Stem Cell Research

Michael J Fox.  Stem Cell Research.

0 Responses

  1. I think that the ad is typical of TV as a medium especially in politics, low on facts and logic, high on emotion and popularism. I haven’t heard of one politician against stem cell research but there are those who object to embryo destroying stem cell research and support other areas of stem cell research. So far, the medical successes have been using adult stem cells. It’s interesting that proponents don’t make the distinction.

    The logic of these commercials reminds me of past HIV research campaigns. A proponent proclaims, “If I don’t get all the funds I want then you are killing me.”

  2. In the atmosphere of “values” – thoughtful, logical arguments have been shunted to NPR. We live in a sound bite world. Thoughtful discussion has been gone from network TV for over 15 years. This is how the Republicans were able to take power in the first place. Bush beat Ann Richards 15 years ago on a “values” campaign which had no substance. He beat Al Gore who agrued for thoughtful discussion on “values.” Bush beat Kerry also on values and fear.  So how do liberals/progressives get their word out? Emotional, values messages like this one.

    Actually, spinal cord research has used embryonic stem cells to regenerate spinal cord tissue in lab mice.

    You are correct that the debate as deteriorated to for and against without an adequate discussion of where do the cells come from. How are they made? Why can’t adult stem cells do the same things as embryonic? There is an excellent FrontLines on this subject. Again, pbs has the thoughtful discussion.

  3. The problem with the ESCR debate is that proponents need to distort the facts so much in order to sell ESCR. First, there is the constant muddying of the topic, embryonic stem cell research versus “stem” cell research. Next, the other name changes- therapeutic cloning (good although no therapies exists) reproductive cloning (bad). Of course cloning is cloning. When cloning couldn’t be sold under any name, a new name appears, SCNT, same procedure just different name. Amendment 2 protects cloning (SCNT) although proponents claim that cloning is banned. Then we have just around the corner promises by politicians like John Edwards (he was going to get Christopher Reeve walking again) The other cure, Alzheimer’s has been derided by scientist as extremely unlikely but a justifiable “fairy tale”. Add politics (you seem to make a political defense for these distortions), money and fame the episodes then hoaxes like the South Korea scandal are inevitable.

    Some pro ESRC scientist already see the writing on the wall if there is not mucho success in a few years and worry about continued funding. But I think that the threat is greater than just ESCR, i.e. public confidence in science.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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