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Friday, June 08, 2007

Stem Cells:one of many examples the White House has made policies that defy widely accepted scientific opinion



The administration's stem-cell stand is just one of many examples, from climate change to abstinence-only sex-education programs, in which the White House has made policies that defy widely accepted scientific opinion. Why this administration feels unbound by the consensus of academic scientists can be gleaned, in part, from a telling anecdote in Nicholas Lemann's recent New Yorker profile of Karl Rove. When asked by Lemann to define a Democrat, Bush's chief political strategist replied, "Somebody with a doctorate."
Lemann noted, "This he said with perhaps the suggestion of a smirk."
Fundamentally, much of today's GOP, like Rove, seems to smirkingly equate academics, including scientists, with liberals.

In this regard, the White House is not necessarily wrong. Most scientists today do lean Democratic, just as most of the uniformed military votes Republican--much to the annoyance of Democrats. And like the latter cultural divide, the former can cause the country real problems. The mutual incomprehension and distrust between the Pentagon and the Clinton White House, especially in its early years, led to such debacles as Somalia and the clash over allowing gays to serve openly in the military. The Bush administration's dismissiveness toward scientists could also have serious consequences, from delaying vital new medical therapies to eroding America's general lead in science. The Clinton administration quickly felt the sting
of the military's hostility and worked to repair the relationship. It's not clear, however, that the Bush administration cares to reach out to scientists--or even knows it has a problem.
Liberally taken from:

Washington Monthly
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