Religion is an important element of end-of-life care on the paediatric intensive care unit with religious belief providing support for many families and for some staff. However, religious claims used by families to challenge cessation of aggressive therapies considered futile and burdensome by a wide range of medical and lay people can cause considerable problems and be very difficult to resolve. While it is vital to support families in such difficult times, we are increasingly concerned that deeply held belief in (...) religion can lead to children being potentially subjected to burdensome care in expectation of ‘miraculous’ intervention. We reviewed cases involving end-of-life decisions over a 3-year period. In 186 of 203 cases in which withdrawal or limitation of invasive therapy was recommended, agreement was achieved. However, in the 17 remaining cases extended discussions with medical teams and local support mechanisms did not lead to resolution. Of these cases, 11 (65%) involved explicit religious claims that intensive care should not be stopped due to expectation of divine intervention and complete cure together with conviction that overly pessimistic medical predictions were wrong. The distribution of the religions included Protestant, Muslim, Jewish and Roman Catholic groups. Five of the 11 cases were resolved after meeting religious community leaders; one child had intensive care withdrawn following a High Court order, and in the remaining five, all Christian, no resolution was possible due to expressed expectations that a ‘miracle’ would happen. (shrink)
This paper considers the impact of the AI R&D programme on human society and the individual human being on the assumption that a full realisation of the engineering objective of AI, namely, construction of human-level, domain-independent intelligent entities, is possible. Our assumption is essentially identical tothe maximum progress scenario of the Office of Technology Assessment, US Congress.Specifically, the first section introduces some of the significant issues on the relational nexus among work, education and the human-machine boundary. In particular, based on (...) a Russellian conception of rationality I briefly argue that we need to change our related conceptions of work, employment and free time, through a new human-centred education. On the human-machine boundary problem, I make a couple of tentative suggestions and put forward some crucial open questions.Section two discusses the impact of the emerging machine intelligence on human nature both as modification of its self-image, keeping human nature itself unchanged, and its potential for altering human nature itself. I briefly argue that: (i) in a certain context, the question of the supremacy or uniqueness of human intelligence loses much, if not all, of its ‘weight’; and (ii) appearance of Robot-X species would immortalise the human spirit. (shrink)
I have three types of interrelated comments. First, on the choice of the proposed criteria, I argue against any list and for a system of criteria. Second, on grading, I suggest modifications with respect to consciousness and development. Finally, on the choice of “theories” for evaluation, I argue for Edelman's theory of neuronal group selection instead of connectionism (classical or not).
The Web may critically transform the way we understand the activity of proving. The Web as a collaborative medium allows the active participation of people with different backgrounds, interests, viewpoints, and styles. Mathematical formal proofs are inadequate for capturing Web-based proofs. This article claims that Web provings can be studied as a particular type of Goguen's proof-events. Web-based proof-events have a social component, communication medium, prover-interpreter interaction, interpretation process, understanding and validation, historical component, and styles. To demonstrate its claim, the (...) article discusses the Kumo and Polymath projects, both of which employ Web-based communication as part of proving. Web proving is a novel type of proving activity that may have a serious impact on the change in mathematical practices, despite the fact that it is not currently a universally acceptable methodology. (shrink)
The present paper compares the ethical perceptions of Americans and Greeks using conjoint analysis. The two samples were presented with 2 scenarios manipulating three factors: gender of the transgressor, organizational status of the transgressor, and the magnitude of the transgression. For each scenario, conventional mean comparisons and conjoint analyses were performed on five ethical measurements. The matrix of means and the relative importances of the American sample were compared with that of the Greek sample. The results showed that Greeks paid (...) more attention to the dollar amount involved and less attention on the organizational status of the transgressor than Americans did. The gender of the transgressor was the least important factor for both samples. The use of relative importance measures derived from conjoint analysis is shown to provide a new dimension in cross-cultural comparisons. (shrink)
Peer review is a widely accepted instrument for raising the quality of science. Peer review limits the enormous unstructured influx of information and the sheer amount of dubious data, which in its absence would plunge science into chaos. In particular, peer review offers the benefit of eliminating papers that suffer from poor craftsmanship or methodological shortcomings, especially in the experimental sciences. However, we believe that peer review is not always appropriate for the evaluation of controversial hypothetical science. We argue that (...) the process of peer review can be prone to bias towards ideas that affirm the prior convictions of reviewers and against innovation and radical new ideas. Innovative hypotheses are thus highly vulnerable to being “filtered out” or made to accord with conventional wisdom by the peer review process. Consequently, having introduced peer review, the Elsevier journal Medical Hypotheses may be unable to continue its tradition as a radical journal allowing discussion of improbable or unconventional ideas. Hence we conclude by asking the publisher to consider re-introducing the system of editorial review to Medical Hypotheses. (shrink)
In a recent Journal of Medical Ethics article, ‘Should Religious Beliefs Be Allowed to Stonewall a Secular Approach to Withdrawing and Withholding Treatment in Children?’, Joe Brierley, Jim Linthicum and Andy Petros argue for rapid intervention in cases of futile life-sustaining treatment. In their experience, when discussions of futility are initiated with parents, parents often appeal to religion to ‘stonewall’ attempts to disconnect their children from life support. However, I will argue that the intervention that the authors propose is (...) culturally insensitive. (shrink)
Following the argument of Pusey et al. (in Nature Phys. 8:476, 2012), new interest has been raised on whether one can interpret state-vectors (pure states) in a statistical way (ψ-epistemic theories), or if each one of them corresponds to a different ontological entity. Each interpretation of quantum theory assumes different ontology and one could ask if the PBR argument carries over. Here we examine this question for histories formulations in general with particular attention to the co-event formulation. State-vectors appear as (...) the initial state that enters into the quantum measure. While the PBR argument goes through up to a point, the failure to meet some of the assumptions they made does not allow one to reach their conclusion. However, the author believes that the “statistical interpretation” is still impossible for co-events even if this is not proven by the PBR argument. (shrink)
Sorkin’s recent proposal for a realist interpretation of quantum theory, the anhomomorphic logic or coevent approach, is based on the idea of a “quantum measure” on the space of histories. This is a generalisation of the classical measure to one which admits pair-wise interference and satisfies a modified version of the Kolmogorov probability sum rule. In standard measure theory the measure on the base set Ω is normalised to one, which encodes the statement that “Ω happens”. Moreover, the Kolmogorov sum (...) rule implies that the measure of any subset A is strictly positive if and only if A cannot be covered by a countable collection of subsets of zero measure. In quantum measure theory on the other hand, simple examples suffice to demonstrate that this is no longer true. We propose an appropriate generalisation, the quantum cover, which in addition to being a cover of A, satisfies the property that if the quantum measure of A is non-zero then this is also the case for at least one of the elements in the cover. Our work implies a non-triviality result for the coevent interpretation for Ω of finite cardinality, and allows us to cast the Peres-Kochen-Specker theorem in terms of quantum covers. (shrink)
In this paper, I shall argue that during the period from the end of World War II until just before the Islamic revolution of 1979, a body of literature emerged critiquing the petro-colonialism of the United States and select European countries, which infected Iran with a severe case of “occidentosis.” This set the stage for the revolution, and a presentation of the principle author of occidentosis, Jalal Al-e Ahmad, will facilitate understanding of the Iranian intellectual tradition.