Welcome to Atheist Discussion, a new community created by former members of The Thinking Atheist forum.

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-09-2024, 08:39 PM)SteveII Wrote:
(02-09-2024, 05:01 PM)Dānu Wrote: This is more a question of the epistemology of morals rather than an actual issue relating to the moral theories themselves.  Moral realists have no more clear view of what is or is not good than those who advocate other frameworks.  And while moral realists will suppose that morals are an objective feature of the universe, they have no clear idea how to give this notion any legs or clear elucidation.  Just as with the theory that abstracts like numbers are objective, moral realism fails precisely where the rubber hits the road.

Well as you know, I don't believe naturalism can produce objective morality. It is odd for me to be arguing this point but it is interesting and instructive.

I think Natural Law (a type of moral realism) emphasizes the role of rational argument, empirical evidence of human nature (including teleological ideas), and the consistency of moral reasoning in supporting the existence and discoverability of moral truths. While not objective, it is objective adjacent. The challenges of elucidating moral knowledge are not unique to Natural Law (or any type of Moral Realism for that matter) all struggle to understand complex moral realities.

In the end, natural law is on the same slope as naturalistic theories of morals, arguing that we can determine what ought to be by observing what is. And they fail in the same degree, wherein one theory subjectively values our ability to reason and argues based upon that value, a naturalistic theory might say that human flourishing is valuable and reason toward what ought to be on that basis. The only real difference being in what each posits as valuable and in what ranking. Neither can claim to be objective (or even objective adjacent, a ridiculous phrase if ever I heard one).
Mountain-high though the difficulties appear, terrible and gloomy though all things seem, they are but Mâyâ.
Fear not — it is banished. Crush it, and it vanishes. Stamp upon it, and it dies.


Vivekananda
The following 2 users Like Dānu's post:
  • epronovost, pattylt
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-09-2024, 08:54 PM)Mathilda Wrote:
(02-09-2024, 08:39 PM)SteveII Wrote: Well as you know, I don't believe naturalism can produce objective morality.

What is objective morality?

Whatever Stevie or his silly-assed bible doesn't object to!
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
The following 4 users Like Minimalist's post:
  • Mathilda, pattylt, Szuchow, Rhythmcs
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-09-2024, 08:54 PM)Mathilda Wrote:
(02-09-2024, 08:39 PM)SteveII Wrote: Well as you know, I don't believe naturalism can produce objective morality.

What is objective morality?

According to christianity apologists killing all humans on Earth except for one family is a good example of objective morality.
There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.


Socrates.
The following 5 users Like Szuchow's post:
  • Mathilda, Deesse23, 1Sam15, Minimalist, pattylt
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-09-2024, 09:18 PM)Dānu Wrote:
(02-09-2024, 08:39 PM)SteveII Wrote: Well as you know, I don't believe naturalism can produce objective morality. It is odd for me to be arguing this point but it is interesting and instructive.

I think Natural Law (a type of moral realism) emphasizes the role of rational argument, empirical evidence of human nature (including teleological ideas), and the consistency of moral reasoning in supporting the existence and discoverability of moral truths. While not objective, it is objective adjacent. The challenges of elucidating moral knowledge are not unique to Natural Law (or any type of Moral Realism for that matter) all struggle to understand complex moral realities.

In the end, natural law is on the same slope as naturalistic theories of morals, arguing that we can determine what ought to be by observing what is.  And they fail in the same degree, wherein one theory subjectively values our ability to reason and argues based upon that value, a naturalistic theory might say that human flourishing is valuable and reason toward what ought to be on that basis.   The only real difference being in what each posits as valuable and in what ranking.  Neither can claim to be objective (or even objective adjacent, a ridiculous phrase if ever I heard one).

-and there's the trouble with this one in a nutshell.  

Natural Law™ is neither natural nor law, and in this case it's coming from a person who doesn't believe that nature can provide us with true moral statements to an audience that largely agrees with that conclusion.  The whole bit is a bad faith argument down to it's core.

Could we come up with some ethical theory that, by the observation of natural reality, informs us that abortion can be immoral?  Sure.  The same ethical system..if we earnestly believed in it, would also conclude that forced birth is immoral - for the same reasons, and with a whole hell of alot less stretching for mommy than a fetus.  So there's really no point in arguing over whether or not such an ethical system exists or makes sense..as even if it did, we're going to ignore it for the purposes of pleasing our gods by strapping whores to gurneys.
The following 3 users Like Rhythmcs's post:
  • Alan V, pattylt, epronovost
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
Morality is what I say is right.
Immorality is what I say is wrong.
The following 1 user Likes no one's post:
  • pattylt
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
The following 1 user Likes no one's post:
  • brewerb
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-09-2024, 08:54 PM)Mathilda Wrote:
(02-09-2024, 08:39 PM)SteveII Wrote: Well as you know, I don't believe naturalism can produce objective morality.

What is objective morality?

Also, what is moral truth?
Being told you're delusional does not necessarily mean you're mental. 
The following 2 users Like brewerb's post:
  • Mathilda, pattylt
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
The great jesus freak "moralist" would doubtlessly tell this woman to go fuck herself.

https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/10/health/id...index.html

Quote:“As soon as that ultrasound technician put that wand on my stomach and I saw the baby on the screen, I knew something was wrong,” Jen told CNN. “I could just tell, ‘that’s a lot of fluid that’s not supposed to be there.’”
A genetic counselor and a maternal-fetal medicine specialist told Jen that it was very likely the fetus had Turner syndrome, a disorder in which a baby assigned female at birth is born with one missing or partial X chromosome.
Research shows that it results in miscarriage in more than 90% of cases and can cause abnormalities in the heart and kidneys, restricted growth and — most clear to Jen — excess fluid around the neck, called cystic hygroma, and severe swelling or edema, called hydrops.
“Essentially, they were surprised I was still pregnant, based on the severity of what they were seeing on the ultrasound,” Jen recalled.
The doctors told her they expected her to have a miscarriage, Jen said, but they didn’t know when. And, she says they told her, “The longer you stay pregnant, the more at risk you are of developing complications of your own.”


Posting a pile of useless word salad never seems to address what real people go through....something normally lost on fanatics like Stevie.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
My daughter’s second pregnancy was diagnosed at ~20 weeks with complete spina bifida. The entire brain and spinal column were outside the body. Besides being a death sentence for the baby, exposure to baby’s spinal fluid and brain tissue creates a very large danger to mom as it easily triggers DIC (bleeding out). Should the fetus die, decomposing tissue also jumps the danger to mom even higher.

