Sunday, 18 December 2016

Shame on Bioedge



It may be naïve to hope for better, but the world cannot afford sly pandering to lying propaganda. Failures of epistemic integrity have real practical consequences, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the middle east. Consider this:

‘In August Sweden’s leading daily newspaper, Aftonbladet, alleged that Palestinians were being killed for their organs. …While Aftonbladet never produced any proof for its lurid claims, it now appears that the rumour had some basis in fact – although Israelis as well as Palestinians were victimised.’ http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/8792/

The ‘basis in fact’ is that some doctors in a forensic laboratory harvested some ‘skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers’. But the accusation is that Israel was deliberately killing Palestinians for their organs. Clearly, the harvesting mentioned is not evidence of the deliberate killing of Palestinians, and so is not a factual basis for the allegation. To lead the reader around this obvious refutation the author uses a weaselling qualification— ‘appears that the rumour had some’—and by this misdirection both effects and veils a disgusting insinuation.
I had believed that people involved in bioethics held themselves to higher standards of epistemic integrity than journalists, at least to the extent of abjuring low rhetorical trickery. I was wrong.  

Originally at http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk

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