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Open thread on episode #706…Zombie Jesus Apocalypse

Here’s the thread for today’s show, gang. As you might have guessed, there will be a bit of an undead theme in play today, as this is the day Christians everywhere celebrate the awakening of an ambulatory corpse, though surprisingly few of them recognize that he was simply the vanguard of a full-on zombie invasion of Jerusalem (Matthew 27:52-53). Why Christians don’t make more of this in their evangelism efforts I’ll never know. Seems so much better a selling point than such useless things as creationism or raging homophobia.

Matt is in Des Moines this weekend at the American Atheists convention, so it’s myself and Jen on today. As for other AXP traveling plans, I am planning on making it (with a little help from my friends) to The Amaz!ng Meeting 9 this summer, and who knows, but maybe some of us will be at this year’s Skepticon and next year’s Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne. Time will tell.


Note From Kazim, 4/27/2011:
At the request of the ACA board, I have removed the fundraising link from the paragraph above. Please be advised that Martin is not attending TAM as an “official” representative of the Atheist Community of Austin, and any contributions to him are a personal donation to an individual, and do not benefit the ACA in any way.

Comments

  1. says

    FIRST!I always contemplate the things I used to believe that I now do not. I can't get by thinking/believing somebody can raise from the dead and I really can't wrap my head around a virgin birth. All of these events with no real evidence… coulda been a quickie out back that nobody wanted to fess up to

  2. says

    Okay no, not everything is a wave. He's dreadfully misusing "duality". Light behaves dually as both particles and waves, but this in no way circumvents the problem of primacy of existence.Guh.People really should understand the physics they're trying to apply.

  3. says

    Alright, I've been watching and lurking for long enough, I feel it's about time I said something. Jen, phenomenal work on the abortion caller, the kidney analogy was perfect. It's something I'm sure I'll be using myself in future conversations. Also, people with relatively little understanding of quantum physics (myself included) should not be trying to use it as evidence for ANYTHING. It's something that is far too complex and easily misunderstood, and I've seen far too many people try to use it to scam people with vaguely scientific sounding nonsense to really take any layman who begins an argument for the supernatural with "Well, quantum physics says…" seriously at all.

  4. says

    Well said Marshall, anyone wanting to use Quantum Pysics to support anything should have a chat with Richard Feynman….Zombie Richard Feynman obviously.

  5. says

    I think some more questions should be asked of the callers before presenting them to the hosts as available to go on the air. Asking the callers if they want to read something to the hosts, then informing those callers that they will be expected to summarize the document. Asking the callers if they are making an argument involving quantum theory or solipsism, then rejecting those callers if that is the case. Flat out rejecting the crazies like today's "secret astronaut" caller; if he was even an honest call to begin with, he is not going to change his position based on speaking with the hosts, nor is the theistic audience of the show going to be swayed by debunking his claims. Rejecting the near-weekly call from Luka unless he genuinely has a new and interesting point to make.Of course, I say all this without having any idea what goes on behind the scenes at the show (and I would welcome being set straight on the issue). Perhaps the call screeners already do many of these things and these folks just slip through. Perhaps there simply aren't that many callers wanting to defend mainstream theism or bring interesting issues up for discussion (the abortion call was very interesting and the response was masterful, by the way). Perhaps I'm simply advocating from too strong a postion of personal bias when I say that I feel that most of today's callers that made it on were a waste of airtime for the show's intended goals and target audiences.

  6. says

    Quantum woo, aliens (oh, sorry, I mean extraterrestrial astronauts), and abortion. Good show!A big thanks to both Jen and Martin for the way you handled the call about abortion. Many conversations tend to head off in the direction of questions like the definition of personhood, and end up pushing aside pregnant women to a position of secondary importance. Between the two of you, you managed to hit every point that usually stands out to me as important but omitted from these conversations, and you never lost sight of the women who ultimately have to make the decision, so again, thanks! It was really nice to hear such a calm and comprehensive discussion about such a contentious issue.

  7. Martin says

    JT: I knew someone was going to go there.Rebecca: Should be ready to ship after the first of the month.Barbara_K: Yes, I deferred to Jen for most of that conversation, but I think a point that gets lost in all the debating on that subject is that most pro/anti-abortion arguments try to make simplistic what is in fact a very complex issue. This doesn't resonate especially in the minds of religious conservatives, who by their very nature are people who like issues to be unambiguous, distinctly black and white, and who are uncomfortable with nuance and gray areas.

  8. says

    This was the first time I have watched one of your shows live. I discovered the show on YouTube and really made myself go online and watch the show and I was not disappointed. I thought that the issue of abortion was handled in a mature and logical way… it actually got me thinking. Kudos.~Star

  9. says

    @School MasterI want to play that! Bloody shame my DM is an evangelical southern baptist who believes he's going to be raptured before he dies of old age. That wont stop me from sending it to him, though.

  10. says

    Thanks all for the compliments about the abortion call. I was glad we were able to get to what was really the issue behind this caller's problems with abortion, which is that he had a distorted understanding of what "abortion on demand" means. As I pointed out on the show, it does not mean that an 8 months pregnant woman can walk into an abortion clinic and say, "You know, I changed my mind. I think I'll just have an abortion." That anyone would think that, especially an atheist, is a testament to just how effective anti-choice propaganda is. Martin's observation that this is a very complex issue is spot on. And underlying all the anti-choice rhetoric is the attitude that an individual woman cannot be counted on to weigh this decision and make the right choice based on her unique situation.

  11. says

    Although the format doesn't really allow for it and things were off into weirdness, I would have liked to have heard more from Dan (I think that was his name).Inventing theories of god like that is kinda fun, from an imagination exercise standpoint. His one – that consciousness and faith make god, if not now then in the future. But since god is/will be … er, extra-temporal, just the notion that god might be means that he is now as well – is one of the cooler ones I've heard of. It's certainly elaborately constructed.Doing that sort of thing seems like a pretty common stage for people on the verge of chucking the whole god business in. Although, given the amount of die hard cranks out there with their weird theories and no sign of shifting I guess it's impossible to say.

  12. says

    Hello to all, i watched the show live for the first time yesterday and really enjoyed the Zombie theme.Got me thinking about Biblical influences on modern horror.I was made to attend a catholic school until i was eleven.So i am familiar with all the ritual cannibalism in the catholic mass.Yes its true if the "second coming" ever happened the catholics would eat Jesus. Apart from all the Zombies mentioned on the show there are legions of "Undead" who having physically ascended to Heaven presumably now orbit the Earth frozen by the vacuum of space. Waiting for us to drop our guard.So the Catholics have given us a lot of good inspiration for horror including, The Exorcist, The Oman,and lots more featuring the devil and demons and of course the miracle of transfiguration during the mass has all the congregation drinking blood so Dracula as well.

  13. says

    @Rational Jen – This has always been the most uncomfortable issue for me as a free thinker. I will never forget the pleading tone in the voice a dear friend, as I gently broke to her my unbelief and loss of faith in the script of our mutual childhood religion.She had said: "Okay, okay, maybe I can understand all that…but please tell me you would never be okay with abortion!"That hit me in the gut, hard. Hearing her state that she would have more sympathy for denying the creator of the universe than condoning the termination of a human pregnancy.It seems luckily likely that if she were to ponder the issue in deeper nuance, she might not make those same sorts of noises – the sound bite quality of her religion was doubtlessly the culprit of viewing abortion as a quantum dichotomy. Still, even for me, not bound by any religious script, abortion seems often like anything but a cut and dry issue.I often hear from proponents of choice that a woman ought be allowed to do with her own body what she chooses – which I agree with. But that assertion seems to fly over the head of the argument: anti-abortionists are contending that the unborn, regardless of their age, are not the woman's body! Please do not think I am championing that claim. I simply point it out in an attempt to illuminate one of the ways these arguments fail to actually happen at the mutual point of contention. Can you (or anyone, really) illustrate where the salient points of your own stance on the issue have their basis? Would be interesting.Thanks,fjell

  14. says

    Here's how to deal with people who bring up quantum mechanics as some sort of evidentiary support for the supernatural: ask them to describe some of the fundamental Quantum 101 textbook problems. My favorite is the 1D harmonic oscillator (that's the first one I learned). Just about everyone you encounter will have nothing to say, because they haven't studied quantum! Because if you understood the math, I don't think you'd be drawing such strange conclusions.

  15. says

    @memoryhero-As married father of 3 children two boys and a girl the oldest of whom was 21 last week and is still living here with me and my wife. I feel i know a lot about parenthood, been there bought the tee shirt so to speak. I highly recommend it. It is the single greatest thing me and Debby my wife ever did or will do.But looking back i think the reason it has been so great is because we were together and ready and both wanted to make a family.If someone is not ready for that life time commitment and that is what it is, who is anyone else to force them into it? Ultimately i think it has to be the womens choice, its unfair i know to put it all on her, but i think her actual life trumps any potential life she is carrying.Responsible adults can make these sort of decisions for themselves, how young girls who are still kids themselves cope i don't know.But i think the right of the expectant women to choose is vital.

  16. says

    @Guillaume- They have to hide the obvious B.S but although i think its great when the presenters on the show use there knowledge of the religion to make i point. I don't think we need to know all about a religion to deny it, for instance i know nothing about, Samoan Ancestor worshiping but i refute it on the grounds that i haven't got any Samoan Ancestors.

  17. says

    Haven't seen the show yet, but an looking forward to it as soon as it is available on-line.I so agree that abortion is a complex issue, it is a divisive issue, and it has many grey and subjective areas.I DIS agree with Jen that the only person with a stake or a say is the woman. Jen, you yourself say "We are not talking about an 8 month pregnant Woman saying she changed her mind". Well, what if one did? Is she exercising her right to "Weigh all the factors"? There HAVE been cases of late-term abortions for pretty arbitrary reasons.Obviously this is an extreme, as would be saying a zygote is a Human Being will full rights from conception. The truth is SOMEWHERE in between, and just where will always be subjective.What it ISN'T is a purely Atheist vs Theist debate.I would actually cite my Atheism as a factor in my discomfort at robbing someone of the ONLY life they will ever have a chance to experience.

  18. says

    Hey you guys! I'm listening to the recent Easter podcast, and if I'm right with my guess, you were called by the GREAT (Doctor's name withheld for Art) of the Church of the SubGenius! He sure as hell sounded like him. And, since [name redacted] managed to fake his own death and resurrection at an X-Day festival, [;)]I have just as much reason to think he was serious or being funny. (Why can't it be both?) My recommendation is to fondly accept his calls in the future. The Church has among its members many reverends, popes and Imams who are fans of your show. They may object to the FSM doll, as it's a symbol of a rival cult, but the Church is for nonbelievers, and people who will believe ANYTHING.

  19. sans_Dieu says

    A christian (I suppose) responded to my question about the zombies, that they were not zombies but resurrected people. Well, if you put it that way…

  20. says

    To the last caller: Falsifying a strong disbelief in God is possible. What does "God" mean? An agency, which calls itself "Gawd", outside this solar system, which heals sick people, who pray to it? Each of these steps could be demonstrated, if any of them were true. The first three items can be demonstrated by burning a holy message from "Gawd" into the night sky. The last two could have been demonstrated by modern statistics. It's not that atheists would refuse to believe the evidence, it's that the religious don't really believe in powerful interventionist gods.Don't get stuck trying to falsify disbelief in a term which is not coherently defined.

