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a video showing how truly ignorant some people are on the matter^
what are everyone elses opinions?
but with the necessary safeguards to ensure it doesn't encourage irresponsible procreation and possibly with some way of incorporating the father's wishes into the process more...
Agree with what you say about irresponsible procreation. Apparently in some western european countries, abortion is seen as a type of contraception, some women have had up to 30 abortions. I think it should be legal, but we can't let it get to that point, people need to know about proper contraception.
you can;t have it both ways
I'll agree that he ought to have no say in whether it exists or not. I'm not saying the father ought to have equal rights to the mother, obviously you can't force a woman to have an abortion, but they ought to have more say.
and the penalty should be death
my opinion on Abortion.
But since I have no right to force my opinion on anyone else, it should be legal.
I thought I might as well share it with DiS.
they would spend so much time campaigning on that without actually having thought about such obvious practicalities, but i think most abortionists think that its doctors who should be punished for illegal abortions, so its not as jarring as it seems, hes just asked pretty stupid people
she wouldn't even state her own thoughts on it and when the man asking her the questions had totally clamped her she just claimed god had "brought her" there to campaign, and then she said goodbye and sent them away, jesus.
i'm guessing their legal beliefs are all based around punishing the doctors, and so leaving women with no chance of having it done in the first place
what are the conditions?
Third Trimester maybe?
you have to get two doctors to agree.
I thought you meant like depending on the amount of times you had had one or something.
it's the time period
For moral reasons.
I find it to be pretty horrifying really.
not where the mothers life is endanger or she was raped etc
it's still the same procedure and should be viewed in the same way?
You can kill people under certain circumstances and not be charged with murder.
even if they weren't charged?
well then surely jsut killing someone in cold blood should be viewed as murder?
in which case an abortion would only be murder if the mother was doing it for some sort of kick, as opposed to just not wanting a child?
I don't think the because the basic prodecure is the same, that circumstances should be regarded as unimportant.
I find it hard to accept that someone should be able to have an abortion because they feel that a baby would impinge upon their life too much.
If they had a baby and decided a week in that life was too hard they cannot legally kill the child. I don't really see why there should be a distinction made between an unborn baby and a baby.
so I don't see it the same as killing a child after one week of life.
I concede that a foetus after a week or two isn't recognisable as a human.
But after 12 weeks?
This is pretty much the fundamental issue. I just don't see why the fact that a baby is in the womb should render it as somehow less human.
and it hasn't developed into a proper being. If your child was born, you develop a connection with it, or at least moreso than you would when it was simply developing inside you, you see it as a person when it's born, not before. (at least I don't)
a baby cannot communicate in any more than the most basic ways, it can't take care of itself.
Also science has shown pretty conclusively that unborn babies can feel pain, can be influence by outside factors.
I just don't buy the whole birth is the most important idea
as a proper being, even though a baby cannot survive by itself once born, it's now become it's own being, it's not connected to it's mother in the same way, yes it still relies on her/ the father to live, but not in the same way.
while it is inside of you it is still part of you and connected to you.
A part of you? No.
it is not a fully fledged human being.
I can understand why people would, obviously, but I think it's blown out of proportion and that it really shouldn't be viewed that way.
that have had abortions,and really, its not the life-altering/destroying decision that many people make it out to be
sneaking up behind someone with no friends or family and shooting them in the back of head is murder.
not at all then
But I think deciding whether something is or isn't murder completely misses the moral issue.
if not, it's up to you, you fat cunt.;
but I don't think it should be made illegal. If people want to, and they have their own rational defence, then they can do what they like.
I wouldn't encourage it myself though, if you don't want a child, put it up for adoption, don't abort it...
and going through an orphanage is better that maybe just not having a child at all? I realise the child could lead a fulfilling life if it was born, but no one can know.
but I hope you understand what I mean anyway.
i put my view in the other thread
hedgy? oh dear god.
sorry, should I finish that and not leave god hanging again? :|
hedgy...lol..it sounds cute.
otherwise i have this horrid image of you with patches of hair.
you get rid of it by calling me something better!
you wouldn't link to the word "hedgy" ?
no, that wouldn't work either....
haha! im only messing!!
omg i'm laughing out loud!!! ha ha ah!!
it's been a while since we have had a good ole banter lydon....:-)
I'm being scared and you're laughing :(
well i thought it was just a little bit of fun.
I'm not TOTALLY scared, that should make it more fun.
but I think a child should at least get a chance to be brought up by people who actually care about them, rather then not have a life.
who are left unwanted though and end up being abused by the system. If abortion was illegal you'd have even more children left in care which i imagine would be pretty shitty.
should assume non-existence is a better fate than that.
I don't think it should be up to others to say "Yes it should be illegal for a woman to make this decision" why should they be able to remove this right for someone to decide for themselves?
it isn't just affecting them.
I believe that an unborn baby is just as much entitled to have their rights and needs taken into account.
I don't think every person should give birth to a child if they become pregnant just so that child can live and make decisions itself later, if a person feels they do not want to become a pregant I don't see why they should stay that way just because others believe they should.
I could easily say why should someone be killed just because someone decided they don't want to be inconvenienced.
Obviously that is THE most black and white situation and I know any situation is much more complicated than that.
I believe in Libertarianism. If someone is not affected others then I think they should be able to live their life as they see fit.
But in this circumstance they are affecting someone else.
by every decision we ever make. I'm not sure where this vacuum, that libertarians think that humans can live in, exists.
you said its alright in certain circumstances like if she was raped, you cant make exceptions like that as that child has just as much rights as a child born accidentally to a married couple.
is something that could well have a profound traumatic effect on the mother.
and in that case I think her rights are more important.
Same with her life being endangered.
a mother who isnt allwed to have an abortion might suffer from the same amount of trauma, theres no way of measuring it. So to say its right for one person and not for the other isnt really fair.
there is an argument to be made that since the west values human life to the degree it does, why should any mental trauma take precedence over an actual life?
I don't really believe that myself, but I can see the reasoning behind the argument.
with the exception of people just using abortion as some sort of contraception, ie. carelessly having sex so often they need to have many abortions, aside from that, I don't think one person you should have priority over another when they are choosing something like this.
which, in some places it is. women would have to resort to extreme and unsafe measures to have an abortion or would simply have to have a child they may end up resenting, not loving. where is the use in that?
"Where is my child?" cloud hanging over them. And it is much easier to part iwht an unborn foetus than a child that you've bothered to carry and give birth to.
terrible typing here.
Everyone has troubles in their lives, although admittedly not as big as this.
I regard the potential life as more important than any post-adoption guilt on the part of the mother.
because it's a potential life?
if someone is using contraception to prevent life, and it doesn't work, people should have the child anyway despite the fact they were already attempting to prevent a potential life in the first place?
depending on the circumstances.
to whether you class a foetus as a person. I wouldn't quite go that far, but it's definitely a hell of a lot closer to being a person, then the sperm being blocked from reaching the egg.
Depends where you draw the line I suppose.
from using contraception, but my point is if you were planning on not having a child in the first place, why not prevent the child being born in a different way after it has become a foetus?
if it is done in a certain time period.
I mean I believe in the idea of contracetion, It's a good thing etc.
I still wouldn't abort, but that's just me.
anyway, well I think once a person found out they were pregnant, it wouldn't take them that long to decide on whether or not to keep it. ie. I can't imagine after 4 weeks, someone discovers they are pregnant and then they wait a few months to have the abortion...although, someone may change their mind, bah! still, I think it should be allowed until they hit around the third trimester, and then they should have the child and decide.
But not for me. Personally, I'd be stuck with the little rugrat.
...because sometimes all else does fail. I think the latest you can have one for a non-medical reason should be reviewed however as the viability of life in premature fetuses is extended due to medical advancements.
I personally couldn't have one. Maybe a very early one, but after reading an article on how they have to break up the fetuses limbs before pulling it out I know for sure I couldn't have one at a late stage. Also, watching someone else go through the emotional trauma of the process put me off.
Women should have the right to choose though and it should always be an option... even if it it feels ever more 'wrong' to me. Even more wrong would be women dying in illegal abortion clinics though I guess.
but it shouldnt be illegal. personal choice. and i don't think its such a simple issue as saying that its 'murder' or that the foetus is a 'parasite', because i think it oversimplifies what is a very very complex rights issue.
but the mother and father of the child. Everyone else should wind their necks back in and mind their own business. Like, yeah, there's a loving family for each and every child, the orphanages the world over full of unloved and unwanted children are a figment of the liberal press. Abortion has been around for a very long time and will remain so because it is needed. It is a touchy subject which arouses emotions but like I said, no ones business but the parties intimately involved
The state shouldn't be able to force prisoners to eat, it sure as hell shouldn't be able to force people to have babies, or stop women punching themselves in the belly a lot, or stop them drinking too much every night for 9 months or whatever.
It'd be nice if we lived in a world where no-one ever wanted an abortion but as long as they do keeping it legal is very much the lesser of two evils.
my dad's an embryologist and he says that the whole human vs. part of you business is very shaky indeed, basically because the science surrounding it is still not properly understood. We know a lot about eggs and fertilisation, we know a lot about foetuses, but vanishingly little about the stages in-between. Thus this moral grey area; pro-lifers can always say it's a human being, pro-choicers that it's part of the mother.
Making it illegal is not a viable option, and I don't believe anyone sensible could possibly advocate it. However, this leaves the problem of making it understood to be a last resort (i.e. not a form of contraception) without placing moral judgement on women who are in genuine need. There have been a lot of well-intentioned measures introduced recently attempting to make abortion a more considered action which have had the effect of creating much more stress for the women involved. It's not true that abortion is "no biggie" whoever said that, it depends entirely on case. Many find it extremely stressful.
In my opinion then, sympathy and better research is what's really needed.
referring to me. All I was doing was highlighting the subjectivity of the experience, so you're really just agreeing with me?
why do we constantly throw around these seemingly important discussions, that start off with such a narrow framework, knowing that the only irreducible point that can be drawn in all discussion regarding abortion, as with many discussions, that it comes down to a matter of belief. *trite alert* In this case, what constitutes a life. We have no technology that measures consciousness, as in, the consciousness of the human being in its totality, only parts, such as pain or visual physical development. We cant know what the experience of the foetus is, because it is the other. Until we know what the "other" is (and thats kind of a tall order), we cant make steadfast "factual" assertions.
to Parsefones statement that we dont know enough yet because the science hasnt extended far enough. I just wonder how far research could ever really make substantial gains in this (I'm prepared to be proven wrong, though if any "proof" were forthcoming, I doubt whether it would be in my lifetime or any of my close descendants' lifetimes. I'm just indicating my doubt). I think that the science, of what we think we know (for the time being, as is the basis of scientific discovery), may make large leaps in this area, but the moral quandary/aspect is one that will, seemingly, repeat itself ad infinitum. An assertion can only ever be based on what we "consider" to constitute life, and I'm not sure any amount of scientific gain could ever truly quantify that in its totality,. I dont know.
I wouldnt be so audacious as to dismiss the idea that a "potential life" is negligible, and say that, as some people do, I prefer to care about those that are alive right now, and that a foetus is just cells that can be scraped away. Nor would I assert that a foetus has "rights" in opposition to a mother. I'd say that the key point is that framework of the discussion is legislation and the powers of the state. The whole mothers rights vs childs rights is so based on modern political thought that its hard to argue this whole thing out ignoring, as many people seem to, the belief systems that we're unconsciously dealing with.
not necessarily modern political thought, as just modern thought
arguing my point is that it reduces every debate to the same old core shit. So I apologise for that, and for killing this thing.
what I was getting at was that the argument does basically come down to a matter of preference, because nobody really does know what constitutes life. Certainly I don't think we will ever get to the stage where a line is be drawn between "collection of cells" and "human being". But given the sketchiness of the science involved, I believe that people should stop playing up the whole "part of the mother" thing and instead emphasise that morally the decision should always be in the hands of the mother, and that the basic facts about abortion should be as well known as those regarding contraception and hygiene, i.e. not relegated to PSE debates.
Abortion has been around since time immemorial. So has infanticide as a method of population control. It's only relatively recently that it's become such an issue.
It seems incredibly harsh for me to say this when surrounded by people raised on the whole Judeo-Christian 'sanctity of life' argument, but foetuses are not people. Nor are new born babies.
People, or perhaps 'persons', are conscious beings whose 'being' has become an issue for them. They are able to suffer because they can triangulate their experiences of pain and trauma against past experience and future expectations.
