“Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives”

“Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives”

“Awakening His Mind’s Eye”

Nicholas D. SchiffBy Dave Andrusko Professor William Brennan is a pro-life scholar whose academic life’s work it’s been to illuminate the dark power of destructive language. “Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives” helps us understand how a witch’s brew of derogatory words mingled with degrading labels and stirred with a demeaning stamp of disapproval works to poison our attitude toward the medically vulnerable.

Thanks to highly sophisticated MRI machines the brains of these injured patients are scanned and then mapped for changes in activity. Let me quote from what researchers found after 24-year-old Daniel Rios (thought to lack “any meaningful mental life”) listened to a 40-second loop of his sister’s voice telling Daniel that “she was there with him, that she loved him.”

“Several hours afterward, two researchers, Nicholas D. Schiff and Joy Hirsch, took a look at the images from the scan. They hadn’t been sure what to expect – – Rios was among the first people in his condition to have his brain activity measured in this way – – but they certainly weren’t expecting what they saw. ’We just stared at these images,’ recalls Schiff, an expert in consciousness disorders at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.’ There didn’t seem to be anything missing.’”

As Zimmer eloquently describes it, “Even the visual centers of Rios’s brain had come alive, despite the fact that his eyes were covered. It was as if his sister’s words awakened his mind’s eye.” Zimmer likens these scans to “eavesdropping” on the patients’ inner worlds. “’It’s free speech for people who have no speech,’ Hirsch says.”

http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2013/08/awakening-his-minds-eye/ “Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives”

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