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Tolerance oils the machine

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Aug 02, 2004

Count on the Boston Globe to print an op-ed piece that perfectly distills the fashionable case for embryonic stem-cell research (in other words, cloning).

When I say it's a "fashionable case," what I meant is that author Ann Parson (no, I don't know who she is, either) makes her presentation based on fashionable ideas, rather than logical arguments. The full case that be reduced to 2 simplistic points:

  1. "Religions are ancient, while science is as modern as the future."
    Got that? We're not to think about religion any more. So what replaces faith? You don't need to wait long for the answer.
  2. "Stem cell medicine makes too much sense for partisanship to hold it back in this country. When the tide is high enough, the vessel will float off the bar; the debate will be over."
    In short, as soon as there's enough money in it, we'll all discard our scruples.
In a brilliant book, The Long Truce, A.J. Conyers argues that the very modern commitment to "tolerance"-- an attitude which previous generations would not have regarded as a virtue-- stems from the implicit belief that if we can only set aside our petty differences over "little" things like religious faith and absolute truth and moral law, then we'll be better equipped to carry out the real business of building a powerful industrial state, in which everybody gets rich. Here's that argument, in a nice op-ed nutshell.

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