Author Topic: Forever is Too Short  (Read 2551 times)

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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2013, 12:51:27 AM »
To answer Azdgari's comment on my post, no, I am not focusing on the "human DNA" canard. ...

Something human DNA, and something being a "human being", are not the same thing.

You treat them as the same thing.

This isn't especially honest.

What more do I need to say on the topic?  I concede that it wasn't the focus of your post.  But I need not address everything in a post in order to address a single glaring error that affects the rest.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 12:55:14 AM by Azdgari »
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2013, 08:03:31 AM »
Really?  So I suppose I consider stray hairs, fingernail clippings, shed skin flakes, wasted gametes, et al, as human beings then, since they also have human DNA?  Funny that I never noticed that before.  I must have needed your genius, your perspicacity and discernment, in order to realize this "glaring error" in my judgment.

Funny, though.  None of those other things will grow into what we consider a human person on their own.  Even gametes, sex cells, will simply remain inert unless they join with their opposite number.  Only a fetus will do that, in the correct kind of environment, but it always will given those conditions.  I think we can safely consider a fetus qualitatively different than other cells, or groups of cells, that also have human DNA, but that we don't consider human.

Perhaps you should consider whether this "glaring error" that you saw in my post was actually my error.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2013, 08:44:48 AM »
Really?  So I suppose I consider stray hairs, fingernail clippings, shed skin flakes, wasted gametes, et al, as human beings then, since they also have human DNA?  Funny that I never noticed that before.  I must have needed your genius, your perspicacity and discernment, in order to realize this "glaring error" in my judgment.

I never accused you of being consistent.

Funny, though.  None of those other things will grow into what we consider a human person on their own.  Even gametes, sex cells, will simply remain inert unless they join with their opposite number.

Wait, "grow into..."?  As opposed to a fertilized egg itself being one?  Earlier you characterized the fertilized egg as a human being, yet here it's just the potential for one (as opposed to the other cells you mention).[1]  Again, I never accused you of being consistent.  Or are you making a distinction between a human being and a human person?[2]

Only a fetus will do that, in the correct kind of environment, but it always will given those conditions.

Ahh the misogyny of the anti-abortionists, so pervasive.  A woman isn't characterized as a person, but merely an environment.[3]  She doesn't have to, you know, do anything - she's just the environment, a fertile background for the fetus.  On its own, the fetus[4] will certainly not grow into a "human person".  Once we view the mother as a human being, we're forced to acknowledge that she and her body play a very active role in turning that fetus into a human being.  Just like she did when she got pregnant in the first place.  Her body's work is not done after fertilization, Jaime.

I think we can safely consider a fetus qualitatively different than other cells, or groups of cells, that also have human DNA, but that we don't consider human.

I assume you mean "...but that we don't consider human beings/persons" here.  "Qualitatively different" is a far cry from "human being" or "human person".  My toothbrush is even more "qualitatively different" from those cells, yet we don't consider it to be a human being either.  Potential is not actuality.  Citing potential is an admission that what you're valuing does not exist yet.

Perhaps you should consider whether this "glaring error" that you saw in my post was actually my error.

I did.  Then I smited you for it.  You're typically a pretty honest chap, and if you realized it yourself, I'm sure you wouldn't have gone forward with it.

Unless, of course, it's been pointed out to you before...
 1. I am assuming here that the "we" includes yourself.
 2. Outside of legal terminology, of course, in which they are certainly different as well.
 3. In case your protest this as reading too much into our wording, our choice of words can reveal a lot about our cultural biases.  Here there's simply too much relevance for your poor choice of words to be random, given the position you're taking simultaneously.
 4. "Fetus", of course, not "zygote" or "embryo" with you.  You're referring to zygotes and embryos as well, but only use the term "fetus" because it's closer to "baby".  Emotional appeals, just like the anti-choice lobby.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 08:52:45 AM by Azdgari »
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Offline su27

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2013, 09:40:14 AM »
Ahh the misogyny of the anti-abortionists, so pervasive.  A woman isn't characterized as a person, but merely an environment.

This is strawman argument - you put these words into jaime's mouth. He has also never said in this thread that a woman is less important than a fetus.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2013, 10:00:04 AM »
This is strawman argument - you put these words into jaime's mouth.

I addressed this in my post.  Our language reveals a great deal about our biases.  Jaime denounces dehumanizing language when it refers to a non-person.  Here I am objecting to his dehumanizing language when it applies to an actual person.

He has also never said in this thread that a woman is less important than a fetus.

No, he didn't.  Nor did I claim that he did.  Relevance?
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2013, 11:25:57 AM »
I never accused you of being consistent.
Your repetition of this "I never accused you of being consistent" statement makes it look like you're trying to strawman my position without actually coming out and saying that.  You're implying that I have internal attitudes that conflict with the ones I express, even though you aren't actually saying what those are.  And, naturally, you set this up so that you can honestly claim that you never actually attributed any positions to me, and thus you never actually made the strawman fallacy (just like you did with su27).  The problem is, it only works if you can fluster your opponent into giving you the openings you need, which is why you put loaded terms (such as misogynistic anti-abortionist) in your post without ever actually calling me one.

Quote from: Azdgari
Wait, "grow into..."?  As opposed to a fertilized egg itself being one?  Earlier you characterized the fertilized egg as a human being, yet here it's just the potential for one (as opposed to the other cells you mention).[1]  Again, I never accused you of being consistent.  Or are you making a distinction between a human being and a human person?[2]
 1. I am assuming here that the "we" includes yourself.
 2. Outside of legal terminology, of course, in which they are certainly different as well.
I expected you might try something like this, so you will note that I said it would grow into a human person, not a human being.  The distinction is that a fertilized egg is a member of the species homo sapiens (what we call a human being), whereas it is not legally (or generally) recognized as a human person.