Any concerns we have for the welfare of a foetus or child until it attains some kind of personhood are ours alone. It doesn't care. People that 'don't like' abortion need to come to terms with this.
I'm not suggesting that we should treat abortion flippantly. It is certainly a potentially traumatic and dangerous event for the mother, but it should be her choice, always.
If we're going to address the rampant overpopulation of this planet then we're going to start having to have a less sentimental attitude to things like this. It sometimes seems like people consider it our inalienable 'right' to have children and fulfil some kind of mystical notion of 'potential', somehow legitimised in the scientific language of evolution and by liberal rhetoric.
The libertarianism fullerov is espousing above is ultimately an anti-social and self-destructive conceit and I'd love to see it eradicated from the world.
What the alternative is is ultimately unclear and if I began to try and address it this post would end up unreadably long.
I think you're wrong on that.
'mystical' about the notion of a life having potential?
Even if a newborn hasn't triangulated their own experiences into an awareness of the world and the future timeline of their life then we as older humans can do it for them.
It's overly reductionist to say they aren't a person. A person isn't just defined by their own inner being, they're defined by other people's experience of them too.
And I don't think the sanctity (for want of a better word) of life is solely a Judaeo-Christian thing. I'm not religious but I still feel that abortion is a bad thing. Though like pretty much everyone else in this thread I think a woman's right to choose should be the overriding factor in any specific case, and that it shouldn't be illegal. It's not my place to say what any given woman should or shouldn't do, and I don't think the issue as a whole is simple enough to be pared down to 'right' or 'wrong'.
There's nothing in 'the scientific language of evolution' that should make people anti or pro-abortion 'an is doesn't make an ought', just as evolution doesn't support eugenic genocide.
And you can't dismiss liberal sentimentality as rhetoric when your definition of a person is little more than rhetoric of your own. Where's your authoritative basis for what a 'person' is? You may similarly not view someone as brain dead as a person, I certainly wouldn't want to be kept alive if I reached such a state, but that's my opinion based on how I feel now before it happens. If it ever does happen then it'll make no difference to me if I live or die because I won't know I'm alive. And I would make that choice now because I anticipate no more potential to my life should I ever find myself in that situation.
Sure you can dangle a baby off a cliff and it won't much care until it goes splat on the ground. But something being defenceless and ignorant isn't a justification for anything you could do to them.
It's going into esoteric territory but you've no idea what any given baby could achieve with its life. I'm not an anti-abortionist and it galls me a little to have to use the exact same argument as them but it is true that you could abort someone who 'finds the cure for cancer' or 'writes beethoven's ninth symphony' or some such thing. Equally you could give birth to a mass murderer.
Neither of these is an argument for or against abortion but neither is what you say. And what exactly are you saying? That only people who achieve a certain level of... intelligence deserve to live? I doubt you are, as I know we agree broadly on what the point/quality of life is. Being Happy = nice. Being Unhappy = not nice. You should attempt to tip the balance of worldwide emotion toward 'Everybody's Happy'. I don't see how advocating thinking of very young or unborn children as 'not people' contributes to this goal.
Overpopulation is a problem sure. But that just means people should be more careful in their planning of children. More contraception. Plan smaller families. Accidents happen of course but so it goes. People die in accidents too. Would you argue that overpopulation should be dealt with by relaxing Health and Safety laws too? Discouraging the teaching of the Green Cross Code? Removing the Speed Limit on britain's highways?
Why is overpopulation a problem in the first place? If not because it contributes to human suffering. It interferes with opportunities to be happy. Once a child's conceived it has potential to be happy. It's not the child's fault it existed. Being born is the one thing no one has a choice about. Just because the foetus would never know it had the chance to be the next Chris Martin doesn't mean that potential was mystical or not genuine.
in conclusion: abortion should be legal. the choice rests with the woman, not me.
This is the post I would have liked to have written, were I more eloquent. I agree entirely.
would be nice, I'm at work you know.
encourage survival of the fittest and less morons strolling about the planet?!
Happiness is indeed more important than some kind of abstract concept of life+'potential'. But we depart here. For me, the important thing is not the 'opportunity to be happy', but the actual experience of happiness. Everyone has a 'potential' or 'opportunity' to be happy. It doesn't mean they will attain them if left to their own devices.
Of course my post is rhetoric. All statements are rhetorical. If that somehow undermined them, then we may as well not bother speaking. How are you still arguing that certain things are just 'genuine'? People just have 'potential' because that's how lots of people look at it, therefore that's the way we should look at it? Is that what you're saying?
Seriously though, the whole 'potential' thing is one of the most fundamental problems with our society. We have an obsession with opportunity, with proving ourselves that we can do anywhere and get anything and keep multiplying our expectations until we are driven into the grave by anxiety.
I'm not talking about who 'deserves' to live. I'm quibbling with the concept of 'deserving' anything. The contemporary liberal, individualistic tradition enshrines this idea that we 'deserve' whatever we can get.
The overpopulation example was not the best and it wasn't intended as a 'justification'. And no, I don't think the law should actively be relaxed to allow people to kill each other. But again, the problem is the way in which we look at this kind of thing. When an accident happens, we are so utterly preoccupied with the 'potential' of that deceased person that we seek someone to blame. We want compensation for our loss and we seek to institute laws to cover for all possible eventuality until we suck all the risk and vitality out of life and turn ourselves into these self-obsessed machines continually taking offence, blaming people for things and wallowing in grief.
so they have a better chance of being nurtured by a proper being.
I kind of agree with what you're saying but, if something can feel pain I think we have a responsibility not to inflict it. And personally, I'm with Grockle, once it moves from cluster of cells into babyshape, I wouldn't be able to abort. I don't think I'd feel too bad about doing it before that though, I'd feel bad for what I'd miss out on, but nothing like a murderer.
it is about you, as someone who thinks about this thing, and not ultimately about the baby. Adults are more important than babies. Not the other way round. It's nothing like murder and its horrible and counterproductive that people even use the word in association with abortion.
consider it anti-social and self-destructive?
I don't want to upset anyone.
I just don't understand why the idea of Libertarianism is seen by you as self-destructive.
I can see what you been by Anti-social as Individuality is raised highly. I don't agree with that view but I can see why you might think it is.
way of sanctifying the ego. It almost sets the self up as god - as utterly inalienable.
