Saturday, February 28, 2004

Bush League Science: Opinion Comes 1st

The evidence of President Bush's war on science continues to pile up. (For starters, see this earlier post and its internal links.)

The Washington Post today adds to that with a report on Bush's firing of two members of his handpicked Council on Bioethics -- "a scientist and a moral philosopher who had been among the more outspoken advocates for research on human embryo cells." Maybe they deserved firing. We don't know. But the three new members of the council that Bush put in their place make one wonder: "a doctor who has called for more religion in public life, a political scientist who has spoken out precisely against the research that the dismissed members supported, and another who has written about the immorality of abortion and the 'threats of biotechnology.' "

It's not science ... it's politics. (Side-note: as Carl Bernstein said on Joe Scarborough's show last night on MSNBC, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is "not about Christians and Jews. It's about Right and Left." It ain't religion ... it's politics. Side-note 2: reportedly, President Bush has requested a private White House screening of Gibson's film, a.k.a. "The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre." Everything into and out of this White House is politics.)

One of the dismissed members from the bioethics council, Elizabeth Blackburn, a renowned biologist at the University of California at San Francisco, said she had no warning she would be fired and had not heard from the council's director, University of Chicago ethicist Leon Kass. According to the WashPost, she said she believed she was let go because her political views do not match those of the president and of Kass, with whom she has often been at odds at council meetings.

Michael Gazzaniga, a Dartmouth neuroscientist who also sits on the council, said he was "upset" by Blackburn's ejection. "She was one of the basic scientists who understood the biology of many of the issues we're talking about," Gazzaniga said. "It will be a loss for sure."

But what is a loss for science here is a gain for the brand of political correctness that this White House practices.

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