So powerful has the language of science become that it has in effect been hijacked by those who seek to discredit or even derail it. Two cases in point: Creationists are repackaging their message as the pseudo-science of "intelligent design theory." And pro-life groups are misusing real science, remarkable advances with adult stem cells, to argue that there is no need for embryonic stem cell research--research that carries with it virtually limitless potential for the alleviation of human suffering.

The real scientists seem to be losing the argument. The National Institutes of Health canceled the first meeting of the committee set up to review applications seeking federal funds for human embryonic stem cell research. For some time, there have been ominous signs. Shortly after taking office, President George W. Bush asked Tommy Thompson, his Secretary of Health and Human Services, to review the legal basis for the NIH stem cell...

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