Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Life Doesn't Begin at Conception—Or Even at Birth

Question: Should parents be allowed to euthanize severely disabled children?

Jacob Appel:  Absolutely.  I think the Dutch have used a system called the Hornussen Protocol for almost a decade now.  And under this principle, they evaluate children that are born with either severe defects or in severe pain and assess their likelihood of surviving into meaningful adulthood, and if the answer is no and two physicians a the parents agree upon this, then the baby can be euthanized and they do it very pain-free and very quickly in the first few days of life. 

Only in our culture is the obsession with keeping life going at all costs, even when the pain is immense and the likelihood of survival is very low come to the fore.  In many cultures historically, the ancient Romans, for example, didn’t view life as a whole in it’s beginning until well into childhood.  Understanding that infant mortality was high and that sometimes the suffering an infant went through made it not worth the **** alive. 

The real interesting ethical question is if our goal to prevent the childhood suffering.  Where their parents should actually have a say in this process.  Whether, and I’ve written about this in the past, if a child is going to suffer immensely over the course of several weeks and die, would the parents have the right to say, we want this process to occur rather than injecting the baby with Potassium instantly, or whether **** itself is a form of child abuse.  If an older child was to need a medical intervention or medical procedure and without it they would suffer severe pain, we wouldn’t let adults make that choice.  Why do we let them make the choice the other way with infants?

Question: Is it tantamount to child abuse to let such disabled children live? 

Jacob Appel: I think it can be.  I think we are very reluctant to condemn parents in those situations, in part because it is a very stressful situation.  These parents themselves have suffered.  I wouldn’t want, for example, criminal penalties to punish parents in this situation.  But I think in terms of determining what should be done with a child, the best interests of the child’s standard should be the standard we use.

Question: Why do you think life should begin after seven days?

Jacob Appel: Well I should emphasize, I don’t think there is much value in having an arbitrary hard and fast rule.  One of the reasons I’ve actually said the law should use birth, for the most part as the standard would it would be very easy to figure out whether the baby is born or not born.  Figuring out whether an infant is six days old, or eight days old is a much harder project to endeavor.  Particularly, in situations where the baby has been abandoned or the origins of the baby are unknown. 

The larger point I am trying to make, and I’m not the only person that’s made this, Peter Singer at Princeton has made this for years, is that life should be divined by cognizance, by sentience, by ability to interact with the world.  And infants who can’t do that in the same way adults do should have their lives evaluated in very different ways.  And the potentiality of fulfilling life is a factor to consider.  But the suffering that an infant may undergo if they aren’t going to lead a meaningful fulfilling life is also a valid concern to think about.

The bioethicist believes that life should be divined by cognizance, by sentience, and by the ability to interact with the world. Infants who can’t do that should have their lives evaluated in very different ways.

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Women who go to church have more kids—and more help

Want help raising your kids? Spend more time at church, says new study.

Pixabay
Culture & Religion
  • Religious people tend to have more children than secular people, but why remains unknown.
  • A new study suggests that the social circles provided by regular church going make raising kids easier.
  • Conversely, having a large secular social group made women less likely to have children.
Keep reading Show less

Bubonic plague case reported in China

Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.

(Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Getty Images)
Coronavirus
  • The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
  • Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
  • Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Keep reading Show less

Leonardo da Vinci could visually flip between dimensions, neuroscientist claims

A neuroscientist argues that da Vinci shared a disorder with Picasso and Rembrandt.

Christopher Tyler
Mind & Brain
  • A neuroscientist at the City University of London proposes that Leonardo da Vinci may have had exotropia, allowing him to see the world with impaired depth perception.
  • If true, it means that Da Vinci would have been able to see the images he wanted to paint as they would have appeared on a flat surface.
  • The finding reminds us that sometimes looking at the world in a different way can have fantastic results.
Keep reading Show less

Education vs. learning: How semantics can trigger a mind shift

The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.

Future of Learning
  • The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
  • Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
  • Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast