Friday, December 01, 2006

Stem Cell Research : Let's Keep It Objective

The Omaha World-Herald seems to have adopted a definition of a human embryo that ignores the science of embryology.

In a recent news story preceding UNMC's forum on stem cell research, the OWH said of me:

"He said Med Center advertising promoting the forum has been misleading, fudging on the difference between adult stem cell research - research that relatively few consider unethical - and embryonic research, which involves destruction of an embryo that could potentially grow into a human being."

After the forum, a news story said:

"Relatively few consider adult stem cell research unethical, but embryonic research is controversial because it involves destruction of an embryo that could potentially grow into a human being."

News stories are supposed to be objective. There's no such thing as a "potential" human being. The science of embryology teaches that fertilization marks the beginning of a new human being. Basic embryology textbooks, including the one at UNMC, state that fertilization produces a new human being, a creature with a 46-chromosome genetic code that makes it not only human, but a one-of-a-kind human.

Everything that makes you a unique human being is there form the start. That "clump of cells" is a living organism on a self-directed path of development. The clear teaching of embryology is that you are a human being from the moment you begin to be.

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