Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The "woman's body" argument on abortion, and the village in your left arm

I think the slogan, "A woman has the right to do as she pleases with her own body, is flawed.
What if a village of tiny people were housed in your left arm. The village makes your arm itch sometimes. Would you have the right to wipe it out because, after all, it is housed in your body?

94 comments:

Jimmy S. M. said...

If we're concocting counterfactuals that ignore our biology, perhaps if we laid eggs there would be no abortion debate.

T said...

It is frustrating when people say "a woman has the right to do what she wants with her body and the right to access medical procedures".

Is another human life "part of" your body in the same way that a melanoma is? Is getting an abortion really akin to standard medical procedures, like getting an in-grown toe nail removed? If not then why talk about it like it is?

It implies that a human life growing inside of you is of no more significance than any other part of you. Does anyone actually *truly* believe that?

T said...

And another point. Surely the fact that it *took two people to create that growing human life and it is not even possible for you to create life on your own* means that there should be an another dimension in the thought process compared to considering typical parts of your body?

As a society, if we say "women exclusively has the right to choose what to do with her body and men have no right to talk about abortion, ie life inside a woman", and then as soon as the baby comes out, we expect men to be good fathers and selflessly care for the little life. It's a ridiculous double standard.

Legion of Logic said...

I always get hit with the argument "If someone could only live by being physically attached to you, should the government be able to force you to do that?" To which I respond "If the reason they are in that position is directly due to a conscious decision that I made, then yes."

Jo F said...

"I always get hit with the argument "If someone could only live by being physically attached to you, should the government be able to force you to do that?" To which I respond "If the reason they are in that position is directly due to a conscious decision that I made, then yes."
As if carrying a child to term were comparable with the permanent, surgical incorporation of two individuals...

William Brown said...

"I think the slogan, "A woman has the right to do as she pleases with her own body, is flawed."

It's clearly flawed for so many reasons. The most obvious to me is that the baby is not her own body. It is the body of another human being and to kill an innocent, defenseless, vulnerable human being is murder.

Dave Duffy said...

The great blessing of having philosophers in our society is considering their reaction to slogans.

Joe Hinman said...

when we get fleas or chigars we think we think we have the right to wipe them out\ they are wvillage. I agree there's a limit ot the woman's body issue. But that limit logically is when the fetus can survive independently of the mother. Otherwise wy aren't you preserving your sperm when you urinate?

Joe Hinman said...

It's clearly flawed for so many reasons. The most obvious to me is that the baby is not her own body. It is the body of another human being and to kill an innocent, defenseless, vulnerable human being is murder.

only after the period where it can survive indiscreetly of the mother, Before that it;snot another entity. There;'s a point where it becomes so. Look do you claim that unfertilized eggs are people?

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,

Let's say there is an explosion in a crowd of people. Everyone is killed and the blast is so bad that only fragments of human debris are found.

5 unique sets of DNA are found from the debris.

How many humans died?

Legion of Logic said...

"Otherwise wy aren't you preserving your sperm when you urinate?"

"Look do you claim that unfertilized eggs are people?"

Why would a person's own cells be considered humans? The fetus is genetically distinct from the mother, unlike gametes. And point out to me a human who has 23 chromosomes.

"only after the period where it can survive indiscreetly of the mother, Before that it;snot another entity."

This is a completely arbitrary statement. If technology developed to the point where a premature birth was no longer fatal, then would you say it's not a human until it could go home from the hospital? Is there some point where a fetus magically turns into a human?

William Brown said...

Joe Hinman,
'Legion of Logic' is correct. At the point of fertilisation, a new human being exists. To assume anything else is treading a very dangerous & arbitrary path. Any harm you do to that human being carries the same moral weight as it would for that being at any further stage of growth. Why should the size of the individual soul make murder acceptable? Why should small, vulnerable, or dependent mean unworthy to live?

Joe Hinman said...

Let's say there is an explosion in a crowd of people. Everyone is killed and the blast is so bad that only fragments of human debris are found.

5 unique sets of DNA are found from the debris.

How many humans died?


your senerio assumes up front they are all autonomous people so you are just begging the question

Joe Hinman said...

Joe Hinman,
'Legion of Logic' is correct. At the point of fertilisation, a new human being exists.

that is not proven I quoted sources that said at fertilization life is created but it's not necessarily autonomous life. sperm is life. fingernails are life. they are not people. at some point the fetus becomes a person we don't necessarily know when,

To assume anything else is treading a very dangerous & arbitrary path.

yes it's called begging the question.stop it.


Any harm you do to that human being carries the same moral weight as it would for that being at any further stage of growth.

without being ble to prove when it becomes autonomous you can't pull that off. Because you are destroying life when you cut your nails; also why don't you bear the moral guilt of the poor people politician you vote for murder? why should the unborn lives count more than the born lives?


Why should the size of the individual soul make murder acceptable? Why should small, vulnerable, or dependent mean unworthy to live?

I didn't its the size it said is autonomy, that's because if itg';s notautonojmous from the other it;s not a person in it;s own right, SINCE THE SOUL IS A METAPHOR for THE OVERALL LIFE IN RELATION TO GOD THE NON AUTONOMOUS FETUS IS NOT A SOUL

Joe Hinman said...

That last bog is based upon an idea which I can back with tons of OT scripture that soul is not a ghost in the machine but is metaphor for your life in relation to God.That's why we are said to be lost souls or saved souls. We don't have souls we are souls.

William Brown said...

Joe,
A fertilised egg is a person in a very early stage of development. A fingernail is not a person. Autonomy has nothing to do with this argument. Many people are far from autonomous. That does not justify murdering them.

Ilíon said...

I pretend to be a Christian, but I'm really a leftist: "Otherwise wy aren't you preserving your sperm when you urinate?"

LoL: "Why would a person's own cells be considered humans? The fetus is genetically distinct from the mother, unlike gametes. And point out to me a human who has 23 chromosomes."

Also, point out the human who combines urination and the emission of gametes.

Ilíon said...

William Brown: "A fertilised egg is a person in a very early stage of development. A fingernail is not a person."

Apparently, he learned his biology from Monty Python. So, yeah: fingernail, person, same diff!

Steve Lovell said...

Clearly we don't have the right to do whatever we like with our own bodies. Pretty much any action could be justified by that mantra. 'Why stop me shooting that man? I'm just doing what I want with my body'.

i think it is also relevant to consider the case of Siamese twins. Things that are parts of the body of one twin are also parts of the body of the other. Clearly in such cases neither twin has rights over those body parts which aren't 'exclusively theirs'.

I also seriously question the whole argument form. Do I really have the right to chop off my own foot? Just because it's mine?

William Brown said...

"Apparently, he learned his biology from Monty Python."

Or from Woody Allen. Remember the scene from Sleeper ( I think it was) where Allen was running through the halls of a hospital pointing a gun at a nose that he held in his other hand. That was hilarious.

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,

You'd have to show me where you thought I begged the question with my scenario. It was meant to flesh out your position, but I see your responses to others and my question has been answered.

Here is another.

At what point in Mary's pregnancy could she have been justified in aborting her child?

Joe Hinman said...

Joe,
A fertilised egg is a person in a very early stage of development. A fingernail is not a person. Autonomy has nothing to do with this argument. Many people are far from autonomous. That does not justify murdering them.

when George Washington was an embryo he was the father of our country in an early stage, had his mother aborted him that would not make her a presidential assassin,

Joe Hinman said...

Ilíon said...
I pretend to be a Christian, but I'm really a leftist: "Otherwise wy aren't you preserving your sperm when you urinate?"

LoL: "Why would a person's own cells be considered humans? The fetus is genetically distinct from the mother, unlike gametes. And point out to me a human who has 23 chromosomes."


Idiot is in the house, say Idion where;s you summed to Trump tower to accept a place heading up the new NYU think tank? Philosophers R us? Rich Perry in charge of energy Mad dog Bullnouse in charge of peace core idon in charge of thinking,

Joe Hinman said...

William Brown: "A fertilised egg is a person in a very early stage of development. A fingernail is not a person."

Apparently, he learned his biology from Monty Python. So, yeah: fingernail, person, same diff!

December 15, 2016 10:29 AM

when you read Charles Taylor source of the self I'll listen to your ranting about what makes one a person, in the mean time i have no reason to think you know anything about the topic.

you are too stupid lot understand argument fingernails are not people but by your logic they should be classified as people. you want embryos classified as such on the ground that someday they will be, that's like saying because nails are growing they are life and thus they are people.

you can't understand the concept of autonomy it's not enough to be a person in becoing yiou aren ot an autonoimous person yio arenotone yet,

Joe Hinman said...

Steve Lovell said...
Clearly we don't have the right to do whatever we like with our own bodies. Pretty much any action could be justified by that mantra. 'Why stop me shooting that man? I'm just doing what I want with my body'.

it doesn't follow therefore a woman doesn't have the right to terminate a pregnancy or to privacy,

i think it is also relevant to consider the case of Siamese twins. Things that are parts of the body of one twin are also parts of the body of the other. Clearly in such cases neither twin has rights over those body parts which aren't 'exclusively theirs'.

that may cloud the issue more

I also seriously question the whole argument form. Do I really have the right to chop off my own foot? Just because it's mine?

the only reason why you would not is if donning so obstructed the rights of others, but a woman aborting a fetus is not negating an autonomous person. Don't forget i didnot come into this lightly,I said it's a serious issue it'snot a decison to tgakelightlyvIwouldcocucnil against it,

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,

At what point in Mary's pregnancy could she have been justified in aborting her child?

