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...