Question: Is it wrong for parents to have another baby to save the life of their sick child? In 1990, Marissa Ayala was born in the hope that she might be able to save her 16-year-old sister Anissa from a rare form of leukemia. (The parents went to extraordinary lengths to conceive.) Happily, Marissa was a suitable bone marrow donor, and Anissa's life was saved. At the time, many people criticized the decision as "baby farming" and treating the new baby as a "biological resupply vehicle." Yet today, the Ayalas are a close family, Anissa is alive and well, and Marissa is happy to have been born. Were the Ayalas wrong to attempt to save the life of one child by having another? What moral premises would lead a person to condemn this act?
Subjects Discussed: * "Black swans" of health and "The Dirty Dozen" * #1: Driving a car or motorcycle * #2: Riding an ATV * #3: Biking or jogging on public roads * #4: Flying a plane or helicopter yourself * #5: Getting into a fight * #6: Lighting a gas grill * #7: Diving into water * #8: Using ladders and chainsaws * #9: Retiring and building your dream house * #10: Allowing yourself to be forced into a car or trunk at gunpoint * #11: Staying in stressful relationships * #12: Winning the lottery * Dr. McGuff's history with risky sports * The risks of other sports * How to survive the ER.
Question: Is taking antidepressants and other prescribed drugs for mental problems a form of evasion? I'm new to the philosophy of Objectivism, and I've seen that it's rapidly helping cure the last parts of a depression I went through last year. I started taking Adderal about eight months ago, and it has helped tremendously. But I wonder: Does taking these drugs or other antidepressants conflict with the principle that a person should never evade reality?
Question: Is mental illness nothing more than a myth? It seems that many members of the free-market movement are enthused about the theory, promulgated by the likes of Thomas Szasz and Jeffrey A. Schaler, that there is no such thing as mental illness. They say that if one cannot pinpoint a direct physiological cause for behavior considered "mentally ill," there are no grounds for referring to that behavior as a symptom of some "illness." Furthermore, they argue that the concept of "mental illness" is simply a term that the social establishment uses to stigmatize nonconformist behavior of which it does not approve. Is there anything to these claims? If not, what's the proper understanding of the basic nature of mental illness?
Question: Should minor girls be required by law to obtain parental consent for an abortion? Normally, parents are legally empowered to make medical decisions for their minor children, and minors cannot obtain medical procedures without parental consent. How should that apply in the case of pregnancy? Should pregnancy and abortion be treated differently from other medical conditions? Should parents be allowed by law to force a daughter under 18 to carry a pregnancy to term or to abort against her will?
Question: Is it right or wrong to condemn people for being obese? Obviously, obese and morbidly obese people have made mistakes in their lives. Are they morally culpable for those mistakes? How should other people judge their characters? If I see an obese person on the street, should I infer that he is lazy and unmotivated? Should I refuse to hire an obese person because I suspect he won't work as hard as a non-obese person? Is obesity a moral failing – or are there other considerations?
Question: Why is consensual incest between adults morally wrong? In late 2010, David Epstein, a professor of political science at Columbia University, was charged with incest for a consensual sexual relationship with his adult daughter. That case raised uncomfortable questions about the morality and legality of consensual incest. What constitutes incest? Why is it wrong? Should it be outlawed?
Subjects Discussed: * Nell's history with endurance competition and the paleo diet * Contacting Loren Cordain * The basics of paleo, including dairy * The benefits of eating a paleo diet * The pleasure of endurance training and competition * Finding physical activities that you enjoy * The standard advice for nutrition and what's wrong with it * Nutrition in preparing for competition * Nutrition during competition * The importance of timing during competition * The difference that paleo has made for Nell's performance in competitions * Training for endurance events * Nell's training schedule * Endurance and paleo * Recovering after competition * Paleo is not too hard * Nell's new book, "Paleoista" * Nutritional consulting and downloads * Plans in the works.
Question: How would antibiotic resistance be handled in a free society? Bacteria acquire resistance to antibiotics by exposure to low doses of antibiotics. Such low doses may come from misuse of antibiotics, for example when taken to combat a cold or flu (which are viral infection against which antibiotics do nothing) or by not completing the full course as prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics are indeed awesome drugs which have saved millions of lives. But resistant bacteria pose a serious health problem, often causing serious and difficult-to-treat illness in third parties. What would be the proper way to address this problem in a free society?
