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Source: (consider it) Thread: Dawkins is a Fool. God says so!
Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Take politics, for example. I'm firmly opposed to redistributive taxation and will argue the point forcefully when necessary. But that doesn't mean I think the people who support it have an invalid opinion, or are objectively wrong.

Objectively you might be right.
In my subjective opinion, your opinion is self-serving and selfish nonsense.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Mudfrog
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Using the 'end of life illness' logic, who the bloody hell would have children?

I mean, we've had three boys. OMG what have I done?? [Eek!] They've had a good education, some lovely holidays, all three have nice girlfriends, 2 have graduated, one is a teacher, one has a career in the RAF ahead of him and the other is overcoming Asbergers to go through Uni.

But look!! When they are old one of them might die of prostate cancer, another might suffer from motor neurone disease and the other might die slowly in heart failure. They might have the pain of divorce, lose a child, experience the numbing heartache of losing their wife to dementia or a stroke and end up in a council care home.

Oh boys, I am so sorry! For my selfish desire of having three cute babies in succession, albums full of family photos, the memories of school plays, family holidays, a father's pride at graduations, (hopefully)three weddings and a quiver-full of grandchildren, I have sentenced you to an old age of visiting pain clinics, home care and painful old-age ailments when I'm not around to see it and feel guilty for what I've brought you into the world to face.

OR

I can just thank God that I gave you the opportunity to experience the beauty of creation, of family life, of fulfilling whatever potential was appropriate to you mental, emotional and spiritual capacity. I thank God for the joy you yourself experience and the grace that you will experience and the satisfaction at the end of it all that you have shared in the human condition, whatever it brought you.

And I thank God that it was common humanity, love and the Divine himself that gave your life meaning instead of cold fucking logic that would have aborted you in order to spare you what it presumes you would not want.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Objectively you might be right.
In my subjective opinion, your opinion is self-serving and selfish nonsense.

Precisely.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog
And I thank God that it was common humanity, love and the Divine himself that gave your life meaning instead of cold fucking logic that would have aborted you in order to spare you what it presumes you would not want.

A sad end to a really brilliant post.

For the third time, it is NOT logic which is the problem, but the false assumptions to which logic is applied.

After all, you have used logic in the presentation of your views in this post.

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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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Mudfrog
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Well yes, but I thought the qualifying word was 'cold' - i.e. logic that is applied falsely or brutally. Logic is necessary, of course, but it has to be in context. It's like justice without equity. All judgments must be made taking mercy and equity into account.

Or maybe I'm wrongly using the word logic when I actually mean something else.

Thanks for the affirmation of the rest of the post though [Smile]

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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quetzalcoatl
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I didn't think that the end of life argument was about logic in any case - the doctor concerned said that he couldn't bear to see his child suffer greatly. That's not logic, surely, but empathy or compassion.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
You mean it's not inevitable that Downs causes horrible physical problems? I feared it was. (Thinking of distant cousin with Downs.)

People with Downs have a greater chance of certain ailments than the general population. There is no certainty. But they are ailments potentially suffered by the general population and we are getting better at dealing with them.
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I didn't think that the end of life argument was about logic in any case - the doctor concerned said that he couldn't bear to see his child suffer greatly. That's not logic, surely, but empathy or compassion.

And selfishness. This is a component of the decision whether to abort a Downs child. I am not meaning this in a judgmental way, just a statement of fact.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Morality =/= non-rational
There is plenty of science to back up the claim that the underlying fundamentals of morality are genetic. It is a stronger case to say religious morality = non-rational.

Unless religious morality is implanted in us by God, it is presumably equally genetic and therefore equally rational.
Morality is rational; therefore aggression and power-seeking is irrational. Therefore aggression and power-seeking is not genetic.

Have I made my point?

Really, no. Your maths are terrible.
I agree it's terrible. But it's your maths not mine. The fault is entirely due to your equation of 'genetic' with 'rational'.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Objectively you might be right.
In my subjective opinion, your opinion is self-serving and selfish nonsense.

Precisely.
We're agreeing that an opinion might be objectively right? that there is an objective right for an opinion to be? (And perhaps we need a phrase for opinions that are not objectively right? We could call them 'objectively wrong'.)

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Are you saying that your morality is objective or subjective? It's not clear from the above comment.

My morality is exactly as objective as my wit and my rhetoric. I intend that my statements should really (objectively) be moral, astute and persuasive. Sometimes I fail.

Asking whether my morality is objective seems like a fundamental error to me. It is precisely because I think morality per se to be a real thing that I think that I can be right or wrong about it. It is exactly my confidence that morality is objectively true that makes my own opinions about it precarious.

quote:
If the former, then what is the objective evidence that compels us to think like you, and if the latter, then in what way can these thoughts of yours be considered 'moral', given that morality in large part - and certainly in this case - concerns how we relate to other people (i.e. how we relate to the objective world)?
I'm not really interested in compelling anyone to think like me about abortion on a Hell thread. I'll do that in Dead Horses, if I can be arsed.

The question I was addressing here was the outrageousness, or otherwise, of Dawkins' comment on abortion. I would say that although it is (in my subjective opinion) objectively wrong, and assuredly insensitive, it is neither outrageous nor wicked. If you hold that there is any sort of moral calculation to be performed on the question "should I abort?", and that in at least some cases the answer might be "I'm allowed to", it really isn't much of a stretch from that to saying that there might be cases where the answer is "I ought to". That, it seems to me, is where Dawkins is coming from. He thinks that the differential quality of life (all else being equal) between someone with severe disability and someone without is sufficiently great that at a point where the two potential lives have no individual rights to be considered it would be immoral to choose to bring into the world the life with the greater potential for suffering.

