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for orthodox Anglicans

Same-Sex “Marriage” & Obamacare: Similarities?

April 15th, 2014 Jill Posted in Ethics, Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Joseph Backholm, Family Policy Institute

What do Obamacare and same-sex “marriage” have in common? More than you might think.

In both cases, people created well intentioned policies that ignored immutable laws of the universe. In both cases, support was generated by intentionally withholding relevant information and accusing those who asked critical questions of wanting to harm their neighbors.

Of course we hope everyone will have high quality health care.

But Obamacare couldn’t deliver on its promises because the idea that you can provide insurance for 30 million people who don’t currently have insurance, while reducing the cost of insurance for those who do have it by $2,500 a year, all while reducing the federal deficit violates economic realities. Nothing is free.

Of course we don’t want the government telling people who they can form relationships with.

But same-sex “marriage” can’t succeed because it is based on premise that, with respect to marriage and parenting, men and women are interchangeable; a belief that is biologically, physiologically, hormonally, and neurologically false.

Still, unlike Obamacare, there has been a feeling, even in conservative circles, that same-sex “marriage” is here to stay.

Maybe that was presumptuous.

The now well chronicled ouster of Brendan Eich from his job as CEO of Mozilla for making a 2008 contribution to California’s Proposition 8 campaign could be a watershed moment in this entire conversation.

Through his forced resignation, the tolerance assassins have (once again) served notice that if you want a high profile job in the private sector, you have to agree with them about marriage and sexuality-or at least never have done something public that would indicate otherwise.

It’s the kind of “accountability” that every totalitarian government adopts.

The public has soured on Obamacare because reality is not conforming to the promises made.

Could the same be true for the same-sex “marriage” movement as well?

Read here


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My dad was a sperm donor. My lack of identity reflects his

January 17th, 2014 Jill Posted in Ethics Comments Off

By Elizabeth Howard, Guardian

The film Delivery Man, about a sperm donor who unwittingly fathers more than 500 children, has been panned by the critics. Its cloying sentimentality, clumsy symbolism and implausible plot certainly grate; but for me, as a donor-conceived adult, it is important that the feelings of people like me have been brought to light. In the film, the donor's offspring get their happy ending: a warm and loving relationship with their biological father (and plenty of hugs, shared sunsets and burger-flipping opportunities too). In the UK, the reality is that donor-conceived people born before 2005 have no right to know the identity of their donor.

All I know about my father is that, one day in August 1971, he went into an office in Harley Street, masturbated into a bottle, was paid and left.

In all probability that is all I will ever know. Not for me the chance of asking for his details, as would be the case if I were adopted. The doctor who facilitated my conception is now dead, and in any case he claimed, when contacted years ago, that all his records had been destroyed.

Read here


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Complicating Conception: The Desires of Parents and the Rights of Children

December 18th, 2013 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Ethics Comments Off

By Christopher White, Public Discourse

Infertile parents who desperately seek a child might see anonymous sperm donation as the solution to their fertility difficulties. But as the stories in the Anonymous Us collective reveal, the difficulties faced by donor-conceived children are just beginning.

In the new film Delivery Man, Vince Vaughn plays David Wozniak, a man who discovers that he’s the biological father of 533 children—all conceived through his anonymous sperm donations. Now, almost two decades after his “donations” (from which he netted over $20,000), 142 of those children have filed a lawsuit against the sperm bank to reveal his identity. They want to know their biological father, gain access to their medical histories, and discover their roots.
 
The film is fictional—but it’s not far from reality. In 2011, the New York Times reported the story of one donor with 150 confirmed offspring. There have only been a handful of major studies following children who were conceived via anonymous gamete donation, yet certain key trends are emerging as they reach adulthood. Although these adult children have mixed opinions about the means in which they were conceived and the limits of such technologies, they’re almost all united in one belief: anonymity should be removed from the equation.
 
Readers of Public Discourse are already familiar with Alana S. Newman, founder of the Anonymous Us Project and, most recently, editor of Anonymous Us: A Story Collective on 3rd Party Reproduction. In this volume, Newman compiles over one hundred stories of donor-conceived individuals who, like the kids in Delivery Man, long to know their biological parents.
 
