Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Always Great, PZ Meyers

Does anyone support this idea on any grounds? From a medical and ethical standpoint it seems dangerous, and even from a religious standpoint it seems tenuous and unnecessary.

1 comment:

  1. NO, no one who thinks about this should support it. I would like, however, to analogize it to the situation that obtained here in Chicago earlier this year, to wit: a person who had been in prison for murder for 26 years was revealed to have been improperly convicted. At the time of his conviction (or shortly therafter) two attorneys came into possession of knowledge (via a confession by their client) that another man had committed the murder. They kept silent for decades because of their belief that, due to the "attorney/client privilege" their ethical duty required it of them.
    The matter died after a few days of hand-wringing of the "what's one to do" sort. In truth, this was not even a close call: the 2 attorneys had behaved abominably, and unethically in the most fundamental way. Sure, your profession has its own ethical rules; they may even be reasonable, and we can all agree that they are right and proper. But sometimes they have to be violated anyway. This one was easy: you violate the ethical rule in order to do justice, which has a higher ethical claim on you. To put it another way, the ethical rules of being a human being may require you to violate the ethical rules of your caste, whether it means eating pork, or meat on Friday (do they still have that one), or lying (e.g., to prevent a murder), and so on. Not to see this is, in my view, inexcusable. And the thread can be extended even into areas where we may not want to go, such as in the ethical rule against torture, which has figured much in our national conversation of late.
    The physician who has a moral stricture against applying his knowledge is in the wrong profession. He should renounce it if he cannot, like a conflicted judge, recuse himself from a particular case.


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