To: Mystical Bioethics Network

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 10 (2000), 129-30.


This letter has reference to the two letters/notes (by Alamelu and by Erin Williams) appearing in the November l999 issue of EJAIB 9: 177+.

I fully agree with the view that education, without religion and ethics, will fail to produce useful members of society. But are faith and ethics the same entity as Mystical Bioethics? Alamelu says, "I strongly believe that in giving any views regarding any field, especially Ethical issues, there should be openness". I would like to be enlightened on whether there is any demarkation between Ethics and Mystical Bioethics. Erin Williams seems to refer to Mystical Bioethics when she says, "...wisdom we have accumulated during lifetimes...." I believe it will serve a useful purpose to carefully define what we mean by Mystical Bioethics.

When I read your note in EJAIB of Nov, l998, I thought that through the network, data of experience and understanding would be built up in the field of Mystical Bioethics. At the initiation of such an important movement I wished to raise two points of caution, viz. (i) that mysticism not be included in teaching of those who are in elementary stages of learning Science, and (ii) that members of the network, through discussions and suggestions, develop a methodology to accumulate only those data, which are reliable and free from deceit, fraud and individual and group suggestibility and individual and collective hallucination. Very surprisingly the first point of caution attracted so much attention, and the second point of caution, which in my opinion is of greater gravity, has not bee reacted to at all.

In the context of the second point of caution, let me make one suggestion for consideration by members of the network. If a mystical experience is shared/scrutinized by several educated/enlightened persons, it may be taken as reliable. In the last chapter of their classical book "The Science of Life", HG Wells, Julian Huxley and GP Wells mention the case of Mr. Dunne and his friends. This group of people developed the habit of writing down at the moment of awakening, all that one can recall of the contents of dream, if any, during his sleep. The writings were typed and put on record. Scrutiny of the record revealed that in a large number of cases the dreams appeared based on experiences in the immediate past, and much of what had been recorded was misinterpretation of bodily state, the "chill of an exposed limb, for example, suggesting bathing in cold water", but a considerable part of the record included anticipation of events in "near future". The authors say, "His (Dunne's) statements and those of his associates are certainly striking enough to justify further experiments in this field".

The first point of caution has been prompted by my experience that some teachers include mysticism when introducing Science to beginners. This only creates confusion, and hampers development of a scientific attitude. I still hold that such a mix-up of mysticism and Science, in the initial stages of learning the latter, should be avoided. When raising this point I did not talk of "Higher States" or research level. I agree with this that "educated" imagination or intuition plays a valuable role in planning and execution of experiments. The point of caution is limited to the elementary level of science education.

I may be permitted to reemphasize the gravity of the second point of caution. Unless we develop a suitable methodology we shall fail in building up trustworthy data through working of the network.

- K.K. Verma, MSc, PhD
Professor of Zoology, Principal (Retd.) M.P. Govt P.G. Colleges
HIG - 1/327 Housing Board Colony.
Borsi. Durg- 491001 (M.P.) India

If you are interested in the network, please contact both:
Frank J. Leavitt, Ph.D.
Chairman, The Centre for International Bioethics
Faculty of Health Sciences
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
Fax: + 972-7-6477633 Email: yeruham@bgumail.bgu.ac.il
AND:
- Erin D. Williams, Esq.
Associate Director, Law, Policy and Ethics
Foundation for Genetic Medicine, Inc.
l0900 University Blvd, MSN 4E3
Manassas, VA 20ll0, USA
Email: EWilliams@GeneticMedicine.org
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