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Old 2012-01-29, 20:51   #12
R.D. Silverman
 
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Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
Yes. I agree with your point too, supported by the study whose results you provide, insofar as I think most women who choose to have an abortion could also possibly have chosen to have the baby and bring it up. However, I do object to the word "convenience". It smacks of a woman choosing to have an abortion as if she was choosing whether or not to have some luxury item, and that is a misrepresentation of the reality of the situation a woman finds herself in if she becomes unintentionally pregnant. That is the point that I was trying to make.
Take it to ANOTHER THREAD.
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Old 2012-01-29, 21:05   #13
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Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
Take it to ANOTHER THREAD.
A supermod can move the relevant posts to a new thread, but I can't.
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Old 2012-02-01, 12:01   #14
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Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
Christenson,

Your post is full of non-sequiturs.

1. Just because a behavior happens when it is illegal does not mean we should make it legal.

2. Previous circumstances should not be an excuse for present behaviors.

I would submit for your consideration that nearly all abortions in America are abortions of convenience. From wikipedia:

Another study, in 1998, revealed that in 1987-1988 women reported the following as their primary reasons for choosing an abortion:[39]

25.9% Want to postpone childbearing
21.3% Cannot afford a baby
14.1% Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy
12.2% Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy
10.8% Having a child will disrupt education or job
7.9% Want no (more) children
3.3% Risk to fetal health
2.8% Risk to maternal health
2.1% Other

Abortion is a disgusting practice. It involves the killing of innocent human life.
I'm discussing simplification, and abortion is my poster child. Your simple andwer, effectively "aortion is wrong" in 200 words or more, proves the point.

Abortion *is* disgusting, and a problem. But you are SIMPLIFYING a very complex situation, grabbing on a single moral facet....which is very convenient, and certainly avoids the surrounding shades of gray, particularly given what's known about the biology.

The SIMPLIFICATION itself is the problem. It's very appealing...if only the world were actually that simple. Scientists have given us the luxury of not having to be worried about dying of polio, cholera, typhus, malaria, etc, and having all our children reach adulthood.

Just as "abstinence" is a SIMPLE answer....very appealing, but now scientificaly proven not to work in the face of huge amounts of biological and cultural programming of teenagers to "have sex"...

Just as a certain coworker of mine said of our common boss, *SIMPLY* "he's a liar" because, under a bunch of pressure, the boss had once told the boss's boss what that boss wanted to hear instead of the truth. The coworker could not see the gray in that situation, that it would have taken an extraordinary person to tell the coworker's story truthfully. Simplification is APPEALING.

The coworker involved has told lots more lies than the boss. But it was simpler for the coworker to call the boss a liar. I get to see if I can extract any engineering from him. I'll take all the help I can get.

***************8
To get an idea of the simplifications involved in the abortion debate, let's start with the fact that scientists either know enough or nearly enough to clone me from my fingernail clippings...so why isn't it a disgusting waste of a human life to throw these clippings in the wastebin?
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Old 2012-02-01, 12:41   #15
R.D. Silverman
 
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Originally Posted by Christenson View Post
To get an idea of the simplifications involved in the abortion debate, let's start with the fact that scientists either know enough or nearly enough to clone me from my fingernail clippings...so why isn't it a disgusting waste of a human life to throw these clippings in the wastebin?
AFAIK, fingernails are just Keratin, plus some calcium etc. They contain
no DNA (but I could be wrong)

OTOH, having an appendectomy is definitely murder, because your appendix
certainly can be cloned with the right knowledge.......
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Old 2012-02-01, 16:49   #16
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To get an idea of the simplifications involved in the abortion debate, let's start with the fact that scientists either know enough or nearly enough to clone me from my fingernail clippings...so why isn't it a disgusting waste of a human life to throw these clippings in the wastebin?
Actually, I think this issue *is* quite simple. Your claim that it is not is nothing more than blowing smoke. You have yet to offer even one piece of evidence that makes it complicated.

And contrary to your claim that all I offered is "abortion is wrong" I specifically gave reasons for why it should be illegal. But since you seem to have missed it, and since you asked me a question (which is quite ridiculous) let me explain again.

(1) One reason why throwing away fingernail clippings (or your appendix) is not a disgusting waste of human life is that fingernails (and removeable organs) do not have a brain. By about five weeks in the womb, children start developing a brain. They start thinking. I think it is obvious to most people this difference is sufficient to protect the unborn. It seems like you are so focused on the complexity of the issue you have lost sight of the simplicity of it all.

(2) There are of course other reasons which differentiate the two cases. For example, fingernails and appendices do not naturally become children. It would take an active agent's intervention to create a child from your appendix.

On the other hand, in the case of the unborn, the active agent has already chosen to create a child. The child has been growing for weeks. The type of abortion we are talking about is the active choice to then destroy the life already created.

The fact that you would compare an unborn child to fingernails tells me you do not really understand what is inside the womb, and what its potential is if left to live.
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Old 2012-02-01, 17:54   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
(1) One reason why throwing away fingernail clippings (or your appendix) is not a disgusting waste of human life is that fingernails (and removeable organs) do not have a brain. By about five weeks in the womb, children start developing a brain. They start thinking. I think it is obvious to most people this difference is sufficient to protect the unborn. It seems like you are so focused on the complexity of the issue you have lost sight of the simplicity of it all.
Let's analyse this more carefully.

First, you assert that the presence of a brain is a sufficient condition for thinking to occur. Fine by me, as long as you also accept that Drosophila melanogaster thinks by virtue of it having a brain.

