academic freedom Ethics

Academics: Don’t you dare let the public know what we are talking about!

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Physicist David Tyler who posts here notes over at Access Research Network that some professionals inb bioethics get angry when the public comes to hear about their discussions, for example around how and why killing infants after birth should be legal. Those who allow the public to know that their tax dollars are spent on this are “abusing academic freedom” in the view of some academics.

This question is relevant to our issues at Uncommon Descent. One characteristic of corruption in academic life is the desire to shut both intelligent lay people and the practitioners of other disciplines out of discussions that must concern them.

Bioethicists don’t think we should know how many of them endorse killing babies after birth, just as a prominent evolutionary biologist thinks that math doesn’t matter and a prominent cosmologist thinks there is no scientific method.

In other words, no matter what is going on, move right along folks, there’s nothing to see here, and the standards by which you might assess our results don’t apply in our elite little (usually) publicly funded group.

Nice work if they can get it. Tyler writes,

Academics adopting the secular materialist worldview will always find themselves demolishing traditional values. They have failed to develop any ethical principles based on secular materialist foundations and they end up as pragmatists, postmodernists or social constructivists. Their conclusions about infanticide are entirely predictable. What is controversial is not that they say such things, but that they are so hostile to philosophical theism appearing in the pages of their academic journals. This is the crunch issue for academic freedom that has yet to be recognised. (In re: After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?, Alberto Giubilini, Francesca Minerva, Journal of Medical Ethics, 2013; 39(5), 261-263 | doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100411More.

See also: “What Darwin’s Enforcers Will Say About Darwin’s Doubt: A Prediction” for how this claim will likely be explicitly used to defend Darwinism from math and assorted other terrors.

23 Replies to “Academics: Don’t you dare let the public know what we are talking about!

  1. 1
    JWTruthInLove says:


    “(…) that some professionals inb bioethics get angry when the public comes to hear about their discussions, for example around how and why killing infants after birth should be legal.”

    Have you read the open letter?????

    They got angry, because the public DIDN’T come to hear about their discussions, but about the media-distortion of their discussion.

    However, we never meant to suggest that after-birth abortion should become legal.


    However, the content of (the abstract of) the paper started to be picked up by newspapers, radio and on the web. What people understood was that we were in favour of killing people. This, of course, is not what we suggested. This is easier to see when our thesis is read in the context of the history of the debate.


    We apologise to them, but we could not control how the message was promulgated across the internet and then conveyed by the media. In fact, we personally do not agree with much of what the media suggest we think.

  2. 2
    News says:

    “However, we never meant to suggest that after-birth abortion should become legal.” Really? Maybe they should, so we could just have it out on the table.

    Including the “make every word a lie” term: after-birth abortion Lordy, this beats anything any Darwinist came up with.

    Back forty years ago when bioethics really started to take off, a colleague observed that bioethicists were called in to invent justifications for what the top people wanted to do. (Some did want legal infanticide, by the way.)

    Nothing wrong with making the case, attorneys do it too.

    But if a public flame war develops when bioethicists start playing footsie with an idea like that, perishing the thought that it should be legal [yet?], it’s no use blaming the public. We the public are the rats in their experiments, which sometimes do come to fruition.

  3. 3
    News says:

    The only Darwinterm that comes close – that comes immediately to mind – is “ghost lineages” = ancestors for which we have no evidence, only faith.

    Like a lot of people’s connexions to royalty.

  4. 4
    Andre says:

    I think it was Ronald Reagan who said

    “I see all those in favor of abortion has already been born”

    Makes you think about the mass murder that happens everyday.

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    Yet, if you met them, they’d look just like you or me. Well, more respectable than me. ‘Snakes in suits’ one author has described psychopaths.

  6. 6
    JWTruthInLove says:

    ‘Snakes in suits’ – That’s how trinitarians call Jehovah’s Witnesses doing God’s work. But I could be mistaken… It’s hard to understand them when they foam at the mouth.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    JWT: Cf here on the dark triad problem, a real enough challenge. KF

  8. 8
    Axel says:

    ‘It’s hard to understand them when they foam at the mouth.’

    Also, when you’ve got your fingers in your ears, frantically chanting empty noises, as do liberal atheists.

  9. 9
    mahuna says:

    You should read “From Darwin to Hitler”. Abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia are all part of the same thinking. Euthanasia is common practice in European countries with Socialized medicine. Holland is notorious for simply killing patients in hospitals. (They up the drip on your sedatives until your diaphram muscle stops pumping air.)

