Clinical Ethics 8 (1):2-4 (2013)

David Albert Jones
Anscombe Bioethics Centre
David Katz
University of Saskatchewan
A recent online article in the Journal of Medical Ethics, which received wide media coverage, raised the possibility that children are being ‘subjected to torture’ due to the ‘fervent or fundamentalist views’ of their parents. However, the quality of argument in that article was inadequate to sustain such a radical thesis. There was no engagement with the perspectives of different religious traditions about end-of-life care. Instead the authors invoked practices such as male infant circumcision which are wholly irrelevant to the end-of-life theme. There were serious failings in relation to core principles of social and epidemiological research practice: the study based its conclusion on a sample of only six cases and failed to consider even the more obvious confounding features. Rather than demonizing the religious beliefs of parents there should be recognition of the need for mutual respect, dialogue based on an ‘expert–expert relationship’ and collaboration based on ‘shared understanding’
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DOI 10.1177/1477750912474766
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