The surrender of political authority to scientists evident in Barack Obama’s stem cell executive order and remarks last Monday seems to have hit a bit of a nerve. I wrote about the subject in the Washington Post last week, but over this weekend several voices on Obama’s side of the stem cell question have made the same point: that whatever your view, you’ve got to articulate and defend it as a moral, social, and political matter, not defer to scientists on a non-scientific question.
The Washington Post has an editorial making that case today, and yesterday the Post ran an op-ed from former Harvard stem cell scientist David Shaywitz reminding us of the limits and weaknesses (as well as the great strengths) of the academic scientific enterprise.
Meanwhile, Scott Gottlieb’s Wall Street Journal op-ed highlights a different irony of the stem cell policy: the way in which many of the most forthright champions of embryo research simultaneously favor putting up serious obstacles to private sector medical innovation.
And if you want more on science and politics, there’s this book I could mention too.