Philosophy & Ethics

There is confusion about whether immolation is permissible under Islamic law. EPA

By Jon Hoover, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Faculty of Arts a University of Nottingham

The killing of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh by Islamic State has been explained as an act of retaliation for the air campaign against it. But there have been many questions about whether immolation is a valid form of punishment in Islamic law – and many Muslim scholars have argued that it is not.

Pudgy and recovering from heart surgery, Bill Clinton needed someone to optimize his health. Hillary Clinton knew just the man for the job, and in 2005 introduced him to Dr. Mark Hyman, whose expertise they credit for Mr. Clinton’s current svelte physique.
Apple and Facebook have an odd perquisite for their employees - they will pay for their employees to place oocytes in frozen storage — social freezing, also known as cryopreservation and egg freezing.

Companies may have a mercenary desire to do so, even if it comes across as altruism. By eliminating a biological clock for women, they can keep employees working longer hours, which will close that pay gap between men and women and make them look like noble while they reduce turnover. 

The Discovery of the Child Erichthonius by Peter Paul Rubens 

By Helen King, The Open University

The science and morality of creating a life with DNA from three different individuals is hot news.

The UK parliament has voted in favor of allowing trials of mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT), otherwise also known as three-person IVF, which would allow women with mitochondrial mutations to have healthy children.

Opposing this law change is not anti-feminist. shutterstock

By Pam Lowe, Aston University

A campaign is underway in the United Kingdom to make it illegal to abort a child based on its gender.

Proponents say they are worried about women being coerced into terminating female fetuses and that action needs to be taken to stop discrimination against baby girls.

Some suggest that the universe naturally produces complexity. The emergence of life in general and perhaps even rational life, with its associated technological culture, may be extremely common, argues Kelly Smith, Associate Professor of Philosophy&Biological Sciences at Clemson, in a recent Space Policy paper.

What's more, he suggests, this universal tendency has distinctly religious overtones and more knowledge of astrobiology may even establish a truly universal basis for morality.
With the terrorist attacks in Paris fresh on the minds of Europeans (150X as many dead in a terrorist attack in Africa, not so much), politicians are reflecting the concerns of the public and becoming focused on how to better prevent them in the future.

France clearly knows it needs to beef up its security agency and other European countries are worried that more scrutiny on potential Islamic terrorists will mean more violent blowback. Regardless of the risk, people want to stop homicidal miscreants before they kill 1,700 rather than 17.

Theist, gnostic, agnostic and atheist. What is the difference? Link:

By Mark Beeson, University of Western Australia

Getting on for 14 billion years ago the universe suddenly sprang into life.

I can’t actually do the math, as they say, but I’m happy to accept the word of those who can that the physics is unambiguously nailed down. But for all their undoubted brilliance, mathematicians and physicists don’t know what was going on before the big bang.

The terrorist attack of two days ago in Paris to the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo left most of us hit hard by the blow to freedom of the press and freedom of thought, which are among that core set of rights on which we have built our society and which we feel we really cannot give up.

I confess I have never unfolded a copy of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, but I am quite familiar with the work of Wolinski, the 80-year-old cartoonist, who perished in the attack along with his colleagues. I liked his sense of humor and his cartoons a lot, and I am quite pissed off by those two morons taking that away from me.

Marcus Aurelius.

By Robert S. Colter, University of Wyoming