Author Topic: Roe might be in woe  (Read 39020 times)

DJQuag

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #50 on: March 12, 2021, 07:23:58 PM »
I actually don't think my opinion is too complicated.

If the fetus is developed enough to have a reasonable chance of living as something besides a dangerous parasitical lifeform, by all means scoop them out (so long as it isn't too dangerous to the person the parasite is attached to,) and give them their shot. If pro life fervor is genuine I'm sure the funding for that will go right through.

If the fetus isn't developed enough then oh well, thems the breaks, the god I reference and infer all the time but who I totally don't believe in because I'm just a faithless wretch should probably do something about that. Anything else and what you're really saying is that by having sex a woman should be chained to a life threatening parasite for nine months without any recourse. Screw that.

DJQuag

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #51 on: March 12, 2021, 07:29:44 PM »
I'm not as hopeful as you, but I would be overjoyed if Roe and Casey were overturned.  They are both horrible rulings contrary to reason, contrary to the natural law, and without any basis in the Constitution. The child is a child. We cannot kill children because we find them inconvenient or a burden.  Abortion is the modern political equivalent to slavery: somehow there are two sides and somehow both sides have influence over people's minds, when the "pro-choice" side (much like the pro-slavery side) is completely wrong and abhorrent in their beliefs. History will eventually (and rightly) look back at our age and say "how were they so barbaric". You are on the wrong side of this issue, and it stains your hands with blood.

A faithless wretch, ladies and gentlemen. Guided completely by logic.

Honestly the only thing worse then some religious wacko shutting you down by declaring, "I have faith it's true, I don't need evidence," is someone else pretending like they're better then that by declaring how logical they are, while putting forth the same arguments.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 07:33:04 PM by DJQuag »

LetterRip

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #52 on: March 12, 2021, 08:05:48 PM »

You seem to be unaware of the issues with regard to adoption. Yes, the foster-care system is full of children with a lack of parents willing to take them in.

I am aware.  I'm also aware that if a 'perfect baby' isn't available, that many people will then adopt older children, or adopt babies that have health issues, or take in foster children.  So the children are 'fungible' but without perfect substitution elasticity.  Thus any increase in the supply of healthy babies - will increase the supply of children who aren't adopted.

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No, their situation does not apply to the specific group we are talking about.
People overwhelmingly want to adopt a kid and raise it "as their own." They cannot do this very effectively with a child over the age of 5. Most won't want to try with any child over the age of 2, or really even 1. But newborn infants? As I already said, there are long waiting lists to adopt those children when they become available.

See above.  Any increase in the supply of healthy babies reduces the demand for adoption of older children.

Also, if abortion were completely ended there wouldn't be a significant increase in healthy babies for adoption - women are almost always unwilling to give up a healthy baby for adoption even when they intended to do so.  There would simply be an increase in babies born with serious health issues who would be put up for adoption.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 08:12:47 PM by LetterRip »

TheDeamon

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #53 on: March 13, 2021, 02:59:47 AM »
I'm not trying to address the personhood question here, because frankly that is boiling down in America to little more than faith vs faith. In one case, faith in one kind of common sense (i.e. that a person has to look like a bona fide person to count as a person) versus another kind of common sense (i.e. that we should not judge a person by his/her level of development, and that personhood is not a privilege granted as an anniversary present). Ironically both sides also argue that science is 'on their side', even though of course it does not take sides because science is not a person with an opinion. Anyone can create moving goalposts and say that personhood requires brain waves, science says that brainwaves start at X age, therefore science is ok with early term abortion. But the error of this type of argument should be painfully evident. Likewise arguments about heartbeat, human-like appearance, birth itself, or even technical minutiae such as the timing of implantation; each of these are arbitrary sign posts that due to a person's ego he has decided this criterion makes the most sense, therefore becomes some kind of formal definition of personhood, and will hang their hat on that even though in principle lives may be at stake.

But here we go again, at 20 weeks a fetus would look like a human baby(albeit a very small one) if delivered. It also has a chance of surviving into (somewhat) normal infancy, albeit a very poor chance. Once you get to 24 weeks, the chances of surviving without long term health consequences increase considerably.

That is part of my issue with a number of the pro-abortion activists. If that fetus had been delivered under any condition except an abortion procedure, that infant becomes a human being entitled to a list of rights, and charges of murder or malpractice if deliberately killed.

But by some magic handwaving, they can terminate that same fetus by any number of means because of where it is, or more importantly, where it isn't.

If these people are being consistent, either killing that delivered infant should be legal as "a post-birth abortion" option, or killing a fetus after achieving that level of development is infanticide, and an act of murder.

TheDrake

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #54 on: March 13, 2021, 01:42:17 PM »
And literally no doctor is aborting a 20 week old fetus without serious and debilitating defects. Your straw man just fell apart. Indeed, inside or outside, at that stage it would be malpractice to perform an elective abortion.

Almost every locality recognizes that outside the first trimester, you don't get to terminate a pregnancy.

TheDeamon

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #55 on: March 13, 2021, 03:53:42 PM »
And literally no doctor is aborting a 20 week old fetus without serious and debilitating defects. Your straw man just fell apart. Indeed, inside or outside, at that stage it would be malpractice to perform an elective abortion.

Almost every locality recognizes that outside the first trimester, you don't get to terminate a pregnancy.

https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/18.2-74/

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Notwithstanding any of the provisions of § 18.2-71 and in addition to the provisions of §§ 18.2-72 and 18.2-73, it shall be lawful for any physician licensed by the Board of Medicine to practice medicine and surgery to terminate or attempt to terminate a human pregnancy or aid or assist in the termination of a human pregnancy by performing an abortion or causing a miscarriage on any woman in a stage of pregnancy subsequent to the second trimester provided the following conditions are met:

"subsequent to the second trimester" reads as "after the second" to me, which means they don't kick in those restrictions until the third trimester. Third trimester is starts at about 28 weeks.

And
https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter4/section18.2-73/
bears that out:
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Notwithstanding any of the provisions of § 18.2-71 and in addition to the provisions of § 18.2-72, it shall be lawful for any physician licensed by the Board of Medicine to practice medicine and surgery, to terminate or attempt to terminate a human pregnancy or aid or assist in the termination of a human pregnancy by performing an abortion or causing a miscarriage on any woman during the second trimester of pregnancy and prior to the third trimester of pregnancy provided such procedure is performed in a hospital licensed by the State Department of Health or operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

Section 71 covers partial birth abortion in Virginia and makes it illegal. Section 72 covers who is legally qualified and the first trimester.

DJQuag

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #56 on: March 13, 2021, 06:24:39 PM »
I'm not trying to address the personhood question here, because frankly that is boiling down in America to little more than faith vs faith. In one case, faith in one kind of common sense (i.e. that a person has to look like a bona fide person to count as a person) versus another kind of common sense (i.e. that we should not judge a person by his/her level of development, and that personhood is not a privilege granted as an anniversary present). Ironically both sides also argue that science is 'on their side', even though of course it does not take sides because science is not a person with an opinion. Anyone can create moving goalposts and say that personhood requires brain waves, science says that brainwaves start at X age, therefore science is ok with early term abortion. But the error of this type of argument should be painfully evident. Likewise arguments about heartbeat, human-like appearance, birth itself, or even technical minutiae such as the timing of implantation; each of these are arbitrary sign posts that due to a person's ego he has decided this criterion makes the most sense, therefore becomes some kind of formal definition of personhood, and will hang their hat on that even though in principle lives may be at stake.

But here we go again, at 20 weeks a fetus would look like a human baby(albeit a very small one) if delivered. It also has a chance of surviving into (somewhat) normal infancy, albeit a very poor chance. Once you get to 24 weeks, the chances of surviving without long term health consequences increase considerably.

That is part of my issue with a number of the pro-abortion activists. If that fetus had been delivered under any condition except an abortion procedure, that infant becomes a human being entitled to a list of rights, and charges of murder or malpractice if deliberately killed.

But by some magic handwaving, they can terminate that same fetus by any number of means because of where it is, or more importantly, where it isn't.

If these people are being consistent, either killing that delivered infant should be legal as "a post-birth abortion" option, or killing a fetus after achieving that level of development is infanticide, and an act of murder.

No.

If a baby is alive after an abortion procedure I'm okay with every effort being taken to keep it alive. I accept there are radical pro choice elements out there that don't accept that, but that's where I draw the line.

The magic words for me are, "Are we forcing a sapient human being into a parasitical relationship against their will?" That's it. That's my line. I kind of feel it's pretty clear cut.

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #57 on: March 14, 2021, 01:19:06 PM »
The magic words for me are, "Are we forcing a sapient human being into a parasitical relationship against their will?"

I agree that these are magic words, in that you have conjured them up using your own powers. I understand the argument completely, but am routinely astounded at how someone with this view cannot also see the possibility that the 'parasite' may be entitled to human rights. It's fine to acknowledge both sides and choose - perhaps on aesthetic grounds - to prefer the rights of the mother. But the re-definition of human into parasite is a complete dodge of the (potential) issue.

DJQuag

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #58 on: March 14, 2021, 02:27:31 PM »
The magic words for me are, "Are we forcing a sapient human being into a parasitical relationship against their will?"

I agree that these are magic words, in that you have conjured them up using your own powers. I understand the argument completely, but am routinely astounded at how someone with this view cannot also see the possibility that the 'parasite' may be entitled to human rights. It's fine to acknowledge both sides and choose - perhaps on aesthetic grounds - to prefer the rights of the mother. But the re-definition of human into parasite is a complete dodge of the (potential) issue.

Yeah, it's really not. A human being is chained into a nine month relationship where another human is draining them of nutrients, altering their body, and putting their life at risk. The closest analogue to that in history is slavery and even that term falls short. I'm going with the term parasite because it covers most of the bases.

Call them human, call them fetuses, call them god's will.

Doesn't matter. What I'm saying is that no human should ever be enslaved to another in that way against their will. If the fetus can be removed, given life support, and live? All power to them. Let's fund that. Otherwise? Tough sh*t.

Edit - In other words, Fenring, can you please detail the human right that is being violated when one human being tells another that they have no right to attach themselves and endanger lives?
« Last Edit: March 14, 2021, 02:30:06 PM by DJQuag »

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #59 on: March 14, 2021, 02:50:35 PM »
Edit - In other words, Fenring, can you please detail the human right that is being violated when one human being tells another that they have no right to attach themselves and endanger lives?

First I'd like to know why you are speaking as if embryos invade the mother as if they are a foreign body attaching themselves. Let's start with what it is, and make sure we agree: you do agree, I hope, that we're talking about a growing being created by an action the mother undertook? For the purposes of this particular question let's momentarily leave rape and incest out of it. On a materialistic level it doesn't really matter that the 'action' in question was sex, it could have been anything really. We could pretend the mother pushed a button that would potentially generate a life inside of her, for all the difference it makes.

