Posts Tagged ‘science’
A boy without a cerebellum is forcing medical experts to admit they didn’t know as much about the brain as they thought they did.
This week’s Cross Examine television show looks at embryo adoption. The episode is titled Snow Babies.
One of the reasons some churches forbid some fertility procedures is that ‘excess’ embryos are created, many of whom are discarded or donated to be used as research material (which, as one lady notes in the show, is another way of being discarded). Embryo adoption has arisen to give some of the hundreds of thousands of young lives, currently in suspended animation, a chance at being born.
The Curt Jester notes that higher-ups in the Obama administration seem to follow a strange creed when it comes to very young humans. They also write off those of us with moral concerns as silly. They also seem to not have a firm grasp on science. Read The Curt Jester’s post Creedal Obamians (Sept. 17, 2009) for the story, and his take on it.
Nor can such absolutists blind themselves to the traps set by the current discourse, steeped as it is in consequentialist parameters. In any discussion over embryonic stem-cell research, for example, one will inevitably hear an informed and articulate pro-lifer mention the lack of cures that such research has yet yielded. But what defense will remain if, tomorrow, embryonic stem-cell research were to produce a bevy of cures for terminal diseases? Even if the pro-research consequentialist were to accept the above premise, and change his position based on the supposed futility of this research, the victory is a pyrrhic one. For the rules of engagement have shifted onto a pragmatic playing-field, where any moral standard now lies susceptible to a more pressing need. When we compromise even the slightest on intrinsic evils, entertaining effects and trying to use them in our favor, we can hardly be surprised when recourse to first principles no longer carries weight in the great conversations of our day.
In a time when the distinction between can and should has become increasingly blurred, and when fundamental moral norms are under unprecedented attack, the principle of intrinsic evil requires and deserves a staunch defense. The threat of utilitarianism is hardly new; after all, it was the calculating Caiaphas who asserted it was better for one man to die than the whole nation to perish. In the face of public demand for expediency and results—with little or no regard for what seem to be ethical niceties—the pressure of pragmatism can test the purest of consciences. At times the price for holding fast to these absolutes can be very high indeed. But ours is not to count the cost. For these moral norms are not our own; rather, they point always beyond us to a law that we did not invent, a law that we cannot change.
An objective morality naturally bespeaks an objective truth, and in an age of ascendant relativism such allegiance should stand as a sign of contradiction. It ought to lead others to ask a question, or at least a different question: not Does it work?, but Is it right? Without a steadfast adherence to the primacy of that latter question, there is no limit on the brute horrors that wait to be unleashed. The past century is nothing if not a stark lesson in how easily utilitarian calculations can, in the name of some greater good, strike at the very roots of human dignity. Such a conviction as to intrinsic wrongs formed a first line of defense in Mockaitis’ pursuit of justice. For the rest of us, it forms a last line of defense against the triumph of moral anarchy.
Read the whole article: Today’s Practical Problem (First Things, May 8, 2009).
hat tip: The Anchoress
Vital Signs Ministries has a list of books it bills The Pro-Life Indispensables. Over at his book blog, Denny Hartford (the director of Vital Signs Ministries), also recommends Check with Chip on Stem Cell Research, by Chip Maxwell, Executive Director of the Nebraska Coalition for Ethical Research.
Over at Lutherans for Life’s “Teaching for Life” page, there’s a link to a pdf listing children’s books and movies and other resources on a variety of pro-life topics. The resource list was compiled by Diane Albers, a kindergarten teacher and the President of Lutherans For Life of Missouri.
At Mommy Life, Barbara Curtis has recommendations for children’s books about disabilities. That post is part of a series, which also includes Down syndrome books for parents and Children’s books on Down syndrome.
I recently got the How Now Shall We Live? Devotional, by Charles Colson with Anne Morse (Tyndale House Publishers, 2004). I (ahem) have been reading it more like a book of short essays and history lessons than a devotional (the devotions are adapted from BreakPoint commentaries), and so I can tell you that there are a number of first-rate pro-life articles in it.
What would you add?
Added: This sounds wonderful and a lot of fun: Clare at A Maiden’s Wreath recommends Mrs. Dunwoody’s Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping, by Miriam Lukken.
Kim Komando features a 60 Minutes segment that shows that electrodes on a person’s head can pick up signals that let a paralyzed man type out voice messages, and a stroke victim drive a wheelchair. There’s also a monkey who operates robotic arms this way. Amazing stuff. (There is an ad at the front of the video and another at the end. Sorry about that.)