Choice in Dying has Ended

Posted: 28 October 2013 in Uncategorized

Thanks to all who followed over the last couple of years… almost three, but I have decided to close up shop.

  1. Tara Bartholomew says:

    Thank you. Be well and, if you are not, I hope you are free to choose what to do next.

  2. kalyanikurup says:

    Your series was very informative and educative and emotional at the same time. Thank you very much. Your autumn photographs were also wonderful. Are there any other blogs that you are doing?

  3. gbjames says:

    I am sorry to hear. I’ve enjoyed the blog and our exchanges.

  4. This is the saddest news I’ve gotten for a while. I wish you well, Eric, and want to thank you for all that I’ve learned from you.
    In your struggles with Jerry Coyne I started out leaning in his direction but you won me over to seeing things in a much richer way.

  5. Neil Rickert says:

    I’m sad to hear this. I have not commented much, but I have enjoyed reading your posts.

    Best wishes.

  6. Paxton Marshall says:

    You’re doing good work here, Eric. Please reconsider. In any case, best wishes. Keep up the good fight.

  7. corrie says:

    I will miss your posts. Be well. (You have contributed a great deal to my critical thinking skills, for which I thank you!)

  8. Thank you, all. Paxton, no reconsideration is possible. I really do have to set this aside. There are so many other things I need to do, books I need to read. These things simply will not get done, if I hold onto the blog. But, thanks, just the same, for the vote of confidence.

  9. Michael Fugate says:

    Take care and best of luck.

  10. couchloc says:

    I’m sorry to see you go, Eric, but I understand. In a world in which so much nonsense and tripe is written on the internet without a second’s thought it was truly inspiring to read a blog dedicated to careful and thoughtful consideration of a number of issues. You have set the bar very high. Best of luck with your next endeavors.

  11. couchloc says:

    Eric, I can’t seem to find your email. I was going to say that you never sent me anything from your manuscript you mentioned before. If you still want me to look at something, I will be glad to. Best wishes.

  12. Gary says:

    Thank you for sharing your personal stories. All the best in whatever you do.

  13. Juan says:

    Thank you so much for all you’ve given us over the past few years, and I’m sorry that it eventually had to come to this. The Coyne debate may have taken its toll, and I’m sorry I didn’t pitch for the past few weeks, as I was starting to see your side of things. Still, you say you need to use your time more productively and I understand that (I need to as well!), so I wish you the best in whatever you set yourself to do. One more thing: is there any chance you could leave us an archive of your posts? Your writing has always clarified an enriched a great many things, and it would be shame to lose it.

  14. paulhavlak says:

    I’m sorry to hear it! I’ve been meaning to chime in on free will, thinking Jerry Coyne’s position too extreme — but have been doing a lot of background reading first.

    I wish you well for all your endeavors.

  15. makagutu says:

    Be well Eric and thank you for your insights on the right to die, a topic am passionate about.

  16. Just a reader says:

    Eric, I only know of the few posts you wrote in recent days, and for what it’s worth, coming from me, a total stranger with no long-term knowledge of your blog: I think you are making the best choice by leaving this now! Yay! It surely served some purpose for you at some point but as an outsider looking at blogs I myself simply don’t see the upside where so many of these people spend hours a day at home alone in front of computer hashing over the same stuff without stepping back to wonder if it’s time to quit. You wondered! [FWIW, the discussions on free will at the other “non-blog” blog drove me mad; I tried to understand, tried to stretch my brain and learn, and then finally decided life is too short –and who cares, anyway! (I am a smart person but not an academic scholar and certainly not one with philosophical leanings).]
    Eric, so GLAD to see you GO! Go and do something else you enjoy or do something new to push your limits; go get a part-time job at a fun place; go to some national parks; get a dog and do some obedience or agility training –or flyball–look that one up on youtube and laugh your heart out; get a garden started (yes you can do it now in autumn); or go take a woodworking class (or if you want to meet women go to a quilting class)! Go give people hugs and real smiles, not typed ones!

    I want to be one to offer you CONGRATULATIONS in a very positive way, not at all sorry to see you go from this place!

    Good for you!
    Rock on!
    Rock on!

  17. gbjames says:

    Ditto to what Juan said at #13. It would be great to have the archive around.

