Do atheists generally believe euthanasia is a good idea? Is it a religious concept to let God decide who lives or dies, while making the healthcare system do everything possible to keep someone alive- astounding hypocrisy in my view...
When and where do you think it's a good thing to do? Eg. Could we open beds in nursing homes once patients have gone catatonic? My mother, a baby boomer, feels this is an inevitability with our rapidly aging population. I'm not so sure, seeing the give it your all methods used even in palliative care sometimes.

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Hey - I think that it is religion that primarily obfuscates the basic logic of this for most adherents, yes, if that is what you're asking/stating. Do atheists generally think its a good idea? I don't' know but I'd suspect they do because most of them are pretty darn smart.

When and where do you think it's a good thing to do?

As long as one makes the decision to end their own life while still bearing full legal capacity I have no issue with euthanasia.

My great grandmother did this by having a living will done long before she got sick. By the time the living will conditions legally kicked in it was obvious she was:

1.) Not coming back

2.) Suffering

Which was part of the conditions of the living will.

So, it worked as desired and she passed away peacefully with family and morphine. You can't do it how she did in the United States and she did this out of country. Here, I think you can only ask for this if something else is keeping you alive, like a machine of some kind. I think that is irrational and should not be a requirement.

However, do you mean to broach the topic of forced euthanasia?

- kk

I was not really thinking about forced euthanasia, and I think we are a way off from the suicide machines. I wish we had better treatments for depression, or that we could find more balance in our lives. I'm sad that we haven't found a novel psychopharmacotherapy in thirty years.
Anyway, my concern is because I'm involved with the care of the elderly, and we have a rapidly aging population, with a dwindling younger one, that we are only at the tip of the iceberg and are already way over stressed in terms of the number of sick old people we can accommodate. Also, it really seems to me that a lot of these people do not have any quality of life. But I don't feel qualified to make decisions about who lives and who dies. We would need to have consent of some form, or a process by which it wouldn't be easily corruptible.
Sometimes I can't shut my mouth about religion even at work, this reminded me of this, we've got a relatively young guy with a progressive neurological disorder and he can't remember much. He's also JW, and they don't celebrate birthdays and shit, right? So anyway the recreation therapist said, they're,allowed to take him to parties to listen to music and have a piece of cake, because he doesn't really have anything left in the world, but they have to remind him each time that its against his religion. I didn't bite my tongue fast enough, i said "if his gods gonna hold that against him at this point in his life, maybe his gods not worth having!" Anyway, no, I was just wondering if in general atheists believed that mercy killing was acceptable, but we got into suicide machines and forced euthanasia... You folks are gonna open my mind too much and my brain will fall out. I'm not making the best use of the website because I'm using an iPad and there's some things I can't do. I would like to follow you on twitter if you're on it, I saw your name kir but then I couldn't link to it.. Can you message it to me or post it here? Anyone else who talks to me on these forums too, if you have a twitter name and I can follow you please share. I'm sure if I was on a pc it would be easy for me to find that info but this iPad is kind of like a big cell phone in some ways. Or I'm just not figuring it out yet. I'll get it eventually.

Hey,

I was not really thinking about forced euthanasia, and I think we are a way off from the suicide machines.
 
I agree. I think the global population issue can be addressed other ways ... meaning not any method involving coercion (I'm thinking family planning, education, etc.)
 
I wish we had better treatments for depression, or that we could find more balance in our lives. I'm sad that we haven't found a novel psychopharmacotherapy in thirty years.
 
What do you mean by that? I ask only out of ignorance as I only know of the first line anti-depressants like celexa, wellbutrin, etc.
 
Anyway, my concern is because I'm involved with the care of the elderly, and we have a rapidly aging population, with a dwindling younger one, that we are only at the tip of the iceberg and are already way over stressed in terms of the number of sick old people we can accommodate. Also, it really seems to me that a lot of these people do not have any quality of life.
 
This is the sad part to me; that people don't seem to appreciate the importance of quality of life as much as pure longevity. But what good is longevity if you're living a terminal nightmare, I wonder?
 
But I don't feel qualified to make decisions about who lives and who dies. We would need to have consent of some form, or a process by which it wouldn't be easily corruptible. Sometimes I can't shut my mouth about religion even at work, this reminded me of this, we've got a relatively young guy with a progressive neurological disorder and he can't remember much. He's also JW, and they don't celebrate birthdays and shit, right? So anyway the recreation therapist said, they're,allowed to take him to parties to listen to music and have a piece of cake, because he doesn't really have anything left in the world, but they have to remind him each time that its against his religion. I didn't bite my tongue fast enough, i said "if his gods gonna hold that against him at this point in his life, maybe his gods not worth having!"
 
Spot on.
 
Anyway, no, I was just wondering if in general atheists believed that mercy killing was acceptable, but we got into suicide machines and forced euthanasia... You folks are gonna open my mind too much and my brain will fall out.
 
Ha, I would think most atheists would agree that mercy killing is acceptable when, as you noted, it is done the "right" way.
 
I'm not making the best use of the website because I'm using an iPad and there's some things I can't do. I would like to follow you on twitter if you're on it, I saw your name kir but then I couldn't link to it..
Oh, that might be because I changed the twitter name to match my blog. I'll go update that link. Here it is as well:
 
 
Can you message it to me or post it here? Anyone else who talks to me on these forums too, if you have a twitter name and I can follow you please share. I'm sure if I was on a pc it would be easy for me to find that info but this iPad is kind of like a big cell phone in some ways. Or I'm just not figuring it out yet. I'll get it eventually.
No worries. My blog is http://kirkomrik.wordpress.com and I don't know if I invited you to join the group I created to welcome adherents, but please feel free to join that, too. We need thoughtful, calm minds as yours.
 
- kk

Regarding psychopharmacotherapy, medicine is very limited in what it can do for psychiatric illnesses. There is still so much to learn about how the brain works. One clear example is the link between diabetes and depression. My daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 8 years old, and just last month was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and depression. The psychiatrist said that there is a huge population of diabetics with depression, these two seemingly unrelated diseases go hand in hand a good percentage of the time. There are insulin receptors in the brain which we don't really know what they do, maybe they are involved with feeling full during a meal, or giving you pleasure from food, (these are my own theories), but clearly they do something. Then you mess up the metabolism and add exogenous insulin to the system, and something else goes wrong. So much of medicine is sadly just affecting natural systems in a way that we don't clearly understand, leading to other problems that we understand even less.

Anyway, for psychopharmacology we have: antianxiety agents, antidepressants, mood stabilizers (basically lithium and antiepileptic drugs), and antipsychotics.
It may seem like a new antidepressant comes out every other day but sadly most of these are "me-too" drugs, they are variations (often very slight variations) on what already exists. (Bupropion is actually one exception, it is more different from the other antidepressants then any of them are to each other, because it affects dopamine where the others affect mostly serotonin and a bit of norepinephrine).
There is a lot of potential in the hallucinogens and some other drugs of abuse, but the potential for these is limited by the fact that people abuse them. This is another topic I have to post because I am very passionate about the fact that people abuse drugs because they are unhappy, not because they are bad.

Same way with my father who died a bit over a month ago. He wanted to die naturally with heroic measures. We took him to my sister's house and were all there at his side when he drew his last breath. We kept him for a day so that local friends and family could come to see him at peace. My ex and daughter flew in from the West Coast. It was a dignified death.

I am impressed with where this discussion has gone, and agree with what most of you have said. As a commercial business you open up great questions whose answers should have a lot to do with how the specific laws are written regarding its permissibility. If those laws are written like any others it will be anything but clear.

To answer what I assume to be the point of the question, of course, yes. The day I can't wipe my own ass, and in high likelihood will never be able to do so again allow me to check out without having to jump through hoops to do it.

To the person who said that suicide laws are unenforceable, I offer a mild correction. They are quite enforceable for those who are unsuccessful at it.

"To the person who said that suicide laws are unenforceable, I offer a mild correction. They are quite enforceable for those who are unsuccessful at it."

How? If they were unsuccessful, they didn't commit suicide, so they didn't break the law.

If you mean attempted suicide, that's yet another matter. There are millions of unsuccessful suicide attempts every year in the US. I don't know if attempted suicide is legal or not, but I can't recall ever hearing of someone facing criminal prosecution for a failed suicide attempt. Can you?

It's hard to imagine a scenario where the police talk a distraught man down from a bridge and then arrest him on criminal charges. They usually end up getting psychiatric evaluations, not jail time.

Back to euthanasia: There are at least a few US states were physician-assisted suicide is legal, if heavily regulated. I think Washington state is one of them. I'd look it up, but I'm a lazy, lazy man.

If suicide is illegal, wouldn't attempting suicide be (at best) attempting to break the law. It's like trying to rob a bank.... you don't succeed, but it's still illegal.

A personal hero of mine:

"After a two day trial, the Michigan jury found Kevorkian guilty of second-degree homicide. Judge Jessica Cooper sentenced Kevorkian to serve 10–25 years in prison"-Wiki.

I have a right to die...so I guess have to shoot myself someday. In fact, tens of thousands of gun assisted suicides occur every year..maybe this is why us Americans really love our guns.

Our callousness towards human dignity has reached biblical proportions.

I admire Dr. Kevorkian as well, on all saints day I suggested that Mother Teresa be stripped of her sainthood and the crown or whatever they get be given to Dr. K. I don't think the Catholics will go for it somehow, they regard pain as a virtue, where I think easing suffering, not contributing to it is more admirable.

the crown or whatever they get

Halo? or is that just angels... pretty sure they get a nice stained glass window in a church somewhere too.

I guess I was including the evaluation and possibility of being placed into a mental hospital against my will as being similar as the state is acting under its authority to keep me confined.

Come to think of it I'd rather be arrested, charged, convicted, and incarcerated for a determined time period as opposed to the open-endedness of someone's opinion of my mental health. Heck, I don't even believe in god so there is something wrong with me to begin with. If I truly wanted be dead, it might not matter much either way.

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