Zac Alstin works at the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute in Adelaide, South Australia.
Can we sustain this "terrible magnanimity and patience"?
Date posted: 2015-10-18
Our culture presents us with two conflicting visions of lust. The first is a rough facsimile of the old view associated with our Western religious heritage: lust as one of the seven deadly sins. The second is the view of lust "liberated" from repressive religious conditioning: lust as passion and indulgence, lust as very strong sexual desire, and lust as a colourful and tantalising realm of experience.
Date posted: 2015-10-15
Our fixation with the atom bomb distorts the historical record. People will argue incessantly over the necessity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki yet it is rare to find similar debate over incidents such as the firebombing of Tokyo in March 1945, which killed more people in one night according to some estimates than either of the atomic bombings, and was arguably just as necessary to the war effort.
Date posted: 2015-08-11
70 years since the war crime we're too ashamed to remember
Date posted: 2015-03-16
Creating analogies to demonstrate the stupidity of a popular opinion is hard work; pretending to be stupid is quite unlike actually being stupid. When it comes to Islam, many of us in the West are not pretending to be stupid, we've simply embraced stupidity as the path of least resistance. It would be a little bit stupid, for example, if a Briton and an Australian decided to go to a football match together without realising that "football" means two (or more) different things to the two different nations.
Date posted: 2015-02-06
Plenty of people are keen to point out that the staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo contributed to their own deaths earlier this month when they were gunned down by two jihadists. Not that they are responsible for what happened, mind you. No, of course the murderers are responsible for their actions. Nor would we say they quite 'brought it upon themselves'. I suppose, just that... well if they hadn't published such gratuitously offensive cartoons they might be alive today. The more I think about it, the more this observation seems so utterly trivial.
Date posted: 2015-01-25
Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.
Date posted: 2015-01-19
One of the world's best known religious leaders has came out in favour of same-sex marriage. But what does he really think?
Date posted: 2014-04-05
Controversial Australian Senator Cory Bernardi is in the news again after a media appearance promoting his new book in which, among other things, he described the abortion rate in Australia as "horrendous and unacceptable", and called for "a reversal back to sanity and reason."
Date posted: 2014-01-18
In discussing same-sex issues, let's scrap the labels and return to facts. According to the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC), as of 2009, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for approximately 2 percent of the US population, but 56 percent of people living with HIV. This same demographic suffered 61 percent of all new HIV infections that year.
Date posted: 2012-10-02
Any idiot will tell you that sex sells, but it takes a philosopher to suggest that sex might sophisticate.
Date posted: 2012-07-24
The bitterest debates today in the public square often turn on what is "natural". The Chinese sages had a lot to say about this.
Date posted: 2012-06-14
Comparisons with Nazi policies are not necessarily "cheap shots", but they often are. How to tell the difference?
Date posted: 2012-05-26
"Slippery slope" arguments for issues like euthanasia or same-sex marriage are often labelled logical fallacies. Is this true?
Date posted: 2012-04-10
Can theft and lying for the sake of a good cause be justified?
Date posted: 2012-03-22
New Year's Resolutions aren't really my cup of tea. It's not that I'm practically perfect in every way, just that I prefer my resolutions to be born out of a sincere intention - like my annual Boxing Day Resolution to never eat ever again. But just because I don't ha
Date posted: 2012-01-08
The problem for supporters of traditional marriage is that traditional marriage conflicts with divorce, infidelity, cohabitation, serial monogamy, homosexuality: effectively a whole range of contemporary social phenomena to which the majority of people are wedded either in practice or in principle, through choice, upbringing, or circumstances beyond their control. By contrast, supporters of same-sex marriage are merely asking the majority to, at the very least, turn a blind eye to one further deviation from traditional marriage.
Date posted: 2011-12-22
Perhaps they are the ones we would least like to encourage.
Date posted: 2011-11-29
The illusion that moral diversity is a viable social strategy is at its last gasp.
Date posted: 2011-10-13
He's 34 years old, has 15 children, 13 lovers and no job. What Jamie Cumming's serial polygamy tells us about the state of the family in Britain.
Date posted: 2011-09-08
Australia must find a compassionate and reasonable way to respond to boat people.
Date posted: 2011-07-18
A philosopher reflects on the craze for "planking" in the strangest places.
Date posted: 2011-05-30
Young people in our society seem unwilling or unable to make commitments, or so I have heard. Being young myself I concede that this criticism could have been applied to areas of my own life in the recent past. Areas of my life such as work, study, religion, and marriage could all have been described by others as suffering from lack of commitment.
Date posted: 2010-12-25
The time has come for parents to take on the culture of sexualisation of young children. ...Who could have predicted even a decade ago that one of the pressing issues facing parents and psychologists in this century would be the marketing of adult sexuality to young children?
Date posted: 2010-10-19