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Angela Smith's Funny Tinge. | Practical Ethics
On a BBC politics program, she described people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as having a “funny tinge”. Angela Smith’s remark was widely condemned. Of course, such talk is unacceptable. However, it’s a mistake to condemn her on its basis.

When someone uses words like that, they may do so deliberately, and endorse the language. In such a case, we are entitled to make inferences about the person’s attitudes from her language. But that’s not what happened in this case. As soon as Smith heard the words leave her mouth, she changed tack. She knew immediately that she had made a gaffe and attempted to move on, apparently hoping it went unnoticed (that might have been a mistake).

Our gaffes need not reveal anything deep about ourselves.
racism  ethics  language  dccomment 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
Hard Choices, Fredkin's Paradox and is Ethics a Waste of Time? | Practical Ethics
we might recognise that there is no objective stance from which to judge whether wit or kindness are preferable, and yet decide to commit ourselves to wit, and to choose Andy. In doing so, we effectively make a deliberate decision about who we are: we are the sort of people who choose wit over kindness....

Yet, if Chang is right, then we are failing to do justice to the nature of the values at stake in these decisions. Rather than recognise that we need to commit to a particular kind of qualitative value, we instead seek to maximise ‘value’ as a category in itself. One upshot of this would be the missed opportunity to make those commitments – and ‘constitute our wills’, in the lingo – through the process of actively choosing in cases of hard decisions. Another upshot might be a social failure, whereby we do not recognise that when others make hard choices, they are expressing commitments to particular values (rather than simply maximising expected utility)...

Chang gives us a way of seeing that, even when all our other reasons have run out, it still makes sense to deliberate hard and make an active choice (rather than surrendering to chance) in these hard choice cases. In doing so we acknowledge the specialness of the values at stake, be they the need to relieve suffering, or the commitment to supporting life, or the rights of parents over their children’s treatment, or the trust in medical expertise. We consider how all of these different values are expressed in the different options available to us, and we make a commitment to care about some of them more than others. The options may be on a par, but that doesn’t stop us from choosing.
ethics  philosophy  psychology 
december 2018 by juliusbeezer
Asking the Right Questions About AI – Yonatan Zunger – Medium
“Three white teenagers” turned up stock photography of attractive, athletic teens; “three black teenagers” turned up mug shots, from news stories about three black teenagers being arrested. (Nowadays, either search mostly turns up news stories about this event)

What happened here wasn’t a bias in Google’s algorithms: it was a bias in the underlying data. This particular bias was a combination of “invisible whiteness” and media bias in reporting: if three white teenagers are arrested for a crime, not only are news media much less likely to show their mug shots, but they’re less likely to refer to them as “white teenagers.” In fact, nearly the only time groups of teenagers were explicitly labeled as being “white” was in stock photography catalogues. But if three black teenagers are arrested, you can count on that phrase showing up a lot in the press coverage.
photography  ethics  coding  google  machine_learning 
february 2018 by juliusbeezer
Can we trust research in science and medicine? | Practical Ethics
Readers of the Practical Ethics Blog might be interested in this series of short videos in which I discuss some of the major ongoing problems with research ethics and publication integrity in science and medicine. How much of the published literature is trustworthy? Why is peer review such a poor quality control mechanism? How can we judge whether someone is really an expert in a scientific area? What happens when empirical research gets polarized? Most of these are short – just a few minutes. Links below:
medicine  ethics  video 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
Why vegetarians should be prepared to bend their own rules | Practical Ethics
It’s a common enough scenario. A vegetarian has been invited to a friend’s place for dinner. The host forgets that the guest is a vegetarian, and places a pork chop in front of her. What is she to do? Probably her initial feelings will be disgust and repulsion. Vegetarians often develop these sorts of attitudes towards meat-based food, making it easier for them to be absolutists about shunning meat.
food  ethics  sociology  social 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
One man's mathematical formula for happiness | The Independent
one man says he has come up with a mathematical solution. Mo Gawdat was miserable for several years in his twenties and thirties despite his high-flying job, income and happy family unit. Determined to turn this around Gawdat, an engineer by trade who is now an executive at Google, formulated an equation for happiness.

A couple of years later, he put this to the test when his 21-year-old son Ali died unexpectedly in what should have been a routine operation.

