The Correct Position On Euthanasia – REVEALED!
OK, so I have long been deeply suspicious of euthanasia, mainly because I tend to think people will be too quick to kill off perfectly good people (and also because I’m not quite sure how to calculate the utilities involved so I tend to err on the side of caution.) Now, this view has recently been challenged by the inestimable author of Slate Star Codex, who rechecked the numbers on anti-euthanasia advocates’ (myself included) favourite example – the apparent slippery slope evidenced by actual examples of legalising euthanasia.
Both Yvain and the doctors whose self-reports this is based on are, obviously, in favour of euthanasia (probably for much the same reasons – he works in a hospital), and are distinctly biased. But still, this significantly weakens the evidence that was pointing me toward keeping it illegal and I at least have had to update my estimate downward, even taking the bias into account (I think). The post in question is here.
However, fear not! For, him having previously alluded to knowing the correct numbers, I had already gone “hmm, if this is true it might be an actual moral conflict, where whatever I think is right I’ll still feel like a terrible person either way.” And, wandering the internet on unrelated business, I stumbled upon THE ANSWER, courtesy of Eliezer Yudkowsky, who tends to do that.
The article below was written by Yvain, who just started practicing in a modern hospital. Some people consider Professor Quirrell a cynic but the truth is that real life is so vastly more insane that there is no way to have it make sense even as a story allegory. You’d need Azkaban to have been built as an old-age home for people’s beloved parents because they can linger for another few years, before finally dying, if they’re being eaten by Dementors. Scott’s description of a modern hospital reads like a description of Azkaban right down to the screams coming from behind locked doors, only with more grotesque tortures than just your life and happy memories being drained away. What the FUCK is wrong with our civilization that we would rather torture old people to death to show how much we care, and then they inevitably die ANYWAY, rather than sign them up for cryonics so we could let them go peacefully knowing we’d done our best and that they might actually have a chance at coming back. –Eliezer Yudkowsky (emphasis added)
(‘m not sure which is worse – that I didn’t even think of that, or that no-one else does either:/)