PDA

View Full Version : This is not scary . . .


Res_Ipsa
02-27-2012, 07:55 PM
http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/02/22/medethics-2011-100411.abstract

Anyone with a .edu acct should be able to gain access through their local school jstor.

From the Journal of Medical Ethics . . .

"Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her."

And this is why I do not favor some arbitrary date as to when life begins because idiots like these can make the argument that a child does not have the quality of life until x age. I think Crispian did an admirable job summing up my position in the other thread but now we have a peer reviewed model for this insanity.

The Unreasoner
02-27-2012, 08:27 PM
you probably could have posted this in the other thread on its own. This is basically what Peter Singer says too (a bigshot ethics guy at Princeton. But he also thinks beastiality is cool...so, yeah. A grain of salt.)

Frankly, I think the whole 'It's not a person, it's smaller than a peanut!' line a lot of pro-choicers parrot is nonsense, but in the end, I always feel bad pressing the point. I mean, it's a rationalization, to make those involved feel better. And that means that at best I can convince people (who may or may not deserve to feel such guilt and pain) that they may think they are decent people, but they are murderers.

In the end...the children are already dead. If the would-be parents feel better telling themselves the fetus =/= child line, maybe we should just let them go on calling us pro-lifers 'religious wackjobs'. And the abortion clinic bombers are making that pretty easy as it is.

DaiShan1981
02-28-2012, 02:19 AM
I actually kind of like his definition, though I have to think on it a bit more. It's still flawed in the case of a new-born however, which breathes and grasps and drinks.

Not starting the whole abortion debate again.

DahLliA
02-28-2012, 03:51 AM
still waiting to hear why we're not all mass murderers each time we ejaculate.

millions of half-people dying each time :p

DaiShan1981
02-28-2012, 06:14 AM
I haven't even ever heard a definition of "life" that you couldn't poke at least one or two holes in.

Zombie Sammael
02-28-2012, 06:18 AM
I haven't even ever heard a definition of "life" that you couldn't poke at least one or two holes in.

Not even MRS NERG?

DaiShan1981
02-28-2012, 08:39 AM
That's a description, not a definition.
Also, some of the terms are rather vague. There are plenty of organisms that don't move, though they might grow in a certain direction or another. Also, something like "fire" would fit those criteria with little more stretching than is needed for certain organisms.

The Unreasoner
02-28-2012, 08:41 AM
Also, something like "fire" would fit those criteria with little more stretching than is needed for certain organisms.
lol. Fair enough. this needs rep

Zombie Sammael
02-28-2012, 08:46 AM
That's a description, not a definition.
Also, some of the terms are rather vague. There are plenty of organisms that don't move, though they might grow in a certain direction or another. Also, something like "fire" would fit those criteria with little more stretching than is needed for certain organisms.

I recall having this exact discussion with Bryan Blaire over AIM back when I was still Gnat, actually. He pointed out that "reproduction" and "growth" in this context both refer to types of cellular division, and that studies have been conducted with various plant species whereby they were chemically inhibited from growing but we in fact still able to move towards a source of light (which, btw, IS AMAZING), so fire wouldn't fit the definition.

You also say that this is a description rather than a definition, but I'm not sure if that isn't a semantic argument. Describing "life" seems rather like trying to describe the colour red, which can actually only be done by reference to the properties of the colour red. In many cases, to describe something is to define it, and I'd suggest that life is something that falls into that category.

DaiShan1981
02-28-2012, 09:27 AM
The problem with that is of course that even if you can find that CERTAIN plants can move towards light without growing, that doesn't mean they all can, and thus as a "definition" it's flawed. All you need is one counter-example. It doesn't even have to be a plant.

It's still pretty good though, and probably the best you can get. I didn't really mean to start the whole argument again, just to say that sometimes, the line is more arbitrary than it seems at first glance.

Zombie Sammael
02-28-2012, 09:39 AM
The problem with that is of course that even if you can find that CERTAIN plants can move towards light without growing, that doesn't mean they all can, and thus as a "definition" it's flawed. All you need is one counter-example. It doesn't even have to be a plant.

It's still pretty good though, and probably the best you can get. I didn't really mean to start the whole argument again, just to say that sometimes, the line is more arbitrary than it seems at first glance.

Especially when you consider that certain biological processes only take place after death. You've given me something to think about. Perhaps we ought to be more concerned about sentience than life.