Quote from: Azdgari
Ahh the misogyny of the anti-abortionists, so pervasive.  A woman isn't characterized as a person, but merely an environment.[3]
 3. In case your protest this as reading too much into our wording, our choice of words can reveal a lot about our cultural biases.  Here there's simply too much relevance for your poor choice of words to be random, given the position you're taking simultaneously.
Again, I expected you might try something like this.  I spoke of environment as a general term (because fetuses can grow and develop outside of the womb, given the right conditions, such as an incubator or the equivalent; just gotta make sure that it gets the right nutrients and such).  You took it as a specific term that referred to women, and implied that I might be a "misogynistic anti-abortionist", because I 'characterized' women as an environment.  Never mind the fact that a woman is no more her womb than a man is his penis.

Maybe you'd better think about your own attitudes and why you would jump to a conclusion such as this.  Because, right now, it honestly looks like you're just trying to find excuses to dismiss my arguments and paint me in such a way that you can ignore any future arguments from me on this subject.  Hardly a way to conduct a reasonable discussion, which I was trying to have with you.

Quote from: Azdgari
She doesn't have to, you know, do anything - she's just the environment, a fertile background for the fetus.  On its own, the fetus[4] will certainly not grow into a "human person".
 4. "Fetus", of course, not "zygote" or "embryo" with you.  You're referring to zygotes and embryos as well, but only use the term "fetus" because it's closer to "baby".  Emotional appeals, just like the anti-choice lobby.
Your sarcasm here is both pointless and unnecessary, as you're directing it against the position you attributed to me just before, rather than the position I actually hold.  Sure, to be precisely (and pedantically) correct, I should refer to each stage of development separately, so "fertilized egg, zygote, embryo and fetus".  I do know the difference between them, but I saw no point in being such a pedant as to obsess over which formal term I should use.  It's simpler just to say "fetus" or "embryo"; my choice of the term to use was not intended as an emotional appeal.  Maybe you should consider what it means that you assumed it was one.

And of course a fetus can't survive on its own, without assistance.  Any more than an infant could.  We consider an infant to be a human being, though, despite its complete inability to survive unaided.  Noting, of course, that this hasn't always been the case - there have been a lot of cultures which have abandoned unwanted infants, leaving them to die to exposure or predation.

Quote from: Azdgari
Once we view the mother as a human being, we're forced to acknowledge that she and her body play a very active role in turning that fetus into a human being.  Just like she did when she got pregnant in the first place.  Her body's work is not done after fertilization, Jaime.
I never said that it was.  It was only your assumption that led you to believe that.  You're implying that I somehow believed women were nothing more than an environment for a fetus to grow in, and without your efforts to illustrate this to me, I would have continued to believe that deep down.  The thing is, though, that isn't how I think, and it never was.  I can see a fetus as a human being without having to dismiss the mother's human-ness, and vice versa.

Quote from: Azdgari
I assume you mean "...but that we don't consider human beings/persons" here.  "Qualitatively different" is a far cry from "human being" or "human person".  My toothbrush is even more "qualitatively different" from those cells, yet we don't consider it to be a human being either.  Potential is not actuality.  Citing potential is an admission that what you're valuing does not exist yet.
Given your track record in this post, I think it's safe to say that you got this one wrong as well.  You had to nitpick technicalities to change what I said into what you thought I might have meant (notably, using a toothbrush as an example of a "qualitative difference" from a cell that was not a human being; you seriously thought that was an effective counter?).

Quote from: Azdgari
I did.  Then I smited you for it.  You're typically a pretty honest chap, and if you realized it yourself, I'm sure you wouldn't have gone forward with it.

Unless, of course, it's been pointed out to you before...
Given the number of unwarranted assumptions you loaded your post down with, you will excuse me for not accepting that.  But I don't think you did so intentionally.  I think you got caught up in your immediate reaction to what you thought I was saying and never really stopped to consider if that reaction was warranted or justified.  I've done that myself before (frankly, I did it a lot when I was younger).  It's why I don't go with my first reaction anymore, because it's easier to take some extra time to think about it and make sure that I'm not the one with the error in judgment.

One of the reasons I'm pretty sure that you did this is because I stated that I supported legalized abortion and was against the anti-abortion movement in the very same post you 'smited' me for.  I suppose that's where "I never accused you of being consistent" came from, since if you assume I have misogynistic anti-abortion attitudes deep down, they can't really be consistent with supporting legalized abortion.  The only problem with this is that I don't have those attitudes at all (I've been pro-choice since I was a child; with a mother who was fervently pro-choice, and a father who clearly had no problems with that attitude, that was a foregone conclusion).  I've spent a lot of time (literally years) thinking about this issue, and my posts here have reflected that thinking.

So, given that, I'm reasonably sure that there is no such glaring error as using the "human DNA canard" in my thinking.  I could be wrong, of course, but given that the arguments you've used to support that accusation have been based on bad assumptions and implied strawmen, I don't think I am.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2013, 12:29:22 PM »
Your repetition of this "I never accused you of being consistent" statement makes it look like you're trying to strawman my position without actually coming out and saying that.

I was being trite, in response to the same from you.  Take another look at what I'd quoted when I said this the first time.

You're implying that I have internal attitudes that conflict with the ones I express, even though you aren't actually saying what those are.  And, naturally, you set this up so that you can honestly claim that you never actually attributed any positions to me, and thus you never actually made the strawman fallacy (just like you did with su27).  The problem is, it only works if you can fluster your opponent into giving you the openings you need, which is why you put loaded terms (such as misogynistic anti-abortionist) in your post without ever actually calling me one.

I used those terms to, perhaps, wake you up to your own language and how it can come across.  Your rhetoric is similar to that of the anti-abortion lobby, and your language is misogynistic.  Which is why I said those things.  There is not some sinister plot at work here, Jaime.

I expected you might try something like this, so you will note that I said it would grow into a human person, not a human being.

Try something like what?  I noted it too.  I asked about it directly, at the end of that quote.  There is not some sinister plot at work here, Jaime.

