The Stem Cell Debate is Dead?


We’ve heard lots of politicians and Hollywood heroes go on about “stem cell” research in recent years. Some of what the media showed us was helpful.  Some of it was downright idiotic disguised as thoughtful. Most all of it did a disservice to the real debate.

Somehow the Catholic Church and anyone opposed to human embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), have been branded as anti-science, anti-medicine, and anti-wanting to help cure diseases.  None of these, of course, are true.

Further, the media has often been very unclear when speaking about these very technical issues (whether on purpose or out of ignorance – probably both).  So we have a lot of Americans who really have no clue what stem cells are, how they might help us, or any of the ethical issues involves in experimenting on the various types of stem cells.  This has made many well-meaning people into prime political pawns to be used by some for political gain.

We’ve heard over and over again from Obama and other leaders how “if you want to save lives and cure some illnesses, then we must federally fund embryonic stem cell research.”  He claims he’s following where the “science” takes us in his decisions.  Yet scientists are saying something very different.  What a surprise.

Here is a good link dispelling some of the myths now associated with stem cell research.  #6 on this list is already becoming a reality – funny you don’t hear all that much about it.  Dr. Oz even made the same shocking point on Oprah in front of Michael J. Fox and a national audience.  Oprah’s discomfort was not only made known by her awkward response, but by how her website later “revised” what was said to fit their own agenda.

Dr. Oz proclaimed the “stem cell debate is dead.”  Perhaps the debate is dead, but not many have heard the results.  The reality is that we can both explore medicine and work to cure diseases while also not destroying human life (human ESCR destroys a human life).  One of the marks of a truly civilized society is that we treat every human being as something valuable in itself.  Human beings are not objects to be used.

We’ve been told by many lately that we have to sacrifice human life (yes, human embryos are simply young human beings) in order to save human life.  This is, quite obviously, a sad contradiction.  The good news is that we are now finding ways to explore these exciting scientific developments without sacrificing human life and therefore our human values.  We just need to educate people about it now.

Here’s a video from that Oprah episode with some commentary from a seemingly nice fella:

6 comments Add comment

bird5 June 5, 2009 at 6:40 pm

There is a group of physicians, patients and other interested people working together to get treatment with adult stem cells legalized in the U.S. as it should be. The organization was formed in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent position that the adult stem cells found in everyone’s body are drugs. A person’s cells (autologous) should be their own and NOT regulated by the FDA. That is one of the major reasons why most stem cell clinics are overseas. This stance is ridiculous and is costing millions of lives while sick Americans wait for the use of their own stem cells which would improve their quality of life. The FDA is not protecting us, but hurting us. Please ask your family and friends to sign up (“JOIN”), and get as many doctors to sign up as well. Please see The American Stem Cell Therapy Association (ASCTA) site and the associated Safe Stem Cells Now patient site. If enough people sign up and show a protest to this thing, the FDA will have to back down. They have no right to claim your own tissue is a “drug” to be regulated by them in the first place.

Patient Site:

Physician Site:

Mike June 5, 2009 at 7:43 pm

I just wrote a blog post about current news in stem cell research, both embryonic and adult

The debate might be dead, but the train is still moving, and picking up speed.

Joshua of Catholic Tech Tips June 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Great Post Matthew!

Bill June 5, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard discussed.

The so-called “People’s Republic” of China executes prisoners (including, apparently, political prisoners) and harvests their organs in order to sell them for transplantation. Our government rightly finds this abhorrent and objects to the practice.

I don’t see any practical difference between the Chinese practice of killing in order to provide body parts for medical purposes, and the practice of killing unborn children in order to provide stem cells for medical purposes, including growing body parts. Except, of course, that the prisoners may or may not have been guilty of something, while the babies certainly were not guilty of anything, and, of course, our government not only has no objection to the killing of the babies, it is in fact promoting the practice.

How is it that Americans aren’t bothered by the latter?

Artie June 5, 2009 at 10:06 pm

~~How is it that Americans aren’t bothered by the latter?~~

Lack of education about the subject in conjunction with lack of morality. Don’t mean to paint a picture about most Americans but in general we do not want to make sacrifices which leads to selfish acts.

It is all about me! Unless it affects me personally I don’t care.

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