Saturday, June 09, 2007

An Addition to the Post Below - Explanatory Power and Naturalism


C.S. Lewis pointed out that even our ability to reason and think rationally would be called into question if atheistic evolution were true:

“If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our thought processes are mere accidents - the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else's. But if their thoughts — i.e. of Materialism — are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give a correct account of all the other accidents.”

Phillip Johnson, law professor at Berkley for thirty years, explains this dilemma as well:

“Are our thoughts ‘nothing but’ the products of chemical reactions in the brain, and did our thinking abilities originate for no reason other than their utility in allowing our DNA to reproduce itself? Even scientific materialists have a hard time believing that. For one thing, materialism applied to the mind undermines the validity of all reasoning, including one’s own. If our theories are products of chemical reactions [rather than from our soul or spirit, as evolutionists would say], how can we know whether our theories are true? Perhaps [evolutionist] Richard Dawkins believes in Darwinism only because he has a certain chemical in his brain, and if his belief be changed by somehow inserting a different chemical.”

To get this into layman’s terms, I will let the philosopher J. P. Moreland, from his debate with renowned atheist Kai Nielson, explain it.

“Suppose you were driving on a train and you saw a sign on the hillside that said, ‘Wales in ten miles.’ Suppose you knew that the wind had blown that sign together. If the sign had been put together by a purely non-intelligent random process… there would be no reason to trust the information conveyed by the sign.”

C. S. Lewis finishes his thought from above:

“It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”

Responding to Christopher Hitchens and a Friend

Explaining the Failings of a Worldview

A friend said:

“Believe it or not, it is possible to lead a moral lifestyle without religious convictions.”

My friend missed the point. While the atheist, or non-religious (say, a Buddhist) can act morally, they do not have an epistemology that can support the “ought’s” of the matter. They can simply describe a moral action, but unlike the Christian, they cannot give an answer to why I “ought” to do something. When an atheist or Buddhist try to explain to me a delineating line of morality that both he or I should know and not cross, they have stepped out of their atheism or Buddhism and stepped into the worldview of the theist.

So when the pro-choice-femi-nazi/atheist-evolutionist tries to argue rights with me that both she and I should adhere to, I break it down a bit further and explore their worldview and show where they are coming from is vacuous in its explanatory power of why I should know that their choice is a “right.”

If naturalism is true, for instance, you really do not love your wife. You are merely responding to chemicals reacting with the firing of synapses in your brain caused by one natural event stacked upon another which has determined through selection and environment (which are natural events) all the way back to the Big-Bang that has caused you – without free-will – to choose your wife. Love, then, can logically, be weighed. It should have a section in our brain where this “feeling” comes from and it should have an atomic weight.

Free will makes rationality possible. If there is no free will, then no one is capable of choosing to believe something because of good reasons. One could never adjudicate between a good idea and a bad one. He’d only believe what he does because he’s been predetermined to do so. Arguments wouldn’t matter.

That’s why it’s odd to hear someone try to argue for determinism. If he’s right, then his conviction is not really based on reasons--on the merits of the view itself--but on prior conditions that cause his belief. He’s determined to believe in determinism.

Without freedom, there is no rationality. Every one of our thoughts , dispositions. So, oddly enough, if there is no free will, no one could ever know it, because they could never have a good reason to believe it.

Stand to Reason

The atheist or Buddhist (when I say Buddhist, you can supplement pantheism, which include all Eastern philosophies/religions) arguments and propositions are self-refuting. We can only have free will if there is a personal God who created us.

Objective Morals Without God?

Let us start this jolly good time with a most interesting thought from Stephen Hawkings (who holds the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Isaac Newton’s chair) at a lecture given to a university crowd in England entitled “Determinism – Is Man a Slave or the Master of His Fate.” He discussed whether we are the random products of chance, and hence, not free, or whether God had designed these laws within which we are free. In other words, do we have the ability to make choices, or do we simply follow a chemical reaction induced by millions of mutational collisions of free atoms?

