Blogs with keyword: Fiction

Posted on Monday 13th September 2021 at 8:07pm

The Canberra Times demonstrates why the mainstream media can sometimes be the problem in public-square debates publishing misinformation and failing to publish corrections.

Last month, the Catholic Archbishop of Canberra & Goulburn, Christopher Prowse, published an opinion piece about VAD in the Canberra Times. Naturally, Prowse's views were opposed, which is fine. A range of views is always welcome. Misinformation, however, is not.

It would be unreasonable to expect that the opinion editor of the Canberra Times, Andrew Thorpe, would be intimately versed in the empirical evidence about voluntary assisted dying (VAD). So, it was reasonable that he publish an opinion piece on the topic offered by Archbishop Prowse. What is not reasonable, however, is that the counter-opinion I promptly submitted, pointing out several points of significant misinformation, was not published. A month later, still nothing.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Filibuster | Flip-flop | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Euthanasia | Australian Capital Territory | New South Wales | Religion | Rhetoric: Palliative care can always help | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: Suicide | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Wednesday 26th May 2021 at 4:03am

The other day, a TV commercial from more than 30 years ago popped into my head. In a rollicking exposé of hidden interests and purposeful agendas, I explain why.

The other day a TV commercial from more than 30 years ago popped into my head. It was a humorous slice-of-life scene in which a teenage son gobbles down a breakfast bowl of Sultana Bran cereal. He complains that his health-kick girlfriend had made him eat vegetarian the night before. His family eye each other with mirth as he eats.

The punch line? “Don’t mention it’s healthy and they’ll eat it by the boxful.”

sultana_bran_ad_1990.jpg The Kellogg's Sultana Bran TV commercial from 1990.

Despite having worked in advertising research for years, I’m sure I hadn’t thought of this ad for at least a couple of decades. So what brought this vignette suddenly to mind?

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Filibuster | Flip-flop | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Euthanasia | Belgium | Catholic Church | Catholic

 

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Posted on Saturday 13th March 2021 at 11:57pm

Anti-VAD campaigners have caused themselves further major embarrassment by repeatedly cherry-picking statistics to try and establish a case that the full data conflicts with.

Here we go again. Branka van der Linden of Catholic anti-VAD website “HOPE”, and the Australian Care Alliance — endorsed by a number of well-known, committed Catholic doctors — have just published more egregious misinformation against VAD. This time they've collectively piled it on Victoria's general suicide statistics, recently updated by the Victorian Coroner. So what did they say, and how did it misrepresent the actual situation? Let's take a look.

The reason the statistics are being discussed is because in 2017, Victoria's parliament legalised voluntary assisted dying (VAD) for the terminally ill. The law came into effect halfway through 2019, and 2020 was the first full year of its operation.

Australian Care Alliance gets the basics wrong

Here's the Australian Care Alliance's (ACA) splashy page trumpeting that Victoria's suicide rate has jumped 21.2% from 694 in 2017 to 842 in 2020.

Keywords: Bull | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Branka van der Linden | Religion | Catholic | Statistics | Rhetoric | Rhetoric: Suicide | Rhetoric: Suicide 'contagion'

 

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Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020 at 11:19pm

The latest media release from the Australian Christian Lobby against voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law reform exposes the soft underbelly of their desperation -- headlining their argument with a bullshit anecdote.

"Bullshit!"

That was the reaction of Dutch Senator Erik Jurgens when I asked him about a Dutch euthanasia anecdote spread by Mr Paul Russell, then head of the Australian anti-VAD Catholic front organisation "HOPE". In 2011, Mr Russell had been spreading the story:

"I often use the story of the death of a 26 year old ballerina in Holland [sic]. She had contracted a form of arthritis at this young age and her dancing career and dreams were dashed. An American oncologist who spoke later to the killing doctor reported the Dutch medico as saying something like 'One doesn't like doing it, but it was her choice.'" — Paul Russell, "HOPE" [my emphasis]

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Netherlands | Paul Russell | Religion

 

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Posted on Sunday 4th October 2020 at 4:13am

Swiss law allows assisted suicide with only one condition: assistance may be rendered for non-selfish motives. So has a significant increase in assisted deaths lead to so-called "suicide contagion"? I spill the beans.

