Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Sherlock

Regulars
  • Content Count

    143
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Sherlock

  1. meganfiala, Have you had any input from anyone other than your friend? Have you submitted your current resume to companies, but were rejected? Otherwise, it's hard to say if your friend's well-meaning advice was based on their merely subjective opinions or have a basis in facts which you will have to deal with.
  2. Sherlock

    Abortion

    JMeganSnow, You wrote: "A coma is a temporary condition under which rationality and consciousness are SUSPENDED." And lack of rationality and consciousness in a fetus is also a temporary condition---if it isn't killed, that is. Measurable brain waves and heart beats occur at a very young age---just a matter of weeks.
  3. Sherlock

    Abortion

    JMeganSnow, You wrote: "Are you asserting that a C-Section is NOT intrusive?" No, and your thinking that I did is an indication that you are quick to make assumptions---or you have difficulties in comprehension. C-sections ARE intrusive, but the intrusion is necessary for the ultimate physical well-being of mother and child. The intrusion of a partial-birth abortion, however, is neither necessitated by the physical well-being of the mother and instead has as it's main purpose the killing of the child.
  4. Sherlock

    Abortion

    JMeganSnow, You wrote: " Such information would have to be along the lines of demonstrating that a fetus is a rational being to an equal extent as a full-grown human AND that it somehow deserved to have its life maintained at the expense of another human. For various reasons I find this, well, silly." By your reasoning, then, there is nothing to keep you from killing the severely retarded of any age who cannot reason and who are dependent upon others. Likewise with those in a coma.
  5. Sherlock

    Abortion

    JMeganSnow, you wrote: "A potential human is not a human." Durandal, you wrote: "They are potential human beings. Using your logic, one could argue that I am murdering dozens of potential humans every week by not impregnating every female I meet." There is a problem with your logic: there are no "potential humans" anymore than there are potential apes. Actual apes are potential swimmers, and actual human beings are potential philosophers. The being is actual, the functioning is potential. One can't "murder" potential humans, only actual ones.
  6. Sherlock

    Abortion

    meganfiala, You wrote: "How can a 'human being' be innocent, if it hasn't the ability to be guilty of something? Only human beings with VOLITION have the ability to make choices and act upon them, and may be characterized as being 'guilty' or 'innocent'. A 'being' that never had the choice is neither." I used the term "innocent" in order to make a contrast with the life of, say, a convicted killer on death row, or participants in a war (soldiers). An infant isn't capable of making choices, nor the mentally retarded, but I don't have a problem with describing them as "innocent". If that word bothers you, then feel free to overlook it.
  7. Sherlock

    Abortion

    JMeganSnow, You wrote: "This is a specious argument. Rights pertain only to one class of objects: humans. Fat cells can no more have "rights" than rocks can. Argument by analogy isn't very useful." You are correct: rights pertain only to one class of organisms: humans. We can agree there. My analogy was directed to the argument that regarded embryos as illegal squatters of some kind, when in fact they are the natural consequence of engaging in a particular activity, much as fat cells are the result of eating too much. You wrote: "So-called "partial-birth" abortions are performed when the fetus is a danger to the mother's continued life and the head is too large to easily pass through the birth canal." Not true. In fact, there are no medical conditions that require this procedure. (A C-section can take care of the situation you describe). The procedure, which is itself intrusive, is used solely to kill the baby and in fact is described by those who perform them as "elective"---meaning, it's NOT necessary. Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby's leg with forceps; the baby's leg is pulled out into the birth canal; the abortionist delivers the baby's entire body, except for the head; the abortionist jams scissors into the baby's skull, and opens the scissors to enlarge the hole. The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child's brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed. None of this is medically necessary. You wrote: "A human being is not a genetic code. If this were true, you could treat identical twins as interchangeable parts. "Oh, I killed one of the twins, but that's okay . . . his genetic code is still alive!" Bah." I agree. I never said that a human was solely a genetic code, though it's genetic code is one very individual aspect of a human being.
  8. Sherlock

