Truth, academic freedom, and religious freedom

I am currently reading Robert George’s book Conscience and Its Enemies. In it he expresses his thoughts on many topics which include rights of conscience, religious freedom and academic freedom. I have found something in his thoughts that resonates with what I was trying to say in my blog post last week. I wrote about the importance of the existence of objective moral truth to a clear understanding of ethics and my concern that not only our society, but also the church is losing the concept of moral truth.

In his discussion of academic freedom George says that in the classical liberal arts education there was an understanding that from reading great books and entering into an open rational search for truth we could gain a better understanding of what is true which can help ground how we live as rational educated human beings. He expressed concern that in many of the major universities in America (and elsewhere) that open search for truth is being replaced by indoctrination in what is considered to be the correct way to think by those in power in the academic world and academic freedom is being lost.

He also discusses the ways in which rights of conscience and religious freedom are being limited in our society using as an example the current ACOG position on its members either providing or referring for abortion. In that situation those who are in power in a medical specialty organization have chosen to impose their ethical and political views on the members of the organization without any provision for a rational discussion of the ethical issues involved.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.