Re: medical ethics

Paul Arveson (
Mon, 6 May 96 12:51:00 EDT

In message <> "Kenneth Feucht" writes:

> Why should one want to perform ethics by surveys? Do most ASAer's understand
> the distinctives that form a Biblical ethic? Does "doing" ethics as you
> propose necessitate the thought of those from bastions of academia and
> science? Why would the ASA be more erudite than the man off the street?

The use of a survey would answer the questions you are asking. In fact I
can't think of a better way to answer these particular questions.

I ask
> these questions, because of the essense of ethics, which is that of knowing
> the will of God, and scientists tend to do a very poor job of that (I'm sure
> you'll take issue with this statement).

If you know the will of God, why should I take issue? That's what we all want.

I am in the process of instituting a county-wide resistance to
> the activity of PAS, and am getting quite mediocre results from both the
> public and the medical/scientific community.


I view that soon, the only resolve will be for physicians to part company with
their secular counterparts, as Hippocrates and the Pythagoreans had to do in the
> The trouble is that we have reached a point where we not only have (1) lost
> the means for accurately discerning the will of God, but have also (2) lost
> the drive to really do it. The solutions are as follows; for point (1),
> learning to discern the mind of God through Scripture alone, something that
> will best be done in the seminaries and private lives of all concerned
> Christians,

The trouble is that we have reached a point where some are apparently so
polarized that they believe they can discern the will of God independently of
the broader community. Tell me please, what does the Bible tell you about AIDS,
recombinant DNA, cancer therapy, Ebola, etc? If the SPECIFIC answers are there,
we would all like to know.

and (2) restoring churches with the vision of confessing Christ,
> replacing the "therapeutic" church of today.
> I don't see a legitimate role for the ASA in this process. Why do you propose
> that the ASA is a proper forum for medical ethics?

Simply because there are lots of doctors, theologians, ethicists, and simply
studious Christians in ASA. It is not a random sample of irrelevant or secular

I'm sorry I struck a nerve. All I really meant was that it would be interesting
to see what viewpoints were present in this particular community of thoughtful
Christian scholars and professionals.

Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-1914 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)
Code 724, NSWC, Bethesda, MD 20084
"Practice thoughtful kindness, and helpful acts of beauty."