Author Topic: Roe might be in woe  (Read 41246 times)

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #150 on: March 24, 2021, 12:20:37 AM »
Joshua -

You implied that since the mind and soul are not dependent on the brain, that if a person's brain is damaged it doesn't affect either one.

No. Just like damaging the eyes negatively impacts our ability to see, damaging the brain negatively impacts our ability to think and reason.

That being said, destroying our eyes does not change the the nature of our being. Our nature is to see. (Whereas, for example, it is not a tree's nature to see). Sometimes that nature is inhibited, but it doesn't make us less of a thing.

In the same way, when we suffer brain damage, it may inhibit our ability to reason, but it does not change our nature. We are rational by nature. We possess intelligence by nature, even though our ability to perform that function has been damaged. 

When we harvest organs, the person's body is still alive.  That is the whole point of donating organs.  Only the brain has died.  But that means we are dismembering a person who is still alive.  That would be a pretty horrific thing to do to a person.  How do you square that?

Carefully.  Sometimes it is clear that a person is dead, while their body parts, being parts of a living thing thing that is now deceased, continue themselves to function. The unity of the being has left, but the life-processes of the individual parts have not completely shut off. In those cases (commonly called the "dead donor rule"), it is permissible and good to harvest those organs (if the deceased consented) to help save other lives.

For ventilated brain dead individuals, I think there are really good arguments that they are still living people. They absorb nutrition, heal, deal with infections, grow, gestate children, and respond to stress, and maintain their internal state. This is a relatively new question (I believe it first arose in 2001) and I think it's something that we need to continue to look at carefully to be sure (because the stakes are high in either case). For the time being, however, until contrary evidence or reasoning comes forward, I believe that is a person and we cannot, therefore, harvest their organs. We must treat them like people.

Also, you keep saying how the embryo will develop if left to its own natural processes.  This is absolutely false.  The mother's body does an enormous amount of work to enable that 'natural process'.  Work which actively harms the mother's body.  It would be more accurate to say it will develop if the womb is left to its natural process.

It's not absolutely false. A fetus arises in the womb and stays there unless we do something to remove it.  I got into this on page one or two of this thread. I don't use the word "independent" to mean "completely free of dependence on others and its environment". Of course it's dependent on its environment and others for the continuation of its life. 

If we dropped you out of the airlock of the space station, you wouldn't last very long. Similarly, if we take the child out of its proper environment, it doesn't last very long. That is not what I mean by "independent".

I mean that it is its own process. The unborn child is unique human life moving forward to the beat of its own drum. He is certainly extremely dependent on his mother for sustenance and protection (not much more so than my newborn child, by the way), but he is an independent process.

This discussion started because you said that the mother should be forced to continue providing that work against her will, because the rights of the fetus override hers. .

I never said that the mother should be "forced to continue providing that work against her will", nor did I say the "rights of the fetus override [the mothers]".  You said those things just now. I said things sort-of-kind-of in the ballpark of those places, but I didn't say that.

As to your first point, although we haven't yet ventured into the legal side of the discussion (and we can't possibly make sense of that until we've made sense of what an unborn child is), I'll take a quick aside to share my views, but I don't think we'll have a very fruitful conversation down this path.  I certainly think doctors should not be performing abortions. It is not healthcare, it is murder. I am less sure about to what degree, if any, the law should punish women who have abortions or force them to give birth.

As to your second point, just like your rights must be properly balanced against mine, the child's rights must be balanced against the mothers. The child's rights do not "override" hers, but neither do the mother's rights "override" the child's.

So, for example, if a pregnant woman needed to have chemotherapy to treat cancer in her body, i think it would be morally permissible for her to do so, even if in doing so it is expected the child will be killed. On the other hand, it would never be morally permissible for the mother to directly kill the child, even if the goal was to save her life.

The principle of double effect is what guides my reasoning here:
1.  The action must be either morally good or neutral.
2.  The bad effect must not be the means by which the good effect is achieved.
3.  The intention must be the achieving of only the good effect; the bad effect can in no way be intended and must be avoided if possible.
4.  The good effect must be at least equivalent in proportion to the bad effect.

Treating cancer with chemotherapy is a good action; it is good to heal our bodies. Killing the child (the bad effect) is not the means by which we accomplish the good effect (killing cancer).  The intention is only to treat the cancer.  The good effect (saving the mother) is equivalent in proportion to the bad effect (killing the child).  Therefore, while it is a tragedy, this is an example of where I think the mother's rights are weighed against the child's and come out ahead. Of course, the mother would also be free to choose to sacrifice her life to allow the child to live. 

You keep skipping over that contribution every time you assert that the continuity from embryo to child would happen 'naturally'.

I'm glad to talk about my views, and I'm glad to answer questions. But in the last few posts I've been accused of being long-winded by one person and too short by you. This is a conversation. I'm not "skipping over" things, we just haven't talked about them yet. Primarily because no one has asked about them. I've answered the questions I've been asked as best I can, often having to repeatedly correct misunderstandings and misrepresentations by others. 

If you'd like to ask me new questions, I'm really happy for that. I enjoyed responding to this post.  I'd like to continue to see some new questions and explore some new ground. But please, I can't imagine what you might find interesting, and I can't say all of my thoughts all at once in some never-ending essay on the topic. It's a conversation. I'm glad to follow where you lead a bit, and I'll do some leading myself and hope that you follow there. Maybe we can learn from one another.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #151 on: March 24, 2021, 12:40:50 AM »
It would help the discussion if you tried to be concise, instead of repeating the same thing over and over, in response to a dozen different quotes.

We're "not free" to kill, rape, and abuse, because we (most of us) have a moral instinct. The moral instinct is the abstract generalized respect for other people and their values. I wouldn't kill, rape, abuse other people for the same reason that I wouldn't destroy a cherished possession of theirs. Not because the cherished possession has "innate value" from the POV of the universe, but because it has the value the person assigns to it, and destroying it would hurt them.

The moral instinct is not the source of the moral truth, anymore than our instinct to walk is the source of physical truth.

Our moral instinct has been developed to live in harmony with the moral truth, and in doing so, has caused us to be a successful species. Just like a good understanding and cooperation with the laws of physics lets us prosper, so does a good understanding and cooperation with the laws of morality. 

Our moral instinct -- which is not present in all individuals, and is subject to cultural conditioning -- is much like our physical instinct. It is not the source of the law, it is an adaptation to the moral law. It is evidence that the law exists.

Quote from: JoshuaD
They don't have functioning minds, just like they don't yet have functioning eyes. Their nature is to have a mind and to have eyes. Left to run their natural process, they will develop those things. They share being with the adult they will become.

I'm interested in actualities, I'm uninterested in what would happen if they're "left to run their natural process". My teeth would rot if I didn't brush them, does that mean I should let my teeth rot by letting them run their "natural process"?

No, of course not. Just like we shouldn't starve, even though starving is the end result of the "natural process" of not eating.  What kind of question is that?

I am saying that the unborn child is actually of the same nature as you and me.  The 90 year old man and the newborn look differently, act differently, and have vastly different powers and intellects, but they share in a common nature.  They are both human beings. 

In the same way, despite the fact that the unborn child looks different, acts different, and has vastly different powers and intellect, it shares in the same nature as the newly born and the geriatric.


Quote from: JoshuaD
Yes it is. That is the child's nature. It is an independent human being. It shares in the same nature that you and I share in. It shares a continuity of being with the adult it will become. The egg and the sperm do not. The unborn child -- the ovum -- does.

The "continuity" you speak of has no moral meaning. I call it mysticism because you ascribe moral weight to mere physical phenomena, like treating rainbows as if they were omens of divine blessing, thinking that taking a photograph would steal your soul, or that the "continuity of being with the adult" gives the fertilized ovum personhood.

Okay, it has a continuity of being. So what? It still doesn't have a mind, and thus it can't be a "rational being" or a person.

A newborn child does not have a mind like I do.  His mind is something like an animal's mind, right now. He's currently dumber than a dog. Despite that, we don't treat him like a dog, because he's not a dog. That's not his nature. He's a human. Even though his mind is not yet fully developed, his nature is to have a fully developed mind. And so we treat him differently than a dog.

Continuity of being -- essential nature -- is the thing we are seeing when we recognize that the infant is not a dog.  We see that it has continuity of being with the adult it will become -- and that all humans share in a common nature -- and so we treat it with the same dignity that would treat the adult.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #152 on: March 24, 2021, 02:15:07 AM »
Joshua I think you could save everyone a bunch of time and words if you just clearly state that you take it as a matter of faith (or if you prefer an axiom) that human life begins at conception.

You aren't reasoning through an argument that is rooted in experience to get to that conclusion. That is your assumption and then you reason from there as to what the law should be.

You are wrong. It is not a matter of faith, nor is an axiomatic belief.  Five years ago, I believed that the fetus was not a person at the moment of conception. It was reason, not faith or an axiomatic shift, which lead me to change my mind.

I am reasoning through an argument to get to that conclusion. The argument is laid out more than a dozen times here. At the risk of being criticized by Aris again, I'll repeat myself one more time.  :P

You and I are people. There is real meaning to the word "person". If the idea is illusory, then nothing anyone says about morality has any real meaning. Either personhood has real meaning, or it's a made-up label we use for convenience and apply arbitrarily to clumps of matter.  In the latter case, the moral claims we make are necessarily illusory as well.

Based on observation of the world and our own experiences, we can know that morality is not illusory. This is not a statement of faith; it's akin to the statement that "we can know that matter is not illusory". We experience morality through our will and intellect like we experience matter through our senses. We can know that these things are real because we directly experience them. We can verify that they're real and explore their laws by using our intellect.

Since there is real meaning to morality -- since we can make statements in truth like "it is wrong to kill innocent people" -- then there must be some real meaning to the label "people". That means that you and I share in something that's real. Beyond matter, but real. Aristotle, through reason, is able to show us what that is. He calls it a soul, and he believes it is the principle of being, of unity, and of uniqueness. (i.e it makes us to be, to be one, and to be one of a kind).  I agree with Aquinas that Aristotle is wrong with that first point, but I think the basic framework Aristotle outlines is accurate and true.

If we have a nature, a soul, then all sorts of questions come up: does it arise or is it eternal? When does it arise? Does it cease? When does it cease? What relationship does our body have with it? etc.

For the sake of this discussion on abortion, the most interesting question in this group of questions is "When does personhood begin?" i.e. "when is the matter more than just matter, when is it united with a soul?" Because it is our nature is to have bodies (we are not incorporeal beings) we can use science to help us sort that out, because science is the discipline which pertains to physical things. By looking at the physical reality -- that we have independent, unique, human life at the moment of conception -- we can see that this is the moment when there is continuity of being with the adult. We can see that prior to conception, there is no natural progression to birth, adulthood, and old age.  After the moment of conception, we can see that there is.

We can also look at every other moment of the development of a fetus -- development of a nervous system, a heartbeat, brainwaves, birth, etc. -- and see that none of those changes in the being are the place where our essence begins. Instead, those things arise because of our essence, because of our form. The soul is the blueprint, and these changes arise in accordance with that blueprint, they don't cause the blueprint to be. The blueprint causes them to be.





Aris Katsaris

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #153 on: March 24, 2021, 05:48:59 AM »
Our moral instinct -- which is not present in all individuals, and is subject to cultural conditioning -- is much like our physical instinct. It is not the source of the law, it is an adaptation to the moral law. It is evidence that the law exists.

Moral truth exists the same way that geometrical truth exists. That a thing can be called a "square" or a "sphere" (or "morally right" or "morally wrong"), doesn't mean that the universe itself has a special place for squares or spheres (or moral rightness/wrongess), nor does it mean oppositely that spheres are a mere product of cultural conditioning with no absoluteness in them.

Our moral-instinct recognizes the shape of morality, same way that our geometrical understanding recognizes geometrical shapes. It's a thing that's simultaneously out there objectively, AND also a thing that's only relevant because our minds care about it.

