Friday, August 14, 2009

Justice and Freedom for the Human Embryo

Editor's NOTE:

In view of the National Health Care debate which is currently raging, this re-worked essay which I wrote several years ago and which was used to help lobby Congress against embryonic stem cell research and human cloning for biomedical research is included in order to counter assertions that some human beings are non-persons and unworthy of life.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

The Philosophy of the Human Person, the Body/Soul Issue and Ethics

(Personhood cannot be acquired or lost)

By: John P. Hubert Jr. MD FACS

In the past several years, a growing moral and ethical dilemma has presented itself. Largely because of an almost logrhythmic increase in bio-technologic expertise, certain options are now available which would have been unthinkable just a short several decades ago. Two of these as mentioned above are; Destructive Embryonic Stem Cell research (ESCR) and Human Research Cloning (CBR). They are very closely allied in that each involves the destruction of human embryos (DER) at an early stage in human development. The question which has yet to be adequately addressed is; are human embryos deserving of the full respect and protection afforded to any other member of the human species? The 3 positions taken in this review are as follows:

1. The human embryo is a human being, even at the one-celled stage that is; a genetically complete albeit nascent or undeveloped human organism with a complete human genome. This is true beyond all reasonable doubt and has been demonstrated empirically by multiple scientific investigators.[1]

2. Contemporary attempts to justify the intentional destruction of human embryos by maintaining that embryos are human beings but not human persons (and thus not deserving of full moral status and protection) are philosophically untenable and must be repudiated. On the basis of biology, metaphysics and ethics, the human embryo should be accorded full moral status including inviolability, a reality which (justice demands) should be codified in law. This is true irrespective of age, acquired characteristics or the way in which the embryo is regarded by others. It is true because of the inherent nature, being and essence that the embryo has, not because of any externally applied or acquired characteristic or ability.

3. Logic, intellectual honesty, consistency in the history of ethics, as well as justice demand that we treat like things similarly. If the assertions made here are correct, then destructive embryo research (DER) is immoral and its practice should be sanctioned by law. Only then will justice be achieved. This will insure that the human embryo is given the freedom to thrive that it rightly deserves. The right to life is the first of all rights and without it, no other rights follow. Since justice is; giving to another what they are due, it is clear that the human embryo possesses the right to life and the freedom to thrive that any other member of the human species has. This is a basic requirement of justice and is non-negotiable.[2] As such, the Catholic Church of record and most of Christianity rightly teaches that the right to life is fundamental and irrevocable. It is also a touchstone principle which is fundamental to the Judeo-Christian ethic upon which the American experiment was based.

Few topics are as timely and prescient today as that of human personhood (personhood theory) and with it, the continued philosophical debate over the “body/soul” issue. This is predominately displayed in the ongoing public discourse over abortion, destructive embryo research (DER) and euthanasia, in which some human beings are characterized as “non-persons”, non-humans or non-beings in order to justify their manipulation or death. Tragically, many secular bioethicists now advocate for a “quality of life” ethic which utilizes a utilitarian calculus in order to justify the taking of innocent human life.[3] It represents a radical departure from the traditional “sanctity of life” ethic[4] (also referred to as the equality of human life ethic).[5] It has resulted in a growing “culture of death."

One technique presently popular among bioethicists who embrace the “quality of life” (read culture of death) ethic, is to declare some human beings “non-persons” on the basis of their inability to measure up to certain arbitrarily selected characteristics which are alleged to be a requirement for human personhood (from the moral perspective). In their view, a human being does not possess personhood in virtue of the kind of entity or being they are, but on the basis of various “acquired” characteristics which they do or do not actually have and can demonstrate. This view has been popularized by many contemporary secular bioethicists including Fletcher, Tooley, Singer, Beauchamp, Harris and others.[6] Thus, certain heretofore obvious examples of human persons such as newborn babies and severely handicapped and cognitively disabled and or unconscious persons are labeled “non-persons” under this rubric, while some animals can even be considered persons![7] Such a view is outrageous on its face and incompatible with the sanctity of life (equality of life) ethic which has formed the bedrock of the Judeo-Christian ethic for over 3000 years.

