In last week’s blog, I introduced the topic of Michael D. West’s crusade against human mortality. West’s ardent desire, as he puts it, has long been to “extract the ‘green essence’ of life, the secret of the immortal renewal of life, to hold it in my hand and to give it to my fellow human being.”
The quest, for West, is, in fact, a matter of moral obligation of such gravity as to trump any concern of “trespassing in a realm in which we humans have no right to go.” Neighbor love, he believes, demands biomedical crusade. As he further states, “Every human being should have not only the right but the passionate duty to reach out with all his or her strength to help others, even if it involves such controversial technology as cloning. If that means playing God, then it is playing God in a good way. I realized that I would do anything to save a human life, short of harming a fellow human.”
What key assumptions do you find in West’s defense of the biomedical crusade against death?
What do you think of the criticism that West and others like him are “playing God” in their pursuit of the “green essence?” Is there a legitimate concern that biomedicine might be encroaching upon divine sovereignty over human life? If so, where is the line to be drawn?
Does the fact that West’s critics generally value the project of medicine (i.e. human intervention in the course of disease) undermine their use of the “playing God” argument?