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Pro-life Atheists
Posted: 07 October 2012 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 586 ]  
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I recently ask my friend Patrick, a pro-life activist who is also an atheist to write a commentary about why he is pro-life. I think sometimes Christians might not understand that many non-religious people hold the pro-life position and hold it passionately.

I thought this would be a great way for people who hold these views as part of their faith to understand why someone without a faith would hold the same views.

I have included a link to Patrick’s blog and I expect everyone who decides to comment or talk to him to do so with the upmost love and respect. The courage it takes for Patrick to be an active pro-lifer is way more than most Christians can understand.

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[ Edited: 09 October 2012 08:16 AM by Richa Rickty]
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Posted: 08 October 2012 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 587 ]  
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Nulono - 08 October 2008 03:52 PM

I just wanted you all to know that we exist. It was terribly offended by being accused of being religious.

http://www.godlessprolifers.org/
http://www.l4l.org/

The whole debate of pro-life vs pro-choice is wrong. The pro-lifers say that its immoral to do an abortion, because its murder (of a human). The pro-choicers say that its moral to do an abortion, because the mother has the right to murder her fetus. They are both wrong.


The whole framing of the question is wrong. Their question is: Is it moral to murder a human during pregnancy? Pro-lifers say no while pro-choicers say yes. But that question presupposes that fetuses are humans. And that fetuses have the preference to live (and that they have preferences in general). But this is false. Fetuses do not yet have preferences and so they do not yet have the preference to live.


So its important to first define what a human is. A human is a being that has (human-type) preferences. Human-type preferences are preferences that humans create for themselves. (Note that non-human animals have only genetically-determined preferences, so these are not human-type preferences.) So for example, a human has the preference to not have his life ended. And of course, murder is immoral because it goes against the will of the victim.


Another quality of being human is the ability to create knowledge. Humans create knowledge by creativity and criticism. We guess ideas, and we criticize them. Then we criticize those criticisms. The ideas left uncriticized are our conjectural truths (aka beliefs). Note that our preferences are a type of ideas that we create.


So the question is: When does a fetus acquire the qualities of humans? I’m not sure when that is exactly but I do know that its after a full-term pregnancy. So just to be safe, lets say that at the end of a full-term pregnancy, a fetus becomes a human. In which case killing the fetus would be murder. And doing an abortion before that time is not murder.

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Posted: 10 October 2012 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 588 ]  
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I’d like to chime in here and say that I actually respect Nulono’s position to the point where others’ rights are being protected.

I would consider myself philosophically pro-life/anti-abortion in that I do not think that the widespread acceptance, practice and what I’ve seen as encouragement for women to get abortions because a pregnancy is inconvenient is not generally “good” for society.

HOWEVER,

I do NOT support any kind of legislation or law or amendment or anything else that would infringe on a woman’s right to have that abortion for any reason she chooses.

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Posted: 10 October 2012 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 589 ]  
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ibanezerscrooge - 10 October 2012 07:40 AM

I’d like to chime in here and say that I actually respect Nulono’s position to the point where others’ rights are being protected.

I would consider myself philosophically pro-life/anti-abortion in that I do not think that the widespread acceptance, practice and what I’ve seen as encouragement for women to get abortions because a pregnancy is inconvenient is not generally “good” for society.

HOWEVER,

I do NOT support any kind of legislation or law or amendment or anything else that would infringe on a woman’s right to have that abortion for any reason she chooses.

Your argument implies that murder is moral. See my post right before yours.


Either you think a fetus *is* a human, or not.


If human, then abortion is murder, and thus is immoral. Women should *never* do them.


If not human, then abortion is not murder, and thus is moral. Women should do them whenever they want.

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Posted: 11 October 2012 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 590 ]  
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Funny how so many people seem to be adopting the Catholic view of rights - they start at conception and end at birth.

I could take more pro-lifers more seriously if they could help out the vulnerable among us AFTER they were born.  Given the poor human rights stance of Americans (one of only 6 countries on the planet to execute an adolescent within the last 20 years, and also executes the mentally handicapped), and the wishy-washy stance my own country takes on individual freedoms, I gotta wonder what the fuss is about. 

Being more concerned with the rights of the unborn vs the born is a sign of a mental illness, IMO. 

