Former Reason editor Virginia Postrel has a great piece up at Forbes about Canada's draconian anti-science policies when it comes to biotech. The anti-science arguments in the Great White North don't invoke religion (as they tend to down here) but trade more generally in leftist canards about egalitarianism. Snippets:
In tolerant, open-minded, diverse and creative Canada therapeutic cloning–defined as creating an in vitro embryo with the same chromosomes as any other individual–is a crime punishable by ten years in prison….
In liberal Canada… the law defines cloning expansively. Future procedures that might avoid religious objections would still be illegal. The goal is to stop certain research altogether.
That may sound strange to Americans. To many liberal Democrats reproductive choice and scientific progress are touchstone values. But they aren't the only values on the activist left. For many environmentalists, most famously Bill McKibben and Jeremy Rifkin, tampering with genetic nature is inherently wrong. How you do it is a minor detail.
Some feminists object to egg donation, paid or unpaid, for research or conception. "It presupposes an instrumental attitude toward one's own body and that of others" and begins to impose a "social obligation on the female body," notes German feminist Ingrid Schneider.
Genetic research also offends egalitarians. They fear that the rich will benefit first or that money for research will come from social programs. Social justice, argues Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics & Society in Oakland, Calif., "means not just 'no designer babies,' but also 'no designer medicine.'"
These intellectual influences are stronger in Europe (and Canada) than in the U.S. But two equally threatening ideas do crop up frequently among mainstream Democrats: that commerce taints medicine (those evil drug companies!) and that any activity that has social consequences ought to be centrally regulated.
The Center for Genetics & Society praises Canada, among other countries, for adopting a comprehensive law to "prohibit unacceptable activities, require public oversight of acceptable activities and establish socially accountable structures for revising policies or setting new ones."
No tacky appeals to religious faith here but, in the end, a far more sweeping agenda. Scientific and reproductive freedom will be reined in because they're antisocial.
Whole thing here.