NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Discussions that deal with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: How should one live? What is right (or wrong) to do? What is the best way for humans to live?

Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby mtbturtle on September 21st, 2016, 8:45 am 

BioWizard » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:36 am wrote:I hadn't submitted an argument yet, so you couldn't have had any effect on me, defensive or otherwise. I commented because I saw the thread derail and spiral, instead of the seemingly reasonable position being presented productively.

In any case... my suggestion to others would be to proceed with the thread and not concern themselves with derailing comments and convoluted argument styles. No need to make an effort telling when no effort is made asking.



Well if you aren't going to tell us what a reasonable position begin presented productively is, all you are doing here is derailing and disrupting the discussion which before you barged in was getting back on track, imo. You think you get to insult me and then I am suppose to make an effort asking you. Fine, pretty pretty please Sir, can you point out to me what it is I said that irritated and put people on full defensive mode So I don't do it again.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby BioWizard on September 21st, 2016, 8:47 am 

mtb, I apologize if I mistakingly gave you the impression that I was asking your opinion on the matter or trying to otherwise engage you. I wasn't. We're way past that. I was helping the members get past you and back to the topic.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby mtbturtle on September 21st, 2016, 8:49 am 

BioWizard » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:47 am wrote:mtb, I apologize if I mistakingly gave you the impression that I was asking your opinion on the matter or trying to otherwise engage you. I wasn't. I was helping the members get past you and back to the topic.


Good job there.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby Eclogite on September 21st, 2016, 10:50 am 

mtbturtle » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:19 pm wrote:Not for me I leave you to it.

I confess to being at a loss as to why you even chose to participate in the thread then.

I do not wish to be confrontational, but doubt I shall avoid it. Your contribution appears to be twofold:

1. Snipe at the intermediate source of the report although the ultimate source is a highly respected medical journal.
2. Express zero interest in any aspect of the problem that did not relate to your own situation.

Some days the world seems like a mighty strange place to me.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby mtbturtle on September 21st, 2016, 11:09 am 

Eclogite » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:50 am wrote:
mtbturtle » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:19 pm wrote:Not for me I leave you to it.

I confess to being at a loss as to why you even chose to participate in the thread then.


I do not have to justify myself to you. This verges on a personal attack. Are you saying I should leave, mr. moderator?

I do not wish to be confrontational, but doubt I shall avoid it. Your contribution appears to be twofold:


Philosophy is confrontational. You are more ankle biting.
1. Snipe at the intermediate source of the report although the ultimate source is a highly respected medical journal.


It was not a snipe. You may not care if people are linking to racist websites around here but I do and I thought Zetreque should know if he didn't already what Brietbart is. Nobody has referenced the medical journal so what do you expect me do about it?

2. Express zero interest in any aspect of the problem that did not relate to your own situation.


You are incorrect. I am one of the few that has raised important questions here which have mostly gone unanswered but that's not my fault or lack of interest.

Ethics is practical, it guides our actions. Why should I worry about things that are never going to happen to me? There is no choice to make. If it doesn't effect you, why do you get any ethical say in it? It's none of my business. You can spend your time counting angels on a pinhead if you want. I'll pass.

Some days the world seems like a mighty strange place to me.


Next.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby mtbturtle on September 21st, 2016, 11:13 am 

Eclogite,

I forgot to ask you, do you support eliminating (I mean euthanizing) disabled people?
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby TheVat on September 21st, 2016, 1:10 pm 

Ethics is practical, it guides our actions. Why should I worry about things that are never going to happen to me? There is no choice to make. If it doesn't effect you, why do you get any ethical say in it? It's none of my business. You can spend your time counting angels on a pinhead if you want.


Turtle, this is a real question: who determines that an ethical choice doesn't affect me, or you? If I think a newborn baby is a person with legal rights, and parents take up the practice of killing them, then I will be a citizen experiencing outrage and strong emotions and a fear of where that might lead. I will be affected, even if it's not my baby and I'm no relation to it. We don't exist in personal bubbles.

