The Christian Right strikes again
One of the groups represented in the suit consisted of researchers working with adult stem cells who argued that they were being "irreparably harmed" by having to compete for federal funding with scientists who were not bound by Christian-Right embryo-fetishism. Perhaps there should be a counter-suit by the millions of people suffering from multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, macular degeneration, spinal-cord injuries, and the many other conditions for which embryonic stem-cell research has already shown promising results in animal testing -- who are certainly being "irreparably harmed" by the prospect of further delays in developing and implementing cures.
Scientists in the field are outraged and frustrated, as work which they began after Obama's executive order last year is once again plunged into a confusing legal limbo based on medieval taboos.
The Justice Department has announced that it will appeal the ruling. But make no mistake -- if this latest roadblock can't be cleared away in a reasonable time, the most skilled and talented scientists may well decide that the research environment in the United States is hopelessly insecure even under a Democratic administration, and take their work elsewhere. Ideological interference with science could cause our country to fall far behind in one of the critical technologies of the coming decade -- just as Stalin's support for Lysenko crippled the Soviet Union in the field of genetic science.