Alstin, Zac
35 Articles at

Zac Alstin works at the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute in Adelaide, South Australia.


Climate children: encouraging idealism without fear and anger

Children are increasingly being drawn into the climate change debate, with internationally-coordinated school walkouts and protests this year capturing headlines in Australia.

Date posted: 2019-06-29

The sacking of Israel Folau: can you see the good in it?

According to orthodox Christianity, God foresaw (pro videre) everything that would happen to His creation even prior to creating it.

Date posted: 2019-05-25

Same-sex marriage and the service-provider state

Autonomy and authenticity are trending.

Date posted: 2017-12-06

American mass shootings: are more guns the answer?

An Aussie perspective on the Second Amendment.

Date posted: 2017-11-19

Are we too tolerant of sexual assault?

Rape culture', prudence, and double-standards.

Date posted: 2017-10-22

Addiction and pornography: rediscovering virtue in the internet age

We're familiar with these two kinds of harms via numerous examples of, in the first instance, drug and alcohol addictions that destroy the health and relationships of the addict, and in the second instance the common refrain "I want to stop, but I can't."

Date posted: 2017-10-01

Homophobia, masculinity, and violent young men

People who dissent from the narratives, constructs, and goals of the LGBT movement are increasingly liable to be labelled homophobic, and accused of fuelling the kinds of animosity and prejudice that motivate anti-gay violence. Such accusations reflect the increasing polarisation of the debate.

Date posted: 2016-07-25

Not your grandfather's transgenderism

Are you confused or alarmed at the rise of Transgenderism? You're probably not alone. In fact, you might even have some unlikely allies not only in the form of radical feminists, but even gays and lesbians who feel it's time to "Drop the T" from the LGBT movement.

Date posted: 2016-07-25

Racism and homophobia

Racism has played a significant role in framing and scaffolding LGBT issues. Interracial marriage was often used as a purported analogue for same-sex marriage. Racial and gender equality have been offered as precedents for expanding the rights of self-identified sexual minorities. In keeping with progressive narratives, LGBT issues are presented as merely the next step in an ever-increasing expansion of human rights to previously marginalised and mistreated groups.

Date posted: 2016-07-11

Why are humans more important than animals?

The value we bestow on other life forms is fundamentally a human trait.

Date posted: 2016-06-26

T comes right after LGB

Before the year 2000, no US state recognized same-sex marriage. By 2015, it was legal throughout the US and most of Western Europe. Before 2015 most Americans knew nothing about transgender issues. Within a year transgender issues are on the front pages of newspapers every day and schools may be forced to provide special bathrooms for trans students. The pace of change in the sexual revolution is not just rapid. It's accelerating around the world. Why?

Date posted: 2016-06-23

The burden of free speech

Can we sustain this "terrible magnanimity and patience"?

Date posted: 2015-10-18

The limitations of a lustful life

Our culture presents us with two conflicting visions of lust. The first is a rough facsimile of the old view associated with our Western religious heritage: lust as one of the seven deadly sins. The second is the view of lust "liberated" from repressive religious conditioning: lust as passion and indulgence, lust as very strong sexual desire, and lust as a colourful and tantalising realm of experience.

Date posted: 2015-10-15

How to remember Hiroshima

Our fixation with the atom bomb distorts the historical record. People will argue incessantly over the necessity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki yet it is rare to find similar debate over incidents such as the firebombing of Tokyo in March 1945, which killed more people in one night according to some estimates than either of the atomic bombings, and was arguably just as necessary to the war effort.

Date posted: 2015-08-11

When is a war crime not a war crime?

70 years since the war crime we're too ashamed to remember

Date posted: 2015-03-16

Islam and violence: how not to answer a question

Creating analogies to demonstrate the stupidity of a popular opinion is hard work; pretending to be stupid is quite unlike actually being stupid. When it comes to Islam, many of us in the West are not pretending to be stupid, we've simply embraced stupidity as the path of least resistance. It would be a little bit stupid, for example, if a Briton and an Australian decided to go to a football match together without realising that "football" means two (or more) different things to the two different nations.

