The Argument from Identity

I have previously explained two good arguments for the pro-life position, the Substance View and the Future of Value arguments. I would like to share with you a third. It’s an argument that Alexander Pruss has termed an identity-based argument. Stephen Napier defends a similar argument which he has termed the Unity argument, but my exposition of this argument will follow Pruss’ essay I Was Once a Fetus: An Identity-Based Argument Against Abortion, with additional notes by Napier where appropriate. I will merely be giving a basic exposition of the argument; I would recommend reading the essay for a more robust defense, as well as answering potential objections to the argument.

The argument is meant to show that I am identical with the fetus that was in my mother’s womb. Since the right to life is an essential property of human beings, if I have the right to life now, I had the right to life while I was a fetus. Of course, not everyone agrees that we are identical with the fetus that was in our mother’s womb. Some believe that you don’t come into existence until your organism, the fetus, attains consciousness and self-awareness (or certain other properties).

Well, there are only two possibilities: we either are identical to the fetus that was in our mother’s womb or we are not. So let’s assume just for the sake of this argument that we are not identical to the fetus that was in our mother’s womb.

If that’s the case, then where is that fetus that I came from? There are only two possibilities: either the fetus I came from is now alive or it is now dead.

So the fetus (F) must still be alive. Every biological part of F developed into me. Since F developed into me, F has become all of my body. I can’t separate out one part and say “that is F.” So while F exists, I also exist. This means that I cannot be an organism because there cannot be two organisms that have the same body. So if I am an organism, I am F. But if I am not F, then I am not an organism. This would also mean that I am not a rational animal, because I am distinct from F, and this is an absurd consequence because human beings are rational animals. If we are rational animals, then we are organisms.

Napier points out other absurd consequences that follow from the position that the fetus is still alive but I am not the fetus. Persons do not have sexual intercourse, their bodies do. It would also mean that rape is merely a property crime, not a crime against a person. It would also entail that two numerically different entities occupy the same place at the same time, which violates a plausible law of physics.

So if the fetus is not alive, then it must be dead. But what happened to it? When did it cease to exist? It could have ceased to exist if the fetus was truly a part of the mother’s body, since if something is a part of your body and is cut off, it dies. According to Aristotle, if you cut your finger off, it remains a finger in name only; it is no longer the same entity it was before since its essence was to be a part of your body. So the fetus could have died when it was removed from the woman’s body at birth.

But this is highly implausible. The law of transitivity states that if A is a part of B, and B is a part of C, then A is a part of C. For an example, if your finger is a part of your hand, and your hand is a part of your body, then your finger is a part of your body. So if the fetus is a part of the woman’s body, then she would have two heads, twenty fingers and twenty toes, four eyes, two noses, and roughly half the time male genitalia. Plus there are scientific reasons for denying this, such as the fact that the fetus has a different genetic code than the woman does. Additionally, the fetus is not controlled by the woman via the umbilical cord, and the fetus does not work toward the good of the mother’s body in the way that the rest of her body does, as a unified whole with each part fulfilling a certain function to keep the woman’s body functioning properly. There may be some benefit that the fetus has for the woman, such as through a process called microchimerism in which the mother and fetus exchange cells and may have certain health benefits. But the fetus remains a wholly separate entity. So in no way can the fetus be said to be a part of the mother’s body.

Napier also points out that the fetus was merely carrying out its self-directed development. So the fetus would have died because it gains the ability to think, but this is absurd because things don’t die when they gain an ability the development of which is rooted in the thing’s developmental program or plan. So the fetus can’t be dead.

So it seems clear that the fetus, itself, is still alive because every organic part of the fetus developed into me; but it is equally clear that I am identical to the fetus that was in my mother’s womb. If I am not identical to that fetus, it leads to many absurdities. So the Argument from Identity goes something like this (I’m working off an outline by Stephen Napier here):

P1: I am either identical to the fetus that was in my mother’s womb or I am not identical to it.
P2: If I am not identical to the fetus, then the fetus is either dead or still alive but separate from me.
P3: If the fetus is dead, then it died by gaining an ability that was in its programming to develop.
P4: But things don’t die because they gain an ability that is in one’s programming to develop.
C1 (from 3 and 4): Therefore, the fetus is not dead.
P4: If the fetus is alive but separate from me, then either a) Two numerically different things occupy the same place at the same time, or b) I am not my body but my fetus is.
P5: A violates a plausible law of physics, and B entails absurd consequences, such as rape being merely a property crime and not a crime against a person.
C2 (from 4 and 5): Therefore, the fetus cannot be alive but separate from me.
P6: If the fetus is not dead, and if the fetus cannot be alive but separate from me, then I am the same thing as the fetus.
P7: If I am the same thing as the fetus, then the fetus has a right to life (since I have a right to life essentially).
C3 (from 6 and 7): Therefore, the fetus has a right to life.

321 thoughts on “The Argument from Identity”

  1. Right off the bat I can say the identity argument has been PROVED to be flawed, two different ways.

    First, you are ignoring the fact that the placenta is PART of the overall unborn human organism. Both it and the fetus originated from the blastocyst that implanted into the womb. (Yes, the placenta also includes cells from the mother, but if the blastocyst hadn't implanted, the placenta wouldn't exist at all. It existence STARTED after the blastocyst implanted.)

    The placenta is an ORGAN, just like the heart or liver is an organ, of the overall unborn human organism, and it is essential for the survival of that organism. It is as much part of the unborn human, connected by the umbilical cord, as the eye at the end of the eyestalk of a snail is part of the snail. It becomes non-essential when a normal birth occurs, and so it then gets discarded.

    Post-natal humans are NOT identical to pre-natal humans, because none need a placenta in order to survive.

    Third, here's a link (prepend the http but not the www):

    cf.linnbenton.edu/mathsci/bio/bienekr/upload/The_Ultimate_Social_Network.pdf

    The womb is a fairly sterile environment. After birth, though, the human body begins to enter symbiosis with bacteria, and when the process is done, the bacterial cells outnumber human cells by about 10 to 1. Because they are symbiotic, we cannot survive without them!

    So, we postnatal humans, who happen to have bodies that can be called "whole ecosystems", and who are discussing anti-abortion arguments here, are most certainly NOT identical to unborn human organisms!

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  2. I might need to explain that word "third", implying I was going to write a third proof that the argument was wrong. I do have such a thing, but it is a bit "weaker" than the other two, and merely neglected to remove all traces of it from the text above.

    But if you want to see it, then all you need do is think about the "modus operandi" by which an unborn human survives. It TAKES biological resources from another human's body. It also dumps toxic biowastes into that other body.

    Do post-natal humans normally do anything like that, to survive? MOSTLY, NO (but it is possible that certain deranged humans do, a kind of perversion). So, to the extent that "NO" is true, post-natal humans are NOT identical to unborn humans.

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  3. Minor correction: It is the amniotic sac within the womb that is a fairly sterile environment, more-so than the womb.

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  4. About the "substance" argument, I'll post the refutation here instead of the Dec 19 blog page.

    "Point 1: The unborn entity, from the end of the fertilization process, is a full-fledged member of the human community.
    Point 2: It is prima facie morally wrong to kill any member of that community.
    Point 3: Every successful abortion kills an unborn entity, a full-fledged member of the human community.
    Conclusion: Therefore, every successful abortion is prima facie morally wrong."

    Point 1 is just a lie. The definition of "community" includes such concepts as "social interaction". Unborn humans do not participate (their activities are strictly parasitic); therefore it is simply an outright lie to claim that they are members of any community.

    Point 2 is also false. Members of communities that have committed various crimes such as rape have been executed for thousands of years. Even today "war crimes" can include rape and the penalty can be death. However, these statements don't matter at all, since as pointed out above, unborn humans are NOT members of any community.

    Point 3 fundamentally depends on a lie. All statements based on a false premise, such as the lie that unborn humans are members of a community, are themselves false.

    And so does the conclusion depend on a lie: Therefore, in the classic words of computer professionals: "Garbage In, Garbage Out".

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  5. This is one of the most brilliant arguments I have read. It truly rationalized the right to life through scientific argument.

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  6. It's pretty strange to argue that because we are not like the unborn in every way, we cannot identify with the unborn. That's like saying because I am not the same as I was when I was an infant, I am not the same being as I was when I was an infant. (Example: when I was an infant, I couldn't eat solid food, and now I can. I ate food which came directly from my mother's breast, and now I don't do that.) So clearly "identity" here isn't referring to total similarity, but rather continuity.

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  7. And now to destroy the "future of value" argument (here instead of the Jan 3, 2013 blog page):

    "Abortion is wrong because it results in the loss of a future of value."

    IRRELEVANT AND UNBALANCED, partly because it involves "potential", and partly because it makes unwarranted assumptions about "value". Every time someone commits suicide, that person is declaring that there is insufficient value to be experienced in living any longer. Just because others disagree, that doesn't make those others right. For example, in prior centuries slavers certainly opposed the idea of their slaves committing suicide, yet they eventually gave up on enslaving Native Americans, because there were so many revolts and suicides (when escape was sufficiently blocked) that there just wasn't enough "future value" in it. A link (prepend both http and www):
    .infoplease.com/ce6/bus/A0861124.html

    Meanwhile, an unborn human lacks the brainpower to make any valuations whatsoever about the future (understanding that aspect of Time is another generic characteristic of personhood). There is again no reason to assume the valuations of others, about the future, is automatically superior to the valuation that any specific individual might make, based on available data.

    For example, nowadays there are things like overpopulation and business-controlled resource restriction, to make future life far from valuable.

    Here, since we are talking about an organism that only potentially can make a valuation about the future, we need to accept that the valuation it might make could be either positive or negative. So, like the Einstein/Hitler comparison (you might abort a potential Einstein OR you might abort a potential Hitler), this part of the argument becomes Neutral with respect to the Overall Abortion Debate. All in all, an aborted unborn human isn't going to "miss out", either positively or negatively, on what it doesn't understand.

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  8. The placenta may be an organ, but losing an organ does does not ultimately change a person's identity. I mean, I lost an organ that I apparently do not need to function either, so by your logic I am not me, I am not the same person from 3 years ago. And actually, by that conclusion, NONE of us are the same people. Every year, we are a different age, our bodies grow and develope,, we lost a bit of our DNA (normally a non needed part, a special part of DNA that doesn't code for any genes)..our bodies start to decline. looking physically different does not mean you have lost the essence of you. I believe that is the argument being presented here.

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  9. The argument is CALLED "argument from identity" –as in "identical". So, even NOT focusing on the obvious (and basically minor) differences that growth makes, we still end up with Very Significant Differences.

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  10. "continuity" doesn't work, either, because of the bacteria thing. Only about 1/11 of all the cells in your body have continuity with an unborn human!

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  11. It's a pretty good argument. I've long thought that pro-choice arguments imply a sort of dualism, separating my conscious self from my physical self. The rape example is an effective argument against this, I think, although I can see why someone might bite the bullet and place rape in the same category as property rights violations (NB that bodily rights would be the highest form of property rights).

    Whatever one might say about that, the argument against a dualist understanding of human identity is particularly advantageous from a secular perspective, since it leaves aside metaphysical questions about the soul and whatnot.

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  12. "Only about 1/11 of all the cells in your body have continuity with an unborn human!" Or with myself when I was an infant. This statistic is irrelevant.

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  13. You're playing with the word "identity" here. Unless you're willing to throw out the idea that you are the same person throughout your whole life (in which case there isn't actually one "life" at all), then you have to admit that Significantly Different Beings can have, in fact, the same identity.

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  14. I really do not think you understand the concept of 'identity' in the way it is being discussed in the post. Or rather you seem to feel that other things aside individual identity should be discussed. I believe the things you are talking about are a separate subject.

    Basically, this argument is explaining that a person who is now outside the womb is the same person that was inside the womb. For example, if my DNA could be compared to the DNA of the embryo (or fetus since that is the stage of human development being used in the argument) that was inside my mother's body, both would have the same DNA proving that both are the same organism. The fetus did NOT cease to exist, it just grew and developed like it was supposed to and now looks different: looks like the young adult I am.

    So now that it has been established that the person I am now is the same person that was once inside my mother's womb , the logic is that if I have the right to life now, I should have it any time, I should continue to have it as I grow older, and I should have had it upon existence.

    Mind you, we are solely arguing the right to life on THIS argument. From THIS argument that is the conclusion being driven to. This argument could certainly be attempted to be argued against, but the argument against it has to refute things in THIS argument. The "Identity Argument".

    You bring up good points, but I'm not sure they quite pertain to this argument. I'd still like to see them discussed them.

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  15. I think my 'same DNA' point might get complicated when talking abut identicla twins. I mean it still stands but no one would KNOW which twin was which until they were named at birth. just means we wouldn't know which fetal DNA to compare.

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  16. Ah, but the "essence of you" is much MORE than just your body. Your mind grows, too, and doesn't achieve "self-awareness" until several months AFTER birth (look up the "mirror test"). It is your self-aware self to whom I am directing this message, not your subconscious. And you know full well that your self-awareness is "turned off" every time you go to sleep (along with most of the rest of your awareness, too).

    Prior to its FIRST turning-ON event, your self-awareness has essentially NO continuity with a prior version of itself. Certainly it has no continuity with a pre-natal version of itself. Babies and late-term unborn humans have some awareness (so does a praying mantis; just look into the non-faceted eyes of one, and see!), but they don't have SELF-awareness, a distinctly different and unique thing.

    As an analogy, consider a future computer programmed with True Artificial Intelligence software. When that program starts running, THEN a self-aware entity will begin to exist, not before.

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  17. If someone makes a "literal" sort of mistake, it deserves to be pointed out. And I did that.

    But like I also wrote, replacing "identity" with "continuity" doesn't work, either, partly because of the bacteria thing, and partly because of the "self-conscious mind" thing (in another comment above).

    And you are wrong about "person" too. Personhood doesn't begin to exist until well AFTER birth. It is an ACQUIRED characteristic of humans, not an innate characteristic (and it is known that non-humans can acquire it, too; see Koko the Gorilla). When personhood fails to be acquired (rather rare these days, but COULD happen to ANY infant human), the result is just a clever animal, typically known as a "feral child".

    The brain has to develop to a certain extent BEFORE it becomes possible for personhood to BEGIN to be acquired. Thus we know that personhood CANNOT have continuity prior to birth; personhood simply doesn't exist then.

    Regarding significantly different organisms having continuity, a caterpillar turning into a butterfly has MORE continuity than an unborn human does with a post-natal human. The caterpillar doesn't throw any important organs away during metamorphosis! –which affects outer structures far more than interior structures.

    You might also search for a documentary that has been aired on the Discovery Health Channel, "I Am My Own Twin" (also aired elsewhere as "The Twin Inside Me"). DNA doesn't define an "identity" quite as easily as you might think! There are people walking around right now with TWO distinct human-DNA identities!

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  18. I do not accept the worthless claims that an unborn human qualifies as a "person". It has NO operational characteristics that can distinguish it from the operational characteristics of an average ordinary animal organism.

    If an alien scientist was invited to study a newborn human, to determine whether or not it qualified as a person, without giving the alien ANY other data about that organism's ecological context and potential future, the answer would be a resounding NO. Logically, no unborn human, LESS developed than a newborn, can qualify as a person, either!

    Therefore that alone is a major distinguishing feature between unborn humans and post-natal humans (who may be persons according to the LAW, but take many months to acquire personhood.

    SO, with that out of the way, I can modify what you wrote as: "this argument is explaining that an organism that is now outside the womb is the same organism that was inside the womb." Your arguments should never include propagandistic buzz-words!

    Nevertheless, we DON'T have the same organism. In the womb, it consists almost entirely of cells having human DNA. Outside the womb, over the course of months after birth, it becomes a mixture of human and bacterial cells. That "ecosystem" is a LARGER TYPE of organism, than the early system of purely-human interacting cells.

    An an analogy, consider the difference between a prokaryote and a eukaryote. The former is a quite-simple cell, compared to the latter, which contain "mitochondrial" bodies which originally were separately-evolved prokaryote-type cells. The eukaryote is a more complex/larger type of organism than the prokaryote.

    In BECOMING that more- sophisticated biosystem, a post-natal human body begins to HUGELY differ from the type of organism it was originally in the womb.

    And now for something of a digression.

    In computer languages the "=" symbol is sometimes used to test whether or not one thing is equal to another thing –in BASIC: "if(a=b) then" …(do something as a result of the comparison being "true"). Some languages use "==" instead of "=" for comparison purpose, because they use "=" for "assignment" purposes: "a=5" is a valid assignment operation in JavaScript. BASIC uses "=" for BOTH assignments and comparisons, paying attention to keywords like "if" to know which way to interpret the "=" symbol.

    The thing is, languages like JavaScript ALSO use "===" for specific "identity" testing. This is a consequence of the fact that some things can be more-equal to each other, than other things. You may be aware that "0" (zero) is often interpreted as False in computer languages, while "1" (one) is interpreted as True. Thus, in JavaScript, if variable "a" held the value of "1", a test such as "if(a==true)" would be a valid test that has a "true" result. But the test "if(a===true)" is a valid test that has a "false" result, because "1" is not IDENTICAL with "true".

    The relevance of that digression is this. In computer languages like JavaScript it is easy to construct different things that pass an "equality" test, without being able to pass an "identity" test. VISIBLY, a post-natal human body might appear to be "equal" to an unborn human organism (especially the fetus portion of it), because its crucial-to-survival bacterial component of the post-natal human is invisible. But in terms of "identity", when thinking about the concept of "overall organism", NOPE, not at all are they the same!

    And so the "identity" argument fails.

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  19. It may be subect to bodily rights arguments, but it essentially refutes the argument that one is not a person until one "comes into existence" sometime later (which is the position that most pro-choice philosophers take; arguments from bodily rights are, surprisingly, in the minority among pro-choice philosophers because they feel that there are too many disanalogies between the violinist and pregnancy).

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  20. Yeah. As a Christian, I am a particular kind of dualist, a mind-body dualist. But I've often wondered about atheist philosophers who do have a kind of dualism (and Pruss considers this objection "dualism at its worst"). If we don't come into existence until sometime later, like when we become conscious, then what, exactly, comes into existence? If I don't come into existence at fertilization when my body does, then is it a soul that comes into existence? I would imagine that philosophers like Singer and Tooley would say no. Then what is it?

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  21. Alexander Pruss is a brilliant guy. I was actually fairly recently pointed to this argument, but I'm glad I was. It really just puts to rest a common claim by pro-choice people, that the unborn are not persons from fertilization and that we come into existence sometime later, not at fertilization, which are both simply indefensible claims. If I am biologically identical with the embryo or fetus, then why am I not identical with them?

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  22. Yeah, it's just a case of there's no one-size-fits-all argument against the pro-choice position. If someone tries to argue that I'm not identical with the embryo I "came from," this I could use this argument (or the Substance View argument). If someone argues bodily rights, then there are other arguments I would use (arguments I have written about on this blog, too). Then there are arguments like the Future of Value argument which views it as irrelevant whether or not I was identical with that embryo/fetus. If the embryo has a future of value, like I do, then it's wrong to kill it.

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  23. The few times where I've changed a person's views from pro-choice to pro-life weren't quick situations using one tactic. It took SLED, "trotting a toddler", referring to abortion survivors, graphic images, and fetal development videos added to hours of conversation.

    I don't think an individual argument can stand on its own, but when you compile them together the evidence stacks up.

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  24. I tend to agree, which is why I use the arguments as a sort of cumulative case for the pro-life position. It's also the case that while one argument may be convincing to one person, there will be someone else that it *won't* be convincing to. So that's another reason why we should be familiar with several arguments for the pro-life position, not just one or two that we like.

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  25. But in many ways I am quite obviously not identical to past-me. I'm physically different (taller, heavier, balder). That is, my body is the same body I had in high school, but it is also quite different. The contents of my mind have changed (I know more, I have somewhat different values). Unlike my body it is not altogether clear that my mind now is the same mind I had in high school. In many ways I am a very different person, as I expect many others are. And this is just the difference between high school Max and middle aged Max.

    The differences are much more pronounced when I look back at infant me, let alone zygote me. The only thing that seems identical is my genetic structure. I suppose if my right to life is merely a function of having a particular genetic structure then the argument works. I expect, however, that the right to life is not based on have 23 pairs of chromosomes.

    So, I take it that you are using 'identical' in a specialized way since I am clearly not identical to past me using the common usage of the term.

    Again correct me if I wrong, but it seems to me that making an identity argument for a fetus's right to life requires two things: (1) identifying why we have a right to life as adults and (2) demonstrating a fetus and an adult are identical with regards to what grounded the adult's right.

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  26. By identical, we simply mean "the same entity as." It doesn't mean "identical in every way." There are many obvious differences between ten-year-old me and present me. Present me has gone through puberty. Present me has advanced in knowledge and his brain (among other things) has continued developing. Present me has gotten taller and has expanded some. Nevertheless, despite all of these changes, I have remained "me," the same person, through all of these changes. I am not literally a different person now than I was then, just in some metaphorical sense (because certain things about me have changed). When I look back at my high school days and remember my exploits at Madera High, I am not remembering someone else's memories. Those are literally my memories. That was me, not some earlier version of me that I believe to be the same person, but that was literally me, because there is a continuity of human existence. That continuity begins at fertilization, because even though I have gone through certain other changes since being a zygote (e.g. I have increased in consciousness, self-awareness, developed human limbs, etc.), that was still me. I am still the same entity as I was in the womb, despite going through changes. That's because all of these changes are identity-preserving changes. All of these changes were hard-wired into me from the beginning. All the changes that I went through are in my nature to develop, directed internally. One does not become a new person by undergoing changes that is actively within one's nature to undergo.

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  27. I'm not exactly sure what you're getting at. Yes, people make different judgments about how valuable life is. But this only underscores the importance of letting each individual make their own choices, and not harming individuals' opportunities at life without their consent.

    To address arguments you've made elsewhere, it seems to me that you believe that a human being becomes a person when they can conceptualize their own personhood, something that happens months after birth. If I'm understanding you right, I do have to give you credit for being much more consistent than the typical "magic birth canal" pro-choicer.

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  28. If you do not believe that your mother is currently morally obligated to offer her organs for your use, then you do not believe that your moral rights and obligations are the same now as they were when you were a fetus.

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  29. I did not say they did cease to become human beings. However, the blog post here is about the BODY more than the mind, and the TOTALITY of that body does undergo significant changes beginning with birth. The placenta is discarded, and the slow process of entering symbiosis with bacteria begins. The final result is an organism in which the human-cells portion is greatly outnumbered.

    I'm simply pointing out that THAT qualifies the "human" as being VERY DIFFERENT from the unborn version, and therefore the blog-article argument is destroyed. You don't like it? Tough! Facts don't care one whit about what you like or don't like.

