Social Cleansing in Columbia

In the years between 2000 and 2005, it is alleged that social cleansing was common in Columbia. No one seems to know how many people were killed, details have emerged from a small number of cases while some alleged that these murders were almost daily events. The alleged targets of these killings were people known or thought to be homosexual, addicted to drugs, or mentally disabled. The alleged perpetrators were members of paramilitary militias. And it is also alleged that government prosecutors simply ignored the killings and allowed them to continue. Continue reading

Human Kinds–The Categories of Sexual Orientation in Law, Science, and Society–Part 1

The first part of Ed Stein’s talk at the Human Kinds symposium on sexual orientation, especially in equal protection under US jurisprudence.

Did Governor Richardson get it roughly right about sexual orientation, as Ed claims?

Sustainable Family Care Forum

This post is intended mostly for parents of children (including adult children) with disabilities and other family members in their families. There is a new web-based discussion group called the Sustainable Family Care Forum that is part of  research project that examines how families balance the demands of work and other life challenges with their roles and responsibilities of raising children with disabilities.  If you are a parent or family member who might be interested in taking part, please take a look at the forum and consider joining in. If you know  of others who might be interested, please pass on this information to them. Thanks!

Human Kinds–The Categories of Sexual Orientation in Law, Science, and Society–Part 2

Ed Stein’s talk at the Human Kinds symposium, Part the Second. Here Ed focuses on the appeal to immutability in equal protection analysis in American law concerning sexual orientation.

WAS Socrates a hippie? I always thought so …

Human Kinds–Ray Kurzweil and Uploading: Just Say “No”–Q & A

Panel questions for Nick Agar–from Natasha Vita-More on either / or, and Ed Stein on backing up.

If you’re interested in following this debate, you can also check out some of the comments building up directly on the Youtube posting of this right here.

Mad Pride on National (US) News

FYI:

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MindFreedom Update — Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Unite for A Mad Pride Revolution in Mental Health

Tonight on ABC-TV USA News Show Primetime:

MAD PRIDE DEBATED!

As Predicted: Last Half of ABC-TV Show Plays Up Violence

ABC-TV just posted the text for the second half of their story tonight on MAD PRIDE, and it looks like the show will end as many experienced activists predicted:

Over-emphasizing a gory violent incident by a person with a psychiatric diagnosis.

Tonight, Tuesday night, 25 August 2009, the Mad Pride piece is slated to air on ABC-TV’s national Primetime show “Outsiders” at 10 pm ET and PT in the USA, but check your local listings for the exact time.

Said David Oaks, Director of MindFreedom, who is interviewed in the show, “After 33 years of activism, I am not surprised about media exploitation of violence. But let us remember the many people killed by the violence of forced psychiatric drugging. ABC-TV ignores this institutional violence. Most of us in MindFreedom are psychiatric survivors. We remember. Nothing will stop us from speaking out, not even predictable bias by huge corporations like Disney.” Disney is the owner of ABC-TV.

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* ACTION * ACTION * ACTION *

Join the debate!

Read both Part One and Part Two of the text of ABC’s Mad Pride story on their web site, and add your comment now to the debate in BOTH parts:

Part 1:

“‘Mad Pride’ Activists Say They Are Unique, Not Sick”:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=8382903

Part 2:

“For One Family Decision to Reject Treatment Ends in Tragic Death”:

http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=8399298

Human Kinds–Ray Kurzweil and Uploading: Just Say “No”–Parts 2 and 3

Here Nick moves on to uploading proper, starting with ideas about cochlear implants and the incremental move on to full uploading. Turning minds to technology, the celebration of the arrival of The Singularity in 2045, and then uploading … and why this is a bad idea!

In part 2, we get as far as the outline of Nick’s main argument, taking seriously the possibility that uploading = death. In part 3, we get the deal finished. For both, you might want to have the following handy, using your extended mind:

A = You live; benefit from bioenhancements, but forego other, significant enhancements asociated with uploading

B =You live; benefit from bioenhancements, and avoid death or replacement by a non-conscious Upload

C =You live; benefit from electronic enhancements, disease free, intellectual surge

D = You die; replaced by a machine incapable of conscious thought.

Human Kinds–Ray Kurzweil and Uploading: Just Say “No”–Part 1

Nick Agar‘s talk at the Human Kinds Symposium focuses on Kurzweil on uploading, and gives his ideas a critical combing. Here Nick starts off with some of the basic, background ideas that Kurzweil draws on before getting ready for the view of uploading, in Part 2.

Nick’s Wikipedia page stub is here and his homepage at Victoria, Wellington, is over here.

Human Kinds–Species Typical, Sub-typical, Beyond Typical–Q@A

A couple of questions from our panel for Gregor Wolbring–one from Ed Stein on human rights, and one from Natasha Vita-More on environmentalism and uploading.

