Still in the World:
A Pro-Life View of Death and Dying

End of Life Issues — By on March 22, 2005 at 1:28 am

I was in Okinawa when I got the call. “Mom’s not expected to live much longer,” my younger brother said. “You might want to come home.” I had just arrived on the island a few days before and had to fly back to mainland Japan. As I waited another three days for the next plane back to the States and began to wonder if I’d make it home in time.
Two years earlier, when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, my brother built a room onto his house so that she could live with him and his family. The time had been difficult but the past few months had been especially hard on them. On the ride home it was made clear that the prodigal son would be expected to take his turn shouldering the burden.
The cancer had taken a toll. I was shocked by seeing my mother so gaunt, bald, and weak. I’d sit on her bed at night and prepare her medicines, swabbing the shunt in her chest with rubbing alcohol. It seemed absurd to worry about an infection when the tumors were destroying her from within. But I didn’t say anything and performed the task as if it were making a difference. She often drift in and out of sleep as I fumbled clumsily with the syringe.
I’d load the needle with morphine and feel a strange impulse, similar to the urge to jump that overcomes you when you stand on the edge of a bridge. All it would take is an extra dose, I thought. My family would wake in the morning to a sense of guilty relief and damned up grief. No one would know. There’d be no questions. There’d be no autopsy. The waiting and the pain and the dying would be over.
But the longer I sat watching her labored breathing the more I realized how precious was life, even in the midst of such suffering. I carefully measured out the correct amount, sometimes slightly less just to be safe. I stayed for three weeks, giving the shots, attempting to make her comfortable. We made it through Thanksgiving before it became obvious that she wasn’t finished living. I had to return to Japan. Mom held on for several more weeks before passing away peacefully in her sleep.


Until the cancer made her unable to work, my mother had been a hospice nurse. She had been with hundreds of others at the end of their lives and knew what to expect. I, on the other hand, was completely inexperienced. While I had never been afraid of death I had always viewed it with curious detachment. I thought is was an inevitable, unfortunate, but natural process.
I was wrong. Death isn’t natural. Life, given to us by an abundantly generous Creator, is natural. Death is the enemy that separates us from ourselves, from our loved ones, and most importantly, from God. It is such a curse that it required the Son of God himself to remove it so that we might live once again.
There is no dignity in dying. Dignity is derived from the Latin word for “worth.” There is no worth in dying; the worth is in living. The dignity is in how we live as we near the end of our lives. No matter what physical condition a person may be in at the end of their life, they are still alive. They still have the dignity of being created in the image of God.
To be pro-life, however, does not mean avoiding death at all cost. When the process of dying becomes irreversible or imminent we should transition from curatative care to comfort care. While this may require removing artificial means of life support or, when the digestive system fails, artificial hydration and nutrition, we must not take measures to hasten the ending of life. My own experience with my dying mother taught me to appreciate that life is valuable even when it is near the end. As the Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper reminds us, loving a person is way of saying “It’s good that you exist; it’s good that you are in the world!” Being pro-life requires that we remind those who are nearing the end that it is good that they exist, that they are still in the world. And that we are with them till the end.
[Note: Being pro-life also means bearing the responsibility for the decisions about what care and measures should be taken at the end of one’s own life. Because God allows us to make choices in our lives, we should take the initiative to communicate to our families our own wishes and desires. The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity offers an Advance Directive Kit ($12) that contains an Advanced Directive Form and an 80 page booklet on End of Life Decisions (the enclosed form can be copied for every member of the family). Before I began working at the Center I never gave much thought to the issue. But the Schiavo case has made me realize the necessity of taking such precautions. It’s a simple, inexpensive step you can take to ensure peace of mind for both you and your own loved ones.]



  • Larry Lord

    “Before I began working at the Center I never gave much thought to the issue.”
    Wow. That’s interesting because I’ve been pretty much relentlessly trying to get you and other folks here to re-think certain absolutist positions about ending human life for many months.
    I had a long talk with my mother yesterday about Schiavo. She’s a self-identified “born again” Christian and she’s been a nurse for the last couple decades. She worked a lot in nursing homes. She knows the deal.
    Interestingly, she admitted without hesitation the number one reason the plug is pulled on people in this country — a reason that some people around here are strangely reluctant to admit: money.
    All this talk about the “intrinsic value of human life” and its “immeasurability” is poppycock when the rubber hits the road, just like so many other political platitudes.
    Are you ready to mortgage your house and declare bankruptcy (assuming it’s still legal to do the latter) so Grandma can live another three years (to 95) in the nursing home, soiling herself on a dialysis machine, taking 15 different prescriptions, and griping about the “coloreds” down the hall for that five minutes a day when she remembers where she is?
    Ah, yes, the dignity of life! If we were to simply cut down on the medications and remove the dialysis, Grandma might never have to live with a tube stuck down her throat and in her stomach. She’d die pretty quickly and with the money you save you can make sure it’s a painless death.
    “There is no dignity in dying.”
    False.
    My grandma died with dignity. She didn’t ask me why I wasn’t going to give up my college savings to pay for a lung transplant. She just gave me a hug and she said goodbye and a month later she died. She didn’t demand that “everything be done” and we fly her around the world for the latest cancer research. She asked to go home and she asked for morphine.
    Here’s a more accurate statement: there is no dignity in freezing one’s head for future re-animation. Unfortunately, given the simplistic views about dying that a lot of Christians espouse, anything less than that is murder.

  • http://carpebonum.net Carpe Bonum

    Thanks for the post, Joe.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Death is natural.
    But many folks don’t want to face it so they deny it.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Joe,
    Someone mentioned in another thread that death is natural. I was going to point out that death is not natural, that we were cursed with death in the garden. Thanks for this post, i’m glad that we agree.
    Death is not natural.

  • RC

    Ah yes, the blogosphere, where a person can share an emotionally significant event in his life and immediately have it shat upon by some cynical prick.
    I mean, come on; I’m not saying you can’t disagree, but if you’re going to do so, have enough class to do it without being insulting.
    Mumon is clearly capable of this; Larry is clearly not.

  • sonspot

    Medicare pays for the first 100 days in a skilled nursing facility (fully the first 21 days). After that, the secondary insurance pays. If a patient doesn’t have a secondary they can apply for Medicaid. To be eligable for Medicaid the patient’s net worth has to be around $3,000. Some patients choose to will their estate to their loved ones and some choose to spend their estate on their own medical care. At no point do loved ones have to use from their own estates to care for the patient, unless they’re trying to care for them at home or in a non-skilled institutional setting.

  • HumbleBumble

    Great Post Joe, sounds like you’ve lived through these difficult decisions. It’s very humbling…
    Larry,
    Your hatred for anything “Christian” is like a booger on the end of your nose,…. everyone else can see it …and it clouds your vision. Please continue to advance your atheistic cause with these brilliant posts. It draws so many reasonable minds to your side (grin).

  • http://jenspeaks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/schiavo_legally_sanctioned_murder/ Lintefiniel Musing

    Schiavo - Legally Sanctioned Murder

    I'm deeply grieved at the progression of the Schiavo case. We're talking about legally sanctioned murder here and I'm sick about the misinformation that the media is putting forth about Terri. At this point, with the new ruling from t…

  • http://king-of-fools.com/blog/weblog/posts/quote_20050322/ King of Fools

    Quote of the Day

    There is no dignity in dying. Dignity is derived from the Latin word for “worth.” There is no worth in dying; the worth is in living. The dignity is in how we live as we near the end of our lives. No matter what physical condition a person…

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Larry is certainly grouchy but not unuseful. Death is not a good thing, I agree with Joe on that. If we could live forever young I’d take that option. However for the time being death is an unavoidable part of life. While I certainly have no problem delaying it I do accept there is a point where the returns do not justify the costs.
    Larry is also correct that money and politics plays a bigger role here than anyone else on this list is comfortable mentioning. A baby at a Catholic Hospital in Texas was removed from life support even though the parents wanted him left on because there was no one to pay the bill and the baby was deemed terminal. Yet there was no outcry, no special bill passed by Congress late at night. The influence of money is unavoidable which is why I do not like the idea of euthansia. If a country with socialized medicine (Holland) cannot keep it from becoming a factor in encouraging euthansia then I don’t see any way to insolate euthansia only to those really hopeless cases as opposed to those cases where a person might be helped more by counseling and medication.
    Perhaps a good way to think of life is like an open mic nite at a club. You get a brief period of time to do your stick and play the cards you were delt as well as you can. If you can get an encore and grab a few more minutes of stage time then go ahead…but don’t make an ass of yourself. When the curtain comes down get off the stage.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Back when we were talking about evolution I suggested that the discovery of intelligent life off the earth would result in a paradign crises for Christianity. On the fringes of science there has been some talk of doing concentrated research in life-extension. One of the proposals is to tackle the genetic codes that appear to program our bodies to die (even if all disease and illness were cured, our bodies would still shut down around 150 or so).
    I wonder how Christians would view an innovation that basically froze the aging process leaving the only accidents, murders and suicide as the only possible cause of death.

  • sonspot

    Medicaid is available for anyone that meets it’s criteria (net worth around $3,000), this applies to parents with ill children as well. Most poor children are on Medicaid. I don’t about the Texas child, but I don’t see how a lack of funds would be the issue. It is illegal for hospitals to refuse lifesaving care due to the patient’s inability to pay. Most hospitals perform care on a charitable basis for individuals that “fall through the cracks”.