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  30. "If an alien scientist was invited to study a newborn human, to determine
    whether or not it qualified as a person, without giving the alien ANY
    other data about that organism's ecological context and potential
    future, the answer would be a resounding NO."

    Yup except once again you are making a huge assumption: every intelligent alien scientist would conclude that life with potential lacks value.

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  31. You … didn't address anything I said? Am I right or wrong in saying that you believe personhood is acquired by a human being some months after birth?

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  32. According ignorance-is-curable's view, an offspring is not a person until "it" magically transforms into a person via birth.

    26-weeks-old premature child is suddenly person right one moment after leaving the womb, but 36-weeks-old pre-born fetus is not a person, yet?

    What is a kind of this logic??

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  33. Good argument, thanks for the final sum up. Just as a devil's advocate, how would you parse that into explaining a caterpillar versus a butterfly? Is the caterpillar dead? Is the caterpillar a butterfly?

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  34. Can I give you a debating tip? This is going to sound condescending, I don't know any other way to put it, but it is hopefully to improve your ability to articulate and thus improve communication. Don't make up hypothetical situations and then use hypothetical methodology to arrive to your predetermined conclusion. Because it really makes your arguments horribly unconvincing.

    I mean, I could say "If a pink unicorn could talk, would it say a pregnant woman is one person or two? TWO!"

    Seriously. I've had conversations with other pro-choicers that make me go back and rethink my logic, and in some cases, adjust my views (particularly in the case of rape). Your arguments do none of that and really just come off as some person who just really likes the sound of him/herself typing.

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  35. Hey, KB. Thanks.

    The butterfly/caterpillar argument comes up now and then, but it's just a confusion of biology. The caterpillar is the same entity as the butterfly. It's still biologically the same entity, even though it undergoes a metamorphosis into a butterfly. So like an acorn is not an oak tree, but it is an *immature* oak tree. So essentially, the caterpillar is a butterfly (it becomes one through the process of metamorphosis).

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  36. Right. That's more or less what I would say as well as well. In ecology, it's a well known fact that classification is very much a human communication phenomenon, and not an ecological phenomenon. What we even use to separate genus from genus, and species from species, can be pretty variable. Scientific classification is getting better at using genuine differences (i.e. DNA differences), but as I learned catching butterflies for an ecologist last summer, there are some species of butterflies that we've called different, or the same all this time, when it turns out that their genetic make-up shows that it is the opposite. The names we give things are important, but they aren't cast in stone.
    The caterpillar/butterfly situation is a case of classification by humans due perceived differences, when actually the differences are superficial.
    I just think this is an important point to bring up. We classify zygote, embryo, fetus, infant – but they are purely subjective human inventions. If some pro-choicers say, okay, abortion of a fetus is wrong, but embryos and zygotes okay, we have to first face the reality that the only reason we have those different words in the first place is because we made them up. That is, the distinction is superficial.

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  37. "Belief" has nothing to do with it. The Facts are clear, that personhood is NOT an innate aspect of humans, and that IF it is acquired, it is typically acquired, in stages (not all aspects of personhood at once), mostly in-between 6-months-old and 3-years-old. Some will start sooner and finish sooner; others will start later and finis later.

    The Law currently assigns personhood at birth, regardless of the Facts. I AM OK WITH THAT. It would be too complicated to change the Law to associate personhood with each individual's passing-of-tests-for-personhood, especially when the full list of things to test-for is still being researched.

    Birth also happens to be associated with 2 MAJOR differences between unborn and born humans. First is the disconnection of the placenta, and second is a change in its "modus operandi" for survival, from "assaultingly bad" to "innocent". A human newborn is not capable of TAKING sustenance, as it did while in the womb. It can only survive by receiving gifts, such as the gift of being carried to a milk-filled teat, since it is incapable of going there by itself.

    So, I have no complaint about assigning legal personhood at birth. I DO object to efforts to move the personhood assignment to prior to birth, which STUPIDLY makes it EVEN MORE OUT-OF-SYNC with the Facts.

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  38. You missed the point. The alien would know nothing about what sort of potential the human baby had. For all that scientist can tell, it will grow up to be just another dumb animal. Can you offer ANY information about a baby, that might be extracted by the scientist, to reveal some different outcome as likely?

    And now is a good time to talk about gorillas, especially Koko. She was raised very much like a human infant is raised, and the result was that she was able to acquire toddler-level personhood (only logical because her brain size is about equal to that of a human toddler).

    So, gorillas have POTENTIAL, like humans, to acquire personhood, if not to quite the same degree as humans. If personhood is associated with a "future of value", then it Logically Follows that Abortion Opponents must insist that all gorilla babies be stolen from their mothers and raised by humans. Right?

    If you do NOT think it necessary for such potential to be fulfilled, then why is it necessary that the potential of unborn humans must be fulfilled? Stupid Prejudice? Tsk, tsk!

    Reply
  39. I present hypothetical cases because abortion opponents are failing to look at the Big Picture. We DO live in a huge Universe, where nonhumans could exist that qualify as persons just like humans, where some of them might be using R-strategy reproduction, KNOWING that most of their offspring must die in spite of all that potential, where nothing appears to be preventing the eventual construction of True Person-Class Artificial Intelligences, and where research into regeneration and artificial wombs gives us chances to really think about what personhood REALLY is, instead of what it is claimed to be, by folks who ignore the Big Picture.

    Here are some Facts about "potential". Whenever it happens to exist, NO "barrier" that might also exist, between that potential and its fulfillment, in any way affect the fundamental fact that the potential exists.

    For example, if you stand at the top of a long staircase, you have the potential to fall down those stairs and break your neck. That potential exists REGARDLESS of whether or not there is nothing, or a railing, or a gate, or even a locked gate, between you and the stairs. If the barrier is overcome, the potential still might be fulfilled.

    WELL, now consider a white-blood cell. It has a full set of human DNA, it is alive, and it is able to reproduce. Modern stem-cell research tells us that ANY cell with a full set of human DNA has the exact same potential as a zygote. There merely exist some barriers between that potential and its fulfillment; it needs help for those barriers to be overcome.

    Now consider a human organism in the womb, JUST before labor begins. That human has potential, AND there is a barrier to the fulfillment of that potential. Help in the form of muscular efforts by a woman, or perhaps a C-section, is necessary to overcome that barrier, allowing the human to exit the womb.

    That white blood cell AND the unborn human potentially have futures of value. Why do you abortion opponents insist that only one of them MUST be helped to fulfill its potential?

    Reply
  40. Yes you are correct, our self awareness well as our personalities develop over time as well. With our personalities, they can develop and be molded through our whole live as we learn new things, and apply that knowledge to ourselves, such as with our morals and ethics, our view of the world. You actually built on what I was saying. So yes, in our live, starting from conception we go through physical and intellectual changes, philosophical changes too you may call them. But what stays constant is our DNA, and while we may not start out with-say blue eyes because we don't have eyes as single celled organisms- the gene for that trait is within us. It just has to get to the proper stage to be physically seen. All our cells and genes can be traced back to a single DNA containing cell created at our conception. Pretty cool eh?

    Reply
  41. Identity is NOT always the same as "identical' that is what you are misunderstanding I think. If I magically turned into a frog, like in the Frog Prince I would still be me, but turned into a frog. My favorite color would still be blue, I would still be pro life, I would still be a big sister and the daughter my mother gave birth too.

    Of course this is if I was a magically self aware frog. If I was turned into a normal frog, I'd still technically be me, as in I exist but my form changed. I did not die, I was transformed.I may not be able to talk or operate a laptop anymore, but it doesn't change the fact that I still exist in A form. (I could understand If I lose you here because I know what I"m trying to say but it's difficult discussing 'magical' situations. The first example I mentioned I think explains the best what I mean.)

    The difference between these examples and the development of a human being is that they don't change into another creature. The zygote uses it's own DNA to grow and develop limps, eyes, a brain , etc. If you really think about it, a human being doesn't cease to exist as it develops, the stages in life it goes through are what cease to exist, in a abstract way. I am no longer called a zygote, I would be an Adult. But at the same time, the zygote still exists, as part of my now multicellular structure. Remember, all the cells in your body can be traced back to that one , that one zygote created at conception.

    Biology is a crazy, confusing, wondrous science. I know and there are some things I can't wrap my mind around. I still don't get how energy works, my biology class didn't' explain that in a way I understood it. Mainly regarding photosynthesis.

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  42. Personally, I think 'personhood' is a man made label. I mean , as in an abstract concept developed by man.Seemingly to justify abortion. As far as I"m concerned, human being and 'person' are the same thing and should be legally defined as such. Save with civilian, citizen, populous, population, people… ALL THESE words refer to a human being or group of human beings of some type.

    Who says we can't change the meaning of personhood then?

    Reply
  43. You are placing to much on physical differences. This argument is saying that DISPITE physical looking different, we are the same human being who was conceived by our parents, implanted in our mother's uterus (thous beginning the definition of 'pregnancy', and was 'born' (brought into the outside world). So, if we as a human being have the right to life now (since murder is a crime), there doesn't seem to be a rational reason we should not have it then. So therefore, all human beings should have the right to life.

    The bacteria part you bring up is interesting . I am going to have to re read this article and verify if anything you mentioned could apply to it or not. I especially am intersted in Clinton's response. I think you have possibly given him and us food for thought. I don't believe you are correct but it's possible you are making a good argument. Just have to see how it holds up to an 'argument outline'.

    Reply
  44. The term "person" was actually first described in the sixth century by a Christian philosopher, Boethius, who defined person as "an individual substance of a rational nature." He defined it as such so that he could include supernatual beings like God and angels, but this definition obviously includes the unborn, as well. It wasn't until the 20th century and John Locke came around that the term "person" was redefined to be more about what you can do than what you are.

    But I think Boethius had the best definition of personhood. It was functionalists who actually redefined the term "person," and redefining person has always had deadly consequences because it's been used many times to define certain people *out* of personhood so that they can be enslaved or killed.

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  45. I've actually sort of decided not to debate with "ignorance_is_curable" because he's already revealed himself not to be a reasonable individual (based on some comments on another article). He's already amply shown that he doesn't understand the term "identity" as used in this article, yet somehow he claims that the argument fails. You can't know an argument fails if you don't understand it. I, frankly, don't think he's open to considering the possibility that he may be wrong, so discussing with him seems a waste of time.

    Reply
  46. Actually, you have NO valid argument that can win. The "identity" argument, as used here, is all about the human BODY. But I've explained how the post-natal body has more bacterial cells than human cells, and so the post-natal "human" body has MORE continuity with bacteria than it does with the body in a womb.

    Then there is the Fact that the body is NOT the "person", as proved by such things as allowing the "plug" to be pulled on life-support equipment when brain-death occurs. The MIND is the person, not the body; the plug is allowed to be pulled because the Person Is Already Dead.

    Add that to the additional Fact that that Person-class mind doesn't begin to exist until well After birth, and that leaves you with NO rationale for equating an unborn human with a post-natal human.

    It Really Is Very Simple, And Irrefutable. Which is why you can never have a winning argument on this topic.

    Reply
  47. "So, if we as a human being have the right to life now (since murder is a crime), there doesn't seem to be a rational reason we should not have it then."

    There IS such a rationale, and it has to do with mis-using the language, regarding "human being".

    The word "being" has different definitions that can mean VERY different things. It can mean "exists". Thus, whenever and however a human exists, it can be called a "human being".

    On the other hand, that definition ALSO means that whenever and however a rock exists, it can be called a "rock being". Do You Begin To See The Problem?

    Why Do We NEVER Use "rock being" In Ordinary Conversations That Happen To Mention "rocks"???

    Answer: Because the word "being" ALSO can mean "person". And NO rock qualifies as a person!

    Note that in Ordinary Conversations such phrases as "intelligent being", "extraterrestrial being" and "alien being" sometimes get used. We ARE talking about persons when using those phrases!

    Meanwhile, we can also use "extraterrestrial" or "alien" to refer to things that are not persons. Like a whole planet, for example. Or a mere ordinary animal.

    The word "human" can refer to an entity that possesses a certain set of DNA. A zygote or a white-blood cell can most certainly be "human".

    Now, do we ever say that the white blood cell qualifies as a "human being", despite the fact that it exists and is alive, and that modern stem-cell research has proved it has EXACTLY the same potential as a zygote? (It merely has more barriers to the fulfillment of that potential, than the zygote.)

    IF WE DON'T call it a "human being", because we know the white blood cell is NOT a person, then perhaps we can call it a "human animal organism".

    What is the rationale for calling the zygote a "human being", then, instead of "human animal organism"??? Do you think that JUST BY CALLING IT a "human being" (thereby mis-using the language, as previously stated), that automatically makes it a person instead of a mere animal organism???

    So, when the evidence is, ALL aspects of personhood are associated with a human ONLY AFTER birth (and well after birth, at that), then why should THAT thing, the personhood that separates us from ordinary animals, be claimed to have "identity" or "continuity" with a pre-natal human??? The body is NOT the person!

    Reply
  48. Ok, so … again if I have you correctly, what you're deciding to associate with 'personhood' in the sense of having human rights is 'personhood' in the sense of self-awareness and other similar functions (rather than simply existence as a human being), correct? That is to say, you believe human rights are connected with the ability to be aware of one's own personhood (etc.), which is acquired after birth.

    And what I'm gathering from your position is that a newborn (or unborn human) has no true personhood and thus no inherent human rights?

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  49. See, you're trying to bait me into an argument and I'm not going to bite. Come back when you're willing to have a discussion and honestly consider the arguments from the other side, rather than just decided from the get-go that the other side is wrong and can never have any good arguments for their position.

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  50. "If you do not believe that your mother is currently morally obligated to offer her organs for your use"

    Actually, I do think that there are some cases where forced organ/body part use (including me using my mother's organs/body parts without her consent) could be considered morally justifiable.

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  51. Can I try playing Devil's Advocate here and to try offering a pro-choice rebuttal to this:

    I am advocating for an "in-between" response to your first question here: You are a continuation of this fetus bodily-wise but (generally) not mentally-wise, since higher-level brain life does not begin at all until 22-24 weeks gestation and since certain things, such as memories, do not begin to be created until even later in one's development.

    "

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  52. There really aren't many similarites between the two, except that pro-choice people love to try to compare them. But there are too many disanologies to be relevant.
    No one's forcing a woman to be pregnant. She wilfully engaged in an act that leads to pregnancy. Plus, killing a child through abortion is clearly a violation of his/her right to life, as well as his/her own right to bodily integrity. Whereas in a forced organ donatin scenario, while it would be morally heroic for me to donate an organ, I am not morally obligated to. I am not responsible for the condition the person finds him/herself in. So no one's rights are being violated if I refuse to donate an organ. But if you force me to donate an organ, that's a violation of my right to bodily integrity.

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  53. What I meant was that there are certain similarities between the two in certain cases, such as where you are responsible for creating a situation with a dependent individual. For instance, if one ignores the legality aspect, then one can legitimately make a comparison between consensual sex leading to pregnancy and someone stabbing someone else in the kidney, thus requiring this individual to need a new kidney in order to survive.

    "No one's forcing a woman to be pregnant. She wilfully engaged in an act that leads to pregnancy."

    Anti-abortion people want to force women to remain pregnant, though.

    Plus, this doesn't apply to cases of rape.

    "Plus, killing a child through abortion is clearly a violation of his/her right to life, as well as his/her own right to bodily integrity."

    Yes, I get that, if one thinks that prenatal offspring should have such rights.

    "Whereas in a forced organ donatin scenario, while it would be morally heroic for me to donate an organ, I am not morally obligated to. I am not responsible for the condition the person finds him/herself in. So no one's rights are being violated if I refuse to donate an organ. But if you force me to donate an organ, that's a violation of my right to bodily integrity."

    What if you stab someone in the kidney or feed someone something which causes his or her kidney or whatever to give out?

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  54. I didn't "just decide from the get-go" that abortion opponents have no good arguments. I carefully studied their arguments for years. And found refutations for ALL of them. See the list at fightforsense.wordpress.com

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  55. Sorry, but some of your descriptions are inherently flawed, because the "I" thing that you have used does not exist prior to the acquisition of self-awareness. PART of your BODY has the continuity that you describe, back before birth, but NOT the "I".

    Another way of looking at the fallacy of the "identity" or "continuity" argument is to turn it around. ALL IT IS, IS A PLEA THAT "POTENTIAL" BE FULFILLED, for all unborn humans, just because it HAPPENED to be fulfilled for you and I and all other post-natal humans.

    Nevertheless, There Is No Such Thing In Nature As A Potential That MUST Be Fulfilled. This anti-abortion argument crashes and burns, just like all the others.

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  56. Your definition promotes Stupid Prejudice against alien and Artificial intelligences. Also, it is ARBITRARY in that you want to declare a particular mere-animal organism to be a person, without also declaring other equivalent-animal organisms to be persons. An adult pig, for example, is FAR more intelligent than an unborn human!

    Reply
  57. Since when do unborn humans have "rational nature", and adult pigs don't???

    I agree completely that we "person" needs to be carefully defined so that it includes all types of entities equivalent to the average competent human, while excluding all entities equivalent to ordinary/mere animals. Net result, unborn humans CANNOT qualify as persons!

    You are arguing BACKWARD, by ASSUMING that unborn humans are persons, after which a definition might take personhood away from them. But Until Your Assumption Is Proved, Your Argument Is NONSENSE.

    Without Proof of qualification for person status, unborn humans are simply mere animal organisms, and they CANNOT LOSE person status if they never had it in the first place!

    Abortion opponents are making a "positive" claim: "unborn humans qualify for personhood" The Burden of Proof is ALWAYS on those who make the positive claim. And, so far, you-all have FAILED, abysmally, to provide irrefutable Proof.

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  58. You might as well trace DNA back to the Origin Of Life, and thereafter conclude that you cannot kill anything at all, using the "continuity" argument.

    Really, as I pointed out in another post here, all this argument does is take the fact that all post-natal humans HAPPENED to survive the womb-experience, and therefore (irrationally!) all unborn humans MUST be allowed to survive the womb experience. Tsk, tsk!

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  59. IGS I didn't know in the 5-6 years since I read the Personal Idenity Debate lit that the psychological side had won the debate. I think it would be news to many of the academics still arguing on both sides. Personally I don't think either side is right but to say the biological continuity side has 'worthless' arguments

    Similarly would many developmental biologists say a pregnant female of a species doesn't carry a developing member of its own species? That what you seem to be saying. If they aren't the same organism how could they be the same species?

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  60. This whole exercise amounts to not much more than a word game. whether something is the same thing is not a metaphysical question, it is either a physical or linguistic question (depending on the context). It only becomes metaphysical when you presuppose the existence of a metaphysical entity connected with the physical one (i.e. a soul), which is not a claim I accept and as I understand it not SPL's game plan either.

    Depending on how one wants to use language, I could either deny premise 7 (if the definition of "identical" is so broad that I am identical to the fetus) or premise 4 (if the definition of "identical" is so narrow that I am not identical to the fetus). So the argument depends on equivocating between different definitions of "identical", which is never explicitly defined.

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  61. Um I didn't say anything about intelligence really. I just meant that if I was turned into a non magical animal I would have become that animal without the ability to speak then or possibly know who I was. But I would still have not died , I, ChaoticNIght would still exist. So can you clarify what part of my post is 'stupid prejudice' as I wasn't discussing alien intelligence.

    Non human beings (such as pigs) are not 'persons' by definition.
    merriam-webster.com/dictionary/person

    unborn humans on the other hand certainly qualify as they are human beings (proven by human dna code and chromosome set.)

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  62. That's really interesting Clinton thanks for sharing!
    I would have been ok looking it up so thanks for taking time to explain.

    I do have to agree wiht "ignorance" though, on questioning whether Boethius' definition would actually include the preborn. I had to drop Philoshy due to other obligations, however from what I understand 'rational nature" mean's one's ability to understand their world. If so, fetuses let alone newborns are not capable of understanding what goes on around them , so wouldn't they be excluded as persons then? Or is it enough (by his definition) to have the capability of being rational at some point in their lives? Which sounds like the basic personhood argument of today actually.

    Reply
  63. Ok well when you come down to it you seem to be picking apart words now. "I" refers to oneself. In this case "I" refers to Chatoicblu, a human being currently in her eh I'll say young adult stage of life. Prior to that, Chaoticblu was a teenager, a child, an infant, a fetus, an embryo, and a zygote. And several smaller stages of cell division that I do not know all the names for (except for morula). I "Chaoticblu" certainly existed before I became self aware.

    Not to mention, by your statement infants do not exist as they are not self aware (*). Yet, I've held one so ..either your statement is flawed or I am living in a completely self made reality, and we are not truly having this conversation.

    *"It is well recognized that infants have no awareness of their own state, emotions and motivations."

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

    "The Developmental of Self-Awareness The neurobiological
    and psychological triggers for self-awareness have not yet been
    clarified. What we do know is that this occurs around 1 – 3 years. "

    psychologytoday.com/blog/great-kids-great-parents/201211/self-awareness

    bottom line, I do not have to be self aware to exist.If that were true, then my mother was never pregnant.

    What you are doing it sees though is arguing the existence of self awareness as important, though I am still not sure how this fits with the Identity Argument. I mean based on what you are saying an infant should not have the right to life, nor should a coma patient despite if they asked for life support/life saving efforts. And what about times when you aren't self aware? Does your right to life go away when you are sleeping then?

    I GET you are making a disticton between self as "ego" , and the physical self. I just don't see the importance personally when it comes to human rights. I would say if at any point in your life you were a human being-regardless of current physical or mental state- you should have human rights.

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  64. I'd like to take this time to thank you for continuing to debate with me. I'm no expert debater and don't claim to be. Some stuff goes over my head but I am trying to address all your concerns.

    I appreciate you challenging my ideas and pointing out perceived flaws because it forces me to think even more about the topic and everything that has been said about it (by both of us) and I have no problem going back over my logic to see if I can find the same flaws as you.

    You are quite good at debate so I hope this is at least a little interesting for you too and my skill level isn't too low for you and you don't feel like you're wasting your time.

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  65. Can you explain the relevance of aliens, outsiders, making decisions on human value, laws and ethics? Humans know that they are a product of conception, therefore we know that a zygote is a human being. Therefor, some of us human beings conclude that human beings should have the right to life from conception, just as they do upon birth. Us humans are who run our planet, our societies. So it wouldn't matter what the aliens thought.

    Not to mention, if they were truly intelligent scientists they would NOT just examine a preborn human, they would collect samples of many things and find out how they all related to each other. That might change the alien's opinion on human value. Scientists are finding out new things all the time about things they once examined. So, even if they did at first believe a preborn human would develop into 'another dumb animal' that belief could be challenged by further study. For example, by studying a preborn subject for it's whole life span.

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  66. Jameson, not saying your wrong, (because honestly I"m not familiar with that stat ) but I gotta agree an explanation of why the statistic is irrelevant would be helpful.

