Bush vs. Kerry

This is a discussion on Bush vs. Kerry within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by Govtcheez I don't have a whole lot to add except that I think it's great you guys ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Govtcheez
    I don't have a whole lot to add except that I think it's great you guys are actually having a reasonable debate here without resorting to name calling or similar things. I really wish we could have more of these around here.
    I've been reading this as well, and share GC's sentiment.

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    Pro-lifers care about fetuses on an academic level, they do not actually suffer when a fetus is killed, just as you or i don't really suffer when we read that thousands of innocent of people have killed in a war.
    Most prolifers don't suffer physically(women who have abortions are more apt to develop psychological illnesses, according to some studies), but will have lingering doubt as to whether they are doing enough to stop the abortions. And there are, then, a few who do suffer physically, permantely scarred from the abortion attempted on them.

    But to answer your point, i think as soon as the fetus is aware then it merits ethical consideration but the question is "how much consideration?". I do not see why we should consider killing a fetus with the first trappings of awareness more wrong than killing an animal which is more aware.
    Well, yes, if awareness was the deciding factor, then killing animals might be wrong. Not only might killing animals be wrong, killing people in a coma, or the elderly, or the retarted might be wrong. One state who when so far as do just that: Hitler's Nazi regime.

    Because of these problems, I don't think awareness can be a deciding guage, especially in formal laws. Instead, awareness might determine punishment. A murderer who murdered his or victim by torture deserves a more severe punishment than a murder who did not.

    You as an individual might not, but millions of recent mothers would have something to fear and would suffer greatly if their babies were killed.
    Yes, but a similar provision as that of abortion could be used: mother and father's choice.

    Well either murder is not defined as killing of human "being" or fetuses are not defined as human "beings" because by law abortion is not murder.
    Depends on whose law you're using. Abortion could be the lawful killing of a human being.

    Well either murder is not defined as killing of human "being" or fetuses are not defined as human "beings" because by law abortion is not murder.
    Abortion, while not murder by US law, might under some other law be murder. And of course to any tyrant his law is right and his might makes right. So there's got to be some guage, a perfect law whence all other laws are measured.

    I can assert that the fetus is owned by the parents. You assert it owns itself.
    Yes, you could. But I could equally say the abortion belongs to Joe down the street. I simply don't see any reason why the fetus is owned by both parents or the mother alone. And, at least in the US, accepting the fetus as a human being means the fetus has constitutional rights.

    I could equally assert the spetus owns itself.
    Yes, you could.

    The fact that one can classify the spetus into two parts makes no difference, after the fertilised egg divides the fetus also consists of two parts, and killing one would not kill the other.
    Not necessarily so. If the one cell is killed and the other cell dies before having a chance to reproduce, then the fetus dies. The two cells could be considered separate beings.

    Thus one cannot consider the ethics of killing a specific person, one can only consider the ethics of killing a non-specific person.
    I'm uncertain of what you mean here. Many mathematical proofs start by letting some variable be any particuar variable in the general set.

    Neither of those arguments work, from a medical point of view researching embrionic stem cells offers the best chance for development of the earliest future treatments for a variety of different conditions.
    I know of no specific disease or condition cured by stem cell research. Furthermore, from my understanding, such research may take 70 years or longer. By that time I might be dead, so I don't think you can avoid the futture here. Your attempting to say something like "the embroy's future life is less important than medical cures." But in fact the cure is not important: it's the life that the cure saves. And so--being a future experience of life--there's no difference between that future life and the embroy's future life.

    Alternately, experiments resulting in the death of living humans--while possibly helpful to othre humans--are illegal. The mistake, I think, is in viewing human experience through biological and "quality of life" rather than through the more important virtue and compassion.

    Your ethics rules that research out, the result of which is decidedly odd, real human people are left to die and suffer ,to avoid harming cells or balls of cells no more aware than a skin cell.
    No, scientists should be able to determine why stem cells from other places don't subdivide while others do. Of course, not having the embroy cells makes this task somewhat more difficult.

    Your ethics rules that research out, the result of which is decidedly odd, real human people are left to die and suffer ,to avoid harming cells or balls of cells no more aware than a skin cell.
    Well, as a thought experiement. Imagine your awareness was reduced to 0, sometime next day for 5 hours. Would you want someone to go kill you during this time? I don't. Although I know I'll be perfectly aware in the future, I also know I'm not aware during this time. Arguing using awareness, I haave to look to the future to save my life.

    You're granting a cell or a bunch of cells the right to "own" something, why? I mean what is the justification? What is the significance of a human "being" if that human "being" is just a single cell less complex than an ant?
    I'm uncertain of what you mean? When I look at a computer code, I can say some system is complex without actually compiling the code. In the same way, the fetus' DNA is the blueprint that inables the fetus to become complex.

    You're granting a cell or a bunch of cells the right to "own" something, why? I mean what is the justification? What is the significance of a human "being" if that human "being" is just a single cell less complex than an ant?
    Our knowledge approaches a limit as we go further in the past. At some point we have no knowledge. What you're claiming, however, is that a human being is born into existence complex, with knowledge. Both untrue and unintuitive.

    You see to me your ethical axioms seem arbitrary in basis, which means you're vulnerable to arguments favouring moral relativism, how are you going to argue against someone who simply defines in his ethical axioms that white people merit more consideration than black people?
    Obviously all ethical systems do have a set of axioms. The bottom line, now, is that anyone who has an ethical system, will meet people who have a different set of axioms. In addtion, the only way to change someone's mind in their use axioms is to prove a contradiction with respect to some principle they valued. Of course, the axioms must be simpler and uncontradicting with any other axiom. That is, if both fairness and white people being better were taken aximatically, then the only to argue is to prove white people being better is unfair.

    Afterall you define in your axioms human "beings" merit more consideration than say ape "beings", and as mentioned earlier as soon as you appeal to faculties to justify your stance then the argument against abortion dissolves.
    Well, you could apply the same principles to ape beings, and all you'd find is that an ape has less potential to develop into a human person than does a fetus. This lack of potential, however, doesn't mean the ape has no rights.
    Last edited by okinrus; 11-18-2004 at 10:36 PM.

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    Most prolifers don't suffer physically(women who have abortions are more apt to develop psychological illnesses, according to some studies), but will have lingering doubt as to whether they are doing enough to stop the abortions. And there are, then, a few who do suffer physically, permantely scarred from the abortion attempted on them.
    Are you arguing that it is better for the actual people who want abortions if they are denied them? It seems to me that by in large people who want an abortion will infact benefit from one.

    Well, yes, if awareness was the deciding factor, then killing animals might be wrong. Not only might killing animals be wrong, killing people in a coma, or the elderly, or the retarted might be wrong. One state who when so far as do just that: Hitler's Nazi regime.