  • Riot

    Boonton:
    “… to tackle the genetic codes that appear to program our bodies to die …”
    If discovery of ET intelligent life would spark a paradigmatic crisis in Christianity (which I doubt it would), why hasn’t the discovery that life seems to shut down arbitrarily caused a similar one in naturalistic circles?
    After all, any Christian would be aware of descriptions in Genesis that indicate that human life was progressively shortened even if they might/might not accept all of the other descriptions in Genesis as being true. Would such a coincidence cause naturalists to descend into the throes of self doubt?
    I doubt it…
    Riot

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    If discovery of ET intelligent life would spark a paradigmatic crisis in Christianity (which I doubt it would), why hasn’t the discovery that life seems to shut down arbitrarily caused a similar one in naturalistic circles?
    why would it?
    After all, any Christian would be aware of descriptions in Genesis that indicate that human life was progressively shortened even if they might/might not accept all of the other descriptions in Genesis as being true. Would such a coincidence cause naturalists to descend into the throes of self doubt?
    I think you misread my question. What would happen if science found a way to stop the aging process entirely. Life wouldn’t just be lenghtened it would be nearly unlimited (at least for the age of the universe).

  • Riot

    Boonton:
    What I mean is that if science were to stop the aging process entirely i.e. unlimited life, you’d have to be suprised at the descriptions made out in Genesis. There is a description of a progessive reduction in the life spans of human beings. But as to Adam’s lifespan in Eden, it doesn’t say but I think it might have been unlimited/very long as well.
    So all I’m asking is whether naturalists arrive at the same place described (if only coincidentally) in Genesis – would it cause at least one goosebump much less paradigmatic change?
    Riot

  • Dave S.

    “…soiling herself on a dialysis machine, taking 15 different prescriptions, and griping about the “coloreds” down the hall…”
    Unbelievable.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I’m not sure how ‘naturalists’ are coming to the same place as Genesis. If unlimited life is achieved by science are you telling us that would be equilivant to what Adam and Eve had before getting kicked out of Eden? If so do you find it the slightest bit thought provoking that a touch of genetic enginering could restore at least a part of that lost life?
    I still don’t see how a genetic program to shut down would cause any type of crises for naturalism. Considering the mechanics of evolution it would be pretty surprising to find a species who didn’t start to decline and die after it generated offspring.

  • brandon

    Interestingly, she admitted without hesitation the number one reason the plug is pulled on people in this country — a reason that some people around here are strangely reluctant to admit: money.
    All this talk about the “intrinsic value of human life” and its “immeasurability” is poppycock when the rubber hits the road, just like so many other political platitudes.
    Are you ready to mortgage your house and declare bankruptcy (assuming it’s still legal to do the latter) so Grandma can live another three years (to 95) in the nursing home, soiling herself on a dialysis machine, taking 15 different prescriptions, and griping about the “coloreds” down the hall for that five minutes a day when she remembers where she is?

    I suspect the problem isn’t money so much as it is what money can buy. Yes, you can often buy more life with more money. This is more true now than at any other time in history. But there is something beyond this.
    The ability to choose and pay for life or death reveals how we value life. Which is of course what Joe’s post is all about… The Schiavo case is merely an application of that value.
    Concerning the nature of death: consider the unnatural bent of death when examining desire, efforts, etc: humans, who are natural things, want life much of the time. Just about every living thing spends most of it’s time attempting to stay alive. We generally revel in life (birthdays, momuments,etc) but shy away from death (mourning, etc). It seems that death might be an intruder into the natural state and order of people and animals.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    True but is death really an intruder in the natural world? We don’t see it because we mostly lead very comfortable lives. Our experiences with death are few aside from TV shows. Most of us will experience a handful of deaths during our lives, mostly of older relatives but occassionaly younger ones and friends.
    However our life is built upon death as are all living things. Animals especially know this since much of their lives are consumed by either killing other animals or trying to escape being killed by other animals.
    Mr Ed has a point that we live in a culture of comfort rather than a culture of death. For many people death is simply an abstraction…a reminder that at some point the party is going to be over except we can’t be sure when and how so give me another drink and let’s dance some more! Ironically, though, that culture of comfort was created by the very thing the ‘culture of life’ people want us to do…trying to preserve life!

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Eric & Lisa, Boonton:
    I forget where I read it (maybe in one of Rollo May’s works) but the denial of death in our (American) culture is huge.
    We go to great lengths to emphasize youth, virility, while at the same time many of our old people, sick and infirm are kept away. On TV the sights and sounds of death – usually from violence- do not reflect how many people actually experience death.
    Eric & Lisa, within Christianity it is said that “man has a fallen nature,” a “sinful nature,” and a consequence of that nature is death. Christianity in Mexico, Italy, and elsewhere is tinged with the presence of death- you can go to the oldest Catholic Church in America (Santa Fe), the cathedral in Montreal, to Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, to the cathedral in Warsaw, and elsewhere, and you will find, where mass is celebrated tombs, and in at least one case, the body of a 1500 year old deceased pope.
    By contrast, the Protestant churches, with their emphasis on a risen Jesus, must, by exclusion, marginalize the murdered Jesus.
    I think Americans have lost something with this marginalization of death.
    And I haven’t even gotten into how Buddhists use death…

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Here’s another view on this from a Christian
    Sometimes I wonder why I expound on these aspects of Christianity to Christians…but I’m having a hard time getting started today.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    From a Biblical POV does Genesis really say that death was brought into the world by the Fall? At most doesn’t it imply that humans may suffer death due to the Fall but animals and plants on Earth would have continued their cycle of birth and death even if Adam & Eve never joined them?
    While death isn’t a good thing I don’t see how a Christian could view it as a bad thing. By definition it is the passage to the next life which is supposed to be much longer and better than this one.

  • http://palmtreepundit.blogspot.com/2005/03/thoughts-on-dignity_22.html PalmTree Pundit

    Thoughts on Dignity

    Since answers to my questions below have been pouring in – NOT ;-) – I thought I’d pose another. I’ve been hearing the word dignity used often in discussions of Terri Schiavo. It seems that to many, even in the absence of pain, if she has no dignity …

  • Riot

    I’m not sure how ‘naturalists’ are coming to the same place as Genesis. If unlimited life is achieved by science are you telling us that would be equilivant to what Adam and Eve had before getting kicked out of Eden? If so do you find it the slightest bit thought provoking that a touch of genetic enginering could restore at least a part of that lost life?
    More or less -yes. I’m guessing that Adam and Eve already had unlimited/long life (not because the text says so) but because you have a progressive decline. Logically, Adam and Eve could have had very short lifespans in Eden and then suddenly have it increased because God was so pissed off about the whole affair.
    >> It could be thought provoking as well as thought deadening. Technological advances bring both. By analogy, I love the idea that I can fly across the atlantic but the same principles fly a B-2 with a nuclear payload across the atlantic as well. So, it is not the mere aspect of technology that makes it thought provoking but its use as well. Similarily, a thousand years to live of a thoughtful and engaged life is worth a lot but is a thousand years in the face of repeated failures, lonely and retching in a slum thought provoking or thought numbing?
    The “crises” or a goose-bump (as I’d term it) should be from the fact that what was considered natural till now (short lifespans) is not actually natural at all. In the past, the long lives of certain Genesis characters was derided as the stuff of legend but now apparently it is natural (if technologically possible). Ofcourse, by redefining what is natural in this way – one escapes the challenge of ever defining what is natural much less delineate it from what is unnatural and supernatural. Does this not cause a problem for a man who naturally expects to die but now naturally expects to live?
    I still don’t see how a genetic program to shut down would cause any type of crises for naturalism. Considering the mechanics of evolution it would be pretty surprising to find a species who didn’t start to decline and die after it generated offspring.
    >> Yet, given the fact that it is merely a tweaking of the genes (I’m not sure if it is just tweaking), I also find it surprising that it is not already here – the long life, I mean. I don’t know the mechanics of evolution that you’re talking about here and so I can’t say anything about that.
    But look at what you’re proposing here. What is known as natural is not really natural – it can be tweaked in a way that would coincide with reports of a similar tweaking reportedly done at a time when there was no such notion extant. However, that which is natural is constantly meant to represent the truer/truest form of knowledge available but it is found to arrive at the same location (perhaps a coincidence) of larger than ever before expected lifetimes a 1000 years late.
    I compare it to this: Sometimes, when I am going on confidently about something that I am so sure about – everything is reasoned out well, method is right blah blah blah and then one little trip up (either a question or a nagging doubt) and then I do experience a crises about knowledge, about confidence, about what and how I reason, about the numerous caveats I should have added etc etc.
    That’s what I’m getting at…

  • Riot

    While death isn’t a good thing I don’t see how a Christian could view it as a bad thing. By definition it is the passage to the next life which is supposed to be much longer and better than this one.
    Ofcourse its a good and bad thing but not for the same reason. Its good in some aspects and bad in others…
    It is the passage in to the next life but I leave behind the relationships in this one, if only momentarily, but it is real nevertheless. But despite the reality of the pain and suffering of death, there is the hope/certainty that we shall be reunited.
    So good and bad…

