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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 25, 2007 / 9 Tamuz 5767

Science, stem cells, and ‘ideology’

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last week President Bush for the second time vetoed legislation that would have expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Reiterating a position he first announced in 2001, the president said that while he supports (and his administration funds) research on stem cells derived from human embryos that no longer exist, he will not use taxpayers' money for work that relies on the destruction of additional embryos.


"Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical, and it is not the only option before us," Bush said. That was a reference to promising advances in stem cell technology — for example, the discovery that such cells can be harvested from amniotic fluid without endangering any embryo. The vetoed bill would have supported research on stem cells drawn from surplus fertility clinic embryos that will otherwise be discarded. Nevertheless, in Bush's view that would "cross a moral and ethical line."


Stem cells may eventually yield the key to treating devastating conditions, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, or spinal-cord injuries. Opinion polls show wide support for this research, so Bush's critics have not hesitated to pile on. Demagogues all but claim that if it weren't for Bush, fewer people would now be suffering from terrible afflictions. ("If we do . . . the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again" — John Edwards, Oct. 11, 2004.)


Now, I don't share Bush's position. By my lights, a microscopic "test-tube" embryo left over from in vitro fertilization and comprising a couple hundred undifferentiated cells is not a human person with an inalienable right to life. But neither is it of no significance whatsoever. I wouldn't draw the "moral and ethical line" where Bush has drawn it, but surely there is such a line and surely it belongs somewhere. A human embryo is not just another lab supply or raw material, to be manipulated or destroyed at will. Even in nascent form, human life must be treated with dignity and care. How and under what circumstances embryos can be harvested for their stem cells are not just scientific questions. First they are questions of ethics and morality, and of the values we wish to live by.


Or are they? To judge from the criticism of Bush's stem cell veto last week, nothing outranks the claims of science, and only a zealot could think otherwise.


"With one pen stroke," charged Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, "President Bush has ignored hard science, embraced misplaced ideology, and turned his back on the millions who stand to benefit from . . . stem cell research."


Similarly, Senate majority leader Harry Reid blasted Bush for "putting the politics of his narrow ideology ahead of saving lives."


So did Senator Hillary Clinton: "This is just one example of how the president puts ideology before science."


And Senator Barack Obama: "The promise that stem cells hold does not come from any particular ideology; it is the judgment of science, and we deserve a president who will put that judgment first."


What these statements have in common is their use of "ideology" as a pejorative for the principles and ethical values that have guided Bush's thinking on the stem cell issue. They treat "science" as an unqualified good, and reproach the White House for letting ethical qualms impede scientific progress. Yet not all science is progress, and not all ethical qualms are impediments.


It is for man to master science, not the other way around. Unfettered scientific investigation isn't always morally neutral, nor a sufficient end in and of itself. We all want diseases to be cured and lives to be prolonged, but there are ethical limits to how far we can go in acquiring knowledge that may one day save human life. Embryonic stem cell research, as Bush notes, is at the leading edge of a series of moral hazards. It is not blind "ideology" to say so.


"You don't need religion to tremble at the thought of unrestricted embryo research," wrote Charles Krauthammer, a physician and former member of the President's Council on Bioethics, last January. "You simply have to have a healthy respect for the human capacity for doing evil in pursuit of the good. Once we have taken the position of many stem cell research advocates that embryos are discardable tissue with no more intrinsic value than a hangnail or an appendix, then all barriers are down. . . . The slope is very slippery."


I wouldn't have vetoed the bill Bush rejected. Nevertheless, I appreciate his effort to block that slippery slope. As science tugs us toward a brave new world of manufactured human life, it is more urgent than ever that moral boundaries not be ignored when biomedical public policy is made.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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