Needless to say, this new “quality of life” (culture of death) ethic particularly among secular academic elites, the media and much of the political establishment is also totally incompatible with orthodox Catholicism, a point well made by the directive to politicians and others in public life published by the Vatican.[8] Despite the fact that the “culture of death” ethic is being embraced [9] by the courts in both North America and much of Europe[10], it is fundamentally flawed and based upon an incorrect and incomplete understanding of the human person grounded largely in modern and post-modern philosophical assumptions, and the embracing of philosophical and scientific naturalism (materialism) by the elites who are presently “in control” of the scientific establishment and much of the public discourse. This can be seen in the deliberations of the Presidents Council on Bioethics which has to date been unable and or unwilling as a commission to declare that human personhood is intrinsic to all human beings regardless of age or stage of development.[11] Specifically, a new term (based on subject/object or person/body Dualism) has been “invented” (intermediate or special status) by which embryos are declared to be more than simply human tissue but not human beings in the usual sense of that term and thus not human persons either until some arbitrary point has been reached in development.[12] While this enables them to be sacrificed (read killed) for their parts (embryonic stem cells), it is entirely ad hoc and philosophically untenable when subjected to rigorous analysis.

Multiple and varied philosophical interpretations exist regarding the nature of the human person including whether the human being is entirely a material entity or a material/immaterial composite.[13] This issue lies at the heart of the dilemma with respect to how the human embryo should be regarded. Professor Benedict Ashley recommends the Aristotelian model of the human person in his book[14] and in his lecture series which is quite similar to the much more extensive and thought provoking outline provided by Professor William Wallace, also based on Aristotelian and Thomistic ideas but updated in light of modern biological science.[15] On the basis of all the available data, this ethicist embraces the ideas so persuasively argued for by Professor Wallace as graphically depicted in his Powers Model of Human Nature above referenced on page 159 of his book. In brief it holds that human beings are rational animals that is, extremely complex and integrated body/soul composites or unions made up of protomatter (prime matter) and a unique immaterial “natural form” (the human soul).[16] Under this rubric, the soul is the principle of substantial unity also referred to as the organizing principle. The human soul (which possesses a special form) is unique to human beings among all other living beings. This paradigm is clearly most consistent with all the relevant data from general (nature subjected to empirical observation) and special revelation.

Many contemporary secular bioethicists either deny immaterial reality or contend that since it cannot be measured by empirical (scientific) methods, it can not be considered, (i.e., it does not exist), in effect subscribing to philosophical (metaphysical) naturalism (materialism). This view was held by the ancient Greeks including Democritus and Epicurus. Another philosophical error is to imagine that the soul is infused at some later date well after conception (fertilization). Under this rubric, the soul is reduced to a non-critical “religious” entity which is not required (for biological life to exist) and is not present from the one-celled zygote stage i.e. from conception, thus providing no role as the immaterial agent of substantial unity (organizing principle). This “Delayed Hominization theory/position” is reminiscent of certain Neo-Platonic assumptions in which the soul is “imprisoned” in the material body and cannot possibly be true (as was recognized by Aristotle and Aquinas not to mention all the data which now exists from the life sciences including the testimony of persons who have experienced “near death” experiences).[17] Tragically, not an insignificant number of Catholic moral theologians/secular bioethicists have embraced this view despite it being incompatible with Catholic moral teaching and careful philosophical analysis.[18]

To recapitulate then, the human person, according to Aristotle and Aquinas is a combination of matter and form like all other inorganic and organic beings (entities), where the human soul is the immaterial (spiritual) form of the person. This is the classic substance view of human personhood which best fits with all the available data in light of contemporary science and classical philosophical anthropology. Practically speaking this is denied only by those who subscribe to modern Epicurean materialism (Darwinism).

Unlike all other material entities or beings, the human person is capable of both intellection (including the formation of abstract concepts including universals), and will (which includes the “passions”, emotions and appetitive characteristics). This substance view also holds that there is an essential interdependence and unity between body and soul in each human person, a point well made by Professor William E. May in his book referred to above. He also cites the similar opinion of John Paul II, Jacques Maritain by reference, and the Working Group of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (in discussing the human person from the perspective of the issue of brain death and organ donation).[19] May and others refer to this unity as the principle of substantial unity of the body and indicates that it is the same as the principle of personhood.[20]

In this construct, the brain is the instrument of our intelligence, not its organ that is, the brain is instrumentally utilized by the soul to effect action in the material realm, but the brain is not synonymous with the soul.[21] Intellectual insight and reasoning are spiritual functions which, while requiring processing of sense data, are not merely material brain operations. Thus, the brain is used as a material instrument by which the spiritual soul engages in both intellection and will. Both Ashley and Wallace among many others including Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas successfully establish in this authors view, that it is impossible to account for some of the observable characteristics of human beings without invoking the spiritual (immaterial) dimension.[22] Rabid materialists (scientific naturalists) vehemently disagree, for example Professor Gazzaniga, a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics.[23] However, despite recent neurological research into the subcellular (molecular) level of the thought process including controlled studies utilizing PET scans and other physiologic modalities, the non-material nature of both intellection and will remains unaddressed in solely the natural realm and the scientific process which studies it.[24] This is another way of saying that modern biological science with its materialistic bias, is fundamentally unable to account for man’s ability to be self aware, self conscious, or as Professor Ashley argues; the ability to be “all at one point” not spread out or in parts like a material object, the “I know that I know that I know”.[25]

In addition to self awareness this higher level of human function is most obviously seen in the ability that human beings have for abstract thought and spoken and written language. Higher mathematics and the extreme degrees of abstraction called for in doing metaphysics would be additional examples which defy reduction to electrochemical reactions among the complex networks of integrated circuitry which are present in the human brain. Therefore, any construct with respect to the human person which denies the immaterial dimension or reality of human beings, is fatally flawed as is any ethical system or paradigm which builds upon it, and any biological science involving human behavior for that matter.[26]

Unfortunately, much of modern physical and biological science is inculcated with both philosophical and scientific naturalism (materialism) in which it is argued that only brute matter exists.[27] That is to say and it is asserted that there is no non-material reality, including the soul or the spiritual realm. This phenomenon flows out of British Empiricism and Continental European Idealism both of which have their roots in Cartesian subject/object dualism including Descartes “man as machine” formulation and the misinterpreted and misunderstood mechanistic cosmology of Newton in the wake of Galileo. In addition it is also now a consequence of Darwinism and post-enlightenment rationalism and atheism. Ironically this has produced a contemporary view of science which is closer to the ancient Greek mechanistic view that Democritus and Epicurus had of science than is often appreciated. It has meant that modern science has often been placed in open opposition to belief in God as the first cause of material reality, leaving the material (natural) realm that science investigates without an adequate foundation or appropriate first cause.[28] Pope John Paul II has written well that such a view, which he calls rigid “scientism”, is a tragic misinterpretation of the scientific data and in fact the promulgation of materialistic philosophy rather than an accurate description of scientific reality. Nevertheless, a great deal of public policy and discourse in the West is founded upon these false materialistic assumptions about reality and the human person as well. Thus the contemporary debate about human personhood really reduces to a profound disagreement about human anthropology and the nature of reality or in other words, metaphysics rather than science or ethics per se.[29]

