In an apparent effort to advance the stem cell research debate, the Globe today published a "Spotlight on Stem Cells" consisting of three op-eds by respected personalities. But they all stink, for different reasons. Harvard political philosopher Michael J. Sandel makes two points. He spends most of his piece arguing that Governor Romney’s "position" – that it’s OK to conduct research on "surplus" embryos from fertility clinics, but not OK to create embryos through somatic cell nuclear transfer (therapeutic cloning) – makes no sense. Well, duh. We’ve been saying that for weeks. It’s a no-brainer. The bigger, much more important ethical issue is whether human embryos, however created, should be used for research purposes. Sandel’s only comment on that issue is that it "raises hard questions." Thanks, perfesser. Sandel’s second point is that regulations banning reproductive cloning, limiting how long embryos can be grown in the lab, and preventing the exploitation of women, are a good idea. Again, duh. Didn’t need a Harvard prof to tell me that. Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers argues that the stem cell bill is good for the Massachusetts research community and good for the economy. But no one seriously disputes that. And although Summers [...]
Relax – it’s just salad dressing. Get your mind out of the gutter. By the way, this is not an April Fool’s joke – this really happened.