This paper provides a series of reflections on making the case to senior leaders for the introduction of clinical ethics support services within a UK hospital Trust at a time when clinical ethics committees are dwindling in the UK. The paper provides key considerations for those building a case for clinical ethics support within hospitals by drawing upon published academic literature, and key reports from governmental and professional bodies. We also include extracts from documents relating to, and annual reports of, (...) existing clinical ethics support within UK hospitals, as well as extracts from our own proposal submitted to the Trust Board. We aim for this paper to support other ethicists and/or health care staff contemplating introducing clinical ethics support into hospitals, to facilitate the process of making the case for clinical ethics support, and to contribute to the key debates in the literature around clinical ethics support. We conclude that there is a real need for investment in clinical ethics in the UK in order to build the evidence base required to support the wider introduction of clinical ethics support into UK hospitals. Furthermore, our perceptions of the purpose of, and perceived needs met through, clinical ethics support needs to shift to one of hospitals investing in their staff. Finally, we raise concerns over the optional nature of clinical ethics support available to practitioners within UK hospitals. (shrink)
The cladistic species concept proposed by Ridley (1989) rests on an undefined notion of speciation and its meaning is thus indeterminate. If the cladistic concept is made determinate through the definition of speciation, then it reduces to a form of whatever species concept is implicit in the definition of speciation and fails to be a truly alternative species concept. The cladistic formalism advocated by Ridley is designed to ensure that species are monophyletic, that they are objectively real entities, and that (...) they are individuals. It is argued that species need not be monophyletic in order to be real entities, and that ancestor-descendant relations are not the only relations that confer individuality on entities. The species problem is recast in terms of a futile quest for a definition of that single kind of entity to which the term species should uniquely apply. (shrink)
Cladistic analyses are based on the distinction between primitive and derived character states (hypotheses of the polarity of evolutionary transformations) and a complete reliance on only derived character state distributions as bona fide evidence of holophyletic assemblages of taxa. The cladistic premise that only derived character state distributions provide evidence of holophyly is reconsidered and shown to be both unjustified and inconsistent with the desire or methodological prescription of using all the available evidence. Cladistic techniques are here viewed primarily as (...) methods for the ordering of character states so that they may be differentially weighted. The problem of assigning realistic differential weight to primitive and derived character state distributions is briefly discussed. One possible use of primitive character state distributions as evidence of holophyly that is largely free of the problem of weight is proposed. This application is illustrated with an example from the caecilian amphibians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona). (shrink)
Recent decades have witnessed an increase in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex visibility in the British media. Increased representation has not been equally distributed, however, as bisexuality remains an obscured sexual identity in discourses of sexuality. Through the use of diachronic corpus-based critical discourse analysis, this study seeks to uncover how bisexual people have been represented in the British press between 1957 and 2017. By specifically focusing on the discursive construction of bisexuality in The Times, the results reveal (...) how bisexual people are represented as existing primarily in discourses of the past or in fiction. The Times corpus also reveals significant variation in the lexical meaning of bisexual throughout the 60 years in question. These findings contribute to contemporary theories of bisexual erasure which posit that bisexual people are denied the same ontological status as monosexual identities, that is, homosexuality and heterosexuality. (shrink)
Wilkinson (1991a) developed arguments that the distributions of primitive character states may delimit clades, and proposed a method that exploited the evidence of primitive character state distributions for inferring clades. Whiting and Kelly (1995) presented a critique of these ideas, arguing that they are logically incoherent and that the method does not succeed in its aims. This critique severely misrepresents the original arguments and the method, and amounts to no more than an attack on a straw man.
When phylogenetic trees constructed from morphological and molecular evidence disagree (i.e. are incongruent) it has been suggested that the differences are spurious or that the molecular results should be preferred a priori. Comparing trees can increase confidence (congruence), or demonstrate that at least one tree is incorrect (incongruence). Statistical analyses of 181 molecular and 49 morphological trees shows that incongruence is greater between than within the morphological and molecular partitions, and this difference is significant for the molecular partition. Because the (...) level of incongruence between a pair of trees gives a minimum bound on how much error is present in the two trees, our results indicate that the level of error may be underestimated by congruence within partitions. Thus comparisons between morphological and molecular trees are particularly useful for detecting this incongruence (spurious or otherwise). Molecular trees have higher average congruence than morphological trees, but the difference is not significant, and both within- and between-partition incongruence is much lower than expected by chance alone. Our results suggest that both molecular and morphological trees are, in general, useful approximations of a common underlying phylogeny and thus, when molecules and morphology clash, molecular phylogenies should not be considered more reliable a priori. (shrink)
The Le Quesne test of character compatibility uses pairwise comparisons of characters to detect homoplasy in phylogenetic character data. If a pair of characters fails this test we can conclude that a minimum of a single extra step is required by the pair of characters. The rationale of the Le Quesne test is extended to comparisons of triplets of characters. The triplet homoplasy test can reveal that that there is a minimum of four extra steps across a triplet of characters (...) and thus that there are at least two extra steps associated with one of the characters. The triplet homoplasy test can thus detect higher orders of homoplasy than can be detected by the pairwise Le Quesne test. The possibility of quartet and other higher-order homoplasy tests is discussed. The utility of higher-order homoplasy tests is discussed. It is suggested higher-order homoplasy tests have potential uses analogous to the uses of the Le Quesne test, particularly with respect to data exploration. (shrink)