Monday, August 25, 2003

Morality and daily life

Hooman has raised a moral question in his weblog. He gives us two extreme cases
He says
1- Imagine your are castaway and on a food ration with 4 other people. You know there is enough food for only 4 people to survive. Would you and your group draw straws to exclude one person from the food to save the rest of the group? The morality's answer is a resounding no.
and then ask
Would you approve of killing a tiny percentage of people with the aim of bringing about prosperity for the overwhelming majority? Would you say Yes with the same stress if you knew your families were among the little minority?

Challenging questions. Do we have to deal with such a problem in our daily life? You know life it is not always as straightforward as this. We usually talk about benefits and hazards. We only can estimate the risk for the population and still in most of cases we have no estimation for each person. Let me give you a medical example: every medication has some benefits and also side effects. Even this drug maybe kills patients. But what we should do in this case?

For every operation there is a risk. So what should a surgeon do in this case? She/ he thinks that is going to operate one of her/ his family? So how surgeons can operate high-risk patients?

Imagine a policymaker wants to establish a health system somewhere. Let’s suppose he will suggest women to do routine mammography in a certain age and tells them that based on the epidemiologic studies breast self-exam is not recommended. (It means that based on a national or international study it has been shown that breast self-exam does not change the survival of breast cancer). Based on this population-study, the policymaker concludes that breast self-exam is not necessary. For sure some cancers will be missed. It is said that its benefits outweigh its disadvantages for general population.
I think such a problem have been solved already otherwise we would have to sit and think what will happen if a member of my family had such a problem.

Let me ask you another question: what was better? if Saddam still was in Iraq and oppressed people or now American conquered Iraq? You know there was no chance for any changes for a long time in Iraq at least 2 decades!!

(posted by Iman)

Comments: Post a Comment