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A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
#51

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
You want to save fetuses? Find a way to incubate them outside a woman's body.

The religions will never allow it if they can prevent this. I’m not sure exactly where Protestants will fall on this possibility, likely condemn it as “against god or unnatural “. Catholics already forbid their sheep from most fertility treatments (yet often encourage guilt for not having children). No Republican will go along with financing artificial wombs so it will only be an option for the wealthy. They certainly won’t like people of color utilizing it.

Steve, your parents had the option for abortion…mine did not. I was placed up for adoption at three days. Had I been aborted, I really wouldn’t have an opinion one way or the other so it’s a moot point. Your parents kept you, mine gave me away and I have no idea how my life would have been if they kept me, either.

I just want all these pro birthers to start addressing the societal problems on why women decide to abort before outlawing the procedure and yet, who fights against every legislation that might help? The religious and the Republicans. Put some money where your mouth is.

Also, you mentioned being involved in charities that help women carry to term. Is your charity (any of them) capable of taking care of all the women that need help? Have you asked them if they’re capable of helping thousands of women? Answer is they aren’t. They fill in little niches that government programs often fail to address. Your charities are a drop in the ocean.
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#52

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-23-2024, 11:42 PM)pattylt Wrote: Also, you [Steve] mentioned being involved in charities that help women carry to term.  Is your charity (any of them) capable of taking care of all the women that need help?  Have you asked them if they’re capable of helping thousands of women?  Answer is they aren’t.  They fill in little niches that government programs often fail to address.  Your charities are a drop in the ocean.

An especially meaningless "drop" if they don't also help support the woman until the unwanted child reaches the age of majority.  Easy to throw a bottle of off-brand prenatal vitamins, some secondhand clothes and a box of donated canned goods at an unhappily pregnant woman and put her up in a church-owned rooming house, and cut and run as soon as the baby is born.  Bargain-basement virtue signalling when what's needed is a safe, inexpensive housing, a living wage, decent childcare, and dependable and affordable birth control.
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#53

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
We have some very articulate women on this board.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#54

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 01:13 AM)Minimalist Wrote: We have some very articulate women on this board.

While some men have seen the trials a pregnant woman goes through, most are oblivious to the 9 month process.  From stretch marks and hemorrhoids to gastric issues and long labor there isn’t anything pleasant about pregnancy in general…not mention the life threatening conditions that can happen in a moments notice.

It’s been said if men were the ones to get pregnant, the human race would have died out thousands of years ago.  Also, if men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.
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#55

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
And there would be an abortion clinic on every corner instead of a Starbucks!
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#56

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-23-2024, 02:54 PM)SteveII Wrote:
(01-22-2024, 08:11 PM)Dānu Wrote: I believe it's already been pointed out to you that as you define the terms, premise 1 is not necessarily true.  Thus your syllogism is inconclusive.  

Inconclusive? While I agree that without religion, intrinsic value is not necessary, we can still reason into a contingent truth. It seems to me that to deny P1 is a heavy price to pay to undercut the anti-abortion argument.

Quote:And no, it's not been determined scientifically that human life begins at conception as there is no consensus on the definition of life, much less human life.  It has been scientifically proven that post-conception the organism is human life as you have chosen to define it, but that's a non-sequitur as it involves both arbitrary choices and equivocation.

There is plenty of consensus about the science and I outlined some of that in my support for 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.

In the fields of biology, developmental biology and embryology, the consensus is pretty firm. The denial that this describes life is more ideologically based than scientific.

First, the embryo is a) growing, b) metabolizing, c) responding to stimuli, and d)reproducing cells. It seems to me that this is a basic definition of something living. Further, you can't confuse the mother's function with the embryos because we can develop viable embryo artificially outside the womb for weeks. What you seem to want to do is layer additional requirements for life in this case and that seems more than a little ad hoc don't you think?

Second, to deny this is life on a ideological basis entails proposing an alternative. Obviously at some point within the gestational window, the unborn human has basically all the traits of a new born. No one denies a newborn is alive so the viable fetus must be alive. Going backwards, what particular cell division would put it over the line? Every point going back is needlessly arbitrary made purely to further some agenda.

