Table of Contents
Clashing Views in Health and Society, Eleventh Edition
Unit: The Health Care Industry
- Issue: Does the Affordable Health Care Act Violate Religious Freedom by Requiring Employers Health Insurance Plans to Cover Birth Control?
YES: Wesley J. Smith, from What About Religious Freedom: The Other Consequences of Obamacare, The Weekly Standard, October 29, 2012
NO: Aram A. Schvey, Much Ado About Nothing?, Human Rights, January 2013
Senior fellow in the Discovery Institutes Center on Human Exceptionalism Wesley J. Smith believes birth control cases are just the beginning for far more intrusive violations of religious liberty to come, e.g., requiring businesses to provide free abortions to their employees. Attorney and editor Aram A. Schvey argues that access to affordable contraception is a cornerstone of womens independence and equality and that the Affordable Care Act does not violate religious freedom.
- Issue: Should Health Care Be Rationed in the US?
YES: Daniel Callahan, from Rationing: Theory, Politics, and Passions. Hastings Center Report, march-April 2011.
NO: James Ridgeway, from Meet the Real Death Panels Mother Jones (July/August 2010)
Ethicist and philosopher Daniel Callahan believes that while some individuals may be hurt by health care rationing, these decisions must and will be made eventually. Writer James Ridgeway argues that health care should be treated as a human right instead of a profit-making opportunity.
- Issue: Should Prescription Drugs be Advertised Directly to Consumers?
YES: Paul Anthony, from PhRMA Chief Medical Office Testifies on DTC Advertising, http://www.phrma.org/
NO: Marc-Andre Gagnon and Joel Lexchin, from The Cost of Pushing Pills: A New Estimate of Pharmaceutical Promotion Expenditures in the United States. PLoS Medicine, January 2008.
Paul Anthony, chief medical officer at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) claims that direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medications has been beneficial to American patients and is a powerful tool in educating consumers and improving their health. Professors Marc-Andre Gagnon and Joel Lexchin argue that drug companies spend almost twice as much on advertising to consumers as they do on research and development.
Unit: Health and Society
- Issue: Are We Winning the War on Cancer?
YES: John R. Seffrin, from Winning the War on Cancer, Vital Speeches of the Day(September 2006)
NO: Reynold Spector, from The War on Cancer: A Progress Report for Skeptics, Skeptical Inquiry (January/February 2010)
American Cancer Society President John R. Seffrin claims we are winning the war against cancer and that it is possible to eliminate the disease as a major public health problem. Physician and professor of medicine Reynold Spector argues that the gains made against cancer have been limited and that overall, there has been very little progress in the war on cancer.
- Issue: Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal purposes?
YES: Kevin Drum, from The Patriots Guide to Legalization, Mother Jones, July/August 2009
NO: Christian Science Monitor Editorial Board, from Legalize Marijuana? Not so Fast, The Christian Science Monitor, May 22, 2009.
Political columnist Kevin Drum contends that medical marijuana is now legal in more than a dozen states without any major serious problems or increased usage. The editorial board of the Christian Science Monitor maintains that the drug can lead to dependence and it can cause lung damage and other health concerns.
- Issue: Is the Use of Smart Pills for Cognitive Enhancement Dangerous?
YES: Alan Schwarz, from Drowned in a Stream of Prescriptions, New York Times, (February 3, 2013).
NO: Joshua Gowin, from How Smart Drugs Enhance Us, Psychology Today, (September 29, 2009)
Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter Alan Schwartz maintains that smart pills such as Adderall can significantly improve the lives of children and others with ADHD but that too many young adults who do not have the condition fake the symptoms and get prescriptions for the highly addictive and dangerous drug Psychologist Joshua Gowin argues that these drugs arent much different from a cup of coffee and should be treated accordingly.
- Issue: Should Embryonic Stem Cell Research Be Permitted?
YES: Jeffrey Hart, from NR on Stem Cells: The Magazine Is Wrong, National Review (April 19, 2004)
NO: Ramesh Ponnuru, from NR on Stem Cells: The Magazine Is Right, National Review (April 19, 2004)
Professor Jeffrey Hart contends there are many benefits to stem cell research and that a ban on funded cloning research is unjustified. Writer Remesh Ponnuru argues that a single-celled human embryo is a living organism that directs its own development and should not be used for experimentation.
Unit: Mind-Body Relationship
- Issue: Should Addiction to Drugs Be Labeled a Brain Disease?