Quote from: JoshuaD
I am saying that the unborn child is actually of the same nature as you and me.  The 90 year old man and the newborn look differently, act differently, and have vastly different powers and intellects, but they share in a common nature.  They are both human beings.

In the same way, despite the fact that the unborn child looks different, acts different, and has vastly different powers and intellect, it shares in the same nature as the newly born and the geriatric.

I disbelieve in the existence of what you call "nature", which seems to me to be arbitrary groupings that your own mind imposes on reality, not anything actually relevant to moral truth.

Quote
A newborn child does not have a mind like I do.  His mind is something like an animal's mind, right now. He's currently dumber than a dog. Despite that, we don't treat him like a dog, because he's not a dog. That's not his nature. He's a human. Even though his mind is not yet fully developed, his nature is to have a fully developed mind. And so we treat him differently than a dog.

Continuity of being -- essential nature -- is the thing we are seeing when we recognize that the infant is not a dog.  We see that it has continuity of being with the adult it will become -- and that all humans share in a common nature -- and so we treat it with the same dignity that would treat the adult.

We don't treat the newborn child as an adult person either. To say that we treat the newborn baby as a "human"... uh, well, I'd say we treat the newborn human child as a newborn human child, which is very different to how we treat even a non-baby child, let alone how we treat an adult.

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You and I are people. There is real meaning to the word "person". If the idea is illusory, then nothing anyone says about morality has any real meaning. Either personhood has real meaning, or it's a made-up label we use for convenience and apply arbitrarily to clumps of matter.  In the latter case, the moral claims we make are necessarily illusory as well.

You want a clear-cut distinction between a person and a non-person, but the universe needn't oblige you: I recognize no such clear cut lines. And yet that does NOT mean the distinction is meaningless. Red and Green are different colors, and you can see a color that's unambiguously Red, and you can see a color that's unambiguously Green, and yet in the spectrum of colors and the list of frequencies there needn't been a clear dividing line where the Red suddenly becomes Green.

Sorry, but I can't solve the hard problem of consciousness for you. But whatever the answer is to the hard problem of consciousness (if we ever figure out an answer), it's clear that a mind is required, and it's clear that the processes of mind in human beings happen in the brain, and so an fertilized ovum which doesn't have a brain, also doesn't have a mind or consciousness, and isn't a person.

I'd be more likely to think a tree has personhood, than to think than a zygote has one.

The very distinction between "species", what is human and what isn't -- is something that humans impose on the universe, not something the universe itself considers relevant.

yossarian22c

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #154 on: March 24, 2021, 11:03:59 AM »
Joshua I think you could save everyone a bunch of time and words if you just clearly state that you take it as a matter of faith (or if you prefer an axiom) that human life begins at conception.

You aren't reasoning through an argument that is rooted in experience to get to that conclusion. That is your assumption and then you reason from there as to what the law should be.

You are wrong. It is not a matter of faith, nor is an axiomatic belief.  Five years ago, I believed that the fetus was not a person at the moment of conception. It was reason, not faith or an axiomatic shift, which lead me to change my mind.
...
We can also look at every other moment of the development of a fetus -- development of a nervous system, a heartbeat, brainwaves, birth, etc. -- and see that none of those changes in the being are the place where our essence begins. Instead, those things arise because of our essence, because of our form. The soul is the blueprint, and these changes arise in accordance with that blueprint, they don't cause the blueprint to be. The blueprint causes them to be.

This is your axiom. Soul at the point of conception. That is an axiom or article of faith.

TheDeamon

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #155 on: March 25, 2021, 04:47:41 PM »
I was going to reply to a few points of logic must above, but it occurs to me that there is no one point I can reply to that would adequately say what I want to say. My short reply to all above points about personhood is it that I don't think you all see how much you are concocting your own definitions that have no basis other than they're yours. Now it is tough to establish a coherent story about what life is or when it begins. In fact it's not so clear to me how to even articulate what the initial question should be when addressing what an embryo is. Is personhood distinct from "human life"? Is there such a thing as human life that does not contain personhood? If so, what criterion could be used to define the cutoff point when a person becomes a person? And "it makes sense to me" isn't a criterion, nor is "it would convenient if it were true." Something may be true and highly inconvenient. But it is striking that the, shall we say, pro-choice arguments on this page alone seem to all involve the truth being highly convenient...which is highly convenient. Why should brainwaves, or heartbeat, be the end-all? Actually it sounds like a religious argument to me, almost as it a tablet from a mountain or voice from on high said "WHEN YOU HEAR THE HEART BEAT IT BECOMES REAL." Because I don't know what else other than a voice from on high could establish that this is the singular and absolutely correct definition. And if it's not the correct definition, then murder may be going on.

Well, for me, my own personal line is drawn closer to the conception stage, but still a little after that point. As I don't view contraceptive use as potential murder. After that point, where more than simple contraceptives are needed, it moves into very grey territory for me. But I'm willing to concede to others having differing views, which is where fetal heartbeat/detectable brain activity becomes my favored compromise point.

Fetal viability outside the womb (even as a very premature birth) becomes my hard stop point. If premature births at comparable levels of fetal development have been born and survived into adulthood, anything aborted after that stage of development should be considered murder. I don't care what arguments want to make about the fetus "being a parasite" if it has managed to develop to that stage.

TheDeamon

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #156 on: March 25, 2021, 05:16:28 PM »
If by magic, Fenring, you were attached by an umbilical cord to me for nine months, I have to provide you food, my health is negatively affected, and when we finally cut the cord I have a non zero chance of surviving that, are you going to say I have no right to cut that cord?

This is a well-known argument at the moment, and I find it surprising that it has gotten the reputation of being a powerful argument. Do you really not see the difference between a stranger being dependent on you for survival versus your own child? There are not only moral but legal differences in requirement of care between those two cases. And do you not see the difference between a life in the process of forming, requiring the right conditions to flourish, versus a life that has developed already and now has a life-threatening condition? You can perhaps argue that an already-grown person has no actual right to extraordinary treatment to recover from an ailment.

This is actually an interesting point to bring up, as I'm part of the camp that says health care is not a natural right, and thus not a "human right" although it is one with definite moral implications all the same.

But what DJQuag is ignoring, and you also failed to point out. Is that the "extraordinary cost" in play for either scenario is very different. Also as you alluded to in a prior post, the "as if by magic" part of the argument is void. The mother did not just randomly and immaculately become pregnant, in the vast majority of cases, she knowingly and willfully chose to do something which put her in that position.

So Quaq's theoretical becomes more of a "So I went out and did something that I knew could result in a 'duty of care' situation, and as if by magic, it turned out I had an umbilical cord attach me to someone so that they could live."

And come to think of it on duty of care, that is what I seem to recall being the case with CPR. Once you start, you're not supposed to stop until a medical professional tells you to, or somebody else relieves you.

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And I suppose you can also argue that embryos and fetuses have no particular right to be allowed to grow and be born. But these would be two different arguments dealing with different issues. In the case of an adult developing a critical condition there seems (in America) to be a belief that, well, they already had their chance and if the system can't afford to help them that's too bad. Whereas for an embryo or fetus it would be a different argument - something like that they aren't yet a person to have the right to a chance in the first place. I'm actually wondering what happens if the squeeze theorem is brought into play here; on the one end, it's not a person and doesn't need to be given a chance, and on the other end, it already had a chance so isn't owed anything. Between the two of those spans we pretty much cover every instant of a human life, leaving no period at all when someone is actually owed the right to live.

It's a bit more complex than that. But the other side of that equation is the "extraordinary cost" that is actually being born so far an actuary would be able to quantify it. A human pregnancy is a pretty normal and comparatively mundane thing. Very few people who argue against abortion if it does endanger the life of the mother. So that part of the "extraordinary cost" argument is out the window.

Which means we're talking about "lost productivity" on the part of the mother, pregnancy specific costs, and some other numbers that actuaries could likely provide in regards to what the mother has to endure. In most cases, it is highly unlikely that the bill in question, after all is considered, is likely to go much beyond $30,000 and much of that cost would be the delivery itself. "Lost Productivity" on the part of the mother can wildly change the numbers, but the reality is that if their "lost productivity" number is in the 5+ figure range, chances are high it was a desired pregnancy, and/or other factors are in play.

Now compare that to some medical conditions where treatment can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, and play out over years.

So we'll spend $250,000 to help Kevin live to see 75 when he was 71 when treatment started, but we can't be bothered to spend $60,000 to see a fetus develop to term, and instead pay out a couple grand to have the pregnancy ended?

TheDeamon

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #157 on: March 25, 2021, 05:17:38 PM »
Saying someone has the right to live at someone else's expense is a pretty big statement.

And yet you seem to be in the camp that views medical care as a human right?

NobleHunter

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #158 on: March 25, 2021, 07:07:09 PM »
There's a pretty big difference between enslaving someone's body versus making them pay some more taxes.

I'm not sure "human right" is the best way to phrase it. It might be better to say medical care is a responsibility to provide . 

edgmatt

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #159 on: March 25, 2021, 09:22:29 PM »
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There's a pretty big difference between enslaving someone's body versus making them pay some more taxes.

"Enslaving"?  You don't understand either slavery or conception/birth if you use that term.

The fetus can't possibly enslave someone.  It had no choice and exercised no power when the mother got pregnant.  I wouldn't use that term for either the mother or the fetus, but if I was FORCED to use it for one of them, I'd say it describes the fetus's situation more accurately.

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #160 on: March 25, 2021, 10:40:39 PM »
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There's a pretty big difference between enslaving someone's body versus making them pay some more taxes.

"Enslaving"?  You don't understand either slavery or conception/birth if you use that term.

The fetus can't possibly enslave someone.  It had no choice and exercised no power when the mother got pregnant.  I wouldn't use that term for either the mother or the fetus, but if I was FORCED to use it for one of them, I'd say it describes the fetus's situation more accurately.

Just to play devil's advocate, I assume it would be the government acting as slaver in the scenario where abortion is treated as murder; not the infant. However adding this clause does further invalidate the "man attached to me in the hospital" analogy.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #161 on: March 26, 2021, 01:19:36 AM »
Our moral instinct -- which is not present in all individuals, and is subject to cultural conditioning -- is much like our physical instinct. It is not the source of the law, it is an adaptation to the moral law. It is evidence that the law exists.

Moral truth exists the same way that geometrical truth exists. That a thing can be called a "square" or a "sphere" (or "morally right" or "morally wrong"), doesn't mean that the universe itself has a special place for squares or spheres (or moral rightness/wrongess), nor does it mean oppositely that spheres are a mere product of cultural conditioning with no absoluteness in them.

Our moral-instinct recognizes the shape of morality, same way that our geometrical understanding recognizes geometrical shapes. It's a thing that's simultaneously out there objectively, AND also a thing that's only relevant because our minds care about it.

While we probably could nitpick a bit, if you agree that morality is objective like geometry, then we agree enough on this point.

It seems to me that you sort of flip back and forth, though. Sometimes you believe morality is an objective endeavor, other times you suggest that it is all relative to our perception and made up values. Sometimes you act as if there is meaning to moral analysis, other times you reject the existence of the forms that let us talk about morality with any real meaning.

Quote from: JoshuaD
A newborn child does not have a mind like I do.  His mind is something like an animal's mind, right now. He's currently dumber than a dog. Despite that, we don't treat him like a dog, because he's not a dog. That's not his nature. He's a human. Even though his mind is not yet fully developed, his nature is to have a fully developed mind. And so we treat him differently than a dog.

Continuity of being -- essential nature -- is the thing we are seeing when we recognize that the infant is not a dog.  We see that it has continuity of being with the adult it will become -- and that all humans share in a common nature -- and so we treat it with the same dignity that would treat the adult.

