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Ma Cherie
25-07-06, 07:03
This can be a very touchy subject, but I was wondering about people's views on it. This also applies to animal euthanasia as well. The Terry Shiavo case has caused me to think about this issue. Do you approve are disapprove of certian methods used to euthanize a person or an animal? How do you feel about euthanaisa for children?

I don't know where I stand on the issue of euthanasia for children, however, I'm kind of in favor of assisted suicide. Especially for terminally ill patients, because I feel that if someone is sick and suffering and there's no chance that the individual will live, the government shouldn't interfere with a person's "right to die." If they had enough they should be allowed to die with dignity.

Well I'll come back and comment more on this. :sorry:

Maciamo
25-07-06, 09:32
Euthanasia is legal in Belgium and the Netherlands. I am personally in favour of it. After all I do not know any developed country that makes suicide illegal. It is highly hypocritical to say that you can kill yourself but cannot ask professional help to do it in a more humane way when you have a terminal disease and suffer a lot.

Kinsao
25-07-06, 16:28
I am against it. I feel that it is very dangerous to legalise allowing someone to decide whether or not someone else's life is worth living.

A lot of people in the UK are unaware of the fact that it was already perfectly legal for doctors/nurses to administer the amount of painkiller necessary to keep a person out of pain, even if that would hasten their death. There was no need for anyone to have to die in pain; however, government penny-pinching in the area of health has recently been encouraging medical staff into a 'saving money' state of mind. It is, of course, cheaper to dispose of elderly and terminally ill people than it is to relieve their pain.

I am also concerned because we have a 'pensions crisis' in this country (UK), and an overbalance of older people. Euthanasia could be misused as a convenient way of redressing this balance. From where will come the money to look after the older people? Not necessarily in medicines and/or pain relief, but in things like pensions and carers. Very difficult for the economy to support.

Primarily, though, my objection rests upon the fact that I do not think it is ethical for anyone to have the right to take someone else's life away, regardless of the situation.

Because if you say that is ok, it opens up a can of worms about who is permitted to live or die. Is it such a very far stretch of the imagination to think that, 'A person with a disability has a low quality of life', progressing to the thought, 'It would be better for them if they had not been born', naturally proceeding to, 'We can dispatch them humanely, and they would be better off, and society would also be better off'? I don't think that is so very far-fetched.

The 4 medical care principles used to be 'The restoration of health, the preservation of life, the prevention of impairment and the relief of suffering'. Would you have that changed, so that doctors are not obliged to preserve life? How do you feel when it is your life? To change that would set a dangerous precedent, with doctors no longer charged with saving people's lives and improving the quality of their lives, but instead having to be tools of the government and subject to its socio-economic issues.

In addition, I have known someone who had a serious terminal illness, and who eventually died in what could have been seen as an extremely degrading and undignified way. However, they did not have to suffer pain (it being perfectly ok for staff to give them the relief they needed), and by means of their attitude and handling of the situation turned what could have been one of the most horrible deaths, into something inspiring, moving and - yes, uplifting, which I am privileged to have been a part of. It is partly that which has opened my eyes to the fact that death and its associated 'indignities' are nothing to be afraid of.

Personal issues regardless, I also recognise that, as an atheist, you (Mac) probably see no reason why some people shouldn't have the right to decide whether others can live or die, so it's probably no use 'arguing' on the subject...

Maciamo
25-07-06, 16:56
I am against it. I feel that it is very dangerous to legalise allowing someone to decide whether or not someone else's life is worth living.

I think you misunderstand the concept. Euthanasia cannot happen without the interested's consent. It is not about a doctor judging whether someone should die or not (e.g. if they are unconscious, like in a coma), but about a person's right to commit "assisted suicide".

If someone is in a coma or their life is supported by machines, doctors will usually ask the closest relative about what to do (keep them alive or not), and this is legal everywhere, as far as I know. Comitting suicide is also legal. So why would suicide by special medication that prevent pain be prohibited if the person has an uncurable and painful disease ? In Belgium, euthanasia is legal but strictly regulated. You cannot ask for it if you are not seriously ill from an uncurable disease.

Only "voluntary euthanasia" is legal, and that is the only form of "assisted killing" which I can accept.


Personal issues regardless, I also recognise that, as an atheist, you (Mac) probably see no reason why some people shouldn't have the right to decide whether others can live or die, so it's probably no use 'arguing' on the subject...

This has nothing to do with my being an atheist. The reason our opinion differ is because you do not understand what is euthanasia about. In the Netherlands, the law allowing euthansia is called "Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide". Here are the regulations :


The law permits euthanasia and physician assisted dying when each of the following conditions is fulfilled:

* the patient's suffering is unbearable with no prospect of improvement
* the patient's request for euthanasia must be voluntary and persist over time (the request can not be granted when under the influence of others, psychological illness or drugs)
* the patient must be fully aware of his/her condition, prospects and options
* there must be consultation with at least one other independent doctor who needs to confirm the conditions mentioned above
* the death must be carried out in a medically appropriate fashion by the doctor or patient, in which case the doctor must be present.
* the patient is at least 12 years old (patients between 12 and 16 years of age require the consent of their parents)

In Belgium it is even stricter (e.g. the patient must be at least 18).

