HUMAN LIFE:Who has the final Word?

  • Thread starter Philocrat
  • Start date

Life Supporting Machines Should Never Be turned off?

  • YES: They should be turned Off (Give Reason)

    Votes: 19 86.4%
  • NO: They should Never be turned off (Give Reason}

    Votes: 3 13.6%

  • Total voters
    22
  • #26
arildno
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From what I've heard, the Terry Schiavo case is merely a standard case of PASSIVE euthanasia blown out of all proportions. To remove a feeding tube is not an act of active euthanasia; we are not obliged to perpetuate life if there is no chance that the person's health can improve to a relatively large degree of self-help.

After all, death is a natural phenomenon.
 
  • #27
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russ_watters said:
Its complicated, but its being discussed in the politics section. In short, Congress and the President (like Jeb and the Florida legislature before them) overstepped their bounds. I predict the federal appeals court (which has been directed by last night's law to review the case) will refuse to hear the case. She has two different families with different opinions. That's the primary issue relevant to the courts.
Well, both the her husband and the court should not necessarliy assume the worst. They could both be wrong. The assumption of Terri being in agonising pain is not a sufficient reason for both the husband and the court to assume the worst on her part. Pain cannot be automatically infered from Terri's outward behaviour, let alone proved. The notion of 'WHAT IT IS LIKE FOR TERRI TO BE IN PAIN' is now the BIGGEST and the most heavily debated and disputed in Philosophy of mind. There are hundreds of threads running in parallel on this PF trying to resolve this issue of people externally judging what other people are feeling by ordinary behaviour. That no one knows this, LIFE must be assumed and favoured until the technology for accurately predicting this is subsequently created and perfected. Of courese, we ought to be able to make decision of this kind for others, but until the process for doing so is available and perfected. With all the good will in the world and best intentions, TERRI'S RIGHT TO LIFE under this circumstance becomes universally available and should not be touched neither by the court nor by the husband.


As I indicated above, that is not correct. She is not recovering. Her condition is permanent. That is the unequivocable opinion of the unbiased doctors appointed by the court. Her parents' mistaken reaction is a natural and expected reaction to a situation that is both devistating and incomprehensible to them.

THE PROBLEM WITH EXPERT WITNESS

I acknowledge completely and stand 100% behind science with all the atruggles and intentions to get predictions right, but at the same time it is very important to admit that science does get it awfully wrong, often with very lethal and nasty consequences. These errors usually come to light when the court employ the so-called 'EXPERT WITNESSES', many of whose methodologies and predictions are now under intense scrutiny due to an increasing number of miscarriage of justice being uncovered in the process. With all the number of cases that these experts have got right over the years, there is also a substantial number of cases that they have also got very wrong, and nearly all of them with devastating consequences as indicated in the following sample cases in the UK. The doctors employed by the court, who claim to have independently verified that Terri's condition is medically stagnant (not improving) could equally be wrong as you have admitted ealier in your response that the process of accessing the victim's internal injuries with which to estimate the recovery time is inexact or limited.

THE PROBLEM WITH EXPERT WITNESS

The following links lead to a number of Cot Death 'Murder' Acquittals .........of mothers accused of killing their babies in the UK, and some of them still in Jail, due to wrong assumptions and hypotheses by the so-called 'Expert Witnessess'. QUESTION: How many 'Expert Witnessess' are REALLY experts? Well, this is one question that the science community and the courts who use these expert witnesses must answer, and devise and implement proper safeguards.

http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=89252004 [Broken] (A Newspaper Review of some of the cases of Miscarriage of justice on the issue)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/child/story/0,7369,1438638,00.html (Another paper's paper review of the case.

http://innocent.org.uk/cases/sallyclark/ [Broken] (Sally Clark’s Case of Miscarriage of Justice independent reports) http://www.sallyclark.org.uk/meadow.html (Her main website and detailed documentation of her case)

http://innocent.org.uk/cases/angelacannings/index.html [Broken] (Angela Canning’s Case of miscarriage of justice…..wrongfully accused of killing her babies)

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/focus/story/0,6903,1418542,00.html (The aftermath of being wrongfully convicted. Living in prison long after acquittal)


SIDS (Unexplainable Infants deaths)

http://www.parasomnias.co.uk/html/sids.php3 [Broken] (A website that looks at the unexplained infants deaths at birth)

http://www.sids.org.uk/fsid/facts.htm (Cot Deaths Statistics in the UK)

BEWARE of Dodgy Mathematics and Statistics!
Dodgy mathematics and statistics do exist and when they come from the so-called experts it becomes very scary! With all the good mathematics and statistics around, you do occassionally have dodgy ones as well. So, beware, for the devil is in the detail!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A1091350 (Beware of statistics….good and bad ones do exist!)

