Unethical Quote Of The Week: Dr. Mary Rudyk [Corrected]

“I think we have to be more blunt, we have to be more forceful, we have to say something coming out, you know you don’t get vaccinated, you know you’re going to die. I mean, let’s just be really blunt to these people.”

—-Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center Dr. Mary Rudyk, formerly the North Carolina’s Chief of Medical Staff, in a leaked Zoom discussion with a colleague about how to persuade vaccine resisters to get their shots. [ Notice of Correction: the original post included a shot from the Zoom recording that was not Rudyk, but the colleague she was talking with. Commenter Zanshin flagged the mistake. That is Rudyk above.]

In other words, lie and engage in fear-mongering! Oh, good plan. That’s surely the way to build back the trust the health care community has squandered during the pandemic.

Moron.

Rudyk says in the now viral two-minute video that  the hospital’s messaging needs to be “a little bit more scary for the public,” so she proposes including patients she characterizes as “post-COVID” in the hospital’s case count. Actually, as the hospital tried to explain later as it desperately attempts to address public outrage over the comments, that policy would be defensible, as patients hospitalized for conditions brought on by the virus are still in danger as a direct result of being infected. However, the ethical motive for making this choice is to be more informative, not to be “more scary.’

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Friday Ethics Wars, 9/17/21: More Harvard Craziness, Woolly Mammoth Ethics, And The Importance Of Hiring A Competent Hitman

Death Star2

1. Fair Harvard, you continue to be an embarrassment. This is a candidate to make it into my “why I’m boycotting my reunion” note for the Class book: Giang Nguyen, executive director of Harvard University Health Services, sent a campus-wide memo telling students to follow these rules while eating and socializing in the dining halls. (I learned more eating in the dining halls and in late night snack sessions than I did in my classes):

“Eating and drinking together are a cornerstone of human social interaction, but there are ways to interact that minimize the time spent unmasked and in close proximity,” Nguyen wrote.

Among his requests to students:

  • Follow the “Quick Sip Rule” when drinking. Lower your mask, take a sip, and then promptly cover your mouth and nose. A straw can make this more efficient.
  • Do not linger with your mask down. If you wish to slowly savor a hot beverage, do it away from others.
  • Consume and cover! Consume your meal and immediately mask up when done.
  • Conversation, checking your phone, and other activities should be masked, even when you are in a designated indoor dining area.
  • If you are taking your time between bites (for conversation, for example), put your mask back on.
  • Dine in small parties of 2-to-4 people.
  • Avoid table-hopping.
  • Consider dining consistently with the same small group of people rather than a different group at every meal of the day.
  • Keep your close contacts to a minimum.
  • Limit each interaction to under 15 minutes.
  • Plan events that don’t involve eating, drinking, or removal of masks

My advice to the author of such a “request” were I a student today: “Bite me. Then put your mask on.” Harvard has a 94 percent vaccination rate among its students. As of this week, its test positivity rate is 0.18 percent.

2. Fake Woolly Mammoth ethics. This article managed to go on at great length about how a new company is planning to “de-extinctify” Wooly Mammoths and start new herds in Siberia as if it all made perfect sense. They’ve fooled private investors into giving them $15 million for the project: this is a scam, whether they know it or not. As far as the Times piece goes, it rates an ethics foul for never once mentioning “Jurassic Park.” Come to think of it, the article should have mentioned “The Producers.” Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D, and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, explains just how absurd the project is:

“What they are doing is making a genetically modified Asian elephant by inserting into its genome a maximum of sixty mammoth genes that they think differentiate the modern species from the extinct one: genes that involve hairiness, cold tolerance, amount of fat, and so on. What they’d get would be a genetic chimera, an almost entirely Asian elephant but one that is hairier, chunkier, and more tolerant of cold. That is NOT a woolly mammoth, nor would it behave like a woolly mammoth, for they’re not inserting behavior genes…Further, a lot of other genes differ between a mammoth and an Asian elephant. What guarantee is there that the inserted mammoth genes would be expressed correctly, or even work at all in concert with the Asian elephant developmental system? But it gets worse. Since you can’t implant a transgenic embryo into an elephant mom (we don’t know how to do that, and we would get just one or two chances), [the group] has this bright idea…’make an artificial mammoth uterus lined with uterine tissue grown from stem cells.’

