Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Sorry, I just don't get religion
As I understand it, one of the reasons why people are religious is purportedly that religion soothes our fear of death -- you and your loved ones will live on in the heavenly kingdom, or whatever the particular mumbo jumbo may be. So So why is this?
In a review of 203 cases in which doctors recommended withdrawal of life support, 17 families did not ultimately come to agreement. In 11 of these cases, their stated reasons were explicitly religious: that God would produce a miracle: "[I]ntensive care should not be stopped due to expectation of divine intervention and complete cure together with conviction that overly pessimistic medical predictions were wrong."
Now, this is doubly ridiculous because if God is going to miraculously cure the person, why does He need a respirator? But fundamentally, it is more difficult for Christians to accept death than it is for atheists. By the way there is a good deal of research on this already -- devout Christians have been shown to be much more likely to demand so-called "heroic" efforts to resurrect people in hopeless condition, by which medical ethicists mean essentially futile measures. Physicians are well aware of this.
While we're on the subject of denial, Paul Ryan and Senator Inhofe are going to have to deny this. The Millstone nuclear power plant in Connecticut, which is cooled with seawater, has been forced to shut down because the ocean is too warm. This has never happened before in the plant's 37 years of operation, that is to say the Long Island Sound has never been warmer than 75 degrees. Now it's almost 77.