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Belated Report on Albany

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyJuly 16, 2006 6:58 PM


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Well, here I am in London....blogging about events from before I left. Better late than never. First of all, the just-finished "Politics and Bioethics" conference--including my own talk--is covered in detail this piece from the Albany Times-Union. I arrived late at the conference Thursday, and so did not see the protests from the Not Dead Yet group that are described in the article. As for the Friday panel on "Politicizing Science" with Richard Doerflinger, the two of us didn't really tangle very directly over adult stem cell issues. The structure of the event, with a third panelist presenting on a different topic followed by wide-ranging audience questions, wasn't particularly conducive to a caged death match type of debate. I can report to you, though, that Doerflinger's talk contained many of the same arguments presented in his previously linked New Atlantispiece, which you folks criticized here. In essence, Doerflinger asserts that embryonic stem cell researchers and research proponents are seriously guilty of misusing science by exaggerating the potential of this research in various ways. Yet I would argue that in his repeated arguments that adult stem cells can rival or perhaps are even superior to embryonic ones from a biomedical research perspective, it's Doerflinger who is misusing science. After all, the NIH, this nation's leading biomedical research outlet, disagrees strongly that adult stem cell research can somehow supplant or replace embryonic work: "Given the enormous promise of stem cells therapies for so many devastating diseases, NIH believes that it is important to simultaneously pursue all lines of research and search for the very best sources of these cells." Incidentally, on the adult stem cell front, one of the leading proponents of research upon these cells as an "alternative" to embryonic work has just had his work seriously criticized in Science Express. Read here (PDF; subscription) for more.

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