Thank Zeus we live in Colorado. While her doctor doesn’t perform abortions due to being a GP and insurance, Planned Parenthood was able to get her in the next day. Even our hospital would have taken longer and no one wanted to risk this. She had amazing compassionate care. She was able to skip the normal class they provide to volunteer abortions and we only were in the waiting room for about two minutes. It was tragic and sad and emotional and they supported her through every step. They were awesome people.

Her story isn’t unique. There are many things that can go wrong in pregnancy and fetal development and the though that a bunch of mostly men demand that women take these risks until the last second (if even then) just blows me away. Cruelty is the point. Punishment is the point. Risking someone else’s life is the point.
The following 10 users Like pattylt's post:
  • Minimalist, Chas, airportkid, Alan V, brewerb, Szuchow, Deesse23, Mathilda, The Kerbinator, mordant
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
And strutting around like some big pompous ass who actually gives a shit about babies is even more of the point.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
The following 1 user Likes Minimalist's post:
  • pattylt
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-10-2024, 11:13 PM)Minimalist Wrote: And strutting around like some big pompous ass who actually gives a shit about babies is even more of the point.

That’s what bothers me most of all.  Men, who will never carry a pregnancy, thinking they are so fucking righteous by “saving” babies that they really don’t give a shit about other than making themselves look like pious caring individuals.  Yet, they won’t put one extra dime towards the research or care of these babes,  it’s all optics for their constituents and churches.
The following 9 users Like pattylt's post:
  • epronovost, brewerb, Szuchow, Deesse23, Mathilda, The Kerbinator, Minimalist, mordant, Chas
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
[Image: post-1-compressed.jpg]
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
The following 6 users Like Minimalist's post:
  • Cavebear, Mathilda, The Kerbinator, pattylt, Chas, Kathryn L
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
The problem with accepting religion is that maintaining that acceptance forces even the otherwise intelligent mind into dogmatism, fencing out the tendrils of reality that puncture the dogmatism, inevitably crippling the intellect.  It's sad to observe that effect on some of the theists who struggle in these threads, unaware of just how hobbled they are by their unyielding belief.
The following 3 users Like airportkid's post:
  • Cavebear, pattylt, Chas
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-10-2024, 11:10 PM)pattylt Wrote: [...]Cruelty is the point.  Punishment is the point. Risking someone else’s life is the point.

Exactly. There is no greater joy for pro forced birther than women who suffers. It's a consequence of following inhuman, totalitarian ideology.
There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.


Socrates.
The following 2 users Like Szuchow's post:
  • Minimalist, pattylt
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-11-2024, 05:35 AM)Szuchow Wrote:
(02-10-2024, 11:10 PM)pattylt Wrote: [...]Cruelty is the point.  Punishment is the point. Risking someone else’s life is the point.

Exactly. There is no greater joy for pro forced birther than women who suffers. It's a consequence of following inhuman, totalitarian ideology.

I remember far back enough when "pro-abortion" was the term for "the right to it". Then the opponents came up with "pro-life" to suggest that "pro-abortion" was "baby-killing". And anti-God as well). So the right to abort became "pro-choice", which was a better term for a woman deciding whether to have a baby was correct for them.

I like the term "pro forced birther". It envelopes the ideas that women should always have babies, should spend all their time taking care of them (on their own, mostly), and should bear the children of rape and incest. The "forced" part really forces that aspect to the front of the discussion.

Thank you for the term.
Never try to catch a dropped kitchen knife!
The following 4 users Like Cavebear's post:
  • Mathilda, Minimalist, pattylt, Chas
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
I'm trying to answer posts in order, please be patient.

(02-09-2024, 04:56 PM)epronovost Wrote:
(02-09-2024, 03:51 PM)SteveII Wrote: Actually no, for my argument, what I consider good is NOT because I believe it's what help humans be happy and flourish.

I argued in my support for Premise 1:

"Natural Law concepts of rights are based on the unique rational [1] and moral capacities [2]  that distinguish humans from other forms of life. Humans possess the innate ability to discern moral truths and make choices [3] that reflect an understanding of good and evil, justice and injustice, in a way that other species cannot [4]. It is this capacity for moral reasoning and the pursuit of higher ethical goods that sets humanity apart, imbuing human life with inherent dignity and value [5]."

Oh would you look at that an appeal to human happiness and flourishment! Your usage of Natural Law is based on and used for the defense of human happiness and flourishment. That's why Natural Law concepts exist; it's a moral and ethical principle and like all moral and ethical principle it's used to bring about human happiness and flourishment. That's what morality does; it helps human prosper and be happy.[6]

Quote:While Natural Law does consider the flourishing of human beings as a component of the moral good, it does not reduce morality solely to human happiness or flourishing[7]. Instead, it asserts that certain actions are inherently right or wrong, based on their alignment with human nature and the fundamental principles that govern the universe.

It's human nature and a fundamental governing principle of all sentient lifeforms, including humans, to seek flourishment and happiness.[8] That's all that we do. That's our most fundamental nature. We are pleasure and prosperity seekers and all moral dilemma, problems and principle serve to bring about pleasure and/or prosperity. You are making my point for me. In fact, I would dare say you are making my point for me better than I could since my mastery of the english language is not as good as yours.

Quote:Flourishing and happiness concepts involves living a life of virtue, fulfilling one's potential, participating in a community and a positive personal reaction/satisfaction/contentment as a result. These are very subjective and very abstract ideas and almost entirely rely on cultural context and therefore wholly  inadequate to form the basis of morality by themselves. [9] They need some structure: reasoning.


Yes, and reasoning is a very abstract idea that rely on cultural context and knowledge of the universe itself. Anybody can use reasoning to excuse and support basically any position. There is even a term for that expertise of human: rationalization. 

By carving up my answer, you have missed my point and the necessary nuances connecting several things together.

My original point from the OP discusses that Natural Law grounding is based on [1] rational thought, [2] capacity of moral reasoning, [3] freewill (being able to do something about it), and [4] uniqueness. It is this combination that is the basis of "inherent dignity and value" [5]. So you see I did not appeal to "human happiness and flourishment": not only is inherent dignity and value not the same as human happiness and flourishing, the former is a conclusion and the latter is a goal.

[6] Not all moral and ethical principles have the purpose of human happiness and flourishing. Christian ideas of morality are based on what God says is good or bad.

It is not that I am dismissing human happiness and flourishment, I said it is incomplete [7].  

Did I remember correctly that you are historian of some type? [8] Are you going to claim with a straight face that at any one moment in time (of any time period), there are millions of really bad people putting into practice really bad ideas contrary to general human happiness and flourishing?. It is the guardrails of religion, development of and reflection on moral reasoning/philosophy, education, self-interest incentives, and cultural norms (all external) that keep evil in check, not our nature.

