Sunday, April 27, 2008

Occam's Scalpel

Gene therapy 'aids youth's sight'

I want to start off by saying that I am not against medical interventions. I believe in free choice and control over what happens to a person's body. I am, however, against ignoring simpler solutions and denying people rehabilitation training! If you're going to use medical interventions to eliminate blindness, do it for the right reasons. Vision is great, it's useful, but it is not the only way to do things, and we should not be creating false dichotomies of cure vs. helplessness.

Do blind children and teenagers in Britain not get O&M training?

As a result he can now confidently walk alone in darkened rooms and streets for the first time.
Um...ok, well, he could have done that if he had a cane and basic O&M skills.

Before the procedure, he could hardly see at all at night and in time he would have lost his sight completely.
Traumatic, yes, but not tragic, given proper rehabilitation training and assistive technology.

But Stephen did not notice these changes until he confidently strode through a dimly-lit maze designed to test his vision.

Until then he had kept walking into walls - and it would take him nearly a minute to walk a few feet.

Again, this problem could easily have been solved with a cane and O&M training.

For the first time he could see the cracks on the pavement, the edge of the curb and markings on the street.

He recently began walking home late at night from the railway station.

This is done by thousands of blind people every day, using their canes instead of their eyes.

Stephen also says that it has really helped his confidence.
Nice to know that a person's self-esteem should be based on how well his eyes work.

He is now able to socialise more late at night with his friends. And, as an aspiring musician, he says he can see the frets on his guitar better - and can move around more on a darkened stage.
I know blind guitarists, and blind people who socialize with their friends at night. This does not require vision.

There's more to the article but I am too angry to write responses to it.

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