Read here
 
 
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The Revd Paul Flowers ticked all the right ‘progressive’ boxes — that’s why he could get away with anything

November 21st, 2013 Jill Posted in Ethics, Political Correctness Comments Off

By Melanie Phillips, Spectator

Yet again, one particular question has formed on lips up and down the land. How in heaven’s name could so many people have failed to spot such a spectacular abuse of a public position?

We heard it first in the Jimmy Savile scandal, when the posthumous discovery of half a century of predation left people incredulous that so many had known about but done nothing to stop his serial depravities. Now a similar question needs to be asked about the Revd Paul Flowers, the disgraced Methodist minister and former chairman of the Co-op Bank who was filmed apparently handing over £300 to buy a stash of cocaine and crystal meth and also boasted of using ketamine, cannabis and a club drug, GHB.

The real scandal, though, is not just that he was a staggeringly incompetent bank chief who knew next to nothing about banking and presided over a bank that somehow fell into a £1.5 billion black hole. It is not even his predilection for cocaine, crystal meth and the occasional ‘two-day, drug-fuelled gay orgy’ (to use his words). The scandal is that no one spotted that he was spectacularly unsuited to the jobs he was given — or if they did, they chose to do nothing about it. Yet again, a public figure with his ethics pinned to his sleeve somehow existed beyond proper scrutiny.

In the frame alongside the deeply un-fragrant Flowers are various institutions which now have questions to answer.

Read here

Listen to the excellent interview with Melanie Phillips and Jesse Norman on the above link

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C. S. Lewis, Reepicheep, and Our Chests

November 21st, 2013 Jill Posted in Ethics Comments Off

C S Lewisby John Stonestreet, Breakpoint

Half a century after C. S. Lewis joined the Church Triumphant, the Oxford don’s works are still offering almost-prescient insights into our culture. In one of my favorite Lewis books, “The Abolition of Man,” he describes and predicts with eerie accuracy trends that have come to define the society we live in today.

In the first chapter, entitled “Men without Chests,” Lewis slams the schools and the textbooks of mid-twentieth century Britain for abandoning the teaching of virtue.

Using the analogy of the head to represent the intellect, the belly to represent the passions, and the chest to represent rightly-ordered affections, Lewis laments that modern education has allowed young chests to shrivel by teaching students to dismiss transcendent truth and morality as nothing more than personal preferences. Instead of freeing them to think, he argues, this regimen enslaves them to their bellies—their animal passions—and leaves them easy picking for propagandists.

As Chuck Colson documented in the “Doing the Right Thing” video series on ethics, the 2008 financial collapse and recession were largely the result of a society-wide failure to say no to our own desires. Yet we were shocked and angry when this dearth of virtuous decision-making brought the world economy to its knees.

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity,” Lewis writes, “we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

Read here


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Why many British evangelicals are not that bothered with ethics

November 17th, 2013 Jill Posted in Christianity, Doctrine, Ethics Comments Off

By Peter Saunders, CMF

'If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.’
This famous quote has been attributed to Martin Luther, by Christian commentators as illustrious as Francis Schaeffer but, as argued convincingly by Carl Wieland, it actually comes from a 19th Century novel referring to Luther by Elizabeth Rundle Charles,called The Chronicles of the Schoenberg Cotta Family (Thomas Nelson, 1864).
 
However, according to Wieland, Luther did actually say something very similar. He said that if people were publicly open about every other aspect of their Christian faith, but chose not to admit their belief on some single point of doctrine (for fear of what might happen to them if their conviction on that one point became known) they were effectively denying Christ, period.
 
As Christians we are fighting in a spiritual battle, but Martin Luther’s point is that not all God's truth is equally under attack at any one time. In any culture and generation there are certain truths which are more under attack than others.
 