Take an hypothetical case which stretches the point a little. Suppose you are the carrier of a hideous genetic disease that will kill half your children two years after birth in appalling agony. Now suppose that someone invents a sperm or egg filter that will automatically screen your gametes so that those with the fatal gene never make it into a fallopian tube. Assume that using this filter is free and painless. You want kids. Would you use the device? Could you not be persuaded that you ought to use it - that someone in your position would be sinning if they knowing took the risk of conceiving a genetically doomed child, when they could have been reasonably sure of a healthy one, just at the cost of screening out defective sperm or eggs?

I know (and intend) that this is not analogous to abortion - that's the point, it exaggerates, rather than copies, all the elements of the "should I abort?" dilemma. However if you believed (as I suspect Dawkins believes) that a very early stage foetus is no more possessed of human rights than is an individual sperm, then the conclusion that "in this case I ought to abort" is a decision that could be reached without obvious wickedness. And that's what I take him to be saying, albeit insensitively.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

quote:
The huge implication that Dawkins offers is that it's logical, science-based opinion that should decide.
Bollocks. There is logical science-based opinion (which is quite a good thing) and there are Dawkins' saloon bar prejudices. Merely because Dawkins conflates the former with the latter doesn't mean that the rest of us have to.

More generally because the speaker is a Christian it would be terminally naive to assume that his or her pronouncements were the outworking of Holy Charity. Equally, just because someone claims to be a rationalist it does not follow that their view are necessarily rational.

Quotes file.

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Using the 'end of life illness' logic, who the bloody hell would have children?

I mean, we've had three boys. OMG what have I done?? [Eek!] They've had a good education, some lovely holidays, all three have nice girlfriends, 2 have graduated, one is a teacher, one has a career in the RAF ahead of him and the other is overcoming Asbergers to go through Uni.

But look!! When they are old one of them might die of prostate cancer, another might suffer from motor neurone disease and the other might die slowly in heart failure. They might have the pain of divorce, lose a child, experience the numbing heartache of losing their wife to dementia or a stroke and end up in a council care home.

Oh boys, I am so sorry! For my selfish desire of having three cute babies in succession, albums full of family photos, the memories of school plays, family holidays, a father's pride at graduations, (hopefully)three weddings and a quiver-full of grandchildren, I have sentenced you to an old age of visiting pain clinics, home care and painful old-age ailments when I'm not around to see it and feel guilty for what I've brought you into the world to face.

OR

I can just thank God that I gave you the opportunity to experience the beauty of creation, of family life, of fulfilling whatever potential was appropriate to you mental, emotional and spiritual capacity. I thank God for the joy you yourself experience and the grace that you will experience and the satisfaction at the end of it all that you have shared in the human condition, whatever it brought you.

And I thank God that it was common humanity, love and the Divine himself that gave your life meaning instead of cold fucking logic that would have aborted you in order to spare you what it presumes you would not want.

'Having three cute babies in succession, albums full of family photos, the memories of school plays, family holidays, a father's pride at graduations, (hopefully)three weddings and a quiver-full of grandchildren' is surely a completely selfish motivation for having children? I'm not saying it's bad or good, but it is selfish - it is all about you and your feelings. Certainly hoping that your children get married and have children is very selfish - what if they don't want to do so? I'm sure it's a very natural emotion for some people, but that doesn't make it not selfish. To be honest, I'm not sure there's a non-selfish (used in a morally-neutral sense) reason for having children beyond gene therapy for another child.

I don't think selfishness is bad at all, necessarily. I don't want children, for extremely selfish reasons that are about me and my feelings - and that's the right thing for me to do, I think.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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MSHB
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quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
A much more measured person than Dawkins (a doctor I think) dealt with Dawkins' remarks on the BBC radio programme Any Questions and said that from his point of view the quality of life issue for a person with Downs was about the horrible physical things that would happen to them towards the end of life as a result of Downs. As a doctor working with older Downs people his take on the moral issue was not about the joy of the child and young person's life but about the suffering at the end of life. He thought the suffering approaching death was so bad that it outweighed the joy of the earlier part of life and therefore if his unborn child had Downs he would abort to save them that suffering.

Wouldn't that be an argument for (voluntary) euthanasia later in life rather than for terminating the pregnancy? After all, DS is not the only condition that can have severe suffering in older age.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I agree it's terrible. But it's your maths not mine. The fault is entirely due to your equation of 'genetic' with 'rational'.

I said the underlying fundamentals of morality. Our species is a cooperative one. This is significant to our success. This does not negate the presence, and indeed value, of selfishness. It is only in some religious philosophies that one sees the issue as black and white. Nature does not work that way.
Morals could be said to be a cultural application of cooperativeness. So then, a learned behaviour supported by the bulwark of nature.

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Hallellou, hallellou

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Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by MSHB:
quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
A much more measured person than Dawkins (a doctor I think) dealt with Dawkins' remarks on the BBC radio programme Any Questions and said that from his point of view the quality of life issue for a person with Downs was about the horrible physical things that would happen to them towards the end of life as a result of Downs. As a doctor working with older Downs people his take on the moral issue was not about the joy of the child and young person's life but about the suffering at the end of life. He thought the suffering approaching death was so bad that it outweighed the joy of the earlier part of life and therefore if his unborn child had Downs he would abort to save them that suffering.

Wouldn't that be an argument for (voluntary) euthanasia later in life rather than for terminating the pregnancy? After all, DS is not the only condition that can have severe suffering in older age.
Yes - I think logically you're right (and yes I know "logically" is a very loaded term on this thread). But emotionally and socially* attempting to euthanase people "before their suffering got too intense" is virtually impossible even with their informed consent so I can see why the person wasn't attempting to advocate that.

[Edited to add] *I've left out any consideration of christian morality as I'm not sure that was the reference frame the commentator was speaking in.

[ 28. August 2014, 09:22: Message edited by: Helen-Eva ]

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I thought the radio 3 announcer said "Weber" but it turned out to be Webern. Story of my life.

