Stem tide

Stem tide

Stem tide

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
June 21 2007 12:03 PM

Stem tide

Whether you think stem cell research is immoral or not, this little trope needs to be dealt with.

President Bush vetoed a bill last night to fund stem cell research. He then made a statement which is, to be blunt, a lie:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  


If this legislation became law, it would compel American taxpayers for the first time in our history to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos.

This is 100% absolutely untrue, and there is no way to interpret the bill to mean this. The bill would provide funding for additional research to use embryos which were going to be discarded anyway.

If the President were really trying to prevent what he thinks of as murder of humans, then he should block any attempts at in-vitro fertilization, which is what creates so many zygotes in the first place. Instead, he goes this route, which satisfies his far-right fundamentalist base without having to deal with actual, y'know, reality, in any way.

His statement is a lie. It is partisan pandering. It is putting ideology before science. It is distorting science.


With evidently no sense of irony, the President also said:

We want to encourage science.

If you can survive reading this statement without your head exploding, then you are either a better person than me, or you haven't been paying attention. This White House Administration has been the most openly hostile toward science that I can remember. Period.

Media Matters has quite a lot more information on the disinformation on this topic going around.

And I expect the comments to this blog entry will be heated. I understand that. But let me point out that this blog is about science and skepticism, and this topic, while not astronomy, fits that theme perfectly. Science is not a snapshot, it's a tapestry, and when one thread is attacked the whole pattern can be in danger.