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thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 30 2006,21:26   

We've been having a lively debate about when life begins.

I made the statement that "life begins at conception" and several forumites disagreed and declared the opposite.  They stated that "life does not begin at conception."

Since we were speaking in the context of abortion, both constrasting statements can be further defined as;

Human life begins at conception.

and

Human life does not begin at conception.


But we also need to go further and define "conception."  The general meaning of conception is a "beginning."  The opposing statements would then read;

Human life begins at the beginning.

and

Human life does not begin at the beginning.


The more specified meaning of conception in the context of abortion is the fusion of the egg and sperm cell to form a new human organism.

I will assume this second definition as the one that is being used as it is clear that the first definition makes the statement "human life does not begin at the beginning" self-evidently false.

Unfortunately, the second definition of "conception" leads one to make very unusual assumptions and once we get through all the silliness about fundies and wing-nuts, it's seem only logical to assume that human life does indeed begin at conception.

Human life does not begin a conception (doesn't begin with the fusion of egg and sperm to form a new human organism).

This can mean only 3 things:

1. Human life began before conception.

2. Human life began after conception.

3. Or, human life had no beginning.

------------

No. 3 can most easily be discarded because it leaves us with only 2 possibilities;

Human life is eternal,

or

Human life came from non-life,


Hence, human life is either the very concept that many scientists seek to extinguish, namely, a supernatural being,

OR

Human life did not begin with the fusion of a egg and sperm because both sperm and egg are "alive" and human life began from non-life.

The is ZERO evidence for either of these stances.

------------

No. 1 also poses problems.  If the argument states that human life began before conception then consciousness no longer becomes a defining feature of human life because no one suggests a sperm or egg has consciouness.

Next, if the argument is that "life comes from life" (hence, life began before conception) and therefore "conception" merely represents a continuation of ordinary life (but not the beginning of human life) then one must trace his/her beginning all the way back to the OOL.  Essentially, this "conception" that brings forth a new human organism is nothing more than an outgrowth of one very old entity.  We only have the illusion of individuality and independence.  Our "life that came from life" came from the OOL.  To discard a zygote or to die an early death is nothing more than the equivalent of this billion-year-old living entity shaving his beard or cutting his toenails.

Clearly these ideas seem ludicrous because we never become human life under this scenario because only one liveform exists and it's the one to be found at the OOL.

------------

No. 2 seems the mostly likely conclusion given by those that state "life does not begin at conception."

So does human life begin after conception?  Well, if one discounts No. 1 and 3 and believes "human life does not begin at conception" then No. 2 is the only possible conclusion.  But what is the evidence?

What makes something a human life if not "conception" itself?

A. Some suggest the emergence of consciousness as that which defines human life after conception.

B. Some suggest that a CNS helps define a human life after conception.

C. Some suggest the birth itself defines human life after conception.

As for A, there is no evidence of when consciousness emerges and therefore no need to assume it emerges anywhere other than at conception.

As for B, there is no evidence that the CNS spontaneously develops or that consciousness spontaneously emerges.  It seems reasonable that as the CNS develops so does a greater degree of consciousness.  This is clearly evident in constrasting the consciousness between a zygote versus a newborn versus an adult.  Again, there seems no reason to assume that the development of the CNS and the associative degree of consciousness that goes with it began anywhere other than at conception.

As for C, the best we can say is that a newborn has a developing CNS.  But, we have no reason to assume that the CNS began developing at any time other than at conception.  With this information the best we can say is that the newborn either has NO consciouness or a very low degree of consciousness that corresponds with its developing CNS.  But the actual birth TELLS US NOTHING about whether this newborn in fact represents human life after conception.  

In fact, no DIRECT evidence exists for a conscious newborn.  No newborn has ever asserted his/her consciouness.  Again, we ONLY assume a conscious newborn lest we treat is like a disposable zygote.  The evidence is inconclusive at best and non-existent at worst.

In conclusion, I see no rationale and no evidence to assume that human life begins anywhere other that at its conception.

  
hehe



Posts: 59
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 30 2006,21:39   

But this is just semantics. It doesn't matter if the "human life", whatever it is, begins at conception. It is obvious that a zygote is not equivalent to, say, even a newborn, whether it is "human life" or not, it can be safely disposed of, if needed.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 30 2006,21:52   

Thordaddy said:
Quote


In fact, no DIRECT evidence exists for a conscious newborn.  No newborn has ever asserted his/her consciouness.  Again, we ONLY assume a conscious newborn lest we treat is like a disposable zygote.  The evidence is inconclusive at best and non-existent at worst.


Are you serious? You claim to be a father, have you held a newborn? How much evidence for consciousness do you need?

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 30 2006,23:41   

Stephen Elliot,

I've held two newborns and I can say they looked no more conscious than Terri Schiavo.  Consciouness is self-awareness and not simply reacting to one's environment.  If consciousness was simply a case of reacting to external stimuli then, yes, a newborn would be conscious but so would a sperm, egg, zygote, embryo, fetus and Terry Schiavo.  

But the point is that DIRECT evidence of consciousness HAS TO BE asserted by the conscious entity itself.  Direct evidence of newborn consciousness has to be the newborn declaring self-awareness.  No such evidence exists and birth signifies NOTHING as to how we define human life.

You can say a newborn is conscious and clearly I would agree if I thought consciousness began at conception.  The point is that a newborn may or may not be conscious at birth and since we are uncertain about the emergence of consciousness then why should we assume that consciousness begins anywhere other than at the time of conception?  

You would agree that a newborn, if we concede consciousness, is still developing his/her CNS and his/her consciousness is developing right along with it?  And if the mechanisms for consciousness are developing and hence consciousness is developing along with it then what evidence are you relying upon to assume this development didn't begin at conception?

  
jeannot



Posts: 1200
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,00:08   

I'm sorry Steven; I have to agree with Thordaddy here: consciousness cannot be inferred to a new born.
The only way one can infer consciousness is comparison (which is not very scientific): “I am a conscious human being, you are a human being who behave roughly the same as I do, therefore you should be conscious.”
This comparison cannot be made with a new born because you can’t begin with “I am a conscious new born”.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,02:00   

Well surprisingly enough we will have to first establish what we mean by "consciousness". It apears to have no exact definition.

There are quite few papers here. Not all the links work, but there are several woks that do.

I am happy to go-along with Thordaddy's definition of "self-aware", indeed that was the definition I was using.

From my observation, newborns certainly apear to be conscious. The simple fact that they can cry and show signs of discomfort infers consciouness to me. Include the obvious observable distinction of them sleeping and being awake and (to me) consciousness seems conclusive.

From memory I certainly know that I was conscious within a few days of being born. Admitedly I thought in a much different way to now. Presently I tend to think in English. Back then I thought in pictures.

Renier, if a conscious entity has to state it is conscious to be so, then you would probably have to consider animals such as dogs, cats, dolphins etc. as not possesing consciousnes (many people do just that). I would be uncomfortable with such a claim. Lots of creatures show signs of memory and I would think that consciousnes is required before memory can function  in a biological entity.

However, those are just my opinions. Science doesn't seem to have a definitive description of consciousness at the moment.

  
Jay Ray



Posts: 92
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,02:57   

I'm not sure if this is a good definition or not, but I consider conciousness the recognition of the difference between SELF and OTHER.  This probably occurs right about the time that a being learns that it can intentionally manipulate its enironment.

Consider an average newborn baby waking up in a quiet daylit room.  It is at this point a perfect receiver.  A cloud drifts past a window.   The baby's body blinks its eyes at the light, but the baby doesn't do this on purpose.  It doesn't know the difference between the light from the sun and its own senses.   Noises burble from behind a closed door, and the baby hears them.  The baby's body coos quietly in the mellow room.  The baby doesn't distinguish between its own voice and the noises in the world.  Everything is one thing.  The baby itself is part of the everything else.  

I reckon this state only lasts a few weeks tops for your average baby.  Very soon the baby starts to learn that it has some control over things.  The baby's brain is primed for knowledge, and ever since it left the womb the brain begins to build connections based on the baby's experiences.  The people around the baby respond to it, and interact with it in  intentional ways.  The brain starts building neuronal pathways as a response to this flood of information.  The baby begins to get a limited realization that it is somewhat autonomous.  Before you know it, the baby starts doing things intentionally to effect its environment.   Of course, it still shits all over itself, but hey.  You've got to start somewhere. :)

That's conciousness to me.  Intentional interaction.

  
Jay Ray



Posts: 92
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,03:23   

Oh, yes.  Life of course does not begin at conception, and does not rely on conciousness.  Life began in the deep past and has continued in an unbroken chain since that time.

  
Russell



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,03:45   

Why do you suppose Thordude is avoiding the "fire in the fertility clinic" test? It's obviously not for lack of time.

--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
improvius



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,03:55   

Clearly this is a question about semantics.  As TD himself demonstrates, there are multiple "correct" answers to the question.  It all boils down to how you want to define your terms.

--------------
Quote (afdave @ Oct. 02 2006,18:37)
Many Jews were in comfortable oblivion about Hitler ... until it was too late.
Many scientists will persist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator ... until it is too late.

  
Jay Ray



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Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,04:02   

For much the same reason why he won't answer this question.

Quote
TD:  I digress, science, by your own implication, cannot give us an answer on issues of OOL.  Now who should we look to for the answer?  Science is out of the game.


Me:  Who should we look to, then?


In either case, he'd be forced to address something he is painfully trying to ignore.  Maybe for different reasons, but ultimately it goes back to the same source.

  
Arden Chatfield



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,04:41   

WTF? Is this like the fourth thread here devoted to Thordaddy? ? ?

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
PuckSR



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Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,05:39   

If conciousness is defined as purposeful interaction with ones enviroment...

Then I was under the impression that fetuses exhibit at least some purposeful interaction with their enviroment.
I do not think I would compare Terry Schiavo to a new-born.  The main difference being that newborn babies have incredibly underdeveloped senses(not in the biological sense, but in the cognitive sense..they havent really been using those eyes to interpret complex visuals in the womb).  They do more than react to stimuli, they purposefully engage stimuli.  When you see a newborn moving around, it is actively seeking stimuli.  I dont believe I have ever seen someone who is in a vegetative state reach out looking for something to touch.

I would also accept the ability of an organism to 'learn' as an important capacity for conciousness.  A baby, while still in the womb, will actually gather rudimentary information.  It, for example, learns the sounds of its mother's voice.

I know this link is from a Catholic news agency...but it actually refers to peer-reviewed studies.
Cognitive Capacity of fetuses

The thing you need to realize Thordaddy is that we could have several points of genesis.
When does anything truly "become".
When does a seed become a plant?
When does a house become a house?
obviously as soon as they lay a foundation, we are building a house, and that foundation will become a house...but is it a house yet?  Obviously it becomes a house well before the  painters take care of the interior.  
Its also important to note that a house has major developments in its construction.
The foundation is important.  The framing is important.  putting the roof on is important.  closing the walls is important.  Its all important, but their isnt a single point of  "creation' for a house...its a process

  
ericmurphy



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,05:46   

I have to say, this must be a first. I don't think I've ever heard anyone claim consciousness for a fertilized human ovum, but deny it for a newborn. (Actually, this is the second time Thordaddy has made the same argument.) I guess it's really true when they say pro-lifers believe life begins at conception and ends at birth.

But what do we really expect from a guy who expounds logical gems like this: given three possibilities, we can most easily dispense with the third one, because that leaves only two.

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

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

  
ericmurphy



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,06:12   

Another example of how weak Thordaddy's reasoning is:

Quote
Since we were speaking in the context of abortion, both constrasting statements can be further defined as;

Human life begins at conception.

and

Human life does not begin at conception.

But we also need to go further and define "conception."  The general meaning of conception is a "beginning."  The opposing statements would then read;

Human life begins at the beginning.

and

Human life does not begin at the beginning.


No, Thordaddy, in this context, conception is not synonymous with "beginning." You're assuming what you're trying to prove. In this context, the term "conception" has a technical definition, i.e., the moment when egg and sperm (both of which, as has been pointed out to you ad nasueum, are already "alive") fuse. You're no further along proving your point (which is irrelevant in any case) than you were to begin with.

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

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

  
MidnightVoice



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Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,06:15   

Going back to the original post, obviously life exists with or without conception.  But some (please note - some) biologists consider pregnancy begins at implantation of the embryo.  This is spatially and temporally distinct from fertilization.

If human consciousness were to start at fertilization, then we would surely have to do something about all those fertilized eggs that are NOT successfully implanted by mother nature.

--------------
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
Flint



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,06:20   

Around we go again. The question isn't when life starts, the question is when a person legally exists. This isn't a genetic question, it's a legal question.

And so I repeat: When slaves were property, they were legally NOT PEOPLE. Their genes didn't matter. Didn't matter that they were conscious, self-aware, intelligent, educated, or anything else. Legally, they were not people. Their owners could legally kill them at any time.

Abortion is the same thing. A fetus is by law not a legal person. Unless this discussion focuses on the law, it misses the entire point.

  
Jay Ray



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Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,06:25   

Legal Schmegal.  We just like to watch TD squirm.

  
avocationist



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,06:35   

Thordaddy, my guess is you are male. I just want you to know that in my opinion men have no authority whatsoever on the topic of abortion. Perhaps there is an ethical debate to be had, but it isn't your debate.

Newborns do have consciousness. Self versus other are not required. The baby is in a highly aware state shortly after birth.

Also, just to drive you all mad, my daughter spoke to me from the womb a week before she was born.

  
PuckSR



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,06:36   

If anything productive comes from this thread...and that is a huge IF...I hope we can at least guide thordaddy towards logical reasoning skills.  

Right now, he has more logical fallacies in his arguments than should be legally allowed.  Now, this doesn't mean that his thoughts on the subject are valid/invalid...it just means that his arguments suck from a logical perspective.

Also, if we can get him to understand logic...maybe after that we can get him to understand that even if your reasons for a belief are incorrect, the thing you believe in can still exist and be correct.

Finally, I hope we can convince him that several terms are  impossible to absolutely define, such as: life and consciousness

  
Jay Ray



Posts: 92
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,06:37   

Quote
Also, just to drive you all mad, my daughter spoke to me from the womb a week before she was born.


:D

/me runs naked and screaming into the street.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,07:49   

PuckSR made an interesting analogy that has the added benefit of showing exactly why Thordaddy's whole line of reasoning is irrelevant (not that he hasn't be told that before):

Quote
When does a house become a house?
obviously as soon as they lay a foundation, we are building a house, and that foundation will become a house...but is it a house yet?  Obviously it becomes a house well before the  painters take care of the interior.  
Its also important to note that a house has major developments in its construction.
The foundation is important.  The framing is important.  putting the roof on is important.  closing the walls is important.  Its all important, but their isnt a single point of  "creation' for a house...its a process


As it happens, I have some familiarity with construction law. There are certain milestones in the construction of, say, a single-family dwelling (otherwise known as a "house"). One of these milestones is, as PuckSR pointed out, the pouring of the foundation. Interestingly, the pouring of the foundation is relatively insignificant legally. It's about as signficant legally as fertilization is (at least, for the moment; and if fertilization ever really does become important legally, it will be really fun watching how the medical profession becomes tasked with determining the exact moment of fertilization).

Another important milestone is the condition of weathertightness. At this point in the construction process, the exterior structure of the building is completed to the point where the interior is protected from the elements, and interior finishing can begin. In many instances, a condition of weathertightness still looks very unfinished to the untrained eye.

Another milestone is the point of substantial completion. At this point, the house is essentially finished, with just few minor punch-list items (missing outlet covers, a few nicks in the paint, missing light fixtures). Often, but not always, substantial completion is the point when the owner has beneficial occupancy of the house.

The point is, the owner's and contractor's legal rights and responsibilities differ at different points in this process. Kinda like what happens between conception and birth. Any reasonable person (a category that evidently does not include Thordaddy) understands that the legal rights of a fertilized egg are different from the legal rights of a third-trimester fetus. I think it's the ultimate in straw-man arguments to try to limit the possibilities for drawing the line dividing full human rights from lesser rights at either conception or birth. There's nine months' worth of development in between those points, where enormous changes occur.

It's the same kind of illogic that led to the Iraq war. The straw-man there was, either we invade and occupy Iraq, or we do nothing at all.

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

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

  
cogzoid



Posts: 234
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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,07:52   

Quote
Also, just to drive you all mad, my daughter spoke to me from the womb a week before she was born.
What did she say?

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,08:06   

Quote
I've held two newborns and I can say they looked no more conscious than Terri Schiavo.



WHAT

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

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

Either way, I'm through wasting my time with you. Stupid of me not to do so before.

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

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

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

  
Flint



Posts: 478
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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,08:10   

Quote
Any reasonable person (a category that evidently does not include Thordaddy) understands that the legal rights of a fertilized egg are different from the legal rights of a third-trimester fetus.

I hope any reasonable person can see that this is not necessarily the case. Laws are essentially arbitrary. We can attempt to make them reasonable, but they have no requirement to be reasonable beyond the fact that if they cannot be enforced, they are nugatory.

In the US, as I understand it, the legal rights of the fetus do not change from conception to birth. They change only at birth itself. But at least, we've recognized that we are talking about legal constructs here.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,08:31   

Quote (Flint @ Mar. 31 2006,14:10)
Quote
Any reasonable person (a category that evidently does not include Thordaddy) understands that the legal rights of a fertilized egg are different from the legal rights of a third-trimester fetus.

I hope any reasonable person can see that this is not necessarily the case. Laws are essentially arbitrary. We can attempt to make them reasonable, but they have no requirement to be reasonable beyond the fact that if they cannot be enforced, they are nugatory.

In the US, as I understand it, the legal rights of the fetus do not change from conception to birth. They change only at birth itself. But at least, we've recognized that we are talking about legal constructs here.

Actually, the rights of a fetus do change at various points between conception and birth in many states. Late-term abortion laws, also known as "partial-birth" abortion laws, confer different rights on fetuses at different stages of pregnancy. A fertilized egg, as far as I know, has no rights in any state. Given that a fertilized (but not yet implanted) egg is difficult even to detect, this is probably unavoidable.

My point, Flint, is not that the law itself is reasonable (which after all is a matter of opinion), but that any reasonable (or at least knowledgeable) person understands that the rights of a fertilized egg are different from the rights of a third-trimester fetus. This is a matter of fact, not opinion.

An least some of us are aware that we're talking legal, and not scientific, concepts here.

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,11:10   

What I have not said,

A zygote is conscious.

A newborn is unconscious.