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Liopleurodon

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It's perfectly logical to say that there can be an objective morality which exists independently of human opinion, but that humans can only perceive that reality subjectively in the context of our own experiences, prejudices and blind spots. We're all trying to figure it out. Acknowledging that many situations are about trade-offs and priorities, rather than deciding what the absolute truth is and holding onto it for dear life, is a sign of maturity. I'm pretty sure there's some form of objective right and wrong, and I go for the closest version of it that I can figure out, but I'm a human and I've probably got it wrong somewhere. Believing that objective morality exists absolutely doesn't mean thinking that any one person has all the answers.
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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
We're agreeing that an opinion might be objectively right?

With an exceptionally heavy emphasis on the "might".

quote:
that there is an objective right for an opinion to be?
It's not impossible that such a thing does exist. Of course, even if it does I'm massively unconvinced that we can ever know exactly what it is in this life.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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quetzalcoatl
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So 'objective' means not determined by subjective opinion; in that case, how on earth can it ever be accessed?

I suppose the theistic reply is that God vouchsafes us with this information.

Well, yes, it's possible, but so is my alien intelligence in Alpha Centauri. I mean, both are unfalsifiable, aren't they?

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Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
So 'objective' means not determined by subjective opinion; in that case, how on earth can it ever be accessed?


"Objective" works well in the sciences but in the arts and humanities not so much as you can't provide evidential proof in the same way. Perhaps "objective" would work if you set out in advance what your assumptions are e.g. "I assume that X sacred book contains the absolute last word on all subjects, using the interpretation of organisation Y". You could then use objective tests (does the proposition agree with the sacred text, therefore is it objectively true) within the parameters you'd set out. Does this make any sense or am I gibbering?

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I thought the radio 3 announcer said "Weber" but it turned out to be Webern. Story of my life.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
So 'objective' means not determined by subjective opinion; in that case, how on earth can it ever be accessed?


"Objective" works well in the sciences but in the arts and humanities not so much as you can't provide evidential proof in the same way. Perhaps "objective" would work if you set out in advance what your assumptions are e.g. "I assume that X sacred book contains the absolute last word on all subjects, using the interpretation of organisation Y". You could then use objective tests (does the proposition agree with the sacred text, therefore is it objectively true) within the parameters you'd set out. Does this make any sense or am I gibbering?
I prefer the term 'intersubjective' to describe scientific method, as it is always provisional, and always subject to the repeatable testing of other researchers. Science progresses through getting it wrong.

Yes, of course, you can define 'objective' in that way - but how would you realize that it had been false?

An example: for a 1000 years, Christians burned people, and presumably they felt they were being virtuous.

I suppose later they decided that it hadn't been virtuous - so which is the objective case?

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Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
So 'objective' means not determined by subjective opinion; in that case, how on earth can it ever be accessed?


"Objective" works well in the sciences but in the arts and humanities not so much as you can't provide evidential proof in the same way. Perhaps "objective" would work if you set out in advance what your assumptions are e.g. "I assume that X sacred book contains the absolute last word on all subjects, using the interpretation of organisation Y". You could then use objective tests (does the proposition agree with the sacred text, therefore is it objectively true) within the parameters you'd set out. Does this make any sense or am I gibbering?
I prefer the term 'intersubjective' to describe scientific method, as it is always provisional, and always subject to the repeatable testing of other researchers. Science progresses through getting it wrong.

Yes, of course, you can define 'objective' in that way - but how would you realize that it had been false?

An example: for a 1000 years, Christians burned people, and presumably they felt they were being virtuous.

I suppose later they decided that it hadn't been virtuous - so which is the objective case?

Working with and in the brain of a falible human being probably there never is a truly objective case.

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I thought the radio 3 announcer said "Weber" but it turned out to be Webern. Story of my life.

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quetzalcoatl
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Helen-Eva

Well, yes. But there is also having your cake and eating it, isn't there? I mean you get people who on the one hand, say, yes, there is objective morality, and possibly, there is some access to it; but on the other hand, (when faced with something like the burning of people), oops, we got it wrong that time.

The trouble with this, is that it can't fail. Or, if it fails, that is also part of the plan!

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Helen-Eva

Well, yes. But there is also having your cake and eating it, isn't there? I mean you get people who on the one hand, say, yes, there is objective morality, and possibly, there is some access to it; but on the other hand, (when faced with something like the burning of people), oops, we got it wrong that time.

The trouble with this, is that it can't fail. Or, if it fails, that is also part of the plan!

Given my personal paradigm and reference frame, I think the people you describe are idiots. (Subjectively)

[ 28. August 2014, 11:46: Message edited by: Helen-Eva ]

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I thought the radio 3 announcer said "Weber" but it turned out to be Webern. Story of my life.

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quetzalcoatl
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Well, you have to admire the failsafe nature of Christianity, since if things go wrong, you can always blame the fall.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I prefer the term 'intersubjective' to describe scientific method, as it is always provisional, and always subject to the repeatable testing of other researchers. Science progresses through getting it wrong.

Yes, of course, you can define 'objective' in that way - but how would you realize that it had been false?

Not only can you define 'objective' in that way, you should. Something is objective if being true can be different from appearing true. When being true and appearing true are different we call it being wrong. Therefore, if it's possible to be wrong you're talking about something objective and if it's not possible to be wrong then you're talking about something that's not objective.

If physics were intersubjective and not objective then it would be impossible for physics to have been wrong when it was believed that Newton had discovered the basic laws of motion.

Logic? (You should love your neighbour as you love yourself; if you love your neighbour you shouldn't burn them alive; therefore you shouldn't burn your neighbour alive?)

Developing methods of improved moral access? (e.g. conversation with disadvantaged groups, listening to their points of view, etc.)

[codefix. —a]

[ 28. August 2014, 13:31: Message edited by: Ariston ]

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
We're agreeing that an opinion might be objectively right?

With an exceptionally heavy emphasis on the "might".
Why should I bother to accord your opinions any respect or validity if they might be right only with exceptionally heavy emphasis on the 'might', and we'll probably never know in this life anyway?

