[extropy-chat] Medical Experimentation on Prisoners, and Slippery Slopes

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Apr 27 01:31:33 UTC 2007

Spike writes  (gee, it's good to be reading you again, but hope
you had a nice vacation)

>> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Keith Henson
>> Decades ago Russian researchers spliced a small dog's head on a larger
>> dog.  The heads stayed alive for days to weeks ...
> We have a number of medical ethics principles which prevent western medicine
> from doing much human experimentation along these lines,

I have always wondered why criminals condemned to death cannot
volunteer for medical experiments. Perhaps someone can explain
clearly why that would, what?, lead menacingly down a slippery
slope to applying the death penalty more often than it would be
otherwise?   (This sort of slippery slope argument, I have learned,
always needs to be shown on a case by case business---else we
admit very foolish arguments, such as "I shouldn't pay my taxes
because that's a slippery slope towards complete tyranny", or,
"banning assault weapons or weapons of mass destruction is a
slippery slope towards putting a population entirely at the mercy
of its government and so making tyranny possible", etc.

> but there are those
> whose religion actually suggests beheading the enemies of their faith.
> Could they not graft the head of one of their terminally ill to the
> otherwise perfectly healthy body of a doomed infidel?  I wonder if it has
> occurred to them to attempt it?

They're probably not quite so well read on these topics as is Keith.
But who knows?  Back in the days of the Abbasid Caliphate they
might have been more willing than we are to perform such experiments.


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