A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

News from the Untergang

From a Psychology Today blog:

Thus, the injunction against assisted suicide – like that against unassisted suicide – is commonly underwritten by the doctrine of human dignity. But the whole edifice starts to crumble once we bring Darwin into the picture. With the corrective lens of evolutionary theory, the view that human life is infinitely valuable suddenly seems like a vast and unjustified over-valuation of human life. This is because Darwin’s theory undermines the traditional reasons for thinking human life might have infinite value: the image-of-God thesis and the rationality thesis

But if human life is not supremely valuable after all, then there is no longer any reason to think that suicide or voluntary euthanasia is necessarily wrong under any or all circumstances. In fact, it starts to seem decidedly odd that we have elevated human life – i.e., pure biological continuation – so far above the quality of the life in question for the person living it. Why should life be considered valuable in and of itself, independently of the happiness of the individual living that life?

"...underwritten by human dignity."  Well, we can't have any of that, can we?  Humans are just commodities, to be disposed of when they don't measure up.  They have no "dignity," because that is based on all that "god" stuff.  Humans are  objects, to be viewed objectively by the really-truly sciencey people.  At least the poorer, darker humans. 

Good thing we have Darwin to rescue us from the Untermenschen.  At least in the view of people unable to distinguish a scientific theory from a political policy.  How Darwin's theory undermines human dignity is left unexplained. 

"Quality of life" is a fake-science sounding word used in place of that good old German phrase lebensunwertes Leben (life unworthy of  life) to justify their euthanasia of the handicapped - and then of other people. 

What is it about the Final Solution that, having obliterated the regime that dreamed it up, we now want to apply it to everything from the pregnancy problem to the elder-care problem? 
Oh, wait.  As long as it's "voluntary."  But if humans lack intrinsic dignity and are judged only by their "quality of life" (presumably measured using a bioquality meter calibrated to NIST standards) then it is hard to see why the voluntary consent of the Untermenschen would be required.  And there are ways to obtain "voluntary consent," starting with psychological bullying. 

What a brave new world we live in, that has such people in it.


  1. Of course, Darwin's theory - as in, the actual science end of evolution and particularly (neo-)Darwinism - doesn't do what the author says it does. Now, Darwin's own personal thoughts and metaphysics, his conclusions and beliefs beyond what science shows or could hope to show, may be incompatible with various ideas about human dignity, the image-of-God, etc. But those are dispensable, and easily ignored. That's why they need to be repackaged.

  2. Judging by the relative birth rates of supporters and opponents of assisted suicide, it looks like Darwin's theory is predicting a victory for the opponents.


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