The most important point isn’t about cheap politics and hypocrisy. It’s about the fundamental misunderstanding of the role of science in policymaking.
Obama once told reporters that “the promise that stem cells hold does not come from any particular ideology; it is the judgment of science, and we deserve a president who will put that judgment first.”
Putting aside the fact that it now appears many scientists were wrong about the promise of stem cells (at least so far), this is morally deranged. If scientists discovered that experimentation on five-year-old children showed huge promise to cure diseases or solve the energy crisis, we wouldn’t say, “Oh, well, scientists say it’s okay.”
Scientists are technicians, not moral philosophers. While they can provide facts that inform good decision-making, they can’t distill morality in a test tube. Politicians shouldn’t abdicate to the guys in white coats their responsibilities to answer moral questions the white-coats can’t answer.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Jonah Goldberg on the role of science in policy making: