>Bioethics/Human Rights Declaration Unanimously Approved by UNESCO

>The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization has unanimously approved a declaration on Human Rights and bioethics.

The bulk of criticism about the Declaration has been about the ambiguity of the term, “human dignity.” Humans are the only species debating “dignity” and “rights,” so all of our children, out of respect for the dignity of the species, are deserving of being treated with the “Golden Rule,” as though they have “human dignity.” In the US, especially, we are governed under documents based on our Declaration of Independence, which states that we are created with certain rights – no one can give or take away our rights.

As to “rights,” I prefer the explanation by Bastiat, in his Law.

From the UNESCO press release:

The first principle established by the Declaration is the respect of human dignity and human rights, with an emphasis on the following two points: “The interests and welfare of the individual should have priority over the sole interest of science or society.” and “If the application of the principles of this Declaration is to be limited, it should be by law, including laws in the interests of public safety, for the investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offences, for the protection of public health or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Any such law needs to be consistent with international human rights law.”

In these days of global concern about avian flu, when our pharmaceutical companies can afford to conduct experiments in third world countries where poverty and lack of access to medical care can come close to coercion in themselves, and when we are called to recognize the plurality of morals and cultures, I believe that it is vital to treat each human life without discrimination.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)


2 thoughts on “>Bioethics/Human Rights Declaration Unanimously Approved by UNESCO

  1. >The term 'dignity' is vague in my opinion, and I have never read anything that made it any clearer. Most proposed definitions remind me of that supreme court judgment about what counts as obscene: 'I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.' Your comments, Beverly, don't make it any clearer. It hardly enhances clarity about the concept to say that we are all deserving of dignity, because we are the only species that debates in these terms. (That particular leap of logic invites reductio ad absurdum arguments, but I'll pass on that.) In my experience, people in bioethics talk freely about such-and-such being wrong or right because it is violating/respecting dignity, but ask about the content of that which is being violated/respected, and you get evasions, dead silence or vague murmurings about Kant's categorial imperative. In my view, UNESCO has added yet another bioethics guideline paper to the pile, without adding to our knowledge or wisdom. What is good in it has been said elsewhere. What is bad in it was better left unsaid.

    Posted by jimmy | October 21, 2005, 1:32 am
  2. >You might be interested in this:http://www.scidev.net/dossiers/index.cfm?fuseaction=dossierreaditem&dossier=5&type=1&itemid=2433&language=1It expresses a bit of my pet peeve about the concept of dignity: put it in a bioethics document, and you can project into it any meaning you want. In developing world countries, it is about poverty; in developed countries, it is about embryos. A general principle: any concept that refers to that much, threatens to have no real meaning at all.

    Posted by jimmy | October 22, 2005, 3:36 am

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