Either Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi doesn’t know what is actually happening in biotechnology or she doesn’t care. Actually, I think it is both. The other day, she went into utter hype mode about ESCR that was reminiscent of the bad old days when the only agenda of the Democrats and the media was, “Get Bush!” (Come to think of it, it still is.) From the story:

We’ve had a situation where it’s faith or science - take your pick. We’re saying science is an answer to our prayers,” the San Francisco Democrat said
We’ve been through this faith nonsense repeatedly here at SHS, so I won’t regurgitate it all again, except to note that it is very dangerous to demean rational and important ethical concerns as nothing but “faith,” which is a personal and private matter, and thereby assert that ethics must be sacrificed on the altar of naked science. Science without ethics leads to very dark places, exploitation, and oppression.

Moreover, her diatribe ignores the facts. The previous administration poured huge amounts of resources into all kinds of stem cell and other biotechnology research, nearly $200 million for human ESCR, probably a billion or so for animal ESCR, probably a couple of billion for adult stem cell research, and much more for other forms of biotechnology. Money for research increased during the Bush years, but facts often elude Pelosi.

And then came the hype: ESCR is the same thing as universal and affordable health care for all:
“The justification, I think, is clear, in terms of the progress that has been made. The need is urgent, in terms of what it translates to in the family life of all Americans,” she said. “And at a time when we are going forward with affordable, accessible, quality health care for all Americans, the investment in basic biomedical research is really essential—a fundamental principle of that universal access to quality health care.

“It will take us to a place where we will have personalized, customized care... it will address disparities in health care that exist. And we need science, science, science, science, science in order to do that. So I’m standing my ground.”
Most of the real advances have been in adult and alternative methods—and Obama scrapped the requirement to fund alternatives. The issue has nothing to do with “accessible health care for all.” In fact, if these technologies ultimately involve human cloning, they look to be very expensive. And if we are going to have “affordable, custom made treatments, they are going to be with IPSCs or some other alternative method.

It is really bad when the third most powerful leader of the United States is both demagogic and clueless at the same time. For Pelosi it isn’t really, science, science, science, science, science, science, but politics, politics, politics, politics, politics.

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