Whatever Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Stronger

Keep your laws off MY body

Keep your laws off my body is the first thing I see upon entering the locker-room emblazoned on a bumper sticker where I work.  I find this to be one of the weaker slogans offered by those who defend elective abortion: That the issue is about the woman’s body alone.  In fact, I would go so far as to say abortion defenders think so as well, even those who might offer it.

Firstly, we aren’t just talking about the woman’s body.  Not unless we are going to argue that while pregnant, the woman has two heads, four arms, four legs, and twenty fingers and toes (and potentially, a penis).  But I don’t really think this is as controversial as it is portrayed — that the developing child is a separate living human being from the mother (See: Get A Life, Part 1; Part 2; and Part 3).  I am convinced this is an intentional obfuscation intended to deaden ones conscience with appeals to ignorance.

But what about the idea that the issue is really only about the woman’s body, does anyone believe that when it comes down to it?  Conservative 2 Cents writes in this satirical monologue how absurd this notion is:

I don’t think we should tell a woman what she may do with her own body. So, I think that the right of a woman to mutilate the fetus inside her must not be infringed.  I know what you’re thinking: “It’s gross!” I AGREE! But we can’t legislate based on what any one of us may think is icky.  “Why would any woman want to do that?”, you may ask. Well, I don’t know. But it’s none of my business. And none of yours, either!

[..]

A fetus is not a person. WHO are you saying this is being done to? It’s a fetus. You know, like an ankle. Or a lower back.

[…]

Mothers with disabilities who choose not to be labeled as something less than normal may want to have their “normal” fetus rendered as other-ly abled as herself. Is that not a noble cause? Huh? That’s a beautiful gift to a child.

“YOU CANNOT DO THAT TO A CHILD YOU INTEND TO GIVE BIRTH TO!!!”, one might argue. Well, allow me to answer that ridiculous notion with this absolute fact. IT’S NOT A CHILD! IT’S A FETUS! [emphasis in original]

Could someone really object to a woman who wanted to mutilate or otherwise harm the fetus if sovereignty of the woman’s body is central to the issue?  If clipping fingernails or hair is morally benign, and the fetus is but only a part of the woman’s body like fingernails or hair — and not a live human being — then wouldn’t it follow that clipping off the toes or fingers from the fetus be as morally benign, (presuming it could be done inside the womb)?

A year ago, an Indianapolis woman was charged with murder in the death of her baby two days after giving birth due to her ingesting rat poison about a week prior to the birth (See: You Are What You Eat).  In my commentary I asked:

Should this woman be charged with any crimes if it shows the baby died as a direct result of the consumption of the poison?  If charged and convicted, what will this case do for the argument pro-abortion advocates use which makes claims to the effect of “it’s a woman’s body…”?

Can a case be made she was exercising her right to do what she wants with her own body[?]

If bodily sovereignty is the governing factor — or at least a significant governing factor — then no amount of self-imposed harm upon her own body (the fetus) can be condemned.  Is this really what is being argued?  If so, then it can be rightly asked: if killing the fetus is acceptable, why not merely mutilating it — so long as it is done prior to it becoming a person, that is.  If aborting the fetus is morally permissible because it is irrelevant that it will inevitably become a birthed baby.  Then it ought also be irrelevant what it will become if the mother wishes to mutilate.  You cannot have it both ways.

Comments

  1. I’ve noticed that “A woman has the right do do with her own body” is used (the exact wording) to express two contradicting arguments for abortion. 1. The fetus is part of her body. 2. The fetus is an invading parasite and she shouldn’t be forced to have her (actual) body used to support its life.

    Our position is so simple. It’s a new human life and its humanness gives it its rights, the first of which we must respect is its right to live.

    We don’t have to wonder when it began. We don’t have to look for angles. We don’t have to come up with crazy new angles that may or may not contradict our other rhetorical schemes.

    It’s so clear that we’re right. I feel sorry for those who think they must continue to find more and more ways to defend their culture of death.

  2. This above comment intrigues me because very few people look at the actual death which occurs inside the body of the woman through abortion. Well said conservative2cents.

    • few people look at the actual death which occurs inside the body of the woman through abortion.

      Reign,

      Would you believe this had never occurred to me before you just said it? Now that you vocalize it, it is pretty disturbing. For a time, there is a dead body inside the mother, and it is her very own child, who died at her behest. Chilling.

      • cindyrsandifer says:

        john and reign,
        Yes, and from personal experience, i can tell you that the physical death of that child inside the womb can result in spiritual death in the mother. The wages of sin is death. Thank God that He forgive and redeems us through Christ’s sacrifce for us who are in Him.

  3. Thanks, RoF.
    Keep the faith! We’re going to win this.

  4. Cindy Sandifer says:

    Hi John,
    I don’t think this is off topic, but correct me if i am wrong. This is a question that reading your post brought to my mind:
    I have heard some argue that there is a spectrum of human life and that the single cell, with which human life begins, the zygote, does not qualify as life (with which i disagree). I have also heard evolutionists state that all life evolved from a single cell.
    This would mean that pro-abortion evolutionists believe that the original single cell in the theory of evolution is considered life, but the zygote is not. That makes absolutely no sense to me!

    • Hi Cindy,

      Your comment is certainly relevant to the abortion debate even if tangential here. I suppose that abortion defenders would simply say that not all life is worthy of protection. And I agree that not all life is worthy of protection. But Where I would disagree is that I believe all innocent human life is worthy of protection. They know this too, which is why they must find ways to dehumanize the zygote, embryo, and fetus. They understandably require resons to deaden their conscience.

  5. Cindy, EXCELLENT point. That “first cell” could not be “life”. Amazing.

    While we’re on the subject, are we not extremely lucky that first cell survived? I mean, how many chances would there have been for a single random piece of life (for lack of a better term, since the logic of pro-choice folks will not actually allow for that designation) to exist? In the 4.5 billion years the earth has existed. One single cell started it all? Lucky, lucky, LUCKY!!! THANK CHANCE, WE’RE ALL HERE!

  6. John, I’ve been thinking about the personhood movement. They admit that a fertilized egg is the beginning of an individual human’s life and that since that’s the case, a fertilized egg is a living human being. Of course, they say that since it has not achieved personhood, it’s not worthy of protection.

    Could any in the personhood movement be for a law protecting a tree and be consistent?

    • Or any other “protected” species for that matter. If it is “personhood” that bestows protection, and not the kind of organism it is, then anything that is not a human person should be up for grabs. Any laws protecting any living thing become arbitrary.

  7. That point about evolution is brilliant.

  8. That’s it! I’m writing a post!

  9. It’s “funny” to me how hypocritical science’s (or maybe just some evolutionist/atheistic scientists) definition of life can be. If they ever found some microscopic organism in some piece of ice on Mars the headlines would proudly and boldly proclaim that LIFE had been discovered. The national news media would talk nonstop about the LIFE that has changed the world. All the talk around the water-cooler would revolve around the LIFE found in outer space. Yes, that little LIFE would be cherished and held in high regard among science’s intellectuals despite its little, tee tiny or even microscopic size.

    But let a life begin in a mother’s womb and all of a sudden the intellectuals forget how to determine what is or isn’t life all because of its “simplicity” or “size” at the time.

    Oh how wonderful it would be if all of the same people who would shed tears if something happened to that “little living micro-organism” and it died on it’s way to Earth (not to mention if it happened to lose its life by the intentional hands of a human with a “doctorate”) would give the same amount of credence to an unborn human-being on his/her way to life outside of the womb!

    Our culture has gotten in such a rush to find “life anywhere but here” that we can’t even see the life that’s infront of our eyes anymore. Too many wombs have become tombs at the cost of expediency in exchange for an “inconvenience.”

    • Eugine

      It does seem to be an ignorance of convenience, doesn’t it. For all the boasting they do, and all the advancements, this particular life seems to befuddle some.

      “Is this thing alive?”

      “Well, that depends. Who’s asking?”

  10. Life, scientifically even, is challenging to define. Think of a virus. And, when talking about abortion, it isn’t scientifically defined life we care about, anyway. A bacterium is alive, but I don’t think you believe that we have any moral responsibility towards bacteria. At the early stages of development, a fetus is much more like a bacteria (or, to more adequately describe later stages of development, more like a fish than a human.) Yes, it has human DNA. Yes, it will develop into a human being.Yes, it has DNA different from the mother, so, no, it cannot be rightly be called part of the mother’s body. Yes, because of that, technically, it is a separate human life.

    But the way it is, more fish or bacterium than human, you do not have moral responsibility to the fetus as it it, you have moral responsibility to what the fetus will become. But once you are talking about your moral responsibility to something that does not yet exist, you loose your grip on reality. Yes, abortion prevents a fetus from ever getting to experience life. So does birth control, or, for that matter, not having sex in the first place. Yet, somehow, I don’t think the church will ever call abstinence murder. I’ve heard pro-lifers ask, “What if Einstein’s mother had gotten an abortion?” They forget that, “What if Einstein’s parents had never met,” is an equally valid question.

    Also, unless we screw up badly, humans are anything but an endangered species, so conservative2cents, so we don’t need to work to keep our numbers up the same way we would with a rare tree. Environmentalism is inherently anthropocentric. If we destroy the world to the point that we cannot live here, we destroy ourselves.

  11. Marshall Art says:

    “At the early stages of development, a fetus is much more like a bacteria (or, to more adequately describe later stages of development, more like a fish than a human.)”

    What it might resemble is irrelevant. What it actually is is what is important. Though it may resemble a bacterium, fish or anything else, what it is is a human being at the earliest stages of its development. It isn’t a matter of what it will become. It’s what it is that counts. It isn’t a matter of whether or not it will become a person. It already is a person at an early stage of that person’s development. All other arguments are specious.

    “But the way it is, more fish or bacterium than human, you do not have moral responsibility to the fetus as it it, you have moral responsibility to what the fetus will
    become.”

    What it will be become is an older person. What it is is a person at an early stage of development. And that person definitely exists or terminating its life would not be an issue. An abortion prevents a person who already exists from continuing to fully experience the life it already has begun experiencing.

    Birth control, that is, preventing a conception from taking place, carries no moral implications whatsoever (depending on the methods employed). That most everyone has the potential biologically to have children does not require or mandate that everyone do so. But, assuming that was the case, there still would exist a vast moral distinction between avoiding conception and terminating the life of a person already conceived. To attempt to compare abstinence to abortion is such an incredible stretch that I’m amazed that anyone would suggest such a thing.

    • Marshall beat me to it. It is a human in early maturity, so that is what it is like. What it looks like, or what it shares its shape with is irrelevant to the thing it actually is.

      You say it’s like xyz…

      I say, ok, but what is it actually? And should we kill it?

  12. @ CRL

    “At the early stages of development, a fetus is much more like a bacteria (or, to more adequately describe later stages of development, more like a fish than a human.)”

    Wow! Comparing human life to bacteria and caviar? I guess “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34) truly describes that comment.

    • Eugine

      I think it speaks more to the lengths people force themselves to go in order to quiet their conscience. I don’t even think it is necessarily intentional, but more subconscious. The conscience is too loud to let it go that an innocent human being is killed, so that it has to be dehumanized first.

  13. Can anyone tell where CRL stands on fetal mutilation? It sounds like he’s making the case for it. Or at least that there’s no moral reason not to allow it.

  14. “Responsibility to something that doesn’t exist”.

    First, of course it exists.

    Second, environmentalism is anthropocentric. “We must preserve the earth for”… Wait for it… “FUTURE GENERATIONS”.

    It’s official. Environmentalists have lost their grip on reality.

    Also, financial planning is at least a little nutty.
    FAMILY planning. Wacky.

    Amazing how defending abortion loosens one’s grip on reality to such an extent that the phrase “lose grip of reality” doesn’t mean anything to you.

