It was encouraging, in any event, that three scientists made reference, even though obliquely, to the ban's being based on moral or political, not on scientific, grounds. It would have been more encouraging if they had stated flatly that imposition of the ban was neither a moral nor a political issue, but a religious issue. It is a serious threat to freedom when, in a country whose constitution requires separation of church and state, funding for a valuable component of medical research can be banned because some aspects of it are considered not to conform with precepts certain religious organizations assert are ordained by divine revelation.

The conflict between religion and science is not dead, or of only historical significance, as many would have us believe. It is as real as it was when Galileo was forced to recant. The conflict is less physically threatening now than it was in...

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