Depending on the milieu you grew up in and the people that had the most influence on your education and way of thinking, you may confuse euthanasia with eugenics :


In Nazi Germany the term euthanasia has been distorted. The word "euthanasia" was used by the Germans to describe the T-4 Euthanasia Program. The German rational for the program was to both lower expenses by systematically killing the institutionalized as well as preserving the genetic quality of the German population by sterilizing people with physical deformities, handicaps, or mental illnesses. Technically, the T-4 Euthanasia Program was actually an eugenics program and not euthanasia, since the goal was not to end suffering but to remove these individuals from the gene pool.

Kinsao
25-07-06, 18:41
I think you misunderstand the concept. Euthanasia cannot happen without the interested's consent. It is not about a doctor judging whether someone should die or not (e.g. if they are unconscious, like in a coma), but about a person's right to commit "assisted suicide".
Yes, I understand that. But I do not think that people should have the right to commit 'assisted suicide'. If that's ok, why only someone who is 'seriously ill from an incurable disease' request it? Because there are other serious reasons why someone might want to die. What about people with severe depression? Can they have the right to die if they want it? If not, why not?
Also, if someone wishes to die, and asks another person to kill them... and if that is deemed 'ok'... then killing people is not wrong any more? If they ask for it? So if my friend asks me to kill them, it's ok because they want to die? I don't think so. I don't think that makes killing people right.

So why would suicide by special medication that prevent pain be prohibited if the person has an uncurable and painful disease ?
As I have said, it is already legal to supply necessary amount of pain relief to ensure someone does not have to suffer a painful death, even if this hastens death. And I'm perfectly ok with this as being humane and ethical. :p

Only "voluntary euthanasia" is legal, and that is the only form of "assisted killing" which I can accept.
:-)

This has nothing to do with my being an atheist. The reason our opinion differ is because you do not understand what is euthanasia about.
Actually I think it does make a difference. You see, I think there is not a distinction in the taking of life between taking someone else's life and taking your own. All lives have equal worth. That is why I disagree with both euthanasia and assisted suicide. I have actually researched information on euthanasia quite extensively and campaigned to parliament and debated with MPs on the issue. I don't claim to 'know it all', but I have a pretty good grasp of the issues and what is involved. :hey:

Maciamo
25-07-06, 21:14
Also, if someone wishes to die, and asks another person to kill them... and if that is deemed 'ok'... then killing people is not wrong any more?
Killing is only wronged because life beings have very deep survival instincts and do not want to die. However, if life has become too painful for them so that they wish to die, I do not see any problem with suicide, assisted or not, as long as it is voluntary and the person is well aware of what he/she is doing.

We do kill animals for food. Many countries still execute criminals. People are allowed to end their own life the world over. Some primitive/ancient societies sacrifice(d) human beings to the gods as part of their culture and beliefs. What makes you think that killing is always wrong/immoral ?

All lives have equal worth.

Do you mean human lives ? If yes, why not other life beings' lives ? Anyway I disagree that all human lives have the same worth. It is as aberrant as saying that all humans are equal, when they are obviously all different. If you had to choose to save a senile 90 year old with a heavy criminal record or a bright, pretty and cheerful 9 year old in perfect health and loved by lots of people, are you saying that you would not been able to decide under the pretext that both lives have exactly the same worth ? That sounds either hypocritical or unrealistic to me.

Kinsao
26-07-06, 00:08
What makes you think that killing is always wrong/immoral ?
I do not expect you to agree with me - indeed, in your post you clearly said you were in favour of euthanasia, and I was putting forward my view which was different from yours. However, I don't expect to be able to 'change your mind', since you already hold your view!

Whether killing is always wrong/immoral is branching out somewhat into a wider issue, which I don't feel capable of tackling at this time of night :hey: but might revisit later when my brain is in better working order! :relief: For now, I will just say that I do believe that killing is always wrong, and perhaps go into more detail at another point. Again, I don't expect that I can change your mind about this, as already you have expressed a view different from mine! But as we have different views on this, obviously we will also have different opinions on euthanasia (and assisted suicide).


We do kill animals for food. Many countries still execute criminals. People are allowed to end their own life the world over. Some primitive/ancient societies sacrifice(d) human beings to the gods as part of their culture and beliefs.
-- Regarding animals: I do not think that animal lives are quite the same as human lives; however, I do strongly disagree with the inhumane methods often currently used for killing animals for food; also, though, there is the balance of the environment to be taken into consideration if farming animals for food was altogether stopped, which again is another issue and one that I'm happy to discuss, but not here (as I feel it belongs more rightly in another thread, but, it is an interesting issue. :) ).
-- I don't agree with executing criminals, either.
-- Nor do I think it is right to end one's own life. But I would like to say that I would never condemn or criminalize someone who attempts to do so (I would be lying if I said I'd never considered it, and still do), but would rather they have help, to overcome their problems.
-- Nor do I think it is right to sacrifice humans or animals to gods.


Anyway I disagree that all human lives have the same worth.
That is the fundamental point on which our opinions diverge, and on which neither will alter.


It is as aberrant as saying that all humans are equal, when they are obviously all different.
Equal in worth does not mean 'the same'.


If you had to choose to save a senile 90 year old with a heavy criminal record or a bright, pretty and cheerful 9 year old in perfect health and loved by lots of people, are you saying that you would not been able to decide under the pretext that both lives have exactly the same worth ?
You are quite right in your assumption that I would probably choose to save the young girl. I don't have any problem admitting that. It's a natural human (and animal!) instinct, when having to choose between 2 lives to save, to choose the younger or stronger, with the best chance of survival and breeding, for the continuation and strength of the species. And if one person has to die anyway, it seems fairer to save the person who hasn't had as long a chance at life. Under a condition where I have to choose one out of 2 people, the fact that I believe both lives to be of equal worth would have no influence in my decision since one of the people would have to die anyway. But I can sincerely say that I would not be in any position to judge which life was of more worth, that of the old man or that of the child. Just because someone has a heavy criminal record doesn't mean they're necessarily a 'worse' person than I am, or a 'worse' person than the young child might become.

Maciamo
26-07-06, 10:22
I do not expect you to agree with me - indeed, in your post you clearly said you were in favour of euthanasia, and I was putting forward my view which was different from yours. However, I don't expect to be able to 'change your mind', since you already hold your view!
I am always ready to change my views if someone has a more convincing or rational argument (yes, even about atheism). For me, the purpose of discussing such issues or opinions on a forum is to make one's way of thinking and opinions evolve. I did alter a few of my opinions because of what had been said on the forum. For instance, Tsuyoiko had a very valid argument that courgettes, pumpkins or aubergines were all fruits, as they grew on small plants and had seeds just like strawberries, tomatoes (which is usually considered a fruit by French speakers nowadays) or bananas. This led me to reconsider the classification of brainless molluscs (e.g. clams, scallops, mussels...) as animals (see thread (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24079)).


For now, I will just say that I do believe that killing is always wrong, and perhaps go into more detail at another point.
...
-- Nor do I think it is right to sacrifice humans or animals to gods.
That is the fundamental point on which our opinions diverge, and on which neither will alter.
So if I follow your reasoning, you are morally condemning societies that practise(d) human sacrifice, like the Ancient Greeks, the Mayas and the Aztecs. Do you realise that you are judging whole cultures that evolved over centuries ! (this said, I personally have no problem with that, but I think you might :p ).


-- Nor do I think it is right to end one's own life. But I would like to say that I would never condemn or criminalize someone who attempts to do so (I would be lying if I said I'd never considered it, and still do), but would rather they have help, to overcome their problems.
Isn't that a major limitation of personal freedom ? If you cannot kill yourself, can you let yourself die (e.g. hunger strike) ? It's basically the same thing. Were Gandhi's hunger strikes fundamentally immoral according to you ? I am sure other have followed his example and ended up dead.


You are quite right in your assumption that I would probably choose to save the young girl. I don't have any problem admitting that. It's a natural human (and animal!) instinct, when having to choose between 2 lives to save, to choose the younger or stronger, with the best chance of survival and breeding, for the continuation and strength of the species.
That's a contradiction of what you said before. I believe the word "worth" applied to human life, means which human life you give the more importance to, and thus which one you would choose to save first. That is why I believe that a younger life is worth more than an older one, but also that people who positively contribute to society are worth more than serious criminals.

And if one person has to die anyway, it seems fairer to save the person who hasn't had as long a chance at life.
That is exactly how I see it. :-)

But I can sincerely say that I would not be in any position to judge which life was of more worth, that of the old man or that of the child. Just because someone has a heavy criminal record doesn't mean they're necessarily a 'worse' person than I am, or a 'worse' person than the young child might become.
Of course it is to be judged case by case, and sometimes it is hard to tell, but sometimes it is quite obvious which of the two is the better one (more "worthy of living"). If you doubt that you should reconsider our whole justice system (good luck).

Kinsao
26-07-06, 12:26
I
So if I follow your reasoning, you are morally condemning societies that practise(d) human sacrifice, like the Ancient Greeks, the Mayas and the Aztecs. Do you realise that you are judging whole cultures that evolved over centuries ! (this said, I personally have no problem with that, but I think you might :p ).
Well, I think it is wrong to make human sacrifice. So I think these cultures were 'in the wrong', but I think I can say that I disagree/believe them to be wrong, without 'morally condemning' them. I mean, cultures/societies are made up of individuals, who act in different ways and for different reasons. So it's more complex than just being able to say 'human sacrifice is wrong, therefore everyone in that culture is bad/evil'... I think that would be a too simplistic way of looking at things and not entirely logical either. :bluush:


Isn't that a major limitation of personal freedom ?
Yes.