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Evening Ethics Cool-Down, 9/16/2021: On Idiots, The Donner Party, Statistical Reparations And The Evil NFL

Frozen Statue

I had to get out of bed to write this; I’ve been exhausted all day. I better not be getting old. That will really tick me off…

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I’m working on a post called “Cannibal Ethics,” and this obviously led me to the Donner Party, the group of doomed pioneers who had to eat each other to survive when they were caught in a storm in the Sierra Nevadas in 1846. If I knew that they had come to their fate because of a negligent author, I had forgotten it: a fake expert named Lansford Hastings had written “The Emigrant’s Guide to Oregon and California” recommending a short-cut (which actually increased the trip’s mileage) to the Promised Land (this was before the two areas were ruined by reality-free politics)He had never actually traveled the new trail when he published the book. He did finally do it shortly before the Donner party set out, and helped sealed its fate by leaving paper notes along the way that further misled them. One told the already desperate wagon train they could cross Utah’s Great Salt Lake desert in a faction of the time it actually took. The group ran out of water in the middle of the salt plain about half-way across.

If I compiled a list of U.S. Ethics Villains throughout history—I’ve considered it—Hastings would be on it. After he left the U.S. for Brazil following the Civil War, he wrote a sequel of sorts to the book that killed so many of the Donner Party: “The Emigrant’s Guide to Brazil.” (1867).

1. Tales of The Great Stupid, Headline Division. From the Boston Globe: “How did Boston miss its moment to elect a Black leader?” The reporter, Stephanie Ebert just can’t imagine why he three Black candidates in the mayoral primary were eliminated in favor of Michelle Wu, the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants and Annissa Essaibi George, whose father was a Tunisian Arab Muslim. But, Ebert complains, there won’t be “any candidate who knows the weight of being Black in a city with deep racial scars.”

Maybe the three black candidates were not seen as skilled, experienced, or qualified as the primary’s winners. Or is Ebert saying that being black should be enough to qualify someone to be mayor?

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Comment Of The Day: “Post-Labor Day Ethics Laments, 9/7/21” (Item #1, The Baseball Player’s Long Paternity Leave)

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The Comment of the Day below is really two consecutive comments in the same thread, as Sarah B. argues that fathers are not only justified in leaving their jobs at critical times to be with their wives at childbirth and thereafter for as long as they deem necessary, but that this is the most ethical choice. My note prompting her response involved the case of Red Sox star Alex Verdugo, who left the team at a crucial time when the season hung in the balance, and stayed away for four days to be with his girlfriend and their new-born child: there is no indication that he provided anything but companionship and moral support.

(I just learned that he is not married to the mother (above). No, I don’t think that changes the ethics issue, though it raises others.)

I stated that this was a breach of his duty to the team, which he is paid handsomely to respect. I am quite certain that this is the correct ethical position, but my view represents the resolution of an ethics conflict, where two ethical principles oppose one another. I can’t say that how Sarah prioritizes these principles is wrong, only that I would prioritize them differently, and have in analogous situations.

Here is Sarah B’s Comment of the Day on #1 from the post, “Post-Labor Day Ethics Laments, 9/7/21.” I will have a few rebuttal points at the end…

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“The priorities are linked, but still need to be ranked and four days is nothing. Heck, if my husband only got four days after the birth of our children, unless his absence from me would literally cause someone to die, I’d give him the choice of his job or his family. If we want men to step up and be good husbands and fathers (which would do amazing things for our society) we need to let them do that. Considering what a woman’s body goes through with the birth of a child and the incredible amount of healing she must do after the fact, four days barely lets a mom get home from the hospital (having had complication-free natural births has led to us getting to go home on day three at my hospital) and set up a good feeding schedule for the first kid (my best kid so far took two weeks before we got the bugs worked out enough for their health and mine). Subsequent kids require so much more because of the need to care for the older children too. The fact of being in high levels of pain for every action and dealing with incredible dizziness for days lead to a new mom being a literal danger to herself and the baby (not to mention any other kids) if left alone. According to my OBs, that condition is totally normal, even expected.

