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Source: (consider it) Thread: Cleft lip and palate a good reason? (Abortion)
sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
..
I don't think there is ever a reason to execute someone. ...

Then take it to the capital punishment thread. Comparing abortion and capital punishment suggests you haven't really thought the matter through.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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the_raptor
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Okay, but maybe it would be more helpful to engage with the folks who ARE present, and are offering you their opinions on the matter. I mean, what will you say to me (for example) when I'm willing to put my money (and house, and family, etc.) where my mouth is?

That might be a bit more fruitful an avenue to explore.

Yes, I am sorry (not being sarcastic either).

I am having a bad week and venting a little. I like to vent and rant. You are one of the few people I have met Lamb Chopped, who I think has their heart in the right place and are actually prepared to do something and not just force your beliefs on others.

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Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
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quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
...You are one of the few people I have met Lamb Chopped, who I think has their heart in the right place and are actually prepared to do something and not just force your beliefs on others.

You need to get out and meet more people. It is time to stop assuming everyone who believes one thing must also believe something else and act a certain way.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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the_raptor
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# 10533

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
..
I don't think there is ever a reason to execute someone. ...

Then take it to the capital punishment thread. Comparing abortion and capital punishment suggests you haven't really thought the matter through.
No,I have. You don't see mobs of Christians campaigning about the execution of prisoners (some percentage of which are innocent, and a larger percentage had terrible legal representation). If the principle that no innocent should die (which is constantly bought up in the abortion debate) for any reason, then the current legal system in the US is totally unsatisfactory.

If you think it is okay for adult innocent poor men to die (because the legal system makes mistakes or they couldnt afford a decent lawyer), but not innocent human foetuses (who are the result of incest and/or rape). Then you are a fluffy bunny. Every life is important, remember?

--------------------
Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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the_raptor
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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
...You are one of the few people I have met Lamb Chopped, who I think has their heart in the right place and are actually prepared to do something and not just force your beliefs on others.

You need to get out and meet more people. It is time to stop assuming everyone who believes one thing must also believe something else and act a certain way.
Where did I say everyone? I have been consistently saying words like "majority". If the majority of people in the US put their money into helping children in the third world, instead of buying luxury goods made at slave labour prices, then this problem and those exploitative companies wouldn't exist. I am quite sure that the US has enough moeny to make an extremely sizable dent out of the deaths due to poverty and disease in the third world.

I wish every pro-lifer was like Lamb Chopped, the world might be a semi-decent place then. But unfortunately the statistics show something else.

(Can you really take someone like GWB seriously when we talks about abortion? I live on less then his pockey change)

[ 27. February 2006, 16:40: Message edited by: the_raptor ]

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Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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Luke

Soli Deo Gloria
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quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
[QUOTE]I was referring to people in general. The very fact that the west in general does the things I mentioned, shows that the general population have no moral standing in calling for a ban on abortion.

Raptor, the third world poverty argument is a red herring. Most Christians I think aboard the ship including myself would do what they can within their current means to readdress injustice and financially support the poor. We would also agree that the inequality between the West and the third world is wrong and needs fixing.

But aren’t we to stop injustice were ever it is? Why have you connected so strongly the inequality in the west and the abortion debate? They seem like important but unrelated topics. Upon what basis are you making arguments of one debate dependent on the other?

quote:

And I find people who would rather complain about saving the lives of unwanted children (who will most likely have a miserable life), yet do very little to save the lives of wanted children from the third world, to be distasteful. And I meant to be insulting (though not to you) to the people who rave on about there being no good reason for abortion, yet who plainly think there is a good reason why third world children are dying.

I don’t think there is any good reasons why third world children die. Nor are there any good reasons why western children die. Each child’s life is important but some of them die for different reasons.

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Emily's Voice

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the_raptor
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quote:
Originally posted by Luke:
Raptor, the third world poverty argument is a red herring. Most Christians I think aboard the ship including myself would do what they can within their current means to readdress injustice and financially support the poor.

Rubbish. Why are they wasting time on the ship if they are doing *everything* possible to stop children in the third world dying? And what is this nonsense about "current means"? I highly doubt most Christians on the ship live on less money then me ($200 AUD a week), and even I could afford to give more money to third world children. Unless you are devoting *all* your money but that needed to sustain your own life, then you are accepting that some children will die so that you can have a nicer life. That isn't nice but it is the truth.

When you devote your entire life to making sure those children don't die, then you have the moral standing to say "No innocent should die". Until then you have no moral standing and are just a hypocrite.

And I think it is an absolute travesty to spend millions of dollars saving a few western children (via pro-life advertising), when that same money could save tens of thousands of third world children (through things like malaria treatment and clean drinking water). A western childs life should be worth the same as a third world childs life, so we should be trying to save the maximum number of lives.

