Michael Stuart Kelly Posted March 28, 2008 Share Posted March 28, 2008 A new spin on the child in the wildernessGet ready folks for another spin on the slippery slope of radical altruism versus radical selfishness. We have been going around and around on this issue one more time over on a thread in "Quotes" called Altruism. Well, check the following story out. I opened a new thread for this because it puts an entirely new element on the table: refusal to admit the efficacy of medicine and affirmation of the superiority of faith. What is the role of individual rights when a child's health is at stake? Here is the recent tragedy:Parents Pick Prayer Over Docs; Girl DiesBy ROBERT IMRIEAssociated PressMarch 27, 2008From the article:Police are investigating an 11-year-old girl's death from an undiagnosed, treatable form of diabetes after her parents chose to pray for her rather than take her to a doctor.An autopsy showed Madeline Neumann died Sunday of diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that left too little insulin in her body, Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said.She had probably been ill for about a month, suffering symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness, the chief said Wednesday, noting that he expects to complete the investigation by Friday and forward the results to the district attorney.. . .Leilani Neumann said she and her husband are not worried about the investigation because "our lives are in God's hands. We know we did not do anything criminal. We know we did the best for our daughter we knew how to do."This brings up a very interesting situation that is real-life. In this case it is easy to simply say the responsibility and fault lay at the feet of the parents, but there is a hugely important objective value at root. The law does not legislate over miracles. I believe the lady when she said she was doing what she thought best for her daughter, but there is a legal stricture that ignorance of the law is no excuse. So, should the law insist on licensed medical treatment for all children? If so, what about the right of the parents to treat their child as they see fit? Does the concept of individual rights as proposed by Objectivists and libertarians protect parents to the extent that they can replace medical treatment of their child with prayer? That sounds as dangerous as all get out to me. If not, what is the standard for protecting the child and what degree of medical knowledge is used as that standard? Are home remedies enough rights-wise—even when grossly inadequate and the cure is easy with modern medicine?Going further in this direction, does a child have a right to medical treatment in the first place (reasonable or otherwise)? Who decides? The parents? The government? Or should the right to life not include medicine at all and only be the right to death?Here is a second interesting angle. What if a child is found in an emergency with parents not around, a stranger happens by, the child can be extracted from the emergency with very little effort and/or cost by the stranger, but instead, the stranger decides to pray for hours to God for Him to resolve the issue—and the child dies? Unfortunately this does not cut into the essentials of defining human nature, as I would prefer at this juncture, but it sure makes for one hell of an interesting problem.Michael Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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