To answer your question, which you felt was not directly answered: I favor, of course, excellent prenatal care and diagnosis for every woman, and the right to choose an abortion at any stage, without the State butting in to the reasons for that abortion. If that is implemented, then I think ethical decision about a severely retarded fetus can be made. Once a baby is born, even if it's microcephalic and a determination of severe retardation could be made, then I think the question shifts to what is in the best interest of the baby, as a person. So my answer isn't simple - if microcephaly means no quality of life and uttery misery (and impoverishment in a poorer society) for the parents, then euthanasia MIGHT BE the kindest and best course and the most in that infant's interest. And yes, that means that the same question could be raised about people in a vegetative state or in severe and irreparable pain. I have no prima facie objection to euthanasia, where there is no quality of life. Life should have meaning and a chance for happiness.

I hope that my sincere attempt to address your question is of some use, and reflects to you a genial attitude towards further discussion.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby doogles on September 21st, 2016, 6:09 pm 

I more than just liked that post Braininvat, I agreed with virtually every word you said and the way that you said it!

(Just as a personal aside, I've taken a 'back seat' from posting for a while, but I have been reading the posts without comment - almost as an independent observer. It's astounding how almost every thread tends to stray off topic and how the most innocuous of comments can sometimes be misinterpreted, or interpreted personally by some posters. I'll be away from my computer for a week or so.)
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby wolfhnd on September 21st, 2016, 10:31 pm 

So what are the criteria we use to determine if an organism is functionally human? This is where the abortion issue comes in. The medical criteria is brain activity without it a person is legally no longer a person. In the U.S. to be declared brain dead requires irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem. Clearly this definition excludes very severe brain damage. Why then would a fetus with a fully functioning brain not be considered a person who's life cannot be arbitrarily terminated? In many ways a late term fetus meets the criteria laid out in the Uniform Determination of Death Act for a person who is alive more fully than someone with only a functioning brainstem.

It is the case of when a pregnancy threatens the health of the mother that abortion is most closely related to the topic at hand. If a fetus has all the functions necessary to declare a severely brain damaged individual alive and termination of life support for such an individual is unacceptable why can a woman decide to terminate life support for the fetus? By social convention it has been decided that the life of the mother is more valuable to society than that of the fetus. Is forcing someone to care for a severely handicapped individual that mush different than asking a woman to carry a fetus to term? There are other times when society asks citizens to risk there lives for other as when men are drafted in war time.

It seems to me that to keep abortion laws in line with the principles laid out in the Determination of Death Act legal abortions should be pushed back to eleven weeks. Of course we are not talking about abortion but euthanasia and none of the individuals under discussion are brain dead nor unborn. I'm perfectly happy to live with the current abortion laws because frankly defining what makes an organism human is complex enough that it exceeds our understanding. Euthanasia on the other hand is something that we are only beginning to grapple with at least voluntary Euthanasia.

In the current thread I believe we are talking about involuntary Euthanasia. In the past hunter gathers engaged in Euthanasia of the old and infirm when the tribe could no longer care for them. Before abortions were widely available infanticide was widely practiced in many ancient cultures. It seems many people in the past settled on the idea of ability to care for the disabled as the ethical rational for Euthanasia. We could think of this as the ethical standard developed through custom and precedent In today's world resources are generally abundant enough that caring for the disabled creates no real threat to the survival of the care givers. Where in the past euthanasia could be thought of as being ethically similar to the use of deadly force in self defence the cost to care givers is emotional and financial today. By tradition emotional and financial cost are not justifications for refusing care and as with abortion I'm happy to abide by those standards. That does not mean I believe the ethical questions are exhausted only that it is unlikely that a necessary consensus can be reached to establish a new ethical framework.

If there are Zika Virus victim so severely impaired that the brain stem is not functioning the existing laws allow life support to be terminated. Those victims however seem unlikely to be carried full term or if they are survive parturition. In all other cases the existing ethical standard is to provide life giving and humane care and I personally see little reason to question those standards.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby mtbturtle on September 22nd, 2016, 12:20 pm 

Ethically, I think if we can avoid a horrendous ethical situation (killing cognitively impaired people), then I think ethically we should do so. In the US when it come to the Zika Virus, Medical Care including abortion allows us to avoid killing cognitively impaired people. We will not be a better society if we take to such barbaric practices as killing cognitively impaired people. What makes any of us think we would stop there? Why should we?
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby TheVat on September 22nd, 2016, 1:17 pm 

The Slippery Slope argument is a legitimate one. I think Wolfhound makes an interesting point here.....

