Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Acts 27 test, 7: Responding to the recent bioethics call for "post birth abortion" in the Journal of Medical Ethics, the ghosts of Schaeffer and Koop warn us concerning the bioethics domino sequence: abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, mass killing of the marginalised . . .

A generation ago, noted Theologian Francis Schaeffer and distinguished pediatric surgeon C Everett Koop  produced a video series, Whatever Happened to the Human Race.

Vid clip:

(NB: They also published their warnings on the devaluation of life domino cascade: abortion --> infanticide --> euthanasia --> mass death of the marginalised, in a book of the same title.)

They were widely derided and dismissed as alarmists, indeed, that dismissal came up when Dr Koop was nominated for US Surgeon General in the 1980's, as allegedly discrediting and disqualifying him.

But, this morning, the two distinguished ghosts came a-knocking on my door, following up that of Thomas a Becket.  They told me the ghosts of Plato and Socrates were planning a visit too, and might even be able to persuade that of Alcibiades to accompany them as Exhibit A.

Why, they even hinted that Pilate was considering making a call soonish, as he has long since revised his "what is truth" talking point, on 2,000 years of further reflection on what it is like to have been the man forever known as the unjust and cowardly judge who said of Jesus, I find him innocent and (for reasons of state) sentence him to death. He is complaining that that blood on his hands, after 2000 years of washing still will not wash away, so please pardon his appearance.

They did say, that Caiaphas' ghost was not interested.

Schaeffer and Koop wanted to point out how a current media storm in a teacup on how dare you challenge us august academics when we write proposing "post-birth abortion" has shown just how aptly and sadly prophetic their warnings of forty years ago were.

However, now that the warnings are beginning to come to pass, they have been pushed into the "forget those dismissed alarmists" bin.

They told me the Russians have an apt proverb in a day that so commonly regards history as "bunk" and imagines that the latest, greatest, newest, most glitzy is the thing:
Dwell on the past, you lose an eye. Forget the past, you lose BOTH your eyes.

It seems, rather, that we need to wake up bigtime and realise that the warnings from a generation ago -- and from over two thousand years ago, are coming to pass here and now; and lo and behold, those who object to the rise of outright amoral nihilism are being derided and dismissed.

Let me note, what is on the table just now, in the pages of the evidently well respected Journal, The Journal of Medical Ethics, is the proposal to kill not only allegedly deformed babies, but healthy but undesirable ones.

Yes, you got that straight.

Let me therefore cite from a current comment I have made at UD blog, in a thread discussing the foundations of rationality and to a lesser extent those of morality:

>> Let’s clip a bit more of that editorial, which is saying to objectors, how dare you get angry at the “Academic freedom” expressed in our journal:
[The editor of JME writes:] As Editor of the Journal, I would like to defend its publication. The arguments presented, in fact, are largely not new and have been presented repeatedly in the academic literature and public fora by the most eminent philosophers and bioethicists in the world, including Peter Singer, Michael Tooley and John Harris in defence of infanticide, which the authors call after-birth abortion.
The novel contribution of this paper is not an argument in favour of infanticide – the paper repeats the arguments made famous by Tooley and Singer – but rather their application in consideration of maternal and family interests. The paper also draws attention to the fact that infanticide is practised in the Netherlands. [--> In short, we see here the collapse of the next domino beginning]
Many people will and have disagreed with these arguments. However, the goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the Truth or promote some one moral view. It is to present well reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises. The authors provocatively argue that there is no moral difference between a fetus and a newborn. Their capacities are relevantly similar. If abortion is permissible, infanticide should be permissible. The authors proceed logically from premises which many people accept to a conclusion that many of those people would reject.
Of course, many people will argue that on this basis abortion should be recriminalised. Those arguments can be well made and the Journal would publish a paper than made such a case coherently, originally and with application to issues of public or medical concern.
[--> Really? Where were you when Schaeffer and Koop made exactly this point, to object to setting off the first domino in the cascade, warning that it then leads from abortion to infanticide to euthanasia to the utter devaluation of life and establishment of a culture of death for the convenience of the powerful thence the death camp or the like? Where are you, now that the prediction is coming true again? On what rational grounds do you found reason and morality? In a worldview that infers as Provine put it in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day address: >> Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . . The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . . >>? Let's just say that this cascade of assertions would undermine both morality and reason, indeed without power of responsible choice, neither can exist, all reduces to might and manipulation by the powerful make 'truth,' 'reason' and 'right'.]
If there were threats, that is to be regretted, but surely there should be strong condemnation and a call to return to a sanctity of life ethic rather than a ‘life unworthy of being lived” ethic that if translated into German will have a suitably sinister tone, given its history.] More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.
Methinks I find here a turnabout moral equivalency accusation, meant to poison the well.
And, it seems that — true to the manipulation game — the editorial misrepresents. Let us hear the abstract of the paper, which is so short that failure to cite it in extenso is telling:
J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100411
Law, ethics and medicine
After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?
Alberto Giubilini1,2,
Francesca Minerva3
Published Online First 23 February 2012
Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.
In short, the powerful get to decide who is convenient to live, even with no excuse of disability.


Severe abnormalities of the fetus and risks for the physical and/or psychological health of the woman are often cited as valid reasons for abortion. Sometimes the two reasons are connected, such as when a woman claims that a disabled child would represent a risk to her mental health. However, having a child can itself be an unbearable burden for the psychological health of the woman or for her already existing children,1 regardless of the condition of the fetus. This could happen in the case of a woman who loses her partner after she finds out that she is pregnant and therefore feels she will not be able to take care of the possible child by herself.
A serious philosophical problem arises when the same conditions that would have justified abortion become known after birth. In such cases, we need to assess facts in order to decide whether the same arguments that apply to killing a human fetus can also be consistently applied to killing a newborn human . . .
Then, the newspeak, doubletalk manipulation of language game and where it goes:
In spite of the oxymoron in the expression, we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’, to emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child. [--> the intent of this doublespeak is obviously to benumb to what is being done, and to give talking points to be drummed in to spread the benumbing far and wide] Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk. Accordingly, a second terminological specification is that we call such a practice ‘after-birth abortion’ rather than ‘euthanasia’ because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice, contrary to what happens in the case of euthanasia.
Failing to bring a new person into existence cannot be compared with the wrong caused by procuring the death of an existing person. [--> dehumanising the intended victim, always the first step to excusing mass, politically backed murder] The reason is that, unlike the case of death of an existing person, failing to bring a new person into existence does not prevent anyone from accomplishing any of her future aims. However, this consideration entails a much stronger idea than the one according to which severely handicapped children should be euthanised. If the death of a newborn is not wrongful to her on the grounds that she cannot have formed any aim that she is prevented from accomplishing, then it should also be permissible to practise an after-birth abortion on a healthy newborn too, given that she has not formed any aim yet . . .
Utterly monstrous, machiavellian, narcissistic [how dare you object, we are the academic elites exercising our minds in free speech] and sociopathic.

The dark triad in action.>>

Chilling, utterly chilling. Time for a wake-up call. END