the fountain of yutes

in case you haven't heard--given the "more important" news out there these days (e.g., Angelina's preggers!!!)--as it turns out the south korean vet thought to have extracted stem cells from cloned human embryos faked his results. now whether or not you think cloning or embryonic stem cell research is a good idea in general (and I for one do not for a variety of reasons) I wonder if the public will really react the way that a researcher at Johns Hopkins predicted: "[the scandal] will produce cynicism about the stem cell field and science in general." so let me put the question to you, Oh Public: does this news change your opinion(s) about this thing called "science"? and if so, what about science is being challenged, do you think? is it more the results of science itself (i.e, science is suspect to begin with in your mind), the commercialization of science, the reporting of science (i.e., scientific journalism), or something else?


Blogger Joshua said...

i did catch myself thinking, "gosh, even the scientists are starting to fake it." but is that really a new thing?

1/11/2006 8:44 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

I'm not sure it changes things for me. I've been cynical about the stem cell field all along. Well, maybe 'horrified' is a better word.

It seems that people have lined up on both sides of a great chasm when it comes to evaluating the pragmatic (i.e. clinical/medical) benefits of these treatments. On one hand, you've got people claiming stem cells as a virtual panacea "The lame will walk, the blind will see" and on the other, you have people claiming that there's no clinical/pragmatic difference between embryonic cells and adult cells. I'm not sure what to think.

And pragmatism aside, I've got a lot of questions about the moral ramifications of this specific pursuit and about the pandora's box (slippery slope) aspect of genetic tomfoolery in general.

1/12/2006 10:44 AM  
Blogger e said...

jnf--i agree. haven't we been hearing about faking results since, well, Aristotle?

john--you've fingered a tender issue there: are our technological promises ever comensurate with the outcomes? and if not, do we go ahead and bend ethical commitments anyway? this seems like a no-brainer to me, but then i have no brain.

1/13/2006 10:58 AM  

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