Monday, November 28, 2011

Stem Cell Research, Assumptions, and Getting a Grip

All stem cell research is important, and should be in the news.

I'll get back to that, after reminiscing about the 'good old days.' There's a connection.

The 'Good Old Days' - Weren't

I remember the 'good old days,' when many 'regular Americans' saw the world as one big battleground between dirty communists and America. It wasn't an entirely simplistic world view. These folks sometimes went after Americans they thought were commie sympathizers, and that's another topic.

Don't get me wrong: I like living in America. I think there's a reason that folks are trying to break into this country. I also think that communist leaders have a far-from-unblemished record; and that no country or system of government is even close to being perfect.1

Stem Cell Research

"Critic points out media bias against adult stem cells"
Marianne Medlin, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (November 25, 2011)

"After researchers in California called off a major U.S. embryonic stem cell study, a legal expert says that most major news outlets have given zero coverage to the far superior benefits of adult stem cells.

" 'Since embryonic stem cells were first derived, the media has told a materially unbalanced story,' said Wesley J. Smith, a lawyer and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism.

"Smith said in a Nov. 23 interview with CNA that successful adult stem cell clinical trials 'have either been ignored totally, or generally underplayed as story after story has claimed adult approaches offer more limited benefits than embryonic.'..."
I don't know why old-school journalists don't seem to know about research or applications involving adult stem cells.

Maybe there's a deliberate effort to make 'the Masses' believe that:
  • Life-saving medical research depends on embryonic stem cells
  • Abortion centers provide a steady stream of dead "embryos"
  • Any opposition to abortion, therefore, is
    • Anti-science
    • Anti-medicine
    • Anti-woman
    • And pretty much icky
Or maybe traditional American journalists simply never imagined that adult stem cells were useful. After all, the 'right' folks keep telling journalists about embryonic stem cells: and adult stem cells are what Catholics and other outsiders talk about.

Assumptions

I think it's very easy for folks to believe that what 'everybody knows' is true. Particularly when 'everybody' is a relatively small, somewhat insulated, set of friends and acquaintances. Or when 'everybody' is part of a majority that also has a great deal of economic, social, and political power.

Back in the 'good old days,' when America was more of a WASP nest than it is now, I think quite a few folks took chauvinistic patriotism at least somewhat seriously.

That was then, this is now. The folks who hold the reins in today's America aren't any more solidly attached to reality as the Frank Burns types, and I've been over this before.2

Getting a Grip

I could rant about 'those Satanic people over there,' and how we must do anything it takes to end abortion now.

The end justifies the means, right?

Wrong!
" 'An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention' (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Dec. praec. 6). The end does not justify the means." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1759)
The Catholic Church thinks truth is important. (Catechism, 2464-2503)

We're also told that lying is wrong. (Catechism, 2482-2486)

Following the 'but he started it' principle, I could decide start using the same sort of hype as old-school news media. But lying, or distorting truth, is against the rules: and that's a topic for another post.
Updated (November 28, 2011, 9:03 PM)

I wrote about lies, distortions, and rules, here:
Related posts:In the news:
1 I've discussed cultural biases and blind spots, past and present, before:2 Insularity may be easier to maintain with relatively small groups who are physically isolated from the rest of the world. Folks whose world is urban American aren't immune, though. And those who live in an insular subculture and control traditional information media may be particularly resistant to unfamiliar ideas:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Wrong word, I think: "Americans they thought were that commie sympathizers"

Point missing a bullet: "Any opposition to abortion, therefore, is"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...

Brigid,

Found, fixed, and thanks!

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.