Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fox Pitches Stem Cell Alzheimer's Deception

Michael J Fox For Ben Cardin

More deception from Michael J. Fox. In this ad, he claims that "stem cell research" "offers hope" for Alzheimer's. But it is well known that of all of the degenerative conditions that either adult or embryonic stem cells could theoretically treat, people with Alzheimer's are among the least likely to benefit. Indeed, one notable biotech researcher told the Washington Post that the biotech sector permits Alzheimer's patients and their families to believe false assertions such as Fox's because "people need a fairy tale."

There are concrete reasons for hope for Alzheimer's disease patients in other areas of medical research. But embryonic stem cell research and human cloning are highly unlikely to provide it, since unlike Parkinson's, Alzheimer's is a whole brain disease with billions of neurons, synapses, etc. affected, making the disease unlikely to respond to ES cell therapies.

I assume Fox is ignorant of this, but it is no excuse. His ad is deceptive and cruelly exploits the hopes and yearnings of Alzheimer's victims and their families.


At October 27, 2006 , Blogger Royale said...

You claim that you think he's both ignorant and being deceptive. I don't understand. How can it be both? For you are not lying if you believe the statement.

At October 27, 2006 , Blogger Gregory L. Ford said...

Whether or not Fox is ignorant, his message remains deceptive -- that is, it conveys a falsehood. It's not any more complicated than that.

No one is entitled to an uninformed opinion.

At October 27, 2006 , Blogger Wesley J. Smith said...

I was giving Fox the benefit of the doubt, Royale. But he has a duty to educate himself about these issue when creating such high profile ads.

Gregory has it right. He does not have the right to deceive, whether intentionally or negligently.

At October 27, 2006 , Blogger Royale said...

Pardon my ignorance and uninformed opinion, but despite all the rhetoric I'm reading from these blog posts and comments, (and selective criticism I might add, as I'm the only one whose questioning the OTHER side's response ad)...I still fail to see how it 1. is deceptive, and 2. how it is deceptive as compared to the other political ads.

Please, inform me. Please quell my suspicion that you're gunning for Fox as an emotional reaction for the simple fact he opposes you politically, and not for neutral, detached, rational one based on all information available.

At October 27, 2006 , Blogger Wesley J. Smith said...

You aren't paying attention. He speaks in this ad of stem cells as providing hope for ALzheimer's disease. Stem cells do not offer such substantial hope. That is deceptive.

At October 27, 2006 , Blogger Gregory L. Ford said...

Royale, I wasn't referring to you; nor was I referring only to Fox. I was talking about a general intellectual, civic, and, I would say, moral duty: to inform oneself on the subjects on which one speaks. If you (a general "you," not you in particular; this isn't an ad hominem remark) don't have all the facts, get them, as best you can -- and then speak. Otherwise you may as well not be speaking at all.

When it comes to the promise of ESCR as a therapy for Alzheimer's Fox is either a) deliberately deceptive or b) deceptive in ignorance. The fact of deception remains in either case.

At October 27, 2006 , Blogger Royale said...

Oh no, I'm not going to let you guys off the hook that easy.

Time and time again, there were posts and comments discussing the deceptiveness of Fox and ESC supporters in general.

If you want to argue about a very specific thing (i.e., whether or not Fox is informed about ESC and Alzheimer's), fine, but that is not what all these repeated discussions were about.

Besides, what you're really saying is that Fox (or the ESC community in general) is being deceptive because they are not listening to YOUR experts. Meanwhile, other doctors and embryologists say the opposite. That is not enough to call "deceptive" about Alheimer's, Parkinson's, or any other disease. Selective and biased? Perhaps, but that is the nature of politics. If you consider yourself neutral and balanced, well, I don't see the fruit of that.

Again, I am amazed at the selectivity of the criticism. Has anyone read the "2000 pages you won't read" on Amendment 2?

I almost feel compelled to actually read the full text of Amendment 2 so I can pick apart the response criticism with the exact same tenacity that I see Fox/ ESC supporters criticized here.

At October 27, 2006 , Blogger bmmg39 said...

