Let me know if I missed it, but I saw no comments to my post yesterday in which anyone was willing to take a side in a debate that allegedly represents 49% of America.

I realize this blog readership skews toward skeptics and science lovers. But still, not one person is willing to make a rational case against doctor-assisted suicide?

That is exactly what I predicted.

The 49% poll number was never real. No rational person prefers the government having veto power over the end-of-life decisions that they, their family, and their doctors prefer. And the irrational people don't want me shining a light on their argument.

This reminds me of the conspiracy theory that says gay activists exaggerated the risk of AIDS to the heterosexual community because it was the best way to get funding. I have no opinion on the validity of that conspiracy theory beyond the fact that it activated my pattern recognition for the doctor-assisted suicide topic. It looks as though a tiny percentage of the public (a subset of creationists perhaps) has been using misleading poll results to make it seem as though support for their position is strong when in fact it is nearly non-existent.

I'm still willing to say I'm wrong about the polls being bogus. But it seems mighty strange that 49% of the American public are suddenly hiding.

I submit that the traditional media is missing a big story here on the misleading nature of those polls.

My book's sales rank has dropped since I started hammering on this topic, so I will take that as my guide to back off and let the 1% of the public who are  on the other side have their victory.

I will also take this opportunity to apologize to anyone who felt threatened by my choice of words on this topic.

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+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 3, 2013
"Therefore, any experience of life should not take precedence over life. "

I disagree. Without the experience, life has little meaning. My life is more valuable than the life of the bush in front of my house in part because I experience my life while the bush has no experience. I'm more important than my mailbox too, even though we both share the quality of existence, which is more primary than life or its experience. Would you say it's better to let me suffer in pain on a daily basis than to burn down the mailbox, because my experience is less primary than the mailbox's existence? What about the bush - is my experience of suffering less important than the bush's life? If not, then why is my experience of suffering less important than my life?
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 3, 2013
>>You haven't seen me uncensored. You might enjoy the show.

I was just going to say before you make that decision alone, consult your doctor and your family too. From the post above, you have probably already reconsidered.

If you need more venting time in private, come on up to Montana. We'll go snowmobiling.
Dec 3, 2013

First, I am truly sorry for your loss along with the frustration, emotional turmoil and grief that you have experienced. There are many topics upon which you and I will likely never agree. However, you always have a well reasoned, logical position which I appreciate and value. I would ask that you continue with this topic. I thought and continue to think that Jack Kevorkian provided a useful service, though it was foolish of him to think that he was going to cause a change in the laws of Michigan.

I cannot imagine that I would ever ask for or desire assisted-suicide (physician or otherwise), but I fervently believe that if a person desires this for themselves, it should be available. The government's input ought to be limited to the regulation and enforcement of contracts and qualifications. I am not terribly concerned about undue influence by health insurers. That can probably be mitigated by denying them input into the decision. Life insurance contracts do need to be addressed since many, (nearly all?) deny payout in the event of suicide.

Blessings upon you and your family.
Dec 3, 2013
[Given that I'm sure you know doctor-assisted suicide is already legal in places, and working fine, what argument do you have that doesn't appeal to a belief in magic? -- Scott]

a brief logical case against euthanasia--
1. Ontology precedes experience--
First you exist, and after that you experience your existence

2. Secondary things should not receive consideration over primary things.
For example, if two people are rampant Elvis fans, but one believes that “Heartbreak Hotel” is Elvis’ best song while the other argues that “Jailhouse Rock” is best, it would be silly for either to abandon their primary belief that Elvis is great in response to their disagreement over the secondary issue of which song was his best.

3. Therefore, any experience of life should not take precedence over life.
Terminating life because of a person’s experience of life is illogical because existence is primary over experience. This is true both for people who want to terminate their own lives due to experience, and for people who want to terminate the lives of others due to their perception of the others experience.

Therefore, I would agree with your statement that doctor-assisted suicide is legal some places, but disagree that it is “working fine” on the basis that it kills people due to experience, thus violating the above logic.

If you really want to debate this, which I doubt, I am willing to take the time necessary to do that well. Also, if you do want to debate this, i would first encourage a cooling off period of a few weeks at least out of respect for your grief and the connection between this issue and your emotional pain. i am also happy to do it offline as it is somewhat unfair to you to have this conversation publicly, even though you started it.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 3, 2013
Scott you seem to have a goal here to have the government change the law instead of a system to eliminate the pain and suffering of terminally ill. Your understandable anger has you highlighting a single item while if you could step back for a moment, try to figure out if there are multiple items that you can work on to accomplish what you want. Locally you can talk with Hospice in our town as they see this all the time and might have some great ideas that your finances could make the difference on. I could setup a meeting with you if you wanted as I live in your community and know the executive director of Hospice (but you could do that yourself also).

