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Stem Cells - The Hope and the Hype 365

Posted by Zonk
from the science-holds-the-short-end-of-the-stick dept.
zer0skill writes to mention a CNN summary of a Time cover story. The Truth about Stem Cells deals with an increasingly politicized area of scientific inquiry, and likens the fight to those over global warming and evolution. From the article: "Five years after Bush announced that federal money could go to researchers only working on embryonic stem cell lines that scientists had already developed, Democrats hope to leverage the issue as evidence that they represent the reality-based community, running against the theocrats. States from Connecticut to California have tried to step in with enough funding to keep the labs going and slow the exodus of U.S. talent to countries like Singapore, Britain and Taiwan."
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Stem Cells - The Hope and the Hype

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  • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:35PM (#15813783)
    running against the theocrats
    It isn't really about religeon at all - these people are the merchants in the temple trying to make a buck out of belief. The more hype and conflict the more customers they get - despite the religeon they base their marketing on being one that preaches tolerance and charity.
  • by slaughterhause (992109) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:37PM (#15813793)
    That either 1) Embryonic stem cells are a source of oil

    or

    2) We are just going to use the "gay" embryos

    I'll bet we could get Bush to sign on.
    • what about the war on terror, these embryos are potential future terrorists, we must stop them before the get the WMDs
    • by Ibag (101144) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @07:28PM (#15814028)
      Actually, I think that all we need to do is to make everybody understand that the embryonic stem cells that we harvest are the leftovers from in vitro fertilization. No embryos are created specifically to be harvested. Rather, the embryos can either be used in science, or they can just be disposed of. The political argument from opponents of embryonic stem cell research has been "I am against killing." I know that I would feel more comfortable with the argument if it were shifted to "I believes that it is better for an embryo to die than to be used without consent in scientific research." Of course, such a change in debate might not sway anybody, but if the debate is more intellectually honest, I think that a lot of scientists would feel a lot better about having the argument.

      Of course, on the other side of things, I have not heard conclusive evidence that embryonic stem cells are the miracle cure that some people laud them as, nor have I see evidence that future cures involving embryonic stem cells will not be feasible with other types of stem cells. However, I don't think that you can have a fair debate on the necessity of embryonic stem cells until the other side of the discussion is more honest. There are moral questions about the research, to be sure, and perhaps we should not engage in immoral science, but we cannot answer those moral questions until we can agree upon what they are.
      • Well, I didn't read the CNN version, but TOFA [time.com] from which the CNN summary was written had an unsavory little tidbit:

        Extracting knowledge from embryos that would otherwise be wasted is one thing, but scientists admit that moving forward would require a much larger supply of fresh, healthy embryos than fertility clinics could ever provide. And once you start asking people about creating embryos for the purpose of experimenting on them, the support starts to slow down.

  • by kalidasa (577403) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:47PM (#15813842) Journal
    This is a mixed bag of controversies that are only being linked together because they are key issues for the Republican base. Evolution is a fact, like it or not; it is not the only subject on which the Bible is inconsistent, but it is one of the few "controversial" scientific theories for which we can say we have actually seen it in action. Global Warming, on the other hand - more precisely, anthropogenic global warming, for there is no question that the Earth has been getting warmer lately, the only question is why - is a highly politicized question on which I have heard some reputable scientists express doubts. I suspect that anthropogenic global warming is real, and potentially far more serious than the current consensus would suggest, but I can respect some of the scientists who question it. Embryonic stem cell research is not controversial because of the scientific claims made on its behalf - those are pretty clear - but because many people have very serious ethical concerns with using tissue derived from undeveloped human embryoes. Demonizing the opposition to embryonic stem cell research as "theocratic" is neither accurate nor constructive - there are even atheists who have ethical issues with the use of embryonic stem cells in research programs. Lumping them in together may help you with a small niche of voters who are sick of Republican self-righteousness but not sophisticated enough to recognize the differences between these issues, but I'm not sure who else it will help you with.
    • You're wrong in places.
      Evolution is a theory. I think it's a theory that accuratly describes what occured, but it still remains just a theory. It will never be a fact. As a theory, it will be refined over time, and will more closely approach the truth. This is all that science does. Ever. There are no facts.
      Climate Change is another theory. There is much evidence that it is occuring, and the overwhelming scientific consensus is that the majority cause is anthropogenic. My fiance just attended a geologic
      • evolution is both a fact and a theory (just like gravity).

