Apologies for the brevity and late arrival of this week’s BioEdge. We plead pressure of Christmas and the holiday season… In any case, all of the bioethical oxygen this week was sucked up by the report from a US Senate committee on the “enhanced interrogation” techniques used by CIA operatives to convince al-Qaeda detainees to reveal their secrets. Although the broad outline of this drama was already known, the details are dismaying. It is shameful and unworthy of a great country, as Senator John McCain commented: “Our enemies act without conscience. We must not.”
On a different note, without prejudice to the truthfulness of the aforementioned excuses, I recently saw a stunning film by the brilliant Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, Le Passé (The Past). It begins as a conventional melodrama about an Iranian man who returns to Paris because his French wife wants a divorce. All the characters, both adults and children, are struggling to free themselves from a spider’s web of misunderstandings and secrets. The melodrama becomes an intensely engaging detective story.
The bioethical angle? At the heart of the conflicts is a brain-damaged woman, apparently in a permanent vegetative state. Is she still married? Does she have dignity? Is she still lovable? I can’t remember the last time I was so touched by the honesty, humanity and artistic skill of a film. Sorry, not true – the last time was Farhadi’s Oscar-winning film A Separation. But that lacked a bioethical angle.
by Michael Cook | Dec 14, 2014Two psychologists contracted by the CIA to create enhanced interrogation techniques for al-Qaeda detainees have come under fire for violating human rights and medical ethics.
by Xavier Symons | Dec 14, 2014A doctor in Mosul has told Al-Monitor that a large-scale racket was being run out of local hospitals.
by Michael Cook | Dec 14, 2014You've heard of hook-up sites for people who just want sex, but not marriage and kids. But sites for people who just want kids, but…
by Michael Cook | Dec 14, 2014Transgender studies is a field which comes up with many surprises.
by Michael Cook | Dec 13, 2014A draft policy of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario demands that physicians must provide services to prevent imminent "harm, suffering and/or deterioration,"…
by Xavier Symons | Dec 13, 2014Transhumanist Zoltan Istvan answers some tricky questions from his critics.
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