Wednesday, May 25, 2005

And my government strongly supports stem cells

Since I keep seeing Google hits here from people looking for New York Magazine competitions, I’ve put all of the ones I ever excerpted in one place. These were comps very much like the Washington Post Style Invitational (something like the New Statesman comps, for my British readers).

A reporter asked Bush today why discarding 400,000 frozen embryos or leaving them frozen was better than using them for scientific research. He sidestepped completely: destruction of life, federal dollars, yadda yadda. Didn’t suggest what should be done with the 400,000. No one’s mentioning the millions of orphans that will be institutionalized until they’re 18 while Christian couples donate to other Christian couples their leftover (but Christian) embryos. Indeed, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the amusingly named president of Indonesia, a country with a much larger orphan population thanks to the tsunami, was standing right next to Bush while all this discussion was going on, possibly bemused by which ethical issues do or do not exercise the minds of the rich people of the West.

Evidently they don’t have milk cartons in Indonesia.

Here, George moves in to see if Bambang means what he thinks it means.

Later, and sweatier, Bush added, “And my government strongly supports stem cells.” He meant research on adult stem cells, but it’s still a telling slip. I’ve said before that by the end of his second term, fetuses (and now embryos) will have the right to vote, but their mothers won’t.

He went on, “there must be a balance between science and ethics.” By ethics, he of course means religion, and his use of the word balance shows once again that he thinks of science as being something intrinsically unethical, amoral, and irreligious, which must be balanced, i.e., kept in check by, ethics/religion.

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