Posts tagged ethics
Ethics and morality are often regarded as beyond the reach of scientific inquiry. But certain values appear to be shared by all humans as species-typical adaptations. This article is based on a presentation to the 2011 NZ Skeptics conference in Christchurch. It was a pleasure to speak at the annual New Zealand Skeptics conference last […]
How should a skeptic relate to those who have other belief systems? What does a skeptic and atheist do when they are part of a broader group that is quite loose on empirical evidence and critical thinking? A lot of us experience this to some degree, but I’ve wrestled with my engagement with a particular […]
The ‘Unfortunate Experiment’ at National Women’s Hospital has entered the national folklore as a notorious case of medical misconduct. But there is still disagreement about what actually happened. It is 22 years since the Cartwright Inquiry published its findings. Arguments about the whole affair persist, with repeated public support from those who say it was […]
In an occasional feature we look back at issues from the early days of NZ Skeptic.
Today, gonorrhoea infections in young girls are taken as certain evidence of sexual abuse. Yet there is an extensive but now-forgotten literature showing that this is not necessarily the case. This article is based on a presentation to the NZ Skeptics 2008 conference in Hamilton, September 26-28. In 2006 I was asked for my forensic […]
Now that Terri Schiavo has been allowed to die peacefully there is an opportunity to reflect on the matter free from the hysteria and religious arguments advanced as an excuse to maintain her in a vegetative state. When discussing the ethics of the situation with a local surgeon he commented that the main problem was that the feeding tube should never have been inserted in the first place. A feeding tube is surgically inserted into the stomach through a hole in the abdominal wall. Once such medical interventions have been made it is very hard to reverse them. In this case the debate appears to have been hijacked by Catholic pressure groups.
A widely publicised trial which appeared to show prayer was effective in enhancing fertility now appears to have been fraudulent. In 2001 an extraordinary paper, from the highly regarded Columbia University Medical Center, New York, appeared in the also highly regarded Journal of Reproductive Medicine. About 100 women in South Korea who were undergoing in […]
The Break Free tour will be coming soon to a city near you. The week-long tour of lectures and book selling will start in Christchurch at the end of November and proceed to Wellington, Taupo, Hamilton and Auckland. The person who will head the tour is Phillip Day, who supposedly is “an award-winning author, health […]
Ancient Celtic New Zealand – More Reasons Not To Believe In connection with David Riddell’s article about “Ancient Celtic New Zealand” (Skeptic, Winter 2004) your readers may be interested in my more detailed examination of the twaddle in Martin Doutré’s book in two articles published in the Auckland Astronomical Society Journal last year. In these […]
Moral Values I am finding it difficult to respond to Alan P Ryan’s diatribe (Skeptic Autumn 2004) as it borders on the incoherent and self-contradictory. I wonder if it will help if I summarise my views on moral values, about which he seems confused. Moral values vary between individuals, groups, societies, nations, and time periods. […]
It may be time to expand the principles of the Hippocratic Oath First do no harm. That’s the major principle of the doctor’s Hippocratic Oath. For the most part, the public are well-served by that principle and by our medical community. It’s a principle which any health professional should follow as a matter of course. […]
In the second of a two-part series, Jim Ring looks at what evidence means to different people Scientific evidence is often difficult to interpret, in medicine in particular. ‘An Unfortunate Experiment’ was the title given to the treatment for some women after screening for cervical cancer. In this case science was considered by the legal […]