Robert George’s excellent lecture on marriage, children, abortion, fetal research and such goes a great way toward giving people a philosophical or metaphysical grounding from which to argue for traditional moral views on these issues. This is George’s special genius as he showed in his book, The Clash of Orthodoxies.
But one wonders how we ever got to the point where we are, for example, aiming toward ”fetal farming” as it is being called, a potential process “of creating a human life, gestating it, and aborting it to harvest cells and tissues.” Could it have something to do with the increasingly materialist view of life that developed in the modern scientific approach and in the Darwinian theory of our origins through random mutation and natural selection? The mainstream religious establishment, notably the Catholic Church, decided to accept Darwinian theory and tried to unite religion to it by saying that God guides evolution and/or that He puts a soul in man. But this value-added notion of God, or God as a cherry on top, so to speak, is not powerful enough to combat the essential materialism of the scientific view. Materialism gradually encroaches more and more while believers sputter that this or that development is contrary to the dignity of life created by God.
Pope Benedict, when he was cardinal and now as pope, has tried to shake up the complacency over Darwinism, but every time he says something about it, it seems a true-believing Darwinian priest rushes forward to insist that evolution by random mutation and natural selection is perfectly compatbile with the God of the Bible. But the issues that George discusses would not have got as far as they have if people truly believed they were more than an arrangement of matter driven by material processes. As Romney said in his beautiful speech on the place of religion in politics, freedom requires religion. He did not mean that everyone has to be religious but that for freedom to be maintained, there has to be some higher understanding that supports the idea of human dignity. Reduced to its material components, human life can be used for, well, spare parts. As a group of scientists declared in a statement about human cloning, “Humanity’s rich repertoire of thoughts, feelings, aspirations, and hopes seem to arise from electrochemical brain processes, not from an immaterial soul that operates in ways no instrument can discover.”