MercatorNet: promoting human dignity

Michael Cook

Michael Cook likes bad puns, bushwalking and black coffee. He did a BA at Harvard University in the US where it was good for networking, but moved to Sydney where it wasn’t. He also did a PhD on an obscure corner of Australian literature. He has worked as a book editor and magazine editor and has published articles in magazines and newspapers in the US, the UK and Australia. Currently he is the editor of BioEdge, a newsletter about bioethics, and MercatorNet. He also writes a bioethics column for Australasian Science and contributes occasional op-ed pieces to newspapers and websites in the US, UK and Australia.

Just one hitch with all those eulogies
19 Dec 2011 | FEATURES |  
tags: human dignity, obituaries
Who was the greater public intellectual, Christopher Hitchens or Vaclav Havel?

Must-watch video: If kids are so damn expensive why does our China need a one-child policy?
tags: China, one-child policy
Singer Chuanzi (real name 姜亚川 Jiang Yachuan) was a troubled teen who ended up in jail. But after being released, he forged a new career as an entertainer. After he appeared on China’s Got Talent with his singing dog “Dudu” he became an instant hit. “Zheng Qianhua” is one of his best known songs. It's about a new father who names his daughter “Zheng Qianhua,” which literally means, “to earn the money to spend.” It's an outstanding critique of the one-child policy.

Is China harvesting organs from ethnic minorities?
12 Dec 2011 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: China, organ donation
China has admitted that it harvests organs from condemned prisoners, but very little information about the practice has emerged in the press. Executed prisoners are believed to account for two-thirds of all transplants, although the government apparently wants to promote a voluntary scheme.

Debating euthanasia in the home of the bean and the cod
12 Dec 2011 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: Massachusetts
Choice is an Illusion, a non-profit opposed to assisted suicide, has launched a new website against the Massachusetts "Death with Dignity" Initiative. The initiative seeks to enact a physician-assisted suicide act in Massachusetts.

Is the slippery slope at work in Belgium?
11 Dec 2011 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: Belgium, euthanasia, slippery slope
The “slippery slope” is often derided as a logical fallacy. But when one of the leading advocacy groups for euthanasia in Belgium posts an article entitled “Euthanasie: tijd voor de volgende stap, Euthanasia, time for the next step”, it’s hard not to think that it may not be so illogical after all.

Australian “ambassadors” for euthanasia
9 Dec 2011 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: Australia
Your Last Right, an Australian euthanasia lobby group, has collected an impressive list of more than 100 “ambassadors” for “ the legal right to request and obtain medical assistance to end their lives with dignity”. It contains some familiar names – Philip Adams, Bob Brown, Leslie Cannold, Peter Singer, for instance. But there are some surprises, at least for me: footie legend Ron Barassi, former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, “social identity” Lady Susan Renouf, and Major General Alan Stretton. Here is the full list for those who are interested.

Bishop grilled over right to die
8 Dec 2011 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: Australia, Catholic Church
One of the smartest spokesmen for a Catholic stand on bioethics is Australian Bishop Anthony Fisher. Here he is interviewed by the ABC program 7.30 NSW. There are no softball questions and he hits most of them out of the park. (An analogy for American readers.)

One place in the US insulated from the recession: West Virginia’s hollows
tags: West Virginia
As the locals joke sardonically, West Virginia is one of the few places in the US that has barely felt the effects of the current recession. It got there a long time ago. "I think the loss of population is the biggest problem ... we had at one time 13 car dealerships; now we have none," says a state senator.

A mortal threat to marriage
6 Dec 2011 | FEATURES |  
tags: Australia, same-sex marriage
Same sex marriage can only succeed in a society where traditional marriage is already weak.

Non, je ne regrette rien
24 Nov 2011 | FEATURES |  
tags: stem cells
It is now all but certain that human embryonic stem cells will not deliver cures to dread diseases. Apologies, anyone?

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