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s maxim rings just as true today as it did in his day, “If there is no God, all things are permissible.” Without an absolute ethical norm, morality is reduced to mere preference and the world is a jungle where might makes right. This same strain of thought caused Mussolini to comment, “Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”

Notice that Mussolini agrees that might makes right. There was another bad boy on the block in those days, his name was Hitler, who agreed when he said, “I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality… we will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence – imperious, relentless and cruel.” Again, the rejection of moral absolutes creates what? Young people who will scare the bejesus out of the world. (Take note of the rise in youth violence in our school system.)

But what is this “absolute” that Mussolini referred to as “the immortal truth?” What is the “stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality” that Hitler removed in order to created a nation of hate mongers? Heidegger, In Being and Time, discussed the problems facing men living in a post-Enlightenment secular society – a world without God in other words. Heidegger called this situation “the dark night of the world,” a world which the light of God had been eclipsed and in which men were left to grope around as best they could, searching in the darkness for any scraps of meaning that might be found. This man of course, Heidegger, backed the National Socialists (Nazis) for most of the 1930’s.

The third article in the Humanist Manifesto begins:

“We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest.”

For the secular person, man himself is the only standard by which his own behavior is to be assessed, “man is the measure of all things.” Man is to be the sole arbiter in all matters of justice and law, right and wrong. In the words of the Encyclopedia Americana, “Since there is no God, man is the creator of his own values.” The British author John Hick bluntly asserts, “There is no God; therefore no absolute values and no absolute laws.” Joseph Lewis in, The Bible Unmasked, say, “There is in reality no absolute standard by which we can judge… In the final analysis our guide in moral affairs should be what gives to the individual the greatest possible happiness.”

Anthony Freeman comes to the same conclusion: “Not only the absolute existing-out-there God has gone. So have the absolute existing-out-there values such as peace, joy, goodness, beauty, love, etc….” Friedrich Nietzsche agreed: “…the advantage of our times, nothing is true, everything is permitted.” The American scholar David Wells says of our nation, “This is the first time that civilization has existed that, to a significant extent, does not believe in objective right and wrong. We are traveling blind, stripped of our own moral compass.” Paul Kurtz believes that, “The moral principles that govern our behavior are rooted in habit and custom, feeling and fashion,” how can anything be commended as being right, or condemned as being wrong?

Bertrand Russell vehemently opposed war, yet denounced restrictions on sexual freedom. In a letter to the Observer in 1957, Bertrand admitted that he could not live as though ethical values were a matter of personal taste, that he therefore found his own views “incredible” (because he espoused moral relativism) and that “I do not know the solution.” C. S. Lewis talked about this “privatized morality” and showed some of its weaknesses, two of which he identified with his usual clarity:

In the first place, how do ethical standards come into being? In Lewis’s words, “The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new color in the spectrum.”

Secondly, in the absence of absolutes, how can we talk of moral progress? As Lewis puts it, “if things can improve, this means that there must be some absolute standard of good above and outside the cosmic process towards which that process can approximate. There is no sense in talking of ‘becoming better’ if better means simply ‘what we are becoming’ – it is like congratulating yourself on reaching your destination and defining destination as ‘ the place you have reached.’”

Allan Bloom, in his book, The Closing of the American Mind, said that, “There is one thing a professor can be certain of. Almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.” How did the college student get this way? Let us allow the Father of modern educational philosophy answer that, John Dewey: “There is no God and no soul. Hence, there are no needs for props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable [i.e. unchangeable] truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or permanent moral absolutes.”

In light of all this, I find it funny when an atheist says that he is so because there is evil in this world (innocent children die, and the such). Again, C. S. Lewis makes my point for me when he was an atheist:

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it?… Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. Consequently, atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.”

