J SAVULESCU : Two worlds apart : religion and ethics

By J Savulescu Murdoch Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Published in Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol 24, Issue 6 382-384.

In a recent article entitled, Requests « for inappropriate » treatment based on religious beliefs, Orr and Genesen claim that futile treatment should be provided to patients who request it if their request is based on a religious belief. I claim that this implies that we should also accede to requests for harmful or cost-ineffective treatments based on religious beliefs. This special treatment of religious requests is an example of special pleading on the part of theists and morally objectionable discrimination against atheists. It also provides an excellent illustration of how different the practices of religion and ethics are.

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