The Power of Controversy

President Obama has reversed an executive order that banned stem cell research, with the statement that his administration would: “make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology,”
I think that’s a good idea, insofar as we remember that science is the study of facts about the ecosystem in which we must make our efforts to survive. I can also see problems with stem cell research, and I might want to discuss that issue sometime.  However, the details of these boondoggles are not as interesting to me as the way we use them to artificially increase our short-term personal power at a time when our long-term survival is in doubt.

To directly compare science with “ideologies” is to ignore the fact that science itself is an ideology for many people, and that turns what should be a discussion into a controversy.  It makes me wonder why we want to spend our time fighting with each other rather than finding solutions to whatever we view as problems.

I agree with Pres. Obama’s  decision in this case, mostly because I understand how many human embryos, eggs and sperms (all of which are living cells) are lost normally, on a monthly basis, by the normal processes of human reproduction.  Living cells are shed from our bodies all the time, by the millions, and it would therefore seem that nature does not consider a single cell to be a precious personality. And I believe that God created our natural ecosystem. Therefore how the ecosystem is created — that’s how it is, whether we like it or not. So the dispute seems to me quite artificial.  But as I said, I am more interested in how people use these disputes to grow their personal power at the expense of our communal power.

In our efforts to understand The Creation, we humans have grown many ideologies, among which science is the most powerful way to deal factually with the ecosystem because science studies the measurable facts of the ecosystem.  Therefore I strongly agree with Pres. Obama’s intention to include the facts of science in his decision making.

However, measurable facts – therefore science – are not the whole story of The Creation.  Many realities are not measurable facts.  Ideologies that ignore measurable facts do weaken themselves, because measurable facts — if they have been verified by the scientific method — are facts.  For the same reason, science weakens its potential (as do all the ideologies) when they ignore ethics, love, beauty, compassion and wonder, because these are also real.

I think our ideologies would be more productive, more powerful, and a great deal more compassionate if we were to include, in all of them, a respectful consideration of the basic facts and realities of the creation. Not an easy task, so it is time we should begin to learn how to talk among ourselves.

Because no matter how hard we believe in anything — it won’t change what is, and nobody knows everything.

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