A detailed discussion of the metaphysical flaws involved in philosophical naturalism or rigid scientism is beyond the scope of this paper, but careful analysis demonstrates that it is incompatible with all the data available from Divine Revelation and the study of nature subjected to the light of human reason. However, one can appreciate that it might seem reasonable to embrace a “quality of life” (culture of death) ethic if one assumes that human beings are only material entities, lacking an immaterial soul as many secular bioethicists do. Under such a construct, it is much easier to declare that some people are “persons” and others are not, in an entirely arbitrary and ad-hoc way. Since there is no non-material or spiritual aspect (that is understood to be common to all human persons) which grounds their dignity, personhood can be defined by those in power to do so, on any basis they choose as is presently being done with great vigor in the West. In that regard, the “Materialists” and “Sophists” of ancient Greece have reappeared on the contemporary scene in the form of secular utilitarian bioethicists who employ sophistry in order to mold public opinion. They have succeeded in making moral Darwinism (Culture of Death) the accepted moral construct in the West.[30]

A second error that underlies the “quality of life” ethic is the assumption of moral relativism. This view, despite the fact that it is self-contradictory, holds that there are no moral absolutes. It is very conveniently combined with Utilitarianism in which the non-moral benefit (which reduces to pleasure, preference or desire) of the community is considered the supreme “good” by which moral decisions are made. Thus, if it is “potentially” beneficial for thousands of patients that hundreds of thousands of embryos are sacrificed (read killed) for their stem cells, the utilitarian bioethical calculus is applied and the embryos are killed in the name of the greater good of society. This works particularly well if embryos are held either to be non-human (a scientific error),[31] or non-persons (a philosophical error).[32] There are many excellent works which demonstrate that moral relativism is an incoherent philosophical system,[33] yet it is held by many of the elites who are presently in control of academia, the media and much of the public policy establishment. Similarly, there are excellent works which either directly or indirectly demonstrate that utilitarianism is insufficiently powerful as a tool for moral decision making, given the demonstrable complexities of the human person.[34] Despite these realities, the “culture of death” ethic continues to advance in the realm of public policy, the courts, and the popular imagination.

It is now common to speak of “death with dignity” and the “right to die” when the “quality” of one’s life is no longer ideal or “tolerable”.[35] We now read about major University Medical Centers in which organs are “harvested” from people who are not yet dead, but in whom their quality of life was deemed inadequate (by ethics committees with a vested interest in obtaining organs for transplantation).[36] For that matter, the entire concept of “brain death” (philosophically questionable in itself) which has made this possible is beyond the scope of this paper. In any case, these developments were impossible a few short decades ago when the “sanctity of life” ethic reigned as part of the common morality. While this very rapid paradigm shift from the equality or sanctity of life ethic to a quality of life ethic is multifactorial, it is predicated in large part on a repudiation of the Aristotelian and Thomistic view of the human person which includes the notion that human beings are body/soul or material/immaterial (spiritual) composites which exist in unity or integration during biological life. As alluded to earlier, this is in large part related to the fact that much of modern science is predicated (philosophically and foundationally) upon Cartesian subject/object or person/body dualism and the metaphysical acceptance of Materialism.

In light of the foregoing, we can see how it is possible to dismiss the lives of some human beings by declaring them non-persons. Fr. Michael Schooyans has written:

“Men cast doubt on the human character of certain beings whenever they sought arguments to exploit or exterminate their fellow human beings. In antiquity slaves were considered as things and barbarians as second class men. In the sixteenth century, some conquerors considered the Indians as “beasts in human appearance.” The Nazis looked upon some men as “non-men”, as Unmenschen. To these arbitrary classifications dictated by the masters corresponded real discrimination and this, in turn, “legitimized” exploitation or extermination.[37]

