With the recent signing of an executive order that lifts bans on embryonic stem cell research, Pres. Obama said that he wanted to "keep government out of science". I think Pres. Obama has forgotten the purpose of a democratic government. One of the freedoms of a democratic government is that we as a people have the freedom to decide what we will and won't allow in society. I don't look at that as "government control" on science, but as the freedom of the people to preserve their values. It's interesting that Pres. Obama will lift controls on stem cell research, but will impose restrictions on scientific research that may affect endangered species. He will protect the spotted owl, but not the unborn child. Not only did he lift Pres. Bush's limits on stem cell research, but he also lifted other limits that congress had imposed on the amount of money allowed for stem cell research.
Today I was listening to Michael Savage's radio show, and a biomedical engineer called in to discuss the issue of stem cell research. Now, I know that some of my blogger friends and relatives are biologists, and I only have limited college biology experience, and that was 22 years ago, so please bear with me as I try to review what I learned from this caller.
She explained that most of the embryos that are used for research come from invitro fertilization clinics, and are about 5 days old. She said the difficulty in using embryos is that the cells haven't differentiated. They literally have to grow the embryos for awhile until they can differentiate in to different types of cells. She said that her specialty is in adult stem cell research. The beauty of adult stem cells is that they have already developed, and a researcher can easily identify which stem cell they want to use. She said that adult stem cells are really more useful. So if adult stem cells are being found to be more useful, then why would Pres. Obama rabidly pursue embryonic stem cell research? I have my own ideas about this, but I'm curious about your ideas.
Should we allow science to do whatever they want, no matter the moral implications? Should we have ethics in science? When Pres. Obama says that he wants to keep government out of science, I believe he is, in effect saying, "Keep ethics out of science".