Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Post 72. Ethics and the Scalpel.

Preface.
In a way similar to what Veronesi does for Evolution versus Creation and Ethics in the content of this Post, we have at present in Australia politicians like Bob Hawke, an ex-Prime Minister, who, not kowing anything about the history and theologies of Islam, Hebrews and Christians, is seeking popularity in the days of his decline , for the sake of islamic votes for the Labour Party, by waffling about islamic versus christian differences and how these should be settled.
Anything that the present Labour Party may achieve through Bob Hawke's naive, irresponsible semplifications would be inconclusive and temporary leaving a possibility of future civil wars.
It would be much better if australian Mohammedans were to take a new leading role in Islam, ( permitted by the relative isolation of Australia from the Middle East ), finally opening the way to the never carried Reformations of the Mohammedan Religion in relation to theocratic obsessions the Christian West has declared anachronistic and heretical abandoming these, and some of the violent, cruel and incompatible laws of Sharia Law., like the insulting purity laws also still maintained by fanatical Hasidim Jews. The islamic individual must become more responsible regardless of the admittedly bestial temptations the modern world tries to force on the religious through democratic attitudes and abuses of freedom without the essential stress on corresponding duties and I here sympathise with Islamic and Hasidic self-distancings. Howevr it is not Law that purifies and defends, but personal right knowing through the knowing stages of right perceiving, right judgment, right decision and, finally, right ACTING.
Become trustworthy and responsible.
Amen.
So wake up Islamists and Hasidim Jews and cease from your hypocrisis.
Stand up in front of God as human beings and act righteously,
not just hiding behind empty rituals, claims and utterances.
Like the two italian Jews on a flight from Bangkock to Rome, fresh out of a Thai brothel
making a fuss about Kosher food on boiardv the aircraft.
I felt like standing-up and kicking them up their asses.
Stop the fu....n nonsense, for God's sake!
There is no possibility of acceptance of unsupervised and un-controlled islamic and Sharia Law-inspired activities in western democratic nations until Islam globally and publicly reforms ( in particular in relation to theocratic rule, Jihad and purity laws) anachronistic, incompatible interpretation of the Q’uran and of Sharia Laws by some extremists in its divided, decentralised leadership For this to occurr Islam must offer to the world a centralised, global representative of the islamuc religious ideology ( a Khaliff as in the days of the Ottoman Empire), not the cunningly apparent lack of centralisation planned to confuse the world and to avoid reformation and centralised accountability and responsibility. All christian religions have declared, visible, traceable, known Headquarters. Islam has not and does not wish to do so. So, Bob Hawke, please, do me the favour you old dotard and geriatic and incompetent theologian, stick to economy and politics and do not meddle in what you have no understanding whatsoever.
Article.
"Ethics and the Surgical Scalpel. "
( Umberto Veronesi, the famous oncologist,
talks about God, Morality and Illness
in a Book/Interview by writer Alain Elkann.)
"A Dialogue with Unberto Veronesi "
by Alain Elkann.
The following translation of the text which L’Espresso has published for the first time in the edition dated 22nd Novembre 2008, is an extract from " To be a Layman ",
a Book/Interview that Unberto Veronesi, the well known oncologist and correspondent, has written with Alain Elkann, published by Bompiani, prefaced by Ferruccio de Bortoli. The questions are by Elkann, the answers by Umberto Veronesi.
Text.
"What does it signify to be an atheist?"
" I do not like the word ‘Atheist ‘, because its meaning is-: ‘god-less’, and I cannot say that I deny the existence of God, since I cannot prove God’s non-existence. I prefer therefore to say that I am an agnostic.