What I have said,

There is NO DIRECT evidence of newborn consciousness.

There is NO DIRECT evidence to suggest that human consciousness DOES NOT begin at conception.

Now, unless one believes we are simply conscious outgrowths of ONE billions of years old entity then it can be assumed OUR life DID NOT begin before conception.

Next, unless one believes OUR individual lives had NO  BEGINNING and hence we are ETERNAL or came from NONLIFE then it can be assumed WE ALL HAVE A BEGINNING.

Lastly, if OUR HUMAN LIFE did not begin at conception, but after conception, what's the evidence that it didn't start right after conception?

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,11:13   

Quote
any reasonable (or at least knowledgeable) person understands that the rights of a fertilized egg are different from the rights of a third-trimester fetus. This is a matter of fact, not opinion.

??? Didn't you just get through saying that this is a matter of law, which varies from state to state? That what you claim is a fact is only true in some places, but not true in others?

Once again, to the best of my knowledge, in at least some states the rights of the egg and the rights of the fetus the day before birth are equally zero.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,11:17   

thordaddy:

Quote
Lastly, if OUR HUMAN LIFE did not begin at conception, but after conception, what's the evidence that it didn't start right after conception?
Hello, anyone home?

Your human life started at conception. Your status as a legal person with legal rights started at birth.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,11:26   

ericmurphyopines,

Quote
My point, Flint, is not that the law itself is reasonable (which after all is a matter of opinion), but that any reasonable (or at least knowledgeable) person understands that the rights of a fertilized egg are different from the rights of a third-trimester fetus. This is a matter of fact, not opinion.


We know that there are different legal rights for a fertilized egg and a third-trimester fetus.

What we don't know is WHY?

WHY, ericmurphy?

The law certainly doesn't seem to be based on any science, does it?  If so, what's the science behind the difference in "rights?"

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,11:31   

Flint opines,

Quote
Your human life started at conception. Your status as a legal person with legal rights started at birth.


I don't disagree.  I have already stated that my life began at conception.  I was told though that human life DOES NOT begin at conception.  I was searching for the evidence of why.  

You say it's a matter of law, but it makes one wonder where all the biologists (those who study LIFE) are in arguing against a law that has no sound basis in science?

  
cogzoid



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,11:37   

Why do you think laws can or should follow science?

  
Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,11:38   

Thordaddy,

Can we agree that some-time between conception and birth, a fetus develops a brain and a central nervous system?

Notice, I am not claiming that either the brain or cns does not continue to grow after birth. I am just claiming that sometime between fertilisation and birth a cns and brain is developed.

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,11:38   

Quote
You say it's a matter of law, but it makes one wonder where all the biologists (those who study LIFE) are in arguing against a law that has no sound basis in science?


This might be interesting...im sure you could find more if you looked:
Wikipedia article on defining life
Debate over Definition(in relation to biology and Philosophy)
yet another article complaining about the difficulty of defining "living"

You never answered my question Thordaddy....
when does a house become a house?

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,11:53   

Stephen Elliot opines,

Quote
Can we agree that some-time between conception and birth, a fetus develops a brain and a central nervous system?

Notice, I am not claiming that either the brain or cns does not continue to grow after birth. I am just claiming that sometime between fertilisation and birth a cns and brain is developed.


I can agree with that, but it just poses a problem in claiming that this development doesn't start with conception.

We know that a newborn has a developing CNS and the equivalent consciousness that goes with it.  But this just means that the development ALREADY began at an earlier time.

The question is what evidence LEADS YOU AWAY from assuming this development DID NOT start at conception?  I say there is none!

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,12:00   

avocationists opines,

Quote
Thordaddy, my guess is you are male. I just want you to know that in my opinion men have no authority whatsoever on the topic of abortion. Perhaps there is an ethical debate to be had, but it isn't your debate.

Newborns do have consciousness. Self versus other are not required. The baby is in a highly aware state shortly after birth.

Also, just to drive you all mad, my daughter spoke to me from the womb a week before she was born.


If we lived in a society based on inequality, intolerance and discrimination, I would say you had a point.  Clearly, we don't and so your point seems meaningless.

Russell,

I would save whatever human life was feasible.  Again, no innocent person is morally obligated to die for another innocent human being.  But if said person did die in the course of saving innocent life, I would say that person was most noble.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,12:00   

Quote (thordaddy @ Mar. 31 2006,17:26)
What we don't know is WHY?

WHY, ericmurphy?

The law certainly doesn't seem to be based on any science, does it?  If so, what's the science behind the difference in "rights?"

Gee, Thordaddy, how many times are we going to need to say this to you: SCIENCE DOES NOT AND CANNOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION.

That's about the 20th time someone's said this. Is it getting through to you yet?

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

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

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,12:01   

Quote
The question is what evidence LEADS YOU AWAY from assuming this development DID NOT start at conception?  I say there is none!



So....If we do not have definative evidence against a concept...the concept should be accepted as fact?

Do you have any evidence Thordaddy that you are not living in a delusional state.  Do you have evidence that the entire world in which you exist is not an illusion?

Hmmm...guess not....

Oh well...guess its all true then...nothing exists...death doesnt really happen...and this is all an illusion....

So that would render your current argument pointless...since death is an illusion of your mind...and so are all other entities of existence...since there is no proof against this line of reasoning...

So if nothing exists but your "consciousness"  I guess nothing can die, and nothing else can have consciousness....

Glad we settled that


Yet, if we are simply for looking for evidence against consciousness at the zygote stage...
I would point towards the lack of any cognitive mechanism
The lack of any mechanism for motility
The lack of any mechanism to interact to typical "human" stimuli like sounds, light, and smell
And the fact that it is a #### "single celled organism" as a zygote

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,12:11   

PuckSR,

I still awaiting you to pinpoint my logical fallacies.  As for your house question, I have a better one.

When did PuckSR become PuckSR if not at conception?

Then you say,

Quote
So....If we do not have definative evidence against a concept...the concept should be accepted as fact?


No... but if we are talking about killing innocent human life we should be reasonably assured it isn't a conscious human being.  As of now, I see no evidence that states that human consciousness along with the CNS doesn't start developing at conception.  Do you?

Quote
Do you have any evidence Thordaddy that you are not living in a delusional state.  Do you have evidence that the entire world in which you exist is not an illusion?

Hmmm...guess not....

Oh well...guess its all true then...nothing exists...death doesnt really happen...and this is all an illusion....

So that would render your current argument pointless...since death is an illusion of your mind...and so are all other entities of existence...since there is no proof against this line of reasoning...

So if nothing exists but your "consciousness"  I guess nothing can die, and nothing else can have consciousness....

Glad we settled that


Are you living in a delusional state?  Once you answer that, I'll answer you.

ericmurphy opines,

Quote
Gee, Thordaddy, how many times are we going to need to say this to you: SCIENCE DOES NOT AND CANNOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION.


Then how in the world can you claim that "human life does not begin at conception?"  What is your OPINION based on?  And if science can't answer this question then biology seems rather meaningless, doesn't it?

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,12:21   

Thordude, avoiding the "fire in the fertility clinic question":
Quote
I would save whatever human life was feasible.  Again, no innocent person is morally obligated to die for another innocent human being.  But if said person did die in the course of saving innocent life, I would say that person was most noble.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Wouldn't we all. But that doesn't answer the question, does it? Here: let me repeat.

If you have to choose between saving the 1 two-month old baby and the thermos with 100 frozen embryos, what do you do?

--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,12:24   

Quote
I still awaiting you to pinpoint my logical fallacies.


If you go back to the previous thread...I have pointed out several of your logical fallacies....Do you really need me to post them again...they are normally near the point where i put
(-1) logical fallacy....

I dont really think you want me going back and point out every time you made a statement that was logically invalid...you do it a lot....

Quote
As for your house question, I have a better one.

--Thats Thordaddy speak for..."I dont want to answer the question"

Quote
When did PuckSR become PuckSR if not at conception?

LOL...this is stupidly smart....

PuckSR was conceived at the beginning...and therefore became PuckSR....if i am using "conception" as the beginning.

This is a ridiculous argument that assumes that because conception is defined as the beginning, anything referred to as conception must necessarily be the beginning...(which, by the way is yet another logical fallacy)
Haha...very funny...its kinda like your "empirical" comments.  If you honestly have an inability recognizing that words can have entirely different meanings depending on context...please let us know...

It was cute at first Thordaddy....now quit it...you obviously have enough of a grasp of reality to realize that "conception" in the sense of biology is the formation of the zygote.  The refer to it as conception because that is the point it become a single entity.  You also understand that the word conception refers to beginning.  This rather dull play on words is getting old...just let it go...talk about flowers, bugs, cars...tell a funny joke...but seriously...you know what your doing and its just getting dull

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,12:42   

Russell asks,

Quote
If you have to choose between saving the 1 two-month old baby and the thermos with 100 frozen embryos, what do you do?


I assume you are still sticking to the original question that INCLUDED A FIRE.  Therefore, my CHOICE would be based on that FIRE.  Do you have a location for the fire as it relates to the baby and embryos?

PS Can we assume that the FROZEN embryos aren't too close to the FIRE?

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,12:48   

Quote (thordaddy @ Mar. 31 2006,18:11)
Then how in the world can you claim that "human life does not begin at conception?"  What is your OPINION based on?  And if science can't answer this question then biology seems rather meaningless, doesn't it?

One more time, Thordaddy, and then I'm done with this, with my opinion about the stupidity of this argument if anything reinforced.

Question: Is a fertilized egg alive?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Is an unfertilized egg alive?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Is a sperm cell alive?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Does life begin at conception?

Answer: No.

Question: Is the question as to when life begins meaningful?

Answer: No.

Question: Is the answer as to when life begins meaningful?

Answer: No.

We've gone around on this question about a million times so far, and every time you've asked it, I've given you the exact same answer. Can you think of any conceivable reason why you should ever, ever ask me this question again, Thordaddy? Because I sure can't.

Quote
And if science can't answer this question then biology seems rather meaningless, doesn't it?


Only if you think kinematics is meaningless because it can't give you the magnitude and direction of love, or mechanics is meaningless because it can't give you a value for the moral power of virginity.

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,12:49   

PuckSR,

I already delineated between the definition of conception that shall be used in the debate.  Afterall, it is self-evidently false to claim that "human life does not begin at the beginning."  Unless of course, you maintain that human life does not have a beginning.  

When does a house become a house?  I imagine there could be many different answers, but whatever they are they don't have much relevance as to when your son or daughter become your son and daughter and therefore protected from the "might makes right" ethos of their mother and her doctor.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,12:52   

ericmurphy,

Then take yourself out of the debate.  You apparently have nothing meaningful to add to this meaningless debate.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,12:56   

Quote (thordaddy @ Mar. 31 2006,18:52)
ericmurphy,

Then take yourself out of the debate.  You apparently have nothing meaningful to add to this meaningless debate.

That'd make two of us, TD.

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

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

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,13:01   

Thordaddy....

You apparently have misunderstood a very important part of this entire conversation....

I agree with you...for completely different reasons...
I think that the moment that life begins is not a definable moment...but that it does begin.  I believe in the sanctity of life...including nonhuman life.

I am strongly pro-life, and i agree with your logic of erring on the side of caution....

We diverge at the point that you claim that science has a definative answer to this question and refuses to discuss it because it is politically incorrect....

To science the question of the house and the human life are similiar...almost identical...
While I agree the question of human life is far more important than that of the house...the point of the analogy was to point out to you the absurdity of your position.

It is almost impossible to determine with any degree of certainty when life begins....this would be a fact
We should err on the side of caution...this is an opinion
We should protect life at the conception...this is an opinion

Everyone here will agree that you are entitled to your opinions...
But opinions are not scientific...

I was told in my science class as a child how a zygote was produced...as are most children...
I was also introduced to the incredibly complex issue of defining "living"...as were most children...

Science does not help anyone deal with the issue of abortion...at best it can tell us when an entity comes into existence...at worst it informs us that the entity is far from "human".  It cannot speak to us of the morality of killing such an entity...
Science cannot even tell us if it is immoral to kill a baby...

Science doesnt deal with morality...philosophers/theologians deal in this area...and you should most likely discuss this with one of them

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,13:21   

PuckSR opines,

Quote
You apparently have misunderstood a very important part of this entire conversation....

I agree with you...for completely different reasons...
I think that the moment that life begins is not a definable moment...but that it does begin.  I believe in the sanctity of life...including nonhuman life.


So from this you must conclude that YOUR LIFE either began before or after conception.  Do you have an idea?

Quote
I am strongly pro-life, and i agree with your logic of erring on the side of caution....


But I am not erring on the side of caution.  I am not choosing the safe route over the risking one.  I'm choosing the risking one over the safe one.

Quote
We diverge at the point that you claim that science has a definative answer to this question and refuses to discuss it because it is politically incorrect....


I didn't claim science has a definitive answer.  Clearly, it doesn't.  The question is whether liberals are using the cover of science to obfuscate on an answer in order to rationalize abortion?

Quote
To science the question of the house and the human life are similiar...almost identical...
While I agree the question of human life is far more important than that of the house...the point of the analogy was to point out to you the absurdity of your position.


If you can pinpoint how claiming that "human life begins at conception" is an absurd point, please do?  You've already conceded human life has a beginning and unless you claim that life started before conception then we must assume that is began at or after conception.

Quote
It is almost impossible to determine with any degree of certainty when life begins....this would be a fact
We should err on the side of caution...this is an opinion
We should protect life at the conception...this is an opinion


Almost impossible... therefore NOT impossible?

Quote
Everyone here will agree that you are entitled to your opinions...
But opinions are not scientific...

I was told in my science class as a child how a zygote was produced...as are most children...
I was also introduced to the incredibly complex issue of defining "living"...as were most children...

Science does not help anyone deal with the issue of abortion...at best it can tell us when an entity comes into existence...at worst it informs us that the entity is far from "human".  It cannot speak to us of the morality of killing such an entity...
Science cannot even tell us if it is immoral to kill a baby...

Science doesnt deal with morality...philosophers/theologians deal in this area...and you should most likely discuss this with one of them


But you still haven't answered the question.  What evidence, scientific or otherwise, has you conclude that human life begins anywhere other than at conception?"

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,13:31   

Quote
But you still haven't answered the question.  What evidence, scientific or otherwise, has you conclude that human life begins anywhere other than at conception?"


What evidence do you have to conclude that it does begin at conception?

Philosophically I could claim that you are not a truly living, breathing human being until you can communicate...
If consciousness makes you living, and consciousness by your definition is being self-aware...you cannot be self aware until you communicate to someone else

Quote
If you can pinpoint how claiming that "human life begins at conception" is an absurd point, please do?  You've already conceded human life has a beginning and unless you claim that life started before conception then we must assume that is began at or after conception.


Im sorry...but where did i concede that human life had a specific point of beginning?
It must have a beginning...but you assume that a beginning implies a certain moment....im claiming that between the time a zygote is a created and the time brain function begins to occur...human life begins

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,13:31   

Quote
I assume you are still sticking to the original question that INCLUDED A FIRE.  Therefore, my CHOICE would be based on that FIRE.  Do you have a location for the fire as it relates to the baby and embryos?

PS Can we assume that the FROZEN embryos aren't too close to the FIRE?
Wow. You're really determined to avoid the question, and yet not admit that you're avoiding the question, aren't you?

You can assume that you've got time to get EITHER the two-month old out, or the thermos out, NOT both, and that whatever is left in the building is toast. Whether it's a fire, flood, or the fact that "pro-life" loonies have planted a bomb in the adjoining clinic DOESN'T MATTER.

--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
steve_h



Posts: 533
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,13:46   

Is a zygote capable of suffering? Is the woman who carries it?  At which point does the zygote's right to a miserable existence on earth and the likelihood of a future in underscored's brimstone-and-torture-land(*) - as opposed to its otherwise guaranteed one-ness with him and eternal cosmic bliss - outweigh the mother's right to her freedom?

(*) I wanted to write "####" but it got hashed-out, and I was afraid it might get confused with a naughty word of some sort.

  
avocationist



Posts: 173
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,13:48   

Thor,

Would I be right to presume you believe in a soul, and are Christian? If so, why do you concern yourself so much about the CNS and brain?

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,14:00   

This is a very important topic to me, and if we can't talk about it here, where can we? I also like to see people who are otherwise quite rational and non-religious squirm around, commit logical fallacies and rely on very religious-sounding arguments trying to defend their position.

The only scientific, logical, moral and legal conclusion that can be reached is that an embryo in the womb, a zygote, even a fertilized human egg is a legal person with the same rights as a child on the sidewalk. Abortion is murder.

How can I say so? Quite easily.

Scientifically and logically, the fertilized egg is only human. It will not grow into a gazelle or a star fish.

Morally and legally, the babe in arms is a human, deserving of protection from harm. In the birth canal, the babe is not substantially different than moments later. So, going backwards in development, eventually, we reach the fertilized egg, without any specific event that distinguishes it from the babe in the birth canal. Yes, there are gradual changes from fertilized egg to baby ready for birth, but nothing in the embryonic development of a fetus creates a moral difference between one day and the next.

But we already know that scientifically and logically, the fertilized egg is human, so if we withhold moral and legal protection from the egg, then morality and the law are trumping science! Science says person A, standing here, is human, and person B, in the womb, is also human. But the law, following our moral lead, can say that person A is human and person B, while human, doesn't deserve the same protection as person A, because a certain non-scientific milestone has not been passed.

It’s true we already do that even with humans outside of the womb. Some humans are allowed to kill others in self-defense. Some humans are allowed to kill others as punishment for certain crimes. Some humans are allowed to kill others who are designated as political enemies (or just unfortunate bystanders of such actions, a.k.a. "collateral damage").

And some humans are allowed to kill others because the birth of one of those others may be a health threat to the mother, or may just be inconvenient for the mother or some people.

Of course there are natural causes for abortions. They are no more and no less the subject of moral or legal worry than any other natural calamities.

But there is only one moral and legal instance when human-caused abortion is justified: When the mother would likely die from the pregnancy or birth.

All other cases that you will cite are just a matter of inconvenience: Even rape, even incest.

Abortion after rape is moral cowardice because raising a child of a rape would create a wonderful life as the antithesis of the terrible crime.

Incest leads to discussions of developmental disabilities: If there is justification for killing a baby from an incestuous relationship because of the nearly certain potential for developmental disabilities, then there is equal justification for killing a baby tested to have Down’s Syndrome, a crack baby or such. My challenge to the reader is this: Distinguish your arguments from eugenics.

