Charles Krauthammer ripped Obama for his speech and executive order completely removing the restrictions which Bush had placed on embryonic stem cell research. He called the whole ceremony, "morally unserious."
First of all because so many straw men litter the ground in this debate. So much of the public has little to no understanding of the reality of this debate. When you have a former president who made rulings on this issue repeatedly state in a recent interview that the controversy is about "an embryo that’s frozen and never going to be fertilized," then you know that ignorance abounds.
Let's clear a few things up. There was no ban of stem cell research under Bush. There was not even a ban on embryonic stem cell research. There was a restriction on federal funding being used to pay for the destruction of additional embryos on which research would have been done.
Not only did Obama strike down the restrictions, he did the same to the another Bush executive order that encouraged funding to be directed toward stem cell research that did not destroy human life, which have been successful in numerous clinical tests.
But back to Krauthammer. If there is a conservative columnist who Obama could win over on this issue it is Krauthammer. There is the obvious that he could benefit personally from the research. Also as a member of Bush's Council on Bioethics, he argued that "federal funding should be extended to research on embryonic stem cell lines derived from discarded embryos in fertility clinics." He is not a religious man who believes in life at conception.
All those are reasons why the administration invited Krauthammer to the signing ceremony. He declined and was glad he did.
Obama's address was morally unserious in the extreme. It was
populated, as his didactic discourses always are, with a forest of
straw men. Such as his admonition that we must resist the "false choice
between sound science and moral values." Yet, exactly 2 minutes and 12
seconds later he went on to declare that he would never open the door
to the "use of cloning for human reproduction."
Does he not think that a cloned human would be of extraordinary scientific interest? And yet he banned it.
Is he so obtuse not to see that he had just made a choice of ethics
over science? Yet, unlike President Bush, who painstakingly explained
the balance of ethical and scientific goods he was trying to achieve,
Obama did not even pretend to make the case why some practices are
morally permissible and others not.
Science has everything to say about what is possible. Science has
nothing to say about what is permissible. Obama's pretense that he will
"restore science to its rightful place" and make science, not ideology,
dispositive in moral debates is yet more rhetorical sleight of hand —
this time to abdicate decision-making and color his own ideological
preferences as authentically "scientific."
Dr. James Thomson, the discoverer of embryonic stem cells, said "if
human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little
bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough." Obama clearly