The Children Missing from Nelson’s Column

There’s a cliché that says that hard cases make bad law.  Truth be told, there’s a whole list of things that make, or make for, bad law.  Highly visible public protests make for bad law.  Lack of measured thought makes for bad law.  Journalistic pressure makes for bad law.  And anything – anything – that […]

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Toby Young, Eugenics, IQ, and the Poor (part 2)

Having staked out the claim in my last post that even if Toby Young’s claims about intelligence and embryo selection in his essay are eugenic, that’s not the end of the moral argument, I’m now going to have a quick look at the reasons why I think his claim does fail.  The roots of the failure […]

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Toby Young, Eugenics, IQ, and the Poor (part 1)

The response to Toby Young’s appointment to the new Office for Students has covered the whole range from “He’s not the best person for the job” to “He’s the worst person for the job”.  Some of the reasons offered have to do with unsavoury comments about women; some have to do with his general lack […]

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New Scientist is Not Amused

You might remember the couple of days a few years ago in which the overlyhonestmethods hashtag went viral on Twitter: for those of you who don’t, it was a little joke in which academics – mainly, I think, natural scientists – made not-entirely-serious “confessions” about how they do their work and the corners they might […]

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Donald Trump’s Mental Health (again)

The speculation about Donald Trump’s mental health that was doing the rounds earlier in the year seems to have died down a bit.  That’s to be expected; like it or not, his Presidency is now part of normal life.  But I’ve been lagging in my blogging here, and so it’s only now that I’ve got […]

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Professionalism, or Prying?

“Professionalism” is a funny thing.  About this time last year, I was struggling to get a new course written for the coming semester; it was on professional ethics for lawyers.  A colleague made a comment along the lines that I must be spending a lot of time looking at the professional codes; I replied that […]

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Enhancement as Nothing More than Advantageous Bodily and Mental States

Guest Post by Hazem Zohny Some bodily and mental states are advantageous: a strong immune system, a sharp mind, strength.  These are advantageous precisely because, in most contexts, they are likely to increase your chances of leading a good life.  In contrast, disadvantageous states – e.g. the loss of a limb, a sense, or the […]

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Healthcare Ethics Consultants’ Place in the World of Health Care ‘Professionals’

Guest Post by Abraham Schwab During a recent meeting at a local hospital, I was asked what role a good Healthcare Ethics Consultant should play.  I gave a more ambiguous answer than I would like.  I pointed out that Healthcare Ethics Consultants can help patients, providers, and administrators come to a common understanding of the values […]

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Autism, Mental Illness, Euthanasia and the WaPo

There was a piece in the Washington Post the other day with a striking headline: Where the Prescription for Autism can be Death. Normally, if we’re saying that the prescription for x is y, we mean to say that y is being suggested as a treatment for x.  Painkillers are the prescription for a bad back, a steroid cream the prescription […]

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Here’s an intriguing letter from one John Doherty, published in the BMJ yesterday: Medical titles may well reinforce a clinical hierarchy and inculcate deference in Florida, as Kennedy writes, but such constructs are culture bound. When I worked in outback Australia the patients called me “Mate,” which is what I called them. They still wanted me to be in […]

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