Michael Kinsley confronts the fact that Ross Douthat doesn't care more than a smidgeon about whether Kinsley lives or dies from Parkinson's disease.
If Kinsley were facing imminent death, and the only guaranteed antidote was a destroyed embryonic stem cell, I'm sure Douthat would fly over in a crimson-colored-cape and perform the destruction necessary to save the day. The fact that Douthat opposes federal funding for promising basic science research, that may one day be used treat PD, is far removed from the notion that Douthat doesn't care whether Kinsley lives or dies. If all of us were certain that could automatically save a life by sponsoring a certain magnitude of stem cell research, most of us would wire donations overnight. We don't do this, and thus admit that Kinsley's life is not immediately and urgently dependent on it. Reducing the situation to two variables (Kinsley's life versus stem cell funding), as well as admitting no degree of uncertainty about the potential effects of both the research and its related public policies, is innacurately simplistic.
Ok, I stood up for the social conservative.
Now, let's get the pluripotent blastocyst-derived inner cell mass differentiation party started!
Update: Before writing this post, I had written the first paragraph, as a comment in Brad Delong's blog (it did not include the more bellicose title of this post). It was taken down, after a few hours. Brad Delong has the right to do whatever he wants on his blog. However, I am disappointed by an academic who is unwilling to tolerate reasonably polite critique.