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Obama's No Politics Science

Our Readers Who Comment are in a stew this morning over the news that President Obama wants to insulate science from politics across the federal government as he announces an end to restrictions on funding for human embryonic stem cell research.

As Rob Stein reports, Obama's executive order on stem cells will overturn a restriction President Bush put in place in 2001 that limited federal funding to 21 cell lines already in existence. But the implications of the decision go well beyond that issue.

Several readers note that the motives of scientists are no more to be trusted than those of politicians. A number of readers ask if the president's decision on stem cells will apply equally to political-scientific debates on such questions as the efficacy of nuclear energy or the truth about global warming. Some note that if there is to be government financing of research, politics will inevitably accompany the conversation. And there is another chorus in the long debate about whether stem cell research starts, in effect, as murder.

We'll start with TabLUnoLCSWfromUtah, who summarized the debate very well in writing, "There is no easy answer to the science versus religious/humanist ethical dichotomy of politics. Without faith or some inner ethical values, science can become a tool for evil... Nevertheless, the radical religious bigots can also be as dangerous... Taking God out of the equation isn't always the best answer. But determining what is God can be just as perplexing and disturbing."

magellan1 said, "All well and good, until you realize that many scientists are just as political as the mopes in Washington. What he's really trying to protect are those wackos whose views conform to leftist doctrine. I doubt if he'll be funding or shielding studies that might upset his little applecart."
The stem cell executive order will overturn a restriction Bush put in place on Aug. 9, 2001, limiting federal funding to what turned out to be 21 cell lines already in existence on that date.
chatard wrote, "...Now it's Obama's decision not only what science is but what politics is!! Obama is going to be the REAL decider! The administration is going to dispense health care and pork and control SCIENCE! No stifling of initiative and creativity and research here, Boss!..."

moemongo said, "A sad day in America when we have to protect reason and logic from fanatics, and influence peddlers. Our country's biggest ally has been science and teachers and they have helped us be the greatest nation on earth."

But magellan1 wrote, "Obama is a Nazi. Next you'll see him and his buddies attending book burnings in the Capitol."

thought1 replied, "Obama just endorsed prevalence of science over ideology - in case of Nazis it was the other way around. Science is taught by books, but not That one..."

fenoy wrote, "...If Obama would give half as much thought to the economy as he's giving to stem cells and abortions the country would be (perhaps) better off. Instead he screws around with minor issues on fringe trying to appease various left wing causes while Wall Street tanks..."

VeloStrummer said, "How refreshing that these decisions are no longer in the hands of religious zealots. The Dark Ages are over."

But AlbyVA wrote, "Where do stem cells come from? (embryos)!!! Which means you need (DEAD BABIES) to fuel the stem cell market. How long until XYZ Corp is calling an abortion clinic to meet its quota of embryos? Liberals have no morals. They only care about themselves and not the lives they impact."

LNER4472 asked, "Will this policy also extend to protecting research into global climate change, alternative energy sources, nuclear power, etc. from "political influence"?..."

And jharris82 said, "Great. Now we can finally provide both sides of issues like global warming and nuclear power. Part of the scientific method is to always question and test assumptions; people who stridently cry that "we have a consensus and there's no room for debate" are doing everyone a disservice."

Emma3 wrote, "...Lifting restrictions on stem cell resaerch was COMPLETELY political. And I wonder if our new nationalized healthcare system will pay for whatever "treatments" are discovered? Or will you have to wait in line until you're dead anyway?" PM

prigter noted that "As long as the Federal Government funds science, you cannot shield scientists from political influence. Money talks. The scientists will say anything the politicians wish them to say if it comes with enough money."

nolimit wrote, "Politics alway influence science, only Bush went too far. Without a question, science and technology move humanity forward, while religions keep us in check."

Off-Point Remark of the Day came from Tupac_Goldstein , who wrote, "Yes, but can you protect science from Rahm Emanuel? Can you protect anything from Rahm Emanuel?"

And we'll close with this exchange:
atlwarhawk wrote, "Barack, it's the conomy stupid."

To which MorganaLeFay replied, "What's a 'conomy stupid'?"

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  March 9, 2009; 7:33 AM ET
Categories:  Obama , Science , Stem Cells  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Readers Debate Focus on Limbaugh
Next: Creationism, Evolution, Faith and Reason


I still think my point about Joan Rivers, and her interest in this science is the most forward thinking. I have heard several plastic surgeons talking about removing then growing whole new noses and chins. Who cares if you can walk again if you don't look good!

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | March 9, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Off-Point Remark of the Day came from Tupac_Goldstein , who wrote, "Yes, but can you protect science from Rahm Emanuel? Can you protect anything from Rahm Emanuel?"

I thought it was the no-point(ever) post...

Posted by: LABC | March 9, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The most frightening thing to me is the way modern conservatism seeks to de-legitimize both government and science. It in effect seeks to exercise power by appeal to a vague collection of values alone, without any restraint from facts or concern for the legitimacy of its actions. Government and science are both corrupt, but we are to trust that some combination of conservative beliefs alone is somehow pure and effective.

No thank you. Give me science and constitutional government, please. If conservatism can survive within that framework, excellent. Otherwise: farewell, conservatism.

Posted by: nodebris | March 9, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

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