Unrealistic Expectations For Stem Cells

by James Seidler

Stem cells have been prominent in the news lately, with features in National Geographic and Parade Magazine, protests by the Vatican, and concerns about their use from President Bush himself. Lost in the controversy, however, is a sense of what stem cells can realistically do. So we here at FLYMF have decided to debunk some myths about stem cells, and provide a clearer take on their potential.

Stem cells will…

Myth: Reverse current economic slump by jump-starting a whole new sector of the E-Bay economy.

Reality: Stem cells are much too delicate to be bought and sold in this manner. Home entrepreneurs would be advised to focus on the human kidney market instead.

Myth: Retroactively increase chances to score with Cindy Bergelson, circa 1986.

Reality: Stem cells currently don’t allow travel back in time. However, if you were able to collect some of Cindy Bergelson’s carelessly shed genetic material, you might be able to clone her and thus sleep with Cindy Bergelson circa 1986 in the year 2021. Be aware, though, that there’s a risk that sex with a cloned surrogate of a high school crush may be made illegal in the intervening years. In this case, it’s best to pursue the time-honored alternative of buying a flashy car and cruising by the bus stop.

Myth: Allow you to play God.

Reality: While the ability to create and torment freakish forms of life may seem Godlike, remember that the Judeo-Christian concept of God is free to act without constraint from the laws of the universe, while you still have to worry about entropy and the conservation of energy. No so Godlike now, huh?

Myth: Make you immortal.

Reality: While stem cells may enhance the durability of your internal organs, they can’t do much to enhance your ability to merge into traffic and talk on your cellphone at the same time.


© 2005 James Seidler, All Rights Reserved.