IRVING WEISSMAN: PUSHING STEM CELLS
In a human biology classroom this past March, stem cell biologist Irving Weissman described his Jewish grandparents' flight to the U.S. for religious freedom. He turned to his host, William Hurlbut, a fellow Stanford University professor and member of President George W. Bush's Council on Bioethics, and accused him of attempting to tie American public policy to his own religious beliefs. A student raised his hand and asked, "But once you get rid of religion, do you have any guide other than popular opinion?"
The Hippocratic oath, answered Weissman, who graduated from Stanford's medical school. "You shall not as a doctor allow any of your personal ethical, religious, even moral concerns stand between you and care of the patient," he paraphrased. "I interpolate this to mean not only the patient you might treat but future patients that might be helped by your research."
This article was originally published with the title Terms of Engagement.