In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 March 3, 2009 / 7 Adar 5769

Pluripotent self-delusion

By Mona Charen

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Without so much as a by-your-leave from the federal government, scientists continue to unlock the secrets of the cell. The most recent advance involves a new, safer way to make adult skin cells behave exactly like embryonic stem cells.

The breakthrough that permitted researchers to reprogram skin cells to behave like so-called pluripotent stem cells (meaning they can grow into any organ or cell type in the body) actually came in 2006. Researchers used viruses to carry new genetic information into the cells. Showing that an adult cell could be manipulated to become a stem cell was an incredible breakthrough with enormous political implications. But the use of viruses carried the risk of increasing rates of cancer and the danger of other contaminants. The new technique, announced March 2, apparently uses a structure called transposon, which, according to Bloomberg News, is "a section of DNA that can move as a block within the genome of a cell." After it reprograms the cell, it can be removed by the apparently harmless addition of an enzyme.

"It's very exciting work," Robert Lanza, a stem cell researcher at Advanced Cell Technology in Massachusetts, told the Washington Post. "With the new work, we're only a hair's breadth away from the biggest prize in regenerative medicine — a way to create patient-specific cells that are safe enough to use clinically."

We'll see. As the parent of a teenager with Type I diabetes, I've learned to take predictions of imminent clinical breakthroughs with several large grains of salt. The key thing about this news is the impressive multiplicity of approaches researchers have applied to the problem. And yet, even as science is finding ways to sidestep the moral and political minefield of embryonic stem cell research, advocates for using days-old human embryos will not yield. Here's the Washington Post again: "Scientists, however, while praising the work as a potentially important advance, said it remains crucial to work on both types of cells because it is far from clear which will turn out to be more useful."

Advocates of embryonic stem cell research (who, by the way, are waiting impatiently for President Obama to reverse President Bush's limitation on the kinds of research the federal government will fund) seem almost not to welcome alternatives to embryonic research. It's as if agreeing to pursue other methods acknowledges a moral problem they wish to deny. Their arguments in favor of using embryos attempt to minimize the moral weight of the situation. "These are embryos left over from the in vitro fertilization process. No one is using them anyway. They might as well be used for the betterment of mankind."

Hmm. Well, the cheerleaders for embryonic research probably are the same people who don't want to drill for oil in ANWR. Never mind that the tiny patch of permafrost is not being used anyway — can't be used for anything else as a matter of fact. Never mind that it could reduce our dependence on other sources of oil. The principle of maintaining nature's purity is too important.

The "nobody wants them" argument is morally bankrupt, but completely consistent with our culture — a culture that grants human dignity only to those people who are "wanted." A couple a weeks ago, as National Review's Jay Nordlinger noticed, a Florida woman visited an abortion clinic for a late — 23 weeks — second trimester abortion. Instead, her daughter was accidentally born alive (what the AP called a "badly botched abortion"). After the squalling infant was delivered, an owner of the clinic cut the umbilical cord, and tossed the baby into the trash. Now police are investigating. Murder charges may be filed.

This is Alice in Wonderland territory. That's what our abortion culture has given us. It is perfectly legal to perform an abortion at 23 weeks gestation, an age when other babies have survived outside the womb. But if the child is accidentally delivered alive first, it's murder. "She came face to face with a human being," the woman's lawyer explained to the AP. "And that changed everything." Nonsense. It changed nothing. But this woman is hardly alone. The majority that favors harvesting human embryos for their stem cells is engaging in the same kind of self-delusion: If I don't look at it, it's not there. They can flatter themselves all they want that they are "pro-science," but in fact they are trampling upon human dignity.

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

Comment on JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.

Mona Charen Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate