336 Million

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Re: 336 Million

Postby BigBallinStalin on Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:49 am

_sabotage_ wrote:GDP does not mean a damn thing. The cancer rate increases, good for GDP. For some an oil spill is a good opportunity. It's called broken window economics.


GDP means plenty of things, but its usefulness is limited. If I asked you to explain that GDP-cancer correlation, could you?

"Broken window economics"? You're just making stuff up.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby patches70 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:06 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
"Broken window economics"? You're just making stuff up.


I think he means "Keynesian economics" and broken window fallacy. Just a guess.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby AndyDufresne on Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:20 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
_sabotage_ wrote:GDP does not mean a damn thing. The cancer rate increases, good for GDP. For some an oil spill is a good opportunity. It's called broken window economics.


GDP means plenty of things, but its usefulness is limited. If I asked you to explain that GDP-cancer correlation, could you?

"Broken window economics"? You're just making stuff up.


I subscribe to Door Ajar Economics myself.

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Re: 336 Million

Postby Ray Rider on Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:12 pm

patches70 wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
"Broken window economics"? You're just making stuff up.


I think he means "Keynesian economics" and broken window fallacy. Just a guess.

I guess he missed the fallacy part.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby tzor on Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:04 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:It is true that "SOME pro-choicers say, "egg+sperm and fetus1" are acceptable stages for annihilation," so it's just silly to refute that.


I'm refuting point 3 that begins with "Then." Point 2 may be true, but it doesn't prove point 3. I've never seen anyone argue from early stage non implantation or early stage abortions to that of infanticide.

There are some pro-lifers who might say that in an imperfect world "egg+sperm and fetus1" are acceptable stages.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby ooge on Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:03 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
ooge wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
ooge wrote:
Funkyterrance wrote:
ooge wrote:Over 100 million sharks killed a year,consumed by The Chinese in shark fin soup.Sharks predate the dinosaurs and will go extinct if this continues.more people only make problems like this worse.One day humans consuming other humans may be the only source of meat.

Are you suggesting we start killing Chinese people who eat shark fin soup? You lost me.


population control while it is heartless now,is the only way to save the human race in the long term.With scientific advances, Abortions should become unnecessary.China was stuck in a numbers game.This is why they instituted these drastic measures.India will be doing something similar before long.


Did you know that there's no correlation between population density and GDP per capita?

Did you know that as a country advances economically, the growth rate of its domestic population decreases?

I'm really not concerned about rampant population growth.


income,GDP,is not the same as resources witch will dwindle with unfettered human expansion.There are about A billion people alive today only because a scientist in recent history figured out how to grow particular crops in previously unsuitable areas for crop production.


GDP per capita has its problems, but it's good enough for our purposes here.

Not dealing with declining growth rates, which I mentioned, doesn't help your argument.

If increased production of food comes with lower prices, then more people can afford to live at lower prices, incomes, etc.---assuming the governments don't inflate the money supply (they do), or impose tariffs to 'help' local agri. producers (they do), etc.

If Norman_Borlaug is making Malthusian arguments, then he should study economics before making bold claims about stuff he doesn't understand.


WOW...you clearly have no idea what this guy accomplished in life,you must not have bothered to read it
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Re: 336 Million

Postby BigBallinStalin on Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:32 pm

ooge wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
ooge wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
ooge wrote:
Funkyterrance wrote:Are you suggesting we start killing Chinese people who eat shark fin soup? You lost me.


population control while it is heartless now,is the only way to save the human race in the long term.With scientific advances, Abortions should become unnecessary.China was stuck in a numbers game.This is why they instituted these drastic measures.India will be doing something similar before long.


Did you know that there's no correlation between population density and GDP per capita?

Did you know that as a country advances economically, the growth rate of its domestic population decreases?

I'm really not concerned about rampant population growth.


income,GDP,is not the same as resources witch will dwindle with unfettered human expansion.There are about A billion people alive today only because a scientist in recent history figured out how to grow particular crops in previously unsuitable areas for crop production.


GDP per capita has its problems, but it's good enough for our purposes here.

Not dealing with declining growth rates, which I mentioned, doesn't help your argument.

If increased production of food comes with lower prices, then more people can afford to live at lower prices, incomes, etc.---assuming the governments don't inflate the money supply (they do), or impose tariffs to 'help' local agri. producers (they do), etc.

If Norman_Borlaug is making Malthusian arguments, then he should study economics before making bold claims about stuff he doesn't understand.


WOW...you clearly have no idea what this guy accomplished in life,you must not have bothered to read it


If it's similar to arguments that you've been making, then no I won't waste my time. I've heard plenty of that before. (I looked at his wiki page, so I gave a quick "if-then" argument. You cited him as some kind of defense of your position, without providing any details. His green revolution thing seems to pull against your arguments anyway).

Since you're not really defending your earlier position, then we can safely assume that it's incorrect.
Last edited by BigBallinStalin on Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby BigBallinStalin on Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:35 pm

tzor wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:It is true that "SOME pro-choicers say, "egg+sperm and fetus1" are acceptable stages for annihilation," so it's just silly to refute that.


I'm refuting point 3 that begins with "Then." Point 2 may be true, but it doesn't prove point 3. I've never seen anyone argue from early stage non implantation or early stage abortions to that of infanticide.

There are some pro-lifers who might say that in an imperfect world "egg+sperm and fetus1" are acceptable stages.


lol, okay. Point 2 and Point 3 aren't proving anything. It's a list. They lay out a scenario, then I ask a couple of questions.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby ooge on Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:32 am

Since you're not really defending your earlier position, then we can safely assume that it's incorrect.[/quote]

so you are unable to make the connection between the green revolution and the starvation that did not occur because of it.That unfettered population growth will result at some point in a food shortage that some scientist like him will not be able to fix.China's premier told President Bush what keeps him up at night was the thought that of all Chinese coming from the county side going to the city's to demand food and jobs.but somehow more Chinese would make this problem better? :lol:
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Re: 336 Million

Postby BigBallinStalin on Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:01 am

ooge wrote:
bbs wrote:Since you're not really defending your earlier position, then we can safely assume that it's incorrect.


so you are unable to make the connection between the green revolution and the starvation that did not occur because of it.That unfettered population growth will result at some point in a food shortage that some scientist like him will not be able to fix.China's premier told President Bush what keeps him up at night was the thought that of all Chinese coming from the county side going to the city's to demand food and jobs.but somehow more Chinese would make this problem better? :lol:


Oh, you're switching your argument. Okay.

(1) "Technology might not keep up." Again, what happened in the US? Stagnant/significantly decreased growth rates in population. Didn't need drastic measures for a problem which resolved itself. (Hell, the government may worsen the problem by subsidizing the production of children--by offering tax credits per child).

(2) "Rural emigration to the cities in China because Bush worried about it." And what do the immigrants offer in exchange? If it's voluntary trade, then they offer something useful in exchange for something useful. If there's involuntary exchange, then they'll crowd the cities demanding 'free' food and 'free' jobs. Obviously, we can point out the culprit in the latter scenario (governments). So, if your scenario of people running to cities demanding 'free' food and 'free' jobs holds true, then we should blame any government responsible for creating that incentive. If there are people running to cities who offer useful services in exchange for goods, then it's not a problem in general.


You could say the same of industrialization (i.e. the migration of rural individuals to the cities) of any nation at any point in time, but we get different outcomes, and each country faces different technological advances and institutions (e.g. property rights regime).

What have we seen with "First World Countries"? Stagnant/declining population growth rates (especially if we exclude foreign immigrants).

What have we seen with 2nd world countries? High rates of population growth rates (but they die quicker).
How about the 3rd world countries? Highest rates of population growth (but they die quickest).
(in general).

So, how do these differences matter? Do higher growth rates in poorer countries offset themselves due to the lower life expectancies and higher mortality rates?


(3) Green revolution isn't responsible for as much as you claim. That's why I don't "make the connection between the green revolution and the starvation that did not occur because of it." Sure, rising productivity of particular staples was great and all, but it's not what got people out of the Malthusian trap--if it ever existed.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby ooge on Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:25 am

BigBallinStalin wrote:
ooge wrote:
bbs wrote:Since you're not really defending your earlier position, then we can safely assume that it's incorrect.


so you are unable to make the connection between the green revolution and the starvation that did not occur because of it.That unfettered population growth will result at some point in a food shortage that some scientist like him will not be able to fix.China's premier told President Bush what keeps him up at night was the thought that of all Chinese coming from the county side going to the city's to demand food and jobs.but somehow more Chinese would make this problem better? :lol:


Oh, you're switching your argument. Okay.

(1) "Technology might not keep up." Again, what happened in the US? Stagnant/significantly decreased growth rates in population. Didn't need drastic measures for a problem which resolved itself. (Hell, the government may worsen the problem by subsidizing the production of children--by offering tax credits per child).

(2) "Rural emigration to the cities in China because Bush worried about it." And what do the immigrants offer in exchange? If it's voluntary trade, then they offer something useful in exchange for something useful. If there's involuntary exchange, then they'll crowd the cities demanding 'free' food and 'free' jobs. Obviously, we can point out the culprit in the latter scenario (governments). So, if your scenario of people running to cities demanding 'free' food and 'free' jobs holds true, then we should blame any government responsible for creating that incentive. If there are people running to cities who offer useful services in exchange for goods, then it's not a problem in general.


You could say the same of industrialization (i.e. the migration of rural individuals to the cities) of any nation at any point in time, but we get different outcomes, and each country faces different technological advances and institutions (e.g. property rights regime).

What have we seen with "First World Countries"? Stagnant/declining population growth rates (especially if we exclude foreign immigrants).

What have we seen with 2nd world countries? High rates of population growth rates (but they die quicker).
How about the 3rd world countries? Highest rates of population growth (but they die quickest).
(in general).

So, how do these differences matter? Do higher growth rates in poorer countries offset themselves due to the lower life expectancies and higher mortality rates?


(3) Green revolution isn't responsible for as much as you claim. That's why I don't "make the connection between the green revolution and the starvation that did not occur because of it." Sure, rising productivity of particular staples was great and all, but it's not what got people out of the Malthusian trap--if it ever existed.


How am I changing my argument? Bush I am sure did not care,The Chinese premier did.As I stated. 3) Green revolution isn't responsible for as much as you claim..I do not claim it.people who know what they are talking about do.but seeing that you cant be bothered to read it and would rather know what you know.This is pointless.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby Metsfanmax on Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:07 am

ooge wrote:
so you are unable to make the connection between the green revolution and the starvation that did not occur because of it.That unfettered population growth will result at some point in a food shortage that some scientist like him will not be able to fix.China's premier told President Bush what keeps him up at night was the thought that of all Chinese coming from the county side going to the city's to demand food and jobs.but somehow more Chinese would make this problem better? :lol:


The whole point, the reason why the Green Revolution was so important, is that it demonstrated that advances in technology and agricultural practices are what are not only necessary to avoid Malthus' nightmare, but more or less inevitable with population growth. With a larger population, there are more opportunities for innovation that can benefit global production, simply because there are more people to have good ideas. Norman Borlaug was instrumental in disproving Malthus' hypothesis, and he basically realized that towards the end of his career. Yes, we need to keep innovating if we want to sustain population growth, but at present time there doesn't seem to be a reason to suspect that we're near the actual resource limit of our planet.

