November 21, 2007

Thanks once again Mr Bush...

From an editorial in National Review....

Today’s papers bring news of an enormous advance in stem-cell research. Scientists in the United States and Japan have managed to turn regular human skin cells into the equivalent of embryonic stem cells — achieving what they’ve sought until now through the destruction of embryos, but without the need to use embryos, to use cloning, or to use eggs...

...In an effort to cause the country to abandon this conviction, some advocates of the research, including nearly every prominent Democrat in Congress, have made reckless and irresponsible promises, offered false hope to the suffering, depicted their opponents as heartless enemies of science, and exploited sick people for crass political gain.

Meanwhile, in an effort to defend that conviction, President Bush and most congressional Republicans have stood up to all that pressure, and have pursued an approach that seeks to advance science while also insisting on ethics. Contrary to the common myth, Bush never “banned” stem-cell research, or even federal funding for it. Instead, he permitted such funding, for the first time, in a way that could help basic science advance while not encouraging the ongoing destruction of human embryos. He acknowledged the importance of the science, acknowledged the importance of the ethics, and sought to champion both.

For several years now, the president has also clearly understood that the potential for scientific alternatives to the destruction of embryos could offer a powerful means to that end. Helped along by a variety of experts who saw that promise — perhaps most notably William Hurlbut of Stanford University, who was a member of Bush’s bioethics council — he came to recognize that stem-cell science could solve the ethical quandary stem-cell science had created. As early as 2005, Bush was speaking about “ethical ways of getting the same kind of cells now taken from embryos without violating human life or dignity.” And after trying unsuccessfully to get the Congress to support such new avenues of research, he acted on his own through an executive order this summer....

As someone said, Bush accomplishes more in a bad year than Clinton did in his whole 8 years.

And even if you do not care about this particular issue, SANE people should recognize that there should be the possibility that elected governments can exercise oversight in scientific research. I don't think it is sane to say, "Scientists should be allowed to discover or build anything they like, and we should all just pay them to do so and accept humbly whatever they decide to give us." Am I right? (shall I pause and give you Democrats an hour to scratch your heads?)

And therefore sane people should agree that something good has been accomplished. Ordinary Americans said they were not happy with the way certain research was going, and the political process produced a pause, and a change of direction. That's a good thing, right?

And the administration is not "anti-science." That's lying crap from people who can't compete in the arena of ideas. Imagine that researchers were hoping to save lives by inventing what could be an Ozone Layer-destroying chemical? Or by slaughtering baby seals? Would not Al Gore and Democrats be arguing for a slowdown? A change of direction? Alternatives? Hmmm? That would not be "anti-science."

Actually, if you scrutinize that "baby seal-destroying research" analogy, it gives one pause. To be more analogous, Republicans would have to be eager, nay HUNGRY for the destruction of baby seals. And they would have to ignore the fact that there were more promising lines of research that did not kill seals. And they would have to heap scorn on anyone not eager to club little seals en mass, and deride them as knuckle-dragging obscurantists who didn't want Christopher Reeve to be cured.

Posted by John Weidner at November 21, 2007 9:27 AM
Weblog by John Weidner