Most Natural Law proponents believe that it was discovered, not evolved. That there is a right answer whether we have perceived it correctly or not. Overemphasizing happiness and flourishing undermines those concepts because happiness and flourishing are significantly defined by cultural context [9].

Quote:In my view, you are rationalizing the harm you are doing to women; in yours, I am rationalizing the harm I do to fetuses. The idea that we can argue principles to objectively determine who is correct is delusional. We can only determine, tentatively, who is correct by finding a common ground and seeing which one of us can get us closer to that common ground better. Hence my own strawman argument about condemning and changing society and culture instead of abortion itself.

Quote:My more narrow argument is that Natural Law theory relies on a specific metaphysical view of human nature and the universe, rooted in teleological ideas about purpose and design.

There is no single definition and principle of natural law theory. What makes your usage more correct than the others? As mentioned before, the concept of natural/fundamental rights is over 2500 years old and has changed a lot over time and culture depending on who and how the argument was made. The core of it's principle, the idea that human beings have by virtue of their very humanity a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (to quote Jefferson) remains, but the how and why does vary tremendously.

Quote:Your commitment to naturalism is going to want you to reject such things, but that's your problem to live with.

That's incorrect. my commitment to naturalism has no problem to Natural Law theory. The two are compatible with one another to the highest degree. What I reject is not the concept of natural law or fundamental rights. What I reject is your usage of it and I reject it on the ground of my commitment to humanism not naturalism too. You seem to fundamentally not understand the foundation of my moral principle and how my "moral compass" works.

I will discuss more on grounding Natural Law and teleological ideas in upcoming posts (I see Danu has focused on that).
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-12-2024, 09:00 PM)SteveII Wrote: My original point from the OP discusses that Natural Law grounding is based on [1] rational thought, [2] capacity of moral reasoning, [3] freewill (being able to do something about it), and [4] uniqueness. It is this combination that is the basis of "inherent dignity and value" [5]. So you see I did not appeal to "human happiness and flourishment": not only is inherent dignity and value not the same as human happiness and flourishing, the former is a conclusion and the latter is a goal.

And you appeal to rational thought; moral capacity; freewill; uniqueness; inherent dignity and value precisely because those things allow human happiness and flourishment. Human flourishment and happiness is your goal and these are the things you have identified to arrive to this conclusion.

Quote:[6] Not all moral and ethical principles have the purpose of human happiness and flourishing. Christian ideas of morality are based on what God says is good or bad.

That's actually also false. Christian ideas of morality are based on what God says, but God is good in Christianity and wants what is best for humanity. A Christian obeys God instructions because God's instruction are what is best for their happiness and flourishment. In fact it's literal dogma that God knows better than human what is good for human flourishment and happiness and this is why you should obey God and have faith in Him. You would not obey God if God didn't want what was best for humanity. God is used as a supreme moral authority; a justification for the dogmatic rules of morality it pushes forward.

Quote:Did I remember correctly that you are historian of some type? [8] Are you going to claim with a straight face that at any one moment in time (of any time period), there are millions of really bad people putting into practice really bad ideas contrary to general human happiness and flourishing?

Basically yes, millions of people have done terrible things contrary to general human happiness and flourishing for a variety of reasons. For example, some did so out of personal interest, placing themselves above others; others by mistake, believing that they were doing good; some humans are simply psychopaths and take pleasure in dominating and making other suffers, etc. 

What I consider good is largely an hypothesis as to how to get to a higher state of happiness and flourishment. All human culture agree on some behaviors and rules, but there is a lot of different perceptions. 

Quote:It is the guardrails of religion, development of and reflection on moral reasoning/philosophy, education, self-interest incentives, and cultural norms (all external) that keep evil in check, not our nature.

Moral reasoning/philosophy, education, self-interest incentives and cultural norms are all part of our nature. We are a highly evolved, sensitive, gregarious species. It's in our nature to develop those processes. There never was a point in homo sapiens history and pre-history where those things did not exist. The specific content and product of that moral reasoning, philosophy, education, self-interest incentives and cultural norms have changed and continue to change and is quite varied, but these are fundamental elements to all human cultures.

I would go further and say that those systems sometimes generates evil and overide the natural empathy of humans and produces human suffering. Mass slavery, misogyny, racism, genocide, war, religious intolerance and extremism, etc. Are products of "higher human cultural achievements" and not that of our "baser instincts and desires". Evil behavior, can come from various areas. Some are creatures of poorly controled instincts and impulses, others are the product of a wider culture, religion, law, politics, etc. The interesting part is that many people who do bad things either think they are doing good or are doing something that, while not good, is not going to have much negative impact. Rare are those who do wrong for the pleasure of doing evil itself.  

Quote:Most Natural Law proponents believe that it was discovered, not evolved. That there is a right answer whether we have perceived it correctly or not. Overemphasizing happiness and flourishing undermines those concepts because happiness and flourishing are significantly defined by cultural context [9].

Natural Law is not only defined by cultural context, but is also the produce of culture itslef. Small quibble, but It was neither discovered nor evolved; it was theorized and it was theorized and developped or "evolved" (in a non-biological context) from prior hypothesis and moral beliefs.

PS: Don't rush your anwers and feel free to disregard my posts if you think it's going nowhere. Danu has presented more interesting subject lately than me on this thread.
The following 3 users Like epronovost's post:
  • airportkid, pattylt, Deesse23
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
Shitface scumbag only "answers" questions it believes are supported by its cockamamie nonsense. Anytime it is asked something that blows its absurd rubbish out of the water, it ignores it. Just like the rest of the really, really brave christiboi warriors.

Little stevieboi is a god damned coward.
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-22-2024, 07:00 PM)SteveII Wrote: Another religious-oriented thread I was participating in has moved off-topic to the arguments for and against abortion. It was hard to organize all the responses there so I have endeavored to list a more formal case against abortion from a secular perspective. I have included rebuttals to the most common counterarguments so you can have my complete thoughts on a variety of related topics.

I look forward to the discussion.

P1. It is morally wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being because human life has inherent dignity and value based on the capacity of the species

In support of Premise 1:
• Natural Law concepts of rights are based on the unique rational and moral capacities that distinguish humans from other forms of life. Humans possess the innate ability to discern moral truths and make choices that reflect an understanding of good and evil, justice and injustice, in a way that other species cannot. It is this capacity for moral reasoning and the pursuit of higher ethical goods that sets humanity apart, imbuing human life with inherent dignity and value.

