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LETTERS TO AND FROM THE EDITOR Dear Sir: I was a little surprised at first to see an article entitled "The Contribution of Theology to Medical Ethics" in Perspectives [I]. However, I decided to read it carefully before making a judgment on its appropriateness in ajournai dealing with the groundwork and implications of science. I got as far as the second page before I saw that my reservations seemed likely to be justified. Gustafson makes two interesting comments on his second page (p. 248). He says, "Theology seeks to determine, on the basis of inferences from the religious dimensions of experience, what qualities can be appropriately attributed to the ultimate power. . . ." Later on this same page he says, "Theology takes place within the religious consciousness, or the experience and consciousness of the reality of God." The crux of the matter of appropriateness lies in the first quote about "determining ," or determinations being made on the basis of "inferences." In science, hypotheses, not determinations, are made on the basis of inferences. These hypotheses are then tested experimentally. "Determinations" can perhaps then be made. Regardless of their religious beliefs, most scientists would agree that quantitation is essential to experimentation. Concepts which can't be quantified are simply not proper (i.e., are foreign) to science. Theology, as defined by Gustafson, is one of those concepts foreign to science. A foreign concept is neither "right" nor "wrong," but simply totally inappropriate to the system being investigated. If theology is foreign to science, then no application of its concepts can be made. Theology can offer hypotheses to be tested, but if those hypotheses are incapable of test, they are meaningless to science. It would seem that virtually all of theology's "inferences" produce hypotheses which are incapable of scientific test, and which are therefore incapable of valid application to the system called "science." Hence, Gustafson's topic for the article is about as meaningful as an article on "The Use of Pygmies in the Domestication of the Abominable Snowman": namely, there is no meaning to it. I think it would behoove the editor ??Perspectives to be more scrupulous in his selection of meaningful topics for articles. reference 1. James M. Gustafson. Perspect. Biol. Med., 19:247, 1976. Gordon Stein 625 Dilger Street Waukegan, Illinois 60085 Perspectives in Biology and Medicine ยท Winter 1977 | 317 Dear Readers: I believe that an essay attempting to elucidate the origins of the ethical code of the medical profession is appropriate for publication in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. Richard L. Landau 318 J Letters to andfrom the Editor ...


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pp. 317-318
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