Hi TA,

I came across the following article

Do any of us, however ill, have the right to die?

It is about a paralyzed man who wishes to die. Now this is a sensitive issue, but what I'm just disgusted by is the author, who belittles a man so defenseless in such a low and crass manner. She suggest he should wait until an infection kills him, or starve himself to death - comparing him to a whiny child.

I'm fully for everyones right to end their own lives. And I'm not going to be as arrogant and even suggest that I could understand what this man must feel, or say something stupid like "oh he's just giving up!". So because of that I was truly shocked by how misguided this person is. How low will some of these zealous people sink? Whether or not you agree with his wish is your opinion (which should not affect him), but to ridicule the only wish of such a man as if you're somehow morally superior?

What is Think Atheist's opinion?

Tags: Allison Pearson, Tony Nicklinson, euthanasia, misguided, paralyzed, right to die, suicide

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"...a sign of lingering doubt (even if only subconscious) in any sort of afterlife."

Several times, while talking with Xians who seem to have some ego-strength, I've asked, "With so wonderful a place to go to when Xians die, why do they hang on here so tightly?"

The usual reply is "I don't know either."

Great! Allow our lives to be dictated by a woman who can't spell defense.

I think she's British and writing for one of their newspapers, and they do spell it "defence" over there.  (Yes, it's a quaint dialect of American, isn't it?)

Your "quaint dialect of American" gave me a long-lasting smile. Thanks.

Brits spell lots of words differently.

Our "...ize" words (materialize) are their "ise" (materialise) words. Many of our "...or" words (favor) are their "...our" (favour) words.

They also punctuate differently, putting a full stop (a period) outside a closing quote, as in "Knock me up sometime, Yank".

I'll leave "knock me up" for you to translate.

Try being a Canadian, we don't know how to spell anything.  Our official spellings are majorly British, but the majority of our media (even local) uses American spelling.  Sometimes I spell 'colour' as 'color' in the same paragraph. Not to mention the pain of using American style spell checking.

I fully support the 'right to die'. I have MS and currently take several meds for pain. If the pain ever got to the point where I couldn't take it any more, I would appreciate the option to leave this world with some dignity.

I'm fully in support of the 'right to die' with informed consent.  I do think there is room to intercede if a person is mentally ill and perhaps not able to think things through - although if that state of mental illness is one of continually wanting, indefinitely, to die then even in that case I believe it should be granted.  Not only should people be allowed to end their lives but I feel as a society we should assist them in ending their life with dignity - suicides can be very undignified when not well planned/executed.

Informed consent is pretty tricky to nail down for such a thing.  I'm sure there are black and white cases where terminally ill and in pain seems to be a justifiable reason to wish to die, but I doubt many cases would fall into such a category.  Even I've had excruciating pain to the point of blindness to reason and I've lived a fairly safe and healthy life.  There would be no way of knowing if a person would have changed his/her mind after euthanasia, so taking corrective measures for regulating who is determined to have informed consent and who does not would be difficult.  I would not fault someone for assisting in a planned suicide if it was wished for, but to regulate and legalise it would open the door to many poor choices. 

As a side note I do not think of any death as dignified, death is the period at the end of an essay. The only things that are dignified imo are actions, and thoughts, and the dead have neither.

Raymond, your post tells me you studied philosophy and/or theology but have had little or no experience with serious illness, and no experience with anyone in a vegetative state.

How does a reason to die become justifiable, and in whose mind?

Who has a right to say another person's choice to die is poor?

Probably the ones that hurt the most from a poor choice, family and friends.  Would you argue that a suicidally depressed teenager has a justifiable case for euthanasia? Perhaps a case of Romeo and Juliet type broken hearted fatalism.

  All of the cases of people I knew/know with serious illness never contemplated suicide (at least made me aware of it).    So it's true that I don't have much experience with those on their deathbed wishing for a quicker death.  But I did know several peers growing up that commited suicide, all of those cases were considered tragedies and the victims were friends and their families.  I would say that those were poor choices.  

As an extension to the case of teenage suicide would be temporary pain and suffering.  I wonder how much pain and suffering it takes to make someone wish to die, and how many have gone through that pain and suffering been thankful that their wish wasn't granted.  The state of suffering does not encourage rational choices, and in many cases would lead to poor choices.

Informed consent does not mean having to justify the choice - simply establishing whether or not the person making the choice understands the choice.  It is irrelevant whether or not a cure might be found the next day, or the person might have lived to change their mind.

So you don't think any death is dignified?  You don't see a difference between a person feeling tremendous relief from their pain, losing consciousness and then coding - or another person screaming, moaning, crying, pissing and then going into convulsions before finally dying?  You don't see a difference between not knowing when the pain will end - or actually having the choice to end it within your power?  You don't see the difference between getting drunk and high, while shaking in tears at the fear you will fail as you struggle to find the courage to put that rope around your neck and step off the chair - or going to the 'clinic' to be sedated, knowing for a fact the end is near and it won't involve an experience of choking on your own vomit?

In my experience, when it comes to teen suicide, those who cry the loudest at the funeral were those directly responsible for pushing that teen over the edge.  These days I suppose the bullying problem might be growing to be a more significant factor - but many of the victims in that case have been crying out for help for years only to be told they are weak, or a snitch.  Fuck the people who feel they are the victims of that teen suicide - they should have listened to that teen if they loved them so much.

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