Sunday, February 20, 2005

Nothing More Than "Feelings"?

The purpose of this blog is to reflect philosophically on nature and science. But since man is part of nature (in the widest sense of the word), these ideas have human (political) ramifications.

The objective basis of moral norms[1] is lost on most scientists and indeed on the great majority of society’s elite. Ethical norms are founded on nothing more than wishful, idealistic thinking or whimsical assertion of power, according to the dominant view.

In reaction to being passed over for reappointment to the President’s Council on Bioethics, Elizabeth Blackburn publicly denounced Council Chairman Leon Kass for “rejecting science, such as research involving embryonic stem cells, because it feels wrong to him.[2] Dr. Blackburn, who is no doubt a basically good person and worthy contributor to society, fails to realize that similar ‘feelings’ are all that prevent us from licensing practices that we by some unknown grace persist in stigmatizing, such as human vivisection, infanticide, euthanasia, and forced sterilization, even genocide. She is not alone; the vast majority of scientists are similarly uneducated.

The real danger to this ignorance lies in forgetting “who we are.” Our constitutional political order was founded on a clear vision of the transcendent dignity of the human person and his natural rights, that is, rights that flow from his very nature.[3]

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Widespread ignorance, particularly among the “educated classes,” of the objective basis of human rights undermines the political order that has made the United States of America the great country that it is:

It is in the light of the dignity of the human person—a dignity which must be affirmed for its own sake — that reason grasps the specific moral value of certain goods towards which the person is naturally inclined. And since the human person cannot be reduced to a freedom which is self-designing, but entails a particular spiritual and bodily structure, the primordial moral requirement of loving and respecting the person as an end and never as a mere means also implies, by its very nature, respect for certain fundamental goods, without which one would fall into relativism and arbitrariness.

With relativism, every man becomes a law unto himself and the strong rule over the weak. Justice becomes the advantage of the strong.


[1] I am following the classical usage, in which ethics and morals are synonymous.

[2] “Bioethics and the Distortion of Biomedical Science,” New England Journal of Medicine, (March 18, 2004), 1379. Emphasis added.

[3]U.S. Declaration of Independence. John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor (August 6, 1993), 48.

11 comments:

Top Gila said...

Your philosophical arguments are mediocre at best. I can make reality whatever I want. This site is a thinly veiled argument for religious faith. Religious faith is dogma and dogma is a dirty word.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who asserts that they can make reality whatever they want is, in fact, the one who holds a mediocre philosophy -- a sophist, in fact. But, following this fool's cue, I'll just create a reality in which top gila is raped by Richard Dawkins for eternity. See? It's so easy! Anyone top gila doesn't agree with he simply reinvents reality and imposes their own understanding upon the word "dogma" -- which I'll bet my bottom dollar he has no clue what the traditional dictionary definition of "dogma" is.

Booker said...

From a New Atlantis editorial on"Science in the Public Square":

To call [Bush's limitation of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research] “politicizing science” is surely true, but so is seeking public dollars for embryo research in the first place. The future of science, especially morally controversial science, is always rightly a democratic question—a question for citizens, not just scientists. Moreover, to promise medical miracles when the scientific facts do not quite measure up—as leading scientists shamelessly did in the California stem cell debate—politicizes science in the worst possible way.http://www.thenewatlantis.com/archive/7/scienceeditorial.htm

Top Gila said...

dear anonymous coward:

what i mean by dogma is your imposing your fascist ideology on me to control me and what i do with my body and my life

i decide for myself

what i do is my business and not someone who lacks courage to sign a name of any kind

Anonymous said...

Dear Top Gila:
First, instead of presenting an argument, you descend to ad hominem... who's the coward now? Who's the fascist now? Who's the Grand Impositioner now? Who's trying to control someone's life now? Why should I or anyone descend to your hatred and self-loathing?

Second, you've clearly betrayed your ignorance of what "dogma" means. (By the way, you owe me a dollar.) Not having the guts to pick up a dictionary to understand the meaning of the word further witnesses to your cowardly attitude: you simply cannot bear to be challenged... and hence you resort to name calling... and reality shifting.

Finally, you're animated by hatred. That's the only thing that seems to keep you going. I pity someone who is so consumed by hatred that they've jettisoned their ability to reason and to be challenged by someone with a different view.

You are not happy... you are very, very sad: consumed by a hatred that's clearly turning itself inward -- the self-loathing is palpable. Seek help before you "decide for myself... what I do with my body and my life" to kill yourself... or do you think you'll be more "free" when dead?