We don't treat the newborn child as an adult person either. To say that we treat the newborn baby as a "human"... uh, well, I'd say we treat the newborn human child as a newborn human child, which is very different to how we treat even a non-baby child, let alone how we treat an adult.

Your view, expressed earlier in this thread, was that the brain was the essential feature which makes someone a person.

I brought up this analogy to a dog to show you that this certainly isn't the case.  If the threshold for personhood was just "brain is present", then you wouldn't distinguish between a dog and a newborn. Both have brains and both brains are about equally functional (maybe the dog is a bit smarter).

So there's something about the newborn that you recognize as giving it higher value than the dog, even though their brains are currently roughly similar.

You reject my account of what that thing is, OK. What is that distinguishing feature, by your account?
Quote from: JoshuaD
You and I are people. There is real meaning to the word "person". If the idea is illusory, then nothing anyone says about morality has any real meaning. Either personhood has real meaning, or it's a made-up label we use for convenience and apply arbitrarily to clumps of matter.  In the latter case, the moral claims we make are necessarily illusory as well.

You want a clear-cut distinction between a person and a non-person, but the universe needn't oblige you: I recognize no such clear cut lines. And yet that does NOT mean the distinction is meaningless. Red and Green are different colors, and you can see a color that's unambiguously Red, and you can see a color that's unambiguously Green, and yet in the spectrum of colors and the list of frequencies there needn't been a clear dividing line where the Red suddenly becomes Green.

If you don't recognize the lines, you are going to go careening off a cliff of immorality, because the lines exist when it comes to living beings.

When it comes to inanimate objects and the gradients of the wavelengths of light? We agree; there is a spectrum, and the lines are not as distinct.  The line between a loveseat and a sofa is not so hard cut.  The line between a person and an animal is.

Sorry, but I can't solve the hard problem of consciousness for you. But whatever the answer is to the hard problem of consciousness (if we ever figure out an answer), it's clear that a mind is required, and it's clear that the processes of mind in human beings happen in the brain, and so an fertilized ovum which doesn't have a brain, also doesn't have a mind or consciousness, and isn't a person.

I don't need you to solve it for me, other philosophers have solved it. It's only a "hard problem" when you are trying really hard to limit knowledge to materialism.

Again, your assertion that "brain = person" is certainly not even satisfying to you. You must add something to it to distinguish the animal from the infant.

I'd be more likely to think a tree has personhood, than to think than a zygote has one.

That's so deeply confused, and I'm not even sure you believe it. Are you saying that you'd be more upset if someone killed a tree in your backyard rather than causing the miscarriage of a wanted child of yours? I can't imagine you would be. There is something uniquely special about an unborn child: he is already a person.

The very distinction between "species", what is human and what isn't -- is something that humans impose on the universe, not something the universe itself considers relevant.

You can take this position if you'd like, but it is incompatible with the moral declarations you like to make. If there is no true, actual, meaningful distinction between a dog and me, or a tree and you, then you can't say anything in the realm of morality that has any meaning at all.  As I said above, there is no real meaning to making a moral statement like "it is wrong to kill an innocent person" if there is no real meaning in the word "person". Arbitrary lines mean that the moral statement has no fixed or objective meaning. It means whatever the speaker and/or listener want it to mean, i.e. nothing at all.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #162 on: March 26, 2021, 01:24:04 AM »
Joshua I think you could save everyone a bunch of time and words if you just clearly state that you take it as a matter of faith (or if you prefer an axiom) that human life begins at conception.

You aren't reasoning through an argument that is rooted in experience to get to that conclusion. That is your assumption and then you reason from there as to what the law should be.

You are wrong. It is not a matter of faith, nor is an axiomatic belief.  Five years ago, I believed that the fetus was not a person at the moment of conception. It was reason, not faith or an axiomatic shift, which lead me to change my mind.
...
We can also look at every other moment of the development of a fetus -- development of a nervous system, a heartbeat, brainwaves, birth, etc. -- and see that none of those changes in the being are the place where our essence begins. Instead, those things arise because of our essence, because of our form. The soul is the blueprint, and these changes arise in accordance with that blueprint, they don't cause the blueprint to be. The blueprint causes them to be.

This is your axiom. Soul at the point of conception. That is an axiom or article of faith.

I don't know how else to explain it to you. It seems like you have a fixed rule in your head that "belief in soul = axiomatic".  I took the time to write out a long post about how belief in a soul actually developed in my philosophy, despite a strong predilection towards agnosticism, because of reasons originating with experience.  I do not believe in the soul axiomatically. Hell, I don't even believe in the soul very comfortably. I believe in it because of reasoning, which I outlined above. 

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #163 on: March 26, 2021, 01:33:43 AM »
Well, for me, my own personal line is drawn closer to the conception stage, but still a little after that point.

One question I'd really contemplate is: "why am I so hesitant to conclude that conception is the moment of beginning of life?" If you're honest with yourself, you might not like the reasons you have.

I don't view contraceptive use as potential murder.

I think you'll have to distinguish contraceptives a bit. I don't view the use of a condom as murder (and I don't think anyone serious does); condoms prevent life from beginning, they do not extinguish life after it has begun.

After that point, where more than simple contraceptives are needed, it moves into very grey territory for me.

What do you mean by "simple contraceptives"?

But I'm willing to concede to others having differing views, which is where fetal heartbeat/detectable brain activity becomes my favored compromise point.

Do you really think the potential murder of innocent lives is something we should be having compromises about? I don't think we should have compromised about slavery. I similarly don't think we should compromise about abortion. Whenever we believe the child is a person, we should be fighting in every way we believe to be effective to prevent a culture that discards and devalues those lives.

Fetal viability outside the womb (even as a very premature birth) becomes my hard stop point. If premature births at comparable levels of fetal development have been born and survived into adulthood, anything aborted after that stage of development should be considered murder. I don't care what arguments want to make about the fetus "being a parasite" if it has managed to develop to that stage.

Lol, when I read this paragraph, I was immediately reminded of this scene: Godfather I, "I also don't believe in drugs..."  Just like the speaker, here, with great gusto you draw a bright line in the sand... 30 feet from where it ought to be.

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #164 on: March 26, 2021, 09:11:11 AM »
Lol, when I read this paragraph, I was immediately reminded of this scene: Godfather I, "I also don't believe in drugs..."  Just like the speaker, here, with great gusto you draw a bright line in the sand... 30 feet from where it ought to be.

To be fair I think the issue brought up in the Godfather scene is that it's a practical impossibility to prevent the dealing of drugs, when we are talking about a profit-oriented 'business' using goons. They will not pass up a free money-making machine, and so the only pragmatic choice is to 'legalize' drugs and control them rather than invite disorder. There is a potential analogy here regarding abortion, which is that, right or wrong, if the practical considerations of banning it (let's say) would be miserable and untenable, then the environment may be unsuitable for a ban of that sort at this time. At least, this is hypothetically possible. This is why the pro-choice side is often accused of hypocrisy on this point, because arguing simultaneously for the banning of abortion and for the removal of social safety nets, as well as the stigmatization of young people who have sex, is not exactly what one would call a welcoming environment for this new, precious life. One of the bigger issues IMO is medical care. If, for instance, all pregnancy and birth-related medical care came at no cost at all, that would already help a great deal with turning a nightmare into a chance at something positive.

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #165 on: March 26, 2021, 12:25:19 PM »
Sorry for a confusing typo in my previous post - it should read "This is why the pro-life side is often accused of hypocrisy." Maybe it was obvious anyhow from the context.

Aris Katsaris

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #166 on: March 26, 2021, 01:13:30 PM »
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Your view, expressed earlier in this thread, was that the brain was the essential feature which makes someone a person.

I brought up this analogy to a dog to show you that this certainly isn't the case.  If the threshold for personhood was just "brain is present", then you wouldn't distinguish between a dog and a newborn. Both have brains and both brains are about equally functional (maybe the dog is a bit smarter).

So there's something about the newborn that you recognize as giving it higher value than the dog, even though their brains are currently roughly similar.

You reject my account of what that thing is, OK. What is that distinguishing feature, by your account?

Each person is their mind. The processes of our mind happen in our brain.

Not all brains are equal, again the universe doesn't have an innate category for what is brain and what isn't, and needn't even have a distinct hard cut category for brains-that-can-carry-the-mind-processes-of-a-person and brains-that-cannot.

This doesn't seem to me hard to understand.

Quote from: JoshuaD
If you don't recognize the lines, you are going to go careening off a cliff of immorality, because the lines exist when it comes to living beings.

When it comes to inanimate objects and the gradients of the wavelengths of light? We agree; there is a spectrum, and the lines are not as distinct.  The line between a loveseat and a sofa is not so hard cut.  The line between a person and an animal is.

If the line between a person and an animal is hard cut, then you've failed to demonstrate why this is so, and you've certainly failed to convince me of that fact.

To argue from consequences like "If you don't believe in hard-cut category, then you'll go immoral", seems to me just as silly and nonsensical as "If you don't believe in God, then you'll start murdering and raping". Even if such was the case (which it is not), I won't brainwash myself into believing falsehoods, just because I'm afraid of the consequences on my morality if I believe the truth instead. That's like being afraid to stop believing in Santa Clause, just because you're afraid you won't have any motivation to not be naughty if you no longer have someone to punish you with coal in your stockings.

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I don't need you to solve it for me, other philosophers have solved it. It's only a "hard problem" when you are trying really hard to limit knowledge to materialism.

Slapping a word like "soul" onto it and declaring it solved, doesn't actually mean solving it. In fact your conception of a soul, as something that attaches to a *physical* creature, as if they're some sort of invisible glue/wrapping/appendage, seems amazingly materialistic to me, you seem to speak as if our instruments are just not good enough to detect the arrival or departure of such a thing. Now perhaps you're just simplifying, but your focus on how the *physical* continuity of a person determines when the soul arrives, makes me think you might not.

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Again, your assertion that "brain = person" is certainly not even satisfying to you. You must add something to it to distinguish the animal from the infant.

There may be an innate moral difference between an infant and e.g. a grown ape (I'd need better knowledge and understanding of the workings of brain than I currently have to do so) or then again there might not be. I'd not oppose categorizing the killings of apes, dolphins, elephants, and so forth as 'murders'.

On the other hand I certainly oppose categorizing the killing of insects as murders.

I'll switch the question around -- you're telling me that there's no moral difference between (a) killing an ant and (b) killing a dolphin or an ape or an elephant? Simply because they're both "animals"?

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I'd be more likely to think a tree has personhood, than to think than a zygote has one.

That's so deeply confused, and I'm not even sure you believe it. Are you saying that you'd be more upset if someone killed a tree in your backyard rather than causing the miscarriage of a wanted child of yours? I can't imagine you would be. There is something uniquely special about an unborn child: he is already a person.

So much for your claims that you supposedly perfectly understand my position, while I'm the one who fails to understand yours, right?

When you're talking about a "wanted" child you're no longer talking about someone's innate value as a person in their own right, but you're talking about the desires of their parents. I certainly may be upset that someone lost something which was precious to *them*, but that'd be me emphathisizing with the *parents*, not with the zygote. It's not the same as being sad for the being's own sake, the way I'd empathize for a creature that lost their *own* future. I can't empathize with a zygote, because a zygote doesn't have a sense of being, identity, hopes, aspirations. It doesn't have a mind, it's not a person, and until it does, it only has the value ascribed to it by others, same as any other inanimate object.

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The very distinction between "species", what is human and what isn't -- is something that humans impose on the universe, not something the universe itself considers relevant.

You can take this position if you'd like, but it is incompatible with the moral declarations you like to make. If there is no true, actual, meaningful distinction between a dog and me, or a tree and you, then you can't say anything in the realm of morality that has any meaning at all.

That's a failing of your personal morality, which you project onto all moralities. To me it sounds like a form of arithmetic that can't handle decimals; which must only deal in integers -- or like the ancient Pythagorans who couldn't handle the idea of irrational numbers. The answer is NOT to deny the existence of decimals (or of irrational numbers), it's to expand your understanding of mathematics so that you can handle such concepts. To build algebra on top of mere arithmetic, and finally calculus on top of algebra, so as to be able to handle all the cases which were previously unsolvable by mere integer arithmetic.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2021, 01:16:56 PM by Aris Katsaris »

LetterRip

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #167 on: March 26, 2021, 02:54:50 PM »
Lol, what?  "We used to know how 402 genes worked, but now we know how more work"... so what exactly?

You misread - we understand the genes and gene products necessary and sufficient for life - it is literally just chemistry of well understood processes .  There is no reason to invent the idea of a soul.  Inert matter differs from life in that life has the necessary biochemical processes and mechanical structures to maintain those biochemical processes.  This chemistry is the basis of ALL (known terrestrial) life (aliens might differ), from single cell to humans.

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JoshuaD: The soul is providing animation and unity to the matter.

So chemistry is another name for soul?  If not, please feel free to inform me how the soul is interacting with the chemistry and providing something necessary for life that isn't provided by the chemistry.  I'd be interested in how you discovered this.  As far as I can tell it is purely a claim and arguement made from ignorance of chemistry.

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Yes, you don't. I'm not blaming you for this. All of the education and all of the philosophy we were born into tells us that there is no need for metaphysics. It brushes the big, big problems with this view under the rug (like you did above) by saying lots of complex scientific words that don't actually respond to the questions of metaphysics.

I haven't been using complex words.  We appear to making steady progress on every question of metaphysics.  I went through an exhaustive list of things claimed to be in its perview and they are all things being addressed by modern science.

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  Think about history: how many generations do you believe lived with some foolish superstitions and ideas about truth? What are the odds that today, now, we are finally the people free of those things?

Ideas like the soul, our fates being guided by stars, beliefs in Gods, ghosts, demons and demonic possession, curses, etc. clearly still exist - so plenty of people still believe in foolish superstitions.

We've found the underlying causes of phenomenon that those concepts were invented to explain - bizzare behavior isn't demonic possession - it is caused by abherrent processes in the brain that can be due to infection, toxic exposure, or trauma, or genetics.  Deformed births aren't from being cursed or evil parents but abnormal fetal development that can arise from a variety of causes.  Life is a result of chemical processes not a soul.  Many of the things attributed to Gods and attempted to be predicted by astrology - plagues, crops destroyed by weather or insect infestations and other years having bumper crops - are fully explainable by understanding climate science and how they interact with insect life cycles.  Strange sudden deaths aren't from curses but often from underlying defects in the heart, blood vessels, brain, etc.  Impotency can't be cured by sympathetic magic (ie consuming 'medicines' made from 'long hard' objects like ground up rhino horn) but is due to underlying physiological and neurological issues and can be treated by addressing those issues.

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But we have minds as well, and our minds are in contact with something that transcends matter.

There is no evidence of this, and plenty of evidence this isn't the case.  This is purely an article of faith on your part.

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We see it in our free will.

It isn't even clear that we have free will in the way the word has been used throughout history.  We can be 'puppeted' by electrical stimulation and will have the full belief that that puppeted action was the result of free will even though it was completely induced without our choice.  We are investigating the concept of free will, but it certainly doesn't imply a soul.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience_of_free_will

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We see it in the immediate experience of reality that we have (which science has absolutely no explanation for).

I'm not sure what you are saying by this or what you think 'science has absolutely no experience for'.

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We see it in our ability to perceive and comprehend the transcendent ideas, like justice and beauty.

Beauty appears to be evolved for identifying reproductive and environmental factors that contribute to survival.  Facial symmetry, skin smoothness, hair shininess are good indicators of health.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_aesthetics

Justice appears to be evolved from factors that relate to survival in groups and empathy.  These are capacities shared by other animals.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-emotions/200906/wild-justice-and-moral-intelligence-in-animals

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I program computers and I've kept up on machine learning. I am not an expert, but I have more than a layman's familiarity. I am correct in characterizing them as clever machines. They are not intelligent like we are. They are very subtle machines. No one who builds these systems suggests otherwise.

I build these machines (though haven't done much of that lately, and not in a professional capacity) and have a background in neuropsychology.  They are indeed 'clever machines' - but then all animals are also.  Something like "GPT-3" is in fact 'intelligent like we are' in many respects.  It is arguably an AGI, though not a very 'bright' AGI.

https://towardsdatascience.com/gpt-3-the-first-artificial-general-intelligence-b8d9b38557a1

The only specific task it was trained on was predicting masked words from a sentence, but through doing so has learned to be successful at a large variety of tasks that it was never trained for.

It didn't learn language with respect to sensory input so the model doesn't "understand" certain relationships (dualities - hot/cold, good/evil, spectrums, etc.) though there are models similar to GPT-3 that are trained on images and text simultaneously.

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I've shown time and time again how the metaphysics I am describing is perfectly compatible with modern science and the two philosophies compliment each other and work together to help us understand our reality better.

You've shown no such thing.  You've simply asserted the existence of a soul, you've demonstrated nothing at all.

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Because "a neural network" is not a sufficient explanation for our experience of vision. Our vision is more than just two cameras at the front of our face. We have a qualia of experience of vision that is unexplained (and inexplicable) by science.

You seem to be jumbling up a few different things - vision, scene comprehension, secondary responses to scene comprehesion.

Computers are already excellent at vision and scene comprehension and their network outputs at lower layers match the networks of biological systems.

I'm unclear why you seem to think that 'qualia' are unexplained and inexplicable by science.  See this discussion

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3957492/

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Science does not even try to give any account of consciousness, because it doesn't have the tools to approach it.

You are making a strong assertion that seems to have no basis in reality.  We are doing ongoing research into consciousness, and many proposed explanations have been put forward.  The tools we have such as fMRI studies, gene knockout studies in animal models, simulations, are all part of the toolbox in approaching the study of conciousness.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02207-1

You talk like Trump - your personal lack of knowledge you attribute to everyone 'noone knew that healthcare was so complicated'.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #168 on: March 27, 2021, 02:07:36 AM »
To be fair I think the issue brought up in the Godfather scene is that it's a practical impossibility to prevent the dealing of drugs, when we are talking about a profit-oriented 'business' using goons. They will not pass up a free money-making machine, and so the only pragmatic choice is to 'legalize' drugs and control them rather than invite disorder.

It is not a practical impossibility to stop doctors from murdering children under the auspices of a license from the state. It is not a practical impossibility that we, as a culture, stop celebrating the murder of our children as a "human right".   

There is a potential analogy here regarding abortion, which is that, right or wrong, if the practical considerations of banning it (let's say) would be miserable and untenable, then the environment may be unsuitable for a ban of that sort at this time. At least, this is hypothetically possible.

I have no interest in potential analogies or hypothetical arguments that someone might make. Are you making that analogy and argument? Do you believe that they have merit?

This is why the pro-[life] side is often accused of hypocrisy on this point, because arguing simultaneously for the banning of abortion and for the removal of social safety nets, as well as the stigmatization of young people who have sex, is not exactly what one would call a welcoming environment for this new, precious life. One of the bigger issues IMO is medical care. If, for instance, all pregnancy and birth-related medical care came at no cost at all, that would already help a great deal with turning a nightmare into a chance at something positive.

Like I said on page 1 or 2 of this thread, the question of the best methods for collecting and allocating taxes is not related to the question of whether we license doctors to murder our unborn children.  If abortion is the murder of innocent people, then we shouldn't do it. Hard stop.

This nonsense shell game has absolutely no merit. I am right to oppose the wholesale murder of the homeless.  If you think I'm wrong about the best policy to help the homeless, we can talk about that. But it has absolutely nothing to do with my view that we shouldn't murder people.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #169 on: March 27, 2021, 04:47:04 AM »
@Aris: The problem with what you say is that every single statement you make is a special case. You don't have a coherent system of thought. You have a collection of disparate intuitions and some weak conclusions drawn from those intuitions.

We can see the scattershot of your views if we look back at your posts in this thread:
Quote from: Aris
* Human life is inherently valuable, because human minds can assign value to themselves. An unborn child that has not yet developed a mind has no inherent value, because it doesn't have a mind to do that.
* Abortion is a form of murder perhaps. But so is killing pigs & cows. Between the death of a fetus and the death of a cow, I don't know which is the most tragic or the worst crime.
* A person is their brain. A person who is brain dead is no longer a living person.
* We're "not free" to kill, rape, and abuse, because we (most of us) have a moral instinct.
* We can't afford to give literally brainless objects rights as if they were minded creatures.
* I'd be more likely to think a tree has personhood, than to think than a zygote has one.

Each of these statements -- and many more that I didn't include here -- are unable to stand on their own, and fare even worse as a group.

For example, your account of the source of value of humans is incoherent. The value of human life cannot arise only from the value we assign to ourselves or the value others assign to us. We can see this in a multitude of ways. One example is that the infant's mind isn't yet capable of valuing itself, because it has no sense of self. The child's instinct to eat is not linked to some awareness of "self".

Another way we can see that it doesn't work is that you give no good account for why one should care that others value themselves. Ok, Bob values his own life, but John doesn't value Bob's life. If John can kill Bob, gain something in the action, and get away with it, why should Bob care at all that John and his loved ones don't want John to die?

In another post of yours, you can't distinguish between the killing of a pig and the killing of an unborn child. And in another post you can't distinguish between a tree and the unborn, or between an ape and a newborn. Everything is just a confusing mass of matter for you, and the system of value you use is arbitrary, constantly changing, and not fully compatible with your moral intuitions.

You talk about "giving rights" to things, and whether we can "afford" to do that or not. I don't know how you can form a sentence in that way with a straight face. We don't "give rights" to beings and whether or not a being has rights has nothing at all to do with what we can afford. 

The necessity and the existence of the things I've talked about in this thread only become clear when you realize that your system of thought is ultimately unsatisfying. It does not map to reality, it does not have coherence, and it is not systematic.  For as long as you're sure that your thing is basically coherent and satisfying, the stuff I'm talking about is going to look the way it looks to you: like some random stuff I made up that doesn't solve any problems.  It's only when you can see the problems that the solutions to them start looking real rather than made up.

What I said to Wayward Son on page 1 of this thread also applies to you: I promise, things are more clear once you can actually distinguish between things and have some sort of sensible metaphysics. Materialism is a cloud of hazy confusion. Come stand over here for a while and at some point you'll find yourself looking around saying "oh, well, that made everything a lot more clear. Why did I resist using all of the knowledge available for so long?" 

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I'll switch the question around -- you're telling me that there's no moral difference between (a) killing an ant and (b) killing a dolphin or an ape or an elephant? Simply because they're both "animals"?

There is a difference in degree, but not a categorical difference. The basic way in which we should relate to all humans is different than the basic way we should relate to all animals, which is different than the basic way we should relate to all plants, which is different than the basic way we should relate to all inanimate objects. 

Within those categories, there are differences in how we should express those relationships depending on the nature of the being or object we're relating to, but each category has big differences in the nature of the beings or objects within that category, and so the distance between the categories is much larger than the distance between examples within a category.

Humans are of a greater nature than animals because we possess all of the basic powers of animals, and we also possess an intellect and a will. Animals do not have these things. Animals have an instinctual, estimative power. This is not the same as the human intellect. In the same way, animals are of a greater nature than plants, because animals possess things like the estimative powers and the senses, while plants do not.

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JoshuaD: You and I are people. There is real meaning to the word "person". If the idea is illusory, then nothing anyone says about morality has any real meaning. Either personhood has real meaning, or it's a made-up label we use for convenience and apply arbitrarily to clumps of matter.  In the latter case, the moral claims we make are necessarily illusory as well.

