Beliefnet
Pontifications

That is one quote that Peter Steinfels cites in his excellent column today, “In Stem Cell Debate, Moral Suasion Comes Up Short,” about Obama’s stem cell decision. (My critique here).

A taste of Peter’s focus:

The more challenging objection — again, not to the president’s specific stance on embryonic stem cell research, but to the general form of his argument — went directly to a theme running through his announcement and echoed in enthusiastic comments from research proponents:

Science, it was said, should be isolated from politics, from ideology, from dogma, from religion.

Sounds good if all one means is that the current administration will treat science with more respect than many people believe its predecessor did. Sounds good if all one means by politics is partisan maneuvering or by ideology, dogma and religion, some form of blind belief unwilling to engage alternative viewpoints.

But these words frequently function as weapons. One person’s ideology can be someone else’s political philosophy or even morality. One person’s dogma can be someone else’s self-evident truths. And politics is the way that people decide how they will live together, by what moral standards and to what ends.

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