It seems to me that to keep abortion laws in line with the principles laid out in the Determination of Death Act legal abortions should be pushed back to eleven weeks. Of course we are not talking about abortion but euthanasia and none of the individuals under discussion are brain dead nor unborn. I'm perfectly happy to live with the current abortion laws because frankly defining what makes an organism human is complex enough that it exceeds our understanding. Euthanasia on the other hand is something that we are only beginning to grapple with at least voluntary Euthanasia.

In the current thread I believe we are talking about involuntary Euthanasia.....


That was my understanding, as I said in the other nearby thread on this. Also called "passive euthanasia," where a severely impaired baby with no cortical development (equivalent to a patient in a PVS or a braindead trauma victim) is not given high-tech medical care and allowed to die in its mother's arms.

One point needs clarifying on "pushed back to eleven weeks..." Wolf, do you mean move the last date of abortion back eleven weeks from fullterm, or do you mean only allow abortions in the FIRST eleven weeks of pregnancy. Quite a difference, developmentally. If you mean the former, then that seems to fit with your thesis generally. If not, perhaps we need to discuss developmental stages in the embryo and fetus. Your call.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby wolfhnd on September 22nd, 2016, 1:55 pm 

I would be interested what stage of fetal development corresponds to the brain stem criteria used to determine if life support can be terminated.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby neuro on September 22nd, 2016, 2:24 pm 

A note that may be irrelevant to the US:
In many Countries, not even voluntary euthanasia is allowed.
Curiously enough, it is all the same - at least occasionally - practiced and tolerated, mostly because every people involved agree on the appropriateness of the choice and no publicity is given to the event.

In a sense, this might change the perspective on the issue (and this regards Americans as well as everybody else):
ethical issues necessarily are individual issues.

A human being must face ethical issues autonomously, even if this implies violating laws.
Laws might well be inspired to ethical principles, but they cannot ever exhaustively face all possible situations.
In the face of ethical issues, laws can only state that one kind of ethical consideration can - or cannot - prevail on another (or on some social interest).
Then, if the possibility has been admitted, humans will have to decide whether - in each particular case - it does or does not prevail.

In the issue at hand here, I believe that what BiV and other proposed should be read in these terms:
a possibly knowledgeable, equanimous, not personally involved, human, integer person (or group of persons ) will have to "judge"
what is in the best interest of the baby, as a person.
... no quality of life [for the baby] and uttery misery (and impoverishment in a poorer society) for the parents, then euthanasia MIGHT BE the kindest and best course and the most in that infant's interest.

which means that a legislation would not be supposed to state the exact circumstances in which euthanasia should be admitted.

A human being (or some of them) will eventually have to make the ethical decision, in all cases.

So the "legislative" question reduces to the general principles:
1 - should a person be allowed to receive euthanasia if this is her will (on a reasonable basis)?
(this already is admitted in many Countries, as a general principle)
2 - should a person who cannot express such preference be allowed to die if this is a piteous choice?
(this - passive euthanasia - already is admitted in many Countries, as a general principle)
3 - should a person who cannot express such preference be actively helped (or expressly led) to die if this is in her best interest?
(this generally is not admitted, as a general principle)

But the final judgement, in all cases, as whether "it is a compassionate choice" "in the person's best interest" must be left to humans.

So, in conclusion, I do not see the big problem of the "slippery slope".
Establishing the principle that death can be a human right, when it constitutes the best and most compassionate path, would simply mean that a valid ethical choice by a person, possibly confirmed in its validity by a knowledgeable and impartial judge, will not be considered a violation of the law, because the law must not examine all the possible cases but simply establish a legal principle: this and that ethical considerations can - or cannot - prevail on that and that other ethical consideration and/or social concern.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby mtbturtle on September 22nd, 2016, 2:40 pm 

neuro » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:24 pm wrote:A note that may be irrelevant to the US:
In many Countries, not even voluntary euthanasia is allowed.
Curiously enough, it is all the same - at least occasionally - practiced and tolerated, mostly because every people involved agree on the appropriateness of the choice and no publicity is given to the event.

