Moderation Takes a Holiday

Moderation Takes a Holiday


I pride myself in the labels “Centrist” and “Moderate.”  But on some issues (one, in particular) I’m increasingly compelled to set those labels aside.

That issue, the one that consistently makes my blood boil, is embryonic stem-cell research or ESCR.  I’m for it.  All the way.  1,000 percent.  And I just can’t bring myself to tolerate those who would dare claim that a clump of cells, in a sterile dish, outside the womb, is human life.   That position drives me bonkers, partly because many of those who make this claim rely on their religion and their “literal” interpretation of the Bible to support it, when (in fact) a “literal” reading of the Bible indicates no such support.

The other reason the anti-ESCR position makes me grind me teeth is the fact that my very own parents cling to the anti-ESCR illusion, even though they know full well that such research could potentially help their oldest grandchild, my son.  This audacity is mind-boggling, clinging as my parents do to a belief that I know they haven’t fully questioned nor considered, while they insist on making a clump of cells the moral equivalent of their own flesh and blood.

In fact,  my frustration on this topic is so intense, I’m starting to have visions of fictional family confrontations, as I explained this morning at the end of a related post at Central Sanity.

I sure hope my membership in the Club of Moderation is not revoked over this issue.  But if it is, so be it.  I will not step back.  I will not cower.  I will not be silent.

  • Michael van der Galiën

    I truly don’t quite see how this forces you out the moderate camp. Moderates should be able to feel passionate about things (that matter to them). I’m with you when you argue – as you’ve done in the past – that moderation is an approach, not a goal.

    Then again, I’m a Dutch conservative.

  • George Donnelly

    Maybe moderation is just not all its cracked up to be?

  • jam

    And precisely what is your argument against the proposition that people should be compelled to subsidize research they reasonably regard as unethical?

    [a] You suppose that some (not all) people on the other side base their ethical qualms on a scriptural exegesis that you think is mistaken; and

    [b] you have some sort of issue with your parents.

    Sorry, I’m unpersuaded. Please don’t kill me.

  • Tom

    Already posted on the moral dilemma in this situation over at Central Sanity.

    Here I’d like to give some personal advice:

    Stop imagining fictional scenarios!

    I’m very, very familiar with this sort of worst-case thinking, and you know what? 95% of the time nothing of the sort happens! All you do is cause yourself a lot of unnecessary anxiety and waste a lot of thought on pointless worrying!

  • Jeremy

    “when (in fact) a “literal” reading of the Bible indicates no such support.”

    Pete, Tom is right. This is a pretty silly issue to worry yourself over. I agree with you, that stem cell research is not the ethical matter it’s made out to be–there are those that disagree but who cares? Honestly! how many things have religious fanatics taken literally? and have skewed and molded the Scriptures to fit their own particular political viewpoint? Every conceivable area of the human experience is debatable and up for disagreement.

    You cannot change another mans’ views any more than he can yours. Be reconciled to except life’s little disagreements and move on. That’s not to say you should stop believing what you do, but to help others understand it better through your eyes and may the best argument succeed, and if not, logic and time is on your side.

  • Jeremy

    Pete, also, I realize that you have a vested stake in ESCR via your son. I would suggest instead of going at loggerheads with the Pope and his disciples you join a grassroots org. that addresses to root of this problem, ignorance. Perhaps by donating a little time, and or money to a pro-ESCR group you can persuade the people that really matter, the public at large, not the theocractic

  • Jeremy

    For anyone that is interested in the history of stem cells from a biomedical standpoint and a historical standpoint, I think this is a great book, it is titled: Proteus Effect: Stem Cells And Their Promise for Medicine

  • Jeremy

    I’m being a total spammer today ;P

    Christopher Reeve Message to Activists:

    Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR)

  • Pete Abel

    thanks for the words of wisdom guys. of course, I agree, and by the way Jeremy, I have donated time and money and effort to Missouri’s Coalition for Lifesaving Cures — so I am engaged on that level as well. On the larger points, you are both correct.

    Also, thanks for the book tip. I’ll have to pick up a copy.

  • Jeremy

    Thanks for bringing up the stem cell issue Pete. I hope America returns to our pioneering past in medicine soon. America is not just a source of freedom, but also a source of medical innovation that affects the entire world over. I believe medicine
    as a whole around the world is suffering due to this moratorium imposed by a theocratic bent in order to score political points. There’s a reason why America decided to separate the church from the state, for too long we’ve witnessed progress stymied in the name of the “Scripture.” They told Galileo he was practicing heresy in his time but he knew better. It took the Church centuries to admit they were wrong. They then adopted his genius as their own. This is a perfect case in point as to why religion has no right to stymie
    or meddle in mans honest pursuit for knowledge and betterment of all humankind. If we can create bombs which can wipe out the whole human species then surely stem cell research cannot be more evil than that enterprise.

  • Matt Ortega

    I agree with you on stem-cell research. It is mind-boggling to me why we are not vigorously pursuing this.

    To that end, it is equally frustrating when people were lobbying against the HPV vaccination because they feared it would make young women more promiscuous.

    My mother passed away from cervical cancer, which can develop from HPV. I don’t want any families to go through my family did. I was eight years old when she passed. I felt, and still do, that opponents arguing that line were condemning people to die. It is insane not to pursue possible cures.