Saturday, April 14, 2018
Mahatma Ghandi reputedly said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” We could paraphrase this in a contemporary context: a nation’s right-to-die laws are measured by how it treats the disabled.
Our lead story this week deals with the euthanasia of patients with an intellectual disability or autism in the Netherlands. Four bioethicists suggest that the necessary safeguards are lacking in these cases.
That is bad enough. But they go on to point out that the disabled have to deal with nigh-intolerable suffering for their whole lives. How does legal euthanasia make them feel? In the words of another author, “If society endorses the right of a person to seek physician assistance to end his or her life because of increasing loss of functional autonomy, what does that say about how our society values the lives of people who live with comparable limitations every day of their lives for years on end?”
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CRISPR gene editing is one of the most exciting technologies of recent years, although most of the excitement so far involves curing people of obscure diseases and improving crops. Now a Dwayne Johnson film showcases its full potential – trashing all of downtown Chicago, for starters.
This is a must-see for fans of B-grade science fiction. The critics score at Rotten Tomatoes is 50%, but 78% of the audience loved it.