April 28th, 2009 at 10:22 pm
It appears that not a great deal of thought was put into consideration of legislation banning stem cells when it was first considered by the S. Dakota legislature. The bills sponsors were obviously acting on behalf of the various churches who have - for specious reasons and often in opposition to the sentiments of their congregations - mobilized against this type of research.
I have Parkinson’s disease which, because it may be caused by pesticides is a major problem in non-urban areas where pesticides are used. Embryonic Stem Cell Research seeks a way to use stem cells to replace the dopaminergic neurons that have died in my brain so that I cannot control movement in my limbs and the function of other bodily systems. Unfortunately for a person my age, George Bush, some churches and - regrettably the South Dakota legislature have put the cure beyond my lifetime. But millions of other people can benefit if the ban is lifted - people with Parkinson’s, type one diabetes and spinal cord injuries among many other diseases.
As you point out, scientists are not the best people to communicate their need for support to the public. Science has always been suspicious of media, politicians and religion who prefer uncritical statements of “fact” to the kind of questioning, analytical demands of science’s doubting Thomases. I hope that when legislation is next considered by the SD legislature, legislators and senators will be better informed so that the ban on embryonic stem cell research will be lifted and scientists there can start working - out of true respect for life - on terrible diseases that affect millions of men, women and children around the world.