November 6, 2006

line on the graph will head down, I predict

Ethan sent me a link to this, from a London paper...

A doctors' group today called for a debate on the mercy killing of disabled babies.

The medical profession should examine the "active euthanasia" of desperately ill newborns, said the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.

It wants an inquiry into whether the "deliberate intervention to cause the death of an infant" should be legalised...

As he wrote, step by step, inch by inch...

One thing that's curious and interesting to me, is that it is looking more and more like this kind of thinking doesn't even work by purely utilitarian standards. Any utilitarian types reading this? I bet you could graph openness to "active euthanasia" (or other Culture of Death indices) against the economic or demographic health of various nations or regions, and get something like a straight line. And I don't mean a line that's going up...

It doesn't work! In flat-out dollars-and-cents bottom-line practical terms, euthanasia doesn't work. The argument is, I'm sure, that the money saved by not trying to care for hopeless cases can be spent to help others in need. But I feel confident in predicting that adopting euthanasia as a policy will not result in better health care for everybody else, or better economic and social success for the societies involved.

Why? If I had time and more coffee I could give many suggestions. But they would all add up to a hunch bordering on a certainty that the model of the world, the interior "computer model" that is being used by many people is defective. They are inputting good data into a bad model, and the results don't match reality.

For those who believe in this model, here's another thought-experiment. What would happen if you graphed the popularity of the books of Richard Dawkins against the Darwinian reproductive success of various groups of people? (I'm not referring to Dawkins on Darwinian theories of evolution per se, but to the way Dawkins elaborates them into a model for understanding other things.)

I suspect that people who hug the books of Mr Dawkins to their chests with glad cries have long-term evolutionary prospects similar to the California Condor.

Posted by John Weidner at November 6, 2006 7:13 AM
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