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  1. #61
    Senior Member BlackDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alea_iacta_est View Post
    Indeed we are all animals, but we exhibit conscious thought, so the divide is between us and them is simply a little bonus feature in our brain.

    Did you notice the word sometimes in that sentence, or did you skip completely over it?

    Obviously a fetus isn't a parasite, I was comparing it to a parasite via a biological metaphor. Parasites steal nutrients from their host, babies also absorb nutrients from their host, Parasites can induce sickness on their host, as does a pregnancy in some cases. The fetus doesn't aid its mother in any way during its development.
    Scientifically speaking, there is absolutely no dividing line between 'us' and animals. We don't attain to a new level when we gain consciousness; if you have a good basic understanding of the biochemistry of the human brain you realize that consciousness as a stand-alone entity is most likely an illusion. In the end, from a scientific perspective, you really can't support the idea that human life at any point has some special 'sanctity' or 'specialness'. What you can say is that our brain functions at a much more advanced level; however, this is the result of natural selection acting on random mutations, some of which were favorable because they led to a more sophisticated frontal cortex, among other parts.

    I have to say that to compare a fetus to a parasite doesn't work well as a metaphor, again from a scientific perspective. I don't know if the following will be appreciated, but I work in a molecular biology research lab and am in school to become a biologist, so I have some experience on this point. If anyone else has experience here, correct me if I oversimplify or overstate anything too much.

    A parasite lives in a symbiotic relationship with the host such that the host is disadvantaged and the parasite is advantaged.

    However, from an evolutionary perspective the mother is by no means the host to the fetus because the fetus does confer an immense advantage to the mother; a definition of evolutionary success is to survive long enough to reproduce young, and thus to pass on one's genes. So, again from a scientific perspective, treating humans as any other animal, offspring are essential because any organism which fails to reproduce has effectively cut itself out of the next generation. Whatever the traits that led that organism to be unable or unwilling to reproduce, they were an evolutionary disadvantage because they self-select themselves out of the gene pool. Does that make sense?

    Now, what if the abortion under consideration is calculated, in the sense that to have offspring at the present time is not advantageous (let us say her ability to ensure its survival to adulthood is at this time compromised), but that at some point in the future if the mother is able to continue directing her resources towards herself she will be able to sustain viable offspring, perhaps several as opposed to only one? Or, alternatively, it is a question of an impoverished offspring now versus a healthier or better-situated offspring later? In this case, it might be appropriate to say that the mother who is able to make the better judgement call may succeed genetically in the long run.

    The mother who does not produce offspring always loses genetically; however, this does not necessarily rule out abortion as a reproductive strategy in some circumstances.

    I'm guessing that some people may not like a way of looking at this which views the goal of life as reproduction, life as non-sacred, and the relationship between parents and offspring as being a matter of self-interest and genetic survival. Remember that this is a purely practical and scientific perspective on who survives and who doesn't; people are perfectly free to tack on values and meanings, or even to reject strongly-supported evidence because they don't want to think about it. For example, I myself compartmentalize between what the evidence suggests and implies, on the one hand, and then what I believe because of faith and in the teeth of the evidence, on the other hand.

  2. #62
    Senior Member Alea_iacta_est's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion 4.5 View Post
    Scientifically speaking, there is absolutely no dividing line between 'us' and animals. We don't attain to a new level when we gain consciousness; if you have a good basic understanding of the biochemistry of the human brain you realize that consciousness as a stand-alone entity is most likely an illusion. In the end, from a scientific perspective, you really can't support the idea that human life at any point has some special 'sanctity' or 'specialness'. What you can say is that our brain functions at a much more advanced level; however, this is the result of natural selection acting on random mutations, some of which were favorable because they led to a more sophisticated frontal cortex, among other parts.

    I have to say that to compare a fetus to a parasite doesn't work well as a metaphor, again from a scientific perspective. I don't know if the following will be appreciated, but I work in a molecular biology research lab and am in school to become a biologist, so I have some experience on this point. If anyone else has experience here, correct me if I oversimplify or overstate anything too much.

    A parasite lives in a symbiotic relationship with the host such that the host is disadvantaged and the parasite is advantaged.

    However, from an evolutionary perspective the mother is by no means the host to the fetus because the fetus does confer an immense advantage to the mother; a definition of evolutionary success is to survive long enough to reproduce young, and thus to pass on one's genes. So, again from a scientific perspective, treating humans as any other animal, offspring are essential because any organism which fails to reproduce has effectively cut itself out of the next generation. Whatever the traits that led that organism to be unable or unwilling to reproduce, they were an evolutionary disadvantage because they self-select themselves out of the gene pool. Does that make sense?

    Now, what if the abortion under consideration is calculated, in the sense that to have offspring at the present time is not advantageous (let us say her ability to ensure its survival to adulthood is at this time compromised), but that at some point in the future if the mother is able to continue directing her resources towards herself she will be able to sustain viable offspring, perhaps several as opposed to only one? Or, alternatively, it is a question of an impoverished offspring now versus a healthier or better-situated offspring later? In this case, it might be appropriate to say that the mother who is able to make the better judgement call may succeed genetically in the long run.

    The mother who does not produce offspring always loses genetically; however, this does not necessarily rule out abortion as a reproductive strategy in some circumstances.

    I'm guessing that some people may not like a way of looking at this which views the goal of life as reproduction, life as non-sacred, and the relationship between parents and offspring as being a matter of self-interest and genetic survival. Remember that this is a purely practical and scientific perspective on who survives and who doesn't; people are perfectly free to tack on values and meanings, or even to reject strongly-supported evidence because they don't want to think about it. For example, I myself compartmentalize between what the evidence suggests and implies, on the one hand, and then what I believe because of faith and in the teeth of the evidence, on the other hand.
    I retract my original statement then, thank you for your input.

    I would like to add, however, that consciousness, illusion or not, does somehow make us feel as though we are divided from the rest of life.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alea_iacta_est View Post
    consciousness, illusion or not, does somehow make us feel as though we are divided from the rest of life.
    In fact we are the only inter-subjective animal on Earth.

    We don't have claws and fangs but our inter-subjectivity has made us the most powerful animal on the planet.

    So it seems fair enough to call us special animals.

  4. #64
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by entpersonal View Post
    4) Abortion isn't murder (potential for life, etc.) , and I'm pro-life
    For all practical purposes, that demographic doesn't even exist in real life. Anyway, #3 comes closest to my position.

    Edit: there is also no inconsistency to opposing abortion in most circumstances and supporting certain wars and the death penalty is some circumstances, seeing as the former is an issue of collateral damage as part of a cost/benefits calculation (as opposed to targeting innocent people and bombing them for the hell of it) and the latter is presumed to be a matter of people willfully abrogating their human rights through their actions.

  5. #65
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I don't believe I would have an abortion unless my fetus had abnormalities incompatible with life or my life/longterm health were in danger, but that the option to have one would be taken from me on the assumption that I was attempting to avoid a minor inconvenience is kind of insulting and infuriating.
    Not minor, just insufficient to justify what one considers murder about 90% of the time.

  6. #66
    window shopper Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    In fact we are the only inter-subjective animal on Earth.

    We don't have claws and fangs but our inter-subjectivity has made us the most powerful animal on the planet.

    So it seems fair enough to call us special animals.
    Other animals are pretty intersubjective. Chimpanzees can communicate with sign language.

    Whats more likely I think, is that wed like to think were special, when in fact you cant find one quality in humans that isnt shared with at least one other species of animal.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Other animals are pretty intersubjective.
    This is New Age doctrine. And how appropriate on a New Age site.

    Of course you don't know the meaning of the word inter-subjective so you use the word inter-subjective without understanding what you are saying.

    In fact you come here merely to play with words you don't even understand.

  8. #68
    Senior Member entpersonal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    One problem is that in the United States, a law in one state is not the same as a law in another state. Aside from Roe vs Wade decided by SCOTUS in the 70's, states vary legally not just on this matter (abortion) but in many many areas.

    Aside from the overall legality that SCOTUS declared, we assume that the state, versus the larger corporate body (AKA the country/feds), is in a better position to decide what is appropriate for that particular region. In fact, states usually bristle when the feds step on their toes.

    Which, taken to the NEXT level, why should the state be deciding the fate of a family and an entity with no actual legal standing, no legal name, no legal identification, that has a 33% chance of being miscarriaged sometimes before it's even recognized to have existed at all, etc? Shouldn't the family be considered to have even MORE jurisdiction as well as better understanding of the impact of that eventual baby upon the lives within the family? You'd think they'd respect the wishes of the parents up until the point the fetus becomes viable and can survive outside of the mother's womb, whereupon it can be legally recognized and the state can have a protective interest over its wellbeing. Until that point, the state has no real grounds to stand on.

    And in general, this is what we've seen in state law -- abortion illegal after a certain gestational period. But some states have been pushing to lower that age based on the moral values of those in power, and restrictions dumped on health-care clinics so that even if abortion is technically legal, it's difficult to acquire as a service. The issue with the brain-dead mother in Texas was hopefully just a fluke, but the mindset that made that scenario possible is still alive and well.

    As far as the question goes, I was probably a #3 growing up in my conservative Christian background. I'm more of a #2 now, but I don't like blanket positions.

    I would say that I am someone who is very respectful of life and the life process, and I also see abortion as not just impacting the zygote or the fetus but also those who choose to have it and their relationships with others and themselves. At the same time, I have great concerns prioritizing the needs of what is only a potential birth (usually months later) over the needs of born, established adults who are in a position to make decisions for their family right this moment. There are also many other factors involved, from the individual and family level even up to the cultural and economic levels, and a situation must be evaluated in a more complex way than a mere blanket statement.

    I think either decision has ramifications -- some good, some bad. Those who make the decision need to be prepared to accept the ramifications of that decision.

    My personal preference is for abortion to be available under the typical restrictions but as rare as possible, and for the cultural climate to shift to educate people and alleviate conditions that contribute to abortion being one of the solutions.
    That Texas case is interesting. The state in which that occurred didn't surprise me.

  9. #69
    Senior Member entpersonal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady X View Post
    i read an insanely disturbing story about a mother selling her babies for sex yesterday so on one hand...abortion seems much much kinder than having the horrible misfortune of having anything close to that kind of parent.

    on the other...it really pisses me off...like please go get yourself sterilized if you're a shitty human being.

    i don't think "i" personally could ever abort a child but i'm open to the possibility of it making sense in some unforeseen way....so i think that i'm happy that it's an option for people who may find themselves there.

    so what i'd prefer maybe probably is that women get an iud implanted when thy turn 13 and take it out when they decide they want children.

    but then....sometimes an unexpected child changes the lives around them in profoundly beautiful ways...so that idea is probably shit too.

    i don't know the answer.

    but i do think it's murderish and shouldn't be performed after like 8-12 weeks.
    On the plus side abortion helps to control overpopulation.

  10. #70
    Senior Member entpersonal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    abortion is murder
    I don't think the courts really agree with you on that one.

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