Since 1969, when Daniel Callahan and Willard Gaylin founded the Institute of Society, Ethics and the Life Science (The Hastings Center), the problem of Bioethics as an unbiased science has been an unsolved conundrum. Stem-cell research re-proposes old and unanswered questions.

A correspondence in The New England Journal of Medicine, published last July 15 (Correspondence, NEJM 351, 298-300, 2004), focuses the subject criticizing the recent Council on Bioethics’ account. The article reads: “In the pursuit of scientific truth, one of the most basic principles is the rigorous exclusion of pre-existing bias. Without such exclusion, scientific investigation and experimentation have no validity. Blackburn's account of the recent restructuring of the President's Council on Bioethics (NEJM April 1 issue) raises the question of why this council, when dealing with an issue of such enormous scientific importance as the future of stem-cell research, is not held to the same standard. If Blackburn is correct, the council's ability to render unbiased recommendations is fatally compromised”.


BM&L-July 2004