Sally Clark's case of miscarriage of justice was caused by a faulty mathematics by the expert witness in her case.
------------------
Think Nature ....... Stay Green! Above all, think of how your action may affect the rest of Nature! May the 'Book of Nature' serve you well and bring you all that is good!
 
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  • #28
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arildno said:
From what I've heard, the Terry Schiavo case is merely a standard case of PASSIVE euthanasia blown out of all proportions. To remove a feeding tube is not an act of active euthanasia; we are not obliged to perpetuate life if there is no chance that the person's health can improve to a relatively large degree of self-help.

After all, death is a natural phenomenon.
Of course, in an ideal world we would all love to do this, yet the science for establsihing this as a CONCRETE FACT is evidentially inexact or limited. Many mistakes are being made, many of very lethal and life-robbing consequences as indicated above in my response to russ. The issue is not as straightforward as that......and I wish it could!
 
  • #29
GeD
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Well, both the her husband and the court should not necessarliy assume the worst. They could both be wrong. The assumption of Terri being in agonising pain is not a sufficient reason for both the husband and the court to assume the worst on her part. Pain cannot be automatically infered from Terri's outward behaviour, let alone proved.
As it has been stated by russ watters, she is NOT is any pain whatsoever because she doesn't FEEL anything. Her consciousness is dead. She can feel as much pain as an earthworm.

The links you cited all point to a few isolated cases in something that almost every ordinary person would find as questionable maths or reasoning and in any event there shouldn't be a conviction, based on expert witness alone. The fact that the details of all these cases are different enough to make a comparison is a sign that your wariness of the validity of expert witnesses may be grossly overboard. Here a number of court-appointed physicians have given their independent diagnosis. Those appointed by either side don't count for obvious reasons of bias that you've stated.



Well, both the her husband and the court should not necessarliy assume the worst. They could both be wrong.
But you assume that the most likely case is that they are wrong, simply because you have read in other papers that there have been a lot of suspicious expert witnesses and false testimony. While such an occurrence is not out of the picture, it is also not necessary that false testimonies are happening in this particular case. However, in your mind you have already assumed that this "sinister" event has occurred, and that the woman's "right to life" must be saved at all costs - without regard of the financial burdens the family would undertake.

Again, you continue to assume that money is a "fictional" reason, without ever responding to the arguments by myself and others in this thread that claim on the contrary - money is a part of the equation here. You also contradict Peter Singer's stance that every case should be looked at on its own terms, rather than generalizing any specific point universally. Yet you wish to universally set money as having no bearing on these kinds of moral dilemmas.

Feel free to continue to misunderstand and ignore such arguments. However, I recommend that everyone else stop wasting their time (and effort) on this thread, if it is simply a spamming and belching out of essays, while continuing to ignore legitimate questions and concerns about them.
 
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  • #30
arildno
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Philocrat:
I think you missed my point.
For individuals in a vegetative or comatose state,
I can't see any obligation on our part to perpetuate that person's life on the tiny off-chance that an improvement may occur.

It has happened occasionally, that persons who have been comatose for years and kept alive by artificial life-support systems have waked up and become well.
These rare incidents by no means obliges us to keep every single comatose individual artificially alive.
 
  • #31
russ_watters
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Philocrat said:
Well, both the her husband and the court should not necessarliy assume the worst. They could both be wrong. The assumption of Terri being in agonising pain is not a sufficient reason for both the husband and the court to assume the worst on her part. Pain cannot be automatically infered from Terri's outward behaviour, let alone proved.
No one said anything about pain. The issue is recovery. She is not and will not recover. And its not a matter of not knowing - her brain is physically damaged and the brain does not regenerate. The best analogy I can think of is if you lost your hand in an accident and your parents said it would grow back with rehabilitation.

Something I didn't know until this morning when I read it: her brain has actually partially disintegrated and been replaced with fluid. Its gone. Its not that its not functioning, its just not there.
With all the good will in the world and best intentions, TERRI'S RIGHT TO LIFE under this circumstance becomes universally available and should not be touched neither by the court nor by the husband.
The right to life is not positive in the way you describe. Its mostly negative (you can't kill someone). If it were completely postive, doctors would be required to give whatever care is necessary in all cases. The reality is that if you need a heart transplant and can't pay, they are not obligated to give you one.

Her parents lawyers never argued right to life and the law passed on Sunday doesn't mention it. It is not the issue here.
The doctors employed by the court, who claim to have independently verified that Terri's condition is medically stagnant (not improving) could equally be wrong as you have admitted ealier in your response that the process of accessing the victim's internal injuries with which to estimate the recovery time is inexact or limited.
Huh? Where did I say that? Medically, this case is as straightforward as they get: her brain is irreparably damaged. She has as about as much chance of recovery as you would have of spontaneous regeneration of a severed hand.
 
