The COVID pandemic has been one of the most politically and culturally divisive events in American history. Adding to our woes, the proper approach to scientific inquiry and policy makers’ relationship with the expert class became badly skewed. Once an orthodoxy was declared by the World Health Organization or the Center for Disease Control, government leaders, the mainstream media, and Big Tech circled the wagons to prevent dissenting views from being aired—and even sought to punish those with differing opinions. This included attacking the Great Barrington Declaration—authored by notable epidemiologists, that challenged the efficacy of societal shutdowns and keeping children out of school. Now, with the COVID emergency at an end, two of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration and other notables in medicine have organized the Norfolk Group, calling for a national commission to investigate the country’s response to COVID. One of these experts is Wesley’s guest on this episode of Humanize. Dr. Jay Bhattacharya is a Professor of Health Policy at Stanford University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research. He holds an MD and PhD in economics, both earned at Stanford University, where he directs Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging. Dr. Bhattacharya’s recent research focuses on the epidemiology of COVID-19 as well as an evaluation of policy responses to the epidemic. In December 2022, Bhattacharya was appointed by Florida Governor and now presidential candidate Ron DeSantis to the Public Health Integrity Committee, charged with assessing federal decisions, recommendations, and guidance related to public health and health care. Norfolk Group Great Barrington Declaration (gbdeclaration.org) Governor Ron DeSantis Petitions Florida Supreme Court for Statewide Grand Jury on COVID-19 Vaccines and Announces Creation of the Public Health Integrity Committee (flgov.com) Bhattacharya Groups Calls for National Commission on Covid Response | National Review Dr. Jay Bhattacharya on COVID-19, Authentic Public Health, and the Biosecurity State | Humanize Dr. Jay Bhattacharya on COVID-19 as One of the Most Divisive Events in American History | Humanize
The potential associated consequences of intense sexual affairs with adults, such as emotional turmoil, unplanned pregnancies, and pressures to abort, are burdens against which all young people should be protected. Read More ›
The United States has become the world’s most adamant promoter of what is now called “gender-affirming care” for children and adolescents who identify as being other than their born sex. This approach ranges from “social affirmation”—the use of preferred pronouns, for example—to “medical affirmation,” such as puberty blocking, to radical “surgical affirmation,” meaning mastectomies, facial feminization or masculinization cosmetic procedures, and, in a few cases, even genital removal and refashioning. Beginning to “transition” youth while they are still immature remains intensely controversial. But the increasingly woke medical establishment and Biden administration claim that the gender-affirming approach is “settled science” and the only efficacious approach to treating these children, calling those who disagree “science deniers.” My expert guest today says not so fast. Psychiatrist Stephen B. Levine has co-authored an important paper that details the paucity of reliable data establishing the benefits gender transitioning during a patient’s youth, calling into significant question the current approach to caring for anguished children diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Stephen B. Levine is a psychiatrist known for his work in human sexuality, particularly, sexual dysfunction and transgenderism. Levine earned his MD from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and serves as a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry there. He was co-editor for the section on sexual and gender identity disorders in the professional text Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. Although much of his work is written for other clinicians, Levine has also written books for a lay audience, including Solving Common Sexual Problems and Sexuality in Mid-Life (2004). Levine also served on the American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV Subcommittee on Gender Identity Disorders. Current Concerns About Gender-Affirming Therapy in Adolescents (springer.com) Informed Consent for Transgendered Patients – PubMed (nih.gov) Illuminate Life Processes by Taking a Sexual History (psychiatrictimes.com) https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2022.2046221 https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2022.2136117 https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2022.2150346 ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ Approach Undercut by New Scientific Study | National Review
The major science journals are growing increasingly hard left politically. The prestigious journal Science, in particular, has swallowed progressive ideology–including supporting the “nature rights” movement. Read More ›
