Terri Shiavo’s Brain Forgive Them – They Know Not What They Do Not Know

Words are so easy to use. Words mean things. Words are also easily used, especially when the right words elude.

In Florida, Terri Schiavo is now waiting to die. Does she know it? You can be assured she does. Can she speak about it? No. Does that mean she is in a ‘vegetative state’? NO!

But what is a ‘vegetative state’? According to “Dr. Jeffrey Frank, director of neurological and neurosurgical intensive care at the University of Chicago” [1] , “A person in a vegetative state is ‘awake but not aware,’… ‘Though reflexes may cause them to turn toward a sound, gaze at an object or respond to touch, ‘there is no thought connected … these are primitive, instinctual responses.'” [1]

Excuse me?

That just described the vast majority of humans. Most humans do not use the short-term ‘conscious’ process of their brain for more than a way station of information. The motor control outputted from that short-term process, if employed would dramatically reduce stress, cut down drastically on reactionary physical violence and solve a great deal of the world’s problems.

The problem here is that neuroscience has not one clue what being ‘aware’ means.

“‘For all that medicine can do, we have no way of looking into another person’s mind and understanding what is there,’ said Dr. James Bernat, professor of neurology at Dartmouth Medical School.” [1]

But that does not stop courts from depending upon that total ignorance to determine a ‘vegetative state’.

In what other field would a court rely on ‘expert’ testimony and opinion where the ‘expert’ admits to not having a single clue as to how the thing they are examining works? None!

In the mean time, Terri Schiavo is suffering from a lack of motor control. He brain is sending signals to motion but those signals are not getting through to muscle groups and that results in the inability to speak, move and control motion.

From the outside looking in, neuroscience sees no motion and declares a ‘vegetative state’; news organizations, with even less of a clue, declare the patient to be ‘brain dead’ (See any recent ABC news report).

The facts are far more interesting.

Terri Schiavo is NOT brain dead. If she were she would BE dead. Brain death is the measurement for lack of life in this country. How dare a news organization mix those words?

Terri Schiavo is NOT in a ‘vegetative state’. If she were she would be on life support as a vegetable has no brain. How dare a scientist mix words to diagnose an ailment that involves motor control. She can swallow. She can eat. She can drink. She just cannot do it for herself. Under that use of words, a paraplegic should be ‘allowed to die’ as they cannot do so either.

“Though Schiavo has become a cause celebre, her case is not unusual. Every day in hospitals and nursing homes, physicians and families struggle to understand what is going on in people who have suffered severe brain injuries: Do they feel? Do they think? Is this the way they’d want to live?” [1]

How can the questions be asked if there is no knowledge of their answers in a non brain damaged person? ‘Feeling’ is emotional as well as physical but not one neuroscientist can tell you how it works. ‘Thinking’ is not something you can observe from the outside and without ‘it’ the brain would be inactive, not just motor deprived. Daring to ask the question of a person in such a condition if they would ‘want to live’ is imposing an issue on life that better be stopped now or it will put an end to life.


Quality of life is a variable best left alone to the person experiencing it. When a court, or a guardian or anyone else determines what the quality of life is or should be for another person, life itself is no longer the point.

Life is a binary condition. It either is, or it is not. Any use of ‘quality’ to determine if the ‘is’ should be ‘is not’ is the fundamental foundation of murder.

A person who kills makes the determination for another person that their life is worth less than the person doing the killing. There is no other variable. It is not only unlawful to take another person’s life, it is totally and completely illogically wrong.

Snowballing error leads to missing logic and dire results:

“…if someone is in a vegetative state for more than 12 months, medical experts agree ‘there is no possibility of recovery,’ said Dr. Jack Kessler, director of the clinical neuroscience research institute at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. [1]


“People in a minimally conscious state give evidence of some awareness and connection with their environment. Signs are subtle but persistent over time and can include tracking a person visually, blinking in response to questions, grasping an object purposefully or moving a finger or a limb when asked.” [1]

And therein lies the main cause of the problem associated with ‘experts’ on the brain.


If they cannot ‘see’ something happen it therefore must not be happening. They would look at a car with a broken transmission and declare it cannot run so the motor must be scrapped.

The brain processes information and it outputs motion. When the motion is not being observed, the brain is NOT, not processing information. To imply that lack of motion means lack of function is scientific absurdity.

Many sides of this issue want to reduce it to one of right versus left, secular versus religious, gay marriage, abortion and anything else that can be compared to government intervention. Joan Ryan, writing in “Issues of life and death a struggle for secular society”, in the San Fransisco Chronicle stated, “The case made me think about the recent court decision in San Francisco overturning the ban on gay marriage. It made me think, too, about laws governing abortion, stem cell research, assisted suicide.” [2]

Ryan’s problem is one most people suffer from. Reaction syndrome. Since they receive data and compare it to prior data and out comes the comparison regardless of the context or topic they wonder why someone else who cannot do so would ever be considered enjoying a quality life.

News Flash For Joan Ryan: Your reactionary writing can be cured as it is an indication of your ‘vegetative state’ but since you have motor control you have to WANT to be cured or bothering with you is a waste of time. The topic is NOT YOUR OPINION.

Terri Schiavo is alive. She has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this country. For a court, to rely on quackery science to determine a condition of the brain she does not have any different than most humans, is the result of neuroscience pretending to know what it does not know. Since ‘experts’ agree with each other it only shows the experts are equally devoid of knowledge.

“Halfway through the process of dying, a patient would lose consciousness, but courts, based on medical testimony, have found that Schiavo is already unconscious and has no awareness of what’s taking place.” [3]

If she were ‘unconscious’ she would be sleeping. If she had no ‘awareness’ of what was taking place around her, she would be a typical human.


So do people without limbs, in straight jackets and those who will not do what the powerful want them to do.

Welcome to the slope of societal suicide based on quackery.

Any ‘expert’ on the brain can only admit they do not know how it works. They, therefore CANNOT declare how it DOES NOT WORK. The words they use have no meaning when the knowledge used to spew them has no clothes.

[1] http://www.capecodonline.com
[2] http://www.sfgate.com
[3] http://www.bradenton.com



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