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Terri Schiavo


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190 replies to this topic

Poll: What do you think of the current case? (84 member(s) have cast votes)

What do you think of the current case?

  1. It was right to remove the feeding tubes (27 votes [40.30%])

    Percentage of vote: 40.30%

  2. It was wrong to remove the feeding tubes (40 votes [59.70%])

    Percentage of vote: 59.70%

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#61 jaydfox

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 08:44 PM

Sonia's piece is somewhat thought-provoking, though I disagree with some of it. If the issue were simply does Terry deserve to live or die, or is hers a life worth living, then I'd agree with her stance.

But that's not entirely what this is about.

First, it's about whether her husband is the one who, in the absense of a living will, decides whether she should live or die. Perhaps not the best option, but it's better than a state-mandated default, whether that default be of life or death, in my opinion.

Second, if we're going to accept a state-mandated default, then we must factor in cost. For someone who has poor quality of life at the moment, sure, I'll admit that we can factor in future technology. Maybe ten years from now Terry can be recovered. We'll leave aside the issue that such repair will most likely create a new person, who will have little if any memories of Terry's past.

Should we cost the state and/or her husband hundreds of thousands of dollars based on speculation about technology ten years hence? Wouldn't that money be better spent saving lives in the present, lives with indisputably higher current and potential future living conditions?

Terry's case does not exist in a vacuum; if it did, I'd be suggesting cryonics or leaving her alive for future possible technology. But since her case does not exist in a vacuum, I'm sticking with my original vote that the plug should have been pulled, if for no other reason than that's how the court's have consistently found, based on a combination of expert scientific testimony and laws granting the husband the right to choose in her behalf, rather than the state.

#62 jaydfox

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 09:08 PM

Found this quote in an article somewhere:

"It's very frustrating. Every minute that goes by is a minute that Terri is being starved and dehydrated to death," said her brother, Bobby Schindler, who said seeing her was like looking at "pictures of prisoners in concentration camps."


Funny, their name is Schindler, and he evokes concentration camps. That's pretty low. Anyway, she's only been off the tube for a week, hardly enough to make someone even remotely comparable to a prisoner in a concentration camp. How much weight can you lose in a week burning calories just above the basal rate? It's not like she's working in a scrapyard or breaking rocks or any other kind of petty labor. She's in bed.

I find this guy's comment offensive, not because of what it says about Terri's condition, but because of what it says about his willingness to stoop to low levels and, quite frankly, denigrate the millions who did suffer in concentration camps. What an asshole!

#63 DJS

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 09:21 PM

When I first approach this issue i was not fully informed regarding the technical and legal issues of this case. After participating in this thread, and getting a better understanding of the issues at play, I must voice my strong objections to Sonia's article.

Her parents, on the other hand, believe she would want to live and have consulted doctors who say that, with proper therapy, her condition could improve.


As far as I'm aware, most of the experts in this case have testified that Terri's condition is irreversible. Further, even if her condition were partially reversible (which it isn't), NONE of the experts are claiming that Terri will ever again be anything close to a normal human being.

Promising Future
Indeed, anyone who has seen videotapes of Terri on news programs can see that she has the ability to look around and respond to stimuli -- she is not exactly the "vegetable" that the print news might lead one to believe. And looking into the future, there's a possibility, however remote, that Terri's condition could change significantly.


Here Sonia has fallen for the same trap that others have fallen for. Terri's brain might maintain some level of automated response, but her ability to smile or "respond to stimuli" in no way implies that she is a conscious human being who is aware of her surroundings.

Advances in biotech and nanotech promise new therapies currently beyond our reach.

Just last year, for instance, researchers at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine reported the discovery of self-renewing cells found in adult human brains that may have the potential to repair brain damage or disease. Stem cell research has exploded around the globe, and in California voters felt it was important enough to throw the state into US$6 billion of debt for its sake.

According to a February 2005 poll by the Opinion Research Corporation, more than three out of five Americans (63 percent) now back embryonic stem cell research, and even higher levels of support exist for bipartisan federal legislation to promote more research (70 percent). With this apparent support for advancing life-extending and enhancing science, one might be baffled to find that 60 percent of Americans also support pulling the plug on Terri.