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  • #32
russ_watters
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arildno said:
Philocrat:
I think you missed my point.
For individuals in a vegetative or comatose state,
I can't see any obligation on our part to perpetuate that person's life on the tiny off-chance that an improvement may occur.

It has happened occasionally, that persons who have been comatose for years and kept alive by artificial life-support systems have waked up and become well.
These rare incidents by no means obliges us to keep every single comatose individual artificially alive.
To add/reiterate: in those cases where a person does wake up after a decade or so, there is little or no physical damage. This isn't about long odds - her recovery just isn't possible.
 
  • #33
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Hi,

I know if it was me I'd want the machines turned off.

If I was also still conscious and aware, I'd want a morphine drip for a pleasant ending.

juju
 
  • #34
AKG
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I know very little about the Schiavo case, except that I read that the parents were fighting to keep her alive, and her husband said that she would not have wanted to stay hooked up to the machine. I could be wrong about that, but we can look at the general principles. If someone has expressed the will to end his or her own life, who should have the right to force him or her to do otherwise?

Also, I have no problem with pulling the plug on people like murderers and rapists. Sorry, not all humans have inalienable rights, not all humans are invaluable. Rapists and murderers have little value to me.
 
  • #35
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AKG said:
I know very little about the Schiavo case, except that I read that the parents were fighting to keep her alive, and her husband said that she would not have wanted to stay hooked up to the machine. I could be wrong about that, but we can look at the general principles. If someone has expressed the will to end his or her own life, who should have the right to force him or her to do otherwise?
Well, Russ-waters seems to have an in-depth knowledge of the case, as well as the scientific arguments and reasons for pulling the plug. Maybe you should read some of Russ’ postings and reference to a thread on the case in politics section. Anyway, Russ thinks that there is a good scientific reason, or reasons, for pulling the plug on Terri. I am not quite convinced of this. From this point of view, Russ’s argument seems to suggest that when scientific justification is produced to facilitate the legal justification that automatically concludes the case. Does it ?

Ok, leaving the ‘SCIENTIFIC AND LEGAL JUSTIFICATIONS FOR PULLING THE PLUG’ apart, we still have the moral justification to deal with. The moral question is simply this:

HOW MANY PEOPLE BENEFIT FROM AND ARE HAPPY FOR THE LIFE PLUG TO BE PULLED ON TERRI?

1) Is it Terri alone?
2) Is it Terri’s Husband alone?
3) Is it the Terri’s Family alone?
4) Is it Terri and her Husband alone?
5) Is it Husband, Doctors, and the court alone?
6) Is it Terri, Husband, Doctors, Court and the rest of her whole family?
7) Is it Terri, Husband, Doctors, court and her family and the rest of the society?

There are many serious problems with the whole of this ‘Moral Calculus’ especially with the sets of people involved. One of such problems is that these sets or classes of people involved may have their own different vested interests, schemes or agenda. However, an even bigger problem with this question is the fundamental need to distinguish at the level of metaphysics between (a) THE RIGHTNESS OF THE ACTION (pulling the plug knowing fully well that it would take someone’s life) and (b) THE NUMBER OR SETS OF PEOPLE WHO SANCTION THE ACTION. From the moral point of view, Utilitarianism and Universalism must unquestionably take completely different moral views on this. But this is problematic for both of them. It is not clear whether Utilitarianism would contemplate and sanction any of the options (1 –6) in the above moral calculus without first resolving the issue of the rightness or wrongness of the action as demanded of it at the metaphysical level. Well, arguably, if the Utilitarians were to say that the ACT OF PULLING THE PLUG ON TERRI IS RIGHT AND JUSTIFIED for whatever reasons (in this very case the whole decision seems to rely almost entirely on scientific, economic and legal reasons), then the next question that they ought to say is “GIVEN n SETS OF PEOPLE IN SOCIETY x, IT IS MORALLY JUSTIFIED TO PULL THE LIFE PLUG ON TERRI WHEN n1 SETS OF PEOPLE BENEFIT FROM AND ARE HAPPY WITH IT ” . But the spooky feature of this argument poses a very fundamental question:

‘How could pulling of a plug on someone’s life (and just because n number or sets of people support it) suddenly maximises happiness and produces greater good?

