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Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,10:14   

Quote
Each of you do yourself no favors if you insist on assuming that all those that think abortion is the killng of human life do so out of religious motivation.  My motivations have nothing to do with religion, but instead have to do with having children and following the science.

I guess I need to keep repeating until something sinks in. Abortion is the killing of a human life. Religion has nothing to do with that. It's a matter of genetics: the fetus is alive, it's human. Killing it takes a human life.

What abortion is NOT killing, is a person. Not a child, not a legal entity of any kind. Until we recognize that a human life is a biological entity, and a person is a LEGAL entity, we will continue to misunderstand one another.

The abortion debate isn't whether we're taking a life, it's whether we are committing murder. Murder means unlawfully killing a person. A person is a legal construct.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,11:33   

hehe,

What a silly comment.  Not risking your own death to save a stranger is not equivalent to murder.  

Faid,

I said that my newborns looked no more conscious than Terri Schiavo.  Simply reacting to external stimuli doesn't constitute DIRECT EVIDENCE of consciousness, does it?  Do newborns do anything other than react to external stimuli?  Would you even know?

Steve h,

What a pathetic response.  I answered each question, one by one.  You just didn't like the answer and so you choose to pout instead.  Perhaps, you and Faid can start a pouting thread?

Stephen Elliot,

If the 100 embryos were the  last of the Elliot lineage would you save the 2 month old and choose extinction for the Elliots?

Asking stupid questions that have little relation to reality in order to make a point is a poor way to make a point especially if you slyly change the premises.

Normdoering,

This was assumed unless you consider yourself nothing more than an individuated outgrowth of one very large and very old SINGLE LIVING ENTITY.  Are you under than illusion?

Flint,

The only ones that keeping saying "murder" are those that seem to support abortion.  The point is that there is no scientific basis to distinguish the human life from the human person.  Do you agree or not?

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,13:03   

thordaddy:

Quote
The only ones that keeping saying "murder" are those that seem to support abortion.  The point is that there is no scientific basis to distinguish the human life from the human person.  Do you agree or not?

Again, you just can't seem to grasp it, can you? Legal arguments are not scientific arguments. I have no problem with your science. And as a matter of propaganda, the "murder" label was invented, and continues to be deployed, solely by the anti-abortion crowd. They use it for emotional control. Those who support human rights (of which abortion is undeniably one) speak of human rights. You know, things like fair play, don't force me to do what you don't want me to force you to do, things like that.

Consciousness, intelligence, awareness, knowledge, education, are all irrelevant. I will repeat for at least the third time now, the slaves were sometimes all these things, but they were not persons. They were property. That's not a scientific determination, it's a legal determination.

There is in fact no "scientific" way to distinguish between morally right and morally wrong. Moral questions are not amenable to scientific investigation in any way. You might as well use science to determine if red is a prettier color than blue.

The issue here is not scientific. Not at all. Not even a little bit.

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,14:37   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 02 2006,16:33)
Faid,

I said that my newborns looked no more conscious than Terri Schiavo.  Simply reacting to external stimuli doesn't constitute DIRECT EVIDENCE of consciousness, does it?  Do newborns do anything other than react to external stimuli?  Would you even know?

Quote
If you are sincere and have actually kept a newborn in your arms, you just know this is true. The newborn displays emotions, shows curiosity and interacts actively with his enviroment.

And:
Quote
You're comparing your newborn child to a person in PVS?

You are a liar, thordaddy. You either lie about having children, or you lie about your children, which is worse.


--------------
A look into DAVE HAWKINS' sense of honesty:

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

"...mutations can add information to a genome.  And remember, I have never said that this is not possible."

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,22:36   

Flint opines,

Quote
Again, you just can't seem to grasp it, can you? Legal arguments are not scientific arguments. I have no problem with your science. And as a matter of propaganda, the "murder" label was invented, and continues to be deployed, solely by the anti-abortion crowd. They use it for emotional control. Those who support human rights (of which abortion is undeniably one) speak of human rights. You know, things like fair play, don't force me to do what you don't want me to force you to do, things like that.


First, I have NOT stated that legal arguments are scientific arguments.  But as far as I can discern, original legal arguments need to be based on something other than other legal arguments.  Secondly, I have not used the "murder" label, but have instead used the appropriate language to describe what abortion entails.

Quote
Consciousness, intelligence, awareness, knowledge, education, are all irrelevant. I will repeat for at least the third time now, the slaves were sometimes all these things, but they were not persons. They were property. That's not a scientific determination, it's a legal determination.


I say so what?  You are simply saying that the law may be changed to justifiy and legalize the murder of any person.  Afterall, we have quite some precedent.

Quote
There is in fact no "scientific" way to distinguish between morally right and morally wrong. Moral questions are not amenable to scientific investigation in any way. You might as well use science to determine if red is a prettier color than blue.


Then science cannot be our basis fror this law.  That's all you are saying.  And since morality and religion can also not be the basis for our law in this situation, what exactly are we basing abortion law on?

Quote
The issue here is not scientific. Not at all. Not even a little bit.


Yet you can't see the implication of your assertion.  Science doesn't WANT to be apart of this discussion because it doesn't align with correct political ideology.  One cannot but laugh at the notion that "evolution" is a fact when the very entity that defines this "fact" is in fact itself undefined.  If there is NO scientific basis for human life then there is NO SCIENTIFIC BASIS PERIOD.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,03:01   

thordaddy:

I'm starting to understand the contempt you have earned on this thread. You don't listen at all.

Quote
But as far as I can discern, original legal arguments need to be based on something other than other legal arguments.

Who said they weren't? Laws are based on the desire to avoid if possible, and if not then to resolve as painlessly as possible, any social conflicts.

Quote
Secondly, I have not used the "murder" label, but have instead used the appropriate language to describe what abortion entails.

I notice in your very next statement, you use the murder label.

Quote
I say so what?  You are simply saying that the law may be changed to justifiy and legalize the murder of any person.  Afterall, we have quite some precedent.

