Mudcat Café message #1505051 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1505051
Posted By: Amos
20-Jun-05 - 09:42 AM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
THERE is a way to get beyond the religious morass created by President Bush's position on embryonic stem cells.

Most scientists agree that while adult stem cells offer hope of a cure for some of the cruelest diseases and injuries, embryonic stem cells hold even greater and surer promise. As a result, while most scientists welcomed Mr. Bush's August 2001 offer of government resources to advance adult stem cell research, they and millions of other Americans were sorely disappointed by his refusal to consider retrieving any stem cells from the many thousands of unused embryos awaiting destruction. To most scientists, his compromise restricting federal financing only to research that used the 20 or so embryonic stem cell lines that had already been developed was politically clever but insufficient, not least because most of those cell lines are of limited and uncertain potential.

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Forum: Op-Ed Contributors
Mr. Bush does not deny the greater potential of embryonic stem cells: he says his decision was compelled by his belief that retrieving stem cells from the embryo destroys it, thereby resulting in the killing of a human being that cannot be justified no matter how vast the potential benefits.

The president did not claim his conclusion was based on biomedical science. He said only that it was an expression of his religious faith. Asked in March 2004 about the stem cell issue, his science adviser, Dr. John H. Marburger III (who headed a fact-finding commission on the Shoreham nuclear plant in 1983 when I was governor), said: "I can't tell when a fertilized egg becomes sacred," and added, "That's not a science issue."

No doubt the president's belief that human life begins with fertilization is shared by millions of Americans, including many Christians and evangelists. But it remains a minority view and one that the president applies inconsistently. Although Mr. Bush believes that destroying an embryo is murder, he refuses to demand legislation to stop commercial interests that are busily destroying embryos in order to obtain stem cells. If their conduct amounts to murder as the president contends, it is hardly satisfactory for him to say he will do nothing to stop the evil act other than to refuse to pay for it.

However well the president has negotiated the political shoals, he has produced a moral and intellectual mishmash that has failed to dissuade Congress from going further than he has in advancing stem cell research.

Excerpted from this editorial.