Stem cells, Alzheimer's, and the contumely of the Discovery Institute

Minions of the Discovery Institute don't restrict themselves to only fighting for the indoctrination of high school students with creationism—they've also got a wider goal of infusing society with their anti-science dogma. One Discovery Institute Fellow, Wesley Smith, has been all over the place ranting against stem cell research lately, typically with as little actual grasp of the facts as the DI usually brings to bear against evolution.

For instance, how is this for a lovely title: "Embryonic Stem Cell Research Likely Won't Cure Any Diseases"? Now that's doom-and-gloom for you. The gist of his argument is that 1) biotech companies are not getting rich on embryonic stem cell research now, and 2) it won't work anyway. The first point is irrelevant. Basic research often isn't going to be immediately profitable, which is why we need government sponsorship; that our current administration has actively crippled this kind of research might, perhaps, be contributing to the reluctance of the biotech industry to leap into it.

His second point is backed up with some incredibly dishonest quote mining. What he does is quote scientists as being discouraging about the prospects for the research, while omitting key conclusions that contradict his points.

Continue reading "Stem cells, Alzheimer's, and the contumely of the Discovery Institute" (on Pharyngula)