    Abortion

    Bruno, You wrote: "So, to you, rights are relative. If a woman chooses to have sex, then she cannot have an abortion; but, if she is forced to have sex, then she can have an abortion." I am not saying that in one situation, life exists and in the other situation it doesn't: life exists whether you think it does or not. I am simply bowing to political reality: a law that banned abortions will never be passed unless it makes exceptions for the two situations I mentioned. However, a law that bans abortion for the purpose of birth control has a chance of passing (though not anytime soon). Therefore, I would see it as progress if ninety-plus percent of abortions were banned. Hence my comment.
  9. Sherlock

    Abortion

    RationalCop, you wrote: "And you still haven't proven that the purpose, or even the main purpose, of sex is procreation, you simply make the assertion." Durandal, you wrote: " Sex, per se, does not intrinsically possess a purpose, much like an inanimate object is incapable of being good or bad." I don't know if I can carry on any kind of meaningful conversation when even obvious interpretations of observed behavior is denied. What you are saying is sophistry at best (attacking a highly specific interpretation of words), irrational at worst. Are there other bodily functions that have you similarly stumped? The purpose of defecation is to rid the body of wastes---would you agree with that? Or do I have to "prove" this in order for you discuss it? The purpose of chewing is mainly to render large chunks of food into smaller ones so that they can be swallowed without choking. And the main purpose of sex in organisms is reproduction---this is so obvious that any reasonable man can see this without having recourse to scientific data. It is so accepted as common wisdom that reproduction figures in the dictionary definition of sex. It seems to me that if you are going to challenge such a commonly held, common sense assertion, you will have to give me good reasons for that challenge. If your defense consists of denying such common-sense assertions that the purpose of the procreative act is procreation, you must sense that your argument is flawed. You're aligning yourself with primitive tribes who think that babies come from bathing in the river. Dominique, You wrote: "Do you hold that Sex=Baby and that if a woman is "irresponsible" enough to engage in sex when she does not want to have a baby then she ought to be made to suffer the consequences of carrying a pregnancy to term no matter the personal sacrifice it would be to her, no matter the effect on her body, on her career, and her future? If so why? If not, can you see the contradiction in your position? No, I don't hold that sex ALWAYS equals baby---ask any woman who has difficulty conceiving. But I do say that the main purpose of sex is procreative. I am against abortion as a means of birth control. I would not oppose it as an option in the case of rape and physical life of the mother (the usual exceptions), though I am still maintaining that, in those cases, a human life is still being taken. In the case of rape, I would hope the mother would carry to term (why take the life of the child for the crime of the father?), but since she did not freely engage in the activity that produces babies, I am at least sympathetic to her plight. If the physical life of the mother is threatened, then it is the unfortunate and difficult situation of weighing the two lives and having to choose one, so again I am sympathetic. But those are a very small percentage of the abortions performed: over ninety percent of all abortions are simply after-the-fact birth control. Human life should not be treated so cheaply. No amount of rationalization justifies the casual taking of human life.
  10. Sherlock

    Abortion

    Wow----where to begin? I'm going to try and address as many points as possible, but it may take a while (I have a job). RationalCop, you wrote: "You say designed, so that means you believe some being capable of intent designed sex for the purpose of creating babies. Who is this being that "designed" sex?" I don't know what word you would prefer other than "designed". "Programmed?" I can't use the word "evolved" in this case, since only those first simple forms of life that already had reproduction "built in" survived in order to evolve into more complex forms of life. But regardless of the word I use, the fact is that the main purpose and result of copulation is reproduction. Without reprodction, life on this planet could not have survived and evolved---therefore, for the higher animals, reproduction is pleasurable. That for humans, and perhaps for a few other organisms, it also serves to strengthen pair bonds (thus promoting a stable environment in which to raise offspring) is true, but still the act's main purpose is reproduction. Mr.Swig, you wrote: "Yet, you have not proven that a "new" life is created at conception." Well, don't take my word for it, listen to science: Dr. Jerome Lejeune, considered the "Father of Modern Genetics" and discoverer of the cause of Down's Syndrome: "To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion . . . it is plain experimental evidence." Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman, Department of Genetics at Mayo Clinic: "By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception." The widely used medical textbook "The Developing Human, Clinically Oriented Embryology" (6th Edition, Moore, Persaud, Saunders, 1998), states on page 2 that "This cell [the zygote] results from the union of an oocyte [egg] and sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being ...." At page 18 this theme is repeated: "Human development begins at fertilization ...." What part of this is unclear? Some scientists might approve of abortion, but that is a judgment about the value of human life, not about the scientific fact that human life exists. And yes, I am aware of Ayn Rand's position on this, but she was wrong. But this may have been from the lack of scientific understanding of the development of the fetus, which has made great strides since her day. With that understanding have come such realities as fetal surgery, which began in the '80's. If the prevailing position is that Miss Rand was infallible, then I would respectfully disagree, and suspect that she would have too.
  11. Sherlock

