Friday, December 18, 2009

There's no "ethics" in bioethics

(pasted from my facebook notes)

I received a fundraising letter from CBHD in my snail mail today. Submitted for your consideration an exerpt from that letter:

"Although some bioethicists might wish it otherwise, the voice of Christian bioethics cannot be silenced. CBHD is rapidly cementing its reputation as a center of "scholarship with a purpose." Our purpose is to make sure that bioethics worldwide attends to human dignity. Our scholarship analyzes developing trends and identifies both threats to our human future and opportunities that guard our common humanity.

Why does this matter?

The White House recently disbanded the President's Council on Bioethics for being overly philosophical and not providing enough practical guidance (as if practical recommendations should ever come without substantive reflection!). CHBD advocates healthcare for the common good. However, some alarming trends in the current debates appear to support funding of abortion and erode rights of conscience."

The misnomer that is "bioethics" in the realm of the practical (shall we say pragmatic instead?) only serves to confuse the public as to what is really taking place across conference tables in so many medical facilities and university meeting rooms. The function of bioethicists in these institutions is to convince themselves, politicians, and the public that what is commonly considered immoral treatment of a human being is otherwise perfectly acceptable once you erase the humanity of that person (an increasingly common practice in decisions involving medical ethics). So much for the 'ethics' part in the word "bioethics." The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity is one that stands for real ethics and limitations on the abuse of humankind through pragmatic rationalizations. Simply put, you really can't live without them. Think about it.

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