It appears White House Science Advisor Karl Rove may have been a little fast and loose with the facts regarding stem cell research:
When White House political adviser Karl Rove signaled last week that President Bush planned to veto the stem cell bill being considered by the Senate, the reasons he gave went beyond the president’s moral qualms with research on human embryos.
In fact, Rove waded into deeply contentious scientific territory, telling the Denver Post’s editorial board that researchers have found “far more promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells.”
The administration’s assessment of stem cell science has extra meaning in the wake of the Senate’s 63-37 vote Tuesday to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The measure, which passed the House last year, will now head to Bush, who has vowed to veto it.
But Rove’s negative appraisal of embryonic stem cell research–echoed by many opponents of funding for such research–is inaccurate, according to most stem cell research scientists, including a dozen contacted for this story.
The field of stem cell medicine is too young and unproven to make such judgments, experts say. Many of those researchers either specialize in adult stem cells or share Bush’s moral reservations about embryonic stem cells.
“[Rove’s] statement is just not true,” said Dr. Michael Clarke, associate director of the stem cell institute at Stanford University, who in 2003 published the first study showing how adult stem cells replenish themselves.
If opponents of embryonic stem cell research object on moral grounds, “I’m willing to live with that,” Clarke said, though he disagrees. But, he said, “I’m not willing to live with statements that are misleading.”
In other words- more of the same from Rove and the parrots. It doesn’t matter if what you say is true- it matters how plausible it sounds and whether or not you can get people to repeat it enough until people think it is true. Some might call that ‘truthiness.’
So, the next time you hear someone parroting the Rove rhetoric, let’s look at some more of this administration’s greatest truthiness hits:
“Saddam Hussein has WMD stockpiles.”
“Bush is a uniter, not a divider.”
“There is no scientific consensus of global warming.”
“Brownie- you are doing a heckuvva job.”
“There are no patterns of abuse- it is just a few bad apples.”
Truthiness- it may get your way politically, but don’t confuse it with the truth. To borrow a phrase, “it tastes great, but is less filling.”