He has now shared the secrets to his formula for being happy – no matter what life throws at you – in his new book Solve For Happy...

Due to the circumstances of Ali’s death, senior officials in Dubai that Gawdat knew asked if he would mind them requesting an autopsy...

“Nibet said in her own very wise way, as always, ‘Will it bring Ali back?’’ This question came four hours later [after Ali’s death] and we were completely anchored in reality.

(via siobhan on fb, dccomment:

"The speaker is Mo Gawdat. Hmm. He's right in a way of course, though it is a potentially conservative (with a small 'c') philosophy. Should we be happy with the world as it is? According to the Independent his "21-year-old son Ali died unexpectedly in what should have been a routine operation"; should his son's surgeon share this philosophy?")

Gawdat's book reportèdly promotes "intelligent design" over naturalism. Hmm.
google  psychology  medicine  ethics  philosophy 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
Ten simple rules for responsible big data research
The beneficial possibilities for big data in science and industry are tempered by new challenges facing researchers that often lie outside their training and comfort zone. Social scientists now grapple with data structures and cloud computing, while computer scientists must contend with human subject protocols and institutional review boards (IRBs). While the connection between individual datum and actual human beings can appear quite abstract, the scope, scale, and complexity of many forms of big data creates a rich ecosystem in which human participants and their communities are deeply embedded and susceptible to harm. This complexity challenges any normative set of rules and makes devising universal guidelines difficult.
opendata  sciencepublishing  ethics  research  privacy 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
ACLU Sues For Release Of Justice Department Ethics Report On "Torture Memo" Lawyers | American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit today to compel the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make public a report from the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) that examines possible ethics violations by the lawyers who wrote the Bush administration’s “torture memos.” The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in December seeking the release of the report, which Attorney General Eric Holder said in late November would be released imminently.
us  torture  law  ethics 
february 2017 by juliusbeezer
Infographics | ORI - The Office of Research Integrity
The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has developed a series infographics addressing the Responsible Conduct of Research and the handling of research misconduct. These infographics can be used by RCR instructors and Research Integrity Officers (RIOs) to help educate the community on research integrity topics. ORI encourages the sharing and distribution of these resources with colleagues.
research  ethics  misconduct 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
Self-driving cars don't care about your moral dilemmas | Technology | The Guardian
But to engineers at X, the Google sibling which is leading the charge to develop fully self-driving cars, the questions aren’t as interesting as they sound. “We love talking about the trolley problem”, joked Andrew Chatham, a principal engineer on the project.

“The main thing to keep in mind is that we have yet to encounter one of these problems,” he said. “In all of our journeys, we have never been in a situation where you have to pick between the baby stroller or the grandmother. Even if we did see a scenario like that, usually that would mean you made a mistake a couple of seconds earlier. And so as a moral software engineer coming into work in the office, if I want to save lives, my goal is to prevent us from getting in that situation, because that implies that we screwed up.

“It takes some of the intellectual intrigue out of the problem, but the answer is almost always ‘slam on the brakes’,” he added. “You’re much more confident about things directly in front of you, just because of how the system works, but also your control is much more precise by slamming on the brakes than trying to swerve into anything. So it would need to be a pretty extreme situation before that becomes anything other than the correct answer.”
driverless  ethics 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
The Grad Student Who Never Said "No" - Healthier & Happier
When she arrived, I gave her a data set of a self-funded, failed study which had null results (it was a one month study in an all-you-can-eat Italian restaurant buffet where we had charged some people ½ as much as others). I said, "This cost us a lot of time and our own money to collect. There's got to be something here we can salvage because it's a cool (rich & unique) data set." I had three ideas for potential Plan B, C, & D directions (since Plan A had failed). I told her what the analyses should be and what the tables should look like. I then asked her if she wanted to do them...

