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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude
Scientific and Philosophical Expertise: An Evaluation of the Arguments on "Personhood"

Linacre Quarterly February 1993, 60:1:18-46
[Edited, September 20, 1996]
(Reproduced with Permission)


56. See, e.g., Richard McCormick, S.J., "Who or what is the preembryo?", paper presented at the Andre E. Hellegers Lecture (Washington, D.C. Georgetown University: May 17, 1990) (pre-publication manuscript); see also, McCormick, "Who or what is the Preembryo?", Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 1(1), 1991, p. 3; also see reference to Lejeune, p. 14, note 53 supra.

57. Lejeune, 1989, p. 14; also, Bruce Carlson, Human Embryology and Developmental Biology (St. Louis, MO: Mosby), p. 33.

58. For example, Grobstein and McCormick, Ford, Wallace infra.

59. Lejeune, 1989, p. 17, 20; also see article by Mavilio, where he explains that the modulation of the methylation pattern represents a key mechanism for regulating the expression of human globin genes during embryonic, fetal and adult development in humans. Mavilio et al, "Molecular mechanisms of human hemoglobin switching: selective undermethylation and expression of globin genes in embryonic, fetal and adult erythroblasts", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 80(22) (1983): p. 690;7-11; see also Alan E.H. Emery, Elements of Medical Genetics (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1983), p. 103.

60. See references on "cascading" in note 49, supra; also "transgenic mice" in note 30, supra.

61. Antoine Suarez, "Hydatidiform moles and teratomas confirm the human identity of the preimplantation embryo", Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 15 (1990): p. 631.

62. McCormick, p. 3, note 56 supra.

63. Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Muller, Human Embryology and Teratology (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1994), footnote p. 55: "the ill-defined and inaccurate term pre-embryo ... is not used in this book". See also C. Ward Kischer, "Human development and reconsideration of ensoulment", Linacre Quarterly (Feb. 1993), 60:1:57-63; also Kischer (1992, 1993, 1994) in note 4 supra.

64. McCormick, p. 3, note 56 supra.

65. Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 1982), p. 33, 62-63, 68, 111, 127; Ronan O'Rahilly (1994), p. 51; William Larsen, Human Embryology (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1993), p. 19. 33; Bruce Carlson, Human Embryology and Developmental Biology (St. Louis, MO: Mosby), pp. 34-35. See also see K. Chada et al, "An embryonic pattern of expression of a human fetal globin gene in transgenic mice", Nature (1986), 319:6055:685-9; also G. Migliaccio et al, "Human embryonic hemopoiesis. Kinetics of progenitors and precursor underlying the yolk sac - liver transition", Journal of Clinical Investigation 78(1), 1986: 51-60.

66. McCormick, p. 4, note 56 supra.

67. Karen Dawson, "Segmentation and moral status", in Peter Singer et al, Embryo Experimentation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 58; see also Keith Moore (1982), p. 133.

68. Dame Mary Warnock, Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilization and Embryology (London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1984), p. 17; National Institutes of Health: Report of the Human Embryo Research Panel (Washington, D.C.: NIH, Sept. 27, 1994), pp. 45ff.

69. E.g., see Larsen (1993), p. 1: "... gametes which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual [i.e., the zygote]"; Kischer (1993), note 63 supra; A. Fisher, "Individuogenesis and a book by Fr. Ford", Anthropotes (1991), 2:199f.

70. C. Ward Kischer, "Human development and reconsideration of ensoulment" Linacre Quarterly (Feb. 1993), 60:1:57-63.

71. During taped participation at the "Ethics in Research Conference", FIDIA (Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., April 1991).

72. E.g., John A. Robertson, "Extracorporeal embryos and the abortion debate", Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy 2:53:53-70 (1986). Significantly, he used this argument while representing the father in the Davis vs Davis frozen human embryo appeal -- and won the appeal.

73. National Institutes of Health: Report of the Human Embryo Research Panel, September 27, 1994; pp. 47, 50, 51; available free of charge from Division of Science Policy Analysis and Development, National Institutes of Health, Bldg. 1, Room 218, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892; phone 301-496-1454. Interestingly, these N.I.H. Recommendations referenced their "human" embryology chart and their list of scientific definitions on the book by Australians Peter Singer (a philosopher), Helga Kuhse (an ethicist), Kasimba (a lawyer) and Karen Dawson (a geneticist). In that book, [Human Experimentation, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990)] the chart and scientific definitions have no references. There was no human embryologist on that N.I.H. Panel. See also, D.N. Irving, "Testimony before the NIH Human Embryo Research Panel", Linacre Quarterly (1994), 61:82-89.