P2. Human life begins at conception (scientifically established)

In Support of Premise 2:
• At the moment of conception, a unique genetic identity is formed, combining DNA from both the egg and sperm, creating a distinct human organism with its own individual and unrepeatable genetic code, separate from both the mother and father. Scientifically, conception marks the beginning of a continuous developmental process; the zygote, the earliest stage of human development, fulfills the basic biological criteria for life, including the ability to grow, metabolize, respond to stimuli, and reproduce cells. The zygote, formed at conception, is the initial stage of a human being's life cycle, initiating a complex process of development that, if uninterrupted by natural or external factors, will lead to the birth of a human child.

P3. Starting at conception, human life has inherent dignity and value. from (P1) (P2)

In support of Premise 3:
• In the context of the continuous nature of human development from conception to natural death, setting an arbitrary developmental threshold for when rights are earned (such as viability, birth, or development of certain physical or cognitive abilities) is problematic because human development is a gradual and unbroken process. No clear, non-arbitrary point after conception at which one can definitively say a human being starts deserving rights.
• If society accepts the intrinsic value of human life after birth, it should logically also accept the value of human life before birth, since the difference between a pre-born and newborn is largely one of location and developmental stage, not of inherent worth or dignity.
• There is a confusion of 'functioning' as a human with 'being' a human. These are not the same concepts and to confuse them can lead to a slippery slope (ethically speaking).

P4. Abortion is the killing of a human life

C. Therefore abortion is morally wrong.



ADDRESSING COUNTERARGUMENTS:

Bodily Autonomy
The argument of bodily autonomy (the woman has a right to control what happens or does not happen to her body), while significant in many areas of ethics and law, faces limitations when considered against the right to life of the unborn. One major contention is the uniqueness of pregnancy as it involves two interconnected lives - the mother and the unborn child. The principle of bodily autonomy asserts an individual’s right to self-governance over their own body without coercion or interference. However, this principle becomes complex when one's autonomous decisions directly impact another life. In the case of pregnancy, the unborn child is uniquely dependent on the mother's body, creating a scenario where the rights of two individuals are deeply intertwined. Unlike other situations where bodily autonomy is invoked, pregnancy represents a unique biological relationship where the decisions of one individual (the mother) directly affect the survival of another (the unborn child). Pro-life advocates argue that the right to life of the unborn child should take precedence, as the right to life is a fundamental right from which all other rights emanate. Without life, no subsequent rights can exist, making it a primary right that should be protected.

Furthermore, the argument for bodily autonomy often overlooks the inherent responsibility that comes with the capacity to create life. The pro-life perspective emphasizes that engaging in actions that can result in creating a new human life carries with it a responsibility to that life. This is particularly significant in the context of human reproduction, which inherently involves the potential for creating a dependent life that requires protection and care. The right to life argument suggests that once a new human life is conceived, it possesses its own rights, including the fundamental right to life. The contention is that the unborn child's right to life cannot be overridden by the mother's right to bodily autonomy because the right to life is more fundamental and should be given priority in ethical considerations, especially when the unborn child is considered an innocent and defenseless being. This line of reasoning sees the right to bodily autonomy as not absolute but rather as one that must be balanced against the rights of the unborn, particularly in situations where exercising bodily autonomy means ending a life.

Quality of Life (of Child)
The "quality of life" argument against the pro-life position, which posits that a child should not be brought into the world if their quality of life is expected to be poor, encounters several ethical challenges. Firstly, this argument inherently assumes the ability to accurately predict and judge the future quality of life of an unborn child, which is fraught with uncertainties and subjective biases. Life circumstances, medical advancements, and personal resilience play significant roles in determining one's quality of life, and these factors can change unpredictably. Moreover, the premise that a lower quality of life justifies ending a life before birth is ethically problematic, as it implies a valuation of human lives based on external conditions or abilities, rather than on inherent human dignity. Such a stance risks devaluing the lives of individuals living with disabilities or in challenging circumstances, promoting a potentially discriminatory view of human worth. The pro-life counterargument emphasizes the inherent value of every human life, regardless of the predicted quality of life, advocating for a societal responsibility to support and improve the lives of all, rather than preemptively ending them based on presumed future hardships.

Furthermore, the quality of life argument often overlooks the potential for positive outcomes and societal contributions that can arise from lives initially perceived as disadvantaged. History is replete with examples of individuals who, despite significant adversities, have not only lived meaningful lives but have also enriched the lives of others. This perspective advocates for a more inclusive and hopeful view of human potential, one that recognizes the unpredictability of life trajectories and the capacity for growth, resilience, and contribution in even the most challenging circumstances. It also calls for a broader societal commitment to improving conditions for all lives, rather than selectively deeming some lives as unworthy of a chance to begin. This approach is consistent with the principle that every human life has value and potential, and that society should work towards creating supportive environments and opportunities for all individuals to thrive, regardless of the challenges they may face from the outset.

Needed for Equality with Men
The argument that abortion is necessary to ensure equality between men and women is counter to the ideas of classical feminism, which emphasizes the empowerment and value of women's unique biological and social roles, rather than seeking parity through negating these roles. Classical feminism advocates for recognizing and celebrating the distinct capabilities of women, including their potential for motherhood, as a source of strength and not as a hindrance to equality. This perspective suggests that true equality is not achieved by enabling women to imitate men or by downplaying uniquely female experiences, such as pregnancy and childbirth, but by valuing these experiences and ensuring that society accommodates and supports women in these roles. By insisting that women must have the option to terminate a pregnancy to compete with men on an equal footing, there's an implicit suggestion that the natural biological functions of women are a disadvantage or an impediment. Classical feminism would argue for a society where women's reproductive capabilities are not seen as a barrier to their success but are respected and supported, enabling women to thrive both in their professional and personal lives without having to sacrifice one for the other.

Furthermore, the notion that abortion is necessary for women's equality can be seen as a capitulation to a societal structure that fails to adequately support women, particularly in the realms of maternity leave, childcare, and workplace flexibility. Instead of advocating for the right to opt out of motherhood through abortion, classical feminism would call for systemic changes that genuinely level the playing field – such as robust parental leave policies, affordable child care, and workplace accommodations for pregnant and parenting women. This approach lifts women up by addressing the root of the inequality, rather than accepting a societal framework that inherently disadvantages them for their reproductive capabilities. Classical feminism seeks to empower women to embrace their womanhood in all its facets, advocating for societal shifts that honor and support women's roles as both bearers and nurturers of life, thereby promoting true equality that celebrates, rather than diminishes, what it means to be a woman.

Hypocrisy
This usually takes the form of "pro-life" people only care about the unborn and not about what comes after they are here and really need help.

First, using the fact that some people are hypocrites as an argument against an idea only tangentially related is known as a "Tu quoque" fallacy, also called an appeal to hypocrisy. This logical fallacy occurs when someone attempts to discredit an opponent's position by asserting the opponent's failure to act consistently with that position, rather than addressing the merit of the position itself. It's a form of ad hominem attack that focuses on the perceived hypocrisy of the arguer instead of the argument they are making. Essentially, it's arguing, "You don't follow your own advice, so your advice must not be valid," which does not logically address the actual argument or idea being presented.

