[asa] Charles Krauthammer WAS scientific fact vs. ideology?

From: John Walley <john_walley@yahoo.com>
Date: Sun Mar 15 2009 - 17:03:10 EDT

Krauthammer is a a very thoughtful secular Jew who is an MD and I think a psychiatrist. He appears to believe in God but not in any recognizable form. I always find his insight to be very stimulating. In his previous columns he did come out and oppose ID and Dover and upheld Darwinism but he managed to justify a theistic belief at the same time. This poses an interesting question, how would a secular theist like Krauthammer differ from a Christian TE?

John

--- On Sun, 3/15/09, David Clounch <david.clounch@gmail.com> wrote:

> From: David Clounch <david.clounch@gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?
> To: "George Murphy" <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>
> Cc: "David Opderbeck" <dopderbeck@gmail.com>, "Stephen Matheson" <smatheso@calvin.edu>, "ASA List" <asa@lists.calvin.edu>
> Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 2:45 PM
> Charles Krauthammer wrote a column in the Washington Post
> where he says why
> he refused to attend the policy ceremony. One should see
> his column to
> evaluate his objections to the new science policy. Charles
> is not a
> religious person. I have no idea whether or not that
> makes him any kind of
> atheist. But it strikes me as ironic that a non-religious
> person can have
> more common sense than a pile of religious people.
>
>
>
>
>
> On Sun, Mar 15, 2009 at 12:36 PM, George Murphy
> <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>wrote:
>
> > David -
> >
> > You say that what is required before ESCR is
> appropriate is that proponents
> > "prove that such embryos are not human beings in
> the sense that they can
> > ethically be sacrificed in the course of the
> research." Previously you have
> > referred to the difficulty of defining
> "person" but now you replace it for
> > the purposes of this debate with "human
> being," which is if anything more
> > ambiguous than "person." In any case, if
> you're going to demand that
> > standard you need to define "human being."
> And give some indication of what
> > you would accept as such proof so that proponents
> aren't faced with a
> > moveable finish line.
> >
> > I should note that I don't consider myself among
> "proponents" of ESCR. I
> > do think that a case can be made for its legitimacy in
> carefully defined
> > ways but as I've said before, I think it's
> premature to go ahead with it at
> > this point. What I object to in your arguments is not
> that you are
> > concerned to protect the life of human beings but that
> you do not seem to
> > allow any way for scientific knowledge about
> embryological development
> > finally to make any difference in a decision. (N.B.,
> I am not saying that
> > you are unaware of such knowledge.) E.g., if the
> suggestion of a "brain
> > birth" criterion is made on the basis of
> traditional ideas about rationality
> > as a crucial component of personhood, I suspect (but
> correct me if I'm
> > wrong) that you will respond with an argument that the
> embryo may have a
> > rational soul (or equivalent language) even without a
> brain.
> >
> >
> > Shalom
> > George
> >
> http://home.roadrunner.com/~scitheologyglm<http://home.roadrunner.com/%7Escitheologyglm>
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > *From:* David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
> > *To:* Stephen Matheson <smatheso@calvin.edu>
> > *Cc:* ASA List <asa@lists.calvin.edu>
> > *Sent:* Sunday, March 15, 2009 1:16 PM
> > *Subject:* Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?
> >
> > I don't think I tied the ethical imperatives I
> mentioned to "the gospel."
> > Certainly one can believe the gospel -- the life,
> death and resurrection of
> > Jesus -- and disagree with my application of some of
> the ethical imperatives
> > that flow from the gospel. Yet, I think those ethical
> imperatives do bear
> > closely on our subject. Again, I'm basically a
> MacIntyrian, so I'm not
> > suggesting the love command et al. offer a simple
> deontological rule that
> > directly overlays this situation. The question for me
> is what kind of
> > tradition to we want to extend? I think a tradition
> in which doubt is
> > resolved in favor of life, in which the most helpless
> are given the most
> > protection, is most consistent with a genuine
> expression of a Christian
> > tradition. That is a strong claim, for which I
> don't apologize, but it's
> > not the same as linking the claim with "the
> gospel."
> >
> > I also think there's a burden of proof issue here
> that no one's touched
> > on. The public debate in favor of ESCR seems to say
> this: we have a
> > technology with some possible promise; the burden of
> proof is on any
> > objectors to show that the research might impinge on