--------------------
Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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Luke

Soli Deo Gloria
# 306

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Utilitarianism?
You haven't commented on my charge of utilitarianism (the greatest good for the greatest number) that underpins your argument. I posted these questions for you earlier.
quote:
Which brings us back to my charge of utilitarianism. Why is the happiness of many more important then the happiness of the few? How do we measure that happiness and is happiness on this earth the most important thing?
Who should we save from death?
Why is it more valuable to save poor children from death then rich children? Shouldn’t the killing of children be stopped where ever it occurs?

The moral high ground
You have claimed the moral high ground because you said you earn less money then other ship mates and have expressed a concern for the poor in the third world. You then argue that this is more important then stopping abortion. But why? Why should you stop there? Why not say this issue dominates all other issues? The death penalty debate, saving the environment, helping the homeless and evangelism are all subordinate to assisting people in the third world?

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Emily's Voice

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Questioning Sophia
Apprentice
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Hello Raptor [Smile]

As a genetic defective who in many places would have been aborted. I feel I want to say something.

quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
When you devote your entire life to making sure those children don't die, then you have the moral standing to say "No innocent should die". Until then you have no moral standing and are just a hypocrite.

And I think it is an absolute travesty to spend millions of dollars saving a few western children (via pro-life advertising), when that same money could save tens of thousands of third world children (through things like malaria treatment and clean drinking water). A western childs life should be worth the same as a third world childs life, so we should be trying to save the maximum number of lives. [/QB]

The real travesty would be these "privilege" arguments. The problem is not so much this society being pampered, but only those who are "Good enough" to "benefit" both children with certain "deformities" (Like the stigmatising mess I was born with) and children in poverty just dont cut it with the people who have the money.

Poverty and disease are a world wide phenomenon, and innocent people all over the world, are killed.. Because they dont fit... or are considered inconvenient.

Saying it happens in one place and matters but not in another place is missing the point. Human nature is what it is.

Shalom

Sophie

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the_raptor
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quote:
Originally posted by Luke:
Utilitarianism?You haven't commented on my charge of utilitarianism (the greatest good for the greatest number) that underpins your argument. I posted these questions for you earlier.
quote:
Originally posted by Luke:Which brings us back to my charge of utilitarianism. Why is the happiness of many more important then the happiness of the few? How do we measure that happiness and is happiness on this earth the most important thing?
Who should we save from death?


Yes. However, I am saying that the "Everything possible should be done to save an innocent life" brigade fail that, even if you only consider saving the greatest number of lives possible.

quote:
Originally posted by Luke:
Why is it more valuable to save poor children from death then rich children? Shouldn’t the killing of children be stopped where ever it occurs?

I didn't say that. I said you could save far more lives by spending it directly on life saving measures, rather then advertising and lobbying politicians to prevent abortion. They would save more lives if they just paid women not to have abortions (which I would accept as long as the payee would guarantee a loving home for the child).

quote:
Originally posted by Luke:
The moral high ground
You have claimed the moral high ground because you said you earn less money then other ship mates and have expressed a concern for the poor in the third world.

I have done no such thing. I have said I have lesser means then most ship mates. So anyone who says they are giving all they can "whith in their means" damn well better be living on a proportionate amount of money (to account for spouse, children, cost of living), or they are lying. Oh and I don't give to help children in the third world, I could also be earning a lot more money if I got a job. I think I am one of the lowliest creatures on this earth for not doing so.

quote:
Originally posted by Luke:
You then argue that this is more important then stopping abortion. But why? Why should you stop there? Why not say this issue dominates all other issues? The death penalty debate, saving the environment, helping the homeless and evangelism are all subordinate to assisting people in the third world?

No, it is true that you would endeavour to save the greatest number of lives possible (which it is easier to do by focusing on the third world first, as you can save a life with dollars) if you believe "No innocent life should be lost no matter the cost".

I hold my comfort as being more worthy then the lives or comfort of those people* (not to the point of active malice, but to the point of not doing much personally to relieve it). Which is why I can't claim a place in heaven from my own works.

* Mainly because the fairly minimal comfort I enjoy is one of the few things that keeps me wanting to live.

--------------------
Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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Luke

Soli Deo Gloria
# 306

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I think we may have found a point of agreement Raptor. I agree that money spent lobbying could be spent in better ways like improving adoption or better counselling services. However I don’t think as Christians we should be interested in a zero sum numbers game. Every human is important, but God has placed us in a particular context in a particular part of the world so we should save lives, help people and serve God in that context. Part of living in the first world is the responsibility to help those living in the third world, but part of living in a culture that encourages abortion means working to stop the killing of children.

I would like to return to the case of the 14year old that was posted earlier. My cousin-in-law who is passionatly against abortion wanted me to post a few comments on her behalf about this particular senario. I whole heartadly agree with what she is outlining here.

quote:

Re: the 14-year-old pregnant girl scenario.

