Abortion Essay

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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Azrael » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:54 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Adoption is not an optimal start in life even under the best of circumstances. Doing it like this though is much worse. That's (on average) going to cause a lot of suffering. I'm not against adoption, but that doesn't mean I should endorse all forms of adoption.

I'm going to join the chorus of people calling bullshit on this sentiment.

Adoption is not optimal? Neither are disinterested birth parents (the immediate concern), nor a million other situational deficiencies any given set of child rearing individual(s) face. Even implying that the only ethical way to raise children is to do so in the optimal situation is incredibly fallacious. The entire premise behind adoption and drop-offs is to quickly integrate the child into a more-optimal situation that the one they were born into.

Also, how it is that dropping a newborn off with trained first responders going to cause any more suffering than the typical adoption process? A newborn predominately lacks the necessary cognitive abilities to remember the events. No one claims that drop-offs are the best entrance into the system, only a better one than being abandoned somewhere unsafe.

Plus, you're in the midst of arguing that a child of that age may not really be a person, so under your own argument, why does that immediate term suffering even matter? I can kill that non-person, but holy shit I'd better not do anything else but raise it (until it becomes a person) under "optimal" conditions?

Besides, this argument kind of misses the point...
No, it doesn't. If you want to make a case regarding infanticide, have fun. We're not making an either-or argument, nor any comparative weighing between infanticide and adoption, for that matter. I took issue with your statement that baby drop offs were unethical, and now your ridiculous stance regarding adoption. Especially given that you haven't listed or formed the ethical system you're using to judge that merit, and have ignored that the default ethical system (that of the conglomerated society in reference) explicitly disagrees with you.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby nitePhyyre » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:46 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Plus, you're in the midst of arguing that a child of that age may not really be a person, so under your own argument, why does that immediate term suffering even matter? I can kill that non-person, but holy shit I'd better not do anything else but raise it (until it becomes a person) under "optimal" conditions?
Actually, that makes perfect sense. You can abort that non-person in your womb, but if you decide to keep it, you'd better not get drunk every night.

"Either do something properly and to the best of your abilities, or, don't do it at all." Seems reasonable to me.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Azrael » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:58 pm UTC

Parse that as two thoughts, like the period suggests:

1) If it's a non-person, then the 'suffering' alleged in the drop-off is entirely immaterial, not unethical.
2) It's ludicrous to suggest that only the two ends of the spectrum running from 'kill it' to 'raise it optimally' are acceptable.

Doing something "properly", or to the "best of one's abilities" are both distinct from each other, and from what's optimal. Never mind that none of the three are actually definable when it comes to child rearing. Yes, there's some incredibly vague ethical threshold that parents should strive to achieve. But that threshold certainly isn't set as high as what's "optimal" for the child.

But, as it relates to the relevant discussion, killing the newborn isn't the only way not to "do it at all" -- thus, adoptions and safe drop-offs. Adoption by no means falls below that aforementioned ethical threshold, especially since (as I said earlier) the process typically aids newborns in moving to a more-optimal situation than the one they were born into. Neither, then, would drop-offs, as they do not cause any actual harm to the newborn and instead can readily be shown to reduce the likelihood of long-term harm.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby lucrezaborgia » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:30 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Adoption is not optimal? Neither are disinterested birth parents (the immediate concern), nor a million other situational deficiencies any given set of child rearing individual(s) face. Even implying that the only ethical way to raise children is to do so in the optimal situation is incredibly fallacious. The entire premise behind adoption and drop-offs is to quickly integrate the child into a more-optimal situation that the one they were born into.


The issue with this is that some people (and I'm not implying that this is your thought based off of this quote) will argue that, barring life threatening situations, no one should abort because of how wonderful adoption can be. The adoption industry is quite powerful and they work hard to portray adoption as being nothing but rainbows and kittens.

There are no guarantees in life and being adopted into a family with better resources than your natural family does not always mean that things will stay that way. I myself was informally adopted by my wealthy and educated aunt and uncle at the age of 3. By the time I was 13, my uncle was in jail and my aunt was left with me, my sister/cousin, and less than $50 to her name. I endured hell in the following years. My natural mother, meanwhile, was poor but had a stable relationship with her husband and my brother. Right now I'm helping my husband fight to keep his daughter from being adopted out. All too often, fathers are seen as sperm donors to the adoption industry.

Some of the blogs I follow about adoption discuss how even when you get the kid while they are still a baby that they can be nearly irreparably damaged. Other bloggers talk about how they were coerced into adoption and made to feel that there would be no way they could raise their own child even today (Baby Scoop Era of the past was also terrible!) It's touted to mothers as the selfless option even in circumstances where there is no neglect or mental health issues. There are plenty of parents who are not at all disinterested who are pressured to adopt. Besides, how in the world would you give your child an ipad, soccer, and dance lessons while you are working your minimum wage job? /sarcasm

If I were in a situation where I knew that there was no way I could raise my child? I'd abort.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby nitePhyyre » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:16 am UTC

... period? What period?