Your argument was that because it's a parasite the mother can choose. But since it's not one, and certainly not an invasive one, it's not even a question of whether someone might agree with you, but rather that you haven't even formulated a coherent position yet.

DJQuag

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #60 on: March 14, 2021, 06:06:13 PM »
Why are we talking like the inevitable result of sex is a child?

It's a possibility, it's natural, sure. So is juvenile diabetes. Pretty sure I've not heard people ranting against insulin. There are all sorts of natural things that the human race has found answers to. From alcohol to excessive eating there are all sorts of ways people get themselves into bad spots that society via the medical establishment are standing and waiting by to fix.

Anyway. You're talking on one hand about a sovereign entity that has rights, on the other hand now you're asking why we're talking about them as a foreign entity.

They are the mother, or they're not. If they are, abortion is just elective surgery on your own body. If they're not, then they're a foreign presence in the body. A foreign presence that drains nutrients, energy, and has every possibility of killing one or both people involved. There's a word for that, and to be fair it doesn't technically apply in intraspecific cases. Sounds like me using it has triggered you, though, so in fairness I'll just call them uninvited symbiotes. Even if symbiote implies the mother is getting something out of it.

Anyway, answered the question, back to you. Which human right is being violated by an uninvited symbiote being stopped from attaching itself to a sapient being, draining their health and endangering their life? What right does anyone have to do that to someone else?

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #61 on: March 14, 2021, 07:46:06 PM »
They are the mother, or they're not. If they are, abortion is just elective surgery on your own body. If they're not, then they're a foreign presence in the body.

I believe that this is the fundamental premise behind your general position, and as such it is a syllogism that is non-functional. You have a loose term "foreign" being introduced without definition, and actually "presence" is also a peculiar and probably misleading word as well. You may not know it, but by the terms you're using in this proposition you are setting up a circular axiom that will serve to establish the point you are trying to make in the first place. Change some terms in your axiom, for instance "If they're not, then they're a new and unique person totally dependent on their creator", and suddenly the axiom would appear to lead to totally new conclusions. Watch out for creating an argument structure whose only purpose is to prove a point you already believe.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #62 on: March 16, 2021, 04:18:57 AM »
Quote from: JoshuaD
So yes, I definitely oppose contraception. And if you're asking my advice, yes, avoid masturbation too. Get married, attend to your relationship like a careful gardener, sleep with your wife regularly, love her with all of your heart, make lots of beautiful children, and be happy.

What of people who can't do that and be happy?

I don't understand the point of the question. If I said "the purpose of eyes is to see. Develop your vision, eat carrots, protect your eyes from foreign objects, and be happy", would there be any value at all in someone responding "What of people who can't see?"

We should care for those people. We should help them do wholesome things to enrich their lives. We should use technology and society, insofar as is reasonable, to help restore their brokenness, and we should treat them with love.  Any disorder of the mind or body should be treated in the same way, fundamentally. If you want a more specific answer, you'll have to give a more specific question. 

Quote from: JoshuaD
What is important is that the unborn child is an independent person.

Except, of course, they are not independent and are actually the most dependent form of life there is.

I am not using the word "independent" in that way.  Of course the child relies upon his mother for sustenance. I am using the word to mean that the child is a separate being.  He is not part of the mother. The child is separate living person located inside his mother.

Quote from: JoshuaD
What is important is that the unborn child is an independent person.
Since we are talking about things being things, is an acorn an oak tree?

I'm not a botanist. Either it is a tree, or it is not a tree.  Or, if you want, you can adopt the false view that "tree" is just a convenience label for collections-of-matter that arises and falls away, but there is really no such thing as trees.

If you do that -- and you extend that conclusion to people like your question suggests -- you can't reasonably say a thing about morality.  You can write the words, sure, but they will lack weight or substance. If "person" is just a convenience label, then there is no meaning when you say "it is bad to kill people", because by your account "people" is just an illusory label which we apply arbitrarily to clumps of matter, and there is really no meaning in saying "we should not kill people unjustly", because "people" has no fixed or fundamental meaning.

You can try working with that worldview and that metaphysics. Or you can ignore metaphysics and try to blindly build bridges across little islands of truth you think you've discovered.  In either case, in the name of a superstitious fear of reason, you'll be shutting your mind off to the truth that is available and obvious: there is real meaning to saying that it's wrong to murder a person, and therefore there is some real meaning to what a person is, and the thing that distinguishes a person from a body is the unifying form and the animating principle. It is the soul. And modern science suggests that the soul joins matter at the time of conception, because that is when independent, unique human life arises.


JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #63 on: March 16, 2021, 04:20:37 AM »
I'm curious - would those of you who are opposed to abortion under most circumstances - would removing and cryogenically freezing the fetus for later implantation be morally acceptable to you?  Ie removing and ceasing the fetuses development but not killing it.  That should also be a technology that will be possible in the not distant future.

No, that is horrible. That's a person you're talking about freezing. He's not some commodity you can put on the shelf of a freezer and unfreeze when it becomes convenient for you.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #64 on: March 16, 2021, 04:22:36 AM »
So yes, I definitely oppose contraception. And if you're asking my advice, yes, avoid masturbation too. Get married, attend to your relationship like a careful gardener, sleep with your wife regularly, love her with all of your heart, make lots of beautiful children, and be happy.

The average woman is capable of having 15 children that make it to adulthood with modern medicine.  Even if every person were to live in a tiny home and consume as much food, water, and energy as the most resource conscientious person in the world, we would still all die within 1 or 2 generations.  Happiness would literally cease to exist if people followed your beliefs.

Over-population is a myth. We're nowhere close to it. Most importantly, every person who is born has a positive expected value for society.  Will problems arise? Sure. We'll solve them. 

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #65 on: March 16, 2021, 04:28:27 AM »
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The right wants a social safety net, and they often provide one. They do not want an over-reaching state, which they believe causes many more problems than it solves. You can care about your neighbors without being a statist who imagines every physical need people might have can be attended to by a bureaucracy, monopolized violence, and taxes. That's a really absurd assertion.
The actions of the right, in general, don't match that intention. At least not the new conservatism that appears to view any social safety nets as a gateway to socialism.  The social "safety net' my evangelicals friends which to create is one not run but government but by the church and corporation.

With regards to the corporation such a 'net' must be profitable and so tends to work against itself at some point. With regards to the church such help tends to come with a push of values that those need that help might not adhere to. And then the question of who pays? the member of the church? (for the good or ill government is the best way we have of collecting collative funds)
I have not known a Church organization that hasn't succumbed at some point or two or three.... to the bureaucracy and mismanagement that is associated "big government". Its seems governing regardless of size or implementation inherits the the problem of how the hell do we do it and keep the people happy and if no happy inline.

As to the debate, any Pro life stance that does not include measures to ensure the 'unwanted' child has a reasonable chance at the 'pursuit of happiness' its not really a Pro life stance. IMO
Its a disconnect.

It only appears to be a disconnect to you because you think you are correct about the proper role of the State. Imagine that you're wrong about the State -- imagine that the vision you have for the State playing in our lives is bad for society and individuals -- then there's no disconnect, right?

You can't make every argument about one argument. You disagree with the right about the state.  That's fine. We can talk about it. But you can't call me a hypocrite because I think abortion is a horror and I believe an ever-expanding state will be bad for people (including the unborn and the unwanted). There's nothing hypocritical here; my views are coordinated. It's not callousness or selfishness that makes me disagree with you about the proper role of government. I believe that your views about the state -- while rooted in sincerity -- are wrong and harmful.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2021, 04:39:04 AM by JoshuaD »

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #66 on: March 16, 2021, 04:33:04 AM »

You seem to be unaware of the issues with regard to adoption. Yes, the foster-care system is full of children with a lack of parents willing to take them in.

I am aware.  I'm also aware that if a 'perfect baby' isn't available, that many people will then adopt older children, or adopt babies that have health issues, or take in foster children.  So the children are 'fungible' but without perfect substitution elasticity.  Thus any increase in the supply of healthy babies - will increase the supply of children who aren't adopted.

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No, their situation does not apply to the specific group we are talking about.
People overwhelmingly want to adopt a kid and raise it "as their own." They cannot do this very effectively with a child over the age of 5. Most won't want to try with any child over the age of 2, or really even 1. But newborn infants? As I already said, there are long waiting lists to adopt those children when they become available.

See above.  Any increase in the supply of healthy babies reduces the demand for adoption of older children.

Also, if abortion were completely ended there wouldn't be a significant increase in healthy babies for adoption - women are almost always unwilling to give up a healthy baby for adoption even when they intended to do so.  There would simply be an increase in babies born with serious health issues who would be put up for adoption.

The way you are talking about people is just horrific.  People are not product. We are not supply for a market. We shouldn't be killed because someone somewhere deemed us defective.  What the hell, man.

oldbrian

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #67 on: March 16, 2021, 09:07:59 AM »
Quote
And modern science suggests that the soul joins matter at the time of conception,

Modern science suggests no such thing.  It suggests that the seat of the soul, the interaction point between the 'animating principle' and the 'collection of matter' is the brain.  Without the brain, the person cannot inhabit the body.

There is no brain at the moment of conception.

If you are going to argue reason, you must use the forms of reason.  You are simply re-packaging the religious concept in metaphysical language.


As an aside, is Bhuddism a faith or philosophy for you?  That might be where my mistake occurred as to you being faithless.


Also, as NobleHunter is gay, I assume his question about not being able to 'love his wife and make lots of children' was about that.  Your prescription for happiness was extremely hetero-centric.

NobleHunter

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #68 on: March 16, 2021, 09:57:04 AM »
We should care for those people. We should help them do wholesome things to enrich their lives. We should use technology and society, insofar as is reasonable, to help restore their brokenness, and we should treat them with love.  Any disorder of the mind or body should be treated in the same way, fundamentally. If you want a more specific answer, you'll have to give a more specific question. 

I'm going to assume you didn't mean to be incredibly offensive. I think this response shows the weakness of your reason. It excludes much of the breadth of human experience in order to provide reassurance that life is simple and easily understood.

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I'm not a botanist. Either it is a tree, or it is not a tree.  Or, if you want, you can adopt the false view that "tree" is just a convenience label for collections-of-matter that arises and falls away, but there is really no such thing as trees.

If you do that -- and you extend that conclusion to people like your question suggests -- you can't reasonably say a thing about morality.  You can write the words, sure, but they will lack weight or substance. If "person" is just a convenience label, then there is no meaning when you say "it is bad to kill people", because by your account "people" is just an illusory label which we apply arbitrarily to clumps of matter, and there is really no meaning in saying "we should not kill people unjustly", because "people" has no fixed or fundamental meaning.