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Posted: 12 October 2012 04:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 591 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 10 October 2012 08:30 AM
ibanezerscrooge - 10 October 2012 07:40 AM

I’d like to chime in here and say that I actually respect Nulono’s position to the point where others’ rights are being protected.

I would consider myself philosophically pro-life/anti-abortion in that I do not think that the widespread acceptance, practice and what I’ve seen as encouragement for women to get abortions because a pregnancy is inconvenient is not generally “good” for society.

HOWEVER,

I do NOT support any kind of legislation or law or amendment or anything else that would infringe on a woman’s right to have that abortion for any reason she chooses.

Your argument implies that murder is moral. See my post right before yours.


Either you think a fetus *is* a human, or not.


If human, then abortion is murder, and thus is immoral. Women should *never* do them.


If not human, then abortion is not murder, and thus is moral. Women should do them whenever they want.

Well, considering that I was not making a argument but, simply stating an opinion, no such moral implication is being made.

I do however have an issue with your supposition that “Either you think a fetus *is* a human, or not.” Is a cat fetus a cat? Or a dog fetus a dog? That’s a strange question to me. On the one hand it could be argued that since the bundle of cells, if left to natural processes and conditions, will potentially grow into a human so, it could therefore be called a human. However, to a point a human fetus is no different than a cat or dog fetus and all but an experienced embryologist could not tell the difference between the 2 for the first several weeks of development. So, is it a human? The question doesn’t make sense to ask at that stage.

At any rate my opinion still is that the widespread practice of abortion is not healthy long term for society, but I will not oppose a woman’s right to choose.

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Posted: 12 October 2012 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 592 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 10 October 2012 08:30 AM
ibanezerscrooge - 10 October 2012 07:40 AM

I do not think that the widespread acceptance, practice and what I’ve seen as encouragement for women to get abortions because a pregnancy is inconvenient is not generally “good” for society.

HOWEVER,

I do NOT support any kind of legislation or law or amendment or anything else that would infringe on a woman’s right to have that abortion for any reason she chooses.

Your argument implies that murder is moral. See my post right before yours.


Either you think a fetus *is* a human, or not.


If human, then abortion is murder, and thus is immoral. Women should *never* do them.


If not human, then abortion is not murder, and thus is moral. Women should do them whenever they want.

> Well, considering that I was not making a argument but, simply stating an opinion, no such moral implication is being made.


I don’t see a difference. Arguments are also opinions and opinions are also arguments.


> I do however have an issue with your supposition that “Either you think a fetus *is* a human, or not.” Is a cat fetus a cat? Or a dog fetus a dog?


No. No. Consider this. Is a cell a cat if it has cat DNA? I guess you’ll say no. So at what stage does that entity become a cat? (I give an answer below for humans.)


> That’s a strange question to me. On the one hand it could be argued that since the bundle of cells, if left to natural processes and conditions, will potentially grow into a human so, it could therefore be called a human.


I think, that by that logic, you could say that same thing about sex. Since sex could potentially lead to conception and thus a human, then its bad to use contraception.


> However, to a point a human fetus is no different than a cat or dog fetus and all but an experienced embryologist could not tell the difference between the 2 for the first several weeks of development. So, is it a human? The question doesn’t make sense to ask at that stage.


I think the stage doesn’t matter. I think that what matters is what constitutes a human. Like a definition. And then we can use that definition in any stage and for any being. So for example, if dogs meet that definition, then its immoral to murder dogs. So, what makes humans humans? Humans are beings that create universal knowledge, meaning that we can create any type of knowledge. One of those types of knowledge is our preferences. So humans create their own preferences. Note that cows, for example, don’t create universal knowledge (like their own preferences), as their programming is coded by their DNA. Fetus also don’t (yet) create universal knowledge. They don’t (yet) create their own preferences.

Preferences matter in morality. When people interact with each other, its immoral to act against each other’s preferences. Doing something to someone against their will is immoral (unless its in self-defense). It violates their moral right to freedom. Note that I’m talking about human-like preferences, i.e. changeable preferences, i.e. preferences that we change using our universal knowledge creating ability.


One preference many people have is “I want to live.” Note that people can change that preference to, “I don’t want to live anymore (because my life sucks).” Fetuses and cows don’t have the mental faculty to create their own preferences. They only have preprogrammed ways of behaving in certain situations that have evolved (in their DNA). Its their DNA that determines their preferences.


