our desire to save people from horrible diseases much the same way a snake oil salesman might attempt to sell his miracle cure. We want to believe, and thus we will, even if there is no solid evidence in favor of the advertised powers.

Additionally, Edwards is taking advantage of the American love of celebrity. Frankly, I think if the senator got up on stage and said that a President Kerry would have sacrificed a few people — ones that have been born — to save Christopher Reeve, and in fact, doing so would have cured him, I suspect many people would have been for it.

The difficult point is the question of what I'd want if I was in this kind of position. If I lost most physical facilities through some tragic incident, would I not advocate these same things? That's a difficult question I can't answer for sure, although I would hope that I would remain faithful to my principles. Ultimately, we should stick to what we feel is right when we do not have a bias so that, at some later point, when we do have a bias for whatever reason, we still have a moral compass and not just a relativistic need to help ourselves.

Tags: Politics
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