I had the same thoughts when I first considered this case. But evidence and dialog provided here on this thread has convinced me that Terri's condition is irreversible. THE MIDDLE OF HER BRAIN IS HOLLOWED OUT. I don't care what kind of technology is around the corner, it can't repair a brain that is no longer there. Even if we did develop the technology to replace her damaged neural tissue, it wouldn't be her, it would someone else entirely.

It is possible that at some point in the future new research will improve Terri's state, but those who argue in favor of pulling the plug despite this possibility argue that her current state is simply intolerable.


Not just intolerable. IRREVERSIBLE.

Although she does not live in pain, she does not lead a life that any normally functioning person would choose. In essence, those who make this argument are saying that, in their opinion, hers is not a life worth living. That argument has been made before, with disastrous results.


Recently there was an interview of a medical professional who, over his career asked literally thousands of average everyday people whether they would want to go on living in an enfeebled state like Terri is currently living in. In the twenty plus years the medical professional was asking the question, not ONE person saidd they would want to remain alive in such a state. Every single person said they would want to die. I'm an Immortalist, and I can tell you right now [for the record [lol] ] that I would want to die if in such a state (and be cryo-preserved, of course).

Careful Consideration
Leon Kass, Chair of the President's Council on Bioethics, recently reminded listeners at the Holocaust Museum that it was so-called progressive academics and medical workers in Germany who endorsed the idea of eugenics based on the premise of lebensunwerten Lebens -- "lives unworthy of life." Not long after this intellectual and cultural shift, Germany's National Socialists made their own decisions about who was worthy of life, and we know how that turned out.


Oh man. Did she really just drop the E-bomb? [wis] Sonia, there is a difference between life and human life. Obviously we do not value a experimental lab rodent's life in the same way that we value a human's. The question then becomes what IS human life. Is human life some magical mystical *SOUL* or is it the consciousness produced by the physical processes of the brain? Personally, I take the physicalist position, and I have plenty of empirical evidence to back me up. The only question that is left to answer then is whether Terri's condition is reversible -- of whether there is ever a chance of actually getting *Terri* back. The evidence would strongly favor the notion that Terri's brain, and the unique physical processes that make up Terri's consciousness have been lost forever. Therefore, Terri's body no longer represents a human life, but an automaton.


It might be helpful for some to remember the movie "Gattaca" in which only genetically fit people were allowed to have the best jobs, as they were obviously the most qualified. That's a scenario not so remote if society begins to abandon core principles of the right to individual life and liberty.


Sonia, this is completetly irrelevant to the issue at hand. You are making this statement, when you have already assumed that the body bag that is Terri Schiavo still possesses a human consciousness that entitles it to "individual life and liberty". The only reason I can think of that you would take this position is that you operate under the antiquated assumption that Terri's body contains a soul - or that there is hope that Terri will recover. In either instance you are dead wrong. Furthermore, by bring up Gattica and eugenics, all you are doing is presenting a straw man -- the tell tale signs of a weak argument.

Arbitrary decisions on what life is worth living could haunt even those among us who are the most technologically savvy.


Sonia, if someone cut my head off and (hypothetically) they kept my body alive on life support, am I still alive? No, of course not. This goes to illustrate the false assumption you are making through out your argument -- that there is still a "human consciousness" present in Terri. If this is your position then yes, you would find the decision to cut her life support arbitrary. But the faulty nature of your original supposition leads to a corruption of the rest of your logic.

Death is irreversible, making life the sensible default. If Terri Schiavo had created a living will that clearly said she wanted to die in the case of hospitalization, things would be different. Since she didn't, and since medicine is progressing at an amazing pace, her default should be life.


There is no human consciousness/life present and the chances of Terri ever recovering are more or less ZERO. Look at her CT scan. You arguing that we keep alive a human vegitable.

This is not to say that I agree with pulling Terri's feeding tube. She should be euthanized humanely. Unfortunately, we live in a rather uncivilized society that fails to understand what humane medical treatment really is.

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#64

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 09:59 PM

I disagree with her article on so many levels...


You took the words right out of my mouth.

edit: As for your post above mine, well said Don.

#65 sonia

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 11:33 PM

It’s hard to believe that people who think it would be possible to cut off their heads, freeze them, then bring them back to life and re-attach them aren't willing to give Terri a few years for biotech research to catch up and repair her brain. And as for the argument that "she won't be the same person," well, you wouldn't be exactly the same person when your head is thawed either. I smell hypocrisy.

#66 randolfe

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 11:51 PM

Well, thank you Don Spanton for doing a great job of demolishing Sonia's article. Her moralizing reminds me of all those moralists who saw human cloning as the beginning of a slippery slope to Brave New World.

I am still opposed to pulling the plug on Terri. However, my several former reasonsa have been reduced to ONE: If Terri's parents are able to care for her, they should be able to prevent her being starved and dehydrated to death.

Yes, Terri died years ago. Terri is not a person any more. Terri is just a lump of living meat with no brain left to restore. Terri's brain has disintegrated. Science couldn't restore it today or tomorrow.

Terri's brain wouild require time travel to restore it. You would have to go back sixteen or more years ago and retrieve or clone (yipes!!) a copy of the then functioning brain, bring it back to today and re-implant it into Terri. That is more fiction than scientific possibility to me.

Indeed, if I hear another TV program devoted to Terri I will lose my mind. I'm weary of Terri. I'm "Terried out". I've had to find refuge in humor.

I like to make impending funerals( choose your favorite-Christ, Terri, the Pope) more festive. We need a short break of levity. Let me inject some thoughts on this day before I totally lose control and smash all three TV sets in the house.

REPOST
My, today is Good Friday. I wish my atheist friends "Happy Good Friday!" They get a kick out of that. I wouldn't do the same to the devout Roman Catholics who are either friends (few) or family (many/all).

Those of us who see religion(including Christianity) as something which might yet destroy the entire world, can look forward to tomorrow. I always call skeptic friends (and believers who have taunted me during the previous year) to celebrate "Christ-free Saturday"!

The Saturday before Easter is the only day during the year when both believers and non-believers can agree that Christ is dead. Of course, this holiday passes far too quickly. Come Sunday, the bells will be ringing, the churches will be filled and God will be back smile. ;)

I'm holding my breath to see if Terri Chiavo dies in the next few hours. If she dies on Good Friday and her body mysteriously disappears, some might claim to have seen her this Sunday and we'll have a new cult/religion with a female divinty (for a change). Would they call these believers "Territes"? Would this new religion be called "Chiavinity"? Would it be a new religion or just another branch of Christianity?

I offer these observations because I experienced a personal epiphany upon reading the most memorable line of all those thousand-plus lines above:

"My God can kick you God's ass"



That quote captures the inner spirit which is found far too often at most religions' core.

Actually, I like hitork and thank him for contributing the quote and link below. I don't think he will be remain religious for much longer. However, I've often felt the choice to believe or not believe is an involuntary one.

I recommend to to check out Kevin William's website about Near-Death experiences at http://www.near-death.com/ There is a wealth of information on there, and he does consider the skeptics side in detail also. Kevin also has an interesting section called "Why fear of death is irrational", and he gives reasons why people shouldn't fear death, regardless if there an afterlife or not.



I'm really going to investigate this resource. It sounds most interesting. I'll be politically-incorrect and confess I'd love to overcome my fear of death. But what happens if you not only overcome your fear of death but you actually come to love death and look forward to it?

Well, there is a site where such people can talk about that and meet others with a similar mindset. It's called "Alternate Suicide Holiday". I went there and found it fascinating a couple years ago.
(I just tried to get back to the site but was not able to. It was under attack for facilitating people's suicides--including those of a couple teenagers.) You can read three different articles in the Wired archives about it.
http://www.wired.com...4,57444,00.html is the link to the first article.

Finally, I hope none of this offends hitork. I heartily endorse the postings above by bqwowk (how do you pronounce that?) and by BJK, the closest thing we have here at Imminst to a founding father, high priest and pope. (Saying Immortalism is for everyone)

Death is our common enemy. To win this battle, we're going to have to attract more than just a few enlightened token Christians, deists, etc.

This post has been edited by randolfe on Mar 25, 2005
----------------------------------------------

One last thought. Terri Schiavo's life is "not a life worth living". Her "near death experience" has really gone on for far too long. Nevertheless, I'm a vegetarian at heart who doesn't like the idea of killing any living meat.

Edited by randolfe, 26 March 2005 - 12:10 AM.


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#67 mike

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 11:55 PM

Don,

As I read your post above, you are saying that no conceivable biotechnology of the future could help Terri, and that even if scientists eventually found a way to regrow missing portions of her brain, that the resulting person would not be Terri but a different individual. And then you say that if you were in her condition, you would want to be euthanized and then suspended by means of cryonics. I don't understand why you feel this way. If technology in the future could regrow missing portions of your brain, and this technology was applied to you after a period of cryonic suspension, then it would seem to me that the resulting person would no more be you than a regrown brain in Terri's head would be a return of Terri.