You don't want to upset anybody, but libertarianism collapses intention into outcome. It suggests that just because you don't intend harm on other thinking, feeling people, it's ok, because you weren't actively trying to harm them. You weren't thinking about them at all, you were thinking about yourself.
It totally disavows the context in which people exist. It involves a totally fatuous conception of the rationality and agency of individuals. Ultimately it leads to a culture of mutual suspicion and an obsession with acquisition.
I'm probably the least materialistic person I know...
I define Libetarianism as something not affecting someone (or at least not affecting someone in a signficant manner).
Libertarianism doesn't allow you to drink drive for example...
what you're talking about isn't libertarianism
...or at least, it is just meaningless. How do you define affecting someone 'significantly'?
Again, it ultimately means 'knowingly' or 'deliberately', and again, this is a totally implausible idea about humanity.
You affect people constantly. Every time you press the button on a pelican crossing it sends a tiny peturbation through the flow of traffic which at some point will pretty undoubtedly kill someone.
for example I should be allowed to take illegal drugs provided I am not robbing people for the money.
who has brought the substance into the country at huge personal risk?
Or activities you're indirectly funding?
have to pay for your healthcare when you get ill or go crazy?
Doing cocaine kills Colombians. Watch the film 'Maria Full of Grace'.
There is nothing you can do that doesn't affect people. You really need to rethink this whole idea.
I knew you were gonna bring that up.
That's why the war on drugs is so nonsensical.
It doesn't change the fundamental idea that I should be allowed to take said illegal substances as it isn't anyone's business to tell me what to do with my body.
I don't need to re-think this.
now you're just being closed-minded and arrogant.
But broadly I agree with a lot of the ideas of Libertarianism.
cos I'm fed up.
"People, or perhaps 'persons', are conscious beings whose 'being' has become an issue for them. They are able to suffer because they can triangulate their experiences of pain and trauma against past experience and future expectations."
Basically all unhelpful concepts. You are talking about making decisions based on essentially unknowable and inaccessible constructs. Decisions on personhood thus should rest on the ability (in a structural sense) of the body to live outside its mother. I agree with abortion up to the stage when the body cannot function on its own but after that it is very troubling and we give too much credence to the sanctity of the boundaries of the body.
Where does your definition leave the severely mentally handicapped for example? Do they not achieve personhood because it is commonly assumed that they lack a degree of self-consciousness?
a concrete method for 'drawing the line' and I don't, and this is indeed troubling.
But the idea that a baby is able to live outside it's mother. For how long? It still can't survive without its mother or support. It can't 'function on its own' until it's several years old!
The inside/outside the mother thing is just as ultimately arbitrary a metaphysical statement as my own.
The reason I use it is manifold. It's to do with moving away from the concept that there are 'correct' standards by which to define life and the recognition that it is from consciousness that everything stems.
as in when the bodily structures are able to survive independently and don't rely on air and nutrients from the mother. This indicates a level of developmental maturity of the organism.
I obviously agree that a body can't function in a more complete sense for several years.
I stated that I also think the inside/outside the mother thing is arbitrary and that we give too much credence to it (I don't typically agree with late-stage abortions). It is outweighed in my view by whether the body has reached adequate maturity to survive outside of that climate.
I wholeheartedly agree that it shouldn't be some idea of consciousness on which everything stems as this is a complete nonsense. It's emotive rubbish.
I was saying that consciousness IS the basis for the entire edifice of humanity! I think it could be very productive to realise this.
But why do you adhere to this particular definition of humanity or draw the line in this particular place? It matters why, otherwise it's just an arbitrary pronouncement which could have unintended consequences.
I don't think it is productive to base any decisions on personhood/right to life etc. on this concept of consciousness. maybe I need to know how you are defining it, which is a whole other wasp's nest.
It makes the most sense for me to draw the line in this place as it provides the possibility of a consistent time point based on at least one significant clear-cut marker. The other obvious clear-cut point is when the baby leaves the mother's body but I have more objections to this both morally and practically.
Inevitably it is going to be arbitrary in an ultimate sense but I don't see how that is avoidable, it's not a solvable dilemma.
For me, the consciousness thing is the way that I make my system of thought coherent.
For some reason I place great value on making sure all the opinions I express are consistent and linked with each other. It's complicated.
But I'm specifically NOT talking about the 'right to life'. This is something I'm trying to get away from. When I'm evoking consciousness, I'm talking about the will to life - the desire to be alive as an end in itself, which seems odd, when you think about it.
but I'm not sure how far it will take me.
I think it is very admirable to have a developed enough world-view where you are able to do that. I too often remind myself of Alan Partridge where he is asked about the existence of God and he says "God is a gas" and then admits he hasn't quite thought about it as much as he should. I think about things a lot but typically with little relation to either a deep-seated world view or to other bouts of thinking. Therefore I could probably be expert in contradiction and muddle from day to day.
I think jonny_rat (below) actually said what I think in a more eloquent way.
consciousness? That's like a contradiction in terms, isn't it? If you don't believe in consciousness, then you don't believe you have any beliefs, do you? :S
Are you following a line like Dennett or someone here, that consciousness is some kind of illusory epiphenomenon? This argument stems from his misunderstanding of the whole agency/determinism issue.
You don't have to be able to precisely define or explain consciousness to realise that there is a process going on in humans which is, not fundamentally, but categorically different from that in other animals. But this gets us into a whole new area of discussion and I've been here for hours already.
I'd just been thinking about how the issue confuses everything and is so poorly understood and defined that in practical terms it may be better to just ignore/deny it. This is probably just from an academic perspective rather than a global-philosophical one.
I would be genuinely interested to sometime hear your counter-argument to the idea that consciousness is illusory. I do think the concept of the "self" is illusory (though one that many people have a mystifying belief in). When they are equated then yes I do have problems with the concept of consciouness.
The animal issue is a difficult one. In what way does human consciousness differ from that in higher primates?
a-bad-bunch' thing for me. Any line we draw in this has to have a degree of arbitariness. However, it feels like the most meaningful of all the proposed concepts we've seen so far; for, well, a few reasons, really.
It fits nicely with our existing medical ethics. It's easy enough to scoff and call these arbitrary, too, but they're hard-fought and hard-argued rules.
It fits with evolutionary ideas; we're social creatures after all. Adoption isn't an exclusively human phenomenon, and if something can survive away from the mother then it can be reared by others.
Consciousness may be a central part of the human experience, but is pretty much indefinable even in a fully developed adult. We're in no position to be using it as a guideline for a very practical, very controversial issue such as this.
why would it be definable? What does that even mean? Consciousness is a process by which things which are not conscious become conscious. There is no possible way we could explain that via conscious, discursive argument. But this is getting away from the point.
I'm not, unfortunately, providing a clear clinical alternative here, because ultimately I'm not sure where to draw the line. I'm talking more about the particular presumptions we have which underlie the whole debate.
if it looks like a baby, it is a baby, no matter how small it is. I can handle aborting a cluster of cells that doesn't look like anything...just about.
anyone who has more than one abortion should be sterilised.
another thing- when I was a student I didn't really get laid much (mumbling stoner), but the few times I did, the girls were all 'ooh, come inside me'...but you can bet your life they'd have been the first to cite the unquestionable right of all women to ask a guy to jizz in her, and then 'get rid of it'if they got knocked up.
Maybe they were on the pill or someother invisible form of contraception?
I suspect it was because they were horny and stupid...i dunno. I refused, obv.
yes, just like John 'tits or face' leslie
badly/not at all thought out opinion to take
why don't you go fuck yourself in the ass, ladyboy!
oh, and just because I don't feel the need to prove to the world through my use of long words and entries in the 'worlds largest post' contest that I have a 2:2 in philosophy from Staffs Uni doesn't mean that my opinion holds any more or less weight than yours.
(ps- the last bit was a semi joke)
advances in understanding might narrow the time period when it is considered OK for the majority, but there will still be (and should be) considerable dispute over the exact time period (the thing is this is an inexact thing) When does something cease to be w OK.
Liberal societies will always have this problem.
It is a liberal paradox, trying to wiegh up different rights/benefits/definitions yet also acknowledging the rights of others and personal feeling. Extreme Conservatives and their opposite dont seem to have the same dilemma.
It is similar to another liberal conundrum..........'kill this 100 people you dont know, to save 150 people you dont know' .......how can a liberal make a decision in these sort of matters and feel confident.......they cant, and all power to them for that.
I am happy that we dispute and discuss and argue over such matters.
The worst decision that we as a society could make on this matter, would be one that we were certain on, with no argument. Long may this debate/argument continue to be examined......withing reason, attacking doctors doesnt help anyone, its not as if laws will be changed through this sort of action in fact why dont these extreme fringe people attack the policy makers? They seem quite illogical, they are being totally emotional, yet their atacks on some doctors seem planned, so they have 'in cold blood' plotted and imagined that the evil, they percieve is distilled into the doctors action, this is false and they should have this explained to them.
people who are genuinely 'anti-' abortion - rather than people who just thinks it's not ideal, or just plain old 'a bit of a waste' - shouldn't focus their efforts on making it illegal or making women feel bad about it. or persecuting doctors who do it.
They should lobby the government to provide much better opportunities for adopted children. Promote the virtues of caring for a child that isn't yours as a part of your biological family. Generally make adoption such a genuinely attractive option that no woman who might have chosen it is put off by horror stories.
This isn't to guilt people into not having abortions because being pregnant for nine months is hard enough without worrying about your unwanted child's future. It just seems sad that the sorry lives of some adopted kids should put people off what can and should be a viable alternative.
I've one or two friends who are adopted and they seem to have had perfectly nice lives. It could and should be that way for everyone.
In fact because would-be adoptive parents get screened you'd like to think they should do a better job than some biological parents. Seeing as in some cases their only qualification for child rearing is the ability to bang their genitals together.
but, i think abortion should be legal.
whatever about this 'people will use it as a contraceptive method' bullshit. do you REALLY think people are proactive enough to go to the doctors and get an abortion every couple of weeks-ish when they fall pregnant? no.
and anyone who would use it as such a thing is an outandout idiot anyway.
i think it's ridiculous that it is currently still illegal in ireland.
i would have one if necessary.
even in Northern Ireland.
actually yes that makes sense. cos otherwise people would just drive over the border to get abortions. and not fly to england.
a foetus is not a person. Sorry, its just not.
Case closed, i win, give me all your money and stuff.
trying to reply to your various posts in one place.
isn't the notion that it is adults who value babies and not the babies who value themselves a reason why abortion could be considered a bad thing? Just because a baby is unable to contemplate its own value and experiences as an individual doesn't mean peoples feelings of compassion and protectiveness towards it are somehow invalid, surely?
and without wanting to sound glib you can't have adults without babies.
if we 'deserve' things at all it's because we attribute that 'honour' to ourselves. If you think a fully conscious being is more important than a less conscious one then that in itself is just a value judgement.
In the libertarian apocalypse that you envisage surely it is the more conscious beings and their sophisticated means of obtaining everything they can get from the world which is causing the problems in the first place? You can't have it both ways.
Surely a brighter vision of humanity's future would be one where every child was valued, felt valued and was happy. Rather than one in which people were detached from their perfectly valid emotional drive to protect a child.
If we perceive a defenceless unborn child as a valuable being worthy of protection then won't this encourage us to feel similarly about other beings we may indirectly do harm to through greed?
Whatever the point in a human primate life cycle you believe it happens - whether that be the moment the sperm touches the egg or the moment it writes its first essay - sooner or later it stops being animated meat and becomes a 'person'. The flipside to this is that if you can dehumanise one person's (or soon-to-be person's) life you can do it to another. so why not say all the people starving in Africa are just collateral damage in the west's greed? Perhaps they're not as 'conscious' of the world - as perceived by western values - and thereby not as important?
and as for 'genuine' potential. It's literally true. If you'll permit yourself a moment of 'trousers of time' thinking if you die today then the potential for the rest of your life is gone - whether that's the potential to be miserable or happy or somewhere inbetween, if you live then you still have that potential. I fail to see where that's up for debate. Sure a pre-conscious child which dies has lost nothing it will ever be aware of. But its own lack of perception of that doesn't make it less real. Or if it doesn't then how exactly is that different from murder? A dead person doesn't suffer. You could kill everyone who moaned about the weather and argue you'd made the world a happier place.
It's a fallacy that everyone has equal potential and that anyone with determination who believes in themselves can achieve their dreams or some such tra la la. But that potential for happiness is more than the potential a dead foetus has. How is that open to debate? Something that could live and experience whatever... no longer can.
in the grand scheme of things. the loss amounts to little for humanity as a whole. the loss to the child is something it'll never know. But that doesn't mean it's not a loss. It's like Bullseye where they wheel out the speedboat to show you what you could have won.
I guess I struggle with what you're saying because you offer nothing as an alternative. You dismiss peoples instinctive emotions and replace them with nothing. Your logic is both flawless and worthless because it makes no conclusions on the issue and it provides no opportunity to advance human happiness.
If a small child has no value then why should we bother to raise it? The answer, presumably, is because it will grow into a 'more important' adult. And if that's the answer then what's the difference between an unborn child and a newborn baby if they both have the biological potential to grow into an adult. So we're back into the same grey area that everyone else finds themselves in. Where's the line between 'cluster of cells' -> 'foetus' -> 'baby' and 'real person'? Answer, presumably = there isn't one and yet no one can argue one doesn't become the other.
Basically, I want positive conclusions from philosophical ideas. If we shouldn't value children what should we value?
Has Libertarianism and greed fucked things up? Of course it has. What's the solution in my view? It's for everyone in the world to realise that the greatest source of pleasure they'll encounter will be from the simple pleasures of interpersonal relationships, not from possesions/ wealth/status/eating the flesh of the flying spaghetti monster.
Whilst I'm still not, and never will be, anti-abortion I fail to see how a philosophy encouraging people not to value their children, born or unborn, can contribute to them being content with living and enjoying the small interpersonal communities which are the only alternative to fucking up the entire world through greed.
I also note you seem to contradict yourself. In one post you're bemoaning the 'laws to cover for all possible eventuality until we suck all the risk and vitality out of life' and the next your saying 'libertarianism collapses intention into outcome. It suggests that just because you don't intend harm on other thinking, feeling people, it's ok, because you weren't actively trying to harm them'. How do we deal with point b without point a? Come on Tim! What's your utopia?
oh and the 'rhetoric' point was just because I don't think you can dismiss one thing as 'liberal rhetoric' and then not back up your own assertion as to what a 'person' is.
that was a long post.
that the internet is so awful for having these kind of discussions. there is a mass of interesting things to respond to in so many of these posts but it could be a full-time activity.
I simply don’t see the contradiction you claim to highlight in your last paragraph. I don’t get what you’re trying to say there at all, and why do you persist on trying to tell me that my points are value judgements, or seek to undermine what I’m saying by implying that the lines I draw are ultimately arbitrary. I know they are, as I have repeatedly affirmed. When I was talking about liberal rhetoric, that was rhetoric in itself. It was a shorthand way of dismissing the point. I admit this, freely. We have to employ these tactics, because otherwise we’d have to offer a justification for every single letter we write. Hey, me admitting that was another way of making my argument seem more reasonable. You could go on for ever. Let’s just accept it and move on. It’s not like we even disagree on the point in question so why would you argue with it? To undermine my argument to affirm the veracity of your own. It goes on for ever.
Haven’t I argued over and over that happiness is more important than anything else? Is this not a positive alternative? This is the utopia. I thought we’d established this? I realise a world in which everybody is satisfied all the time is unrealisable, but the point is that the goal is a situation in which we realise that our desires and expectations are mutable. You don’t achieve this by making any arbitrary pronouncements about ‘what just is’. It leads people to attach value to things regardless of the potential consequences – to create goals which are totally directionless.
All this stuff about a child that never was ‘missing out’ on something is such a massive distraction from this end. You don’t NEED to see it in terms of potential. If you see this as literally true, again, you have failed to grasp the implications of your own atheism. It ends up seeming like a strange intellectual contortion. The child doesn’t exist anymore. That means it doesn't exist. It’s not missing out on anything. It isn’t a child. It doesn't exist. Etc. The idea of potential derives from a very particular way of looking at time and matter which is not in some way fundamental or immutable.
There are no decontextualised ‘correct’ ways of looking at this problem or any other and it’s getting frustrating that you won’t concede this point, because until or unless you do, you will always be arguing past me because we’re arguing from different premises. You can’t keep getting away with trying to argue that anything is “literally true”. You may as well say “You’re wrong, because I said so!” Another of the things I repeatedly try and stress is that in the absence of truth, all statements have to demonstrate their utility. Why would you want to cling onto this belief in the transcendent nature of ‘potential’? Yes, the basic concept is useful in a banal sense in situations where we want to achieve something, but beyond this, it’s such an albatross around our necks.
To suggest I'm dismissing people’s instinctive emotions is to misunderstand what I'm saying, and also to immortalise human sentiment using this biological reductionism of ‘instinct = truth’. I’m NOT arguing that we should not value children. I’m arguing that we should not value LIFE per se, as an end in itself. That’s all.
“You could kill everyone who moaned about the weather and argue you'd made the world a happier place.” Yes this is an important issue, but again, not what I’m arguing. I was quite specifically saying that abortion has an emotional effect on the parents of the child. Murder has an emotional effect on a great many more people than that, this is why it's bad. NOT because of the dead person. The moment they die, their being is no longer an issue for them. They exist as a person only in the minds of others.
We don’t fundamentally disagree here. Sometimes (always?) it seems our discussions are simply a contest to try and establish who’s the cleverest. Maybe it'd be easier if we just took a vote?
Or just accepted it's actually me.
"Sometimes (always?) it seems our discussions are simply a contest to try and establish who’s the cleverest."
jesus. if you really see it like that then that's horribly depressing.
let's forget the rhetoric/arbitrary line drawing business. perhaps i'm just badly expressing the idea that i don't think you've backed up certain things sufficiently here. On what principle have you drawn the line where you have? What values have you based your expressed outlook on?
As for 'failing to grasp the implications of my own atheism'. Atheism is not the most important aspect of my world view. I'd call myself a humanist but that has connotations that don't quite fit me.
But I think I have grasped the implications. I think that in the absence of a divine authority you have to decide what's important to you for yourself. You have to commit to certain ideas that will direct you toward goals which you see value in. I've decided human happiness and respect for others is the most important thing.
I don't argue from a decontextualised notion of 'correct', I argue from a set of value judgements which I've made, which I'm comfortable with, and which I try to to be explicit about having made because they are then my responsibility to justify. Whilst I accept that there is 'truth' (for a given value of truth) in differing opinions (in all other opinions) I will argue against them because I don't value them as a mindset. And above all because I don't feel that advocating such a point of view widely would help what I see as the ultimate goal of greater happiness all round. (I worry this sounds a touch fascist but hopefully the principles of tolerating and learning by the very act of arguing with people who challenge you which are also important to me would belie this)
I try not to word things so that I'm not just saying 'You're wrong because I said so' - I can't help but disagree emphatically with your view. I will argue with you, in spite of flawless logic because I believe it's a potentially harmful mindset to speak in those terms.
My whole post was an attempt to demonstrate the 'utility' of my statement. I'm mildly irked that you imply otherwise. If i've failed to do so in your eyes then that's fine but to imply that I haven't bothered, or don't even feel I have to is a little condescending. I was disagreeing with what you said. I'm not convinced by your argument and was explaining why. At some point I was going to have to just contradict you. The two basic reasons I disagree are that I don't value the inevitable conclusion of the outlook, and that I don't think in a pragmatic sense that what you say is even correct.
So here we go again then. This is why I believe that 'potential' is very real, non-mystical, and literally true-with-a-small-t:
Whilst a dead person does not experience death once they're dead, that doesn't mean that they haven't lost something by dying. This only makes sense if you believe they don't have anything to start with. They believe in the existence of their own consciousness - they may even consider it a soul or a self. I'm fairly convinced by things I've read which tell me my consciousness is, effectively, an illusion as well. My conclusion is: so what? I'm still capable of experiencing happiness and sadness even if it's on a level which is slightly more banal that my perception implies. Perhaps my consciousness is some elaborate evolutionary mechanism. Once again: so what? I am enjoying being said evolutionary mechanism. I'd like this to be the case for everyone else too.
If someone dies then they no longer have the capacity to experience either happiness or sadness. Whether they experience is this loss is, to me, a moot point. It is their loss of experience which is, in itself, what makes their death a cause for sadness. My own or other people's sense of the loss of them is a contributing factor. But we experience that sadness in part for selfish reasons but also because we can imagine what their lives may have been. If they hadn't died they would, literally, be continuing to experience things.
Unless of course you believe in determinism, in which case everything that ever is and was will always have happened exactly as it did. But I don't think either of us does believe that because determinism, in itself, requires some kind of divine or otherwise immutable authority to have set the scene for it to happen.
So we're back to choice and individual responsibility. Then your own 'push the traffic signal and kill someone further down the road' concept returns and instills, to my mind the (unfashionable) notion of responsibility as being up there with the pursuit of happiness in my own personal, entirely value based, entirely context-based, non-authoritative, chosen as much as reasoned through, list of core values which are personal to me but which I believe, nonetheless do have wider value.
If you do one thing there will be consequences, if you do another there will be different consequences. If you give birth to a child then it's life and everything it experiences is the consequence. If you terminate it then all those consequences will not happen. I don't know what I think about many-worlds theory but I think it's traffic signals all the way.
this is the contradiction I was driving at. You can uphold happiness as a the key goal of a human's life and not suggest that the consequences of conscious actions have not denied a person that ultimate goal if they rob them of the very means by which it is achieved. And of course once someone's dead they don't experience it but do you really honestly in your emotional human mind feel that this is not in any way a valid part of the tragedy of death?
As an olive branch at this point I'll say that when it comes to a personal conception of my own death I find it extremely comforting that I will cease to experience when I die. I think attempting to be at peace with this idea removes much of the fear and uncertainty of death. But it still doesn't mean I would be indifferent to being killed. I want to live for as long as I can (as long as I'm still happy). Previously I have believed I wanted to die but that's another story. I think the end of consciousness is terrifying and soothing at the same time. I think it, as much as any notion of an afterlife, could be comforting to people both regarding their own death and possibly even their loved ones.
However, I do not conclude that this is a basis for being dismissive of people's emotional attachments to the 'sanctity' of life. People feel this because they value their own existence. They want others to experience life. This is, I'd hope, in part a reason why people have children. Because it provides an opportunity to almost live two lives at once. That potential is real. I don't know on what level you can argue it isn't. If everything resides in the consciousness, and consciousness is the act of non-conscious things becoming conscious then surely a conscious perception of a potential new conscious is, if not 'real', then something of value?
I'm in danger of going in circles now. I'm just yet to be convinced by your reasons why potential isn't.... words fail me, there's no way around it - call it literally, call it really, call it pragmatically true. Even if you have a problem with the concept of authoritative grand narratives of Truth then what's the problem with the principal that someone will experience life if they're allowed to live and won't if they're dead?
Looking back over it I reckon I could've trimmed this whole post to just that last sentence.
which should be a 'can't'.
guess which one and win a badge!
It seems like I've got to get down to basic metaphysics here.
Your view of potential implies some form of fatalism or teleology - that there is something of the future already contained within the present. For the dead to have 'lost' something, i.e. their future, which has not yet been realised, it must somehow already exist, stored up within them or within the world, in the present.
And yet you suggest that you DON'T believe in determinism. This is a contradiction. This view of 'potential'/'loss' necessarily implies some form of determinism.
So is your alternative to pure determinism? A belief in the transformative nature of human agency; that we are all free to decide our own destinies? This is just as determinist, but just deflects determinism onto another level, and of course, is totally unrealistic. Are we therefore, 'a bit' determined in some kind of other sense you'd like to illuminate?
The alternative to which I would adhere is that nothing is pre-determined - that the world 'works' rather than 'existing' in a way that is chaotic and purely immanent. In this alternative, your idea about potential is unnecessary, and indeed nonsensical. The future doesn't exist yet, hence it's not possible to 'lose' it. If nothing is yet decided, there is nothing to lose!
This is what I'm driving at here, and this is the key point which we are at odds on.
I think we are 'a bit' determined. Nothing is 100% pre-determined (unless there is some underlying TOE that will/would explain how all material interactions in the universe work).