There are certain restrictions on personal freedom: for example, should someone be given the freedom to mutilate themselves, if they choose it? Or do you think they should have some psychological help? If so, why? Or should they not rather be allowed to carry on doing it if they want, since, they are only hurting themselves and not another?


If you cannot kill yourself, can you let yourself die (e.g. hunger strike) ?
I believe that it is wrong to kill yourself in this way, too. It can be sometimes be effectively used as a tool to get a point across or make a difference, in the case where the person does not actually die (effectively, in a situation where no one is prepared to 'call their bluff' so to speak and see whether they will allow themselves to die).

I had almost starved myself to death once. Eventually I realised that according to my thinking it was no more acceptable to kill myself in this way than another.


That's a contradiction of what you said before. I believe the word "worth" applied to human life, means which human life you give the more importance to, and thus which one you would choose to save first.
Yes, I tried to explain (probably not well ><) that my 'choice' to save the young girl would be based on 'animal' instincts of preservation of the species, not on logical argument about moral or whatever. Generally, when it comes down to a life-or-death situation where one has to act fast, one acts on instincts rather than standing there engaging in a mental debate. :bluush:


That is why I believe that a younger life is worth more than an older one, but also that people who positively contribute to society are worth more than serious criminals.
I think maybe we are not fully agreeing on the exact meaning of the term 'worth'. I can see what you are saying :relief: But 'worth' is also a relative concept; in this situation, it is meaning like 'worth to society'. Because worth tends to mean 'worth to something'... I'm not sure how to explain well :sorry: ... for instance, imagine there was 2 young girls instead; their 'worth' is different in different contexts. Each might have the same 'worth to society' (hence it would be very difficult to choose which to save), but suppose you were a parent of one of them, she would have more 'worth' to you. I'm trying to think outside of the kind of worth that is attached to things (even society). So I agree that a younger life is (usually) worth more to society than an older life, but I can't agree that a younger life is 'worth more' per se.

Phew, I think I need to take a study in philosophy and language to try and figure out how to say it! :o :buuh: :sick:


Of course it is to be judged case by case, and sometimes it is hard to tell, but sometimes it is quite obvious which of the two is the better one (more "worthy of living"). If you doubt that you should reconsider our whole justice system (good luck).
Hehe, the justice system can always benefit from a bit of reconsidering! But anyway, we don't have the death penalty here, so it is more a question of punishment for someone's actions. Or perhaps you mean that the penalties for murder and manslaughter should be reconsidered, taking into account the worth to society of the person killed, with, say, more lenient penalties for killing paedophiles and drug dealers, and harsher penalties for killing children, lawyers and good dentists? :? :)

Maciamo
26-07-06, 13:04
Well, I think it is wrong to make human sacrifice. So I think these cultures were 'in the wrong', but I think I can say that I disagree/believe them to be wrong, without 'morally condemning' them.

For me the term "wrong" is a moral judgement, as it is a subjective statement of personal values.


I mean, cultures/societies are made up of individuals, who act in different ways and for different reasons. So it's more complex than just being able to say 'human sacrifice is wrong, therefore everyone in that culture is bad/evil'... I think that would be a too simplistic way of looking at things and not entirely logical either. :bluush:

What I think is not logical is to say that human sacrifice is wrong but societies that practise it are not necessarily wrong because they are complex. What is wrong in the end ? Isn't human nature itself complex ?


There are certain restrictions on personal freedom: for example, should someone be given the freedom to mutilate themselves, if they choose it?

Of course. You do what you want with your life and your body !


Or do you think they should have some psychological help?

It doesn't always help... :blush: I believe that psychological changes must come from oneself (from 'self-realisation') to be effective.


I believe that it is wrong to kill yourself in this way, too. It can be sometimes be effectively used as a tool to get a point across or make a difference, in the case where the person does not actually die (effectively, in a situation where no one is prepared to 'call their bluff' so to speak and see whether they will allow themselves to die).
I had almost starved myself to death once. Eventually I realised that according to my thinking it was no more acceptable to kill myself in this way than another.

I think you are confusing your personal rules that you want to apply to yourself (e.g. "Don't hurt your own body !") and what should be allowed for other people if they want to. Don't tell me what I can or cannot do with my own life and my own body !



Yes, I tried to explain (probably not well ><) that my 'choice' to save the young girl would be based on 'animal' instincts of preservation of the species, not on logical argument about moral or whatever.

So your moral is not influenced by 'animal' instincts of preservation of the species'. That's a scary thought... :eek:


Generally, when it comes down to a life-or-death situation where one has to act fast, one acts on instincts rather than standing there engaging in a mental debate. :bluush:

But moral and education can overtake someone's instincts, and have done so for millions of people in history.


I think maybe we are not fully agreeing on the exact meaning of the term 'worth'. I can see what you are saying :relief: But 'worth' is also a relative concept; in this situation, it is meaning like 'worth to society'. Because worth tends to mean 'worth to something'... I'm not sure how to explain well :sorry:

Try to clarify your thoughts first, before trying to explain them to me, as I can't make head or tail of what your are saying here. :?


