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Only 53 percent of adults know how long it takes the earth to revolve around the sun, a national survey commissioned by the California Academy of Sciences showed. That's sad, if not surprising. But former President and Rhodes Scholar Bill Clinton also revealed a startling ignorance about basic science shortly after President Barack Obama increased federal funding of stem-cell research that destroys embryos.

After CNN presented him as a policy expert on the matter, Clinton referred a half-dozen times to human embryos as "unfertilized" and said they would only "become human beings" if they were fertilized, which couldn't happen with the embryos in question.

Of course, embryo is the scientific term for the growing human in its first couple months of existence. The ones being used and destroyed for stem-cell research are about four to five days old. And fertilization, as schoolchildren know, is when the sperm and ovum unite. Without fertilization, there is no embryo.

And yet the mainstream media portrayed George W. Bush, not Clinton, as the former President who disregarded science. Expanding embryonic stem-cell research, the media and the White House told us, was about returning science to its "rightful place" and removing the Bush administration's backward ideological agenda from scientific decision making.

If science is all that matters, why did Obama fail to mention—and yet remove explicit funding for—the science that has produced the biological equivalent of embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos?

And if science should be free from any religious influence, why did Obama bring in religious leaders from mainline Protestant denominations and Jewish organizations for the embryonic stem-cell signing ceremony? ...

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May 2009

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