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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Vegetarians Less Healthy



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Humans are natural omnivores. Some of us choose for ethical or health reasons to forego our natural diets to become vegetarians.  We are the only species in the known universe that would so do, which is one of the things that make us exceptional.

A new study out of Austria has now cast doubt on a claim often made by vegetarian proselytizers that one should forego meat and animal products for health reasons. From the study:

Overall, vegetarians are in a poorer state of health compared to the other dietary habit groups. Concerning self-reported health, vegetarians differ from each of the other reported groups toward poorer health.  

Moreover, these subjects report higher levels of impairment from disorders. Vegetarians additionally report more chronic diseases than those eating a carnivorous diet less rich in meat. Significantly more vegetarians suffer from allergies, cancer, and mental health ailments (anxiety, or depression) than the other dietary habit groups (Table 3).

Subjects who eat a carnivorous diet rich in meat more often report urinary incontinence. No differences between individuals consuming different forms of diet were found regarding their vascular risk.

The study doesn’t claim that vegetarianism causes these poorer outcomes. But one could imagine that varying significantly from a natural diet wouldn’t be the best for one’s health over the long term. 

I have never believed that we are ethically required to engage in practices contrary to our biological natures. If people want to, great. It is like monastics taking a vow of celibacy. Voluntary, not required.

In any event, it is food for thought. (Yes, I know some studies are contrary, so don’t yell at me!) 

 

POLST’s Potential for Abuse



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With the growing technocracy in medicine, it becomes increasingly difficult for patients to have actual control over their own care. Everything has become so (expletive deleted) arcane! Mind numbing, which is very dangerous because there is great potential for abuse in them-thar hills.

Take the POLST, which stands for Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment. This is a document placed in the patient’s chart that directs the medical team how to care for a patient in the event of a life-threatening circumstance.

POLST is different from an advance directive, such as the durable power of attorney for health care. But it is supposed to reflect patient or surrogate desires, and thus, be consistent with the AD. But if the POLST contradicts the AD, its instructions may be carried out instead of what a patient directed in his or her AD.

POLSTs follow the patient if he or she changes care/treating institutions. That means a mistake made in hospital A follows the patient to nursing home B.

POLST forms do not expire, and thus they can bind a patient years after signing, even if they no longer reflect patient desires.

California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform has published an important white paper that should be pondered by anyone with a loved on in a nursing home or hospital. Since I think these findings may not be exclusive to California, I share a few highlights with you here:

1. Virtually anyone (in CA) can sign a POLST form–it doesn’t necessarily have to be the patient, closest family member, or appointed surrogate. The potential for abuse is obvious.

2.The (CA) law does not require POLST orders to be compared with a patient’s advance directive to assure they are consistent. That means a POLST order could require care a patient does not want, or more likely, visa versa.

3.POLSTs are not mandatory, but 73% of patients were often or always told that they are, and apparently, there are reports of manipulation of patient “choices.”

4. Non-health care professionals often fill out the POLST forms contrary to law. That’s a problem:

In long-term care facilities, a staggering 57% of all POLSTs are believed to be completed by non-health care professionals such as admission coordinators and business managers. While these persons may possess some basic knowledge of health care, they are not experts in medicine and the issues of end-of-life care. Thus, many important choices on the form and their implications may be inaccurately explained or not explained at all, leading to violations of patients’ basic rights to give informed consent prior to medical treatment.

5. This part is also really scary: Apparently POLST orders have been signed by family members even though the patient was competent! 

One Long-term Care Ombudsman in Los Angeles reports that multiple nursing homes have a standard practice of having POLSTs signed by resident family members, regardless of whether the resident has capacity to make health care decisions. This observation is reinforced by the fact that 59% of surveyed Ombudsman found that POLSTs were signed by third parties, even when the resident had capacity, “often” or “sometimes.”

Think of a family member whose potential inheritance is being drained by the costs of care. Or, a family member with a different good faith perspective than the patient. If they sign a POLST, their views– instead of the patient’s–will be followed.

I know this is eye-glazing but attention must be paid!

I was the named health care surrogate for my late aunt. I was offered a POLST to sign–and did. But I required that I be called before life-impacting decisions were made in almost all circumstances–DNR excepted, per her expressed AD wishes. In that way, I retained control to react to actual circumstances. That approach worked out very well for my aunt as she was dying.

Just a suggestion, but if you are a surrogate and asked to sign a POLST, you consider doing likewise. The life you save may be that of someone you love.

For more information on POLSTs than I can give here, see this fact sheet from the always elucidating Patients Rights Council.

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How to Drive the Dying to Assisted Suicide



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Hey kids! I have an idea to cut health care costs: Let’s legalize assisted suicide and also ration care to the elderly and dying! Then we’ll still call it “choice.” Genius!

Think that’s alarmist? Assisted suicide is on the front burner in the UK, with the PM personally opposed to assisted suicide but still planning to allow  a free vote to legalize in the House of Commons.

At the same time, the NICE rationing board is apparently getting ready to reduce the level of treatment available to the elderly and late stage cancer patients. From the Daily Mail story:

Thousands of seriously ill cancer patients could be denied treatment under changes to the way drugs are funded on the NHS. Campaigners are warning that proposals from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) will end the priority given to terminally ill patients.

They estimate almost 13,000 cancer patients a year who are given life-prolonging drugs might be denied them under the new plans – with the elderly particularly vulnerable. They are urging the Government to tell Nice to approve more treatments, as has been done in Scotland.

Of course, Oregon already jumped down this particular rat hole: It rations Medicaid–including life-extending cancer treatment to late stage cancer patients. But it will always pay for assisted suicide–as a Medicaid administrator oh, so coldly wrote to Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroups, denying payment for chemotherapy but assuring that their assisted suicides would be fully covered.

As Wagner put it: The state “will pay to kill me but they will not give me medication to try and stop the growth of my cancer.”

Compassion! Coming soon, perhaps, to Canada, Vermont, and the UK.

#it’stheendoftheworldasweknowit

Lovelock Loses New Time Warming Religion



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Global warming hysteria is part of the war on humans. 

Now, a general in radical environmentalism has hung up his stars. James Lovelock, the founder of Gaia Theory–e.g., earth as a living organism–has become a global warming agnostic. From the Guardian story:

Environmentalism has “become a religion” and does not pay enough attention to facts, according to James Lovelock. The 94 year-old scientist, famous for his Gaia hypothesis that Earth is a self-regulating, single organism, also said that he had been too certain about the rate of global warming in his past book, that “it’s just as silly to be a [climate] denier as it is to be a believer” and that fracking and nuclear power should power the UK, not renewable sources such as wind farms…

Asked if his remarks would give ammunition to climate change sceptics, he said: “It’s just as silly to be a denier as it is to be a believer. You can’t be certain.”

Wisdom. Climate hysterics have lost the public’s ear because their ludicrous, often mutually conflicting predictions, have cost them all credibility.

The best way to be gentle on the earth is to foster greater world prosperity. The environmentalists’ war on humans seeks to do the opposite, promoting policies guaranteed to increase poverty in the developed world and force more than a billion people in the poorest parts of the world to remain mired in bone-crunching destitution.

Radical misanthropic environmentalism serves a fearsome, destructive god.

Chimpanzees are Psychopaths!



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I was listening to a scientist interviewed on NPR today. He described his horror at watching chimpanzees hunt down monkeys and tear them apart, eating them alive as their prey howled in agony.

Naturally, being me, my human exceptionalism radar went up. I looked it up, and sure enough, they eat monkeys alive, meaning: Chimps are psychopaths!

Except they’re not. They’re chimps. They don’t have a moral nature. Thus, their torture of the monkeys is merely an expression of instinctive chimp nature.

We, in contrast, do have moral natures. Any human who acted like a chimp on a hunting frenzy would be rightly deemed a “Hannibal Lecter” psychopath, a person with a profound psychological disorder utterly lacking in empathy.

For all of you “chimps are people too” types–you know who you are–human moral accountability is just one reason why we are exceptional and chimps are not.

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Death on Demand Coming to Canada?



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No more justifications that assisted suicide is about the “terminally ill for whom nothing can be done to alleviate suffering.” That patently isn’t true. Legislative proposals/laws that limit doctor-prescribed death to the terminally ill never have the “nothing can be done to alleviate suffering” part. 

Thus, these restrictions are best seen for what they are–mere political expediencies deemed necessary by death ideologues to get the ball rolling. For that matter, so are requirements mandating that the patient actually take their own lives. Active euthanasia is the actual destination and always has been

Here’s another example of the broad death license that the euthanasia/assisted suicide movement seeks: Legislation has been introduced in Canada’s Parliament to legalize assisted suicide, and once again the “strict guidelines” are broad enough to drive a hearse through. From, “The Right to Die Well,” by the bill’s author, Steven Fletcher:

Having been diagnosed by a physician with an illness, a disease or a disability (including disability arising from traumatic injury) that causes intolerable physical or psychological suffering that cannot be alleviated by any medical treatment acceptable to that person, or;

Being in a state of weakening capacity with no chance of improvement and being of sound mind and capable of fully understanding the information provided to him or her under other sections of the law.

Note, this isn’t the same thing as saying there is no way to alleviate “pain” since the suffering can be psychological. Also, that including the phrase, ”acceptable to that person,” would mean that there would be no objective way to measure or judge any of this.

Besides, any suicidal person thinks there is no way to alleviate their suffering. Should this bill become law, it won’t be long before it extends to mental illness–which, after all can cause far more suffering than a physical malady. Indeed, that is precisely what happened in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland.

This bill probably won’t pass before the next election. But the ground is being prepared for a radical lurch  I think Fletcher is right that the Supreme Court of Canada wants to strike down the existing anti-assisted suicide law. 

And don’t think that beneath the surface this isn’t about health care costs. Throughout the West, a lot of effort is underway to take expensive patients off the books. 

People with disabilities, the elderly, the chronically ill, and eventually the mentally ill in Canada could soon be in the maw of the culture of death, masking as compassion. 

Noah’s War On Humans



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Having heard the rumors that the Russell Crowe $130 million extravaganza, Noah, was distinctly anti-human and radically environmentalist, I decided to check it out. Ayup.

(SPOILER ALERTS! There is a great flood. Also, I will discuss some plot points.)

As I left the theater, I was put in mind of the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. In the 1951 original, the space alien Klaatu comes to earth to save humans from destroying themselves. But in the misanthropic remake, Klaatu comes to earth to destroy all humanity to save the earth. There is even a Noah’s ark scene in which animals are removed temporarily so they can be restored once all the evil humans are dead.

In Darren Arnofsky’s remake of the Genesis story of Noah, “the Creator” doesn’t decide to destroy humankind because, as in the original, He is sickened by man’s unrighteousness and immorality. No, like Klaatu, He wants us all dead to–yes–save the earth

You see, after being kicked out of Eden, man became industrial, building evil cities (never depicted except at a distance), strip mining minerals from the earth, exhausting the soil, and generally despoiling the environment into a barren wasteland (except for Methuselahs’ Mountain, which remains green). Good grief, the place looks like Mordor: No trees, rare animals, ubiquitous toxic waste–a radical environmentalist’s hysterical fantasy about how we are supposedly ”killing the planet” today.

Nor is Noah necessarily spared because he is morally righteous–although he is the epitome of how Deep Ecology types believe we should live gently on the earth. For example, he solemnly instructs his young son Ham to never pick a wildflower because “we should only gather what we can use, what we need.” (I was reminded how, in real life, Switzerland’s constitution has declared that individual plants have intrinsic dignity and an opinion by a Swiss bioethics commission that “decapitating” a wildflower is immoral.) 

As a son of Seth, Noah is a hunter gatherer. Other men, descendants of the murderer Cain, are depicted as evil for their sadistic and bloodthirsty consumption of meat. 

Noah receives a vision of the coming flood and the need to build the ark. Later, when looking for wives for his two younger sons, he has a second vision of humankind being inherently evil, which includes silhouettes of uniformed soldiers fighting from the ancient to modern times. 

Thus, it develops that Noah might have been chosen to captain the ark–not to ensure humans survive the “cleansing flood”–but because he will obey The Creator’s will that all humans perish so that the earth can be restored to a paradise. Here are a few script excerpts that push the theme as best as I could write them down:

Man broke the world.

Water will separate “the foul” [humans] from “the innocent” [animals].

Before man, earth was a paradise.

Man is against creation.

Everything that is good and beautiful we shattered. This means there can be no men for earth to be a paradise.

[Once humans are gone] Creation will be left alone, safe and beautiful.

The “good guy” Noah, teaches that it is man’s job to “serve the innocent.” The vile villain, believes it is man’s job “to subdue the earth”–as he eats an animal alive with gluttonous gusto. 

Only Emma Watson’s character–not in Genesis–mitigates the unremitting and two-dimensional depiction of humans as irredeemably bad. She convinces Noah that there is some good in us. We love our children! (There is a similar character in The Day the Earth Stood Still, who convinces Klaatu not to destroy us all because we have Mozart.)

Whether man gets a “second chance” or goes extinct, is depicted as Noah’s decision, not The Creator’s.  What he decides is obvious since you are reading these words. But the clear implication of the movie is that Noah made a mistake showing us mercy, that we remain evil descendants of Cain, and just as destructive of The Creator’s Paradise. 

Bottom line: Noah pushes much too hard on the modern environmentalist meme–as I reported in The War on Humans–that we are a terrible plague on the living Gaia. That message sells among a small group of progressive elites and  misanthropic neo-earth religionists. Whether the movie is a hit or a flop, I suspect,will depend on whether most are willing to accept being defined as cancers on the planet.

 

Cloning Succeeds Using Destroyed Embryos



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I have long believed and argued that stem cell research is merely the opening stanza of a longer planned biotechnological symphony. What “the scientists” are really after is a reliable way to conduct human cloning.

Without cloning, and you might get effective medical treatments from all kinds of stem cells–both ethical and unethical. With cloning, it is Brave New World time, baby!

Cloning science might have taken a huge step forward with the announcement of a successful mouse experiment in which two-celled embryos were destroyed and each cell subjected to the same cloning process used to make Dolly the sheep (somatic cell nuclear transfer). From the LA Times story:

In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature, researchers said they had successfully generated embryonic stem cells using fertilized mouse embryos — a feat that many scientists had thought was impossible…

Senior study author Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a cell biologist at Oregon Health and Science University, says his lab now wants to reproduce their success, “first in a monkey and later with human embryos.”

If successful, the development would allow the use of “excess” human eggs that are retrieved and fertilized during in vitro fertilization treatments, but never used.Senior study author Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a cell biologist at Oregon Health and Science University, says his lab now wants to reproduce their success, “first in a monkey and later with human embryos.”

See, how the media mislead in these issues? The materials used wouldn’t be excess “eggs.” Once eggs are fertilized they aren’t eggs anymore. They would be excess embryos–e.g., nascent human life.

Here’s how the new technique would be performed:

  1. Destroy early embryos–either those frozen or made for the purpose;
  2. Take the embryonic cells and remove the nuclei;
  3. Insert a nucleus taken from cells of the person being cloned into each embryonic cell;
  4. That would result in a new cloned embryo(s); 
  5. Allow the cloned embryo(s) to develop ten days in a dish to the blastocyst stage;
  6. Destroy the new cloned embryos for their embryonic stem cells, and/or
  7. Implant the embryos in a uterus or substitute therefore and gestate for fetal farming or to birth for reproductive cloning.

This breakthough could be important because is a potential way to do away with the need for eggs currently required in every cloning attempt–and given the egg dearth, a resource problem that has materially held back the sector.

We still don’t know if the technique will work in humans. And we don’t know if the technique will be successful on human embryos beyond the two-celled stage, which most frozen embryos are.

But this I do know: The time to outlaw all forms of human cloning is now–not later when it becomes too late!

Fetuses as Furnace Fuel



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To the Source asked me to opine about the scandal of UK hospitals using the bodies of aborted fetuses to heat hospitals. From, “The Next Logical Step:”

Like most people, I was shocked by the macabre story that broke in the United Kingdom this week. It seems that “at least 15,500″ aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated to heat several hospitals over the last few years. Not cremated and respectfully interred, mind you: Incinerated as fuel to run the boilers.

Shocked yes, but not surprised…To put it bluntly, legalizing abortion at will transformed fetuses in the minds of at least half the population into a killable caste—akin to a tumor or a vial of tainted blood—that can be destroyed at will (except in the latest stage of pregnancy, and in the USA, often even then).

Once any category of humans is devolved into a killable caste, why treat their remains respectfully? 

I get into Kermit Gosnell’s macabre crimes and his keeping fetal body parts in a jar.

Similarly, Jack Kevorkian considered disabled and dying people who wanted to die a killable caste, justifying in his mind conducting human vivisection upon those he was euthanizing.

The Belgians have coupled euthanasia with organ harvesting–transforming despairing disabled and mentally ill patients into so many potential organ farms–with nary a peep of protest outside of disability rights and pro-life commentary.

I conclude:

So, back to dead fetuses as heating fuel in the UK: We should be shocked! Indeed, may we never be sanguine about such horrors.

But we should never again be surprised. As we have seen historically—slavery, the Holocaust–once we create killable castes of people, making utilitarian use of them becomes an easy, and indeed, logical, next step. Those with eyes to see, let them see.

Such are the consequences that flow logically from rejecting human exceptionalism and the unique value of human life.

World Down Syndrome Day: Yadda Yadda Yadda



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Last Friday was the Ninth World Down Syndrome Day. Did you hear anything about it? Neither did I.

Perhaps that is because the advocacy seems determinedly uncontroversial and “feel good.” From WDSD Website:

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder.

But there is still so much more we can do. Down Syndrome International (DSi) encourages our friends all over the world to choose your own activities and events to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.

But where is the advocacy urging people to please not abort Down babies?  I did a site search. Not. A. Mention. 

Yet, in the USA, 90% of our brothers and sisters with Down are prevented from being born. Denmark has made it official policy to have zero people with Down–meaning complete eugenic prenatal cleansing, since there is currently no treatment.

As readers of my work know, I embrace all people with Down. I support the valuing message of WDSD and good on all the loving people who have made serving people with Down their cause.

But until we get more than a once-a-year feel good “day” that officials can embrace safely–and without shifting gears to include an explicit and oft-repeated anti-culture of death message to go along with the once-a-year positive images–WDSD will remain mostly a gesture, akin to putting a colored ribbon on our collective lapel.

It pains me to say this, but yadda, yadda, yadda. 

U.S. Govt. Calls Death Penalty “Euthanasia”



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The National Institutes of Health is confused. It calls capital punishment “euthanasia.” From the NIH Website:

Euthanasia is illegal and not practiced in the United States except in cases of capital punishment.

Good grief. No wonder we are in such a mess.

“Team Oz” Helps Woman Starve to Death



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I remember early in my anti-euthanasia activism being approached by a Hemlock Society member after a speech. “How do you envision your death, Mr. Smith?” she asked sweetly. I could only shake my head. “Ma’am,” I replied. “I’m trying to envision my life. My death will take care of itself.”

That experience taught me that some believers of assisted suicide are obsessed with dying. More evidence: A healthy elderly woman named Dorothy Conlon–a member of the Hemlock Society Compassion and Choices and devotee of assisted suicide–decided she wanted to die by self-starvation because she could no longer travel the world and worried about being in a nursing home.

A decent response would be to get help for the woman to live! But no: A group of “friends” decided to help her starve to death. From the Sarasota Herald Tribune story, entitled as so many such articles are, “Dorothy’s Choice:”

Conlon began to formalize what she called her “G2G” (“Good to Go”) plan, and to assemble volunteers who would become her “Team Oz.” (“Get it?” she would say gleefully. “Oz? Dorothy? Somewhere over the rainbow?”)

Eventually the team consisted of four women: Helen, who had met Dorothy through the church in 1989 though she was no longer a member; Susan, nearing 70, a former psychotherapist and Conlon’s massage and Reiki therapist; Heather, 53, a member of the meditation group Conlon regularly participated in; and Carmen, a longtime neighbor and friend of 25 years, who was already established as Conlon’s health care surrogate.

None considered themselves intimate friends, but all fulfilled her essential requirements: They approved of her right to make the decision and promised to help her accomplish it, while pledging to refrain from pursuing any medical intervention.

I’m sorry–actually, I’m not–but what kind of people would agree to participate and assist in such a horrible endeavor? Why not just pull out the chair to help her hang herself or close the garage door after she started her car?

Look how they romanticized what they thought would happen:

Susan had presumed she would quietly and calmly perform Reiki or massage. Heather anticipated her friend might open up at last and talk about her sons and her marriage. Helen, with whom Conlon had shared more intimate conversations, figured she would just “hang out” and keep her friend company. And Carmen, who would be on an out-of-town trip for the first 10 days of the process, secretly hoped that Conlon might pass peacefully before she returned

It wasn’t pretty:

As the days went on, “Team Oz” frayed. Not quite two weeks into the process, Conlon was increasingly agitated and her caretakers debilitated, drained and overwhelmed emotionally and physically. At least one team member felt an urge to call 911, but squelched the impulse after one of the others acknowledged it was too late to restore Conlon to health.

“I think this is a real dilemma that would challenge anybody’s morality,” says Tidewell’s Angsten of responsibility the team members assumed. “Then, to watch someone suffer adds a whole other dimension.” Since calling in medical personnel went against everyone’s vow to respect Conlon’s wishes, Carmen looked elsewhere for support.

Even after death, the terminal nonjudgmentalism is so thick you can eat it with a fork:

At 5:48 a.m. the next morning, Helen and Samantha remember waking abruptly from a deep sleep at their respective homes. Conlon was still warm to the touch when they arrived shortly after. She had one arm raised above her head, as if waving to someone. There was a faint upward curve to her lips. “She looked very peaceful,” said another friend, who assisted with calling a doctor to obtain a death certificate.

“She was entirely in control to the end and ultimately, it was the dignified death she wanted.” And yet, for everyone involved, an unease lingered. “I admire what she did,” the friend concluded. “But I think it was a very hard way to do it.”

At least a few saw the selfishness in Dorothy’s approach, not that it mattered:

No one had a change of mind about their support of Conlon’s choice and her right to make it. But they all agreed they would never again offer to help in a similar circumstance.
“It did not change my views morally, spiritually or ethically at all, but if someone asked me to do this again, I’d tell them I want no part of it,” says Helen. “I’d strongly suggest they look into all the reasons they want to leave — and then that they get some goddamn pills.”

Carmen remembers sitting in her car one day after pulling into her driveway, watching and listening to the rain and thinking how much she valued living. “I don’t think Dorothy ever considered the burden you are putting on people by asking them to help,” she says. “It’s heavy, even just the knowledge of it.

I would not offer to do this again.” Like the others, Heather, who is dealing with a parent suffering from dementia, believes there should be a better option than the one Conlon chose, one that is legal and swiftly accomplished.

Right. Because the death obsession is the all-important point! And the media, as here, is increasingly complicit in pushing suicide memes.

What can I say, folks? This is what we are becoming.

So What if We Killed Off Megafauna?



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I don’t understand the thinking that disdains early humans–and by extension, moderns–for their role, if any, in the extinction of megafauna. But apparently, some in the scientific community are mighty ticked. From the Daily Mail story, “Are Humans Earths Biggest Enemies?”:

The Earth was once populated with enormous beasts, the likes of which we have never seen – from mammoths to giant beavers, and sabretooths to horned tortoises. Over the last two million years many of these giant beasts, known as megafauna, have either been wiped out completely, or replaced by smaller counterparts living side-by-side with an ever increasing human population. The debate on exactly what caused this mass extinction has been raging for years – on one side of the fence, the demise is being blamed on natural climate change, on the other, humans and our carnivorous ways have ‘destroyed’ the world.

Should we feel guilty if we drove some of the megafauna into extinction? Some, apparently, think so:

British environmentalist and writer George Monbiot is outspoken in his belief that humans are to blame for the mass extinction, a theory known as ‘overkill hypothesis. He believes there is a direct correlation between humans arriving and populating continents across the globe and the widely-seen demise of many megafauna species. ‘Before Homo erectus, perhaps our first recognizably-human ancestor, emerged in Africa, the continent abounded with monsters. ‘There were several species of elephants. There were sabretooths and false sabretooths, and giant hyenas,’ said Monbiot.

He continued that while most people believe the beginning of the Anthropocene – the period in which we live and impact the world – began during the industrial revolution, Monbiot believes it started much earlier ‘with a killing spree that commenced two million years ago. ‘What rose onto its hindlegs on the African savannahs was, from the outset, death: the destroyer of worlds.’

Good grief. As the old saying goes, excuse us for living.

Such bitterness is wholly unwarranted. Think about it: We were in desperate survival mode in those years, just as were the animals with which we shared territory. The last thing our forebears had the ability to consider was whether their activities might endanger huge rhino and dire bear.

Besides, if the mega fauna still existed, perhaps much of our civilization would never have been able to flourish.

Some anti-humanists yearn for that. Not me. If most megafauna were still here in large numbers, I think there is a good chance most of us wouldn’t be. Again, some anti-humanists would make that trade in a heartbeat. But as magnificent as those beasts were, I’ll take us.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t protect currently endangered species. Of course we should–and we can because in much of the world we have moved beyond kill or be killed. That is to say, we now have the knowledge–and frankly, the luxury–to care.

Whatever our role in the demise of megafauna, we should not look back in shame. Early humans’ successful fight for survival gave us the chance to thrive.

I am not upset with them: I am grateful.

Pro-Life Attacking Professor to be Prosecuted



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Readers of HE may recall the UC Santa Barbara “feminist” professor, Mereille Miller-Young, who allegedly attacked a 16 year-old girl protesting against abortion on the UC campus. The professor said she had the “moral right” to act because she was so deeply offended, and besides, she could because she “is stronger.”

Well, now Miller-Young is up for three misdemeanors. From the FNN story:

A feminist studies professor at a California state university is facing criminal charges after a videotaped run-in with a teenage pro-life demonstrator in which she snatched an anti-abortion sign and appeared to get physical with the girl.

University of California at Santa Barbara Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young was charged with one misdemeanor count each of theft, battery and vandalism in the March 4 incident, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Friday. The charges came days after 16-year-old Thrin Short and her parents met with prosecutors.

I admit to being surprised. Attacks against the rights of pro-lifers are too often given short shrift.

If the professor is convicted, will she face discipline from the university? I bet not, but then, perhaps I will be surprised again.

Killed Fetuses Incinerated to Heat Hospital



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Aborted and miscarried fetuses have been used to heat hospitals in the UK. From the Telegraph story:

The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found. Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable. At least 15,500 foetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s Dispatches discovered.

When society creates a killable-at-will caste of human beings, their remains are not going to be treated with respect. Indeed, we consider fetal bodies mere medical waste.

I am reminded of the Swiss suicide clinic that apparently threw urns containing the cremated remains of their customers in a lake.

So, while this news is more shocking evidence of our increasing loss of regard for the intrinsic value of human life, we shouldn’t be surprised that some enterprising workers decided to get some utilitarian use out of the bodies of killed fetuses.

Forced Dehydration to Death in Belgium!



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Belgium is what the culture of death looks like, behind the veneer of “compassion” and “choice.”

A study in the Journal of Medical Ethics found that nearly 25% of patients denied tube-supplied food and water were dehydrated to death without consent of themselves or family. From the abstract:

Response rate was 58.4%. A decision to forgo ANH occurred in 6.6% of all deaths (4.2% withheld, 3.0% withdrawn). Being female, dying in a care home or hospital and suffering from nervous system diseases (including dementia) or malignancies were the most important patient-related factors positively associated with a decision to forgo ANH.

Physicians indicated that the decision to forgo ANH had had some life-shortening effects in 77% of cases. There had been no consultation with the patient in 81%, mostly due to incapacity (coma or dementia). The family, colleague physicians and nurses were involved in decision making in 76%, 41% and 62%, respectively.

Also note that the study was based on deaths in 2007. The culture of death has permeated all the way into the Belgian bone marrow since then, so I would not be surprised if things were even worse now.

And don’t think this isn’t widespread in active euthanasia. As we have seen in the Netherlands–where termination without request or consent is common and unpunished–once killing is accepted as an acceptable answer to human suffering, “choice” has increasingly less to do with it.

Assisted Suicide Corrupts Doctors Too



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A Yale medical professor has written an important article in the Hastings Center Report. He prescribed drugs for a patient, not terminally ill, knowing she would use it to kill herself.

First, her reasons for wanting to die were consistent with those often expressed by people who legally commit assisted suicide. From, “Physician Assistance in Dying: A Subtler Slippery Slope,” by Thomas P.  Duffy:

She described her life as one that had mainly involved outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking; she anticipated a future of pain and increasing immobility. Her husband supported her wishes.

Rather than get her help for her existential anguish and fear, the doctor instead prescribed enough narcotics to kill her–expecting that she would do it:

This is an example of how euthanasia consciousness leads to patient abandonment–it seems to me by both doctor and husband. The repentant doctor now sees this hard truth:

My quiet acceptance of a woman’s request to prematurely end her life represents a worrisome evolution for me in my professional responsibility for my patients. I never “leaned against” her choices. In fact, I was comfortable in my complicity with the act.

The push for assisted suicide leads to bad consequences:

[T]he slippery slope may be subtler and even more insidious and dangerous for the profession. A shift in how we care for patients is occurring in an environment where an enthusiastic embrace of death with dignity may cause some patients to die prematurely.

We may acquiesce too easily and quickly when we sense that patients intend to end their lives. We ought to focus, I think, on guaranteeing that we will attend to their suffering on the way to possible recovery and on attempting to help them redefine their reasons for living.

Among other things, that means keeping assisted suicide a crime.

We are becoming a suicide culture. Even the medical profession has become tainted. Hopefully, Duffy’s belated realization will save other patients and doctors from a similar fate.

 

 

 

 

War on Humans on “Above the Paygrade”



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What an interesting technological world in which to advocate.  I did this interview over my morning coffee on Skype with Dead Reckoning TV and now it is on YouTube.

I was pleased with how it went, so I thought I would post. I hope any viewers find it interesting.

Thanks to Dead Reckoning TV for the opportunity:

Urging Suicide is Free Speech in Minnesota



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Remember the despicable nurse who urged suicidal people to kill themselves so he could watch on webcam? His conviction of assisting suicide was reversed because he was merely engaging in free speech. From the Wall Street Journal story:

Encouraging someone to commit suicide is not a crime, Minnesota’s high court ruled Wednesday, reversing the conviction of a nurse who urged people to hang themselves and let him watch via webcam.

William F. Melchert-Dinkel had been found guilty under a law that made it illegal to “advise, encourage, or assist” in a suicide. The Minnesota Supreme Court concluded that advising or encouraging suicide was speech protected by the First Amendment and carved the words from the statute.

Same kind of thing happened in Georgia. Acts, not speech, must (in most cases) be the crimes.

The good news is that the act of assisting suicide remains criminally proscribed in Minnesota. May it remain perpetually so.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped the death with dignity crowd from rushing into the supposed vacuum to propose changing the law to legalize doctor-prescribed death. And of course, the suicide advocate promulgates the ludicrous notion of careful “safeguards” as the honey that helps the hemlock go down. From, “11 Steps Toward Empowering Minnesotans at the End of Life:”

Minnesota laws regarding end-of-life care should be revised again so that helping someone to make wise end-of-life medical choices does not result in a trial for committing the crime of assisting suicide. Perhaps the existing law should be replaced by a more detailed law against “causing premature death.” Our goal should be avoid both dying too soon and dying too late.

Pabulum.

What would constitute “too soon” or “too late” would be entirely subjective and vary from person to person. Hence, it would be essentially unenforceable, which, of course, would be the point. Such a law would open the flood gates.

The article offers the usual protective guidelines, some of which would violate federal medical privacy laws–unless they would actually be mere suggestions, which would make them eye candy and not actual protections.

The idea is to pretend that tremendous time and care would go into the decision for suicide–a word never used in the column–including multiple conferences, mental health interventions, and much hand-wringing.

Who is the author kidding? In the age of Obamacare and 12 minute doctor/patient interactions? Please.

The article is part of the same old pattern: Urge limited assisted suicide, pretend guidelines will protect against abuse, stand back, and let the force of gravity to drag the culture off the cliff.

Scot Volunteers Ready to Help Commit Suicides



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I have discussed the assisted suicide legislation pending in Scotland that would authorize trained ”facilitators” to help people kill themselves.

Well, we have volunteers! From the STV story:

At least 25 people have volunteered to help people end their lives if assisted suicide is legalised in Scotland…

Facilitators, who must not have any existing relationship to the patient, would be given the task of collecting the patient’s final prescription and assisting with the process of ending their lives.

One of the volunteers, Maureen Hutchison, told STV News she had decided to take on the role after working with relatives of terminally ill patients as a humanist celebrant.

Of course.

Ring: “Hello?”

“This is Bonnie from Suicide Facilitators Central: I have a death for you scheduled promptly at 3:00. Here’s the address.”

Good grief.

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