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Online wright

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Pro-life atheists
« on: March 12, 2014, 03:07:02 AM »
Via the Friendly Atheist:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/03/11/yes-there-are-pro-life-atheists-out-there-heres-why-im-one-of-them/

I was aware that there are atheists who oppose abortion, but I hadn't really seen their reasoning before. I'm not very impressed. The author of the linked article, Kristine Kruszelnicki, loses me pretty early on (bolds mine):
Quote
Many people have a hard time understanding why I might be a pro-life atheist. Here are my responses to some of their more common objections:

It doesn’t matter whether or not the fetus is a human being, because women have bodily autonomy rights and no human can have non-consensual access to her body.

Well not so fast. If the fetus is not a human being with his/her own bodily rights, it’s true that infringing on a woman’s body by placing restrictions on her medical options is always a gross injustice and a violation. On the other hand, if we are talking about two human beings who should each be entitled to their own bodily rights, in the unique situation that is pregnancy, we aren’t justified in following the route of might-makes-right simply because we can. Bigger and older humans don’t necessarily trump younger and more dependent humans. Rights must always be justified and ethically grounded lest they become a tool of tyranny.

She makes the leap to the bolded assumption and I just don't see how. She seems to think a unique individual deserving of protection exists beginning at conception.

She is consistent, at least within the context of this article. She also believes in greater access to contraception and increased resources for prenatal care and child rearing. But she just handwaves at how that might be achieved:
Quote
Frederica Mathewes-Green once said “No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.” Abortion advocates correctly perceive the trap, but they merely offer the woman a sterile knife to aid in the amputation. Real help does not sacrifice one human life at the expense of another but goes to the source of the trap to unscrew the hinge and free both.

If we all work together to come up with real choices for women — better birth control, better maternity leave, subsidized daycare, a living wage, flexible work schedules, better schooling options, more attractive open-adoption and temporary foster care options, etc. — abortion may roll itself into the world of obsolescence, regardless of its legal status.

Sorry Ms. Kruszelnicki, but I don't buy it. Abortion is not going to be obsolete by restricting access to it and effectively denying women control over their own bodies. Especially with the religious conservatives explicitly wanting to shame and punish women for daring to take that control.
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Offline Jag

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 09:22:30 AM »
The part I never understand: what alternative is being proposed in the meantime? Everything she suggests in the last quoted paragraph is a needed change, I have no quarrel with any of that. Why not work on those things exactly as she suggests, regardless of the legal status of abortion - thereby demonstrating some credibility?  Otherwise, she's talking out both sides of her mouth, and ought to practice what she's preaching.

I noticed several new billboards near home (metro, not college home) from Pro-life across America. All three were emotional appeals, and I have no objection to that in a general sense. My complaint is that they offered no alternative, they simply indicate various dates at which significant events occur in-utero. It was never explicitly stated but the proposed alternative seems to be "keep the baby and raise it regardless of your ability to do so, because fingerprints/dreaming/heartbeat and cute baby pictures should determine life-long consequences". If Pro-life plaster their opinions Across the freeways of America gave a crap about babies, they'd be promoting improved access to social services or adoption as well.

The hypocrisy irks me to no end. Get your butt to work in real life applications Ms. Kruszelnicki, because otherwise you are part of the problem.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 09:26:43 AM »
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

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Online wright

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 12:01:28 PM »
The part I never understand: what alternative is being proposed in the meantime? Everything she suggests in the last quoted paragraph is a needed change, I have no quarrel with any of that. Why not work on those things exactly as she suggests, regardless of the legal status of abortion - thereby demonstrating some credibility?  Otherwise, she's talking out both sides of her mouth, and ought to practice what she's preaching.

Yep. Handwaving.

Libby Anne's response and perspective:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2014/03/the-totally-unoriginal-atheist-case-for-abortion.html


PZ has one too, in his own cozy[1] style:
http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/03/12/an-atheist-can-be-pro-life-only-by-lying-about-the-science/
 1. In the sense that a bearhug from an angry Kodiak is cozy
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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2014, 06:36:24 PM »
Being pro-choice is not being anti-life. I find that a good deal of pro-life advocates are only that way on one issue: abortion--rather than anything else, like the Death Penalty; or wars. For them "pro-life" is a misnomer--because they certainly don't care about the child after they are born: just that they are born.

