November 30, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Get a life!

One of the commenters on this blog told me, in response to my post on the opponents of stem cell research, to “get a life.”

What’s a “life” according to this guy? To me? To you?

We all lead different lives and have different ideas about what is a valuable life. We all face different challenges.

It would be a rare person indeed who escapes tragedy in the form of a health-related situation. It might be someone you love or yourself or perhaps most often both. I think one of the most important things one can do with their life is to make an effort, maybe even a sacrifice to improve someone else’s life especially if they are in crisis, whether it is an acute or chronic situation. To me at least this seems like the ultimate way to “get a life”, to make the most of your life. Perhaps this person you help might even be a stranger to you.

People who make this effort to help others often go unrecognized, but they are not in it for “credit”.

Scientists may help others with research, but I for one don’t think that is enough. Scientists need to speak out as advocates for patients and for research funding.

As scientists we need to get over our reluctance to state our opinions in a public form. I have to say I really admired George Daley who in his talk this week at the ASGCT meeting really advocated for stem cell research and also was not afraid to state many strong opinions.

Thank you! I wish more people would have that courage.

It is crazy that when anti-stem cell extremists peddle their propaganda that that is considered OK and expected, but when a scientist or patient advocate simply does something like state their opinion in a public forum that then people think it is so unusual or somehow not right.

This old-fashioned notion of political correctness for scientists (i.e. scientists don’t talk publicly about anything) has to be given the boot.

Arguably second only to patients and their families, scientists are the most powerful advocates.  They have huge credibility with the public and with Congressional and other leaders.

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