Can someone help me understand this

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
I disagree on both points. People who self-harm or attempt suicide certainly need help and possibly treatment. I disagree with the notion that they have moral obligations to live a life that has become intolerable in order for wider society to be more comfortable. The case for voluntary euthanasia in terminal degenerative conditions is even more stark. You would compel someone to sacrifice every shred of dignity and endure physical and mental pain. And how does the wider human family benefit from seeing its members treated so?

My grandfather was a Methodist minister and a pacifist. He was a stretcher bearer in the first world war and an airforce chaplain in the second. He never carried a weapon. I respected his views, but he was wrong. His ability to indulge his conscience was enabled by those around him who were prepared to fight. Pacifism is a very selfish and self-indulgent belief that reeks of superiority over the lesser beings with lesser consciences who fight to preserve your personal peace.
I don't understand your position. On the one hand, you think it's acceptable for Class A of people who find life intolerable to commit suicide but on the other you think it's unacceptable for Class B of people who find life intolerable to commit suicide. Why are terminal degenerative conditions the qualifier for why suicide is morally acceptable? If someone's life belongs to them, they should be morally allowed to end it whenever they please. At the very least, a person has an obligation to not set a bad standard for society (i.e. when life or things become too painful to deal with, end life). Additionally, I think it bodes poorly for a society that, instead of living with loving support alongside someone, are willing to allow them to end their lives instead. Viktor Frankl put it right when he said that a person who has a why in life can endure any how; unfortunately, we live in a society (in the West) that has lost all sense of why and concomitantly cannot put up with any hows.

I believe the dignity of a human being is in who they are - it's intrinsic to them - not in how they live. The homeless beggar has as much dignity as a rich business tycoon. We're just too blind to see it sometimes.

I agree with you that pacifism can be selfish and immoral, especially when there is a just obligation to defend others. Sometimes, pacifism can be laudable (e.g. not willing to fight an unjust war) but sometimes not.
 

J regia

Well-known member
The command was a test for Abraham. To command something immoral (especially when you know the outcome - i.e., that action will not take place and why) is not itself necessarily immoral. The moral principles in the Ten Commandments transcend historical contingency and are universal; they would have applied to Abraham, Cain, Lamech, etc. I wouldn't kill my innocent child even if God commanded it but Abraham lived at a time when that kind of thing (human sacrifice) was more common, so his actions need to be judged by that context.

Sarah was Abraham's half-sister and that kind of thing was quite common (even today, it's not unknown). As for adultery, well, polygamy was practiced too so it's not the same thing.

The discussion between God and Abraham over Sodom and Gomorrah is typical of Middle Eastern haggling. As with Isaac, it is a test of Abraham's character and a revelation of God's character (to both the reader and to Abraham).
In other words biblical morality, including the ten commandments, is just man-made and changed and evolved as the social needs changed
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
In other words biblical morality, including the ten commandments, is just man-made and changed and evolved as the social needs changed
???

I don't mind engaging in argument but we have to listen to one another's views, not just repeat the same lines irrespective of them. Why do you keep on saying that X and Y shows that it's just man-made?
 

Temujin

Well-known member
A "fertilised egg" is a human zygote, so yes, they fall under the definition of human beings.
So do you consider those who work with such material and sometimes destroy it to be murderers?

Well, I'm not sure it makes sense to ask: "Should they be regarded as human because they are important?" since humanity is an ontological not value quality. There might be other lifeforms too that are important but not human. I agree that personhood is a significant philosophical distinction for knowing the worth of a living being; however, I wouldn't define personhood necessarily by function as by species. Since humans are the kind of species to be persons, I would say that all humans (even unborn ones) are persons, even if not functionally so. Now, it might very well be the case that species can evolve to become persons over time but I don't think personhood is an emergent quality in any particular individual member of a species.
OK

