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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019) and AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Danger, irrationalists at work

As I have frequently argued here and elsewhere, there is no rational basis for opposition to research on early embryos or therapeutic cloning. However, the irrationalists have been hard at work organising a campaign of political protest at the possibility of relaxation in Australia's current draconian legislation.

This is the position we now find ourselves in as a society: we seem to be forgetting the useful Millian criterion that people should be prevented from actions only when they will actually cause harm to others (I am prepared to extend "others" to non-human animals for some purposes but not to an insentient blob of cells). Policy makers are paying too much attention to every supposedly "ethical" claim that comes along, however much it may involve infringments of our liberty or harms to our welfare.

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