It's easy to get caught up in the political tailwinds, but the truth is that politics rarely makes progress. Science, however, is constantly surprising me with its ability to power science fiction into science fact.
Take gene therapy. Fifteen years ago, the field seemed dead (some of its early adopters actually died, which did not help matters). Today? It's the future of medicine. Gene therapists have literally given sight to the blind, cured bubble boys (left), and most recently reversed beta thalassemia - and sickle cell anemia is not far behind.
The secret? Two words, my friend: Evo and Lution. Gene therapy works because the body selects for successful cells. The healthy cells - the ones with the good copy of the gene - outcompete the shitty ones mother nature dealt you. And your body is so highly optimized, even a small population of good cells is enough to keep the bad apples at bay.
So what's next for gene therapy? Well I'll put it to you this way: of the ~4,000 human diseases, only a few are currently treatable. As genomic data explodes, so will our understanding of the genetic basis of these diseases - and so will the cures. So in our lifetimes we can expect to see cures for Fanconi's anemia, Huntington's disease, polycystic kidney disease, and stubborn old cystic fibrosis, just to name a few. That is what scientists are bringing to society - but what is society bringing back? Only 39% of Americans believe in evolution. I wonder sometimes who we are busy saving.