> human dignity. I think
> > the burden of proof should properly be on the research
> community. You have
> > a technology that requires research on human embryos:
> prove that such
> > embryos are not human beings in the sense that they
> can ethically be
> > sacrificed in the course of the research.
> >
> > The best response I've seen so far is that it
> isn't immediately certain
> > whether a fertilized human egg will deveop into an
> individual because of the
> > possibility of twinning. It's been suggested that
> "science" in this sense
> > determines that an early-stage embryo can't be a
> "person." But this just
> > begs the question of what constitutes a
> "person." Given likely advances in
> > cloning technology, for example, every one of us could
> possibly "split" into
> > another human being. Are we therefore not individual
> "persons?" Of course
> > not. It simply means that one of the capabilities of
> personhood includes
> > the production of additional persons. And this is
> hardly surprisng --
> > humans have been doing this through sexual
> reproduction for millions of
> > years.
> >
> > David W. Opderbeck
> > Associate Professor of Law
> > Seton Hall University Law School
> > Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
> >
> >
> > On Sat, Mar 14, 2009 at 9:25 PM, Stephen Matheson
> <smatheso@calvin.edu>wrote:
> >
> >> David, first of all I'm uncomfortable with
> the suggestion that the
> >> asserted "impossibility" of identifying
> when personhood begins is enough to
> >> fully empower the precautionary principle.
> Uncertainty regarding the
> >> beginning point does not entail uncertainty
> throughout the entire lifespan
> >> of a cell or embryo. For example, we may be
> uncertain of the time at which
> >> a human becomes "conscious" by some
> definition (and this would apply to any
> >> definition that I know of), but we could
> simultaneously identify with
> >> confidence certain stages at which the human is
> and is not conscious. It
> >> simply does not follow that uncertainty regarding
> beginnings means
> >> uncertainty in toto. Perhaps I misunderstand you,
> but it looks to me that
> >> the agreed-upon uncertainty is being used
> inappropriately here.
> >>
> >> This is especially important since you have linked
> your preferences to
> >> very basic claims of the faith. I hope you'll
> agree that your threefold
> >> defense of your own position, which includes
> Jesus' summation of all the law
> >> and prophets, is meaningless outside of the *a
> priori* definition of the
> >> subjects of those imperatives. It seems to me
> that the discussion here is
> >> not about whether Christians ought to love others,
> or even about how to love
> >> others. It's about whether very early human
> embryos (but not ova or
> >> cultured pluripotent cells) are properly the
> subject of such imperatives.
> >> Can we agree that perhaps even nasty old Steve
> Matheson has read the
> >> gospels? Do you mean to suggest that someone who
> thinks a zygote is a whole
> >> lot different from a fetus is someone who might
> hesitate to affirm the
> >> Golden Rule? This is EXACTLY why the discussion
> makes me nervous: debatable
> >> opinions are too closely associated with the
> gospel itself.
> >>
> >> Note that I'm not assuming any ignorance on
> your part, and I agree that
> >> the combination of the precautionary principle and
> potentiality should lead
> >> us to protect human life even when we're not
> certain of its "personhood"
> >> etc. I'm NOT attacking your opinions
> regarding these principles. I'm
> >> expressing disquiet about the trajectory of the
> analysis -- it just happens
> >> to end at fertilization -- and especially about
> what I see as an
> >> inappropriate association of opinions (however
> noble or excellent) with the
> >> gospel.
> >>
> >> Steve Matheson
> >>
> >> >>> David Opderbeck
> <dopderbeck@gmail.com> 03/14/09 2:15 PM >>>
> >>
> >> You anticipate the problem, Don, but you don't
> really offer any solution.
> >> The problem of euthanasia and what
> "capable" means is one reason why I think
> >> the potentiality principle remains important
> (though, as we have noted ad
> >> nauseum, "important" doesn't in my
> mind mean "conclusive" or
> >> "incontrovertible.") . A human embryo is
> in fact more "capable" of having
> >> "spiritual interaction" than a
> 90-year-old person, if "capabilities" include
> >> all potential interactions over the course of an
> average human lifetime.
> >>
> >> This ties into a very important strand of theory
> in virtue ethics related
> >> to global development, Martha Nussbaum's
> "capabilities approach." Note that
> >> I am NOT suggesting Nussbaum applies this in the
> same way I might to our
> >> present discussion -- in fact, I think
> Nussbaum's articulation of