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2014, 07:10:22 PM »
Being pro-choice is not being anti-life. I find that a good deal of pro-life advocates are only that way on one issue: abortion--rather than anything else, like the Death Penalty; or wars. For them "pro-life" is a misnomer--because they certainly don't care about the child after they are born: just that they are born.

This. If we are to assume the term "pro-life" and other such terms mean what they should, etymologically speaking, then I am pro-life. I am pro-life, pro-choice, and anti-abortion. Let me explain:
I believe all life should be preserved in most situations, but I also want women (and possibly men, should the choice fall on them) to have the choice to have one (or more, should the need arise) abortions. However, due to my pro-life stance, I don't think they should have them in the first place.

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« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 07:19:46 PM by One Above All »
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Offline Nam

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 07:25:52 PM »
I'm speaking of the religious/political ideology of pro-lifers (in the USA). Past that--you can speculate all you want.

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2014, 09:46:45 PM »
I am against abortion but not for religious reasons. I think that, removing the religious connotation of the phrase "life begins at conception" (Whatever that means), it is demonstrable that "human development begins at conception". A sperm is human life in potential as is an egg. A fertilized egg is that potential actualized. It is now a developing human life which will either become a human being or perish.

The same is true for other things. consider an acorn. An acorn is not a tree and neither is soil. A planted acorn is neither a mere acorn nor mere soil; it is a developing tree, which will either become a tree or perish.

I think that Sam Harris was absolutely right when he observed that religious considerations have removed any possibility of rational discussion regarding this issue. It has degenerated into the ridiculous false dichotomy of : "It's either a soul put into zygote by God, or nothing."

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 10:35:08 PM »
I am against abortion but not for religious reasons. I think that, removing the religious connotation of the phrase "life begins at conception" (Whatever that means), it is demonstrable that "human development begins at conception". A sperm is human life in potential as is an egg. A fertilized egg is that potential actualized. It is now a developing human life which will either become a human being or perish.

Does your stance against abortion have any nuances? What about cases where the mother will die if the fetus isn't terminated? If she is a minor who was raped by a male relative? If the baby will be born with defects that will kill it?

A fertilized human zygote is potential, agreed. But it is fundamentally different from an adult or even an infant only a minute old. PZ Myers had what I thought was a decent take on the topic:http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/03/12/an-atheist-can-be-pro-life-only-by-lying-about-the-science/

From the linked post:
Quote
Let me tell you what science actually says about this subject.

Science has determined that development is a process of epigenesis; that is, that it involves a progressive unfolding and emergence of new attributes, not present at conception, that manifest gradually by interactions within the field of developing cells and with the external environment. The conceptus is not equal to the adult. It is not a preformed human requiring only time and growth to adulthood; developmental biologists are entirely aware of the distinction between proliferation and growth, and differentiation. So science actually says the opposite of what Kruszelnicki claims. It says that the fetus is distinct from the adult.

Of course, science also has to concede that because there is a continuum of transformation from conception to adulthood, it can’t draw an arbitrary line and say that at Time Point X, the fetus has acquired enough of the properties of the adult form that it should be now regarded as having all the rights of a member of society. That’s a matter for law and convention. But we already implicitly recognize that there is a pattern of change over time; children do not have all the same privileges as adults. Third trimester fetuses have fewer still. First trimester embryos? Even less. We all understand without even thinking about it that there is a progressive pattern to human development.
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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2014, 11:02:14 PM »
I am against abortion but not for religious reasons. I think that, removing the religious connotation of the phrase "life begins at conception" (Whatever that means), it is demonstrable that "human development begins at conception". A sperm is human life in potential as is an egg. A fertilized egg is that potential actualized. It is now a developing human life which will either become a human being or perish.

Does your stance against abortion have any nuances? What about cases where the mother will die if the fetus isn't terminated? If she is a minor who was raped by a male relative? If the baby will be born with defects that will kill it?

A fertilized human zygote is potential, agreed. But it is fundamentally different from an adult or even an infant only a minute old. PZ Myers had what I thought was a decent take on the topic:http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/03/12/an-atheist-can-be-pro-life-only-by-lying-about-the-science/

From the linked post:
Quote
Let me tell you what science actually says about this subject.

Science has determined that development is a process of epigenesis; that is, that it involves a progressive unfolding and emergence of new attributes, not present at conception, that manifest gradually by interactions within the field of developing cells and with the external environment. The conceptus is not equal to the adult. It is not a preformed human requiring only time and growth to adulthood; developmental biologists are entirely aware of the distinction between proliferation and growth, and differentiation. So science actually says the opposite of what Kruszelnicki claims. It says that the fetus is distinct from the adult.

Of course, science also has to concede that because there is a continuum of transformation from conception to adulthood, it can’t draw an arbitrary line and say that at Time Point X, the fetus has acquired enough of the properties of the adult form that it should be now regarded as having all the rights of a member of society. That’s a matter for law and convention. But we already implicitly recognize that there is a pattern of change over time; children do not have all the same privileges as adults. Third trimester fetuses have fewer still. First trimester embryos? Even less. We all understand without even thinking about it that there is a progressive pattern to human development.

I think we want to be kind of careful not to regard a human being as less of a human being based on developmental status, there is a huge difference between a 15 month old baby and a 1 week old blastocyst but neither are non-human. They are both developing human beings. To all of the hypothetical cases you raised, that would be the decision of the mother and it should be considered carefully. the state should not prohibit the termination of the pregnancy in those cases, and such a termination is not "murder" as we understand it. However, I think that the distinction between life in potential and life actualized should be a consideration in all of those cases. 
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2014, 11:10:11 PM »
And tadpoles are frogs. Caterpillars are butterflies. Maggots are flies. Etc[1]

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 1. in case one doesn't understand: this is sardonicism to PaL's reply above
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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2014, 11:17:21 PM »
And tadpoles are frogs. Caterpillars are butterflies. Maggots are flies. Etc[1]

-Nam
 1. in case one doesn't understand: this is sardonicism to PaL's reply above

That is correct

*EDIT (though it should be added that all such are "developing" creatures: IE:  caterpillars that are in cocoons are developing butterflies, etcetera.)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 11:33:33 PM by Philosopher_at_large »
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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2014, 12:50:40 AM »
I think we want to be kind of careful not to regard a human being as less of a human being based on developmental status, there is a huge difference between a 15 month old baby and a 1 week old blastocyst but neither are non-human.

No disagreement there.

Quote
They are both developing human beings.

Human, undeniably. But if by "being" you mean "person", then no. Blastocysts are not people, unlike the women who must (if they even can) make the decision whether or not to carry their pregnancies to term.
 
Quote
To all of the hypothetical cases you raised, that would be the decision of the mother and it should be considered carefully. the state should not prohibit the termination of the pregnancy in those cases, and such a termination is not "murder" as we understand it. However, I think that the distinction between life in potential and life actualized should be a consideration in all of those cases.

Thanks for the clarification of your views. I would think that most mothers- / parents-to-be would make such a consideration. However, for women under circumstances where terminating their pregnancy is not an option (legally, financially or whatever), their choices have been seriously constrained.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2014, 08:10:36 AM »
I am against abortion but not for religious reasons. I think that, removing the religious connotation of the phrase "life begins at conception" (Whatever that means), it is demonstrable that "human development begins at conception". A sperm is human life in potential as is an egg. A fertilized egg is that potential actualized. It is now a developing human life which will either become a human being or perish.

I'm rather curious as to your thoughts on this:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/10/24/no-5k-for-the-biggest-killer-so-does-anyone-really-believe-its-a-killer/

Essentially - due to the reality of the human body - the majority of 'actualized human potential' die practically immediately.  From your point of view, shouldn't we as a society be dedicating substantial resources - at least on par with, say, prosthetics research - to fixing that problem?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2014, 06:44:31 PM »
Quote
It doesn’t matter whether or not the fetus is a human being, because women have bodily autonomy rights and no human can have non-consensual access to her body.

So, women can carry fetuses other than human fetuses? That's amazing!

Wouldn't a rapist have non-consensual access to a woman's body? That is if he/she is successful. If not, then he/she is just guilty of assault and/or battery.


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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2014, 07:11:07 PM »
The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence begins:

Quote
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

In reality, all men are not created equal. The word men collectively refers to humans which consist of males and females (men and women). By nature, and quite self-evident, men and women are not created equal. There are inherent differences. Each can do some things that the other cannot.

The concept presented by the sentence above is that within the eyes of the law all men (collectively to include women) should be considered equally. Certainly, the men (males) who wrote that sentence did not fully consider or effectuate the meaning and purpose of that sentence. They did the best they could given the limits of their era.

We cannot say that all men are created equal and then keep women in a second-class status by not allowing women to have control over their own bodies as much as "men" have control over their own.

To make arguments about a fetus with regard to being pro-life or pro-choice is to implicitly accept that we have a choice to make over a woman's body. If we do, we shouldn't because if we do, she isn't equal.

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2014, 03:22:49 PM »
They are both developing human beings.

Human, undeniably. But if by "being" you mean "person", then no. Blastocysts are not people, unlike the women who must (if they even can) make the decision whether or not to carry their pregnancies to term.

No, they are not people, as planted acorns are not trees. But neither are they mere acorns or mere sperm or eggs either. They are in the process of becoming. And if the right to become is the right by which all other rights stem (which I think is a reasonable statement), then we ought to at least be acknowledge it and consider it. 
 
To all of the hypothetical cases you raised, that would be the decision of the mother and it should be considered carefully. the state should not prohibit the termination of the pregnancy in those cases, and such a termination is not "murder" as we understand it. However, I think that the distinction between life in potential and life actualized should be a consideration in all of those cases.

Thanks for the clarification of your views. I would think that most mothers- / parents-to-be would make such a consideration. However, for women under circumstances where terminating their pregnancy is not an option (legally, financially or whatever), their choices have been seriously constrained.

I think they have been and should not be, and even worse, It think the argument has become "Its either a human being or nothing" which I think is even worse. We aren't able to talk about any of the subtle yet desperately important ethical questions at all.
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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2014, 03:24:38 PM »
I am against abortion but not for religious reasons. I think that, removing the religious connotation of the phrase "life begins at conception" (Whatever that means), it is demonstrable that "human development begins at conception". A sperm is human life in potential as is an egg. A fertilized egg is that potential actualized. It is now a developing human life which will either become a human being or perish.

I'm rather curious as to your thoughts on this:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/10/24/no-5k-for-the-biggest-killer-so-does-anyone-really-believe-its-a-killer/

Essentially - due to the reality of the human body - the majority of 'actualized human potential' die practically immediately.  From your point of view, shouldn't we as a society be dedicating substantial resources - at least on par with, say, prosthetics research - to fixing that problem?

As I understand it, this is essentially a miscarriage. 
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2014, 04:37:03 PM »
I'm rather curious as to your thoughts on this:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/10/24/no-5k-for-the-biggest-killer-so-does-anyone-really-believe-its-a-killer/

Essentially - due to the reality of the human body - the majority of 'actualized human potential' die practically immediately.  From your point of view, shouldn't we as a society be dedicating substantial resources - at least on par with, say, prosthetics research - to fixing that problem?

As I understand it, this is essentially a miscarriage.

I'm not certain if it fits the medical definition of miscarriage but that seems legit to me.

Any thoughts on the question?
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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2014, 05:35:42 PM »
I'm rather curious as to your thoughts on this:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/10/24/no-5k-for-the-biggest-killer-so-does-anyone-really-believe-its-a-killer/

Essentially - due to the reality of the human body - the majority of 'actualized human potential' die practically immediately.  From your point of view, shouldn't we as a society be dedicating substantial resources - at least on par with, say, prosthetics research - to fixing that problem?

As I understand it, this is essentially a miscarriage.

I'm not certain if it fits the medical definition of miscarriage but that seems legit to me.

Any thoughts on the question?

I'm not sure what the question is. I think that we should definitely devote research to preventing miscarriage, and we do.
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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2014, 02:47:15 AM »
I am against abortion but not for religious reasons. I think that, removing the religious connotation of the phrase "life begins at conception" (Whatever that means), it is demonstrable that "human development begins at conception". A sperm is human life in potential as is an egg. A fertilized egg is that potential actualized. It is now a developing human life which will either become a human being or perish.

I'm rather curious as to your thoughts on this:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/10/24/no-5k-for-the-biggest-killer-so-does-anyone-really-believe-its-a-killer/

Essentially - due to the reality of the human body - the majority of 'actualized human potential' die practically immediately.  From your point of view, shouldn't we as a society be dedicating substantial resources - at least on par with, say, prosthetics research - to fixing that problem?

As I understand it, this is essentially a miscarriage.

No no no no no. In theology, it's what's called a 'god abortion'.
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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2014, 08:14:15 AM »
It think the argument has become "Its either a human being or nothing" which I think is even worse.

For me that is not the question.  For me the question is, "just whose uterus is it, anyway?"

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2014, 11:25:34 AM »
Why would it matter, we are just pre-dead corpses/
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2014, 11:38:01 AM »
^ I've seen the very religious preach that at people before.  "The god you do not believe in knows exactly how many heartbeats are left in your corpse," was something like what was said.  I thought it was exceptionally morbid and plain weird.  It also felt to me like an angry and threatening thing to say.   
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2014, 10:26:37 AM »
^ I've seen the very religious preach that at people before.  "The god you do not believe in knows exactly how many heartbeats are left in your corpse," was something like what was said.  I thought it was exceptionally morbid and plain weird.  It also felt to me like an angry and threatening thing to say.

It is just a variation of "you nonbelievers will get yours in the end" and "I have the bestest, most powerful, smartest, invisible, intangible, friend ever and he's better than you even if you say he's imaginary"
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2014, 01:03:46 PM »
how seeing an embryo as a person could (is) get in the way of healthier people
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/03/pre_implantation_genetic_testing_with_ivf_it_won_t_create_designer_babies.html

Quote
When my husband and I interviewed yet another fertility doctor about his proposed treatment for my recurring miscarriages, we asked him about pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to test whether the embryos we produced through in vitro fertilization were chromosomally normal and therefore less likely to miscarry.

...
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2014, 04:32:23 PM »
I'm not certain if it fits the medical definition of miscarriage but that seems legit to me.

Any thoughts on the question?

I'm not sure what the question is. I think that we should definitely devote research to preventing miscarriage, and we do.

I'm actually unaware of any research being done to prevent this type of 'miscarriage'[1].  Perhaps you can point me towards some of that research, and comment on whether you think it is sufficient based on the 50-75% number.  It just seems, to me, that if there were an epidemic that were killing 50-75% of the human population, that would be the number 1 problem to solve.
 1. Again, I'm not certain if this really qualifies as a miscarriage from a medical terminology standpoint.  Remember, we're talking about embryos that fail to implant into the uterus.
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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2014, 05:30:03 PM »
After all, the planet really could use 75% more people!   We will need some major resource redistribution to care for all females aged 10-50 and make sure that every single fertilized egg becomes an actual newborn. Taxing churches might be a way to start.

Not to mention the huge increase in services for handicapped folks, because many of those people will have some sort of physical or mental disability or other health problem that caused the implantation failure.

We might have to require that every household in the world above the poverty level take on the 24-7 care of both a pregnant female and a handicapped newborn. Already have enough on your plate? God will provide and he never gives anyone more than they can bear.

Maybe we will have to turn to some kind of world government with a global health plan to handle it all. I know how much the social conservatives love resource redistribution to the less fortunate, and the handing over of their decisions to global governing bodies.

Get right on it, anti-abortion activists! Millions of fertilized eggs are being needlessly lost even as we speak!  :P
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 05:34:12 PM by nogodsforme »
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Angus and Alexis

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Re: Pro-life atheists
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2014, 08:35:39 AM »
My opinion stands as such.

"There are too many people already (Look at forest destruction, ozone holes and other things)."

So if you want an abortion, do so, i do not care.

If you do not want one, equally, i do not care.

But it sickens me to see parents here leaching off the government because they were too stupid to wear a condom (Or have an abortion...), and now have four or more kids dragging off them.
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