There are many thousands of children that die for the lack of organ donations across the country and around the world. If life is so important to you, particularly the life of a child, I propose that the government force you to go down to a hospital and donate blood, bone marrow, your DNA, a kidney, part of your liver and skin cells to save the life of a child.  Not doing so, not giving up your body to save the live of a child is, according to your worldview, murdering children.   If you or any of you anti abortionists don't want to participate in forced organ donation because it violates your bodily autonomy, well.....tough shit.   

As an anti abortionist bodily autonomy isn't important to you, so I'm sure, acutally I'm super positive that you'll hightail it down to your local hospital and donate a section of a liver to save the life of this child. (  /s ) Not doing so is not your choice Stevie, because not donating so is tantamount to murder.

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#57

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-22-2024, 07:00 PM)SteveII Wrote: 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

However, killing a "guilty" human being is perfectly admissible and morally just, right? The guilty here would be the mother whose life is at risk if she were to be forced to carry the unborn fetus to term.
“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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#58

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 01:57 AM)pattylt Wrote:
(01-24-2024, 01:13 AM)Minimalist Wrote: We have some very articulate women on this board.

While some men have seen the trials a pregnant woman goes through, most are oblivious to the 9 month process.  From stretch marks and hemorrhoids to gastric issues and long labor there isn’t anything pleasant about pregnancy in general…not mention the life threatening conditions that can happen in a moments notice.

It’s been said if men were the ones to get pregnant, the human race would have died out thousands of years ago.  Also, if men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

Well, actually, if men got pregnant, they would be women. And nothing much would change. They would have to have all the same physiological adaptions to reproduction. "Men" and "Women" would just be the same as there are today, possibly using different words.
Never try to catch a dropped kitchen knife!
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#59

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 06:31 AM)Cavebear Wrote:
(01-24-2024, 01:57 AM)pattylt Wrote: While some men have seen the trials a pregnant woman goes through, most are oblivious to the 9 month process.  From stretch marks and hemorrhoids to gastric issues and long labor there isn’t anything pleasant about pregnancy in general…not mention the life threatening conditions that can happen in a moments notice.

It’s been said if men were the ones to get pregnant, the human race would have died out thousands of years ago.  Also, if men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

Well, actually, if men got pregnant, they would be women.  And nothing much would change.  They would have to have all the same physiological adaptions to reproduction.  "Men" and "Women" would just be the same as there are today, possibly using different words.

If only our species were hermaphroditic, what a wonderful world it would be. Chuckle
Being told you're delusional does not necessarily mean you're mental. 
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#60

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 06:31 AM)Cavebear Wrote: Well, actually, if men got pregnant, they would be women.  And nothing much would change.  They would have to have all the same physiological adaptions to reproduction.  "Men" and "Women" would just be the same as there are today, possibly using different words.

Not if the woman donates the egg like seahorses do.
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#61

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-23-2024, 03:52 PM)Dānu Wrote:
(01-23-2024, 02:54 PM)SteveII Wrote: Inconclusive? While I agree that without religion, intrinsic value is not necessary, we can still reason into a contingent truth. It seems to me that to deny P1 is a heavy price to pay to undercut the anti-abortion argument.

That's likely because you don't understand what is being denied.  Your P1 can be interpreted one of two ways.  Either it is referring to all points in a human's existence from conception until death, in which there is considerable consensus that such is true at points past birth, but not at points as early as a few minutes after conception.  Since there is no consensus on it at that point, it isn't necessarily true at that point.  If I were arguing that it were never true, that is what you think would be significant to give up.  But I am not arguing that.  Alternatively, it could be interpreted in the usual sense as referring to the life of a human who has already been born.  There is reasonable consensus on that, but then the terms you are using don't match those used in premise two and the syllogism falls apart.

So the only reason that you think I am arguing to pay a heavy price is because you have fallen for your own sophistry, conflating giving up the idea of specific rights attaching at a specific period as giving up rights for all periods.  But this is the fundamental equivocation that pro-life arguments depend upon.  Confusing the denial that humans in specific phases of their development have certain rights with denying that humans have those rights at all stages of development.  They don't, and whether they should or have is a question for debate.  You have confused yourself with the confusion with which you intended to ensnare others.

(01-23-2024, 02:54 PM)SteveII Wrote: There is plenty of consensus about the science and I outlined some of that in my support for 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.

In the fields of biology, developmental biology and embryology, the consensus is pretty firm. The denial that this describes life is more ideologically based than scientific.

First, the embryo is a) growing, b) metabolizing, c) responding to stimuli, and d)reproducing cells. It seems to me that this is a basic definition of something living. Further, you can't confuse the mother's function with the embryos because we can develop viable embryo artificially outside the womb for weeks. What you seem to want to do is layer additional requirements for life in this case and that seems more than a little ad hoc don't you think?

Second, to deny this is life on a ideological basis entails proposing an alternative. Obviously at some point within the gestational window, the unborn human has basically all the traits of a new born. No one denies a newborn is alive so the viable fetus must be alive. Going backwards, what particular cell division would put it over the line? Every point going back is needlessly arbitrary made purely to further some agenda.

"A human's life" and a human life are not necessarily synonymous terms.  Regardless, the support you have provided here is a survey of opinions.  Regardless of the merit or lack thereof of their opinion, it is not itself scientific evidence, but rather a sociological result.  I'm not going to dive any deeper into your result because it isn't particularly relevant.  A human's life can be broken at many points.  A survey doesn't establish what breaking points correspond to what.  Even you acknowledge that the question is more than just when does life occur but when in that life they acquire rights.  Prior to the acquisition of rights, a human's life is human in name only.  It is not human in the sense of being a human being possessed of the dignity and rights that we accord a human being.  Until it does, referring to it with the terms "human life" and "human being" is just a cheap bit of word games. Again, you're trying to conflate the terms of human life and human being as they are applied at other points in the organism's development with applying them at this point, which is a bit of sophistry.  

As to the alternative, I think Roe had the right idea, though I think many would be amenable to a conservative estimate of when viability begins, provided suitable exceptions and means of enabling those exceptions apply.  In fact, I can present a counter-argument as to why this applies.  Prior to viability and prior to birth, the organism enjoys no real personal autonomy, as it is tied to it's mother.  After such time, though the organism may still be dependent on others, it can get what it needs from multiple others and so for the first time in its life enjoys some measure of personal autonomy.  It is at this point that the organism attains the ability to exercise its will, something it didn't have before.  Free will and the significance of choice are what define human life more than any other.  We do not afford other animals the same right as humans because they lack this fundamental ability.  If natural law has any validity, then it makes just as much sense to mark the origin of rights as the point at which the organism attains the necessary conditions for such.

First, thanks for the thoughtful and complete response. I appreciate the time it took. You are a gifted thinker and it is shame you have chosen to use your gifts for evil (just kidding about the evil part).

So as not to equivocate between 'human life' and 'human being', I'll use the word 'personhood'.

You bring up (and defend) the idea of 'personhood' as a separate thing from being alive. The question is is this an appropriate concept? If the concept is true, we have to set a boundary when personhood begins. If it is not true, then no such boundary exists. I reject the concept that personhood is distinct from life (regardless of any previous ill-formed sentences where I might have used the word 'grant').

I recognize this in P3:  Starting at conception, human life has inherent dignity and value [from (P1) (P2)] and laid out the following three points as support:

• 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).

As an addendum, here are additional, more formal definitions, reasons and arguments for rejecting the idea that personhood is distinct concept separate from human life:

HUMAN LIFE
There are main two schools of thought on when human life begins. The first is upon fertilization (conception):

"...human life begins when sperm and eggs fuse to give rise to a single cell human zygote whose genetic individuality and uniqueness remain unchanged during normal development is widely supported. Because the zygote has the capacity to become an adult human individual, it is thought it must be one already. The same zygote organizes itself into an embryo, a foetus, a child and an adult. By this account, the zygote is an actual human individual and not simple a potential one in much the same way as an infant is an actual human person with potential to develop to maturity and not just a potential person. As Scarpelli pointed out recently outside the realm of religious dogma, there has been no one, whose existence can be traced back to any entity other than the fertilized egg. The biological line of existence of each individual, without exception begins precisely when fertilization of the egg is successful." Source

and the second is implantation:

"...one largely accepted opinion is that until the 14th day from fertilization or at least, until implantation -the human embryo may not be considered, from the ontological point of view, as an individual." Source

While I subscribe to the fertilization (conception) point of view, my arguments do not suffer if the implantation definition is used. The idea that human life begins at some later phase than that is not mainstream and need not be addressed.

