Adult Stem Cells 72, Embryonic Stem Cells 0

ORIGINALLY OCTOBER 25, 2006 – recaptured from WAYBACK MACHINE –
Adult Stem Cells: 72, Embryonic Stem Cells: 0 – UPDATED
Filed under: Culture of Life/Death, Medical, Faith

That’s the number of successful applications research has identified for the medical uses of Adult Stem Cells vs Embryonic Stem Cells.

Mary L. Davenport, MD, writing in The American Thinker, calls Michael J. Fox’s distortive political ads nothing less than “unconsionable”:

Mr. Fox and his ads’ sponsors are guilty of conflating embryonic stem cell research, which the GOP candidates and many Americans oppose for destroying a human life in the name of curing other people’s diseases, with stem cell research in general, which includes adult stem cell research and umbilical cord blood stem cell research.

The only limits in question are on federal funding of new embryonic stem cell lines, requiring the sacrifice of new embryos. Private and state-funded research (California voters are spending six billion dollars borrowing money to fund this) is ongoing. [both emphasis mine – admin] The implicit claim that research based on new embryos is “the most promising” is absurd, completely unsupported by the scientific literature, and an insult to voters, based as it is on the assumption that they are incapable of understanding the issue. Too stupid to tell the difference, is the elitist assumption underlying this campaign.

The plain fact is that embryonic stem cell research is proving to be a bust. There are currently 72 therapies showing human benefits using adult stem cells and zero using embryonic stem cells. Scientifically-minded readers can review this medical journal article on the status of adult stem cell research. Adult stem cell therapies are already being advertised and promoted while no such treatments are even remotely in prospect for embryonic stem cell research.

Please read the whole thing. Ponder again just what it is about the Embryonic Stem Cells which – it bears repeating – have been unsuccessful in experimentation (even though there’s plenty of private funding for it) that drives all of this? What makes people so insistant that somehow federal funding will make ESCR more successful? What makes some people so disingenuous that they will omit the word Embryonic from their discourse in order to give a false impression that ALL stem cell research is being “criminalized” (none is) and undermined.

What is it about the Embryo that makes some people so determined to destroy it, to become heated and hateful if you suggest to them that they should not destroy it, that it is a being of identifiably human species and therefore worthy of respect?

I suspect that the embryo is all about promise, about tomorrow, about life and fulfillment – and there is a whole culture out there that does not want to think an embryo is anything more than “a clump of cells.” A tumor is a clump of cells. It might grow out of control, but it will never live, breathe, sing, laugh, pray, cry, create or mourn. An embryo is something more. At its core – beyond the science – an embryo is Mystery. And Mystery is too much like God for some people…or Mystery makes them contemplate, and contemplation leads to thinking about things like God, and prayer and worship.

O Mystery, you are alive, I feel you all around…you are the fire in my heart, you are the holy sound. You are all life, it is you that I seek, grant that I may seek you, always in everything.
– Paul Winter, Mass of Creation

UPDATE: A very smart emailer pointed out to me that many of the people pushing so strenuously for ESCR are unlikely to comprehend any “mystery” in the embryo, scientists and such, and that’s a valid point and a good criticism; it made me realize that I had not been as clear in my meaning as I’d thought. My feeble excuse is that the dog had me up all night and then I had a CAT scan w/ all that Barium stuff (ick) so by the time I was home writing, I wasn’t writing very well. (As some of you know, I actually have some skin in this whole SCR question).

While it is probably very true that many of these scientific people are not thinking of the embryo as anything beyond matter, my meaning was more toward the case of the press and others, even if they’re not thinking of the embryo specifically, who are so kneejerk in their support of abortion that they see any denial of access to embryonic/fetal destruction as the same fight, and yes, I think there are some who are angry at the embryo, in general and so this is right up their alley. They get to feel “noble” because they care more about the suffering people than we supposedly do, and they get to be burrs in the butts of the “pro-life” people on an issue that is actually EASIER to support (for some) than abortion because by their reasoning, “at least some good is coming out of it.” Hope that is clearer, and thanks to reader Stephen for pointing out my shortcomings.

By the way, for those of you who have asked me what I think of the “rebuttal video”, I think it’s alright, as far as those things go, although the bit with Jim Caviezal muttering in Aramaic is a little creepy and unnecessary. I think he’s a great actor, but he does know he’s not the Christ, right? It’s time for him to try a new role.

Related: Michael J. Fox Fighting for Bad Science

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