I have always thought that I would like to be a part of a “think tank.” The idea to be able to research and debate issues and then suggest answers to problems seems like the ultimate job. And then I read comments from someone like Leon Kass and determine that I would be way out of my league. Dr. Kass is an eminent bioethicist and physician who is not afraid to share his perspective on issues that can have a profound effect on the human race, even though he is often in the minority.
In a WSJ interview Dr. Kass observed that the world’s indifference to the matters of human dignity is increasing. He proffers that when we look at situations such as the murder of infants by the Philadelphia abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell, we should feel a sense of repugnance. He states,
“As pain is to the body so repugnance is to the soul…So too with anger and compassion. Repugnance is some kind of wake-up call that there is something untoward going on and attention must be paid. These passions are not simply irrational. They contain within them the germ of insight. You cannot give proper verbal account of the horror of evil, yet a culture that couldn’t be absolutely horrified by such things is dead.”
Kass goes on to say that his fear is that American society is in danger of being “disrespectful of dignity and indifferent of degradation.” He speaks to the issue of abortion, but he also believes that the same danger rears its ugly head when we seek after “perfect babies, ageless bodies, and happy souls” with the use of modern technology and psychopharmacology. He warns that the advancement in science does not mean the advancement of morals.
I have thought a lot about this interview. I am sure that it has intrigued me because Dr. Kass has so eloquently expressed what I have been thinking (though I do not presume that my thinking plumbs the depths as his does). From my own observation, and perhaps a reflection of my own actions, instead of recoiling to what is happening around us we often turn our heads thinking there is nothing we can do because it seems so overwhelming. Or we fall into the trap of not questioning the cultural philosophy that is being fed to us or the use of the latest technology. Instead like lemmings we follow others without raising the question of where we are going and how it will affect human dignity.
I encourage you to read the interview with Dr. Kass, The Meaning of the Gosnell Trial. Then share your thoughts.
What is a Think Through? it is an idiom that conveys the meaning of carefully considering possibilities and outcomes of a situation.
Today’s Think Through: How would you respond to Dr. Kass’ stance? To the critic that believes the word, repugnance, should not be used because it is prejudicial in nature and can be used to exclude certain groups or people?