Changing Minds on Meat Eating

Published in Psychology Today, 25th November 2016. We should avoid the unnecessary suffering of animals—no one but the most disturbed among us would disagree. Unfortunately, pointing out that this moral square peg doesn’t usually fit in the round hole of meat-eating is distasteful to many. The ideological zeal with which many preach their love for…

Why We Should Stop Avoiding the Word “Patient” in Psychiatry

Published in Psychology Today on 23rd August 2016. “My first memorable experience of psychiatry as a medical student was not what I expected. Rather than my fumbling interactions with psychotic patients, or witnessing electroconvulsive therapy first-hand, I was struck by repeatedly hearing words that had me wondering whether I was interning for a law firm: “consumer” and “client.” To my…

The Illusion of Free Will and Mental Illness Stigma

Published in Psychology Today, 17th March 2016: ‘The Illusion of Free Will and Mental Illness Stigma’. Excerpt: “If the mind is truly free, it is only logical to extrapolate that illness of the mind must also be free; free to change on a whim, or at least free to change if one chose to do so. In a free and…

Baby Asha: How You Can Support Her

Published in the Independent Australia, 26th February 2016: Baby Asha: How you can support her Excerpt: “Empathy can kindle the flames of compassion, but we require someone to thoughtfully and dispassionately fan those flames in the right direction. Left to our own devices in a third-world country, we would disproportionately give to an individual. Charities use…

Baby Asha Decision Sets Risky Precedent

Published in the Sydney Morning Herald, 22nd February 2016: Baby Asha Decision Sets Risky Precedent. Excerpt: “The problem here is the irrationality of empathy: the imaginative capacity to place ourselves in another’s situation. As psychologist Paul Bloom has said: “If you want to be good and do good, empathy is a poor guide”. Empathy favours an individual…

Letter From The Rubble Of A Salon Article

Published in The Daily Banter, 11th January 2016: ‘Letter From The Rubble Of A Salon Article’ As The Daily Banter said, “Steve Stankevicius published an article on Salon.com, only for the editors to distort what he said and refuse to change it. This follows a worrying trend on a site that claims to be a serious…

Is Medicine Infected By Religion?

You wouldn’t have noticed, but there may have been someone else in the consultation room when you last saw your doctor. If this someone else was a medical student or a nurse you would be asked to give consent for their presence. However, in this case, it’s unlikely your permission was sought. What’s more unnerving…

Execution: The Death of Compassion

The recent execution of two Australians in Indonesia for charges related to drug-trafficking has sparked an intense amount of attention and debate. Is the death penalty moral? Is it effective at preventing future crime? Is it cost effective? The fact that we are all asking these questions is a great step forward, and I thought I’d weigh in…

Discovering Our Global Tribe

[Photo credit: Y. Beletsky/ESO] Are we alone in the universe? We have reached a time in history in which this ancient question is coming out of the darkness of pure philosophy and into the light of empirical science. With each passing year it is becoming increasingly possible to answer, and after some leading astronomers recently…

Free Will versus Psychiatry

The following video was recorded at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry Philosophy & Ethics of Psychiatry Seminar, 27th September 2014.