‘Tis the season of fulminant fruitiness


Newspapers have their “silly season” of shock-horror absurdities in the slow news summer months. How about bioethics journals? When two very loopy articles surface in peer-reviewed journals in as many weeks, it’s clearly February and March.

First there was an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics asserting the moral permissibility of infanticide. Now an American, a Swede and a Briton have written an article in Environment, Ethics and Policy which suggests that we should consider genetically engineering children to combat climate change. People who are smaller, shorter and eat less meat will help reduce both their own carbon footprint and bovine flatulence (a significant contributor to greenhouse gases).

For more details, see the article below or on BioEdge. However, isn’t it time to investigate the source of these common-sense defying conjectures? After all, a rich fantasy life is not necessarily part of a bioethicist’s job description. Most of them chip away at the coal face, clarifying the conundrums that crop up every day of a doctor’s life. Only a few of them have actually slipped their moorings from the real world.

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