Friday, March 25, 2005

Assessment of the Field of Play (3 of 3)

Well, after some time spent researching organizations out there in the great cyberspace dedicated to bioethical views that the Dude was 1) not really familiar with; and 2) based on significantly different sets of ideals than the Dude believes in, the results are ready to post. I’m going to be referring to categorizational terms that I came up with in the first post on assessing the field of play.

Before going on, I would also like to clarify that in posting this I in no way am bashing nor expressing allegiance to the other side. As expressed in that first post, my goal is to evaluate the ontology and the logical consistency of any bioethical argument before judging its merits, and to thereby stay as far away as possible from the emotional aspects –those can and usually do come later. However, I didn’t feel that it was fair for me to assume that 1) the readership (that one lone stranded individual) agrees with my take, and 2) what the hell else is out there, really? On what basis do people disagree on, and show at least a semblance of intellectual basis for these bioethical disagreements.

The posts are organized in order of closest to the zero degree mark of Edict Driven Approach (EDA) (i.e., what many term to be conservative but I don’t use that term because it has become so nebulous and as stigmatizing as liberal) and moving toward center…so here we go:

Center for Genetics and Society

Their argument that the new human genetic technologies could lead to a neo-eugenics movement is, in my opinion, meant to inflame and persuade.

Wesley J. Smith's Second Hand Smoke Blog

Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC)

Some interesting publications and comments there, but some do point to the neo-eugenics movement as well, and so I have the same opinion in re that as above. All-in-all, interesting because some arguments tend to be more academic.

The New Atlantis

Published by EPPC above, including articles by Leon R. Kass who makes some poignant arguments for having ethical determinations lead the way of science (worth checking out). I don’t wholly agree with as he is nearer to the fundamental Edict Driven Approach than I prefer to be, but he does nonetheless offer interesting arguments (notwithstanding bringing God into the fray, which, I don’t know, just sounds inappropriate to me. I realize that religion has a place in bioethics as a sizable portion of the citizenry is religious in one way or another, but I don’t think that a bioethicist ought to rely on God in making arguments…this is another topic though.)

They do have a great quote that I feel should be noted:
Conservatives and Liberals both believe in the virtues of modernity, often in identical ways. But they also offer competing visions of what progress is, where it leads, and what it requires. Conservatives want to send men to Mars, ban embryo research, curb weapons spending, and build hydrogen cars. Liberals want to keep human beings on earth, fund embryo research, curb weapons spending, and build hydrogen cars. The two political camps sometimes disagree about the respective roles of government and the private sector in promoting scientific and technological progress. And they sometimes disagree more profoundly about what it means to advance, with very different conceptions of what should be ‘off limits’ to scientific research and technological development. The machine in the garden distresses the liberals; the pipette in the embryo distresses conservatives.

--Fall 2004/Winter 2005, Editorial, Science in the Public Square

They have another article on the acorn and the tree argument vis-à-vis embryos and humans that is also worth a read. I’ve always thought that such argument confuse potentiality with actuality, but that too will be another topic explored later on in more detail.

Center for Bioethics and Culture Network

International Taks Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Discovery Institute

Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity

Do No Harm

Keep in mind, I do not intend to at this time endorse or disapprove of the views expressed by the individuals/organizations above. This was mission to find basis for bioethical views I'm not familiar with.


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