Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Don't Get Your Biases in My Science

The irony is easy to spot in this article by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., director for the center of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

In Mississippi, there's a ballot measure proposed to define "personhood" beginning from conception, a.k.a. fertilization. Polls say that it's going to pass. Dr. Caplan says it shouldn't saying,
The reason this law makes for bad public policy is that it is completely at odds with what science knows to be true about embryos and fetuses.
After mocking these pro-lifers (pro-personers?), he acknowledges their claim saying,
It is true that for centuries science has shown that all human beings begin as fertilized eggs.
However, that is not good enough for him. The process by which human beings develop is also important to him. He says that not all fertilized eggs are "viable" and many don't even make it to implantation. There are many spontaneous abortions, still births and fetal deaths. Therefore they cannot be considered "persons".

He ends the article by saying,
In the push to declare fertilized eggs “persons” advocates claim science is on their side. But it is only by ignoring what science has learned about the long odds that face fertilized eggs that anyone could even suggest that a fertilized egg is a person.

Johannes Kepler.
Because posting a picture of a devout,
Lutheran astrophysicist makes
Stephen Hawking cry.
So often there is a line drawn between pro-lifers - and let's be honest, we're really just talking about Christians here - and science. Too often, I think this is thrown up as a protective guard by non-Christian scientists in an ad hominem attack against Christians to make them seem brutish and uneducated. It is often leveled at Christians making them seem biased and suspicious of the devilish science man.

But seriously. If you can't see the bias in this article... you're biased.

He admits that all human beings come from fertilized eggs. However, he goes beyond science, by saying that if the fertilized egg is not "viable" and cannot make it to full maturity (often by death) then it cannot be a person. For him that would mean recognizing millions of deaths that occur even without our knowledge. And he would be correct, that is the truth. He is unwilling to face that truth. Unwillingness to face the truth, Dr. Caplan, is not science. That is bias.

The truth is truth. And it shows us an ugly reality. Sin causes death in our bodies even from the moment of conception. The magnitude of death that Dr. Caplan rightly makes evident on the basis of science shows us how sin-stricken the world really is.

It causes us to recognize how fallen we are and brings us to call out Kyrie Eleison, "Lord, have mercy". And He does. He sent Jesus to bring life by his atoning death. He sent Jesus to be our only help from sin and death. He is our salvation, even in the midst of such suffering. While the minds of men through the trial and error of science can indeed help us to discover a little more about this world that God has created, it cannot save us, and it does not have all the answers.

So, Dr. Caplan, please take a note from your own book.

Keep your biases out of science.

+Kyrie Eleison+