We all know that doctors accept gifts from drug companies, ranging from pens and coffee mugs to free vacations at luxurious resorts. But as the former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine reveals in this shocking expose, these innocuous-seeming gifts are just the tip of an iceberg that is distorting the practice of medicine and jeopardizing the health of millions of Americans today. In On the Take, Dr. Jerome Kassirer offers an unsettling look at the pervasive payoffs (...) that physicians take from big drug companies and other medical suppliers, arguing that the billion-dollar onslaught of industry money has deflected many physicians' moral compasses and directly impacted the everyday care we receive from the doctors and institutions we trust most. Underscored by countless chilling untold stories, the book illuminates the financial connections between the wealthy companies that make drugs and the doctors who prescribe them. Kassirer details the shocking extent of these financial enticements and explains how they encourage bias, promote dangerously misleading medical information, raise the cost of medical care, and breed distrust. Among the questionable practices he describes are: the disturbing number of senior academic physicians who have financial arrangements with drug companies; the unregulated "front" organizations that advocate certain drugs; the creation of biased medical education materials by the drug companies themselves; and the use of financially conflicted physicians to write clinical practice guidelines or to testify before the FDA in support of a particular drug. A brilliant diagnosis of an epidemic of greed, On the Take offers insight into how we can cure the medical profession and restore our trust in doctors and hospitals. (shrink)
There is something embarrassing about money. Everybody is seeking it but at the same time they are reluctant to talk about their bank balances and stock holdings. As a society we have so much of it that we can install 7000 saffron curtains all over Central Park, send tourists into outer space, and analyze the gas on the surface of Titan, yet we fail to spend it on millions of poverty-stricken people who die of disease or starvation each year. We (...) do open our pocketbooks sometimes, but only when television images of massive destruction overwhelm our sensibilities. Money often dominates our consciousness and bombards us in the headlines: Our national debt is 7.7 trillion dollars and it's increasing by more than 2 billion dollars a day; corporate executives of Enron walk away with millions while their employees lose their jobs and their pensions; and we had an endless fascination with Martha Stewart, who is worth millions, but went to jail trying to save a few thousand. (shrink)
The violence of 9/11 and its aftermath have raised in a new way the question of the role of religion in the contemporary world. It has given urgent meaning to the “new atheists,” such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, all of whom have argued flatly, as Hitchens put it, that “religion poisons everything.” Some of the power of their position comes from their deep commitment to science, as practiced in the university, and the sharp contrast (...) they make between the methods and knowledge of science and the absolute and dogmatic perspectives of religious traditions which generate intolerance, fanaticism, and violence. As they accurately point out, 9/11 is only the most recent event .. (shrink)
I argue that the most significant contribution and legacy of Gordon Kaufman's work rests in his theological method. I limit my discussion to his methodological starting point, his concept of human nature, as he develops it in his book, In Face of Mystery. I show the relevance of this starting point for cultural and theological criticism by arguing two points: first, that this starting point embraces religious and cultural pluralism at its center, providing a framework for intercultural and interreligious discussion (...) and cooperation, and second, that Kaufman's interpretation of religion that emerges out of this starting point embodies pragmatic criteria for evaluating and reconstructing alternative cultural and religious worldviews, so that they may function more adequately within the changing contexts of life. (shrink)
Acte essentiellement privé, le mariage grec a pour traits constants, aux époques classique et hellénistique, la dation de la mariée au marié par son père (ekdosis), ainsi que le versement d'une dot directe (proïx ou phernè) par le père ou son substitut. La riche monographie que lui consacrent A.-M. Vérilhac et Cl. Vial, à l'issue d'une collaboration de plus de dix ans, leur permet d'en étudier les différentes dimensions (sociale, économique, juridique, rituelle…) et d'en souligner ains..
Les décisions politiques sur les risques environnementaux complexes font fréquemment intervenir des éléments scientifiques contestés. Il n’y a généralement pas de « faits » qui conduisent à une politique correcte unique. Les éléments de preuve qui sont intégrés dans les avis scientifiques destinés à une décision politique nécessitent une évaluation de leur qualité. En 2003, l’Agence néerlandaise d’évaluation environnementale a adopté une méthode standardisée, désignée sous le nom de « guide », dans le cadre de laquelle les principaux aspects de (...) la production et de l’utilisation des connaissances sont présentés grâce à une liste de contrôle visant à l’évaluation et à la communication des incertitudes. Dans cet article, nous présentons des résultats de l’application de ce guide à la controverse sur les risques des particules en suspension. La délibération active sur l’incertitude dans un contexte d’expertise entraîne un processus d’apprentissage commun entre les experts et les décideurs politiques, ce qui conduit à une meilleure prise de conscience du phénomène d’incertitude et de ses implications politiques.Policy decisions on complex environmental risks often involve disputed science. Typically, there are no “ facts” to support a single unequivocally correct policy. The evidence provided in scientific studies for policy-making decisions requires high-quality assessment. In 2003, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency adopted a standardized method, referred to as “guidelines”, whereby key quality aspects of knowledge production and use are presented in the form of a checklist for uncertainty assessments and communication. In this article, we present the outcomes of applying the guidelines in controversies on the risks of ambient particulate matter. In the policy–advisory context, active deliberation on uncertainty produces a common learning process for advisors and policy makers, which leads to a deeper understanding and increased awareness of the phenomenon of uncertainty and its policy implications. (shrink)