Wednesday, June 01, 2005

How we got our Name

[Jonathon Alter] identifies a new phenomenon, the 'stem cell extremist,' as a source of the intractable political debate:

Bioethical blowhard Leon Kass of the University of Chicago conned Bush into seeing the issue as morally complex, but the rest of the world understands that it's simple enough—reproductive cloning (to create Frankensteins), no; embryonic-stem-cell research (to cure diseases), yes. (The phrase 'therapeutic cloning' should be retired.) Enshrining this basic distinction in law is a better bulwark against the 'slippery slope' problem than hair-splitting limitations. Most nations understand this. Only Bush bitter-enders and the pope are in the perverse position of valuing the life of an ailing human being less than that of a tiny clump of cells no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.