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  #1  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:55 PM
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Default This is not scary . . .

http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/201...00411.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.
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  #2  
Old 02-27-2012, 09:27 PM
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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.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:19 AM
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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.
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  #4  
Old 02-28-2012, 04:51 AM
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still waiting to hear why we're not all mass murderers each time we ejaculate.

millions of half-people dying each time
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:14 AM
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I haven't even ever heard a definition of "life" that you couldn't poke at least one or two holes in.
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  #6  
Old 02-28-2012, 07:18 AM
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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?
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:39 AM
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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.
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  #8  
Old 02-28-2012, 09:41 AM
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Also, something like "fire" would fit those criteria with little more stretching than is needed for certain organisms.
lol. Fair enough. this needs rep
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  #9  
Old 02-28-2012, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by DaiShan1981 View Post
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.
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Light is held before the maw of the infinite void, and all that he is can be seized.

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  #10  
Old 02-28-2012, 10:27 AM
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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.
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  #11  
Old 02-28-2012, 10:39 AM
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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.
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Who thinks he turns the Wheel of Time,
may learn the truth too late.

Light is held before the maw of the infinite void, and all that he is can be seized.

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  #12  
Old 02-28-2012, 10:55 AM
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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.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:59 AM
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Or sapience. Which is the true issue.

My dogs are sentient. Raccoons are sentient. Humans are sapient.

Sapience is probably what Star Trek should have used as their ultimate definition of intelligent life, not sentience.
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  #14  
Old 02-28-2012, 11:01 AM
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But going that route opens a whole new can of worms in the direction of a true AI.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:03 AM
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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?
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:04 AM
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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.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:13 AM
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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.
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  #18  
Old 02-28-2012, 11:31 AM
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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.
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  #19  
Old 02-28-2012, 12:54 PM
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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.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:56 PM
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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.
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