Sincere Ignorance and Conscientious Stupidity

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Consider this, from Martin Luther King's "Strength to Love" in 1963:

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Bush will reportedly use his first veto...his first veto of his Presidency... on the stem cell issue. Keep in mind, this is the same mighty veto pen he has not used on unchecked Congressional spending bills.

The reason why he has not vetoed any Congressional spending bills, among many other fantastic pieces of legislation is, according to Rep. Jack Kingston (R - Georgia), Vice Chair of the Republican Conference, "[i]f he was vetoing a lot of House-Senate Republican bills, it would make us look chaotic and un-unified." Yes. You are now at least unified on the most out-of-control defecit spending in U.S. history. Congratulations. I digress...

It has been remarked in Congress that the use of federal dollars to "kill young human life (Re. Sam Brownback, R - Kansas)" is unacceptible and is a position that the President is taking as well. The President's 5,127,453rd spokesperson, Jay Lefkowitz, has even stated that "[t]he president feels he made the right decision, and a principled decision, and he's not going to be swayed by the fact that he may not have the votes on Capitol Hill." Never mind the science, he is sticking to his guns, like so many times before, which has so far worked pretty well for the U.S., right?

I my last post, I rambled on about science and religion's exclusive world views and how truth is created by the acceptance of both. The moral compromise struck by Congress and presented to the Senate is one that weighs the moral implications of a possible cure-all with that of a morally void program of fetal tissue harvesting, which most sane people would find deplorable. The bill package would allow federal funding for research on stem cell lines derived from frozen embryos that are stored at fertility clinics and slated for destruction. Additional bills would encourage research into creating stem cell lines without destroying human embryos and would ban the creation of a fetus solely for the purpose of destroying it and harvesting its body parts, meant as a way to soften more prominent Conservative Republicans.

Despite those restrictions, these bills are headed for a veto, thus still catering to a conservative base of religious absolutists, for whom this issue is black-and-white: the life of an embryo, regardless of its fate of some fertility clinic's trash can, outweighs all else, including other life. The irony is one I cannot grasp, and the moral certainty astounds me.

Worse, though, than the moral certainty is the sincerety with which they hold their views, and our President his. They consciously remain ignorant of the science behind stem cell research, and somehow are completely unable to hear that embryos will not be harvested, and the lines that will be used are most certainly from those embryos slated for death.

This is where their own moral imperative again breaks down for me: fertility clinics. These dens on iniquity certainly harvest scores of embryos and pump them into waiting women. Those souls that go unused are discarded. But somehow, this is an "okay" death, or at least one they are not willing to touch. So maybe their moral certainty does have some opt-out clauses, including fertility clinics. I don't see conservative evangelical women lining up to "rescue" unused embryos from the clinic's dumpster...

I see Congress and the Senate, then, actually weighing the two world views and creating a compromise that allows for research, rewards ways to get embryonic stem cells that actually don't destroy an embryo and prevent morally devoid capitalists from running stem cell harvesting clinics near, say, inner cities and college campuses.

It is, again, the fundamentalist mistrust of all things science. There will always be people of both camps: unfettered scientific research (a la Tuskegee) and pure religious literalism and fundamentalism. But I expect more out of my secular leaders in Government in that a rational view will prevail. Indeed it has among our legislative branch, and I suspect maybe so in our judicial branch. But our Executive has chosen to align himself on a path that ultimately contradicts itself, as pointed out above.

It is interesting how a world view can change based on circumstance. Bill Frist conservative Republican leader fo the Senate and a survivor of lymphoma, sees the value of this research and how the President back in August 2001 had completely hampered it. The debate over this research, however, is apparently over. The President has ignored all rational argument and instead took an extremist position, well out of touch with the majority of American sentiment.

Holding true to "down-home" values, blatantly ignorant of any of "them scientific types that talk all fancy," our leader embodies what another advocate for peace and understanding warned us about 43 years ago.


DS 9:47 PM  

I really enjoy reading your stuff.

Bob 5:24 PM  

...for those of you unfamiliar, Michigan has the second most restrictive stem cell laws in the nation, more restrictive than the federal rules and second only to that bastion of liberalism, North Dakota.

Michigan's laws are so restrictive, that should a breakthrough happen in some other state or nation, Michiganders would have to travel outside the state to have stem cells created that match their own DNA...

*Due to my post becoming a diatribe, I have posted it in its entirety here:

red, white and brew 10:36 AM  

Let's just create a baby tax.

What we'll do is take three out of every 100 babies born, kill them and use it for Nazi experiements.

Then we will hook up all women to vacumms and suck out their eggs for stem cell "treatments" that are fantasy.

That's what all you abortionists/murderers are really saying.

Not only was Bush right to save the lives of these babies, he should go further and end the creation of embryos, unless their parents agree to hand them over to the thousands of women who would implant them or they agree to use them all themselves.

Smitty 1:33 PM  

What we'll do is take three out of every 100 babies born, kill them and use it for Nazi experiements.

Then we will hook up all women to vacumms and suck out their eggs for stem cell "treatments" that are fantasy.

Nobody says that. Nobody wants that. Do you lump Orin Hatch or Bill Frist into the same cliche, RW&B? Or are they allowed to "okay" stem call research simply because of their overarching Conservative philisophy? Will you abandon all of the Republicans in each Chamber because of their stance on stem calls? Or will you forgive them because it is politically expedient to continue to have your political "bad guy?" What will you do as a part of the minority opinion, as Americans, in some studies 2:1, in some studies 6:1 support increased ability and funding of federall-funded stemm call research?

Ending the creation of embryos, of course, isn't an option, given how many people rely legitimately on that option in order to be able to have children. Your "steps further" are problematic in that 1) more embryos are created than can be used by everyone who would ask, which there are people who do, and they can get them; and 2)there are many embryos that are simply not viable. Viable, in this case, is of course the medically-recognized term for an organism with no real chance of survival. The fact is that these embryos simply cannot live outside of a womb. They are discarded. Not all of the embryos could even live any way.

The "treatments," as such as they are now, are of course simply possibilities. We don't know. That's why we need to do research. The possibilities are amazing. Interestingly, however, the President's move doesn't eliminate stem cell research - just federal funds for its expansion. But, with the feds being the largest funder of biomedical research in the country, it does set us way back in terms of finding cures to people suffering in the here and now.

It is a mistake to brand what stem cells can do right now as a cure. It's just that it could be, and we need to know.

The President himself indeed signed into law a prohibition on stem cell harvesting....or did you miss that? Nobody disagrees with that. Everyone thinks that is great. Also on deck to be signed is a bill that prohibits opening additional stem cell lines unless the embryo in question is indeed slated to be dis carded. But I understand that you may be quite busy and missed that one too, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

What is still absolutely in the way, though, is an increased allowance for the research. So score one for the vocal minority I guess.

Smitty 1:35 PM  

And one more thing. As has been pointed-out elsewhere, why don't we, as a result of Bush's move, simply include embryos in clinics in our census? They're people. They count, right?

Oh...but many clinics are in urban settings. I guess that means more Democrats. Fine. We'll take 'em.

Smitty 3:46 PM  

Here is an interesting take on the orchestration of this whole debacle.

Bob 7:29 AM  

Not only was it all done “within one news cycle”. It was also done during a heavy news time, where the events in Isreal trumped much of the coverage.

Yup, it was planned.

Thrillhous 11:55 AM  

Great post, tho I'm a little late reading it. Sorry I missed the fun.

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