John Marburger

John Marburger, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, was Thursday's guest. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On whether the Bush policy on stem cell research should be changed:

"The case for revisiting depends a lot on the pace of development in the field and the perception of just how important the applications are turning out to be."

On the impact of Nancy Reagan's latest plea for stem cell research:

"What I tell the president about stem cells is that they are good.... Yes, we should be doing research on them. Yes, they do offer the possibility of curing disease.... I have no special expertise on ... when a fertilized egg becomes sacred.... That is the issue."

On accusations that the bush administration misuses science for political reasons:

"I do not see that pattern of systematic undermining of science. It is simply not happening. That said, there are always issues about whether a policy decision or a regulatory decision is the right one."

On the president's role in scientific issues:

"The president does not claim to be a scientist, or a science buff, or a science hobbyist. He does like to know why he is doing things: What are the reasons for making a decision? Are they strictly political? Is it going to help the economy? He asks very basic questions sometimes and probes to see what the details are."

On whether technical literacy is crucial to the US:

"It is important to increase the number of young people who are technically literate"

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