Blogs

Posted on Sunday 6th August 2017 at 2:31am

Religious leaders have the right to argue for their faith. But they deserve scrutiny when they put forward misleading arguments.

In Monday’s Herald Sun, Victorian Archbishops Philip Freier and Denis Hart, and Bishops Ezekiel, Suriel, Lester Briebbenow, Bosco Puthur and Peter Stasiuk published a half-page advertisement admonishing the Victorian government for its initiative to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill, an ad similar to the one published by religious figures in 2008.

I have no quarrel with individuals of faith regarding their own private beliefs. However, the bishops’ attempt at public “leadership” through the advertisement is deserving of redress for its multiple fallacies.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Religion | Catholic | Legislative reform | Lobbying: Opponents | Rhetoric: Palliative care can always help | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: Suicide | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Thursday 27th July 2017 at 11:52pm

Paul Russell must publish the entire ‘research’ methodology of his recent ‘poll’ or withdraw the purported ‘results.’

In his latest blog, titled “Who are you going to trust?”, anti-assisted dying lobbyist Mr Paul Russell says:

“Polling noted today in the Australian shows a significant level of distrust in our political classes to get the issue of euthanasia and assisted dying right.”

He then goes on to quote some select statistics from said poll. In his blog, he mentions nothing about the sponsorship or conduct of the poll. After some searching, I found no other reference to said poll on his ‘HOPE’ website.

This is rather curious, because The Australian article he quotes, points out that the ‘poll’ was commissioned by him (his website is called ‘HOPE’).

Keywords: Fudge | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Paul Russell | Margaret Somerville | Statistics | Rhetoric

 

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Posted on Friday 21st July 2017 at 1:53am

The Victorian Ministerial Advisory Panel on voluntary assisted dying today handed down its final report to the Government.

The Victorian Government has introduced its assisted dying Bill into the Victorian Parliament. It's based on extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, and over 1,000 submissions. You can read all about it here.

The Ministerial Advisory Panel on voluntary assisted dying today handed down its final report to the Government.

The Panel was comprised of seven subject experts, with Professor Brian Owler as Chair and Professor Margaret O'Connor as Deputy Chair.

Keywords: Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Legislative reform

 

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Posted on Thursday 22nd June 2017 at 1:05am

The Catholic Church fundamentally flip-flops on its position between assisted dying and refusing life-saving medical treatment, regarding theoretical risks for ‘the vulnerable.’

The Catholic Church in Australia is reeling from revelations at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, of a shocking number of cases that have occurred under its ‘pastoral umbrella.’ Yet it presumes to tell the rest of us about the hypothetical moral dangers of assisted dying laws for ‘the vulnerable.’

To add insult to injury, it flip-flops on its stance.

Never mind that the argument is contradicted by evidence

The Church’s favourite argument — already contradicted by scholarly analysis that curiously seems to be of no interest to the Church — is this: if people are given the choice of assisted dying, they will feel compelled to choose it, coerced by doctors, greedy relatives or others; subtly or otherwise.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flip-flop | Faith | Australia | USA | Catholic Church | Paul Russell | Religion | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Wednesday 21st June 2017 at 3:14am

More empirical evidence from the Netherlands contradicts Professor Margaret Somerville’s ‘suicide contagion from assisted dying’ theory.

I’ve previously published an extensive analysis of how Professor Margaret Somerville, of the Catholic Notre Dame University of Australia, cherry-picked her way through select data that seemed to be (but wasn’t) consistent with her ‘contagion’ theory from assisted dying to the general suicide rate. I provided ample evidence from lawful jurisdictions that comprehensively contradicts her claim. I also published the summary in ABC Religion & Ethics.

Yet Somerville still says despite extensive real-world experience to the contrary, that “I believe that my [suicide contagion] statement will prove to be correct.”

