Monday, March 23, 2009

Scholar vs. Hack: Prof. George Schools Prof. Kmiec re: "Did Obama Allow Human Cloning?"

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

UPDATE (24 March)
(Hat tip: Regular Guy Paul) has the details of a similar debate last month between Prof. Hadley Arkes and Prof. Kmiec ... with similar scholar vs. hack results.

As the Regular Guy notes:
If I were a Catholic Obama supporter, I'd be embarrassed by Kmiec's performance, which seemed entirely based on emotion, misdirection, comparing unlike things, an unshakeable faith in the things Barack Obama tells him, and his own ego.

UPDATE #2 (24 March)
American Papist: "Robby George challenges Doug Kmiec to Public Debate"

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At 3/23/2009 11:02 AM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Wow. Just like any pro-abort, Kmiec relies on obfuscations, distortions, distractions, and even lies.

Clearly, his loyalty to Obama exceeds any loyalty he may have to life or truth.

At 3/23/2009 11:28 AM, Anonymous paul zummo said...

I almost feel bad for Kmiec.


At 3/23/2009 12:04 PM, Blogger DP said...

Where Kmiec went off the rails was thinking that he could be a Catholic witness *to* Obama. Sadly, the only thing that happened is that he's a Catholic witness *for* Obama.

There's no better impersonator of the naked emperor than Doug Kmiec.

At 3/23/2009 4:47 PM, Blogger CourageMan said...

Oy, yoy, yoy ...

I have some sympathy for Kmiec thinking he was treated badly by some conservative Catholics last year. But ...

(1) George was entirely respectful the whole time;
(2) The issue at hand was a simple matter of plain fact, neither a matter of how to weigh competing goods nor a prudential judgement;
(3) Kmiec said he acknowledged the key scientific fact -- that somatic cell nuclear transfer is cloning and, by nature, produces a new human being;

At that point ... what's the discussion about? Kmiec refusing to say in plain language that Obama did not ban cloning after having said in equally plain language that Obama had. While acknowledging the key scientific point at hand.

If Kmiec's initial statement had been heavily couched or caveated, that would be one thing. Or if I would even have been willing to bend over backwards and defend Kmiec if he had been willing to amend his statement to say something like "It was good and praiseworthy that Obama banned cloning for reproductive purposes and denounced it in the strongest moral terms. However, he allowed cloning for other purposes, destructive of human life. I see no moral difference, and the Church doesn't either, between the two ends, and I hope, pray and will work toward bringing Obama / the NIH, etc., around on this."

I suspect George wouldn't be satisfied with that (and the purist in me wouldn't either ... cloning always reproduces a new life and so the whole research/reproduction distinction is false from the start). But one deals with the political distinctions and cleavages that exist, and with people where they are.

One can really only wonder.

At 3/23/2009 7:51 PM, Blogger matthew archbold said...

I just love how they intro Kmiec as a "prominent Catholic conservative."

Maybe Kmiec is just trying to "engage" Obama just like Fr. Jenkins of Notre Dame.

At 3/24/2009 8:53 AM, Blogger Zach said...

What is it with these "pro-life" Obama Kool-Aid drinkers? I had similarly frustrating email exchanges with my little brother before the election.

He was so sold out on Obama that, when I compared voting for a pro-abort to voting for someone who is pro-slavery, he couldn't even bring himself to condemn those who would vote for the pro-slavery politician. 'Cause, you know, there might be good reasons even for that!

At 3/24/2009 11:31 AM, Blogger craig said...

O Dyspeptic One, you now agree that Obama's EO has not banned cloning?
That's not what you were saying in the comments back on the 13th of March.

At 3/24/2009 12:44 PM, Blogger DP said...


Sure, if by "cloning" you mean "reproductive" cloning. Cloning for research...well, let's just say the President's EO does a nice job of incentivizing that.

So, if I hadn't already, then, yes, I will because I agree because the EO does not do so. The President has merely promised to ban reproductive cloning, without doing anything to ban it in the EO itself.

Now will you admit that you have no objection to the ethical prohibition of scientific research you favor?

At 3/24/2009 12:48 PM, Blogger DP said...

Oh, and by the by--at 11:45pm, I had tacitly conceded your point:

the president expressed opposition to reproductive cloning

Nevertheless, yeah, you've scored your point.

At 3/25/2009 10:07 AM, Blogger craig said...


Just a little tweek for the "lickspittle" remark.
I'm not keeping score.


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