Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Neuhaus says it better

Though it has been awhile since I made my last post here, I was inspired to post while reading from the latest issue of First Things. The following quote from Richard John Neuhaus says succinctly in a single sentence what I was trying to say in my last post here. It was too good not to share.

One of the great achievements of Western civilization over the centuries is the establishment of the moral and legal principle that the child is not an object for the use of others but a subject with rights to be respected.

This is why conservative Christians, and many others as well, are against such things as stem cell research and human cloning. A human being is not a means to some utilitarian end, no matter how great a good we might deem said end to be. Any medical advances or knowledge attained by creating human lives solely for the purpose of using them for research is purchased at too high a price. The price is that of undermining the value of every human life by accepting the notion that, in principal, some human beings are expendable for the sake of increasing the well being of others. This is not only morally dangerous, it is inherently contradictory, as it ultimately undermines the very thing it supposedly sets out to increase, which is human well being.

P.S. For those who might be interested, I have started two other blogs, which I also hope to post on regularly in the coming weeks and months. One is a music blog, where I review and discuss music that I like, the other is a book blog, where I review books, and talk about what I am reading at any given time and any thoughts or ideas it inspires in me. You can get to these other blogs through my profile link.


Judah said...

Great post. Seems weird that people still fight for embryonic stem cells when we can harvest them from placenta. I think stem cells can be a good thing and thats why there's a natural mechanism built in for us to use them. Lo and behold, it happens to coincide with healthy, timely births.

Gordon Hackman said...


Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I think may have heard
about placental stem cells before, but had forgotten about that possibility. Thanks for reminding me about it.

I wonder, though, if that would really satisfy the proponents of unrestrained stem-cell research. It seems that for some of them at least, the issue is really resentment towards the very idea that we can or should put limits on scientific research. The mentality seems to be that the whole scientific enterprise it self-evidently justified and that anyone claiming to place limits on it is simply out in left field. It's even worse when the objection comes from a religious perspective. This is especially the case where medical research is involved, and the activities in question can be further justified under the rubric that they are helping people by providing potential cures for diseases. Unfortunately, it is much easier to persuade the general populace with talk about finding cures for diseases, which seems like a tangible and immediate good, than it is to convince people that the price we pay for those goods might not be worth it in the long run because it destroys human dignity and cheapens the value of human life by treating it as something to be used for certain ends. These last claims seem like abstract and irrelevant ideas to many people in a culture like ours that thinks of the good largely in terms of physical and material well-being and progress.

Anyway, thanks for a thought provoking comment. Peace.

thekid said...

Thanks for sharing this Gordon. I like the new picture you have for yourself and especially the guy sitting beside you ;)

I look forward to checking out that Dark Knight review by First THings as I've read one other review of it which I found intriguing.

Gordon Hackman said...

Hey sis,

Thanks for checking and leaving a comment. I'm so happy to have you stop by again. Unfortunately, I changed my profile picture since I left that last comment, mostly because I wanted on that showed my face better.

The Dark Knight is an amazing movie, the best of the year so far, of the ones that I've seen. I will definitely be going to see it again and will eventually own it, I hope.

I look forward to hearing what you think of my music blog too :)