See, there it is! But you are correct, murder is a legal construct. Taking the life of another human being is not necessarily murder. If done in wartime, it produces heroes. If done in self defense, it's fine. If policement do it in the line of duty, it's not only appropriate but considered necessary. If done for abortion, it's considered the right of the pregnant woman.

However, I hope you notice that laws are not entirely arbitrary. They are intended (as I wrote above) to avoid and/or resolve conflicts. As we have learned the hard way (with drugs, with alcohol, with abortion, and countless other laws), the attempt to enforce unenforceable laws results in an increase rather than a decrease in conflict.

Quote
Then science cannot be our basis fror this law.  That's all you are saying.  And since morality and religion can also not be the basis for our law in this situation, what exactly are we basing abortion law on?


Ultimately, the law is based on trial and error. Over the long run, we make laws, and see what the results are (often completely different from what's intended or expected). We modify the laws with the intention of improving the results. This process goes on continuously. What triggers the process is that too many people are too unhappy with the status quo, for whatever reason. And often enough, passing a law results in even MORE people even MORE unhappy with the change, and the modification cycle continues.

Quote
Science doesn't WANT to be apart of this discussion because it doesn't align with correct political ideology.

Nope, you have completely misunderstood. Science can tell us the facts, but science can NOT tell us what we ought to do with them or why. I can agree that laws work best if they are informed by the facts, because the consequences of the law are most predictable in that case. But even if science could tell us precisely what the consequences of every law would be, science STILL could not tell us which consequences to prefer.

Quote
One cannot but laugh at the notion that "evolution" is a fact when the very entity that defines this "fact" is in fact itself undefined.

What entity is that? Evolution is a fact, and science is the appropriate way to determine this. Science has done so. What's your point?

Quote
If there is NO scientific basis for human life then there is NO SCIENTIFIC BASIS PERIOD.

I don't know what you're trying to say here. Of course there is a scientific basis for human life. Which has absolutely nothing to do with a society deciding which lives to protect, which to terminate, and which to remain silent about in deference to the rights of the individual members of that society. Those are SOCIAL decisions. Science is irrelevant.

  
Chris Hyland



Posts: 705
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,03:08   

I agree that this is not a scientific argument but science does play an important advisory role. The current law is that a pregnancy cannot be terminated if the fetus can survive outside the mother and since the laws were introduced, the age has been reduced according to the latest science. In the UK there is currently a big move to reduce the age further as it has been shown that fetuses can be viable at 20-22 weeks. This does depend on the abortion law being concerned with fetus viability, which is based on a moral argument. If it was decided for example, that the abortion age was to be decided  based on the ability to suffer, then the limit would have to be reduced to 18 weeks based on science. So when thordaddy says:
Quote
Science doesn't WANT to be apart of this discussion because it doesn't align with correct political ideology.
he technically is wrong as the science is perfectly in line with the current law (ish). On the other hand if the law were to state that an abortion cannot be performed on anything that is describable as a human life, then he would be right that the science would not fit in with a liberal pro-choice perspective, but that would be because of the moral argument not the science. So we can argue all we want about what scientifically constitues a human life, but as Flint said that argument is irrelevant to the current law which is based on embryo viability. If you want to argue that the law should be changed to include any idea of a human life, then that is a moral argument.

I dont know about the US, but in the UK there is no 'right to an abortion' the woman must convince two doctors that carrying the pregnancy to term would result in physical or mental damage to her and/or the baby. I know people who have been refused abortions (due to the availability of adoption, financial grounds usually don't suffice), and there are many cases of women being refused abortions even in cases of rape. The only people I know who have had abortions got them due to mental health problems and extreme health risks.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,04:48   

Chris:

Quote
So we can argue all we want about what scientifically constitues a human life, but as Flint said that argument is irrelevant to the current law which is based on embryo viability. If you want to argue that the law should be changed to include any idea of a human life, then that is a moral argument.

US law is perhaps somewhat different, and varies by state. But in many states, embryo viability is not a legal restriction. Also, you are implying that the law is based on morality, and this is not necessarily the case. The law can be based on whatever we determine we should base it on. Morality, practicality, enforceability, cost, majority vote, whatever.

I'm rather surprised the UK law is workable, though. Do those who are wealthier (or otherwise more culturally privileged) get their abortions under the table, or do they leave the country to get them?

  
Chris Hyland



Posts: 705
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,05:20   

Perhaps instead of moral arguments I should have said non-scientific arguments.

That is just my experience of the law in the UK, and the wording of the law does say you can't just have one because you want one, although I doubt doctors are that strict in all cases and my experiences might be the exception as opposed to the rule. I suspect wealthier or more privileged people are less likely to accidentally get pregnant and possibly are better at persuading doctors that they will by psychologically damaged. More details.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,05:27   

Chris,

Thanks, very interesting link. This was important:
Quote
When establishing the level of risk to health, doctors can take into consideration a woman's ‘actual or reasonably foreseeable environment', which includes her personal and social situation.

With rational interpretation, this strikes me as a Good Thing. Generally, unwanted pregnancies are unwanted for a good reason; good enough so that a child will be unwelcome, unsupportable, etc. In practice, this amounts to choice.

The 6-month limit on choice also strikes me as reasonable. If you do NOT want a child, it shouldn't take more than 6 months to figure this out.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1773
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,06:55   

Quote (Flint @ April 03 2006,10:27)
Chris,

Thanks, very interesting link. This was important:
Quote
When establishing the level of risk to health, doctors can take into consideration a woman's ‘actual or reasonably foreseeable environment', which includes her personal and social situation.

With rational interpretation, this strikes me as a Good Thing. Generally, unwanted pregnancies are unwanted for a good reason; good enough so that a child will be unwelcome, unsupportable, etc. In practice, this amounts to choice.

The 6-month limit on choice also strikes me as reasonable. If you do NOT want a child, it shouldn't take more than 6 months to figure this out.

As far as I can tell. In-practice it is not too difficult to get an abortion on the national health.

I think the woman merely needs to persuade the Doctors that she has genuinely thought it through and definately wants one.

