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A metaphysical argument against objectivism

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Bob,

What species do we belong to before our brains mature?

This crap always confuses me.

Especially since I have had the strangest urge to get in touch with my inner giraffe.

Michael

EDIT: Banter aside, We don't "become human beings over a period of time." We become adult human beings over time.

I can understand the kid. He's still sorting all these ideas out and still under the emotional wallop of discovering Rand. But you? How many times do you have to hear that a Jew is not a human being--and see what that brings--before you begin to realize how important it is to stop screwing around with defining human according to ideology?

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Bob,

What species do we belong to before our brains mature?

This crap always confuses me.

Especially since I have had the strangest urge to get in touch with my inner giraffe.

Michael

EDIT: Banter aside, We don't "become human beings over a period of time." We become adult human beings over time.

I can understand the kid. He's still sorting all these ideas out and still under the emotional wallop of discovering Rand. But you? How many times do you have to hear that a Jew is not a human being--and see what that brings--before you begin to realize how important it is to stop screwing around with defining human according to ideology?

We are homo sapien sapien genetically. O.K. that is a label. Now lets get down to function. What is required to remember, to abstract, to formulate intent and do all the thing sapient homo sapiens do? The answer is have a working brain with sufficient brain mass, New born infants do not have this. It takes about a year to grow enough brain mass and neural interconnections to start to speak. Humans are born stupid and mentally deficient because they have too little brain mass.

I have no wish to get into arguments about words and labels. Let talk about human functionality instead. Human babies are born half baked because human females do not have wide enough birth canals to give birth to toddlers with nearly fully grown brains. Humans are neonates. They are born on partially developed which is why human infants need the amount of care they do while they are small.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I have no wish to get into arguments about words and labels. Let talk about human functionality instead.

Bob,

What functionality?

Human functionality?

Are you talking about a label?

That's awfully convenient of you.

What a double standard.

Why don't we talk science--say biology? Oh... I forgot, science is not interesting when ideology is at stake...

Anyway... according to your reasoning, an infant human being has to go through some growth before it can become an adult human being. That newborns are kinda stupid in relation to adults. Is that what you're saying in substance?

If so, then I say, no shit, Sherlock.

Michael

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Brant,

There is only one fundamental reason I have ever been able to discern why a group of human beings are called subhuman or not really human according to some arbitrary standard. It's so those who identify themselves as the real human beings don't feel so guilty when they kill the so-called subhumans.

In a full life cycle, all living beings--including humans--are conceived, they grow through several stages, they peak, they decline and they die. To me, this is a no-brainer. Sort of like learning how to count when I was young.

Michael

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It's funny. I just looked at my Facebook thing and there was an entry by NB:

Follow that which evokes ecstasy in you. Follow that which brings out the best in you, that which energizes and charges you and will direct you to the best path for you.

It occurs to me that arguing whether a baby is a human being does not provide me with any ecstasy. It's like trying to explain that the earth is not flat. It's draining and makes me feel embarrassed for my species.

Maybe I should stop. The difference I want to make on the world is a little more than trying to convince adult human beings that baby human beings are human.

Michael

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A baby, as I've discussed in another thread, is, in fact, a parasite. As evidence I offer you the existence and purpose of the umbilical cord. A human can survive independently, but in order to surive he has to think. In order to be a human you must think (Rand). A baby is not yet a human. Once man is able to and does practice (Objectivist) virtue, he is a human.

Talk about Original Sin!

According to this view, man is not only born morally defective (i.e. a looter), he's born not even human.

You don't get any more true-believing than that.

I see a premise that needs some serious checking.

Michael

I have not checked yet, as I usually do, my latest premises with Rand. I wouldn't call the baby a looter but a moocher as it has to mooch of its mother in order to survive and be born. I wouldn't compare it to original sin that mooching is not permanent.

I wonder if you're pro-life or pro-choice?

I'll check soon what Rand has said on the subject. I do remember her being pro-choice and I think she wrote in the John Galt speech something about the prerequisites of being a human, and, furthermore that no one is automatically a human. She said those who refuse to think are not human, I know that.

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Are we really having a conversation about babies as if they were a leech and mothers as if they were a host creature? I mean, really?

I can't wait to see that Mother's Day card!

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Are we really having a conversation about babies as if they were a leech and mothers as if they were a host creature? I mean, really?

Dan,

It looks like it.

This is Objectivism for Martians, not a philosophy for living on earth.

:)

(This is what happens when a person deduces reality from principles and memorizes catechism lessons--then wants to preach--rather than induces principles from reality first-hand. I know because I used to do that stuff all the time. That's why I'm not all over the kid. :) Give him some time. Reality will teach him some hard lessons if he does not think through things correctly, but he has a good mind and I'm convinced he will learn.)

Michael

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Are we really having a conversation about babies as if they were a leech and mothers as if they were a host creature? I mean, really?

I can't wait to see that Mother's Day card!

While the baby is in utero this as a rather accurate description of the interaction between (unborn) child and mother.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Are we really having a conversation about babies as if they were a leech and mothers as if they were a host creature? I mean, really?

