Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Assumed Role of Religion and Ethics

is raised once again in the NZ Herald.
Here are some quotes:
I'm not a scientist. I'm not a geneticist.
I hate it when people start an op-ed like that. You just know the rest of the text is going to be full of absolute crap. Replace the nouns "i'm not a mechanic, but yeah, i'll work on your car for $80/hr" or "i'm no brain surgeon but i'll have a crack at it, how hard can it be?".
Why do people believe that expertise is a dirty word? Science doesn't tell you what you should do, it lets you know what you can do. Communities and governments do the 'shoulds'.
It's all about framing the argument and setting up your strawmen as early as possible. It's straight out of debating tricks 101.
And the angle I always start from is my belief that God is the Creator and the source of life.
That is "I am diametrically opposed to the fundamental assumption of science: things have natural causes that can be measured and potentially predicted". We wouldn't have genetics if this attitude was universal and i suspect that isn't a coincidence.
The opportunity to help people avoid bearing disabled children could easily begin to imply that our society would be better off if they weren't there.
That didn't stop us wiping out smallpox and almost ridding the planet of polio. Almost certainly the single greatest achievement of medicine in history. Would this guy be waxing lyrical in 1880 about the worthiness of smallpox in the greater scheme of things?
The church, with a particular concern for the sanctity of each life as one created by God, and as a result the value of every human, has a role to play in helping that discussion to take place.
That is, I believe, technically an assertion not a conclusion. Another could be: The church has absolutely no role to play in this discussion.
Personally, I would like my ethics/society decided by people that believe that this world, and this life, are worth more than the invisible and unsubstantiated next one.

Religion is having a hard time with science and how people are using it. The problem's root cause is that science is giving people choices and people aren't choosing what they're supposed to choose. The last thing religion needs is people making decisions about their own lives all willy-nilly - heaven's knows where that will lead to.

Ross Bay - You've got nothing to contribute to this discussion. In fact, your contributions may actually slow down actual progress due to pointless rambling tangents.

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