74. See personal communications from different pharmaceutical companies to Judie Brown, President, American Life League, April 30, 1996, and August 30, 1996. Also used and defended recently in T.V. debates by representatives of The Center For Reproductive Law and Policy: Cable Network New York, "News Talk Television", July 2, 1996, 11 A.M.; CBS News, "Up to the Minute", July 1, 1996, 3 and 5 A.M. These advocates redefined several embryological terms, including "abortifacient = contraception", "pregnancy begins at implantation", and that we don't know when the life of a human being begins because that is a philosophical or theological question. They also claimed that the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization supported their claims -- which they do not.

75. Norman Ford, When Did I Begin? (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988), p. 298.

76. Ibid., p. 156.

77. Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human (1982), p. 1.

78. William A. Wallace, "Nature and human nature as the norm in medical ethics:, in Edmund D. Pellegrino, John P. Langan and John Collins Harvey (eds.), Catholic Perspectives on Medical Morals (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishing, 1989), 23-53.

79. Ibid., p. 30.

80. Aristotle, Metaphysica VI, 1029 a.20, Ross (trans.), in Klubertanz, Philosophy of Being (1963), p. 115 (note 27); for Aquinas see ST, Ia.q6, a.1., ad.3, p. 330; also Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics, Book VIII, lect. 1 (ed. Cathala, No. 1686), in Klubertanz (1963), p. 100, and 124-125.

81. Klubertanz (1963), p. 100.

82. Thomas Aquinas, ST, Ia.q.45, a.4, ad.1 and 2, p. 235; also, Ia.q6, a.1., ad.3, p. 330; also Ia q.65, a.3, ans., p. 327; also ibid, a.4, sed contra, p. 327; also ibid, ans., p. 328-329; also, Ia.q.76, a.7, ans., 381.

83. Aristotle, Categories, in Ross (1985), p. 20-21; Thomas Aquinas, The Division and Method of the Sciences (Mauer, ed., 1986), pp. 37-38.

84. Wallace (1989), p. 43-44.

85. Ibid., p. 33.

86. D. Gareth Jones, "Brain birth and personal identity", Journal of Medical Ethics 15(4), 1989, 178.

87. Howard W. Jones and Charlotte Schroder, "The process of human fertilization: implications for moral status", Fertility and Sterility 48(2), Aug. 1987: p. 192.

88. G. Gareth Jones (1989), p. 177.

89. See arguments relying on this fact by Singer and Engelhardt, infra

90. Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, in John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff and Dugald Murdoch (trans.), The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (New York: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1984), 2nd Meditation, 12ff.

91. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, A.D. Woozley (ed.) (London: Fontana/Collins, 1964), Book Two, Ch. XXXI, pp. 211-12.

92. H.T. Engelhardt, The Foundations of Bioethics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 111.

93. Michael Tooley, "Abortion and infanticide", in Marshall Cohen et al (ed.), The Rights and Wrongs of Abortions, (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1974), pp. 59, 64.

94. Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer, "For sometimes letting - and helping - die", Law, Medicine and Health Care 3(4), 1986: pp. 149-153; also Kuhse and Singer, Should the Baby Live? The Problem of Handicapped Infants (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 138; Peter Singer and Helga Kuhse, "The ethics of embryo research", Law, Medicine and Health Care 14(13-14), 1987. For one reaction, see Gavin J. Fairbairn, "Kuhse, Singer and slippery slopes", Journal of Medical Ethics 14 (1988), p. 134.

95. Peter Singer, "Taking life: abortion", in Practical Ethics (London: Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 118.

96. Peter Singer, "Taking life: abortion" (1981), p. 118.

97. Richard G. Frey, The ethics of the search for benefits: Animal experimentation in medicine", in Raanan Gillon (ed.), Principles of Health Care Ethics (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1994), pp. 1067-1075.