Date posted: 2015-02-06

A murderous blame game

Plenty of people are keen to point out that the staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo contributed to their own deaths earlier this month when they were gunned down by two jihadists. Not that they are responsible for what happened, mind you. No, of course the murderers are responsible for their actions. Nor would we say they quite 'brought it upon themselves'. I suppose, just that... well if they hadn't published such gratuitously offensive cartoons they might be alive today. The more I think about it, the more this observation seems so utterly trivial.

Date posted: 2015-01-25

Provocation is no defence for the Jihadi murderers

Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.

Date posted: 2015-01-19

Compassionate or confusing? The Dalai Lama on same-sex marriage

One of the world's best known religious leaders has came out in favour of same-sex marriage. But what does he really think?

Date posted: 2014-04-05

The paradox of a conservative revolution

Controversial Australian Senator Cory Bernardi is in the news again after a media appearance promoting his new book in which, among other things, he described the abortion rate in Australia as "horrendous and unacceptable", and called for "a reversal back to sanity and reason."

Date posted: 2014-01-18

Homophobia: what does it really mean?

In discussing same-sex issues, let's scrap the labels and return to facts. According to the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC), as of 2009, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for approximately 2 percent of the US population, but 56 percent of people living with HIV. This same demographic suffered 61 percent of all new HIV infections that year.

Date posted: 2012-10-02

The bald truth about porn

Any idiot will tell you that sex sells, but it takes a philosopher to suggest that sex might sophisticate.

Date posted: 2012-07-24

It's only natural

The bitterest debates today in the public square often turn on what is "natural". The Chinese sages had a lot to say about this.

Date posted: 2012-06-14

Is it time to euthanase those Nazi arguments?

Comparisons with Nazi policies are not necessarily "cheap shots", but they often are. How to tell the difference?

Date posted: 2012-05-26

Who's afraid of the slippery slope?

"Slippery slope" arguments for issues like euthanasia or same-sex marriage are often labelled logical fallacies. Is this true?

Date posted: 2012-04-10

The new anti-heroes: Dirty Harry, News of the World and Lila Rose

Can theft and lying for the sake of a good cause be justified?

Date posted: 2012-03-22

3 New Year's resolutions (I'd like other people to follow)

New Year's Resolutions aren't really my cup of tea. It's not that I'm practically perfect in every way, just that I prefer my resolutions to be born out of a sincere intention - like my annual Boxing Day Resolution to never eat ever again. But just because I don't ha

Date posted: 2012-01-08

Sages, straw dogs, and same-sex marriage

The problem for supporters of traditional marriage is that traditional marriage conflicts with divorce, infidelity, cohabitation, serial monogamy, homosexuality: effectively a whole range of contemporary social phenomena to which the majority of people are wedded either in practice or in principle, through choice, upbringing, or circumstances beyond their control. By contrast, supporters of same-sex marriage are merely asking the majority to, at the very least, turn a blind eye to one further deviation from traditional marriage.

Date posted: 2011-12-22

Who wants to live forever?

Perhaps they are the ones we would least like to encourage.

Date posted: 2011-11-29

The end of tolerance

The illusion that moral diversity is a viable social strategy is at its last gasp.

Date posted: 2011-10-13

Britain's deadbeatest Dad

He's 34 years old, has 15 children, 13 lovers and no job. What Jamie Cumming's serial polygamy tells us about the state of the family in Britain.

Date posted: 2011-09-08

Asylum seekers: a considered proposal

Australia must find a compassionate and reasonable way to respond to boat people.

Date posted: 2011-07-18

I plank, therefore I am

A philosopher reflects on the craze for "planking" in the strangest places.

Date posted: 2011-05-30

Young people, like people in general, will commit to the things they trust.

Young people in our society seem unwilling or unable to make commitments, or so I have heard. Being young myself I concede that this criticism could have been applied to areas of my own life in the recent past. Areas of my life such as work, study, religion, and marriage could all have been described by others as suffering from lack of commitment.

Date posted: 2010-12-25

Defending children against eroticised adult culture

The time has come for parents to take on the culture of sexualisation of young children. ...Who could have predicted even a decade ago that one of the pressing issues facing parents and psychologists in this century would be the marketing of adult sexuality to young children?

Date posted: 2010-10-19