Patterico's Pontifications


Obama aims to shield science from politics?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:20 am

[Posted by Karl]

Please, pull the other one. As Andy Levy notes:

Obi-wan: Only the Sith believe in absolutes. The Sith are EVIL.

Obama-wan: Science shouldn’t be guided by ideology. Cloning is WRONG.

Not just wrong, but “dangerous, profoundly wrong,” according to Pres. Obama.  James Lileks has another example:

Ah, if only the best place for storing embryonic stem cells was Yucca Flat.

Scientific consensus on nuclear waste disposal does not seem to have affected Pres. Obama’s position.  The Washington Post chose to bury its own example near the end of the story:

Obama does not intend to call for the repeal of the Dickey-Wicker amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to conduct research on embryos directly.

The point here is not about the merits of human embryonic stem cell research, or funding same.  Rather, it is about Pres. Obama and his lapdog press pretending they are driven only by Science, when they are just as prone to moral and political considerations as Pres. Bush was.  Only the morality and politics differ. 

Update: Jonathan Adler notes Secretary of Energy Steven Chu’s hysterical claim that climate change threatens to end all agriculture in California.  As Thomas Dolby might say, “SCIENCE!”

Update x2: Pres. Obama has defunded promising, non-controversial stem cell research.  SCIENCE!


89 Responses to “Obama aims to shield science from politics?”

  1. Is there really a Dicky-Wicker amendment?

    I think it should be passed no matter what it is for. Just for the name value.

    John Henry (6a8b06)

  2. Dickey-Wicker is already in place. Nice to see it get some love.

    Karl (f07e38)

  3. These people are going to be a continuous source of amusement for the next 4 years. Sadly though, our economy, our science and our second amendment rights may not survive the laughter.

    GM Roper who wants DRJ back on Patterico's Pontifications (85dcd7)

  4. Science? Science?
    We don’t need no farking science, we have Teh Narrative.

    AD - RtR/OS (8ef6a3)

  5. Science Fiction you mean.

    It is by will alone I set the economy in motion. It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set the economy in motion. Tim Geithner

    Joe (dcebbd)

  6. Fear is the mind-killer, Joe. Fear is the little death that brings total annihilation.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  7. They are only concerned about creating walls between “science”, “religion” and politics when someone else is running the show. Once in power, the religion of the Left become acceptable, and it is entirely appropriate, nay, required to mix the two. Theocracy is good under Teh One … just look at his stated position on same sex marriage.

    JD (93e174)

  8. JD, you are being sooooo negative.
    You gotta have faith, Baby!
    H/T “Oddball” in “Kelly’s Hero’s

    AD - RtR/OS (8ef6a3)

  9. I am reminded of the prostitution parable: once a price is established, so too, is the reputation of those involved.

    Ed (52bb9a)

  10. Ugh. My bad. I do not believe myself. OK. Once the reputation is established, it’s just a matter of price.

    BHO and the socialistas are known. It’s just a matter of application to specific policy now.

    Ed (52bb9a)

  11. There is no such thing as politics free/morals free/values free anything. Attach government funding and you can be dammed well assured that politics has been inserted. Science isn’t some magical land of happy intellectual striving for happy intellectual striving alone. That world never existed. Science has been, can be and will be used for political ends on ALL sides of the spectrum.

    This administration has planted it’s head so far up it’s “Chosen One” ass that it actually believes it’s own press clippings. What a bunch of dingdongs.

    Vivian Louise (eeeb3a)

  12. Kull wahad
    , Bradley!

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  13. Eric, Bradley, Perhaps I should have called him the Kwisatz Haderach

    Vivian Louise (eeeb3a)

  14. We better watch it, VL, or we will be called Islamophobes. Or was it robotophobes, leading to the Butlerian Jihad.

    Me, I’ll stick with my Orange Catholic Bible.

    We just need to keep O’bama Dib away from the Water of Life.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  15. Does The One’s cigs contain melange instead of tobacco?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (0a7219)

  16. I’m still looking for the Suk School tattoo on Eric Holder’s forehead.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  17. Obama made the comments as he was signing an executive order that will allow federal spending on embryonic stem cell research.

    It would be nice to see them get the story correct, at least. He is extending the funding to new cell lines. The one who first allowed funding was Bush.

    My investment letter arrived to day with the happy news that, now that we have passed the 50% decline level, based on the market rise from 1932, there is no limit to how low this bear market can go. He says that every small rally is immediately killed by a flood of sell orders. Everybody wants out of the market.

    I was thinking last fall that the loser of the election might be the guy who won. It looks that way although Obama is a long way from understanding it. He is no Roosevelt. He will not be able to make lemonade from these lemons.

    Mike K (f89cb3)

  18. Good one, Bradley, he looks more convincing in the role than Brad Dourif did.

    SPQR (72771e)

  19. Not only Fremen can use a thumper, GM.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  20. And who knew that ACORN and MoveOn were Tleilaxu operated?

    Where is Thufir Hawat and Gurney Halleck when you need them?

    Or a whole BUNCH of Duncan Idahos.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  21. There’s nothing wrong with cloning people. Tell me what’s wrong with cloning people. You can’t cause there’s nothing wrong with it. Cloned people are just people. That president person is probably just pissed off cause he found out if you cloned a dirty socialist you could just as easily end up with someone what loves America.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  22. feets!

    Karl (537cef)

  23. Quite the sticky wicket. I’m off to wiki Dickey-Wicker.

    fat tony (067281)

  24. #19:

    And I’ll add that Bush did absolutely nothing to prevent provate enterprise from investing their own money in it.

    Also, I’m amazed at how Obama does not want politics to interfere with science, as long as the science is “settled”, as Algore would have us prostrate ourselves on the altar of Global Warming.

    Dr. K (f76971)

  25. Dr. K,

    Per the post, the science on nuke waste disposal is settled. Doesn’t matter to Obama.

    Karl (537cef)

  26. All these Dune references. Anyone want any spice? Pssst..get some spice here..good stuff man…

    Horatio (55069c)

  27. Ugh, disliked Dune (but only saw the movie) – but it’s interesting that the Gore’s minions rushed to change his scheduled appearance among the world leaders this week, once they realized he’d be on the same stage as Vaclav Has, known Global Warmening denier. Gutless coward, thy name is the Goreacle.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  28. Karl!

    Dmac (49b16c)

  29. I might, GM – but science fiction’s really not my bag these days. I did read Total Recall and other works by that author whose name I can’t recall at the moment – that stuff was totally unreal to me, in a good way. Of course, Crichton was a fave as well – very much missed.

    Per the post, the science on nuke waste disposal is settled. Doesn’t matter to Obama.

    Skelator (aka Reid) at first wanted it quite badly, then he didn’t, then he did – but now he doesn’t. Feckless is the word I’m thinking of for this scenario.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  30. Dmac!

    (You know feets! is a long-running tradition, yes?)

    Karl (537cef)

  31. I know this is off topic but please go give Obama a grade!!!

    Live Vote: Give President Obama a grade – White House-
    As the Obama administration nears the end of its second month, rate the president’s performance.

    Tell the Drive-By Media what you think.

    spinninginca (77e586)

  32. I just graded Obama, and I didn’t do it on a curve.

    Half the responders agreed with me.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (0a7219)

  33. Oh, you Dune-sayers are all alike ! Dune and Gloom ! Dune and Gloom ! You *want* The One to fail !


    Dmac – you might want to consider trying hte book itself … and remember that the movies and miniseries were imperfect children of the book …

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  34. Comment by Dmac — 3/9/2009 @ 3:44 pm
    In this, they were smart – Algore doesn’t stand a chance.

