I wrote this essay for my Ethics Across World Cultures course. The question we had to answer was "Should responsible, healthy, adults be able to legally sell their organs to the highest bidder?" We had to pick a side, it didn't matter which, and defend it. I chose to argue against because I believe there are many more reasons why this shouldn't be legalized than there are for it. However, on a personal level, I believe that we should have the right to sell our organs, but I don't believe that we should sell our organs. 

Obviously, I may have argued against my own side here, but it was simply for the sake of the assignment. I did a good job, too: my grade was a 97.

With the ever increasing demand for organs such as kidneys, livers, eyes, and skin, some groups are of the opinion that healthy, responsible adults should be able to sell their organs to the highest bidder. I disagree. I think there are at least four very sound reasons for the United States to keep our policies on this matter as they currently are. First, the seller’s life could be put in very real danger in multiple ways. Poor people may never be able to get organs because nobody would remain an organ donor. There is a serious possibility that people could be coerced into selling their organs. Finally, sellers may not get as much money as they were hoping for due to the increase in supply.

First, if people sold their organs, their lives are put in danger by the process. Any serious, invasive surgery carries risk of infection and complications. Having an organ removed would definitely fall into the category of ‘invasive.’ Also, if a man sold a kidney at a point in his life when he is healthy, that does not mean that down the road he will not have kidney problems. What happens if he has a complication with his remaining kidney at some point in the future that would not have affected his other kidney? Instead of having another kidney in reserve, the original seller is forced into the position of organ buyer.

If organs became a commodity simply to be bought and sold, poor people may never have a chance to receive an organ if they are in need of a transplant. While proponents for the voluntary sale of organs may argue that poor people will still be able to receive donations from people killed in car crashes like they are today, they would most likely be wrong. If a father or mother died in a car wreck, instead of donating their organs to help people simply out of the goodness of their hearts, it is much more likely that they would will their organs to their surviving family members such as their children. In this way, the surviving family could sell the organs and receive some money in return. Doing so could act as a type of additional life insurance policy for the family and help provide for those left behind. The poor people would simply be out of luck.

Third, people should not be allowed to sell their organs because it is possible that they could be coerced into doing so. There are many circumstances where this might happen. For instance, if a person dug himself into a deep hole of debt, his creditors may exert significant pressure in order to get him to sell his organs to pay off his debt. In another circumstance, a person may be dying. The dying person might have some serious information about someone else that they would not want to become general knowledge. If no other organs are currently available or if the prices are too high, the dying person might be able to blackmail the second person into selling his organ for a cheap price. There is no guarantee that people selling their organs would be able to do so entirely of their own free will. There could be any number of reasons factoring into the decision in their minds, and some of them might not be of their choosing.

Proponents for legalizing the sale of organs may say that this would be an excellent way for people to earn some significant cash with parts of their body that they do not really need. The money could be used to pay for college, a down payment on a home, or some other large, life-altering purchase. However, this is simply not the case! According to the laws of economics, when supply of a product increases, the price naturally decreases. If the sale of organs was legalized in the United States, supply would explode and price would fall drastically. Take the Philippines, for example, where kidneys can be bought and sold legally. According to a 2007 article posted in the Med-Tech section of Wired.com, the average price paid for a kidney in the Philippines is only 3,000 U.S. dollars. There is a very high supply of poor people wanting to get some cash for their kidney and as a result, the price is, in my opinion, relatively low.

Legalizing the voluntary sale of organs would be a grave mistake. As I have pointed out in my arguments above, the seller’s life would be put in danger, poor people would not be able to receive organ donations, people could be coerced into selling their organs, and sellers really would not receive much money anyways. With these reasons along with many more against the idea, I think the conclusion is apparent: Policies regarding the sale of organs in the United States should remain as they are.

This was published as a blog post on Cranial Collision as well, as it fits the topic of "Theology, Philosophy, and Life."
If you are a mountain biker, yesterday was the best day of the year.

Check out my post about it on Singletracks!

For my second guest post on Singletracks.com, I decided to try to find an exclusive story that no one else had really uncovered yet. The Jackrabbit Trail System in North Carolina afforded me that opportunity.

I had heard a number of rave reviews of the Jackrabbit trails via word of mouth, but the listing on Singletracks was very sparse, and ultimately, incomplete. This was the perfect opportunity to travel to a new location, explore a trail, and write an in-depth review of those trails complete with photos and pictures. I had been working on perfecting my trail review formula as I wrote my "trail review series" for Greg Rides Trails. Now, instead of simply reviewing known favorites, I would actually be reviewing something relatively new and exciting!

One of the key ingredients in this post was an inside scoop that I received as a result of a conversation on the trail. While we were riding, we met some folks at an intersection that happened to be the people who created the concept governing these trails and then became the driving force behind their creation. As a result of our conversation, I was able to take a very unique angle on the review.

I took my time crafting the post, and it was well received both on Singletracks and on my own blog where I linked to the original. This guest post was definitely a success!

About the Blog
Singletracks.com is one of the largest mountain bike blogs on the internet. As of March 12th, 2011, Singletracks has 121,726 registered members. Singletracks is widely considered the go-to internet source for trail information: their trail database is unrivaled in pure size and quality/depth of the information that it provides.

Be sure to read the full article by clicking here!
I have a new product review online at Singletracks.com of Icebreaker's new Roto Half Zip jersey.  Made out of merino wool with a little lycra blended in, this is easily the most comfortable mountain bike jersey I have ever worn, and may be the most comfortable article of clothing I have ever worn--period.

Be sure to check out the entire review (complete with some action photos) here.
My first ever guest post on the #1 Mountain Bike Blog is entitled "Transitioning Ski and Board Skills to the MTB Trail." 

I drafted this post during a week-long ski trip with my brother in the U.P. of Michigan over spring vacation. Coincidentally, it was almost exactly a year ago. I decided to offer a unique spin on the topic of mountain bike skills, while bringing my various personal talents to the table. The result was an analysis of how skiing and snowboarding can help improve your mountain bike skills.

I have been a downhill skier and snowboarder for much longer than I have been a mountain biker. Skiing was my first love, and if I still lived somewhere with snow, I would probably still consider it my main sport! However, with my move to Georgia two years ago, I have come to focus on mountain biking.

I was able to use my experiences with all of these different sports to create a truly unique article that contains valuable information. As a result of this high quality, I was able to have more guest posts published on Singletracks in the future.

Be sure to read the full post here!

About the Blog
Singletracks.com really is one of the largest mountain bike blogs on the internet. As of March 8th, 2011, Singletracks has 121,499 registered members. Singletracks is widely considered the go-to internet source for trail information: their trail database is unrivaled in pure size and quality/depth of the information that it provides.
I have been busy lately. Very, very busy. I could go into detail about all of the things that I've been doing, but please take it on faith that I am overwhelmed with responsibilities.

Writing and blogging are sometimes responsibilities, but usually I want to write. The problem is, writing isn't paying the bills... yet.

So my writing time has been greatly diminished. I've found some time to squeeze in a little typing at the keyboard here and there, but it feels like whenever I sit down to write, the words just won't come. At least, the flow of words doesn't come before I have to get up and go on to something else.

As a result of my decrease in writing, I am finding it harder to write. I have so many ideas pounding through my head that need to be developed, yet whenever I sit down and try to do so my fingers fail me. They don't hit the right keys... they don't hit any keys.

Oh, I have managed to put a few words together here and there. I'm keeping a small stream of content going on Greg Rides Trails, and have published a few new posts on Cranial Collision. The blogs are still rolling along quite well, but I have just not been having a good writing vibe.

Only about 7 more weeks to go this semester...