The Corner

Re: “Obama Aims to Shield Science from Politics”

Most striking to me about the Washington Post’s story are these two sentences.


1) “The decision by President George W. Bush to restrict funding for stem cell research has been seen by critics as part of a pattern of allowing political ideology to influence scientific decisions across an array of issues . . .”


2) “[T]he research is highly controversial because the cells are obtained by destroying embryos, which some consider to be immoral.”


Well, if one considers the destruction of embryos immoral, then one’s opposition to it is not “political ideology” any more than it is political ideology to argue that the state should protect the lives of its citizens, their freedom of speech, or what have you. There is no sharp division between the political and the moral; the state’s protection of rights is, to my mind, both. But to dismiss a position as “political ideology” is to speak as though there simply were no moral dispute.

The sentences seem to be an accurate presentation of how the opposing sides view this issue — and of how one of the sides fails even to understand the position of the other.

I am also struck by the illiteracy of the second sentence.  (Actually, that sentence is just fine. One keeps learning.  9/30/11 — JLS)