“Due to the danger, new moms are forbidden from lifting their own child or walking with the child in their arms in my hospital. My hospital also asks about the support a mother can expect for at least two weeks post baby before they will even let the child go home with the mother. Sure, a lot of us rely on other family members for that second (or third or fourth week), but the dad has to be there in the beginning if he wants to start himself off on a good foot of proper prioritization of responsibility. Most marriages I have seen where a dad does not give totally of himself for 1-2 weeks after a baby are at best strained. The mother needs support, and who is best able and most desired to give that support, but the father of the baby? If MLB cannot give new fathers a week away at minimum, they need to require that their players are celibate while on contract, so no babies come about. If a multimillion dollar contract is enough to abandon a wife and kid for at a time of great need, it should be enough to abandon sex for. Family is the primary responsibility, and all the more so at the birth of a baby.

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Chilling Tales Of The Great Stupid: Bette Midler’s Tweets

Midler tweet 2

Midelr tweet 3

I love these tweets! The pop music and Broadway diva and actress has provided a cultural, political, anthropological and philosophical artifact for the ages. I could write a book about these twin tweets and what they tell us, not just about Midler, but about a society that produces the kind of celebrity who would produce them.

Where to begin? Well, taken together they are not unethical tweets: I might even argue that they are ethical, because they publicly declare to the world, “I am a complete and utter idiot, and not only do I lack the critical thinking skills of a three-toed sloth, I suffer from a near terminal level of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, being both unable to discern just how stupid I am, but also unable to comprehend the consequences of advertising my disability to the public.” Now there is no excuse for anyone considering having an interaction of any kind with Midler that involves trust—letting her baby-sit a child, for example, or even a guppy—and thus to make the mistake of relying on her judgment. She has none, and has been considerate enough to proclaim it. (Not that she hadn’t provided plenty of evidence before.) The tweets make the world safer. How many social media posts do that?

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“Is We Getting Dummer?” Based On The Mainstream News Media’s Propaganda On The Texas Heartbeat Law, We Is, And That’s What They Want

Texas law hysteria

Op-eds that make American dumber shouldn’t be published. There is an op-ed in today’s New York Times by Jamelle Bouie, adding another fact-free rant to the current freak-out over the so-called Texas freak-out law. Bouie chooses to repeat a theme of his from other columns, that the case proves that the Supreme Court “has too much power.” Bouie was first spotted by Ethics Alarms as Slate’s resident race-baiter, a job at which he was embarrassingly bad. Naturally, this qualified him to be added to the New York Times stable of socialists, fantasists and Trump-Deranged fanatics, since one incompetent and biased black columnist (Charles M. Blow) wasn’t enough in these times of “diversity and inclusion.”

Bouie, on the topic of the Supreme Court, literally (which I mean literally) doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is not a lawyer, and if he ever read a whole Supreme Court decision (or had someone knowledgeable explain one to him), I’ve seen no evidence. of it. Guess which of the (incompetent) dissents to the SCOTUS majority decision not to suspend the Texas law when there is no procedural precedent for doing so. Come on, guess! Why Sonia Sotomayor, speaking of “diversity and inclusion,” of course. She was a cynical choice for the Court by Barack Obama, using approximately the same identity-based standards that made Kamala Harris Vice-President.

Non-lawyers love to quote Sotomayor, because she seldom makes legal arguments, just emotional ones. “The court has rewarded the state’s effort to delay federal review of a plainly unconstitutional statute, enacted in disregard of the court’s precedents, through procedural entanglements of the state’s own creation,” she wrote this time, in a snippet being repeated by other pro-abortion hysterics. That’s because the Court doesn’t strike down unconstitutional laws until the government tries to enforce them. What Bouie cites as an example of the Court having too much power is in fact proof that its power is limited.

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Texas Abortion Law Freakout Friday Presents Comment Of The Day And Response 2 On “Texas’s Clever Anti-Abortion Law”

Down Syndrome abortion

I guess I could also call this “Isaac Comment of the Day Rebuttal Friday,” but it’s not quite as catchy.

Here is Here’s Johnny’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Texas’s Clever Anti-Abortion Law,” followed by, as in the earlier post today, Isaac’s Comment of the Day response.

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“I am of two minds when it comes to abortion. My left side says people have a right to privacy in medical stuff (especially from government), and an absolute right to control of their own bodies. My right side says killing humans is wrong (mostly).

“The left, generally, when it comes to abortion, shies away from recognizing that a human life is being ended, while otherwise, mostly, proclaim the sanctity of human life. The right, generally, when it comes to abortion, shy away from privacy rights, while, otherwise, mostly, proclaiming that government should just leave us alone.

