No results? No problem. Nobel.
The Boston Globe rejoices that a pioneer of in vitro fertilization has won the Nobel Prize for his work, and can barely contain its eagerness to see a similar award bestowed on someone—anyone—involved in embryonic stem-cell research.
Today, 4 million human beings worldwide owe their lives to Edwards’s work. In the United States, 3 percent of all births begin with in vitro fertilization. The Roman Catholic Church still opposes it, but other critics have been hushed in the face of millions of overjoyed parents. The same pattern is likely to play out if and when scientists overcome the intense resistance to use of embryonic stem cells and harness them to treat diabetes, spinal cord injuries, or Parkinson’s disease.
If you relied on the Globe editorial for your information, you would probably conclude that embryonic stem-cell research is illegal throughout the world today. You would not know that the research has been lavishly funded. Above all, you would not know that embryonic stem-cell research has not yet produced any tangible results in healing diseases.
It’s not just the “intense resistance” that blocks the way to prize awards for embryonic stem-cell research. It’s also the total absence of results.
Then again, a total absence of results isn’t necessarily a determining factor in the eyes of the Nobel Prize committee. Consider last year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
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