Something extra to be thankful for this year is yesterday's announcement of a recently discovered way of obtaining stem cells with embryonic properties without destroying any embryos. Father Thomas Berg discusses the significance of this breakthrough and he concludes:
Like the unexpected climax of a romance novel, these historical paradoxes foreshadow a culmination to the ten-year tale of human embryonic-stem-cell research that is remarkably unlike anything we could have imagined. To be sure, a new day has dawned in the world of stem-cell research, thanks to the intellectual honesty and scientific acumen of researchers like Thomson, Wilmut and Yamanaka. The best part, of course, is that, for advocates of embryonic-stem-cell research, as well as for those opposed to embryo-destructive research, and especially for those millions of potential beneficiaries of stem-cell related therapies, the advent of the age of somatic cell reprogramming marks an enormous victory for all of us.
Meanwhile, Wesley Smith points out that W deserves some of the credit for this turn in the whole stem cell issue:
I believe that many of these exciting “alternative” methods would not have been achieved but for President Bush’s stalwart stand promoting ethical stem-cell research. Indeed, had the president followed the crowd instead of leading it, most research efforts would have been devoted to trying to perfect ESCR and human-cloning research — which, despite copious funding, have not worked out yet as scientists originally hoped.