1 of 2
1
A hypothetical morality question
Posted: 25 September 2007 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  651
Joined  2006-12-08

A pregnant woman decides to have her fetus screened for Down Syndrome.  She’s already decided that if the result is positive, she’ll terminate the pregnancy. 

Q1:  In your opinion, is the woman’s decision (to terminate the pregnancy in the event of a positive test result) moral?

The result is negative and she goes on to give birth.  However, immediately after birth it becomes clear that the baby suffers from Down Syndrome after all.  The test gave a false negative.

Q2:  Legal issues aside, would a decision at this point to “put the baby to sleep” be moral in your opinion?

 Signature 

Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2007 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  414
Joined  2006-02-01
Antisocialdarwinist - 25 September 2007 02:16 PM

A pregnant woman decides to have her fetus screened for Down Syndrome.  She’s already decided that if the result is positive, she’ll terminate the pregnancy. 

Q1:  In your opinion, is the woman’s decision (to terminate the pregnancy in the event of a positive test result) moral?

The result is negative and she goes on to give birth.  However, immediately after birth it becomes clear that the baby suffers from Down Syndrome after all.  The test gave a false negative.

Q2:  Legal issues aside, would a decision at this point to “put the baby to sleep” be moral in your opinion?

A1: Yes.

A2: Yes.

Any more questions?

 Signature 

All Christians should be sent to heaven immediately.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2007 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1568
Joined  2006-03-02

Assuming that by “moral” you mean morally right, then:

A1: No

A2: No

Any more questions?

Down syndrome is not a good reason to kill any person.

 Signature 

What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2007 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1814
Joined  2006-11-10

A1. Yes.
A2. Perhaps.

The ambivalence in A2 comes from my lack of knowledge about the moment when people become aware of their existence.
I.e. you can’t be negatively affected by someone taking away something that you weren’t aware of.

I know this is not at the core of this post but how realistic is it that a fetus is falsely diagnosed with not having Down Syndrome ?

One of my favorite movies is Gattaca ( go rent it if you haven’t yet, it is great ) and I am all for improving the gene pool and the overall quality of human life and I don’t think we ought to be that squeamish about it either.
If it weren’t for that damned Austrian we probably would have given this more thought already.

 Signature 

“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2007 12:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1568
Joined  2006-03-02
Sander - 25 September 2007 04:14 PM

A1. Yes.
A2. Perhaps.

The ambivalence in A2 comes from my lack of knowledge about the moment when people become aware of their existence.
I.e. you can’t be negatively affected by someone taking away something that you weren’t aware of.

You can negatively affect someone by killing them.

 Signature 

What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2007 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  414
Joined  2006-02-01
waltercat - 25 September 2007 04:27 PM

You can negatively affect someone by killing them.

QFT

 Signature 

All Christians should be sent to heaven immediately.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2007 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  55
Joined  2007-08-16
Antisocialdarwinist - 25 September 2007 02:16 PM

Q1:  In your opinion, is the woman’s decision (to terminate the pregnancy in the event of a positive test result) moral?

Q2:  Legal issues aside, would a decision at this point to “put the baby to sleep” be moral in your opinion?

Q1: Yes.
Q2: Of course not.  Once the baby develops a spinal cord and can feel pain, it’s clearly murder.

[ Edited: 25 September 2007 10:29 PM by Johnny Sweatpants]
 Signature 

Signatures are pretentious and ultimately a distraction to the topic.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2007 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  651
Joined  2006-12-08

My answer is yes to both. 

The ambivalence in A2 comes from my lack of knowledge about the moment when people become aware of their existence.
I.e. you can’t be negatively affected by someone taking away something that you weren’t aware of.

All right, but even if they are self aware, they won’t be after they’re dead.  The dead aren’t negatively affected by anything.  So why should that make a difference?

Once the baby develops a spinal cord and can feel pain, it’s clearly murder.

Assume it’s a painless death.  Would that make a difference?

