Monday, July 31, 2006

Another stem cell column by the factually challenged

This one by Jonathan Alter at Newsweek. He doesn't even seem to grasp that the veto was about increasing the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research not allowing federal funding ("Anti-cure" activists have been reduced to two arguments for why federal support of embryonic-stem-cell research is unnecessary" and "both parties need to acknowledge that federally funded embryonic research is dead for at least two and a half years and push much harder on the alternatives"). Later on he mentions Bush's policy but then again using terms like "allowed" instead of "funded."

Alter also seems to have been misled or doesn't understand the policy currently in place because he writes, "And even when more money is released, much of it will be wasted creating duplicative labs, because no lab that receives federal financing can take part in embryonic-stem-cell research." He also labels a human embryos as "a piece of protoplasm."

One would hope that journalists for a major publication would attempt to learn some basic facts on an issue before writing about it.

Alter has previously written unpersuasively about embryonic stem cell research. He called Leon Kass a "bioethical blowhard" and wanted the term "therapeutic cloning" done away with and just included as part of embryonic stem cell research, thought all of the 400,000 embryos were going to be thrown away, etc., etc.

HT: Wesley Smith

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