False Choices and False Prophets
WASHINGTON (AP) - From tiny embryonic cells to the large-scale physics of global warming, President Barack Obama urged researchers on Monday to follow science and not ideology as he abolished contentious Bush-era restraints on stem-cell research. "Our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values," Obama declared as he signed documents changing U.S. science policy and removing what some researchers have said were shackles on their work.
"It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda - and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology," Obama said.
Think what you will be the effectiveness and importance of embryonic stem cell research, this is not only pure nonsense it is pure arrogance on the part of a six-week-old president.
Apparently, some in the "scientific community" felt slighted by the Bush Administration when the former president failed to federally fund certain kinds of research because of his belief that human life begins at conception and deserves moral consideration at that moment. This, according to our new president, is a "false choice." What is false about it?
It is a choice that newly pregnant women across this country make every day. They chose between giving life and terminating it. For many it is a very hard choice, either way. But there is nothing false about it. It is as real as love itself.
When given the opportunity by Pastor Rick Warren, during the campaign, to tell voters at what point a baby "should get human rights," Barack Obama humbly said the answer to that question was "above my pay grade."
That was a lie.
The man was running for president of the United States and a president gets to decide - has to decide - many life and death issues.
Once inaugurated as president Barack Obama was not so humble anymore. He swiftly lifted the ban on federal funding of foreign abortion clinics. Before the election, Obama wanted to sound moderate and didn't want to offend pro-life voters by clearly stating his own views on abortion. His actions and previous votes, however, suggest he is one of the most pro-abortion politicians in America.
The scientific question of when human life begins is hardly a serious question anymore, among scientists, anyway. It begins at conception. A new living being, human - not in potential but in genetic reality - has been created.
The moral and political question is when to assign this being the full complement of rights and political protections we give other human beings.
That is a choice. It is both a personal choice and a societal choice.
Barack Obama has made a choice. He has chosen to give fewer protections to nascent human life in the hope of future scientific breakthroughs to help the sick and infirm. Just as he has chosen to borrow and spent trillions of dollars on social and economic programs in the hope of improving the U.S. economy.
To govern is to choose. And Obama is choosing.
He and followers flatter themselves by claiming their choices are not ideologically driven but are made on facts and facts alone. Really? What "fact" led Obama's Energy Secretary and phyicist Steven Chu to suggest that by 2100 there would be no arable land left in California thanks to anthropomorphic global warming?
That is not a fact. That is an untestable, non-scientific prediction.
What "fact" led Obama's top science advisor John Holdren to predict (wrongly) back in the 1980s an "age of scarcity" due to over population? Back then Holdren, the co-director of the graduate program in energy and resources at the University of California, Berkeley, bought into Paul Ehrlich's famous "Population Bomb" theory. Ehrlich's predictions of world-wide food shortages and natural resource depletion were universally wrong. (See NYT science writer John Tierney for more on this.
The point is a president doesn't have to politicize science when he hires politicized scientists to advise him.
That's a choice too.
UPDATE: Princeton's Robert George and Eric Cohen have more to say on this in today's WSJ