Saturday 3rd December, 2011
3:40pm to 4:10pm
Proper medical practice is based on a scientific understanding of physiology, pathology, and pharmacology; effective treatments are identified through scientific testing. But the freedom of inquiry that skepticism requires also embraces freedom of conscience, even to the point of irrational beliefs. The tensions between these commitments - to science and to freedom of thought - arise in healthcare in many obvious, but many less-obvious, ways.
This presentation will invite participants to grapple with possibly-overlooked subtleties of practical decision making on scientific issues, in a diverse and largely non-scientific society. How should healthcare practitioners, and social policy-makers, accommodate irrational or supernatural beliefs in the healthcare setting? Does a dedication to skepticism justify a refusal to permit scientifically ungrounded treatment choices? Does tolerance for diversity of beliefs require endangering the public through waste of resources, or refusal of scientific practices such as vaccination?
(Longer description available in program guide.)
Bioethicist living in Brooklyn, NY. This Twitter account supplements issues commentary at my blog Sufficient Scruples. For me myself, see http://www.ktkeith.com. bio from Twitter
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