Ignoring the ignoble vote in the House of Representatives today, and without a prior posting about the recent report concerning amniotic and placental stem cells, Art Caplan has posted a little political rant about the politics of stem cells. Caplan is a pseudoeditor over at blog.bioethics.net has once again claimed that someone else is telling lies.
Blog.bioethics.net is the blog of the editors of the Journal of American Bioethics. We shouldn’t forget that both Caplan (a frequent poster, but not an editor) and the AJOB Editor-in-Chief Glenn McGee, once worked for Advanced Cell Technology and that Caplan is also one of the advocates of the Progressive Bioethics Initiative. (McGee has spoken about the contrast between the AJOB blog and conservative blogs, such as Wesley Smith’s “SecondHand Smoke,” which he (McGee) calls a “reactionary blog” at the Initiative’s “Future of Progressive Bioethics,” in April, 2006.)
Caplan doesn’t work very hard at explaining his viewpoint, although his title indicates strong feelings:” White House Plays Politics, Again, with Science; Just One Lie After Another…” He then calls the recent report on stem cell research by the Domestic Policy Council the “Ridiculous Report.”
No one knows if adult stem cells or fetal cells will perform in the same way as embryonic stem cells. No one knows much of anything about any of the science because it is all new.
The actual name of the report is “Advancing Stem Cell Research without Destroying Human Life.” In the report, I don’t see any claim that Dr. Atala has said that funding for embryonic stem cell research should be limited in any way. What I do see is a blurb about the new report and,
While the research is still developing, Dr. Atala and his team believe that these amniotic stem cells may be fully as flexible as embryonic stem cells, while having additional medical advantages: they are easier to grow than human embryonic stem cells, and they do not form tumors (a problem that has plagued embryonic stem cell use). And since amniotic stem cells can be collected without destroying human life, they avoid the ethical dilemmas.
But, of course, Art doesn’t know the long-term results of destructive embryonic research. Which is pretty shabby reasoning to encourage research that goes against the traditional ethic that science and medicine shouldn’t set out to sacrifice one human life for another. In that old ethic, “self-” usually came before “sacrifice.”