Re: Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?

From: Jack <>
Date: Mon Mar 16 2009 - 12:52:10 EDT
Wow a touchy subject.
A few points:
First to David Clounch, even though I dont agree with them, there are plenty of Christian philosophers who are comfortable with the idea that there is no need for a soul for Christianity to be coherent.  So getting rid of the concept of a soul is not going to kill Christianity.  However, any conception of a soul is by definition not scientific so we are going to have to resort to scientific and philosphophical conceptions to have a dialog in this area.  Concepts such as personhood, what it means to be a human being, etc.
Second I just wanted to make one comment about David Operdeck's overall point.  I dont have any problem with him wanting to keep the line drawn at conception, that is conservative but I am not sure that there is any other place to CLEARLY draw a line, although I am not as conservative as him on this subject and certainly think there is room for discussion.  However, I dont think it is fair or possible to put the burden of proof on the researchers as he pointed out in one post.    This question is one that we have to grapple with as a society, and it involves scientific, legal, philosophical, and political aspects.
Finally, I think stem cell research is really just a small part of this question.  There are hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos in the freezers of this countries IVF clinics, the vast majority of which are going to be discarded.  Why is there not a discussion ongoing about this problem?

Mar 16, 2009 11:36:24 AM, wrote:

On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 12:13 AM, Don Winterstein <> wrote:
Well, I offer a solution, but I can tell from what you've written that you're not going to accept it.  As I implied in my post (below), I believe a human person with a soul is physically much more complex than an early-stage embryo.  In fact, I believe in order to be a person the body must have at least a rudimentary brain.

Its an interesting question.  But one must ask "how do we know"?   And if we don't know then what standard should  we go by?

In defense of David Opderbeck  I would  suggest  this subject isn't so much in the area of science as it is within law. What standards does one then use?
I'd suggest  reasonable doubt  could be one.  Or preponderance of the evidence could be another.
But as a professor of law David Opderbeck may say to me "those are just plain silly, they simply don't apply here." But if that were the case, then I'd have to ask, "what standards would a court then use?" 

The worst possible outcome, IMHO, is where America  tosses out consideration of the soul altogether.   I suspect the Dover-like  court might seek to do that, using the theory that if an idea is primarily religious then it must be disallowed (everything else being equal).

 When that happens, when the soul is tossed out (because it is merely a religious concept)  then Christianity will have lost all of its salt, and as I said before, will  essentially be dead.   We already have a society where individuals, using any criteria they want, capriciously decide to destroy other human beings.  That type of standard worries me.  Christianity would say, or ought to say,  "no, don't institutionalize that." 

Best Regards,
David Clounch

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