Aris: The very distinction between "species", what is human and what isn't -- is something that humans impose on the universe, not something the universe itself considers relevant.

JoshuaD: You can take this position if you'd like, but it is incompatible with the moral declarations you like to make. If there is no true, actual, meaningful distinction between a dog and me, or a tree and you, then you can't say anything in the realm of morality that has any meaning at all.

Aris: That's a failing of your personal morality, which you project onto all moralities. To me it sounds like a form of arithmetic that can't handle decimals; which must only deal in integers -- or like the ancient Pythagorans who couldn't handle the idea of irrational numbers. The answer is NOT to deny the existence of decimals (or of irrational numbers), it's to expand your understanding of mathematics so that you can handle such concepts. To build algebra on top of mere arithmetic, and finally calculus on top of algebra, so as to be able to handle all the cases which were previously unsolvable by mere integer arithmetic.

This analogy is not responsive to anything I've said here. Not once in this thread have I had trouble discussing a topic with a high level of granularity, nor have I rejected the existence of something that exists, nor do my ideas have trouble building upon one another. You have not illustrated one concept which this system of thought struggles to handle, or asked a moral question which is excluded because the system is too rudimentary. 

If anything, this analogy applies better to the approach you have taken. You accuse me of "denying the existence of decimals" while you deny the existence of natures.You're the one who has trouble building a coherent system that is able to build iteratively upon itself (like arithmetic, algebra, and calculus) to give useful and coherent answers. You flounder around questions like "is it different to murder a pig than an unborn child?" because you have no coherent structure to your thoughts.

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #170 on: March 27, 2021, 08:25:13 AM »
It is not a practical impossibility to stop doctors from murdering children under the auspices of a license from the state. It is not a practical impossibility that we, as a culture, stop celebrating the murder of our children as a "human right".

It either is, or is not tenable to stop a practice within a given ecosystem. Nothing happens in a vacuum. An environment has to be ready for a change for it to hold. Sometimes this happens when people learn to wake up to a reality, and at other times it may take a catastrophe to trigger a change. Sometimes the social evolution just gets there on its own. But not every (correct) change can just be forced on people, even if the consequences of delay are significant.

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I have no interest in potential analogies or hypothetical arguments that someone might make. Are you making that analogy and argument? Do you believe that they have merit?

To an extent I do believe that currently the Godfather analogy holds. I can't be sure that if one tried to ban abortions that it would be impossible for it to hold, but it's entirely possible that it would be. How many controls would have to be in place in order to guarantee universal obedience to such a law? Would it be backed up by prison? Would others in the populace actually turn in the lawbreakers? Would police patrols be scouting doctors' offices, or perhaps abandoned warehouses in the countryside? Would there be controls at border crossings preventing late-term pregnant women from leaving? And perhaps most importantly, would the institution of the supreme court itself come under attack if there was enough public furor against such a (correct) moral injunction? What would happen to the rule of law of people suspected the lawmakers and its judges of being not worth following?

These are not trivial questions, and despite the potential horror present in the issue of abortion, a solution can't be unidimensional in my opinion. I think groundwork would have to be laid in order to produce a proper environment for this kind of change. At least, that's my suspicion.

TheDrake

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #171 on: March 27, 2021, 09:53:19 AM »
Look that woman in the face and tell her, too bad for you, your life is over for this clump of cells. On my side, I'll be happy to look at the clump of cells and tell it that it can't become a child.

Aris Katsaris

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #172 on: March 27, 2021, 01:19:59 PM »
@Aris: The problem with what you say is that every single statement you make is a special case. You don't have a coherent system of thought. You have a collection of disparate intuitions and some weak conclusions drawn from those intuitions.

We can see the scattershot of your views if we look back at your posts in this thread:
Quote from: Aris
* Human life is inherently valuable, because human minds can assign value to themselves. An unborn child that has not yet developed a mind has no inherent value, because it doesn't have a mind to do that.
* Abortion is a form of murder perhaps. But so is killing pigs & cows. Between the death of a fetus and the death of a cow, I don't know which is the most tragic or the worst crime.
* A person is their brain. A person who is brain dead is no longer a living person.
* We're "not free" to kill, rape, and abuse, because we (most of us) have a moral instinct.
* We can't afford to give literally brainless objects rights as if they were minded creatures.
* I'd be more likely to think a tree has personhood, than to think than a zygote has one.

Each of these statements -- and many more that I didn't include here -- are unable to stand on their own, and fare even worse as a group.

All the above seem very consistent to me, sorry.

For example, your account of the source of value of humans is incoherent. The value of human life cannot arise only from the value we assign to ourselves or the value others assign to us. We can see this in a multitude of ways. One example is that the infant's mind isn't yet capable of valuing itself, because it has no sense of self. The child's instinct to eat is not linked to some awareness of "self".

That the infant's mind has no sense of self is just an assertion you make, you give me no reason to be certain of this for sure. Perhaps it's true, perhaps it's not. Moreover, I don't think I've ever asserted whether it has such a sense of self, one way or another, so not sure what you're attempting to contradict here.

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Another way we can see that it doesn't work is that you give no good account for why one should care that others value themselves. Ok, Bob values his own life, but John doesn't value Bob's life. If John can kill Bob, gain something in the action, and get away with it, why should Bob care at all that John and his loved ones don't want John to die?

It's unclear what you're asking. Morality is all about the categorization of behaviours into "right" and "wrong", and right/wrong is synonymous to what we "should" vs what we "shouldn't" do, as determined by certain abstract criteria regarding those behaviours, which serve to largely categorize behaviours into obligatory/permitted/forbidden.

When you're asking why a person "should" do X, you're asking if action/behaviour X is right or wrong, which in turn means whether this behaviour conforms to certain criteria. That's all there is to it.

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In another post of yours, you can't distinguish between the killing of a pig and the killing of an unborn child. And in another post you can't distinguish between a tree and the unborn, or between an ape and a newborn.

I'd say you've been unable to distinguish between them also, in the sense that you've failed to provide a coherent reason about why the killing of a pig is morally different to the 'killing of an unborn child'.

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I'll switch the question around -- you're telling me that there's no moral difference between (a) killing an ant and (b) killing a dolphin or an ape or an elephant? Simply because they're both "animals"?

There is a difference in degree, but not a categorical difference. The basic way in which we should relate to all humans is different than the basic way we should relate to all animals, which is different than the basic way we should relate to all plants, which is different than the basic way we should relate to all inanimate objects.

Well, there's your nonsense right there.

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You flounder around questions like "is it different to murder a pig than an unborn child?" because you have no coherent structure to your thoughts.

You pretend to know answers, and you constantly resort to circular assertions, actually knowing nothing while pretending at knowing everything, while self-patting yourself on the back about how your ignorance gives you moral clarity. Without actually knowing anything about the workings of e.g. elephant brains, you've declared that they're in an inferior "category" than human beings (and yet somehow also the same category as ants) and that the lives of no amount of elephants will ever equal even one fertilized ovum. Why? Well, just because you say so! And, oh, if we just lobotomize ourselves, we can possess your own moral clarity, oh what joy that would be!

Sorry, mate, I won't lobotomize myself, just so that I can be sure at the false answers I'll then be providing myself.

I don't have all the answers about each animal species and their development, because I (and the human species as a whole) would need to know more about how brains and minds work than I currently do.

But you, without having any such knowledge either, you have MORAL CLARITY! Wow. How good for you. /s

Apologies if I see this certainty from insufficient data as proof of your utter self-important arrogance, and the stupidity of your ideology. While you portray my uncertainty as proof of error! LOL!

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #173 on: March 27, 2021, 03:11:33 PM »
Look that woman in the face and tell her, too bad for you, your life is over for this clump of cells. On my side, I'll be happy to look at the clump of cells and tell it that it can't become a child.

Given the potential issue at stake (assuming you are willing to admit you could be wrong), I think you are confusing whose "life is over" in this scenario. Obviously it would be true that the pregnant woman's life would be different if the baby was taken to term. Beyond that there is nothing forcing anyone to raise the child, so the only issue is the nine months. I would say that the slavery argument is already hyperbolic, but "life is over" takes it right to the deep end.

TheDrake

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #174 on: March 27, 2021, 06:25:14 PM »
Look that woman in the face and tell her, too bad for you, your life is over for this clump of cells. On my side, I'll be happy to look at the clump of cells and tell it that it can't become a child.

Given the potential issue at stake (assuming you are willing to admit you could be wrong), I think you are confusing whose "life is over" in this scenario. Obviously it would be true that the pregnant woman's life would be different if the baby was taken to term. Beyond that there is nothing forcing anyone to raise the child, so the only issue is the nine months. I would say that the slavery argument is already hyperbolic, but "life is over" takes it right to the deep end.

I'm not imagining that the crowd clamoring for her to take the child to term is going to approve of her dumping the kid on the state to raise. There would still be the stigma of everyone she interacts with watching her be pregnant and then suddenly not having a kid. You think she just gets to walk away from that after 9 months and its all back to normal? Some communities could tolerate it better than others. You want me to dial it back some? Fair enough. Her life will be permanently transformed in a negative way, to one degree or another, all of them serious. Now it is true also that you don't just walk away from the experience of having an abortion either. Which is why the woman must choose in which way her life will be altered.

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #175 on: March 27, 2021, 07:28:39 PM »
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I'm not imagining that the crowd clamoring for her to take the child to term is going to approve of her dumping the kid on the state to raise.

Why is this even something you are considering as relevant? There is a massive shortage of adoptable babies, with multi-year waiting lists for parents who want to adopt. The notion that this is somehow a problem being foisted on the state is a non-starter. Anyhow I suspect you'd incidentally also be wrong about pro-lifers being upset at a mother choosing to give a baby a chance with another family rather than have an abortion. They might be sad, in a normal human way, at the idea of a mother not wanting her child, but I don't think there would be recrimination there except possibly from her own (false) friends. In fact regarding the pro-life movement I expect it would be the opposite - that many would lionize young mothers going through the nine months for the sake of the child.

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There would still be the stigma of everyone she interacts with watching her be pregnant and then suddenly not having a kid. You think she just gets to walk away from that after 9 months and its all back to normal? Some communities could tolerate it better than others. You want me to dial it back some? Fair enough. Her life will be permanently transformed in a negative way, to one degree or another, all of them serious.

I wonder even about this assumption. It's true that we could foresee things being uncomfortable to a degree, and maybe the relationship with others changing. But this doesn't even have to mean a net negative. For that we'd have to see some sort of big picture, which is hard to do. For instance finding out who is going to judge you and walk away, and who will support you in a time of need, may be unpleasant but could also be a turning point in understanding. It's not so clear cut to me that a 'problem' is something that, if avoided, your life is suddenly going to be much better. I'll also take a page out of the left-wing playbook on this one: if someone has a problem with a woman (say, a young woman) bringing a child to term in order to give it a chance for adoption, and people react negatively to this, it's them who have a problem and need to rearrange their behavior, not the mother making a personal life choice.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #176 on: March 29, 2021, 03:51:18 AM »
Look that woman in the face and tell her, too bad for you, your life is over for this clump of cells. On my side, I'll be happy to look at the clump of cells and tell it that it can't become a child.

I mean, do you really relate to people that way? "Your life is over!" I don't. That's insane. 

The child is a person, like me and you. Affirming a mother's feelings while she invites a doctor to murder her child is not a kindness to the mother. It's horrible for everyone involved: the doctor, the mother, and the child. 

If a friend of mine were considering an abortion, I would try to get her to be able to see the truth of her action. I would hope (and work politically such that) that no doctor would help deceive her about the horror of killing her own child by making it have the clinical appearance of a medical healthcare procedure. I would treat her with the same love I treat all of my friends going through a crisis: with love, with discretion in my words, with the truth as best I can see it, and with kindness.

