So how do you feel about the issue?
It is consistent with pro-life values (pro-life)
7.1% (2)
7.1% (2)
It is not consistent with pro-life values (pro-life)
7.1% (2)
7.1% (2)
It is consistent with pro-life values (pro-choice)
10.7% (3)
10.7% (3)
It is not consistent with pro-life values (pro-choice)
39.3% (11)
39.3% (11)
Only the "to save the mother" part is consistent (pro-life)
10.7% (3)
10.7% (3)
Other (please explain)
25% (7)
25% (7)
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Poll: Internal Logical Consistency in the Pro-Life Movement

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BiscuitTrouser:
The fact abortion is legal in many countries due to the majority supporting its legality shows that its not really universally agreed. Over 50% of people in my country openly disagree with you. A quick google search for scholarly articles shows that there is a LOT of disagreement. I dont think anyone is arguing that the cells themselves are ALIVE persay because they obviously are, as they have functioning equipment and can divide they are obviously alive. The fact that they constitute a human life with rights is what is contested.

Perhaps I should have worded myself better. By universal consensus I mean in the scientific community. Lay people are generally misinformed and popular opinion =/= facts. This is also illustrated by the two sources which you gave - one is a paper written by an actual researcher and the other is a poll that mostly illustrates popular opinion, not what scientists actually think. Jaclyn Friedman doesn't really seem to be the most unbiased party out there given that he runs/works in an In vitro fertilization clinic.

The paper essentially confirms what I've been saying:

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From the moment of sperm-egg fusion, a human zygote acts as a complete whole, with all the parts of the zygote interacting in an orchestrated fashion to generate the structures and relationships required for the zygote to continue developing towards its mature state. Everything the sperm and egg do prior to their fusion is uniquely ordered towards promoting the binding of these two cells. Everything the zygote does from the point of sperm-egg fusion onward is uniquely ordered to prevent further binding of sperm and to promote the preservation and development of the zygote itself. The zygote acts immediately and decisively to initiate a program of development that will, if uninterrupted by accident, disease, or external intervention, proceed seamlessly through formation of the definitive body, birth, childhood, adolescence, maturity, and aging, ending with death. This coordinated behavior is the very hallmark of an organism.

Mere human cells, in contrast, are composed of human DNA and other human molecules, but they show no global organization beyond that intrinsic to cells in isolation. A human skin cell removed from a mature body and maintained in the
laboratory will continue to live and will divide many times to produce a large mass of cells, but it will not re-establish the whole organism from which it was removed; it will not regenerate an entire human body in culture. Although embryogenesis begins with a single-cell zygote, the complex, integrated process of embryogenesis is the activity of an organism, not the activity of a cell.

Based on a scientific description of fertilization, fusion of sperm and egg in the "moment of conception" generates a new human cell, the zygote, with composition and behavior distinct from that of either gamete. Moreover, this cell is not merely a unique human cell, but a cell with all the properties of a fully complete (albeit immature) human organism; it is "an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent: a living being.
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It also says the same thing about your question on cloning:

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Does generation of a cloned human embryo or live human baby by SCNT compromise the definition of when a life begins? No. Upon transfer of a somatic nucleus to an empty egg cell, a new cell is generated that has a material composition and a
developmental trajectory different from those of either of the two cells that produced it. In the rare cases where this hybrid cell goes on to produce a normal pattern of development, its behavior demonstrates that it is an organism. The production of human embryos via cloning indicates that although gametes are naturally disposed to generate a new organism upon fusion, embryos can also be generated under other, highly artificial circumstances. Cloning simply indicates that there is more than one way to make a zygote; it does not alter the analysis of natural fertilization or compromise our ability to determine precisely when fertilization results in an organism that is both materially and behaviorally distinct from the gametes that give rise to it.
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The very source you listed essentially does consider the zygote to be an individual human being and it also explains why other definitions are arbitrary. The other one merely illustrated what lay people thought.

In any case abortion is legal in my country too, but in many countries where abortion is legal - murdering a pregnant woman will, for some reason, count as two murders. So what does this imply? Legal arguments are generally all over the place. I would know, I'm studying law and if there is one thing I've come to know is that law has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of logic, consistency and intellectual honesty.

BiscuitTrouser:

And nor does the zygote. It needs the correct hormonal conditions imposed by an outside source. Putting a zygote in the ocean does not create a baby. In your mind does the geographical location of some cells change their rights and definition of a human?. Why does the zygote get rights for already being in the womb while my stem cells (which need to be put in one) do not just because of their starting location. At least your consistent in the fact that my stem cells, once entering the donor ovum, become life but it seems rather arbitrary.

Well, it's elementary that if you take an organism and put it into an environment that is detrimental to its well being - it will die. The same is when an organism is unable to receive nutrients.

The zygote is well adapted to survive in its given environment - the womb. Rights are not distributed whether the human can survive in some environment X. And no, geography has nothing to do with it. Your stemcell is not a human being in the same sense that a sperm and an egg aren't humans on their own. Why? Because the zygote, which essentially carries all the elements of a developing organism - that organism hasn't yet been created. That is why the zygote takes precedence over the stemcell - the zygote is already a living, growing albeit immature human being whereas a stemcell is just that - a static life that won't develop nor grow unless transferred to an ovum - which is essentially simulating conception. Like the paper said, the stem cell issue doesn't show that the beginning of life isn't clear cut - it just shows that there is more than one way to get to the beginning of life aka conception aka the formation of the zygote.

BiscuitTrouser:

I hate to say it but this is one of the areas where philosophy can be useful. Pulling the plug on a brain dead patient falls in a similar area. Is it murder? It cannot be empirically decided if such a thing is right or wrong or if said person has rights. Our research isnt detailed enough in this area to know if such a thing constitutes a right. People have less of an issue with doing this though, and personally i use the same definition for "Brain death" to apply to what makes a zygote living. If, ignoring physical form, they are by definition brain dead i cant really define that as a living person seeing as we dont really for adult patients. I hold all humans to the same standard in this regard.

Yes, as counterintuitive as that may seem - I do consider pulling the plug on a comatose person as unethical. As you said, there is much debate over whether a brain dead person has rights - in the case of doubt, we should take the option that guarantees that rights are not violated (not pull plug) instead of taking the option that risks violating rights (pulling the plug).

In my view, rights cannot be held to the functionality of the subject. A human being has rights solely by the virtue of being a living member of the human race. Since you considered consciousness to be a prerequisite for rights then it makes sense that brain death = the loss of rights. However to proceed, I need to know exactly what consciousness means? What is consciousness? Is it the state of being awake and aware or is it something else?

BiscuitTrouser:

Our tools at this time are not precise enough to give me a definite answer. I know in my mind what i believe to be morally correct, which is the first synapse firing unrelated to somatic function. We do not count patients with JUST somatic function and no other brain activity at all as FULLY human with ALL rights and i extend that to the zygote. But i have to work with what we have, not what we want. I imagine a level of higher brain activity might be detected by a brain scan but as far as i know not enough research or technology is available to determine a time for that. besides even if i thought abortion was wrong after said time (i imagine i would) i would still want it to be legal for the reason below.

If our tools are imprecise and we do not know the definite answer - then we are gambling with other people's lives and willingly take risks for our benefit and the benefit of others at the expense of the unborn human's most elementary rights. In the case of doubt, opting for the solution that may endager innocent human beings is deeply unethical.

The moral thing to do is to protect the lives of the unborn, as it guarantees that no innocent humans are killed, until we find out whether fetuses can be considered human being with rights or not (synaptic firings related to consciousness are there). As long as we don't know, we're essentially gambling and taking risks at their expense.

BiscuitTrouser:

To address your second point. At the moment she does not have such an obligation. It seems rather crude to force a woman into a contract about her food intake and other activities because she is pregnant against her will. Emphasis on the force. I might not be against smoking while pregnant and drinking while pregnant being illegal anyway. Simply because the risk of damage SHOULD the zygote survive or be wanted is too great. Not because the zygote has a right but more to prevent the abuse you talked above above. If she does not eat to provide enough for both her and the zygote what do you suggest, force feeding? I cant condone forcing a woman to become a baby carrier at the level of restraining and force feeding her. Its a concept that to me is grotesque. Id argue that its morally wrong to harm a zygote in a way that lets it survive to become a human but with damage on the basis that you are indirectly harming the human with rights.

Here we have a contradiction then. You essentially admit that you have no problem limiting a pregnant woman's body autonomy in regards to what she can drink and use for the sake of preventing long-lasting damage to a fetus, who may survive.

But to make such a point you have to concede that a fetus has a right not to be damaged because of a future potentiality - the possibility of surviving and being born disabled and deformed. If the fetus has the right not to be harmed, then how is it consistent to allow it to be killed. Death does constitute as harm. The difference between injuring and killing is merely the degree of harm done.

Implying that a fetus has a right not to be arbitrarily injured but at the same time the fetus doesn't have a right to life is akin to saying that I'm not allowed to punch you in the face while you're sleeping but I can hit you in the face full force with a sledgehammer. It doesn't make sense.

In regards to the force feeding issue - well, we already force feed the mentally unstable who refuse to eat and we also force-feed those who refuse to eat, period. There is absolutely no hospital that will just say - well, screw it let him/her starve and die. We already force feed people - it isn't pretty, but we do it for their own good.

BiscuitTrouser:

More brutal punishments dont stop desperate criminals. This is basic. No one acts as if they are going to get caught. We can make X legal because otherwise X will lead to more deaths INCLUDING the death of the zygote you cherish so much AND the mother. You cannot dispute the smaller amount of lives lost is if it is legal. You havnt disputed it here. It seems to be a total inconsistency to value life so much and yet pick the option with the mosts deaths on the grounds of "They took the risk". If life is that precious that shouldnt matter. It doesnt to me.

Well the zygote dies either way, does it not? The women who conduct back-alley abortions are essentially criminals and should be treated as such.

We cannot use utilitarian arguments to support policies that involve the deaths of innocent human beings. If abortions are illegal, then it is through the assumption that killing the unborn is deemed wrong and immoral. We can't for example support a policy that's about abducting homeless people who nobody will miss and use them for human experiments to develop cancer cures or whatever, which a far greater amount of people will get to enjoy and benefit from. That's because we as a society have accepted that murdering innocent people is wrong and that it can never be used to justify whatever policy.

If we accept that killing the unborn is wrong, and therefore illegal, then the women who die are essentially criminals. If they die, then too bad - the rest will be prosecuted.

The whole point of the pro-life movement isn't about unconditional respect for life - it's about the understanding that it is immoral to kill innocent human beings. People should not have the choice to arbitrarily decide whether to kill an innocent human or not. That's what pro-life is about, how I see it.

Legalizing abortion because women will find ways and are willing to kill the unborn is not a good justification. We don't legalize murder simply because people ignore the law and kill people anyway.

And since you support the logical conclusions from that argument, I won't adress these anymore.

al4674:

But to make such a point you have to concede that a fetus has a right not to be damaged because of a future potentiality - the possibility of surviving and being born disabled and deformed. If the fetus has the right not to be harmed, then how is it consistent to allow it to be killed. Death does constitute as harm. The difference between injuring and killing is merely the degree of harm done.

Not so. I wont address the academic point. That argument was over when you said "All academics worth anything agree with me" which is a no true Scotsman scenario. I cannot present a good academic who does not agree with you because by your definition they are a poor academic. I physically cannot present an argument due to your logical loop. You also cannot claim consensus without presenting proof. I need more than one article. I need proof EVERYONE agrees with you.