Read here
 
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Praising herself, insulting her opponents, telling lies: Edite Estrela makes a second attempt to get her report on “sexual rights” adopted

November 12th, 2013 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Ethics, pro-life/abortion Comments Off

by J C von Krempach, JD

Following the defeat of her report on “sexual and reproductive health and rights”, Edite Estrela, an ultra-feminist Member of the European Parliament, is back in the offensive. In an article in this week’s edition of “Parliament Magazine”, the European Parliament’s in-house newspaper, she prepares the ground for a second attempt to get the controversial report adopted by the Parliament’s Plenary.

As readers of this blog will recall, the Plenary, in its session of 22 October, had decided to send back the report to the Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, from where it had originated. This clearly reflected the majority’s view that this report was so evidently ill-drafted that it could not possibly be subject to a vote. At the same time, this decision gives an opportunity to the Committee to improve the drafting prior to submitting it to the plenary for a second time. The message is quite clear: there is support for proposals that would really improve health, but there is no support for Mrs. Estrela’s attempt to promote abortion, curtail the freedom of conscience of medical practitioners, and impose on parents a duty to instruct their 0-4 year old children how to masturbate.
 
Read here
 
 
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My daddy’s name is donor

October 7th, 2013 Jill Posted in Ethics Comments Off

by Jonathon van Maren, LifeSite News

Many cultural commentators and media talking heads have labelled the 21st century the “surveillance age,” citing the increasingly omnipresent eye of the state and the slowly shrinking segment of our daily lives that remains unrecorded by the faceless automatons of government bureaucracy. The unsurprising revelations of former NSA employee Edward Snowden that the American government is actually recording more information than we knew previously has prompted countless comparisons to the dystopia of George Orwell’s1984. A growing discussion that most of our culture is attempting to ignore, however, highlights clearly that the cable news prophets are comparing our society to the wrong dystopia: As a new documentary entitled Anonymous Father’s Day revealingly illustrates, we have now crossed the Rubicon into Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
 
Anonymous Father’s Day begins with a moving testimony from a woman describing how she felt when she discovered that she was conceived through a sperm donor—and that she had no idea who her actual father really was. She quickly discovered that she was not alone, as communities of “donor conceived persons” number in the hundreds of thousands and thirty to sixty thousand new human beings are conceived using donor sperm per year, a now 3.3 billion dollar industry. It is a global issue with very few regulations, and almost impossible to track. In their desperate quest for children, however, it seems that many people may have forgotten the impact on children who now realize that one-half of their family tree is question mark.

Read here

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Surrogacy and Scripture

September 18th, 2013 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Ethics Comments Off

By Bill Muehlenberg

As advances in Assisted Reproductive Technologies continue to take place, more and more couples are taking advantage of these new means to have children. Surrogacy is one such method. While there are various types of surrogacy now available, they all involve another player to carry the baby.
 
This procedure may seem to be a godsend for some, but it is far from a problem-free process. I have written elsewhere about concerns about surrogacy. See here for example.
 
But in this article I wish to deal with some biblical and theological reflections. What does the Bible say about this, and what principles might be gleaned from Scripture to apply to this form of ART? Is it ethically permissible, or are we to be wary here?
 
One point that is often raised is the fact that surrogacy has been around for a long time, and the practice is even recorded in the Bible. The argument then goes like this: since biblical characters made use of surrogacy, then it must be OK to use it today as well, even if it involves new biomedical technologies.
 
How might we respond to this claim? Firstly, it is true that differing forms of surrogacy or surrogacy-like arrangements are indeed found in the Old Testament. Of the two main types, one is the more obvious form of using another woman to carry a child, while another form is that of levirate marriage.
 
Read here
 
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Manufactured people have rights too

September 10th, 2013 Jill Posted in Ethics, Medical Ethics Comments Off

by Alana S Newman, LifeSite News

 What are the rights of donor-conceived people? To ask this question is to suggest that we have different rights from everyone else—and so we do, because we’ve allowed it.

We’ve created a class of people who are manufactured, and treat them as less-than-fully human, demanding that they be grateful for whatever circumstances we give them. While fathers of traditionally conceived human beings are chased down and forced to make child support payments as a minimal standard of care, people conceived commercially are reprimanded when they question the anonymous voids that their biological fathers so “lovingly” left.
 
