Fat Steve's Blatherings

Friday, March 18, 2005

Just Plain Lying

      Here's some from the blogosphere, from someone who calls himself "Reason."

      Leon Kass is the Chairman of the President's Committee on Bioethics.  He is not popular in some quarters. He worries about the impacts of biotechnology, and he is against cloning.

      In an interview here, he speaks of his misgivings.  If our life span doubles, what will the effect on human society be?  Kass isn't sure, and and he worries about the possible negative consequences:
That to be able to imagine living out a full life span if one is lucky—and by the way, lots of people are not so lucky and we have a long way to go before the blessings of medical research and public health are extended to our fellow human beings, even in this country, not to speak of the rest of the world—but there is a real question as to whether the gift of time as indefinitely extended before us is, in all respects, a gift. . . .

If you push those limits back, if those limits become out of sight, we are not inclined to build cathedrals or write the B Minor Mass, or write Shakespeare's sonnets and things of that sort. And it's not clear that if human beings thought of themselves as potentially here indefinitely whether the perspective of eternity or the longings for some kind of immortality, other than continuance of more of the same, would wither in (inaudible). It's an open question.

      Well, that's general. What about specifics?:
With respect to the specifics, I think aging research should proceed. [My italics] . . .

Doesn't that mean that if I allow and encourage this report, this research to go forward, that we will acquire certain kinds of powers for which human beings will be simply delighted to use, that we might, in fact, produce exactly the kinds of troubles that I'm calling attention to? Yes.

But it doesn't seem to me that the way forward here is by banning research or by somehow putting a halt to the inquiry. . . .

That doesn't leave me comfortable, but I think we have much to learn and much to benefit from here, and my hope is that in due course we will figure out some kind of way of moderating the kind of appetite and uses of these technologies.

      So, look at these comments:
By my reading of that exchange, Kass would - if he personally had the power - cheerfully ban research and medicine that extended the healthy life span.

When debating the views and opinions of Leon Kass, chair of the President's Council of Bioethics, it's rather hard to get past the point at which he says he wants to use government power to ensure medical technology for healthy life extension is never developed or used. While there may or may not be wonderous subtleties and interesting points being made, they're being made in the service of arguing for legislated murder.

      Kass specifically said he's in favor of aging research proceeding, and "Reason" flat out lies when he says Kass wants to ban it.  I guess if you can't answer an argument rationally, you make shit up.



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