Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by bioengine

  1. You need much more than information about a person to decide whether or not they should become your exclusive romantic partner. You need a strong sense of who they are as a human being.

    What is their basic character and sense of life? Are they moral? How do they conduct themselves generally?

    Are they sweet, supportive, benevolent, kind — or is there nastiness and spite bubbling beneath the surface?

    Perhaps most important: How do their values & personality mesh with yours?

    These questions can only be answered by getting to know a person across time, and by the two of you interacting on a number of different occasions.

    It's kind of incredible that anyone would have to make the case for taking it slow in romance, but such is the state of our current culture.


    The things you say here are true but there is an underlying premise in these types of writings which is false.  Making up an artificial prescription of how to act in order to "get the girl" is not right.  I think that any relationship that was going to be worthwhile would not require such superficialities as limiting a date to a certain amount of time, or waiting a certain number of weeks to couple, or always saying the right thing at the right time.  Trying to make these regulations around human relationships is tedious.  Furthermore it is artificial in the same sense that the government regulating an economy and making rules of how people can interact is artificial and thus doomed to fail.  To my mind human interaction is a more natural thing, which in pretty much all cases does not need a set of preformed rules to follow.  What the real trick is, does not have to do with creating a certain appearance when you are first getting to know someone, the trick consists of finding the right person to begin with, in which case I doubt whether becoming a couple "too soon" or having the date run "too long" or appearing "needy" is going to affect anything.

  2. They didn't suggest the term; I did.  I knew I remembered something along those lines but I didn't want to imply a priori knowledge so I thought 'logical mechanism' would be less than controversial.

    After sitting down and finding the sources for my information, it occurs to me that I may have exaggerated a bit.  :whistle:





    It's still an interesting idea.


    These links don't show a "hard-wiring" of anything because the babies are all months old and have been living in the world.  Even if the baby had just been born, still not proof of "hard-wiring" in the biological sense.  I'm assuming by hard-wiring you mean something on the level of an instinct.  You don't know what the baby's brain can learn while developing in the womb or why it learns it and I wouldn't exactly call that hard-wiring, more just learning the same way it learns when it comes out.  "Hard-wiring" implies the idea is somehow written in a code passed from mother to child which creates a structure in the brain and not just a result of the brain responding to its environment just like it continues to throughout life.

  3. Fair enough. I'm just speculating here too. What makes me uneasy when I think about affairs isn't so much the sexual aspect. (Being sexually attracted to other people outside of a monogamous relationship is pretty common and perhaps even unavoidable.) I think what would hurt the most is the knowledge that your significant other is building a serious relationship with someone other than you.. that maybe you aren't enough for her anymore, or maybe you were never as important to her as you thought you were. Whether the significant other acts on these desires or not isn't important. Just knowing that s/he wants more from someone else would be.. devastating.


    In ancient Greece, the men certainly weren’t monogamous by today’s standards.  Were hunter/gatherer ancestors monogamous?--I’m not sure what the evidence on that is but offhand I would say it’s doubtful and I have read that monogamy is quite rare in mammals in general.  Monogamy as a symptom in mankind could be just another hangover due to Christianity.  Monogamy may be as much in our nature qua man as embarrassment due to being observed naked is—that is, not at all.  This is speculating but perhaps before we ate from the tree of knowledge polygamous attitudes were most natural to our species but now monogamy is just so ingrained into the culture.  It could be at least one reason why the divorce rates are so high.  Personally I don't have a strong opinion but I don’t advocate running around after more than one person though as even one would be time consuming and confusing enough.  In the case of Rand, well, she was a genius so I’m sure she could handle it without demeaning her husband in any way.

  4.  You should have bothered to read this very thread or the gallons of articles on these topics. Really do some research instead of acting like this is the first time these objections have been raised. 


    Yeah I read the thread.  Nowhere did I say that this is the first time those objections have been raised nor was that central to the argument or the question of whether they have been sufficiently answered.  If you are upset by it you needn't reply at all because I don't make things personal.  I don't know whether you remembered what was in the links you sent but they do not address the main argument I presented.  It doesn't address at all how different "free-market" defense groups would deal without having a physical domain where their law applies absolutely.  It makes statements about how such a country would defend itself that are unconvincing and nowhere does it address how a preemptive strike could ever be accomplished. Or maybe I missed it somewhere?   Also in the article the objections to centralized government are that they would extort taxes, but in a free society they would be voluntarily funded. 

