John McCain Re-Emphasizes Support for Stem Cell Research

Yesterday, John McCain took the pleasant step of endorsing a policy I agree with yesterday when he re-affirmed his support for stem cell research.

John McCain reaffirmed his support for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research on Monday — in direct opposition to his party’s agreed-upon official policy on the matter.

“While I support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, I believe clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress,” McCain wrote in a response to a questionnaire released Monday by Science Debate 2008, a broad coalition of scientists and engineers.

Of course, this is a policy opposed by both the Republican Party platform and his own vice-presidential choice. And yet, it still remains the correct policy. Good for him.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Science & Technology, ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. William d'Inger says:

    What (other than your personal opinion) makes it “correct” policy? Stem cell research could prove to be a boondoggle. Like the false promise of ethanol as a viable substitute for gasoline, it might wind up being the biggest stupidity of the century. Why spend a trillion dollars of taxpayer money on some pie-in-the-sky illusion? If it’s so freakin’ promising, let it raise private money like the March of Dimes did to defeat polio. I’m sick and tired of you rapacious socialists sticking your hands in my wallet.

  2. Abhay says:

    “While I support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, I believe clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress,”

    You read this as an endorsement of stem cell research? What, exactly, does that conditional piffle mean? What are the moral values and ethical principles McCain is talking about? Are these not the exact phrases used by opponents of stem cell research to justify their opposition?

  3. rodney dill says:

    What, exactly, does that conditional piffle mean?

    (Cue the Church Lady music) Oh possibly that he won’t kill… Babies… for stem cells.

  4. Patrick T McGuire says:

    And yet, it still remains the correct policy.

    Funding a practice that shows little, if any, promise of producing any practical results is not good policy. It’s yet another example of the federal government pissing away more of our money on “feel good” measures.

    Maybe Sarah Palin can slap him up side the head on this one.

  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    Ya every time I start liking a liberal they go all Nazi evolutionist mad scientist on me.Why don’t you kooks just snatch one of the Zombies out of 0bama’s crowd when you need a new test subject like in a proper horror move, maybe we will get lucky and during the failed experiment and it will get lose and eat a couple of these fools.

  6. DL says:

    This is why I as a Catholic cannot vote for this man (possible “lesser evil” moral exception – but still evil)

    People who support the deception of early abortion whether in a womb or a lab dish – also must believe that a penny is not money!

    For this (macro or micro, abortion pill or suction device – it’s still the destriuction of innocent life) reason I resisted the pro life movement’s fighting partial birth abortion to the exclusion of ignoring the (just as dead)other devious forms of taking innocent human life.

  7. rodney dill says:

    So uh… You’re not voting this election DL?

  8. DL says:

    I didn’t say that – read it again Rodney – though some things are actually more important than voting, like life. If it’s so important to society, than surely those fifty million future voters snuffed out by Roe v Wade should be a real travesty by your standards.

  9. Bystander says:

    To endorse an ethically questionable practice by giving it governmental oversight is like using governmental oversight in opening up mortgage loans to people who do not qualify. Boy, I hope that never happens!

  10. rodney dill says:

    This is why I as a Catholic cannot vote for this man (possible “lesser evil” moral exception – but still evil)

    I realize you didn’t say you weren’t voting, but if you’re not voting for McCain for the above reason, then I seriously can’t believe you’re voting for Obama. You may choose to vote for some other party that may meet your moral guidelines, but will not have an impact on the outcome of the election. This would be exercising your right vote, but essentially not voting.

    I don’t think any non-abortion overrule of Roe vs. Wade can be achieved in this country in one fell swoop. Rather it would need to be a long term campaign, much as the anti-smoking campaign. You can probably achieve the most by voting toward the candidate/party that best aligns with that position, it that is your desire.

  11. Alex Knapp says:

    William,

    If it’s so freakin’ promising, let it raise private money like the March of Dimes did to defeat polio. I’m sick and tired of you rapacious socialists sticking your hands in my wallet.

    I would prefer that scientific research be privatized, myself. However, if the government is going to fund research, then it should not refuse to fund one type of research on purely religious grounds.

    DL,

    For this (macro or micro, abortion pill or suction device – it’s still the destriuction of innocent life) reason I resisted the pro life movement’s fighting partial birth abortion to the exclusion of ignoring the (just as dead)other devious forms of taking innocent human life.

