Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Being "In Touch"

An editorial in the Philadelphia Enquirer tries to pontificate on embryonic stem cell research using the "advancment of science", "cures for terrible disease", and the "who is in touch" arguments.

The article, to its credit does bring up some of the dilemnas and couches it in languge that suggests an attempt to be fair.

But it's clear where the author's sensibilities lie in spite of the obfuscation.

Apparently, it's about what's hipper.

Meantime, the Nobel committee of the Karolinska Institute of Solna, Sweden, sees the discovery and manipulation of stem cells as a great moment in science history. Evans was one of those who made it possible. But if the U.S. government awarded the Nobels, would he have received one? Or would talk-show hosts and grandstanding pols denounce him, the science he did, and the men and women who followed in his footsteps?

Perhaps the Karolinska folks are trying to tell the United States something - they've been suspected of it. Talk-show hosts like to call the Nobel bunch "out of touch" - but who is really out of touch? If it's those pinko Europeans, then we should feel proud. Ditto if it's those dotty scientists, going where only God should go.

But if we in America are the ones out of touch, and deserving human beings needlessly suffer for it later, maybe this country's "principled stance" against federal funds for embryonic stem-cell research will seem a lot less than noble.
See, it's about being in touch, not about what's right or wrong. And note the careful sidestepping of the source of the stem cells being discussed. Proponents would like to lump all stem cell research into a single category. It's only embryonic ones that most objectors have a moral problem with. They want you to think objectors object to all stem cell research because they're just backward and "out of touch". And I don't think there's anything in the Constitution that says the Federal Government has a duty to fund science of any kind.

I suppose if enough people decided that Mexicans should be slaves, then those who don't buy it would be "out of touch" so it would be ok to enslave them and we should just stop arguing about it?

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