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What I Read Online – 09/19/2012 (p.m.)

20 Sep
    • The science on which it rests is shaky. Savulescu claims that because of advances in genetics we “now know that most psychological characteristics are significantly determined by certain genes.” This claim is not scientifically proven.
    • If humans are largely marionettes of our DNA without any real moral choices, as Savulescu implies, then it is hard to know why he thinks we have any real moral duties or obligations at all. If morality is merely the product of random mutations occurring over eons of evolutionary time, then morality is subjective and changes over time.
    • What specific moral traits should we promote? If both altruism and selfishness are biological traits bequeathed on us by evolution, then what rational grounds do we have to prefer one to the other?
    • Savulescu ironically assumes that the very humans in need of “moral enhancement” will make wise moral decisions about genetic selection. Hmm.
    • The selection he is proposing is itself ethically controversial, because it involves embryo screening and selective abortion. In concrete terms Savulescu is proposing killing human embryos that are deemed genetically less moral and preserving those deemed more moral.
    • In early 1554 Queen Mary I sent John de Feckenham to seek to persuade her 16-year-old Protestant cousin, the Lady Jane Grey, of the truth of the Catholic faith, thereby avoiding execution. Feckenham was unsuccessful, and she was beheaded February 12, 1554.
    • In the Gospel of Mark, it says Jesus was crucified on the “third hour” (Mark 15:25), and the Gospel of John says the crucifixion sentence was on “about the sixth hour (John 19:14). How was time being reckoned, and is this a contradiction?
    • The problem is the media can very easily make a minor story into something sensational that appears to threaten historic Christianity.
    • Published here for the first time is a fragment of a fourth-century CE codex in Coptic containing a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples in which Jesus speaks of “my wife.” This is the only extant ancient text which explicitly portrays Jesus as referring to a wife. It does not, however, provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married, given the late date of the fragment and the probable date of original composition only in the second half of the second century. Nevertheless, if the second century date of composition is correct, the fragment does provide direct evidence that claims about Jesus’s marital status first arose over a century after the death of Jesus in the context of intra-Christian controversies over sexuality, marriage, and discipleship. Just as Clement of Alexandria (d. ca 215 C.E.) described some Christians who insisted Jesus was not married, this fragment suggests that other Christians of that period were claiming that he was married.
    • “Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim,” King said in a statement released by Harvard.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on 20/09/2012 in Current Issues

 

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