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Netherlands | Margaret Somerville | Catholic | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: Suicide

 

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Posted on Tuesday 20th June 2017 at 9:23pm

New university research from Germany continues to evidentially clobber Margaret Somerville’s claim about fearful Dutch elderly going to Germany for aged and health care.

I’ve criticised Catholic ethicist Professor Margaret Somerville in the past for promoting misinformation about assisted dying. One of her favourite stories is about supposed non-voluntary euthanasia (NVE) ‘contagion’ from voluntary euthanasia laws.

NVE is where a doctor deliberately hastens the death of a patient without a current explicit request from the patient.

Somerville claims that elderly Dutch citizens fear NVE — a slippery slope claim previously promoted by the Vatican. She stated that:

Keywords: Fiction | Assisted dying (AD) | Germany | Margaret Somerville | Catholic | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Tuesday 13th June 2017 at 2:38am

Religious crusaders against assisted dying are attempting to misinform the Victorian campaign again, this time by trying to scare politicians.

Both the Herald Sun and The Age reported last week that religious anti-assisted dying crusaders are running a 'gloves off' campaign in Victoria.

Religious forces are gathering once again to attempt to thwart the views of the great majority of Victorians in favour of assisted dying law reform.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Faith | Australia | Victoria | Paul Russell | Religion | Statistics | Rhetoric

 

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Posted on Wednesday 19th April 2017 at 1:39am

Xavier Symons defends fellow Catholic, Margaret Somerville, against a 'bullshit' call on national TV, and spreads a bit of his own in the process.

Last week, Mr Xavier Symons published a defence of Professor Margaret Somerville, whose arguments against assisted dying were called ‘bullshit’ by Patricia Flowers on the ABC’s Q&A program. Symons and Somerville are colleagues at the Institute for Ethics and Society at the Catholic Notre Dame University of Australia.

Mr Symons made an important point: that a law about restricted self-choice for assisted dying is in no way comparable to the Nazi Germany euthanasia (or more correctly, eugenics) programme. While Prof. Somerville agrees that such comparisons are invalid, she nevertheless often mentions Nazi Germany as a ‘question’ when debating assisted dying. That’s a bit of a fudge.

Keywords: Fudge | Fiction | Australia | Margaret Somerville | Catholic | Claim response | Rhetoric: Slippery slope

 

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Posted on Sunday 19th March 2017 at 11:37pm

A recently published scientific study shows that the USA states of Oregon and Washington, which legalised assisted dying in 1997 and 2008 respectively, have leading indicators for end of life choices, including home hospice care.

A scientific study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that residents of both Oregon and Washington states, which legalised assisted dying in 1997 and 2008 respectively—as well as establishing formal advance directive programs—are far more likely to experience the kind of death they prefer, and with better access to palliative care, than is the average USA resident.1

It's well-established that most westerners would prefer to die peacefully at home rather than in a medicalised or other institutional setting. Yet it is recognised by doctors and families alike that there is a kind of medical ‘conveyer belt’ to acute care at the end of life that tends to shunt the dying individual through to ICU—a place where more and more burdensome medical interventions are administered with less and less likelihood that they’ll actually provide any benefit.

Keywords: USA | Oregon | Washington (state) | Analysis | Article review

 

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Posted on Sunday 5th March 2017 at 10:24pm

Catholic Canadian anti-euthanasia blogger Alex Schadenberg is at it again, this time spreading shrill misinformation about a potential Oregon law change.

Catholic Canadian anti-assisted-dying blogger Alex Schadenberg is at it again. This time he’s parading his ignorance and spreading bull about a potential change in Oregon’s assisted dying legislation.

The Bill


Mr Schadenberg correctly reproduced Section 3 of Oregon Senate Bill 893, which states:


Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | USA | Oregon | Paul Russell | Alex Schadenberg | Catholic | Legislative reform | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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19th June 2016 09:03pm 0

Canadian Parliament passes assisted dying law

The Canadian Parliament has passed a law that allows the terminally ill to choose assisted dying in restricted circumstances.