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anthony last won the day on April 27

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    tony garland

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    My all-time quote: "Man is a being of self-made soul."
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  1. Now this is when I should leave the debate. Instead of looking for common ground between the arguments, and there is some, you are playing both sides as you wish, to make a put-down argument. This is not good faith, Michael. I want "to rule over he pregnant mother..." Bosh. I have made several arguments in favor of abortion, in favor of the mother's life not being sacrificed - the actual to the potential. The mother has several months to make up her mind, and anyway the large majority of abortions are carried out (in the USA) before the third trimester. Sensibly and fairly rationally, it seems, the huge number of women are not even in need of a viability restriction. Late/full term abortion just becomes a football for cynical politicians to kick around and get votes, while pissing off the conservatives. Which is even more reason, not less, to establish once and for all, what is objective life. You thought it wrong of Rand to call the "pro-life" sacrifice of mothers to unwanted motherhood, "vicious", but also morally oppose the abortion of "a clump of cells" while claiming individual rights to abortion anytime, above the viable, living fetus. Very contradictory. Let me say one more way: The govt. must only protect life and rights. Individual rights protect one's freedom of action, but they do not guarantee one's rationally- moral behavior, nor is it the govt's business - simply - you may follow whatever ethical system you want, so long as others' rights are untouched, etc. Individual rights are not a moral code to guide your life by. IF it can be proven that a third-term fetus has achieved life-status, and this looks a slam-dunk going by all the vital signs scientists have learned of, - then, objective law must protect the fetus. If not, not.
  2. Michael, Most helpful, but if I haven't made myself very clear, and repetitively so, and in several ways at length, then it's you guys who need the reading skills. I heard what you said and understood the premise from the start, but I cannot, frinstance, argue much further against someone's most fundamental views of life (e.g.: begins at conception). You believe it, I believe different. Other inconsequential questions asked of me by J, are not for his interest or information. Not when I'd been this clear throughout (as was Roger, and no attempt has been made to refute his excellent argument) - instead, they are looking to trip me up. Or find holes in Objectivism, or Rand. Who has little featured, here. See? I've learned something from experience.
  3. Evidently we differ on the essentials. I maintain one's individual rights to an abortion are non-negotiable until life begins - when all the irrefutable vital signs of human life are there - after which nobody can legally claim 'a right' to an abortion that amounts to infanticide. Michael, you say life begins at conception -- but anyone has rights to abort, right up to full term. We can't move on. All answered, if you read what I've written and thought about it. "Viability", and some facts on how it can be "determined"; no, not "reasonable" to "kill it" if it has rights, despite the "will of the owner"; and no "property" rights enter the equation. Rand makes the argument for non-sacrifice of a woman to her embryo. To repeat, this falls mostly outside her written purview. I've said and indicated - objective metaphysics, biology, ethics and individual rights and objective law, are all pertinent - if the premises are factually true and the life-value-judgments, valid, then with conceptual "logic" pull the factors together and see what proposition you arrive at. No legal abortion, at any stage. Abortion "on demand" up til full term, according to 'individual rights', superficially. Abortion up until fetal brain (preceded by other organ growth) activity and viability, after which illegal - the fetus being identical to a new born, in kind if not in size. So, what do you say?
  4. Michael, On the one hand, you argue against any abortion at all, on the other you argue the woman has "sovereignty", at all costs. So what is normatively and morally right? What would curtail one's individual rights? Any interference with others' rights to life, their individual rights. The fetus at that stage (described) is autonomous, fully developed, only dependent on the sustenance and shelter the mother's body -automatically - still provides. The nourishment can easily be provided today outside the womb, not essentially requiring the mother's body to survive. Therefore, it is an independent, pre-conceptual, and (physically) "goal-directed" entity -- and is now, human life, as we know it, with its own rights. The exact moment of parturition doesn't change a single thing about the child, except people's traditional perceptions about "life starting at birth". As parents of premature birth babies know, all that's missing is the 'natural' labor. Taking that life after that autonomously viable stage should be considered murder.