Lewis hit the nail on the head. In the absence of transcendent values, we are left floundering about as best we can… or, as Heidegger put it, “searching in the darkness for any scraps of meaning that might be found.” Ravi Zacharius rightly concludes, if atheism is true, “Thinking atoms discussing morality is absurd.” All this leads to what Jean-Paul Sartre called a “baseless base of values.” In other words, the person who takes this route finds himself in a world with particulars but no universals, relatives but no absolutes, valuations but no values.

So from Cristina Odone (Melrose Place) saying in the June 97’ Daily Telegraph that, “What’s right is what you feel,” to Ernest Hemingway’s creed: “What is moral is what you feel good after, and what is immoral is what you feel bad after,” all this does as a philosophy of evolutionary naturalism is create people who will try to enforce their “will and way” above others.

This is why the “Hitlers” and “Stalins” will always exist! When the moral imperatives of God are thrown to the wayside, it creates a power vacuum. This is why the atheist has no real way to say what is good or bad for any individual besides himself – objectively. This, I believe, drove Bertrand Russell to a solemn grave, and Nietzsche insane. In fact, it was Nietzsche who said that the consequences of the death of God would penetrate every avenue of life, and that this, in-and-of-itself, would be unbearable. Nietzsche went on to say, because God had died in the nineteenth century, there would be two direct results in the twentieth century. First, he prognosticated that the twentieth century would become the bloodiest century in history; and second, that a universal madness would break out.

He has been right on both counts. More people have been killed because of ideological differences, and destroyed on the battlefields of geo-political maneuvering in the name of naturalism and might in this century than the previous nineteen centuries before it. Did you catch that; non-God movements have killed more people in one century than religion did in the first nineteen [1]. Unfortunately we see this madness seeping into other areas of our society as well:

Newspapers in 1996-1997 reported two particularly shocking cases of infanticide. In one, a pair of eighteen-year-old college sweethearts delivered their baby in a hotel room, killed him, and left the body in a dumpster. In the other, an eighteen-year-old briefly left her high school prom to deliver her baby in a bathroom stall, left the infant dead in a garbage can and returned to the dance floor. Both events led to convictions for homicide.

Although these crimes were attributed to either a moral failure (personal or social) or to some form of mental pathology, Steven Pinker had a different explanation. Steven Pinker, professor of psychology at the Massachusetts Institute of Psychology and a leading popularizer of evolutionary psychology, says it is a genetic imperative. Writing in the New York Times, Pinker argued that what he termed neonaticide [2] is not attributable to mental illness because “it has been practiced and acceptable in most cultures throughout history.” Rather, he went on to say, a capacity for neonaticide is hard-wired into the maternal genes by our evolutionary history.

AHHhh! Naturalistic morals (relativism) have struck again! And the only individual to strike at the core of these horrors that materialists have inflicted on the twentieth century is the theist (the Jew and Christian). This is why the non-theist will always have the “Hitlers,” “Stalins,” and “Maos” in their worldview as acceptable to their moral theorizing. They cannot assert objectively – beyond themselves – that those persons are wrong, it would only be their personal preference speaking. Sorta’ like chocolate or vanilla ice cream, or, brownies with or without nuts, Hitler… or Mother Teresa. They (the relativist) are neutered in the political and moral spectrum, or, if they do choose to take a value-laden stance, they are doing so in direct violation of their own doctrines and dogmas, thus, self-refuting their own claims.

In a recent debate between Christopher Hitchens and Dr. Mark Roberts about God’s existence, Christopher Hitchens made this comment:

“Darwin points out, and others have noticed since that there are animals who behave ethically to one another. They have solidarity, they have family groups, they seem able to feel sympathy. They certainly come to each other’s aid, in the case of some of the higher mammals.”

I would have made the point that in fact, what we find in nature more often is death and killing, as has been said, nature is “red in tooth and claw.”

"Most animals are either eaten or eat other animals. Plants, too, are often consumed by animals. Consequently the chances of being devoured, or of eating some other organism in order to survive, are exceedingly high" (Zoologist Christopher McGowan).