For some arguments counter, see: Adil E. Shamoo and D.N. Irving, "The ethics of research on the mentally disabled", chapter in D.C. Thomasma and J. Monagle (eds.), Health Care Ethics: Critical Issues for the 21st Century, 1997 (forthcoming); Shamoo, Irving and Langenberg, "Comparison of U.S. and non-U.S. studies from psychiatric literature on schizophrenia", Cambridge Quarterly on Health Care Ethics 1997 (forthcoming); J. Katz, "Ethics in neurobiological research with human subjects", Accountability in Research (1996), 4:277-283; Shamoo and T.J. Keay, "Ethical concerns about relapse studies", Cambridge Quarterly on Health Care Ethics (1996), 5:373-386; D.N. Irving, "Background paper: Washouts/relapses in neurological research using human subjects", in Shamoo (ed.), Proceedings of the First Baltimore Conference on Ethics: Ethics in Neurobiological Research With Human Subjects (New York: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1996); D.N. Irving, "Psychiatric research: Reality check", The Journal of the California Alliance for the Mentally Ill (Spring 1994), 5:1:42-44 (see also similar articles there by Hassner, Shamoo, Becker, Caplan, and the Journal's "Postscript"); Shamoo and Irving, "Accountability in research with persons with mental illness", Accountability in Research (Nov. 1993), 3:1:1-17; Shamoo and Irving, "The PSDA and the depressed elderly: Intermittent competency revisited", Journal of Clinical Ethics (Feb. 1993), 4:1:74-80; R. A. Destro, "Quality-of-life ethics and constitutional jurisprudence: The demise of natural rights and equal protection for the disabled and incompetent", Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy (Spring 1996), pp, 1-11.

For a more historical background, see: B. Muller-Hill, Murderous Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); R. Proctor, Racial Hygiene-Medicine Under the Nazis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988); J. Lifton, The Nazi Doctors (New York: Plenum Press, 1986); B. Barber, Research On Human Subjects (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1993); H. Jonas, The Imperative of Responsibility (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1984); Jay Katz, Experimentation With Human Beings (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1972); A.C. Ivy, "The history and ethics of the use of human subjects in medical experiments", Science (1948), 108:1-5.

98. M.M. Uhlmann, "The legal logic of euthanasia", First Things (June/July 1996), 39-43.

99. Similar to my concern with the use of the terms "pre-embryo" and "person" used in these bioethics "personhood" debates, see the exquisite work demonstrating historically the abuses perpetrated on "vulnerable" populations by means of redefining them as in some way "sub-human" beings, by William Brennan, Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1995).

100. O'Rahilly and Muller (1994), pp. 8-9.

101. Robert H. Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline (New York: Harper-Collins [Regan Books], 1996), p. 192, also pp. 174ff. See also notes 72, 73, 74 supra

102. E.D. Pellegrino, "Character and the ethical conduct of research", Accountability in Research 2(1), 1992: pp. 1-11; E.D. Pellegrino "Trust and distrust in professional ethics", in E.D. Pellegrino, R. Veatch, J. Langan, Ethics, Trust, and the Professions (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1991), pp. 69-85; E.D. Pellegrino "Character, virtue and self-interest in the ethics of the professions", Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy 5 (Spring 1989), pp. 53-73.

For works more focused on bench research science, see: D.N. Irving, "The impact of scientific 'misinformation' on other fields: Philosophy, theology, biomedical ethics and public policy", Accountability in Research (April 1993), 2:4:243-272; A.E. Shamoo, "Role of conflict of interest in public advisory councils" (Chapter 17), in D. Cheney, Ethical Issues in Research (Frederick, MD: University Publishing Group, Inc., 1993); A.E. Shamoo, "Role of conflict of interest in scientific objectivity: A case of a Nobel Prize work", Accountability in Research (1992), 2:55-75; A.E. Shamoo, "Policies and quality assurance in the pharmaceutical industry", Accountability in Research (1991), 1:273-284; A.E. Shamoo, "Policies and quality assurance in the pharmaceutical industry", Accountability in Research (1991), 1:273-284; A.E. Shamoo, "Role of conflict of interest in public advisory councils", Fidea Research Foundation Proceedings (1991); John C. Bailar III, Marcia Angell, Sharon Boots et al, Ethics and Policy in Scientific Publication (Bethesda, MD: Council of Biology Editors, Inc., 1990); A.E. Shamoo, "Organizational structure and function of research and development" (Chapter 4), in A.E. Shamoo (ed.), Principles of Research Data Audit (New York: Gordon and Breach, 1989); Peter McCullagh, The Foetus as Transplant Donor: Scientific, Social and Ethical Perspectives (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1987); A.E. Shamoo and Z. Annau, "Ensuring scientific integrity", Nature (1987), 327:550; Gerhard Portele, "Moral development and education", in David Gosling and Bert Musschenga, Science, Education and Ethical Values (Geneva: World Council of Churches Publications; and Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1985), pp. 31-36; for a feminist view see Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections of Gender and Science (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985); Gerrit Manenschijn, "Reasoning in science and ethics", in Gosling (1985), pp. 37-54; for an historical view, see Crombie, Medieval and Early Modern Science (New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1959).