In a sense, this might change the perspective on the issue (and this regards Americans as well as everybody else):
ethical issues necessarily are individual issues.


I said personal earlier but not everybody agrees in fact I sense most here don't. The extent to which there is a group that encompasses us all ethically it would be humanity I think, and all people are equal. It is one thing to allow people to kill themselves, and another to make the decision for them. It is dangerous to pick out certain groups (like the severely retarded) and label them for death.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby Serpent on September 22nd, 2016, 2:44 pm 

Suicide - for any reason, by any means - used to be illegal in Christian countries. That forced a lot of people to suffer needlessly; cost their next or kin great hardship and sorrow, or else goaded them or their care providers to break the law...
...because the law was correct on doctrinal grounds but wrong on humane grounds.
We are slowly, slowly coming to some rational grips with the fact of death and dying, but the very slowness of the process still causes vast amounts of preventable suffering.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby mtbturtle on September 22nd, 2016, 3:16 pm 

aShould parents euthanize severely retarded children?

Post by mtbturtle on Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:23 pm

Braininvat » Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:10 pm wrote:
mtbturtle wrote: Ethics is practical, it guides our actions. Why should I worry about things that are never going to happen to me? There is no choice to make. If it doesn't effect you, why do you get any ethical say in it? It's none of my business. You can spend your time counting angels on a pinhead if you want.



Biv wrote: Turtle, this is a real question: who determines that an ethical choice doesn't affect me, or you?



I didn't say Affect, I said Effect.
If I think a newborn baby is a person with legal rights, and parents take up the practice of killing them, then I will be a citizen experiencing outrage and strong emotions and a fear of where that might lead. I will be affected, even if it's not my baby and I'm no relation to it. We don't exist in personal bubbles.



I consider ethics to be personal behavior and politics is the realm of our group moralities. google dictionary "moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior." So yes essential we all exist inside our personal ethical bubbles. Your abortion is none of my business. Your killing my fellow citizens even if they are retarded is my business but that's political for me not ethical.

Biv wrote: To answer your question, which you felt was not directly answered: I favor, of course, excellent prenatal care and diagnosis for every woman, and the right to choose an abortion at any stage, without the State butting in to the reasons for that abortion.




Me too.
Biv wrote: If that is implemented, then I think ethical decision about a severely retarded fetus can be made.


not really.
Biv wrote: Once a baby is born, even if it's microcephalic and a determination of severe retardation could be made,




don't think it works quite that way. How could such "determination of severe retardation" be made at that stage? Severe retardation is not a medical term and it is entirely unclear what you mean, who you are talking about. What about those that may grow up to have normal intelligence? Snip the Zipps

Biv wrote: then I think the question shifts to what is in the best interest of the baby, as a person.




I would think the best interest of the baby would always be the focus.

Biv wrote: So my answer isn't simple - if microcephaly means no quality of life and uttery misery (and impoverishment in a poorer society) for the parents, then euthanasia MIGHT BE the kindest and best course and the most in that infant's interest.




It can't ever be at the most interest of the infant and I don't know how you go about judging any of that. Please quality of life, utter misery? And why does it stop with "infants" if I have understood you corrrectly. "Sever retardation" whatever that is? I really don't know (does Trump qualify?) can happen thoughout life. Are Downs Syndromes severely retarded?

Biv wrote: And yes, that means that the same question could be raised about people in a vegetative state or in severe and irreparable pain. I have no prima facie objection to euthanasia, where there is no quality of life. Life should have meaning and a chance for happiness.




Me either, but I'm not going to be the judge of your quality of life. Don't the severely retarded get to have quality of life?

I hope that my sincere attempt to address your question is of some use, and reflects to you a genial attitude towards further discussion.


