Economist Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics
, has long posited
a controversial thesis that legalized abortion help reduced crime, by reducing unwanted children, prone to crime. However, a new paper argues
that Levitt (& Donohue) made serious errors in their research. Properly analysed, abortion has no significant effect on crime. Levitt disagrees
, of course.
posted by daksya
on Dec 4, 2005 -
EMBO's report on Time and Aging (free access) contains an essay
wherein the author, Karin Knorr Cetina, from the University of Konstanz, Germany, argues that death and aging used to be major issues that defined what it means to be human and helped us find our place in society by showing us the limits of what is possible to achieve as a human. With the advances in science, particularly biological advances in slowing aging
and technological advances in extending human function
, we no longer accept our fate. Instead of accepting that we all grow old and die so we should take our place in society, with the expectation that if we contribute, society will take care of us, too, we now have promises being made by science that death and aging are no longer inevitable. Where are we headed, then? If we can no longer find our place by finding the limits of achievement and accepting our place within them, how do we work as a collective?
posted by Mr. Gunn
on Jul 25, 2005 -
Is Civilization Decaying?
Will technological progress be accompanied by moral progress? Notes on a 1923 debate between J. B. S. Haldane (Daedalus
) and Bertrand Russell (Icarus
As John Brunner pointed out in an article in the New Scientist in 1993, these two books ... inspired two generations of science fiction writers."
posted by painquale
on Jul 10, 2005 -
I clicked this link today
while perusing this MSNBC blog
(which is occasionally amusing). It seems that ArticleBot's hackles have been raised, and they are on the defensive against mainstream media
). I'm not exactly sure what their point is, but I really hate it when people "overuse" the "quotation" marks in their "unique content". I would have totally left it alone if they had not called attention to themselves by responding in this manner. Plus the assistance they are offering reminds me a little of these MIT geniuses
(previously discussed on MeFi here
) except designed to spider search engines. I'm sure it's completely legal, but the ethics are questionable to say the least.
posted by shoppingforsanity
on Apr 26, 2005 -
His company did $22 million in business last year, moving American manufacturing plants offshore. "It's not right," Hosea says. "But if I don't do it, someone else is gonna do it." Interesting, if it’s true, is that he tells his potential clients that what they’re about to do is wrong.
posted by tizzie
on Apr 26, 2005 -
The Ethics of Deep Self-Modification.
What will happen when machines gain the ability to modify their own psychology? Do we have a responsibility to step in? What happens when we have the ability to modify ourselves
? Philosopher Peter Suber
has dedicated himself to issues of self-modification... not just in psychology, but also in constitutional law
. Small wonder that this is the guy who invented Nomic
. His site is littered with great stuff; he now is primarily involved with the open access movement. Check out his open access primer
posted by painquale
on Jan 3, 2005 -
The False Controversy of Stem Cell Research.
Kinsley: In fact, thinking it through is a moral obligation, especially if you are on the side of the argument that wants to stop or slow this research.
It's not complicated. An embryo used in stem-cell research (and fertility treatments) is three to five days past conception. It consists of a few dozen cells that together are too small to be seen without a microscope. It has no consciousness, no self-awareness, no ability to feel love or pain. The smallest insect is far more human in every respect except potential.
posted by skallas
on May 31, 2004 -
Interview with David Crosby.
"The people who run record companies now wouldn't know a song if it flew up their nose and died. They haven't a clue, and they don't care. You tell them that, and they go, 'Yeah? So, your point is?' Because ...they don't care. They're actually sort of proud that they don't care.... Now they're going in the tank, because the world has changed, and they did not change with it...I think the only way to sell records that I know about now that does look really, really, really promising is iTunes."
posted by weston
on May 30, 2004 -
"The Conscientious Objector Policy Act"
just passed the Michigan Assembly, and awaits voting in the state Senate. The bill
legalizes the right for a doctor, or any health provider, to deny treatment based on "ethical, moral, or religious grounds." In addition to the obvious notion of restricting abortion, in the most extreme example the bill technically allows doctors to deny treatment to gays simply for believing that homosexuality is immoral.
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Apr 22, 2004 -
Scalia Was Cheney Hunt Trip Guest; Ethics Concern Grows
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia traveled as an official guest of Vice President Dick Cheney on a small government jet that served as Air Force Two when the pair came here last month to hunt ducks.
The revelation cast further doubts about whether Scalia can be an impartial judge in Cheney's upcoming case before the Supreme Court, legal ethics experts said. The hunting trip took place just weeks after the high court agreed to take up Cheney's bid to keep secret the details of his energy policy task force.
posted by GernBlandston
on Feb 6, 2004 -
Is The Blood Red Water For Real?
A discussion on egullet
, of all places, suggests at least one of these shocking pictures (inside
) has been retouched. A more interesting question is: is it OK to "enhance" real evidence, if the salient facts are true? Or even, more radically, if the cause is just and dedicated to save lives or relieve suffering?
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Nov 1, 2003 -
Examining Bush's stem cell policy, two years later.
Kinsley: Put it all together, and the stem cells that can squeeze through Bush's loopholes are far less promising than they seemed two years ago, while the general promise of embryonic stem cells burns brighter than ever. If you claim to have made an anguished moral decision, and the factual basis for that decision turns out to be faulty, you ought to reconsider or your claim to moral anguish looks phony. But Bush's moral anguish was suspect from the beginning, because the policy it produced makes no sense.
posted by skallas
on Oct 25, 2003 -
Justice Scalia's recusal in the Pledge case has prompted a serious debate on the judicial role. Robert Alt
has suggested that the Justice's recusal carries an important warning for the Senate in confirming new judges; if the Senate requires the nominees to answer questions about their opinions on potential cases, those nominees would have to recuse themselves if those cases later indeed came before them. Matthew Franck
, on the other hand, suggests "this argument ... permits the requirements of judicial ethics — and even a terribly broad reading of them — to trump the constitutional obligation of senators to inform themselves adequately about the kinds of judges they are being asked to confirm." [more inside]
posted by monju_bosatsu
on Oct 22, 2003 -
U.S. Army Used Media Cover in Iraq for Own Ends
which sounds like a big old bowl of yellow journalism but isn't really, at least I don't think so. It was more to refute the Iraqi Minister of Lies talking about the whooping the Iraqi war machine was delivering to the coalition forces.
The main issue that the reporters had was that they were only getting the one side of the story and not the Iraqi perspective.
But it raises some questions about the supposed objectivity of the media. Is this a proper use of them? To help achieve military goals? Or to try to avoid more unnecessary deaths?
posted by fenriq
on Sep 8, 2003 -
"I think the word they are replacing is 'invention.'
Only now we innovate, which is deliberately vague but seems to stop somewhere short of invention. Innovators have wiggle room. They can steal ideas, for example, and pawn them off as their own. That's the intersection of innovation and sharp business. " Cringley puts his finger on a crucial difference, touching not only on the core of ethics but on the connection to real progress.
posted by weston
on Sep 5, 2003 -
Press photographer stripped of award;
accused of overly darkening some portions in the digital editing process. Nothing was added or moved. Explains N.C. Press Photographers Assoc. president Chuck Liddy: You might say, "Gosh, I don't like the way this background looks I can get rid of this with a couple of keystrokes". No contortions in the darkroom with your hands and a dodging wand. No making ten or fifteen prints over a two hour period to get that print just right. Nope, just go and use the lasso tool, yank those levels to the max and VIOLA! the background disappears. Burning has always been an acceptable action. Burning to "de-emphasize" a background is something all of us do. But deleting the background by using some of the powerful tools Photoshop offers is totally unacceptable and violates the ethics code we adhere to.
Schneider, the photographer, responds in an NPR interview (scroll down to audio link).
In this allegedly unethical photo
, Schneider says he corrected for overexposure. Is this a backlash against digital manipulation, which rankles the old school because it is simply too easy?
posted by found missing
on Aug 30, 2003 -
How important is sportsmanship in the modern era? On Sunday afternoon at the IAAF World Championships, Jon Drummond false started in the 100m sprint and was disqualified. He refused to leave the track (initially prostrating himself in the middle of his lane) and ended up delaying the race by more than 50 minutes. In 1996, Linford Christie did something similar
in the Olympic games 100m final.
Is it just 100m sprinters, or is sportsmanship going out of fashion?
posted by daveg
on Aug 24, 2003 -
is eric rudolph a christian terrorist? via atrios
and who are these christian identity people?: "We declare and will wage total war on the ungodly communist regime in New York and your legaslative bureaucratic lackey's in Washington. It is you who are responsible and preside over the murder of children and issue the policy of ungodly preversion thats destroying our people," - sound familiar?
posted by specialk420
on Jun 2, 2003 -
Streets strewn with glass and gold.
In the nation's capitol, freelance 'runners' dash from police station to police station, grabbing auto accident reports the moment they appear and phoning the victims, trying to convince them to file suit. If they succeed, "personal injury cases can be sold to a lawyer for $300 to $600, sometimes more if the victim broke some bones or died. Not bad money." Whatever you may think of the social policy wisdom of D.C. allowing this, this tiny subculture of high-energy hustlers living on the ragged fringe of law and mainstream ethics is colorful as hell, and would make a great context for a novel or film.WaPo link. [via Overlawyered.com]
posted by Slithy_Tove
on May 6, 2003 -
from the President's Council on Bioethics. Each of the readings that follow - which include poetry, short stories and more - is accompanied by a brief introduction and questions about the bioethical implications of the work.
The new booklist includes James Watson, Tolstoy, Shakespeare and Ovid. Via the WSJ.
posted by turbodog
on Apr 18, 2003 -
This lengthy Los Angeles Times photo correction
addresses the manipulation of a front page photo and the subsequent firing of its photographer. Working from two source photos, Brian Walski combined them in Photoshop to create a more compelling image, but was caught when someone noticed that some people appeared twice in the background of the modified photo. (via Fimoculous
posted by waxpancake
on Apr 2, 2003 -