    Abortion

    Mr.Swig, You wrote: "You have not proven that an embryo is a human being. You continue to evade the real debate, and now you are left with mere ad hominem attacks on your opponents." No, it's simply that you won't accept the evidence I do offer that an individual's life is a continuum beginning at conception. And I am not engaging in ad hominem attacks. I was not able to address your last post to me because the thread was closed down, but that wasn't because you had presented convincing arguments against my position. You wrote: "Here you are basically saying that women who have an abortion didn't take sex seriously, therefore abortion is wrong." No, I'm not saying that. I am saying that abortion is wrong because it takes the life of an innocent human being. You wrote: "However, whether someone is sexually frivolous has no bearing on the question at hand: is an embryo a human being?" I agree. I mention the irresponsibility aspect merely to counter the odd concept (advanced by Scientist and Dominique) that the embryo is a kind of illegal squatter, instead of being what it is: the logical consequence of engaging in the activity designed to produce them. Evading responsibility for one's actions is not something I will ever sanction. You wrote: "Here again you begin with the fantasy that an embryo is a human being." Yup, I do maintain that, and you haven't given me any reason to think otherwise. You wrote: "Then you imply that people who have abortions are like Jew-killers during the holocaust." Yup, right again: abortions are the result of a group of humans (the born) deciding that another group of humans (the unborn) are non-persons or sub-humans, just as the Nazis did. The predictable result of these sorts of distinctions is a pro-killing policy. You wrote: "Your DNA argument has been countered and dismissed." No, far from it! I think you might want to consult your basic biology testbooks. I didn't respond to your last post on the previous thread, but that was only because the thread was closed, not because I couldn't counter your replies.
  12. Sherlock

    Abortion

    Scientist, Your post paints a rather odd picture of the relationship between mother and offspring. The embryo does not magically appear in the mother's womb as an illegal squatter, but instead is the completely predictable consequence of having sex, the purpose of which is to produce babies. If a woman doesn't want to have a baby, she ought not to engage in the activity that produces them. If I were to take your approach and apply it to other aspects of human behavior, I could say, then, that despite eating a dozen pizzas and 6 quarts of ice cream a day, fat cells do not have a "right" to inhabit my body. Also, why do you suppose a human embryo is not a human being? Is it not a human? If so, please tell me how it is that you arrive at that conclusion. Is it not a being? Please tell me how you arrive at that conclusion. When does an embryo, then, become a human being? Do brain waves; heartbeat; fingerprints, etc. enter into your conclusion of what is and what is not a human being? I need more information in order to have a discussion. Also, you wrote: "The only thing I am uncertain about would be a case where a woman wanted an abortion so late in her pregnancy that the fetus could survive on its own."..."However, such a situation would be incredibly rare so it is not really relevant to the broader discussion" This is partial birth abortion. And no, it is not rare.
  13. I understand Mr. Speicher's complaint, and will miss his posts as being in a very small category of posts that are both informative and without sneering or hostile attitudes. I have my own complaints: I have a "warning" icon that has been on my posts since an early exchange in which I engaged in too much sarcasm. I recieved no warning before the icon was attached, and have since seen other posters engage in sarcasm or worse without being so marked. It is hard not to conclude that the moderator simply didn't agree with my position. And yesterday, the thread on abortion was simply closed because the moderator judged that there was nothing "new" in the thread. Eh? No one is forced to go to a thread clearly marked "abortion". Presumably those I was debating with were interested in the debate whether the material was new or not, and so again I am left to conclude that the moderator didn't agree with my views.
  14. Sherlock

