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Started by Argie, July 13, 2010, 07:44:09 PM

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I searched the forum for a related topic but all I found were mentions in other threads that did not pertain on this topic specifically; I also thought this would be the most suitable location for such a topic.

I would very much appreciate thoughts and points of view from the members of this forum; atheists and theists alike.

Do you think it should be legalized?  If yes, why, and it what cases.  If no, why.

When I used to belive in god, I belived euthanasia was bad.  Now that I became an atheist I consider that it should be legalized in cases of terminal desease which diagnostic don´t surpass 6 months of survival, also in cases where brain functions and motor functions are irrevocably compromised or that would gradually be lost (alzheimer desease i.e).  The arguments I´ve heard from opposers are mainly related to moral religion or ethics derived from it.  Of course doctors swear "to do no harm", but sometimes I belive the omission to end a life leads to much more harm and innecesary suffering.


I'm fine with its legalization so long as there are safeguards and mental-competence requirements.
Illegitimi non carborundum.


We put our pets down but we can't grant people the same right to put them out of their misery? I'm with Thumpalumpacus (did you choose that name just to laugh at us when we say it  :D  ). There's no reason why someone shouldn't have control over their own life.
‎"Christian doesn't necessarily just mean good. It just means better." - John Oliver


It's a long story how I got it, but I kept it because, yes, it is silly, and life is too short to not love a good silly every now and then.  :)
Illegitimi non carborundum.


My father died a long and painful death from lung cancer. His last month was a pointless diamorphine (legal name for heroin) induced dream. He died alone in hospital with none of his family around him. I was so terrified of him I couldn't go near him. There has to be a better way than this.

I am diabetic, type 2, not insulin controlled yet. If needs be I will choose my time to die and it will be while I still have a choice. No bastard doctor is going to torture me to death for 'ethical reasons'.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
"Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt." ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.


I'm totally supportive of legalized euthanasia.  Also, in my head I refer to Thumpalumpacus as Thumpy, much like Snuffaluffagus' nickname was Snuffy.   lol
Ubi dubium ibi libertas: Where there is doubt, there is freedom.


I agree with what others (argie, thumpa, tank, sophus) have already said. Opposition to euthanasia seems to me to be based on the theistic idea that only 'god' has the right to choose whether we live or die.

Well, fuck that. If I ever get alzheimer's, ms, or some other horrendous degenerative disease, I'm gonna want to die at precisely the point when life is no longer worth living.


I support it as long as there are regulations. I don't believe in forcing people to live if they already don't have long to live and are in a lot of pain. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Martin TK

If anyone has ever had a family member die from lung cancer or prostate cancer, they can relate to this.  My Mother lived with lung cancer for several years, during that time she struggled with breathing and was in enormous pain.  Eventually the cancer ate through her lung and her back.  The last four months of her life, she lay in the bed and screamed in pain, and because of her size, we could not give her enough narcotics to ease the pain completely.  There was no dignity in her death, and this was a woman who had been a very poised and proud woman, educated and wonderful in life.

My Grandfather suffered similarly in dealing with prostate cancer, even to the point of crying daily, begging to die.  As a psychologist, I can safely say that we are NOT helping the terminally ill in this country by keeping them alive.  As medicine continues to improve and life is prolonged, there are certain moral questions that the Religious Right will simply NOT face.

It is a shame in this country, we show more compassion for our animals than we do our species.  We would not allow a favorite pet to suffer the way my Mother or my Grandfather suffered, we would have the compassion to end the suffering.  I do not have any issue whatsoever with kindly ending the lives of those whose lives have ceased to have purpose or dignity.  Of course I agree that certain stipulations must be met, standards upheld, and conditions would have to be monitored closely.
"Ever since the 19th Century, Theologians have made an overwhelming case that the gospels are NOT reliable accounts of what happened in the history of the real world"   Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion


I haven't yet had to face a loved one lingering on a deathbed so I have no direct experience with how that feels.  But I, for one, have no intention of lingering with any type of disease.  My husband and extended family have my say-so to pull the plug, turn off machines, etc., so I'm not lying in a hospital having people feel obligated to visit me, all the while draining whatever financial resources we have to keep me there because we all know insurance won't cover any of it.

I also don't believe that half the country is just waiting for it to be legalized so they can off their richest or most sickly relatives.  I think that is the bible-thumpers out there who insist gawd is the only being who can decide when we die.  BS.  They will cling to this being the slippery slope to mass graves if they want to... I just want the right to decide when I am ready to die.

I do agree that safeguards are needed because there will be at least one (probably religious) doofus who wants to off Aunt Ruth so he can grab her $102/mo. annuity.  But I really seriously think these will be rare.
The Rogue Atheist Scrapbooker
Come visit me on Facebook!


Interesting thoughts people...they made me feel alittle bit less guilty.  In my case, my father, 73, is on the verge of death: he had suffered a massive ischemic stroke on march, and a month ago he was diagnosed with a brain tumor grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme.  Since the stroke he has lost his speech, ability to chew and swallow food, and is gradually loosing his motor functions (he doesn´t stand up anymore), doctors say its because of the advancing rate of the tumor.  He has no chance of recovery since doctors say they can´t do surgery on him, not even a biopsy (actually they could by they woudn´t because they say he would die on the OR due to his age and because he is on blood thinners, and they wouldn´t do chemotherapy or ray therapy because they say it would worsen his quality of life); he will just keep getting worse and worse loosing his functions and wits.  The neurologist diagnose said he had weeks to 6 month to a year left.  A cardiologist told me that if his heart is good, he could live up to five years because the tumor wont grow any bigger on a person of his age.  Now, I love my dad very dearly, but I just think it would be devastating to a person to live in such condition, just lying in bed all day with a little hose up your nose to get fed, wearing diapers, and no way of communicating by speech or by writing; specially since he already knows the diagnose, and knows what will be happening to him... he already saw himself loosing the abiliy to talk, eat, and now walk.  And like I said, I love him very dearly, but this is not the dad I knew, he is turning slowly into a vegetable; sometimes I have to remind him who am I, or remind him of people he knew.  Its just very sad to see him like that... the desire of him dying quickly and painlessly has came to my mind many times, and I kind of felt guilty of wishing my father´s death. Nothing that we could do to end his life with dignity here... the vast majority of doctors are against euthanasia, and it is a crime in our penal law system... but even if it was legal or court ruled, doctors would just disagree and refuse, just as they refused to perform a court mandated abortion some years ago.


I'm so sorry you are having to deal with the impending loss of your father, Argie.  I do not envy you that position.  My deepest condolescences.

To the subject at hand, I recently had this discussion with my elderly mother (71) who is just in poor general health but I worry about her falling or getting into a car accident, and our having to care for her long-term.  I would gladly do it if she asked me to... well, maybe not "gladly" on a long-term basis, but you get the idea.  I love her and despite the ups and downs we've had in our lives, I don't want to lose her just yet.  (only child, dad died 5 years ago)

She said (and has in writing) that extraordinary measures are not to be taken to prolong her life (living will) and that I (or her 2 sisters) may request life-continuing machines be disconnected (advance directive).  We do not live in the same state and she has very few living friends, so she doesn't want her death bed to become some type of macabre meeting place for strangers and family alike.  Does your father have a living will and/or an advance directive?  These documents allow you make these types of decisions in this type of case.  Here is a site that has info.

I think everyone should have these documents filed away in cases such as these.  You never know when your loved ones will need to reference these issues without your input.
The Rogue Atheist Scrapbooker
Come visit me on Facebook!


rlrose328 I´m from a country (Argentina) in which wills are just not contemplated by law:  a person´s patrimony (estate) go through a judicial process after death and it is divided by his legitimate succesors (heirs) stated by law (wife (1st degree), sons (2nd degree), parents (3rd degree) , siblings (4th degree) up to the fourth degree of cosanguinity (uncles, nephews)... in that order... the existence of first degree heirs eliminate the next category, its kind of long to explain, but I hope you get the idea) after debts are cleared.  Our law system doesn´t contemplate wills on the way to die either... only a judge can (by jurisprudential precedent, which means some judges may not stick to them since they are not obligatory) allow for "turning off the switch" ONLY when brain death has been proven.  In other words, we just have to wait till "god decides" or until the brain ceases to work and hope for a judge who doesn´t belive in religulous moral or ethics.

In your case buddy, Ithink you should start a judicial process to revoke your mother´s driver´s license if you are so worried about it... I mean, only you know your mother´s mental sanity, and you should act in consecuence... my father the day before the stroke was just a normal guy, he managed his own succesfull business and all... but then I know of other elderly persons that are just not on their wits, and just ordinary things, like driving a car or cooking by themselves, may represent a hazard not only for themselves but for others... some even younger than 70.


I support the legalization of euthanasia.  Life is only worth so much after quality of life has declined.  Keeping someone who is in pain or brain dead, etc.. alive does not improve their quality of life.  Of course there would need to be parameters in place, but ultimately I think each individual should have the choice to end their life at a point where they feel they are no longer living, just merely existing.  I also believe they should be able to enlist the help of another person if they are unable to do it themselves, without fear of repercussion.
"Come ride with me through the veins of history,
I'll show you how god falls asleep on the job.
And how can we win when fools can be kings?
Don't waste your time or time will waste you."

The Black Jester

@ Argie:

I am also sorry to hear of your difficulties - I hope your father's remaining time is as comfortable as possible.
The Black Jester

"Religion is institutionalised superstition, science is institutionalised curiosity." - Tank

"Confederation of the dispossessed,
Fearing neither god nor master." - Killing Joke