FURTHER REASONS & ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF P3

Continuity of Identity: From conception to natural death, there is a continuous biological and genetic identity. This continuity suggests a constant 'personhood' as the individual evolves and develops, supporting the idea that personhood is not a status acquired at a certain stage but an inherent attribute of human existence. For example, it makes sense to say 'I would have been aborted if my mother's family had not been Catholic.' This statement implicitly recognizes the continuity of my identity from conception onwards, unlike the phrase 'The fetus that would become me would have been aborted...' which implies a transformation into 'me' at some later stage. From conception, there has been no separate entity; the fetus was always 'me' in a fundamental, unbroken continuum of personhood.

Potentiality Principle: The potential to develop characteristics typically associated with personhood (rationality, consciousness, moral agency) exists from the moment of conception. This potentiality is a significant factor in ascribing moral and ethical value to human life at all stages. Even a newborn has not achieved any significant level of abilities (way less than the family pet) yet we recognize tremendous value. The reason is bound up in the concept of potential.

Intrinsic Value and Dignity: Rooting personhood in inherent potential aligns with the view that human life has intrinsic value and dignity (Natural Law) and not conferred by external attributes (like capabilities or consciousness) but are inherent in the human condition. If you claim personhood is an attainment, you are no longer talking about intrinsic value.

Arbitrary Line-Drawing: Defining personhood based on developmental milestones (like viability or birth) is inherently arbitrary. There is no clear, objective point at which a developing human suddenly acquires personhood, suggesting that it's more philosophically consistent to recognize personhood from the outset.

Equal Moral Status: Assigning personhood based on developmental criteria creates a hierarchy of human value, which contradicts the principle of equal moral status inherent in all human beings. Recognizing personhood from conception is consistent with the idea of inherent equality. If personhood is based on certain developed capabilities (like self-awareness or autonomy), it raises ethical concerns about the status of those who lack these capabilities (like individuals with severe disabilities or in a comatose state). This leads to a slippery slope where the value of some lives could be diminished.

Relativism and Subjectivity: Related to the previous point, basing personhood on developmental or functional abilities introduces a level of relativism and subjectivity into moral and ethical judgments about human life. It leads to a fluctuating standard of personhood, dependent on evolving scientific understanding and societal norms. For example, it is only our advances in science that tells us that the unborn feels pain, when consciousness milestones happen. Other advances move the viability line further and further back. Prior to Casey, we killed countless fetuses that would be considered 'persons' today and worthy of rights. A concept as important as 'personhood' should not be so dependent.

Responsibility and Care Ethic: Recognizing personhood from conception is consistent with a responsibility and a care ethic towards all stages of human life. It encourages a societal attitude of care and protection for the vulnerable, reflecting a deep commitment to the value of human life--leading to a more compassionate and caring society. Denying personhood fosters attitudes that devalue human life. Canada's evolving euthanasia laws, which increasingly permit assisted death in broader circumstances, illustrates what happens when society starts to devalue certain stages or conditions of human life. There are documented cases where health care professionals suggest it!

In summary, recognizing personhood from conception is not just a solidly-reasoned philosophical stance, but a commitment to recognizing and upholding the inherent dignity and potential in every stage of human life--striving for a consistent application of the principles. We need to appreciate the full spectrum of human existence and ensure that our ethical frameworks are not swayed by the changing winds of societal and/or scientific trends, but are anchored in the principles of equality, dignity, and respect for all human beings.
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#62

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-23-2024, 11:00 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(01-23-2024, 04:37 PM)SteveII Wrote: The premise clearly states "Human life begins at conception" -- which is scientifically established.

That is all I need for the argument.

And human beings are different than "human life."  Human beings have legal rights, mere human life does not.  A scab which I pull off is human life.  So you are equivocating to make your argument, which is why it is not convincing to me and others on this forum.

You need to make an argument which encompasses human beings, and you can't do that without religious assumptions.

See my reply just above to Danu--particularly the definition of Human Life section. It clearly excludes your scab example with a little more nuance the subject deserves--as does the Continuity of Identity and the Potentiality Principle sections. You're also welcome to comment on any of the other points I made.
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#63

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-23-2024, 01:27 PM)Mathilda Wrote: Forced-birthers condone slavery in principle.