... for instance, imagine there was 2 young girls instead; their 'worth' is different in different contexts. Each might have the same 'worth to society' (hence it would be very difficult to choose which to save), but suppose you were a parent of one of them, she would have more 'worth' to you.

Are you trying to explain the difference between "objective/rational worth" and "subjective/emotional worth" ? The latter is easy to explain : your childhood teady bear is worth more to you than the exact same teady bear in the shop, because it's yours and you have special memories or shared experiences with it. That is as subjective and emotional as it can get. Saying that an old person's life is less worthy of saving than a young one is not 100% objective, but clearly much more objective than the teady bear example. At least it is based on the survival instinct of the species, which should be one of the most basic moral values for any life being.


I'm trying to think outside of the kind of worth that is attached to things (even society). So I agree that a younger life is (usually) worth more to society than an older life, but I can't agree that a younger life is 'worth more' per se.

Of course. It's more complex than that. Add the value of the person to society, e.g. their education, achievements, contributions, popularity... You can add any more or less objective or subjective factors as you want, but the more the better, as you get a more accurate image of the person.


Hehe, the justice system can always benefit from a bit of reconsidering!

Obviously. But what I wanted to say is that the whole justice system must be reconsidered if a person's worthiness cannot be taken into account in a judgement because it is too subjective. Justice has its share of subjectiveness, otherwise we could just have a computer rule trials instead of a judge and a jury.


Or perhaps you mean that the penalties for murder and manslaughter should be reconsidered, taking into account the worth to society of the person killed, with, say, more lenient penalties for killing paedophiles and drug dealers, and harsher penalties for killing children, lawyers and good dentists?

Maybe. Isn't it how the justice system works in most Western countries (especially in the USA) ? Don't lawyers use as arguments the fact that the murdered person was such a good person loved by everyone to obtain a tougher penalty from the jury ? Yes, they do. Likewise, if a car driver runs into a pedestrian and kills him/her by accident, it is manslaughter. But if the victim had just written a letter saying he wanted to commit suicide by jumping on a car, it isn't manslaughter anymore, and the accused becomes the victim. Won't a person who killed the president of the USA get a harsher sentence than if they killed a old homeless immigrant in poor health ? I bet you that he/she will.

So yes, the person's health, mental condition, place in society or any other factor will have an influence on a judge and jury in court, and that is our justice system.

Kinsao
26-07-06, 18:51
For me the term "wrong" is a moral judgement, as it is a subjective statement of personal values.
So you do not believe in the existence of objective 'right' and 'wrong'? (Is that what you are saying?) In that case, that is where our opinions will totally diverge! :eek:


What I think is not logical is to say that human sacrifice is wrong but societies that practise it are not necessarily wrong because they are complex. What is wrong in the end ? Isn't human nature itself complex ?
That is where my view does not make sense when placed within your 'framework' (for want of a better word), because if you believe as I do that there exists an objective 'right' and 'wrong', my opinion makes sense, but if you do not believe that, then it would not make sense to you.


It doesn't always help... :blush: I believe that psychological changes must come from oneself (from 'self-realisation') to be effective.
Oh yes, it's not always effective. Does that mean then that help should not be offered?


I think you are confusing your personal rules that you want to apply to yourself (e.g. "Don't hurt your own body !") and what should be allowed for other people if they want to.
But naturally, I believe my own 'personal rules' to be objectively right, otherwise I would not apply them to myself.


Don't tell me what I can or cannot do with my own life and my own body !
That sentence actually sounds to me quite childish in its way of expression (I don't mean that to be insulting). But again, I think that's one major point where our views diverge, because you think that one only has to be answerable to oneself, whereas I think that one is answerable to something outside of oneself.


Are you trying to explain the difference between "objective/rational worth" and "subjective/emotional worth" ?
Why is 'worth to society' more objective/rational than worth to one person? It can't simply be because society contains more people?


At least it is based on the survival instinct of the species, which should be one of the most basic moral values for any life being.
I am now confused as to what you mean by 'moral values', because I did not think there was an association between moral values and instincts (they might sometimes coincide, but not necessarily).


Of course. It's more complex than that. Add the value of the person to society, e.g. their education, achievements, contributions, popularity... You can add any more or less objective or subjective factors as you want, but the more the better, as you get a more accurate image of the person.
I cannot bring myself to judge a person's intrinsic worth on their contribution to society, their education, achievements, popularity... I don't feel myself qualified to judge anyone's 'worth' at all.


Don't lawyers use as arguments the fact that the murdered person was such a good person loved by everyone to obtain a tougher penalty from the jury ? Yes, they do.
Of course they do. That's because they want to win their case, and they are playing on the jury's feelings. That doesn't mean that the jury can actually judge how good or loved a person the victim was.