    Vaclav Klaus, “I’m very sorry that some people like Al Gore are not ready to listen to the competing theories. I do listen to them.

    “Environmentalism and the global warming alarmism is challenging our freedom. Al Gore is an important person in this movement.”

    Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, he said that he was more worried about the reaction to the perceived dangers than the consequences.

    “I’m afraid that the current crisis will be misused for radically constraining the functioning of the markets and market economy all around the world.”

    Dana (137151)

  35. Right now Obama is carrying a heavy F in that poll. I wonder if MSNBC will actually report that or transmogrify that F in to FABULOUS! instead of the FAIL! it really is.

    DMAC, the book is much more betterer than the movie. The movie was horrid. I can’t get that flying fat man out of my head now the subject’s come up again.

    Vivian Louise (c0f830)

  36. This Vivian Louise person is a good addition, I think. Yes, she is.

    JD (5ffaf3)

  37. Hey, VL, I just added to that F. No doubt the poll will be taken down.

    Dana (137151)

  38. Not until someone gets that ‘ole thrill up their leg – Keef is up next on that score.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  39. Tell me what’s wrong with cloning people. You can’t cause there’s nothing wrong with it.

    Explain the function of the telomere to me and we’ll discuss it.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  40. Mike K – is it actually known if the human telomeres are ‘refreshed’ (or not) by cloning ?

    I seem to recall that other cloned mammals have seemed to have ‘normal’ lifespans …

    Dolly was cloned from a mammary area cell, I believe … and there was a report of shortened telomeres … if the cloning had been done from undifferentiated adult sheep stem cells, might the telomeres have been ‘full-length’ ?

    I seem to remember Dolly has at least 2 sets of offspring – how did they do ?

    Disclaimer – as a Scot, I had to put up with the fact that the first clone from Scots researchers in the area was a sheep of all things – talk about a cliché

    Alasdair (3de1e8)

  41. From Karl’s link in the second update:

    I can think of only two reasons for this action, for which I saw no advocacy either in the election or during the first weeks of the Administration: First, vindictiveness against all things “Bush” or policies considered by the Left to be “pro life;” and second, a desire to get the public to see unborn human life as a mere corn crop ripe for the harvest.

    Precisely. This man utterly disgusts me. Throw unborn children in closets to die, do your damnedest to make sure any moral, disease-fighting alternatives to harvesting living, helpless human beings is utterly crushed, make sure people are free to shove scissors in the backs of full term babies’ necks and suck the babies’ brains out.

    God help him. What makes this man hate helpless human beings so much?

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  42. unborn = newly born

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  43. noyk – Don’t be afraid to say what you think.

    JD (5ffaf3)

  44. Thank God. No one is accusing the President of failing on his campaign promise on this. Hope it is for the best. And forget the BS. It’s all politics. Sorry Barack. 🙂

    Emperor7 who now sees the light. (1b037c)

  45. Alasdair:

    Some forms of nuclear transplantation style cloning appear to result in shortened telomeres. Other forms do not.

    One size doesn’t fit all.

    Also, mucking around with nuclear transplantation often interrupts or disrupts the multiple gradients morphogens within the egg’s cytoplasm.

    Thus, it takes easily 100 attempts to get one implantable embryo.

    Here are a couple of places to read more, if you are interested:;288/5466/586

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  46. The term cloning in stem cell therapy is not the same thing as commonly understood. It’s therapeutic cloning, or technically somatic cell nuclear transfer. The goal is to produce cells with the same nuclear DNA as the person being treated, and grow them into replacement cells. A person’s nucleus is inserted into an enucleated egg cell and coaxed to grow. This technology is being fast outdated by advances in directly turning skin cells into an embryonic-like state, an advance that’s Vatican-approved.

