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  1. #61
    perdu fleur par bologne Martoon's Avatar
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    HilbertSpace's comment is intelligent, well thought out, and well stated. Of course, I could say the same of any of his posts.


    Natural selection is the process of, well, letting nature select. If I see an infant who's mother is physiologically unable to feed it, my impulse is to get the child fed somehow, and I'm appalled at the idea of letting it die. I believe this would also be the reaction of most humans. That being the case, natural selection then chooses life for the child.

    History has seen its share of tyrants who have used evolution as an excuse for their atrocities. I see them as every bit as silly as the tyrants that use religion. In either case, nature or god(s) (depending on the ideology being claimed) doesn't need them to shape humanity to some vision. It/he/she/whatever has it within its means to do that without them.
    I'm not a procrastinator. I'm a long-term planner.

  2. #62
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    It doesn't sound like their intent was to bring harm to the baby, but actions, not intentions, are what inflict danger on others. They should receive the same sentence as they would have if they had deliberately deprived the baby of nourishment.
    I don't wanna!

  3. #63
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by booyalab View Post
    It doesn't sound like their intent was to bring harm to the baby, but actions, not intentions, are what inflict danger on others. They should receive the same sentence as they would have if they had deliberately deprived the baby of nourishment.
    That principle, if followed consistently, would result in some quite unjust sentences. For example, even the most careful, calm and skilled driver can make a mistake, potentially killing or serious injuring a pedestrian, fellow passanger or occupant of another vehicle.

    There is a necessary economy in our testing procedures before we take action, and our physical limitations prevent, even the most skilled, from performing all the necessary checks to avoid error: ultimately infinite.

    If there is a ethical principle, similar to what you describe, it would need to take into account our hypothetical driver. The amendment I envisage would be that if future behaviour is amendable by punishment, then punishment is the morally right; if future behaviour is not amendable, then no punishment is the morally wrong.

    This neatly captures criminal and irresponsible behaviour in its net, but does not hold our hypothetical driver responsible for his human constraints, which nobody can overcome.

    This neatly aligns with our intuitions that in circumstances where punishment is futile, punishment should not be sought. For example, we may lock up the insane, but they are not punished for bad behaviour, precisely because we know such corrective punishment would never correct anything; likewise, we do not punish snakes for acting snakish or spiders for acting spiderlike, because we know that's all they can ever act like, no amount of punishment will change that.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  4. #64
    Guerilla Urbanist Brendan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    So your problem is with the parents choice, sounds like. What would you do if you were the judge?
    I would call them both either blatantly retarded and unfit to be parents for not recognizing starvation when it stares them in the face or I would call them malicious and unfit to be parents for ignoring starvation when it stares them in the face.
    There is no such thing as separation from God.

  5. #65

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    the ironic thing is that if they'd killed it before it had been born, they'd have got off scott free.
    dead man talking

  6. #66
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Il Morto Qui Parla View Post
    the ironic thing is that if they'd killed it before it had been born, they'd have got off scott free.
    Is there an abortion equivalent of Godwin's Law?

  7. #67
    Senior Member HilbertSpace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne View Post
    This neatly aligns with our intuitions that in circumstances where punishment is futile, punishment should not be sought. For example, we may lock up the insane, but they are not punished for bad behaviour, precisely because we know such corrective punishment would never correct anything; likewise, we do not punish snakes for acting snakish or spiders for acting spiderlike, because we know that's all they can ever act like, no amount of punishment will change that.
    I believe that this assumes that the primary goal of punishment is to strongly correct the behavior of an individual. This is true in some cases - spanking a child, for instance, can get a point across dramatically. It's essentially negative reinforcement for the individual that he is supposed to correlate with the given behavior.