        the observed phenomenon is a fact.

        the Darwinian hypothesis of survival of the fittest is the basis of a successful theory which explains those facts.

        the molecular evidence for evolution has confirmed the theory to amazing levels of accuracy.

        there is no reason at all why anyone with an open mind prepared to examine the evidence would disagree with evolution. the only people who ever do so only do because it contradicts an ancient religious text (which
        • historical evolution *might* be a fact - we'll never know. I agree that microbiologists, etc have witnessed evolution. Personally, I think the theory of evolution accuratly describes what has occured. Is it perfect? No. Is it getting better? Yes! there's still plenty we don't know about it, but we're learning. Hence the theroy evolves ;-).

          "there is no reason at all why anyone with an open mind prepared to examine the evidence would disagree with evolution." Yeah.. I agree. the open mind bit is the killer, a
      • "Evolution is a theory."

        By saying that, you confuse "sound scientific theory" with "just a theory" or "cockamamie theory", which is what the public thinks when you say "It's just a theory". It's strong enough of a theory that it might as well be fact for all intents and purposes. Quit giving ammo to the luddites.
      • Evolution is fact. If you want to find another word to describe something that is true, go ahead. By your definition, orbital mechanics is also just theory. You're using semantics to obscure the truth.

        PCB
    • If you don't take a day of God as a literal day, it could be billions of years. After all, what is a day when the sun hasn't even been brought into existance? And there are other quotes in the bible that a day of God is longer than a day of man, quotes I'm too lazy to look up right now. Yes, God made plants before he made the sun, but he made light before the sun and plants. Evolution is quite compatible with the Bible if you view a day of God's time as millions or billions of years and God sculpting th
    • Demonizing the opposition to embryonic stem cell research as "theocratic" is neither accurate nor constructive

      why? the conservative media seems to have no trouble demonizing advocates of stem cell research, and it's been very constructive for them, and for their political ambitions.
  • by remove office (871398) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:55PM (#15813869) Homepage
    When President Bush veto'd the bill that was supported by both the House and the Senate that would have allowed for federal funding of embryonic stem cells (something that even the conservative Senate Majority Leader and would-be-Presidential hopeful Bill Frist-- who is a doctor supported), I put up a video on YouTube of Michael J. Fox (who has early onset Parkinson's disease, one of the several disorders doctors and medical scientists are now fairly sure that they can treat with embryonic stem cells, based on results from overseas) who was discussing the situation on ABC's Good Morning America the day before.

    Apparently so many people thought the video was kind of moving, since Fox couldn't sit still in his chair and was thrashing about through the entire interview because his Parkinson's was so bad, that it made the front page of Digg.com. You can check out the video on YouTube here [youtube.com].

    For the record, my grandfather died after a long struggle with Parkinson's earlier this year and I'm in favor of federal funding of embryonic stem cell research-- like more than 70 percent of Americans. The cells in question (some 400,000 of them) are being discarded en masse from in vitro fertilization labs anyways, so it's a choice between either letting them get thrown away-- or using them for research that could save lives.

    The President says he thinks that ECS research constitutes the taking of a human life ("murder"). If that's true then why doesn't he work to outlaw all ECS research ("murder"), instead of letting it happen with private funding? He's caught between his own rhetoric and a hard place.
    • He doesn't have the authority to declare ECS research to be murder. Murder's not a federal crime anyway, in almost all circumstances.

      What he can do is direct federal funding. IMHO, there shouldn't be any federal funding for science, in which case he would be powerless in this situation.

      • He doesn't have the authority to declare ECS research to be murder. Murder's not a federal crime anyway, in almost all circumstances.

        The President could just declare it to be genocide. If he did that, in fact, he'd have to step in and stop it. (400,000 is certianly enough.)

        Or, the President could give a few national addresses about it. Maybe start every state of the union with "we're still killing the unborn."

        And let's not forget that the Pres can't do a bit of what he has done without Congress--and with
    • The cells in question (some 400,000 of them) are being discarded en masse from in vitro fertilization labs anyways, so it's a choice between either letting them get thrown away-- or using them for research that could save lives.