This phenomenon is much easier to accomplish when philosophical naturalism or materialism (and with it the denial of the soul) and moral relativism are widely embraced as they are today. Materialism removes the soul (spiritual) from consideration, and moral relativism dispenses with any need to consider the individual objective moral act, the intent or the circumstances which classically have defined moral deliberations, at least in the Catholic Aristotelian/Thomistic tradition. Instead, the nonmoral value or practical consequences or benefit(s) is considered in utilitarian (consequentialist or proportionalist) terms only. Thus the entire notion of a just consideration of means vs: ends are eliminated in the name of utility (pleasure) or pragmatism and often unbridled notions of rigid autonomy, (particularly among the heavily financed biomedical research establishment who advocate for little or no restrictions).[38] Taking the lives of some innocent human beings is virtually inconceivable when the Aristotelian/Thomistic view of the human person is embraced as it is articulated by professors Ashley and Wallace. Under such a rubric, all human beings are persons of equal worth and dignity in virtue of the nature and kind of being they are, not because of some ad hoc criteria they meet or some acquired characteristics or abilities they are presently capable of demonstrating. The Catholic convert and English writer Malcolm Muggeridge succinctly summarized the issue as follows: "Either life is always and in all circumstances sacred, or intrinsically of no account; it is inconceivable that it should be in some cases the one, and in some the other."

In conclusion, it is vital to achieve an accurate and complete understanding of the human person, vis a vis the totality of their human being if the human embryo is to be treated justly. The only philosophy of the human person which adequately does so is the one articulated by Aristotle, Aquinas, John Paul II, May, Ashley, Wallace and others in which human beings are correctly identified as body/soul composite persons in substantial unity with the ability of intellection and will, each one of which enjoy an equal worth and human dignity. This worth and dignity exist not because of acquiring or losing some characteristic(s) or abilities, but as part of the substantial unity (unifying principle) which exists in reality, in virtue of the kind of being they are; a being in which matter is united to a very unique and special type of form which we call the human soul. In Christian terms this dignity is afforded on the basis of being created in the image (imago Dei) of an omnibenevolent triune God who creates that soul for its own sake out of Love. If this is not understood and applied, a panoply of disastrous consequences arise, exemplified by the tragedies associated with abortion, in-vitro fertilization (with embryo manipulation/destruction) and destructive embryo research to name only a few. All three demonstrate that a false/limited view of the human person (and the loss of the sanctity of human life ethic that is coincident with it), have brought great tragedy to contemporary Western culture as it has taken freedom and with it justice from the human embryo, and by extension, and as members of the human family, all human beings. Let us work, hope and pray that this “culture of death” ethic can be quickly and effectively reversed.

End Notes:

[1] Bruce Carlson. Human Embryology, (Livingston, New York: Churchill, 1994); C. Ward Kischer, PhD. “When Does Human Life Begin? The Final Answer,” The Linacre Quarterly 70, no. 4 (2003), pp 327-331, “Virtually every human embryologist and every major textbook of human embryology states that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being”; Scott Gilbert. Developmental Biology, 5th edition, (Sunderland Mass.: Sinnauer Associates, 1997; Msgr. Jeremiah J. McCarthy PhD. “Invoking Embryonic Development and the Notion of “Personhood” to Justify Early Abortion: A curious Argument,” The Linacre Quarterly 70, no. 4 (2003), p.348.

[2] Specifically a requirement of both commutative and legal justice.

[3] McCarthy. p. 347.

[4] John Paul II. 1995. Encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, in which the traditional “Inviolability of human life” ethical teaching was again powerfully affirmed.

[5] Wesley J Smith. Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder. (Dallas: Spence Publishing Co. 2003), p. XXVII.

[6] Michael Tooley. Abortion and Infanticide. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), pp. 61-76; Peter Singer. Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994), pp 202-206; Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress. Principles of Biomedical Ethics, Fifth Edition. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Tom L. Beauchamp, “The Failure of Theories of Personhood,” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 9, no. 4 (1999), p. 320; John Harris, “The Concept of the Person and the Value of Life,” Kennedy, Institute of Ethics Journal 9, no. 4 (1999), p. 297; Joseph Fletcher, “Indicators of Personhood,” Hastings Center Report 2 (November 1972) 1-4.

