An iconic moment… »« Open thread for episode #847: Talking faith with Faith

Comments

  1. says

    Every time “John from Chicago” calls, you end up having two different conversations: One is you/him, the other is him/his list of talking points.

    I know the goal is stimulating, enlightening conversation between the hosts and the callers, but it never seems like you get that out of him. Instead, what you get is a lot of running around in circles as he desperately tried to find some “gotcha” moment to try and prove his perceived superiority to you while you keep trying to stomp the same point into his head for five damn minutes at a time.

    Maybe you’re just more patient than I am, but I’d have given up on his ass long ago.

  2. Mauricio Duque says

    It wasn’t that bad, the only problem with John, is that he couldn’t see the flaw in his own argument, and wasn’t able to explain why a fetus have more rights than a person.

    It seems that John, just didn’t put much thought on the idea before calling, and if that’s is his biggest flaw, than he’s better than most of the religious callers XD.

  3. Mark Croft says

    I’ve just finished watching yesterday’s show and John from Chicago seems a little slow on the uptake and didn’t argue his point very well. However I thought both Jen and Matt argued pretty poorly themselves in this debate, made baseless assertions around the subject of bodily autonomy and person hood and committed the apples and oranges fallacy numerous times. And this is from somebody who classes himself as pro choice, with limitations along similar lines to Richard Dawkins’ position on the subject as I understand it.

  4. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I appreciate when Matt sometimes hangs up on someone when they refuse to answer a simple yes/no question, but now I’m deathly curious what he was going to say just before he was cut off.

  5. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    with limitations along similar lines to Richard Dawkins’ position on the subject as I understand it.

    Meh? There is such a thing? Got any sources offhand of what his position is? This should be amusing.

  6. Mark Croft says

    I thought I read somewhere that Dawkins’ position is that abortions should be allowed up to the point around which the fetus becomes conscious and can therefore feel pain and that this can be scientifically verified. I’m prepared to be corrected on this if anybody a more accurate understanding of Dawkins’ position.

  7. says

    I think it’s sort of like chess. In order to play chess well, one needs to be able to mentally consider all the options, and all the myriad of responses to each move one makes, recursively, for several moves out. It’s tough for a person to process that all in their minds.

    For someone like that caller, it was more the equivalent of, he’s trying to move his chess piece, and he can’t even figure out the ramifications of one of his moves, let alone formulate any kind of winning strategy.

    For anyone watching, it was painfully obvious where his argument was crumbling. It was like he knocked out one of his own chess pieces, and then claimed victory.

  8. says

    made baseless assertions around the subject of bodily autonomy

    Such as?

    and person hood

    One of the points they were making, and rightly so, was that personhood wasn’t relevant.

  9. Mark Croft says

    The baseless assertion that bodily autonomy is an absolutist position. I see no rationale that this needs to be the case. Or maybe that’s not their position. If not then maybe somebody can inform me what their position is.

    “One of the points they were making, and rightly so, was that personhood wasn’t relevant”

    Precisely my point. They made a baseless assertion that person hood wasn’t relevant.

  10. WhoWhatNow says

    I disagree that personhood isn’t relevant, it’s entirely relevant. In fact it’s almost the entire debate. Jenn seems to disagree with Matt that personhood is irrelevant, but was right to let him get onto the more important points of his rebuttal, and I wish she had had more control over the conversation over Matt because I believe it would have been much better, but that is neither here nor there. But when a human becomes a person ABSOLUTELY is a huge deal to the conversation writ large.

  11. Robert Smart says

    I’m not to sure I agree with the argument regarding bodily rights, or rather that this argument applied to the brain dead pregnant woman being maintain for the sake of the unborn child isn’t quite the same.

    First off I’ll state that the viability of the fetus sounds like maintenance is already a non-starter and that the decision to leave the dead woman on life support is based on religious principles of the hospital/state.
    Also the next of kin wishes seems to be given no consideration and disregarded.

    The hosts keep bring up the argument that the rights of a pregnant woman is greater than that of the unborn child, and rightly tried to get the caller to realize the inconstancy of his position by comparing abortion to forced organ donation.
    However does that argument still apply when talking about a dead person. As in do the dead have rights we should consider beyond that of consideration of how our disregard of the body effects next of kin, (3rd parties).

    I guess the point I would make is that consideration of your rights after your death devolves to consideration of the rights of a 3rd party, in most circumstances the next of kin.
    However I’m not sure if those rights deserve the same consideration as that of a living person (mother) when talking about abortion rights (or even in the case of forced organ donation).

    An example to consider is, If the unborn child was viable with a high chance of survival, who’s rights should be given more consideration, the unborn child right to life or the 3rd party (next of kin) right to terminate?
    I suspect there would be a ‘moral’ tipping point between the viability or a fetus and the rights of a next of kin in this discussion, but where that is, is extremely muggy, especially when you can’t give a 100% on fetus viability and successful delivery.

    Anyway, despite how awful the existing situation is with this brain dead woman that initiated the discussion, this discussion I felt wasn’t as black and white as I thought the hosts positions was.
    This I guess is because I feel that the bestowed Rights of the Next of Kin are not as strong as the previous Living Rights of the now deceased person.

    Now in saying this, if consideration of the next of kin is disregarded then the responsibility (financial/ethical) of the outcome should devolve to the opposite party, being the state/hospital.

  12. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Mark Croft
    Would you be ok with a government program whereby people are chosen by lottery from voting records or DMV records to become living dialysis machines (if such a thing were possible)? This would save lives. Would you be ok with a government program whereby people are chosen by lottery from voting records or DMV records to giev up a kidney if they have another good kidney? This would save lives. Would you be ok with a government program which requires that all people become organ donors after death?

    I do not see an important difference between the first two scenarios and outlawing any abortion. I do not see an important difference between the last scenario and the interesting scenario in Texas of the braindead woman being kept on life support against her last wishes.

    No one is claiming an absolute right to bodily autonomy in all cases. At least not me. It is right and just that we acting through the state can compel you to labor for the benefit of others in at least some cases, such as taxes, giving testimony in a court of law, conscription for the shared defense in times of need, and so on. However, it generally violates our sense of freedom, self determination, and other values, to consider scenarios where our bodies are taken and used as life support for someone else.

    I suppose that their rationale would be in terms of the values of humanism. That’s my rationale at least.

  13. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Would you be ok with a government program where everyone is forced to be organ donors upon death? Because otherwise you’re proposing that fetuses have more rights than everyone else.

  14. susan martin says

    Im an athiest but I totally disagree with them about abortion. I absolutely think a fetus should have “special” rights because it can not live without them. We give “special” rights to children already. They have rights to be protected and cared for. The only time the rights of the mother should be considered over the right of the fetus is if it can be shown that the pregnancy will cause death or serious harm to mother.

    It is ridiculous to say a fetus has a right to life and then say that it has not got the right to use its mothers body to sustain that life. It has no choice but to do so. I have never understood why athiests tend to take this route. To me being an athiest makes life more precious not less.

  15. Mark Croft says

    “Would you be ok with a government program whereby people are chosen by lottery from voting records or DMV records to become living dialysis machines (if such a thing were possible)? This would save lives. Would you be ok with a government program whereby people are chosen by lottery from voting records or DMV records to giev up a kidney if they have another good kidney? This would save lives. Would you be ok with a government program which requires that all people become organ donors after death?”

    That’s the exact apples and oranges fallacy that I was talking about earlier. You first have to demonstrate that your analogy is valid and it clearly is not, for in non of those situations have you made any decision to put yourself in a position that compels you to have any of those situations forced upon you. The kidney analogy is particularly ridiculous because when you lose a kidney you lose it for good, you give it up permanently, something you clearly don’t do with a womb..
    As for the last comment about being forced to give up your organs after death. I wouldn’t have a major problem with that.

    “I do not see an important difference between the first two scenarios and outlawing any abortion.”

    I hope I made it clear that I don’t support an outright ban on abortion so this is rather a moot point in our discussion.

    “No one is claiming an absolute right to bodily autonomy in all cases. At least not me. It is right and just that we acting through the state can compel you to labor for the benefit of others in at least some cases, such as taxes, giving testimony in a court of law, conscription for the shared defense in times of need, and so on. However, it generally violates our sense of freedom, self determination, and other values, to consider scenarios where our bodies are taken and used as life support for someone else.

    I suppose that their rationale would be in terms of the values of humanism. That’s my rationale at least.”

    I don’t have much of a problem with your comments here but I suppose the main issue I have with Matt and Jen’s stance, and probably most of the other guys on TAE, is that they try and make it a very simplistic argument and my view is that I don’t accept their rather simplistic outlook on the issue.

  16. Mark Croft says

    For me the fundamental position here is that the more vulnerable ‘being’ in this scenario is the one that gets the extra protection. So it’s not purely about equal rights but about making decisions that result in the least overall harm for any given pregnancy for everybody concerned.

  17. Robert Smart says

    I think what I’m saying that the dead don’t have any rights beyond those that devolve to a 3rd party nominated by the deceased prior to death or by the state after death.
    That those rights don’t have the same “value/worth” as the now deceased party.
    I assume that a unborn child has some kind of legal rights (and dependent on your own opinion ethical rights)
    The question I propose is on a scale at which point do the rights of a unborn outweigh those of a 3rd party.

    A possible similar example to consider inheritance cases where a will is disregarded and a court ruling is utilized as an alternative. (I think this is how such cases work). So I believe there are cases where society accepts that the intentions of the deceased can be disregarded.

    And as to your comment regarding organ donors, If your dead your ability to care what happens to your is nil. In the situation you discuss I see a more grey moral choice.
    Taking organ as of right has nuances of a totalitarian state, however I also wouldn’t feel a huge moral outrage either if a government representative argued successfully in court that organs be harvested from a deceased body for a given situation (assuming a free and open society where the courts are still a check on government authority and not a rubber stamp).
    I think there are times when yes I could accept cases where the state/government come along and take organs, so long as the argument is more convincing than the potential metal harm caused to friends and relative of the deceased.

    I suppose the root question lies in where is the most harm, in body rights of the diseased (and the feelings of the 3rd parties) vs the living (which technically include the unborn).

    I think some countries actually have an opt out option rather than opt in in regards to organ donation.
    Is there a moral difference to the 2 systems?

    Final point, in the online discussion when comparing the abortion issue in relation to the forced organ donation the inference was that both cases the donor/pregnant woman was alive, and by extension has existing rights which in both cases supersede the rights of other parties when discussing bodily rights.
    I think this is a somewhat different discussion when talking about the dead.

  18. Tawn says

    That’s the analogy I would use to assess this situation.

    Personally, I think I actually would be ok with that. I’m not entirely sure the dead should have greater rights than (or situations where their rights/wishes overrule) the living.

    Another way of looking at this is.. you’re trapped in a remote location with others. They’re going to die and its pretty clear the only way you’ll live is to resort to cannibalism (once they die)… but in their dying breath they ask you not to eat their body. Do their wishes outweigh your wish to survive? Would you be immoral if you disobeyed their wishes?

    Of course that situation is divorced from society.. so what if there is a group of other people with you, who have eaten more recently and they don’t need to eat (for whatever reason you haven’t eaten in a while) and they hear the dead persons wish. Should they stop you if you try to tuck in?

  19. says

    Robert asked-

    However does that argument still apply when talking about a dead person. As in do the dead have rights we should consider beyond that of consideration of how our disregard of the body effects next of kin, (3rd parties).

    OF COURSE it does: that’s the entire basis of WHY a person is able to decide what happens to their organs while still alive to become an organ donor BEFORE they are actually dead, the idea upon which the doctrine of informed consent is built (the right to refuse any medical treatment, for any reason whatsoever).

    It’s the entire premise behind ADVANCE (i.e. before the event) health care directives. It’s why we then allow the next of kin to make the decision, if the person didn’t leave anything in writing: they should know what the person wanted. We similarly respect the wishes of the deceased for choice of burial vs cremation, etc.

    ALL such concepts stem from the legal principle of autonomy and the right to self-determination, rooted in society recognizing the right of individuals to make informed decision about what happens to their own bodies while alive and after their death, since everyone “owns” THEIR own body, and presumably will make choices in their own best interests. We’ve outlawed slavery long ago, since it’s ethically-repulsive to own and control other human beings against their will.

    In TX, a paternalistic Daddy State has stepped in to over-ride, a decision not to be taken lightly.

  20. Artemis says

    Why is pregnancy special? If we use this principle, shouldn’t the more vulnerable ‘being’ get the extra protection all the time? Should we have a law, for example, that forces parents to give blood or bone marrow transplants to their biological children if the children need it?

  21. says

    Darren from Puyallup, WA called about the reluctance to challenge religion on the grounds that there may be some protective benefit to society due to religiosity, based on the fear of punishment in Hell after death.

    Unfortunately, that line of reasoning doesn’t hold water with Christianity, since Xian theology claims that as long as even the worst killer repents of his sins/crimes before he dies, he’s going to Heaven.

    So even Hitler was forgiven after killing 6 million Jews, just as long as he repented before death. Oh, and what about those Jews who were the victims? Per Xian theology, they’re now burning for an eternity in Hell, that is if they didn’t accept Jesus in their hearts as their personal Savior before they died of cyanide inhalation.

    As a result, many mass-murderers and serial-killers (eg Ted Bundy, or white supremacist serial killer John Paul Franklin in Nov 2013, etc), have repented before their executions, fully expecting they were going to Heaven. Hence the forgiveness of Jesus has ZERO deterrence value, and even theoretically functions as some perverse incentive to sin and then to gain forgiveness, since salvation is guaranteed if only you ASK for it (“ask and ye shall be given”).

    Adam

  22. BradC says

    Mark-

    Here are the versions of the bodily autonomy argument that address your concern about the analogy to abortion (your “you did something to get yourself in this position” argument):

    It is widely agreed that you can’t be forced to donate an organ against your will, even if it would save the life of another. That is because you have the right to decide what happens to your own body.

    It is also true, that even if you have agreed to be an organ donor, that you can back out at any time, up to and including the moment of the operation, even if the organ recipient is already on the operating table, with their defective organ removed (resulting in certain and immediate death). By waiting this long, you certainly brought this scenario about, but you still can’t be compelled to donate against your (now changed) wishes.

    Also, consider another scenario: a man and a woman are both carriers of a rare condition that will, with near-certainty, cause complete liver failure in any child they conceive. And yet even these two cannot be compelled to donate a portion of their liver to their child. It would certainly be nice for them to do so, but we cannot obligate them to, because of bodily autonomy.

    Also, while rape is the most obvious counter-example to the “you put yourself in this position” argument, what about the couple who was completely consistent with their birth control, but became pregnant anyway? Or the man who got a vasectomy, and 10 years later some sperm somehow sneaked through (rare but happens)?

    And to go one step further: why is your original question even relevant? We don’t use the “you knew the risks, therefore you are stuck” argument anywhere else. We take a risk of an accident every time we drive to the store, but if we do get hit broadside and end up on our roof in a ditch, we expect help from the rescue squad, not a lecture about “we did this to ourselves” and to be left in a crumpled car to die. We don’t refuse to treat a skier’s broken leg because they knew the risks of hitting the slopes.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    Let’s change the kidney analogy. How about have it apply to convicted criminals rather than lottery losers. Now the subjects HAVE put themselves in this position. Is that any better?

  24. Robert, not Bob says

    Hitler committed suicide, which according to his version of Christianity is unforgivable. Adam W’s point is, however, entirely valid.

    And for those who haven’t lived in western Washington, it’s pronounced “pew-ALLUP”.

  25. Robert Smart says

    You make mention of “legal principle of autonomy and the right to self-determination”, but in your last sentence you point out that this principle is limited, as the state has the right and ability to step in when they determine other parties rights are affected.
    The question which faces the state is at which point the scales tip the balance to make their intervention necessary.
    Now you could argue (and I would agree from the scant information at my disposal) that the TX case hasn’t met this burden. However it does point out there is a limit to self-determination within the societal framework.

    The other point I would make is i suspect legally the dead don’t own anything, rather ownership is transferred upon death to a 3rd party. As the dead also don’t have “will” or even autonomy , claiming a correlation to slavery I think is not valid.

    A question I would ask (as I’m unfamiliar with the subject) a living will could be considered a contract between 2 parties. When 1 party is dead and their interest in the contract is “transferred” to the other party is it still valid if they choose to disregard/discard it?
    The point I think I’m trying to clarify is that upon death an individual can now be considered property or and asset (but not a slave, as a corpse has no will) and the state can choose to interfere with its disposal/utilization.
    It just has to have a damn good reason to do so.

  26. Robert Smart says

    Lucky for the Christians Hitler was (crazy) Roman Catholic. He probable didn’t get a chance to repent his suicide before that bullet went through his brain. :)

    …or can you repent a sin before committing it?

  27. Robert Smart says

    Could I suggest a better mind game for the limits of Body Autonomy.

    We discover an individual with an immunity to AIDs (or cancer…whatever) which we suspect we can develop a cure through his blood cultures.
    This individual also happens to be a Jehovah’s Witness, and while he consented to a initial blood test, will not consent to using his blood to develop a cure because he believes that will result in transfusions are prohibited by his beliefs.

    Now do we:
    a.) Respect his Body Autonomy and destroy his blood samples?
    b.) Take him to court to legally use his blood for a cure?
    c.) Lie and Use the blood without his legal consent/knowledge?

    I suggest this because its at the opposite side of the scale, where the individual is not (physically) harmed but the potential benefit to society could be immense, as opposed to the kidney example, harming 1 individual to save another.

  28. says

    The sin in my example was being responsible for ordering the deaths of 6 million Jews.

    But one has to wonder about all the deaths where someone was supposedly “cleaning a gun they thought was empty, but it apparently wasn’t” and those were actually suicides by believers, where the family members can’t face the fact their relatives may have been suicides (and many religions are split on whether suicides earn someone Heaven or Hell).

  29. Robert Smart says

    I’m just amusing myself with the thought that I’ve never heard a theist state regardless of all that mass murder, any forgiveness he may have received was immediately canceled out by blowing his brains out.

  30. says

    Robert said-

    You make mention of “legal principle of autonomy and the right to self-determination”, but in your last sentence you point out that this principle is limited, as the state has the right and ability to step in when they determine other parties rights are affected. The question which faces the state is at which point the scales tip the balance to make their intervention necessary.

    Sure, but you’re only “begging the question”, repeating the very issue that’s at stake in the case, deciding where the line is to be drawn. TX is moving the lines towards rights of the fetus, presumably caving to pressure from religious-based morality.

    BTW, it’s not even Bible-based morality, eg Judaism allows for abortion if the life of the mother is threatened, so the Torah reflects the same “first come, first served” thinking found in modern abortion laws, where the unborn is not considered a human until it takes its first breath, an act which indicates its soul has entered (Hebrew word, nephesh).

    The other point I would make is i suspect legally the dead don’t own anything, rather ownership is transferred upon death to a 3rd party. As the dead also don’t have “will” or even autonomy , claiming a correlation to slavery I think is not valid.

    AGAIN, ethics ARE a social construct, an entirely-artificial agreement, and in this case, we act as if the person were alive and can express their will. Theists should be able to grasp that concept: think of spirits who can communicate with the living! :)

    I suppose you could make an argument that since they’re no longer alive, their wishes don’t matter any longer, and we have no responsibility to accept the validity of their written will (which is exactly WHY it’s called a “will”: to express their wishes for what happens to them and their possessions AFTER they die). Then someone claims that since quadraplegics cannot actually physically defend themselves, either, maybe we’re justified to do whatever we want with them, or even say that people who are mentally-retarded don’t have rights, either.

    See where I’m going? It may resemble a slippery-slope argument, but it’s actually not: I’m saying the entire challenge is determining where the line is set, and it IS arbitrary. That’s part-and-parcel of ethics: drawing lines based on nothing more BUT commonly-accepted principles of what is fair for the individual vs society.

    A question I would ask (as I’m unfamiliar with the subject) a living will could be considered a contract between 2 parties. When 1 party is dead and their interest in the contract is “transferred” to the other party is it still valid if they choose to disregard/discard it?

    First off, IANAL. This is NOT legal advice.

    It’s an interesting question that I suspect hinges on when the attending physician pronounced time of death; I’d suspect the living will would cease to be in effect at time of death, and the regular will would kick in, since the advance health directive is called a LIVING will, and limited to expressing one’s desires for healthcare decisions IF the pt should be unable to express their wishes. Durable Power of attorney (the rights of family members to express one’s wishes) is another matter.

    The point I think I’m trying to clarify is that upon death an individual can now be considered property or and asset (but not a slave, as a corpse has no will) and the state can choose to interfere with its disposal/utilization.
    It just has to have a damn good reason to do so.

    LOL! That’s probably one way to look at this situation, treating it as if it were a property issue, esp in TX.

    Texans would likely be more receptive to the idea of a patriarch’s right to do anything he wants with one’s wife and children, if only they had more of that ancient Hebrew view of women in their thinking, as if they were mere chattel.

    Adam

  31. chris lowe says

    Brain dead is brain dead.
    Two years ago my wife of thirty-one years took a fall and had a catastrophic brain injury. After fifty-six hours on life support she was declared brain dead.
    I can easily see why wish-thinking and faint hope might turn the helpless survivors towards false consolation. That however gives those in the business of false consolation exactly no right to intervene against the wishes of the deceased and their families and doctors. By the same right no doctor should hold out hope where there is none.
    It is important to understand this opinion is not coming from some detached ivory tower debate, but from a person who has lived through this traumatic event and devastating outcome.
    What is, is, and appealing in the name of some Mythical Celestial Lawmaker to intervene in private medical affairs is unconscionable. Those that do this and go against considered professional medical opinion should straight away be banished from the conversation.
    Sue during her lifetime made it widely well known that in the event of her death she wished to donate her organs for transplants and/or research. She had officially signed up to do just that. Six weeks after she died I received a letter stating that five people had benefited from these donations through successful surgeries.
    God had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this. I know for a fact this gracious and generous act was solely because of a compassion for her fellow human beings.
    My five foot, ninety five pound wife gave the gift of life to five individuals. Unlike “God” I can prove it and I’ve got it in writing!
    Don’t you bible thumpers dare throw your ignorant and uninformed weight behind legislation intervening against fact based medical decisions. Your arrogance, self-righteousness, solipsism, credulity and tendency towards fantasy, not to mention the hideous moral turpitude of your God, don’t add up in any way for a right to do this.
    Now ask me what I really think!

  32. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You know – I’ve just been asking the question and making the argument as a devil’s advocate, or at least as someone who wasn’t yet decided. As for forced organ donations after death, I think I could make a compelling argument that it’s morally acceptable, and maybe maybe morally required. I need more time to think on it.

  33. says

    What if we simplified the situation for those who seem to be so invested in the fetus’ so-called rights.

    Imagine for a moment that the brain dead woman in this story is alive and healthy and perfectly fine. She’s 14 weeks pregnant and decides she wants an abortion. She has that right, and exercises it, and no one forces her to remain pregnant (except for some BS mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods, lying counseling, and the great inconvenience of trying to find a clinic still open, etc).

    Why is it such a problem for people if she is brain dead?

  34. says

    So who is to say that if god wanted this person to be dead and someone is keeping them on life support isn’t that obstruction of justice or obstruction of god’s will? But then again look how long Je$u$ has been on life support. To John from Chicago; It is unfortunate that someone who is innocent dies so that someone else can have the freedom to choose, but then again how many other innocent lives have been lost so that you can have the freedom to choose? This isn’t about trying to save someone who is innocent, it’s about respecting someone else’s choice.

  35. Omar says

    As much as I love Jen, this was obviously her fault. When poor John from Chicago denied that keeping a brain dead woman alive just so a fetus could be brought to term made her body a living incubator; Jen never explained to him what an incubator is. Her big words confused him. in their battle of wits, he was unarmed.

  36. Omar says

    As much as I love Jen, this was obviously her fault. When poor John from Chicago denied that keeping a brain dead woman alive just so a fetus could be brought to term made her body a living incubator; Jen never explained to him what an incubator is. Her big words confused him. in their battle of wits, he was unarmed.

  37. Omar says

    And do those “special rights” for children also include forced blood or bone marrow transplants from their parents? A sick child also has no choice in the matter. Yes, life is precious. So is bodily autonomy–a basic human right.

  38. AhmNee says

    @Mark Croft

    The point still stands that there is NO other medical procedure where we force a person to provide use of any part of their body to sustain a life. To suggest that in this case it’s okay because the person put themselves in the situation is to punish someone for following their integral biological drives and is special pleading at best.

    That’s ignoring the fact that while the mortality rate during childbirth isn’t as significant as it once was, the chance still exists. Plus the damage that carrying a child to term can do to a woman’s body. So, please, don’t make it sound like carrying a child and childbirth is a risk-less proposition.

    We do not force people to give of their bodies to sustain another’s life. It really is as simple as that.

  39. Luis says

    I feel the bodily autonomy rights is a bit of a strawman argument when discussing abortion. The majority of women who go through abortions do not do so because of their want of a free uterus and body autonomy, they do so because they do not want to handle the baby after it is born.

    Not only that, when Matt says that abortion is not killing a fetus but depriving it of a right to be in the uterus, I would also disagree as most of abortions kill the baby before removing him from the uterus, which shows that the action is not about bodily rights but terminating that unwanted living being.

    Following this thought, I’d like to pose one question to the pro-choice group. If science got to the point of being able to save a fetus of any age, would you still agree with the killing of fetuses or should them all be saved outside of the uterus?

  40. susan martin says

    Im saying that the child in question can be put on a list of potential donors and is given the right to have all possible medical care given to them. The fetus had no choice but to use its mother’s womb and the mother was partially responsible for it being there. Im only asking for reasonable amount of protection for the fetus and a temporary suspension of the mothers rights.
    A child that need an organ and has a parent that can give said organ without lasting or life threatening damage, I believe is morally reprehensible if they dont but I agree that the legal obligation is something I would be very cautious of. However, that child if not given the organ will die naturally, where the fetus is already in its natural state and if allowed to continue in that state will not die. Its a matter of natural rights and the mother violates the childs natural right.

  41. tigg13 says

    I have become a bit frustrated with the “fetus’ rights” vs the “mother’s rights” arguments. I guess because I’m a moral relativist and the idea of convincing someone that your moral standards are better than theirs looks like a waste of time to me. But, has anyone considered that we are not talking about moral rights, but legal rights?
    I mean, has this thought ever occurred to anyone else – that, except for those folks who have become citizens via the nationalization process, in order to be a citizen you have to have been BORN in this country. Fetuses, by definition haven’t been born anywhere and, thus, cannot be citizens. Now the question becomes “should the rights of a non-citizen be greater than the rights of a citizen?” And its a no brainer.
    And, to me, this isn’t even the most compelling argument. The bigger issue in my mind is that the pro-life movement hasn’t truly addressed how it would handle the hundreds of thousands of new born babies that would be entering the system every year if abortions were banned. If the parents were willing to “murder” the “baby” before it was born then they are, by definition, unfit parents. Foster care programs are already over crowded and there are already more children going up for adoption each year than there are families looking to adopt. Since each of these kids would cost about $10,000 per year to feed, clothe, house, educate and provide medical care for, the question I ask pro-lifers is, who is going to pay for all of these non-aborted babies?

  42. says

    Sir Real said-

    To John from Chicago; It is unfortunate that someone who is innocent dies so that someone else can have the freedom to choose

    Maybe that’s the key for Xians to grasp the concept, pointing out the similarity between their doctrine of ‘imputation of righteousness’ from the death of a perfectly-innocent being (Jesus, or in the case of abortion, the fetus) which is needed to atone for the sins of others (humanity, or the mother)?

    Aren’t fetuses considered sinless (since they’ve had no chance yet to sin) ,or does a fetus already bear Adamic sin?

    At the risk of being blasphemous, perhaps it would it help them to grasp the concept better if the aborted fetus were mounted to a miniature crucifix? Seems pretty much the same idea from where I’m sitting.

    Adam

  43. susan martin says

    Im saying that the child in question can be put on a list of potential donors and is given the right to have all possible medical care given to them. The fetus had no choice but to use its mother’s womb and the mother was partially responsible for it being there. Im only asking for reasonable amount of protection for the fetus and a temporary suspension of the mothers rights.
    A child that need an organ and has a parent that can give said organ without lasting or life threatening damage, I believe is morally reprehensible if they dont but I agree that the legal obligation is something I would be very cautious of. However, that child if not given the organ will die naturally, where the fetus is already in its natural state and if allowed to continue in that state will not die. Its a matter of natural rights and the mother violates the childs natural right.

  44. AhmNee says

    Just because personhood is what most advocates choose to debate, it really IS irrelevant to the argument that whether the fetus is a person or not. We do not, in any other case, force a person to allow another to use their body to sustain their life. Therefore it doesn’t matter if the fetus is a person or not. Allowing one person to use another’s body against their will is wrong.

  45. Monocle Smile says

    That’s not entirely true. There are objective truths about what’s better for us, like with health. People may have different opinions about this, but to use an analogy from the show, you can hold the opinion that drinking battery acid is healthy all you want. Doesn’t change anything.

  46. Monocle Smile says

    Some glaring errors here.

    the mother was partially responsible for it being there.

    I shouldn’t need to point out what’s wrong with this one.

    Im only asking for reasonable amount of protection for the fetus and a temporary suspension of the mothers rights.”

    Welcome to the New World Order, where all you have to do to transform a woman from a person into a piece of property without rights is impregnate her. Big Brother would be proud.

    the fetus is already in its natural state and if allowed to continue in that state will not die.

    There are a whole host of cases where this isn’t true, and mortality rates for both the mother and fetus during childbirth in the United States are much higher than what most people think.

    Its a matter of natural rights

    That’s not a term with any discernible meaning.

  47. AhmNee says

    The discussion is already being had about where the line should be drawn for death. Doctors are pushing for earlier and earlier harvesting because the sooner you can get the organ the greater chance of it’s viability and a successful transplant. However, medical science is pushing back the line of when a person is dead. With appropriate refrigeration, it can be hours after a person’s heart stops as opposed to minutes without.

    Our current system already makes mistakes. Institutionalized compulsory organ donation is a dystopian outcome you’d be hard pressed to convince me is worth it.

  48. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Yeah. The argument that it introduces a bad incentive, almost like a slippery slope argument, is very interesting. I’m not really liking the argument that we should obey someone’s wishes for their body after they’re dead though, especially at the cost of someone else’s life. Those are two very different arguments.

  49. AhmNee says

    Medical science is still a game of percentages. Medicine tries to reduce complications but every time you go in for an invasive procedure, you are spinning a roulette wheel. And that’s without even discussing the quantity vs. quality of life debate.

    You’re right that there are certain nigh-absolute lines that can be drawn but once you remove those, the choices left can get pretty gray where individuals must weigh the risks for themselves.

  50. says

    The data I’ve seen is that 1 in 4 wanted pregnancies end w/o a living child. Thanks to scientific medicine, and in some cases that involves abortion, the mortality rates of women are much, much lower.

  51. calcarchr says

    I’m not sure if this has been addressed as of yet but i’d like to come at the foetus argument from another angle. I would first like to preface this by saying i am completely in favour of bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. The one thing that Jen fails to answer is why a dead person’s wishes are taking precedence over the those of the living. (To paraphrase matt life is always preferable to death). If while alive the woman chooses to terminate her pregnancy or do drugs or go skydiving is her decision and no one else’s but if she’s dead why are her wishes still taking precedence over life in her body. This is not the same argument as giving up an organ to save your 2 year old child, this is life support for the still living foetus. Once the mother dies her wishes should not take precedence. That being said, if the father at this point wishes to abdicate responsibility for the child he should be allowed to do so and the state should be responsible for the child/foetus.

  52. Charles Coffey says

    I just started watching the show from yesterday, and I got as far as John in Chicago.

    Anyone can look at any one of my posts here, and in fact, you can look up Coffey3C in google and youtube, and find way to many posts to know how strongly I believe in a secular and natural world view, and what is more, a moral stand that defends the individuals rights in almost any situation.

    I found the call with John to be the most offensive thing that I’ve ever seen on the show. John did not frame his questions and points as well as he might have. That’s a given, right along with the idea that there are a lot of people out there who simple lack the ability to do so. Then again, how could he. Every time, he spoke or was stating a fundamental disagreement with Jen and Matt, every time he tried to open his mouth, Mat and Jen both began yelling at him. It was a complete failure of rational discourse and worse, any sense of civility and courtesy. It was disgusting.

    It’s your show, and you can obviously run it in any way that you see fit. Only you, and president Jen need to decide what the show is about. If it’s about spreading reason, and listening with some semblance of rationality and reason to to a caller who is donating his time to help make your show, or if it is to shrilly blather at any caller with whom you disagree. It’s your show, but the disconnect button only grants you the power to end a conversation, not a moral supremacy of your view.

    What was worse, is that as Matt accused john of interrupting him, and as he accused him of failing to understanding the bedrock ideas, morals, philosophical principals of the discussion,… I found that Matt and Jen both were making their decisions / arguments based on their own fundamental perception.of the facts that pertain. None of which were arguable from an objective point.

    A fingernail is not a organism that is capable of developing the ability of independent survival, and as a largely philosophical / theological bent person, you might have missed that point. Reductio ad absurdum:

    The identity of an organism is determined by it’s genetic makeup. A fetus, a blastula, a baby, a talk show host, all have their species tetermened by their genetics. No matter how strongly you feel about your reproductive rights conclusions, your denial of this smacked far too much of religious zeal, rather than a more thoughtful admission that this is an uncomfortable fact with which we are likely to never have a good, pat and comfortable answer. We simply must, like the doctors caring for this patient, do the best that we can. No matter what you feel about a mothers rights, your position about a fetus/ embryo might just as easily have been framed as having rights based on the ability to defend itself. I feed for the hypothetical child living next door, when people begin to reason in this way, with this level of blind certainty. I on the other hand, am agnostic with it comes to absolutes with regards to the rights of the aborted vs. the mother. And… Just as with the condition of the existence of a god, I think it’s an absurdity, because in the absence of that knowledge, every human is an agnostic with regards to those questions.

    Second, a fetus is not a leach that attaches to your scrotum as it wades through a swamp. It not only has it until determined otherwise ( and I’m guessing that I probably understand the causation of the probable lack of viability in this fetus at least as well as either of the hosts.), the capability of developing into a unique, and sapient organism… it also carries on the genetic code of the mother.

    If the mother is alive, and cares to make the determination that she does not want to continue a pregnancy, then that is her right, and we always need to defend against any infringement on this. For her rights as an individual, or for the good of our societies as a whole, women must be allowed this basic human right, with which we struggle to contend, and to understand on a daily basis. If the mother is alive, then it is her choice, but since she was dead, the issue of her being used as an incubator after her death, where no harm is being done to her, weighs just a little more heavily than your hysteria over the possibility of infringing on her wishes.

    I agree that the father is another matter, but I also agree that the doctor has the right to refuse to carry out his wishes if they are offensive to them. And, it’s another issue we cannot resolve, I believe, based on our level of ethical understanding, how the position of a fetus may be so plastic based on the procedures undertaken to save the mother, versus procedures taken with the express purpose of ending the fetus’s life. We like to say that religion is proof our our half chromasome difference between ourselves and apes; but, this one clearly highlights in stark relief of our inability to make any absolute ethical determination, save for with respect to ethical choice.

    Ethical Choices, Matt, and Jen, not based on absolute edicts of god, or even edicts of self-righteous talk show hosts. Imperfect choices, this one between the rights of a dead body, vs a fetus whose viability was very doubtful, but which had not been ruled out..

    You can never use your beliefs as an excuse to ignore that there are many women who feel just as strongly as you do about anything you think, think you know, or believe, that they would spend their lives in any way necessary to defend the well being of that child. Child fetus, embryo… your semantics ignore that every human life is measured in part, not just by it’s genetics, but by it’s potential to contribute to it’s own well being, it’s happiness, and to humanity as a whole. It also has value,though historically a very cheap one, based on it’s unique genetic makeup. We are each of us, the recipient of an unbroken line of successful reproduction that spans some four billion years. Unbroken… and, the recipients of an almost inexpressibly small chance that just that sperm and that egg, of the half trillion or so sperm and the hundreds of viable eggs of the parents, would be formed. No argument abrogates the uniqueness that potential existence, either.

    As long as the mother wanted not to be put on life support, She had the right to do be allowed to die. However, unless there was a clause in that living will, that said even if she was pregnant, then the conditions of that direction had irrefutably and materially changed. The father’s right also should have weighted into it, to make the decision, and I agree with you there. The fetus did not have a choice of within which body it would grow. The ethical requirement to defend that life, in the absence of a clear direction from the mother on that specific condition, still carries at least as much weight as your opinion.

    Every time that man said that the fetus was a child, you both sand out in unison ” No it’s not” Where’s your proof. What allows you at what stage to presume what constitutes the existence of a human life. Argumentum ad ignorantiam,

    I love your show, and admire all the hosts to a very great degree. However, here you were wrong. Your arguments were not reasoned nor civil, and were no better framed than the instance of a christian scientist who wants to ignore the medical needs of a child, and it was disgusting. Sam Harris pointed this out with William Lane Craig, that based on his divine command theory. he had not a single leg to stand on besides this unsupportable claim to have chosen the right deity to worship, and that failing that there was no rational basis to presume that his was any better position from that of a Muslim, a Jew, or a cannibalistic worshiper of a rock. Your performance with John fell starkly into the same category.

    I love you guys, I really do; but, if you were my own children I’d have to tell you that I see you owing everyone an abject apology for presenting yourselves as just as big a self-righteous asshole as any christian apologist who functions on the absolute certainty that they know precisely what god wants you to do with your penis and vagina. You are not that mother, and you can not know if she would change her mind based on these circumstances. You are not that father, and can not know how stress and grief, or even greed effected his decision, even though I think it was his to make. You are not the doctor, whose oath and obligation is still to do whatever he can for the patients – patients – entrusted to his oath and his care. You are not the pillars of moral certainty you seem to think you are.

    Coffey3C

  53. susan martin says

    Your points are valid and I understand what your saying. However, your only considering the mothers rights. The fetus has no choice in depending on its mother. Thats what I meant by natural right. Nature has given the fetus a way to survive and although other issues could arise, for the most part pregnancy leads to a live birth unless something stops nature from taking its course.
    It is a moral issue and I dont necessarily think the government should be involved but I am at an impasse as to the correct solution. Unless a rape was involved ,the mother has some responsibility for this situation.
    I hope that someday an artificial womb or a fetal transplant can be used. Would you agree then, that the fetus would have the right to be transplanted? That would put an end to this debate I hope.

  54. AhmNee says

    Children don’t have a “special right” to be protected and cared for. Parents/Guardians have a responsibility to care for their children to the best of their ability. A person’s right, mother or not, to self determination is paramount.

    You’re also suggesting that having sex is implicit consent to getting pregnant. Thereby suggesting that a rape victim consents to getting pregnant.

    A fetus is in essence, a parasite. It will feed itself at the expense of the host, leeching nutrients from the hosts body even if it causes medical issues for the host. Pregnancy is not a no-risk proposition to any mother, even with modern medicine. There are/can be permanent changes to the mother’s body, pregnancy related diseases, mental afflictions such as post-postpartum depression, and death due to complication.

    http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-relatedmortality.htm

    “Sadly, about 650 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications.”

    No. You’re asking for special dispensation to one person to use another’s body without consent. Which, I think the argument can be made, is equivalent to indenturement.

  55. says

    Charles Coffey said:

    A fingernail is not a organism that is capable of developing the ability of independent survival, and as a largely philosophical / theological bent person, you might have missed that point.

    Ok, fair enough, you don’t like the fingernail metaphor. Try this one:

    The sperm swimming in my testicles are all potentially CAPABLE of developing the ability for independent survival, too, so do I have some moral obligation to see that all 10 million sperm get the right to achieve life by playing matchmaker, and finding each a suitable egg?

    We’re dangerously close to the RCC’s position that “use of contraceptives is a sin” argument. Let’s go there, huh? That’s the direction that logic goes, whether you intended it to or not.

    Charles Coffey said:

    The identity of an organism is determined by it’s genetic makeup. A fetus, a blastula, a baby, a talk show host, all have their species determined by their genetics.

    A fetus is NOT a contributor to the gene pool of the species; it’s a POTENTIAL contributor, and technically child play NO role in evolution until they reach reproductive age.

    Same applies to sperm/eggs that aren’t fertilized, but are discarded by the body (via nocturnal emission, or menstruation). The gametes are quite unique, too, being defined by the unique genetic code encapsulated inside. So what? They’re still POTENTIAL BEINGS, and are incapable of having (much less expressing) a will.

    The bottom line is that self-determination of one’s own body (and one’s genetic material, as an extension of the body) is the more-important right, since YES, there actually IS a ‘pecking order’ to rights, and suggesting fetuses be given special rights is absurd as suggesting gametes be given equal rights, too, since they ALSO represent potential independent beings.

    Potential beings shouldn’t be allowed to trump the rights of ACTUAL beings, whether in a coma, or those who are dead.

    Adam

  56. AhmNee says

    Since judeo-christian religious dogma enshrines thought-crime, there’s no such thing as before the sin. If you’ve thought about it, you’ve committed it.

  57. says

    Oh, on this:

    Coffey said-

    You are not the doctor, whose oath and obligation is still to do whatever he can for the patients – patients – entrusted to his oath and his care.

    Exactly, you’re kinda getting it now, as you’re moving in the right direction.

    In fact, WHO was the ‘doctor/pt’ relationship established between: the treating physician and the MOTHER, or the treating physician and the FETUS? It’s a simple question, really: who’s name is on the chart held by the doctor, so whom was he treating?

    More cynically if you like, who’s the named beneficiary on the health insurance policy, i.e. the covered individual who’s health insurance will be billed to cover the cost of the care delivered for the pulmonary embolism? Would that be the MOTHER, or the FETUS?

    Can fetuses even get healthcare policies delivered by mail to inside the womb? We’ve all heard the old joke about the infant looking like more the mailman or milkman than the father, but even if the mailman delivered mail, is there sufficient light inside to read?

    :)

    Coffey said-

    You are not the pillars of moral certainty you seem to think you are.

    And you are not the ethical genius you seem to think you are, since you have very little actual knowledge of the medico-legal issues to even act like you’re a medical ethicist, but only playing one on the internet (when you’re more likely a pro-life religious nut-job who places the baggage of Xian theology above the accepted principles of biology, medicine, and law).

    Adam

  58. says

    AhmNee said-

    So, we should stop calling it abortion and start calling it fetal stigmata?

    I was thinking women could attach the aborted fetus to the tiny crosses they wear as necklaces, maybe bronzing the embryo and cross as a one-piece unit to make a permanent memorial….

    (Uh-oh, and with that comment, I think I may have just crossed some sort of boundary of good taste….So if I should deservedly get banned for that, I’ll see all you other Godless suckas in Hell, LOL!)

    Adam

  59. Charles Coffey says

    A sperm is a haploid cell, and it is not so capable. I thought you’d say cloning of cells, and I’m relieved that you did not, becuse we are talking about the natural progression of life cycles. We are not even remotely close to using an argument about the sinful nature of a contraceptive.

    I am very disappointed in the hosts here, even to the point of being angry, but even though I’ll temper my response here, Straw man, Reductio ad absurdum, fallacy of parts, lack of knowledge about human reproduction and the moral ineptitude that equates a bit of strategically placed rubber with a human life that is already under development, a development that .

    I find the issue of abortion to be one of the most difficult. Unlike so many people who have the answer all pat, I can only admit two things there. The first is that my thinking is purely biological and ethical. Religion has no part in it, and I resent anyone who suggests that it does, based on such a demonstrable lack of understanding, or such a blatant lack of clarity of thought. Second I don’t have an answer. I leave it to my conscience, and to my wife, that we could not have done that. Perhaps it was my mother, a moral role model here, who told us from a very early age, that if there were ever a choice to be made, it was to be made in favor of the unborn child. I can’t see her moral take as less than that of the hosts, or of you, or even me.

    As to your second point, unless the living will said that her live was to be terminated even at the potential cost of the fetus, you are making a very un-brave assumption that her rights lie exactly in accord to your take on the subject.

    It is absolutely true that much of the biological success of an organism has to do with reproduction, but his or her contribution to our knowledge, moral, ethical and and social understanding. How many times, in just the past few years, have we looked in awe and admiration at young women who stood up for some moral or ethical cause. Malala Yousafzai, Jessica Alquist, or Nada al-Ahdal The shallowness of your argument and your willful misunderstanding, and narrowing of my point, belies the idea that you’ve actually given this careful or even much thought. It really want’s to make me leave this with a vulgar colloquialism that might even so be misconstrued as a proposal for recreational sex.

    I won’t of course, if only because I appreciate your willingness to engage and test my points. I have to say though your will to defend a single position not only denies that there are other positions that may be quite valid here, and that no matter how smart you feel that you are as an individual, this is one of the instances where humility has to prevail in the face of a list of ethically perverse, and morally filthy choices.

    We chose every day as to the value of others rights. Mats position of defending a moral absolute in the defense of an individual woman’s rights, may equally be applied to the right of a ten year old to buy a fifth of liquor and an automatic weapon on the way to school All merits of our freedoms and right must be weighed in terms of the society, and the well being of others. it is a balance, between two extremes of anarchy where a mass murderer cannot be deprived of liberty, nor a mother prevented form murdering her child due to the detremental emotional stress of caring for it. Go ahead, and challenge me that those are straw men, or reductions.

    The innate human right of a child to jump into a semi truck and drive it down a highway can never be absolute. I have to assume that we are both thinking Atheists, who might more readily understand that our morality was evolved as social apes, who function in that paradigm through empathy and recognition of some authority; of our societal norms which dictate a set of rules whereby our ability to exist within that society is at issue with every decision, and the role models chosen and un-chosen, whom we seek to emulate. However, our innate sense of primate morality is also one that demands the efficacy of beating the shit out of the weaker ape to get our way; our societal model, at least from the age of adulthood (Whatever the fuck that is.) are something that have crafted and for which we are in part responsible; and our role models, however they were chosen, are just a fallible as we are on any given day.

    “Potential beings shouldn’t be allowed to trump the rights of ACTUAL beings, whether in a coma, or those who are dead.” You think you know what a potential being is? You think you know what abridges the rights of dead people? Are you a Mormon, or a moral moron? I don’t even know a label to call this one, other than the S-word, but I can only hope that this does not even rise to the level of bullshit, nor even of horse shit. This is donky shit.

    . We revere the wishes of a person as though they were alive, with regards to their genetic material, with regards to their heritable passions, and with regards to their disposition. It is all together fitting and proper that we do this, as they arise from a persons fundamental right to decide. These are not absolute rights, however, and never abridged the rights of others. Even so, you seem to be ignoring that we have no such clear statement here. You are, like the hosts, using your defense of a single principal to fill in the intentions of a nother individual, a thing that you can not possible measure. You’re not on thin ice here. You fell in, near as I could figure it, about a half a mile up stream.

    Sorry, please overlook the coarseness of some of the response, it’s not meant to be a personal attack, but merely a fashion to convey the depth of the disagreement with this whole broad consensus of finite conclusions that have so little basis in demonstrable fact.

    Look up some stuff on Sexual reproduction as well. A Zygote is the first cell we should be having the discussion about, because assuming it is normal, and the viability of it’s mother, or even a mechanical support structure, it is the only one destined to develope into all the things you seem to recognize as a human worthy of rights; but, about which you seem so morally certain only exist beyond the womb… much like theist long believed that the soul inhabits the child at birth, as in all those wonderful old movies.

    Also remember that a fingernail is a keratinized mass, and not living tissue. Your tooth brush, assuming we all use one, has human DNA. Using that as an argument serves not to make a good and compelling point, but rather when presented by people I chose to look upon as rational and intelligent, it simply pisses some of us off.

    .

  60. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    listening with some semblance of rationality and reason to a host who is donating his time to help make [the] show, or if it is to shrilly blather at any host with whom you disagree

    FIFY

    I got as far as John in Chicago.

    * I love your show, and admire all the hosts to a very great degree.

    * I found the call with John to be the most offensive thing that I’ve ever seen on the show.
    * It was disgusting.
    * your denial of [species!?] smacked far too much of religious zeal
    * self-righteous talk show hosts
    * Your arguments were not reasoned nor civil, and were no better framed than the instance of a christian scientist
    * presenting yourselves as just as big a self-righteous asshole as any christian apologist

    * I love you guys, I really do


     
     

    A fingernail is not a organism that is capable of developing the ability of independent survival

    Unfertilized eggs are capable too. They just need to wait until some some additional material is absorbed from their environment.

    For an interesting aside about independent survival: see HeLa cells.

    The identity of an organism is determined by it’s genetic makeup. [...] species determened by their genetics

    identity != species

    It also has value [...] based on it’s unique genetic makeup

    Your skin cells aren’t exactly identical. Mutations during your lifetime gave some of them a unique genetic makeup compared to the rest of you. This uniqueness does not in itself make them valuable.

    We are each of us, the recipient of an unbroken line of successful reproduction

    And anyone who lets their gametes expire is depriving the world of unique people who’d provide happiness and wellbeing to humanity.

  61. Charles Coffey says

    It is a simple question. If these a pregnant patient is entrusted to a doctor, then in the absence of a clear declaration by the mother regarding that fetus, it’s both. You can’t possible believe that a doctor has no obligation to the fetus or child, or whatever you want to call it. The name does not matter. Are you suggesting that he has no obligation to one while treating the other. Is the obligation solely determined by who pays the bill?

    Yeah. I do get it. I get that it is inevitable that fans of the show and hosts will react to what they see as an attack on the hosts position, even in the absence of a firm understanding as to why they beleive what they do, and as to why they hold the opinions they do. This goes back to the fact that we all claim to want to hear and engage in contrary opinions, to strengthen and corroborate our own. I have to say, however that such statements as I begin to get it, are far short of that lofty goal.

    As for ethical genius… Compared the the argumentation I’ve seen here, and regardless of how far away I may be, I’m pretty well convinced that I’m as close as anything we’ve had in this discussion.

    My point is to question a point of clear hypocrisy. A first step for you questioning mine, would be to consider if you even know what a genius might be. As for for accusations assuming my ideas come from any other than my honestly expressed disagreement, and my lack of any other claims here… I could say ad hominem, but I’ll just call bullshit on this one too. Clearly, any number of adults might take issue with my stance here, and argue the validity of my atheism and ethicism; but no matter how far away I may be from being a genius or even a gifted armature, your nonsense contributes nothing to the points at hand. I just keep it simple for you. I see nothing on the door that either bars or requires a person be a medical ethicist to have an opinion. sorry.

  62. Charles Coffey says

    I’m sorry, Cumpulsory, I don’t see a point here. Try for more clarity, or simply direct any editorial suggestions as to my lack of typing skills if you wish, but a point would at least have the hope of being useful .

  63. Mark Croft says

    Yes Artemis. I wouldn’t have a problem with an adult who’s responsible for their child to be forced to donate blood to save the child’s life. The physical harm to the donor is negligable (although the psychological harm may be greater) but the benefit to the child is overwhelming.

  64. AhmNee says

    They try to keep the need for organs in check by keeping the doctor who declares death and the transplant doctor separate, but I’ve read articles that there’s still a pressure on declaring doctors to decide before clinical death based on whether the person is terminal and get permission from the next of kin. (Esp in coma cases and such) it’s all very murky ethically.

    I understand where you’re coming from with one’s body just being a piece of meat after death. But when medical science moves the goalposts periodically, what is and isn’t dead gets fuzzy. Sam Parnia may be kind of a kook, but he has published for peer review methods of resuscitation that may have some value to the medical community, ignoring the bits that NDE advocates cling to. At least that’s my understanding from the NDE discussion that was had in these forums previously.

    The logical extension of the compulsory organ donation would be that everyone’s body, after death, is donated to science. Is it not?

  65. Monocle Smile says

    That’s called the naturalistic fallacy.

    Unless a rape was involved ,the mother has some responsibility for this situation.

    Given the deplorable state of sexual education in this country, I have to disagree.

    It is a moral issue and I dont necessarily think the government should be involved

    Then that’s it. We can stop going back and forth. That’s ALL this is really about.

    Abortion is merely a symptom of other societal problems. I don’t think anyone WANTS more abortions than necessary, but they are indeed sometimes necessary. We can minimize them by solving the other societal problems, like poverty, crappy education, access to contraception, etc.

  66. Artemis says

    Im saying that the child in question can be put on a list of potential donors and is given the right to have all possible medical care given to them.

    And if there are no other available donors, then we should legally force the biological parents to donate?

    However, that child if not given the organ will die naturally, where the fetus is already in its natural state and if allowed to continue in that state will not die.

    This is not true at all in the situation we are talking about. The body of this dead woman is maintained with expensive high-tech medical machinery. If the doctors had let nature take its course, the fetus would be dead already. So do you agree that in this case at least, there are no “natural rights”?

  67. Aaron Parker says

    I love everybody’s responses here. I do however disagree with most of you on the point of personhood, bodily autonomy, and the false dichotomy (or at least the non-true dichotomy) of the “mandated organ argument”.
    The suggestion that the fetus’ personhood is a moot point is in my view incorrect. Every person here intuitively understands that *at some point* the fetus becomes a person, or at the very least, a candidate member of our species. I am a staunch pro-choice supporter, but I would never be tempted to argue a woman has a choice to initiate a D&X 1 week before her due-date. The true dilemma here is on the bell curve of the pro-choice/anti-choice movement the vast majority of anti-choice advocates are willing to argue opposite positions like “human life begins at the zygote”, “IVF clinic’s disposing of embryos is akin to murder” , or (if possible) the more ridiculous “masturbation is genocide”. Not only do these arguments lay the motives of their adherents bare, they distract from productive question; at what point does a fetus become person?
    I am willing to make my line in the sand the suffering of the fetus. When the fetus is developed enough to feel pain, limitations should be imposed on the mother’s bodily autonomy. I am also honest enough to concede there are three basic flaws with my position.
    • What happens if it’s discovered the fetus feels pain at the zygote? Is my entire pro-choice position flawed?
    • There is a long time period between the fetus’ ability to feel pain and its viability. What would be the restrictions on the mother’s bodily autonomy? When would they end? At what point is a fetus’ viability strong enough to re-employ the mother’s autonomy…60%, 70%?
    • If science were able to remove a fetus from the womb without it’s termination, would it be ethical to gestate that fetus to the point of viability even though the mother doesn’t want it?
    My own objections to my own view only go to show that the discussion of abortion isn’t a black and white issue. It’s not an issue where the sound bites of the anti-choice crowd bring anything of consequence, and it’s an issue where we have to make sure the anti-choice movement is at least aware of their turpitude.
    A question I’ve asked recently is “what if the baby was born with a condition which made it fatal to cut the umbilical cord? At what point is the mother’s uterus her own?”

  68. Robert Smart says

    Adam W:
    blockquote cite=”Potential beings shouldn’t be allowed to trump the rights of ACTUAL beings, whether in a coma, or those who are dead.”

    Just a minor point.
    You need to provide a convincing argument that a Corpse has rights.
    I think a compelling argument can be made that it doesn’t.

    While alive a person has 1st party rights towards their own body and body autonomy (there may be limits), in this situation the fetus “right” of use is completely subject to a mothers will.
    But upon death the mother is no longer a “actual being” anymore, and all rights she had over her own body are transferred to the Next of Kin (or the state where none are found).

    I think there are times when an advocate for a unborn fetus could claim a greater right of use to a corpse than the next of kin regardless of a previous living will.
    However to counter this the advocate needs to show that the fetus interests are actually best served by maintaining the corpse on live support for the duration of the remaining gestation. If the chances for success are low and/or carry high risk of crippling defects then its interests may not be best served by maintaining life support.

    The coma example is somewhat simpler if a living will is in effect. The coma patient is still alive (and maintains person hood status) and is potentially suffering so termination of support should be enacted.
    Their Next of Kin decision should carry more weight as they are an advocate for that persons body rights rather than an owner of a asset (a dead body)

    While it is morbid to think of the dead as an asset or property, I think its a mistake to consider it equivalent to a living person.

    Please remember that I’m also not saying the Next of Kin rights are worthless, or that they don’t incur suffering when disregarded, just that i don’t think that they are quite as strong as person hood rights of the living prior to death.

  69. says

    Trigger warning, Charles got me riled up.

    1. John from Chicago is a repeat caller, who posited everything from ancient aliens to anti-evolution crap. While folks who encounter AETV for the first time by viewing this episode or call aren’t going to think the hosts were fair to John, the response he got from the hosts is not disproportionate to John’s past with the show. They aren’t Mister Spock clones, they get frustrated.

    2. Matt and Jen weren’t arguing that all pregnancies in all situations be aborted or that the husband’s decision or that of any pregnant woman that gets an abortion is doing what they would do. They weren’t arguing that their stance is some moral absolute dictated from the great secular thinker in the sky. They were arguing their position, which by all indications they have studied to an extent that they’re convinced they have reached a high level of certitude, is that it’s the mother’s choice, or the choice of the next of kin, in the case of the woman who is brain dead. Do they think it is this perfect? No! Is it fair to the fetus? No! Are they claiming that they are infallible and can never be convinced otherwise? No! They claiming, and laying out their position confidently, that best moral thing to do is to give the woman full rights to bodily autonomy, and that includes the right to end a pregnancy.

    It’s hard to pin you down, you seem pro-choice from a legal sense, but the “me and my wife choose life” comment is a bit concerning (lord forbid she gets pregnant out of the blue). That said, I don’t see how you can be morally anti-choice and also not for the abject enslavement of pregnant women. If the fetus trumps the moral will of the mother, you should be demanding women go get daily pregnancy tests and, if positive, report to a “facility” where they are forced to do exactly what medical science dictates is best for the fetus. Think about all of the babies born addicted to drugs, those with development messed up by an incomplete diet, those found dead inside their mother’s days old dead body with a clothes hanger jabbed through them because the mother’s husband beat the shit out of her before flying off to see his mistress for a long weekend. If they were all locked up, they could be restrained for the good of the fetus, because that’s all that matters, amiright bro?

    Or no, we should just make it a capital offense for mothers that do anything to harm the fetus. You know, because they should be free and the state can take good care of those mother-less children.

    Or maybe all women seeking an abortion should have to clear the morality of such a move with you before getting the abortion?

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/07/knock-knock-whos-there-coat-hanger/

    So, if you think a fetus has more rights than a woman, YOU are the one with the absolutist (im)moral stance you whine against the hosts and theists for espousing.

  70. says

    It is a simple question. If these a pregnant patient is entrusted to a doctor, then in the absence of a clear declaration by the mother regarding that fetus, it’s both. You can’t possible believe that a doctor has no obligation to the fetus or child, or whatever you want to call it. The name does not matter. Are you suggesting that he has no obligation to one while treating the other. Is the obligation solely determined by who pays the bill?

    What? If the woman’s choice is unknown (unlike in the brain dead woman in Texas, who’s husband knows what she wanted), then it’s the doctors responsibility to treat them both. If the woman is likely going die unless the fetus is aborted, almost all of the anti-choice bills say it’s OK to abort. I’m not sure what you’re getting at, Sir Charles Genius Coffey.

    Yeah. I do get it. I get that it is inevitable that fans of the show and hosts will react to what they see as an attack on the hosts position, even in the absence of a firm understanding as to why they beleive what they do, and as to why they hold the opinions they do. This goes back to the fact that we all claim to want to hear and engage in contrary opinions, to strengthen and corroborate our own. I have to say, however that such statements as I begin to get it, are far short of that lofty goal.

    Sure, I don’t claim to be unbiased. AETV helped me through my realization I was an atheist, so that’s where I’m at. I don’t agree with everything Matt or Jen espouse, but most of it.

    As for ethical genius… Compared the the argumentation I’ve seen here, and regardless of how far away I may be, I’m pretty well convinced that I’m as close as anything we’ve had in this discussion.

    What on FSM’s good earth are you doing? I don’t give two shits if you think you are an ethical genius or if the rest of humanity thinks you are. I’m sure there’s a good Samuel Clemens zinger quote that would be appropriate right now, but I’m not as much of a genius as he was to remember it.

    My point is to question a point of clear hypocrisy. A first step for you questioning mine, would be to consider if you even know what a genius might be. As for for accusations assuming my ideas come from any other than my honestly expressed disagreement, and my lack of any other claims here… I could say ad hominem, but I’ll just call bullshit on this one too. Clearly, any number of adults might take issue with my stance here, and argue the validity of my atheism and ethicism; but no matter how far away I may be from being a genius or even a gifted armature, your nonsense contributes nothing to the points at hand. I just keep it simple for you. I see nothing on the door that either bars or requires a person be a medical ethicist to have an opinion. sorry.

    What the hell is this word salad? All of your posts have has this smarmy meta-argument above the actual issue, which just makes you look like an ass. I think we all understand that ideas come from human brains and that no brain or collection of multiple brains is perfect. We just disagree with you on this point, that the woman is more important than the fetus. Maybe you should stick to arguing the actual subject as directly as you can, rather than spinning this tall tale about of moral/ethical might you seem to think you have and how everybody else is a hypocritical idiot who is wrong. Convince us with actual arguments!

  71. says

    Robert Smart said-

    You need to provide a convincing argument that a Corpse has rights. I think a compelling argument can be made that it doesn’t.

    Have you not read anything I wrote above?

    Corpses DON’T have rights. I never said they DO.

    Instead, LIVING BREATHING people have rights, and that includes the right to determine what happens to THEIR dead bodies AFTER they die.

    Your self-determination includes the right to decide what happens to your body NOW, but it also includes the right to what happens to ALL of your possessions (where you own YOUR body now) AFTER you die. YOU get to decide what happens to your “stuff”. Your body is part of the “stuff” you own.

    That’s the entire legal basis for writing a will, of making one’s burial wishes known before death, or donating one’s organs after you’re done with them and won’t be using them any longer, etc.

    So if you want to overturn that legal doctrine, then you’re going to have a tough road ahead of you since you’re arguing against a long-standing legal principle which is intrinsic to Western legal codes and has other ramifications on other rights, including informed consent (IC) laws.

    IC is the right to refuse ANY medical treatment for ANY reason whatsoever, whether doctors think it’s a good reason, a bad reason, or even FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER, since ultimately it’s your body and you’re going to bear the consequences for whatever decision you make, good or bad, right or wrong.

    Why do we enjoy that right to make healthcare decisions?

    The alternative is having doctors being able to decide based on THEIR opinion, performing medical procedures on people against their will, ALA Dr Mengele’s experiments conducted on Jews who didn’t exactly give their consent to be guinea pigs. Greedy doctors exist, and at least they need to go thru the pretenses of putting on a convincing show, risking losing their licenses for “unprofessional conduct” by performing needless surgery. Without IC, they’d be foxes guarding the hen houses.

    Many patients don’t know they actually have the ABSOLUTE RIGHT to refuse ANY treatment at any point, EVEN DURING the middle of procedure, and the doctor has to respect their wishes.

    Adam

  72. says

    @ Susan Martin

    I can understand your premise however how they are going about it is wrong. Even if this woman is in part responsible for the fetus her last will should still be honored none the less. A living trust or will is the last choice of that person and going against it is reprehensible. It not respecting the dead, it’s taking advantage of the dead.

  73. Charles Coffey says

    Changer of bits:

    1 I’ve watched most of the shows that are available on the internet, and every show that’s listed in the AE site. I’ve watched avidly for about the last three years. Not my first show.

    Second, like the nonsense Adam w tried to pull, I’m a little disappointing at the nonstarters my criticism drew, rather than criticisms and discussions of the points that I raised. As to that, John’s previous history here was relevant. If the hosts post a number for people to call in, and if they accept the call, then they have still committed a farce by treating him like that, since he was trying to speak in closer to normal tones all the while. I heard the call too. John may not be bright, but he was not a troll. He was trying to express and form honest and reasonable opinions regarding his view of the nature of human life. Instead of discussing those, they were unconscionably rude, arrogant and closed minded with him, and in doing so, seeming broke most of the rules of logic that they hammer theist about on every other call. It’s not human, fine, where’s the proof. ‘How do you know.”

    I honestly believe that there are plenty of times when a non-theist is perfectly free to tell a theist exactly what he or she thinks… of their lineage… but not when someone is not only struggling to make a valid point, and most especially not when they do so by yelling at him that he is wrong every time he opens his mouth, and offering such ludicrous postulates in rebuttal. .

    2 What is this non-sense. I didn’t suggest any of that, I commented solely on the situation under discussion, and my general perception of the biology and morality that pertain. Secular… in the sky…

    It is not the least bit hard to pin me down. It is absolutely simply. No one has the right to tell a woman, or a girl, that she can not have her baby. Anyone who can look in into the face of a young pregnant woman, with all her fear and uncertainty about that pregnancy ending her relationship with her family, and her life and her plans, and tell her that if she has an abortion that she is going to hell, should be shot. I am as hard core an antitheist/ atheist/ scientist as you’ve ever met. The morality here is in no way clear, and the arguments sent back in my direction are less so. The rights of the mother… she was dead. the requirement that she not be put on life support to keep here body going had materially changed and only marginally pertains.

    Now to the point that I’m sure you actually don’t get. Questions are not left and right, democratic or republican, or theistacally sanctioned by god, or not. Humans are the only ones here to try and answer such questions, and find the best solution out of imperfect choices. You want to understand me, then here it is. I don’t care if the best Idea comes from the most bigoted, right-winged, fundamentalist christian who ever lived…even if I hate the asshole and the ground he or she stands on, because those are just asinine human constructions, just like religions which hope to create an us and them for every situation. I care about what is real, not about which side thinks it is so. I care about what is right and moral, and not just about what people are comfortable with.

    As for the rest of your abject bullshit. Pregnancy is not enslavement. It is not an amoral, or even a moral condition. It is the process of biological reproduction, period. When we use terms such as that, it makes it very clear that you are far more apt to be making posters to stand at one side or the other of some abortion rally, than to actually discuss the real ethical dilemma that this case engendered. They are never that certain. Hell, we even know a kid, who’s mother was told to terminate the pregnancy, because he’d be so severely brain-damaged that he’d never survive, and if he did, he’d be a crushing burden. He’s smart a s wip. He’s a straight A student, and a wonderful kid. If the doctors don’t know about that fetus in the dead women’s womb, without waiting to test, then neither do you or I. However, a living adult brain dies a lot faster than an early foetal brain from low oxygen. Higher functions cease a lot faster in the larger adult brain. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it is the foetal heart an spinal development that are most at risk at that stage, if I remember that particular study correctly. Your whole construct of women being forced to report to… is a contrivance and non sequitur, and complete excrement.

    Lastly, my issue with Mat and Jen was not in their stance. . I’d have argued to pull the plug. I’d have advocated for pulling the plug. I’d have pulled the plug. I would not have told the doctor that he had to or else. based on what I believed based in irrelevant non-sense, and I’d not have stood there screaming ‘no it isn’t’ any time someone referred to the developing child as a child.