By the way, I know that I am a bit behind on responses. I've been swamped with class work lately, but I'll get back to this thread for real over the weekend.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby daddy1gringo on Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:40 am

This was almost onto page three, so it’s time to add some things that I was waiting on Mets’ response for. First a re-cap:

daddy1gringo wrote:
Army of GOD wrote:
Lootifer wrote:I'm pretty sure most pro-abortion people (such as myself) are against late term abortions; if only because you've already had 5-6 months to decide and should have well and truly made up your mind by then.


That's an awful argument though. If abortion is legal, then they should be legal until the child is out of the mother, as PLAYER gave me a satisfying definition of a child (it's really the only point at which the "being" [watching my syntax] is discretely a child or just a potential child). I understand the probability of survival of a child increases probably exponentially at the end of the pregnancy, but choosing an arbitrary percentage and claiming that abortions past this point are immoral seems like a pretty ambiguous argument.
You bring up a good point, AoG. Both sides run up against a problem with the slippery-slope, or "beard" argument, in that their reasons and standards, taken alone, would end up justifying ridiculous things that even they don't support. The pro-abortion side's argument from ability to survive independently, taken to its extreme, could justify infanticide; as a matter of fact, how many of us would be safe, since in this computer age, how many could really survive without other people to run the plants that purify our water, and to kill the chickens and wrap them up in plastic for the supermarket? On the other hand, the anti-abortion side's arguments from "potential for life" could make it murder to choose not to have sex, or other similarly silly things.

Note that I have applied this to both sides.

So I agree with you that we have to pick a point at which we say that the fetus is a human being with the rights of a human being. That seems pretty clear. It also seems clear that whatever the point, it will seem "counter-intuitive" or arbitrary and silly in certain ways. Now you and Player have proposed "birth", but you yourselves had to fudge that and go back to the developmental and viability standards to see how long before birth is OK, since I think we all agree that the "being" (staying with your "syntax" {technically "semantics", but that's another subject}), ten seconds before she passes through the birth canal is not significantly different from ten seconds after. That puts us back in the "slippery beard", and that's a problem.

That is why I believe it has to be at conception. As someone posted earlier in the thread, at that point there is a being, an entity, that just did not exist before. This is the only point that is immune to the "slippery beard" to any degree. The courts, what do they use to determine an individual's identity? DNA. At this point, the being has her own complete DNA, her own identity, different from the mother or the father or anyone else in the world. (even an identical twin wouldn't exist yet.)

There are other arguments that I would give to someone who shares my cosmology, but I think this is pretty strong from a strictly logical and medical viewpoint.

At this point I’ll add once again that it is always going to seem silly in one way to say “One second before this it is not a person; one second after, she is”, but this is the only point between sexual attraction and old age at which that is to any degree not the case, and for very good reason.

The only difference between this being and the 30-year-old who unquestionably has a right to life, is time and environmental factors, for example, nutrition, parenting, experiences, etc. What, and who she essentially is, is already there in the DNA. Before conception, this was not true. That deals with the “What about skin cells” argument, the "part of the mother's body" argument, and the “Kleenex” joke.



daddy1gringo wrote:First of all, let me agree with what some others have said: I like the turn that the tone of this discussion has taken. Everybody is being very reasonable and respectful (even BBS!) on a usually pyrotechnic subject. I will try to maintain this, and I hope everyone else will too.

Metsfanmax wrote:Choosing a dividing line may be hard, but that is no excuse for picking a bad one.
Agreed, though I naturally think that sword cuts the other way. ;)
The argument of the beard doesn't actually address any of the important ethical questions involved in determining whether abortion or infanticide can be justified. The important determination is not whether a new organism exists, but whether that organism has any of the qualities that deserve protection. Simply being a member of the species Homo sapiens is not qualification for ultimate ethical protection. This thought process is what has allowed us to mistreat non-human animals for so long, and similar reasoning has fueled events like the Holocaust -- dehumanize your opponents, and their lives are no longer worth protecting. We can solve these problems by making it not special to be human but special to be an organism that is self-aware.
But how is the standard that you have chosen any less arbitrary and convenient to your way of thinking than any of the others?

Furthermore, part of the reason you appeal to the argument of the beard is because you assert without proof that it's bad that the pro-choice side logically leads to infanticide. But I hope I have demonstrated that not everyone on our side of the issue sees that as an absurd conclusion (in fact, it is a problem with the standard pro-choice argument).


Now here you bring up an interesting point. You are absolutely right: I made no attempt to prove that infanticide is wrong, and for good reason. At least up until the time that I posted that, a couple of years ago, even the staunchest pro-choice advocate would have agreed that it goes without saying. Pro-life people were saying for years that the kind of reasoning pro-choice folks were doing would lead to advocating infanticide, to which the pro-choice would answer something like, “Don’t be ridiculous; that’s ‘chicken little’ alarmism. Of course it will never lead to that.”

What that tells me is that one of two things is true: either, as you seem to be indicating, there is a significant and growing number of adherents to ideas like those you are giving here, or there is not.

If there is not, well, hey, the majority is not always right, and sometimes the lone “crazy” person is actually the herald of progress, but the fact that even the pro-choice people, who are not hindered by obsolete superstitions as people like me are, still agree that killing a born infant is unthinkable, might be reason for you to reconsider your position.

If there is a significant and growing group who hold with your ideas, then the rest of the pro-choice camp needs to reconsider their position, because what their opponents predicted is coming true: their type of thinking is indeed moving into what they agree is unthinkable.