Dan,

It looks like it.

This is Objectivism for Martians, not a philosophy for living on earth.

:smile:

(This is what happens when a person deduces reality from principles and memorizes catechism lessons--then wants to preach--rather than induces principles from reality first-hand. I know because I used to do that stuff all the time. That's why I'm not all over the kid. :smile: Give him some time. Reality will teach him some hard lessons if he does not think through things correctly, but he has a good mind and I'm convinced he will learn.)

Michael

Pregnancy can be a most beautiful thing, but it is an aspect of life not celebrated by Objectivists and Objectivism, currently or historically, save privately and personally. Since Objectivism supports a woman's right to an abortion, one might think that logically it would also support the alternative course and responsibility in sexual relations. Kids aren't particularly welcome either, but do get a modicum of attention and grace.

--Brant

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Brant,

As you well know, I do not support government interference in abortion--neither prohibition nor funding. But I think each abortion is a tragedy since a human being is killed.

I hold the right to life of the human being in the prenatal stage is under the sovereignty of the mother since it physically lives and grows inside her body--meaning she can acknowledge that right or terminate it at her sole discretion. Her body is her domain. Enforcement only passes to the government on the baby's birth with the physical separation of bodies.

That's not the way the law is stated, nor is it the way Roe vs. Wade was argued, but that's that way I think it should be. The Supreme Court used "viability," but that is a horseshit standard that is totally arbitrary. You do not define an individual human being out of existence because it is starting out in life and not "viable," whatever that means by whoever is defining it at the moment, nor do you deny that individual (the conceived human being before birth) a respective right to life.

Is an older person in a weakened state not "viable"? Say, a person in a coma? Fer Kerissakes! Imagine where that standard could go if it caught on.

As regards the right to life, you merely make it clear who is the authority and under what conditions. But you keep the identification of the individual as a human being with a right to life. Correct identification is the cornerstone of rationality. And as gravy, citing the mother's sovereignty while she is carrying the prenatal human being is another form of check and balance against the government, if you will. Clarity is your friend in complicated issues.

I believe these abortion discussions never end because of lack of clear identification of what a human being is--in other words, whether the life cycle is essential in identifying humans. (And I don't see how it could be eliminated and still be called identification. Human beings are living beings.)

Regardless, no amount of blah blah blah justifies calling a conceived individual life form by a different name than its species. Notice we only do that with humans.

Is such a semantic game supposed to blank out the fact of killing so people feel better about it? Well, changing a name doesn't blank out the fact.

Rand was wrong to do that, just like she was wrong about smoking. She had an abortion. So I wonder if calling a fetus not human, but instead a piece of plasma, made her feel better about what she did.

I understand her and even forgive her, but I will not ape her blank-out of reality. I won't do that for anyone.

Michael

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.

Anyway... according to your reasoning, an infant human being has to go through some growth before it can become an adult human being. That newborns are kinda stupid in relation to adults. Is that what you're saying in substance?

Michael

A newborn bearer of the human genome has to go through some development before it is a sentient person. Some newborns are so defective this will not happen. For example, newborns with no prefrontal cortex. Such a one will NEVER be a human person. It is lacking an essential piece. just as four wheel vehicle lacking an engine will never become a formula one racing automobile.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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.

Anyway... according to your reasoning, an infant human being has to go through some growth before it can become an adult human being. That newborns are kinda stupid in relation to adults. Is that what you're saying in substance?

Michael

A newborn bearer of the human genome has to go through some development before it is a sentient person. Some newborns are so defective this will not happen. For example, newborns with no prefrontal cortex. Such a one will NEVER be a human person. It is lacking an essential piece. just as four wheel vehicle lacking an engine will never become a formula one racing automobile.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I've seen such persons. They are taken care of by other persons. They are all persons. "Human person" is a redundancy. There is no such thing as a "per" nor do we talk about "son" as what is left over when we get rid of the "per." What you are arguing isn't just for abortion but infanticide and putting old folks under. In fact you are arguing for state-forced abortion, as in China. That's where "functionality" will get you.

I've seen such humans. They are taken care of by other humans. They are all humans. "Human person" is a redundancy. There is no such thing as a "hu" nor do we talk about "man" as what is left over when we . . .

I suggest you might do better to dress up your arguments in the context of rights because you are arguing now for bad humans--very bad humans--doing very bad things, and they love you for it. They abort freedom.

--Brant

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Are we really having a conversation about babies as if they were a leech and mothers as if they were a host creature? I mean, really?

Dan,

It looks like it.

This is Objectivism for Martians, not a philosophy for living on earth.

:)

(This is what happens when a person deduces reality from principles and memorizes catechism lessons--then wants to preach--rather than induces principles from reality first-hand. I know because I used to do that stuff all the time. That's why I'm not all over the kid. :) Give him some time. Reality will teach him some hard lessons if he does not think through things correctly, but he has a good mind and I'm convinced he will learn.)

Michael

Your right of course, I was just shocked.

