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For the week of August 30 through September 5, 2000

Retreat to the Dark Ages?

Had the more outlandish oracles of the "God’s plan" school of thought had their way, physicians today still would be treating patients with nothing more sophisticated than leeches sucking blood and saunas sweating out disease.

Opening the human body surgically, transplanting organs, using artificial heart pumps or trying gene therapy to ease suffering and prolong life would’ve been banned as defiance of "God’s plan" to allow humankind to die and suffer without human intervention.

Now the Republican who would be president, George W. Bush, seems to have thrown in with this cockeyed thinking.

Bush could barely restrain himself when denouncing the Clinton administration as "unethical" for plans to use discarded fertilized embryos for medical research.

Was this merely partisan Bush pique about a Democratic idea, as was Bush veepmate Dick Cheney’s promise to consider rescinding President Clinton’s creation of new national monuments? If so, it’s a sure sign of juvenile resentment to bright ideas. Or, was this Bush’s moral view? If so, is it a signal Bush would retreat to the Dark Ages of science?

Researchers believe stem cells offer a wondrous new source of cures for fatal or crippling diseases that’ve defied medicine’s best efforts.

But Bush as well as strident religious counselors that influence his policies decry this new hope of conquering major diseases as unethical.

The real ethical abuse would be if God-given good minds weren’t used to their best to find ways of eliminating suffering and disease.

Republicans have the reputation of yearning for the past and status quo. Their presidential and vice presidential candidates did their share last week to protect that image even if the rest of the world has its head in the 21st century.


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Copyright 2000 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.