The distinction is that a fertilized egg is a member of the species homo sapiens (what we call a human being), whereas it is not legally (or generally) recognized as a human person.

A member, or just having the quality of being human?  You've not established this.  You've taken it as granted by all parties.  It's by no means granted.  What makes something 'a being', Jaime?  Show your work.

Again, I expected you might try something like this.  I spoke of environment as a general term (because fetuses can grow and develop outside of the womb, given the right conditions, such as an incubator or the equivalent; just gotta make sure that it gets the right nutrients and such).  You took it as a specific term that referred to women, and implied that I might be a "misogynistic anti-abortionist", because I 'characterized' women as an environment.  Never mind the fact that a woman is no more her womb than a man is his penis.

The topic is abortion, Jaime.  And when a fetus is in an incubator, abortion isn't a relevant topic.  You painted the womb as a passive environment that the fetus finds beneficial for growth.  It's not.  That was misogynistic of you.

Maybe you'd better think about your own attitudes and why you would jump to a conclusion such as this.  Because, right now, it honestly looks like you're just trying to find excuses to dismiss my arguments and paint me in such a way that you can ignore any future arguments from me on this subject.Hardly a way to conduct a reasonable discussion, which I was trying to have with you.

You've in no way shown me to be wrong in that conclusion, Jaime.  And maybe I'm less inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt on this topic in light of past ones.  Remember the whole "women need to face the consequences of their own actions" tuffle way back?  As in, women who have sex and get pregnant without meaning to shouldn't be able to get off scot free for their moral failure?  You were oblivious at the time to how this could be characterized as you wanting women to be punished for the crime of having sex.  Have you considered that you might be similarly oblivious now?  It's hard for a third party to tell whether your misogynistic language is a mistake, like it supposedly was before, or if it reflects some actual bias of yours.

Hardly a way to conduct a reasonable discussion, which I was trying to have with you.

Trying to have, so long as certain relevant topics are barred from analysis.  &)

Your sarcasm here is both pointless and unnecessary, as you're directing it against the position you attributed to me just before, rather than the position I actually hold.  Sure, to be precisely (and pedantically) correct, I should refer to each stage of development separately, so "fertilized egg, zygote, embryo and fetus".  I do know the difference between them, but I saw no point in being such a pedant as to obsess over which formal term I should use.  It's simpler just to say "fetus" or "embryo"; my choice of the term to use was not intended as an emotional appeal.  Maybe you should consider what it means that you assumed it was one.

So your choice of which term to use was random?  Oh, please.  Of course brevity was one of your motivations, that's reasonable.  But brevity could select for any of the terms we listed.  You picked one.  Why pick that particular one?

And of course a fetus can't survive on its own, without assistance.  Any more than an infant could.  We consider an infant to be a human being, though, despite its complete inability to survive unaided.  Noting, of course, that this hasn't always been the case - there have been a lot of cultures which have abandoned unwanted infants, leaving them to die to exposure or predation.

Granted.  Will you grant, by the same token, that your point here:
Quote
None of those other things will grow into what we consider a human person on their own.
...is null and void?  Nothing ever grows into into what we consider a human person on its own.

I never said that it was.  It was only your assumption that led you to believe that.  You're implying that I somehow believed women were nothing more than an environment for a fetus to grow in, and without your efforts to illustrate this to me, I would have continued to believe that deep down.  The thing is, though, that isn't how I think, and it never was.  I can see a fetus as a human being without having to dismiss the mother's human-ness, and vice versa.

So, again, your depiction of the mother as merely an environment was...random.  Or a mistake.  Or something.  Not very convincing, Jaime.

Given your track record in this post, I think it's safe to say that you got this one wrong as well.

Does this mean that based on your reaction to the rest of my post, you didn't bother to think through what I said here?  Let's see...

You had to nitpick technicalities to change what I said into what you thought I might have meant (notably, using a toothbrush as an example of a "qualitative difference" from a cell that was not a human being; you seriously thought that was an effective counter?).

...yep.  What you had, made no sense as written, because our cells in general are human.  They're human in the sense that they are human cells and not, say, fish cells.  So I figured you meant "not human beings/persons" since that made sense in context.  I stated I was assuming this, so that you could correct me if I'd made the incorrect assumption.  Who's the one jumping to conclusions, again?

As for the "nitpick", my point is that "qualitatively different" on its own is irrelevant.  What's important is the nature of the qualitative difference, if one exists.  Which is why I went on about potentiality to form a valued being, not being a particularly important qualitative difference.  Because the being in question still doesn't exist.

So no, it's not safe to assume I got this one wrong, though I suppose it's convenient to assume so.

Given the number of unwarranted assumptions you loaded your post down with, you will excuse me for not accepting that.  But I don't think you did so intentionally.  I think you got caught up in your immediate reaction to what you thought I was saying and never really stopped to consider if that reaction was warranted or justified.  I've done that myself before (frankly, I did it a lot when I was younger).  It's why I don't go with my first reaction anymore, because it's easier to take some extra time to think about it and make sure that I'm not the one with the error in judgment.

Given your moral stance against abortion, despite your legal support for its option, I'd have been very surprised not to find what I found.  Maybe that is my own bias talking, or maybe the truth is somewhere in between.  Perhaps from your perspective it's justified, but in an abortion situation, finding it to be morally wrong for the would-be mother to put her personhood over that of the baby is misogynistic.  It's saying that some moral sovereignty of a woman's body is lesser than that of a man's, because a man never has to make such a decision about his own body.  It's equally morally sovereign to that of a woman's in all other respects.  Again, maybe this is justified.  Maybe I'm wrong to consider this a bad thing.  But you can't pretend the discrepancy doesn't exist, and that it doesn't tend to end up informing one's other opinions on the topic.

