Tag Archive: ethics

Mar 12 2014

There Is Also a Secular Argument For Infanticide

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American Atheists president David Silverman recently attended this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with the intention of reaching out to non-religious conservatives. CPAC, if you aren’t familiar with it, has featured such illustrious moments as: Michael Medved’s claim that “there’s never been a state in this country that has ever banned gay marriage, that’s …

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Feb 17 2014

Animal dildos: An ethical analysis

Battery hens in a cage.

Note: This post contains frank discussion of sexual topics. Some content may be of a graphic nature. Certain sex toy vendors manufacture toys that are based on the penises of animals. While many of these toys are hand-sculpted, some horse-based and dog-based toys are marketed as “life-cast”, meaning they are directly cast from a mold …

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Apr 12 2013

Looking Gosnell in the Eye

In early 2011, Dr. Kermit Gosnell was arrested on charges of murder related to his abortion services: one charge for the death of a woman who had sought an abortion at his Philadelphia clinic, and seven additional charges for the killings of infants that had been born alive. The grand jury report on Gosnell’s clinic …

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Dec 12 2012

The view from nowhere on female genital mutilation

Following the Lisa Wade/Hastings Center/FGM controversy, Heina of Skepchick made note of a certain prevalent attitude toward female genital mutilation: Most conversations about FGM among Westerners not had by sociologists and other such academics indeed center around some version of “Ugh, that’s so horrible and disgusting! Who would do that to children?!” at best, and, …

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Dec 11 2012

Female genital mutilation: “Balance” at the expense of justice

At Sociological Images, Lisa Wade has decided to promote a report by the Hastings Center on the practice of female genital mutilation. In response to what they consider “hyperbolic and one-sided” coverage by “Western media” without regard to the “cultural complexities” of mutilation, the report claims to offer “a better account of the facts”. By uncritically …

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Nov 14 2012

This is what a Catholic country looks like

A nightmarish ethical dystopia that succeeded in slowly and painfully killing an innocent woman for the sake of nothing. Savita Halappanavar, 17 weeks pregnant, was miscarrying. There was no chance that the fetus would survive. In excruciating pain, Savita asked for an abortion. The hospital, University Hospital Galway in Ireland, refused. Why? There was still a …

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Oct 03 2012

Selfish relative to what?

Among the many issues people have with transgender identities and the process of transitioning, one especially mystifying notion is that this is somehow selfish or vain. This is a difficult accusation to counter, because the concepts of “selfishness” and “vanity” are slippery things. In common usage, whether something is seen as selfish or vain is …

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Sep 16 2012

Are they really religious? Yes!

Following widespread attacks and protests at US embassies in the Middle East in reaction to a film insulting Islam, several people have linked to a story from February by Egyptian author Alaa Al Aswany. In the article, titled “Are They Really Religious?”, Aswany criticizes Egyptian Muslims who follow the letter of their interpretation of Islamic …

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Jul 17 2012

Ethicists don’t necessarily know what they’re talking about

Purdue Pharma is currently running trials of the opioid painkiller OxyContin on 150 patients aged 6 to 16, after previously discontinuing expensive youth trials in order to redirect their resources to developing an abuse-resistant form of the drug. All of these children were already on other opioid painkillers to manage pain from cancer, severe burns and …

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Jun 29 2012

Actually, the recognition of circumcision as child abuse is a long-overdue ethical insight

Following a German court’s ruling that the circumcision of male infants constitutes a violation of child’s right to bodily integrity, The Telegraph’s Brendan O’Neill has mounted a particularly vacuous defense of the practice. As he sees it, “The rebranding of circumcision as ‘child abuse’ echoes the ugly anti-Semitism of medieval Europe” – yet he somehow …

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