Rational Decision to Terminate Human Life
Essay by Frank Zahn
The science of physics defines life as energy-driven matter with a unique blueprint, set of instructions, or DNA that determines its development from conception onward until entropy takes its toll (second law of thermodynamics) and it dies or terminates. And it is human life if conceived by humans.
People in civilized societies value human life, so there is a cost associated with terminating it before entropy takes its toll, depending on how much a society actually values human life. In addition, there are benefits that may justify the termination of human life, regardless of where and in whatever stage of development it exists.
Examples of benefits include the following: A deterrent to crime is a benefit that may justify the cost incurred when terminating human life by way of capital punishment. National defense is a benefit that may justify the cost incurred when terminating human life by way of engagement in the War on Terror. Relief of undue burden on women is a benefit that may justify the cost incurred when terminating human life by way of abortion.
The decision to terminate human life can be made rationally by weighing the benefit against the cost. If the benefit outweighs the cost, there is a net benefit to proceeding with the termination. Of course, the question of who is best qualified to calculate the cost and the associated benefit is the critical factor in the determination of the net benefit. But anyone who denies the terminated life is human at any stage of its development from conception onward until entropy takes its toll is delusional.
Copyright © 2016 Frank Zahn. Published in The Writings of a Curious Mind: A Collection of Essays, Memoirs, and Short Stories, Vancouver Books (Smashwords and Kindle Editions) 2017.
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