You can try working with that worldview and that metaphysics. Or you can ignore metaphysics and try to blindly build bridges across little islands of truth you think you've discovered.  In either case, in the name of a superstitious fear of reason, you'll be shutting your mind off to the truth that is available and obvious: there is real meaning to saying that it's wrong to murder a person, and therefore there is some real meaning to what a person is, and the thing that distinguishes a person from a body is the unifying form and the animating principle. It is the soul. And modern science suggests that the soul joins matter at the time of conception, because that is when independent, unique human life arises.

I'm actually suggesting that words do mean actually something and that simple continuity of matter does not provide continuity of meaning. To suggest that an acorn is an oak tree to deny meaningful difference between the two, which thus denies the ability to both distinguish between one and the other and to value both as separate things.

Didn't you say science can't speak to the substance of the soul? Not to mention, unique life doesn't arise until later as identical twins separate after some point conception. How can it be ensouled if it still might become two (or more) people?

yossarian22c

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #69 on: March 16, 2021, 11:06:46 AM »
Over-population is a myth. We're nowhere close to it. Most importantly, every person who is born has a positive expected value for society.  Will problems arise? Sure. We'll solve them.

And what happens when we devastate what wild areas and fisheries we have left to support 14 trillion people? The natural ecosystem would collapse. Because we only need to look to Brazil to see what happens when people have to weight having enough food to eat against destroying valuable rain forest.

And we would hit 14 trillion people pretty quick (assuming there wasn't a massive civilization collapse) with your strategy of all sex meant to produce new life while biologically possible.

LetterRip

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #70 on: March 16, 2021, 01:17:22 PM »
No, that is horrible. That's a person you're talking about freezing. He's not some commodity you can put on the shelf of a freezer and unfreeze when it becomes convenient for you.

A fetus is literally incapable of personhood till fairly late gestation (embryos are incapable of experience because their nervous systems the cells are still migrating and multiplying but aren't "wired up").

We already freeze embryos for years, and then implant them at a later date.  Currently embyros remain viable for at least 20 years (the longest an embryo has gone between freezing and implantation resulting in a healthy pregnancy), they might remain viable forever.  So this thing you say is 'horrible' - is regularly done without harm.

So I'm curious what you think is 'horrific' about it.

LetterRip

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #71 on: March 16, 2021, 01:42:53 PM »
Over-population is a myth. We're nowhere close to it.

Both our energy consumption and availability of fresh water are such that they could result in wide spread starvation.  As the ocean expands it will push into aquifers making them brackish enough that the water will be too salty for most of our crops.  It isn't clear to what degree we can compensate for the brackish water with desalinzation (most desalinization is adequate for drinking volume but the volume of water needed for crops and industry is enormous)

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Most importantly, every person who is born has a positive expected value for society.

Based on what do you claim this?  What is a 'positive expected value' in this context?  Are you claiming the average expected value of all people born is positive?  Or something else?  Since you are using EV, what about situational EV?  Is it your view that a child born into extreme poverty in Africa '+EV' for society?  What about a birth with life ending birth defects that results in a tortured existence for a few weeks or months post birth?  What of about a birth that results in the death of the mother?  What about the birth of a child with a mutation of the oxytocin receptor that destines them to be a psychopath?  Or a mutation that destines them to be a sadistic psychopath that tortures and murders children?

Using 'average EV' to ignore situations where we know that any increase in birth is likely negative EV seems rather immoral and illogical.  Also this ignores opportunity cost.

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Will problems arise? Sure. We'll solve them.

Optimism isn't a substitute for reasoning.

LetterRip

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #72 on: March 16, 2021, 01:57:50 PM »
The way you are talking about people is just horrific.  People are not product. We are not supply for a market.

You were the one talking about people wanting an increase in the supply of babies to parents who want healthy babies -  I was pointing out that this won't happen.

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We shouldn't be killed because someone somewhere deemed us defective.  What the hell, man.

The exact same argument applies to cancer cells.  Don't kill the cancer, how dare anyone determine that those cells are 'defective', they are a natural outgrowth of the body.

Fetuses aren't people.  Before they develop to a point of potential personhood the parents should make a rational decision on whether the fetus has the potential for a happy and productive life and how the fetus being brought to term will impact the lives of their family and society overall.  If bringing the fetus to term will cause a net decrease in happiness, then aborting the fetus prior to it becoming a person might be the best choice.  Fetuses spontaneously abort all the time, fetuses spontaneously absorb their twin frequently, an induced abortion of a fetus prior to it developing a brain (and thus at a stage when it is incapable of personhood) shouldn't be particularly controversial.

rightleft22

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #73 on: March 16, 2021, 04:02:21 PM »
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The right wants a social safety net, and they often provide one. They do not want an over-reaching state, which they believe causes many more problems than it solves. You can care about your neighbors without being a statist who imagines every physical need people might have can be attended to by a bureaucracy, monopolized violence, and taxes. That's a really absurd assertion.
The actions of the right, in general, don't match that intention. At least not the new conservatism that appears to view any social safety nets as a gateway to socialism.  The social "safety net' my evangelicals friends which to create is one not run but government but by the church and corporation.

With regards to the corporation such a 'net' must be profitable and so tends to work against itself at some point. With regards to the church such help tends to come with a push of values that those need that help might not adhere to. And then the question of who pays? the member of the church? (for the good or ill government is the best way we have of collecting collative funds)
I have not known a Church organization that hasn't succumbed at some point or two or three.... to the bureaucracy and mismanagement that is associated "big government". Its seems governing regardless of size or implementation inherits the the problem of how the hell do we do it and keep the people happy and if no happy inline.

As to the debate, any Pro life stance that does not include measures to ensure the 'unwanted' child has a reasonable chance at the 'pursuit of happiness' its not really a Pro life stance. IMO
Its a disconnect.

It only appears to be a disconnect to you because you think you are correct about the proper role of the State. Imagine that you're wrong about the State -- imagine that the vision you have for the State playing in our lives is bad for society and individuals -- then there's no disconnect, right?

You can't make every argument about one argument. You disagree with the right about the state.  That's fine. We can talk about it. But you can't call me a hypocrite because I think abortion is a horror and I believe an ever-expanding state will be bad for people (including the unborn and the unwanted). There's nothing hypocritical here; my views are coordinated. It's not callousness or selfishness that makes me disagree with you about the proper role of government. I believe that your views about the state -- while rooted in sincerity -- are wrong and harmful.

A disconnect doesn't necessary imply hypocrisy
I actually made no comment about what is the proper role of the State in the life of the individual. I did assume one if the State was going to protect all unborn life.

My point was that in such a case were the State is going to define and defend life at the point of conception (the fertilized egg attaches to the wall) then the state ought to continue to be accountable for that life past the point of birth and give that child ever opportunity in the 'pursuit of happiness'. That would be Pro Life - all life matters.

The disconnect of the Pro-Life argument is that they appear only willing to use the power of the state to protect and provide for the child to the point of birth. Once the child is born the mother and child are on their own.

 In general the GOP goal of 'small government' would interfere in life before birth but not after. Either way begs the question as to what 'small government' actually means.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2021, 04:06:54 PM by rightleft22 »

TheDrake

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #74 on: March 16, 2021, 06:18:40 PM »
I'm a little curious what we think would happen when unlimited procreation would mean in terms of "the state" in terms of taking care of children. We have some test cases. Large Utah families that are on public assistance. Are we going to magically believe that private charity is going to fill up that gap? If it were true, government food assistance would never have needed creation in the first place. The only other alternative I see is malnourished kids.

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #75 on: March 16, 2021, 07:31:49 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.

Once again I'm not suggesting for the purpose of this thread that only one answer is possible, but so far I am seeing a lot of claims that are swiftly stating what ought instead to be the result of an outrageously complex argument. But I am not obviously demanding anyone here write an essay in lieu of a quick response. It just seems odd to me that you don't find your own claims odd, because logically speaking they are very, very strange.

I would say that "ensoulment at conception" is at least coherent, because it is the first stage of the new genetic material coming together to work on its own. It is frankly the most common sense answer I can think of, if what we are asking is when the genetic material becomes unique, neither of the mother nor father. One has to begin stretching to come up with other answers, engaging in mental gymnastics. Any answer involving the level of either sophistication or independence of the fetus seems to me to be doomed to be an arbitrary, and mostly aesthetic, goalpost. Once we're talking about independence I don't see how you can quantify that. Everyone is depending on many, many things, even into adulthood. Creating a numerical coefficient to that sounds even worse than John Stuart Mill's system. And when it comes to level of sophistication, I feel like this doesn't even have basis in common sense. It should be fairly clear that choosing an arbitrary level of sophistication becomes a matter of whose opinion you're asking, and naturally opens up the possibility that - like in the times before the New Testament - the answer can be anything, even young children. Maybe even adults who don't measure up to a certain arbitrary standard.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2021, 07:34:57 PM by Fenring »

DJQuag

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #76 on: March 16, 2021, 07:41:24 PM »
They are the mother, or they're not. If they are, abortion is just elective surgery on your own body. If they're not, then they're a foreign presence in the body.

I believe that this is the fundamental premise behind your general position, and as such it is a syllogism that is non-functional. You have a loose term "foreign" being introduced without definition, and actually "presence" is also a peculiar and probably misleading word as well. You may not know it, but by the terms you're using in this proposition you are setting up a circular axiom that will serve to establish the point you are trying to make in the first place. Change some terms in your axiom, for instance "If they're not, then they're a new and unique person totally dependent on their creator", and suddenly the axiom would appear to lead to totally new conclusions. Watch out for creating an argument structure whose only purpose is to prove a point you already believe.

I'm having trouble finding a more clear explanation here.

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?

If the fetus is it's own viable, unique, god-loved human being, that's fine. The issue is why does being a human being give someone the right to do what fetuses do to their mothers without the mothers having a possible recourse?

If the fetus is defined as it's own being then it is by definition foreign when it is enclosed and depending on the mother's body.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2021, 07:43:44 PM by DJQuag »

LetterRip

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #77 on: March 16, 2021, 08:31:04 PM »
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.

Not really.  Personhood has to have some meaning and some purpose.  We have cutoffs for personhood - dead people are definitely no longer persons.  Dead people still have living cells when declared dead.  The cutoff for death is lacking brain function.  Ergo, it would be bizarre to define anything that doesn't have brain function as a person.  This is a completely rational cutoff.  Prior to brain function, an embryo isn't much different from cancer.  The rather absurd criteria of 'unique human life' is equally well met by dead people, cancer, a random cheek swab, or cells pooped, urinated, or otherwise shed.