Mike

#68 DJS

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 12:17 AM

Don,

As I read your post above, you are saying that no conceivable biotechnology of the future could help Terri, and that even if scientists eventually found a way to regrow missing portions of her brain, that the resulting person would not be Terri but a different individual.  And then you say that if you were in her condition, you would want to be euthanized and then suspended by means of cryonics.  I don't understand why you feel this way.  If technology in the future could regrow missing portions of your brain, and this technology was applied to you after a period of cryonic suspension, then it would seem to me that the resulting person would no more be you than a regrown brain in Terri's head would be a return of Terri.


You are quite observant mike. There is a reason I qualified my answer with cryonics. You see, the prognosis for Terri (or hypothetical me) looks extremely grim, but I am not 110% sure about how memory and personality are stored. Brian Wowk made a detailed and thorough case that Terri no longer exists. This is a field that he is knowledgable in, and his argument seem quite air tight. So I am arguing from a position where my base line supposition is Bwowk's contention that the memories and personalities have been destroyed.

Would I be willing to bet my life that Brian is right? Hell no. I'm not that certain about anything. There's still the smallest of small chances that the "stuff that is important" is encoded in a part of the brain that hasn't been competely destroyed. Again, highly unlikely, but nonetheless a remote possibility.

Cryogenic suspension however, has nothing to do with keeping someone in Terri's condition alive. The reason I say this is because my rationale for being preserved is that at some point -- in the very very distant future --- there may be the slightest sliver of a chance that I may be recoverable. This point is far enough in the future that Terri Shiavo will never make it there in her current state. Would I recommend having her cryo-preserved? Sure why not. In a perfect world where money and cultural values were ideal I would say go for it. As it is, cyropreservation isn't really a consideration within the "main stream", only a debatable possibility within Immortalist circles.

Mike, do you see my point now? Yes, the chances of "me" being gone forever are 99.99999999%, but why not get cryopreserved if there's a .00000001% that there's something I over looked. After all, I would be playing with house money. ;))

#69 randolfe

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 12:20 AM

Chip, hang in there! I agree it is an outrage they use stories like this and ignore more important ones like forced deaths in Texas and demonstrations against the Iraqui War.

Sonia, you can freeze my head and thaw me out over and over again and it will still be me.

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#70 DJS

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 12:35 AM

Sonia

I smell hypocrisy.


Sonia, instead of throwing around ad hominem attacks, why not join in the debate and try to validate your position. Seriously, none of this is personal. I read most of your articles over at Technewsworld and I agree with you most of the time. It just so happens that on this issue I disagree.

It’s hard to believe that people who think it would be possible to cut off their heads, freeze them, then bring them back to life and re-attach them aren't willing to give Terri a few years for biotech research to catch up and repair her brain.


But the brain is intact!!!! And even then we're talking about the dddddddddddistant future (at least I am).

Look at Terri's brain

Posted Image

Terri's case has nothing to do with repair. How can you repair a brain that is no longer there!

Look, I had the same position you did coming in (actually I said cryopreserve her immediately, but my point is that I still held out hope for Terri), but after dialoging with people on this thread and doing some research I have become convinced that the biotech of the next 20 years is not going to cut it in this case. If you believe other wise, please show me some data. I'm a rationale person, I can change my position if shown that my position is flawed.

And as for the argument that "she won't be the same person," well, you wouldn't be exactly the same person when your head is thawed either. 


You're obfuscating the real bone of contention here, and are also showing a lack of understand as to exactly what cryonics entails. Your head will never be "thawed out" if you are cryogenically preserved. At some point, in the distant future it would be scanned and replicated/recreated using still theoretical molecular nanotechnology. Your consciousness is all about the pattern -- the physical patterns -- in your brain. Once your brain was accurately replicated, the original frozen blob would be thrown in the trash.

In Terri's case, what I am arguing is that the pattern that was *Terri* no longer exists and can't be brought back by any means. Again, if you disagree with this assessment, then please present your evidence. If it is convincing then I will alter my positon.

Sinerely

DonS

#71 mike

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 01:23 AM

Thanks, Don. I see your point.