  5. The anarchists want anarchy because they want to choose the protective agency who they agree with the most or who they think is the most just rather than being forced to live under a centralized government and its interpretation of justice.  The thing is, if there are all these different protective groups all operating under different rules, there will be some who actually get justice right and then there will be those who are not “rights respecting” groups.  If it happened in the U.S. it is just as if they U.S. has now been split into however many smaller countries.  People act as if under such a system there would be no jurisdiction and you have recourse to hire any group you want to defend you in a court case or so forth.  It would be like if Billy Hayes from “Midnight Express”, who got caught smuggling dope in Turkey could have just hired the U.S. to try his case instead of Turkey.  It doesn’t seem likely to me that the different groups would allow an agency with different rules to infringe on whatever boarders they operate on.  The enforcing agencies couldn’t be bodies of law with no physical delineated borders.  I think almost by definition a body of law has to have physical borders in which the laws apply absolutely.  Otherwise if they all had different rules how would you ever know, dealing with a given individual who subscribes to an agency you’re not familiar with, how you are allowed to interact with him?  If the different groups didn’t have physically defined borders they would be constantly clashing everywhere due to their different rules.  Governing bodies cannot just insert themselves and their rulings into areas they don’t physically control, that’s the definition of war.  I am assuming the rules would vary to a degree that this would become a problem or else why would you want this anarchy to begin with if all the agencies had practically the same rules?—it would be cheaper and more efficient to collapse them into one if that were the case just like mergers with businesses.


    Consider what would happen when other countries begin to come in and try to take over when we have disparate disorganized agencies.  Or better yet, how would we ever deliver a preemptive blow to a country we saw as a threat with these small agencies, they would all have to come together and reach an agreement but what if enough agencies have rules that don’t allow for that? 


    As other people have already pointed out, in a certain sense this anarchy already exists in the world at large.  You can go live under a different “protective agency” by moving to a different country.  Turning the U.S. into this anarchy just fractionates and dissolves us into smaller, weaker countries.

  6. I definitely plan on seeing it, since I have yet to be disappointed with Leonardo DiCaprio. Never read the book, have no idea what it's about. Something about rich people and parties from what I gather (Is there some kind of message?). But honestly I could watch Leo plant a garden and it would be a delight.


    He is one of my favorite actors which is why I tried to watch him play Arthur Rimbaud in Total Eclipse.  I got about half way through and had to stop.  His acting wasn't the problem, but the character he played was so annoying and pointless.  I read on his wikipedia page that he is going on vacation from acting to save the planet, so you might get to watch him plant a garden some day soon.

  7. bioengine:


    You state explicitly and I agree, that no real thing can be in a state which is "indeterminate and could be anything or nothing".


    No scientific theory or QM state actually embraces a physical entity which is "indeterminate" in that it could be "anything or nothing".  e.g. A = probability1*anything + probability2*nothing is not a description of a quantum mechanical state according to modern science.


    At most an entity is described by a quantum state as an "indeterminate" mixture of some known states, the mixture (defined by probability and phase) is specific.   e.g. for spin  A = probability1*up + probability2*down (I have dispensed with phase for ease of interpretation).  Every hypothetical physical QM state A has probability1 or probability2 determined, and the sum of probabilities sums to 1 for every hypothetical QM state.  As such the state of spin for A is specific, it is defined, and the probabilities of all possible measurements is unity.  This characterization of states is not something scientists imagined, theorized or pushed for prior to observation, it is a consequence of experiments and much frustration.  Furthermore the position that the state only defines the probabilities of what will be measured also is not something scientists wanted.  This is a compromise which costs the scientist dearly.  The very nature of reality forces us to stop at merely describing the state on the basis of the probability of measuring outcomes.  Through further experiment we have not been able to crack nature to a degree such that we can know what these states "really are" in a way we can describe them coherently.  In fact it is an open question whether or not it is meaningful to impose upon the universe explanations for all possible phenomena which we can intuitively understand.  Our intuition is extremely limited by our nature, evolution, our experience etc. After trying to invent scenarios to make sense of the experimental results (which have been attempted many times) conservative and prudent minds have chosen merely to stick with the "description" of reality which quantum mechanics provides. 


    So far this description (albeit probabilistic) is completely correct in its match with reality as we observe it.  I think the best example to go into is the Stern-Gerlach experiment.  It is simple and elegant.


    I will present that on another day.


    In statistical mechanics the randomness is only an abstraction and not a reality of the system.  We say it is random because it appears that way with our limited information and the statistical math can describe the system but doesn’t mean the identity of the particles is statistical.  You would have to explain more clearly why this isn’t the case for QM to convince me.

