Published Articles

Sunday, December 7, 2014

In the celebrated PBS series by Ken Burns, The Civil War (1990), Southern historian Shelby Foote provides excellent anecdotes that embroider the documentary. In one of these vignettes, Foote mentions a dialogue between a Confederate and a Union soldier, in which the latter asks, "Why do you fight?" The Confederate soldier responds, "Because you are here." Foote adds, "Which is not a bad answer!"

In another vignette, Foote opines, "The North was fighting with one arm tied behind its back." He referred to the gigantic disparity in resources between North and South. That being the case, the North should have done well to untie both arms immediately after the First Battle of Bull Run (a.k.a., First Manassas; July 21, 1861), fought at the outskirts of Washington, D.C. It was here, incidentally, Brigadier General Thomas J. Jackson stood his ground, earned the nickname "Stonewall," and passed through the mist of history into legend.

No Walk in the Park

Both armies were nearly equally matched at that first encounter. Both armies were inexperienced and poorly trained. After the disorganized engagement, though, the Union army was not only defeated, but its retreat...



Sunday, December 7, 2014

I have been following a number of neuroscience issues concerning ethics and morality for years but Dr. Miguel Faria's observations in his article, "The road being paved to neuroethics: A path leading to bioethics or to neuroscience medical ethics," appearing in the August 2014 issue of Surgical Neurology International, helped me understand the intricacies of these issues. As Doctor Faria well knows, the great minds of the world — both past and present — have understood that morality depends on a worldview that recognizes God as the final and only arbiter of moral law (natural law), which transcends man. Morality based on secular principles, as Faria illustrates, creates a hell on earth.

The neuroscientist Sam Harris (photo, left), author of The Moral Landscape, is now leading a crusade to establish that we can derive moral laws from our own reason based on pure scientific understanding — especially neuroscience. In his book, Harris explains that previously neuroscientists avoided the subject of morality and brain function — that is, the field of neuroscience had little to say about the higher functions of human social function, such as moral law. But, he insists that...



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Today we awakened to the dramatic headlines: "Ferguson Businesses Torched in Overnight Protests," "Ferguson Explodes Following Grand Jury Decision Not to Indict," "Ferguson Businesses Burned, Looted." A caption to one of the graphic photos of the burning inferno read: "Protesters take their pictures in front of the burning Juanita's Fashion R Boutique on West Florissant Avenue in St. Louis, Mo. early Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. Protesters set fire to buildings and cars and loot businesses in the area where Michael Brown was fatally shot after a grand jury declined to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the death of the unarmed, black 18-year-old" (photo, right). Dramatic events but what could we expect as a result of the mass media having fueled the fire of this conflagration with their non-stop coverage and unremitting and biased sensationalism since last August?

In a previous article, “Let’s not make any more excuses,” I blamed the emotionally charged rhetoric of irresponsible African-American leaders for consistently promoting racial tension for the sustenance of their own political power, not to mention safeguard their financial self-interest. While calling...



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

After talking with young neurosurgeons and residents around the world, they often ask "How do I know what I read is the truth?" I answered that question in a recent editorial.(1)

This month in Surgical Neurology International, Miguel Faria warns of increasing control of medicine by government (politicians and their bureaucrat enforcers) and its consequences as he writes about the recent discussions of neuroethics by U.S. President Barack Obama.(2) He states that "investigating scientists (in this instance, neurologists and neurosurgeons), not only in this country but globally, should recollect and adhere first of all to the traditional, universal, and individual-based ethics of Hippocrates, centered on their individual patients or human subjects, rather than utilitarian, population-based ethics that place monetary considerations or the interest of third parties or the state ahead of the interest of patients." Lest we see the atrocities of the Nazis and Russians on medical experimentation on humans during WWII and the cold war repeated.(3,4)

As a case in point, just last week, Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist and architect of the Obamacare Healthplan,...



Sunday, November 16, 2014

If the errors committed in the building of the edifice of Western civilization are compared with Plato’s ideal Republic and the perfect State, protected by intelligent but disinterested Guardians and ruled by equally disinterested and totally just Philosopher-kings, then Western civilization loses hands down.(1) But as Aristotle pointed out in his Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, man is subject to errors and thus such ideal utopias created by real men are unworkable and nonexistent.(2) Despite over two millennia of history, no such state has ever been created, and the half-baked facsimiles thereof created by men of means and good intentions, have been only castles in the air, fleeting experiments and utter failures because the well-intentioned dreamers did not take men’s individual needs and aspirations — i.e., human nature — into account. Those experiments that lasted, such as the workers’ paradises of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, not to mention Red China under Mao and Cambodia under Pol Pot, were not utopias, but exsanguinations, brutalities, veritable hells on earth. (Photo, right: Kulaks exterminated in Stalin’s forced collectivization in the USSR, enforced by party...



