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Dumb Science, Kerry's Religion

Orson Scott Card has proved to be an excellent analyst of the political scene and the cultural war.

Orson Scott Card's International Update

We already knew Kerry had a plan for everything – ending the war, not getting in the war in the first place, getting allies to join us in the war, saving Social Security, lowering taxes, vastly increasing spending, cutting the deficit in half.

You know. Miracles.

But who knew that Kerry and Edwards could cause the crippled to rise up and walk?

I don’t think that has ever been promised in a political campaign before.

I was amused when Kerry said, during the second debate, “I believe in science.”

That was a pretty clear contrast with George W. Bush, who believes in God.

The real difference in their faiths is that George W. Bush has actually read the Bible and gone to church, so chances are he knows something about what Christians believe about God.

Unfortunately, John Kerry has no idea what scientists believe about science.

As Charles Krauthammer pointed out in a sharply reasoned essay (“Anything to Get Elected” at, Edwards’s recent statement, “When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again,” does not overlap with actual science at any point.

It’s religion, pure and simple. And it’s not really faith in science. It’s faith in money spent on science. And, of course, faith in the gullibility of the American voter.

This whole issue is about stem cell research, which is only controversial when the stem cells come from fetuses, because it seems to put a profit motive in abortion.

Kerry says that George W. Bush has banned stem cell research.

1. The truth is that Bush is the first president to allow embryonic stem cell research. And the only restriction on it is that it be confined to existing lines of embryonic stem cells.

This was actually a daring step for a president beholden to the religious right – there is no shortage of people for whom even this was over the line. But George W. Bush is a moderate, and sought a middle way.

Furthermore, right now the most productive area of stem cell research is using adult stem cells. No surprise, really – they are designed to thrive in full-grown humans. There is particular interest in the stem cells that grow amid human fat. It’s possible that liposuction may give us more productive stem cells than abortion ever could.

2. Embryonic stem cells have been researched for some time, and there is no encouragement for the belief that they will provide a cure for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s or spinal cord injuries like the one Christopher Reeve suffered.

So at least as far as we know right now, no matter how much money you throw at embryonic stem cell research, ain’t nobody gettin’ out of his wheelchair and walkin’.

There is a great deal of promising research being done in curing, circumventing or preventing damage to the nervous system; embryonic stem cell research is merely a small part of it, and not the part getting the best results right now. This is not because of any “ban” – it’s because the hoped-for results simply didn’t happen in the experiments done so far.

3. No scientist, speaking as a scientist, could possibly predict the results of experiments that have not yet been performed. Cures come where and when they happen to come, as often from unexpected places as from expected ones.

The recent history of science is littered with stupid promises like, “Within fifteen years artificial intelligence will be a reality,” or “We are only ten years away from fully understanding how human consciousness is formed within the brain.”

Any time future dates are mentioned as part of a timetable for desired discoveries, you are not hearing science – you are hearing faith, pure and simple. The faith might be in science, but faith in future science is sadly misplaced.

Science cannot be delivered on command. It can’t be bought. Desired results cannot be predicted or promised.

If John Kerry or John Edwards knew diddly-squat about science, they would know that.

People hearing their repulsive promises to cure the crippled and raise up the man suffering from palsy should turn away in disgust at Kerry’s and Edwards’ dishonesty, their stupidity and their low opinion of the intelligence of the American people.

Wasn’t George W. Bush supposed to be the dumb one?

From science to religion, read the rest.