quote:I asked you all those questions simply to try and establish whether your own moral position imparted some special significance to human life above all other life, and, though you didn't address the invitation to comment upon what IS human, it appears that it does.
... I do not however necessarily agree that as a general proposition, viewed from different perspectives, it is true that killing a chicken is more acceptable than killing a human.
... It is perfectly understandable that you sit here in your skin on your planet with your god and reach the conclusion that you are the life form that should be last in line for the fast food processing unit of the universe. But then there are lots of other scaley, feathered and amoeba-like Stephen's out there who probably think that they also should not be served up with a plate of McFries. The only rational objective conclusion is that all life forms are "equal".
Actually that would only be rational if all life forms were alike.
No Stephen that is not right. My central point was that each life form may legitimately feel that it is superior. But that aside, even within our own species there are for instance differences in skin colour, physique etc, yet most people regard all humans as equal in the important meaning of the word.
To cut to the chase, moonbeam, I accept the supreme position of human life (rejecting of course, cruelty to animals for cruelty-sake) as Divine Revelation.
Of course you do. And I respect your position. In a parochial sense it's quite a rational one, for it provides the human mind and body with a good deal of ease, and escape from having to confront the problems that arise when you take my view.
At this point you will cry "foul" in the name of religion (which to you is dogmatically subjective). The strength of my position however is that most people agree in practice and conscience, regardless of their ideologies. And I'm really not interested in arguing abortion with a moral vegan, much less arguing against a hypothetical moral vegan.
"Most people" fails on two counts as a convincing argument. First, most people on earth isn't "most people" - it's rather like a gaggle of geese sitting in their cosy little hut secure in the knowledge that most geese believe in the supremacy of geese, while in the woods just down the road the foxes take an entirely different view. Secondly, "most geese" used to believe in the supremacy of white geese over black geese. It didn't make them right.
As for the moral vegan point. I see that you may feel such an argument might be a waste of time. Perhaps you are right. In fact you may very well be. The gap between us in terms of the sanctity we attach to human life (especially just conceived human life) may be so wide that it explains what effectively translates to a difference in nuance regarding the legal position.
"Desirable vs. undesirable" is an insufficient category for this kind of discussion. Though I'm quite aware that you feel that you have jumped from the frying pan of absolutes, into a simpler comfy explanation. You've still landed in the fire, since desirable can be reduced to personal preference or liking (on the level of malt-beverage versus coffee), in which case there is no real debate.
You've place an emphasis on the words themselves which I didn't intend and simply dragged the debate back to ground level, when I was trying to, as it were, look from afar. Fine, use "right" and "wrong" if you want to, it doesn't detract from the fact that what you feel to be right and wrong may not be what IS right and wrong.
You've still landed in the fire, since desirable can be reduced to personal preference or liking (on the level of malt-beverage versus coffee), in which case there is no real debate.
Ahh, now we get to it. Precisely so: "personal preference" if you must, a sense of what, as Bob puts it, is viscerally "right" in as universal sense as we humans are capable of feeling.
And of course there is a debate. The debate between those who would construct what I previously called parochial moral absolutes, quite often "given" by a divinity(es) special to the race or species; and those who would simply endeavour to do what they believe to be right (or as I prefer "desirable"), guided, as I said before by no more than their developmental mix (social, environmental, economic, etc etc). The debate as to which approach is "correct", of course precedes any debate about, for instance, when a zygote is independently viable (which to me is pretty uninteresting). I admit it's a different debate, but in fairness it's the one I've tried to focus on throughout this thread, sorry if I misled you.
I believe that those who do not recognize an ultimate authority on morals will be more likely to justify societal atrocities. (Though of course, I recognize the religious can and have erred here too, by getting the authority all wrong). The Philosopher Nietzsche wrote that when "God is dead" then morals would decay. Likewise, Dostoevsky, said that "If there is no God, all things are permitted". Do you disagree with them, and if so why?