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The “crises” or a goose-bump (as I’d term it) should be from the fact that what was considered natural till now (short lifespans) is not actually natural at all. In the past, the long lives of certain Genesis characters was derided as the stuff of legend but now apparently it is natural (if technologically possible).
    You’re misreading this. If it turns out that a few genetic alterations can cause super-extended or unlimited ‘natural’ lifespans due to stopping the aging cycle that will not be ‘natural’ nor will it confirm anything in Genesis as non-mythical. Pacemakers, injectable insulin and other inventions have allowed many people to extend their lives 5, 10, even 20 years yet they are not ‘natural’. Without scientific intervention people denied such things will not live as long.
    Yet, given the fact that it is merely a tweaking of the genes (I’m not sure if it is just tweaking), I also find it surprising that it is not already here – the long life, I mean. I don’t know the mechanics of evolution that you’re talking about here and so I can’t say anything about that.
    To be honest we are just beginning to look at genes and even once you understand them I understand there’s a huge amount of effects caused by the shapes that various proteins fold themselves up into. I do not think it will just be a ‘tweaking’ that generates unlimited lifespans. It will probably be a lot of long and hard work just to demonstrate it in theory and then even more to find a way to do it on a massive scale affordably.
    As for the mechanics of evolution, basically evolution ‘selects’ genes that are able to get themselves copied and that’s about it. Once an organism is able to achieve a good chance of having offspring and getting them off to a good start any further genetic traits will just be more or less random. Humans and most other species start to naturally decline after that point simply because there would be no reason for natural selection to favor genes that help beyond. For humans things start going down hill around 40, 30 or 35 if you look at primitive humans without the benefit of advanced medical care. If one started reproducing just a little bit after the onset of fertility (say 12-13) then that’s right about at the point when your first generation of offspring will have achieve adulthood.
    It is the passage in to the next life but I leave behind the relationships in this one, if only momentarily, but it is real nevertheless. But despite the reality of the pain and suffering of death, there is the hope/certainty that we shall be reunited.
    I highly recommend mumon’s link. A very insightful essay on how awareness of our own mortality helps make us value life as much as we should.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    For the record I remember reading an article on how researchers were able to nearly double the lifespan of a certain type of lab mouse by selectively breeding for logetivity. The equilivant increase in humans would reset middle age to be somewhere around 65 or 70. However in order to achieve the same effect in humans you would have to be able to exercise selective breeding for something like 50,000 years.
    In such a process you are letting evolution do the work of selecting the right genes. You can achieve such results without even knowing which genes and alterations caused the increased lifespan. However to ‘cut to the chase’ and get the job done quickly you have to know how to ‘program the code’ yourself

  • HumbleBumble

    Boonton,
    What is mumon’s link? Isn’t he into some form of Zen Buddhism?? I remember going to this site one time, but forgot the link. Zen Buddhism…hmmmm…. don’t those guys quote from “ancient writings spoken by ancient men who buddhist’s like to quote with God-like reverence?” Who is authorized to explain the meanings of these ancient writings?? Aren’t these the stereotypes that mumon or you criticize all ‘religious’ people about? Oh… the world goes round and round. Please provide the link tho so other’s can digest mumon’s philisophical beliefs.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    HumbleBumble:
    It’s above. And, for the record, we “Zen Buddhists” don’t go around quoting ancient writings spoken by ancient men with “God-like reverance.”
    And I wouldn’t call the link above “my philosophical beliefs” either, but rather, a Christian theologian’s insights into the meaning of death.

  • http://www.pseudopolymath.com/archives/2005/03/considering_end.html Pseudo-Polymath

    Considering End of Life and HealthCare

    One thing the kerfuffle concerning the fate of Ms Schiavo has done for us is to bring to the forefront issues concerning our fate in the face of debillitating illness. Joe Carter has written an essay today on this well…

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Humblebubble,
    the link he cited is http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1001
    I read the article and found it very thoughtful. It appeared to have been written from more of a Christian perspective than a Zen one, however. As for me attacking ‘sterotypes’ of religious people….I’m not sure what you’re really talking about. I express my opinion and feel free to criticize weak and inconsistent arguments when I see them. I feel no need to apologize for that but if you have a specific instance where you feel I treated someone unfairly please feel free to let me know and I’ll apologize if the situation merits it.

  • Larry Lord

    About a hypothetical grandma I wrote
    “”…soiling herself on a dialysis machine, taking 15 different prescriptions, and griping about the “coloreds” down the hall…”
    and Dave S. wrote
    “Unbelievable.”
    What is unbelievable about that description Dave? How long has it been since you worked in a nursing home? I’m guessing you’ve never worked in one. My description of what goes on there is charitable. You should drive to your nearest nursing home and write them a big fat check so they can spend it keeping those people alive as long as possible, Dave S. Or just find the person whose closest to dying, take a picture of her and make her into a poster child for the dangers of secular humanism. That would be consistent behavior.
    Fyi: my earlier prediction about the Federal Judge’s reaction to the Schiavo parents “case” was spot on.
    Now, watch the Court of Appeals do the same thing.
    And remember what this is about: exploitation of a vegetable who never wanted to live this way (that’s a fact that was determined in court — remember courts of law? remember the great American legal system) for the sole purpose of creating press, stirring up evangelical voters, and taking the focus off the fact that Bush’s domestic policies stink and most Americans don’t like them.
    Just keep dragging your cross through the mud folks. I don’t belong to your religion so I don’t really care that you’re making a mockery of it. But once again you’ve been busted legislating your religious beliefs, sticking your fingers in the private lives of others where they don’t belong, and behaving like hypocrites. Enjoy.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Most of the American public recognizes the circus going on in DC as grand standing and most of them are disgusted by it.

  • HumbleBumble

    mumon:
    I’ll be the first to admit that I know very little about Zen Buddhism, but what I do know is that you don’t wake up one morning and decide you are a Zen Buddhist. You must have read the writings of the founders of this philosophical movement in order to proudly proclaim that your ideas/beliefs make you a Zen Buddhist. How did this process happen in your life without reading ancient texts by ancient men??
    Also, to be fair, you should tell the other posters who your post-name, “mumon”, refers to and how buddhist typically read these kinds of writings by this guy in order to understand what it means to be a better buddhist. This is really elementary stuff, mumon, and it is so funny to see you try to project to be so different from the silly religious people that you are so dismissive of. I do enjoy your posts, however.
    A little more intellectual support for what you believe vs. beating up on all other “churchheads” would be nice from you.

  • Riot

    You’re misreading this. If it turns out that a few genetic alterations can cause super-extended or unlimited ‘natural’ lifespans due to stopping the aging cycle that will not be ‘natural’ nor will it confirm anything in Genesis as non-mythical. Pacemakers, injectable insulin and other inventions have allowed many people to extend their lives 5, 10, even 20 years yet they are not ‘natural’. Without scientific intervention people denied such things will not live as long.
    You’re right in what you say that when a scientific intervention is carried out – it is unnatural. However, what will the next generation from this change be? It would become natural to the successive generations. That’s why I brought up the example of Genesis. Supposing there was an intervention (tweaking), then what followed thereafter became natural. If we reverse that tweaking (supposing it was done), then in the successive generations – it becomes natural. Are we agreed upon this?
    Now, whatever the process (however hard, intrepid and against the mainstream), the end result is progeny that will/may (I don’t know) have longer life spans. So, it has little to do with the costs of carrying out the same procedure for everyone. Even one such alteration will propogate through the gene pool, wouldn’t you think? So the effect is that from the successive generation, it becomes natural.
    So isn’t it the very definition of natural that is in question?

  • HumbleBumble

    Boonton:
    I was just refering to comments that you and mumon usually make about other people’s silly religion, and blind followers of ancient texts to refer to Muslims, Jews or Christians. I think you guys made a few of those comments yesterday. Anyway, you know what you say and think. If this doesn’t apply to you then sorry for the implication. If it does then consider yourself duly reprimanded (smile).

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    That’s why I brought up the example of Genesis. Supposing there was an intervention (tweaking), then what followed thereafter became natural. If we reverse that tweaking (supposing it was done), then in the successive generations – it becomes natural. Are we agreed upon this?
    I suppose, although I think its kind of odd to think we could ‘undo’ God’s decisions. Your thinking makes sounds more like the ‘intelligent space alien’ version of Intelligent Design than the ‘supernatural God’ one. There is no evidence, BTW, that humans ever had long lifespans.
    This is supposing that it can be done by just a tweak in genetic code. If you did it for everyone then I suppose it would pass onto the next generation and the cost would just be a one time expense. More likely I think it would be an array of successive interventions, each one extending lifespan. Say every ten years there’s a discovery that can extend lifespan by about ten to fifteen years. In effect you will have unlimited lifespan because every ten years you’ll get ‘extended’ another 10-15.
    Some have written that there are people living now who will have immortal lives because they will live long enough to start taking advantage of that process. Others, though, think we have already tapped out all the easy ways to extend lifespan (such as vaccinations against common killers, antibiotics) and that future discoveries will suffer from diminishing returns.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    HumbleBumble:
    Actually, Mumon is my Buddhist name. And I came to practice Buddhism by my personal experience that suffering is part of my life, that the cause of my suffering had to do with how “I” viewed myself, others, and the world around me, and that the techniques that Buddhists have mentioned actually do provide a transcendance (not an escape) from suffering. So it’s not a question of beliefs per se, or what somebody else said or wrote, but rather my experience.
    But we’re kind of getting off the topic; I’m wondering what your response is to the link I posted earlier.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    No problem Humble but I think you should be careful about sterotyping the people you criticize for sterotyping! Larry is notable for mocking people for following ancient texts but I don’t recall seeing mumon do it. Perhaps he did, although I don’t recall seeing it being done over the last few days when we’ve been digesting hundreds of posts over the Terri issue.

  • Larry Lord

    Here’s a bill signed into law by President “Culture of Life” Bush when was a governor. Perhaps he was too busy denying clemency to death row invites to read it carefully.
    “If the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient is requesting life-sustaining treatment that the attending physician has decided and the review process has affirmed is inappropriate treatment, the patient shall be given available life-sustaining treatment pending transfer under Subsection (d). The patient is responsible for any costs incurred in transferring the patient to another facility. The physician and the health care facility are not obligated to provide life-sustaining treatment after the 10th day after the written decision required under Subsection (b) is provided to the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient

  • Jack

    My grandma died with dignity. She didn’t ask me why I wasn’t going to give up my college savings to pay for a lung transplant.
    Based on your posts, I would say this was a big waste of money. I think we would all be a little better off if you had simply donated one of your lungs.

  • Larry Lord

    Nice one, Jack. It’s always easier to just make a snide comment about how I should dry up and blow away then it is to address the points I raise in my posts.
    Of course, addressing the points I raise in my posts would require you to put down your script.
    Are you flying to Florida to participate in the guerilla operation to rescue Terry Schiavo from her murdering husband and conspiratorial judges so that you can keep her on life support until bacteria eat her up from the inside out? Or is the “immeasurable” value of her life perhaps worth sacrificing if it achieves the political goals of evangelicals (which, I hasten to add, does not appear likely at this point)?
    When exactly did you speak to Michael Schiavo to make your legally binding determination that he is not credible and that Terry Schiavo’s parents are? I’m really curious. I’d also be interested in knowing how many other cases you’ve tried.

  • sonspot

    I have worked in a skilled nursing facility (nursing home) for the past 9 years. The are many tube feeders there, young and old, concious and PVS. I have witnessed patients die from thirst because the POA’s have decided to not place a tube and not to give IV fluids. These patients were terminal with various conditions. Even then they were horrible things to witness.
    I cannot imagine, and have never witnessed, an otherwise physically healthy patient being killed by removal of fluids.
    I can’t believe it’s come to this.

  • HumbleBumble

    Boonton,
    Touche!! “Stereotyping the people who stereotype” I like that and if I am guilty of this then I publically stand corrected. I fear I have veered off topic and for that I apologize as well.
    I also thought that mumon actually had his own website or a favorite website that he may refer to from time to time that explained his beliefs and that is what I was asking for not the Christian view of death article link. So for all of these things I must humbly apologize. I’ll pay closer attention from now on.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    HumbleBumble:
    Please, don’t worry about it. I do have my own blog, and have posted on the Schiavo case, although I haven’t really expounded very much on “death in general,” although Suzuki Shosan’s writings on the subject are a vague approximation to how I’d view the matter: you should be ready to die in each instant, and live your life fully as though that were the case.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I have to recommend again the article mumom cited on American attitudes towards death and how our denial of death can actually create a rather unhealthy life. At the moment there’s three Terri related threads and the other two spend a lot of time arguing the details of her case. It would be nice to have this one be a bit more philosophical.

  • Larry Lord

    Sonspot writes
    “I cannot imagine, and have never witnessed, an otherwise physically healthy patient being killed by removal of fluids.”
    Pretending that Schiavo is physically healthy is lying.
    Medical experts and testimony from people who have starved themselves to death show that the process of starvation need not be uncomfortable. There are ways to allieve symptoms of dehydration (e.g., cottonmouth).
    “I have witnessed patients die from thirst because the POA’s have decided to not place a tube and not to give IV fluids.”
    Why didn’t you document these cruel and heartless murders and send the tapes to your local papers? Seems like you really dropped the ball there. Not very Christian of you to just let people die without doing anything. But I guess all those lives are just piddly compared to the discomfort that would result if you were fired for trying to save them or, god forbid, mortgage your house to pay for their continued care.
    “I can’t believe it’s come to this.”
    I can. And it’s sort of fun to watch a certified creep like Tom DeLay become the face of evangelical Christianity in this country. Preach it, Tommy! All hail Jesus’ Bugman!

  • George Maddox

    Mumon,
    You say death is natural. Can you define “natural” and give me an example of “un-natural”?
    G.M.

  • Larry Lord

    http://www.dailyhowler.com/
    Read today’s Howler if you are mature enough to handle the truth. There are some real slick sick liars out there peddling garbage on cable TV. Why aren’t Christians complaining about these liars? Have they forgotten the 10 Commandments?
    “Three years ago, David Sommer of the St. Petersburg Times reported that Hammesfahr

  • Dave S.

    “What is unbelievable about that description Dave?”
    I am going to break with my policy and respond to Larry’s question. What is unbelievable was you!!
    What is unbelievable is the depths to which you descend. My mother spent her last years in a nursing home, so don’t start with me on that. Who the heck are you to lecture me?
    Where do you get off characterizing people as soiling themselves and complaining about “coloreds?” Why did you choose to say that?
    Have you no shame at all? Not one tiny shred of decency? I have to admit that I just cannot stomach you any longer. I am completely fed up with you and your bigotry and your incessant name calling.
    Usually, I can avoid your garbage, but when you make the first comment you are unavoidable. Try to avoid doing that.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    George Maddox:
    I’d punt to yourdictionary.com, and say that death is inherent to human existence.
    Based on that, one can argue as to what doesn’t inhere to human existence, but I don’t really see the point.

  • http://farfromgruvin.blogspot.com Todd

    I read through all of the postings and there is many a good and thoughtful thread on a very divisive issue. Most folks seem quite eager to debate the pros and cons and even learn things from one another. However, Larry Lord, you seem to be filled with a venomous hatred. It is quite disturbing. I think you have some genuine knowledge to add to the discussion but you are almost unbearable to read because of your negativity. More can be gained from reasoned discourse than insults.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Larry just provided us with a stunning take-down of the dubious Dr. Hammesfahr. He may indeed be grouchy on this blog but he doesn’t do anything here that in terms of nastiness that isn’t equalled or surpassed by some of the many vocal elements of the ‘pro-life culture’ such as Tom Delay & others.
    He is also correct in cutting to the core of some unpleasent truths. I have heard no one address the fact that Bush, when he was governor, signed a bill basically saying they can yank the life support after ten days if you can’t pay.

  • sonspot

    “Why didn’t you document these cruel and heartless murders and send the tapes to your local papers? Seems like you really dropped the ball there. Not very Christian of you to just let people die without doing anything. But I guess all those lives are just piddly compared to the discomfort that would result if you were fired for trying to save them or, god forbid, mortgage your house to pay for their continued care.”
    Those patient’s were terminal, not just in a coma. The therapy (feeding tube, IV fluids) were not ever started per wish of the family, they weren’t simply stopped on an otherwise stable patient.

  • George Maddox

    Mumon,
    I’m not interested in a dictionary definition. I want to know what “natural” is to you. If you want to throw a dictionary definition in that is fine, but is in “truth” there are many definitions.
    I would like to talk to you, but I am afraid we may be speaking a different language. All I want to do is learn your language.
    If you wouldn

  • George Maddox

    Mumon,
    I must go back to work now, but I’ll check for an answer tonight.
    G.M.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    George Maddox:
    As I said, as I’ve used it “natural” is inherent to human existence.
    “Unnatural” is generally meant to be excluded from human existence (which is odd, because that which is not inherent to human existence may be yet encompassed and encountered in human existence), but again, I don’t see the point.
    Do you want to say “Death is unnatural?” I haven’t known anyone who is either on a path do death or has already died. It’s inherency in human existence implies that death is natural.
    Again, if you would explain your intent here, it might help.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I’ll take a stab at it, natural means part of nature. In other words, an object, system or process which is explanable by natural laws. Since the functions of life appear to cease by following natural laws, death would appear to fall under the definition of natural.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Boonton:
    You’re right on Larry. Despite the vitriol, it is a good service, I think, to make people aware that some of the folks surrounding the Schindlres are not people I would want as expert witnesses.
    Good catch, Larry.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Boonton:
    Re: “Natural”: it’s easy to play word games here, and that’s what I’d like to avoid. It’s easy to use the word “natural” in a way that connotes some kind of essence, and that’s not how I used the word; to me to inhere to human existence is in the nature of human existence, and thus natural.
    But, as I’ve noted, then “unnatural” becomes a funny word, but I’m neither an etymologist nor Jerry Seinfeld.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    True, well all the living systems we have ever been aware of die at some point and we know the mechanisms that control living systems break down after a period of time. We also know that humans are living systems. Hence we have your textbook logic:
    Living systems are mortal.
    Humans are living systems.
    Therefore, humans are mortal.
    Death is natural to living systems just as going bald is natural to tires on cars.

  • Larry Lord

    sonspot
    “Those patient’s were terminal, not just in a coma. The therapy (feeding tube, IV fluids) were not ever started per wish of the family, they weren’t simply stopped on an otherwise stable patient.”
    Huh? What difference does this make? They were innocent living human beings. Who has the right to decide it’s time for them to die? Who decides what “otherwise stable” is?
    C’mon sonspot. Some pretty extraordinary things have happened involving our Government in the past few days. The least you could do is try to articulate what the extraordinary events were that led to that happenening.
    But perhaps the events are not so extraordinary. Perhaps it’s simply another case of evangelical Christians using government to force the rest of us to live according to the strange views expressed by their loudmouthed preachers (most of the views not being evident in their holy book).
    Weren’t there some libertarians on this site?
    It’s funny how those big barking libertarians get all quiet and soft like puppy dogs when their trainers tell them to shut up. How did Mr. Ed put it? “I like to keep it in the family.” Spoken like a true 21st century “Christian” for sure! REverend Tom Delay would be oh-so-proud. Pastor Rush will put a shiny star between those puppy dog eyes.

  • Anthony

    Larry –
    You said: Pretending that Schiavo is physically healthy is lying.
    So, you must be the “scientific” type, eh?
    Here’s a report from Dr. William Hammesfahr, a Nobel prize nominee who has examined Terri Schiavo. Have you examined Terri, Larry?
    Perhaps you should read it. The report says (among other things) “The patient {Terri} can clearly swallow, and is able to swallow approximately 2 liters of water per day (the daily amount of saliva generated). Water is one of the most difficult things for people to swallow. It is unlikely that she currently needs the feeding tube. She should be evaluated by an Ear Nose and Throat specialist, and have a new swallowing exam.”
    http://www.libertytothecaptives.net/hammesfahr_dr._report.html
    She didn’t ask me why I wasn’t going to give up my college savings to pay for a lung transplant.
    Did you offer?

  • Larry Lord

    George Maddox wants to know what is meant by the phrase “death is natural”!
    What an odd question!
    Then George suggests
    “I would like to talk to you, but I am afraid we may be speaking a different language. All I want to do is learn your language.”
    Seems to me we’re all speaking English. Perhaps some of us would like to pretend that words can mean whatever we want them to mean, like Humpty Dumpty in “Through the Looking Glass.” And we can change the meaning of those words whenever it pleases us to do so.
    Remember when marriage was sacred? That was before Terry Schiavo told Michael Schiavo that she would never want to live as a vegetable with a feeding tube.
    Now we’re told by the lawyers for Terry Schiavo’s mother — the mother that raised Terry as a bulimic — that the Pope’s teaching should trump Florida’s recognition of marriage. Terry’s mommy’s lawyer argued that the Court should be concerned about “Terry’s eternal soul” and implied that Terry’s soul could end up in hell for all time if the feeding tube were removed.
    Can you believe it folks? This was done in the name of your alleged savior, Jesus Christ, at your request.
    Perhaps it’s time to try a new salad dressing.

  • Larry Lord

    The post by Anthony at March 22, 2005 03:31 PM is surely one of the most amusing posts I have read in some time.
    Do not worry Anthony. As usual, I am more informed about the facts of this sordid story than you will ever be because unlike you I am not limited to reading scripts handed to me by corrupt preachers who want only to buy larger and more shinier golden crosses to wear around their fat red necks.
    Please read http://www.dailyhowler.com and educate yourself. This is the second time I’ve posted this information here today (the tip of the iceberg really).

  • Mr Ed

    Larry just provided us with a stunning take-down of the dubious Dr. Hammesfahr. He may indeed be grouchy on this blog but he doesn’t do anything here that in terms of nastiness that isn’t equalled or surpassed by some of the many vocal elements of the ‘pro-life culture’ such as Tom Delay & others.
    Not really. What Larry did was show us a fine example of what Dr. Hammesfahr has been accused of “seeing what he wanted to see”. In fact, Larry “saw what he wanted” but showed nothing that would deem Dr. Hammesfahr’s testimony unreliable.

  • Larry Lord

    Oh and Anthony — I am a scientist but it does not take one to appreciate that Terry Schiavo is not physically healthy.
    If your wife woke up paralyzed and mute and you took her to a doctor and the doctor said she’s “physically healthy, go home” I’d suggest getting a new doctor.
    Since it’s pretty clear that the conservative wingnuts are going to lose this one and Terry Schiavo is going to get her long-delayed wish at last (not that she can even appreciate it and not that the damage to her dignity hasn’t already been done) maybe you should see if you can raise money to buy Terry’s corpse from Michael Schiavo and have her head frozen like Rodney Dangerfields. That way when you manage to install a fundamentalist theocracy here in the States and technology has advanced enough, you can thaw her brain out, repair it, and throw her a big party.
    You’re sure she’d love that, right? You’re absolutely convinced she’d love that right?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    True the DailyHower article explored that and to be fair to myself I pointed out some of the problems with Hammesfahr before although I didn’t know he was going around bragging he was a ‘Nobel Prize Nominee’. Nonetheless if I can be attacked for not being aware of the ‘CodeBlueBlog’ post in less then 12 hours after it has been posted I don’t see what’s wrong with Larry bringing the Hower article to our attention.

  • Larry Lord

    Mr. Ed rouses from his slumber and proceeds to evade the issues again! Here we go folks! Let the dissembling begin!!!
    “In fact, Larry “saw what he wanted” but showed nothing that would deem Dr. Hammesfahr’s testimony unreliable.”
    No, Ed, I just posted a link which summarized some facts, including Judge Greer’s own findings. What I think about the Doc’s testimony is irrelevant, of course.
    Of course, if I belonged to a group of fundie sheep I might parade around with a placard reciting some moronic pleasing platitude and assume a “worshipful” position in front of TV camera. That’s evidently a real popular thing to do these days if you’re an evangelical.
    Of course, if you’re an evangelical like sonspot, you watch people get “murdered” and then complain about long after the fact on some obscure internet blog.
    Go figure.
    Are you willing to admit now Ed why that baby in Texas was killed without a whimper from Congress? Or are you still in “Evade for the Nazarene” mode?

  • Mr Ed

    A baby at a Catholic Hospital in Texas was removed from life support even though the parents wanted him left on because there was no one to pay the bill and the baby was deemed terminal. Yet there was no outcry, no special bill passed by Congress late at night.
    Boon, can you point me to this story? I’d like to read up on it.
    Thanks.

  • Anthony

    Larry –
    Your excessive use of ad hominem attacks is fairly interesting, especially given your scientific background.
    As Mr. Ed said (in a round about way), you’ve done nothing but make power plays to assert your own view of the situation as “authoritative.” I presume anyone who does not read the Daily Howler is an uninformed fool? But I ask, by what standard do you even argue your stance on life and death?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Here’s some more about Hammesfahr:
    http://mediamatters.org/items/200503220002

    On the March 18 edition of The 700 Club, senior reporter Wendy Griffith described Hammesfahr as “a Nobel Prize nominee for his work in helping people with severe brain injuries” and said Hammesfahr claims that “about 40 percent of his patients are worse than Terri, yet have seen remarkable progress. He says Terri would do just as well.” Hammesfahr appears on screen saying: “Oh, absolutely. She’ll definitely be able to communicate. She’ll probably be able to communicate verbally over the course of about two years of treatment with medication. And then as far as being able to use her arms and use her legs, she’ll be able to use those. This woman is not in a coma. She’s not in PVS [persistent vegetative state]. She’s not that bad.”

    OK but look what else!

    In February 2003, the Florida Board of Medicine ruled that he violated state law by charging a patient for services that were not provided (Finding of Fact No. 71, PDF p. 40). The board fined Hammesfahr $2,000, placed him on probation for six months, and ordered him to pay approximately $52,000 in administrative costs and to perform 100 hours of community service. While the board also ruled that Hammesfahr’s treatment of stroke patients, using a procedure he has claimed could help Terri Schiavo, was “not within the generally accepted standard of care” (Finding of Fact No. 55, PDF p. 33), it declined to rule that the treatment was harmful to his patients and noted that some patients improved after treatment.

    It’s fascinating to glance at how the pro-parents side has embraced this distortion. Just put Hammesfahr into Google News and see what comes up. LifeNews.com, for example, describes him as “a Nobel Prize nominated neurologist who is an internationally recognized expert on cases of brain injured patients”. Really? Aside from this case how is he an expert? Has he any papers published in professional journals? Who is this guy really?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Boon, can you point me to this story? I’d like to read up on it.
    I’m juggling hundreds of posts but it was mentioned on some of the previous threads, I believe by Larry himself. Can someone find a site for this story? If not I’ll track it down myself.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Anthony,
    It is very funny to see you touting this doctor as a Nobel prize nominee just a handful of posts after Larry exposed the nominee part as a deception. You didn’t even have to read the Howler to get that.

  • Larry Lord

    Lyin’ Ed writes
    “In fact, Larry “saw what he wanted” but showed nothing that would deem Dr. Hammesfahr’s testimony unreliable.”
    This is a false statement by Mr. Ed, folks.
    The sort of bogus self-serving activities Dr. Hammesfahr engaged are exactly the sorts of activities that are used to impeach so-called “expert witnesses” all the time.
    Is Mr. Ed a Judge? What are Ed’s credentials for evaluating the veracity of Mr. Hammesfahr’s testimony? We know the answer: none.
    Mr. Ed enjoys reciting scripts on behalf of evangelical causes. And he sure does hate to criticize evangelicals, even when they are so easily and demonstrably full of garbage such as they are here.
    But why pay attention to me?
    I only have a bunch of Florida judges and a Federal Judge who agree that Terry Schiavo — an obvious persistent vegetable according to the experts whose opinions were found credible in court — should be allowed to die, per her wishes. Those judges actually heard and reviewed the arguments of medical experts and the testimony of the key witnesses.
    Was Tom Delay present for those hearings? Nope.
    Does Tom Delay believe he has something to gain by reciting lies to the public about this case?
    Of course he does.
    Are people naive enough to believe otherwise?
    You bet. And it helps the rubes believe that nonsense when their preachers read from the same script that Delay reads from.

  • Mr Ed

    Larry’s especially grumpy today. Maybe he got his feet caught in the fire over the weekend.
    No, Lar, I’m not evading anything. I am pointing out, however, that your post doesn’t speak one bit to the credibility of Hammesfahr’s testimony. But you seem far more interested in revealing some sort of hipocrisy than debating the Schiavo case itself.
    DO you really want to go there, Lar? I mean, there’s enough hypocrisy to go around. The pro-choicers who are suddenly states rights advoctes for one. The only consistency in that argument is the across the board apathy towards other people dying.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    That this doctor is playing games with his claims to be a Nobel prize nominee coupled with the fact that he is currently has his license suspended for malpractice does nothing to challenge the credibility of his testimony? Would anything?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Let’s not forget that the Judge noted that this doctor did nothing to back up his claims of having treated patients in conditions equal to or worse than Terri’s and had success.

  • Mr Ed

    Boon,
    I do find some of Hammesfahr’s history troubling, but does that discredit his testimony? If so, wouldn’t Judge Greer have mentioned that his previous activities disqualified him from providing testimony?
    I would rather judge the testimony for itself rather than base it on Hammesfahr’s past. If the Florida Board found him fit to continue practicing then his testimony should be given equal weight.

  • http://dojustly.blogspot.com/ ajmac

    Joe,
    Great post and important reminder. Christ overcame death so that we could have true life. And yet so many of us continue to embrace the way that leads to death or, in some cases, death itself. Such a pity we cheapen Christ’s sacrifice in that way.

  • Larry Lord

    Anthony
    “Your excessive use of ad hominem attacks is fairly interesting, especially given your scientific background.”
    Ah, yes, yet another popular script. Don’t let the ad hominem distract you Anthony. I just pulled your pants down and instead of whining about it you should pull them back up.
    “by what standard do you even argue your stance on life and death?”
    The same standard as everyone else except unlike a lot of people I’m actually willing to admit it: I use the brain that your God allegedly gave me to figure out what’s right. And it’s really difficult to do sometimes. That’s why we have elect people to help us draft laws and train and appoint Judges to ensure those laws are obeyed. Kind of like in Florida where they had laws which control who is your legal guardian and what evidence is necessary to show that you did not wish to be kept alive as a vegetable and paraded on national TV by fundamentalists to promote an anti-women’s rights and anti-privacy rights agenda.
    We can devote a whole thread to talking about me if you like, Anthony. I thought this thread was about Schiavo and whether it is possible for me and my children and my parents to die with dignity in the United States when we have fundamentalists peeping into our hospital rooms. But sure, let’s talk about “ad hominems”. It’s such a big latin word — do you think it sort of makes you sound like one of those leftist elites when you throw it around?

  • Mr Ed

    The sort of bogus self-serving activities Dr. Hammesfahr engaged are exactly the sorts of activities that are used to impeach so-called “expert witnesses” all the time.
    And he wasn’t impeached because?
    Is Mr. Ed a Judge? What are Ed’s credentials for evaluating the veracity of Mr. Hammesfahr’s testimony? We know the answer: none.
    And your credentials are?

  • Anthony

    Boonton –
    As long as I am being accused of “touting” Hammesfahr, let me ask if you just happen to glaze over this tidy bit of information.
    William Hammesfahr, MD- Agenda Tab # 3
    Dr. Hammesfahr

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Now really Mr. Ed, you’re just making yourself look silly.
    1. This displinary action happened after his testimony so clearly Greer couldn’t have used it to evaluate its quality. Nonetheless, it is pretty damming now that we can look at his testimony in hindsight.
    2. The judge noted that the doctor could not back up his claims of success or even simply of treating patients similiar to Terri. Now that we have this new info about him we can form a pretty good case that this guy is the worse type of snake oil salesmen…selling hope to Terri’s parents (and the movement) with his inflated testimony and practically self-nominated ‘Nobel Nominee’ on his business card!

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Sorry Anthony, I neglected to read the most recent issue of the minutes of the Probationers Committee of the Florida Board of Medicine. All the 9 page document really tells me is that the doctor did not have to appear. That does not say he was exonerated of the charges against him either in part or completly.
    Hopefully someone will track down the actual complaint against him so we can get a better look at the case against him.

  • Mr Ed

    That this doctor is playing games with his claims to be a Nobel prize nominee coupled with the fact that he is currently has his license suspended for malpractice does nothing to challenge the credibility of his testimony? Would anything?
    Maybe a personal link between Michael Schiavo’s attorney George Felos and court appointed physician Peter Bambakidis? There are other problems too but I have a meeting to go to.

  • Larry Lord

    Mr. Ed
    “I do find some of Hammesfahr’s history troubling, but does that discredit his testimony? If so, wouldn’t Judge Greer have mentioned that his previous activities disqualified him from providing testimony?”
    I think the Rules of Evidence are online Ed. Try googling.
    Bottom line: there is huge difference between being less than credible and being found so irrelevant and prejudicial that your testimony must be precluded as a matter of law.
    Has it occurred to you that Hammesfahr, evident sleaze that he is (in my opinion and that of others), might have been the best “expert” that Mommy Schiavo could afford to pay to recite a sympathetic story?
    It occurred to me. I’m guessing it occurred to Judge Greer as well.

  • Jack

    Nice one, Jack. It’s always easier to just make a snide comment about how I should dry up and blow away then it is to address the points I raise in my posts.
    I didn’t say you should dry up and blow away; it just said that educational expenditures on your behalf were obviously wasted, and that you have two lungs, the least you could have done is share one with your poor grandmother.
    Plus, all of your points are snide comments.
    Of course, addressing the points I raise in my posts would require you to put down your script.
    Ah yes, the “if you don’t agree with Larry you must be reading from a script” script.
    Are you flying to Florida to participate in the guerilla operation to rescue Terry Schiavo from her murdering husband and conspiratorial judges so that you can keep her on life support until bacteria eat her up from the inside out? Or is the “immeasurable” value of her life perhaps worth sacrificing if it achieves the political goals of evangelicals (which, I hasten to add, does not appear likely at this point)?
    I don’t know; are you going down there to put a bullet through her head to “preserve her dignity”? Or did you run out of bullets euthanizing other loved ones?
    When exactly did you speak to Michael Schiavo to make your legally binding determination that he is not credible and that Terry Schiavo’s parents are? I’m really curious. I’d also be interested in knowing how many other cases you’ve tried.
    Wow. You got all that out of the uncontestable contention that you wasted your college funds?

  • Larry Lord

    Mr. Ed.
    “And your credentials are?”
    Two eyes, bro’, wide open.

  • Anthony

    Larry –
    You’ve made this tread about you.
    Actually, leftist elitists don’t quite understand what “ad hominem” attacks are seeing as if they did, they would learn to debate points rather than demean other human beings. Dignity, huh? But, I digress.
    I use the brain that your God allegedly gave me to figure out what’s right
    Larry, do you honestly believe that right and wrong are determined in the minds of each individual? If so, why are you so upset that we disagree? It’s just the way that our brains naturally evolved from nothing, after all, isn;t it? You have no grounds for your frustration.
    If you do not think that right and wrong are determined in the minds of each individual, then where do they come from? The state? Come on Larry, surely you would not suggest that Pol Pot was simply doing what was right, would you?
    Face it, your reasoning is set on nothing but sinking sand … and you know it too, as evidenced by your contempt for Christians.
    At least Nieztsche had the intellectual integrity to follow his “brain” where it lead … nihilism. Meaning of course, that arguing for what’s “right” was absurd!

  • Larry Lord

    Mr. Ed
    “The pro-choicers who are suddenly states rights advoctes for one. The only consistency in that argument is the across the board apathy towards other people dying.”
    Most pro-choicers I know have no problem with “states rights” provided that the states aren’t legislating religion or bigotry and trying to do an end-around the penumbra.
    Take Alabama — no state taxes? Enjoy. I’ll do whatever I can not to subsidize ignorant people there — especially the ignorant people who created that mess — but I recognize Alabama’s freedom to “experiment.”
    You’re closer to the rim than usual, Ed, but you’ve still chucked only an airball. To get back to the subject at hand, the conservative hypocricy here is a slam dunk: nothing but twine.

  • Larry Lord

    Yo Anthony
    “why are you so upset that we disagree?”
    Wha ….?
    Let’s be clear: you can believe whatever you want. Enjoy yourself. Really. I want you to have a good time.
    But what is being done to Michael and Terry Schiavo by politicians — politicians working on behalf of people like you (please correct me if I’m wrong) — is revolting on numerous levels (all of which I’ve touched upon in my various posts).
    Can I understand the feelings of Terry’s parents? Sure. It sucks for them. But life sucks just as hard for a lot of other people whose viewpoints were not given anywhere near the time and consideration that Terry’s parents views were given. And life sucks for a lot of people for whom the resources available to Terry Schiavo simply don’t exist. Guess what happens to those people while Bugman Delay poses in front of his microphone?

  • http://freaki-tiki.com/v-web/b2/index.php Freaki

    It is very evident that after Terri spent two years in her

  • Jack

    But what is being done to Michael and Terry Schiavo by politicians — politicians working on behalf of people like you (please correct me if I’m wrong) — is revolting on numerous levels (all of which I’ve touched upon in my various posts).
    I’m not sure why this upsets you so much about this; I’m sure when your time comes, they be more than happy to shut off the machine.
    Jack

  • Larry Lord

    “Face it, your reasoning is set on nothing but sinking sand … and you know it too, as evidenced by your contempt for Christians.”
    Anthony, you need only search this site for my many references to fantastic filmmakers such as Robert Bresson and Carl Dreyer to discover how wrong you are.
    I don’t have contempt for “Christians”. Not at all. I think much of what Jesus said is right on. But the idea that there is a Christian principle at issue in the Terry Schiavo case is a bad joke. Terry Schiavo is being used as a prop by self-proclaimed Christians who would do or say just about anything to get more power and whose behavioar strikes me as indecent and corrupt to the core.
    I do have contempt for people who demonstrate nothing but contempt for our legal system and for the idea that Americans should be free from interference in their private lives by politicians and legislatures who seek to codify their religious beliefs into law. Sadly, many self-proclaimed Christians have become increasingly willing to align themselves with such individuals at the same such Christians have become increasingly extreme and fundamentalist in their views about reality.

  • Larry Lord

    Freaki writes
    “It is very evident that after Terri spent two years in her

  • George Maddox

    Larry Lord wrote: “George Maddox wants to know what is meant by the phrase “death is natural”!
    What an odd question!
    Then George suggests
    “I would like to talk to you, but I am afraid we may be speaking a different language. All I want to do is learn your language.”
    Seems to me we’re all speaking English. Perhaps some of us would like to pretend that words can mean whatever we want them to mean, like Humpty Dumpty in “Through the Looking Glass.” And we can change the meaning of those words whenever it pleases us to do so.”
    Dear Larry,
    Check my posts; I never asked “what is meant by death is natural”. I asked what “natural” meant to an individual.
    There are lots of definitions for a single word. I see nothing wrong in asking what a word means to an individual.
    G.M.

  • George Maddox

    Mumon,
    My intent was to understand you. Thank you for answering.
    G.M.