Well, some utilitarians may introduce Modal Logic or Possible World Logic to attempt to answer and justify this question. They may argue that given Possible worlds PW1, PW2, PW3, PW4….PWn, if the natural conditions in PW3 are such that you can sacrifice one life to save many, then it is morally OK and justified to pull a plug on someone in that world since the action by it sum totality and outward measure produces greater good. That not only does the natural conditions in PW3 permit such action to take place in the first place but also the action itself is consistent with the Utilitarian Moral Code of Conduct, or Utilitarian Moral Calculus. Well, this is a standard technical philosophical argument and whether those in our own world accept this or not is a completely different matter.

On the other side of the argument, would Universalism, if it is genuinely universal in scope and in substance, even contemplate the plug pulling act (the rightness or wrongness of it), let alone making a choice in the above moral calculus?


Also, I have no problem with pulling the plug on people like murderers and rapists. Sorry, not all humans have inalienable rights, not all humans are invaluable. Rapists and murderers have little value to me.
Well, ‘Natural Rights’ are designed to protect these classes of people as well and that’s why you have local and international laws. The laws you have in your local courts and international courts also protect these people as well. I do appreciate the fact that some countries still have capital punishments in their legal system (the ‘an-eye-for-an-eye’ type of legal system), but have you ever asked yourself very honestly why some countries have stopped capital punishment at all? Is it because those countries that have stopped it are more civilised than those that have not stopped it? Well, many people would give different answers to this question but the bottom line is that some countries don’t just like the idea of having a legal system that appears as if it is based on VENGIANCE, or even a Legal System that spills blood for blood.

Of course, you would have no problem in pulling the plug in a lawless jungle or in a country that capital punishment is still in operation, but whether you can do this in those countries that have banned it would be a completely different matter. The issue is not as straightforward as saying that these classes of people (rapists, murderer, etc) have no rights or are lesser beings or are of little value to you. The Lawmakers begin to administer laws at the Level of ‘Nature as we find it’ and interpret them as they find it fit and fair. The question of what is right or wrong or legal or not legal begins and ends here. But as soon as you penetrate nature to a point where you start to ask such questions as ‘why do people commit crime in the first place?’, ‘why do people go mad?’, ‘why do people murder and rape?’, then here you are venturing into and operating in the realm of science. The BIG question now is how to reconcile the NATURAL LAWS AT THE LEVEL OF SCIENCE with NATURAL LAWS AT THE LEVEL OF THE LAWMAKING.
 
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  • #36
GeD
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Philocrat said:
Ok, leaving the ‘SCIENTIFIC AND LEGAL JUSTIFICATIONS FOR PULLING THE PLUG’ apart, we still have the moral justification to deal with. The moral question is simply this:

HOW MANY PEOPLE BENEFIT FROM AND ARE HAPPY FOR THE LIFE PLUG TO BE PULLED ON TERRI?

1) Is it Terri alone?
2) Is it Terri’s Husband alone?
3) Is it the Terri’s Family alone?
4) Is it Terri and her Husband alone?
5) Is it Husband, Doctors, and the court alone?
6) Is it Terri, Husband, Doctors, Court and the rest of her whole family?
7) Is it Terri, Husband, Doctors, court and her family and the rest of the society?

There are many serious problems with the whole of this ‘Moral Calculus’ especially with the sets of people involved. One of such problems is that these sets or classes of people involved may have their own different vested interests, schemes or agenda.
You're speaking of two sets of criteria - the maximization of happiness, and the intentions and agendas of the people involved. Utilitarianism is strictly saying that it's only the happiness that counts. If you believe that intentions are a part of the deal, then utilitarianism may not be the *only* moral theory to follow.

But this is problematic for both of them. It is not clear whether Utilitarianism would contemplate and sanction any of the options (1 –6) in the above moral calculus without first resolving the issue of the rightness or wrongness of the action as demanded of it at the metaphysical level.
What are you talking about? Utilitarianism CLAIMS that certain actions are right or wrong "in the metaphysical level" according to its promotion or degradation of goodness. It does not FIRST ascertain whether an action is RIGHT or WRONG, and THEN does it start claiming that right actions are those that maximize goodness.
On the other hand, universalism does not prescribe a certain set of actions, it only claims that there is a universal moral view that can be adopted. So stop stating that it would take a different moral view from utilitarianism.

But the spooky feature of this argument poses a very fundamental question:

‘How could pulling of a plug on someone’s life (and just because n number or sets of people support it) suddenly maximises happiness and produces greater good?
Why must you ask this question? For reasons you've already iterated - decreasing the economic hardships, etc etc etc. The Util method is primarily focused on weighing in the consequences that matter to us - therefore, the n number of sets of people supporting an action would tie into it.

