Thursday, January 08, 2009

Life Links 1/8/09

First Things has posted a long but well-worth-your-time essay online by Joseph Bottum and Ryan Anderson entitled, “Stem Cells: A Political History.”
President Bush’s mildly complicated policy, how-ever, didn’t fit the narrative that the media wanted to tell. And the question, of course, is why? What was it about stem cells that so agitated the nation for six years?


For six years, from 2001 through 2007, embryonic stem cells were a weapon in a political battle. And, as in all political battles, usefulness trumps truth, even for the scientists who willingly made themselves into partisans during the debate.

The history of the stem-cell debate is a study of what happens when politics and science reach out to each other. The politicians were guilty, but the scientists were more guilty, for they allowed—no, they encouraged—politicians to make stem-cell research a tool in the public fights over abortion, public religion, and high finance.
I disagree with the assertions that the political stem cell wars came to an end in November of 2007 (with the creation of human iPS cells) since the voters in my state just got fooled into allowing researchers a free pass to do whatever they want with IVF embryos donated by their parents. However, this is surely the best compilation of the political history of stem cells I’ve read and really shows how corrupt scientists and politicians became.

HT: Between Two Worlds

Clarke Forsythe has a piece entitled “Prudence in Policymaking: Is incrementalism ethical and effective?”

HT: LTI Blog

Two men who set an abortion clinic in New Mexico on fire have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson.
Prosecutors allege Baca torched the clinic in an effort to prevent his girlfriend from getting an abortion and Altman aided him in the crimes....

Baca's attorney said the deal is fair.

"This was never a political crime," Hanisee said. "It was an emotional crime, he was upset about the planned termination of a pregnancy it was something that happened that he regrets and you'll hear more from him at sentencing."

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