Jeffrey Hart denounced President Bush’s stem-cell policies in The Daily Beast the other day. Hart repeatedly made factual misstatements in the article.
Pluripotent embryonic stem cells develop to eventually create an entire human being. They also possess the capability of repairing damaged organs, and treating such conditions as diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and spinal cord and other nerve injuries. Bush’s own bio-ethics committee, and its chairman Leon Kass, voted in favor of federal funding, though with minor qualifications.
Nearly everything in this paragraph is incorrect. Embryonic stem cells do not “develop to eventually create a human being.” Whether these stem cells “possess the capability of repairing damaged organs” is not presently known. Most knowledgeable proponents of embryonic stem-cell research say that it is unlikely that it will yield treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, a scientific consensus that the press has covered for years. The bioethics council did not vote in favor of altering President Bush’s policy on federal funding of stem-cell research, and Leon Kass has consistently defended that policy.
Hart erred further in saying that Commentary and the Claremont Review of Books, neither of which runs editorials, “vigorously supported Bush’s position.” Finally, Hart quotes a line allegedly from National Review that never appeared in its pages.