Bioethics Discussion Blog: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill and Threat of Presidential Veto

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill and Threat of Presidential Veto

I just can’t understand the logic of President Bush as his spokesman suggests that he will be vetoing the bill passed by House and Senate to support federal funding for new embryonic stem call lines. According to news reports, Tony Snow stated in a press conference today "The simple answer is he thinks murder's wrong, The president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something living and making it dead for the purposes of scientific research."

But surely, the President knows that aborting a fetus already developing in the mother’s womb is legal and not murder. On what basis of law or philosophy or science could the President say it is murder to use a embryo not intended for implantation for a public good. That is no way to be potentially beneficent to the billions of living persons simply to protect an already discarded embryo.

Let’s hope he uses common sense and not veto the bill, instead of imposing his personal view on the majority of American’s who support embryonic stem cell research. ..Maurice.

29 Comments:

At Tuesday, July 18, 2006 3:47:00 PM, Blogger Hans G. Engel, M.D. said...

There is little we can add to your blog. Common sense and rational thinking appear to be overshadowed by a relatively small percentage of Americans, a group that prefers to adhere to dogma, whether logical or not.
Sadly, our president does not listen to the majority of Americans.umbz

 
At Tuesday, July 18, 2006 8:22:00 PM, Anonymous Jaine said...

If I recall… the governor of Washington State, during the Mount Saint Helens’ eruption, Dixie Lee Ray, had a degree in science. Again, if I recall…it was believed that this training was why she listened to geologists and shut down access to Mount Saint Helens and surrounding area. She was credited with saving many lives by doing so. Or rather, her understanding of science was credited for her quick action. I’m guessing President Bush does not have a science background. Also, if I recall, it is almost a 50/50 split in the US between those who believe in Creationism and those who believe in Evolution. Will he have support from those who believe in Creationism? Is there a connection between how one views stem cell research and a belief in Creationism? I ask because I have no idea. This is a 5 day old cell mass, destine for the trash-can, that he is expressing concern over correct?

 
At Wednesday, July 19, 2006 7:42:00 AM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

Although I don't share Bush's moral scruples about killing human embryos, I do respect his right to believe as he does. There is, after all, no scientific basis for claiming that his moral beliefs are misguided.

I also try to honor the traditional liberal principle of freedom of conscience. As I understand it, this requires that we make sincere efforts to avoid creating situations where people are compelled to provide material support for activities that violate their moral beliefs. That's why, despite believing srongly that embryonic stem cell research should be vigorously pursued, I am opposed to public funding of such research.

Unless we devise some mechanism which permits taxpayers to chooses whether a portion of their taxes will support this research, it should be left to supporters to organize and finance the research effort. That's the democratic way.

 
At Wednesday, July 19, 2006 12:09:00 PM, Anonymous Steve Latham said...

Bob, if only that were true. Then I could choose whether my taxes funded Gitmo, death penalty prosecutions, the opening up of parklands for oil drilling, NSA surveillance programs, "free speech zones," and the salaries of justice department lawyers who write memos justifying massive unchecked executive power and torture. Alas, taxpayers in a democracy pay for programs they think are immoral and/or imprudent every day. I see no reason to carve out a special "taxpayers' right of conscience" for stem-cell research if we have none for war, torture, death penalty, interference with civil liberties or environmental degradation.

 
At Wednesday, July 19, 2006 11:04:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

I would tend to agree with Steve. Our tax money is being spent on the war in Iraq. There our tax money has, through the initiation of the war by President Bush, brought death to over 2 thousand American lives along with the associated deaths of many more thousands of innocent Iraq citizens. These are not theoretical persons such as embryos, these are real living humans who have had establish personhood before they were killed. How can our President make it seem that he is trying to preserve an embryo as an example of protecting the American taxpayer from paying for immoral behavior when all this other killing is going on at our expense? On TV,with the families and the children who were adopted as embryos, Bush explained the immorality of the use of embryos for stem cell reseach. Shouldn't the President also go on TV surrounded by family members of the deceased military and expain to us and to them the morality of the war and all the deaths especially since the war was preemptive but then found to be started with grossly erroneous reasons? ..Maurice.

