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Posted by on Nov 4, 2016 | 1 comment

Do Doctors Need Consciences?

Do Doctors Need Consciences?

Should medical professionals have consciences? A recent statement by a group of bioethicists suggests we might be better off if they didn’t. In their words, “The status quo regarding conscientious objection in healthcare in the UK and several other modern Western countries is indefensible.”[1] Instead, the bioethicists recommend 10 ethical guidelines for conscientious objection, including the following: Healthcare practitioners’ primary obligations are towards their patients, not towards their own personal conscience. When the patient’s wellbeing (or best interest, or health) is at stake, healthcare practitioners’ professional obligations should normally take priority over their personal moral or religious views. In the event of a conflict between practitioners’ conscience and a patient’s desire for a legal, professionally sanctioned medical service, healthcare practitioners should always ensure that patients receive timely medical care. … In emergency situations, when referral is not possible, or when it poses too great a burden on patients or on the healthcare system, health practitioners should perform the treatment themselves. Although it is short and underdeveloped, the statement contains...

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Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 | 4 comments

Does Ethics Need God? Hell, Monsters, and Nihilism in William Lane Craig’s Apologetics

Does Ethics Need God? Hell, Monsters, and Nihilism in William Lane Craig’s Apologetics

This is the second guest post written by Michael, friend of Many Horizons. His first post can be found here. The question of whether morality depends on belief in God often arises in debates between Christians and atheists. For popular Christian apologist William Lane Craig, the answer is simple: “if God does not exist, then morality is just a human convention … subjective and non-binding.”[1] Craig then proceeds to argue that if we want an objective morality, we need to believe in God. But although I appreciate his motives, I am concerned by how Craig uses hell, monsters, and nihilism to make his argument. First, Craig discreetly mentions that belief in God ensures “evil and wrong will be punished.” That is, because those who do evil may escape worldly justice, only the threat of divine justice can deter wrongdoing. But even for Christians, this is the wrong motivation. In Augustine’s words, “the man who only fears the flames of hell is afraid not of sinning, but of being burned.”[2] In...

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Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 | 3 comments

Zizek, Enjoyment, and the Atheist Bus Campaign

Zizek, Enjoyment, and the Atheist Bus Campaign

Along with his penchant for dirty jokes and obsession with American movies, philosopher Slavoj Zizek’s willingness to discuss trivia such as national differences in toilet design is easily mocked. But Zizek’s interest in everyday details is part of his unique gift to communicate Marxist philosophy and Lacanian psychoanalysis to a popular audience. Zizek is therefore the perfect guide to help us interpret the recent atheist bus campaign. Running on buses worldwide, the advertisements carry a slogan penned by U.K. comedy writer Ariane Sherine: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” What is of interest here is not the premise – “There’s probably no God” – which is of course the obvious point of the campaign, and functions as an intervention in an established public debate about the existence of a being with a certain name and qualities. Rather, the ideological key of the slogan is the second sentence: “Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” These words can be read in a modest way as...

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