Jo F said...

@Joe,

"that is not proven I quoted sources that said at fertilization life is created but it's not necessarily autonomous life. sperm is life. fingernails are life. they are not people. at some point the fetus becomes a person we don't necessarily know when,"

1. The human zygote is distinct from the mother and father, AND constructs ITSELF, so it is indeed "autonomous".

Ilíon said...

"I also seriously question the whole argument form. Do I really have the right to chop off my own foot? Just because it's mine?"

Now you've stepped in it: the trannies will be after your head, 'cause they understand that the logical application of that is: "Do I really have the right [to pay a doctor] to chop off my own [dick]? Just because it's mine [and I "know" that I'm really a woman]?"

Joe Hinman said...

bmiller said...
@Joe Hinman,

At what point in Mary's pregnancy could she have been justified in aborting her child?

How many women at the local clinic are giving birth to the Messiah? How many births heralded by angles.?

Joe Hinman said...

o F said...
@Joe,

"that is not proven I quoted sources that said at fertilization life is created but it's not necessarily autonomous life. sperm is life. fingernails are life. they are not people. at some point the fetus becomes a person we don't necessarily know when,"

1. The human zygote is distinct from the mother and father, AND constructs ITSELF, so it is indeed "autonomous".

(1) if you are going to ry to fain a qote from a medical book cite the source,

(2) "distinct" is autonomous.could it survive outside the mothers womb that is the issue, Also does it have conscious awareness?

Joe Hinman said...

Now you've stepped in it: the trannies will be after your head, 'cause they understand that the logical application of that is: "Do I really have the right [to pay a doctor] to chop off my own [dick]? Just because it's mine [and I "know" that I'm really a woman]?"

using fear and bigotry distaste for a group to manipulate emotions.the fact that you disprove of a certain group does not mean that that groups annoyance is proof that you are right,

btw I am uncomfortable with such people too,I do not approve of their choices, but I allow then to makes their chiose because they are their choices to make,

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,

At what point in Mary's pregnancy could she have been justified in aborting her child?

"How many women at the local clinic are giving birth to the Messiah? How many births heralded by angles.?"

But Joe you said this earlier:
"when George Washington was an embryo he was the father of our country in an early stage, had his mother aborted him that would not make her a presidential assassin,"

Jesus had a remarkable conception, but otherwise His development was the same as everyone else.

In one case you say that when George Washington was an embryo, he was not the person that would become president. How can you now say that when Jesus was an embryo he was the Messiah at the same stage?


Joe Hinman said...

But Joe you said this earlier:
"when George Washington was an embryo he was the father of our country in an early stage, had his mother aborted him that would not make her a presidential assassin,"

Jesus had a remarkable conception, but otherwise His development was the same as everyone else.

In one case you say that when George Washington was an embryo, he was not the person that would become president. How can you now say that when Jesus was an embryo he was the Messiah at the same stage?


you are not proving that abortions always kill autonomous people with human rights, that Jesus had to be born is not proof that he was a fully autonomous person from day one of conception. The a typical nature of his case means that it proves nothing bout the issue of abortion,

Steve Lovell said...

@Joe,

I agree about my first point. I wasn't arguing against abortion, I was trying to show that a particular argument for the "pro-choice" position is flawed.

On the point about "chopping off one's own foot", if I understand your comment correctly, you're saying we all have the right to chop off our own feet if in doing so we don't obstruct the rights of others. The thought then seems to be that we have the right to do any harm to ourselves we like so long as it isn't a harm to others. Now obviously one can debate whether abortion harms another life, but even if we grant that it doesn't (which I don't), I don't understand why we should should think we have the right to harm ourselves.

This also comes up in discussions about organ donation and organ selling. I don't have a problem with the former. The latter seems (to me) very dubious indeed. I just don't think we "own" our bodies in such a way as to legitimize profiteering from them.

Going a step further, even in clear cases of ownership, it feels weird to say we can smash things up simply because they are ours. When my daughter mutilates a toy and then says "well, it is mine", I still think she's doing something she shouldn't. Not that the toy has rights, but I don't think "having ownership of X" entails "having the right to do whatever one wants with X".

I find the Christian idea of stewardship immensely helpful in working through my own thoughts in this relation.

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,

"you are not proving that abortions always kill autonomous people with human rights, that Jesus had to be born is not proof that he was a fully autonomous person from day one of conception. The a typical nature of his case means that it proves nothing bout the issue of abortion,"

My purpose is to explore your position.

Your first response seemed to indicate that Mary would not be justified in aborting Jesus. Am I now to understand you'd be OK with it?

For reference:
"How many women at the local clinic are giving birth to the Messiah? How many births heralded by angles.?"

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,


From Luke:
[35]And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
[36]And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
[37] For with God nothing will be impossible."
[38] And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
[39]In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
[40] and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.
[41] And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
[42] and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
[43] And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
.....
[56] And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.

As a Christian, I believe that Christ was like man in all things but sin.
Elizabeth identifies Mary as already a "mother" a day or so after conception. The baby she carries is already identified as "my Lord" (aka:the second person of the Trinity).*

Scripture disagrees with the idea that humans, once conceived, only become persons at some arbitrary point of "autonomy".

*the italics indicate the timeline. The Annunciation occurs when Elizabeth is 6 months pregnant, Mary travels to see her, then 3 months later Elizabeth gives birth.
This indicates that Mary had to immediately travel to see Elizabeth immediately after conception.

Mr. Green said...

Joe Hitman: How many births heralded by angles.?

You mean, how many births of aborted babies would have been heralded by angels, since by definition we’re talking about babies who never actually got to be born. And the answer is: who knows, because they never got to be born. Countless babies may have been angelically proclaimed if only we hadn’t murdered them.

Of course, I take it that by “heralded” you mean with fancy light-shows in the sky; surely the angels rejoice immensely at the creation of any being in the image and likeness of God, whether we notice it or not. And surely they lament just as greatly whenever one of these little ones is caused to die an innocent death at our hands.

Mr. Green said...

P.S. My apologies, I did not type Joe "Hitman" to have a dig at you — the Ever-Pernicious Curse of Autocorrection struck again. Any Freudian implications are purely serendipitous.

Mr. Green said...

So, some points from the thread so far:
• Fingernails are not alive(!!!)
• Liberals are once again anti-science-denialismers. This might have been defensible in ancient times, when even Christians used to permit abortions until the time of “quickening” or so — oh, wait… Christianity always forbade abortion, centuries before medical science caught up and could explain why biologically.
• We are not souls; we are not angels either, we are human beings. Human beings are living creatures, rational animals, ensouled bodies, or incarnate souls — the soul is not a metaphor but a real metaphysical part of any being that is human, and it is an essential part; that is, something without a human soul and human body is simply not a human being and never will be.
• George Washington was not president when he was conceived; murdering him after 1789 would have made you a presidential assassin; killing him in the womb would have made you a baby-assassin.
• Jesus was the Messiah when he was conceived; and He was fully and truly man. Thus much is fundamental to Christianity; to deny that he developed in a natural human way the whole of His earthly life is pretty blatant heresy.
• No, you may not chop off your own foot. It may be moral in special cases (such as if your foot is already dying from gangrene and threatens your life), but it is wrong to mutilate anyone, including yourself. It’s not just a matter of rights; as Steve Lovell notes, there is something wrong with destroying anything for no good reason — simply put, as rational beings, it’s wrong for us to act irrationally because it goes against our nature. On top of that, we have rights as beings with human dignity not to be mutilated, and it makes no difference to that whether the mutilator is oneself or someone else; and on top of that, we have duties as God’s creations to respect His work. So there are at least three different levels of wrongness to (self-)mutilation.


LoL: "If someone could only live by being physically attached to you, should the government be able to force you to do that?" To which I respond "If the reason they are in that position is directly due to a conscious decision that I made, then yes.”

And if the reason is not directly owing to a decision you made, then the answer is still yes. You can’t murder somebody because his life is inconvenient to you. In fact, only in very special highly limited circumstances is it even permissible to let someone else die — even to save your own life. But you may never directly kill the innocent, and if you get “stuck” with someone else’s life, you are still morally responsible. (E.g. if some stranger dumps a baby on your doorstop that has nothing to do with you, it would obviously be gravely immoral to leave it there.)

The question that ought to be asked is: is it moral to force somebody into a situation where he is obliged to take responsibility for someone else’s life in the first place? In certain general senses, no; so if someone forces you into becoming pregnant against your will, then that is a serious evil. And it’s also a serious crime, legally speaking. So you are not forced to have the evildoer attached to you (physically or any other way). But that is obviously separate from the baby, who hasn’t done anything to anybody.

Mr. Green said...

On the other hand, we have also learned that:
• There is a completely unobservable point where human beings magically turn into real human beings.
• You do not need to prove that something is unhuman in order to kill it (like, say, an unknown movement in the woods, I guess); if you can’t "prove” someone is really a human being, then it’s OK to kill him. Unless you can prove it by basic biology and metaphysics, in which case the living being in question might be a real human, but your proof isn’t a real proof.
• Human beings aren't really human unless they have “conscious awareness”. So if you want to kill someone, just punch him in head first, or wait till he’s asleep — as long as he isn’t conscious you can kill him without any qualms.
• Also, human being aren’t really human unless they are “autonomous” — which you might think means they have free will (a metaphysical attribute of any human being from the moment of his creation); but in Newspeak, it means something more like “survivability”; for instance, a baby cannot survive outside its mother’s womb… or for that matter, an adult on dialysis cannot survive without a kidney machine… or a crippled adult cannot survive if you push him out of his wheelchair (if he can’t make it to the kitchen to get food, say)… or if you take a perfectly healthy adult out of society (and maybe drop him in the middle of the ocean or the desert). Or, indeed, if you remove anyone from the protective atmospheric womb of mother Earth and eject him into the cold, irradiated vacuum of space. Note that you don’t actually have to put the person in such a position — the mere fact that he could not hypothetically survive is enough to prove that he does not have the all-important Autonomy™, and thus you can go ahead and kill him in cold blood. Heck, apparently that knocking-him-unconscious business was just a decoy after all!

Jo F said...

@ Joe Hinman,


o F said...
@Joe,

YOU: "that is not proven I quoted sources that said at fertilization life is created but it's not necessarily autonomous life. sperm is life. fingernails are life. they are not people. at some point the fetus becomes a person we don't necessarily know when,"

ME: 1. The human zygote is distinct from the mother and father, AND constructs ITSELF, so it is indeed "autonomous".

YOU: (1) if you are going to ry to fain a qote from a medical book cite the source,

(2) "distinct" is autonomous.could it survive outside the mothers womb that is the issue, Also does it have conscious awareness?

MY RESPONSE: On your first point: Oh, we're playing the "cite your sources argument." That cuts both ways, of course...if you want to deny what I said, I'd like to hear your source. Now, I really shouldn't have to. I thought everyone here had a general understanding of embryology, as it basically would be tough in any bio class. The blastocystic embryo develops itself in the sense that it, independent of the mother's intervention, is formed of cells that accumulate and combine to form the various parts of the body. Some stem cells will predictably become the internal organs, according to each bodily system.

On your second point: Then you gave two arbitrary qualifiers for the recognition of a human being: 1. sentience, 2. survival independent of maternal support. Here again we run into the problem of inconsistency and arbitrariness in your arguments. If we will not ascribe life to an individual because they are not conscious then you had better kill people who are asleep, or mentally ill people who have never even gained sentience. At this point you'll say, "but it only counts if its a fetus!" to which I say "can't you see how hopelessly arbitrary and baseless your assumption is, that it cannot even be extended in application to others? It doesn't make sense.

On 2: This is completely unfair to the child. YOU were dependent on your mother, why should that make a difference? I've come to the salient realization that everyone fighting tooth and nail for abortion has already been born. They say things like, "oh, well I'd give up my life for my mother because I understand I wasn't a human at the blastula stage"...really? I don't believe you!

So they need the nourishment of their mother--surely that makes them inhuman! After all, 'tis such an act of indecency to derive one's well being from their mother. I'll be sure to let every kid below the age of 18 who's legally dependent on their mothers know they're not humans anymore.

The conceived being is a human because 1. it is individuated from both parents, 2. it engineers its own development,

Just give it up and admit it: they're humans, and you believe we should kill them....but don't lie that they aren't people.

I'll listen to your arguments on why child murder should be legal in certain cases, but that's a totally separate issue--you won't get away with conflating the leftist counter-arguments against the recognition of conceptual life and the decision-power of the mother.

Are you open to persuasion? Are you actually capable of changing your mind--or will you fervently insist that abortion is fine just because you want to win an argument?

Hal said...

"Are you open to persuasion? Are you actually capable of changing your mind--or will you fervently insist that abortion is fine just because you want to win an argument?"

That is not fair to Joe. He is not playing a game of one-upmanshp. He is making his arguments because he believes his position is the morally correct one. Just as there is no question that the anti-abortonists arguing against him are convinced that their position is the morally correct one.

I understand that you likely think you've provided knock-down arguments that no reasonable person could possibly reject. However, they don't appear that strong to those of us who think it important to allow the decision for an abortion to be ultimately up to the pregnant woman. If you wish to have any chance of persuading us you are going to have to find a way to stop begging the question of whether or not we should attribute human personhood at the moment of conception.





Legion of Logic said...

Hal,

The first cell of a new human life meets every objective criteria for being just that - a new human life. It is genetically unique from the parents, it performs its own biological functions, it stands on the continuum of human development that lasts for decades, etc. Any objection to this is arbitrary and thus irrelevant to truth.

The pro-"choice" crowd lost the argument of when life begins, since there is exactly one objective answer that doesn't fly in the face of reality. The onus is on the pro-"choice" crowd to explain why some human lives have no worth.

William Brown said...

"That is not fair to Joe. He is not playing a game of one-upmanshp. He is making his arguments....blah, blah, blah"

Cannot Joe speak for himself? I quit trying to communicate with Joe because I found his replies incoherent & devoid of rationality. I have to admit that I even doubted that he in just playing a game here, in that he seems in favour of killing babies but unable to give logical reasons. Ad hominem is not an argument. Science, scripture, tradition, natural reason, intuition all make a very strong cumulative argument for the immorality of terminating innocent life. Location, level of dependence, size, & the circumstances responsible for the creation of the baby are all irrelevant to the issue of whether it is right or wrong to kill it.

bmiller said...


@Legion of Logic,

To be fair the Hal, he has stated that his dispute regards not that the unborn are unique live human beings, but that they do not have "personhood" at conception.

Joe's argument is that personhood happens at some point of autonomy that the unborn achieve during development.

At bottom then a dispute regarding the nature of human beings.

Some of us hold that when a unique entity comes into existence it has a nature that it retains throughout its existence. That nature is not only what the entity actually is at that time, but also what it can naturally potentially become. So although I do not now speak Latin now, I have the potential to learn it (since it is natural for humans to learn languages) and then will be a Latin speaker. So by learning Latin I have not changed my nature, but merely moved the attribute "Latin-speaker" from the column of not active to active. In this view personhood is part of my nature and always was.


Others hold that the idea of things having natures is merely a human concept or convention and there really is no such thing as something having an essential nature. So the classification of things depend on human conventions and concepts.
In this view, since different people define personhood differently there can be no clear line of demarcation when an entity passes from "non-person" to "person".

I'd like to get feedback now from Hal to see if I misconstrued his position.


Legion of Logic said...

"To be fair the Hal, he has stated that his dispute regards not that the unborn are unique live human beings, but that they do not have "personhood" at conception."

Personhood is also an arbitrary legal concept. Slaves knew this. It might be legally practical in some instances, but it has no bearing on when life begins, on when a human life is a human life.

Jo F said...

@ bmiller
"To be fair the Hal, he has stated that his dispute regards not that the unborn are unique live human beings, but that they do not have "personhood" at conception."

I don't think that is accurate, bmiller. Firstly, it seems he specifically has argued against my claim that the first cell of life is a human being. However, if that is true, then he'd still have to defend against my arguments that the first cell of life is a human, or else he would be left with saying that it's okay to kill a human being before it becomes a "person"--but whether you want to recognize personhood or not, a human is a human and to kill one is murder. And murder is the deprivation of future life, so to end the life of a human blastula is to deprive it of further life which is to cause murder.

Now, even if he were to argue, distinct from that, that personhood is not achieved--he'd have to give criterion MORE reasonable than those of the first cell of life: individuation from its parents, self-development, etc.

The fact that it is the first cell of life in the first place makes its identification as a human being the default position. I'm open to changing my mind, of course, but it seem to me there's just no good reason to believe otherwise.

@ Hal

"I understand that you likely think you've provided knock-down arguments that no reasonable person could possibly reject."

I haven't even begun

"However, they don't appear that strong to those of us who think it important to allow the decision for an abortion to be ultimately up to the pregnant woman."

Well, since you're speaking on his behalf: I specifically warned against conflating these two issues: 1. whether the first cell of life is a human or not, 2. whether the choice should be left up to the mother or not. You can't hide behind the purported reasonableness of 2 to assume that 1 is false. These influence each other, and if I am to get anywhere I need to hear your arguments regarding 1.

"If you wish to have any chance of persuading us you are going to have to find a way to stop begging the question of whether or not we should attribute human personhood at the moment of conception."
Have you read what I've said? Anyway,
You'll have to first explain how I have begged the question, and then explain YOUR arguments---your position is not the default position. Human life has to begin somewhere, clearly the default position is at conception, at which point the blastocystic fetus develops ITSELF and is distinct from both parents, maintaining stem cells that will each develop into the various bodily systems we have.

Miguel said...

A toenail, even if left undisturbed, will never cry after some 9 months. Or ask for toys after some 5 years. Or complain about school after 15 years. Or maybe become a doctor after some 25 years of time.

No, a toenail will not do these things; a simple sack of cells won't, either. Sperm won't, either. Eggs don't become doctors after 25 years, either (not because they become lawyers or philosophy professors, either; they just don't become any of those things).

