Posted on: May 30, 2008 11:02 am

Playing God or Laissez Faire

So this is one of the great questions of our time IMHO.  Science has made so many advances in health care in the past 50 years that one can only imagine what will come in the next 50.  This link is to a video of a monkey who has been trained to control a robotic arm using only his brain waves.  The implications for people with paralysis are amazing potentially.  This technology could be used to allow people who cannot use their own arms to have a brain implant that will allow them to control an arm (either attached to their body or not) to perform activities such as feeding, grooming, dressing themselves and many other activities potentially.  Amazing stuff!!!!


So the question is at what point do we stop interfering with life just because we can?  Are we intended to use our brains to alter the outcome of human's lives?  Or are we "playing God"  too much and do we need to step back and let things happen as life presents them?

My answers are certainly inadequate and are shaped by my life experiences.  I work in health care so I can see the benefits of technology with patient outcomes and in some cases decreased medical expenses.  However, would my maternal Grandmother have suffered less with her Alzheimer's without some life extending treatments?  Would my friend's daughter have been better off by letting nature take its course when she was born at 17 ounces and now many surgeries and painful treatments later in 3 years old and somewhat healthy?

Our life spans have certainly been extended by advances in science, but at what expense?  When Sydney Pollack died earlier this week my first thought was "Wow he is not very old."  In fact he was 73 years old which is about average for an American male.  73 just doesn't seem old to me though.  Maybe because my parents aren't far from that age or because I have a Grandpa who goes to the horse races every Saturday at age 92, but it just doesn't seem old to me.  Can our health care system handle this though.  Medicare is nearly bankrupt.  Our elderly population in this country is many times forced to live the end of their lives in poor conditions.  Our natural resources are being stretched beyond their capacities and there is no end in sight to the continued lengthening of our lives due to scientific advances in health care, pharmaceuticals, immunizations etc.

So anyhow I just think about this stuff and wondered if you do too?  What are your thoughts on "playing God."  Should we have a more laissez faire/hands off approach to life?  I would love to hear opinions.


Category: General
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