      As the BBC reported this week, once Britain started allowing embryos that were going to be discarded to be used for embryonic stem cell research, fertility clinics started to allow people to pay for their fertility treatments with the "donation" of extra embryos. How long do you th
  • by David_Shultz (750615) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @07:27PM (#15814023)

    This is clearly another battle between religion and science. For anyone who doesn't have all the facts on Bush's recent veto, they are quite simple:

    intelligent, reasonable, people outlined a bill that would see leftover embryos from fertility clinics, that were going to be destroyed anyways because of a limited shelf-life, given to researchers. Furthermore, the bill outlined measures to ensure that the number of embryos being created would not be increased for scientific purposes.

    Bush decided that it was a bad idea for "moral reasons," whatever the fuck that means. The embryos that this douche "saved" are all going to be destroyed anyways, we just won't see any scientific research come out of it, and so he has set back the clock on medical advancements that will one day save countless numbers of lives (though in the mean time, countless will die because of bush).

    Bush either did what he did because he really felt the bill was wrong for his own personal religious reasons (which would have been hard had he actually read the bill, seeing as though the embryos are destroyed either way,) or he was pandering to his base. In either case, the prime motivator for his decision was religion -religion beat science this time, unfortunately.

    I would also like to use this post to point out a number of ways in which the conservative media attempts to unethically further their agenda -including using biased language, misleading stories, and outright lies.

    • The first is attempting to confuse the public by juxtaposing stories about stem cells with stories about fetal farming (an unrelated issue that the casual viewer might confuse as being the same.) While it is true that bush signed in a law banning fetal farming, this has nothing to do with the stem cell debate. Although, based on the coverage provided by some news stations, you'd think it was the same issue (or at least related). NY Times, CNN on "fetal farming" [mediamatters.org]
    • Secondly, people have been repeating (even here on slashdot,) the talking point "BUT GUYS BUSH WAS FRIST PREZDENT TO FUND STEM CELLS LOL!!!1 HE IZ THA BEST!!1 ". Please read, USA Today, Beck misleading claim about bush funding stem cells [mediamatters.org]
    • thirdly, an obvious bias is present in reporting where the use of the word "killing" when describing stem cell research is used without restraint. [mediamatters.org]
    • Then theres the stupid claim that stem cell research requires abortions. [mediamatters.org]
    • Also, lots of media figures have been openly comparing stem cell research with human cloning. [mediamatters.org]
    • This next link is a guest on Fox's "Your World", comparing stem cell research to Nazi Genocide [mediamatters.org]

    If this sort of crap is what passes for intelligent discourse, on a channel where people get their "news" and "information", is it any wonder that stupid decisions are being made, and shithead leaders get elected into power?

    What I'm showing you above are not rare snippets from unpopular shows -admittedly, they are some of the more severe abuses of media power, but they are selected from among a great many such occurences, from some of the most popular American "news" people. The American population is constantly pelted with a barrage of bullshit and rhetoric. It's kind of hard to have faith in democracy under such conditions. Sure, the votes may be cast freely -but what about the months and years beforehand, when the voters should have been getting informed about current events? If that process is sufficiently disrupted, its no longer a democracy. How can you expect people to understand the issue properly, when they are constantly being fed the kind of bullshit demonstrated in the links above?

    • Bush either did what he did because he really felt the bill was wrong for his own personal religious reasons (which would have been hard had he actually read the bill, seeing as though the embryos are destroyed either way,

      You, another person and a child are locked in a room. The other person holds a gun to both your and the child's head. He slides you a gun and orders you to shoot the child. If you refuse, he will shoot the child himself. In practical terms the child dies either way. Is there an ethi

      • I am not claiming that child == embryo. Merely that equal potential outcomes do not make ethical decisions indistinguishable.

        Good point, I agree. There seems to be an ethical difference between pulling the trigger yourself, and letting someone else do it. Now, If the gunman told me that a million lives (or a single life) would be saved if I was the one to pull the trigger, I wouldn't have a problem doing it. In fact, I'd have to be pretty heartless (or a Christian fearful of "sin") not to do it.
    • by Ogemaniac (841129) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @09:50PM (#15814668)
      There is absolutely nothing "religious" about the belief that personhood begins at conception (rather than any other point you want to put it). Indeed, the Bible says essentially nothing on the matter.

      Do your homework and quit assuming. This is a battle between people who belief personhood begins at conception vs people who believe it begins at first brain wave, birth, the cutting of the umbilical cord, etc. None of these positions is necessarily any more "religious" than the other, and more importantly, none is any more "scientific" as well. "Personhood" is a moral concept and outside of the scope of science. Science can tell us that a blastocyst is alive and a human (according to the accepted definitions), but it cannot tell us if this is sufficient for the granting of rights.