YES: Alan I. Leshner, from Addiction Is a Brain Disease, Issues in Science and Technology (Spring 2001)
NO: Alva Noe, from Addiction is Not a Disease of the Brain, NPR, (September 9, 2011. http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2011/09/09/140307282/addiction-is-not-a-disease-of-the-brain)
Alan I. Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, believes that addiction to drugs and alcohol is not a behavioral condition but a treatable disease. Psychiatrist Sally L. Satel counters that labeling addiction a chronic and relapsing brain disease is propaganda and that most addicts are the instigators of their own addiction.
- Issue: Do Religion and Prayer Benefit Health?
YES: Thomas J. Cottle, from Our Thoughts and Our Prayers, The Antioch Review, Spring 2010.
NO: Michael Shermer, from Prayer and Healing: The Verdict Is in and the Results Are Null, Skeptic (vol. 12, no. 3, 2006)
Psychologist and educator Thomas J. Cottle believes that prayer can fill patients with a spirit of security when confronted with illness. Author Michael Shermer contends that intercessory prayer offered by strangers on the health and recovery of patients undergoing coronary bypass surgery is ineffective. He also addresses flaws in studies showing a relationship between prayer and health.
Unit: Sexuality and Gender Issues
- Issue: Is It Necessary for Pregnant Women to Completely Abstain from All Alcoholic Beverages?
YES: Melinda Beck, from Stricter Thinking on Alcohol During Pregnancy. Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2012.
NO: Julia Moskin, from The Weighty Responsibility of Drinking for Two, The New York Times (November 29, 2006)
Journalist Melinda Beck provides evidence that even moderate quantities of alcohol can damage a developing fetus and cites new research indicating that even small amounts of alcoholic beverages consumed during pregnancy may be harmful. Journalist Julia Moskin argues that there are almost no studies on the effects of moderate drinking during pregnancy and that limited quantities of alcohol are unlikely to have much effect.
- Issue: Should Pro-Life Health Providers Be Allowed to Deny Prescriptions on the Basis of Conscience?
YES: John A. Menges, from Public Hearing on HB4346 Before the House State Government Administration Committee, Illinois House State Government Administration Committee (February 15, 2006)
NO: R. Alta Charo, from The Celestial Fire of ConscienceRefusing to Deliver Medical Care, New England Journal of Medicine (June 16, 2005)
Pharmacist John Menges believes that it is his right to refuse to dispense any medication designed to end a human life. Attorney R. Alta Charo argues that health care professionals who protect themselves from the moral consequences of their actions may do so at their patients risk.
- Issue: Should the Cervical Cancer Vaccine for Girls Be Compulsory?
YES: Cynthia Dailard, from Achieving Universal Vaccination Against Cervical Cancer in the United States: The Need and the Means, Guttmacher Policy Review (Fall 2006)
NO: Gail Javitt, Deena Berkowitz, and Lawrence O. Gostin, from Assessing Mandatory HPV Vaccination: Who Should Call the Shots? Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (Summer 2008)
The late Cynthia Dailard, a senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, argued that universal vaccination was needed because virtually all cases of cervical cancer are linked to the human papillomavirus. Most infected people are unaware of their infection, which is linked to nearly 10,000 cases of cervical cancer. Professors Gail Javitt, Deena Bertowitz, and Lawrence Gostin believe that mandating the cervical cancer vaccine raises significant legal, ethical, and social concerns. They are also concerned about the long-term safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
- Issue: Do Ultra Thin Models and Actresses Influence the Onset of Eating Disorders?
YES: Janet L. Treasure, Elizabeth R. Wack and Marion E. Roberts, from Models as a High-risk: The Health Implications of a Size Zero Culture, British Journal of Psychiatry, 2008
NO: Fred Schwarz, from Not Our Stars But Ourselves, National Review, (February 23, 2009)
Physician Janet L. Treasure and Psychologists Elizabeth R. Wack and Marion E. Roberts maintain that the promotion of an ultra-thin ideal produces an environment that favors eating disorders. Journalist Fred Schwarz disagrees and contends that skinny models and actresses dont make girls and women anorexic since the disease predates the era of an ultra-thin beauty standard.
- Issue: Is There a Valid Reason for Routine Infant Male Circumcision?
YES: Hanna Rosin, from The Case Against the Case Against Circumcision, New York Magazine, (October 26, 2009)
NO: Michael Idov, from Would You Circumcise This Baby?, New York Magazine, (October 26, 2009)
Journalist Hanna Rosin argues that male circumcision decreases the risk of disease transmission and that people who opposed the operation are filled with anger that transcends the actual outcome. Editor Michael Idov counters that newborns feel pain and that there is no valid medical reason to perform the surgery.