Several things need clearing up above. You seem to think you wrote a whole bunch of things you didn't the first couple of times around, but frankly I don't see how it change anything ethically.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby Serpent on September 22nd, 2016, 4:19 pm 

*groan* gone
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby wolfhnd on September 22nd, 2016, 10:11 pm 

neuro » Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:24 pm wrote:A note that may be irrelevant to the US:
In many Countries, not even voluntary euthanasia is allowed.
Curiously enough, it is all the same - at least occasionally - practiced and tolerated, mostly because every people involved agree on the appropriateness of the choice and no publicity is given to the event.

In a sense, this might change the perspective on the issue (and this regards Americans as well as everybody else):
ethical issues necessarily are individual issues.

A human being must face ethical issues autonomously, even if this implies violating laws.
Laws might well be inspired to ethical principles, but they cannot ever exhaustively face all possible situations.
In the face of ethical issues, laws can only state that one kind of ethical consideration can - or cannot - prevail on another (or on some social interest).
Then, if the possibility has been admitted, humans will have to decide whether - in each particular case - it does or does not prevail.

In the issue at hand here, I believe that what BiV and other proposed should be read in these terms:
a possibly knowledgeable, equanimous, not personally involved, human, integer person (or group of persons ) will have to "judge"
what is in the best interest of the baby, as a person.
... no quality of life [for the baby] and uttery misery (and impoverishment in a poorer society) for the parents, then euthanasia MIGHT BE the kindest and best course and the most in that infant's interest.

which means that a legislation would not be supposed to state the exact circumstances in which euthanasia should be admitted.

A human being (or some of them) will eventually have to make the ethical decision, in all cases.

So the "legislative" question reduces to the general principles:
1 - should a person be allowed to receive euthanasia if this is her will (on a reasonable basis)?
(this already is admitted in many Countries, as a general principle)
2 - should a person who cannot express such preference be allowed to die if this is a piteous choice?
(this - passive euthanasia - already is admitted in many Countries, as a general principle)
3 - should a person who cannot express such preference be actively helped (or expressly led) to die if this is in her best interest?
(this generally is not admitted, as a general principle)

But the final judgement, in all cases, as whether "it is a compassionate choice" "in the person's best interest" must be left to humans.

So, in conclusion, I do not see the big problem of the "slippery slope".
Establishing the principle that death can be a human right, when it constitutes the best and most compassionate path, would simply mean that a valid ethical choice by a person, possibly confirmed in its validity by a knowledgeable and impartial judge, will not be considered a violation of the law, because the law must not examine all the possible cases but simply establish a legal principle: this and that ethical considerations can - or cannot - prevail on that and that other ethical consideration and/or social concern.


It shouldn't be controversial that to be a moral agent requires the ability to understand the consequences of your actions, and are free of coercion or deception by other actors. As BIV pointed out the severely retarded are not granted the same rights moral agents are because they lack the facilities to understand the consequences of their actions. In reality none of us fully understand the consequences of our actions and the law recognizes this by scaling responsibility, for example from involuntary manslaughter to first degree murder. Even an impartial judge however cannot really ascertain intent and therefore culpability yet alone competency in assessing the consequences of potential actions. It is therefore necessary to establish arbitrary standards. It is within these standards that a slippery slope exits. Agency exists by degrees and as demonstrated by age related rights, such as driving rights, rights and corresponding responsibility are granted in correlation to the degree of agency.

What are the standards for determining the rights that can reasonably be granted to the retarded? For the case in point what constitutes extraordinary life support? Perhaps it is time to reexamine what level of brain damage constitutes zero agency and therefore complete exclusion from the moral agent club.

Of course if you don't believe in "free will" there can be no basis for morality :-).
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby neuro on September 23rd, 2016, 9:56 am 

wolfhnd » September 23rd, 2016, 3:11 am wrote:
neuro wrote:So, in conclusion, I do not see the big problem of the "slippery slope".

Even an impartial judge however cannot really ascertain intent and therefore culpability yet alone competency in assessing the consequences of potential actions. It is therefore necessary to establish arbitrary standards. It is within these standards that a slippery slope exits.

I'll try and make my point clearer.
I believe there is a confusion between two domains here.
(and I actually believe this was exactly the point mtb was raising)

Laws can not define ethical standards.
Laws can only define whether an ethical issue exists or is ruled out by social convention.
Ethics are always about conflicts between values. If there is no conflict there is no ethics.
If something is forbidden, it means society considers that there can be no value conflict (ethical issue) to it.

The same moment you mention the possibility that a law should consider cases in which depriving a person of their life might help a higher value to prevail on a lower value, you are negating that a law can forbid such act.

The problem arises if you wish to charge on the legislator the burden of precisely defining all the circumstances and criteria that determine whether one value is higher or lower than the other. This is an ethical evaluation that must necessarily be performed by actual humans in actual circumstances, not by a rule.

The "slippery slope" would arise if you were to require - as you suggest - that the scientific community defines a specific day during the pregnancy, or a specific percentage impairment of cognitive functions or disability, where a law can put the cut between the prohibition or the permission to kill a baby.
That cut point may then slip.

But the law can only reasonably state whether terminating the life of a suffering person is something that has to be PROHIBITED tout court, or whether it can be considered an ethical question.
In the latter case, its is not the law that can precisely define circumstances, weights and values.
As already said, the ethical evaluation must necessarily be performed by actual humans (e.g. a Court) in actual circumstances.

The distinct question of abortion has been correctly brought about as a counter-example: in most Countries, the principle has been accepted that the needs of the pregnant woman - in some other Countries her will - must prevail on the need of the fetus, at least as long as the fetus totally depends on the mother for survival.
A law which tried and examine all possible specific circumstances would be stupid: if the will of the mother is considered, there can be little controversy; if her "needs" are considered and a controversy arises, humans (not the law) must evaluate whether there actually is a need or not, in the specific sanitary, social, economical, familial and psychological circumstances.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby zetreque on November 29th, 2016, 7:53 pm 

Here is a good video showing the story of Zika




More to this story is them releasing GM mosquitos in Florida. I haven't been following that story but how is that going to help control the big picture of Zika? Isn't that just going to introduce more uncertainty?
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby Scruffy Nerf Herder on December 5th, 2016, 12:05 am 

Braininvat » September 19th, 2016, 9:57 am wrote:Turtle is right: Breitbart is a festering cesspool of factoids, rightwing spin, innuendos, and stuff they just make up for the sake of fearmongering and sensationalism. It is a smelly pee stain on journalism.

In regard to the OP question: Yes. There is nothing noble or humane about requiring all babies, no matter how severely retarded, to live out their lives. I have liberal friends who disagree and are shocked that someone they see as liberal (me) would take this position. I think they are being swayed by sentiment and a false kindness.


I have to admit something that could be interpreted here either as a bias, or relevant perspective oriented information: I live with a congenital mental illness, and have known many with similarly congenital mental illnesses or other congenital conditions.

#1: my symptoms are not fun. However, as unpleasant as they can be, I've perceived that they obviously aren't as unpleasant as those of numerous other people beset by some ailment.

#2: I still value my life. That is something that I get to do. No one else can tell me what my life means to me, because they aren't me. None of you are me, and none of you are any of the friends I've acquired who suffer from worse. Sadly, not all of them value their lives. That being said, obviously there are those who do, and it isn't the place of any other person to tell them what their own experiences mean to them.

This isn't about false kindness or mock-pious sentimentality. It is about one person being basically unqualified to tell another what his/her experiences must mean. Adopt the attitude of deciding for others too casually, and expand your idea of who's up for the chopping block too much, and then you'll very feasibly be killing me in the womb.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby TheVat on December 5th, 2016, 10:54 am 

As later posts clarified ( you read them? ) we were talking about the level where there is no cortical function, where there is only a vegetative body. As I also said, I worked for a few years professionally with persons with developmental disabilities, was a strong advocate for them and their pursuit of a good life, and was not suggesting active euthanasia. Still amazes me how people will leap to the dystopian dark interpretation when something humane is at least considered.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby Serpent on December 5th, 2016, 11:51 am 

Not existing wouldn't bother me. My non-existence wouldn't bother anyone else, either, just as the non-existence of all the people who never lived ever bothered anyone who did.