There is zero rational basis for extending personhood to an embryo - there isn't even doctrinal support within the religion of people who claim a religious basis for the belief.  (For instance the Bible explicitly states that a woman should be forced to take an abortifacient as a way to test if she committed an adultry).

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Is personhood distinct from "human life"? Is there such a thing as human life that does not contain personhood?

Do you consider your poop to consist of multiple people?  Your shed skin?  Your urine? A cheek swap?  Is cancer a person?  If not - they no 'human life' is not the same as 'personhood'.    Also legal personhood ends at brain death, even if all of the other organs are perfectly functional.

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If so, what criterion could be used to define the cutoff point when a person becomes a person?

We already have a legal definition of personhood that is universally accepted - a functioning brain.  No functioning brain and you are legally dead.

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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?

Well if you don't have a brain - you can't experience or do anything and there isn't anything to differentiate you from cancer, or random cells in a petri dish.  Noone thinks that a body breaks into multiple persons if you donate organs.  The organ donated to another person doesn't have rights or personhood.  Organs transplanted from humans to other animals don't turn the animals into persons.  Organs transplated from other animals into people don't turn the person into a non-person.  Poop, cancer, urine, cheek swaps, organ transplants and other glomerations containing living cells aren't persons.  I don't think it is controversial that a brain alone transplanted into a completely cybernetic body but retaining the personality and continuing prior relationships, etc. would universally be accepted as a person.   Similarly if you transferred every organ of a body but replaced the brain with a computer chip that could substitute for the brainstem (i an body part incubator) - it would again universally not be considered a person.

There is no rational path to consider something without a brain to have personhood.

You may feel that there should be protections for clumps of cells with 'potential' to become persons, but that isn't personhood.

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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.

The heartbeat isn't a rational basis.  We don't think people are dead if we have transplanted a heart pump that doesn't function by beating.

If you think that an embryo should be a person - you have to articulate why a brain dead body isn't a person, why cells in poop, cancer, a petri dish, urine, etc. aren't also people.

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I would say that "ensoulment at conception" is at least coherent, because it is the first stage of the new genetic material coming together to work on its own.

1) It doesn't "Work on its own" - even less so than cancer.  Each cell after division is 'new genetic material'.

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It is frankly the most common sense answer I can think of, if what we are asking is when the genetic material becomes unique, neither of the mother nor father.

This implys that twins and clones shouldn't have rights.  Any definition that is about uniqueness of genetic material is inherently flawed.
 Also why should a clump of cells have any legal status at all?  One that millions of women flush down the toilet on a daily basis?  A clump of cells, that the vast majority spontaneously abort or fail to implant?

Also I think a dog, cat, dolphin, elephant, or ape has far more claim on personhood than a fetus does.  They actually have personalities, can experience emotions (love, hate, fear, anger, envy, joy), learn, and socialize.

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One has to begin stretching to come up with other answers, engaging in mental gymnastics. Any answer involving the level of either sophistication or independence of the fetus seems to me to be doomed to be an arbitrary, and mostly aesthetic, goalpost.

Not at all.  Morally we shouldn't view cancer or cells shed in poop, urine, etc. as persons.  If you declare embroys persons, then you have a moral obligation to try and save all of the embryos flushed down the toilet, and you have to give a rational basis for why we aren't morally obligated to rehabilitate cancer and various shed cells into embryos.  It is a fairly trivial process to convert somatic cells to embryos, so you pretty quickly get into a 'all cells are sacred'.

Legally we require and endpoint of personhood - and brain death is fairly universally accepted - so morally and logically 'brain life' seems like a strongly compelling beginning point for personhood.

Medically a fetus is incapable of life without the womb until it has a functioning brain.

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Once we're talking about independence I don't see how you can quantify that.

Sure you can - can the life take in nutrition and eliminate waste without physical integration with another being (or technology that mimics that physical integration)?  Or more simply is the life dependent on another being forming a special organ specifically for the survival of that life?  If not it is incapable of any sort of independence.  Requiring a chorion, placenta, and umbilical cord for nutrition and waste elimination is a pretty strong argument that a fetus isn't independent.

There are weaker versions of dependence (such as dependence on another being for immune cells and antibodies).


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Everyone is depending on many, many things, even into adulthood. Creating a numerical coefficient to that sounds even worse than John Stuart Mill's system. And when it comes to level of sophistication, I feel like this doesn't even have basis in common sense. It should be fairly clear that choosing an arbitrary level of sophistication becomes a matter of whose opinion you're asking, and naturally opens up the possibility that - like in the times before the New Testament - the answer can be anything, even young children. Maybe even adults who don't measure up to a certain arbitrary standard.

You don't like the answer that comes from reason, so declare it impossible to use reason to think about the answer.  It isn't that reason doesn't provide strong arguments for particular definitions of personhood, it is that you would rather reject reason than come to a conclusion that is contrary to your preference.

TheDrake

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #78 on: March 16, 2021, 08:32:12 PM »
Fenring, I think there's something more than just "I arbitrarily chose this criteria."

Brain function is an existing criteria for personhood. People lose a lot of rights when they are brain dead. More controversial is a "vegetative state" when there is no advance directive, but could be considered analogous to a fetus that if brought to term would never be able to move, feed itself, or meaningfully interact with its environment.

Can you argue about it? Sure. Which is why many pro-choice people claim credibly that they would never have an abortion, and that they may even believe in the "ensoulment" concept, but recognizing that it can be a complex question, refuse to force their definition on other people.

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #79 on: March 16, 2021, 10:32:04 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. 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; one 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.

NobleHunter

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #80 on: March 16, 2021, 10:51:54 PM »
Saying someone has the right to live at someone else's expense is a pretty big statement.

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #81 on: March 16, 2021, 11:35:48 PM »
Personhood has to have some meaning and some purpose.

I would agree, but I think what you mean to say is that pragmatically we need to draw lines about how the laws apply. That is not what I would call a 'purpose' of personhood. Or rather, it's not what I would call personhood at all. A legal fiction - even a necessary one - has nothing to do with the actual facts of reality. For the record I'm not talking about the current state of law, but rather about the actual intrinsic worth of a human being, a matter which the law has no business commenting on.

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The cutoff for death is lacking brain function.  Ergo, it would be bizarre to define anything that doesn't have brain function as a person.  This is a completely rational cutoff.  Prior to brain function, an embryo isn't much different from cancer.  The rather absurd criteria of 'unique human life' is equally well met by dead people, cancer, a random cheek swab, or cells pooped, urinated, or otherwise shed.

I was not offering a rigorous definition of personhood. In fact I said outright that it would be unbelievably complex to even formulate such a definition. What I mentioned was an example of why common sense would suggest that a new embryo is not the same as cancer, poor, or a cheek swab. If you think your examples are "common sense" versions of the same as an embryo in terms of being a unique being, I think I would agree with JoshuaD that you seem to be deconstructing language to the point where there are no definitions, only legal fictions.

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There is zero rational basis for extending personhood to an embryo

Maybe so...and if one day I see a demonstration or a rational argument showing why your belief is right, I'll take it seriously as a proposition. But saying there is zero basis is quite the claim. Do you mean to say that you have at your disposal the full powers of physics and biology, have solved the cosmic moral questions, and know all there is to know, such that you can eliminate any possibility? I know this is grandiose sarcasm, but I'm not sure how else you can make the statement you just made and know you are right. Otherwise I think you would have to stick to - at best - that you so far haven't seen anything convincing to you. And that's fair enough if that's what you meant. But then I would assume that you ought to follow it up with "and I'll keep my eyes open for information that might change my mind."

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Is personhood distinct from "human life"? Is there such a thing as human life that does not contain personhood?

Do you consider your poop to consist of multiple people?  Your shed skin?  Your urine? A cheek swap?  Is cancer a person?  If not - they no 'human life' is not the same as 'personhood'.    Also legal personhood ends at brain death, even if all of the other organs are perfectly functional.

This is more of a sophistic argument than I am used to hearing from you. Maybe this topic makes people edgy or something. The best I can figure is that you're equating an embryo to all of these things genetically. Aside from the fact that I find it hard to believe you really think they are analogous, do any of these things grow into people if you simply do nothing? If so we have bigger problems than abortion! Regarding legal personhood, it's not what I'm discussing so I'll take a pass on that point.

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We already have a legal definition of personhood that is universally accepted - a functioning brain.  No functioning brain and you are legally dead.

That's nice, but I hope you're not going to hang your moral hat on what the current state of law says. Not that you meant this, but fascist governments intent on ethnic cleansing tend to declare the non-personhood of the undesirables in their borders. That they can make it law does not make it right. Within democratic governments it is likewise possible to establish rule of law that includes immoral or simply incorrect elements. Now if all you're talking about is that there's currently no confusion in hospitals about who should or shouldn't be allowed to have the plug pulled (and we'll ignore euthanasia for now) then of course, there must be a regulation of some kind. But when the popular - or legal - definition is being challenged on moral grounds, you can obviously see that it's a circular argument to point to the law and say it's already an accepted fact.

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Well if you don't have a brain - you can't experience or do anything and there isn't anything to differentiate you from cancer, or random cells in a petri dish.

"Don't have" is an awfully prejudicial term used in this context, when the thing to be had will inevitably exist simply with the passage of time. It's as absurd as saying that an embryo is "uneducated riffraff" on account that it's never gone to school. Well not yet! Give it the chance to fail before saying it's an educational nightmare for the poor tyke. There are many, many things you haven't gotten yet because the time for them is ahead, and yet you would define the current state of that being by what it lacks as of yet? Now if you showed me an embryo with a genetic defect wherein we knew for certain it would never develop a functioning brain (or one at all), we could have a discussion about whether that could ever be a person. And that's assuming I accepted it's all about the brain. But even if it is all about the brain, the fact that one will grow in a few months seems to me...and I think to pretty much most people...to make the embryo different from a cheek swab. I think what you are missing here is flow and process. The process an embryo is going through, and the flow - by which I mean the gradual differences over time - are the most relevant issues about its identity. Just take a simple chemical process like the electrolysis of water, and imagine you turn on the current, but an infinitesimal amount of time after the current enters the water someone asks you what's in the vial. If you answer "nothing but some water" you would really be misstating what is going on in the vial. There is water there, but also current that, unless an extraordinary force intervenes, will begin to break the H2O down into gases. While I agree you wouldn't answer "gases are in the vial" at the point where the electricity hasn't finished its job yet, it would also be inaccurate to just say it's water and that's it. What it is is a substance going through a process, where you know where that process will go and what powers it.

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Similarly if you transferred every organ of a body but replaced the brain with a computer chip that could substitute for the brainstem (i an body part incubator) - it would again universally not be considered a person.