Your sledgehammer analogy is poor in my view. I think that it is not a crime to harm something that cannot suffer or kill that thing by extension. However setting up a non suffering thing to later cause suffering is wrong. My comparison is its ok to kill the brain dead patient. What its not ok to do is put in place a machine to execute painfully the brain dead patient the moment he is able to feel pain. Or to inject a poison into the brain dead patient that will cause him, apon awakening no matter the chance, to feel excessive pain. To be frank i dont care at all about the zygote. You can violate its rights all you want since i dont believe it has any. However once those violations begin to look like "preparations" to hurt a thinking being it becomes wrong in my eyes. I dont concede you cannot harm a zygote. I concede that in a way "Sabotaging" a zygote or in fact anything to LATER cause harm to a living being is wrong, and thats nothing to do with the zygotes rights at all.

Legalizing murder wont reduce deaths. That comparison isnt apt because making it legal doesnt save lives, it costs them. This isnt about making something legal JUST because we cant combat it. This is about making it legal because there honestly isnt a good way to combat it AND that inability to combat it does more harm than taking precautions against it happening anyway does.

You argue in your final paragraph as if i accept im killing innocents, with the homeless scenario. You cannot take one half of my arguement (That the zygote isnt a human AND making it legal does more good than harm) and show it makes no sense without the other because i know that. Its why i hold both views. We can use utilitarian arguments to support policies that DONT result in the deaths of innocent human beings.

An interesting question i was thinking about today is this:

If the zygote is a human before implantation could a doctor shown not to take EVERY step to ensure implantation be liable for manslaughter? A lack of action resulting in the death of a human being by not ensuring it implanted properly. Is every failed pregnancy, where implantation doesnt occur, technically the couples fault? Isnt there more they could have done to save that human being? How much is "reasonable trying?" Lets say you try for a baby at a time of the month not appropriate for implantation. Didnt you just waste a human life because you didnt time it right? Knowingly producing a zygote that doesnt implant, isnt THAT murder by your logic?

EDIT:

Ill ram this in here anyway even if you dont read it.

Ive been reading around. It seems ALL scientists agree a zygote is a living homo sapian. Well yeah of course. If thats what youre arguing i agree. However and i quote:

"The entity created by fertilization is indeed a human embryo, and it has the potential to be human adult. Whether these facts are enough to accord it personhood is a question influenced by opinion, philosophy and theology, rather than by science."

Defining a person in the eyes of the law is different to defining what is and isnt alive. It isnt a useful thing to say the zygote is alive. Being alive doesnt grant you rights. A human corpse might actually still be mostly alive, every cell but a few crucial brain cells working and alive waiting for nutrients. Personhood, in the eyes of the law, isnt a scientific concept. You cannot use science to define it. Personhood is a created concept.

The law also demands that people are or are not human. You stated that growing a zygote to a human is a process. Agreed. So being forced by constraint to add an arbitrary line to it doesn't help matters. This also supports the idea that you cannot scientifically prove where and when people should receive rights along this process.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=when-does-consciousness-arise

Im still happy using the same neurological definition we use for death. Apparently we CAN tell when the personality does start working. And its from 24-28 weeks.

BiscuitTrouser:
Not so. I wont address the academic point. That argument was over when you said "All academics worth anything agree with me" which is a no true Scotsman scenario. I cannot present a good academic who does not agree with you because by your definition they are a poor academic. I physically cannot present an argument due to your logical loop. You also cannot claim consensus without presenting proof. I need more than one article. I need proof EVERYONE agrees with you.

I never said anything of the sort. I merely implied that you'll have a hard time finding a published peer-reviewed academic article that would outright say that the beginning of human life is currently unknown or that conception does not mark the beginning of human life. The reason it is difficult is because there simply is no dissent. Embryology has accepted this for decades now.

You can easily falsify me by finding an article in a respectable peer-reviewed journal that would discredit me. You cannot accuse me of scotsmanning until I reject an article presented to me. You have not yet presented me with an actual article apart from the one where a poll which involved uninformed everyday people.

The one where the one guy working in the IVF clinic said that there is no clear agreement on the beginning of life. While being a credible source, I doubt it is an unbiased one. Asking that from an IVF clinic doctor is kinda like asking the executioner whether we should abolish the death penalty or not. Of course they're going to say that there is no consensus on the beginning of life - otherwise he would be out of a job, just like the executioner who will gladly admit that the death penalty is a good thing and should remain.

There were also points made that are unrelated to this issue, so I don't see why you handwaved all of it away.Especially the part concerning your stem cell question.

My own proof is essentially what is written in contemporary textbooks on biology and embryology and the academic articles relating the issue. The article you gave is just one example of such proofs. You can consult any of the standard human-embryology texts, such as Moore and Persaud's The Developing Human, Larsen's Human Embryology, Carlson's Human Embryology & Developmental Biology, and O'Rahilly and Mueller's Human Embryology & Teratology etc.

BiscuitTrouser:

Your sledgehammer analogy is poor in my view. I think that it is not a crime to harm something that cannot suffer or kill that thing by extension. However setting up a non suffering thing to later cause suffering is wrong. My comparison is its ok to kill the brain dead patient. What its not ok to do is put in place a machine to execute painfully the brain dead patient the moment he is able to feel pain. Or to inject a poison into the brain dead patient that will cause him, apon awakening no matter the chance, to feel excessive pain. To be frank i dont care at all about the zygote. You can violate its rights all you want since i dont believe it has any. However once those violations begin to look like "preparations" to hurt a thinking being it becomes wrong in my eyes. I dont concede you cannot harm a zygote. I concede that in a way "Sabotaging" a zygote or in fact anything to LATER cause harm to a living being is wrong, and thats nothing to do with the zygotes rights at all.

The problem is that suffering can be completely circumvented through drugs. If I kill someone who is completely sedated - did I harm him? He didn't feel any pain nor did he feel any emotional distress - he didn't suffer at all. Does that mean that I did nothing wrong by killing him?

If a human being is completely drugged, then his sensory inputs are distrupted and he essentially becomes a being that cannot suffer. Ergo you cannot harm him, ergo it is okay to kill him. Being able to feel and suffer is an inherent quality - you either have it or you don't, you are capable of suffering or not. So the moment a human being becomes incapable of suffering, whether he is brain-dead or heavily sedated - it is, by your reasoning, okay to kill him.

Now, you may object and say that sedated humans being will wake up and become a being capable of suffering again whereas a braindead person will never recover and wake up. This is, however, nothing more than a re-worded potentiality argument. Just because a subject can recover and become a being capable of suffering in the future - that doesn't mean that he is a being capable of suffering at this present moment.

With the zygote it is the same - you can either harm it or not. Any harm that is dealt to it when the zygote is open to abortion - that is all fair game no matter what. If the zygote has no rights, then clearly it has no right to a toxin free environment. If the human is later born with defects - well, tough luck. He had no right not be harmed at that point in time. He should be grateful he got to be born at all.

BiscuitTrouser:

Legalizing murder wont reduce deaths. That comparison isnt apt because making it legal doesnt save lives, it costs them. This isnt about making something legal JUST because we cant combat it. This is about making it legal because there honestly isnt a good way to combat it AND that inability to combat it does more harm than taking precautions against it happening anyway does.

The whole point is that if abortion is illegal - then it is illegal for a reason, mainly it presupposes that the fetus is a being with fundamental rights. Abortion is seen equalent to murder.

We, as a society, cannot justify murder. Legalizing it is akin to saying ''Well, if the state doesn't kill the unborn, the mothers will do it anyway and may in the process hurt themselves as well. Lets give the mothers a helping hand.''

Legalizing abortion is essentially assuming that the mother has the right to arbitrarily kill her unborn child and it essentially removes all rights from the fetus. This is a clear case of practice and pragmatism coming before the principle.

BiscuitTrouser:

You argue in your final paragraph as if i accept im killing innocents, with the homeless scenario. You cannot take one half of my arguement (That the zygote isnt a human AND making it legal does more good than harm) and show it makes no sense without the other because i know that. Its why i hold both views. We can use utilitarian arguments to support policies that DONT result in the deaths of innocent human beings.

This is assuming that the fetus has no rights. Then legalizing abortion makes sense.

But I'm saying that if fetuses are humans with rights, then abortion needs to remain illegalized. Otherwise the state would condone the killing of innocent people for benefit others.

BiscuitTrouser:

If the zygote is a human before implantation could a doctor shown not to take EVERY step to ensure implantation be liable for manslaughter? A lack of action resulting in the death of a human being by not ensuring it implanted properly. Is every failed pregnancy, where implantation doesnt occur, technically the couples fault? Isnt there more they could have done to save that human being? How much is "reasonable trying?" Lets say you try for a baby at a time of the month not appropriate for implantation. Didnt you just waste a human life because you didnt time it right? Knowingly producing a zygote that doesnt implant, isnt THAT murder by your logic?

There really isn't anything the doctor can do.

The same with the couple. Whether the zygote implants is completely outside of the mother's control. Manslaughter implies that the perp has some level of control over the situation i.e carelessly running someone over with a car.

BiscuitTrouser:

"The entity created by fertilization is indeed a human embryo, and it has the potential to be human adult. Whether these facts are enough to accord it personhood is a question influenced by opinion, philosophy and theology, rather than by science."

Defining a person in the eyes of the law is different to defining what is and isnt alive. It isnt a useful thing to say the zygote is alive. Being alive doesnt grant you rights. A human corpse might actually still be mostly alive, every cell but a few crucial brain cells working and alive waiting for nutrients. Personhood, in the eyes of the law, isnt a scientific concept. You cannot use science to define it. Personhood is a created concept.

The law also demands that people are or are not human. You stated that growing a zygote to a human is a process. Agreed. So being forced by constraint to add an arbitrary line to it doesn't help matters. This also supports the idea that you cannot scientifically prove where and when people should receive rights along this process.

Yes I agree. Personhood is a social construct. However I reject it as a pre-requisite for rights as it is very ambiguous and has no real clear meaning. That's why I support the doctrine of natural law, that every human being has fundamental rights solely by being human being.

Can you define what is personhood and what differentiates persons from non-persons? I'm curious.

Pro-life is the wrong choice of word. It's not pro-life, it's anti-choice. Pro-life would appropriately relate to the discussion on capital punishment, not abortion.

Anyway, i'm pro-choice, it's the mother's body and her decision and her decision alone. I also do not view the potential of life as the equivalence of human life, it's not until the item in question is capable of sustaining it's own life, breathing and keeping it's heart beating on it's own, that i consider it a human life.

al4674:

The problem is that suffering can be completely circumvented through drugs. If I kill someone who is completely sedated - did I harm him? He didn't feel any pain nor did he feel any emotional distress - he didn't suffer at all. Does that mean that I did nothing wrong by killing him?

If a human being is completely drugged, then his sensory inputs are distrupted and he essentially becomes a being that cannot suffer. Ergo you cannot harm him, ergo it is okay to kill him. Being able to feel and suffer is an inherent quality - you either have it or you don't, you are capable of suffering or not. So the moment a human being becomes incapable of suffering, whether he is brain-dead or heavily sedated - it is, by your reasoning, okay to kill him.

Now, you may object and say that sedated humans being will wake up and become a being capable of suffering again whereas a braindead person will never recover and wake up. This is, however, nothing more than a re-worded potentiality argument. Just because a subject can recover and become a being capable of suffering in the future - that doesn't mean that he is a being capable of suffering at this present moment.

With the zygote it is the same - you can either harm it or not. Any harm that is dealt to it when the zygote is open to abortion - that is all fair game no matter what. If the zygote has no rights, then clearly it has no right to a toxin free environment. If the human is later born with defects - well, tough luck. He had no right not be harmed at that point in time. He should be grateful he got to be born at all.

There really isn't anything the doctor can do.

Yes I agree. Personhood is a social construct. However I reject it as a pre-requisite for rights as it is very ambiguous and has no real clear meaning. That's why I support the doctrine of natural law, that every human being has fundamental rights solely by being human being.

Can you define what is personhood and what differentiates persons from non-persons? I'm curious.

Im letting the science go. Its clear that although we ALL agree on when "Life" begins the question of when rights begins is what matters and what personhood in the law entails. Do you believe the ENTIRE scientific community to be pro life? And yet i agree too they all see "Life" on a technical sense as beginning at conception. It really isnt an argument for your side or mine to be honest. The rights are important.

The drugs argument is interesting. I think the key difference is that person is capable of higher brain function, the parts are there and ready. All our comparisons are pretty poor since we are comparing a being totally read and able to be concious to one that doesnt yet have a nervous system. A drugged but working system is different to no system at all. Its ok to break a rock, but not a drugged person even though they have the same sensory ability. The sensory ability i feel doesnt matter insomuch as a functioning nervous system or one only temporarily shut down but still there. Without power in a sense. One that is non existant or permenantly shut down robs one of "Personhood" and i feel invalidates you of rights.

This isnt about the rights of the zygote to be in a toxin free environment. My argument is that "booby trapping" a zygote to later harm a person is wrong. The zygote is merely the medium of the later suffering. Mutilating a braindead person who has a tiny chance to wake up is obscene but pulling the plug is not. One is an act of decisiveness and mercy, NO suffering will occur to anyone as a result, and one is setting up a situation where suffering will or might later occur.

There is something the couple can do. Only have sex when the conditions are ideal for implantation. If you, knowingly, create a zygote that has VERY little chance to implant when waiting a week could improve its chances by 60% is that not negligence? There are ALWAYS more methods and diet changes to improve chances. If i had to perform an action on you that either had a 20% chance to kill you or a 60% chance to kill you i imagine you wouldnt take "I didnt feel like waiting" as an excuse for me to risk the more dangerous option. IF a zygote is a life there is no excuse. Reckless untimed sex would kill far more zygotes than necessary.

Personhood is hard to define but honestly its necessary. What is a "Child?" Why cant we conscript them? Why dont they pay taxes? Why dont they have the right to move out and work a 40 hour work week? We arbitrarily separate by age and label and designate rights accordingly. I think "Natural law" to a degree makes sense but misses the nuance of what the law needs. Context. Is it a "Natural right" to be employed full time to earn enough wage to live? Not if youre 8. "Personhood" is as useful as "Adulthood" in the eyes of the law. The arbitrary separation of people by condition to assign laws. What makes a zygote not part of "Personhood" though is their lack of a nervous system of any kind or a consciousness or in fact any thought at all. Im willing to concede abortion should be debated on legality after consciousness is detected. Im still developing my opinion on what constitutes personhood but ill try and give you my personal estimate:

Consciousness or subconsciousness present and working.
Present functional nervous system
Homosapian DNA

Im trying to think of exceptions to my personhood rules but as it is it covers how i feel best without any glaring holes. A functional coma patient will have a reading of some sort for thought while asleep. A zygote and a brain dead person will have nothing or next to nothing. In fact Jelly shows the same electrical output as a brain dead but still bodily functional person. If youre brain state is the same as jello cubes i think at that point you dont have personhood.

Witty Name Here:
I'm what some may consider pro-life, but I at least try not to be hypocritical about it. I believe that special exceptions should be made for Rape or to save the life of the mother, and I don't fall into that "Love the fetus hate the child" camp. In my opinion if you're pro-life you should be pro universal healthcare, pro welfare, and pro-orphanages. The best way to solve this issue is, I personally believe, rather then just screaming "MURDER! MUUUURDERERS!" we should focus on making sure the government shows some attention to orphans and other groups so women would feel like their baby can live a relatively good life, even as an orphan, rather than killing them simply because "There's no other option" or something like that.

I personally think that using abortion merely as a form of contraception, I.E. you fucked up and now you're trying to get rid of the baby, is morally wrong.

So do you believe is a fetus is the moral equivilant of a human being? And if so, how do you justify what is essentially murder in the case of a child concieved by rape? And if not then why do you believe abortion is morally wrong?

Pyramid Head:
Pro-life is the wrong choice of word. It's not pro-life, it's anti-choice. Pro-life would appropriately relate to the discussion on capital punishment, not abortion.

Anyway, i'm pro-choice, it's the mother's body and her decision and her decision alone. I also do not view the potential of life as the equivalence of human life, it's not until the item in question is capable of sustaining it's own life, breathing and keeping it's heart beating on it's own, that i consider it a human life.

To be entirely fair, I have heard the same said by pro-lifers about pro-choicers. Claims that it is not really about choice since they don't let the unborn child have a choice ect ect, ending that it is more akin to pro-death or anti-life. Both sides feel the other is poorly named and outright misrepresenting their position for sympathy.

al4674:

BiscuitTrouser:
Not so. I wont address the academic point. That argument was over when you said "All academics worth anything agree with me" which is a no true Scotsman scenario. I cannot present a good academic who does not agree with you because by your definition they are a poor academic. I physically cannot present an argument due to your logical loop. You also cannot claim consensus without presenting proof. I need more than one article. I need proof EVERYONE agrees with you.

I never said anything of the sort. I merely implied that you'll have a hard time finding a published peer-reviewed academic article that would outright say that the beginning of human life is currently unknown or that conception does not mark the beginning of human life. The reason it is difficult is because there simply is no dissent. Embryology has accepted this for decades now.

You can easily falsify me by finding an article in a respectable peer-reviewed journal that would discredit me. You cannot accuse me of scotsmanning until I reject an article presented to me. You have not yet presented me with an actual article apart from the one where a poll which involved uninformed everyday people.

The one where the one guy working in the IVF clinic said that there is no clear agreement on the beginning of life. While being a credible source, I doubt it is an unbiased one. Asking that from an IVF clinic doctor is kinda like asking the executioner whether we should abolish the death penalty or not. Of course they're going to say that there is no consensus on the beginning of life - otherwise he would be out of a job, just like the executioner who will gladly admit that the death penalty is a good thing and should remain.

There were also points made that are unrelated to this issue, so I don't see why you handwaved all of it away.Especially the part concerning your stem cell question.

My own proof is essentially what is written in contemporary textbooks on biology and embryology and the academic articles relating the issue. The article you gave is just one example of such proofs. You can consult any of the standard human-embryology texts, such as Moore and Persaud's The Developing Human, Larsen's Human Embryology, Carlson's Human Embryology & Developmental Biology, and O'Rahilly and Mueller's Human Embryology & Teratology etc.

BiscuitTrouser:

Your sledgehammer analogy is poor in my view. I think that it is not a crime to harm something that cannot suffer or kill that thing by extension. However setting up a non suffering thing to later cause suffering is wrong. My comparison is its ok to kill the brain dead patient. What its not ok to do is put in place a machine to execute painfully the brain dead patient the moment he is able to feel pain. Or to inject a poison into the brain dead patient that will cause him, apon awakening no matter the chance, to feel excessive pain. To be frank i dont care at all about the zygote. You can violate its rights all you want since i dont believe it has any. However once those violations begin to look like "preparations" to hurt a thinking being it becomes wrong in my eyes. I dont concede you cannot harm a zygote. I concede that in a way "Sabotaging" a zygote or in fact anything to LATER cause harm to a living being is wrong, and thats nothing to do with the zygotes rights at all.

The problem is that suffering can be completely circumvented through drugs. If I kill someone who is completely sedated - did I harm him? He didn't feel any pain nor did he feel any emotional distress - he didn't suffer at all. Does that mean that I did nothing wrong by killing him?

If a human being is completely drugged, then his sensory inputs are distrupted and he essentially becomes a being that cannot suffer. Ergo you cannot harm him, ergo it is okay to kill him. Being able to feel and suffer is an inherent quality - you either have it or you don't, you are capable of suffering or not. So the moment a human being becomes incapable of suffering, whether he is brain-dead or heavily sedated - it is, by your reasoning, okay to kill him.

Now, you may object and say that sedated humans being will wake up and become a being capable of suffering again whereas a braindead person will never recover and wake up. This is, however, nothing more than a re-worded potentiality argument. Just because a subject can recover and become a being capable of suffering in the future - that doesn't mean that he is a being capable of suffering at this present moment.

With the zygote it is the same - you can either harm it or not. Any harm that is dealt to it when the zygote is open to abortion - that is all fair game no matter what. If the zygote has no rights, then clearly it has no right to a toxin free environment. If the human is later born with defects - well, tough luck. He had no right not be harmed at that point in time. He should be grateful he got to be born at all.

BiscuitTrouser:

Legalizing murder wont reduce deaths. That comparison isnt apt because making it legal doesnt save lives, it costs them. This isnt about making something legal JUST because we cant combat it. This is about making it legal because there honestly isnt a good way to combat it AND that inability to combat it does more harm than taking precautions against it happening anyway does.

The whole point is that if abortion is illegal - then it is illegal for a reason, mainly it presupposes that the fetus is a being with fundamental rights. Abortion is seen equalent to murder.

We, as a society, cannot justify murder. Legalizing it is akin to saying ''Well, if the state doesn't kill the unborn, the mothers will do it anyway and may in the process hurt themselves as well. Lets give the mothers a helping hand.''

Legalizing abortion is essentially assuming that the mother has the right to arbitrarily kill her unborn child and it essentially removes all rights from the fetus. This is a clear case of practice and pragmatism coming before the principle.

BiscuitTrouser:

You argue in your final paragraph as if i accept im killing innocents, with the homeless scenario. You cannot take one half of my arguement (That the zygote isnt a human AND making it legal does more good than harm) and show it makes no sense without the other because i know that. Its why i hold both views. We can use utilitarian arguments to support policies that DONT result in the deaths of innocent human beings.

This is assuming that the fetus has no rights. Then legalizing abortion makes sense.

But I'm saying that if fetuses are humans with rights, then abortion needs to remain illegalized. Otherwise the state would condone the killing of innocent people for benefit others.

BiscuitTrouser:

If the zygote is a human before implantation could a doctor shown not to take EVERY step to ensure implantation be liable for manslaughter? A lack of action resulting in the death of a human being by not ensuring it implanted properly. Is every failed pregnancy, where implantation doesnt occur, technically the couples fault? Isnt there more they could have done to save that human being? How much is "reasonable trying?" Lets say you try for a baby at a time of the month not appropriate for implantation. Didnt you just waste a human life because you didnt time it right? Knowingly producing a zygote that doesnt implant, isnt THAT murder by your logic?

There really isn't anything the doctor can do.

The same with the couple. Whether the zygote implants is completely outside of the mother's control. Manslaughter implies that the perp has some level of control over the situation i.e carelessly running someone over with a car.

BiscuitTrouser:

"The entity created by fertilization is indeed a human embryo, and it has the potential to be human adult. Whether these facts are enough to accord it personhood is a question influenced by opinion, philosophy and theology, rather than by science."

