Saturday, October 29, 2011
Don't Know Much about Stem Cell Research -- Writer's Poke #334
The number of scientists (or those with a strong science background) in Congress is very small, and yet it is Congress that has the power to decide how to regulate stem cell research. Does this make sense? Most individuals in Congress may be relatively intelligent, but how many use their intelligence to make informed decisions? Probably fewer than have strong science backgrounds.
In other words, politicians make their decisions based on politics. When it comes to stem cell research, my assumption is that most in Congress know about as much as I do about the topic, which is to say, not all that much. And yet, many of those in power have an open distrust for scientists. Why this distrust exists, I’m not sure, unless it’s because most scientists do not subscribe to the political views of a particular party.
Perhaps some politicians do not view scientists as being “true Americans.” After all, scientists are more likely not to believe in God, and scientists also have this weird fascination with using scientific method. Politicians, on the other hand, like to make decisions based on “common sense” and what their guts tell them.
When it comes to using common sense and gut instinct regarding stem cell research, I would suggest that common sense should tell us that we should do what we can to help prevent human suffering, and my gut tells me that stem cell research would help accomplish this goal.
Is it best to use common sense and “gut instinct” to determine sound scientific policy?
“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” – Albert Einstein