They advocate that women should be forced into motherhood and therefore forced to perform work to look after a child.

If you don't believe in body autonomy in principle as a fundamental human right then you are saying that there are classes of people who should not have it. You may argue that's not the same as advocating for slavery but you'd be assuming that who shouldn't have full body autonomy won't change.

It will always change.

Whether it's forced labour for mothers, prisoners or slaves, or limitations on how you look after your own health, or being harvested for your internal organs.

How sure are you that it won't later also include you?

None of us are free until all of us are free.

Unlike other situations where bodily autonomy is invoked (like slavery), pregnancy represents a unique biological relationship where the decisions of one individual (the mother) directly affect the survival of another (the unborn child). To deny this is not only a category error, but a complete lack of nuance for one of the most fundamental aspects of being human. You also totally disregard there is some sense of agency for the women in her condition.

Also, you have a definition of slavery problem. Preventing a mother from killing her unborn offspring has none of the main characteristic of slavery.

Forced Labor: Compelling individuals to work through the use of violence, intimidation, or other forms of coercion.
Dehumanization: Treating individuals as property or commodities rather than as human beings.
Lack of Autonomy: Denying individuals the right to make decisions about their own lives and bodies.
Legal Ownership: In many historical instances, enslaved people were legally considered property of their owners.

The only one you have is a limited lack of autonomy. Equating it with pregnancy does a huge injustice to those that actually have suffered from it.
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#64

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Unlike other situations where bodily autonomy is invoked (like slavery), pregnancy represents a unique biological relationship where the decisions of one individual (the mother) directly affect the survival of another (the unborn child).

Incorrect. The foetus is not an individual


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: You also totally disregard there is some sense of agency for the women in her condition.

Being a slave doesn't mean you have zero agency but the consequences of using it are costly and prohibitive. Same with a pregnant woman looking to get an illegal abortion.


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Also, you have a definition of slavery problem. Preventing a mother from killing her unborn offspring has none of the main characteristic of slavery.

Incorrect. In fact you go on to list exactly how a woman forced to become a mother has exactly the main characteristics of slavery ...


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Forced Labor: Compelling individuals to work through the use of violence, intimidation, or other forms of coercion.

Incorrect. I explained how forcing a woman to be a mother forces her to perform work. How do you think you are going to stop women having abortions if not through violence, intimidation or other forms of coercion?


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Dehumanization: Treating individuals as property or commodities rather than as human beings.

Which is exactly how forced birthers treat women, as baby making machines in a traditional marriage performing domestic work rather than as individuals with skills and aspirations.


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Lack of Autonomy: Denying individuals the right to make decisions about their own lives and bodies.

Which is exactly what forced birthers are doing to women, denying them the right to make decisions about their own lives and bodies and forcing them to become mothers.


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Legal Ownership: In many historical instances, enslaved people were legally considered property of their owners.

Women used to be considered property of their husbands and forced birthers predominantly advocate for a return to traditional marriages. Forcing a woman to become a mother forces her to become dependent on someone else to provide an income. This can therefore force her to be with an abusive husband who treats her as property when she would otherwise have had the means to leave.


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: The only one you have is a limited lack of autonomy. Equating it with pregnancy does a huge injustice to those that actually have suffered from it.

Incorrect. You just listed all the ways that forced birthers advocate for the slavery of women.

Forced birthers condone slavery.
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#65

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 09:23 PM)SteveII Wrote: You're also welcome to comment on any of the other points I made.

In my opinion, you are arguing that a blueprint is the same as a home which is already built and occupied.  Whether you acknowledge it or not, that is the difference between religious and materialist interpretations of what a human being actually is.

You have stated your own opinion adequately.  The problem is that you can't register our disagreements as valid.  This is why religious people strike so many atheists as self-righteous and arrogant.  Theists think their mere opinions should overrule others.
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#66

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
But being wrong never stopped them from running their mouths.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#67

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 11:03 PM)Minimalist Wrote: But being wrong never stopped them from running their mouths.

I don’t necessarily think Steve is wrong to feel about abortion as he does.  What he can’t accept is that many others don’t think the same way and are unmoved by his arguments. If certain people consider a product of conception as something that should never be aborted, I’m ok with this point of view.  What I can not tolerate is presumption that we must agree with him and follow his laws.  Sorry, I do not view the fetus as deserving any special rights especially over the mother’s free will for autonomy. It’s the “you must think the same as me” crap that is completely unacceptable.