If a woman ends up asking for a string of abortions then she is likely to encounter hostility from Doctors. It is not suposed to be an alternative to contraception.

The law is definately workable in practice. On the whole Doctors tend to be sensible respected people.

As for wealthy people. Well enough money makes almost any situation/decision easier.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,07:04   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 03 2006,03:36)
If there is NO scientific basis for human life then there is NO SCIENTIFIC BASIS PERIOD.

Classic Thordaddy. Aside from being more or less unintelligible, this is like saying that since there's no scientific basis for why some people like Dvorak more than Beethoven, there's no scientific basis for anything. This is the same kind of reasoning by which Thordaddy determines that life begins at conception. Since there's no scientific basis for saying it doesn't start at conception (other than the two dozen reasons various posters to this thread have offered), Thordaddy believes he's entitled to therefore think that life does begin at conception.

Way to go, Thordaddy.

--------------
2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,09:26   

Flint said,
Quote
In practise, this amounts to choice.


Choice to dispose of someone you find inconvenient.

If economic considerations are sufficient to get rid of unborn babies someone doesn't want, why stop there? There are plenty of people walking around right now that are a burden on "society."

I'm really trying to understand how pro-abortion folks on this thread decide where to draw the line between person and non-person.

If I missed it in the previous posts, please point it out to me.

********************
My morality derives from my rationalist/scientific world view. I ask the other posters on this thread who are rationalists/scientifically minded how they developed their systems of morality.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,10:14   

Spike:

Quote
I'm really trying to understand how pro-abortion folks on this thread decide where to draw the line between person and non-person.

I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. Personally, it's simple. Not born, not a person. Born, legal person. Simple.

But as I wrote earlier on this thread, this policy has plenty of exceptions. Enemy soldiers are "inconveniences" in wartime. Kill them, you're a military hero. Someone threatening your life is inconvenient as well; they're fair game.

As for abortion, laws against it are much like prohibition: so difficult to enforce as to make enforcement capricious and highly unfair. Easy for the rich, hard for the poor. Such laws don't prevent abortions, they only increase the incidence of incompetent abortions.

Quote
There are plenty of people walking around right now that are a burden on "society."

Depending on how burdensome they are, they can be imprisoned indefinitely or (in many places) executed.

Anway, we as a society must balance out many factors: the degree of burden, the definition of personhood, the social and financial costs, the political ideals and how they are to be applied: Should abortion be mandatory (as in some places), prohibited (as in other places), or up to the individual (where Big Brother allows personal freedom)? Associated with this is the question of reciprocation: if you are willing to meddle in the lives of others, would you accept their meddling in YOUR life to the same degree? Like FORCING you to abort, whether you wanted to or not, because THEY decided it was for your own good?

And to some degree, depending on your preferences, there's the technological issue of when viability starts, and whether that point is meaningful, morally speaking. Again, this question becomes significant only for those with enough money (or insurance) to make a difference.

Not a simple yes/no issue, but rather an issue where many people take many different positions for many different reasons. Which leads to the most important question of all:

Who are you to dictate my life, and who am I to dictate yours?

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,11:12   

Flint,

"Not born, not a person." OK. But not simple.

I've listened to all the arguments about discriminating against babies in the womb and have yet to find one that makes a rational argument for where in the development process to draw the line. So, being a person who prefers to err on the side of caution ragarding the killing of innocents, I go all the way back to conception as the point at which human rights begin.

I think my draconian solution would be as easy to enforce as most other laws we have made. The person wanting the abortion is already in the clinic. It's only a matter of a couple more ligations and sutures to implement sterilization.

Would some people "go underground" because they didn't want to be sterlized? Of course. A solution does not have to be perfect to be better than what we have.

If "convenience to society" really is a valid consideration for why some people's rights can be curtailed, then given the choice between killing a certain class of "inconvenients" and preventing the creation of those "inconvenients" I would opt for the latter.

More directly: Mandatory sterlization is much better for "society" than is abortion.

Readers, don't waste time with non-arguments like, "Well, who would decide who gets sterilized?" I already pointed out that it is a self-selection process. Anyone who wants an abortion-for-convenience can have one, for free, but they must be sterilized afterwards.

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,11:13   

Quote
My morality derives from my rationalist/scientific world view. I ask the other posters on this thread who are rationalists/scientifically minded how they developed their systems of morality.


actually most scientific evidence points to the fact that you cannot rationalize your morality....

The point of this whole abortion debate is your interpretation of when life begins....

Claiming you're pro/anti abortion isnt based on morality.
Let me give you an example...some people believe in partial birth abortion.  They believe it is an acceptable practice.
However, no one is pro-newborn baby killing.  No one claims you should be able to kill a baby once it is born.
Why?  Because everyone knows that murder is wrong.
The difference is that some people dont define partial birth abortion as murder.  It would be a moral issue if they did define it as acceptable murder....but they dont.

Anti-abortion people are not in possesion of a higher set of morals.  Pro abortion people have the same morals as anti-abortion people.  It's a question of how they define human life...which is not a question of morality.

It also isnt a question of science, as we have tried to explain to Thordaddy.  Science has a difficult enough time defining life.  They arent even going to begin to try and decide when the creation of a new offspring becomes an individual human life.

Its a question of philosophy/theology/law.  This is also why it is so heavily contested..because everyone is allowed to have their own ideas on philosophy/theology/law.  It is not a case of clear cut solutions.  IF it was, then it would not be a case of such heavy contention.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,11:34   

Spike:

Quote
So, being a person who prefers to err on the side of caution ragarding the killing of innocents, I go all the way back to conception as the point at which human rights begin.

And isn't it wonderful that you can not only hold this opinion, but act on it without anyone else telling you that their opinion is better than yours?

Quote
I've listened to all the arguments about discriminating against babies in the womb

Isn't it great that you get to select whatever slanted terminology ratifies your conclusions, and nobody is stopping you? Wouldn't it be great if the hypocrites could realize that depriving other people of their rights is very dangerous, because tomorrow THEY might be among the 'other people'?

Quote
More directly: Mandatory sterlization is much better for "society" than is abortion.

And aren't you fortunate that you can hold this opinion, but nobody is going to mandatorily sterilize YOU, like you seem willing to do to others?

If there is anything that characterizes the "I'm cramming my preferences down YOUR throat" crowd, it's this fundamental, unavoidable double standard. I have never yet met a "my way or the highway" fanatic who shows the slightest clue what the Golden Rule actually says.

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,11:51   

Quote
Readers, don't waste time with non-arguments like, "Well, who would decide who gets sterilized?" I already pointed out that it is a self-selection process. Anyone who wants an abortion-for-convenience can have one, for free, but they must be sterilized afterwards.

There is a catch here. You say that this will be a self-selected process for those that want an abortion for convenience- but whether each case is "for convenience" or "out of necessity" has to be decided by someone else first. And separating those two groups is not as easy as it may seem to you.
Maintaining control on the choices offered to the woman, by deciding in which category she belongs, is in my opinion a sure-fire way to let discrimination (and corruption) in through the back door.
So, nothing is gained (except perhaps another step towards a society where a woman's reproductive right is not a right at all).

--------------
A look into DAVE HAWKINS' sense of honesty:

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

"...mutations can add information to a genome.  And remember, I have never said that this is not possible."

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,12:10   

<edit> Also, this theory seems to me seriously flawed on the very moral grounds you're proposing.
If you consider abortion murder, how can you say to the woman "OK, we'll let you (and help you) commit murder just this once, and then we'll punish you for that by taking away your right to reproduction forever"? Where's the ethics in that?
If you don't consider it murder, what's the purpose of all this charade in the first place?

Seems to me more like a way to inflict punishment on the women who choose to have an abortion, than a serious attempt to solve the issue.

--------------
A look into DAVE HAWKINS' sense of honesty:

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

"...mutations can add information to a genome.  And remember, I have never said that this is not possible."

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,12:37   

PuckSR,

Quote
actually most scientific evidence points to the fact that you cannot rationalize your morality....


I'm slightly worried about the double meaning of "rationalize." Do you mean it in the sense of "make rational" or the sense of "create reasons to justify what you want to believe."

Because, when it comes to defining the point at which a developing human has the right to not be killed, then there is a lot of "creating of reasons" to justify what people already believe.

It's not a matter of defining when life begins that is the problem. That's actually something that can be worked out quite easily, both on scientific and moral grounds.

What prevents all of us people from agreeing is that we want to rationalize our behavior, rather than change.

Think about it: Even genocidal maniacs believe what they are doing is right and can give you lots and lots of reasons why.

***************

Regarding the question of rational morality: If you are arguing against rational morality, then are you arguing for irrational morality?

When I say "scientific" I do not mean that we can develop a bench test for a certain moral code (all tests have to be in the field). I do mean that we can use the same rational tools that helped us develop the scientific method to develop, for want of a better term, an "ethical method."

I'll give you an example of a rational moral idea: I treat others as I wish for them to treat me. Why? Observation, hypothesis, theory, and "law."

My observation is that most people I deal with have a sense of "fairness" and a desire for egalitarianism. I hypothesize that to utilize that tendency to my benefit, I present my goals in a way that seems fair and egalitarian to the other person: I won't benefit at their expense, instead, we will both benefit.

I experiment with various people and find different levels of success.

I review the results and try to develop other theories to explain why I did not succeed in certain cases. What I come up with is that I did not really understand what the other person wanted from the interaction, so I did not give them what they percieved as a "win."

I formulate a new hypothesis that includes spending more time trying to understand exactly what the other person wants, and figuring out how meet that want so that I benefit also.

I try it out.

It gives me what I want more often than the way I was doing things before.

I repeat this process, improving my ability to understand and my ability to help the other person find solutions.

To be sure, the most fundamental reason that I do what I do is for my own gain. Defining, "my own gain" is also an iterative process. Sometimes I realize after I have put forth a lot of effort to achieve something that I didn't like the result as much as I had anticipated I would!

Even more fundamental than that, I suppose, is explaining why my own gain is a moral good. At that point, you've got me. I have no explanation for why I believe it is right for me to want to make my life better.

Again, my experience is that every other person that I have met wants to make their lives better also. Even people who commit suicide do so because they feel it is better than continuing to experience the pain they are living with right now (physical and/or emotional).*

If the source of our desire to make our lives better were programmed into our selfish genes in a "Dawkinsian" fashion, then we would have a scientific explanation for why we do what we do!

BTW: I draw a distinction between what is better for other individuals and what is better for "society." I only care about other individuals. There is no argument I have heard for doing things "for the good of society" that doesn't include sacrificing the rights of a certain class of people.

*Speaking of suicide. There was a point in my life when I understood why other people would commit suicide. I wish I could explain what prevented me from doing so, because I would offer it to others who are standing on edge of that chasm. Anybode else "been to the edge?" What kept yout from hurling yourself into the abyss?

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,13:03   

Flint opines,

Quote
I'm starting to understand the contempt you have earned on this thread. You don't listen at all.


I've already agreed with you on your basic premise and still you scorn me.  I shall disagree with for now on because your premise may be reasonable, but from there your argument is quite pathetic.  

thordaddy asks,

If laws are not based in morality and science, but simply precedent alone, then what are the precedents based upon?  But even further, what are the original legal arguments, that will then become precendent for future case law, based upon if not morality and science?

Flint says,

Precedents man... You contemptible human life form!

Quote
Who said they weren't? Laws are based on the desire to avoid if possible, and if not then to resolve as painlessly as possible, any social conflicts.


Is there a framework to work with?  I mean, what constitutes a social conflict?  What constitutes pain?  Is emotional pain more aggregious than physical pain?  Is the mother's SPECULATIVE PREDICTIONS about the future of HER CHILD represent greater pain than the killing of her child in an abortion?

Quote
I notice in your very next statement, you use the murder label.


