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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in The American Journal of Bioethics. Volume 10, Issue 9, September 2010, Pages W3-W5. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1080/15265161.2010.505143. Copyright © Taylor and Francis


In our target article we showed that the Letter of Concern (LoC) fails to meet accepted standards for presenting empirical data for the purpose of supplementing a normative claim and for argument-based normative ethics. The LoC fails to meet the standards of evidence-based reasoning by making false claims, failing to reference data that undermine its key premises, and misrepresenting and misinterpreting the scientific publications it selectively references. The LoC fails to meet the standards of argument-based reasoning by treating as settled matters what are, instead, ongoing controversies, offering “mere opinion” as a substitute for argument, and making contradictory claims. The LoC is methodologically defective and thus a case study in unethical transgressive bioethics. Not withdrawing the LoC will damage the field of bioethics, making this case study in unethical transgressive bioethics important for the entire field.

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