The crimes against the donor-conceived bend time and space. The adults that betray us do so before official personhood, which is the loophole through which this new form of human trafficking is made possible. Is gamete-selling all that different from baby-selling?
I recently discussed third-party reproduction and “the rights of donor-conceived people” at a debate at the Institute for American Values. My opponent was an older gay man, who with his male partner hired two surrogates and one egg donor in the generation of three children. He was there to argue that it’s okay to dispose of mothers and manufacture children as long as it’s done the “right” way. I was there as a representative of donor-conceived people.
 
It is difficult to know how to pitch yourself as a donor-conceived person during these conversations. If my opponent displays gentlemanly behavior, intelligence, and sensitivity, his argument is made stronger and the audience has a hard time disentangling good manners from immoral deeds. But when I speak, my argument is that we are damaged and pained. If a donor-conceived person like me displays charm and intelligence it can work against our efforts in that they suggest we are able to achieve normalcy—therefore no harm, no foul.
 
Must every donor-conceived person develop into a violent, drug-addicted, and deranged adult in order to convince the public that his or her family structure is by definition problematic? If so, I’ll graciously illustrate scenes from my challenging past in my next essay. But for now let’s just say I hope not, and take a look at what history has taught us about human rights. It’s clear that often in the case of donor-conceived people, these rights hardly apply.
 
Read here
 
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Is there a link between the NHS crisis and the decline of Christianity?

August 18th, 2013 Jill Posted in Christianity, Ethics Comments Off

By Julian Mann, Conservative Home

The moral failings of individuals working in health care has played a part in recent NHS scandals, so surely it is legitimate at least to pose the question.

Even the most ardent secularist cannot deny that Christian believers played a major part in the development of health care in Britain, particularly in the second half of the nineteenth century. Yes, it is true that rivalry between different Christian denominations hampered the efforts of health care reformers in that period. But improvements were achieved by such outstanding individuals as Florence Nightingale and Sidney Herbert, who had a strong sense of Christian vocation.

A personal account of one's own experience of the NHS is inevitably anecdotal, but hopefully constructive nonetheless. I have been regularly visiting parishioners in hospitals since I was ordained 17 years ago. In that time I have ministered to people suffering from a wide range of physical and mental conditions. I have also been a patient in the NHS during the past ten years, suffering from a chest condition that took some time to diagnose and so involved several visits to hospital.

When I first started hospital visiting in the mid-1990s, the nursing staff were respectful and helpful to a Christian minister coming onto the wards. But I noticed a marked change in the Noughties. I have never been refused admission onto a hospital ward but I did register nonchalance, particularly from younger nurses and, in one case, rudeness towards the end of the decade.

Read here

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What Are the Rights of Donor-Conceived People?

August 3rd, 2013 Jill Posted in Ethics Comments Off

By Alana S Newman, Public Discourse

Third party reproduction corrupts the parent-child relationship and disrespects the humanity of donor-conceived people.

What are the rights of donor-conceived people? To ask this question is to suggest that we have different rights from everyone else—and so we do, because we’ve allowed it.

We’ve created a class of people who are manufactured, and treat them as less-than-fully human, demanding that they be grateful for whatever circumstances we give them. While fathers of traditionally conceived human beings are chased down and forced to make child support payments as a minimal standard of care, people conceived commercially are reprimanded when they question the anonymous voids that their biological fathers so “lovingly” left.

The crimes against the donor-conceived bend time and space. The adults that betray us do so before official personhood, which is the loophole through which this new form of human trafficking is made possible. Is gamete-selling all that different from baby-selling?

I recently discussed third-party reproduction and “the rights of donor-conceived people” at a debate at the Institute for American Values. My opponent was an older gay man, who with his male partner hired two surrogates and one egg donor in the generation of three children. He was there to argue that it’s okay to dispose of mothers and manufacture children as long as it’s done the “right” way. I was there as a representative of donor-conceived people.

Read here

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The moral status of the human embryo – when is a person?

