Monday, May 11, 2009

"Dear Wingnut, why are Republicans afraid of science?"

Another ridiculous question brought to you by liberals. has this new column called "Dear Wingnut" that answers real questions by liberals. The author is a "former Bush official who chooses to remain anonymous." He does a great job answering the questions. Especially this one:

To me, the question is almost laughable on its face. Conservatives are pro-science and, as a general rule, pro-cost-benefit analysis and pro-thinking. It is conservatives who believed, as we now know to be true, that you can "shoot down a bullet with a bullet" and who believed a workable defense against ballistic missile attack was possible. And who utilized science and engineering and underwrote billions in research and development to prove it could be done and put in place a system that, while not perfect, is a significant improvement over the "throw up our hands because there is nothing we can do" approach it replaced.

As president, George W. Bush put a scientist in charge of the Energy Department and created the position of U.S. undersecretary of science; proposed an Advanced Energy Initiative that called for a quantum increase in funding available for research into and development of new, cutting-edge technologies to lead America to more abundant and stable energy supplies; and proposed the American Competitiveness Initiative to, in the words of former Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman, "fortify America's leadership in science through additional research funding in the physical sciences and by strengthening math and science education."

House Republicans, under Speaker Newt Gingrich, proposed doubling the budget for the National Institutes of Health and dramatically increased federal financial support for the fight against diabetes. And it was Bush who tried to put a risk-averse NASA back into the business of space exploration by proposing a return to the moon and manned flight to Mars.


To set the record straight, George W. Bush was the first president to propose federal funding for stem cell research. As Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson said in August of 2004, "President Bush provided -- for the first time -- federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The president's unprecedented decision allows for federal funding of research using existing stem cell lines that were derived before Aug. 9, 2001, with no limits on private funding of research."

Not exactly an anti-science position, is it?

To the extent that limitations were placed on federal funding, it was because of the ethics involved, not the science. Acting on the recommendation of a blue-ribbon commission that looked at the issue for some time, the president decided it would be unethical -- in the moral sense, not the legal one -- to act as those who believe embryonic stem cell research holds the cure to everything that ails us would have had him do.

I noticed this particular question because I have actually been asked or had similar comments made by liberals over at my Houston Chron blog. I don't think a day goes by that I am not amazed at the ridiculous assumptions liberals have about conservatives.