#72 randolfe

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 01:56 AM

You're obfuscating the real bone of contention here, and are also showing a lack of understand as to exactly what cryonics entails. Your head will never be "thawed out" if you are cryogenically preserved. At some point, in the distant future it would be scanned and replicated/recreated using still theoretical molecular nanotechnology. Your consciousness is all about the pattern -- the physical patterns -- in your brain. Once your brain was accurately replicated, the original frozen blob would be thrown in the trash.


I thought I was pretty well read on the subject of cryonics. I thought the idea was that your brain would be thawed and sparked back to life after being placed in a Cyborg or other living hospitable environment.

I resist the idea of my brain being discarded as a frozen blog in the garbage. Burn me. Bury me. Just don't turn me into garbage. ;)

#73 Matt

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 02:29 AM

im not a neurologist or anything so I dont know what these mean but heres something I found that looks simular to terri's brain

Posted Image
Before shunt

Posted Image
after shunt

#74 Matt

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 03:07 AM

ah sorry, heres link http://www.patientce...s/how_work.html

#75

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 06:52 AM

As far as I'm aware, most of the experts in this case have testified that Terri's condition is irreversible. Further, even if her condition were partially reversible (which it isn't), NONE of the experts are claiming that Terri will ever again be anything close to a normal human being.



Firstly, the experts do not appear to agree.

Secondly, even if Terry is mentally retarded it does not mean that she should be executed by dehydration.

Finally I am astonished at how some of the members here can reconcile their deep held beliefs on the inevitability of futuristic medical interventions that will enable biological immortality and on the absolute finality of death whilst adopting such a callous position on this woman's condition and being so dismissive of her life. I suggest some searches be conducted in the various medical journals on hydrocephaly for those who are unaware of how much function can be retained with very little cortex. I would also suggest looking into just how much trauma a brain can recover from.

Let's be reminded:

Death is irreversible, making life the sensible default. If Terri Schiavo had created a living will that clearly said she wanted to die in the case of hospitalization, things would be different. Since she didn't, and since medicine is progressing at an amazing pace, her default should be life.



Here, here.

#76 randolfe

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 05:16 PM

Chip, I really like the passion you bring to issues. I also like the way you "dig up" the "goods", like looking into the site Sonia's article was published on and which, I gather, is sponsored by certain business interests but pretends to be "an independent think tank".

I believe you will find such arrangements are very common place. Sometimes the association or central idea is given away in the chosen name (i.e. "Free Enterprise Institute") or implied through association (i.e. "Freedom Forum"). But frequently, you have to investigate because the name tells you nothing (i.e. "The Hastings Institute". "Family Forum").

I don't know which articles you read of hers, Don, that you agreed with but if you go to the organization where she is employed as a director, you can see articles by her that appear to follow the corporate line, favoring private profit concerns over public good such as being against people getting their own drugs from Canada or not wanting free broadband wireless in the city of San Francisco.


While I agree with you regarding drugs from Canada and making free broadband available, I think you come down a bit too hard on those who you disagree with politically. I've traveled the political spectrum over the past forty years, going from democratic socialist to conservative libertarian and then back again to being a moderate Bill Clinton Democrat today.

Chip, you say:

This is what this whole subject is about, are you willing to let the fascists frame the issues? Hey, it's a state of mind, an attitude and it is common amongst journalist toadies, even amongst credentialed doctors, hey Caliban? I don't know how many times now I have considered "hypocrisy" might be spelled with an "a" instead of an "i".


I have always avoided using a term like "facist" even though that would have been the most satisfying one to use. I came close to doing so when protesting from the audience about the "Four More Years" bioethicists attempting to stop me from distributing Imminst and other web addresses via leaflet to those attending. I chose to call them "authoritarians" instead.

What I'm trying to say is that using inflamatory terms like "journalist toadies" provokes anger more than dialogue.

That said, I haven't taken the time to closely examine the group you discuss. I will do so. Nevertheless, I immediately recognized a mindset in Sonia's article that really put me on guard.

I listened to Leon Kass discuss stem cells, biotechnology and "the public good" for nearly two hours last night on C-Span. While I am pretty sure Sonia would disagree with Leon Kass on many (even most) things, I sensed the same "moralist authoritarianism" in her attitude.

In fact, Leon Kass had many good lines. He lamented that all efforts to pass legislation on cloning had "gone down the embryo hole" because of the purist impossible-to-compromise attitudes people held regarding embryos. Leon Kass is a moralistic authoritarian but pretends to be a reasonable thinking moderate whose only goal is to discover all the facts, listen to every argument and frame good public policy.