 
At Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:29:00 AM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

Steve and Maurice -
I agree that tax dollars get spent on a lot of morally controversial activities without giving people the opportunity to opt in or out. Sometimes this might be politically justified in traditional liberal terms -- i.e., in terms of a compelling societal interest. At other times it happens without so much as a sidelong glance toward the problem of justification. I think we can all agree on these points.

But from an ethical perspective, two wrongs do not make a right. Is the question about ethics or is it about political expediency?

Please advise.

 
At Thursday, July 20, 2006 1:30:00 PM, Anonymous Steve Latham said...

Bob,
My previous post was misleading. I said there should be no special "right of conscience" tax exceptions for stem-cells given that there are no special exceptions for other, equally serious, moral issues. That did leave me open to your "two wrongs don't make a right" response. What I should have made clear is that I don't favor such carve-outs in any case.

It isn't mere political expediency that permits or excuses government tax-spending on projects that some citizens object to on moral grounds. Good democracies are supposed to be communities whose members have agreed to be bound by one another according to majority rule. The reason we don't--and shouldn't--get to "carve out" the share of our taxes that goes to projects of which we disapprove is not that it would be too complicated or difficult to arrange each individual citizen's carve-out package, but because the idea of such a carve-out is opposed to the ideals of democratic community. Citizens who morally disapprove of stem-cell research have the same (democratic) remedy as those who disapprove of Iraq or the death penalty or torture: political activism. The argument, "I shouldn't be made to pay taxes to support government policies that I don't like," is a non-starter in any legitimate democracy. (So it's a non-starter in the stem-cell debate.)

 
At Thursday, July 20, 2006 4:57:00 PM, Anonymous Moof said...

The issue of fetal stem cell research has been rather obscured by the subject of morally objectionable tax funded issues.

I wasn't going to comment on this one, but I've decided to have my say, even if it will not quite fit into the ongoing discussion.

I agree with Mr. Koepp, by the way, as far as the issue which is already "on the table."

Regarding the stem cell debate, and beyond its cousin - the abortion issue, there is still at least one thing to consider: do we really want to create a market for dead unborn human babies?

This has nothing to do with religion or even squeamishness ... but simply with following a path to one of its natural conclusions.

I would like to see this idea addressed.

Thank you.

 
At Friday, July 21, 2006 6:29:00 AM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

Steve -
If all that's necessary for a democracy to be legitimate is that it embodies "majority rule," then we can dispense with a couple centuries of political theorists trying to define a notion of "liberal democracy."

It's not a pretty sight when people who call themselves liberals start advocating majoritarianism as soon as it becomes difficult to embody liberal ideals.

 
At Friday, July 21, 2006 9:33:00 AM, Anonymous Jaine said...

“ …do we really want to create a market for dead unborn human babies?”

Is it the creation of a market for human embryos a few days into development, and destined to be destroyed in any case, that raises the concern? Or is it the slippery slope that is of concern? My first reaction is ‘compared to what goes on’ this is nothing. Looking at animal research, where perfectly healthy animals are destroyed bit by bit and in shockingly brutal ways, the question of stem cell research seems on par with asking: Is it right to pick a withered flower in the middle of a battle field? Although one shouldn’t set standards based on the wrong that already takes place…it is tempting.

The idea that human life is more important and should be given special consideration appears backward, destructive and arrogant. The place to look at the slippery slope is in how people treat animals and the environment in general. Or for that matter each other. As it is, the standards are so low that being concerned about cells from a human embryo seems almost on par with fiddling while Rome burns.

Outside of that, I have yet to see an example where the drive to discover was stopped. Tossing a person in jail for believing the sun, rather than the Earth, is at the centre of the cosmos didn’t stop discovery. Progress can be slowed but not stopped. Bush isn’t going to stop the research but he might be able to insert some hand brakes along the slope to slow down progress and allow for debate.

 
At Friday, July 21, 2006 11:11:00 AM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

My question is are we being governed justly in the United States? Why can't our representatives in government including our president govern us by what is ethically good and provide benefit for the greatest number of people rather than what is politically expedient for themselves or their party. Should the decision of what is ethically good be up to one man, the president, or should it be a consensus of the governed? I know we have a Constitution and there is provision for presidential veto and congressional override, but doesn't this mechanism break down when it comes to ethical decisions where it is more difficult to find common agreement? ..Maurice.

