Tuesday, March 10, 2009
He Un-Blinded Us With Science
Yesterday President Obama fulfilled one of, in my opinion, his most important campaign promises. He signed an executive order unlocking federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. If you don't know what this is, embryonic stem cells are Primitive (undifferentiated) cells from the embryo that have the potential to become a wide variety of specialized cell types. They are taken from a blastocyst, which is one of the very earliest stages of embryonic development when the embryo is little more than a ball of a few dozen cells, and have the potential to be instrumental in curing or repairing a wide range of diseases and injuries. The fact that they are derived from human embryos was a touchstone for the radical right, and George W. Bush, bowing to pressure from religious conservatives, banned any federal funding for stem cell research. I always find it odd that they will go to great lengths to protect a ball of cells, yet have no trouble killing thousands of people overseas. But I digress, the bottom line is that Barak Obama has repealed Bush's narrow-minded pandering and is allowing science to do what it does. And, as an added bonus, he made the following statement:
...Today, I am also signing a Presidential Memorandum directing the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision making. To ensure that in this new Administration, we base our public policies on the soundest science; that we appoint scientific advisors based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology; and that we are open and honest with the American people about the science behind our decisions. That is how we will harness the power of science to achieve our goals – to preserve our environment and protect our national security; to create the jobs of the future, and live longer, healthier lives.
This is one of the many reasons why I voted for President Obama, and so far he has not disappointed.