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Science, Religion, and the New Biology

  • George P. SmithII

Abstract

Science has been defined as, “intelligence in action with no holds barred.”1 It began as the simple pursuit of truth, but today is fast becoming incompatible with veracity, quite simply because complete veracity leads to a form of complete scientific skepticism.2 Science was originally recognized, and indeed valued, as a method to know and understand the world.3 Ever since the time of the Arabs, “science has had but two simple functions: to enable us to know and learn about things and to thereby assist us in doing things.”4 Now, as a consequence of the development of the scientific method and the triumph of technique, since it is viewed as a means of changing the world.5 Probabilities are at the center of scientific inquiry. As such, an absolute form of truth is not within its scope of realization. Yet, science can yield such a high degree of probability that it becomes a certainty for all practical purposes.6

Keywords

Married Couple Artificial Insemination Surrogate Mother Marriage Contract Simple Pursuit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Hoagland, Some Reflections on Science and Religion, in Science Ponders Religion 17, 18 (H. Shapley ed. 1960) (quoting the physicist P.W. Bridgman).Google Scholar
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  5. 5.
    Id. at 98. During the past three centuries, the science which has been rated as successful has consisted “in a progressive mathematization of the sensible order...” Id. The history of science reveals that it is based on creative leaps of imaginative vision. L. Gilkey, Religion and the Scientific Future 45 (1970). See J. Maritain, Science and Wisdom (1940); H. Muller, Science and Criticism (1943).Google Scholar
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    Hoagland, Some Reflections on Science and Religion, in Science Ponders Religion 17, 24 (H. Shapley ed. 1960). The examples used for support of this last statement are: the certainty that the earth is round, not flat, and the realization that biological evolution, by natural selection, is no longer just a theory but is a high probability. Id. In its fundamental phase, science is explanation by description using methods of observation and experiment. The fundamental assumptions which it makes are practical conclusions of common sense: namely, that the objects and the events constituting the material universe are in a necessary connection with one another and that man, by his decisions, can affect the order and events of the universe itself. W. Schroeder, Science, Philosophy and Religion 44, 45, 58 (1933).Google Scholar
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    H. Smith, Ethics and the New Medicine 64 (1970) According to St. Augustine, a sexual act deprived of its procreative character was illegitimate. Thus, if, in the name of love, a couple chooses to express themselves sexually, they should accordingly perform the authentic sexual act not deprived of its procreative character. Love and procreation are inseparable.Google Scholar
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    Supra note 35, at 622. Use of a woman’s womb by another couple would be considered by the Church as “analogous to allowing use of one’s body solely for the sexual pleasure of another, and, thus immoral.” Id. at 621.Google Scholar
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    Id. In 1958, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Nissim, ruled that children born to parents as the result of artificial insemination will be recognized by the Jewish religion as legitimate. A. Scheinfeld, Your Heredity and Environment 665 (1965).Google Scholar
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    See generally, A. Toynbee, An Historian’s Approach to Religion (1956). Interestingly, a 1969 Harris opinion survey of some 1600 adults throughout America relative to advances and applications of the New Biology, revealed a most interesting attitudinal profile. Nineteen percent of all interviewed approved of AID, while 56% disapproved of the process. Where the only method for a married couple to conceive a family involved use of heterologous insemination (AID), 35% of those interviewed approved of the technique. Forty-nine percent of the men interviewed in the survey agreed in principle with homologous insemination (AIH), while 62% of the women expressed their approval of allowing their husband’s semen to be used, through artificial means of injection, in order to inseminate them.Google Scholar
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    Supra note 67. On June 27,1988, the Michigan Legislature passed the Surrogate Parenting Act, which establishes surrogate parentage contracts as contrary to the public policy and void. Those who enter into, induce, arrange, procure, or otherwise assist in such contracts will be adjudged guilty of a felony and fined up to $50,000, imprisoned up to five years, or both. Mich. Compiled Laws Ann., § 722.851-722.863 (1988).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • George P. SmithII
    • 1
  1. 1.The Catholic University of America School of LawUSA

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