  8. Alright; if it was also hurting her baby then that's another matter.  I had inferred from one of Nicky's comments that it was for her own comfort.


    And I think that someone's individual rights should be distinct from parental rights.  (parental obligations?)  There are certain things which everyone is perfectly entitled to do in most situations, but are unacceptable for them to do once they have a child.

    And yes, if the drug was hurting her baby then what I equated it to was its opposite.


    It may hurt the baby or it may not.  AZT is a carcinogen which prevents cells from proliferating.  In an embryo the cells are proliferating to develop the child.  In a previous post I stated that drugs of this kind are risky drugs.  The individual decides if the trade off is worth it.  There are some scientists who believe pregnant women should never be exposed to carcinogens.

  9. My outlook on Objectivist attitudes toward modern science/physics is somewhat buoyed by your answer.  It is reassuring 3 and 5 seem acceptable.  But I do recall some famous objectivists denying 5.


    You state "things can't exist in an indeterminate state".  What do you mean by "indeterminate state"? You give an example of an entity which changes from a cow to a hippopotamus to a flea.  All of which seem to be determined states in a temporal sequence.  I know cows don't do this but I don't think there is a philosophical reason why Neutrinos can't do this... and I think experiments have been performed to show that they do.  The neutrino fluctuates from one kind of neutrino to another... Turning to this now, we know that all entities are themselves and behave according to their natures.  So either the entity (itself at time t) transforms into a different entity (which is itself at time t+1), or we take to be the "real" entity, the thing which has "attributes" describing/typifying the state of the entity at time t and which evolve into the "attributes" describing/typifying the state of the entity at time t+1,  In any case the law of identity is not violated. 


    Yes, if it is a temporal sequence that is fine.  What I mean is that if that happened to you, you would assume that someone was running in real fast and switching out the cow for the hippo and so forth.  You would look for a cause.  The cow is not truly a "Random" animal but something physically happened.  Or maybe someone gave the cow some kind of biologic agent which morphed it to a different species.  It wasn't just that the cow was indeterminate and could be anything or nothing.  The nuetrino must be fluctuating for some reason is what i am saying, it isn't existing randomly doing whatever.  So it would appear random based on lack of information of what's actually happening.




    Perhaps something else is meant by "indeterminate state"?  Whatever state that is, I would like to understand how an indeterminate state necessarily is inconsistent with the law of identity.  It would be a state which is indeterminate (perhaps bounded in possibilities) as against a state which was determined (restricted strictly to a single possibility i.e. a certainty).  I can state this state A is indeterminate and is the state A as against state B...


    Because the law of identity implies a specific identity.  To exist is to be something with an identity that behaves according to that identity.  This is the reason there is no such thing as "nothing".  If a true vacuum existed it would be an existent lacking identity.  To say that something exists in a certain number of possible states is fine.  All you are saying is that you have observed several states and you don't know how to predict what state it will be in at a given time.  How is it you could claim that there is no reason whatsoever it switches from one state to another, it switches causelessly?  There is an effect with no cause?  I think the concept random has always meant we are lacking information of what's truly happening, I don't know why that would change for the case of neutrinos, maybe you could explain further.

  10. Also, if they did have an opportunity to reduce his likelihood of infection to 2% and failed to do so, I think that would speak volumes.

    Yes, a woman has the right to do whatever she wants to with her own body.  That's why she has the right to abort, if she should become pregnant.

    But if, rather than getting an abortion, some woman simply decides not to give up liquor (or to stop taking a drug which harms her), while that's her right, she shouldn't be upset when she isn't nominated for mom-of-the-year.


    Parenthood comes with much pain and unpleasantry.  (see labor and delivery)  Those who have a problem with this shouldn't have kids.


    You would equate not giving up liquor with quitting a drug which is harmful to both you and your baby's development?  I think they are opposites.  She didn't want to take the drug because she thinks it's harmful to her baby.  If it was her right then why was the kid taken?

  11. Stop it. We've been at this for two days. All along, you've been claiming that there is a different medical opinion on how this baby should be treated and that the government saw fit to enforce one medical opinion over the other. And all along, I've been asking you to tell us who this second medical opinion is coming from. There's no misunderstanding here, there's just you constantly dodging direct questions and evading facts.



    I didn't realize that is what it boiled down to for you.  You have ignored all the statements about how the drugs are toxic and whether someone, even a baby, should be forced to take a toxic drug which destroys body tissue and upsets physiology--possibly coming with unknown consequences for a developing child--by law.  What if the government was wrong about a disease?  Do you think that has never happened?  Is the government or the doctor infallible?  If you thought they were wrong would you want them to take your child and give him toxic drugs?  Look up SMON, an incident that occured in Japan in which the government thought they had a neurological disease caused a microbe when they didn't.  Do I know or care whether there is a doctor who agrees with me on this philosophical position about whether the government should force toxic treatments on citizens?--No, that is an appeal to authority, and appeal to a degree.



     The family did nothing for 20 years, did nothing while the mother passed on the virus to her baby, and was not doing anything when the baby was finally taken. What they want is for the baby to not receive treatment, because they don't believe that the HIV virus is a threat to his health.

    The closest they came was an out of state trip. But they turned around in the middle of it, never got to a second doctor.


    Yes, did I deny that they didn't want to give the baby the drugs?  If anything they were probably looking for a doctor who would prescribe the lowest dosage because they had already been told he would be taken away if they didn't administer them.  I really don't remember what they believe about the HIV virus, what I do know is they believe the drugs are harmful, which they experienced for themselves.  As a young child she basically had a life of pain on the drugs.  Clearly to her and her family it is worth the risk of getting AIDS to not take those drugs.  So far it has worked out well for them, she doesn't have AIDS and didn't have to live with the side effects of the drugs.  Who is the state to decide what is worse for the child: excruciating pain and stunted development, having your immune system attacked by the drugs themselves (AZT), and getting an infection and dying or getting an infection from AIDS and dying?  Must I remind you again, the baby got a life-threatening rash from the drugs (life-threatening as in could have died).




    Okay, but what if the parent thinks you are wrong and claims (as a non-expert) that insulin injections are only a net harm?


    That depends on the evidence they bring with them.  For instance what were the symptoms the kid had?  Was he screaming in pain every day of his life, failing to develop, losing coordination?  Who is the state to enforce that on a child?

  12. No, I asked you to name a doctor or otherwise knowledgeable individual who DOES disagree. I didn't ask you to name someone you think would disagree. I asked for facts independent of your opinion.

    And, again: Joseph Sonnabend is a South African physician who DID prescribe antiretroviral treatment to his patients. So he probably wouldn't disagree that this baby needs it.


    Apologies I mistook your meaning.  The fact is that Joseph Sonnabend always prescribed lower dose medication than what the consensus suggested.  I didn't make the claim he would say the baby didn't need the drugs, i distinctly stated he started out not prescribing them and then always gave lower dosage, implying he would probably give a lower dosage to this baby than a different doctor.  The family was in fact trying to get a second opinion when the child was taken.  You are the one who objected to "strawman".



    I have no medical training. I have never attempted to claim that I do. Bioengine is the one who claimed that he has relevant training. That's why I asked him to specify what kind of training it is.

    Of course, you don't need medical training to know what HIV is, and why it requires treatment. You just need to be objective and honest. Bioengine is neither. His training is a lie, and his arguments are dishonest and fallacious.



    I agree, in that you don't need medical training to think for yourself on these issues, which is what the mother did.  I for one have not made up my mind entirely on these issues but I know what problems and controversies exist.  I don't claim to have the certaity on the subject that you have, i am presenting arguments which i haven't seen answered to my satisifaction.  I suppose it is easy to claim someone is not objective or honest, it is quite another thing to refute their arguments.  It is ironic you make this claim and then in the next sentence you make the claim that my training is a lie.  You are the one drawing a conclusion with no evidence.  I think the arguments you have presented stem more from intimidation or appeals to authority than anything. 





     do you agree with Bioengine that the baby is going to be fine?


    Really, that is what I think?  I would call that a misrepresentation at the very least.  When did I say he would be fine?  Of course he may be fine or he may not whether he is on the drugs or off the drugs.  My argument is for the individual choice of the mother.  You are the one claiming certain knowledge about what will happen to him.

  13. I will take a stab at why Objectivists may reject certain parts of these physics ideas.  The objections are philosophical they don't question the results of experiments and they don't rely on common sense either.


    1. General relativity ( reification of concepts)

    2. nonlocality (Depends on how you are defining it, if you think there can be action by no causal agent that is wrong on philosophical grounds.  If you think there is some yet undetectable causal agent that's fine.)

    3. anti-matter - total conversion of matter into energy (no objection)

    4. objective randomness (probability with no hidden variables) (If you are saying it has no identity then it violates the law of identity.  A thing is what it is, if you can find a way for "randomness" to be an existent and still be an exact something with exact properties then you can keep it.  Things can't exist in an indeterminate state.  This is a crude example but you can't look at a cow and then blink and then it is a hippopotamus and then blink and it is a flea.  The cow doesn't exist in a random state with no identity.  That applies on the level of the very small or the very large.)