 
At Saturday, July 22, 2006 8:24:00 AM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

Maurice -
I don't think the president or congress or even a majority of the citizenry is qualified to decide for anybody else what is ethically good. The way our system of government is supposed to work leaves that decision to individuals. And in a liberal society, which is what we're supposed to be, that freedom of conscience is supposed to be respected -- with the exception that individual conscience can be trumped when it is necessary for the maintenance of a well-ordered society.

 
At Saturday, July 22, 2006 10:20:00 AM, Anonymous Jaine said...

Maurice asked: “Why can't our representatives in government including our president govern us by what is ethically good and provide benefit for the greatest number of people…”


If governing meant ‘what is ethically good and provides benefit for the greatest number of people…' it would mean that a group of wise, altruistic, educated, intelligent people studied each issue from the perspective you suggest and offered insight to members of the public… before moving in any direction. If this were how government operated the job would attract a whole different group of people. You might ask if any country is being governed justly. Is ‘ethical good’ the form of leadership people are willing to demand? It would mean no more voting for the person/party who is most willing to give the individual or organization the closest match to what works for personal or group gain.

Realistically, in any election, if looking for the person/party who will most represent what is ethically good and in the best interests of the majority of people doesn’t it come down to voting for the lesser of evils rather than a person/group who is clearly the right choice?

An example of how confusing it can be to follow how government operates: I my area a large powerful group of professional (supposedly well educated) government employees went on strike for a wage increase. Based on the economy this was a self-centered stand that ignored the facts. Government took a hard line with this group pointing out how self-serving and unrealistic their demands were. This group, in response, threatened to spend lots of money in the next election making sure this government was not reelected. Members of the public supported the hard line taken by government. Only a few weeks later members of government, on both sides, voted themselves in a wage increase at the same percentage rate the employee group had demanded??? There was such an outcry government was forced to retract the vote. However, the mentality of both this powerful employee group (that has lots influence over policy issues related to their area) and members of government was astounding. Would I trust this employee group or government to decide if stem cell research was ethical and which direction would provide benefit for the greatest number of people? I wouldn’t trust those people to decide how to spend public parking fees.

 
At Saturday, July 22, 2006 8:55:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

The excuse Bush gave for the veto of federal monetary support for stem cell research beyond the cell lines he previously approved was that there are citizens in the United States who felt that same way as he did that killing the embryos for research was immoral and they shouldn't have to contribute to an immoral act. Shouldn't choice be a "well-ordered and healthy society" of the living trumping the narrow concerns over a embryo to be discarded. I think it would be more rational and in keeping with Bush's moral philosophy if he would ask for a law preventing the discarding of any created embryos and a federal program to encourage the adoption of all embryos that would have been previously discarded. Obviously, he thought this adoption business was great since he praised the group of adopted babies at his TV presentation. ..Maurice.

 
At Saturday, July 22, 2006 9:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did this entry receive more replies than 90% of your other opinion pieces? Have Americans become more solicitous of embryos than they have of living, breathing humans? Where is the rationality when a zygote trumps a dying child? As a father of three boys, I ask: What The ****?

R. Carlton Jones, M.D.
http://www.medicalcorpse.com

 
At Sunday, July 23, 2006 6:06:00 AM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

Maurice -
I'm afraid you misunderstand the point of the classical liberal principle of freedom of conscience. It's not about juxtaposing the interests of embryos and those of more developed humans (those you call the living...), it's about how we should deal with the plurality of morals beliefs among those more developed humans -- nobody is attributing moral beliefs to embryos, after all. Some of these developed humans believe one thing, others believe another thing. How do we respect the right of each to believe as s/he will? That's where the liberal principle enters the picture.