    Because of these problems, I don't think awareness can be a deciding guage, especially in formal laws. Instead, awareness might determine punishment. A murderer who murdered his or victim by torture deserves a more severe punishment than a murder who did not.
    But again one avoids these problems by looking at the consequences of granting a carte-blanche to these actions:

    If killing elderly people was acceptable there would be more suffering, from the relatives the friends and elderly people themselves knowing they were freely killable.

    The same applies to people in a coma and indeed those who are retarded.

    Yes, but a similar provision as that of abortion could be used: mother and father's choice
    It seems to me this is a non-issue, parents do not avoid killing their babies because it's seen as immoral or because it's unlawfull, they do so because every gene in their body says "protect the child". (infact it's those very genes that are making you balk at the idea of allowing infanticide).

    Parents (and indeed other people) form extremely strong attachments to a baby, as far as i know in the rare instances (in the western world) where infanticide actually occurs parental soundness of mind is usually put forward as the reason.

    Yes, you could. But I could equally say the abortion belongs to Joe down the street. I simply don't see any reason why the fetus is owned by both parents or the mother alone
    I would say it's exactly the same reason why the spetus is owned by the parents.

    Not necessarily so. If the one cell is killed and the other cell dies before having a chance to reproduce, then the fetus dies. The two cells could be considered separate beings.
    But as i went on to clarify, if one considers a point where differentiation has occured say 16 cells then killing 8 does kill the fetus but not the other 8 cells. So again one loses justification for elevating the status of the fetus.

    I'm uncertain of what you mean here. Many mathematical proofs start by letting some variable be any particuar variable in the general set.
    I simply mean that one must consider the reprocussions of accepting an action as ethical.

    I know of no specific disease or condition cured by stem cell research. Furthermore, from my understanding, such research may take 70 years or longer. By that time I might be dead, so I don't think you can avoid the futture here.
    I don't think one must avoid the future i simply think that the "possible future human" argument lacks merit because there are a near infinite number of possible future humans, countless numbers of them ceasing to exist at any point in time, and heavy reprocussions on the current real humans if one advocates saving as many as possible.

    Your attempting to say something like "the embroy's future life is less important than medical cures." But in fact the cure is not important: it's the life that the cure saves. And so--being a future experience of life--there's no difference between that future life and the embroy's future life.
    A collection of a dozen cells will not become a future human if it's used for stem cell research, all we have is another possible future human ceasing to be.

    Cure's for conditions like alzheimers and Parkinson's would inhance the quality of life of many real people who actually exist.

    The best chance for those cure's is to reseach embryonic stem cells.

    Alternately, experiments resulting in the death of living humans--while possibly helpful to othre humans--are illegal. The mistake, I think, is in viewing human experience through biological and "quality of life" rather than through the more important virtue and compassion.
    Experimentation on human beings will reduce their quality of life, along with their family/friends etc.

    How does one define virtue without referring to ethics? If one cannot do so one cannot invoke virtue as a basis for ethics. Compassion is based upon quality of life, we feel compassion for those people who suffer (ie. have a low quality of life).

    Well, as a thought experiement. Imagine your awareness was reduced to 0, sometime next day for 5 hours. Would you want someone to go kill you during this time? I don't. Although I know I'll be perfectly aware in the future, I also know I'm not aware during this time. Arguing using awareness, I haave to look to the future to save my life.
    Arguing using awareness, removes the problem; allowing killing of unconscious people would reduce the quality of life function of the population because unconscious people have friends and family, and conscious people would be worried that they would fall unconscious and then be killed.

    I'm uncertain of what you mean? When I look at a computer code, I can say some system is complex without actually compiling the code. In the same way, the fetus' DNA is the blueprint that inables the fetus to become complex.
    The complexity of a fertilised egg is actually less than an ant.

    A fertilised egg could at some point become more complex than an ant but it's not currently, you ascribe ownership of this potential to the fetus, but why? Why treat a single cell lacking any conscious experience as "owning" anything?

    Human cloning is hypothetically possible and may well become practically possible at some point in the future, so would you grant every single cell in your body "ownership" over it's potential to become a new human being? In terms of DNA every cell has the necessary code to become a new human being. Would you feel obligated to turn as many as possible into new humans? Presumeably not.

    Our knowledge approaches a limit as we go further in the past. At some point we have no knowledge. What you're claiming, however, is that a human being is born into existence complex, with knowledge. Both untrue and unintuitive.
    I don't see why you think i'm claiming that.

    Obviously all ethical systems do have a set of axioms. The bottom line, now, is that anyone who has an ethical system, will meet people who have a different set of axioms. In addtion, the only way to change someone's mind in their use axioms is to prove a contradiction with respect to some principle they valued. Of course, the axioms must be simpler and uncontradicting with any other axiom. That is, if both fairness and white people being better were taken aximatically, then the only to argue is to prove white people being better is unfair
    But there are many sets of axioms that will not be contradictory, one can have both fairness and white people being better, because fairness is based on the idea of equality, thus a racist could believe that amongst white people fairness should prevail, and amongst black people fairness should prevail, but that white people iwarrant more ethical consideration. Just as we value fairness but place ourselves above animals.

    The great advantage of Utilitarianism is that ultimately the axioms are defendable: suffering is bad by definition, likewise happyness is good by definition.

    Well, you could apply the same principles to ape beings, and all you'd find is that an ape has less potential to develop into a human person than does a fetus. This lack of potential, however, doesn't mean the ape has no rights.
    But why the favouring of humans over apes at all?

    If we base our concept of ethics on personhood then we can justify favouring humans over other apes based on greater awareness but then abortion becomes a non-issue because it doesn't affect a person who is aware only a possible future person furthermore persuing a stance of saving possible future people has severe costs on real present aware people.
    Last edited by Clyde; 11-19-2004 at 06:16 AM.
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    Are you arguing that it is better for the actual people who want abortions if they are denied them? It seems to me that by in large people who want an abortion will infact benefit from one.
    As in monetary benefit, then, yes, it would seem so. But health-wise, a women after a abortion might have a greater risk pschological damage, as studies by Dr. Reardon show.


    The same applies to people in a coma and indeed those who are retarded.
    Hitler did manage to do it. Of course the relatives and family memebers were told their sons and daughters had died of natural causes.

    But as i went on to clarify, if one considers a point where differentiation has occured say 16 cells then killing 8 does kill the fetus but not the other 8 cells. So again one loses justification for elevating the status of the fetus.
    If you consider a spetus a being, then the spetus cannot die when the fetus is created. That is, the spetus is the fetus is the human being. Otherwise, the potential is awared only after the spetus has died. Similar to how giving a valuable gift to my grave has no value to me, the spetus doesn't have any potential unless if the spetus is the fetus. But, then, the only real connection between the spetus and the fetus is material, and if material were the only factor we may as well call dirt beings.