    5. quantum tunnelling and nuclear decay (no objection)


    6. dual nature (wave particle) of very small (low mass) particles, atoms etc. (no objection as long as it is something that appears this way and not fundamentally two contradictory things at the same time.  for instance nothing is black and non-black at the same time)


    7. QM in general (no objection without giving certain claims)



    I would say the example of the fictional person is just positivism.  The objectivist philosophers I have listened to don't use common sense at all to reject physics, but like i said, philosophical objections to interpretations of experiments.

  14. If a parent purposefully chooses not to treat their HIV-infected child, then no, it is not neglect. It is abusive, but not neglectful. I agree with you in that I cannot imagine a judge deciding that such a treatment could ever be considered proper. That being said, this is an extreme case, and there are certainly less extreme cases in which I wouldn't want the state or a "panel of experts" making narrow medical recommendations.


    HIV isn't a disease.  It is a microbe that may or may not cause a disease in a given person.  AIDS is a disease which the baby does not have.  To illustrate, his mother has had HIV since birth she has never had AIDS and thus has not been ill.  She was only ill when younger because she responded badly to the medication which isn't suprising seeing that she was a developing child (so all her cells are growing and thus being affected by the drug).  There are many reasons why a given person may have immune deficiency, which is defined as white blood cell counts below a certain level.  But clearly with such a long latent period between HIV infection and AIDS and with people like the mother living twenty years without treatment, it is complicated who will ultimately become sick.  It is up to the individual to decide if they want to take risky drugs now and possibly become sick and die or if they want to chance it with AIDS.  Like the article said the baby had to be taken off the medication due to a life-threatening rash.  Is it really abusive to not want to give toxic drugs to a baby who doesn't have a disease but only a microbe which may or may not lead to a disease?

  15. But the fact remains that modern women are suffering from a glut of totally unimpressive guys. Men who know what they're doing in the area of romance have become virtually extinct.


    Is this really fact?  I would argue that modern men suffer the same in terms of women.




    A man should always be his authentic self. He should also be his best, most attractive, most masculine self.


    The average man today doesn't have the faintest clue what masculinity means and consists of.


    I agree they don't know, but neither do most women know what masculinity means.

  16. Ah, I misread this, and I read it several times even. =X


    Fair enough, but I wonder if court documents/proceedings only focused on missed doctor appointments. My line of reasoning is based off if it is legitimate to say the mother is fundamentally a negligent parent. If she is not negligent, then I generally agree. But when it comes to a court of law, and when determining what is legitimate, the court should trust a medical expert who has received specific education. In general disagreeing with a doctor is insufficient to prove negligence, though the court must use experts at some point to make its decisions, otherwise you'd have legal experts making decisions medical experts should make.


    Yes, it would be wonderful if we could just trust medical experts but it just aint so in today's world.  Many scientists or doctors today are not valiant seekers of truth.  This is why i maintain we all must decide these things ourselves.  We don't have to question the physicists and other sciences if we don't want because they will have little direct effect on us.  Everyone will face medical decisions which they must make and need to educate themselves and decide for themselves because these are life altering.  There is no easy way of telling whether what a doctor prescribes is in your best interest.



    There is certainly a point where ignoring a doctor is negligence. An example may be not giving a kid with diabetes insulin shots on the premise that insulin shots are inferior to a mystical psychic with healing powers, or even the premise that natural is better. In that case, I think legally requiring parents to give the insulin shots is appropriate. Now, is this case an example like that? I am not sure. Expert advice is needed by a court, yet at the same time, of course doctors are fallible, and sometimes parents may be paying better attention to symptoms than a doctor.



    If a kid has type I diabetes, insulin can be demonstrated as a benign treatment, I think, to anyone’s satisfaction.  It is a natural hormone of the body, lacking in those individuals.  So it follows my principle of benign treatments only as long as the kid is taught to use it properly.  If he was type II diabetic I would just take him off the carbs and make him lose weight.



    In the case of DNA chain terminators which prevent  cells from going through the cell cycle, thus,  damaging or destroying all tissues with actively dividing cells, or protease inhibitors which block certain necessary enzymes from functioning (of both the virus and the host), these are not natural molecules and obviously not benign drugs.   A child should only be given them if the parent is ok with it due to the potential of serious harm from them, which did happen to occur in this case with his life-threatening rash.





    Hopefully, the court demonstrated, objectively, that this mother was being negligent, so a medical expert is better in the meantime. It is legally appropriate to judge if a parent is negligent. If the court did not make a decision about the mother's parenting, and instead only focused on two missed appointments, then that would not be objective.