You may think it obvious to most people. It is not so obvious to me, but I won't reject your claim outright. However, if the possession of a brain and the concomitant thinking is sufficient to protect an unborn, is it also sufficient to protect an adult Dmel from destruction?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
(2) There are of course other reasons which differentiate the two cases. For example, fingernails and appendices do not naturally become children. It would take an active agent's intervention to create a child from your appendix.
Fair enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
On the other hand, in the case of the unborn, the active agent has already chosen to create a child.
Please justify this statement. You are ascribing choice where it is not at all clear to me that a choice has been made. There are a number of scenarios which appear to me not to involve choice. Failure of contraception is one. Rape is another. Incompetence is a third. Give me time and I'll turn up others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
The child has been growing for weeks. The type of abortion we are talking about is the active choice to then destroy the life already created.

The fact that you would compare an unborn child to fingernails tells me you do not really understand what is inside the womb, and what its potential is if left to live.
De gustibus non disputandum est.

I would certainly compare one with the other and will proceed to do so. There are many points of similarity (both are human tissue, for example) and there are many areas of difference (organizational complexity, for example).
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Old 2012-02-01, 17:59   #18
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Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
AFAIK, fingernails are just Keratin, plus some calcium etc. They contain
no DNA (but I could be wrong)
[...] Nails are a well-known source of DNA and their composition makes them less predisposed to decomposition compared to other soft tissues. [...]

Taken from : Forensic DNA typing of human nails at various stages of decomposition
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Old 2012-02-01, 20:06   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
Let's analyse this more carefully.
Let's do just that.

Quote:
First, you assert that the presence of a brain is a sufficient condition for thinking to occur.
No, I did not. I understand that there are exceptions to every rule. I understand, for example, that some fetuses do not develop brains, and some develop brains but there is no brain activity.

However, in an extremely large number of cases, children that are aborted have developed brains, and have begun thinking. Having a brain is a necessary condition to thinking, but clearly not sufficient in every case.

Quote:
Fine by me, as long as you also accept that Drosophila melanogaster thinks by virtue of it having a brain.
I'm glad that is fine with you. However, it is important to point out that the brain in a fetus does not (in most cases) remain at the level of a fly's intellect, but continues to grow and learn.

Quote:
You may think it obvious to most people. It is not so obvious to me, but I won't reject your claim outright. However, if the possession of a brain and the concomitant thinking is sufficient to protect an unborn, is it also sufficient to protect an adult Dmel from destruction?
I imagine you are opposed to late-term abortion (in the general case). What criterion do you use to justify such a stance?

The principle I thought was obvious in this case is "reciprocity," be it expressed as the golden rule or some other generally accepted ethic.

Quote:
Please justify this statement. You are ascribing choice where it is not at all clear to me that a choice has been made. There are a number of scenarios which appear to me not to involve choice. Failure of contraception is one. Rape is another. Incompetence is a third. Give me time and I'll turn up others.
You seem to want to make my statement universal when it was not intended as such. If that was your impression I apologize. There is a point at which one can be too precise. My comment was about a large number of situations, and not about pregnancies due to rape or in people who are mentally retarded.

Quote:
De gustibus non disputandum est.

I would certainly compare one with the other and will proceed to do so. There are many points of similarity (both are human tissue, for example) and there are many areas of difference (organizational complexity, for example).
And my point was comparisons with regard to abortion. You are welcome to compare the two when talking about the fact they are human tissue. And if I was the kind of person who felt it was wrong to destroy a fertilized egg for no reason other than it was human tissue potentially capable of forming an adult, then Christenson would be correct to compare the two. But we are not talking about that. We are talking about what happens in most of the millions of abortions performed in America. We are not talking about someone using the day-after pill, or someone aborting a child which has no brain activity.

Last fiddled with by Zeta-Flux on 2012-02-01 at 20:16
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Old 2012-02-01, 20:06   #20
R.D. Silverman
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
(2) There are of course other reasons which differentiate the two cases. For example, fingernails and appendices do not naturally become children. It would take an active agent's intervention to create a child from your appendix.
Irrelevant.

It takes active medical intervation for preemies to create someone who
will live.
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Old 2012-02-01, 20:23   #21
xilman
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Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
I'm glad that is fine with you. However, it is important to point out that the brain in a fetus does not (in most cases) remain at the level of a fly's intellect, but continues to grow and learn.
Very well.

In your opinion, is (let us say) a 16-week human foetus expected to have more than or less than the intellectual level of an adult common octopus? An adult pig? An adult cow? An adult turkey?

Paul

[I hope bystanders will recognize Socratic rhetoric. I'm virtually certain that you do.]

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2012-02-01 at 20:24 Reason: Fix [/quote] tag
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Old 2012-02-01, 20:37   #22
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Originally Posted by xilman View Post
Very well.

In your opinion, is (let us say) a 16-week human foetus expected to have more than or less than the intellectual level of an adult common octopus? An adult pig? An adult cow? An adult turkey?
Does it matter? Would you be okay with someone killing you if your intellectual level was temporarily lower (say, for only a span of 3-6 months) than it is now? If so, at what lower level are you comfortable with them killing you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverman
Irrelevant.

It takes active medical intervation for preemies to create someone who
will live.
How is my comment irrelevant? You are talking about an entirely different situation- the active preservation of life which is imperiled. The raison d'etre for doctors saving preemies is that the fetus is sufficiently different from fingernails because it is a thinking, feeling being. If it were just a clump of cells, we wouldn't spend any money trying to keep it alive.

On the other hand, abortion is the active destruction of such a life. Throwing away fingernails does not destroy a thinking brain.
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