One of the reasons I'm pretty sure that you did this is because I stated that I supported legalized abortion and was against the anti-abortion movement in the very same post you 'smited' me for.  I suppose that's where "I never accused you of being consistent" came from, since if you assume I have misogynistic anti-abortion attitudes deep down, they can't really be consistent with supporting legalized abortion.  The only problem with this is that I don't have those attitudes at all (I've been pro-choice since I was a child; with a mother who was fervently pro-choice, and a father who clearly had no problems with that attitude, that was a foregone conclusion).  I've spent a lot of time (literally years) thinking about this issue, and my posts here have reflected that thinking.

I hope my clarification where you addressed this further up-post shows why I came to the conclusions I did.  I know you're personally pro-choice, Jaime.  But as you know, it's quite possible to be morally against abortion while still believing that it should be kept legal.  Hell, I'm morally against indoctrinating kids with known falsehoods (eg. YEC stuff), yet believe that on balance it should be kept legal, given the alternatives.  And while you've left no doubt about your pro-choice stand, you've also expressed for quite some time your position that abortion is morally negative.  It's not your legal position that I object to, Jaime.  It's the moral position, which seems to me to be quite similar to the positions that motivate some people to take a political stand against abortion (just not you).  In short, your political support for choice doesn't have much to do with the moral question that we were actually discussing.
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Offline su27

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2013, 05:20:51 PM »
The way as I see it, Jaime just gave an idea that may help understand why some people may have problem accepting abortion. But it seems to me that for some reason you, Azdgari, put him in the "anti-abortion misogynist" box and argue just for sake of arguing with your own strawman arguments.
You seem to see misogyny everywhere and overuse that word.

Just my 5c.

Offline DR HANS SCHWANTZ

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2013, 07:06:11 PM »
"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."

That is my dilemma, I have been very glad to have enjoyed all this life and what it offers. The point that I am trying to make is that since I did get to enjoy so much, I am one of those that had too much enjoyment to the point that I cannot stand to leave it. I know this is going against the reality that we all must face, but it sure is hard to face it.

I appreciate your comments and of course this a personal thing I will have to work on for the future.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #38 on: March 21, 2013, 06:44:45 AM »
The way as I see it, Jaime just gave an idea that may help understand why some people may have problem accepting abortion.

And it was definitely my mistake for not acknowledging that.  The topic of my comments is tangential to Jaime's intended point, which as you say is a useful one.

But it seems to me that for some reason you, Azdgari, put him in the "anti-abortion misogynist" box and argue just for sake of arguing with your own strawman arguments.
You seem to see misogyny everywhere and overuse that word.

Conservatives rarely recognize stuff like that.  Sociology to a conservative is like geology to a YEC.

As for Jaime's smite, I thought my last post was pretty reasonable.  Certainly more so than the one I'd written prior to it.  Maybe that was the problem?
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #39 on: March 21, 2013, 09:30:55 AM »
And it was definitely my mistake for not acknowledging that.  The topic of my comments is tangential to Jaime's intended point, which as you say is a useful one.
If you made a mistake there, then maybe you should start considering where else you might have made a mistake too.

Quote from: Azdgari
Conservatives rarely recognize stuff like that.  Sociology to a conservative is like geology to a YEC.
Which is irrelevant, since I'm not all that conservative.  I suppose you 'know' best, even though you don't know me in person at all.  No, I suppose you're such a keen judge of human nature that you have me completely pegged just from my word choices here.  Or so you think, anyway.

Quote from: Azdgari
As for Jaime's smite, I thought my last post was pretty reasonable.  Certainly more so than the one I'd written prior to it.  Maybe that was the problem?
You started off with a bunch of sanctimonious, weaselly statements that you were trying to use to rationalize your previous behavior as perfectly reasonable and rational.  I suppose you might have thought they were reasonable, but they pissed me off so much that I couldn't even finish reading the post.  When I get that angry, it's usually not a good idea to reply.  Or issue smites, I suppose, but while I have enough self control to stop writing an angry post or PM before I send it, smites are quick enough to do that they sometimes get through.

What excuse did you have for your retaliation?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #40 on: March 21, 2013, 09:35:22 AM »
If you made a mistake there, then maybe you should start considering where else you might have made a mistake too.

Quite possibly.

Which is irrelevant, since I'm not all that conservative.

I was talking about Su, not about you.  Sorry if that wasn't clear.

You started off with a bunch of sanctimonious, weaselly statements that you were trying to use to rationalize your previous behavior as perfectly reasonable and rational.  I suppose you might have thought they were reasonable, but they pissed me off so much that I couldn't even finish reading the post.  When I get that angry, it's usually not a good idea to reply.  Or issue smites, I suppose, but while I have enough self control to stop writing an angry post or PM before I send it, smites are quick enough to do that they sometimes get through.

On reflection, I certainly can't fault you for that, given how this all started.

What excuse did you have for your retaliation?

I thought that that was all you were going to respond with.  And despite how my post (especially the start) came across, it was meant in sincerity.

EDIT:  By the way, I just read your smite's content.  I'm not aware of having actually dodged any questions.  Your post didn't have many questions in the first place.  Do you mean the personal one about why I might be, as you put it, jumping to conclusions about you?  It's because of my own meager sociological training.  Our language choices are not random.  There are causes there.  Trends in those choices - both in ourselves and in others - tell something about ourselves, and about others.  You've made it clear that I read way too much into it, however, and for that I do apologize.  This isn't the first time I've done something like this on whatever topic; sort of prone to it, really.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2013, 09:39:33 AM by Azdgari »
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #41 on: March 21, 2013, 10:11:04 AM »
On reflection, I certainly can't fault you for that, given how this all started.
I appreciate that, but I still should have stepped away from the computer once I recognized how angry I was getting.  I usually manage to, but I was off-balance mentally because of the way your accusations were coming across.  They felt as off-base as the various accusations I get of being a 'socialist' or a 'communist' from right-wing nuts like Herb Pope, but you're a lot more intelligent and sensible than he will ever be, so it threw me.