In particular, the argument from the beard does not apply when we're talking about personhood, because there is surely some period of time until significantly {after} birth {fixed, I think}where an infant shares none of the qualities of a fully developed person.
Once again, those standards that you choose, how are they any less arbitrary and convenient, any more logically ethical, than the ones you reject? They still have all kinds of grey areas and “slippery beard” problems. Also it doesn’t answer the question that all of the other standards have to answer: “Who will decide?” In this case that question is particularly haunting in that they will have to judge whose cognitive function, whose thinking, is good enough to qualify for having the right to live. All kinds of room for abuse here.
Even if we accept WestWind's standard of when the fetus can start to feel pain, that still justifies most of the abortions that take place today.
Right, which is part of why I don’t use standards like that. The one I use is actually the most logical and clear-cut. Remember also that I said there would still be room for dialogue concerning conflicting circumstances, like rape and the life of the mother; it would just mean recognizing that this is indeed a human life.
I urge you not to skirt the real, ethical issue by choosing a standard that is convenient for you to think about. Serious issues require serious solutions.
Obviously, I don’t believe that I am. Let me end with a real-life example that I have mentioned before. I know of a doctor who became pro-life one day when he performed an abortion in the afternoon, when that same morning he had performed life-saving surgery (heart, or spine, I can’t remember) on a fetus no further along than the other. He had to ask himself, “If I didn’t just take a life, then whose life did I save this morning?” What would you say to that doctor?


So I never really deal with the issue of demonstrating that infanticide is wrong except to point out that even your fellow pro choice advocates who are not burdened by my obsolete superstitions, seem to take it as a given. Perhaps some of them could give a logical argument to that effect.

My answer I give at the risk of sounding like I am making an ad-hom attack, which I am not: there is no malice or moral judgement in this, is to go out on a limb and guess that you do not have children of your own.

I have held my two daughters, and now my two grandsons in my arms and looked into their eyes, well before your two week “safe limit”. They were indeed already the person that they are. My second daughter was born over a month premature. It was 2 weeks before she was off of enough tubes for me to hold her in my arms and sing to her, but still well before she was supposed to be born. Even before that, while she was still on the tubes and giving the NICU nurses a hard time, she was her own person.

As the saying goes, “A man with an experience is never at the mercy of one with an opinion.” I am afraid, my dear Mets, that on this you are guessing. I am not guessing; I know. Even the vast majority of staunchly pro-choice people will tell you the same. If your line of reasoning has led you to this conclusion, it is time to question your line of reasoning.
The right answer to the wrong question is still the wrong answer to the real question.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby Symmetry on Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:00 am

daddy1gringo wrote:So I never really deal with the issue of demonstrating that infanticide is wrong except to point out that even your fellow pro choice advocates who are not burdened by my obsolete superstitions, seem to take it as a given.


Your faith is Abrahamic, right?
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Re: 336 Million

Postby daddy1gringo on Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:36 pm

Symmetry wrote:
daddy1gringo wrote:So I never really deal with the issue of demonstrating that infanticide is wrong except to point out that even your fellow pro choice advocates who are not burdened by my obsolete superstitions, seem to take it as a given.


Your faith is Abrahamic, right?
I don't use the term, but I suppose those who do would classify it as such. Why?
The right answer to the wrong question is still the wrong answer to the real question.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby Symmetry on Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:40 pm

daddy1gringo wrote:
Symmetry wrote:
daddy1gringo wrote:So I never really deal with the issue of demonstrating that infanticide is wrong except to point out that even your fellow pro choice advocates who are not burdened by my obsolete superstitions, seem to take it as a given.


Your faith is Abrahamic, right?
I don't use the term, but I suppose those who do would classify it as such. Why?


The dude is known for his willingness to commit infanticide.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby daddy1gringo on Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:46 pm

Symmetry wrote:
daddy1gringo wrote:
Symmetry wrote:
daddy1gringo wrote:So I never really deal with the issue of demonstrating that infanticide is wrong except to point out that even your fellow pro choice advocates who are not burdened by my obsolete superstitions, seem to take it as a given.


Your faith is Abrahamic, right?
I don't use the term, but I suppose those who do would classify it as such. Why?


The dude is known for his willingness to commit infanticide.
:lol: Good one. Actually, it's even worse: Isaac was at least a teenager, if not older by then.
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Postby Symmetry on Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:00 pm

daddy1gringo wrote:
Symmetry wrote:
daddy1gringo wrote:
Symmetry wrote:
daddy1gringo wrote:So I never really deal with the issue of demonstrating that infanticide is wrong except to point out that even your fellow pro choice advocates who are not burdened by my obsolete superstitions, seem to take it as a given.


Your faith is Abrahamic, right?
I don't use the term, but I suppose those who do would classify it as such. Why?


The dude is known for his willingness to commit infanticide.
:lol: Good one. Actually, it's even worse: Isaac was at least a teenager, if not older by then.


What makes you think that?
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Re: 336 Million

Postby Woodruff on Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:20 pm

I consider anyone who is against contraceptives while also being against abortion to be willfully evil. I consider anyone who is against free contraceptives while also being against abortion to be extremely short-sighted, at best.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby thegreekdog on Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:22 pm

Woodruff wrote:I consider anyone who is against contraceptives while also being against abortion to be willfully evil. I consider anyone who is against free contraceptives while also being against abortion to be extremely short-sighted, at best.


Okay, let's get into this.

