Should Doctors Perform “Minor” Forms of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a Compromise to Respect Culture?

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp), with a separate guest post by Robert Darby A small surgical “nick” to a girl’s clitoris or other purportedly minimalist procedures on the vulvae of young women and girls should be legally permitted, argue two gynecologists this week in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Their proposal is offered as a “compromise” […]

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The Unbearable Asymmetry of Bullshit

By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp) * Note: this article was first published online at Quillette magazine. The official version is forthcoming in the HealthWatch Newsletter; see http://www.healthwatch-uk.org/. Introduction Science and medicine have done a lot for the world. Diseases have been eradicated, rockets have been sent to the moon, and convincing, causal explanations have been given for a whole range […]

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Controversial Views on “FGM”

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp), with a separate guest post by Matthew Johnson Even the term is controversial. Female genital mutilation/FGM? Many women from societies that practice such traditional initiation rites find the term offensive. Female genital alteration? But that could refer to a wide range of procedures, including some that might be medically advised. Female […]

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A Moral Imperative to Pursue Gene Editing Research?

A moral imperative to pursue gene editing research? The bioethicist Erik Parens has recently asked whether parents can be trusted with gene-editing technology, in a thought-provoking essay published in Aeon magazine. To set the stage, he writes that: “In April 2015, in the pages of Science, a group of prominent scientists and ethicists announced the […]

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Should Doctors Strike?

  Should doctors strike? Is it ethical for doctors to go on strike, potentially putting their patients at risk of getting inadequate treatment? As the BBC reports, ministers and junior doctors are currently “locked in a dispute.” One possible outcome of this disagreement is a physicians’ strike, which raises a number of tricky ethical questions. […]

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1 in 4 Women: How the Latest Sexual Assault Statistics Were Turned into Click Bait by the New York Times

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp) * Note: this article was originally published at the Huffington Post. Introduction As someone who has worked on college campuses to educate men and women about sexual assault and consent, I have seen the barriers to raising awareness and changing attitudes. Chief among them, in my experience, is a sense of skepticism–especially […]

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Psychology Is not in Crisis? Depends on What You Mean by “Crisis”

By Brian D. Earp @briandavidearp *Note that this article was originally published at the Huffington Post. Introduction In the New York Times yesterday, psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett argues that “Psychology Is Not in Crisis.” She is responding to the results of a large-scale initiative called the Reproducibility Project, published in Science magazine, which appeared to […]

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Prostitution, Harm, and Disability: Should Only People with Disabilities be Allowed to Pay for Sex?

By Brian D. Earp Introduction Is prostitution harmful? And if it is harmful, should it be illegal to buy (or sell) sexual services? And if so, should there ever be any exceptions? What about for people with certain disabilities—say—who might find it difficult or even impossible to find a sexual partner if they weren’t allowed […]

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How Can Journal Editors Fight Bias in Polarized Scientific Communities?

By Brian D. Earp In a recent issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics, Thomas Ploug and Søren Holm point out that scientific communities can sometimes get pretty polarized. This happens when two different groups of researchers consistently argue for (more or less) opposite positions on some hot-button empirical issue. The examples they give are: […]

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