    An embryo may be a life, but it is not a “human life” in any real or metaphysical sense. Around 25% of all natural pregnancies end in miscarriage (a rate that is increasing due to women having children later). Additionally, an unknown number of embryos conceived never attach to the uterine wall, meaning that it doesn’t go through the normal act of gestration. If one is to accept the Catholic teaching that the soul enters the world when the embryo does, then one also has to accept the fact that over 25% of the human race is condemned to hell without having the chance to receive God’s grace through Baptism. From a theological perspective, the Catholic position doesn’t make sense.

  12. angellight says:

    If McCain can so easily and readily lie to you without blinking, how can you believe him when he tells you ANYTHING! You can’t. What happened to A man’s word is his bond? Realistically, you just can’t trust McCain to be honest, nor his running mate Sarah Palin. They show a blatant disregard for the truth — they lie about their lying!

    John McCain — “he walked the anti-regulatory party line, with only occasional exceptions…and tried to lay down a smokescreen of righteousness by campaigning against small potato[e!]s like legislative earmarks–money to study the mating habits of, uh, crabs, in, uh, Alaska (proposed by Governor Honorable).” Joe Klein

    And more importantly, John McCain wants to Privatize Social Security which could experience the same disastrous fate as the current economic condition —

    http://www.truthout.org/article/mccain-would-privatize-social-security

  13. William d'Inger says:

    …if the government is going to fund research, then it should not refuse to fund one type of research on purely religious grounds.

    Alex,

    I agree completely. If that is the meaning of your “correct policy” statement, then case closed.

    My argument is against government funding, period. Stem Cell Research is much like the Human Genome Project. You remember that one? It was a $3-billion government effort projected to take 15 years. It took private industry only three years and $300-million to do the job. That was one fifth the time at one tenth the cost.

    Massive government funding of university research is (and always will) be a waste of money. The individual researcher’s primary goal is guaranteed funding for the remainder of her academic career. Results are secondary and are pursued mostly in hope of Nobel prizes.

  14. rodney dill says:

    …one the otherhand maybe a troll like angelblight could benefit from stem cell technology. Possibly a clue could be implanted.

  15. Grewgills says:

    A few questions for those of you opposed to this research.
    The embryos being used for stem cell research would otherwise be thrown in the garbage. Why is it better to throw them away rather than use them to develop life saving therapies?
    Do you oppose in vitro fertilization?
    What laws do you support regarding the extra embryos created for IVF?

  16. Alex Knapp says:

    William,

    That is what I mean by correct policy. Given my druthers, the government would not fund scientific research at all. However, because it does, it should not be forbidden from funding embryonic stem cell research. I think we’re on the same page here.

  17. Michael says:

    Massive government funding of university research is (and always will) be a waste of money. The individual researcher’s primary goal is guaranteed funding for the remainder of her academic career. Results are secondary and are pursued mostly in hope of Nobel prizes.

    So then, maybe we put a cap on funding of an individual’s research? Say: “If you can’t generate private interest after X years with Y dollars, then you’re on your own”. You might need different values of X and Y depending on the area of research, but it might help get things to a marketable point if you put the research phase itself on a make or break deadline and budget.

  18. William d'Inger says:

    So then, maybe we put a cap on funding of an individual’s research? Say: “If you can’t generate private interest after X years with Y dollars, then you’re on your own”. You might need different values of X and Y depending on the area of research, but it might help get things to a marketable point if you put the research phase itself on a make or break deadline and budget.

    I don’t think there is one correct answer to the problem. University research does produce results (albeit inefficiently in many cases). Private industry may not choose to take the risk. Were I Dictator of Everything, I’d strike a bargain with private industry wherein government would not compete with private projects that would bear fruit in some reasonable, mutually agreed, time frame.

    The problem with the Human Genome Project is that President Clinton stepped in after private industry solved the problem and denied them all profits of their research. Under those conditions, and with the current slate of candidates, industry would be foolish to undertake Stem Cell research.

  19. Rick Almeida says:

    …one also has to accept the fact that over 25% of the human race is condemned to hell without having the chance to receive God’s grace through Baptism.

    FWIW, the Catholic church does not assert that unbaptized babies are condemned to hell.

    Indeed, the Catholic church traditionally has asserted that unbaptized babies went to limbo, which was not unpleasant. In 2007 the Church moderated its stance even further, arguing that unbaptized babies might indeed see Heaven.

  20. sam says:

    The real story is this:

    Of course, this is a policy opposed by both the Republican Party platform and his own vice-presidential choice.

