Author Topic: Forever is Too Short  (Read 2471 times)

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Offline Anfauglir

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Forever is Too Short
« on: March 15, 2013, 07:37:12 AM »
I came across this quote from Richard Dawkins today.

Quote from: Dawkins
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?

It occured to me that despite differences of belief, atheists, Christians, Muslims (and probably more) are united in believing that this is the ONE life we shall have on this earth.

No matter what you feel may happen afterwards, then, is it not a good thing to ensure that we do what we can to make this one brief sliver on earth the best it can be?  Even if you have a huge hate on for what some people do with their lives, you know that they will burn in hell for all eternity.  Why the need to make their 70 odd years here a misery as well? 

For some haters, eternity is not enough.  They demand that people suffer for eternity plus some more.  How can you carry that much hatred inside you?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Astreja

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2013, 07:59:46 AM »
I always get choked up when I hear that Dawkins quote.  It brings a beauty and wonder to life that surpasses by light-years every religion ever conceived by humanity.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2013, 08:57:11 AM »
This is one of the reasons why there's so much outrage over abortion, you know.  Each aborted fetus is a human who won the lottery that Dawkins spoke of, and then had it snatched away from them before they could even get started.  Yet how many people try to argue that we're just removing a lump of tissue, as if it were a tumor to be excised?

It's something that we really need to keep in mind.

Offline Bluecolour

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2013, 02:28:48 PM »
^ Someone should bring this to his attention. I enjoy imagining his response.

I always get choked up when I hear that Dawkins quote.  It brings a beauty and wonder to life that surpasses by light-years every religion ever conceived by humanity.

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Offline Nick

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2013, 02:32:30 PM »
I think he was talking about all the little sperms and eggs that don't get a visit from each other.  Not abortion.  Mathematical chance at life.  If all the sperm made it to a person this would be one full planet.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2013, 02:58:51 PM »
I think he was talking about all the little sperms and eggs that don't get a visit from each other.  Not abortion.  Mathematical chance at life.  If all the sperm made it to a person this would be one full planet.
No, he's talking about the set of possible individuals based on our DNA.

His point is that simply by living, we've beaten the odds.  I don't disagree with that, but we shouldn't act like aborted fetuses are nothing more than a bit of tissue, either.  They beat the odds and formed a combination that would have resulted in a person, if it had been left alone.

I'm not saying that's an excuse to try to ban abortion, but we shouldn't pretend that it doesn't matter.

Offline wright

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2013, 03:17:19 PM »
Even if you have a huge hate on for what some people do with their lives, you know that they will burn in hell for all eternity.  Why the need to make their 70 odd years here a misery as well? 

For some haters, eternity is not enough.  They demand that people suffer for eternity plus some more.  How can you carry that much hatred inside you?

It's a way of further cementing group loyalty: not only are believers the Chosen People, delivered to eternal reward and from eternal punishment, but they have the assurance of their earthly enemies being punished forever.

Though FWIW, I doubt that most followers of religions that include eternal punishment really stop to think about what that entails. If they did, I think they'd recoil from it, so they compartmentalize, the better to keep the security blanket of their faith.

His point is that simply by living, we've beaten the odds.  I don't disagree with that, but we shouldn't act like aborted fetuses are nothing more than a bit of tissue, either.  They beat the odds and formed a combination that would have resulted in a person, if it had been left alone.

I'm not saying that's an excuse to try to ban abortion, but we shouldn't pretend that it doesn't matter.

I agree. That reasoning certainly drives many anti-choice advocates, and to effectively counter them we pro-choice types need to understand them.

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Offline su27

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2013, 04:01:12 PM »
His point is that simply by living, we've beaten the odds.  I don't disagree with that, but we shouldn't act like aborted fetuses are nothing more than a bit of tissue, either.  They beat the odds and formed a combination that would have resulted in a person, if it had been left alone.