  • Mr Ed

    I’m juggling hundreds of posts but it was mentioned on some of the previous threads, I believe by Larry himself. Can someone find a site for this story? If not I’ll track it down myself.
    Well, the reason I ask is if you are talking about the Sun Hudson case, that wasn’t about money or the mother’s ability to pay. Though Larry would like to makes us think so, it was actually about what the doctors deemed “medically innappropriate”. If there’s another case, I’d like to read up on that one. I’m sure there’s a critical point that’s being left out.

  • Mr Ed

    1. This displinary action happened after his testimony so clearly Greer couldn’t have used it to evaluate its quality.
    You’re right, Boon, I didn’t take notice of the dates.
    2. The judge noted that the doctor could not back up his claims of success or even simply of treating patients similiar to Terri. Now that we have this new info about him we can form a pretty good case that this guy is the worse type of snake oil salesmen…selling hope to Terri’s parents (and the movement) with his inflated testimony and practically self-nominated ‘Nobel Nominee’ on his business card!
    I don’t know, I still think the Nobel Prize issue is a bit flimsy. I mean, first, he wasn’t lying about it. And second, I don’t know the context and whether or not its fair to say he was bragging. Third, if we discarded the testimony of everybody that liked to brag we’d be pretty short of expert witnesses, don’t you think?

  • Mr Ed

    Furthermore, Hammesfahr isn’t the only that testified in support of Terri. So, if you want to discredit all of the testimony in support of Terri then you have a lot of work to do. If you’d like a list of all the doctors you need to rake through the mud, I can find that for you.

  • Larry Lord

    Mr. Ed
    “Though Larry would like to makes us think so, [the case] was actually about what the doctors deemed “medically innappropriate”.
    Except I’m not talking about a KeyCite for the case on WestLaw, Ed. I’m talking about why the baby was allowed to die.
    Surely Mr. Ed isn’t suggesting that it is appropriate for innocent people to be taken off necessary life support against a parent’s wishes merely because some doctors and a single state court judge determine that it is “inappropriate” to keep the babies on life support.
    We know Mr. Ed couldn’t possibly be suggesting this. So we are left wondering why Mr. Ed is so eager to avoid the more interesting question: why was that baby allowed to die (took about 24 hours from the time they pulled the tubes out — pretty much exactly what the the doctors expected when they intentionally and knowingly took away the essential care needed to keep the baby life)? Why didn’t Congress or some fat rich Christian Congressmen — like Bugman Tom Delay — step in to see to it that the baby was given the treatment that the baby’s mother demanded? Surely Mr. Ed does not claim that no doctor or institution was unwilling to care for that baby at any price. And surely Mr. Ed does not claim that caring for the baby was illegal once the doctors at this one hospital had made their “medically inappropriate” determination.
    Why is Mr. Ed suddenly interested in the precise legal issue before the court in Texas? What happened to all the pleasing platitudes about the “immeasurable” “intrinsic value” of human life? And the slippery slope towards Nazidom?
    Something strange is afoot. Perhaps we should wait until the Court of Appeals scoffs at Congress’ claims.
    Or how about a poll: do any Christians here believe that the fate Terry Schiavo’s “eternal soul” is at risk if her feeding tube is removed? That argument was presented to a Federal Judge yesterday!!! Frankly I think such bizarre arguments make a sad joke out of Christianity and our legal system.
    Are any evangelicals here brave enough to recognize when your religion is being dragged through the muck by politicians? Are you brave enough to speak up against it? Or do you insist on keeping it “all in the family” as Mr. Ed believes is prudent (surely not a Biblically inspired positition — more likely he figured that out by studying Michael Corleone).

  • Mr Ed

    I think the Rules of Evidence are online Ed. Try googling.
    Nice try, but wasn’t the one trying to discredit Hammesfahr.

  • Larry Lord

    It’s strange to watch someone defend a second-rate court expert as if there were some personal connection.
    Hammesfahr would happily testify against Mr. Ed’s interests if someone paid him to do so. Isn’t that obvious?
    Watch Sean Hannity lie like a disgusting pimp for this slick member of the “not really nominated for the Noble prize” club:
    ———————————–
    From the March 21 edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes:
    HANNITY: And we’re going to talk to a doctor who spent 10 hours with her tonight, and he says that he believes, in his expert opinion — this is a man that was nominated for a Nobel Prize, by the way — that she could be rehabilitated.
    […]
    HANNITY: And coming up later in the program tonight, we’re going to meet a doctor who actually spent 10 hours examining Terri Schiavo. He was nominated for a Nobel Prize. He believes that she could be rehabilitated.
    […]
    HANNITY: You were nominated for a Nobel Prize in medicine?
    HAMMESFAHR: Yes.
    […]
    HANNITY: You were nominated to get a Nobel Peace Prize in this work. Are you saying that this woman could be rehabilitated?
    […]
    HANNITY: How is it possible we’re in this position if you have examined her? You were up for a Nobel Prize. This is mind boggling to me.
    […]
    HANNITY: Well, this is what I want to understand. This is your area of expertise that got you nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in medicine, the Nobel Prize.
    […]
    HANNITY: — hang on a second — and talk to a Nobel prize-nominated physician who spent 10 hours with her, who believes if, given the opportunity, he can rehabilitate her?
    […]
    HANNITY: Imagine being in his position and having a guy like a Nobel Prize nominee like Dr. Hammesfahr, who I’m looking at right now, who spent 10 hours with her and feels that, given the chance, he could rehabilitate this girl.
    —————————-
    And the conservative evangelical rubes at home eat the lies up like candy. Some of them do anyway. Interestingly, quite a few of them realize that they are being played for fools by the slick politicians leading this charade.
    Read more about Hammersfehr and the clowns who pimp on his behalf and make a joke out of our national discourse here:
    http://mediamatters.org/items/200503220009

  • Mr Ed

    So we are left wondering why Mr. Ed is so eager to avoid the more interesting question: why was that baby allowed to die…?
    Why don’t you look back at the several times I did answer you question, Lar? Which, I might add, keeps drifting. Talk about dissembling.
    Why didn’t Congress or some fat rich Christian Congressmen — like Bugman Tom Delay — step in to see to it that the baby was given the treatment that the baby’s mother demanded?

    Unlike Terri, there were no doctors showing evidence that Hudson was not in a terminal state. Unlike Terri, Hudson got every bit of treatment he could. In other words, Terri is an apple and Sun Hudson is an orange. Get it, Lar?
    Surely Mr. Ed does not claim that no doctor or institution was unwilling to care for that baby at any price.
    I don’t know. All I know is that of the forty hospitals TCH contacted none was willing to take the patient. I don’t know what factor cost played but I do know that since TCH was willing to pay Hudson’s court fees, cost was probably not a determining factor.
    Last words before we bury this dead herring Lar?

  • Mr Ed

    And the conservative evangelical rubes at home eat the lies up like candy. Some of them do anyway. Interestingly, quite a few of them realize that they are being played for fools by the slick politicians leading this charade.
    And some, if not most of the people on this blog have realized that you are using Terri’s case to dig up hypocrisies. We realize that you are using this sad case to support your crusade against what you see as the Religious Right. But you don’t see how hypocritical it is for you to do this, do you? Just as you didn’t see how obnoxious and distasteful it was for you to use Joe’s family tragedy as an opportunity to get back on your soapbox.

  • Larry Lord

    Mr. Ed
    “Nice try, but wasn’t the one trying to discredit Hammesfahr.”
    I never said you were trying to discredit him Ed. I suggested you look up the Rules of Evidence so you don’t ask silly questions about how Judges deal with expert testimony.
    You’ll learn even more about the rules of evidence when the “intelligent design” creationists get their “science” evaluated in Federal Court. Hahahhaha!!! That will be a laugh RIOT — trust me.
    Even the miracle-performing Dr. Hammerliar won’t be able to resuscitate the ID goons after that.

  • Mr Ed

    You’re truly a one hit wonder waiting for a hit, aren’t you Lar. Well, have fun using this tragedy to for your own personal goals. I’m going to dinner.

  • Larry Lord

    Mr. Ed
    “Unlike Terri, there were no doctors showing evidence that Hudson was not in a terminal state. Unlike Terri, Hudson got every bit of treatment he could.”
    Really? “Terminal state”? “Every bit of treatment”? Who determined that Mr. Ed? Was it a state judge or was it a Federal Judge Ed?
    How many doctors were involved Ed? Did you review the testimony of each of those doctors? Are those doctors believable or do they have some other agenda? And how do you know?
    Apples and oranges, Ed? I’m seeing baby and adult. Human beings. That’s what y’all have taught me, Ed. THat’s what y’all been screamin’ at me. Embryos, fetuses, babies, adults: they are all human beings, all the same intrinsic immeasurable worth.
    Unless you happened to be born in Iraq then we have to weigh your life against the benefits of having a permanent base in your country and keeping the war-lovin’ rubes happy.
    So now it’s all about whether you’re in a “terminal state” or not. So what’s the Christian definition of a “terminal state” where it’s okay to pull the plug on you regardless of whether you or your family want to live or die?
    I’m really really curious Ed.

  • Larry Lord

    Ed,
    “You’re truly a one hit wonder waiting for a hit, aren’t you Lar.”
    No I’m waiting for an brave evangelical to speak up here and admit that Schiavo is a prop for the pro-life movement and it’s disgusting.
    “Well, have fun using this tragedy for your own personal goals.”
    Sure, the donations are just pouring in.
    Enjoy your dinner.

  • http://reformedpolitics.com/archives/2005/03/23/stand-to-reason-speaks-out/ Reformed Politics

    Stand to Reason Speaks Out

    If you are a Christian and ever wonder how to debate difficult topics with those who don’t share your worldview, check out Stand To Reason Minstires. You can link to it from my page. I am pointing you to their blog so you can see what they have to say …

  • TJones

    Mr. Ed,
    Please see the following:
    Proverbs 9:7-12
    Proverbs 14:6-12
    Proverbs 21:24-27
    Proverbs 22:10

  • TJones

    Also,
    Luke 9:5

  • TJones

    While browsing I found this very informative site.
    http://www.terrisfight.net/

  • http://www.thegreatseparation.com/newsfront/2005/03/terri_schiavo_b.html The Great Separation

    Terri Schiavo Blog Round Up.

    Voices speaking for one that is silenced. – First note. The photo. It’s a victim of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany where starvation was routinely used to eliminate people that Hitler and his government viewed as not worth living. You

  • Mr Ed

    Larry writes: “Apples and oranges, Ed? I’m seeing baby and adult. Human beings. That’s what y’all have taught me, Ed. THat’s what y’all been screamin’ at me. Embryos, fetuses, babies, adults: they are all human beings, all the same intrinsic immeasurable worth.”
    Yes, Lar, apples and oranges. Not babies as opposed to adults; but a person with thanatophoric dysplasia, who will be on a ventilator until his lungs outgrow his ribs and he suffocates, as opposed to a person who has lived with brain damage for fifteen years and who will likely live another unless she’s denied food.
    Do you know what thanatophoric means, Lar? It comes from the Greek thanato meaning “death” and pherein meaning “to bear”. The word, Lar, means “death bearing”. It is, by definition, a progressive, terminal, and incurable condition. Terri, on the other hand, is not getting worse. That means her condition is not progressive and, therefore, not terminal.
    Larry writes: “So now it’s all about whether you’re in a “terminal state” or not. So what’s the Christian definition of a “terminal state” where it’s okay to pull the plug on you regardless of whether you or your family want to live or die?”
    There is no hypocrisy here, Lar. I, very much like the National Right to Life Committee who helped deaft the Texas law that you disparaging as hypocritical, am just recognizing that there is such a thing as “futile treatment” and with medical technology progressing as it is there will likely be a point at which life support will only serve to prolong nothing more than, as Boonton puts it, the human metabolic process. Having said that, I do believe that the standards determining what is “futile treatment” necessarily need to be extremely thorough, meticulously defined, and err on the side of life when a reasonable possibility for error is determined.
    Larry writes: “No I’m waiting for an brave evangelical to speak up here and admit that Schiavo is a prop for the pro-life movement and it’s disgusting.”
    I can’t speak for every politician. But I can say that even if some of the politicians have dubious and self-serving motivations, their actions are serving a necessary purpose. We, as a civil society, need to take the most extreme care when it comes to determining when to cease treatment for our sick. By running this case through all of the various judicial levels we are ascertaining, not just for Terri but for everyone in the future, that nobody will be “deprived of life… without due process of law.”

  • Mr Ed

    Thanks, TJones. If it was just a debate between Larry and me I would likely have gone home long ago (unless beer was involved). But I have a big problem sitting by quietly as untruths are publicly leveled. I just keep thinking there’s some poor fool out there who might actually believe him.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Furthermore, Hammesfahr isn’t the only that testified in support of Terri. So, if you want to discredit all of the testimony in support of Terri then you have a lot of work to do. If you’d like a list of all the doctors you need to rake through the mud, I can find that for you.
    Indeed not but, Mr. Ed, you found his testimony to be so compelling that you quoted him at length. He also was one of the few ‘pro-Terri’ docs who actually spent an extended time examining her. If his testimony is called into doubt it is a big chunck of the parents case.
    Unlike Terri, there were no doctors showing evidence that Hudson was not in a terminal state. Unlike Terri, Hudson got every bit of treatment he could. In other words, Terri is an apple and Sun Hudson is an orange. Get it, Lar?
    so what? If the baby was in a terminal state then why not leave it on lifesupport until it terminated on its own? You can’t say taking away life support from Terri is murder but not for withdrawing it from someone who is ‘terminal’. If you had terminal cancer and was given two weeks to live I couldn’t shot you with a gun and not be charged with murder…
    And some, if not most of the people on this blog have realized that you are using Terri’s case to dig up hypocrisies. We realize that you are using this sad case to support your crusade against what you see as the Religious Right.
    Not just hypocrisies but the worst type of grandstanding. Very much like the Mumia case with left-wingers, there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of deception and fact twisting that the ‘pro-Terri’ side feels perfectly comfortable deploying.

  • Mr Ed

    so what? If the baby was in a terminal state then why not leave it on lifesupport until it terminated on its own? You can’t say taking away life support from Terri is murder but not for withdrawing it from someone who is ‘terminal’. If you had terminal cancer and was given two weeks to live I couldn’t shot you with a gun and not be charged with murder…
    That’s a good question. However, let me clarify: first, I don’t recall using the term murder. At the most it could only be considered manslaughter were it not legal. But I was answering the question about why there was no emergency session of congress for Sun Hudson. This is clearly a different case for the reasons stated.
    Having said that, while I do think there is a point at which care is “futile” and prolonging life is only prolonging increasingly severe pain for a very short period of time, (and I can see that this could be considered an ethical problem for many physicians) I don’t necessarily know that Sun’s case was one of those. I suspect it was but I would like to have seen it get more attention. As I said before, Boon, its a difficult situation and anyone who gives you a “cut and paste” answer is not doing the situation justice.
    Not just hypocrisies but the worst type of grandstanding. Very much like the Mumia case with left-wingers, there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of deception and fact twisting that the ‘pro-Terri’ side feels perfectly comfortable deploying.
    Don’t you think that the grandstanding is serving a purpose though? If nothing else, it makes us think very carefully about whether we’re doing the right thing.

  • http://www.faithblog.org/archives/2005/03/life_worth_livi.html Faith Blog

    Life Worth Living

    I’ve heard many of the arguments. Would you want to live if you were like Terri? What does “like” Terri really mean? Does it mean that a person is unable to take care of themselves? Babies are in that position…

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Having said that, while I do think there is a point at which care is “futile” and prolonging life is only prolonging increasingly severe pain for a very short period of time, (and I can see that this could be considered an ethical problem for many physicians) I don’t necessarily know that Sun’s case was one of those. I suspect it was but I would like to have seen it get more attention. As I said before, Boon, its a difficult situation and anyone who gives you a “cut and paste” answer is not doing the situation justice.
    This we can certainly agree on.
    Don’t you think that the grandstanding is serving a purpose though? If nothing else, it makes us think very carefully about whether we’re doing the right thing.
    Not really. I suppose any cause of the moment will ‘make us think’. I wouldn’t be very impressed with a left-wing ‘free mumia’ activist who told me something like “even if he is guilty at least all this commotion is making us think about the death penalty, race relations and police conduct”.
    As Larry pointed out this is a one-shot issue just like the law Congress passed was a one time only Bill of Attainer. Let me ask you something from a pro-life perspective, how many Terri’s are there who do not have parents objecting? The only reason this is a big cause is because of the parents objecting and staging such a public fight. In cases where there are no objections (or objectors lack media savy) the resolution of this case will have no impact at all.
    The grandstanding, however, has been way over the top with people like Delay and Fist making medical diagnoses from watching a thirty second tape…telling us that Terri wants…telling us that husband’s opinion is irrelevant. Aside from changing the decision or stalling it, nothing productive is happening here. No guidlines are being proposed. In fact, considering that opinion polls are against what Congress has done what has probably happened is that Republicans have sucked up to the pro-life base in their party while alienating everyone else (not to a huge degree to be sure but a modest one). The result is likely to be skepticism against any effort to actually do something productive like defining what really is and isn’t ‘intrusive’ measures.

  • Mr Ed

    As Larry pointed out this is a one-shot issue just like the law Congress passed was a one time only Bill of Attainer. Let me ask you something from a pro-life perspective, how many Terri’s are there who do not have parents objecting? The only reason this is a big cause is because of the parents objecting and staging such a public fight. In cases where there are no objections (or objectors lack media savy) the resolution of this case will have no impact at all.
    I don’t know about that. It was likely a case like this that prompted a proposed amendment to the Texas Health and Safety code in 1997. Then Gov. Bush thought that original amendment wasn’t thorough enough and as a result of a lot of legal wrangling, including input from both the National Right to Life Committee and the Hemlock Society, a compromise was reached and a provision was entered into Texas state law that allowed the hospital to cease care for a patient without the family’s consent when that care was deemed innapporpriate. And this law has already been invoked in the case of Sun Hudson.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Of course I can see the value in that law and how it was derived. Lawmakers and the governor (as well as private citizens and lobbyist groups) tried to make a law that they thought captured their general values…a law that would then be applied to specific cases like that of Hudson.
    If we discovered that the law was deficient we could propose a modified version to enshrine a value we would want. for example, we could propose that the hospital cannot pull the plug as long as the guardian is opposed.
    That is quite different than a one-shot bill that applies to a single person. The ‘save Terri’ law does nothing for Hudson or the thousands of other people who might be in similar situations…yet while the arrogance and grandstanding may rake in some pro-life contributions to the Republican party the bad taste this leaves in the mouths of many average Americans may end up killing any shot at some type of comprehensive bill to address the conflicts we see here.
    I spoke about this before in regards to abortion where it seems pro-life leadership would rather the US be pro-life on paper rather than actually have fewer abortions.

  • http://reformedpolitics.com/archives/2005/03/24/is-america-broken/ Reformed Politics

    Is America broken?

    A woman is slowly starving to death in a Florida hospice.
    She is under armed guard to ensure that no one offers her water to drink or food to eat.
    This is all happening under court order.

  • http://none Jere Bashinski

    A POSSIBLE WAY TO GIVE THEM PAUSE IN THEIR EFFORTS TO KILL TERRI
    I think that Terri