Thursday, July 10, 2008

Embryonic Stem Cell Debate Remains Polarized


The embryonic stem cell debate still remains polarized. Political agendas have enabled a misinformed public to cling to political ideologies instead of understanding the actual scientific and bioethical issues related to embryonic stem cell technologies.

As a scientist who has worked on embryonic stem cell technologies, I have become surprised and appalled at how the scientific community has used their political machinery to push these technologies forward without educating the public on how these advances can impact our culture and society, both positively and negatively. Not only that, I have actually witnessed some top level scientists using words advocating the application of eugenics with such technologies. Historically speaking, we should all be familiar of how eugenics has led to terrible consequences and human suffering. Yet the scientific community moves forward believing that they alone know how to apply eugenics using scientific tools and measurements.

In the past, I have ignored the religious right because of their seemingly inflexible stand regarding embryonic stem cell science. But now, the scientific community who no longer represents the public as a whole and who also has garnered their political agenda to obtain funding at any expense, has brought me to look upon their opposition as not fanatical, but as a much needed counter-balance.

The public remains ignorant of the cultural, societal and health implications from stem cell research, human cloning and related practices. Public opinion is politically driven by those with special interests instead of scientific and bioethical analysis. Until bioethicists begin proper studies to educate the public regarding these critical issues, unfortunately, it will remain that way.

The consequences of implementing human embryonic stem cell technologies, in the end, may not be what the public expected and not what they were led to believe.

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