Monday, January 08, 2007

Amniotic Stem-Cells: Calling Light Darkness

One of the characteristics of our age is the consistent tendency to confuse good news with bad. That may come from a light-starved people that celebrate shades of shadow turning gray.

Consider the tone of WP reporter Rick Weiss. He covers a new variety of stem cell--developed from amniotic fluid, not the corpse of an embryonic child:

A type of cell that floats freely in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women has been found to have many of the same traits as embryonic stem cells, including an ability to grow into brain, muscle and other tissues that could be used to treat a variety of diseases, scientists reported yesterday.

The cells, shed by the developing fetus and easily retrieved during routine prenatal testing, are easier to maintain in laboratory dishes than embryonic stem cells -- the highly versatile cells that come from destroyed human embryos and are at the center of a heated congressional debate that will resume this week.

Moreover, because the cells are a genetic match to the developing fetus, tissues grown from them in the laboratory will not be rejected if they are used to treat birth defects in that newborn, researchers said. Alternatively, the cells could be frozen, providing a personalized tissue bank for use later in life.

The new cells are adding credence to an emerging consensus among experts that the popular distinction between embryonic and "adult" stem cells -- those isolated from adult bone marrow and other organs -- is artificial.

This should be good news.

But no. It isn't. It's just another pretext for the anti-choice fanatics to pipe on about "life":

But in the past, even hints that non-embryonic cells might have medical potential similar to embryonic ones have complicated the political push to expand federal funding for the controversial field. And accordingly, opponents quickly pounced on the new results.

"This is wonderful news," said Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of pro-life activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which opposes research that depends on embryo destruction. "It doesn't require harming anyone or destroying life at any stage."

The production of stem cells that can develop viable treatments without costing lives--everyone should celebrate such a breakthrough. The fact that Mr. Weiss sees it only as a pretext for the Prolife movement to posture speaks volumes. The Reasonable MSM will no longer recognize the good in a story.

The institutionalization of pursuing illusion slowly strangles the collective conscience of our society. When we're cut off from the truth by our own denial, we lose the fundamental source of wisdom upon which our conscience depends. Thus, our institutions--like MSM--can celebrate a "freedom" whose fruit is murder while it condemns an ethical breakthrough in cutting-edge science. One that may save lives and improve the quality of life for countless others.

Only when we experience the truth and commit ourselves to it will we stop worshiping the dark. If we want to have any hope of authentic freedom, we must endure the pain of living in the truth. Otherwise, the light in our eyes will remain dark, and then how much darker will our own hearts become?

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