This reminds me of something I have been thinking about. As I've been reading and exploring the online world of O'ism I've noticed a bad trend where people like to think in theory without ever considering the practical side of their argument. I'm starting to wonder if this is the problem with O'ism, not the philosophy but how it has been represented. I seem to recall LP once said Rand got on him for forgetting the practical in the same way she would get on Greenspan for doing the opposite. It would explain a lot.

Just a theory I’ve been kicking around.

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With reference to Bob's "scientific descriptions," among species, some members are born with defects. And once again, no shit, Sherlock.

Guess what? Some humans are also born midgets. Some without arms. Some with bad hearts. And so on.

The "scientific" category for these people is "deficient human beings."

It is not "subhuman."

If a chicken is born with a defect, does it become a subchicken? How about a subcanine for dogs? Or here's one for ya'. How about subants? Subwhales? Subsnakes?

We don't use terms like that for chickens or any other living being that is not human. Why?

I will keep to my position. People who try to define a certain class of human beings as not human beings are only interested in killing them without feeling guilty.

I am aware that Rand used the term "subhuman" a lot when refering to certain adults. But she also used the term "swamp." I believe she was using hyperbole in both cases, not literal meanings.

Michael

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With reference to Bob's "scientific descriptions," among species, some members are born with defects. And once again, no shit, Sherlock.

Guess what? Some humans are also born midgets. Some without arms. Some with bad hearts. And so on.

The "scientific" category for these people is "deficient human beings."

It is not "subhuman."

Michael

Where did Bob use the term "subhuman"?

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With reference to Bob's "scientific descriptions," among species, some members are born with defects. And once again, no shit, Sherlock.

Guess what? Some humans are also born midgets. Some without arms. Some with bad hearts. And so on.

The "scientific" category for these people is "deficient human beings."

It is not "subhuman."

Michael

Where did Bob use the term "subhuman"?

Not once.

Infants are not yet sentient, but the brain is one of the fasted growing organs in young humans so the defect resolves itself within a year.

I do not believe newborns are persons. They do not have sufficiently well developed brains to be persons.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Anything to make a category of subhumans, huh?

That makes them easier to kill...

I'm harping on this, not because I'm against abortion, but because I'm against gross rationalizations and incorrect identification. The same epistemology shows up wherever human beings are slaughtered...

Michael

EDIT: btw - The first definition of "person" in two different dictionaries (American Heritage and Collins) is "a living human" and "an individual human being" respectively.

What the hell is wrong with saying "infant human being" or something like that to describe lack of development?

Harder to kill that way without feeling guilty?

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Now you two are arguing about nothing. Baal you said you were not interested in labels. Michael you say Baal is trying to label newborns with the label subhuman, which clearly he has not.

The descriptions both of you have given of the developing human being are to the reader (me) exactly the same, and perfectly rational.

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Carol,

Maybe you haven't participated in many of these discussions. What Brant said is truer that you could imagine. Very bad people latch onto emphasis--especially if you emphasize something in the ballpark of "subhuman"--to justify very bad things.

Anyway, I believe Bob can speak for himself:

We become human beings over a period of time.

I disagree with that mis-identification in the strongest sense of disagreement possible. We do not "become" human beings over time. We are human beings right from the start. We are prenatal human beings. We are infant human beings. We grow into adult human beings. And so on.

"Human being" is not a term for measuring development. Within the context of identification, it denotes kind, not degree--that is unless you have some agenda.

Once again, it's a hell of a lot easier to kill something that is only "becoming a human being"--and then go have dinner--than it is to kill a human being.

Kill if you must. But don't hide behind semantic games to pretend it is something else just so you can feel better.

Michael

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Carol,

Maybe you haven't participated in many of these discussions. What Brant said is truer that you could imagine. Very bad people latch onto emphasis--especially if you emphasize something in the ballpark of "subhuman"--to justify very bad things.

Anyway, I believe Bob can speak for himself:

We become human beings over a period of time.

I disagree with that mis-identification in the strongest sense of disagreement possible. We do not "become" human beings over time. We are human beings right from the start. We are prenatal human beings. We are infant human beings. We grow into adult human beings. And so on.

"Human being" is not a term for measuring development. Within the context of identification, it denotes kind, not degree--that is unless you have some agenda.

Once again, it's a hell of a lot easier to kill something that is only "becoming a human being"--and then go have dinner--than it is to kill a human being.

Kill if you must. But don't hide behind semantic games to pretend it is something else just so you can feel better.

Michael

Homosapien is a species. Human beings are persons (capable of intention, selfawareness and reason). Homo sapien newborns do not (yet) have this quality. We are born homo sapien (that is our genome). We become human in due course. Newborn homo sapiens are not yet human and some never become human due to series defects in their physical makeup (such as being born without a prefrontal cortex).

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Carol,

Maybe you haven't participated in many of these discussions. What Brant said is truer that you could imagine. Very bad people latch onto emphasis--especially if you emphasize something in the ballpark of "subhuman"--to justify very bad things]

Michael

I know they do. But I did not notice any ballparks or emphases here, or anyone latching on to do bad things. just a discussion such as I expect on OL. I do not notice any very bad people either.

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