 
At Sunday, July 23, 2006 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Bob, I do understand that the issue is how to deal with the pleurality of morals beliefs. I think an ethicist deals with it like any ethical decision-making issue. Try to balance the goods and bads on both sides and then come to a mediated conclusion. The analysis with stem cells is easier since the intent for the action is generally accepted by those on both sides: it is for the benefit of living mankind. I doubt many feel that the intent is simply to destroy embryos. If that were the case why wouldn't there be a clamor to close down the invitro fertilization process which leads to the destruction of embryos. So if the intent and value and benefit of the action is acceptable, what can we say about the morality of the unintended consequence of the use of the embryo. Here again, the facts speak for themselves, the embryo is most likely going to be discarded anyway and will not be of use to anyone, the embryos which will be used for research will be obtained with the informed consent of the family and the embryo's use will be conforming to ethical and legal practice. (for example, no cloning). The opposing view is that the use is immoral because it represents, if not murder, a destruction by whatever name used to describe the act, of a human embryo. However, here the facts indicate that there is no strong moral opposition to the discarding of embryos at least to the extent of preventing this from happening. In addition, there didn't appear in 2001 any strong opposition to the use of the derived stem cells from embryos already procured. Therefore a conclusion one could arrive at is that the moral opposition is only morally opposed to the destruction of embryos used for a goal which they most likely approve and are not morally opposed to the discarding and death of embryos in general. This analysis would lead me to the conclusion, that the particular moral beliefs of the opposition are inconsistent and since all parties appear to agree to the final goals to be derived by use of embryos, it would be reasonable that the use of federal money to support development of stem cell lines for the common final goals would not be in conflict with the inconsistent moral argument of those who oppose use of new embryonic stem cells. The analysis I have made would therefore support the use of federal funds just as the funds are used for other controversial moral issues such as the war in Iraq and all those others previous mentioned on this thread. ..Maurice.

 
At Sunday, July 23, 2006 1:45:00 PM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

Maurice -
I'm not going to try to justify the moral stance of those opposed to ESCR -- I happen to disagree with it. But note that the argument you present is not about accommodating moral pluralism. Rather, by concluding that anti-ESCR folk are morally inconsistent, you in effect argue that their objections don't represent a sincere moral stance. That's a legitmate strategy for undercutting claims of conscientious objection, but in order to pull it off, I think you need stronger arguments questioning the sincerity of the objectors.

 
At Sunday, July 23, 2006 2:50:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Bob, you brought up an excellent point: I "need stronger arguments questioning the sincerity of the objectors". The problem is that it would be most difficult for me to question the sincerity of all the those citizens who object to the use of embryos for stem cell research. However, would you be satisfied if I could present facts challenging the President who vetoed the bill and those members of Congress who prevented the overriding of the veto that their decisions and actions involved conflict of interest or ulterior motives: for example, concern for the preservation of the Republican control after the November election on the part of the President or concern for their own re-election on the part of the congressmen? Would that be sufficient? I suppose I would have to find public statements by these individuals which could be interpreted as going beyond a personal moral decision. Right? And if I could do that, then I could undercut their claim of conscientious objection? ..Maurice.

 
At Sunday, July 23, 2006 5:26:00 PM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

Maurice -
I think you touch on an important difficulty confronting those who would challenge the sincerity of the moral beliefs cited by many who object to ESCR. Sincerity isn't intrinsic to the content of the belief, but depends entirely on the particularity of each individual who claims to hold the belief.

As for the politicians directly involved in this veto affair, I'd expect them, as professional politicians, to be deficient in the sincerity department. But even if we could show that the veto is the product of many acts of bad faith, that wouldn't speak to the sincerity of the many, many citizens who claim to sincerely believe that ESCR is immoral. I can easily imagine people who do sincerely believe that, even if I don't find their reasons persuasive. Rather than try to extract support by taxing them, I think I need to try to persuade them to change their beliefs.

 
At Sunday, July 23, 2006 9:10:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

But Bob the government can't withhold taxing citizens for every issue which has a large moral component and take whatever time it takes to try to persuade them to change their beliefs. Of course I wish they did for the Iraq war and a number of other governmental actions which has associated many folks with an opposing moral view than the views accepted by those in government. What criteria would you suggest would separate those acts where taxing everyone should go ahead independent of their ethical/moral views and others where no financing by use of public taxes (even to the extent of not initiating the action)until there is virtually full support,through persuasion, by the citizens for the action? ..Maurice.

