November 30, 2021

Editor bans religious arguments from bioethics journal

Only public-reason-based arguments cut the mustard

The editor of Developing World Bioethics, Udo Schüklenk, has decided to ban from his journal any articles whose assumptions are religious. “After much thought we have decided to more significantly limit exclusively religious contributions.”

Why? It’s not out of an anti-religious bias but because “Religion based arguments are, by definition, arguments that do not fall into the category of public‐reason based arguments.”

They rely on premises involving the existence of unobservable supernatural powers giving us direction in terms of how we must live our lives. Typically their guidance is provided in religious documents the content of which is credited to said unobservable supernatural powers…

Schuklenk makes an interesting summary of the argument for secularism:

Secular societies cannot possibly function as arbiters of the truth or otherwise of their diverse citizenries religious beliefs. The reasons for this are well‐known and reflected in myriad highest courts’ judgments delivered across liberal societies’ jurisdictions. As a consequence of this, while debates in such societies will countenance in varied ways religious arguments, ultimately only views that can be defended within the analytical frameworks of public‐reason based arguments can succeed in secular societies.

Developing World Bioethics is a companion journal to Bioethics, of which Schüklenk is a co-editor.

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