    Stand by for some major, and quite exquisite, finessing.

  21. Alex Knapp says:

    Rick,

    According to the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, the only certain means of salvation is Baptism. The Chruch’s official position on unbaptized infants is to pray for their salvation, but that salvation is not assured:

    http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c1a1.htm#1257

  22. sam says:

    The problem with the Human Genome Project is that President Clinton stepped in after private industry solved the problem and denied them all profits of their research.

    That’s not quite true. Celera Genomics did complete the human genome, but it hardly started from scratch. A considerable portion of the genome had already been sequenced via the publically funded Human Genome project, and Celera got that data for free.

  23. Steve says:

    Grewgills

    A few questions for those of you opposed to this research.
    The embryos being used for stem cell research would otherwise be thrown in the garbage.

    Your question is so dishonest. The truth is the embryos wouldn’t exists in the first place if the research weren’t funded by tax dollars. So there wouldn’t be anything to throw in the garbage.

    Why is it better to throw them away rather than use them to develop life saving therapies?

    That’s just it. You can’t point to one success derived from embryonic stem cell research which has benefited any human. Adult stem cell research has already contributed to patient care in multiple areas including cardiac infarction.

    You pro-abortion people want to shove down our throats your belief that human life doesn’t begin at conception that you are willing to waste millions of tax dollars to create embryos just so you can kill them. The logical solution would be to compare the research of these two approaches and fund the one that gets results. Not the one that pushes your social agenda.

  24. anjin-san says:

    I am afraid McCain has zero credibility left. He has lied so much, even Karl Rove has called him on it…

  25. DL says:

    An embryo may be a life, but it is not a “human life”

    Yeah and a penny is not money – not until the exact moment it grows enough to turn into paper.

    Science agrees (that consensus thingy) that human life begins at conception. The fact that unless man (or God) interferes with it, the fetus will become an adult.

    If Obama decides, it might be born and then allowed to die cruelly, if the mother wanted to kill it.

    But the, “it’s not really a human life” we’ve heard before – those Jews that Adolph killed -not really human. How sick we’ve become.

    If there is a question of not really being human, it might be asked of those who attempt to justify doing such evil.

  26. Michael says:

    An embryo may be a life, but it is not a “human life”

    Yeah and a penny is not money

    The more accurate analogy would be that copper is not money, which it isn’t.

    Science agrees (that consensus thingy) that human life begins at conception. The fact that unless man (or God) interferes with it, the fetus will become an adult.

    Well, not quite. The unique DNA is produced at conception, but until the embryo is implanted in the uterus, there is no expectation that it will reach maturity.

  27. John425 says:

    The irony of this blog is that it shows how divided we all are, so why should McCain be any different?

    As to federally funded research…how many for-profit companies will engage in pure research for the sheer joy of advancing knowledge? None, I’ll bet. Developmental research (the “D” in “R&D” is their goal. I have no problem with that- we should have a yardstick to measure the worthiness of our federal research dollars, however.

  28. Grewgills says:

    Your question is so dishonest. The truth is the embryos wouldn’t exists in the first place if the research weren’t funded by tax dollars. So there wouldn’t be anything to throw in the garbage.

    Wrong. All, or at least nearly all, of the embryos used in stem cell research are ‘left over’ IVF embryos that would otherwise be disposed of. These are created by private firms, not tax dollars and if not used for research would be discarded.

  29. G.A.Phillips says:

    I am afraid McCain has zero credibility left. He has lied so much, even Karl Rove has called him on it…

    So Anjin I take it your supporting the millionaire Communist who supports not only this heartless logic-less godless mindlessly reasoned bunk science and also supports killing fully developed babies that some how survive miraculously on your alter of evolution, opps I mean abortion tables.

  30. DL says:

    “…but until the embryo is implanted in the uterus, there is no expectation that it will reach maturity.”

    As I said,”… unless man (or God) interferes with it, the fetus will become an adult.”

    When man in a lab coat, regardless of good intentions, plays God with human life (embryos) he takes the dignity of humanity away.

    By the way, copper is being stolen by the ton exactly, because it does have a monetary value.

  31. G.A.Phillips says:

    I’m willing to compromise by using the stem cells of cry baby liberals, we have an endless supply of them.

  32. Michael says:

    As I said,”… unless man (or God) interferes with it, the fetus will become an adult.”

    If you believe that God can interfere whenever and however he wants, then logically you must believe that anything that happens happens by the will of God, either by interfering or not interfering, would you not?

    By the way, copper is being stolen by the ton exactly, because it does have a monetary value.

    Yes, but that doesn’t make it money, that just makes it valuable. Bread has monetary value too, but baking your own bread won’t have the Secret Service busting down your door, like they would if you started printing your own money.

  33. rodney dill says:

    “…but until the embryo is implanted in the uterus, there is no expectation that it will reach maturity.”

    Well we know it sure ain’t gonna be puppies.

  34. rodney dill says:

    The more accurate analogy would be that copper is not money, which it isn’t.

    Incorrect, The embryo is not the copper (actually 98% zinc 2% copper) the baby is the penny in this analogy. You’re just trying to change the analogy in a self-serving manner.

  35. G.A.Phillips says:

    Well we know it sure ain’t gonna be puppies

    .

    but in a million years from now with the right conditions……….

  36. Rick Almeida says:

    The Chruch’s [sic] official position on unbaptized infants is to pray for their salvation, but that salvation is not assured:

    Alex, I don’t think we disagree. My comment said _might_ see heaven, I didn’t mean to imply that salvation was assured. There’s a big gap between “not condemned to hell” and “assured of salvation.” On the 2007 decision, see Reuters.

  37. rodney dill says:

    but in a million years from now with the right conditions……….

    Oh, you’re evil, nyuk nyuk nyuk…

  38. Michael says:

    Incorrect, The embryo is not the copper (actually 98% zinc 2% copper) the baby is the penny in this analogy.

    The embryo is the copper, the baby is a penny. At some point the raw material (zinc+copper/embyonic cells) is arranged into a pattern that we recognize as something greater than it’s constituent parts (penny/baby). A “human life” isn’t defined by a collection of cells with human DNA, my hair meets that criteria.

  39. rodney dill says:

    That is your analogy, not DL’s. It doesn’t make DL’s inaccurate, or your argument more accurate. The embryo is the baby is the life, none of which are just raw materials. Rather the raw materials are the matter and chemicals that make up all three.

    Your hair isn’t a human life in itself. But can we think of an example of just a bunch of cells that eventually meet your criteria for human life? Just everyone you know.

    Law has dictated that a embryo at certain stages is not a human life, not science.

    DL’s analogy makes more ‘cents’ to me.

  40. G.A.Phillips says:

    A “human life” isn’t defined by a collection of cells with human DNA, my hair meets that criteria.

    well then again given a choice and a chance and a bit of effort by it’s(by it’s I mean sex type not preference) parents your hair can’t grow up to vote against an abortionist.

  41. Michael says:

    Your hair isn’t a human life in itself. But can we think of an example of just a bunch of cells that eventually meet your criteria for human life? Just everyone you know.

    The problem is that we’re trying to draw a clear line, make thing black and white, human life or not human life, when nature doesn’t require or provide such simplifications, nature is largely gray and fuzzy. Yes, as some point a grouping of cells stops being an appendage and starts being a person, but where do you draw that line?

    Law has dictated that a embryo at certain stages is not a human life, not science.

    Law requires a line in order to make objective decisions. I couldn’t be based on science, because nature doesn’t provide a line, just a long gray gradient.

  42. Michael says:

    well then again given a choice and a chance and a bit of effort by it’s(by it’s I mean sex type not preference) parents your hair can’t grow up to vote against an abortionist.

    I could use my hair cells to clone myself, would the clone be human or hair?

  43. G.A.Phillips says:

    I could use my hair cells to clone myself, would the clone be human or hair?

    A hairy soulless liberal I think, and you guys vote enough times as it is so don’t.

    But if you can really do that can you make me a Uma Thurman and a Rachel weisz, please, pretty please?

  44. rodney dill says:

    A hairy soulless liberal I think, and you guys vote enough times as it is so don’t.

    Probably doesn’t help resolve any argument, but its the best zinger so far.

    Law requires a line in order to make objective decisions.

    Agreed. The fun is in helping determine that line.

  45. Michael says:

    Probably doesn’t help resolve any argument, but its the best zinger so far.

    No it wasn’t. Did somebody run over your sense of humor, Rodney?

    Agreed. The fun is in helping determine that line.

    I guess it was whoever ran over your sense of fun.

  46. rodney dill says:

    No it wasn’t. Did somebody run over your sense of humor, Rodney?

    Heh, well I haven’t seen you nominate one you actually thought was funnier.

  47. Michael says:

    but in a million years from now with the right conditions……….

    was much funnier.