Defining a person in the eyes of the law is different to defining what is and isnt alive. It isnt a useful thing to say the zygote is alive. Being alive doesnt grant you rights. A human corpse might actually still be mostly alive, every cell but a few crucial brain cells working and alive waiting for nutrients. Personhood, in the eyes of the law, isnt a scientific concept. You cannot use science to define it. Personhood is a created concept.

The law also demands that people are or are not human. You stated that growing a zygote to a human is a process. Agreed. So being forced by constraint to add an arbitrary line to it doesn't help matters. This also supports the idea that you cannot scientifically prove where and when people should receive rights along this process.

Yes I agree. Personhood is a social construct. However I reject it as a pre-requisite for rights as it is very ambiguous and has no real clear meaning. That's why I support the doctrine of natural law, that every human being has fundamental rights solely by being human being.

Can you define what is personhood and what differentiates persons from non-persons? I'm curious.

I would hold that, while we can clearly see that a zygote constitutes some form of life, which is in some sense human, the actual moral significance of this is up for debate. Let us say that I geneticly alter my skin cells until they are as diffrent, genetically, from me as those of another person, and as part of the alteration give them the ability to grow and split in a way similair to cancerous cells. They are clearly alive, and seprate from me, yet would you claim them as a seperate life? This is, very much, a matter for philosophy, as while science may make suggestions as to what would be the most efficeint and helpful application of ethics, the concept of ethics is one of human creation which cannot be empirically quantified or observed. We may apply scientific principles to our formation of ethics, such as reliance on evidence, logic, and objectivity but ethics will never truly be a science.

On to the next point, on bias, I belive you are mixing up cause and effect. The logic is not so much "I am a executor therefore belive the death penalty should be legal" as "I believe that the death penalty should be legal, and therefore am a executor." If they didn't belive in the death penalty they would have never become a executor. Their opinoin on the issue is equally valid, saying that performing tasks related to your beliefs invalidate your beliefs is far too restrictive and illogical a concept.

On the drugs concept, I would say that you are doing harm. Firstly you are, without just cause, removing the life of a sentient being. Morally, all sentient beings should belong to themselves, and as such should have the right to dictate things like whether or not their life should end, except under some kind of exceptional circumstance. In addition, you are taking away all the joy and happiness they were going to feel in the future, essentially destroying their one chance at expierenceing life. It is quite clear that this is harmful. Perhaps if they were facing torture for the remainder of their lives then that would be diffrent as that would be a act of mercy, but you shoudl still consult them if at all possible. In the same vein, regardless of the rights of a zygote, if you smoke and drink while intending to carry a child to term then you are causing a child harm. Not right now, persay but in the future. You are removing not only its rights, but also causing harm that could be easily avoided. As a person with a largely utilitarian moral system I would say that this is not acceptable.

By claiming that you recieve rights merely for being a member of the human species, you ignore what is valuble about humans. Human beings are not valuble merely for happening to exist, or being alive. We exterminate bacteria whom are equally alive without a second thought. Humanity is valuble because we are a sentient species. We have the ability to expeierence joy and pleasure, to control out own destiny and ourselves, to think and reason. We are a great example of sentience and self-rule and as such should be valued to a greater extent than less sentient organisms and to a infinitely greater extend than non-sentient things. In addition I would ask you if your arguments for ethics based on humanity would extend to aliens or artificial intellegences. If we found a equally intellegent, equally emotional, equally sentient and self-aware species of alien life would you argue that they have no apparent rights and no moral considerations? If not than what about a single celled alien organism without intellegence or sentience? How are they seperate? And if a machine possesed thoughts, emotions, individuality, and the like would you still argue it as being no more than a hunk of metal with no moral value? If not then you clearly agknowledge the effects of sentience on morality and rights, and if so how can you justify these views?

al4674:
My own proof is essentially what is written in contemporary textbooks on biology and embryology and the academic articles relating the issue. The article you gave is just one example of such proofs. You can consult any of the standard human-embryology texts, such as Moore and Persaud's The Developing Human, Larsen's Human Embryology, Carlson's Human Embryology & Developmental Biology, and O'Rahilly and Mueller's Human Embryology & Teratology etc.

You realise that after writing that, every move towards an anti-abortion point of view based on the 'clumps of cells are people!' fallacy, you're going to get smacked around with your own source, right?

al4674:
The problem is that suffering can be completely circumvented through drugs. If I kill someone who is completely sedated - did I harm him? He didn't feel any pain nor did he feel any emotional distress - he didn't suffer at all. Does that mean that I did nothing wrong by killing him?

If a human being is completely drugged, then his sensory inputs are distrupted and he essentially becomes a being that cannot suffer. Ergo you cannot harm him, ergo it is okay to kill him. Being able to feel and suffer is an inherent quality - you either have it or you don't, you are capable of suffering or not. So the moment a human being becomes incapable of suffering, whether he is brain-dead or heavily sedated - it is, by your reasoning, okay to kill him.

If I had strawmen as big as that, birds would be reluctant to get within a hundred kilometres of my house.

What you're forgetting a clump of cells is not a person. If you kill a person who wasn't terminal or suffering inhumanely, you're taking away quality of life. A clump of cells has no conciousness, doesn't experience life and hasn't, so nothing is taken away if the decision is made not to ruin one's life by an unwanted child.

Actually, if you care so much about suffering, shouldn't you be hardcore pro-choice with no restrictions? Anything else is making people suffer, a lot.

al4674:
The whole point is that if abortion is illegal - then it is illegal for a reason, mainly it presupposes that the fetus is a being with fundamental rights. Abortion is seen equalent to murder.

Uhm, no. If abortion is illegal, it means that the religious dogma of wanting to control sex as a whole, and control women, has had more political momentum than forces of civilisation.

Remember that that's the only motivation behind wanting to ban abortion.

Blablahb:

al4674:
My own proof is essentially what is written in contemporary textbooks on biology and embryology and the academic articles relating the issue. The article you gave is just one example of such proofs. You can consult any of the standard human-embryology texts, such as Moore and Persaud's The Developing Human, Larsen's Human Embryology, Carlson's Human Embryology & Developmental Biology, and O'Rahilly and Mueller's Human Embryology & Teratology etc.

You realise that after writing that, every move towards an anti-abortion point of view based on the 'clumps of cells are people!' fallacy, you're going to get smacked around with your own source, right?

al4674:
The problem is that suffering can be completely circumvented through drugs. If I kill someone who is completely sedated - did I harm him? He didn't feel any pain nor did he feel any emotional distress - he didn't suffer at all. Does that mean that I did nothing wrong by killing him?

If a human being is completely drugged, then his sensory inputs are distrupted and he essentially becomes a being that cannot suffer. Ergo you cannot harm him, ergo it is okay to kill him. Being able to feel and suffer is an inherent quality - you either have it or you don't, you are capable of suffering or not. So the moment a human being becomes incapable of suffering, whether he is brain-dead or heavily sedated - it is, by your reasoning, okay to kill him.

If I had strawmen as big as that, birds would be reluctant to get within a hundred kilometres of my house.

What you're forgetting a clump of cells is not a person. If you kill a person who wasn't terminal or suffering inhumanely, you're taking away quality of life. A clump of cells has no conciousness, doesn't experience life and hasn't, so nothing is taken away if the decision is made not to ruin one's life by an unwanted child.

Actually, if you care so much about suffering, shouldn't you be hardcore pro-choice with no restrictions? Anything else is making people suffer, a lot.

al4674:
The whole point is that if abortion is illegal - then it is illegal for a reason, mainly it presupposes that the fetus is a being with fundamental rights. Abortion is seen equalent to murder.

Uhm, no. If abortion is illegal, it means that the religious dogma of wanting to control sex as a whole, and control women, has had more political momentum than forces of civilisation.

Remember that that's the only motivation behind wanting to ban abortion.

You accuse him of stawmen then immediatly retort with one of your own? No the battle is not between religous dogma (that is part of it but not all, as there are atheist and other irreligous pro-lifers) vs what you so arrogantly call "civilisation". Besides, civilizations are made of social structures, including religion. The pro-lifers are generally not anti-women and don't neccassarily hate sex (some do, but not all.) It is a movement that views a fetus as a life, for varied reasons, and as such seeks to protect the life of the innocent. You can disagree with them, but please don't reframe their whole argument so you can gloat about being oh so very civilized and rational.

I can't reply to all people, so I'll pick and choose the most interesting bits.

BiscuitTrouser:
The drugs argument is interesting. I think the key difference is that person is capable of higher brain function, the parts are there and ready. All our comparisons are pretty poor since we are comparing a being totally read and able to be concious to one that doesnt yet have a nervous system. A drugged but working system is different to no system at all. Its ok to break a rock, but not a drugged person even though they have the same sensory ability. The sensory ability i feel doesnt matter insomuch as a functioning nervous system or one only temporarily shut down but still there. Without power in a sense. One that is non existant or permenantly shut down robs one of "Personhood" and i feel invalidates you of rights.

Inevitably you are binding the capacity to bear rights with a certain functionality - in this case consciousness/higher brain function.

I disagree that there is a difference between a system shut off (non-functioning) and no system alltogether (no function at all). You have to look at the situation in the present state - not regards to some potentiality in the future (turning the system on/ developing the system) or some past-potentiality.

What's the difference between a TV with no power and the absence of a TV - nothing. You may have the shell, but it does not bear the capability to project TV shows in its current form. It only has the potential to show shows only if certain conditions are met i.e a powersource, cables and an antennae. In the same sense a drugged person (hell even just a sleeping person), in his current existence, is nothing more than a shell. It will cease to be a shell and potentially regain its functionality when certain conditions are met i.e the brain gets enough rest, is poked by external stimuli, drugs wear off etc. However this is pure potentiality - just because his system can start up (i.e he can become conscious) - that doesn't mean his system is working right now/is conscious right now.

Merely having a system is not enough - a comatose person also has a system, albeit a broken one.I agree with you, that you need a system that is capable of working - but this is nothing more than pure potentiality. Just because the system will work/turn on in some near future - that doesn't mean that the system is working right now.

The only reason you justify pulling the plug on brain-dead people is because they lack the potentiality to wake up. This is because, as you said, it permanently shuts down the person. However this implies that if the shut-down isn't permanent, then it is not okay to pull the plug? - But this is a claim that doesn't take only the present facts in, it also accounts for future potentiality that the patient might/will wake up.

I don't see how you can escape this without conceeding to the validity of potentiality - but in doing so, you would also have to conceede the potentiality of the fetus, if you are to be consistent.

BiscuitTrouser:
There is something the couple can do. Only have sex when the conditions are ideal for implantation. If you, knowingly, create a zygote that has VERY little chance to implant when waiting a week could improve its chances by 60% is that not negligence? There are ALWAYS more methods and diet changes to improve chances. If i had to perform an action on you that either had a 20% chance to kill you or a 60% chance to kill you i imagine you wouldnt take "I didnt feel like waiting" as an excuse for me to risk the more dangerous option. IF a zygote is a life there is no excuse. Reckless untimed sex would kill far more zygotes than necessary.

Yes, I have to admit that if I am to be consistent I must conceede. If we grant the fetus the equal moral status, then we must always try to maximize their survival, especially when such matters are in our control.

However in practice this really means that you have to eat healthy, watch dates for max fertility etc. I admit that this is counter-intuitive, but I have to conceede this point nontheless.