There is an assumption that an abortion will make the 'problem' simply go away and make everything rosy again. The unplanned pregnancy will indeed go away if aborted but the 14 year-old will never be the same no matter which avenue she pursues. She has been pregnant and therefore has been a mother. You cannot undo that fact.

Many women grieve the loss of their aborted child- some to the point of experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I suggest reading the collation of such women's stories in Melinda Tankhard-Riest's book called Giving Sorrow Words. Many women decided on abortion because they felt pressured to do what other people wanted them to do, eg. for a boyfriend who would break up with her if she kept it. What kind of choice is that?

So, regarding 'choice', how much less is a 14-year-old child able to make a free and independent decision in such a life-altering situation? What if the girl wants to keep her child but her mother wants the whole problem to ‘go away’ because she is ashamed? Who decides?

Please understand this: Many women have abortions to please other people. Abortion is rarely the act of a liberated woman. Germaine Greer calls it the something like “the last act in a long line of non-choices”. How much more would this be the case for the 14-year old?

Yet something needs to be done. If she keeps the child she may regret it. If she adopts the child out she may regret it. If she aborts she may regret it. Given that any choice may result in grief and regret, perhaps we should consider the finality of each situation.

First, if she keeps the child she may regret it.
Yet, she has other options available, such as adoption (which has negative connotations but in Australia is a very open process that has safeguards. For example, maintaining the biological parents’ rights for a reasonable time after consent.)

Second, if she chooses to adopt the child out she may regret it.
Yet, she has other options available, such as keeping the baby. As already pointed out, many women that choose to maintain a pregnancy with the intention of adopting out actually end up keeping the child. (This only highlights my point about keeping options open, through non-final choices.)

Third, if she chooses to have an abortion (even if she was not coerced into doing this) she may regret it. What can she do but weep and wail in grief for the child that she has lost forever? I’m not trying to be emotive – this is what women experience when they regret abortion, as evidenced by the book I recommended, Giving Sorrow Words.



[ 02. March 2006, 07:05: Message edited by: Luke ]

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Emily's Voice

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John Donne

Renaissance Man
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The Australian government is trying to take steps to reduce Australia's abortion rate. Does anyone know of any other governments that have done this?

ABC article on proposed counselling.

While I think all decisions regarding termination should be left to the woman and her doctors, I am in favour of abortions being reduced by women voluntarily choosing to continue with the pregnancy. (The other way involves big emphasis on sex education and blanket availability of birth control - but I doubt this government is interested in that path - will offend the Family First politicians they want to make deals with)

If this govt wants more pregnant women to carry their pregnancies to term, it has to make that attractive. Yep. It all boils down to dollars. Forget moral suasion. Society has moved on. Support women financially, materially, emotionally; make sure that having a baby doesn't land them in a poverty trap, or irretrievably disrupt their careers or study. In short, make having a baby and keeping it attractive and with less financial penalty: then more women will do it.

If this government puts its money where its mouth is, I'll be impressed. They will need to pour lots of money into things like childcare and parental leave. I'm not holding my breath.

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
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quote:
First, if she keeps the child she may regret it.
Yet, she has other options available, such as adoption (which has negative connotations but in Australia is a very open process that has safeguards. For example, maintaining the biological parents’ rights for a reasonable time after consent.)

Second, if she chooses to adopt the child out she may regret it.
Yet, she has other options available, such as keeping the baby. As already pointed out, many women that choose to maintain a pregnancy with the intention of adopting out actually end up keeping the child. (This only highlights my point about keeping options open, through non-final choices.)

Third, if she chooses to have an abortion (even if she was not coerced into doing this) she may regret it. What can she do but weep and wail in grief for the child that she has lost forever? I’m not trying to be emotive – this is what women experience when they regret abortion, as evidenced by the book I recommended, Giving Sorrow Words.

Sorry, but logically this is bullshit. Keeping the baby and giving it up for adoption are not choices which leave other options available. Once you've signed the adoption papers, the child is gone -- does your cousin not think there is pain involved in this? And once you've decided to keep the baby, you're pretty much stuck with it. Moreover, if the choice to abort may be coerced, why should we believe that the choices to keep the baby or to adopt it out are not coerced? And while some women experience what she describes as the result of abortion, others don't; all the more reason to leave it up to the person who has to go through the pain to make the decision.
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Luke

Soli Deo Gloria
# 306

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I don’t think so RuthW, it could be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. What options does a dead baby have? Doesn’t being alive produce more options then being dead? Just because some women might not experience any pain from the death of their baby, why does it necessarily follow that the decision must be the mother’s alone?
quote:
all the more reason to leave it up to the person who has to go through the pain to make the decision.
The mother has to go through the pain of making the decision (What about the father?) and the baby has to go through the pain of dying!