    In short, your whole first paragraph was an assumption without any reasonable foundation. Your whole second section screed was a succession of ever more silly straw-man that jumped right past the absurd into the stupid, and well worthy of some right to life propaganda film aimed at infantile halfwits. And, what I really think is, that your perceptions, and ability to understand and deal with what the real issues here, as an adult, are sorely inadequate. The woman wasn’t being marched into a Nazi birthing center for slaves, she was dead, and the doctors, and people involved were struggling to balance the wishes of the husband, the woman before she died, and another human life.

  74. Charles Coffey says

    Changer of bits 2:

    Right. You are not sure what I’m getting at. I said almost exactly what you did.

    I’m not claiming to be an ethical genus there. Feel free to read the post I was responding to, and then my response, and then ask questions. As for being a genius, like many people here, that part is true. In fact, on a purely statistical basis, the odds are very long that there is anyone here with a higher IQ, which leaves me, apparently, one of the few in a position to understand just how irrelevant your commentary. I’ll say it again, though, although I never claimed to be the Moral Genius that I was accused of being by a very confused commentator, It certainly seems I’m a whole lot closer then either you or he are, even if all we had to go on was the fact that my points didn’t rely on how often you watched the show, or if he was a closet theist. I think the ability to stick to facts that are germane puts me a notch or two closer, at least. I would consider my reading comprehension even higher.

    As for the last. You are beyond your ken. And a hypocrite as well. Your comments have all been about me, and your inability to decipher the meaning as to how I was answering similar personal accusations of another commentor, who likewise was talking about me in infantile terms, rather than addressing the behavior of the hosts toward a guest caller, the offensive moral certainty they thought excused their browbeating of him, and the actual discussion as to how the facts advise the morality of the situation here.

    I have to say, wow. I expected some some knee-jerk response, but I never expected that all i would get was a sophomoric listing of all the things people like you had to assume about me, to try and rationalize the fact that Just disagree with you, and am offended by the host’s behavior. Pathetic.

    Read my first post, and pick out one of the many actual arguments. Lets start with the fact that the woman did not want to be on life support, but did not give clear direction what to do with regards to a progressing pregnancy? How about about your telling all of us at what stage you think a zygote becomes human. And why don’t you just impress the hell out of me by responding without the burgeoning hypocrisy of sending two comments about me, and then accusing me of the same.

  75. says

    Charles said-

    It is a simple question. If these a pregnant patient is entrusted to a doctor, then in the absence of a clear declaration by the mother regarding that fetus, it’s both. You can’t possible believe that a doctor has no obligation to the fetus or child, or whatever you want to call it. The name does not matter. Are you suggesting that he has no obligation to one while treating the other. Is the obligation solely determined by who pays the bill?

    Nope.

    The doctor’s obligation is to the PATIENT, alone. Bodily integrity and informed consent of the woman are individual rights which outweigh the interests of the fetus (while there’s been talk of “fetal rights”, it necessarily involves reducing the rights of the pregnant women).

    NOW, if the patient informs the doctor that she IS pregnant, then the doc has a responsibility to take the patient’s status into consideration BEFORE treating, esp if some of the meds part of the proposed treatment plan might cause birth defects or harm the fetus, etc (these types of meds are known as “teratogens”).

    From this page, a discussion of the law:

    http://www.acog.org/Resources_And_Publications/Committee_Opinions/Committee_on_Ethics/Maternal_Decision_Making_Ethics_and_the_Law

    The crucial difference between pregnant and non-pregnant individuals, though, is that a fetus is involved whose health interests could arguably be served by overriding the pregnant woman’s wishes. However, in the United States, even in the case of two completely separate individuals, constitutional law and common law have historically recognized the rights of all adults, pregnant or not, to informed consent and bodily integrity, regardless of the impact of that person’s decision on others.For instance, in 1978, a man suffering from aplastic anemia sought a court order to force his cousin, who was the only compatible donor available, to submit to bone marrow harvest.

    The court declined, explaining in its opinion:

    For our law to compel the Defendant to submit to an intrusion of his body would change every concept and principle upon which our society is founded. To do so would defeat the sanctity of the individual and would impose a rule which would know no limits. . . . For a society that respects the rights of one individual, to sink its teeth into the jugular vein or neck of its members and suck from it sustenance for another member, is revolting to our hard-wrought concepts of jurisprudence. Forcible extraction of living body tissues causes revulsion to the judicial mind. Such would raise the specter of the swastika and the Inquisition, reminiscent of the horrors this portends. (24)

    Justice requires that a pregnant woman, like any other individual, retain the basic right to refuse medical intervention, even if the intervention is in the best interest of her fetus. This principle was challenged unsuccessfully in June 1987 with the case of a 27-year-old woman who was at 25 weeks of gestation when she became critically ill with cancer. Against the wishes of the woman, her family, and her physicians, the hospital obtained a court order for a cesarean delivery, claiming independent rights of the fetus. Both mother and infant died shortly after the cesarean delivery was performed. Three years later, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals vacated the court-ordered cesarean delivery and held that the woman had the right to make health care decisions for herself and her fetus, arguing that the lower court had “erred in subordinating her right to bodily integrity in favor of the state’s interest in potential life” (1).

    Charles said-

    Yeah. I do get it. I get that it is inevitable that fans of the show and hosts will react to what they see as an attack on the hosts position, even in the absence of a firm understanding as to why they beleive what they do, and as to why they hold the opinions they do. This goes back to the fact that we all claim to want to hear and engage in contrary opinions, to strengthen and corroborate our own. I have to say, however that such statements as I begin to get it, are far short of that lofty goal.

    Gee, thanks for the review of biology with the edumaction (sic) on keratinized nails, haploid sperm, etc, but I actually AM a licensed doctor (now retired), and have a little bit of experience on the subject matter in question, having treated many WALKING TALKING LIVING BREATHING pts during my career. And you?

    Adam

  76. Charles Coffey says

    Adam W

    In fact you did say that corpses do: “Potential beings shouldn’t be allowed to trump the rights of ACTUAL beings, whether in a coma, or those who are dead” That’s what the words you typed mean.

    The rights… The only go so far the point where the conflict with the well being of others, or the rights of others. That is why, when there is such a conflict, the courts have to decide. That is what Mr. Smart is trying to explain to you, and what I took issue with in the hosts. This is not that easy, and it is not as cut and dried as either the hosts seem to think.

    If it’s your right to leave your money to a squirrel, leaving your family destitute, do you think that would stand?
    If you leave a will saying that due to a live long travail of crushing Arsonphobia, you don’t want to be cremated, but you die of some horribly infectious pathogen that can persist and pose a continuing danger, what do you think happens. You demonstrate a very clear lack of understanding as to what legal doctrine is in such cases. Courts more often than not rule contrary to the expressed wishes in documents you cite.

    You keep referring, as did the host to special rights of the fetus. What’s so special. If the fetus is human, and good luck trying to prove otherwise, and if it is viable, then what is so special about hose rights. WE struggle with this, abortion at the mothers request when she is not in danger being an exception. Assisted suicide in the case of a none lethal disease or condition is another, but that is generally intended to relieve suffering. But. If we say someone should not kill you, is that granting you special rights? I don’t think it does. And, The fact that you can object, and a fetus can’t does not to my mind settle the assigning of these very fundamental and common rights. ,

    Again with the absurd arguments, a.k.a, Mengele. Patients who are adjudged to be incompetent to make the decision, or to be making the decision under duress, are often forced to take medical treatment all the time. If you think they have an absolute right, then I hope you never wind up in an insane asylum, or worse one of sixty years ago, when procedures tantamount to identity murder, like frontal lobotomies, were carried out all the time. Or, perhaps you’d rather try to tell the CDC that you didn’t want to take the medication for small pox, or the plague.

    You have an immature understanding of how far such rights extend.

  77. Charles Coffey says

    Changer of bits:

    1 I’ve watched most of the shows that are available on the internet, and every show that’s listed in the AE site. I’ve watched avidly for about the last three years. Not my first show.

    Second, like the nonsense Adam W. tried to pull, I’m a little disappointing at the nonstarters my criticism drew here. Rather than criticisms and discussions of the points that I raised I’m getting personal attacks and questions directed at me. .Likewise , John’s previous history here was relevant. If the hosts post a number for people to call in, and if they accept the call, then they have still committed a farce by treating him as badly as they did. He was trying to speak in closer to normal tones all the while, and to get his point across. .I heard the call too. John may not be bright, but he was not a troll. He was trying to express and form honest and reasonable opinions regarding his view of the nature of human life. Instead of discussing those, they were unconscionably rude, arrogant and closed minded with him, and in doing so, seeming broke most of the rules of logic that they hammer theist about on every other call. It’s not human, fine, where’s the proof. ‘How do you know.”

    I honestly believe that there are plenty of times when a non-theist is perfectly free to tell a theist exactly what he or she thinks… of their lineage… but not when someone is not only struggling to make a valid point, and most especially not when they do so by yelling at him that he is wrong every time he opens his mouth, and then offering such ludicrous postulates in rebuttal. .

    2 What is this non-sense. I didn’t suggest any of that, I commented solely on the situation under discussion, and my general perception of the biology and morality that pertain. Secular… in the sky…

    It is not the least bit hard to pin me down. It is absolutely simply. No one has the right to tell a woman, or a girl, that she can not have her baby. Anyone who can look in into the face of a young pregnant woman, with all her fear and uncertainty about that pregnancy ending her relationship with her family, and her life and her plans, and tell her that if she has an abortion that she is going to hell, should be shot. I am as hard core an antitheist/ atheist/ scientist as ’you’ve ever met. The morality here is in no way clear, and the arguments sent back in my direction are less so. The rights of the mother… she was dead. the requirement that she not be put on life support to keep here body going had materially changed and only marginally pertains.

    Now to the point that I’m sure you actually don’t get. Questions are not left and right, democratic or republican, or theistically sanctioned by god, or not. Humans are the only ones here to try and answer such questions, and find the best solution out of imperfect choices. You want to understand me, then here it is. I don’t care if the best Idea comes from the most bigoted, right-winged, fundamentalist christian who ever lived…even if I hate the asshole and the ground he or she stands on, because those are just asinine human constructions, just like religions which hope to create an “us and them” for every situation. I care about what is real, not about which side thinks it is so. I care about what is right and moral, and not just about what people are comfortable with the idea.

    As for the rest of your abject bullshit. Pregnancy is not enslavement. It is not an amoral, or even a moral condition. It is the process of biological reproduction, period. When we use terms such as that, it makes it very clear that you are far more apt to be making posters to stand at one side or the other of some abortion rally, than to actually contribute to discussing the real ethical dilemma that this case engendered. They are never that certain. Hell, we even know a kid, who’s mother was told to terminate the pregnancy, because he’d be so severely brain-damaged that he’d never survive, and if he did, he’d be a crushing burden. He’s smart a s whip. He’s a straight A student, and a wonderful kid. If the doctors don’t know about that fetus in the dead women’s womb without waiting to test, then neither do you or I. However, a living adult brain dies a lot faster than an early foetal brain from low oxygen. Higher functions cease a lot faster in the larger adult brain. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it is the foetal heart an spinal development that are most at risk at that stage, if I remember that particular study correctly. Your whole construct of women being forced to report to… is a contrivance and non sequitur, and complete excrement.

    Lastly, my issue with Mat and Jen was not in their stance. . I’d have argued to pull the plug. I’d have advocated for pulling the plug. I’d have pulled the plug. I would not have told the doctor that he had to or else. based on what I believed based in irrelevant non-sense, and I’d not have stood there screaming ‘no it isn’t’ any time someone referred to the developing child as a child.

    In short, your whole first paragraph was an assumption without any reasonable foundation. Your whole second section screed was a succession of ever more silly straw-man that jumped right past the absurd into the stupid, and well worthy of some right to life propaganda film aimed at infantile halfwits. And, what I really think is, that your perceptions, and ability to understand and deal with what the real issues here, as an adult, are sorely inadequate. The woman wasn’t being marched into a Nazi birthing center for slaves, she was dead, and the doctors, and people involved were struggling to balance the wishes of the husband, the woman before she died, and another human life.

  78. says

    Charles said-

    If the fetus is human, and good luck trying to prove otherwise

    Those words say spades about you. I don’t suppose you’re just POSING as if you’re an atheist, when you’re actually a theist?

    Odd, since many atheists who’ve watched the show for any length of time understand basic concepts like who bears the “burden of proof” when making a claim (and the word “if” doesn’t let you off the hook, since it’s that’s been the entire basis that you’ve been arguing this whole time: the human fetus has a right to life over the human mother’s stated wishes).

    As far as the rest of your self-indulgent wall of text (which strongly suggests schizophasia), do yourself a favor and learn the basics of maternal vs fetal rights, and get back to us when you have anything useful to add:

    http://www.acog.org/Resources_And_Publications/Committee_Opinions/Committee_on_Ethics/Maternal_Decision_Making_Ethics_and_the_Law

    BTW, it’s important we’re talking about real-live people here (article/video):

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/texas-family-pregnant-brain-dead-woman-sue-article-1.1575444

    Adam

  79. Charles Coffey says

    Biochemistry and toxicology, equally retired, and you can be assured that I know as well as you what a teratogen is. I also worked my way through my undergrad tutoring students at the Medical College of Georgia in Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Calculus and Differential Equations. I’ll leave it to you how impressed I am.
    I also spent about twenty years in the environmental field, after leavening government service, where most of my decisions had to do with interpreting the law.

    As for your conclusion I see two problems. Nothing you’ve shown or said contradicts or abrogates the responsibility of the doctor, in the absence of a clear directive by the mother. Second, and with all the inherent danger of arguing a very subtle legal point, on which we must tread lightly, despite any limited knowledge we might have between us. Unlike the examples cited in your link, the woman was already dead. She was no longer the patient, She was in no position to consent or refuse any treatment. She was not capable of being advised as to risks and dangers either. The example of a patient trying to force the donation of an organ that was needed by it’s owner, which seems to have impressed you, is likewise not germane. The woman was dead. No medical procedure could increase her risk, detract from her quality of not being alive, or violate a directive regarding a fetus that it is my understanding she never made.

    Please tell me you are lying about being a doctor, because even as ignorant as you appear to be regarding legal precedent, and interpretations therein; but as a medical professional of such extensive experience, you should have been able to pick up on the fact that the woman was… Fucking Dead.

    Please tell me you are lying about being a medical doctor, or at least tell me that your faculties have slipped of late, which is perfectly understandable. You may not have been able to understand what I meant when I said ‘ in the absence of a clear directive from the mother,’ but I can not understand how someone claiming such experience would exhibit such muddled thinking on the one point that was exquisitely clear here.

    To Everyone:

    If anyone knows this case, please correct my perception of the facts that I got directly from Jen and Matt’s comments. The dead mother had expressed a wish not to be on life support, but had left no instrument that expressly dealt with the issue of pregnancy at a time when such a medical expedient might be required. I don’t see how, as it isn’t standard protocol to place a brain dead patient on life support, unless they intend to harvest organs… or save the life of a baby… but if the facts are otherwise, please educate me.

  80. Narf says

    Second, like the nonsense Adam W. tried to pull, I’m a little disappointing at the nonstarters my criticism drew here.

    Your points were crap, man. You have a very skewed perception of the way that the call went. They only kept cutting John off when he made a complete nonsense argument.

    “So you don’t think that a two year-old should be able to make use of its mother’s body to be kept alive, against her wishes.”
    “No.”
    “But you think a fetus should be able to make use of its mother’s body to be kept alive, against her wishes.”
    “Yes.”
    “So, you think we should give extra rights to the fetus that we don’t give to the two year-old.”
    “No.”

    At that point, he’s just done. John had one of the most incoherent, inconsistent arguments against abortion that I’ve ever seen, and that includes those of the fundie nuts shouting Bible verses at people. The fact that you’re arguing for John says something about you, not about Matt and Jenn.

  81. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The logical extension of the compulsory organ donation would be that everyone’s body, after death, is donated to science. Is it not?

    I suppose. I’m not arguing against private property of the body and inheritance rights of bodies. I’m merely arguing that such rights are not absolute, and could be trumped by someone else’s needs for body parts to not die.

    For example, a simple desire to hang up a taxodermied corpse may be insufficient cause, and esoteric obscure science experiments wouldn’t be sufficient cause.

    So, it’s not so much “donated for scientific experiments”. It’s more “donated to save lives”.

    Of course, the law is a blunt instrument, and it may not be able to distinguish such cases.

  82. says

    Charles Coffey said-

    As for your conclusion I see two problems. Nothing you’ve shown or said contradicts or abrogates the responsibility of the doctor, in the absence of a clear directive by the mother.

    Completely irrelevant, and with those words you proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have no clue what you’re talking about here, since TX state law 166.049 would’ve overridden those wishes EVEN IF SHE HAD left “a clear directive by the mother”: the TX law is the ENTIRE POINT of the DISCUSSION!

    TEX HS. CODE ANN. § 166.049 : Texas Statutes – Section 166.049: PREGNANT PATIENTS

    A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient.

    ….pointless rambling removed….

    Charles Coffey said-

    To Everyone:

    If anyone knows this case, please correct my perception of the facts that I got directly from Jen and Matt’s comments. The dead mother had expressed a wish not to be on life support, but had left no instrument that expressly dealt with the issue of pregnancy at a time when such a medical expedient might be required. I don’t see how, as it isn’t standard protocol to place a brain dead patient on life support, unless they intend to harvest organs… or save the life of a baby… but if the facts are otherwise, please educate me.

    You’re wrong about the fact patterns (once again), but here ya’ go:

    This is the emergency motion filed by the family’s lawyers, arguing that JPS (the hospital) had been overly-cautious in their interpreting of the vague State Law that seemingly prevents the hospital from taking her off life-support:

    http://media.star-telegram.com/smedia/2014/01/14/12/04/2kN51.So.58.pdf

    Adam

  83. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Charles Coffey

    The identity of an organism is determined by it’s genetic makeup. A fetus, a blastula, a baby, a talk show host, all have their species tetermened by their genetics.

    And?

    A sperm is a haploid cell, and it is not so capable.

    And?

    You’re missing some premise in there. You’re trying to get from scientific material facts to value judgments. You can’t do that without some other value premise.

    For example, it seems likely to me that you have the implicit value that “we should value capable human organisms”. Is this right?

    Consider a woman, with a modicum of scifi medical advances. She is capable of reproduction. Cut off her head, and keep it alive in a vat. Keep the torso end alive artificially as well. Which body part has rights? The head, where the brain and mind are? Or the torso, which contains the reproductive organs and germ cells?

    Capability of being human, or being human by genetics, has absolutely nothing to do with morality. Absolutely nothing. “Death” is the end of moral consideration, and death is generally considered according to clinical brain death. It’s not end of reproductive capability. It’s not the end of heart function. “Death” is now understood as the permanent end of brain function.

    I really don’t care if a fertilized human egg is “capable” of becoming a human. Entirely irrelevant. So is a sperm in the proper conditions. So is an unfertilized egg in the proper conditions. The genetics simply do not factor into it. We do not identify moral value according to genetics. You seem educated.

    You should already know about human identical twins, where a single “embryo” splits and becomes two human beings. Two distinct human beings with the same genetic code. At one point, they were a single human being under your definition. Your definition w.r.t. morality is flawed.

    You should also already know about human chimeras. It’s where two embryos with possibly two different genetics come together and form a single human being. Here is this single human being, which at one point in the past was two distinct human beings under your definition. Your definition w.r.t. morality is flawed.

    Your potentiality argument is special pleading. You don’t have a potentiality argument. A potentiality argument would be against having sex with condoms, and choosing to not have sex when you could have sex.

    You have a “separate viable organism” argument, and it’s not compelling at all. To get it to a workable state, you have to throw on “brain death” for the other end, which makes it still reek of special pleading.

    You’re welcome to pontificate about how you want to define “human being”. That doesn’t matter. What matters is the well-being of conscious creatures, and if it doesn’t have a brain, then it doesn’t have a mind, and thus it doesn’t matter.

  84. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    How about about your telling all of us at what stage you think a zygote becomes human.

    It was human when the zygote egg was produced, before even the mother herself was born. And if continuously maintained and signalled appropriately, it might possibly develop into a pensioner.

  85. Charles Coffey says

    Adam W:

    Regarding your most recent:

    I can see your lack of understanding in the areas of law, embryology, medical ethics, and basic Biology are just as impressive as your lack of understand of Psychology. Somewhat surprising in someone claiming to be a doctor, but not unprecedented.

    Now on to psychopathy

    The fetus is a distinct organism, genetically identifiable from the mother. It has a complete complement of making it human genetic material, making it human. Your unwillingness to stop making remarks about me, and devote even the smallest instant of time to the actual statements I made regarding the nature of my understanding, your grasp on reality would be much improved. Your memory might even extend all the way back to recall that it was a response to a shrill claim by the hosts that the fetus was less than human.

    It’s good that you recognize the valuelessness of blind assertions, but it is far better if you can identify those that are blind, and those that are not. Likewise, a basic level of reading comprehension, and an understanding that it is a lot easier for you to spout blather, than it is to answer it. Takes more time too.

    Lastly, isn’t it fortunate that you are not in a position to decide when and where I get back to anyone, or to make medical decisions for real live people anymore. I read the link the first time, and I already contributed that it discuses living people’s rights, as opposed to the dead person we are talking about. As for how useful my input is, don’t you find it odd that the judge in this case, and the Texas law actually side more in accord with me, than with your only obligation to the dead body stance. I did not know that there are 31 states with such laws, but that too is encouraging.

    Lastly on to Schizophrenia, why can’t you follow the thoughts I’ve presented, or recognize that the evidence you cite goes much futher in supporting my contention that there are ethical and legal grounds for protecting the fetus until it is determined to be non-viable, than for your silly assertion that as a doctor you know that her doctors have no obligation to the unborn child? It is a bizarrely illogical argument. Again, perhaps if you would stop focusing on me, and try to clear your thoughts regarding the actual comments I made.

  86. says

    The majority of women who go through abortions do not do so because of their want of a free uterus and body autonomy, they do so because they do not want to handle the baby after it is born.

    How can you possibly know this? I imagine that the reasons women have abortions are myriad, specific to their life situation, and never done casually. It’s really tiresome being told by know-nothings that women treat abortions like a trip to the salon to get highlights.

  87. Charles Coffey says

    Sorry, compulsory.. A human gamete is a human tissue, but it is no more a human than the wheel off of a Cessna is an airplane. Once the oocite undergoes gametogenesis, meiosis, a mature ovum is produced. That mature ovum has only half the complement of the mother’s genetic material, and is still just a human tissue. At tfertilization, the genetic material from two haploid cells combine their genetic material into a full complement of unique, and uniquely human DNA.

    Now, clearly, a single cell does not conform to our common perception as to what is a human being. However, given that that cell with then begin to divide and differentiate, responding only to it’s genetic makeup and some hormonal inputs by the mother’s body, it becomes much harder to trace our development backward from a born human toward that single cell where we can readily declare at this point it is human, and at this point it was not. The seminal difference, as I and others see it, is the point at which that unique and full genetic complement come together. The rest is largely semantics, that center far too closely on the issue of weather or not the embryo can speak for, or claim it’s own rights.

    For anyone who believes that a staunch and life long atheist can not believe an embryo is not only the potential to be human, but that it is human… well, you are just wrong. A woman must be able to chose to terminate the development of a fetus at some early stage. I don’t think it should be done at the fifth month, as this child is, but rather before then, before the central nervous system is so well developed.

    That’s it for me. Dr W’s misdiagnosis not withstanding, the fact is that I’ve been up for over forty-eight hours at this point and continued wakefulness shows little likelihood of improving my typing skills, nor clarify the objections I tried to raise.

    Nite all.

  88. Omar says

    I guess I wasn’t clear. You’re saying that a fetus should have special rights because of its special needs. Using your own argument, actual children have needs. If they need a bone marrow transplant: why go looking for voluntary donors if the parents are the best match? So let’s “temporarily suspend” (?) the parents’ rights to their own bodies and force them to donate. And donate. And donate.

    Once again: sick children aren’t responsible for their condition. They don’t have choices about where help comes from. either. As others have pointed out, surgery always involves the risk of “life threatening” damage.

  89. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    I am a staunch pro-choice supporter, but I would never be tempted to argue a woman has a choice to initiate a D&X 1 week before her due-date. [...]
    at what point does a fetus become person? I am willing to make my line in the sand the suffering of the fetus.

    Article: Wikipedia – Late Termination of Pregnancy: Incidence

    Article: Wikipedia – Neonatal Perception: Fetal Pain
     

    What happens if it’s discovered the fetus feels pain at the zygote?

    One or more of the following words will have been redefined to make sense of that phrase: fetus, feels, pain, zygote. :P

  90. Charles Coffey says

    And yet, you… alleged doctor… seem so willing to overlook that she is still on life support, and nothing you’ve offered refutes the essential interpretation of that law, or the fact that once she was declared to be brain dead, the concern shifted to the child

    Adam, I’m sorry, but you are just an idiot. My framing of the question to the group was in no way wrong. Admittedly I’m making a lot of typographical errors right now due to fatigue, but that paragraph is perfectly clear, and perfectly correct. The problem here is as much your lack of reading comprehension, as it is your lack of understanding with regard to the many issues regarding this sad and tragic case. A motion filed by the family does not in any way refute the seminal facts that she may have expressed some wish verbally to not be on life support, but that she had no living will, and had left no clear instruction to the doctors that they were to terminate the child’s development. A temporary ruling or stay, even if it is only on a matter of procedure until arguments can be heard, doesn’t overturn that law, nor refute the facts of the case, either.

    I’m sorry, but that’s the third time you’ve done this, and the second time you’ve repeated something that was either demonstrably correct, or which so closely coincided with your own position, that it made little difference beyond semantics, before then saying that I was wrong. You may be senile, or just a stupid poser, but whatever your actual problem is, you don’t seem to be able grasp even the undisputed facts that are germane to this case, nor even what my objections originally were to the host’s treatment of that caller. You clearly have no hope of assessing and making judgments on the rather more subtle moral and ethical dilemma that they pose.

    Why don’t you go and look for a link, regarding some competent ruling on the nature of these 31 state laws requiring a mother’s body be kept on life support as long as the fetus is deemed viable, or potentially viable, where the dead mother’s perceived rights were upheld over those of a living fetus. As a retired doctor, who is far more concerned with legal issues, than he is with ethics, medicine, biology, or the Hippocratic oath,,you should enjoy yourself.

    If you are telling the truth about your past, senility must truly suck, and you have my sympathy sir. .

  91. chris lowe says

    @ Charles Coffey

    Where to start?
    I could not help but gasp at your response to changer of bits in commentary 17.1 as well as Adam W in 15.1. Now you’re going to have to deal with the mewling of a factory worker (H.S. grad/ 1 yr. college) such as me.
    Your claim to superiority due to qualifications and high IQ are breathtakingly arrogant. You express surprise-but not really (ah! the subtle mind) that personal attacks diverge would from your core arguments. When you reduce yourself to the couthless tact of denigrating those with whom you debate (despite your disclaimers to the contrary) based on a puffed image of yourself you don’t deserve to be listened to in any serious way.
    It doesn’t matter the content ( I agree somewhat in what you have to say). It is the content of your character that shines through in all your responses. A troll is a troll no matter how many letters proceed after your name.
    You may perceive me as one of the great unwashed, or worse, pecking at the base of your pedestal, but your long winded screeds could have been welcomingly shorter minus your narscisstic insertions.
    When the love of your life goes through the accident-coma-brain death scenario perhaps your scholarly musings will hold some weight. Please, in the meantime, because you have much to add, educate yourself in civil discourse and stop being such a dick.

    @ everyone else
    With the exception of psychopathy, civilization depends on honouring the wishes of the dead and respecting the wishes of the living.

  92. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    There is a long time period between the fetus’ ability to feel pain and its viability.

    Article: Wikipedia – Fetal Viability

  93. Charles Coffey says

    Compulsory.

    Adam does not have an unusual take on this, and that sentence is understandable as to is dilemma, and the standard by which he chooses to analyze it. Petty quibbles over wording, which ignore the point being made, are juvenile and low.

  94. houndentenor says

    There are a lot of problems with the idea that people are only good because they are afraid of hell:

    1) There’s no chance that everyone is going to suddenly stop believing in god(s) or other supernatural things (i guess you could believe in reincarnation without believing in god?) all at once or over a short amount of time. That just doesn’t seem likely enough to be worth considering.

    2) Is there any documented case of someone deconverting and going on a crime spree as a result?

    3) It’s clear from the actions of religious people that they are more afraid of being caught by other people or being criminally prosecuted than they are of facing some punishment in the afterlife. It happens in scandal after scandal.

    4) Speaking for myself, I think I am more moral now than I was before. The removal of magical thinking and most of my rationalizations (I don’t kid myself that I am free of all of them. Just last year when my dog had to be put down I found myself imagining him in doggie heaven.) made me have to think more clearly about my choices. After all, there is no divine force that will clean up after me if I screw up. It also means that if I see something wrong, I have to take action because no supernatural power is going to come in and save the day. Either we do it, or it doesn’t happen.

    5) I don’t believe that religious people who do good works wouldn’t do similar good works if they didn’t believe. I’m not sure how I would go about proving that. Are there any examples of people who deconverted and gave up their volunteer work? Or who continued? Was there any change at all? That would be an interesting study.

  95. says

    Has TAE triggered a hornet’s nest of some pro-lifer group, wanting to spam the forum with their same conclusion over and over, without offering any relevant supportive evidence to back up their desired conclusion?

    Anyway, I gave a link to the emergency motion for expedited relief that contained the plaintiff’s argument and revealed the fact-pattern involved in the actual case in TX (and not the case that exists only in some people’s minds).

    Here it is again, in case anyone missed it:

    http://media.star-telegram.com/smedia/2014/01/14/12/04/2kN51.So.58.pdf

    Oh, on this:

    Charles said-

    Likewise, a basic level of reading comprehension, and an understanding that it is a lot easier for you to spout blather, than it is to answer it.

    AND

    Lastly on to Schizophrenia

    Ironic advice, since check again and notice I didn’t say ‘schizophenia': I said ‘schizophasia’ (AKA ‘word salad’). Read more carefully before you post, to avoid looking like a jackal.

    Adam

  96. Charles Coffey says

    I made no such claim, I said that such attributes as brought up to me didn’t matter. My issue was with people attempting to insult me by calling me a moral genius, because I had the temerity to disagree with them. It was also with my being addressed as to my personal nature, in response to some fairly specific statements about the nature of the case, and objections to the behavior of the hosts toward a guest caller with whom they too disagreed.

    Responding to attacks is not a debate, which you may in future recognize as one person responding to another’s actual statements. Wherever anyone wants to make a logical point, or address the issues and ideas that are offered, it is my habit to respond in kind. These responses, such as accusing me of being a theist in disguise, were pretty low. Calling them on it may be uncouth in your eyes, but it was certainly appropriate. ,

    A troll is someone who seeks to purposely disrupt a conversation, not someone with whom you tend to disagree, nor with someone who is responding to attack postures levied in lieu of rational and thoughtful responses to the points l commented upon… without regard to the letters before or after their name.

    You have as little understanding of what I think of you, as you do of any other part of my character. Nor, do you seem to grasp that nothing I said denigrated the emotional loss of that woman’s family, loses similar to those which I too have suffered It was, None of which is in any way pertinent to the central premise expressed by the host, or my criticisms of them. As for educating myself in civil discourse, should I start at calling you a dick, or should I point out that it works best when it is reciprocated, or indeed, is offered as an opening to discourse?

    Now for your most important question, ” where to start.” Why don’t you try reading my first post, angry though it was, and then consider the tone of the comments I received. Pick out the points there where they actually addressed something I’d said, or position I proclaimed, as opposed to simply making absurd suggestions as to my own nature and motivation. I think that would be a very good place for you to start.

    Civilization depends on honoring the equality, rights, and well being of its citizens, and on fostering education and growth of it’s economic support structure. It must do so to meet the needs that such larger groupings require in light of those first three aims. The wishes expressed by people regarding death, have some meaning, but nothing like the importance of securing the well being of the living. Our treatment of the dead is an adjunct to a civil society, in some instances, and a convenient marker for our analysis of past societies, but not something it is dependent upon.

  97. says

    You know, if you didn’t spend three paragraphs every post denigrating who you’re replying to and fluffing your post with grandiose bullshit, you might get listened to.

    Oh, and don’t bother replying with yet more of your self-righteous puffery – I’m in no mood for it. Use all that intelligence you claim you have, study engineering, build a bridge, and get the fuck over yourself.

  98. says

    Wow, that guy John was an idiot and that’s putting it mildly.

    Pro-lifers have absolutely no knowledge of what really constitutes human life and the definite points of formation that occur. From a blastocyst to a fetus and finally a child there are an awful lot of key steps that define your rights. But prior to about 5 or 6 months, a fetus is simply not viable outside the womb and should not be granted any right of person hood.

  99. Charles Coffey says

    I never intended to use the same word you did, but rather to highlight your pattern of ignoring anything I said, while spout your own largely irrelevant nonsense. schiz·o·phre·ni·a delusions, paranoid beliefs; hallucinations; disorganized thinking. From your first post, you’ve been unable to focus on any point that I’ve made in favor of your own inner monologue, as in assuming I’d not read or understood your insult

    I will read the filing with great interest. Perhaps you might like to suggest a concrete instance as to where I got the facts of the case wrong, or even better how you see a filing as a determination as to the facts of a case, which is typically something that is determined by a judge in his decision, i.e. determining the merits of each filing, . You know, just to help me as I peruse the document?