    The idea of growing an entire new person from cloned cells is reproductive cloning, and that’s not being considered. Mike K. was referring to a problem in reproductive cloning. Telomeres . . . well, I won’t pre-empt him. Suffice it to say that many reproductively cloned animals, including Dolly, had significant health problems. That’s acceptable in animal breeding, but not for humans.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  47. What in the world could the explanation be for defunding other lines when it could make Christopher Reeves get up out of his wheelchair? H/t silky pony.

    JD (5ffaf3)

  48. NOYK, ditto. And here is the thank-you card to the one who appears to not value life too terribly much.

    Dana (137151)

  49. Seeing as how Superman died, getting up out of a wheelchair would be quite a feat!

    AD - RtR/OS (8ef6a3)

  50. AD – I was trying to mock the Breck Boy, as he once famously proclaimed that if we funded embryonic stem cell research, even though we already were, and implemented the Kerry/Edwards plan, that Christopher Reeve would get up out of his chair. Kind of like Biden telling that gentleman in a wheelchair to stand up. At any rate, Baracky defunding other lines shows that – 1) that this is ALL political to them, 2) their faux concerns about this line of scientific inquiry were nothing more than political hoo-ha, and 3) for the silver lining, we found one thing he will cut.

    JD (5ffaf3)

  51. Dana,

    Nice…! Will sign that right away… /s

    The ironic thing is that more than one perfectly moral way to get the stem cells already exists. I used to find it baffling that they don’t care about that – all they want is the freedom to destroy and clone at will.

    Now I believe they don’t care about relative effectiveness (adult stem cells are more effectve after all) care about the effectiveness of the morally-obtained stem cells – but only want this as a foot in the door to get acceptance of and funding for experimentation on and cloning of human beings without the patina of “fighting disease.” In fact these people seriously couldn’t give two —–s about fighting disease.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  52. NOYK, try to keep in mind these issues are above his pay grade. It helps.

    Dana (137151)

  53. Comment by JD — 3/9/2009 @ 7:47 pm

    I know. I just couldn’t resist.
    If they ever find a cure for anything with embryonic stem cell research,
    that lab director will be the most famous researcher since Marie Curie.
    I don’t think she has anything to worry about.

    AD - RtR/OS (8ef6a3)

  54. But we would have saved Christopher Reeves and cured Alzheimers and Parkinsons and malaria and ALS and influenza and world hunger if Chimpy McHitlerburton had not hated science and banned all study on stem cells. Baracky is just making things right.

    JD (dcb91d)

  55. Comment by Dana — 3/9/2009 @ 8:24 pm


    When I was just starting out in the prolife movement I heard a speech, a short portion of which involved imagining judgment day and finally coming face to face with the millions upon millions of children who have been aborted. The question was, how do you want to have acted on Earth when you see them then. especially when you know they are real, alive, human, and (after about 8 weeks or so in their mothers’ wombs) feel pain?

    Despite years of prolife work I’ve not done anything near enough to be able to face them without burning shame. I wonder how people like Obama will feel. I hope to God, for his sake, he doesn’t realize what he’s doing.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  56. Obama will feel

    Perhaps you assume too much. NOYK, everyone realizes at some level what they are doing. It’s just some are able to live with their dishonesty and seared conscience more readily than others.

    Dana (137151)

  57. everyone realizes at some level what they are doing. It’s just some are able to live with their dishonesty and seared conscience more readily than others.

    Comment by Dana — 3/9/2009 @ 9:46 pm

    While am not ready to consign the guy to the flames just yet (though as you can tell his apparent pathological love for crushing the unwanted helpless is more than a little upsetting, and makes me wonder what in his own childhood unwantedness he’s addressing), it does certainly appear that these children are just more fodder for the undercarriage of the bus in O’s mind. God grant him the grace of insight and repentance – it’s his only hope.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  58. It is just a little pet peeve of mine, but the cable and network shows kept talking about how Baracky lifted Bush’s ban on embryonic stem cell research when he did no such thing. I guess the truth does not fit in Teh Narrative. Not only did he fund it, he was the only President ever to fund it, and there was no ban on private dollars funding the research. How fuckin’ difficult is it to simply tell the damn truth?