If the discussion interests you, drop back and hear Gregor’s talk in Parts 1 and 2, or drop us a line or a comment.

Human Kinds–Species Typical, Sub-typical, Beyond Typical–Part 2

Gregor Wolbring in full swing on ableism and its relationship to sexism, racism, caste bias, anti-environmentalism, consumerism. It all goes by very fast, so be prepared! Part 3 will have some panel interchange on this.

Here Gregor argues that ableism lies at the root of these other “isms”, and so is in that sense the most fundamental form of discrimination.  In the audience discussion following the talk–which, unfortunately, we did not have permission to film–there was quite a bit of discussion of, and resistance to, this idea.  Gregor also writes a regular column, The Choice is Yours, and you can find more information about him there.  On this issue, as Gregor says about most things, the choice is yours.  Is ableism the most fundamental form of discrimination out there?

Human Kinds–Species Typical, Sub-typical, Beyond Typical–Part 1

Here is Gregor Wolbring‘s talk at the Human Kinds Symposium, including my introduction of Gregor and almost the first half of his talk. Gregor’s focus in this part is on enhancement, “techno-doping”, and ableism. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3!

Gregor also writes a regular column, The Choice is Yours, and you can find more information about him there.

As with other videos in this series, apologies for no captioning yet, but we hope to have that finished in the next few weeks, and will let you know when captioning is up.

Human Kinds: Design Issues Concerning Extreme Life Extension–Part 3

The final part of Natasha Vita-More’s talk, together with an audible but hard-to-hear exchange with Nick Agar at the end. Nick is asking about the prototype that Natasha designed 10 years ago, Primo Posthuman. You can get more on Primo, and on Natasha’s work more generally, from her website.

The examples that Natasha provides are provocative, and in the exchange with Nick we’re reminded of the difference between “prototype design” and “industrial design”–design at the planning (detailed as that may be) level, and design at the level of implementation. But even once implemented in some form, there’s the further question of what we might call full-blown implementation, truly industrial design, where we scale up from some kind of implementation to implement the device to realize its full promise.

Example: consider artificial intelligence vs artificial retinae (and related visual prosthetics) or cochlear implants. Continue reading

The US Healthcare Debate

During the time that I have worked with the What Sorts Network, I have often asked myself the following:

Is the denial of care to persons with disabilities a necessary feature of universal healthcare or one that is entirely contingent on attitudes towards people with disabilities? If it’s a necessary feature, which system do we pick?

I was too young to be aware of the accusations leveled against Clinton’s healthcare reform, so I was interested and surprised to see that the healthcare debate in the US has turned to these questions. After reading an article this morning (False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots) and commenting there, I thought I would bring the discussion back to our blog.

I worry that the denial of care to persons with disabilities is a necessary (and extremely undesirable) feature of universal healthcare, because some type of triage appears to be necessary–people will only be willing to sink a certain amount of money into healthcare and those facing triage will disproportionately be the elderly and people with certain disabilities.

As an American living in Canada, I have seen low-income individuals in the US, more often than not minorities and other socially vulnerable groups, denied even routine care (like the setting of broken bones) because they were unable to pay for it. I have also heard the stories of Annie Farlow, Katya Sansalone, and Kyle MacDonald in Canada. I don’t have enough information to come to any sort of conclusion, so I would be very interested in what our readers think. What are your responses to my questions?

Human Kinds: Introduction

Over the next few weeks, we will run videocasts from in invited symposium panel that I organized at the Pacific Division meeting of American Philosophical Association in April, 2009, held in Vancouver. The panel was on human kinds, and topics that we discussed ranged from transhumanism through to disability and sub-normalcy and gay rights and gay marriage. The speakers, in the order in which they spoke, were:

Natasha Vita-More

Gregor Wolbring

Nick Agar

Ed Stein

The talks are relatively short, and we’ll run about 1 per week before linking them all up together. No captioning yet, but we hope to have captioning done by the time the series has run.

The introduction talks a little bit more generally about the panel and the What Sorts Network. You can also watch the videos directly on Youtube, by searching for videos by Rapunzelish. Really.

Galton’s Large Attendance

h/t to Lauren Drewery for letting us know about this play on Galton:

A Large Attendance in the Antechamber is a theatrical conceit concerning Sir Francis Galton, Victorian genius, founder of the controversial science of eugenics, discoverer of the anti-cyclone, inventor of the silent dogwhistle and cousin of Charles Darwin. Galton had the highest IQ ever recorded, though it seems that for all his brilliance, he lacked a little in what these days is called “emotional intelligence”. But this is as far from worthy biography as it is possible to get. Part scientific lecture, part séance, part slapstick and part theatrical essay, it’s riveting and intelligent theatre.

For the full review, by Australian theatre critic Alison Croggon, look over here.   If anyone knows of recent performances in North America, let us know details!