Won't a person who killed the president of the USA get a harsher sentence than if they killed a old homeless immigrant in poor health ? I bet you that he/she will.
To be subjective for a moment, I think they should get a lesser sentence! ;-)

Maciamo
26-07-06, 21:04
So you do not believe in the existence of objective 'right' and 'wrong'? (Is that what you are saying?) In that case, that is where our opinions will totally diverge! :eek:

No ! Where did you get that from ? That is the exact opposite of what I said. I said that "wrong" (or "right") is always a subjective judgement, and moral is also always subjective. Is that so ambiguous from the sentence I wrote ? Let's read it again :


For me the term "wrong" is a moral judgement, as it is a subjective statement of personal values.


That is where my view does not make sense when placed within your 'framework' (for want of a better word), because if you believe as I do that there exists an objective 'right' and 'wrong', my opinion makes sense, but if you do not believe that, then it would not make sense to you.

Let's start again this discussion based on you understanding what I wrote this time. Let's read again (sorry if I sound like a primary school teacher, but you had the opportunity to read and understand by yourself before replying) :


What I think is not logical, is to say that human sacrifice is wrong but societies that practise it are not necessarily wrong, because they are complex. What is wrong in the end ? Isn't human nature itself complex ?

Let me rephrase it : You are saying that 'human sacrifice is wrong'. You are also saying that 'societies that practise human sacrifice is wrong are not necessarily wrong'. The reason you think these societes are not wrong is that they are complex. (Am I right so far ?) So you are justifying human sacrifice by the complexity of a society. What I meant was that I find it illogical to have double standards about human sacrifice, depending on whether you consider just the act itself, or the society/people committing it. It doesn't make much difference to me. It's still human sacrifice. And so you cannot logically say that "human sacrifice" is wrong, but societies that commit aren't wrong.


But naturally, I believe my own 'personal rules' to be objectively right, otherwise I would not apply them to myself.

I don't think this rule can be "objective". Everybody feels differently about it. It's just a matter of opinion, so it's subjective.


But again, I think that's one major point where our views diverge, because you think that one only has to be answerable to oneself, whereas I think that one is answerable to something outside of oneself.

In the case on one's own life and body, I really can't see who else but oneself can be answerable. Who is it for you ? If you say "God", then we really will have to agree to disagree with each others.



Why is 'worth to society' more objective/rational than worth to one person? It can't simply be because society contains more people?

Because humans are social beings. Humans couldn't really live outside society nowadays. Babies, and even children, cannot take care of themselves alone for many years (they would just die). Humans now need to learn so many things to basically survive in the world, and become so dependent on other people (specialists for everything) that a human life is not worth much outside human society. An completely isolated and alienated human would soon be depressed and die, as they need other people with whom to share their experiences or emotions. Remember that we are not discussing the value of your life as seen by you, but the value of your life as seen by other people in society. A justice system only exists within a society. Judging the worth of somebody else's life can only be done in comparison to other individuals in society. A human life has no value in the absolute. After all, a stone doesn't care what our lives are worth... Value/worth is always relative (to something else) and situational.


I am now confused as to what you mean by 'moral values', because I did not think there was an association between moral values and instincts

So for you moral should not always include the survival instinct, the only thing that keep us alive ? So life and death have no moral significance to you ? What is moral to you then ?


I cannot bring myself to judge a person's intrinsic worth on their contribution to society, their education, achievements, popularity...

Of course as there isn't such a thing as "a person's intrinsic worth". It's an abstarct concept that doesn't match reality. A person' worth can only be estimated in relation to other people (i.e. society). That's why the Aztecs, Mayas or Ancient Greeks didn't mind sacrificing their own people, for it was for the good of society as a whole (e.g. to appease the gods and save a greater number). Would you sacrifice yourself if the survival of mankind depended on it ? Would you die to protect your child(ren) ? Maternal instincts of humans and many other animals (esp. mamals) are such that the mother can often find the courage to give her own life to save her youngs. Why ? Because our very own survival depend(ed) on it. Does this have no moral value to you ?

Kinsao
27-07-06, 13:52
No ! Where did you get that from ? That is the exact opposite of what I said. I said that "wrong" (or "right") is always a subjective judgement, and moral is also always subjective.
My understanding is that you are saying that you believe in 'wrong' and 'right' as a subjective judgement. I was inferring that you don't believe in them as objective concepts.
Not that I have a problem with what you believe, just saying that it's different from my view. :)

Let me rephrase it : You are saying that 'human sacrifice is wrong'. You are also saying that 'societies that practise human sacrifice is wrong are not necessarily wrong'. The reason you think these societes are not wrong is that they are complex. (Am I right so far ?) So you are justifying human sacrifice by the complexity of a society. What I meant was that I find it illogical to have double standards about human sacrifice, depending on whether you consider just the act itself, or the society/people committing it. It doesn't make much difference to me. It's still human sacrifice. And so you cannot logically say that "human sacrifice" is wrong, but societies that commit aren't wrong.
No. I am saying that human sacrifice is wrong. Therefore my opinion is that societies that practice human sacrifice are in the wrong. However I do not believe that that means every individual in that society is 'bad/evil'. I wanted to avoid the use of the word 'evil' because it seems rather emotionally-charged. But I want to say that I believe a particular practice, human sacrifice, can be wrong, without having to 'condemn' every single individual living in that society.

