In his seminal work, Nichomachean Ethics, the philosopher Aristotle begins his meditation on the subject of morality and the ultimate end of human life with an observation that certain first principles of ethics are self-evident to a person who has been raised up in a virtuous manner. A good man simply "knows" certain things to be good and others evil. A person raised up in vice, however, has a distorted sense of the Good. He is incapable of reasoning towards ethical ends because his moral foundation is corrupted.
I wonder what Aristotle (and other ancient philosophers, for that matter) would have to say about contemporary culture's dearth of ethical virtue. It is not unreasonable to conclude that they would assume that we're a godless people, nurtured on vice, starved of virtue, and incapable of distinguishing between good and evil.
Bioethics blogger Wesley J. Smith often writes about issues that highlight the world's headlong slide into complete ethical bankruptcy. Last week, he featured a story from England's Daily Mail reporting on the advent of technology that would enable scientists to harvest fetal eggs from aborted baby girls' ovaries. These eggs, the scientists argue, hold immense potential for infertility treatments. From the post:
"This isn’t new. I reported on these efforts a few years ago. Some have even called for paying women who want to abort to carry their babies longer so that the cadaver will provide more useful parts.By the way, it isn’t IVF for which the eggs will be required, but human cloning. Somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning requires a human egg for each try and eggs are in short supply. Indeed, I have frequently noted that the technology has been held back by what I call the 'egg dearth.'
But if they can get unlimited eggs from dead fetuses and women, cloning will not only be successfully performed (which, I predicted, will happen this year) but eventually perfected and put to concerted use. Then, it is on to all the Brave New World technologies – such as genetic engineering – that require cloning to develop.
Killing the fetuses and keeping their ovaries alive. That makes the scientists complicit in the abortions. Think about what we are becoming."