> At any rate my opinion still is that the widespread practice of abortion is not healthy long term for society, but I will not oppose a woman’s right to choose.


What do you think would happen to society if women all over the world had abortions whenever they wanted to?

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Posted: 12 October 2012 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 593 ]  
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?

[ Edited: 12 October 2012 06:34 AM by Ice Monkey]
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~ M. Teresa, Fruitcake of Calcutta

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Posted: 12 October 2012 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 594 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 12 October 2012 06:25 AM

What do you think would happen to society if women all over the world had abortions whenever they wanted to?

You mean if we actually left it up to the women to choose?  All around the world?  All by their little own selves??

Uh, education and employment levels would rise and poverty levels would drop?

That’s what usually happens when women are given control of THEIR reproductive cycles.

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Posted: 27 November 2012 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 595 ]  
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Hello Nulono.
...
It seems to me that the source of the irreconcilable disagreement between yourself and pretty much everyone else in this thread is your insistence that there is no meaningful difference between a blastocyst and a baby (or adult female) in terms of moral consideration about rights.
...
This is why pro-choice arguments about the sovereignty of a woman’s body are a complete waste of time when arguing with pro-lifers.  From a pro-lifer’s position, a woman has a right to do what she wants with her body, but that obviously doesn’t give her the right to kill another “person.”
...
So, although I am pro-choice, I agree with you that it’s disingenuous for pro-choicers to pretend like there is absolutely no moral ambiguity to later stage abortions.  I’m somewhat sympathetic to you in that respect.  But at the blastocyst stage, there is simply no logical argument for being morally opposed to abortion.
...
I guess my question for you is; why do you think a blastocyst (or a recently fertilized egg for that matter), a structure with less consciousness than a fly, a cluster of 70 to 100 cells without even the beginnings of a central nervous system (let alone a brain), is worth the same moral consideration as a baby or adult female?
...
If, after sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, an egg is fertilized by a sperm, is there suddenly a third “person” in the room?
...
What is your definition of “person” or “personhood?”  In what way does a fertilized egg or blastocyst possess the quality of personhood equal to that of a born human being?

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Posted: 02 May 2013 08:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 596 ]  
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    First of all if you are man like myself I sometimes wonder why we are even commenting on a woman’s reproductive system in the first place.  Unless you have a womb or you are a gynecologist or a woman’s health specialist, you really should not have any say in these matters. But that is a perfect world. So back into reality where men especially religious zealots try to control women’s bodies a throwback from the old days of treating woman like chattel. On second thought,  some religions still do.  I wonder if we could compromise on the issue of abortion.  Maybe we could take Sam Harris view that to kill a zygote at the moment of conception is no more evil than picking your nose. Take Sam’s view and match it to the religious soul believing zealot that the soul begins at the moment of conception.  Well how can we compromise on these two very far apart idea’s?. Simple.  When you take the notion of compassion or the notion of ending or not causing suffering.  In other words at what point does god put the soul in the womb.  I know that the bible teaches us something about Jacob knowing god when he was still in the womb.  However to know something one has to have at least a nervous system, you know a brain. So let’s do this, lets compromise , let’s have abortions all the way up until it can be scientifically proven that the embryo starts to show signs of suffering.  I really do think zygotes are not capable of suffering.  However I have seen, videos of embryos pulling away from some outside stimuli’s, therefore they have enough of a central nervous system and or brain to suffer. If they suffer than they must not be killed. And if they have some form of central nervous system maybe this is when your god places the soul in, and not at conception.  I do not believe in a soul personally . However I am willing to compromise on this issue. 

Just a thought,
Charwiz

[ Edited: 02 May 2013 08:46 PM by Charwiz]
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Posted: 15 December 2013 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 597 ]  
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Nulono and others, you are definitely not alone!  The 2012 Gallup poll shows that 19% of those in the U.S. who identify as non-religious are also pro-life. 

I’m a pro-life atheist and I run Pro-Life Humanists http://www.prolifehumanists.org  We’re also on FB: /prolifehumanists so do come say hello. 

I for one am tired of seeing this issue dominated by the fricken religious right.  It’s time we all stop seeing each other as enemies and start cooperating on solutions - from better contraception to better sex ed to real choices for women whose finances seem to leave them with only abortion as an option (not a real choice by any means).

