Human Exceptionalism

James Kelly Takes on Michael J. Fox “Hype Over Hope”

We are told by the media that it is wrong to criticize Michael J. Fox because he has a serious affliction and thus his perspective must be respected. Very well: Let’s apply that standard to James Kelly, who was paralyzed in a car crash several years ago, leaving him with paraplegia.

Determined to walk again, Kelly initially supported ESCR, and even wrote a letter to President Bush back in 2001 to fully fund the research. But when he explored the issue more deeply, he became convinced that ESCR was the wrong approach. Moreover, he believes that every dime devoted to ESCR is money taken from adult and umbilical cord blood stem cell research where Kelly believes the more likely therapies are to be found. (Kelly is the one who first alerted me to the incredible work Dr. Carlos Lima of Lisbon, Portugal is doing with olfactory stem cell therapies for spinal cord injury patients.) He is now an indomitable campaigner for ethical stem cell research, and writes for the Seoul Times about biotech issues.

Kelly has this hard-hitting piece in the current Human Events about the Michael J. Fox imbroglio. He has a lot to say about the hyping of ESCR for Alzheimer’s and of various approaches to finding treatments for Parkinson’s. Kelly concludes his article with this slap at Fox: “Four years ago I realized that those morally opposed to killing embryos for research were protecting real causes for medical hope, whether they meant to or not. For me, their moral concerns regarding all human life may determine whether science moves in practical directions that lead to my walking again–to whether Michael J. Fox overcomes Parkinson’s disease–or spends his remaining days believing in fairy tales and passing them on to others.

Whoever Fox supports, Americans would be well advised to vote for their opponent.”

Ouch.

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