This is just a quick note, Obama has lifted the ban on funding Stem Cell Research. Woo Hoo.
Ignoring all the hype over whether these discarded 150 cell embryos hold the cures to every conceivable ill (They don’t) or if it is more ethical to chuck them out in the trash than study them (Its not). This represents another step forward for humanity.
By studying how Stem Cells work we (humans) will gain more knowledge of the exact processes that go on when the human body develops. This knowledge added to what has already been discovered will lead to more discoveries, that’s how science works.
So even though I don’t buy into the whole Stem Cell research (on its own) will cure cancer, make us immortal, allow us to fly, ect. I do know that science is like a jigsaw puzzle, If you take out pieces and say they can’t be used, you can still mostly solve the puzzle by filling in the area around the missing piece, but it is going to take a lot longer to get there and you’ll waste a lot of time.
So although I don’t believe Stem Cell research by itself will do the things I mentioned above they do give us one more piece of the puzzle, so we will be able to figure out how to do those things faster.
Except maybe the flying part, I think I’ll stick with airplanes for now.
A better explanation of the benefits of lifting this ban is available at Bad Science.