I'm not saying that's an excuse to try to ban abortion, but we shouldn't pretend that it doesn't matter.

Your words make me think...

Offline anthony_retford

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2013, 09:26:23 PM »
I think the thought is nonsense. What about India and China who are grossly overpopulated? Most of their citizens are poor and condemned to poverty. We can be pleased that we have a life but wishing all eggs or sperm resulted in people is a dangerous thought. I can't remember the painting but it shows naked people standing on the shore of a sea. Behind them are nothing but people. I am sure someone can provide the picture. I have already written that in the US we are veering toward overpopulation. Life is precious when you have resources, but without resources it is miserable.
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Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2013, 05:33:52 AM »
It occured to me that despite differences of belief, atheists, Christians, Muslims (and probably more) are united in believing that this is the ONE life we shall have on this earth.

No matter what you feel may happen afterwards, then, is it not a good thing to ensure that we do what we can to make this one brief sliver on earth the best it can be?
Well ... you know that I would agree, but eternal life pulls focus away from the goodness of life to the point where it's easily possible. That of course being one of the problems with Pascal's wager; if you spend half your life making sure you'll have a good life at a time when in fact you will no longer exist, whether or not your life was better or worse because of it depends largely on what it was that you felt you had to do to be worthy of it.
"Deferinate" itself appears to be a new word... though I'm perfectly carmotic with it.
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Offline kcrady

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2013, 09:02:19 AM »
This is one of the reasons why there's so much outrage over abortion, you know.  Each aborted fetus is a human who won the lottery that Dawkins spoke of, and then had it snatched away from them before they could even get started.  Yet how many people try to argue that we're just removing a lump of tissue, as if it were a tumor to be excised?

It's something that we really need to keep in mind.

Aaaaand, this is why it's a bad idea to try to make ethical decisions on the basis of entities that don't exist.  Richard Dawkins was basically conjuring a metaphorical scenario as a way to say, "Hey, theists, stop clinging to delusions for the promise of Life Eternal.  Instead of living for the non-existent, why don't you try being grateful that you get life, period?"  News flash: there are no countless trillions of trillions of souls somewhere with Genetic Lottery Tickets clutched fervently in their...whatever souls have for hands, waiting with eager anticipation for every human conception in the hopes that they will get a lucky shot at life, cheering for each one of them who wins.  Whenever a miscarriage or abortion happens, they don't all greet the returning soul with, "Ooooh, tough luck Fred!  You were sooooo close!"

So, no.  Imaginary souls don't deserve any more ethical consideration than imaginary gods do.  I can't help but notice that you completely ignore the rights, health, and life of the real, live, breathing, thinking, feeling woman who not only "won the Genetic Lottery" but is an actual person, rather than a clump of cells.
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Offline kcrady

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2013, 09:25:30 AM »
One more thing: we don't have to worry about the poor dears because, Many Worlds Interpretation.  See, whenever there's a jiggling of the quantum dice, all of the potential outputs of the wave function become manifest, in different versions of the Cosmos.  Therefore, everybody wins the Genetic Lottery, in one World or another.  Likewise, for every potential abortion or miscarriage, there's a healthy live birth.  Fred might get born into a life of poverty and misery, but hey, at least he gets that Shot At Life.[1]

Also, you should play the lottery regularly.  Regardless of how ridiculously remote the odds of winning might be, in some version of the Universe, a version of you wins every time you play.

Right?

Edit: spelling
 1. Another reason to question Dawkins' quip: there are arguably plenty of lives for which an eternity of absolute, perfect peace (i.e., non-existence) would represent a preferable alternative, if the person had a choice in the matter.  The quip is obviously best reserved for first-world audiences.
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Offline shnozzola

Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2013, 09:37:51 AM »
I think the thought is nonsense. What about India and China who are grossly overpopulated? Most of their citizens are poor and condemned to poverty. We can be pleased that we have a life but wishing all eggs or sperm resulted in people is a dangerous thought. I can't remember the painting but it shows naked people standing on the shore of a sea. Behind them are nothing but people. I am sure someone can provide the picture. I have already written that in the US we are veering toward overpopulation. Life is precious when you have resources, but without resources it is miserable.