  15. John, WE haven’t strayed from the topic. It’s important to hear where the pro-choice folks stand. Now, where does their position leave them on fetal mutilation?

  16. Wow. Write anything else about a woman’s “right to choose” and the pro-aborts come out of the woodwork.

    The silence from them on this one is deafening!

    Did we just shut them up? I think we may have.

    “I want to get a tattoo on my fetus!”

    So simple.

  17. A mutilated fetus leads to a mutilated baby leads to a mutilated child who must grow up struggling with a disability that they need not otherwise have. An aborted fetus leads to, quite literally, nothing. In option 1, there is suffering. In option 2, there isn’t. Do you see a difference?

    As I said, *technically* a fetus, or even an embryo, is human life. Technically. Before we start arguing past each other, I’d like to point out that we have different concepts what constitutes the sort of human life which must be protected. You believe in a soul. I do not. You believe that God gives a person a soul when they are conceived. (You do, correct? I’m pretty sure this is the Catholic position, but I know approximately three Protestants, so I might have your beliefs wrong. Please correct me.) My belief system does not allow me such an easy answer. I cannot say, “life starts at conception,” or, “life starts at birth,” when talking about the kind of life that deserves protection. Hell, even an already born baby isn’t truly conscious, though is is capable of feeling pain, which I would say means it deserves ethical treatment.

    Also, I have no need to quiet my conscience about abortion, given that I’ve never had and don’t plan to have one. If I say things which twist facts, it is a sign that I lack reason, not that I am trying to make myself feel better. When I talked about moral responsibility to something which does not yet exist, I phrased it so badly I confuse even myself. And I do not know how to phrase it right. So, on that point, you win, at least until I can figure out a way to express what I am trying to say.

    • In option 2, you have a dead human being.

      But, isn’t “technically” good enough to not kill it? Because, you and I are both technically human too. So why is it ok to kill a human in the womb, but not mutilate one?

  18. As I said, the difference between abortion and mutilation is that mutilation leads to someone who is alive to feel pain, physical or otherwise. (For this reason, I oppose late term abortion/flat-out baby killing.)

    No, I don’t think technically counts. You and I are technically human, yes, but we are more than *technically* human; we are human in every sense of the word which I know. We have arms and legs and eyelashes and large brains. We are capable of learning about the world. We are self aware. We reason. We feel pain. An embryo doesn’t. There’s no harsh line when a fetus graduates from technically human to truly human. That’s one nice thing about religion. It gives us so many simple, harsh lines. Without it, we don’t have them, and we must make hard decisions by ourselves.

    • so then amputees, people with no eyelashes, diseases where people dont feel pain, or are in comas are eligible for death?

      Just trying to find some consistency.

  19. EXACTLY!!! The thing that you feel is unworthy of protection WILL BECOME a thing you think should be protected! So, you say that we SHOULD protect it (from mutilation) BEFORE it becomes worthy of protection BECAUSE it will become worthy. That’s OUR point! We just make the logical step and say that if what it will become is worthy of protection, then what it is now, and was from it’s BEGINNING, is also worthy of protection.

    The problem is that the arguments for abortion CAN BE USED to defend fetal mutilation. I can think of no argument for abortion that would not work to support tattooing or scarring or piercing or clipping parts off of a fetus.

    Your problem is (and it’s a damned serious one) that I came up with something that YOU consider to be worse than killing a fetus and you can’t really tell me why, if we can kill it, we shouldn’t be able to simply cut off it’s left arm, for example.

    Your logic against mutilation is right (we agree on that issue). And it’s the same logic we use against abortion.

    Let me ask you this: If you were forced by some evil criminal mastermind to either seriously injure or kill a 25 yr old woman, which would you choose? If you truly value human life, you’d choose to injure her.

    But, when we’re talking about something that you say doesn’t really deserve to live (yet), you act like death would be “nothing”! But to injure the thing, as it exists, is unacceptable?? NOT because it’s more fish-like than human, but because it WILL BE something later???

    YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!

    And that’s my whole point of bringing it up. You ought to just join us before your mental framework implodes.

  20. @John Baron: No. That was not meant to be taken seriously. I thought you might be able to figure out that I don’t support the killing of eyelash-less people.

    @Conservative2cents: You bring up some good points. This was an argument which I probably should not have jumped into, given that I have no deep knowledge nor strong opinion about abortion. My actual stance on abortion is that it should be legal up to the point of viability, because politicians are horrible philosophers, so individual people, not the government, have a right to decide when they believe that human life in the fullest sense starts. After viability, if they still don’t believe it is human life in the fullest sense, they can give it up to someone who does. Personally, I haven’t a clue when a fetus comes to deserve protection, and will therefore avoid unwanted pregnancy like the plague. I jumped in trying do defend the scientist’s definition of life, and how scientific life does not automatically make something worthy of protection, which is what a couple of you were trying to say. I got stuck here, thinking as I type, and as a result, probably saying stupid things and contradicting myself. If you want me to bow out, I can, however, I’m probably easy prey and more interesting than sitting around agreeing with each other.

    That said, I’ll try to respond, since most of our disagreement, (or, at least, most of why you probably think I’m a terrible person) comes from my lack of clarity (or, perhaps, from the fact that you appear to be attacking a straw man of me.)

    The difference between injure/kill the 25 year old woman and mutilate/abort the fetus is that the woman has already begun to live, in the full, important sense. The fetus hasn’t. If you abort it, it did not have life and loose it, it never truly had life. If you mutilate it, it is born into a life suffering. Yes, you could talk about the child that would have been if the fetus hadn’t been aborted. You can also talk about the child that would have been if you had hooked up with Elvis. (Okay, you, being a male who most likely did not associate with Elvis, you couldn’t, but change this to a more plausible situation, you get my point.)

  21. CRL, Sorry if I went nuts, there. I am used to arguing with pro-choice folks who “are certain” and want only to call us superstitious and gullible.

    But, I don’t think I’m attacking a straw man. Do you not understand that you started out saying that you think a fetus (at some stage) may be killed because it’s not something yet and that that being its current condition, what it may become doesn’t matter.

    Is that still what you’re saying, still?

    Because if it doesn’t matter that the thing you kill is a potential doctor or teacher, then it shouldn’t matter that the thing I mutilate is potentially going to suffer because of it.

    Am I making any sense?

  22. Yes, I said that, because I was trying to say something else and phrased it badly. I think.

    Sure, the thing you abort is a potential doctor or teacher. So is the thing you don’t conceive. The thing that you mutilate *will* grow up to become an mutilated person, who most likely will wish they had not been mutilated. The thing which does not grow up to become a doctor or teacher will not exist to mourn that fact. Does that make sense?

  23. Marshall Art says:

    CRL,

    You cannot compare the child that is conceived with what has not yet been conceived. You are then actually comparing literally someone to literally no one. What hasn’t been conceived has no potential whatsoever. (For anyone who might be confused, I speak of what is conceived in procreation, not conceived in the mind.) Only that which exists can have potential. Someone might potentially exist (in one’s mind), but until that person does exist, that person has no potential to be or do anything.

    I would also say that the existence of a soul is not necessary for our point to remain valid. We’re not talking about such things, but only whether a person is a person from conception, which one is. It is subjective and really, quite arrogant for one human being to presume authority by which to judge the personhood and worth of another. That holds for individuals AND gov’ts or scientists, who, by the way, acknowledge that a new human being comes into existence at the moment of conception.

    The wrong in killing another human being is not dependent on the condition, status, age or size of the victim. It is the act itself that is wrong. Viability is a cheap way out for proponents of elective abortion because it also is a subjective line used to allow it, not because it really means anything. To take solace in the knowledge that the child might not feel the pain does little to mitigate the wrong in taking its life. And again, the arrogance required to maintain this attitude of presumed authority over this human being is really contemptible.

    If you are truly “on the fence” regarding abortion, then it would seem that honor and character would dictate and compel you to regard the unborn at every stage as worthy of protection until definitive proof otherwise becomes available to you, and adjust your lifestyle and behavior accordingly, even if it means abstinence. Unfortunately, no real proof of such kind is available

  24. Marshall Art, you know nothing of my lifestyle. Read my previous post (11:09 PM.) I do not have the arrogance to make a guess where life which deserves protection begins. I will not put myself in a situation which forces me to make that guess. I will not vote to enact laws which allow the government to make that guess for people. I think viability is the minimum line, the absolute minimum line. Life, in the higher sense, is a continuum, and not a convenient harsh line.

    That said, I will continue making and defending that guess for the purpose of debate. I apologize if you have seen my position drift over the course of this conversation. As I said earlier, I have never read or written very much about abortion, and am, consequently, thinking as I type.

    An embryo conceived is still not defined. You are not written solely in your DNA, your are written in your DNA+your development+your experiences. For a fetus, the latter has not begun, and the second is in its early stages. I could probably talk about the insanely complex interplay of genes and environment for several hours, but that would be incredibly off topic, so I won’t. We can’t talk of aborting future doctors and teachers any more than we can talk of the preventing-by-abstinence of future doctors and teachers. A person is a living thing with human DNA from conception, yes. Is that what you need to be a person? I think it takes more. I’ve explained this in other places. Yes, an embryo has the potential to become a person. But it has not truly begun to live in the true sense. It will come to, slowly, but it has not yet. Aborting it early on is not the same thing as murdering an existing life anymore than not donating money is the same thing as stealing. Of course, you *should* donate if you possibly can. I guess I see abortion in the same way. You should have the child if you are able to give it a proper upbringing, and if it will not wreck your life so thoroughly that you do more damage by having it than you would have by aborting it, just as you should donate, but not to someone who will spend your money on drugs, and not to the extent that you impoverish yourself. I think my analogy made sense? At least, this is my guess. Maybe I’ll make a different one tomorrow.

    • But CRL,

      Whether money is donated or stolen, the thing being donated or stolen is still money, and its inherent value as money is what makes either decision consequential.

      I think C2C has made his point brilliantly. On the one hand abortion defenders (not speaking of you specifically, CRL, just in general) defend the killing of the fetus because it is irrelevant what it will inevitably become if left unmolested. But the fetus shouldn’t be mutilated because of what it will become.

      I would speculate that the reason for this is because once outside the womb, the consequences of your actions are clearly seen in the deformed baby cradled in your arms. But after an abortion, the dead body of the baby just killed is taken away from the mother so that she does not see the consequence of the “choice”. All she knows is she isn’t pregnant anymore. This is why abortion defenders look so abhorently on posters depicting aborted babies. it is chilling, and brings home what an abortion actually accomplishes.

  25. It sounds like where we differ is that we’re saying that a fetus needs to “Be alive” and you’re saying it needs to “Get a life” for the right to continue to live.

    Your side thinks that a human being has to earn the right to live. We don’t.

  26. I think that as a practical matter, we must look at the cost of lost opportunity. And this fits nicely with CRL’s point of what may or may not become a doctor (for example).

    I cannot plan to make a baby who will become a doctor. There are only so many women I can impregnate. In fact, I’ve limited that number to one, so the law of averages are against me.

    So, there are billions upon billions of sperm/egg combinations that will simply go untried. Those are the ones that produce nothing, and therefore are not in the picture at all as far as lost opportunity is concerned.

    Lost opportunity is concerned with what choices we make with the resources that not only exist, but that we have control over. In this case, we’re talking about one fetus at a time.

    This choice happens to be a simple one. Kill it, or let it live. If we let it live, it will become something. If we kill it, it won’t.

    I said it’s one at a time, but when we’re talking about literally thousands of abortions every day, it adds up really quickly. We end up with 30,000,000 or so lost opportunities over the last 40 years.

    30,000,000 is a number we can work with. About 2% of the population are geniuses. So, over the last 40 years, the world has been deprived of about 600,000 American geniuses. We lost them because we chose to kill them.