    American “ethics experts” are simply preparing us for The Brave New World: if you’re a drag on society (cost more in upkeep than you produce), you have an obligation to eliminate yourself for the good of the state.

  10. 10
    Axel says:

    Divide and rule. You’re a sharp one, JW, and no mistake. What a novel idea. Keep those ‘fundies’ from having their objective code of morality inconvenience one’s life-style.

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:


    I cross-posted a comment meant for here:


    Let’s clip a bit more of that editorial, which is saying to objectors, how dare you get angry at the “Academic freedom” expressed in our journal:

    As Editor of the Journal, I would like to defend its publication. The arguments presented, in fact, are largely not new and have been presented repeatedly in the academic literature and public fora by the most eminent philosophers and bioethicists in the world, including Peter Singer, Michael Tooley and John Harris in defence of infanticide, which the authors call after-birth abortion.

    The novel contribution of this paper is not an argument in favour of infanticide – the paper repeats the arguments made famous by Tooley and Singer – but rather their application in consideration of maternal and family interests. The paper also draws attention to the fact that infanticide is practised in the Netherlands. [–> In short, we see here the collapse of he next domino beginning]

    Many people will and have disagreed with these arguments. However, the goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the Truth or promote some one moral view. It is to present well reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises. The authors provocatively argue that there is no moral difference between a fetus and a newborn. Their capacities are relevantly similar. If abortion is permissible, infanticide should be permissible. The authors proceed logically from premises which many people accept to a conclusion that many of those people would reject.

    Of course, many people will argue that on this basis abortion should be recriminalised. Those arguments can be well made and the Journal would publish a paper than made such a case coherently, originally and with application to issues of public or medical concern.

    [–> Really? Where were you when Schaeffer and Koop made exactly this point, to object to setting off the first domino in the cascade, warning that it then leads from abortion to infanticide to euthanasia tot he utter devaluation of life and establishment of a culture of death for the convenience of the powerful thence the death camp or the like? Where are you, now that he prediction is coming true again? On what rational grounds do you found reason and morality? In a worldview that infers as Provine put it in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day address: >> Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . . The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . . >>? Let’s just say that this cascade of assertions would undermine both morality and reason, indeed without power of responsible choice, neither can exist, all reduces to might and manipulation by the powerful make ‘truth,’ ‘reason’ and ‘right’.]

    If there were threats, that is to be regretted, but surely there should be strong condemnation and a call to return to a sanctity of life ethic rather than a ‘life unworthy of being lived” ethic that if translated into German will have a suitably sinister tone, given its history.] More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.

    Methinks I find here a turnabout moral equivalency accusation, meant to poison the well.

    And, it seems that — true to the manipulation game — the editorial misrepresents. Let us hear the abstract of the paper, which is so short that failure to cite it in extenso is telling:

    J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100411

    Law, ethics and medicine


    After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?

    Alberto Giubilini1,2,
    Francesca Minerva3

    Published Online First 23 February 2012


    Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

    In short,t he powerful get to decide who is convenient to live, even with no excuse of disability.



    Severe abnormalities of the fetus and risks for the physical and/or psychological health of the woman are often cited as valid reasons for abortion. Sometimes the two reasons are connected, such as when a woman claims that a disabled child would represent a risk to her mental health. However, having a child can itself be an unbearable burden for the psychological health of the woman or for her already existing children,1 regardless of the condition of the fetus. This could happen in the case of a woman who loses her partner after she finds out that she is pregnant and therefore feels she will not be able to take care of the possible child by herself.

    A serious philosophical problem arises when the same conditions that would have justified abortion become known after birth. In such cases, we need to assess facts in order to decide whether the same arguments that apply to killing a human fetus can also be consistently applied to killing a newborn human . . .

    Then, the newspeak, doubletalk manipulation of language game and where it goes:

    In spite of the oxymoron in the expression, we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’, to emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child. [–> the intent of this doublespeak is obviously to benumb to what is being done, and to give talking points to be drummed in to spread the benumbing far and wide] Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk. Accordingly, a second terminological specification is that we call such a practice ‘after-birth abortion’ rather than ‘euthanasia’ because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice, contrary to what happens in the case of euthanasia.

    Failing to bring a new person into existence cannot be compared with the wrong caused by procuring the death of an existing person. [–> dehumanising the intended victim, always the first step to excusing mass, politically backed murder] The reason is that, unlike the case of death of an existing person, failing to bring a new person into existence does not prevent anyone from accomplishing any of her future aims. However, this consideration entails a much stronger idea than the one according to which severely handicapped children should be euthanised. If the death of a newborn is not wrongful to her on the grounds that she cannot have formed any aim that she is prevented from accomplishing, then it should also be permissible to practise an after-birth abortion on a healthy newborn too, given that she has not formed any aim yet . . .