  21. says

    I look at it this way. Pregnancy is a medical condition that affects the health of the woman who is pregnant. Therefore, the decisions she makes with her pregnancy is solely between her and her physician.There HAVE been cases of late-term abortions for pretty arbitrary reasons.The truth is SOMEWHERE in between, and just where will always be subjective.Regarding the rare case of a pregnant woman who has an abortion at 8+ months for purely arbitrary reasons ("I just changed my mind" or "I want to go on a skiing trip."), why would we want to force someone like that to have a baby when they obviously would not make a good parent.Once you cede ground to the anti-choice crowd that a pregnancy cannot be terminated for any reason past a certain time period, they are simply going to focus their energies on pushing that time period back.

  22. says

    Tommykey,We have a trimester system for abortion rights for (roughly) the same reason we have a 65 mph speed limit on highways; that is, because the law is an imprecise tool.Just like some drivers are perfectly safe at 85 on the highways (and others are a danger even at 50!), the trimester concept laid down by the Supreme Court in Roe — 1st trimester, no restrictions; 2nd trimester, states can regulate but not prohibit; 3rd trimester, states can prohibit — *will* sacrifice justice in the individual case in order to come up with a pretty workable rule that works for the majority of Americans.So I'm not particularly impressed by X Random Supposedly Horrifying Example that pro-lifers bring up; that's the logical consequence when you try to govern a nation of 300 million people.Besides: I've yet to meet a pro-lifer who can answer *this* one:You're inside a burning fertility clinic. You can either rescue a crying, two-day old infant or a tray full of fertilized embryos. Which one do you save and why?

  23. says

    @Ross – if a woman who's 8 months pregnant changes her mind, she can give the baby up for adoption. You can't get an abortion after 24 wks gestation, unless there is a documented threat to the woman's life or the fetus has some catastrophic abnormality. Only 1.5% of induced abortions occur after 21 wks gestation. Your example is a total strawman."The truth is SOMEWHERE in between, and just where will always be subjective."That's utter nonsense. The line is drawn at 24 wks, which is considered a reasonable measure of viability outside the womb. That isn't subjective; it's based on something called science. There are significant legal restrictions on abortion past this point. Who are you to decide what's an "arbitrary" reason for abortion? Is poverty an arbitrary reason? Is a woman's concern for her health arbitrary? Do you even know what the term "late term abortion" means? Do you realize that there are people who do studies on the reasons women have abortions, and those reasons don't sound frivolous or arbitrary?Or perhaps you're privy to a database of information that we unaware of. In that case, feel free to share your sources.

  24. says

    my aunt is a hippy and we once had an interesting conversation about energy, i was talking about something measurable, and she was talking about auras and karma…this is my attempt to explain some basic quantum physics if anyone's interested. almost my only post that has zero comments, so i guess i might have aimed too high, lol :)

  25. says

    MemoryHero – Hello MemoryHero, my name’s Dan and I'm an atheist. I would like to express, as you asked, "the salient points" about my position on abortion. I can't speak for anybody but myself, and I can only hope they are “salient.” First, I'd like to state, which you probably know, is that atheism and abortion have nothing to do with one another. I do find that more atheist are willing to support a pro-choice stance, but this is not due to their views on religion. You wrote, "the sound bite quality of her religion was doubtlessly the culprit of viewing abortion as a quantum dichotomy." I think you were equating the apparent religious connection of belief in God to the Anti-abortion stance. These two views, like Athiest and pro-choice, are not mandatory. I think we're in agreement here. So one can be an atheist and be Anti-abortion. They are separate issues. Jen brought up the kidney analogy probably based off "The Violinist" argument. I don't think the caller understood where she was coming from. My position is that it is the woman's body, and we as a society should not force her to have to support another person without her consent. I do recognize the fetus as a human being. I think it's a human at the first cell division. I recognize that abortion leads to the destruction of this person, but that's not the point. The point of abortion is not to murder the fetus, but to rid it from her body. Imagine a better future to see the difference more clearly. If there was a way for a woman to abort the pregnancy and the fetus could be incubated with the same survival rate, I can see no reason to force her to carry it against her desire. Unfortunately, our medicine is not there yet, and abortion does lead to the end of the fetus' life. Yet my ability to impose upon her should not be changed. She should be able to be autonomous in either situation. From a legal stance, I do not want to imprison women that have abortions. When in time, and where in the world, that abortion is illegal they still happen. I don’t like abortion; I think it's a tragic thing to happen, but not to the point that I would persecute or prosecute a person. The best I can do, barring a compromised fetus, is talk to people and encourage them to delivery. Of course the choice is the woman’s, and I will not be the one to roll out the carpet to the penitentiary.

  26. says

    I was surprised and kind of pleased that you just hung up on that quantum guy. I almost feel like any discussion of quantum theory should really just go like this:"Quantum mechanics says that we bring the world into being by observing it.""No it doesn't. You're misrepresenting an uncommon interpretation of one facet of the theory.""But [Chopra or whoever] said…""Whatever so-and-so said, it's still wrong. Goodbye."

  27. says

    Daniel said"I do recognize the fetus as a human being. I think it's a human at the first cell division."You are making a false equivalence here.A fetus is a fetus.A human being is a human being.There is a reason why we use these two distinct terms.You are basically trying to inject an unhelpful emotional add-on to what is already an emotionally charged issue based on the fact that 'you don't like it'.

  28. says

    Shorter RossFW: When we pass laws and pick hard-and-fast rules, particularly in a nation of over 300 million people, we're going to be able to find individual examples of injustice. (So what?)I'll re-ask the question I asked in my previous comment: if you're in a fertility clinic that's going up in flames and you can save either a two-day-old infant or a platter full of fertilized embroys, which one do you save and why?

  29. says

    RossFW:I am an atheist pro-choicer, and I'd like to thank you for showing that there are reasonable, secular sides to the pro-life position. I have a lot of sympathy for rational arguments against abortion (even though I have not found them convincing enough to "switch sides") and I don't think that pro-choice folks take them seriously enough. This weakens and undermines the pro-choice position.I hope your gentle chastisement will encourage your opponents here to be a little more charitable in their responses.

  30. says

    Raymond:"You are making a false equivalence here.A fetus is a fetus.A human being is a human being.There is a reason why we use these two distinct terms."This isn't really much of an argument. You are playing semantic games instead of actually engaging the topic. One could just as easily say:A human being is a human being.A senior citizen is a senior citizen.There is a reason why we use two distinct terms."Senior citizen" is a term for a type of human being, and (to the pro-life mind) "fetus" is also term for a type of human being. You do yourself a disservice by brushing this aside without actually explaining your position. You remind me of a theist who proves the existence of God by quoting the Bible.

  31. says

    @RaymondYeah, I don't like abortion. Do you really like it? And I am in no way making a false equivalence. I didn't state that the terms are synomonous. A dog is a doga puppy is a puppyand a huskie is a huskieSo what?I see you believe the two terms are distinct. They are not. And I'm not trying to add any unneeded emotion to the issue. I don't see the need to squabble over an important issue because people like to call the object in the womb by a different name. It confuses the issue for many and hinders conversation.

  32. Kestra says

    RossFW, the article you site about child surviving after being delivered at 20 weeks is actually about a girl who was delivered just shy of 22 weeks, and is the only baby currently known to have survived after being delivered that early. The only follow-up story about her found her to weigh 6 pounds at age 13 months. 6 pounds! There are no stories about her life or development after 2008 that I could find, but I would be surprised to hear that she has no developmental difficulties. Very surprised. The doctors involved in her delivery via C-section due to her mother experiencing pre-term labor, are on record saying they would never have attempt to intervene if they had known her actual gestational age; they thought she was past 23 weeks.And you'll be happy to know that four states have already moved their abortion bans up to 20 weeks, resulting in situations such as this one:http://nebraska.statepaper.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2011/03/07/4d746bd70eb25To me, this proves the point very neatly that every pregnancy is a unique medical situation, which cannot be legislated for. I feel it is better to leave such decisions up to those who best know their situation: the woman and her doctor, rather than an arbitrary law based on bad science.Women who seek late-term abortions will find them, as the horrific case in Philadelphia demonstrated. http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-01-19/news/27088082_1_abortion-clinic-late-term-abortions-aborted-fetusesI'd rather it be above board and regulated, rather than banned and illicit, which only results in more lives lost.

  33. says

    @James,Thanks, you posted while I was typing. I wished it was facebook so I could have clicked the like button."This isn't really much of an argument. You are playing semantic games instead of actually engaging the topic"That's exactly what the poster did. Wait, I said poster, his name was Raymond. They're distinct for a reason. I hope you knew who I meant.

  34. says

    @Andrew,Well, another thing that got up my nose was the Americentrism of Jens comments.I come from a country of 22 million people (where abortion is illegal after 20 weeks) and live in a country of 5 million people (where it is totally illegal).The idea that because America has a certain, arbitrary cut-off point this is definitive and "Something called science" while other countries of equally intelligent citizens make different decisions is pretty arrogant.In answer to you question- I'd save the baby.Let me now ask you one- You can save one adult or a pregnant woman- which would you choose?James J.Thanks.My main point was to show this is not a Theist v Atheist debate.

  35. says

    @ James J.Semantics can be very important.Let me swap a few terms in as you did.If Daniel had saidI recognise the Sun as a lightbulb.My response would have been.The sun is a sunA lightbulb is a lightbulb.The most important word I use in my first comment was FALSE.

  36. says

    @ResCogitansRead your piece on Quantum physics. Nice and easy to understand. Kinda left me wanting more, though. I can't help thinking "Ok, then what?"

  37. says

    @RaymondYou did not swap terms in the same way I did. I swapped "senior citizen" for "fetus" because they are both terms which arguably can be used to refer to a human being. No one refers to the sun as a light bulb, or vice versa. In other words: I was trying to move the conversation forward, and you were being intentionally obtuse.You're still playing semantic games, and you still don't respect other people enough to offer a rational explanation for your position. What are you trying to accomplish?

  38. Mamba24 says

    "this isn't really much of an argument. You are playing semantic games instead of actually engaging the topic. One could just as easily say:A human being is a human being.A senior citizen is a senior citizen.There is a reason why we use two distinct terms."Senior citizen" is a term for a type of human being, and (to the pro-life mind) "fetus" is also term for a type of human being. You do yourself a disservice by brushing this aside without actually explaining your position. You remind me of a theist who proves the existence of God by quoting the Bible."-I disagree. While a senior citizen is a human being, being a subset of that category. A human embryo/fetus isn't necessarily the same thing biologically as a human being. The only connection is the "potential" for the clump of cells to possibly achieve the status of human being or "Person". "Senior citizen" is simply a human label we use to distinguish different human beings by terms of age. You can't say the same thing for human fetuses or human embryos, because in my opinion they're not human beings yet, at least up to a certain point in the pregnancy. That's why semantics is important in issues like these, otherwise you can just spin any analogy to make your position/view seem more justified and moral. So i think that the senior citizen's are senior citizen's and human beings are human beings analogy isn't really the best counter-argument for this discussion. But that's just my two cents on this controversial issue. Anyone is welcome to disagree.

