Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Stem Cell Resources and More Lies from the Wannabe Missouri Cloners

Do No Harm has posted some new resources dealing with embryonic stem cell research and adult stem cell research including their response to this strawman attack which tried attack Do No Harm's claims that adult stem cell research has shown benefits to humans with 72 different conditions by using "Is an FDA-approved adult stem cell research treatment generally available to treat this disease or injury?" as their standard. The attack paper also often points out the research with adult stem cells isn't curative. From what I've seen Do No Harm has been careful to avoid terms like "cures" unlike numerous proponents of embryonic stem cell research including the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures and one of the attack paper's authors.

That author being William Neaves, who is the CEO of the Stowers Institute. The Stowers Institute provides a lot of the money behind the wholly deceptive push (fronted by the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures) to put the legalization of human cloning for research into Missouri's Constitution while saying they are trying to ban human cloning. Neaves has also written in favor of human cloning for research. Not surprisingly, the article is intentionally deceptive (he never mentions that somatic cell nuclear transfer is cloning or that somatic cell nuclear transfer would produce a human embryo and that an embryo would have to die to get the stem cells), uses terms like "early stem cells," attempts to equate the cloning and killing of another human being for their stem cells with the "natural process of self-healing" and claims that "no new life is created by SCNT."

Other classic lies by Neaves include this: "The proposed legislation is a misguided attempt to ban SCNT by defining it as 'human cloning. In fact, SCNT makes stem cells – not babies. SCNT provides an opportunity to use a patient's own cells to develop cures for currently incurable diseases and injuries that affect over 500,000 Missouri children and adults and millions of other Americans, such as diabetes, Parkinson's, ALS, MS, Alzheimer's, myocardial damage from heart attacks, and spinal cord injuries. We can all agree that human cloning to create babies should be banned – but not lifesaving SCNT research and cures."

And this: "You are working entirely with the genes of a person conceived years earlier," Neaves said. "You are not creating new life. You are not causing conception to occur. You are just reawakening the developmental potential that already resides in that individual's [donor's] genes."

Neaves creating a strawman to knock down should come as no surprise. This man will lie through his teeth at every turn to get more funding for embryonic stem cell research and to legalize human cloning for research. That Science would publish this attack piece without providing the forewarning and space for Dr. Prentice and Do No Harm to respond is also sadly the type of action that is becoming less and less of a surprise. Science has previously published a number of articles (one co-written by Neaves) which persuade scientists against using the word "cloning" to describe human cloning for research.

Other materials available from Do No Harm include Where's the beef? which rounds up a variety of quotes regarding the effectiveness of adult and embryonic stem cells and It Can Happen Here which discusses fetal farming.

Robert George and Patrick Lee discuss Science's publishing of Neaves' letter. HT: Serge

"These men are scientists, not logicians or philosophers. And perhaps they simply got caught up in the political heat of the moment. However, it is the duty of the editors of a scientific journal to have cooler heads and to hold their contributors to some level of respect for the elementary rules of logic and argumentative integrity, or at least, to insist that they remove rhetorical abuses made for political effect."

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