July 3rd, 2013 Jill Posted in Ethics, Medical Ethics Comments Off

By Peter Saunders, CMF

The moral status of the embryo is one of the key pressure-points in ethical debates about post-coital contraception, therapeutic cloning, pre-implantation diagnosis, artificial reproduction, embryo research and cloning.

The issue, which has profound implications for medical practice as doctors, has divided people for centuries and remains controversial.
 
It is a fundamental principle both of Christian teaching and also of natural justice that human beings deserve utmost respect.
 
Christians believe that human beings have been individually created by God and derive their integrity and worth from the fact that they are made in the image of God – regardless of genotype, age, size, location or degree of dependence and disability.
 
The presence of a disability, either inherited or acquired, does not detract from a person 's intrinsic worth. All human beings are thereby worthy of the utmost respect. They must never be treated as means to an end. At the heart of the Christian ethic is self-giving love, whereby the strong make sacrifices for, and if necessary lay down their lives for, the weak.
 
Historical medical ethical codes, recognising the power and strength of doctors, have enshrined a view similar to the Christian one.
 
The Declaration of Geneva (1948) stipulates that doctors should ‘maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception’.
 
In like manner, the International Code of Medical Ethics (1949)says that a doctor 'must always bear in mind the obligation of preserving human life from the time of conception until death'.
 
The Declaration of Helsinki (1975) says that in biomedical research:
 
Read here
 
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Fears amid first stem cells from cloned human embryos

May 17th, 2013 Jill Posted in Ethics, Medical Ethics Comments Off

From The Christian Institute

US scientists have, for the first time, recovered stem cells from cloned human embryos, in a move raising serious ethical concerns.

Critics warn that the technique, which is similar to the one used to clone Dolly the sheep, could pave the way for ‘designer’ babies being cloned in laboratories.

But the team from Oregon Health and Science University, led by Dr Shoukhrat Mitalipov, dismissed the concerns.
 
Dr David King, founder of Human Genetics Alert, called for an international ban on human cloning.

He said it was “irresponsible in the extreme” to have published details of the study.

Josephine Quintavalle, from the group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, questioned the need for the research when more simple ways of making customised stem cells already exist.

Read here


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Sperm donors can seek more parental rights

February 1st, 2013 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Ethics, Medical Ethics Comments Off

By Andrew Hough and John Bingham, Telegraph

Sperm donors were given the legal right yesterday to apply for regular contact with their biological children following a landmark High Court ruling.

Following the judgment that could affect thousands of couples, men who help families conceive may now win the right to play a part in the child’s life even though they are not currently raising them.

The ruling, the first of its kind, declared that a sperm donor does not need to have a sexual relationship with a mother in order to influence the child’s upbringing.

Last night experts warned that the case could have far-reaching consequences on couples — both heterosexual and gay – considering using a sperm donor.

They urged couples facing the “scary prospect” of a sperm donor seeking contact with his biological child to establish the child rearing equivalent of a prenuptial agreement or co-parenting deal.

Yesterday’s judgment, from the court’s Family Division, centred on a complex dispute between two lesbian couples who were friends with two homosexual men.

One of the men is the biological father of both the children of one of the lesbian couples while the other man is the biological father of a child being brought up by the other female couple.

Read here


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Medical journal: pharmacists must give out morning-after pill

February 1st, 2013 Jill Posted in Ethics, Medical Ethics, Religious Liberty Comments Off

By Madeleine Teahan, Catholic Herald

The right of pharmacists to refuse to sell the morning-after pill to customers on conscience grounds should be abolished, according to academics writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
 
Dr Cathal Gallagher, a pharmacist at the University of Hertfordshire, has written a paper with three other academics arguing that pharmacists who do not distribute the morning-after pill demand “the power of veto over the liberty of others, and over the implementation of public policy”.
 
Under current law, a pharmacist who is opposed to the morning-after pill can refuse to sell the pill but they must direct the customer to another provider.
 
But the academics argue that there is a little moral difference between a pharmacist refusing to sell the morning -after pill and a pharmacist directing a customer to where they can buy the pill.
 