This from John Pitre?


http://www.rogallery.com/_RG-Images/Pitre_John/Pitre-Overpopulation.jpg
« Last Edit: March 16, 2013, 09:49:31 AM by shnozzola »
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Offline Bluecolour

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2013, 12:41:08 PM »
One more thing: we don't have to worry about the poor dears because, Many Worlds Interpretation.  See, whenever there's a jiggling of the quantum dice, all of the potential outputs of the wave function become manifest, in different versions of the Cosmos.  Therefore, everybody wins the Genetic Lottery, in one World or another.  Likewise, for every potential abortion or miscarriage, there's a healthy live birth.  Fred might get born into a life of poverty and misery, but hey, at least he gets that Shot At Life.[1]

Also, you should play the lottery regularly.  Regardless of how ridiculously remote the odds of winning might be, in some version of the Universe, a version of you wins every time you play.

Right?

 1. Another reason to question Dawkins' quip: there are arguably plenty of lives for which an eternity of absolute, perfect peace (i.e., non-existence) would represent a preferable alternative, if the person had a choice in the matter.  The quip is obviously best reserved for first-world audiences.

What was that you were saying about making decisions on the basis of entities that don't exist?

Well ... you know that I would agree, but eternal life pulls focus away from the goodness of life to the point where it's easily possible. That of course being one of the problems with Pascal's wager; if you spend half your life making sure you'll have a good life at a time when in fact you will no longer exist, whether or not your life was better or worse because of it depends largely on what it was that you felt you had to do to be worthy of it.

@ Noman
I don't really follow what you're saying here. Could you explain?

Offline DR HANS SCHWANTZ

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2013, 07:43:58 PM »
One thing I have learned reading all the issues presented here on this site, is that every issue and statement made, contains so many sub-issues and directions that are brought up by everyone commenting here.

It truly humbles a person how posting a view here on this site brings out all the directions and issues that you never would have considered in holding the one view that you thought was the only view on the matter.  We hold so strongly on to our beliefs even in the face of facts that we know tell us a different story.

You find that your stance on an issue that you have accepted all your life and was comfortable with sometimes does not hold in the light of the analysis of your statements by others.

With so many minds working it really brought home to me how even the slightest change we want to make to how things are currently done, can raise so many other issues that impact so much. This holds true for even the simplest positions we might hold.

I enjoy mathematics because it gives me the results right away if I am right or wrong. It also has an elegant beauty in that once the basic rules are figured out, 2+2 = 4 will forever more hold. You can rely on this to hold and feel confident that when you make a statement 2+2=4, you can back it up with logical proofs that everyone can see given enough time and contemplation if they accept the facts presented.

The rest of the issues such as religion, social, economic, life, etc, are just so complex that we may never really know the one right way to answer them, though we try every day, hence the very colourful comments on most issues raised just on this chat board alone.

The first time I came on this board and made a comment, that comment came from a firm belief in my way of thinking, was the correct and only the correct view. Needless to say, I was quickly humbled in finding out maybe my view was not so right after all. I have learned since that time to really listen and think before I even open my thoughts to others, and then present them in the light of truth seeking and not to just win my side of the issue.

I can honestly say I have become a true truth seeker in a quiet way now.

As to Richard Dawkins comments, perhaps it would be better that we never were born in the first place on this earth. Why? Well for me personally I have loved living here. I was fortunate to have not known poverty and so grew up as a happy person never knowing the harshness of what life could be to others that were less fortunate than me.

But as the reality of aging and eventual death of each one of us has come into focus more as I have aged along with all the other problems of existence that are part of this survival on earth along with the good things of course,  I find I really do not wish to leave it, ever. So this leads me to state that since I am going through this emotion, maybe it would have been better that I had never been born in the first place and spared the anguish of enjoying all this and then having to realize that the party does end sometime.