    Or, you could just post more right to lifer silliness, I suppose.

  100. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    It wasn’t a petty quibble. I was attempting to join in what I understood to be the farsical spirit of that bullet point. Hence the smilie.

  101. says

    Charles (or are you actually John from Chicago?) said-

    I made no such claim, I said that such attributes as brought up to me didn’t matter. My issue was with people attempting to insult me by calling me a moral genius, because I had the temerity to disagree with them.

    Review your opening post here (#18) where you came thru the door swinging, accusing the hosts of (amongst other things) being “self-righteous assholes”, even right after you professed your love for the show (“I love you, you really do”). Insult sandwich much? Passive-aggressive?

    You also said this:

    You are not the pillars of moral certainty you seem to think you are.

    To which I responded by calling you a moral genius.

    If your fragile ego can’t take challenges, then don’t dish it out.

    Adam

  102. Charles Coffey says

    Sorry Narf. We’ve never disagreed before, that I can remember.

    Look at my crappy idea in this way. What is the seminal difference between a fetus that gestates inside a body and a two year old child? Can you see one? That older child can be cared for by others, and even care for herself to some extent, and the fetus is wholly dependent, on the mother’s bodily function. They are not the same physically, but in the absence of a determination by the mother, how about with respect to rights? Did the mother wish to being the baby to term? Regardless of how crappy you see my position, can you explain how your position is materially different than the mothers right to allow the two year old to starve because it’s a pain in the ass to feed it? Or for a doctor to not treat it, because it’s a pain in the ass to do so? Explain how people who rail against sects that allow their children to suffer and die horrible deaths through adherence to an indefensible idea, and yet can draw such a clear line of demarcation of one persons rights over another?

    No matter what you think of John, and I didn’t think a whole lot either, my issue was with how he was treated, and with the fact that many of the things Matt and Jen said were at least as ill formed or ill presented as were his ideas. The idea that the fetus needed only a few more weeks to be sure, is not some absurd, and immoral stance, and certainly not as left field as it’s being presented.

    There are poor justifications on both sides, not the least of which is the idea that the child is dependent on the mothers body, so that is the justification for pulling the plug. However, the facts that everyone says no one else is quoting, are that perhaps some twenty percent infants born this premature will survive. The fact is, that the unlikely viability of the child is still maintained by the measures the doctors are taking, refuting the statements the hosts made. If such an infant born premature does require support for those first weeks outside the womb, is that justification for not providing that support? Let the child die, because to put a ventilator in the child’s mouth still infringes on the mother’s right not to have the baby outlive her? And if you’d ventilate the child than whey not the mother’s insensate, unconscious, or even dead body? From twenty four weeks, to twenty eight weeks the survival goes from thirty five percent, to something like eighty.

    You may think my ideas are crap, but I just don’t see the black and white, clearly delineated demarcations that you do, and no matter what their level of irritation with john, which I saw as blocking the hosts from even considering the validity of his point.

    SO. You’re a smart guy. Why don’t you explain to me just how and which of my ideas are crap? If I’m already an ass for responding to the personal attacks below in kind, what do I have to loose? Justify to me, without personal rancor, what the right thing to do here would be.

  103. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Charles Coffey:

    A human gamete is a human tissue, but it is no more a human than the wheel off of a Cessna is an airplane.

    Then instead of asking when human tissue becomes human, you should be asking when human tissue becomes a person. Your obsession with “human DNA” and the species completely overshadows this.

    The equivocation is especially galling for its prevalence in the rhetoric of religious “every zygote is sacred” tracts advocating forced birth, and of attempts to legally grant individual cells – from fertilization onwards – personhood (with the goal of outlawing abortion altogether and even reframing some contraception as murder).
     
     

    At fertilization, the genetic material from two haploid cells combine their genetic material into a full complement of unique, and uniquely human DNA.

    You keep saying “unique” and “full compliment” / “capable” as if they were meaningful distinctions…

    An egg already has unique human DNA, even as a haploid cell. An egg is just as (in)capable of developing into anything independent without active participation from the mother (providing or regulating hormones, nutrients, toxins, kinetics, etc) – much less end up as any specific hypothetical individual determined by the progenitor cell’s DNA alone.
     
     

    Now, clearly, a single cell does not conform to our common perception as to what is a [person].
    [...]
    The seminal difference [between not-person and person], as I and others see it, is the point at which that unique and full genetic complement come together.

    So you DO think embryos are persons… for some… uncommon perception of the concept.
     
     

    A woman must be able to chose to terminate the development of a fetus at some early stage. I don’t think it should be done at the fifth month

    You’ve already been informed several times about your deficiencies in composition and demeanor. Had that comment been your first on this thread, rather than your last, you would’ve gotten considerably less misdirected flak; and more calls for elaboration.

  104. says

    Charles “Too Much” Coffey:

    the fact is that I’ve been up for over forty-eight hours at this point and continued wakefulness shows little likelihood of improving my typing skills, nor clarify the objections I tried to raise.

    You could warn us ahead of time before you skip sleeping for two days and proceed to assert how brilliant you are and thus why you think the state should keep female corpses alive, if pregnant, so the state can use them as undead broodmares.

  105. Charles Coffey says

    You’re missing some premise in there. You’re trying to get from scientific material facts to value judgments. You can’t do that without some other value premise.


    We are, and I am not. You have only seen the ones that pertain to the genetic, and simplest definition, of a species. I make my decisions in two ways, and all are adviised by both method. Pure science and materialism is how I see the world. Morality for how I act and how we treat other people/ organisms. Each is equally important, and for me, outside of family and friends, they comprise the whole of what I think about. The only moral statements I did make is that my wife and I would not abort a child, and that I thought that the rudeness of the hosts undermined an already perilously weak argument

    For example, it seems likely to me that you have the implicit value that “we should value capable human organisms”. Is this right?


    Of course. Our preference for our own species is wholly part of our evolved and instinctual morality. I wish I’d say that we’d come to the same determination without it, but…

    Consider a woman, with a modicum of scifi medical advances. She is capable of reproduction. Cut off her head, and keep it alive in a vat. Keep the torso end alive artificially as well. Which body part has rights? The head, where the brain and mind are? Or the torso, which contains the reproductive organs and germ cells?

    Capability of being human, or being human by genetics, has absolutely nothing to do with morality. Absolutely nothing. “Death” is the end of moral consideration, and death is generally considered according to clinical brain death. It’s not end of reproductive capability. It’s not the end of heart function. “Death” is now understood as the permanent end of brain function.


    There is no dispute as to the meaning of death. Also, if you believe that “death is the end of moral consideration,” then we have no dispute at all. Plug the woman in, and save the living fetus. Your vivisection of that other poor woman merely created an irrelevant example, in no way superior to one that you’ve already acknowledged. Tissues are not organisms. If sperm isn’t, than her ovaries are not either. This contrivance serves no purpose, as it is not germane.

    I really don’t care if a fertilized human egg is “capable” of becoming a human. Entirely irrelevant. So is a sperm in the proper conditions. So is an unfertilized egg in the proper conditions. The genetics simply do not factor into it. We do not identify moral value according to genetics. You seem educated.


    On the contrary, this is the very heart of my point. A fertilized egg, sans some arbitrary line drawn by someone such as yourself is not ‘ capable ‘ of being a human, it is a human. It is a developing human. The genetics are a definition that we accept for every other organism on this planet. With humans you want to draw a line somewhere in the fetal development, so that abortion does not seem so much like infanticide, but this is purly arbitrary on your part, and only serves as a balm for your conscience. I assume that we are both pro-choice, so I have to tell you that as social primates, we do factor in genetics to apprise our moral decisions at almost every step. We favor those most closely related to us, and our own species over others. It is part of our evolved and inherited morality, which as social apes, comprises much of our moral sense. I am: Chemistry, Biology, Math and Physics.

    You should already know about human identical twins, where a single “embryo” splits and becomes two human beings. Two distinct human beings with the same genetic code. At one point, they were a single human being under your definition. Your definition w.r.t. morality is flawed.


    I am not only aware, I’m actually familiar with the development.of this type of twin in utero. Conclusion not supported by the premises, and in fact conclusion not addressed by the premise. I never said that I mad a moral distinction between a single fetus or a twin, and the example is a non sequitur at best, since the generation of identical twins is a pattern of embryological development that is well documented and common. The worst mistake you make here is in the assumption that the definition of a species or an organism is a moral decision. Whether it is a human, a leather-backed turtle, or a euglenoid, the definition of a species is all that pertains. Likewise, a Rock, is not morally a rock or not a rock. it is an aggregate of minerals.

    You should also already know about human chimeras. It’s where two embryos with possibly two different genetics come together and form a single human being. Here is this single human being, which at one point in the past was two distinct human beings under your definition. Your definition w.r.t. morality is flawed.


    Again, equally familiar with Chimera. Again, and Maggie Thatcher would have said, I give you my former answer back. All part of natural development that is beyond our control, and in no case warrants a redefinition of a species, or the variations within that species. Conclusion unsupported by any argument given.

    Your potentiality argument is special pleading. You don’t have a potentiality argument. A potentiality argument would be against having sex with condoms, and choosing to not have sex when you could have sex.


    I never made a potentiality argument, which just proves when I believe that anyone here ever read, nor understood what I wrote. I gave a concrete genetic definition of a species that applies to any organism on this planet. As for special pleading, you are the one drawing an arbitrary line, based on special pleading. Then you draw a conclusion that wouldn’t be supported even if everything you’ve proposed wasn’t already completely false, and off the mark. And for the record, I’m for technical innovation, on both a moral and scientific basis. Condoms yes. Ribbed, and flavored grape.

    You have a “separate viable organism” argument, and it’s not compelling at all. To get it to a workable state, you have to throw on “brain death” for the other end, which makes it still reek of special pleading.


    I am not even sure how to respond to this one. As for life that reproduces sexually, it begins at fertilization and ends in brain death. There are no rational disputes for this. Worse, you fail to make a point by stating how things actually work, on which I’m sure we agree and then call this special pleading, when the only special pleading here seems to be your determination not to allow a developing human to be a human.

    You’re welcome to pontificate about how you want to define “human being”. That doesn’t matter. What matters is the well-being of conscious creatures, and if it doesn’t have a brain, then it doesn’t have a mind, and thus it doesn’t matter.


    And you were doing so poorly too, but at least you were not being openly rude. I have given a concrete and well accepted definition of a species. You have argued badly and with deep logical flaws, you’ve drawn spurious and unrelated, let along unsupported conclusions, and ended with a sweeping statement, an absurdity by the way, that if it does not have a brain it deserves to die. I’ll leave it to anyone with a dictionary to decide who is being dogmatic or pontificating. I’ll also tell you that at twenty weeks, and fetus has quiet a well developed brain with a lot of electrical activity that is not just restricted to autonomic function. Your definition of what can be aborted, a fetus has a closed neural tube in the second week, and the medulla, pons and cerebellum are all underway at week four. Argumentum ad ingorantiam We are talking about a twenty week fetus, and a mother who is dead She is not conscious and never will be again, and the child only has that potential, but given what we know,the definition of consciousness for this fetus may be quite different than that which you envision. It is not fully conscious yet, but it is becoming so, else in the absence of fetal brain activity, they would have pulled the plug.

    I really did expect more here, and I was willing to listen, but I am completely discouraged.

    May I suggest that you try to restate your approach, without the unsupported, sweeping, and indefensible pronouncements of conclusions, and try to tell me exactly when you think a human life takes on value. Try to reconcile the most fundamental flaw you make in asserting that the determination of a species identity is a moral question, with your worst approach to discourse, which is to punctuate your thought process with tourettic expostulations regarding some moral certainty you hold as a belief.

    I’m sorry to say that I see this as the same flaw of reasoning that we both despise in theists, when they use it to justify their conclusions. It’s no prettier here, and my disappointment is even greater. I think it is fear and the lack of ability for you to face exactly what a trade off our support for a woman’s inalienable right to the control of her body actually means. I do not equate abortion with murder or infanticide in the first ten to twelve weeks, but I recognize that beyond that point it is rapidly becoming just that. Arbitrary lines, or denial of what that reality actually is, does not make the position one whit more than completely un-supported. It’s the argument for the soul, all over again.

    Let me know what you come up with.

  106. gwen says

    Thank you for raising this subject. As a long time ICU RN who has been involving in about a half dozen of similar cases, I can’t tell you how demoralizing it is to the staff. We hate going in to work on these occasions. The hospital offers us psychiatric support, and we are dedicated to our profession, but it is emotionally very difficult. This little girl was examined (as far as I can tell) by 4 separate pediatric neurologists and declared brain dead after 4 separate examinations. In my hospital, while the staff doctor on service can declare a person dead after a (usually) 30 minute code with an absence of a heartbeat and inability to resuscitate, only a neurologist can declare brain death, and in the case of a child, it must be a pediatric neurologist.
    First the child must be off all sedatives for 48hrs
    Both pupils must be totally relaxed, also known as ‘blown’ where you see very little of the irises
    If you lift an arm over the face and drop it, it drops directly onto the face without avoidance
    If you place a CO2 monitor on the ventilator and the levels go over 100 and there is no attempt to breathe
    If you drag a dry piece of cotton across the cornea (very irritating)and there is no blink reflex
    If you put ice water into the ears (very painful) and there is no response
    If you move the head from side to side and the eyes do not move
    If you take a pen and place it laterally across a nail bed and mash as hard as you can (VERY painful)-no response
    If you do an EEG and there is no sign of electrical activity other than a very few random firings
    The body temperature must also be within normal range during this exam, as cold can mask signs of life.
    It is also law (I believe federal) to notify the transplant organizations of a brain dead or soon to be brain death person, otherwise we get fined. The transplant organization will fly in and approach the family ‘we’ don’t do it, it isn’t our job. Family members get the idea that we are trying to ‘pull the plug’ to steal organs which is nonsense. If the family does agree to donate, from that moment, the transplant organization takes over and the family is no longer billed. It does not prevent the family from having access to their loved one. I encourage the family if it is at all possible to crawl in the bed and stay with their loved one until it is time for the ‘harvest’ to take place which is usually the next day.

  107. Charles Coffey says

    per·son [pur-suhn] Show IPA
    noun
    1.a human being, whether man, woman, or child: The table seats four persons.
    2.a human being as distinguished from an animal or a thing.

    I am unconcerned when a tissue becomes a human. I am concerned with how we treat humans ethically and philosophically. The point at which a unique human comes into existence, is the same as for any other species that reproduces sexually, and it is in no way contested. My definition was as meaningful as it was precise.

    Clearly as it was the issue at hand for much of the discussion, fetal development, and the part the mother plays in gestation are not in dispute. I and others have acknowledged these intricacies here, several times. However a haploid cell is not a human, nor is any other human tissue. An embryo is. And the development is influenced by environmental factors, but the distinctions are far from meaningless. It is that unique genetic makeup that makes the human unique… A person if you prefer. the other things that make them a person we recognize continue throughout life.

    I do think that embryos are developing humans, for a rather common and well documented understanding of what that development produces.

    Your misdirected flack was more on your part than my own. I see an embryo as a developing human, or person, and one that must be dealt with and reasoned about on that basis. The nomenclature you care for more is irreverent.

    Also you should not presume as to my behavior without first recognizing that it was in response to several attacks, and an attack posture, followed up by insults and insulting and demeaning conjecture, followed up by completely unsupported and assassin assertions and endless restatements of the same irrelevant facts. Given that this was the very behavior that I took issue with in the hosts, it was hardly the thoughtful critique and discussion I looked for. Your response here was no better. Semantics. My demeanor was far better than many of your comments deserved. Far better, considering you attempt to pass yourselves off here as superior thinkers, and do so with comments like yours, that are inept, ill formed, illogical, and too many cases, infantile.

    Mercifully, although my manners have always been described as courtly, I can’t find much regret in meeting such obnoxious behavior, and incredibly poor argumentation, in kind. Equally fortunate that you are no Petronius Arbier, to whom we must pay attention, and for whom it is so easy to ignore the fact that my demeanor was taught by my companions, to become the common tongue of this discussin, solely because they neither considered nor even tried to understand my criticisms on their merits. They merely attacked.

    .

  108. Charles Coffey says

    Then you have my humble and abject apology, for then I have indeed acted the ass.

    Sorry. Too many sarcastic and personal attacks by people from whom I looked to
    for better, and not a single good or persuasive argument in return. I am very discouraged.

    Again, sir, my most sincere apology. I will be more conscientious when I awake tomorrow.

    Good night.

  109. Charles Coffey says

    probably right. In future when i’m so sleep deprived, and I remember that brevity edifies, I’ll assert my point with some decorum, to assuage the grief coming from this august forum. But don’t look for kindness unbridled or blind,
    I’ll still be hard on baseless lies, and special pleading with tear swept eyes, or dick-heads who feel themselves superior…

    to ideas.

  110. says

    @ Charles Coffey

    What I don’t understand about your argument would be, if someone chooses not to be on life support and someone else chooses to put them on life support against their will for even a valid reason, is still wrong.
    The father does have the right to make a choice as well because he is just as responsible for the fetus as the mother is. His choice should be respected as well and it is not up to some doctor to make a choice over his wishes. If someone chooses to have sex with a woman and it’s against her will, it still is consider to be rape even if there was a valid reason. As in my previous post; it’s not respecting the dead, it’s taking advantage of the dead. Putting her on life support for even a little time is still going against her will whether she is dead or not.

  111. Narf says

    Charles, were you listening to the call? They granted John the same rights between the fetus as the two year-old child, and his argument still fell apart.

    What is the seminal difference between a fetus that gestates inside a body and a two year old child? Can you see one? That older child can be cared for by others, and even care for herself to some extent, and the fetus is wholly dependent, on the mother’s bodily function.

    Umm, that’s a pretty freaking huge difference right there, yes.

    You seem to be missing a fundamental point here. In allowing rights to a fetus that he isn’t granting to a two year-old child, the forced use of the mother’s body for life-support, John’s argument completely falls apart, since he’s arguing for a fetus having more rights than a person who has been born. Your later analogies still don’t eliminate that issue.

    The simple point is that you CAN do something about those children who have bodily autonomy. You can’t take a 14 week-old fetus and give it to a foster family. In every one of those examples you gave, there was a case of active abuse or neglect going on. In the case of an abortion, there’s the case of a mother simply not providing the use of her body anymore.

    When you figure out how to implant the fetus into a mother or into machinery that will develop it into a full human, as either a ward of the state or for others to take on as their own child, your argument might have more ground to stand on. As it is, you have a major problem with our capabilities to do what you want us to do.

  112. Charles Coffey says

    I think think that this is true except for few very specific instances. She is not on life support, I think the baby is.. Many people who fear being trapped somewhere inside a body that is not functional, or being trapped on this earth when they could be in heaven. …Or the fear the loss of dignity. She’d dead. She isn’t in there. The second is, that our right to refuse treatment, or absolutely determine our disposition after death has never been absolute. There many instances that the state legislature deals out a different hand, or a judge intervenes. I’ve given many examples here, but it is unrealistic to argue if that right is absolute or sacrosanct or whatever you want to call it.

    There is still the issue that without the benefit of a living will to guide a judge, he is probably going to come down on the side of holding on until the child was deemed to be viable or not. At twenty eight weeks, it could be delivered. He does this, because even an expressed wish no to be on life support, are secondary to saving what might be a viable child. If there was a will, and not just something that the husband said she would want, and that will specifically set the conditions that she wished to be unplugged, even if she were pregnant at the time, I think the state would still hold off.

    If she had been in a state that was not one of the thirty one, then the fathers wish would probably be enough.

    Understand, my argument was not about any of that. My problem was that the hosts attacked this guy for trying to express an opinion contrary to what they want to believe, that the developing human is somehow not a human, or at least not human enough to override the hearsay wishes of the mother, in instances where another life is at stake.

    None of these questions and answers are that certain. They are all bad choices. Especially since the chance the child will have heart or spinal problems even if it lives… it’s heart wrenching. Certainly not certain enough to act the way that Matt and Jen did, in dismissing, then browbeating a man who was simply stating an opinion that many people hold.on moral grounds alone. Shouting ‘no it’s not.’ was just disgusting .

    How does anyone here know if the child is viable, if the doctors don’t but a significant percentage of preemies at 20 months might be able to survive. An emergency procedure, undertaken to allow a child to survive is neither ghoulish, nor an unwarranted usurpation of a woman’s right to choose, especially when the choice was an expressed wish that was never present in the form we all know it must be.

    I think it says something very important that not one person here thought ‘wow, coffey is pretty upset,’ and then lead in with some kind of rational argument or rebuttal. No one person opened, for the first twelve hours or so, with anything but smarmy snotty remarks and made up personal insults. . Not one was able to offer any other standard by which to choose, save for the fellacious argument that these things have no brains, and that a conscious and self aware dead women’s wishes trump the wishes of little things without brains.

    . That all says something, and it ain’t pretty. Worst of all, it is not significantly different to how theist argue.

    Keeping someone on life support against an expressed wish is wrong, Sir Real. Terminating a human life, and all that that person might become is wrong. Doctors ignoring the wishes of the father is wrong. States intruding on the grief of a family losing two members, is wrong, and then not doing something to put a stop to religious nuts allowing their children to die the most horrible and painful deaths, in terror and confusion, when simple medical procedures would easily prevent their deaths is as wrong as it gets.

    Where is the right answer, Sir? Do you know? I only see bad answers from which to choose. I only know that no one here seems to be in a position to offer any better. , Most are just not up to the question.

  113. Ben says

    John in Chicago was correct at least in the eyes of justice. The woman is dead legally, yes legally the husband should have control to keep her on support or not but since the woman does have a living person inside of her the situation is changed, it cannot be associated with some bad analogy that Matt makes. Her situation is unique.

    First off this husband how could he want to kill his child? He’s afraid to raise it on his own? Would she want her killed because she died? Just because her body needed to remain on support for a short time she could not sacrifice that much for her child? I would think almost anyone would want their child to survive! I would!

    If you have never had a child of your own you probably cannot really understand what it is like to give birth of a child and love it and raise it to be a person, a person that helps this world. All of this has to go by the wayside because you want to be buried on time… and the husband is afraid to raise the child?

    If this person is born and gets to see this episode what would they think? Do they still have no right to life because they delayed a funeral?

  114. Max says

    Hey, it was a 5 minute stream-of-consciousness markup. :-) Yes, I suppose the y-axis series should be labeled something like “Offspring has total say” at top and “Offspring has no say” at bottom. But the visual point was that these rights suddenly drops to near zero as soon as baby comes out.

  115. says

    Charles said-

    How does anyone here know if the child is viable, if the doctors don’t but a significant percentage of preemies at 20 months might be able to survive. An emergency procedure, undertaken to allow a child to survive is neither ghoulish, nor an unwarranted usurpation of a woman’s right to choose, especially when the choice was an expressed wish that was never present in the form we all know it must be.

    Holy HELL! That’s the classic believers’ “argument from ignorance”, i.e. “we don’t know, THEREFORE we should do X” (where X is “believe in God”, or “force this cadavier to serve as an incubator”, etc).

    And for the LAST TIME, it makes NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER IF she HAD expressed her wishes IN ANY FORM, even if she had an advanced health care directive AND was prescient, knowing she’d die from a pulmonary embolism and explicitly stated her wishes not to be a dead incubator for the sake of the fetus), SINCE the Hospital decided that TEX HS. CODE ANN. § 166.049 WAS the controlling authority on the matter.

    She could’ve written them on stone tablets upon Mt Sinai, and it STILL wouldn’t matter, since the HOSPITAL decided State law trumped HER or HER HUSBAND’S WISHES, due to not recognizing that a DEAD person is NO LONGER a “patient” (death terminates the ‘doctor/patient’ relationship), but a cadaver.

    You’re engaging in eisegesis (another skill of believers, BTW), reading concepts into scriptures where they don’t exist, except now you’re doing it with State law. You can say, “yes, but the dead body is PREGNANT!”, but none of that changes that laws are words which say ONLY what they say: courts frown on such extrapolations, typically going with the ‘plain-text’ (literal common-man) meaning in order to determine where they apply.

    Keeping someone on life support against an expressed wish is wrong, Sir Real.

    You need go no further, then, ESP since the pt has been declared legally-dead…. We’re not even dealing with PVS, where the person is in a coma. Her brain IS dead, and she has NO chance of coming back so to keep her alive is even-more ethically-reprehensible.

    States intruding on the grief of a family losing two members, is wrong, and then not doing something to put a stop to religious nuts allowing their children to die the most horrible and painful deaths, in terror and confusion, when simple medical procedures would easily prevent their deaths is as wrong as it gets.

    Nope.

    Courts routinely step in to save children from the irrational religious wishes of their parents, temporarily taking away their choice to make healthcare decisions for the child as needed to provide life-saving treatment, eg JW parents who refuse blood transfusions for their children ROUTINELY have custody temporarily taken away with the hospital seeking a emergency court order to have someone outside the religion appointed as their health-care custodian.

    You’re making stuff up again, Arnold….

    Where is the right answer, Sir? Do you know? I only see bad answers from which to choose. I only know that no one here seems to be in a position to offer any better. , Most are just not up to the question.

    Whoops, dere it is: another “argument from ignorance”, claiming that since no one knows, THEREFORE we should do what YOU want.

    It’s an absurd argument, based on projecting your ignorance of law and medical ethics upon the rest of us, and THEN using that as if it entitles YOU the right to decide the issue for the rest of us! Despicable show of irrational thinking and arrogance which in an ideal World would disqualify you from engaging from the discussion.

    (For the record, “arguments from ignorance” actually ARE tacitly recognized by the courts in some situations, but the State has to show WHY it has compelling interest to intervene, i.e. where a potential harmful outcome exists which has some harmful impact on society that outweighs doing nothing AKA ‘benign neglect’.)

    HOWEVER, in this situation, the right of self-determination (bodily integrity) and individual liberties is the controlling principle which overrides the interests of society being allowed to force others to serve as ghoulish breeding units for fetuses.)

    Adam

  116. houndentenor says

    People’s motives are complicated and our ability to rationalize our decisions should not be underestimated. It doesn’t matter why a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy. This idea that people only have rights if they use them for the “right” reasons is a bizarre meme. I don’t know why someone wants to exercise their rights at this time and it’s not really any of my business. Either they have the right to do what they are doing or they do not.

  117. houndentenor says

    Do we actually cease to have rights upon death? I think this is a tricky legal area. Notice how once someone dies all the tell-all books come out because you can’t sue for defamation once you are dead (and no one can do that on your behalf). At the same time we have a tradition of treating corpses with respect. And, as much as we might want to, we can’t harvest someone’s organs and tissue for use unless they agreed to it while they were alive. So people do not lose all legal rights once they are brain-dead. I think people’s wishes should be honored. I also think that if she had wanted this baby and it was clear she’d have wanted what was happening that would have been her right as well and should be honored.

  118. says

    So God says “I brought you into this world so I can take you out of it” Man says to A.I. Computer “I brought you into this world so I can take you out of it.” Woman/man/couple says to fetus/baby “I brought you into this world so I can take you out of it.”

    In this paragraph I mean to imply that there are some thin lines and some grey areas that I am still examining and wrestling with.

    The caller seemed to be more willing to go down the rabbit hole of examination (in ethical terms) than Matt and Jen. In ethical terms I think I would, for once at least, have a more interesting talk with the caller. That’s interesting since we atheists are supposed to be these ballsy free thinkers that are not afraid of examining anything and everything.

  119. JimH says

    I don’t find the argument of “what (s)he would have wanted” very persuasive. I don’t feel like this is using a “woman’s body” because that woman is no longer able to own her own body. Matt touched on this but then moved onto wishes expressed while alive.

    Even if the person stated their wishes before they died, it seems not axiomatic that we should honour those wishes.

    You might compare to a person working at a company who draws up a business plan. If they resign and leave that company, are those left behind in the company morally encouraged to act out that plan?

    I’m not decided what I think in this case but I don’t think it is obvious what the correct path is. I certainly don’t want a religious funeral if I suddenly die, but I’m not sure if it’d be wrong if somebody gave me one.

  120. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Pretty much as I said above. You value individual organisms of the human species. The rest of us don’t. We value the well-being of conscious creatures. We value the well-being of human minds, not human organisms.

    Also, there’s some appeal to nature fallacy in there (also known as the naturalistic fallacy). See:

    For example, it seems likely to me that you have the implicit value that “we should value capable human organisms”. Is this right?

    Of course. Our preference for our own species is wholly part of our evolved and instinctual morality. I wish I’d say that we’d come to the same determination without it, but…

  121. Charles Coffey says

    You make another distinction here, and then assume we think differently
    . I value the well being of people as much as much as you or anyone else, as sentient
    creatures.

  122. Robert Smart says

    Lets play devils advocate then to your overly positive view.

    Lets assume as a worse case that the fetus is only a few months old.
    The chances if will gestate successfully is low.
    The possibility that child defects are higher through using a corpse to gestate it.
    Insurance coverage terminated on patient death.
    Use of life support equipment and hospital support costs thousands a day (approx 210 days if successful).

    Who has to pay?

    I know we are all unique snowflakes, however sometimes the question has to be asked.
    How much is 1 life worth?

    I’m sure there are a lot of different pressures on the husband and saying “First off this husband how could he want to kill his child?” overly colors his choice of discontinuing life support without consideration of what those other pressures are.

    Taking my negative consequences further, assuming this man also has other family members to support, is the financial risk worth it for a slim chance the unborn baby will survive the trauma of its mother dying?
    Especially in a country where its said your only 1 medical emergency away from bankruptcy.

  123. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Charles Coffey:

    [*dictionary quote*]
    I see an embryo as a developing human, or person, and one that must be dealt with and reasoned about on that basis. The nomenclature you care for more is irreverent.

    Article: Wikipedia – Personhood

    Your willful disregard for terminology germaine to the topic is noted.
     

    I am concerned with how we treat humans ethically and philosophically.

    Article: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Personal Identity and Ethics

    Your concern is noted.

  124. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    No, you value sacks of meat depending on whether they fit your definition of “(potential) human being”. I value the well-being of human minds. Those are completely separate things. You give moral consideration to an embryo of 100 undifferentiated cells. I do not.

  125. Charles Coffey says

    Adam

    “and that will specifically set the conditions that she wished to be unplugged, even if she were pregnant at the time, I think the state would still hold off.” You are still ignoring what I said, even when we agree, to be ale to try and attack me, and It is still idiotic. Yes, we also agree the woman is dead.. finally. The law and (comes the part you don;t agree with) the doctor’s obligation shift to the fetus. (What was your specialty?)

    Courts routinely step in… They certainly do this more and more, but it really isn’t a slam dunk either. There A recent case in Ohio, the parents refused treatment, and then were charged with Murder. Stepped in a little late there, and a charge of murder will probably not hold up, and another D.A. who should have gone for manslaughter and neglect. An Amish Girl, non-h lymphoma, when her parents refused chemo, and the girl argued the same due to a potential lack of fertility, He refused to temporarily remove custody of the minor from the parents, stating that there was no evidence that they were unfit, but he did grand a temporary order to continue the treatment. All exactly what you’d expect, as far as it goes, but once argument is heard, there is a good chance he’d up hold their decision. With Lymphoma, and the five and ten year survival rates… Some people just don’t want to go through it, and I don’t blame them:

    The first ruling in the case in a Medina County court was for the parents. Then on appeal the 9th District Ohio Court of Appeals ordered Medina County Judge John Lohn to take another look at the case, ruling that he had failed to weigh adequately which course would best serve her interests — the decision of her parents to withhold treatment (at her request) or to appoint a limited guardian to make medical decisions, as proposed by Akron Children’s Hospital. Amazingly, Judge Lohn reiterated his previous ruling, finding that appointment of a guardian would interfere “with Sarah’s need and desire to be cared for by her loving parents” and stating that “the guardianship will not promote Sarah’s interests.” One month ago, Judge Lohn’s decision was reversed on appeal to the 9th District Ohio Court of Appeals, which caused everyone’s favorite quackery supporter to lose his mind in rage..

    Although courts routinely step in where the welfare of the child is at issue, parents still screw it up. When the parents file for injunctions and whine about how the courts are trying to take away the religious rights, I regularly giggle to myself at their religious angst and discomfort, but the answer is not just ‘Nope.’ Kids still die. Courts allow ‘alternative’ Woo woo treatments…

    You don’t seem to know what an argument from ignorance is. If the doctors in the case have to wait to perform tests to determine the viability of the fetus, then no one knows. It is not when we disagree. And, so far, my “argument from ignorance” seems to be the one that the laws and the courts are upholding – in a system that you yourself are touting as being routinely effective, just a few paragraphs above.

    .

  126. Charles Coffey says

    FYI Robert. The fetus was at 20 weeks. Between twenty weeks and twenty eight, the goes from 15% to about 80%, and the same people who would wind up paying for a child to be on a ventilator, the tax payers, eventually. No way that guy would be able to pay, and his credit will be screwed.

    I also think that the insurance didn’t terminate, as the child is now the patient. If a mother dies in child birth, then the insurance still covers the care of the child. Same with accidental death, or “Acts of God.” (And we really have got to get a better name for that. I vote for ‘shit luck,’ but I’m sure there are a few here that will object to even that.)

    As for the rest, I agree. It’s an awful choice with even the best possible outcome being a crushing blow to the father. This is why I said that I’d probably be down on the side of pulling the plug, given the baby’s heart, spine, or brain were damaged.

