This opinion piece by Rachel Wagner in the Michigan Daily is everything that is wrong about the reporting by the media on the embryonic stem cell research debate. It is factually inaccurate, misleading, uninformed, and hopelessly biased. Other than that I highly recommend it!
I do not know Rachel, so please do not misunderstand my befuddlement that this nonsense made it to publication as a personal attack against her. I understand that her opinions are rooted in terrible pain and the experience of watching her uncle die of Parkinson’s, but my wife will angrily attest that I would be as hard on her if she ever wrote anything so ridiculous as this. For instance:
As of August 2001, only research on existing stem cells could be federally funded, greatly restricting the amount of research and progress that could help people with diseases like juvenile diabetes or certain types of cancer.
Read this sentence and understand that the thing that greatly reduces the whole world from being able to pursue the panacea of embryonic stem cell research is the inability of certain researchers to receive tax payer money from the United States government to underwrite their research. At best you are making a case for why certain researchers highly dependent upon federal funding are handicapped versus international scientists from less restrictive nations and with better fundraising skills.
Despite its medical benefits, embryonic stem cell research remains controversial because of the feeling that it destroys a human life. However, the pro-life argument regarding stem cell research is fraught with complications and contradictions.
It is not the “feeling” that we destroy human life that makes it controversial. It is the actual destruction of life that no one seems to be able to identify as anything other than “human” that is problematic. Now lets get to the contradictions:
How, then, is it more pro-life to save an embryo that will ultimately be thrown away than to use that embryo to improve and save lives? It's counterintuitive to protect something that will never have a fully developed life over a person who already has a life but suffers from a permanent, debilitating disease.
Why will it never have a fully developed life? Oh yeah, we intend to kill it. So since we are going to be killing the life anyway, we might as well exploit it. It would be wasteful not to. How could anyone discern an ethical issue there?
You can literally print this article, tack it to your wall, throw a dart and hit a terrible argument equally worth mentioning here. In fact, please do so and put them in the comments if you wish. I have to ignore the incredible misinformation she spreads about the “future” possibility of adult stem cells being useful (Hands shaking uncontrollably as I write) and in the interest of length finish up with this line:
Ironically, in postponing embryonic stem cell funding, more people will die of diseases like diabetes, Parkinson's and brain cancer. (Emphasis mine)
That is well balanced reporting there. No need to panic, folks, the pro-lifers are just trying to kill people to save embryos. I think I am going to post about how bio-ethics issues seem to invite the well publicized opinions of people that have absolutley no idea what they are talking about however heartfelt their intentions. It also seems to inexplicably shut down the discerning eye of editors who ought to know better.