Sunday, March 15, 2009

Separar a ciência da política II

Porque é que o Presidente Obama decidiu atribuir fundos a uma linha de investigação que levanta graves problemas éticos e que se tem mostrado completamente inconsequente, pondo em risco as outras duas linhas de investigação no mesmo domínio desprovidas de complicações éticas e com resultados práticos muito mais avançados e prometedores?
Ken Connor, no Town Hall, dá uma pista:

«(...) Dr. Irving Weissman, Director of The Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, provides us with a hint. In a recent interview with NPR, he said, "It's not just stem cell research that's the issue here. It's the idea that you can impose a religious or a political or a moral ideology on the pursuit of what nature has." (...)

Much of the scientific community today believe that there should be no restrictions of any kind placed on their "pursuit of science"—a pursuit conveniently defined by them. Religion, morality, law, pragmatism—nothing should constrain their right to do as they see fit. Unfortunately, too many people today are blinded by this rhetoric of "unbridled science." They fail to recognize that science needs and has always needed moral and political constraints. Consider the awful
Dr. Mengele experiments on twins in Nazi Germany, the creation of two-headed dogs through grafting by a Soviet Union surgeon, the vivisections, amputations, and infections administered by the Japanese "Unit 731," or the Tuskegee study on syphilis in African-American men that prevented them from being treated for the disease. Without moral, religious, or political limits, there would be no grounds to prevent such atrocities.

Society inevitably sets political and moral parameters for scientific research. This can take on many forms, including placing restrictions on specific forms of research or funding others. President Obama embarked down an unethical, unwise, and impractical road Monday. Let us hope that Congress has more sense when funding requests land on their desks.»

No mesmo forum, Guy Benson analisa as consequências não divulgadas da decisão do Presidente Americano, nomeadamente a suspensão de fundos para a investigação em células estaminais adultas, e avança outra hipótese, relacionando esta decisão de Obama com outras anteriores, igualmente incompreensíveis, nomeadamente a obstinada e dolosa oposição à Born Alive Infant Protecion Act:

«(...) Right after he told the country he supported for alternative, non-destructive stem cell research, Obama signed the actual order. Buried at the very bottom of the document was this line: “Executive Order 13435…is revoked.” That’s right, he abolished President Bush’s funding for the type of stem cell research upon which everyone could agree. Just like that.

In my August 2008 column, I speculated as to why then-State Senator Obama had repeatedly opposed no-brainer, pro-life legislation that passed the US Congress without a single dissenting vote. I wrote, “[One] possibility is that Obama’s a hyper-partisan ideologue. The driving forces behind the Born Alive Infant Protection Act were pro-life groups that generally support Republicans. Perhaps Obama’s fierce partisanship and leftist ideology were simply too strong for him to stomach handing any conservative group a political victory. If this is the case, his vote was petty and appallingly callous. It also would entirely undermine the overarching message of his famous 2004 DNC speech in which he decried blue vs. red state polarization and embraced America in with a big, royal purple hug of bipartisanship and inclusion.”

In the face of yet another grotesque Obama policy decision on the issue of life, famed bioethicist Wesley J. Smith pondered a similar question. On his blog, he wondered why on earth Obama would take the totally unnecessary action he did in undoing excutive order 13435. Smith’s conclusion: “I can think of only two reasons for this action…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. So much for taking the politics out of science.”

This decision by the president is hypocritical in the extreme, and demonstrates that Obama’s language about respect, inclusion, and unity are, in fact, just words. Regardless of one’s feelings on the separate issue of embryonic stem cell research, this narrow element of his executive order is an outrage, and “thoughtful and decent” people of all ideological backgrounds should urge the White House to follow the president’s own rhetoric by rejecting the imposition of leftist ideology at the expense good science.

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