Critical Reading-Taylor Brody

“Should organ donation be made compulsory?”


“When it comes to issues of death and the hereafter, you don’t really want to take a risk. So you want to be pretty sure that if you’re signing away your organs, that it’s fairly kosher. My name is Komal Adris and I’m a Muslim.”

Adris makes an inferential claim and a judgment claim, claiming that the viewer(s) wouldn’t be willing to risk death if it meant a possible shoddy organ donation, and that Adris is a Muslim. What about the black market, Adris? People are willing to buy from there. Chances are some of the organs aren’t perfect, but the poor and the desperate may be willing to risk that. Also, stating that you’re a Muslim immediately diverts my attention from the topic at hand (whether organ donation should be made compulsory), and immediately makes this video a religious issue. As a Jewish individual, the use of the word “kosher” in conjunction with human organs makes me sick to my stomach, making that religious issue escalate to a personal level for myself and others.

I agree her choice of the word kosher is very peculiar, Taylor. To me it makes her seem more thoughtless than deliberately hurtful, but I lack the sensitivity to judge it well. Obviously human organs cannot be kosher (they couldn’t be halal either, could they?). I disagree that she’s making judgements for her viewers. Her use of “you,” of course would be prohibited in this class precisely because it’s so freaking imprecise, but I think we can say she means: “When it comes to the hereafter, I don’t want to take any chances. You shouldn’t either. Hear me out.” Not “I trust that you would never risk a shoddy donation.”


“…a best-friend of mine desperately needed a kidney, but there simply weren’t enough available.”

She makes a factual claim that her friend needed a kidney, and that none were available. This I can understand, but she doesn’t back up this claim with reasoning. What defines “desperately” can be a debate in and of itself. She doesn’t go into any detail on the kidney situation, only stating that her friend desperately needed a kidney. Okay, then…why? What’s wrong with her kidney that accommodates the usage of the word “desperate” in this person’s situation?

Remember, Taylor, it’s not a rebuttal of an argument to say, “You haven’t provided the evidence!” The rebuttal is to offer any piece of contrary evidence, then say, “I’ve proved the contrary unless you have something to offer.”


“Islam is a very practical religion. So on the one hand, do not break the bones of the dead, on the other you have a very strong verse from the Quran that says, ‘saving a life is like saving the whole of humanity’”.

Love the single- and double-quotation technique, but, periods and commas ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS go inside the quotation marks. In this case, inside all of them.

This is a judgment claim, followed by an evaluation claim. She is implying that the religion of Islam, being practical, should be taken into consideration in the debate over organ donation, and explains why it is practical. However, her second claim contradicts her first claim. What’s practical about the Kuran arguing for and against interfering with the organs of a deceased person?

That’s brilliant: that because the religion is practical it has argument value in an ethical discussion. Very nice. But as you suggest, “practical” must mean “Even though it supports wrongheaded fundamentalist interpretations, it also provides support for my enlightened, more liberal view.” So her judgment that the Koran is practical merely means: it agrees with me.


“I don’t agree with making people feel emotionally blackmailed to sign up…”

This is a claim that people will feel “emotionally blackmailed” to sign up for mandatory organ donation. This claim takes too much for granted; everybody is different. What about the people who are more than willing to sign up? They certainly don’t fall under this category, so it seems like Adris is using religious arguments and disguising them as simple, practical decisions that anyone can and should make.

I agree completely that not everybody will feel blackmailed, but that doesn’t escape the accusation that some will. She’s uncomfortable that some will. But wait, aren’t we debating “compulsory” donation here? Nobody feels blackmailed when they have no choice. They feel blackmailed when they bow to pressure. When did the argument shift to giving people a choice?


“If people sign up knowing that they’re able to change somebody’s life, to save somebody’s life, that’s far more powerful than, ‘I just forgot to take myself off the register’”.


This is a proposal claim that signing up to save a life is more powerful than forgetting to take yourself off the register.


Adris doesn’t cover enough ground with this claim.

What does cover ground mean?

Essentially, she’s claiming that anyone who just has their name on the register for the hell of it is wrong and that whoever has their name on the register because they want to help people is right.

Sort of. She’s claiming that the deliberate, conscious choice to donate is more powerful (by which I have to guess she means: more inspiring? more expressive of generosity?)  than the casual acceptance of a social obligation. (A gift I send out of the blue makes the recipient happier than an obligatory retirement gift?)

Just because somebody has their name on the register doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re doing a bad thing, that is, unless you view it by the Kuran’s standards.

Really? Does the Koran condemn casual or accidental benevolence as bad or immoral?

To make a short conclusion, this video was borderline insulting for me. While I have tolerance for all faiths, religions and creeds, it upsets me to see such a religiously driven set of ideas hidden under such a factual facade.

You’re entirely within your rights to feel insulted by anybody’s argument, Taylor. Of course, ignoring the motivations and prejudices of the opponent while concentrating on pure critique and refutation is far more powerful academically. So work on that, please.

Besides taking a cheap shot at Judaism by using the term “kosher” to define human organs (which are not considered by the Bible to be kosher), Adris tries to argue ideological viewpoints in a factual format, which, in my opinion, fails to convince me. I would rather hear an argument against compulsory organ donation from somebody that uses facts, statistics and general moral guidelines, not from somebody who argues in the name of any religion whatsoever.

in who else’s opinion does it convince you?
somebody who uses facts, please

I agree completely. I would rather hear argument that doesn’t rest on premises I can’t accept. But I don’t always get it. It’s perfectly reasonable, and more effective, to point out that the argument rests on grounds that are highly disputable. (Still, I enjoyed your mini-rant.) 🙂

This entry was posted in A06: Critical Reading, Taylor Brody. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Critical Reading-Taylor Brody

  1. davidbdale says:

    See above for your color-coded feedback, Taylor!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s