Science, “Anti-Science,” and the Firewall

By Dave Andrusko

I have attached two outstanding reviews of a new “breakthrough” study the results of which are grossly misrepresented, of no use, and highly unethical. I’m referring to Paul Stark’s “A breakthrough in embryo-destructive research?”   and Wesley Smith’s “Human Cloning Research Breakthrough Is Unethical.” There is so much to discuss I will write about the topic tomorrow.

Today’s last story is based on a review penned by Denyse O’Leary  of a new book, “Eugenics and the Firewall,” written by Jane Harris-Zsovan. It is of piece with the necessary debunking written by Stark and Smith.

Harris-Zsovan tells a story that is familiar to many pro-lifers and totally missed by huge swaths of the public. In the early 20th Century, the “best” people and much of the Scientific Establishment knew (to borrow from Handler) “this incontrovertible truth: The wrong people were having all the children.”

From that premise, O’Leary writes,

“Across North America, tens of thousands of people — disproportionately those held in low esteem anyway, were forcibly sterilized under newly passed laws. In Harris Zsovan’s Canadian province of Alberta, district nurses would order sterilization for women who had given birth out of wedlock, and had then made an adoption arrangement. Presumably, the fact that they wanted a better life for their babies more than they wanted the emotional comfort they might provide demonstrated that they were unfit parents. Many people slated for sterilization by courts, social workers, or bureaucrats were not even told that, during a routine operation, they had also been sterilized. Often, they found out the truth late in life, all hope of adoption past.”

The lesson for us today is unmistakable. To many journalists—not to mention many scientists—there is a very restricted view of “science” which almost always breaks in the direction of death. If you oppose, say, embryonic stem cell research, or “physician-assisted suicide,” or starving to death the cognitively impaired you are in the same camp as the Catholic Church was in opposing eugenics: you are “anti-science.”

But that’s very good company to be in—and for the best possible reasons.