    That stat doesn't sound correct to me, since all your cells can be traced back to preborn ones.How is that not continuity?

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  67. Persons are human beings by dictionary definition. The reason I personally use "human being" when discussing the unborn and abortion is because no one can challenge that they are human beings. Despite the fact that human beings are indeed persons,many pro choicers do not belive this, as they do not believe unborn (or preborn ) human beings count as such. By using the term 'human being' we sidestep this "gotcha!" "personhood' debate and can focus on whatever the current topic of discussion is.

    That is not to say the debate of personhood cannot occure, just a discussion about it or anything else off topic should not start in the middle of a current topic.

    Also, in order to make more pro choice people understand that the unborn are persons, it must first be driven home that they are human beings.

    Reply
  68. And AGAIN, a pig, or rock or anything NON HUMAN is NOT a person.

    merriam-webster.com/dictionary/person

    dictionary.reference.com/browse/person

    Reply
  69. The white blood cell having the same potential as a zygote is really interesting and I have never heard that. I shall have to read up on that.

    I feel like the rest of it though, you are trying to split hairs. It is possible the term 'being' alone could mean many things, and different things depending on what else it is attached to. Not to mention there is being as in "I am being this way" and being as in "human being'

    But when paired with the word "human' human being has specific meaning:

    A human.

    The
    American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published
    by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.human being

    n

    1. a member of any of the races of Homo sapiens; person; man, woman, or child

    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003hu′man be′ing
    n.

    1. any individual of the genus Homo, esp. a member of the species Homo sapiens. 2. a person, esp. as distinguished from other animals or as representing the human species: conditions not fit for hu (sorry I had trouble highlighting)

    thefreedictionary.com/human+being

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  70. Oh and actually you could call a zygote a 'human animal organism' if you wish. Though the 'animal' part may be redundant. Or not. I'm not super knowledgeable about scientific classifications, only the basics. Human organism would suffice though.

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  71. "So, when the evidence is, ALL aspects of personhood are associated with a
    human ONLY AFTER birth (and well after birth, at that), then why should
    THAT thing, the personhood that separates us from ordinary animals, be
    claimed to have "identity" or "continuity" with a pre-natal human???
    The body is NOT the person!"

    By defintion human beings are persons and persons are human beings.I still don't understand why you or other pro choicers argue against this. And I fail to see how you proved prenatal humans are not persons.

    I am actually becoming concerned at how much basic biology you actually understand. I am under the impression you do not believe you were ever the zygote conceived by your parents. Can you explain to me how you came into existence? And what entity your mother was pregnant with if it was not you?

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  72. pregnancy is natural (as in how the homo sapien species is populated). An unborn child by biological definition is not a parasite (a parasite is another species that invades a host and makes it unhealthy and/or eventually kills it.) I don't see the rational then in harming a human being for developing as nature intended. If one detests preborn children they are free to undergo a permanent birth control procedure and/or abstain from actions that would create one. In the case of rape, tragic I can't say that enough. But due to limits of current medicine, we cannot safely remove the child so unfortunately they need to be carried to term , with all the support we can give those women. They are courageous and I wish there was another life saving way .

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  73. Wait, how does one go form being bad in one way to suddenly being completely innocent? (if that is what you are saying). If the unborn child 'assaulted' there mother in the womb-without rational thought- and that justifies abortion to you, then why , upon being born (still currently without rational thought) and attaining 'personhood' by law, should they not still be allowed to be killed for those actions? Their 'crime' did not go away.

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  74. Oh and after you answer that if you do, this:

    ignorance_is_curable

    argent

    17 minutes ago

    The unborn are in no position to provide "consent" –they lack the brainpower for it, being mere animal organisms.

    Not being able to consent to a procedure that does nothing but harm them is a damn good reason not to do that procedure.

    Usually when one cannot consent, the dr does what is in the patient's best interest. In the case of abortion, there are 2 patients. The women who asks for the procedure, and the unborn child, the one who gets sucked out by abortion instruments and ultimately parishes. (some would argue there is only one patient, the unborn child.)

    Considering a dr is supposed to not purposely (as in be neglectful or have malicious intent) harm their patients, it makes no sense to go through with a procedure that will end the life of one of them.

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  75. Hm yes if you wholeheartedly believe that all life came from one single type of organisms then I see how you could come to the conclusion that we should not harm any living thing. However, animals kill other animals all the time. For food mostly, but sometimes out of competition. Animals due what their instincts tell them too, what they need to do to survive.

    A women (with few exceptions) does not abort for survival. A women aborts for various reasons-some even think they are doing their child a favor.

    However I believe this comes back to how we humans formed our own society. And in our society we have laws against killing each other for selfish , non defensive purposes. I have already explained how an unborn child (nice change form 'human being eh? ) is not a parasite, therefor-with the exception of limited scenarios such as ectopic pregnancy- abortion is NOT done for survival. as far as I know abortion is not in our nature.

    We also know that unborn children are human beings (aka people, or persons). Based on this knowledge, if our society is against us (human beings living in said society) killing one another for selfish purposes (jealousy, greed, etc) than it is reasonable to believe it would/should be frowned upon to kill a human being regardless of where they physical are (in the womb for example).

    Basically, why are we discriminating against some human beings?

    Now, you mentioned:

    "Really, as I pointed out in another post here, all this argument does is
    take the fact that all post-natal humans HAPPENED to survive the
    womb-experience, and therefore (irrationally!) all unborn humans MUST be
    allowed to survive the womb experience."

    I personally think if nature (the women's body by whatever biological means) did not reject the zygote -as some are due to defects and such- then they have made it through the 'checkpoint' and are entitled to continue their normal course of fetal development. Other than I believe I answered your cocern in the other parts of my post.

    Furthermore, can you explain to me how allowing a natural process to continue, that is needed to continue our species is irrational?

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  76. So after research it seem we (pro lifers) don't need to change the meaning of 'person hood' we need to actually get people to understand and accept it's definition.

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  77. I'm getting the feeling you are an animal rights activist. And I applaud you for that. However please keep the arguments on topic, using examples of animals is fine if it makes a point. But we are not discussing whether animals aside form human beings should be persons or not, we are discussing whether or not a human being is the same human being that was once a zygote, and weather that rationalized that human being having the right to life in every stage of their life.

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  78. I'm actually enjoying it , but that's probably because I am new to debate and like honing my skills. Though I feel like he's going in 2 (or 3) different direction. First arguing the need to be physically identical, then arguing for self awareness, and personhood. Is it one or the other, or both? And I'm not sure why he's bringing animals into it and trying to get them to be called persons.

    I'm trying to not get lost and keep the main focus of the article.

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  79. Though I think I'm almost out of steam. I kind of draw the line at dissecting the meaning of words now and calling non humans people.

    But it's been a fascinating ride.

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  80. Not trying to be rude or sarcastic. I am just starting to find you confusing and would like to try and get down to what basics regarding biology, fetal development, and terminology you know so I can see if we are even starting on any of the same ground. I'd like to try and clarify any misconceptions.

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  81. @i Not trying to be rude or sarcastic. I am just starting to find you
    confusing and would like to try and get down to what basics regarding
    biology, fetal development, and terminology you know so I can see if we
    are even starting on any of the same ground. I'd like to try and clarify
    any misconceptions.

    (ug I'm STILL getting used to how the reply function works. I hate how it looks like I'm talking to myself. >_<

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  82. Oh and btw, a rock isn't the same as a human being either because a rock is not a living thing. A rock is not made of living cells like plants for example.

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  83. "IF WE DON'T call it a "human being", because we know the white blood
    cell is NOT a person, then perhaps we can call it a "human animal
    organism"."

    "human animal organism" implies that the white blood self in itself is A Human. It is not. It is 'human' as 'human remains' are human, or 'human waste' is human..meaning 'derived from a human'. But a white blood cell itself is not a human BEING.

    "What is the rationale for calling the zygote a "human being", then,
    instead of "human animal organism"??? Do you think that JUST BY CALLING
    IT a "human being" (thereby mis-using the language, as previously
    stated), that automatically makes it a person instead of a mere animal
    organism???"

    The rational is that a zygote is human being from the moment of conception. Human beings conceive and give birth to other human beings. That is the nature of procreation. Like species begets like species (when both parents are of the same species.).

    Human beings are persons as I stated several times , citing online dictionaries.

    I never said human beings are not ALSO animals though. Certainly we are. We are vertebrates, we are mammals, we are classified as other things too that I can't recall right now. Yes, we are part of the Animal Kingdom. Living in a civilized society though, we have giving names to things in our world, including ourselves. One such name(or label) is "human being" , another is "person".

    I missed the part where you proved I am misusing language. Can you quote me or you where you prove it please?

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  84. We're not even classified in the same kingdom as bacteria so how can we be more bacteria than human? (I'm geniounly curious so I'll knowingly take the bait. This needs to be explained. And does this somehow stop us form having DNA that codes for a human being? Because that's what it all comes back to.

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  85. Ok I didn't read all the post but I just wanted to chime in on one early part. You said you feel pro lifers fail to look at the big picture, I find this ironic as I say the same thing about pro choicers.

    Pro choicers are content to discrimante against the unborn and take their lives for mostly selfish purposes; convenience purposes. They are not looking at the big picture in that abortion isn't just something that happens to THEM, the person it is performed through. The actual aborting is performed on another human's life, with fatal results.

    Abortion concerns human life, human life concerns all of us. The legality of abortion in the United States and other countries shows that our society believes selfishness overrules another's right to life.

    The legality of abortion also shows how hypocritical our society is. Outlawing murder but legalizing abortion. (I've already explained the problem here in a previous post.)

    Abortion is NOT a woman's health issue, as many pro choicers seem to think- it is not a prevention of choice issue either, it is a civil rights issue, an issue that affects our society as a whole.

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  86. You want to force women to STAY pregnant. You deny the Fact that a completely different organism than the woman, a blastocyst, implanted itself into her womb WITHOUT necessarily having permission to do so –and many quite Naturally fail to implant. When birth control fails, the organism does the implanting entirely without permission.

    You want to ignore Facts about "child", when an unborn human has a placenta as a major organ, and survives by stealing resources from the body of another individual, plus it dumps toxic biowastes and addictive substances into that other body –and an ACTUAL child is not associated with any of those things.

    The blog article on this page talks about the continuity of a BODY, ignoring the Fact that the "I", the self-aware entity that wrote the article, has NO part of its existence while in the womb. That "I" is IN NO WAY equivalent to a fetus.

    Meanwhile, organisms that lack the ability for self-awareness are basically "mere animals" –including unborn humans– not persons, and "right to life" is only granted to PERSONS. Thus there is NO "violation of a right to life" when an unborn human is killed.

    There is NOTHING you can do to prove that a mere animal, lacking the ability for self-awareness, lacking the ability to understand the future, lacking the ability to creatively manipulate abstractions, lacking the ability to mentally put itself into the position of another organism (and lacking more abilities than only those!) qualifies as equal to a person that does have all those abilities.

    Remember, when a normal adult human brain dies, even if the body doesn't die, the abilities of Personhood ARE destroyed, and so what remains is just a mere animal organism –EXACTLY equivalent to an unborn human– and BOTH are allowed to be killed.

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  87. I bring up multiple topics partly because of the Big Picture, and partly because there are often multiple ways of destroying an anti-abortion argument (usually the longer the argument, the more ways it can be destroyed, and this blog post has a pretty long argument in it).

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  88. Thank you. It really is important to be precise in the use of language. Words like "being" should be avoided when they can confuse the context of a discussion.

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  89. The white blood cell having the same potential as a zygote is really interesting and I have never heard that. I shall have to read up on that.

    ———-

    It is a logical ultimate consequence of "stem cell research".

    ==========

    I feel like the rest of it though, you are trying to split hairs. It is possible the term 'being' alone could mean many things, and different things depending on what else it is attached to. Not to mention there is being as in "I am being this way" and being as in "human being'

    ———–

    But when paired with the word "human' human being has specific meaning:

    A human.

    [dictionary definitions snipped]

    ———–

    OF COURSE. The word is totally unecessary most of the time, when talking about humans. As an analogy, when talking about outhouses, which are mostly made of wood, we very seldom say "wooden outhouse"; we just say "outhouse". Only when talking about something special, like a "brick outhouse", do we feel the need to embellish the word "outhouse". Do you know of any reason why it is NORMALLY necessary to embellish the word "human" with 'being"???

    Which brings me back to unborn humans and the Overall Abortion Debate, and the Fact that "being" can be used to embellish something in a manner that indicates personhood. In the Episode 1 movie of the "Star Wars" series ("Phantom Menace"), we are introduced to some fictional aliens who live underwater. If you stand back and squint you might consider calling them something like "giant frog beings" –because they are obviously people, even if they vaguely resemble giant frogs.

    An unborn human is CERTAINLY 100% human. But that doesn't mean it qualifies to be embellished with the word "being", when that word indicates personhood!

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  90. OVERALL, it is obvious that "person" is equated with "being" throughout those definitions. It DOESN'T say that a "human" is a person; it says a "human being" is a person! And other types (like rational entities) of BEINGS are also persons.

    Meanwhile, an unborn human does NOT qualify as a rational entity. It is ONLY a mere animal organism, not a person-class "being". It is ONLY BY MISUSING the word "being" that abortion opponents equate unborn humans with persons!

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  91. I DO challenge the mis-use of the language. Remember, dictionaries DON'T CONTROL the language, they only RECORD HOW it gets used. And it is well-known that mis-used language CAN end up in dictionaries (see the word "ain't, for example, which all English teachers revile).

    Nevertheless, dictionary definitions CAN change with time. The word "arsenic", for example, was commonly used to refer to a particular poisonous substance. Nowadays, however, the primary definition of the word relates to Chemical Element #33. The poisonous substance is still in the dictionary, but it is no longer the primary definition.

    We can thank Science, the process for generating new knowledge, for such changes as that, in dictionaries, as Facts become widely known and get commonly mentioned in the language.

    With respect to "person", we can be CERTAIN that in the long long run that definition is GOING to change. The Universe is too big for human beings to be the only persons in it! In fact, right now there are arguments raging over whether or not dolphins should be accepted as persons.
    europeanlifenetwork.blogspot.com/2012/02/dolphins-are-persons-with-right-to-life.html

    And we didn't even have to go off-Earth to find entities THAT intelligent!

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  92. I said nothing about equating a rock with a human. I only focused on one particular definition of the word "being", along with logical consequences. "Being" IS associated with "existence" and rocks DO exist!

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  93. I should note I have been replying to a bunch of your posts on this page from bottom-to-top. You might want to start at the bottom, then, in reading them.

    The argument makes the primary error of confusing "person" with "unborn human", mostly by mis-using the word "being" –which I've examined in more detail in other posts below.

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  94. Only our human cells can be traced back to preborn cells. But our symbiotic bacterial cells, outnumbering human cells by about 10 to 1, came from outside the womb. THEIR continuity has nothing to do with human conception, and subsequent development in the womb.

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  95. No problem. My goal is defined by my handle. Abortion opponents are basically arguing from ignorance (which is NOT a sin). It still deserves to be cured, thoug!

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  96. I honestly wouldn't worry about what "ignorance" says, because he clearly doesn't understand any of these terms and the fact that he is quite beliigerent and probably wouldn't listen to a thing I say means that I don't really care to correct his misunderstandings.
    The key word is "nature." You're talking about what we can do now. You and I both have the present ability to be rational (to understand the world arund us), but it's only because we have the nature as rational agents. Hedgehogs never grow to a point where they can be rational because it's not in their nature to do so. The unborn have the same capacity for rationality we do, the only difference is they have to develop enough to be able to presently exercise the function of rationality.

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  97. I am not so much into "animal rights" as I am Against Prejudice. If a human white blood cell qualifies as a mere animal organism, not a person, then the Facts that it is alive, and has human DNA means that it is Very Possible for mere animal organisms to exist that are alive and have human DNA.

    So, to CALL a human zygote a person, but not, say, a pig zygote, is to exhibit Prejudice against pigs. But to admit that the human zygote is NOT a person is to NOT exhibit Prejudice against pigs. See?

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  98. We WILL change the definition of "person", else we will end up in an interstellar war some day, with technologically advance aliens that Stupidly Prejudiced humans claim are not persons!

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  99. The unborn are in no position to provide "consent" –they lack the brainpower for it, being mere animal organisms."

    Not being able to consent to a procedure that does nothing but harm them is a damn good reason not to do that procedure.

    ————-

    OH??? Then obviously you should never mow the lawn, since grass blades are unable to provide consent, right?

    ==============

    Usually when one cannot consent, the dr does what is in the patient's best interest. In the case of abortion, there are 2 patients.

    ———

    NOPE. There is just one patient, the woman, a person.

    ==========

    The women who asks for the procedure, and the unborn child, the one who gets sucked out by abortion instruments and ultimately perishes.

    ————-

    FALSE, because the unborn human is not there to receive a medical BENEFIT, the main thing that qualifies some person (or even an animal in a veterinarian office) as a "patient". Also you are mis-using the language in calling an unborn human a "child". It is a "child under construction", and needs its placenta in order to survive, which is DIFFERENT from how a genuine "child" survives after birth –the construction process is not done until the placenta can be discarded.

    ===========

    (some would argue there is only one patient, the unborn child.)

    ———-

    A Stupid Waste Of Effort, that.

    ==========

    Considering a dr is supposed to not purposely (as in be neglectful or have malicious intent) harm their patients, it makes no sense to go through with a procedure that will end the life of one of them.

    ———–

    It makes PERFECT sense when you stop swallowing nonsense about unborn humans.

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  100. "Pregnancy is natural" –AGREED. But is pregnancy NECESSARY? Now we are talking about matters of "degree". For example, is it Necessary for every woman on the planet to be pregnant as much as possible? NO! It is necessary for SOME women to be pregnant occasionally? **IF** we want the species to survive, then the Answer is, "of course!"

    In-between those extremes lies the Abortion Debate. You want to declare that unwanted pregnancies are Necessary. You Are Wrong!

    "An unborn human is not a parasite" –AGREED. But that doesn't stop it from ACTING like a parasite –and, by the way, not all parasites ultimately kill their hosts.

    "I don't see the rationale, then, in harming a human for developing as nature intended" –HERE IT IS: Human beings have Free Will. If a mosquito comes to bite you, As Nature Intended, MUST you let it? If a tiger decides you are meat, As Nature Intended, MUST you let it dine on you? If your body ages faster than normal (some die of old age at 50 –or even 15!), MUST you accept that???

    So, if a human woman chooses to use her Free Will to REFUSE to accept a pregnancy, which involves an unwanted ANIMAL organism, not another person, she is currently allowed to do that.

    "they are free to undergo a permanent birth control procedure…" –AGREED, except that many people avoid doing that because they can't afford kids NOW, but expect to be able to afford them in the future. Which leaves them with imperfect birth-control techniques, and sometimes seeking abortion.

    "unfortunately they [unborn humans] need to be carried to term" — UTTERLY FALSE, as an overall arbitrary statement. We only NEED a certain number of unborn humans to be carried to term, for the human species to survive (maybe 10,000 per year, to ensure genetic diversity). NONE of the rest are truly necessary.

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  101. I admit I could have phrased that better. Basically the newborn's BEHAVIOR is now innocent.

    I suppose you could say it is still guilty of having done all those bad things before birth, but, because it IS only a mere animal organism, it has no understanding of the meaning of its prior actions.

    If those actions qualified as "intolerable" to the woman carrying that human prior to birth, then abortion is a way to deal with it. Otherwise, basically, we MIGHT say something like "for those actions, the period of possible intolerance ends at birth". Kind of like a statute of limitations –the Law, after all, DOES grant Legal Personhood, along with various rights and protections, at birth.

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  102. Ask yourself, "Generically, what characteristics distinguish persons of ANY type from ordinary animals?" If a person is a non-human extraterrestrial, or if a person is a True Artificial Intelligence, makes no difference. All have something in common such that they can be distinguished from ordinary animals. WHAT, EXACTLY?

    Then ask, "Why should unborn humans be considered persons, when they DON'T exhibit any of the Generic characteristics that can distinguish persons from ordinary animals?"

    Meanwhile, newborn humans, under the Law, are arbitrarily granted Legal Personhood, and accompanying rights. While this is not "in sync" with the Objective Generic Facts regarding personhood and humans, it is not a "big deal" sort of thing, because birth DOES involve a couple of extremely important changes in a human organism's life.

    The preceding goes directly against a common anti-abortion argument, regarding "what is the difference between a newborn human and an about-to-be-born human, such that the pre-natal human is abort-able?" The Answer Is: The newborn stops needing its placenta to survive, and it stops using its placenta to do worse things than a parasite, to a woman's body.

    A major reason why I Am Against Assigning Legal Personhood Before Birth is that this would make the Law even MORE out-of-sync with the Objective Generic Facts about personhood.

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  103. Oh I agree IIC personhood is distinct I was just referring to your argument that the unborn are different organisms at different stage of development or once they aquire their symbiotic 'boarders'. I've never come across anything in the lit or developmental biology claiming they are different organism -at least after twinning- or for that matters species. They have chains of biological continuity and that is the standard argument from the biological continuity camp.

    & I agree the mind is an aspect of out personal identity, but would deny it or personhood is our ontological nature. Rather it is an important emergent embodied aspect of the entire organism system. I would also add a systems and telenomical POV one could argue we are self assembling embodied persons, so that early stages of development would still include 'personhood' even if latent. Think of self assembling car that started as a box. Even if it cannot be driven at that stage its design and functionality is as a self assembling car at all stages.

    But even that isn't our nature we are in fact sophisticated complex adaptive systems that include a 'personhood' capacity. We can in fact go lower or higher on the cognitive continuum and still be thought as the same individual.

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  104. I think that is a good point, but this is how I think of the "mentally-wise" argument. Haven't tried this out on anyone yet, so I'm not sure if it really a proper way of thinking about it.

    First off, I think it is important to note that even though, as a zygote/fetus/baby/toddler, certain mental functions are not developed until later – the key is that they DEVELOP. In my understanding, they do not suddenly "turn on". I could be wrong about that, but since a human is able to (for instance) recognize and begin to learn language patterns in the womb, as well as recognize the voice of their mother and (often) father immediately after birth, it seems clear to me that learning and mental functions develop throughout a human's life, and that that development begins before birth, parallel to the development of the physical brain and body.

    Then, I would also point out that if something were to go wrong during a child's development in the womb (for instance, a lack of oxygen, a mother drinking too much alcohol, etc) then the brain function of that child will be permanently damaged. If we aren't mentally as well as physically connected to ourselves as young humans, then how can circumstances that existed in our past have such HUGE effects on our future ability to think and reason?

