The Iona Blog

Religion declines, individualism and technocracy rise

By David Quinn

Check it out. As religion declines in a society, rationality and tolerance go up, and a good thing too. This, at least, seems to be the barely concealed message of the latest British Social Attitudes report (BSA). Since 1983, the National Centre for Social Research has been charting the decline of religion in British society,...

Read more...

Citizens’ Assembly could pave the way for assisted suicide

A spokesperson for Fianna Fáil has told the Medical Independent that the party would not oppose the referral of assisted suicide to a Citizens’ Assembly for further discussion. When something of this kind was done before it helped to pave the way for abortion. It appears that no major party is now actively opposed to...

Read more...

The Human Rights and Equality Commission’s religious belief

By David Quinn

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is currently running a very worthy ad campaign that uses the slogan ‘Because we’re all human. Means we’re all equal’. This is obviously correct, but it’s a philosophical point of view that needs to be argued for and justified. You can’t just pluck it out of thin air....

Read more...

The moral contradictions of altruistic egg donation and surrogacy

The Oireachtas Joint Health Committee has just issued a report on Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR). The report is extremely inadequate in its treatment of the ethically questionable aspects of AHR but for the sake of simplicity, let’s examine what seems to be the least problematic forms of AHR: so-called altruistic egg and sperm donation and...

Read more...

Even Leonard Cohen got caught in the anti-child counter-culture

By David Quinn

The counter-culture promised us a utopian world of sexual freedom. The reality was, and is far more demeaning and often devastating in its consequences for children especially given how often they are put in second place behind the desires of their parents. A new documentary has been released that looks at the great singer and...

Read more...

Getting it wrong about science and religion yet again

By David Quinn

It’s a pity Alfred O’Rahilly is not alive today to debate the topic of science and religion with Professor David McConnell of Trinity College Dublin. O’Rahilly was himself a scientist. He was President of UCC. He spoke and wrote widely on the topic of science and religion. He died in 1969. McConnell had an article...

Read more...

Mix-up reveals the terrible dilemma at the heart of IVF

A terrible example of an IVF mix-up emerged last week. Two babies were mistakenly implanted in the wrong woman causing huge upset to the parents involved. What the case illustrates is how important the natural ties are to most people, even though our culture is currently deeply conflicted about the matter with its contradictory messages...

Read more...

Wolf Hall: When ingenious fiction meets public ignorance

By Melanie McDonagh Just in time for the publication of The Mirror and the Light, the third and final volume of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy about the life of Thomas Cromwell later this year, my old friend Richard Rex, a history professor at Cambridge, has delivered a lecture in Dublin on the first volume, Wolf Hall. It should...

Read more...

The atheist ‘ghost’ at Church State meeting

By David Quinn

Leo Varadkar and other Government members met with representatives of no fewer than 28 religious and non-religious organisations at Dublin Castle yesterday. The Government in one of its own press releases described the meeting as ‘Church State dialogue’, but gave the same amount of space and representation at the event to the Catholic Church, huge...

Read more...

More the villain and Cromwell the hero?

Professor Richard Rex of Queen’s College, Cambridge, addressed a packed University Church in Dublin last week on the topic: The Two Thomases, namely Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell. In particular, he examined the portrayal of both in Hilary Mantel’s best-selling and widely-praised novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Professor Rex, who lectures in Reformation and Tudor...

Read more...