“The suggestion posed here, that the fetus/unborn child be carried to term and placed for adoption, has merit. The last time I checked, there were a lot of potential adoptive parents.

“But, consider a real-world case that I am all too familiar with. The fetus/unborn child is diagnosed in utero as having Down syndrome. The list of potential adoptive parents shrinks considerably. But, the parents are opposed to abortion, the child is born, and the severity of Down syndrome is far worse than expected. The list of potential adoptive parents would be close to zero. Several surgical procedures are necessary soon after birth, significant expense in money to taxpayers and in both money and time to the parents.
But, the parents never considered placing the child for adoption anyway.
Advance the calendar about a decade and a half. The teen cannot communicate, although she seems to understand some things. She cannot feed herself. She cannot manage using a toilet. She has reached puberty, but cannot manage pads. She can walk, clumsily, but cannot be allowed to wander too far.

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It’s Texas Abortion Law Freakout Friday! First Up, Comment Of The Day And Comment Of The Day Reply On “Texas’s Clever Anti-Abortion Law”

Baby in grave

First up on “Texas Abortion Law Freak-out Friday is Extradimensional Cephalopod’s timely exploration of the popular “we should be able to kill unborn babies while they can’t think, before they can” justification for legal abortion. As that characterization might suggest, I hate that argument, which has been made passionately by some abortion advocate every time the topic has arisen on Ethics Alarms. The reason I find it ethically objectionable is that the theory was devised to justify a position that had already been decided. Extradimensional Cephalopod’s comment begins by calling it intellectually honest. I admire his presentation of the argument, but that’s exactly what it isn’t. Abortion advocates, desperately seeking a way to get around the inconvenient fact that a human life was being snuffed out in the procedure and not willing to embrace the “Baby? What baby?” shrug that defines most pro-abortion rhetoric, came up with the “not sentient, ego not human” dodge after already endorsing abortion. This is scientifically and logically dishonest, because a bias—“we really, really want abortion to be legal”—drove the conclusion.

As E.C. makes clear, it is still a better defense of abortion than the fiction that only one human being’s life is at stake. As Isaac also makes clear in his Comment of the Day in response, it’s still not good enough.

First, here is Extradimensional Cephalopod’s Comment of the Day on “Texas’s Clever Anti-Abortion Law.” Isaac’s rebuttal will follow.

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“The intellectually honest argument for abortion, which I’m still baffled most proponents don’t seem to bring up, is that a person–a sapient being–is not defined by having human DNA or a heartbeat, but by patterns of information in their brain (or whatever module they use to think with).

“There’s disagreement on whether to draw a meaningful distinction between patterns that are sapient and patterns that are subsapient–often called animals–as well as what ethical obligations sapients have to animals. In any case, proponents of abortion regard any information patterns in the brain of a human fetus as being less than sapient, and therefore not subject to the same ethical protections as fully sapient humans. For at least some of a human pregnancy, that belief would be supported by a developing brain not yet having achieved the complexity required to support a sapient consciousness. At some point, it may be that the brain is decently complex but hasn’t absorbed enough information to start forming a consciousness.
I’ve read somewhere that developing humans may start learning sounds and linguistic phonemes while still in the womb, though, and while I haven’t investigated the studies supporting this claim, it’s a claim that must be challenged by those who would argue that unborn humans haven’t absorbed any information.

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Our Lying, Propaganda-Spreading, Untrustworthy News Media: The Miami Herald Headline

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I have to regularly update my resolve to not respond to one of my ethics-rotted progressive friends when they say to my face, “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! That’s just a conservative conspiracy theory,” “You’re not only an idiot, you’re an enemy of democracy.” It gets harder and harder by the day. This has been my ongoing struggle at least since the 2008 Presidential campaign, when the mainstream media kept mocking Sarah Palin’s alleged lack of qualifications to be Vice-President while never mentioning that Joe Biden was a babbling fool or that Barack Obama was objectively less qualified than Palin was.

The Miami Herald headline above isn’t unusual; there are these kinds of lies and public manipulation to assist partisan agendas that appear in the news media every day, all day long, and from more influential sources (boy, I nearly wrote “respected sources,” and no mainstream media source deserves respect) than the Herald. Nonetheless, the headline is unusually brazen.

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