    After the argumentation here, though, and the feeling that there are people who really think that making the hard or rational choice makes them see smarter or wise, I have to say that they’ve convinced me that I’d probably wait for the tests to assess the child’s organ development and viability. .I don’t see either choice as harder or more rational than the other. The wretched burden that a severely handicapped child would bring to the family, which some people deal with amazingly well, and some do not; vs., the potential of what might this child be?

    What is one life worth? Financially – too much in this day and age. I’m not sure if that’s the right question though. Given our predictive capabilities are so poor, it’s pretty much like a lottery, or hope for the hopeless… However, you have to at least consider, what might this child be. If she’s (He’) normal or extraordinary, given her bizarre history, what might she be capable of if she were to dedicate herself to solving some great question, or even medical problem? We won’t live long enough to know, but I don’t think you can tell right at the start. I think if that were to be the case, that she was extraordinary, the crushing burdens we are discussing here,would shrink to trivialities.

    Unlikely but the calculus is complex.

    A real problem is that we have too many people on this plant. We need to reduce the population by a half, at a minimum, which I have to assume that AGW will probably go a long way toward helping take care of that one.

    .

  127. boby says

    The point still stands that there is NO other medical procedure where we force a person to provide use of any part of their body to sustain a life.

    Whether or not we do perform procedures which force people to provide use of any part of their body to sustain a life is a different question from whether we should perform procedures which force people to provide use of any part of their body to sustain a life.

    In my opinion, these sort of discussions need to center on why bodily rights is so important in order to determine what, if any, limitations their are to bodily rights.

    Note: I agree that the deceased woman in question should be taken off of life support, but I think the above point needed to be made since ignoring that distinction can have terrible consequences.

  128. Matt McNeice says

    Why not throw the “what he/she wanted” out the window. if it were not for modern science both the mother and fetus would be 100% DEAD. her brain was without oxygen for an hour, it is more likely than not that the fetus is damaged and if it actually makes it to the point of a C-section it may have serious physical disabilities and/or mental problems. just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. just let them both die as it was “meant to be” so to speak. its probably going to cost 3-400,000 dollars to incubate this thing to the point of a caesarian and it is quite likely that this kid would be seriously messed up its also quite likely that it won’t make it at all.

  129. Deesse23 says

    “Even if the person stated their wishes before they died, it seems not axiomatic that we should honour those wishes.”

    “and all my belongings go to ….”

    Do you think it should not be axiomatic too, to honour this wish? If you do one thing you cant miss the other, can you?
    If you argue, that we have NO authority of what happens with our very bodies after (being pronounced) dead, how can we have authority over much more profane things like houses, printed paper with numbers on it and other profane goods? According to your reasoning, i cant use my $ anyhow as soon as i am dead. so why give it to my heirs instead of some poor orphans (or fetuses) who really could need it?

  130. Omar says

    @JimH. So you’re saying that no will is valid, right? Once somebody dies, anything they once owned should be up for grabs. So what if they wanted the house left to the family?

  131. AhmNee says

    As fashion trends go, I’m certain there have been worse. It could be a collector’s item. First one to look like Mr. T wins.

  132. AhmNee says

    “most of abortions kill the baby before removing him from the uterus”

    You are simply wrong here. You’re confusing the rarely performed “late term abortion” with all abortions, most of which happen the same month the woman becomes pregnant, which means the zygote is at that point just a collection of cells.

  133. susan martin says

    Id assume that once an egg has been fertilized in a fertility clinic it is implanted in a host and nature takes it from there. Thats the only right im asking for it to have. It would be unethical to do otherwise. They may keep sperm or eggs frozen but once they have been put together and life starts forming it is immediately put in a host.

  134. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @susan martin:

    for the most part pregnancy leads to a live birth unless something stops nature

    Article: Wikipedia – Miscarriage: Causes

    “Around half of all fertilized eggs die and are lost (aborted) spontaneously”
     

    I’d assume [...] They may keep sperm or eggs frozen but once they have been put together and life starts forming it is immediately put in a host.

    Article: Wikipedia – Embryo Cryopreservation
     

    it is implanted in a host and nature takes it from there [...] It would be unethical to do otherwise.

    The naturalistic fallacy. Again.

  135. AhmNee says

    “Perhaps it was my mother, a moral role model here, who told us from a very early age, that if there were ever a choice to be made, it was to be made in favor of the unborn child. I can’t see her moral take as less than that of the hosts, or of you, or even me.”

    Argument from authority?

    “As to your second point, unless the living will said that her live was to be terminated even at the potential cost of the fetus, you are making a very un-brave assumption that her rights lie exactly in accord to your take on the subject.”

    I think the flawed premise of this hypothosis is that it seems to assume a late term fetus. Over half of all abortions are performed during the month the woman became pregnant. It’s very rare for an abortion to be completed in the 3rd trimester. So the likelyhood is that a pregnant woman who was brain-dead would either be so early in her pregnancy as to make the idea of keeping her on life support for the fetus for months a ridiculous concept. Or the woman was far enough along that her wish was already to have the baby was already, or at least was beyond the point of no return.

    “How many times, in just the past few years, have we looked in awe and admiration at young women who stood up for some moral or ethical cause. Malala Yousafzai, Jessica Alquist, or Nada al-Ahdal The shallowness of your argument and your willful misunderstanding, and narrowing of my point, belies the idea that you’ve actually given this careful or even much thought.”

    If I’m understanding your point correctly, that you have to consider the potential of every unborn, in order to be intellectually honest you’d have to apply that to every fertilized egg including the ones that are discarded by the thousands in fertility clinics. To do otherwise waters down your argument to the point of meaninglessness.

    “We chose every day as to the value of others rights. Mats position of defending a moral absolute in the defense of an individual woman’s rights, may equally be applied to the right of a ten year old to buy a fifth of liquor and an automatic weapon on the way to school.”

    Holy false equivelency, batman. There’s no right to booze for anyone much less minors. Your point on 2nd amendment rights is debatable though not for minors. And again, further you mention a right to drive a semi as if such a thing exists.

    “However, our innate sense of primate morality is also one that demands the efficacy of beating the shit out of the weaker ape to get our way; our societal model, at least from the age of adulthood (Whatever the fuck that is.) are something that have crafted and for which we are in part responsible; and our role models, however they were chosen, are just a fallible as we are on any given day.”

    This is, anthropologically, false. We evolved as a cooperative species and our ability to cooperate with each other is increasingly accepted scientifically to be what put us to the top of ecosystem, not our intelligence and certainly not our ability to beat up weaker apes in our tribe. The idea that we’re innately warlike was a conclusion largely critisized due to poor study conditions and pre-conceived conclusions.

    “You think you know what a potential being is? You think you know what abridges the rights of dead people? Are you a Mormon, or a moral moron?”

    Is this your Tom Cruise moment? Can we get you a couch to jump on? This is just blather and you’re making no sense.

    “These are not absolute rights, however, and never abridged the rights of others.”

    Show us a case where we treat it otherwise or admit this is your personal bias being asserted as factual. Your argument seems largely to swing between tone trolling and misinformed tidbits seasoned with opinions and guesses stated as fact.

  136. susan martin says

    This is just my opinion and I know it doesn’t count for much. I think abortion is immoral but I understand why its legal. It just leaves a bad tast in my mouth. I realize my arguments may appear like naturalist falicies or appeals to emotion to you and maybe they are ,but its not just about winning a debate to me. We are talking about what I consider a child, although I realize others disagree about that, to me it is. Ive had a child and Ive watched it grow and move inside me. Im sorry but I cant make myself look at the argument as simply academic or just about body autonomy, it a moral problem to me.

  137. Narf says

    The problem is that I can come up with just as many emotional arguments in favor of free abortion. I’d rather have thousands of aborted fetuses rather than have one woman forced to give birth to her rapist’s baby. I find forcing someone to do that to be FAR more immoral than abortion. The woman is conscious. The fetuses are not.

  138. AhmNee says

    “The example of a patient trying to force the donation of an organ that was needed by it’s owner, which seems to have impressed you, is likewise not germane. The woman was dead. No medical procedure could increase her risk, detract from her quality of not being alive, or violate a directive regarding a fetus that it is my understanding she never made.”

    So, by your logic, harvesting organs from a non-donor is okay because, fuck em, they’re dead. No medical procedure could increase her risk, detract from her quality of not being alive, or violate a directive regarding a *organ transplant* that it is my understanding she never made.

  139. AhmNee says

    I’m hoping for vat grown organs and cyberware to come along sooner than later. No shortages (ideally), no need for hand-me-down parts.

    “So, it’s not so much “donated for scientific experiments”. It’s more “donated to save lives”. ”

    I was including the assumption of lives saved due to scientific experiments. A small difference to be certain, but I thought I’d mention it for clarity.

  140. steele says

    Charles,

    Not that you want my advice but as you are becoming aware, they eat their own on here. One other piece of advice don’t give Adam too many facts I have found they only confuse him…lol.

  141. Charles Coffey says

    Making absurd claims as to what I believe in the face of what I’ve already explained is just more foolish nonsense, but in this format it’s infantile. It is clear that you think of developing humans as sacks of meat. At what point do they become human to you. When are they imbued with this ineffable and magic quality of humanness? To me, If I take the time to wade through your sarcasm, I see not difference between your sack of meat theory and the christian doctrine that a soul inhabits the baby about two weeks after birth.

    I’ve given you a concrete definition of what I believe is demonstrable fact. It is elementary in it’s simplicity, and is based on actual genetic and biological facts. I draw no distinction, or magic lines, based no ineffable rights as a defining parameter, nor conjecture as to potential to become human.

    I have to say, that I expected a good deal of sarcasm for criticizing the hosts, as the fan-boy reaction on any public internet site was a given, but I never believed that I would be unable to get a single concrete and definitive statement of this belief (and faith or belief is all you can call this approach), from a group of people who claim to make important decisions based on reality, empiricism, and logic.

    A week old blastocyst is still a human embryo, and part of an orderly and progressive human development. As such, and per definitions that I’ve explained more than enough, if you act to end that life at any point, regardless of the number of cells or the level of organ development , you have ended a human life. The potential of that life we cannot know, but it is not a potential human life.

    In your view, exactly when does this sack of meat become human? What is the definitive characteristic that you base your technical and moral judgments on? When exactly does this magical transition from meatiness to peopleness occur, in your view?

  142. says

    Yes, it’s not axiomatic that we respect the wishes of the dead (right to life and well being, that we living like a lot, is also not axiomatic). It’s just something living humans have invented to deal with the eventual death of humans. We can obviously legislate exceptions (estate taxes come to mind). But, to me at least, it’s not objectively more moral to legislate in one way or the other.

  143. susan martin says

    While I agree that abortion is a complex issue when it comes to rape, I dont see the morality of it quite as black and white as you do, but I do agree that its not my decision to make. However, most abortions are not as a result from rape and there are some irresponsible women on the opposite end of the spectrum that will have multiple abortions throughout her life. Id prefer if neither of these senerios occurred but they do. To me the life of a child (fetus) should have some bearing on the decision and it should not be viewed as a preferred option but as a last resort for a desperate situation and not handled irresponsibly or as callously as it sometimes is.

  144. Charles Coffey says

    Narf. Sorry, but when the replies go to a certain point, you can’t tag on any further.

    You seem to be tied up on this argument of granting rights, so with your permission, I will in the interest of clarity, attempt to break this out into three separate issues.

    1 I will watch the video again, today. Clearly, if my take on the call was perceived by all of you to be so wrong, then I need to check it again. Right now, I think that the treatment of that caller fell right into the categories that the hosts, and all of us I am sure, castigate theists on on a daily basis. I will watch it again, but I find the exercise highly doubtful, because my ‘perception’ of the call was that John said that it was a child, and both hosts yelled “No it’s not.,” and then launched into the absurdia of fingernails, and non sequiturs like some magical granting of rights.

    2. My other point, which perceive as the one you think is crap, and nothing to do with granting of rights. From the point of fertilization, that is a human life. It is in development, it is a stage in our life, it’s technically a blastula, and embryo, or fetus, or a baby. The terms for each stage do notmaterially affect a change in the identity of the organism. Whatever nomenclature you wish to cleave to, when you end it, you end a unique human life.
    It may be, if you intercede early enough, just a clump of cells; but, the end result is the ending of a human life.
    I very strongly believe that a woman has a choice to this, because any pregnancy is a life altering, life threatening proposition. It’s perhaps easy for me, as a rational anarchist, to say that this is infanticide, and that it must be allowed for the good of the women, and for the safe progression of our societies and our species. [Just like the death penalty, given possible errors and the sinking to each others level as we’ve all done here, has very credible arguments, legal, moral, and social, to be wrong… and though I believe it is wrong, morally, I am convinced that it is at times the best moral, and only practical course. Just in case you’ve never heard of a rational anarchist before.]
    I believe that no one should ever be able to overrule that pregnant woman’s choice, including the father or the guardians/parents, anyone, save one single restriction, and one caveat: Abortions should be available only in the first part of the pregnancy, before the development progresses too far. Twenty weeks is way too late, as some 12 – 20 percent can survive with medical help. After that, if the pregnancy becomes high risk to the mother, and a choice is medically necessary or advisable, it’s terrible but must be allowable, as no human should be forced to saccrafice their life or well being for another, though I hope we never lose our regard for those who are freely willing to do so.
    Other than that one restriction, whether for medical reasons, for financial reasons, for the reason that her life will fall apart/ get thrown out…for the reason that she does not think she is ready. A woman has the right to choose. She is still ending a human life. And. I can only see this nonsense, this hyper reactive rhetoric, that It’s not a person yet… really, really – as a fear based reaction, or a self protective reaction, to prevent the admission of what you are actually advocating, and what the mother is doing.

    3. #2 never really needed to be part of this discussion This also was a hyper reactive response to the notion of taking away the woman’s right to choose. In regards to this case, none here seem to know of her intentions, but it can be construed that she had made the decision to bring the baby to term. No one wants to recognize that either. Just like they don’t want to recognize that although we would all like for her wishes to be adhered to, we do not know what they are with regards to the baby. We know what they were only in regards to her own desire, as expressed to and interpreted by her husband. Thus the whole reaction, and rabid defense of choice, is misplaced first by the fact that her choice is unknown, and that there is still the complication and the consideration of the baby’s potential well being.
    As for rights, and special rights, I have yet to hear a coherent argument here, only assertions. I find the location of the fetus, and the two year old child to be largely irrelevant, the exception being the statement of abortive principals I listed above. The fetus was not ordered into that woman’s womb by a judge, and it didn’t sneak in some night unobserved. It was there as a consequence of an act that I certainly hope was both willing and enjoyable for the mother. That is it’s natural location in the scheme of things and this seemingly fetal parasite bigotry in defense of a mother’s right to chose is unfounded and silly. If we must talk about the equality of rights between the two year old, and the unborn child, then we have to talk about the choice of killing the fetus, and or killing the child. You can’t equate killing the fetus because its living in the womb of the woman who produced it, with allowing a child to live because it’s living next door.
    If you wanted to discuss the corollary, then you would have to discuss allowing the fetus to live, or allow the child to eat part of the woman.
    No special right is granted to you in allowing you to live. To acquire food, or to occupy the place where you have chosen to live. No special right is granted a fetus by not interfering with or ending it’s development. The right to live, or exist is taken away.

    Lastly, the woman is brain dead, Narf. Unlike the opinion of our resident podiatrist/abortion doctor, collector of largely irrelevant case law, and person who forgot is basic biology… I would expect you to understand that instance the concern that naturally shifts to the potentially viable human. It is a luddite view to balk at the idea of maintaining the mothers body to secure the life of the baby, and it is morally myopic to demand that the other life that has been tangled up in this. And… just like my will can’t demand that someone I don’t like be killed, I don’t think that even a living will overrides consideration of the extenuation to other people. That has been a foundation of our morality and our law, and trying to interpret that as a woman’s right to choose is just a mistake in perception here, lead by that hyper reactionary hysteria.
    I’ve seen no statement regarding the woman’s wish to end the life of the child, and the opinion that once the mother dies, that all doctors, lawyers, and judges turn their backs and head out for a beer, is clearly not the practice that is most common or even accepted.

    And as for your other conditions, the equipment to support this child at twenty weeks exists in 15-20% of the cases, and is exactly the same they use every day for preemies who continue extra-uetero development. If it’s now 24 weeks or closer, they can not only confirm development of organ systems, but the suitability post delivery is around 50/50. So this aspect is not a theoretical exercise. This is the course that the law, the doctors, and the courts are taking as we babble. The conditions you cite as making my contentions more valid, are extant, and a common and daily part of post natal care in every hospital in the western world, so consider that too, as you consider my responses.

    If my ideas are crap regarding the nature of human life, The nature and the facts of the specific case, or how the rights of the individuals are being altered, abridged or amended, differently than I’ve suggested, then please feel free to do so. That was in large part, why I wanted to post a comment on the show. As I expressed a few moments ago in a response below, my horror that I can’t seem to illicit any clear an rational statement on any such point is palpable and growing. All I can get seem to illicit are insults and condemnation directed at me, for responding in kind to insults offered to me.

  145. Mauricio Duque says

    First at all, her husband is her next is kin, and he also said to turn off the life support, so it isn’t the wishes of a dead person taking precedent over a living, but the decision of her next of kin.

    Second, saying that her body is life support for the fetus is just playing words, because if i need a important transplant, like a heart or a lung, i am also depending on her. Yes, when her body stop working i wont die with her, but if i am the first in a transplant waiting list, you might bet your house i realy need that organ.

    So why would be ok making efforts to keep a fetus alive, but let people that are already born die in the transplant waiting list, why something that might became a person have the right to live using other peoples body, but other people don’t have that right?

  146. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I give moral consideration and value to human minds. Human minds are the result of human brains. A sack of meat of 100 undifferentiated cells has no nerves, let alone a brain, and thus it has no mind, and thus it is only a sack of meat undeserving of moral value. It is a human being (under your definition), but I don’t care if it is.

    I’m just repeating myself. I don’t know how to be more clear about this. You seem purposefully obtuse.

  147. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    In your view, exactly when does this sack of meat become human? What is the definitive characteristic that you base your technical and moral judgments on? When exactly does this magical transition from meatiness to peopleness occur, in your view?

    It’s not magic. The fuzzy line is when it gets a mind, which is when it gets a brain.

  148. Robert Smart says

    Your dead. You have no more concerns and therefore will not be a factor in any consideration of property right after your death.
    However your analogy is flawed as I think your heirs themselves would have a great deal of concern that their rights are now under attack by this proposed reallocating their inheritance to a 3rd party.

    Now lets adjust the parameters of your analogy.
    Lets assume you have no heirs (or any next of kin or friends), and your will is that all your assets (including savings) are to be destroyed upon your death.
    If the state was to come along after your death and say that they will confiscate those assets, who cares (or is harmed) beyond a perhaps a disinterested lawyer who recorded your will.

    I note that the state (or society) itself might incur some harm as this would be an acknowledgement that a Will is not a inviolate document. But this has already been accepted within society or we would never have inheritance disputes in the courts.

  149. Narf says

    I will watch it again, but I find the exercise highly doubtful, because my ‘perception’ of the call was that John said that it was a child, and both hosts yelled “No it’s not.,”

    I don’t recall if they did exactly that or did not, but if they did, they were correct to do that. A 14 week-old fetus is not a child. It’s some vaguely human-like tissue with the potential to become a child.

    Anti-choicers tell us that a sperm and egg that have merged are now a baby. We should be better than that. We should have much better definitions for what is a baby and what is not.

    Lastly, the woman is brain dead, Narf.

    And she has made her wishes clear … and she has a living husband to clarify her wishes in this particular unforeseen particular.

    Would you so readily violate people’s rights to determine what should be done with their body after they’re dead?
    Would you so readily violate the husband’s rights, who now represents the collective determination of both himself and his wife, as to what should happen to their unborn fetus?
    Would you strap him with the obligation of raising his child, on the bizarre off chance that it is viable, with the likely, major health issues caused by its gestational conditions, without even a wife to assist him? Don’t you think that he should get to decide whether or not he’s up for the job?
    Are you going to tell me that he could let the state take care of the child? Because … yeah, I can see that turning out well …

  150. Narf says

    To me the life of a child (fetus) …

    And that’s a rather dishonest conflation you’re making. A child has been born. A fetus has not. You should try not to load your language in such a blatant way, since it makes lots of people automatically predisposed against you.

    The biggest issue here is the edge cases. If you don’t think that women should be able to have an abortion, except in extreme cases, then you’re going to screw over a lot of women in those edge cases.

    Take the rape scenario. If you only allow abortion in the extreme cases of rape, incest, life/health of the mother, as used the be the list used by the Republicans, before they went completely bat-shit insane on the issue, then you’re going to completely fuck over most of the women who fall into that category.

    How does a woman take advantage of that rape exemption, if she isn’t otherwise allowed to have an abortion? Does she have to accuse her rapist and have him arrested and tried in court?

    I can see this going hideously wrong, in both directions. Many women can’t deal with the emotional trauma of going through a rape trial, given how the media and our society in general tend to treat rape victims.

    On the other side, what if a woman wants to have an abortion, and she wasn’t raped? Oh, hey, here’s this scumbag that she slept with but who didn’t rape her. Hello rape prosecution.

    What if we set the requirement at attaining a rape conviction? I could see several states doing this, if they had the ability to prevent abortion except in cases like rape. After all, we can’t have all of those sluts getting abortions, when they brought a case with no merit to court, only to get an abortion.
    Do you have any freaking clue what the conviction rate is, on rape? I personally know women who were raped but couldn’t even get it into court, never mind get a conviction.

    The only sane way to handle the issue is to stop treating women as children, as the Republican party wants to do, and allow them to make their own determination on the issue. We’re going to have cases in which you personally don’t think the woman should have had an abortion, but that’s going to happen no matter what, no matter how you try to arrange the laws. You have to accept that the woman knows her own situation and her own capabilities better than you do, and you have to allow her to make her own decisions.

  151. susan martin says

    I apologize for my use of child, I can understand that it may be inflammatory and I truly didnt mean to use it dishonestly, but to me that is what it is. I dont want to make it illegal to get an early abortion ( before pain can be felt), but I would advocate for much more education and more options be clearly presented to women. There are no easy answers, at least not for me.
    I understand your position and I am reasonably certain that you are a moral and compassionate person. Please try to understand that I am also, and I feel bad for these women in these unfortunate circumstances, but I also vvalue the life she carries. Have you ever seen a live abortion? Ive seen a video on a 16 week live abortion through a sonogram, the heart rate of the fetus raised substantially as it sensed danger and even tried to move away from the medical instrument. It was literally torn apart limb by limb. Im sorry for being so graphic, but it was horrific and left me in tears. It just seems everyone forgets or covers up the bad and only concentrates on the good. Im only asking for some balance and an understanding that this is not to be done causally or without serious thought, and for some women extreme regret.

  152. says

    And just for the sake of “what ifs?” what if say the family were Jewish or Islamic, where a timely burial after death is required? Isn’t the State of Texas imposing a burden by intruding upon the religious customs of the family?

    Adam

  153. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @ everyone else
    With the exception of psychopathy, civilization depends on honouring the wishes of the dead and respecting the wishes of the living.

    No. I think I’m ready to reject that out of hand. This reminds me very much of one of the arguments of Thomas Paine. All dictatorships are bullshit, and the dictatorship of the dead over the living is just as bullshit as any other kind of dictatorship. Any honoring of the wishes of the dead over the wishes of the living is fundamentally bullshit.

    Now, if you want to argue that not honoring the wishes of the dead will cause some suffering today because people will be upset that their wishes will not be followed after death, then that’s a different argument. That argument is an argument about the well-being of actual living people.

    So, mostly, I’m strongly objecting to the nuance and tone, because what you said can easily be (mis)interpreted and lead us in the wrong direction.

  154. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Deesse23
    Actually, yea. I do not believe in absolute private property rights because I am not a libertarian. I have an even lower respect for inheritance after death of private property. Offhand, estate taxes for the filthy rich sounds like a great idea.

  155. Narf says

    I apologize for my use of child, I can understand that it may be inflammatory …

    It’s not that your direct conflation of child and fetus was inflammatory. It just immediately screams manipulation to me, when you do that sort of thing, and it makes me pick apart what you’re saying with even greater detail, to figure out what you’re trying to put over on me.

    My point was that it isn’t beneficial to your cause … no matter what your cause actually is.

    Have you ever seen a live abortion? Ive seen a video on a 16 week live abortion through a sonogram …

    No, I haven’t ever seen a live abortion, because I’m not an abortion provider. I know a couple of doctors who provide them, though.

    … the heart rate of the fetus raised substantially as it sensed danger and even tried to move away from the medical instrument. It was literally torn apart limb by limb. Im sorry for being so graphic, but it was horrific and left me in tears.

    Okay, now I believe a bit more that you weren’t consciously trying to manipulate me with your loaded language, earlier, because clearly you’re not aware of it when people are trying to manipulate you.

    The people who make videos like that are douche-bags who don’t want you to be able to make a rational decision on the subject. The only reason to relate that sort of story (not showing me a video, mind you, or relating to me your actual experience witnessing abortions in a proportional context that fairly represents what abortions are typically like; but relating your story of watching a video that has been cooked in such a way as to manipulate you, emotionally) is to emotionally manipulate me. Sadly (for the video creators), I know better.

    In the majority of abortions, the fetus isn’t even vaguely as developed as you describe. In many cases, they can’t even find the fetus in the mass of uterine lining that they scoop out, because it isn’t big enough.

    First off, I don’t automatically accept that the fetus they claimed as 16 weeks old was actually 16 weeks old. Anti-choicers are known to lie through their teeth, with this sort of stuff. Second, even if that part is true, it doesn’t matter. What those people are doing is taking the most extreme, horrific videos they could find and presenting them as a typical abortion. That’s dishonest bullshit, and I don’t allow myself to be manipulated in such a manner. All it does is piss me off, when I see that sort of thing, and it isn’t the abortion providers that I’m getting pissed off at.

  156. Deesse23 says

    Thank you for this clear statement :-)
    Question (and its a honest one, out of curiosity):

    So, if you have no “respect for inheritance after death of private property”, who is going to decide by what rule about what is going to happen with all our belongings after we die in your world?

    What is your plan, scheme, worldview behind this?

  157. Deesse23 says

    “If the state was to come along after your death and say that they will confiscate those assets, who cares (or is harmed) beyond a perhaps a disinterested lawyer who recorded your will.”

    Of course, if i didnt mind what happens to my property (after death) while i was alive, then why should it be ANYones concern if it goes to the state once i DO die (and thats what currently would happen in such cases, right?)?

    But thats not the point. Your reply to my “original “scenario was “You have no more concerns and therefore will not be a factor in any consideration of property right after your death.”. I only can understand this that way that you advocate that last wills need not to be considered at all, the state should be able to confiscate, even IF i made a last will. Or worse, any relative can claim what ever he/she wants of my property and bash it out with everyone else who thinks he has an interest (including the state, while i am watching….oh, dam, atheist forum….ok, while im rotting :-) ).

    Did i interpret you right here?

  158. says

    I remember as a kid a lady had killed herself because she was in a custody issue with her x-husband in which my parents had told me because she had killed herself, which god considers to be murder, that she was unfortunatly in hell. I then asked what about Samson who had killed others and then later had killed himself, isn’t he in hell as well? Their response was no because this all happened before Jesus came to Earth. Isn’t it amazing how x-tians will come up with their so called reasoning when it can’t be found in their book of excuses?

  159. says

    ” It doesn’t matter why a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy.”

    The only problem with this statement is that sometimes it does matter. For instance in China a woman can’t get an abortion if the only reason is because the fetus is a female.

  160. says

    I would agree with Narf that these Anit-choicers are just a bunch of prejudiced assholes who would do anything to get people to believe their propaganda. If abortion was illegal in the U.S. then women would most likely get it done in some back alley by people who aren’t qualified to perform an abortion and are only concern in making a fast buck.

  161. Charles Coffey says

    Steele

    Adam is not under any serious consideration, and I really pay him no heed after he had time to calm down, yet continued to post smarmy nonsense.. I did expect it, once I said that the hosts had acted like assholes, even though I did so under the very same standard that Matt himself applies to others innumerable times, when the disagreement meets such a pass the the caller is both truculent and willfully ignorant. Must be uncomfortable to be called out on the same.

    As for the rest, they can try and eat all they want, it’s not that easy with me. At this point, I am just looking to find a single coherent argument, factually based and logically derived, in support of this premise. As yet, the answers consisted of fallacies compounding non sequiturs, buried in irrelevant and contrived misstatements of the actual facts… even where the majority of the actual data are completely ignored. .

    It is an astonishing result. I don’t blame the more knowledgeable and more thoughtful people from staying away, but given the plethora of bad choices this instance engenders, and the moral and philosophical perceptions it challenges, that is exactly what I’d been hoping for.

    Anyway, thank you for the corroboration, and the sentiment. I will try one more time with Narf, to elicit a coherent statement, but it probably just isn’t that easy for people to switch into an objective mode regarding these issues. Even logical, secular, atheist, thinkers, apparently.

  162. steele says

    Charles,

    As a theist, I expect to get taken to the wood shed by the atheists rightly so but I love when I tell them I was an atheist and the response is almost always “You must not of been much of an atheist” or “I didn’t ask the really hard questions”. I hate when Christians say that to people who have become atheists that they were never really Christian and to get that response from atheists sometimes makes me wonder if atheism is a religion like some people say, LOL.

    I know you are an atheist and I am not trying to convince with anything by saying this but I find this whole blog post interesting from a theist perspective because I don’t understand the thinking that a fetus is not a baby….I would bet some on here would say and probably have that until the human attains consciousness of itself it is not a human. If that is the case we could abort quite a few on this blog as I haven’t seen to many signs of intelligence with regards to this post, lol.

    Take Care

  163. Charles Coffey says

    Liberal.

    It is quite the fuzzy line.

    A mind and a brain are quite different things. A mind, is generally considered to be self aware, and includes all of the inputs and environmental factors that have contributed to it’s continual development. Now, I have to assume that you are most likely referring to mind like yours. Self aware, thinking int he abstract and the concrete… All of which would be some time after birth.

    As for a Brain, As I’ve said that starts forming in the second week, with the closure of the neural tube, and by the forth week, most of the structures are well under way by the forth week, with most of the structures of a hominid brain taking on rapid formation. At Twenty weeks the brain is small, but with a structure markedly congruent to our own. It looks like a human brain.

    More, since we are talking fuzzy lines. A fetus begins to dream around about 22-23 weeks, which looking at the dates of the articles, may be where we are now. It is hard to imagine what it would dream, given the lack of sensory impute, but there are sounds, and likely light perception. The point is that the fetus at this stage undergoes a REM Cycle sleep pattern, which is the same pattern it will follow for the rest of it’s life.

    You’ve set a standard that could be anywhere from the second week of gestation / development, to the second year.

    I know this last is going to be taken as sarcasm, and it is truly not meant to be thiat way; but no matter how it is received, In what way, or area, do you feel yourself to be enlightened? Do you have an amazing talent of some kind? Are you and exemplar of some discipline, or productive art? I’m curious to know a bit more, so that perhaps I can form my points more clearly.

  164. Charles Coffey says

    Narf

    I don’t recall if they did exactly that or did not, but if they did, they were correct to do that.


    That’s our disagreement, then, but assuming your correctness here, then I was perfectly correct to point out they were acting like every other asshole who calls the show. Blind assertions, are unpersuasive almost to uniformity, but at least you think about those. When offered so rudely, it would be a rare person indeed, who would bother to consider them at all.

    A 14 week-old fetus is not a child. It’s some vaguely human-like tissue with the potential to become a child.


    The articles posted here said twenty weeks, Narf. The following are pictures of that vaguely human tissue. Remember, survival is rapidly increasing at this stage. I’m not sure if an organism aware enough to suck it’s own thumb is rightly characterized by the description “Baguely human-like tissue.” It is human, and thus human tissue, and morphologically every element we attribute to human, homonine species, is present.
    Take a look sir, and tell me if this is what you were thinking.

    Anti-choicers tell us that a sperm and egg that have merged are now a baby. We should be better than that. We should have much better definitions for what is a baby and what is not.


    This seems like an irrelevancy, narf. It is an ad hominem, that at it’s worst, completely ignores the fact that I am staunchly pro choice. Defined biologically, I grabbed the following quotes directly from wki, to show that standard definitions also agree:

    “Practically, biologists define species as populations of organisms that have a high level of genetic similarity.”

    Me now – given that siblings, and offspring are the closest you can come, without cloning… Also:

    “In the study of sexually reproducing organisms, where genetic material is shared through the process of reproduction, the ability of two organisms to interbreed and produce fertile offspring of both sexes is generally accepted as a simple indicator that the organisms share enough genes to be considered members of the same species. Thus a “species” is a group of interbreeding organisms….” And “Consequently, any single, universal definition of “species” is necessarily arbitrary. Instead, biologists have proposed a range of definitions; which definition a biologists uses is a pragmatic choice, depending on the particularities of that biologist’s research”

    Natural the progeny of any sexually compatible pare of organisms is a member of that group by any definition. As you can see, I’ve been speaking not in arbitrary terms, but in very specific and accepted terms as a biologist.

    Lastly, the woman is brain dead, Narf.

    And she has made her wishes clear … and she has a living husband to clarify her wishes in this particular unforeseen particular.

    Would you so readily violate people’s rights to determine what should be done with their body after they’re dead?
    Would you so readily violate the husband’s rights, who now represents the collective determination of both himself and his wife, as to what should happen to their unborn fetus?
    Would you strap him with the obligation of raising his child, on the bizarre off chance that it is viable, with the likely, major health issues caused by its gestational conditions, without even a wife to assist him? Don’t you think that he should get to decide whether or not he’s up for the job?
    Are you going to tell me that he could let the state take care of the child? Because … yeah, I can see that turning out well …

    In short, unequivocally an absolutely, yes. If this woman had died of a virulent disease, and we needed the body to assess the life cycle and modes of infection of the organism. That woman’s body would be owned by the cdc/ public health for as long as they needed it. If she were the victim of a crime, it would be the same for the coroner. If there is a law that says that you don’t unplug when a fetus is present / viable… Well that too. It not only is what I would do, it is exactly what would happen. And, to jump to another issue, it would be the same, even if it was a Muslim, or a Jew, who rode a unicycle to work both ways every day.

    And lastly, Every commentator here who has directed these comments at me seems to be equating this with an abortion rights issue, and seems very certain that her will would be to immediately pull the plug upon the determination that further medical intervention would make not positive outcome to her treatment possible. But, we have only the husband’s word for that, and in the instances I’ve stated, his word does not over rule a law that was designed to protect the fetus from a capricious act. At the very least it is to give a cooling off period, and time to collect salient facts.

    But there is another issue that everyone, including you, has utterly ignored. this woman carried this child for five months. That would seem to indicate that the actual intention of this woman with regard to the baby, which I believe she had the soul right to decide, was to see it delivered. That depends on no second party testimony, an is to my mind the only incontrovertible and uncontested expression of her intent.

    It is most telling that not one person here is arguing that point, nor has even deigned to notice it. Instead, most have framed this issue in terms of an abortions rights struggle, which is the one thing that this clearly is not. If I were going to ask a third question at this late date, I would ask you if you had noticed this bizarre morphing of this one poor woman’s ischemic event, into a second Roe V Wade struggle for the 21st century.

    In closing, I can only say, thank you for taking the time to answer, it was very much appreciated, but I really can’t find where you’ve shown how my argument was crap ( or John’s for that matter), or some clear and cogent standard for making this “meat sack.” or “Human like” determination. I have to say, thought that I find this also very telling. I honestly have to say, given my abject failure to beg, cajole, entice, seduce, or induce such an answer from anyone here, that it appears to be the same avoidance mechanism that kicks our theist human brethren in the brain stem, every time you suggest that there really is not good reason to believe in a god.

    I will have to think about this

    If you can decide on an answer to one of those two questions, I’d always be willing to hear it, Narf. If instead, you’d prefer to let this go, I’d actually like to ask the same question alternate question of you, if I may In general terms, what field to you work in, or employ your time? … If you like.

    CoffeyC

  165. says

    Sir Real said-

    I then asked what about Samson who had killed others and then later had killed himself, isn’t he in hell as well?

    Interesting point, with Samson as the proto-extremist, the role model for Jihadists and suicide bombers everywhere, since Samson demonstrated faith when took out the ‘evil ones’ in an intentional act which he knew would result in his own death.

    IN fact, Paul even refers to Samson BY NAME in Hebrews 11:32 as one of the role-models worthy of emulation for his exemplary faith (!), so the answer is given in the Bible that Samson is in HEAVEN.

    Adam

  166. says

    Charles said-

    Adam is not under any serious consideration, and I really pay him no heed after he had time to calm down, yet continued to post smarmy nonsense.. I did expect it, once I said that the hosts had acted like assholes, even though I did so under the very same standard that Matt himself applies to others innumerable times, when the disagreement meets such a pass the the caller is both truculent and willfully ignorant. Must be uncomfortable to be called out on the same.

    Holy Hell, have you never heard of the childish reasoning seen on schoolyards around the World, the fallacious argument called “tu quoque” (“But you did it, too” OR “But you started it” OR “I’m just giving them a taste of their own medicine”)?

    You admit above that it was the entire basis for your first post here, and hence why you were immediately dismissed as a troll with nothing to add to the discussion. Google ‘tu quoque’, but more importantly, purge such childish thinking from your brain IF you expect to be taken seriously.

    As for the rest, they can try and eat all they want, it’s not that easy with me. At this point, I am just looking to find a single coherent argument, factually based and logically derived, in support of this premise. As yet, the answers consisted of fallacies compounding non sequiturs, buried in irrelevant and contrived misstatements of the actual facts… even where the majority of the actual data are completely ignored.

    You admit that it’s hard for you, but then project your uncertainty upon on the rest of us: that’s an appeal to personal ignorance, yet paradoxically you act as if YOUR confusion allows you to decide? WTF?!?

    Fact is, this is EXACTLY the type of murky ethical scenario where the ‘doctrine of personal autonomy’ steps in to save the day, holding that SINCE the outcome of the decision is clearly undesirable and so unknown, either way you cut it, those individuals who are MOST effected by the decision MUST be the ones who get to decide, being allowed to “pick their poison”.

    THEY have to bear the consequences, THEY have to deal with the aftermath and loss of not only a mother, a daughter, a wife, but also the loss of the child/fetus/baby she was carrying, so THEY ALONE should be the ones who get to decide. They don’t owe ANYONE here or elsewhere an explanation for their choice, since it’s an intensely private matter.

    That’s the ENTIRE basis of informed consent, where the State allows pts to decide, but the pt has only themselves to blame for whatever choice they make, since the ‘adverse consequences doctrine’ also is in play.

    (The doctrine was reaffirmed in an appeals court a few days ago, when a judge ruled that while JWs can refuse blood transfusions, they cannot turn around and sue the doctors for their refusal of what was a recommended treatment: they only have themselves to blame. The courts don’t care about WHY someone refuses treatment: the court doesn’t care about their reasoning used to reach their conclusion, ONLY that they refused)

    In this case, the State law allows NO input from the next-of-kin on the matter, FORCING a decision upon the family. So it’s no longer about ‘a women’s right to choose’ vs the interests of the State, but the “couple’s right to choose” now. It’s about the will of the family being ignored by the State.

    So ANY answer other than “those most effected by the choice should be allowed to make the decision” is going to be a problem for me, and will be vehemently fought as tyranny and an erosion of a personal right, since the doctrine of ‘personal autonomy’ is being eroded in order to allow some legislators in TX to tell themselves they’re doing God’s will, and will be rewarded in Heaven as a result of passing bad law.

    Adam

  167. susan martin says

    NARF
    I didnt mean to piss you off and I suppose it is possible that I have been mislead. However, please look at the link im sending you. Im only advocating for more education and public understanding, I dont want to make early term abortions illegal but I want them to be rare and I want them to be done with full understanding. Ive tried to bend and be reasonable and compassionate during this debate because I realize that this is not a black or white issue. My hope is that you will try to do the same.
    http://www.pregnancy.org/fetaldevelopment/week-16

  168. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Charles Coffey

    I use the word “Enlightened” in terms of the values of the European Enlightenment, not the “Buddhist” idea of Enlightenment.

    Yes. It’s a fuzzy line. But it does not make your position “mindless sacks of meat should be given moral consideration and value if they are pedantically an independent ‘capable’ human organism ” any less obscene.

  169. VeFi says

    Well, I haven’t read all the comments and almost surely will repeat someone’s arguments.

    It seems to me that the comparison with abortion does no good to support the case. In the case of abortion we have living mother. In this case we really have just a body and in my opinion all our moral obligations to it are just signs of respect.

    But imagine this situation. The pirates left one guy on a deserted island. His only neighbour is another guy who died this morning. There is no food on the island, the living guy is starving and start thinking about cannibalism. However the dead guy speficially said that in such a situation his body can’t be used as a food and wanted to be cremated. We can’t reach the island before the living guy die from starvation but we have a remote detonator to a thermite bomb on the dead guy body and can incenerate him from the distance. Is it moral for us to activate the bomb, grant dead guy last wish and in such a way doom the living guy?

    Of course there are a lot of arguments in support – fetus very probable poor chances of healthy development or even survival, burden on the family and on the medical personnel… but still this is not so straightforward as you put it.

  170. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I never said “no respect”. I said “not absolute and inviolable respect”, and “less respect”.

    I gave an example already: estate taxes, which would presumably go into the general fund, which would pay for police, fire, roads, regulators, health care, and so on.

    I’m advocating some amount of socialism.

    I never said that all inheritance is now taken by the state. I merely objected strongly to the notions: (1) private property rights are inviolable, and (2) inheritance after death of private property rights is inviolable. In other words, I’m ok with some portion of inheritance in some cases to be taken by the state. Again, such as estate taxes.

  171. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Steele

    It’s really this simple:

    1- No nerves and no brain -> no mind -> not a person. Just a lump of flesh. There is no such thing as a soul. The human mind is the result of physical processes in the brain.

    2- Even if it has a mind, forbidding a woman to have an abortion is basically morally equivalent to me coming to your house at night with a court order compelling you to donate a kidney to a family member (or stranger).

  172. Narf says

    So, who’s pissed off? Everything I’ve said to you so far has been mentally voiced by me with a neutral tone … or possibly a tired one, depending upon the exact section.

    And what would looking at pictures of 16 week-old fetus do to clarify anything? I know what a 16 month-old fetus looks like. What I said in response to you relating what you saw in the video, is that I don’t automatically accept the facts as you’ve laid them out. Listen to (read) the words and understand what they’re saying, because I tend to use words precisely. There’s a huge difference between not accepting something and claiming that it’s false.

    I don’t believe anything that the anti-choice lobby says, until it’s demonstrated by significant evidence to be true, because they lie like crazy all the time. They take the tiny handful of extremely horrifying cases in which something went wrong, or they take third-trimester abortions and present them as typical abortions in their videos.
    They hold up cases like that of Doctor Kermit Gosnell as examples of why abortion should be illegal, when they’re anything of the sort. Butchers like him are why we need legalized, regulated abortion services. If the people making your video had their way, that sort of thing would be more common, after abortion is made illegal.

    On top of all of that, you’re relating a video that you remember seeing. Potential flaws in your interpretation and memory of the video is another issue that prevents me from accepting the claim of a 16 week-old fetus at face value. Without being able to compare the video side-by-side with developmental slides, I don’t accept that the anti-choicers put together an honest video.
    And really, I wouldn’t bother comparing the two side-by-side, because it doesn’t matter. What they’re showing, however old the fetus actually was, is not typical of abortions.

    Certainly, we should do what we can to reduce the number of abortions, with easy access to birth control and education. The thing is, the people who put together your video are quite probably in the same group of anti-choicers who have their sights set on birth control and sex education as the next step in their assault on sex. There’s a lot of overlap between the two positions, at the extreme end of the anti-choice lobby.

  173. Charles Coffey says

    Steele:

    LOL. That was very funny, thank you. The sad truth is, that sometime it’s not about how smart you are, there are plenty of things that you are apt to discover that you’ve just taken for granted. Worse, put the best of us in the shower, and we all to the same silly things trying to get the soap out. Human nature.

    I suspect that your story of re-conversion is probably more interesting than mine. I’ve been an atheist from about the time that I could understand the concepts. When I had just turned seven my father was talking about Catholicism. I had a gestaltic insight that, unlike the picture of the Easter Bunny, Santa, and Mr. Turkey, they never took creepy Jesus down. I asked my dad, “Do you really believe that?” Though he wasn’t happy, he said yes, and I thoughtlessly asked him “Why?” He said “Look around. Where else could all of this come from?” I was stunned. Of course I had no idea what an argument from ignorance was, but all I could say was, “That doesn’t mean anything,” or “You’re not saying anything.”

    I admire the courage it takes to throw that kind of thought process, or world view, off, and I have nothing but respect for those who have it. I just never seemed to have that theist bone.

    The cognition of humans and other primates is an astonishing evolutionary adaptation for survival. Being able to manage social situations (except blogs), or finding the trees at their peak of ripeness, or even the realization that it’s probably a bad idea to wade through the tall grass by the water hole at dawn or dusk. That intellect, thought, is far more useful in avoiding danger, than in getting out of danger, so a brain needs Informaton about the wold in hand. That, requires curiosity. That curiosity, or need to know is a powerful drive, I think. I think that this need to assuage that itch, is not only why we love to ask the big questions, as in what is the meaning of life, and never worry that not only is there no answer, but that it’s probably the wrong question too. Religion just plugs right into that driving curiosity. It answers every question, on any point. If you can accept the premise, then it must be pretty peaceful to let go, let god.

    There are a few of us out there, though, who are driven more by the quality of the answer, than the notion of having an answer to everything. Just not as many as I thought.

    I would still be interested in hearing the rational behind your latest choice, as even the concept of that is so foreign to someone like me.

    CoffeyC

  174. says

    Is the life support connected to the fetus or the woman’s body? The point I’m trying to make is if someone has a will or a living trust and someone else chooses to go against that choice then it’s no different then having sex with someone while it’s under duress. Just because the woman is fucking dead still doesn’t give someone else the right to capitalize on the situation if it is against their will. A will would be the last choice a person makes when they are still alive and that choice should be carried out. If the fetus could be extracted without killing it then I wouldn’t be opposed, however seeing how that’s not the situation then only moral thing to do, (at least in my opinion) is to honor her last choice.

  175. AhmNee says

    @Steele

    I suspect you’re confusing “You must not of been much of an atheist” with “You must not have been much of a skeptic”. The first assertion doesn’t make any sense. But with the latter, I’ve heard people on the show and on this forum claim that they’re skeptics and then profess to believe something with either no or incredibly flimsy reasons that aren’t supported by any evidence. Being an atheist without skepticism means you’ve arrived at your beliefs for as poor reasoning as a theist has for theirs.

  176. AhmNee says

    Let’s re-frame your situation just a little. Two marooned people on an island. One is dying. The dying person is adamant that his body is not used as food once he’s perished. The dying man has no assurance that his last wishes will be honored, so instead of being allowed to die in peace, the dying man fills his pockets with rocks and swims out to sea as far as he can make it with his final moments and dies gasping for air as he sinks to the ocean floor.

    In your scenario, you leave the choice to us. In mine, the man figures we can’t be trusted to honor his wishes and thereby takes matters into his own hands. Do we not need to honor one’s last wishes for their own remains so that we can allow people to die in peace and dignity? Or should the dying spend their last moments on the earth in worry and suffering for fear that their final wishes won’t be honored?

  177. VeFi says

    My main idea here is that our moral decisions should depend on concrete situations. That’s actually what Matt often says and I can’t disagree with him in this. We can’t take as rule that we should always honor the wishes of the dead. We should always take into account all arguments pro and contra and decide what outweighes what. What I tried to say is that (ok, in my opinion) honoring the wishes of the dead do not have that much priority as health and well-being of living persons. In this concrete example I tend to agree with the hosts but think that 1). the comparison with abortion is inapplicable 2). they pose their position a bit out of doubt

  178. steele says

    Charles,

    I would still be interested in hearing the rational behind your latest choice, as even the concept of that is so foreign to someone like me.

    only because you asked, I don’t want to bore you about me so i will try and keep it short because it is not that interesting. I would say before I began it has been more a of a roller coaster then a linear process, if that makes sense. I will give you just a little background so it might make more sense I guess.

    Anyway, used to go to church (Lutheran) as kids with my Mom. Did Sunday school, confirmation, first communion, etc… didn’t probably understand 90% of it all. Saw the hypocrisy of the Pastor favoring the rich and turned me off to religion. Became atheist in college, met a couple of nice Christian girls…tried to date one of them, but had some interesting conversations with them and they were extremely patient with my questions and they gave me a Bible which I read until I got to the part about God concerned with women’s menstrual cycle. I thought why in the heck would the infinite perfect God of the universe be concerned about some woman’s period! (Didn’t understand the concept of God’s Holiness yet) and threw it aside and went back to my math,physics, and electronics textbooks.

    Anyway I will speed it up a bit. Read Thomas Paine “Age of Reason” became a deist for maybe like a year or so, not really sure why….guess I like the god I made up in my own head, I’m sure many on here would say I am doing the same thing now except now my God has a name. I read Blaise Pascal, the Pensees, and not just the DAMN WAGER argument the whole book!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTHN_eQaEaI

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pascal/pensees.html

    Reread the New Testament, read Romans 10:6-13

    6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    Believe and Confessed and walla as Paul or Popeye says I Yam what I Yam

    1st Corinthians 15:8-10

    8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

    Anyway Charles this is getting longer than I would have liked, but I will just kinda like to wrap up by saying, I resisted becoming a Christian, I really did, even after I first became one I immediately went to alot of atheist material to try test my new faith I guess. Maybe that is a reason I have a heart for atheists, yes even you Narf, they are smart and ask hard and good questions. I think they have the wrong answers but that is a different story. Also I really have been there and whether my reasoning was as advanced as some of these guys think theirs is a a separate manner.

    Lastly I had learned about the various arguments for God and I agree with you Charles, the argument from design is could be 50-50, I tend to think it is a little higher 70-30….this is my Pascalian Wager part here lol. I have a lot of “Craig-esque” reasons but I think atheists are dismissive of most of his material or stuff like his.

    The most rational reason I can give you for believing in “a god” is the moral argument. If some atheist could give me an objective reason, preferably a deductive proof please, lol; for being moral I would love to hear it. I don’t need to hear some evolutionary herd morality, utilitarian/consequentialist, good for goodness sake garbage I am ready to hear a logical coherent answer. At least lets be honest here if there is no skydaddy and we are just giant gelatinous blobs of protoplasm bumping around in space, lets embrace Nietzsche, nihilism and despair. The weak can get trampled and we can dump all this psychological guilt for doing it to them. Is that too harsh? Or to accurate? “Everything is Permitted” though if the only consequence is the threat of a little temporary pain, imprisonment, and discomfort in this life.

    Anyway Charles you seem very smart and are at least open minded, and I can see things from your perspective you do have some very good and valid points, especially where you say

    There are a few of us out there, though, who are driven more by the quality of the answer, than the notion of having an answer to everything. Just not as many as I thought.

    I agree wholeheartedly and I know I probably went on a little rant at the end so sorry about that but that is the briefest sketch of my rational reasons I can give really, but I have plenty of irrational ones if you want to hear about those to ,LOL.

    Thanks and Take Care

  179. says

    VeFi said-

    But imagine this situation. The pirates left one guy on a deserted island. His only neighbour is another guy who died this morning. There is no food on the island, the living guy is starving and start thinking about cannibalism. However the dead guy speficially said that in such a situation his body can’t be used as a food and wanted to be cremated. We can’t reach the island before the living guy die from starvation but we have a remote detonator to a thermite bomb on the dead guy body and can incenerate him from the distance. Is it moral for us to activate the bomb, grant dead guy last wish and in such a way doom the living guy?

    What are incredibility flawed analogy, since you’ve granted the hungry survivor cognitive capabilities that even a healthy fetus doesn’t have (setting aside the unanswered question if the fetus in TX is brain-dead, due to hypoxia) . The analogy would need to reflect the obligate parasitic relationship of the condition of human pregnancy.

    There likely is NO suitable analogy that works here, since the human condition of pregnancy is special, and the fact-pattern of the TX case is unique.

    Of course there are a lot of arguments in support – fetus very probable poor chances of healthy development or even survival, burden on the family and on the medical personnel… but still this is not so straightforward as you put it.

    YES, and it’s exactly tricky ethical situations such as these that demonstrate the wisdom of allowing those who have to deal with the consequences being the ONLY ONES entitled to MAKE the decision.

    THEY get to “pick their poison”, since THEY have to deal with the aftermath of the choice, bearing the undesirable burden of bearing the consequences of the choice, either way. The individuals themselves, and NOT the Nanny State, should make the decision and the rest of us should have the empathy to say “There but for the grace of God go I” admitting that we’re glad it’s not us in that position, or forced to make that decision.

    And which ever way the family and next-of-kin decide, it’s a decision which should elicit our respect, and not our disdain.

    Adam

  180. VeFi says

    Well, these flawed analogies arise here all the time, I’m glad that you noted one in my argument. Hope that you stress their flaws when they also support your side.

    The approach of giving unquestionable rights to decide to those directly dealing with consequences is again may be wise only in some concrete situations like this case. In others it may lead to quite nasty results.

    However why take a hard way when you can just make some absolute slogans… That’s the real problem I have.

  181. jyami says

    In terms of respecting ones last wishes, yes a person can express those wishes but it does not mean those wishes are reasonable or should be respected. A person may wish to have their corpse sent into space, that is fine, but who will pay for it? In Japan for example nearly everyone is cremated as there is no space for burial. If you are a foreigner you may have a wished to be buried, but unless there were tens of thousands of dollars available to have your corpse repatriated you would be buried. A man may take his kids on a totally irresponsible trip on a boat and end up stranded on a desert island, he may then request that his starving children don’t use is body for sustenance after he is gone. Is respecting his wish over how his corpse is treated worth more than the lives of his 3 children?

    On the next of kin having ultimate decision making power, surely when it is over life or death this has to be taken with the full agreement of medical professionals. Sure, some next of kin maybe able to make the ‘correct’ decision, but what about those that can’t? Or more importantly, what about those that have a conflict of interest? Say a large financial incentive to choose one course of action over another. Or what if they are worried that the risk of allowing a certain action could result in causing them a burden, you could end up with the next of kin making decisions simply in their own interests.

    Finally, the wish not to be kept on life support. Surely there would always be some period on life support while the medical condition is ascertained. So the wish must be something along the lines of not being kept on life support once it is determined no good can come from it, or no longer than necessary or some other qualifier. Now suppose keeping someone on life support was necessary to prevent the death an existing child? (I know this can only be hypothetical.) Would the wish still be to be taken off life support resulting in the death of the existing child too? I guess the answer is we don’t know, but either way would it be a wish that should be followed? So unless somebody has expressly stated what their wish would be if x were to happen in the event of them being pregnant then I think we need to err on the side of caution and not lose another ‘life’ as that might not have been what was wanted. That said we should still respect a wish in not keeping some on life support any longer than is necessary. But as I said before, there always would have been some period of life support required, so it just depends what is considered a necessary period. Also, there is not the suggestion here of someone being kept on life support for years or decades but a few extra weeks/months – in the scheme of them being dead forever this is not a lot of time to wait.

    Thanks to all the people who give their time to make the show.

  182. says

    VeFi said-

    Well, these flawed analogies arise here all the time, I’m glad that you noted one in my argument. Hope that you stress their flaws when they also support your side.

    Isn’t that an anticipatory “tu quoque”? Ouch, that looks like it was painful for you!!

    :)

    The approach of giving unquestionable rights to decide to those directly dealing with consequences is again may be wise only in some concrete situations like this case. In others it may lead to quite nasty results.

    I’d say it’s more along the lines of pointing out the problem of failing to consider unintended consequences, of being careful of what you wish for, since as the old saying goes, the Gods punish humans by granting us what we asked for.

    However why take a hard way when you can just make some absolute slogans… That’s the real problem I have.

    “Why take the hard way”? What does that even mean?

    I hope you’re not suggesting that YOU and other busy-bodies feel you have some inalienable right to exercise your own morality here, as if you’re sitting in the moral catbird seat so can deliver “wrenching and difficult” answers to others, when you have absolutely NO ‘skin in the game’.

    That’s exactly the kind of hubristic and arrogant thinking that explains HOW TX Legislators even summoned the cojones to pass such a draconian law, in the first place, forcing a decision upon those who are most-familiar with their own life circumstances!

    As this case show, the easy-and-pat answer is also the most-plainly obvious: don’t codify laws which intrude upon the patient’s rights (i.e. those who have most “skin in the game”).

    It’s not a ‘trite slogan’, but an ethical principle at the very core of the ‘doctrine of informed consent’, saying the one who has to bear the consequences of the decision must be the one to “pick their poison”. They then cannot blame the party who forced the choice upon them, against their will, but must bear the adverse consequences.

    Adam

  183. VeFi says

    Actually that part was a bit of relief. The painful part was below. Your next response was even better – while reading it my main thought was “WTF?”

    Hard way is considering the question appropriately and not just saying nice short thing thinking that it will always solve the problem. It won’t.

    Please don’t ascribe anything from your own imagination to me and stop pushing your straightforward political views. I haven’t said anything about appropriate legislation and really haven’t been intending to say at all, especially considering that I’m not living, never lived and frankly don’t really want to live in US. I said all I wanted earlier.

  184. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @steele
    About morality and purpose and nihilism. You are confused.

    When you go to a movie theatre to see a movie, it’s not going to have a big influence on the rest of your finite Earthy life nor your purported eternal life in heaven. The time spent in the movie threatre is finite. It has no lasting consequences. This is assuming heaven and a god. Yet, you still do it? Why? You recognize that temporary pleasure and enjoyment is worth seeking, You assign value to something entirely transitory and temporary.

    The best physics we know says that the universe is going to end in “heat death”. That is the state of maximum entropy. Basically a thin layer of “dust” over all of space. The best neuroscience we know says that there is no part of my mind – me – that will survive clinical brain death. If both of those things are true – which I believe to be the case – then I am in exactly the same situation you are when you go see a movie. This entire life is like seeing a movie. I know that no matter what I do in my life, it will have no eternal consequences. Eventually the universe ends in heat death. Not a damn thing I do will make a difference to that inevitable conclusion. Yet, you can find pleasure and “meaning” in the temporary pleasure of seeing a movie, and for exactly the same reasons I can find pleasure and “meaning” in the temporary pleasure of my life.

    The existence of a god or afterlife wouldn’t change the fundamental ways I live my life – I would still decide what actions to take based on the likely consequences – both short term and near term. Consequentialism is not an outdated or controversial moral theory. Arguments against consequentialism are invariably of the form that accepting consequentialism would lead to bad consequences, and that’s why it’s bad. The (other) problem of arguments against consequentialism is that they assume that consequentialism implies the philosophy of “the ends justify the means”. However, that’s simply not true. The means themselves also matter. The means and the consequences of those means are consequences which should be taken into consideration under consequentialism. In fact, in (my) reality, all pleasure and suffering is temporary, so there is nothing else to value. All the relevant consequences under consequentialism are about temporary happiness and temporary suffering, and that’s why it does not imply “the ends justify the means”.

    Sorry about that tangent.

    That’s why atheism and the picture of modern science does not lead to fatalism, for the exact same reason that you find “meaning” in diversions like seeing a movie.

    Second, you ask for an “objective argument” for a reason to live your life, or to be moral, or whatever. Under your meaning of terms, that is absolutely impossible. The existence of god does not change that fact. Even with the existence of the Christian god, there is no possible “objective argument” for how you should live your life, or for what is moral, and so on.

    When you ask me to make that argument, you are asking me to violate Hume’s is-ought distinction. That is impossible. Any and all attempts to violate it are fallacious.

    I know the common rebuttals. I know roughly how yours will go. You will say that god is all good, or good is defined according to god’s nature, or something. All of that does nothing to escape the basic problem that you are deriving an “ought” from an “is”.

    For example, to claim that god is good, you need an independent definition and metric of the word “good” in order to make that claim, and that’s what we should be talking about. God’s existence or nonexistence is irrelevant.

    If you try to claim that the word “good” is defined by god’s nature, then you are committing a fallacious equivocation. You are relying on two distinct meanings of the word “good” – “that which we ought to do” and “good is defined to be god’s nature”. That is precisely the bridge that cannot be jumped because of the is-ought distinction, and your fallacious equivocation merely hides the flaw in reasoning.

    So, where does that leave me? Why do I take action rather than non-action? Why am I not a fatalist and nihilist? Why do not I just pretend to be in a vegitative state?

    We exist in a shared reality, and I have a mind just like you do not have a mind. I assert this by fiat. to disagree is the height of arrogance because then you believe that you wrote all of the most beautiful plays and poetry, while simultaneously ignoring how you also committed all of the worst atrocities. If you disagree here, I couldn’t care less. I disregard solipsism out of hand.

    I have goals, and I take actions to achieve those goals, and I take actions which I believe to be likely to achieve those goals. This is part of the minimum that one needs to be considered sane. Again, if you disagree, I couldn’t care less.

    This begs two questions: 1- How do I decide what my goals should be? And 2- How do I decide what actions are likely to achieve identified goals?

    The answer to the first is humanism. The answer to the second is science.

    The first is that I value my own happiness, material wealth, safety, freedom, and well-being, and I avoid suffering, and I value the happiness, material wealth, safety, freedom, and well-being of others and I want others to not suffer.

    The second is that I am going to deny the problem of induction by fiat.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction
    I am going to use basic reasoning and evidence to decide which plans are likely to work.

    There is absolutely no possible “objective argument” for either of them. If you don’t already value your own happiness, I have nothing more to say. If really do not value scientific reasoning, I have nothing more to say. Any workable rebuttals are necessarily like that of a Christian presuppositionalist – I have to assume that you already agree with me, and use persuasion – and show inconsistencies with your beliefs – in order to make you realize that you already “deep down” accept my values.

    I cannot give you an “objective argument” for humanism. I also cannot give you an “objective argument” for science. If you disagree with the first, then you a psychopath – morally insane – and we need not concern ourselves with psychopaths. If you disagree with the second, then you are (scientifically) insane, and we need not concern ourselves with the insane.

    PS: I need to condense this into a smaller canned reply.

  185. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If you want to argue the slippery slope argument of doctors being over-eager to pronounce death to get more organ donations, then make that argument. That is not the argument that you made.

    The actual argument you made is bullcrap. You argue that we should respect the wishes of dead people. Fuck that. Again, let me reference Thomas Paine. He had it right that the tyranny of the dead over the living is just like any other kind of tyranny – unjust. We are under absolutely no obligation to respect the wishes of the dead. This is our world, and we can decide to do with it as we please without any regard to past generations.

    “Brain dead is dead.” When it’s dead, the body is a not a person. It is a sack of meat, no better nor worse than a slaughtered cow.

    I very much think that we should violate private property rights, and especially inheritance rights of private property after death, according to basic socialism and wealth redistribution programs, in order to make the world a better place for the living. Fuck the dead.

  186. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Sir Real
    I mean – I’m really upset now. You made the explicit comparison of raping an actual person to what happens to dead sacks of meat. This is completely obscene. What you said was bad, and you should feel bad.

  187. says

    @ EnlightenmentLiberal

    What the good is having a will if it’s not respected? It is the last choice a person makes while they are still alive. Going against that will is going against that choice. I am sorry if I offended you however I need to be objective about this and not biased. It is still taking advantage of the dead and going against the wishes of the father as well. Having the freedom to choose is also important and if the goverment decides to make a choice against his will then where is his freedom to choose? Would you not be opposed to having someone you loved being disected and having the different organs used to save someone elses life if it meant you had to disrespect the choice that had already been established? So in your opinion this woman is nothing more then just a dead sack of meat and should be treated as such. Maybe she could be ground up as hamburger to help save those who are starving in some third world country. Now who’s being obscene?

  188. says

    I believe that Steele was no more of an atheist then he is a Christian. I think he’s just a self-centered, self-righteous troll that get’s their kicks out of arguing with someone no matter how wrong he is. I’ve lost count of all the times this hypocrite has contradicted himself and I’m tired of wasting my time and effort when the best he can do is to post a bunch of biblical drool that makes no sense and to convolute what I’ve written to give it the wrong reasoning. He doesn’t want to reason with anyone he just likes to argue because it’s what makes him feel important and better then everyone else.

  189. Atheistt says

    “they do so because they do not want to handle the baby after it is born.”

    Given that women don’t need abortion to advocate all responsibility of their children (it’s called adoption), the fact they still opt for it indicates it *is* a bodily autonomy issue. The only difference between adoption and abortion is consent to pregnancy, after all.

  190. Atheista says

    “A fingernail is not a organism that is capable of developing the ability of independent survival, and as a largely philosophical / theological bent person, you might have missed that point. Reductio ad absurdum: ”

    You missed Matt’s point entirely here.

    It was said in response to John’s definition of personhood, where he explicitly defined it as having human DNA. Matt was simply pointing out that – by that definition, and that definition alone – a fingernail is a person.

    He was not trying to argue that a fingernail is a person at all – I’d wager he realizes how ridiculous that position is.

  191. says

    FWIW, it seems as if JPS may have been intentionally dragging their feet for the past 6 weeks, since Texas law grants certain legal rights to the unborn after 20 weeks when a fetus cannot be endangered or terminated ‘unless the mother’s health is at risk’.

    The fetus is now 21 weeks, and the hospital could argue that the mother’s health is no longer ‘at risk’ (since she’s already dead!), and hence assuming care of the fetus by request a judge to grant the fetus with legal rights of a child; it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the child could be declared a ward of the state, and care applied as via the courts, completely sidestepping the father’s input all along the way.

    Adam

  192. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Sir Real
    Also, the form of your argument is roughly “What good are wills if they can be sometimes violated?”. A simple rebuttal: “What good is private property rights if they can be sometimes violated?”. That alone should show the absurdity of your position. Specifically, you and I both like private property rights, but we also both (hopefully) like progressive taxation, a social safety net, and other wealth redistribution programs.

    We can enjoy the benefits of private property without making private property rights inviolable. We can also enjoy the benefits of wills without making inheritance rights inviolable. Don’t be a libertarian. Only a libertarian thinks that these rights are inviolable.

  193. AhmNee says

    You didn’t address my question at all. In the world as you’re painting it, no person can expect their wishes for their own person to be honored. Meaning that everyone would need to see to their last wishes themselves. If you want to be cremated, you’re going to have to light yourself on fire to be certain. Have an objection to donating your organs? Drink some poison so they’re nonviable for transplant. Don’t want to be used as an incubator in the case you’re brain dead … I don’t know. En utero micro explosive wired to your heart beat? It’ll be all the rage next season, I’m sure.

  194. Narf says

    As a theist, I expect to get taken to the wood shed by the atheists rightly so but I love when I tell them I was an atheist and the response is almost always “You must not of been much of an atheist” or “I didn’t ask the really hard questions”. I hate when Christians say that to people who have become atheists that they were never really Christian and to get that response from atheists sometimes makes me wonder if atheism is a religion like some people say, LOL.

    I wouldn’t go so far, in the case of most people, to say that they weren’t atheists, although it does happen. I’ve encountered preachers speaking about their lives as atheists, saying how even when they were atheists, they really knew that God was real. Well, you dishonest con artists, then you were never atheists, by simple definition.

    Similarly, there are many frauds out there who claim to have been skeptics before becoming fundamentalist Christians. Lee Strobel is one such example. The lie is exposed, nonstop, in his own book, The Case For Christ. No skeptic would address any of the questions he raises as he addresses them. He’s lying, trying to con people into accepting the evidence that he presents uncritically, through some sort of projection head-game which I was never stupid enough to fall for.

    In most cases, without a specific instance of obvious contradiction such as that, the most I would say is that the person’s previous atheism couldn’t have been based upon a very sound foundation of logic and reason. In your own case, the fact that you presented freaking William Lane Craig as someone whose arguments we should respect … you completely lost any possible respect I might have had for your previous atheistic stance.

    William Lane Craig is one of the worst professional apologists out there. He piles his arguments down with endless appeals to consequences and worse bullshit. For someone who claims to be a professional philosopher, he doesn’t seem to know a damned thing about philosophy that someone shouldn’t have straightened out in a high school philosophy class. He’s pathetic.

  195. steele says

    Real,

    I think he’s just a self-centered, self-righteous troll that get’s their kicks out of arguing with someone no matter how wrong he is….. He doesn’t want to reason with anyone he just likes to argue because it’s what makes him feel important and better then everyone else.

    Have you been talking to my wife, lol JK. That does describe me to some extant, I do enjoy being a gadfly in the ointment. I apologize if I came across like a complete ass that really wasn’t my intent and quoting Bible verses well that’s what Christians do, but maybe I overdid it a little and didn’t allow for more of a conversation.

    Romans 10:17

    17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    sorry I couldn’t resist one more. That aside Real if I didn’t take something you were saying seriously I do really apologize. I have learned alot by reading on this blog and from you as well, doesn’t mean I agree with you but that’s ok. My only hope was to share Christ with you guys even if I did it poorly that was truly my intent.

    So anyway I am going to bid you guys adieu for awhile, I can’t go away completely….I would make to many people happy and I will have to drop back to irritate you guys at some point lol.

    Narf,

    yea I hear you on the Strobel and I am understanding Craig is not held in wide regard with most atheists, hey it could of been worse I could had used Ray Comfort and the banana argument. I am not that big of fan of Craigs as you may think just sos you knows. I did use the argument from ignorance on you just to irritate so sorry, I had always wanted to turn it back on one of you guys. You do need to update your cosmology though, Vilenkin’s stuff is pretty interesting…doesn’t mean it is right but interesting.

    I will admit like I said, I wasn’t much of an atheist….I am not much of anything, lol. Oh well you guys take care

  196. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    My only hope was to share Christ with you guys

    Bring good evidence and scientific argument, or don’t bother. You’re just wasting both of our time.

  197. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, William Lane Craig advocates completely amoral positions, and he is a blatant liar. For example, see here:

  198. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    peace and dignity

    Peace and dignity of the dead are overrated.

    This is one of those times where I want to invoke Sam Harris. There are right and wrong ways to live a happy life and to structure a good society. Furthermore, individually each of us can be wrong about what is the best way to live a good life and to structure a good society. In this case, IMHO concern over the “peace and dignity” of the dead seems like a great example of a case where people objectively make their lives worse.

  199. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Furthermore, in your example, what does the dying guy do? He takes his last living moments ensuring that others are going to experience increased misery rather than be useful. Talk about being a vindictive ass. There is nothing justifiable about his behavior.

  200. says

    @ EnlightenmentLiberal

    5.1 “Would you be ok with a government program where everyone is forced to be organ donors upon death?
    Because otherwise you’re proposing that fetuses have more rights than everyone else.” I believe you wrote this EL. Are you now proposing that fetuses have more rights than everyone else and that the government can force everyone to use their body as an instrument upon death? Because if that is what you’re proposing then it would appear to me that now you’re just contradicting yourself. Are you now proposing that the government tell use how to live our lives or ignore our wishes if the government has their own special intrests to the point it becomes a conflict of intrest. So when does it stop for you EL, when the government decides what religion you should believe in or what religious law you should obey? What about those who have died so that you can have the FREEDOM to choose are they just some slabs of meat and that they just died in vain and that their deaths mean nothing more to you then just some entree on someone elses plate?
    Because if that’s what you believe then it sounds like to me you’re just a self-center and self-righteous hypocrite.

    I’ve never in my life have seen anyone who has such an intolerance for the dead then you EL. If it goes against someone’s will (their wishes) and they are taken advantage of(by the government) then how is that not liken to rape? See if you can answer yourself that question EL or does it require more speculation on your part? Perhaps you could tell Chris Lowe about your opinion of the dead because I believe they would most likely have an opinion of you.

    P.S. I do know of someone who died so that we can have that freedom to choose it’s just that unlike you EL, I
    not going to lower my standards down to your level and believe he should be fucked.

  201. Narf says

    I did use the argument from ignorance on you just to irritate so sorry, I had always wanted to turn it back on one of you guys.

    I can understand that, but you at least have to be accurate when you do it. Even if you’re being needlessly pedantic about something, if you’re accurate, you at least have a valid point, if a petty one.

    You slapped it on a statement that wasn’t an assertion of a position, never mind a fallacy of any sort. You can’t have an argument from ignorance if there isn’t a position there. :P

    Anyway, you see where your issue was, now? Keep going over stuff and get your philosophy down a bit better. After all, getting a better understanding of philosophy is a great way to turn someone into an atheist, since there are no valid and sound arguments for any theistic god.

  202. VeFi says

    Right to be honored after death as any right should be supported. But as any right there is a point where it collides with rights of other people. Taking again to extremes if someone wants to be buried with several virgins would you argue that we should honor his wish or similar psycho will do this himself while still alive?

    In the case of donating organ the situation is much less strictly depends on one person and moreso there are certain fears associated with it that I think influence the situation much more.

    I want to stress some difference. We can discuss moral side of the question for every individual case but have to seek for some effective systematic approach in legislation (and this is even harder, even when consensus on the moral side is reached). It’s a bit like seeking a greater good in one case and a lesser evil in another (except you have to do the latter in both)

  203. says

    @ EnlightenLiberal,

    In response to your rebuttal about private property rights. This is completely irrelevant to what I’m refering to when writting about someone’s will. When I’m refering to someone’s will I’m refering to their choices and wishes that they make in preparation of their death. I’m not concern about their private property rights. If you’re going to come this ill-prepared in trying to prove something, then it would be in your best intrest to at least come up with a better excuse than this. The only thing this proves is your ignorance.

  204. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Sir Real
    Apparently I need to explain my basic morality and theory of government. This is just a rehashing of John Stuart Mill in “On Liberty”, with a little bit of Sam Harris’s “The Moral Landscape” thrown in.

    The fundamental question is “Why do anything? Why take some action instead of inaction? Etc.” A sane person answers that question with “I have goals. I take actions to achieve those goals. I take actions which I believe are likely to achieve those goals.” It’s a very consequentialist approach.

    This begs the questions “How do you decide what your goals are?” and “How do you decide what actions are likely to achieve identified goals?”.

    A rational person answers “science” to the second question. A moral person answers “humanism” to the first question.

    Sorry for the diversion, but this is going to take a while to be clear. Now that we’re all on the same page of humanism and science, we can move on.

    My understanding of well-being has a component of freedom and the right to self-determination. I believe that allowing the government to decide for individual citizens what is in their own best interest and forcing that conclusion on them is so severe a violation of the right to self determination that it is also a severe attack on human well-being.

    Furthermore, we can also adopt a consequentialist argument like that of Mill in defending free speech and the freedom to live your life in your own way because the consequences are generally better than a top-down decision of how each person should live their life.

    In short, Mill’s position, which I subscribe to near absolutely, is that everyone is sovereign over their own body and life. Everyone has the right to decide how to live their life in matters concerning only themselves. Only in actions which concern others is an individual ever responsible for his behavior to others.

    Now, Mill does distinguish between positive and negative harm. For the kind of harms such as murder, theft, battery, society has ever right to use any reasonable force to deter such behavior. For the kind of harm which results from inaction, such as failure to give assistance, society can compel action, but the standard that society must meet is much higher. For example, it is right that we compel each other to pay taxes for police, fire, military, free government health care, free government schools, and so on. It is right to compel each other to appear in court to give testimony. But again, the standard is higher for such things.

    If the standard were not higher, than in effect every one would be a complete slave to society, unable to exercise the value of choosing what is best for their own life, because in the limiting case every action has at least some minimal effect on others. So, we allow people to cause harm through inaction in order that people may be free.

    Again, sorry for the tangent. I’m getting to my point.

    When a woman is pregnant, outlawing abortion is the conscription of the woman’s body for the benefit of other individual. We frown on this in every other aspect of law. You cannot compel someone to give blood, give a kidney, and so on. It violates our sense of bodily autonomy. It is a severe harm on well-being. Thus, I’m generally against restrictions on abortions.

    However, in this case which we’re talking about, it’s not a woman. It’s a dead body with a fetus inside. Here, we cannot talk about the well-being of the woman because there is no woman. You do not concern yourself with the well-being of the dead. Nor do you concern yourself with the “respect” or “dignity” of the dead. Hell, I barely care as-is about the dignity of the living.

    You say it’s a violation of the woman’s will. I say there is no woman. You say it was her will before she died. I say she’s dead, and her will is utterly irrelevant. To allow the dead to impose whatsoever on the living is the tyranny of the dead over the living, and I will have none of that. I agree fully with Thomas Paine with his description of this tyranny which is as unjust as any other tyranny.

    There are a few arguments which remain which you could employ. I admit that I am not fully decided on this issue yet. I do not hold any strong opinions on the issue. However, I do hold strong opinions that your particular moral arguments and values are bullshit. Do not make the fallacy fallacy. I think your argument is bullshit, but it does not follow that I think your conclusion is false.

    First, if you don’t think the dead body is property, what do you think it is? Surely it’s not a person; it’s dead. The only other applicable category I can think of is property. In which case, this question becomes a question about private property rights and inheritance rights. I think it is grotesque to say that you can will away private property to be wasted rather than taking that private property to save actual human lives. This applies in this case. It also applies for example in the Republicans who are trying to do away with food stamps. I cannot imagine a more disgusting position than this (short of over-the-top stuff like torture porn). I don’t know if it was here in the thread – but for the thought experiment of the guy who drowns himself and loses the body just to be spiteful is utterly vile. It’s vindictive shallowness at its worst. There is no way at all to justify it.

    You might make the argument that for someone to be happy, they need to know that their wishes about whether their body is cremated or buried after death, etc. Of course, I might make the argument that some people are not happy unless they own other human beings as slaves. I’m sorry, we both recognize that the desire to own another human as a slave is not a good reason to satisfy that desire. Similarly, if it does actual harm to someone else to follow someone’s will to cremate their body rather than saves lives, there’s no reason we need to set up legal rules to let the person know their desires will be fulfilled, any more than we need to set up laws to ensure that the racist gets to own slaves to satisfy his desire.

    Respect and dignity for the dead – when it comes at the cost of harm to the living – is completely unjustifiable in every way. Period.

  205. says

    I would have to disagree with seeing a dead body as just property. If you are more then willing to give special rights to a fetus then why are you so unreasonably biased about the dead not having any rights? What about the right of justice. Don’t the people of the holocaust deserve some kind of justice? Or are they too just a piece of meat, property, or pile of ashes to you. Why not just consider genocide as a form of crowd control because it lessens the crowd. And who cares if it’s just killing a race of people off because once their dead who gives a shit? Besides less people more room, less people, more food, less people, more houses. This would really be a benefit for the living and who gives a fuck about the dead. My argument isn’t just about respecting the dead, it’s also respecting the choice of the father as well. If someone makes a choice such as a will and that choice is just ignored because of the government’s special intrest in possibly saving some one else’s life at the cost of ignoring the fathers wishes as well. The government has already made a choice in spite of his wihses by keeping his dead wife pregnant all in the HOPES of keeping it alive. If the father or even the mother had made a choice to be on life support then the government would be honoring their choice and I would have a problem with that. However that is not the case and the father being the only living person who is responsible for the existence of this fetus should be the one to choose not some government and their special intrest.

  206. says

    Correction

    I meant to write: If the father or the mother had made a choice to be on life support that I would not have a problem with that. Sorry my bad.

  207. Charles Coffey says

    Sorry for not responding sooner. A long couple of days at work.

    I don’t think that your story is unusual. You seem to be what I call a seeker. I’ve heard the story many times, that a person tried Christianity, but didn’t like it so the turned to Judaism, which was a problem so they became a buddhist for a couple of weeks…

    All the while, someone like me is thinking what the hell. One shot at either of the first two should tell you what you want to know. You say that you were an atheist, but unless you had some utterly inexplicable and transformative supernatural event occur (Which of course, many people claim, but none of which have ever withstood any rational scrutiny.), then I also don’t believe you were an atheist. You are a seeker, who just wants to believe in something and you are unsatisfied unless you can do so wholeheartedly. It also seems to me that intellect, or compassion, or empathy… or whatever human ‘Foible” you care to chose gets in the way… you are never going to be happy with any of them.

    As for atheism, I really don’t understand how one could be an atheist, and ever go back. If Jesus walked in here and fixed my keyboard, handed me a billion dollars and gave me a.. well, whatever… I’d assume someone was having me on first, and that I’d lost my mind second. I don’t’ think I’d become a theist.

    Anyway, I did pop in to see the comment from Matt yesterday, that if a fetus would defend it’s right to drive verbally, then he’d consider it. It does not seem we need to run an eeg before aborting some people, as a speech impediment, like a strong Texas drawl would be more than enough under some circumstances.

    Anyway, thank you for taking the time to answer. I really appreciate the effort, because discussions between ourselves and those whom we disagree, is really where we hone our own thoughts. Take care, and feel free to write at Coffey3C at gmail

    .

  208. AhmNee says

    And as long as the person isn’t harming another, the person can be a vindictive ass, or follow whatever belief they wish to.

    Anticipating what you may claim, not giving a dying person an organ is not harm. To quote Batman, “I won’t kill you. But I don’t have to save you.”

    It’s the same question in life as death. Not donating your dying child a kidney may make you a repugnant human being, but you should never be forced to. That carries over to our dying wishes, too. Just because not donating may be vile and vindictive doesn’t mean it should be forced. Otherwise we might as well fire up the Soylent Green factories now and get it over with.

  209. AhmNee says

    That’s a false equivocation if there ever was one. Exercising your right to bodily autonomy is not equivalent to being buried with other beings who have their own autonomy without their consent. An unborn cannot have autonomy and are not afforded such for multiple reasons. Otherwise every pregnant woman is guilty of false imprisonment and a host of other crimes.

    As a society we don’t legislate morality for very good reason.

    There are very few cases where because you can do something to benefit another you must.

  210. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If you are more then willing to give special rights to a fetus then

    And what special rights would those be? I’ve been clear that I’m not proposing any laws at the moment. I’m only attacking your bad arguments. You did what I asked you not to do – the fallacy fallacy.

    Furthermore, I agree with your logical conclusions of my argument. My argument applies equally well to saying everyone should be a organ donor, and we should ignore their pre-death will in this matter. I’m leaning in that direction.

    What about the right of justice.

    Any justice which furthers human suffering is no justice at all. It is the mere obeyance of law no different than your standard divine command theorist.

    Don’t the people of the holocaust deserve some kind of justice?

    No.

    Or are they too just a piece of meat, property, or pile of ashes to you.

    Correct.

    I might not be clear enough, so let me go here. If it was within my power, I would ensure that Adolf Hitler got a great afterlife, the best he could have, as long as it was cheap and easy for me to do, and as long as I could guarantee with supremely high confidence that he would be contained and not hurt others.

    The principle that you should take an eye for an eye is abhorrent. That view of justice is called the “retributive theory of justice”, but it is not justice at all. It is the principle that you should wrong someone for no other reason than he wronged someone else. It is taking pleasure in the misery of others. It is naked sadism; pure and simple. It is morally grotesque.

    There are plenty of good reasons to punish people and confine people. You can do so with moral justification for the deterrence effect, for a possible rehabilitation effect, for the safety effect of confinement, and so on. Thus, my Hitler example flies only if no one on Earth knew that he was having a good afterlife, e.g. just like how it is now.

    Do the victims of the holocaust “deserve justice”? Is it right that we should hurt people just because other people were hurt? No.

    However, should we track down any living responsible Nazi and punish them? You betcha. Should we teach every generation about this exemplar of moral evil to ensure it never happens again? Of course.


    And then you just go off the rails. I have no clue how what you are saying is supposed to address anything I’ve said.


    And you get back to a relevant point here:

    If someone makes a choice such as a will and that choice is just ignored because of the government’s special intrest in possibly saving some one else’s life at the cost of ignoring the fathers wishes as well.

    It might make a white supremacist happy to own slaves, but that’s not a good reason to let him own slaves. Similary, it might make the husband(?) of the dead wife happy to let him do as he please with her body or some such, but if it costs someone else their life, then that’s not a good enough reason to let the husband have his way. We use exactly the same reasoning in both cases to conclude that the will of the living person to want what they desire is not good enough because it causes harm to someone else.

    Similarly, you cannot just will your property to go to waste and expect us to accept that. No. This is not libertarianism. In principle, \we have every right to step in and take your property if you are destroying it and that property could make someone else’s life better. (Of course, in practice, it becomes difficult to answer.)

  211. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Yeha, you’re right. As soon as you realize why the arguments for Jesus are bad, you will not be taken in by them again. (I hope.)

    If you want to convince me that there’s a god which can do stuff, it’s going to take something fundamentally different than every story I hear which purportedly happened to someone else. It’s not to say it’s impossible.

    For example, if only I interacted with Jesus and he disappeared whenever no one else is looking? Yeah, the logical conclusion is that I’m seeing things. Hallucinations.

    At a minimum, Jesus is going to have to be a regular part of my life, and a regular part of everyone else’s life too. He’s going to have to stop down at my local Safeway every weekend and spend an hour doing some of the food miracles of his. He’s going to have to survive observation and interrogation of our best magicians like James Randi. Only then would I even start considering acceptance that it’s true.

    And that’s the problem. None of the religions are offering that. They the best that they offer isn’t convincing at all, even if I experienced it.

    PS: Even if you show me that Jesus existed as accurately described in the bible, I wouldn’t be a Christian. I also wouldn’t be an atheist – by definition. I would accept that Jesus exists, but I would not worship it. Barring some quick explaining and apologizing by Jesus, I would plot with others as to the best method to destroy Jesus, because if he’s anything like how he’s depicted in the Christian bible, we need to destroy it for the welfare of all of humanity. If Stargate SG-1 has taught me anything, it is that the proper response to evil gods is not to bow down and worship, but to destroy them. Nuke god!

  212. says

    I suppose that the husband’s choice doesn’t matter to you E.L.because he is still alive. He is the ONLY LIVING person who is responsible for the existence of this fetus and yet the state of Texas has already made a chioce to make sure that his former wife be forced to remain pregnant. The husband is the only living person who has the OBLIGATION of choosing and yet we have a government that is making chioces for us in spite of his choice. This isn’t about attempting to save a life it’s about do we have a government that allows us to make choices when it’s our obligation or do we have a government that makes choices for us acting as if it’s their the ones who are responsible. Is this the type of government you want? A government that makes choices for us if it’s in their best intrest and to deny us of our choice? What if you voted for someone and find out that the government went ahead and voted for you and the person who they voted for was a racist hypocrite? E.L. keeps forgetting or is completely ignorant to the FACT that the father is the only person on this planet who has the obligation of choosing and no one else. It is unfortunate that an innocent life be lost so that others can have the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE, however how many innocent lives have been lost so that YOU (E.L.) can have the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE? Does your freedom come free? Is it served to you on a silver platter next to that dead piece of meat? Because if freedom were free then how would we know of it’s worth? So E.L. were is the father’s freedom to choose?

  213. says

    AhmNee said-

    Miscarriage of justice? I’m sorry. It just popped into my head

    Kudos, and you should be proud of yourself, AhmNee, since you managed to elicit an audible groan from me after reading your words, LOL!

    :)

    Adam

  214. says

    UPDATE FROM:

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/22/us/pregnant-life-support-texas/index.html

    Attorneys: Fetus of pregnant, brain-dead wife is ‘distinctly abnormal’

    (CNN) — Attorneys representing the family of Marlise Munoz — a pregnant Texas woman they say is brain dead — revealed Wednesday that the “fetus is distinctly abnormal.”

    “Even at this early stage, the lower extremities are deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined. The fetus suffers from hydrocephalus. It also appears that there are further abnormalities, including a possible heart problem, that cannot be specifically determined due to the immobile nature of Mrs. Munoz’s deceased body.

    “Quite sadly, this information is not surprising due to the fact that the fetus, after being deprived of oxygen for an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body, as a horrified family looks on in absolute anguish, distress and sadness,” attorneys Jessica Janicek and Heather King said in a statement.

    Hmmm, I hope all of these “right to lifers” would actually take a moment to consider the angle of quality of life, too….

  215. says

    Peace and dignity of the dead aren’t overrated. Having a prejudice view of the dead is overrated. If you could have given me a good REASON as to WHY you would execrate the dead then I would be more inclined to believe you E.L., for example what did the dead ever do to you to merit your hate. However all you have done is to give me a bunch of quotes or bad examples that still don’t justify your reasoning for hating the dead. This is just an excuse for defending the state of Texas for exploiting a dead persons body and denying a man of his freedom to choose by making a choice that in their best intrest when in fact it’s a conflict of intrest. I could care less if it’s legal or not because the law should never be put above justice. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s right or justified, because if it were then slavery would still be legal.

  216. says

    Just a thought with regards to the topic of Brain dead is dead.
    This is the first time I was, perhaps not angry with you guys, but a little disappointed that you tackled the problem the way, you did.

    Whereas, you have said many times on the show that you only express your own views, while being atheist, this time to me it sounded that there was no arguing that brain dead is dead, and the obvious (to you) disattachment from the machinery of the woman with the foetus.

    I was expecting more open-mindedness from free thinkers like you. We live in a confined time, which puts a limit on our knowledge. What if, lets say tomorrow or in a few decades, scientist find a way to revive a brain, by use of some chemical or electroshock or whatever.

    Being an atheist myself, and knowing that I will not be able to see my loved ones, if I let him/her be unplugged from the machinery, it gives my a strong conviction to do everything I can to keep her/him attached to it, maybe even a stronger one than that of religious people, who might think that they will at least see them again in heaven etc. (but then again even the strongest believer would do everything to keep them alive, because deep down every beliver and non-beliver, knows that this life is the only life we have)

    To sum the first part of my comment, what you should have named your show is “Brain dead is dead, for now.”

    With regards to the woman and her foetus, I am a pro-life, which by the way, people! – it is possible for an atheist to be against abortion. Of course, the topic is not just black and white, because there are cases that one might argue for abortion (rape and other). But even a well outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens was against abortion, for everybody information

    Matt, your argument about, that there is DNA in your nail – I could say one thing: You nail has no chance of developing into a human being, whereas the foetus does. I say, if there is a slight potential that there might be a little human growing out of it, let it! If not for, him/her self, then let it, in the name of science, so that other families of the future, if faced with a similar tragedy, can still save the unborn foetus/child what ever you wanna call it.

    Life, even its possibility always comes first to me.

    Also, Matt and, whats-her-name Ms. Peoples, please remember about the human aspect of empathy. People listening to the above stories, automatically relate, they jump in the other peoples shoes, Ms Peoples…
    I wander what you would do, if your child etc was brain dead, and if you would make a quick decision of unplugging them?

    Gotta go,

    Jacek, a simple Pollack.

  217. says

    I would also have to add that the state of Texas is only ASSUMING that the woman would want to be on life support in the event she was pregnant without actually knowing. The only thing that can be known is that the woman did not want to be on life support. This is something that has been established and is known to be true, not something that has been assumed to be true. In being objective I would have to go with what I know is true and not just with what someone else has assumed to be true. Just like the state of Texas has assumed that if they force this woman to remain pregnant that somehow the fetus will survive. I weigh it with the truth, not assumptions.

  218. mike says

    I’d be ok with that, and afterall you’d be dead so u wouldn’t be able to complain about it.

  219. Robert, not Bob says

    Assuming the state of Texas (that is, the conservative legislators who passed the law) actually cares about the wishes of a mere woman, and a potentially pregnant one at that.

  220. mike says

    Really? That’s fucked. I’d carry out the wishes of the dead up to a certain point, and having other people die due to a dead person’s wishes would def be past that point.

  221. mike says

    Susan Martin – Totally disagree with you, all humans have the same rights and no one human gets to infringe upon another even if it means saving their life- no person owes another person anything

  222. mike says

    Luis – As part of the pro-choice group, I don’t agree with the killing of fetuses now, so what science does in the future is irrelevant

  223. Narf says

    The problem here is that you’re completely ignoring the fact that pregnancy is not even close to a zero-cost proposition to the mother. The health toll to her body and the financial cost of gestating and giving birth to a baby is quite significant.

  224. mike says

    Charles Coffey – So your mother made some idiotic comment and now you’re adhering to it without questioning it? Sounds pretty close to religion to me. And a fetus is not a child, if it were then we wouldn’t need the term “fetus”

  225. mike says

    Charles Coffey – Even in brevity you still come across as a pompous ass. Charles,eh? you’re not a solipsist by any chance?

  226. Teresa says

    I skipped down to the comment window & I haven’t seen many shows, so sorry if this question has already been brought up in the abortion debate.

    Aren’t religious people against abortion because they believe their messiah (second coming of jesus to save them, punish everyone else, etc) could possibly be aborted? It’s not about the “do not kill” commandment since these same religious people ignore commandments all the time.

    Do they think their god would be that stupid to rape a pro-choice woman? Especially if their god is all knowing?
    Yet these same anti-abortionists abandon all interest in these unwanted children no matter the circumstances they are born into. As if this messiah would announce his/her birth with a super nova?

  227. Robert, not Bob says

    “Aren’t religious people against abortion because they believe their messiah (second coming of jesus to save them, punish everyone else, etc) could possibly be aborted?”

    Um, no. Can’t speak for all 40,000 denominations but the Second Coming doesn’t involve another birth in any I’ve ever heard of. There are lots of variations, but generally he shows up adult in a global spectacular.

    “Yet these same anti-abortionists abandon all interest in these unwanted children no matter the circumstances they are born into.”

    Yeah, that bit of hypocrisy has been pointed out a lot (usually ignored).

  228. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I believe that it is right and proper for society through government to compel everyone through violence (or threat of violence which is largely morally equivalent) to act for the benefit of others in some cases. This is what separates a decent human being from a libertarian. Right now, you are making the libertarian’s argument, and I reject that out of hand.

    So what if the husband has some wishes with what to do with his dead wife’s body? So what? If there is someone next door who needs a heart or they’ll die and the dead body has a working heart, I know whose wishes should win in this case, and it sure as hell isn’t the husband’s. Furthermore, this isn’t just a problem where the husband has the only say. This is a question of how do we allocate material goods in our society – economics – and in that everyone has a say. Again, you are arguing the position of libertarianism, which is stupid.

  229. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What reason would I need? Let me use a little hyperbole (but not really). If pissing on every dead body ever, including Mill’s, Jesus’s (if I could find it), Sagan, Einstein, and everyone else, could save a single street junky with AIDS, I would do it.

    What reason could I give? Any goddamned reason at all. They are living people, and the dead people are dead. Respect for the dead should never trump the well-being of the living.

    Anyone who wouldn’t is objectively, demonstrably, morally wrong.

  230. Charles Coffey says

    AhmNee:

    Sorry I’ve been away.

    As for your first response, about fuck’em they are dead. Nothing that Iv’e ever said supports that. The person we are talking about was a woman who had a fetus growing inside of her. Harvesting organs from another person, unrelated to this issue, is as I’ve said, not germaine. It’s a complete non-sequitur, and has the same level of value in determining what I think about anything beyond what I’ve clearly stated here.

    For the second comment. It is not an argument from authority in the logical sense, but it is in the sense of the moral role models, which I have also previously addressed.

    . Where I’ll assume that you are attempting to assert that this was a logical fallacy of some sort, you need to understand that an appeal to authority is only a fallacy when the authority isn’t competent, or especially competent, in the issues specific to the logical progression you are following. On the other hand, relying on the informaiton provided by persons more knowledgeable in the specific areas being discussed isn’t considered fallacy, it’s considered informing yourself of competent opinion, authority, or education. Either way, I was doing neither of these things in citing my mother’s view, because that was merely an example.

    The biological and moral example of that example are probably a little obscure for you, to have presumed it was some kind of logical fallacy, so to be be very brief, let me try to clear that up for you. It is not an unknown phenomenon in nature for a mother to protect her offspring. It benefits not only the progeny in question, but also the species as a whole for the organism to make that investment. In the case of a sentient person saying something like that, and not just expressing it in behavior, I still assume that not all of that decision/position is derived from her religious upbringing or conscious thought process, but also that some good part of that may be this protective instinct.

    We still need to be careful about how casually we ascribe benefit to certain behaviors from an evolutionary perspective, but the protection of young is, for my part and for many others, on pretty safe ground. It’s never cut and dried though. For instance, in times of severe drought and in instances where she will no longer be able to feed both herself and her cubs, will abandon the cubs and try to save herself. In instances where the cubs can not be saves, we recognize the ‘logic’ of this instinctual reaction, and it’s benefits in saving the mature breeding female for the group and species to which she is a part. It’s not cut and dried, though, because that same female in the act of walking away, will turn and rush to protect cubs that are more imminently threatened, sacrificing her own life in the process.

    As for morality, this does go to on of the more inane question that arise from the process of people who are trying to derrive justifications for thinking actions taken in a completely naturalistic world, i.e., if god is not there to punish you for not following his list, how can you possibly have morals. The authority of my mothers example is as I have clearly stated so many times before. Our morality derives mostly from our evolution as social primates, and the skills and behaviors therein, our logical understanding of the consequences of not following the rules of our society/group, and the EXAMPLE, of individuals whom we chose to emulate.

    I think that our moral and ethical stance on thins are advised by the ethical role models we chose to emulate. I think that in the case of a parent, or other role model we chose when we are young, is also a biological process. We are hard wired to follow the direction and example of our parental figures. I can also say, though, that as a fully functional adult, who has not had contact with that parent in thirty-two years, that my morality and opinion has more likely been fully corroborated by my own surmise.

    I hated leaving this blog fallow, because so many here thought that I was being rude for not agreeing with statements like yours. I would have looked at anything my mother said in light of what I knew and understood, an nothing of a blind assertion on any premise would have stood up well. Likewise, when I see your… I’ll be overly fair to call it a suggestion, that this was merely an appeal to authority, as in a fallacy, belies that you are thinking about the topic at hand at any significant level. A lot more when into that thought, than just a fallacious appeal…

    …Which is why I have such a hard time finding anything convincing in the arguments here. They are falsely based, rabidly opinionated, and demonstrably wrong… and from the instance I was first accused here of being a theist sock puppet, it has convinced me exactly who it is that is defendin a dogma. I’ve gotten people yelling that it is a lup of flesh and not a human, but no one person has been able to offer a concrete criteria why it is not. I am only looking at your assertions with the same thought process that I would have examined that statement from my own mother. Sorry.

    “If I’m understanding your point correctly, that you have to consider the potential of every unborn…”

    No. You have seemingly missed my point completely, and by quite a wide margin. I am not asserting any unalienable right, position, or character to a fetus. I’ve merely stated that this entire argument that the actions of the doctors were immoral, because it abrogates the right of a woman to choose the uses of here own body, are completely irrelevant here, because of the facts as I understood them. First, that although this woman almost certainly did make some statement to her husband about not wanting to have her life artifically extended, that she did not infact offer any material statement as to what must be done with regards to the baby. Second, that given, again as I understood it, that the woman had carried the child for something near five months, that the presumptions on her wants and desires must be that she wanted and intended to carry the baby to term. She was, in actual fact, already risking herself in pregnancy, to bring the child to term, and every argument tying this to abortion rights was just irrelevant. That is an important issue, but was never the issue we are dealing with here.

    Stored eggs are not developing in a uterus.. Wholly false equivalency batman, seems to be the response I should give. Just try and understand the differences between the issue that existed, and all of those examples that you and all of the other here regarding toddlers have tried to give. A fetus does not need to be granted any special right to develop into a woman’s womb. It develops there naturally, and that is a biological process over which our philosophical meanderings can’t presume.

    “This is, anthropologically, false. We evolved as a cooperative species and our ability to cooperate with each other is increasingly accepted scientifically to be what put us to the top of ecosystem, not our intelligence and certainly not our ability to beat up weaker apes in our tribe. The idea that we’re innately warlike was a conclusion largely criticized due to poor study conditions and pre-conceived conclusions.”