On the other side of the argument, would Universalism, if it is genuinely universal in scope and in substance, even contemplate the plug pulling act (the rightness or wrongness of it), let alone making a choice in the above moral calculus?
Most common views on Universalism:
-The metaethical view (ethical universalism): which claims that there are moral phenomena, and that there are universal moral values that can be known. But this Universalism does not prescribe any actions. It simply claims that there is a right and wrong.
-The religious view (religious universalism): which claims that all men are predestined for salvation. However, even religions do not claim that we will all be saved - it is usually believed that it takes personal action and choice, not necessity. But this is still not relevant - it does not prescribe any actions. It simply claims that a certain event is to occur.
-The philosophical view (universalism): which claims that all things are unified by a single manner or method of understanding. But this view claims that a certain set of ways or paradigm is rampant in the universe. It does not prescribe any certain actions. We would still have to find such methods.

If universalism does not prescribe any actions, it does not choose moral views perat all. It is not on the opposite side of utilitarianism with respect to normative ethics (only in the metaethical sense).


Of course, you would have no problem in pulling the plug in a lawless jungle or in a country that capital punishment is still in operation, but whether you can do this in those countries that have banned it would be a completely different matter.
What? If the laws of that country allow pulling the plug on permanently brain-damaged/dead patients, whether or not that country condones capital punishment is IRRELEVANT.

The issue is not as straightforward as saying that these classes of people (rapists, murderer, etc) have no rights or are lesser beings or are of little value to you. The Lawmakers begin to administer laws at the Level of ‘Nature as we find it’ and interpret them as they find it fit and fair.
Laws are made to serve justice and the common good of the nation wherein those laws are in effect. But laws they do not dictate what is "actually" right or wrong. Right or wrong is dictated by ethics and moral (however, the existence of moral phenomena is not guaranteed).

But as soon as you penetrate nature to a point where you start to ask such questions as ‘why do people commit crime in the first place?’, ‘why do people go mad?’, ‘why do people murder and rape?’, then here you are venturing into and operating in the realm of science. The BIG question now is how to reconcile the NATURAL LAWS AT THE LEVEL OF SCIENCE with NATURAL LAWS AT THE LEVEL OF THE LAWMAKING.
Natural laws at the level of science? Natural laws at the level of lawmaking? Vindication of your views will not be met by simply confusing people with nonsense sentences and capitalized, underlined and bold letters.

However, I will assume that you are speaking of making natural "scientific laws" to coincide with our "legal laws". In that case, you are prescribing a doctrine which claims that all unnatural actions should not be morally allowed.
However, much of nature is chaotic and random, and nature with respect to the creatures that live in it - is a matter of survival of the fittest. Where the fundamental principle is victory of the strongest. Nothing in nature "clearly" states that we all have 'natural rights'. In fact, since most ethical 'natural rights' are usually considered by humans alone, natural rights are more likely to be a HUMAN INVENTION - rather than an "essence" of nature.
 
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  • #37
GeD
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Again, Philocrat:

You continue to assume that money is a "fictional" reason, without ever responding to the ideas in this thread that claim on the contrary - that there are legitimate reasons (which include money) that are a part of the equation here. Especially when we have understood that the woman's probability for recovery is either extremely unlikely or not happening, and that a longer stay in the hospital would only financially burden the family (not counting other emotional burdens).

If it has been shown that there is at least one case that involves legitimate reasons for shutting down a life-giving machine, then option B on the poll is already false.
 
  • #38
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I voted to turn off only because this is such a personal issue that everyone should have the choice to do as they see fit.

If I was the husband and she had told me that she never wanted to be a vegetable then I would pull the plug. Period.

The courts have no right to make decisions on this issue.

love&peace,
olde drunk
 
  • #39
russ_watters
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Philocrat said:
Well, Russ-waters seems to have an in-depth knowledge of the case, as well as the scientific arguments and reasons for pulling the plug. Maybe you should read some of Russ’ postings and reference to a thread on the case in politics section. Anyway, Russ thinks that there is a good scientific reason, or reasons, for pulling the plug on Terri. I am not quite convinced of this. From this point of view, Russ’s argument seems to suggest that when scientific justification is produced to facilitate the legal justification that automatically concludes the case. Does it ?
I haven't really stated my opinion, so I'll do so now:

My opinion of the medical case is that if I was in Terri's situation, I'd want the plug pulled. If I were her husband, I'd want the plug pulled. Having never had kids, I must assume that the inability to let go would make me want to hold on to irrational hope of her recovery, like her parents are doing. So I understand why there could be a conflict. Which brings us to the legal case:

Legally, the case is not about pulling or not pulling the plug, its about who gets to decide. Legally, its an open and shut case: the husband gets to decide. The parents (and Bush) comment publicly about 'erring on the side of life', (attempting to make the legal case a moral one) but they no longer argue that in court because it is the overwhealming opinion of the doctors that there is no life left to protect.

