I feel for you, ScienceBlogs compatriot Afarensis. I really do.

Sure, your Cardinals beat my Tigers in the World Series last week. Sure, the Tigers made a lot of embarrassing errors and showed every sign of letting their youth and inexperience lead them to choking under the pressure. Sure at times the Tigers looked like a Little League team, throwing balls away hither and yon to let unearned runs score, looking nothing like the lean, mean baseball machine that had earlier dispatched the mighty Yankees with such aplomb after losing the first game. Sure the Cardinals managed to win it all after having had the worst regular season record of any World Series championship team.

Sure, all those things are true.

But at least my Tigers don’t have idiots like Jeff Suppan teaming up with Patricia Heaton, Jim Caviezel, and others to distort and lie about the embryonic stem cell research amendment being put before the voters in Missouri, with Heaton even going so far as to claim that the amendment would allow women to sell their eggs to make blastocysts from which to harvest stem cells, while the ad paints a hysterically over-the-top portrait of the actual risks of egg harvest. (Geez, if harvesting eggs were really that risky, few doctors would be willing to do in vitro fertilization to help infertile couples conceive a child.)

And now, to add insult to Afarensis‘ injury, Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein is set to appear in an “Open Letter to the People of Missouri” and dish out more of the same distortions that Jeff Suppan helped to propagate in his ad.

The ad is set to run today in newspapers across the state, including the Post-Dispatch. It features an “open letter to the people of Missouri” signed by Eckstein, Suppan and Kansas City Royals player Mike Sweeney.

The trio of ballplayers, who call themselves “athletes with moral convictions,” say that, among other things, the “fine print” of Amendment 2 would allow for the cloning of human beings.

Donn Rubin, chairman of the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, says the ad is repeating misleading comments made by opponents of the amendment throughout this campaign season. . .

Rubin said Eckstein and the other athletes in the ad are either “being misled or they are purposely being misleading.”

“And I prefer to believe my sports heroes are not deliberately misleading us,” Rubin said.

I prefer to, as well, as I’m sure Afarensis does too. When sports stars decide to start spouting off about science, the end result is usually embarrassment, and this is no exception. I tend to agree with Rubin that the opponents of Amendment 2 are taking advantage of the religiosity and scientific illiteracy of these two ballplayers in order to use them. (Either that, or the ballplayers are either complicit in the deception or don’t care. Take your pick.) Even so, Suppan and Eckstein are clearly allowing themselves to be used, probably through ignorance, and thus deserve all the abuse that Afarensis and I can heap upon them. And, of course, I get to enjoy a small bit of schadenfreude at the embarrassment their ignorance is causing the Cardinals organization and educated, scientifically literate Cardinal supporters. The Tigers may have lost the World Series, but at least they aren’t revealing two of their big stars to be scientifically ignorant doofuses.

I’m still thinking about whether I’d prefer having the World Series championship if it meant that a couple of the star players for the Tigers had to embarrass themselves and the team by spouting off ignorantly about things they don’t understand.

Tough question.


I’ve been asked whether I support Amendment 2 itself, given my excoriation of Suppan and others who have lied about what it means and what it says.

Quite frankly, If I lived in Missouri, I ‘d probably vote against Amendment 2, but not because of the lies of its opponents or because I oppose embryonic stem cell research. My reason for not supporting the proposed amendment is because it’s an amendment to the state constitution, and I’m very conservative about amending constitutions, whether state or federal. Enshrining one single area of science permanently in a state constitution seems to me to be inappropriate overkill and just a bad idea in general. Amendments to the constitution should involve defining individual rights, operations of the branches of government, areas of taxation, etc.–not legalizing this or that area of scientific research. In any case, a constitutional amendment is unnecessary for Missouri to fund and legalize embryonic stem cell research.

All that’s required is for the legislature to pass appropriate legislation and for the governor to sign the legislation into law.


  1. #1 afarensis
    November 3, 2006

    Sigh! I’m thinking about rooting for Seattle from now on…Eckstein surprises me. He has always come across as a reasonably intelligent guy – unlike Suppan who I always though was a bit of a dope – so I have a hard time believing he is being mislead. On the other hand, he has also come across as a classy guy so I have a hard time believing he is deliberately misleading people on this…Sigh…

  2. #2 sinned34
    November 3, 2006

    Ugh, I don’t know what’s worse: narcissists who get paid to pretend they’re someone else on camera spouting political inanity, or muscle-bound idiots who get paid to chase a ball around making comments about science, while pretending they didn’t skip their high school science classes to go inject steroids.

  3. #3 Ruth
    November 3, 2006

    I’m a skeptical Mighiganian living in St. Louis, and I don’t like Ammendment 2 because it is written so badly. I also hate the money being dumped into this campaign. The Stowers Institute of Kansas City alone has put in 29 million.

    The Catholic church is against any IVF technique, so their opposition is consistant and not surprising. As usual both side are broadcasting scare stories and not objective facts.

  4. #4 Joshua
    November 3, 2006

    I was reading some other blog today (also here at Sb, but I don’t remember whose!) about ballot issues like this one. Seems that a lot of ballot issues being pushed these days are coming as amendments. I suspect it’s almost definitely related to that old “judicial activism” canard.

    Constitutions aren’t supposed to change on a whim. That’s the whole point. It’s extremely discouraging to see that folks are so willing to toss aside sounds principles like that in order to serve some short-term goal.

  5. #5 Keanus
    November 3, 2006

    Suppan and Eckstein’s behavior just goes to underscore the old advice that athletes should not open their mouths except in celebration of a great victory–like the World Series. Otherwise they are at great peril of making asses of themselves, as the two have done in this case. Just one man’s opinion.

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