Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Episode 25 Bioethics and Belief with guest Ronald Lindsay

Embryonic stem-cell research, assisted dying, human enhancements and genetically modified foods. Is it possible to have a constructive moral and legal dialogue about such controversial bioethical issues without being derailed by religious and ideological dogmas? Ron Lindsay, author of Future Bioethics: Overcoming Taboos, Myths and Dogmas joins us on the show to explain how we could resolve these controversies without presupposing either a religious or non-religious worldview.

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Jen said...

I really enjoyed this episode! Thanks so much for keeping thought provoking discourse available.
-Jen Olson
Missoula, MT

Anonymous said...

One reason a lot of people don't believe in "ethics" is because someone like Ron Lindsay will claim there are agreed upon ethical norms and then immediately afterward will suggest that stem cell research should be funded through theft (which many people consider to be morally wrong). The fact that people can not even agree that things like killing and stealing are "wrong" (including Mr. Lindsay himself) pretty much nullifies Lindsay's argument. Lindsay himself is an argument against his own argument. You can't say, "There are ethical norms that most people agree upon, and by the way, theft is not immoral".

Jeremy said...

Im assuming that by "theft" you mean taxes. I think Lindsay's advice to "examine the underlying rational for our moral norms" might be relevant here. If theft is wrong, it is so presumably because it entails taking by coercion goods that one hasnt earned from one who has. I think all but a few dogmatic egoists would see taxation as a form of exchange. Most commerce depends on healthy educated human capital, a society relatively free of social unrest and of course a robust legal system which can arbitrate disputes (which American Corporations benefit quite a bit from)and enforce the courts rulings. Id like to see how far hard-core fiscal conservatives and Ayn Randian capitalists would get without benefit of the commons. Anyone (in America) who thinks the've earned all their wealth by themselves and don't owe anything back is in serious need of a civics lesson. And egoists especially might find a little humility in reviewing the last centuries worth of social psych data. "yes, yes, were all individuals." Bullshit.