And interesting sci-fi premise, but let's leave off it for now. I don't think discovering what the results of this experiment would be is trivial.

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You may feel that there should be protections for clumps of cells with 'potential' to become persons, but that isn't personhood.

Depends what you mean by "potential". If you mean in teleological terms that it's what those cells are for (i.e. to become persons) then we are still left with the question of whether those cells are persons. You are begging the question by assuming your conclusion as a premise. And if you mean something more physical, like as in potential energy - like if you raise an object in the air and drop it, it has the "potential" to fall - then this is more of an inevitability unless you intervene. But maybe you mean something more like "it could happen, and maybe not, who knows." I sort of feel like you're using the word potential in this sense to imply uncertainty, but if so that seems to me the weakest version of what it could mean in this context, because likelihood of success is not really relevant to whether the cells are in fact a being in process of growing to completion. Maybe you meant something else by 'potential' here, but it's not clear what it could be that solves why suddenly it can't be a person.

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The heartbeat isn't a rational basis.  We don't think people are dead if we have transplanted a heart pump that doesn't function by beating.

Well some people do seem to think it's a rational basis, but I'm happy we agree on this point.

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If you think that an embryo should be a person - you have to articulate why a brain dead body isn't a person, why cells in poop, cancer, a petri dish, urine, etc. aren't also people.

I'll only address brain death, as I've covered the others already. Now for what it's worth pro-life people tend to (I think) consider brain dead people to still be people, so whether or not you agree with that it's a consistent position. If you are asking me whether it's reasonable to consider a brain dead person on life support as a person, I would have to say that I find myself lacking enough information to make a declaration about that. In other words, if a person's brain dies, should that be considered as them having died - I don't know. But I'm not sure what that has to do with a person whose brain has not died - by virtue of it not having been constructed yet. Death would seem to be the operative issue here: if a person dies their remains are no longer a person. And that's really all we can say that seems clear on a common sense level. Once you start getting into whether an embryo is similarly not alive since it's - pre-dead?? - not developed yet, I don't know what to say. It sounds like a really weird argument to say that if a person hasn't developed into a life form yet then they are like a dead person. I don't think that's what "dead" means, and your argument rests on comparing an embryo to a corpse (a morbid comparison, incidentally). And in any case it's still circular as it was above since in order for even this weird argument to work you have to assume that an embryo is not alive (which gets us back into the quagmire of defining life).

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It is frankly the most common sense answer I can think of, if what we are asking is when the genetic material becomes unique, neither of the mother nor father.

This implys that twins and clones shouldn't have rights.  Any definition that is about uniqueness of genetic material is inherently flawed.

Does it? I think it's pretty clear that the twins are unique from the parents. That they are genetically the same as each other is a fascinating feature in nature, but genetically identical twins are not in fact the same as each other, they are still different. Unless you are arguing that twins are in fact the same person?

Regarding clones I would have to reply that we're talking about the results of sexual reproduction and how to interpret that. The moral and ontological issues regarding clones are really a new area, and frankly my advice would be that if it's already a fiasco discussing the kind of reproduction we already know, it will be worse when discussing clones. Bringing the more difficult case into play when examining the standard case is probably not going to be that helpful. Long-term I expect that a new understanding of when life begins might have to be introduced when discussing cloning in the future. Even pro-life people might agree that there can be variable timings of when life begins, but that for the case of sexual reproduction it's at conception.

As a side point I have read some sci-fi, and already recall some discussions involving Pete (I think) about how life may be seen as a continuous process (or even being) that does not in fact have cutoff points; so that the answer to "when does a single human life begin" would be answered in a way like "a few hundred thousand years ago." I kind of like that answer, not that it helps us establishing laws.

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Also I think a dog, cat, dolphin, elephant, or ape has far more claim on personhood than a fetus does.  They actually have personalities, can experience emotions (love, hate, fear, anger, envy, joy), learn, and socialize.

This sounds like an aesthetic argument, based on maybe level of sophistication, or maybe the amount to which you recognize features that you possess. I don't believe this is a rational argument; or at least it can't be rational unless it's based on something other than comparing it to animals. We're talking about an issue that can't be other than rooted in first principles.

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If you declare embroys persons, then you have a moral obligation to try and save all of the embryos flushed down the toilet

Yes.

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and you have to give a rational basis for why we aren't morally obligated to rehabilitate cancer and various shed cells into embryos.  It is a fairly trivial process to convert somatic cells to embryos, so you pretty quickly get into a 'all cells are sacred'.

I really can't understand why you think this follows from the first point to which I said "Yes."

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Legally we require and endpoint of personhood - and brain death is fairly universally accepted - so morally and logically 'brain life' seems like a strongly compelling beginning point for personhood.

If I take your "so" very seriously, then you are arguing that moral and logical truths originate in or are derived from laws. But I don't really think you believe that.

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Medically a fetus is incapable of life without the womb until it has a functioning brain.

Medically you are incapable of life without the womb we call Planet Earth, with or without a brain. So what?

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Once we're talking about independence I don't see how you can quantify that.

Sure you can - can the life take in nutrition and eliminate waste without physical integration with another being (or technology that mimics that physical integration)?  Or more simply is the life dependent on another being forming a special organ specifically for the survival of that life?  If not it is incapable of any sort of independence.  Requiring a chorion, placenta, and umbilical cord for nutrition and waste elimination is a pretty strong argument that a fetus isn't independent.

Forgive me, but are you actually arguing that an embryo cannot be a person as a result of the fact that it's an embryo? The facts that literally define it as an embryo are your definition here of what wouldn't constitute a person. Well I mean, sure, you can just as well say it isn't because it isn't. That's consistent, but it isn't rational. And yes, I know you're also including people on life support within this definition, but it's not the same and you know it. An embryo is not a dying person on life support by any rational definition. As an aside, your reply was about the fact that it can't be quantified, and you disagreed but did not try to quantify it...

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There are weaker versions of dependence (such as dependence on another being for immune cells and antibodies).

There is also a prevalent thought in modern society that people are really not too dependent on others for survival, that they 'take care of themselves.' It's completely absurd from every standpoint (economic, medical, ecological, psychological, etc). Hanging your rights on how 'independent' you are isn't something I would recommend...

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You don't like the answer that comes from reason, so declare it impossible to use reason to think about the answer.  It isn't that reason doesn't provide strong arguments for particular definitions of personhood, it is that you would rather reject reason than come to a conclusion that is contrary to your preference.

I don't like bad arguments. Based on my comments above I named one coherent argument (the current pro-life one) but left the matter open whether there were others. I have not been trying to make a case for the pro-life position here. Rather, I am making a case against the particular pro-choice positions presented here. This isn't a labyrinthine trap designed to lead directly to pro-life. I would legitimately be interested to see good arguments about other visions of what personhood might mean, or where it begins or comes from. I am talking philosophy, not religion.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2021, 11:47:01 PM by Fenring »

Fenring

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #82 on: March 16, 2021, 11:38:37 PM »
Saying someone has the right to live at someone else's expense is a pretty big statement.

It would be, at that. Assuming by "someone else's expense" you don't mean resulting in their death. I believe that your typical pro-life position will accept choosing the mother over the fetus in a life or death situation. However I am not saying that right now, but just pointing out bad arguments.

oldbrian

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #83 on: March 17, 2021, 09:26:48 AM »
Fenring, you completely missed the point about twins and clones.

If the soul is attached at conception, then at some later time the fetus twins into two separate people, where did the second soul come from?  Or did the soul also split, and a twin only has half a soul?  Or with chimeras, where one twin absorbs the other, do they now possess two souls?

As for clones - if the clump of cells started out as part of me, then my soul is attached to it.  Since you don't believe that the brain is the seat of the soul.
If it is turned into an embryo, then what happens to my soul?  Does it suddenly get replaced by a new one?  At what point in the process is my soul removed from the mass of cells?

For that matter - if the brain has nothing to do with soul, and soul pervades every cell in my body - what happens to the parents' souls when the sperm and egg combine?

LetterRip

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #84 on: March 17, 2021, 03:37:21 PM »
What I mentioned was an example of why common sense would suggest that a new embryo is not the same as cancer, poor, or a cheek swab. If you think your examples are "common sense" versions of the same as an embryo in terms of being a unique being, I think I would agree with JoshuaD that you seem to be deconstructing language to the point where there are no definitions, only legal fictions.

You claimed 'unique human life' was a 'common sense' definition of personhood.  Each of my examples are of numerous groupings of unique, human, life and thus should have their 'personhood' protected by your definition.  I'm pointing out that 'unique human life' is hundreds of trillions times more common than an embryo, and contained in everyday things that not only do we not think deserving of protection but that we view as actively worthy of destruction.

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Maybe so...and if one day I see a demonstration or a rational argument showing why your belief is right, I'll take it seriously as a proposition.

I made numerous demonstrations - that it is scientifically and morally equivalent to cells that we regularly view as worthy of destruction.  That it is something trivially made.  To take the proposition seriously of extending protections of personhood to it would require things like screening urine where 50% of embryos end up.  I've shown that widely accepted moral, legal and logical point for a lack of personhood for a living human has a similar well defined physiological equivalent during embryo development.  I've pointed out that 'unique human life' - uniqueness isn't necessary (clones and twins have fairly low uniqueness) nor sufficient (cancer and shed cells are also genetically unique).  I've done thought experiments that show that we only care about the brain as far as personhood, that the non-brain part is completely fungible and irrelevant for personhood.

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But saying there is zero basis is quite the claim. Do you mean to say that you have at your disposal the full powers of physics and biology, have solved the cosmic moral questions, and know all there is to know, such that you can eliminate any possibility? I know this is grandiose sarcasm, but I'm not sure how else you can make the statement you just made and know you are right. Otherwise I think you would have to stick to - at best - that you so far haven't seen anything convincing to you. And that's fair enough if that's what you meant. But then I would assume that you ought to follow it up with "and I'll keep my eyes open for information that might change my mind."

I spent a great deal of time pointing out the complete lack of rational basis for personhood for embryos.



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Is personhood distinct from "human life"? Is there such a thing as human life that does not contain personhood?

Do you consider your poop to consist of multiple people?  Your shed skin?  Your urine? A cheek swap?  Is cancer a person?  If not - they no 'human life' is not the same as 'personhood'.    Also legal personhood ends at brain death, even if all of the other organs are perfectly functional.

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This is more of a sophistic argument than I am used to hearing from you. Maybe this topic makes people edgy or something. The best I can figure is that you're equating an embryo to all of these things genetically.

What the hell?  Poop, urine, cancer, and cheek swap, shed skin, etc - all contain living human cells - aka 'human life'.  You asked if 'human life' can exist without personhood.  I gave a number of common examples where it doesn't.