Top Gila said...

don't sleep much, do you? maybe that's why youre so hostile and violent

if youre not a coward then who are you?

Anonymous said...

Hey Top Gila:

I'm located half way around from world from the east coast of the States... which means you've drawn yet another foolish assumption -- this time about "lack of sleep."

Let's see... ad hominem, hatred, self-loathing, unsubstantiated assumptions, etc., etc. Is this how you like to project yourself? Is this why you hate yourself and others so much?

Please get help...

Top Gila said...

I'll bet my bottom dollar he has no clue what the traditional dictionary definition of "dogma" is.were you "betting" me? you speak of me in third person when youre addressing me? guess youre passive-agressive?

Second, you've clearly betrayed your ignorance of what "dogma" means. (By the way, you owe me a dollar.)And youve betrayed your ignorance of "bet my bottom dollar" perhaps english is not your mother tongue

please define dogma for me, oh faceless sage!

Let's see... ad hominem, hatred, self-loathing, unsubstantiated assumptions, etc., etc. Is this how you like to project yourself? Is this why you hate yourself and others so much?you assume i hate myself, etc.

listen to yourself
you sound rather ad hominem, dont you think?
from what you say, you speak more about yourself than about me

why so thinskinned? why so cautious about assuming any kind of identity? is your sexual identity secure?

maybe you need to get help

Booker said...

Both of you dudes need to chill.

Anonymous said...

After scrubbing the identity of the blog site and the call-names of those involved, I shared this string of exchanges with a psychiatrist who has significant experience as an observer and collator of behavioral patterns arising between individuals on the internet – especially in chat rooms. Based on their experience and on the mannerisms displayed by Top Gila in these (admittedly limited) exchanges, the psychiatrist believes Top Gila exhibits characteristics typical of sexual predators, and it appears the issue of sexual orientation may be contributing to such behavior.

Note the initial hostile response to a fairly abstract theme, which is usually done to elicit a response with the hope of entering into discussions with potential victims. Note the hatred of “religion” and “dogma” – things incorrectly reduced to simply being means by which to assert moral authority over ethically-challenged behavior. Note an approach concerned not with reasoned argumentation but with ad hominem attacks. Note the fixation with control over “my body… my life.” Note the clever rhetorical reversal of questioning another’s sexual security when no such issue was instigated. Note Top Gila’s fixation with the anonymity of another – indicating not a genuine interest in the subject of the discussion but rather an unhealthy curiosity in the identity (sexual or otherwise) of the other… which, of course, is irrelevant. Note the self-loathing (or at the very least hyper-insecure) nature of Top Gila’s remarks: while Top Gila attempts to project an unwarranted victimhood status, at the same time they attempt to project power and control… which, in fact, is lacking.

The psychiatrist draws no definite conclusions because of the limited nature of the exchanges, but nevertheless urges caution in entering into such discussions. I suggest to the moderator of this site that whenever initial responses to the topic-of-the-day (such as Top Gila’s) are overtly and purposefully hostile (with or without cause), that fair warning be given, and, failing that, the person be barred from further discussions. I also suggest that the moderator consider narrowing the stated purpose of this site: “The purpose of this blog is to reflect philosophically on nature and science. But since man is part of nature (in the widest sense of the word), these ideas have human (political) ramifications.” May we please stay away from the political aspects? At least it may avoid instigating responses such as Top Gila’s…

Lawrence Gage said...

Listen. Booker is right: BOTH of you need to relax.

While Mr/Ms Gila certainly says some provocative (and rather disturbing) things, Mr/Ms Anonymous is not helping. (In fact, Anonymous, you're letting him "win" by getting you riled up. Give the rest of us some credit for being able to judge for ourselves.)

As to restricting the topics of this blog, might I observe that to do so would cripple our consideration of the topic at hand. I mean, is man not natural? The whole purpose of this blog is to discuss nature in her totality.

Another purpose of the blog is to generate conversation. No matter what we think about his (I use the generic pronoun) statements, we can be encouraged that Mr/Ms Gila is talking. (Perhaps I missed the place where Mr/Ms Anonymous posted on a non-political topic, I mean, other than in response to Mr/Ms Gila?)

So Top Gila and Anonymous, I encourage you to post, but please calm down and exercise some maturity.

I'm sorry for writing so much. Can we move the discussion to a new topic?

Thank you,

MJ