Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Times: US religious fundamentalism has secured Britain an advantage in engineering new humans

(Ed: note the comment highlighted in bold. That, one suspects is what this 'embryology' business is actually all about. The headline here is based on The Times' front page, not the article headline.)

Parliament has given Britain an opportunity to become great in engineering once again. It is a small chance but one worth backing, and in the defeat yesterday of the opponents of embryonic stem-cell research, there is the possibility in coming decades of building a world-beating industry.

It means engineering better human beings, not bridges, but that is no matter, unless you are hysterical or ideologically orthodox.

Years ago, we in Europe voluntarily gave up a new technology of huge commercial and social benefit - GM foods. The research went to the United States because of our fear of the new and our sentimentality about the natural world.

Supporters of stem-cell research will be grateful that the animal cells used in hybrid admixed embryos come from cows, rather than more photogenic foxes or seal pups.

A combination of luck and American religious fundamentalism has secured for Britain a competitive advantage, attracting American scientists, notably Roger Pederson and Stephen Minger, who escaped to a more congenial intellectual climate. Read more
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