November 21, 2004


Science wars: The election is over, but the Bush administration's battles with the scientific establishment aren't going away (Chris Mooney, November 21, 2004, Boston Globe)

THE 2004 ELECTION saw an unprecedented political mobilization of America's scientific community. Not only did scientists band together to oppose the reelection of George W. Bush, charging that his administration had systematically abused and manipulated scientific information on a variety of issues and let narrow religious concerns get in the way of potentially life-saving embryonic stem cell research. Scientists also helped fuel the state of California's end run around Bush's restrictive stem cell policy, backing a ballot initiative to invest $3 billion of public funding in the field over 10 years.

In their campaign to unseat Bush, scientists seem to have had limited electoral impact. [...]

However, the Bush administration and Republican Congress could still potentially derail the "therapeutic cloning" side of the California initiative through legislative means. Republican senator Sam Brownback of Kansas has sponsored a bill to ban and criminalize all forms of cloning, even for research purposes. The House version of Brownback's blanket cloning ban passed easily in 2001. If Brownback's bill passes the Republican-controlled Senate, the president has already said he would sign it.

Unprecedented? When hasn't science been politicized?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 21, 2004 4:55 PM

I will be following California's $3 billion for stem cell research with interest. Five years ago, Rob Reiner managed to get a cigarette-tax-for-pre-school-programs initiative passed. Five years later, nothing has been done, and no accounting of the money. I have a feeling that the stem cell initiative will prove a similar boondoggle of tax money.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at November 21, 2004 9:33 PM


Brownback is one of those Luddites of the Right, like the Luddites of the Left, who will sacrifice America's scientific excellence on the altar of his particular god.

Our scientific advantage is what leads to our advantages everywhere else, militarily, economically, etc. Once that goes, it all collapses like a house of cards.

Does Sen. Brownback(or should I say Mossback) realize that there are no legal, ethical or moral considerations restraining the PRC or any rogue scientist who can set himself up in a former SSR or Southeast Asia?

(I know our scientific advantage is at least partially the result of our free market economy)

Posted by: Bart at November 22, 2004 7:03 AM


Yes, while you'll sacrifice humans and decency.

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2004 7:07 AM