So the point I want to make regarding Mr. Dawkins comment is that maybe the ones who will never live really are better off than the ones that are given a taste of life and then find out that they have to leave it eventually. Better to have never tasted the wine then to have tasted it and found you like it and wanted more but you will not be getting more.

This is my opinion.
I am not asking what is truth, even though I seek it, I will know when truth is in front of me, when it is internally consistent, coherent with knowledge, congruent with like experience, useful for helping me organize my thinking, this is all I can ask in seeking the truth.

Offline Spit

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2013, 07:50:53 PM »
I did my part by getting my nuts cut. Reproducing too many like me was a bad idea.  :blank:

Offline kcrady

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2013, 08:14:36 PM »
Right?

What was that you were saying about making decisions on the basis of entities that don't exist?

That second bit was written tongue-in-cheek, hence the "Right?" at the end.  Guess I shoulda used a smiley too.
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

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Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2013, 06:10:00 AM »
@ Noman
I don't really follow what you're saying here. Could you explain?
My post mostly refers to this bit:
No matter what you feel may happen afterwards, then, is it not a good thing to ensure that we do what we can to make this one brief sliver on earth the best it can be?
I saw the first the part of that sentence as including a premise that, if true, would make me disagree with the second part.
That is, if there were eternal bliss after death, then getting there should (imo) take precedence over living a good life - or at least deemphasize the importance of leading a good life. (This may, however, hinge in large part on what I define "good life" as.)

Religions obviously screw with leading a good life, typically (I would argue) but not necessarily in a detractive manner. The first way is described above, i.e. life isn't a marvel, it's an exam in morality.[1]
Which leads us to the second problem, which is that religion tells us what a good life is from a position that really can't be argued with, which means that a religiously good life may include stuff that are good only because a religion says so.

In short, while I revel in life, with all its problems and shortcomings, it would be naive to expect everybody to marvel at it in unison.
Which is a shame, but there we are.
 1. Not all religions have this, of course.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2013, 08:11:25 AM »
Aaaaand, this is why it's a bad idea to try to make ethical decisions on the basis of entities that don't exist.  Richard Dawkins was basically conjuring a metaphorical scenario as a way to say, "Hey, theists, stop clinging to delusions for the promise of Life Eternal.  Instead of living for the non-existent, why don't you try being grateful that you get life, period?"  News flash: there are no countless trillions of trillions of souls somewhere with Genetic Lottery Tickets clutched fervently in their...whatever souls have for hands, waiting with eager anticipation for every human conception in the hopes that they will get a lucky shot at life, cheering for each one of them who wins.  Whenever a miscarriage or abortion happens, they don't all greet the returning soul with, "Ooooh, tough luck Fred!  You were sooooo close!"
I'm sorry to say that you've apparently misinterpreted the point I was making.  I'm not saying that nonexistent people deserve individual consideration, per se (though I do think it's reasonable to plan for the future so that we bequeath a world that's worth living in to our descendants - people who don't exist yet), or that the religious 'soul' argument that you just got done taking apart has any merit.  The point I actually made is that a fetus is not nonexistent - it formed a combination that gave it life, just as every human does.  It deserves to be treated as something more than a clump of cells that can be trimmed off and discarded if it's inconvenient.

Quote from: kcrady
So, no.  Imaginary souls don't deserve any more ethical consideration than imaginary gods do.  I can't help but notice that you completely ignore the rights, health, and life of the real, live, breathing, thinking, feeling woman who not only "won the Genetic Lottery" but is an actual person, rather than a clump of cells.
Before you get too sanctimonious about this, bear in mind that while a fetus doesn't start out breathing, thinking, or feeling, it is real and it is alive.  Furthermore, it develops those capacities (breathing, thinking, feeling) as it develops.  It isn't an "imaginary soul" - it isn't just a possibility, it has an actual basis in reality  - and thus deserves ethical consideration based on that.  It certainly deserves much more consideration than, say, hair or fingernails, which calling it a clump of cells largely denies it.  And no, I'm not saying that the other actual person involved - the mother - doesn't deserve ethical treatment.  My point is that they both do.