Supposed Dutch suicide contagion from assisted dying

Recently, Dr Theo Boer, an Assistant Professor at a "black-stocking" (strongly conservative Protestant) theological college in the Netherlands, was at it again — criticising the Dutch euthanasia law to anyone who would listen: "don't follow the Dutch euthanasia law path because it leads to 'suicide contagion'".

I've exposed Prof. Boer's cherry-picked nonsense before. Astonishingly, he even ignores data from the Dutch Euthanasia Commission, despite the fact he used to serve on one of its five Regional Review Committees.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Belgium | Netherlands | Switzerland | Theo Boer | Margaret Somerville

 

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Posted on Friday 18th September 2020 at 4:47am

A recently-published account of a grandmother's death paints a scathing picture of Victoria's voluntary assisted dying law. So what's its provenance? I expose a trail of vested-interest backing, leading to a particular source. Hold on to your hats…

A friend pointed out to me an opinion piece published this week in MercatorNet that slams Victoria's voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law. Written about an elderly woman with cancer who used the law to die peacefully, it's an angry diatribe written by the woman’s granddaughter-in-law: one Mrs Madeleine Dugdale.

Update 21-Sep-2020

Mrs Madeleine Dugdale's article has been withdrawn from MercatorNet without explanation. Here's a screenshot of the original.

dugdalegranscreenshot620.jpg

And this is Mrs Dougdale's "about" page after the article was withdrawn.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Filibuster | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Religion | Catholic | Claim response | Legislation | Rhetoric | Rhetoric: Suicide | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Tuesday 15th September 2020 at 12:42am

If you're wondering how religious the organised opposition to voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law reform is, current ructions in Tasmania provide a marvellous petri dish of evidence.

If you're wondering how religious the organised opposition to voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law reform is, current ructions in Tasmania provide a marvellous petri dish of evidence.

Catholic church call to arms

Back in 2011, the now Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, wrote a lengthy, deliberative editorial against VAD, calling on the church to enlist people with no obvious religious connections to help the church fight VAD law reform. He wrote:

“The man or woman in the street … may well be open to persuasion that permissive laws and practices cannot be effectively narrowed to such circumstances”; and

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Filibuster | Flip-flop | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia

 

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Posted on Sunday 30th August 2020 at 9:13pm

Hobart Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous makes a number of incorrect representations about voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in his recent Talking Points article (Hobart Mercury 23rd Aug). And, most of his own flock disagree with his opposed stance.

Hobart Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous makes a number of incorrect representations about voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in his recent Talking Points article (Hobart Mercury 23rd Aug). And, most of his own flock disagree with his opposed stance.

Let's take a look at the facts, and the Archbishop's 'alternatives'.

NOTE: While The Hobart Mercury published Archbishop Porteous' arguments, they declined to publish this rebuttal.

Key points

  1. Archbishop Porteous wrongly equates VAD with general suicide and insinuates they are lonely deaths when they aren't.
  2. He claims that palliative care can always help, when palliative care peak bodies clearly state that it can't.
  3. He insensitively co-opts Covid-19 victims and their families into his arguments, despite them having nothing to do with VAD.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Tasmania | ANZSPM | Palliative Care Australia (PCA) | Religion | Catholic | Rhetoric: Palliative care can always help | Rhetoric: Suicide | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Tuesday 2nd April 2019 at 7:23pm

Anti-assisted-dying ginger group 'HOPE' continues to pedal egregious misinformation to politicians considering law reform: this time to Western Australian MPs.

The Catholic-backed anti-assisted-dying ginger group, HOPE, was represented for years by Paul Russell. He's retired and Branka van der Linden is now at the helm. But its penchant for pedaling egregious misinformation hasn't changed. Van der Linden recently sent an email to all WA members of parliament, containing three points.

Van der Linden's email reads:

 

Dear [MP salutation],

Did you know that the WA majority report that recommended assisted suicide for WA either dismissed or failed to report on the following statistics?

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Belgium | Netherlands | Oregon | Branka van der Linden | Claim response | Legislative reform | Statistics | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Monday 1st April 2019 at 9:59pm

Revealed – how Dutch ethicist Theo Boer uses smoke and mirrors to suggest assisted dying is out of control in the Netherlands, and a possible explanation why.

In my most recent article in the Journal of Assisted Dying, I forensically analyse Dutch ethicist Professor Theo Boer’s 2017 paper purporting to find suicide contagion from assisted dying in the Netherlands. It doesn’t go well for Professor Boer, to put it mildly. You can find the full article here.


I also find an astonishing coincidence that occurred in 2014, the year Boer went feral against the Dutch euthanasia law.

Multiple fatal flaws


Keywords: Bull | Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Flip-flop | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Euthanasia | Belgium | Netherlands | Article review | Claim response | Lobbying: Opponents | Statistics | Rhetoric: Suicide 'contagion'

 

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Posted on Sunday 12th August 2018 at 7:40am

In today’s Sydney Morning Herald, Margaret Somerville plugs her latest co-authored paper appearing in a medical journal. Trouble is, the article’s appalling rubbish containing egregious misinformation. The authors deserve ridicule and censure for it.

If there’s one thing you have to admire about Margo Somerville, Catholic Professor of Bioethics at the University of Notre Dame Australia, it’s her persistence in the face of being called out for misrepresenting facts about assisted dying. She’s at it again.

Today in the Sydney Morning Herald, Somerville was quoted spruiking her credentials via a recent publication in the peer-reviewed Journal of Palliative Care.1 Since I study the professional literature, I’m aware of said article, which was published several weeks ago. It's a shocker.

Keywords: Fudge | Fiction | Non-voluntary euthanasia (NVE) | Voluntary euthanasia (VE) | Belgium | Netherlands | Margaret Somerville | Analysis | Rhetoric

 

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Posted on Saturday 11th August 2018 at 11:33pm

In this week's Senate debate, misinformation about indigenous Territorians' attitudes toward lawful assisted dying will abound. Senators should reject such rubbish.

In 1996 the Northern Territory Rights of the Terminally Ill Act (ROTI) came into effect. Just four people had used the Act when seven months later an Act of the Federal Parliament extinguished the NT law, by cancelling the Territories’ authority to enact it.


This week, the Senate [federal parliament] debates the Restoring Territory Rights (Assisted Suicide Legislation) Bill, sponsored by libertarian Senator David Leyonhjelm. If the Bill passes both houses, the Territories will again have the authority to legislate the matter of assisted dying.


Opponents of lawful assisted dying have been sharpening their knives to ensure that Senator Leyonhjelm’s Bill fails and that Territorians remain second-class citizens. In this post I expose one of the desperate and disgraceful pieces of misinformation opponents use to try and curry fear about law reform.

Opponent signals


There are signals from many quarters that assisted dying opponents are dragging out the tired old argument that indigenous Australians are too fearful of assisted dying to allow reinstatement of the Territories’ legislative authority.


The signals are clear, though so far mostly behind the scenes. Nevertheless, they predict a full onslaught of invalid “fear” claims in the parliamentary debate this week.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Filibuster | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Australian Capital Territory | Northern Territory | Religion | Catholic | Legislative reform | Lobbying: Opponents | Statistics | Rhetoric

 

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Posted on Monday 13th November 2017 at 6:28pm

A new report to be published this week slams Jones & Paton’s 2015 “suicide contagion” study, and Kheriaty’s editorial of it, as unscientific and containing multiple substantial instances of bias.

