Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments | Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project

Pew has a number of articles up today showing poll results of Americans’ views on end-of-life medical treatments, suicide, and related issues.  I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised to see the enlightened views held by a majority of Americans, most of whom believe it would be acceptable to allow someone in a great deal of pain, without any chance of improvement, to elect to die without further treatment.  A majority were also understanding of people in that condition electing suicide, although a slight majority were still opposed to physician assisted suicide.

The issue of allowing someone to die is one of the most difficult ethical dilemmas in existence.  Life is precious, and the feeling that we should value it at all cost is understandable.  But insisting that someone hold onto to it when all they have to look forward to is pain and misery, is a failure to understand why life is precious.



8 thoughts on “Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments | Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project

  1. I completely agree on quality over quantity and only the individual can make that choice, and I plan on going to med school when I’m done contributing to the well-being of the species.


        1. Ah, I did misunderstand. However, I also very much respect that as well. I’ve often thought the same thing, both for societal benefits and to save family from funeral costs.

          I do sometimes wonder about cryonics though.


          1. Yes, both societal benefit and saving funeral costs. Last I read average was around $7000 and cremation was gaining popularity at 1/3 to half the cost(if memory serves) – still too much IMO, just seems the $’s could be put to better use.

            Cryonics, hmm … my one big disappointment related to death and ceasing to exist will be not knowing what happens to our species and life on earth in general, both in the near future as well as over more evolutionarily significant spans of time. Oh well, that’s just how it goes.

            Say, do you have any idea how I acquired my Kanizsa pattern avatar?


          2. I agree. The angst over not knowing what the future holds is my chief regret over our short lives. If I could be given access to the all the eventual scientific discoveries and history of the human race to extinction, I think I could go quietly and contently.

            I suspect your avatar comes from a configuration setting I changed. I set it to generate an “identicon” for anyone who didn’t have one on registered on Gravatar (didn’t know until I created one how widespread they show up). If it bothers you, I can change it back to either the mystery man or just make it blank.


  2. Re: my avatar

    No changes necessary on your part. I just registered with WP and figured it out. I liked it and have changed to what I read is one of the more commonly recognized ones. The significance(and my curiosity) is that Bruce Hood uses the Kanizsa pattern as an analogy for the self in ‘The Self Illusion’ – kind of serendipitous that it turned up as my avatar.


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