Quote from: Azdgari
I thought that that was all you were going to respond with.  And despite how my post (especially the start) came across, it was meant in sincerity.
I believe you.  And I will read it in full and respond, though I can't right now.

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EDIT:  By the way, I just read your smite's content.  I'm not aware of having actually dodged any questions.  Your post didn't have many questions in the first place.  Do you mean the personal one about why I might be, as you put it, jumping to conclusions about you?  It's because of my own meager sociological training.  Our language choices are not random.  There are causes there.  Trends in those choices - both in ourselves and in others - tell something about ourselves, and about others.  You've made it clear that I read way too much into it, however, and for that I do apologize.  This isn't the first time I've done something like this on whatever topic; sort of prone to it, really.
Honestly, the more I look at it, the less I understand why I put it that way.  I guess I was still pretty upset when I wrote it, because it doesn't really make a lot of sense now.  Let me see if I can't get it retracted - if I smite someone, I want to make sure they deserve it, rather than it simply being a fit of pique.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #42 on: March 21, 2013, 10:19:16 AM »
Oh, I definitely deserved it.  Just not for the reason you gave when you did it.  ;)
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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2013, 10:26:02 AM »
If I smite someone for being a jerk, I don't want to say it was "because he weaseled out of answering questions" when he didn't do that.

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2013, 05:17:17 PM »
I was being trite, in response to the same from you.  Take another look at what I'd quoted when I said this the first time.
I was actually trying to be sarcastic, but I suppose there isn't much of a difference.

Quote from: Azdgari
I used those terms to, perhaps, wake you up to your own language and how it can come across.  Your rhetoric is similar to that of the anti-abortion lobby, and your language is misogynistic.  Which is why I said those things.  There is not some sinister plot at work here, Jaime.
The similarity in rhetoric was somewhat intentional, but it wasn't for the reasons you thought.  I think we can both agree that much of the anti-abortion lobby uses that rhetoric in order to sway the minds of people through manipulating their emotions.  I've started to think that we need to expose this subtle manipulation for what it really is - a cynical effort by people who have a social agenda that they want to implement.  The problem is, simply telling them this won't be believed.  Nobody likes to be told that they've been played for a fool, and they'll fight for a long time to keep from admitting that they could have been wrong in the first place.  Instead, I thought that by using similar rhetoric, their defenses against "evil pro-death liberals" wouldn't kick in, and they might actually be willing to listen.

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Try something like what?  I noted it too.  I asked about it directly, at the end of that quote.  There is not some sinister plot at work here, Jaime.
It was starting to look like you were trying to lure me into saying something which you could then use to discredit me.  I've encountered people like that before, and it's something I have to be careful of in other places.

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A member, or just having the quality of being human?  You've not established this.  You've taken it as granted by all parties.  It's by no means granted.  What makes something 'a being', Jaime?  Show your work.
I was expressing my opinion here, actually.  That doesn't make the question meaningless, it just means that I wasn't assuming it granted by all parties.

I consider an embryo or fetus, even a fertilized egg, to be a human being (not just having the quality of being human, which makes very little sense to me in any case).  That is why I have a moral objection to abortion, because I don't think it's right to kill other humans regardless of whether most people consider them humans.  That's one of the pro-life arguments that I agree with.  However, despite that, I consider myself pro-choice.  Because first off, to dictate my beliefs to others as moral imperatives that must be followed is reprehensible; second, to fixate on a developing embryo and ignore the other human being who's severely impacted by a pregnancy (the mother) is stupid; and third, to ignore necessity and practicality in favor of morality is foolish.

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The topic is abortion, Jaime.  And when a fetus is in an incubator, abortion isn't a relevant topic.  You painted the womb as a passive environment that the fetus finds beneficial for growth.  It's not.  That was misogynistic of you.
First, the only reason I brought up environment at all was to demonstrate that there is no environment wherein hair stands, or skin flakes, or fingernail clippings, or whatever, will ever be anything but hair stands, or skin flakes, or fingernail clippings, or whatever (which is not true of an embryo)  Second, I was not passing the womb off as a passive environment in any case; I simply spoke of the correct type of environment.  I think you read something into my words here which I in no way intended.  Third, if we had artificial wombs which could do the job of growing embryos and fetuses, then it would be relevant (since that would be an option instead of abortion).  Though, we don't have those yet, and probably won't for several years at the earliest.

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You've in no way shown me to be wrong in that conclusion, Jaime.  And maybe I'm less inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt on this topic in light of past ones.  Remember the whole "women need to face the consequences of their own actions" tuffle way back?  As in, women who have sex and get pregnant without meaning to shouldn't be able to get off scot free for their moral failure?  You were oblivious at the time to how this could be characterized as you wanting women to be punished for the crime of having sex.  Have you considered that you might be similarly oblivious now?  It's hard for a third party to tell whether your misogynistic language is a mistake, like it supposedly was before, or if it reflects some actual bias of yours.
It's been an awfully long time since that topic happened, but as I recall, I had to spend a while trying to explain that I didn't mean what you thought I meant, and I'm not sure if I successfully got that across or not.  I think I was using consequence in its neutral sense, that is, something that happens as the result of another action, but since people often use consequence and punishment interchangeably, that's how you took it.

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Trying to have, so long as certain relevant topics are barred from analysis.  &)
If I had gotten this far when I originally read your post, this comment would probably have caused me to get even more upset.  Suggestive comments like this aren't generally conducive to having a good discussion.

Quote from: Azdgari
So your choice of which term to use was random?  Oh, please.  Of course brevity was one of your motivations, that's reasonable.  But brevity could select for any of the terms we listed.  You picked one.  Why pick that particular one?
Because it's the one that came to mind first.  I do get in arguments with anti-abortion people elsewhere, and they use that term pretty heavily.  I also live in one of the most conservative states in the entire country, Oklahoma, so it's used a lot in general.  When you hear a term a lot, it comes to mind more easily.

