Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems like every now and again we have a huge flurry of discussion about bioethics in the news and then it dies down again. I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff going on everyday that remains unreported, but it’s incredible that when issues of life and death enter the public discourse, there’s something about us that makes us want to go further than discussing individual issues (e.g. Abortion, Euthanasia, Embryonic Stem-Cell Research) in connection.
I have a feeling it’s because there’s more going on in these discussions than the case studies – what we see in the media every six months or so is a few skirmishes that add up to a war of world-views. Bioethicists (or in their absence people in white coats who speak about ethical issues) are wheeled out, given a guernsey on the opinion pages, the news blogs, the chat programmes. They have a swing, score a few against the other team and are wheeled away again until the next tide of news coverage is due to come.
While there are a plethora of opinions, the Australian media is generally a lazy beast. Two monolithic world-views are given predominance – the consequentialists and the Christian theists.
Have a read of these articles (and the comments that follow) and as you’re reading, ask yourself who the authors are portraying the goodies and who are the baddies?