Lonewolfm16:
On the drugs concept, I would say that you are doing harm. Firstly you are, without just cause, removing the life of a sentient being. Morally, all sentient beings should belong to themselves, and as such should have the right to dictate things like whether or not their life should end, except under some kind of exceptional circumstance. In addition, you are taking away all the joy and happiness they were going to feel in the future, essentially destroying their one chance at expierenceing life. It is quite clear that this is harmful. Perhaps if they were facing torture for the remainder of their lives then that would be diffrent as that would be a act of mercy, but you shoudl still consult them if at all possible. In the same vein, regardless of the rights of a zygote, if you smoke and drink while intending to carry a child to term then you are causing a child harm. Not right now, persay but in the future. You are removing not only its rights, but also causing harm that could be easily avoided. As a person with a largely utilitarian moral system I would say that this is not acceptable.

The whole point is that a drugged person is no longer a sentient being for the duration of the time. Sentience is an inherent quality like having long hair, having two arms or even being alive. Just because you are sentient now doesn't mean that you'll be sentient in the future in the same sense that just because I have long hair today - that doesn't mean that I will continue to have long hair tomorrow.

This also works in the past tense - just because I used to be sentient - that doesn't mean I am sentient right now (i.e I'm brain dead or sleeping). If I had long hair when I was 20 and have short hair today - I can't say that I have long hair right now just because I had long hair in the past.

If we are talking about qualities and traits that are contingent on functionality - then we must judge this quality in its present state. Sentiense implies certain traits such as:

1. Self-awareness.
2. The capacity for abstract thought.
3. The ability to percieve and feel.
4. The ability to make moral decisions.
5. Consciousness.

There are more, but all of these traits are based on functionality - they aren't inherent and they can cease to function.

An example of a quality that is not contingent on functionality is the trait of being an member of the Homo Sapien species. This is something that can never be taken away from you, even if you die. The pre-condition for sentience and everything else that is unique to the human race is that - I first need to actually be a human being and this is something that trancends functionality - I don't cease to be a human being simply because I am dead. I cease to be a person, but not a human.

In regards to your point on harming the fetus with the intent of harming a future child.

You say that smoking while pregnant and intending to have child = I'm causing the future child harm? My question is - how?

For me to cause a child harm, that child must first exist. I can't harm someone who doesn't yet exist. Are you implying that the fetus being poisoned can already be considered the child? I doubt it. But to say that I'm harming a future child essentially means that I'm harming a future potentiality. If the zygote isn't a child, then what child am I harming?

Secondly, death does constitute as harm. So, if a mother kills her child through alchohol abuse - a child she intended to have - should she be prosecuted then? Because she just killed a future human being i.e a future potentiality?

Why is it okay to protect a future potentiality from harm, but not from death? The difference between death and injury is just the degree of harm done.

Also, your point about denying the future from the sentient being - this however implies that there exist a future to be experienced. This is nothing more than potentiality, once again. Just because I have a future ahead of me - that doesn't mean that I will get to experience it. Maybe I'll get run over by a car.

Such arguments could also be used to justify pro-life by saying that killing the fetus takes away a life-time full of experiences and choices from that fetus.

al4674:
I can't reply to all people, so I'll pick and choose the most interesting bits.

BiscuitTrouser:
The drugs argument is interesting. I think the key difference is that person is capable of higher brain function, the parts are there and ready. All our comparisons are pretty poor since we are comparing a being totally read and able to be concious to one that doesnt yet have a nervous system. A drugged but working system is different to no system at all. Its ok to break a rock, but not a drugged person even though they have the same sensory ability. The sensory ability i feel doesnt matter insomuch as a functioning nervous system or one only temporarily shut down but still there. Without power in a sense. One that is non existant or permenantly shut down robs one of "Personhood" and i feel invalidates you of rights.

Inevitably you are binding the capacity to bear rights with a certain functionality - in this case consciousness/higher brain function.

I disagree that there is a difference between a system shut off (non-functioning) and no system alltogether (no function at all). You have to look at the situation in the present state - not regards to some potentiality in the future (turning the system on/ developing the system) or some past-potentiality.

What's the difference between a TV with no power and the absence of a TV - nothing. You may have the shell, but it does not bear the capability to project TV shows in its current form. It only has the potential to show shows only if certain conditions are met i.e a powersource, cables and an antennae. In the same sense a drugged person (hell even just a sleeping person), in his current existence, is nothing more than a shell. It will cease to be a shell and potentially regain its functionality when certain conditions are met i.e the brain gets enough rest, is poked by external stimuli, drugs wear off etc. However this is pure potentiality - just because his system can start up (i.e he can become conscious) - that doesn't mean his system is working right now/is conscious right now.

Merely having a system is not enough - a comatose person also has a system, albeit a broken one.I agree with you, that you need a system that is capable of working - but this is nothing more than pure potentiality. Just because the system will work/turn on in some near future - that doesn't mean that the system is working right now.

The only reason you justify pulling the plug on brain-dead people is because they lack the potentiality to wake up. This is because, as you said, it permanently shuts down the person. However this implies that if the shut-down isn't permanent, then it is not okay to pull the plug? - But this is a claim that doesn't take only the present facts in, it also accounts for future potentiality that the patient might/will wake up.

I don't see how you can escape this without conceeding to the validity of potentiality - but in doing so, you would also have to conceede the potentiality of the fetus, if you are to be consistent.

BiscuitTrouser:
There is something the couple can do. Only have sex when the conditions are ideal for implantation. If you, knowingly, create a zygote that has VERY little chance to implant when waiting a week could improve its chances by 60% is that not negligence? There are ALWAYS more methods and diet changes to improve chances. If i had to perform an action on you that either had a 20% chance to kill you or a 60% chance to kill you i imagine you wouldnt take "I didnt feel like waiting" as an excuse for me to risk the more dangerous option. IF a zygote is a life there is no excuse. Reckless untimed sex would kill far more zygotes than necessary.

Yes, I have to admit that if I am to be consistent I must conceede. If we grant the fetus the equal moral status, then we must always try to maximize their survival, especially when such matters are in our control.

However in practice this really means that you have to eat healthy, watch dates for max fertility etc. I admit that this is counter-intuitive, but I have to conceede this point nontheless.

Lonewolfm16:
On the drugs concept, I would say that you are doing harm. Firstly you are, without just cause, removing the life of a sentient being. Morally, all sentient beings should belong to themselves, and as such should have the right to dictate things like whether or not their life should end, except under some kind of exceptional circumstance. In addition, you are taking away all the joy and happiness they were going to feel in the future, essentially destroying their one chance at expierenceing life. It is quite clear that this is harmful. Perhaps if they were facing torture for the remainder of their lives then that would be diffrent as that would be a act of mercy, but you shoudl still consult them if at all possible. In the same vein, regardless of the rights of a zygote, if you smoke and drink while intending to carry a child to term then you are causing a child harm. Not right now, persay but in the future. You are removing not only its rights, but also causing harm that could be easily avoided. As a person with a largely utilitarian moral system I would say that this is not acceptable.

The whole point is that a drugged person is no longer a sentient being for the duration of the time. Sentience is an inherent quality like having long hair, having two arms or even being alive. Just because you are sentient now doesn't mean that you'll be sentient in the future in the same sense that just because I have long hair today - that doesn't mean that I will continue to have long hair tomorrow.

This also works in the past tense - just because I used to be sentient - that doesn't mean I am sentient right now (i.e I'm brain dead or sleeping). If I had long hair when I was 20 and have short hair today - I can't say that I have long hair right now just because I had long hair in the past.

If we are talking about qualities and traits that are contingent on functionality - then we must judge this quality in its present state. Sentiense implies certain traits such as:

1. Self-awareness.
2. The capacity for abstract thought.
3. The ability to percieve and feel.
4. The ability to make moral decisions.
5. Consciousness.

There are more, but all of these traits are based on functionality - they aren't inherent and they can cease to function.

An example of a quality that is not contingent on functionality is the trait of being an member of the Homo Sapien species. This is something that can never be taken away from you, even if you die. The pre-condition for sentience and everything else that is unique to the human race is that - I first need to actually be a human being and this is something that trancends functionality - I don't cease to be a human being simply because I am dead. I cease to be a person, but not a human.

In regards to your point on harming the fetus with the intent of harming a future child.

You say that smoking while pregnant and intending to have child = I'm causing the future child harm? My question is - how?

For me to cause a child harm, that child must first exist. I can't harm someone who doesn't yet exist. Are you implying that the fetus being poisoned can already be considered the child? I doubt it. But to say that I'm harming a future child essentially means that I'm harming a future potentiality. If the zygote isn't a child, then what child am I harming?

Secondly, death does constitute as harm. So, if a mother kills her child through alchohol abuse - a child she intended to have - should she be prosecuted then? Because she just killed a future human being i.e a future potentiality?

Why is it okay to protect a future potentiality from harm, but not from death? The difference between death and injury is just the degree of harm done.

Also, your point about denying the future from the sentient being - this however implies that there exist a future to be experienced. This is nothing more than potentiality, once again. Just because I have a future ahead of me - that doesn't mean that I will get to experience it. Maybe I'll get run over by a car.

Such arguments could also be used to justify pro-life by saying that killing the fetus takes away a life-time full of experiences and choices from that fetus.

I recognize that you cannot respond to everything, however I am interested in how you would respond to my sentience point, as i don't see how you can say that sentience is irrelavant to moral consideration and rights and that humanity is what matters without declaring any other sentient species in existance, even tose of equal intellegence and emotion, as fair game because they are not human and therefore have no human rights.

Contiueing on to the point a few things. 1: you do have brain activity while you sleep, it is not equivilant to death.
2. You used a TV in your example, but we do recognize the value in a TV having the potential to display signals. No one treats a TV like a rock just because it isn't currently functioning, while if it broke then we would disregard it as losing its worth. We don't, however, treat metals as other components the TV is made of with the same value as the TV. Sure if you made them into a TV they could display information, but do they currently have that capability? No. In the same way i would say that the potential for life is not equivilant to life, yet once a sentient being has began its existence then killing it and thus ending its existence, and preventing it from expierenceing life is immoral. I don't care if it is not currently accessing its sentience, it is still a sentient being with a personality, thoughts, emotions, opinoins and self awareness. By killing it you prevent it from continueing to live its life.
3. We must consider the future to be morally responsible. You said that unless fetuses have rights, women are free to drink and smoke during pregnacncy, but this brings harm to a sentient living being. Not now of course, but it will in the future. There is nothing particulairly special about this time right now, we must consider the implications of our actions on future events. besides the results of all of our actions are in the future. Could I justify shooting you because my pull of the trigger wouldn't immidiately release a round? Yes in the future (very near future, but still future) this tirgger pull will cause a round to penetrate your skull, but in this micro-second it won't so everything is fine. Thats illogical. To use a more topical exapmle, you have previously stated that a sperm has no rights. I agree. But does that justify creating a trap to kill a couples first-born child because the women is not pregnant yet? Yes in the now he is not born and doens't really exist, but in the future he will and then I will cause him harm and violate his rights. By your logic of if fetuses have no rights anything done to them in that state is completely moral, then this must also currently be moral since sperm and eggs have no rights.

Lonewolfm16:

Assassin Xaero:
Most the "pro-life (I hate that misleading term) no matter what" people I know are that way because of religious reasons. One of them even posted this quote on facebook earlier today:

Abortion is not primarily a social/political/women's/children's/health issue. Abortion is a God issue.

Many of them, yes. Mostly since the idea of the soul grants credence to valueing life from conception. But there are pro-lifers from all religions. Actually one pro-life site I visited was specifically talking about a group of atheist pro-lifers and how the battle might seem religious but isn't neccassarily. As for their name, it makes sense from their point of view. To them life begins at conception and they try to protect that life.

