Category Archives: Ethics

The Predictable Irrationality of Righteous Minds, and the Work of Ethicists

Jennifer spends lots of time with dead things, dead humans actually. She works in a pathology lab. One night, she is asked to incinerate a fresh human cadaver, and she is struck that it would be a waste to throw away perfectly good … Continue reading

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What's Wrong with Gay Boy Scout Leaders?

According to the New York Times, the Boy Scouts of America on Friday proposed ending its ban on openly gay scouts but continue to bar gay adults from serving as leaders. This policy is wrongheaded, regardless of whether you think homosexuality … Continue reading

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Should Your Doctor Pray With You?

“I can fix this.” The neurosurgeon was nothing if not confident. “The cyst is pushing on your spinal cord. If it continues to expand, it will damage your nerves and you may lose the ability to walk. But I can … Continue reading

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Should Doctors Give Medical Advice to Strangers over Email?

Recently I received an email from someone I have never met, who asked me the following: “Could you refer me to any current study results on Arimidex (Anastrozole)? My oncologist is not helpful. My oncotype dx said I have 9% … Continue reading

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What the World Got Wrong About Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius

Lance Armstrong cheated and bullied. These are not shocking revelations. Oscar Pistorius had a history of altercations with his girlfriend and is now accused of murder. More shocking, by far, but hardly the first athlete to be accused of such … Continue reading

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Informed Consent 1950s Style

In her deservedly best-selling book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot reproduces the language of Lacks’s informed consent document when she was about to undergoing her cancer surgery at Johns Hopkins in 1951:    I hereby give consent to the … Continue reading

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Do Oncologists Lie to Their Patients About Their Prognoses?

Andrews was easily the most anxious patient I took care of that month, a gray Michigan February (is there any other kind?) which I spent in the hospital caring for patients admitted to the general medical ward at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs … Continue reading

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The True Immoral Acts Behind The First "Test Tube Baby"

The first test tube baby was born July 25th, 1978 in the north of England.  Louise Brown was called the “baby of the century” by some and a “moral abomination” by others.  It wasn’t Brown who critics accused of being … Continue reading

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The Ethics of "Manipulative" Product Rebates

In two recent posts, I have posed questions about the appropriateness or inappropriateness of manipulating consumers by taking advantage of behavioral phenomena beyond their awareness. We behavioral scientists know things about human nature that most people haven’t learned. That is … Continue reading

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Can a $20 Rebate Amount to Highway Robbery?

Steven Johnson was a rising star at the NordicWear Company, even before that brutal winter of 2002. But then, thanks to a rebate program he instituted for their new line of snow pants, he rocketed up the corporate ladder. His … Continue reading

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