Brown and the Blight of British Bioethics

General Bioethics, Stem Cell Research — By on May 22, 2008 at 12:16 am

Back in 2006, I provided testimony before a committee of the Illinois state legislature on research involving embryo-destructive research and “therapeutic” cloning. At the time I was shocked by the complete unfamiliarity these legislators had with the basic concepts underlying the issue they were considering. The committee members were so scientifically illiterate that many did not understand the distinction between eggs (human ova) and embryos (a human being). The committee chairman even tried to argue that therapeutic cloning consisted of “injecting embryos into a patient’s spinal cord.”

Sadly, it isn’t only Chicago politicians who are ignorant of stem-cell science. The American Spectator has published an article I wrote about how in the UK, the Labour Party and Prime Minister Gordon Brown have gone out of their way to show just how ignorant they are about hybrids and stem cell research. An excerpt:

This week, Britain’s Labour Party made remarkable progress in securing the country’s reputation as the most scientifically illiterate and morally obtuse hamlet in the Western world. At the urging of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, both houses of Parliament defeated amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill that would have outlawed the creation of “chimerical embryos.”

Chimeras (whether “cybrids” or “hybrids”) are human embryos that contain genetic material from other species. Chinese researchers began in 2003 by fusing human cells with rabbit eggs to produce the first human-animal chimeras. Two years later scientists at Stanford University planned an experiment to create mice with human brains.

“To what end?” is a good question here. As James Sherley, from the Program in Regenerative Biology and Cancer, Boston, notes, “Huge volumes of…basic cellular and molecular biology must be ignored to justify [this kind of] research.”

Read the rest at The American Spectator.



  • Arnold

    Joe, why do you keep writing about things you know nothing about? Do you honestly think you will convert anyone to your position by regurgitating the statements of a few people who share your opinion, without any attempt to engage or even state the arguments of the scientists who disagree with you? But then you don’t actually have the knowledge to engage their arguments, which brings me back to my first question – why do you write about topics you have no chance of understanding?
    I am still amazed thinking back at the time when you wrote long posts about the probabilistic impossibility of evolution, and then, in some discussion on another blog, revealed yourself as incapable of even high-school level probability calculations. Truly a sight to behold. You really seem to have no sense at all of the limits of your own knowledge and understanding.

  • Ben Stevenson

    It has been a disappointing week here in Britain.
    The possible good news is that the Conservative Party is generally speaking, more pro-life than the Labour Party.
    “…92% of Conservative MPs backed Iain Duncan Smith’s call for fatherhood to be recognised when decisions about fertility treatment are being made. 82% of Labour MPs were opposed to such a recognition.
    A very similar divide was clear when it came to the unsuccessful attempt to reduce the time limit for abortion. 83% of Tory MPs favoured a lower limit and 80% of Labour MPs opposed it….”
    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/torydiary/2008/05/83-of-conservat.html
    Opinion Polls and recent local council election suggest that the Conservatives will soon be the governing party.

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