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« The Right to Fashion Our Lives How We Want | Main | Links Mentioned on the Show »

August 19, 2011

Comments

Trent,

I should tell you that my political position is prolife. In that, in if the US government asked us to vote on when a human life begins, i would probably vote just like you would. (The only difference is I see my vote as just a "preference". And fundamentalist christian prolifers think that when they make claims about matter classification, they are uttering an objective truth.)

The question you posed above is similar to the "Daddy can I kill this?" question asked originally by, i think, by Scott Kluesendorf. You can read more here.

So when we approach this question in philosophical framework, it is important to understand if we are merely both giving our subjective opinion, or, are we talking about something that is objectively true.

Consider the above question again:

======================================

Trent believes a woman is allowed to take a chicken to her backyard and shoot it. But, not a baby.

So there are some configurations of matter in the cosmos that Trent says she can shoot.

And, there are some configurations of matter in the cosmos that Trent says she cannot shoot.

Suppose that Trent and Tony agree that she ought not shoot any configuration of matter which is of the set of humans.

Hence, the question before us is merely:

"Which configurations of matter are of the set of humans."

Before we even attempt to answer this question, let us ponder if this is the sort of question that has a SUBJECTIVELY TRUE answer, or an OBJECTIVELY TRUE answer.

That would be the first question I would ask you. What's your response?

ToNy

"And, there are some configurations of matter in the cosmos that Trent says she cannot shoot."

The above statement clearly illustrates ToNy's refusal to define human beings on a holistic platform and uses the materialistic reductionist one instead. The problem with that is that he will not be able to tell anyone what a human being is with adequate degree of precision required for a sound moral judgment regarding the taking of a human life. The foundation he is working from is inadequate for that task. This is why the topic of the morality of fetal reductions are beyond his grasp, sadly.

ToNy,

As Greg keep saying on his show, ideas have consequences. Regardless of your stated position, your arguments have destroyed any objection you might make to killing anyone anywhere for any reason. After all, you can't prove they are human, and thus protectedby the law, and we can't prove you are human and thus subject to the law.

According to your arguments the Nuremburg trials were a case of the semantic squabbling.

You also seem to have falseley assumed that I am a fundementalist Christian.

I think this goes to show Greg's idea about Darwin and Naziism, when an argument to defend pro-choice cvan be easily be used to defend any form of human degradation or murder on any scale.

Louis,

Ultimately, a goal of scientific classification would be, given a vial with a genome in it, a biologist could take a pen and write the name of the species on said vial--after running a battery of tests.

Now, I have no idea how you would devise a "test for moral categories" for the specimens provided. Would you have 100 psychologists observe the constructs for 30 days and then have them vote???

Additionally, under your ruleset, for example, you could not provide an answer to the question: "Is this corpse human?" Beacause, a dead specimen in your lab, would not be able to take your moral categories tests.

Either way, your ruleset if far outside the domain of biological classification. And when prolifers argue this issue, they argue in the purview of biological classification.

Trent,

Let's assume that if Tony's logic is correct, then people will do things that Trent doesn't like.

That might be a sad thing.

But that doesn't say anything about the logic of the argument.

Try to examine the above questions when you get a chance.

ToNy

"Ultimately, a goal of scientific classification would be, given a vial with a genome in it, a biologist could take a pen and write the name of the species on said vial--after running a battery of tests."

This is adequate for scientific biological purposes, but not for determining moral issues as they pertain to humanity. And...

"Now, I have no idea how you would devise a "test for moral categories" for the specimens provided. Would you have 100 psychologists observe the constructs for 30 days and then have them vote???"

...your above statement confirms that you agree with me, but at the same time there is a problem in perception that should be addressed. "Moral categories" are not characteristics to be tested for as my prior statements clearly deny this. It is an "understanding of moral categories" that is required of the subject. I made that quite clear in my previous post.

"Additionally, under your ruleset, for example, you could not provide an answer to the question: "Is this corpse human?" Beacause, a dead specimen in your lab, would not be able to take your moral categories tests."

You don't see that this inability is in itself evidence of the fact that a "human corpse" is not an organism capable of understanding moral categories? There is a certain level of functionality below which that becomes patently obvious and being nothing more than a dead corpse qualifies as such since the essential element required for moral evaluation has been removed from the organism.

"Either way, your ruleset if far outside the domain of biological classification. And when prolifers argue this issue, they argue in the purview of biological classification."

Exactly!!! One hundred percent on the money!!! The ruleset I gave is essential for determining the answer of moral comprehension. However, the tools that you insist on using to determine if one can discern moral categories, can't do the job, which is the why for attempting to answer this other question instead of the existence, rather than comprehension, of "moral categories". If such existed as a characteristic, in the same way as eye color, in the individual, then you have the right tool for the job of determining if the subject has it. But morality does not conform to the kind of thing that can be tested this way.

So the Nazi concentration camps were something that just make me sad (for some strange reason)?

I think that the continuous demand for the definition of human, to a level of specificity that is beyond what we generally require in other situations, is just a stalling tactic. Otherwise entire disciplines of human thought are make useless because ToNy doesn't accept that they can deiscuss the subject without meeting his personal semantic exactlness.

If you accept the Christian point of view, what makes you think that this "material construct" is more than a peice of wetwarethat runs the software of the soul? If so, why does it matter what the specific properties of the "construct" is as long as it can run the software?

