Sunday, August 22, 2004

Stepford First Lady

Michael Kinsley, in an op-ed that ran in today's Trib but appeared last week in the Washington Post, pokes holes in the logic that Laura Bush uses to defend her husband's position on stem cell research. Kinsley, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, also takes a nice broadside at conservative opposition to stem cell research:

Bush is supposed to think that these clumps of a few dozen cells are every bit as human as the people who will suffer or die from diseases that stem cells could cure. He had better believe that, because stem-cell research uses embryos being discarded by fertility clinics and doesn't actually add to the embryonic death toll at all. Only a deep conviction about the humanity of these microscopic dots -- which have fewer human characteristics than a potato -- could justify sacrificing real human lives to make the purely symbolic point that these dots are human too.

I'm not convinced that stem cell research is going to be as an effective a wedge issue as Democrats hope it will be, because I'm not sure much of the public really understands the science behind it or the potential it holds. But it is a stark reminder that we have an administration captive to fundamentalist ideologues who seem to have the same regard for science as did the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stem cell research is a treatment looking for results. They just ain't there yet.

2:47 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

That's a legitimate point to make. I think reasonable people can disagree over whether the Democrats are exaggerating the benefits of stem cell research for political gain. If the president wants to make the case that federal dollars are better spent elsewhere, then by all means, let's have that debate. But when he limited federal funding to work with existing stem cell lines, he did it based on ethical and moral grounds. That's a much different argument.

2:57 PM


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