As far as the name goes, it isn't exactly pro-life, but rather pro-birth. I've seen many pro-life people who are in favor of the death penalty. There are people out there who truly are pro-life, but for the sake of the abortion argument, I think they went with pro-life rather than pro-birth just to make it sound better for their side.

Pro-life my ass. You are pro-fetus, nothing more. I do not see "pro-lifers" making threads about the fact that around 20 000 children dies of starvation every day world wide and get's outraged about it. Slap your ass on a plain and find some poor forsaken place where your "principles" can be put to the test. If you don't, you are not pro-life and should close your mouth to show some curtsy for women in a difficult situation. Pro-bullies are a more fitting term for the way a lot of them behaves.

Shame on you.

Lonewolfm16:
You accuse him of stawmen then immediatly retort with one of your own? No the battle is not between religous dogma (that is part of it but not all, as there are atheist and other irreligous pro-lifers) vs what you so arrogantly call "civilisation".

Except that what I say about religious dogma being the sole motivation of anti-abortionists is true. I wouldn't say it if it weren't. Like for instance 'pro-life' doesn't exist, proven by the hypocrisy inherent to that point of view. So they don't count.

What remains? Religious dogma.

Now obviously, just being honest and saying "The pastor told me to think this, I'm a naive sheltered person without empathy, and too stupid to think for myself, so I want to ban abortion to keep these horrible women thingies from doing things that offend against the faith" isn't going to be a very popular message.

So the excuse of 'pro-life' was made up to cover that motivation up. It's still the motivation for being anti-abortion though. There's nobody whose motives can't be traced to that. For instance someone claimed it wasn't true because he hadn't visited a church recently. That doesn't matter, you can still subscribe to something born of religious dogma like that.


And I think you can safely sum up an argument that's between blind religious dogma and a desire to oppress others on one side, and people concerned about freedom, human rights, the interests of people and helping those in need on that other hand, in terms of civilisation vs barbarism.

If the anti-abortionists don't feel comfortable with having their views described as barbaric, maybe they should consider adopting less barbaric views. But that they lack the empathy to see why it deserves that description, is hardly my problem.

Blablahb:

Lonewolfm16:
You accuse him of stawmen then immediatly retort with one of your own? No the battle is not between religous dogma (that is part of it but not all, as there are atheist and other irreligous pro-lifers) vs what you so arrogantly call "civilisation".

Except that what I say about religious dogma being the sole motivation of anti-abortionists is true. I wouldn't say it if it weren't. Like for instance 'pro-life' doesn't exist, proven by the hypocrisy inherent to that point of view. So they don't count.

What remains? Religious dogma.

Now obviously, just being honest and saying "The pastor told me to think this, I'm a naive sheltered person without empathy, and too stupid to think for myself, so I want to ban abortion to keep these horrible women thingies from doing things that offend against the faith" isn't going to be a very popular message.

So the excuse of 'pro-life' was made up to cover that motivation up. It's still the motivation for being anti-abortion though. There's nobody whose motives can't be traced to that. For instance someone claimed it wasn't true because he hadn't visited a church recently. That doesn't matter, you can still subscribe to something born of religious dogma like that.


And I think you can safely sum up an argument that's between blind religious dogma and a desire to oppress others on one side, and people concerned about freedom, human rights, the interests of people and helping those in need on that other hand, in terms of civilisation vs barbarism.

If the anti-abortionists don't feel comfortable with having their views described as barbaric, maybe they should consider adopting less barbaric views. But that they lack the empathy to see why it deserves that description, is hardly my problem.

Except that there are pro-life atheists, plain and simple. People of all religious faiths believe in the protection of the unborn, and while religion helps instilling their points with the view of a inherinet soul and a belief that all life belongs to Yaweh and so the parents have no claim to it, yet irreligous pro-lifers do exist.

As for empathy, this all comes down to a single question. Can a fetus be treated, legally and morally, as a person. If so then they are hardly empathetic. Even if you disagree with them empathy is a primary marketing tactic. Just show a picture of a fetus with some words around it boiling down to either "I am a human being" or "save me" and you trigger emotional empathetic reactions. Clearly many of their actions and beliefs are motivated by empathy and a concern for human life, misguided as it may be. From a pro-life perspective the fact that you mention pro-choicers as the side that respects human rights would seem utterly laughable.

Also you don't have to be a perfect person to oppose plainly immoral things. Pro-lifers equate abortion with infanticide and therefore view those who would choose abortion as no more than murderers. Do you know how many abortions have been done in America since its legalisation? 50 million. If we accept that abortion is equivilant to murder that is five times the holocaust. From a perspective where a unborn child counts as a person their beliefs make alot of sense (thus why I made this thread.) The primary argument of both sides is that "life begins at conception/birth".

Lonewolfm16:
I recognize that you cannot respond to everything, however I am interested in how you would respond to my sentience point, as i don't see how you can say that sentience is irrelavant to moral consideration and rights and that humanity is what matters without declaring any other sentient species in existance, even tose of equal intellegence and emotion, as fair game because they are not human and therefore have no human rights.

I feel that using sentience only as a criteria is absurd and I do think there is a knockdown argument against this.

The problem with sentience is that it's a more specific form of consciousness. Sentience has very clear characteristics and as far as we know, only humans possess sentience. The characteristics are mostly the capability to reason, think, make moral decisions, question one's existence and ponder on other abstract subjects, feel emotions, perceive and reflect upon external stimuli etc. Even if you use sentience and consciousness and synonyms - you won't escape the following questions:

A newborn child is far less sentient and intelligent than an adult pig - yet we attribute more value to newlyborn children than we do to pigs? Why? I thought sentience was a clear hallmark of moral relevance? In fact, pigs are considered to be more intelligent, more capable problem solvers and more clever than three year old children. And pigs are only just the 4th most intelligent animals in the world. It would appear to me that if sentience is the prerequisite for rights, then certainly pigs should have priority over babies.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2009/11/pearls-before-swine-animal-cognition-study-says-pigs-may-be-smarter-than-we-think.html

This link describes a pig deceiving another pig for the sake of personal gain. (lol)

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/10/pigs-and-mirrors/

A pig figures out how to use reflections to find food. ''Scientists consider the ability to use a mirror a sign of complex cognitive processing and an indication of a certain level of awareness.''

I also found this cute video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpzpUeJ9HA8

It's about a pig who figured out how to play a joy-stick based videogame designed for chimps. The pig would have to control a dot and point it to a blue colored area to receive food. The blue coloured area would get smaller and smaller and the game would also try to deceive the pig by putting up different colors and odd patterns - but the pig ignores these obstacles and still goes for the blue one and wins.

So I want to see how seriously you take your own criteria - from a sinking ship, would you save 10 one year old babies or 10 adult pigs?

Lonewolfm16:

Contiueing on to the point a few things. 1: you do have brain activity while you sleep, it is not equivilant to death.

Well, brain activity and sentience are two different things. Brain activity also signals somatic processes such as blinking, breathing, hard beats, swallowing, getting away from disturbances etc. And a sleeping person is no longer sentient anyway.

So this point I feel is irrelevant, because sentience was supposedly the criteria for rights, not brain activity. Animals have brain activity too.

Lonewolfm16:

2. You used a TV in your example, but we do recognize the value in a TV having the potential to display signals. No one treats a TV like a rock just because it isn't currently functioning, while if it broke then we would disregard it as losing its worth. We don't, however, treat metals as other components the TV is made of with the same value as the TV. Sure if you made them into a TV they could display information, but do they currently have that capability? No. In the same way i would say that the potential for life is not equivilant to life, yet once a sentient being has began its existence then killing it and thus ending its existence, and preventing it from expierenceing life is immoral. I don't care if it is not currently accessing its sentience, it is still a sentient being with a personality, thoughts, emotions, opinoins and self awareness. By killing it you prevent it from continueing to live its life.

If we aren't willing to treat a currently non-functioning TV as a piece of trash - then clearly we see the TV as having some inherent value that's independent from its main function that separates it from other pieces of equipment - the capability to show movies, shows, news etc. Why don't we attribute the same sort of value to fetuses, whose supposed main function is to have and utilize sentience and all that comes with it?

You say that we don't attribute the components of the TV the same value as we do to the TV. Well, yes. The components are not the TV yet. No TV yet exists if the components aren't assembled. In the same way, before the egg and zygote have fused - no separate, developing human being yet exists.

A fetus isn't accessing his sentience either even though he will inevitably be able to access and utilize sentience if given the chance. But once the fetus is terminated - any sort of future it had would be taken from it.

Lonewolfm16:

3. We must consider the future to be morally responsible. You said that unless fetuses have rights, women are free to drink and smoke during pregnacncy, but this brings harm to a sentient living being. Not now of course, but it will in the future. There is nothing particulairly special about this time right now, we must consider the implications of our actions on future events. besides the results of all of our actions are in the future. Could I justify shooting you because my pull of the trigger wouldn't immidiately release a round? Yes in the future (very near future, but still future) this tirgger pull will cause a round to penetrate your skull, but in this micro-second it won't so everything is fine. Thats illogical. To use a more topical exapmle, you have previously stated that a sperm has no rights. I agree. But does that justify creating a trap to kill a couples first-born child because the women is not pregnant yet? Yes in the now he is not born and doens't really exist, but in the future he will and then I will cause him harm and violate his rights. By your logic of if fetuses have no rights anything done to them in that state is completely moral, then this must also currently be moral since sperm and eggs have no rights.

Well your gun example doesn't apply because I already exist during the moment you pull the trigger. I, as a being that has rights, exist.

During pregnancy if the mother smokes - who exactly is she harming? Where is the person she is harming? In the future? Why is it that bringing up the potentiality argument is fine for injury, but not valid for death?

This is how I see your argument. Fix me if you disagree:

1. We should take the future into consideration.
2. If a pregnant woman in the future takes drugs, her future child may suffer.
3. Suffering is bad and constitutes as harm.
4. Therefore, the pregnant woman should not take drugs.

But then why can't I say:

1. We should take the future into consideration.
2. If a pregnant woman has an abortion, her future son will be deprived of his life.
3. Being deprived from life is bad.
4. Therefore, a pregnant woman should not have an abortion.

If a boy is born without hands - then how has he been harmed? He didn't even exist and nor did he have the right not to be harmed when the mother took drugs. Once the boy attained his rights, the mother had stopped taking drugs. How and when was the boy harmed?

Essentially we're saying that a dead future person is much better than an injured future person - which in my eyes is just absurd.

I am pro-abortion. I think Pro-babies crowd are inconsistent in given cases.
I am also sad that when a person gave correct definition of eugenics, a bunch of others jumped to tell him how he is wrong and how "Evil" eugenics is.

al4674:

Lonewolfm16:
I recognize that you cannot respond to everything, however I am interested in how you would respond to my sentience point, as i don't see how you can say that sentience is irrelavant to moral consideration and rights and that humanity is what matters without declaring any other sentient species in existance, even tose of equal intellegence and emotion, as fair game because they are not human and therefore have no human rights.

I feel that using sentience only as a criteria is absurd and I do think there is a knockdown argument against this.