I don't know about the proposed definition: "a being that is self-aware and capable of moral responsibility" of a person. This would basically mean that no human being is a person until 2-3 or so years of age (at least for self-awareness) and even longer for moral responsibility. You say we are morally obliged to treat such beings as persons: "anyone human, born and alive would be included in this", but why the qualification "born"? It seems quite arbitrary to me. I generally agree with you but I'd just extend it to anyone human and alive.
A newborn is self-aware in the sense of recognising stimuli, but that isn't really my point. The newborn is an independent functioning human being and I am happy to give he or she the label person. So is the late term foetus, developed sufficiently to survive independently of the placenta. To consider a newly fertilised embryo as a person seems to me not just arbitrary but also indefensible, when protecting the embryos rights bring harm to the woman.
Since I'm not American, I really couldn't care less what the US Supreme Court thinks on the issue.
That's a shame. For good or ill, the US dominates Western culture, though the idiocies of Trump have done a lot to lessen that. From what I understand, US law on abortion is a complete mess, with contradictory views distorting real political issues. It is over 50 years since the abortion issue was put to bed in the UK. It is a source of sadness, and indeed wonderment, that the US is incapable of sorting itself out.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
So do you consider those who work with such material and sometimes destroy it to be murderers?

OK

A newborn is self-aware in the sense of recognising stimuli, but that isn't really my point. The newborn is an independent functioning human being and I am happy to give he or she the label person. So is the late term foetus, developed sufficiently to survive independently of the placenta. To consider a newly fertilised embryo as a person seems to me not just arbitrary but also indefensible, when protecting the embryos rights bring harm to the woman.
That's a shame. For good or ill, the US dominates Western culture, though the idiocies of Trump have done a lot to lessen that. From what I understand, US law on abortion is a complete mess, with contradictory views distorting real political issues. It is over 50 years since the abortion issue was put to bed in the UK. It is a source of sadness, and indeed wonderment, that the US is incapable of sorting itself out.
No, I don't consider them to be murderers because they don't understand what they are doing, so their culpability is lessened.

Okay, now you've added another criterion: "independently functioning". Does this go along with your previous criteria of "being self-aware and capable of moral responsibility"? How do you define "independently function"?

Why do you think ascribing personhood to a human zygote is indefensible? I think a very simple syllogism can demonstrate it:
P1) All human beings are persons.
P2) A human zygote is a human being.
C) Therefore, a human zygote is a person.

Now, obviously, we would disagree about P1. So, I suppose I'd want a thorough list of criteria (or something close to it) by which we can determine personhood. I would define personhood as: "An individuated substance having a rational soul", and so ascribe personhood to ontology rather than function.

As for abortion law in the US, I think it's getting a second look at as a new generation begins to understand the humanity of the unborn. As scientific knowledge increases, it should lead us to reassess laws to see if they need changing.
 

Temujin

Well-known member
No, I don't consider them to be murderers because they don't understand what they are doing, so their culpability is lessened.

Okay, now you've added another criterion: "independently functioning". Does this go along with your previous criteria of "being self-aware and capable of moral responsibility"? How do you define "independently function"?

Why do you think ascribing personhood to a human zygote is indefensible? I think a very simple syllogism can demonstrate it:
P1) All human beings are persons.
P2) A human zygote is a human being.
C) Therefore, a human zygote is a person.

Now, obviously, we would disagree about P1. So, I suppose I'd want a thorough list of criteria (or something close to it) by which we can determine personhood. I would define personhood as: "An individuated substance having a rational soul", and so ascribe personhood to ontology rather than function.

As for abortion law in the US, I think it's getting a second look at as a new generation begins to understand the humanity of the unborn. As scientific knowledge increases, it should lead us to reassess laws to see if they need changing.
I think we have reached the nub, and the point we part company. I do not believe that such a thing as the soul exists. Where I see self-awareness as an emergent property of the maturing human, you see the soul as a separate, discrete property settled on a human being at conception. If I believed in a soul, then I too would consider abortion, and indeed many forms of contraception to be wrong. I don't.

