from the presidential-punditry dept.
United Press International has recently run a number of interesting — and largely critical — commentaries on President Bushís policy decisions regarding embryonic stem cell research and human cloning with terms that range from "unworkable" to "embarrassingly stupid."
Read more for a sampling. Some recent items from UPI:
- An analysis by Martin Sieff, UPI Senior News Analyst ("Bush stem cell policy in ruins", 29 August 2001) starts off "Less than three weeks after his pronouncement, President George W. Bush's decision to authorize federally funded stem cell research on a limited number of stem cell lines already appears to be not only dismal science but also utterly unworkable. Possibly no public action since the passing of the 20th Amendment and the Volstead Act banning the legal sale of alcohol in the United States has been revealed to be so unworkable, — and even embarrassingly stupid — so fast." Sieff argues that Bush is in danger of sending the "message will be that he is an anti-scientific illiterate, or even buffoon, who does not care about the suffering of many millions of people and their families from a host of degenerative diseases, when the best prospect for alleviating that suffering and even eliminating it is in the very research he is retarding." Sieff concludes, "It is always a risky business for human moralists to try and impose their own theological reasoning and personal moral concerns on the way nature has chosen to function."
- Bushís choice of Leon Kass to head a new presidential bioethics advisory commission is harshly criticized in a commentary by Michael Lind ("Who is Leon Kass?", 22 August 2001), who says, " Kass's published work reveals him as an individual with extreme views that place him far from the mainstream of both American medicine and American public opinion. As a recent editorial in USA Today pointed out, Kass has produced 'a body of writings that place him on the fringe of medical consensus and raise doubts about his ability to lead the 'president's council' toward common ground.' " Lind concludes "The logic found in Kass's published denunciations of many ordinary medical goals shared by doctors and patients alike leads to a position like that of Christian Science, which opposes modern medicine as inherently immoral." Kass published an impassioned anti-cloning essay in the May 2001 issue of the New Republic.
- An interesting take on the political and religious philosophies muddling? enhancing? the scientific debate going on in the U.S. capital is presented by James C. Bennett ("The Anglosphere: Cloning and the New Jacobins", 18 August 2001).