    Finally, I would note that (depending on your view, of course) this mental/physical dichotomy is a false difference. We ARE our physical beings – our mental abilities are due to PHYSICAL processes in our brains, and should those physical processes become interrupted, then what we see as our mental abilities would become compromised. In other words, if we are a continuation of the fetus bodily-wise, then that continuation also includes our brains. And because our brains are DIRECTLY responsible for our mental abilities, then our mental abilities are also a continuation.

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  105. Why only ''pay attention'' to definition 2?

    Why not definition 4? It's not outdated like the other definitions.

    ''And AGAIN, a pig, or rock or anything NON HUMAN is NOT a person.''
    If this is true, than humanity won't survive in the future for long. A non species definition of person is required.
    The only one I saw earlier was a person is a entity with ''a rational nature'' and most R-Strategists will have a nightmare with that definition.

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  106. When he calls the one cell human a '' human animal organism'' he includes animal in there to tell that the entity in question has none of the mental abilities that would make it distinguished from a ordinary animal.

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  107. People run their lives primarily by choices, not by instinct basically being autonomous (adj)

    They can communicate by symbols, as I am doing here for you.

    Persons think and communicate in abstract terms.

    People have a sense of morality and ethics. (If these were ’instinctive’ we would all agree about what was moral and ethical, but we don’t. We simply acknowledge that there is such a thing as morality and ethics ordinary animals don’t)

    We can predict, and imagine the distant future. This means comprehending a continued existence for yourself. It's where you can decide what you may want to do tomorrow, weeks from now, months from now etc. And the interesting thing about this is that you still retain all of it to while asleep and in most coma cases as well. I know this from personal experience. About 1 week ago, I came out of a 1 month coma and still had this.
    I believe there are more like the self recognition thing and many others.

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  108. "So if I am an organism, I am F. But if I am not F, then I am not an
    organism. This would also mean that I am not a rational animal, because I
    am distinct from F" – I don't actually think that follows. There are other 'absurd consequences' that I don't think follow either. Personally, I subscribe to an Identity Argument and do believe that there are absurd consequences – just not all the mentioned ones. This may be getting more in the weeds than is appropriate here. If it's ok, p'haps I could contact you via FB. Just a heads up: the message may initially gbut the rationale could get more

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  109. PS: The message may be automatically put in your Other folder instead of the Inbox (or even Spam) since we're not connected as FB friends.

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  110. Their view is that we're fundamentally something other than an organism and will offer counterexamples where a living human has permanently lost higher level brain function and where many people would assert, 'T not me anymore.'

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  111. That's a good question and I think illustrates the good and bad of the opposing views. A prolife identity argument will say that 1) we're identical to organisms and 2) we've always had a right to life. The opposing view can either oppose #1 with a personhood based theory of identity or oppoe #2 with a view that moral status accrues gradually or else is acquired only after a developmental threshold is reached. These aren't totally untenable positions, but they certainly have VERY problematic implications.

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  112. FWIW, I'd say that the difference is objective – it's empirically observable. It's also (AFAIK) easy to delineate for caterpillar vs butterfly, much less so pre-personhood human vs human person. I see the latter not so much as superficial but as claiming that a difference which is significant with is so profound that it's the ONLY thing that's significant. It's the mistake of assuming a sufficient condition is necessary. In other words, personhood separates humans from animals and is the reason that we have human rights- but that doesn't mean exhibiting personhood is necessary for human rights because then infants have no right to life.

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  113. There are two types of identity – strict identity and identity over time. Strict identity requires all properties to be the same – hence "You can't step in the same river twice" – since rivers continually make small changes to their contours that can only be seen after much time is past. Identity over time is the sense in which we CAN step in the same river twice and which enables us to identify things which persist.

    Your 2 assumptions aren't necessarily correct. Just as a future of value argument can avoid specifying what a particular ground for a right to life (by instead focusing on what makes killing wrong), so can the identity argument. It posits that whatever the ground for a right to life, with a very few exceptions most people would agree with the statement 'It's always been wrong for someone to kill me,' and then that what 'me' refers to is a particular organism.

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  114. "the right to life is not based on have 23 pairs of chromosomes" – Of course that's not the basis, but it's certainly related. Humans have unique capacities which are morally significant. We've evolved to have those capacities and genes are the mechanism for passing on traits. Having an extra or missing chromosome doesn't necessarily cause one to be intellectually disabled, and having the normal 23 pairs certainly doesn't protect one from becoming intellectually disabled.

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  115. This is where your view disintegrates like wet Kleenex. Normal people don't think granting infants rights is a peculiar curiosity based on a legal fiction like corporate personhood. Normal people believe that they have this legal right because it reflects a fundamental moral right. Arguing to the contrary is something generally considered (and rightly so) morally abhorrent.

    It certainly is a big deal. In fact, it's fatal to your view if you want ordinary people to subscribe to it. Humans have fundamental rights prenatally for precisely the same reason that they do neonatally.

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  116. Prenates aren't parasites because the body of the gravida has evolved to undergo changes which are required for the embryo to be accepted. You're saying that the prenate acts like an unwelcome guest, even though the host has welcomed the guest. It's nonsensical.

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  117. "I can say the identity argument has been PROVED to be flawed." – You can say it, but it's incorrect and capitalizing doesn't change that.

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  118. Right – personhood as we know it today is entirely Locke's version which just shares with Boethius the focus on rationality. It's obvious why enlightenment philosophy would have embraced it and connected it to rights. What I find particularly illuminating is that the bar wasn't originally so low. Now it's typically separating humans from animals: passing the mirror test at approx. 1.5 yrs for basic human rights. That's much less than what most definitions of rationality require, so it's often called Neo-Lockean.

    Locke's actual view separated children from those with adults and was more about civil rights (eg, voting and property ownership) than fundamental rights like the right not to be killed. He'd say children and women lacked fully developed rational faculties and therefore lacked personhood. His view made personhood

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  119. Having the same DNA isn't relevant to identity because even though their genome contains the same information they have different spatio-temporal paths. Suppose you and I have two copies of the same book. They're not identical either.

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  120. No, you have counterarguments not refutations. I can give counterarguments just as good to every pro-choice argument you make and many you don't.

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  121. 2 points:
    1) This shows why these abilities (& personhood) can't be necessary for a right to life. A fuller sense of personhood like this would raise the bar to exclude not just infants but toddlers.
    2) "you still retain all of it to while asleep and in most coma cases as well." – Not really. When in a coma (or some types of comas at least) and most of the time you're asleep, you're not able to do these things. The ability is absent until you awake – although the capacity (the potential ability) remains. In time a sleeper wakes and someone in a coma may recover, and then their able to do these things again.

    That's true for infants and prenates too, with normal development over time rather than healing over time. The disagreement is over whether a capacity for personhood defining characteristics is the morally significant quality or whether it's only a capacity for personhood defining characteristics to return which matters.

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  122. It's both responsibility and the "saving" vs " not killing" that together make the comparison so disanalogous that they aren't useful. Suppose you drive a car and cause an accident that injures someone so that they need a kidney immediately to survive. You're also injured. In a hospital mix up, your kidney is given to the accident victim. You get an infection while hospitalized that severely reduces renal function. You'll need dialysis until your remaining kidney can heal. Rather than endure that for the next year, you claim the right to have the other healthy kidney returned – which will kill the person who you hit with your car.

    That's a reasonable analogy.

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  123. I don't consider it equivocation. It's essential to how one views moral rights to clarify this. OTOH, if this is considered equivocation, it's no more so than pro-choicers always do on personhood and pro-lifer always do on human.

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  124. So, are you saying that my right to life is tied to have certain working intellectual capabilities? I'm inclined to agree with you on that. However, it seems that is consistent with most pro-choice positions as well.

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  125. We ARE our physical beings – our mental abilities are due to PHYSICAL processes- I agree, but someone could disagree by saying that thoughts are abstractions and therefore what is mental is nonphysical. This could be analogous to how a book is physical, but what is written in it is abstract and nonphysical. (A poem isn't physical.)

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  126. But I do think that someone not only should be able to kill me in certain circumstances. I think they should actually do it. And by "me," I mean me the same organism.

    For example, where I to be brain dead and hooked up to a life support system, I would not only think that a "right" to life would be nonsense, I would HOPE that someone should pull the plug.. Why? Because that would not be "me," in any relevant way. Because "me" the person max means more than just me the same organism.

    To put it another way, I don't think our rights are tied to just having some specific genetic code or just in the ability to feel pain. It has to do with being a thinking, rational animal that projects their self into the future, making goals, forming friendships, making commitments, etc… Which is why someone with an extra chromosome should absolutely get the same rights. And a chicken should not (even if, say, Peter SInger disagrees with me).

    And, just so we are clear, the right to life we are talking about (don't permit abortion) is more than just not kill the fetus. It is also give birth to the fetus, care for the child, etc.

    That is not to say, of course, that you might not very well come to the conclusion that society ought to require women to do just that. But we should at least acknowledge what it is we are asking, right?

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  127. 1) They would be used to determine if non human entities qualify as persons. I only really scratched the list.
    2) Actually your wrong. Your equating already existing abilities with potential abilities. What you're saying is that a professional boxer is not longer a boxer because he is not boxing. Most will say you're wrong because the professional boxer is a boxer because he GAINED that ability and even if he not using that ability he is still identified as such.
    Unborn humans and newborns have yet to gain these abilities because once you gain them, you use them throughout the rest of your life.
    And also, if I lost those abilities, than why I'm I still here using them? In the coma, I was simply not using them but they were actualize abilities.

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  128. "brain dead and hooked up to a life support system" – Sure, but presumably not when you have a TBI from which recovery is expected. The difference is temporary absence of brain activity versus permanent loss. Temporary absence is the the same with TBI and the fetus.

    "I don't think our rights are tied to just having some specific genetic
    codeor just in the ability to feel pain." – Agreed

    "It has to do with being a
    thinking, rational animal" – But someone in an induced coma because of a TBI isn't a
    thinking, rational animal, although they often are an animal which will think and be rational in time.

    "the right to life we are talking about (don't permit abortion) is more
    than just not kill the fetus. It is also give birth to the fetus, care
    for the child, etc." – Not so much. It's definitely not care
    for the child. The child can often be left at an ER or fire station 'no questions asked'. As to 'give birth', well yes, but that's only because there's no other option. Rather than saying that I want to force a woman to carry a child, I'd say that I'm not willing to accept that the desire not to carry a child isn't justification for killing it.

    I think that captures a distinction not present in your phrasing: the difference between imposing a burden on someone and refusing to allow an action whose purpose is to free them of that burden.

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  129. "What you're saying is that a professional boxer is
    not longer a boxer because he is not boxing." No- if a boxer is injured and can't currently, box then he's presently unable to box. He presently lacks the ability. ('Being able' and 'possessing the ability" are synonyms.) People in comas (I can't speak to your case in particular) usually lose the abilities. In some cases the loss is permanent. In others they retain the capacity so that the ability can be regained when they recover. In both cases while the coma persists the ability is gone because they're unable to do these things unless and until their coma ends.

    You're using 'ability' as if it meant potentially able (even if currently unable), but that's the definition of capacity.

    Reply
  130. " "the right to life we are talking about (don't permit abortion) is more than just not kill the fetus. It is also give birth to the fetus, care for the child, etc." – Not so much. "

    And here we come to the crux of the real disagreement. I think that the real life experiences of the women you think should be required to carry the baby to term matter and you don't. Nah, that the fetus lives inside you, the physical changes to your body, the ripping of the wall separating your anus and vagina, the increased risk of death, the oxytoctin that emotionally binds you to the child, the direct link between poverty and being a single mother… Nope. None of that deserves even a mention. Its not like the pregnant woman is an actual person, right? That would just be absurd!

    That is why SOME pro-lifers are clearly misogynists. Not that they are against abortion, but because they don't think the actual experiences of women need even to be acknowledged, let alone be taken into consideration.

    Reply
  131. PS: perhaps you're actually thinking of skill/talent (?)

    I'm pretty good at drawing. It's a skill I've developed. Once I had to get a skin graft on my hand. I lost the ability to draw when I had that operation because of the effect of the surgery (and because I can't draw worth a damn with the other hand). The skin graft took and there was no permanent damage (except a scar). When my hand healed, I was again able to draw as before. I still had the skill, even though I lost the ability for awhile.

    Reply
  132. You're just generalizing based on stereotype.

    "I think that the real life experiences of the women you think should be
    required to carry the baby to term matter and you don't."

    No. That's just false. It's that you think that the experience is so important that it justifies taking a prenatal human life. I concede it's important, but I think that prenatal life is as important as neonatal life, so I'd not accept avoiding the experience of pregnancy as a justification for abortion any more than for infanticide.

    Probably, you devalue prenatal life (compared to prolife folks). There's no basis for your claim that we don't consider the burden of pregnancy significant just because we don't consider it a license for something.

    Pregnancy (in the developed world) carries a quite very small risk of proving fatal. If someone were ill with a disease that's guaranteed fatal, I'd not permit them to cure themselves if the cure entailed infanticide. I doubt you would either. The difference is just in whether one considers prenatal life morally equivalent.

    In my experience the argument that the difference is in considering pregnancy a significant burden or thinking it's insignificant is something prochoice people say mostly to justify being angry at prolifers.

    Reply
  133. PS: I've often heard the term "real life experiences" or "lived experiences" in this context. What significance is there to that? It seems unnecessary if not redundant. Why not just "experiences?"

    Reply
  134. ''if a boxer is injured and can't currently, box then he's presently unable to box. He presently lacks the ability. ('Being able' and 'possessing the ability" are synonyms.)''

    Depends on how severe the injury is. Most of the time, It's still the same thing he didn't lose the ability he was just temporarily not using it. The common usual coma case is exactly comparible to a boxer who simply is not currently boxing. The only thing lost is during the coma is just consciousness, not the mental abilities associated with consciousness. There are cases though where they permanently lost the abilities but that's extremely rare.

    ''People in comas (I can't speak to your case in particular) usually lose the abilities.''

    The vast majority of coma cases only last a couple of days/weeks at most. Using the extremely rare case where someone lost ALL the abilities associated with personhood is the same as pro choicer's using rape cases for their argument. It just doesn't work.

    ''In some cases the loss is permanent.''

    Yes in extremely rare cases I agree some go into severe mental retardation sadly it happens. Though if you still want to call them persons than you may as well call cows and chickens persons as well.

    ''In others they retain the capacity so that the ability can be regained when they recover. In both cases while the coma persists the ability is gone because they're unable to do these things unless and until their coma ends.''

    Still equating potential with already existing abilities.

    Sure when I was in the womb if I even was, the fetus does have the basic capacity to gain these abilities. In the case of the coma they actualize the abilities as proved by the fact than when a coma typically ends, the person starts using those abilities they gained in their life.

    There are some abilities I have that I'm temporarily not using right now. It doesn't mean now I lost those abilities.

    '' Because you retained the capacity.''

    I had the basic capacity BEFORE I had these abilities to gain them. Now in this point of my life I have those abilities and the only time I will actually lose them permanently is if I get severe mental retardation or actually die.

    ''I agree that you weren't using them, but not MERELY not using them.''

    Yeah I was simply not using them.

    ''That's the problem with your boxing analogy. A boxer may simply choose not to box even though he's able.''

    There is no problem at all. You wouldn't go up to someone and say they lost the ability to write just because it wasn't be used would you?

    ''If he cannot box (permanently or temporarily) then the ability is absent – even if it may be regained.''

    If the boxer permanently lost the ability to box, than he wouldn't be called a boxer. Just like if someone permanently lost or didn't have the abilities associated with personhood than they wouldn't be called a person.

    So if I'm temporarily not writing on paper than I lost the ability to write on paper?

    Sounds good bro.

    Reply
  135. No- I say it's tied to having intellectual capacities, which is quite different. Working intellectual capabilities would mean that you could manifest some ability at present. My view is that you merely have the capacity (retain the capability to manifest an ability).

    If there's a congenital defect. illness, or injury that makes an organism permanently unable to manifest those intellectual abilities then I don't think that the organism being a member of the human species is morally significant. Many prolifers don't agree with that but I've yet to hear what I thought was a good argument against it.

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  136. FWIW, it does make me uncomfortable on a purely emotional level that being prolife necessarily implies requiring women to continue unwanted pregnancy. I'd prefer if that weren't a necessary consequence, but that it is is the whole basis of the controversy (ie, that's a conflict between what under most circumstances are rights we want to be honored). I think that often the right course of action will be uncomfortable, so I don't let that emotional response affect what position I take. I'm totally open to ways to mitigate the imposition for pregnant women. If it were the left rather than the right which was allied to the prolife movement (which would make more sense really) that'd be woven into the fabric of prolife advocacy.

    Unfortunately, history produced what are (IMHO) completely counterintuitive coalitions to form: the small government libertarian party allied with the group requiring loss of autonomy to respect the rights of the powerless; the party willing to expand government authority and be more generous for social justice causes allied with the group demanding a personal freedom which denies the humanity of a class of human beings because they're too different to be granted human rights.

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  137. It's more intelligent than an infant too – ergo manifestation of personhood characteristics confers rights, but isn't a requirement. All that's required is the capacity to manifest the characteristics eventually. That's why the B in BLT is bacon, and we'd be horrified if it were for babies.

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  138. "There Is No Such Thing In Nature As A Potential That MUST Be Fulfilled" –
    1) It's not that it MUST be fulfilled. Rather it's that acting to prevent the potential being realized is unethical
    2) It's not MERE potential. A boulder at the top of a hill, which could be rolled down has the potential to crash at the bottom. A boulder currently rolling down has potential, but it's potential which will be realized if not interfered with. Healthy prenatal life is like the second boulder.
    3) Whether Nature has in it physical laws about potential has nothing whatsoever to do with morality.

    Crash and burn indeed! LOL

    Reply
  139. "the body is just a "vehicle" for the mind." – If you substitute soul for mind, then that's a religious statement, but as is it's just a bad analogy. A mind can't be a passenger of a body because it is part of the body. 'Mind' merely refers to mental activity or mental activity plus the organic components in which the activity occurs: neural circuitry as well as grey matter in which information is encoded electrochemically. Positing mind as something distinct from body is silly. Mental activity is as much bodily activity as digestion.

    "One of the more recent science-fictional notions is called "uploading"… what rationale is there for equating "human body" with "person", when so far as we know, uploading IS theoretically possible" –

    You've got it backwards. Uploading is one of the best examples of how we are our physical bodies! Most theories about real uploading (rather than mind emulators which approximate our modes of thought) require the destruction of the brain to be able to get all the information it contains.

    The result isn't 'me' at all, I'm dead and gone. There's just a machine which processes information exactly as information was processed as a part of the mental activity produced by my body. It's something which is a perfect copy of one bodily function.

    An absurd consequence of your incorrect view about uploading is that I can be more than one entity at the same time. If a copy of my "mind" can be uploaded to a machine, then it can be on 2 or 3 or 1,000 machines. By your theory, that's 1,000 of me!
    1)

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  140. You actually had the ability to draw you were just temporarily not able to use it because of a injury.
    Now if it was a permanent injury, than you would've lost the ability to draw.
    The unborn human only has the potential to gain that ability or it may never gain it since the survival rate is not 100%
    Anyways I will say something off topic
    In the case of New York, Over 40% of humans get aborted each year which is quite interesting.

    Reply
  141. I'm just hammering the point because I think its important. All too often both sides seem to need to withdraw from reality in making their arguments.

    FWIW, I think pro-choices (just like pro-lifers) use analogies like the violinist argument instead of what actually happens so they don't have to personally deal with the emotional baggage that taking EITHER position OUGHT to require. The analogies allow individuals on both sides to basically ignore the real issues.

    Pro-choicers don't like to think about what is being aborted. So, fetuses are clumps of cells or, even better, home invaders. Or violinists. But that isn't really the case, is it? But it sure makes taking the pro-choice position feel better. And why should little things like emotions get in the way, right?

    Pro-lifers don't like to think that outlawing abortion robs people of the autonomy and forces upon them an identity, if you will, they didn't choose for themselves.

    But outlawing abortion would have a profound effect on many women's lives, especially in the current legal and social framework we have chosen to live by. Quite frankly, many of the women (and the children they would give birth to) would have much harder lives because of the policies advocated by your political allies (e.g., Ted Cruz).

    The net result seems to me that we have the most liberal abortion laws, the most abortions, and the most pro-life population outside of Ireland (in the West). I think we should try to move policy towards what Norway has. I don't think its perfect (and I expect you do not either) but I would expect that both pro-choice and pro-lifers would think its better.

    That is, if what people are interested in is respecting women's autonomy and reducing (significantly) the number of abortion. There could, of course, be other goals, I suppose.

    Reply
  142. "white blood cell having the same potential as a zygote… I have never heard that."

    That's because it's not true. Zygotes are totipotent- they have the potential to produce every cell of the body. For 'totipotent' think: POTENTial to produce TOTal body. Totipotent is different from pluripotent, which means they can form the 3 different germ layers. For 'pluripotentent' think: POTENTial to produce PLURal (not singular) types.

    The only cell that's totipotent is the zygote- and the blastomeres formed by the zygote just after fertilization. Even as early as the blastocyst, the cells are merely pluripotent rather than totipotent. One can derive an embryo from pluripotent stem cells, but you can't form cells that enclose the embryo and separate parts of the embryo as it develops. These cells are essential for the embryo to develop. Without them the embryo isn't viable.

    Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are important in medical research because they can produce any part of a body, but because they're merely pluripotent they can't produce a viable embryo. An alternative to ESCs is induced pluripotents stem cells (iPSCs). Like the name suggests, they're pluripotent stem cell, but unlike ESCs they're not made from an embryo. A normal adult cell is specially treated to 'induce' pluripotency.

    White blood cells could become iPSCs, but so could red blood cells or skin cells or muscle cells. White blood cells aren't special in that regard. Of course, iPSCs, like ESCs aren't totipotent and can't produce a viable embryo. They can just produce embryos which will die before they can develop into a fetus.

    Only zygotes (and the early blastomeres produced via the cleavage within the first hours after conception/fertilization) have the potential to produce a viable human organism.

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  143. My goal isn't a total ban like Phillipines or Malta (the only full ban in the EU) or a bunch of the Latin American countries, or only life of the mother exceptions like Ireland. That's too extreme and not realistic.

    Ultimately I'd like what Poland has, and what Spain had four years ago and may return to in the next month. All the exceptions: life of mother, maternal health, significant fetal malformation, rape and incest. Spain and Poland also have stronger social safety nets and better access to higher education and a bunch of other things not just useful in mitigating the negative impact of unwanted pregnancy, but beneficial in preventing unplanned pregnancy.

    Even in the U.S., when polled by reason, the 'hard case' exceptions are the only reasons
    with a majority support. The majority oppose legality for socioeconomic reasons (eg,
    lack of money, effect on career or education, lack of good relationship
    with the biological father, spacing of children or delaying motherhood).

