Category Archives: ethics

Baptist leader tells us that God doesn’t want us to sacrifice the old

Here we have the New York Times once again pandering to religion, publishing an article that says we should help save lives, including the lives of the elderly, not because of humanistic values, but because God says so.  The author, Russell Moore, is described as “the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern […]

Peter Singer deplatformed in New Zealand for his stand on euthanasia of newborns

It seems to me that an enlightened philosophy would allow people to be able to end their lives in a humane way if they’ve undergone proper medical and psychiatric vetting. Some form of this “assisted suicide” is already legal in Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Colombia, Switzerland, Victoria in Australia, and and in some states […]

Misplaced priorities: Trump administration cuts back on medical research using fetal tissue to please anti-abortionists

So much for Republicans and conservatives valuing the sanctity of life! They’d would prefer to have fetal tissue—derived from abortions—destroyed than to be used for medical research that could save lives. Use of tissue: possible saving of lives. Destruction of tissue: no saving of lives. Trump administration decision: Destroy the tissue. Such is the cockeyed […]

Can Islamic theology and philosophy inform the ethical debate about CRISPR?

I was appalled to see a letter to the editor in Nature written by three authors, from, respectively the Jordan University of Science and Technology (Irbid, Jordan), Hashemite University (Zarqa, Jordan), and the University of California at San Diego. You can click the link above or the screenshots below to see the title, authors, and […]

Kristel Clayville, who refuses to donate her organs out of Social Justice, responds to criticism

Kristel Clayville is a visiting assistant professor of religion at Eureka College, a fellow at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago, as well as as an ordained minister in the Disciples of Christ branch of the Christian Church.  Yet with all of those credentials (most especially her status as […]

David Barash urges scientists to make human-chimp hybrids

Well, this is about as bad an idea I can imagine coming from a biologist, and its justification is equally poor.  The idea is to make human/chimp hybrids (“humanzees”), in the hope that their existence will convince people that Homo sapiens is not a separate, created entity, but is part of an evolutionary continuum not […]

The serious stuff: autonomous weapons

by Matthew Cobb Not really the usual WEIT fare, and certainly not what I normally post here, but I feel it is pretty important. This is a 7 minute video, ‘Slaughterbots’, about autonomous weapons and what the future could hold. Watch it and be chilled. The video was made by the Campaign to Stop Killer […]

Opponents of euthanizing newborns write in with strong opinions

Six days ago I wrote a post, based on a New York Times piece, arguing that the parents of newborns who were doomed to die, who had a “hopeless prognosis” involving unbearable suffering, or who would have to live their lives wedded to intensive care and respirators, should have the legal right—with appropriate ethical strictures […]

A new book on CRISPR, gene editing, and their ethical implications

Word on the street is that the book shown below, by Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg, is very good (it’s out on June 13; click on screenshot to go to Amazon link). You may have heard of Berkeley professor Jennifer Doudna, one of the pioneers in using the new CRISPR technique to genetically edit cells—”genome editing”; […]

Peter Singer’s new books on ethics

Peter Singer’s new book on ethics, a series of short essays about real-world ethical issues, came out September 13 (Princeton University Press), and already it’s Amazon’s #1 release in “Philosophy of Ethics and Morality”. I’ll be reading it for sure, as Singer is one philosopher who has something to say about how real people live […]