    JD (dcb91d)

  59. Krauthammer says thanks but no thanks to the signing ceremony…even though he supported lifting the ban.

    Probably will not be invited to any signing ceremonies in the future.


    Joe (17aeff)

  60. There’s nothing wrong with cloning people. Tell me what’s wrong with cloning people. You can’t cause there’s nothing wrong with it. Cloned people are just people. That president person is probably just pissed off cause he found out if you cloned a dirty socialist you could just as easily end up with someone what loves America.

    Soooo exactly, ‘feets.
    Science certainly can’t tell us what’s wrong with it. Science can’t tell us why it has no place in our society. It’s as if….as if….it’s a morality issue.

    MayBee (edf95f)

  61. Don’t worry MayBee, President Obama will only go after embryos whose parents make more than $250,000 per year.

    Dana (137151)

  62. I just watched Olbergasm’s rant about President Bush “stopping stem cell research dead in its tracks” and said that President Bush’s attack on science killed people and invoke Christopher Reeves. I wonder if he ever marvels at the unintended irony of his “Worst Person in the World” award.

    JD (dcb91d)

  63. Dana, that is comedy gold. LOL

    JD, you want blood-pressure-raising? I’ll see you a Keith Olbermann and raise you a Frank Schaeffer selling out his prolife principles for a blog on Huffington Post and a few minutes of air time on CNN.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  64. As with most issues, and is becoming an all too common theme, the media seems to be determined to be fundamentally dishonest in their framing, in Teh Narrative.

    Noyk – The pull, it is strong for the weak. Just look at Frum, Brooks, etal.

    JD (dda3fa)

  65. I’m going to start saying Obama’s budget is a War on Math.

    MayBee (edf95f)

  66. The question was, how do you want to have acted on Earth when you see them then. especially when you know they are real, alive, human, and (after about 8 weeks or so in their mothers’ wombs) feel pain?
    –No one you know, where is the evidence that they feel pain after 8 weeks? The fetal pain legislation that prolifers are pushing set a floor of about 20 weeks.

    Jim (743658)

  67. By that measure, MayBee, we should refer to Obambi and the media as a War on Honesty.

    JD (dda3fa)

  68. MayBee, the War on Math works. That if funny stuff.

    Every time my local media would do a stem cell story I’d always write to them or call and tell them to specify exactly what stem cells they are talking about. So very many kinds, adult, umbilical, embryonic….argh. They never would make the distinction. Idiots.

    Vivian Louise (eeeb3a)

  69. Vivian – That would be above their pay grade, and would not fit with Teh Narrative.

    JD (dda3fa)

  70. VL,
    So very many kinds, adult, umbilical, embryonic….argh. They never would make the distinction. Idiots.

    Blame the editors, who let this stuff get in. For all I know, the editors could have mandated leaving out the specific type of stem cell, because they don’t think the public would understand.

    It’s my belief that most newspapers make their reporters write down to the lowest common denominator, in the mistaken belief that the more educated won’t mind that much. Newspapers are deathly afraid of seeing too highbrow and eggheaded. They think stupid sells.

    At least at our paper, we spell out the difference between the various types of stem cells.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  71. The previous big hype was all about gene therapy. It has proven to be a bust so far. I suspect embryonic stem cells will be just as big a bust. Science has a funny way of doing that. Little private money went into it and that was legal. The other countries that did not have any bans at all haven’t produced much of anything either. Better to move the money and study to the already promising cord and adult stem cell research. This Obama decision is NOTHING BUT POLITICAL!!

    bio mom (a1e126)

  72. Gene therapy is making a comeback, this time in combination with embryonic-like stem cells made from skin cells.

    Like most biotech therapies, gene therapy was overhyped in the beginning, fell out of public view, and is now making progress.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  73. and here’s another:

    no one you know (65b7aa)

  74. Wait a minute. Where did my first two comments go?


    They’re apparently in moderation due to the links. Jim, yes, 8 week old fetuses can feel pain. Links on the way.

    no one you know (65b7aa)

  75. Well, I don’t know what happened to my post, but here are the links I was going to give to Joe. At seven weeks the thalamus, sense center of the brain (heat cold pain hunger thirst etc) is developed enough to be used.

    no one you know (65b7aa)

  76. and….yes, at about seven weeks it is…

    no one you know (65b7aa)

  77. But it isn’t until about 20 weeks that the pain center is sufficiently developed to feel the full range of pain:

    no one you know (65b7aa)

  78. –“enough development has occurred by 12-14 weeks that some pain perception is likely, and continues to build through the second trimester. By 20 weeks, the spino- thalamic system is fully established and connected.”

    Your last link says that 12 weeks would be the minimum point when pain perception is likely.

    Jim (743658)

  79. Jim,

    Perhaps I should have concentrated more on the scientific links. As you see, that last link is not a medical article, and it also says that 20 weeks is a conservatively late estimate, even though it makes no distinction (as it should have, and I should have) between the beginnings of the perception of pain (7-8 weeks) and its full blown effects.

    So, more medical evidence:

    Here’s (yet another) a link from the new England Journal of Medicine, 1987. this is basically saying the same thing: that the beginnings of the thalamic pathways which begin the perception of pain are in place by 7 weeks, yet only later is pain fully perceived.

    **link to New England Journal of Medicine article**

    The neural pathways for pain may be traced from sensory receptors in the skin to sensory areas in the cerebral cortex of newborn infants. The density of nociceptive nerve endings in the skin of newborns is similar to or greater than that in adult skin.24 Cutaneous sensory receptors appear in the perioral area of the human fetus in the 7th week of gestation; they spread to the rest of the face, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet by the 11th week, to the trunk and proximal parts of the arms and legs by the 15th week, and to all cutaneous and mucous surfaces by the 20th week.25,26 The spread of cutaneous receptors is preceded by the development of synapses between sensory fibers and interneurons in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, which first appear during the sixth week of gestation.27,28 Recent studies using electron microscopy and immunocytochemical methods show that the development of various types of cells in the dorsal horn (along with their laminar arrangement, synaptic interconnections, and specific neurotransmitter vesicles) begins before 13 to 14 weeks of gestation and is completed by 30 weeks.29

    I can keep producing medical links all day if you prefer. I think the larger question here, however, is, is it not killing if the being is drugged or otherwise unable to feel pain? Is the lack of sufficient cortical development a reason to deny a human being the title of “protectable person?” (Peter Singer certainly thinks so – which is why he thinks newborns should be killable if their parents don’t want them, and he has compared newborns unfavorably with regard to “self perception” (ie developed brain function) with newborn pigs and dogs.

    I believe that whether or not a human child with head, arms, legs, a beating heart (starts at four weeks), brain waves (start at six weeks) and even fingers and toes can actually feel only SOME pain, or every SCRAP of pain, as her legs and arms are ripped from her body, is rather irrelevant to the larger issue: whether it’s OK to do that, and support others who want to. I say no. How about you?

    no one you know (65b7aa)

  80. Another link for Jim (just ran across this one, but it’s pretty on point):

    no one you know (65b7aa)

  81. I have no problems with abortions in the first trimester. I also don’t have problems after that if there are significant defects in the fetus or if there would be a risk of significant health problems for the mother.

    Strikes me that it’s unlikely to feel much pain in the first twelve weeks.

    I don’t consider a first trimester fetus worth much at all.

    Jim (743658)

  82. I don’t consider a first trimester fetus worth much at all.

    Comment by Jim — 3/10/2009 @ 12:02 pm

    Thank goodness your mother didn’t feel the same way.
    –a former fertilized egg, just like you

    no one you know (65b7aa)

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