    A collection of a dozen cells will not become a future human if it's used for stem cell research, all we have is another possible future human ceasing to be.

    Cure's for conditions like alzheimers and Parkinson's would inhance the quality of life of many real people who actually exist.

    The best chance for those cure's is to reseach embryonic stem cells.
    Cures for those diseases might help people who already exist. But that's if the cure is found soon enough. I just don't see the difference between letting an embroy grow up, letting that being live a fulfilled life, and searching for a cure but killing the embroy's future life.

    Arguing using awareness, removes the problem; allowing killing of unconscious people would reduce the quality of life function of the population because unconscious people have friends and family, and conscious people would be worried that they would fall unconscious and then be killed.
    There must be an intrinstic worth of life somewhere; else all those people point each other and nothing gets done.

    Human cloning is hypothetically possible and may well become practically possible at some point in the future, so would you grant every single cell in your body "ownership" over it's potential to become a new human being? In terms of DNA every cell has the necessary code to become a new human being. Would you feel obligated to turn as many as possible into new humans? Presumeably not.
    If possible, then the cloning operation would likely be a drastic enough step to consider the cell before and after as separate individuals. That is, the steps taken to make a given cell a clone, I think, are much like conception and envolve substantial change.


    But there are many sets of axioms that will not be contradictory, one can have both fairness and white people being better, because fairness is based on the idea of equality, thus a racist could believe that amongst white people fairness should prevail, and amongst black people fairness should prevail, but that white people iwarrant more ethical consideration. Just as we value fairness but place ourselves above animals.
    Well, there are unstated axioms that could be used. Most people don't suddenly believe white people are better. They believe so because their life or those around them taught them that white people are better. But this type of knowledge isn't really on the same level of an axiom. By having some of these people work with blacks, then these type of views generally disappear.

    The great advantage of Utilitarianism is that ultimately the axioms are defendable: suffering is bad by definition, likewise happyness is good by definition.
    I aggree that happiness is generally good, but how personal happiness reacts with group happiness is uncertain. Further, in many cases long-term happiness is traded with momentary happiness. What causes one person to be happy might not cause another person. (Joy might be used here) Furthermore, ethics merely on a consequence level will always have problems with the double principle, whereby a person could do evil to achieve what he or she thinks is a good thing. Naturally, I think this principle should be upheld: that people cannot do evil to achieve, as it may seem, a greater good. The ownership principles that I've outline, however, do support this principle because infringing on someone else's rights is taboo. (Of course, when in self-defence, you must balalence between the other person taking away your own rights and you taking away the other person's rights. )
    Last edited by okinrus; 11-21-2004 at 09:50 AM.

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    As in monetary benefit, then, yes, it would seem so. But health-wise, a women after a abortion might have a greater risk pschological damage, as studies by Dr. Reardon show.
    Well, i would argue that in terms of quality of life a woman who is forced to raise a child when she doesn't want one, is likely to have a lower quality of life than one who raises a child at a point of her choosing (and indeed the child is too). Whether that be because she cannot actually afford to raise another child or because she is very young and wishes to persue other things first.

    Hitler did manage to do it. Of course the relatives and family memebers were told their sons and daughters had died of natural causes.
    Which is traumatic, so my argument still seems to hold.

    If you consider a spetus a being, then the spetus cannot die when the fetus is created. That is, the spetus is the fetus is the human being.
    Ok.

    Otherwise, the potential is awared only after the spetus has died. Similar to how giving a valuable gift to my grave has no value to me, the spetus doesn't have any potential unless if the spetus is the fetus.
    I don't see how this alters the argument, the spetus can develop into a human person but is not currently a human person, the fetus can develop into a human person but is not currently a human person.

    Killing half of the spetus ends that potential but the other half remains alive in it's own right.
    Killing half of a 16 cell fetus ends the potential but the other half remains alive in it's own right. (Note: I do not really see any significance to this i'm simply answering your point).

    But, then, the only real connection between the spetus and the fetus is material, and if material were the only factor we may as well call dirt beings.
    Well indeed, which is why i don't see the significance behind your usuage of "beings".

    Cures for those diseases might help people who already exist. But that's if the cure is found soon enough. I just don't see the difference between letting an embroy grow up, letting that being live a fulfilled life, and searching for a cure but killing the embroy's future life.
    Killing an embryo simply stops a possible human person coming into existence in the same mannor that me not having a child tommorow stops a possible human person coming into existence.

    Finding a cure to a debilitating disease has effects on real people that exist (irrespective of when the cure is found, the people who benefit clearly exist): it would enhance the quality of life of the population.

    The cost is in possible people, the benefit is in real people.

    (As it happens research would be done on embryos that are going to be chucked away anyway because they are surplus from IVF treatment)

    There must be an intrinstic worth of life somewhere; else all those people point each other and nothing gets done
    I don't think there is any _intrinisic_ worth to life, life is simply a self replicating chemical system capable of mutation, we are content to kill umteen million bacteria when we get sick, take out as many insects as we can when we're on holiday, they are all alive - just as alive as we are. The reason i place myself above a few million bacteria is I can feel pain and joy, i can tremble in the might a storm, or exult in the might of Mozart, i can experience the universe, it is that experience which matters.

    If possible, then the cloning operation would likely be a drastic enough step to consider the cell before and after as separate individuals. That is, the steps taken to make a given cell a clone, I think, are much like conception and envolve substantial change.
    But you see it's all completely arbitrary, all we have is a bunch chemicals reacting, nothing inherently different happens at the point of fertilisation, the same would be true of cloning, it's all just reactions, if there is nothing that is qualitatively different occuring then there is no way of justifiying treating fertilisation as a special point from an ethics point of view the same is true of reseting the chemical environment of a cell for production of undifferentiated stem cells.

    Well, there are unstated axioms that could be used. Most people don't suddenly believe white people are better. They believe so because their life or those around them taught them that white people are better. But this type of knowledge isn't really on the same level of an axiom. By having some of these people work with blacks, then these type of views generally disappear.
    But you see you are now seeking for justification of axioms, the (white) Victorians saw themselves as higher than the black populations of the colonies in exactly the same way that they saw themselves higher than other animals.

    Unless one does appeal to justification of ethical axioms then you really are stuck in moral relativism, there is simply no way of challenging someone who thinks that inherently white people are superior to black people without saying "why do you think that?" Which is the same question i'm asking you.

    I aggree that happiness is generally good, but how personal happiness reacts with group happiness is uncertain. Further, in many cases long-term happiness is traded with momentary happiness. What causes one person to be happy might not cause another person. (Joy might be used here)
    If one views human society (in fact if one looks at all of life) as a whole then this problem is bypassed, ethics becomes a system that prevents individuals benefitting at the expense of the group because 1 person's happyness does not outweight the happyness of the rest of society.