[7] R. G. Frey, “Moral Standing, the Value of Lives, and Speciesism,” Between the Species 4 (1988), pp. 196-197; Peter Singer. Animal Liberation. (New York: Avon Books, 1990), pp. 6, 18, 22.

[8] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life, Rome, Nov. 24, 2002, paragraphs 3 & 4.

[9] Paul Nowak, “New Jersey First to Publicly Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research” (June 29, 2004) “New Jersey has become the first state to use taxpayer dollars to fund human cloning for research purposes. Last week, Governor Jim McGreevey added $3 million to the state budget to fund embryonic stem cell research, only a day before the budget was supposed to be put to a vote.

[10] Kischer. pp. 331-333.

[11] The President’s Council on Bioethics, Human Cloning and Human Dignity.
(New York: Public Affairs, 2002).

[12] Ibid.

[13] James J. Mc Cartney. Unborn Persons: Pope John Paul II and the Abortion Debate. (New York: Peter Lang, 1987).

[14] Benedict M. Ashley and Kevin D. O’Rourke. Health Care Ethics: A Theological Analysis. (Washington D. C.: Georgetown University Press, 1997), pp. 321, p. 357.

[15] William A. Wallace. The Modeling of Nature: Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Nature in Synthesis. (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1996), pp. 157-189, particularly p. 159; William A. Wallace, O P. The Elements of Philosophy: A Compendium for Philosophers and Theologians (New York: Alba House, 1977), pp. 58-64, 80-83, & 145; Thomas Aquinas. Summa theologiae Ia-IIae, q. 94, a.3: “Since the rational soul is man’s proper form, he has a natural tendency (naturalis inclination) to act according to reason that is to say according to virtue”.

[16] Wallace. The Modeling of Nature. pp. 158 & 159.

[17] Patrick Lee. Abortion &Unborn Human Life. (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1997); Stephen Schwarz. The Moral Question of Abortion. (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1990).

[18] Joseph Donceel, “A Liberal Catholic’s View,” in Abortion and Catholicism: The American Debate, pp. 48-53; Joseph Donceel, S.J. “Immediate Animation and Delayed Hominization,” Theological studies 31 (1970). Thomas A Shannon, and Allan B. Wolter, OFM, “Reflections on the Moral Status of the Pre-Embryo,” Theological Studies 51 (1990); Pope John Paul II, encyclical letter, Evangelium Vitae, 1995; Pope John Paul II, encyclical letter, Veritatis Splendor, 1993; Germain Grisez. The Way of the Lord Jesus, Vol. 2, Living a Christian Life. (Quincy, Il: Franciscan Press, 1993).

[19] Karol Wojtyla, Love and Responsibility. Trans. H. Willetts, (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1981), p 4; Jacques Maritain. The Person and the Common Good. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1947), chapter 3; William E. May. Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life. (Huntington Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2000) p. 200 & 204.

[20] May. Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life pp. 286-294.

[21] Or the mind, as argued in; S. Parnia, D.G. Waller, R. Yeates, and P. Fenwick, “A Qualitative and Quantitative Study of the incidence, Features and Aetiology of Near-Death Experience in Cardiac Arrest Survivors,” Resuscitation (February 2001); Sarah Tippit, “Scientist says Mind continues After Brain Dies,” Reuters (June 29, 2001)and Sam Parnia, “Near Death Experiences in Cardiac Arrest and the Mystery of Consciousness,” available at

[22] Wallace. The Elements of Philosophy. p. 81, as follows; “The essential unity of man is manifest from the fact that the same concrete man who is experienced in his bodily presence is also a person who thinks. The spiritual activity of thinking and the material givenness of the body are both manifestations of one and the same human reality. Again, the transcendence of the spirit over material reality is manifested by the immateriality of intellection; this means that the human soul, having an activity that is intrinsically independent of material conditions, cannot have a mode of being inferior to its mode of operation, (emphasis mine). In other words, it must be essentially independent of matter. On the other hand, man is really material, and this is not merely accidental; the body belongs essentially to his nature. Now the only way in which one can reconcile all these data is by maintaining that the human soul informs matter as a substantial form; in so doing, however, it is not dependent on matter in the very fact of existing, but, on the contrary, man’s body is dependent on his soul and exists in virtue of the soul’s existence. Such a special and intimate ontological relationship between soul and body alone explains man’s substantial unity, the spiritual character of his soul, and the fact that his body is an essential part of this nature.”