    I would not be surprised if it was the latter, seeing that the parents speak out publicly with their opinions about these drugs, including their story of taking their daughter off the drugs.  They have probably made themselve a conspicuous target in doing so.

  17. We don't know the court proceedings, we only know that making no attempt to schedule a doctor appointment was *one* reason of probably many.


    No, the antiretrovirals are not the reason - I'm going by what the articles you linked *say*. There is no mention that not giving the kid AZT and antiretrovirals is why the mother was taken to court.


    "I don’t believe in appointing a doctor to make parenting decisions for someone who is in control of their faculties, like this mother."

    That's begging the question - the court case is about whether or not she is even able to take care of a kid. We can't assume she was or is until we see court documents, which you and I will probably never see.


    Going strictly by what the article says I see nothing about negligence or a question of whether she is able to take care of a child.  There is no information on that so I assume she is a normal rational person, just like I would assume with anyone else with no further cause.  The original petition only mentioned they missed two doctor’s appointments.  In and of itself that’s clearly not negligence and I guess we shouldn’t assume anything more than that.  So why did it happen then?  I have read more extensively about this family concerning when Lindsey herself was young and yes the reason the doctors petitions the court is people don’t want to put their kids on the drug, which is what almost happened so many years ago when she was on the drug and her parents took her off.  The parents claimed that not only did the doctor try to intimidate them but finally threatened to get the state involved, which the person apparently never followed through with since she stayed off the drugs.


    Whether or not you believe the antiretrovirals are the bottom motivation of why she was taken to court the article clearly states that is why the boy is going to remain in custody, which I already quoted.


    "Their statements that they wish to discontinue the antiretroviral medication and will continue to provide treatment only as long as it is legally required give the Court little choice but to retain jurisdiction in this matter to protect the child,” Wellmann wrote in his decision.“"

  18. No. I mean when it is the case that there is likely negligence to such a degree that a parent is being taken to court, choices must be made with regards to the court of who should make medical decisions. I don't know if taking custody is appropriate, but assigning a doctor is appropriate. I am not saying she is negligent because she didn't do what a doctor said. I am saying her basic responsibilities for having a kid means she is negligent. Because a court has deemed her negligent or her responsibility has been legitimately questioned, a medical expert should be the one to make the medical decisions for now. Nothing in the article said the court thought she was negligent for not giving her kid AZT.


    AZT wasn't even part of it; AZT is irrelevant to the court proceeding. Please re-read what I quoted, even in the same article, AZT isn't cited as the reason custody was taken or why the mother was taken to court.


    Apologies for the ramble, I thought you were making a judgment call that she was negligent.


    But it is about AZT and other antiretrovirals which is the whole reason they confiscated the boy so they could put him on the drugs:


    “Judge Fred Wellmann expressed concern that Lindsey Nagel and John Martinez of Brownsdale, parents of now 4-month-old Rico Martinez Nagel, would discontinue HIV antiretroviral treatment without the county’s supervision.


    “Their statements that they wish to discontinue the antiretroviral medication and will continue to provide treatment only as long as it is legally required give the Court little choice but to retain jurisdiction in this matter to protect the child,” Wellmann wrote in his decision.“


    Going to an alternate doctor and not answering your doctor’s phone calls is not negligence as far as I can see.  Making the decision not to take toxic drugs during pregnancy is also not negligence but personal choice.  Therefore, the state has its definition of negligence wrong and is wrong to do this.  I don’t believe in appointing a doctor to make parenting decisions for someone who is in control of their faculties, like this mother.  I think it’s a breach of basic freedom.  I’m not saying whether I agree with the mother’s decision or not but if it happened to me I would be furious. 


    Imagine for a second the far out there hypothesis that these drugs don’t help anything.  Suspend disbelief.  That would mean the state is confiscating children and putting them on dangerous drugs possibly causing death for no reason.  The consensus of government science is that the drugs do work, the FDA approved them after all so they must be good.  The doctors say it is good.  Does that mean it is just--in this other world which isn’t our own? 

    To prevent something like that I stick to my position that the government shouldn’t enforce medical treatment unless it is absolutely benign without harmful side effects such as proper food to the starving.  