Azrael wrote:1) If it's a non-person, then the 'suffering' alleged in the drop-off is entirely immaterial, not unethical.
1] Fetuses are not people.
2] Heavy drinking while pregnant is likely to cause Alcohol Fetal Syndrome.
3] If fetus suffering from Alcohol Fetal Syndrome becomes a person, that person will suffer from Alcohol Fetal Syndrome.
4] Suffering from Alcohol Fetal Syndrome is undesirable.
5] Knowingly causing someone to suffer is unethical.

Therefore: Knowingly causing a person to suffer, even if they are not yet a person, is unethical.

Where do you disagree with the above? Now we both disagree with Diadem that adoption causes permanent developmental problems the way AFS does, but that doesn't mean he is making some logical error, just factual ones. Or to answer your original question "why does that immediate term suffering [of a non-person] even matter?" a different way: Because the suffering doesn't end in the immediate term.

Azrael wrote:2) It's ludicrous to suggest that only the two ends of the spectrum running from 'kill it' to 'raise it optimally' are acceptable.
It's ludicrous to suggest that there are options besides 'kill it' and 'raise it'. Every single abortion boils down to those choices. Now, everyone will obviously have differing opinions as to what exactly optimum is, and for some the criteria used to decide what they find optimal is ludicrous, but that doesn't mean that the choice itself is ludicrous.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Diadem » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:31 am UTC

Indeed. If you end the existence of a non-person then no person has suffered. Treating it badly though, will cause suffering of a person, because said non-person will eventually become a person. So it makes perfect sense to say that you are allowed to kill a non-person, but not injure or torture or otherwise inflict harm upon it.

Of course any law has to be weighed for practicality. And no parent is perfect, we shouldn't condemn people for merely being imperfect. But that doesn't stop us from looking at a situation and saying "Huh, that's not optimal".

As for citations about abortion. I'm drunk and tired right now, and I hate it when people ask for citations about things that are both common sense and common knowledge. But I'll try to find some sources in the morning.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Azrael » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:00 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:... Therefore: Knowingly causing a person to suffer, even if they are not yet a person, is unethical.

You're way the hell off in left field, because your analogy is to a medical condition that has been proven to cause long term negative health effects.

Demonstrate that adoption causes suffering; then show that doing so via safe-haven drop off causes even more still. Then make the case that the level of suffering so proven is of a high-enough magnitude that it falls above the ethical threshold that birth-parents are afforded. That's the request here, and the answer that's necessary for Diadem to defend his position that drop offs are "highly unethical". Anything that isn't doing that is a convenient obfuscation.

... but that doesn't mean he is making some logical error, just factual ones. Or to answer your original question "why does that immediate term suffering [of a non-person] even matter?" a different way: Because the suffering doesn't end in the immediate term.
But any supposed suffering unique to the drop-off does end in the immediate term. The factual errors are precisely the problem. He made a statement. With factual errors. I'm calling him on them.

The aside is that given that they aren't permanently harmed (I say they aren't) and can't remember it (I say they can't) then the immediate-term "suffering" is inconsequential. Especially so if you're taking the position that they aren't a person.

Azrael wrote:2) It's ludicrous to suggest that only the two ends of the spectrum running from 'kill it' to 'raise it optimally' are acceptable.
It's ludicrous to suggest that there are options besides 'kill it' and 'raise it'. Every single abortion boils down to those choices. Now, everyone will obviously have differing opinions as to what exactly optimum is, and for some the criteria used to decide what they find optimal is ludicrous, but that doesn't mean that the choice itself is ludicrous.
Have you missed the obvious? Abort, adopt, raise. There is another option for the person who is in the position to make the choice. Which ought to be rather apparent, since it's adoption. Which is what we're talking about.

But again, we're talking about the ethics of various forms of adoption. Not abortion. Not even infanticide. Adoption. So, regarding adoption: Along the spectrum of all the thing you can do to a child between killing it and raising it perfectly (optimally), putting them up for adoption is well above the minimum threshold for acting ethically. So are newborn drop-offs, because they are materially no different (this is my assertion -- feel free to try to demonstrate otherwise) than regular adoption. And society on the whole already widely accepts (universally?) that adoption is above the ethical threshold.

Below that threshold are things like abuse. Above it are things like Hippo's two billionaire PhDs.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby morriswalters » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:03 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:1] Fetuses are not people.


Prove that with citations.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Azrael » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:06 am UTC

... don't be an idiot?

His statement is the first part of a line of argument, not a statement of outright fact. Perhaps he left out the explicit "If: 1)... and 2), then 3)... etc" part, but the context is perfectly clear.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby morriswalters » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:49 am UTC

As you wish, but my idiocy serves me well. The argument as written is a indicator of the problem. If as argued here there is no definite point that you can point at where a fetus becomes human, and if you can abort at will, then fetal alcohol syndrome is not problem. Test and abort.

nitePhyyre wrote:Therefore: Knowingly causing a person to suffer, even if they are not yet a person, is unethical.


This statement is nonsense on the face of it. You can't cause something that is not a person to suffer. The fact that they become a person later is irrelevant. If not, then wouldn't it be murder to abort in the first place? You kill someone who will become a person. Is that not correct? It's not relevant what nitePhyyre actually believes, but you end up doing some very special gymnastics to justify protecting a fetus in some instances and not others. That's what I'm pointing at.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:52 am UTC

I don't think that's quite right. I mean, it is, logically, so nitePhyyre's argument as written is invalid. However, we could remove the ambiguity by envisioning a scenario in which a person could be "created" all at once (that step of going from "not person" to "person.") Let's say that you could choose to create no person, to create a damaged person, or to create a whole person. Ethically, it's obviously your choice whether or not to create a person, and yet, choosing to create a person who will suffer unnecessarily seems like creating unnecessary pain.

If we assume that allowing something to develop* is morally the same as creating it, and so long as we accept the premise that a human "develops" into a person at a particular stage, then I think the conclusion follows. Azrael is assuming this principle when he talks about a range from unacceptable to optimal conditions.

I'm not comfortable saying that a newborn, or one within a month of birth, isn't a person. Again, it seems like jockeying of definitions for policy implications. (Within the course of this thread, I've given up on the idea of "personhood" as a meaningful distinction.) However, I could see the argument that at whatever stage you decide a fetus is not privy to any kind of protected status, it could still be considered unethical to cause it damage and yet allow it to develop. (The further implications projected onto the adoption scenario are nonetheless absurd, as Azrael has demonstrated.)

* I'm just following the hypothetical here. In reality, the "allowing to develop" during and even after pregnancy is hardly a passive process, and I feel the need to acknowledge that, since we're playing silly philosophical games now with something that's actually rather real and serious.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Meteoric » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:39 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:As you wish, but my idiocy serves me well. The argument as written is a indicator of the problem. If as argued here there is no definite point that you can point at where a fetus becomes human, and if you can abort at will, then fetal alcohol syndrome is not problem. Test and abort.

Yes, that was the argument. Or avoid heavy drinking while pregnant. Either of those would be morally acceptable courses of action.
nitePhyyre wrote:Therefore: Knowingly causing a person to suffer, even if they are not yet a person, is unethical.


This statement is nonsense on the face of it. You can't cause something that is not a person to suffer. The fact that they become a person later is irrelevant. If not, then wouldn't it be murder to abort in the first place? You kill someone who will become a person. Is that not correct? It's not relevant what nitePhyyre actually believes, but you end up doing some very special gymnastics to justify protecting a fetus in some instances and not others. That's what I'm pointing at.

You're misreading that. We can't cause the fetus to suffer, because it isn't a person, precisely as you say. We can cause the person that the fetus may eventually become to suffer, because that person is a person. Since we have knowingly caused suffering to that future person as a direct result of our actions, that course of action is unethical.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby morriswalters » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:00 am UTC

Meteoric wrote:You're misreading that. We can't cause the fetus to suffer, because it isn't a person, precisely as you say. We can cause the person that the fetus may eventually become to suffer, because that person is a person. Since we have knowingly caused suffering to that future person as a direct result of our actions, that course of action is unethical.


My point is not to say that abortion is wrong or immoral, it is to say that playing games about when a fetus becomes a person, is just that, a game. The implication is that using a concept like person hood or some other foolishness, puts you in the position of trying to have it both ways. If you accept a concept such as future harm, why not apply it consistently? Is not abortion future harm?
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Meteoric » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:18 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Meteoric wrote:You're misreading that. We can't cause the fetus to suffer, because it isn't a person, precisely as you say. We can cause the person that the fetus may eventually become to suffer, because that person is a person. Since we have knowingly caused suffering to that future person as a direct result of our actions, that course of action is unethical.


My point is not to say that abortion is wrong or immoral, it is to say that playing games about when a fetus becomes a person, is just that, a game. The implication is that using a concept like person hood or some other foolishness, puts you in the position of trying to have it both ways. If you accept a concept such as future harm, why not apply it consistently? Is not abortion future harm?

No. At no point after abortion will the fetus become a person and experience suffering as a result of the abortion.

edit: terminology
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:09 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:Therefore: Knowingly causing a person to suffer, even if they are not yet a person, is unethical.
Diadem wrote:Indeed. If you end the existence of a non-person then no person has suffered. Treating it badly though, will cause suffering of a person, because said non-person will eventually become a person. So it makes perfect sense to say that you are allowed to kill a non-person, but not injure or torture or otherwise inflict harm upon it.
Wait, what? This is bizarro ethics. If the reason we can't treat fetuses badly is because they'll possibly grow up into people who will be fucked up, then by your moral calculus, it's fine for me to torture and mutilate a fetus so long as I remember to kill it after I'm done.

Besides that, you're dealing with an incredibly fuzzy region here. Is any action I take which increases the potential future suffering of an infant unethical?
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Soralin » Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:41 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:1] Fetuses are not people.


Prove that with citations.

Sure, here you go, this includes a bit of a timeline for when the brain gets up and running: http://www.cirp.org/library/pain/anand/
Spoiler:
Development of the fetal neocortex begins at 8 weeks gestation, and by 20 weeks each cortex has a full complement of 109 neurons.34 The dendritic processes of the cortical neurons undergo profuse arborizations and develop synaptic targets for the incoming thalamocortical fibers and intracortical connections.35,36 The timing of the thalamocortical connection is of crucial importance for cortical perception, since most sensory pathways to the neocortex have synapses in the thalamus. Studies of primate and human fetuses have shown that afferent neurons in the thalamus produce axons that arrive in the cerebrum before mid-gestation. These fibers then "wait" just below the neocortex until migration and dendritic arborization of cortical neurons are complete and finally establish synaptic connections between 20 and 24 weeks of gestation (Fig. 1).36-38

Functional maturity of the cerebral cortex is suggested by fetal and a neonatal electroencephalographic patterns, studies of cerebral metabolism, and the behavioral development of neonates. First, intermittent electroencephalograpic bursts in both cerebral hemispheres are first seen at 20 weeks gestation; they become sustained at 22 weeks and bilaterally synchronous at 26 to 27 weeks.39 By 30 weeks, the distinction between wakefulness and sleep can be made on the basis of electroencephalo- graphic patterns.39,40
I seem to recall seeing something more recently on the subject too, but can't seem to find where I saw it at the moment

The Great Hippo wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:Therefore: Knowingly causing a person to suffer, even if they are not yet a person, is unethical.
Diadem wrote:Indeed. If you end the existence of a non-person then no person has suffered. Treating it badly though, will cause suffering of a person, because said non-person will eventually become a person. So it makes perfect sense to say that you are allowed to kill a non-person, but not injure or torture or otherwise inflict harm upon it.
Wait, what? This is bizarro ethics. If the reason we can't treat fetuses badly is because they'll possibly grow up into people who will be fucked up, then by your moral calculus, it's fine for me to torture and mutilate a fetus so long as I remember to kill it after I'm done.

Besides that, you're dealing with an incredibly fuzzy region here. Is any action I take which increases the potential future suffering of an infant unethical?

Yes, there wouldn't be anything wrong with that, other than the torture part. See, torture typically requires causing someone severe pain or fear. But a fetus, at least one early enough in gestation, is literally incapable of pain or fear. There does not yet exist an awareness that can be affected by anything you can do. So torture would be literally impossible.

I mean, the ethics here really aren't so strange an idea. Say for example, that you had a poison, that would spread from cell to cell, but wouldn't have any effect until 5 years after it had first been released, at which point it causes extreme pain or death to anyone that it resides within. Now, say you expose some sperm to this poison, and one of them goes on to merge with an egg, and eventually produce a person, carrying the poison with it. A person that at 4 years and 3 months old, will suddenly experience extreme pain and possibly die. I would say that exposing sperm that would go on to produce a person, with this poison, would be extremely unethical. Even though the sperm being exposed is not a person, and there would be nothing unethical about killing the sperm, nor anything unethical about exposing it to the poison and then killing it.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby morriswalters » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:04 pm UTC

@Soralin
Does having a working nervous system make you human? Exactly what about it makes it so? And when?

Meteoric wrote:No. At no point after abortion will the fetus become a person and experience suffering as a result of the abortion.

Well, no. You killed it. You prevented it from reaching it's potential. See Diadems post for some interesting tap dancing.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:31 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Does having a working nervous system make you human? Exactly what about it makes it so? And when?

You've been tap dancing around this now for pages, despite people explaining to you aspects of nervous system development. Either please stop asking these questions that indicate you aren't reading anything, or start simply stating what it is you actually think.