Who trusted God was love indeed

And love Creation’s final law –

Tho’ nature, red in tooth and claw

With ravine, shriek’d against his creed –

“In Memoriam” (1842) is one of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s greatest poems. Through poetry he found the truth and spake it. Tennyson was Britain’s finest Poet Laureate and she shone in the Victorian Age as one of the brightest lighted minds in history.

Tennyson’s observation is a warning to us all: Nature is brutal. Nature lives in blood and thrives via biting and scraping. To deny the animal instinct for survival is to lose the natural lesson of our innate desire to move up in the world.


While it may seem to Christopher that there are “moral” animals, the real question becomes “with what do you differentiate between which action is superior?” This was exemplified in Ravi Zacharias’ book Can Man Live Without God? when he referenced the debate between the philosopher Frederick Copleston and the atheist Bertrand Russell:

At one point in the debate, Copleston said, "Mr. Russell, you do believe in good and bad, don't you?" Russell answered, "Yes I do." "How do you differentiate between them?" challenged Copleston. Russell shrugged his shoulders as he was wont to do in philosophical dead ends for him and said, "The same way I differentiate between yellow and blue." Copleston graciously responded and said, "But Mr. Russell, you differentiate between yellow and blue by seeing, don't you? How do you differentiate between good and bad?" Russell, with all of his genius still within reach, gave the most vapid answer he could have given: "On the basis of feeling-what else?" I must confess, Mr. Copleston was a kindlier gentleman than many others. The appropriate "logical kill" for the moment would have been, Mr. Russell, in some cultures the love their neighbors; in others they eat them, both on the basis of feeling. Do you have any preference?"

Again, while Hitchens can describe an action (an act of solidarity lets say) in the natural world, he has no basis or standard above nature to cal one action or the other moral. Naturalism, then, cannot respond to a truth that can determine which action is moral or not. I will finish here with an extended quote from the book Philosophy for Dummies, enjoy it, it can revolutionize the way you view truth:

Robots and Cosmic Puppetry: The Scientific Challenge to Freedom

Since at least the time of Sir Isaac Newton, scientists and philosophers impressed by the march of science have offered a picture of human behavior that is not promising for a belief in freedom. All nature is viewed by them as one huge mechanism, with human beings serving as just parts of that giant machine. On this view, we live and think in accordance with the same laws and causes that move all other physical components of the universal mechanism.

According to these thinkers, everything that happens in nature has a cause. Suppose then that an event occurs, which, in context, is clearly a human action of the sort that we would normally call free. As an occurrence in this universe, it has a cause. But then that cause, in turn, has a cause. And that cause in turn has a cause, and so on, and so on [remember, reductionism].

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player” ~ Albert Einstein.

As a result of this scientific world view, we get the following picture:

Natural conditions outside our control…


Inner bodily and brain states,

which cause

mental and physical actions

But if this is true, then you are, ultimately, just a conduit or pipeline for chains of natural causation that reach far back into the past before your birth and continue far forward into the future after your death. You are not an originating cause of anything [this includes brain activity of all degrees, that is, love, pain, etc.). Nothing you ever do is due to your choices or thoughts alone. You are a puppet of nature. You are no more than a robot programmed by an unfeeling cosmos.

Psychologists talk about heredity and environment as responsible for everything you do. But then if they are, you aren’t. Does it follow that you can then do as you please, irresponsibly? Not at all. It only follows that you will do as nature and nurture please. But then, nature on this picture turns out to be just an illusory veil over a heartless, uncaring nature. You have what nature gives you. Nothing more, nothing less.

Where is human freedom in this picture? It doesn’t exist. It is one of our chief illusions. The natural belief in free will is just a monstrous falsehood. But we should not feel bad about holding on to this illusion until science corrects us. We can’t have helped it.

This reasoning is called The Challenge of Scientific Determinism. According to determinists, we are determined in every respect to do everything that we ever do.

This again is a serious challenge to human freedom. It is the reason that the early scientist Pierre Laplace (1749-1827) once said that if you could give a super-genius a total description of the universe at any given point in time, that being would be able to predict with certainty everything that would ever happen in the future relative to that moment, and retrodict with certainty anything that had ever happened in any moment before that described state. Nature, he believed, was that perfect machine. And we human beings were just cogs in the machine, deluded in our beliefs that we are free.[3]

Footnotes & Glossary:

[1] The Bible does not teach the horrible practices that some have committed in its name. It is true that it's possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the details it produces evil because the individual people [“Christians”] are actually living in rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it [religion] can produce evil, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism (non-religious practices) actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We're talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God. For example: the Inquisitions, Crusades, Salem Witch Trials killed about 40,000 persons combined (World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana). A blight on Christianity? Certainty. Something wrong? Dismally wrong. A tragedy? Of course. Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religious criminals have committed); the Chinese regime of Mao Tse Tung, 60 million [+] dead (1945-1965), Stalin and Khrushchev, 66 million dead (USSR 1917-1959), Khmer Rouge (Cambodia 1975-1979) and Pol Pot, one-third of the populations dead, etc, etc. The difference here is that these non-God movements are merely living out their worldview, the struggle for power, survival of the fittest and all that, no natural law is being violated in other words (as atheists reduce everything to natural law – materialism). However, when people have misused the Christian religion for personal gain, they are in direct violation to what Christ taught, as well as Natural Law.

[2] The killing of a baby on the day of its birth.

[3] Philosophy for Dummies, by Tom Morris, pp. 133-134

“Retrodict” to utilize present information or ideas to infer or explain a past event or state of affairs.

Friday, June 08, 2007

More Venezuela Action

RCTV from Venezuela

Islamic Hatred of Christians

Kosovo Albanians "secular, moderate Muslims"

St.Andrew Serbian ortodox church in Podujevo, Kosovo, burned in 2004 under UN "protection" by “secular – ‘moderate Muslims’.”

Paris Parody Too Soon? NAW!

Paris Hilton Comedy Video

Hot Air props

Paris' grandpa gave the Sheriff money for his election... Hmmmm.

Whole Foods in Trouble?

Whole Foods and Wild Oats

More Sowing to be Done?

Whole Foods: Shares of the natural-foods grocer tumbled 3% the day after it was announced that the Federal Trade Commission was suing to block its purchase of Wild Oats. The move led Morgan Stanley to downgrade Whole Foods, saying, “For a stock already struggling with poor core earnings performance, uncertainty over the merger only adds to near-term investment risks.” The ruling also could have greater implications for the M&A market, which leads to…

Wall Street Journal

FTC Challenges Whole Foods-Wild Oats Merger

Posted by Peter Lattman

June 6, 2007

The WSJ has three stories related to Whole Foods. In one, we learned that the natural-foods grocer is opening its first store in London. In another, we learned that the traditional grocers like Kroger and SuperValu are fighting back after being crushed from Wal-Mart on the low end and Whole Foods from on high.

But it’s the third story that really turns us on. The FTC said yesterday that it would file a complaint today to block the proposed merger between Whole Foods and Wild Oats, arguing that the merger would lead to higher prices for natural and organic products in markets where the two chains compete. Whole Foods announced in February that it planned to acquire Wild Oats for $565 million. It’s an unusual move for the Bush adminstration; the WSJ cites a study showing that the administration rarely meets a merger it doesn’t like.

Says Jeffrey Schmidt, director of the FTC’s bureau of competition: “If Whole Foods is allowed to devour Wild Oats, it will mean higher prices, reduced quality and fewer choices for consumers.”

“Grass-fed organic baloney!” say Whole Foods and Wild Oats executives. They say that Whole Foods not only competes with natural and organic food stores, but more traditional chains as well. (Indeed, they might consider emailing the FTC today’s WSJ story on traditional supermarkets.) A Wall Street analyst told the Times that 74 percent of natural and organic foods were now sold through conventional supermarkets and the like.

Stephen Calkins, a law professor at Wayne State and former FTC general counsel, told the Times the FTC’s challenge was reminscent of its block of a merger in 1997 between Staples and Office Depot. Though the stores argued that office products were widely available, the FTC said that prices at both stores depended on the proximity of other office superstores. He told the Times:

“In terms of Whole Foods, the single most important question will be: Are the prices higher when the other store is not present?”

The WSJ says the move to block the merger boils down to a different question: Are Whole Foods and Wild Oats natural-food chains or grocery stores?


Human Trafficking... Legal

Harvesting Baby Parts -- 20/20 -- and Peter Singer

Peter Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Singer was the founding President of the International Association of Bioethics and, with Helga Kuhse, founding co-editor of the journal Bioethics.

In his book “Practical Ethics,” he writes:

If the fetus does not have the same claim to life as a person, it appears that the newborn baby does not either, and the life of a newborn baby is of less value to it than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee is to the nonhuman animal.

If we can put aside these emotionally moving but strictly irrelevant aspects of the killing of a baby we can see that the grounds for not killing persons do not apply to newborn infants.

Remember that Peter Singer teaches ethics to generations of medical students. An ABC 20/20 special turned up some horribly unsettling info about an industry that has come into being with the slow march towards the devaluation of human life:


A three-month "20/20" hidden-camera investigation has uncovered an industry in which tissue and organs from aborted fetuses, donated to help medical research, are being marketed for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars.

"20/20" has investigated one businessman whose company issued a price list charging what many call exorbitant prices for fetal tissue. In addition, ABC News "20/20" chief correspondent Chris Wallace has an exclusive interview with a whistle-blower who says two tissue retrieval companies he worked for went so far as to, on some occasions, encourage him to take fetal tissue obtained from women who had not consented to donate their fetuses to medical research. The report will air on "20/20 Wednesday," March 8 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

Many say that fetal tissue is vital in scientific research that may provide dramatic medical breakthroughs, and federal law permits the donation of tissue from aborted fetuses for that purpose. But the law says companies that transport fetal tissue to medical research labs may only charge a reasonable fee to recover costs of collecting and shipping human tissue. "20/20's" investigation found some companies are charging high fees -- fees that critics say are not based on recovering costs; for example, the price list for one company, Opening Lines, includes listings of $325 for a spinal cord, $550 for a reproductive organ, $999 for a brain.

How are these prices determined? One "20/20" producer went undercover as a potential investor to meet Dr. Miles Jones, a Missouri pathologist whose company, Opening Lines, obtains fetal tissue from clinics and ships it to research labs. "It's market force," Dr. Jones told the producer about how he sets his prices. "It's what you can sell it for." He says he hopes to run his own abortion clinic in Mexico where he says he could get a greater supply of fetal tissue by offering cheaper abortions: "If you control the flow -- it's probably the equivalent of the invention of the assembly line."

"That's trading in body parts. There's no doubt about it," said Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics.

Representative Thomas Bliley (R-VA), who chairs the United States House Commerce Committee, says his committee is now investigating four companies after finding evidence they may be selling tissue for a profit. He says the committee is interested in ensuring that people transporting fetal tissue only recover their legitimate costs. "It appears that it's more than that. That it comes down to trafficking in tissue parts," he tells Mr. Wallace. Rep. Bliley's committee expects to hold hearings on this issue later this week. [Note: The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health and the Environment has scheduled a hearing on Thursday, March 9, at 2 p.m., on the subject, "Fetal Tissue: Is It Being Bought and Sold in Violation of Federal Law?"]

Another piece to this puzzle was added with an article by Mona Charin, a nationally syndicated columnist when she wrote this in reference to another think tank article:

"Kelly" (a pseudonym) was a medical technician working for a firm that trafficked in baby body parts. This is not a bad joke. Nor is it the hysterical propaganda of an interest group. It was reported in the American Enterprise magazine--the intelligent, thought-provoking, and utterly trustworthy publication of the American Enterprise Institute.

The firm Kelly worked for collected fetuses from clinics that performed late-term abortions. She would dissect the aborted fetuses in order to obtain 'high-quality" parts for sale. They were interested in blood, eyes, livers, brains, and the thymuses, among other things.

"What we did was to have a contract with an abortion clinic that would allow us to go there on certain days. We would get a generated list each day to tell us what tissue researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and universities were looking for. Then we would examine the patient charts. We only wanted the most perfect specimens.' That didn't turn out to be difficult. Of the hundreds of late-term fetuses Kelly saw on a weekly basis, only about 2 percent had abnormalities. About 30 to 40 babies per week were around 30 weeks old--well past the point of viability.

Is this legal? Federal law makes it illegal to buy and sell human body parts. But there are loopholes in the law. Here's how one body parts company--Opening Lines Inc.--disguised the trade in a brochure for abortionists: "Turn your patient's decision into something wonderful."

For its buyers, Opening Lines offers "the highest quality, most affordable, freshest tissue prepared to your specifications and delivered in the quantities you need, when you need it." Eyes and ears go for $75, and brains for $999. An "intact trunk" fetches $500, a whole liver $150. To evade the law's prohibition, body-parts dealers like Opening Lines offer to lease space in the abortion clinic to "perform the harvesting," as well as to "offset the clinic's overhead." Opening Lines further boasted, "Our daily average case volume exceeds 1,500 and we serve clinics across the United States."

Kelly kept at her grisly task until something made her reconsider. One day, "a set of twins at 24 weeks gestation was brought to us in a pan. They were both alive. The doctor came back and said, 'Got you some good specimens--twins.' I looked at him and said: 'There's something wrong here. They are moving. I can't do this. This is not in my contract.' I told him I would not be part of taking their lives. So he took a bottle of sterile water and poured it in the pan until the fluid came up over their mouths and noses, letting them drown. I left the room because I could not watch this."

But she did go back and dissect them later. The twins were only the beginning. "It happened again and again. At 16 weeks, all the way up to sometimes even 30 weeks, we had live births come back to us. Then the doctor would either break the neck or take a pair of tongs and beat the fetus until it was dead."

American Enterprise asked Kelly if abortion procedures were ever altered to provide specific body parts. "Yes. Before the procedures they would want to see the list of what we wanted to procure. The (abortionist) would get us the most complete intact specimens that he could. They would be delivered to us completely intact. Sometimes the fetus appeared to be dead, but when we opened up the chest cavity, the heart was still beating."

The magazine pressed Kelly again. Was the type of abortion ever altered to provide an intact specimen, even if it meant producing a live baby? "Yes, that was so we could sell better tissue. At the end of the year, they would give the clinic back more money because we got good specimens."

Some practical souls will probably swallow hard and insist that, well, if these babies are going to be aborted anyway, isn't it better that medical research should benefit? No. This isn't like voluntary organ donation. This reduces human beings to the level of commodities. And it creates of doctors who swore an oath never to kill, the kind of people who can beat a breathing child to death with tongs.

And the final, the actual price list from one of the now many companies that participate in the trafficking of human parts:

Opening Lines
A Division of Consultants & Diagnostic Pathology,
Inc. P.O. Box 508, West Frankfort,
IL 62896
Phone: 800-490-9980
Fax: 618-937-1525
Fee for Services Schedule