My alternative? If someone wants an abortion: They should be allowed to have it. Then they should be sterilized. The exception would be for abortions to save the mother’s life. This applies to both parents, not just the mother.

Wow! Pretty draconian, huh? How could I say such a thing!

Try this: Since abortion is murder, and our society is willing to incarcerate murderers for life, even to kill them, sterilization is actually a lenient punishment.

The people who chose the abortion, mother and father, have shown that they consider their convenience to be more important than the life of a child, so why not make their lives perfectly convenient? They never have to worry about “untimely accidents” again. If they want kids in the future – adopt! There are lots and lots of perfectly good kids literally dying for a home.

I’ll attempt to cut off some arguments right away: I’m an atheist. I have two kids of my own, and will adopt others in the next five years. I’m neither a “conservative” nor a “liberal,” more like a libertarian. Abortion is not just a women’s issue – That leads to the logical fallacy that the father is responsible for co-raising the child, but has no rights for protecting the child’s life.

If you say that it’s a legal issue, not something to be dealt with in the realm of science -  Then I say legal issues are still founded on the “sciences” of logic and ethics. So make logical and ethical arguments against my conclusions.

Have fun!

  
steve_h



Posts: 533
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,14:03   

Quote (Russell @ Mar. 31 2006,19:31)
You can assume that you've got time to get EITHER the two-month old out, or the thermos out, NOT both, and that whatever is left in the building is toast.

And that there is no time to hang around asking philosophical questions. Any stalling results in the death of the two month old and the end of the contents of the thermos. Act!

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,14:28   

Spike...how about taking a Kantian approach to ethics....

lets minimize the suffering...and if the mother rationally concludes that the best way in which to minimize suffering is an abortion, then we respect her decision???

As long as her motivation is not eugenics but rational ethics...we should be ok...right?

Quote
Science says person A, standing here, is human, and person B, in the womb, is also human.


Actually this is a bit misleading...science says that B is a mixture of cells in the human body, completely indistinguishable from a number of other things(other organisms)...except that it has the particular genetic structure of a human..

You are approaching this situation incorrectly.
It is human, because if you asked a scientist to tell you what it was..he would analyze the DNA and tell you that it was human.  He, however, could not distinguish anything that granted this entity 'human' characterstics except DNA.

Of course...the same argument could be made for ugly babies.  They might be incredibly hairy babies that look like apes...this is one of the reasons i dont like killing apes...

The sanctity of human life is at best a vague concept...you readily admit that we already have a long list of exceptions, and that we create new ones or destroy old ones depending on the culture.

One moral rule that remains constant...we do not kill functional human beings.  We can kill the old, the dying, those who wish to die, even those who we decide deserve to die...but all of the rationales are based around the idea that the human is no longer functional to society.

If you want to take the purely moral/philosophical stance...there is no imperative to protect the unborn...they have yet to function...

This gets cloudy because functionality becomes a rather vague area...but it is most definately not a quality of the zygote.  The idea that we are protecting something because it might later become functional is absurd.  A suicidal man may later become functional...but he has every right to die.

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,14:29   

Lifeboat ethics! Whoo-hooh!

I'll answer: When it's a choice between a kid standing there and fertilized eggs - I'll go for the kid.

Here's one for you guys:

Your house is burning and your two kids, Ang and Eng are inside. You manage to save Ang, but you know that if you go back, trying to save Eng, you WILL die.

Most parents would go back, orphaning Ang.

Let's make it a little more interesting: Let's say just before you enter the building, you know for certain that if you go in, you will die, but that your orphaned kid will grow up to be a Crack-Dealing Gangsta who votes Republican, but if you live, he will win the Nobel prize in Medicine for curing AIDS. In his speech he will say, "I did it for Eng!"

Now what would you do?

Extra points if you remember two famous people named Ang & Eng.

Double extra points if you know, and answer this question: If you saw Ang & Eng in your womb durin gthe ultrasound (all men are transformed into women for this question) would you have an abortion? Why?

  
jupiter



Posts: 97
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,14:33   

Thordaddy, you're abusing this forum. You remind me of Cinderella's step-sisters -- vanity compels you to force your argument into someplace it doesn't belong.

"When does life begin?" you ask. "At conception," you answer. You pose the question here and yet you've demonstrated your double-riveted leakproof polyurethaned resistance to any answer other than your own. Your question isn't motivated by genuine philosphical inquiry, or even idle stoner wankery. You're here to force the godless scientists to submit to your truth, which is that abortion is murder.

I won't indulge your self-obsession here but if you're sincerely interested in a debate over abortion, feel free to email me. As for AtBC, it's been pointed out to you repeatedly, but here it is once more: Legislation and science are separate and distinct fields. Further -- and this will shock you -- our laws aren't determined by either science or morality. Adultery is legal. The 14th Amendment isn't based on DNA evidence.

Please stop your ridiculous behavior.

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,14:55   

PuckSR,

I need to apologize right from the start. I used to be very academically astute with philosophy. I used to know all the various philosophical schools, but I can no longer tell Kant from Spinoza or the Utilitarians. Nowadays, what most people consider axiomatic, I have to have explained to me.

Please explain what it means to "minimize suffering" and where we can draw the line between doing so for the good of the child and mother, and doing so for the mere convenience of the mother.

If you want to argue for functionality, then you'll have to lead me by the hand. I don't really know what that means.

I provided the counter-examples of societally-condoned murder because I figured others would bring them up. But only agree with self-defense and suicide, and only because I want to reserve those rights for myself.

I'm not trying to be coy, or anything. I've just found that if you try to discuss ideas with others starting at the tree-tops, rather than the roots, you end up arguing points that neither person is really making.

I will concede that using "human" in this context is slightly misleading, because human in the scientific sense is different than in the moral and legal sense.

But for those of us who do not receive our morality handed down to us on tablets from a mountain top, we have to use science and logic to at least help us define our moral terms and develop our moral codes. I certainly rely on what I have learned about the world through science to make some of the moral decisions I do. And I try to use logic as well.

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,15:03   

Jupe -

If our laws are not determined by morality, then what do we use?

I'm one who maintains that our scientific understanding of the world does color our moral choices. 200 years ago, and less, many people could make scientific arguments for racism, and no one could really counter them because as far as we knew, they were true. Nowadays, the science at least supports the idea that all people are of one race.

  
jupiter



Posts: 97
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,15:09   

Spike, it's Chang and Eng.

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,15:14   

Triple extra points for you! - Jupiter :p  :p  :p

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,15:51   

Sigh. This thread has degenerated into another illustration of what religious faith does to the reasoning faculties. As Dawkins wrote so eloquently:

Quote
... a fascinating, if pessimistic, conclusion about human psychology. It implies that there is no sensible limit to what the human mind is capable of believing, against any amount of contrary evidence. No evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference.


And what we've been presenting to thordaddy is evidence. As though it matters. Let us pray...

  
beervolcano



Posts: 147
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,16:04   

I think this may add to this thread:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/03/god_hates_squid.php

Quote
So, animals that contain hemoglobin (vertebrates) and therefore have red blood can be considered "living" and animals that contain hemocyanin, or other proteins (invertebrates) and therefore have blue (pink/violet or brown) blood can be considered "nonliving". This is further supported by Scripture since the Hebrew for "blood" (dawm) is derived from the Hebrew for "red" (aw-dam). And with Genesis 1:20-22 and Leviticus 11:10, there is a distinction between "living" creatures and "swarming/moving" creatures that teem in the waters. So the logical conclusion can be made that a "living" creature is one that contains red blood.


So creatures without red blood aren't living.

Then PZM hits it on the head. I think this is a better score than he may realize.

Quote
What I'd really love to see now, though, is the rhetorical squirming they'd go through when it's pointed out that human embryos do not develop red blood cells until about the 5th week of development, and therefore the early embryo, by their own definition, is not living. Heh.


The early embryo has no red blood, therefore according to the Bible, it is not living.

This page: http://groups.google.fi/group....?&hl=en

details how creatures who lack red blood are not considered living from the Biblical perspective. IOW, they have done the work of proving that decades of religious righteous indignation was all based on poor Bible study skills.

God hates squid. God also hates embryos (because they look all squishy like squid and that grosses God out.)

--------------
("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."--Jonathan Swift)

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,16:08   

Quote
This thread has degenerated into another illustration of what religious faith does to the reasoning faculties.


No...I disagree...Thordaddy is a perfect example of a person who attempts to reconcile his religious faith with the rest of the beliefs a normal person is supposed to hold.

The "creationist" has a problem.  He holds a religious belief, that he then attempts to reconcile with science/political/moral/philosophical beliefs.  Sometimes it works...and sometimes it doesn't.  I wish you guys would refrain from bashing the faithful though.

I can imagine your contempt...but there do exist rational, sane, and religiously faithful people.  Sometimes my science interferes with my religion(i.e.  morality seems to be more and more an intrinsic value to humans, more than extrinsic value.  We exhibit the same morality as many other animals, and we frequently cannot rationalize our morality as much as we would like to).  Sometimes the spheres cross paths...and you have to come to some form of reconciliation...but for the most part...they are independent belief systems.(Im not talking about the creationist who is a biologist...Im talk Ken Miller-style here)

Spike-

I find the topic of morality hugely interesting, but at the same time...I currently dismiss morality as something we can avoid.  Morality, in my opinion, is simply the result of us being social animals.(To the Daoist...this makes sense...Im not Daoist).  Religion provides an interesting extension to our natural morality, and both politics and religion provide interesting solutions to our current state of affairs.  Our morality developed in an age that didnt present us with the complex, and disconcerting moral decisions.

We were simply not designed to deal with the complexities of the abortion issue.  Is it ok to kill something that could possibly become human?  This is a foreign concept to ancient humans and other social organisms.
We know that killing is wrong, especially murder of the defenseless....but this is not killing in the conventional sense.  We are ending the life of something, but....

See the problem...everyone admits that killing a newborn is evil.  Almost everyone admits that stopping a sperm and ovum from forming a zygote is not evil.  The gray area lies in that 9 month period in between.  Its the classic question of the boat...or the paradox of the transformation(the idea that if you replaced every board in a boat...when would it become a new boat...would it become a new boat...would it be the same boat....)

So...sorry Spike...but I was just countering your logic...I wasnt actually debating one way or another.

  
jupiter



Posts: 97
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,16:24   

So where do I redeem these points?

If our laws are not determined by morality, then what do we use?


Ask any lawyer. We use precedent -- what's worked before (i.e., common law) -- with adaptations to meet changed circumstances. Laws regulate behavior, so they have to be specific; laws apply to vast numbers of individuals and situations, so they have to be flexible.

Sharia law is impeccably moral. Don't know about you, but I'm very, very thankful that our legal system is not.

Of course science influences law, viz. DNA testing and the Innocence Project. Which does not mean that our laws are based on, or dependent on, science. As I said, the 14th Amendment wasn't based on a breakthrough in clinical research. Should we have waited for scientific confirmation?

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,16:34   

Quote
And what we've been presenting to thordaddy is evidence. As though it matters. Let us pray...


as i started in the other thread, apparently research indicates the value of prayer is overrated.

I think it would have similar efficacy whether used as an aid in healing, or as an aid to promote acceptance of rational thought.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 31 2006,16:42   

Quote
Let's make it a little more interesting: Let's say just before you enter the building, you know for certain that if you go in, you will die, but that your orphaned kid will grow up to be a Crack-Dealing Gangsta who votes Republican, but if you live, he will win the Nobel prize in Medicine for curing AIDS


well, winning the nobel is all well and good, but will he vote democrat?

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,00:43   

PuckSR opines,

Quote
What evidence do you have to conclude that it does begin at conception?


My evidence is that MY conception was the beginning of the development of my CNS and the consciousness that apparently comes with it.  There is NO EVIDENCE for me to make any unnecessary assumptions as to when I became human life.  It is UNDENIABLE that the zygotes that are now my children began their lives at conception.  There is NO EVIDENCE of the scientific type that can conclude that the zygotes were not my children.  To have aborted them would have been to kill my children.  Idon't see any way around this.

Quote
Philosophically I could claim that you are not a truly living, breathing human being until you can communicate...
If consciousness makes you living, and consciousness by your definition is being self-aware...you cannot be self aware until you communicate to someone else


You're making the claim that consciousness determines human life.  But consciousness cannot exist without the life itself.  Clearly, in determining human life, consciouness CANNOT be more important than the human life itself.

Quote
Im sorry...but where did i concede that human life had a specific point of beginning?
It must have a beginning...but you assume that a beginning implies a certain moment....im claiming that between the time a zygote is a created and the time brain function begins to occur...human life begins


You conceded it here,

[QUOTE]I think that the moment that life begins is not a definable moment...but that it does begin.

But of course I actually said this,

[QUOTE]You've already conceded human life has a beginning and unless you claim that life started before conception then we must assume that is began at or after conception.

So I didn't say you define a "specific point of beginning," but rather said that you "concede human life has a beginning."  Of course, a beginning is a specific point of time.

Again, want evidence do you have that human life does not begin at conception?  I see NO EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE and therefore assume that human life begins at conception.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,00:53   

Russell opines,

Quote
Wow. You're really determined to avoid the question, and yet not admit that you're avoiding the question, aren't you?

You can assume that you've got time to get EITHER the two-month old out, or the thermos out, NOT both, and that whatever is left in the building is toast. Whether it's a fire, flood, or the fact that "pro-life" loonies have planted a bomb in the adjoining clinic DOESN'T MATTER.


I'm not determined to avoid the question.  I'm determined to get specifics about a hypothetical scenario that has little relation to reality.

Am I related to any parties involved?

Is the 2-month old OBL's son?

You're a biologist and teach about life and yet can't even define it?  What does it matter who I save?  They are equally insignificant to science, no?

PS  I'm currently questioning a universal pro-life stance.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

To PuckSR, jupiter, Flint, etc.

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

There has been no discussion of religion, beliefs or faith in any posts other than your own posts complaining about religious arguments interfering in this debate.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,01:35   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 01 2006,07:03)
Each of you do yourself no favors if you insist on assuming that all those that think abortion is the killng of human life do so out of religious motivation.  

I would agree with you on that point. It is unlikely that everyone who objects to abortion are doing so for religious reasons.

I doubt it is due to scientific reasons though.

The only valid reasons to object are on ethical/moral grounds. Personaly I would say give the pregnant woman the choice.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,01:50   

Stephen Elliot,

My decision is based on many things and the science is certainly a factor.  

I have stated in no uncertain terms that there is NO EVIDENCE to suggest that human life and the consciousness that helps define it began anywhere other than at conception.  There is no reason to make any further assumptions about the beginning of human life.  The assumptions made are entirely political and used as justification for abortion.  

If you disagree then state the evidence that LEADS YOU AWAY from conceding that human life begins at conception along with the consciousness that further defines it.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,02:02   

The problem I have here is defining a human life. Basically I can't do it.

You want to "draw a line" saying this side is a human and the other side isn't. I cannot do that.

At a guess I think humanity emerges slowly during pregnancy. I would consider a fetus is conscious before birth but not at conception. I believe a brain needs to develop before consciousness can be acheived.

Now why don't you answer the very simple question that you have so far dodged?

Given the choice of saving a single 2 month old baby or several hundred human zygotes. Which would be your choice?

It is simple for me. I would save the baby.

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,02:28   

Thordaddy is just trolling around, guys.
We've repeatedly adressed his "stated in no uncertain terms" arguments. He's repeatedly ignored us.
When backed into a corner, he starts to argue about something else entirely, responding to something else someone previously said. Then, after awhile, he posts the same drivel again.
When we asked him to stop hijacking the "post-ID" thread and make his own (we even made one for him) he ignored us. When he had no more room to back out in that thread, and had to face our questions directly, he made not one, but two new threads where he posted his same old gibberish from the beginning (I'm sorry, I meant "conception"  :p ).

My guess is he's not even a deluded fundie ID advocate: He's just your regular dishonest troll. Leave him alone. I know I should have done sooner.

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

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

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

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,02:42   

Faid,
I know you are correct. Somehow I can't help myself. I must be an addict. Or maybe my rose tinted glasses need to be removed. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I still expect people to respond to rationality.

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,04:14   

I'm sorry, Thor. You dithered too long. They're all dead now.

And what a perfect metaphor for all your posing here. A total waste of time, never getting anywhere.

I'm with Faid - outta here.

--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,09:04   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 01 2006,06:53)
Is the 2-month old OBL's son?

You know however, inanity aside, it would be interesting to speculate as to why exactly this was important to Trolldaddy...

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

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

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

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,09:09   

Quote (Faid @ April 01 2006,15:04)
Quote (thordaddy @ April 01 2006,06:53)
Is the 2-month old OBL's son?

You know however, inanity aside, it would be interesting to speculate as to why exactly this was important to Trolldaddy...

I doubt that it is. Just another excuse to dodge a question. Very anoying. Let us hope that TD never joins the fire department. Everyone would be dead before he could decide which hose to turn on.

  
MidnightVoice



Posts: 380
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,10:00   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ April 01 2006,08:42)
Faid,
I know you are correct. Somehow I can't help myself. I must be an addict. Or maybe my rose tinted glasses need to be removed. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I still expect people to respond to rationality.

42

:D

--------------
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,10:05   

Quote
My evidence is that MY conception was the beginning of the development of my CNS and the consciousness that apparently comes with it.


But...there were no neural cells present....so couldnt we just as easily say that the creation of an ovum is the beginning of the development of your CNS?

Quote
It is UNDENIABLE that the zygotes that are now my children began their lives at conception.


It is very deniable...since you cannot even seem to give us a strict definition for life.....

Quote
So I didn't say you define a "specific point of beginning," but rather said that you "concede human life has a beginning."  Of course, a beginning is a specific point of time.


My point was that in the case of developing systems, that are transitioning from one to another, or are slowly being created...."speicific point of beginning" is not applicable...of course you can feel free to debate this....

a beginning is not always a specific point in time...and I have pointed that out to you several times.  I have mentioned houses, biological systems, and boats....
What is this twisted fascination with defining a word on your own terms and then refusing to use the common definition of the word?

Quote
Again, want evidence do you have that human life does not begin at conception?  I see NO EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE and therefore assume that human life begins at conception.


This is your point and your wrong...you arbitrarly chose conception as the "beginning of development" of being human.  Of course you could have chosen any point along the causal chain from the moment the mother developed ovaries to the point at which the baby started moving in the womb.  You just decided that you wanted to choose conception...because it is the first time that 2 become 1.

