March 9, 2009

The War on Science is finally over. Science won.

The key to Obama's executive order lifting limits on federal funding for stem-cell research, which he signed this morning:

This Order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America. But let’s be clear: promoting science isn’t just about providing resources – it is also about protecting free and open inquiry. It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda – and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.

By doing this, we will ensure America’s continued global leadership in scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs. That is essential not only for our economic prosperity, but for the progress of all humanity.

This is part of Obama's broader vision of how government engages with science, as the WaPo's Rob Stein reported this morning. It's an approach that has drawn the approval of traditional conservatives like Nancy Reagan.

However, the religious-right nutcases will never be mollified, because apparently all human embryos are sacred vials of life that must be preserved all costs. (No word yet on what to do about that evil "periods" thing.) As Howie notes, this includes Rep. Eric Cantor.

Likewise Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, cited by MSNBC's Tamron Hall in the clip above:

I believe it is unethical to use human life, even young embryonic life, to advance science. While such research is unfortunately legal, taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for experiments that require the destruction of human life.

Rep. Jim Langerin, D-R.I., gave a succinct and powerful response to this nonsense:

Well, as a pro-life Democrat, I say, what could be more pro-life than research that would extend and improve the quality of life for millions of people who are struggling with some of life's most challenging chronic conditions and diseases. You know, why should a child who has diabetes have to endure a lifetime of painful shots and tests? Why should someone who, especially a child who may have a juvenile form of cancer, whose life may very well be cut short, not know the promise of a full and rewarding life? By supporting stem-cell research, and finding treatments and cures that may be offered, we are doing just that -- extending and improving quality of life for millions of people. And that, I say, we have a moral obligation to support.

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