Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?

From: Don Winterstein <>
Date: Sat Mar 14 2009 - 03:03:42 EDT

IMO abortion, while always traumatic, distasteful and a thing that should be undertaken only as some sort of last resort, isn't murder unless the organism aborted is capable of spiritual interaction at the level of persons. Capability for spiritual interaction at the level of persons, which I regard as tantamount to "having a soul," among humans requires a fairly complete body. A few million cells won't do. In other words, humans don't get souls at conception but at some much later stage of development. In other words, the soul is an emergent property of the body--and you can't prove me wrong on this from Scripture.

If you amputate someone's leg, you're killing human tissue but you're not guilty of murder because you're not killing a person. Destroying a frozen embryo is in a similar category.

Does this mean I'd support mercy killing for the mentally defective on grounds they can't be spiritual? No, because no human can tell where the boundary is between having capability for spiritual interaction and not having such capability. But I'm comfortable sticking my neck out to say that frozen embryos don't have it.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: John Burgeson (ASA member)<>
  To: David Campbell<>
  Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 6:47 AM
  Subject: Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?

  Doug posted, in part: "public policy should be based on scientific
  facts not ideology.
   I think this is an awful statement. It's a false dichotomy.
  Scientific "facts" don't make public policy; they form a necessary
  informational base, but every action based on that knowledge also
  requires a moral/ethical/ideological decision."

  I don't see it as "awful," but a simple factual statement. If one
  takes it to mean "based ONLY on scientific facts," then, of course,
  I'd agree that it is "awful." I'd probably use a stronger term.But it
  does not say that.

  Relative to the stem cell issue, it really boils down to the question
  "does a frozen embryo have personhood -- a soul?" For those asserting
  "yes," the issue is clear; stem cell research is immoral. For those
  who assert otherwise, stem cell research in morally OK.

  Having read a lot on this, I tend toward the latter position, but I do
  NOT claim certainty. I don't know that any of us can claim certainty
  on the issue.

  It is a classic case that whichever side of the issue you choose, you
  run the risk of doing harm (or not avoiding harm).


  On 3/10/09, David Campbell <<>> wrote:
> Yes, in the case of embryonic stem cells there is little disagreement
> about the science, and the self-identified "scientific" policy is
> merely one ideology among many.
> In other cases, such as environmental or evolution, there is denial of
> the science that could be described as disagreement about the science.
> Nevertheless, even in such cases, science is still descriptive.
> Science cannot be morally prescriptive, as that is outside its scope.
> --
> Dr. David Campbell
> 425 Scientific Collections
> University of Alabama
> "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
> To unsubscribe, send a message to<> with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.


  To unsubscribe, send a message to<> with
  "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sat Mar 14 03:04:56 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Mar 14 2009 - 03:04:57 EDT