So...as you said...you assume that human life begins at conception...because you want it to.  There is no logic to this position.  A zygote lacks every single feature that would normally classify an organism as sentient life.  You ignore this.  You ignore the fact that a zygote is not even capable of controlled movement....yet a sperm is in fact capable...so shouldnt a sperm(which more closely resembles a human) be considered the "beginning"?

You point to the lack of evidence in support of any other point of origin of humanity...and conclude that you must therefore be correct.  You are simply attempting to rationally validate your personal position...and despite all of the information we have kindly thrown your way....you ignore it all and plod on ignorantly.

Good luck to you...but Im not going to argue with someone who thinks I am challenging his beliefs any longer...

I will never change the way you, or anyone else believes...but if you are a sane person...I can point out the fallacies in your reasoning.  I can correct your logical mistakes.  I can provide you with better information....

But you have forsaken all of those...because they attack your beliefs....
Simple, simple, simple man...standing in a room with his ears covered until it is his turn to speak.

  
Jay Ray



Posts: 92
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,10:27   

Quote
My motivations have nothing to do with religion, but instead have to do with having children and following the science.


Mmhmm.  I hear you paying lip service to secular motivations.  

You'd have us believe that it is a pure coincidence that your conclusions align so tightly with religious fundamentalism?  And you'd also have us believe that your conclusions are based on science?

Oooookay.

If so, then what does this mean?

Quote
I digress, science, by your own implication, cannot give us an answer on issues of OOL.  Now who should we look to for the answer?  Science is out of the game.


First, is science out of the game or not?

Second, if it is out of the game, then who should we look to for the answers?

From where I sit, you've just been outright busted in a multiple offense.  How much better for all of us--especially yourself--if you cut with the BS.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,12:43   

Stephen Elliot opines,

Quote
The problem I have here is defining a human life. Basically I can't do it.


If you can't define human life then how in the heck have we defined life in general?  If we can't even define that which DEFINE ALL OTHER THINGS then all those others things are up for eternal review.

Quote
You want to "draw a line" saying this side is a human and the other side isn't. I cannot do that.


I don't WANT to drawn a line but am FORCED to draw a line.  You simply use science as your scapegoat.  But again, if science and Biology/evolution in particular can't draw the line that defines human life then they can draw NO LINE defining ANY ENTITY.  How can we claim evolution to be a fact when those things that evolve are undefinable?

Quote
At a guess I think humanity emerges slowly during pregnancy. I would consider a fetus is conscious before birth but not at conception. I believe a brain needs to develop before consciousness can be acheived.


You guess?  If a fetus is conscious then it had a lower degree of consciousness before it was a fetus, no?  Or, does consciousness spontaneously emerge in a fetus?  There is no evidence of spontaneous consciousness in a fetus that I'm aware of.  Does the whole brain need be developed before consciousness?  Again, I think the answer is an unequivocal NO.

Quote
Now why don't you answer the very simple question that you have so far dodged?


First, I already answered it.  I would save that which was feasible to save.  Remember, in the original question there was a fire.  If I had a good chance of dying in this fire, I would save neither as my duty is to the well-being of my children.  Fortunately for you, you have no moral dilemna.  You simply define the 100 embryos out of existence.  Yet, your definition is based on nothing more than your own personal values and certainly not scientifically-based.

Quote
Given the choice of saving a single 2 month old baby or several hundred human zygotes. Which would be your choice?

It is simple for me. I would save the baby.


It's simple for you because you choose ignorance over insight.  You unilaterally define the 100 embryos out of existence.  But what if those 100 embryos represented the LAST of the Elliot lineage?  What would you do then?  Choose extinction?

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,13:10   

PuckSR opines,

Quote
But...there were no neural cells present....so couldnt we just as easily say that the creation of an ovum is the beginning of the development of your CNS?


There are two things wrong with this.  First, are you claiming neural cells are conscious?  Secondly, if the sperm and egg are consider the beginning of new human life then we must follow the "life come from life" scenario.  This means that you are really nothing more than an individuated outgrowth of ONE very big and very old LIVING ENTITY.  We can just as well say that your parents who produced the egg and sperm that produced your CNS was the start of your life.  We must then necessarily go all the way back to the beginning and claim that's were YOUR CNS began its development.  Silly, I say.

Quote
It is very deniable...since you cannot even seem to give us a strict definition for life.....


Are you claiming my children weren't the specific zygotes that came together at their conception?

Quote
My point was that in the case of developing systems, that are transitioning from one to another, or are slowly being created...."speicific point of beginning" is not applicable...of course you can feel free to debate this....


All development requires a beginning.  We agree that there are transition periods in the human life cycle.  What we can't agree on is when is started.  I think we've already shown the problems with claiming no beginning or a beginning before conception.  That only leaves a beginning at conception or after conception.  I see NO EVIDENCE to suggest is starts anywhere other than at conception.  If you have evidence it starts after conception then present it.

Quote
a beginning is not always a specific point in time...and I have pointed that out to you several times.  I have mentioned houses, biological systems, and boats....
What is this twisted fascination with defining a word on your own terms and then refusing to use the common definition of the word?


A beginning is not a specific point in time?  What?  What is it then?

Quote
This is your point and your wrong...you arbitrarly chose conception as the "beginning of development" of being human.  Of course you could have chosen any point along the causal chain from the moment the mother developed ovaries to the point at which the baby started moving in the womb.  You just decided that you wanted to choose conception...because it is the first time that 2 become 1.


I already been through the ABSURDITY of claiming that YOUR LIFE began before your conception.  If YOUR LIFE started with the making of your mom's ovaries then there is no reason to say that it didn't REALLY start with your grandma's ovaries and then all the way back to the original living entity.  You are a mere outgrowth of one very big and very old SINGLE ENTITY.

Quote
So...as you said...you assume that human life begins at conception...because you want it to.  There is no logic to this position.  A zygote lacks every single feature that would normally classify an organism as sentient life.  You ignore this.  You ignore the fact that a zygote is not even capable of controlled movement....yet a sperm is in fact capable...so shouldnt a sperm(which more closely resembles a human) be considered the "beginning"?


Then you've just stepped on your last argument.  If the zygote lacks then certainly the sperm and egg lack, too.  You can't possibly claim a transitional life cycle and then claim the zygote represent LESS development than sperm and egg.

Quote
You point to the lack of evidence in support of any other point of origin of humanity...and conclude that you must therefore be correct.  You are simply attempting to rationally validate your personal position...and despite all of the information we have kindly thrown your way....you ignore it all and plod on ignorantly.


What information?  Sperm and egg are more developed than a zygote?  Your life really began with your mother's ovaries which means it really began with your granny's ovaries whcih really means it began with some apes ovaries?  Your life could have only began AT conception or AFTER conception and yet you have NO EVIDENCE to LEAD YOU AWAY from AT conception.  If you do, present it!

Quote
Good luck to you...but Im not going to argue with someone who thinks I am challenging his beliefs any longer...

I will never change the way you, or anyone else believes...but if you are a sane person...I can point out the fallacies in your reasoning.  I can correct your logical mistakes.  I can provide you with better information....

But you have forsaken all of those...because they attack your beliefs....
Simple, simple, simple man...standing in a room with his ears covered until it is his turn to speak.


You're not attacking my beliefs.  You feel like I'm attacking yours.  And of course you are right!  I see no reason or rational in your arguments.  I simply see someone that pleads ignorance and thereby retains a solid PERSONAL justification for abortion.

  
steve_h



Posts: 533
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 01 2006,14:00   

TD, What does the human zygote have that the equivalent in a dog or a rat or a fish does not?  As I see it, the only thing that it currently has is potential, but it is not currently more conscious, more capable of suffering, more intelligent, morally superior, or in any way  'better' than those others. Every human sperm and egg has potential but we allow millions and lots respectively to go down the pan (or whereever) without undue worry, so why kick up a fuss here?  As I see it, the only thing you might claim for the human zygote apart from potential that the others don't have is a soul, but that's religion.  What is being lost that wouldn't also be lost if the sperm and eggs donors had decided to go to church instead of having sex?

Also, I missed your answer to the "who would you save" diliemma and can't find it. Could you repeat it for me please?

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,00:41   

steve h asks,

Quote
TD, What does the human zygote have that the equivalent in a dog or a rat or a fish does not?


Obviously something or else you wouldn't have called it a human zygote.

Quote
As I see it, the only thing that it currently has is potential, but it is not currently more conscious, more capable of suffering, more intelligent, morally superior, or in any way  'better' than those others.


If you don't see your potential son and/or daughter as anything better than a dog, rat or fish then I suggest you get your abortion.  

Quote
Every human sperm and egg has potential but we allow millions and lots respectively to go down the pan (or whereever) without undue worry, so why kick up a fuss here?


Didn't we already dispense of this argument?  What does a human sperm have potential for?  What does a human egg have potential for?  They have NO potential until conception.

Quote
As I see it, the only thing you might claim for the human zygote apart from potential that the others don't have is a soul, but that's religion.


Once again we have an anti-fundie proclaiming fundie arguments that haven't been made.  Have I said anything about "souls?"

Quote
What is being lost that wouldn't also be lost if the sperm and eggs donors had decided to go to church instead of having sex?


What?

Quote
Also, I missed your answer to the "who would you save" diliemma and can't find it. Could you repeat it for me please?


I would save which ever life was more feasible in the case of an emergency knowing that I am under no obligation to risk death to save another.  I reserve that action for my children and those closest to me.

  
hehe



Posts: 59
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,01:24   

Quote
I assume you are still sticking to the original question that INCLUDED A FIRE.  Therefore, my CHOICE would be based on that FIRE.  Do you have a location for the fire as it relates to the baby and embryos?

PS Can we assume that the FROZEN embryos aren't too close to the FIRE?


That you even have to ascertain these "conditions" shows that you're potentially a murderous moonbatty thug. And that's the point of this little hypothetical.

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,03:53   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 02 2006,06:41)
If you don't see your potential son and/or daughter as anything better than a dog, rat or fish then I suggest you get your abortion.

Coming from someone who claimed with a straight face that his actual newborn children (whose existense I seriously doubt) were no more concious than a comatose person, this is twice as hilarious.

For those who still have the patience and stamina to try and converse with trolldaddy: It's entirely possible to answer to his "arguments" by simply copy/pasting your previous comments. Saves a lot of effort.

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

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

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

  
steve_h



Posts: 533
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,04:48   

All non-answers, TD. As far as I am concerned, your "Troll" status is confirmed - I can be a little slow to catch on sometimes. If any one else, from any side of the discussion, thinks I have wrongly dismissed any honest answers I will be happy to elaborate, but I will not be feeding TD directly any more.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,06:23   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 01 2006,18:43)
Stephen Elliot opines,

...

Quote
Given the choice of saving a single 2 month old baby or several hundred human zygotes. Which would be your choice?

It is simple for me. I would save the baby.


It's simple for you because you choose ignorance over insight.  You unilaterally define the 100 embryos out of existence.  But what if those 100 embryos represented the LAST of the Elliot lineage?  What would you do then?  Choose extinction?

Thordaddy,

I did not define 100 embryos out of existence.

The choice was simple. You have the ability to choose to save either one 2 month old baby or several hundred human zygotes.

You know that the situation and personal relationships are unimportant to the question.

You know for a fact a 2 month old baby can feel pain. You do not know that of zygotes. FGS You claimed that you could not detect consciousness in your own newborn.

  
normdoering



Posts: 287
Joined: July 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,07:35   

Quote (hehe @ Mar. 31 2006,03:39)
But this is just semantics.

And it looks like fairly bad semantics to me. Life began over 3 billion years ago, conception is just another process in the continuation of life.

What is left out of that simple sentence is what is actually meant: a specific human individual. When can it  be said that "a specific human individual" begins its life. The process doesn't begin with conception. Before conception, egg and sperm must be produced, each with their own load of genetic code -- why don't sperm have a right to life? (because we can't afford to give it to them?)

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

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

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

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

hehe,

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

Faid,

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

Steve h,

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

Stephen Elliot,

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

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

Normdoering,

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

Flint,

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

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

thordaddy:

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

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

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

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

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

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

Flint opines,

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

thordaddy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  
Chris Hyland



Posts: 705
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

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

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

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

Chris:

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

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

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

  
Chris Hyland



Posts: 705
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

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

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

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

Chris,

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

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

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

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

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

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

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

Way to go, Thordaddy.

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

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

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

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

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


Choice to dispose of someone you find inconvenient.

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

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

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

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

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

Spike:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

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

Flint,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

Spike:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

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

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

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

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

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

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

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

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

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

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

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

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

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

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

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

PuckSR,

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I try it out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

Flint opines,

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


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

thordaddy asks,

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

Flint says,

Precedents man... You contemptible human life form!

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

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

Faid,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

thordaddy;

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

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

People disagreeing with one another.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The moral argument is already strong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[quote]You are claiming that human life is undefiniable

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

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If you don't know who or what you are

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

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

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

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


Not quite what I was talking about....

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope this helps....

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

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

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

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

I don't.

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

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

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

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

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

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

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

Flint

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


Two points:

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

2. When does a social boon trump individual rights?

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


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

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we have granted equality and human rights to all citizens


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

Am I a religious fanatic, too?

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

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

PuckSR,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morality exists for that very purpose.

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

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

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

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

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

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

Spike:

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

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2. When does a social boon trump individual rights?

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

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

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

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

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Am I a religious fanatic, too?

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

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

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

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

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

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

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

Flint,

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

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

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

Then we had to do what kings told us to.

Now we have to do what society tells us to.

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

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

[Emphasis added]

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

Inside the womb, a fertilized egg is developing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,17:09   

The original thread started when I said that "life begins at conception" and in which was further defined as "human life starts at conception."  This in turn means that each one of us discussing this issue began our individual lives at conception.

It was stated that this is incorrect.  Several alternate answers were given.  

1. Life began before conception (the "live" egg and ovum/ "life from life" argument).

2. Life had No beginning (hence, OUR LIVES sprang from nonlife or we are eternal beings).

3. Life began after conception (the consciouness/CNS development/birth/viability/economic/choice/etc. argument)


The first 2 arguments can be easily disposed of.  The third argument is said to be devoid of moral and scientific arguments.  

Whereas, universal morality can't extend to the individiual WOMEN in the conduct of her child in utero and science can't define human life, i.e. person from nonpersonhood.

It is easy to see how these 2 assumptions feed readily into each other.  Anywhere scientists see conflict with their OWN PERSONAL VALUES they will be inclined to forsake science.  And anywhere scientists can create perceptions of ambiguity, individuals will readily exploit this ignorance.  This is the nature of the abortion paradigm.

"Clump of cells" no longer sells to those that are following the advances in sonogram technology.

If "pain" is the argument against animal cruelty then animal activists are clearly ignoring another suffering "animal."  43 million dead to date (just in the US).

If consciousness is the argument for human life then show us the self-aware newborn with the underdeveloped CNS and the science that says he/she wasn't conscious before birth.  Or tell us why this newborn cannot be aborted?

If birth is the criteria then this represents nothing more than the "might makes right" ethos.  The mother simply retains absolute control over her child because it resides within her and is entirely dependent upon her graciousness.

But what do we know?  We know that we are but a "clump of cells" also.

We know that the child in utero feels pain and reacts to stimuli showing developing signs of consciousness.

We see little sign that there are less "unwanted" children or any general elevation of compassion for our children.

We claim that an abolition of responsibility (we call it "choice") creates less conflict when history teaches us that the exact opposite usually unfolds.

But the question is this:

What exactly leads the scientist away from concluding that YOUR HUMAN LIFE began anywhere other than at YOUR conception?

I see absolutely NO EVIDENCE that would lead me away from this very solid scientific assumption.

In fact, for one to stay in this ambigious state leads me to the conclusion that one is existentially agnostic.  You care nothing of your own existence and thereby care nothing for the existence of those around you.  You are not at all displeased by the possibility that your mother may have aborted you, IMHO.  And you seem eerily objective about any future existential questions concerning your own children.  

If this is what "science" leads one to believe then science is clearly an insufficient tool for survival.

  
normdoering



Posts: 287
Joined: July 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,17:31   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 03 2006,22:09)
Several alternate answers were given.  

1. Life began before conception (the "live" egg and ovum/ "life from life" argument).

2. Life had No beginning (hence, OUR LIVES sprang from nonlife or we are eternal beings).

3. Life began after conception (the consciouness/CNS development/birth/viability/economic/choice/etc. argument)


The first 2 arguments can be easily disposed of.  The third argument is said to be devoid of moral and scientific arguments.

You are confusing "life" with "thinking/feeling/awareness."

So you're asking  when the mental life of each unique person begins.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,17:39   

One more time, Thordaddy (not that I think repeating this several thousand more times would penetrate your skull):

You are not discussing science here. You're discussing ethics. Science cannot answer ethical questions, any more than it can answer aesthetic questions.

God, you're a waste of bandwidth.

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,17:44   

normdoering,

No... I'm asking when YOUR LIFE began.

  
normdoering



Posts: 287
Joined: July 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,17:53   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 03 2006,22:44)
No... I'm asking when YOUR LIFE began.

It's always beginning.

I merely aquired a relatively unique genetic code at conception. If that exact same genetic code were put into another egg cell and that child were raised in Saudi Arabia or India by another family the result would be a different person than the one I am today. (though twin studies can have  spooky results when sometimes twins raised apart get similar jobs, smoke the same brand of cigarettes and dress the same.)

I'm not just my genetic code -- I am my life experiences.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,17:56   

ericmurphy,

Is a biologist a person/human being?

Is biology a scientific pursuit?

Is evolution a scientific "fact?"

So we have biologists (human beings) proposing a "fact" of life (evolution) while proclaiming ignorance on the very definition of human life?  

My question is this,

If the biologist can not readily define himself (or human life) then how has he readily defined "life" and its evolution for the rest of us?  If the biologist is not sure what in him constitutes human life then how is he sure of ANY other life or the process of its evolution?

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,18:00   

normdoering opines,

Quote
It's always beginning.


Then it's never ending.  You are a part of an enternal being and only have the illusion of individualism.

Again, I see little scientific justification for this.

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,18:34   

Well...

I was typing while PuckSR was...

I'll address the issues PuckSR has raised, then I'll shut up.

Quote
but my argument is that a lot of what your terming "morality" is just instinct....


And I tried to point out that your examples are not of "moral" acts, because a chimp can only do what chimps do, based on their chimpy instinct, a lion can only do what lions do, based on their liony instinct, etc. all throughout the animal kingdom.

