Is Obama Politicizing Science? Um, Yes

When it comes to his decision to allow federal funds for embryonic stem cell research, a line of inquiry that has so far proven virtually worthless, it sure is political, writes ROBERT P. GEORGE and ERIC COHEN

Mr. Obama made a big point in his speech of claiming to bring integrity back to science policy, and his desire to remove the previous administration’s ideological agenda from scientific decision-making. This claim of taking science out of politics is false and misguided on two counts.

First, the Obama policy is itself blatantly political. It is red meat to his Bush-hating base, yet pays no more than lip service to recent scientific breakthroughs that make possible the production of cells that are biologically equivalent to embryonic stem cells without the need to create or kill human embryos. Inexplicably — apart from political motivations — Mr. Obama revoked not only the Bush restrictions on embryo destructive research funding, but also the 2007 executive order that encourages the National Institutes of Health to explore non-embryo-destructive sources of stem cells.

Second and more fundamentally, the claim about taking politics out of science is in the deepest sense antidemocratic. The question of whether to destroy human embryos for research purposes is not fundamentally a scientific question; it is a moral and civic question about the proper uses, ambitions and limits of science. It is a question about how we will treat members of the human family at the very dawn of life; about our willingness to seek alternative paths to medical progress that respect human dignity.

Personally,  I would have less opposition to ESC research if it had at least shown promise at some point. About the best that can be said for ESC reserach is that there will be one FDA approved human trial. Meanwhile, adult stem cells and other lines have already created tons of cures, medicines, and treatments. Without all the pesky cancers.

I do not have a problem with cloning, up to a point. This would be an interesting, if not rather science fictiony, way to replace lost limbs and organs in the future. Think about being able to create working eyes for the blind, new kidneys, eardrums for the deaf, a new arm.

But that is not what Obama’s reversal is about. It is simply a way to throw a bone to the left wing. Some will claim that this is a way to continue and expand abortion on demand. Maybe, maybe not. But, it is not about keeping science politics free, particularly when scientists will have to fight for funding from the federal teet.

This is also a nice distraction, as Eric Cantor said. Newspapers, TV, and blogs are all talking about it. It is a fascinating issue. But, no worries, President Neophyte, we haven’t forgotten about the rest of your far, far, far left agenda.

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2 Responses to “Is Obama Politicizing Science? Um, Yes”

  1. Reasic says:


    No offense, but the level of ignorance displayed here on many of these issues is just astonishing to me. I would think if you’re going to comment on an issue of national importance, you would at least take the time to make sure you have your facts straight. That would be the patriotic thing to do, anyways.

  2. So, let’s see: you throw out personal insults, call me ignorant, yet, you cannot provide any rebuttal other then personal smears.

    Thanks for playing, reasic. Now, take a seat if you have nothing adult to offer.

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