Second, most pro-life organizations have support for mothers and fathers long after the baby is born. The local crisis pregnancy center we support has postpartum food, clothing, medical assistance, counseling, support groups, group activities, and now no-cost college degree program (with local college) designed especially for single mothers.

Hard Cases
Cases of rape and incest have special trauma associated with them. However, this is usually a red herring because if the reply were "Let's grant the exception in the case of rape or incest. Will you join us in opposing all other abortion?" the answer will most likely be no. While I would be willing to compromise to bring more people together against the vast majority of abortions, I do not see how these exceptions overcome the larger argument I have laid out above.
Just jumping in here real quick. Even accepting all your premises (I don’t), you haven’t made the connection why it’s “morally” wrong. Your premises lead to a faulty conclusion that *all* human  killing of an innocent is morally wrong, which is a hard sell. Clinically assisted suicide, when done with great consideration and care, likely isn’t morally wrong. 

I struggle to understand how *any* value means that a human being is subject to be forced to live, even if they don’t want to. In abortion, it’s not quite like that, but I’m attacking the logical process here, not the topic itself. 

Not terribly interested in litigating abortion based off of sweeping and superficial premises, though.
Deadpan Coffee Drinker 
The following 5 users Like Atothetheist's post:
  • 1Sam15, Mathilda, brewerb, pattylt, Deesse23
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-09-2024, 05:15 PM)Dānu Wrote: I think there are several obvious ways of grounding natural law theory.  The first and most obvious being that fulfilling our purpose is what we were created for.  In the context of a religiously neutral argument, this is a non-starter.  The second is your view, that aligning morals with human nature has positive consequences for human beings.  I'm trying to guess in advance of Steve elaborating, but the only apparent high ground would be to suggest that acting out of one's nature is simply morally good.  Such a view would face immediate objection in that it's not apparent that this does constitute an objective truth, especially when human nature includes behaviors that are decidedly negative such as selfishness, predatory behaviors like rape, and more mundane behaviors like a capacity for irrational bias.  I suspect that one can try to rescue this by ranking behaviors as more or less essential to our human identity, but it seems this would simply lead us back to a subjectively based ethics as such rankings are not objective.  It's also not clear how one can avoid begging the question by arguing that certain behaviors are necessarily more moral than others inside an argument as to which behaviors can be appealed to as basis of what is moral.  The wild card is the appeal to teleology, which doesn't actually exist in nature unless one adopts something like a Thomistic conceptual scheme, which, I doubt can be adequately defended without invoking religious or metaphysical postulates that are highly questionable.

That is a very good assessment. I have done some more thinking about grounding Natural Law and have some thoughts. If they differ from previous statements, well, that's why I start and continue these discussions...to develop a more thorough understanding of the topic.

NOTE: So people are not confused, I ground Natural Law in religion--specifically humanity was created with value and purpose. However, for the purpose of this discussion and my own education, I have set that aside.

First, Natural Law has to be objective or ethics based on it would not be binding. Subjectivity would lead to moral relativism, loss of foundation for human rights, erosion of the foundations of the legal system, and generally weakening social cohesion (especially in the west). As we see from the topic of this thread, the costs are significant, affecting not just philosophical discourse but practical aspects of how we live together in society. As some in this very thread have said: morality is what we decide it to be--a very unsettling idea.

As you pointed out thoroughly, the idea of human happiness and flourishing alone is not objective. I have prepared the following broad case for Objective Grounding of Natural Law (secular version). I look forward to the comments of anyone who can get through it.  If you do reply, you might want to isolate a smaller section to facilitate a manageable discussion.

I. Empirical Observations and Rational Inferences

A. Observations of Natural Purposes

1. Biological Teleology


Historical Survey
The discussion on inherent biological teleology has been going on for a long time. I think the Aristotelian view is most conducive of the ancient views to a non-religious analysis. "…on the Aristotelian view, the teleology that directs the behavior of living beings is immanent. For instance, in organismal development, the impetus for this goal-directed process is a principle of change within the organism, and the telos, or goal, of the development is also an inherent property." (SEP)

"For Galen, a teleological account of parts is superior to a purely causal-mechanical one, since the function or purpose of the part plays an ineliminable role in the explanation of the part and its activities. This Galenic view of anatomy, with its explicitly Aristotelian reliance on final causes, largely dominated medical thought until the seventeenth century. " (SEP)

"…according to Kant, there is a certain non-machine-like character of organisms, evident in their ability to grow and reproduce, that leads to a type of mechanical inexplicability. Hannah Ginsborg (2004) argues that for Kant this impossibility of explaining organisms in solely mechanistic terms does not itself distinguish them from complex artifacts; but, she argues, Kant thought that the regenerative and reproductive aspects of organisms lead us to attribute a kind of natural purposiveness that is absent in artifacts, paralleling Aristotle’s justification for natural, immanent teleology." (SEP)

"Even Darwin’s contemporaries disagreed as to whether or not the theory of natural selection purged teleological explanations from biology or revived them (Lennox 2010). In any case, it is clear that Darwin used the language of ‘final causes’ to describe the function of biological parts in his Species Notebooks and throughout his life; he also reflected frequently about the relationship between natural selection and teleology (Lennox 1993). " (SEP)

"Ernest Nagel (1961) and Carl Hempel (1965) provide early attempts by philosophers of science to directly assimilate functional explanation in biology to more general patterns of explanation. In particular, they both consider functional explanation within the framework of the Deductive-Nomological account of scientific explanation. They consider the functional claims to be related to explanations of the presence of a trait in an organism. Their accounts differ primarily on whether to say that a trait T has function F in organism O when T is sufficient to produce F in O (Hempel’s version) or when T is necessary to produce F in O (Nagel’s version). " (SEP)

"Many philosophers of biology believe that functional explanation is uniquely appropriate to biology, turning to Darwin’s theory of descent with modification to ground the practice of attributing functions. Like Wright, Hempel, and Nagel, natural-selection teleonaturalists take the primary target of explanation to be the presence of various traits in organisms.
Here we distinguish between two ways of using natural selection to ground biological teleology.
• Indirect approaches treat the adaptive, self-organizing nature of living cells and organisms as the natural basis for teleological properties of their traits, but give background credit to the power of natural selection to produce such self-organizational complexity as is found in living systems.
• Direct approaches invoke natural selection explicitly when explicating functional claims, either in an etiological sense based on the history of selection or in a dispositional sense based on the fitness of organisms possessing the traits. " (SEP)

For a complete treatment of this subject, see the SEP Article: Teleological Notions in Biology

Working Definition
We can define Biological teleology as the study and interpretation of the purposes and directed goals present within biological processes and systems. It is an approach within biology that examines the apparent purpose-driven aspects of living organisms, such as the intricate design of an organ that seems precisely structured for a specific function, or the complex behavior of an organism that appears to be goal-oriented, like the migration of birds or the reproductive strategies of plants. Biological teleology posits that these features and behaviors can be understood as being 'for' certain ends, such as survival, reproduction, or the efficient utilization of resources, without necessarily implying conscious intent or design by an external intelligence. This explains how such end-directed systems can arise through natural processes, including evolution, and how they contribute to the organism's fitness and the perpetuation of species.