The above, for example, makes it obvious that you think there is something more to a fetus than it's current parts indicate (Almost like... the gestalt, or the... wait for it... yes, the potential for humanhood). We get it, we get that you think the eventuality of a human means it is a human. So, yay, you think a baby born with no brain is as human as you or I. The rest of us disagree, delivering a fetus that suffers from this condition is the equivalent of giving birth to a jellyfish.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby morriswalters » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:48 pm UTC

Well maybe I do. Let us try it this way. I don't play games. I believe that when you get to the nub of it, that until the fetus is viable the mothers wishes outweigh the fetus's. You and nobody else that has posted has been able to state when you become a person. When does abortion become murder, or does it? What specific fact or quality makes you a person. You use the word human or person like there is a magic switch that makes you one. I don't hide behind a shadow shield of personhood. I simply accept that all life is not equal. No matter what the state of development a fetus has everything it needs to be human, its basic genome. Terry Schiavo was a person, even when she no longer had a mind.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:05 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote: I believe that when you get to the nub of it, that until the fetus is viable the mothers wishes outweigh the fetus's.

Yet you keep adding qualifiers about 'viable'. Please define this. Is 'viable' when there is a 'low statistical probability of miscarriage'? Or is 'viable', 'the input of any caregiver can let the fetus/baby survive'?
morriswalters wrote: You and nobody else that has posted has been able to state when you become a person.

I think I've answered three times now actually where I consider this line to be, and there was just a full page discussion about infanticide and safe haven drop offs, and how they pertain to personhood. To continue stating the above quoted is simply you being obtuse at this point.
morriswalters wrote: I simply accept that all life is not equal

I don't think you do though, at all, based on your persistent questioning about how a nervous system makes a human, etc. If you really believed that all life is not equal, you would agree that aborting a glom of cells with no cognitive functions and at best a beginning to develop brain structure is not actually terminating a human being.
morriswalters wrote:No matter what the state of development a fetus has everything it needs to be human, its basic genome. Terry Schiavo was a person, even when she no longer had a mind.

Aha! Thank you for coming out and saying it:
I, and many people, will firmly disagree with this wholly unsubstanciatable assessment. For starters, 'it's basic genome' means absolutely jack shit. As I linked above, anencephaly is a disorder in which a brain does not develop in utero. A woman can give birth to a perfectly biologically healthy baby, that lacks any sort of higher brain functions. Is that organism a 'human', a 'person'? I would be shocked if you said yes.
Similarly, Terry Schiavo was as much as a person as my dearly departed maternal grandmother is *STILL* a person. My grandmother has been dead for about a year; she is comprised of cells, many of which are probably still alive, containing her 'basic genome', metabolising whatever glucose is left and producing skin and hair. She has a brain, she has a heart. Is she still a person, like Terry Schiavo was still a person?
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby LaserGuy » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:59 am UTC

Soralin wrote:
morriswalters wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:1] Fetuses are not people.


Prove that with citations.


Sure, here you go, this includes a bit of a timeline for when the brain gets up and running [snip] I seem to recall seeing something more recently on the subject too, but can't seem to find where I saw it at the moment


Not a sufficient condition. Whales, dolphins, chimps, pigs, etc. have mental capacities on par with small children, but we do not consider them persons. Indeed, in the case of pigs, we also eat them by the millions.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Soralin » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:04 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:@Soralin
Does having a working nervous system make you human? Exactly what about it makes it so? And when?

No, after all, many non-human animals have working nervous systems. More to the point, it would be "Not having a working nervous system makes you not a person" (Although "you" here doesn't really fit, since if it's not a person, there is no "you" to be referring to). Not all working nervous systems are people, but all people have working nervous systems. It's necessary, but not sufficient, so it's presence isn't enough for something to be a person, but it's absence is enough for something to not be a person.

As for exactly what makes it so, it's because it's what makes a person a person, all of a person's thoughts, awareness, memories, senses, feelings, consciousness, intelligence, creativity, emotions, and so on and so forth, come from it, are created by it. Without a working brain of some form, none of that can exist.

As for when, well the quote I provided addresses that point, at least one end of it, by showing some of the key points in time when things start finally getting connected, and when it actually starts getting up and running and having signals passing around through it. Now, that doesn't necessarily make it a person at that point, but it does necessarily make it not a person before that point.

Edit:
LaserGuy wrote:Not a sufficient condition. Whales, dolphins, chimps, pigs, etc. have mental capacities on par with small children, but we do not consider them persons. Indeed, in the case of pigs, we also eat them by the millions.