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quetzalcoatl
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Dafyd

I agree that you should not burn your neighbour; but presumably, for a long time, some Christians thought that you should, and that in fact, it was virtuous, and the best thing for the burned.

Is this just bad gunnery? I mean, they just aimed at the wrong target, or at the right target, but with bad elevation? But from their point of view, it was the right target.

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
'Having three cute babies in succession, albums full of family photos, the memories of school plays, family holidays, a father's pride at graduations, (hopefully)three weddings and a quiver-full of grandchildren' is surely a completely selfish motivation for having children? I'm not saying it's bad or good, but it is selfish - it is all about you and your feelings. Certainly hoping that your children get married and have children is very selfish - what if they don't want to do so? I'm sure it's a very natural emotion for some people, but that doesn't make it not selfish. To be honest, I'm not sure there's a non-selfish (used in a morally-neutral sense) reason for having children beyond gene therapy for another child.

I don't think selfishness is bad at all, necessarily. I don't want children, for extremely selfish reasons that are about me and my feelings - and that's the right thing for me to do, I think.

I was actually reflecting this view:


quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
A much more measured person than Dawkins (a doctor I think) dealt with Dawkins' remarks on the BBC radio programme Any Questions and said that from his point of view the quality of life issue for a person with Downs was about the horrible physical things that would happen to them towards the end of life as a result of Downs. As a doctor working with older Downs people his take on the moral issue was not about the joy of the child and young person's life but about the suffering at the end of life. He thought the suffering approaching death was so bad that it outweighed the joy of the earlier part of life and therefore if his unborn child had Downs he would abort to save them that suffering.

The writer was saying that just because Down's syndrome people are happy, etc, in early life doesn't outweigh the dreadful end of life scenario and therefore it's almost better that they weren't born in the first place.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

The trouble with this, is that it can't fail. Or, if it fails, that is also part of the plan!

If one subscribes to the notion of "plan".

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Why should I bother to accord your opinions any respect or validity if they might be right only with exceptionally heavy emphasis on the 'might', and we'll probably never know in this life anyway?

Firstly, because that's true of everyone.

Secondly, because oftentimes even if we don't (can't) know who is "right", we still have to reach a decision that we will both then abide by. Preferably by a method that will leave us both at least reasonably satisfied.

Thirdly, common decency?

Fourthly, because respect is a two-way street, and if you want me to show it for your opinions then it's a good idea to show it for mine. Again, I note that respect doesn't mean agreement.

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alienfromzog

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I know (and intend) that this is not analogous to abortion - that's the point, it exaggerates, rather than copies, all the elements of the "should I abort?" dilemma. However if you believed (as I suspect Dawkins believes) that a very early stage foetus is no more possessed of human rights than is an individual sperm, then the conclusion that "in this case I ought to abort" is a decision that could be reached without obvious wickedness. And that's what I take him to be saying, albeit insensitively.

That's fine, up to a point. I agree that for those who argue that a foetus does not possess human rights then this can indeed be a logically consistent position.

My problem with Dawkins outburst in this situation is two-fold. Firstly it's the implication of 'evil' on the part of the mother for not aborting - he's imposing his morality on someone else, which of course is what he's always railing against 'religion' for so doing.

The second, bigger problem for me is the assumption that Down's Syndrome is a condition we should erradicate. I work in paediatric surgery; quite a few of our patients have Down's (as there are associated problems that require surgical intervention) and so I have a fair bit of experience of children and adolescents with Down's syndrome. I think it very dangerous and incideous that we are by implication counting them as not deserving of life...

I would invite everyone to listen to this talk from Greenbelt 2008 for what I think is an authentically Christian postion:"The Body of Christ has Down's Syndrome" John Swinton

AFZ

P.S. I know you weren't actually agreeing with Dawkins just pointing out his logical consistency.

[ 28. August 2014, 18:17: Message edited by: alienfromzog ]

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Why should I bother to accord your opinions any respect or validity if they might be right only with exceptionally heavy emphasis on the 'might', and we'll probably never know in this life anyway?

Firstly, because that's true of everyone.
It's not true of everyone. There's one exception. My subjective opinions are subjectively true for me.

quote:
Secondly, because oftentimes even if we don't (can't) know who is "right", we still have to reach a decision that we will both then abide by. Preferably by a method that will leave us both at least reasonably satisfied.
Recognising that Cameron and Osborne have won the election doesn't mean I respect their opinions.

quote:
Thirdly, common decency?
Subjectively speaking, common decency means holding moral opinions that basicallyagree with me.

Objectively speaking, common decency might be a good thing, if we put exceptionally heavy emphasis on the word 'might'. We'll probably never know in this life.

quote:
Fourthly, because respect is a two-way street, and if you want me to show it for your opinions then it's a good idea to show it for mine. Again, I note that respect doesn't mean agreement.
If there's a conflict between implementing my political beliefs and having my political beliefs respected, it would be a bit egotistic of me to go for the latter.
As things stand, you respecting my political beliefs is just code for the status quo. Gay rights activists didn't get where they are today by respecting homophobia. They didn't get where they are today by reasoning or evidence. They got where they are today by heaping contempt on homophobes until more and more homophobes are ashamed to emit their opinions in public.

If political debate isn't reasoning about objective facts, if it's only pretending to be reasonable, then that's what it is: an attempt to shame the undecided into rejecting the other side. 'Respect' is just code for appearing more reasonable than thou. One doesn't want one's political opponents to respect one's opinions. I might win you over that way, but it's not likely. No. I don't want you to respect my opinions. I want you to be ashamed of your own.

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
The second, bigger problem for me is the assumption that Down's Syndrome is a condition we should erradicate. I work in paediatric surgery; quite a few of our patients have Down's (as there are associated problems that require surgical intervention) and so I have a fair bit of experience of children and adolescents with Down's syndrome. I think it very dangerous and incideous that we are by implication counting them as not deserving of life...

I don't think Dawkins' position even remotely implies that people with Downs are not deserving of life. It only implies that foetuses aren't 'people'.

While I appreciate that it is tricky to express the view "foetuses with condition X should be aborted" to people with that condition without making it sound as if one is saying "you should have been aborted"*, those are in fact quite different statements. There isn't (in Dawkins world-view) a "you" which exists when the decision to abort is made. There's no person there whose rights have to be considered. Only in retrospect does anyone exist who can look back and say of a foetus "that was me". I don't imagine for a minute that Dawkins believes that once a person with Downs or any other condition actually exists they are any less valuable or have any fewer rights than anyone else.


My 'sperm filter' thought experiment I think illustrates the point. If I had a deadly genetic disease that could be screened for at the level of sperm, I'd use it without a qualm. I'd consider it irresponsible not to. I'd not be as relaxed about a foetus with the same condition being aborted, because I think a foetus (though not yet a person) is sacred in a way that a sperm is not. And, of course, I'd consider killing a baby with a genetic condition as simple murder.

At some point in the sperm-to-baby process, a microscopic thing that I care about not at all transforms into a person whom I would love. My attitude to a defective sperm implies nothing at all about my attitude to an afflicted person.

With a very minor stretch of the imagination, I can see that someone who thinks a foetus as not-a-person might advocate disposing of a defective foetus without that implying anything their attitude to the person which that foetus might one day become, but isn't yet.


(*I've already conceded that the comment was insensitive - this is why).

[ 28. August 2014, 20:19: Message edited by: Eliab ]

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

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alienfromzog

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
The second, bigger problem for me is the assumption that Down's Syndrome is a condition we should erradicate. I work in paediatric surgery; quite a few of our patients have Down's (as there are associated problems that require surgical intervention) and so I have a fair bit of experience of children and adolescents with Down's syndrome. I think it very dangerous and incideous that we are by implication counting them as not deserving of life...

I don't think Dawkins' position even remotely implies that people with Downs are not deserving of life.
No, I think it really does.

AFZ

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quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
No, I think it really does.

Why?

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alienfromzog

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The problem with antenatal screening to eliminate a condition is that it sets up a paradigm that such a condition is undesirable.

Something I've found helpful is the so-called social model of disability vs the medical model. These frame the issues in a way that I think is very helpful to understand our unconscious assumptions towards disability.

The first thing I will insist upon is that disability is NOT the same thing as disease. Clearly there is a cross over but they are not the same.

The so-called medical model focuses on disability as a disease and what can be fixed about the person with a disability. Working in the field I do, I cannot escape this model and nor would I want to entirely. However I think it is a very dangerous way to approach disability as it casts the individual as a problem to be solved. Whereas I think society / technology / physical limitations are the problems in need of a solution.

Let me put it like this. Imagine is most people in the world had 4 arms. Everything we use in the world would have an ergonomic model designed for people with 4 arms and having 2 arms would be a major limitation for say driving a car... The technology would not have been built around people with 2 arms only. We see this kind of thing all the time. How doorways are built for people to walk through. If your legs don't happen to work well, then you need a doorway that will take a wheelchair.

I firmly believe that human beings have inherent worth so when the wheelchair won't fit through the doorway I will insist that the problem is not the person requiring the wheelchair but the doorway.

This is very much in line with the social model of disability that focuses on the whole person.

It gets a bit more complicated when you think about other areas of disability. A significant proportion of the deaf community use Sign as their main form of communication, and there are classic ethics cases of deaf parents not wanting their children to have cochlea implants as it might take them away from this community. Again it's a focus on the person rather than the disability and further the idea that disability is not necessarily a lesser state of being than being 'able bodied' (Whatever that means).

If you look at something like the Down's Syndrome Association they well talk about how people have Down's they don't suffer from it. This is an important concept as they are suggesting that Down's is another part of the rich tapestry of being human.

When we screen for Down's syndrome antenatally we are saying that we don't think people should be born with Down's if we can avoid it. I cannot see how that cannot say to a person with Down's that we value them less. I think that is implicitly the case. And I also think this comes out explicitly, we do discriminate terribly against people with disability of all kinds.

Arguing that a foetus with Down's should be aborted clearly devalues anyone with Down's. YMMV

AFZ

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Is this just bad gunnery? I mean, they just aimed at the wrong target, or at the right target, but with bad elevation? But from their point of view, it was the right target.

The metaphors you are using in your question do not make sense.
Compare. I believe morality is objective. Is that just bad gunnery? Am I aiming at the wrong target or at the right target but with bad elevation? From my point of view it's the right target.
If that question has an answer then so does yours. If it doesn't, yours doesn't either.

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Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Is this just bad gunnery? I mean, they just aimed at the wrong target, or at the right target, but with bad elevation? But from their point of view, it was the right target.

The metaphors you are using in your question do not make sense.
Compare. I believe morality is objective. Is that just bad gunnery? Am I aiming at the wrong target or at the right target but with bad elevation? From my point of view it's the right target.
If that question has an answer then so does yours. If it doesn't, yours doesn't either.

My interpretation of what quetzalcoatl was talking about was when a person or group has previously held one opinion to be "objectively" right - such as burning heretics - but now holds that opinion to be wrong. How do they rationalise the previous position that at the time in question was to them so evidently right but now is so evidently wrong? I think the bad gunnery argument would be something like:

We aimed to do God's will
We thought burning heretics was God's will
Turns out we were wrong
Therefore we missed.

I don't think your explanation about your own belief in objectivity fits the bad gunnery thing as it's a belief you still hold and so you're not attempting to rationalise a change in position.

[ 29. August 2014, 09:27: Message edited by: Helen-Eva ]

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
It's not true of everyone. There's one exception. My subjective opinions are subjectively true for me.

Er, yes. Which is the case for everyone. Which is what I said.

quote:
Recognising that Cameron and Osborne have won the election doesn't mean I respect their opinions.
You obey their laws though. Which, by extension, means you respect the process by which their opinions have been selected as the ones we will all live by during this five-year period.