Examples
The function of the heart is to pump blood, which is essential for distributing nutrients and oxygen to the body's cells. The language of function here implies that the heart has a purpose within the organism's overall operation, which is a teleological idea.

Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants, algae, and certain bacteria convert light energy, usually from the sun, into chemical energy in the form of glucose. This process is fundamental to the life of the plant and to the ecosystem at large, as it is the primary source of energy and organic matter for the vast majority of other organisms. The teleological language here implies that the leaves, chloroplasts, and other structures involved in photosynthesis have the purpose of capturing light energy and converting it to a form that is usable for growth and reproduction, supporting not just the individual plant, but also the life forms that depend on it for oxygen and food. This purpose-driven view of photosynthesis reflects a teleological understanding of plant biology.

The neural circuitry in animals that governs survival behaviors, such as the fight-or-flight response, is another example of teleology in biology. This complex network of neurons rapidly processes threats and coordinates physiological responses, like increased heart rate and muscle tension, to prepare the body for rapid action. The teleological perspective here sees these neural pathways as having the purpose of preserving the organism's life in the face of danger. The efficiency and specificity of these responses suggest that the neural circuitry is 'designed' to protect the organism and enhance its chances of survival, thus demonstrating a teleological pattern in the organization and functioning of the nervous system.

2. Physical Systems: There are many examples where physical systems exhibit patterns or behaviors that appear to be directed towards certain ends: equilibrium, order, or functionality --independent of any observer. For example,

• The precision of the laws of physics for the formation of heavy elements, galaxies, stars, planets, and life.
• Geological processes like those we have on this planet are necessary for a useful and renewable planet.
• Earth's water cycle is necessary for life.
• Crystals create order from disorder.

When we say a physical system "serves a function," we are engaging with teleological language. This involves attributing a purpose or end-goal to the processes or structures within that system. For example, in the case of the Earth's water cycle, when we say it "serves the function" of preserving water resources, we are recognizing the cycle's end-directedness. Scientists might describe the function of the water cycle in terms of its role in supporting ecological systems. The teleological language here simply acknowledges that the water cycle's outcomes are beneficial for life, not that it was designed with the purpose of sustaining life.

B. Rational Inference to Teleology

1. Inference from Complexity: The complexity and order observed in nature are best explained by underlying teleological principles.

Let's begin by defining what is meant by 'complexity' in natural systems. Complexity refers to the intricate interdependence and organization of parts within a system that results in emergent properties or behaviors that are not predictable from the properties of the individual parts alone.

Complexity Suggest Purpose: For example, the complexity of the human eye seems directed towards providing vision.

Inference to the Best Explanation: Teleological explanations often provide the most coherent and parsimonious accounts of complex systems. When considering how best to explain the eye's complexity, a teleological explanation—that the eye is 'for' vision—seems to fit naturally. It accounts not only for the eye's existence but also for its specific structure and the way it functions so precisely and reliably.

The Role of Natural Selection: The key mechanism in evolutionary biology can be understood as a teleological process in itself. It 'selects' for traits that confer survival and reproductive advantages, leading to the complexity of life forms we see today. This process can be interpreted as end-directed without invoking any external guiding intelligence. Over millions of years, random mutations that enhanced vision would have been preserved because they provided a survival advantage, gradually leading to the complex structure of the eye we observe today.

Complexity and Natural Law: The laws governing systems (e.g., the laws of physics and biology) are themselves complex and interrelated in a manner that tends towards the maintenance of order and the facilitation of life—an indication of an underlying teleological order.


2. Philosophical Justification

Historical Foundations
The classical roots of teleology are found in the works of philosophers like Aristotle, who posited that everything in nature has a purpose or 'final cause' it strives to achieve. For Aristotle, the organization of natural objects was directed towards their 'telos' or ultimate end, a concept that can be applied to any system which seems directed towards the a particular 'telos'.

Building on Aristotle, Aquinas posited that these natural tendencies are observable and intelligible, allowing humans to discern an intrinsic directedness in the world. Aquinas's perspective suggests that the regularities and patterns in nature are not merely random but are directed towards the fulfillment of their potentialities. This understanding of teleology as inherent to natural objects and processes provides a philosophical basis for the notion that there are natural laws—principles that govern the behavior of things according to their nature—which can be discovered and understood through reason, and which form the basis for moral and ethical reasoning in a way that aligns with the principles of Natural Law.

Contemporary philosophy has reinterpreted teleological principles in light of evolutionary theory and complex systems science. Modern thinkers like Daniel Dennett have proposed that natural selection itself can be seen as a teleological process, where 'purpose' arises naturally as a result of survival and reproductive success, without the need for an external designer.

Naturalism and Teleology
The naturalistic understanding of teleology sees teleological processes as emergent properties of natural systems. This viewpoint argues that teleology is not about external purposes being imposed on nature, but about the inherent tendencies of natural entities to follow certain patterns that contribute to their persistence and development.

Rationality and Ethics
The recognition of teleology in the natural world provides a foundation for Natural Law. It suggests that there is an order to nature that can inform our understanding of human behavior and morality. If complex systems are directed towards certain ends, then human laws and ethical practices should align with these natural ends to support human flourishing.

For example, let's go back to Earth's water cycle. Philosophically, when considering Natural Law and the water cycle, the teleological aspect would be used to argue for an inherent value in preserving natural systems. The function of the water cycle could be seen as indicative of a natural order that has intrinsic worth and should be respected. This philosophical perspective extends to ethical considerations, suggesting that humans have a responsibility to protect and maintain the water cycle and, by extension, the environment, because of its essential role in sustaining life.

II. Linking Teleology to Human Nature and Morality

A. Human Nature and Its Ends

1. Natural Inclinations:
This refers to the innate tendencies or predispositions that are characteristic of human beings. These are not merely biological instincts but encompass a wider range of human propensities towards knowledge, social interaction, aesthetic appreciation, and self-preservation. They are not the subjective culturally constructed ones but the empirically-based behaviors true across all cultures and times.

