24 October 2008

Michigan's Prop 2: Is Embryonic Stem-cell Research Science Or Social Agenda

In November Michigan voters will be casting the yea or nay on Proposal 2, which would amend the state constitution to expand embryonic stem-cell research and open the door for additional funding at the tax payer's expense.

Now listen, I cried like the rest of you when Superman rolled out in his wheelchair to laud embryonic stem-cell research. And I was shaky after Michael J. Fox's plea for additional funding. But strumming the heart strings will only go so far when you notice that the actual scientific advancement of this particular research doesn't match the promise promised by its proponents.

Those in favor of embryonic stem-cell research rightly claim that the cells harvested are "pluripotent," meaning they can form (or be formed) into any of over 200 hundred cell types found in the human body. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, are "multipotent," meaning that they are only partially differentiated and can form a fairly limited number of other tissues. So, the argument goes, why not perform your research in the area with the greatest potential?

The primary problem with this logic, of course, is that a human embryo has to be destroyed to get those pesky stem cells. On top of that, embryonic stem cells have lacked stability and thus resulted in little or no actual success stories, while adult stem-cell treatments have been successfully used in cases like paralysis and blood diseases in children. Finally, there are a growing number of alternatives for finding pluripotent stem cells without upsetting grandma by donating the future apple of her eye to science.

How about umbilical cord stem cells? While there is a lower frequency of stem cells in the cord, there is evidence that both multipotent and pluripotent cells are there. And after baby arrives and daddy snips that nasty piece of slimy flesh, everybody this side of Scientology is going to toss it into the trash bin anyway (the cord, not the baby). No controversy (if it's the cord, not the baby).

But even more interesting are new research results brought to my attention by my ol' friend Dr. Rapp (who is a doctor of philosophy, but has credentials at least equal to Dustin Hoffman on this subject). Apparently, "researchers have found a way to take any kind of human cell, a skin cell for example, and change it into a pluripotent stem cell. The field is rapidly advancing. "

With this being the case, why do so many on the left want to push for embryo smack downs when there are alternatives that have proven more successful, now have the same potential, and are obviously less controversial when it comes to questions about the sanctity of life? Could it be that there is a social agenda behind their science?

Read more about Dr. Rapp's take here: Michigan's Ballot Proposal No. 2

And if you're a Michiganian, Michigander, Yooper or Troll:
Vote NO on Proposal 2.


  1. DB said...

    I am against federal/state funding of the research and typically would vote against things like this from a fiscal standpoint, but I see it more as a social agenda on the right against science that they can play the "sanctity of life" card. I will vote against the use of that card being played before I vote against federal/state funding. Had this issue stayed a fiscal issue, I am all about being against it. Since the right (not the left) makes it a social issue, I have no qualms about supporting it. That is how strongly I feel about anti-science conservatives and their agenda.

    But you are totally right in the fact that if there is more potential in other research, then why not go after that with the bonus of it being non-controversial? Good thing I don't vote in Michigan, huh? lol

  2. WomanHonorThyself said...

    G'morning my friend..youre right the agenda is hidden but vile!

  3. Khaki Elephant said...

    I do agree that there is an agenda from the strongly pro-life element among conservatives, but to me there is at least a logic to their agenda. They believe that embryonic stemcell research destroys a human life, or at the very least infringes on the sanctity of human life.

    But the agenda from some folk on the left has no elemental logic. There are better alternatives and yet the continue to push for embryonic research. Why?

    Why? Unless there is an agenda that, as WHT put it, is hidden and vile.