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Aside from the fact that I find it hard to believe you really think they are analogous, do any of these things grow into people if you simply do nothing?

I was answering your question in the negative - proof by example.  You asked a question about human life and personhood.

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If so we have bigger problems than abortion! Regarding legal personhood, it's not what I'm discussing so I'll take a pass on that point.

If you can't remember what you wrote and read from a small number of sentences prior to my response it is pointless discussing things with you.  It is like talking with a person in the advanced stages of dementia.

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We already have a legal definition of personhood that is universally accepted - a functioning brain.  No functioning brain and you are legally dead.

That's nice, but I hope you're not going to hang your moral hat on what the current state of law says. Not that you meant this, but fascist governments intent on ethnic cleansing tend to declare the non-personhood of the undesirables in their borders.

First off, you've just Godwin-lawed yourself.  Secondly personhood is a legal definition conferring rights so looking at current definitions is important.  Thirdly I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone in either camp who objects to personhood ending at brain death. 

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But when the popular - or legal - definition is being challenged on moral grounds, you can obviously see that it's a circular argument to point to the law and say it's already an accepted fact.

If anyone ever puts forth a moral or ethical argument I'd be interested.


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Well if you don't have a brain - you can't experience or do anything and there isn't anything to differentiate you from cancer, or random cells in a petri dish.[/quote]

"Don't have" is an awfully prejudicial term used in this context, when the thing to be had will inevitably exist simply with the passage of time.[/quote]

Over 2/3rds of fertilized embryos either fail to implant or spontaneously abort without every forming a brain.  Ib absolutely is not inevitable - the most likely natural result of a fertilized embryo is that it will not ever develop a brain and will either fail to implant or spontaneously abort.  If we include reabsorbed embryos even a substantially smaller percentage of embryos will naturally progress to brain formation.

Also the brain formation of an embryo is heavily dependent on the hosts hormones, nutrition, etc.  It isn't the "nature of the embryo" but rather the embryo complexed with the host.

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It's as absurd as saying that an embryo is "uneducated riffraff" on account that it's never gone to school.

This is more like saying - we shouldn't award the individual a graduate degree from Harvard at this point because they haven't even begun education.  Giving a Harvard degree to every child, and then seeing if they can begin getting educated is absurd.  Personhood is a legal status conveyed.  You want to give the legal status (a degree from Harvard) before the process that even has the potential to reach some sort of reasonable criteria (completing the education and degree requirements).  I'm perfectly willing to give the status of personhood once some sort of reasonable criteria have been met.  You don't want any criteria at all.

Every child can potentially work hard in school and then get accepted to Harvard, and then fulfill the degree requirements for graduating Harvard - therefore all children should be given a degree from Harvard because of that potential.

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Well not yet! Give it the chance to fail before saying it's an educational nightmare for the poor tyke.

The arguement for educating (allowing the fetus to develop to the point of personhood) is entirely seperate from whether they have earned a graduate degree from Harvard (when a fetus has acheived personhood status).

If you want to argue the potential for personhood should be protected, that is fine but it isn't an arguement for conveying the status of personhood prior to reaching the criteria of personhood.  Of course then 'how much potential' - every cell in your body has the potential for personhood with current technology, only slightly less potential than an embryo.

PART II to follow (never hit the 20000 word limit before...)

LetterRip

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #85 on: March 17, 2021, 03:37:42 PM »


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There are many, many things you haven't gotten yet because the time for them is ahead, and yet you would define the current state of that being by what it lacks as of yet?

Yep, I don't call people doctors till they get a medical degree, engineers till they get an engineering degree, etc. even though I fully acknowledge the capacity of many people to eventually attain those degrees, I rather insist that the have earned the degrees before they get them.

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Now if you showed me an embryo with a genetic defect wherein we knew for certain it would never develop a functioning brain (or one at all), we could have a discussion about whether that could ever be a person.

Sure, but we can also have that discussion about any cell in anyones body.  A biologist could take a tissue sample, turn it into an embryo, implant it, and then it might develop to the point we convey personhood on it.  Also perfectly healthy embryos fail to implant regularly, and spontaneously abort regularly, and are reabsorbed regularly.

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And that's assuming I accepted it's all about the brain. But even if it is all about the brain, the fact that one will grow in a few months seems to me...and I think to pretty much most people...to make the embryo different from a cheek swab.

One won't necessarily grow in a few months, or even ever. More than 2/3rds of embryos don't develop a brain.  It is the most likely outcome for an embryo.

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I think what you are missing here is flow and process. The process an embryo is going through, and the flow - by which I mean the gradual differences over time - are the most relevant issues about its identity.

I'm not 'missing' anything.  We don't call unprocessed oil a chair, though with proper processing it has the potential for becoming a chair.  It's eventual identity is entirely dependent on actually going through that processing.  It might become a chair, it might become gasoline, it might become fertilizer, it might sit in the ground unprocessed.  Until it has been processed it is not a chair.  Until an embryo has implanted and developed a brain, it isn't a person.  The tissues could just as easily be extracted an implanted in the head of an alzhiemers patient - in which case they will integrate and become part of that persons brain.  They could be extracted and put in a particular tissue or organ.  The brain is not an inevitable consequence of an embryo - it requires quite specific environmental cues to reach specific developmental milestones.

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Just take a simple chemical process like the electrolysis of water, and imagine you turn on the current, but an infinitesimal amount of time after the current enters the water someone asks you what's in the vial. If you answer "nothing but some water" you would really be misstating what is going on in the vial. There is water there, but also current that, unless an extraordinary force intervenes, will begin to break the H2O down into gases. While I agree you wouldn't answer "gases are in the vial" at the point where the electricity hasn't finished its job yet, it would also be inaccurate to just say it's water and that's it. What it is is a substance going through a process, where you know where that process will go and what powers it.

There is no molecular hydrogen and oxygen generated until the water has been processed through interacting with the electricity.  Knowing that a process can happen and give a result, is not the same as 'the process has occurred and the result exists'.

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And interesting sci-fi premise, but let's leave off it for now. I don't think discovering what the results of this experiment would be is trivial.

Not really particularly 'sci fi', it is well within current technology - but we tend to harvest organs immediately so there isn't any use for such technology currently.

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Depends what you mean by "potential". If you mean in teleological terms that it's what those cells are for (i.e. to become persons) then we are still left with the question of whether those cells are persons.

No we are not 'left with the question'.  Until I make my chair from the oil, even if I have every intention and the manufacturing capabability of doing so - the oil is not a chair until it has been processed and it would be entirely incorrect to refer to it as a chair.  It has zero functional characteristics of a chair.  If I talked of a puddle of oil as being a chair - you would rightfully think I was crazy or a moron.

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You are begging the question by assuming your conclusion as a premise.

No I'm not.  If A hasn't turned into B.  A is definitionally not B.

Regarding 'brain death' - pro-life people don't appear to generally object to organ donation.  Living people can't donate their organs, especially heart, lungs, etc.  Yet the body is absolutely alive (if the body isn't alive the organs enter necrosis).

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But I'm not sure what that has to do with a person whose brain has not died - by virtue of it not having been constructed yet. Death would seem to be the operative issue here: if a person dies their remains are no longer a person.

Yes, their remains are no longer a person.  But they have all aspects of personhood in greater extent and degree than an embryo does.  They have more developed cells, more functioning organs, etc.  They are less dependent on others for life.  So if they aren't persons, then an embryo isn't.  An embryo can only ever have potential for personhood, it can't yet be a person.

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I don't know what to say. It sounds like a really weird argument to say that if a person hasn't developed into a life form yet then they are like a dead person.

They are both 'non persons', a body without personhood.  One might attain personhood at some future point, one had presonhood at one point in the past.  Claiming we can't destroy a fetus because it might become a person, is like saying we can't dispose of a corpse because it was once a person. 

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I don't think that's what "dead" means, and your argument rests on comparing an embryo to a corpse (a morbid comparison, incidentally). And in any case it's still circular as it was above since in order for even this weird argument to work you have to assume that an embryo is not alive (which gets us back into the quagmire of defining life).

I'm comparing them to brain dead.  Physically functional organs, but not a functioning brain.  Embryos and fetuses are completely brain dead until they reach a certain development stage.  They are literally incapable of brain activity.


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Does it? I think it's pretty clear that the twins are unique from the parents. That they are genetically the same as each other is a fascinating feature in nature, but genetically identical twins are not in fact the same as each other, they are still different. Unless you are arguing that twins are in fact the same person?

Conjoined twins are the same body, but have unique brains, same genetic material (same variance in per cell gene variance as other adults).   Their unique brains make them unique persons.  Identical twins are unique persons even though they are genetically similar enough that they have the same genetic similarity as most cells in your body have to each other.  A clone would have the same genetic variance from its clone source as a twin does from another twin, again it is the unique brain wiring that makes for a unique person.  The living cells from a cheek swab, extracted from poop, urine, in skin, saliva, or snot - can all be used to create clones.  The point is that genetic uniqueness has no relevance to personhood.

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Regarding clones I would have to reply that we're talking about the results of sexual reproduction and how to interpret that.

No, we are talking about personhood.  Sexual reproduction happens to be one means of attaining personhood.  Cloning, and twinning are simply alternative sources of embryos for personhood.

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The moral and ontological issues regarding clones are really a new area, and frankly my advice would be that if it's already a fiasco discussing the kind of reproduction we already know, it will be worse when discussing clones.

Not at all.

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Bringing the more difficult case into play when examining the standard case is probably not going to be that helpful.

Clones already exist.  Human clones have been created.  It has been claimed that a human clone baby was born in 2002 or so - not sure if it really was, but the technology is advanced enough that almost certainly there have been clone babies since that time.  Since most countries have restrictions on doing so, I don't expect them made public till the researchers can be sure they are beyond prosecution.

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Long-term I expect that a new understanding of when life begins might have to be introduced when discussing cloning in the future. Even pro-life people might agree that there can be variable timings of when life begins, but that for the case of sexual reproduction it's at conception.

Eggs, and sperm are alive.  Life is mostly continuous.  The only discontinuous life has been when man has made bacteria from scratch.  Life began about 4+ billion year ago.

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As a side point I have read some sci-fi, and already recall some discussions involving Pete (I think) about how life may be seen as a continuous process (or even being) that does not in fact have cutoff points; so that the answer to "when does a single human life begin" would be answered in a way like "a few hundred thousand years ago." I kind of like that answer, not that it helps us establishing laws.

See above - life is indeed continuous except when created from scratch.

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This sounds like an aesthetic argument, based on maybe level of sophistication, or maybe the amount to which you recognize features that you possess. I don't believe this is a rational argument; or at least it can't be rational unless it's based on something other than comparing it to animals. We're talking about an issue that can't be other than rooted in first principles.

