Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 12 (2002), 109-110.
From: Dr. Thomas H. Murray (USA)Thank you for the invitation to sign this statement. I must decline, and thought it might be helpful to say something about my reasons. First, I fear that the statement attempts to do too many diverse things. It opines on everything from the core principles of bioethics to specific controversies such as DNA patenting. Tactically, it might be more fruitful to issue a series of statements, each more tightly focused. This would have two merits: it would allow more people to sign on (who might object to other statements in the current document); it would also enhance the public impact of each statement. Imagine that you are a journalist sympathetic to your cause: What story do you write? For the current version, the story would most likely be a vague and general one saying that so-and-so signed on to a very broad statement covering a host of issues in bioethics. Alternatively, a carefully spaced series of well-focused statements could build a kind of momentum, with coverage of each one reinforcing the series as a whole. Second, I could not sign on to a statement that repeated the "mantra" of four (or three) principles of bioethics. That is in my view much too simple a way of conveying the moral richness of the field, and of the problems it encounters. I have other disagreements with specific statements that we could discuss in another venue. From: Dr. Konstantin Khroutski (Russia) First of all, I am happy to affix my signature for the Eubios Declaration, for I deeply appreciate the wholistic essence of the latter. Secondly, reflecting from the cosmist point of view, I would like to make some comments and additions (underlined) to the first section of the Declaration - "Descriptions of Bioethics": In the second item: "We consider bioethics to be the process of reflection over ethical issues raised in our relationships with other living organisms", and with one common whole "Process" - CEPLE: cosmic evolutionary process of the life on the Earth; the consideration of the ethical issues in spheres including environmental ethics, health care ethics, social ethics, personal (cosmist) ethics (substantiation of the notions "Process", "personal cosmist ethics", and the further, please see my "Towards the Bioethics of Individual's Health: Introduction of the Cosmist Philosophical Fundamentals. EJABS 12(1)); Aiming at the elucidation of these proposals, I would like to stress once again upon the following thing: Modern bioethics chiefly has the orderliness of subject-object interrelations of man with the world (although aiming at the constant improvement of our "relationships with other living organisms"); while the man and the world are naturally the inseparable parts of one common whole Process. Hence, I urge colleagues to include the subject-subject pattern of activity in the realm of current and future bioethics. Further, in the "Descriptions of Bioethics", in the fifth item: "If prescriptive bioethics leads to paternalistic elitism, then we reject it." But if prescriptive bioethics has the essence of cosmist personal (functional) elitism, then we endorse it. In the sixth item: There are at least two (three) essential approaches to bioethics - Interactive, Practical, Universal: Interactive bioethics is discussion and debate between people, groups within society, and communities about descriptive and prescriptive bioethics. Practical (societal) bioethics is action to make the world more bioethical, for example, health projects for medically deprived populations and environmental activism. Universal (personal) bioethics is likewise the practical bioethics of action but it acts precisely on the autonomous personal (cosmist) level of the man's wellbeing ontogenesis. From: Dr. Takashi Tsuchiya (Japan) These are my comments on the current draft of the declaration. I can undersign it if the list of signatories be published with these comments. However, I have three small objections on it and on those points I cannot endorse the text of the current draft declaration. (1) In the article 6 it makes new distinction between "Interactive" and "Practical" bioethics, which seems to be meaningless. Discussions and debates categorized to be "interactive bioethics," understandings categorized to be "prescriptive bioethics," and examinations categorized to be "prescriptive bioethics," all are actions that should be characterized as "practical," I think. So as my previous proposal for revision, the text should be "both descriptive and prescriptive bioethics are interactive and practical...." (2) In the article 22 it says "Somatic cell gene therapy for treatment of disease is a useful medical therapy...," but some somatic cell gene therapy has not yet be proven with evidence to be effective. So the text should be "Somatic cell gene therapy for treatment of disease can [or may] be a useful medical therapy...." (3) In the article 23 it says "Therapeutic cloning, for example of tissues or organs, may be a useful medical therapy, and may be used when needed and chosen by patients." But cloning is much more controversial than gene therapy, and I can dare to say neither "may be useful" nor "may be used." At least current major technique to do "therapeutic cloning" needs egg donor to make embryonic stem cell. So I cannot say simply "may be used when needed and chosen by patients." I think it might be better not to mention cloning and would like to delete whole of this article.