  19. I can't say I would express things as you have.  I haven't seen any such tendency from professional Objectivist philosophers who give lectures on physics.  Usually they stick pretty hard to the philosophy of science and only reject things on the basis of metaphysical truths being violated.  As far as a forum goes, it isn't a professional sphere, it is conversational for people to give their ideas, speculations, or whatever.  It isn't expected that what someone says in this fourm will be an original contribution to physics.  People just like to put out ideas of how they understand things and have it criticized by others to think and grow thereby or just because they are curious of what other people think.  If you think people are unfairly rejecting a physicists interpretation of his experiment, ask them why the object and then refute them. 

  20. AZT isn't the issue, nor was refusal to take AZT the cause to the legal case. From the article:


    "The case began in January when a court order for Mower County Health and Human Services to take Rico was issued after a petition mentioned Rico’s parents missed two doctor’s appointments. John and Lindsey testified that they thought those appointments were optional, that they sought a second opinion and tried to reschedule those appointments. However, Wellmann’s decision indicated the Nagels never tried to reschedule the appointments and didn’t return doctors’ phone calls. Doctors also testified that Lindsey didn’t take prenatal medications that could have reduced her child’s risk of getting HIV to 2 percent; however, Lindsey said doctors never discussed such medications with her."


    Basically, negligent parent gets taken to court. This parent is negligent of giving a child some kind of treatment to prevent HIV, and also failure to get proper follow up after birth. Like in a case of child abuse, some intermediary must be used to oversee a case before a trial is over, so it is fair in this context for the state to say "do what doctor X says until this is worked out". Apparently, the doctors think AZT is best. Pretty simple. Keep in mind we don't know how the court proceedings went down.



    I don’t think the issue is really that simple.  I think in your position there is a sense that what the current consensus says must be true and that an individual shouldn’t be allowed to challenge that.


    In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.--Galileo Galilei


    What I am saying is that scientifically this is a complicated issue, just because doctors are currently recommending something does not make it right or factual.  There are numerous professionals in the field who admit to a co-factor hypothesis to explain the extremely complicated nature of who gets AIDS or who doesn’t; especially to explain the fact that AIDS largely never left its original risk groups of homosexuals and drug-addicts.  The co-discoverer of HIV, Luc Montagnier, has admitted to both a co-factor hypothesis and a mycobacteria hypothesis over an HIV alone hypothesis.  Gallo is the other discoverer who admits to a herpes virus cofactor hypothesis but I don’t know how he has followed up on it.  You have to realize that HIV does not equal AIDS in any simple fashion.  There are many people who refuse treatment and live twenty years like the mother Lindsey Nagel did.  There is a long latent period as HIV is a “slow virus”.  Other people go on the drugs and die in a year.  No one knows how long they would have lived without the drugs.  This is because taking the drugs is a tradeoff and people will respond uniquely to them.  In hopes of defeating the virus or even cancer, you take toxic drugs, drugs which may kill you themselves.  The hope is it kills the virus or cancer first and the organism survives the ordeal.  It is always a risk when taking toxic substances, a risk some people would rather not take due to the severe side effects.  The mother knows what it is like to be on these drugs and the pain they cause.  She didn’t respond well to them and she has avoided AIDS without them.  Remember the baby DOES NOT have AIDS yet which is the life threatening illness, only antibodies to HIV.  The state should be obligated to prove that the baby will get AIDS before it is old enough to decide for itself and that their drug will prolong life.  In this case they haven’t proven it, they jump the gun.


    In this case, the baby had to be taken off the drugs due to a life-threatening rash.  What if he had died?  No one knows whether he might live to twenty, like his mother has if he doesn’t take the drugs.  That is why I believe it is up to the mother to make a reasoned decision on the matter.  People act as if the baby ingested poison and the mother refused the simple antidote—not the case here at all.  Anyone who says the drugs are not toxic or are not dangerous should try taking them for their self to prove your perspective.  Anything that causes a buffalo hump to appear on your back, I think you have the right to decide whether your developing child should take it or not.  Many adults who are prescribed these drugs stop taking them due to painful side effects, the baby and the parents don’t have that choice according to the state, do they?  Again, I’m not making any claims about whether these drugs can work or not, all I am reminding is that they are dangerous and taking them is a tradeoff (not a clear advantage like food to the starving).


    And if after all that, you still think the child should be taken by the state, why shouldn't obese children with diabetes be taken by the state and fed how the state wants?

  21. We have threads on it, and Ayn Rand wrote about it too, so I'm not gonna go into it again.You already did. You just kept the information vague, which suggests an attempt at deception. Why else say that you have "biology related training", but suddenly make it a personal secret what kind of training you have?