Why should contraceptives be "free?"
Additionally, please define the term "free" - do you mean that contraceptives will be given away by the companies that manufacture them or paid for by someone else. If paid for by someone else, who pays for them?
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Re: 336 Million

Postby Woodruff on Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:29 pm

thegreekdog wrote:
Woodruff wrote:I consider anyone who is against contraceptives while also being against abortion to be willfully evil. I consider anyone who is against free contraceptives while also being against abortion to be extremely short-sighted, at best.


Okay, let's get into this.

Why should contraceptives be "free?"
Additionally, please define the term "free" - do you mean that contraceptives will be given away by the companies that manufacture them or paid for by someone else. If paid for by someone else, who pays for them?


I don't necessarily think they SHOULD be free. However, I am also not against abortion, therefore I view the situation differently than some others.

To explain, if somoene is against contraceptives but also against abortion, they are effectively only interested in punishing people for having sex outside of the purpose of procreation. There really is no way around it. I would consider that to be evil.

To explain my second point, someone who is against abortion should recognize that contraceptives are far cheaper to provide than abortions are. Which is why I would consider that individual to be quite short-sighted because if the idea is "don't use my money for it", well...you can pay a little or you can pay a lot. As you state, there really isn't a "free" to it, but my reference of course was that they be "free to the user" (presumably paid for by taxes or charity or what-not...several methods are plausible).

Note that again I am not saying that anyone who wants to have sex is ENTITLED to free contraceptives. I am approaching the issue from the perspective of "the complaintant", if you will.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby thegreekdog on Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:30 pm

Woodruff wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:
Woodruff wrote:I consider anyone who is against contraceptives while also being against abortion to be willfully evil. I consider anyone who is against free contraceptives while also being against abortion to be extremely short-sighted, at best.


Okay, let's get into this.

Why should contraceptives be "free?"
Additionally, please define the term "free" - do you mean that contraceptives will be given away by the companies that manufacture them or paid for by someone else. If paid for by someone else, who pays for them?


I don't necessarily think they SHOULD be free. However, I am also not against abortion, therefore I view the situation differently than some others.

To explain, if somoene is against contraceptives but also against abortion, they are effectively only interested in punishing people for having sex outside of the purpose of procreation. There really is no way around it. I would consider that to be evil.

To explain my second point, someone who is against abortion should recognize that contraceptives are far cheaper to provide than abortions are. Which is why I would consider that individual to be quite short-sighted because if the idea is "don't use my money for it", well...you can pay a little or you can pay a lot. As you state, there really isn't a "free" to it, but my reference of course was that they be "free to the user" (presumably paid for by taxes or charity or what-not...several methods are plausible).

Note that again I am not saying that anyone who wants to have sex is ENTITLED to free contraceptives. I am approaching the issue from the perspective of "the complaintant", if you will.


That both helps and makes sense. I agree with you.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby Metsfanmax on Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:06 pm

rishaed wrote:
Metsfanmax wrote:I do not see my proposal as lowering human persons to the standard of being; I see it as raising the standard of non-human animals to how we already treat adult humans.
And yet I feel that these things are indeed one and the same. What are you going to do make all animals sacred animals? Such as the Cow for the Hindi Religion?


I do not view humans as sacred, so I would not make non-human animals sacred. I would simply state that from an ethical perspective, there is no a priori reason to deny consideration of the preferences of a non-human animal. A decision that disrespected those preferences would have to be justified in terms of the greater benefit that would be provided. For example, killing a sentient animal because you like the taste of its flesh could not be justified. Killing a sentient animal because you would be sparing it from a seriously disadvantaged and painful life could be.

Metsfanmax wrote: But with that said, there are consequences that come with this approach. In particular, we must seriously take responsibility for our ethical decisions. I do not think it is appropriate any longer for us to assert the existence of unchanging and absolute ethical principles. These were undoubtedly useful in earlier periods.

I think that unchanging ethical rules were put there for a reason, secular or Scriptural (some of which overlap) I am a great believer in the inherent evil in the human race, and have found this to be true even in my own life and struggles. It is these unchanging laws that make the peace and stability that you say we have developed. To throw one of these laws out would be similar to throwing out the law of Gravity in my opinion. I know that if I drop something, no matter how heavy it is whether paper or a bowling ball, it will fall towards the ground. However if Gravity is no more then my certainty and trust in objects falling towards the ground in every case is no longer well founded, and thus negates the possibility of the law of Gravity on Earth.
There is a reason that Theft is illegal, and has been for ages on end. There is also a reason why it says Thou Shalt Not Kill.


If we are inherently evil, then what is the value of the life of an infant? It sounds like you're saying that only through reason can we conquer our base instincts. But a newborn child has no reasoning ability, and is therefore completely evil by your standards. Why is this being worthy of protection?

Also, I clearly do not reject the rule of law as a method of maintaining stability. I argue that this rule of law is sufficient, without someone needing to believe that they will be tortured for eternity. The fear of social stigma and prison time is an effective deterrent.

Metsfanmax wrote: However, collectively as a society we have developed enough peace and stability that we can re-think these rules and come up with ones that better fit reality. That is, we no longer need to pigeonhole ourselves into a specific box just because we think that society will be better off that way. We are intelligent enough and have our act together enough to take these ideas and run with them.

I think I have addressed the first sentence here already. I disagree with you that we are pigeonholing ourselves into a box, as I stated earlier most if not all ethical laws that are unchanging and absolute have been so (as you mentioned) for an extreme amount of time, and as such hold much wisdom and knowledge already into them. The basic nature of humanity as a whole has not changed since then IMO so why would you think that the outcome at the end would be different? Its similar to a teenager who won't listen to his parents and has been through the school of hard knocks because he threw out their advice and later realizes that they were right.