I see no reason to treat the early foetus as a person. I cannot say when self-awareness arises, but it is certainly not before the physical biological apparatus of the brain is functional. To me, the capability of living independently of the uterus is a good proxy criterion for judging personhood. It is also practical, which matters. The vast majority of abortions take place well before this point. Those that are late are usually for reasons of health or risk to the mother. There is no justification in terminating a pregnancy in a way that kills the foetus if it is capable of surviving an attempt to deliver it.
 

J regia

Well-known member
Can you
???

I don't mind engaging in argument but we have to listen to one another's views, not just repeat the same lines irrespective of them. Why do you keep on saying that X and Y shows that it's just man-made?
Can you show us where the bible says that the ten commandments etc applied to Abraham and his ancestors as you claim?
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
Can you

Can you show us where the bible says that the ten commandments etc applied to Abraham and his ancestors as you claim?
It doesn't. But that's not how theology works; theology works by taking primary data, analysing and synthesising it to draw out general principles. So, we can look at the Ten Commandments and notice their generality (e.g. there are similar law codes in other cultures at the time), and take into account what Paul says in Romans, and see that these moral principles are ones that are apparent through general revelation and so would apply to all human beings universally.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
I think we have reached the nub, and the point we part company. I do not believe that such a thing as the soul exists. Where I see self-awareness as an emergent property of the maturing human, you see the soul as a separate, discrete property settled on a human being at conception. If I believed in a soul, then I too would consider abortion, and indeed many forms of contraception to be wrong. I don't.

I see no reason to treat the early foetus as a person. I cannot say when self-awareness arises, but it is certainly not before the physical biological apparatus of the brain is functional. To me, the capability of living independently of the uterus is a good proxy criterion for judging personhood. It is also practical, which matters. The vast majority of abortions take place well before this point. Those that are late are usually for reasons of health or risk to the mother. There is no justification in terminating a pregnancy in a way that kills the foetus if it is capable of surviving an attempt to deliver it.
Okay, thanks for the conversation.

I should note by "soul" here, I use the Aristotelian sense as the "form of the body". So a "rational soul" is the principle that informs a body to be of a particular kind with particular capacities, namely, those faculties we'd ascribe to reason. Human beings are a rational kind by their very nature.

To be honest, I don't think that belief in the soul (the Judeo-Christian understanding of soul) plays any part in this discussion on abortion.

I'm concerned by the criterion: "the capability of living independently of the uterus is a good proxy criterion for judging personhood" because it changes depending on your level of technology. Today, babies in the late second trimester can survive in incubators outside the womb. That wasn't the case one hundred years ago. So, therefore, Baby X is a person in 2020 at 6 months but Baby Y is not a person in 1920 at 6 months. That seems problematic logic to me.
 

J regia

Well-known member
It doesn't. But that's not how theology works; theology works by taking primary data, analysing and synthesising it to draw out general principles. So, we can look at the Ten Commandments and notice their generality (e.g. there are similar law codes in other cultures at the time), and take into account what Paul says in Romans, and see that these moral principles are ones that are apparent through general revelation and so would apply to all human beings universally.
So using your logic, the ten commandments also applied to our aborigines who arrived here over 50,000 years before Adam's grandmother was a girl.
 

Temujin

Well-known member
Okay, thanks for the conversation.

I should note by "soul" here, I use the Aristotelian sense as the "form of the body". So a "rational soul" is the principle that informs a body to be of a particular kind with particular capacities, namely, those faculties we'd ascribe to reason. Human beings are a rational kind by their very nature.

To be honest, I don't think that belief in the soul (the Judeo-Christian understanding of soul) plays any part in this discussion on abortion.

