Innate talents supposedly limit an individual's highest attainable level of performance and the rate of skill acquisition. However, Howe et al. have not reviewed evidence that the level of expert performance has increased dramatically over the last few centuries. Those increases demonstrate that the highest levels of performance may be less constrained by innate capacities than is commonly believed.
The success of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) worldwide has led to an accumulation of frozen embryos that are surplus to the reproductive needs of those for whom they were created. In these situations, couples must decide whether to discard them or donate them for scientific research or for use by other infertile couples. While legislation and regulation may limit the decisions that couples make, their decisions are often shaped by their religious beliefs. Unfortunately, health professionals, scientists and policy-makers are often (...) unaware of the way in which faith traditions view ART and decisions concerning the ‘fate’ of surplus embryos. In this paper scholars representing six major religious traditions provide a commentary on a hypothetical case concerning the donation or destruction of excess ART embryos. These commentaries provide a rich account of religious perspectives on the status of the human embryo and an insight into the relevance of faith to health and policy decisions, particularly in reproductive medicine, ART and embryo research. (shrink)
Ethics edifies to the extent it takes seriously the munus propheticum Jesu Christi. Though many assume ethical action indicates behaviour realising Jesus Christ, this is problematic because it implies he is otherwise mute and absent. Paul Lehmann offers a refreshing alternative when he argues that the principal concern of ethics is alignment with all that God in Christ is doing now to make and keep human life human. Lehmann thus recasts the question ‘What am I to do?’ by (...) taking seriously the presence and activity of the One who summons human beings to participate in his work. In a manner consistent with the christological foundations of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Ethics , Lehmann’s proposals evoke an ethic shaped by and subject to the self-disclosure and radiance of the triune God. (shrink)
An assertion of high conditional probability or, more briefly, an HCP assertion is a statement of the type: The conditional probability of B given A is close to one. The goal of this paper is to construct logics of HCP assertions whose conclusions are highly likely to be correct rather than certain to be correct. Such logics would allow useful conclusions to be drawn when the premises are not strong enough to allow conclusions to be reached with certainty. This goal (...) is achieved by taking Adams' (1966) logic, changing its intended application from conditionals to HCP assertions, and then weakening its criterion for entailment. According to the weakened entailment criterion, called the Criterion of Near Surety and which may be loosely interpreted as a Bayesian criterion, a conclusion is entailed if and only if nearly every model of the premises is a model of the conclusion. The resulting logic, called NSL, is nonmonotonic. Entailment in this logic, although not as strict as entailment in Adams' logic, is more strict than entailment in the propositional logic of material conditionals. Next, NSL was modified by requiring that each HCP assertion be scaled; this means that to each HCP assertion was associated a bound on the deviation from 1 of the conditional probability that is the subject of the assertion. Scaling of HCP assertions is useful for breaking entailment deadlocks. For example, it it is known that the conditional probabilities of C given A and of - C given B are both close to one but the bound on the former's deviation from 1 is much smaller than the latter's, then it may be concluded that in all likelihood the conditional probability of C given A ∧ B is close to one. The resulting logic, called NSL-S, is also nonmonotonic. Despite great differences in their definitions of entailment, entailment in NSL is equivalent to Lehmann and Magidor's rational closure and, disregarding minor differences concerning which premise sets are considered consistent, entailment in NSL-S is equivalent to entailment in Goldszmidt and Pearl's System-Z⁺. Bacchus, Grove, Halpern, and Koller proposed two methods of developing a predicate calculus based on the Criterion of Near Surety. In their randomstructures method, which assumed a prior distribution similar to that of NSL, it appears possible to define an entailment relation equivalent to that of NSL. In their random-worlds method, which assumed a prior distribution dramatically different from that of NSL, it is known that the entailment relation is different from that of NSL. (shrink)