Let me ask you something, as a serious question.  Who would you say deserves more ethical consideration, a baby or its mother?

Offline kcrady

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2013, 03:18:20 AM »
An embryo or fetus isn't a baby.  Whether it deserves "ethical consideration" and if so, what sort of consideration, isn't your decision to make, or mine, and least of all to some gaggle of male politicians whose deep, heartfelt concern for the welfare of the fetus vanishes the instant it's born, especially if anyone threatens to take a nickel from a billionaire to help provide for its needs.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2013, 04:35:10 AM »
......maybe the ones who will never live really are better off than the ones that are given a taste of life and then find out that they have to leave it eventually. Better to have never tasted the wine then to have tasted it and found you like it and wanted more but you will not be getting more..

Hmm.  But I'm very much in the "better to have XXXX and lost, than not have XXXX at all" camp.  Loved, fought, drank, whatever.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2013, 04:40:57 AM »
No matter what you feel may happen afterwards, then, is it not a good thing to ensure that we do what we can to make this one brief sliver on earth the best it can be?
I saw the first the part of that sentence as including a premise that, if true, would make me disagree with the second part.
That is, if there were eternal bliss after death, then getting there should (imo) take precedence over living a good life - or at least deemphasize the importance of leading a good life. (This may, however, hinge in large part on what I define "good life" as.)

If I've got that right, your point is that believers feel justifed in making this life worse for people, on the basis that they (and perhaps the others) will have a better afterlife?

I can certainly understand that as a point of view, and could accept it......IF there were the slightest shred of evidence for ANY assertions about the afterlife.  Since there aren't, then I find it an impossible argument to accept - since it must allow that if I believe that kicking people hard in the firk and running away laughing will increase both my and their chance of a better afterlife, then we must accept my motives are good and praise me for doing so!

But my original point was really made towards the hardest extremes, who are positive that - no matter what - some people are damned for eternity.  Once you feel that way, wouldn't you think "well, torture for a billion billion years no matter WHAT happens here......so I'll just let them enjoy the next 70 years rather than try to ensure they don't even get that much happiness."
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2013, 06:32:43 AM »
If I've got that right, your point is that believers feel justifed in making this life worse for people, on the basis that they (and perhaps the others) will have a better afterlife?
Hm. Not exactly. Certainly I don't think most believers knowingly make life worse. All I'm saying is that once
a) the premise of eternal afterlife is accepted and
b) the quality of eternal afterlife is dependant on one's behavior in life
it shouldn't be surprising to find that living this live is no longer the first priority.

Quote
I can certainly understand that as a point of view, and could accept it......IF there were the slightest shred of evidence for ANY assertions about the afterlife.
Hm. I can't help but think I caused some confusion here. The above premises a) and b) are of course hypothetical. But many people don't think so.

Quote
Since there aren't, then I find it an impossible argument to accept - since it must allow that if I believe that kicking people hard in the firk and running away laughing will increase both my and their chance of a better afterlife, then we must accept my motives are good and praise me for doing so!
I was refering only to what people do with their own lives.
I think I didn't state clearly that this was all hypothetical, in any case. If there was an afterlife worth living, it would seem to me that doing nothing to get there would be just as stupefying (to me) as not even trying to live a good life if it's the only one we get.
My point was that the former does not seem hypothetical but is accepted nonetheless (on spurios grounds) by hundreds of millions of people. Once it is accepted, a lack of emphasis on this life is one conclusion that can logically follow from the premise (no matter how faulty).
We don't have to like bad effects of religion (and I assure you that my compassion for religious suicide bombers is quite radically limited), but we should expect it.

