Disingenuousness and the Slippery Slope

Filed on 20 December 2006 in Speeches category. Print This Page

(I like disingenuity but it’s not a word).
Disingenuous adj. insincere.

Based on the now well-known quote by Senator Kay Patterson in 2002

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that approving this research (on spare embryos) will open the door to further killing of living human beings.”

With her added moral statement eliminating, it would seem to the most critical observer, any possible change of mind

“it is wrong to create human embryos solely for research. It is not morally permissible to develop an embryo with the intent of truncating it at an early stage for the benefit of another human being”.

And just four years later this same Senator introduces the cloning bill. It is now part of Australia’s history that this is now law. Unbelievable. Scary.

Consider the following similar scenarios:

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that abortion for reasons of mother’s health could ever become abortion on demand. That is ridiculous and would not be morally permissible.1

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that euthanasia for intractable suffering and pain in terminal cancer could ever become euthanasia for non-terminal illness or involuntary euthanasia. This would not be morally permissible.2

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that legalising euthanasia would result in a diminution of funding for palliative care. Governments would not do that.3

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that de-selection of imperfect embryos detected by pre-implantation genetic diagnosis would ever lead to infanticide of defective new-borns. That would not be morally permissible.4

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that we could get around the law on destructive embryo research by re-defining human embryo. This would not be morally permissible.5

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that cloned embryos would ever be allowed to develop beyond 14 days. The legislation specifically prohibits that. This would not be morally permissible.6

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest cloning for research could ever become cloning for reproduction no matter what the circumstances. This would not be morally permissible and it is prohibited. 7

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest the use of adult female cells could ever become exploitation of women involving the exchange of money or privileges. This would not be morally permissible and it is prohibited.8

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that the creation of hybrids for research could ever get out of hand and result in chimeras. That would be ridiculous and obviously illegal as well as not morally permissible. 9

Now, moving away from life issues:

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that the mere promotion of marriage as being between a man and a woman to the exclusion of others will ever be interpreted as discrimination or hate speech against homosexuals. That would be quite unreasonable. 10

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that freedom of speech in the pulpit and reading of the Bible could ever be interpreted as hate speech. That could never be legal.11

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that a simple quoting of the Koran could ever be interpreted as vilification. That would be a silly interpretation. There is no government in Australia that would pass a law to facilitate this.12

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that the legalisation of prostitution would ever lead to the legalisation of male prostitution on the grounds of sexual discrimination. That is a pathetic suggestion.13

So, now is the time to fill in your own blanks:

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that _____ ____ ____ could ever become _____ ____ ____. This would not be morally permissible.

The slippery slope is a consequence of gradualism when small but significant changes are accepted by people in society with resultant anaesthetising of feelings against horrors previously perceived.
1 But it has happened here.
2 It has in Holland.
3 Holland has a much lower funding of Palliative Care beds. Budget desperate politicians will see to this.
4 But infanticide of defective new-borns is now being practiced in Holland and has been brought up for discussion by the Royal College of Obstetrician & Gynaecologists in UK
5 But it was recommended by the Lockhart Report

The Committee noted that changing the definition of a human embryo… would allow much of the research described above to occur without breaking the law
Associate Professor Wendy Rogers, Department of Medical Education, Flinders University, told the Committee that it was not clear that an SCNT clone should be called an ’embryo’. If it were not defined as an embryo, there would not be a problem with creating one.

And the Patterson bill has re-defined embryo as not occurring until the first mitotic cell division in accord with the Lockhart report, from
the first mitotic cell division when fertilisation of a human oocyte by a human sperm is complete

6 But it has already been suggested by Prof Julian Savulescu, an expatriate Aussie at Oxford University:

“Indeed, it is not merely morally permissible but morally required that we employ cloning to produce embryos or fetuses for the sake of providing cells, tissues or even organs for therapy” Journal of Medical Ethics 25.2 (April 1999): p87.
And it only took 4 yrs to completely back-flip our stand on cloning in Australia legally!