 
At Monday, July 24, 2006 5:21:00 AM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

Maurice -
As I've indicated, the traditional liberal position is that conscientious objections can be trumped on a showing that this is necessary to the maintenance of a well-ordered society. Again looking to tradition, this has been interpreted to include things like the provision of infrastructure for transportation, communication, education, public health, etc., without which society cannot function. Also, the tradition acknowledges that the state must be able to engage in wars -- yet because ethical prohibitions on killing are _so_ deeply entrenched, special provisions are made for conscientious objectors to direct military involvement, even if they can't avoid supporting war through taxes.

My question is where ESCR fits in this picture. Personally, despite what I take to be it's great promise (and not just for medical purposes), I haven't seen the arguments that society will suffer irreparable harm if the pursuit of ESCR is left to those who favor it. In a sense, what needs to be shown is that ESCR cannot be practicably pursued except through public mechanisms.

 
At Monday, July 24, 2006 3:13:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Bob, you wrote: "Personally, despite what I take to be it's great promise (and not just for medical purposes), I haven't seen the arguments that society will suffer irreparable harm if the pursuit of ESCR is left to those who favor it. In a sense, what needs to be shown is that ESCR cannot be practicably pursued except through public mechanisms." And I would agree. The worse that can happen is that institutions in some states who do not support ESCR will be "outsourcing" or immigrating their fine scientists to other countries or other states that have active ESCR programs.

Bob, another interesting issue to consider is can those who now find that the destruction of embryos for stem cell research an immoral act and would refuse to pay for the research will be willing recipients of the eventual beneficial products of that research and if so what could one anticipate as their rationalization? ..Maurice.

 
At Monday, July 24, 2006 5:05:00 PM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

Well, you've really expanded the conversation, Maurice. I hope others will join in a discussion.

I think that if people "convert" from viewing the destructive use of embryos as immoral, it will most often be because others who have pursued this research succeed in demonstrating great benefits. If and when benefits become tangible, rather than representing hopes and aspirations as they now do, a lot of people will recalibrate their moral compasses.

What I think is the most likely course of events is that we will learn _through_ESCR_ enough about the mechanisms of development to eventually reduce our dependence on ESCs as research material. We might well learn how to deprogram and reprogram normal somatic cells.

Returning to the present, I should say that even though I want to defend dissenters' freedom of conscience, I'm deeply troubled by the efforts of some of those same dissenters to suppress freedom of investigation with restrictions on ESCR. We cannot pursue the study of development, both normal and abnormal, without using ESCs. Though I'm willing to exempt people from supporting ESCR, I'm not willing to let them impose ignorance on others.

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 3:53:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

For those interested in a carefully written review of the issue of the morality of using embryos for stem cell research and support of the issue, read the white paper from the Center of Inquiry, Office of Public Policy by RONALD A. LINDSAY, legal director. The Introduction is pasted below. ..Maurice.


INTRODUCTION

Rapid advances in biomedical technology in recent decades have resulted
in a series of disputes and controversies over the limits that should be
placed on scientific research. The dispute over embryonic stem cell
research has been especially prominent and divisive, namely, in
particular government funding of stem cell research. As indicated by the
recent debate in the United States Senate over legislation that would
have loosened the restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell
research, there is a wide gulf between those who favor and those who
oppose government funding of such research. There appears to be little
room for compromise. In vetoing the legislation that would have
permitted funding of research carried out on a limited class of
embryonic stem cells, namely those derived from spare embryos generated
through in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, President Bush
characterized embryonic stem cell research as "the taking of innocent
human life" and asserted that each embryo "is a unique human life with
inherent dignity and matchless value"(President's Remarks 2006).

If human embryos are entitled to the full protection of our moral norms
and the use of such embryos in research is equivalent to murder, then
opposition to such research is understandable.

However, we should not simply assume, without benefit of a well-reasoned
and persuasive argument, that our moral norms and principles apply to
embryos. As discussed in more detail below, to interpret norms that
prohibit unjustified killing so they also prohibit the use of embryos in
research leads to many difficulties, paradoxes and morally indefensible
conclusions. At a minimum, we need a compelling argument, firmly
grounded in scientific evidence, to support an extension of our moral
norms and principles to encompass embryos.