Subjects Discussed: * The most common regulations and laws pertaining to food and drinks * Colorado's laws about grocery versus liquor stores * Federal versus state versus local regulations * The true purpose of these laws and regulations * The goal of Michelle's advocacy * Why we have more regulations today * Conservative "solutions" * Bad studies and sloppy journalism: the phony case against the egg * The accusations against Four Loko * Future trends, including appeals to children * The three-tier system of alcohol distribution * Bootleggers and Baptists * Not being in the pocket of "big business" * Advocating for freedom in this area * Economic versus moral arguments for freedom * Effective arguments * Maintaining integrity in public policy work * Whether to support or oppose mixed proposals * How to support Michelle's work.
Subjects Discussed: * The nature of fitness and the purpose of exercise * The "Body by Science" or "SuperSlow" method * Safety in Body by Science workouts * Other benefits of Body by Science * Dr. McGuff's discovery of the Body by Science method * Workouts for older, overweight, and weak people * What's wrong with "cardio" * The injury rates in CrossFit * The role of evolutionary theory in fitness * Doing CrossFit as a sport * The value of a trainer (or workout partner) * Sticking with Body by Science over time * Calf raises * Leg extension and knee injuries * Leg extension and leg press * Optimal strength gains * Timed static contractions.
Subjects Discussed: * Dr. Dale's work * End-of-life challenges for the patient * End-of-life challenges for others * The choice of more versus less treatment * Doctors telling patients the whole truth * What patients can do to get more and better information * Patients' regrets about treatment * The importance of knowing one's own preferences * Dealing with family problems * Living will versus power of attorney * Talking to the person with your power of attorney * The emotions of dealing with death * Being a supportive and reasonable family member * Conflicts between in-town-and out-of-town family * Conflicts in the family over care * The "five stages of grief" * Differences between ethnic groups about end-of-life care.
Question: Should it be considered child abuse to feed a child a vegan diet? Most experts agree that children need some of the nutrients found in meat and dairy products to develop properly. I've read lots of stories about children whose development is impaired or stunted due to being fed a vegan diet. Should it be considered child abuse to feed a child a strict vegan diet? If so, at which point should the state intervene and take legal recourse against the parents?
Subjects Discussed: * The basics of the paleo diet * Paleo versus low-carb diets * The benefits of paleo: not just weight loss * Easing into paleo * The evolutionary framework for nutrition and medicine * The state of modern medicine * The claimed health benefits of vegetarianism and veganism * Concerns for animal welfare * Debates and disputes in the paleo community * Wheat and gluten * Cheating on paleo * Paleo as life-transforming * Robb's political activism * Robb's podcast, book, and online resources.
Question: How would the government protect the safety of food and drugs in a free society? Would the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) exist in free society? If so, would food or drugs have to gain FDA approval to be sold? Would it have the power to remove food or drugs deemed unsafe from the market? If not, what would protect consumers from harm due to adulterated or otherwise unsafe food or drugs?
Question: Should people with severe genetic diseases take active measures to prevent passing the disease to their children? Some people have severe hereditary diseases – such as Huntington's or Multiple Sclerosis – that might be passed on to their biological children. If that happens, the child will be burdened with the disease later in life, perhaps suffering for years and dying young. Is it wrong for such people to conceive and merely hope for the best – rather than screening for the disease (and aborting if necessary), using donor eggs or sperm, or adopting? Are the parents who just hope for the best harming their future child? Are they violating their child's rights by refusing to take advantage of available technology for preventing the disease?
Subjects Discussed: * Why socialized medicine is dangerous for patients * American medicine is not free market * The dangers of government controls in medicine * Why you need to be your own advocate * The increasing government pressures on doctors, including ACOs, mandates, and electronic medical records * The ethics of doctors * What patients can do to navigate conflicts of interest * Other strategies for patients * Take responsibility for your health * Medical technology under ObamaCare.
Question: Is it moral to smoke, drink, or eat unhealthy foods if one recognizes the costs of doing so? Suppose a friend makes a deliberate decision to eat foods he know to be unhealthy (such as frequent sugary desserts). He knows that it might harm his health, but he says that the personal enjoyment and satisfaction outweigh the risk of shortened lifespan and possible future harmful health effects. In other words, he claims he is making a rational choice to maximize his overall happiness. Is that moral?