The fact that we have believed something for a very long time is not a testament to its moral correctness. For most of human history, it was completely natural to commit acts of incredible violence to one's political, social or religious enemies (the Bible contains plenty of instances of this). "Thou shalt not kill" is really just "thou shalt not kill your fellow Jews." I reject the assertion that society became more peaceful and stable as a result of these views that you adhere to.

Metsfanmax wrote: I don't argue for this just because I disagree with things on some abstract level. Instead, the status quo leads to some seriously unfortunate results. As an example, many people who are in serious pain and have made the rational decision to end their lives, cannot legally get assistance to do so in most jurisdictions. That is because we still cling to an absolute right to life framework in most cases, at least formally. But in reality that is not how most of us think.

Suicide IMHO is a decision neither made rationally, but rather emotionally (especially at a young age). Seeing as I have attempted this in the past, I can speak from first hand knowledge. Looking back I am glad that I did not succeed in my attempt. I partially regret ever attempting it, and will never do it again. I only partially regret it because now I know and can tell others that It really isn't a viable option, and Thank God for every life that is saved because someone stops them. Logically speaking Suicide is running away from your problems instead of confronting them. You don't have to eliminate the person causing the pain to stop the pain or find a way to heal it and move on. I am glad for the absolute right to life framework we have. It is what keeps murder, murder and keeps death as a serious thing. If you are talking a medially sick person, they can as my Grandmother did, choose rather to go off of what is keeping them alive. However I would say that these people have a motivation other than revenge, and can make a more logical choice than the first group. However I also think that these people dying of an incurable disease as you say are more serious in considering every option, and the people it will affect. These people can (if not already) prepare for their death in a way that people who for whatever reason just go and hang themselves suddenly do not. There are ways for the doctors to reduce, and try to remove the pain without having to kill the person to do it.


Modern medicine is not a panacea. Even in Western societies, there are many diseases that we simply do not have effective treatments for, and in some cases we can't even effectively manage the pain, especially towards the later stages of terminal diseases. Furthermore, artificially keeping someone alive is expensive and drawn out. It may be intellectually easy to insist that "doctors can reduce the pain," but that doesn't change the fact that there are many people right now who are in pain and would probably prefer to end their lives. This is not an irrational decision. Most people don't want to have to live through severe pain, especially if they know the illness is fatal. It is cruel to insist that these people cannot make the choice to end their own lives. It serves no good purpose, but inflicts much pain.

Metsfanmax wrote:
Most people recognize that life is full of shades of gray, and that it can be deleterious to insist on this, as when a patient is dying from an incurable disease. Similarly, if someone is in a persistent vegetative state, with no chance of regaining consciousness ever again, we cannot reasonably insist a family incur high medical costs over years when the patient has ceased to be a person.

I don't think that the patient has ceased to be a person. ;) And as such, I do not see Life as a shade of grey. You are either alive, or you are dead. There is no in between state. You may try to argue that a person in a persistent vegetative state is in between, however is that true? Is it the fact that we keep them "alive" by using artificial means, or is it the fact that they cannot respond in any way? I don't know the answer, and probably never will.


What does it mean to be alive? Any close examination of this issue reveals that it is quite difficult to describe what it means, say, for a patient to die. Is it when the heart stops beating? What about when detectable brain function ceases? Or when the person stops breathing? How can one be sure, after these things have occurred, that there is really nothing there? There is nothing at all black and white about how we define life as an ethical issue.

1. It is also probably true that you probably don't believe that there is a God, and thus your stance on "Human rights" as you put it fits quite logically for stance of "Survival of the Fittest."


I did not advocate for an ethical stance of "survival of the fittest."

2.I find this to be highly hypocritical. You cannot say that there is zero chance that a human being is not or will not be a person/self-aware. And yet as a child inside the womb the surroundings and emotions/actions of the mother effect you, and can cause distress which is a trait of awareness of surroundings and of others.


There is a serious difference between an infant human being aware -- mammals are, in general, aware of their surroundings in the sense that they can feel pain and directly respond to stimuli -- and being self-aware -- that is, being cognizant of one's own existence over time. Fetuses and newborn humans are simply incapable of appreciating their own existence. There is no neurological mechanism for them to do so.

I also find offensive the statement of some debiltating or terminal disease which makes their life not worth living. All humans deserve the right to live. And further more, you might consider those with Aspergers, Down Syndrome, Alzheimers, or someone with a heart disease all people who can be "terminated" during pregnancy or shortly after birth. And yet these people can make a contribution to society that probably very few of us will ever make. Why? Because the focus that they have is different and the viewpoint of the world is different, and yet it may be their viewpoint that could change the world.
Where would it stop, logically you would have to "terminate" every baby that was not fully "functional" with no inherent DNA/physical disabilities. People like Mozart would have never been able to live.


I do not think it would ever be ethical to tell other people whether they should maintain the lives of their children. I argue that, if a medical expert determines that a human fetus or newborn infant would not live very long and would suffer substantially while it was still alive, a parent should have the option of deciding to terminate that life. Cases such as Down syndrome are harder to judge. The fact of the matter is that if you asked someone who was severely disabled whether they would prefer, all other things being equal, a life without that severe disability, they would almost certainly be lying if they said no. This does not mean that such a person cannot live a full life, simply that they face great obstacles in doing so, and there is no particular reason to desire those serious obstacles. A fetus, as it is not yet a unique person, is completely replaceable (to the extent that its parents and others directly affected would be happier with another child without serious defects). I do not deny that we would have to answer some tough ethical questions regarding when it can be justified to terminate a young human's life. I also do not think that we should choose a poor answer to avoid having to make a hard, but better choice.