It is entirely a rational argument - any aspect of personhood we recognize exists in greater extent in fully developed animals of other species.  The only aspect of 'personhood' that an embryo possess than these animals don't is human DNA, and it isn't at all clear why 'human DNA' should be a personhood requirement.  I fully expect that if we learn to 'upload' our conciousness to machines, they will be recognized as persons but not have any DNA at all.  Similarly it would surprise me if we don't recongize advanced AIs as persons at some point in the future.


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If you declare embroys persons, then you have a moral obligation to try and save all of the embryos flushed down the toilet

Yes.

Well, good luck with that.  Half of embryos don't implant, so all womens toilet usage will have to be extensively monitored.

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and you have to give a rational basis for why we aren't morally obligated to rehabilitate cancer and various shed cells into embryos.  It is a fairly trivial process to convert somatic cells to embryos, so you pretty quickly get into a 'all cells are sacred'.

I really can't understand why you think this follows from the first point to which I said "Yes."

The difference in 'potential' of an embryo vs any other cell is quite small from a technological perspective.

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Legally we require and endpoint of personhood - and brain death is fairly universally accepted - so morally and logically 'brain life' seems like a strongly compelling beginning point for personhood.

If I take your "so" very seriously, then you are arguing that moral and logical truths originate in or are derived from laws. But I don't really think you believe that.

Personhood as a legally symmetric concept I'm fine with.  Morally, I think we'd be okay killing fetuses long after 'brain life', but brain life seems like it provides huge 'safety margins' from a moral perspective.  The earliest conceievable point at which any sort of moral consideration could enter.

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Medically a fetus is incapable of life without the womb until it has a functioning brain.

Medically you are incapable of life without the womb we call Planet Earth, with or without a brain. So what?

One must be provided by the involuntary or voluntary cooperation of a person.  The other is not.

Not going to bother with the rest - wasted too much time here already.

TheDrake

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #86 on: March 17, 2021, 04:59:06 PM »
Biomedical ethics revolve around personhood. This is a pretty thorough essay on the subject. It only frames the argument and attempts to make no conclusions.

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The concept of personhood is widely involved in biomedical ethics discussions about abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia, etc., though it is not always discussed explicitly. It also has other philosophical and legal relevance.

Some thinkers use the term “person” in such a way that one is either a person or not, but the situation is not that simple. It will be useful to distinguish among different types, contexts, or meanings of personhood: moral, metaphysical, physical, and legal.

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Along with the questions of which criteria we consider necessary for personhood (to be a person you must have them), and which we consider sufficient conditions of personhood (if you have them then you are a person), one might come to the conclusion that personhood might come in degrees. That is, there can be partial persons and one individual is more of a person than another. This might seem nonsensical, but consider the possibility of aliens from another planet that seem to be between chimpanzees and human beings. Are they persons or not? It might be hard to say and we might allow they are partial persons. The same might occur if nonhuman animal species evolve to such an extent that we recognize them as having some kind of personhood. At what point did they gain it? Along the way were they partial persons? Or consider the example of a severely brain damaged individual, clearly still a human being, but possibly not fully a person in the metaphysical sense.

The same questions arise when we consider the ordinary development of human beings from conception through infancy and into adulthood. At what point does an individual become a person, metaphysically and morally? Some would say at conception, some would say while an embryo or fetus, others would say at birth or shortly before, while still others would say during infancy or as the infant becomes a young child. But it might be difficult to point to one moment in time when an individual went from nonperson to person, and perhaps there is room here for the concept of partial personhood.

So Peta, Vegans, Jains, and Buddhists are all going to grant "personhood" to all animals. Thing is, other than Peta perhaps, those groups aren't trying to use the force of law to stop the killing of animals.

article from some people who have spent some serious time and energy delving into the concepts

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #87 on: March 18, 2021, 01:21:00 AM »
Quote from: JoshuaD
And modern science suggests that the soul joins matter at the time of conception,

Modern science suggests no such thing.  It suggests that the seat of the soul, the interaction point between the 'animating principle' and the 'collection of matter' is the brain.  Without the brain, the person cannot inhabit the body.

The cells that make up the newly-conceived child's body are independent human life and, left to follow their natural processes, turn into the thing you recognize as a person (i.e. me and you).  Conception is the moment of change. Prior to conception, there is no continuity towards an adult human. After conception, there is.


As an aside, is Bhuddism a faith or philosophy for you?  That might be where my mistake occurred as to you being faithless.

Buddhist meditation is a practice for me. I've never been great with faith.

Also, as NobleHunter is gay, I assume his question about not being able to 'love his wife and make lots of children' was about that.  Your prescription for happiness was extremely hetero-centric.

Yes, my view is hetero-centric.  I'm not saying the path I outlined is the only path to happiness (or even that happiness will necessary follow). I am saying that if we coordinate our actions with the nature of our bodies and our minds, we will tend to be happier. A carpenter who puts in screws with his hammer isn't going to tend to be as happy as one that uses a screw gun.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #88 on: March 18, 2021, 01:36:40 AM »
Quote from: JoshuaD
I'm not a botanist. Either it is a tree, or it is not a tree.  Or, if you want, you can adopt the false view that "tree" is just a convenience label for collections-of-matter that arises and falls away, but there is really no such thing as trees.

If you do that -- and you extend that conclusion to people like your question suggests -- you can't reasonably say a thing about morality.  You can write the words, sure, but they will lack weight or substance. If "person" is just a convenience label, then there is no meaning when you say "it is bad to kill people", because by your account "people" is just an illusory label which we apply arbitrarily to clumps of matter, and there is really no meaning in saying "we should not kill people unjustly", because "people" has no fixed or fundamental meaning.

You can try working with that worldview and that metaphysics. Or you can ignore metaphysics and try to blindly build bridges across little islands of truth you think you've discovered.  In either case, in the name of a superstitious fear of reason, you'll be shutting your mind off to the truth that is available and obvious: there is real meaning to saying that it's wrong to murder a person, and therefore there is some real meaning to what a person is, and the thing that distinguishes a person from a body is the unifying form and the animating principle. It is the soul. And modern science suggests that the soul joins matter at the time of conception, because that is when independent, unique human life arises.

I'm actually suggesting that words do mean actually something and that simple continuity of matter does not provide continuity of meaning. To suggest that an acorn is an oak tree to deny meaningful difference between the two, which thus denies the ability to both distinguish between one and the other and to value both as separate things.

As I mentioned, I'm not a botanist. I don't know whether an acorn is a seed or a tree.  A botanist can tell us the answer to that question.

Once the seed sprouts, that tiny little sprout is a tree. It is different from a fully grown tree in some ways, and similar in others. Most importantly, it shares a single continuity of being with the large tree it will become.

We can distinguish between a sprout, a sapling, and a tree, just like we can distinguish between an embryo, an infant, and and an adult. There is "meaningful differences" between these things, but an embryo and an adult have the same essence.  They are essentially the same thing; while a sperm and an egg are essentially different things.

Didn't you say science can't speak to the substance of the soul?

Science can't directly speak about metaphysics just like math can't directly talk about physics. That being said, our scientific understanding can inform and improve our metaphysical conclusions, just like our mathematical understanding can inform and improve our physical conclusions.

Said another way, math doesn't know what a planet is, but math can be a useful tool when we work to understand planets. Similarly, science doesn't know what a soul is, but science can be a useful tool when we work to understand souls.

Not to mention, unique life doesn't arise until later as identical twins separate after some point conception. How can it be ensouled if it still might become two (or more) people?

This isn't a terribly interesting question. Humans procreate. When we do, another soul arises and gives form and animation to the body.

At the moment of conception, either there are two souls and two bodies, or there is one soul and one body.  In the latter case, , a second soul arises when the second body forms. Science can tell us which happens on a physical level, and we can use that information to draw metaphysical conclusions. I'm not familiar enough with the science to tell you which one it is, but neither is problematic for the argument I'm making.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #89 on: March 18, 2021, 01:46:02 AM »
with your strategy of all sex meant to produce new life while biologically possible.

That is not an accurate representation of what I said or believe. I believe that all sex should be open to the possibility of new life, but procreation is not the only purpose of sex. It also serves to bind a man and a woman more closely together, strengthening their marriage, which will in turn strengthen society. 

I'm not opposed to natural family planning, where a couple decides to have sex at times when there is significantly lower likelihood of procreation. Like all things, I think these decisions should be made in a responsible way, but it's not like I think the only reason a couple should have sex is to make a child. That is the primary purpose of sex, but it is not the only purpose.

Over-population is a myth. We're nowhere close to it. Most importantly, every person who is born has a positive expected value for society.  Will problems arise? Sure. We'll solve them.

And what happens when we devastate what wild areas and fisheries we have left to support 14 trillion people? The natural ecosystem would collapse. Because we only need to look to Brazil to see what happens when people have to weight having enough food to eat against destroying valuable rain forest.

Yes, of course there are ways in which we could grow society that would be devastating to our wild areas. I also think the limitations we face today are not necessarily the limitations we'll face tomorrow. Humans are wildly ingenious. We have overcome many all of the seemingly insurmountable hurdles societies faced in the past; history gives me confidence that we will similarly find a way to overcome future hurdles.

I also don't believe every person should marry.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #90 on: March 18, 2021, 01:51:35 AM »
No, that is horrible. That's a person you're talking about freezing. He's not some commodity you can put on the shelf of a freezer and unfreeze when it becomes convenient for you.

A fetus is literally incapable of personhood till fairly late gestation (embryos are incapable of experience because their nervous systems the cells are still migrating and multiplying but aren't "wired up").

You are using words here in such an alien way  to how I use them that I have no idea what this sentence means.  "personhood" isn't a capability we have. Sight and taste are capabilities. Personhood is what we are. That is our nature. 

A fetus shares in that nature with me. It is a person. Just because it cannot currently see or procreate or sense touch doesn't mean that it's not a person. These are powers that people tend to have for most of their lives, and the embryo will likely develop them, just like you and I did.


We already freeze embryos for years, and then implant them at a later date.  Currently embyros remain viable for at least 20 years (the longest an embryo has gone between freezing and implantation resulting in a healthy pregnancy), they might remain viable forever.  So this thing you say is 'horrible' - is regularly done without harm.

So I'm curious what you think is 'horrific' about it.

The fact that something is done regularly does not mean that it is good or harmless. 

It's horrific because that is a person.  We shouldn't make people in a test tube and then put them in freezers so we can take them out to thaw when it becomes convenient for us to care for them. 

The only reason it doesn't seem horrific to you is because you don't believe it is a person. Imagine we did this with newborn babies. It would be a horror. The fact that they are much smaller people doesn't change the horror.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #91 on: March 18, 2021, 02:01:37 AM »
Over-population is a myth. We're nowhere close to it.

