Human Exceptionalism

Dishonesty Piled Upon Dishonesty by Obama Administration on Stem Cells

It wasn’t bad enough that President Obama stealthily removed a pro science/pro ethics pluripotent Bush stem cell policy, pretending that he was fighting the forces of anti-science. Now Melody Barnes, the president’s domestic policy adviser, has written an article extolling the President’s decision. That’s fine. But what is quickly becoming the norm for this administration, it is deeply disingenuous, based on crucial factual omissions and straw man put downs. From her column:

From this time forward, decisions about federal funding of stem cell research will be based on scientific principles. In the Obama administration, the scientific community will be empowered, but not unaccountable. Scientists who wish to conduct stem cell research must do so in a responsible manner and the president Obama will not allow scientists to leave our shared values at the laboratory door. But unlike the past eight years, political ideology will no longer trump sound science.

Get it? When they agree with an ethical regulation, it supports science. When they don’t it is anti science.

Then she mentions adult stem cell research, leaving out the thousands of human trials for all ranges of diseases and afflictions that are showing such great promise.

We have already seen the benefits of cell-based therapies in areas such as bone marrow transplantation. Today, we do not know and should not overstate the full potential of this research, but we have an obligation to move forward. We have an obligation to our parents and grandparents who suffer from degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. We have an obligation to our children who suffer from chronic diseases such as juvenile diabetes. We have an obligation to veterans who suffer from spinal cord injuries they sustained defending our nation. Stem cell research could cure Parkinson’s and diabetes, and help those who thought they would sit in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives walk again.

The clear implication here is that bone marrow is fine, as far as it goes. But to get the real cures we need ESCR–leaving out the fact that adult stem cells have shown tremendous promise in early human trials for most of the conditions she mentions.

Then she seems to be tough on preventing ethical slippery slopes:

The president will vigorously oppose cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, it is wrong, and it will not be tolerated. The National Institutes of Health will continue to be prohibited from funding research during which an embryo is destroyed.

Reproductive cloning can’t be done yet, and besides, that isn’t a ban on cloning. Moreover, the NIH remains “prohibited from funding research during which an embryo is destroyed,” not because of Obama’s policy, but because it is against existing federal law (the Dickey Amendment) that he didn’t have the power to change via executive order. Notice she does not promise a veto of any attempt to change that law, which as I noted in an earlier post, is already being advocated by the Left’s primary media outlet, the New York Times.

Then comes the straw man:

Americans may never reach a unanimous decision on the best way to fight disease and improve the health of all Americans, but doing nothing while millions suffer and die is not an acceptable option.

Who ever advocated “doing nothing?”

This administration promised to be transparent: Instead it is opaque. It promised to heal divisions: Instead it is worsening them. It promised honesty, but its policy arguments are profoundly misleading to the point of mendacity.

The only reason he can get away with it is that the media remains immersed in the tank. If that ever changes, Obama could be in deep political trouble.

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