Sigirci, Ozge, Marc Rockmore, and Brian Wansink (2016), “How Traumatic Violence Permanently Changes Shopping Behavior,” Frontiers in Psychology, 7:1298. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01298.
Siğirci, Ozge and Brian Wansink (2015), “Low Prices and High Regret: How Pricing Influences Regret at All-You-Can-Eat Buffets,” BMC Nutrition, 1:36, 1-5, doi:10.1186/s40795-015-0030-x.
Kniffin, Kevin, Ozge Sigirci and Brian Wansink (2015), “Eating Heavily: Men Eat More in the Company of Women,” Evolutionary Psychological Science, 1-9. doi: 10.1007/s40806-015-0035-3.
Just, David R., Ozge Siğirci, and Brian Wansink (2015), “Peak-end Pizza: Prices Delay Evaluations of Quality,” Journal of Product & Brand Management, 24:7, 770-778, doi:10.1108/jpbm01-2015-0802.​
Just, David R., Ozge Sigirci, and Brian Wansink (2014), “Lower Buffet Prices Lead to Less Taste Satisfaction,” Journal of Sensory Studies, 29:362-370.
statistics  research  ethics  commenting  sciencepublishing  scholarly 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
No one should be diagnosed at a distance – even Donald Trump | Hannah Jane Parkinson | Opinion | The Guardian
Today, that article might have been “10 reasons why Barry Goldwater is too crazy for the Oval Office”. Then it was “The unconscious of a conservative: a special issue on the mind of Barry Goldwater”. The case led to the establishment of a 1973 edict (Section 7.3) that psychiatrists should not diagnose individuals they have not personally treated. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) sets out the Goldwater rule thus: “On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorisation for such a statement.”
psychology  journalism  medicine  privacy  ethics 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
Programmers confess unethical, illegal tasks asked of them - Business Insider
He cited Volkswagen America's CEO, Michael Horn, who at first blamed software engineers for the company's emissions cheating scandal during a Congressional hearing, claimed the coders had acted on their own "for whatever reason." Horn later resigned after US prosecutors accused the company of making this decision at the highest levels and then trying to cover it up.

"Uncle" Bob Martin YouTube/Expert Talks Mobile

But Martin pointed out, "The weird thing is, it was software developers who wrote that code. It was us. Some programmers wrote cheating code. Do you think they knew? I think they probably knew."
software  coding  pollution  ethics  business 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
The influential Confucian philosopher you’ve never heard of | Aeon Essays
This thought experiment was formulated by the ancient Confucian Mengzi, the most influential philosopher in world history whom you have probably never heard of. He uses it to argue that, contrary to egoists, and to those who believe that human psychology is a tabula rasa, human nature is hard-wired with an incipient tendency toward compassion for the suffering of others.

Although Mengzi was born long after Confucius died, he is referred to as the ‘Second Sage’ because he shaped the form that Confucianism would take for the next two millennia, not just in China, but also in Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Also known as ‘Mencius’ (the Latinisation of his name given by early Jesuit missionaries), Mengzi is attracting renewed interest among Western philosophers. Not only does Mengzi provide an intriguing alternative to Aristotelian accounts of the virtues and their cultivation, but his claims about human nature are supported by recent empirical research.
philosophy  ethics  psychology 
october 2016 by juliusbeezer
Autonomous Mercedes to Put Occupant Safety Topmost – News – Car and Driver | Car and Driver Blog
The world’s oldest carmaker no longer sees the problem, similar to the question from 1967 known as the Trolley Problem, as unanswerable. Rather than tying itself into moral and ethical knots in a crisis, Mercedes-Benz simply intends to program its self-driving cars to save the people inside the car. Every time.

All of Mercedes-Benz’s future Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous cars will prioritize saving the people they carry, according to Christoph von Hugo, the automaker’s manager of driver assistance systems and active safety.
driverless  driving  road_safety  ethics 
october 2016 by juliusbeezer
Exclusive: World’s first baby born with new “3 parent” technique | New Scientist
Zhang has been working on a way to avoid mitochondrial disease using a so-called “three-parent” technique. In theory, there are a few ways of doing this. The method approved in the UK is called pronuclear transfer and involves fertilising both the mother’s egg and a donor egg with the father’s sperm. Before the fertilised eggs start dividing into early-stage embryos, each nucleus is removed. The nucleus from the donor’s fertilised egg is discarded and replaced by that from the mother’s fertilised egg.

But this technique wasn’t appropriate for the couple – as Muslims, they were opposed to the destruction of two embryos. So Zhang took a different approach, called spindle nuclear transfer. He removed the nucleus from one of the mother’s eggs and inserted it into a donor egg that had had its own nucleus removed. The resulting egg – with nuclear DNA from the mother and mitochondrial DNA from a donor – was then fertilised with the father’s sperm...

Neither method has been approved in the US, so Zhang went to Mexico instead, where he says “there are no rules”. He is adamant that he made the right choice.
genetics  medicine  ethics  mexico  us  uk 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
The Tale of the Ethical Neonatologist – And Why There Shouldn’t Be a Legal Right of Conscientious Objection | Practical Ethics
If, and only if, the patient is not affected by conscientious objection in that institution: if they can see a doctor in a timely fashion and without humiliation, delay, or misinformation, who will give them their legal treatment, which they competently believe is in their best interests, then it would be reasonable for an institution to allow its medical workforce to choose which treatments they offer. However, if, as is all too often the case, conscientious objection in practice leads to patients being denied such treatments, refused them, or struggling to understand whether or not they are ultimately allowed such a treatment, the patient should be prioritized. For example, in Italy, 70-80% gynaecologists – the only health professionals authorized to perform abortions – are conscientious objectors.
medicine  ethics 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
The unbearable asymmetry of bullshit | Practical Ethics
When I say bullshit, I mean arguments, data, publications, or even the official policies of scientific organizations that give every impression of being perfectly reasonable — of being well-supported by the highest quality of evidence, and so forth — but which don’t hold up when you scrutinize the details. Bullshit has the veneer of truth-like plausibility. It looks good. It sounds right. But when you get right down to it, it stinks.

There are many ways to produce scientific bullshit. One way is to assert that something has been “proven,” “shown,” or “found” and then cite, in support of this assertion, a study that has actually been heavily critiqued (fairly and in good faith, let us say, although that is not always the case, as we soon shall see) without acknowledging any of the published criticisms of the study or otherwise grappling with its inherent limitations.

Another way is to refer to evidence as being of “high quality” simply because it comes from an in-principle relatively strong study design, like a randomized control trial, without checking the specific materials that were used in the study to confirm that they were fit for purpose...
As the programmer Alberto Brandolini is reputed to have said: “The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.” This is the unbearable asymmetry of bullshit I mentioned in my title, and it poses a serious problem for research integrity. Developing a strategy for overcoming it, I suggest, should be a top priority for publication ethics.
philosophy  ethics  attention  science  agnotology  dccomment 
february 2016 by juliusbeezer
Why It's OK to Block Ads | Practical Ethics
What I find remarkable is the way both sides of this debate seem to simply assume the large-scale capture and exploitation of human attention to be ethical and/or inevitable in the first place. This demonstrates how utterly we have all failed to understand the role of attention in the digital age—as well as the implications of spending most of our lives in an environment designed to compete for it.

In the 1970’s, Herbert Simon pointed out that when information becomes abundant, attention becomes the scarce resource. In the digital age, we’re living through the pendulum swing of that reversal—yet we consistently overlook its implications.
attention  ethics  internet 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
Too much of a good thing? An observational study of prolific authors [PeerJ]
While special techniques are currently required to analyse the output of all biomedical researchers, and thus get information about normal and abnormal productivity, it is straightforward to assess the output of a small number of individuals and to validate this manually. We therefore suggest that institutions and funders should be alert to the possibility of excessive authorship. One simple technique would be to require job or research funding applicants to include a total publication count in their application or CV. Spotting or verifying over-prolific authors should become easier in future if journals and databases adopt researcher identification systems such as ORCID ( rather than relying simply on author names for identification. Although the absolute number of highly prolific authors in each field is probably small, asking researchers to justify their authorship, if there are any suspicions, shows that institutions take research integrity seriously. Abusive authorship patterns, such as senior figures who demand to be listed on publications despite having had little or no involvement in research are well documented (Kwok, 2005) and can have damaging effects on junior researchers because they send a signal that honest authorship is unimportant.
scholarly  ethics  sciencepublishing  authorship 
august 2015 by juliusbeezer
The Tunnel Problem | Practical Ethics
If you read between the lines, Jason Miller is simply advocating that owners of driverless cars should be allowed to override the manufacturers safety settings, for their own benefit. Technically that is indeed an ethical issue, and he has framed it to resemble a classic ‘ethical dilemma’ such as the Trolley Problem, and he presents it an issue of freedom of choice with respect to moral intuitions. But in the real world it is simply a political demand to privilege the owners of driverless cars, at the expense of other road users.
ethics  driving  robotics  politics  road_safety  commenting 
august 2015 by juliusbeezer
'It's problematic': inventor of US lethal injection reveals death penalty doubts | World news | The Guardian
Dr Jay Chapman, the pathologist who invented the lethal injection that has been the dominant execution protocol in the US for 40 years, says he has growing doubts about the death penalty in the wake of mounting evidence of wrongful convictions...

Chapman, 75, said that he had revised his view of capital punishment despite having been the architect of the lethal injection in 1977.

Chapman’s own association with America’s modern way of executions came about almost by chance – as he is keen to emphasise, never having wanted to be labelled as the “father of the lethal injection”. It was 1977, and Gary Gilmore had just volunteered to be the first person to be executed in America after a lengthy moratorium imposed by the US supreme court.

Gilmore’s execution sparked a debate that fanned out to other states including Oklahoma where Chapman was asked by a legislator to come up with a more humane method than either the firing squad – which Gilmore had opted for – or the electric chair used previously in Oklahoma.
death_penalty  medicine  ethics 
may 2015 by juliusbeezer
Philosophy, et cetera: Questioning Moral Equality
Suppose Gandhi and Hitler are both dying in agony before you, and you have but a single dose of pain-relief you can administer. Is it really plausible that you should flip a coin to decide who to help? Surely the fact that Gandhi was (let's suppose for sake of argument!) an all-things-considered good guy, whereas Hitler was a vicious monster, gives us reason to prefer to help the former.
philosophy  ethics  medicine  dccomment 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
Physician guidelines for Googling patients need revisions -- ScienceDaily
in what circumstances is it appropriate for a doctor to research a patient using online search engines?

"Googling a patient can undermine the trust between a patient and his or her provider, but in some cases it might be ethically justified," Baker says. "Healthcare providers need guidance on when they should do it and how they should deal with what they learn."

With regard to future guidelines, Baker and her co-authors suggest 10 situations that may justify patient-targeted Googling:
medicine  ethics  search  google  confidentiality 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
JAMA Network | JAMA | Ethical Implications of Patients and Families Secretly Recording Conversations With Physicians
With recent advances in technology, smartphones can become recording devices with the touch of a button. This technological capability gives patients and their families the ability to easily and surreptitiously record conversations with physicians. The frequency of such recordings or whether they even occur is unknown. The ubiquity of smartphones, however, suggests the potential for secret recordings to occur. As of January 2014, 58% of Americans owned a smartphone, including 83% of young adults.1 Although recording conversations with physicians may provide some benefit for patients and their families, secret recordings can undermine patient-physician relationships and ultimately affect the provision of health care.
medicine  ethics  privacy  confidentiality  gronkulation  technology  internet 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics: May the state limit the free speech of individuals who advocate against vaccines intended to combat infectious disease? by Miles Unterreiner | Practical Ethics
Interestingly wrong-headed philosophizing for Oxford prize in practical ethics:
"But there are clearly at least some cases in which speech acts can be considered to cause harm, and in which the speaker may be rightly held responsible for the harm thus caused."
Features all the things that give philosophy a bad name: disappearing off on a beautifully argued tangent that ignores the main issue; bizarre thought experiments; equivocal ending.
ethics  philosophy  vaccines  dccomment 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
Rethinking One of Psychology's Most Infamous Experiments - The Atlantic
Research is done, becomes famous, but then can never be repeated for ethical reasons:

"Australian author and psychologist Gina Perry, who documented her experience tracking down Milgram’s research participants in her 2013 book Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments. Her project began as an effort to write about the experiments from the perspective of the participants—but when she went back through the archives to confirm some of their stories, she said, she found some glaring issues with Milgram’s data. Among her accusations: that the supervisors went off script in their prods to the teachers, that some of the volunteers were aware that the setup was a hoax, and that others weren’t debriefed on the whole thing until months later. “My main issue is that methodologically, there have been so many problems with Milgram’s research that we have to start re-examining the textbook descriptions of the research,” she said.

But many psychologists argue that even with methodological holes and moral lapses, the basic finding of Milgram’s work, the rate of obedience, still holds up. Because of the ethical challenge of reproducing the study, the idea survived for decades on a mix of good faith and partial replications"
psychology  authoritarianism  ethics  science  ebm  agnotology 
january 2015 by juliusbeezer
Open Humans: Opening Soon!
The Open Humans Network, led by myself and Madeleine Ball of, attempts to break down health data silos through an online portal that will connect participants willing to share data about themselves publicly with researchers who are interested in using that public data and contributing their analyses and insight to it. The portal will showcase public health data and facilitate its exploration and download. The Open Humans Network ultimately hopes to revolutionize research by making it easy for anyone to participate in research projects and facilitating highly integrated, longitudinal health data. This portal will consist of three components: individual data profile pages, a public data explorer and a set of design guidelines for researchers seeking a collaborative data-sharing model.
open  opendata  openmedicine  healthcare  medicine  confidentiality  ethics  extrovertbias 
january 2015 by juliusbeezer
Review: The Great Transition - The New Paradigm
Here, I round up what I believe to be the five most significant ‘revolutions’ that constitute the positive components of this phase shift, and whose inexorable evolution and proliferation offer profound opportunities for systemic transformation that benefits humanity, and the planet: information, energy, food, finance and ethics.
food  energy  ethics  politics 
january 2015 by juliusbeezer
How Should Journal Editors Respond to Cases of Suspected Misconduct? | Wager | Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education
Journals may receive evidence of possible misconduct from a number of sources including peer reviewers, readers, and whistleblowers. Increasingly, journals also screen submissions for some forms of misconduct (most commonly plagiarism, redundant publication, and image manipulation) and must therefore react when problems are detected by these processes. Whatever the source, any evidence of possible misconduct should be taken seriously. However, allegations must be well grounded, and journals may choose not to respond to vague allegations or may require more concrete evidence to back them up before taking further action.
sciencepublishing  ethics  publishing  editing 
december 2014 by juliusbeezer
Rorschach and Awe | Vanity Fair
After a 10-month investigation comprising more than 70 interviews as well as a detailed review of public and confidential documents, I pieced together the account of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation that appears in this article. I also discovered that psychologists weren't merely complicit in America's aggressive new interrogation regime. Psychologists, working in secrecy, had actually designed the tactics and trained interrogators in them while on contract to the C.I.A.

Two psychologists in particular played a central role: James Elmer Mitchell, who was attached to the C.I.A. team that eventually arrived in Thailand, and his colleague Bruce Jessen. Neither served on the task force or are A.P.A. members. Both worked in a classified military training program known as sere
torture  psychology  ethics 
october 2014 by juliusbeezer
Blowing the Whistle on CIA Torture from Beyond the Grave - The Intercept
The APA in 2002 famously revised its ethics code to permit a psychologist to follow “governing legal authority” even if it clashed with the APA’s own code of ethics. It was, essentially, the Nuremberg Defense of “just following orders.” (In 2010 the APA definitively disavowed it.) As Risen writes, the 2002 change allowed psychologists to be involved in CIA and military interrogations, and “helped the lawyers in the Justice Department to argue that the enhanced interrogation program was legal because health professionals were monitoring the interrogations to make sure they stayed within the limits established by the Bush administration.”
ethics  philosophy  torture  psychology 
october 2014 by juliusbeezer
PubPeer - Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks
Facebook users are understandably upset that their emotional states were manipulated without their consent. Obviously certain experimental designs preclude, or even necessitate, that researchers forego consent. This study may be one such example, however I'm concerned that certain information about the ethical considerations, and some other details, are missing altogether from this manuscript. T
facebook  psychology  ethics 
july 2014 by juliusbeezer
Recursive Fury: Misunderstanding The Ethics of Criticism - Neuroskeptic |
This is the ethical frame of reference that most research psychologists operate in. But to apply this frame of reference to Recursive Fury is blinkered. RF just wasn’t that kind of study.

No-one entered into a relationship of trust with the authors. No-one had a right to privacy: no private information was involved. No subjects volunteered to participate in an experiment: there was no experiment. In fact, RF includes no mention of the term ‘subjects’ except in reference to other papers.

What the authors did was to take already published statements and interpret them. This makes all the difference. Once someone has published something, no-one needs any further permission in order to read it, quote it, criticize it and interpret it – within the law. Publication is consent for lawful discussion – this is an axiom of public debate, not just in science but elsewhere.
science  sciencepublishing  ethics  publishing 
june 2014 by juliusbeezer
What if schizophrenics really are possessed by demons, after all? | Practical Ethics
Irmak concludes that ‘it is time for medical professions to consider the possibility of demonic possession in the etiology of schizophrenia’ and that ‘it would be useful for medical professions to work together with faith healers to define better treatment pathways for schizophrenia’ (p. 776).

This is a dumbfounding argument, and it is shocking to find it published in a post-mediaeval peer-reviewed journal. Lest anyone suspect me of being unfairly prejudiced against the possibility of demons, let me point out that even those who subscribe to a demonic metaphysics should not be persuaded by Irmak’s argument. His observation that ‘there exist similarities between the clinical symptoms of schizophrenia and demonic possession’ is no more surprising than the observation that there exist similarities between financial compensation for childhood tooth loss and visits by the tooth fairy: in each case, the latter is a hypothesis motivated by a desire to explain the former.
censorship  dccomment  scholarly  ethics  religion  psychology 
june 2014 by juliusbeezer
Professional Secrecy : Until the Bitter End ?
The modern concept of professional secrecy appears in the Napoleonic Criminal Code of 1810; for the first time the law punishes violation of professional secrecy (Art 458): "Should physicians, surgeons, health officers, pharmacists, midwives, and all others who through their status or profession be in possession of information confided to them reveal such secrets, they shall be punished with imprisonment of 8 days to six months and a fine of 100 to 150 francs - unless called to testify as a witness in a court of law or compelled by a court or the law to divulge the secret ."
confidentiality  ethics 
june 2014 by juliusbeezer
Rédaction Médicale et Scientifique: Faut-il modifier les articles pouvant aider les terroristes ?
Les DURC (Dual Use Research of Concern) sont rares : trois cas du journal "Biosecurity and bioterrorism" ont été identifiées entre 2002 et 2008 ; sur 78 000 soumissions à Nature entre 2005 et 2008, 28 articles ont été considérés comme DUR, et zéro comme DURC. Une enquête sur 155 journaux a montré que 5,8 % avaient eu des manuscrits dits "DUR" en 5 ans..

Nightingale SL. Scientific publication and global security. JAMA 2011;306:545-546.
security  medicine  sciencepublishing  ethics  publishing 
april 2014 by juliusbeezer
The Apothecary Shoppe « LRB blog
Diski sees 'psychosis'; I see only ethical failure.
jbcomment  ethics  medicine  death_penalty 
february 2014 by juliusbeezer
Mistrials from Unqualified Legal Interpreters: A Canadian Look
What happens is a negative cycle, a sort of local quicksand: lack of awareness = lower perceived value of services = lower rates, with lower rates further contributing even worse perception of the service provided. It’s a downward spiral to cheaper, and cheaper rates, until the system is thrown into disrepair, much like an abandoned project/ghetto that no one really wants to patrol and repair, and only the minimal is achieved.

What we need for both the Interpretation AND the translation industry is an end-client education reform. What we need is a business model that enables going beyond local talent, a way to streamline, automate, and increase efficiency of all aspects of the localization business: testing, interviewing, accreditation, accredited continuing legal translation/interpretation education, scheduling, delivery.
translation  business  ethics  education  accountability 
december 2013 by juliusbeezer
Nazi anatomy history: The origins of conservatives’ anti-abortion claims that rape can’t cause pregnancy.
Their ages ranged from 18 to 68, with most of reproductive age. Two of the women were pregnant when they were killed. The majority were executed for political reasons. They came from Germany, for the most part, and seven other countries. Libertas Schulze-Boysen is No. 37 on Stieve’s list. Mildred Harnack is No. 87.
Red Orchestra member Mildred Fish Harnack, Counterintelligence Corps, Red Orchestra file, circa 1947. Mildred Harnack's Red Orchestra Counterintelligence Corps file, circa 1947

Courtesy of National Archives, College Park, Md.

Stieve published 230 anatomical papers. With the data he gathered pre-execution, as well as the tissues and organs he harvested and studied, he could chart the effect of an impending execution on ovulation. Stieve found that women living with a looming death sentence ovulated less predictably and sometimes experienced what he called “shock bleedings.”
ethics  medicine  science 
november 2013 by juliusbeezer
Who Owns You?: Philosophy and Public Policy: Metaphysics Matters!
At one of my recent talks, someone asked why in making my arguments I relied on ontology rather than ethics. My response was that courts are typically unmoved by ethics. This may be suprising, but it is true. The Court's decision in Myriad is about the nature of the underlying objects, not about what is right or wrong. Perhaps there is an ethical dimension to the general prohibition against patenting abstract ideas, natural phenomena, and laws of nature. Or perhaps not. Perhaps this restriction is about the nature of the objects too, as I have claimed when I argue they are simply materially and logically (and thus maybe also ethically) "unencloseable." But the Court's decision is guided, whether knowingly or not, but an ontology, and one which is coherent if understood as I am describing it. It provides guidance for those who conduct basic research, and those who wish to commercialize inventions. It offers some clarity where the law had deviated from logic.
philosophy  law  ethics  ontology  genetics  politics 
june 2013 by juliusbeezer
The Permissibility of Refusing the MMR Vaccine and the Issue of Blame | Practical Ethics
this isn’t really an ethical question, but an epistemological one, because I don’t doubt that just about every parent has the best interests of their child at heart. But who to believe? And what to do? You allude to this difficulty in your final paragraph, but for me it is the heart of the issue.
dccomment  philosophy  ethics  medicine  vaccines 
june 2013 by juliusbeezer
Podcast: David Nutt, 'The current laws on drugs and alcohol – ineffective, dishonest and unethical?' | Practical Ethics
the law to control drug use is long established, it remains unproven in efficacy. Although seemingly obvious that legal interdictions should work there is little evidence to support this assertion.
drugs  law  ethics  uk 
june 2013 by juliusbeezer
Translator: Toyota Misled Regulators And Public On Sudden Acceleration | The Legal Examiner Kansas City
David Hechler at's Corporate Counsel web site wrote today about freelance translator Betsy Benjamison who says the documents she reviewed showed Toyota was hiding evidence of its sudden acceleration defects from federal safety regulators and the public. You should click over to Hechler's article - it's a very good read - but I'll summarize a few of the highlights.

Benjamison worked for several agencies translating Toyota documents from Japanese to English. The Toyota documents she reviewed proved so troubling that Benjamison turned the documents - many marked "secret" and "confidential" - over to Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). Benjamison went public because lives were at stake and "the corporate PR megaphone has completely drowned out the victims."

Many of the emails and documents showed that Toyota knew about its sudden acceleration problems despite its protests that it had "done extensive testing on this system, and we have never found a malfunction that caused unintended acceleration."
translation  ethics  law 
march 2013 by juliusbeezer
Strategic MedComms Forum 2011 part 1: marketing and data sharing
For me, the most serious one is the ethical issue of consent and patient confidentiality. Clearly, no-one would release raw data that included patient names. However, I don’t think it’s safe to assume that simply omitting names removes all problems of confidentiality. It would often not be impossible to identify an individual patient if you knew their age, sex, diagnosis, and which hospital was treating them: all data that are likely to be easily available if raw data are released. To release such raw data without patients’ explicit consent would therefore be ethically questionable.

This is, in principle, an easy problem to solve: when writing consent documents for clinical trials, a paragraph could be added to explain the intention to share the data from the trial, and patients’ explicit consent could be requested.
privacy  ethics  science  database  sciencepublishing 
november 2012 by juliusbeezer
Breast Cancer | John Goodman's Health Policy Blog |
A National Health Service (NHS) survey of 500 senior hospital doctors found that 41 percent had private insurance in 2006. The fraction rose to 55 percent in 2007
politics  medicine  ethics 
march 2012 by juliusbeezer
Equipoise, design bias, and randomized controlled trials: the elusive ethics of new drug development
To enroll humans in large RCTs without preliminary studies might pose truly major risks to participants, but after preliminary studies have been conducted true uncertainty no longer exists. The principle of equipoise becomes the paradox of equipoise.
ethics  research  medicine 
november 2010 by juliusbeezer

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