Tuesday, April 05, 2016

the lost moral vocabulary

see previous rants link personhood without rights  link2 losing our common ethical consensus link3 BMJ wants infanticide
 link4 secular takeover of Catholic hospitals  link5 some of us take the Hippocratic oath too seriously

Now read the Spectator article on how IVF etc has brought back Eugenics (linked via PJMedia)

The era of designer babies, long portrayed by dystopian novelists and screenwriters, is fast arriving. According to Hank Greely, a Stanford professor in law and biosciences, the next couple of generations may be the last to accept pot luck with procreation. Doing so, he adds, may soon be seen as downright irresponsible. 
Lots of sci fi about this, which is often more thoughtful than PJM points out. I would have thought "wrath of Khan" a better cautionary tale than then HG Wells. (The survivors in the original Khan story were fleeing the eugenics wars that devestated earth).

But the core idea behind the problem is the religion ghost (as GetReligionBlog calls it). Since I'm old, I am using the older definition of "man" as "generic human being".

Is man just the result of blind evolution, or is he made in the image and likeness of God?

Is man a being precious to the creator, or just a thing to be used in the machinery of state/business for profit and power?

Is man completely malleable, and can he be what he wants to be? Are we born in complete charge of our lives, or are we born with innate weakness that needs a higher power to overcome?

Is man unique, or just an animal? If he is an animal, does that mean we should stop killing all animals (as animal rights folks insist) or does this mean we can kill humans who are inconvenient (as Peter Singer, an animal rights expert, also claims).

Are we free human beings, allowed to do anything we want, or are we part of a network of relationships, with ethical and moral restraits that encourage such relationships? Confucius pointed out that to save society, first save the family. But modern libertarians see people as free and in charge of their lives, and socialists see people as free individuals who rely on the government for help (see "Julia" film) not as members of a family and neighborhood where mutual help is how one makes it through life.

Is there a God who cares for us? Or are we mere ciphons and God doesn't care: he only does the "big picture".

Or is there no God, and we can do it ourself (meaning the rich and powerful can do it themselves, and they can run reality without those nasty religious folks who stand in their way,(as they have always done, from Thomas Beckett to Thomas More to Bishop Von Galen to Gandhi)

Are children to be planned by us, a commodity chose to fit into our lifestyle, as we desire, and do we have the right to aborted/discarded (e.g. in IVF) if that child is imperfect, unwanted, or just conceived at an inconvenient time? or are children a gift of God sent for a purpose: and even if the child is not perfect, maybe he is there for a purpose.

This is not a Christian idea: it is the idea of karma, or that we all have a path in which we have to tread, and that there is a reason behind everything that happens to us, good or bad.

This old fashioned but now probably radical idea that even imperfect children are beloved of God and sent to earth for a purpose was best expressed by Pearl Buck who wrote:

It can be summed up, perhaps, by saying that in this world where cruelty prevails in so many aspects of our life, I would not add the choice to kill rather than to let live. A retarded child, a handicapped person, brings it's own gift to life, even the life of normal human beings. That gift is comprehended in lessons of patience, understanding, and mercy, lessons that we all need to receive and practice with one another, whatever we are.

No comments: