November 28, 2007


Trading Places: Will the secular left soon attack the religious right for being pro-science? (JOSEPH BOTTUM, November 28, 2007, Opinion Journal)

[A]ll those editorialists and columnists who have, over the past 10 years, howled and howled about Luddites and religious fanatics thwarting science and frustrating medicine--were they really interested in technology and health, or were they just using all that as a handy stick with which to whack their political opponents? [...]

[T]his news turns on its head everything in what the nation's newspapers have delivered to us as a story of blinkered pro-lifers vs. courageous scientists.

The people who turn out actually to have believed in the power of science are the pro-lifers--the ones who said that a moral roadblock is not, in point of fact, an outrageous hindrance, for scientists will always find another, less-objectionable way to achieve their goals. President Bush's refusal of federal funding for new embryonic stem cell lines didn't halt major stem-cell advances, any more than the prohibition against life-threatening research on human subjects, such as the infamous Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, stopped the advance of medical treatments.

For those who attacked the pro-lifers in the name of science, however, things look a little different. As Maureen L. Condic explained to First Thigns readers this year in her careful survey, "What We Know About Embryonic Stem Cells," the promises of medical breakthroughs were massively overblown by the media.

But there were reasons for all the hype. I have long suspected that science, in the context of the editorial page of the New York Times, was simply a stalking-horse for something else. In fact, for two something-elses: a chance to discredit America's religious believers, and an opportunity to put yet another hedge around the legalization of abortion. After all, if our very health depends on the death of embryos, and we live in a culture that routinely destroys early human life in the laboratory, no grounds could exist for objecting to abortion.

We've long been of the opinion that someone should have done an editorial cartoon where Christopher Reeves, Ron Reagan, Michael J. Fox, Rudy Giuliani and company are sitting around a banquet table woofing down fetuses, which was all along, as Mr. Bottum points out, implicit in their argument.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 28, 2007 6:04 PM

South Park actually did an episode a few years ago with Christopher Reeve doing just that. The show is beyond crude and disgusting but every once in awhile they do make a gret satirical point like that.

Posted by: MarkD at November 28, 2007 8:11 PM

Proving that Tom Nast is alive and well in the form of South Park.

Posted by: Bruno at November 28, 2007 10:40 PM

Goya did it better, earlier.

Posted by: Luciferous at November 29, 2007 2:43 PM