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

For several decades, American bioethicists have been providing persuasive arguments for rationing medical care via the theory of the necessary "rational allocation of finite health care resources."(2) More recently, assisted by various sectors of organized medicine, they have developed multiple approaches to justify what they see as the necessary curtailment of services and specialized treatments deemed not medically necessary. The problem persists, though, and the need for rationing health services in increasingly socialized medical systems, including ObamaCare, requires more ingenious approaches, particularly in the U.S., where patients are accustomed to receiving the best medical care that third-party payers are willing to pay for, regardless of whether the payer is the insurance company or the government.(6)

Furthermore, government planners, supported by the ever-accommodating bioethicists, posit that with increasing longevity and augmentation of the population of American elderly, more drastic actions will be required to prevent the bankruptcy of the public financing of medical care. They believe therefore that outright government-imposed euthanasia, not only for...



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Recently we observed — or rather, failed to observe — two important anniversaries. The first was October 12, Columbus Day, which we largely ignore. The second was October 10 or 11, the approximate date of the Battle of Tours, which we ignore entirely.

Charles Martel won the Battle of Tours in 732, which saved Europe from the Muslim expansion beyond Spain. Martel's Frankish army defeated a Muslim army, which until then had crushed all resistance.

The Battle of Tours earned Charles the name "Martel," because of the relentless way he hammered his enemies. If he had lost at Tours, Islam would have overrun France, and probably the remainder of Christian Europe.

"Martel" is Old French for "hammer." Students of history know that in order to preserve your nation, your culture, your religion, and your very life, sometimes what you need is not a conference table, but a hammer. In addition to defeating the invading Muslim army, Charles Martel was the grandfather of Charlemagne. Students of history also know that in order to have great descendants, you need to have any descendants.

These two lessons are critical to the survival of France, of all Western Europe,...



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Abstract — In 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama decreed the creation of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, as part of his $100 million Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative. In the wake of the work of this Commission, the purpose, goals, possible shortcomings, and even dangers are discussed, and the possible impact it may have upon neuroscience ethics (Neuroethics) both in clinical practice as well as scientific research. Concerns were expressed that government involvement in bioethics may have unforeseen and possibly dangerous repercussions to neuroscience in particular and to medicine in general. The author emphasizes that the lessons of history chronicle that wherever governments have sought to alter medical ethics and control medical care, the results have frequently been perverse and disastrous, as in the examples of the communist Soviet Union and National Socialist (Nazi) Germany. The Soviet psychiatrists' and the Nazi doctors' dark descent into ghastly experimentation and brutality was a product of convoluted ethics and physicians willingly cooperating with authoritarianism citing utilitarianism in...



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In the 1960 science fiction film classic, The Time Machine, based on H.G. Wells' 1895 novel similarly titled, the hero (played by Rod Taylor) travels in a time machine to a distant future, which, at first sight, seems to be a utopia. But first appearances are deceiving, and soon a disconcerting reality becomes evident. The hero observes that the inhabitants of the distant future, the Elois, are effeminate and shallow beings, devoid of feelings or high intelligence, and they neither work nor read books. Civilization has collapsed, books have decayed, cities have crumbled. The Elois live a halcyon and apathetic existence with no cares, duties, or concerns, except for shallow self-indulgence. Food and leisure are provided for miraculously. During the day, the Elois, oblivious of their existence, pass the time in carefree activities, that is until nighttime. At dusk, a siren blares, and the Elois, conditioned by the sound, are herded like sheep to the slaughterhouse, where they are to be consumed, cannibalized by the underground and predatory Morlocks, the other degenerate, surviving human race of the apocalyptic future.

Returning to the 21st century, we find...



Monday, September 29, 2014

These photos show two physicians who exemplify the rule that if you are seeking ethical guidance, the medical profession is not the place to look. The first is Jack Kevorkian, MD, practitioner of euthanasia and forerunner of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The second is Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD, advocate of euthanasia, inventor of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and major architect of ObamaCare.

Dr. Emanuel recently threw off all pretense. He now states plainly that we all should die at age 75, and should have active medical treatment stopped — no matter how vigorous we are, and no matter what we or our family and friends want. The money and facilities no longer used for the elderly will be shifted to the young.

Unstated is the fact that with declining birth rates, an increasing number of the young will be immigrants, legal and illegal. This, of course, doesn't bother Emanuel. He, like his patron President Obama, sees no obligation for our government to care for American citizens first. That might be seen as "exceptionalism," but it is merely an example of "charity begins at home." Emanuel and those like him have empathy in the shape of a...





Fransini Giraldo is a Colombian girl who dances her own style of Salsa. In this video, she dances to the rhythm of Sonora Carruseles de Colombia, presumably in the Colombia countryside. Published July 16, 2013.