    Sorry, but it is not false, anthropologically or in any other way. Our ability to cooperate is important, and no one is saying otherwise, but our intelligence, and the way in which leaders of troops and groups assert their authority are as well. This is the same old ‘violence never solved anything” sort of think you often see, and it should be another fallacy on the list. I never mentioned warlike, I was speaking to this whole idea of our basis of morality, where in, in our society we have consequences of bad behavior. If I were to reason in the same way, I’d construe that you’ve concluded that prisons offer no protection to society from dangerous criminals, because it was our ability to cooperate that is our real assurance of safety. My point was both anthropologically and logically well founded.

    Lastly, you guys seem to use the term troll for anyone with whom you disagree, and I use the term differently. The truth is that the rights that you guys want to presume, are no more universal than than the lioness saving herself and abandoning her cubs. The arguments about five year olds eating a woman in comparison with a fetus that results from a biological process, are merely the avoidance of uncomfortable points. I did not go back and reread my own statement, but again, this Tom Cruse thing seems to stem from the point that is being missed here, largely from the fact that it looks like I made that point rather badly, and through irritation. In simplest terms, it’s argued here that terminating a developing fetus is not ending a human life. I disagree, and again, have not heard a single argument, let alone a convincing one, why this should not be the case. It seems logical to me, that if you terminate that fetus, toddler, teenager or embryo.. you have ended a human life at some stage of its natural development or natural course. You make moral and philosophical arguments about rights that have no real influence on a biological process, and you ( and here the you includes everyone whom I’ve tried to elicit a response from, and not just you, Ahmnee.) have offered not a single objective point or reasoning that abrogates that reasoning.

    An organism’s identity is primarily genetic. That identity begins at fertilization, which begins the development of that individual. If you terminate that process, for whatever reason, you have ended that life, and in our instance, a human life.

    I apologize for the Moron Mormon thing, as I was running a fever at the time, but this whole issue of cloaking a biological process in deeply flawed, as well as baseless, philosophical arguments is deeply troubling to me. My disappointment here is on a very simple bases, which is that fifty percent of the responses to me here have comprised such things as Tom cruse, while not offering a counter opinion to the points I actually raised. The other fifty percent have been opinions that are as baseless in logic and fact as anything any theist ever offered (hence my going to examples as ‘where to morals come from.), and are as unconvincing and as flawed as the arguments they offer. And… I can’t seem to elicit any other response from anyone here, other than the one from Mat and Jen that offended and disappointed me so; ” No it’s Not!”

    So, if we leave Tom Cruse aside for a momen, I’ll restate my positions very simply. I am, to invent a term, a atheist. I never believed the bullshit, and I don’t find that I’m very capable of being fooled for long by bullshit. I am a ratinoal anarchist. I think it’s morally wrong to kill someone, but I know that there are, far more often than I am comfortable with, very good and valid reasons why this is the best course to take. I would not chose to abort a viable fetus, but I am a staunch defender of a womans right to chose. This may be construed in any way that anyone here wishes to construe; however, unless they do so to conclude that I see any pregnancy as an extreme risk to the mother’ physical and emotional wellbeing, which needs to be dealt with to the very same limits that you would the circumstance of someone coming at her with a gun, then they are just wrong. I do agree with abortion as an option, but I am either dishonest enough with myself or with you, to have the need to twist the facts to conform to some, evidently, logical and factually indefensible view that it is not what it in fact is. Lastly, in this case we were never talking about abortive rights of a mother.

    So. My apologies for being away for so long, I was not ignoring anyone. If you are still interested, how about we reset this to the point I initially raised. If someone says that a fetus is human, and every host and fan of The Atheist Experience TV cast screams in unison “No it’s not!” then what evidence can anyone offer that it is not. . If you’d prefer to discuss Abortion or Speciation or Social Anthropology, then please say so, and I’ll be only too happy to respond as well as I can wherever time allows.

    Hope it’s warmer wherever you are.

    CoffeyC

  231. Charles Coffey says

    Atheista.

    One would hope that they would understand this, but I was responding at this point not just to what mat had said, but more to how it was being parroted by the good folk here. The fingernail notwithstanding, the case was also equated to being congruent to a haploid sperm, a five year old toddler next door…

    As for Mat’s premise as a response.

    Biological matter needs no leave or philosophical argument to grant it the right to exist where it naturally occurs. What we decide to do with it, as in the case of a wart, tumor, or fetus, is a second order decision, which may well be morally or philosophically decided, but it does not abrogate what that material actually is. The example was a little too trite and absurd, and in effect deflected from the fact that there seemed to be no better justification for the opinion: “No it’s not.”

    Read adam w’s offerings here, and you’ll see how badly this flippant response was conflated to be meaningful.

    Again, my points were, that I don’t think John from Chicago’s points were as ludicrous as they were made out to be. I don’t believe I’ve heard any explanation here or from the hosts or commentators that refutes, or indeed in any way seriously questions the premise, that if you end any part of the development process to a human life, then you have ended a human life. I, for one, would hope that people thought about these things far more clearly.

    Mostly, I was just taken aback by the inability to sift through these ideas with the people here, and bring out some realization that “no it’s not.” is rationally the very same foible on which theists base their whole world view. ‘God exists because he really really does,’ is as valid a a logical construct as ‘It’s not human because it just isn’t’ Remember, my only assertions fall into the fact that on a first order approximation, the species of an organism is determined by genetic makeup; and, that the treatment we impart to any organism, along any part of it’s development, should be considered in light of what the actual effect might be, ethically , philosophically, and biologically.

    When you abort a human life, at any stage under the presumption that that development would otherwise continue naturally, you have ended that life. Even under that maxim, I can justify my stances on abortion, and on my own personal choices regarding how I would treat the conditions surrounding a living fetus. I am deeply disappointed that I have not yet found that to be the case with any of the commentators here. I found the grasping at fingernails to be just a symptom of that fact.

    Understand too, that in saying that, I fully acknowledge that this has always been one of the hardest conundrums for me. I don’t like what the logic implies, I merely accept that there are time when it is the best thing to do; just as in the case of the woman and fetus that were in question. I recognize that it is no easier for most of the people here, especially since not one seems to have noticed that I stated very early, that I would not have continued the life support. I had no reason, based on my limited knowledge, to believe that there was any significant chance that the fetus would be viable. I would not have opened myself up to reproach for pulling the plug immediately on my own, given the laws that punish such things, but I applaud both the judges decision, and the requirement on the part of the doctors that they would have to access a fetus at this late stage of development, to be able to give a good answer on it’s viability.

    My interest here, was with the flaw in reasoning that I detected, that I can only term faithful, dogmatic, and unsupported; and, more in general, with the mysterious process whereby even these rational and educated critical thinkers make such decisions. It’s still a mystery… and I still feel very lonely outside a very small circle of colleagues whenever I approach the issue of why people do what they do. The majority of people, after all are theists, who are disappointed by much of the world they see around them, but who are also incapable of offering concrete solutions to those problems.

    So I understood Mat’s usage, and I didn’t appreciate it. I also understood the bastardized misuse his example was put too here, and I appreciated that even less.

    Thanks, though, I can see where any good point would have been submerged by all the ribaldry and persiflage being thrown around like the excrement in a monkey cage. Feel free, however, to address one of my points though, as for that I’d be enormously grateful. At what point do people consider a fertilized egg human, and why do people here think that such questions are purely theological in nature, when we spend our lives arguing that considerations of how we lead our lives, are undertaken largely in the absence of any theological underpinnings for any decision we might make. Even in a world where our precise and clean ethical standard, are never so neatly mirrored in reality. (see my example of the lioness elsewhere on this page.)

    Sorry I was away. I very much appreciated your point, though, it was never lost on me.

  232. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    An organism’s identity is primarily genetic. That identity begins at fertilization, which begins the development of that individual. If you terminate that process, for whatever reason, you have ended that life, and in our instance, a human life.

    This is me still not giving a fuck.

    I value the well-being, happiness, safety, etc. of minds, not organisms. The primary identification of a person is their unique mind, not their DNA.

    Furthermore, do you know how stupid what you said is?

    99% of the cells in your body do not have human DNA.

    We can again talk about human chimeras, human mosaics, and similar things, where a thing which we would all identify clearly as a single human adult can have half of the body with one set of human DNA and the other half of the body has a different set of human DNA. For example, one half of the body may be XX and another half may be XY. Are we dealing with two different people here? No!

    Your position is ignorant, retarded, and immoral.

  233. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I don’t believe I’ve heard any explanation here or from the hosts or commentators that refutes, or indeed in any way seriously questions the premise, that if you end any part of the development process to a human life, then you have ended a human life.

    Only you care about that. We do not. We do not care about ending human lives if those humans do not have minds. “Brain dead is dead.” The value of a human life is in the mind, not in whatever asinine genetic measures you have.

    Also see my response up-thread to your other comment, rather than copy-pasting it here.

  234. Charles Coffey says

    Enlightened..

    The only funny part of your response here, is your name. I don’t know about you, but most of the cells in my body, excluding erythrocytes and such, have DNA, and it is human DNA

    Your Your lack of understanding here clearly indicates that you do not care. I accept that as truth. However, your inability to draw a conclusion based on the evidence, even that which you try to provide, is even more disappointing. Your confusion regarding the seminal point is, that regardless of genetic an reproductive anomalies that are possible during generation, the identity or species of the organism is unchanged. Those anomalies occur across most species that reproduce sexually, and that these anomalies also also in humans, does not make those individuals non-human. Nor does it does it in any way negate or even effect the premise regarding the humanity of individuals who carry a normal genetic complement, or polyploids

    As for your last, it’s regrettable, but it is of no moment, really as I see you as demonstrably and singularly unqualified to judge. ,

  235. Charles Coffey says

    I don’t know if I’m the only one here who cares about it, it certainly seems to be the case; however, even if true, it in no way absolves people from the fact that they should. We expect and demand that people have reasons and present evidence for their contentions, and this blind spot in the reasoning here should worry the rational thinker mightily. You don’t care, but you don’t even seem able to make the connection that in ending a human life, you are also termination the development of a human mind.

    When I asked you to place a line at the point that meatiness becomes humanness, you could only say that it is fuzzy. That fuzziness is a myopia or an astigmatism, because no such line exists.

    Finally, as for your assessment of my interest here, again I say, you do not seem to have the knowledge, acumen or faculty to judge. .

  236. Narf says

    Why the hell would you give a damn about DNA? I care about the person … the brain/mind. I think your priorities are a little screwed up, man.

    If there is no brain formed yet, or if the brain has stopped doing what it does, being a person, then it’s just meat with no person inside.

  237. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    and that these anomalies also also in humans, does not make those individuals non-human.

    An organism’s identity is primarily genetic.

    Pick one. You can’t have both.

    Yes yes. I know that one of the primary measures of a species is the gene pool, but that’s not the word you chose. You chose “organism”, and clearly “the primary” measure of an organism is not a unique set of DNA. You seem to recognize this too. You recognize that a human chimera and a human mosaic is a single organism in spite of the fact that we could cut the body down the middle of some people and get two parts with two distinct human genomes.

    Also… apparently my 99% number is too high. Wikipedia says 90%. My mistake there.

    There are many species of bacteria and other microorganisms that live on or inside the healthy human body. In fact, 90% of the cells in (or on) a human body are microbes, by number[15][16] (much less by mass or volume). Some of these symbionts are necessary for our health. Those that neither help nor harm us are called commensal organisms.

    So, as I said before, 90% of the cells in your body do not have human DNA at all.

    Still, you have no clue what you are talking about. You are talking out of your ass. Go read a book.

    Still, the primary motivation is how the hell can you put the well-being of 100 undifferentiated cells above the well-being of an actual thinking human being? If you don’t believe in souls and other such nonsense, then this is completely monstrous. How can you?

  238. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Key word: “development”. Who the fuck cares? I don’t. As I said before, every time I don’t have sex I am preventing the formation of a new human mind. There is absolutely no reason to value fertilization any more than any other point. The point that matters when the mind actually exists, and that is a property of a brain.

    Are you having sex right now? Presumably no, which means you are also in effect preventing the formation of a new human mind. Go ahead – give me a reason why I fertilization is a magic bright line.

    Would you make the same asinine argument about in vitro fertilization? You know how many fertilized eggs are destroyed during the process or left to rot in freezers? Lots.

  239. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To continue – you probably don’t even realize how far this idiotic reasoning takes you. You’re fine with restricting abortions, but are you also ok with restricting the plan B day-after pill? How about the daily birth control pill? You know that the daily birth control pill can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg and is thus considered by some to be de facto abortion? (Sarcasm:) Yes, let’s throw women’s right back a hundred years and remove the ability of women to control their own bodies and reproduction. That sounds like a great way to crash the economy and put us into poverty.

  240. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Charles Coffey
    I’m on a roll now.

    I remember an episode of Babylon 5. Science fiction show. Humanoid aliens in space. That kind of thing.

    This episode focused around finding a weapon from a long-dead alien civilization. They activate it, and it starts killing everyone. They later decipher that the weapon was made as a defense against alien invaders, and it was carefully programmed to kill any humanoid which wasn’t true (insert-species-name). Unfortunately, idiots – just like you Charles – were put in charge of defining who was and was not a true (insert-species-name). They so narrowly defined it, that they in effect excluded everyone, just as you are about to do.

    Consider Star Trek transporters. Imagine what would happen if you had a feature which transported only cells matching human DNA (and their mitochondria etc.). If you used it on yourself, you would kill yourself. 90% of the cells in your body are not human – at least by genome – and a lot of them are necessary for your continued living.

    Your reasoning is one baby-step away from science fiction and actual horrors of eugenics. It’s not the DNA that matters. It’s not the continuation of the species which matters. It’s not the organism that matters. It’s the well-being of minds which matter.

  241. Charles Coffey says

    Narf:

    This really is not that hard.

    Jen and Mat said that the fetus was not a human child. They screamed it. Well, I’m sorry, but even if you agree with me that a woman should have a right to choose, you don’t get to deny the fact that it is a Child. Regardless of what you want to call it, or deny what it really is, it is a developing human being. If it does not have a mind that meets your criteria, it has one (and at the stage we were talking about in this sad case, a quite highly developed one.), and it is a brain that as in all humans, will continue to develop for years.

    If you care about human minds, identity, and brains, then you care about the very same things as I. However, If you care about minds, then you should realize that if you terminate a life at any point in the development, you have ended a brain. You have eliminated a mind. If you had offered any reason, any biological, ethical, or philosophical reason, I’d have listened politely to you and argues one way or the other. But you haven’t done that. You’ve claimed things when on on the call that did not. You claimed irrelevant things about the caller. (i.e. he could have called a thousand time, offering ten thousand bad ideas, it still would not have negated this one.) You have called what I said garbage… but you haven’t contradicted a word of it.

    Try an look at it objectively. What does that mean? What does it mean that everyone who responded here either attacked me personally, produced extravagant and irrelevant straw men, or made some of the most vain attempts at reductio ad absurdum that I’ve ever seen.

    For instance, when Jen said something equivalent to; ‘so you think that women are just meat incubators.” Well no one said that on the call, and I certainly have not said anything like that, and yet… Every response here, and the final half of the responses there on the show were on that order of nonsense. All these responses were rabidly emotional expostulations that are far more indicative of some inner mental panic than of knowledge, rationality, or forethought.

    DNA came up in response to that same stupid nonsensical shit, i.e. the fingernail, or sperm having the same potential to develop, as a zygote, a fetus, or an embryo.

    My issue with you is two fold. One, that given the number of times I have stated unequivocally what my concern was – an unsupported and thoughtlessly rabid reaction to both the caller and my self – one that refutes the stated goals of both Mat and the show, that it is pathological to still be confusing the seminal point with trivialities, or to be unable to answer a simple question. The second issue is, that if you cared about a sentient and unique human mind as much as I do, you would be able to admit to yourself what the actual result of an abortion. I don’t think you do.

    Don’t just say that my ideas are crap. Refute them Refute just one of them,.. but use evidence. Make an argument based on facts, or information that I’ll gladly help you track down; or, on any coherent point or philosophical principal. I’f you are not sure on some point pose a question. If all you can do is to say my ideas are crap, or worse, completely misstate what I’ve actually said, then you are wasting your time. I am not moved by such things.

    I am just as protective of an active human mind as you or anyone else of that mindset. If you can not understand that, then you clearly do not understand the point that I am making.

    The real sad part here was the the vast majority of this rabidity could only go on by ignoring the actual facts of the case we began discussing. It was never about abortion rights, or a woman’s right to chose. Yes, the woman probably did say that she did not want to be on life support, but I saw nothing that evidenced that she ever said it should have been done if there was a pregnancy, and given how long she carried the child, the only logical conclusion you can draw, was that she wanted to bring the child to term. That makes this issue of abortion rights, a woman’s right to choose, or the cannibalistic nature of the five year old child next door, your issue, and the issue of the posters here – not the issue germane to this case.

    Some here have argued bodily rights, and that is an important issue, but those are never absolute, they never have been, and they never will be. Suicide is illegal, whether you like it or not. Abortions have limits in term, as well they should. A wish for the distribution of your remains is overridden by public health issues. They just are, they will be, and they should be. But in this particular case, there is nothing that showed that this mother would have been against an effort to save the baby. And brain dead, is dead. It’s “not only merely dead, it’s really quite sincerely dead,’ and being fucking-dead, the effort to assess the viability of her child was not that great an invasion of person or personal liberties as was universally presumed here. Remember, the woman was on the life support before she was declared brain dead, and with the exception of Doktur Adam, most physicians understand that a pregnancy, even where the fetus is not named on the admittance and insurance forms, is of a concern.

    Now, I have to go explain to some dumb fuck, who goes by the misnomer (of biblical proportions) of enlightened, the difference between a cell and a tissue; and, that yet again, where the point at hand is identity of the organism as a determinant of its development, trivialities such as genetic anomalies as they exist in viable chimeras or polyploids, or the nature of the distribution of connective tissues, ossified tissues, keratinized tissues… within that organism, make not one wit of difference… unless it is to provide more evidence that he is really not up to following the point.

    Let me know, Narf. Or not. I’ve found this whole thing a significant disappointment at this point, and I was never looking for people to agree, but rather only people who can form ideas cogently to challenge or modify my own.

    CoffeyC

  242. Charles Coffey says

    I was having sex, thank you for asking

    The line is, though I have not hope you will understand it, that in a fetus the development has already begun. When you masturbate, or decide not to have sex, it has not. A bit subtle for you to go into the nature of reality and morality. Moral principles such as consequentialist moral reasoning, which located consequences in the consequences of an act. Or, of assessing the intrinsic quality of any contemplated act itself, or a categorical moral reasoning.

    Penultimately, if you do not understand the difference between a cell and a tissue, I’d suggest that you do a little more reading in Histology and Biology. It does not matter that connective tissues have no DNA in and of them selves, only that the fibroblasts, or histiocytes or macrophages, mast cells, and plasma cells do. It does not matter that hair is non-cellular, but rather that if the follicle that produced it contained human DNA, that it is a human hair.

    Ultimately, I am very sorry. I feel that I’ve been abusing a child, or a child like wit. If you do admire minds, and if enlightenment is more than a pretty word to you, then improve your own mind. If you had asked why I hold the opinions I do, I would have l help you by offering some down and dirty reading lists. If you only intend to spout irrelevant trivialities wild inaccuracies about biology and my moral positions, and then challenge me to produce a difference between a developing fetus and your temporary lack of labido… I can only say this last time, that you don’t appear to be… prepared… to evaluate the answer, let alone frame a rational question.

    I, on the other hand, do know that everything you sarcastically suggest in your posts, are in fact the exact opposite of everything, and I do mean everything, that I’ve said. We have six billion people too many on this planet. I am pro-abortion, Pro-choice, Pro-contraception, and pro the morning after pill… as well as the morning after that. On a personal note, I’m also pro sex, and in your very rare and unique case, pro sterilization in one of the rare instances I would advocate ignoring another humans bodily rights. Every time you claim that a fully extant, functional, and aware human mind is the only criterion ethically worthy of survival, you put your life in danger.

    You not on a roll, Mr. enlightened. You tripped on the stairs.

    CoffeyC

    P.S.

    Good luck to you. I’d suggest Bailey’s textbook of Histology. Larsen’s Human Embryology is cheap and good for the price. For morality and ethics, look up the lectures by Harvard’s Michael Sandel, which are introductory but informative, but the reading list there is by far the most useful. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBdfcR-8hEY Other than that, I’ll respond to any reasonable question, provided I see it, which I hate to say isn’t very likely. Again, good luck.

  243. says

    Coffey said- It does not matter that connective tissues have no DNA in and of them selves, only that the fibroblasts, or histiocytes or macrophages, mast cells, and plasma cells do. It does not matter that hair is non-cellular, but rather that if the follicle that produced it contained human DNA, that it is a human hair.
    .
    BTW, that crap I just took has human DNA in it, too (sloughed from my intestines): should the crap, the hairs falling out of my head (but only those with the follicles attached), along with household dust (mostly made up of sloughed human skin cells, containing trace amounts of human DNA) ALL be given special protected rights, since they ALL contain human DNA?
    .
    We’re going in circles now, since I specifically remember someone here suggested a month ago you might want to raise the bar a tad higher, since containing DNA is a low barrier to entry.
    .
    Not just that, you probably wouldn’t make a good chef, since you clearly don’t understand the difference between a frozen turkey in the freezer that has the potential to be prepared into a meal, but only until AFTER it’s transformed into an edible condition after it’s been thawed, stuffed, basted and cooked @ 400 deg for 4-6 hrs.
    .
    A potential turkey dinner is NOT the same as an actual turkey dinner, just like a potential child with the ability to develop a mind sustaining thinking processes is NOT the same as a child who went thru the developmental process and actually developed cognition (the key difference being the latter having actually completed the developmental process, doing the ‘work’ of growth).
    .
    If you cannot comprehend both of those concepts at the same time, well then, good luck!

  244. Charles Coffey says

    It is a sad fact of life that the mere act of defending a position is often seen as arrogance by those who may know less. It’s a universal criticism by those who take things on faith, with respect to those who seek to possess a discrete, but admittedly very finite knowledge on the subjects that interest them. Even in instances where someone like me, comes in swinging, using exactly the same methods and methodology touted by the hosts of the show, that when the terms for assholeishness should be applied, they should be applied.

    It’s my experience that it is the people with the least knowledge of a subject who are most like to act arrogantly, to make assertions that are based on their own belief, rather than the facts that pertain. Either way, as I have stated ad nauseum in a way that might be of interest to you, the very best way to out a pompous ass for what you believe them to be, is to offer some evidence or any rational argument, that their strictures and beliefs are untrue or based more on self love. Otherwise, to comment as you have is to be indistinguishable from that which you claim.

    A liar is most likely to call you a liar, because he thinks you must be like him. A thief must, assume you as well, and will hesitate only little before casting that aspersion. The person most likely to call someone arrogant for scientific literacy is probably Ted Haggard; but his is only a mild excess beyond that of supposed free thinkers who have not, or who have carelessly examined their own moral positions. Apparently. People who use discourse as a tool for acquiring and more importantly testing knowledge know this, and are more capable of dispassionately evaluating claims and counter claims. Although, no one is perfect, least of all, me, I do not believe that constitutes Solipsism, narcissism, or arrogance, or any other overly inflated sense of self.

    Better that you should accuse me of a growing contempt for lack of reason in the responses to me, or the infantile name calling and absurd situational contrivances that have been used as a poor substitute for that same reason. Or.. Even better still… you could look up the word solipsist, and then try to explain how and why a person so bent would mount a defense of an unrelated, unknown ,and almost certainly brain dead and non-viable fetus – not just in particular, but as a general circumstance, while all the while touting the rights of bodily determination – again as a general principle – as applied universally. If you can do that, you would see only humble admiration from me.

  245. Charles Coffey says

    Mike: No part of what I’ve said here indicates that I’ve not thought about this, and questioned every point ever made to me on the subject. My clear indication that I am staunchly pro choice should have been the tell. likewise I don’t think you can characterize a behavior that has likely lead to much reproductive success in species that nurture their young as idiotic. If that’s your focus, you might reconsider your surmise that a fetus would not be a child with regard to the danger that poses to innocent infants and toddlers. You might also consider that by the only demarcation I have offered, anywhere along the long process of development, a human is a human, regardless of the name we apply to any given stage, the organism is human “Child’ works just as well, where specific stages need not be included for clarity, even if that makes you uncomfortable.

    Your admiration for silly bridge comments notwithstanding, I’ll suggest the same question that I proposed to everyone else. What is the difference physically between a fetus immediately prior delivery, and an infant a few moments later? The infant is, though often only with help, breathing on its own. Other than that, I find most of the distinctions here, distinctions that are being used as a basis for some fairly weighty ethical dilemmas, wholly arbitrary, and unsupported by anything beyond blind assertions.

    If we agree in being pro choice, and that calling someones views religious is purely an insult; if we can agree also that usurpations of a person’s bodily rights are onerous and ethically perilous at best; then why can we not surmount this trivial issue of one rationally objective, biologically base, medically based, ethically based defense of the assertion that the unborn child is not in fact a child, After that, we can address the attempts to maintain this child, in light of what seem to be two conflicting expressions/behaviours by the mother, were one of those unjustifiable intrusions. This, even considering that the patient would have already been on ‘life’ sustaining measures before she was pronounced dead, and that there are laws in this and thirty other states, that prevent a doctor from simply pulling the plug on a fetus.

    As for bridges, I think that would be unproductive, as our disagreements there seem truly fundamental. I would never waste my time and efforts trying to design my own bridge while there are so many talented engineers out there. I would more likely invite you and what’s his name to feel free to find a bridge, jump off it, and then allow me to decide for myself if that structure was safe enough and suitable enough for whatever purpose I might fine expedient.

    So. Ball is in your court, Mike. Do you have some defensible basis for assertions you’d care to offer up?

  246. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    in a fetus the development has already begun

    Moral principles such as consequentialist moral reasoning, which located consequences in the consequences of an act.

    And what are those consequences which I should care about?

    You still have not even attempted to answer why I should give a damn about a hunk of meat which does not have a mind. That is our impasse. I am addressing it. You are not.

  247. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Sorry. Put another way, you still have not even attempted to explain why I should care about a human being in development when it does not have a mind. I agree that by your definitions it is a human being. Presumably you agree that it does not have a mind. These are all material facts which are not under dispute.

    Now, explain to me why I should care at all what happens to a hunk of meat without a mind. Yes yes, it’s a human organism. It’s a hunk of human meat without a mind. I don’t care. I similarly don’t care about a hunk of meat that we call an adult human being on life support which is inarguably brain-dead. Why should I care at all? You have not even made an effort to answer this despite how I have repeatedly asked this.

  248. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    However, If you care about minds, then you should realize that if you terminate a life at any point in the development, you have ended a brain.

    Finally, a demonstrably bullshit material claim. Offhand, I know that for the first several weeks, human embryos are nothing more than a clump of undifferentiated cells. Brains? Pah! It doesn’t even have neurons yet.

    Is this our problem? Are you so ignorant of developmental biology?

  249. Charles Coffey says

    As I’ve stated here before, the neural tube is formed by the second week. Differentiation is pretty quick in them there embryos. So, leaving side that this is the one statement you decided was demonstrable bullshit, even after arguing the same all along, how is it that you’ve again missed the seminal point that the actual structures present at the time do not materially effect the statement I’ve made, that if you end a human life at any state, you have ended a human life, including a human brain? I am fairly confident in my understanding of biology. at least enough see that you don’t seem to recognize that this is the answer to the question that you are demanding an answer to all along… while spouting that you don’t care, and use terms like “hunk of meat’ to describe something you clearly don’t want to understand. You can’t make the connection: killand adult, you eliminate a human mind. Kill them as a teenager, you end that mental identity. Kill it as a child, you’ve eliminated that person hood. Kill it as a fetus, you’ve ended that mind, and I’m fully convinced you can’t see this

    Thats fine.

    Remember, I never expected you to have an advanced understanding of biology, I only asked if you had some justification for this anti-anthropomorphic hamburger principle. You don’t, or at least you don’t have one that you can express, which is an interesting finding in and of itself. Puzzling more than satisfying, and disappointing more than enlightening, Ill admit; but, not unheard of in thought processes of human kind. I guess you’ll just have to go on believing that my megaer understanding of Biology just can’t stand up to your encompassing Meatiness Principle.

    I’m okay with that.

  250. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Kill it as a fetus, you’ve ended that mind, and I’m fully convinced you can’t see this

    Seriously man. You’re simply wrong. You defined a human organism so that it starts at conception, and that destroying the human organism necessarily destroys a human brain. This is bullshit. There are lengths in human development where there is a human organism and there is no brain. No functioning brain -> no mind -> it is hamburger, and deserves no further consideration.

    This is not a trivial corner case. This greatly matters for things like the daily birth control pill and the day-after plan B “abortion” pill.

    This also goes to the heart of your bullshit. I care about minds. You care about human DNA. This is an irreconcilable difference. I am a decent and caring human being with empathy. You would impose some penalties – even if just verbal accusations – on women for terminating a day old embryo, which is a miserable position to hold.

    I’ll go stronger still, but we need to start with basics before we go into the advanced arguments.

  251. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, I’ve looked into this several times, and you’re the one who is being rather dishonest about human development.

    Sure, a “neural tube” forms that soon, but to implicitly refer to that as a brain which can have a mind is grossly dishonest or grossly ignorant. Which are you? I do not yet know.

    http://thebrainbank.scienceblog.com/2012/12/04/what-can-science-add-to-the-abortion-debate/

    Almost 90% of UK abortions are performed within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. During this time there is no scientific doubt that the developing fetus is incapable of any form of conscious awareness. The fetal brain does not begin to develop until 3-4 weeks into the pregnancy, at which point it is little more than a hollow tube filled with dividing neurons. Between weeks 4 and 8 this neural tissue grows forming the major divisions of the adult brain (forebrain, midbrain, hindbrain and spinal cord). By 8 weeks recognisable facial features have developed and the cerebral cortex separates into two distinct hemispheres. By the end of the first trimester (12 weeks) nerve cells are beginning to form rudimentary connections between different areas of the brain. However, these connections are sparse and incapable of performing the same functions as an adult brain. So by 12 weeks, although the fetus is certainly starting to look like a little human, the neural circuits responsible for conscious awareness are yet to develop.

    The first trimester is also the time when around three quarters of spontaneous miscarriages occur. Miscarriages are possible throughout the pregnancy and are much more common than most people realise. One in eight women who are aware of their pregnancy experience a miscarriage, with many more occurring before the woman is even aware she has fallen pregnant.

    As the complexity of the fetal brain grows, forming structures similar to those we recognise in the adult, so the does the fetus’ ability to experience and respond to its environment. Indeed, studies have shown that from 16 weeks the fetus can respond to low frequency sound and by 19 weeks will withdraw a limb or flinch in response to pain. An observer would certainly think these responses look very much like the start of conscious awareness. However, during these early days the neural pathways responsible for converting senses to conscious experiences have yet to develop. This means what we are seeing are just reflexes, probably controlled entirely by the developing brainstem and spinal cord.

    In fact, we know that the brain structures necessary for conscious experience of pain do not develop until 29-30 weeks, while the conscious processing of sounds is only made possible after the 26th week. Even when the fetal brain possesses all its adult structures, scientists are cautious to assume it posesses what we refer to as ‘consciousness’. This is mainly because the low oxygen levels and a constant barrage of sleep-inducing chemicals from the placenta ensure that, until birth, the foetus remains heavily sedated.

    Ultimately, although science cannot and should not try and answer the moral questions behind abortion, it can give us some amazing insights into how the brain develops. It seems that, in the womb, a fetus is unlikely to ever experience traditional consciousness. However, we do know that from the time neural pathways are in place (the last weeks before birth) the fetus can form rudimentary memories. Meaning that after birth it can show a preference for its mother’s voice and other sounds and smells experienced in the womb – yes, newborn babies show a liking for the smell of amniotic fluid.

  252. Andreas says

    I did not think enough about the fetus question to agree or disagree, but I have some concern about the way the hosts are presenting their position. Intended or not, it can come across as if this is an official atheist position, and a question of theist vs non-theist. Not because they are explicitly saying so, but because they are saying it in the context of the show, without indicating this is personal opinion.

  253. Right Side Of Wrong says

    I will pray for you all… at the point of which a mother can no longer sustain the life of a baby growing inside of it of her own volition then at that point it is in the interest of any persons to make sure that the child is given the best chance to continue life.

    I guarantee that if you asked the mother, if something happened to her and she could no longer make decisions if she wanted to continue to use her body as a vessel for her unborn child would she want to continue life support until her child was born… she would say yes…

    the fact that someone could sit there and say that the baby should die because its mother is brain dead is just cruel and inhumane… again… i will pray for these guys…

  254. says

    While you’re busy praying, why don’t you ask God why he doesn’t do a better job of ensuring pregnant women don’t end up in circumstances that leave them brain dead?

  255. adamah says

    Wrong side said-

    I guarantee that if you asked the mother, if something happened to her and she could no longer make decisions if she wanted to continue to use her body as a vessel for her unborn child would she want to continue life support until her child was born… she would say yes…

    Well, I guarantee you that she wouldn’t, so take that!

    (I even put it in BOLD, so my guarantee trumps yours!)

    Being that it’s a useless claim of certainty over what any fool can see is unknowable, how’s about we let NEXT OF KIN decide? (You remember them, the ones actually effected by the decision, either way?)

    Shouldn’t they have the right to decide?

    I will pray for you all…

    Thanks, and knowing that you’re a believer who’s thinking is no doubt clouded by being conscious of your “spiritual needs”, I will appeal to rational thought on your behalf.

    You’re welcome! ;)

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