Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I guess if you're as famous and respected as Leon Kass, you get to say that and no one accuses you of being ingenteel.

I normally avoid bioethics lectures because of the difficulty I usually experience at them of refraining from standing up and screaming and going into apoplexy followed by coma. But I went to listen to Kass once at UofT speak on whether we really want to indefintely prolong human life.

Yes, I kid you not, this is a serious line of thought in the bioethics world, "do we want to live forever?"

Errr. yeah. So, you're assuming we can huh?

And they say the pro-lifers are irresponsible fantasists.

Still, his lecture was interesting.

"Even now Dr. Kass remains stuck in what he wearily calls 'embryoville.' Ever since his appointment in 2001 as chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics (a position he relinquished last fall), he has been gamely and evenhandedly trying to work his way through the embryo debate, which really is just a salient in the larger culture war between 'choice' and 'life.' But in an era in which biomedical technologies have already begun to alter the broad and basic contours of human nature, questions about when life begins, or what is permissible in the name of medicine, seem almost quaint. 'Killing the creature made in God's image is an old story,' he says. 'Redesigning him after our own fantasies: That's what's really new.'

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