> greater than < same or less than

Unprocessed Specimen (> 8 weeks) $ 70

Unprocessed Specimen (< 8 weeks) $ 50

Livers (< 8 weeks) 30% discount if significantly fragmented $150

Livers (> 8 weeks) 30% discount if significantly fragmented $125

Spleens (< 8 weeks) $ 75

Spleens (> 8 weeks) $ 50

Pancreas (< 8 weeks) $100

Pancreas (> 8 weeks) $ 75

Thymus (< 8 weeks) $100

Thymus (> 8 weeks) $ 75

Intestines & Mesentery $ 50

Mesentery (< 8 weeks) $125

Mesentery (> 8 weeks) $100

Kidney-with/without adrenal (< 8 weeks) $125

Kidney-with/without adrenal (> 8 weeks) $100

Limbs (at least 2) $150

Brain (< 8 weeks) 30% discount if significantly fragmented $999

Brain (> 8 weeks) 30% discount if significantly fragmented $150

Pituitary Gland (> 8 weeks) $300

Bone Marrow (< 8 weeks) $350

Bone Marrow (> 8 weeks) $250

Ears (< 8 weeks) $ 75

Ears (> 8 weeks) $ 50

Eyes (< 8 weeks) 40% discount for single eye $ 75

Eyes (> 8 weeks) 40% discount for single eye $ 50

Skin (> 12 weeks) $100

Lungs & Heart Block $150

Intact Embryonic Cadaver (< 8 weeks) $400

Intact Embryonic Cadaver (> 8 weeks) $600

Intact Calvarium $125

Intact Trunk (with/without limbs) $500

Gonads $550

Cord Blood (Snap Frozen LN2) $125

Spinal Column $150

Spinal Cord $325

 Another article that shows this is happening elsewhere:

Harvesting Organs

Sarah Boseley, health editor

Thursday January 11, 2001

The true scale of the scandal of human organ retention by hospitals will be revealed today by the government's chief medical officer, who will tell parents and professionals that 50,000 organs are being stored in hospitals in England alone. The number far exceeds expectations.

Liam Donaldson will say that what was done in the name of the NHS over many years was an affront to families who had lost their loved ones. Addressing a public seminar, whose audience will include top pathologists and other senior doctors:

"Some of the past practices around organ retention belong to an era where decisions were made by the NHS for patients, but not with patients. This has caused a period of immense distress for families, especially in places like Bristol and Liverpool, when they found out their children's organs were taken without their knowledge. Something went seriously wrong in the way the health service dealt with the issue of organ retention."

Prof Donaldson will pledge that the government "will do whatever it takes to put things right, changing the law if necessary to ensure that relatives are given the right kind of information so they can give consent in a fully informed way if they choose to do so."

At Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool, where an inquiry will report shortly, more than 3,000 children's organs have been discovered; other hospitals were not thought to have anything like that number.

The chief medical officer will offer an unmitigated apology and assurances for the future to the parents of the Alder Hey children and those whose children died and had organs removed at the Bristol royal infirmary who have been invited to today's seminar. None of the parents knew that hearts, brains and other whole organs would be removed and kept after the autopsy on their son or daughter.

Ian Kennedy, chairman of the inquiry into children's deaths following heart surgery at Bristol, published an interim report into organ retention at the hospital last May. He found that the law was complex and obscure. Different laws covered hospital autopsies - which help doctors find out about the progress of disease - and those ordered by the coroner to find out the cause of death. Prof Kennedy recommended at least a new code of practice and preferably a new law.

Prof Donaldson has issued interim guidance to hospitals, requiring them to tell parents and relatives exactly what an autopsy involves and get their explicit permission if there is any need to remove organs. Today's seminar is part of his information-gathering process on the way to producing his final report to the health secretary, Alan Milburn. That is expected, along with the Alder Hey inquiry report, before the end of the month.

Ed Bradley, chairman of the Alder Hey parents' support group, said more than 140 parents and relatives had travelled to London for the seminar and were glad of the opportunity to give evidence, "however, we do question how much benefit can be gained from a one-day conference where we have only been given five minutes to represent our views." They also felt it would be more appropriate to discuss the way forward after the Alder Hey inquiry had reported.

Alder Hey hospital is generally considered a special case, because whole organ systems were found to have been collected by a consultant pathologist, Dick Van Velzen, who is facing disciplinary hearings at the General Medical Council.

Bristol parents at the seminar will be asking for Prof Kennedy's recommendations to be implemented and questioning why there has been no action since his report was published. "It was quite clear the law was in a mess," said Steve Parker, chairman of the Bristol Heart Children's Action Group.