[Fwd: RE: [Fwd: RE: Darwinism/Compassion]]

From: Lucy Masters (masters@cox-internet.com)
Date: Sat Feb 23 2002 - 10:45:31 EST

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    Well...I guess we'll just have to "agree to disagree." Your definition
    of what's "bad" or "evil" is just different from my definition. I don't
    think death is evil, I sympathize deeply with folks in the hospital who
    want to die, I think it's the heighth of stupidity to feed people who
    refuse to practice birth control, reckless to use antibiotics on a
    massive scale, and on and on. The argument which you and I engage in
    here on an individual basis is reflective of the science/religion debate
    on a larger scale.


    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: RE: [Fwd: RE: Darwinism/Compassion]
    Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 09:43:11 -0800
    From: Adrian Teo <ateo@whitworth.edu>
    To: "'Lucy Masters'" <masters@cox-internet.com>, asa@calvin.edu



    If you are able to set your email software to use html instead of text,
    you can get the colors I have.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Lucy Masters [mailto:masters@cox-internet.com]
    Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 3:50 PM
    To: asa@calvin.edu
    Subject: [Fwd: RE: Darwinism/Compassion]

        Adrian: I love your email system and wish I could "do" colors the
        way you do. But I can't (to differentiate my responses), so I'll
        have to just bundle everything up here.

        (1) I don't have a problem arguing that human death is **NOT**
        evil. Ask some of our patients who are stuck in hospital beds in
        severe pain or stuck in wheelchairs paralyzed from the neck down -
        sometimes even worse than that. To them, death would be the
        greatest of God's blessings.
        [AT] If I understand you correctly, the logical implication is that
        some lives are just not worth living. Christians, since the earliest
        days have accepted suffering as part of living in obedience, and
        many have even embraced suffering as a sure road to sanctification.
        God describes Himself as LIFE itself, not a God of the dead. I
        honestly don't see how one can reconcile this belief that death is
        not evil with the work of Christ. He came that we may have life,
        that death, the last enemy, would be conquered. If it is in fact
        true that there are some types of lives that are not worth living,
        then I guess we have to say that people who are downright miserable
        have a right to end their own lives, and we should not interfere,
        and that God is even pleased with people doing such acts. To me,
        this doesn't seem to be consistent with the Gospel message.

        (2) Unfortunately, death rates do not go up as populations expand.
         This is how we ended up with 6.5 billion people on the planet.
        [AT] Let me clarify. Number of deaths will go up as population
        increases, but just not at the same rate as population growth. So,
        yes, we would expect to see more people dying just because there are
        more people around. Another thing is that we cannot be sure if the
        increase in mortality rate is due to external intervention or some
        other factors. One cannot infer causation from a correlation.

        (3) Yes..we can and did predict outcomes. The United Nations is
        chock full of thousands of reports from numerous scientific sources
        foretelling the population disaster we would create if we began
        feeding programs in third world countries **in the absence of a quid
        pro quo.** That is to say, in the absence of birth control. We
        (scientists) also predicted the crisis that would be brought on by
        the mass utilization of antibiotics, the building of the Aswan High
        Dam, and any number of other interventions designed to respond to an
        "immediate" need.
        [AT] Let's not forget political and economic forces that are at work
        also. The United States alone produces enough food to feed most
        third world nations over and above its own people. It is not that we
        have too many lives, it is that we have too many lives that have no
        access to the resources controlled by the powerful. To therefore
        conclude that these lives should not have been brought about in the
        first place is to misplace the problem. The problem is injustice and
        the lack of charity, not the presence of lives.
        (4) "Non-intervention in the face of reason" is exactly what I'm
        talking about. In the name of God, Christianity, kindness, and so
        on, we intervene in situations with predictable crisis-level
        outcomes. Now why would we knowingly create hell on earth in the
        name of God?

        [AT] Only in this case that you have brought up, I think it is
        unreasonable not to intervene. Our call is to protect the weak and
        the needy, not to decide in advance if certain types of lives are
        not worth living. The right exercise of reason requires that
        we seek the goods of humans, and avoid evil.

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