Thursday, March 24, 2005

Science, religion and Terri Schiavo

The medical diagonosis is as unambiguous as science can be (via
TCS: Tech Central Station):

The medical reality of Ms. Schiavo's case is this: She has been in what is medically referred to as a "permanent vegetative state" for the past 15 years, ever since her heart temporarily stopped (probably due to the severe effects of an eating disorder), depriving her brain of oxygen. Brain scans indicate that her cerebral cortex ceased functioning -- probably just after she experienced cardiac arrest in 1990. Ms. Schiavo's CAT scan shows massive shrinking of the brain, and her EEG is flat. Physicians confirm that there is no electrical activity coming from her brain. While the family video repeatedly shown on television suggests otherwise, her non-functioning cortex precludes cognition, including any ability to interact or communicate with people or show any signs of awareness. Dozens of experts over the years who have examined Ms. Schiavo agree that there is no hope of her recovering -- even though her body, face and eyes (if she is given food and hydration) might continue to move for decades to come.

The problem, for the wingnuts trying to keep her alive, though, is precisely that: science says Terry Schiavo the person disappeared long ago, but this case is merely another skirmish in their assaullt on the real enemy, which is science.

Science says the universe is billions of years old, people evolved over millions of years from monkeys, and the Bible, though perhaps useful as myth and metaphor, cannot possibly be literally correct. Science is therefore the enemy.

So when complicated machines that simple folks don't understand tell a story those simple folk don't want to hear, it is just another collision between data and belief. And when your worldview is centered in faith, belief trumps all possible data.

Next: Who will be the first wingnut to draw parallels to the Easter story?


Blogger Allison said...

Not a wingnut, you go. I actually saw a picture of her transposed w/ a resurrection picture, but can't seem to find it again.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

found it; then there's the Vatican

5:35 AM  

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