In the case on one's own life and body, I really can't see who else but oneself can be answerable. Who is it for you ? If you say "God", then we really will have to agree to disagree with each others.
Well, there you go. :)

a human life is not worth much outside human society.
I suppose that is where my belief in God makes my opinion different from yours, because I believe that a human life is worth something even when isolated from society. However, I don't believe that that means someone's role/function/worth in society is unimportant; just that there is also more, that their worth does not stop if they are removed from human society.

Judging the worth of somebody else's life can only be done in comparison to other individuals in society.
Yes, that is true...

A human life has no value in the absolute.
... but that is the bit I disagree with.
We just have to agree to differ on this one! :)
Phew, this discussion comes quite a long way since euthanasia! :relief:

JoRuDeNnA
31-07-06, 22:38
Well Im studing at medical school, and this is a subject that causes lots of discussions in class. In my own opinion and as a future doctor I think that if the person is going to die sooner or later, and there's no way he can get better, euthanasia is correct, I mean that person is suffering, will never get better and will die sooner or later, the best thing to do is to end with that person suffering, sometimes the family of those patients want them to live longer, but what about that person whose brain is completley death? he's body will be mistreated because of all the equipment and tubes that keep him "alive", and all this just for 2 more years of "life", that isnt the life a person deserves; there are some difficult cases such as persons in a coma, I dont think this case applies for an Euthanasia, because you cant be sure that person will never wakeup, there are patients who wake up even after 10 years! so I dont think is correct to take that opportunity away from that person.

I agree sometimes religious thoughts may intefere, because we cant decide on another person's life, BUT as a doctor you must care for that person, and try to give him/her a better life, if you cant, because that person will die, then try to decrease his/her suffering.
I had a close experience, when my grandpa got sick, he had diabetes, and many other diseases, and we decided to keep him at home. When he died, he was sleeping, and he didnt suffer at all. I wonder if we had put him in a hospital, he would have suffered a lot, with all those machines in his body. So I guess with this experience and the poor knowlendge I have in medicine I think euthanasia should me permited only in some cases.

Duo
01-08-06, 05:24
If we have the right to life then we should also have the right to death.

Ma Cherie
01-08-06, 06:24
Interesting replies. I think the reason why some people may be against euthanasia is because no matter how ill a person is, it is still seen as an act of killing. But there are types of euthanasia, there's involuntary, which is seen as murder. I'm in favor of euthanasia just as long as it's voluntary.

Maciamo
01-08-06, 09:45
Interesting replies. I think the reason why some people may be against euthanasia is because no matter how ill a person is, it is still seen as an act of killing.

That seems very childish to me.


But there are types of euthanasia, there's involuntary, which is seen as murder. I'm in favor of euthanasia just as long as it's voluntary.

People should at least make this distinction.

Ma Cherie
03-08-06, 05:18
I think it's difficult for some people to the distiction of what murder is and the issue of euthanasia. This view could sometimes come from a stauch black and white way of seeing euthanasia. However, since there's this so-called "culture of life" in America, there are groups of people who are against it simply because to them, you're depriving someone of life. But doesn't this raise the question of what "life" is? If someone is ill knowing that there's no chance of improvement, how is letting the person suffer a value of life? :?

I've also been wondering, if you have a family member who is terminally ill but his or spouse feels that euthanasia is the only option, do you feel that the family should have power over this decision or the spouse?

Kinsao
03-08-06, 13:15
as a doctor you must care for that person, and try to give him/her a better life, if you cant, because that person will die, then try to decrease his/her suffering.
Totally agreed. :-)


I had a close experience, when my grandpa got sick, he had diabetes, and many other diseases, and we decided to keep him at home. When he died, he was sleeping, and he didnt suffer at all. I wonder if we had put him in a hospital, he would have suffered a lot, with all those machines in his body.
Definitely, then, a good decision for your grandfather to stay at home. :-) Anyone has the right to refuse a treatment that they (or their family, if they are not capable of making the decision) feel would cause more suffering, or be unnecessarily burdensome for the person. For example, when my father found out that he was terminally ill, he asked a lot of questions about the possible consequences of not having any treatment at all, and simply allowing himself to die 'naturally' (because he thought that maybe the treatments might cause more suffering with only a small chance of a cure). I fully support people's rights to choose this kind of option because no one should have to suffer unnecessarily from 'treatment'. *nods*


I've also been wondering, if you have a family member who is terminally ill but his or spouse feels that euthanasia is the only option, do you feel that the family should have power over this decision or the spouse?
Whew, what a difficult question! :worried: (assuming the person themselves isn't in a condition to make the decision.) I have to think about that one! It's so hard, if many people love the person, but they have different ideas, each wanting the best for the person but disagree about what is 'best'... and in those circumstances, it's when you really do not want arguments between the family.... :o :o

misa.j
07-08-06, 02:12
You got me thinking on this one, Ma Cherie. I can't seem to conclude my thoughts yet, though.

