Stem cell policy shift brings a sinking feeling

When President Barack Obama signed his executive order to allow human embryos to be mined for their stem cells in order to help older, more powerful humans, there was much excited applause. The applause came from so many, their eyes bright, lit as if from within. It came from those who believe in scientific progress as the answer to the problems of the modern world, believing as fervently as any monk on the slopes of Mt. Athos believes in the Resurrection of Christ. In signing the order last week, the president said that the Bush administration, which strictly limited such research, had offered a false choice between science and morality. He said his new order “is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda-and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology. There it was. Ideology, a pejorative applied to faith, offered up during Lent by our president.