No Private Stem Cell Research

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Crispus raises some thoughtful questions about stem-cell research. One issue (for another time) is whether it's wrong or ok to end the life of a human organism for the purpose of possibly helping other human organisms to avoid a debilitating disease. Crispus raises a different issue.

My question: if stem-cell research is the next big thing, then why isn't private industry all over it? The research and development dollars they plugged in would be more than made up by profits from medicinal cures. Could it be that it's too iffy an enterprise and they want a government guarantee?

I haven't thought about this aspect of the issue before. Is the lack of commercial interest a good sign of the low potential for research progress?

Meanwhile, in both the cagtegory of science news and the category of "What the Pork?", an Iranian woman has supposedly given birth to a frog after having picked up the embryo while swimming in a dirty pool. Thanks to Patriot Paradox for posting the link.

4 Comments

I have no details, but I heard a news item or essay or something on NPR recently about privately funded projects on stem cells. FWIW, I thought Bush handled that controversy fairly well, grandfathering in "existing lines" (whatever those are. It should just be a general political principle in a democracy that technologies which are very highly controversial should not be funded by the gvt.

Existing lines are stem cells that have already been harvested from embryos. The embryo is killed, so you're not doing further killing (and thus, to many, doing nothing morally objectional) by using the dead matter already there. What Bush didn't allow was killing any further human organisms for the purposes of using their parts.

Umm, no. What Bush didn't allow was taxpayer subsidies for such killings, or whatever people wish to call them. Calling it killing is fine w/ me, BTW. The admin stance was not one of moral rejection, but of acknowledgement of moral disagreement and sidestepping the issue. If the two of us wanted to fund such a project the ruling wouldn't stand in our way.

I think you already knew this, just clarifying for other readers.

Right. That was just an ellipsis in my sentence that I thought would be understood given the context, but you're probably right that I shouldn't assume that.

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