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A few questions for RuvDraba

tweeda
Posts: 3
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4/30/2015 7:19:37 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I have a few questions for RuvDraba
1. Do you believe in an afterlife?
2.Are you afraid of death?
3. What do you think of euthanasia?
4.Are there any situations in which it is ethical to commit suicide?
5.Do you think that some people are better off dead?
6.If you had a permanently severely disabled child that was nothing but a burden on your family, but the child suddenly died, how would you feel? would you be relieved to be freed of such a burden?
bulproof
Posts: 25,203
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4/30/2015 7:34:06 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/30/2015 7:19:37 AM, tweeda wrote:
I have a few questions for RuvDraba
1. Do you believe in an afterlife?
2.Are you afraid of death?
3. What do you think of euthanasia?
4.Are there any situations in which it is ethical to commit suicide?
5.Do you think that some people are better off dead?
6.If you had a permanently severely disabled child that was nothing but a burden on your family, but the child suddenly died, how would you feel? would you be relieved to be freed of such a burden?
Not my questions But I'll answer anyway.

1. Do you believe in an afterlife?
No.
2.Are you afraid of death?
No
3. What do you think of euthanasia?
It makes perfect sense.
4.Are there any situations in which it is ethical to commit suicide?
What can possibly be unethical about suicide?
5.Do you think that some people are better off dead?
Most definitely.
6.If you had a permanently severely disabled child that was nothing but a burden on
your family, but the child suddenly died, how would you feel? would you be relieved to be freed of such a burden?
I'd feel sad, just as I would for any child. The death of a child is always cause for sadness.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
JJ50
Posts: 2,144
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4/30/2015 7:56:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/30/2015 7:19:37 AM, tweeda wrote:
I have a few questions for RuvDraba
1. Do you believe in an afterlife?
2.Are you afraid of death?
3. What do you think of euthanasia?
4.Are there any situations in which it is ethical to commit suicide?
5.Do you think that some people are better off dead?
6.If you had a permanently severely disabled child that was nothing but a burden on your family, but the child suddenly died, how would you feel? would you be relieved to be freed of such a burden?

1. No
2. No
3. Fine with the consent of the person who has their full mental faculties
4. Yes
5. Yes, especially if they have dementia, or are terminally ill and life is a burden to them.
6. I would be sad, but relieved.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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4/30/2015 8:59:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/30/2015 7:19:37 AM, tweeda wrote:
I have a few questions for RuvDraba
1. Do you believe in an afterlife?
2.Are you afraid of death?
3. What do you think of euthanasia?
4.Are there any situations in which it is ethical to commit suicide?
5.Do you think that some people are better off dead?
6.If you had a permanently severely disabled child that was nothing but a burden on your family, but the child suddenly died, how would you feel? would you be relieved to be freed of such a burden?

As noted above, these were meant for Ruv but I will add my two cents worth.

1. Do you believe in an afterlife?
No. No evidence to support such a belief.

2.Are you afraid of death?
Yes. I have the same natural desire to survive as the rest of the animal kingdom. I will fight to survive or flee if that seems to be the most viable alternative. It's a survival instinct. As for fearing for my soul? No.

3. What do you think of euthanasia?
I think that human beings deserve the same consideration we give to our pets and farm animals. When a dog is suffering terribly we consider it mercy to let them go. When a human is we say 'no, life is precious'. We're horribly hypocritical in that way and euthanasia should be available to anyone with the mental acuity to make a reasoned decision.

4.Are there any situations in which it is ethical to commit suicide?
Numerous. As mentioned above, one is suffering horribly with no possibility of surcease or one knows one will die and die in great pain after being a burden to loved ones for a significant length of time. In fact, since one's life is one's own, there is no real ethical dilemma for me for anyone to commit suicide. I feel that it is often done without proper thought and I applaud suicide hotlines and their operators but that does not make it an ethical question.

5.Do you think that some people are better off dead?
Yes. People kept 'alive' by machines in a vegetative state with the brain dead, those people who are suffering so badly that they must be kept drugged to nearly lethal levels among others. Life is indeed precious but when it becomes nothing but unending pain it is transformed into a prison from which there is only one escape.

6.If you had a permanently severely disabled child that was nothing but a burden on your family, but the child suddenly died, how would you feel? would you be relieved to be freed of such a burden?

First, no child is 'nothing but a burden'. No child asks to be born into this life so it's a privilege to be a parent. If my severely handicapped child, one that is as badly disabled as you specify, passed away I'd be heartbroken. I would mourn the death of an innocent being who did not have a chance to live a better life. Yes, I would most likely be relieved by no longer having to deal with my child's struggles but I would also be aware that those struggles were over for him or her as well. There is no simple answer to this question and I really don't know why you are asking it.
UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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4/30/2015 4:47:05 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/30/2015 7:19:37 AM, tweeda wrote:
I have a few questions for RuvDraba
1. Do you believe in an afterlife?
2.Are you afraid of death?
3. What do you think of euthanasia?
4.Are there any situations in which it is ethical to commit suicide?
5.Do you think that some people are better off dead?
6.If you had a permanently severely disabled child that was nothing but a burden on your family, but the child suddenly died, how would you feel? would you be relieved to be freed of such a burden?

I don't suspect any of his answers will be surprising, but I'm looking forward to seeing them regardless. However, I'm curious, why did ask Ruv these questions specifically, when they don't seem to really be particularly unique or specific to any individual?
mrsatan
Posts: 418
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4/30/2015 5:17:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/30/2015 7:19:37 AM, tweeda wrote:
I have a few questions for RuvDraba
1. Do you believe in an afterlife?
2.Are you afraid of death?
3. What do you think of euthanasia?
4.Are there any situations in which it is ethical to commit suicide?
5.Do you think that some people are better off dead?
6.If you had a permanently severely disabled child that was nothing but a burden on your family, but the child suddenly died, how would you feel? would you be relieved to be freed of such a burden?

Some more answers for you, in case you want more perspectives:

1: No. I doubt there's anything in this life that would compel me to believe in an afterlife.

2: I'm actually a big fan of death, because without it, life as we know it wouldn't work. I don't want to die anytime soon, but it is inevitable, and to fear the inevitable is pointless. So, no, I do not fear death.

3: I feel all people should have a right to end their life, or to have someone end it for them, so long as they have no children for which they are responsible. My only concern with euthanasia is safeguards to prevent abuse of any such policy.

4: I can only think of one situation where suicide is unethical, and that is if you have kids who are dependant upon you.

5: Life can be very hellish, and if that hellishness outweighs any happiness by too much, I could certainly see death being preferable.

6: I suppose it would depend on what my childs problems were. If they were headed for a life of pain, then I would be both sad and relieved. If they could have had a good life with consistent help from me, then I would be sad. And, either way, there would probably be some part of me that would be relieved for selfish reasons, but I can't see that coming anywhere near the amount of sadness I would feel from losing my child.
To say one has free will, to have chosen other than they did, is to say they have will over their will... Will over the will they have over their will... Will over the will they have over the will they have over their will, etc... It's utter nonsense.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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5/1/2015 2:45:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/30/2015 7:19:37 AM, tweeda wrote:
I have a few questions for RuvDraba
1. Do you believe in an afterlife?
No.

2.Are you afraid of death?
Most humans are afraid of change, pain, anguish, ageing, loss of agency, loss of respect and affection, and failure to protect their loved ones. None of those require you to die to experience, and that's plenty to be concerned about. But once you subtract those things from consideration, death is nothing.

3. What do you think of euthanasia?
We've only had agriculture for the last 12,000 years, Tweeda. Before that, to eat, you had to be able to walk, and if you couldn't walk, you died. I invite you to think about what happened to the elderly, the lame and chronically infirm in such communities, for two hundred thousand years. Were they left to starve; did they wait to be killed by a predator; did they take their own lives; or did their loved-ones find them a better death? What would you do for a parent in that circumstance?

It seems to me that euthanasia has always been with us as a sad but kind necessity, and the pressures for it are likely to increase as we find ways to prolong life without necessarily prolonging health, purpose or dignity. To me the ethical question is whether we acknowledge it and ensure it managed accountably, transparently, ethically and effectively; or deny it and punish the occasional scapegoats who may be acting from extremities of love and compassion.

4.Are there any situations in which it is ethical to commit suicide?
Some of our toughest citizens are the elderly. These are people who've worked their whole lives, born children, helped raise grandchildren and great grandchildren, survived wars and depressions. They're not quitters; they're fighters. Yet in my country, the suicide rate for men 85 and older are more than triple the national rate, and in women 80 and over it's higher than among any other group, including teenagers.

Given their age-group, these aren't atheists taking their own lives, Tweeda. They're people of staunch, lifelong religious faith. So I invite you to contemplate how the bereaved, abandoned, and suffering perceive ethics.

5.Do you think that some people are better off dead?
I think if meaning, dignity and comfort can be found in life, then we should take pains to see that it is.

6.If you had a permanently severely disabled child that was nothing but a burden on your family, but the child suddenly died, how would you feel? would you be relieved to be freed of such a burden?
We know from psychological study that in cases of chronic illness or disability leading to death, carers can suffer enormous anguish. What they want most is for their loved-ones to live, be healthy and happy. Since they can't have that, they strive for whatever they can achieve -- peace, relief of suffering and anguish in the one they care for, and in themselves. Often, following the death of someone they care for, there's a mix of emotions: grief, a sense of failure, relief, and guilt for feeling relief. Those are the conflicted feelings therapists often treat.

i don't feel I'm any different than that, Tweeda.

But I think that's not really your question. I sense that you're asking whether condoning euthanasia also risks temptation to murder for convenience.

Of course it does, and despite everything I said above, I'm no less concerned about it than any person of faith might be. But in extremity, this issue afflicts the irreligious and religious alike.

Afghanistan, for example, is a profoundly Muslim country, but also a country that has long depended on subsistence agriculture, and up until recently, lacked contraception. In times of famine, mothers there do what agricultural mothers have done worldwide, and kill their newborns. They even have specific ways of doing it to avoid detection, which means their culture teaches how to do it. This is an act forbidden by faith and law; but also driven by economic necessity.

So they're not doing it because they're Muslims, Tweeda; they do it because they're poor. And we should not conflate being more wealthy with being more ethical.

I don't create these questions, and take no joy in them. But I believe we must think about them honestly. I hope that helps.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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5/1/2015 3:45:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/30/2015 4:47:05 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I don't suspect any of his answers will be surprising, but I'm looking forward to seeing them regardless. However, I'm curious, why did ask Ruv these questions specifically, when they don't seem to really be particularly unique or specific to any individual?

(Well, I did have a near-metaphysical experience 20 years ago, so it might be related to that: http://www.debate.org... :D)

Thanks to other atheist members who've answered these questions. I was interested to read your answers too.

I think it's true that if you don't mystify or greatly fear death, you end up treating it practically. We're seeing that emerge across a spectrum of atheist answers, and I've seen it in conversation with many atheists -- I suppose many of us have.

But treating death practically shouldn't mean treating it cynically or callously. I think we're seeing that too.

Or put another way: you don't have to fear death to love and respect your own life, and care for the lives of others.

Equally, as I hope my answers showed, fearing death or hoping for an afterlife doesn't itself offer adequate protection for the vulnerable -- the elderly, the young, the chronically sick or disabled. Medicine is our biggest help there, but there are human dimensions medicine can't always absolve us of.

While religion has a lot to say about death, I don't myself see it adding a great deal of clarity to the ethical discussions around viability of life and end of life. The religious are entitled to a voice, but I wish there were more transparency about what the religious actually do when facing these decisions -- as opposed to what they say they do.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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5/1/2015 7:13:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
A member asked privately:
Have you ever felt happy or relieved that someone died? If so who?
How do you feel when you hear of strangers death?

It seemed connected to topic, so I thought I'd post it here, and redirect the member to this post.

I'm of an age where I've had friends and family die; colleagues and employers. I've noted the deaths of dictators like Saddam Hussein, and Muammar al-Gaddafi. Some deaths have left me heartbroken; invariably, executions leave me deeply uncomfortable and ashamed. I have myself attempted to resuscitate an elderly strange collapsed on a train, who was likely dead before I got to her, and I've had cause to save people who, if I hadn't helped might have died. Since childhood, I've nursed beloved pets in their final hours. I've supported my wife through the death of both her parents -- each of whom could best be described as flawed characters, one utterly malignant.

It seems to me that no death is entirely good or entirely bad. It's easy to forget how much good and kindness people do for one another every day through little but critical sacrifices -- and how much we lose whenever they are no longer there to do that. But it's also easy to overlook how much each person's privilege and self-interest holds others back. They say you never fully grow up until your parents die, and I've had opportunity to see that.

When I was younger, I saw each death as a loss, and I feel it still is. But I also see each death now as an opportunity for something else -- perhaps something better: new strengths; new ideas; better equity. It can be hard to see death as both at once, yet I think it is, though we might not always appreciate it that way at the time.

When I hear of a stranger's death my thoughts often turn to their families and loved-ones; the life they lived; the people they've helped; the challenges overcome; but also the ambitions or desires unfulfilled; the regrets they might have. And increasingly now, I also think of who will grow to fill their place. For me, the emotions surrounding death are very mixed and murky. I seldom have just one emotion, and don't look to have just one.
FaustianJustice
Posts: 6,205
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5/2/2015 12:54:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
4.Are there any situations in which it is ethical to commit suicide?
What can possibly be unethical about suicide?

Leaving your family in a lurch. If you feel its your time to check out, fine, feel free, but checking out and leaving your wife and 2 kids devoid of a father/husband because you lost your job feel lowly about your status as a male as the house is about to be foreclosed on is downright selfish.
Here we have an advocate for Islamic arranged marriages demonstrating that children can consent to sex.
http://www.debate.org...
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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5/2/2015 2:42:25 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/2/2015 12:54:41 AM, FaustianJustice wrote:
4.Are there any situations in which it is ethical to commit suicide?
What can possibly be unethical about suicide?
Leaving your family in a lurch. If you feel its your time to check out, fine, feel free, but checking out and leaving your wife and 2 kids devoid of a father/husband because you lost your job feel lowly about your status as a male as the house is about to be foreclosed on is downright selfish.
I strongly concur.