    Abortion

    Dominique, You wrote: " No, we are saying a woman has a right to her own body and to not allow any tissue to grow inside her if she does not wish for it to do so." This is a bit like someone saying, "I have a right to eat twelve pizzas and six quarts of ice cream a day, but I do not wish to become fat." Most abortions are simply an after-the-fact means of birth control: here's a hint: sex creates babies. That is its purpose. If you don't want babies, don't engage in the one act that is designed to create them. I have nothing but pity for victims of rape; or mothers whose pregnancies threaten their physical lives, and they face a difficult choice: if those people choose abortion, then I would still grieve the loss of the child involved, but could understand the action. But the vast majority (well over 90%) of abortions are done because two people stupidly engage in sex before they're ready to deal with the perfectly predictable outcome, and then decide to kill a human life instead of rising to the occasion. Have you seen ultrasounds of even very young fetuses? They have hands, eyes, a beating heart, fingerprints, etc...you can call it tissue if you wish, but tissue doesn't have a separate indentity from the body it's a part of, which a growing fetus certainly does. You're simply playing word games with reality. You wrote: " it's the mother's tissue as long as it is attached to her body." But it's not the mother's tissue, though she supplies its needs: it has its own DNA. If it were just tissue, it would have the same DNA as the mother. And are you saying, then, that it is OK to kill a newborn baby as long as the umbilical cord is still intact? You wrote: " so they do have a right to occupy a womb then?" This is so bizarre: an innocent human has a right to life. If you posit the question in this wierd way, which puts a developing child in the role of an enemy agent or illegal squatter, I don't know what to say to you. You have a strange concept of motherhood that is so utterly alien to mine, that I don't think we will be able to understand each other. You wrote: "It is also offensive for you to continuously assert that women (my being a woman) are at the mercy of their biological functions." No, I think that a responsible woman (and I am a woman too) is aware of the reality of her biological functions, and doesn't frivolously kill innocent humans because she chooses to engage frivolously in an activity that is designed to create babies. You wrote: "Until such time as the so called *pro-life* movement has established embryo nurseries where all unwanted embryoes, fetuses and whatever other types of tissue you'd like to *save* can be donated or sold, I will advocate a woman's right to terminate her pregnancies as she sees fit." None of this has anything to do with the morality of killing innocent humans. You can, in fact, substitute "Jews" for "unwanted embryoes, fetuses and whatever other types of tissue you'd like to *save*" and you have the "final solution" to another troublesome class of non-persons.
  15. Source, I'm confused: how can an act be justified, but incorrect? Are you trying to say that "some" action was justified, but Stephen just picked the wrong one to take? But since you identify the action taken very specifically as "Stephen's act", how can that be? Just wondering...perhaps you meant, "action was justified, but Stephen's was incorrect"?
  16. Sherlock

    Abortion

    Stephen, Again, I appreciate your thoughtfulness (thankfully free of the rancor that characterizes some of the discussions I've had on this forum) You wrote: "These are the essential facts which need to be addressed." I am not disputing the facts you mention---they are simply reality. However, I don't see the difference between "developing human being" and "human being" providing the warrant to kill. With your definition providing the warrant, then partial-birth abortion is perfectly fine right up until natural labor has the feet out but the head still in the birth canal. You write, "Also, just because you may not like the implications of facts, is no reason to reject those facts. If you accept the facts, you must eventually accept their implications, but you cannot go back and change the facts because you do not like the implications", but I do in fact, reject this rationalization that permits partial-birth abortions. Many evil regimes have had very sophisticated rationalizations for declaring certain classes of persons as "non-persons" and thus worthy of killing. But I thank you for your clear exposition: I came onto this forum because, when I was younger, I thought of myself as an Objectivist. I had occasion to re-think some of my assumptions, and realized that I probably did not understand Objectivism fully for me to describe myself as such, and so came here for some clarification, which you and others have provided. This particular issue makes it crystal-clear to me that I am not an Objectivist, so that question is settled. Though I hope you won't mind if I stick around and throw in my two-cents' worth from time to time...
  17. OK, folks, You-all answered some concerns that I had: thanks for taking the time to do so. I can now see the plausibility of private roads.
  18. Sherlock

