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 <email@example.com>
To: "'Lucy Masters'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
If you are able to set your email software to use html instead of text,
you can get the colors I have.
From: Lucy Masters [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 3:50 PM
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
[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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