Quote
But my original point was really made towards the hardest extremes, who are positive that - no matter what - some people are damned for eternity.  Once you feel that way, wouldn't you think "well, torture for a billion billion years no matter WHAT happens here......so I'll just let them enjoy the next 70 years rather than try to ensure they don't even get that much happiness."
In a vacuum, possibly. But afterlives tend to come in morally prescriptive packages that are not nexessarily conductive to "live and let live". Interfering with the lives of others may be one thing necessary to ensure a high-quality afterlife, after all. Also see the bus analogy - if you think there is an onrushung bus, wouldn't it be your moral duty to save the person standing in front of it, even if others can plainly see there is no bus?
"Deferinate" itself appears to be a new word... though I'm perfectly carmotic with it.
-xphobe

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2013, 08:03:10 AM »
Interfering with the lives of others may be one thing necessary to ensure a high-quality afterlife, after all. Also see the bus analogy - if you think there is an onrushung bus, wouldn't it be your moral duty to save the person standing in front of it, even if others can plainly see there is no bus?

It a very good point, in theory.  My observation though is that it often tends to collapse in practice, with the "bus savers" tending to be the ones who (on other days) are driving the bus (or stepping in front of it) themselves.  That's an extremely poor analogy (poor sentence structure too!) but hopefully you can see what I meant!  Something about beams and motes, I guess.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2013, 10:14:24 AM »
An embryo or fetus isn't a baby.
You didn't answer my question.

Quote from: kcrady
Whether it deserves "ethical consideration" and if so, what sort of consideration, isn't your decision to make, or mine, and least of all to some gaggle of male politicians whose deep, heartfelt concern for the welfare of the fetus vanishes the instant it's born, especially if anyone threatens to take a nickel from a billionaire to help provide for its needs.
Sarcasm aside (and in large part I agree with it, because it is more than ridiculous for politicians to pander to their constituents over the welfare of a fetus and then totally ignore it once it's born), you're right that it isn't just one person's decision.  Any one person's, even the mother, for the simple fact that a fetus is still human, a member of the species homo sapiens.  It is just as human as a baby, or a child, or an adolescent, or an adult; it's just in a different stage of development.  It may not be a legal person, but legality is not the issue here.  There have been numerous laws which treated humans as chattel, or property, or simply vermin to be exterminated.

Whether we like it or not, we have to deal with this, and not try to sidestep it.  A fetus is human, not merely a clump of cells.  To claim that it is just a clump of cells and thus justify abortion plays right into the hands of the anti-choice groups who seek to outlaw abortion entirely.  They're fond of claiming that more than 50 million babies were murdered in the USA since Roe v Wade.  Sure, a fetus isn't technically a baby.  Sure, they weren't technically murdered.  It's still the kind of claim that resonates with people, who aren't inclined to pay much attention to technicalities, and trying to counter it with those technicalities doesn't work.

How have things in America been trending as far as abortion goes?  I would say, largely towards the extreme anti-choice position through much of America.  That means the current tactics of the pro-choice movements aren't really working too well.  The anti-choice movement stole a march when they laid claim to the title "pro-life".  Doesn't matter that they aren't really very "pro-life" except when it comes to fetuses, because, again, those are technicalities.

My feeling is that we need to acknowledge that fetuses are human, but that we need legalized abortion anyway, and explain the reasons why it's necessary.  Remember, we aren't talking to people who already support abortion, we're talking to the kind of people who see fetuses as "unborn babies", and who see pro-choice groups as trying to dodge that question by talking about the rights of the mother and other pro-choice positions.  As long as we try to talk around this issue with points that make intellectual sense, we're not going to get through to them.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2013, 02:58:38 PM »
Your idea of speaking to the “pro-life” lobby is good but impractical, they are deaf; they know they are right; they don't require intelligence, knowledge or information.