The future doesn't literally exist as a fixed thing. But things we do will, as far as we can tell, affect the future. If I put the hot pan down on my kitchen counter it will burn it (wish I'd been conscious that had potential to happen or i'd have stopped it). If you were a particle travelling in the other direction in time then me removing the pan from the counter would also destroy the nice burn mark which had been there for all eternity.
and the notion of an immanent reality, as far as I can see, supports my idea. If the notion of potential comes from the mind of a material being then that being can act to make the potential future happen. So the potential does not exist in a tangible sense as a point on a specific timeline. But as a possibility, or indeed a probability seeing as we're getting into quantum territory. this possibility either exists in a transcendental state which is viewed by the omnipotent outside observer, or is within the consciousness of living beings and can be made materially real for whatever duration of time the universe accomodates it. Or most likely somewhere inbetween.
We're getting into cause and effect. Which obviously isn't a perfect notion, as we now know that cause does not neccessarily equal effect on the particle level. But on the level at which human beings/consciousness can process information it does.
This is what I tend to think of as being 'relevant' on a humanistic level. The future is tangible because we can influence it and subsequently experience it. Whether it literally exists as something distinct from now, or whether 'now' is even a sensible concept on the level of the entirety of creation is fascinating but basically irrelevant. 'Now' and the notion of 'next' is all we have to work with as human beings.
Because we're not talking about the immutable oneness of all things. We're talking about abortion.
I meant to say this by pm, but I can't imagine discussing anything with you that is totally shorn of context. My main problem with your core philosophy is that I think, in its purest form, it's irrelevant to people's real needs. It's fascinating and I think people should consider it as a way of broadening their mind as seeing the world and their responsibility in it more holisitcally. but I also think there comes a point where it becomes an ivory tower from which the proclamations have little to offer people caught up in the banal problems of just being a fallible human in the first place.
that's my main problem with what you espouse. in this instance once you've conceived a child you can carry it to term and it will become a conscious being (all being well of course). This isn't some mystical whimsy it's a pragmatic reality. The future isn't predetermined but it's also not utterly, nonsensically unpredictable. 'A bit' determined is neither as simplistic nor as unrealistic as you imply.
If you have a healthy child the probability of it developping consciousness and the potential to experience happiness is quite high. if you don't have a child the probability is 0.
When you're talking about abortion it's not relevant, to my mind, to discuss as what point the cluster of cells becomes a real person. The key point is that it can and will - all other factors being well. If you remove any sort of 'it could die anyway' speculation then you know that child will grow into a being with the potential for happiness that you have. Biologically at least...
The question to my mind then is whether you have the right ('right' being defined as something you decide to permit yourself to do) to prevent that child from experiencing existence as you do.
And finally I personally consider existence to be pretty rewarding. So would have reservations about aborting an actual conceived child of mine, rather than a hypothetical one.
ONCE AGAIN: This is just my opinion. I'll write in my own blood if neccessary that I make no generalisations about all abortions in all circumstances.
Now I think we’re moving onto common ground. A victory for the Socratic dialogue, I think, in that now we both appreciate the fundamental position from which the other is arguing.
Having said this, one fundamental clarification. I’m not talking about ‘imminent reality’, I’m talking about ‘pure immanence’ – an indeterminate base from which conceptions of reality emerge, through the exchange between consciousness and its context. It’s a subtle point, but it becomes more important down the line.
I still think that in terms of a basic ontological scheme, the idea of being ‘a bit determined’ is incomplete and insufficient. The example about the pan is all well and good. It’s a closed system, in which it would be pretty pointless to raise questions about indeterminacy here. But this is a world away from the initial discussion about abortion, and the issues that relate to and stem from it.
I fully accept your point that in itself, the particular ontology which I’m espousing doesn’t necessarily point us in a practical direction. But I haven’t yet really got on to the consequences in detail. Suffice it so say that for the purposes of the current discussion I maintain that viewing the issue in terms of some kind of transcendent notion of potential is unproductive and militates against the kind of humility through which we gain a full appreciation of our fallibility as humans. I think we can only start being humanist if we start from a position external to humanism. Furthermore, on a much grander scale, humanism seems to ascribe some kind of divine right to humans to reproduce and ultimately fill the planet with their offspring. This becomes irresponsible and self-defeating.
We’re not talking about people specifically not having children – this shifts the argument. When we’re talking about abortion, the question of personhood is completely relevant. Legally, you DO have to draw the line somewhere, and I don't pretend to have a definitive answer about where this line should be. I just feel the consciousness/personhood angle is a very productive one to explore.
This whole idea of ‘potential’ is a can of worms as I see it. It is easy to reduce it ad absurdam. A married male and female couple is more likely than not to produce children, all factors being well. If one of them is murdered, should the murderer also be charged with killing their as yet unconceived offspring? A couple who have never met before have the ‘potential’ to produce viable offspring. A planet completely devoid of life has the potential to give rise to life.
This, to my mind, is why it’s the prevailing system you're espousing that takes us further away from the pragmatic realities of living in the world. It makes it completely impossible to draw a line that is not totally arbitrary. The current system seems principally concerned with a pretty bizarre thought experiment about whether a foetus could potentially survive outside the mother's body with the aid of current medical technology (coupled with what I see as an entirely specious argument about whether a foetus can suffer). With the advance of medical technology, this will become inadequate. It's quite possible that one day we'll be able to produce an artifical womb in which an egg can be implanted and fertilised. Should abortion be made illegal then? Or should we in the present consider the future potential of this technological advance and make abortion illegal now?! I think this shows the strange kind of logic that the idea of 'potential life' produces.
The whole liberal question of ‘rights’ spirals off into a whole series of other issues – the ‘right’ to free speech, which is ultimately inadequate when talking about incitement to violence. The ‘right’ to live unfettered in one’s search for personal fulfilment comes undone when we consider the rights of others not to be trampled on. If in the immediate instance somebody is about to kill you, do you hesitate in fighting back because you could kill them and deny them the right to exist?
These are extreme examples, yes, but they are further consequences of the view you’re outlining.
At the end of the day I am totally concerned with the practical exigencies of everyday life.
It's just that I think philosophically, you do have to go round the houses before you can get to a new, coherent base on which to found your arguments, attitudes and behaviour.
a nice little thread in the country with a view over the lake. we can eat scones and talk about the best way to go round the houses.
But yeah, I don't see why anyone else in the entire world should think it's ok for them to be making such an important decision that will affect every mother (and father) and should only be made by those concerned.
you are TINY