Krauthammer’s Stem Cell Showdown

stem cellOver the past couple of years the news has been full of the unbounded promise that exists in the world of embryonic stem cell research. Nary a voice in the mainstream exists that would forgive any limitations on stem cell research. It shows promise for understanding cancer, it shows promise in treating nerve damage, even spinal cord damage. It probably wouldn’t be very nice to press for details, because most stories don’t bother with them.  It is problematic that in a profession that values curiousity, there just aren’t many questions asked about the viability of the research or the immediacy of the promise.

Krauthammer broaches the topic after the discovery of the usefulness of stem cells found in amniotic fluid. The thrust of the column is that a source of stem cells that doesn’t create a moral delimma could end the showdown over funding.

You don’t need religion to tremble at the thought of unrestricted embryo research. You simply have to have a healthy respect for the human capacity for doing evil in pursuit of the good.

Once we have taken the position of many stem cell advocates that embryos are discardable tissue with no more intrinsic value than a hangnail or an appendix, then all barriers are down. What is to prevent us from producing not just tissues and organs, but human-like organisms for preservation as a source of future body parts on demand?

South Korea enthusiastically embraced unrestriced stem cell research. The subsequent greatly heralded breakthroughs – accompanied by lamentations that America was falling behind – were eventually exposed as a swamp of deception, fraud and coercion.

There’s no doubt that the media has been grossly irresponsible in its reporting on the topic. Whether amniotic fluids stem cells could solve the problem or not remains to be seen.

Column

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