Sunday, March 15, 2009

Obama Hates Science?

When George W. Bush placed restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, he was accused of being anti-science. It was an unfair accusation, but for Bush opponents, this accusation has served as a convenient political tool. In August 2004, in reference to Bush's policies on stem cell research, John Kerry called the Bush administration "one of the most anti-science administrations in our nation's history" and said that as president he would "stand up for science."

"At this very moment, some of the most pioneering cures and treatments are right at our fingertips, but because of the stem-cell ban, they remain beyond our reach," Kerry said. "That is not the way we do things in America. Here in America, we don't sacrifice science for ideology."

Obama used similar language to justify his reversal of Bush's policy: "This Order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America. [P]romoting science isn't just about providing is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda - and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology."

Apparently, ethical concerns count for nothing. But I digress...back to the main point, as articulated by Guy Benson:

Obama’s “uniter” persona also assured Americans that he’d continue to support “promising research of all kinds, including groundbreaking research to convert ordinary human cells into ones that resemble embryonic stem cells.” This research has proven extraordinarily promising, especially after a dramatic breakthrough in 2007: Scientists in Japan and the US discovered they could engineer human skin cells to mimic embryonic stem cell. This could allow the scientific community to probe the benefits of these cells without actually destroying human embryos. To some, this development rendered the controversy moot, and vindicated President Bush’s moral and ethical caution. At the very least, it was an enormous scientific step forward that all observers could unabashedly celebrate.

For this reason, the previous administration—you know, the divisive ideologues who hated science—issued executive order 13435 in 2007 that directed federal funding toward alternative, non-controversial human pluripotent stem cell research. Although some critics argued this action didn’t go far enough, and that further embryonic stem cell research should also be funded, no one could legitimately oppose the funding of this universally welcomed breakthrough.

That brings us to the nasty, gratuitous, and nearly entirely unpublicized action President Obama took amidst the hoopla of overturning Bush’s policies. Right after he told the country he supported alternative, non-destructive stem cell research, Obama signed the actual order. Buried at the very bottom of the document was this line: Executive Order 13435…is revoked.” That’s right, he abolished President Bush’s funding for the type of stem cell research upon which everyone could agree. Just like that.

One little question: Why?! 

Is Obama sacrificing science for ideology? Is the Obama administration anti-science?

Here is Obama's stem cell policy in a nutshell:
  • Obama won't sacrifice science for "ideology."

  • When Conservatives express concerns about the ethical implications of government funded stem cell research, what they're really doing is letting ideology (and politics) interefere with scientific progress. This will not be tolerated. Conservatives' concerns will be ignored.

  • When Obama expresses concerns about the ethical implications of stem cell research that leads to human cloning, he is simply demonstrating a committment to high ethical standards. But let's be as clear about this as possible: he is NOT letting IDEOLOGY interfere with scientific progress.

  • Obama has somehow determined that "the majority of Americans - from across the political spectrum, and of all backgrounds and beliefs - have come to a consensus" that we should spend federal money to pursue human embryonic research. So proceed we will. But let's be as clear about this as possible: he is NOT letting POLITICS influence his science policy.

  • Stem cell research that does not involve destroying, discarding, or harming a human embryo or fetus will recieve no support on Obama's watch. Obama reserves the right to give no explanation.

And finally, some interesting observations from a supporter of human embryonic stem cell research:

There are good reasons why society puts ethical boundaries on science. The Nuremberg code is the best-known example of this. Shocked by the horrors of Nazi science, the civilized world agreed that tests should never again be conducted on people who hadn't agreed to take part, and that test subjects should not be knowingly harmed.

Many scientists saw [Obama's lifting of Bush's funding ban] as a victory of science over ethical shackles.

During the Bush administration, "political ideology was used to define how science should be done," said Harvard Stem Cell Institute researcher Douglas Melton in a prepared statement.

John Kessler, director of the Northwestern University Stem Cell Institute called Bush's restrictions a "really, really unwelcome intrusion of politics into science."

Their comments were echoed by researchers around the world — and though understandable, it was wrong. [snip]

...Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem cell funding were legitimate. They represented a moral objection to the destruction of embryos by people who believe that life begins when sperm meets egg. It's not an objection shared by everyone. But characterizing conscientious objectors as anti-scientific is dangerous.


If you read nothing else today, read this: Obama's Stem Cell Disgrace

Cheney: Obama's Changes to Anti-Terrorism Policy Will Raise the Risk of Attack


Clay Bowler said...

Obama's political agenda is driven on unproven science as one of the sources for its motivation. It's all designed for the tranference of power, and you have to ask yourself how far will he go to silence those who don't see eye to eye with the Democrat's division of the sciences.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats' argument is awful. They are the ones who are anti-science, because science couldn't be more clear that abortion kills an innocent human being.