3. Drop the again. Why, because we can all be self aware at some future point in time again. An infant sleeps and wakes up the same as we do. It is influenced by its environment and has emotions like we do. It knows who its mother is, and is quite attached to her. It is suggested that Music such as Bach and Mozart are good for intelligence (this might be a common rumor...) Sure we might die by some sickness early in life. However we cannot choose everything that effects us, neither can we pick and choose most everything like in the Game of Life (or Risk).


We can only be self aware "again" if we were once self aware. A newborn human has never been self-aware, and does not deserve the same ethical considerations as a human that has been.

Metsfanmax wrote:Note that all this skirts the issues associated with how we treat non-human animals in other ways. The act of killing (assuming it can be done painlessly) is a unique ethical issue, because if an organism is deceased then it no longer has any preferences. So if you could be completely sure that you could kill a merely sentient organism without any pain (e.g. insects), then it should not be treated as murder. However, in reality it is never so simple. We can't really be sure that what we are doing is painless to a creature. In fact, the commercial meat industry inflicts great pain to cows when they are slaughtered for beef. So even though we could conceive of situations in which we could kill an organism without causing any pain, in practice we can almost never be sure of this, so we should abstain from such acts.


And yet you advocate for what you consider "merely sentient" infants to be killed if such is desired. These statements are highly conflicting. Sure we know that certain things remove pain, and that overdoses remove that. However not all humans are the same, which makes me believe that not everything that causes one person pain, causes another person pain.


The point I was making in this paragraph is more or less compatible with what you said, which is that we cannot ever really be certain that an act of killing is painless. However, the question of abortion goes beyond this, as it deals with whether that inflicted pain can be justified in certain circumstances.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby Metsfanmax on Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:10 pm

Funkyterrance wrote:
Metsfanmax wrote:
I disagree, principally because the relevant definition of personhood is based on what you describe as clinical details (such as the ability to feel pain and be self-aware). What is missing too often from the abortion debate is the question of why it is wrong to kill a human. We need a consistent ethical answer to this before we can broach the abortion or infanticide subjects. I argue that it is especially wrong to kill persons (as opposed to merely sentient beings) because there is some significant difference that sets persons apart from the merely sentient (such as self-awareness). So if we agree in this way that killing a normal adult human is more wrong than killing an adult snake, then we agree that the reason it is more wrong is because the human has self-awareness and has hopes and dreams for the future that the act of killing lays waste to, and because the act scares other people and makes them live less pleasant lives. But notice that we couldn't have reached this conclusion without establishing some facts biologically, such as that normal adult humans are self-aware, and that normal adult snakes are not. As a result, we cannot help but agree that it is of crucial importance in the abortion debate to determine which organisms are self-aware and which are not, because in fact that is the defining characteristic that makes the killing so gravely wrong. If ever we are in doubt and suspect that an organism may have some self-awareness, we should give it the benefit of the doubt and give it the same protection that all persons enjoy.

Note that all this skirts the issues associated with how we treat non-human animals in other ways. The act of killing (assuming it can be done painlessly) is a unique ethical issue, because if an organism is deceased then it no longer has any preferences. So if you could be completely sure that you could kill a merely sentient organism without any pain (e.g. insects), then it should not be treated as murder. However, in reality it is never so simple. We can't really be sure that what we are doing is painless to a creature. In fact, the commercial meat industry inflicts great pain to cows when they are slaughtered for beef. So even though we could conceive of situations in which we could kill an organism without causing any pain, in practice we can almost never be sure of this, so we should abstain from such acts.

Why the focus on ability to feel pain and aspirations for the future? I'm not sure how these two characteristics are plucked as the defining characteristics of personhood.


They are not. I stated that the defining characteristic of personhood is self-awareness, or the ability to see oneself as existing over time. The fact that, for example, aspirations for the future is a consequence of personhood, is the reason why it is wrong to kill a person against his or her will.

Ending life is the key, specifically a human life since we all know what it is to be human(species). I can't say what goes through a cow's head because I'm not a cow and neither can you. You can argue that "animals are people too" all you want but the majority of humans need some sort of Dr. Doolittlian evidence in order to believe this and rightly so. The bottom line is that we probably shouldn't be killing animals either though because there is the same "unknown" element.


How do you know that other humans feel the same pain as you? How do you know what goes through another person's head?

However, your "pain+hopes=person" argument doesn't hold water because we can "suspend" an adult human in any combination of those characteristics or lack thereof and it's still not ok to kill them. My implication being that the fetus is just one "state" of a person just like being doped up to not feel pain or being depressed beyond the point of caring about the future is a state of a person. Granted being a fetus is an early state, its a state nonetheless.


I addressed this with the clarification that we should consider as a person any organism that has been self-aware in the past and is currently self-aware now, or will be again at some time in the future.
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Re: 336 Million

Postby Metsfanmax on Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:22 pm

daddy1gringo wrote:
The argument of the beard doesn't actually address any of the important ethical questions involved in determining whether abortion or infanticide can be justified. The important determination is not whether a new organism exists, but whether that organism has any of the qualities that deserve protection. Simply being a member of the species Homo sapiens is not qualification for ultimate ethical protection. This thought process is what has allowed us to mistreat non-human animals for so long, and similar reasoning has fueled events like the Holocaust -- dehumanize your opponents, and their lives are no longer worth protecting. We can solve these problems by making it not special to be human but special to be an organism that is self-aware.
But how is the standard that you have chosen any less arbitrary and convenient to your way of thinking than any of the others?


My standard: personhood exists in all those organisms that are self-aware.
Your standard: personhood exists in all those organisms that are members of the species Homo sapiens.

