Proceeding from ideology-driven inquiry entails starting from an answer: “Research on human embryonic stem cell should be forbidden because embryos are equivalent to human lives” and working backwards to a question: “Is research on human embryonic stem cells ethical?” Proceeding with data-driven inquiry means starting with the question: “Is embryonic stem cell research ethical?” and then taking the time to educate the public, gather information about public sentiment on the topic, carefully analyze the costs and benefits of proceeding with or prohibiting the research, and offering a pragmatic recommendation that takes all of these considerations into account. [Link added is mine]
Of course! Carefully analyze the costs and benefits, offer a pragmatic recommendation… It’s so simple! How did we fail to realize that “costs and benefits” can be tallied without a preexisting evaluative framework (which necessarily entails that scary “i”-word) and used to develop pragmatic recommendations? I see it now, using a neutral language of public discourse, we can dispassionately evaluate policies according to nonexistent criteria and formulate “solutions” that everyone agrees with! Why didn’t we think of that before? Thank you, oh thank you Mr. Peroski! You have opened my eyes to the dreams we can achieve when we set aside our bases for normative judgment and unite in the service of implementing solutions.
Now this is change I can believe in!
EDIT: Ronald Bailey beat me to it. He goes wrong in the second part of his post, however.