103. D. N. Irving, "Politicization of science and philosophy", C.E.R.P.H. Newsletter no. 2, p. 4 (Poitiers, France: Centre d'Etudes sur la Reconnaissance de la Personne Humaine, 1995); D.N. Irving, "'New age' embryology text books: 'Pre-embryo', 'pregnancy' and abortion counseling; Implications for fetal research", Linacre Quarterly (May 1994), 61:2:42-62.

104. Mary Louise Gill, Aristotle on Substance (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989); Charlotte Witt, Substance and Essence in Aristotle (New York: Cornell University Press, 1989); Marjorie Grene, A Portraitof Aristotle (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1963). Also see note 34 supra.

105. J. M. de Torre, "Transcendental Thomism and the encyclical Veritas splendor", Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Newsletter (April 1995), pp. 21-24; G.C. Reilly, "The empiricism of Thomistic ethics", Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association (Washington, D.C.: The Office of the Secretary of the Association, The Catholic University of America, 1956), pp. 1-36.

106. Paul Edwards (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1967); Vol. 1, pp. 341-352.

107. D. N. Irving, "Academic fraud and conceptual transfer in bioethics: Abortion, human embryo research, and psychiatric research", in J.W. Koterski (ed.), Life and Learning IV: Proceedings of the Fourth University Faculty For Life Conference (Washington, D.C.: University Faculty For Life, June 1994), pp. 193-215.

108. Rena A. Gorlin (ed.), Codes of Professional Responsibility (Washington, D.C.: The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., 1991).

109. E.g., to name but a few: the current legislation pending in the State of Maryland for the use of incompetent mentally ill patients in experimental research; National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, The Belmont Report (Washington, D.C: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1978) (the explicit basis for all of these documents); President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research, several individual Reports including Summing Up (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983); United States Code of Federal Regulations: Protection of Human Subjects 45 CFR 46 (revised Jan. 12, 1981, Mar. 8, 1983; reprinted July 1989 -- now in the Common Rule for all departments of the federal government that volunteer) (Washington, D.C.: DHHS); National Institutes of Health: Report of the Human Fetal Transplant Research Panel (Washington, D.C.: NIH, December 1988); NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts (Washington, D.C.: NIH, 1990); NIH Revitalization Act, Public Law 103-43 (June 1993); Office for the Protection from Research Risks (OPRR), Protecting Human Research Subjects: Institutional Review Board Guidebook (Washington, D.C. NIH, 1993); NIH Guidelines on the Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research, Federal Reg. 59 FR 14508 (Washington, D.C.: NIH, March 28, 1994); NIH Outreach Notebook On the Inclusion of Women and Minorities in Biomedical and Behavioral Research (Washington, D.C.: NIH, 1994); National Institutes of Health: Report of the Human Embryo Research Panel (Washington, D.C.: NIH, Sept. 27, 1994); the CIOMS/WHO International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects (Geneva: CIOMS/WHO, 1993).

110. To mention but a few: B. Ashley and K. O'Rourke, Ethics of Health Care (St. Louis, MO: The Catholic Health Association, 1996), pp. 250-251; T. Engelhardt, "Christian bioethics: A non-ecumenical rebirth", Bioethics Research Notes (Dec. 1995) (Australian), 7:4:37-38; J. F. Kilner, N.M. Cameron and D.L. Schiedermayer, Bioethics and the Future (Grand Rapids, MI: William Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995); D. Brodeur, "Guidance for a failing system", Health Progress (Sept./Oct. 1995), 30-30-40; Daniel Callahan, "Bioethics: private choice and common ground", Hastings Center Report (May-June 1994), 28:31; Albert Jonsen, "Preface", in DuBose et al, What About Principles? Ferment in U.S. Bioethics (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1994); D.N. Irving, "Testimony before the NIH Human Embryo Research Panel", Linacre Quarterly (1994), 61:82-89; D.N. Irving, "Quality assurance auditors: Between a rock and a hard place", Quality Assurance: Good Practice, Regulation, and Law (March 1994), 3:1:33-52; see the many writers who reject bioethics "principlism" in Raanan Gillon (ed.), Principles of Health Care Ethics (New York: Wiley & Sons, 1994); D.N. Irving, "Which ethics for science and public policy?", Accountability in Research (1993), 3:2:3:77-99; D.N. Irving, "Philosophical and scientific critiques of "autonomy-based" ethics: Toward a reconstruction of the 'whole person' as the natural ground of ethics and community", The International Bioethics Conference: Beyond Autonomy: New International Perspectives for Bioethics (San Francisco, CA; April 16-18, 1993). A. Sharpe, How the Liberal Ideal Fails As a Foundation for Medical Ethics (Doctoral dissertation)(Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University, 1991), Chapters 1-3.

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