    If RvW is reversed (and stays that way) then the abortion battles could stay at the state level and people like me could support federal candidates who'd enact the sort of prevention & aid focused policies I'd like. Except in rare cases, I don't feel able to support Senate or Presidential candidates who're responsible for maintaining the existence of a constitutional right to abortion.

    I understand the argument for supporting prochoice politicians in the hope of reducing rates (though I doubt that's effective). However, whether it is a strategy that would succeed or not, doesn't matter to me. A lower rate which continues perpetually isn't morally acceptable in my view. If one sees abortion as I do it can't be.

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  144. "gorillas have POTENTIAL, like humans, to acquire personhood, if not to quite the same degree as humans" – I don't set the bar that low. The basis for morality IMHO is the capacity to understand and follow moral rules, which at minimum requires developing a 'Theory of Mind'. Nonhuman primates fail the test for this. I believe most humans pass sometime after they turn three, although when they exhibit the quality isn't important- merely that they will.

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  145. "argument that the unborn are different organisms at different stage of
    development or once they aquire their symbiotic 'boarders'… never come across anything in the lit or developmental biology"

    You won't find it because it's not there. You'll find the opposite – because he's making that up out of whole cloth and contradicting all reputable sources.

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  146. A few days ago I spent the whole day writing responses to posts such as this one. It now turns out that some of them failed to be saved as comments and are lost. Due to other commitments, I'm not sure I can spend the time to recreate the lost replies, sorry.

    But for this one I will at least answer the last Question of your post.

    Too Much Of ANY Good Thing Is ALWAYS A Bad Thing. MOST of the problems that the human species today can be directly traced to "overpopulation" as the Cause. So, if the Solution is a lower total human population, there are ONLY two ways to get there from here. Either we must decrease the birth rate or we must increase the death rate. Abortion might be called a "combination of the two". Anyway, of the two choices, increasing the death rate basically means "killing people", while decreasing the birth rate, even if it was entirely done via abortion, would only mean "killing mere animals". If one of those two choices is not obviously superior, then YOU have a problem of Prejudice, while I don't.

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  147. as you'd say:
    FALSE!

    Receptivity changes occur long before that. The womb begins readying itself for a guest as soon as the initial hormone surge following release of an ovum. Once fertilization occurs there are changes- preceding development of the placenta (which I assume is your thinking just about immune response suppression) to create a hospitable uterine environment and cooperate in the implantation process.

    It's an invited and the bed is made for it in the guestroom.

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  148. If you took that cell from a human body and put it in a petri dish with appropriate environmental conditions, it would survive just fine, and just like any of many different types of bacterial organisms, that had been given their own petri dishes with appropriate environmental conditions. Therefore your definition of "organism" needs work.

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  149. You seem not only unconversant wit the facts, but with what facts are. You propose a totally disputable and disputed theory about ethics, then declare it's a fact. Worse, you contradict yourself by saying morality is arbitrary/relative/subjective (pick one!) and therefore not true or false – which means moral theories can't be fact according to you!

    SMH!

    You're right about Rome- but they had slavery and human sacrifice and battle to death as entertainment too-

    and it's that level of moral development which accepts infanticide: barbarism

    Sure, Rome brought 'civilisation' to less technologically developed and less culturally sophisticated socities with military force, but morally they were primitives – as evidenced by the infanticide.

    Modern social contract theory dates to Leviathan in 1651- not a couple of decades before the revolution.

    ignorance_is_curable

    – please cure yourself!

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  150. "There Is No Such Thing In Nature As A Potential That MUST Be Fulfilled" –

    1) It's not that it MUST be fulfilled. Rather it's that acting to prevent the potential being realized is unethical

    ————–

    OH? Then it is unethical for a menstural cycle to occur after a blastocyst implants into a womb?

    It is unethical to build river levees to prevent floods?

    It is unethical to put lightning rods on buildings to protect them?

    It is unethical to oppose the Taliban's efforts to prevent women's education?

    It is unethical to act to hold off, as long as possible, a Malthusian Catastrophe for the human species?

    Your definition of "ethics" obviously needs work, just like your definition of "organism".

    ===========

    2) It's not MERE potential. A boulder at the top of a hill, which could be rolled down has the potential to crash at the bottom. A boulder currently rolling down has potential, but it's potential which will be realized if not interfered with. Healthy prenatal life is like the second boulder.

    ———–

    The Salton Sea in California began existing when the Colorado river breached its banks. You are saying it was unethical to cut off the flow, and restore the river to its original course?

    Likewise, it was unethical to rebuild the breached levies that had protected New Orleans from the Mississippi River, before Hurricane Katrina came along?

    It is unethical to fight forest fires?

    It is unethical to build a dam across a river?

    Your definition of "ethics" STILL needs work! (And while you work on it, do try to keep Stupid Prejudice from affecting the result!)

    =============

    3) Whether Nature has in it physical laws about potential has nothing whatsoever to do with morality.

    ———–

    OBVIOUSLY, because Morals Are Arbitrary And Have Nothing To Do With Objective Reality.

    ==============

    Crash and burn indeed! LOL

    ————

    Crash and burn, absolutely! The joke is definitely on YOU.

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  151. Another previously-written reply, lost. But some of the essence of my reply has been posted elsewhere, regarding the "I". Go to fightforsense.wordpress.com and see the list of Refutations of various anti-abortion arguments. In particular, see #8 and #95.

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  152. I see your reply to ChaoticBlu – all of your replies are still here.

    But, occasionally comments appear hidden. It's a bug.

    If you sign up with Disqus.com , rather than posting as a guest, you can keep better track of all of your replies, go to them at will, and copy and paste them or parts of them when applicable.

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  153. FALSE. It is a FACT that Ignorance Is Curable. It is also a FACT that many abortion opponents are woefully ignorant of various relevant pieces of information. To the extent that what I post may sound prideful and arrogant and condescending and uncivil, well, think about THIS:

    Abortion opponents basically want to enslave women against their wills. Slavers traditionally get executed, because that is a worthy punishment for their crimes. But all I'm doing is "mouthing off" toward them. While trying to cure their ignorance, also, of course. That is FAR better than they deserve!

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  154. At worst we could be accused of something like a draft- compulsory service. That's an illegitimate accusation because in truth we're just denying the right to kill someone else to 'cure' oneself of a medical condition that results from voluntary behavior.

    Slavery is evil not because it compelled labor like a military draft. It's evil because it treated human beings as mere property- which is what prochoice people do who consider prenates to be disposable.

    It's not hubris to have pride that's earned or deserved. You display pride at "winning" contests that you consistently lose. You're condescending toward those who best you and you don't recognize it.

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  155. Don't be so obtuse – or if it's unintentional I feel sorry for you. I've said that what happens in nature as a result of physical law is irrelevant to morality and you start claiming I said the opposite!

    I'm saying is that a healthy prenatal human organism doesn't merely have potential like a sperm and an egg (which may never meet or may be blocked by a barrier) or an embryo that's sitting in a freezer. It's potential in the process of development.

    I'm saying that when someone knowingly acts to halt a human organism that's developing towards possession of personhood that that's immoral because it violates human rights.

    It's got nothing whatsoever to do with potential other than potential for personhood or with phenomena other than the actions of people to halt it.

    It's true not just for abortion but would apply equally to lobotomizing a healthy 11 month old.

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  156. I would figure that as well after re reading some of the arguments they present.
    Also, this site is very very weird when it comes to posting comments.

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  157. I'm saying is that a healthy prenatal human organism

    How can you know that each and every zygote is healthy and will remain healthy until it can achieve personhood?

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  158. What about IVF? We can't ignore IVF – where innocent human beings are put in harm's way – on *purpose*, and often left to die.

    They should all be given the right to develop their full potential, no?

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  159. Some pro lifers may not agree, but I am for and respect a rational, adult's right to have, say a Do Not Resuscitate Order, living will, etc. The main thing is that the person is in sound mind and at an age capable of making that choice (and I think most would argue that would be adulthood.)

    It get's tricky though when we're talking about a child who gets severally incapacitated, or an adult whose wishes have not been known on paper.

    Abortion isn't right though because it prevents a human being from living out their natural life, to even get to adulthood and make decisions for themselves. Abortion is done on an innocent life that cannot consent to it and is robbed of all their life experiences.

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  160. Some pro lifers may not agree, but I am for and respect a rational,
    adult's right to have, say a Do Not Resuscitate Order, living will,
    etc.

    What if the person with the DNR is braindead but pregnant with a 14 week fetus? Or even earlier? What if they are 4 weeks pregnant?

    Keep the body on life support until the prenate can be removed?

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  161. In addition (wanted to break up the post) Respecting the wishes of a rational, consenting adult is NOT the same as saying their life does not have value. It certainly does, I just respect an adults decision to choose to leave this world in certain situations. My grandparents (80's and 90's respectfully) do not want life saving measures if something were to happen. I hate it-and I didn't want to at first- but I will respect this choice. Grandpa has said he's 'tired'…so if their life naturally ended they don't want to be resuscitated.

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  162. At worst we could be accused of something like a draft- compulsory service.

    ———-

    Nice try, but no cigar. Even the draft only required at most something like 4 years of service. You want 18, a MAJOR chunk of total life-span!

    ==========

    That's an illegitimate accusation because in truth we're just denying the right to kill someone else

    ————

    UTTERLY FALSE –your goal is directly trace-able to your Ignorance. A unborn human is NOT a "someone else". The most despicable thing about the slavery you want to do is that you want mere animal organisms to benefit from it, not actual Persons!

    ==============

    to 'cure' oneself of a medical condition that results from voluntary behavior.

    ———-

    FALSE, AGAIN. The implantation of a blastocyst into a womb is not FORCED to happen as a result of the sex act. About 50% of all ovum-fertilizations fail to result in "confirmed pregnancies", because OTHER organisms are involved, than the participants in the sex act. To the extent that unwanted infertility can be blamed on those other organisms, So Can Unwanted Fertility Be Blamed On Those Other Organisms.

    ============

    Slavery is evil not because it compelled labor like a military draft. It's evil because it treated human beings as mere property- which is what prochoice people do who consider prenates to be disposable.

    ————–

    Mere animals have been disposable property for many thousands of years, and are likely to remain such far into the future. And to lie about unborn human animal organisms, equating them with people JUST because you can CALL them "human beings", is just as despicable as slavery. Slavery largely entails interfering with freedoms in a specific way.

    Do not confuse "interfering with freedom" with "responsibilities". A factory-owner might claim the freedom to pollute a river and not clean it up, but the concept of "responsibilty" is a legitimate interference with that freedom. A well-known science fiction writer, Robert A Heinlein, pointed out that just about any government system can work **IF** Authority and Responsibility are properly associated with each other. Slavery essentially saddles people with responsibilities WITHOUT giving them appropriate associated Authority. And of course an autocrat like Nero was at the opposite end of the social scale, having vast Authority but refusing to accept any Responsibility.

    ==============

    It's not hubris to have pride that's earned or deserved. You display pride at "winning" contests that you consistently lose.

    ———

    ONLY IN YOUR IMAGINATION.

    ==========

    You're condescending toward those who best you and you don't recognize it.

    ——–

    I don't recognize it because the Fact is, I have not been bested in the Overall Abortion Debate.

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  163. ''I have given you the DICTIONARY definition of "person" several times and will not go over this again with you.''
    WRONG, you gave us MULITPLE definitions of that word and some of them exclude the unborn humans.
    Also, I bet if I was debating you back than to decide if black humans should be considered persons, would you think it would of been a good idea to crack up a dictionary and read the person definition ''white humans.?'' After all the definition must've been correct since it was in a dictionary.

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  164. I'm really sick of pro choicers acting like we don't care about the women. Sure, not caring is why most pregnancy crisis centers I"ve come accross take a pro life position. If you don't want to have children get sterilized or tubal litigation. Or abstain. You have choices. (Obviously a raped women was robbed of her choice which is tragic and I hate it, so this statement would not apply to her. )Not to mention, you say we don't see the woman as a person, yet you don't see the child as a person. They are BOTH human beings deserving of help , why does it have to be one or the other? There might not be a 'perfect' solution currently but doesn't mean we can't keep looking for one, and in the meantime we should try and at least negotiate the best solution we can't that prevents any innocent lives from being lost.

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  165. Your mere say-so is worthless without evidence. But here is some OTHER evidence:
    sharecare.com/health/blood-parts/what-are-white-blood-cells

    I quote: "White blood cells are not like other cells in the body – they act like independent, living single-cell organisms." AND "Many white blood cells can't divide and reproduce on their own" –which means that SOME CAN reproduce on their own.

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  166. I see what you are saying now. And the statute of limitations thing would make sense then. How do you feel about late term abortions though? I don't understand the 'need', at least not for convenience purposes.

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  167. If you don't want to have children get sterilized or tubal litigation. Or abstain. You have choices

    Many doctors won't perform a tubal ligation on a woman unless she is in her 30s and already has a couple of kids. This is because reversals are difficult, costly, and potentially dangerous.

    Obviously a raped women was robbed of her choice which is tragic and I hate it, so this statement would not apply to her.

    Perhaps rape victims – girls as young as 8 – should get pre-emptively sterilized in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

    Or just not be born female, eh?

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  168. I mean, since a woman can take a pregnancy test after her missed period. There really isn't a reason to wait till the child is more developed to abort.

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  169. What do you consider to be 'late term'?

    Usually, women only have abortions past 20 weeks for medical health reasons (fetal deformity, life/health mother) or, in cases where the woman is poor and it takes her months to save up for the abortion.

    Some fetal deformities, such as anencephaly, are not detectable until 20 weeks. Some don't even develop until 24 weeks. Should a woman be forced to give birth to a dying baby?

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  170. 1) some women are on birth control so they won't know, not until morning sickness/bump. Not all forms of birth control are failure free – including sterilization. Even with a complete hysterectomy, an egg can STILL be fertilized, it just won't have a uterus to implant into. Should women and girls (if they don't want to get pregnant from rape) also have their ovaries removed before they reach puberty?

    2) some women have spotty, irregular periods so they can go months without a period, then, overnight, have horrific cramps and bleed for a month straight

    It's not as cut and dried as you might like to think.

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  171. Don't be so obtuse – or if it's unintentional I feel sorry for you.

    ———–

    What you call "obtuse" I call, "pointing out the sheer idiocy of the claim you made", specifically with respect to this claim:

    "1) It's not that it MUST be fulfilled. Rather it's that acting to prevent the potential being realized is unethical"

    =============

    I've said that what happens in nature as a result of physical law is irrelevant to morality and you start claiming I said the opposite!

    ——————

    A STUPID LIE (which differs from an ordinary lie by the ease with which it can be proved false). You wrote:

    "3) Whether Nature has in it physical laws about potential has nothing whatsoever to do with morality."

    And I wrote:

    "OBVIOUSLY, because Morals Are Arbitrary And Have Nothing To Do With Objective Reality."

    How is AGREEING with you equal to claiming you said something else?

    ==============

    I'm saying is that a healthy prenatal human organism doesn't merely have potential like a sperm and an egg (which may never meet or may be blocked by a barrier) or an embryo that's sitting in a freezer. It's potential in the process of development.

    ——–

    AGREED. More, that is NOT the same thing as claiming it MUST be allowed to fulfill its potential! But such a claim is EXACTLY what most abortion opponents make, in essence. In spite of the Facts regarding "potential" and "fulfillment".

    ==============

    I'm saying that when someone knowingly acts to halt a human organism that's developing towards possession of personhood that that's immoral because it violates human rights.

    ———-

    And **I** say that to say such a thing is to Exhibit Stupid Prejudice AND Worthless Arbitrariness. Regarding the first, it is because we focused on "human rights" that we killed vast numbers of whales and dolphins, without even taking time to find out ANYTHING about the degree to which they qualify as intelligent beings. In The Long Run The Important Phrase Will Be "Person" Rights, Not "Human" Rights, because it will NOT be Stupidly Prejudiced.

    Regarding the second, Morals Are Arbitrary. Your mere CLAIM, that killing unborn humans is immoral, is in no way superior to the opposite CLAIM, that killing them is not immoral. In the USA, the Legal System makes the opposite Claim. And The Objective Generic Facts, About Differences Betewen Persons And Ordinary Animals, Support That Claim.

    ==================

    It's got nothing whatsoever to do with potential other than potential for personhood or with phenomena other than the actions of people to halt it.

    ————–

    It depends on who is arguing. At the site noterminationwithoutrepresentation.org the PRIMARY argument for assigning personhood to unborn humans is directly related to their potential.

    ==============

    It's true not just for abortion but would apply equally to lobotomizing a healthy 11 month old.

    ———

    Do Not Confuse The Law With Science. I will agree that the Science indicates that the healthy 11-month old human is mostly equivalent to an ordinary animal organism. The Law, however, is not synchronized with the Science in that matter. It assigns Legal Personhood, with associated Rights, at birth. And while I accept the Law in this matter, I reject any attempt to make the Law even MORE dis-synchronized with the Science. Because ALL such attempts are based on Stupid Prejudice and either True Ignorance or Denial of Facts.

    Reply
  172. Did you miss the part where IIC explained to you (multiple times) that dictionaries only represent common usage?

    I know lots of people who refer to their cell phones and their pets as 'my baby'.

    That = common usage. It's not scientific or medical FACT that a cell phone is in fact, a baby.

    The meanings of words change over time, and dictionaries record that. Nothing more.

    Reply
  173. You seem not only unconversant wit the facts, but with what facts are. You propose a totally disputable and disputed theory about ethics,

    ———-

    A STUPID LIE. Because I did not use the word "ethics" even once in the post to which you replied with that Stupid Lie. Of course, if you put words into someone else's mouth, THEN you can claim all sorts of stuff about how those words are wrong. I may sometimes be legitimately accuse-able of posting a "strawman" argument, but what YOU just did is Far Worse.

    =============

    then declare it's a fact. Worse, you contradict yourself by saying morality is arbitrary/relative/subjective (pick one!) and therefore not true or false – which means moral theories can't be fact according to you!

    ————-

    MORE NONSENSE, all because I did not use the word "ethics" in that post. I assure you that I regard "ethics" quite highly, while I regard "morals" as worthless garbage, due to their arbitrariness. The main Difference is This: Morals have fundamentally been derived from Claims made by Religions –each one claming It Alone Possesses The Truth– while ethics can be a sort of "if this then that" thing. Logically, with an appropriate "IF" in place (and that is of course something quite worthy of debate, while the Pronouncements of Religions are generally not allowed to be debated within each Religion), the "then" has a CHANCE of being Universally Applicable.

    So far as I have yet seen, the best "if" for ethics goes something like this, "If people recognize that they need to get-along with each other…"

    ==============

    SMH!

    You're right about Rome- but they had slavery and human sacrifice and battle to death as entertainment too-

    and it's that level of moral development which accepts infanticide: barbarism

    Sure, Rome brought 'civilisation' to less technologically developed and less culturally sophisticated socities with military force, but morally they were primitives – as evidenced by the infanticide.

    ————

    [insert belly-laughter here]

    EVERY culture regards its arbitrary group of morals to be superior the morals of other cultures. That is NOT evidence that ANY of those cultures are correct!

    ==========

    Modern social contract theory dates to Leviathan in 1651- not a couple of decades before the revolution.

    ————

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Social_Contract –a rather influential book by Rousseau in 1762, a couple decades before the American Revolution.

    Reply
  174. Ok I'm not going through this one piece by piece. I'm going to try and sum this all up:

    1.An innocent human being deserves the right to live and continue their life.

    2. A human being merely going through development is innocent. No matter what entity-if any- you believe in- you have to concede that human development IS natural. It is not a malicious act. Existing is not a malicious act,

    3.Because existing and human/fetal development are not malicious acts they should not warrant a death sentence.

    4.Abortion for convenience purposes is SELFISH and irresponsible. A human being's life (which biologically starts at conception) should not be cut short because you didn't want to get permanent birth control or you didn't want a kid 'right now' .Please do the fair thing, take responsibility for your actions and carry the child and give them up for adoption then. I am all for a women getting affordable prenatal health care and all the resources she needs to be able to do this.

    5. So YES it is MY opinion that a woman should carry their child to term whenever possible (as in not actually a threat to her life). That is what would happen if abortion is outlawed, which is what the pro life movement is trying to do. Obviously you do not feel the same so you are going to disagree.

    6. It all boils down to value. Pro life people believe ALL human beings (unborn, woman, elderly etc) have value and their lives shouldn't be taken away because they inconvenience someone else. Clearly you do not believe this and that is why we are on opposite sides.

    Reply
  175. Note that I am not especially in favor of abortions being done, as I answer that question. I simply regard the procedure as a useful technique for accomplishing a particular thing –it is the best available "backup plan" in case ordinary birth control methods fail, for example.

    So now please consider a sort-of ironic thing, regarding a particular argument made by abortion opponents. When it is pointed out that the Objective Generic Facts about personhood indicate that it is impossible for an unborn human to qualify as a person, the abortion opponent almost immediately points out that that data is also True with regard to infants. So why not allow infanticide?

    Well, suppose very-late-term abortions were allowed? Almost any excuse to commit infanticide could be used to do a late-term abortion, instead! In which case, even if infanticide was legal, it would almost never happen!

    Meanwhile, of course, infanticide is NOT legal….

    Reply
  176. I actually didn't know that about hysterectomies I thought that the ovaries would be removed too I guess.

    I'm not certain, but it might be possible to have an accurate blood test for pregnancy even if one is on birth control. I need to research that though.

    If an adult woman wants to have her ovaries removed for fear of rape that is their choice. I am certainly not saying she has to. But to people who already plan to abort any child they have, it is certainly a responsible option. I have heard permanent bc can fail and if that happens then the pregnancy should be carried, but It is still more efficient than other types and can greatly reduce conception in the first place. The plan would be then, less unwanted conceptions in the first place= less abortions, and more resources to go around to take care of everyone on the planet. Ethical population control.

    If a girl/child/teen/ want to get their ovaries removed for fear of rape, I suppose she should have a psyche evaluation. She should probably be evaluated whether it's for fear of rape or not. That would be an unusual case and I have not come across it any news stories or anything.

    I think whether or not the underage girl can consent to that medical decision depends on how old they are too. Ultimately I think that decision has to take into consideration the opinion of her doctor, family, and herself of course.

    As I said regarding an adult woman, I am certainly NOT saying she has to. But it is an option in general, regardless of rape or not. But both actually (I missed saying this earlier regarding the adult woman) should have psyche evaluations and counseling I think to make sure as much as possible they are emotionally alright with their decision, and that their motivation is sound.

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  177. ''
    We are NOT talking about organisms OTHER than HUMAN BEINGS, therefor your 'mowing' has no relevance. Please stay on topic.''