And if, after that, she decided that the very best she could do is give it up for adoption, I would praise her courage and suffer with her, and I'd seriously consider adopting the child. We should certainly not throw stones at a mother who was brought to the brink of murdering her own child and returned from it with that child in her arms. Even if she ultimately decided to give the child up for adoption.

I don't know man, life isn't all transactional, we're not interchangeable parts, and we're not all owed a perfect glowing life without hardship or the consequences of our actions. We should not pretend that every person is entitled to exactly the same life. In the same way, it is not our place to sit behind glass throwing stones at people who make mistakes. We should never tell someone something that is false, and any "justification" of an abortion is a falsehood. If we've lived fortunate lives, or if we just happen to be standing on solid ground right now, insofar as our conditions permit, we should get down in the muck with our friends who are suffering and try our best to help pull them out, regardless of what sins they may have in their past.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #177 on: March 29, 2021, 05:29:31 AM »
You misread - we understand the genes and gene products necessary and sufficient for life - it is literally just chemistry of well understood processes .  There is no reason to invent the idea of a soul.  Inert matter differs from life in that life has the necessary biochemical processes and mechanical structures to maintain those biochemical processes.  This chemistry is the basis of ALL (known terrestrial) life (aliens might differ), from single cell to humans.

Science has not given us any experiment or evidence that the first principle of life resides in matter itself, or outlined a physical process which accounts for the entirety of life (particularly the will and intellect).  We have certainly seen that the will and intellect have physical manifestations in the brain, and can be influenced and disabled by manipulating the brain. This is not a physical explanation for the existence of these things; it simply confirms the thing that philosophers have been saying since Aristotle: the nature of a human soul is to be embodied.

I am sure that there are scientists, and more frequently the scientific-faithful, who make the claim that science has answered the questions of "what is life?", "what is the nature of the first principle of life?", "is the first principle of life material or immaterial?", "what is it 'to be'?", "what is the intellect?", "what is the will?", etc.  But science has not answered these questions. If you believe it has, you are mistaken.

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JoshuaD: The soul is providing animation and unity to the matter.
LetterRip: So chemistry is another name for soul?

This is a good question, and the answer is no. Like the heart or lungs, chemistry is a principle of life, but it is not the first principle of life. 

Life must have a first principle (i.e. first cause). I do not mean historically (our parents are the first historical cause of our life). I mean that thing which sustains life moment to moment.

Following from Aristotle and his predecessors, I call that first principle of life "the soul".  It's a label for a thing that reason tells us must exist. There must be a first principle -- an underlying root cause -- for life. Starting from this premise we can try to determine what the nature of the first principle is. The question we have focused on lately in this thread is: is the soul matter, or is it something else?

We can see that to be a living thing (or a principle of life) does not inhere in matter, because, if that were the case, all material things would be a living thing (or a principle of life). Therefore, we can see material things possess only the potentiality to be a living thing or a principle of life. In order for this potentiality for life to be actualized in matter some principle of life (for which life is inherent) must act upon the matter.  This shows us that the soul (i.e. the first principle of life) is not matter, but rather something which actualizes the potential for life in matter. As an analogy, the soul is sort of like energy or heat; it is not a substance, but rather something which actualizes a potentiality in matter.

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LetterRip: If not, please feel free to inform me how the soul is interacting with the chemistry and providing something necessary for life that isn't provided by the chemistry.  I'd be interested in how you discovered this.  As far as I can tell it is purely a claim and arguement made from ignorance of chemistry.

My partner has a PHD in chemistry. She is amused by your assertion that chemists have somehow fully mapped life (including the intellect and will) and can fully explain it through chemistry. They have little disjointed insights in a great sea of unknown. They can describe some very small processes on a mechanical level. They are nowhere close to mapping the physical processes of life.

It doesn't matter, though. I am not making an argument from the gaps in our current scientific discoveries. I am making an argument based in reason, which is not contrary to the discoveries that we continue to make in science. I can't tell you how "the soul is interacting with chemistry" any more than you can tell me the answer to every scientific question I might ask. That's not the hurdle I have in showing you that we can see through reason that there must be a first cause of life, and that that cause is not material.

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LetterRip: If not, please feel free to inform me how the soul is interacting with the chemistry and providing something necessary for life that isn't provided by the chemistry.

I have no idea how the intellect works or how the soul provides the power of the intellect.  Through reason we can deduce that something non-corporeal must be the first principle of life

That is not a justifiable hurdle to require that I pass. The whole world is a mystery, even the physical world. We don't know how anything works past a certain point. 

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JoshuaD: Yes, you don't. I'm not blaming you for this. All of the education and all of the philosophy we were born into tells us that there is no need for metaphysics. It brushes the big, big problems with this view under the rug (like you did above) by saying lots of complex scientific words that don't actually respond to the questions of metaphysics.

LetterRip: I haven't been using complex words.  We appear to making steady progress on every question of metaphysics.  I went through an exhaustive list of things claimed to be in its perview and they are all things being addressed by modern science.

You have flooded the thread with links, as if a link is a substitute for a conversation. You have spent a ton of time talking about the minutia of scientific processes (such as your understanding of current state of genetic studies) which has no bearing on the points I have made.

I love science. It is so cool. And it has made our lives a lot better. I am not arguing 'in the cracks of science", as if my points are just one scientific discovery away from being negated. I am saying that we can see that the nature of certain questions about our experiences and what it is to be are, by their nature, outside of the realm of science. You haven't responded to this point. Instead, you have effectively "hey check out this cool new science". Yes, they discover cool new science all the time. No, nothing you have linked to nor nothing they are discovering negates the things I have been speaking about. 

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JoshuaD: Think about history: how many generations do you believe lived with some foolish superstitions and ideas about truth? What are the odds that today, now, we are finally the people free of those things?

LetterRip: Ideas like the soul, our fates being guided by stars, beliefs in Gods, ghosts, demons and demonic possession, curses, etc. clearly still exist - so plenty of people still believe in foolish superstitions. We've found the underlying causes of phenomenon that those concepts were invented to explain - bizzare behavior isn't demonic possession - it is caused by abherrent processes in the brain that can be due to infection, toxic exposure, or trauma, or genetics.  Deformed births aren't from being cursed or evil parents but abnormal fetal development that can arise from a variety of causes.  Life is a result of chemical processes not a soul.  Many of the things attributed to Gods and attempted to be predicted by astrology - plagues, crops destroyed by weather or insect infestations and other years having bumper crops - are fully explainable by understanding climate science and how they interact with insect life cycles.  Strange sudden deaths aren't from curses but often from underlying defects in the heart, blood vessels, brain, etc.  Impotency can't be cured by sympathetic magic (ie consuming 'medicines' made from 'long hard' objects like ground up rhino horn) but is due to underlying physiological and neurological issues and can be treated by addressing those issues.

I have not mentioned the stars, ghosts, demons, possession, curses, evil parents, astrology, sympathetic magic, or anything else like that. I have talked about philosophy, metaphysics, and the thoughts of some philosophers -- primarily Aristotle and Aquinas -- on these topics.

Who are you talking to with this post? What does this paragraph have to do with anything we've said here this past week? Are you here, having this conversation with me?  I am not "every person you have ever spoken to who disagrees with you". I am me. My name is Josh. I am making arguments I find compelling.  If you'd like to talk to me, then great. Talk to me. Take the time to comprehend what I've written and then tell me what you think of it. I'll do the same, and maybe we'll be better for the exchange. I haven't once saddled you with any of the things other people have said to me. I would appreciate the same courtesy.

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JoshuaD: But we have minds as well, and our minds are in contact with something that transcends matter.

LetterRip: There is no evidence of this, and plenty of evidence this isn't the case.

Yes we do see it, we see it in our will and in our intellect. We see it in the existence of moral truths. We see it in our ability to perceive those moral truths as abstract ideas. We see it through reason, not through faith. Aristotle outlined the existence of these things (rightly or wrongly) through reason. He was not a religious man.

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JoshuaD: We see [something that can not be accounted for through matter alone] in our free will.

LetterRip: It isn't even clear that we have free will in the way the word has been used throughout history.  We can be 'puppeted' by electrical stimulation and will have the full belief that that puppeted action was the result of free will even though it was completely induced without our choice.  We are investigating the concept of free will, but it certainly doesn't imply a soul.

This is the sleight of hand materialists do. Your metaphysics can give absolutely no good account of free will, and so you kind-of-sort-of deny its existence, despite the fact that its existence is like, one of the most immediate and obvious truths we all experience every moment of every day.

You deny the thing exists, you point at some narrow insights we have had into some of the physical manifestations of the thing, and then you essentially say "I have some faith that science will be able to fully explain it one day".

This is not a response. It's a dodge.

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LetterRip: [Your belief that our minds are in contact with something that transcends matter] is purely an article of faith on your part.

Aristotle was not a religious man. He was a philosopher. Through philosophy -- through reason -- he saw that the soul existed and was able to distinguish some of its properties and powers. This is not a belief rooted in faith. It is a belief rooted in reason.


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JoshuaD: We see it in the immediate experience of reality that we have (which science has absolutely no explanation for).

LetterRip: I'm not sure what you are saying by this or what you think 'science has absolutely no experience for'.

Consciousness, free will, and intellect.

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JoshuaD: We see it in our ability to perceive and comprehend the transcendent ideas, like justice and beauty.

LetterRip: Beauty appears to be evolved for identifying reproductive and environmental factors that contribute to survival.  Facial symmetry, skin smoothness, hair shininess are good indicators of health.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_aesthetics

Justice appears to be evolved from factors that relate to survival in groups and empathy.  These are capacities shared by other animals. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-emotions/200906/wild-justice-and-moral-intelligence-in-animals

Yes, animals are able to perceive, in a limited way, the moral reality. They can see the consequences of action and have some sense of the benefits of community and cooperation.  They possess these things instinctively or as part of their estimative power. They do not and cannot comprehend justice or beauty abstractly like you and I can. They can only comprehend it concretely.


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JoshuaD: I program computers and I've kept up on machine learning. I am not an expert, but I have more than a layman's familiarity. I am correct in characterizing them as clever machines. They are not intelligent like we are. They are very subtle machines. No one who builds these systems suggests otherwise.

LetterRip: I build these machines (though haven't done much of that lately, and not in a professional capacity) and have a background in neuropsychology.  They are indeed 'clever machines' - but then all animals are also.  Something like "GPT-3" is in fact 'intelligent like we are' in many respects.  It is arguably an AGI, though not a very 'bright' AGI. https://towardsdatascience.com/gpt-3-the-first-artificial-general-intelligence-b8d9b38557a1
 

1. Good, we agree. You were very disagreeable about it, but ultimately you agreed with me that the machine learning systems we have today are not artificial life.

2. Again, I do not say that we are incapable of making a living thing. We make children all the time. Humans have the power to beget other living things, and we may very well have the power to create living things. As I have been saying for pages now, this is not some problem for me.

3. GPT-3 seems cool. It doesn't look like a living thing to me and instead looks like a really cool tool, but see #2. It doesn't matter at all to my arguments one way or the other.

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LetterRip: I'm unclear why you seem to think that 'qualia' are unexplained and inexplicable by science.  See this discussion: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3957492/

Yes. Since page one of this thread I have acknowledged that there are materialist philosophies and philosophers. I have spent four pages attempting to illustrate the reasons why I do not find their arguments convincing. If you would like to read your link and then make your arguments as to how exactly you imagine a materialist metaphysics can make sense of consciousness, the intellect, or will, then please do that. I'm not going to do your homework for you, and I'm not interested in having a conversation with a person who doesn't say his own words or his own ideas.  I could have linked you to Aristotle's book on page one of the thread and said  "this is wrong, see this book".  Would that have been a conversation or at all useful? Of course not. I'm here to have a conversation, not to swap links.

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You talk like Trump - your personal lack of knowledge you attribute to everyone 'noone knew that healthcare was so complicated'.

