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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Alfie Evans: Please, just stop.

Last summer, as the Charlie Gard saga was unfolding, was a slightly strange time to be a bioethicist.  Perhaps fortuitously, I was out of the country as matters began to gather pace; I was able to post a couple of blog posts (like this and this), but could generally keep my head down until I’d […]

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A Quick Question about Conscientious Objection

Baroness O’Loan’s Conscientious Objection Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords yesterday.  It’s only short, but there’s a part of it that I find a little perplexing. Section 1(1) says that No medical practitioner with a conscientious objection to participating in— (a)  the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment; (b)  any activity under the […]

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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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There’s a New Declaration of Geneva!

Contain your excitement if you can… The World Medical Association has issued its latest version of the Declaration of Geneva.  (h/t to Mark Rapa for bringing this to my attention.)  This is apparently something that it does every decade, tinkering with phrasing as it sees fit. So, then: what does it say?  Well, for my […]

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“Top of the Lake” may Sink as a Procedural, but Look Beneath the Surface

A couple of weeks ago, BioNews invited me to review Top of the Lake; but since it’s relevant to the kinds of things that appear in the JME, I thought I’d repost it here. There’s a moment in the final episode of this second series of Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake where Nicole Kidman’s character […]

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Charlie Gard: An Ethical Analysis of a Legal Non-Problem

(Cross-posted from EJIL: Talk!) For those with an internet connection and an interest in current affairs, the story of Charlie Gard been hard to avoid recently.  A decent précis is available here; but it’s worth rehearsing. Shortly after his birth, Charlie’s health began to deteriorate, and he was diagnosed with a terminal and incurable mitochondrial […]

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What’s the Point of Professional Ethical Codes?

For a few reasons, I’ve been thinking a bit over the last few months about professionalism and professional codes.  In fact, that’s the topic that’s attracted most of my attention here since… oooh, ages ago.  I find the idea of a code of professional ethics troubling in many ways, but also fascinating.  And one of […]

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