Friday, November 30, 2007

President Proved Correct Because Time Continued

Today, the Washington Post features a column by Charles Krauthammer that is absolutely infuriating. The basic premise of the column is that because scientists developed a new way to create stem cells, President Bush was vindicated for his opposition to embryonic stem cell research. The problems with this argument are many.

1. The most important conclusion to draw from this argument is that the president caused the development of this new line by putting restrictions on the old method. Krauthammer disputes this himself by saying that the scientist who developed embryonic stem cell research had been working on a new way since the time he devised the first method.

2. Krauthammer also argues that vindication came in the form of no setbacks to research. He (A) offers no evidence that this is true and (B) is wrong anyway because if the president's intent was not to hamper research then he made clearly the wrong choice because he would have had no way to know whether he would hamper research or not, and must have decided that hampering research was an acceptable outcome. Essentailly, vindication can't come from this argument because it wasn't the argument the president based his decision on in the first place.

3. The worst argument in the whole thing, however, regards this passage:

The president's policy recognized that this might cause problems. The existing lines might dry up, prove inadequate or become corrupted. Bush therefore appointed a President's Council on Bioethics to oversee ongoing stem cell research and evaluate how his restrictions were affecting research and what means might be found to circumvent ethical obstacles.

More vilification. The mainstream media and the scientific establishment saw this as a smoke screen to cover his fundamentalist, obscurantist, anti-scientific -- the list of adjectives was endless -- tracks. "Some observers," wrote The Post's Rick Weiss, "say the president's council is politically stacked."

His argument as to why the committee was not imbalanced -- it consisted of such notable non-partisans as James Q. Wilson (conservative), Francis Fukuyama (conservative), and Charles Krauthammer (what do you think?).

(Update: 12/1 -- The New York Times agrees. What a bunch of liberals.)

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