Not a sufficient condition, but a necessary one, all persons require a functional brain. And he asked for proof that fetuses are not people, showing that a necessary condition for being a person is not fulfilled, does just that(at least for the portion of time where it's not up and running holds true).
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:20 am UTC

Soralin wrote:Yes, there wouldn't be anything wrong with that, other than the torture part. See, torture typically requires causing someone severe pain or fear. But a fetus, at least one early enough in gestation, is literally incapable of pain or fear. There does not yet exist an awareness that can be affected by anything you can do. So torture would be literally impossible.
As I recall, this is actually a semi-contentious issue. Regardless, you missed my point: That by stating that causing damage is unethical on the grounds that it creates future suffering for persons (and not on the grounds that we're causing harm to a living entity), and by also stating that destroying the living entity is permitted because it does not create future suffering, we produce a circumstance where it's ethically permissible to treat that living entity however we please so long as we remember to destroy it when we're done.

Instead, let's just say that causing any harm to a living entity without sufficient cause is 'bad', with that value of 'badness' steadily increasing in relation to the complexity of the entity and the pettiness of the stakes. Squishing millions of bacteria on my way to a restaurant might involve petty stakes, but amoeba aren't complex, so it's fine. Aborting a fetus because I can't care for the child might involve killing a complex creature, but the stakes are pretty damn high, so it's fine.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Diadem » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:31 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Soralin wrote:Yes, there wouldn't be anything wrong with that, other than the torture part. See, torture typically requires causing someone severe pain or fear. But a fetus, at least one early enough in gestation, is literally incapable of pain or fear. There does not yet exist an awareness that can be affected by anything you can do. So torture would be literally impossible.
As I recall, this is actually a semi-contentious issue. Regardless, you missed my point: That by stating that causing damage is unethical on the grounds that it creates future suffering for persons (and not on the grounds that we're causing harm to a living entity), and by also stating that destroying the living entity is permitted because it does not create future suffering, we produce a circumstance where it's ethically permissible to treat that living entity however we please so long as we remember to destroy it when we're done.

Do you know the difference between a sufficient and a necessary condition? Harming a future person is sufficient condition to call that action unethical, but neither I nor Soralin ever said it was a necessary condition. Torturing a fetus is bad because it causes suffering (which is a form of harm) right now. If you destroy it afterwards you still caused that suffering. It's not undone by destroying the evidence.

Also, that seems to me to be a rather consistent moral stance. "Causing harm is bad". It doesn't matter if it's harm now or in the future.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:49 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Do you know the difference between a sufficient and a necessary condition? Harming a future person is sufficient condition to call that action unethical, but neither I nor Soralin ever said it was a necessary condition. Torturing a fetus is bad because it causes suffering (which is a form of harm) right now. If you destroy it afterwards you still caused that suffering. It's not undone by destroying the evidence.
I beg pardon if it wasn't what you intended, but when you said that the reason it's ethically unjustifiable to harm fetuses is because they eventually grow up into people, I took it to mean that this is the only reason.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby nitePhyyre » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:59 am UTC

Azrael wrote:You're way the hell off in left field, because your analogy is to a medical condition that has been proven to cause long term negative health effects.
And diadem seems to think that adoption is a social condition that has been proven to cause long term negative psychological effects.

Azrael wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:... but that doesn't mean he is making some logical error, just factual ones. Or to answer your original question "why does that immediate term suffering [of a non-person] even matter?" a different way: Because the suffering doesn't end in the immediate term.
But any supposed suffering unique to the drop-off does end in the immediate term. The factual errors are precisely the problem. He made a statement. With factual errors. I'm calling him on them.
Yes, but you also said
Azrael wrote:Plus, you're in the midst of arguing that a child of that age may not really be a person, so under your own argument, why does that immediate term suffering even matter? I can kill that non-person, but holy shit I'd better not do anything else but raise it (until it becomes a person) under "optimal" conditions?
Which IMO isn't about factual errors, but logical ones.

Which is why it is an apt analogy. I removed the glaring errors to show that the principal being discussed isn't completely insane.

Azrael wrote:Have you missed the obvious? Abort, adopt, raise. There is another option for the person who is in the position to make the choice. Which ought to be rather apparent, since it's adoption. Which is what we're talking about.
Adoption is raising it with permanent babysitters. Its all semantics at this point. :)

The Great Hippo wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:Therefore: Knowingly causing a person to suffer, even if they are not yet a person, is unethical.
Diadem wrote:Indeed. If you end the existence of a non-person then no person has suffered. Treating it badly though, will cause suffering of a person, because said non-person will eventually become a person. So it makes perfect sense to say that you are allowed to kill a non-person, but not injure or torture or otherwise inflict harm upon it.
Wait, what? This is bizarro ethics. If the reason we can't treat fetuses badly is because they'll possibly grow up into people who will be fucked up, then by your moral calculus, it's fine for me to torture and mutilate a fetus so long as I remember to kill it after I'm done.
Except for the fact that you aren't killing it when you are done, you are making sure it is never alive to begin with. Just like according to my moral calculus its fine for you to torture and mutilate a rock, or a corpse. (As long as you don't intend to bring the corpse back to life)

The Great Hippo wrote:Is any action I take which increases the potential future suffering of an infant unethical?
Allowing for the fact that perfection is impossible, yes.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby morriswalters » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:16 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Yet you keep adding qualifiers about 'viable'. Please define this. Is 'viable' when there is a 'low statistical probability of miscarriage'? Or is 'viable', 'the input of any caregiver can let the fetus/baby survive'?