When someone commits a crime, we assume it has a detriment to society in some fashion.  When a mother has an abortion, the only person it might be detrimental to is herself…that’s why she makes that decision for herself and, believe me, no woman takes it lightly.  Society isn’t involved.
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#68

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 09:16 PM)SteveII Wrote: Continuity of Identity: From conception to natural death, there is a continuous biological and genetic identity. This continuity suggests a constant 'personhood' as the individual evolves and develops, supporting the idea that personhood is not a status acquired at a certain stage but an inherent attribute of human existence. For example, it makes sense to say 'I would have been aborted if my mother's family had not been Catholic.' This statement implicitly recognizes the continuity of my identity from conception onwards, unlike the phrase 'The fetus that would become me would have been aborted...' which implies a transformation into 'me' at some later stage. From conception, there has been no separate entity; the fetus was always 'me' in a fundamental, unbroken continuum of personhood.

The continuity of identity is a proposition that draws it's origin on the philosophy of the mind. It's actually something that relate to our mental experiences and memory to assess that who we are is based on the continuous thought and memory we form of ourselves. It states that basically our person is our mind; this proposition is actually in opposition to the idea that the fetus is a person since it doesn't have a consciousness. Also, a mind and concept of identity is not determined predominantly or even mainly by genes alone; this genetical essentialism has been soundly rejected decades ago. It's not related to genetic identity at all and using it as such is ridiculous since it would imply that if I give or receive blood (or an organ), have body chimerism (rather common, especially for women) that I am in several places at the same time since there is a full copy of my DNA in all of my cells. I suppose that, according to your usage of that theory, I am on my chair, in my workplace in about a dozen people on my husband and on my dogs all at once. It seems I am a busier guy than I thought.  

PS: I would note that in your example, both sentence are used by people depending on their beliefs. It's not really indicative of anything.

Quote:Potentiality Principle: The potential to develop characteristics typically associated with personhood (rationality, consciousness, moral agency) exists from the moment of conception. This potentiality is a significant factor in ascribing moral and ethical value to human life at all stages. Even a newborn has not achieved any significant level of abilities (way less than the family pet) yet we recognize tremendous value. The reason is bound up in the concept of potential.

Potentiality principle doesn't equal nor supersede the actuality principle, on the contrary. A potential (something that could be, but might not be) is always treated as inferior, less important, of lower order than an actual (something that is). By presenting this argument you are ascribing a lower order of value to a fetus than a human being because they are only a potential person. Thus, while you might make the argument that fetuses should have rights, those rights will always be considered as inferior to the rights and interest of women since women's nature and dignity is actual while the fetuses' are only potential. Thus, in a position where a women's fundamental right to liberty and body autonomy conflicts with a fetus right to life, a woman should always triumph because of the potentiality principle.

If you want to make a moral argument that women must carry to term a fetus because the fetus has rights, never ever imply that the fetus should have rights by the virtue that it has the potential to develop those characteristics. You must make the case that the fetus possesses the same characteristics than a woman else we will always priories the later over the former in every conflict. 

A baby, being not an adult, has less rights than an adult precisely because they do not have many characteristics of adults. That's why they have no political, judicial and plenty of other social rights. They simply don't have the characteristics to act upon those rights, but they do have a series of rights including a right to life and safety as well as rights that adults don't have since they don't need them like a right to a caregiver. The baby has a right to life because he exist as an individual, has a consciousness, human feelings and emotions. A fetus doesn't have those traits. It doesn't possess, at that moment, the traits, even at an "embryonic stage", that grants, according to you, human life special value, but a baby does. A baby seeks truth because they are curious of everything; a baby learns. A fetus cannot, at least, not until late in their development, well after abortions are taken. Thus, a fetus doesn't have one of the trait that makes human life special and valuable according to you (seeking truth in that case).
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#69

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 10:25 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(01-24-2024, 09:23 PM)SteveII Wrote: You're also welcome to comment on any of the other points I made.

In my opinion, you are arguing that a blueprint is the same as a home which is already built and occupied.  Whether you acknowledge it or not, that is the difference between religious and materialist interpretations of what a human being actually is.

You have stated your own opinion adequately.  The problem is that you can't register our disagreements as valid.  This is why religious people strike so many atheists as self-righteous and arrogant.  Theists think their mere opinions should overrule others.

God damnit Alan, I wrote like 7 pages worth of word vomit and you just managed to say more and better than me in two frinkin' lines.
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#70

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
Quote:I don’t necessarily think Steve is wrong to feel about abortion as he does.


I don't give a shit about any religitard's "feelings" when they are trying to shove their god up my ass.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#71

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 10:09 PM)Mathilda Wrote:
(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Unlike other situations where bodily autonomy is invoked (like slavery), pregnancy represents a unique biological relationship where the decisions of one individual (the mother) directly affect the survival of another (the unborn child).

Incorrect. The foetus is not an individual


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: You also totally disregard there is some sense of agency for the women in her condition.

Being a slave doesn't mean you have zero agency but the consequences of using it are costly and prohibitive. Same with a pregnant woman looking to get an illegal abortion.


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Also, you have a definition of slavery problem. Preventing a mother from killing her unborn offspring has none of the main characteristic of slavery.

Incorrect. In fact you go on to list exactly how a woman forced to become a mother has exactly the main characteristics of slavery ...


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Forced Labor: Compelling individuals to work through the use of violence, intimidation, or other forms of coercion.

Incorrect. I explained how forcing a woman to be a mother forces her to perform work. How do you think you are going to stop women having abortions if not through violence, intimidation or other forms of coercion?


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Dehumanization: Treating individuals as property or commodities rather than as human beings.

Which is exactly how forced birthers treat women, as baby making machines in a traditional marriage performing domestic work rather than as individuals with skills and aspirations.


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Lack of Autonomy: Denying individuals the right to make decisions about their own lives and bodies.

Which is exactly what forced birthers are doing to women, denying them the right to make decisions about their own lives and bodies and forcing them to become mothers.


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Legal Ownership: In many historical instances, enslaved people were legally considered property of their owners.

Women used to be considered property of their husbands and forced birthers predominantly advocate for a return to traditional marriages. Forcing a woman to become a mother forces her to become dependent on someone else to provide an income. This can therefore force her to be with an abusive husband who treats her as property when she would otherwise have had the means to leave.


(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: The only one you have is a limited lack of autonomy. Equating it with pregnancy does a huge injustice to those that actually have suffered from it.

Incorrect. You just listed all the ways that forced birthers advocate for the slavery of women.

Forced birthers condone slavery.
Damn

Your foot just was so deep in Steves ass, it must have the size of the Lincoln Tunnel now,
R.I.P. Hannes
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#72

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
Mark Twain is disappointed with this thread.
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#73

A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 09:16 PM)SteveII Wrote:
(01-23-2024, 03:52 PM)Dānu Wrote: That's likely because you don't understand what is being denied.  Your P1 can be interpreted one of two ways.  Either it is referring to all points in a human's existence from conception until death, in which there is considerable consensus that such is true at points past birth, but not at points as early as a few minutes after conception.  Since there is no consensus on it at that point, it isn't necessarily true at that point.  If I were arguing that it were never true, that is what you think would be significant to give up.  But I am not arguing that.  Alternatively, it could be interpreted in the usual sense as referring to the life of a human who has already been born.  There is reasonable consensus on that, but then the terms you are using don't match those used in premise two and the syllogism falls apart.

So the only reason that you think I am arguing to pay a heavy price is because you have fallen for your own sophistry, conflating giving up the idea of specific rights attaching at a specific period as giving up rights for all periods.  But this is the fundamental equivocation that pro-life arguments depend upon.  Confusing the denial that humans in specific phases of their development have certain rights with denying that humans have those rights at all stages of development.  They don't, and whether they should or have is a question for debate.  You have confused yourself with the confusion with which you intended to ensnare others.


"A human's life" and a human life are not necessarily synonymous terms.  Regardless, the support you have provided here is a survey of opinions.  Regardless of the merit or lack thereof of their opinion, it is not itself scientific evidence, but rather a sociological result.  I'm not going to dive any deeper into your result because it isn't particularly relevant.  A human's life can be broken at many points.  A survey doesn't establish what breaking points correspond to what.  Even you acknowledge that the question is more than just when does life occur but when in that life they acquire rights.  Prior to the acquisition of rights, a human's life is human in name only.  It is not human in the sense of being a human being possessed of the dignity and rights that we accord a human being.  Until it does, referring to it with the terms "human life" and "human being" is just a cheap bit of word games. Again, you're trying to conflate the terms of human life and human being as they are applied at other points in the organism's development with applying them at this point, which is a bit of sophistry.  

As to the alternative, I think Roe had the right idea, though I think many would be amenable to a conservative estimate of when viability begins, provided suitable exceptions and means of enabling those exceptions apply.  In fact, I can present a counter-argument as to why this applies.  Prior to viability and prior to birth, the organism enjoys no real personal autonomy, as it is tied to it's mother.  After such time, though the organism may still be dependent on others, it can get what it needs from multiple others and so for the first time in its life enjoys some measure of personal autonomy.  It is at this point that the organism attains the ability to exercise its will, something it didn't have before.  Free will and the significance of choice are what define human life more than any other.  We do not afford other animals the same right as humans because they lack this fundamental ability.  If natural law has any validity, then it makes just as much sense to mark the origin of rights as the point at which the organism attains the necessary conditions for such.

First, thanks for the thoughtful and complete response. I appreciate the time it took. You are a gifted thinker and it is shame you have chosen to use your gifts for evil (just kidding about the evil part).

Show ContentSpoiler:

Steve, thank you for your response. However, I think this would be a good place to bring my discussion of abortion with you to a close.

Perhaps your other interlocutors may be interested in exploring these issues with you further. Good luck with your discussion.
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
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A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 10:09 PM)Mathilda Wrote:
(01-24-2024, 09:52 PM)SteveII Wrote: Unlike other situations where bodily autonomy is invoked (like slavery), pregnancy represents a unique biological relationship where the decisions of one individual (the mother) directly affect the survival of another (the unborn child).

Incorrect. The foetus is not an individual

I just wrote over 1000 words on why it is. Your entire opinion requires denying personhood to the unborn human. You have to do a little better than a simple assertion and address at least some of the philosophical concerns. A case for the 'Personhood of the fetus' is a rebutting defeater for your rather unnuanced bodily autonomy argument. What you are doing is just providing more extreme bodily autonomy rhetoric--which does not defeat the defeater. More information on what a defeater is.
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A Non-Religious Case Against Abortion
(01-24-2024, 10:25 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(01-24-2024, 09:23 PM)SteveII Wrote: You're also welcome to comment on any of the other points I made.

In my opinion, you are arguing that a blueprint is the same as a home which is already built and occupied.  Whether you acknowledge it or not, that is the difference between religious and materialist interpretations of what a human being actually is.

You have stated your own opinion adequately.  The problem is that you can't register our disagreements as valid.  This is why religious people strike so many atheists as self-righteous and arrogant.  Theists think their mere opinions should overrule others.

A blueprint is not analogous to the issue because a blueprint has no inherent potential. It is data. A fetus is a separate living entity already in a normal developmental arc that every one of us has gone through.

You really want to make this about religion don't you? That seems a little strawman-ish to me. Tell me why concepts of 'personhood' require religion.

As far me not being able to see your disagreement as being valid, it's not quite as simple as that. I think the argument for abortion is valid in the sense that you can write a simple, logically valid syllogism where the conclusion is 'abortion should be permitted'. However one of those premises must be that the fetus has not attained 'personhood' (or some version having to do with developmental milestones). Hidden or not, this premise is central to any argument for abortion--this claim must be true or you are arguing for murder.

That is the premise I am offering defeaters for. The nature of the defeaters for abortion are almost always on moral reasoning grounds. The nature of a moral disagreement is that I reject your position (premise in this case) as not true. The stakes are so high in this particular moral disagreement (life) so the abortion position is not only wrong, but incredibly harmful; which I believe entails a duty to object and take reasonable measures to right the perceived wrong. This is not a policy-level disagreement. This is a major moral disagreement.

It seems to me that if an atheist thinks people against abortion are automatically "self-righteous and arrogant", they don't actually understand a) their own arguments; b) the pro-life arguments; c) neither argument; and/or d) how arguments work.  Browsing through this thread I see all four.
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