And so my statement was correct as I said nothing about using it further into the conversation.  But if you'll care to notice, it was used in an entirely correct context and did not relate to nonpersons.

Quote
See, there it is! But you are correct, murder is a legal construct. Taking the life of another human being is not necessarily murder. If done in wartime, it produces heroes. If done in self defense, it's fine. If policement do it in the line of duty, it's not only appropriate but considered necessary. If done for abortion, it's considered the right of the pregnant woman.


I agree with everything you have said.  Unfortunately, the arguments for wartime and self-defense are infinitely greater than the mere choice of ALL INDIVIDUAL WOMEN to abort their children.  The question then becomes, how has this been justified when the science is shining ever more light on what actually takes place in the course of an abortion.  The moral argument is already strong and the advocates for abortion have relied upon the ignorance or shere obfuscation of "science" to justify at least in part their arguments for abortion.  I think science in now abortion's greatest foe.  Legal arguments will evolve to meet this new insight like they have done before.

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However, I hope you notice that laws are not entirely arbitrary. They are intended (as I wrote above) to avoid and/or resolve conflicts. As we have learned the hard way (with drugs, with alcohol, with abortion, and countless other laws), the attempt to enforce unenforceable laws results in an increase rather than a decrease in conflict.


Yet, one could easily argue that abortion has not decreased the conflict, but has in fact increased it.  Are the children any less wanted?  Are children treated with more or less compassion?  Are women better women?  Are relationships between women and men better?  I see very little to suggest that abortion has been an OVERALL social good.  In fact, abortion is, in MOST REGARDS, an abolition of responsibility.  Hence, the increase in conflict.

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Ultimately, the law is based on trial and error. Over the long run, we make laws, and see what the results are (often completely different from what's intended or expected). We modify the laws with the intention of improving the results. This process goes on continuously. What triggers the process is that too many people are too unhappy with the status quo, for whatever reason. And often enough, passing a law results in even MORE people even MORE unhappy with the change, and the modification cycle continues.


Then the law will evolve to reflect the unprecendent scientific insight into what exactly an abortion constitutes.  The moral arguments will only be strengthened and the law will bend to the will of the enlightened.

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Nope, you have completely misunderstood. Science can tell us the facts, but science can NOT tell us what we ought to do with them or why. I can agree that laws work best if they are informed by the facts, because the consequences of the law are most predictable in that case. But even if science could tell us precisely what the consequences of every law would be, science STILL could not tell us which consequences to prefer.


Science can obviously tell us what we can do or not do and they need not be explicit.  The implication is clear to many that science is dragging its feet in this regard.  The insights brought to us by science concerning abortion and the process of pregnancy cannot be hidden by the ideologues within science.  

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What entity is that? Evolution is a fact, and science is the appropriate way to determine this. Science has done so. What's your point?


A fact based on the knowledge of an undefiniable entity seems undefiniable itself.  Isn't this the argument against ID?

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I don't know what you're trying to say here. Of course there is a scientific basis for human life. Which has absolutely nothing to do with a society deciding which lives to protect, which to terminate, and which to remain silent about in deference to the rights of the individual members of that society. Those are SOCIAL decisions. Science is irrelevant.


You are claiming that human life is undefiniable and yet this human life form has defined all we know.  If you don't know who or what you are then how can you know anything else let alone describe evolution as a "fact" for the rest of us.  Your science is based on something undefiniable.  Almost like an intelligent designer or something?

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,13:31   

Faid,

Wow! Just like I said. People who are normally quite rational get their panties in a bunch when it comes to abortion. (Me too!;)

For your part, you use loaded language to package your idea as “a woman’s reproductive right.” You presuppose that a woman's "right to choose" precludes the baby's right to live.

You have chosen some line in the developmental process at which you say, "On this side, the baby has rights, on that side, nope." How have you decided where to draw the line?

As I said, my draconian proposal is not a perfect solution. The only perfect solution would be to convince every person that abortions-for-convenience are wrong and then every person would choose not to have an abortion. The perfect solution is to prevent all unwanted pregnancies and stop all rapes.

If you know a way to do that, I'll work with you on it.

I do not believe that people who have an abortion enjoy it. I don’t pretend doctors who perform abortions are evil. Right now, our society thinks abortions are OK. So most people (baaa-baaa) go along with the crowd. I used to feel the same way. But the more I tried to defend the pro-abortion position, the less rational support I could find for it.

I don't believe that any person (including me) has a right to squirt out little "mini-me's" all over the place. Just because someone can do something doesn’t make it a right.

I can counter any argument about “This is not the right time,” or “The parents are too poor,” or “Why should the rape victim have to raise the rapists child?” with real-life examples of parents who do a good job in spite of those obstacles, and more. Here’s one: In my son’s preschool is a little white-skinned girl with two white-skinned mothers, who are married to each other, and have adopted two dark-brown-skinned babies to be the little girl’s brother and sister. Are you going to tell me, in all your prescience, that those two adoptees would have been better off aborted? If so, you’ll have to come up with some pretty good arguments against two lesbian mothers of a different “race” as parents.

In my first post, I defined abortions-for-convenience as those not required to prevent the death of the mother. That seems pretty unambiguous to me. Do you have some common occurrences when you cannot distinguish between "prevent the death of the mother" and other reasons people use for abortions?

If the Golden Rule is important to you, why do you withhold it from little kids just because they do not measure up to your arbitrary definition of human?

There’s the irony: “Hey you! There in the womb! I’m on the outside, living my life, so I can say that you don’t get to live yours beyond today.”

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,13:46   

thordaddy;

Well, I'll keep trying for a while. Maybe we can communicate.

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Is there a framework to work with?  I mean, what constitutes a social conflict?

People disagreeing with one another.

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What constitutes pain?  Is emotional pain more aggregious than physical pain?
That's entirely up to whoever experiences it.

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Is the mother's SPECULATIVE PREDICTIONS about the future of HER CHILD represent greater pain than the killing of her child in an abortion?

That's up to her, not you. If YOU are pregnant (note: a pregnant woman is not a mother of a fetus. She becomes a mother of a child at birth. Not before) then YOU get to make this decision. Nobody else.

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And so my statement was correct as I said nothing about using it further into the conversation.  But if you'll care to notice, it was used in an entirely correct context and did not relate to nonpersons.

You need to re-read what you wrote, in this case. Murder is defined as the *unlawful taking of a person's life.* You're correct that the law may be changed to legalize the taking of a person's life, but in that case, it's no longer murder because it is no longer unlawful.

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Unfortunately, the arguments for wartime and self-defense are infinitely greater than the mere choice of ALL INDIVIDUAL WOMEN to abort their children.

I hope you can recognize that you just stated a personal opinion not shared by everyone. If YOU find some arguments more persuasive, fine. If others don't, also fine. They're as entitled to their opinions as you are. Or don't you think so?

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The question then becomes, how has this been justified when the science is shining ever more light on what actually takes place in the course of an abortion.

Try to stay on topic. Let's grant that we know, or can learn, everything there is to know about every relevant fact. NO facts are at issue here at all. What is at issue are legal constructs.

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The moral argument is already strong

You have an MO here, I notice. You state your opinion as thought it were a fact, and then you attempt draw conclusions based on the logical implications of your opinions. But I really don't consider myself bound by your opinions. I consider them wrong.

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the advocates for abortion have relied upon the ignorance or shere obfuscation of "science" to justify at least in part their arguments for abortion.

This claim is simply false. No obfuscation has taken place in our discussion. We have granted the accuracy of everything science can learn. Hopefully, we have recognized that the legal issue is something entirely unrelated.

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I think science in now abortion's greatest foe.  Legal arguments will evolve to meet this new insight like they have done before.

Except of course this has nothing to do with science, nor is your opinion any kind of insight. My support for abortion is based on the notion of freedom and liberty - that I will not force you to act according to my opinion, and you will not force me to act according to your opinion. That you are entitled to conduct YOUR life according to YOUR preferences, and I have no authority to prevent this. Nor would I want to, for fear you might turn around and do the same to me.

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Yet, one could easily argue that abortion has not decreased the conflict, but has in fact increased it.

Yes, but not accurately. What we in the US have done is traded one kind of conflict for another. At the cost of offending busybody religious fanatics, we have granted equality and human rights to all citizens.

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Are the children any less wanted?  Are children treated with more or less compassion?

As a matter of fact, yes. Economists and criminologists and demographers spent some considerable research trying to learn why certain types of violent crimes went WAY down (cut in half!;) during the 1990s and then stayed down. Exhaustive analysis has provided the answer: the cohort of people who committed those crimes -- poor, bad neighborhoods, lots of drugs, high unemployment, gangs -- *were not born* because they were aborted. In other words, only WANTED children were born. They are better off, and everyone around them is better off. Abortion has without question been a social boon.

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Then the law will evolve to reflect the unprecendent scientific insight into what exactly an abortion constitutes.

What ARE you talking about? There are no scientific insights here.

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The moral arguments will only be strengthened and the law will bend to the will of the enlightened.

Which I take it means you and not them? THEY will bend to YOUR moral superiority, right? YOU will not bend to THEIR opinions, because THEY are wrong and YOU are right. Is that it?

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A fact based on the knowledge of an undefiniable entity seems undefiniable itself.  Isn't the the argument against ID?[/qote]
I askied what entity this was, and I notice you didn't answer. so I still don't understand what you're talking about. Evolution is based on observation. In fact, based on many millions of related observations. The argument against ID is, they have ZERO observations. None.

[quote]You are claiming that human life is undefiniable

I said no such thing. I will repeat: a human life begins at conception. It is well defined. We all know what it is.

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If you don't know who or what you are

Since this is both false and foolish, the rest of your claim is irrelevant. You really do need to learn how to keep on topic.

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,14:12   

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I'll give you an example of a rational moral idea: I treat others as I wish for them to treat me. Why? Observation, hypothesis, theory, and "law."


Not quite what I was talking about....

Natural morality:
Dont kill people
Dont hurt people
Dont steal from people

Now...we all know that people kill, hurt, and steal from other people.  But, they all do so by rationalizing their actions.  A thief isnt really stealing, he is just reappropriating wealth.  The cop didnt really murder anyone..he was simply defending the community.

We can even go the extreme end of the spectrum and look at sociopaths....
we have found as a general rule that sociopaths lack the ability to recognize pain in other people.  If the sociopath could recognize that he was causing his victims pain...he would then have to rationalize his behavior.  It would be impossible for him to rationalize his behavior...so he wouldnt be as sociopathic....

Humans are a societal organism.  We rely on society for our survival.  Our morality evolved.  Do you think it is odd that chimps have the same sense of morality as humans.  They generally avoid murder, inflicting pain, or stealing...but if they can rationalize that behavior(such as killing an enemy chimp) then they act.
Chimps obviously lack the cognitive capacity for reasoning out their moral decisions.  They dont communicate as efficiently as humans.  They also dont read philosophical ramblings about morality....yet they are just as moral as you or I.....

We have created "rational morality" to deal with all the modern issues that chimps dont have to deal with...such as abortion.  

By the way...Im not pulling this stuff out of my butt.  There is research being conducted into this area...and the general consensus is that morality has evolved in societal animals.  It is necessary for a society to exist....and animals without the ability to reason out the moral consequences have exhibited equal degrees of basic morality.

Hope this helps....

Anyway...we are selfish....all organisms are selfish
this instinctive moral code keeps us from going nuts and destroying ourselves....not our ability to reason

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,14:21   

From the perspective of the fundamentalist Christians, abortion may be a wedge issue. They may want to end abortions because they want to curtail women's reproductive rights and turn back the clock to the age of June Cleaver (or worse).

I don't.

Remember, I am an atheist. And I have no political dog in the fight. Most libertarians think the government should have no say regarding abortions. I agree. Specifically, I think the government should neither protect nor deny abortions. Instead, the government should protect the doctor’s right to ply her trade as she sees fit, and the patient’s right to choose the doctor the patient wants.

My draconian solution is not a law that I propose, but an interim social norm, while we move toward the ideal of preventing all unwanted pregnancies. Doctors should be allowed to offer abortions under the terms they specify.

This is the way I view the issue of “women’s reproductive rights:” A woman can do anything she wants to prevent pregnancy. She has every right, regardless of whether or not she is married, to tell the man what he should do to help. Women certainly bear the greater burden, so they should have the greater say. They have the absolute, inalienable right, when it comes to preventing pregnancy, to say, “My way or the highway.”

But what about the situation when the woman wants the abortion and the man does not? Do we say the man has no rights to let his child live? If anybody else killed his child, even in the womb, they would be murderers, plain and simple. Why does the mother get off without even a slap on the wrist?

We mostly agree that once the child is born, the man has the obligation to at least provide some financial support. But are we really going to say, “Hey, even though this was a mutual encounter, you, Mr. Man, have no right to decide how it turns out. If the woman wants to abort: You’re outta luck. If she wants to keep it and take it away from you, again, sorry, Charlie. The baby resides in her body, so she can decide its fate.” ?

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,14:34   

Flint

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Economists and criminologists and demographers spent some considerable research trying to learn why certain types of violent crimes went WAY down (cut in half! during the 1990s and then stayed down. Exhaustive analysis has provided the answer: the cohort of people who committed those crimes -- poor, bad neighborhoods, lots of drugs, high unemployment, gangs -- *were not born* because they were aborted. In other words, only WANTED children were born. They are better off, and everyone around them is better off. Abortion has without question been a social boon.


Two points:

1. Do you have any citiations to orginal research other than the one paper by the fellow who writes the "Freakonomics" column?

2. When does a social boon trump individual rights?

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a pregnant woman is not a mother of a fetus. She becomes a mother of a child at birth. Not before


This is yet another arbitrary definition you've pulled out of your ear.

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we have granted equality and human rights to all citizens


Except the ones from whom we withhold equality and human rights by virtue of legal mumbo-jumbo.

Am I a religious fanatic, too?

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,15:17   

PuckSR,

Some people believe that if morality does not involve choice, then it is not morality at all. "Instinctive morality" is an oxymoron.

The trouble with claiming that the acts of animals are moral is that we do not have any way to determine why they do what they do. Everything an animal does, even when it resembles reasoning, we treat as an unreasoned event. A chimp cannot, of its own accord, learn to ride a tricycle. We can teach it, but no matter how fun the chimp thinks tricycling is, once returned to the wild, the chimp won't collect parts and try to assemble a trike. (Or maybe it will? I wonder if anyone has tried that experiment.)

I'll even side with Koko's supporters who said she made up new combinations of signs to communicate original ideas. But to this point in time, no animals have successfully initiated protracted discussion of animal moral codes with humans.

However, think about male lions. Perhaps there is new evidence to the contrary, but I learned that if a new male lion defeats the old pride leader, the new male will kill all the cubs, because the new male has no genetic stake in their survival. The females will not prevent the "mass murder" of their babies because, genetically speaking, the females will still have the same genetic stake in the new offspring (50%) and the risk of being killed themselves is greater than the energy investment they've made so far. At least that is what I recall from Dawkins.

We certainly don't call the adult lions immoral for behaving as lions. But if a human were to do the same, we'd lock him up and throw away the key, and we may even be in the ironic situation of defending that murderer's life against those who would seek vengence.

Sociopaths are a great study tool. It's much easier to study a characteristic when you can compare subject A with the characteristic to subject B without it.

But I agree, our moral codes have evolved, in the broad sense of changed over time. Even in the more narrow sense of "improved" over time. But there was some threshold we passed that set us on the path where instinct fails us and we must rely on our deliberate cognition.

When I talk about science in this context, I use it broadly to mean "looking at the world and trying to understand it. Trying to figure out why x, y and z happened so we can predict a, b, and c." That includes trying to figure out why people do what they do.

But why bother? Why even worry about figuring things out, unless we derive some personal good from the knowledge? Sometimes the personal good is just knowing (for some people, the personal good is avoiding knowing! ??? ) But most of the time we want to know how things work so we can manipulate and/or influence them for our own gain.

Morality exists for that very purpose.

If people could never be influenced to change their behaviors, and we knew that without doubt, morality would be superflous.

But the purpose of moral arguments is to try to get others to behave a certain way. We even have to argue about which moral codes others should follow so that we can get them to follow the ones we like best (because they help us the most).

So we study: What moral codes to people adopt, and how to they decide which ones they will follow?

Humans are social beings. But we devote the majority of our energy trying to get the rest of society to do things the way we want.

I think the people who are the happiest are not the ones trying to play Archimedes and looking for the longest lever, I think the ones who get what they want the most often are like surfers, watching the way the tide is flowing and riding it to where they want to go.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,15:37   

Spike:

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1. Do you have any citiations to orginal research other than the one paper by the fellow who writes the "Freakonomics" column?
As I recall, the chapter of the Freakonomics book that discusses this has numerous footnotes. It's not make believe.

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2. When does a social boon trump individual rights?

As Justice Holmes wrote, our freedom to swing our arm ends where the next guy's nose begins. The trick is to *balance* individual scope of action, with the needs of the society on which the individual depends in order to HAVE any scope of action. It's a series of trade-offs. Fortunately, the right to abort is BOTH an individual right and a social boon. A win-win proposition.

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This is yet another arbitrary definition you've pulled out of your ear.
Not arbitrary. A mother is someone with a child. Here's a dictionary definition if you really want one: "a woman who has given birth to a child." Not my definition, not arbitrary, not out of my ear. You are wrong three times. Not bad...

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Except the ones from whom we withhold equality and human rights by virtue of legal mumbo-jumbo.

Not so. We withhold rights from those citizens who have committed crimes. Remember, we're talking about *citizens* here, not potential citizens.

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Am I a religious fanatic, too?