In the ongoing political campaign against assisted dying law reform, opponents have spread one piece of egregious misinformation after another. One of the most common is supposed “suicide contagion” from assisted dying laws to general suicide, a theory popularised by Catholic Prof. Margaret Somerville. Despite the nonsense of her claim being comprehensively exposed, she still believes that her opinion “will prove to be correct.” Two journal papers published in 2015 purported to, but didn't, establish suicide contagion in Oregon and Washington states.

Note: the report is now published here.


Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Assisted dying (AD) | USA | Oregon | Catholic Church | Margaret Somerville | Analysis | Article review | Statistics | Rhetoric | Rhetoric: Suicide 'contagion'

 

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Posted on Tuesday 19th September 2017 at 10:30pm

Three AMA-Victoria past Presidents fronted the Victorian Parliament and spread misinformation about assisted dying law reform.

As reported in The Age, on Tuesday this week three AMA doctors fronted the Victorian Parliament to spread the word about their perceived horrors of an assisted dying law. Their arguments don’t hold water and politicians should see them for what they are: utter nonsense.

Doctors Stephen Parnis, Mukesh Haikerwal and Mark Yates say they will continue to lobby politicians.

With what?

Here is the ‘substance’ of their arguments — a sticky blomonge of the same old confected and discredited claims.

The vulnerable will be at risk

Dr Parnis said that such a law “puts the most frail and vulnerable in our community — the dying — at profound risk,” pointing to coercion, and patients not getting the medical care they need.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Flip-flop | Fudge | Fiction | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Australian Medical Association (AMA) | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Thursday 14th September 2017 at 10:20pm

I expose the misinformation and incoherent arguments of the Catholic church recently published in Fairfax media.

It’s very disappointing that Catholic theologian Dr Joel Hodge’s recent editorial in Fairfax media about assisted dying law reform contained misinformation: the same old tired and discredited story trotted out as though it's true. Dr Hodge also repeated an old and curiously one-sided (Catholic) examination of the hypothetical slippery slope.

Unhappily, the kind of misinformation that Dr Hodge advances muddies the waters and cruelly stands in the way of legislative action, which most Australians want.


Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | New South Wales | Victoria | Catholic | Legislative reform | Lobbying: Opponents | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Sunday 6th August 2017 at 3:36am

Victorian MP Mr Daniel Mulino's "carefully researched" minority report against assisted dying contains multiple serious errors and misinformation. He must withdraw it.

Last year, the Victorian Parliament's Legal and Social Issues Committee concluded an extensive investigation into end of life choices, publishing a report of over 400 pages recommending improvements to palliative care and for assisted dying. Catholic-backed Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (‘shoppies’ union) Labor member of the Victorian Parliament Mr Daniel Mulino furnished his own minority report, opposing the majority recommendation for assisted dying law reform. That’s entirely his right. However, his report contains multiple, serious cases of misinformation. He must withdraw his report.

Daniel Mulino, Labor parliamentary member for the Victorian Region of Eastern Victoria,1 and a member of the Catholic-backed ‘shoppies’ union,2 was a member of the Legal and Social Issues Committee that thoroughly investigated end of life decision making and produced a 400+ page report in 2016 making recommendations for law reform and regulation.


Keywords: Flapdoodle | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Victoria | Paul Russell | Alex Schadenberg | Margaret Somerville | Religion | Catholic

 

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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 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 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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Posted on Sunday 16th October 2016 at 12:03am

Prolific USA commentator Wesley Smith pens another lie about assisted dying, this time about the Dutch Groningen Protocol, and LifeNews continues to publish them.

The Discovery Institute's Wesley Smith is at it again. In his latest anti-assisted-dying tirade published by LifeNews.com, he promote lies about the Dutch Groningen Protocol, despite my published detailed analysis — of how that regulation actually works in practice — providing ample evidence to disprove Mr Smith's polemic theories.

Creationism…with lipstick


Keywords: Fearmonger | Fiction | Wesley Smith | Catholic | Rhetoric: Killing

 

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