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semm

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  1. semm

    Abortion

    Danisal, so you are saying that her view on the morality homosexuality is an application of ethics, but that her view on the morality of abortion is not? Could you please make clear for the the distinction?
  2. semm

    Abortion

    Hey Ash, Just to get the unfortunate bit out of the way first. The one and only part of your post that I was referring to as being disingenuous was your question asking whether I ever heard of Ayn Rand. I was not using the refernce to that question to attack the substance of any of your actual points in any way. It upset me a little bit that you said it, but we'll just forget about it now and concider it water under the bridge. I would be interested in hearing more about your disiinction between consciousness and conceptual consciousness, could you provide me with a reference if you dont want to explain it here? Is it anything like Searle's 'Chinese Room' Arguement against strong AI? It sounds sort of similar from the way you are describing it. I also don't see what the purpose of saying something is 'not within my range.' I have not once here attacked a person rather than thier arguement and yet I keep seeing people posting things like 'well, if you dont agree with me clearly you dont know what you are saying' or, 'the arguement is simply above you.' The killing babies thing I admit was a bit of a sidetrack, I just wanted to make sure that I was debating a person who would stick by thier arguements, even if they led him to a conclusion which gave one a uncomfortable initial reaction. It certainly appears as though I am. I am still unclear as to what exactly is absurd in my 'potential' arguement. Are you saying that 'potential for a quality' can never be used as a means for the classification of objects? If not then I dont see how I am being hypocritical. Also please read my responce to danial for my reply to the next to last section of your post. Perhaps after I have a clearer understanding of your idea of conceptual consciousness I will be in a better position it see your distinction. Thanks for taking the time to respond to all my points.
  3. semm

    Abortion

    Hey Daniel, you bring up an interesting point that several other people have mentioned; let me see if I can find a new way of arguing against your position. Ayn Rand herself said that her philosphy was a 'coherent whole' and also that if you rejected one part, then you have rejected it in it's entirety. I dont at the moment have a refernce available but if you have some doubt as to whether or not she said this perhaps I can dig it up. So this would mean that if I was in disagreement with Rand's philosophical) view on abortion, or homorsexuality or anything else, then I could no longer relay on any of the other concusions I had drawn from her philosphy, or for that matter conclusions other objectivists drawn from the philosophy. Also please note that her statement about homosexuality was a philosophical one. She stated that it was 'immoral' which is a statement of ethics; and that it was 'disgusting,' presumably a statement of aesthetics. Please let me know which part of this arguement you find be incorrect if any.
  4. semm

    Abortion

    RE: Now I'm really confused. I will come bakc to your first part tomorrow most likely since about to go to sleep now but I just wanted to get the seocnd part out of the way. I know you dont agree with what you are saying, not even a little bit. By your reasoning no two 'true' Objectivists could at any point disagree on anything. If they did that would mean that one of them was not a 'true Objectivist.' Firstly, I am unsure that even this is taken to be true in Objectivism. But, for the moment though, I'll accept your premise. This would imply a few things actually: First, it would mean that one of either I or Ayn Rand could not both be Objectivists at the same time since we would apparently disagree on this issue. Ok, then where is your proof that it is not her who is in the wrong, and I that is the true Objectivist? 'But Objectivism is the philosphy of Ayn Rand, she couldn't possibly be in contradiction wiht her own philosophy' (couldn't she?). Ok, lets assume then that I am not the Objectivist and she is, and that one could never be an Objectivist if one disagreed with her on any topic since she would neccesarily be correct. "Homosexuality is immoral and disgusting" -Ayn Rand, at her Ford Hall appearance 1971 (www.politicalcompass.org) Well looks like I'm not an Objectivist any more, rats. Are you still one, RationalEgoist, after hearing that? (Please keep in mind how seriosuly Ayn took the word 'immoral') I shall endeavor to disprove your point on yet a third ground. Philosophy is a science. In science no person's word is law, only facts matter; and what is true is a matter of what can be proven. Therefore, in order to show me that I am in violation of the law of identiy you would have to show me proof for Ayn Rand's position on abortion. One who's premises could not be challenged. If you have such a proof please post it so we can evaluate it's merits.
  5. semm

    Abortion

    Ryan, I'd be happy to respond to your points. Prove a fetus has rights: A fetus is a human being. A Human being has rights. Therefore a fetus has rights. There is the proof. Now if you want to argue that a fetus is not in fact a human being then it's up to you to provide the proof, or change your definition of a human being. The fetus is part of a human's normal development. The only thing which separates them is a span of time. Unlikely we will ever know when consciousness begins: You are right. I should ahve said. There is no way to know if a being is conscious. Logic dictates that is up to the person attempting to prove the positive who need sot supply the arguement. This is a central tenent also of Objectivism. See Peikoff's lecture on aynrand.org to hear it in his words. killing babies: Is is not the main issue, but it is relevant. If there where an objective measure for consciousness, and such a measure told us that babies are not conscious until some time after they are born, would you then be unopposed to infanticide? If not, you are not being intellectually honest, right? Potential for Reason: There is no contradiction here. One can as 'potential for a quality' as being the disinguishing caracteristic for a certain property as the actual posesion of that quality without breakign any logical rules. If i may amke an annology: 'The rookie's potential for being a great player was what gave him the right to be on the football team' Surely you would argue there is nothing intrinsicly illogical about that situation would you? Additionally, potential for a quality is argueably even more important than a smaller measure of the quantity 'right now.' For instance, as mentioned earlier, certain chimps and other primates posess a level of reasoning, and have been able to solve all sorts of problems. At times they can even demontrate a greater reasoning ability than a small child. However, this does not put the chimp on the same level as the child. The child posses the potential for a much greater sort of reaosn than the chimp could ever achieve, and this is what sets them apart. I would be surprised if you didn't agree with me on this point. Disagreeing with the creator: I phrased this section's name in that way intentionally, the irony should be apparent. If one where to assume that by taking up the mantle of an Objectivist (and I will be precise with by big and small O's here) that one had to agree in every way with Ayn Rand, to the point of not paying attention to what on'e own judgment says; then they would in fact be fundamentally in conflict with what the philosphy of objectivism teaches us: Trust your own judgement. By implying that I could not be an Objectivist because i disagree with Mrs Rand's on this issue you show that you don't know the most basic premises of the philosophy. Perhaps an example? John Galt can be seen as the formost Objectivist of Atlas Shrugged. Throught most of the book Dagny worked against him because she did not agree that his way of 'fixing' the world was the only way. However, was Dangy acting as an objectivist thorugh every event of that book? You bet she was! So whether it is me disagreeing with Mrs Rand, or Peikoff or you, does not make me any less of an objectivist until such say as I close my ears to your arguements ans say 'I don't care what you say, I'd rather be irrational' This, ryan, will not happen. I ask two things of your next reply. Please refrain from the disingenuous questions, it only detracts from the quality of the debate. Secondly, I've yet to hear anybody elses' views on this issue yet. Perhaps Ryan, sharing with me your stance on this issue and how you arrived at it would be the best way of convincing me that you are correct.
  6. semm

    Abortion

    A Few more replies: RationalEgoist: Current laws are base don anything but science. If I may quote Buckamn in the majority opinion of RoeVWade (noticed this at reason.com). We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer. The court fully admits to its position merely being one of compromise. I would say any such law is by definition bad because it doesnt take a firm stance one wya or the other. If i may quote the same article from reaosn.com In Roe the Supreme Court essentially forbade abortion at the point of viability, which the justices suggested began at 28 weeks of gestation. Medical technology now regularly rescues premature babies born after 22 or 23 weeks, and a very few fetuses even survive after only 19. So, are we to continue pushing back the time allowed before an abortion? If we are to follow the reasoning of the original ruling than we must. What then is the difference between a fetus kept alive via modern medicine outside the womb, a so called viable fetus, and one which can survive in an artificial womb outside the mother's body? Both are just applications of medical technology leading to a fetus being viable from an earlier date are they not? Ryan: I'll just respond to the part of your post which isn't a troll. Please rephrase the rest in a civil tone if you would like a reply. So why is it that you consider the 'rights' of a pre-conscious clump of cells, that is only a potential (not an actual) human being, to outweigh the rights of the woman in whose body it is growing? (You do realize that nearly one out of five embryos--that is, after conception--self-abort anyway, don't you?) A genuine respect for human life cannot be the source of your beliefs. I don't propose to place any one person's rights above another like they could be weighed on a scale. Forbiding the intentional desruction of what we deem a human (potential human whatever) doesnt lessen the rights of anyone. As of right now, this would mean the mother would have to carry the pregnancy to term. Perhaps inconvenient, but that does not negate a parents responcibility. We still expect mothers who gave birth to children they perhaps wish they had aborted to either take proper care of them (under penalty of law) or give them up for adoption. I dont see a contradiciton in my position. Perhaps you would elaborate? And once again I will say this, it's unlikely that one can ever kow precidely when consiousness begins. It may in fact be some time after when most babies are born; and I haven't seen a single one of you defend the right to kill a baby based on this. I havnt told you that I support a position based merely on the line of consciousn/not-conscious. My own personal belief is that the potential for reason that exsists in the fetus, that potential alone gives it the right to exist. RedCap: Are you saying that by disagreeing wiht prominent experts of Objectivism i am neccesarily in contradiction with the philosophy? If not, then I am afraid you will have to elaborate a bit more on what fraud I have commited. I have presented a rational, objective arguement for my position, so I fail to see how you can all it non-Objectivist out of hand. Secondly while I so not have a written reference for when Peikoff/ect... give a fetus the rights of a human. I am taking thier views from statements made in the lectures on aynrand.org Watch the ~1 hour peikoff lecture and you will hear him say precisely what I told you about birth being the borderline. Hall make a similar statement in his 5 hour presentation. Though his statement was off the cuff so its possible his position is more detailed and he just didn't elaborate. If you could point to a specific reference detailing the positions of prominent objectivists in this matter I would be appreciative. But, you are flat out wrong in saying that I have commited any sort of fraud or misreprentation. If those gentlemen misrepresented themselves in their lectures than that is unfortune but, of course, thier responcibility. Everyone: I am interested in hearing some of your views on this subject. You ahve all helped me to strengthen my arguements, but I would be interested in eac of your views and how they where derived from your particular philosophical systems. had to type this out quickly so sorry if I left any misspellings or lost punctuation
  7. semm

    Abortion

    I will address each of your points in turn. Daniel: If you have such an objective measure for consiousness it would indeed be a major breakthrough in cognitive science, not to mention AI. There is no known way of taking a being, and being able to say with certainty, 'This being possess coniousness (or a 'rational faculty if you prefer)' or 'This being is not conscious' The line IS fuzzy, right now as a poitn fo fact. The smartest monkeys have in many respects greater analytical problem solving skills than many severely retarted human beings, but most people would aregue that the severaly retarted person still has a greater right o life than the monkey. Secondly, nobody said a newborn has all the rights of an adult; so I dont know where that enters into the arguement. We are only talking about the most basic of rights, the right to life. Greedy: The point is precisely that the fetus CAN in fact live without the mother, in every sense that a newborn can. Both are completely dependent on things besides themselves for survival. Both 'drain resouces' from the mother; and though I don't see how this issue is even relevant, one could argue that a newborn is even MORE a drain on the mother's time/energy/ect... than a fetus is. The fact that 1 month is when most abortions occur is irrelevant. You all should realise that the most important single thing about a law is that is is objective; followed closely of course with the fact that it must be applied consistently and equally to all people. For a law to qualify ad being objective, it must not be arbitrary. Right now this is what our laws are. Unless we have an objective meausre of consciousness I am simply suggesting that we be conservative with who we assign the right o life to. Keep in mind too, that most of the counterpoints I've seen so far could be used as arguements for the legality of infanticide. If this is your position I'm still willing to listen to your arguement, but please make sure you follow your arguements to thier logical conclusion.
  8. semm

    Abortion

    Note: Please familiarize yourself with the Objectivist position on abortion before participating on this thread. A good starting point is the Abortion article on the Objectivism Wiki. - GC I find the views of certain members of The ARI, such as Peikoff and Brook, on the topic of absortion to not be rational. I will brefly here present my pro-life, objectivist standpoint and invite anyone who cares to to try and find a contradiction in my arguement. The views of Peikoff, and likely many other objectivists, is that people are only endowned withe rights of a human beings after they are born. Before conception, it takes an act of will to create a fetus. A fetus will develop into a rational human being unless another act of will is responcible for the termination of that fetus. The fact that the life exists within the body of another is irrelevant. In the near future we will be able to allow a fetus to develop entirely outside of a human body, this does not mean that person is not human because they where never actually born in the traditional sense. As a correlary it is also clear that very little is different about a fetus/human being in the moments before it is born and those immediately afterwards. I say then that assigning a fetus the human right to life only 'after it is born' is being arbitary, and hense, not rational. As there is no objective measure for consiousness aside from human/non-human I say that stating any cutoff between when a fetus is endowned with the rights of a human other than conception is unreasonable.
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