The Kerry campaign this week raised the volatile issue of stem cell research (search) and charged the Bush administration has allowed ideology to get in the way of science.
So, is science God? Should human beings be allowed to do whatever they wish to whomever they like so long as it satisfies science or an individual need?
Do we care about where these steps will lead us? Apparently we do not. In 30 years we have moved from abortion, to infanticide, to euthanasia, and now certain politicians and scientists among us want to go even further. They would allow babies to be conceived for the express purpose of harvesting their organs and stem cells to make life better for people with Parkinson's, diabetes and Alzheimer's.
But if they get their way, where will this lead? As each layer of protection against certain categories of human life is peeled back like dead skin from sunburn, we become more vulnerable to new challenges to our humanity.
If life has only the value assigned to it at a given moment in time by politicians, judges and other advocates of what was once unheard-of, what is to prevent things now un-heard of from being considered in the future?
If life has no value or meaning that can be set outside of man, himself, then why not exterminate the elderly, the infirm and the handicapped if they cost too much or burden their families?
If the unborn can be killed and created in laboratories for the express purpose of harvesting their parts like discarded cars in a junkyard, what is to protect Reeve and Fox should society determine their lives are too burdensome and for the general good they should be put to death?
We're all in the boat of humanity. It may be about to spring another leak over stem cells and the rest of us can't bail fast enough.
And that's Column One for this week.
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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America". Readers may email Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.