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Posted: 16 December 2013 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 598 ]  
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There is some entity inside a pregnant female that causes her to qualify as “pregnant”. At some point between conception and birth, that entity changes from a what to a who.

After listening to Sam speak about the relationship between the human brain, cognitive experience, and well-being, I am wondering if maybe this what-to-who transformation occurs sometime between week six (when the brain first begins to form) and week twenty-one (the earliest point at which a premature birth has resulted in the survival of an infant); between which times some early form of cognitive experience would begin to arise.

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Posted: 12 June 2014 06:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 599 ]  
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M is for Malapert - 27 October 2008 04:00 PM
Veronica - 27 October 2008 09:55 AM

Camanintx, abortion can be kept legal for special reasons like rape, incest, illness in mother, fetal deformities, all morally justifiable.

How about the African woman without a vagina who got pregnant because her lover stabbed her in the stomach?  She had icky nasty sex (oral sex at that) so semen was present in her stomach, escaped when she was stabbed, and fertilized the egg.  She’s as much a victim as a woman who was raped, but she consented to that icky nasty sex beforehand, so Veronica’s knee-jerk response will be that she too must be punished.

This makes no moral sense at all.  If an embryo is an innocent person, why does anyone get to kill it because one of its parents committed a crime?  Talk about the sins of the father; that is ridiculous.

If I carry a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest to term, and then decide that I can’t stand to have the child around, reminding me every day of the horrible event, can I kill it? 

If I’m so sick following pregnancy that caring for a child will be too much for me, can I kill it? 

If I give birth to a baby with deformities, can I kill it? 

Of course not.  So why would anyone pick the dividing line at birth?

Well, naturally, for the same reason everyone else does: because at birth there is a new independent organism, capable of living on its own and not taking the bodily resources of anyone else without consent (or perhaps at all).

And that of course is the issue, not whether an embryo is a child (it isn’t, but that’s secondary).  Consent is the issue. 

A woman may consent to a sexual relationship with a man, allowing him to invade her body—but it must be ongoing and explicit. 

Similarly, one may consent to donate blood, bone marrow, or tissue.  Again, this use of bodily resources can only occur with explicit, voluntary consent, and must stop whenever the donor says so.

However, a woman who consents to a sexual relationship with a man does not consent to a pregnancy relationship with an embryo or fetus.  It must be explicit. 

And if she does consent, she can withdraw it at any time (for example, if she learns that the fetus will be deformed—or for any other reason).  Consent must be ongoing.

Note that only the worst criminals, up for capital punishment, lose their right to bodily integrity and against invasion—and then only partly.  Even criminals must consent to have their bodies used for medical research, for instance. 

A woman having sex commits no crime, so she loses no rights in the process.  Her right to her own body remains intact.  If she does not want an embryo or fetus using it, she gets to remove it—since that is the only way, currently, to stop the invasion.

Any pro-liar who makes exceptions like the above, when s/he wouldn’t allow killing an actual child for those same reasons, gives the game away.  Veronica doesn’t think of “an unborn child” as a person at all, because she wouldn’t agree to killing a person for those reasons.

At least “Consistent Life Ethic” people make a logical argument: no exceptions, ever.  Not even to save a woman’s life: as one Catholic bishop said, “Two deaths are better than one murder.”  It’s true—if an embryo were a child like any other.

Needless to say, most people recoil in horror from this position.  This simply illustrates that they haven’t thought it through.  Ronald Dworkin has an interesting book on the subject.

(This post is not for Veronica, who’s beyond logical thinking.  It’s for other readers.)

“She had icky nasty sex (oral sex at that) so semen was present in her stomach, escaped when she was stabbed, and fertilized the egg”


!?!?!?
I have fully agreed and supported all of your attempts to educate the cut and paste pro-life crowd in this thread.
But if you hate men (do you?) then you should leave that out of your discussion as it will minimize your effectiveness. I too, find ingesting sperm from oral sex from icky and disgusting, but it is a subjective statement.
The education you’ve had and the way you put forth the information is admirable to by me but why the nasty, personal sexual jab?

[ Edited: 12 June 2014 06:10 AM by MoltenZoltan]
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