A zygote, on the other hand...

bmiller said...

Legion of Logic, Jo F,

I took Hal at his word that his position on abortion hinged on the personhood of the unborn.

You've brought forward arguments addressing both the definition of personhood and the moral relevance of personhood to the intention destruction of a human life. It cannot now be reasonably held that you've begged the question.

I look forward to Hal's response.

Joe Hinman said...


Thanks Hal


MY RESPONSE: On your first point: Oh, we're playing the "cite your sources argument." That cuts both ways, of course...if you want to deny what I said, I'd like to hear your source. Now, I really shouldn't have to.

of course you shoulod because I'm not sure you have a source.i do have one and did link to it



I thought everyone here had a general understanding of embryology, as it basically would be tough in any bio class. The blastocystic embryo develops itself in the sense that it, independent of the mother's intervention, is formed of cells that accumulate and combine to form the various parts of the body. Some stem cells will predictably become the internal organs, according to each bodily system.

bioclass does not make it conscious and it does not make able to sirvie outside the womb, can the smoke and mirrors and answers the argument, when does it become viable and concussions?



On your second point: Then you gave two arbitrary qualifiers for the recognition of a human being: 1. sentience, 2. survival independent of maternal support. Here again we run into the problem of inconsistency and arbitrariness in your arguments.

if you can't understand why those are not library or invalid then you turely have no back ground in studying this topic.Those are the colssics. I spend a semester researching this as a class project for a gradate class consisting of law students and theology students, We presented our paper to the dean of SMU law school and qa famous theologian and ethcisist Fred Carney, Live seminary class presentation, it was log ago bit ai have studied the topic intensely, we got an A too. those are standard arguments thinkers on both sides accept


If we will not ascribe life to an individual because they are not conscious then you had better kill people who are asleep, or mentally ill people who have never even gained sentience. At this point you'll say, "but it only counts if its a fetus!" to which I say "can't you see how hopelessly arbitrary and baseless your assumption is, that it cannot even be extended in application to others? It doesn't make sense.


tat takes us back to fingernails and sperm.if we can't attribute personhood to fingernail because they are alive why should we attribute it to a fetus? what's the difference in a person and a fingernail>?could it be consciousness?

On 2: This is completely unfair to the child. YOU were dependent on your mother, why should that make a difference? I've come to the salient realization that everyone fighting tooth and nail for abortion has already been born. They say things like, "oh, well I'd give up my life for my mother because I understand I wasn't a human at the blastula stage"...really? I don't believe you!


total non sequitur

So they need the nourishment of their mother--surely that makes them inhuman! After all, 'tis such an act of indecency to derive one's well being from their mother. I'll be sure to let every kid below the age of 18 who's legally dependent on their mothers know they're not humans anymore.

I never said the issue is to punish fetuses for being dependent,but there must be apoint at which woman is in charge of her own body,

here we go back why dont you allow RU486? That;s the perfect answer its not killing life


The conceived being is a human because 1. it is individuated from both parents, 2. it engineers its own development,


you could say the same of a clone made from skin cells.

Joe Hinman said...

Just give it up and admit it: they're humans, and you believe we should kill them....but don't lie that they aren't people.


you are not distinguishing between being and becoming, They are in process they haven not fulfilled their potential yet, because you are not willing to make that distinction which logically msut be deal with you are not arguing honestly,l

I'll listen to your arguments on why child murder should be legal in certain cases, but that's a totally separate issue--you won't get away with conflating the leftist counter-arguments against the recognition of conceptual life and the decision-power of the mother.

another extremely dishonest tactic right to lifers always employ using flare words and alarmist language to color the discourse, like saying do you still beat your wife? or


Are you open to persuasion? Are you actually capable of changing your mind--or will you fervently insist that abortion is fine just because you want to win an argument?

I don't you have not dealt with salient issues, I'km waiting to see a logical argument that's begging the question,

December 16, 2016 6:38 PM


So they need the nourishment of their mother--surely that makes them inhuman! After all, 'tis such an act of indecency to derive one's well being from their mother. I'll be sure to let every kid below the age of 18 who's legally dependent on their mothers know they're not humans anymore.

I never said the issue is to punish fetuses for being dependent,but there must be apoint at which woman is in charge of her own body,

here we go back why dont you allow RU486? That;s the perfect answer its not killing life


The conceived being is a human because 1. it is individuated from both parents, 2. it engineers its own development,


you could say the same of a clone made from skin cells.

Just give it up and admit it: they're humans, and you believe we should kill them....but don't lie that they aren't people.


you are not distinguishing between being and becoming, They are in process they haven not fulfilled their potential yet, because you are not willing to make that distinction which logically msut be deal with you are not arguing honestly,l

I'll listen to your arguments on why child murder should be legal in certain cases, but that's a totally separate issue--you won't get away with conflating the leftist counter-arguments against the recognition of conceptual life and the decision-power of the mother.

another extremely dishonest tactic right to lifers always employ using flare words and alarmist language to color the discourse, like saying do you still beat your wife? or


Are you open to persuasion? Are you actually capable of changing your mind--or will you fervently insist that abortion is fine just because you want to win an argument?

I don't you have not dealt with salient issues, I'km waiting to see a logical argument that's begging the question,

December 16, 2016 6:38 PM

Joe Hinman said...

miller said...
Legion of Logic, Jo F,

I took Hal at his word that his position on abortion hinged on the personhood of the unborn.

You've brought forward arguments addressing both the definition of personhood and the moral relevance of personhood to the intention destruction of a human life. It cannot now be reasonably held that you've begged the question.


you mean the one;s I just got through beating the crap out of? Look until you give me a reason why we should tell a woman she has no right over her own body before the fetus is even conscious or viable then you are just begging the question.

there is no logical reason why I should accept your word that the potential for personhood must be counted as personhood before it's fuflilled.

Joe Hinman said...

"That is not fair to Joe. He is not playing a game of one-upmanshp. He is making his arguments....blah, blah, blah"

Cannot Joe speak for himself? I quit trying to communicate with Joe because I found his replies incoherent & devoid of rationality.


translation you are too stupid to answer my arguments and you know I kicked your ass.


I have to admit that I even doubted that he in just playing a game here, in that he seems in favour of killing babies but unable to give logical reasons.


there's the little fear and loathing the right wisdom idiots always resort to. they can't win by logic they have to use inflammatory accusations and angry descriptive to slander their opponents. like they did to Hillary,

guess what Judas you are not getting the Christian tradition I am every bit as a Christian as you are you are not going to take that away with your little slanderous name calling, you are only doing that because you can't beat my logic



Ad hominem is not an argument.

I did't ma,e an ad hon but I qam now,. you can't have a rational discussion with right wing idiots, they nut win they can't talk rationally with fascists.

you can go goosestep on someone else's rights because you are not getting mine,you fom't get tocontol whio iknokws Jessu and who doesn't either,



Science, scripture, tradition, natural reason, intuition all make a very strong cumulative argument for the immorality of terminating innocent life. Location, level of dependence, size, & the circumstances responsible for the creation of the baby are all irrelevant to the issue of whether it is right or wrong to kill it.

Joe Hinman said...

Science, scripture, tradition, natural reason, intuition all make a very strong cumulative argument for the immorality of terminating innocent life. Location, level of dependence, size, & the circumstances responsible for the creation of the baby are all irrelevant to the issue of whether it is right or wrong to kill it.

Answered arguments Bonito. Your little theory about values is fine but does not overcome the need to distinguish where the woman' right over her own body ends and the right of the new life begins,

or is that thiat too incoherent to follow? also El Duce:


a. I know you think women have no rights,So you have to show why they don't. if you grant women have rights then you must how why they have no rights over cells growing in their own bodies,

b, why are the criteria I gave (consciousnesses and autonomy) not the most logical dividing line?


c.then you have to show why fingernails and sperm should not be as protected as a fetus and you can't appeal to consciousness because you nixed it,''

d.you must answer y RU 486 challenge.


right wingers don't care about life they just want punish women for having sex,they want abortion as an organizing tool otherwise they would allow RU486

Joe Hinman said...

legion says

Personhood is also an arbitrary legal concept. Slaves knew this. It might be legally practical in some instances, but it has no bearing on when life begins, on when a human life is a human life.

again, you must distinguish between kinds of life, to say say "life must be protected" andb NOT distinguish is to invite the need to protect sperm and fingernails, you are implying a distinction in saying it's "a person" then you want to back off defining what a person is,

there is a woman involved here it;s her body this life is rowing in. why would there not be a division based upon autonomy? when it;snot autonomous or conscious why would it still have rights that negate those of the other?

no one on yiour side has answered this

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,

Are you a Christian? Do you believe in the Incarnation?

William Brown said...

Joe, firstly, apologies for strong words on my part. That was out of place.

-Bill

A few follow-up points/questions:

Joe said: "....
tat takes us back to fingernails and sperm.if we can't attribute personhood to fingernail because they are alive why should we attribute it to a fetus? what's the difference in a person and a fingernail>?could it be consciousness?"

