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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what a fantastic comment! Very probing and to the point. =)

So long as non-terminal-suffering cases are considered some sort of mental illness, the impulse will be to "help" people by trying to prevent suicide by force if necessary.

In some places in the US if a cop hears you even engage in hyperbole about suicide you get to spend the night in jail.

Of course that just leads to what Strega has said; the sufficiently determined will do something drastic and ugly to try to commit suicide, regardless of the consequences to others.  (Maybe even because of the consequences to others.)  Sometimes they don't succeed, and now there is someone who is crippled or severely brain damaged who survived their own suicide attempt.  (The tragedy of the brain-damaged is that they often can remember what they used to be like.)

if a cop hears you even engage in hyperbole about suicide you get to spend the night in jail.

Oh good, I'm sure that will help anyone who is actually contemplating suicide.

'Merca!

nice great job on this... . i think in the future we will see that change, you  are 100% right

@Strega:

I read 'euthanasia' to have a specific meaning: the mercy killing of the hopelessly sick or injured. That's different than a self-inflicted suicide done for other reasons (like untreated clinical depression) so I didn't address that aspect. Until now.

The illegality of suicide is silly because it's unenforceable. But I'm also thinking legalization creates a huge morass of liability issues.

Why can't we have a clean, kind environment, where people who want to die, can go and do that without causing all the subsequent problems?

I think MacDonald's has that pretty well covered.

But I assume you meant a quicker and more direct approach. Let's say we opened a private business: Suicides-R-Us. One lawsuit from a grieving customer's family and we're out of business. (Who would ever insure us?) One jury decides we have a "murder business" instead of a "suicide business" and we're in prison.

But let's say instead that our government opened a Department of Suicide. I don't think any government authorities should have the legal power of life and death over citizens. There's an awful lot of room for corruption and abuse.

Here, have a cracker.

 Soylent Green is People!

@Gallup's Mirror

No I don't imagine we can open a Stop-Shop today, where you can go for an assisted death.  The lawsuits in the USA would overpower such an enterprise instantly.  The laws in many countries would do the same.  I am simply pointing to the end result of a gradually changing mindset. 

I think you put your finger on the subjective interpretations of euthanasia, when you called it "mercy killing" rather than "assisted suicide".  (yes, I have an online dictionary, and no, I don't need a chunk of Websters from anyone). 

Every major change in public thinking is brought about gradually.  There will always be opposite thinkers, with alternate rationale.  The introduction of this "mercy killing" idea is what I would consider to be a step, not an end result.  But before I venture to post on a conceptual and contentious subject, I tend to think the idea through to its potential end result, and test it in my head first.

There has been a lot of coverage on this issue in the UK, not least because there are individual cases that are brought before the UK courts that test the boundaries of the revulsion inherent in people to even consider death and inflicting it, however much it is desired by an individual. 

There is a particular case of a man with "locked-in syndrome" where he has lived utterly paralysed for years, and communicates somehow via twitches and computer interpretations of them.  He has produced, via this technique, a really heartfelt argument that he should be assisted to die.  He can't kill himself.  He can't scratch his nose if it itches.  He is totally dependent on others for his basic biological needs.  He wants to die, and we (the UK) won't let him. 

He is not, as far as I understand it, in pain, although I don't know how he copes with itches without going insane.  I am so sad to say that I do not believe the courts will grant his plea; even though his wife supports his wishes, she cannot bring herself to kill him, nor would she be safe from prosecution if she did.

The biggest argument against his plea, can be summed up as "the thin edge of the wedge", that is to say once one of these cases is successful, the next case may not be so clear, and eventually all sorts of suicide applicants may be granted permission.  Family may persuade the elderly to opt for death to gain access to their inheritance.  Someone with temporary depression may opt for death, who would have otherwise regained a zest for life should they have had no choice but to try.

At present, for those who can afford it, there is Dignitas in Switzerland.  I do urge you to have a look at the link I posted to the documentary on this matter in my previous post, if you find this subject of interest. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from how they have become established without suffering from lawsuits and insurance claims.  There is no health-test there, you do not have to have agony or physical impairment, but you do have counseling.

So the current position in the UK, is that if you have enough money and mobility, you can go to Switzerland and be assisted to die.  If you do not have enough money, you can't.  This seems so wrong, I can't begin to express my sadness.  Means tested suicide.  Pay or stay.  And I think that gradually, this will change.  I deeply hope that it will.

And I have examined the 'broad end of the wedge", and I consider it to be acceptable.  I can't (much to the relief of anyone reading this) write a long thesis on exactly how the system could have adequate safeguards put in - perhaps Dignitas has already worked that out.

In my mind, the right to live also includes the right to not live.  The right to choose to die.  And it will take much, for us to change our mindsets.  But eventually, and maybe very gradually, I believe we will.  I hope we will. I feel we all should have the right to choose the time and place of our death without authoritative objection, and not have the choice made dependent on our financial status.

 

I dont think suicide is illegal but assisting suicide is ...

Actually, I'm pretty sure suicide is illegal. It causes a public disturbance. Same issue with attempted suicide.

I think it may have been Schopenhauer who mused "What is the purpose of laws against suicide. With what can you threaten someone who is already unafraid of death itself?"

Like on futurama, the suicide machines.

I think it's inhumane idea it's give stronger right to act as God on earth, such as religions men !

Huh?

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