  5. Michael, Modern man can now "take care of" a lot of things, circumventing nature. You know, "Nature, to be commanded..." This newish knowledge about fetal brain activity makes for an adjustment in thinking and laws. Your premise, not mine, appears to be, that this value, life, starts at conception. If followed through, the mother's value in her own life would have to come second to (what is objectively) a lesser value -- i.e. the self-sacrifice of a fully-fledged individual to her embryo. "Actual" person with thoughts, ambitions, and emotions - to "a potential". And the more rational and responsible she is, the greater the load on her now and (she knows) later on: to have the child adopted? to put her ambitions and living on hold for many years of bringing up her unplanned child? Perhaps - unaided by a man, too. Or will she have to accept state welfare? What a choice. One's compassion should go to her.
  6. Michael, "act" here doesn't mean making choices and taking autonomous, physical action. Rather, as individual rights and the freedom to action are ultimately based on: The "freedom to life". (once it has been established when human life begins). Otherwise, to be trivial, there would not be an existing law against infanticide - this is already in force, say, one minute after a baby's birth. An abortion one minute earlier than birth is acceptable? This would be arbitrary and illogical. The newborn can no more and no less act independently as "rational animal" than can a viable fetus inside or outside the womb. Life: "Only a living entity can have goals or can originate them. And it is only a living organism that has the capacity for self-generated, goal-directed action. On the physical level, the functions of all living organisms, from the simplest to the most complex—from the nutritive function in the single cell of an amoeba to the blood circulation in the body of a man—are actions generated by the organism itself and directed to a single goal: the maintenance of the organism’s life. An organism’s life depends on two factors: the material or fuel which it needs from the outside, from its physical background, and the action of its own body, the action of using that fuel properly. What standard determines what is proper in this context? The standard is the organism’s life, or: that which is required for the organism’s survival." (The Objectivist Ethics) She wrote further: "When applied to physical phenomena, such as the automatic function of an organism, the term "goal-directed" is not to be taken to mean "purposive" (a concept applicable only to the actions of a consciousness)..." --- What I see many Leftist-secularists in particular wish for, is the self-contradiction - freedom without responsibility, in fact, freedom *from* responsibility -- I can do what I choose, when I choose - because - I feel like it. They pay little attention or consideration to the identity (nor objective value) of - well - most things, least of all, abortion. Such is subjective 'value'. On the other side, is the religious/conservatives' intrinsic value. Personally, I have some accord and respect for that quality of self-responsibility in their advocacy for all human life - despite "the Soul" being their standard of value. (as wrong, irrational and annoying as it can be for others). In distinction from them, the 'objective value' for life and in anything else, is a radical departure from both other theories of value, as we know.
  7. DNA is of little help that I can see. From any cells of the body, even from a human hair, DNA testing can identify it to be - organic, animal, mammal - human. The crucial debate, to my mind, is what and when is human LIFE. Advances in biology and the specialist branch of fetology give further insight for philosophers to consider. Science informs philosophy also. "Detectable" by fetal EEG used by fetologists, which is becoming an increasingly sophisticated test for brain activity. Short of this, the length of period after conception is a quite predictably consistent guide. Although I'm no expert.
  8. Michael, Not limitless if one defines an abortion beyond the "bright line" to be infanticide. This is what ("positive") individual rights reduces to and entails, the freedom of action ... for all. (assuming that, here should be applied the normal "non-initiation of force" principle).
  9. Peter, The "utmost consideration" we need give to this tricky topic has to have an ethical base, and I believe this is answered by: "Man's life as the standard of value". (btw, not "more importance" - for a fetus - but AS important as all human life, I'd argue. Earlier in pregnancy, with a "human embryo", this should never be a light decision for aware, self-respecting, women - but it would be moral to undergo, objectively. The casualness with which many women treat an abortion procedure is unappealing, to say the least). Bearing in mind that the Objectivist gauge of morality, man's life, does "not* relate to the infant's "life". It relates to what is "proper to man" and his life, in entirety. From that, it would be an - improper- act for mother, father or doctor to decide to dispose of a formed, conscious, last trimester fetus. The objective law here must override the mother's wishes.