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Granted.  Will you grant, by the same token, that your point here:
Quote
None of those other things will grow into what we consider a human person on their own.
...is null and void?  Nothing ever grows into into what we consider a human person on its own.
Sure.  None of those other things will do so, period.  The point I was trying to make there is that an embryo can and does grow into a fetus, then an infant, etc.  Bodily detritus, such as hair, skin, fingernails, etc, not only does not, but can not (short of esoteric genetic manipulation which isn't possible anyway).

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So, again, your depiction of the mother as merely an environment was...random.  Or a mistake.  Or something.  Not very convincing, Jaime.
No, you jumped to conclusions based on my stating that the fetus needed the correct kind of environment in order to grow.  All I meant by that was that it wouldn't grow in other environments.  I certainly was not trying to dehumanize women, as you subsequently (and repeatedly) suggested.

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Does this mean that based on your reaction to the rest of my post, you didn't bother to think through what I said here?  Let's see...
I think at this point we both were more focused on trying to show the other was wrong, rather than actually listening.

Quote from: Azdgari
...yep.  What you had, made no sense as written, because our cells in general are human.  They're human in the sense that they are human cells and not, say, fish cells.  So I figured you meant "not human beings/persons" since that made sense in context.  I stated I was assuming this, so that you could correct me if I'd made the incorrect assumption.  Who's the one jumping to conclusions, again?
The way you wrote it, it looked like more that of trite sarcasm that you used earlier.  It's not easy to tell when someone's being serious, as opposed to facetious or sarcastic or trite or...whatever.

Quote from: Azdgari
As for the "nitpick", my point is that "qualitatively different" on its own is irrelevant.  What's important is the nature of the qualitative difference, if one exists.  Which is why I went on about potentiality to form a valued being, not being a particularly important qualitative difference.  Because the being in question still doesn't exist.
An embryo isn't just a set of human cells in the sense of being human cells and not fish cells.  Hair strands, skin flakes, fingernail clippings, blood samples, pick a subset of human cells...none of them will eventually grow into an infant under any circumstances, whereas an embryo will, under the right circumstances.  That's what I meant by qualitative difference, so it is relevant to the discussion.  As for it being valued, what does that have to do with anything?  Something doesn't have to be a valued being for it to be a being (since there are uncountable examples through history where humans were not valued at all, yet still met the definition of human being).

Quote from: Azdgari
So no, it's not safe to assume I got this one wrong, though I suppose it's convenient to assume so.
You apparently misunderstood what I was trying to say.  Hopefully I've explained it a bit better this time.

Quote from: Azdgari
Given your moral stance against abortion, despite your legal support for its option, I'd have been very surprised not to find what I found.  Maybe that is my own bias talking, or maybe the truth is somewhere in between.  Perhaps from your perspective it's justified, but in an abortion situation, finding it to be morally wrong for the would-be mother to put her personhood over that of the baby is misogynistic.
The problem with this conclusion is that it presumes that I don't accept any circumstances where this could happen, which is not true.  Furthermore, it's kind of like saying that because I morally disapprove of someone calling for another person's death (despite supporting their legal right to say it per the First Amendment), I must therefore hate the first person deep down.  It's not the same situation, but it's close enough to illustrate the problem (or at least so I think).

Quote from: Azdgari
It's saying that some moral sovereignty of a woman's body is lesser than that of a man's, because a man never has to make such a decision about his own body.  It's equally morally sovereign to that of a woman's in all other respects.  Again, maybe this is justified.  Maybe I'm wrong to consider this a bad thing.  But you can't pretend the discrepancy doesn't exist, and that it doesn't tend to end up informing one's other opinions on the topic.
First off, even if the former is accurate (which I don't grant, more in a bit), why would the rest follow from it?  Why would a man's body be morally superior to a woman's in all respects, simply because it was superior to it in one?

Also, consider this:  I don't think of it as either superior or inferior.  Just different.  For something to be superior or inferior, there has to be a reasonable basis for comparison.  And when it comes to pregnancy, or having an abortion, there is no such basis for comparison, because men can't get pregnant or have an abortion.  It is a moral difference, but to claim that it's superior or inferior is foolishness, in my view.

Quote from: Azdgari
I hope my clarification where you addressed this further up-post shows why I came to the conclusions I did.  I know you're personally pro-choice, Jaime.  But as you know, it's quite possible to be morally against abortion while still believing that it should be kept legal.  Hell, I'm morally against indoctrinating kids with known falsehoods (eg. YEC stuff), yet believe that on balance it should be kept legal, given the alternatives.  And while you've left no doubt about your pro-choice stand, you've also expressed for quite some time your position that abortion is morally negative.  It's not your legal position that I object to, Jaime.  It's the moral position, which seems to me to be quite similar to the positions that motivate some people to take a political stand against abortion (just not you).  In short, your political support for choice doesn't have much to do with the moral question that we were actually discussing.
I hope that I've illustrated why my moral position with regards to abortion is not like the anti-abortion moral position regarding it.  Oh, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some superficial similarities, but it's not difficult to find those in many circumstances.  Here's how I look at it.  Would I want some stranger, who I didn't know from John Doe, butting in and telling me that my wife (or girlfriend) should not have an abortion, for for that matter that she should?  The answer is no, therefore, it is not at all justifiable for me to do it to anyone else, whatever my personal feelings about it.

Offline J0SH

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #45 on: March 21, 2013, 09:25:53 PM »
Quote
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?
I've never heard that quote from Dawkins, I suffer from depression and that quote has made me extremely happy as I have never thought about life that way before. Surely those who will be forever unborn would happily take my place so they could exist in the world and experience the joys that life can provide.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #46 on: March 22, 2013, 07:50:32 AM »
I don't think any thread I've started has ever gone off in such a different direction to the one I envisaged when I started it.

