Thursday, November 02, 2006

Warning, this is a dull-as-dirt post, but one that focuses on some issues raised by the recent Michael Fox pro-stem cell ads.

Diabetes runs in my family. Both parents, my father's sister and half brother, my two sisters, my mother's grandmother. Diabetes is a nasty disease, I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. My namesake was an elderly man who was my father's pretend grandfather. He had Parkinson's and my father would go over every few days to help him out by giving him a shave. Two of my maternal grandmother's brothers have had Alzheimers. And so on.

There is a chance that stem cell research could find cures for some of these and other illnesses. A chance. But fundamentalist Christians in our country and their annointed puppet have blocked stem cell research. The stem cell lines that are allowed are contaminated or of limited use. The embryonic cells that could be used for more research are thrown away by fertility clinics. It is obscene and insane that a vocal group can stop basic scientific research. As far as I know, the Bible doesn't mention stem cells.

This is both a national security and economic issue. In terms of national security- does the United States really want China or India to be the ones to develop cures utilizing stem cell research? Isn't it in our best interests to be promoting new scientific methods within our own borders? In the past, the fact that most flu vaccines are manufactured in Canada or England has bothered me. If bird flu suddenly appears, don't you think other countries will be busy protecting themselves rather than sending us vaccines? If we want to protect ourselves, basic scientific research and the associated facilities should be encouraged, rather than made illegal.

In terms of economics- scientific research spurs economic growth. Do we want to be the ones doing the research, or will basic research be outsourced to other countries as well?

I'm not against other countries doing this sort of research, but in my own inner patriotism, I'm pretty proud that scientists in the United States have made so many important discoveries.

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