When I'm dead - and that is going to happen, whether by my own hand, another person's or natural causes - I will no longer exist, and I have no reason to think that will be an unpleasant condition. In the meantime, life is more or less pleasant, from day to day. As it becomes less and less pleasant, I think more and more about when and how to end it.

If I wait too long, or some unexpected event occurs to render incapable, the decision will not be mine, and the quality and length of my life will depend on other people's compassion, conviction, ethics, clarity, conscience.
When I had this responsibility for other lives, I admit to sometimes hesitating longer than kindness demands.
I can only hope that my care-giver(s) will have worked through the issue before my turn comes.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby TheVat on December 5th, 2016, 12:44 pm 

Yes. I think most of us hope for kindness and mercy from people who understand what we want.

Just want to add, regarding the slippery slope concerns, which are certainly valid concerns. Shaggy wrote....

Adopt the attitude of deciding for others too casually, and expand your idea of who's up for the chopping block too much, and then you'll very feasibly be killing me in the womb.


No one here has such an agenda. This is an ethics forum and I don't think anyone here has a casual attitude about this. If we can stay focused on what this is about - passive euthanasia, i.e. a newborn without the higher cortical functions that permit consciousness that is allowed to die naturally in its mother's arms - then I think that ethical principles, conjectures, considerations that might be relevant can be brought to bear on an outcome that compassionate and rational persons would see as best for all concerned. And, to be sure, if science is not equal to the task of determining consciousness then we must err on the side of caution.

The distinction on euthanasia, for purposes of discourse, should be made between older persons who can consciously make known their end-of-life wishes and severely brain-damaged infants who simply cannot do this and must rely on the compassion of their parents and caregivers.

I do not want this thread, or any other, to turn into a shooting gallery where a compassionate perspective is twisted around and caricatured as something monstrous. This has happened here, and will not be tolerated, as would be the case with any resort to ad hominem argument. I think present members understand this, so maybe I'm being touchy even mentioning it.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby Serpent on December 5th, 2016, 2:29 pm 

It's a touchy subject. Very serious, smart and well-meaning people are wrestling with it in legislatures, jury rooms and doctor's lounges all around the world.
I have no problem taking a rational approach - now - but I didn't arrive here by magic or without setbacks, confusion and misgivings.

As things stand, all the legal position errs way too far on the side of caution, allowing people to suffer for months and years and potentially decades - !! - to cover our liability and uncertainty. It's the patients who are paying, who are punished, for our fear of sliding ....
... down to some place or condition that we haven't even dared to explore.

As far as relatives killing off the infirm and elderly for their financial assets: that's been going on since the institution of inheritance. Laws have never stopped the unscrupulous, but can punish them.
As far as parents putting a burdensome disabled child out of its misery: It happens, though rarely, and each case must be judged on individual merits. Laws have never stopped the desperate, but have sometimes pushed them to suicide.
By the same token, the absence of a law against it has never prompted anyone to kill a loved relative, or a hopeful patient. Social pressure, shame, moral strictures, fear, imposed hardship, loss of status, threat of expulsion, faith, family obligation - all kinds of psychological factors may influence a person to do or refrain from doing all kinds of things; to endure or to escape, to assist or judge or turn away... But that's something we can't easily direct. Social attitudes are always murky, self-contradictory, debated and in ferment over one issue or another. Law has not that luxury: it must be definite and clear.

Where we need to make an adjustment is to bring the framework of law regarding end-of-life and life-terminating decisions out of the realm of religion and into that of medicine.
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Re: NEWS: Zika Virus: Re-examing Euthanasia

Postby Scruffy Nerf Herder on December 5th, 2016, 9:05 pm 

Braininvat » December 5th, 2016, 7:54 am wrote:As later posts clarified ( you read them? ) we were talking about the level where there is no cortical function, where there is only a vegetative body. As I also said, I worked for a few years professionally with persons with developmental disabilities, was a strong advocate for them and their pursuit of a good life, and was not suggesting active euthanasia. Still amazes me how people will leap to the dystopian dark interpretation when something humane is at least considered.


Sorry, I didn't read the whole thread. I read several of the first posts and what I saw on this page in conjunction with that left me with the impression that this was indeed going in a dystopian direction.
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