Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lanza Lied; Embryos Died

This seems to be irrefutable proof that ACT mounted an intentional campaign of lying and deception about its embryonic stem cell non-breakthrough. According to a story newly published in Nature, in an August 23 podcast, ACT's chief scientist Robert Lanza stated, "What we have done, for the first time, is to actually create human embryonic stem cells without destroying the embryo itself." That was flat-out, unequivocally, and unarguably false. And Lanza knew it.

Nature describes the researcher's defense: "Lanza says he never intended to say more than that he had proved a principle, and that he is surprised by the reaction to the paper." Does the man live in Never-Never Land? Read the many blog entries I have devoted here at Secondhand Smoke to this deception, in which I quote from ACT's own press materials. They don't speak of merely proving a principle or state that "in theory" an ES cell line can be derived without destroying embryos. The statements, as Lanza's quoted above, either directly lie about what the company did or strongly imply that a new procedure has been created allowing for non destructive embryonic stem cell research.

So, why am I devoting so much time to this? A primary reason is that ACT's deception casts a klieg light on a cancer that is sapping the life out of the practice of science: As Big Biotech and its allies seek desperately to destroy the Bush funding policy in order to garner hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars, they are acting increasingly like a crass special interest willing to twist the truth to get access to the public trough. Ironically, since these special pleaders claim to be defending science, these major deceptions--and the many lesser examples of misleading advocacy by many in the science intelligentsia--are profoundly anti-science. Indeed, when science is reduced to chucking spin in the name of boosting science, it is akin to the oxymoronic statement made during Vietnam that a village was "destroyed in order to save it."


At September 07, 2006 , Blogger Don Nelson said...

I think that his surprise at "the reaction to the paper" is the expression of a man who was never told that if you live by (and use) the media, you can certainly die by it if you make THEM look bad. The MSM's biases favoring ESCR and cloning research certainly gives these guys a lot of leeway in their truth claims, but this guy went over the top and he is acting like he doesn't understand that there's no infinite pass.

I'd sure like to know if there's any financial investigation going on. A lot of money came in or exchanged hands in 24 hours for a small company due to a press release that it seems was known not to be true.


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