Financially, people often say that "money is not an issue". I hear it all the time in my job. I say: "stop wasting my time." Money is always an issue. Much of the conflict between the parents and husband is about money. Terri's treatment costs money. A lot of money. Even if we knew with absolute certainty that Terri could be saved, money would still be an issue: the government will not provide you with a heart transplant (for example) if you can't pay for it.
Ok, leaving the ‘SCIENTIFIC AND LEGAL JUSTIFICATIONS FOR PULLING THE PLUG’ apart, we still have the moral justification to deal with. The moral question is simply this:

HOW MANY PEOPLE BENEFIT FROM AND ARE HAPPY FOR THE LIFE PLUG TO BE PULLED ON TERRI?
No. That's not the moral issue at all. In the United States, all of our rights are individual rights. It does not matter how many people could benefit from someone's death, you cannot make a decision that leads to their death based on its effect on other people.

Morally, the question, quite simply, is what is best for Terri. Which is why (absent a living will), the conflict exists as to who can make that decision.
 
  • #40
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The same science that claims to be RAZOR-SHARP in all its predictions and that claims to have ACCURATELY PREDICTED the size of Terri’s injury and the corresponding recovery time ought to be able to provide us with accurate predictions of all the human bodily states and the resulting consequences (good and bad ones) that they produce. The same science that claims to accurately advise courts and lawmakers on a wide range of medical issues ought to now predict all the chemical reactions in our bodies relative to a vast set of physical consequences of those reactions. It is not sufficient to merely postulate “I have estimated and approximated that this is the case” or “I have imagined that Terri’s vegetative conditions will never heal or improve!” Are approximations and imaginations accurate physical predictions? This same science ought to guide us and direct us in the following ways and make concrete statements of theses kinds:

1) The current state of the world is such that when Chemicals x1, x2, x3, x4 …….xn in person P’s physical body combine under the Natural Conditions y1, y2, y3 ….y4, P will become Moody or Sad.

Well, the question now is whether a biochemically generated or derived state of sadness or moodiness in P’s body produces further internal or outward consequences that are detrimental either to P or to a bystander or to both. If there are further consequences then we need to epistemologically look at and take stock of the range of those consequences as follows:

(a) When someone is moody or sad, he/she may cry
(b) When someone is sad or moody, he/she may become angry and snap at a bystander
(c) When someone is sad or moody, he/she may become angry and start a fight with a bystander
(d) When someone is sad or moody, he/she may become irritated and batter his/her neighbour’s cat to death with a baseball bat.
(e) When someone is sad or moody, he/she may become depressed and become ephemerally or permanently ill.
(f) And so on.


In this case you would be implying that a state of sadness or moodiness biochemically derived has a ‘SPECTRUM’ within which it varies and that different points on this spectrum could trigger further bodily states with proscribed inward and outward consequences. These variants in the consequences sets would equivalently correspond to the variants in the original chemical sets and natural conditions for sadness/moodiness production.

It should also be able to say:

2) The current state of the world is such that when Chemicals x1, x2, x3, x4 …….xn in person P’s physical body combine under the Natural Conditions y1, y2, y3 ….y4, P will feel Pain.

You could then equivalently look at the variants on the spectrum of a biochemically produced or derived pain as follows:

(a) When someone is in pain, he/she may cry
(b) When someone is in pain, he/she may become angry and snap at a bystander
(c) When someone is in pain, he/she may kick-start a chain of actions aimed or directed at getting him or her out of pain.
(d) When someone is in pain, he/she may stop laughing.
(e) When someone is in pain, he/she may become depressed, isolated and self-harm or commit suicide.


And so on. Equally, this would be equivalent to implying that variants in the chemical sets and sets of the natural conditions may produce different types of pain that in turn produce various outward consequences. Science must be brave enough and be ready to commit itself in this when it purportedly provides expert advises to our legal systems. Do we have the technology to prove that biochemically induced bodily states are responsible for all kinds of normal and abnormal human behaviour?

The same science ought to accurately predict the so-called NORMAL CONDITIIONS OF LIFE’ and say something like:

3) The current state of the world is such that when Chemicals x1, x2, x3, x4 …….xn in person P’s physical body combine under the Natural Conditions y1, y2, y3 ….y4, P will become Happy or Joyful.


We could then equivalently say that a biochemically derived state of happiness or joyfulness may have a spectrum within which it may very to produce various inward and outward consequences as follows:

(a) When a someone is happy, he/she may laugh
(b) When someone is happy, he/she may help an elderly person cross the street.
(c) When someone is happy, he/she may become generous and give money to charity
(d) When someone is happy, he/she may feel ephemerally or permanently feel confident.
And so on.