GonzoTheGreat
02-28-2012, 09:55 AM
The biggest problem with defining life in my view is that you're trying to extrapolate from one single data point (which we don't even really understand well; see previous posts) right out to infinity.

It would probably help a lot if we had some more examples of life than the single one we're all familiar with.

Gilshalos Sedai
02-28-2012, 09:59 AM
Or sapience (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sapience). Which is the true issue.

My dogs are sentient (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentience). Raccoons are sentient. Humans are sapient.

Sapience is probably what Star Trek should have used as their ultimate definition of intelligent life, not sentience.

DaiShan1981
02-28-2012, 10:01 AM
But going that route opens a whole new can of worms in the direction of a true AI.

Gilshalos Sedai
02-28-2012, 10:03 AM
So?

A true AI can be taught morals just as anyone else can. the issue is would its creators bother Or would they have morals themselves?

GonzoTheGreat
02-28-2012, 10:04 AM
Right wing politicians would probably fail on a sapience test, so it is sort of understandable that they don't want to use that criterium.

Gilshalos Sedai
02-28-2012, 10:13 AM
Right wing politicians would probably fail on a sapience test, so it is sort of understandable that they don't want to use that criterium.

:rolleyes:

DaiShan1981
02-28-2012, 10:31 AM
So?
I just meant that you'll get a lot of arguments from people saying a computer brain can't be considered really alive and whatnot. Doesn't bother me much, personally.

Sinistrum
02-28-2012, 11:54 AM
Funny, just watched an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation regarding this issue. For a good discussion of it, I'd recommend watching the episodes The Measure of a Man and The Quality of Life.

Gilshalos Sedai
02-28-2012, 11:56 AM
Funny, just watched an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation regarding this issue. For a good discussion of it, I'd recommend watching the episodes The Measure of a Man and The Quality of Life.

I would, except I think that word does not mean what they think it means.

Davian93
02-28-2012, 12:26 PM
Funny, just watched an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation regarding this issue. For a good discussion of it, I'd recommend watching the episodes The Measure of a Man and The Quality of Life.

The funny thing is that I almost posted a picture of Data in this thread early this morning...but then I got distracted and never got around to it.

Figbiscuit
02-29-2012, 06:45 AM
If laws were going to be made to insist upon women birthing children they may not actually want at the current time, then laws should also be modified to make it easier for others to adopt said children. I know that currently, in this country at least, it is extremely difficult to adopt any child, let alone one of a different ethnicity to yourself if that be the case.

Also, for anyone wanting an interesting take on AI minds and whether they are or could be classed as 'life', check out Iain M Banks' Culture novels. I know I keep wanging on about him in various threads, but he really is very good. I like his ideas, and I like to believe inside my own mind that the Culture does actually exist...

Gilshalos Sedai
02-29-2012, 09:54 AM
If laws were going to be made to insist upon women birthing children they may not actually want at the current time, then laws should also be modified to make it easier for others to adopt said children. I know that currently, in this country at least, it is extremely difficult to adopt any child, let alone one of a different ethnicity to yourself if that be the case.


This, a thousand times this. In this country, the foster care systems get federal funding for however many children they have in the system.

Yes, it is what it sounds like.

DahLliA
02-29-2012, 10:51 AM
This, a thousand times this. In this country, the foster care systems get federal funding for however many children they have in the system.

Yes, it is what it sounds like.

so you're saying the more babies are born and given away the more money the adoption "industry" makes?

starting to understand why some people would be against abortion if that is the case :p

Gilshalos Sedai
02-29-2012, 11:01 AM
so you're saying the more babies are born and given away the more money the adoption "industry" makes?

starting to understand why some people would be against abortion if that is the case :p

No. The more that remain in the state's foster care system and not adopted out, the more money said state makes in federal funding.

And don't get me started on the Catholic Church's "Gabriel Project."

DahLliA
02-29-2012, 02:38 PM
No. The more that remain in the state's foster care system and not adopted out, the more money said state makes in federal funding.

And don't get me started on the Catholic Church's "Gabriel Project."

so what I said except they don't even try to get the babies adopted? again. can see why they'd be against abortion :p

and googled the Gabriel Project:

In speaking with the Houston area - who has signed 56 signed parishes - there are approximately 2-to-6 per parish

efficiency right there :p

Gilshalos Sedai
02-29-2012, 03:28 PM
Yep. And the cost of adoption differs per ethnicity, according to a couple we know that was looking into it.

