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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Medical Ethics: What you do when you don't want to have to worry about doing the right thing. 
2nd-Dec-2013 11:26 am
See the latest exemplar:

We may properly hope that scientific advances help ensure, with ever greater reliability, that young people manage to become old people. We are not, however, obliged to help the old become indefinitely older. Indeed, our duty may be just the reverse: to let death have its day.

Let's face it: under cover of "ethics", our author is concerned about "money" and "death." I suppose those might be proper concerns, especially for a banker and an assassin. But I don't see pretentious essays on "the ethics of assassination" crowding the paper.
2nd-Dec-2013 08:16 pm (UTC)
Compare "Thou shalt not kill, but needst not strive officiously to keep alive."
3rd-Dec-2013 06:00 am (UTC)
I would not want to go to a doctor who doesn't want "the old to become indefinitely older." What if he decides that the ideal maximum lifespan is less than my current age?
4th-Dec-2013 07:33 pm (UTC)
I suspect yours is a strawman argument. It seems to me that what the quote is talking about is NOT using the powers of medicine and science to ensure, for example, that everyone routinely lives to 120 or 150 or something.
4th-Dec-2013 10:06 pm (UTC)
Then what is he talking about, in your opinion?
5th-Dec-2013 12:24 pm (UTC)
I've already told you. He's talking about NOT using the powers of... etc.
5th-Dec-2013 03:20 pm (UTC)
Why would we want to NOT use the powers of medicine to ensure that people live to 125 or 150 or whenever? Why would we want people to die sooner?

I can only think of one good reason, namely that if the extra years of life were spent in such enfeebled old age that these extremely elderly people would be unable to enjoy their continued life in any way, shape or form. But that is unlikely: the same technological advances which make it possible to live longer will probably do so by increasing the functionality of the elderly.

Given that, a doctor letting people die because he decides that they've lived "long enough" would be not merely malpractice, but possibly also murder (depending on whether or not he told his vic ... ah, patients ... that he was so doing, giving them the chance to seek more benevolent medical attention). What right has one man to decide how long another should live?

Keep in mind that if doctors had taken this attitude 100 years ago, then we would no longer routinely live to 70 or 80 years -- we would mostly die at around 50 to 60, as we did back then. Technology advances, average lifespans increase. One day we (or our descendants) will die only by accident or violence, and the people of that day would be horrified by the notion that doctors would decide that a 100 year old man has lived "long enough," just as we would be horrified at the notion of the exposure of unwanted children.
5th-Dec-2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
Your argument is shot so full of holes as not to be worth any further response from me.
5th-Dec-2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
Translation: "I don't have a good point to make but I will pretend that my points are so good that I don't have to make them."

Do you know, I'm still not entirely sure just what point you were originally making, since your original statement was so vague as to possibly mean several different things?

You fail Writing Communication forever.
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