The paper I gave in Rome published in NCBQ: “On Making the Case for Life: On St. Peter’s Counsel to Always Be Ready”

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Last year I was invited by the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization to participate in an education conference in Rome on John Paul II's 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae.  Held at the Pontificia Università Urbaniana, the keynote address was given by Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, which was followed by papers given by myself and Robert Royal (Faith & Reason Institute). A revised version of my  Rome talk, entitled "On Making the Case for Life: On St. Peter's Counsel to Always … [Read more...]

Contraception and Catholicism: What the Church Really Teaches

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That's the title of a piece authored by University of South Carolina philosopher, Christopher Tollefsen, who this year is serving as a Visiting Fellow in the James Program at Princeton University. The essay published this morning on National Review Online. Here's how it begins:Catholic teaching on contraception is at the heart of the controversy over the Health and Human Services mandate. Catholic hospitals and universities are unwilling to purchase insurance plans that provide contraceptive … [Read more...]

Dignity Never Been Photographed: Scientific Materialism, Enlightenment Liberalism, and Steven Pinker

That is the title of an article I published in the Summer 2010 issue of Ethics & Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics (vol. 26.2).  (The title, if you have not noticed yet, is from a line in the Bob Dylan song, "Dignity"). Here's how the article begins (endnotes omitted):In March 2008, the President’s Council on Bioethics published a volume entitled, Human Dignity and Bioethics.  It consists of essays penned by council members as well as other scholars and practitioners invited t … [Read more...]

The Argument From Creating Brainless Children

In a chapter I recently published-- "The Human Being, A Person of Substance: A Reply to Dean Stretton," in Persons, Moral Worth, and Embryos: A Critical Analysis of Pro-Choice Arguments, edited by Stephen Napier. (Dordrecht: Springer, 2011), 67-83--I respond to criticisms of an argument I have used in several venues, including my 2007 book, Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press). My 2011 defense of that argument--"the argument from creating … [Read more...]

Robert VerBruggen on Science and Personhood: A Response

Over at National Review's "The Corner," Robert VerBruggen writes: What’s not clear to me, however, is why “distinct DNA” should be the criterion by which we judge personhood for moral and legal purposes. As Reason’s Ronald Bailey has pointed out, 60 to 80 percent of human embryos — post-conception, with distinct DNA — are naturally destroyed by the woman’s body. Are we to see this as a large-scale massacre of human beings, develop drugs to prevent it from happening, and require all women who hav … [Read more...]


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