And even if they weren't so foundationally inconsistent, they jump in and out of moral claims regarding science. They say they think cloning is bad - at least for now - but they support "therapeutic" cloning. That just means that you can clone as long as you promise to destroy the human being before she is born.

Franklin's Locke said...

First, Obama is a demagogue. All he is doing is gaining political power by appealing to the popular prejudices, fears and expectations of the public with his impassioned rhetoric and propaganda. Then he goes and signs the spending bill that does not gives funding it for what he just allowed.


He is just speaking out of both sides of his mouth or is clueless. Either way he does not look like a leader nor the President.

Adrienne said...

The thing is he signed the little "hold-over" budget with the Dickey/Wicker bill still in there which prohibits spending Federal money on fetal stem cell research (if I'm not mistaken).

So within one week he lifts the ban and then signs in a bill prohibiting Federal funding Huh??

This guy is an OCD/ADD, narcissistic sociopath. Other than that he's a nice guy...

My Blog said...

It was widely described, erroneously -- even on the front page of the Post -- as a reversal of George W. Bush's "ban" on embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). Bush never banned ESCR; it has always been legal in the United States to create and destroy human embryos in order to harvest their stem cells. Bush only prevented federal funding from being used for embryo-destructive research.

suek said...

>>So within one week he lifts the ban and then signs in a bill prohibiting Federal funding Huh??>>

Actually, it makes sense. If he had vetoed up the bill, it might not have been passed over his veto. The Dickey/Wicker amendment has apparently been in the annual budget bills since 1995, so it might have been a fight. The budget bill expires Sept 30 with no action by the president, leaving his EO in force with no political fight. 5'll get you 10, the Dickey/Wicker won't be in the next budget bill, and Obama hasn't had to do anything politically unpleasant.

So rest Sept 30 all will be right with the world - by Obama's standards. Patience is good. Especially if confrontation is not your thing...
Nobody ever said O wasn't politically astute.

adagioforstrings said...

re: My Blog Bush never banned ESCR

Absolutely! This is just another straw man argument that the MSM has created & knocked down. They create a false position that no GOP ever held & smugly prove its unpopularity. GAR!!!!

Jean said...

Charles Krauthammer had a particularly good column in our local newspaper, the LV Review Journal - here is the link to his article which in the Townhall webpage --

Obama's idea of helping the human race is about as mininal as is his and Michelle's contribution to charity. A quote from the liberal Bertrand Russell "......We are socialists. We don't pretend to be Christians." applies to Obama's principles as well.

RightKlik said...

CB: Obama will go as far as we let him go.

4s: So human cloning is more palatable to Democrats as long as the cloned embryos end up getting destroyed? Amazing! I'd be interested in posting some links. Any recommendations?

FL: Thanks for the link. Dickey-Wicker (for as long as it lasts and to the extent that it is followed) will require researchers
who use government funds for human embryonic stem cell research to obtain their stem cells from entities that have used private funds to create and destroy the embryos from which the stem cells were harvested (rather than destroying the embryos themselves).

I suppose that waters down the controversy to some extent, but it still ignores the concerns of those who have moral objections to paying taxes to a government that will use the money to fund endeavors that they believe to be immoral.

But I'm sure Obama has done the political calculations and has determined that all of this stem cell maneuvering will result in a net gain of power and votes.

Adrienne: He's splitting hairs (for now).

My Blog: The Democrat media can't waste time getting the facts straight. Keeping their buddies in power is their primary responsibility.

Suek: I agree. As far as the Libs are concerned, Obama's stem cell maneuvers represent an incremental step in the right direction. They may not have everything they want right now, but they're getting closer.

RightKlik said...

AFS: The Democrat media know that the truth about conservatives would be generally popular.

Jean: A very good article...thanks for the link.

Looks like the end of your link got cut's another link:

WomanHonorThyself said...

great piece..o yes the same junk science that insists on climate change..thats what O believes in..pfffttt!

EDGE said...

Thanks for visiting ECM!! If you have any suggestions for movies give me a shout!

I really enjoy your blog too!

robert verdi said...

tough poll, between a adamant pro-choice agenda and Bush hatred, tough.

DaBlade said...

Obama reminds me of that old SNL bit "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" played by the late Phil Hartman. They are both eloquent in speech. The caveman irrationally fears fire out of ignorance. Obama skews "science" to mean anything that advances his leftist political agenda. Morality and ethics is his "fire".

RightKlik said...

RV: I was going to make "all of the above" one of the choices, but I thought that would make the poll too easy!

DaBlade: That's a great comparison.