Read here
 
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Tory MP slams BBC over assisted suicide comedy

January 9th, 2013 Jill Posted in Ethics, Media Comments Off

Mark Pritchard MPFrom The Christian Institute

A Tory MP has attacked the BBC for treating assisted suicide as a “matter of fun” in a new sitcom due to air this month.

The controversial BBC Three comedy “Way to Go” is about three young men who start a business by building a machine that can kill people who have a terminal disease.

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard criticised the broadcaster, saying: “This is a sensitive and complex issue that should be handled with compassion and understanding.”
 
He added: “It is a sad fact that assisted dying is now regarded a ‘revenue stream’ to some foreign clinics and clearly as a matter of fun by some parts of the BBC.”

In one scene in the show, someone dies in a matter of seconds after the lever of the machine is pulled to inject a fatal dose.

And when another “client” is found for the service, one character says: “He’s got stomach cancer. How fantastic is that!”

Read here

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Ethics and Evolution

December 3rd, 2012 Jill Posted in Ethics Comments Off

By Robin Lane, MLJ Trust

Publication of the Leveson report on the culture, practices and ethics of the press [1] has prompted much debate within the British Government [2] and the population in general [3]. The suffering of those who have been subjected to intrusion has prompted widespread sympathy and many calls for tighter regulation of the press – regulation that is underpinned by legislation [4].
 
Legislation and Morals

However, this raises a basic question common to many areas of modern life. Is new legislation the solution to unethical behaviour? One commentator observed that the debate has not reached the root of this core problem: ‘you won't improve ethics if you ignore morality.’ He goes on to suggest that a significant factor is a reluctance to engage with the Judaeo-Christian moral framework that has traditionally informed our ethics [5].
 
Read here

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Leveson – ethics without morality?

November 30th, 2012 Jill Posted in Ethics, Morality Comments Off

From Evangelical Alliance

Why is it that, the more freedoms we are given, the more laws we seem to need? The Leveson Inquiry and the accompanying public debate has not got to the root of this core problem: you won't improve ethics if you ignore morality. Recommendations on the future of press regulation are evidently needed and the focus of much attention, after all, the press is interested in what concerns their future.

But it is vitally important to step back from the frenzy surrounding the media scandals, corruption, inquiry and now the report and ask more foundational questions about the place of ethics in our media. This crisis echoes a broader crisis of public leadership across all of society, whether it's politics, banking, finance, even our education system. Albert Camus once observed that: "A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world." There is a lot of talk about ethics in public life, but little acknowledgement that ethics flow from a moral framework. If we don't accept the indispensability of morality, no number of new laws and regulators will make men and women good.

The Leveson Inquiry has exposed how truth and transparency are vital for a healthy society – and how our media has shown a frequent disregard for its value. Too often we seem to be trying to cultivate public ethics in a vacuum: how can we expect honesty without a high regard for truth? It's (literally) impossible to have honesty in the media without having truth as an objective for reporting. With media outlets competing for power and profits, each one seeks to present its own worldview at the expense of the other. Fuelled by a pervasive myth of secular neutrality, the outcome is a subtle but apparent manipulation of facts and reality to suit a particular agenda – all of which has the effect of reducing public trust.

Read here


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GM babies consultation – please respond urgently

November 28th, 2012 Jill Posted in Ethics, News Comments Off

From The Christian Institute

The UK government regulator is consulting on new proposals to allow scientists to create children with three – or even four – parents. This is a profoundly important issue with huge ethical implications. The consultation closes on Friday 7 December. Please submit a response.

The proposals would allow genetic modifications to children before they are born. The consultation is being carried out by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). The HFEA says the aim of the plans is to prevent parents passing on mitochondrial diseases to their children (mitochondria are found within, and provide energy to, human cells).

Two new scientific procedures are being proposed: Maternal Spindle Transfer and Pronuclear Transfer (see diagrams on pages 14-15 of our new briefing). Both procedures involve the modification of embryos using genetic material from three or even four people to create babies free from mitochondrial disorders.

But there are grave ethical concerns. What would be the psychological effects on a child when they learn they have three or four parents? Who can predict the consequences of altering the human germ-line with genetic changes passed on to future generations?

Read the rest of this entry »

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