The first issue of Salvo is now available on newsstands and for subscription. Salvo is
dedicated to exposing and debunking the destructive cultural myths that have undercut human dignity, all but destroyed the notions of virtue and morality, and slowly eroded our appetite for transcendence.
The first issue is devoted to issues of science and has articles on genetics, cloning, transhumanism, and Huxley’s Brave New World. (Full disclosure, I was interviewed for the article on transhumanism). Order a copy or subscribe at http://www.salvomag.com/subscribe.html.
Animal tests proved penicillin deadly, strychnine safe and aspirin dangerous. So why do we continue to continue to use, as Kelly Overton asks in an intriguing op-ed, a process for testing the effectiveness of medications for humans that is “akin to using smoke signals instead of e-mail as a method of communication”?
In fact, 90 percent of medications approved for human use after animal testing later proved ineffective or harmful to humans in clinical trials. It is humbling to realize that the flipping of a coin would have proved five times more accurate and much cheaper.
Overton contends that adult stem cell research is key to our status as the world’s leader in medical research. While such research is indeed vitally important, can it really replace animal testing for the development of human medications?
Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics has updated their list of “Benefits of Stem Cells to Human Patients.” They now list 70 diseases or conditions that are being treated with stem cells from adult (or non-embryonic) stem cells and 0 that are being treated with stem cells from embryos.
If you look at all the discussions surrounding biotechnology, I feel that we are clearly focusing too much on ethics.
Toine Manders, Dutch liberal member of the European Parliament, on discussions in the European Parliament about stem cell research. From “Debate on stem cells holds back EU research drive,” Financial Times, June 14, 2006.
The Consequences of Legalized Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia
On May 25, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights held a hearing on the topic, “The Consequences of Legalized Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” Eight people testified at the hearing, and transcripts of their testimony are now available on the Judiciary Committee’s website.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has an online discussion going over the issue of emergency situation clinical trials.
In a dozen or so scientific studies since 1996, people have been serving as medical guinea pigs unwittingly. Under a federal rule, clinical trials may proceed without the subject’s informed consent if the situation is life-threatening, the patient is unconscious and cannot grant permission, and no family members are present to give consent. Does the chance to save lives now, and in the future, justify such studies?