Unit: Public Health Issues
- Issue: Is There a Link Between Vaccination and Autism?
YES: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., from Deadly Immunity, Rolling Stone (June 30July 14, 2005)
NO: Matthew Normand and Jessee Dallery, from Mercury Rising: Exposing the Vaccine-Autism Myth, Skeptic, (vol. 13, no. 3, 2007)
Environmentalist and attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues that childhood vaccines containing thimerosal are linked to autism and that the government has colluded with pharmaceutical companies to cover up this information. Psychology professors Matthew Normand and Jesse Dallery contend that studies have failed to uncover any specific link between autism and mercury-containing thimerosal vaccines.
- Issue: Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?
YES: Ronald B. Herberman, from Tumors and Cell Phone Use: What the Science Says, cellphones.procon.org/sourcefiles/Herberman_Testimony.pdf, September 25, 2008
NO: Bernard Leikind, from Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?, Skeptic Magazine, 2010.
Physician and Director of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Ronald B. Herberman maintains that radio frequency radiation associated with cell phones is a potential health risk factor for users especially children. Physicist Bernard Leikind argues that that there is no plausible mechanism by which cell phone radiation can cause any cancer.
- Issue: Will Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) Negatively Affect Human Health and the Environment?
YES: John Rumpler, from Fracking: Pro and Con, Tufts Now, 2013 http://now.tufts.edu/articles/fracking-pro-and-con
NO: Bruce McKensie Everett, from Fracking: Pro and Con, Tufts Now, 2013 http://now.tufts.edu/articles/fracking-pro-and-con
Energy researcher and adjunct professor Bruce McKensie Everett claims fracking provides substantial economic benefits and its health and environmental problems are relatively small. Environmentalist and attorney John Rumpler argues that fracking is not worth the damage to health and the environment.
- Issue: Is Breastfeeding the Best Way to Feed Babies?
YES: Jodi R. Godfrey and Ruth A. Lawrence, from Toward Optimal Health: The Maternal Benefits of Breastfeeding, Journal of Womens Health, 11/9/2010.
NO: Hanna Rosin, from The Case Against Breastfeeding, The Atlantic (April 2009)
Dietitian and wellness specialist Jody R. Godfrey and physician Ruth A. Lawrence maintain that breastfeeding is the gold standard for infant feeding and that there are significant benefits to both mother and infant. Atlantic editor Hanna Rosin claims the data on the benefits of breastfeeding are inconclusive and suggests a more relaxed approach to the issue.
- Issue: Are Restriction on Sugar and Sugary Beverages Justified?
Yes: Gary Taubes and Cristin Kearns Couzens, from Sweet Little Lies, Mother Jones, November/December 2012.
NO: Kenneth W. Krause, from Saving Us from Sweets: This Is Science and Government on Sugar, Skeptical Inquirer, September/October 2012.
Science writers Gary Taubes and Cristin Kearns Couzens maintain that added sugars and sweeteners pose dangers to health and contribute to majors diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Journalist Kenneth W. Krause argues that individuals have the ability to make decisions about sugar consumption themselves and that government should not restrict our access to sugar and sugar-containing food products.
Unit: Consumer Health
- Issue: Is Weight Loss Maintenance Possible?
YES: Barbara Berkeley, from The Fat Trap: My Response, December 29, 2011, http://www.refusetoregain.com/2011/12/the-fat-trap-my-response.html
NO: Tara Parker-Pope, from The Fat Trap, New York Times Magazine, January 1, 2012.
Physician Barbara Berkeley believes that weight maintenance is not easy but possible as long as people separate themselves from the world of typical American eating. She also claims that some individuals are heavy because they are susceptible to the modern diet or because they use food for comfort. Journalist Tara Parker-Pope disagrees and maintains that there are biological imperatives that cause people to regain all the weight they lose and for those genetically inclined to obesity, its almost impossible to maintain weight loss.
- Issue: Are Energy Drinks with Alcohol Dangerous Enough to Ban?
Yes: Don Troop, from Four Loko Does Its Job with Efficiency and Economy. Chronicles of Higher Education, November 01, 2010.
NO: Jacob Sullum, from Loco Over Four Loko, Reason, March 2011.
Journal and editor of Reason Magazine Jacob Sullum disagrees and claims that alcoholic energy drinks should not have been targeted and banned since many other products are far more dangerous.The Chronicle of Higher Education agues that the combination of caffeine and alcohol is extremely dangerous and should not be sold or marketed to college students and young people.