The God delusionBMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39405.660243.59 (Published 22 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1099
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
In his essay “Nature” (one of the Three Essays on Religion published posthumously in 1874), John Stuart Mill denies that one can decide on the morality or immorality of a course of action by describing it as natural or unnatural. Either the word “nature” means all that occurs in the universe; or it means all that happens in the universe with the exception of the deliberate actions of mankind. In neither sense can nature provide us with any moral guidance. This is obviously of interest to medical ethicists struggling with morality or otherwise of genetic engineering.
The following words appear in Mill's essay: “The consciousness that whatever man does to improve his condition is in so much a censure and …