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Don't let critics stifle stem-cell studies - San Jose Mercury 10/19/2005

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Coastie for Truth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:46 AM
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Don't let critics stifle stem-cell studies - San Jose Mercury 10/19/2005
Don't let critics stifle stem-cell studies



Don't let critics stifle stem-cell studies

It is often said that science is racing ahead of ethics. Whether that is true or not, it makes no sense to distort science to meet a perceived ethical problem. That is what has just happened with the publication of two articles appeared in the prestigious journal Nature, touting ``alternative'' approaches to embryonic stem-cell research.

The articles suggest that it is important to find ``alternatives'' to the existing methods for creating embryonic stem-cell research. But neither paper explains why existing methods -- using leftover embryos from infertility clinics or cloning them -- are immoral. Instead, the scientists involved in the new papers suggest that there may be ways to disable an embryo or to remove a cell from an embryo at a very early stage of development and create embryonic stem cells that way.

The driving force behind these papers is not science. It is, rather, to use some rather unimpressive technical tricks to meet the objections of some critics of embryonic stem-cell research. In a word, it is scientific pandering. And it is wrong.

Of course it makes sense to experiment and figure out the best ways to make embryonic stem cells. But few in the scientific community think that either of the techniques proposed will do that.

Does it make sense to fiddle with embryos to satisfy critics? Hardly.


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The gist of the article is that this weeks two publications on stem cell techniques that "avoid killing embryos" are just fluff - and will not satisfy or silence the critics.

DAVID MAGNUS is the director of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics and a member of the California Human Stem Cell Advisory Committee. ARTHUR CAPLAN is the director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics. They wrote this article for the Mercury News.
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