I have been insulted several times in this thread, by you and by others. If you'd like to have a conversation with me, don't speak to me that way please. If you do it again, you and I will have to stop having a conversation with one another on this topic.

Edited to fix formatting - OrneryMod
« Last Edit: March 29, 2021, 06:01:42 AM by OrneryMod »

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #178 on: March 29, 2021, 05:32:37 AM »
@Aris: Given that you have decided to insult me rather than communicating with me with basic respect, I wish you well and will let my last response to you be my last response to you in this thread on this topic.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #179 on: March 29, 2021, 05:51:30 AM »
It is not a practical impossibility to stop doctors from murdering children under the auspices of a license from the state. It is not a practical impossibility that we, as a culture, stop celebrating the murder of our children as a "human right".

It either is, or is not tenable to stop a practice within a given ecosystem. Nothing happens in a vacuum. An environment has to be ready for a change for it to hold. Sometimes this happens when people learn to wake up to a reality, and at other times it may take a catastrophe to trigger a change. Sometimes the social evolution just gets there on its own. But not every (correct) change can just be forced on people, even if the consequences of delay are significant.

It is absolutely tenable to stop the practice of licensed doctors performing abortions, and it is tenable for our law to go back to protecting the lives of the unborn in the same way that it protects the lives of the born. 

The context of this thread is the idea that there is the possibility that Roe v Wade (and Casey v. PP) will stop being the made-up law of the land, and we can go back to having murder laws be decided by democracy rather than judicial fiat.

Maybe not every state will make the right decisions about protecting the unborn. But Roe v Wade and Casey need to go.  It is absolutely tenable, and it is necessary for them to go for the environment to ever be "ready for the change" that you imagine it needs to hold a pro-life society. These cases severely inhibit "social evolution".

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JoshuaD:I have no interest in potential analogies or hypothetical arguments that someone might make. Are you making that analogy and argument? Do you believe that they have merit?

Fenring: To an extent I do believe that currently the Godfather analogy holds. I can't be sure that if one tried to ban abortions that it would be impossible for it to hold, but it's entirely possible that it would be. How many controls would have to be in place in order to guarantee universal obedience to such a law? Would it be backed up by prison? Would others in the populace actually turn in the lawbreakers? Would police patrols be scouting doctors' offices, or perhaps abandoned warehouses in the countryside? Would there be controls at border crossings preventing late-term pregnant women from leaving? And perhaps most importantly, would the institution of the supreme court itself come under attack if there was enough public furor against such a (correct) moral injunction? What would happen to the rule of law of people suspected the lawmakers and its judges of being not worth following?

These are not trivial questions, and despite the potential horror present in the issue of abortion, a solution can't be unidimensional in my opinion. I think groundwork would have to be laid in order to produce a proper environment for this kind of change. At least, that's my suspicion.

Like I said earlier, I don't even know how to have a conversation about how best to implement good laws for the protection of unborn life in a group where most of the participants reject that abortion is murder. There isn't enough common ground to have any sort of fruitful conversation about law.

Certainly, those laws would have to respect the natural privacy of women and women who lose their child during pregnancy. And certainly, we can criminally prosecute, as murderers, any doctors who perform abortions. I am less sure about what the law should do with women who perform abortions on themselves, but my inclination is away from punishment in most cases there.  Of course we wouldn't create laws that restrict the movement of pregnant women. That's a crazy idea.

Does that mean that some women will still privately perform abortions in their homes? Yes, probably. Do I think that's bad? Yes, It is murder. Does that mean the law I propose is fatally flawed? No, all of our laws fail to be perfectly enforceable, and often enforcement is restricted by other concerns, such as privacy and the presumption of innocence.

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Fenring: And perhaps most importantly, would the institution of the supreme court itself come under attack if there was enough public furor against such a (correct) moral injunction?

I mean, the constitution doesn't enshrine a right not to be murdered. If the supreme court ruled that it did, I would be standing in protest against the activist judges who made that ruling.

As I said in my very first post in my thread, I would be happy if Roe and Casey stopped being the law of the land, because it would return the question of abortion to democracy, where it properly belongs in our system.  I don't want the supreme court to then turn around and rule that abortions are unconstitutional. I would probably support a pro-life amendment, I definitely wouldn't support the Supreme Court making one up out of whole cloth like they made up the opposite in Roe and Casey.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2021, 05:53:55 AM by JoshuaD »

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #180 on: March 29, 2021, 11:26:16 AM »
Like I said earlier, I don't even know how to have a conversation about how best to implement good laws for the protection of unborn life in a group where most of the participants reject that abortion is murder. There isn't enough common ground to have any sort of fruitful conversation about law.

Maybe it would be fruitful to start a thread apart from the Roe v Wade one (which is political) and assert a priori that abortion is wrong, and go from there. It would be a hypothetical premise to base the thread on. Presumably people participating would be able to accept that premise for the purpose of the argument; whereas in a Roe v Wade discussion I think that wouldn't be as easy to accept.

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Fenring: And perhaps most importantly, would the institution of the supreme court itself come under attack if there was enough public furor against such a (correct) moral injunction?

I mean, the constitution doesn't enshrine a right not to be murdered. If the supreme court ruled that it did, I would be standing in protest against the activist judges who made that ruling.

My point was less about how to structure the actual laws, and who would enact them (supreme court, Congress, etc), but rather whether it would be tolerated by the general population. If a law passes that generates enough ire from the public, I could image a response that would go beyond the anger at Trump. In one way or another, imagine if the law of the land did become that abortions are murder. What would happen if 50% of the country simply refused to accept that this was a real law. You would imprison thousands and thousands of people? And what of their friends and families standing by them - imprison them too? The police forces alone might not even be up to what could happen in this type of scenario. But it could be worse: imagine a civil war emerges based on this topic. And imagine the pro-life side is defeated roundly. Not only is the law repealed, but there is now a monument (so to speak) to the fact that it will never be allowed to happen again (like slavery). It seems to me that enforcing someone thing this - especially at the point of a gun - may be actually impossible. And this is putting aside whether abortion is murder or not.

I think that changing minds, and on the road to that, society, is a pathway to change that is both peaceful and functional. If it really is a truth then it will emerge into the zeitgeist eventually. That is little compensation for the possibility of horrors going on now (according to the pro-life argument), but it may be how things need to evolve. It did take humanity eons to evolve to where we are now, after all. If you had gone back in a time machine to 15,000 BC and announced to all that human sacrifice, baby killing, and wars of conquest are villainous, they would not only disagree but more likely would not even understand what you are trying to say. To the extent that certain people now feel they have a superior moral knowledge, and let's say for argument's sake they do, it is not so easy to impose this will on others unless you have a system like Christendom to back it up. And I don't think that's a particularly good solution.

TheDrake

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #181 on: March 29, 2021, 02:05:43 PM »
We already know what that scenario looks like. Cider House Rules (if you happen to be lucky enough) otherwise break out the coat hanger. I doubt the population would ever actively treat abortion as a murder one felony. In most cases, they shy away from any penalty against the mother because they acknowledge implicitly that it is not, and incarcerating an extra half million young women isn't really viable.

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #182 on: March 29, 2021, 02:13:01 PM »
We already know what that scenario looks like. Cider House Rules (if you happen to be lucky enough) otherwise break out the coat hanger.

Sorry, what does this mean?

TheDrake

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #183 on: March 29, 2021, 02:19:38 PM »
In the film, Cider House Rules, a doctor performs an illegal abortion after an underage girl is raped and impregnated by her own father. The coat hanger is a graphic representation of DIY abortions without the help of a medical professional.


Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #184 on: March 29, 2021, 02:25:59 PM »
In the film, Cider House Rules, a doctor performs an illegal abortion after an underage girl is raped and impregnated by her own father. The coat hanger is a graphic representation of DIY abortions without the help of a medical professional.

You're talking about the development of a huge black market. Yeah, that would be another option if the populace didn't outright defy the government, to do it in secret. There was always the "back-alley abortions" argument made against the pro-life side. However in the here and now things are different, and I'm not sure the pro-choice side would go as quietly as that.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #185 on: March 29, 2021, 02:35:26 PM »
@Fenring: Again, we are talking about the correction of the bad reasoning in Roe v. Wade and a restoration of the people's ability to solve this question through the normal democratic process. If the Supreme Court overturned Roe and Casey tomorrow, New York and California aren't going to pass anti-abortion laws the next day. I wish they would, but the people don't support that view.

Right now, the people are unable to pass laws that protect the unborn. This is because a handful of judges decided to abuse their position of power to implement a change they wanted via judicial fiat (bypassing congress's power and proper role). They pretended that the Constitution protects our ability to murder our unborn children, even though it clearly never said that or intended to say that.

While I don't agree with your argument, Fenring, it doesn't matter. It misses the mark in this thread. Surely you're not saying that your hesitation to rock the boat precludes you from even supporting the correction of an incoherent legal ruling that removed this question from the sphere democracy and of implementable policy.

I can comprehend what you're saying about not wanting to have laws act like a tyrant to people who do not agree with those laws.  I don't think I agree in this case, but there's a point there for sure.

I cannot comprehend you saying that Roe and Casey have to continue to stand, even though all the do is make it so the law must be a tyrant to anyone who is pro-life. 

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #186 on: March 29, 2021, 02:56:05 PM »
@Fenring: Again, we are talking about the correction of the bad reasoning in Roe v. Wade and a restoration of the people's ability to solve this question through the normal democratic process. If the Supreme Court overturned Roe and Casey tomorrow, New York and California aren't going to pass anti-abortion laws the next day. I wish they would, but the people don't support that view.

Sure, and as far as I know it sounds good to undo an extreme case of judicial activism. But it has to be good because the court overreached, not because abortion may be wrong. The issue seems to be constitutional, not moral, if we are talking strictly about Roe v Wade.

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While I don't agree with your argument, Fenring, it doesn't matter. It misses the mark in this thread. Surely you're not saying that your hesitation to rock the boat precludes you from even supporting the correction of an incoherent legal ruling that removed this question from the sphere democracy and of implementable policy.

I'm most certainly not against rocking the boat, on this topic and in general. But I do think bringing up the final destination of those who want Roe repealed is relevant. It may not be directly pertinent to the particularities of what will be argued in court, but it's pertinent to the communal beliefs making it worthwhile to go after that ruling. There are no doubt many bad rulings in history that no one spends large amounts of time fighting because they don't affect anyone significantly. In this case it's the effects that are going to always come to the fore. And purely on a psychological level, any pro-choice person who hears that Roe is being challenged will hear a challenge to 'abortion rights' directly. There will not be much use in saying that this is only an administrative issue and that they can write to their state legislatures to reinstate that protection. Right or wrong, this really is the issue at hand.

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I can comprehend what you're saying about not wanting to have laws act like a tyrant to people who do not agree with those laws.  I don't think I agree in this case, but there's a point there for sure.

There are two serious issues in play, one practical, and one moral, when one tries to enact morality at the point of a gun. Practically, it has to actually be enforceable, and it has to in some sense make the world better. If all kinds of new crimes or defects in society arise from such a strong law, it may curtail one type of action while creating a host of others. Playing whackamole with the population is probably a serious mistake at the best of times. Morally, however, I always have a question about the use of force to require people to act morally. In this case it's a question (potentially) of murder, so we do already use force to prevent that. But to people who don't agree, and who would be subject to such a law, they will receive the force of law as threatening their person in order to obey an illogical edict. And there is also the moral issue of requiring someone to take a child to term but providing no other resources; effectively they are put down a track and them dumped at the end. That doesn't sound nice to me.

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I cannot comprehend you saying that Roe and Casey have to continue to stand, even though all the do is make it so the law must be a tyrant to anyone who is pro-life.

Actually that's not the position I'm taking. My arguments above have been mostly theoretical about the pro-life position, but not about Roe v Wade itself. So from that standpoint you're right, I'm veering off-topic. However since no one has really been addressing the legal positions I would argue that everyone else is equally off-topic. About Roe v Wade I tend to think that if the law of the land doesn't have any recourse through the voters then we have a problem. It effectively becomes a theocracy if some moral position is generated as a legal axiom (i.e. that abortion is a right) that is not subject to review by the elected representatives. So strictly on these grounds as far as my knowledge allows it seems good for this ruling to go. But what happens after is what I've been talking about.

rightleft22

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #187 on: March 29, 2021, 03:02:41 PM »
@ JashuaD

trying to follow your augment. Your saying the the process that led to Row v Wade was not a democratic process. Or if it was, not a normal one. Its not clear to me what your version of a proper or normal democratic process would look like.

The sense I get is that a law (at whatever level) that goes against your morals and definitions might be classified as tyrannical and or undemocratic to those that don't like it.  On the other hand the reverse would not be true if the laws went your way, even if those that did not agree with your definitions might then experience the law as tyrannical.  In the case of such disagreement is this not a valid role of the Supreme Court?

If the Supreme Court had ruled to favor your position would you still see it as tyrannical and undemocratic?

this is not a pro-life, pro-choice question. I'm trying to understand the method or rule you would use to address the issue.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2021, 03:08:10 PM by rightleft22 »

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #188 on: March 29, 2021, 04:22:08 PM »
If the Supreme Court had ruled to favor your position would you still see it as tyrannical and undemocratic?

Yes. I would absolutely oppose the Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution contains a right for the unborn  to not be murdered.  (And there is no chance that any of the conservative judges on the Supreme Court would ever make that argument).

The Constitution mentions only three crimes: piracy, treason, and counterfeiting. If the Supreme Court somehow ruled that the Constitution prohibits murder (of the born or the unborn) that would be completely absurd, and I would oppose that ruling.

The states have the power and authority to determine whether an abortion is treated as murder under their laws. (It is murder, but the States may choose not to codify that reality.)

I also think it's consistent with our legal history and tradition to say that the necessary and proper cause gives Congress the authority to outlaw and punish murder in some cases.  Congress isn't given this power explicitly, and I am always hesitant to use the necessary and proper clause as a blank check, but we have plenty of murder laws on the federal books already, so it's something that looks reasonable to me. My preference would be for abortion laws to be implemented on the state level (or, even better, via a constitutional amendment) but I won't go as far as to say that I would oppose a pro-life law from Congress.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #189 on: March 29, 2021, 04:30:12 PM »
trying to follow your augment. Your saying the the process that led to Row v Wade was not a democratic process. Or if it was, not a normal one. Its not clear to me what your version of a proper or normal democratic process would look like.

Yes, Roe v. Wade was a poorly reasoned ruling, where unelected judges decided that they wanted there to be a "right to kill your child", and claimed that the Constitution implied a right to privacy, and that right to privacy somehow implied that doctors could advertise that they will kill your unborn baby for you. It is widely criticized for its specious reasoning, and despite that, it is the law of the land. Until it is overturned, legislators are not free to do their job on the question of abortion. The Supreme Court usurped the authority of the legislators and fabricated a super-law out of thin air.

The sense I get is that a law (at whatever level) that goes against your morals and definitions might be classified as tyrannical and or undemocratic to those that don't like it.

There are plenty of laws I disagree with which I do not call tyrannical or undemocratic. I call them unjust or contrary to the natural law. A law can certainly be wrong and democratic.

rightleft22

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #190 on: March 29, 2021, 05:17:33 PM »
Thanks for the explanation.

the use of the words 'unelected judges' suggest you do have issue with the system in which judges are appointed. Nominated by and confirmed by elected members. 

I'm not sure how you tie in the specific 'doctors could advertise' with the right to privacy.  Which seems to me a different issue.

The legality of the issues involved are way above my head. Philosophically for me the issue trips over to many of the big questions, which I suspect few people grasp or bother with much. Like freedom? What role does freedom play in the creation of society and its ability to maintain itself. How to balance the needs of the many v the needs of the one.

Pro-life, pro choice to my mind are not opposites and as labels to define movements I find them both absurd.

I'm a old childless man whos opinion doesn't matter much and I don't think is should. The world has moved passed my time or it ought to anyway.

The gift and curse of social media is that we get to imagine that everything we think, every opinion we have matters, and matters more then others. The joy of righteous indignation.

Everyone is special, unique, every Life precious, my precious... as long as life thinks and acts like "me".  What a world that would be
« Last Edit: March 29, 2021, 05:25:24 PM by rightleft22 »

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #191 on: March 29, 2021, 05:24:48 PM »
Quote
the use of the words 'unelected judges' suggest you do have issue with the system in which judges are appointed. Nominated by and confirmed by elected members. 

No, I support the appointment of judges. I think elected judges would be give us worse results than unelected judges.

I emphasize 'unelected' to focus on the fact that it was an undemocratic decree. I emphasize 'judges' (or sometimes, 'lawyers') to show that these people do not have any special authority on the moral law. They are just people who wanted a thing, and were able to shove it down the throat of the rest of the country.


rightleft22

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #192 on: March 29, 2021, 05:35:54 PM »
Quote
the use of the words 'unelected judges' suggest you do have issue with the system in which judges are appointed. Nominated by and confirmed by elected members. 

No, I support the appointment of judges. I think elected judges would be give us worse results than unelected judges.

I emphasize 'unelected' to focus on the fact that it was an undemocratic decree. I emphasize 'judges' (or sometimes, 'lawyers') to show that these people do not have any special authority on the moral law. They are just people who wanted a thing, and were able to shove it down the throat of the rest of the country.

That is interesting. Begs the question of Morality and the experience of Justice.
Who (or what) has authority to create law in a democracy?
If a democratic process was followed can it be a undemocratic decree? 
At some level are not all laws restrictive by definition and at that level experienced by some as having been "shoved down ones throat". Who decides?
I hate wearing a seat belt. I hate paying the fine I got for not wearing one...

TheDrake

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #193 on: March 29, 2021, 06:27:14 PM »
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Rigid devotion to only the words in the constitution would make this line rather pointless. It hasn't really been used much.

And as you know the 14th right to due process was used in landmark cases other than Roe.

I guess you're planning on throwing out Brown v Board of Education also? Too bad, little black boy, you're going to have to go the black school until your state legislature agrees with you. You also are going to have a hard time voting to change the legislature.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #194 on: April 03, 2021, 02:45:08 AM »

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #195 on: April 03, 2021, 02:54:07 AM »
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Rigid devotion to only the words in the constitution would make this line rather pointless. It hasn't really been used much.

It hasn't been used very much because it is an impossible thing for a judge to use. It does not affirm any rights, it does not authorize judges to determine what those rights might be, and it doesn't give a judge the power to enforce these rights against laws duly enacted by the people.

I think it is primarily a directive to Congress that does have an impact on the power of judicial review claimed by Marshall.

And as you know the 14th right to due process was used in landmark cases other than Roe.

I guess you're planning on throwing out Brown v Board of Education also? Too bad, little black boy, you're going to have to go the black school until your state legislature agrees with you. You also are going to have a hard time voting to change the legislature.

I think Brown v. Board of Education is consistent with the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments.

Roe doesn't depend upon the 14th amendment. It uses the 14th amendment as one thread in a whole-cloth creation of judicial law. 

NobleHunter

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #196 on: April 03, 2021, 10:12:06 AM »
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It is not healthcare, it is murder. I am less sure about to what degree, if any, the law should punish women who have abortions or force them to give birth.
So it's murder but not really murder.

And the idea that abortion as a side effect of removing a fallopian tube is permissible but abortion without removing the tube isn't also shows you don't really think a child is a child. We don't give someone a pass on murder just because they burnt the house down with the kid inside instead of strangling them. If a child is a child then murder is murder. You can't ease the burden of your self-righteousness with inconsistency.

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #197 on: April 03, 2021, 03:24:00 PM »
And the idea that abortion as a side effect of removing a fallopian tube is permissible but abortion without removing the tube isn't also shows you don't really think a child is a child. We don't give someone a pass on murder just because they burnt the house down with the kid inside instead of strangling them.

It's more a trolley problem than what you suggest. Like if you had to press an emergency seal button to cordon off a bacterial lab, locking someone inside to die, that would not be murder. They may die as a result of a necessary security measure, but you are not killing them. It's not murder. Contrast with just exposing someone to the bacterium in order to kill them, which is murder. And to address the variant you name, if you pull the emergency seal button, causing someone to die, but the only reason you pressed it was to cause them to die, then it's murder. The circumstance and the intent is clearly what will lead to one evaluation or the other. If you're arguing that people will pretend to have systemic ailments "requiring" the removal of the fetus then that just means they're doing the equivalent of faking an emergency to kill someone (assuming the fetus is a someone). There are lots of ways in real life people can try to get away with the perfect murder, using various natural processes or obfuscations. It doesn't make it not murder, even though they may get away with it.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #198 on: April 04, 2021, 03:52:06 AM »
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[An abortion] is not healthcare, it is murder. I am less sure about to what degree, if any, the law should punish women who have abortions or force them to give birth.
So it's murder but not really murder.

No, its murder.

And the idea that abortion as a side effect of removing a fallopian tube is permissible but abortion without removing the tube isn't also shows you don't really think a child is a child. We don't give someone a pass on murder just because they burnt the house down with the kid inside instead of strangling them. If a child is a child then murder is murder. You can't ease the burden of your self-righteousness with inconsistency

Please, try to read what I'm writing with just the smallest amount of charity and desire to understand my views, rather than with the narrow microscope you've been using. There is absolutely no value in this conversation right now.  You're not learning anything, I'm not learning anything, and we can't even say that we're communicating.

My beliefs may very well be wrong. I think they're right and that's why I believe them, but I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong. That's why I'm here talking.

If you don't take even half a minute to try to comprehend what I'm saying and how it makes sense and is consistent (and it does, and it is), but instead try to point at false simple inconsistencies like this, neither of us is going to learn a damned thing.

You're really sure you're right. Got it. You're really sure I'm wrong. Got it. You think my views are terrible. Got it.

Now that that's out of the way, could you respond with some actual thought and reasoning?

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, the principle guiding my views on the difficult moral questions that arise (very rarely) in pregnancies is the principle of double effect:

Quote from: Wikipedia
This set of criteria states that an action having foreseen harmful effects practically inseparable from the good effect is justifiable if the following are true:

    the nature of the act is itself good, or at least morally neutral;
    the agent intends the good effect and does not intend the bad effect either as a means to the good or as an end in itself;
    the good effect outweighs the bad effect in circumstances sufficiently grave to justify causing the bad effect and the agent exercises due diligence to minimize the harm.
....
The doctrine consists of four conditions that must be satisfied before an act is morally permissible:

    The nature-of-the-act condition. The action, apart from the foreseen evil, must be either morally good or indifferent.
    The means-end condition. The bad effect must not be the means by which one achieves the good effect. Good ends do not justify evil means.[3]
    The right-intention condition. The intention must be the achieving of only the good effect, with the bad effect being only an unintended side effect. All reasonable measures to avoid or mitigate the bad effect must be taken.
    The proportionality condition. There must be a proportionately grave reason for permitting the evil effect.

DJQuag

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #199 on: April 04, 2021, 05:21:19 AM »
Wrote a whole thing and it got deleted. Thanks, internet.

You're a punk bitch, Josh. For once in your life just take a f*cking stand beyond "Well Aristotle told me this."

Paladine informed your way of thinking and fair enough. Just quit pretending. It's embarrassing for you and the rest of us, when you keep on pretending you have some Uber logical reason from why you say what you say and do what you do.

Just so you know? I don't give a sh*t about metaphysics in the same way I'm not really concerned about how the car industry is concerned about horse carriages.

DJQuag: Please see your email. -OrneryMod
« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 05:19:35 PM by OrneryMod »