    The only thing relevant in the abortion debate as of now, is what criteria should be used to grant entities basic rights like the right to life. And there needs to a non species definition of the word person unless you're welling to discriminate in the near future.

    ''A human being is a PERSON by DEFINITION, I have proved that to you multiple times by linking you to online dictionaries.''

    YUP, and if you actually read some sources you would've noticed some dictionary definitions EXCLUDED unborn humans. lol

    ''The problem is for some reason you and the law won't give them the same rights of others DESPITE this fact.''

    The actually problem here, is that you think person has a universal definition and you know it doesn't if you actually cared to looked at OTHER sources and everyone else's personal definition of that word.

    ''Stop arguing it with me and argue it with Merriam-Webster.''

    One definition of person that this site provides is this:

    dictionary.reference.com/browse/person

    4.

    Philosophy . a self-conscious or rational being.

    THIS is probably one of the very view dictionary definitions that will be left standing in the future and all other stupid prejudice specie definitions of the word ''person'' well be doomed.

    ''Doctors weren't supposed to kill anyone that comes under their care, actually patient or not.''

    YOU do realize that humans ARE NOT the only patients that doctors can have. Sometimes doctors do indeed kill their ''patients'' as in the case of when a guinea worm get's hooked on to you.

    ''Doctors who refuse to stand by their OATH should chose another line of work.''
    There are many variations to that oath that allows doctors to perform human abortions.

    Reply
  178. If a girl/child/teen/ want to get their ovaries removed for fear of
    rape, I suppose she should have a psyche evaluation. She should probably
    be evaluated whether it's for fear of rape or not. That would be an
    unusual case and I have not come across it any news stories or anything.

    Because of improved nutrition, girls as young as 8 have been getting pregnant because they reach puberty earlier now. Often these children become pregnant as a result of rape, usually by a family member.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_youngest_birth_mothers

    independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/brazil-rocked-by-abortion-for-9yearold-rape-victim-1640165.html

    I think whether or not the underage girl can consent to that medical
    decision depends on how old they are too. Ultimately I think that
    decision has to take into consideration the opinion of her doctor,
    family, and herself of course.

    How come her age and mental state is not a consideration when it comes to the forced pregnancy?

    Reply
  179. by later term I mean sort of a ballpark, since development speed isn't the same for every baby. And I've heard different information too , so I mean mainly when the child can feel pain, and/or could possible be safely delivered (such as premature babies) Around the 20 week mark I suppose as you said the. I do not believe in aborting due to fetal deformities. Many conditions ,such as autism are manageable and the child can still live a fulfilling life. They shouldn't be put to death because they are not 'perfect.' Also, sometimes the doctors can't say 100% whether the fetus has something wrong with them or not.

    I believe a child with a life threatening condition should still be treated with dignity. A child , regardless of fetal defects should be acknowledged as a human being and not medical waste. They should be delivered and allowed to meet their parents and the parents meet them. They should get whatever care they need, pain medicine to make them comfortable..etc. Whatever suits their condition. If/when they pass, whether it be hours after birth or days, or weeks, they should have a proper funeral and be buried or cremated.

    Some people might call it cruel but as I said, they should have pain management. I certainly do not want them to experienced suffering, but I DO want them acknowledged as the sons and daughters they are.

    Reply
  180. I admit I need to do some more research as I've heard different things regarding fetal pain. I believe in general a fetus can feel pain well before 20 weeks.

    I can say for sure though: I just think in cases where a woman DOES know she's pregnant early on, such as after missing her period- it is cruel to wait to abort. I don't agree with abortion in the first place, but if one is going to at least do it asap, before the fetus can feel pain. At least try and be somewhat humane about it. So I think that the laws regarding how late abortion can be performed need to be looked at and changed.

    Not to mention from what I've seen on different forums it varies state by state. Maybe abortion should be a Federal issue and all states should have the same laws regarding when they can be performed.

    Reply
  181. Many deformities such as anencephaly (no brain) cannot be detected until 20 weeks.

    There are also other severe deformities – and no, I am not talking about cleft lips and autism – severe health problems that are incompatible with life.

    Should a woman be forced to give birth to a dead or dying baby? If the fetal deformity is incompatible with life, why should she be forced to give birth? Can't the family also treat the baby with dignity by performing an intact removal? You may find this hard to believe, but carrying a dying fetus to term is not pleasant. Would you like to carry something that has no chance of survival and is causing you severe health problems for another 3 months? Only to watch it die after a painful birth?

    Reply
  182. A fetus cannot feel pain until at least 35 weeks, according to the latest study.

    cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2811%2900885-2

    Furthermore, due to hypoxia in the womb, the fetus is unconscious and sedated throughout the pregnancy.

    Since you are so concerned about fetal pain, wouldn't that mean that abortion should NEVER be an option, even in life/health of the mother? Rather the woman die than hurt the fetus?

    Reply
  183. I possibly may have missed something. But we have to go on SOMETHING, otherwise all words are meaningless. So, either the dictionary needs to change (meaning whatever organization decides the words and definitions that appear in there) or the laws regarding personhood need to change.

    If we go on all words are meaningless then I can say IIC's definition of 'personhood' (not including the unborn) is meaningless.

    Reply
  184. I define "late term" as up-to-and-including the "water breaks" mark –and would even include time after that, except that the "labor" process varies so widely from woman to woman. In theory it might be difficult to manage to get an abortion done before birth happens, after the water breaks.

    Note that technologies for examining an unborn human are only going to improve with time. In the days of ancient Rome, a "cleft palate" was likely sufficient reason to commit infanticide. What if a cleft palate could be detected before birth, and late-term abortions were allowed? SOME people would probably get the abortion! (Please consider this as a kind of extension to what I wrote in the other post above, about late-term abortions and infanticide.)

    Reply
  185. There is a possible abortion method that causes minimal pain. Note that after a normal birth, the umbilical cord is cut, and NOBODY worries about how painful that might be. So, imagine a special tool that is used to cut the umbilical cord in the womb. This cuts off the oxygen supply to the fetus, and it will become unconscious in less than a minute, and die in about 6 minutes. After that, the corpse can be removed in any manner that might otherwise be called "painful".

    Reply
  186. Yeah, I remember reading about something similar happening in a Catholic hospital. Woman was dying, Catholic admins said 'no abortion until fetal heartbeat has stopped' so the doctor surreptitiously reached in, snapped the cord, and then miraculously found no heartbeat and performed the abortion. The woman would have died in service of Catholic dogma had he not done that.

    Reply
  187. Using a ''human heartbeat'' as criteria for personhood will have devastating results in the future.

    Consider this, if my mind and all my mental abilities contained in it could in future be transposed faithfully into some form of robotic body to avoid brain cancer would I still be considered a person after the operation?
    I think I wouldn't be under the ''human heartbeat'' criteria and I believe I wouldn't be consider a human to as I think (last time I checked) is simply a biological entity of the species homo sapien.
    So under the common pro life equation of human=person I wouldn't fit that and thus have no rights.
    But if we were to prepare for the future, and avoid problems like this, it is best to come up with a non species definition of the word person.
    It reminds me of a chess game. Pro Lifers only want to think one move ahead at a time and pro choicer's want to think 10 moves ahead and we know for a fact who would win the debate under that circumstance.

    Reply
  188. Obviously you still have some ignorance that needs curing. Here, maybe this will help:

    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3528014/

    There is also the "potential must be fulfilled!" problem here. That is, to say "a womb preparing itself to receive a guest" is equivalent to saying, "a womb creates a potential guest-space". MUST that potential be fulfilled? No?

    Well, then **IF** it happens to be fulfilled, why must the potential of the unborn human animal organism, to grow to become a person, be fulfilled?

    The analogies are equivalent. To agree that womb-space doesn't have to be filled is equivalent to agreeing that an unborn human doesn't have to be carried to term. (And of course sometimes it isn't, per "miscarriage".)

    Reply
  189. I have posted a reply to your "Ok I'm going through this piece by piece" post, but I cannot find it. When I tried posting it again, an error message appeared, telling me I had already posted it.

    Well, that still doesn't tell me why I can't find it! However, I do have it saved as a file on my computer, and can re-post it if it actually doesn't exist here. As soon as I find out what the cause of the problem is! (A guess: the post was too long. That might explain other posts that went missing, the other day.)

    Reply
  190. Configure disqus so that it will send you email notifications. That is what I had to do to keep track and is the only reason I commented.

    Reply
  191. Although I am pro-choice (mostly), I would say that, yes, you should keep the body on life support until the prenate can be removed.

    Reply
  192. I think that if you are sick of it then you are going to have to take an active role pushing back against pro-lifers that don't think that forcing a woman to have a child against her will is anyway even remotely relevant to the discussion.

    And you are going to have to push back when (hopefully) well meaning people at pregnancy centers do or say things that make pro-lifers seem like they are religious fundemtalist who do want to control women. [This I think should apply equally to pro-choice people and people at planned parenthood who do similar cr@p things.]

    To be clear, I am NOT saying that you need to be pro-choice. Or even a moderate. In fact, while I disagree with that position, I think its quite possible to believe that, when balancing the interests of both people (the fetus and the mother), that Ireland gets it right. I don't agree, but I don't see anything inherently misogynistic if, when you actually balance the interests/burdens/rights/whatever of both, that you come done on one side.

    But, pro-lifers that argue that the ONLY considerations should be for the fetus and that there is NOTHING on the other side against which we should balance the fetus's interest quite literally do not care about women by their own admission.

    Reply
  193. Let's see what happens if I break this post (that failed yesterday) into two parts, posted separately:

    Part One:

    Ok I'm not going through this one piece by piece. I'm going to try and sum this all up:

    1.An innocent human being deserves the right to live and continue their life.

    ————

    AGREED, with respect to ACTUAL "human beings", persons. But DISAGREED, with respect to unborn humans, which don't qualify for EITHER "innoncent" or "person" status.

    =====

    2. A human being merely going through development …

    ————-

    After substuting "An organism" for "A human being", I like to call that "Mindless Natural Biology". More on this shortly.

    ===========

    is innocent.

    ————

    The word "guilty" has different definitions. If I say, "The average post-natal human is guilty of breathing" –That IS A Perfectly Correct And Accurate English Sentence. Likewise, an unborn human animal organism is guilty of doing detrimental things to a pregnant woman, like resource-stealing, toxic-biowaste-dumping, and addictive-substance-infusion. Those ARE Facts, and I'm STILL Using Perfectly Correct And Accurate English.

    ===========

    No matter what entity-if any- you believe in- you have to concede that human development IS natural. It is not a malicious act. Existing is not a malicious act,

    ————

    AGREED, because for the most part it is Mindless Natural Biology in action. So let's look at some other examples. When a mosquito comes to bite you, that is Natural Mindless Biology in action. When cherry trees bloom in the spring, that is Natural Mindless Biology in action. When a cancer begins, that is Natural Mindless Biology in action. When grapes ripen on a vine, that is Natural Mindless Biology in action. If moths eat the clothes in your closet, that is Natural Mindless Biology in action. When bees make honey, that is Natural Mindless Biology in action. And THROUGHOUT a human conception and subsequent pregnancy, that is also Natural Mindless Biology in action.

    Now, one of the Generic characteristics of persons is Free Will, and human beings have it (while unborn human animal organisms don't). We can CHOOSE whether or not to accept or deny any particular type of Natural Mindless Biology. Overall, we have chosen to be Domineering instead of Subservient, with respect to Natural Mindless Biology. We swat mosquitoes, and plant cherry trees. We excise cancer lumps and fertilize grape plants. We put mothballs in closet spaces, and steal honey from bees. And sometimes pregnancies are carried to term, and sometimes they are aborted. Generically, We Choose To Be Domineering Over Natural Mindless Biology, INCLUDING Pregnancy.

    (continued in Part Two)

    Reply
  194. See, here's one more instance where your username is seriously problematic. Your ignorance combined with that username makes you seem a tremendous ass.

    Leukocytes aren't organisms. They're produced by stem cells in bone marrow. For a living thing to be an organism there must be some stage in it's life cycle where it's capable of reproduction.

    The area of philosophy of science dealing with the definition of "organism" is called the study of the organismal concept, and I'm guessing you've never heard of it before today.

    Reply
  195. The problem with that is that 'potential' is vague- like 'heat' it covers a wide range of things. A lottery ticket may be a 'potential' winner, but a 24 yr old is also a potential 25 yr old. The PC tends to phrase PL arguments about 'potential' dismissively, and the PL side tries to make distinctions we see as ethically significant.

    Reply
  196. Here's the 1st result from google: ability: possession of the means or skill to do something."the manager had lost his ability to motivate the players"

    If you're currently unable, then you're currently lacking the ability. In the dictionary example, one would assume that the coach probably could regain the ability as I did when my hand healed.

    I think you're assuming that if one loses an ability then it's permanent, but ability is related to inability as able to unable. A permanent absence or loss of ability isn't inability but more like disability – where the capacity (ie ability to acquire an ability) is gone.

    Reply
  197. DO NOT MIS-QUOTE ME. It is the LAW that arbitrarily declares a human animal organism, at birth, to become a Legal Person.

    The Objective Generic Data, regarding differences between persons and mere animals (data that should be Universally applicable, regardless of whether or not the persons are humans, aliens, or Artificial Intelligences), doesn't recognize personhood in humans for a quite-significant time after birth, when adequate brain-development has occurred.

    Perhaps counting time "after conception" would be more rational, since more humans would then qualify as persons closer to the same time. About 3 years after conception, for SOME traits of personhood to be exhibited by humans, is what the Data tells us.

    Reply
  198. According to this,
    academia.edu/339296/The_Concept_of_Organism_Historical_Philosophical_Scientific_Perspectives_

    There is enough controversy over the definition of "organism" that there is no way you can prove that a white blood cell fails to qualify.

    Reply
  199. Arg- we're talking at cross purposes. Person means different things in different contexts. It's very ambiguous. The theological use is about having a reasoning capacity. The original philosophical use was about standing to participate in the democratic process. The legal use is standing to sue or be sued in court. The normal linguistic use just means 'someone.' Many of the PL folks are assuming a sense in which it means either 'someone' or having 'moral standing' and you're using the philosophical sense derived from Locke.

    I've personally been trying to convince all the PLers I know to use different terminology because of this, but to be fair, the situation is even worse in the PC community. This same problem comes up constantly in political forums (regarding the citizens united decision from SCOTUS) where one side is talking about legal personhood and the other using the 'someone' sense.

    Reply
  200. There are very simple proofs that arguing from EITHER "capacity" or "potential" is STUPID.

    For "capacity", the Fact is, the word refers to something that EXISTS RIGHT NOW. So, if a human fetus had the capacity for personhood, and thereby distinguish itself from any other ordinary animal, there should be some manner it which it could acquire that distinguishment RIGHT NOW. Since it can't, you end up actually talking about "potential". See that word "eventually" you used?

    But "potential" doesn't work either. Here:
    Part One:
    1. An unborn human animal organism has the potential to become a human person, and it doesn't matter how long this takes to happen.
    2. Because of that potential, we must RIGHT NOW begin treating the unborn human just like a person. Therefore abortion should be forbidden.
    Part Two:
    1. An abortion opponent has the potential to become a corpse, and it doesn't matter how long this takes to happen.
    2. Because of that potential, we must RIGHT NOW begin treating the abortion opponent just like a corpse. Therefore it should be buried six feet under….

    See how STUPID your arguments are?!?!

    Reply
  201. The problem as I see it is with the compatibility of two sentences.

    A) I currently have the ability to X
    B) I'm physically unable to X at present.

    A and B can't both be true

    You seem to want them to be compatible.

    Reply
  202. I would certainly like to cure your ignorance. I was already aware of the paper by Emera, Romero, and Wagner. It was highlighted in Pharyngula two years ago. I don't know what you think the paper says, but it doesn't undermine anything that I've been saying. It actually bolsters my case.

    If we were just talking about all embryos generically, you'd have a point because there's something akin to a screening process that weeds out abnormal embryos- but I usually try to be careful to add "healthy" when I talk about the rights of fetuses and embryos.

    That's also why your argument about miscarriage and natural contragestion are irrelevant unless someone is against having exceptions for abortion in cases where there are serious birth defects.

    "There is also the "potential must be fulfilled!" problem here." – No there's not. It doesn't matter how many times you say it; it's not going to be true,

    That's not relevant to this discussion. Go talk to some religious wackos who think women need to have as many children as they're capable of and use it against them. I think they're called QuiverFull.

    The question here is whether one should find it acceptable to take human lives which are developing a potential for personhood, or whether a n entity which will develop into a person has a right not to be killed.

    The human genome is complex and when a zygote is created there's only one copy, so small mistakes can be catastrophic. Most of these are disposed of naturally, which is fine with me. If one sneaks past the maternal safeguards with a morally significant deformity (something eliminating the capacity for personhood) then you can eliminate it surgically or medically and I won't object. (I'm actually more troubled if you decide against it TBH, but that's a point of disagreement between folks like me and many of the religious prolifers.)

    We disagree with you about the moral status of a living entity which will obtain personhood so long as you don't harm it. Trying to make this a rule about potential generally rather than about this is either a mistake or dishonest.

    Reply
  203. It is also a FACT that many abortion rights advocates are woefully ignorant of various relevant pieces of information.

    Average PCers are no better informed on the philosophical matters (eg, personhood and infants, theory of identity, metaethics, philosophy of mind) and tend to be worse on the science matters.

    Going around calling other people ignorant while making plenty of your own mistakes just makes you seem like a joke.

    Reply
  204. Re: Slavery –
    1) Telling someone they may not get a medical procedure isn't enslavement.Enslavement is forcing you to act against your will. This is prohibiting you from acting in a particular manner. If it's slavery then so is making it illegal to buy heroin- and that's considered a "victimless crime." From my POV, this closer to banning honor killing.
    2) Even if I agreed that it were compelling action, ask yourself what made slavery such a great evil? It wasn't compelling labor. That would apply to the draft. We haven't used it in the U.S. in my lifetime, but there's still lots of countries with compulsory military service.
    3) What was morally repugnant about slavery was that it treated human beings as mere property. That's what you're for and we're against.

    Reply
  205. Actually, you know that many won't be, which is the reason that so many fail to implant or are naturally aborted. Practically all of them get screened out- that's why around 40% (some say less some say more) of zygotes don't produce a birth. There's a very small fraction of those which are malformed that get to the fetal stage. Usually we can detect those.

    Reply
  206. There's nothing wrong with IVF in and of itself. The problem is that to have a higher success rate with implantation there's an embryo screening process and surplus embryos are created so that a fraction will be used. That's a choice, it's not essential to the process. There are prolife couples who use IVF but don't do this, which means that on average it takes longer and is more expensive.

    Reply
  207. "You want 18, a MAJOR chunk of total life-span!" – If someone doesn't want to raise a child, I don't want them to either. We've had Safe Haven laws throughout the country for 5 years now. I'm talking about on average 30-32 weeks.

    "About 50% of all ovum-fertilizations fail to result in "confirmed pregnancies", because OTHER organisms" – What are you smoking? That's the craziest thing you've said yet. Most failure to implant is because of malformation of the embryo, some it is because of problems with maternal fertility health that produce a less hospitable uterine environment, and rarely there's a foreign source of the problem like a harmful chemical or possibly some sort of infection.

    So, let's be clear,
    you're not winning any arguments except in your own mind.

    Even When You Put Capital Letters On Every Word

    or

    HOLD DOWN THE CAPS LOCK!

    Reply
  208. I quote: "White blood cells are not like other cells in the body – they act like independent, living single-cell organisms."

    Which means that they act like but ARE NOT.

    Reply
  209. Your mistake was assuming that Rousseau originated the theory, which is how you screwed up by over 100 yrs.

    Look, if you think Roman morality with slavery and infanticide is no worse than modern morality because it's all relative then you certainly can't attack prolife moral views- you've pulled the rug out from under yourself.

    Reply
  210. I only see someone who can't comprehend other people's points and thinks that calling them STUPID shows that he's smart. You're basically saying that anything which hasn't yet happened is just something potential and all potential things are equally inconsequential. That's stupid.

    Reply
  211. There's no controversy whatsoever. No scientist would agree with you. You're talking total rubbish. Viruses? Maybe. Certain kinds of underground fungal colonies can be difficult to define where one organism differs from another.

    White blood cells?! Please.

    Reply
  212. Yes, I should not have specified "originated". I should have specified "popularized". Just how widely known was that notion, before Rousseau came along, eh?

    And you have it wrong about "Roman morality being no worse than pro-life morality" –It was no worse AND no better! Because ALL morality is inherently flawed by being Arbitrary!

    But as I wrote elsewhere, "ethics" has a chance of being non-arbitrary AND Universally applicable. Using ethics it is very possible to end up with Social Rules very much like those derived from "morals" –with the advantage that they WON'T be based on an arbitrary foundation!

    Reply
  213. Anyone at the time reading Rousseau would have already known about it from Hobbes. Locke was at least as influential on the thinking of the founders and he was writing largely in reaction to Hobbes.

    "ethics" has a chance of being non-arbitrary AND Universally applicable. " – I guess that depends on how you want to define arbitrary. If you mean random, then it's not arbitrary now. Ethical principles can't be based on facts- if by fact we mean something empirically verifiable. Some axiomatic determination about value must be made and value judgment can be informed by facts but not derived from them. That's just Hume's 'Is/Ought' distinction.

    Reply
  214. "if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck …"

    Of course I'm quite aware how I have stated that unborn humans ACT like parasites, without actually being parasites, so, according to the "duck" argument, they should actually be called parasites, right?

    WRONG! Because unborn humans actually act WORSE than parasites, doing something that no ordinary parasite does, which is "infuse addictive substances into its host". That means it is NOT similar enough to a parasite for the "duck" argument to hold.

    Reply
  215. "NOPE. Not if a major purpose of menstruation is to KILL unborn humans! If the womb was REALLY a specifically-accommodating thing, menstruation wouldn't exist."

    Incorrect – two things are happening.

    One is weeding out the candidates which are bad investments from an evolutionary perspective – those which won't survive and carry the mother's genes to another generation. Two is fortifying the mother's body and making the womb ready for an occupant. It's like readying the guest room for your in-laws to visit, but turning away anyone who's not your relative.

    Reply
  216. Nope, I don't give up that easily. Remember the movie "Short Circuit"? Fiction, of course, but someday Genuine Artificial Intelligences will be moving among us, with bodies mostly metal and electronic, and not necessarily acting like Terminators. Will they, or will they not, qualify as "organisms"? For either answer, please explain "Why?"

    Which kind-of reminds me of the second Terminator movie, where the "bad guy" had a body that could liquefy and do all sorts of marvelous things. Pieces of that body were capable of independent action.

