Wednesday, March 11, 2009


How it should have been for last 8 years:
WASHINGTON – 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.

Researchers said the new president's message was clear: Science, which once propelled men to the moon, again matters in American life.

Opponents saw it differently: a defeat for morality in the most basic questions of life and death.

"The action by the president today will, in effect, allow scientists to create their own guidelines without proper moral restraints," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said.
Also, anyone know why Tony Perkins gets quoted in the 5th paragraph of the AP story?


  1. What's really stupid about the science/morality dichotomy is that scientists tend to be the very first people to raise the alarm about the possible dangers of their research and take action to mitigate them.

    To take an example from biotech, scientists themselves declared a moratorium on recombinant DNA experimentation shortly after its first successes, which lasted until rules could be laid down at the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA in 1975. The most effective and widely accepted guidelines for potentially dangerous research tend not to be established because of pressure from morally concerned citizens, but because scientists are themselves responsible people.

    Which is to say, Perkins's comment reveals a pretty stunning ignorance of the history of science, given that he's devoting his life to fighting it. Or he's just an ideological asshole, arguing something that he knows to be false because less informed people will believe him.

    Or... both.

  2. The action by the president today will, in effect, allow scientists to create their own guidelines without proper moral restraints

    Although he meant this comment to be negative, Perkins is absolutely right about science becoming unbounded by moral restraint. The kind of morality that is not against the science itself or the ramifications of its practice but part of an ideology that that particular aspect of science negates or merely challenges. The same morality that spurned Copernicus, silenced Galileo, and continues to shun Darwin. Not the morality between harmful and helpful science. Grounds built out of fear and ignorance. An angry cry for life and American industry when in fact they are condemning both by denying technology that would potentially benefit mankind and save millions of lives. So to Tony Perkins, Wendy Wright, IN the words of Jon Stewart "Go $%#@ yourself."