My position on abortion is extremely simplistic.  While there are still children in orphanages, and foster care, or wandering parentless, or part of an abusive family, then I have one opinion.  When we are in a world where every child there is, has a stable and loving family around it, my opinion may change.
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?

Online jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #47 on: March 22, 2013, 07:59:23 AM »
My position on abortion is extremely simplistic.  While there are still children in orphanages, and foster care, or wandering parentless, or part of an abusive family, then I have one opinion.  When we are in a world where every child there is, has a stable and loving family around it, my opinion may change.
I can't really fault you for holding that opinion.  When we have millions upon millions of people (not just children) who have truly awful lives, and no real effort (certainly no focused effort) to change that, it's difficult to really take arguments about "the sanctity of life" seriously.  That is certainly one of the biggest problems I have with the anti-abortion lobby, especially the fallacious arguments that they like to trot out about how we may have killed the next Einstein or Bach or whoever.

Offline su27

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2013, 08:14:17 AM »
That is certainly one of the biggest problems I have with the anti-abortion lobby, especially the fallacious arguments that they like to trot out about how we may have killed the next Einstein or Bach or whoever.

Tell them how many mass murderers were born just because their mothers had no abortion.

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2013, 12:59:41 PM »
That is certainly one of the biggest problems I have with the anti-abortion lobby, especially the fallacious arguments that they like to trot out about how we may have killed the next Einstein or Bach or whoever.
Dawkins responds to that canard in The God Delusion by pointing out that if it's a question of making sure that the next great human arrives, the church should not restrict people from reproducing under any circumstances.  Why limit or restrict sex, if you risk not birthing the next Einstein?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #50 on: March 22, 2013, 04:44:03 PM »
Jaime, I just came down with a fever and with my brain all boiled as it is, I doubt I'd be able to do your post justice in reading it let alone in replying to it.

I just noticed though that the 2 smites you gave me were removed from my profile, while the 2 I gave to you are still there.  Doesn't seem particularly fair to me.  My overreaching earned those smites.
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #51 on: March 22, 2013, 05:08:06 PM »
I hope you get better soon.  It's never fun being sick.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #52 on: March 28, 2013, 12:12:36 PM »
The similarity in rhetoric was somewhat intentional, but it wasn't for the reasons you thought.  I think we can both agree that much of the anti-abortion lobby uses that rhetoric in order to sway the minds of people through manipulating their emotions.  I've started to think that we need to expose this subtle manipulation for what it really is - a cynical effort by people who have a social agenda that they want to implement.  The problem is, simply telling them this won't be believed.  Nobody likes to be told that they've been played for a fool, and they'll fight for a long time to keep from admitting that they could have been wrong in the first place.  Instead, I thought that by using similar rhetoric, their defenses against "evil pro-death liberals" wouldn't kick in, and they might actually be willing to listen.

Alright.  Not quite sure how that fits into your use of it on the non-target-audience in-thread, but I'm curious about this angle you're trying.

It was starting to look like you were trying to lure me into saying something which you could then use to discredit me.  I've encountered people like that before, and it's something I have to be careful of in other places.

Meh, I've done the same before, and might even have done it in this exchange, so I can't fault you for that.  But I really was asking what the difference was, in your terminology, between a human being and a human person (outside of legalese of course).

I was expressing my opinion here, actually.  That doesn't make the question meaningless, it just means that I wasn't assuming it granted by all parties.

I consider an embryo or fetus, even a fertilized egg, to be a human being (not just having the quality of being human, which makes very little sense to me in any case).  That is why I have a moral objection to abortion, because I don't think it's right to kill other humans regardless of whether most people consider them humans.  That's one of the pro-life arguments that I agree with.  However, despite that, I consider myself pro-choice.  Because first off, to dictate my beliefs to others as moral imperatives that must be followed is reprehensible; second, to fixate on a developing embryo and ignore the other human being who's severely impacted by a pregnancy (the mother) is stupid; and third, to ignore necessity and practicality in favor of morality is foolish.

That's probably the most easily-understood and concise summary of your position on the topic that I've seen.  My only objection is that identifying even a fertilized egg as a human being and then applying moral value to it is arbitrary and seemingly unjustified.  And you've acknowledged that the value has mostly to do with what the neonate might become, rather than what it is.  If we are to accept that the potnetial future state of something is morally valuable, then that has a lot of other implications that we wouldn't consider to make a lot of sense.  For example, you will one day be dead.  Should we morally evaluate you now in those terms?  You're not dead yet, but it's in your future, and it's much more certain than the future of a neonate.  From another angle, too:  If potential future life has moral value, then it is immoral not to realize it, whether its physical precursor is here or not.  I'm pretty sure you're familiar with that angle as well.

It is for these reasons that I originally became suspicious (not in this thread) that the moral valuation of "potential life" was invoked and held specifically to make abortion immoral rather than to uphold any coherent moral principle.  To me, it seems an ad-hoc political tool.  Clearly you feel differently about it, but can you defend it on its own merits?

First, the only reason I brought up environment at all was to demonstrate that there is no environment wherein hair stands, or skin flakes, or fingernail clippings, or whatever, will ever be anything but hair stands, or skin flakes, or fingernail clippings, or whatever (which is not true of an embryo)  Second, I was not passing the womb off as a passive environment in any case; I simply spoke of the correct type of environment.  I think you read something into my words here which I in no way intended.  Third, if we had artificial wombs which could do the job of growing embryos and fetuses, then it would be relevant (since that would be an option instead of abortion).  Though, we don't have those yet, and probably won't for several years at the earliest.

Fair.  Though my argument wasn't just that your wording was biased against the woman, but also that her active involvement in providing that environment renders your argument about the neonate automatically over time becoming a human person, moot.  It doesn't.  It requires the direct physical intervention of a mother for the neonate to grow into an infant.[1]  Without one, it doesn't.  It can't.

