Faculty bioethics day 2/2

II – Professionalism

“Not the casual observer: What happens when medical students encounter unethical conduct during clinical rotations?”
Maya Jaffer

This talk was given by a sixth year medical student who had an interest in bioethics. This talk talked about the ethical conduct of students and how it changed during their medical career and the possible reasons and responses to the situations. Continue reading


Faculty bioethics day 1/2

Early this week (correction: last week. I started writing this last week but forgot to update the wording) I attended the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Bioethics Day. I found the talks very interesting and, at times, confusing. I won’t deny that there were some points that I just did not understand but I at least take comfort in that many other people, I think all my academic seniors, seemed just as confused. There were four talks in three sections, namely research ethics, professionalism and circumcision. I want to share, very briefly, what was said.

I was going to share everything in a single post but it’s actually quite a bit of effort writing everything up and I’ve been tired recently so I’ve broken it down a bit. I’ll post two talks now and the next two later. Continue reading

Quick link: Cetacean rights

I do have a proper post planned but I just haven’t had the energy to write it up yet. I don’t like leaving the blog empty for more than a few days at a time though so I’d like to share this story on wired, New Science Emboldens Long Shot Bid for Dolphin, Whale Rights. It looks at some attempts to give certain rights to dolphins and whales due to their intelligence, a topic I briefly mentioned when I made my post discussing animal intelligence.

Quick links: Aan and the Solanaceae

Solanum sisymbrifolium

When I was working at the Compton Herbarium I had the chance to see many different plants, some of which were particularly interesting. One of those was Solanum sisybrifolium, a type of nightshade, which caught my attention by having thorns on it’s leaves! 3quarksdaily has a post concerning the Solanaceae, the nightshade family, which has a wide variety of plants that includes both deadly poisons and hallucinogens to potatoes and tomatoes. It is well worth a read.

The second link (third really but one of the previous ones was just for further information) concerns Alexander Aan who most readers should remember as I’ve covered his story a number of times. He’s the Indonesian who posted “God doesn’t exist” on Facebook and was sentenced to 2,5 years in jail and fined approximately US$10 600. There is currently a petition to get President Obama to call for Aan’s release which needs 25 000 signatures. I think it’s only intended for Americans but my second highest number of hits is from the US so I think it’s worth linking to here.

Petition for personal autonomy in South Africa

Way back in my first blog post I tried to make the point that rights were something that could not be taken from you but which you could relinquish voluntarily. This was because although they are afforded to empower each individual to live their own life to force people to abide by certain rights when they do not want them actually undermines their entire purpose. There were a few possible cases which I had in mind when I wrote that and I want to say a little bit more about one of them today, the right for someone to choose when they want to end their life. Continue reading

The barbarity of religion

It is sad that so many people in the world grant religions a cloak of respectability which they just do not deserve. Whatever good they may provide through charity work or support systems is no doubt completely overshadowed by the harm they do in impeding education, preventing equal rights, stifling free expression and acts of cruelty to both humans and other animals.

The supposed good religions do through charity is vastly overestimated and in any case counteracted by their tax-exempt status in many parts of the world. The Council for Secular Humanism has a report containing an analysis of the charity of religions in the United States. Continue reading

Drug scourge

Building on my previous post regarding drugs I wrote a letter to the newspaper which was published this week. This post by Thomas Kleppestø shares some similar points and some new ones and may also be of interest to readers. The following is the letter I wrote which was published in the Southern Suburbs Tatler on 5 July 2012. Continue reading