By applying the scientific method, we can determine exactly what the limits are of chimp behavior, lion behavior, etc. [Trying as hard as possible not to become part of the experiment]. And once we've done so, then we can predict how chimps will react when they encounter the natural events of their chimpy worlds.

As you pointed out, humans, on the other hand, can react in nearly an infinite variety of ways when they encounter the same events. You describe how different societies apply capital punishment, even when they are equally "advanced," whatever that means.

I counter with this: Capital punishment, abortion, death with dignity, euthanasia, even traffic laws are not the cause, they are the symptoms.

Moral codes and their practical applications know as laws and societal norms are, as you-all have pointed out quite accurately, a product of social interaction. If you are all alone on a desert island, morality and law are irrelevant.

The place that I see tension is between the individual and the state, which I define as any governmental system.

In societies where the state prevails there are almost no human rights, especially for weaker members of the group. The laws range from punishing entire ethnicities for the supposed transgressions of a few, to punishing individual evil-doers for just not fitting in. The harshness of the punishments is an inverse relation to the ability of the members of the group to defend themselves from the force of the law.

In societies where individuals prevail, we have nearly perfect human rights. Those rights are codified in an objective law that any member of society can read and apply. Those laws do clearly demarcate where one person’s rights end and another person’s rights begin.

Societies with objective moral codes tend to develop more individual protections than those with subjective moral codes – as thordaddy tried to point out - laws result from the moral codes of the members of the society. If the moral codes change, then the laws change.

So here is what I propose as the “perfect” moral code and basis for all laws: The rights of the individual are paramount but not infinite. The purpose of law is to define the limits to other people’s behavior so they do not trample your rights. But the rights defended by the law are very few:

Your life is your own to dispose of as you please.
The fruits of your labor belong to you.
You can enter and exit any contractual relations you choose, whenever you choose.
You can say or do anything you like so long as you don’t interfere with the rights of others to do the above.

If you compare all the other laws and moral codes that exist to these, you will see that they all subject the individual to some arbitrary tyranny in the name of gods or “society.” Everything else is just some people trying to benefit at the expense of others.

We try to defend the rights of minorities. What minority deserves more defense than the minority of one?

We promote democracy. What is more democratic than ruling yourself without interference from others?

******** (When I put in stars like this I mean to address all readers, not just the first person I replied to.)

How does this apply to abortion? If the life of the baby is a threat to the mother’s life (not just her comfort), then the baby must go. You say the baby is innocent and should live. But if the mother dies while carrying the baby, how will the baby live?

In all other instances, the mother is violating the rights of the child.

People can try to define the child away. People can say anything they want. People can even get the bigger gang to agree with them, using force to implement their will. But, in the end, people are just sacrificing those who cannot defend themselves from the state for the benefit of an arbitrarily selected group: Women who want abortions.

But this is one idea we “as a society” have correct: Just because you want something, doesn’t make it a right.

You still have to define the time at which human life begins and rationally defend your choice.

[Sorry, ericmurphy, you may try to uncouple your ethics from reality, but the science of ethics is just as much a science as chemistry or biology. It just has a different subject and different tools.]

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,20:50   

If you wish to define life as begining at conception, what next?

You obviously wish to make abortion ilegal, but what about the other consequences of this step?

Should every miscariage now be investigated as a possible murder? Should a pregnant woman be punished for smoking or having a drink? What about a pregnant woman who is not eating a balanced diet, should she be charged with denying someone (the fetus) nutrition?

Moral activists seem to view the world in a very simplistic way, as though every choice can be divided into right/wrong or on/off.

Choices are not always simple. There often isn't a right or wrong easy to define code.

  
PuckSR



Posts: 314
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,21:08   

Quote
And I tried to point out that your examples are not of "moral" acts, because a chimp can only do what chimps do, based on their chimpy instinct, a lion can only do what lions do, based on their liony instinct, etc. all throughout the animal kingdom.


The Dao of a Chimp and the Dao of a lion

Quote
As you pointed out, humans, on the other hand, can react in nearly an infinite variety of ways when they encounter the same events.


Not quite.....
If you are riding on a train...and the train is coming to an intersection....you see 5 men trapped on the track....
you can pull a switch, and redirect the train towards another track with no one on it....what do you do?

The answer....and almost every human will you give you the same one...is that you pull the lever....

Now, what if you have a particularly angry individual....he might tell you he doesnt give a ####...and that he would just let the people die....

Now, thats not a particularly human trait either.  Animals can be conditioned to be mean and spiteful of other animals......or humans

Quote
Moral codes and their practical applications know as laws and societal norms are, as you-all have pointed out quite accurately, a product of social interaction.


Now were talking about Confucius?

I counter-
Basic morality is instinct...
All other forms of morality are extensions of basic morality
i.e.
Eating food is instinct....
Eating gourment food is an extension of that instinct that can take on entirely new dimensions....
You may eat sushi because it is a delicacy, or it is wonderfully tasteful...or a number of other reasons...
but you are still eating to fill that basic instinct...
So despite whatever "higher" notions we are attributing to an action...it must always fulfill our basic instinct....
Coffee has little nutritional value....
no one drinks only coffee...no matter how much they love it

We may have attributed higher thought to our morality, but we still are obliged to fulfill that instinctive morality...

If you think this is just pointless rambling...consider something for a moment.  No one says...murdering unborn babies is ok....
Almost everyone who supports abortion considers the unborn as nonhuman or at least not true living humans....
No one says that it is ok to murder babies because murder is instinctively wrong...unless you can find some reason that they deserve to die...and its hard to come up with a reason that a baby deserves to die.....

You think its horrible...because you see the unborn as a true living human.
Your whole err on the side of caution argument follows your opinion and not the opposition's.
If i gave you a sword...and told you to stab into 1 of 3 sheets, and behind one of those sheets would be your friend....you would never do it...even if i promised you a cake....
A pro-abortion person doesnt believe that anyone is behind any of those sheets...I dont tell him that there is a person behind there....and you are whispering in his ear...
"dont do it...there might be a person behind one of the sheets"....
"damnit...thats silly...why would a person be behind the sheet...get out of my way...i want my cake..."

Im not invalidating your opinion...but Im arguing that it is not a moral belief....
you both agree murder is wrong...just like everyone...
he just doesnt believe he is killing anyone....
and you do...and you both have beliefs...not different moral character

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

Stephen Elliot opines,

Quote
Moral activists seem to view the world in a very simplistic way, as though every choice can be divided into right/wrong or on/off.

Choices are not always simple. There often isn't a right or wrong easy to define code.


How is this any different than defining abortion as "pro-choice?"  What a silly and ambigious euphemism for a very serious subject.  We have had 30+ years to evaluate the "societal good" that supposedly would transpire under FEDERAL legal abortion.  What are the benefits exactly, I ponder?  Less unwanted children?  More compassionate society?  Less national conflict?  What exactly has abortion done other than abolish responsibility and convinced a generation of women that aborting their children is hardly different than picking a new shade of lipstick?

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

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

Quote (thordaddy @ April 04 2006,02:14)
How is this any different than defining abortion as "pro-choice?"  What a silly and ambigious euphemism for a very serious subject.  We have had 30+ years to evaluate the "societal good" that supposedly would transpire under FEDERAL legal abortion.  What are the benefits exactly, I ponder?  Less unwanted children?  More compassionate society?  Less national conflict?  What exactly has abortion done other than abolish responsibility and convinced a generation of women that aborting their children is hardly different than picking a new shade of lipstick?

I do not like the term "pro-choice" but it is far less misleading than "pro-life".

To claim "What exactly has abortion done other than abolish responsibility and convinced a generation of women that aborting their children is hardly different than picking a new shade of lipstick?" Is a pretty repugnant statement.

Many people have atempted to answer your questions. Why do you not reciprocate?

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,22:11   

Stephen Elliot,

But it was not a statement, but a question.  A very serious question, indeed.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,22:23   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 04 2006,03:11)
Stephen Elliot,

But it was not a statement, but a question.  A very serious question, indeed.

The way you wrote that. The question was what has abortion done other than the rest is a statement.

ie This part you are writing as a statement of fact.
Quote
abolish responsibility and convinced a generation of women that aborting their children is hardly different than picking a new shade of lipstick

  
Chris Hyland



Posts: 705
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,00:43   

Quote
If "pain" is the argument against animal cruelty then animal activists are clearly ignoring another suffering "animal."
Hence the reason many anmal right groups want the limit reduced to 18 weeks.

Quote

Your life is your own to dispose of as you please.
The fruits of your labor belong to you.
You can enter and exit any contractual relations you choose, whenever you choose.
You can say or do anything you like so long as you don’t interfere with the rights of others to do the above.

If you compare all the other laws and moral codes that exist to these, you will see that they all subject the individual to some arbitrary tyranny in the name of gods or “society.” Everything else is just some people trying to benefit at the expense of others.

We try to defend the rights of minorities. What minority deserves more defense than the minority of one?

We promote democracy. What is more democratic than ruling yourself without interference from others?
Most people I know who share these values believe that fetuses do not have these rights.

Quote
What exactly has abortion done other than abolish responsibility and convinced a generation of women that aborting their children is hardly different than picking a new shade of lipstick?
This is at best true in a minority of cases, iterestingly the people who are more likely to take this attitude are the people who are more likely to have many unwanted pregnancies. Again I can't speak for America but in the UK there is no evidence your statement is true at all, despite many calls form pro-life groups that it is. In my opinion it is a horrific insult to the thousands of women who do not take this decision lightly.

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,01:56   

Quote (Spike @ April 03 2006,18:31)
Faid,

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

Spike,
I don't think I get too excited over this debate. Not anymore, now that I stopped feeding the troll. However, I have one small request: Please don't get all thordaddy on me. I've had my share of that.

In my post, I simply stated two points that I thought were problematic in your "draconian" solution.
Most of your reply was questioning and attacking my beliefs (which I did not mention in my post), accusing me of loaded language for speaking about a woman's right to reproduction (when you refer to the zygote as a "little kid" whose right to life we deny), and arguing for your solution using wishful thinking.

Look, I honestly don't have the patience to explain my views anymore. It's not your fault for that, it's the troll's: I've been trying to punch through Trolldaddy's brick wall too long, and I'm tired. If you like, you can check any of my previous posts in all three threads (or is it four? I forget) where I repeatedly explain my views again and again- and you can point to any issues in them that need to be discussed, in your opinion.
(I'd just like to point, though, in case you think I haven't bothered to read your opinion -trolldaddy style :)- that I understand your basis of choosing conception as the beginning of  human life is seeing no argument that would convince you otherwise... That, however, does not necessarily make it true, and such "rational arguments" can be, and have been, produced by others. You can address or dispute them, if you like, but not deny their existence like thordad did.)

For now, let's stick to those two points I made:

For one thing, I stand corrected. You seem to say that the only necessary abortions are those made to protect the life of the mother, and all others are for "convenience" (even the ones to prevent the fetus from developing to a seriously ill child, with only a few years of torture ahead of it?). Well, I see no problem with that being enforced, in that case- But that's just it: Enforced.
Forcing the woman, who might even be the victim of others in this case, to suffer all the -sometimes disastrous- societal, financial and emotional problems of an unwanted pregnancy, or depriving her of the right to have children forever? There's just no way this draconian solution can be applied, unless under a very "draconian" regime. As for being not a law, but a societal norm, that doctors shall willingly practice (!!!!80): We live in the real world, Spike, not in a Heinlein novel.

You also claimed that you can argue against any justification for abortion as necessary for the woman using examples, but the example you seem to provide as a good one does not even mention the woman who gave birth to these kids, just those who adopted them- and therefore wanted them and could cope in the first place.
How does this address any possible problems of the biological mother? Not that there had to be any in this case, but the example is simply useless for arguing for or against them. It's just an appeal to emotion ("would you have these lovely kids aborted"?), already overused.
 
(Oh, and you challenge me to argue against it on the grounds of the women being lesbians- why should I do that? How does it relate to the problem? Are you actually asking me to create a strawman for you?)

And you completely failed to adress by second point. If this law is created under the moral concensus that abortion is murder, I cannot see how the enforcing of such a law is in accordance with its spirit.
You cannot help a person commit murder, even once, and then punish her for doing so!
Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but this "law" seems to me to be more focused in wreaking vengeance upon women who decide to have an abortion, than actually preventing the loss of a human life that the zygote is supposed to be.

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

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

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

  
MidnightVoice



Posts: 380
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,03:01   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 04 2006,02:14)
We have had 30+ years to evaluate the "societal good" that supposedly would transpire under FEDERAL legal abortion.  What are the benefits exactly, I ponder?  Less unwanted children?  More compassionate society?  Less national conflict?  What exactly has abortion done other

Reuduced crime by reducing the number of children living in homes that have insufficient resources to support them, if you believe the statistics.

--------------
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,05:55   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 03 2006,22:56)
ericmurphy,

Is a biologist a person/human being?

Is biology a scientific pursuit?

Is evolution a scientific "fact?"

So we have biologists (human beings) proposing a "fact" of life (evolution) while proclaiming ignorance on the very definition of human life?  

My question is this,

If the biologist can not readily define himself (or human life) then how has he readily defined "life" and its evolution for the rest of us?  If the biologist is not sure what in him constitutes human life then how is he sure of ANY other life or the process of its evolution?

This is typical creationist cant, Thordaddy. If science can't explain everything, it can't explain anything.

Why do you think one follows from the other? The Standard Model can't explain gravity. General relativity can't explain quantum phenomena. Does that mean that both theories are worthless?

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

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

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,07:00   

We need to separate the issues of what is human, from what is legal. I see some people simply can't grasp the difference. For Spike, being genetically human means being possessed of all the rights of citizenship - the right to vote, to own property, etc. But in the Real World ™ this is not practical.

Spike sees a continuum from conception through death, with no particularly notable milestones along the way. Things like birth are kind of irrelevant. Yet the law, rather arbitrarily, makes LOTS of age distinctions: When someone is old enough for their life to be protected (birth), old enough to drive, to vote, toinherit, to gain control of trusts, receive social security, withdraw certain savings without paying penalties, receive senior citizen discounts, get drafted/enlist in the military, and so on down a VERY long list of items.

Does the law draw these arbitrary distinctions solely because the law is an ass, or might there be some useful reason for them? If there is NO useful reason, then let's all agree that people are too stupid to live, and be done with it. Otherwise, we are obliged to examine the tradeoffs of every selected age, to see what the costs and the benefits might be of changing any given age, in either direction.

This is NOT a trivial exercise: every cost to someone is a benefit to someone else. Even talking about NET costs and benefits entails assigning weights to each, with no consensus as to how anything should be weighted.

So what people have discovered over lo these thousands of years is, what matters is NOT the details of the law per se, what matters is the *process* by which laws are made, modified, and interpreted. Humans being a gregarious and social species, any workable process must be a community process in some important ways.

What the American political process has produced is never written in stone; it's always subject to 'reform', change in any direction. Abortion is a case in point: prohibition was producing what the public at large recognized as costs exceeding benefits. So we're engaged in the long slow process of trial and error, to see where the tradeoff finds the most publically acceptable balance.

And this is a political issue. Science is not involved.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,13:02   

Again, we see the side that justifies abortion simply remaining in a state of ignorance and denial.  

No one as of yet has answered the question posed in the initial thread.

What scientific evidence EXISTS to LEAD ONE AWAY from the presumption that YOUR LIFE BEGAN anywhere other than at YOUR CONCEPTION?

All we get from those that are supposedly the voices of science and biology (study of LIFE) is a big fat question mark!

Stephen Elliot opines,

Quote
The way you wrote that. The question was what has abortion done other than the rest is a statement.


It was written that way to elicit the benefits of abortion.  We already know that abortion is an abolition of responsibility and treated like a ubiquitous choice, hence the euphemism, "pro-choice."  Of course, I am referring to the situation in the states.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,13:29   

Quote
No one as of yet has answered the question posed in the initial thread.

That question has been answered at least 50 times now. Problem is, you *don't like* the answer, so you pretend not to see it.

Quote
We already know that abortion is an abolition of responsibility...

We all know that until you get the answer your ideology demands, you will pay no attention to anything anyone says.

But since I'm here, I will repeat: this is NOT a scientific issue. Not in any way. This is a legal issue, and a political issue.

Now, you may continue barking up the wrong tree. Your quarry isn't up there. Sorry.

  
Seven Popes



Posts: 190
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,14:17   

Thordaddy, we miss you over at the post id world.  If you meet us there, I'll promise to use small words!

--------------
Cave ab homine unius libri - Beware of anyone who has just one book.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,14:54   

ericmurphy,

If the very entity (human life) that explains the world around us is undefiniable then AT BEST we can say his/her explanations are also undefinable.  Clearly, you don't believe this, do you? Since we don't know the Designer, hence, we don't know his design, as the argument against ID goes.  So if human life is the designer that gives us all these explanations, but we remain ignorant of this designer, then all his explanations remain undefinable.

Flint,

Your obfuscation is getting quite annoying.  

Please be bold enough to say that you don't care how human life is defined and that there is NO scientific evidence that would LEAD ONE AWAY from presupposing that YOUR LIFE began anywhere other than at YOUR CONCEPTION?  Your arguments represents nothing more than personal justifications for abortion.  Is this the example of the subjective scientist?  

My assumption presupposes one is not existentially agnostic.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,15:33   

Flint,

You make the cost/benefit argument and claim science has no part.

You aren't actually saying that in 1973 and henceforth, the argument that the women was aborting "a clump of cells" wasn't a scientific argument?

But more to the point, many are really starting to wonder what benefits have exactly accrued since abortion on demand became judicially-mandated!  

Do we have less unwanted children?

Have we replaced our workforce with foreign nationals that protest in OUR streets for lawlessness?

Are we a more compassionate society?

Is there less conflict between the sexes?

Is there less conflict between parents and children?

Have we abolished other individual responsibilities?

What are the benefits outside the abolition of responsibility for the individual women that procure an abortion?

We know that science isn't there to justify abortion.  But what is, I ask?

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,16:13   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 04 2006,19:54)
ericmurphy,

If the very entity (human life) that explains the world around us is undefiniable then AT BEST we can say his/her explanations are also undefinable.  Clearly, you don't believe this, do you? Since we don't know the Designer, hence, we don't know his design, as the argument against ID goes.  So if human life is the designer that gives us all these explanations, but we remain ignorant of this designer, then all his explanations remain undefinable.

The longer you yack, Thordaddy, the less sense you make. I'm not sure this particular post makes any sense whatsoever. But I'll give it a try anyway.

It sounds like you're saying that because human life is "undefinable" (but in what sense? It's not like no one has any idea what a human being is), then any human explanation for—what? anything whatsoever?—is also "undefinable." I challenge you to explain what that means. But if it means what it appears to mean, you seem to be saying that no one has any idea what a human being is, a position that is comically false. You also seem to be implying science has no explanatory power at all, which is equally preposterous. And if that's what you mean, then one is left wondering why the h*ll you're looking for a scientific explanation for when human life begins in the first place.

But it's pretty clear that you're really trying to do. You're trying to find some science (good luck, because it ain't out there) that will support a conclusion you've already reached: that abortion under any circumstances should be forbidden. In common with creationists in general, you're putting the cart before the horse: you want the "facts" to fit your conclusions, rather than the other way around.

And in the meantime, you're making statements that are pretty close to completely meaningless. Science's explanations are "undefinable"? Would you care to take a stab at telling us what that's supposed to mean?

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 04 2006,16:44   

ericmurphy opines,

Quote
The longer you yack, Thordaddy, the less sense you make. I'm not sure this particular post makes any sense whatsoever. But I'll give it a try anyway.


Thanks... I knew you liked engaging in meaninglessness.

Quote
It sounds like you're saying that because human life is "undefinable" (but in what sense? It's not like no one has any idea what a human being is), then any human explanation for—what? anything whatsoever?—is also "undefinable." I challenge you to explain what that means.


One of the arguments against ID is that we know nothing of the Designer and so how could we possibly infer "his" design.

The same argument exists in this situation.  If we know nothing of the designer (what constitutes human life) then how can we possibly draw ANY inferences from his explanations since his explanations are the basis for all our knowledge?

I say it's bunk.  We can define human life and science can certainly weigh in heavily.

Quote
But if it means what it appears to mean, you seem to be saying that no one has any idea what a human being is, a position that is comically false. You also seem to be implying science has no explanatory power at all, which is equally preposterous. And if that's what you mean, then one is left wondering why the h*ll you're looking for a scientific explanation for when human life begins in the first place.


Yes, we both now see the absurdity in claiming that human life can't be defined by science.  I totally agree

Quote
But it's pretty clear that you're really trying to do. You're trying to find some science (good luck, because it ain't out there) that will support a conclusion you've already reached: that abortion under any circumstances should be forbidden. In common with creationists in general, you're putting the cart before the horse: you want the "facts" to fit your conclusions, rather than the other way around.


You have it exactly backwards.  I used to be agnostic about abortion because I was ignorant to the pathetic arguments being made in its defence.  

But more to the point, you have once again claimed that science presents no evidence for defining the start of human life.  Yet, you will claim to be human life.  How did you come to this conclusion when you know nothing of your conception?  You just assume your humaneness based on what, exactly?

Quote
And in the meantime, you're making statements that are pretty close to completely meaningless. Science's explanations are "undefinable"? Would you care to take a stab at telling us what that's supposed to mean?


What needs to be cleared up is this;

If YOUR human life did not start at YOUR conception then when did it start?

If science cannot tell you then how can it tell you anything else?

  
Chris Hyland



Posts: 705
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,03:22   

Apologies if I missed it somewhere in the thread, but could you define exactly what you mean by human life, and then science may be able to tell you when it starts. A zygote is alive, but then so is an egg and a sperm. If you define a human life genetically then life begins at conception. You might define life as consciousness, so then it starts a bit later. You might define a seprearte living entity as one that can that can live independently of the mother, in which case it starts later. Science cannot answer this philosophical question, but I fail to see how this makes science worthless.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,03:36   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 04 2006,21:44)
What needs to be cleared up is this;

If YOUR human life did not start at YOUR conception then when did it start?

If science cannot tell you then how can it tell you anything else?

It could still explain how nuclear fusion and fission work.
How fast to expect a falling object to accelerate etc.

Why do you think human life starts at a precise moment?

I suspect you are demanding this in order to justify imposing your world-view onto others.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,03:50   

Stephen:

Quote
I suspect you are demanding this in order to justify imposing your world-view onto others.

Exactly so. He has a preference, based on nothing to do with science. He can't justify his preference except by projecting fake (and irrelevant) science onto it. He absolutely refuses to focus on the issue he's raising, because being honest doesn't favor his politics.


thordaddy:

Quote
You aren't actually saying that in 1973 and henceforth, the argument that the women was aborting "a clump of cells" wasn't a scientific argument?

Nope, this is not a scientific argument in any way. This is an attempt to do just what you are doing: using self-serving terminology in the interests of supporting a political preference. This is a political issue, not a scientific issue. You MUST deal with it in political terms.

And so once again: the egg and sperm are alive. They are human. They are human life. At conception, they change phase, but are still human life. They remain human life until the organism dies. Abortion terminates a human life. No question about it. So much for the science.

NOW, is this acceptable? Should it be legally permitted? Under what circumstances? Should there be any time frame when abortion is allowed or disallowed? Is there some point when we the people think the rights of the woman get trumped by the rights of her fetus? Should a fetus have any rights? If so, what rights should they be? If abortion is permitted during any period of pregnancy, should the cost be covered by the State? By insurance? Should these questions be answered by the courts, the legislature, or the bureaucracy? What role should morality play, and who gets to apply moral weighting to the needs and desires of the various parties involved?

THESE are the questions that matter. No science is involved.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,05:51   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 04 2006,21:44)
The same argument exists in this situation.  If we know nothing of the designer (what constitutes human life) then how can we possibly draw ANY inferences from his explanations since his explanations are the basis for all our knowledge?

I say it's bunk.  We can define human life and science can certainly weigh in heavily.


Are you going for the prize in the "most outrageous strawman argument" category, Thordaddy? Who here, other than you, is arguing that we know nothing of what constitutes human life? You think if you can disprove that notion, you can prove…what, exactly, I'm not sure, since your argument from there rapidly decays into unintelligibility.



Quote
But more to the point, you have once again claimed that science presents no evidence for defining the start of human life.  Yet, you will claim to be human life.  How did you come to this conclusion when you know nothing of your conception?  You just assume your humaneness based on what, exactly?


I've said no such thing. I've told you about a million times that life is a continuum, and to pick any particular point and state that that's the "beginning" is essentially arbitrary. You don't like that conclusion, so you ignore it. As Flint pointed out above, you've been told the exact same thing about 50 times by half the people posting to this thread, but you persist in ignoring it.

Quote


What needs to be cleared up is this;

If YOUR human life did not start at YOUR conception then when did it start?


Are you going to keep asking the same question over and over again in the hopes that at some point I'm going to give you a different answer? Because I'm not.

Quote
If science cannot tell you then how can it tell you anything else?


And again, the same stupidity. If science can't answer one particular question, it can't answer any questions? How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you say things like that?

And if you want to talk about pathetic "defenses" for abortion, how about pathetic arguments against it? You're the one who seems to believe that a zygote has consciousness and a newborn infant lacks it. If that's not pathetic, I don't know what is. But it's further evidence that the anti-abortion crowd believes that life begins at conception and ends at birth.

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

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

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,07:19   

More from Science and Non-Science: An Epistemological Conflict:

Quote
"Frenkel-Brunswik (1948) argued that intolerance of ambiguity constituted a general personality variable that related positively to prejudice as well as to more general social and cognitive variables. As she put it, individuals who are intolerant of ambiguity "are significantly more often given to dichotomous conceptions of the sex roles, of the parent-child relationship, and of interpersonal relationships in general. They are less permissive and lean toward rigid categorization of social norms. "Power-weakness, cleanliness-dirtiness, morality-immorality, conformance-divergence are the dimensions through which people are seen. . . . There is sensitivity against qualified as contrasted with unqualified statements and against perceptual ambiguity; a disinclination to think in terms of probability; a comparative inability to abandon mental sets in intellectual tasks, such as solving mathematical problems, after they have lost their appropriateness. Relations to home discipline and to the ensuing attitude toward authority will likewise be demonstrated quantitatively. (Frenkel-Brunswick, 1948, p. 268)"


Is Frenkel-Brunswik talking about our own Thordaddy?

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,10:39   

Chris Hyland asks,

Quote
Apologies if I missed it somewhere in the thread, but could you define exactly what you mean by human life, and then science may be able to tell you when it starts. A zygote is alive, but then so is an egg and a sperm. If you define a human life genetically then life begins at conception. You might define life as consciousness, so then it starts a bit later. You might define a seprearte living entity as one that can that can live independently of the mother, in which case it starts later. Science cannot answer this philosophical question, but I fail to see how this makes science worthless.


I define human life as you, me, ericmurphy, Stephen Elliot, etc.  Is that specific enough?  

When did your life start if not at conception?

The sperm/egg argument is BUNK!

Yes, a sperm and egg are alive and so are/were YOUR PARENTS that produced them.  And your parents then must have started as sperm/egg in which their parents produced.  You must take this "life from life" concept ALL THE WAY BACK to the beginning of life.  

You then become NOTHING other than an individuated outgrowth of one very large and very old SINGLE LIVING ENTITY.  When you die or a women has an abortion it is equivalent to this ONE entity cutting "his" toenails.

If you define yourself by consciousness then clearly you were not a human being at birth because there is NO DIRECT EVIDENCE of a conscious newborn.  One that declares, "I am conscious."  You could claim to have a low degree of consciousness at birth, but then you must admit that such consciousness started emerging before birth.

Right now, those who are both scientists and pro-abortionists want to sell the rest of us on this notion that science can't say anything about when YOUR life began.  I say it's ideology trumping truth.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,10:56   

Thordaddy, your disingenuousness seems to know no upper bound.

Quote (thordaddy @ April 05 2006,15:39)

If you define yourself by consciousness then clearly you were not a human being at birth because there is NO DIRECT EVIDENCE of a conscious newborn.  One that declares, "I am conscious."


Aren't you the same Thordaddy who imputes consciousness to a zygote?

Your claim that the "egg/sperm argument" is bunk, is in fact bunk. You can't present any evidence that an unfertilized egg a) isn't alive, and/or b) isn't human. Your choice of conception as the beginning of human life is just as arbitrary now, six pages later, as it was at the beginning of this thread. You've never gotten past that fundamental error, and it was clear 20 posts ago that you never will.

Quote
I say it's ideology trumping truth.


You said it, Thordaddy.

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,13:33   

ericmurphy questions,

Quote
Aren't you the same Thordaddy who imputes consciousness to a zygote?

Your claim that the "egg/sperm argument" is bunk, is in fact bunk. You can't present any evidence that an unfertilized egg a) isn't alive, and/or b) isn't human. Your choice of conception as the beginning of human life is just as arbitrary now, six pages later, as it was at the beginning of this thread. You've never gotten past that fundamental error, and it was clear 20 posts ago that you never will.


Actually, I said there is no evidence to suggest that consciousness emerges anywhere other than at conception.  If you have evidence to the contrary, please present it.

Secondly, I have no problem stating that an egg and sperm are "alive."  I do disagree that they represent a human life.  I have seen no evidence of either an individual sperm or individual egg individually transitioning to a zygote and then an embryo to a baby.  Have you seen such transformation?

So if the sperm and egg represent your beginning then you must continue back into the past because each sperm and egg were actual products of other sperm and eggs.  You are claiming to be an mere individuated outgrowth of one very large and very old single entity.  Is that what the science tells you?

Either you had a beginning or you didn't.  

If you didn't have a beginning then you are either an eternal being or YOU sprang from nonlife.  

If you had a beginning it was either before conception, at conception or after conception.

Before conception means you are a mere outgrowth of a larger and older SINGLE entity.  Your death would be equivalent to this entity clipping his toenails.

After conception means you would have some scientific evidence to make this assertion.  What is it?

At conception means I have presupposed for lack of any credible evidence to say otherwise.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,14:03   

Stephen and Flint,

Don't you need to know my world-view before you can claim that I am asserting it here?

The only claim made was that both YOUR LIFE and MY LIFE began at conception.

You see this as my "world-view" because you obviously hold an opposing "world-view."

Both of you maintain either a position of agnosticism (you can't really say when it started) or a position that relegates science to irrelevancy (science has nothing to do with this).

Neither of you can seem to grasp how mindboggling these "world-views" seem to be.  Afterall, we are on an EVOLUTION site and we are amongst biologists.

Flint opines,

Quote
Nope, this is not a scientific argument in any way. This is an attempt to do just what you are doing: using self-serving terminology in the interests of supporting a political preference. This is a political issue, not a scientific issue. You MUST deal with it in political terms.


Then where have the scientists been to decry this gross abuse of scientific knowledge by political ideologues?  

Quote
And so once again: the egg and sperm are alive. They are human. They are human life. At conception, they change phase, but are still human life. They remain human life until the organism dies. Abortion terminates a human life. No question about it. So much for the science.


Weak... a sperm and egg don't transition.  They come together to produce a UNIQUE HUMAN BEING.  We call this conception.  That's the science.

Quote
NOW, is this acceptable? Should it be legally permitted? Under what circumstances? Should there be any time frame when abortion is allowed or disallowed? Is there some point when we the people think the rights of the woman get trumped by the rights of her fetus? Should a fetus have any rights? If so, what rights should they be? If abortion is permitted during any period of pregnancy, should the cost be covered by the State? By insurance? Should these questions be answered by the courts, the legislature, or the bureaucracy? What role should morality play, and who gets to apply moral weighting to the needs and desires of the various parties involved?

THESE are the questions that matter. No science is involved.


So science, we see once again, is really irrelevant in deciding tough issues?  Does this include OOL issues, too?

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,14:12   

TD:

Quote
The only claim made was that both YOUR LIFE and MY LIFE began at conception.

You see this as my "world-view" because you obviously hold an opposing "world-view."


Let's see. This is the third, or perhaps the fourth time, I have agreed that there is a human life at conception. I have never once disagreed or made any other claim. How can I be opposed to what I have repeated without exception so many times?

As I've also written multiple times, you simply do not listen.
You pay no attention to what anyone has said. You're welcome to your world of make believe.

Quote
Then where have the scientists been to decry this gross abuse of scientific knowledge by political ideologues?

And there you go again. This issue has nothing to do with science. If science is not involved, scientific knowledge is irrelevant. It can't be abused if it's not involved. But you can't listen, once again.

Quote
Weak... a sperm and egg don't transition.  They come together to produce a UNIQUE HUMAN BEING.  We call this conception.  That's the science.
But it's irrelevant. You ignore this once again. Yes, it's a unique human being. So what? NOW what do we do? The sun rises in the east. Equally relevant. PLEASE listen.

Quote
So science, we see once again, is really irrelevant in deciding tough issues?

No, science is irrelevant in deciding nonscientific issues. This is NOT a scientific issue. Being a tough issue has nothing to do with science.

If you can EVER address the topic, we might have a fruitful discussion. Otherwise, you might want to read your questions into a tape recorder. You obviously would enjoy the playback MUCH more than the answers.

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,14:14   

Quote
intolerance of ambiguity constituted a general personality variable that related positively to prejudice as well as to more general social and cognitive variables.


Poor William of Occam! His razor was sharpened on his general personality variable!

Quote
Occam's razor is a logical principle attributed to the mediaeval philosopher William of Occam (or Ockham). The principle states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. This principle is often called the principle of parsimony. It underlies all scientific modelling and theory building. It admonishes us to choose from a set of otherwise equivalent models of a given phenomenon the simplest one. In any given model, Occam's razor helps us to "shave off" those concepts, variables or constructs that are not really needed to explain the phenomenon. By doing that, developing the model will become much easier, and there is less chance of introducing inconsistencies, ambiguities and redundancies.


[Emphasis added]

From:http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/OCCAMRAZ.html

Isn't it great how you can find any kind of quote to support any kind of point of view you want to hold?

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,15:35   

[quote=thordaddy,April 05 2006,18:33][/quote]
Quote
Actually, I said there is no evidence to suggest that consciousness emerges anywhere other than at conception.  If you have evidence to the contrary, please present it.


This statement implies that you have evidence that consciousness emerges at conception. Of course, you have no such evidence. If there's one place between conception and the age of six that consciousness definitely does not emerge, it's at conception.

Quote
Secondly, I have no problem stating that an egg and sperm are "alive."  I do disagree that they represent a human life.  I have seen no evidence of either an individual sperm or individual egg individually transitioning to a zygote and then an embryo to a baby.  Have you seen such transformation?


And for the millionth time, I will reiterate that you're making a distinction without a difference. There's nothing particularly special about conception even from a scientific perspective; there are other developments in the process from meiosis to birth that are vastly more significant. There is absolutely no significance to conception from a legal perspective, which in the context of the abortion debate is the only relevant perspective.

Quote
So if the sperm and egg represent your beginning then you must continue back into the past because each sperm and egg were actual products of other sperm and eggs.  You are claiming to be an mere individuated outgrowth of one very large and very old single entity.  Is that what the science tells you?


Yep, pretty much. I am indeed part of one very large and very old entity, just as you are. The technical term for such an entity is a "universe."

From a scientific standpoint, my view is at least as valid as yours, and from a legal standpoint, neither view is of the slightest import.



Quote
Either you had a beginning or you didn't.  

If you didn't have a beginning then you are either an eternal being or YOU sprang from nonlife.  

If you had a beginning it was either before conception, at conception or after conception.


What did the quote I posted above have to say about this sort of worldview? But for about the two millionth time, I will say once again that the answer to any of these questions is entirely meaningless within the context of the abortion debate, something that no matter how many times you're told, fails to sink in.

Quote
At conception means I have presupposed for lack of any credible evidence to say otherwise.


The truth is, Thordaddy, that you're going to believe whatever you want to believe, no matter what the evidence says.

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

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

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,15:56   

Quote (Spike @ April 05 2006,19:14)
Isn't it great how you can find any kind of quote to support any kind of point of view you want to hold?

You're missing the point of the quote, Spike. She's saying that there's a particular grouping of personality traits, that generally goes along with an authoritarian nature, which has difficulty with ambiguity and anything other than a dualistic view of reality. It's got nothing to do with keeping hypotheses simple.

Not all of life comes down to yes/no answers. How do you answer the question, "Are you still beating your wife?" Can you give a yes/no answer to that question?

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

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

  
normdoering



Posts: 287
Joined: July 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,16:19   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 05 2006,18:33)
I said there is no evidence to suggest that consciousness emerges anywhere other than at conception.  If you have evidence to the contrary, please present it.