The problem with sentience is that it's a more specific form of consciousness. Sentience has very clear characteristics and as far as we know, only humans possess sentience. The characteristics are mostly the capability to reason, think, make moral decisions, question one's existence and ponder on other abstract subjects, feel emotions, perceive and reflect upon external stimuli etc. Even if you use sentience and consciousness and synonyms - you won't escape the following questions:

A newborn child is far less sentient and intelligent than an adult pig - yet we attribute more value to newlyborn children than we do to pigs? Why? I thought sentience was a clear hallmark of moral relevance? In fact, pigs are considered to be more intelligent, more capable problem solvers and more clever than three year old children. And pigs are only just the 4th most intelligent animals in the world. It would appear to me that if sentience is the prerequisite for rights, then certainly pigs should have priority over babies.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2009/11/pearls-before-swine-animal-cognition-study-says-pigs-may-be-smarter-than-we-think.html

This link describes a pig deceiving another pig for the sake of personal gain. (lol)

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/10/pigs-and-mirrors/

A pig figures out how to use reflections to find food. ''Scientists consider the ability to use a mirror a sign of complex cognitive processing and an indication of a certain level of awareness.''

I also found this cute video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpzpUeJ9HA8

It's about a pig who figured out how to play a joy-stick based videogame designed for chimps. The pig would have to control a dot and point it to a blue colored area to receive food. The blue coloured area would get smaller and smaller and the game would also try to deceive the pig by putting up different colors and odd patterns - but the pig ignores these obstacles and still goes for the blue one and wins.

So I want to see how seriously you take your own criteria - from a sinking ship, would you save 10 one year old babies or 10 adult pigs?

Lonewolfm16:

Contiueing on to the point a few things. 1: you do have brain activity while you sleep, it is not equivilant to death.

Well, brain activity and sentience are two different things. Brain activity also signals somatic processes such as blinking, breathing, hard beats, swallowing, getting away from disturbances etc. And a sleeping person is no longer sentient anyway.

So this point I feel is irrelevant, because sentience was supposedly the criteria for rights, not brain activity. Animals have brain activity too.

Lonewolfm16:

2. You used a TV in your example, but we do recognize the value in a TV having the potential to display signals. No one treats a TV like a rock just because it isn't currently functioning, while if it broke then we would disregard it as losing its worth. We don't, however, treat metals as other components the TV is made of with the same value as the TV. Sure if you made them into a TV they could display information, but do they currently have that capability? No. In the same way i would say that the potential for life is not equivilant to life, yet once a sentient being has began its existence then killing it and thus ending its existence, and preventing it from expierenceing life is immoral. I don't care if it is not currently accessing its sentience, it is still a sentient being with a personality, thoughts, emotions, opinoins and self awareness. By killing it you prevent it from continueing to live its life.

If we aren't willing to treat a currently non-functioning TV as a piece of trash - then clearly we see the TV as having some inherent value that's independent from its main function that separates it from other pieces of equipment - the capability to show movies, shows, news etc. Why don't we attribute the same sort of value to fetuses, whose supposed main function is to have and utilize sentience and all that comes with it?

You say that we don't attribute the components of the TV the same value as we do to the TV. Well, yes. The components are not the TV yet. No TV yet exists if the components aren't assembled. In the same way, before the egg and zygote have fused - no separate, developing human being yet exists.

A fetus isn't accessing his sentience either even though he will inevitably be able to access and utilize sentience if given the chance. But once the fetus is terminated - any sort of future it had would be taken from it.

Lonewolfm16:

3. We must consider the future to be morally responsible. You said that unless fetuses have rights, women are free to drink and smoke during pregnacncy, but this brings harm to a sentient living being. Not now of course, but it will in the future. There is nothing particulairly special about this time right now, we must consider the implications of our actions on future events. besides the results of all of our actions are in the future. Could I justify shooting you because my pull of the trigger wouldn't immidiately release a round? Yes in the future (very near future, but still future) this tirgger pull will cause a round to penetrate your skull, but in this micro-second it won't so everything is fine. Thats illogical. To use a more topical exapmle, you have previously stated that a sperm has no rights. I agree. But does that justify creating a trap to kill a couples first-born child because the women is not pregnant yet? Yes in the now he is not born and doens't really exist, but in the future he will and then I will cause him harm and violate his rights. By your logic of if fetuses have no rights anything done to them in that state is completely moral, then this must also currently be moral since sperm and eggs have no rights.

Well your gun example doesn't apply because I already exist during the moment you pull the trigger. I, as a being that has rights, exist.

During pregnancy if the mother smokes - who exactly is she harming? Where is the person she is harming? In the future? Why is it that bringing up the potentiality argument is fine for injury, but not valid for death?

This is how I see your argument. Fix me if you disagree:

1. We should take the future into consideration.
2. If a pregnant woman in the future takes drugs, her future child may suffer.
3. Suffering is bad and constitutes as harm.
4. Therefore, the pregnant woman should not take drugs.

But then why can't I say:

1. We should take the future into consideration.
2. If a pregnant woman has an abortion, her future son will be deprived of his life.
3. Being deprived from life is bad.
4. Therefore, a pregnant woman should not have an abortion.

If a boy is born without hands - then how has he been harmed? He didn't even exist and nor did he have the right not to be harmed when the mother took drugs. Once the boy attained his rights, the mother had stopped taking drugs. How and when was the boy harmed?

Essentially we're saying that a dead future person is much better than an injured future person - which in my eyes is just absurd.

On the point on babies, sentience is a important charecteristic and they do possess parts of it. They are curious, emotinal creatures who are devlopitience, in a period of transition and I feel they exhibit enough sentient feaures (not raw problem solving, but tings like emotion, curiosity, social bonds, and self recogntion.) to be considered sentient. In addition I believe we can justify babies as being more morally protected than adults by simple logic as to why killing is wrong. Killing is wrong because it deprives a person of their life, yet they will eventually die. It is notlike, if left alone, they would be imortal. You are reducing the time they get to spend alive, and as such killing a baby reduces that time very significantly. you take a conscious, partially-sentient being and prevent it from living out its life. I would compare abortion more with preventing yourself from having a child. You could claim that if I was aborted I would never have lived, therefore that would have been harm done, but I would counter that potential life is not equivilant to life. As a example, you coul claim that if a rapsit concieved a child by his victim, then that child has all the rights to life. However could you then claim that since the rapist brought him into this world his actions were morally justified? Of course not. I would compare abortion to not having a child more than killing one since the fetus simply posesses none of the conscienceness of even a infant.

As a counter to your claim that since you are already born my gun example doesn't work I offer you this. My belief is that actions must be judged by their consequences when considering them. As such I don't care that a fetus lacks rights currently, if you intent to carry it to term then you shouldn't drink or smoke. Yes your actions don't result in any harm now, but they lead to future harm, and I think it is your moral obligation to avoid that harm. I don't care when this harm occurs, the point is that it does occur. So if a child is born without hands because you smoked during your pregnancy then that is clearly your fault. I don't care that he didn't have rights at the time, if your actions result in harm to a sentient being, even in the future, you should avoid them. Meanwhile you are under no obligation to create sentient beings.

Finally I will reask a old question since I am curious about the awnser. Do other examples of sentient life forms have rights, despite not being human, and if so why? How do these rights compare to other non-sentient life froms?

Lonewolfm16:
As a counter to your claim that since you are already born my gun example doesn't work I offer you this. My belief is that actions must be judged by their consequences when considering them.

No, you do not believe that. You could never be for forbidding abortion if you believed that. The unimaginable cruelty of that decision would prevent you from taking that point of view.

Strazdas:
I am also sad that when a person gave correct definition of eugenics, a bunch of others jumped to tell him how he is wrong and how "Evil" eugenics is.

By a "bunch of others" you presumably mean me, right?

There's a massive difference between saying something is "evil" and saying something is bullshit. Eugenics is bullshit. Anyone in 2013 who still seriously advocates eugenics has officially failed at science. That doesn't make them evil, it just makes them wrong.

I really, REALLY hope that some of you never become parents. In fact, I really hope a woman never consents to sex with some of you.

Blablahb:

Lonewolfm16:
As a counter to your claim that since you are already born my gun example doesn't work I offer you this. My belief is that actions must be judged by their consequences when considering them.

No, you do not believe that. You could never be for forbidding abortion if you believed that. The unimaginable cruelty of that decision would prevent you from taking that point of view.

Two things: 1. You know I am pro-choice right? I have said that repeatedly... and the quote you chose was from a argument on why fetuses should not be counted a human life...
2. No, being pro-life doesn't make you a evil person, it merely means you have a seprate view on when life begins.

bleys2487:
I really, REALLY hope that some of you never become parents. In fact, I really hope a woman never consents to sex with some of you.

Is it really neccassary to be so incredibly judgemental and rude?

Lonewolfm16:

bleys2487:
I really, REALLY hope that some of you never become parents. In fact, I really hope a woman never consents to sex with some of you.

Is it really neccassary to be so incredibly judgemental and rude?

Perhaps you should read the thread and some of these posts. It's not judgmental and rude. I'm explaining (or perhaps exaggerating) my utter shock.

Pregnancy police?
A woman miscarries and suddenly we have a potential criminal on our hands?
Forced pregnancies even in cases of rape/incest?

Um, yeah. I think I'll stick to my stance and pray those poor, potential women get a clue and head for the hills.

bleys2487:

Lonewolfm16:

bleys2487:
I really, REALLY hope that some of you never become parents. In fact, I really hope a woman never consents to sex with some of you.

Is it really neccassary to be so incredibly judgemental and rude?

Perhaps you should read the thread and some of these posts. It's not judgmental and rude. I'm explaining (or perhaps exaggerating) my utter shock.

Pregnancy police?
A woman miscarries and suddenly we have a potential criminal on our hands?
Forced pregnancies even in cases of rape/incest?

Um, yeah. I think I'll stick to my stance and pray those poor, potential women get a clue and head for the hills.

The miscarriage point was made by a pro-choice person to demonstrate some of the difficulties in oder to consider fetuses as human beings, specifically that if a fetus fails to zygote fails to implant is that a child dieing, and if so is trying for pregnancy when you are less fertile equivilant to man-slaughter. The abortion criminilization point is entirely reasonable if we decide that life begins at conception, and the entire point of this threa is to examine whether it is alright to be pro-life but still allow something you consider equivilant to infanticide to happen in the case of rape and incest.
On a unrelated note I fnd it odd that you assume everyone posting is both male and heterosexual.
Again, there is no need to be so rude based only on statements made in a single debate.

evilthecat:

Strazdas:
I am also sad that when a person gave correct definition of eugenics, a bunch of others jumped to tell him how he is wrong and how "Evil" eugenics is.

By a "bunch of others" you presumably mean me, right?

There's a massive difference between saying something is "evil" and saying something is bullshit. Eugenics is bullshit. Anyone in 2013 who still seriously advocates eugenics has officially failed at science. That doesn't make them evil, it just makes them wrong.

well, considering your quoted definition of eugenics. said no and gave your own wrong definition, yes it is bullshit.

Strazdas:
well, considering your quoted definition of eugenics. said no and gave your own wrong definition, yes it is bullshit.

Okay, I've got time, so let's go over this.

Kopikatsu:
Eugenics is the practice of improving the genetic composition of a population, so yes, that is one of the (many) things that would fall under it.

This is simply wrong. Eugenics does not even factor in to the modern treatment of hereditary genetic disorders, because any theory of "eugenics" operates on a completely flawed understanding of why such disorders happen. Hereditary genetic conditions are not the result of "bad genes".

In fact, there's no such thing as a "bad gene". If there was, the gene in question would not exist because it would never have replicated itself. All genes exist because, in countless evolutionary trials, they have proven themselves valuable within a particular environment.