The thing is, mammalian reproduction is an extremely complex subject.

There is the failed conception – a miscarriage
There are mammals that happily eat their new-born young. This behaviour is conditioned by the state of security of the mother.
There are animals that simply abandon their young
There are mammals that reabsorb their foetuses at times of stress.
There are mammals that store semen and ‘allow’ themselves to become pregnant at the best time
Mammals that starve or are malnourished cannot conceive.

Years ago, I knew well a guy who was one of the intelligence troops put in to Germany close to the end of the war. His instructions contained the words, “If it is a choice between the mother and the baby, choose the mother – she can have more babies.”

I attended “Disaster training”; an aircraft has crashed, who do you save? First anyone uninjured, then the walking wounded, then the wounded but probable survivors, then the unlikely to survive.

There is a hierarchy of value to human (i.e. mammalian) life and it is horribly pragmatic – nature doesn’t give a shit.

We give ourselves airs and graces and put ourselves above animals for no good reason. There are times when it is good to have a child and times when it is not. From time immemorial, humans have disposed of foetuses and newborns. Even from the Bible we know that the Jews did it. Indian are famous for leaving unwanted children on the hillside and in the wilderness (see also Romulus and Remus), court records for women convicted of infanticide show many Western examples up to the present day.

There is something deep-seated in mammalian societies that recognises the genetic imperative to ensure not simply life, but good life in recompense for the biological investment that the female (and of then the male) makes.

Our actions are done consciously; arguably this is so only because we have the capability to do it. To involve the mind-set of anyone other than the mother is to interfere with nature, and that rarely ends well.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2013, 03:51:45 PM »
Your idea of speaking to the “pro-life” lobby is good but impractical, they are deaf; they know they are right; they don't require intelligence, knowledge or information.
I don't mean talking to the lobby itself.  I meant talking to the people they're lobbing their rhetoric at.  The problem isn't that they believe as they do, it's the fact that they get listened to by a pretty substantial number of people, and their arguments are easier to accept (never mind understand) than many of the pro-choice ones.

If it comes to a complicated intellectual (dry) explanation versus a simple, emotionally-stirring one, the intellectual one generally loses out.  But that's the position that pro-choice advocates tend to be in.  So what we need to do is come up with our own emotional appeal without dumbing things down.  An emotional appeal with a strong intellectual basis to it will beat a simple emotional appeal more often than not, provided it's woven together well.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2013, 07:24:36 PM »
To answer Azdgari's comment on my post, no, I am not focusing on the "human DNA" canard.  I don't think it's justified to claim that a human embryo is nothing more than a clump of cells simply because it's at an early stage of development.  If he doesn't think that's a valid argument, then he is more than welcome to take it up with me.  I'm not, however, going to change my mind based on a single comment, especially a comment which demonstrates such a lack of thought as his did.

Offline shnozzola

Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2013, 08:15:01 PM »
..... I find I really do not wish to leave it, ever. So this leads me to state that since I am going through this emotion, maybe it would have been better that I had never been born in the first place and spared the anguish of enjoying all this and then having to realize that the party does end sometime.

Hans,  I don't know if you've ever seen the movie Meet Joe Black, where death wants a taste of what life is like.  Toward the end, Anthony Hopkins asks death, "It's hard to let go, isn't it?"  And death, crying, says, "yes it is."  Anthony says, "Well that's life, what can I tell you."

Its about at 2:44 if you want to spoil the movie for yourself.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/an-JcQNbmmbbmhn2b/meet_joe_black_1998_fire_works_part_2/

Anyway, at our end, there should be a certain strength and dignity with which we can face our mortality, if we will have been so lucky to taste all the wines available, knowing that there is even one more wine that we need to look forward to  (and I do not mean heaven, I just mean death).  Probably not being able to hold our children's children's children will be the hardest.

I doubt if you truly believe you would wish to not experience this.  Just the taste of fresh peaches would have been enough for me.
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs