The Devil is in the Details: Embryonic Stem Cells

The whole article, “Obama’s ‘Science’ Fiction” by Charles Krauthammer, is so darn good. He speaks of Obama’s moral arrogance. It is the devil in the details that has created the mess we are in. Platitudes sound great, but careful deliberation and thought are required about these things… especially life issues. Here’s a taste:

    “While I favor moving that moral line to additionally permit the use of spare fertility clinic embryos, President Obama replaced it with no line at all. He pointedly left open the creation of cloned — and noncloned sperm-and-egg-derived — human embryos solely for the purpose of dismemberment and use for parts. …On this, Obama has nothing to say. He leaves it entirely to the scientists. This is more than moral abdication. It is acquiescence to the mystique of “science” and its inherent moral benevolence. How anyone as sophisticated as Obama can believe this within living memory of Mengele and Tuskegee and the fake (and coercive) South Korean stem cell research is hard to fathom.

    That part of the ceremony, watched from the safe distance of my office, made me uneasy. The other part — the ostentatious issuance of a memorandum on “restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making” — would have made me walk out.

    Restoring? The implication, of course, is that while Obama is guided solely by science, Bush was driven by dogma, ideology and politics.

    What an outrage. Bush’s nationally televised stem cell speech was the most morally serious address on medical ethics ever given by an American president. It was so scrupulous in presenting the best case for both his view and the contrary view that until the last few minutes, the listener had no idea where Bush would come out.

    Obama’s address was morally unserious in the extreme. It was populated, as his didactic discourses always are, with a forest of straw men. Such as his admonition that we must resist the “false choice between sound science and moral values.” Yet, exactly 2 minutes and 12 seconds later he went on to declare that he would never open the door to the “use of cloning for human reproduction.”

    Does he not think that a cloned human would be of extraordinary scientific interest? And yet he banned it.

    Is he so obtuse as not to see that he had just made a choice of ethics over science? Yet, unlike Bush, who painstakingly explained the balance of ethical and scientific goods he was trying to achieve, Obama did not even pretend to make the case why some practices are morally permissible and others not.

    This is not just intellectual laziness. It is the moral arrogance of a man who continuously dismisses his critics as ideological while he is guided exclusively by pragmatism (in economics, social policy, foreign policy) and science in medical ethics.”

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