[23] The President’s Council on Bioethics, Human Cloning and Human Dignity. (New York:
Public Affairs, 2002), pp. 290-294 in which he suggests that zygotes are not persons because they lack a nervous system thus ascribing to a form of “acquired personhood”.

[24] Note for example the unexplainable experiences of patients undergoing profound hypothermic circulatory arrest in which no brain waves are present (flat EEG’s) and who later report knowledge of what transpired during that portion of their operations. The fact that the brain was “non-functional” during the time in question, strongly suggests an immaterial (spiritual) explanation. Similar experiences have been reported by victims of “sudden cardiac death" in a non-operating room environment.

See also research by Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz M.D. of UCLA Medical Center including his book The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force, (New York: Harper Collins, 2002) e.g. pp. 24-53 in which he asserts that there is a non-material (spiritual) component to intellection that is in the use of the mind which is separate from the brain. I am indebted to Mr. Joel Gibbons for bringing the material of Dr. Schwartz to my attention. His web site can be reached HERE...

[25] Professor Ashley’s video lecture series, lesson number 6.

[26] A practical example is that no matter how educated a person becomes, no one is ever able to consistently choose only the true good that is, what is in the person’s genuine interest.

[27] This is despite the fact that one is unable to explain phenomena which are common to all human beings by invoking Materialism. It is an inadequately powerful paradigm or “world view” (total philosophical system) by which to explain what we observe in the process of living life. For example, the common experience in which people choose to act against what they understand to be contrary to their interest (good) despite recognizing by reason that the action is not in their interest. This is simply inexplicable in a Materialist paradigm.

[28]Axiomatic is that no action can be greater than its cause. The cause of every action must be greater than itself. An entity (being) can not give what it does not have. This is a matter of first principles of being.

[29] Tragically, as a result of Emmanuel Kant and the post-enlightenment Rationalists/modern analytical philosophy, metaphysics has fallen out of favor and with it much of our understanding of reality and human anthropology. This is particularly true now that Materialism (philosophical naturalism) has become the reigning paradigm.

[30] Benjamin Wiker. Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists. (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2002), especially; 23, 89, 243-54, 301.

[31] Scott Gilbert. Developmental Biology, 5th edition, (Sunderland Mass.: Sinnauer Associates, 1997).

[32] Patrick Lee. Abortion &Unborn Human Life. (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1997); Stephen Schwarz. The Moral Question of Abortion. (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1990).

[33] Peter Kreeft. A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999); Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Koukl. Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air. (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Baker Books, 1998).

[34] Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, translated, with introduction, notes, and glossary by Terence Irwin, second edition. (Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Co., Inc. 1999); Paul Ramsey. The Patient as Person. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970); Wesley J. Smith. Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America. (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2000); Robert P. George. The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis. (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2001); Edmund D. Pellegrino, and David C. Thomasma. The Christian Virtues in Medical Practice. (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1996); Leon R. Kass. M.D. Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics. (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002); John Finnis. Aquinas: Moral, Political, and Legal Theory. (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); May, William E. Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life. (Huntington Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2000).

[35] Smith, Culture of Death. pp. 65, 85-87, 109, 124-125.

[36] Ibid. pp 155-187.

[37] Michael Schooyans. Bioethics and Population: The Choice of Life. (St. Louis, MO.: Central Bureau, CCVA, 1996), p. 3.

[38] Classically, ethics (moral philosophy) ultimately reduces to a rational consideration of means vs: ends in which the "ends" are fixed by nature, and the "means" proper to achieving them are chosen by human beings.