> >> "capability" is too individualistic. The
> point is simply that "capabilities"
> >> or "potentiality" remain important for
> many normative theories of ethics.
> >>
> >> IMHO, both on either scientific or theological
> grounds, it is presently
> >> impossible to state with any reasonable degree of
> certainty when
> >> "personhood" begins. In my view, this
> means it's equally impossible to draw
> >> meaningful lines about when it is permissible to
> terminate a human life
> >> having some potentential to exercise at least some
> of the capabilities we
> >> associate with personhood -- whether at the very
> start or very end of
> >> biological life. Given that, and given the immense
> value (not "absolute"
> >> value, but immense value) we place (or ought to
> place) on human life, in my
> >> view the precautionary principle strongly weighs
> against intentional
> >> termination of embryonic human life.
> >>
> >> Further, I think the view I'm taking here is
> the most consistent among the
> >> presently competing views with a Christian
> understanding of the human
> >> person, the relationships among human persons, and
> the role of the state. I
> >> take as a central ethical imperative Jesus'
> restatement of the law: to love
> >> God with all the heart, mind, soul and strength,
> and to love one's neighbor
> >> as one's self. I further take as a central
> ethical imperative the repeated
> >> Biblical injunction to care for and defend those
> who are unable to protect
> >> themselves against the exercise of power by
> others. And, I think the state
> >> has a particular role as God's vice-regent
> over human affairs to promote
> >> laws consistent with these imperatives.
> >>
> >> If there is any reasonable doubt at all about the
> status of an entity as
> >> "human," then, IMHO, the love command
> and the injunction to defend the
> >> powerless compel us to oppose the intentional
> termination of embryonic human
> >> life, as well as human life in its end stages,
> EVEN IF the purpose of that
> >> action is to promote research that might benefit
> us.
> >>
> >> Now, someone might take the line here taken by Ted
> Peters: beneficence and
> >> the love command suggest exactly the opposite --
> that we ought to resolve
> >> this doubt in favor of persons who unquestionably
> presently possess human
> >> capabilities but who are damaged by illness.
> (Peters argues this in "Playing
> >> God?", in which he acknowledges the
> potentiality principle, BTW). I can't
> >> agree.
> >>
> >> Among other things, I think this view ultimately
> devalues people with
> >> disabilities. Disabled people who might benefit
> from embryonic stem cell
> >> research -- whether a paraplegic or my own son
> with his neurological
> >> misfunction -- remain able to exercise human
> capabilities, with excellence,
> >> dignity and beauty. The fact that society views my
> son as "marred" or
> >> "impaired" doesn't justify
> *completely extinguishing* the capabilities of
> >> another person or potential person. A better
> approach, IMHO, is to pursue
> >> other avenues of research while at the same time
> exercising love and
> >> beneficence by helping people like my son to live
> meaningful lives within
> >> the context of their unique physical abilities. At
> some point, after all,
> >> every one of us must learn to live with the unique
> limitations fate, or
> >> providence, or karma, or whatever you want to call
> it, hands us.
> >>
> >> David W. Opderbeck
> >> Associate Professor of Law
> >> Seton Hall University Law School
> >> Director, Gibbons Institute of Law, Science &
> Technology
> >>
> >>
> >> On Sat, Mar 14, 2009 at 3:03 AM, Don Winterstein
> >>
> >> <dfwinterstein@msn.com>
> >>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> >>> 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.
> >>>
> >>> Don
> >>>
> >>> ----- Original Message -----
> >>>
> >>> *From:* John Burgeson (ASA member)
> <hossradbourne@gmail.com>
> >>>
> >>> *To:* David Campbell
> <pleuronaia@gmail.com>
> >>>
> >>> *Cc:* asa@lists.calvin.edu
> >>>
> >>> *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).
> >>>
> >>> jb
> >>>
> >>> On 3/10/09, David Campbell
> <pleuronaia@gmail.com> 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
> majordomo@calvin.edu with
> >>> > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes)
> as the body of the message.
> >>> >
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> Burgy
> >>>
> >>> www.burgy.50megs.com
> >>>
> >>> To unsubscribe, send a message to
> majordomo@calvin.edu with
> >>> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the
> body of the message.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >

      

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Received on Sun Mar 15 17:03:44 2009

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