I reply: Fingernails are not persons because they do not have the genetic potential to develop naturally into a new human. A fertilized egg is a person because it naturally will develop into a full adult.
Consciousness or ability to live autonomously outside of the womb are not relevant; these criteria apply to many adults. Unless, of course you also deem adults who are dependent or have lesser degrees of consciousness as non-human or non-persons who can or should be killed as well. That view is becoming ever more popular in university ethics classes and amongst government workers.

Joe said: "there must be apoint at which woman is in charge of her own body..."

I reply: Depending on what you mean by the term, there is no point at which either a man or a woman is "in charge" of their body. Our body is not our own and we have certain duties to care and protect our body. See John Paul II's 'theology of the body', or just go to scripture where our body is described as the temple of God. We are to be stewards of God's creation.


Joe said: ".....they haven not fulfilled their potential yet...."
My reply: So what? How does fulfilling 'potential' make someone a person or make someone human, or somehow make someone worthy to be killed? And just how is this potential defined? What is the goal at which someone is now worthy of life. Are you willing to play the Roman official in the gladiatorial arena who makes a thumbs up you live, thumbs down you die decision?

Joe said: "Look until you give me a reason why we should tell a woman she has no right over her own body before the fetus is even conscious...."
My reply: How is killing a baby a "right over a woman's body". Explain how you get from one to the other.
Secondly, at how many weeks is the baby conscious? Why does the lack of this quality mean that it's OK to destroy the fetus?


Joe said: "I did't ma,e an ad hon but I qam now.....". "you fom't get tocontol whio iknokws Jessu and who doesn't either,"

My reply: Yjil bgewp the 0pw knwn bow and 68sgsbb bd Jesus hwqh" Just sayin'.


Joe said: "why are the criteria I gave (consciousnesses and autonomy) not the most logical dividing line?"

My reply: I have tried to answer this above: these criteria are arbitrary and capricious. There are too many exceptions that would logically result in a sanction for killing members of the adult population. This is a dangerous route to take, as recent 20th and 21st century history has shown. You need to show how autonomy or level of independence and why a certain definition of consciousness makes it morally OK to destroy a fetus. I have argued (and there are much, much more detailed and better written arguments than mine) that the point of conception only can be the point of human personhood. That certainly would be the safest, no?

William Brown said...

I have not read this book, but I have read some of Robert George's writings, and he makes a very strong argument based on natural law, jurisprudence (he's a law prof. at Princeton), history, scripture, tradition, intuition, the latest research in biology, and philosophy.....

"In Defense of the Defenseless — the Human Embryo

The moral status of the human embryo now stands as a central question of our times. In fact, it has only been in recent times that we have even known much about the human embryo. Now, with the issues of human embryonic stem cell research, cloning, reproductive technologies, and designer babies before us, the human embryo is now a central character in some of our most heated moral and political debates.

Now, Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen defend the human dignity of the human embryo with vigor and credible argument in Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (Doubleday). George and Tollefsen offer a sustained argument against the use and destruction of human embryos in medical experimentation.

Robert P. George is Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. Christopher Tollefsen is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina. They understand what is at stake in this controversy — the dignity of every single human being.

They make their case that “human embryos are, from the very beginning, human beings, sharing an identity with, though younger than, the older human beings they will grow up to become.”
Embryo is now the essential book on this great moral question.

From the book:
The evidence suggests, then, that at the end of the first week, the same organism that came into being at fertilization has continued to grow and pursue its important biological goals. It does this by means of an increasingly differentiated division of labor among the cells, but a division whose original plan dates back to the very act of fertilization. And it pursues its goals, and adjusts for difficulties, by means of communication from cell to cell. It is, it would seem, a single organism, just like a toddler, adolescent, or adult.

Professor Robert P. George was my guest on The Albert Mohler Program to discuss this book on May 5, 2008 [listen here]. "





William Brown said...

Joe said: "there is a woman involved here ..."

Joe, every time I hear this my thoughts immediately go to: Yes, there is a woman involved here. That baby, fetus, or whatever you want to call it will, close to 50% of the time, become a mature woman in relatively short time. Why is it that that woman has no rights whatsoever? Because it is silent and has zero ability to fend for itself, that justifies killing it? This to me is one of the most brutal and inhumane things I can think of.

Legion of Logic said...

"again, you must distinguish between kinds of life, to say say "life must be protected" andb NOT distinguish is to invite the need to protect sperm and fingernails, you are implying a distinction in saying it's "a person" then you want to back off defining what a person is,"

I don't use the term "person" since it can be used to claim that certain humans are not persons, such as slavery. A human life defined is simple - when did we biologically begin to exist? The first cell. At no point was any human a fingernail. A human life extends from the first cell until the moment that organism dies - sperm and fingernails are not on this continuum.

"there is a woman involved here it;s her body this life is rowing in. why would there not be a division based upon autonomy?"

For the same reason language, functional reproductive system, mobility, or teeth aren't cause for division - they are arbitrary points on the continuum of a human life. "When does a human life begin" is a question whose answer is independent of the concept of women's rights or a woman's bodily autonomy.

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,

I asked:
"Are you a Christian? Do you believe in the Incarnation?"

I see now that you proclaim to be a Christian, so please ignore that question.
I also see that you went to SMU, so I assume you hold the Methodist faith, right?

I'm not familiar with what Methodists teach.
Do they believe in the Incarnation? That Jesus was fully human in all ways like you and I except for His conception and lack of original sin?
Do they believe that the New Testament is the Word of God?
The passage I quoted from Luke...where Elizabeth is prompted by the Holy Spirit to make her proclamation. Do they consider this the Word of God also?

According to the "autonomous person" theory, what Elizabeth proclaimed makes no sense, at least to me.
Can you tell me how they reconcile the fact that Elizabeth calls Mary "mother" and Jesus "Savior" when according to the "autonomous person" theory, Mary wasn't the mother of anything worth being called Savior? After all, wouldn't the 3rd Person of the Trinity recognize when the 2nd Person of the Trinity was present?

Joe Hinman said...

miller said...
@Joe Hinman,

Are you a Christian? Do you believe in the Incarnation?

yes

Joe Hinman said...


Blogger William Brown said...
Joe, firstly, apologies for strong words on my part. That was out of place.

-Bill

accepted ;-)

A few follow-up points/questions:

Joe said: "....
tat takes us back to fingernails and sperm.if we can't attribute personhood to fingernail because they are alive why should we attribute it to a fetus? what's the difference in a person and a fingernail>?could it be consciousness?"

I reply: Fingernails are not persons because they do not have the genetic potential to develop naturally into a new human. A fertilized egg is a person because it naturally will develop into a full adult.

but the hall mark of having so developed is consciousnesses. fingernails do have the genetic potential they have the gene structure.


Consciousness or ability to live autonomously outside of the womb are not relevant; these criteria apply to many adults. Unless, of course you also deem adults who are dependent or have lesser degrees of consciousness as non-human or non-persons who can or should be killed as well. That view is becoming ever more popular in university ethics classes and amongst government workers.

that's a good point but it would be a difficult decision either way, I mean suppose you decided to allow a human vegetable with no potential to regain consciousnesses the chance to die of natural causes by removing then from assisted living, not necessarily murder.

Joe said: "there must be a point at which woman is in charge of her own body..."

I reply: Depending on what you mean by the term, there is no point at which either a man or a woman is "in charge" of their body. Our body is not our own and we have certain duties to care and protect our body. See John Paul II's 'theology of the body', or just go to scripture where our body is described as the temple of God. We are to be stewards of God's creation.

why should that apply to a case where there is no viability or consciousnesses on the part of the fetus. also hypocritical for us as men to that off on women it should be av decision made by women, we never have to face the consequences.


Joe said: ".....they haven not fulfilled their potential yet...."
My reply: So what? How does fulfilling 'potential' make someone a person or make someone human, or somehow make someone worthy to be killed? And just how is this potential defined? What is the goal at which someone is now worthy of life. Are you willing to play the Roman official in the gladiatorial arena who makes a thumbs up you live, thumbs down you die decision?

your founding premise is that becoming is being, it is in the process of becoming therefore it already is, your argument assumes they are already 'someone,' while this argument is not without merit ti ca[t be proven.

Joe said: "Look until you give me a reason why we should tell a woman she has no right over her own body before the fetus is even conscious...."
My reply: How is killing a baby a "right over a woman's body". Explain how you get from one to the other.


labeling it a baby does not make it a baby labeling it'murder" does not make it murder,"Baby" is a term we use for a born young humans, it's not a baby until it is born .but you assume if it is going to be then it already is. that's an example of how flair language colors the issues unfairly,


Secondly, at how many weeks is the baby conscious? Why does the lack of this quality mean that it's OK to destroy the fetus?


you are only negating a process not attacking the point of the end product, destroying seeds s not destroying trees. Washington's mother had she aborted George would not be a presidential assassin,

Joe Hinman said...


Joe said: "I did't ma,e an ad hon but I qam now.....". "you fom't get tocontol whio iknokws Jessu and who doesn't either,"

My reply: Yjil bgewp the 0pw knwn bow and 68sgsbb bd Jesus hwqh" Just sayin'.

cute, every sentence i type is a huge struggle, when I get angry I' less careful because I type faster so my fingers can;'t keep up.

(1) I was in a coma for two months and laying on my right hand I have have less dexterity in it,

(2) I can barely see

(3) I am lying flat on my back which makes it very hard to type.
]
(4) i have dyslexia, I go over every sentence i type again and again and gain,still full of mistakes see above.,



Joe said: "why are the criteria I gave (consciousnesses and autonomy) not the most logical dividing line?"

My reply: I have tried to answer this above: these criteria are arbitrary and capricious.


that is an absurd answer because you have no criteria, you remarkably asserting that your position is true an any disagreement is automatically violating truth but you can't give me a reason.the only attempt at a reason I see hinted sat is that to being the process of becoming is to be at the end of the process already,seeds are trees, that is nonsense.

how can consciousness be an arbitrary criterion when it; the ONLY difference you have given between a lump of flesh and a fetus?, Both have the same DNA they are both based the same genetic structure, one will become a conscious organism the other wont. The only real difference will be consciousness.



There are too many exceptions that would logically result in a sanction for killing members of the adult population.

no there are none, Because adults are already born and most adults have consciousness

This is a dangerous route to take, as recent 20th and 21st century history has shown. You need to show how autonomy or level of independence and why a certain definition of consciousness makes it morally OK to destroy a fetus. I have argued (and there are much, much more detailed and better written arguments than mine) that the point of conception only can be the point of human personhood. That certainly would be the safest, no?

your argument is committing two fallacies, slippery slope and black is write slide. Just because fetuses can can be aborted in a certain time frame does not mean that does not allow for terminating non fetus not in that time frame. Adults are not fetuses and not in the first Trimester of life.

If viability and consciousness are always respected non vegetable adults can never be killed on the of aborting fetuses for being non conscious and not viable,

Joe Hinman said...

I asked:
"Are you a Christian? Do you believe in the Incarnation?"

I see now that you proclaim to be a Christian, so please ignore that question.
I also see that you went to SMU, so I assume you hold the Methodist faith, right?

yes but I became one because of of SMU I didn't go there because I was a Methodist

I'm not familiar with what Methodists teach.

they have drifted a lot from their founder John Wesley but i like him


Do they believe in the Incarnation? That Jesus was fully human in all ways like you and I except for His conception and lack of original sin?

yes I accept the Nicene creed truly God and Truly man

Do they believe that the New Testament is the Word of God?
The passage I quoted from Luke...where Elizabeth is prompted by the Holy Spirit to make her proclamation. Do they consider this the Word of God also?

yes in general, Methodists are a problematic lot now days, that passage does not prove that all fetuses are conscious.


According to the "autonomous person" theory, what Elizabeth proclaimed makes no sense, at least to me.

she said she flt the fetus respond to a stemulus that is not a proof that all fetuses are conscious and viable from conception ,Her fetus was already in the third trimester,



December 18, 2016 8:39 PM

Joe Hinman said...

Schweitzer and the Death of Civilization 3 of 3

William Brown said...

Joe said: "that passage does not prove that all fetuses are conscious..."

My reply: Perhaps the point here is that consciousness is not what makes a person worthy of life. Perhaps something more akin to ensoulment at conception grants us dignity and a right to life.

Joe Hinman said...

That assumes ghost in the machine, I don't believe that a souls is a ghost in the machine, I think care reading of OT passages shows that souks a metaphoir for life in relation to God. we don;t have souls we are souls. it says in Exodus x number of souls went into egypt not x number of people with souls.

the thing that lives on after death the core self is spirit. Soul and spirit can be coterminous in some passages. there is a high correlation between soul and consciousness, or spirit and consciousness, Spirit is actually Mind,it is the consciousness that lives on.

the meaning of soul psyche in Greeks i mind. meaning of pnuma the Greek for spirit is used for mind,

Joe Hinman said...

look at how many ties in the OT the term "soul" is used of a person's life. Soul is usually not a ghost in the machine that lives on after death, NT usage has a totally different word, psyche, which means the mind or the mental. Pnuma, Greek for spirit is usually associated with breath or wind but was used of mind as well. This leads me to believe that it is the mind that lives on after death.

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,

"According to the "autonomous person" theory, what Elizabeth proclaimed makes no sense, at least to me."

"she said she flt the fetus respond to a stemulus that is not a proof that all fetuses are conscious and viable from conception ,Her fetus was already in the third trimester,"

Joe,

You missed what I was getting at. The entire reason I've brought up the Incarnation has nothing to do with John the Baptist, but with Jesus. It is evident that Mary visited Elizabeth immediately after the conception of Jesus and stayed till John was born according to the timeline in Luke's Gospel. This is relevant because:

The Holy Spirit inspired Elizabeth to exclaim this immediately upon Mary's arrival:
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
[43] And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? "

Jesus was not "autonomous" according to your definition, yet the Holy Spirit indicated that Mary was the mother of someone
and that someone was the Savior, also known as the second person of the Trinity.

If the second person of the Trinity had not been present and someone wants to interpret the exclamation as inconclusive, then they would have to explain why John the Baptist "leaped" in Elizabeth's womb at the presence of the Savior.

Joe Hinman said...

You missed what I was getting at. The entire reason I've brought up the Incarnation has nothing to do with John the Baptist, but with Jesus. It is evident that Mary visited Elizabeth immediately after the conception of Jesus and stayed till John was born according to the timeline in Luke's Gospel. This is relevant because:

The Holy Spirit inspired Elizabeth to exclaim this immediately upon Mary's arrival:
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
[43] And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? "

Jesus was not "autonomous" according to your definition, yet the Holy Spirit indicated that Mary was the mother of someone
and that someone was the Savior, also known as the second person of the Trinity.

If the second person of the Trinity had not been present and someone wants to interpret the exclamation as inconclusive, then they would have to explain why John the Baptist "leaped" in Elizabeth's womb at the presence of the Savior.

December 19, 2016 9:08 AM

all fetuses are not the incarnate logos

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,

"all fetuses are not the incarnate logos"

But the incarnate logos is humanly the same as all human fetuses otherwise the second person of the Trinity is not human.

Mr. Green said...

Joe Hinman: That assumes ghost in the machine, I don't believe that a soul is a ghost in the machine

This baffles me, because you're the one who is taking the ghost-in-machine position. The rest of us are arguing that each and every human is an integrated being: there is a definite, observable discontinuity at conception, when a new and unique life-form comes into being, and thenceforth develops gradually with no more discontinuities (until death!); the soul is either always present (i.e. it is in fact a human being) or not at all — there is no such thing as "half" a human being, a body without a soul, or a soul without a body (again, at least until death).

You, on the other hand, are insisting the human being — or rather, the human-but-not-yet-human being — begins life bodily at conception, but then at some secret point suddenly gains a soul (or mind, or spirit). For the soul to come and go like this, like a captain boarding or disembarking his ship, is precisely what the "ghost in the machine" metaphor is mocking.

Sure, you can always make up a story in which God pulls some miraculous jiggery-pokery to get an ensouled body in place at some point after conception — just like He could, say, cause everyone to perceive a miraculous vision of "Joe Hinman" even though no such person exists... and thus argue that it's fine and dandy to kill you because you aren't "really" a person. It's "possible"; but wrong. Everything from common sense on up to our most detailed biological expertise indicates that you are a person, and the same person you've been ever since you were conceived. Anything else is a supernatural conspiracy-theory — as supported by your own lack of any argument as to how or when the soul/mind/spirit makes its entrance. Even if the possibility you insist on were reasonable, you can't give any definitive argument or deadline when it's safe to kill the "unbaby", and so morally you are bound to take the morally safer course, just as if you saw a movement in the woods or dark shape crossing the road.

the thing that lives on after death the core self is spirit.

If the soul is a metaphor for life, then there can be no soul after death; so for human beings, it has to be something more than that. Indeed, the soul is the mind-as-principle-of-life for a human body, not as some separate "thing" that inhabits the body, but just the living-embodied-rational-being. Because the mind is immaterial, it can survive death, and so we can say that our soul survives death (but in a highly crippled state, since its whole body has been amputated! — which is why God will resurrect us; the intellect/soul is incomplete, and not a whole human being without a body).

William Brown said...

Joe, after you answer Mr. Green, can you tell me when you think a fetus becomes conscious? How are you defining consciousness? This would have to be crucial for you with regard to the ethics of abortion, since you use that (and autonomy) to define when the fetus should be allowed to live.

Also, how do you define autonomy, and at what time in the intrapartum course does the fetus acquire this property? Is this at the same time as the fetus becomes conscious?

Thanks.

Joe Hinman said...


"all fetuses are not the incarnate logos"

But the incarnate logos is humanly the same as all human fetuses otherwise the second person of the Trinity is not human.

that doesn't follow. you just jettison the divine when you need him to exemplify humanity, unless you know a bunch of kids thiat walk on water,

Joe Hinman said...

Joe Hinman: That assumes ghost in the machine, I don't believe that a soul is a ghost in the machine

This baffles me, because you're the one who is taking the ghost-in-machine position. The rest of us are arguing that each and every human is an integrated being: there is a definite, observable discontinuity at conception, when a new and unique life-form comes into being, and thenceforth develops gradually with no more discontinuities (until death!); the soul is either always present (i.e. it is in fact a human being) or not at all — there is no such thing as "half" a human being, a body without a soul, or a soul without a body (again, at least until death).

no the position that equates fertilized egg with person assures essentially of the soul The idea of a literal ghostly entity in the body called the soul, otherwise you could understand the soul as developing as part of consciousness. In my view the fetus is becoming a soul and is not one until it is viable autonomously apart from the womb,

Joe Hinman said...

