Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bad Astronomer misreads Bush

The popular Bad Astronomy blog says:

Whether you think stem cell research is immoral or not, this little trope needs to be dealt with.

President Bush vetoed a bill last night to fund stem cell research. He then made a statement which is, to be blunt, a lie:

If this legislation became law, it would compel American taxpayers for the first time in our history to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos.

This is 100% absolutely untrue, and there is no way to interpret the bill to mean this. The bill would provide funding for additional research to use embryos which were going to be discarded anyway.

If the President were really trying to prevent what he thinks of as murder of humans, then he should block any attempts at in-vitro fertilization, which is what creates so many zygotes in the first place. Instead, he goes this route, which satisfies his far-right fundamentalist base without having to deal with actual, y’know, reality, in any way.

His statement is a lie. It is partisan pandering. It is putting ideology before science. It is distorting science.
The Bad Astronomer is just another lying Bush-hater. The embryos were going to be discarded, but not with taxpayer money. Some people do indeed have some moral qualms about in-vitro fertilization, and federal tax money does not support it. Bush is consistently objecting to forcing taxpayers to pay for killing embryoes.

So President Bush's statement is correct. You can find more about federal stem cell funding here. The feds are spending 100s of millions of dollars on stem-cell research, including embrionic stem cells. State governments, universities, and private companies are spending billions of dollars.

A comment on the Bad Astronomy blog points out what a dope the Bad Astronomer is, but he persists in his error anyway. I just call people like that lying Bush-haters. If he disagrees with Bush policy, he should just say so, but when he accuses Bush of distorting science, he is just being a dope.

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