    Abortion

    Dominique, You wrote: "An embryo cannot live outside of the mother's body." Have you ever seen preemie babies? It is amazing how small (and young) they are; yet they can survive outside the womb, albeit with an incubator providing what the womb does. Are those preemies not human beings? Yet it's OK to kill a fetus in partial-birth abortion that is much, much older than those infants, and who probably could survive outside its mother's body. Your argument boils down to location and viability. What I am in the womb---a human being or non-human being---cannot be determined by what machines (incubators) exist outside the womb. You wrote: "My answer is that the issue of DNA is arbitrary. It is still merely human tissue." Sure, it's tissue. But whose? It's not an organ (the DNA shows that), but a growing, developing human being. You wrote: "If embryos do not have a right to occupy a womb, then what pray tell is wrong with removing them??" It is wrong because it kills an innocent human life. You wrote: "Perhaps you could explain to me how your position does not deprive women of their right to life?" Women do have a right to life---I just don't see why they (and they alone, with no regard for the father) have the right to take the life of another.
  19. Sherlock

    Abortion

    ex_banana-eater, You wrote: "No, I am saying that essentially, anything outside of the womb is self-sustaining. A baby breathes, digests, and lives for itself. It is a separate functioning entity and therefore is a human being." Premature babies most definitely do not meet your requirements and must be in incubators. Are they not human beings? You wrote: "If you'll notice, many adults are not "self-sustaining" by the definition you implied, so I am left to believe you must have been trying to avoid the issue." No, not at all---in fact, that simply bolsters my argument. Those who are in a coma are still human beings though they cannot sustain themselves but require outside asistance. You wrote: "If you are indeed serious, then by potential, I meant "capable of being, but not yet in existence." Potential, as opposed to actual." There are no potential beings that are actively growing into actual beings. The being is actual, the functioning is potential---how can something develop ("develop" is a function), as a fetus clearly does, unless it exists in the first place?
  20. Sherlock

    Abortion

    stephen_speicher, You wrote: "Afterall, my claim is that a fetus is not a human being, since it is not an independent biological entity." I'm not sure I agree with your definition of "human being". Specifically, I question the condition, "independent"---what do you mean by independent? If you mean self-sustaining, then infants, those in comas, etc. aren't human beings. If by "independent" you mean unattached to a mother, then it would be OK to kill an infant as long as its umbilical cord is still attached. It appears to me that your distinction really boils down to a change in location and relationship to the mother and the surrounding world (air and food). However, there are cases of the baby in the womb being alive when the mother is dead (I'm thinking here of the recent case of the woman who was killed and her baby ripped out while still alive). If the mother dies, and is no longer a living human being, then is that baby a human being while it remains alive in the womb? Does the fortunate accident (or hideous crime, in the case I mentioned)of being rescued from a dead womb confer "human being-ship" upon a previously non-human being?
  21. Sherlock

    Abortion

    Dominique, You wrote: "The embryo does not grow into a baby on it's own. Each embryo must rely on the mother's body for it's life giving sustenance to grow until it is viable. The embryo itself is only part of the equation. So by your own logic: an embryo is not a person, nor is a placenta, they do not grow into humans on their own, and so are not "potential persons" But you are making implications (or creating conditions) that I did not: I never posited that an embryo is a person solely because it has its own distinct DNA, but used the fact that it does to distinguish it from a sperm, an egg, or an organ of the mother's body. Of course the embryo depends on its mother's body, but that dependency doesn't take away from its personhood, any more than an infant's dependency on removes its personhood. You wrote: "The emphasis I added in your top quote is to point out the way you hold that seperate DNA is the mitigating factor. If you do not believe the DNA is what makes all the difference to you what is your argument?" I used the distinctive DNA of an embryo to refute the idea that the fetus was something akin to an organ, sperm, or egg. Do you have an answer to that argument? You asked: "So do you propose that the embryo and/or fetus are developing rationally in the womb? Is that your position? Embryo's have a *right* to host bodies? What is your position here? Are you arguing against Objectivism in general?" Let me answer these briefly: 1) I did not speculate at all as to the "rationality" of the developing fetus. I merely observed that it develops---life is a continuum. 2) No. 3)What a strange thing to say---I have never heard of a "right" to occupy a womb. You'll have to explain this one to me. 4)No.
  22. Sherlock

