December 2, 2006 | David F. Coppedge

How Stem Cell Reporting Can Blur Ethics

“The potential of stem-cell technologies to revolutionize medical care is causing great excitement among biologists and the general public,” Nature reported Nov 30.1  “ Recent studies on embryonic and adult stem cells, coupled with advances in our understanding of how they can be coaxed into forming particular cell types and tissues, have improved the prospects for addressing a host of untreatable diseases.”
    After such a positive introduction, one would think there would follow examples of cures from both embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.  The only example reported, however, was a case of adult stem cell research – a dramatic one, at that.  A team led by Giulio Cossu found that an infusion of adult stem cells into the blood stream might lead to a cure for muscular dystrophy.  In the article, Jeffrey Chamberlain mentioned stem cells many times, but treated the embryonic and adult types interchangeably.

1Jeffrey S. Chamberlain, “News and Views: Stem-cell biology: A move in the right direction,” Nature 444, 552-553 (30 November 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05406.

This is a huge and glaring ethical omission in reporting.  Not all stem cells are created equal.  The culturing and use of embryonic stem cells has enormous ethical problems, while adult stem cells have none.  Adult stem cells also have an impressive track record of actual health benefits, whereas embryonic stem cells have nothing but hope and hype.
    Christians, conservatives and most anti-Darwinists have serious concerns about the use of embryonic stem cells.  The Darwinists know this and harp on how “people of faith” are standing in their way of doing whatever they want with human life.  They want America and Europe to be like China and Korea where there are fewer concerns about human rights, lest we fall behind in the golden dream of riches and rewards for unknown benefits that might arise from the use of human embryos.  Part of the propaganda war is seen right here – a fallacy of equivocation between two very different concepts that happen to share two words out of three, “stem cells.”  As in the case of American foreign policy vs Iranian foreign policy, the leading word adult vs embryonic makes all the difference.

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