My favorite bioethicist, Wesley Smith said this about human cloning in his prescient book: A Consumer’s Guide to A Brave New World:
We can pursue biotechnology to treat disease and improve the human condition, while retaining sufficient humility and self-restraint to keep ourselves from endangering the intrinsic value of human life. Or, we can hubristically rush onto the very anti-human path warned against by Aldous Huxley, driven by our thirst for knowledge, vast profits, and obsession with control and vastly expanded life spans.
These issues are too important to be “left to the scientists.” Nor can we afford to allow the marketplace to determine what is right and what is wrong. The stakes are too high, the potential impact on each and every one of us too profound, to remain passive and indifferent to the decisions that are to be made. It is our duty to participate in the crucial cultural and democratic debates over biotechnology. The human future, quite literally, depends on it.
Prophetic and poignant – and DEAD RIGHT!!
Wesley Smith has an interesting post about the ability of fat-based stem cells to differentiate into bone-making cells that make good bone. Apparently, human clinical trials are in the works. An Israeli biotechnology company used a bioreactor to grow the cells, and then seeded the stem cells into a three-dimensional scaffold. This scaffold directed the bone-making cells to form bone that resembled living human bone. These bones have been implanted into living animals and seem to be ready for human clinical trials.
Nevertheless, Smith uses these reports to reminisce back to Amendment 2 in the state of Missouri in 2006, when scientists testified before the state legislature than adult stem cells were “unipotent,” which means that they are only able to form one kind of adult cell type. This was a lie in 2006 and is even more a lie in 2012. This goes to show that scientists are funded by public money and it is not beneath them to shade the facts to get more public money. We should always view what scientist say with some degree of skepticism and criticism. Bowing to them as “experts” is an insult to the scientific method, which does not recognize authority, only the quality of evidence. Check out Smith’s blog entry here and the 2006 one here.