More empty bluster about ESCR from the religious right

Some time ago, some playful rapscallion signed me up to get daily e-mail updates from, a site representing the truly demented and prevaricating arm of U.S. Christianity. I was tempted to cancel “my” subscription, but after reading a few of these updates and visiting the site, morbid fascination and a longstanding personal propensity for finding reasons to become tweaked over the doings of idiotic liars won out over common sense, so I continue receiving messages housing all manner of laughable bullshit about homosexuality, abortion, and everything else that the religious right has uniquely mangled in its antiheroic insistence on infecting mainstream society with its worthless take on social and medical issues.

The latest crapburst is a post about the supposed lack of merits of embryonic stem-cell research, and it’s more of a joke than the usual mindless litanies churned out by this vile band of backward souls. I realize that the reason this site exists is to raise money for the American Family Association by pandering to the lowest common denominator of cross-happy dolts in this country and that its writers are not quite as stupid as they appear, but nevertheless, “articles” like this one are inexcusable and could be drolly dismantled by any eighth-grader with a handle on scientific and general reality.

Anyway, the skinny:

An internationally recognized expert on stem cells and cloning says President Obama’s decision to lift restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem-cell research is wasting lives and taxpayer dollars when all resources should be going towards adult stem cells.

This “expert” is David Prentice, a biochemistry Ph.D. in the employ of the Family Research Council, another bunch of undiluted whack-jobs. Whatever his credentials and knowledge, if he’s in league with Christopaths, he’s not going to do anything but lie. I wonder if his lies bother him. Here’s his fib of the day:

“Embryonic stem cells have not helped any human being. In fact, [they] haven’t helped that many rats and mice in the lab,” Prentice notes. “Only adult stem cells are actually helping patients. The unfortunate part of this new approval is there are now more incentives for researchers to destroy young human embryos just so they can get taxpayer funds.”

What a waste of a great education. Prentice is no doubt very much aware that research involving embryonic stem cells is very much in its infancy and has been greatly hamstrung by people like him. How can these cells help patients when their development and application is virtually locked down by ignoramuses who insist that using embryos already otherwise slated for the trash bin represents “killing”? One could easily say that in the early days of the formulation of Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine that his nascent product also hadn’t helped anyone. The history of worldwide public health rather contradicts this putative claim. And how is it that researchers would have incentive to “destroy” embryos rather than put them to good use? It doesn’t take a medical or economic expert to grasp the fact that these professionals stand to gain a lot more by demonstrating advances in medical science than they do by simply wrecking embryos. If all they did was the latter, their funding would dry up in a heartbeat, even funding from the most optimistic of philanthropists.

Medical advances do not happen overnight. Prentice is well aware that ESCs have vastly greater potential to help the sick than do adult stem cells, and also knows that observing that treatment A is efficacious hardly suggests that potentially superior treatment B should not be pursued, an idea tantamount to saying that the advent of penicillin implies that cephalosporin and fluoroquinolone antibiotics never should have been bothered with. If the biomedical research community were to become summarily content with the status quo, an untold amount of needless human suffering would ensue, and I’m sure empty-headed Christian extremists the world over would not care a bit. They have their rigid ideas of what is right and just and moral and no amount of evidence can affect their twisted belief system.

I can accept that most people are low-wattage, incurious slaves to their upbringing and that they are easily misled. But it bothers me a lot more when people in a position to do a lot better instead wind up leading the charge of a race backward in time. If Satan really existed, Ph.D’s who sell out and peddle bullshit to the masses in the name of self-interest and keeping an antiquated, destructive, and dispensable institution alive would be his finest manifestation. The irony level of someone like Prentice talking about others acting unfairly in the name of ideology is immeasurable.

One thought on “More empty bluster about ESCR from the religious right”

  1. Kevin;

    Whilst I take your general point, that Prentice is simply lying about the potential of embryonic stem cells to provide cures for various illnesses, I do think that any debate on ECSR is simply part of the whole “medical research” debate that should be vigorously pursued in a rational, truthful way.

    As far as I am concerned we should be debating why, given the secular nature of modern society, we should prize the elimination of human suffering over the suffering of the thousands (milions) of animals sacrificed in the name of research? Previous generations had the religious justification of being made in God’s image, so we were allowed to use the “lower” animals for our own benefit, but what is the justification for our speciesism in the secular society?

    Since humans are nothing more than another species of animal, how, and why, do we justify the suffering of other animals?

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