This confession allows me to live serenely, as it promotes in one’s inner conscience
a self-awareness, a certainty that we are simply very evolved animals possessing a brain which is extraordinarily well developed.
There is also humility in stating that we are not chosen by God, that we are not the ones whom God has elected for divinisation. God is in fact not human as the Scriptures wish us to believe.
Another thought that left me doubting when an adolescent is-: Why must God, who is the Creator and Owner of the Universe, which contains billions of stars and therefore of planets, be the same as a human being who is like a grain of sand who lives on a tiny planet of a star of secondary importance, at the periphery of one of the millions of galaxies?"
[ Translator’s comment-:(1) This is sophistical in the extreme, since Veronesi admits that his agnosticism just rests on his belief, a certainty human beings are animals, without any supernatural destiny that only a Supernatural Being like God can give to a human being. He says on the one hand he does not know if God exists, that he he is not prepared to say God does not exist, that he does not know, but on the other hand, and simultaneously, which is sophistical, says he knows with certainty humanity is purely animalistic which implicitly means there is no God. By trying to define himself an agnostic which he is not, since he makes a statement that implies God’s non-existence, Veronesi is just cleverly, but sophistically trying to by-pass the objection as to how he cannot prove there is no God, which he knows he cannot do. Moreover a self-confessed agnostic should renounce a debate and shut up and not try to draw conclusions from his self-declared "not knowing".
(2) Both Veronesi and Elkann show a total, gross lack of biblical and theological understanding, as the Scriptures only desctibe God in human terms in an analogical way, (clearly showing as in the God-Moses encounter, God is not a human being at all ) since the biblical writers lacked the theological and philosophical language that was developed later on in time by Greeek and Latin theologians. It is only within a Trinitarian Conception of God as the Son, Who is said to be the Incarnation of the Logos in the human being Jesus of Nazareth, that God is said to have become man, however althouth being similar to man God the Word is still unmixed with Jesus’ humanity in a homeostatic union, and is not just a Man, but infinitely more than man. So, again Veronesi does not know what he is talking about when he asks why must God be Neither the Father nor the Holy Ghost are human. Both Elkann and Veronesi are not just agnostics who should not publish their idiocies in a book misleading the public, but great ignorant oafs in so far as theology is concerned, which is to be expected. It is as if I were to have the presumption and arrogance of wishing to write a book on oncological surgery. How can Veronesi claim his atheism to be a form of
humility when he proves his arrogance by wishing to talk about what he has not got a clue about? I suggest that if they believe they are humble they should get themselves a good learned theologian and study the subject. On the other hand, if they are really agnostic, as they wish to claim, they should have the good sense to shut-up, having admitted to not know. O.K.?]
"Is this agnosticism of yours isolated to God
or does it also extend to your view about Nature?"
"Yes, my "agnosticism" generally informs also my rapport with Nature and Biology. We have evolved slowly and the primates are our ancestors as we have discovered just recently that the chimpanzee shares 99.5% of our DNA. We share with them our anscestors and we could say that we are cousins from a biological and genetic point of view.-: In fact our metabolism, our eyes, our nmuscles, our organs are by far similar to tyhose of the chimpanzee. The latter does in fact hear, speak, walks, acquire mannerisms from its group, has even a social life. Researchers have compared african chimpanzees to species located in South America which, although genetically identical, appear to be different since collective life has generated in them different ways of living.
Some of these breack-open nuts with stones, others have not yet discovered the use of a tool and still use their teeth, as behaviour varies with their habitat.
Even if still a primordial one, the chimpamzees’ life is not foreign to that of human anscestors. In fact observing chi,panzees one can imagine how human beings looked like millions of years ago."
[Translator’s comment-: Veronesi has not said anything new here from what he stated in answer 1 and just tells us again he has a knowing-belief in the purely animal nature of humankind from his observation of animals. Again this is not agnosticism or "not knowing" as he clearly states he believes and knows something he has not proved either-: That God has not operated on animal specimens of Australopithetus Afariensis sometimes at the beginning of the relatively recent four-million-years period of time during the evolution of hominims and given them a raised consciousness, by perhaps allowing an evolutionary expansion of their brain, etc. No-one can exclude this possibility and in fact the still un-answered question is why did we evolve as humans and some of us remained chimpanzees both in Africa and in South America.?
I would expect more logic and depth of thought without sophistical dishonesty from a professional surgeon, but this reinforces my theory modern professional surgeons, who have any longer the time to complete their "humanities" properly, are just extremely advanced and skilled mechanics, plumbers, technicians with vast memories, lacking real capacity for abstract thought. They should not be allowed to write on Theological issues in the moronic way they do on the basis of their
capacitiess as Doctors of Medecine and Surgery.
Veronesi, please stick to onmcology and do not talk about what you correctly stated you do not konw about by claiming you are an "agnostic" and do not lie saying you you are a humble man. Let qualified, honest Theologians write on these issues. O.K? I have written an Essay titled "Genesis for the XXIst Century" available on wwwgensferreria.blogspot.com in which I try to deal with the fact that there may not be any inconsistency between Creationism and Evolution. I am not claiming I have exhausted the subject but my attempt is at least not sophistical and can stand on its feet, unlike Veronesi’s crap that I am surprised as to how it can even be considered for publication on the basis that he is a brilliant oncological surgeon. This is another sign of the degeneration the West has been undergoing since the times of the French Revolution/Enlightenment ( only in 1789 ) and the American Constitution.]
"What do you think about the Soul?"
" I suppose you mean by "soul " that entity that is supposed to be within us and that leaves us at our death, remaining immortal. I am rather sceptical about it."
[ Now this shows some uncertainty and is by far an answer compatible with Veronesi’s claim to be an "agnostic". Not being a categorical denial under the guise of agnosticism, I let it pass, as everyone is entitled to doubt. Moreover, I have learnt from my own speculations that even the denial of some issues does not necessarily impugn all theology, as these doubters appear to believe. Even if there were no human-soul, salvation could be still true in some other supernatural way, due to God’s Omnipotence and perfect Will.].
"Are we therefore just animals?"
"Yes, we are animals, however with an ethical perception that is much evolved."
[ All these "atheists" and "pseudo-agnostics" take whatever distinguishes human beings from animals for granted without bothering at all to ask themselves for an explanation or origin of rhese human gifts. In this answer/question the ethical sense just happens to be there very conveniently, in some individuals of a species( monkeys which have become human) through evolution, while leaving others in the same species just as monkeys, also, why are these monkeys not still evolving to the human stage? Veronesi and his crones, has not told us what he means by evolution. How comes our present chimpanzees have not got ethical sense whilst we have it, having derived from their species? Explain to me first how evolution works in the case when an animal becomes a human being or shut up, or at least. be humble enough to present these questions of mine to your readers in order to give them a chance to