Green

You, on the other hand, are insisting the human being — or rather, the human-but-not-yet-human being — begins life bodily at conception, but then at some secret point suddenly gains a soul (or mind, or spirit). For the soul to come and go like this, like a captain boarding or disembarking his ship, is precisely what the "ghost in the machine" metaphor is mocking.

just like an athyeist you din't really read what i say do you? how many times did i say we don;t have soul we are souls? The over all life is the soul, not a ghost in the machine

Sure, you can always make up a story in which God pulls some miraculous jiggery-pokery to get an ensouled body in place at some point after conception — just like He could, say, cause everyone to perceive a miraculous vision of "Joe Hinman" even though no such person exists... and thus argue that it's fine and dandy to kill you because you aren't "really" a person.

what in the hell are you talking about?


It's "possible"; but wrong. Everything from common sense on up to our most detailed biological expertise indicates that you are a person, and the same person you've been ever since you were conceived.

So far you failed to make a argument that doesn't beg the question Your logic mostly says I know I am right so therefore I'm right." you do not have a single Bible verse that says it, tye only verses you have must be interpreted and read them with the assumption of begged the question. your reasoning is totally circular.


Anything else is a supernatural conspiracy-theory — as supported by your own lack of any argument as to how or when the soul/mind/spirit makes its entrance. Even if the possibility you insist on were reasonable, you can't give any definitive argument or deadline when it's safe to kill the "unbaby", and so morally you are bound to take the morally safer course, just as if you saw a movement in the woods or dark shape crossing the road.


get through your igniter little head you are assuming that because you must be right you are, that is not proof genius, you have not actually given a reason why we should assume person hood begins at conception. I have given several reasons why PERSON HOOD MUST BE EQUATED WITH CONSCIOUSNESS.

you can't follow an argument in a straight line, I think probably your fundamentalist assumptions are telling you if you are not right you will go to hell so you must be right no ount or reasoning will ever get though yiour fear of hell,

you don't seem to have a concept what an argument is,,


Joe Hinman said...

Joe, after you answer Mr. Green, can you tell me when you think a fetus becomes conscious? How are you defining consciousness? This would have to be crucial for you with regard to the ethics of abortion, since you use that (and autonomy) to define when the fetus should be allowed to live.

you did not read the first part of the thread did you? I said we don't know when it happens probably veries by individual but we can be sure that the closer we get into the third trimester the more likley it is to have happened, The close yu go back to fertilization the safer the assumption that it has not. I define consciousness qs self awareness and being awake being able to observe and learn, that puts any fetus at a low level of consciousnesses.

Also, how do you define autonomy, and at what time in the intrapartum course does the fetus acquire this property? Is this at the same time as the fetus becomes conscious?

I already said I define autonomy as viability that is the ability of the fetus to live outside the mother;s womb, from the medical evidence I've read that usually isn't possible before the third trimester.

I have heard of rare cases where the fetus was surviving outside the womb before it what thought able to, go back to the first part of the thread I said i do not see abortion as a good choice, i think it's wrong to negate the process but it's not murder,if, and only if, the guidelines are followed.

Steve Lovell said...

For the record, while I think Joe is wrong here, I don't think he's saying anything philosophically crazy.

Before I say anything else, I'd like to say something about the use of the words "fetus" and "baby". Clearly, people who want to argue for pro-choice positions are not going to talk about "aborting babies", while people who argue for pro-life positions will describe abortion in those terms. Joe has said we only use the word "baby" once the child is born. I don't think that's the case at all. Women who have miscarriages "lose a baby" not merely a "fetus". Ask a woman who's had a miscarriage or feared that she was having one. Anyway, that's not an especially deep point, so let's move on ...

My earlier comments were aimed at showing the argument from the woman's right to do what she wants with her own body are not successful in demonstrating the moral permissibility of abortion. now I've got a bit more time on my hands, let me unpack those comments a little. // Arguing from the woman's right to do what she wants with her own body to the permissibility of abortion makes several assumptions. The first assumption seems to be that the woman "owns her body" in such a way that she may do with it as she pleases. But, even for clear cases of ownership this isn't obviously the case. If I own a shiny new Ferrari, do I have the right to smash it to pieces? I don't think so. If I don't want it any more, then why not sell it and give the money to charity? I can't be obligated to do the latter, but surely if it's a choice between one and the other it's pretty clear what I should do. "It's mine" is not a good enough justification. And that's for clear cases of "ownership" and our relationship to our bodies is certainly not so clear. The didn't earn our bodies, we cannot separate ourselves from them (at least not entirely, and at least not in this life). Why should we be permitted to destroy something that's part of our body? This is why I asked whether we have the right to chop off one of our own feet. This is where the comments about fingernails seem most relevant, and I'll come back to that later (see next post).

Now VR's original post was about the "village in your left arm". Even if we disregard the points above, and say that the woman's right to do with her body as she pleases is unproblematic, it surely only follows that she can abort the "fetus" if in doing so no one else is hurt. One cannot even reach that conclusion if one grants that the "fetus" is part of the woman's body since as the case of siamese twins shows, something being part of one person's body does not entail that it isn't also part (or all) of another person's body. So, again assuming the body "ownership" issue to be resolved, the argument will only work if we assume the "fetus" isn't a person (or whatever the relevant moral category is here). And as this thread clearly shows, that's a matter of contention. In sum, the argument from the woman's right to do what she likes with her body relies on too many other controversial assumptions to be given any independent weight.

Steve Lovell said...

Back to fingernails (I need to clip mine).

Clearly there is a difference between cutting off one's leg and clipping one's finger nails. In general the leg is wanted and the excess length of fingernail is not. The aborted "fetus" is (assumed to be) similarly unwanted. Both are made from human genetic material. Joe thinks this makes aborting a "fetus" similar to clipping one's nails. Now since my points about body ownership don't do anything to bring the legitimacy of nailclipping into doubt, without some additional machinery they also aren't going to bring into doubt the legitimacy of aborting a "fetus". Or are they? I think the extra machinery doesn't need to be very heavy. Firstly, while fingernails are made from human genetic material, they are dead. That's not the case for the "fetus". Moreover, one may ask whether anyone wants the fingernails. No-one rational would want them. That doesn't seem to be the case for the "fetus". One may also sensibly raise questions of the proper function of various natural processes and whether there is a difference between abortion and nail-clipping on those grounds. I think there clearly is. Anyway, leaving those points aside, the bigger issue again simply whether or not the "fetus" has any moral status as this stage. Fingernails don't.

Steve Lovell said...

So is the unborn "fetus" a person? Do they have any moral standing, and if so from when?

Clearly, I'm not going to settle that issue decisively in a short (or even a long) comment here. Joe's interlocuters have been arguing that life, and therefore moral standing, begins at conception.

The difficulty with saying anything else is that it starts to seem arbitrary where the line is drawn. Famously some people have tried to draw that line well after birth.

Arguably, both the criteria that Joe offers, consciousness and "independance" come by degrees. As such, the borderline between having and not having moral status becomes a fuzzy one susceptible to vagueness. That alone will make some people blanche, but I'm particuarly concerned with it in relation to independance.

In response to William Brown, Joe wrote that he defines "autonomy as viability, that is the ability of the fetus to live outside the mother's womb." As a philosopher, I'd like to pin this down. As you probably guessed, I'm outside of my mother's womb. Nevertheless, the latest medical research suggests that at some stage I'm going to die. Presumably, despite that, I still count as viable. But for how long? Indeed, suppose you take away the trappings of culture and society and leave me to my own devices, how long would I survive? I might last a while, but I'd be a rubbish subsistence farmer. Perhaps I'd have a few years in me. As an infant, I'd have stood no chance, I couldn't feed myself, move myself out of the way of danger or anything of the sort. Presumably I was still viable back then. Just before I came out of the womb, my mother was doing these things for me in rather different ways, I was fed through a tube to my tummy (that time may come again). I was presumably viable then too. At each stage, I needed the support of others which is proper to a human at that stage of development. At each stage if you remove that support, I'm going to suffer and before too long I'll die ... I just last longer with the support. I think I was "viable" at every stage. I was always able to live outside the womb, but I needed some help to get there, and help after that too. Add advances in technology to this picture, and you'll find that with "support" fetuses are able to survive outside the womb ever earlier, perhaps even from the very beginning.

I've been typing a while, it's time to do other things. I may come back to the "consciousness" criterion later.

Joe Hinman said...

Women who have miscarriages "lose a baby" not merely a "fetus". Ask a woman who's had a miscarriage or feared that she was having one. Anyway, that's not an especially deep point, so let's move on ...

all that proves is my original point that the terms are linked to the over all assumptions they don't prove anything. It's the negation of potential that is lamented in miscarriage. I know women who had miscarriages an did not funerals


Presumably I was still viable back then. Just before I came out of the womb, my mother was doing these things for me in rather different ways, I was fed through a tube to my tummy (that time may come again). I was presumably viable then too.

If that is supposed to prove that the retaliative nature of viability means it's a false concept it doesn't prove that. Obviously you can't just sit around being viable you have to feed yourself and you have to be trained to do things like walk. That does not mean that a newly fertilized zygote is mjust as viable as third trimester fetus.

Joe Hinman said...

ok if that was your best shot it failed. There's nothing new coming from the RTL bunch I'm gonna split, I'll be back when there are atheists to bash.

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,

"that doesn't follow. you just jettison the divine when you need him to exemplify humanity, unless you know a bunch of kids thiat walk on water,"

I believe that Christ had 2 natures:Human and Divine, both in the same person.
This is the historic formula for Christianity, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.

So no, I have not jettisoned the Divine, nor have I jettisoned the Humanity.

I wonder if you do not think Jesus ever soiled His swaddling cloth, that there was a time that he couldn't talk, walk or feed himself. A time when he was not "autonomous" in your opinion. Those are all part of human nature.







Steve Lovell said...

Hi Joe,

On the terminology "Baby" vs "Fetus", I said what I did only in response to your comments. You wrote: "Baby" is a term we use for a born young humans, it's not a baby until it is born.

I was taking issue with that. But as I say, it's not exactly the weightiest of issues in this area. However, if the pro-life position is correct and all or most of the abortions which have taken place are in fact murders, then "fetus" will turn out to have been one of the most ugly, euphemistic uses of language of all time. We won't settle the debate by discussing the words, and I wouldn't expect us to, but it's easy to hide behind words, and I think it's useful to be aware of that.

Moving on ...


I didn't say the concept of viability was relative, I said it was "vague" (in that it comes in degrees). There is a difference.

Clearly if we wanted to enshrine something like your approach in law, we'd need to do something about that vagueness. We'd want to draw a line sufficiently near conception that no fetus at earlier stage of development could possibily be a person, and then say "no abortions beyond that point". But I don't see how that line can be meaningfully be drawn at any point after conception except out of "convenience" for those who want abortions.

You write: "Obviously you can't just sit around being viable you have to feed yourself and you have to be trained to do things like walk".

But at birth we can't do these things, and yet you are saying we are viable at that point. Rather at birth one is fed and generally looked after by someone else. Why is that any different before the third trimester?

Please don't say it's because if a such "fetus" were extracted from the womb and left to their own devices then they wouldn't survive. Clearly that's also true during the third trimester and indeed after the child is born.

Legion of Logic said...

Pro choice ideology can only survive behind carefully controlled terminology and arbitrary definitions. Remove that and it's obvious there are no facts behind it.

William Brown said...


Joe said: "... In my view the fetus is becoming a soul and is not one until it is viable autonomously apart from the womb"
Me: So, I assume that a baby who is not viable until it is self-sufficient and independent does not have a soul? Can the baby (or child) be killed up to this point? Does anyone else, other perhaps than professor Singer share this view?

Joe: ".... how many times did i say we don;t have soul we are souls?"
Me: It seems that this statement resolves with some finality the concern that at the point of conception, the new creation is or has a soul. Can you explain this phrase so I can understand a little better what you mean by it? And please excuse my ignorance - I assume it came from Charles Taylor or someone you read.

Joe: "....you do not have a single Bible verse that says it, the only verses you have must be interpreted and read them with the assumption of begged the question. your reasoning is totally circular."
Me: "I knew you in the womb" seems fairly straightforward. There are other verses that indicate that a human is ensouled and endowed with dignity as God's creation at conception. I can find these when I have some time (at work now).

Joe: "...just like an athyeist you din't really read what i say".. what in the hell are you talking about?"..."get through your igniter little head ..."
Me: This is belittling and do not help the argument very much.

Joe: "... you have not actually given a reason why we should assume person hood begins at conception. I have given several reasons why PERSON HOOD MUST BE EQUATED WITH CONSCIOUSNESS."
Me: Not really. I have seen a number of decent arguments here for valued personhood beginning at conception. Joe, you have made many statements, but they seem like catchphrases from academic journals. Without stating your arguments with common language and clarity, they carry almost no weight, because they are so vague and open to so many possible interpretations.

Joe: "....the closer we get into the third trimester the more likely it [consciousness] is to have happened.
Me: Is it OK to destroy the fetus then, prior to the third trimester? If it varies from one baby to another, how should we determine who can be killed and who cannot?

William Brown said...


Joe: " I define consciousness qs self awareness and being awake being able to observe and learn, that puts any fetus at a low level of consciousnesses."
Me: Are all four of your criteria required for consciousness to exist? You do know that newborn babies probably have minimal or no self awareness. 'Scientific American' stated as such in an article a few years ago.
How did you arrive at this definition of consciousness? I have seem many others: ability to feel pain, a certain brain wave state, self recognition, certain degree of cortical function? Whose definition are you using? Are these your personal feelings/views or do you subscribe to a certain school or academic researcher?

Joe: "I already said I define autonomy as viability that is the ability of the fetus to live outside the mother;s womb, from the medical evidence I've read that usually isn't possible before the third trimester."
Me: Viability outside the womb is possible now down to around 22 weeks, and getting earlier it seems with time. Why should viability, though, be the point at which it is acceptable to kill ornate kill the fetus? A newborn is breathing, but completely helpless without total care. Just as a fetus in the womb will die without nourishment, so with a baby. Why are we privileging the baby just because it is outside the womb?
Since your two criteria for making it ethical to destroy the fetus may be at very different times in the life of the baby, do you choose the earlier or the later criteria (of "autonomy' or 'consciousness' as you define these)? It would strike me as quite coincidental or suspicious if, using your definitions, these two criteria fall at the same time. Yet getting these points precise are beyond critical for the life or death of the baby.

I need to read Steve Lovell's comments, but will have to get to them later. Gotta run......

William Brown said...

I meant "to kill or not kill the fetus". Apologies, my auto-spell always thinks it knows what I mean :)

bmiller said...

Looks like Joe has left the building.

Wish he would have stuck around.

Mr. Green said...

Joe Hinman: So far you failed to make a argument that doesn't beg the question Your logic mostly says I know I am right so therefore I'm right."

Since that would have been a valid, and in fact a sound argument, I could have made it. But it would have been pedagogically unhelpful, so I didn't. But then, against someone who doesn't understand what arguing in a circle is, there's no point continuing anyway.


There's nothing new coming from the RTL bunch

Well, as was pointed out, baby-killing has been forbidden by Christianity from the start, so no, definitely nothing new there. I guess the increased support from medical science is somewhat new. Ironically, Joe's bumper-sticker slogans are out-of-date themselves — it seems that abortion-supporting philosophers and their ilk have largely given up trying to defend the arbitrariness of those points and admit that there's no principled way to draw a line between conception and birth. (So they just argue that it must be all right to kill babies after they've been born too. It's the wave of the future!)


BMiller: Wish he would have stuck around.

Really, why? I mean, in a general theoretical sense, it would be good if people always wanted to pursue arguments for the sake of truth; but in practice, it is quickly apparent that a lot of these conversations are not going to go anywhere, so I think it's better not to waste a lot of time on them. Of course, it's human nature to want to jump in when one sees a bad argument (a temptation to which I am not immune myself), but it's more profitable to spend our time and effort in discussions with people who are interested in learning something — people who want to learn about something (even something they may disagree with) usually do, and people who don't... usually don't.

bmiller said...

@Mr. Green,

"Really, why?"

Well, like you I'd like to understand how one can claim to be Christian and allow that abortion is acceptable.

It seems to me that he has reached some sort of Docetist conclusion regarding Christ and the Incarnation. That's rather alarming position given 1 John 4:2-3 and I wonder if he realizes it.

The fact that he thinks "we are souls" apparently with no material component along with his insistence that Jesus is divine when I point out the implications that he is fully human leads me to this suspicion.

It's as if he holds that Jesus only "seems" to be human but *really* isn't.


Mr. Green said...

BMiller: Well, like you I'd like to understand how one can claim to be Christian and allow that abortion is acceptable.

Fair enough. I'm actually a bit curious myself as to what exactly his theory of "soul" is — there was just a hint of what it might mean, but only a hint. I don't know if he has a worked-out understanding himself, but I think your point about the Incarnation hit the nail on the head: if such a system really does allow for the distinctions he wants to make (and it very well might not, properly understood!), then I doubt that it could be consistent with orthodox Christianity.

The fact that he thinks "we are souls" apparently with no material component

I got the impression he wasn't denying our corporeity — in fact, my first instinct was to try to interpret it in a sort of Aristotelian sense, where souls and bodies are metaphysically distinguishable, but not actually separable in any way. (Except of course, human souls, having an intellect, are special that way, though all the worse so for his case.)

bmiller said...

@Mr. Green,

You said:
"I got the impression he wasn't denying our corporeity..."

This is one instance among others that makes we wonder if he denies that we require a body:

Joe Hinman:"the thing that lives on after death the core self is spirit."

He then seems to make the connection that soul=spirit=mind.

Next he takes a literally interpretations Exodus to conclude that we are only souls:
Joe Hinman:"it says in Exodus x number of souls went into egypt not x number of people with souls."

So, it seems he reasons, if we are only souls (minds), and souls exist after death without the body, then the body is not a necessary part of what we are.

If we can't detect a mind, then there mustn't be a soul, and therefore no person.

Anyway, that's my guess of how he views things.