 Signature 

Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2007 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1814
Joined  2006-11-10

The ambivalence in A2 comes from my lack of knowledge about the moment when people become aware of their existence.
I.e. you can’t be negatively affected by someone taking away something that you weren’t aware of.

All right, but even if they are self aware, they won’t be after they’re dead.  The dead aren’t negatively affected by anything.  So why should that make a difference?


You can always push questions about morality to a slippery slope. In your example I am trying to take a moral position based on suffering and therefore on the ability to have experiences/awareness.
It seems a good place to start a conversation about this.

Your comment about the dead I take not to be serious.

 Signature 

“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2007 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3765
Joined  2007-03-11

A1 - No - I see no evidence that the woman engaged in any sort of moral analysis whatsoever, so how could her decision be “moral.” Also no, for the reason waltercat gave. Downs kids (as well as those with other defects) can live meaningful lives, and should be given the same chance to experience life as the rest of us.

A2 - No - See answer to A1.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2007 04:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1568
Joined  2006-03-02
Bruce Burleson - 25 September 2007 08:38 PM

A1 - No - I see no evidence that the woman engaged in any sort of moral analysis whatsoever, so how could her decision be “moral.” Also no, for the reason waltercat gave. Downs kids (as well as those with other defects) can live meaningful lives, and should be given the same chance to experience life as the rest of us.

A2 - No - See answer to A1.

Yes, Bruce, that was my assessment as well.  The description of the scenario was too thin.  If the only reason the woman has for aborting the child is that the child has Down’s syndrome, then that is not a good justification for the abortion.

 Signature 

What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2007 10:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  651
Joined  2006-12-08

I can see the reasoning behind choosing no for both questions.  I don’t agree with it, but it’s consistent. 

The yes/no answers are more interesting.

 Signature 

Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 September 2007 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  651
Joined  2006-12-08
waltercat - 25 September 2007 08:41 PM

Yes, Bruce, that was my assessment as well.  The description of the scenario was too thin.  If the only reason the woman has for aborting the child is that the child has Down’s syndrome, then that is not a good justification for the abortion.

What’s your stand on abortion in general?  Is it ever justified?

 Signature 

Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 September 2007 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  118
Joined  2007-03-13

A pregnant woman decides to have her fetus screened for Down Syndrome.  She’s already decided that if the result is positive, she’ll terminate the pregnancy. 
Q1:  In your opinion, is the woman’s decision (to terminate the pregnancy in the event of a positive test result) moral?
The result is negative and she goes on to give birth.  However, immediately after birth it becomes clear that the baby suffers from Down Syndrome after all.  The test gave a false negative.
Q2:  Legal issues aside, would a decision at this point to “put the baby to sleep” be moral in your opinion?

IF youre asking whether the decision is moral, than no it is not moral. It is based on selfishness, pride, and fear. Moral virtues are generally understood as being courageous, fair, and self-sacrifice. None of these moral virtues are identified in the woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy. Rather her decision is nazi-like, seeking to cleanse the society of “undesirable elements”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 September 2007 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1568
Joined  2006-03-02
Antisocialdarwinist - 26 September 2007 12:09 PM
waltercat - 25 September 2007 08:41 PM

Yes, Bruce, that was my assessment as well.  The description of the scenario was too thin.  If the only reason the woman has for aborting the child is that the child has Down’s syndrome, then that is not a good justification for the abortion.

What’s your stand on abortion in general?  Is it ever justified?

I think that, in some cases, there are good reasons to have an abortion.  But my view is still evolving.

Here are some thoughts:

I think that sentience (by which I mean the capacity to have experiences, e.g., of pain or pleasure) is a morally significant feature; once a being is sentient, then it deserves moral consideration.  So, once a fetus becomes sentient, it becomes much more difficult to justify aborting it.  Before sentience, I think abortions are easier to justify.  The problem, however, is that it is not clear when a fetus becomes sentient.

 Signature 

What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 September 2007 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  805
Joined  2007-08-28

I’m all for abortion. Who wants to be raised by parents who don’t want children? Enough children in the world are already.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed