A Masterpiece of Existential Blasphemy Herman Tønnessen’s brilliant paper on the book of Job.
Sam Harris defends his new book, The Moral Landscape, against its critics Harris’s understanding of the relationship between morality and science has been subjected to fairly fierce criticism, from friend and foe alike. This is his spirited response.
The Morgantaler Effect Henry Morgantaler, the man largely responsible for seeing that women in Canada had the freedom to choose abortion, gives advice to those who are fighting for the right of the suffering to bring their lives to an end. In this Walrus article Morgantaler is quoted as saying that ”the only way to counteract the law against assisted suicide is through civil disobedience. The decision to take that step may be painful, but the formula is simple: ‘Conscience requires breaking the law, if need be,’ he maintains. ‘My advice to any individual would be to be true to their own convictions.’”
Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies From the conclusion of the paper: “Pressing questions include the reasons, whether theistic or non-theistic, that the exceptionally wealthy U.S. is so inefficient that it is experiencing a much higher degree of societal distress than are less religious, less wealthy prosperous democracies. Conversely, how do the latter achieve superior societal health while having little in the way of the religious values or institutions?”
Maclean’s Interview: Bernice Pickford The 95-year-old on why she wants to kill herself, despite being healthy, and why she thinks a doctor should be allowed to help.
A new article of mine has just gone up over at Ophelia Benson’s blog, Butterflies and Wheels. It is a revew of Thomas Dixon’s Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction.
Assisted Dying is an Essential Option in Compassionate End of Life Care A submission prepared for a Dying with Dignity (Canada) presentation to the special parliamentary committee on palliative and compassionate care.
Response to the Archbishop of Canterbury My response to the archbishop’s reply to my first letter.
- Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury A letter to the archbishop regarding his speech to the House of Lords regarding the bill to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill.
Recommended Books and Articles
- Gary Bauslaugh, Robert Latimer: A Story of Justice and Mercy (Toronto: Lorimer, 2010). Tells the story of the Latimers and their daughter Tracy, how Robert, in desperation, killed Tracy to spare her further torment, how the law failed him, and why we need to take more seriously than we do the end-of-life issues that the Canadian Parliament continues to avoid in the face of the tyranny of “a small, very strident, very aggressive minority — a minority that systematically and at time viciously attacks any individual or group or politician proposing enlightened legislation in regard to these issues.” Bauslaugh does not clearly identify this group, but it is composed almost entirely of conservative Christians who believe that their beliefs should govern how others should live. Many of them are Members of Parliament. To see how the Canadian Parliament has been infiltrated by the god squad, read Marci Macdonald’s The Armageddon Factor.
- Mary Warnock, Dishonest to God (London: Continuum, 2010) Baroness Mary Warnock was a fellow and tutor in philosophy and Head Mistress of Oxford High School. She is a Christian and a member of the Church of England. She would not, she says, want religion to disappear, but she does think that religion should not play a dominant role in political decision making. She is a supporter of assistance in dying, and believes that a case can be made for it from a Christian point of view. Her new book, Dishonest to God, has a long chapter devoted to arguments for and against assisted dying.
- Mary Warnock and Elisabeth Macdonald, Easeful Death: Is There a Case for Assisted Dying? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) A good introductory level book, written by a philosopher and a palliative care expert, which makes a strong case for the legalisation of assisted dying.
- Jocelyn Downie, Dying Justice: A Case for Decriminalising Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004) Essential reading for Canadian supporters of assisted dying. Downie, a professor of law at Dalhousie University, writes from both a legal and a philosophical viewpoint. Sound reasoning and passionate concern for those who suffer make this book a must for Canadians. While some of the book deals with technical legal issues, the style is clear and free of the jargon sometimes encountered in professional discussions of assisted dying.
- The Sea Inside The real-life story of Spaniard Ramon Sampedro, who fought a 30 year campaign in favor of euthanasia and his own right to die. Spanish with English subtitles. Refreshingly honest celebration of life.
- Million Dollar Baby A Clint Eastwood film about a female boxer who has an accident in the ring which renders her quadraplegic. Eastwood stars as her coach Frankie Dunn. While Eastwood says that the film is not about euthanasia, he does help the Hilary Swank character to die. It shows the sense of moral conflict involved, and the compassion which wins out in the end.
- One True Thing This is not a story of assisted dying, but the police think it is, and both George and Ellen (George’s daughter) may have helped Maggie (George’s wife) die with an overdose of morphine — even George and Ellen think so! Maggie did it herself. In the meantime, while the police investigate, and George and Ellen do a little dance with them, trying to protect each other, they learn a lot about reasons for dying.