    Utterly monstrous, machiavellian, narcissistic [how dare you object, we are the academic elites exercising our minds in free speech] and sociopathic.

    The dark triad in action.


    Chilling, utterly chilling.


  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Newsbusters has an apt and well merited critique well worth reading, here.

  13. 13
    JWTruthInLove says:

    JWT: Cf here on the dark triad problem, a real enough challenge. KF

    I have no idea what you mean; link doesn’t work.

  14. 14
    JWTruthInLove says:


    Also, when you’ve got your fingers in your ears, frantically chanting empty noises, as do liberal atheists.

    Religious warfare is challenging enough. I try to follow Jesus and not engage in politics.

  15. 15
    JWTruthInLove says:


    from having their objective code of morality

    Are you saying people have different objective codes of morality?

  16. 16
    tjguy says:

    JW says,

    I try to follow Jesus and not engage in politics.

    Do you follow Jesus when he says in Mk. 10:6 “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’”

    or when He speaks of Noah’s flood?

    or when He tells us to be the light of the world? We are told to pray for our leaders and to be good citizens. What is wrong with politics?

    Is engaging in politics viewed as a sin by the Watchtower?

    just wondering.

  17. 17
    Barb says:

    “What is wrong with politics?”

    A better question would be, what is right with politics. I had a co-worker tell me he wasn’t going to ever vote in another presidential election after 2012. He isn’t a Witness. I asked him why, and he explained that in his view, the entire political system was broken. Too much lobbying, too much coruption, etc. To him, there wasn’t really any point in voting.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for their political neutrality. Jesus himself refused to allow the Jews to make him a king, and refused to be tempted to become a ruler (Matthew 4:1-10). The book On the Road to Civilization—A World History (by Heckel and Sigman, pages 237, 238) reports: “Christians refused to share certain duties of Roman citizens. The Christians . . . felt it a violation of their faith to enter military service. They would not hold political office. They would not worship the emperor.”

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Chance Ratcliff says:

    OT: What is evil? Answer.

    More here.

  20. 20
    lpadron says:

    It’s even more blatant here:

    The problem isn’t their conclusions, of course. It’s only that the general public has a primitive “yuck factor” it’s unaware of and can’t overcome with reason.

    The authors? Guess who.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    IP: I and many others have a reasonably rooted, very strong adverse reaction to the taking of innocent life. The newborn is a classic case in point. And the attempt to manipulate me to accept the willful slaughter of the newborn because the powerful have already successfully schemed to get large scale slaughter of the unborn simply redoubles my determination to oppose both and to expose those who would advocate or do such. And no, the problem is not alleged facts, it is that we are seeing a deliberate, progressive corruption of public morality that undergirds just law. This is the blatant step too far that exposes the whole scheme. Let us take time to watch the Schaeffer-Koop film here on, and redouble our determination to stand against a flood tide of evil. Yes, EVIL. KF

  22. 22
    JWTruthInLove says:


    Do you follow Jesus when he says in Mk. 10:6 “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’”

    I try to follow it every night… in many different ways.

    or when He speaks of Noah’s flood?

    Which side will you be on when the next “flood” comes?

    or when He tells us to be the light of the world? We are told to pray for our leaders and to be good citizens.

    Yes. I pray for our leaders. However, for me, “being good citizens” does not entail giving up Christian principles.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are politically neutral. They respect the right of governments to make and enforce laws. (Romans 13:1-7) However, they take seriously Jesus’ statement that they are “no part of the world.” (John 17:14-16) In their public ministry, they offer people the chance to learn the benefits of living by God’s standards. But they do not violate their Christian neutrality by supporting the efforts of Fundamentalist groups that try to establish civil laws that would force others to adopt Bible standards.—John 18:36.


    Jesus also taught his followers to pray for God’s Kingdom: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:10) Though Christendom’s religious leaders often repeat that prayer, they have urged people to support political and other human institutions. Moreover, they belittle those who endeavor to preach and bear witness to this Kingdom. As a result, among many who claim to be Christians, God’s Kingdom is no longer a topic for discussion, let alone a matter of faith.

  23. 23
    Barb says:

    This is the part of the article that angers me: “having a child can itself be an unbearable burden for the psychological health of the woman or for her already existing children,1 regardless of the condition of the fetus.”

    Then use birth control. Infanticide is acceptable, but not birth control? Really?

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