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Emily's Voice

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Lamb Chopped
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Yes. The fathers. Someone I love had to watch while his wife aborted their child, one he loved very much and would willingly have raised alone.

How is that right?

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Luke

Soli Deo Gloria
# 306

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RuthW, the child has no choice if he or she is dead. Wouldn’t letting the child live at least produce choices of adoption or shared parenting?
You also said:
quote:
               
Ye gods. A new ban on all abortions in South Dakota with an exception only for the life of the woman -- no exceptions for rape, incest, or the woman's health. NY Times article here.

So 14-year-olds raped by their fathers will carry their babies to term (if they can). Words fail.

A dramatic example but in this debate everyone uses drama and hyperbole. What has the baby done to deserve death? (I am sorely tempted to use the death penalty red herring here, where both the child and the rapist get killed!) However the equation still stands. Comfort, happiness and well being of the mother versus the life of the child. Which is it?

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Emily's Voice

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mdijon
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Would you forbid a raped mother to use the morning after pill also, Luke?

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Luke

Soli Deo Gloria
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Yes.

I mean, I personally don’t. But I vote in such a way and write to politicians to try and convince them to forbid the morning after pill.

Would you forbid a woman to kill her child?

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Emily's Voice

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mdijon
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In general yes.

Now although I have a fair amount of sympathy with people who claim equal rights for a reasonably well developed fetus - with arms, legs, blood etc. - I find it quite difficult to understand how a clump of cells are accorded the same rights as the woman in whose body they exist.

It may be that that clump of cells is already a god-breathed life with a soul - but I find it hard to believe that.

But you have no doubt that's the case? If so, clearly you'd not want to use the morning after pill. However, to me it seems there's enough reasonable doubt to make it a matter of individual conscience rather than to legislate.

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Luke

Soli Deo Gloria
# 306

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The problem with accusing me of assigning life to a “clump of cells” is that whatever point you pick for life will be just as arbitrary.

I’d argue life begins at conception but it seems you would pick a point were you thought it “looked” human? What is our standard of humanness here? Very old, very young, catatonic, healthy, unhealthy, very small or very large? There is a danger in creating a separate category of non-human humans.

I think biblically we get three ideas about the beginning of life and what it means to be human. 1)God is meticulous in His creation of new life. 2)God values life very highly. 3)Humans are unique and there are no Biblical examples of non-human humans.

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Emily's Voice

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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You can argue that life starts at conception if you like, but you'd be wrong. Life started some 4 billion years ago and hasn't yet stopped, or to the best of our knowledge, started again. That ball of cells comes from a fertilized zygote, that was alive in exactly the same way as the ovum, which was alive in exactly the same way as the mother's tissues, and so on back to the first organisational structures we'd consider life. Conception is just as arbitrary as any other point. And then we're back to Every Sperm is Sacred.

So why should your arbitrary "starting" point be enshrined in law over anyone elses?

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Luke:
The problem with accusing me of assigning life to a “clump of cells” is that whatever point you pick for life will be just as arbitrary

If the point is arbitrary all the more reason to not enshrine it in law. The only advantage with "life begins at conception" is that there's a clearly defined point. If one starts talking about brains, arms and legs... these things obviously form gradually. But that would be a bit like fixing the drink-drive limit at zero on the basis that anything else was arbitrary.

I would say legislation should be on areas of consensus - for instance past 28 weeks (now 24) most people feel very uncomfortable about terminations. (Although if the mother's life is at risk might still do it.)

Even there most people seem to accept a half-measure - in that were the existence of one independant adult to be threatening another (through no fault of their own) - eg. 2 men with limited food and water on a desert island - few would accept one man had the right to kill the other.

Whether or not the bible contains examples of non-human humans is really beside the point. It doesn't contain examples of transplanted kidneys or intensive care units or blood pressure tablets either.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
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I expect this has been said before, but I'd say the clear cutoff point was where a living individual with its own genetic code (separate from those of its parents) comes into existence. That's the difference between a zygote and an unfertilized ovum, and also the difference between a person and a body part of a person.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Luke

Soli Deo Gloria
# 306

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Red Herring Alert: Isn’t there a thread for debating evolution and all that? Karl you also said
quote:
Conception is just as arbitrary as any other point. And then we're back to Every Sperm is Sacred.
But why define anything special to life after birth? In fact that's why partial birth abortion sometimes occurs, because people don’t believe Every Child is Sacred. If everything is life and no more special then the next thing what makes bigger humans more special then smaller humans?

You asked me
quote:
So why should your arbitrary "starting" point be enshrined in law over anyone else's?
I haven't sorted out the whole church and state thing yet so I can’t answer that part of the question because I don’t know. But I am not sure I’d want Mdijon’s arbitrary starting point enshrined either.

Mdijon, there are dozens of important topics that have no directly corresponding Bible verse. Isn’t the modus operand of Christians to take principles from the Bible and apply them to all areas of life? Therefore I think its significant for Christians to say very un-human looking humans are still humans. Again with the church and state thing I’m not sure who should get to decide who lives and who dies but I don’t think its a good idea to let the majority pick when life should begin. Where do you regard life as beginning Mdijon?

LampChopped, your’ve said another good argument for life beginning at conception. What’s your opinion of the argument that if we are unsure of where exactly life begins we probably shouldn’t kill the foetus at any point incase it has become a human at that point?

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Emily's Voice

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Niënna

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I expect this has been said before, but I'd say the clear cutoff point was where a living individual with its own genetic code (separate from those of its parents) comes into existence.

Pardon my ignorance, but when *exactly* does this happen? [Hot and Hormonal]

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Niënna

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Scratch that. Strike out my previous post. I got it. [Hot and Hormonal]

--------------------
[Nino points a gun at Chiki]
Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
~No Man's Land

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the_raptor
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I expect this has been said before, but I'd say the clear cutoff point was where a living individual with its own genetic code (separate from those of its parents) comes into existence. That's the difference between a zygote and an unfertilized ovum, and also the difference between a person and a body part of a person.

A zygote is not a living individual, it only exists as part of the mothers body (one day we may develop the science to have true artificial wombs). And plenty of cells in your body don't share your exact DNA. So your definition is quite as arbitary as any other.

--------------------
Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Luke:
Red Herring Alert: Isn’t there a thread for debating evolution and all that?

It's not a red herring at all. My point was not about evolution, but that life is continuous and there is no point where "life begins".

quote:
Karl you also said
quote:
Conception is just as arbitrary as any other point. And then we're back to Every Sperm is Sacred.
But why define anything special to life after birth?
Because we're dealing with a self-aware, conscious being? With a blastocyst, we are not.

quote:
In fact that's why partial birth abortion sometimes occurs, because people don’t believe Every Child is Sacred.
Ah. This is the real red herring. Do you know the circumstances in which what you call "partial birth abortion" is actually done in the west? Hint - it's where the child isn't going to live anyway. Now, out in some countries with a cultural issue about not wanting girl babies it's a different story, but I don't think anyone here would be defending this.

quote:
If everything is life and no more special then the next thing
Where did I say that? I didn't. Try to read for comprehension. Debates go so much better when people address what people actually say rather than put words into their mouths.

quote:
what makes bigger humans more special then smaller humans?
Nothing. The Backslideret is less than 2' tall but he's just as special as me.

quote:
You asked me
quote:
So why should your arbitrary "starting" point be enshrined in law over anyone else's?
I haven't sorted out the whole church and state thing yet so I can’t answer that part of the question because I don’t know.
You want us to enshrine your beliefs in law but don't know why?

quote:
But I am not sure I’d want Mdijon’s arbitrary starting point enshrined either.
Or we could use this thing called "democracy" to set it.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Luke:
Isn’t the modus operand of Christians to take principles from the Bible and apply them to all areas of life? Therefore I think its significant for Christians to say very un-human looking humans are still humans.

There are several leaps here. I don't know any verse that deals with the issue of un-human looking humans, and in any case there phrase makes rather an assumption.

Presumably the belief is that a clump of cells has a soul and is a human. I don't see that. (It is "human", of course, just not "a human").

I don't really know where life begins, but I'm not sure that's the question. I think the question is where an independant life with independant rights starts. There is a large grey area to me between around 2-3 weeks until about 20 or so weeks. Below 2-3 weeks I'm pretty sure it has little or no degree of independant rights. Above 20 or so weeks, I'd believe in independant rights (although still not equivalent to a child or baby).

To make that point, I'd refer to my example of killing a child to ensure one's survival. Few of us would endorse that - but most people would accept a mother should be allowed a termination at just about any stage in order to save her life.

So I'm in favour of a graded approach. With areas of grey. It's not satisfactory, but I don't see any clear way to define black and white.

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ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I expect this has been said before, but I'd say the clear cutoff point was where a living individual with its own genetic code (separate from those of its parents) comes into existence. That's the difference between a zygote and an unfertilized ovum, and also the difference between a person and a body part of a person.

A zygote is not a living individual, it only exists as part of the mothers body (one day we may develop the science to have true artificial wombs). And plenty of cells in your body don't share your exact DNA. So your definition is quite as arbitary as any other.
Well there's a fair difference between sharing 50% and sharing 99.99%, wouldn't you say?

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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the_raptor
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Well there's a fair difference between sharing 50% and sharing 99.99%, wouldn't you say?

Who said parents and their children only shared 50% of their DNA? It is just that the children only get half of their genetic material from each parent. The actual difference in DNA is likely to be less then 99.99% (just consider many monkies and apes share over 90%, bonobos share 97% of their DNA with humans).

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Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
A zygote is not a living individual, it only exists as part of the mothers body

I'm confused. You know this how? It's a bald assertion on the face of it, not an argument. If a zygote with its own genetic code is not an individual, what is?

quote:
And plenty of cells in your body don't share your exact DNA. So your definition is quite as arbitary as any other.
Uh, not quite. Certainly there are mutations here and there, and some folk are chimaeras or have mosaic conditions (e.g. Mosaic Down's). But I would argue that the amount of difference between those odd cells and the rest of the body, in terms of DNA, is negligible in comparison to that between one individual and another. I would also point out that in the case of a zygote, the "odd DNA cells" happen to be all in one place, forming a distinct and self-contained structure--which is not the case with either a mosaic genetic condition, or (AFAIK) with chimaerae. If I remember correctly, those cells are sprinkled hither and thither in the person's body, though they may tend to concentrate in some places. A better biologist want to speak to this one?

Luke, in answer I'd say that it's generally wise not to make irrevocable decisions when one is uncertain. I'd rather err on the side of safety.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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I'm not quite sure what the significance of this "unique combination of DNA" is. Why does something special happen when the DNA of sperm and egg are added together that makes the result so special? Each sperm has its own unique, albeit haploid, combination of genes, as does each egg.

And what does it say to identical twins? Is it OK to abort one twin, on account of the fact that it doesn't have a unique combination of genes compared with the other twin?

What if I took an egg cell, removed its nucleus, replaced the nucleus with one from one of my own cells, and chemically tricked the egg into forming into an embryo. Would that clone have a different value because it doesn't have a unique DNA combination?

I think this concept asks more questions than it answers.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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the_raptor
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
A zygote is not a living individual, it only exists as part of the mothers body

I'm confused. You know this how? It's a bald assertion on the face of it, not an argument. If a zygote with its own genetic code is not an individual, what is?
It becomes a living individual when it can live outside the mothers body (which is why I don't believe in late term abortion). Until then it is just as much a part of her body as her toes.

quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
And plenty of cells in your body don't share your exact DNA. So your definition is quite as arbitary as any other.
Uh, not quite. Certainly there are mutations here and there, and some folk are chimaeras or have mosaic conditions (e.g. Mosaic Down's). But I would argue that the amount of difference between those odd cells and the rest of the body, in terms of DNA, is negligible in comparison to that between one individual and another.
You can argue that all you like. The sort of percentage differences we are arguing here are such that I can see many mutant cells being counted.

I have removed cancerous moles that probably had more genetic diversity.

--------------------
Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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Lamb Chopped
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Karl, the reason the genetic difference argument comes up is because it's a counterargument to the folks who say "It's just a part of the mother's body." If the DNA is substantially different from the mother's body, that clearly rules out the body part argument. All the members of one body share essentially the same DNA.* So despite my friend above, a zygote is NOT a part of the woman's body--it is a passenger in it, but not a part of it. And thus it is an individual, and the debate over its rights can begin.

That's the only reason why the DNA needs to be brought up at all. Identical twins make no difference to the discussion, because their shared DNA is still very, very different from their mother's. The only problematic case would be a woman carrying an embryonic clone of herself--and since all other human embryos at the same stage are individuals by the logic above, such a clone would also qualify by logical extension.

A haploid egg (unfertilized) is NOT an individual, since it has the same DNA as the mother, albeit in reduced form.

(No doubt someone's going to mention donated organs--yes, these possess a different DNA from the rest of the body, but they still don't wreck my argument because they don't occur naturally within the recipient's body. Surgery and anti-rejection drugs are needed to bring about that union, and keep it going. Not so with a zygote, which comes into existence as a result of natural processes which have been going on as long as our species has existed.)

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Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Karl, the reason the genetic difference argument comes up is because it's a counterargument to the folks who say "It's just a part of the mother's body." If the DNA is substantially different from the mother's body, that clearly rules out the body part argument. All the members of one body share essentially the same DNA.* So despite my friend above, a zygote is NOT a part of the woman's body--it is a passenger in it, but not a part of it. And thus it is an individual, and the debate over its rights can begin.

That's the only reason why the DNA needs to be brought up at all. Identical twins make no difference to the discussion, because their shared DNA is still very, very different from their mother's. The only problematic case would be a woman carrying an embryonic clone of herself--and since all other human embryos at the same stage are individuals by the logic above, such a clone would also qualify by logical extension.

A haploid egg (unfertilized) is NOT an individual, since it has the same DNA as the mother, albeit in reduced form.

(No doubt someone's going to mention donated organs--yes, these possess a different DNA from the rest of the body, but they still don't wreck my argument because they don't occur naturally within the recipient's body. Surgery and anti-rejection drugs are needed to bring about that union, and keep it going. Not so with a zygote, which comes into existence as a result of natural processes which have been going on as long as our species has existed.)

Well, I think donated organs are very relevant here, because they show that the "different DNA" counterargument has to be hedged with so many provisos and ad-hoc modifications that it starts to look a bit threadbare. You still qualify as a seperate individual if you're an identical twin, you still qualify if you're a clone of the mother, you don't qualify if you're a transplanted kidney.

This is why I would suggest that the "sentient organism" qualification makes more sense. We can argue about whether a 10 week, 8 week, 16 week etc. foetus is a sentient organism, but at least we won't be forced into making "logical extensions" and various question begging exceptions and provisos to make the qualification work for us.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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the_raptor
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
This is why I would suggest that the "sentient organism" qualification makes more sense. We can argue about whether a 10 week, 8 week, 16 week etc. foetus is a sentient organism, but at least we won't be forced into making "logical extensions" and various question begging exceptions and provisos to make the qualification work for us.

Then you get to argue whether severely mentally incapacitated people are sentient. There are children born who have less brain matter then the family dog.

I don't think there is any easy, clear or objective measure that everyone will agree to.

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Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Well there's a fair difference between sharing 50% and sharing 99.99%, wouldn't you say?

Who said parents and their children only shared 50% of their DNA? It is just that the children only get half of their genetic material from each parent. The actual difference in DNA is likely to be less then 99.99% (just consider many monkies and apes share over 90%, bonobos share 97% of their DNA with humans).
To compare like with like, parents and children share 50% of their DNA. Cells and cells within an individual share 99.999% of their DNA.

If one looks at identity per se, of course most species have quite similar DNA - and so one would be comparing 99% with 99.99999999% or something like that.

Normally, one would consider the polymorphic DNA to make some sense of it; which then follows the sharing more closely. (i.e. 50% vs 99.999%).

I think DNA is a good way of classifying a seperate individual - haploid cells are an abstraction from one individual.

Not that it necessarily defines "full human rights" or anything like that - but it's a good place to indicate the slight wrinkle in the continuity of life as it passes from one individual to the next.

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the_raptor
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
To compare like with like, parents and children share 50% of their DNA. Cells and cells within an individual share 99.999% of their DNA.

And several posts ago I told you that wasn't true. Children get half their nuclear DNA from each parent (the embryo will normally have a clone of the mothers mitochondrial DNA). That doesn't mean they only share 50% of their DNA in common.

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Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
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Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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mdijon
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They share 50% of their DNA. It may be that the 50% they don't share happens to be identical - but nevertheless it has a different provenence. We need a shorthand to refer to this situation - and generally the description of "sharing" DNA is used here. DNA may not be "shared" despite being identical.

Exactly the same point could be made by DNA identity - by comparing 1x10e-6 difference with 1x10e-4 or whatever it is.

The point is, either way, there are two clear distributions of either sharing or identity.

I think I tried to make that distinction in my post, and it was precisely in response to what you'd "told" me before.

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Well, I think donated organs are very relevant here, because they show that the "different DNA" counterargument has to be hedged with so many provisos and ad-hoc modifications that it starts to look a bit threadbare. You still qualify as a seperate individual if you're an identical twin, you still qualify if you're a clone of the mother, you don't qualify if you're a transplanted kidney.

You're overlooking the other point of my post--that donated kidneys, etc. do not NATURALLY occur. Zygotes and identical twins do.

As for looking threadbare and messy, this is an aesthetic concern. I agree that a very simple, elegant proof is a lovely thing. But this is real life, and life is sometimes messy.

Elegance is not necessarily truth. And messiness is not necessarily falsehood.

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Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Well, I think donated organs are very relevant here, because they show that the "different DNA" counterargument has to be hedged with so many provisos and ad-hoc modifications that it starts to look a bit threadbare. You still qualify as a seperate individual if you're an identical twin, you still qualify if you're a clone of the mother, you don't qualify if you're a transplanted kidney.

You're overlooking the other point of my post--that donated kidneys, etc. do not NATURALLY occur. Zygotes and identical twins do.

As for looking threadbare and messy, this is an aesthetic concern. I agree that a very simple, elegant proof is a lovely thing. But this is real life, and life is sometimes messy.

Elegance is not necessarily truth. And messiness is not necessarily falsehood.

I think you've failed to show why natural occurrence counts for anything, beyond mere assertion.

The point about the ad-hocery and provisos here as that they all serve to give you the exceptions you need to make your model work, and the only justification for them seems to be that they make your model work. That sounds like question begging to me.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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the_raptor
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Again mdijon how is DNA difference useful? Some cancerous cells will have more unique DNA (copying errors add up when the cell multiplies like crazy) then a foetus. You can't say "It is a individual if it has X difference in DNA from the mother" unless you want to count those cancerous cells.

--------------------
Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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Lamb Chopped
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Karl, the point is that you compare like things to like, natural things to natural things. The generation of new individuals (gosh, that sounds pompous) is a natural process--one for which we are trying to find the beginning point. To drag in an artificially created situation (which has only been possible for how many years?) is to muddy the discussion. Apples and oranges, you know.

As for the elegance, threadbareness or otherness of my point--I was making a TRUTH claim. To refute it you must point out logical weaknesses, flawed data, and etc. Simply critiquing the messiness of the argumentative form says nothing about whether the conclusion is true or not.

(Now you're bringing out the rhetoric teacher in me. [Ultra confused] Run away! Run away!)

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Karl, the point is that you compare like things to like, natural things to natural things. The generation of new individuals (gosh, that sounds pompous) is a natural process--one for which we are trying to find the beginning point. To drag in an artificially created situation (which has only been possible for how many years?) is to muddy the discussion. Apples and oranges, you know.

It does muddy the discussion. It exposes the flaws in your reasoning.

quote:
As for the elegance, threadbareness or otherness of my point--I was making a TRUTH claim. To refute it you must point out logical weaknesses, flawed data, and etc. Simply critiquing the messiness of the argumentative form says nothing about whether the conclusion is true or not.

(Now you're bringing out the rhetoric teacher in me. [Ultra confused] Run away! Run away!)

You seem to be ignoring the fact that I have done just that. I have pointed out that your provisos and ad-hoc exclusions are a form of begging the question.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Lamb Chopped
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They're not, but I'm obviously not getting through, so I'll drop the question. Anyone else who wishes may pick it up.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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JimT

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Pardon the intrusion, but I'm responding to something in Purgatory.

quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Would you agree, then, that a utilitarian such as Peter Singer argues that there are situations in which abortion is not just "not quite as evil as the alternative", but actually good? Not asking whether you agree with him, BTW. I personally think his view is abhorrent, but I would in no way criticize his approach to ethics as lazy.

Gordon, I've not read any Peter Singer, so I took a quick look at Wikipedia to get some idea and make some kind of response. Keep in mind as well that I've only become aware of utilitarianism in the works of Bentham and Mills in the past month in my free time. As is often the case, it seems to me that it is a battle of words as much as a battle of ideas, and words are sometimes potent antidotes to clam discussion. I may be more guilty than most in this regard.

What seems to bother you Gordon is an assertion of unqualified "good" to abortion. Certainly, I can understand a natural reaction of outrage. Especially on the condition that abortion is viewed as murder of an innocent, it is the same as saying, "is murder of an innocent, for the purpose of pleasure and happiness in the mind and life of the murderer, ever to be viewed as 'good'"? Hey, why not thrill killing then?

But your OP in Purgatory presupposed that abortion is "at least OK." So I must ask, "on what grounds are we to assume it is 'at least OK?'" I would guess that any proponent of abortion is inclined to view certainly an early fetus as "biological material" capable of becoming a human being, more than a human being. It is then OK to prevent it developing into an actual human being. How else can it be thought "OK" by anyone opposed to thrill killing or murder on caprice or in anger?

On the condition that abortion is viewed as "at least OK" because it prevents the non-human from becoming human in a tragic and unintended way, then I could see it being called "good" in the same way that I could see calling killing in self-defense "good." But even so, I would not call killing in self-defense "unconditionally good" because that would mean that someone should have the right to provoke someone else into threatening their life so that they could kill them in self-defense. Or they might simply carry a gun and not take notice of who they were around and what they were saying. In the same way, I would not call abortion under any circumstance an unconditional "good" because it would mean the same kind of thing: freedom to provoke or to carelessly cause.

Far be it from me to put words into Singer's mouth, but this is at least how the Wikipedia writer summarized Singer's view of the justifiability of abortion.

quote:
Consistent with his general ethical theory, Singer holds that the right to physical integrity is grounded in a being's ability to suffer, and the right to life is grounded in, among other things, the ability to plan and anticipate one's future. Since the unborn, infants and severely disabled people lack the latter (but not the former) ability, he states that abortion, painless infanticide and euthanasia can be justified in certain special circumstances, for instance in the case of severely disabled infants whose life would cause suffering both to themselves and to their parents.
The emphasis is mine and underscores "conditional" good.
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JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
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"calm discussion" not "clam!"

[Killing me] [Hot and Hormonal] [Killing me]

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Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
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Thanks for the response, JimmyT. I've found the discussion useful.

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Latest on blog: those were the days...; throwing up; clerical abuse; biddulph on child care

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JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
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You're welcome, Gordon.
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