Cork Skeptics

Promoting Reason, Science & Critical Thinking in Cork City & Beyond


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So you think you own your own body? Follow up from last night.

Many thanks again to Muireann Quigley for her very informative talk last night. We were treated to some of the defining stories around body-part ownership and  patenting, from Henrietta Lacks’ incredible “HeLa” cells, to the case of Charles Byrne’s giant skeleton, to the Greenberg / Canavan Disease case among the Ashkenazi Jewish community. She outlined the costs of body parts on the open market and explained how the law is able to assign property rights to body parts. From her talk it is evident that rights of ownership are not well established. It was a fascinating talk, and anybody going to her talk in Dublin tonight are in for a treat.

In the meeting we also spoke about a case of cholesterol denial in West Cork, and I posted up some links to references that may be of use when investigating strange medical claims. Here are the references again.

Science Based Medicinehttp://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/

The Skeptic’s Dictionaryhttp://www.skepdic.com/

Respectful Insolencehttp://scienceblogs.com/insolence/

Bad Sciencehttp://www.badscience.net/

The Quackometerhttp://www.quackometer.net/

DC’s Improbable Sciencehttp://www.dcscience.net/

Finally, we discussed the case of Sanal Edamaruku in India, where his investigations into a Catholic miracle have lead him to be accused of blasphemy. There is a petition open to have his case thrown out.

Our next meeting is scheduled for July 14th in Blackrock Castle. More details soon.


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So You Think You Own Your Body?: A Talk by Dr. Muireann Quigley

So You Think You Own You Body?

On Friday June 15th, we will be hosting Dr Muireann Quigley from the University of Manchester. The talk will begin at 8.00pm at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory.

Muireann is a lecturer in Bioethics, with a particular interest in property law regarding the human body. Prior to taking up the lectureship, Muireann worked as a Research Fellow in Bioethics and Law. In a previous life she was a medical doctor where she worked in General Medicine and A&E. She has also worked as a Screening Physician for a phase I clinical trials company.

Muireann’s talk, entitled So You Think You Own Your Body? will look at the changing role of the body and human biomaterials in a rapidly developing biotechnological world. She will show how the uses and misuses of persons and their tissues and cells by medicine, scientists, pharmaceutical companies and industry have risen and expanded exponentially.

In so doing, Muireann will argue that advancing biotechnology has fundamentally altered the way we view the human body and its parts and products. During the talk we will see that the fact that each of us is a potential provider of material for research has placed the human body and biomaterials in the realm of property. Using some relevant stories and cases, the talk will highlight the conflicts that can arise over the use of human tissue for research in the ’tissue economy’; thereby, illustrating that the body (and its parts) can be viewed as being in flux, scientifically, legally, and ethically though.

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This talk is open to the public, and is free to attend. Directions to Blackrock Castle Observatory can be found on our information page. We hope to see you there!