  39. says

    Full on zombie invasions were probably a fairly common thing back then. Seeing as no-one outside of the Bible even bothered to mention it.

  40. says

    @ James J.My original point was that Daniels statement about recognising a fetus as a human being is to me fairly contentious statement and did not want to let it pass without comment.It is way too early to be allocating personhood.

  41. says

    Daniel – thank you for that response – I see that I need to mull the implications still further over in my mind before I have anything of note to offer on this topic, but the points you offered were great food for thought, so, thanks!

  42. says

    @Mamba42 @RaymondI tend to agree with your assessment about the personhood of a fetus. But, as Mamba42 admirably noted, this really can't be anything more than an opinion. It can be an informed, rational opinion; but it is an opinion nonetheless.Lots of perfectly rational people look at the science and feel that a fetus is "alive" enough to constitute a viable human for certain ethical and legal purposes. All I ask is that pro-choicers recognize that not everyone who holds this position is a misogynistic evangelical fringe lunatic, just as I wish pro-lifers were less likely to see pro-choicers as radical baby-killers.This is a very grey area – medically and philosophically – and it only gets more complicated as our technological and biological knowledge expands. I would like to live to see a day when all the frothy-mouthed weirdos stop screaming at each other long enough for the rest of us to start an adult conversation about it.

  43. says

    @Memoryhero, You're welcome, those as I say are my views. I'm suprised that more people didn't want to share their opinions. As for my use of the word human being. I stand by it. I recognize many stages of human develepment. Including gestational stages. Nothing else goes through human development rather than human beings. If the only reason I supported freedom of choice was based on the "title" I gave to a gestating infant, I would say have no opinion at all, but I have a need for a dictionary.

  44. says

    My take is probably too oversimplified.The fact a lump of cells has human DNA is entirely irrelevant to me. What matters is the sentient being, not the biological (or technological) robotic shell it's housed within.Abortion in the initial phases of pregnancy thus is not a problem because there's no sentient being there worry about… only a developing proto-robot without a mind.I would have a problem destroying a mechanical robot with a mind much more than I would destroying a biological robot without one.

  45. says

    Wow- being human is a messy messy affair indeed. My 2 cents on everything:- I look at a fetus as a "potential" human being. I don't think either side was necessarily playing rhetorical shenanigans, it's the heart of the issue. – It would be a great world if nobody every wanted or needed an abortion.- It would be a horrible world with much more pain and suffering if no abortions were allowed.- I understand why the "personal responsibility" angle makes many pro-choice people upset. But making vindictive, judgmental and damaging laws is not a way to help people make better choices. – Oddly, and with some duress, we seem to have come to a workable solution. I think we should all work to have fewer, safer, abortions. – Anyone who opposes the "morning after" pill upsets me beyond my ability to have reasonable discussions.

  46. says

    I just have to add my 2 cents being everyone is talking about abortion. I live in Albuquerque and the conservative christians(catholics) here think they have solved the problem of abortion. They believe if a woman is picky, finds Mr.Right and falls in love then the baby will be wanted in the world and therefore abortion is non-issue. They believe abortions only exist because man is not following god's/Jesus word or ways.

  47. says

    I'm with JT; a fetus has no brain, feels no pain, has no hopes, no fears, cannot be given a promise or feel betrayal.A person can.I also consider abhorrent the thought of forcing a woman to carry out an unwanted pregnancy…even if it was my child. I might have issues with the decision but would never consider having that right…or wanting that right.

  48. says

    I'm with JT; a fetus has no brain,To be clear, a fetus does have a brain, I do believe. An embryo or zygote doesn't. Fetus is pretty far along. There is no clear line when we get to personhood. It could be a gradient increase over time, however, when the organic mass doesn't have a brain yet, it's pretty safe to say it has no mind.

  49. says

    @Ross – yes, I see you "admire" me so much that you don't think I, or any other woman, can possibly make our own reproductive health decisions. You "admire" me so much that you think it's appropriate to substitute your judgment for mine (or any other woman's) when it comes to whether or not to continue a pregnancy.Now, let's unpack the rest of what you posted. "Thankyou also for agreeing that at some point a Woman is responsible for live-delivering a baby"I was just correcting the strawman nonsense about 8 months pregnant women walking into abortion clinics because they changed their minds. "Thankyou also for enlightening me that science has non-arbitrarily concluded that all fetuses are non-viable at 23 weeks and 6 days, but are human beings at 24 weeks, 0 days and 1 minute."Ah, more strawmanning. Please show me where I said anything like that. No really. Show me where I said that "all fetuses are non-viable at 23 wks, 6 days" or anything like that. What I said was,"The line is drawn at 24 wks, which is considered a reasonable measure of viability outside the womb."Whether you like it or not, biology dictates when a fetus can survive outside the womb. Human biology is such that the survival rate for pre-term infants doesn't reach 50% until 24 wks. Most neonatologists won't resuscitate an infant born before then unless the parents request it, and they don't resuscitate infants born before 22 wks at all. There is a hard stop at about 22 wks.The case you cited about a 20 wk infant who survived is, as someone else pointed out, not quite accurate. 20 wks since conception is actually 22 wks gestation, and it's gestation that we're talking about here. This infant was at 21 wks, 6 days – one day short of the 22 wk threshold. There is only one other infant known to survive after being born that early. If these two cases were enough to convince neonatologists that survival was possible, you'd think they'd change their resuscitation guidelines. Now lest you accuse me of being too "American" let me acquaint you with some research published in the BMJ. Births between 22 & 26 wks were compared in two separate studies done 6 years apart. The research showed significant improvements in survival rates for infants born at 24 wks and later. It showed no change in survival rates for infants born at 23 wks or less. Of 150 infants born at 22 wks, none survived (most did not survive delivery). That is the science that demonstrates that we've probably found the lower threshold of fetal viability. No Americans participated in the study, so perhaps this will be acceptable to you – although you may have invented a new logical fallacy (argument from nationality).As for your two examples of "frivolous" reasons for abortion – one of them is from 2002 and the other is from 2000. Both were referred for further investigation, but we don't have any information about the outcome of this investigation. In fact, we have just some old news reports of some sensationalized abortion stories. "Jen, I don't claim to have all the answers."Of course you do, Ross. You claim to be able to tell from old newspaper reports whether a woman's reason for abortion was frivolous. You claim to know that a 22 wk fetus is viable even though most neonatologists disagree. You claim the right to substitute your own judgment for that of a pregnant woman, well, just because. Sounds like you have all the answers to me.

  50. says

    @Jen,Wow, do you think I have the monopoly on Straw-men?"yes, I see you "admire" me so much that you don't think I, or any other woman, can possibly make our own reproductive health decisions."Where exactley did I say THAT?YOU state that there is a line drawn at 24 weeks, and there is a legaslative difference between a womans reproductive rights before and after that line. I question whether that line is in the right place, and am willing to have a rational discussion about it. I said nothing like what you've just said.It is interesting that when someone crosses what is obviously an emotional subject for you, the use of logical fallicies becomes fair game."You "admire" me so much that you think it's appropriate to substitute your judgment for mine (or any other woman's) when it comes to whether or not to continue a pregnancy."Once again, where did I say THAT? You make a hell of a lot of assumptions about me and my views, just because they don't exactley jell with yours.In fact, I don't see the viability of a Fetus to survive outside the womb as a logical basis for determining the commencement of Human rights, but apparently one is not allowed to hold contrary opinions.Pleas forgive me, I promise to fall in line in future.My main point was to highlight that abortion was not a soley religious issue, but apparently even that point is off limits.

  51. says

    @Jen"Whether you like it or not, biology dictates when a fetus can survive outside the womb. Human biology is such that the survival rate for pre-term infants doesn't reach 50% until 24 wks. Most neonatologists won't resuscitate an infant born before then unless the parents request it, and they don't resuscitate infants born before 22 wks at all. There is a hard stop at about 22 wks."… meaning that a hard-line cut-off of 22 wks is, in fact, arbitrary.To a degree, laws have to be arbitrary in order to be enforceable. But any definitive cut-off in terms of days and weeks is going to be arbitrary by its very nature, because biology is not interested in our calendar.This same point is applied with little controversy to the fact that an American cannot drink a beer at age 20 yrs 364 days, or consent to sex at 16 yrs 364 days, or smoke a cigarette at 17 yrs 364 days… so why is the observation met with such scorn when made in connection to abortion?

  52. says

    @James J: I don't think arbitrary is the right word here. The decision is based on science, law is forced to pick a cut-off line. Just because it's a black-and-white cut-off line does not make it an arbitrary one.@Ross: As far as I can tell you strawmanned Jen when you replied to her with the weird 8-month+ idea that she pointed out is a false concern. If we were to base policy on such unreal concerns as you brought in to the discussion the actual effect of those policies would be to limit a woman's control over her body.Hence, you said: I want to limit a woman's control over her body, not because you typed that out but because you didn't think about what you said and where your position takes you.Jen did not strawman you as far as I can tell, much as you think she did, because she correctly characterized the result of your claims.If we were to build policy based on your absurd cases and if we were to honor your feel-good but not backed up by evidence position that "the truth is somewhere in the middle" (come on, as atheists we know that's not always the case) the result would be to restrict a woman's control over her body.The best way to deal with a complex question like abortion is by educating women (and men) and empowering women, not by basing decisions on extreme cases (or false concerns – like aborting 8-month old pregnancies) and not by pushing the line backwards all the time until there are no complex issues at the cost of their being no rights either.

  53. says

    @Robert"If we were to build policy based on your absurd cases and if we were to honor your feel-good but not backed up by evidence position that "the truth is somewhere in the middle" (come on, as atheists we know that's not always the case) the result would be to restrict a woman's control over her body."First up, we don't "As athiests" know anything. It is not a club or a dogma. That was a lot more my point than the actual argument on abortion.I don't subscribe to any philosophy or idea because I'm an Athiest.Yes, my reply to Jen was counter-factual and clumsy- a near mid-night (where I am) attempt to put forward a case to a much more knowledgable and equipped debator.But at no time did I say or imply the things she suggested.Both you, she and I agree there is a point in a pregnency when the unborn is entitled to an amount of consideration under the law. Up until that point, the mother is free to do as she chooses.We disagree about what is reasonable in terms of where that point is. I don't think that earns me the characterization Jen has made of me.@JenOut of interest, do you think any reason at all is reasonable grounds for an abortion at, say 18 weeks? Are there any circumstances in which you might find that ethically questionable?