Both our energy consumption and availability of fresh water are such that they could result in wide spread starvation.  As the ocean expands it will push into aquifers making them brackish enough that the water will be too salty for most of our crops.  It isn't clear to what degree we can compensate for the brackish water with desalinzation (most desalinization is adequate for drinking volume but the volume of water needed for crops and industry is enormous)

Yes, and to farmers born 5000 years ago, a population of our size would've seemed like an impossibility, given their technical skills. Humans are amazing at solving problems.

Quote from: JoshuaD
Most importantly, every person who is born has a positive expected value for society.
Based on what do you claim this?

History and reason. As people have been born, society has improved.  People improve society. We are really smart and we all have unique talents. Society benefits from that.


What is a 'positive expected value' in this context?  Are you claiming the average expected value of all people born is positive?  Or something else?

I am saying that it is good when people are born, and I don't worry a ton about the imagined problems of scientists. A computer model is not reality. A fear is not reality.

Since you are using EV, what about situational EV?  Is it your view that a child born into extreme poverty in Africa '+EV' for society? What about a birth with life ending birth defects that results in a tortured existence for a few weeks or months post birth?

Yes, every child born in extreme poverty is a miracle and a good thing.

What of about a birth that results in the death of the mother?

The death of the mother is a tragedy. The child is a miracle and good, yes.

What about the birth of a child with a mutation of the oxytocin receptor that destines them to be a psychopath?  Or a mutation that destines them to be a sadistic psychopath that tortures and murders children?

Humans have free will.  We are all broken in different ways, and I believe that we are all capable of overcoming our brokenness.

Using 'average EV' to ignore situations where we know that any increase in birth is likely negative EV seems rather immoral and illogical.  Also this ignores opportunity cost.

I am not ignoring those situations because they do not exist. It is good when children are born. Children are amazing.

Quote from: JoshuaD
Will problems arise? Sure. We'll solve them.
Optimism isn't a substitute for reasoning.

I'm not blindly optimistic. I am looking at history and I am looking at human nature, and I'm saying that individuals do not need to make decisions about procreation based on the poorly considered models of some scientist is some lab with a computer.  A model is not a substitute for reality; and a hypothesis is not a truth.

I'm saying that we are currently nowhere close to overpopulation being a problem.  I tend to think it won't be a problem in the future, either, but, regardless that's way outside of our pay grade.  If it is a problem in the future, our great-great-grandchildren can figure out whether or not to procreate then. For now, we should focus on building a good society, and a good society properly orders sex towards procreation and strengthening the unity of marriage.


JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #92 on: March 18, 2021, 02:07:37 AM »
The way you are talking about people is just horrific.  People are not product. We are not supply for a market.

You were the one talking about people wanting an increase in the supply of babies to parents who want healthy babies -  I was pointing out that this won't happen.

You have me mistaken with someone else.

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We shouldn't be killed because someone somewhere deemed us defective.  What the hell, man.

The exact same argument applies to cancer cells.  Don't kill the cancer, how dare anyone determine that those cells are 'defective', they are a natural outgrowth of the body.

Cancer isn't a person. It's a disordered part of your own body. We cut off fingernails and hair and warts all the time and of course that's totally fine and good.

It is horrific to talk about murdering children because we deem them defective or undesirable. Every child is worthy of life.

Fetuses aren't people.

Yes they are. Reason tells us that they are. I have outlined why in this thread. They are human life and they are independent. They share a continuity of being with the adult they will become (which you are able to see has rights). Just like the newborn and the adult look and act vastly different but are the same being, the fetus and the newborn look and act vastly different but are the same being.

Before they develop to a point of potential personhood the parents should make a rational decision on whether the fetus has the potential for a happy and productive life and how the fetus being brought to term will impact the lives of their family and society overall.  If bringing the fetus to term will cause a net decrease in happiness, then aborting the fetus prior to it becoming a person might be the best choice.

Take a moment and, just for the sake of discussion, grant my argument that the fetus is of the same essential nature as the adult (i.e is a person). Then would you agree that we cannot decide to kill it just because we think (we cannot possibly know) that it might have an unhappy life?


Fetuses spontaneously abort all the time, fetuses spontaneously absorb their twin frequently, an induced abortion of a fetus prior to it developing a brain (and thus at a stage when it is incapable of personhood) shouldn't be particularly controversial.

Yes. People get hit by cars all the time; that doesn't mean it is OK for me to go around hitting people with my car.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #93 on: March 18, 2021, 02:14:32 AM »
My point was that in such a case were the State is going to define and defend life at the point of conception (the fertilized egg attaches to the wall) then the state ought to continue to be accountable for that life past the point of birth and give that child ever opportunity in the 'pursuit of happiness'. That would be Pro Life - all life matters.

The disconnect of the Pro-Life argument is that they appear only willing to use the power of the state to protect and provide for the child to the point of birth. Once the child is born the mother and child are on their own.

What on earth are you talking about?  We have laws that prevent born people from being murdered.  The pro-life movement also wants laws that protect unborn people from being murdered.  The pro-life movement has a really consistent and blanket view that applies to everyone: don't murder people.

JoshuaD

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #94 on: March 18, 2021, 02:15:25 AM »
I'm a little curious what we think would happen when unlimited procreation would mean in terms of "the state" in terms of taking care of children. We have some test cases. Large Utah families that are on public assistance. Are we going to magically believe that private charity is going to fill up that gap? If it were true, government food assistance would never have needed creation in the first place. The only other alternative I see is malnourished kids.

As our society has grown, we have gotten better at feeding ourselves. People are much more nourished today than they were 2000 years ago, when there were less people. What are you talking about?

yossarian22c

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #95 on: March 18, 2021, 08:49:05 AM »
Over-population is a myth. We're nowhere close to it. Most importantly, every person who is born has a positive expected value for society.  Will problems arise? Sure. We'll solve them.

And what happens when we devastate what wild areas and fisheries we have left to support 14 trillion people? The natural ecosystem would collapse. Because we only need to look to Brazil to see what happens when people have to weight having enough food to eat against destroying valuable rain forest.

Yes, of course there are ways in which we could grow society that would be devastating to our wild areas. I also think the limitations we face today are not necessarily the limitations we'll face tomorrow. Humans are wildly ingenious. We have overcome many all of the seemingly insurmountable hurdles societies faced in the past; history gives me confidence that we will similarly find a way to overcome future hurdles.

The natural areas of the planet are already being destroyed because people living on the edge of ruin have to use the land to survive. Doubling our population from this level in 50 years time would be devastating. Because that is the path you would take us on. Even with well executed natural family planning the average number of children per woman is likely to increase by 1 or 2 kids. With modern medicine we should expect most of them to live into at least their 70's. Climate change is happening, massive populations are going to be displaced by natural disaster and war. If the shocks are large enough civilization will largely collapse. If civilization collapses the number of people we can support (even doing great harm to the eco system) plummets. Consider the fall of Rome, it went from a city with about a million people to a city of 30,000 as the empire fell. What you propose (in terms of population increase) would likely bring about the types of challenges we aren't ready to face and cause a catastrophic decline in population.

The American west has a lot of empty land but very limited water supply. Alaska has a bunch of land but not the easiest place to grow food to survive. The productive top soil in America's breadbasket needs nourished preserved and replenished. Many of our biggest cities are threatened with sea level rise. And those are the challenges we would face in a wealthy nation that still has some unused land. The situation is worse in many other nations.

NobleHunter

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #96 on: March 18, 2021, 09:44:19 AM »
This isn't a terribly interesting question. Humans procreate. When we do, another soul arises and gives form and animation to the body.

At the moment of conception, either there are two souls and two bodies, or there is one soul and one body.  In the latter case, , a second soul arises when the second body forms. Science can tell us which happens on a physical level, and we can use that information to draw metaphysical conclusions. I'm not familiar enough with the science to tell you which one it is, but neither is problematic for the argument I'm making.

The problem is that it shows  your standard for gaining a soul to be arbitrary. Now it can happen at two (or more?) steps of a process instead of a singular defining event. Now that you've moved from conception to conception plus when a certain kind of division occurs, why not move it ordinary cell division or implantation. If neither of those happen then there's no potential for human life.

This is a perennial problem with depending on Reason alone to answer thorny questions.  It's very hard to stop the answer from being whatever you want it to be.

TheDrake

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #97 on: March 18, 2021, 12:22:40 PM »
Just saying Joshua, you live in a fantasy world. Just about 20% of children in this country do not get three meals a day.

Lloyd Perna

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #98 on: March 18, 2021, 12:37:46 PM »
Just saying Joshua, you live in a fantasy world. Just about 20% of children in this country do not get three meals a day.

Google isn't helping me.  Do you have a source for this statistic?

rightleft22

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Re: Roe might be in woe
« Reply #99 on: March 18, 2021, 12:46:30 PM »
My point was that in such a case were the State is going to define and defend life at the point of conception (the fertilized egg attaches to the wall) then the state ought to continue to be accountable for that life past the point of birth and give that child ever opportunity in the 'pursuit of happiness'. That would be Pro Life - all life matters.

The disconnect of the Pro-Life argument is that they appear only willing to use the power of the state to protect and provide for the child to the point of birth. Once the child is born the mother and child are on their own.

What on earth are you talking about?  We have laws that prevent born people from being murdered.  The pro-life movement also wants laws that protect unborn people from being murdered.  The pro-life movement has a really consistent and blanket view that applies to everyone: don't murder people.

The point I'm trying to make is that if your going to use the state to save the lives of the unborn the state should take more responsibility in providing for those children ie a social safety net beyond just keeping them from being murdered.   

If you save the life and the mother can't feed them what sort of social safety net should be provided for that child? 
If you fight to remove that net in the pursuit of small government and the child dies is that murder?
If that mother or child resorts to crime to feed themselves what accountability is there for the state? Save these children just to "feed" the states policing and prison/security complex...   
Begs the question if you save a life how much are you willing to be responsible for it

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As our society has grown, we have gotten better at feeding ourselves. People are much more nourished today than they were 2000 years ago, when there were less people. What are you talking about?
Interesting theory on the Fall of Roman empire is that it out grew its ability to feed itself. 

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The problem is that it shows  your standard for gaining a soul to be arbitrary
The word 'soul' is a religious word that cannot be translated into other languages such as of biology/Science.. Using a word Soul in a Biological argument  tp prove the point of personhood  will confuse things (tower of babel)
You can make a religious argument or a Scientific argument but not a Religious/Scientific one. At least it should be avoided as its more likely to muddy the waters then convince anyone that isn't already in the choir.     
« Last Edit: March 18, 2021, 12:59:44 PM by rightleft22 »