Viable is when the fetus is sufficiently developed to exist separately from the mother. This is not to say that it can't starve or freeze or otherwise die because at that point it still can't live on its own. Barely functional cognitively, physically incomplete, just a conglomeration of cells that people coo over.

Obtuse is my middle name. Perhaps a different approach will make my meaning clear clear. Rather than using a baby lets us use a cognitively disabled person. At what level of functionality does personhood quit being personhood? What criteria exist? I assume that physical impairment is not the issue, at what IQ are you not human? What cognitive skills must you possess?

Izawwlgood wrote:I don't think you do though, at all, based on your persistent questioning about how a nervous system makes a human, etc. If you really believed that all life is not equal, you would agree that aborting a glom of cells with no cognitive functions and at best a beginning to develop brain structure is not actually terminating a human being.


Sure I believe that some life is more important than others. For instance I would fight to save my children before I would fight to save you. However I assume that what you mean is that I see the fetus as a person. The direct answer to that is I'm not sure. Since I can't define with any degree of certainty where the line falls between being a person and not, I can't say. But the criteria I choose to think about this doesn't require me to choose in that fashion. If a women would choose to abort a fetus than it is probably in the best interest of the fetus. If every women who has an abortion carried the child to term I am not so sure that a greater good would be served . That supply and demand cycle could never be balanced, and when Azrael say the newborns are in high demand as adoption candidates there is an unspoken caveat to that. People want perfect babies.

I am no where near as sanguine about Terry Schiavo as you. If the Wikipedia is to be believed she was damaged beyond repair. But when I walk in the dark I walk slow. When I make decisions I like to think that I won't have to change my mind later if the current thinking changes. I think the difference between us is my opinion of what you think we know about being human, so we will just have to disagree.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Azrael » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:12 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:...Which is why it is an apt analogy. I removed the glaring errors to show that the principal being discussed isn't completely insane.
Again, no it isn't. Fetal alcohol syndrome is medically proven to cause long term damage.

Since I seem to have to repeat myself on this ad naseum, I'll do it again: Unless you (or Diadem) can demonstrate that drop-offs cause more long term damage, then the claim cannot be made that they are more unethical than regular adoption. And regular adoption is widely considered ethical, and no one has taken the effort to show otherwise.

And if you don't want to make that effort, perhaps it's time for you to just stop talking about it?
Azrael wrote:Have you missed the obvious? Abort, adopt, raise. There is another option for the person who is in the position to make the choice. Which ought to be rather apparent, since it's adoption. Which is what we're talking about.
Adoption is raising it with permanent babysitters. Its all semantics at this point. :)

For fuck's sake, no it isn't. Not when the debated point is the ethics of a particular type of adoption. Sure, from the perspective of the zygote/fetus/newborn, there are only determinate paths: life or death. But from the perspective of the birth parent - the one who's ethical standing is up for measure and debate - there are three extraordinarily distinct paths. This isn't about semantics whatsoever.

You keep trying to make my argument about the broader picture regarding personhood, despite the fact that I've made it perfectly clear (repeatedly) that it is not. You even went out of your way to not quote that context in your last response, and skipped back to cherry pick. Stop it already.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:23 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:Except for the fact that you aren't killing it when you are done, you are making sure it is never alive to begin with. Just like according to my moral calculus its fine for you to torture and mutilate a rock, or a corpse. (As long as you don't intend to bring the corpse back to life)
Fetuses are not rocks. Nor are they corpses. They are living organisms. Whether or not you define them as persons, defining their suffering as having no moral value is plain stupid.

Diadem qualified that this wasn't what they were doing, and I asked their pardon for otherwise misinterpreting them; I assume, however, that this is what you're doing?
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:45 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote: Whether or not you define them as persons, defining their suffering as having no moral value is plain stupid.

I do somewhat draw issue to the notion of claiming that a fetus can suffer, without defining what you are talking about. Fetal alcohol syndrome has already been mentioned, which is something I concur, demonstrates that harmless activities that cause future harm are unethical, but a fetus is unable to 'feel' any sort of pain prior to... well, at least some period of time after birth.

A fetus cannot suffer, and is not a current moral consideration when making decisions. The termination of a fetus is thus not an unethical activity, insofar as the fetus has significantly less value than just about anything else on a human scale.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:51 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:a fetus is unable to 'feel' any sort of pain prior to... well, at least some period of time after birth.

Is there a source for this?
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:00 pm UTC

No, and I mispoke;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonatal_perception

From the wiki (along with a citation needed):
"Scientific research generally indicates that the fetus is incapable of feeling pain until at least the 24th week."

I should be clearer here: I'm not convinced that fetal pain is an argument against anything if you're framing this in terms of termination.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Thecuriouskitten » Sat Apr 28, 2012 5:30 am UTC

Lets try a different tactic:

Say the baby is born, is put up for adoption, and grows into a child.

Now that child gets sick. The child needs bone marrow (or a kidney, or a liver, etc). There is no willing donor who is a match.

Should the government be able to track down the biological parents and force one of them to go through a risky and painful procedure to save the child's life?

'Cause I really would be horrified if the government had that kind of power, and outlawing abortion seems even more of an imposition than that and for a creature who is not sentient.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Роберт » Tue May 01, 2012 3:14 pm UTC

Thecuriouskitten wrote:Lets try a different tactic:

Say the baby is born, is put up for adoption, and grows into a child.

Now that child gets sick. The child needs bone marrow (or a kidney, or a liver, etc). There is no willing donor who is a match.

Should the government be able to track down the biological parents and force one of them to go through a risky and painful procedure to save the child's life?

'Cause I really would be horrified if the government had that kind of power, and outlawing abortion seems even more of an imposition than that and for a creature who is not sentient.
You might be onto something with that tactic.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Griffin » Tue May 01, 2012 4:11 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Fetuses are not rocks. Nor are they corpses. They are living organisms. Whether or not you define them as persons, defining their suffering as having no moral value is plain stupid.

What, praytell, is the moral value of the suffering of an apple? A carrot? They are living organisms just as well as a fetus is, they have primitive sensory responses (if limited and without a central nervous system or a brain). What about a tumour? Tumours are living organisms, capable of survival outside their host under the right conditions. Moreso, they are human. They have nerves, even! Does this, therefore, give them moral value of their own?

Just because something is alive doesn't mean it, or its "suffering", if it can even be called that, is significant.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby maxh » Sun May 06, 2012 8:28 am UTC

One of your arguments is that someone who chooses to have sex is accepting the consequence of pregnancy. Personally, I find it somewhat distasteful to consider pregnancy a consequence (generally consequences are negative), but I'll put that aside; there are more substantial problems with the argument. First, it implies that performance of an action with potential negative effects implies consent to those negative effects. By this logic, we should not allow people injured in automobile collisions (they knew driving could lead to an accident), building collapses (they knew the roof could fall on them), animal attacks (they knew animals live outside and can be dangerous), etc. to receive medical attention. Further, it implies that the ban on abortion should not be absolute; rape victims, having not consented to sex, obviously have not consented to pregnancy. This may be an intentional exception, in which case you should clarify it.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby zmic » Sun May 06, 2012 9:31 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The termination of a fetus is thus not an unethical activity, insofar as the fetus has significantly less value than just about anything else on a human scale.


If the killing of a human fetus is an acceptable price for 15 minutes of carnal pleasure, we are forced to conclude that a human fetus is even less valuable than a good fuck
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby el matematico » Sun May 06, 2012 6:04 pm UTC

zmic wrote:If the killing of a human fetus is an acceptable price for 15 minutes of carnal pleasure, we are forced to conclude that a human fetus is even less valuable than a good fuck

For some people that is true, namely those people that don't want children.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 06, 2012 8:29 pm UTC

zmic wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:The termination of a fetus is thus not an unethical activity, insofar as the fetus has significantly less value than just about anything else on a human scale.


If the killing of a human fetus is an acceptable price for 15 minutes of carnal pleasure, we are forced to conclude that a human fetus is even less valuable than a good fuck


I'd also like to point out your incorrect assumption that pregnancy is the result of good fucks. Plenty of fucks, and even some bad fucks result in pregnancy too. Indeed, if the only way to get pregnant was 'a good fuck', I'd have had probably a third of the pregnancy scares I've endured. I also want to draw attention to your assumption that '15m of carnal pleasure' results in a human fetus; perhaps you need a bit of cause and effect laid out for you.

If I ride my bike, I may fall and injure myself. By your logic, the cost of 15m on a bike is a broken arm.
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Re: Abortion Essay

Postby Diadem » Mon May 07, 2012 1:12 am UTC

el matematico wrote:
zmic wrote:If the killing of a human fetus is an acceptable price for 15 minutes of carnal pleasure, we are forced to conclude that a human fetus is even less valuable than a good fuck

For some people that is true, namely those people that don't want children at that particular point in time.

Fixed that for you.
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