      This debate has nothing to do with science OR religion, let alone a conflict between them.
      • There is absolutely nothing "religious" about the belief that personhood begins at conception (rather than any other point you want to put it).

        I disagree. It is overwhelmingly christians who support the "life begins at conception" idea, specifically because they believe that at conception a soul, a special divine spark of life, enters at precisely this moment. This claim is totally and utterly baseless, and should be thrown out immediately without consideration. While I am not a big fan of Christopher Hi
      • by Llywelyn (531070) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @11:19PM (#15814963) Homepage
        >There is absolutely nothing "religious" about the belief that personhood begins at conception (rather than any other
        >point you want to put it). Indeed, the Bible says essentially nothing on the matter.

        Just because the bible says nothing in particular on the matter (whether it says something in general via implication is up for debate), the Catechism of the Catholic Church *does* make statements on the matter, so it clearly is a "religious issue" for some people. Bush has made statements to indicate that it is part of his religious beliefs as well, not just his abstract morality independent of his religion. Religion != The Bible and Religion != Christianity.

      • There is absolutely nothing "religious" about the belief that personhood begins at conception (rather than any other point you want to put it). Indeed, the Bible says essentially nothing on the matter.

        Do your homework and quit assuming. This is a battle between people who belief personhood begins at conception vs people who believe it begins at first brain wave, birth, the cutting of the umbilical cord, etc. None of these positions is necessarily any more "religious" than the other, and more importantly, no

    • While I am not a supporter of Bush or his veto of this bill, I do think you are a bit naive if you think that only embryos that were going to be destroyed would have been used if this bill had been passed. The BBC reported this week on a similar bill passed in parliment in the UK allowing for the use of embryos that were going to be destroyed anyway. Actually that wasn't the gist of the article. The article was about how fertility clinics across the UK were now allowing couples to pay for their treatment
      • by David_Shultz (750615) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @11:33PM (#15815017)
        While I am not a supporter of Bush or his veto of this bill, I do think you are a bit naive if you think that only embryos that were going to be destroyed would have been used if this bill had been passed. The BBC reported this week on a similar bill passed in parliment in the UK allowing for the use of embryos that were going to be destroyed anyway. Actually that wasn't the gist of the article. The article was about how fertility clinics across the UK were now allowing couples to pay for their treatment by "donating" excess embryos. Kind of using the embryos as cash, so to speak.

        You didn't read the bill either, I see. If memory serves me, the bill had provisions to explicitly stop donors from receiving any profit whatsoever. Thus what happened in the UK would not happen here, because the bill over here was more carefully written, in an attempt to alleviate concerns such as this (though that hardly helps if those voting against it haven't read the bill, which seems evident by the comments many of them made).

        Personally, I think Bush probably screwed up, but not for the reasons you mention. There was overwhelming support for this bill in congress and the public. There were protections to ensure ethical research, etc. He could have emphasized that along with the notion the embryos were going to be destroyed. Instead, he has caused problems for his party and strengthened the opposition.

        Bush's move was a smart one politically, because it is more likely to polarize and strengthen his religious base -they will see it as a great victory- whereas others, such as yourself, will see this as merely a minor loss for science. Furthermore, much of the public is still probably split on the issue. On the other hand, you may be right. I say this only because, those 33% that still support him, are clearly going to continue to support him no matter what he does. Knocking down this bill could hardly help him with those folks (though there are other christians out there who might be pleased.)

        Will his veto have any negative impact? Not immediately, nothing was removed, nothing was taken away. Private research still continues (as the Time article points out, several private biotech firms are getting ready to pettition the FDA for human trials). The only thing that has happened is that researchers, like myself, who work at universities wanting to do this research have the same restrictions we did before the veto. Research still continues.

        Of course it continues -he didn't ban science (yet.) And research will not go any slower than it already is. What exactly is your point, if I may ask? The research could have been going faster. Bush prevented it from going faster, which is perfectly equivalent to slowing it down. However you choose to look at it, there were gains in scientific research to be made, and because of bush's veto, they wont be made in the time they could have been.
  • by hey! (33014) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @07:44PM (#15814103) Homepage Journal
    Think of the reaction to the Copernican system, which after all was really just about a simplified model for calculating the position of planets. What difference does it really make to you whether the planets revolve around the Earth, or whether the planets and the Earth revolve around the Sun? None, unless your job is compiling almanacs.