    Furthermore, ethics merely on a consequence level will always have problems with the double principle, whereby a person could do evil to achieve what he or she thinks is a good thing
    I'm not arguing against rules, if those rules work to maximise the quality of life of the populace.

    But i think the issue you raise is shared by all systems of ethics: Is it ethical to kill one man to save a million? What about 10 million? A billion? etc.

    Naturally, I think this principle should be upheld: that people cannot do evil to achieve, as it may seem, a greater good
    But then how are you defining "evil" in the first place?

    The ownership principles that I've outline, however, do support this principle because infringing on someone else's rights is taboo. (Of course, when in self-defence, you must balalence between the other person taking away your own rights and you taking away the other person's rights. )
    Well, i think that's pretty much the same thing: What you're saying is, it's wrong to infringe someone else's rights unless doing so prevents a greater infringement of rights.
    Last edited by Clyde; 11-22-2004 at 06:17 AM.
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    Well, i would argue that in terms of quality of life a woman who is forced to raise a child when she doesn't want one, is likely to have a lower quality of life than one who raises a child at a point of her choosing (and indeed the child is too).
    the women could of course give the child up for adoption.

    I don't see how this alters the argument, the spetus can develop into a human person but is not currently a human person, the fetus can develop into a human person but is not currently a human person.
    They are not the same organism and are clearly different beings, at least from the perspective of science and common notion of the word. If they were different beings, then the spetus, not existing when the potential is fulfilled, does not have the potential to become a human person.

    Well indeed, which is why i don't see the significance behind your usuage of "beings".
    For my porposes the word is used for an entity for which I may apply ethical ownership to. Now what a being is can only be define axiomatically, but clearly some type of principle must hold for all ethical systems of any value. For instance, a human being cannot merely be considered as some collection of mass unless if you're willing to give any object that weighs 160 or so pounds equal rights. Neither can only awareness or QoL be consider. For as you said, these are supposively just chemical reactions and have no bearing on ethics. But rather than believe in no ethics, I believe it better to posit a greater attached worth to certain objects.

    The cost is in possible people, the benefit is in real people.
    Well, you have a possible benefit to real people. At some point in a future, a person with a disease might achieve an healthy life. An embryo may also achieve this same way of life. All considered, the future consequences of killing one embryo but finding a cure and killing one diseased person might be the same.

    But you see you are now seeking for justification of axioms, the (white) Victorians saw themselves as higher than the black populations of the colonies in exactly the same way that they saw themselves higher than other animals.
    Well, not quite. Not all Victorians treated blacks as animals but it's fair to say blacks weren't treated as nicely as whites. I'm sure that they, investigating their axioms, would undoublty find some belief in sterotypes; that is, certain alleged qualities in one segment of the population are used to justify this quality in all of the population. This axiom is of course illogical--converse error. A similar axiom such as induction, where examples of the population are used to determine a likelihood of the qualities holding for the entire population, is more logical. Another possibility is to reason that blacks, mistreated, did not have access to the same education and socio-economic factors as whites.

    But i think the issue you raise is shared by all systems of ethics: Is it ethical to kill one man to save a million? What about 10 million? A billion? etc.
    Depends on whether there's a direct correlation or not. If while saving a million people, one person is accidently killed, then it's just, I think. But simply murdering one person to save a million is unjust.

    But then how are you defining "evil" in the first place?
    Anything ethically wrong.

    Well, i think that's pretty much the same thing: What you're saying is, it's wrong to infringe someone else's rights unless doing so prevents a greater infringement of rights.
    No, a person attempting to kill someone has forfeited certain rights.

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    Well, i would argue that in terms of quality of life a woman who is forced to raise a child when she doesn't want one, is likely to have a lower quality of life than one who raises a child at a point of her choosing (and indeed the child is too).
    the women could of course give the child up for adoption.

    I don't see how this alters the argument, the spetus can develop into a human person but is not currently a human person, the fetus can develop into a human person but is not currently a human person.
    They are not the same organism and are clearly different beings, at least from the perspective of science and common notion of the word. If they were different beings, then the spetus, not existing when the potential is fulfilled, does not have the potential to become a human person.

    Well indeed, which is why i don't see the significance behind your usuage of "beings".
    For my porposes the word is used for an entity for which I may apply ethical ownership to. Now what a being is can only be define axiomatically, but clearly some type of principle must hold for all ethical systems of any value. For instance, a human being cannot merely be considered as some collection of mass unless if you're willing to give any object that weighs 160 or so pounds equal rights. Neither can only awareness or QoL be consider. For as you said, these are supposively just chemical reactions and have no bearing on ethics. But rather than believe in no ethics, I believe it better to posit a greater attached worth to certain objects.

    The cost is in possible people, the benefit is in real people.
    Well, you have a possible benefit to real people. At some point in a future, a person with a disease might achieve a healthy life. An embryo may also achieve this same way of life. All considered, the future consequences of killing one embryo but finding a cure and killing one diseased person might be the same.

    But you see you are now seeking for justification of axioms, the (white) Victorians saw themselves as higher than the black populations of the colonies in exactly the same way that they saw themselves higher than other animals.
    Well, not quite. Not all Victorians treated blacks as animals but it's fair to say blacks weren't treated as nicely as whites. I'm sure that they, investigating their axioms, would undoublty find some belief in sterotypes; that is, certain alleged qualities in one segment of the population are used to justify this quality in all of the population. This axiom is of course illogical. A similar axiom such as induction, where examples of the population are used to determine a likelihood of the qualities holding for the entire population, is more logical. Another possibility is to reason that blacks, mistreated, did not have access to the same education and socio-economic factors as whites.

    But i think the issue you raise is shared by all systems of ethics: Is it ethical to kill one man to save a million? What about 10 million? A billion? etc.
    Depends on whether there's a direct correlation or not. If while saving a million people, one person is accidently killed, then it's just, I think. But simply murdering one person to save a million is unjust.

    But then how are you defining "evil" in the first place?
    Anything ethically wrong.

    Well, i think that's pretty much the same thing: What you're saying is, it's wrong to infringe someone else's rights unless doing so prevents a greater infringement of rights.
    No, a person attempting to kill someone has forfeited certain rights.
    Last edited by okinrus; 11-22-2004 at 06:35 PM.

  8. #173
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    the women could of course give the child up for adoption.
    That's true, but i'm not convinced that approach solves the issue, i think that if you forced women to carry a child to term then many (if not most) would want to keep the child after it was dilvered.

    Further we already have lots of children without parents or a family. So again i think if one compares the two scenarios, one where abortion is allowed the other where abortion is forbidden i think the 2nd ultimately reduces the quality of life of the population.

