In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

exist as a person, against the fetus, which does not as yet exist as a person? But it is easy to demolish my argument by sophism; all you need to say is that the fetus is a person. I admire Noonan's other arguments, specious though they are. For example, to support his antiabortion tenet he says, "birth has almost everywhere been celebrated in painting." So what? A masterful non sequitur. Finally, Noonan pulls authority and rank and says that it is a Christian question . This seems to be his fundamental argument, which suggests that if you consider abortion a religious question the mind is closed to any other evidence. Marshalling forth his other persuasive arguments is merely stage scenery to embelish the previously determined conclusion of the play. And, incidentally, if it is a Christian question, where then is the logic to the push to outlaw abortion so that Jews, Moslems, Fiji Islanders, and Buddhists cannot have it? Now, to move on to population control, a section of the book concerns itself with involuntary fertility control, such as compulsory sterilization or vasectomy. But as socially and personally sound as fertility, control may be (and we may be forced, wisely, to adopt it), who will watch the watchers? I don't know the answers to this life and death puzzle. But I contemplate the power of catchwords: compulsory pregnancy (i.e., antiabortion), yes; but compulsory sterilization, no. Discussion on euthanasia should, in my opinion, not use the phrase "dignity in death." Death is the supreme indignity, no matter what circumstances attend it. It is distorting the question; and again, are we asking the right questions? Perhaps in these profoundly affecting and critical topics coming to them with tabula rasa is a sine qua non. For example, suppose we are confronted with the problem of preventing the sequels of famine in an underdeveloped country of 1 million people, where food for only half a million is available. The choices would be either to (1) half feed, hence half starve, the whole million and let them multiply while half fed and half alive; or (2) allow half a million to starve in order to feed the other half a million. Humanistically, the first reaction to the second alternative would be "horrible, uncivilized, murderous," etc. But is it so murderous ? Think of triage, which is becoming "respectable." What is the difference between the second alternative and triage? Very little as I see it, in principle. Perhaps compulsory sterilization is the humane solution to keep living people alive and functioning and to prevent the need for such an alternative to starve half a million to keep the other half million alive. The Bill of Rights does not contain a guarantee to limitless procreation only to have the progeny starve, physically and emotionally. So, who controls what? Sterilization (prevention) or starvation (solution)? And get someone to watch the watchers too. Erwin Di Cyan 420 Lexington Avenue New York, New York 10017 Is It Really So? A Guide to Clear Thinking. By Dwight J. Ingle. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976. Pp. 160. $3.50 (paper). Everybody who knows Dwight Ingle will probably agree that he is the ideal man to write a book about clear thinking. He not only thinks clearly, but says Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Winter 1977 | 313 what he thinks clearly, briefly, and sometimes with such certainty as to inhibit any argument. This exposition of his views on the subject includes 22 chapters of about six pages each. Occasionally he advises the reader to stop and think. His book raises far more questions than it answers, but certainly does not offer questions as answers. An example is the question, "Should we stop training lawyers because an occasional one becomes a crook?" There can be no doubt about the answer to that question, but a significant question is, "When do we change the training of lawyers—after what percentage becomes a crook?" As one reads this book, one becomes impressed that the author is saying facts that ought to be said again and again. The book is not a reference work, but it surely is all that it claims to be in the way...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 313-314
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.