Medicine Politics Science Sports

Schadenfreude: At least the Tigers don’t have Jeff Suppan and David Eckstein

I feel for you, ScienceBlogs compatriot Afarensis. I really do.

Sure, your Cardinals beat my Tigers in the World Series last week. Sure, the Tigers made a lot of embarrassing errors and showed every sign of letting their youth and inexperience lead them to choking under the pressure. Sure at times the Tigers looked like a Little League team, throwing balls away hither and yon to let unearned runs score, looking nothing like the lean, mean baseball machine that had earlier dispatched the mighty Yankees with such aplomb after losing the first game. Sure the Cardinals managed to win it all after having had the worst regular season record of any World Series championship team.

Sure, all those things are true.

But at least my Tigers don’t have idiots like Jeff Suppan teaming up with Patricia Heaton, Jim Caviezel, and others to distort and lie about the embryonic stem cell research amendment being put before the voters in Missouri, with Heaton even going so far as to claim that the amendment would allow women to sell their eggs to make blastocysts from which to harvest stem cells, while the ad paints a hysterically over-the-top portrait of the actual risks of egg harvest. (Geez, if harvesting eggs were really that risky, few doctors would be willing to do in vitro fertilization to help infertile couples conceive a child.)

And now, to add insult to Afarensis‘ injury, Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein is set to appear in an “Open Letter to the People of Missouri” and dish out more of the same distortions that Jeff Suppan helped to propagate in his ad.

The ad is set to run today in newspapers across the state, including the Post-Dispatch. It features an “open letter to the people of Missouri” signed by Eckstein, Suppan and Kansas City Royals player Mike Sweeney.

The trio of ballplayers, who call themselves “athletes with moral convictions,” say that, among other things, the “fine print” of Amendment 2 would allow for the cloning of human beings.

Donn Rubin, chairman of the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, says the ad is repeating misleading comments made by opponents of the amendment throughout this campaign season. . .

Rubin said Eckstein and the other athletes in the ad are either “being misled or they are purposely being misleading.”

“And I prefer to believe my sports heroes are not deliberately misleading us,” Rubin said.

I prefer to, as well, as I’m sure Afarensis does too. When sports stars decide to start spouting off about science, the end result is usually embarrassment, and this is no exception. I tend to agree with Rubin that the opponents of Amendment 2 are taking advantage of the religiosity and scientific illiteracy of these two ballplayers in order to use them. (Either that, or the ballplayers are either complicit in the deception or don’t care. Take your pick.) Even so, Suppan and Eckstein are clearly allowing themselves to be used, probably through ignorance, and thus deserve all the abuse that Afarensis and I can heap upon them. And, of course, I get to enjoy a small bit of schadenfreude at the embarrassment their ignorance is causing the Cardinals organization and educated, scientifically literate Cardinal supporters. The Tigers may have lost the World Series, but at least they aren’t revealing two of their big stars to be scientifically ignorant doofuses.

I’m still thinking about whether I’d prefer having the World Series championship if it meant that a couple of the star players for the Tigers had to embarrass themselves and the team by spouting off ignorantly about things they don’t understand.

Tough question.


I’ve been asked whether I support Amendment 2 itself, given my excoriation of Suppan and others who have lied about what it means and what it says.

Quite frankly, If I lived in Missouri, I ‘d probably vote against Amendment 2, but not because of the lies of its opponents or because I oppose embryonic stem cell research. My reason for not supporting the proposed amendment is because it’s an amendment to the state constitution, and I’m very conservative about amending constitutions, whether state or federal. Enshrining one single area of science permanently in a state constitution seems to me to be inappropriate overkill and just a bad idea in general. Amendments to the constitution should involve defining individual rights, operations of the branches of government, areas of taxation, etc.–not legalizing this or that area of scientific research. In any case, a constitutional amendment is unnecessary for Missouri to fund and legalize embryonic stem cell research.

All that’s required is for the legislature to pass appropriate legislation and for the governor to sign the legislation into law.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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