7 But it will be argued at some stage by a couple with a cloned embryo from one of them who discover they are no longer fertile. This will be argued on the grounds of fairness and that it would be discriminatory to not allow implantation on the grounds of an ‘inalienable’ right to parenthood.
8 This has already happened in UK after just a few years
9 But rogue scientists will do this particularly using artificial womb technology.
10 It has already been argued:

No hatred in keeping marriage laws sacred. Janet Albrechtsen The Australian, 12 May 2004
Defending marriage is now vilification. At least it will be if a gay lobby group has its way. In last week’s edition of gay magazine, Sydney Star Observer, a spokesman for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby suggested that George Pell’s defence of traditional marriage and opposition to gay marriage on this page on May4 incites hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. That is against the law in Tasmania and “Cardinal Pell cannot hide behind his red robes,” said Rodney Croome.

11 It is only a matter of time before the various anti-discrimination and religious vilification laws will be used to prosecute as has happened overseas:

STOCKHOLM, July 5, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ake Green, the pastor of a Swedish Pentecostal church in Kalmar, Sweden, has been sentenced to one month in prison by a Swedish court, for inciting hatred against homosexuals. Green was prosecuted in January for “hate speech against homosexuals” for a sermon he preached last summer citing Biblical references to homosexuality.

12 But it happened in Victoria with the VCAT case against Daniel Scott and Daniel Nalliah.

Free speech protects against extremism. Jim Wallace, The Age, December 28, 2004
In his summation, the judge lists examples of Pastor Daniel Scot’s quoting from the Koran as evidence of vilification. It seems it was unreasonable to quote from the Koran in a seminar whose purpose was to discuss it. However literal, quotes from the Koran are issues of fact available for anyone to read. The statements in the Koran, on the treatment of women for instance, are well known and discussed in many academic publications and books.

13 Watch this space.
I have quoted Lewis recently but cannot leave him out of this.

This repression of elements in what would otherwise be our total reaction to it is sometimes very noticeable and even painful: something has to be overcome before we can cut up a dead man or a live animal in a dissecting room. These objects resist the movement of the mind whereby we thrust them into the world of mere Nature. But in other instances too, a similar price is exacted for our analytical knowledge and manipulative power, even if we have ceased to count it.

…It is the magician’s bargain: give up our soul, get power in return. But once our souls, that is, our selves, have been given up, the power thus conferred will not belong to us. We shall in fact be the slaves and puppets of that to which we have given our souls…. The objection to his doing so does not lie in the fact that his point of view (like one’s first day in a dissecting room) is painful and shocking till we grow used to it. The pain and the shock are at most a warning and a symptom. The real objection is that if man chooses to treat himself as raw material, raw material he will be: not raw material to be manipulated, as he fondly imagined, by himself, but by mere appetite, that is, mere Nature, in the person of his dehumanised Conditioners.
The Abolition of Man (1943).

In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
The practical result of (such) education… must be the destruction of the society which accepts it.
Stepping outside (the moral values), they have stepped into the void. Nor are their subjects necessarily unhappy men. They are not men at all: they are artefacts. Man’s final conquest has proved to be the abolition of man.
The Abolition of Man

‘I mean this,’ said Dimble in answer to the question she had not asked. ‘If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family – anything you like – at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and there’s going to be a time after that point when there is less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder.’
That Hideous Strength

It is our business… to follow, in private or in public life, the law of love and temperance even when they seem to be suicidal, and not the law of competition and grab, even when they seem to be necessary to our survival. For it is part of our spiritual law never to put survival first: not even the survival of our species. We must resolutely train ourselves to feel that the survival of Man on this Earth, much more of our own nation or culture or class, is not worth having unless it can be had by honourable and merciful means.
The sacrifice is not so great as it seems. Nothing is more likely to destroy a species or a nation than a determination to survive at all costs. Those who care for something else more than civilization are the only people by whom civilization is at all likely to be preserved. Those who want Heaven most have served Earth best. Those who love Man less than God do most for Man.
On Living In An Atomic Age (1948)

Lachlan Dunjey. Dec 2006.

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