    I told you what my training was in because you were obviously interested in what my knowledge base was when you inquired if I had even “googled” the subject before posting.  I answered before you became sarcastic and clearly hostile for reasons unknown to me.  My question was, why would I reveal personal information to you when you are trying to insult me?  I have nothing to say about you personally, your intelligence, or scientific acumen because I don’t know anything about you.  The only reason I’m continuing to respond to you after that is I think cases like these are important and more people should discuss/know about them.



    Joseph Sonnabend is 1. retired 2. lives in South Africa.

    Pretty sure he's not someone involved with this baby's treatment.

    You claimed that there is a doctor who agrees with the family on this baby's treatment. I asked you for that doctor's name, and instead you gave me the name of a retired South African physician who has never even heard of this case. If Sonnabend traveled to the US and offered to treat this child, he would be allowed to. Incidentally, he would prescribe the same or similar treatment, as he has throughout his career in South Africa. But he isn't in the US, he's retired on another continent.



    I never claimed Joseph Sonnabend was familiar with the case.  You asked me to name a single person who would disagree and I did.  The family was in the midst of getting a second opinion when the baby was taken by the state.  Your implicit assertion that there is agreement across the board in any issue when it comes to medicine is downright false and I can say nothing further than that it amounts to naivety about how the field works or just an arbitrary assertion.  I have been in a hospital where among five different seasoned M.D.s none could agree on the exact treatment or prognosis of the patient.  In the end it is up to the patient to decide what they think best and in this case the patients parents.  There is no substitute for using your own mind and making your own decisions in these matters.  There are numerous commentators on how “paternalism” in medicine is a thing of the past; the doctors are knowledgeable consultants not arbiters of our fate.



    This conversation will continue whenever you're ready to back up your claims. That goes both for your claim that you have training in a relevant field, and your claim that there's a medical professional (licensed or not, I don't care) who supports the decision to deny treatment to an HIV positive baby.





    Honestly I don’t care about a continuing conversation with you, your question seems to be seeking authority on this as if knowing my credentials would change whether or not what I say is factual.  Anyone over the internet can claim any credentials.  You are making some pretty hefty claims about how the mother is “guilty” of infecting the child and going to be killing the child so I could ask for your credentials, but I believe it has nothing to do with the argument at hand.  As far as “guilty” of infecting the child, for my part, as I already stated, I believe the mother has every right to do with her own body as she wishes (including taking a drug or not).

  22. Would it be possible for the state to declare a zone of "acceptable scientific disagreement" on an issue like this?


    If parents starve their child, I think we would all agree that it would qualify as abuse and the child should be taken away. But on an issue like this, we aren't dealing without outright neglect or abuse, but a difference of opinion on scientific matters. On the extreme end, the government should stop parents from administering obviously harmful medical treatment (bleeding, ingesting toxins, etc). But should the state determine what should qualify as proper treatment with all ailments? Probably not. It makes more sense for the state to make a broad range of acceptable medicines and then allow (not the best word) parents to choose medicine from within those perameters. Meanwhile, scientific inquiry and debate could shift the perameters over time.


    Yes, that's true.  There could be a rule that the state can only make the decision if the treatments themselves are benign such as proper food for the starving or those with malnutrition, or, relatively simple low-risk surgeries.  However if the treatments themselves could be debilitating or cause death such as risky brain surgery or the adminstration of toxic carcinogenic compounds I don't think the state should force this on anyone. 

  23. And yet, strangely, you're reciting conspiracy theorist nonsense, not biology. What exactly does this biology related training consist of?


    Honestly, you are trying to insult me and I'm not sure why.  Why would I reveal personal details to you?  Even if you disagree with what I say, why not stick to the facts rather than commenting on how "brilliant" I am.  As far as doctors disagreeing with one another it happens on a daily basis, probably at the nearest hospital to you.  If you want look up Joseph Sonnabend, he was one of the early critics of AZT and how it was initially approved.  He started out not using it at all and since then he's always prescribed lower dose AZT than what was recommended.  I would ask what is so conspiracy theorist about the fact that DNA chain terminators are dangerous--people have know that since the existence of chemotherapy more than a half century ago--but you will probably just try to insult me more.

  24. Whatever is best for the child is what should be done (I think is implied everywhere, here; might help to make explicit).

    Now define "best for the child".  That's the whole issue, isn't it?


    The case could be made for the parent to decide what's best; I think there really must be a contingency for doctors to do it, in certain cases.  Some parents really shouldn't be parents.


    But whichever one should decide any given case, government beaurocrats should never be allowed to do so.  That's just asking for trouble.


    Yes, I guess that's true.  There would have to be some system of making sure the parents were capable of making the decision too.

  • Create New...