One of President Obama's strengths is his mild manner. It tends to give the impression of reasonableness, and is reinforced by his habit of presenting strongly ideological moves as mere pragmatism. Rather than acknowledge that he is choosing sides, he spins tales of transcending "the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long..."
In reversing his predecessor's executive order regarding embryonic stem cell research, the president outlined the choice as follows: "In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent." You see, there really is no moral quandary worth considering because "I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering." Everyone is for easing human suffering. That begs the question: Would the president be in favor of easing human suffering if it required using the organs of, say, 6-month-old fetuses? The problem is not that some people are against "sound science" but rather that science cannot answer questions like "When is human life worthy of respect and protection?" Those are inherently political questions that can only be answered by the whole society.
A few sentences later, President Obama himself acknowledged that "sound science" is not the only consideration. He declared that "we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society." Come again? What if human cloning could get paraplegics to walk again or deliver diabetics from a lifetime of needles? What if the federal government's refusal to fund such research caused "some of our best scientists (to) leave for other countries that will sponsor their work"? Apparently there are moral constraints on science and President Obama stands ready to impose them.
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