Figbiscuit
02-29-2012, 03:42 PM
This, a thousand times this. In this country, the foster care systems get federal funding for however many children they have in the system.

Yes, it is what it sounds like.

That is frighteningly corrupt.

I know of a number of cases (admittedly reported through the media), of couples who've tried to adopt within this country and been refused for a myriad of ridiculous reasons, and have ended up adopting abroad. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with adoption of any child, from anywhere, but it still smacks to me of a failing system.

Davian93
02-29-2012, 03:48 PM
Yep. And the cost of adoption differs per ethnicity, according to a couple we know that was looking into it.

Well, we can give you one white kid for $35K but we're currently running a special through Memorial Day on Latinos...buy one, get one free. Its your choice.

Gilshalos Sedai
02-29-2012, 04:08 PM
Well, we can give you one white kid for $35K but we're currently running a special through Memorial Day on Latinos...buy one, get one free. Its your choice.

That's about what it sounded like. Hehe

Sinistrum
02-29-2012, 05:45 PM
The other side of that is that there are an awful lot of parents in this country who simply should not have their kids any more. I realize we have a glut in our foster system, but quite frankly, based upon what I've observed, we don't terminate parental rights enough.

Davian93
02-29-2012, 05:59 PM
I personally do not understand why adoption costs so bloody much. Its absolutely ridiculous.

Res_Ipsa
02-29-2012, 06:35 PM
I personally do not understand why adoption costs so bloody much. Its absolutely ridiculous.

Good friends of mine are dealing with this. When you are talking 30,000+ it is extremely prohibitive to couples who would love to adopt but do not have the means. I would be that someone is making a good deal of money.

eht slat meit
02-29-2012, 07:00 PM
Good friends of mine are dealing with this. When you are talking 30,000+ it is extremely prohibitive to couples who would love to adopt but do not have the means. I would be that someone is making a good deal of money.

It's situation dependent. I'm not an expert and only have what I come across on a basic search, but it seems to run along these lines:

http://costs.adoption.com/articles/the-costs-of-adopting-a-factsheet-for-families,3.html

To put it in somewhat cold and mercenary terms, the quality of the adoption proceedings and what the parent can expect to get out of it seems to be closely linked to the amount of money they're paying in... which can range as low as $0 to as high as $40K, with the understanding that those larger costs are related to the use of private lawyers and the like.

Lupusdeusest
02-29-2012, 07:51 PM
I just can't wait until the more conservative adoption branches get over it and allow same-sex couples to adopt. Come on, guys...

GonzoTheGreat
03-01-2012, 03:52 AM
I personally do not understand why adoption costs so bloody much. Its absolutely ridiculous.
It's business. What other reason could there be for making money?

And now that Lincoln has made selling adults illegal, some alternative has to be there to allow the free market to do what it does best, hasn't* there?

* Bloody English. I really had to think to figure out which verb to negate there.

Zombie Sammael
03-01-2012, 05:31 AM
Personally, I am of the opinion that there should be a presumption (in the lack of strong evidence to the contrary) that a child is better placed with a family than inside "the system". It's better to have parents than not to have parents.

GonzoTheGreat
03-01-2012, 05:47 AM
Yeah, but a "three strikes and you're out" rule might be useful too: if some would be foster parents have butchered and eaten three previous children, then they won't get a fourth.

Zombie Sammael
03-01-2012, 06:30 AM
Yeah, but a "three strikes and you're out" rule might be useful too: if some would be foster parents have butchered and eaten three previous children, then they won't get a fourth.

That's covered by the bit in brackets, I think.

Tomp
03-01-2012, 06:40 AM
Yeah, but a "three strikes and you're out" rule might be useful too: if some would be foster parents have butchered and eaten three previous children, then they won't get a fourth.

Do you always base your rules and regulations on baseball?

GonzoTheGreat
03-01-2012, 07:07 AM
Do you always base your rules and regulations on baseball?
Nah, the 3 seconds rule from basketball can come in handy too, now and then. And in complicated cases the castling rules from chess may help.

Sinistrum
03-01-2012, 06:53 PM
It's better to have parents than not to have parents.

You haven't seen some of the parents I have.

Zombie Sammael
03-02-2012, 10:01 AM
You haven't seen some of the parents I have.

