Monday, March 09, 2009

Art Caplan is unbelievable

His commentary for, entitled, "Finally, coherent stem cell policy" is an incoherent conglomerate of contradictory claims which makes me wonder if he has multiple personality disorder.

Art Caplan is well aware that the federal government of the United States (through the National Institutes of Health) provides millions of dollars for human embryonic stem cell research yet his piece contains the following quotes (my emphasis),
This reversal of former President George W. Bush's ban on such funding....

Research involving embryonic stem cells is still in its infancy. It has had a very hard time moving forward because the Bush administration would not allow the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies to pay for such research....

But after eight year of zero-budget funding of embryonic stem cell research, it is hardly fair and completely disingenuous for critics to point to the practice and wonder why it lags four decades behind government-funded adult stem cell research.
Then, after spending 10 paragraphs claiming President Bush forbid the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, we get this(my emphasis):
Bush permitted taxpayer money to be spent on research using a few cell lines that had been made from human embryos before he became President. But, if it is wrong to destroy embryos to get stem cells then why would it be ethical to spend federal money to support such research simply because it began before an arbitrary date?
But if Bush actually did allow the federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, then why did you spend the last 10 paragraphs claiming that he didn't?

Then after admitting that Bush did allow the federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research with restrictions and making arguments about how Caplan doesn't think Bush's position makes sense, he closes by claiming,
Obama’s decision to permit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research is — finally — the correct policy for the United States to follow.
Unbelievable. I just don't understand how anyone could find this kind of argument convincing.

Caplan repeatedly makes a claims he knows is false (Bush banned funding) and bases arguments on those claims (lack of federal funding is why embryonic stem cells are so far behind adult cells). Then Caplan notes the opposite of his original claim (Bush allowed funding) is true and attacks the reasoning of Bush's position without expressly admitting everything he said previously (Bush banned funding) was false. He concludes by repeating his original false claim (Bush banned funding).

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