In the balance of this paper, we will examine whether such a compelling
argument has been provided by the opponents of embryonic stem cell
research. We will conclude that no such argument has been advanced.
Furthermore, the view that use of embryos in research is equivalent to
the unjustified killing of human persons1 is inconsistent with accepted
scientific evidence, in particular evidence regarding embryonic
development, and is not supported by a coherent moral theory. Given the
immense benefits that we might derive from embryonic stem cell research,
including the development or therapies that could ameliorate or
eliminate many debilitating and disabling illnesses and injuries, not
only is government funding of such research permissible, but government
support of such research furthers critical interests of our society and
is of paramount importance.

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 5:08:00 PM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

Maurice -
I've read Lindsay's essay, and think it is largely beside the point. Note how he finds it necessary to preface his arguments with what are stipulations about the methodology of bioethics and the goal of consensus. Unfortunately, many of the people who disagree with his conclusions will also disagree with his methodology. In particular, there is a whole school of natural law ethics that is untouched by his arguments. His method of arriving at consensus can't deliver the goods, and we are left where we started, with moral diversity.

 
At Wednesday, July 26, 2006 8:41:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Bob, since I am not a philosopher and most likely a majority of visitors to this blog are also untrained in this discipline, can you help us understand,in easy to understand terms, the nature of the methodology Lindsay is utilizing and why you see the method fails to consider "natural law ethics". Further, what is "natural law ethics"? Sorry, Bob, to put the education/teaching burden on you though also if Steve Latham or another ethicist is around, they might help too. The section of Lindsay's paper that describes the methodology is pasted below. ..Maurice.


Many moral philosophers utilize what is sometimes referred to as the
method of reflective equilibrium. This approach is also referred to as
the coherence model of justification. Whatever its label, the method
seeks to test our initial moral judgments by detailing and examining the
consequences of adhering to these judgments. One then tries to
systematize the judgments and their consequences in a set of general
moral principles that can explain and account for these judgments. These
principles are themselves tested against our background theories, both
moral and nonmoral. Judgments and principles that cannot be rendered
consistent with each other and our background theories will need to be
modified or discarded. Moreover, in this method, the testing and process
of justification works in the other direction as well, that is, theories
and principles are evaluated against our considered moral judgments to
determine whether our more general commitments may require adjustments
(hence the derivation of the term "reflective equilibrium"). Although
not universally accepted, many bioethicists do follow this method
(Beauchamp and Childress 2001; DeGrazia 1996) and it has the virtue of
forcing us to examine critically many of our moral beliefs by
considering their consequences and their consistency with our other
beliefs.

 
At Thursday, July 27, 2006 8:16:00 AM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

You can read a good overview of "natural law theory" in ethics, at least the version that derives from Thomas Aquinas, at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/natural-law-ethics/

People who embrace this view of ethics are not likely to be persuaded that their views are inconsistent, either with each other or with accepted background knowledge.

"Reflective equilibrium" describes a process where we try to arrive at a judgment that reflects all the relevant factors when there are many factors that bear on our decision, not all of which point toward the same conclusion. (It's actually modeled on analogy to the method of summation of forces in classical mechanics.) But the method must take as given what those factors are, and how much "force" each exerts in the situation. It's precisely on those points that there is fundamental disagreement regarding the morality of ESCR.

So, since Lindsay's argument starts with premises and assumptions that will be rejected by many opponents of ESCR, those opponents are not going to accept the conclusions he reaches.

I think there is an assumption among many bioethicists that the aim of practical ethics must be to reach a consensus about the issues. But what if the only "consensus" is that people have fundamental disagreements? I think that traditional liberalism is based on the recognition that we cannot always achieve consensus on substantive issues, but still need to live with each other.

 
At Saturday, July 25, 2009 5:47:00 AM, Anonymous Sarah Willie said...

this is the truth about embryonic stem cell research in the US--it is being hyped for political and financial reasons. The truth, on the other hand, is that embryonic stem cells are giving no home for any sort of cure, and have no promise of ever doing so. This, while at the same time, all evidence points to great potential in other areas of stem cell research.

 

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