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Old 03-15-2006, 08:52 PM   #187
Samuel Dravis
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Originally Posted by ShadowTemplar
All moral codes are inconsistent, whether they are relative or absolute. Indeed, one might argue that the claim to an absolute moral code is hypocricy, since such codes rarely if ever specify which rules take precedence over which other rules in cases of conflict, thus leaving the resolution to an individual (relative) judgement.
I feel that it's pretty clear that a moral law is not that useful unless the people involved are still alive, so that one would have to take ultimate precedence. I think I've also said that I very rarely use my absolute morals on anyone else, because I find that does more harm than good. Only in this case (and very few others) will I use my absolutes to change the behavior of others. I'm uncomfortable with it, actually, but I have to choose between two evils for me - women being unable to do what they want, and people being killed without adequate justification.

That was not the point that I was making. You do hold that personhood arrives - lock, stock, and two smoking barrels - at some specified point.
Yes. Arrival at the very beginning avoids the problems with its arrival at other times because there is nothing before the beginning, no life to possibly infringe on.

In principle, I agree with you.In the Ideal UniverseTM, such procedures would be rutine.

Not really, no. We accept that traffic might kill someone by accident. Why should we not accept that abortions can kill someone by accident?
We don't simply accept it - we attempt to prevent it with many measures, one example being that it's illegal where I live to be in car without a seatbelt on. There's a difference between just 'accepting' accidents and attempting to prevent as many as possible, with laws in particular. No one makes a law and thinks that they will prevent every violation - they just try to prevent most, and that's all they can do.

But that is kinda beside the point. The point is that it is impossible to make a law saying that 'this-or-that lifesign means that abortion is no-go under all circumstances.' Precisely because there is no marked discontinuity in foetal development, the ethicality of an abortion can only be judged on an individual basis.
If there's no individual before the start of development, there cannot be anything wrong with putting it at that point - I can put it at the very beginning, but nowhere else because of the 'slippery slope.'

Try taking that view to the logical conclusion: A minute before the sperm makes contact with the egg, the sperm and egg are nothing more than chemicals that can be disposed of at your leasure. A minute after they have made contact, they are fully as worthy of protection as an adult human... What happens during those two minutes that can make such a major difference?
I think I already answered this with a quote.

For that matter, most methods of prevention (the pill, copper spirals, etc) work by preventing the fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus. By your logic those methods would be unethical - nay, homicidal. Can that really be right?
Yes, of course. Abortifacients are do exactly the same thing as abortions. I'm not going to contradict myself. Incidentally, that's why I used the word 'contraceptives' instead of 'birth control.'

Realize I'm only talking about abortifacients here. Preventative measures? No problem. It's only when another person is involved that I have any sort of legitimate ability to stop you.


Then clones aren't real humans?

Arguably, when the scientist injects the DNA into the cell nucleus it is equivalent to conception.

I believe that you are missing the point. The objective of an abortion is not the killing of the foetus. The foetus is collateral damage. Just like the Iraqis in Fallujah are collateral damage. We are willing to accept collateral damage in war, in traffic, in building levees...
I see what you mean, and it's relevent. That still does not mean that I find that the wrong being done (killing the fetus) is mitigated by the good of the woman being unburdened, not embarrased, given her ability to choose back, etc.

I imagine it'd be pretty hard (read: nearly impossible) to prove that killing someone completely innocent was justified to a judge; that same level of justification is needed here.

That is your decision. And that's a decision you're perfectly entitled to make. But are you really willing to make that decision for other people as well? These people believed that as well. For all I know, many of them still do.
So those people are somehow representative of my views? My motivations? And yes, I am willing to decide it for others in a legal way if I find the wrong being done outweighs the wrong of being intrusive (yes, I think that's a wrong).

God, if she exists, must have a wierd sense of humor.
God, if she exists, does not control their decisions.

The point I made - and judging from your response, a point that you concede - is that there are situations in which abortions are certainly acceptable - there are even situations were infanticide is acceptable.

The point is that I have showed that there exists an example. Since - and I supose that we are in agreement here - infanticide is not acceptable in modern society, this means that the morality of abortions depends on the context, something that you (and other anti-choicers - the example was not directed solely at you after all) have so far been unwilling to concede.
I agree. I believe that practically anything can be justified - but there's a sharp rise on the need for adequate justification when you conciously decide to kill something - someone - that you know is innocent of any wrongdoing, for reasons that only exist because you created them, knowing the possible consequences.

Seriously, though, I don't think you've taken that statement to the logical conclusion: If I presented you with a pregnant woman, telling you that if she gave birth, there'd be a 50 % chance that the mother would die and the infant live and a 50 % chance that it would be the other way about, would you really argue that she should carry to term? If yes, would you argue that she should be forced to carry to term?
In this example, I would argue that the baby be carried to some fairly safe point beyond the viable age and then be extracted in the safest way possible. Since the mother wouldn't be carrying to term, I assume this would not increase her danger a great amount, and therefore both have a decent chance at survival.

And this, I believe, is where we have reached an impasse.
Yes, I think you're right. Since my definition of the start of personhood is at conception, I find that that the life is worth protecting with full human rights. You also seem to define it in this way, but as a sort of gradual building up to full personhood. This would, I agree, justify abortions to you, because there is lower requirements to be met at the beginning of the life for justification.

Not exactly a precise rewrite of our arguments, but:

Me: "Give me life so that I can enjoy my liberty."
You: "Give me liberty or give me death!"

I find yours has a certain... patriotic... appeal as well. G.W. might even like you (whether that's a good thing is arguable).

I feel that I owe you an apology. I did go over the top in that post, and most of it was really directed at mister Troll. So I'm sorry some of it splashed (hey - what was I saying about collateral damage =)
No problem - I think I might have gone over a little on some things too.

I appreciate that. Mutual respect is a good thing. While I most emphatically do not agree with your assumptions (or your conclusions), you've put more thought into your argument than most anti-choice activists. I appreciate that.
You know, I've seen quite a few arguments about abortion on many forums, and I think this is the first time I've ever seen anyone concede the other side is worthy of respect. I'm thinking, "this is cool."

"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

Last edited by Samuel Dravis; 04-10-2006 at 02:06 AM.
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