  18. DutchA says:

    It’s been a privilege to read your posts. Good luck, Mr McDonald.

  19. Alex Poore says:


    Thank you so much for what you have shared over these years. I am a bit older than you and and have been in awe at your contribution and scholarship and have marvelled at your energy and commitment to the pursuit of truth and have learned so much from you.

    Thanks also to your fellow contributors from whom I have also received benefit.

    I agree with the comments made about an archive .

    I notice the archive does not now go back to the beginning and strongly support those who have mentioned it at 13 and 17.

    Maybe there is an autobiography down the track?

    I would buy copies as presents to my friends-sight unseen.

    I value greatly your integrity and what I have learned from you and Choice in Dying.

    I wish you well in whatever the future holds.

    Your news is like a bereavement. The good news is you are still with us and a neighbour to many in your residential area. How fortunate they are to have you as a neighbour.

    I think of you as a very good friend–I shall miss your clarity and challenge to we- your readers.

    With every best wish for your health and future happiness in your future reading and other pursuits.

    Most sincerely


  20. kalyanikurup says:

    Can I have your email id so that I can write to you to clarify some doubts? If you do not want to give your email id here, mine is Will you please send your email id to that address of mine? I was trying to ask you some doubts about suicide but before that the blog came to an end.

    Kalyani Kurup

  21. NeilK says:

    Please consider restoring your old posts, for the benefit of others. Having the whole thing deleted is net loss for humanity (I’m serious). You can disable comments site-wide if you don’t want to deal with them.

  22. Ken Pidcock says:

    I will remain grateful for your willingness to share your mind, which remains incisive. Like many others here, I’m sure, I first encountered your writing on other sites and immediately thought, Damn, this guy can think. It hasn’t always been a pleasure, because you’ve often focused on unpleasant truths, but it’s always been rewarding. Thank you so much, Eric.

  23. Another Matt says:

    I have been lurking but not participating. Just wanted to say thank you for everything. You and your blog have been important to me for these years, especially in fostering a safe and intelligent atmosphere for discussion. I’m sure many of us will keep a bookmark here in case you were to post an update every few months. All best, and enjoy your reading!

  24. Tim Harris says:

    Dear Eric,
    Thank you for writing so well and for bringing up a number of important issues. All good wishes for the future,

  25. HaggisForBrains says:

    A personal “thank you” for your help and advice to Isobel and me during a difficult time. Please take care, and enjoy yourself.


  26. Steersman says:


    First of all, thank you for some engaging and stimulating posts and conversations over the last couple of years. And for taking the bull by the horns and making some significant contributions in raising some awareness on several important and related issues.

    But, as I don’t think I’m that many years younger than you, I can sort of sympathize with your change of direction: when the days grow shorter one naturally, I think, tends to count the costs of doing things a little more closely. And wonders whether there might be more productive uses of one’s limited time, and whether there might be better and more effective places to stand to move the world in the “right” direction. Francis Bacon said something that I’ve “always” taken to heart – even if not as effectively as I would have liked – and that was, “I hold every man a debtor to his profession”: we are each of us – man, woman, and child – the inheritors and the beneficiaries of some rather significant if not profound contributions and sacrifices of a great host of people over hundreds if not thousands of millennia. One can not help but feel some sense of indebtedness, gratitude, and obligation to further the more exemplary if inchoate goals and visions that motivated them.

    In any case, I think you mentioned at one time a desire to write a book of your own. But whatever your objectives, I wish you well in your pursuit of them.

  27. Mark Jones says:

    Sorry to hear you’re stopping, Eric, but I understand the feeling! Let me add my name to those requesting the old posts remain online; it’s a treasure trove of insight into the assisted dying debate, amongst many other things. Thanks for all that fish.

  28. M'thew says:

    Dear Eric,

    As others have said, I’m sorry to see you close Choice in Dying. I can understand the sentiment, though: a blog tends to eat up your time, not only with writing articles, but also with keeping track of comments, responding, etc. There’s more to life than that.

    I do also think it’s a shame that the fruits of these years disappear. But maybe you will also give up the domain name, and then all the content would disappear anyway. There’s always the Wayback Machine.

    Good luck to you and enjoy whatever you choose to pursue or Life throws on your path. You’ve helped to shape my thoughts on a few topics, and I feel richer for that. Thanks a lot.

  29. Rob says:

    Thanks for the blogging Eric and best of luck.

  30. Kalyani,

    You can contact me at I won’t promise to carry on a long discussion, but a few exchanges, if you wish.



  31. Laurence says:

    Eric, is there any way that you can keep your archive open? There were some great posts there that I would like to read through.

  32. Joe 'Blondie' Manco says:

    I’m not much of a commenter but your posts on the assisted dying issue were a great resource for me and apparently of value to many others. I had the links for many of them saved for my own reference.

    It would be great if you could find a way to re-upload these important posts. In any case, best of luck with future endeavours.

  33. Once again, thank you for the supportive comments. As to the archive: as you can see, that has already been deleted, and, while I have kept copies of all the posts (thought the comments were often substantial and important, it was simply impossible to save the comments as well), it would take a mountain of work in order to edit them and repost them, a task much more onerous than writing them in the first place, which was, generally speaking, a joy. Besides, as someone correctly infers, I do not intend to preserve the domain name. What I am doing, of course, is taking some of the posts, and other things that I have written, and trying to work them up into some kind of a book. Those of you who have thought that I had something to say, might acquire a copy when (and if, of course) it is published. Once again, thanks for all the support.

  34. sean samis says:

    Your site shall be missed and your work was much appreciated. The best of luck to you, Eric.I’d be proud to have you for an actual uncle.

    sean s.

  35. Thom says:

    Eric, best of wishes on your book anthology of your posts on Choice in Dying.

    I can’t express in words what your blog has meant to me over the years, especially for me in 2011. You could say I’m experiencing a bit of phantom limb syndrome not being able to read your posts now.🙂

    Please keep your fans (they are numerous, I know that for sure) up to speed on how you are.


    A lurking fan,


  36. I’ll miss your voice on my regular internetting, but I look forward to seeing what you do with your time instead.
    Warm regards,

  37. Dragan Glas says:


    Like all those who’ve enjoyed your thoughtful posts over the last few years, I’m sorry that it appears to be ending.

    I’m just about to read Feser’s “Aquinas” and “The Last Superstition” and came across a post by Jerry Coyne – – where he cites a couple of your posts: and

    Would it be possible to access these, as I’d really like to see your thoughts on Thomism?

    Kindest regards,


  38. Lola Heavey says:

    I just don’t understand why you removed all your postings together with replies. I always came here for soundbites and to find good pieces and your thoughts on issues. I loved your uncompromised voice not just on religion but on the Catholic church, in particular. Now all those pieces are gone. Please, Eric, restore your articles.

    Best of wishes,


  39. Hi Lola,

    I’m not altogether sure why I did a major deletion of posts and responses. It was done in a moment of crisis in my own personal life, which may in part explain it. It also came at a point when I felt increasingly that I was being identified with an internet subculture from which I felt increasingly alienated. One of the things that has always been a point of contention with me is dogma, and it seemed to me then, and still seems to me, that the new atheist movement was being bogged down with a very shallow kind of doctrinaire scientism. This manages to be the kind of dogmatic and unreflective absolutism that I constantly opposed as a Christian. Indeed, the kind of Christianity that I knew was non-dogmatic, social-justice oriented and reasonable. When Christianity turned absolutist, I opposed it, for fairly well-established theological reasons (which is why so much new atheist fulminating about theology and religion seems foreign to me). When opposition to religion seemed to me to be increasingly cut from the same cloth, I felt myself to be between a rock and a hard place. I am not a “party” person, and yet the expectation that I should reflect a party line seemed increasingly unavoidable; and since some of my posts, and the discussions which they prompted, reflected this party spirit, I thought it best to delete the lot and start over. And yet I have found the stresses and strains of my present state of mind not conducive to this project. Hence my several months of silence, though I have retained the domain name for the time being. If I start up again — and I think I probably will, since so much has been happening lately in the area that I am most concerned about — namely, assisted dying — I may post a selection of older posts, though the comments sections, unfortunately, are lost forever. When I brought the blog to an end, I had intended not to come back to blogging, but I am beginning to think better of it now, and there is every likelihood that I will. I am sorry if this has caused you concern.

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