Bioethics Thinking Small and Missing the Big Picture
I received the following e-mail today by an author who presents a view that would lead me to wonder whether those of us in bioethics are spending too much of our energy of philosophical thought and discussion on what are in fact minor issues and are actually missing the important “big picture”. Read below what H.F.Matare reminds us. I would be most interested to know what you all think.. ..Maurice.
The strong condemnation of the combination of Bio and ethics by a number of people has its base in the philosophical consideration of "human dignity”. Stem cell research e.g. is considered as a manipulation with human embryos, irrespective of the status of development. Frozen, fertilized oocytes are considered "humans" by some ethicists. Such opinions may be conceived as ethical. But can such ethics be considered real, in view of the actual human situation on this planet, where millions of humans flee from overcrowded and underdeveloped regions into the industrial countries, because their multiplication of more than 4%/annum (with doubling times under 17 years) has led to untenable misery. Can one talk about dignity when millions lead a life in squalor and poverty while multiplication continues unabatedly. Or is it dignified to save deformed babies for a life in misery. Are the millions of deserted children in the main towns in South America e.g. who live of theft a life of hopelessness, a sign of the dignity of their parents?- J.Diamond has aptly described human collapse in his recent book under this title and clearly described the untenable human situation, when procreation is religiously sanctified and churches further support multiplication in areas where brain development is missing, to cope with the problems of survival.(SCIENCE 9.9.05 pp 1717-1721: Microcephalin for brain development, uneven distribution)-It is dignified to consider the boundary conditions for a satisfying human existence on this planet. Diamond points out e.g. that a growth of humanity by the same factor as prevailed since 2000 years, for another such period would lead to a human mass greater than the mass of planet earth!!!!-- The general boundary conditions for humanity have also been discussed in H.F.Matare;"Energy, Facts and Future" CRC Press 1989 and in my recent book on Bioethics.