    It’s very important what someone will become. That is absolutely why we shouldn’t mutilate a fetus. And it’s why we shouldn’t kill it, either.

    The zygote that never was doesn’t come into the picture at all. We can only deal with what exists.

    But that’s just the practical. The moral question is still there. Why protect any life at all? Why human life in particular?

    I have to tell you, it’s easier to answer that question if you have an ultimate authority from which to receive guidance. But, you don’t even really need that to tell you why human life should be protected.

    Human beings are the only animal on earth that can make life better for everyone. If a dog could imagine a system in which everyone could live together in peace and prosperity, it wouldn’t matter. The dog couldn’t tell anyone.

    But if, a human being creates a mosquito net, he can show others how to do it and save millions of lives.

    A human can invent a process by which to bring fresh water into a city and dispose of wastewater and save millions of lives (current and future).

    We make hospitals (human and animal).
    We make laws. We follow laws. And when someone breaks a law, we enforce the law for the benefit of the rest of us.

    We create art.
    We make music.
    We make rhymes.
    We build skyscrapers.
    We harness the energy of the sun.

    WE’RE SPECIAL! Each one of us is worth more than any other animal on earth.

    We are not special because we HAVE DONE all these things. We’re special because we CAN. only we, human beings can do all those things.

    It’s not how old we are that makes us worth more than any other life form. It is our HUMANNESS.

    Now, a zygote is a living human being.
    It grows, so it’s alive.
    It is human, whether or not it resembles a fish.

    It already has all that it needs for us to recognize its right to live.

    Dang! I think I gave you 3 cents, that time!

  27. Marshall Art says:

    CRL,

    I don’t need to know anything about your personal lifestyle for my point to be valid. If you believe something to be true or false, you do adjust your lifestyle to accommodate that belief to the best of your ability or suffer the consequences. If you are not sure about what you believe, it seems only logical to go with the existing data, which states that a new human being is created at the moment of fertilization. (This fact, not opinion) And since this is the case, to err on the side of human life is only rational. Adjusting one’s lifestyle to accommodate this decision would rationally require prevention of conception, even if it meant abstinence. Said another way, if you have no personal opinion regarding the beginning of human life, then fertilization is the easiest point to regard as that beginning (since it actually is, all the better for you). Yet it is no subjective line of demarcation. It is the actually and literal one as science shows.

    What’s more, this is not a guess. This is objective as it gets. It is based on biological function. To engage in the act that is designed for procreation means that the product of that act must be the intended consequence of that act, which is to produce another human being. It cannot be anything else and to suggest that there is some other point later on by which one can grant full recognition is indeed arrogance as one does not have the right to withhold that recognition at all because it is a human being just as you are now. The arrogance is in deciding for another what constitutes life worth preserving. Judge the worth of your own life if you must, but the life of another is not yours to make that judgement. Pregnancy is never accidental because intercourse is never accidental. (“Whoops! How did that get in there?”)

    You think it takes more than mere DNA to be a person. That would be true if talking about skin cells or some such. But the zygote or embryo is an entire human being regardless of whether or not it has developed arms or organs as we have now. To say otherwise is still a subjective opinion, and really, quite a self-centered one at that.

  28. Yes, humans can (potentially) do a lot more good for others than other animals. We can (and have) also do a lot more evil, but that’s beside the point.

    I concede, and have conceded, that scientifically, a new human being is formed at conception. I maintain that life is not that simple. Yes, it’s a new human. But it does not have the human qualities which make us regard humans as worthy of protection. We’ve been over that. I’ll attempt to use a metaphor. Pretend that the life which we discuss is a flame. If we were never to light it, there never would have been a flame. If we were to light it, and then, while the wick was becoming hot but had not yet burst into flame, decided against it, the flame never would have come to be. If it were a self aware, anthropomorphic, flame, it never would have woken up to be sad about the fact that it would not get to burn. If you had held the match there a little bit longer, the wick may have come to glow a little bit. Perhaps there would be the beginnings of a flame. When talking of of our anthropomorphic flame, we would have an ambiguous situation. If we had held the match longer still, the flame would have come to be in all of it’s full glory, and if you we to snuff our anthropomorphic flame now, it would have longed to go on burning. We would have killed it, not merely prevented. Perhaps this will help to, er, illuminate my point of view? (terrible pun, I know) If not, I tried. And please, do not think I equate human life to an inanimate object like a flame. I suppose this is what my comparison of an embryo or zygote to something which has not yet been conceived was trying to say (and was not saying very well.)

    • CRL

      I maintain that life is not that simple. Yes, it’s a new human. But it does not have the human qualities which make us regard humans as worthy of protection

      Now I have to ask: do you see that it is the qualities you find valuable and not the carrier of those qualities. It is wrong to murder an 18 year old, not because they are an innocent human being, but rather, they have life experiences and cognition, and the ability to reflect. It seems that any living organism which possesses these qualities would qualify as murdered if killed.

      Also, if experiences make one worthy of protection: what kind, how many, must they realize they had the experience, what if they forgot about one of the required experiences, what about a person with complete and full amnesia (on your descriptions, they could be killed)?

  29. CRL, Respectfully, I think we get what your saying. Even without your candle analogy.

    We simply disagree.

    We think it must only be human and alive. You don’t think that’s enough.

    At least (the very least) you don’t think a fetus should be allowed to be mutilated.

    And congratulations for being the only pro-choice reader (out of many) with the guts to try to work through it with us.

  30. Okay. Sorry for going on too long about that and assuming that, because you disagreed, you did not understand. Thanks for the discussion/food for thought.

  31. John Baron

    Did I say that experiences make things/people worthy of protection? If I did, I was probably trying to say something else and phrased it badly. Having the capacity to experience and having experienced are different things. The latter is what I was talking of when I talked of its value. I think that invalidates your example of the amnesiac (who, of course, should not be killed.)

  32. Terrance H. says:

    Absurd. Absolutely absurd.

    A person can be born with birth defects that make them look more like something out of a Tolkien novel than a human being, but we don’t strip of them their rights. So, as Marshall said, it doesn’t matter what the child resembles; what matters is that he or she is a human being.

    From the very moment of conception, life is a – and I can’t stress this enough – continual, developmental process. Unborn children are merely in an earlier stage of development. Toddlers are in an earlier stage of development than teenagers; we are all in an earlier stage of development than our parents (if they are still alive), and so on. What’s important is that we’re all human beings who, because of our humanity, deserve protection under the law. The same should apply to unborn children, period.

    There is nothing you can say that I haven’t heard many times before. I have methodically destroyed, line by line, every pro-choice rationalization under the sun. They’re all ridiculous rants. Any seasoned pro-lifer could rip them apart because it’s quite easy when all the facts are on your side.

  33. Terrance H. says:

    And what of people with severe mental retardation? Can we just kill them? Surely we must be able to under your system, CRL, because, depending on how badly their retardation is, they will never be nothing more than a drain. They won’t – how do you say it – become a pretty scented candle or something.

    Your arguments are patently ridiculous and I can’t believe intelligent people like John, Marshall, Conservative, and the rest of them are taking the time to banter back and forth with you.

  34. I shouldn’t rehash my points with you: I can’t say anything which I haven’t already said. But I will anyway, because I’m stubborn like that. I don’t know if what I said is right either; was a guess, and a guess which I plan never to have to act on.

    “A person can be born with birth defects that make them look more like something out of a Tolkien novel than a human being, but we don’t strip of them their rights. So, as Marshall said, it doesn’t matter what the child resembles; what matters is that he or she is a human being.”

    Yes, I know that. I made points on resemblance to other species to point out that a embryo, in the form it is in, is not something that would be worthy of respect. Neither is a bacteria or a goldfish. Will turn into something that IS worthy of respect? Yes! Do I know when that transformation point it? No! Will I act on my lack of knowledge? No. Do I know if there IS a transformation point, or if the potential to become a full fledged human being is as good as being a full fledged human being? No, not really. And I will not act on my lack of knowledge. As I believe the only female in this discussion, I’m the only one for whom this is not an abstract philosophical issue.

    “From the very moment of conception, life is a – and I can’t stress this enough – continual, developmental process.”

    Yes. I can’t agree more. Yes, an embryo is a human in an early stage of development. It is also a clump of cells. A teenager or a toddler is also a human in development, but it is so much more than a clump of cells. I do hope you understand the difference. Now, read up a few posts to where I talked about the candle. Maybe it’ll help you, since you think everything I say as, “absurd” which I would assume implies lack of proper understanding, nor respectful disagreement, which is what Conservative2Cents etc. were at least able to grant me. I probably can’t change your mind, as I haven’t even gotten myself off the fence, but perhaps I can convince you that I am neither an idiot nor a psychopath. Understand that, more than anything else, I am a neutral party playing the devil’s advocate. I may be one of the few people who will admit this on teh internets, but I do not know the answer. I admit that you and the others have made good points.

    Perhaps they banter with me because it is more interesting than having a cozy party of agreement. You appear to be bantering with me as well, you just lack the politeness which generally accompanies banter.

  35. Terrance H. says:

    I shouldn’t rehash my points with you:

    No, you shouldn’t. The pseudo-philosophical balderdash you present as reasoned postulation is particularly nauseating. I could do without it.

    I don’t know if what I said is right either; was a guess, and a guess which I plan never to have to act on.

    I can assure you that everything you said is utter foolishness. It’s not only morally corrupt to hold human life in such low regard, but also impractical and illogical. It cannot work, which I will clearly demonstrate.

    I made points on resemblance to other species to point out that a embryo, in the form it is in, is not something that would be worthy of respect. Neither is a bacteria or a goldfish. Will turn into something that IS worthy of respect? Yes! Do I know when that transformation point it? No! Will I act on my lack of knowledge? No. Do I know if there IS a transformation point, or if the potential to become a full fledged human being is as good as being a full fledged human being? No, not really. And I will not act on my lack of knowledge.

    I know what you said. I read what you said. I responded to what you said. I don’t need to read it again because it contains no more reason now than it did then. The point I raised is that it shouldn’t matter – and doesn’t matter to moral people – what someone looks like. And it certainly shouldn’t matter to any form of legal system.

    As I said, unborn children are human beings the same as the rest of us. They may look different, but so, too, do people born with birth defects or people who have been unfortunate enough to have been in an accident from which they found themselves deformed. Unborn children may be in such an early form of development that they lack certain capabilities, but so, too, do born children lack certain intellectual and neurological capabilities. But we are all, from the moment of conception, human beings. You propose a system in which we human beings are either stripped of or granted our protection under the law based on our current developmental abilities. That is preposterous and quite Nazi-sque.

    You openly admit that you do not know when life should be respected, yet you support abortion rights. Why not err on the side of caution? And then you go on to make the contradictory assertion that you will not act on your lack of knowledge, yet, if we are to accept your thesis, that is the essence of abortion, i.e., to act without knowledge (because we cannot know when life is to be respected).

    It doesn’t seem to me you’ve given this much thought.

    As I believe the only female in this discussion, I’m the only one for whom this is not an abstract philosophical issue.

    Are you high? All you’ve offered is philosophical nonsense while the rest of us are making factual claims that cannot be disputed. Surely you must be intoxicated.

    Yes. I can’t agree more.

    And yet you hold fetal life in such low regard.

    Yes, an embryo is a human in an early stage of development. It is also a clump of cells. A teenager or a toddler is also a human in development, but it is so much more than a clump of cells.

    That is false, for we are all but mere clumps of cells. The only difference is that depending on how far along we clumps are in our development, we can do more things.

    I do hope you understand the difference.

    The difference is developmental ability. I get that. I’ve said that. Now I want you to acknowledge that you support a legal system that deprives one of his or her rights based on their developmental ability, and then further stipulate that such a system is not dissimilar from Hitler’s Germany.