All these range of possible consequences equivalently correspond to variants in the chemical sets and the sets of natural conditions for happiness production. Science must demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that all these range of natural possibilities are actually the case. The issue does not end by merely demonstrating that n number of people in a given population z is able to work about in the society s and function ‘normally’ without being moody or sad or whatever. ……and then start from this point onward to make the usual moral and legal sanctions and judgements about how we should behave or not behave. Our notion of ‘Normality’ must be clearly but precisely reconciled with all these intertwined natural variants.


NOTE: Note that even if you took the religious route and argued that every time person P behaves in a certain immoral or illegal way his/her body is possessed by the Cartesian Evil demon, you still have not solved the problem at the underlying metaphysical level of (1) how the Cartesian evil Demon enters the body, (2) how the evil demon interacts with the body to cause the whole of P’s self to act in a certain evil way? Equally, on the scientific side of the argument, even if you stipulated that biochemically derived states should be discounted from any moral calculus, or any legal sanctions, you still have to demonstrate, not with flimsy and ill-conceived arguments but with clear and logically precise arguments, why some people can function and act in the so-called ‘NORMAL WAY’ and some cannot. This is one fundamental issue that will continue to haunt both the scientists within the scientific community and the lawmakers to whom they provide the so-called ‘EXPERT ADVISE’. Sooner or later we would have to confront this problem and clearly define the natural relations between these institutions.

-----------------------
Think Nature.....Stay Green! Above all, think of how your action may affect the rest of humanity. May the 'Book of Nature serve you well and bring you all that is Good!
 
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  • #41
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VOTING RESULT?

Are all the (84.62%) people who voted on this thread murderers? Or did I construct the survey badly? Which is which?
 
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  • #42
GeD
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Why do you expect that we must be completely sure of every aspect of the scientific study before we must act? I tell you now, that real life does not give you an infinite time and money to research all the possible complications that are involved with the doctors assessment of the patient. Therefore, you are claiming that since we do not know completely for sure if the woman is recovering (even though it is so highly likely), then we should not pull the plug. However, all decisions never involve complete certainty, and we must work with probabilities - of which this has a very high probability that she is a complete and unrecoverable vegetable. Again, in your attempts to place the constraints of "understanding if she's truly recovering or not" on the family and doctors is again just another example of your wilfull ignorance of the consequences of keeping her alive to her family's financial and emotional well being.
Secondly, your questions may be good for theoretical studies of how accurate the doctors assessments are. But they DO NOT prove or necessitate that these biases or inaccuracies ACTUALLY EXIST IN THIS CASE.

Your arguments and attempts at describing how action should be accurately described by science are interesting questions for the future of psychological and biological theory, but has no major relevance to the the question initially posed, "Should we ever allow pulling the plug on vegetable patients?" Arguing multiple paragraphs about the validity of how a person acts according to observations and chemical reactions is irrelevant to this question.


No one is assuming that a Cartesian Evil demon exists, your definition of Universalism has no relevance to any prescribed moral actions. Thus all these so-called needs to describe the demon's nature are useless questions and it only highlights your inability to comprehend arguments that are placed against your views. You continue to waste your time focusing on complicating certain aspects of what I've said, instead of dealing with the problems of your own argument.

Your earlier statement that Universalism would go contrary to Utilitarianism's claims of correct moral actions is STRICTLY WRONG. These errors imply that you seriously don't know what you're talking about.



Philocrat said:
VOTING RESULT?

Are all the (84.62%) people who voted on this thread murderers? Or did I construct the survey badly? Which is which?
Hmm, really subtle there. So you assume that anyone who does not agree with you is simply a murderer, before you have even proved that your view is correct. Instead of DIRECTLY responding to weaknesses in your argument, you complicate irrelevant aspects of what everyone has posted, and bloat the possibility that ALL the doctors involved in the study were either biased against the woman, or performed inaccurate assessments.

I think it's SAD that now you are saying that the majority of the people here are MURDERERS. Before you try to answer, "It's because you are," please use your GRAND, bold-faced titles in a vain attempt to justify it.

If this thread continues in this manner, I will only laugh hysterically at the insanity displayed here.
 
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  • #43
russ_watters
Mentor
19,328
5,362
Philocrat said:
The same science that claims to be RAZOR-SHARP in all its predictions and that claims to have ACCURATELY PREDICTED the size of Terri’s injury and the corresponding recovery time ought to be able to provide us with accurate predictions of all the human bodily states and the resulting consequences (good and bad ones) that they produce.
What? That's just absurd. If you lose your hand, its not a stretch to say that it ain't gonna grow back.
It is not sufficient to merely postulate “I have estimated and approximated that this is the case” or “I have imagined that Terri’s vegetative conditions will never heal or improve!” Are approximations and imaginations accurate physical predictions?
What?! Are those sentences in quotes actually quotes or did you make them up? They look made up because they are wrong. Intentionally or not, you are misrepresenting the argument. Read some of the caselaw on it: http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/lit/schiavo/ You'll see quotes like:
...irrefutable evidence that her cerebral cortex has sustained the most severe of irreparable injuries....
and
The evidence is overwhelming that Theresa is in a permanent or persistent vegitative state. It is important to understand that a persistent vegitative state is not simply a coma. She is not asleep. She has cycles of apparent wakefulness and apparent sleep without any cognition or awareness....