Teleological Significance
In teleological terms, natural inclinations can be seen as the built-in 'purposes' within human nature, driving individuals towards certain ends that contribute to their well-being and fulfillment. For instance, the inclination to seek truth and understanding is not just a random trait but serves the end of human flourishing through knowledge.

A Basis for Objective Good
These natural inclinations lead to the identification of objective goods—conditions or states of being that are universally beneficial for humans. These include life, health, knowledge, sociability, and aesthetic enjoyment. The objective status of these goods is based on the universal and persistent nature of the inclinations that drive humans towards them.

Relation to Natural Law
In the context of Natural Law, these natural inclinations and the objective goods they point towards are used to derive moral norms and legal principles. The idea is that just as natural inclinations guide humans towards their natural ends, so should moral and legal systems be designed to support the fulfillment of these inclinations.

The Role of Reasoning
Humans are not blindly driven by these inclinations; rather, they have the capacity to reflect upon and choose actions that align with these natural ends, which is a key aspect of moral agency in Natural Law theory.

2. Objective Goods: Objective goods are those conditions or states of being that are deemed beneficial for all humans, based on natural inclinations. Unlike subjective preferences that vary from person to person, objective goods are rooted in the aspects of human nature that are universal. These goods are identified through reasoned reflection on what is necessary for the well-being and fulfillment of human beings as rational and social creatures.

• Life: The foundational good, as all other goods presuppose the existence of life. The inclination to preserve life underlies the recognition of its intrinsic value.
• Knowledge: Humans have a natural desire to understand the world around them. Knowledge is pursued not only for practical benefits but also for its own sake, indicating its status as an objective good.
• Health: Integral to the capacity to pursue other goods, health is a state of physical and mental well-being that enables individuals to fulfill their potential.
• Sociability/Relationships: Given the inherently social nature of humans, relationships with others are crucial for emotional well-being and community building.
• Moral Integrity: The inclination towards acting in accordance with virtue and ethical principles reflects the inherent value humans place on moral integrity.
• Aesthetic Appreciation: The universal human response to beauty, whether in nature or art, points to aesthetic appreciation as an objective good.

Objective goods are not arbitrarily chosen but are determined through rational reflection on what is necessary for humans to achieve fulfillment. This involves considering what humans, by nature, strive for and what they need to realize their potential.

B. Objective Morality from Teleology

1. Moral Norms Derived from Natural Ends:
So how can moral norms can be derived from the natural ends inherent in human nature, making these norms objective?

The Connection between Natural Inclinations and Moral Norms
The foundational premise is that natural inclinations toward objective goods are not random but are indicative of the purposes or ends inherent in human nature. These inclinations guide humans toward what is genuinely beneficial for their well-being and fulfillment. Moral norms, then, can be understood as the principles that govern our actions towards achieving these ends effectively and harmoniously. They are derived from a rational reflection on how best to fulfill our natural inclinations and realize objective goods.

Rational Basis for Moral Norms
As we have discussed, moral norms are not arbitrary but are based on a rational understanding of human nature and its ends. This rational basis ensures that moral norms are universal and objective, applicable to all individuals regardless of their subjective preferences or cultural backgrounds. For example, the natural inclination towards preserving life leads to the moral norm that life should be protected. Similarly, the inclination towards knowledge and understanding underpins the value of truthfulness and the prohibition against deceit.

A second line of thought centers on the unique capacity for rationality and moral reasoning in humans. This capacity enables us to discern actions that contribute to or detract from our well-being and the well-being of others. The argument here is not that all natural human behaviors are good, but that our natural capacity for reason allows us to distinguish between constructive and destructive behaviors.

Teleology and Ethics
Teleology provides a coherent framework for understanding why certain actions are morally right or wrong. Actions are right insofar as they contribute to realizing the natural ends of human beings, such as life, health, knowledge, and sociability. This teleological perspective shifts the focus of moral evaluation from merely assessing the consequences of actions (a consequentialist approach to ethics) to understanding actions in the context of their contribution to fulfilling human nature’s inherent purposes.

Natural Law as a Guide
Natural Law, informed by an understanding of natural inclinations and purpose, serves as a guide for creating ethical systems and legal frameworks that promote human flourishing. It offers a set of moral norms that are grounded in the objective reality of human nature, rather than subjective opinion or social convention. For instance, laws that protect the vulnerable, ensure the fair distribution of resources, and promote justice can be seen as reflections of the moral norms derived from the natural ends of safeguarding life and fostering a thriving community.

2. Universality of Moral Principles: This is the understanding how the moral norms derived from natural inclinations and ends claim universality—applying to all human beings regardless of cultural, historical, or individual differences. This universality is a hallmark of Natural Law theory, which posits that because these norms are rooted in human nature itself, they transcend subjective and cultural variability.

Rational Discovery
Moral principles are not dictated by authority or tradition but are discoverable through the use of reason. By reflecting on human nature and its inclinations, individuals can arrive at an understanding of the moral norms that guide us toward flourishing. This rational process underscores the universal applicability of these norms, as reason is a faculty shared by all humans.

Resistance to Relativism
The universality of moral principles derived from natural inclinations offers a more robust framework for ethics—one that affirms the existence of objective standards of right and wrong. This stance challenges the notion that moral truths are entirely socially constructed or subjectively determined.

Reliance on the Idea of Teleology
The universality of moral principles, grounded in the teleological nature of human inclinations and the pursuit of objective goods, underscores a coherent vision of ethics that is both natural and rational. This vision offers a foundation for understanding morality and law as reflections of the inherent purposes within human nature, aiming at the universal flourishing of humanity. By embracing a teleological perspective, we acknowledge that the moral fabric of our lives is woven from the universal threads of natural inclinations and ends, guiding us toward a common good that transcends individual and cultural differences.

In summary, the teleological framework of Natural Law illuminates the basis for universal moral principles, showing how they emerge from the natural ends intrinsic to human nature. This approach provides a robust foundation for ethical universality, rooted in the shared teleology of human flourishing.

SYLLOGISM (deductive)

We can write the following syllogism as a summary of the arguments present above.

P1: All systems and entities that exhibit complex, interdependent organization and processes directed towards specific ends (telos) are best understood through a teleological framework that identifies these ends as inherent purposes within the system or entity.

P2: Human nature is characterized by innate inclinations towards certain universal ends (objective goods), such as life, knowledge, sociability, and moral integrity, which are expressions of complex, interdependent processes directed towards the flourishing and well-being of humans.

Conclusion: Therefore, the principles that govern human actions (moral norms) towards achieving these universal ends are best understood through a teleological framework, making these norms objective and rooted in the inherent purposes of human nature.
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-09-2024, 05:35 PM)Dānu Wrote:
(02-09-2024, 05:22 PM)SteveII Wrote: Costs, risks and trauma that is a result of their own actions and should not be remedied by the killing of a unborn human.