  54. says

    Ross: Your current post might not earn you the characterization Jen made earlier, your previous posts certainly did (well, I'm not sure about your question to Jen what's your intent there? I think her position is clear, I'm not sure what your question accomplishes).As for the atheist community – generally I agree there is no philosophy automatically associated with being an atheist but it's not unreasonable to say what I said in this conversation – the truth, as we all know, is not somewhere in between our position and the opposite position. So saying "the truth is somewhere in between" is not as reasonable as it sounds.You're too focused on the line as it is drawn under the law and not on the rights of the mother in my eyes. The law HAS to draw a line somewhere and it has chosen a very reasonable, non-arbitrary line that makes sense under medical practice.(The fact that the law deals with X+1 day differently than X or X-1 does not make the line that it chooses an "arbitrary" one. It's chosen for a reason.)

  55. says

    "As for my use of the word human being. I stand by it. I recognize many stages of human develepment. Including gestational stages. Nothing else goes through human development rather than human beings."How about a corpse? Would you object to the destruction of a human corpse? Do you recognize it as one of the many stages of human development? It is equally sentient as the blastocyst in the womb.

  56. says

    @Robert" the truth, as we all know, is not somewhere in between our position and the opposite position."Only if you contend that your position is unquestionably right."The law HAS to draw a line somewhere and it has chosen a very reasonable, non-arbitrary line that makes sense under medical practice."And not open to re-examination, difference of opinion or debate?Does "Sacred" cover it?

  57. says

    OH, and @James T-"I hope your gentle chastisement will encourage your opponents here to be a little more charitable in their responses. "I think you can take it as a "NOT"!

  58. says

    It is refreshing to witness a spot of debate amongst principally harmonious individuals, even though a few not completely necessary taunts may have been deployed – it's still a HELL of a lot more civil and forward moving than most other online fracases I've seen. It's also just sort of thrilling to have a point of contention in the air rather than a whole bunch of ingroup/outgroup slanging or self-congratulations for not being hornswoggled by religion's lame attempts to disarm us of our incredulity. The opinion that I personally seem to have so far formed, given the run of this discussion – which I did not have already going in – is that abortion seems generally to be an unfortunate necessity, the least bad of an unappealing array of options, and that even if some women have abortions at gestational stages which certain of us find disturbing to say the least, the idea of entrusting the option of when or if to abort to anyone but the pregnant woman has significant trouble finding solid philosophical and ethical grounding.It may still sound nebulous and convoluted, but it's more than I started with, so – enjoyed the discussion so far!

  59. says

    ross be trollin.Loved the show, abortion topic was very informative. Martin, thank you very much for your insight on why quantum physics junkies are full of it, meaning they believe in god before they search quantum pyhsics to pull out all the evidence that supports the hypothosis they already have(instead of let all the evidence lead their understanding). The hang up was hilarious!!!!!

  60. says

    No, Troop, Ross Be Serious.That being said, a big problem with this form of communication is the lack of a delete key!I would express myself much differently and try and be much more lucid given the chance to change my posts above.Yes, I have (and absolutely claim the right to have) reservations about some aspects of Abortion. I don't clam expert knowledge or privileged authority on this, but did not mean to cause offense in expressing it.

  61. says

    "The law HAS to draw a line somewhere and it has chosen a very reasonable, non-arbitrary line that makes sense under medical practice."And not open to re-examination, difference of opinion or debate?Does "Sacred" cover it?As a general comment on this: If the law draws a line that is based on scientific fact, then obviously that can be neither "open to difference of opinion" or "sacred". If you want to disagree, then you need to do the medical research that will disprove the current scientific consensus. Although of course there is always the possibility that it can't be disproven, if it is in fact correct.

  62. says

    Wow, some good stuff on the abortion issue. I would however like to address how I handled the Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy with my kids. I let them believe but I used it as a tool to start their skepticism. As they grew older and started to doubt I encouraged them to doubt. I also let them know after they figured it out that on all issues they should not take somebodies "word for it", even their mom and dad. They should verify the claim.Since that time I have used every opportunity to foster a good skeptical mind in my boys. I have explained to them to be wary of outrageous theories and claims (God/Conspiracy theories) and that if they hear a claim, look for sources and verify if they are credible sources, and then examine the opposing point of view and it's sources and see which is simplest and makes most sense.

  63. says

    @Leisha,Not disputing the science, I'm not entirely comfortable with the whole concept that "Viability" is the slam-dunk measure of Human Rights.If it is, can you explain why the limit is 20 weeks in many countries, and 12 in Switzerland?

  64. Kestra says

    Hmm… in the case of Switzerland, because they put women's rights up to a popular vote, perhaps? I BLAME THE PATRIARCHY! (/only sorta sarcastic.)

  65. says

    Ive been reading through this thread and have found it very interesting.I think it demonstrates that atheists are united only by our atheism and perhaps in a desire that the positions we take are based in what seems to us to be logical.Nothing else can be taken for granted, its all up for grabs.But i think that is only to be expected.I would also like to ask anyone from the USA if in general, the anti abortion people in America are also anti death penalty or does the right to life only extend as far as the womb?I would be very interested to know the answer to this and i can read it during my night shift tea break.

  66. says

    Like Robert I don't think you can say that the 24 weeks limit is arbitrary. Like age of consent laws it may vary a bit from place to place but almost all are close to a mean value. You don't see age of consent laws that are set at 6 or 36, that just wouldn't make sense in light of what we know about human development, the lines set for abortion are similarly informed and that is why most are in the 20-28 week range. Sure, someone might make a case to wiggle it one way or another but if someone goes and proposes a limit at say 4 weeks then a lot of people would have a problem because that just doesn't fit with the facts. (assuming things like sense perception, cognition, etc are the litmus for personhood which for the religious it obviously isn't) So saying that the 24 weeks position is 'just an opinion' isn't really doing it justice. It is an opinion, but within a scientifically justified range.That said (and despite being pro-abortion I catch a lot of flack from other abortion supporters over this) I think that the 'it's my body' argument isn't very good. Jen says "you don't think I, or any other woman, can possibly make our own reproductive health decisions" but that isn't really relevant because of course a person is entitled to full freedoms… until their choices infringe on the freedoms of another. We take away people's freedoms all the time when we think they have abused them, that is the essence of law. The crux of abortion isn't about what rights a woman has, those are a given, the question is "Does an abortion constitute an act that infringes on a separate individuals freedoms and to what degree?" I obviously think that it doesn't, people that think that a collection of cells get a stork delivered soul at conception do. Now, I am aware that certain patriarchal systems just use the issue as a political football to try and assert their authority, but we should dismiss them for what they are, bigoted buffoons. However if we are having a serious conversation about abortion then such arguments don't seem to carry a lot of weight to me.

  67. says

    @tondeb I would also like to ask anyone from the USA if in general, the anti abortion people in America are also anti death penalty or does the right to life only extend as far as the womb?Well, generally speaking (all generalizations need to be taken with a grain of salt of course) the conservative groups in the USA are the ones fighting against abortion and they are generally the most supportive of death penalty laws. So no, the 'sacredness' of life does not extend to convicts.

  68. says

    Regarding the caller on abortions,I'm a little bit disturbed that no one has said anything about this guy being perfectly okay stealing my things should he ever need them. I feel for this guy if he and his family are in dire situation but I'm not sorry to say that I don't recognize his (God given?) right to take my stuff because he and his family needs it.

  69. says

    I have a question here for anyone who can answer. I haven't been asked this by an apologist but I wondered how I would answer if it happened.Logic is probably a more effective tool for understanding the universe than faith, and it's the standard for skepticism and even Atheism… It's is also highly intertwined with scientific discovery. But on the quantum level things are very counter intuitive and perhaps even illogical.So, we are observing this things that don't follow the basic rules of logic, so a theist can say, "well, you see logic can't get everything right, therefore it's not the ONLY tool we should use to explain our universe, and that we shouldn't dismiss things that are counter-intuitive and illogical"I would probably say, we don't understand the behavior of quantum particles completely just yet, that doesn't mean it's illogical. Also, quantum particles acting counter-intuitively have no direct impact on our everyday life, that's just their nature. But a theist praying instead of seeking medical help has illogical but has grave consequences.Sorry if this wasn't meant to be posted here.

  70. says

    ""well, you see logic can't get everything right, therefore it's not the ONLY tool we should use to explain our universe, and that we shouldn't dismiss things that are counter-intuitive and illogical"If a theist says that it'd be highly ironic, considering that he would most definitely be advocating FOR the use of intuition as an acceptable and accurate way to truth.

  71. says

    @ttWell, yes quantum physics as we currently understand it does not appear to be deterministic. The problems are:1) As you pointed out, just because we don't understand how they could be deterministic doesn't mean they aren't and we just haven't figured it out yet.2) There is (apparently) no reason why things on a macro scale must abide by the same rules as things on the quantum scale. It is kind of like the law of large numbers, you can have random events but if they occur in a probabilistic manner then they can yield stable results on a large scale. So you can think of logic as understanding the probabilistic and deterministic stable results of sometimes seemingly random quantum occurrences. Besides, if certain indeterminate rules of quantum mechanics applied to human sized objects, boy the world would be a tough place to get around in. :P3) Finally, and most importantly as far as the theistic argument goes, even if we have no clue what the hell is going on and can't figure out determinate/indeterminate states at all that doesn't mean the best answer is to simply make shit up. (i.e the faith approach) The fact of the matter is that 99% of science is rock solid and proven to work and we would be foolish to throw that out just because we have (and always will have) mysteries around the edges of our knowledge.(PS – everything said above has to come with the disclaimer that I am not a physics expert by any stretch of the imagination, maybe Russell can chime in on this one)

  72. says

    @RossFWThe burden of proof is on you at this point and we're not going to do your research for you. If you want to know why a given country set the cut-off time for abortion where it did, look it up! You're too lazy to even do your own research.1) Make a claim: "human life begins at conception", "the chance of survival and chance that the fetus will grow to become a normal, healthy child for a fetus separated from its mother at X weeks is sufficiently high as to justify _mandating_ the effort, expense, and suffering of the child and its family that would be involved in doing so"2) Defend that claim with reasoning and scientific evidence.You might also find it enlightening to read Carl Sagan's essay on abortion (if you haven't already, it's at: http://www.2think.org/abortion.shtml), especially if you're going to try and make a claim as to when human life begins.@ttI'd tell them it's clear they understand quantum physics even less well than you do, that they should ask a physicist about that issue. Until that time they should restrict themselves to arguments from ignorance instead of using ignorant arguments.

  73. says

    @JAFisher44 Hello, I thought I replied before I left this morning. Sorry about that, how's it going? "How about a corpse? Would you object to the destruction of a human corpse?"No, I wouldn't object to the destruction of a human corpse, as in cremation. But I would support laws to discourage necrophilia and from people throwing bodies into garbage cans."Do you recognize it as one of the many stages of human development?"I don't consider it a stage of development, but a stage of decomposition."It is equally sentient as the blastocyst in the womb"Yes, they have the same level of consciousness.

  74. says

    So, we are observing this things that don't follow the basic rules of logic, so a theist can say, "well, you see logic can't get everything right, therefore it's not the ONLY tool we should use to explain our universe, and that we shouldn't dismiss things that are counter-intuitive and illogical"I always find it hilarious when people make logical arguments for why logic is unreliable.