Dennett's book, "Consciousness Explained." Read it.

Actually, the idea that it takes a functioning brain to produce  "consciousness" (a fuzzy, ill-defined term) is a core assumption of neuroscience. Do you deny neuroscience as much as you deny evolution?

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,17:29   

em,

"Not all of life comes down to yes/no answers." Is that statement true or untrue? If true, is it always true? Yes or no?

"Have you stopped beating your wife?" has no answer because it is meaningless. Just because you can assemble words into a sentence doesn't make the sentence meaningful.

For example:

The following sentence is true.
The preceding sentence is false.

Sicence is founded on yes/no questions. When you develop a test of a particular hypothesis for a "yes", you have to develop a null (no) hypothesis. All experiments consist of answering yes/no questions: Does x exist? Does x cause y? Does changing x change y? Did the experiment answer the question or not?

All moral tests are a choice between good and bad. Yes or no. Even for people who practice moral relativity, the question of good or bad, yes or no, is answerd one way or the other at this time, in this place, under these circumstances.

That doesn't mean more information won't change your no into a yes.

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

So, when the pro-abortion crowd presents rational arguments for why killing a baby in the womb who is not a threat to the mother's life is not murder, I will say "yes" to abortion.

I looked through the previous posts, I couldn't find anything but definitions created/selected to reach the conclusions the definers wanted, variations on the arguments for comfort or convenience, or variations on the argument from ignorance: "We don't even know if the baby meets these criteria for being a person, so it's OK to kill it."

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,17:33   

Flint opines,

Quote
Let's see. This is the third, or perhaps the fourth time, I have agreed that there is a human life at conception. I have never once disagreed or made any other claim. How can I be opposed to what I have repeated without exception so many times?


But, you are NOT saying that YOU were the human life at YOUR conception.  You deliniate between human life and human being.  I don't know why or how.  I have no such quandary because I see no justification for a deliniation between the two.  And I ESPECIALLY see no SCIENTIFIC justification for the differentiation.  Last time I checked, science was a profound influence in the  subject concerning "life" (biology and evolution) and now you're trying to sell me on the idea that science plays no part?  

Quote
And there you go again. This issue has nothing to do with science. If science is not involved, scientific knowledge is irrelevant. It can't be abused if it's not involved. But you can't listen, once again.


But here again, you seem to play oblivious to certain realities.

When pro-abortion arguments such as "it's just a clump of cells," and "it's a parasite" aren't challenge for the gross distortions they represent, are you saying we shouldn't LOOK TO SCIENCE?  Again, I ask, if not science then who?  Afterall, biology, that branch of science, has done a pretty swell job of defining the rest of life for us.  So much so, that we can't even question the "fact" of evolution.

Who isn't but a clump of cells other than single cell organisms?

What other organism creates its own parasite in order to decide whether to kill it?

Science can say much more, but the ideologues are in control.

Quote
But it's irrelevant. You ignore this once again. Yes, it's a unique human being. So what? NOW what do we do? The sun rises in the east. Equally relevant. PLEASE listen.


So, the science is now irrelevant?  Exactly, "[s]o what?"  For you, there is nothing else to do.  For others, the acknowledgement of a UNIQUE HUMAN BEING is quite relevant.  

Quote
No, science is irrelevant in deciding nonscientific issues. This is NOT a scientific issue. Being a tough issue has nothing to do with science.


Please do explain how defining when YOUR life began and hence human life in general is not a scientific issue.  I really don't get this.  This is a evolution site and we are amongst biologists.  Do they agree?

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,17:52   

normdoering opines,

Quote
Actually, the idea that it takes a functioning brain to produce  "consciousness" (a fuzzy, ill-defined term) is a core assumption of neuroscience. Do you deny neuroscience as much as you deny evolution?


But this was only directed at those that define human life by consciousness alone.  I do not do this because it is fallacious.  If something is conscious, it does not make it human.  Therefore, human life requires another deliniation besides consciousness.

But more to the point, as we saw with Terri Schiavo, a functioning brain is no evidence of consciouness.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,18:26   

Quote (Spike @ April 05 2006,22:29)
em,

"Not all of life comes down to yes/no answers." Is that statement true or untrue? If true, is it always true? Yes or no?


Yes, it's true. It's always true. Not all questions have yes/no answers. Here's another one: what's your favorite color? Does that question have a yes/no answer? The converse, "All questions have yes/no answers," is clearly false. This is elementary logic.

Quote
"Have you stopped beating your wife?" has no answer because it is meaningless. Just because you can assemble words into a sentence doesn't make the sentence meaningful.


It has an answer, and it has meaning, if you do in fact beat your wife. The sentence definitely has meaning in some circumstances. Asking what's north of most points on the globe has meaning, except at one point: the north pole.

Quote
Science is founded on yes/no questions.


Nope. The vast majority of scientific questions do not have yes/no answers. What's the speed of light? The temperature of the CMB? The mass of the electron. I could go on forever.

Quote
All moral tests are a choice between good and bad. Yes or no.


Wrong again. An action can be wrong in some circumstances, and right in others. Normally it's wrong to kill your dog. Is it wrong to put your dog to sleep if he's got incurable cancer? You don't have to be a moral relativist to understand that there are plenty of things (one might even say most things) that are not right under all circumstances, or wrong under all circumstances.

Further, some moral questions are a matter of less bad, or more good. Plenty of moral issues are points on a curve. Most people (most rational people, that is) would deny that disposing of a freshly-fertilized ovum is "murder," but hardly anyone would deny that terminating a pregnancy three minutes before birth is murder.

Again, life is not a matter of moral absolutes. It's intellectual laziness to think otherwise.

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,18:39   

Quote
Spike said,
"Not all of life comes down to yes/no answers." Is that statement true or untrue? If true, is it always true? Yes or no?



Quote
To which ericmurphy opined,
Yes, it's true. It's always true. Not all questions have yes/no answers. Here's another one: what's your favorite color? Does that question have a yes/no answer? The converse, "All questions have yes/no answers," is clearly false. This is elementary logic.


All of life's question do "come down" to a yes/no question.  If it is life then it may proceed to ask questions.  If it is not life then it stays eternally silent. Is it life, yes or no?

If we cannot delineate between human life and human being in a scientific manner then by what manner can we?  Afterall, science/biology/evolution are the purveyors of truth about life and yet they sit on the sidelines and play "objective" moral relativist?

  
normdoering



Posts: 287
Joined: July 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,20:06   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 05 2006,22:52)
...as we saw with Terri Schiavo, a functioning brain is no evidence of consciouness.

Did you just say that Terri Schiavo had a functioning brain?

Her cerebral cortex was liquified -- that's not a functioning brain. That's why it was deemed okay to pull her plug.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,20:18   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 05 2006,23:39)
All of life's question do "come down" to a yes/no question.  If it is life then it may proceed to ask questions.  If it is not life then it stays eternally silent. Is it life, yes or no?

Thordaddy, what's your birthday?

It's a yes or no question, dude.

Give me a break.

No wonder this whole thread feels so utterly pointless. I do have to say, though, that I often find the inanity kind of fascinating, in a pathological kind of way.

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

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

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,20:29   

Quote
If one more anti-choicer says "life begins at conception" my stupidity meter is going to blow up. Is an unfertilized cell not "alive," Thordaddy? Is a sperm cell not "alive"? Is an epithelial cell lining your lower intestine not "alive"?

This whole "life begins at conception" argument has got to be the dumbest argument the religious right has ever come up with. Using the same logic, I could argue that scraping your tongue with your toothbrush in the morning is murder, because of all the living cells you're killing.

Give me a @#$%!ing break.


I said this about 170 posts ago, and strangely enough, it's just as true now as when I said it the first time.

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,20:53   

normdoering opines,

Quote
Her cerebral cortex was liquified -- that's not a functioning brain. That's why it was deemed okay to pull her plug.


You said "functioning brain" and now you are saying functioning cerebral cortex.  Clearly, the brain was functioning is some respect.

ericmurphy,

Does YOUR birthdate reflect your true age?  I say it doesn't.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,21:01   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 05 2006,19:03)
Stephen and Flint,

Don't you need to know my world-view before you can claim that I am asserting it here?

The only claim made was that both YOUR LIFE and MY LIFE began at conception.

Thordaddy, I do know your World-view on this issue.

You believe abortion is wrong. That is your World-view on abortion.

You want science to suport you and are twisting logic, evidence and answers to that end.

You wish to have abortion made a crime and lock up anybody practicing it.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2006,21:18   

Quote
normdoering opines,

Her cerebral cortex was liquified -- that's not a functioning brain. That's why it was deemed okay to pull her plug.

You said "functioning brain" and now you are saying functioning cerebral cortex.  Clearly, the brain was functioning is some respect.



Her brain was functioning enough to run her heart and lungs, and little else. She couldn't even digest solid food. Every competent doctor who examined her stated that her brain was incapable of supporting conscious thought.

In other words, she didn't have a functioning brain.

If the car radio works, but the engine won't start, there are no headlights, windshield, steering wheel, the wheels are off, and the gas tank's missing, do we have a functioning car?

Quote

ericmurphy,

Does YOUR birthdate reflect your true age?  I say it doesn't.


I asked you a simple question, Thordaddy: what is your birthday? Your answer doesn't sound like a yes or a no.

Do you still maintain that all questions have yes or no answers?

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

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

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,02:39   

thordaddy:

Quote
You deliniate between human life and human being.  I don't know why or how.

You probably don't know because I have not done this, at all. Not even once. You are *making this up*, because you don't like what I said so you need to change the subject.

What I have distinguished between is a human life/human being and a legal person. I pointed out, now for the third or fourth time (since you never listen) that by law, slaves were not legal persons. Whether they were human lives or human beings is not the question. Trying to make it the question is changing the subject. Legal persons are whoever the law says are legal persons. Human rights are whatever the law says are human rights. If you can't stay on topic, you will never understand the issue.

Nonetheless, I expect you do come back and claim I said yet something else you NEED me to have said, that I never said. But you are not arguing with me, you are arguing with some imaginary caricature you have dreamed up to fit your needs.

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,13:56   

em,

Just 'cause it's so fun to draw you along, I'll keep going, even though you feel compelled to throw in ad homimens. Why do you do that? To make yourself feel better about your inability to develop a coherent argument?

Have you never conducted a scientific experiment? Have you never formulated a scientific hypothesis?

The first question underlying the investigation into the speed of light is: “Does light have speed? Yes or no?”

If we say, “Yes, speed is a quality of light,” then the next question is, "Can we detect it? Yes or no?"

Then, after we've answered the fundamental yes/no questions, can we ask the How?, What?, When?, Where?, Why?, and Who? questions.

It applies to the question of my favorite color as well. First you have to ask the yes/no question: “Do you have a favorite color?” You may not do so explicitly, but it is implicit in asking what that favorite color is.

You even said so when you talked about the wife beating question. The only way that the question “Have your stopped beating your wife?” can have meaning is if the answer to the underlying question of “Do you beat your wife?” is “Yes.”

You even said so when you talked about the North Pole. Only when the answer to the underlying question of “Are we at the north pole?” is “Yes,” is the answer to, “What’s north of here?” “Nothing.”

No matter what qualities, attributes, or values you ask about, the fundamental yes/no question is, “Does this thing have the quality, attribute or value we are looking for? Yes or no?”

Fundamental and underlying, that’s what things “come down to.”

Your example of the dog is exactly what I was talking about regarding morality. At this time, killing my dog is wrong. At this other time, after the circumstances of my dog's health have changed, and I know it, killing my dog is right.

My exact words were: “That doesn't mean more information won't change your no into a yes.”

Why did you quote mine me?

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,15:33   

Quote (Spike @ April 06 2006,18:56)
em,

Just 'cause it's so fun to draw you along, I'll keep going, even though you feel compelled to throw in ad homimens. Why do you do that? To make yourself feel better about your inability to develop a coherent argument?


Spike, I've never used an ad hominem argument here. I've used plenty of ad arguendum arguments, which is an entirely different thing. Oh, and I've several times accused Thordaddy of not listening. If you consider that an ad hominem argument, well…that can't be helped.

Quote
Have you never conducted a scientific experiment? Have you never formulated a scientific hypothesis?

The first question underlying the investigation into the speed of light is: “Does light have speed? Yes or no?”

If we say, “Yes, speed is a quality of light,” then the next question is, "Can we detect it? Yes or no?"

Then, after we've answered the fundamental yes/no questions, can we ask the How?, What?, When?, Where?, Why?, and Who? questions.

It applies to the question of my favorite color as well. First you have to ask the yes/no question: “Do you have a favorite color?” You may not do so explicitly, but it is implicit in asking what that favorite color is.


But again, you're misconstruing what I'm saying. Do some questions have yes/no answers? Of course. But you're claiming that all questions have yes/no answers, a proposition that is clearly false.


Quote
Why did you quote mine me?


I'm not quote mining you, because I don't have to. You continue to insist that all questions have yes/no answers. Adding that having more information might change your answer doesn't change the fundamental falsity of your position. And again, in case you missed it: the fact that some questions have yes/no answers does not change something I should have thought was self-evident: that not all questions have yes/no answers.

Do we need to go through this again, or are we clear now?

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,17:01   

Stephen Elliot opines,

Quote
Thordaddy, I do know your World-view on this issue.

You believe abortion is wrong. That is your World-view on abortion.

You want science to suport you and are twisting logic, evidence and answers to that end.

You wish to have abortion made a crime and lock up anybody practicing it.


You may think you know my particular view on abortion, but you certainly don't know my world-view (view of the world).  Even my particular view on abortion is distorted with your last statement.

And what science have I twisted?  You simply to refuse to take this debate to its logical conclusions.  

If you were not YOU at YOUR conception then when did YOU become YOU?  Never...?  Before conception or after conception?

I don't see any other choices and both the science and lack thereof has me assume that YOU became YOU at YOUR conception.

Flint opines,

Quote
What I have distinguished between is a human life/human being and a legal person.


What does it mean to be an "illegal" innocent human being?  It seems a contradiction to state that within the womb is an innocent human being condemned to death based on the "law" of its individual mother who deems it "illegal?"  I'm trying to wrap my head around this one.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,17:05   

ericmurphy,

I think the question has to "come down to" whether I had a birth... yes or no?

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,17:30   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 06 2006,22<!--emo&:0)
ericmurphy,

I think the question has to "come down to" whether I had a birth... yes or no?

Thordaddy, you're making the same mistake in logic Spike is making. You seem to think that because you can show me that some question, somewhere, has a yes/no answer, therefore all questions have yes/no answers.

Your question--did you have a birthday?--has a yes/no answer. My question--what's your birthday?--does not. You can't just change the question completely and think you've somehow proved your point.

You and Spike can come up with a zillion questions that can be answered with a yes or a no, and you still won't have proved your point. I only need to come up with one question without a yes/no answer to have proved mine.

And, of course, I've already done so. Multiple times.

I have to admit that I'm dumbfounded I need to explain this kind of thing. I guess when I expressed hope I wouldn't have to pound this particular point into the ground, I was being optimistic. Given the general weakness of the arguments favoring a complete ban on abortion, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,18:06   

ericmurphy,

You seem to have missed that all questions about life "come down to" a yes/no answer.

Literally, is it life... yes/no?  That's what all questions about life "come down to."

You have to throw up your hands when we talk about human life.  You don't know.  So why should we look to you for answers?

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,18:45   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 06 2006,22:01)
...
If you were not YOU at YOUR conception then when did YOU become YOU?  Never...?  Before conception or after conception?

I don't see any other choices and both the science and lack thereof has me assume that YOU became YOU at YOUR conception...

I most certainly did not become me at conception.

I can grant that my life as an individual started at conception. By which I mean that certain biological traits was selected at that point.

However I could still have turned out very different to who I am now.

If we could go back in time to the point of my conception. Keep that fetus identical but change some other things, such as my nutrition, social conditions and/or education and it would not grow to become me.

Chances are it would grow to look and think different to what I do now. Therefore being a different person.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,19:25   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 06 2006,23<!--emo&:0)
ericmurphy,

You seem to have missed that all questions about life "come down to" a yes/no answer.

Literally, is it life... yes/no?  That's what all questions about life "come down to."

You have to throw up your hands when we talk about human life.  You don't know.  So why should we look to you for answers?

I missed no such thing, Thordaddy. Try to concentrate.

Can we stay on topic for a few seconds? My point, which I feel like I'm beating to death with a spade here, is that you, personally, have a hard time understanding that not everything in life comes down to a black-white, wrong-write, up-down, strange/charmed, yes-no dichotomy. I specifically stated that not all questions are answerable by either yes or no. You're proving my point for me by insisting, against reason, logic, and common sense, that all questions can be answered yes or no. I've given you a handful of questions that clearly cannot be answered with either a yes or a no, and believe me, I could go on for fifty posts with them. For the sake of the sanity of the other readers here, I'll refrain from doing so.

But the funny thing is, you're not even right about the question of whether something is alive or not. Is a virus alive, or not? Do you know? Because no one else does. A pretty good example of a question not answerable with a yes or no, right? How about an encapsulated bacterial spore. Is it alive? No one's exactly sure. What about a prion? Now there's a poser. Care to answer that one with either a yes or a no? How about this one? Is a photon a particle, or a wave? Oh, wait, that one can be answered with a yes and a no!

And you're also wrong about me and human life. I'm pretty sure that human life is, in fact, alive. I don't think I've ever expressed any doubts about that.

Just when I didn't think you could get any more wrong, you go ahead and prove me wrong.

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

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

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,11:32   

em,

Well, you've changed what you are saying in our conversation.

The initial discussion is if life comes down to yes/no questions.

Fundamental questions. Underlying questions. Not ALL questions.

That's the only thing I was talking about.

No wonder you can't make coherent arguments. You keep changing what you're talking about.

You are not worth the effort of continuing a conversation with.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,11:56   

Quote (Spike @ April 07 2006,16:32)
em,

Well, you've changed what you are saying in our conversation.

The initial discussion is if life comes down to yes/no questions.

Fundamental questions. Underlying questions. Not ALL questions.

That's the only thing I was talking about.

No wonder you can't make coherent arguments. You keep changing what you're talking about.

You are not worth the effort of continuing a conversation with.

Excuse me?

When have I ever said anything about "fundamental" questions here? If anyone's changing the terms of the debate, Spike, you are.

My original point, which you can read at the top of the previous page if you've forgotten it, is that there's a certain kind of person, who seems to be very similar to our own Thordaddy, who simply cannot abide ambiguity, and sees everything in yes/no, black/white, on/off binary terms.

