Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

That river in Egypt . . .

Is it really this deep? Remember Jahi McMath, who died last December but whose parents think she's alive because she's hooked to machines that keep her flesh from rotting? (Yeah, yuck, I know.) They're still at it, petitioning a court to have her declared un-dead. Her body is apparently now in a house somewhere in New Jersey, where somebody has paid to have the necessary machinery installed and for personnel to keep it running and keep most of her cells alive.

It is not puzzling, of courses, that parents cling to hope despite the vast weight of reality, as did Terry Schiavo's parents. What is puzzling is that their understandable delusions are incorporated into an ideological crusade by people who think that keeping corpses with dead brains in a state of pseudo-animation using late 20th Century technology is mandated by God. I somehow missed that passage in the Bible.

I remember during the Schiavo brouhaha a priest organizing Catholic teenagers to demonstrate with tape across their mouths with the word "life" written on it. Sorry folks, but this is not life, and if it were, why would you want it? It is, of course, possible to do this with just about everybody who dies, as long as their circulatory system can hold blood. I don't need to point out the reductio ad absurdum. (Terry Schiavo was not technically dead when she was disconnected from life support, but that's a distinction based on the new definition of death that had to be invented in the light of new technology. She was in a state that I would be happy to call death, and she would have been dead in any and every possible sense of the word far earlier if the machinery had not been available.)

What seems even stranger is that the people who take this bizarre position don't even believe that death is real. They think it's the greatest thing that can happen to you, that you go off to Paradise to be with Jesus. Why don't Jahi's parents want that for her?

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