The View From 1776

Stem Cell Nihilism

Editor Paul Greenberg flays the sacred cow of fetal stem cell research.

In a Washington Times op-ed essay, Paul Greenberg, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, strips away the hypocritical pretensions of those who advocate unrestricted use of fetal stem cells for medical research.

A few excerpts:

“It’s a juicy prospect for a fast-developing industry: billions in federal grants for experimentation on human embryos….

“...But for the moment this rush to experiment on human embryos has been thwarted by a presidential veto, which the House failed to override. But only for the moment. This is but a pause in the march of scientism, not a stop. After all, it’s just one more slight little ethical boundary to be crossed on man’s march toward physical and mental perfection, a k a “The Abolition of Man.” That was the title of C.S. Lewis’ percipient essay on the subject more than a half-century ago….

“The case for embryonic experimentation isn’t dubious just ethically but scientifically. To quote Robert P. George, a law professor at Princeton who served on the President’s Council on Bioethics:

“Researchers know that stem cells derived from blastocyst-stage embryos are currently of no therapeutic value and may never actually be used in the treatment of diseases…. In fact, there is not a single embryonic stem cell therapy even in clinical trials. (By contrast, adult and umbilical cord stem cells are already being used in the treatment of 65 diseases.) All informed commentators know that embryonic stem cells cannot be used in therapies because of their tendency to generate dangerous tumors.”

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