Did you notice that in the Executive Order President Obama signed yesterday authorizing Federal funding destructive embryonic stem cell research, not only was the restriction on Federal funding revoked but also the authorization to fund alternative sources of stem cells. This is the tail end of the executive order:
(b) Executive Order 13435 of June 20, 2007, which supplements the August 9, 2001, statement on human embryonic stem cell research, is revoked.
What was provided in Executive Order 13435?
So if the President's goal is to fund research that "has the potential to lead to better understanding and treatment of many disabling diseases and conditions," then why end funding for research that has demonstrable and hopeful results in favor of research that has so far failed to produce one hopeful, useful therapy? I'm not sure of the answer and it's the kind of question I've been asking for years now about the singular focus by some politicians on only this one kind of stem cell research.
Did you also notice the President's imposition of his religion on the issue? "As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering." Okay, let me get this straight. Opponents of ESCR raise purely ethical concerns and they're dismissed as religion intruding into public policy, but the President employs an explicitly religious claim that he even says is a personal matter of faith to make public policy. I agree completely with his expression of principle, but we disagree on who all of the people in view are who we should care for. I'd like to discuss that, but it's continually dismissed as "religious."
Did you also notice the Presidential Memorandum issues in tandem with the Executive Order directing the agencies of the executive branch to formulate guidelines for "restoring scientific integrity to government decision making?" This is another sophistic dismissal of the science and ethics that motivate opposition to ESCR. In the political rhetoric of proponents of ESCR, I rarely ever hear any acknowledgment of the science that has produced useful therapies so far. The conclusion I've come to about that is: Acknowledging that science would undermine political support for funding ESCR, which is offered as the sole promise of miraculous cures (with no scientific basis, if you want to talk science).
Here are two important articles describing, realistically, the current science, ethics, and progress in stem cell research.