doubt your humble, dogmatic conclusions, made after having admitted to not know anything as an "agnostic".
Please remember "agnostic" means " one who does not know ".]
" Can an ethical sense or perception exist without God? "
" One’s rapport with God has nothing at all to do with ethical perception, that is related mostly to one’s behaviour towards other human beings. Many among the great moralists are non-believers. To the contrary, the great atheistic philosopher Feurbach used to say that one who loves God may not love human beings."
[ What a stupid way of talking............... if I am allowed to explain my objections.
First of all, those who love God may condemn some human beings’ behaviour and hate their sins, but not necessarily their person. Paul of Tarsus makes it clear in his Letter to the Romans that Christians must judge the sin and the class of sinners, not the individual whom only God can jiodge as the knower of all the complexities of the individual person God created.
In the second place, I believe one must distinguish between ethical sense or faculty and perception. While the former may be a predisposition, a capacity for ethical perception which may belong in various degrees to all human beings, the latter must be developed according to Grace and capacity and requires the presence of conscience and self-awareness. In this sense perhaps one could suggest that even some animals at the highest levels of the evolutionary scale may have some ethical sense, however, not being able to develop this any further into a sense perception. No animal has for example an awareness of being naked, including chimpanzees. Genesis tells us in fact that the first realisation by Adam and Eve that they had acquired the knowledge of good and evil, i.e., ethical perception, was the realisation or consciousness of their nakedness and that God fashioned their clothing out of animal skins, perhaps requiring the first killing of animals.
Moreover, Veronesi does not start with the beginning of what ethics is all about, and believe me when I say he should know since he must have acquired a liberal education in Italy in his days as a student at Gymnasiums and Licaeums which demand extremely high standards from students. Unless his parents bought him a pass, which is quite the done thing in Italy to-day-: Ethics is about the search for the Good and for correct behaviour. Behaviour can be good or bad. How does one learn or come to know about what is considered to be good or bad in one’s society?
We know through history of he existence of good and bad societies or civilisations.
We know of good civilisations which turned bad and ours is at present
turning very bad because of influential, skilled profesional, rotten people like Veronesi. It has been doing so since 1789 in an extremely short time relative to the long history of Western Civilisation. Italy in particular is a european ethical open-sewer. In the corrupt times of the Renaissance at least bad was bad and good good and whitewashing was to a minimum, owing to the divisions, competition and self-reforming trends among the nobility of Europe. Apart from the formidable threat of Islam, pounding at Europe’s doors which required continuous self-questioning and reformation. When Italian nobles were corrupt, the Germans moved to take advantage of their degeneracy and cice-versa. These self-reforming trends were also duplicated and multiplied among competing noble families. Now we are redefining ddeviant behaviour in such a way, even semantically, by changing the words’ meaning, as to whitewash it. And note we claim we are doing this in the name of tolerance and compassion! What a CRAP!
So, an honest and unbiased study of history can in itself be essential to the knowledge of good Ethics.
The Greeks left us two theories about how ethical perception is acquired or developed. Generally one can say, especially if considering non-believers or pagans like the Greeks were, who had not yet developed a christian theological thought about the necessity of divinely imparted Grace, in the days of Plato and Aristotle, that ethical perception can be artificially acquired through study, readings, practice, in the presence of God’s Grace it it has to be of the good sort. Even the Nazis had in fact their ethics and loved good things as classical music and Brahms, in their distorted, deviant ways.
All evolution did was give us a large brain which in turn allowed the spark of the Tree of Knowledge to operate within it, given by God’s Agents on earth, who are still active among us, and whom some ancient scholars, called Angels, Anunnaki, etc. The Platonists insisted in fact ethical sense must be learnt through studying/reading and practice ( actual behaviour). The need for the latter was unfortunately played down or taken for granted when missing from the ethical equation of a human character, and replaced with Sacramental Grace as the great respect paid to scholars escalated, especially in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance when these happened to be also clergymen.
Aristotelians more correctly insisted that thoughtful-experience more even so than mnemonical study was essential especially in the early years of a huiman being’s life, i.e., when the human being wa an impressionable child.
Experience of what?
Experience of Referential Witnesses ( see Juan Luis Segundo, S.J., in " Jesus of Nazareth, To-Day and Tomorrow ") who were always human characters, live or described in biographies, even fictitious ones. Experience included discussion, analisys, debating about their stories and activities etc.
A Jesuit Professor of Ethics and Morality I knew thought the best church
would be one in which the members would regularly tell one’s another their personal experiences as a sort of confession. But, he used to add, no one would tell the truth.
The Christian West was for example, ethically nurtured on Scriptural Referential Witnesses, especially Jesus of Nazareth. But any character fictitious or historical can help to build-up ethical sense.
Of course one enters the area of Interpretation and Exegesis and the everposited, unavoidable question of what is good and what is bad/evil. The analisys and study of what may be good or bad forms a large part of the study of Theology and requires the student’s exposure to as large a sample of historical facts and literatures on the subject as it is possible to achieve, according to freedom/duty, Grace and capacity.
I personally believe inheritance/Grace/Fate have a great bearing on ethical sense, however I prefer to leave these factors outside the ethical equation.
I would like however to say as an objecion to Veronesi’s moronic simplifications, that evolution has nothing to do with abstract ethical sense, since apart from the fact that the latter has generally to be acquired and learned or even mislearned ( there is such a thing as a negative, bad ethical sense acquired through exposure to bad/evil Referential Witnesses) at every generation, as even the ancient conceded, it requires Grace in accordance to the teachings of modern Theology, in order to be about the Good and correct behaviour. Chimpanzees and other animals do not have it or need it, and act according to instincts and stimuli. There are of course low-level, quasi/pseudo-ethical differences between animals of the same species and of the same group but this is the result of exposure to certain experiences ( abundance, deprivation, dominant characters, genetically inherited differences, the presence of some physical defect or illness, etc. but it is never a fully moral or ethical experience in the human sense.. I have admitted anyway that the human being derives from an animalistic hominin which may have been elevated or promoted through evolutionary mutations by the agency of some angelic powers sent to earth by God. There are in fact plenty of ancient mesopotamic stories and myths pointing out this possibilityeginning with the most ancient known mesopotamic civilisation known to us, the Sumerian. Please read among others Sir Laurence Gardner and O’Brien.
"What is ethical sense ?"
" To feel responsible in so far as one has the duty to satisfy some fundamental values".
[ Clearly, again, when one talks about values one presupposes the existence of a developed ethical perception and not just ethical sense. Even among human beings there may be ethical sense without a full understanding and appreciation of perception].

" What are these fundamental values?"
"Freedom, tolerance and kinship with the weack".
[ I feel that in the case of chimpanzees and babboons a universal extension of a feeling of solidarity beyond the clan and species is non-existent. as these are really incapable of solidarity with the weack, except in the case of mother and offspring, and in those of close family ties. withing a group]"
" We are therefore animals with a developed ethical sense ( faculty), not requiring a belief in God! But what about feelings ( emotions; sensitivity)?"
"Emotions/Sensitivity represent a form of psychological activity which, although not being rational is related to our needs for relatiionship. It is therefore possible to have a feeling of love, of friendship, of kinship, however also a perverted one such as hatred. Sensitivities are necessary and the result of the instinct of preservation through the adoption of a better communal life and that of procreation, such as the emotion of love.
There is also however a capacity to control instincts, which, unfortunately, can lead us to selfish, asocial, un-ethical, aggressive behaviour.
As the protestant theologian Miegge said, the law of the jungle, of the rule of the strong cannot be a divine one, at least not of a good God and I refuse to accept it [as a datum/a constant/a universal].
To-day we have become conscious of the fact that instincts must be controlled.
I, who have witnessed much suffering and dying, would also like to add, if allowed to express one of my opinions, while speaking of sensitivities as psychological reactions, that the unbeliever suffers less and dies better".
[Veronesi is without any doubt a creature of the Enlightenment and of the Encyclopedists who believed in the ideal of the noble savage and of the capacity of all human beings as being born equal to govern themselves as individuals, without a need of a supernatural Being who has created everything there is. First he states that relationships between human beings are dictated by emotions and that these are not rational. This is exactly why we need legislators, laws and duties and law enforcement by individuals who are capable of rationality. But even these are not sufficient in the face of the possibility of good and evil developments in evolution which require more than just an ethical capacity but the further development and maintenance of this into a humanised ethical perception according to Grace.
The pervertion of emotions is not due to their necessarily being irrational, but to the pervertion of the individual having these emotions.

Hatred, likes and dislikes can be quite rational and may even be necessary. Discrimination between good and bad, founded on Grace, education, learning and training, require critical and judgmental sense and capacity and must be exercised in order to avoid becoming ensnared in turn into negative scenarios. For example, procreation in out present times of an escalating world-population, is not any longer to be considered as a human right or as an expression of love, but one possibly resulting from lust and instinct, and must be controlled.
Selfish love must be replaced by universal love.
As to Veronesi’s judgment of God on the basis of the existence of the Law of the Jungle, I suggest he goes and studies William of Ockam, the nominalist theologian/philosopher of the Middler Ages who gave rise to the "via moderna" and to the progress and self assertion of the scientific method.
With regard to the opinion about unbelievers suffering less and dying better than believers, I am very sceptical. Many so called believers are just so in words not in deeds. It is still socially convenient and materially advantageous to-day, in Italy, to profess membership of the Catholic Church].
I wish at this stage to pay particurar attention to Veronesi’s comment which I am quoting here in italian with my translation, a repetition of the above given sentence.
I quote from the article-:
"Mi rifiuto di pensare che la legge della giungla, cioe’ della sopraffazione, sia un disegno divino; almeno di un Dio buono, come diceva il teologo protestante Miegge. Oggi abbiam preso coscienza che gli istinti vanno controllati."
"As the protestant theologian Miegge said, the law of the jungle, of the rule of the strong cannot be a divine one, at least not of a good God and I refuse to accept it [as a datum/a constant/a universal].
To-day we have become conscious of the fact that instincts must be controlled."
Unquote.
Veronesi is here in trouble in relation to a reader who has any logicalcapacity and is able to be critical, unbiased by Veronesi’s fame and authority as a surgeon.
The law of the jungle is with us until the jungles shall be totally destroyed by the greed of modern human beings for land and resources.
It shall remain with us, in us, as members of the sinful Homo Sapiens, Sapiens Adamiticus species, as long as the exploitation of natural resouces by human kind exists, which is in itself anyway an attitude that reflects the law of the jungle with an effectivenesss and malevolence vastly magnified ince the invention of firearms and fuel energised engines.
Veronesi talks like a naive man of science which for a professional
man of his calibre is ridiculous. However this proves the idiocy of the type of individuals belonging to his class who have become politicians
to-day.
To me any predisposition to goodness and to a possibility for humanity to escape from the dictates of the law of the jungle which God allowed as fit for the animal world and even for the predecessors of humankind when still deprived of the spark of divinity in them, which Genesis calls "ruah Elohim" , the Spirit, " emeth we eseth", yes, any predispositioin for goodness must be seeked from God the Creator, and cannot spring from within ourselves or from a Godless- evolution.
How can one refuse to accept the existence of the law of the jungle which is a datum, and is still with us in modern human beings, and deny God’s existence because of its being inhuman, when it is God Who has humanised our animalistic predecessors transforming these into Homo Sapiens through a spiritual creation.
Eating of the flesh of animals and of the fruits of the vegetable world is part of a continuing law of the jungle in the name of humanity’s rights/duties and superiority to the non human world.
Why does not Veronesi go and tell the Islamic and the Hebrew’s societies in the Middle East that instincts can be controlled by our intrinsically existing good will?
And please note these very people are those who are still fundamentalistically claiming to be with God and of doing God’s Will.
But, I do not conclude from these scenarios of evil, that God does not exist and claim that many who claim to be with God are in fact with the Devil, Satan.
I do not, like Veronesi and many imbeciles in the western world who should stick to their exalted manual or ptagmatic concrete professions, give up the struggle against those who are Godless even when claimung the opposite, but reinforce my knowledge of the truth and seek for guidanve and enlightenment from a Higher source than the chimpanzees.
Summarising_: Veronesi starts by saying he does not know whether God exists or not. Then he declares human beings are a logical evolutionary development from the higher apes like chimpanzees and gorillas.
He therefore implicitly says there is no supernatural Being Who created all, denying the possibility that God may have supernaturally triggered
the mutation from ape to human being by adding some spiritual substance or characteristic as a human soul.
So he admits he knows these things as an Atheist rather than as a humble Agnostic.
Then he says that the law of the jungle has been superseded in and by humanity who has learnt to control its instincts, an either naive or lying/fallacious/sophistical statement, when one looks at the present scenarios everywhere, but in particular to the stuggles between Islam and the Israeli .
“Why?”
“ Because the unbeliever humbly accepts human finitude, the non-existence of anything else beyond a short-lived human-life and that death is inevitable in addition to being necessary. All living organisms are in fact subjected to a rule that requires endless transformation,

regeneration, rebirth. It is in fact becessary to die so as to leave space for those who follow us. Physical immortality would be a biological catastrophe. The new regenerations must find room/space for their own evolution. “

[ I agree entirely with Veronesi in so far as physical immortality is concerned, however, again, he chooses to ignore a priori as a datum supernatural, spiritual immortality, thus contravening his claim to be an agnostic and in fact speaking as an atheist.

Also, it appears logical to me to expect a believer who is truly and genuinely so, to welcome death as both a deliverer from the scarcities and necessities of living, as well as the beginning of a new, better spiritual, unending life. Moreover, in so far as a human being has been succesful and responsible towards procreation by engaging in this act only if able to adequately provide for the offspring, then this human being would die happy with a knowledge to have done not only what responsible procreation required but also of bequething extra space to it for further development, as Veronesi well speacks about.

Veronesi is biased by his atheism, whether he likes to admit it or not.

He ceratinly must have some unknown hidden skeleton in his wardrobe.]

The Article continues with the following questions-:

"Does Faith help an ill person who is a strong believer?"
" Can will-power help?"
" In the cases of a devastating diagnosis, is the response of a believer different from thatb of one who does not believe? "
" What may be the general response of someone who believes when discovering a terminal illness?"
" However there is no such thing as divine punishment through the agency of illness".
" Where does illness originate from?"
All Veronesi’s answers to these questions are biased by his pragmatism, and by his attitude towards atheism and agnosticism.
I claim that those he considers as believers may in fact be so out of convenience and convention. In fact, in Italy, it still pays even to-day to be a Roman Catholic.
I may complete the translation of the Article although I consider it a waste of time.

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