    Abortion

    stephen_speicher, Thank you for your response. I appreciate your measured tone and thoughtfulness. You wrote: "But the issue is not when life begins, but rather as to when the fetus becomes a human being." Either the fetus is a person, or not; and either we know what it is, or not. Thus there are four and only four possibilities: (1) that it is not a person and we know that, (2) that it is a person and we know that, (3) that it is a person but we do not know that, and (4) that it is not a person and we do not know that. In case (1), abortion is perfectly permissible. We do no wrong if we kill what is not a person and we know it is not a person-e.g., if we fry a fish. But no one has ever proved with certainty that a fetus is not a person. If there exists anywhere such a proof, please show it to me and I shall convert to pro-choice on the spot if I cannot refute it. If we do not have case (1) we have either (2) or (3) or (4). What is abortion in each of these cases? It is either murder, or manslaughter, or criminal negligence. In case (2), where the fetus is a person and we know that, abortion is murder. For killing an innocent person knowing it is an innocent person is murder. In case (3), abortion is manslaughter, for it is killing an innocent person not knowing and intending the full, deliberate extent of murder. It is like driving over a man-shaped overcoat in the street, which may be a drunk or may only be an old coat. It is like shooting at a sudden movement in a bush which may be your hunting companion or may be only a pheasant. It is like fumigating an apartment building with a highly toxic chemical not knowing whether everyone is safely evacuated. If the victim is a person, you have committed manslaughter. And if not? Even in case (4), even if abortion kills what is not in fact a person, but the killer does not know for sure that it is not a person, we have criminal negligence, as in the above three cases if there happened to be no one in the coat, the bush, or the building, but the driver, the hunter, or the fumigator did not know that, and nevertheless drove, shot or fumigated. Such negligence is instinctively and universally condemned by all reasonable individuals and societies as personally immoral and socially criminal; and cases (2) and (3), murder and manslaughter, are of course condemned even more strongly. We do not argue politely over whether such behavior is right or wrong. We wholeheartedly condemn it, even when we do not know whether there is a person there, because the killer did not know that a person was not there.
  23. Sherlock

    Abortion

    ex_banana-eater, You wrote: "Life is a continuum, but a potential human does not have the rights of an actual human. A living human is a self-sustaining entity, so a fetus is not a living human, and potentially being one does not mean to treat it as if it were one." Babies are not "self-sustaining entities"---if they aren't sustained by parents, they will die. Are you saying, then, that babies aren't human? Also, what do you mean by a "potential" human? Are you suggesting that the fetus has a potential to turn out as a dog, or a fish?
  24. Sherlock

    Abortion

    Mister Swig, You wrote: "Why don't you begin your continuum with me? Why can't I be the starting point of all life which flows from me? I gave rise to the sperm that gave rise to the fetus which gave rise to the human being. You are the one creating an arbitrary starting point for life." You are necessary for a new life fathered by you, but you are not "the new life"---i.e., a child fathered by you is its own distinct entity, and unless you kill it, will develop into a mature adult. Your sperm on its own cannot do this (I can't believe I'm having to point this out). The new life begins when that distinct entity begins to develop, which is when it is conceived---how is that arbitrary? If you want to regard yourself as a "cause", go right ahead. In one sense you are merely one "cause" in a string of many (your parents; their parents; and so on). This does not mean that one cannot say that distinct lives do not exist, nor that such distinctions cannot be made.
  25. Sherlock

    Abortion

    RationalCop, You wrote: "There are posts at the beginning of this thread that address arguments you are making. If you did in fact read them, then it would appear you ignored them, or failed to consider them in typing your responses. So which is it?" Neither. I have my own perspective, which is not necessarily the same as those already stated. I would prefer to express my opinion in MY words, not by saying, "please scroll down to post such-and-such for an opinion that mostly matches mine". From the standpoint of time, it is too time-consuming to scroll and quote from other posts when I can be more specific on my own.
×
×
  • Create New...