One may become somewhat credentialed as an immortalist through buying a membership here but one can think that an immortalist begins to embrace the idea that with sufficient intelligence, open opportunities exist. I don't think the intelligent allow sociopaths to define thought. True immortalists don't cater to propaganda.


Well, no one can accuse you of being two-faced or sublime. However, I don't think any of us can define what "true immortalists" do. If there is anything I dislike more than "moral authoritarianism", it is "political correctness".

Since I am one of the Immortalists who, in your terms, took "their prescribed passion play distraction " and drew "more attention to it", I take some offense at the above.

Since I am one of those who oppose pulling Terri's feeding tube, I don't view those organizing to save her life as "sociopaths". We may be mistaken, mis-informed, being used as political pawns, etc. However, our political compass simply takes us to a different place.

I have even gotten jaded and cynical from dealing with all of this (as seen in a post from yesterday). While I have become convinced that Don Spanton and others are correct about Terri Schiavo's brain no longer being there to repair, I find the following comment by prometheus to be troubling:

Finally I am astonished at how some of the members here can reconcile their deep held beliefs on the inevitability of futuristic medical interventions that will enable biological immortality and on the absolute finality of death whilst adopting such a callous position on this woman's condition and being so dismissive of her life. I suggest some searches be conducted in the various medical journals on hydrocephaly for those who are unaware of how much function can be retained with very little cortex. I would also suggest looking into just how much trauma a brain can recover from.


The most important thing for thinking people is to be able to hear other arguments, digest additional information and change one's opinion.

#77 randolfe

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 08:21 PM

I find it fascinating how passionately individuals become about this entire matter.

We know that much of what is around has "an agenda" behind it. That is what makes today's overview in the New York Times so interesting. It really tries to "stick to the facts" and present "conflicting facts" when necessary.

Reading this news story certainly gave me a new perspective on Terri's father. It should also be of interest to Immortalists or anyone involved in raising issues in the public arena. Terri's parents were masterful in their approach. Terri's husband allowed the media to be manipulated such that he has been totally demonized.

Read it for yourself:
http://www.nytimes.c...26families.html?

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#78

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 11:48 PM

Terri's husband allowed the media to be manipulated such that he has been totally demonized.



Not demonized enough, in my opinion. He is shacked up with another woman with whom he has already 2 kids with (no problem in itself but a colossal conflict of interest if he is the prime decision maker in whether Terri lives or not) and there appears to be some funny business with the funds she was awarded and his management of it.

If he was such a lamb he would have allowed her family to make the decision. It's outrageous.

Posted Image

Terry in 1990 with her "husband".

#79 eternaltraveler

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 12:22 AM

I disagree with her article on so many levels...


You took the words right out of my mouth.

edit: As for your post above mine, well said Don.


second that.

#80 eternaltraveler

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 12:41 AM

This case with Terri is far more important than simply whether the husk of Terri lives or dies. This is a case of the executive and legislative branches of the government trying to muscle around the judicial branch. They must fail. The judicial branch is all we have standing between us and Nazi Germany.

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 06:33 AM

You're obfuscating the real bone of contention here, and are also showing a lack of understand as to exactly what cryonics entails. Your head will never be "thawed out" if you are cryogenically preserved. At some point, in the distant future it would be scanned and replicated/recreated using still theoretical molecular nanotechnology. Your consciousness is all about the pattern -- the physical patterns -- in your brain. Once your brain was accurately replicated, the original frozen blob would be thrown in the trash.


Major disagreement with you here. If the original brain is not going to be repaired, but simply copied, don't bother with mine. You might as well just throw it in the trash before the replication. Either way I'll be dead. In your scenario you simply have a copy of me walking around in a couple hundred years, doesn’t do me any good.


In this case I disagree with Don, I don't think cryonics companies would scan and replicate your brain's information on an artificial substrate for one simple reason. Some cryonics patients object to such a procedure, yourself included. Instead, where possible, I think patients will likely be restored to their optimal human selves and then offered the option to pursue these more controversial procedures. Unless of course, the patients give consent for such procedures before they're cryo-preserved.

#82

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 06:52 AM

What the poop. Why cater to this stuff, pictures from who knows where splattered here and there with no citations, no links or even reference to any credible sources. Almost caught me there, whoa182?

Thank heavens most do not appear to pay much attention to this waste of time and life. Some 82% have been found to disagree with the actions of the fascists who have cheated their way into the white house and the congress over this matter.



This case with Terri is far more important than simply whether the husk of Terri lives or dies. This is a case of the executive and legislative branches of the government trying to muscle around the judicial branch. They must fail. The judicial branch is all we have standing between us and Nazi Germany.



Use the "F" word, elrond. "Nazi Germany" is being figurative. Use the word. It is cogent. Fascism is no fun at all. As far as I can tell, it is where business and nationalism feed upon each other to the extent of potentiating great great violence. It is happening now and in the most powerful nation. It is evidence that the current human social system is terminally ill. We need to find a working alternative before it is too late.

Terri Schiavo's life is none of my damn business.



But it is our responsibility for it to be our business. It is incumbent upon the foundations of democracy that we make it our business. We are compelled by our very humanity to make it our concern.

As human beings we must constantly strive to measure our pursuit of freedom against the yardsticks of compassion and temperance (lest we fall foul to amongst other things, the trap of extreme nationalism). To turn away from even a single human being - to allow this woman's life to be used to further a political agenda - from either side of the ideological fence - is an abomination.

It is striking, but not unsurprising, that whilst we may share a common vision and look forward to the inevitability of biological anti-senescence that our differences on the value and definition of what constitutes a human life can be so profound.

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#83 nefastor

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 07:23 AM

vote : it was wrong.

I believe there's absolutely nothing after death, therefore I don't want to die, even if there's only one cell left alive in my entire body (corpse ?)

Most people agree that the choice of death shouldn't be made lightly. I think it shouldn't be made at all : choice is only a good thing if you can back up and change your idea in case of mistake. Death will not allow you to reconsider.

And judging that euthanasia is a choice made by people in terrible pain, it is safe to assume they wouldn't choose death if they felt good. We should force people to endure their condition, no matter how painful, just because there's always a possibility that they might be cured someday.

What would be your feelings if you helped your grandma pass away and discover the next morning in a paper that a cure to her illness has just been found ?

I have made very clear to my family and friends that I am not to be "terminated" under any circumstances.

As for suicide... that's something which should be prevented forcibly and severely punished by law. Suicidal people usually think their life is at an all-time low and is not going to rise ever again. Prove them wrong : send them to jail. When they get out, they should hopefully feel much better.

I'm not in favor of psychological assistance to the suicidal. Telling them nothing is their fault, or that they should make more effort, or showing them the good aspects of life... is not much help. The human brain reacts much better to a good traumatism.

Call me an inhuman bast@rd if you want, but if you can, that means you're still alive, and it's all that truly matters.

Jean

#84 shadegrown

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 03:40 PM

As for suicide... that's something which should be prevented forcibly and severely punished by law.

Of course that means destructive uploading must also be outlawed, as well as every other technology of radical voluntary self-modification that's going to be construed as 'suicide' by the majority (giving up one's human identity, interrupting one's biological continuity etc.). Bye bye morphological freedom...

We should force people to endure their condition, no matter how painful, just because there's always a possibility that they might be cured someday.

We confirm the public's worst fears if we advocate foisting technological life extension on others against their will. I'm just sayin'.

#85 shadegrown

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 03:48 PM

I think we should provide everyone with information about their medical options as best as we can and publicly finance medical interventions widely considered beneficial, but the decisions of a sane individual concerning their own body should not be usurped by the state. Otherwise we're pulling out the rug under ourselves.

#86 bgwowk

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 04:22 PM

I tend to agree with you about suicide needing to be totally illegal....

Yes, let's take every patient now dying of a terminal illness, put them on a ventilator with total parenteral nutrition, ECMO, the works, stretching them out for months at a cost of $10,000 a day while their brain is totally consumed by sepsis and tumors. Cryonics? Forget it. If the state ever imposes the draconian standard that blood circulation must be maintained at all costs no matter what a patient or their family wants, no terminal patient will ever have a brain left for cryonics.

There are two *independent* questions in this debate:

1) Should the feeding tube be removed?

2) Who decides, and how?

I'm amazed that everyone seems to be fixated on (1) with the automatic assumption that the state should enforce whatever their view of (1) is. Such sweeping concession of personal medical autonomy to the state means only one thing to an immortalist: Early death. Guaranteed.