  75. says

    Carlos…I think it's reasonable for someone to resort to theft if they do it to prevent their family from dying (e.g. for food) when the person they are stealing it from would not suffer from its loss (or at the very least woudn't themselves die).

  76. says

    @ColBatGuanoThink of the consequences of what you're saying. Who gets to decide when it's okay to forcefully deprive me of the fruits of my labor?Who gets to decide how much is okay to steal from me?What about my needs, I probably have plans for the money I worked for (my kid's health and education for example). By what right do your needs trump mine?Who gets to decide whether or not I would suffer if you steal from me? I may be saving for my kid to go to private schoold. Who are you to say "Well, his kid can just go to public school and he won't suffer."What if I'm saving money for a life saving procedure for my kid? You wouldn't know that, all you know is that your family is hungry and I have money in my safe.The bottom line is that I'm not the means to your ends. You don't have a claim on my work/labor/property/body. No matter how you dire your situation is you can't use me to satisfy your needs.As for "or at the very least woudn't themselves die", I don't think you can possibly mean it. So it's perfectly reasonable for someone to steal one of your kidneys if they need it? After all, you wouldn't die if they took one of your kidneys.

  77. says

    @ColBatGuanoEnds don't justify means. Good intentions don't justify an essentially wrong deed.Steal to help your family survive? I'll grant you that there's a threshold between necessity and taking civil liberties, but what a slippery slope that leads to (as Carlos pointed out). It then opens up the opportunity to rationalize any wrong doing for a good purpose. Which, as we have continuously found throughout history, is a BAD thing.

  78. says

    @Carlos. @pro_prodigyI think you make be engaged in a slight strawman with ColBatGuano.From my reading of his contribution, I get the impression that he is talking about extreme circumstances when theft may be mitigated.He is not advocating at as general policy.He is not saying "You have a pair of sneakers, I need a pair, I will take yours".I will give an extreme situation.You are involved in a natural disaster. Your home is destroyed. You have not food or water.When trying to find help you come across a home from which the people have also left due to the natural disaster. However, there is a modest amount of food and water still in the building. You take (steal) the food and water. You survive 10 days before rescue thanks to the stolen supplies.This is not a slippery slope to universal theft.In the judicial system mitigation is taken into consideration. Wrong doing may have occurred but in certain circumstances can be "justified".

  79. says

    Carlos,I second Raymond's argument. Your post illustrates the problem with slippery slope arguments in general. The law excels at crafting standards, and is perfectly capable of drawing a rational line beyond which theft is not justified (or, perhaps more reasonably, a graded series of mitigated sentences for thefts of necessity, culminating in complete exoneration in extreme cases.) In fact the law is pretty draconian as regards necessity, but there are standards justifying theft in the situation Raymond describes.

  80. says

    Okay, since you guys are talking extreme cases, let's talk about extreme cases…Suppose I need a kidney really bad or else I will die. Do I have the right to forcefully take one of your kidneys? If not then why not, after all I'm sure to die without it and you can live with one kidney.Suppose there's a disaster in my area and my neighbor doesn't have anything to support his family. What right does he have to decide what me and my family really need and don't need (i.e. what he can steal)? By what right does his needs trump mine?No matter how you slice and dice it, you don't have a claim on my property. That is, my things are not yours for the taking in case you have an emergency. You may put a gun to my head and I will give you my stuff but that doesn't mean I recognize your right to take my property should you ever need it.As for the slippery slope argument, as Carl Sagan put it, in the abortion issue we're forced to enter the slippery slope because on one side you have undifferentiated cells and on the other you have a fully formed baby who's about to be born. In the case of stealing we don't have to enter the slippery slope because no matter how good your intentions are or how bad you need it, you'd still be stealing my property at the point of a gun. I didn't have anything to do with you being in your situation so why is it okay for you to sacrifice me to satisfy your needs?

  81. says

    The problem with setting a 20/24 week limit for abortion-on-demand based solely on the viability of the fetus is that medical science will gradually push this limit earlier and earlier. All the information needed for a fertilized egg to develop into a baby is contained in its DNA. Therefore in principle it should be possible to create an artificial womb to carry an egg all the way. If medical science reaches this stage one day, then should abortion-on-demand be entirely illegal?I think its better to argue for a pro-choice position (which I support) based on issues like:- rights of the woman (kidney analogy was good)- overall good to society

  82. says

    ColBatGuano, who would rather appeal to emotions and ridicule than to defend his position with a sound argument. What a tribute to argumentative reasoning you are.

  83. says

    Carlos, who would rather someone die than deal with a slippery slope argument. What a tribute to humanity you are.How about instead of your pathetic, dishonest pile of emotional manipulation, you actually answer the very simple and direct question he asked:Suppose I need a kidney really bad or else I will die. Do I have the right to forcefully take one of your kidneys? If not then why not, after all I'm sure to die without it and you can live with one kidney.

  84. says

    Therefore in principle it should be possible to create an artificial womb to carry an egg all the way. If medical science reaches this stage one day, then should abortion-on-demand be entirely illegal?In my opinion; yes.If it's possible to transfer the fetus to an artificial womb, rather than aborting it outright, I think that should be the preferred solution (although I'm willing to entertain the idea that there may be issues I haven't thought of. Let me know). *In such a case, though, a woman should have the right to make the choice of transferring the fetus to an artificial womb and have no further responsibility for it (this would actually open up a whole new area of ethical debate).Of course, as long as the artificial womb idea is still just an idea, I think the rights of the fully functional, independently living human being takes precedence.* The anti-choice crowd would probably still be against it, since it means the mother isn't punished for her vicious sins. But then, they're insane.

  85. says

    @Lukas:Meh. This is why I think the argument of "How do you distinguish a person from a 'potential person'" is actually important, and I've never been satisfied with the statement "The woman should not have to donate their body just as a person should not have to donate a kidney" as a stand-alone, end everything argument for pro-choice.That's the topic I was trying to explore in my recent post examining hypotheticals, and I don't agree that the answer to that question doesn't matter.Fact is, for the vast majority of abortion cases, we are talking about something without a functioning brain or nervous system, and it is IMHO, ludicrous to demand that this lump of cell tissue has equivalent rights to a fully developed adult, or even a newborn infant.I disagree with your answer. Even if the technology existed to "rescue" the blastocyst from the womb, there's no way I would want to demand that this particular operation occur. It's not like we have such a shortage of fully formed people on earth that we need to insist that more of them be created from what (in my view) is nothing close to a person. Abort 'em.

  86. says

    If it's possible to transfer the fetus to an artificial womb, rather than aborting it outright, I think that should be the preferred solution (although I'm willing to entertain the idea that there may be issues I haven't thought of. Let me know).How about the fact that the planet is grossly overpopulated and that human overpopulation is the cause of pretty much every single problem we're facing as a species, and a hell of a lot of the problems faced by other species too? We need fewer humans, not more.

  87. says

    //How about the fact that the planet is grossly overpopulated and that human overpopulation is the cause of pretty much every single problem we're facing as a species, and a hell of a lot of the problems faced by other species too? We need fewer humans, not more.//This is the sort of creepy, anti-humanist, misanthropic nonsense that justifies shit like the one-child policy in China. There is plenty of room and food for everyone, if the wealthy minority would only stop hogging all the resources from the poor majority. Encouraging people to abort pregnancies for political/demographic reasons is pretty short-sighted and disgusting. Please try to grow up.

  88. Mamba24 says

    I wouldn't say it's "anti-humanist" or creepy at all to point out a simple fact that this world is going to one day be vastly overpopulated, if that day isn't already here. Sorry if you don't like China's one child rule, but they have over a billion people in their country and they needed to implement a drastic measure. And there isn't unlimited space or resources on this planet, this zeitgeist "RBE" mentality that tells us that there is "plenty of space and no such thing as limited resources, besides it's all the rich people's fault anyway, have as many babies as you feel like having"…… is absurd.(Not saying your a Zeitgeist follower) I don't think Leisha was advocating that all women get abortions for political and demographic reasons man, she just gave an example of one problem this world faces(or will face). I also frown upon the rich elite, and I would like to see the rich/poor gap close too, but I'm not going to play the blame game when it comes to population and resources.

  89. says

    I wouldn't say it's "anti-humanist" or creepy at all to point out a simple fact that this world is going to one day be vastly overpopulated, if that day isn't already here. Sorry if you don't like China's one child rule, but they have over a billion people in their country and they needed to implement a drastic measure.God won't let us get to that point. He'll just make Earth have infinite surface area, or something. Thank ye to God that he'll do that so I don't have to inconvenience myself or my way of life.

  90. says

    Since I do not believe in a special time when a magic soul is created, making some arbitrary time when a potential human starts to get rights makes no sense to me. Once a child is actually born and truly capable of surviving without the aid of its mother’s body, then its rights and responsibilities begin. As a child becomes capable of caring for itself, the remainder of any rights and responsibilities get transferred to it from the parents accordingly until the final stage of adulthood.If a person’s rights are not going to be derived from their responsibilities, the line becomes completely arbitrary. Why consider the rights of a “potential person” only after 6 months of gestation? Why not at conception? Why not before conception? Are not the “potential person” rights to existence similarly violated by birth control or abstinence? The result is very similar.As others have pointed out, there is no shortage of people right now. Let us afford women the right to do what they wish with their bodies so long as no “actual people” are affected.

  91. says

    Re: overpopulationThis might be an issue. I'm unsure of it, though. Exactly how many abortions are done? I'm wondering if it's a big enough number that it would substantially impact population growth.

  92. says

    @LukasI'd point out that the math is probably more complicated than that the world population is reduced by one per abortion.It's an exponential problem in the longer term, with each generation spawning 2.2 more people out, on average (at least for America I believe?).But other than that, I agree, the math might show it's not enough of a concern compared to other things.

  93. Mamba24 says

    Yeah it's not like the amount of abortions these days is going to even put a dent in the birth rate of this world anyway.

  94. Mamba24 says

    JT-"God won't let us get to that point. He'll just make Earth have infinite surface area, or something. Thank ye to God that he'll do that so I don't have to inconvenience myself or my way of life."-lol Yeah I agree, it's this type of selfish thinking that disturbs me, have as many kids as you want, then blame the rich and shout anti-human slogans/emotional rhetoric to try and justify those actions.

  95. says

    @Mamba24If you don't think a forced one-child policy is anti-humanist, then you and I have fundamentally different ideas about human rights. I cannot imaging the level of cognitive dissonance involved in being both pro-choice AND an apologist for such a policy.

