The word games go on!
Yesterday President Obama rescinded the restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research. It was no real news, as this was what was expected. I am not going to spend a whole lot of time here on the issue of stem cells except to restate the church’s opposition to any human actions which violate the principle that Human Life is a gift from God – and that it is not our place to be “playing around with it”, manipulating it, and certainly not prematurely ending it. And frankly, it does NOT matter how exemplary the ends might be in terms of medical advances.
What I want to focus on is the FALSEHOOD that President Obama tried to convince us of in his explanation of his actions: that one can divorce science from politics – and that all we should be concerned about has to be the “facts”.
My objection is that it is common sense that EVERYTHING in life is influenced by “political” decisions. Science will NEVER be divorced from the political, and this is ESPECIALLY so when the science is funded by the government! If the government had unlimited resources and would fund EVERY scientific endeavor, then perhaps it could say that politics might not have to enter into the equation. However, such is not the case, and the government must make political decisions on which science to fund. There is most certainly a connection between science and politics. And in fact Obama revealed that very fact when he told everyone that the majority of Americans wanted this research to be funded! So it was essentially a POLITICAL reason that funds were being restored for stem cell research.
Further on this subject line, we must reject the idea that the President put forward that the stem cell research restrictions were all about “politics” – and had nothing to do with moral and ethical issues. When President Bush imposed the restrictions, he indicated that the reason for those restrictions was the MORAL principle that life was to be protected. I would appreciate an upfront statement from the President which would just simply state that he is basing this new policy on the understanding (or at least the guess) that life does NOT begin at conception and therefore there is no moral or ethical reason to keep funding from this research.
The fact is that moral and ethical principles MUST guide and govern scientific research (unless we want to follow the examples of Hitler’s famous “doctors”.) Unfortunately this means that “politics” must be the means by which we determine what those moral and ethical principles are going to be. Even as Obama tosses any inhibitions about stem cell research out the window of the East Wing of the White House, he in the same breath stated that, of course, there would be responsible guidelines to that research, and that human cloning would not be allowed! So there you have it: the BEST new double talk of the new Washington establishment! No matter WHAT he might be saying, the real truth is that politics and science really CANNOT be divorced!