    Now, read up a few posts to where I talked about the candle. Maybe it’ll help you, since you think everything I say as, “absurd” which I would assume implies lack of proper understanding, nor respectful disagreement, which is what Conservative2Cents etc. were at least able to grant me.

    No. I have 92% total recall. I remember the silly candle argument well and I’m chuckling now just as I was when I first read it. I merely said it’s absurd because – and this is important – it is absurd!!! So, please do not flatter yourself by questioning my ability to discern, for doing so will only illuminate your inability to recognize your mistakes and correct them.

    I probably can’t change your mind, as I haven’t even gotten myself off the fence, but perhaps I can convince you that I am neither an idiot nor a psychopath.

    I don’t think you’re an idiot. I think your arguments are idiotic, but that is to be expected from someone who holds a position that is inherently idiotic. I wouldn’t know if you’re a psychopath. Insufficient data from which to draw a conclusion.

  36. Terrance H. says:

    By perusing your blog, it’s apparent, CRL, that you are quite the liberal. Well, guess what? So am I. Ask John and the others. I’m a pro-life liberal.

    I mention this only because it seems to me you are for abortion only because that’s what you think liberals are supposed to do. I actually thought liberalism was all about giving a voice to those who don’t have one; for standing up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves.

  37. Terrance H. says:

    Oh, and do save the use of the Godwin’s Law observation. It’s mentioning is the sophomoric reaction of someone who cannot deal with the facts of the matter. :-)

  38. Yeah, that probably was true at some point. I hopped into this discussion not really having thought about abortion, but wanting to challenge an assertion that someone made that scientists are hypocritical because they call cells on mars “LIFE!” but do not grant the same thing to an embryo. I jumped into the debate to defend the scientists, pointing out that, when saying an embryo is not “LIFE!” we talk not of biological life but of mental life. Idiot I am, I got dragged into a debate about abortion and probably did spew a lot of pseudo philosophical crap because I was thinking as I typed. So, no, I haven’t given it much thought.

    That said, even someone who is severely mentally retarded does feel pain. Someone who does not look human is still human inside. Someone who cannot feel pain still has thoughts. Someone who cannot feel pain and does not have thoughts is probably brain dead and should probably be unplugged from life support.

    I suppose I concede this debate by saying that I do not know what I believe. I don’t want to concede to you because, while you share may share most of my political views, you are an utter ass about promoting them, but I’ll do what’s necessary.

  39. “Are you high? All you’ve offered is philosophical nonsense while the rest of us are making factual claims that cannot be disputed. Surely you must be intoxicated.”

    Yeah, mentioning that probably didn’t add anything to the discussion. Nonetheless, falsely accusing your opponent of drunkenness is not a proven method of winning friends.

    Also. You, unlike the rest of them, do not hold humanity to be the pinnacle of God’s creation. If your head is screwed on straight, I would assume you do not hold our species to be the pinnacle of evolution either. In that case, why do you believe worth is determined by the possession of a human genome? Have you taken your title as a humanist a bit too literally? Yes, an embryo will develop into something worth protecting. (Before this discussion, I would have said that this was meaningless, and that it is what the embryo IS, not what it will become that matters. In trying to defend this, I spewed a lot of, as you rightly called it, pseudo philosophical crap. I was probably wrong. Potential probably does matter. I will not say you have won, but John Baron, Conservative2Cents, and Martial Art may have.) I still maintain that, as it stands, an embryo does not have moral rights, though it may have rights conferred by it’s potential to become a person. Once we move from embryos to fetuses, things get messier. It’s a mess I don’t want to deal with, which is why I will neither get an abortion nor legislate to fund or ban them. This has been my position from the beginning. (One of the few things I haven’t changed my mind on, it seems.)

    • cindyrsandifer says:

      a person is either or person or not a person. a “potential”‘person does not make sense.
      Now if i go to college to become a teacher, then i may be called a potential teacher, because i have chosen the path to becoming a teacher, but i may drop out and not finish, in which case i have decided not to fulfill my potential.
      a zygote, embryo, whatever, at whatever stage has no choice but to become a person because that is what he or she is. This is not a matter of potential but a state of being. before potential is even a possibility, being must have come about. i have not potential if i do not exist! If i exist, i must be alive! I may not be sentient as a zygote, but i AM alive.
      when someone deems a fertilized egg a “potential living being” that simply means they do not CHOOSE to recognize life or understand the origin of life.

  40. Terrance H. says:

    I jumped into the debate to defend the scientists, pointing out that, when saying an embryo is not “LIFE!” we talk not of biological life but of mental life.

    You mean consciousness. And how good of you to speak for the entire community of pro-choicers. You’re certain, are you, that all of them mean “mental life” when they say embryos are “not life,” right? Fine. But since when do we grant rights based on consciousness? Am I allowed, then, to meander about hospitals unplugging those in a coma?

    That said, even someone who is severely mentally retarded does feel pain. Someone who does not look human is still human inside. Someone who cannot feel pain still has thoughts. Someone who cannot feel pain and does not have thoughts is probably brain dead and should probably be unplugged from life support.

    This is meaningless noise; a last ditch effort to save your floundering mess of an argument.

    There are certain neurological disorders that limit the ability to feel pain, even entirely in some cases.Those people are still human. People in a severe comatose state most likely experience no thoughts, yet they are still considered human. And the practical reason we do not unplug them is because many of them have rebounded and awoken. Where there is life, there is hope, or so the saying goes.

    But more importantly. Since when is the ability to feel pain, look human, and have thoughts a prerequisite to humanity? Since when isn’t simply BEING human enough?

    I suppose I concede this debate by saying that I do not know what I believe. I don’t want to concede to you because, while you share may share most of my political views, you are an utter ass about promoting them, but I’ll do what’s necessary.

    You support the killing of innocent children, are unable to fathom even a single reasoned argument, and still, amazingly, have the temerity to call me an ass? Put “Jack” in front of that to describe yourself.

    Yeah, mentioning that probably didn’t add anything to the discussion. Nonetheless, falsely accusing your opponent of drunkenness is not a proven method of winning friends.

    It was sorta funny. But also, I thought it could be true. And I have about four friends and several acquaintances and have found this to suit me just fine, so I’m not looking for friendship.

    Also. You, unlike the rest of them, do not hold humanity to be the pinnacle of God’s creation. If your head is screwed on straight, I would assume you do not hold our species to be the pinnacle of evolution either. In that case, why do you believe worth is determined by the possession of a human genome?

    Just tonight I was listening to a song called Hi’ilawe by John Cruz that brought me to tears, frankly, because it was very beautiful. I know of no rabbit that can sing so beautifully.

    I’ve read poems by people like Yusef Komunyakaa that have made me cry, because they, too, were very beautiful. I know of no horse that can write something that beautiful.

    I have enjoyed art created by people like Jasper John’s and couldn’t help but to be overcome with an unexplainable joy. I know of no pigeon that can create something so wonderful.

    Are you beginning to understand why human life should be held in higher regard? That’s not even including an evolutionary interest to see that our species continue on.

    Have you taken your title as a humanist a bit too literally?

    I don’t recall giving myself that title. But regardless, there is no other way in which to take it.

    Yes, an embryo will develop into something worth protecting. (Before this discussion, I would have said that this was meaningless, and that it is what the embryo IS, not what it will become that matters. In trying to defend this, I spewed a lot of, as you rightly called it, pseudo philosophical crap. I was probably wrong. Potential probably does matter.

    I have not argued potential anything. I am saying, factually, that zygotes, fetuses, or whatever other special name you wish to give unborn children, are human beings, the same as the rest of us. Their current developmental ability is entirely irrelevant, since making it relevant means we have taken a page out of Hitler’s book. Not only that, it’s morally wrong.

    I will not say you have won, but John Baron, Conservative2Cents, and Martial Art may have.)

    Aww, hun, it’s O.K. You can say what is already painfully obvious to anyone who has bothered to follow this discussion. You’ve mentioned the concept of my having won twice already, simply refusing to admit it. That tells me something.

    But I actually don’t care all that much. I just want abortion to be done away with.

    I still maintain that, as it stands, an embryo does not have moral rights, though it may have rights conferred by it’s potential to become a person.

    Another fallacy. Ignoring their legal status for a minute, an unborn child, even an embryo, is a person in every way possible. They are merely a person in an earlier stage of development than us. Legally, of course, they are not considered persons. But you, as a liberal, should not hold that particular fact in any regard since the law also views corporations as persons.

  41. @ CRL

    “but wanting to challenge an assertion that someone made that scientists are hypocritical because they call cells on mars “LIFE!” but do not grant the same thing to an embryo. I jumped into the debate to defend the scientists, pointing out that, when saying an embryo is not “LIFE!””

    I am going to suppose this was referenced towards me since it was similar to my statement. Is it not true that scientists send mechanical devices to other planets in our solar system to find what they call “life” or that they send telescopic satellites to take pictures of planets that can “support life”? Isn’t finding “life” and it’s “origin” the whole point of such endeavors while spending an untold number of billions of dollars while doing it?

    As to those scientists who seek such things (the ones mentioned and not “all” in general) what would their definition of life on another planet be and do you not believe that they would go the “enth degree” with federal laws and such to protect it and give it rights if it were found? If they (this is a huge hypothetical but used to make my point) found a human embryo or something “akin” to it would they or would they not call it “life”? I believe the answer is very clear.

    That was my whole point in bringing up that illustration. Have a great day :)

  42. I’ve never heard of a fetus which can write poetry either, Terrence. When you say that when we keep patients in comas on life support because they can regain consciousness, you are in a sense agreeing with me. They should be kept alive, not because they are worth protecting in the current state they are in, but because they will return to a state which is worth protecting. I would assume that, if you somehow knew they would remain in a vegetative state for the rest of their existence, you would support pulling the plug. I certainly would, so as to free up resources to protect those who have hope of living, in all senses. Does this make me a Nazi? I hope not. If so, than I assume using antibiotics and eating cucumbers will make me one as well, at which point I may as well kill myself as the only way to avoid fascism. So you don’t protect them because they have human DNA, you protect them because they are capable of becoming something which behaves like a human. If an embryo were something which retained it’s embryonic state forever, I would assume you would not grant it moral rights. So it IS a matter of potential. I now, thanks to polite, reasoned individuals who you would to well to learn from, believe that this potential probably does grant the embryo some rights. I say, “you have won,” because I hope you will read it and stop rehashing points which we now agree on. Yes, that is overly hypothetical, and probably bordering on pseudo philosophical crap. Oh well. I can’t think of a better way to say it.

  43. Guys, CRL will never get it. Give up. For some reason, no amount of evidence or logic, or reason will convince her. The need not to judge others for transgressions, not even the killing of the most innocent of innocents will not allow pro-aborts to see what should be plainly obvious to any objective observer.

    CRL, I have to say that your “Well, I’m just not sure, so we may as well kill it” position is reckless, to say the least. Now, I don’t believe you’re a reckless person. So, really, I think what’s really going on here is that you’re being coy. “I could be wrong. I’m not sure. I haven’t put much thought into it…” And then you pull out the ultimate “You men can’t know what’s best for women”. Come on, CRL. You know exactly what you’re doing.

    The only reason you’re side-stepping our perfect arguments is so you can continue to delude yourself into thinking abortion is not the same thing as infanticide or the murder of an older living human clumps of cells.

    I may not be quite as jerky as Terrance can be (sorry, Terrance, but I mean, right?) but the rest of us are saying exactly what he’s saying. You are absolutely wrong. And I think you know it.

  44. This should put an end to the “potential” bull crud.

    There’s a zombie appocolypse. You and a few people are surviving in the aftermath. You come across a chicken egg. Everyone is happy that there’s food to eat. Terrance inspects the egg and says “Hey! This egg has a chicken fetus in it!” You say, “So what? Let’s eat it!” Terrance says, “This CHICKEN can lay many eggs for us to eat if we don’t kill it now”.

    Do you tell him that a fully developed chicken capable of doing this wonderful thing certainly would be something you wouldn’t want to kill, but that what’s in front of you now is simply not that, and what it might become is of no consequence?

    The chicken fetus is worthy of protection because nothing else in the entire world will mature to be able to lay chicken eggs. It’s a chicken. No less.

  45. Wow! I just re-read the chicken thing I wrote. Holy CRAP, that’s good. That’s about a thousand times better than the candle analogy. Can I just say it? I… Am… A GENIUS!

    • I’ll say it C2C, it really is a good analogy.

      The point is, if we determine whether something is worthy of protection based on subjective ad hoc potentialities, we also must be willing to accept levels of said properties must be taken into account for proportional protection and value. I.e., if the zygote is too small, therefore… then men on a whole are more valuable than women by virtue of their larger size. Ph.Ds are more valuable because their cognative abilities are greater than the average hillbilly.

      If human beings are not valuable because of the kind of thing they are as opposed to what they can do, what they look like, or what they can potentially achieve, then they are worthless. The abilities have the value, the potentials have the value. And then they are dispensable, and are at the mercy of the authority of the “list maker”. If the value is not objective then they test can be altered based on who is needed to pass or fail.

  46. Yes, I do know that I am (was) wrong about the idea of potential being unimportant. I’ve mentioned that earlier, a few times I believe. I conceded that a fetus should be protected because of it’s potential to become a full blown human being, just as the chicken egg should be if it had the potential to feed the world. I kept arguing, because, as many beliefs I probably share with Terrence, I’d like to knock him off his pedestal as the pinnacle of evolution, worthy of protection even if his DNA was spliced into a cucumber, and would probably fight him over the value of 2+2, because his rhetorical style is just that infuriating. So, uh, if I need to repeat this again: you are right. Abortion is bad.

    In the name of saving a little bit own dignity, WHERE is your evidence of my, “Well, I’m just not sure, so we may as well kill it,” position? Maybe you’ll find my, “well, I’m not sure, so I won’t kill it, but I won’t enact laws to prevent others from making their own decisions, because they may be smarter than may be smarter than I am and may have the answer,” position, but the two really aren’t the same thing, unless you’d like to call every agnostic a Christian.

  47. If humans are not valuable because of what they can achieve, what is it that does make them valuable? Creation in God’s image, John Baron and Conservative2Cents? That is a whole other topic, and one that isn’t worth getting into at the moment. The ability to produce beauty? Or, rather, sharing DNA with those who can produce beauty, Terrence? First of all, that IS what they can achieve. Second, beauty is in the eye of a beholder. Maybe I’m missing something, but I’ve never seen a sculpture, painting, or poem more beautiful than the night sky or grander than the vast stretches of geological or cosmic time. Anything humans can produce is pathetic by comparison.

    On a cosmic scale, humans may unimportant. But, as a human, I cannot help but disagree. For all we know, our planet could be the only one with life, or, perhaps, the only one with intelligent life. For that reason, we should make each of those lives as good as it can be. A human life has great potential to be good or bad, pleasant or excruciatingly painful. For that reason, it is imperative that we work to make those lives good. A chimpanzee life has a little less, but still quite a bit, of potential to be good or bad. A dog’s life, slightly less again. A bacteria’s life or plant’s life: very little, if none. They won’t know the difference either way. They should be protected as well, of course, because a planet without biodiversity is not likely to support life for very long, and lives spent on it will be pretty miserable.

  48. *”humans may be unimportant”, not “humans may unimportant”.
    and, “geologic,” not “geological.”

    I should really sleep more.

  49. John,
    Sorry to interject into your back-slapping convention- and don’t take this comment as a defense of CRLs argument to this point- but don’t you see something a little wrong with stroking 2cents for his chicken egg analogy and then saying:

    If human beings are not valuable because of the kind of thing they are as opposed to what they can do, what they look like, or what they can potentially achieve, then they are worthless.

    …in the same breath?
    I mean, they are not even in different comments- where someone might excuse you for disjointed trains of thought, or pass over the unbelievable contradiction of those two statements.
    2cents makes the argument of value from potential and utility-which you say is brilliant- and then go on to say that if humans have value only for what they can do, or potentially achieve, then they are worthless. You argue that humans have inherent value.
    You can’t possibly miss the irony of highlighting the GENIUS of an analogy that highlights utility and potential only to spend the next paragraph dismissing utility and potential as meaningless to human worth.
    Am I missing something?

    • George

      I know that it looks like I am sort of embracing two different ideas within the same comment so I’ll explain. In shop lingo familiar to me it’s called switching gears. In embracing c2c’s analogy which appears to value potential utility, I am commending the use of one of my favorite debate tactics: presume for the sake of argument your opponents position then show why it still doesn’t get you to the conclusion you’re trying to reach. So when someone argues for abortion on the “potentialness” of the “person” or some other such quality, we should still be protecting that which will inevitably obtain those protection-worthy qualities, like the egg. I thought c2c’s analogy was very good at making obvious what we all already know when we aren’t trying to disqualify someone from being killed.

      Then I put out again my position, that for whatever potentialities a human being may or may not possess, they are valuable regardless, simply for the kind of thing they are.

      I do think you are correct when you say regardless of where people tend to derive human value, “The reality is that we humans tend to place ultimate value on human life”

  50. Essentially, 2cents analogy directly and boldly opposes the very heart of the pro-life position. Human life deserves protection because we place consistantly meted value on every stage of human life outside of the womb- and if a child in the womb is a human being/person/life (and I think there is no doubt that it is)- then there is no reason not to give consistant value to a child regardless of where it happens to reside.

    If a chicken egg is a potential chicken that can lay many more eggs that we few survivors plan to subsist on- what makes that single egg more important than the future eggs? Scarcity? What makes some of those future eggs that we set aside to hatch future egg layers more important than the eggs we decide to turn into a breakfast omelette? What makes those eggs more worthy of protection than the future chicken we eat on Thanksgiving?
    You are right that human life has inherent value that transcends utility, scarcity, and potential. That is the heart of the abortion debate.
    To accept an analogy that compares the inherent value of human life to an exploitable resource- and call that analogy “good”- seems antithetical to the very spirit of the pro-life position.
    It is not just a “bad” analogy, it is a “horrible” analogy- one that wrongly concedes a point to people who want to kill babies.

  51. Human beings can be evil. But the fact that we can recognize it puts us head and shoulders above all other life forms we know of.

    I gotta tell you, CRL. the way you argue is frustrating. You say you agree now that “abortion is bad”. Frankly, I don’t think it’s enough to say that it’s bad for you. Had we had to convince you that murder was a bad thing and you reluctantly came around, I doubt that you would have a problem outlawing it.

    Or would you? Perhaps you’d say it was something that you would be beneath you, but that you really couldn’t say for certain that human life was really worth protecting in the grand scheme of things. And that you couldn’t really feel like you could tell anyone else what they could do.

    What other “crimes” (if I may be so bold) would you not commit that you would leave up to someone else’s conscience? Theft? Rape?

    You do realize that the point of making the case against abortion is to make it illegal, right? Not to convince individual women that it’s the least attractive of two acceptable options.

    I don’t think you’re convinced at all. I think that if, God forbid, you end up sometime in your life with an “unwanted” pregnancy, abortion would be an option for you.

    And finally, I think you’re the type of person who, rather than search for truth, is mainly concerned with getting the last word, even if you have to throw your opponents a bone or two.

    I’m just not reading a deep sincerity in your words. Or even very much that really makes all that much sense.

  52. Terrance H. says:

    I’ve never heard of a fetus which can write poetry either, Terrence.

    The absurdity of your arguments is unrivaled. I didn’t say that unborn children should be protected because they can write poetry and you know that. You asked me why I hold the human species in higher regard and I told you why. That’s why. We’re capable of creating beautiful things (like poetry), doing wonderful things, and improving the lives of every species on the planet (and, obviously, capable of the opposite).

    When you say that when we keep patients in comas on life support because they can regain consciousness, you are in a sense agreeing with me.

    No, I’m not. You just have troubled comprehending simple statements.

    They should be kept alive, not because they are worth protecting in the current state they are in, but because they will return to a state which is worth protecting.

    That’s not what I said. I said that’s a practical reason we don’t go around unplugging people like you suggested. But I believe they should be protected because they are human beings. I don’t care about their current or future developmental ability and only a morally bankrupt charlatan would.

    I would assume that, if you somehow knew they would remain in a vegetative state for the rest of their existence, you would support pulling the plug.

    You assumed wrong. We cannot know whether someone will remain in a vegetative state. We can guess and figure probabilities, but we can never have certainty.

    I certainly would…

    Of course you would. That’s the kind of person you are. That much is clear.

    Does this make me a Nazi?

    You have all but admitted that you support a legal system that grants rights based on someone’s current developmental ability. Is that type of legal system found in Hitler’s Germany? Absolutely.

    So you don’t protect them because they have human DNA, you protect them because they are capable of becoming something which behaves like a human.

    Another asinine inference. You asked me why I hold the human species, not individuals, in higher regard.

    If an embryo were something which retained it’s embryonic state forever, I would assume you would not grant it moral rights.

    Luckily we don’t live in a fantasy novel.

    So it IS a matter of potential.

    No, it isn’t. We don’t live in a fantasy world. We live in this world and the reality is that human beings grow and develop and do not remain – saving pathology – in a permanent state of listlessness.

    You asked me why, if not for religious reasons, I believe the human species is something to be protected. I told you why. Our species has already shown what it can add to the betterment of the world. Nothing to do with potential.

    I now, thanks to polite, reasoned individuals who you would to well to learn from, believe that this potential probably does grant the embryo some rights.

    I should learn nothing of the sort from them. I don’t buy into the potentiality crap. I suggest we grant human beings rights because they are human beings and not because they are capable of doing anything. I believe the human species, at large, is worth protecting over other species because of our ability to create beautiful things, improve the world, etc… I believe individuals should be protected because they belong to the human species. If you are unable to understand why the whole “potential” bit is a very dangerous and slippery-slope, then I cannot help you. It should be common sense. Moral people do not kill someone because of their intellectual inferiority – and you should thank someone for that – or their lack of any other ability. But when you start talking about potential and treating it as the end all, be all, then you have ceased being a moral person. You are then a greedy individual only concerned with what other people can do that might benefit you. That is wrong.

  53. Just so you guys don’t feel like I’m singling out your arguments in an effort to undermine the pro-life position, I’ll address the heart of CRLs opposition.
    Does it matter, CRL what gives human life inherent value? It could be deterministic potential, holy writ, or just a gut feeling- I’m unsure why that matters. The reality is that we humans tend to place ultimate value on human life.
    Who really cares if that is an illusion, the arrogant projection of our self importance- or some more objective reality? We do value human life.
    If we want to dismiss human value as being illusory- why not extend that to infants, toddlers, teenagers, disabled, sick, or elderly? Why don’t you kill the guy who cuts you off in the Target parking lot? Why do we have laws that prevent such things?
    Am I saying that humans don’t necessarily have inherent value? No. I am saying that in the very least, they have value that is inherent to the humanness of the observer.

  54. Terrance H. says:

    I kept arguing, because, as many beliefs I probably share with Terrence, I’d like to knock him off his pedestal as the pinnacle of evolution, worthy of protection even if his DNA was spliced into a cucumber, and would probably fight him over the value of 2+2, because his rhetorical style is just that infuriating.

    And that feat you will never accomplish. I’m far too good at this debate and I don’t mind saying it.