I think the parents you've seen are covered by the bit in brackets. :p

GonzoTheGreat
03-02-2012, 10:10 AM
I think the parents you've seen are covered by the bit in brackets. :p
Are you sure that bit is large enough?

Zombie Sammael
03-02-2012, 10:11 AM
Are you sure that bit is large enough?

If you make it too large, you end up with the problems discussed above re: the British and American adoption systems.

eht slat meit
03-02-2012, 11:52 AM
You haven't seen some of the parents I have.

From what I understand, that exception can be applied to both sides of the rule.

Gilshalos Sedai
03-02-2012, 12:09 PM
I think the false ideal of the "nuclear family" needs to die it's timely death.

Zombie Sammael
03-02-2012, 12:34 PM
I think the false ideal of the "nuclear family" needs to die it's timely death.

That doesn't change the fact that a child is better raised by a family (nuclear or otherwise) than by a committee.

eht slat meit
03-02-2012, 12:54 PM
That doesn't change the fact that a child is better raised by a family (nuclear or otherwise) than by a committee.

A-fricking-men, to that. As an adoptee, one who was placed as an infant, I thank my stars every day that I ended up with a family rather than the system, even if our family never lived up to the traditional roles.

Davian93
03-02-2012, 02:42 PM
That doesn't change the fact that a child is better raised by a family (nuclear or otherwise) than by a committee.

http://www.wearysloth.com/Gallery/ActorsF/5733-5678.jpg
Is not a committee...

Tomp
03-02-2012, 02:46 PM
http://www.wearysloth.com/Gallery/ActorsF/5733-5678.jpg
Is not a committee...

Great choice to pick a person raised in a foster home.

Zombie Sammael
03-02-2012, 03:48 PM
I'm not suggesting a foster home can't be a kind of family, though I do think it's better for kids to be raised within smaller familial units. Also please note that no-one has given me the right to decide what's best for any given child. I just think that long-term stability and small family units are healthier than sticking kids in an orphanage and making it impossible for them to be taken care of permanently by a family because of irrelevant factors. In the UK, it's difficult to adopt if you happen to be overweight, for one thing, and that's completely wrong. Sexuality is another factor that I don't think has any bearing on suitability as a parent. But these are just idle thoughts.

I don't really see the significance of the Leia picture.

Gilshalos Sedai
03-02-2012, 04:05 PM
I'm not suggesting a foster home can't be a kind of family, though I do think it's better for kids to be raised within smaller familial units. Also please note that no-one has given me the right to decide what's best for any given child. I just think that long-term stability and small family units are healthier than sticking kids in an orphanage and making it impossible for them to be taken care of permanently by a family because of irrelevant factors. In the UK, it's difficult to adopt if you happen to be overweight, for one thing, and that's completely wrong. Sexuality is another factor that I don't think has any bearing on suitability as a parent. But these are just idle thoughts.

I don't really see the significance of the Leia picture.

Leia was adopted by Senator Bael Organa and raised as his daughter.

Zombie Sammael
03-02-2012, 05:27 PM
Leia was adopted by Senator Bael Organa and raised as his daughter.

Am I not advocating for adoption? It seemed like Dav was trying to make some sort of point against me, but then, I may be as mad and paranoid as another adopted child...

Davian93
03-02-2012, 05:33 PM
No, Dav tried to make a joke because there was a great confluence between committees and adoption with Leia.

Sinistrum
03-02-2012, 06:50 PM
Leia was adopted by Senator Bael Organa and raised as his daughter.

And hey, here real dad kind of sucked, which feeds into my point.

Zombie Sammael
03-03-2012, 04:31 AM
No, Dav tried to make a joke because there was a great confluence between committees and adoption with Leia.

Sorry!

Zombie Sammael
03-03-2012, 04:32 AM
And hey, her real dad kind of sucked, which feeds into my point.

He's covered by the bit in brackets.

GonzoTheGreat
03-03-2012, 06:29 AM
He's covered by the bit in brackets.
Your sad devotion to those ancient brackets has not helped you turn up the missing alimony payments.

Zombie Sammael
03-03-2012, 08:33 AM
Your sad devotion to those ancient brackets has not helped you turn up the missing alimony payments.