  96. Mamba24 says

    @ James-Well maybe you should exercise a little more logic and deep reasoning into the matter instead of just arguing from emotion. All I'm saying about China is that they recognized they had an overpopulated country, and they took an extreme step to try and stabilize the population. It's not like they just enforced this rule to just be evil and piss you off. So what does being pro-choice on the issue of abortion…have anything to do with an entirely different issue?? I try and exercise critical thinking given each unique circumstance, I don't just lump everything together into black and white groups. Do I feel it's morally just to implement extreme, but necessary measures given the correct circumstances? Yes. Otherwise you are putting your own selfish interests ahead of what's good for society as a whole. I too flinch at the idea of a one child per couple policy, but if I recognized that there were more people than my country could support, I might accept the policy as a necessary and temporary rule. I wish there wouldn't have to be a rule enforced, and maybe people would understand the circumstance and personally choose themselves to limit the amount of children they have……but when it comes to this particular issue, people wouldn't do that, most people don't think like that. It would be very very hard to try and simply convince people to have only 1 or 2 children. Otherwise if we have more people than food or resources to supply, then poverty skyrockets and people starve and die in mass amounts. So I could ask you the same question "How could you be so immoral as to not care about overpopulation and the consequences that come with it?"…it's not cognitive dissonance, it's understanding different situations. If you have a better solution to the population problem, I would be interested to hear it.

  97. Mamba24 says

    I would also like to kind of reiterate something JT said, just because a particular policy or rule is personally inconvenient, or sounds uncomfortable to you, doesn't make it immoral for the entire welfare of the population. That's why I would like to hear a real argument that doesn't include simply emotion, but actual logic and reasoning.

  98. JJR says

    @ Ross above"In answer to you question- I'd save the baby."(instead of the tray full of fertilized zygotes)…Of course, you ignore the 2nd half of the question, WHY?, which was the whole point of the question.

  99. says

    "I would also like to kind of reiterate something JT said, just because a particular policy or rule is personally inconvenient, or sounds uncomfortable to you, doesn't make it immoral for the entire welfare of the population."What if we had the opposite problem, where we had too few people. Do you think the government has the right to force you to have more children the way you think the government has the right to force you to have only one child?

  100. Mamba24 says

    @ Carlos-That would depend on how many people were left in the world in this hypothetical situation. If there was an extreme danger of our race becoming extinct, maybe that would be a necessary step to take. But I'm having trouble comparing this to the overpopulation issue. In this situation, you could just donate sperm and not have the responsibility to actually raise the children, so I don't understand the problem with doing something like that if the correct circumstances called for it. If most people just don't care about the future of their race in this particular case, refuse to donate sperm or have any children….then I guess humans are history. lol But given that it's a natural component of humans to want to have children, I don't ever see that kind of situation happening….where humans are on the verge of extinction, and they don't care about it. But at least there wouldn't be any suffering from starvation and poverty…..we would just eventually die out. Again two completely different situations with different circumstances. I see how trying to point out the hypothetical opposite situation gets you to think about the real issue, but it's not the same thing in my opinion. Just to let everyone know I'm not sitting here advocating that the whole world adhere to some one child per couple policy, I don't even know if that's realistically possible, I mean, people like to F**K. I'm just saying that given the correct circumstances, it's not absolutely evil/immoral for a country or government to try and stabilize a population that it can't entirely support, also given the fact that there is limited space. Idk, there you go carlos.

  101. Mamba24 says

    P.s.- Not saying that humans won't ever go extinct…we will.(unless we find another planet to inhabit or something, who knows the possibilities lol) But just given the hypothetical situation where humans are in danger of extinction and could do something about it, but chose to not reproduce and save the race…..I can't see that happening.

  102. says

    For the record, I know that you're not advocating for a one child policy *now*, but you are saying that a government has the right to force such a measure if it deemed it necessary "for the greater good".The under population issue applies just as well as the over population one (if it's the greater good of society that you're interested). An ever shrinking population carries a whole bunch of problems which are certainly not good for the society as a whole. One of the problems it brings is that people have to work longer and longer to be able to sustain themselves. In this scenario it's not hard to see the working population having a harder and harder timer time caring for the people who can't work.As for donating sperm, you're dodging the heart of the issue here. Even if I'm okay with the government forcing me to give them my sperm, the government would still have to force women to bear the children. For the purpose of this thought experiment I would be one of the men forced to supply the sperm and my wife would be one of the women forced to bear the children.So, do you think the government has the right to force my wife and I to have more children (for the greater good of society)?

  103. Mamba24 says

    "One of the problems it brings is that people have to work longer and longer to be able to sustain themselves. In this scenario it's not hard to see the working population having a harder and harder timer time caring for the people who can't work."-I understand this, but that's simply another necessary hardship that humans would have to undertake in order to survive in this situation. Just like in the old fashioned days you could say. I don't know exactly how a situation like this would work itself out, but I'm not "dodging" the heart of the issue here, I thought I made myself pretty clear on the issue of this hypothetical circumstance….and that is I think it's entirely unrealistic, I don't think humans would be so selfish as to refuse to have children or care for parentless children in this situation, if they did…then it would be entirely selfish and sickening in my opinion, just as it would be entirely selfish and sickening for people to bring more and more children into a hypothetical world that is overpopulated and ridden with poverty and starvation.(also IMHO) And just have total disregard for other species and organisms that inhabit this planet. I don't know it's just selfish thinking in my eyes."So, do you think the government has the right to force my wife and I to have more children (for the greater good of society)?'-If in the hypothetical situation that there were no other people willing to take a child in, or everyone else already had enough children than they can handle, and you're one of the few couples or whatever that doesn't have any children, then yes I would say that it "might" be justified for them to ask you to help raise a child.(For the greater good or whatever). But if in fact there was still a government in this situation where humans were in danger of extinction(Maybe there wouldn't be a government..), then maybe it wouldn't be necessary for them to force people to take children in. I mean if no one wanted to raise them, maybe the government themselves would raise them in an orphanage type of environment(Or some other institution devoted to help raise children and try and save the human race). As for what I mean by the greater good of our society, I'm talking about living in a sustainable and healthy environment with as little suffering as possible. Like I said, if all the women refused to have children and cause our race to go extinct….I guess that means we are history, at least we would go out with no suffering or mass extinction due to starvation and suffering. So in this case I wouldn't say it's necessary for the government to force people to have children, if the people decide to end our race, I guess that's our fate. But I'm not okay with people bringing in children to a poverty stricken world where they might suffer and starve or experience life in a unpleasant way. That's the difference Carlos. That's why I said you need to think more deeply given each unique circumstance. It's not all just black and white, and this particular counter-argument just isn't convincing to me. But it's makes for good discussions. lol

  104. Mamba24 says

    "For the record, I know that you're not advocating for a one child policy *now*, but you are saying that a government has the right to force such a measure if it deemed it necessary "for the greater good"."-Yes, if a country got to a point of overpopulation(Or the whole world), and there wasn't enough space and resources/food to go around and support everyone. I think the government would be justified in trying to stabilize the population somehow in order to prevent further starvation and suffering. Sorry if that is inconvenient for you, but I think it would be the moral and right thing to do in this situation. You also have to think about the impact on the natural environment and other organisms that an overpopulated human world would make. What if there were massive threats to extinction of other species because of human overpopulation? I could think about this all night long.

  105. says

    I got a feeling that the hosts did not understand quantum mechanics much more than the caller. The host should have said "sorry I do not understand your theory" and moved to the next caller. Its OK to admit you do not understand something. And to ask astronaut man if quantum mechanics mattered to his faith was just dirty pool.

  106. says

    Was that a yes or a no?Notice how comfortable you are saying that a government has the right to force people to have only one child and yet you run around the question of forcing people to have more children.I could be just as ambivalent regarding the overpopulation issue:- I can't say whether the one child policy is good or bad because the issue is too complex.- I don't see the population becoming a problem because we'll eventually get to an equilibrium along with renewable resources.- If we are so selfish as to overpopulate the world to the point of bringing us to our demise then we deserve it.- That's simply another necessary hardship that humans would have to undertake in order to survive in this situation.- I don't know exactly how a situation like this would work itself out, but I'm not "dodging" the heart of the issue here, I thought I made myself pretty clear on the issue of this hypothetical circumstance….and that is I think it's entirely unrealistic, I don't think humans would be so selfish as to reproduce themselves to oblivion.I could go on and on without ever giving a straight answer…

  107. says

    @ JJR""In answer to you question- I'd save the baby."(instead of the tray full of fertilized zygotes)…Of course, you ignore the 2nd half of the question, WHY?, which was the whole point of the question. "Because a baby is fully-formed human being and none of the tray full of embreo are, nor have I ever said they are.YOU didn't answer MY subsequent question- Save one adult, or one 6mth pregnant Woman, and why?

  108. Mamba24 says

    @ Carlos- congratulations Carlos you're now starting to exercise some deeper thinking into the issue. Now if you read a little more carefully I said that it wouldn't be necessary for the government to force people to have more children in this situation, at least the human race would go out with no suffering or lack of food and resources, and if the humans didn't care about the future of the race, then so be it I guess. I've made myself pretty clear on how I think this is completely different from the overpopulation issue. You're trying to get me to give you some clear cut YES OR NO answer in order to try and make your point look legitimate…..and it's just not that simple man. I've answered your question pretty clearly I think and how the two situations are completely different. "I don't see the population becoming a problem because we'll eventually get to an equilibrium along with renewable resources."-And what justification do you have for making this bold statement? How would that exactly work? Yeah eventually our population will reach a point where it can't sustain itself, then mass starvation will take place and the population will stabilize itself then? And this is the more moral path to take? Sorry Carlos I'm not convinced by this."If we are so selfish as to overpopulate the world to the point of bringing us to our demise then we deserve it."-So in other words you just don't care about the consequences, just let shit go wild and say "whatev, we deserve it."….LOL wow great argument there, don't see the moral justification for that excuse. "That's simply another necessary hardship that humans would have to undertake in order to survive in this situation."-A hardship that could be avoided if we worked at it, to try and make sure that it wouldn't have to come down to that, because I believe it's our moral obligation to not only our human race, but to other species that inhabit this earth. So I disagree with this excuse given this particular circumstance.

  109. Mamba24 says

    Carlos.."and that is I think it's entirely unrealistic, I don't think humans would be so selfish as to reproduce themselves to oblivion.I could go on and on without ever giving a straight answer…'-And I would disagree with this, It's not that we would reproduce ourselves into extinction(well maybe), but that it would get to a point where there wasn't enough resources to support the entire population and it would cause the poverty level to rise rapidly and the quality of life to drop. When it comes to hypothetical circumstances like these Carlos, you're not going to get "straightforward" and clear cut answers, I've done the best I can, but your whole argument seems to stem from, "Oh you can't give me the exact answers that I want, therefore my position is justified and yours isn't." Sorry buddy I'm not going to allow you to pull that card in this argument, I've already pointed out to you that issues like these aren't so black and white, yet you seem to think that they are. I've said more than once that your hypothetical opposite situation isn't the same thing as the overpopulation dilemma, and when you tried to use the same explanations for overpopulation that I used for "underpopulation", I pointed out that they aren't good excuses for that situation. "Oh I could just use the same excuses for overpopulation"…..not really, they're two different situations that require different actions in my opinion, one action may be necessary and moral in one circumstance, but may be totally immoral and unjustified in another. Once again this makes for good conversation, and I'm willing to change my mind if someone can give me a good reason for why we should just let the population keep rising and face the devastating possible consequences from it….not just someone who comes on and says "Oh well what if I point out the exact opposite situation, what then? kind of argument"….An argument that I think is entirely irrelevant.

  110. says

    @Mamba24I'll try to show you just how inadequate your attempts to avoid answering the question really are. Let's say I ask you whether it will ever be okay to allow slavery if it was concluded that it would be beneficial to society as a whole. Would you find the following answer anywhere near close to satisfaction?"It's not a yes or no answer because I don't think it would ever be necessary to allow slavery for the benefit of society."Hint: The key phrase is "if it was concluded".

  111. says

    @Mamba24You know what, I was going to wait to see what rationalization you came up with next but I'll just cut to the chase. I don't recognize your right to force me to not have children because one more person competing for resources would put your livelihood in jeopardy anymore than I recognize your right to stop me from studying accounting because there aren't enough jobs for accountants and the competition of one more accountant would put your livelihood in jeopardy.If you think you have the right to put a gun to my head and prevent me from doing something for which its only repercussion is that it would add more competition for you (at searching for food or searching for jobs) then we have completely different worldviews in terms of inalienable rights.

  112. says

    @CarlosI don't have a firm opinion on this matter, but I'm interested in what your argument will be, so I'll ask this question:Let's assume the following situation; you're in a group of ten people. You know that you can produce enough food for ten people. A couple decides to have a child.What do you think should happen?1) Should everyone have their food rations reduced by 10%, even if that makes it less what they can survive on?2) Should the couple responsible for producing the child be given their normal ration and decide how to divide it three ways among themselves?3) Should the couple be prevented from producing the child, since it would be impossible to feed it?4) Some other option, please specify.A few points:a) I recognize that this is a somewhat contrived example and not necessarily realisticb) I realize that a child will not have the same nutrient requirements as an adult, but for simplicity's sake, I've assumed it anyway.

  113. says

    @Mamba24Not everyone who disagrees with you is "arguing from emotion" or failing to think things through. You've made it pretty clear in this thread that you support even the most invasive government interference in an individual's business, right on down to what they may or may not do with their bodies. (In case you missed it, THAT is why it's so ironic that you think you're pro-choice.) In your sadly misanthropic view, folks can be forced to bear or abort children against their will so long as a government can make a case that it is for a "greater good". That's pretty heinous, not to mention rationally and ethically untenable.

  114. says

    @Mamba24The only assumption that I'm going to make is that in your little society everyone had the same rights at the beginning when the ten people got together and decided to cooperate.The couple certainly has the right to have a child but not at the expense of others. In this setting if they decide to have a child then I see two fair and just choices:Option #1) Rewrite the terms of their cooperative agreement to distribute the means of production as equally as possible between the ten members and everyone will have to carry their own weight.Option #2) Continue giving the couple their normal ration and let them divide it three ways among themselves.

  115. says

    I have a solution to all of the arguments here. It's a virus that is ubiquitously airborne, long-lived and kills a human instantly. This would eliminate all further arguments from anyone.Problem solved.

  116. says

    I must admit I find the obsession with absolute freedom and no dependence on any other human quite hilarious."I have the freedom to do whatever I want, and I do not give a flying f*** about anyone else.Everyone will die? Bummer – but my freedom should never be taken away from me!"And slavery?We already have slavery – prisoners are slaves, aren't they? -> People whose liberty was taken from them by the government.For the greater good :)I suggest studying population dynamics of some mammals, e.g. rats. When the survival of the population as a whole is in danger, the liberties of an individual in that population are 'sacrificed' for the sake of the group.History demonstrates this pattern emerging whenever a group of human's is in danger.Unfair? Unjust? The only reason WE even have the right to state that, is because of people that were willing to sacrifice their good for the… greater good.So do not be so quick as to detach yourself from the rest of the humanity. You might need it one day.Not that you do not depend on it EVERY SINGLE DAY, already.You are a part of this system. You were born into it. And there is only one way out ;)

  117. says

    "I have the freedom to do whatever I want, and I do not give a flying f*** about anyone else.Everyone will die? Bummer – but my freedom should never be taken away from me!"Straw man argument, great start… I may have missed a post but I haven't read anyone saying " I have the freedom to do whatever I want, and I do not give a flying f*** about anyone else"."We already have slavery – prisoners are slaves, aren't they? -> People whose liberty was taken from them by the government."Incomplete comparison, 2 for 2, not bad… Prisoners are not slaves, the government doesn't own them. *some* liberties have been taken away from them because of their transgressions to society. It's not like the government has the right to put you in jail for no reason and then sell you like property. Look up "retribution"." I suggest studying population dynamics of some mammals, e.g. rats. When the survival of the population as a whole is in danger, the liberties of an individual in that population are 'sacrificed' for the sake of the group. "I may be part of the animal kingdom but I don't have behave like one." History demonstrates this pattern emerging whenever a group of human's is in danger. "Slavery has emerged naturally in almost every society up until very recently. Maybe we should bring back slavery as our ancestors certainly had better social structures than we have now." The only reason WE even have the right to state that, is because of people that were willing to sacrifice their good for the… greater good. "Great bumper sticker, who sacrificed himself for me? Jesus?" So do not be so quick as to detach yourself from the rest of the humanity. "Another straw man, one more and we hit the jackpot… Once again I may have missed a post or two but who here has said anything about detaching themselves from the rest of humanity?" Not that you do not depend on it EVERY SINGLE DAY, already. "Nice try. Although I do depend on A LOT of people on a daily basis (just like a lot of people depend on me) I don't sacrifice anyone any of them for my sake. Look up "cooperation".

  118. says

    Hey I had public run in with the Family Radio aka the We CAN Know May 21st people. I directed them to you so if they're not cowards some branch of them should want to call in. Not holding my breath though. My blog has a recap, and they have crazy that goes WAY beyond the May 21st stuffhttp://blogingproject.blogspot.com/2011/05/family-radio-god-hitler-and-prime.html?showComment=1304298686323#c7170095556857167311Forgive the blog whoring, just if anyone is interested.

  119. says

    "Straw man argument, great start… I may have missed a post but I haven't read anyone saying " I have the freedom to do whatever I want, and I do not give a flying f*** about anyone else"."Fair enough, but those are the implications when you read this:"- I don't see the population becoming a problem because we'll eventually get to an equilibrium along with renewable resources.- If we are so selfish as to overpopulate the world to the point of bringing us to our demise then we deserve it.- That's simply another necessary hardship that humans would have to undertake in order to survive in this situation."We deserve to die as a population because no one human is capable of being responsible for the survival of the whole? No thank you.If you think that one single family would sacrifice their right to have children because the world will suffer from overpopulation…I don't know what to say, Its like thinking that we can stop global warming just by explaining it to people, and they will all nicely stop using cars and get on the bikes."Incomplete comparison(…)"I understand the extent to which the comparison works. It is not 'complete' slavery, sure; but it is slavery nevertheless. Not that I have a problem with it, I fully support THAT kind of slavery (actually, I would rather go farther with it, but thats a different topic entirely).I recall ancient romans using slavery to work off debts and crimes as well – that would only work with the citizens though, the foreigners brought as slaves would stay slaves – 'of course'.

  120. says

    cont."I may be part of the animal kingdom but I don't have behave like one."Really? REALLY?You haven't studied animal kingdom enough then. We are MORE than 'just' animals, you could say humans are ascended animals. But a lot of our behaviour can be explained as only more sophisticated patterns that already exist in animal kingdom. Look at the primary emotions driving your behaviour. There may be an intellectual underpinning to them, but the 'primary cause' of any of your motiviation will be just as primal as that of a chimp ;)"Slavery has emerged naturally in almost every society up until very recently. Maybe we should bring back slavery as our ancestors certainly had better social structures than we have now."And you call me on strawman argument?But maybe I shouldn't have brought up so many topics at once.Anyways, the examples are there, look at WWII.When the society is in danger, everyone is demanded/expected to contribute. Now this is a little bit more complicated (the level of 'danger' is difficult to specify, and there are a lot of other factors)However, if you can visualize an alien attack (world of wars style) that is determined to exterminate us all, I can guarantee that any single group you belong too would demand a contribution from each individual towards the survival of the group. And dissidents would be frowned upon."Great bumper sticker, who sacrificed himself for me? Jesus?"Why do you bring religion to the topic?Look at the history of freedom, let us say: beginning with the french revolution.Freedom of an individual was not always there. Something/Someone made it happen, gradually. What/Who?You honestly believe that kings and aristocracy one day decided: naaah, let them have their freedom, and their democracy? Sure you don't.(?)But maybe you do not know why :)"Another straw man, one more and we hit the jackpot… Once again I may have missed a post or two but who here has said anything about detaching themselves from the rest of humanity?"That is the natural implication if you are willing to endorse ABSOLUTE freedom and no rights of the group towards you. Maybe you do not, that is however what I got from the 'we can have as many children as we want and if we deserve to die – so be it'And I do not necessarily mean the government, I see public authorities as the somewhat corrupt and distorted version representing 'greater good', distorted mostly through the scale at which it attempts to operate."I don't sacrifice anyone any of them for my sake. Look up "cooperation". "Oh really? That is easy for you to say, because a scope one single human can take on the dynamics of all of humanity is very limited.You are most likely using a computer to write this message. It is pretty safe to assume that most of its parts have been manufactured in China.A country famous for its amazing labor unions and freedom of speech, and children going to schools instead of working 15 hours everyday.Do you still claim that your good is not influencing anyone else? Now, I am not blaming you, or anyone in particular, because there is no one single person to blame. Just like you can't blame a single person for starting a war.Cooperation only works on a small scale. "help me out hunting, and I'll help to protect the fire".Once you start involving thousands, and thousands of thousands, and thousands of thousands of thousands of individuals the rules of cooperation collapse, and emerging patterns appear. Cooperation is no longer bound to be just and fair towards all people in the group, and so you have the priveleged ones (like, say, the developed world) and the underdogs – the developing world.The sad thing is that no one single person can be put to blame, it is a result of patterns that probably started with the first colonization journeys, or even before that.

  121. says

    WOW, you really have left me speechless (no sarcasm here).Since I can't address your entire post all at once I'll just address one topic at a time."Fair enough, but those are the implications when you read this: "You really should get into the habit of reading a little bit (not a lot, just a little bit) to see where the conversation is coming from. I'll give you a short summary of the conversation:To support his (her?) position M24 postulated the hypothetical armageddon like scenario where the world is overpopulated and resources are near exhausted. To make my point I asked him about the opposite hypothetical scenario where population was shrinking to near extinction. He basically said he didn't have to address that scenario because he didn't think it was likely to happen. The quotes you took were me saying (a few lines above had you bothered to read): "I could be just as ambivalent regarding the overpopulation issue." and then proceeded to "explain" why I don't have to address the overpopulation issue using (roughly) the same reasons he was using to not address the under population one (in an almost sarcastic tone).

  122. says

    I read most of that discussion.In my view, when humanity would ACTUALLY face extinction, forcing people to labor would be ridiculous, cause it requires way to much control over the person. A woman could easily rebel against being raped (well thats what it would be, wouldnt it) with miscarrying the baby, the methods are there.But to respond to the scenario, not that I think it is likely, and not that there is no difference between obligatory labor for 9 months (would you still object if males were required to provide sperm? – that doesn't seem like a huge deal IN THE CONTEXT OF EXTINCTION):Forcing people makes no sense, but strong encouragement towards, and social disapproval against would be completely understandable by me. I am looknig forward to your replies to other parts. Should you require, I can elaborate on the concepts provided.

  123. says

    OH, and sorry for not getting the sarcasm, it is commonly known sarcasm does not transmit well through the internetz ;)

  124. says

    On the first point I’ll just leave with the following: I don’t recognize society’s right to force me to have or not to have children (being enforceable or not is another matter). While I recognize that I can’t live in my version of a perfect society (whatever that may be), at least now I do have a choice regarding the compromises I’m willing to make in the society I live in.To give you an example, it pisses me off that my tax dollars are being used for the gain of the military complex, mostly through wars. That said, I do recognize that a large part of the population do like to fund the military complex and they do like their wars. So I take the good that this society has to offer along with the bad. If the good wasn’t enough to offset the bad I would just bail out and move somewhere else.Now onto the next topic: "Incomplete comparison(…)"Slavery has a fairly well defined meaning. If you start watering down its meaning you can say stuff like we’re all slaves because we’re not absolutely and 100% free to do whatever we want (we have laws). I don’t consider myself a slave, in the traditional sense of the word, whenever I have to stop at a stop sign.So yeah, if we’re going by your watered down definition then I have no choice but to agree with you and say that we do have slavery.Next topic: "I may be part of the animal kingdom but I don't have to behave like one."I’m the first one to admit that we’re mostly governed by our instincts and emotions. I love the triune model of the brain as a way to explain human behavior. The point is that just because we have evolved with certain instincts and emotions, doesn’t mean we have to act on them. So your “it’s found in nature” argument is not valid. Hell, you could have said “we evolved that way” and still wouldn’t be valid.To give you an example, if for whatever reason all primates (including us) had evolved to kill the second offspring, would it be okay to kill our second offspring too? Of course not…Which brings us to our next topic: “- my quoted text – And you call me on straw man argument?”I didn’t make a straw man argument. You said: "History demonstrates this pattern [of sacrificing individuals for the good of group] emerging whenever a group of human's is in danger." As a way of saying that it’s okay to sacrifice individuals for the good of the group because this pattern has emerged time and time again.My answer to that was: “Slavery has emerged naturally in almost every society up until very recently. Maybe we should bring back slavery as our ancestors certainly had better social structures than we have now.” That’s not a straw man, I’m just following your logic of “this pattern has emerged time and time again therefore it must be okay/good”.I don’t deny that those patterns do emerge, my position is that just because it has happened (or will happen) it doesn’t make it okay.

  125. says

    “Why do you bring religion to the topic?”I wasn’t really trying to bring religion into the topic so I apologize if I mislead you, I just couldn’t help myself because it reeked of the usual Christian chant of “Jesus sacrificed himself (to himself) for you!”- Insert French Revolution paragraph here – Bottom line, they were fighting for their rights. It got to a point where they said “Either I get my freedom or I’ll die trying!” A very good byproduct of their actions is that we now have something called inalienable human rights. So don’t try to use their actions (fighting for their freedom) as justification for sacrificing an individual for “the greater good”.Btw, don’t even try to portray me as an ungrateful bastard because I do appreciate very much the actions of my ancestors but they didn’t do it “for my sake” and I wouldn’t have asked any of them to sacrifice themselves for my sake either.“That is the natural implication if you are willing to endorse ABSOLUTE freedom and no rights of the group towards you.”And since I never said anything about having ABSOLUTE freedom I called you on your straw man.As I said before, I take the good with the bad and if at any point the good doesn’t offset the bad then I would bail out. So in the hypothetical scenario where ALL societies in the world suddenly adopted slavery, THEN I would try to detach myself as much as possible from society/humanity and live in a place as secluded as possible.“Oh really? That is easy for you to say, because a scope one single human can take on the dynamics of all of humanity is very limited.You are most likely using a computer to write this message. It is pretty safe to assume that most of its parts have been manufactured in China.A country famous for its amazing labor unions and freedom of speech, and children going to schools instead of working 15 hours everyday.Do you still claim that your good is not influencing anyone else?”You keep using emotional arguments instead of using sound logic. You’re basically using the fact that there are people who get sacrificed in this world and that I somehow benefit from this unfortunate situation (which, like you said, I’m not responsible) as justification for saying that it’s okay for society to sacrifice me “for the greater good”.“Cooperation only works on a small scale.”Really? So neighborhoods don’t cooperate with each other, cities don’t cooperate with each other, and countries don’t cooperate with each other? Or are you going to pull a nirvana fallacy because the cooperation between two countries can never be as equal as the cooperation between two people?

  126. says

    Let me first state that I think we agree more than I originally thought."If the good wasn’t enough to offset the bad I would just bail out and move somewhere else."I dare to doubt that. It is not so easy to get out of the system, once you have been conditioned to depend on it, especially your whole life. But nevermind that, not that relevant.We actually might agree that, as far as 'I' is concerned. I think the bigger question here is: whether the life of an individual should be sacrificed to save the group. If my death would prevent the whole humanity from dying, while I do not want to die, I would understand the motives of my killers. I will come back to that in just a moment.Well said with the slavery part, nothing I can really disagree with. I'll try to address the following points on a more general scale.“To give you an example, if for whatever reason all primates (including us) had evolved to kill the second offspring, would it be okay to kill our second offspring too? Of course not…”“I don’t deny that those patterns do emerge, my position is that just because it has happened (or will happen) it doesn’t make it okay. ““So in the hypothetical scenario where ALL societies in the world suddenly adopted slavery, THEN I would try to detach myself as much as possible from society/humanity and live in a place as secluded as possible.”'WE' make things okay. If everyone 'suddenly' adopted slavery, I think I would follow your trail and try to detach myself. However, if I was to be born into such a society, I recognize the high likelihood of me going with the flow. Morality can only make sense in the context of the group. A single individual with no other humans to interact with is morally neutral. In my definition that is. I see no other definition making sense, without invoking supernatural.In that context, had we evolved to kill our second offspring, it is very likely that it would be normal and acceptable to do such an act. Just because the standards WE have are completely different and we find such an act repulsive does not make it bad in the same way that one chimp eating other chimp's babies is not 'bad'. There is just no framework to judge it by. Sure, we can use OURS, but I do not see how is that feasible.If you imagine that for example, 500 years in the future morally would be even more evolved (very likely) and even looking at someone impolitely would be seen as a very bad and damaging act, doesn't mean that the present should be held accountable for frowning. Morality only makes sense in the context of the group, and thus greater good is the most moral choice.It is just that the word has been abused, people assume an arrogant stance claiming that the greater good is what 'they' talk about. I do not make such claims, but I can speak of hypotheticals (one person's wellbeing vs. the group).

  127. says

    @StrawmanI believe I made it pretty clear that all my implications, that appear as a strawman to you came from me not grasping the sarcasm of your original post. Which I can't really see, it still seems to me like a serious statement, although somewhat hidden (that is, I find it hard to think that you would put it there without actually meaning what you said – the {we deserve to die if we are so selfish}).But this is the internetz and statements should be held at face value. So if you say you didn't mean it I drop my implications, and thus won't bother to address the fallacy accusations. When I called you on your strawman, I was not talking about slavery anymore. But clearly you went with implications that went away than my original statement, and as such the situation is mirror image of the one described above, so I'll drop that too.@French RevolutionThis can be argued in a lot of ways. But I will not really bother, because this topic was only brought up in the context of, apparently, badly applied implications-> see @strawman. Regardless, whether someone was willing to die for an idea, because they recognized a huge benefit in it for themselves, or whether they were willing to sacrifice their own life for the idea living on in others doesn't undermine the fact that They Died For The Idea.@Emotional argumentsIt is easier to explain this particular case emotionally than by 'sound logic'. What I was attempting to show is that we are a part of the system more than we sometimes think; that our actions affect others' wellbeing, whether we want to or not. Hell, the very fact of me being born affected the lives of countless other individuals, both in a positive and negative way – very indirectly of course, just as a developed world citizen is detrimental to a lot of individuals from the developing world due to the willingness to promote the status quo. I didn't mean to inspire guilt, which I believe is stated clearly in my post. I just find it important to realise that our actions will influence the life and death of other human beings, no matter our motives.@CooperationNever heard of nirvana fallacy, actually had to look it up. The vast interest in fallacies, rather than arguments at hand dazzles me.In any case, my answer will be quite similar to what you expect: yes.Two countries 'cooperating' is no longer the cooperation understood by individualistic terms, mostly because 'a country' in this context is the country's government/authorities – and those do not represent the individuals in the group appropriately.What permits us to see the cooperation is the cherry picking of facts, and simplistic terms: 'this country will provide economical support, this country will provide cheap labor' is as far from an the fate of any single individual in either of the groups as the fate of a muscle cell is to a working out body builder.ESPECIALLY since countries as population groups are ill-defined, and no longer represent two separate entities.

  128. says

    Since we have more in common than we originally thought I'll try to be brief.Moving to a new city/state/country is not that hard as long as the legal barriers are not that great. I'll grant you that it can be very hard otherwise. I have no doubt that had I been brought up in a different society I would probably think differently about life and freedom. That said, now that I know better I can't go back to thinking that society has a claim on my life which can be cashed whenever society feels like it's necessary "for the greater good".I swear I'm going to think twice before starting a sentence with "Using your logic I could say …" To make it blatantly obvious what I was saying consider the following scenario. A theist says "Yahweh is real because I feel his presence". If I reply "Using your logic I could say 'Quetzalcoatl is real because I feel his presence'." , would it be fair of you to later on quote me as saying that I believe in Quetzalcoatl? I really hope your answer is no.I'm interested in fallacies because it allows me to recognize bad patterns of thought. The more I understand them the more likely I am to catch myself before making a BS argument or unjustifiably dismissing an idea because it doesn't jive with my current beliefs. Moreover if someone says "You're using X fallacy" I'm much more likely to recognize the error if I already know X pattern.

  129. says

    Nothing I can disagree with. However I didn't necessarily mean moving to a new city/state/country cause in the globalization age it is not 'that' different as say the customs of different tribes >15.000BC which literally perceived non-tribe members as alien, different species.I enjoyed the discussion, cheers.

  130. says

    Forgive my small-minded quibbly correction Martin, but I had to point out that JC wouldn't have been the vanguard as much as the rearguard action, of the "Zombie invasion" would he? He didn't actually effect his big appearance till the Sunday, which would be a full weekend after the other guys would have made the scene and split, n'est pas? – Or is it me that needs to swat up my gospels?

  131. says

    Sorry Martin – I looked it up – I stand corrected!! What a piss-poor piece of writing!!The writer wedged in a totally out of context occurance at the time of the actual crucifixion!JC wasn't even cold on his cross, and they were discussing the other stiffs visiting their kin 2 days later!!

  132. says

    Martin (late reply) but thanks for the update :) I'm very excited to show my Axp love, even if no one in Clarksville, TN gets it. Haha. I've always wondered if anyone catches the FSM decal on my car.

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