Critics of Stem-Cell Research Are Not Anti-Science

To the Editor:

In the article “Most Republicans Think Colleges Are Bad for the Country. Why?” (The Chronicle, July 10), Professor David Hopkins contributes in a small way to the political polarization of academic subjects when he treats “The conservative critique of  . . . the hard sciences” as focused on “subjects like stem-cell research, climate change, and evolution.” These three are not issues of the same kind. Critiques of climate change and evolution involve matters of science, and those who challenge them are arguably anti-science.  But critiques of stem-cell research do not ordinarily challenge any “hard science.” Rather, they focus on a moral issue, namely whether research that involves the killing of human embryos is morally permissible. One may agree with all of the accepted scientific principles and conclusions of mainstream stem-cell research and still disagree on the moral issue.

William J. Collinge
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Theology
Mount St. Mary’s University
Emmitsburg, Md.

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