Tag: scientific ethics

30May

This is Modern Ethics

Over at the Atlantic, there is a piece on how we could bioengineer humans to resolve the global warming problem. Not that I’m convinced the “global warming problem,” is real, a problem, or human induced —but let’s ignore that, and focus in on the solutions proposed by philosophers and ethicist who do believe in the global warming bogeyman. After all, the things these folks would like to do to “solve” global warming are things they consider to be ethical and reasonable in general, and once aired will be taken up to “solve” any number of other problems humanity might face in the near future.

The suggestions in the article, based on a piece who’s lead author is S. Matthew Liao, a professor of philosophy and bioethics at New York University, range from the bizarre to the insane. For instance, humans should be modified so they have an aversion to meat, because meat is a large part of the carbon footprint. Or humans should be bioengineered to have “cat eyes,” so we won’t need so much light, reducing the need for electricity.

But the article also exposes the Professor’s view of other humans to the harsh light of reality.

First, modern ethics believes it’s fine to treat humans as malleable objects to be modified for the greater good of society at large. The only worth of an individual, in this view, is within the context of a community.

The reason we are even considering these solutions is to prevent climate change, which is a really serious problem, and which might affect the well being of millions of people including the child.

Second, modern ethics believes that humans are perfectible, if only we can find the right way to go about it. Since strict government control by the enlightened doesn’t seem to have worked, we should try bioengineering.

What we have in mind has more to do with weakness of will. For example, I might know that I ought to send a check to Oxfam, but because of a weakness of will I might never write that check. But if we increase my empathetic capacities with drugs, then maybe I might overcome my weakness of will and write that check.

Should we object to these views of humanity, the Professor has the perfect answer already ginned up: you should be grateful I chose to let you live.

With selection you don’t really have the issue of irreversible choices because the embryo selected can’t complain that she could have been otherwise—if the parents had selected a different embryo, she wouldn’t have existed at all.

To paraphrase the good Professor, “I killed all your brothers and sisters, and I can kill you, too.”

The only antidote to these lines of reasoning lies within the concept of image deo —human beings were created in the image of God, and therefore ought to be respected in the same way God respects (and loves) us. We are not here to mold our fellow human beings into writing checks to Oxfam (a hard left wing organization, of course), but to develop relationships with God and men, to love as God loves.

The Professor’s view of humanity is more like what a farmer thinks when he drives by a field of cattle.

“Just think what I could do with that breeding stock.”

1Dec

Worth Reading

Even in our crime-wearied times, people sometimes behave with a heartlessness that just stops you in your tracks. Two such incidents happened recently. A 79-year-old woman has died from head injuries after trying to fight off teenage muggers who robbed her of the bag containing her husband’s ashes. Of course these youths didn’t know what the bag contained. But what a terrible commentary on our society, where not even the dead are safe from muggers who have no qualms about robbing an elderly woman. This attack followed hard on the heels of a story about a teenage burglar who, asked to write a letter of apology to his victims, wrote instead that he wasn’t bothered or sorry at all, and that the burglary was all their fault for leaving their window open. Such incidents suggest that we are dealing with something beyond merely ruthless acquisitiveness and contempt for the law. They suggest a total absence of empathy for another person, which is the basic requirement of morality and, in turn, of a civilised society. They illustrate a brutalisation of humanity. Evidence of this sickening tendency has been accumulating for years. While violent crime has always been with us, elements of sadism, cruelty or total indifference to anyone else’s distress are becoming frighteningly commonplace. To some of us, it has long seemed obvious that this is intimately related to the breakdown of religious belief. It is the morality embedded in the Bible that expressly requires us to put the interests of others first. –Melanie Philips

A new word recently surfaced: Ineptocracy. While not yet officially part of the language, it has been defined as, “A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.” As good a working description of our current culture as that is, I submit another: Malignantocracy. Merriam-Webster defines “malignant,” as “evil in nature, influence, or effect: injurious,” as “passionately and relentlessly malevolent: aggressively malicious,” and, in the context of health, “tending to produce death or deterioration ; especially: tending to infiltrate, metastasize, and terminate fatally < a malignant tumor>.” Therefore, in the context of a democratic republic, a malignantocracy is a government that, having appealed to malevolence and malice for its election, is itself malevolent and malicious in its actions, and whose policies and effects are injurious, resulting in the death or deterioration of what is governed. By this definition, we are in a malignantocracy. –Patriot Post

A particularly egregious claim by proponents of anthropogenic global warming theory is that ‘the science is settled’ and that there is a consensus amongst scientists that the atmosphere is catastrophically heating up because of man’s ever-heavier carbon footprint. Egregious because, in a classic bit of circular reasoning, scientists sceptical of AGW have been systematically denied a voice in the press and on the airwaves, their exclusion thus ‘proving’ the alleged ‘consensus’ through their absence. Until recently, it might have been assumed that the cause of such exclusion by the BBC was simple ideological bias. For the past two weekends, however, David Rose in the Mail on Sunday has been showing that something far worse has been going on. Yesterday, Rose revealed that the BBC was so deeply in the pocket of AGW scientists that its reporting of AGW was utterly compromised. –Melanie Philips

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