As I understand it, if someone's paying alimony, they're not actively raising the kid. Therefore, they're not really part of the family (nuclear or otherwise). Especially if they should be paying alimony but aren't. Therefore, you're right, the bit in brackets is useless. I would find it very strange if someone was failing to pay alimony but also spending time with the children, but I'm sure it does happen.

Sinistrum
03-03-2012, 11:10 AM
As I understand it, if someone's paying alimony, they're not actively raising the kid. Therefore, they're not really part of the family (nuclear or otherwise). Especially if they should be paying alimony but aren't. Therefore, you're right, the bit in brackets is useless. I would find it very strange if someone was failing to pay alimony but also spending time with the children, but I'm sure it does happen.

Then you understand incorrectly. Alimony is spousal support payments, not child support. And ever someone who pays child support usually takes an active role in raising their children. They may just have their access or their decision making power limitied via court order.

Here's my main problem with my bit in brackets and why I suspect it keeps being ignored. You provide absolutely no definition for what qualifies as "strong evidence" of a parent being unfit to raise a kid. Therefore the rest of us are left to guess, making it a fairly useless statement to go by.

eht slat meit
03-03-2012, 11:15 AM
Your sad devotion to those ancient brackets has not helped you turn up the missing alimony payments.

I'm sure Padme appreciates the sentiment, but you can't pay alimony to the dead.

Zombie Sammael
03-03-2012, 12:11 PM
Then you understand incorrectly. Alimony is spousal support payments, not child support. And ever someone who pays child support usually takes an active role in raising their children. They may just have their access or their decision making power limitied via court order.

Here's my main problem with my bit in brackets and why I suspect it keeps being ignored. You provide absolutely no definition for what qualifies as "strong evidence" of a parent being unfit to raise a kid. Therefore the rest of us are left to guess, making it a fairly useless statement to go by.

I'm not trying to write a law here. Interpret "strong evidence" how you will. I'd say abuse and neglect are the strongest reasons why someone should not be raising a child, but a black child is obviously not best placed with a white supremacist family, for example. Then again, most of the other reasons for objecting could also lead to abuse or neglect, so it's swings and roundabouts.

At the moment in the UK there appears to be a presumption against adoption. If you're the wrong race, sexuality, overweight, or have various health conditions, among other things, you're considered unsuitable as an adoptive parent. I'm suggesting that that presumption should be overturned and replaced with one that is in favour of adoption. Obviously protecting children is important, but that can be done by placing them within homes and monitoring them from time to time, rather than institutionalising them.

confused at birth
03-03-2012, 12:54 PM
Obviously protecting children is important, but that can be done by placing them within homes and monitoring them from time to time, rather than institutionalising them.

They arent protected in the children's homes anyway so what would the difference be?

and I say that as someone whos mother worked for the city childrens home for years and knew which students at school were in the system. And that the head of the department tried to run to america and got sent back after the THIRD formal investigation into his actions with the younger children.

There had apparently been dozens of complaints from the kids that he was abusing them but the councils view on these according to my mother is of course they accuse the staff of abusing them as it is their only way of getting pay back for being punished and not worth looking into.:mad:


Better to take your chances with maybe bad parents than stay in a system that will surround them with drug users and ignore reports of sexual abuse.

Ozymandias
03-03-2012, 01:28 PM
To get back to the original point of the thread... I am not sure I disagree with the assumptions in that article.

I think at this point, we can all agree that it is impossible to point to some arbitrary point in human fetal development and declare that life beings then. Personally I believe the obvious and logical point is that moment at which the child is no longer physically connected to (read: dependant on) its mother, though I understand all the ways in which holes can be poked in that.

My point being whichever side you come down on, its a slippery slope; on one side you run the risk of coming down into the "well even newborns don't have any inherent advantage or survival instinct over a 7 month fetus", and the other is "well even sperm have the potential for life." At our stage of collective human morality, I think the best course is probably to protect the rights of the mother whenever possible, understanding that the vast, vast, vast majority of mothers will protect their children once born, or will at least have some figure in their lives that will take care of the child.

But tying it back in... why should we consider a newborn to be any more of a person than a fetus? All of the things that make us human, with the essentially unimportant factors of our DNA and the generic operational capabilities of basic bodily functions, newborns do not possess. Advanced intelligence, self-mobility, adcanved communicative ability, a basic internal system of morality... all the things that separate us from a chimp, newborns do not possess. Being a human is a genetic legacy from your parents; being a person is a right and a responsibility one grows into over time.