August 17, 2004
Freedom of Inquiry
When Laura Bush--whose father died of Alzheimer's disease--defended her husband's policy on stem cell research, Michael Kinsley of the Los Angeles Times wrote an excellent response which perfectly summed up my opinion about the issue.
On her statement that her husband "is the only president to ever authorize federal funding for embryonic stem cell research", Kinsley wrote:
On her statement that Bush "has provided a boost to research in a very promising new field, while recognizing that this is an issue with moral implications that must not be treated lightly", Kinsley responded:
And on her statement that "embryonic stem cell research is very preliminary right now, and the implication that cures for Alzheimer's are around the corner is just not right, and it's really not fair to the people who are watching a loved one suffer with this disease", Kinsley retorted:
I find the idea of not pursuing research because "we don't know if [it] will provide cures" highly disingenuous. Isn't that what research is all about, to explore the possibilities? If we only pursue research based on the certainty of its results, we wouldn't have the breakthroughs in science and technology that we have today.
Embryonic stem cell research has the potential to save lives. That alone should be incentive for us to proceed. An Administration that plays politics with this issue at our expense should be replaced with one that will support it.
[For more information on stem cell research, I recommend the articles in Harvard Magazine and Time (subscription required) and the web site of the National Institute of Health (NIH).]
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