We hear a lot of sturm and drang that President Bush is "anti-science" because of his opposition to human cloning and full federal funding of destroying embryos for ESCR. But these positions don’t make the President anti-science: That dispute is about ethics. People can agree or disagree about the ethics, but one can be–as I am–both pro science and anti-human cloning.
There is a bill now before the Senate that will test whether the pro-ESCR Democrats are also pro-science. S.30, the "Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research" would federally fund "alternatives" to destructive ESCR, such as "reprogramming," in which an ordinary body cell may be reverted back to its embryonic stem cell state–a feat accomplished already in mice.
This bill passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate last year and in the House, but not with a "super majority" needed to clear a procedural hurdle. Unfortunately, S. 30 is being held hostage to the ESCR bill–much like the umbilical cord blood banking bill was held up for years before finally passing. But whether or not one supports or opposes traditional ESCR, there is no substantial reason to oppose S. 30, given the dearth of ethical controversy and the great scientific potential. (Ian Wilmut, of Dolly fame, has stated he believes reprogramming will be usable for medical therapies before human cloning.) If the Democrats who control the Congress shoot down this bill, it won’t be because of ethical considerations but pure politics, and a desire to thwart one avenue of stem cell experiments in order to boost another. And that would be anti-science.
|Jester Hat Tip:||Wesley J. Smith|
The anti-science meme has been used more and more at anybody who is against cloning or ESCR and of course the term fundamentalist is also being bandied about in this relation. You truth is that everybody believes ethical limits need to be put on research and what can be scientifically possible. The same people that would call Bush and others anti-science for wanting to restrict research in some area often will want restrictions placed on genetic modification of food (so called Frankenfoods), missile shield testing to totally go away, and animal testing to stop.
This is just another sign of the breakdown of debate that instead of proponents of something making their case, they instead use ridiculous labels to minimize the other side. Anti-science, anti-choice are just of few of the terms used so that they don’t have to actually debate what they disagree with.