I think problems arise when the patient doesn't have an ability to give a consent whether they want to continue their treatment or not, which was what happened to Terri Shiavo's case. Children do not have that ability either, so their guardians have to make that decision.

What make me keeping from favoring euthanasia for humans are the fact that physicians do misdiagnose and medical accidents do happen; this was not the case about euthanasia, but I often think about the woman who had to go through her eye operation under local anesthesia that did not work for her pain but paralyzed her movement and her vocal code.(If you can imagine that...)

I also understand that radical treatments and being hospitalized can be torturous for a lot of people, so I can't really decide if I'm for or not.

monrepo
15-08-06, 18:46
I'm against euthanasia. Euthanasia is immoral and against the Hippocratic Oath.

Ma Cherie
16-08-06, 01:45
I'm against euthanasia. Euthanasia is immoral and against the Hippocratic Oath.

Yes, but how much relevance does the Hippocratic Oath have in modern times? Over the years it's been changed. I believe in situations where the doctor knows that the patient's condition will never improve. Even if the doctor has done all she/he could to keep them healthy and alive.

Do you believe there exceptions to the rule where euthanasia may the only option?

Maciamo
16-08-06, 14:43
I'm against euthanasia. Euthanasia is immoral and against the Hippocratic Oath.

Could you explain in detail why you think it is immoral. Is suicide also immoral for you ?

There is nothing in the Hippocratic Oath that prevents doctors from easing the death of patients who request it.

The Hippocratic Oath is against abortion, but abortion is legal and commonly practised in almost all Western countries (except Ireland and a few others) and most of East Asia (including, Japan, Korea and China).

My favourite part of the Hippocratic Oath is this one, showing how irrelevant it is in todays' world :


In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves.

monrepo
17-08-06, 22:49
Do you believe there exceptions to the rule where euthanasia may the only option?
No. Euthanasia is not and should never be an option.

Could you explain in detail why you think it is immoral.:
Euthanasia is a "refined" method applied by doctors in order to kill patients in the name of "free will".

Is suicide also immoral for you ?:
Suicide is the worst thing a person could do to him/herself.

There is nothing in the Hippocratic Oath that prevents doctors from easing the death of patients who request it.:
Really?

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art..:

Maciamo
18-08-06, 00:05
Euthanasia is a "refined" method applied by doctors in order to kill patients in the name of "free will".

Would you mind actually reading what has been posted before in the thread before posting irrelevant messages.


Suicide is the worst thing a person could do to him/herself.

Who are you to judge that. Maybe it is what you think personally about your life, but not everybody agrees. You might change your mind once you get some disease that gives you excruciating pain all day long for years on end, with no chance of ever getting better.



Really?

You must not have the original version of the Hippocratic Oath (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath).

Anyway, Hippocrate lived a long time ago, didn't know anything about modern medicine, didn't know many medical conditions existing today, and was a doctor, not a universal lawmaker, nor a particularily enlightened philosopher...

monrepo
18-08-06, 23:36
The translation of the Hippocratic Oath you've posted has mistakes.

I care none for the rest of your comments.

Mitsuo
20-11-06, 19:06
I believe that euthanasia is perfectly fine if permission is granted from the suffering man or woman.

I think Duo had a great comment "If one has a right to life, then one has a right to death"

Well said.


As for animals. I believe that the owners should look at the quality of life their pet is living. If they are ill or injured (a potential for full recovery) but can eat on it's own, and seems to enjoy itself at times, then I feel that it should be up to you. If you don't want to take care of a sick or injured dog, first look and see if someone else will. If not, then it's in your hands. But if the dog can't move, won't eat, and seems to be suffering. Then I think it's justified and that you should euthanize the animal.

Pretty soon I will put my dog to sleep. Other than being blind, she is getting alzheimers disease and gets stuck in corners. She urinates all over the place, and just doesn't seem to know what's going on at all. She can't enjoy herself. It's really sad. So I think euthaniasia is the best thing for her.

Ma Cherie
20-11-06, 21:51
Oh, I'm sorry about that Ota. :(

Mitsuo
23-11-06, 00:57
Thanks.

Yeah, sometimes I wonder if it's worth having a pet, then go through their death. But I think that pets make life bearable. So I think it's worth it.


Nice to talk to you again Ma Cherie.

See you around!

Crazy Russian
23-11-06, 21:21
Before discussing such serious topics, I would like people to set their moral prejudices aside. For me, God is not the best adviser on such matters.

Phrases like 'It is immoral and wrong. Consequently it must not exist.' seem to me absurd. It is just one of the views on life. Why does the person who say so think that his/her standpoint has more rights to exist than someone else's standpoint? I reject all moral imperatives and all gods who dare moralise.

Maciamo is the only man in this thread I totally agree with. He seems to me to be a free spirit without moral prejudices.



'If we have the right to life then we should also have the right to death.'

Sounds well. I also believe that if human beings have a right to give birth to children, they also have a right to slay (anyone). That is, if they have a right to create life, they also have a right to snuff out it. Here I stand.