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Euthanasia - Term Paper Example

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Euthanasia: An Evolutionary Perspective Name University 22 October 2013 Study Rationale An evolutionary perspective is currently made of several perspectives that have a common evolution-theory-centered interest in behaviors and traits that all humans possess (Burgess, 2005, p.3)…
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Download file to see previous pages... Burgess (2005) explained the conditions that enable natural selection: 1) Genetic variation must be present to propel evolution, where the root is “random mutation” that pertains to the DNA making copying errors during cell division; 2) Nonrandom selection of genetic changes happen because of the adaptive needs of surviving in the environment; and 3) Organisms have mechanisms that pass these changes from one generation to the next through a “self-copying DNA molecule” (p.5). Hence, the basic foundation of evolution is genetic diversity. Euthanasia can be studied from an evolutionary perspective, in that it can either support or oppose it, depending on whose thinking and principles are involved (Stewart-Williams, 2010, p.269). The evolutionary perspective can provide justifications for it, or rejection of its fundamental proponents’ assumptions and arguments (Persaud, 2007, p.340). When searching keywords in “euthanasia,” “evolution*,” and “anthropology,” in EBSCO database and Google, however, it becomes apparent that not many studies focus on examining euthanasia from an evolutionary perspective. ...
The writer of the paper has heard of friends and distant family members, whose elderly or very sick relatives called for euthanasia. None of them admitted, however, of approving such requests, because they thought that euthanasia is inhumane and against their personal and religious beliefs. They did not think that it was right to take another person’s life, no matter how much that person wanted it. They assert that life is sacred and that even suffering is not enough reason to support euthanasia. The writer wants to further understand the evolution of these beliefs using relevant articles, especially tracing back euthanasia practices in ancient times. Thus, the main rationale of conducting the study is to respond to the literature gap and to further study a personal concern regarding the evolution of beliefs in and practices of euthanasia. Preliminary Review of Literature Euthanasia generally refers to the taking of someone’s life after the express request of the latter, with the main purpose of ending suffering and pain. Today, there are two kinds of euthanasia, which has its variations: active and passive euthanasia. Passive euthanasia refers to removing the life support of a person, and allowing nature to take its course for the dying patient. Some examples are removing respirators or stopping medicine provision. Active euthanasia, on the contrary, consists of direct action, usually through a doctor. Several examples are administering lethal injection or giving medicine that can hasten death. Some forms of active euthanasia may involve relatives of the patient who approve of euthanasia because the latter is no longer conscious for a long time and may have no hope of being awake again. Active euthanasia may ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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