Over the span of this last decade, Theresa's brain has deteriorated because of the lack of oxygen it suffered at the time of the heart attack. By mid 1996, the CAT scans of her brain showed a severely abnormal structure. At this point, much of her cerebral cortex is simply gone and has been replaced by cerebral spinal fluid. Medicine cannot cure this condition. Unless an act of God, a true miracle were to recreate her brain, Theresa will always remain in an unconscious, reflexive state... [emphasis added]
http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/schiavo/flsct92304opn.pdf

The issue (medically) is nowhere near as gray as you are trying to characterize.
VOTING RESULT?

Are all the (84.62%) people who voted on this thread murderers? Or did I construct the survey badly? Which is which?
No, the problem appears to me to be, as indicated above, that you misunderstand the issue. Your philosophizing is fine as a hypothetical, but it is unrelated to the actual case under consideration or even the more general case of comas, brain damage, etc.

"Human life" used to be defined in terms of a beating heart. But a chimp has a beating heart as well and medical advances that have enabled life support and restarting a beating heart have shown quite clearly that that definition is lacking. Our brains (or rather, the activity in our brains) is what makes humans special and human life is now defined in terms of brain activity. A beating heart with no brain activity (or, in this case, only automated functions - no conscious brain activity) is not a live human, it's an empty shell.

Your initial question:
Philocrat said:
Human Life is Purportedly Pricelss! When should life supporting machines be turned off? What are the actual deciding factors for turning off life supporting machines? Who decides when to be born? Ultimately, who decides who lives and who dies.........who has the final word??
You imply with the opening premise before the question ("Human Life is Purportedly Pricelss!") that someone on life support is alive. That is not necessarily true. Furthermore, you imply (based on your claim of murder) that turning off life support is an affirmative action that results in death. That is also not true. Life support enables extension of life: its the injury (in Schiavo's case, a heart attack) that causes death. By following your flawed premises, you reach a flawed conclusion (that turning off life support is murder).

Consider full life support: it pumps blood for your heart, breathes for your lungs, feeds you, and removes waste for your kidneys. Who is really alive, the man or the machine?
 
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  • #44
316
2
On This Path

On this path we are preceded
By our shadows
The sun, warm at our backs
Seems to gently push us along.

Your hands fly out like birds
Circling back, as a point is made
About the nature of time,
And I am watching us lean in and
Lean out of each others
Ongoing caricature on the ground
Rumpling over the ruts, and pebbles,
And dust.
Now my hands are held behind my back,
Having caught my self in conscious creation
Of shadow play, thus bound I return
To the quality of the sound, and the
Warmth receding from the neck,
As the sun goes down.

A cool little wind rises in warning,
Time is nearly up in this paradise,
And on the road, our doubles are
Fading in to the dusk, and the dust,
Quick, lock this into clarity;
That picture,
The insubstantial twining,
The absence of our light,
Upon a momentary path,
Now picked up by RNA and
Taken to some unmarked
Area in the grey,
What a universe we inhabit.
Are these really MY hands?
Who will use that memory?

Please no machines to breathe
For me, let this be my notice,
I have seen the absence of
My light, and the world goes on
Without it, the wind doesn't miss me,
The sun kisses the next person,
That turns for it.
There is more in any picture
Than I will ever fully see,
Even with these eyes.

Our smiles will linger,
Out across eternity.

Dayle Record
 
  • #45
Philocrat said:
A MORALLY SOUND Society should never bring 'MONETARY VALUE' into this equation. [/FONT] There is no moral justification for turning off Life machines on the basis of money and other fictional excuses alone.
What if the same money could be used to help more individuals?
 
  • #46
GeD
147
0
I already made that point long ago. However, Philocrat likes to ignore arguments like that.
 
  • #47
598
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May Terri in Peace Rest!
 
  • #48
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it should not be turned off unless the reasources being used on the coma person could be used on some one who is not in a coma and who could live better, buy that situation would only happen if there was no exess electricity or food. (which probally will not happen)

And for the electricty, turn off a TV and let that go to the person who needs it
 
  • #49
GeD
147
0
Wow, complicated solution there.
 

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