    They are not the same organism and are clearly different beings, at least from the perspective of science and common notion of the word. If they were different beings, then the spetus, not existing when the potential is fulfilled, does not have the potential to become a human person.
    But then you are falling back on definitions used simply for convenience, there is no qualitative difference between the spetus and the fetus, the fact that we label one X and the other Y should not alter ethical arguments unless we basing those arguments simply on semantics. Ultimately if the line is drawn where it is simply for the sake of convenience then surely it is _more_ convenient to draw the line where it is currently drawn.

    For my porposes the word is used for an entity for which I may apply ethical ownership to. Now what a being is can only be define axiomatically,

    You seem to have altered your definition somewhat, if you are defining beings purely axiomatically, then what does science have to do with it?

    From my perspective your ethics have become more arbitrary because now you're seem to be saying i consider _this_ to be a 'being' because i do, and doing X is wrong because it violates the rights of a 'being'.

    Surely it makes more sense to base one's ethics on something far less arbitrary that does actually reflect an aspect of reality.

    but clearly some type of principle must hold for all ethical systems of any value. For instance, a human being cannot merely be considered as some collection of mass unless if you're willing to give any object that weighs 160 or so pounds equal rights. Neither can only awareness or QoL be consider. For as you said, these are supposively just chemical reactions and have no bearing on ethics. But rather than believe in no ethics, I believe it better to posit a greater attached worth to certain objects.
    On the contrary qualtity of life/awareness can be used because the mechanism becomes entirely irrelevent:

    Irrespective of how suffering is caused it still feels bad, suffering is "bad" by definition, likewise joy is "good" by definition. Thus Utilitarianism simply takes the stance that a moral action is "good" for humanity.

    The fact that there exist mechanisms responsible for those sensations does not alter the above argument.

    Well, you have a possible benefit to real people. At some point in a future, a person with a disease might achieve a healthy life. An embryo may also achieve this same way of life. All considered, the future consequences of killing one embryo but finding a cure and killing one diseased person might be the same.
    Scenario 1: Research is done on stem cells.
    Scenario 2: No research is done on stem cells.

    In scenario 1 embryos will be produced specifically for research purposes (or they will use embryos that are going to be chucked away anyway).

    That means that the number of children born is going to be the same in both scenarios. So the only difference is we end up increasing the quality of life of a lot of people.

    But even disregarding the above even if stem-cell research meant bringing less people into the world that's still the better option: If one has a family of 4 and they are struggling to make ends meet should they have another child? I would say "no" because they will all have a much poorer quality of life if they do.

    But this difference boils down to our differences regarding the basis of ethics, i cannot see why a hypothetical future person should have any rights, they don't exist, if we choose so they will never exist. Zillions of them jump in and out of existence every moment that time passes and if one does grant them 'rights' then all real people suffer, infact if one does grant them rights it would result in massive overpopulation that would eventually crash into the ground.

    Well, not quite. Not all Victorians treated blacks as animals but it's fair to say blacks weren't treated as nicely as whites. I'm sure that they, investigating their axioms, would undoublty find some belief in sterotypes; that is, certain alleged qualities in one segment of the population are used to justify this quality in all of the population. This axiom is of course illogical
    But again you are investigating the axioms themselves, seeking justification for them.

    Depends on whether there's a direct correlation or not. If while saving a million people, one person is accidently killed, then it's just, I think. But simply murdering one person to save a million is unjust.
    So you would say that if one had had the opportunity to try and murder Hitler taking it would have been wrong? (assuming killing Hitler would have prevented the various horrors that followed) That just seems crazy to me.

    I mean do you really think it is wrong to kill one person if doing so would save the entire human race?

    Anything ethically wrong.
    Then there is no problem, if one defines good and evil by ethics and defines ethics by the greater good, then by definition it is not possible to do "evil" for the greater good.

    No, a person attempting to kill someone has forfeited certain rights.
    If you base your ethics on the concept of "ownership" and do not want to look at the wider context then surely all that matter's is protection of that ownership, so any violation of said ownership is wrong, fullstop.

    Only if one consideres the greater good can one justify removing certain rights in certain situations, ie. If we follow the strategy of removing rights of say murderers then that will mean that in the wider context we protect more people's ownership than if we do not remove rights of murderers.

    Which gets you right back where you started doing an action that without context would be considered wrong, but in context is not.
    Last edited by Clyde; 11-23-2004 at 06:09 AM.
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    Sorry, haven't been able to get back to you for a while

    That's true, but i'm not convinced that approach solves the issue, i think that if you forced women to carry a child to term then many (if not most) would want to keep the child after it was dilvered..
    But the women, no doubt, would have to look at the situation and think raising the child better than adoption. In terms of benefits, I don't see how this decision is different from abortion.

    Further we already have lots of children without parents or a family. So again i think if one compares the two scenarios, one where abortion is allowed the other where abortion is forbidden i think the 2nd ultimately reduces the quality of life of the population.
    Quality of life is difficult to gage. Not merely is it determined by money or food. For that matter, how is a child to learn to save if his or her parents have all the money in the world? And how is a child to learn to share if his or her friends have everthing the world offers?

    But then you are falling back on definitions used simply for convenience, there is no qualitative difference between the spetus and the fetus, the fact that we label one X and the other Y should not alter ethical arguments unless we basing those arguments simply on semantics.
    Personhood can also be arbitrarily defined. In fact, some prolifers consider the fetus a person. But, the way I see it, it's a matter of common sense. The spetus and the fetus cannot be the same being. While they might have the same composition of matter, the fetus' DNA is different from the sperm and egg's DNA. The fetus is a different organism than the spetus.

    Ultimately if the line is drawn where it is simply for the sake of convenience then surely it is _more_ convenient to draw the line where it is currently drawn.
    I'm not sure what you mean by convenient. Anyway, where the line is drawn now, a women could have a C-section and the same fetus be called a "person." And where the line is drawn now, that same fetus could be aborted. What matters, say the pro-choicers, is not this fetus but the mother. Yet no human life can be defined circularly by other human beings.

    You seem to have altered your definition somewhat, if you are defining beings purely axiomatically, then what does science have to do with it?
    The fetus is a different life form than both the sperm and the egg. Science tells us that human life begins at conception, the meaning of conception.

    In scenario 1 embryos will be produced specifically for research purposes (or they will use embryos that are going to be chucked away anyway).
    Allowing embryo stem cell research will give the precidence to mine human embryos, something prolifers don't want.

    So you would say that if one had had the opportunity to try and murder Hitler taking it would have been wrong?
    If that person had foreknowledge of what Hitler was going to do, then killing Hitler would be defending those Hitler would kill.

