Thursday, November 29, 2007

Michael Kinsley: The latest of the stick-to-the-storyline embryonic stem cell proponents

Michael Kinsley is the latest of the embryonic stem cell proponents to stand firm in the face of the recent stem cell news. The standard talking points are as usual - 1.) This new research is great 2.) Embryonic stem cell research needs to continue and 3.) We must keep all avenues open because we don't know what will work. And most of all, never mention all that past advocacy and excitement for human cloning research and the truly thoughtless response to concerns to how the need for millions of human eggs might exploit women.

Kinsley also adds his own little spice of grossly exaggerated banter, claiming Bush "ban(ned) almost all federal financing of embryonic-stem-cell research in 2001," the last six years have been lost and "Bush and most Republicans in Congress have done their best to stop medical research that could cure many diseases" and claims Bush believes all embryonic stem cell research is "immoral." Never mind the more than $100 million in federal funding which has gone toward embryonic stem cell research based on Bush's decision. Reading Bush's August 2001 comments again next to Kinsley's latest, it's clear who has thought more about these issues and who is bent on intentionally distorting the other's position. Kinsley even claims the moral dilemma over embryonic stem cell research isn't real and never was. According to James Thomson (the creator of the first human embryonic stem cell line), it seems Kinsley hasn't been thinking about the possible moral dilemma hard enough.

Actually after reading Kinsley, I have a hard time believing he is honestly happy about the recent advances in stem cell research and for some reason I get this same impression when reading other advocates of cloning and killing human embryos. It's like his (and their) strong distaste for those who oppose killing embryos prevents him from truly accepting research on pluripotent stem cells can go forward without killing anymore human embryos for research. He really wants his anti-Bush talking points and nothing is going to make him loosen his grip on them.

Kinsley can't even admit that human cloning is never going to cure anyone and or concede his past advocacy for it (to the point of attacking liberal environmental groups who wanted a human cloning moratorium) was obviously misguided. He can't note how pluripotent stem cells created by reprogramming adult skin cells have at least one obvious advantage (same DNA as potential patient) to embryonic stem cells created by killing IVF embryos.

Look for the same kind of pattern from other big cloning proponents. How many of them will be able to honestly concede the advantages reprogramming has to human cloning?

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