    Or, for an even better example of that, consider the second "The Thing" movie (by John Carpenter). It very closely followed the descriptions of the alien of the original story ("Who Goes There?") that was published in 1938 (the first "The Thing" movie did NOT accurately use the story's alien!). ANY living cell separated from THAT entity was definitely its own organism! (I haven't seen the more recent and 3rd "The Thing" movie, so can't comment on its relevance.)

    It is a huge huge Universe out there. Who is to say that the current definition of "organism" is going to survive the long term?

    Reply
  217. "Then you are exhibiting Prejudice, still. Remember, the Law doesn't care one whit about how healthy or not-healthy is a newborn human; all are EQUALLY granted Legal Person Status." – I don't know what law you mean, but I don't see how you can accuse me of prejudice.

    I've maintained all along that it's living organisms which are in the process of developing into persons. If an embryo is detectable as being malformed at this stage, then unhealthy means something quite serious. It doesn't mean something ethically irrelevant like being born deaf. It means unviable or if it's born, then unable to survive infancy. Therefore, there's no capacity for personhood. That's consistent with what I've said all along.

    Reply
  218. "Now remember that as many as 50% of all conceptions fail to yield "confirmed pregnancies", which implies that you are looking at HUGE HUGE medical bills" – I don't know if it's quite that high. My recollection is that it's around 40% combining failure to implant with miscarriages. Anyway, the exact number doesn't matter, the point is that these flawed embryos lack the potential to be persons, so I'm not obligated to do anything for them.

    Reply
  219. "any demand that a pregnancy be carried to term is fully equivalent to demanding that the potential of the unborn MUST be allowed to be fulfilled" – Nope.

    There's a big difference between 1) 'X must happen', and 2) 'You may not do Y to prevent X from happening.' Let's say X is "Hillary Clinton becomes president" and Y is "poison is put in her tea."

    We'd both agree that insisting on #2 isn't insisting on #1.

    Reply
  220. "You want 18, a MAJOR chunk of total life-span!" – If someone doesn't want to raise a child, I don't want them to either. We've had Safe Haven laws throughout the country for 5 years now. I'm talking about on average 30-32 weeks.
    ————-
    CAN'T WORK in the long run. Do you know what an "ecological niche" is? It is ANY environment that allows members of some species to survive and reproduce.

    Not too long after enough women start deciding they can be as bold as the Octomom, having babies that OTHER people will raise, thanks to "safe haven" laws, the system will be overwhelmed and go bankrupt.
    =============

    "About 50% of all ovum-fertilizations fail to result in "confirmed pregnancies",
    ——————-

    ucdavismagazine.ucdavis.edu/issues/su96/Feature/Feature-The_Facts_of_Life.html
    ==============

    because OTHER organisms" – What are you smoking? That's the craziest thing you've said yet.
    —————-
    Then you are exhibiting ignorance that needs to be cured! I'm talking about sperm and eggs, and zygotes and morulas and blastocysts. NONE of those organisms are the persons who engaged in the sex act. NONE of their actions are FORCED to happen, just because sex happened. They are INDEPENDENT.

    Just one example of that independence:
    discovermagazine.com/1992/jun/theaggressiveegg55#.Ude51zu-rcM
    =============

    Most failure to implant is because of malformation of the embryo, some it is because of problems with maternal fertility health that produce a less hospitable uterine environment, and rarely there's a foreign source of the problem like a harmful chemical or possibly some sort of infection.
    ————–
    NET EFFECT, those independent organisms failed to function as one might expect, if one WANTED a pregnancy to happen. They can be legitimately blamed for that failure. LIKEWISE, they can be blamed if unwanted reproductive success happens!
    ==============

    So, let's be clear,
    you're not winning any arguments except in your own mind.
    —————–
    [insert belly-laughter here] As long as you have to resort to comments such as "TL DR", I'm positive I'm winning.
    =============

    Even When You Put Capital Letters On Every Word

    or

    HOLD DOWN THE CAPS LOCK!

    ————-
    We can't do bolding or italics or underlining here. What alternatives do YOU suggest, regarding stressing words and phrases and sometimes whole sentences???

    Reply
  221. "One of the fundamental problems with any argument based on "potential" is that you can't know in advance exactly how it will be fulfilled. You might abort an Einstein –OR you might abort a Hitler. Since the possibilities cancel out, NOBODY can successfully argue from the foundation of "human potential"." – Nope. I can successfully argue that personhood separates humans and non-human animals in a morally significant way, and that infants because they're developing personhood have rights animals don't.

    Your only response to date has been, "Stupid Lie! CANNOT – Wrong!"

    That's not a good argument. You disagree that one SHOULD give rights to infants, but of course we can and do. Therefore it's been successfully argued that potential can be a reason to grant rights.

    Reply
  222. "attempting to equate the potential with the actual. THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS, and therefore can be treated VERY differently." – I am treating them differently.

    Because of their potential, I grant rights to infants, BUT the rights aren't the ones I grant to full persons. As we develop and become more intellectually sophisticated, we get more rights. We don't let 14 year olds drive or 16 yr olds vote.

    The only rights infants and prenates have is that they're protected from coming to harm.

    Reply
  223. You're mistaken. They're not being equated. We're not saying that the potential for personhood is personhood. We're saying that the right to life doesn't require personhood. The potential for personhood is sufficient.

    You start with the assumption that personhood is necessary for a right to life, and then say that we're ignoring any and all distinction between potential and actual. That's not correct because we didn't start with that assumption.

    It's your mistake.

    Reply
  224. From an evolutionary perspective, the measure of success for an organism is the degree to which it passes on it's genes. Therefore biologically unborn humans are the best thing an adult human can want, not the worst.

    They're the opposite of parasites.

    Reply
  225. Re: Slavery –
    1) Telling someone they may not get a medical procedure isn't enslavement.Enslavement is forcing you to act against your will. This is prohibiting you from acting in a particular manner.
    ===========
    Forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term IS forcing her to act against her will.

    And, enslavement ALSO involves preventing people from escaping enslavement.

    You STILL are losing the Debate.

    I think I'll now mention something of an "apocryphal story" –stories, rather. There are cases of women who got pregnant and DESPISED the men who were involved.

    They each, separately, not knowing about the others, mentally dedicated themselves to POSITIVELY REFUSING to "carry that man's child" –and then they eventually miscarried.

    It is a Fact that the subconscious mind can be swayed by "positive" mental attitudes, and the Body can be affected as a result. It is NOT KNOWN to be a fact that those women would have miscarried regardless of their mental state.

    But imagine the possibilities if women could learn to miscarry on demand (by biofeedback techniques, perhaps)! They would never need an abortion clinic, and you would NEVER be able to prove that a miscarriage wasn't deliberate!
    ================

    If it's slavery then so is making it illegal to buy heroin- and that's considered a "victimless crime." From my POV, this closer to banning honor killing.
    ——————
    I'm in favor of legalizing all those drugs, perhaps by following the model that England did back in 1911 or so. Both the USA and England were considering what to do about heroin. England made it a prescription drug; the USA banned it. By the 1960s New York City alone had about 100,000 heroin addicts, but there were only about 400 in all of England. The lesson of History should be clear, on this topic.

    The preceding is not really a response to what you wrote, however. The reason that banning heroin-buying is not slavery is because, like you wrote earlier, the addicts are not being forced to do a specific action against their wills. But pregnant women WOULD be forced to do a specific action, carry a pregnancy to term, against their wills.
    ===============

    2) Even if I agreed that it were compelling action, ask yourself what made slavery such a great evil? It wasn't compelling labor. That would apply to the draft. We haven't used it in the U.S. in my lifetime, but there's still lots of countries with compulsory military service.

    —————–
    As I described in another post, one aspect of slavery is the specific way Authority and Responsibility are unbalanced. It is exactly as evil as the opposite imbalance, exhibited by the Roman Emperor Nero and plenty others over the course of world history. Why else do we have that adage about "Power Corrupts…"? ACTUALLY it is "Authority dissociated from Responsibility" that corrupts!
    ===============

    3) What was morally repugnant about slavery was that it treated human beings as mere property.
    —————
    And forcing women to be the equivalent of brood mares isn't treating them like property???
    ===============

    That's what you're for and we're against.

    ———
    NOT QUITE. Because I'm actually against Stupid Prejudice, such as YOU exhibit every time you CALL an unborn human animal organism a "human being", as if merely CALLING it that somehow automatically makes it equal to an actual Person. Therefore, since we are ACTUALLY talking about human animal organisms, and not Persons, we are NOT talking about treating Persons as Property! We are only talking about treating mere animals –PROVABLE to be mere animals, in Objective Generic Fact– as property.

    And so you STILL are losing the Debate.

    Reply
  226. I haven't claimed to be a know-it-all. Just a know-more-than-you, on topics relevant to the Overall Abortion Debate. And I've proved it time after time –with, admittedly, a mistake here and there, but FAR fewer than the mistakes YOU have, in your ignorance, made.

    Reply
  227. Right- well let's pull this apart because when they get too long I can't read them. (If I write TL;DR and you break it into pieces and add them, I'll read the shorter ones.)

    Short Circuirt- I think Johnny Five became sapient from a lighting strike. People often say sentient but that's wrong. Rats are sentient. In Terminator it was Skynet, a defense computer network built by Cyberdyne Systems. Incidentally, the idea of an AI in charge of SAC-NORAD was also the main plot device in WarGames – which was released the year before the 1st of the Terminator films. WarGames starred a young Matthew Broderick and,,,

    Ally Sheedy, who also starred in Short Circuit.

    Reply
  228. AI's certainly won't be organic organisms. Could they be inorganic organisms? I doubt it, because could never have a 'body' in the same way. Theoretically an AI could just upload and download between bodies. That's what happened in the reboot version of Battlestar Galactica, which was really good until the finale when Ronald Moore wrote god into the story. (I'd wanted the Cylon religion to end up being a bug or virus, but he went the opposite direction.)

    The more interesting question is whether AIs will be considered a life form. Viruses are a life form without being organisms.

    Reply
  229. How is relevance not obvious? If 10/11 of your body's cells have an origin that has NOTHING to do with the womb-environment, then 10/11 of your cells don't have continuity from the conception event!

    If you invested some $X amount of money in getting a custom boat built, but the thing that finally sailed involved contributions from 10 other people, each investing the same amount, how can you claim that YOUR investment was so important that the others weren't relevant?

    Reply
  230. YOU CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT THEM. That makes them an essential, relevant and not-ignorable 10/11 of the cells of your overall body.

    Reply
  231. I've read "Who Goes There?" It's in an anthology edited by Isaac Asimov I got a garage sale. I don't believe that the T-1000 from T2 was able to divide and act independently like the Thing. My understanding from the TV spin off was that the liquid metal T-1000 was programmed so that if any part became separated, it would automatically seek out and rejoin the largest part.

    That's very different from The Thing, which could separate into fully autonomous intelligent creatures. It makes we wonder what sort of species or civilization it could have come from. What happens to memories and knowledge when you can absorb raw material and split yourself? Can you rejoin?

    It seems to me there'd be two Star Trek models to follow:

    They could be like the Founders in DS9, who could change shape, meld with others, break parts off an rejoin- but the material they're made of retained a core identity that knew what individual it belonged to

    or

    They could be like the Borg- with one primary intelligence guiding all individuals and each individual having a limited lower level of intelligence that's merely what is necessary for self preservation and carrying out tasks assigned by the overseeing intelligence

    Reply
  232. [insert belly-laughter here] Are you seriously going to claim that a human not in symbiosis with 10x as many bacterial cells has COMPLETE continuity (as in "identity") with a human that IS in symbiosis with 10x as many bacterial cells???

    Did you not see this link that was previously posted by someone else on this overall page (has lots more in it than just stuff about cancer cells)?

    jonlieffmd.com/blog/the-emperor-of-cells-how-intelligent-are-cancer-cells-2

    Reply
  233. So- now that I've geeked out on SF for awhile, let's get back to the original topic…

    I am a person, and an organism, and a bunch of other things including an SF fan. How do I view myself over time?

    You take a personhood perspective on these issues. Have you always been a person? I'd say 'no.' I wasn't a person as newborn. I was just a human organism developing toward personhood. I still identify that as 'me,' though. If 'me' only referred to the person and not the organism prior to personhood, then "I" was never born, but came into existence long after my body was born- I'd say around 3 or 4 years old because I think self awareness is insufficient for personhood.

    Reply
  234. Quite a few years ago I encountered a nonfiction essay by Isaac Asimov, which covered a classic story, "Lenigan and the Ants". He specifically described the ant colony as being not only an "organism" but a SUPERIOR organism, when compared to a single human such as Lenigan –that's why the ants won!

    The point is, I KNOW the word has wider application than just the technical definition, involving individual entities.
    biology-online.org/dictionary/Organism

    Consider again all those bacterial cells in a human body —if they are symbiotic, they are NOT truly "individuals". So, suddenly they are not organisms? Or, if symbiosis does not affect the definition, then what about the fact that all those human-DNA-possessing cells are, in essence, in symbiosis with each other? Our cells are descendants of those that started out as "mats", bacterial colonies, and, later, loose organizations such as sponges. I have NO reason not to call a white blood cell an "organism"!

    Reply
  235. The SF stuff is instructive concerning the problem with identifying oneself as a 'mind'. If mind is just mental activity in an organism, then it's silly to say that's what you are- like saying a dancer IS a dance. If mind is a phenomenon generated by a body, then it could be reproduced and duplicated. At that point, we're no longer physical entities if we're our mind, but something like a computer program- which is obviously absurd.

    Reply
  236. Has such a test for "ability to understand and follow moral rules" been applied to Koko? This page, seems to indicate that she would pass such a Test: koko.org/world/

    Reply
  237. You STILL exhibit the fundamental flaw of equating "potential" with "actual". I can understand treating them the same **IF** they were the same. But since they are not, they CAN be treated differently.

    Reply
  238. You're acting as if a functional equivalent is identical, which is absurd. If you copy my mind onto different hardware it's not 'me.' If you can make one you can make more, and there can't be multiple 'me's, As similar as identical twins become they're still individuals. Unless you think you're information, you can't be simultaneously instantiated/manifested in multiple locations. If you are information, you don't have a physical existence at all- which is just as ridiculous as saying you're a soul.

    Reply
  239. That's irrelevant. You're saying it's a flaw based on one interpretation of the identity problem, but that's not a flaw unless we agree to that interpretation. Unless I think Theseus can't claim he ended up with the same ship (and that's not what I think) your point is irrelevant.

    Reply
  240. Any missing plank in the hull would sink the ship, so what? I can exist with none of them-as long as they're replaced. That's the whole point!

    Reply
  241. True, but your original assertion of a flaw is just say so and rather than evidence you have a bunch of irrelevant observation that shows your flawed understanding of identity theory.

    Reply
  242. "white blood cell having the same potential as a zygote… I have never heard that."

    That's because it's not true.
    —————-
    FALSE. See "stem cell research". ANY cell having complete human DNA has the potential to become a totipotent stem cell –and therefore has the same potential as a zygote. The only difference is in the barriers between that potential and its fulfillment.
    ===============

    Zygotes are totipotent- they have the potential to produce every cell of the body. …
    ——————-
    [snipping stuff that need not be repeated, and with which I agree]
    =========

    White blood cells could become iPSCs, but so could red blood cells or skin cells or muscle cells.
    ——-
    NOT red blood cells; they don't have a nucleus with DNA. I will admit I misinterpreted something I read a few years ago. The process of "cloning" by taking the nucleus of an ordinary human cell and putting it into an ovum (after destroying the ovum's nucleus), is able to successfully produce a totipotent stem cell –and the process is being done using more different types of initial ordinary human cells, as time goes by.

    But I thought they were doing something else, such as they are definitely working on, as described in the last comment on this linked page:
    askabiologist.org.uk/answers/viewtopic.php?id=519
    –I have no reason to doubt that they will eventually succeed, and thus be able to "activate" ANY ordinary human-DNA-possessing cell, turning it into a totipotent stem cell. The Potential Is There!!!

    ———-
    (I agree with the rest of your post, insofar as it describes the CURRENT state of Stem Cell Research.)

    Reply
  243. "I KNOW the word has wider application than just the technical definition" – Okay, but in criticizing people who make an argument that they're identical to an organism, you have to stick to the technical definition if that's what the argument you're critiquing used.

    "if symbiosis does not affect the definition" – right, it doesn't

    "what about the fact that all those human-DNA-possessing cells are, in essence, in symbiosis with each other?"

    By all those human-DNA-possessing cells, do you mean our bodies? Bacteria are produced by other bacteria even if it's living inside me and in symbiosis with me. All the cells of my body are produced by my body going back to when I was a zygote.

    Reply
  244. The main difference between a counter-argument and a refutation is that the latter exposes fundamentally flawed assumptions and/or facts, while the former needs to make its own assumptions.

    I've seen your efforts at doing counterarguments on this page, and you have been failing miserably, for the most part, ultimately falling back on the fundamental fallacies of most abortion opponents, regarding the mis-use of the word "being", and equating "potential" with "actual", and lying about "capacity", and in general exhibiting Stupid Prejudice for unborn human animal organisms, over other and MUCH-more-capable ordinary animals, when talking about personhood ("potential" ability is NOT "actual" ability).

    Reply
  245. The normal adult human body is a SYSTEM of cooperating organisms, which, overall, also qualifies as "an organism" It is THAT organism, not just the human part of it, which lacks continuity with an unborn human.

    Reply
  246. 1. Yes we acquire our own 'ecosystem' and have evolutionarily acquired and >incorporated< other organisms but I still see no reason to see that this undermines its status as an organism. Most organism exist in a web of relationships and identity that is more than just DNA.

    Yes teleonomically we have our template that requires, and is expressed in an environment that requires other organisms but the web of life is often like that.

    Reply
  247. 2. There is enough philosophy out there that talks about our identity being intimately connected to the 'other' and I see personhood on similar grounds. We aren't an organism in isolation but one that takes a lot of time to develop and much of that is done socially. Our cultural information/learning my not be in our genes but is part of 'us' as an extended group. In other words in a sense there are no singular human organisms but a species or group membership. It is just some of our development is genetic some is cultural. Therefore we can still be thought of a persons even if the genetics isn't fully there.

    Reply
  248. 3. There is not resort to potentiality. As I said a self assembling or organizing entity that has a latent important defining capacity can still definitionally be called that thing. Self assembly conceptually allows this. There is no contradiction.

    Reply
  249. 4. Basically the same as 3. You aren't considering the teleonomy of the system or the implications of SELF assembling systems that have a internal template that is expressed in the environment and continues to develop through interaction of others of its own kind. As I said I don't consider humans as ontological persons. Our species is a complex adaptive system replicator with relatively sophisticated cognitive abilities that develop partly genetically and partly socially in an group/species setting. We aren't stand alone organisms based purely on our DNA but nor are we purely persons or minds for that matter.

    Reply
  250. Your objective is to promote Stupid Prejudice, of one type of mere animal organism over many many others that CAN be arbitrarily killed, JUST because that animal organism happens to be human. Tsk, tsk!

    Reply
  251. The Law didn't have all the relevant Facts available when it was written. However, it DOES have a couple of very significant things going for it, unmatched by any other event for months on either side of a birth.

    First is the fact that an unborn human organism cannot long survive in the womb without its placenta, an "organ" as critical as the heart or liver. Pregnancy is a time of "biological construction", during which the human prepares itself to not need the placenta, and, generally, when it is ready to do that, a normal birth occurs. When an abortion opponent asks about the difference between a newborn and a nearly-born human, the Answer is, "the placenta!"

    The second main thing that marks birth as a milestone is the "modus operandi" for survival, of the unborn human, compared to the newborn. Using its placenta, it TAKES nutrients from the body of a woman, dumps toxic biowastes into that other body, AND infuses that other body with addictive substances. A newborn human does NONE of that; it can only survive by receiving gifts, including the gift of being carried to a teat, since it is unable to go there by itself.

    So, even though the Law is, through no fault of its own, not synchronized with the Data about Generic Differences between Persons and mere animals, it IS synchronized with a couple other very important things. Meanwhile, abortion opponents want to make the Law EVEN MORE out-of-sync with the Data about Persons. Tsk, tsk!

    Reply
  252. Whether the vat exists or not, if I find someone's leg, or a torso or whatever, that's not an ethical issue. They're not alive.
    ———-
    FALSE, in the case of a just-amputated leg. Obviously there would be no reason to put a truly-dead leg into a regeneration vat.
    ===============

    They're not in the process of becoming a person. If someone puts them in the vat, does that create a problem for my view? It depends on how it works I guess. So long as there's not a living organism it's not a problem at all.
    ————–
    Which is EXACTLY why you need to very carefully re-think about the definition of "organism", and the equating of "potential" with "actual". Because the whole purpose of a regeneration vat is to give some tissue the chance to fulfill its genetic POTENTIAL, regardless of whether that "tissue" is a legless body, or just a leg.
    ==============

    At some point, I assume that there will be an organism and if at that point it will become a person so long as you don't interfere, then I'd say you can't kill it.

    —————-
    Logically, that "point", for you, should be "almost immediately upon insertion into a regeneration vat" (because the fluids in the vat do need a bit of time to affect the tissues in, say, a leg).
    ============

    If you cloned yourself and made an infant version of you I'd say the same.
    ————–
    Not relevant to the current thing, because cloning isn't needed. A Perfected Regeneration Vat would operate just fine on a single white blood cell, to yield a complete human body!
    ==============

    This doesn't mean I need to go through this if I find a leg walking down the street. The leg on the street is just bio-waste.

    —————
    NOW WE ARE AT THE CRUX. Assuming that the leg is still alive, You are saying You Are Free To Deny The Fulfillment Of Potential, By Denying Assistance.

    Well! A zygote needs assistance (body temperature), in order to successfully fulfill its potential. A morula needs assistance (from the structure of the Fallopian tube) in order to fulfill its potential. A blastocyst needs assistance (of a womb) in order to fulfill its potential. Even an about-to-be-born human needs assistance (such as the muscular efforts of a woman, or perhaps a C-section) in order to fulfill its potential. A woman seeking an abortion is someone seeking to Deny Assistance (more specifically, continued assistance) to an unborn human. You want to REQUIRE that "assistance for fulfilling potential" be provided in some cases, but it is OK to Deny it in other cases. Tsk, tsk!

    Reply
  253. I use caps too, because I am lazy, but you can highlight certain words like this:

    with *example* or:

    < b > blank < /b >

    < i > blank < /i >

    u for underline

    and so on

    to highlight those words

    Reply
  254. Perhaps you noticed that in some other comment I posted to this page, I indicated that a POSSIBLE "foundation statement" for ethics was this:

    "Persons need to get along with each other." This IS a statement that can be empirically supported with Factual evidence! Just look at human history, and see all the things that happen to persons when they don't get along with each other!

    In the long run, if persons, PLURAL, don't get along with each other, the result would EVENTUALLY be that just one person would survive. For a limited time, probably, because the "old age" problem has yet to be solved.

