Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Moving Politics out of Science? Huh? Update on Connecticut's Human Embryonic Stem Cell Program

Warren Wollschlager, from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), speaks at the STEMCELL 2009 conference on Monday, March 23 updating on the fourth year of Connecticut’s $100 million public funding for human embryonic stem cell research. Wollschlager opens with a statement applauding Obama’s support for human embryonic stem cell research by “moving politics out of science”.

Some might find Wollschlager’s comment about “moving politics out of science” a bit ironic.

Both Wollschlager and DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, who chairs the Connecticut’s Stem Cell Advisory Committee, are political appointments involved in Connecticut’s stem cell program. Politics are intimately tied to Connecticut’s stem cell program. The DPH’s political mandate is to ensure economic success in Connecticut’s embryonic stem cell program.

That directive creates conflicts of interest for this agency to uphold and safeguard public health and safety. In fact, the office of Connecticut Department of Public Health has shown a lack of safety regulations on laboratories performing dangerous embryonic stem cell technologies even when illness has been reported. This conflict of interest poses threats to worker safety and public health and safety in Connecticut.

That’s politics for you.

Wollschlager and other advocates for stem cell research often use rhetorical phrases like “moving politics out of science” to sway public opinion into their camp. Here they want to massage the public into thinking that embryonic stem cell research has been delayed because of politics instead of the ethical dilemma it encases by using and destroying human embryos for research.

No, Mr. Wollschlager. It may be impossible to take politics out of stem cell research. But perhaps the problem lies in confusing the term “politics” with “ethics”.

Are we actually moving “politics out of science” or is it rather moving “ethics out of science”?


  1. Wow, how can this be going on? Science has gotten so out of hand, and people who are not scientists think they understand science because they watch science fiction on TV. This is scary!

  2. You are correct. Both Commissioner Galvin or Wollschlager have no scientific expertise regarding stem cell research. What is more alarming is that The Department of Public Health (DPH) does not have the expertise to understand the public health and safety ramifications of stem cell research. So it is humorously ironic that the Galvin heads this stem cell endeavor, when his department has no expertise or jurisdiction to regulate the safety of this recombinant stem cell research performed in this State.

    Comm. Galvin is an appointed figurehead whose purpose is to instill a false sense of public confidence. The scientific community wants to keep it that way. The last thing they want is any regulation or oversight on safety. Scientists will gladly take our money, but resist regulations. They are quite content that Comm. Galvin and Wollschlager enjoy the prestigious press coverage, but don't understand anything scientifically past their noses.