So far, you haven't cited any particular religious doctrine. You dislike *other people* being able to do things you wish they wouldn't. Join the club. The question is, how do we react when people exercise the same rights we have? Do we defend their (and thus our) rights, or do we apply double standards?

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Specifically, I think the government should neither protect nor deny abortions. Instead, the government should protect the doctor’s right to ply her trade as she sees fit, and the patient’s right to choose the doctor the patient wants.

This seems essentially the system we have today. Doctors are not obliged to offer services, for the most part. I liked the UK system where doctors ARE obliged to refer patients to whoever can (or will) help them. Abortion is a private decision, absolutely none of the government's business.

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But what about the situation when the woman wants the abortion and the man does not? Do we say the man has no rights to let his child live?

Yes. If the man wishes to endure the pregnancy and undergo childbirth, then it becomes HIS decision. At least, that's the way I see it. And I see it that way, because ideally a child is wanted by BOTH parents.

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,15:56   

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Some people believe that if morality does not involve choice, then it is not morality at all. "Instinctive morality" is an oxymoron.


Ahhh very true....
but my argument is that a lot of what your terming "morality" is just instinct....
and if thats the case...then what is truly moral?

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However, think about male lions. Perhaps there is new evidence to the contrary, but I learned that if a new male lion defeats the old pride leader, the new male will kill all the cubs, because the new male has no genetic stake in their survival. The females will not prevent the "mass murder" of their babies because, genetically speaking, the females will still have the same genetic stake in the new offspring (50%) and the risk of being killed themselves is greater than the energy investment they've made so far. At least that is what I recall from Dawkins.


Very true....
but lions are not a good example of a societal animal.
One male....females and offspring....

When I discuss a societal animal I am discussing animals that live in a cooperative society.  Dogs, Apes, Ravens, and Dolphins all are examples.  A pack of dogs is not one male and several females....A pack of dogs contains both males and females.  They work together, and their survival is dependent on each other.

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We certainly don't call the adult lions immoral for behaving as lions. But if a human were to do the same, we'd lock him up and throw away the key, and we may even be in the ironic situation of defending that murderer's life against those who would seek vengence.


No we do not....but lets examine the second part of your point...the part that concerns defending the murderer.

Capital punishment is a fact of some societies and abhorred by other societies.  There is no standard moral code.  Incredibly advanced societies have had completely different opinions on the matter....
If logic and reason alone could arrive at a conclusion...wouldnt they have arrived at the same conclusion...or at least similiar conclusions?
If it was instinctual...then once again the conclusions would be fairly similiar

It is not...some societies have outlawed the death penalty...while others use it for relatively trivial crimes.  They both rationalize their actions, but I believe that this must be done after the fact... their actions are so different, it would seem to preclude rational conclusions.

Therefore...something irrational must be involved in the decision process.  An opinion?

You tend to think that your view of abortion is logical and can be arrived at by reason.
However, if it is so logical, why do we constantly see such drastic opposition.  

Now, the obvious argument against this is to examine a debate that is prevalent in all of our minds.  Obviously there is a great deal of seperation on the issue of religion vs. science.  But what is the difference between religion and science. Fundamentalists opine that the bible must be accurate, and therefore they logically make the conclusions from that opinion for all of their beliefs.  Science, instead, opines that it is important for knowledge that we only explore natural explanations of evidence.  They then logically and reasonably conclude everything else.  

Both viewpoints are based on logical conclusions from original opinions.  The same can be said for your current debate on abortion.
You both have an opinion, and are both rationally proceeding from your opinions.  The advantage however lies with Flint.  His logic is also applicable to someone who is agnostic on the issue.

The point of all of this is that some morality is disputable and some is not.
The morality that is not in dispute is either instinct or truly logical.
The morality that is in dispute is based on something irrational, and then concluded from that point on.

Now, remember, irrational doesnt mean wrong, or even without merit.  I am simply saying that it must rely on some opinion that is not a rational conclusion from the facts.

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,17:03   

Flint,

I think I'll have get the book and see for myself, because the footnotes may be to the data.

What the frick are the "needs of society"? People use this phrase all the time, and I have never been able to figure out what they mean. As far as I can tell, the "needs of society" is what people invoke when they have run out of reasons.

We used to have to do what gods told us to.

Then we had to do what kings told us to.

Now we have to do what society tells us to.

The "needs of society" argument always seems to define society's needs as any but my own.

Mother: 1. A woman who conceives, gives birth to, or raises and nurtures a child.

[Emphasis added]

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=mother

I suppose it depends on where you look to find the definition you want!

*****

Finding the definitions you want is what this is argument is all about.

thordaddy and I define the fertilized egg as a human being, deserving of the same human rights as you and you and you.

The pro-abortion crowd relies on "good of society" arguments, selective applications of "a woman's right" and various legal definitions.

Here is my challenge: Forget about all the bull-hocky politics and the persuasive definitions that lead people to the conclusions they want to reach.

[I'll try and use emotionless, unloaded language]

Inside the womb, a fertilized egg is developing.

At some time in its development, we all agree, this fertilized egg will transform into a human being and have the exact same right to not be killed as all the other human beings around it.

The pro-abortion crowd has many different time-points along the developmental continuum that they choose as the moment of personhood.

So far, I've read when abortion can be permitted, and when it must not be, but no argument for why that timepoint is the correct one.

I think I've done my best to explain why I choose conception as the beginning of a legal, human life: Because I can make no rational argument for any other timepoint. I realize it's not much. I have applied Occam's razor and cut away all the complexity from all the other argmuents. It is the least ambigous moment.

In a sense, the reason I pick conception is the same reason I pick atheism. I cannot make any rational argument for the existence of god(s), so I have to choose the option with the least ambiguity: There are none.

If you can rationally defend another time for defining the developing egg as a legal human, please do so. Please tell me why that moment in time precludes all other arguments.

My challenge presupposes that a rational argument can be made. If none can, then I guess it really is just a matter of who has the bigger gang (majority vote).

I've written all I can. Everything else is just beating about the bush.

  
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