Quid Sit Veritas, Revisited
[subtitled: The fate of: "The American Association of Anatomists and stem cell research"]

C. Ward Kischer
Reproduced with Permission

The reader is encouraged to read the original Quid Sit Veritas, this website: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/kisc/kisc_13quidsitveritas1.html

The world of politics has finally corrupted the world of science. I invite everyone to reread my essay: "The American Association of Anatomists and Stem Cell Research" posted on this website. It is a testimony to the problems in stem cell research, and, a criticism of the use of human embryos, produced sexually, or, by using cloning techniques, in human embryonic stem cell research [hesc].

This current article details what happened to that original essay and a reflection of the continuing treatment of science by the mainstream media, and similar problems even within the scientific community.

The Weekly Standard

I sent this article to The Weekly Standard. It was rejected virtually by return mail with no comments. This is of note because part of their subscription advertisement says it is read everywhere on Capitol Hill. One of the hottest issues on Capitol Hill is cloning and stem cell research. Yet, The Weekly Standard is not interested in what a human embryologist has to say about this issue.

The American Association of Anatomists

Subsequently, I sent this article to The Anatomical Record, specifically, to the Editor, Roger Markwald. He said the manuscript should be referred to the entire Editorial Board. Six weeks later I received a letter from the Managing Editor stating that they do not publish articles which have been "published before". They knew the article had been posted on Life Issues.net. The fact is that, often, articles are published in different Journals, or sources, if the editors and authors agree, and, especially, if the author retains the copyright. But, the Managing Editor claimed the copyright to my article was owned by Life Issues.net. He misread the copyright notice, which is for the website, only.

Next, I sent my article to The New Anatomist, which assigned it a review number and kept it for six weeks. The Editor, Mark Paalman, finally wrote me that my article was "inappropriate for publication in The New Anatomist". Inappropriate? Here are the words, verbatim, of the Journal's mission statement:

"The New Anatomist is a bimonthly magazine-style section of The Anatomical Record . . . . .Its articles, reviews and tutorials Focus on topics of interest to anatomists and bioscientists alike . . . . This unique journal also provides readers with news and views of the field from scientific, social and political arenas and a forum for debate on controversial issues."

So, "inappropriate"? As John Wayne would say: "Not hardly"!

I wrote to Paalman requesting copies of the reviews stating it would help me to understand why the article was "inappropriate". He replied that there were no reviews, that the decision "was an editorial one". It took six weeks to decide that?

It is clear the American Association of Anatomists [AAA] will not allow public dissent from, or debate of, their advocacy for human embryonic stem cell research. In fact, consider the following:

The American Association of Anatomists posts a website called: "AAA Public Policy Listserv" and uses it to advocate human embryonic stem cell research. Its editor is Andrea Pendleton. This is the same person who was the AAA Newsletter Editor, referred to in my article and who originally accepted my Letter To The Editor, which was critical of using human embryos for stem cell research, but was overruled by then President of AAA, John Fallon.

I wrote to Pendleton asking her if she would post my remarks critical of using human embryos in stem cell research on the "Listserv". Her one word answer was: "No". We are dealing here with a potential billion dollar industry, and the AAA wants our tax dollars to fund its advocated research, even though, at present, there is not a shred of evidence that such research would lead to beneficial therapy. The rub comes from the fact that adult stem cell research shows solid prospects of being therapeutically beneficial, without the attendant problems I have pointed out in my article.


Those advocating hesc research continue to be in total denial of when human life begins; their definition is their justification for using early human embryos for the supposed production of stem cells. Their claim, and that of the AAA, is that human life does not begin until implantation, which is 5 to 6 days after fertilization [this is completely contradictory to what Anatomy teaches their students]. Thus, they can fertilize and culture, in vitro, for the first 5 days of human development with impunity. Actually, the techniques are available to culture the human embryo beyond 5 days, up to about 14 days. But, the advocat es for hesc research, at this point, use the 5 days to "legitimize" their promotion linking it to the time of implantation, which they say begins life and "pregnancy" [being with child]. They use a conflation of terms, all of which are distorted, and avoid outright debate or citations of human embryology. Thus, for example, John Opitz and John Gearhart appear before the President's Council on Bioethics, pass themselves off as human embryologists and advocate for hesc research. Opitz is a pediatrician and Gearhart is a stem cell biologist; but neither is a human embryologist. The Council lets them get away with it by never calling on a human embryologist as a witness.

Human life begins at the first moment of fertilization, or, as in cloning, the first moment of division of the host cell. To say it does not is an abject lie. It is a simple fact, not difficult to understand. That first moment begins the continuum of life and ends with death, whenever that may occur.

The O'Reilly Factor

There are those who deliberately try to obscure the truth. Bill O'Reilly, host of the Fox News Cable show, "The O'Reilly Factor", is one of those. For several years he has claimed: "No one knows when life begins". In spite of my efforts in letters and phone calls, in which I spoke to his Executive Producer in person, he never answered my letters nor read any part of them on his program. He is still at it. On the 6th of May, 2005, O'Reilly was interviewing Geraldine Ferraro about Hillary Clinton's position on abortion. The issue of 'when human life begins' came up and O'Reilly said: "It's a belief system. We'll never know". Thus, in his "No Spin Zone" he has committed the biggest spin of all time. He is responsible for lieing to millions of his viewers and misleading them big time.

Human Embryologists

In concert with the claim that life does not begin until implantation is the parallel claim that pregnancy does not begin until implantation. This is refuted by all human embryologists and especially by Bruce Carlson in his textbook of 1994 when his very first sentence declares: "Human pregnancy begins with the fusion of the egg and sperm". Why doesn't Carlson publicly speak out in support of his text, and the truth, and contradict the claims by the AAA? Why doesn't any other human embryologist speak out in similar fashion? To my knowledge he has never been called as a witness before the President's Council on Bioethics.

The Dean of current Human Embryology is Ronan O'Rahilly, who is retired and lives in Switzerland. To my knowledge he has never been called as a witness before the Council. There are other human embryologists available to testify. Yet, none has ever been called. It is likely that virtually none would accept if called. Why is this so? The best guess is that many, if not most, have current and/or pending grants before NIH, and they would not want those grants compromised by telling the truth. Is this why Bruce Carlson has never spoken out? Or others?

So, there you have it. Quid Sit Veritas, still! The corruption of Human Embryology, one of the four basic disciplines of human anatomy, is virtually complete. For more than 150 years we have been teaching our medical and biology students, in medical schools, colleges and high schools, that human life begins at fertilization. But, for the past 35 years, pols, pundits and charlatans have been claiming otherwise, never consulting Human Embryology, the best source for information, because their objective is political, such as Roe v. Wade. Now, greed and arrogance have prompted an overwhelming advocacy campaign for financing human embryonic stem cell research, and, shamefully, w ithin the AAA. If the reader of this essay wants to know the truth about when human life begins, I ask each to think in reverse back to the moment of his/her beginning - and that would be fertilization and the initiation of the continuum.

As Sherlock Holmes said so poignantly: "It's elementary my dear Watson".

History has a way of preserving the truth. That is the problem for the mainstream media, and, especially, for the American Association of Anatomists. Sooner or later, the judgement of history will compel both to deal with the truth.

C. Ward Kischer, Ph.D. is an emeritus professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy, specialty in Human Embryology, University of Arizona College of Medicine. He is a former adult stem cell researcher and longtime member of the American Association of Anatomists. He can be reached by his e mail address: wardkischer@yahoo.com.