    But it's disconcerting to have your place in the universe moved.

    A similar thing happened when the techniques of historical research began to be applied to the Bible. The only thing that changed was the idea of the historical process that created the Bible. It is no longer possible to view the Bible as a single unchanging thing that had a few corrupt offshoots. There is no way to trace the Bible back in its current form without concluding that it was pieced together and actively modified over the centuries after it's "authorship". Is there any reason to think this makes the Bible less true if you thought it true before?

    But you have to give up part of your intellectual furniture to make room for this new idea.

    Now we've reached points on several fronts of scientifc and technological advance that have larger practical day to day impacts on how we view ourselves than the Copernican revolution, and probably more so than Biblical "Higher Criticism".

    For example: Are we just the product of a cascade of chemical reactions that can be reproduced in vitro? Do we have to look at the world as finite source of resources and sink for waste?

    There are even ones that aren't on the public radar screen, like: Can machines be people? Certainly if somebody made a C-3PO or R2-D2, or even a program that passed the generalize Turing test, you'd have to consider this.

    It's not surprising that liberals are more comfortable with this sort of thing than conservatives. It's not that liberals are more scientific, it's that conservatism believes that what is proven is best. But if you find out the world is not what you thought it was, or worse yet you aren't what you thought you were, then it throws old proofs into doubt.

    If history is a guide, then the battle lines will be drawn again in the future, in a different place according to rules neither side envisions today. The thing is liberalism and conservatism are less ideologies than they are character traits.
  • by radiashun (220050) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @07:53PM (#15814142)
    I've noticed that one of the major arguments against the use of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research revolves around the fact that there is still the opportunity for private funding. Such opponents of stem cell research claim that, if there is so much promise in this area of science as many researchers have claimed, why hasn't there been significant breakthroughs or significant amounts of private funding? These individuals then go on to make a direct correlation between the potential of stem cell research and the lack of substantial private funding.

    THE MAIN REASON we are not seeing enormous amounts of private money being thrown towards stell cell researchers is simple: we are still working on the BASIC SCIENCE. Science doesn't progress from initial discovery to therapeutics overnight. It takes decades of basic research to build a foundation upon which medical applications can be developed. You must understand how things "tick" before you can improve upon them. This is the reason why WE NEED FEDERAL FUNDING; Big Pharma doesn't want to invest in something that isn't going to pay off until decades down the road. These organizations wait for the government to front for the basic science, then they jump on a few years down the road saving millions of dollars in R&D. And do you blame them? Why spend more when you can spend less and have the same results? And, yes, I do realize that Big Pharma isn't the only source of private money.

    Just my take on the situation. I am probably a bit biased, but I hate narrow-minded individuals that fail to see things from both sides of the fence.
    • by RexRhino (769423) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:59AM (#15815240)
      THE MAIN REASON we are not seeing enormous amounts of private money being thrown towards stell cell researchers is simple: we are still working on the BASIC SCIENCE.

      No, the reason we aren't seeing enormous amounts of private money being thrown towards stem cell research is because companies don't want to be assed-out when private stem-cell research is banned in America. It is a little risky spending billions on a technology, when the technology could be declared illegal with the stroke of a pen. When G. W. Bush vetos public stem cell funding he is sending a message about where our country is going... today we get rid of government stem cell research, tommorow we get rid of all stem cell research.

      Big Pharma doesn't want to invest in something that isn't going to pay off until decades down the road.

      Are you kidding? You got to be joking, right? Big Pharma doesn't want to invest in something that won't make any money... but it will absolutly, without a doubt invest in something that won't pay off till decades down the road if the payoff is big! Buisness is more far sighted than governments, who think only as far ahead as the next election. Don't believe this central-planning propoganda that buisnesses are somehow more shortsighted than government. Government has a terrible, horrible, disasterous track record when it comes to being "forward thinking".

      These organizations wait for the government to front for the basic science, then they jump on a few years down the road saving millions of dollars in R&D.

      Here is where you are actually 100% correct. Big Pharma actually supports government funding of research and lobbies for government funding of research - I mean, why shouldn't they: the government spends the money, and they get the profit. Who wouldn't like to get free capital from the government? I mean, if McDonalds could figure out a way to get the government to subsidize beef patties, they would do that! If Ford could figure out a way to get the government to subsidize hub caps, they would do that. That is basic self-interest at work.

      But why not make Big Pharma fund the research themselves? They reap the profits, they should accept the costs. That sounds much more fair to me than having me subsidize basic research so some CEO can see his stock prices go up.

      To give them a subsidy distorts their economic relationships... because the true cost of drugs are hidden through taxation, consumers cannot make a reasonable cost/benfit analysis about the drugs they consume. You end up with weird distortions in the market, with drugs that give you a hard-on costing more than drugs that save your life... even though drugs that save people's lives are much more valuable and companies should be rewarded with larger profits for making those kinds of drugs over non life saving drugs.
  • Why stem cells obtained from embryos are so much better than stem cells obtained from other sources that don't cause people to start arguing?

    What I've seen so far, every cool new stem cell discovery has been done with adult stem cells.
    • As I understand it, embryonic stem cells are better to do research with because they are less differentiated than adult stem cells. An embryonic stem cell can progress into any other type of cell; skin, hair, bone, muscle, whatever. Adult stem cells have a more limited range of cells they can develop into, based on where they were harvested. Embyronic stem cells have a greater potential. I have also heard that because of this, they are easier to perform research on. It may be possible to discover something
    • Few researchers in the US dare pursue embryonic stem cell work: the federal disapproval of it interferes with funding for them and their peers in other departments. The result is that much of it has moved or is only being pursued overseas, which you're less likely to see mentioned in US newspapers or professional publications.

      There are fascinating issues with stem cells and the immune system, and the way embryonic stem cells differentiate to form complete organs: it's certainly worth studying as basic resea
      • The triggers for what a stem cell becomes is going to be found somewhere in DNA. That seems to be the road map for just about everything in the body. There may be something even smaller inside DNA that controls things, who knows? Between treatments in testing from adult stem cells and what they keep finding in DNA, this has to be the most facinating research in medicine.

        What has happened in my lifetime feels like the switch from the stone age to the industrial revolution as far as medicine is concerned. I w
    • "Theoreticly", embryonic stem cells have the "potential" to be more useful. This is just theory that has not been proved yet. On the other hand there are over 100 treatments that have been developed from adult stem cells or stem cells from umbilical cord blood. Almost all of these are still in the testing stage, quite a few have progressed to human tests. The one that caught my attention is one from bone marrow stem cells that repairs damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack! There are also treatments
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 30, 2006 @08:02PM (#15814188)
    Stem Cell science is being developed.

    Whoever wins the race for patents and intellectual property, gets all the gold.

    The only thing USA politicians can do is hurt American business. By banning science research, the jobs, the money, the workers, and all those profits go overseas.

    The science will be developed, but what country will be on top?

    Second place in Bioscience, Robotics, and Renewable Energy is not an option,
    and yet every day the USA delays it's advancements, is another day closer to becoming a Left Behind third world country...
  • "countries like Singapore, Britain and Taiwan." Yhere has been a lot of publicity recently about researchers moving to Canada from the US. I don't think of Canada as "like Singapore, Britain and Taiwan." Can someone explain the similarities, beyond the directly related facts of supporting research and mot the US?
  • Is that at this time, no one has the slightst idea if they will or will not work, but we are betting tht thay will, because a very large fraction of our scarce research dollars are going
    into stem cells instead of exploring other avenues.
    Govt + non profit (howard hughes, amer canc soc, etc) biomedical research is ~ 40 billion a year, give or take. Considering that the war on iraq is >100, this does not seem like alot of moeny for heart disease, and alsheimers and canceer and diabetes (not to mention poor
  • ...But the entire submission reads to me like; 1, 2, 3, 4, lets have a flame war! Ah, But, bloggers do love there soap boxes.
  • NIH funding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lukesl (555535) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:01AM (#15815101)
    I'm so utterly baffled at how so many people are complaining about paying taxes, how the government shouldn't fund the NIH, etc. What the NIH gets is somewhere in the low $20 billion per year range (I can't remember the latest numbers...), but the defense department gets around $420 billion, IIRC. The NIH is an investment in the US maintaining its position of economic dominance in the future, and it's a smart investment to make. And to say that private industry could play a similar role is simply not correct. Why isn't anyone complaining that we need to stop wasting money on the military instead?

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