Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Scientific Fundamentalism

Eugene Volokh has an interesting piece on the tendency for folks in some quarters to think that science has an ability to decide moral questions. His comments are triggered by a story about an invention called a "consciometer" and how it might impinge on the abortion question. (H/T A Physicist's Perspective, who also has some thoughts on this).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

By way of introduction, I was fascinated by David’s comment. Unlike many with interest in the issue of abortion, I have very little experience with the learned (and other) discussions of the issue. I grew up in the back alley abortion vs. ruined for life era and I easily made the decision that ultimately resulted in support for the Roe v. Wade decision. I would applaud the result of that decision if it were based on the man in the moon, and I hate liberal activist judges. Now that we have evolved somewhat as a society, we have the privilege of revisiting the abortion issue. Let me say I have never admired shunners of sinners, those haughty nose-upturners at impropriety, those holier-than-thou….well you know the drill – non-Christian Christians. I have preferred to be an agnostic and therefore have never had to answer for their poor implementation of the teachings of Christ. Still do. Don’t really understand why Matteo wishes to take up that cross. I digress.
Killing a human that has the potential for continuing to live (or not) is killing a human. If I have a button that will instantly end the suffering of a human that is burning to death in front of me in a pool of oil, I will push it the instant I realize that I can do so and the effect pushing the button will have. Therefore, I am a killer. If I were not a killer I would ignore the button and …pray? Yes, I would pray. Pray for the same result that would ensue if I pushed the button. Is there a meaningful difference in these two choices? Ummm….yes. And that is how I see abortions. Hey, you are either a killer or you are not. Do you want no responsibility? Be pro-life. Not a killer? Be pro-life. Wait a minute. You really didn’t think I meant that “no responsibility for being pro life” did you?
I really meant the “Not a killer”, though, although I wonder how these people's ancestors survived to produce them. I suppose that their kind is here so that if a malady overtakes us that makes us kill each other, mankind will survive through their genes. I mean REALLY kill each other. Of course, we kill each other all the time. So why are fetuses so special?