Philosophy, Eugenics & Disability in Alberta and Places North – Dick Sobsey Parts 1 & 2

On October 25, 2008, the What Sorts Network hosted a public symposium to examine, well, philosophy, eugenics, and disability in Alberta and places north.  Four speakers were featured on the panel, Dick Sobsey, Simo Vehmas, Martin Tweedale, and Rob Wilson.  This event was video recorded and over the next month we will highlight these videos on this blog.  Videos will be featured on average twice a week, roughly every Saturday and Wednesday.

To download the full description of the symposium please click here.

We begin this series with the first two parts of the presentation by Dick Sobsey titled “Varieties of Eugenics Experience in the 21st Century.”  This presentation amounts to a summary of various kinds of eugenic motivations, justifications, and practices from the 19th century to today with a good collection of anecdotes and trivia. A transcript of both parts follows the fold.

Part 1

Highlights from part 1 include: shift from religious to scientific view of the world; quality of life; social Darwinism vs. biological capitalism.

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What Sorts of Children’s Television Hosts?

 

Cerrie Burnell, To frightening for preschoolers?

Cerrie Burnell, Too frightening for preschoolers?

BBC Children’s TV has a show for preschoolers called CBeebies. The show includes a lot of interesting animated, puppetry, and other fictional characters as well as human presenters…  Alex, and Cerrie. Cerrie, however, has become the target of serious public campaign that claims she is frightening children.  

According to the Daily Mail:

 the decision to hire her has prompted a flurry of complaints to the BBC and on parenting message boards, with some of the posts on the CBeebies website becoming so vicious that they had to be removed.

Incredibly, one father said he wanted to ban his daughter from watching the channel because he feared it would give her nightmares.

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Texas Turkeys in Iowa

About a month ago Spirit of the Time posted a piece on Whatsorts by Cindy de Bruijn called ‘Does Alberta’s “Minimum Wage Exemption” violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?’ Now an incredible news story from Iowa provides a chilling example of just how far wrong such an exemption can go. It starts with 21 Texas men who were described as mentally disabled and  receiving SSI (US Supplemental Security Income that the government describes as”designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income”) income from the government.

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The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: The Full Story

Below are all 13 posts from our Modern Pursuit series of posts, deriving from the public dialogue that we cosponsored with the AACL and the CACL at the University of Alberta in October 2008. The public dialogue began with some opening comments from our cosponsors, continued with short presentations from our community member panelists talking of their personal experiences, and was rounded out by a series of interchanges between audience and panel. All videos now contain transcripts (thanks to Jackie Ostrem for completing the work needed here: update 21 June, 2009: all now are closed captioned, thanks again Jackie!), and the videos are also available on YouTube. Comments on the blog on any of these posts is still welcome, but we also hope that you’ll find these of interest and use down the track for individual reflection or group discussion.

Thanks to all participants: Anna Macquarrie, Bruce Uditsky, Dick Sobsey, Wendy Macdonald, Sam Sansalone, Colleen Campbell, Anne Hughson, and Simo Vehmas. And thanks to Grant Wang and Lee Ramsdell at the Arts Resource Centre at the University of Alberta for the filming and post-production work, and John Simpson for organizational assistance.

Introduction

My doctor, my child

Living with trisomy 13, part I

Living with trisomy 13, part II

When disability meets social welfare

Bioethical reflections on disability, medicine, and family life

Decisions and dishonesty in medicine

Connecting with others

Vulnerability, trust, and confrontation

Good people in medicine and the disconnect

The denial of parenthood and selective abortion

Going underground and true choice

Disability, individual autonomy, and systematic devaluation

Without Walls Selling Murder

The What Sorts Network, in conjunction with the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre at the University of Alberta, is pleased to sponsor the following open event:

Event: Film – Without Walls Selling Murder: The Killings of the Third Reich.

Presentation will include a discussion of ethical issues raised in the film

Date: Monday, 2 March

Time: 12:00 –1:00 pm

Location: Room 207 Heritage Medical Research Centre

University of Alberta

All welcome