It's been an awfully long time since that topic happened, but as I recall, I had to spend a while trying to explain that I didn't mean what you thought I meant, and I'm not sure if I successfully got that across or not.  I think I was using consequence in its neutral sense, that is, something that happens as the result of another action, but since people often use consequence and punishment interchangeably, that's how you took it.

It took so long, as I recall, because your use of it made no sense in the "neutral sense" but only in that of punishment.  Saying a woman should have to deal with the consequences of her actions is not value-neutral.  It is a moral judgment.

If I had gotten this far when I originally read your post, this comment would probably have caused me to get even more upset.  Suggestive comments like this aren't generally conducive to having a good discussion.

True.  I'm guilty of that sort of thing in a lot of places in this thread.

Because it's the one that came to mind first.  I do get in arguments with anti-abortion people elsewhere, and they use that term pretty heavily.  I also live in one of the most conservative states in the entire country, Oklahoma, so it's used a lot in general.  When you hear a term a lot, it comes to mind more easily.

That makes sense.

Sure.  None of those other things will do so, period.  The point I was trying to make there is that an embryo can and does grow into a fetus, then an infant, etc.  Bodily detritus, such as hair, skin, fingernails, etc, not only does not, but can not (short of esoteric genetic manipulation which isn't possible anyway).

See above re: potential humans.  My focus here though was only the "on its own" part of your statement, as if the neonate was on some self-contained, automated path to become an infant that will continue unabated if it's not aborted.

The way you wrote it, it looked like more that of trite sarcasm that you used earlier.  It's not easy to tell when someone's being serious, as opposed to facetious or sarcastic or trite or...whatever.

Especially when the tone you speak of changes several times within the very same post, eh?  Sorry about that.

An embryo isn't just a set of human cells in the sense of being human cells and not fish cells.  Hair strands, skin flakes, fingernail clippings, blood samples, pick a subset of human cells...none of them will eventually grow into an infant under any circumstances, whereas an embryo will, under the right circumstances.  That's what I meant by qualitative difference, so it is relevant to the discussion.  As for it being valued, what does that have to do with anything?  Something doesn't have to be a valued being for it to be a being (since there are uncountable examples through history where humans were not valued at all, yet still met the definition of human being).

"Human being" is a value-laden term in itself.  You are applying value based on it.  Value is the topic under discussion: what qualities should yield what valuation?  That's what value has to do with this.  The ability of something to some day produce offspring that might be able to reproduce with our own is something to which you have applied a moral value.  Own it.

The problem with this conclusion is that it presumes that I don't accept any circumstances where this could happen, which is not true.  Furthermore, it's kind of like saying that because I morally disapprove of someone calling for another person's death (despite supporting their legal right to say it per the First Amendment), I must therefore hate the first person deep down.  It's not the same situation, but it's close enough to illustrate the problem (or at least so I think).

If I understand your analogy correctly, you're saying that per what I'm saying, if someone called for someone else's death, your disapproval of the person doing so based on your support for free speech would require you to hate them?  Or do you mean that it would require you to hate the person whose death had been called for?

In either case, you didn't get my point.  I'll use your analogy to maybe get it across right:  You priviledge the one guy's right to speak over the other guy's (hypothetical) right not to have his death called for.  This favors one party over the other.  If the two parties were in some way categorically different, in a way that affected your judgment of their respective rights, then you could be said to have a bias against one of those two categories.

First off, even if the former is accurate (which I don't grant, more in a bit), why would the rest follow from it?  Why would a man's body be morally superior to a woman's in all respects, simply because it was superior to it in one?

I never said morally superior.  I said sovereign - as in, self-governing.

Also, consider this:  I don't think of it as either superior or inferior.  Just different.  For something to be superior or inferior, there has to be a reasonable basis for comparison.  And when it comes to pregnancy, or having an abortion, there is no such basis for comparison, because men can't get pregnant or have an abortion.  It is a moral difference, but to claim that it's superior or inferior is foolishness, in my view.

See above.  I spoke not of superiority and inferiority, but of differences in their sovereignty - of their moral self-ownership.  A man cannot be in the position of being morally obligated to carry through a pregnancy.  As you say, this is a difference.  The difference affects his sovereignty, relative to a woman's, if we consider a woman to hold such a moral obligation.  She is less morally free.  She owns less of herself.

I hope that I've illustrated why my moral position with regards to abortion is not like the anti-abortion moral position regarding it.  Oh, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some superficial similarities, but it's not difficult to find those in many circumstances.  Here's how I look at it.  Would I want some stranger, who I didn't know from John Doe, butting in and telling me that my wife (or girlfriend) should not have an abortion, for for that matter that she should?  The answer is no, therefore, it is not at all justifiable for me to do it to anyone else, whatever my personal feelings about it.

The trouble is, your argument for legalization applies to all other contexts, some of which - such as prohibitions on killing full-grown adults - we might really want in place.  By the same token as what you've said, do we want Joe Schmoe State to come and tell us among our communities we can and cannot kill?  Well...yeah, we do, don't we?  Laws like that are a good thing.  And if we consider abortion to be bad enough, then laws against that become a good thing, too.
 1. Barring, as you say, some sort of artificial incubation chamber.  Though even then, the same applies - direct physical intervention is needed.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #53 on: March 28, 2013, 12:18:59 PM »
Oh, and I'm healthy again.  Thanks for the well-wishes!
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.

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Re: Forever is Too Short
« Reply #54 on: March 28, 2013, 10:18:41 PM »
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?


I think what Dawkins is saying, is that if you are not great, you should commit suicide and leave room for someone who is.    :-X

It's a bit of philosophical backwards-think, that is generally responsible for creating a false understanding of what "I" is, and also creates dualistic thinking. If it's such a privilege to be born, then I'd like to see some scientific evidence. The only apparent evidence is that people cling to life, so therefore it must be a privilege. Well, krill and marigolds cling to life.

He might as well credit my intestinal bacteria for who I am, since most cells in the human body are bacteria. Think how I'm a totally different person, if I take an antibiotic.
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.