    When it comes to criminal behavior, though, I don't think this is the only factor in play. In a trust-based evolutionary system, defections need to be punished - if a given behavior will increase relative fitness of an individual in violation of current trust models, system stability requires that the defector be punished proportionally. By doing this, and given the model in which people have free will and are able to consider their actions and the resulting consequences, society tries to curtail defecting behaviors - not only on the part of the defectors themselves, but on the part of other individuals who will use them as exemplars.

    Even further beyond individual cases, punishments have a meta-structure that establishes overall social values (e.g., sanctity of life and property). Specific laws and punishments combine to give rise to this more emergent structure.

    So, punishment isn't only intended to correct the behavior of a given individual - it establishes tangible boundaries on behaviors of all individuals in the society. I'm not saying that individual correction isn't a worthwhile goal when it can be achieved, but it's far from the only moral aspect of punishment.
    JBS Haldane's Four Stages of Scientific Theories:

    1. This is worthless nonsense.
    2. This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view.
    3. This is true, but quite unimportant.
    4. I always said so.

  8. #68
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Is there an abortion equivalent of Godwin's Law?
    If godwin's law is mentioned without the mention of nazis or hitler, has it still taken effect?
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  9. #69
    Senior Member Crabapple's Avatar
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    HilbertSpace, can I have your baby? Jk. I think you are brilliant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Langrenus
    Anyway, the case raises some interesting questions. For instance, what does this say about the state of prenatal education? Do US midwives visit newborns soon after birth? If not, why not? Should these people be considered mentally ill, and if so what (if any) checks were run on them before the birth of their child? Should checks have been run?

    It's possible that the parents felt overwhelmed by the introduction of a child into their lives, or that they were malicious, or that they were just stupid. What worries me is that this wasn't picked up at any stage prior to the death of the baby.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    This bothers me, too. I had one of my children at a freestanding birthing center (kind of a middle ground between the hospital and homebirth options). The prenatal education was great. Although I went home about 10 hours after my son was born, a midwife visited us 2 days after birth, and called on the 1st and 3rd days. Although we didn't have any issues with nursing, at the urging of the midwives I went in to have the baby weighed several times before my 2-week visit, to make sure he was properly gaining. I think they probably just wanted to check in with me because I was having some post-partum depression.

    I know several people who have had home births and had similar experiences to mine. I've also heard some horror stories about illegal midwives refusing to go to the hospital with a hemmoraging mother and so forth. I'm sure oversight after birth varies among homebirth midwives.

    Did they keep their "vegan baby diet" (totally, totally, totally against all the medical advice BTW- you either breastfeed or you use a proper infant formula) a secret from their healthcare practitioners?
    In the UK, midwives visit homes? Is that a government program?

    I'm no expert, but as far as I know, if they didn't bring their child in for check ups, no one would visit them (At least not in NY. I don't know about Atlanta, Georgia)- Not unless someone makes a child abuse/neglect accusation against them. There's no way for anyone to know what was going on with the baby. A child may go unseen by health care professionals from birth until it's time for them to enter kindergarten.

    There was a similar case in NY a few years ago.
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
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  10. #70
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crabapple View Post
    In the UK, midwives visit homes? Is that a government program?

    I'm no expert, but as far as I know, if they didn't bring their child in for check ups, no one would visit them (At least not in NY. I don't know about Atlanta, Georgia)- Not unless someone makes child abuse/neglect accusation against them. There's no way for anyone to know what was going on with the baby. A child may go unseen by health care professionals from birth until it's time for them to enter kindergarten.

    There was a similar case in NY a few years ago.
    I'm not in the UK. I'm in North Carolina, and it's pretty much standard in the US for freestanding birth centers to send someone out to visit the mother and baby at home on the second or third day after birth. No, it's not a government program-- I paid for it. (Although, medicaid will pay for it too, and happily, since it's quite a bit cheaper to have a baby this way than in a hospital, and just as safe.)

    Homebirth midwives come back for a check-in around that time, too, which is why I thought this couple might have had a visit. Now that cafe has mentioned it, though, I'd be willing to bet that this baby was born at home without the assistance of a midwife.

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