Friday, November 03, 2006

Stem-Cell Research

I’m a numbers guy, a residual benefit of having OCD, so when organizations make claims with numbers in them, I juggle them around in my head to see what they mean. There is a radio spot I have heard over the past few months which starts with the bland and comforting claim that everyone has an opinion about stem-cell research. It encourages people to “get the facts,” a harmless-sounding but enormously arrogant claim. The first time I heard it, before I heard anything further, my mind conjured images of that robot on Lost In Space, waving its arms and warning “Danger, Will Robinson!” Whichever side this group was about to advocate for, they had just very nastily set up for the audience “The other side has opinions. We have facts.”

They went on to claim that 113,000,000 Americans could potentially be helped by stem-cell research. So right off, they are completely ignoring the actual controversy about the research – that some people have moral objections to some of the research based on the source of the cells: human embryos. I’m already annoyed at this kind of sneaky advocacy, but let’s just stick with the numbers. Does 113M seem like a large number to you - more than 1 in 3 Americans benefitting? What kind of benefit and how much? Over what period of time, a decade? A century? Is this including family members to pad the total? What illness and condition affects one-third of the populace? Can’t be Parkinson’s. Will we be using stem-cells to treat the flu, then? The announcer doesn’t say.

I could theoretically get talked into supporting embryonic stem-cell research, though that hasn’t happened yet. But this type of dishonesty sends me flying in the other direction. My position then becomes I don’t know what full human rights embryos qualify for, but I do know that those SOB’s shouldn’t be anywhere near the ethical decisions. Advantage: embryos.

Today even more evidence came to my attention, over at powers-point
The most bizarre aspect of this debate is the amount of energy that has been spent trying to secure funds for research that to date has not cured a single person, yet we have people walking around among us who have been treated by research from adult stem cells.

1 comment:

ShrinkWrapped said...

Doesn't that 113,000,000 seem a bit low to you? After all, we are all going to age and get sick and die at some point; shouldn't all of us be candidates for benefiting from SCR? I guess they didn't want to scare everyone...
These ads never distinguish between SCR and Human Embryonic SCR; do you think they are just ignorant, or do they know better but withhold some of the facts on purpose? I'm just askin' mind you.