Once killing the sufferer becomes a societally acceptable means for ending suffering, there becomes no end to the “suffering” that justifies human termination. We can see this phenomenon most vividly in Canada, because it is happening there more quickly than in most cultures. For example, a recent poll found that 27 percent of Canadians polled strongly or moderately agree that euthanasia is acceptable for suffering caused by “poverty” and 28 percent strongly or moderately agree that killing by doctors is acceptable for suffering caused by homelessness. Euthanasia mutates a society’s soul. I can’t imagine that being true ten years ago before euthanasia became legal. This kind of abandoned thinking finds enthusiastic, albeit not unanimous, expression among secular bioethicists. In fact, two Canadian bioethicists just published a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics — a prestigious British Medical Journal publication — arguing that “unjust social conditions” justify lethal jabs (euphemistically called MAiD, for “medical assistance in dying”). The argument claims that killing is a form of “harm reduction.” The authors even admit such cases have already occurred legally in Canada. From “Choosing Death in Unjust Conditions: Hope, Autonomy, and Harm Reduction” (my emphasis): In 2022, an individual in Canada, who had been diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), received MAiD. However, by their own description, their decision to choose MAiD was driven primarily by the fact that they were unable to access affordable housing compatible with MCS. While it was true that they suffered from an illness, disease or disability that caused ‘enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable’ as specified under the eligibility criteria of Bill C-14 [that recently expanded eligibility beyond death being “reasonably foreseeable], the primary source of their suffering was an inability to find appropriate housing, not the condition itself. Another person, also with MCS, writes: ‘I’ve applied for MAiD essentially because of abject poverty’. Good grief. The patient in question is dead — not because of their medical but housing conditions. And doctors used the physical issues as pretext for justifying the killing as within the law! The authors approve of allowing euthanasia for reasons of social injustice as a means of “harm reduction.” And in the context of medical issues, the authors claim that this includes killing patients who would not want to die if they could access proper treatment: In the case of the availability of MAiD in Canada to people who not only might but have explicitly said they would choose differently if they had access to the options they preferred, we argue that the least harmful way forward is to allow MAiD to be available. This, even though Canada’s socialized health-care system is in crisis: Access to healthcare across nearly all dimensions continues to deteriorate in the wake of the pandemic even outside of long-term and palliative care, from basic care, to surgical backlogs, to a general consensus that the system is in a state of collapse. In this context, refusing options to people who autonomously pursue MAiD amounts to perpetuating their suffering, hoping that this will ultimately lead to a better, more ‘just’ world. This is a world that currently does not exist and is unlikely to emerge in the near future. Even if it did, it is unfortunately even more unlikely that the people whose current suffering has led them to request MAiD will realise its benefits. So, socialized medicine fails, and a splendid answer to the problem for patients in need is euthanasia. Do you see now why I call euthanasia/assisted suicide “abandonment?” The authors conclude: We disagree with any claim that the unjust lack of choices available to people is alone sufficient to undermine their autonomy. Those who launch legal proceedings or request and receive MAiD are unlikely examples of people whose reduced opportunities have led them to lose all hope and motivation for pursuing personally meaningful courses of action. Moreover, neither a reduction of opportunities in itself, nor the existence of oppressive ableist norms, is sufficient to directly undermine autonomy…Restricting an autonomous choice to pursue MAiD due to the injustice of current non-ideal circumstances causes more harm than allowing the choice to pursue MAiD, even though that choice is deeply tragic. Bioethics is growing increasingly monstrous. And that matters because these are the so-called “experts” who exert tremendous influence on our laws and regulations, in court rulings, over the attitudes of journalists, among the purveyors of popular culture, and, ultimately, upon public attitudes. Moreover, Canada is our closest cultural cousin. If such a crass death-embracing attitude developed there so quickly with the legalization of euthanasia, it will happen here too — and, indeed, almost all state laws allowing doctor-prescribed death already expanded their guidelines. Which is why, if we want to follow the truly compassionate course, it is a matter of great urgency that we reject all further legalization of assisted suicide in the United States.