    I don’t think I’m more intelligent than everyone else, even though you might think I believe that. I’m simply good at this because ever since my own child was aborted without my knowledge when I was 17, I have devoted nearly every single day of my life to researching the abortion issue and destroying every pro-choice justification I could find. I’m 26 now so I’ve been at this for nearly 10 years. So believe me when I say I’ve heard it all before and none of it impresses me. I’ve never once found a good pro-choice argument and not for lack of trying. I’ve tried to reconsider my pro-life position because the idea of government telling someone what they can and can’t do with their own body is quite distasteful. But even considering that, the horror of abortion is just too real to overcome with cries of personal autonomy. And unlike pregnancy, abortion is permanent. The liberty of the child is forever taken away.

  55. George W., The point of the chicken analogy was not to compare the chicken’s value to a human’s. It was only to say that the chicken fetus is not potentially a chicken. It is a chicken. Whatever its value happens to be (in the case of the chicken, it’s its utility), it already has it.

    I certainly didn’t mean to imply that a human needs to mature to a certain point to be of value. And I don’t think I conceded the point. If anything, I was pointing out the absurdity of the pro-choice view that a fetus is not the thing that they see fit to protect.

  56. Terrance H. says:

    There are some pro-choicers who do not care whether the unborn child is a human being. Most of the time they argue the “potentiality” point. “They aren’t a person yet; they have the potential to be one.” But I have come across some who accept that unborn children are human beings and will say so, openly, for all to hear. But then they say that the right of the woman to control her own body must take precedent over the life of the child, whether actual or potential. And, frankly, I think that’s a far more effective argument, if not more brutal. At least it doesn’t openly refute simple common sense and facts.

  57. George W., I think it’s important to point out that art and music and language are not what we are saying gives a human its value. What I’m saying is that all those things are proof of our intrinsic value. I happen to believe we were given these gifts. It makes sense to me because no other animal on earth has “evolved” to become anything like us. But even if evolution was responsible for it, it doesn’t mean that it cannot be easily observed. It’s not just our projection. But even if it was just our projection, how many animals are able to do that? The fact that we’re able to grant ourselves rights should be enough observable proof that our intrinsic value exists.

    Sorry… I just kind of threw that together. Am I on the right track?

  58. I think that proving the intrinsic value of human life through observation does two things:
    1) Helps support our claim that God, as the bible describes, actually did put that value in us.
    2) It gives us something to show people who are not impressed with “the bible says so”.

    Most pro-choice folks already think we just want to push our religion on people. The truth is that we don’t have to. It just happens to be that the truth is what we believe AND our religion backs it up.

  59. “You have all but admitted that you support a legal system that grants rights based on someone’s current developmental ability. Is that type of legal system found in Hitler’s Germany? Absolutely.”

    If you do not believe developmental ability matters, do you believe we should grant dogs every right we grant humans? What about chimpanzees? Where do you draw the line? I would assume you would protect a moderately retarded human (IQ 40.) Why not a chimpanzee? Its score would fall in the same range. If you can say that a human has worth because of its genome, but a chimpanzee with the same ability does not, because of its genome, than I’m afraid your closer to Hitler than I am. How would you deal with extraterrestrial life? Say it is worthless, because it is not human? Judge it off of how well its music and art compares to your taste? Step off the pedestal.

    I say this not to say that humans are worthless. I like humans. They do have awesome things like language and science and art. Of course, I’m biased; I am one. This value isn’t like the value of a chicken, of course. When you talk of the chicken, you want it because you want eggs. When you talk of a human, you may not want it, but you want it to exist because it wants to exist, and you think it’s awesome enough that, if it wants to exist, it has a right to. Yes?

    I say, “abortion is bad,” not, “abortion is murder,” because it is still taking life before life is fully given, not giving life and talking it away. The zygote or embryo does not know it is alive. The murder victim does. The fetus might. I haven’t done enough research to know either way. I think that it may be wrong to take this life before it is given, and I do not know where to draw the line between,”not giving,” and, “taking away.” If you are talking about humans as you talk about chickens, in that they are useful, then there is no real difference between the two. If you want a human as a worker, or, returning to the zombie apocalypse, a human to keep up a dwindling population, than the two are the same thing, and to abort a fetus would be idiotic as well as immoral. Since we don’t have dwindling human population to deal with, and I would hope you value a human as more than just a worker, the chicken analogy doesn’t really work…

    If you care about a fetus as a human individual, there is a difference. Yes, a fetus and a child or adult are both clumps of cells. But we are self aware clumps of cells. I think this makes a vital difference. What does this mean, in terms of whether it is deserving of protection? I don’t know. I’ve thought about it a lot over the past dew days, and my beliefs go back and forth depending on god knows what. An embryo, as it stands, is not a person. It will become one, yes. That must count for something.

  60. cindyrsandifer says:

    “If you do not believe developmental ability matters, do you believe we should grant dogs every right we grant humans? What about chimpanzees?”

    Crl,
    Dogs and chimpanzees do not have abortions, so how do they pertain?
    Dog and chimpanzee embryos are not coveted my stem cell researchers, so how do they pertain?

  61. @cindyrsandifer
    Not what I was trying to say. Terrence is basically saying that possession of a human genome is the sole test of moral personhood. This makes no sense. I was refuting that, not making some nonsensical point about monkey and dog abortions.

  62. Terrance H. says:

    If you do not believe developmental ability matters, do you believe we should grant dogs every right we grant humans?

    Are you so thickheaded you are unable to discern my argument, or are you just a fan of being verbally thrashed? What is your deal, precisely? The ability of the human species far surpasses the ability of dogs, chimps, cats, rats, mice, squirrels, dolphins, whales, sharks, flies, spiders, porcupines, fleas, grasshoppers, penguins, and f***ing flying ducks. Do you understand that? Do you understand that there is no other species quite like the human species? Do you understand that we have an evolutionary interest to protect our own? These are the reasons I believe the human species is more deserving of rights than other species. The reason why I believe the possession of a human genome entitles one to rights, regardless of developmental ability.

    I would assume you would protect a moderately retarded human (IQ 40.)

    Of course I would support your protection. You are, best I can tell, a human being.

    Why not a chimpanzee?

    I don’t believe chimpanzees should be killed or treated poorly. When did I say I did believe this?

    If you can say that a human has worth because of its genome, but a chimpanzee with the same ability does not, because of its genome, than I’m afraid your closer to Hitler than I am.

    First of all, I didn’t say that chimpanzees are unworthy of protection because they lack the human genome. You assume I hold this position, but I do not. And I don’t think John, Conservative, or Marshall holds this view either. So you can either address the positions I do hold, or you can erect massive straw men, thereby illuminating, once again, your inability to understand very simple concepts.

    The zygote or embryo does not know it is alive. The murder victim does. The fetus might.

    Since when does self-awareness determine humanity? Ever? No.

    If you are talking about humans as you talk about chickens, in that they are useful, then there is no real difference between the two.

    I am not talking about chickens. That was Conservative, John, George, and now you. Try keeping up, ‘eh?

    But we are self aware clumps of cells. I think this makes a vital difference.

    It makes no moral difference whatsoever. You are still depriving a human being of his or her life, whether they are aware of it or not. YOU are aware of it. Since when does an immoral act suddenly become moral because nobody but you knows about it? If you cheat on your wife, is that an immoral act? Of course. But what if your wife doesn’t know about it? What if nobody but you and your mistress know? Is the act then moral? I don’t think so.

    An embryo, as it stands, is not a person. It will become one, yes. That must count for something.

    And this has been refuted time and time again. But if you think not, then please provide a working definition of the term “person” that does not include unborn children. Let’s have it.

    Terrence is basically saying that possession of a human genome is the sole test of moral personhood. This makes no sense.

    It makes perfect sense.

    I was refuting that…

    Is that what that spout of intellectual flailing was? Hmph.

    • cindyrsandifer says:

      Terrence is basically saying that possession of a human genome is the sole test of moral personhood. This makes no sense.

      It makes perfect sense.

      Terrance,
      Hear! Hear! You are absolutely correct.
      It does make perfect sense.

  63. To be clear, the main point of the chicken scenario is that we should recognize the value of something for what it is. In the story, the chicken’s true value is that it is, as a fetus, the type of thing that provides the utility of producing eggs. The human’s value is what it is even when it is a zygote, as well, simply because it is human.

  64. “It makes no moral difference whatsoever. You are still depriving a human being of his or her life, whether they are aware of it or not. YOU are aware of it. Since when does an immoral act suddenly become moral because nobody but you knows about it? If you cheat on your wife, is that an immoral act? Of course. But what if your wife doesn’t know about it? What if nobody but you and your mistress know? Is the act then moral? I don’t think so.”

    Wait what? I am aware of, say, stabbing a piece of paper with a horrible, sharp pencil. The paper isn’t. This is why that isn’t an immoral act. If I were to stab you, you would be aware of it. It would be an immoral act. Because I was aware of it? No. Because you were. That is why humans (and chimpanzees) are worthy of protection. If you talk about humans as things which can create poetry and such, and are worthy because of it, than why do you protect the moderately retarded human? He or she can’t write poetry, she is merely related to those who can. Hell, why do you not support killing me? I don’t have any artistic talent which will bring you to tears. Actually, you don’t really like me. I’m just related to people you like, ie people in general. Maybe you didn’t come up with the chicken, but you do seem to be thinking of humans as special because of their utility, and, if a particular human doesn’t produce things you like, you justify protecting them because they are related to people who produce things you like. Me, I have a perfectly good reason for not killing people because they lack abilities. They are still self aware, and, therefore, still do not want to be killed.

    If possession of a human genome is the sole test of moral personhood, then why protect the chimpanzee? It doesn’t have any of those qualities you find important in a human. You do it, maybe, because it is most likely self aware? Other than preserving a species on the grounds of preserving biodiversity, I can’t think of any other reason. Since I would assume that you would protect a chimpanzee over a rare plant, this can’t be your reason.

    “Is that what that spout of intellectual flailing was? Hmph.”

    Your ad hominem attacks never fail to brighten my day.

  65. CRL, We don’t normally kill chimps because we don’t normally need to. But, we kill cows because they’re delicious. And if someone came up with a good chimp recipe, we’d kill them, too.

    Self-awareness doesn’t have anything to do with it.

    It’s not that a fetus or a severely retarded person is related to us. It’s that they are ones of us. It absolutely is that it has the human genome.

    The art, music, language are only the proof that what we are is special.

  66. Hmmm. I must admit that’s one I’ve never heard before. That we keep people alive because of their value, not because they know they are alive, like being alive and want to be alive. I suppose that’s why I didn’t quite get your arguments that a embryo was as fully deserving of protection as a child or adult. If you see a person for their utility, value to society, or intrinsic value because those who share their DNA do cool stuff, that does make sense. But, coming from such different perspectives as to what makes a human valuable, I don’t know if we can say anything productive to each other without getting far beyond the original scope of this discussion.

  67. Terrance H. says:

    Wait what? I am aware of, say, stabbing a piece of paper with a horrible, sharp pencil. The paper isn’t. This is why that isn’t an immoral act.

    You are perhaps the most ridiculous embarrassment to the pro-choice movement since Cecile Richards. Do you know that?

    To compare a piece of paper to the life of a human being takes the cake. It truly shows just how desperate you are to save a little face, but all you’re doing is embarrassing yourself. Do you not see that? The taking of innocent life has been condemned by the human species – with lapses in judgement here and there – across the board in all societies. It is the taking of that life that is immoral, not whether that life has the ability to perceive its demise. If so, it is generally considered a more heinous act.

    If I were to stab you, you would be aware of it. It would be an immoral act. Because I was aware of it? No. Because you were.

    So you don’t care whether your actions cause harm, but rather whether someone else is aware of the harm? That’s a pathetically broken moral compass.

    The rest of that paragraph’s drivel I chose not to respond to because I would only be repeating what I have said countless times already. I’m not concerned about individual characteristics. I’ve said that. If they are a member of the human species, a living human being, they are worthy, in my book, of protection. Our species is worthy of protection, on the whole, because of the ability we have to do wonderful things and improve the world. I’ve explained this countless times and you have ignored it countless times.

    If possession of a human genome is the sole test of moral personhood, then why protect the chimpanzee?

    Unless the death of the chimpanzee serves some need, there is no sense in killing it. It would be unnecessary. And why kill them and run the risk of eliminating the entire species, thereby depriving humanity of the chance to gain knowledge and insight into their society? It makes no sense.

    But just because they are not human beings does not mean I don’t care about them. I don’t want animals to feel pain and suffer or die unnecessarily. Only a morally corrupt person would. The only reason animals should be killed is to protect human life or provide nourishment for human life.

    If you’ve gone to college, you should consider getting your money back. It hasn’t done you much good.

    • Terrance

      I think we all understand how deeply the abortion issue impassions us all regardless of which side of the fence we fall. But please lets not call names, not only does it shut down the conversation because people erect walls to the message, but its a bit rude.

  68. Terrance H. says:

    John,

    I was wondering how long it was going to take you. I don’t have your patience. I cannot deal with people who exist solely in an eternal state of delusion. And while my comments may be a bit rude – and for this I apologize to you – they pale in comparison to the ghastly support of the murderous and inhumane act of abortion.

  69. “To compare a piece of paper to the life of a human being takes the cake. It truly shows just how desperate you are to save a little face, but all you’re doing is embarrassing yourself.”

    I compare them to establish that there is a difference, and a massive one at that. Once again, you are either erecting a straw man or showing an unprecedented lack of comprehension.

    “I don’t want animals to feel pain and suffer or die unnecessarily. Only a morally corrupt person would. The only reason animals should be killed is to protect human life or provide nourishment for human life. ”

    That makes two of us. But why? With your worldview, that it is the worth of an individual to YOU, not to itself, that matters. So forget chimpanzees. They are valuable to you as a fairly rare and iteresting species. Why not kick a dog? It lacks a human genome. There are plenty more to go around. It can’t make art or music or poetry. It’s cute, but that alone wouldn’t justiy anything. ( I do not suggest that, in practice, you are cruel to animals, just as you should not suggest that I am irresponsible, would take no steps to prevent pregnancy, and would get an abortion for the hell of it. Come to think of it, you beat me on the count of taking no steps to prevent pregnancy…) Other than having no desire to do so, you have no reason not to. I have an answer. I would not kick a dog because the dog would be aware of me kicking it, would not want to be kicked, and would feel pain. I don’t really care that this would make me a bad person. I don’t particularly care about not being a bad person, I care about not making the world a bad place, and not causing any more suffering than is required to allow for life’s existance.

    (Forgive any typos, because I’m on a library computer without spellcheck and do not have time to proofread.

  70. GUYS! Leave her to her insanity! She will NEVER GET IT!

  71. @ CRL

    Just for clarification (at least for me), your “motto”, for lack of a better term, concerning pain/mutilation/harm/evil intent, etc. is all determined by a person’s (or a living creature’s for that matter) comprehension/awareness of the harm that is being done to them?

  72. @Eugene:
    Well, yeah, that’s most of it, though I would say that awareness, not comprehension, is the important thing. The only morality which makes any sense is to work as hard as you possibly can to make the world a better place for all who inhabit it. I can’t say there’s any other definition of “a better place” than a place where those who have the capacity to feel happiness and pain feel the most of the latter and the least of the former, at least to the extent that we are not so spotlessly happy that life becomes some sort of lifelong disneyland in which there is nothing to work for. (Even if this were possible through some method other than mass drug distribution, it would probably be an unfulfilling sort of happiness, and, therefore, not the best possible world.)

    @Conservative and others:
    Yes. Let’s leave each other to our respective insanities. I can’t really see why it’s my ability to do cool stuff/my relatedness to those who can do cool stuff gives me moral worth. Then again, I can’t see how our desire to be alive and happy doesn’t relate to our rights to be alive and as happy as we can be without infringing on anyone else, but clearly, that means I’m lacking something.

  73. @ CRL

    Now I know that this different as a far as the “mutilating a fetus” discussion goes (which if I’m correct you have no probelm with because “its” not aware of what’s happening) but I have a simple point that I would like to make concerning the idea “that as long as a “person” has no awareness of being harmed there is no harm being done.”

    Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, an “older” woman who has several hundred million dollars in the bank has a nephew who is acting as her power of attorney but he is “skimming” a couple thousand dollars a month for himself without the woman’s “awareness” of it. Now to be perfectly honest, the woman is going to continue to live nicely (very comfortably) off of her money because of the vast amount of it – after all, she’ll never “miss it.”

    Now my question which is being asked is being done so upon the assumption that you will believe/agree to the fact that the nephew is terribly wrong in his behavior. Since the woman is not “AWARE” of the harm/ill intent being showed toward her, IS THE NEPHEW WRONG IN WHAT HE’S DOING?

    Now remember before you answer that the woman has plenty of money and she’ll never know about it, or feel pain due to it, or even be “aware” of the “difference” in her bank account. And just incase you may think she “earned” the money herself, she didn’t (again we’re speaking “hypotheticals” here). The money was all inherited from her grandparents’ earnings…it just so happens that she was born into the family that she born into.

    I’m just wondering what your answer is and what your explanation for it is.

    • Eugine

      Cell thingies it is not OK o jugular because it will eenually row up to experience that harm and live with the consequence. However killing it is OK because it will never know It was killed.

  74. Terrance H. says:

    I compare them to establish that there is a difference, and a massive one at that. Once again, you are either erecting a straw man or showing an unprecedented lack of comprehension.

    Oh, give it up. Now you’re stealing my insults.

    You compare two entirely and obviously different things to show there is a difference? Geez! Thanks! I’m not sure we would have ever made figured out that a college ruled notepad and a unborn child are different things.

    It’s not surprising that you’re unable to see the flaw in your logic. You seem to think that an act is only immoral if the harm it causes is perceived. You sidestepped the adultery point – because you had no suitable response – so let me try another.

    Let’s say Bill Gates invites me over to his house for dinner. Let’s say we eat dinner and then he decides to show me around his mansion, but in the process is beckoned away by his butler, leaving me alone in his office. I start sifting through some desk drawers and find one drawer absolutely stuffed to the brim with $100 bills. Now, Bill Gates is a multibillionaire that probably isn’t going to notice a few missing, and even if he did, he has so much money that a couple hundred bucks isn’t going to matter a lick. Is it then moral for me to steal some?

    No, it’s not. Even if Bill Gates is unaware that I took the money, it’s still wrong. And why? Because acts are not judged moral or immoral based on someone else’s ability to perceive them.

    That makes two of us. But why? With your worldview, that it is the worth of an individual to YOU, not to itself, that matters. So forget chimpanzees. They are valuable to you as a fairly rare and iteresting species. Why not kick a dog? It lacks a human genome. There are plenty more to go around. It can’t make art or music or poetry. It’s cute, but that alone wouldn’t justiy anything.

    So this is how intelligent you are: I say that unborn children are human beings that deserve protection under the law, and you take that to mean I support the torture of individuals that are not of the human species? Genius!

  75. Terrance H. says:

    Eugene,

    I’m sorry, but it seems as though my analogy is not dissimilar from yours. I actually did not read your post prior to writing mine. I’m sorry for that. Your analogy is a good one and we can use yours to drive the point home to CRL.

  76. Terrance H. says:

    CRL,

    I noticed the post about Scrophularia californica or, Bee plant, on one of your blogs. You seem to recognize the splendor and worth of plants, animals, and other non-human organisms, seeing how your operate blogs devoted to them. So, would I be correct in assuming that you would be opposed to someone going around setting fire to the Bee Plant? This “biodiversity,” as you call it? If so, that begs the question: Why don’t you care about unborn children? Is it because supporting abortion is the “cool, liberal thing” to do?

    By the way, I suggest you barely recognize the splendor of the organisms you write about because your post on Scrophularia californica was pathetic. The Bee Plant is so named because it comes from the genus Scrophulari, or figwort. All plants in this species are rich in Iridoids, a metabolite that is most often found bound to glucose, or sugar. When bound to sugar, it is called a glycoside. So instead of guessing why the plant is named such, can you now think of a reason? Can you think of a reason why bees would be interested in such a plant?

    It’s also noteworthy that the etymology of “Scrophularia” comes from the disease “Scrofula,” which is, quite simply, Tuberculous of the neck, or cervical lymph nodes. Many plants in the figwort species were used to treat Scrofula, sometimes successfully.

    How do I know all this? I read – a lot.

  77. @Terrence: Well, I guess, “let’s leave each other to our respective insanities,” does not end things.

    Very well. You still haven’t explained what in your worldview would prevent animal cruelty. I have. I have also explained what prevents me taking part in human cruelty/makes me better than a Nazi.

    @Eugene: It is not aware of the harm at the time, but when it grows up, it will be. (I think this what John Baron was trying to say, but it’s rather hard to interpret that comment.) I think it’s pretty obvious why this is a problem?

    @Both of you: I repeat, “the only morality which makes any sense is to work as hard as you possibly can to make the world a better place for all who inhabit it.” A better place is a place in which a person can expect to be treated with honesty and fairness, as well as compassion. Adultery and theft are not honesty and fairness. I don not want to be be stolen from or cheated on, therefor, I will not steal from or cheat on people. An embryo can’t really “want” anything.

  78. @ Terrence: I don’t really care what the cool, liberal thing to do is. If I did, I would probably be running around trying to ban fast food and teach arts to the exclusion of math and science in schools. Respect towards a plant is not the same thing as respect towards a human. Respect towards a plant: I think a plant is valuable because it has an interesting history, belongs to an interesting species, and does useful things like producing oxygen. But I have no qualms about stepping on an individual plant, provided it is not part of an endangered species. If you care about humans the same way you care about plants, just to a greater extent, I worry about you.

    Yeah, maybe I do barely recognize their splendor. I have things to do like studying and volunteering which kind of get in the way of doing deep research on plant species.

  79. @CRL

    I don’t think you really answered my question and in the semi-answer you gave you’re not holding to the logic that you have given in your original answer to me.

    My original question was “Just for clarification (at least for me), your “motto”, for lack of a better term, concerning pain/mutilation/harm/evil intent, etc. is all determined by a person’s (or a living creature’s for that matter) comprehension/awareness of the harm that is being done to them?” and your answer was, “Well, yeah, that’s most of it, though I would say that awareness, not comprehension, is the important thing.”

    Your answer was that “awareness” determined whether or not harm was/is being afflicted. Now, the “aunt” in my example will never be “aware” nor will she “run out of money” despite the wrong being commited against her by “her nephew.”

    Stick with me please…I’m not trying to put words in your mouth but if we go by your logic the “aunt” is NOT being harmed. You can say she’s being robbed (which is at least what someone does to the life of a “fetus” when they mutilate or murder “it” – they rob “it”!) but you can’t say she’s being harmed unless you agree that a person’s “awareness/comprehension” actually has nothing to do with whether or not harm is being done to them.

    “Adultery and theft are not honesty and fairness.” You may be right about “honesty and fairness” (depending upon who’s subjective definition you use) but you are wrong if you say adultery and theft “harms” someone IF they are not “aware” nor ever will be “aware” of what’s being done to them AS LONG as you stick to your logic of “no awareness =’s no problem!”

    My point is that regardless of whether or not a person is “aware” or ever will be “aware” of the wrong/harm/evil being done to them, it does not change the fact that wrong/harm/evil is being done to them.

  80. CRL, Maybe this will clear it up. First, let me say that they’re all right. The act is immoral even if the victim doesn’t know it’s happening.

    If you kill a guy with a poison that doesn’t cause pain in his sleep, he won’t know it’s happening. It’s still wrong.

    And that’s what we’re talking about. Killing a human being who doesn’t know it’s happening.

    As for animals, we kill them at the shelter when we can’t afford to feed them, don’t we? Hopefully, it’s done painlessly, but we’d rather kill them before we have a ton of dogs and cats suffering from malnourishment.

    We don’t do that with children in an orphanage. Not because they would know it. Because they’re human. And so is the fetus. All they have to be is human.

    I don’t care if you wouldn’t abort your pregnancy. I care that you wouldn’t expect everyone not to.

    Your argument for the morality of killing a fetus just doesn’t make any sense at all. None.

    I think you’re trying real hard to delude yourself. Nothing else makes sense.

  81. @Eugene:

    Hmm. Yeah, I guess I did kind of explain that badly…

    What I should have said was, “create the sort of world you would want to live in,” with the implication that the you referred to is all sentient self-aware beings, who have the capacity to want things, to enjoy things, to be aware of things, etc. Again, this best possible world is not the sort of place where a person is stolen from or killed in their sleep. An embryo cannot not want live. A person can and does. An embryo will come to want to live as it matures, and I have nagging doubts about whether this gives it a right to.

    @Conservative: If I am deluding myself, I have no motive to. (Other than reluctance to change, I suppose, and that hardly seems worth a vast self deception campaign.) I find quite a few of your arguments to make no sense either, but we really aren’t getting anywhere.

  82. Terrance H. says:

    Very well. You still haven’t explained what in your worldview would prevent animal cruelty. I have. I have also explained what prevents me taking part in human cruelty/makes me better than a Nazi.

    I rather thought my view was common sense: it is wrong to induce suffering unnecessarily to any species, human or otherwise. The only reason animals should be killed is to benefit the human species, and they should be killed humanely when they are. Pretty simple.

    “the only morality which makes any sense is to work as hard as you possibly can to make the world a better place for all who inhabit it.”

    Except for unborn children, right? I’d also add that things are not as simple as you’d like them to be.

    I don’t really care what the cool, liberal thing to do is. If I did, I would probably be running around trying to ban fast food and teach arts to the exclusion of math and science in schools.

    I don’t think liberals support the teaching of art in lieu of math and science. That would be absurd. I rather think we believe all should be taught. Especially me, given I’m in the process of building a fighting robot! That takes the knowledge of all three!

    Respect towards a plant is not the same thing as respect towards a human. Respect towards a plant: I think a plant is valuable because it has an interesting history, belongs to an interesting species, and does useful things like producing oxygen. But I have no qualms about stepping on an individual plant, provided it is not part of an endangered species. If you care about humans the same way you care about plants, just to a greater extent, I worry about you.

    My point is that you seem to have more respect for plants – plants, I might add, you know very little about – than you do humans. And you worry about me? Don’t be silly.

    Yeah, maybe I do barely recognize their splendor. I have things to do like studying and volunteering which kind of get in the way of doing deep research on plant species.

    Clearly logic and botany found no place among your studies…I’m also a student and I volunteer. Nice try.

  83. CRL, Don’t you realize that all you’re really advocating is for no pain to be inflicted. Of course that’s why we don’t go around kicking dogs. That doesn’t say anything at all about killing.

  84. “My point is that you seem to have more respect for plants – plants, I might add, you know very little about – than you do humans. And you worry about me? Don’t be silly.”

    Because it is not the same sort of respect. I care about human individuals. I do not care about plant individuals. When talking of embryos, we are not talking of things that deserve respect as individuals. Do they deserve respect as part of a species? They would, if the human species were dying out. The human species is not dying out. So humans don’t really get the same sort of respect out of scientific curiosity or utilitarian value that plants do. But they can suffer, they can love life and want to cling onto it, and they can value justice. So they should live in a world where they do not suffer, do not get their life taken away, and are treated fairly. An embryo can do none of these three things. A baby or animal can do the first two, and, for that reason, they should be allowed to live, and allowed to live well. (Though, in the case of an animal, life cannot exist without death, so meat is not murder.)

    “Clearly logic and botany found no place among your studies…I’m also a student and I volunteer. Nice try.”

    Not my fault they aren’t taught in high school.

    “I don’t think liberals support the teaching of art in lieu of math and science. That would be absurd. ”

    You’ve never had to deal with the San Francisco school board. They don’t really succeed, but, certainly, there’s always much more of an outcry when arts funding is cut. Do you want the list of liberal ideals I disagree with? No, you really don’t. Anyway.

  85. Terrance H. says:

    Because it is not the same sort of respect. I care about human individuals. I do not care about plant individuals. When talking of embryos, we are not talking of things that deserve respect as individuals.

    You lost the minute you denied the individual status of the unborn child. From the moment of conception, unborn children are individuals, just as infants and toddlers and teenagers and adults are individuals. The difference, as I have said numerous times, is developmental ability. You support a system that grants or denies rights based on ability. Not only is that a barbaric and illogical view to hold, it’s totally at odds with the assertion that you care about human life, human individuals, or the human species as a whole. You obviously don’t. And no amount of backtracking, obfuscation, or argument will convince me otherwise.

    You hold a pathetically muddled and immoral set of beliefs. You have several times admitted that you judge an act’s morality based on the ability of others to perceive the harm it does. How completely ridiculous.

  86. Terrance H. says:

    Not my fault they aren’t taught in high school.

    When I was in H.S. I studied subjects that were not part of the curriculum. You have to be fluent in more than just the basics if you plan on debating serious issues with educated people. The only thing that has kept you from totally sinking are philosophical rants that are, by nature, unfalsifiable.

  87. “You hold a pathetically muddled and immoral set of beliefs.”

    Just because I am an unclear and generally terrible writer, and, therefore, sound rather muddled, does not mean I am immoral. To say that I uphold the rights of sentient individuals, rather than the rights of members of a species I happen to like, seems the more moral belief. That said, I believe this discussion has run its course, and we have been getting nowhere for about 50 comments.

    “When I was in H.S. I studied subjects that were not part of the curriculum. ”

    Sadly, molecular biology does not lend itself very well to blogging.

  88. Terrance H. says:

    Just because I am an unclear and generally terrible writer, and, therefore, sound rather muddled, does not mean I am immoral. To say that I uphold the rights of sentient individuals, rather than the rights of members of a species I happen to like, seems the more moral belief.

    Do you even think before you type? Apparently you don’t believe those in a serious comatose state are deserving of rights…This is why I suggest your position is entirely illogical. In order to believe as you do, you have to go from one extreme to the next. First abortion, then unplugging grandma. Unreal.

    Sadly, molecular biology does not lend itself very well to blogging.

    If you know any molecular biology at all, I’m the Queen of England. I guarantee you don’t, otherwise we wouldn’t have had to spend 50+ comments explaining to you that unborn children are human beings in an earlier stage of development but human beings nonetheless.

  89. “If you know any molecular biology at all, I’m the Queen of England. I guarantee you don’t, otherwise we wouldn’t have had to spend 50+ comments explaining to you that unborn children are human beings in an earlier stage of development but human beings nonetheless.”

    Well, yes, I do agree that they are human beings in an early stage of development. I thought I’d made that clear. I just believe it is sentience, not humanity, which counts.

    Well, yes, if grandma has no hope of waking up, please do unplug her. If I’m in a coma, you can unplug me too. If she does have hope, it’s a different story. (And that is why I conceded that abortion may be wrong, because the embryo does have hope of waking up. But we’ve been over us, haven’t we? At very least, I’ve been over why I think it may be wrong, rather than knowing it is wrong.)

  90. Terrance H. says:

    I just believe it is sentience, not humanity, which counts.

    A view that reeks of moral corruption, as I have explained numerous times.

    Well, yes, if grandma has no hope of waking up, please do unplug her.

    A few problems. 1). You’re saying potentiality matters where Grandma is concerned, but not unborn children? Indefensible. 2). You can never know for certain if there is “no hope,” so your decision to unplug Grandma will be, as you put it earlier in the thread, “to act without knowledge.” I thought you didn’t support that?

    (And that is why I conceded that abortion may be wrong, because the embryo does have hope of waking up. But we’ve been over us, haven’t we? At very least, I’ve been over why I think it may be wrong, rather than knowing it is wrong.)

    You’ve only just become a fence sitter. You started out cocksure of yourself, only to realize that your floundering mess of arguments weren’t as good as you thought they were. You were obliged to reassess your position so as to save at least some face.

    But after much discussion and a thorough schooling, still you refuse to admit that you were wrong. Instead we get this sort of timid suggestion that you “may have” been wrong. You were dead wrong and your entire outlook is morally corrupt. Period.

  91. “A few problems. 1). You’re saying potentiality matters where Grandma is concerned, but not unborn children? Indefensible.”

    No, I’m not. See my earlier comments.

    And, having given the issue a thought beyond, “why the hell are they protecting a non-sentient ball of cells?” it would make sense that I would have been a fence sitter the entire time. Actually, scrolling up, it looks like I’ve been a fence sitter the entire time, and I apologize if my comments had led you to believe otherwise but that’s beside the point.

    “But after much discussion and a thorough schooling, still you refuse to admit that you were wrong. Instead we get this sort of timid suggestion that you “may have” been wrong. You were dead wrong and your entire outlook is morally corrupt. Period.”

    Fine. I can’t convince you that I’m not some sort of Nazi, but you still haven’t explained why your worldview does not support animal abuse, other than the fact that it is not necessary. I believe there is a fundamental difference between someone who is non-sentient because their brain does not yet exist and some one who is temporarily non-sentient because they are in a coma, and the difference between killing one of them is the difference between not giving life and actively taking it away, but I’m not too sure about that, and instinctive, unfounded belief is not a justification of anything whatsoever. So you may be right, and probably are, and I’ll assign so much value to the fact that you may be right that I will behave as if you were. How morally reprehensible. Then again, that’s what I believed before this discussion began, and since we are getting nowhere, we probably shouldn’t waste our time here. Goodbye, and, sure, nice talking to you.

  92. Terrance H. says:

    No, I’m not. See my earlier comments.

    Fine. You said: “But the way it is, more fish or bacterium than human, you do not have moral responsibility to the fetus as it it, you have moral responsibility to what the fetus will become. But once you are talking about your moral responsibility to something that does not yet exist, you loose your grip on reality.”

    That was your original rant. Only later did you begin to tentatively consider alternative views.

    And, having given the issue a thought beyond, “why the hell are they protecting a non-sentient ball of cells?”

    You haven’t thought about the issue much at all. That much is clear. Your position is illogical and downright brutal. Sentience is what matters to you. You believe that an act is only immoral if the harm it does is perceived. That is absurd.

    Fine. I can’t convince you that I’m not some sort of Nazi, but you still haven’t explained why your worldview does not support animal abuse, other than the fact that it is not necessary.

    It’s common sense. What moral individual would wish suffering on any creature unless absolutely necessary to sustain human life? It’s morally wrong. I believe the human species should be held in higher regard. I do believe it is permissible to kill other species in order to sustain our species (e.g. food) but only in that instance and no other.

    I believe there is a fundamental difference between someone who is non-sentient because their brain does not yet exist and some one who is temporarily non-sentient because they are in a coma…

    Ridiculous. So now we throw sentience out the window and hold that the presence of a hunk of tissue, regardless if it functions or not, is the new qualifier….How about the cells necessary to create a functioning brain being present? Isn’t that enough? It should be, because you’ve just conceded that it doesn’t matter whether the brain actually functions…

    Goodbye, and, sure, nice talking to you.

    Oh, goody, goody! Are you finally going to quit pestering us with inanity? I do hope so. I do! I do! I do!

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