I totally disagree if by "god" they mean the traditional god's of mainstream religions worldwide. I absolutely believe that every human has the capacity to do good or ill and religion is just one factor in the mix that makes a character capable of whatever it is capable of. Much of the evidence I have seen at both a personal, society and national level, in both a contemporary and historical context points at "religion/god" being a real pain in the ass when it comes to warping human nature and creating in it the capacity for ill. Where do you want me to start!!!?? If however Dostoevsky meant "god" in a wider sense, and although I have read some of his books I can't remember the context, then perhaps I'd agree, in the sense that along with the mix of other factors in a human upbringing an instilling of a more spiritual outlook (as opposed to a material one) can, I believe, elevate human thought to a point where it is less likely to wish to cause harm. But this I believe has nothing whatsoever to do with the jehovah-like "ultimate authority" that you have in mind. It is more a maternal and gentle suggestion in early life that man (along with all other life) was not born a miserable sinner, does not have to be "saved", is quite worthy enough stand with the angels rather than gathering crumbs under tables, and is intuitively capable of perceptions beyond the grossly material.
Peter Singer (an atheist and moral relativist) supports infanticide in some cases. He provides evidence to me that the line will continue to move toward personal druthers, rather than any real criteria for rejection or acceptance, once absolutes are rejected. Where is the line for you for abortion and why? (This is the moral question, and not the legal)
I've already discussed personal preference, and why I believe it is an honest position rather than a dirty phrase.
"Real criteria for rejection or acceptance" - most people in my observation don't need a god of the type you believe in for them to know intuitively what is acceptable and what isn't at any particular point in time and place.
If you don't realise by now that I don't have "a line" - then you either haven't read or don't understand what I said.
And while we're on lines, to re-iterate, my legal position follows from my moral one. I don't have "a line" there either. I gave the span of weeks which I did advisedly, but I suppose I'm now regretting mentioning an upper limit. My ideal legal system would cater for the circumstances of each case and react with a moveable line accordingly.
quote:Of course it's unacceptable to kill an unborn baby, but, if I became convinced that the mother was likely to suffer as my sister-in-law's sister did without an abortion, I am absolutely certain that my conscience could reconcile it at an early enough stage in the pregnancy, i.e. when the zygote was around the status of "wasp" rather than "kitten".
Moonbeam! Hardly a shred of science-fiction, much less science, would support the idea of an unborn human being ever being at a stage other than earlier human ones.
I was speaking metaphorically of course, pointing out that my "personal preference"! would be to kill an anonymous week old fertilized human egg rather than an anonymous 2 month old kitten. But, talking about (science) fiction, you'd do well to re-visit Swift, on the subject of human subjectivity and its ridiculousness (oops, that sounded bad, it wasn't personal ).
quote:I'll simply say that I believe that there is a point (points) where the fact of being able to breath is not sufficient compensation for the pain and suffering (mental or physical) of being able to draw breath. I also believe that this state is reached in all beings, and in our human society is more prevalent than we care to accept, being suppressed by social convention and expectation, medical imperatives and possibly religious pressures. There is a kind of shame or disgrace involved in wanting or choosing to die.
You're the one who said not to go into Euthanasia right? Well even though I don't agree with it (and that is a seperate argument), I would gladly grant it to you for the sake of this argument ... and then point out that abortion is still far worse since Euthanasia involves both consent and a poor medical prognosis. Abortion involves no consent on part of the killed, and in most cases the best of prognoses.
I wasn't talking about euthanasia. I too have many reservations about it. I was making a general point about social stigma, and also saying for the umpteenth time that being alive is more than about drawing breath. You keep asking me how I can justify killing a living zygote simply to give a mother "peace of mind". Unless you recognise that someone can be "killed" without having their bodily functions terminated we can go no further with the discussion in that area.
You really attribute her mental condition to the mere birth of the child? Explain this to me again?
"mere birth of a child" - my turn to say Stephen!! Really, Stephen if you think that this is just about a baby popping out of a womb we are poles apart. At this point I guess I should say "how like a man", for the sake of cliche. There is nothing "mere" about the circumstances surrounding many young women arriving at a clinic I can assure you. When you write something like that I do wonder (with all respect) whether I'm talking to a person or a robot. Perhaps it's hard for you to understand what the circumstances of conception and the subsequent interaction with father, friends, family, doctor, therapist, school teachers, priest, doctors, maybe police, can do to a young girl's mental state, and how all that turmoil can be resolved into a point in time (the birth) and an entity (the baby), and magnified as a result.
Non-abortive (in the sense of best option) counselling should of course always be there. But the non-abortive bit should not be supported by a big stick of illegality. If the counselling doesn't work the option of a legal abortion should be available (with caveats as already discussed)
As I said before: no specificity on the time limit for illegality. Bands of time, with circumstances taken into account.