You jumped in with some statement, which I never really understood, about finding quotes to support a particular point of view (is this supposed to be surprising? That's why we quote stuff). After pointing out that you had misconstrued my point, I said, and this is a direct quote:

Quote
Not all of life comes down to yes/no answers.


I can't imagine a less controversial assertion to make. Nevertheless, you and Thordaddy both begged to differ. I then spent a few hundred words explaining as patiently as I could that your claim that some questions can be answered with a yes or a no does absolutely nothing to sustain your more general (and more astonishing) claim that all questions have yes-or-no answers.

How we got from there to only "fundamental" questions having yes-no answers is anyone's guess.

If you wanted to talk about something else, or change the subject of the debate, that's fine. But don't pretend to be replying to something I said, completely change my meaning, and then accuse me of switching horses mid-stream once you find out your horse can't swim.

And you're wrong anyway. Asking whether a virus is alive or not is pretty fundamental, but you can't answer it with a yes or a no, because your answer is going to differ based on your definition of "life" (a term that so far is not very rigorously defined). But what would be a more "fundamental" question? Does a virus "exist"? I guess that's a yes/no kind of question, but it's beyond fundamental, it's just kind of pointless to ask in the first place. Most of your examples of "fundamental" questions (does light have a speed?) are pretty pointless, and generally go without saying.

But at this point I can only assume you're conceding the point. Any other pointless arguments you'd like to have?

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

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

  
Spike



Posts: 49
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,12:58   

I admit, I do sometimes suffer from that affliction known as "needing to have the last word." But, after this post, em can have the last words:

"Not all of life comes down to yes/no answers."

=/ "All questions have yes/no answers."

You won't even read your own posts.

I also like the way you've brushed off the entire human endeavor known as Ontology with this statement:

Quote
But what would be a more "fundamental" question? Does a virus "exist"? I guess that's a yes/no kind of question, but it's beyond fundamental, it's just kind of pointless to ask in the first place. Most of your examples of "fundamental" questions (does light have a speed?) are pretty pointless, and generally go without saying.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,13:22   

ericmurphy,


When did your life begin if not at conception"

How's that for a non-yes/no question?

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,14:44   

Quote (Spike @ April 07 2006,17:58)
I admit, I do sometimes suffer from that affliction known as "needing to have the last word." But, after this post, em can have the last words:

"Not all of life comes down to yes/no answers."

=/ "All questions have yes/no answers."

You won't even read your own posts.

I also like the way you've brushed off the entire human endeavor known as Ontology with this statement:

Quote
But what would be a more "fundamental" question? Does a virus "exist"? I guess that's a yes/no kind of question, but it's beyond fundamental, it's just kind of pointless to ask in the first place. Most of your examples of "fundamental" questions (does light have a speed?) are pretty pointless, and generally go without saying.

Well, that certainly was nonsensical.

But if I can figure out what you're driving at, you're claiming a disjunct between saying "not all of life comes down to yes/no answers" and saying "not all questions have yes/no answers." (Your notation actually says "Not all of life comes down to yes/no answers" is not equal to "All questions have yes/no answers," and if that's what you meant, you won't get an argument from me.)

If that's what you're trying to say, then you're doing what the French call "couper les cheveux en quatre," which takes the splitting hair thing a bit further than we Anglos do. If I didn't make myself clear that when I said "Not all of life comes down to yes/no answers," I meant "Not all of experience comes down to yes/no answers," all I can say is that I assumed (possibly incorrectly) that English is your first language. Maybe it's not?

But if your point is, "all questions about life have yes or no answers," or even "all questions about whether something is alive" have yes or no answers, you're still wrong. See above.

In the meantime, as far as your ontology point goes: since you brought up the subject of fundamental questions as distinct from the other kind of questions, I don't see where it gets you anywhere. If you think it's more important to ask whether viruses exist than it is to ask whether they're alive, well, I guess you're entitled to your opinion. But I think the rest of the scientific community is kind of past your question.

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

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

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,14:47   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 07 2006,18:22)
ericmurphy,


When did your life begin if not at conception"

How's that for a non-yes/no question?

Very good, Thordaddy! I see you've finally come to your senses and realized that life isn't entirely black or white.

Here's another non-yes/no question that's just as meaningful as your question: What's north of the north pole?

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

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

  
avocationist



Posts: 173
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,15:58   

I have come to the conclusion that Thor is not a religious person after all, because he thinks life starts at conception.

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,17:31   

ericmurphy,

But this question assumes you answered "yes" to the question, "are you alive?"

Avocationist,

My stance is very simple,  There is no evidence that would have me conclude that MY LIFE started anywhere other than AT MY CONCEPTION.  Is this really that controversial?  If so, why?

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,17:36   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 07 2006,22:31)
ericmurphy,

But this question assumes you answered "yes" to the question, "are you alive?"

Avocationist,

My stance is very simple,  There is no evidence that would have me conclude that MY LIFE started anywhere other than AT MY CONCEPTION.  Is this really that controversial?  If so, why?

Can you remember your conception? Do you know anyone who can?

Is a bird's egg a bird?

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,21:15   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 07 2006,22:31)
ericmurphy,

But this question assumes you answered "yes" to the question, "are you alive?"


At the expense of prolonging the agony, Mr. Thordaddy, I'm going to point out that the question, "Are you alive?" does not have a yes-or-no answer.

It can only be answered one way: "Yes."

Think about it.

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

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

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,21:20   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 07 2006,22:31)

My stance is very simple,  There is no evidence that would have me conclude that MY LIFE started anywhere other than AT MY CONCEPTION.  Is this really that controversial?  If so, why?

Right, Thordaddy. No evidence at all.

OTHER THAN THE HUNDREDS OF TIMES WE'VE GIVEN YOU ALTERNATIVE PLACES YOUR LIFE STARTED THAT ARE JUST AS LOGICAL.

Don't you ever get tired of repeating the same stupidity over and over again?

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

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 08 2006,12:30   

Stephen Elliot opines,

Quote
Can you remember your conception? Do you know anyone who can?

Is a bird's egg a bird?


I can't remember my birth and as far as I know no one else can either.

The question still stands and your answers can follow in a 1...2...3 fashion following my quoted question.

What evidence LEADS YOU AWAY from presupposing that YOUR LIFE BEGAN anywhere other than AT YOUR CONCEPTION?

I can't make it any clearer and until we get a definitive response to this specific question we can't proceed.

We already assume your are alive and human.

Gentlemen, your answers, please?

  
Nike



Posts: 9
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 08 2006,13:50   

I am new to this forum, and I haven't read every reply here, but I have been thinking about this question lately.

First, though, we need some definitions.  On the face of it, this question does not make much sense.  What do we mean by "life" or "human life"?  Because, life obviously does not begin at conception, but long before!  The fertilized zygote is a mating of two separate living gametes.  Those gametes came from other living cells, through our parents, grandparents, and so on, all the way back through humans, other hominids, early mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, etc., and eventually to the very first living forms that arose billions of years ago.  That is when life began; all life existing today has split from the original stock, including human life.  That is to say, there is no beginning of life when a sperm enters an ovum; the ovum changes into a zygote, but does not change from non-life to life.  The ovum was already alive, as was the sperm.  The unfertilized ovum was already human, as was the sperm, although each contained only half the genetic material that adult human cells contain.

Perhaps what the asker meant was, when does life become an individual human being, separate from its mother?  But that merely begs the question, what is a human being?  And one can define the term to fit whatever answer one wants.  So if one wants to claim that life begins at conception, one might simply define a human being as the product of an ovum fertilized by a sperm.

Some religious people believe that a human being begins when a soul comes down from heaven and implants into the ovum at the same moment as the sperm.  The problem with this is that the soul cannot be observed, so this is purely a religious belief, which cannot be proven or disproven.  There are, however, some logical problems with this belief.

It has long been known that two separate individual human beings can come from a single zygote.  These are called identical twins.  This raises the question of what happens to the soul?  Does it also split?  Or does a new soul come down from heaven?  Or does one of the twins get the soul, and the other be soulless?  For hundreds of years, it was commonly believed that the soul does not enter the body until later, so it is ironic that so many now insist that it happens at a particular moment before the zygote splits.

But now we also know that, not only can one zygote split into two, but two separate zygotes, each the product of an separate ovum and sperm with different DNA, can merge together and grow into a single individual, called a chimera, with different DNA in different parts of its body.  This raises the question of what happens to both souls?  Does the individual have two souls?  Does one die?  Does the soul not enter the body until later, as earlier thinkers believed?  Or is there no such thing at all?

While a case may be made for fetuses which have beating hearts and developed nervous systems to have some sort of rights, the same argument does not hold for undifferentiated clumps of cells, as zygotes are in the first couple weeks of pregnancy.  The primary argument against terminating them is the religious one, that they have some invisible thing called a soul that means that they cannot be killed.  (Unlike all those men, women and children we drop bombs on, etc.)  Because of this dogma, we have opposition to "morning after" pills, therapeutic cloning, embryonic stem cell research, embryo reduction, in vitro reproduction, etc.

The true answer to when an individual human being begins, is that it does not happen at any particular moment, but the embryo develops gradually into a person over time, with no clear demarcation, and it is really arbitrary when it gets labelled as a human being.

  
avocationist



Posts: 173
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 08 2006,14:40   

Quote
But that merely begs the question, what is a human being?  And one can define the term to fit whatever answer one wants.
 Really?

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 08 2006,15:58   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 08 2006,17:30)
I can't make it any clearer and until we get a definitive response to this specific question we can't proceed.

We already assume your are alive and human.

Gentlemen, your answers, please?

Proceed with what, Thordaddy?

Do you honestly think it's worth my time to actually have a discussion with you when you ignore everything I say that you don't like?

If you want to know why I think it's stupid to think your life begins with conception, I suggest you re-read the threads you've asked the question in, because I sure am not going to re-type it all over again so you can ignore it for the tenth or fifteenth time.

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

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

  
Nike



Posts: 9
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 08 2006,19:39   

Quote (avocationist @ April 08 2006,19:40)
Quote
But that merely begs the question, what is a human being?  And one can define the term to fit whatever answer one wants.
 Really?

Sure, I've seen it done.  If someone wants a human being to originate at conception, they simply define the term in such a way that it comes into existance then; for instance, a human being is defined as having a unique genome with a full complement of human chromosomes.  Sperm and ova have unique genomes, but not all the chromosomes until they come together.

But some might define a human being as something that thinks and feels, that has a head and a heart and a brain and other attributes which are commonly associated with human beings.

I believe that the Supreme Court defined a human being as being able to survive outside of its mother's body.

One could even say that a human being exists only outside its mother, after taking its first breath and stops being a fetus.

Since there is no universally accepted definition, it comes down to semantics.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 08 2006,20:50   

Quote (Nike @ April 09 2006,00:39)
Since there is no universally accepted definition, it comes down to semantics.

This is about the twentieth or thirtieth time you've been advised that the question is not one science can answer, Thordaddy.

Are you ready to accept that yet, or do you need to be told another hundred or so times?

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

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

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 08 2006,23:59   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 08 2006,17:30)
Stephen Elliot opines,

Quote
Can you remember your conception? Do you know anyone who can?

Is a bird's egg a bird?


I can't remember my birth and as far as I know no one else can either.

The question still stands and your answers can follow in a 1...2...3 fashion following my quoted question.

What evidence LEADS YOU AWAY from presupposing that YOUR LIFE BEGAN anywhere other than AT YOUR CONCEPTION?

I can't make it any clearer and until we get a definitive response to this specific question we can't proceed.

We already assume your are alive and human.

Gentlemen, your answers, please?

I am about done with answering you Thordaddy. There is no point trying to explain a position just to have it ignored.

Thordaddy it is bleeding obvious (and has been for quite a while), you wish to define human life as starting at conception. You then want to use that to argue against abortion.

You wish to define women who choose to abort and the medical staff who help them as criminal.

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 09 2006,00:23   

Nike,

Don't bother.
Your arguments are straight and logical- unfortunately, they've been pointed out to thordaddy a dozen times at least -literally. For a dozen times he's ignored them and kept posting the same "questions" again and again -and again, and again.
That's what he does. When the answer to his "arguments" doesn't suit him, he ignores it. He answers to someone else, and after a while posts the same old stuff and claims nobody answered him.
When he's unable to avoid facing our answers, he bails out and starts another thread where he posts the same stuff all over again, trying to start a "debate" with someone who hasn't figured him out yet. He's got five threads running already for that reason.

Now, I don't know about you, but that spells T-R-O-L-L in my book.

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

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

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

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 09 2006,00:53   

Hey Faid, let's see how "logical" Nike's arguments are?

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First, though, we need some definitions.  On the face of it, this question does not make much sense.  What do we mean by "life" or "human life"?


You and I and everything we were from the time of conception.  Human life.  Or, are you doubting yourself?


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Because, life obviously does not begin at conception, but long before!


Yes, "obviously!"  That's why WE call it conception and without you are non-existent.  

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The fertilized zygote is a mating of two separate living gametes.  Those gametes came from other living cells, through our parents, grandparents, and so on, all the way back through humans, other hominids, early mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, etc., and eventually to the very first living forms that arose billions of years ago.


Then that life has not died and you only have the illusion of independence.  You are a mere conscious outgrowth of one very large and very old SINGLE ENTITY.


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That is when life began; all life existing today has split from the original stock, including human life.


This is when YOUR LIFE began?  You are billions of years old and just look how perfectly time unraveled for you.

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That is to say, there is no beginning of life when a sperm enters an ovum; the ovum changes into a zygote, but does not change from non-life to life.


Yes, but sperm and egg are like tires and car.  Unless they come together, what's the point?

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The ovum was already alive, as was the sperm.  The unfertilized ovum was already human, as was the sperm, although each contained only half the genetic material that adult human cells contain.


Ok...what does this have to do with YOUR CONCEPTION?  Were you really a human and alive before your conception?

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Perhaps what the asker meant was, when does life become an individual human being, separate from its mother?  But that merely begs the question, what is a human being?  And one can define the term to fit whatever answer one wants.  So if one wants to claim that life begins at conception, one might simply define a human being as the product of an ovum fertilized by a sperm.


And the question is... Why wouldn't human life be defined by conception?  I see no reason to believe that MY LIFE started anywhere other than AT MY CONCEPTION.  Do you have strong evidence for deciding against YOUR LIFE beginning AT YOUR CONCEPTION?

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Some religious people believe that a human being begins when a soul comes down from heaven and implants into the ovum at the same moment as the sperm.  The problem with this is that the soul cannot be observed, so this is purely a religious belief, which cannot be proven or disproven.  There are, however, some logical problems with this belief.

It has long been known that two separate individual human beings can come from a single zygote.  These are called identical twins.  This raises the question of what happens to the soul?  Does it also split?  Or does a new soul come down from heaven?  Or does one of the twins get the soul, and the other be soulless?  For hundreds of years, it was commonly believed that the soul does not enter the body until later, so it is ironic that so many now insist that it happens at a particular moment before the zygote splits.

But now we also know that, not only can one zygote split into two, but two separate zygotes, each the product of an separate ovum and sperm with different DNA, can merge together and grow into a single individual, called a chimera, with different DNA in different parts of its body.  This raises the question of what happens to both souls?  Does the individual have two souls?  Does one die?  Does the soul not enter the body until later, as earlier thinkers believed?  Or is there no such thing at all?


What's up with the religious arguments?

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While a case may be made for fetuses which have beating hearts and developed nervous systems to have some sort of rights, the same argument does not hold for undifferentiated clumps of cells, as zygotes are in the first couple weeks of pregnancy.


What arbitrary bullcockey.  That "undifferentiated clump of cells" was actually you at one time.  If you didn't deserve "rights" then... then why do you deserve "rights" now?  This is pure opinion based on nothing substantive.

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The primary argument against terminating them is the religious one, that they have some invisible thing called a soul that means that they cannot be killed.  (Unlike all those men, women and children we drop bombs on, etc.)  Because of this dogma, we have opposition to "morning after" pills, therapeutic cloning, embryonic stem cell research, embryo reduction, in vitro reproduction, etc.


The primary reason against killing YOUR ZYGOTE is that YOU WOULD BE DEAD.  You seem perversely at ease with this?

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The true answer to when an individual human being begins, is that it does not happen at any particular moment, but the embryo develops gradually into a person over time, with no clear demarcation, and it is really arbitrary when it gets labelled as a human being.


Yes, and those who find justifications for abortion are all too content at keeping this sort of mindset.  A mindset that says, "Ignorance is bliss."

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 09 2006,02:23   

Stop your gibberish, Thor. The fact that Nike doesn't know yet about your little charade with the words "life" and "human life" and their interchangeable meanings, doesn't mean that you can still bother us with it.
As for answers to your overwhelming questions, take the time and trouble to look back a couple posts in any of your trolling threads and just read them. Not that I expect you to, of course.

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

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

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

  
Nike



Posts: 9
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 09 2006,03:27   

Quote (thordaddy @ April 09 2006,05:53)
Hey Faid, let's see how "logical" Nike's arguments are?

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First, though, we need some definitions.  On the face of it, this question does not make much sense.  What do we mean by "life" or "human life"?


You and I and everything we were from the time of conception.  Human life.  Or, are you doubting yourself?

You define human life as "You and I and everything we were from the time of conception."  But this is your original postulate!

Basically, you are claiming that human life begins at conception, simply because your definition of human life requires it!  But this does not prove anything, except my point.

How about an answer which actually explains something?  Why do you define human life as beginning at conception?  How do you know?  What criteria are you using?

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 10 2006,11:48   

Nike asks,

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How about an answer which actually explains something?  Why do you define human life as beginning at conception?  How do you know?  What criteria are you using?


Note: If you believe human life can't be defined including its individual beginning then nothing I say will have much impact.

But here we go again.

I define human life using all the available information I have at my disposal.

First, I use the common definition of "conception."  Conception means both the "beginning" and the coming together of sperm and egg to form a unique human organism.

Conception

That why I state that MY LIFE began AT MY conception.

But there is more and I approach it from a different direction.

If we assume that Nike's LIFE does NOT BEGAN at HIS conception then WHEN did it begin?

It seems to me that you only have 3 choices.  Please add more if you like.

(I assume that you believe that you are alive and human)

1. Nike's life has NO beginning.

2. Nike's life BEGAN before conception.

3. Nike's life BEGAN after conception.

When we evaluate #1 then either Nike is eternal or his life ca