Let me first get something off my chest about the common misperception of the relationship between science and faith. It astounds me when knowledgeable people talk as if science can be amoral, areligious, etc. This week Obama gave a speech in which he made public policy changes regarding stem cell research. All in all, the speech is good. He tries to convince his hearer that his choice to move forward with more stem cell research is worthwhile because of the possibilities of curing a number of disease states–even if one must be “delicate” about the major questions that stem cell work raises.
But one line gets me riled up. He stated that his administration, “would make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.” All science is based in ideology. This doesn’t mean that science is loosy-goosy but that one cannot possibly make a decision about which endeavors to undertake and which ones to avoid WITHOUT an ideology. I would much prefer him to say what he meant: “Based on the ideology of utilitarianism (the greatest good for the most), I deem that we should continue and advance the stem cell research programs.” While I would disagree with him on his decision, I would respect him all the more.