No Rational Reason to Take Robert Lanza Seriously

The New York Times reports today that there is now a method for utilizing stem cells that avoids destroying embryos. According to the author of the story, "if confirmed in other laboratories, [the research method] would seem to remove the principal objection to stem cell research." That is, it would seem to avoid the destruction of the embryo. And get this:
“There is no rational reason left to oppose this research,” said Dr. Robert Lanza, vice president of Advanced Cell Technology and leader of a team that reported the new method in an article published online by the journal Nature.
Nothing like attempting the old end-run. What a surprise to find someone who probably didn't think that the earlier objection was rational now saying that there are no rational objections left!

The principle difficulty before, obviously, was that the destruction of a human embryo is the unjustified killing of an innocent human. Even with the removal of that objection, however, plenty of "rational" objections remain, including the standard objection to the use of humans in scientific research without their consent. That is an objection that is not only rational, but it is one that cannot possibly be overcome in the case of stem cell taken from human embryos, and that is why stem cells derived from embryos can never be used in scientific research.

Stem cells for scientific research ought to be taken only from umbilical cords in cases where parents can give consent. Present data suggest that this is a far richer and more promising source for such materials anyway.


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