---BrianW

#87 Jay the Avenger

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 04:45 PM

I voted it was wrong to remove the tube.

First off: I am convinced future technology will be able to repair Terri's brain.

With that in mind, the question that needs to be asked is: how much of Terri is there left in her body?

In the case where repairing Terri's brain is equivalent to cloning her (someone named this earlier in this thread), I'd say it's okay to let her die. But I do not believe this.

I have no reason to assume there is no consciousness left in Terri's brain. And as long as there is consciousness left, I feel its preservation must be fought for. Even if many of Terri's experiences and memories will be gone after she is repaired with stemcells. This would indeed yield quite a different person than Terri was 15 years ago. But this is completely alright, because all of us are different persons than we were years ago.

#88 randolfe

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 05:21 PM

Jay the Avenger says:

In the case where repairing Terri's brain is equivalent to cloning her (someone named this earlier in this thread), I'd say it's okay to let her die. But I do not believe this.


I don't understand hows any thoughtful person can make a statement like this. Death is the enemy. Survival as a living person with memories, etc., is certainly "the ideal".

However, survival can be partial. Your genotype, the formula that is you, survives into another lifetime through cloning. For me, personally, being cloned would be a "partial temporary victory over death" and would actually be a temporary partial immortality.

Living to be 200 years old (and then dying) would also be a "temporary immortality" of an admittedly more complete and desirable type. However, we would all accept that "partial temporary immortality" if that was the only type of immortality available.

Right now, we can achieve a partial temporary immortality through cloning. Yes, I know, "your later-born twin is not you". Perhaps it is not "totally you" but a later-born twin would be the continued lifeline of your cells, the continued survival of the unique genotype that is/was the original you.

I love life. I believe I should cling to every thread of life as much as possible. I wouldn't consider organs I donated or other parts of my body living on in other people after my death to really be "a part of the essential me" either. However, the idea of that happening pleases me.

A later born twin would probably have a consuming passion to discover all he could about you. If you were cryonically suspended, a later-born twin (or twins) would be especially interested in seeing that you were revived. They would want to get to know the person that was the "original" of their genotype.

Some leaders in the cryonics movement are intrigued in that aspect of cloning. One of the big problems cryonicists have is that they realize when revival is possible (if ever) at some future time, there is probably not going to be any good friends or loving relatives left who will work to see they are actually revived.

We all know that every war consists of a series of battles. You win one battle at a time and you finally win the war. Cryonics enables us to stop decay and physical disintegration. That is one victory in the big picture of our "war against death".

Having our genotype live on into additional lifetimes would be another victorious battle against death.

Transhumanists embrace the idea of uploading themselves into computers and living on as cyborgs. I'd prefer a rejuvenated body, perhaps a genetically enhanced rejuvenated body, instead....until I was convinced living in a cyborg was better.

I know I am reacting to a subordinate argument in the Terri Schiavo debate here. Let me urge everyone to read the New York Times article which I linked in a post yesterday.

This article gives nuanced definition to the personalities involved. More importantly, this article shows how "issues" can be manipulated and social debates won. We have to learn how to manipulate the media to win acceptance of our ideas.

"Media manipulation" is something I am fascinated by. I like to think I am a practioner of the craft. The "Terri Schiavo" debate is a classic example of how one side in a debate (Terri's parents) totally outmaneuvered the opposition (Terri's husband) and even managed to demonize him.

I see my earlier link no longer works. I'm retrieving the article in questions to share below. Apparently, links to "free NY Times articles" change day by day. There is so much news coverage but little that deals with the media manipulation aspect of the story also.

Edited by randolfe, 27 March 2005 - 05:43 PM.


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#89 randolfe

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 05:40 PM

The New York Times
March 26, 2005
Behind Life-and-Death Fight, a Rift That Began Years Ago
By ABBY GOODNOUGH


< text deleted by caliban: No copypasting of entire atricles in this thread >

Edited by caliban, 28 March 2005 - 12:01 PM.


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Posted 27 March 2005 - 08:11 PM

Jean (nefastor), what you're saying is that you want to strip the right of others to commit suicide or be euthanized (assisted suicide) by their own consent. This position is no different from the right to life groups forcing life upon those that choose otherwise.

In Canada, suicide was decriminalized in the 70's and although we failed to sanction assisted-suicide when it came to the courts in 1993 I think we'll eventually allow it at some point in the future.




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