My standard is less arbitrary for many reasons (or example, species definitions are fuzzy). But more importantly, my standard is an actual ethical argument that attempts to define what it actually is about an organism that makes it worthy of special protection. Your standard skips all that and just says humans deserve protection because they're humans. It is circular reasoning.

Furthermore, part of the reason you appeal to the argument of the beard is because you assert without proof that it's bad that the pro-choice side logically leads to infanticide. But I hope I have demonstrated that not everyone on our side of the issue sees that as an absurd conclusion (in fact, it is a problem with the standard pro-choice argument).


Now here you bring up an interesting point. You are absolutely right: I made no attempt to prove that infanticide is wrong, and for good reason. At least up until the time that I posted that, a couple of years ago, even the staunchest pro-choice advocate would have agreed that it goes without saying. Pro-life people were saying for years that the kind of reasoning pro-choice folks were doing would lead to advocating infanticide, to which the pro-choice would answer something like, “Don’t be ridiculous; that’s ‘chicken little’ alarmism. Of course it will never lead to that.”


Infanticide has been discussed in the academic literature for decades. My stance is not particularly new.

What that tells me is that one of two things is true: either, as you seem to be indicating, there is a significant and growing number of adherents to ideas like those you are giving here, or there is not.

If there is not, well, hey, the majority is not always right, and sometimes the lone “crazy” person is actually the herald of progress, but the fact that even the pro-choice people, who are not hindered by obsolete superstitions as people like me are, still agree that killing a born infant is unthinkable, might be reason for you to reconsider your position.


I am not here to prove that society will necessarily be better off if everyone accepts my views. I accept that there are unforeseen consequences to any action. I am here to argue that society is making an illogical and inconsistent choice that does lead to a lot of harm presently. It does not particularly bother me that many people disagree with me. Most views that we hold now were seen as absurd for most of human history.

If there is a significant and growing group who hold with your ideas, then the rest of the pro-choice camp needs to reconsider their position, because what their opponents predicted is coming true: their type of thinking is indeed moving into what they agree is unthinkable.


I am not part of the pro-choice camp. I happen to agree with them on the policy decision that abortion should be legal, but I come at it from a much different perspective.

In particular, the argument from the beard does not apply when we're talking about personhood, because there is surely some period of time until significantly birth
I think this is a typo: doesn’t make sense grammatically. Could you rephrase?
where an infant shares none of the qualities of a fully developed person.
Once again, those standards that you choose, how are they any less arbitrary and convenient, any more logically ethical, than the ones you reject? They still have all kinds of grey areas and “slippery beard” problems.


It may be true that determining exactly when a given organism becomes a person is nigh on impossible, but that's relevant to policy and not to ethics. I argue that we should agree it is ethically permissible to terminate the life of a non-person in certain, well-justified circumstances. Determining exactly which organisms are not persons is admittedly non-trivial. But there are ways around it. Consider that we do not grant humans the right to vote (at least, in the US) until they are 18. Surely many 17 year olds are competent enough to vote, but we nevertheless pick the policy that we think is guaranteed to ensure that everyone who has the right can exercise it. Similarly, if we pick a legal restriction that guarantees that all abortions and infanticides occur before a human could possibly become a person, then we have avoided this problem.

Also it doesn’t answer the question that all of the other standards have to answer: “Who will decide?” In this case that question is particularly haunting in that they will have to judge whose cognitive function, whose thinking, is good enough to qualify for having the right to live. All kinds of room for abuse here.


Modern science has already answered this question. We know that, for example, no fetus has the quality of self-awareness.

I urge you not to skirt the real, ethical issue by choosing a standard that is convenient for you to think about. Serious issues require serious solutions.
Obviously, I don’t believe that I am. Let me end with a real-life example that I have mentioned before. I know of a doctor who became pro-life one day when he performed an abortion in the afternoon, when that same morning he had performed life-saving surgery (heart, or spine, I can’t remember) on a fetus no further along than the other. He had to ask himself, “If I didn’t just take a life, then whose life did I save this morning?” What would you say to that doctor?


I would say that in one case, the child was wanted by its parents, and in the other, it was not. That makes all the difference.

daddy1gringo wrote:So I never really deal with the issue of demonstrating that infanticide is wrong except to point out that even your fellow pro choice advocates who are not burdened by my obsolete superstitions, seem to take it as a given. Perhaps some of them could give a logical argument to that effect.


I doubt that they would, because "pro-choice" advocates are usually more concerned about the rights of the mother than about a coherent ethical system regarding the rights (or lack thereof) of the infant.

My answer I give at the risk of sounding like I am making an ad-hom attack, which I am not: there is no malice or moral judgement in this, is to go out on a limb and guess that you do not have children of your own.

I have held my two daughters, and now my two grandsons in my arms and looked into their eyes, well before your two week “safe limit”. They were indeed already the person that they are. My second daughter was born over a month premature. It was 2 weeks before she was off of enough tubes for me to hold her in my arms and sing to her, but still well before she was supposed to be born. Even before that, while she was still on the tubes and giving the NICU nurses a hard time, she was her own person.

As the saying goes, “A man with an experience is never at the mercy of one with an opinion.” I am afraid, my dear Mets, that on this you are guessing. I am not guessing; I know. Even the vast majority of staunchly pro-choice people will tell you the same. If your line of reasoning has led you to this conclusion, it is time to question your line of reasoning.


What does it even mean to state that you looked into your childrens' eyes and knew that they were persons? It's quite literally a meaningless statement. You have simply said that you saw whatever you wanted to see in them, without appealing to any objective standard. What would you say to someone who looked into the eyes of their favorite horse and insisted that they saw a person looking back at them?
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