Royale, the Fox ads ignore many things, including these two biggies:

1. That adult stem cells have already been used to treat a patient with Parkinson's (Dennis Turner), that he enjoyed a reversal of more than 80% of his symptoms for more than four years, that he testified to Congress that he was eager for a second treatment, and that further trials in this area are forthcoming.

2. That embryonic stem cells caused tumor formation when injected into lab animals with Parkinson's just last week.

Embryonic research is being presented as a panacea, whereas adult stem cell research and other avenues are being dismissed as junk science by the likes of Fox, when if anything it's the other way around.

At October 27, 2006 , Blogger Gregory L. Ford said...

Royale: Look here: And then go down to section 6.(2). "Clone or attempt to clone a human being' means to implant in a uterus or attempt to implant in a uterus anything other than the product of fertilization of an egg of a human female by a sperm of a human male for the purpose of initiating a pregnancy that could result in the creation of a human fetus, or the birth of a human being."

This is the fine print. "Cloning" didn't used to mean just this; they're narrowing the definition so that you can, in fact, create a human embyro -- and indeed, the right to do so is guaranteed -- just so long as it's not what they call "reproductive" cloning. Take a look also at the definition of "fertilization" as "the process whereby an egg of a human female and the sperm of a human male form a zygote." There are other ways than this to create a blastocyte -- in fact, the amendment says it's all right to create one by means of what they call "somatic cell nuclear transfer," which is, tah-dah, cloning. Which, is, as you can see, is A-OK.

I believe it was "2000 words you won't read" -- not so hard to do, actually.

As for the deceptions in Fox's ads: #1 is that he claims Alzheimer's might be cured by stem cells. Read the Washington Post article that WJS links to and decide whether the scientists in it are some interest group's cabal of experts. #2 is that he claims Talent opposes stem cell research. What he opposes is a right to what used to be called "therapeutic cloning" -- creating embryos in order to destroy them -- that Amendment 2 would grant. There are others, but let's start there.

Truth exists apart from whose experts is bigger. Facts exist, if you take the trouble to find them.

At October 27, 2006 , Blogger Deep Toad said...

I find it amazing that no one is taking note of the politician who exploited MJ for votes.

Whether he acted in good faith or not, whatshername used him and is letting him take the heat for the ad. That's pretty slimey. She knew what she was doing.

I think it's pretty shabby to use people period. It's worse when they are sick or desperate. I have yet to read one negative word against her about this ad.

I bet she's sitting in her campaign office right now laughing her ass off while we're debating over whether or not MJ did the right thing.

At October 29, 2006 , Blogger Royale said...

I'm still not convinced.

In common parlance, cloning is typically synonomous with "reproductive cloning." That is what people fear.

Therapeutic cloning, SCNT, or what not, is "cloning" but I think the general population would consider that a scientific technicality. Or if they don't, they do not fear it nearly to the same level as "therapeutic cloning."

Is it deceptive to use one when you mean the other and hope the general population doesn't figure it out? Well, it goes both ways. To say "cloning" when you mean ONLY reproductive cloning is omission of fact. Likewise, to lump therapeutic cloning in with reproductive variant by saying "the amendment would make cloning a constitutional right" plays on both the word confusion and people's fears of reproductive cloning.

That is deceptive as well.

If you're against both, fine. But the response ad is guilty by your own standards.

At October 30, 2006 , Blogger Gregory L. Ford said...

Cloning is cloning. What you do with the cloned creature is immaterial: in either case, you create an organism. To say that Amendment 2 does not create a right to cloning is to lie.

Call a spade a spade. How could it possibly be deceptive to do so?

At October 30, 2006 , Blogger Gregory L. Ford said...

I would add that the confusion of terms came about when those who advocate so-called therapeutic cloning began to use the word "cloning" exclusively for so-called reproductive cloning. Until that point the word meant what it meant.

In order to reason properly, we need crispness of categories and clear meanings of words. Those who would blur categories and smudge meanings usually have something to hide.

At October 31, 2006 , Blogger Wesley J. Smith said...

Indeed, Gregory L. Ford: Beware of movements that resort to euphemisms and junk definitions. Thanks for contributing to Secondhand Smoke.


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