Blogs > HNN > Moral vs. Practical Arguments: Stem Cell Research

Aug 14, 2006 2:46 am

Moral vs. Practical Arguments: Stem Cell Research

From Cato:
By its very nature, government politicizes everything it touches. Science is no exception. Stem cell research needs neither government money nor politics. It is better is to get the government out and let the private sector continue its good work. Those people calling for increased funding could take out their checkbooks and support it. Those who oppose embryonic stem cell research would not be forced to pay for it.
This is a sound moral argument, but what about the practical ones?

1. Government does so much today that it has no business doing, and since this isn't likely to change appreciably anytime soon, isn't it better that at least some of our taxes go toward life-giving measures like stem cell research now?

Counterargument: two wrongs don’t make a right, and once government takes an industry into its tentacles, rarely, if ever, does it release it.

2. Isn't the state the only resource today that can underwrite significant research, a la California's Proposition 71 ($3 billion over 10 years)? Is stem cell research lucrative enough to draw the top scientists privately?

Counterargument: the Human Genome Project.

Postscript (10/5/05): Ronald Bailey documents the private sector's abundant efforts thus far.

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