| Wednesday, November 26, 2008 - 10:43 am |
"Venture above the artic circle in your birthday suit. Will the freezing cold respect your right?
Attempt to swim the Atlantic. Will the ocean heed your right?"
No, they won't. But you still have a right to life. Unfortunately, you also have a right to stupidity, which may curtail your life expectancy.
"Will cancer or any other disease leave your body because it is your right not to die?
Your death is encoded in your DNA."
You do not have a right not to die. You do have a right (or privilege, if you prefer) to die of natural causes rather than at the hand of another human. This allows for early deaths due to disease and natural disasters but excludes deaths by murder, or as a penalty for capital crimes.
Your death isn't necessarily encoded in your DNA (though quite often the chances of developing cancer are). However, each time your cells divide, some errors creep into the DNA. Eventually, these accumulated errors will be enough to cause your death.
"In many nations, you could have been killed as a fetus at the whim of your mother. Where is your right?"
I would argue that the start of your right to life is a bit fuzzy. I do not believe that it begins at conception. How can a bunch of cells which haven't even started differentiating themselves be considered as valuable as a fully formed foetus?
Regarding the infanticide, capital punishment, native killings, etc., that you ask about, unfortunately, rights are not always respected. That doesn't stop you having the right to die of natural causes.
"If your DNA is isolated on a murder victim whom you have no prior contact with, you deserve the death penalty."
I'd be very wary of trusting DNA evidence to this degree. The chances of a match from an innocent person are 1 in 7,000,000. Sounds pretty convincing, but in a city the size of London, that means there is every chance that there are two matches and you may be putting the wrong one to death. If the individual does have prior contact with the murder victim, that would be a whole lot more convincing.
Method of execution
If I was to be executed, I'd want the guillotine. Revolutionary France had it right. Plus you get to test out the theory of whether conciousness can survive being beheaded for a few seconds. Anyone seen the film Severance?
Capital punishment acts as a deterrent
Well, most (if not all) of Europe has abolished the death penalty, and we haven't experienced any spike in crime or even violent crime that can be attributed to it. In fact, our levels of violent crime are generally much lower than the US.