Sunday, December 02, 2007

Kinsey, Science, And The GOP

Recent advances suggesting that stem cells may be produced by modifying skin cells have some in the GOP throwing cartwheels, the ethical dilemma is solved. They happen to be just a bit ahead of themselves, the modifications to skin cells hold the possibility of damage to the cells at levels too far concealed to be evident yet and the limitations of those cells are not yet known. The complete picture may not be seen for years yet, this poses a problem for people whose days are numbered in that fashion.

Michael Kinsey writes in Time

Second, even if this were a true turning point in stem-cell research, people like me are not going to quickly forget those six lost years. I am 56. Last year I had a kind of brain surgery that dramatically reduces the symptoms of Parkinson's. It received government approval only five years ago. Every year that goes by, science opens new doors, and every year, as you get older and your symptoms perhaps get worse, doors get shut. Six years of delay in a field moving as fast as stem-cell research means a lot of people for whom doors may not open until it is time for them to shut.
Yes, people have something to lose and the sad part of it is that the ethical dilemma doesn't exist for the people making it. Consider the source of the offending stem cells, the cells are from frozen embryos left over from the in vitro process. The process involves the implantation of embryos expected not to survive in the womb and the disposal as waste or long term freezing of the excess produced. This process resulting in embryo destruction is roundly supported by the President who banned funding for cell research, he had a happy meeting with the beneficiaries of this destruction on the White House lawn - snowflake babies.

This is not a moral issue for anyone who applauds in vitro fertilization, George II manufactured an ethical problem to throw a chunk of red meat to the Religious Right. To state that he has an ethical problem with it as a supporter of life (not that executions and pre-emptive warfare rule that out) makes him either a complete liar or a complete ass. This is a little tougher than save the fetus and execute it once grown, this is holding the same embryos in each hand and saying this one is too sacred to research but this one is dumpster bait or good to freezer burn. I don't hold a high opinion of his intellect, but the argument isn't real complicated, there aren't any hard to pronounce words, and nobody expects him to talk real fast, so he should be able to get it, if we're having an ethical argument. If we're not, then it is pure politics and people like Michael Kinsey and Michael J Fox are having their lives played with for political gain. Knowing how things have been done in this Administration, I don't vote for stupidity.

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