Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Check Out The Stem Cells On Her

I think we now see why the Democrats were so insistent on stem cell research:

A STEM cell therapy offering “natural” breast enlargement is to be made available to British women for the first time.

The treatment could boost cup size while reducing stomach fat. It involves extracting stem cells from spare fat on the stomach or thighs and growing them in a woman’s breasts. An increase of one cup size is likely, with the potential for larger gains as the technique improves.

A trial has already started in Britain to use stem cells to repair the breasts of women who have had cancerous lumps removed. A separate project is understood to be the first in Britain to use the new technique on healthy women seeking breast enlargement.

Professor Kefah Mokbel, a consultant breast surgeon at the London Breast Institute at the Princess Grace hospital, who is in charge of the project, will treat 10 patients from May. He predicts private patients will be able to pay for the procedure within six months at a cost of about £6,500.

Now, I will grant that this is the British press, so it might not technically be true.  But it would be ironic if stem cell research—which, of course, was only held back by the evil religious nutbag George Bush—produced bigger breasts as its first scientific breakthrough.

As amusing as the story is, there’s a problematic undercurrent.  Put aside the moral question of stem cell research and concentrate on the politics.  Once Bush restricted stem cell research, the left responded by embracing it, insisting that it had to be funded because, as far as I could tell, Michael J. Fox said so.  They were not content to simply let scientific organizations decide whether stem cells were good or bad.  They insisted it had to be funded.  California devoted $3 billion to this specific endeavor.  Fox, and others, targeted politicians for election or unelection based on their stance on stem cells.

But you can’t force the universe to do your bidding.  Just because you want stem cell research to cure Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, doesn’t mean it will do so.

Now it’s still early.  It’s possible that stem cells will produce some incredible breakthrough on Alzheimer’s.  When Sal 11000 Beta was born, we preserved some of her cord blood just in case the stem cells within become useful one day.  But whether stem cells research continues should be based on the scientific merit, not a mindless reverse politicization of the Bush policy.

Politicizing science your way is still politicization.  As much credit as Obama is getting for much-ballyhooed speeches about funding and freeing science, he’s shown an ample ability to let politics affect science.  Shutting down Yucca Mountain, pouring even more money into ethanol and mandating alternative energy is not liberating science; it’s chaining it in a different direction.  And the results are likely to be even less satisfying than stem-cell boobs.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/28/09 at 06:48 PM in Science and Technology • Permalink

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