If, for some reason, H.B. 3162 does not make it all the way through the legislative process to law, may the lawsuits pour down like hail on Texas hospitals that impose futile-care impositions. Read More ›
Almost all notable science journals promote progressive ideology, and Nature — perhaps the world’s most prestigious science journal — is one of the worst of these propagandizers. The publication recently provided a platform to equity advocate Erika Nesvold, co-founder of JustSpace Alliance, who advocates “for a more inclusive and ethical future in space.” In the interview, she argues that future space colonies — which she would consider a verboten term — should be governed similarly to places like San Francisco. From “Ethics in Outer Space: Can We Make Interplanetary Exploration Just: You talk about ‘settling’ space, rather than colonizing it. Why? Because of all the terrible behaviour that came out of the colonization model here on Earth. People talk about space as the final frontier — there’s always references to the Wild West. But living on the frontier in the Wild West was not an ideal experience for most, including Indigenous people, women and Black people. We can’t just pick and choose the nice shiny parts of history and apply them to space. We have to also look at what was harmful about those times and how we can avoid that in the future. I’m sorry, but that is just insipid. Mars does not have indigenous people to exploit. And the word “frontier” is perfectly apt, meaning in this context, “the land or territory that forms the furthest extent of a country’s settled or inhabited regions.” Mars and the moon are certainly that. Nesvold advocates strong union protections for future space workers. That should be up to them, it seems to me. What if they don’t want unions? And, of course, “reproductive rights” in space. Also, diversity and the other usual leftwing bromides. She also wants space colony decarceration: While researching my book I talked to Michelle Brown, a criminologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Walidah Imarisha, who is a writer, an activist and director of the Center for Black Studies at Portland State University in Oregon. They both taught me a lot about prison abolition and restorative justice. If we talk about maybe not needing prisons in space, then the question is, what’s the alternative? And it turns out there’s a ton of people who are exploring how different cultures around the world handle harm within their communities in ways that don’t involve locking people up in prison. Portland’s ongoing anarchic meltdown illustrates exactly where such flaccid law enforcement leads. Establishing human communities in space will take rigor, grit, determination, brilliance, and courage — words that cannot be found in the interview. Participation should be based on merit and ability without regard to race, sex, ethnicity, religion, or political viewpoint — not checking off diversity boxes. Effectiveness and excellence should be the E-words to guide space exploration, not equity.
In his first term as California’s governor, Jerry Brown famously said back in 1975, “There is no free lunch. This is an era of limits and we all had better get used to it. Small is beautiful.” Was Brown right? These days, it seems that establishment thinking and most of the content on mainstream media believes it is so. Threats from climate change, overpopulation, and environmental degradation, we are told, now force us to reduce consumption and limit growth in order to save the planet and ourselves. Wesley’s guest in this edition of Humanize takes a radically different and far more optimistic view. Gale L. Pooley has co-authored a book entitled Super Abundance in which he and co-author Marian L. Tupy argue that contrary to the roaring pessimism about the human future so often espoused these days, our earthly resources are actually unlimited and indeed, that population increases and innovation are the keys to growing our prosperity and extending our freedoms. Gale L. Pooley is an associate professor of business management at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. He has taught economics and statistics at AL Faisal University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Boise State University, and the College of Idaho. Dr. Pooley earned his BBA in Economics at Boise State University and completed his PhD at the University of Idaho. He has published articles in National Review, Human Progress, The American Spectator, the Utah Bar Journal, the Appraisal Journal, Quillette, and RealClearMarkets. Dr. Pooley is a Senior Fellow with the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth and Poverty and serves on the board of HumanProgress.org. He also serves on the Foundation for Economic Education Faculty Network and is a Scholar with Hawaii’s Grassroot Institute. His major research activity has been the Simon Abundance Index, which he co-authored with Dr. Marian Tupy. Economics | Discovery Institute (wealthandpoverty.center) Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet: Tupy, Marian L., Pooley, Gale L., Gilder, George: 9781952223587: Amazon.com: Books Review of “Superabundance,” by Marian L. Tupy & Gale L. Pooley (city-journal.org) After 96 Years, TV Abundance Continues to Flourish | Economics (wealthandpoverty.center)
This is the kind of thinking that results from rejecting the intrinsic moral value of human life. Princeton University bioethicist Peter Singer — who is most famous for secularly blessing infanticide — just compared abortion to turning off a computer. Read More ›