Let's take an example of a hereditary genetic disease, Sickle Cell Anaemia. This is a very severe condition for those who manifest symptoms, and yet the gene which causes it is so advantageous that it arose independently in several different populations on earth and spread to the point that it is common across much of the equatorial region of the planet. The reason for this is that carriers of the sickle cell gene who do not have the disease are highly resistant to malaria, and the advantages of malaria resistance more than outweigh the risk of producing sickle cell children.

So no. It isn't the case that we would want to eliminate the sickle cell gene altogether. Even if malaria went extinct, it would still be debatable whether we'd actually want to eliminate the gene. Genetic diversity in human beings is a successful evolutionary strategy which has worked for millions of years, destroying that genetic diversity to remove conditions which are benign for most people would be extremely short-sighted. It may be of vital importance to some environment which has yet to arise.

Thus, you can't "improve" the genetic stock of humanity by controlling breeding, you can only change it. If you are setting out to eliminate particular genes because they causes diseases or negative effects, then you're also removing the advantageous traits which resulted in that gene being selected for. What we should be much more concerned about, rather than "good" or "bad" genes, is the interactions of "good" genes and how they work in relation to each other, and that's something we're only just coming to understand.

Concerns about "improving humanity" have absolutely no impact on the medical ethics of how we treat sickle cell carriers or those with any other form of genetic condition. It's a purely individual concern related to the well-being of parents, children and the medical circumstances under which the child will live. If parents wish to abort a child who has sickle cell disease because they don't think it will have a good quality of life, that has nothing to do with eugenics.

evilthecat:
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Eugenics is a philosophy, that one could and should make human genome, and as a result - humans themselves, better by either breeding our or altering genes. If your definition ends with the first idea put out there than we can equaly say that liberalism is evil because its anarcy. Ideas change over time you know.

While im no doctor in modern medicine, im pretty sure what they do does fall under eugenics, its just that they dont like to call it that, because you know, people like you.

Yes, there are things as bad genes, there are things as genes clinging over evolutionary progress not dieing out and there are plenty of genes that simply went dormant instead of extinct that are very harmful. Not to even mention the fact that our evolution is lagging behind big time from our technological advancement and it can use any push it gets. Actually, modern medicine denies you of that statement as it has made sure that people whose evolution has not been on the road to survive the enviroment still survives. we have effectively intercepted evolution with technology ALREADY.

Sickle Cell Anaemia is a bad example.

Genetic diversity leads to lower chance of genetic mutation, effectively slowing our evolutionary progress. Granted, many of those mutations are not desired, but in the age where we are capable of weeding them out before the birth of a human this is just a poor excuse for not trying to be better.

You are right, evolution has taken its millions of years and worked. guess what? thats not good enough. we have intercepted evolution process already. so lets at least do that in a fashion that makes it result in betterment of us as a race. Being able to survive in an environment that may or may not arise at an expense of humanity's progress is not acceptable. At least not to me.

It is hard to define improvement, but change to make humans more fitting to current environment - which is urban and technological - is something we should seek.
I did say in the eugenics thread, but you probably haven't read it, that selecting which genes are good and which are not is a very difficult task and all previous attempts failed because we didint knew how to do it. and we still dont. but that does not mean we should just forget the idea and not try to find out.

As for your last paragraph, you are correct, medical ethics do hold individual desires above that of masses, and while its not inherently wrong to give people choice, us as a human race would be better with such choice be turned forward instead of backward. What i mean is without having a choice between having or not a child with a inherent disease, we should have a choice of having or not a child with improved genome instead.

Strazdas:
Eugenics is a philosophy, that one could and should make human genome, and as a result - humans themselves, better by either breeding our or altering genes.

And this is where my most fundamental criticism lies, a criticism you have utterly failed to answer. Socially valued traits do not denote evolutionary fitness. Who the fuck are you to tell people what is "better" when the environment can already do that on its own?

Strazdas:
Yes, there are things as bad genes, there are things as genes clinging over evolutionary progress not dieing out and there are plenty of genes that simply went dormant instead of extinct that are very harmful.

That simply doesn't work.

If something is "harmful", if it reduces my ability to deal with the environment, then over time it will be deselected. If a gene has "gone dormant" and has no effect, then it has no effect. That change in itself is the product of selection. If it does have an effect, then it is subject to evolution by natural selection.

If what you're saying is that certain traits provided fitness to an environment which no longer exists, let me come to that in a minute.

Strazdas:
Actually, modern medicine denies you of that statement as it has made sure that people whose evolution has not been on the road to survive the enviroment still survives. we have effectively intercepted evolution with technology ALREADY.

This is a common argument which gets wheeled out to defend this kind of thinking, and there are several problems about it. Here's a couple of the easy ones.

1) Firstly, "modern medicine" has been around for a matter of generations at best. It's not even an evolutionary heartbeat. Even agriculture and urbanization have been around for less than 500 generations of human beings and humans have changed very little over that time despite the radically different environment. I mean, they've changed a little, but that only brings us to the following..

2) Natural selection is still very much alive today. The evolutionary pressures have simply changed.

The "survival of the fittest" mentality in which natural selection is merely the ability to survive is not the end of the story. There are countless factors in modern society which influence a person's chance of passing on their genes, and over time this will result in evolution based on environmental pressures.

Precisely how much effect this has on society is debatable, but to say it doesn't happen is ridiculous.

Strazdas:
Genetic diversity leads to lower chance of genetic mutation, effectively slowing our evolutionary progress.

So... inbreeding is good because it results in more extreme variations on the human form, and if we just kill all the ones with haemophilia and birth defects we'll be left with some kind of master race.

Yeah, I'm not even going to touch on this because it's so completely stupid.

Strazdas:
so lets at least do that in a fashion that makes it result in betterment of us as a race. Being able to survive in an environment that may or may not arise at an expense of humanity's progress is not acceptable. At least not to me.

You're missing the point. There is no such thing as "progress", there is only fitness. Fitness is entirely relative to the environment.

Let's say you create your inbred master race, but let's say one of the genes which makes them "superior" in your eyes results in a lack of immunity to a future strain of influenza. I'll tell you what happens. They all die, and the "degenerate" janitor whose parents weren't fucking stupid enough to bang their close relatives and who thus has resistance to said theoretical disease gets to survive. He goes off, has lots of sex, makes lots of babies and is more fit to do so than a single one of your genetically superior master race ever was.

This is why evolution loves diversity. This is why evolution generally favours flexibility over over-evolved specialists. Because the environment is diverse and unpredictable. It still is, and barring some circumstance we haven't yet conceived of, it always will be. Nothing has changed that.

I'm not opposed to human genetic engineering. Heck, in the right circumstances I'd accept all kinds of gene therapy to change things about myself, but that's not eugenics. Genetic engineering doesn't deserve to be carrying around a useless early 20th century theory, and in fact it is unimaginably held back by doing so.

evilthecat:

Strazdas:
Eugenics is a philosophy, that one could and should make human genome, and as a result - humans themselves, better by either breeding our or altering genes.

And this is where my most fundamental criticism lies, a criticism you have utterly failed to answer. Socially valued traits do not denote evolutionary fitness. Who the fuck are you to tell people what is "better" when the environment can already do that on its own?

While it is true that socially valued traits do not denote evolutionary fitness, it is somewhat of an appeal to nature to suggest that evolutionary fitness ought to be what is valued (if anything) in a genome. The problem before you is explaining why socially valued goals ought to be followed in some cases but not in this one (I'm assuming you think there are some circumstances where what is socially valued is something to which people should pay attention and aim to fulfill.)

While I agree with you that Social Darwinism and most (if not all of the common) ideas of eugenics suffer from misinterpretations of the theory of evolution by natural selection, I don't think that those misinterpretations constitute an argument against some form of engineering or directing of the human genome as such.

Strazdas:
Genetic diversity leads to lower chance of genetic mutation, effectively slowing our evolutionary progress. Granted, many of those mutations are not desired, but in the age where we are capable of weeding them out before the birth of a human this is just a poor excuse for not trying to be better.

Genetic diversity is what makes humans as a species less vulnerable to unforeseen situations, such as new or resurgent diseases. It doesn't reduce the chance of a mutation. Mutations result from copying errors-- and the biochemistry is only affected by the adenine and cytosine (and so on) and what binds to each, not whether some other human has the same pattern in their cells. In fact, genetic diversity is what is created by mutation. Now, breeding the same genes together does lead to a greater chance of expressing recessive traits or exaggerating some abnormal characteristics. But that is not mutation, that is just the modified expression of genes that already exist. There is no reason to think that such genetic expression somehow enhances human progress.

Lonewolfm16:
Two things: 1. You know I am pro-choice right? I have said that repeatedly... and the quote you chose was from a argument on why fetuses should not be counted a human life...

Then that was worded a bit confusingly, but it's good to hear anyway.

Lonewolfm16:
2. No, being pro-life doesn't make you a evil person, it merely means you have a seprate view on when life begins.

Being anti-abortion does make someone an evil person. They want to do horrific things to other people, just to impose their religion. It doesn't get much closer to pure evil in my book without getting personally involved in something deplorable.

Blablahb:

Lonewolfm16:
Two things: 1. You know I am pro-choice right? I have said that repeatedly... and the quote you chose was from a argument on why fetuses should not be counted a human life...

Then that was worded a bit confusingly, but it's good to hear anyway.

Lonewolfm16:
2. No, being pro-life doesn't make you a evil person, it merely means you have a seprate view on when life begins.

Being anti-abortion does make someone an evil person. They want to do horrific things to other people, just to impose their religion. It doesn't get much closer to pure evil in my book without getting personally involved in something deplorable.

Again, two things. 1: you clearly haven't been following this debate, otherwise you would see that I am arguing that sentience is what matters when deciding on whether something should be considered valuble and "alive" while my opponent is arguing that humanity is what matters and fetuses are therefore alive.
2: Wow you are ignorant on the views of the opposition. The central belief of those who are pro-life is that life begins at conception and therefore abortion is equivilant to infanticide and should be considered immoral and illegal. I disagree, believing life begins closer to birth, right around viability, but if I too believed that a fetus is equivilant to a infant then yes I would want abortion banned. While I might disagree with their philosophy I certainly don't dislike people who have it. It makes sense that if life begins at conception it should be protected and I respect their devotion to protecting it, misguided as it might be.

Lonewolfm16:
2: Wow you are ignorant on the views of the opposition. The central belief of those who are pro-life is that life begins at conception and therefore abortion is equivilant to infanticide and should be considered immoral and illegal.

Oh, I'm quite aware of that, I just ignore the existance of that because it's not their true motivation, but a smokescreen to make imposing their religious values sound a little less bad.

This is demonstrated by, among other things, nobody who claims to be pro-life, actually being in favour of life. It's a deeply hypocritical point of view, that's therefore not genuine.

Blablahb:

Lonewolfm16:
2: Wow you are ignorant on the views of the opposition. The central belief of those who are pro-life is that life begins at conception and therefore abortion is equivilant to infanticide and should be considered immoral and illegal.

Oh, I'm quite aware of that, I just ignore the existance of that because it's not their true motivation, but a smokescreen to make imposing their religious values sound a little less bad.

This is demonstrated by, among other things, nobody who claims to be pro-life, actually being in favour of life. It's a deeply hypocritical point of view, that's therefore not genuine.

I've said it before I will say it again, there are atheist pro-lifers. Yes many people dislike abortion because their religion states that the soul enters the body at conception so abortion is like murder, but others are irreligious and believe that life begins at conception based on embryology. To say that every pro-lifers is a religous fanatic is pure strawman.

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