    On the other hand, if persons do recognize that they need to get along with each other, then certain behaviors automatically become unethical, like murder and theft. Very much like certain behaviors disapproved under most systems of "morals".

    Net result, just as I previously indicated, morals are totally unnecessary, and ethics CAN have a solid and Universal and NON-arbitrary foundation.

    Reply
  255. Regarding a 50% failure rate, see this:

    ucdavismagazine.ucdavis.edu/issues/su96/Feature/Feature-The_Facts_of_Life.html
    =============

    the point is that these flawed embryos lack the potential to be persons, so I'm not obligated to do anything for them.

    —————–
    Then somehow you MISSED the point I raised (or ignored it). If the Law grants person status and rights at conception, then the Law will require assistance be given to EVERY flawed zygote or morula or blastocyst or embryo or fetus, so long as the technology exists to compensate-for or correct the flaws. All because YOU want the Law to grant them "right to life"!!!

    Reply
  256. JUST like I said. You equate the "potential" with the "actual". Therefore you should have no objection to sleeping in the nude one winter night on a bare patch of ground, because OBVIOUSLY it has potential, and therefore is equal to having a nice warm house with a comfy bed in it, located there.

    OR, you can admit that the potential and the actual are two different things, and therefore unborn humans don't need to be granted person status and rights.

    Reply
  257. I was watching a program a few weeks ago on PBS – about gene therapy, to essentially 'cure' embryos with the wrong numbers of chromosomes (downs) and other flaws.

    Of course, some disabled won't like it, because curing certain genetic defects apparently robs the existing disabled of their 'identity'.

    Anyhoo, this post went viral a couple of years ago, and is related to your point:

    patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html

    Reply
  258. One of the fundamental problems with any argument based on "potential" is that you can't know in advance exactly how it will be fulfilled. You might abort an Einstein –OR you might abort a Hitler. Since the possibilities cancel out, NOBODY can successfully argue from the foundation of "human potential"." – Nope. I can successfully argue that personhood separates humans and non-human animals in a morally significant way, and that infants because they're developing personhood have rights animals don't.
    ——-
    I should have been more specific. You cannot successfully argue from the foundation of "human potential always has positive value".
    ===============

    Your only response to date has been, "Stupid Lie! CANNOT – Wrong!"
    ———-
    And each time I have explained exactly why, often offering supporting evidence. Meanwhile, you merely make claims that have NO supporting evidence, that human potential always has positive value, and similar nonsense.
    ================

    That's not a good argument. You disagree that one SHOULD give rights to infants, …
    ———-
    NOT QUITE. I say that the Data from Science indicates that human infants don't qualify as persons. I have also said that it would be very difficult to write a Law that only assigns rights as humans become persons, because humans do it at different times, developing at different rates.
    ================

    … but of course we can and do.
    ————-
    YES, and the main reason is that the Law was written before the Data from Science came along. It is partly because of the difficulty in writing a good alternate Law, to associate Legal Personhood with appropriate Objective Data, that I'm not interested in changing the current Law.

    Meanwhile, I choose to oppose efforts to make the Law MORE out-of-sync with the Objective Data about Persons. Because THAT involves DENYING Facts, and it is ALWAYS Stupid to Deny Facts.
    ============

    Therefore it's been successfully argued that potential can be a reason to grant rights.

    ————-
    [insert belly-laughter here] NOPE. Try again! And pay attention to ALL the facts, not just the few you cherry-pick!

    Reply
  259. Tsk, tsk, obviously you haven't paid attention to how Soviet Russia used its veto power in the UN Security Council?

    They really enjoyed, on occasion, vetoing every proposal except for the one they proposed. Net effect, they forcibly got what they wanted, because there was no allowed alternative.

    And YOU want to do essentially the same thing. Your worthless blather, trying do disguise the Actual Effect of what you want, has been exposed for the nonsense that it truly is.

    Reply
  260. If we were just talking about all embryos generically, you'd have a point because there's something akin to a screening process that weeds out abnormal embryos- but I usually try to be careful to add "healthy" when I talk about the rights of fetuses and embryos.
    ————-
    Then you are exhibiting Prejudice, still. Remember, the Law doesn't care one whit about how healthy or not-healthy is a newborn human; all are EQUALLY granted Legal Person Status.
    ++++++++++
    – I don't know what law you mean, but I don't see how you can accuse me of prejudice.
    *****************
    I grabbed some text from a prior message or two, to make it obvious what Law I mean. The US Constitution has been interpreted as granting person status, plus associated rights, to newborn humans, REGARDLESS of their health status. You and other abortion opponents are On Record as saying that the Law should be changed to grant person status and rights to pre-natal humans. The Law is going to be GENERIC in doing that, if that happens.

    Meanwhile, a few posts ago YOU wrote: "I usually try to be careful to add "healthy" when I talk about the rights of fetuses and embryos."
    —And Therefore You Are Exhibiting Prejudice For The Healthy Over The Unhealthy. Tsk, tsk!
    ===============

    I've maintained all along that it's living organisms which are in the process of developing into persons.
    ——–
    I don't deny the validity of that Fact, regarding unborn humans. I merely point out that there is no Natural Requirement for the development process to be completed. I've even pointed out that it might not be completed even if a normal healthy baby gets born –if the Environment doesn't include appropriate Nurture, then that human will end up "feral", and never become more than just a clever animal.
    =============

    If an embryo is detectable as being malformed at this stage, then unhealthy means something quite serious.
    ————-
    TRUE. But the Law won't care about that, if the Law has granted them Person status and Right To Life. If the technology exists to compensate-for or correct the problem, then the Law will insist that that that technology get used, to "save human life".
    =============

    It doesn't mean something ethically irrelevant like being born deaf. It means unviable or if it's born, then unable to survive infancy.
    ———-
    It only means that RIGHT NOW. But it won't necessarily always mean that in the far future, as our medical technologies improve.
    =============

    Therefore, there's no capacity for personhood. That's consistent with what I've said all along.

    ———
    FALSE, because what you have "said all along" was based on Ignorance and Prejudice.

    Reply
  261. According to that paper linked a few messages ago, most species of mammals DON'T have their females doing menstruation. They ARE "specially accommodating", compared to humans!

    The next thing you have wrong (your analogy about relatives) is this:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interspecific_pregnancy

    "Interspecies compatibility is related to the type of placentation, as mothers of species having the more invasive hemochorial placentation (such as humans) must create a stronger downregulation of maternal immune responses, and are thereby more receptive to fetuses of other species, "

    That means it should be fairly easy for a human woman to carry a chimpanzee or gorilla fetus to term, if the blastocyst of one had been introduced into her womb at an appropriate time.

    Reply
  262. Agreed; so long as we stick to secular stuff here, NONE of us were persons until our brains acquired certain abilities as a consequence of appropriate Nurturing. Prior to acquiring personhood characteristics, such that the "I" of each of us could exist as we know it today, our bodies were ONLY mere animals.

    And I also agree that self-awareness by itself is insufficient for personhood. An octopus, for example, is self-aware enough to recognize itself in a mirror, but it doesn't pass other tests that persons can pass.

    So, here:

    Proposed Characteristics of Persons, which TOGETHER distinguish them from ordinary animals

    1. Persons are self-aware.

    2. Persons have Free Will.

    3. Persons are able to understand the concept of "the future".

    4. Persons are able to creatively manipulate abstractions.

    5. Persons are able to mentally place themselves into the situation of another entity.

    6. Persons are individuals who transcend their organic individuality in conscious social participation. (Sir Julian Huxley)

    Reply
  263. (sorry, forgot to indicate that because research is on-going, the list cannot be considered "complete" at this time.

    Reply
  264. Don't count on AIs as never being organic. Think about classic science-fictional "androids", for example. And "The Bicentennial Man" for another.

    The more we learn about molecular biology, the more it is obvious that it qualifies as "natural nanotechnology". MACHINERY, in other words….

    Which Logically means that machines are ALREADY life forms. The only sensible debate on the subject should be something like "What degree of complexity should a machine possess, before we can call it 'alive'"?

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  265. It is well known that Hollywood seldom pays attention to scientific accuracy, when making movies. As a result it tends to push the boundaries associated with the "willing suspension of disbelief" so necessary for enjoying science fiction.

    Anyway, despite the implausibility regarding Number Five in "Short Circuit", there remains the VALUABLE point that Hollywood has managed to introduce LOTS of people to the notion that it might reasonable to accept some machines as being "alive". The value in that comes from the manner in which it can help diminish future Prejudice against Artificial Intelligences.

    Reply
  266. You're acting as if a functional equivalent is identical, which is absurd.
    ————–
    [insert belly-laughter here]
    And this blog-post page started out with an "argument from identity", remember?

    A "functional equivalent" of one computer is another computer that is by-definition able to run all the software that the original computer can run. Furthermore, "functional equivalence" doesn't have to exist in hardware! Search for [computer emulator] sometime, where the brackets represent the search box.
    ===========

    If you copy my mind onto different hardware it's not 'me.'
    ————
    If the other hardware can run the software identically to how it runs on the original hardware, then it could be very difficult to prove that the copy is different from the original.

    I'm getting an idea regarding how to go about a successful mind-transfer.

    First, we put you into a sensory-deprivation box. This will minimize data inputs that affect how you perceive your body.

    Second, the "new" brain is disconnected from equivalent inputs (audio, video, etc.)

    Third, the two brains need to be synchronized and connected, such that they are both running each piece of "personhood" software at the same time.

    Fourth, we start connecting external data inputs to the new brain, while keeping your body in the sensory-deprivation box. Because of the connection between the two brains, you will experience those inputs as a "telepresence" sort of thing. (Note that for most of the movie "Avatar", humans were in-essence using telepresence to control alien bodies. But we are doing MORE than that in this Scenario)

    Fifth, we inject your body with a sleeping drug. Your original brain starts to shut down, even as "you", the software being simultaneously run by both brains, keeps running in the second brain.

    Finally, once your original body is asleep, we can break the connection between the two brains, and we can ask the second brain "Who Goes There?" It would certainly be interesting to learn the answer to that question!
    =============

    If you can make one you can make more, and there can't be multiple 'me's,
    ————
    Logically, if the above works, the answer to that question would be "a duplicate of your mind, unable to think of itself as not being 'you'".

    Meanwhile, your original body and brain, disconnected from the second brain, could wake up, and of course as long as its software is intact, "you" would be in that body, much like you are there currently. There would be nothing to prevent copying yourself a thousand times –and every one of those copies could In Theory think it was "you".
    ============

    As similar as identical twins become they're still individuals. Unless you think you're information, you can't be simultaneously instantiated/manifested in multiple locations. If you are information, you don't have a physical existence at all- which is just as ridiculous as saying you're a soul.

    ————–
    Except I've described "you" as being "information being processed", not just/only "information". Consciousness is associated with CHANGE; information by itself is static.

    Reply
  267. Sorry, not an equivalent situation. That linked paradox is about replacing parts of a boat, and I'm talking about the parts needed to build it in the first place –you only supplied 1/11 of them, and others supplied the rest.

    So what makes your contribution more relevant than all the others put together? Because that is the continuity argument claims, in comparing the significantly post-natal human to a pre-natal human, and claiming "continuity".

    Reply
  268. You are mistaken about the evolutionary "measure of success". It is not only about passing on genes; it is also about the offspring surviving long enough to pass their genes on!
    And the woman, not a zygote or other pre-natal human, and certainly not the average abortion opponent, is the one who best knows her environment, in which offspring would be raised.

    If potential parents want "what is best" for their children, and can't offer that now, then that is certainly a reason to do what it takes to not have children now, including abortion.

    I've mentioned before that one possible (though only temporary) solution is to tax all abortion opponents, and use the money to pay for what they want, the requiring of otherwise-unwanted births to take place. They can pay for the prenatal care, the birthing and recuperation costs, all the food clothing, shelter, toys, education, etc., associated with raising a child for 18 years.

    Of course, as soon as enough women like the Octomom come along, who learn they can have lots of kids that other people will pay for, in order to keep them from being aborted, well, all the abortion opponents will eventually go broke paying the taxes needed to pay for what they the abortion opponents want.

    Which returns us to the situation in which pregnant women will decide that their environmental situations are not suitable for raising children, and seek abortions.

    You really cannot win!

    Reply
  269. Oh, so your preferred interpretation is the one fundamentally based on Stupid Prejudice??? "Our human cells are so Objectively Important that they are the only things we need to think about when discussing 'continuity' with an unborn human".

    When the human cells constitute only 1/11 of all the cells in the body, and cannot survive without the other 10/11 it should be Obvious that Stupid Prejudice must be involved, to focus only on the human cells!

    Reply
  270. Any missing plank in the hull would sink the ship, so what? I can exist with none of them-as long as they're replaced.
    ——————
    MISDIRECTION. Whether "original" or "replaced", you still cannot survive without 10/11 of your overall body.
    ===========

    That's the whole point!

    ——–
    Misdirection is the point? Then you have failed to make your point, since I was not misdirected.

    Reply
  271. And yet your efforts have failed, to poke holes in the evidence I presented. 10/11 of the body does not have continuity with the pre-natal human organism, and neither does the "I", the person-class mind.

    Reply
  272. It's quickly obvious that that linked article doesn't know what it is talking about –see the "references" list after the second sentence? The four-dimensionalism notion was originated by Robert A. Heinlein in his very first published story, "Life Line", 1939. If they can't even get their references correct, why should anything else they write be taken seriously?

    I do not deny the four-dimensionalism view. I merely point out (as I've previously done) that it only connects part (about 1/11 of the cells) of an adult body to a zygote –and none of the person-class mind.

    Therefore, if you "are seriously going to claim the adult human has complete continuity with the zygote", then you would be telling a Stupid Lie.

    I will admit that my original phrasing was backward to what I needed to say. The unborn human does have complete continuity to the adult. But the "argument from identity" starts with the adult, or other post-natal human, and tries to connect the "I" of that entity backward toward the zygote. So, like I just said, my prior phrasing was backward because it was not consistent with the argument from identity.

    And, since the backward connection does not work, because the "I" is associated with things that have no continuity with a zygote, that is why the argument from identity fails.

    Reply
  273. It is not only about passing on genes; it is also about the offspring surviving long enough to pass their genes on!

    I've thought about that. What's the point of having babies if they are all going to die, especially during time of drought and famine? All you have done is expended resources which will make life much harder for you, and potentially shorten your lifespan, all for something that won't even be able to reach the age of reproduction??

    Sounds futile to me. Anyways, this is one reason that infanticide has been used as population control throughout human history.

    Reply
  274. "All the cells of my body are produced by my body going back to when I was a zygote" –and all the bacterial cells were produced by other bacterial cells, going all the way back to the Origin of Life. So? I'm not seeing a significant distinction. When you exercise and your muscles "bulk up"/grow-larger, the muscle cells are multiplying to do that, very similar to bacterial cells multiplying (except more controlled).

    Reply
  275. tries to connect the "I" of that entity backward toward the zygote. So,
    like I just said, my prior phrasing was backward because it was not
    consistent with the argument from identity.

    Though it would appear that Clinton Wilcox, in this article, was saying that an infinite # of 'identities' could result from that one zygote, but, they would all be identical, because only the very special genes in each zygote can react to the outside world in their own unique way.

    It's like saying that a block of marble in the ground is literally ANY statue or statues that you can think to carve out of it, as long as those future statues use the material that is available.

    blog.secularprolife.org/2014/01/the-argument-from-identity.html#comment-1193933518

    Reply
  276. Sorry, it is not clear whether you are supporting my case, or otherwise. I do not deny that the human-cells body is still an organism, even as it is thoroughly enmeshed with other organisms (bacterial), thereby being part of an overall larger ecosystem/organism.

    I'm simply pointing out that that overall organism is a more complete description of "a human", than just the human-cells body. If you don't properly care for your bacterial symbiotes, you will sicken and possibly die.

    So, a healthy human adult must recognize that it is foolish to only think of the human-cells portion as important. Which thereby brings us back to the argument from identity, because it is now important to identify with all of your existence.

    Reply
  277. I believe he is making an argument similar to the one I just showed you made by Clinton:

    blog.secularprolife.org/2014/01/the-argument-from-identity.html#comment-1204121329

    Reply
  278. I've previously posted in the comments something about how you could trace all of Life backward to its origin. So, from that point, going forward, vast quantities of possibilities have been realized, the human animal body being just one.

    But the argument-from-identity doesn't start in the past and go forward, it starts in the present and goes backward. It ignores the Fact that the adult human in the present only has partial continuity with the unborn human.

    Logically, the most important part of a human is the part that can claim to have "rights". (If no human could make the claim, no other human could accept the claim, and act in accordance with such acceptance!)

    Well, with respect to continuity and the argument-from-identity, the ability to claim rights has no continuity with an unborn human. It only begins to exist as a result of things that happen to a human body significantly after birth.

    Reply
  279. I'm not equating a damn thing. I'm not saying they're equivalent, I'm saying that there's one right both share: the right not to be killed.
    ———————-
    And that claim requires supporting evidence! Which, so far as you have provided, is fundamentally based on Prejudice (as in "it's human!") and Ignorance (equating potential with the actual).
    ================

    SCOTUS said that legal persons and natural persons both have a right to free speech. Does that mean that they said they're not different types of things? Of course not!

    ————
    And as far as SCOTUS is concerned, a "natural person" begins to exist at birth. We have the 14th Amendment and more than 220 years of Precedent with the Census Law, supporting that definition.

    Meanwhile, of course, the Science process has discovered lots of facts regarding what can Generically distinguish persons from ordinary animals, and that data indicates that SCOTUS is actually enforcing a Legal definition of "person" upon newborn humans, instead of actually "recognizing natural personhood".

    Reply
  280. For blockquotes:

    blockquote" and "/blockquote" with angle brackets (y'know–less than and greater than).

    Like this:

    look at me I am blockquoting

    And you'll be good to go!

    Reply
  281. "Meanwhile, abortion opponents want to make the Law EVEN MORE out-of-sync with the Data about Persons. Tsk, tsk!"

    Personally, I prefer to make the law more consistent (in either direction). The current law isn't exactly consistent, since some late-term abortions are banned and since if someone hits a pregnant woman in the stomach or whatever and causes a miscarriage, then he or she is often charged with murder or manslaughter.

    I am not sure on what the ideal law should look like on the abortion issue, but I prefer more consistency over what we currently have. Also, I am not sure that trying to change the law to fit in with your views (legalize all elective late-term abortions, et cetera) would be easier than trying to change the law in order to make prenatal personhood more thorough (such as by getting abortion to be considered homicide, et cetera).

    Reply
  282. Sorry for the very late reply to you. I can sometimes be pretty busy and/or lazy, so yeah.

    "First off, I think it is important to note that even though, as a zygote/fetus/baby/toddler, certain mental functions are not developed until later – the key is that they DEVELOP. In my understanding, they do not suddenly "turn on". I could be wrong about that, but since a human is able to (for instance) recognize and begin to learn language patterns in the womb, as well as recognize the voice of their mother and (often) father immediately after birth, it seems clear to me that learning and mental functions develop throughout a human's life, and that that development begins before birth, parallel to the development of the physical brain and body."

    I get your point about development, but the thing is that a pro-choicer could ask why being in the process of developing a certain ability is equally important to already being finished with developing this ability. Allow me to elaborate–if someone is in the process of getting a college degree, then this individual's situation is not equal to someone who already finished his studies in regards to this and already got a college degree. Likewise, a pro-choicer can argue that being in the process of developing self-awareness, rational thought, and/or et cetera is not comparable with already having these abilities.

    "Then, I would also point out that if something were to go wrong during a child's development in the womb (for instance, a lack of oxygen, a mother drinking too much alcohol, etc) then the brain function of that child will be permanently damaged. If we aren't mentally as well as physically connected to ourselves as young humans, then how can circumstances that existed in our past have such HUGE effects on our future ability to think and reason?"

    The thing is that I wasn't arguing that our mental and our physical selves are not connected to or affected by each other. I was simply saying that they are not the same thing.

    "Finally, I would note that (depending on your view, of course) this mental/physical dichotomy is a false difference. We ARE our physical beings – our mental abilities are due to PHYSICAL processes in our brains, and should those physical processes become interrupted, then what we see as our mental abilities would become compromised. In other words, if we are a continuation of the fetus bodily-wise, then that continuation also includes our brains. And because our brains are DIRECTLY responsible for our mental abilities, then our mental abilities are also a continuation."

    I get your point here about the continuation of our development and about the connection/relationship between our physical and mental abilities. However, even if a pro-choicer accepted your premise here (that we are completely the same as embryos and fetuses), he or she could still argue that we don't/shouldn't actually acquire (legal) rights and (legal) personhood until we already acquire certain mental abilities.

    Hopefully my post here is clear enough for you. I am sorry if what I just wrote here appears to be a little confusing to you or to anyone else.

    Reply
  283. The problem is that opponents of the right to live impose arbitrary parameters on "personhood". This is certainly not without precedence:
    ____________________
    "..in the eyes of the law…the slave is not a person." (Bailey/als. v. Poindexter's Ex'or, 1858, Virginia Supreme Court)

    "An Indian is not a person within the meaning of the Constitution." (George Canfield, American Law Review, 1881)

    "The statutory word ‘person’ did not in these circumstances include women." –British Voting Rights case, 1909

    "The Reichsgericht itself refused to recognize Jews…as 'persons' in the legal sense." (1936 German Supreme Court decision)
    ___________________
    Here's the medical definition of the word "person":
    ___________________
    person per·son (pûr'sən)
    n.

    A living human.

    The composite of characteristics that make up an individual personality; the self.

    The living body of a human.

    Physique and general appearance.

    The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
    Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
    __________________
    Given the fact that a HUMAN BEING is present from the moment of conception, abortion is, if fact, homicide.

    Reply
  284. Your argument here is flawed. I suggest you go here read the website and comment on the website to tell him how his position is flawed. fightforsense.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/manyargs/

    Sitting here attempting to comment to him on his grey tag instead of his green tag where he could get the notification only shows how much of a coward you really are. Also,

    ''The problem is that opponents of the right to live impose arbitrary parameters on "personhood''

    Your opponents are looking at the bigger picture here because your side has to answer, ''what should be used to determine if a NON HUMAN entity should have the right to life or not?'' That question needs to be answered by your side if not, there is no need to consider your position. You can sit here and cry ''arbitrary'' this and that but that won't help you at all.

    As for your history examples, you fail to say that what was being used at the time were physical characteristics like skin color, gender, or eye color. We won't be using that to determine if a non human entity should have the right to life.

    ''The position that we advocates of life hold is perfectly consistent.''
    Not really. All your really doing is crying arbitrary this and that until the pro choicer includes everything human inside the parameters for personhood. That is not really hard to do as a animal rights activist can easily do that as well which requires no type of thinking at all.

    Reply

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