On the book, I purchased my copy and thought it had good information and recently purchased another copy for my daughter who graduates from college soon. I think the book is great reading for everybody ready to enter the working world.

[Hospice is a great service for some. I have no suggestions for improving it. -- Scott]
Dec 3, 2013
OK, even though in general I agree, I'll play devil's advocate. Please remember that I may not actually believe most of this.

The government has an affirmative responsibility to intervene in life-ending decisions because to do otherwise sets a dangerous precedent. The question boils down to three choices: (1) the government ALWAYS intervenes, (2) the government NEVER intervenes, or (3) the government SOMETIMES intervenes. It pretty much has to be the first one, for the reasons below.

Clearly, the "sometimes" choice is unworkable, because then the government is making decisions about when to intervene, which means the government is implicitly taking the position that SOME LIVES ARE WORTH MORE THAN OTHERS. Because the law cannot possibly be written to cover every circ*mstance, there will inevitably be some wrong decisions made. However, legal precedence says the value of human life is essentially priceless, meaning the cost of those wrong decisions is intolerable. (Another way of putting this is: I don't know about you, but I've seen our government make some very f*cked-up decisions for some very f*cked-up reasons, and I don't want to leave to chance that my life could be on the wrong end of one.) So #3 is out.

The second option doesn't fly, either. We can break this down into two sub-cases: (a) when the person making the decision is the one who is dying, and (b) when it is a medical proxy. When the individual in question is making the decision, the question is, is the person of sound mind to make it? If it is the individual making the decision, then not intervening seems like the correct course of action. In reality, though, legal precedence also has a lot to say on the subject of being of sound mind. Who is the advocate for the individual if they are not? It might very well have to be the government; suppose, for instance, the individual has no family and has not appointed a proxy. But that puts us right back into the position of the government making a decision whether or not to end a specific life, because they have to make the decision whether or not the person is of sound mind. The fact that it may be a PASSIVE decision (i.e. they take no action to void a decision by another) is irrelevant; it is still a decision, and the government is still deciding who lives and who dies.

When there is a medical proxy, there are several sub-sub-cases that are problematic. The proxy cannot be assumed to (I) be competent to make the decision, (II) have the best interest of the individual in question in mind, or (III) be making a decision that is in line with what the individual would have done IN THE SPECIFIC CIRC*MSTANCES of the situation. I think the problem, Scott, is that you are only considering one specific situation, where the correct side of the issue is completely clear to any rational person: someone who is terminally ill, in great pain and mentally deteriorated as well, and has a proxy (i.e. YOU) who does not meet any of the above conditions. It's not surprising that you focus on that, given that it is your personal situation. But consider the following cases:

- A five-year-old child is dying of a TREATABLE disease because the treatment is refused by her parents due to their religious beliefs
- A person with great personal wealth is in a coma that is not deemed irreversible by his doctors, but his medical proxy, who is also the beneficiary of his will, makes the decision to end life-support
- The proxy was appointed many years ago when they had similar ideas to the individual about when it was appropriate to end life-support; they are no longer in agreement now, and the individual would not agree with the proxy's decisions as they current stand, but the legal relationship has never been updated

Are you truly prepared to say that the government should not intervene in ANY of these !$%*!$%*!$%*!$ to protect the life of the individual? Because if you argue that the government should not be involved in health-care decisions at all, that's what you are saying. There is sufficient grey area here that to take the position that the government should NEVER intervene is just wrong.

Unfortunately, that leaves us with just one option, the first one: the government should ALWAYS intervene. The value of human life cannot *legally* be placed at less than priceless, meaning the government must do everything they can to keep people alive. And while that leads to some really sh*tty situations, like your personal one, Scott, the alternatives are worse.
+13 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 3, 2013
Could it be that 49% don't want to subject themselves to the abuse? It's not like we're swinging your opinion. You said you'd slaughter congress if it wouldn't affect your lifestyle. What's the pont of being told "Magic isn't a philosophy." There are a great many philosophies that say that man doesn't have the right to choose his own end--even if there is suffering. Some of them involve religion, which you dismiss out of hand. So why make the argument?

Besides, your father just passed. You're enraged at his death as much as your inability to control when it happened. I'm sure now you're afraid to suffer and die as your father did. You want to be able to have control. I'm not mocking you. It's a reasonable fear and a reasonable desire. But control is an illusion, my friend. Quit grasping at it. I hope someday you gain the ability to believe in the "magic" you reject so soundly. There is a path there to solace and contentment.

Just don't expect the 49% to try to drag you kicking and screaming down that path. When you're open, we can talk.

It doesn't matter to you, but I'll pray that you find healing and peace. Think of it as affirmations from someone with a different world view.
Dec 3, 2013
That sales ranking is a myth. Only 1% of the public is not buying your book.
Dec 3, 2013
@ scott, correction, i said "just like on my blog yesterday, which you responded to…" I meant, "just like in my COMMENT yesterday, which you responded to…"

specifically, this one;

"I believe that doctor-assisted suicide should be illegal, even if it coincides with the wishes of the patient and their family. I am not an activist on the issue per se, but some might construe me as such. I have counseled individuals and families in this regard on a few occasions. Further, I have a living will that specifically states in detail that, should I be incapacitated, it is my desire to remain alive by any means necessary. Philosophically, I believe that life is inherently valuable and should be preserved, regardless of the quality of that life. I am a reasonably sane and rational human being, and would be willing to debate the topic if you would like.

P.s. I have read your blog for a while and comment occasionally, so please accept that as proof that I have not come to the blog to engage in this particular fight."

[A belief in magic isn't a philosophy. -- Scott]
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 3, 2013
I agree with BrankoAntiwar--I'd rather see you uncensored, especially because your ideas can benefit society over the long term perhaps even more than your book sales will.

I also agree with BrankoAntiwar that you should read Mark Twain's "Letters from the Earth" if you haven't already. Everyone should. The world would become a much more thinking, reasonable place if they did.
Dec 3, 2013
I think the term "doctor-assisted suicide" is part of the problem. If the line is at 49%, you only need to sway a few people. I'm no expert on this, perhaps you could come up with a better term, or even hire a political wordsmith to come up with something.

Also, I wonder how much attention this actually gets -- are people really paying attention to the vote or just voting a gut reaction? A little political spending on the issue might be enough to make people more aware of the issue.
Dec 3, 2013
"Let me know if I missed it, but I saw no comments to my post yesterday in which anyone was willing to take a side in a debate that allegedly represents 49% of America."

Yes, you glossed over several. You ignored a few who addressed "the wrong question" (a more sensible wording), and dismissed one as allegedly believing in magic because he used the word "belief" about a philosophy of life.

I was glad when I saw that this blog entry was titled "Moving On," but now I see that that wasn't an accurate title.

It's time to let this rest for a while. Give it time; get some emotional distance. You'll never succeed in convincing anti-euthanasia people of anything while you're parodying their position instead of addressing it.

Again, I'm very sorry for your suffering and your loss.
Dec 3, 2013
Scott, ignoring and misrepresenting people who disagree with you on the blog does not result in their non-existence. Just like my blog yesterday, which you responded to, I still believe that physician-assisted suicide should be illegal, and, therefore, the government should have "veto power" over and against it. Also, judging by the up and down votes, I'm not the one who believes that life is inherently significant and worthy of preservation even in difficult end-of-life scenarios.

[Given that I'm sure you know doctor-assisted suicide is already legal in places, and working fine, what argument do you have that doesn't appeal to a belief in magic? -- Scott]
Dec 3, 2013

I was hoping you'd be totally uncensored on many other topics, as well. I still think you should be, regardless of what you decide to do re: this issue. And I hope you will be!

Have you read Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth, intended to be published posthumously? Get stuff like that out now! (Because what if his daughter had refused to publish or provide it?)
Dec 3, 2013

You say that your future earnings will be used on behalf of other people, and you also intrepret your recent sales drop as caused by your forthrightness re: doctor assisted euthanasia (which position I agree with). And so you're going to back off.

But what if, instead, being TOTALLY uncensored (as you promised to do, if your book sales went up) would yield a GREATER benefit to other people? Dollars are dollars, and they get spent and depreciate. But what is the value of good ideas? Or the right meme publicized widely enough?

[That is exactly the right question. It's hard to give up a guaranteed large benefit to society (my economic engine) for what appears to be a weak public sentiment for changing the laws on assisted suicide. -- Scott]
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 3, 2013
According to this article: http://www.cfp.ca/content/58/10/1169.full, "In 2007, 76% of Canadians agreed that people with incurable disease have the right to die, and in 2010, 67% supported the legalization of euthanasia."

The Province of Quebec Assembly has a bill before it regarding End-of-Life Care that contains a section on terminal palliative sedation and medical aid in dying. The link to the bill's page is http://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/travaux-parlementaires/projets-loi/projet-loi-52-40-1.html and there is a link to a pdf of the bill.

If it is passed, I believe that it will only be a matter of a few years before the rest of Canada adopts a similar law.
Dec 3, 2013
[My book's sales rank has dropped since I started hammering on this topic, so I will take that as my guide to back off and let the 1% of the public who are on the other side have their victory.]
There is no answer in sales rates of unrelated books. Polls might be skewed, but tying the sales of a self help book to the answer to the question of doctor-assisted suicide, is a joke at best, and <funnyexpletive> insane at worst. Even if we say that the readers of this blog are the only ones buying your book (they shure get hit by a lot of advertising), you didn't say that your cut of the proceeds of this book go into publicising this topic, you said "Make me rich enough first, then I'll publicise it from whatever I care to give." Wouldn't you admit that the deal you tried to cut with your readers is rather skewed?

[I don't know what skewed means in this context. I made an offer that is perfectly practical for all parties and has no hidden agenda. -- Scott]
Dec 3, 2013
Not sure if anyone brought it up in the other discussion, but one reason the media may like the 49% number is that it fits the confrontational narrative of two opposing sides with equally valid beliefs.

Media has slipped into a pattern where rather than call someone crazy crazy, they'll treat them seriously by bringing them on as an opposing viewpoint for the sake of "balance". Which only promotes doubt/disagreement where there should be none.

For instance, the entire vaccination debate - because a minor celebrity jumped on the bandwagon whose claim is supported by one since-discredited-as-falsified study in a sea of millions, the idea that vaccinations cause autism and are bad has been given enough "neutral" coverage to convince too many people that vaccinations are a bad thing. Simply vetting the story and going "these people have no real claim" isn't biased journalism, it's investigative journalism - but sticking to the "these people have an equally valid claim despite the overwhelming consensus of evidence" line empowers them and creates a false debate, which helps create confrontation and hopefully ratings.
Dec 3, 2013
I am very much against physician-assisted suicide. Physicians should be in the business of saving lives, not killing people. Killing is contrary to their oath. When I see a physician, I don't want him collecting evidence for why I should be snuffed. I do not want to worry about a surgeon making that decision while I am groggy with anesthesia.

If we have assisted suicide, I would prefer that it be done by suicide specialists.

There are also an assortment of religious, cultural, and psychological reasons for opposing suicide. There are probably millions of people who accept those opinions. Maybe they could be convinced that an assisted suicide system could be devised to address the various ethical, legal, and humanitarian concerns, but it would not be easy.

[You might prefer the doctor who makes more income keeping you alive than the specialist who earns his income killing you. And if you look at the experience in places it is already legal I think you see there has been no large public outcry against premature killing. It's a big problem conceptually that turns out to be no problem at all in implementation. -- Scott]
+11 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 3, 2013
[I submit that the traditional media is missing a big story here on the misleading nature of those polls.]

The only "misleading" part of this debate is your intellectually dishonest framing of the question (as pointed out by myself and others in the previous discussion).

I posted links to several arguments opposing assisted suicide on rational grounds. They were exceptionally easy to find. Now, there could be several reasons why you're ignoring such widely available evidence. My top two guesses would be your usual ignorance followed by your usual predilection for provocation.

But the real irony here is that you are demanding a rational basis for a counter-argument while simultaneously basing your own argument purely on your emotions (after all, you haven't presented a rational defense for your own position yet... you've simply stated it emphatically and then demanded that others refute it). Do you have a sound, consistent philosophical basis for your view? If so, what is it?

And to top it all off, you don't seem to realize that you are vacillating between two completely different arguments. The first is that there is no rational argument against assisted suicide (not that you're intellectually honest enough to frame the question that clearly), and the second is that the 49% poll numbers can't be real. Now, both of them are untrue. The first is untrue as demonstrated by the numerous articles defending the prohibition of assisted suicide on rational grounds (which are freely available on the internet if one takes the necessary 20 seconds to search for them). The second is untrue as demonstrated by current U.S. law. The vast majority of states have outlawed assisted suicide. If it wasn't "really" a popular position then it wouldn't be so widely reflected in U.S. law (or at least there would be much more successful attempts to overthrow those laws). But regardless, the truth or untruth of each of these arguments are completely independent of each other. The former could just as well by true and the latter untrue (or vice verse) seeing how a large amount of people can think a thing based on irrational grounds (whether a majority support or oppose assisted suicide on irrational grounds is irrelevant).

[I will also take this opportunity to apologize to anyone who felt threatened by my choice of words on this topic.]

No one should feel threatened by an ignorant mid-wit (unless he wields enormous political power, of course). Your view is both uninformed and logically incoherent.


[You don't come across as rational. Sorry. I need a stronger opponent to make the debate even mildly useful. -- Scott]
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