Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Gazzaniga Redux [Serge]

I was going to move on, but I did want to point out one more thing about Gazzaniga's letter. This letter is instructive because it came out before we knew about Hwang's cloning fraud. In it, we can see the general attitude the "scientific community" had about policing their own. Gazzaniga has this to say about the "breakthrough" from Korea:

Now, two years later, the good scientists of South Korea have made a major advance in biomedical cloning. They have shown the world that careful and caring biomedical cloning, cloning that allows for the production of stem cells, which might lead to breathtaking remedies for horrible diseases, is possible.
He describes the Korean scientists as good, caring, and careful. I have no idea what evidence he had for this assertion, but as it turned out, he was about as wrong as one could be. In the very least, Hwang's group:

1) Lied about the number of eggs used in his experiments (they used over 2000).
2) Lied when they stated that no female member of the research team donated their eggs (they did).
3) Did not inform women donors of the risks of donating eggs. (16 of the women donors needed medical treatment for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and 2 were hospitalized).
4) Lied in stating that they cloned a human embryo.
5) Lied in stating that they developed stem cell lines from a cloned embryo.

This is a short list. It is also important to note that there were 25 authors on these papers, many of which had to know about the unethical human experimentation and the lies, but did nothing to expose them.

Gazzaniga instantly gives scientists the benefit of the doubt, and simply assumes that ethical standards will be kept and reported data will be accurate. Many proponents of ESCR simply believe that "ethical oversight" committees will allow "ethical" research to occur via the self-policing mechanism. I suppose they want us to take their word by faith also.

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