Question: What should we do if the Supreme Court upholds ObamaCare? The Supreme Court of the United States will be determining the constitutionality of ObamaCare in a matter of weeks. While it is likely that at least part of it will be struck down, the court might uphold some or all of it. If that happens, what should liberty-loving Americans do? Would we have any recourse? Would it be time to break out the pitchforks and torches?
Question: How can I stop my spouse from sabotaging my self-improvement? Over the course of my 15 years of marriage, I'd gained over 100 pounds. After feeling disgusted with myself for too long, I decided to change my habits. So I switched to a paleo-type diet and started lifting weights. So far, I've lost 40 pounds, as well as shed some health problems. My husband still eats what he pleases, and I don't pester him about that, although he needs to eat better too. However, he's constantly attempting to undermine my efforts – for example, by bringing home and encouraging me to eat doughnuts. I want him to celebrate and support my new-found success, but he seems to want me to be fat, unhealthy, and miserable. What should I do?
Question: Is it wrong to stockpile medication now in the event of an economic crash in the future? We are concerned that increasing economic troubles will raise the prices of some prescription and over-the-counter medications, and make them hard to find in the future. Is it okay to start a stockpile of some medications (most of which have a long shelf-life)? In the case of prescription medications, is it okay to exaggerate to our doctors or play "musical pharmacies" in order to obtain more medication?
Question: Is overfeeding a child a form of abuse? In November, county officials in Ohio placed a third-grade child into foster care on the grounds that he's over 200 pounds and his mother isn't doing enough to control his weight. (See the news story.) The boy does not currently have any serious medical problems: he's merely at risk for developing diabetes, hypertension, etc. The county worked with the mother for a year before removing the child, and it claims that her actions constitute medical neglect. Now his mother is only permitted to see him once per week for two hours. Did the state overreach its proper authority in removing the child from his home?
Question: Is it immoral to give away food that you regard as unhealthy? Assuming that one believes (as I do) that candy and sweets are harmful to health (especially in quantity), is it immoral to participate in trick-or-treat by giving children candy when they come to your door? Or, is it immoral to "dispose" of an unwanted gift of, say, a rich chocolate cake by leaving it by the coffee machine at work to be quickly scarfed up by one's co-workers (as an alternative to simply discarding it)? Is the morality of these two cases different because in one case the recipients are children while in the other case they are adults?
Question: What's the proper view of using cryonics as a means of extending one's life? Suppose there is at least a small chance that, if I am cryonically frozen in the coming years, doctors will be able to revive me at some point in the future. And suppose that the cost is not an impediment – meaning that I don't have to give up any other important values in order to pay. Would this then be morally required because life is the standard of value? Would it be morally optional? Or is there some reason why it would be irrational?
Question: If you have a mild to moderate contagious disease, is it immoral to go about your ordinary business knowing that this will expose other people to the disease? I'm not talking about life-threatening illness here, nor am I talking about intentionally trying to get someone sick (like spitting in their food). I'm just talking about going to work, school, entertainment events, or scheduled appointments while you have an ordinary disease like a cold, flu, or strep throat. Is that moral?
Question: Are peanut bans in schools immoral? In particular, do restrictions on certain types of food in schools (such as peanuts due to a known peanut allergy) infringe on the rights of the parents of the non-allergic kids to determine the type of diet their children follow? Are the parents of the non-allergic kids making an immoral sacrifice by following the 'no-peanut' rules? What about parents who choose to ignore the rule and send the food to school anyway? Would this scenario be any different in a private school versus a government school?
Question: Since eating wheat is purported to be unhealthy due to gluten (and other stuff), is it immoral to eat bread? (Analogous to smoking being purportedly bad for you.) Since one has to eat something, it would be better to ask, "Is eating bread immoral when other food sources are available?"
Question: I have a friend who is pretty hardcore paleo and is often very critical of other people's diets. Food is really important to her and I don't think she means to sound so disparaging. How do I kindly tell her to butt out of mine and my friends' eating habits?
Question: I have a terminal illness (cancer) that's getting in the way of my daily life, which includes a full-time job and college. Is it moral to stop working and go on disability?