I'm concerned by the criterion: "the capability of living independently of the uterus is a good proxy criterion for judging personhood" because it changes depending on your level of technology. Today, babies in the late second trimester can survive in incubators outside the womb. That wasn't the case one hundred years ago. So, therefore, Baby X is a person in 2020 at 6 months but Baby Y is not a person in 1920 at 6 months. That seems problematic logic to me.
Technology has reached its peak unless an artificial womb is invented. In that case I will change my view.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
So using your logic, the ten commandments also applied to our aborigines who arrived here over 50,000 years before Adam's grandmother was a girl.
Yes, it applies to all persons, since persons by their very nature are able to discern moral principles. Of course, it doesn't mean that everyone will be fully cognisant of it all the time.
 

Strider324

Member
How many millions of adults and children were killed in the past century by wicked atheeists. Atheeists have no ethics or moral foundation.

Brutal religion.
Says the guy that slobbers over a god whose 'moral' solution to kids teasing a bald man is to have them slaughtered by bears. Your bible provides all the evidence necessary to prove the superior quality of secular morality - and we thank you for that.
:cool:👏
 

Strider324

Member
When I was young I became a nurse. I have stood by uterine biopsies. The first thing the doctor does is the same thing an abortion doctor does.

After inserting the speculum, they place a needle nose tenaculum on the cervix and pull!

Here is a picture.

With no anesthesia, the sharp points stab (an inevitably bleed) the woman.

Here is what I propose: a woman who wants an abortion should first allow the doctor to place the tenaculum on the testicles with the sharp pointy ends (of the man who impregnated her) and PULLLLLLLLL.

Voila, the abortion rate goes down dramatically.
Or.... as an alternative to your lust to inflict pain - religious groups could stop fighting so hard to limit educating people about how their bodies work and how to prevent pregnancy. Maybe stop acting like the bigoted villagers going after Frankenstein in your zeal to prevent family planning organizations from doing the honest, compassionate work that prevents hundreds of thousands of abortions every year......
Just some thoughts from an actual Sex Educator.
 

organgrinder

Active member
Can you

Can you show us where the bible says that the ten commandments etc applied to Abraham and his ancestors as you claim?
The 10 commandments were approximately 500 years after Abraham. God gave them to Moses on Mt, Sinai. Abraham was long dead and buried. FYI.
 

Nathan P

Member
If someone is pro-life, and would want (demand by law) a woman to carry a child to term no matter the personal case (rape, incest, doesn't want / can't afford) then please answer this for me. Why shouldn't we also make it mandatory to be a bone marrow or kidney donor, in order to keep that same child alive after it's born? If we're asking a woman to literally risk her life to carry a child, why not ask the same thing of some random man that happens to have the life saving donor match of a kidney?
Listen if they could get an artificial womb for men and artificial muscle mass for women, there are plenty of men who would jump at the chance not to be killed and hurt at the current rate they are now and go through the millions if not billions of hours of therapy to get back to work. Overall women have it Veasy compared to men. Otherwise provide your hard statistics on how women have it harder than men.
 

J regia

Well-known member
The 10 commandments were approximately 500 years after Abraham.
That's because the ten commandments etc are obviously just man made, which is why it wasn't morally wrong for Abraham to kill his son as a blood sacrifice even though he chose to kill a ram instead, and why it wasn't morally wrong for Abraham to have a sexual relationship with his sister Sarah and commit adultery with Hagar.
 

Temujin

Well-known member
Listen if they could get an artificial womb for men and artificial muscle mass for women, there are plenty of men who would jump at the chance not to be killed and hurt at the current rate they are now and go through the millions if not billions of hours of therapy to get back to work. Overall women have it Veasy compared to men. Otherwise provide your hard statistics on how women have it harder than men.
As an example of deranged misogyny, this post would be hard to beat.
 

Nathan P

Member
That is because women gripe too much and have it too easy . Then they say they are more oppressed than men when in reality they oppress men more so by demanding more and more and take it easy compared to men. I do not see you providing any hard statistics to say otherwise?
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
That is because women gripe too much and have it too easy . Then they say they are more oppressed than men when in reality they oppress men more so by demanding more and more and take it easy compared to men. I do not see you providing any hard statistics to say otherwise?
So true! See how much women nag and nag men to death!!! ;)

(*sarcasm filter*)
 
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