    I mean do you really think it is wrong to kill one person if doing so would save the entire human race?
    If that person was innocent and not directly harming someone, then killing that person is wrong. But in some cases there's justification to kill someone who's not commiting any wrong. For example, if you're fighting a war, you can in self defence shoot the guy who's pointing a gun at you. Killing this guy is morally right because your stopping the prime-mover--you're acting in self-defence. You cannot, however, go directly shooting innocents Even though killing innocents might cause your opponent to surrender, even though killing innocents might save lifes, killing innocents is intrinsically wrong. But, in defending yourself, you may accidently kill innocents provided the intent was not to harm the innocents. Now, in a matter of speaking, when a natation such as the US goes to war, it is known innocents will be killed. But if the intent of the US is not to kill innocents but to rather stop evil, then whether going to war or not is based upon analysis of the consequences; that is, asking the question: will going to war, possibly killing innocents, achieve more good than not going to war?

    Then there is no problem, if one defines good and evil by ethics and defines ethics by the greater good, then by definition it is not possible to do "evil" for the greater good.
    Well, no. Any person attempting to have an ethical system must have evil, the things not allowed by the ethical system. Every person's ethical system is determined by certain premises and beliefs, he or she believes all humans should have. In this respect, what is evil is derived from the ethical system, derived from the person.

    If you base your ethics on the concept of "ownership" and do not want to look at the wider context then surely all that matter's is protection of that ownership, so any violation of said ownership is wrong, fullstop.
    Yes, but I believe a provision of fairness is all that is necessary. By jeopardizing another's life, this individual steals from the liberty of another person. Holding this individual accountable to what's taken is not wrong, though we have due order of law in this respect. That is, if the individual has put someone's life in risk, then that individual's life might also be at risk. In effect, self-defence can reasoned much like criminal punishment, where an individual who has committed a crime as stolen something which must be repaid.
    Last edited by okinrus; 11-25-2004 at 08:56 PM.

  10. #175
    The Earth is not flat. Clyde's Avatar
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    Sorry, haven't been able to get back to you for a while
    No problem. I quite like the leisurely pace of our discussion.

    But the women, no doubt, would have to look at the situation and think raising the child better than adoption. In terms of benefits, I don't see how this decision is different from abortion.
    Well, by forcing women to come to term a percentage would then decide to keep the child, those women would have been better off if they hadn't been forced to come to term in the first place as they would then be able to have a child when it was more suitable to them (and indeed the child would probably be happier too). Additionally i would think that giving up a child for adoption would be a traumatic process compounded by the fact that the child would always be out there somewhere. An abortion can also be traumatic but i don't think of the same magnitude (during birth a whole bunch of hormones get released designed to bond mother and child). And finally undergoing pregnancy for 9 months and then childbirth if forced is surely reducing the Quality of life of the mother.

    The other angle is looking at the children, there are already more children up for adoption than there are takers, many of these children do not have exactly stellar childhoods, by forcing all people who want an abortion to carry the baby to term, more children will be without homes and families. Another factor is the increased tax needed to create more orphanages to house all these extra children. (The tax argument strikes me as minor but all other things being equal one would anticipate the QoL function of a soceity that pays less tax -hence earns more- to be greater than a society that pays more tax -hence pays less-).

    Overall i think allowing abortion equates to a higher quality of life.

    Quality of life is difficult to gage. Not merely is it determined by money or food. For that matter, how is a child to learn to save if his or her parents have all the money in the world? And how is a child to learn to share if his or her friends have everthing the world offers?
    I don't quite understand what your point is here, certaintly QoL is not simply determined by money or food but statistically if you have a population where money and food is relatively plentiful and a population where money/food is relatively scarce one would expecty the former to have a higher QoL then the latter.

    Personhood can also be arbitrarily defined. In fact, some prolifers consider the fetus a person.
    Personhood can be arbitrarely defined to an extent but then that's simply because one must draw the line somewhere, but generally placing importance in "personhood" relates to placing importance in the faculties that distinguish humans from other forms of life.

    But, the way I see it, it's a matter of common sense. The spetus and the fetus cannot be the same being. While they might have the same composition of matter, the fetus' DNA is different from the sperm and egg's DNA. The fetus is a different organism than the spetus.
    I have three points:

    1.
    Identical twins have the same DNA and yet they two "beings", not all your cells have the same DNA many will have somatic mutations yet presumeably they are not all defined as seperate "beings". So it seems that using DNA clashes with our normal concept of identity in the world of human people.

    2.
    Again we come across the point that classification is our end, human beings make it up, nature does not care. Ultimately reality consists of stuff and laws that govern stuff, if we want to seperate reality into diffferent objects we can do that, but it does not alter reality itself. Certainly from a _pragmatic_ point of a view it is often very useful to consider "individuation" starting at fertilisation. But it's not _inherent_, a point of view that human 'beings' begin at birth is no less justifiable in absolute terms than a point of view that human 'beings' begin at fertilisation. In both instances the choice is essentially arbitrary, and seperable only in terms of pragmatic applications, to the biochemist it may well be very usefull to consider fertilisation the start, but an immunologist would probably choose the point when the fetus ceases to be dependent on the maternal immune system, a psychologist would choose a different point etc. etc.

    3. And finally from an ethical point of view what is the significance of the DNA? Why does a set of biochemical reactions, DNA polymerase stitching together some nucleotides make our system worthy of ethical consideration, it's does not think, or reason, it does not have a personality, indeed it lacks all of the faculties that define us as individuals, it's not even aware, it's simply a biochemical factory.

    I'm not sure what you mean by convenient
    Well if the ethical axioms ultimately boil down to definitions used for the purposes of convenience (rather than reflecting a real aspect of reality), then ultimately we ar emaking an appeal to pragmatism, in which case, the larger pragmatic argument (ie it's useful) favours allowing people to have abortions.

    Anyway, where the line is drawn now, a women could have a C-section and the same fetus be called a "person." And where the line is drawn now, that same fetus could be aborted. What matters, say the pro-choicers, is not this fetus but the mother.
    Well, a C-section could only occur in late pregnancy past the point where you can have an abortion on grounds other than medical considerations.

    But i do think what matters is the mother she is more aware, more capable of suffering, etc. the newly born child gets elevated in its ethical status (vs. the unborn fetus) because of her attachment to it.

    Yet no human life can be defined circularly by other human beings.
    Well defined in terms of ethics i think it can, but again this comes down to the significance of "human life", skin cells are human life, my foot is human life the ethical importance of the cells in my foot are directly linked to the ethical importance of me as a person.

    I think a fertilised egg become less like a skin cell and more like a person as it develops into a fetus, the fetus is born and the child then relatively rapidly gains the remaining faculties we associate with humans (language, etc.)

    The fetus is a different life form than both the sperm and the egg. Science tells us that human life begins at conception, the meaning of conception.
    As i mentioned above, that's not what 'science' says persay, where we choose to define the beginning of a new human is up to us, it is usefull to consider fertilisation the beginning in many instances, but that does not extend to ethics, it is more usefull to in terms of ethics to not think either _human being_ or _not human being_ but rather a gradual climb towards personhood.

    Allowing embryo stem cell research will give the precidence to mine human embryos, something prolifers don't want
    Well at the moment that's not true, in the US people just want to use stuff that's going to be chucked anyway, what it would lead to is uncertain. But that's somewhat by-the-by in terms i was addressing the point you made when you said:

    Well, you have a possible benefit to real people. At some point in a future, a person with a disease might achieve a healthy life. An embryo may also achieve this same way of life. All considered, the future consequences of killing one embryo but finding a cure and killing one diseased person might be the same.
    Ie. we have one for one exchange, one future possible person for one future real person, but we wouldn't because the embryos used would not exist except for the purposes of research thus they cease to become possible future people at all, they become _never weres, and never will bes_.

    If that person had foreknowledge of what Hitler was going to do, then killing Hitler would be defending those Hitler would kill
    Fair enough it was a poor example since people don't have forknowledge in that manner, and it relates to your views regarding when its ok to remove people's rights .

    If that person was innocent and not directly harming someone, then killing that person is wrong. But in some cases there's justification to kill someone who's not commiting any wrong. For example, if you're fighting a war, you can in self defence shoot the guy who's pointing a gun at you. Killing this guy is morally right because your stopping the prime-mover--you're acting in self-defence. You cannot, however, go directly shooting innocents Even though killing innocents might cause your opponent to surrender, even though killing innocents might save lifes, killing innocents is intrinsically wrong. But, in defending yourself, you may accidently kill innocents provided the intent was not to harm the innocents. Now, in a matter of speaking, when a natation such as the US goes to war, it is known innocents will be killed. But if the intent of the US is not to kill innocents but to rather stop evil, then whether going to war or not is based upon analysis of the consequences; that is, asking the question: will going to war, possibly killing innocents, achieve more good than not going to war?
    I'm afraid you do actually refute yourself here, i said:

    I mean do you really think it is wrong to kill one person if doing so would save the entire human race?
    Because i don't think any system of ethics can avoid what you call the double principle that you referred to earlier here:

    Furthermore, ethics merely on a consequence level will always have problems with the double principle, whereby a person could do evil to achieve what he or she thinks is a good thing
    but now you're saying:

    will going to war, possibly killing innocents, achieve more good than not going to war?
    Which is exactly the same thing!

    Well, no. Any person attempting to have an ethical system must have evil, the things not allowed by the ethical system. Every person's ethical system is determined by certain premises and beliefs, he or she believes all humans should have. In this respect, what is evil is derived from the ethical system, derived from the person.
    As mentioned above you seem to be appealing to greater good to overcome actions that are evil, but that was your justificaiton for avoiding what you called consequence based ethics.

    Utilitarianism which is what i base my ethics on (atleast broadly) is based on the idea of best for most, actions that lead to an increase in the quality life function of a population are ethically "good", and actions that lead to a decrease in QoL function are ethically "evil".

    I should say that Utilitarianism is equivalent to your views on rights, and fairness, it simply provides a higher level theoretical framework that justfies those axioms, indeed you made an appeal to a form of Utilitarianist thinking when you explained your justifications for war.

    Yes, but I believe a provision of fairness is all that is necessary. By jeopardizing another's life, this individual steals from the liberty of another person. Holding this individual accountable to what's taken is not wrong, though we have due order of law in this respect. That is, if the individual has put someone's life in risk, then that individual's life might also be at risk. In effect, self-defence can reasoned much like criminal punishment, where an individual who has committed a crime as stolen something which must be repaid.
    My point is simply that one cannot say violating someone rights is wrong, fullstop, unless one does not wish to have any kind of punishment for those who do wrong. Only by appealing to violation of rights being wrong on a statistical level, ie. factoring in the greater good can one then justify locking up criminals: by violating their rights you prevent the violating of a greater number of people's rights.

    But once again that involves taking into account the greater good, and thus invoking the double's principle. The point is somewhat mute since you seem to have accepted this. But with that acceptance comes the loss of your argument against consequence based ethics.

    I think consequence based ethics as you call it, is the most justifiable, defendable, the least arbitrary and the most inline with underlying themes governing the biological basis of ethics: empathy. I still cannot see why we should treat a single cell, or indeed a ball of cells the same way we treat a talking, thinking, feeling human, the axioms you use to justify that view seems to be arbitrary in basis.
    Last edited by Clyde; 11-26-2004 at 06:17 AM.
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    Well, by forcing women to come to term a percentage would then decide to keep the child, those women would have been better off if they hadn't been forced to come to term in the first place as they would then be able to have a child when it was more suitable to them (and indeed the child would probably be happier too). Additionally i would think that giving up a child for adoption would be a traumatic process compounded by the fact that the child would always be out there somewhere. An abortion can also be traumatic but i don't think of the same magnitude (during birth a whole bunch of hormones get released designed to bond mother and child). And finally undergoing pregnancy for 9 months and then childbirth if forced is surely reducing the Quality of life of the mother.
    9 months pregnant and perhaps 1 month of not working isn't too long. Childbirth decreases the mother's quality of life only if the she allows it. I've seen mothers, poor mothers, quite happy with their children. Besides, more familes are willing to adopt babies than grown children, and much of the problems with adoption are due to red-tape.

    The other angle is looking at the children, there are already more children up for adoption than there are takers, many of these children do not have exactly stellar childhoods, by forcing all people who want an abortion to carry the baby to term, more children will be without homes and families.
    But each child without a home and without a family still wants to live.

    I don't quite understand what your point is here, certaintly QoL is not simply determined by money or food but statistically if you have a population where money and food is relatively plentiful and a population where money/food is relatively scarce one would expecty the former to have a higher QoL then the latter.
    Yes and no. Along with health, quality of life encompasses happiness. Happiness isn't determined by material alone, is it? See, a utopian society, with half the US's resources but where everyone shares and takes care of each other, would be much more to my liking than today's society.

    Because i don't think any system of ethics can avoid what you call the double principle that you referred to earlier here:
    I never completely defined this principle. It was first defined by Aquinas. But any action, not of itself evil, but of which the consequences are evil, may be done if the consequences have a net-good and if there is no better alternative. This provision along with any action, instrinsically evil, remaining evil even with good side-effects makes up the double principle. In effect, two wrongs don't make a right. On the other hand, if your ethical system is completely based on consequences, there is no instrinsic evil, all is side-effects. Now intrinsic evil is difficult to define. It may be, of course, that murder always has a worst consequence than not. We don't have the ability to analyze that decision fully.

    Utilitarianism which is what i base my ethics on (atleast broadly) is based on the idea of best for most, actions that lead to an increase in the quality life function of a population are ethically "good", and actions that lead to a decrease in QoL function are ethically "evil".
    Well, more importanly you don't have the ability to analyze a concrete scenario fully, and so extrapolating to an abstract principle is impossible. You cannot say murder is wrong for me. Not knowing the specifics, I might have good reason to murder someone, perhaps to increase the community's QoL of life. If I knew a liar, a thief, and a crook, what's to stop me from killing him, even to reduce the taxpayer's money.

    My point is simply that one cannot say violating someone rights is wrong, fullstop, unless one does not wish to have any kind of punishment for those who do wrong.
    I don't think so. The punishment for crime should follow with fairness. A thief has done much more than steal money. He or she has erroded the public's trust, causing the public to live in fear. Owing up, then, consists not only of the monetary retribution but also of the erroded public's trust. This trust for some might be repaid in the course of years or lifetimes.

    Only by appealing to violation of rights being wrong on a statistical level, ie. factoring in the greater good can one then justify locking up criminals: by violating their rights you prevent the violating of a greater number of people's rights.
    No, at a fundamental level everyone who has their rights taken away should, at least in the eyes of the court, have done something wrong. Now whether this wrong is in fact criminal is not always clear. We don't say an insane patient is criminally responsible but we do sometimes lock them up to protect society. Yet, even in the case of the mentally insane, to be locked up one must have been done something wrong, acted in some way to show themselves irresponsible.


    I think consequence based ethics as you call it, is the most justifiable, defendable, the least arbitrary and the most inline with underlying themes governing the biological basis of ethics: empathy. I still cannot see why we should treat a single cell, or indeed a ball of cells the same way we treat a talking, thinking, feeling human, the axioms you use to justify that view seems to be arbitrary in basis.
    Again, this distinction is not there. For everyone at some point knew nothing. To say we have no rights at this point: an error. We existed, just without knowledge.
    Last edited by okinrus; 11-29-2004 at 12:40 AM.

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    why is this thread still open?
    Hmm

  13. #178
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    9 months pregnant and perhaps 1 month of not working isn't too long. Childbirth decreases the mother's quality of life only if the she allows it. I've seen mothers, poor mothers, quite happy with their children. Besides, more familes are willing to adopt babies than grown children, and much of the problems with adoption are due to red-tape.
    Heh i really don't think that childbirth is a pleasant experience, the 9 months of pregnancy isnt going to be pleasant either, of course if you want a child that it's a complete non-factor if you don't then it's not.

    If one disregards the "rights" of currently non-existant possible future people, and operates simply on Utilitarian grounds it seems atleast to me, pretty clear that a population that is forced to have children it doesn't want, will be worse off than one that isn't forced.

    But each child without a home and without a family still wants to live
    Sure, the children that already exist want to live, but children that do not yet exist, do not want anything at all.

    Yes and no. Along with health, quality of life encompasses happiness. Happiness isn't determined by material alone, is it? See, a utopian society, with half the US's resources but where everyone shares and takes care of each other, would be much more to my liking than today's society.
    I agree, completely, but it doesn't affect my argument regarding abortion.

    I never completely defined this principle. It was first defined by Aquinas. But any action, not of itself evil, but of which the consequences are evil, may be done if the consequences have a net-good and if there is no better alternative. This provision along with any action, instrinsically evil, remaining evil even with good side-effects makes up the double principle. In effect, two wrongs don't make a right. On the other hand, if your ethical system is completely based on consequences, there is no instrinsic evil, all is side-effects. Now intrinsic evil is difficult to define. It may be, of course, that murder always has a worst consequence than not. We don't have the ability to analyze that decision fully.
    Ok, but as i said irrespective of what ethical system you use, you're going to have some aspect of the greater good overiding actions that would _otherwise_ be evil.

    In consequence based ethics evil is defined simply as an action that will cause suffering/harm/etc.

    Well, more importanly you don't have the ability to analyze a concrete scenario fully, and so extrapolating to an abstract principle is impossible. You cannot say murder is wrong for me. Not knowing the specifics, I might have good reason to murder someone, perhaps to increase the community's QoL of life. If I knew a liar, a thief, and a crook, what's to stop me from killing him, even to reduce the taxpayer's money.
    Ah but that doesn't work, if we grant acceptance to murder on basis of personal justification (ie. i think the world would be better off without X) then we decrease the QoL of the populace because anyone could justify murder to themselves on their own person critera. As i mentioned earlier there is no "wrong for _me_", one has to consider the social reprocussions of making something wrong or right for everyone.

    I don't think so. The punishment for crime should follow with fairness. A thief has done much more than steal money. He or she has erroded the public's trust, causing the public to live in fear. Owing up, then, consists not only of the monetary retribution but also of the erroded public's trust. This trust for some might be repaid in the course of years or lifetimes.
    Ah but you do think so, if violating rights is wrong _fullstop_, then violating the rights of a criminal is wrong _fullstop_, therefore we should not lock up criminals. You are overiding your concept of violating of rights with your concept of fairness, so we are now placing fairness as the higher concept. (which personally i don't like at all, eye for eye tooth for a tooth always struck as barbaric, so i don't really like ethics based on this principle)

    No, at a fundamental level everyone who has their rights taken away should, at least in the eyes of the court, have done something wrong
    I agree, but the justificaiton for locking them up, for violating their rights, is surely for the greater good.

    We don't say an insane patient is criminally responsible but we do sometimes lock them up to protect society
    Indeed, that's my point, protecting society, is appealing to the greater good.

    Yet, even in the case of the mentally insane, to be locked up one must have been done something wrong, acted in some way to show themselves irresponsible.
    That's actually not right, you can be sectioned without actually doing anything wrong at all, you can be sectioned simply because it is of medical opinion that you are a risk to others and yourself.

    Again, this distinction is not there. For everyone at some point knew nothing. To say we have no rights at this point: an error. We existed, just without knowledge.
    If a cell/group of cells is not aware, if it lacks functionality associated with human beings (self relience, language, etc. etc.), then I do not think there is any reason to consider that cell/group of cells a person.

    I do not think that "I" as a conscious entity existed untill "I" became conscious, to think otherwise seems a contradiction with the very definition of "I".

    You seem to see "us" as suddenly existing at a specific point and warranting an equal amount of ethical consideration for the rest of our lives, but I don't think that view adds up, we don't suddenly spring in to being we develop gradually, it makes sense the ethical consideration we warrant also develops gradually too. (which is reflected in the current laws regarding abortion)

    I do not see any justifcation behind considering fertilisation as very a special event from an ethical point of view (for the reasons i gave in my prior post).

    why is this thread still open?
    Well i have found it quite stimulating, sorry you object. However I think Okinirus and I have probably said all we have to say on the matter, and are likely to begin repeating ourselves adinfinitum. So i'm quite happy to wrap it up here and leave the last response to Okinirus.

    Nice debating with you Okinirus.
    Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem

  14. #179
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    470
    OK, nice debating with you. I'm going to wrap up here, I guess.

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