  10. Read Roger Bissell's argument, all of which, and my added viability, goes well out of the range of what Rand wrote, so has nothing to do with her "emotings". One needs to work this out for oneself in accordance with reality and the scope of (objectivist) metaphysics, ethics and rights. She properly defended the mother's individual right to life (to chosen freedom of action). And then, explicitly, *only* up to three months of pregnancy, leaving the debate open about the later, post-embyronic stage. Viability is nothing new. One can briefly define it as a fetus reaching the stage of being able to continue life ex utero (with a special, concentrated care, obviously, which is no more than any normally birthed infant needs). The telling - objective - indicator, would be as soon as the fetus has detectable activity of its developed brain and nervous system, therefore the sensory, perceptual level of a human consciousness. The individual right of the mother should not be limitless. And claiming 'property' rights for the fetus is a silly argument. At that point of growth, the fetus is undeniably biologically and consciously a human being, and has the "right to life" identical to a new-born child. With the usual caveats of mother's health and risk of life, an abortion should be as illegal as murder after there, it follows, and the doctors liable for heavy penalties.
  11. As you say, Rand was careful with words. An "embryo", is the one technical term she mentioned, but is *not yet* a "fetus" (to which you referred that she "determined that a fetus is not human life" - and I corrected the term). An embryo develops into a fetus in 10 weeks. That is fairly in keeping with Rand's "the essential issue concerns only the first three months". It would seem to a reasonable reader that she was not too sure about the later stages re: abortion, and left that to philosopher posterity and future scientific advances to work out. Plainly we differ on *when* a zygote-embryo-fetus is a potential human or when a human actuality - or there are no distinctions, it is human from conception. This matters, since one must know when objective value can be given it, for private, ethical and legal concerns. At conception, you claim - fine with me although we must agree to disagree. One thing known, the mother is actually human and living. A few months into an accidental, unplanned, unwanted pregnancy should not and need not disrupt her life.
  12. To be accurate, Michael, she said "an embryo" has no right to life. "A piece of protoplasm", distinct from a formed fetus. Backing this up, "the essential issue concerns only the first three months" (after which abortion is "arguable"- leaving the debate open, one infers). What she *would have* said if confronted with more recent knowledge by fetologists of when fetal brain activity occurs, and the modern medical, high rate of survival of a very premature baby in an incubator, one can only extrapolate. I think she'd have endorsed Bissell's most rational solution. The beginning of sense-perception is the "bright line" boundary and "objective criterion" of individual cognition and autonomous life.
  13. Michael, Quite simply, we don't agree. I always speak only on what I've experienced and thought about, and it so happens I find Rand's words, as far as she goes on the matter, correct, not because Rand said-so. So I agree too with Roger Bissell's earlier analysis, which I'd like to have had on hand during an abortion argument I've just been in, and came to very similar conclusions as he (while not as well articulated). Quite ironically, I argued the opposite end from this. I came out vehemently against the touted "late-term/full-term" abortion - by an amoral politician - which I think is morally abhorrent. (It's my hope this furor helps scupper the Democrats). Above everything, the human cost would weigh heavily on a "potential" mother (not forgetting a father, and anyone else involved) - one can only imagine what any woman, not intensely looking forward to having and raising her child goes through by being pressured against her will, to carry one to birth--and, who knows, maybe committed to its care, long after. Perhaps she'd have a conflicting, resentful emotion like having an invader or parasite in your body, but one you think-feel you 'ought to' value and can't. Additionally, one can appreciate how her life will be turned upside down for the duration.Skipping much besides, and from only practical considerations, a law against all abortions in society could produce a surfeit of infants, likely exceeding the number of willing adopters, and then Social Welfare would step in to take over the rearing of orphans... nobody wants that. Then, logically, abortion would be driven underground, back-street - etc. to further human costs. I am sure all this - and sacrifice - was on Rand's mind, and my estimate is that her abortion didn't sway her, subjectively. Abortion - before third trimester, approx. when vital brain activity becomes measurable - must remain a woman's option, ethically and individual rights-wise, I think. I am not going at present into what is human life. ;)
  14. 'Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a “right to life.” A piece of protoplasm has no rights—and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable. . . . Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives.[...]" The Ayn Rand Letter AR said: To equate a potential with an actual is vicious. The essential issue concerns only the first three months. One may argue about the later stages. So when does an actual become "actual"? (I think) viability is the new birth.