Human Exceptionalism

Cancer Killing Viruses?

I bring this very hopeful story up, not so much because of its substance, although it is a very hopeful apparent breakthrough. Rather, I want to illustrate an important point: In all of the brouhaha over cloning and embryonic stem cell research, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that most biotechnological research is not controversial, and indeed, is moving forward steadily to develop potentially outstanding therapies. And I am not just writing about adult stem cells. It appears that South Korean researchers have genetically engineered a virus that destroys cancer cells but does not harm healthy tissues. What a splendid approach to treating one of the banes of human existence.

In state debate after state debate, we hear that unless biotechnologists are allowed to clone to their hearts’ content, patients won’t be cured, economies will collapse, and the “theocrats” will return us to a dark age of barbers treating patients with leaches. (I made that last statement up.) But so much is happening beyond the cloning controversy that belies these assertions. Unfortunately, most of the good that non controversial biotechnological research is developing receives only subdued coverage. After all, a virus that destroys cancer cells won’t undermine the Bush embryonic stem cell funding policy.

Most Popular

Elections

The Post-Election Madness Gets Worse

On the menu today: Two lawyers who aren’t formally on the president’s legal team but who keep filing lawsuits on his behalf tell Georgia Republicans to not vote in the Senate runoffs; Michael Flynn endorses a call for “limited martial law” and a “re-vote” of the presidential election; and the ... Read More
Elections

The Post-Election Madness Gets Worse

On the menu today: Two lawyers who aren’t formally on the president’s legal team but who keep filing lawsuits on his behalf tell Georgia Republicans to not vote in the Senate runoffs; Michael Flynn endorses a call for “limited martial law” and a “re-vote” of the presidential election; and the ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame

President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14. This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame

President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14. This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The NLRB’s Humorless Insensibility

The text of the National Labor Relations Act does not, so far as we can tell, require the National Labor Relations Board or its personnel to have their sense of humor surgically removed. Nor does it prohibit the NLRB’s judicial proceedings from considering context, common sense, or elementary reality in making ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The NLRB’s Humorless Insensibility

The text of the National Labor Relations Act does not, so far as we can tell, require the National Labor Relations Board or its personnel to have their sense of humor surgically removed. Nor does it prohibit the NLRB’s judicial proceedings from considering context, common sense, or elementary reality in making ... Read More