I have a friend in a local humanist organization who argues, from a consequentialist perspective, that the question of what is moral is dependent upon the goodness of the actual result, rather than the expected result.  Thus, a person who drives through a stop sign and crashes into a car, killing five people, has behaved more immorally than someone who does the same but manages not to harm anyone.  I mention this because I think your complaint about women being responsible for unintended pregnancies involves something similar in that you are conflating unintended consequences with intentional consequences.  While a woman may use contraception and still get pregnant, someone practicing less effective contraceptive techniques may avoid pregnancy.  My question to you is, are we responsible, morally, for unintended consequences?  Or, instead, are we morally responsible for the expected outcome of our actions, dependent upon our ability to act in ways consistent with our intentions?  It would seem that if the moral significance of free will is to have any meaning, one would have to cleave to the latter rather than the former.

I think we are responsible for unintended consequences to the extent that that consequences were known to be a possibility. To borrow the concept from the legal system, you are held responsible for unintended consequences if a reasonable person could foresee them--called negligence. The person that runs the stop sign and kills all the people will go to jail and the one that did so at most will get an expensive ticket. In both scenarios, the legal system recognize that both were morally responsible for their actions (jail/fine). If you escape the ticket, it does not change the morality of the situation.

The question then comes what are the moral implications when there are consequences that you could not reasonably foresee. If you bump an outlet plug loose that results in an electrical fire later that night that kills people in your apartment building, are you morally responsible? I don't think so.

Getting pregnant is a foreseeable possibility so extrapolating the principle above the woman is morally responsible for her condition.
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
Just a quick note, teleology in biology and Aristotle concern its role in explanation. That it is useful in an explanatory sense doesn't justify appealing to it as a standalone principle, or as a causative one, and even if it did, it's the wrong kind of ought, as function and teleological oughts are not moral ones. I may say more at another time, but your argument here, even if valid, doesn't address the central problem, that you're appealing to instrumentally useful goods instead of moral ones.

I'll also note in passing that you didn't bother to respond to the standard objections to teleological explanations. Ignoring defeaters only suggests that your argument is too weak to accommodate them.
Mountain-high though the difficulties appear, terrible and gloomy though all things seem, they are but Mâyâ.
Fear not — it is banished. Crush it, and it vanishes. Stamp upon it, and it dies.


Vivekananda
The following 2 users Like Dānu's post:
  • epronovost, pattylt
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-16-2024, 08:59 PM)SteveII Wrote:
(02-09-2024, 05:35 PM)Dānu Wrote: I have a friend in a local humanist organization who argues, from a consequentialist perspective, that the question of what is moral is dependent upon the goodness of the actual result, rather than the expected result.  Thus, a person who drives through a stop sign and crashes into a car, killing five people, has behaved more immorally than someone who does the same but manages not to harm anyone.  I mention this because I think your complaint about women being responsible for unintended pregnancies involves something similar in that you are conflating unintended consequences with intentional consequences.  While a woman may use contraception and still get pregnant, someone practicing less effective contraceptive techniques may avoid pregnancy.  My question to you is, are we responsible, morally, for unintended consequences?  Or, instead, are we morally responsible for the expected outcome of our actions, dependent upon our ability to act in ways consistent with our intentions?  It would seem that if the moral significance of free will is to have any meaning, one would have to cleave to the latter rather than the former.

I think we are responsible for unintended consequences to the extent that that consequences were known to be a possibility. To borrow the concept from the legal system, you are held responsible for unintended consequences if a reasonable person could foresee them--called negligence. The person that runs the stop sign and kills all the people will go to jail and the one that did so at most will get an expensive ticket. In both scenarios, the legal system recognize that both were morally responsible for their actions (jail/fine).  If you escape the ticket, it does not change the morality of the situation.

The question then comes what are the moral implications when there are consequences that you could not reasonably foresee. If you bump an outlet plug loose that results in an electrical fire later that night that kills people in your apartment building, are you morally responsible? I don't think so.

Getting pregnant is a foreseeable possibility so extrapolating the principle above the woman is morally responsible for her condition.

Getting food poisoning is a foreseeable consequence of eating cooked food, yet we wouldn't hold a woman culpable for the unintended death of one of her children due to food poisoning. I can't agree that the reasonably foreseeable standard regarding legal negligence is appropriate as sex is a natural and essential activity in human bonding, so you're essentially suggesting that we eliminate a major chunk of human nature. It's akin to saying that being a homosexual is okay so long as you don't have sex. It's both anti-human and contrary to natural law.
Mountain-high though the difficulties appear, terrible and gloomy though all things seem, they are but Mâyâ.
Fear not — it is banished. Crush it, and it vanishes. Stamp upon it, and it dies.


Vivekananda
The following 2 users Like Dānu's post:
  • epronovost, pattylt
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
Anyway, this natural law approach is speculation on the back of a concept of teleology which is questionable and using a bad interpretation of reasonably foreseeable. And that's before even demonstrating any particulars.

I'd say that you have failed to make a case that is even reasonably convincing.

Btw, I'm still waiting upon your definition of inherent potential. You seem to like the word inherent, given how often you gratuitously throw it in.
Mountain-high though the difficulties appear, terrible and gloomy though all things seem, they are but Mâyâ.
Fear not — it is banished. Crush it, and it vanishes. Stamp upon it, and it dies.


Vivekananda
The following 2 users Like Dānu's post:
  • pattylt, brewerb
Reply

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(02-09-2024, 03:12 PM)Dānu Wrote:
(02-09-2024, 02:20 PM)SteveII Wrote: I answered your blueprint analogy a while back. A blueprint is not analogous to the issue because a blueprint has no inherent potential. It is an idea, a concept of something that is not the blueprint. A fetus is a separate living entity already in a normal developmental arc that every one of us has gone through.

Can you define 'inherent potential' for me?  It doesn't seem that a fetus has any inherent potential either as without an activator and supply of resources, it's as inert as the blueprint.

Inherent refers to qualities, properties, or principles that are naturally part of something's essence or fundamental nature. They are not imposed from the outside, acquired, or contingent upon external factors, but are integral and indispensable to the being or system in question. So inherent potential is not potentials that are added over time or through external influence but are essential possibilities awaiting actualization as part of the entity's essence.

In the case of a fetus, the concept ties back to teleology. The normal arc of development is not random, it his highly directed with a clear goal. If teleology has any bearing on grounding rights, it has to start at the beginning of this well-understood process. Both an activator and a supply of resources are externalities and therefore excluded from the concept.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)