And that's all I'm talking about. I've never been talking about "respect" as in "approval". As I've tried to make clear many times.

quote:
Subjectively speaking, common decency means holding moral opinions that basically agree with me.
Well, no. The "common" part expands it to "moral opinions that basically agree with the majority of people".

quote:
If there's a conflict between implementing my political beliefs and having my political beliefs respected, it would be a bit egotistic of me to go for the latter.
How on earth do you intend to implement your beliefs if nobody else respects their validity in the first place?

quote:
As things stand, you respecting my political beliefs is just code for the status quo.
False, because once again respecting the validity of someone's beliefs in no way precludes trying to change their mind.

quote:
If political debate isn't reasoning about objective facts, if it's only pretending to be reasonable,
What's unreasonable about reasoning about subjective facts?

quote:
One doesn't want one's political opponents to respect one's opinions.
Well I certainly do. I have had many, sometimes fierce, disagreements over politics with many posters on this board, but never once have I denied their basic right to hold the opinions they do. Even right now, while I am disagreeing with your opinion I respect its validity.

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
The problem with antenatal screening to eliminate a condition is that it sets up a paradigm that such a condition is undesirable.

But conditions which cause suffering or limit amenity ARE undesirable. Obviously so.

You seem to be inferring a progression from “this condition is undesirable” through “people with this condition are less entitled to rights and dignity than others” and ending up at “these people do not deserve to live”. I just don’t see that this follows.

Can we agree that having a severe peanut allergy is undesirable? And if we can agree that, does it remotely follow that people who have such an allergy have thereby forfeited the slightest amount of our respect? Surely not.
The same logic applies to every other condition that has (net) adverse consequences, whether that’s mild inconvenience or excruciating death. It’s better not to be afflicted with them, but they in no way diminish human worth.

quote:
Something I've found helpful is the so-called social model of disability vs the medical model. These frame the issues in a way that I think is very helpful to understand our unconscious assumptions towards disability…
Everything you say here relates to how we treat actual people with disability. That, it seems to me, is a completely different question to how we treat things which (on the world view we are assuming applies) aren’t yet people.

We agree (and does anyone seriously doubt that Richard Dawkins would agree?) that disabled people have exactly the same inherent worth and dignity as any other people, are exactly as deserving of life, and have every right to be included in society, which in turn imposes a duty on that society to include them. That’s not in issue. Dawkins is talking about things, not people, on his world-view, and things which have little or no inherent worth or dignity, and certainly no rights to be considered. That those things can later become people, and be invested with human value as a result, does not mean (for him) that this value is projected back in time to when they were tiny balls of unconscious tissue, nor does it mean that his relative disregard for those tiny balls of tissue can be projected forward to when we are dealing with a human infant (or adult).

An illustration: if I were given a choice, just before conceiving a child, whether the child would have a severe peanut allergy or not, but otherwise told nothing of the child’s characteristics, personality, or abilities, all of which would be determined independently of my choice, I think it would be an obvious, and obviously right, decision to make not to inflict a dangerous condition on my future child.

Of course, once I have a baby, the discovery that he has a serious allergy does not suddenly want to make me trade him or her in for a better model. I wouldn’t swap a existing child who had such a condition (or any condition) for one without, because it would be my child, and I would love him or her for that reason.

(Of course I accept, and this is a weakness of Dawkins’ argument, that it is possible, even common, for a parent to love an unborn child in a similar way as they would a baby. Plenty of people experience miscarriages as bereavements, for example. But given a world view which holds that a foetus has at most a subject value because it is loved or wanted, not a personal one that comes from being human, Dawkins’ reasoning is sound).

quote:
Arguing that a foetus with Down's should be aborted clearly devalues anyone with Down's. YMMV
I don’t think it does. The reason being that potential people, who might exist in the future, have no individual rights. People who actually exist do have individual rights, and love and are loved as individuals. Attitudes to foetuses aren’t attitudes to people, if you don’t think foetuses are people, and nor do they necessarily imply an attitude to people.

If you can imagine any stage in the gamete-to-adult process where you would be happy to screen for some condition, and do not think that this would diminish your compassion or respect for people who have that condition, then you get the principle. There’s plenty of room for disagreement about who serious the condition must be, or how later an intervention can take place, of course, but the principle that screening for conditions need not imply devaluation of persons would be established.

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Richard Dawkins

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St Deird
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quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
When we screen for Down's syndrome antenatally we are saying that we don't think people should be born with Down's if we can avoid it.

You could maybe change that to "screen for Down's syndrome antenatally with the intention of aborting a foetus with Down's syndrome". I see no ethical problem with screening for Down's while already knowing that you'll keep the baby either way.

If I were going to have a deaf child, for instance, I'd want to know beforehand. Not so I could terminate a pregnancy, but so I could be prepared well in advance for taking care of their needs. If it were possible to screen for any and all medical conditions pre-birth, it'd be very useful. The only ethical issue is what one does with that information.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
It's not true of everyone. There's one exception. My subjective opinions are subjectively true for me.

Er, yes. Which is the case for everyone. Which is what I said.
That might matter objectively speaking, if we put extreme emphasis on the word might. We'll probably never know in this life.

Subjectively, my opinions matter to me. The fact that other people's subjective opinions matter to them is merely an item of data I can use to predict their behaviour. That's what subjective means.

quote:
quote:
Recognising that Cameron and Osborne have won the election doesn't mean I respect their opinions.
You obey their laws though. Which, by extension, means you respect the process by which their opinions have been selected as the ones we will all live by during this five-year period.

And that's all I'm talking about. I've never been talking about "respect" as in "approval". As I've tried to make clear many times.

We do not all live by Cameron and Osborne's opinions, I can assure you. We haven't selected their opinions as the ones we'll live by. That's what makes this a liberal democracy.

I'm using respect to mean engage with.

quote:
quote:
Subjectively speaking, common decency means holding moral opinions that basically agree with me.
Well, no. The "common" part expands it to "moral opinions that basically agree with the majority of people".
The majority of which people? If I'm living in the American South does common decency include homophobia?
Nah - it's the majority of people whose opinions are worthy of respect, as determined subjectively by me.

quote:
quote:
If there's a conflict between implementing my political beliefs and having my political beliefs respected, it would be a bit egotistic of me to go for the latter.
How on earth do you intend to implement your beliefs if nobody else respects their validity in the first place?
If that were the case I'd be shit out of luck.

Humans can't fly unaided.
If that's the case, how do you expect to get off an island if you don't have a boat?

quote:
quote:
As things stand, you respecting my political beliefs is just code for the status quo.
False, because once again respecting the validity of someone's beliefs in no way precludes trying to change their mind.
Refusing to use climbing aids in no way precludes climbing mountains. But climbing mountains is a lot easier if you use climbing aids.

quote:
quote:
If political debate isn't reasoning about objective facts, if it's only pretending to be reasonable,
What's unreasonable about reasoning about subjective facts?
How many children did Lady Macbeth have? If two plus two equals five, what does four minus two equal? Is Robb Stark's wife dead or alive, and what is or was her name? Is Sherlock Holmes dead or alive at the end of the short story the Reichenbach Falls?
Subjective facts are not required to adhere to the laws of non-contradiction, nor the law of the excluded middle. You cannot reason without those two laws.

quote:
One doesn't want one's political opponents to respect one's opinions.
Well I certainly do. I have had many, sometimes fierce, disagreements over politics with many posters on this board, but never once have I denied their basic right to hold the opinions they do. Even right now, while I am disagreeing with your opinion I respect its validity. [/QB][/QUOTE]

If someone has the right to hold an opinion, that means that nobody is allowed to coerce them out of holding it. Nothing more.
It doesn't mean that they have the right for anybody to acknowledge their opinions, or to take them seriously, or not to have their opinions ridiculed or parodied, or not to be insulted.

On these boards, people have the right to express arguments for creationism or for Darwinism on the Dead Horses board, but they do not have the right to express those arguments on any other board. One's respect for a poster's opinions on the matter is quite unaffected by which board they're currently on. It's an entirely different matter from what their rights are. Even on Dead Horses nobody, creationist or Darwinist, has the right to compel anyone to take their opinion seriously.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Is this just bad gunnery? I mean, they just aimed at the wrong target, or at the right target, but with bad elevation? But from their point of view, it was the right target.

The metaphors you are using in your question do not make sense.
Compare. I believe morality is objective. Is that just bad gunnery? Am I aiming at the wrong target or at the right target but with bad elevation? From my point of view it's the right target.
If that question has an answer then so does yours. If it doesn't, yours doesn't either.

Dawkins is using the wrong weapons in the wrong battle. Even if he has selected the right target and his aim is true, the outcome will not be that which he desires.

It's a bit like nuking the Middle East to eliminate ISIL.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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alienfromzog

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# 5327

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quote:
Originally posted by St Deird:
quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
When we screen for Down's syndrome antenatally we are saying that we don't think people should be born with Down's if we can avoid it.

You could maybe change that to "screen for Down's syndrome antenatally with the intention of aborting a foetus with Down's syndrome". I see no ethical problem with screening for Down's while already knowing that you'll keep the baby either way.

If I were going to have a deaf child, for instance, I'd want to know beforehand. Not so I could terminate a pregnancy, but so I could be prepared well in advance for taking care of their needs. If it were possible to screen for any and all medical conditions pre-birth, it'd be very useful. The only ethical issue is what one does with that information.

That's a good point, and I'm guilty of being slightly lazy with my explanation.

Let me just outline where antenatal testing is at in the UK. Ultrasound scans are offered (generally at 12 weeks and 20 weeks, routinely, although it varies across the country). This is a helpful summary. The point of these USS is to establish foetal anomalies. Down's screening specifically involves measurements on USS, blood tests and maternal age that collectively enable a risk to be calculated. Based on this calculation a amniocentesis or chorionic vilus sampling is offered to 'high-risk pregnancies'. These carry with them a 1-2% risk of causing a miscarriage. For this reason, standard policy is not to offer invasive testing unless the decision has already been made to terminate if the test is positive.

So Down's screening is only used in the context of offering a termination as the treatment option. (When I last looked it up ~85% of parents with a positive amnio/CVS opted for termination, so even in the context of only offering it to those who would wish to terminate, ~ 1 in 6 change their minds)

There are a lot of other abnormalities that may be seen on ultrasound and in some of these cases the identification is important as it affects both perinatal care and post-natal management. For example, gastroschisis is one such condition whereby pre-natal identification allows delivery in a surgical centre and for the baby to be seen immediately after birth by a surgeon like what I am and for the parents to be fore-warned as to what gastroschisis is and what to expect.

So, I was short-cutting it slightly because Down's screening is essentially only used in the context of a decision to terminate or not.

AFZ

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Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

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alienfromzog

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
The problem with antenatal screening to eliminate a condition is that it sets up a paradigm that such a condition is undesirable.

But conditions which cause suffering or limit amenity ARE undesirable. Obviously so.

You seem to be inferring a progression from “this condition is undesirable” through “people with this condition are less entitled to rights and dignity than others” and ending up at “these people do not deserve to live”. I just don’t see that this follows.

Can we agree that having a severe peanut allergy is undesirable? And if we can agree that, does it remotely follow that people who have such an allergy have thereby forfeited the slightest amount of our respect? Surely not.
The same logic applies to every other condition that has (net) adverse consequences, whether that’s mild inconvenience or excruciating death. It’s better not to be afflicted with them, but they in no way diminish human worth.

Sort of, but no. You see for me there is a qualitative and vital difference between saying peanut allergy is undesirable to saying someone with peanut allergy should never have been born.

And for me the key is that people with various disabilities would understand the statement like this. Imagine for a second that we have a policy of screening for short-sightedness (my personal affliction) and offered termination to mothers whose babies would be born with my affliction. Do you think it unreasonable that I might feel less valued as a consequence?

Furthermore, part of what I was reaching at here is that many people feel that you can't separate Down's from the person as easily as you might an allergy.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
We agree (and does anyone seriously doubt that Richard Dawkins would agree?) that disabled people have exactly the same inherent worth and dignity as any other people, are exactly as deserving of life, and have every right to be included in society, which in turn imposes a duty on that society to include them. That’s not in issue. Dawkins is talking about things, not people, on his world-view, and things which have little or no inherent worth or dignity, and certainly no rights to be considered. That those things can later become people, and be invested with human value as a result, does not mean (for him) that this value is projected back in time to when they were tiny balls of unconscious tissue, nor does it mean that his relative disregard for those tiny balls of tissue can be projected forward to when we are dealing with a human infant (or adult).

Well Dawkins takes the same view as Fred Singer on infanticide (link) and hence human rights are imparted only above a threshold of cognitive function. So no I don't think we can come to that agreement.

AFZ

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Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
We aimed to do God's will
We thought burning heretics was God's will
Turns out we were wrong
Therefore we missed.

I don't think your explanation about your own belief in objectivity fits the bad gunnery thing as it's a belief you still hold and so you're not attempting to rationalise a change in position.

Quetzalcoatl disagrees with me, so he has to rationalise a difference in position.

I just don't think that holding intellectual or moral positions is sufficiently like firing a gun for it to make sense to use the one as an analogy for errors in the other.

Moral or intellectual error can be corrected in a number of ways: you can come to realise that you weren't taking the other person's position into account; you can realise that your motives for holding a particular position are not as creditable as you thought they were (inquisitors might have thought burning heretics was good because it saved them from Hell, but it so happened that it served to bolster the power of the church); that your reasons for holding a position don't hold up to scrutiny (burning heretics won't genuinely change their minds), etc.
I gave some of those examples in my earlier post. Apparently they weren't sufficient to answer what question Quetzalcoatl had. In which case, I don't know what genuine question Quetzalcoatl has if that doesn't answer the question.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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quetzalcoatl
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Dafyd

I am OK with your reasons for a change of position from burning people, to not. And maybe talking about gunnery is a distraction!

I can see how people change their minds, but this is not about objectivity, is it?

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Eliab
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# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
Sort of, but no. You see for me there is a qualitative and vital difference between saying peanut allergy is undesirable to saying someone with peanut allergy should never have been born.

I agree with you.

We disagree in that I do not think that Dawkins is saying “someone with X should never have been born”. He's saying “a person who's going to be born should not have X if we can avoid it”.

Only in retrospect is the potential abortee “someone” (on this argument, that is). When a potential mother is making a decision to terminate this pregnancy and have another go, she isn't rejecting her future baby. Her future baby doesn't exist yet. She's making a decision to have her future baby in circumstances in which its genetic prospects look brighter.

quote:
And for me the key is that people with various disabilities would understand the statement like this.
For sure. I've already conceded that it was insensitive.

quote:
Imagine for a second that we have a policy of screening for short-sightedness (my personal affliction) and offered termination to mothers whose babies would be born with my affliction. Do you think it unreasonable that I might feel less valued as a consequence?
A little bit, yes, though understandably so. Now that you exist, you can look back and think “that foetus was me”, and be glad that it wasn't aborted, and that 'you' survived to be born. You can in consequence feel threatened or affronted by calls to abort similar foetuses. I get the feeling. I might even share it. I just don't think its logical, nor do I think it fair to assume that the feeling of reduced value is shared by the person advocating the idea.

quote:
Furthermore, part of what I was reaching at here is that many people feel that you can't separate Down's from the person as easily as you might an allergy.
Certainly.

It occurs to me, though, that one thing that is often said is that the chance of Down's is higher with older mothers. That can be said explicitly as advice to women not to leave it too late to start a family. Does anyone think that taking that sort of precaution is wrong? Or that it devalues anyone?

It has exactly the same end as Dawkins' advice, though: have your children, if you can, when the chances of this condition are lower. If abortion is morally as unproblematic for you as not-waiting-until-45-to-try-for-a-baby, then abortion is no more devaluing of people with Down's as an avoidance strategy that just about everyone approves.

quote:
Well Dawkins takes the same view as Fred Singer on infanticide (link) and hence human rights are imparted only above a threshold of cognitive function.
I'm unconvinced. I'm sure Dawkins does take Singer seriously, but the clip has him conducting an interview, not giving a lecture, and actually cuts him off mid-sentence when he's clearly just about to qualify a statement in apparent agreement with Singer's controversial views on infanticide. I'm certainly not prepared to accept that as evidence of Dawkins endorsing the killing of babies.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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alienfromzog

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# 5327

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I'm unconvinced. I'm sure Dawkins does take Singer seriously, but the clip has him conducting an interview, not giving a lecture, and actually cuts him off mid-sentence when he's clearly just about to qualify a statement in apparent agreement with Singer's controversial views on infanticide. I'm certainly not prepared to accept that as evidence of Dawkins endorsing the killing of babies.

Fair enough. That was the result of a 3 minute Google search. I've heard/read Dawkins espousing that point of view elsewhere but that was the first link I could find. It is in line with what I know to be his position.

AFZ

--------------------
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
I have had many, sometimes fierce, disagreements over politics with many posters on this board, but never once have I denied their basic right to hold the opinions they do. Even right now, while I am disagreeing with your opinion I respect its validity.
If someone has the right to hold an opinion, that means that nobody is allowed to coerce them out of holding it. Nothing more.
It doesn't mean that they have the right for anybody to acknowledge their opinions, or to take them seriously, or not to have their opinions ridiculed or parodied, or not to be insulted.

I agree with all of this except "acknowledged." If you don't acknowledge that someone has such-and-such opinion, you are infantalizing them, which is a way of denying their right to hold the opinion.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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