The Intersection

This CNN story is quite representative of an obnoxious genre: Stories about Bush’s failed stem cell policy which pretend that the President’s “more than 60” lines claim was only undermined by the passage of considerable time, rather than almost immediately. In fact, as I detail in The Republican War on Science and as others like journalist Stephen Hall have also detailed, the claim was never defensible. The only factor that delayed and defused outrage over Bush’s dramatic misleading of the public on this subject was 9/11, which wiped the issue of stem cells completely off the map (and rightly so). But now that we’re debating stem cells again, can we please stop pretending that Bush merely made an innocent mistake back in 2001, rather than basing his whole policy on poorly vetted (or poorly understood) information?

For more info see the opening chapter of The Republican War on Science.


  1. #1 Fred Bortz
    July 17, 2006

    Hey, Chris, if you’re going to suggest people read the on-line excerpt, start with the fun part.

    If you have a flash player, turn up the volume on your speakers a notch, and go to

    Then click on “Excerpt.” That’s better than simply following the above link and skipping the intro with its clever visual and sound effects.

  2. #2 quitter
    July 18, 2006

    I’ll forgive you for not explicitly saying what the big lie was, that in fact, the 60 stem cell lines were more like 8.

    But what is also infrequently mentioned is that with all the paperwork and obstructions put in the face of this research is that to obtain one of these lines often takes 1-2 years. That’s how long it took us. That’s time not doing research, not publishing papers, not getting results, falling behind the rest of the world and generally, failing at science as a nation.

  3. #3 Robb Heier
    July 18, 2006

    Here is some more poor coverage of the issue:

    Here the author (among other things) misrepresents current federal funding for stem cells. For a more extended critique see here.

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