If you reject the christian view, what happens if I build a computer system that can emulate my thought processes, and on my death I upload my memories and personality? Is that still me? If it is, am I still human? Does a different "material construct" make a difference?

And I still think that taking your children into the backyard and shooting them (like chickens ans ToNy puts it) is not a question of speciation. ToNy has, despite repeated requests, refused to explain why the question of what the difference between idential organisms is a question of speciation, or why anyone should care.

And yes I do believe a woman should be allowed to kill a chicken ( no one shoots chickens. you use an ax ) and not kill her baby in the backyard. You present it as being a bad thing.

You have shown me nothing that would make me or her jury or the angry mob that burns down her house, change their mind.

Louis,

But a zygote has no "understanding of moral categories"

And yet, you think they are human.

Trent,

>> "if I build a computer system that can emulate my thought processes, and on my death I upload my memories and personality..."

I've written about and discussed this issue at length. its a derivative of chalmer's fading qualia thought experiment. but we should wrap up the earlier discussions first.

So you think the question:

"Which configurations of matter are of the set of humans?"

does indeed have an objectively true or false answer.

Now the next step would be to ponder the question:

"Which configurations of matter are of the set of planets?"

Do you think this has an objectively true or objectively false answer?

ToNy,
With your defeater thoroughly defeated, let me lay the main question before you yet and yet again.

With no knowledge of any of the potential differences between twin embryos can one rationally deem one of the embryos to be a human baby and deny that honour to the other? Is there any reason to believe that they are not both human babies if either one is?

Now, since you've made a claim (another error, but let's move forward if at all possible) that philosophical discussions are aimed toward arriving at objective truths, and since you fancy yourself a philosopher and this a philosophical discussion, it follows you believe in objective truth.
So it won't do you to fade into your postmodern stance and claim that the twins are whatever the subject deems them to be, and one can be one thing and one another depending upon their perceived value.
There is an objective reality here and you have accepted its existence.
So, is there reason intrinsic to the offspring to cherish and care for one (calling it a human baby) while killing the other (calling it a lump of tissue, a non-human, a parasite, etc.)?

To steal one of ToNy's tactics, I guess we can tell all these guys that we don't know what a human is, and since they don't bother to define "human" for us, there is no such thing as human rights, nobody to who we could apply them, and no way of solving the problem. So, ToNy, while you are writing your letters to experts and seeking the fame that comes be sure to tell the world this.

This exercise demonstrates a point I made in another discussion once. When you have no coherent world view, and merely react against something you've decided to reject (Christianity in this case) you will grasp at any straw to avoid the truth (Truth). The result is that there is almost no difference between an atheistic post-modern and an
atheistic modern (scientismist).
ToNy will wear either hat to be contrary, but it turns out it is merely one hat. His "we can't really know" post-modernism is actually a "there is no truth but scientific truth" modernism. The problem is that these scientismists know that science does not have the answers. As Louis is pointing out, holistic truth goes well beyond science. But if "science" (narrowly defined) is the only source of truth, and it can't answer these questions, then the questions don't have answers. The logical positivist becomes nothing more than the post-modern.

But there are truths beyond science. Philosophy can shine light into corners where science can't. But neither is philosophy all-knowing. Philosophy's job is to improve human well-being (no, ToNy, it is not to find objective truth ). But all philosophy really does is try to set parameters around what we know we know. A philosophy fails most often when its rules delineating knowledge from non-knowledge exclude what we all know we know (think of the demarcation problem in science).

But if you look at the above link, these scholars are not wasting their time saying "what is a human?" or "which group of people are people?" These are not questions people ask unless they are trying to avoid truth or think they are "winning".

Once again, there are evident truths that we know without proofs, without knowing how we know, and, in cases, without even knowing that we know.

Daron,

I'm sorry Daron I didn't read your post.

It doesn't work like that.

I can't continue with another discussion until you finish the one from the previous several pages:

I'll reprint again:

========================================

The premises were:

A: evolution is true
B: species exists

Now, as should be clear over the last couple years, I don't believe B is true. I'm fairly agnostic on A, and tend to think the jurys still out. I'm not sure, but I don't think you believe A is true.

But when we engage in philosophical discourse, we often adopt premises for the sake of argument.

And given the above two premises, Daron said that the below statement was still false:

"A species can give birth to a different species."

I have drawn a very simple model that reveals that the above statement is true--given premises A and B.

If Daron still wishes to hold that the above statement is false, then he shall have to tell me where my model is not congruous with evolutionary theory.

You are incapable, ToNy. So how you think it works is irrelevant. Carry on as you will.

In other words, you don't know what I shall have to do to hold my position. Logic and facts are enough for me, although they don't do it for you. My position stands and your failure shines.

Since we can't know to the satisfaction of some whether or not the progeny of any mating pair of any species on earth will be human, it is best we err on the side of caution.
Because, apparently, in any and every case we might be killing a human being let us determine that it would be morally wrong to abort any fetuses of any living creatures. We might not even know whether or not the contents of a womb constitute a living creature, so let us resolve that it is immoral to perform any invasive surgeries removing anything from the womb unless it is deemed medically necessary or unless we know for sure it is not killing a living being.

Once the baby has been delivered we can assess it. Does it look sufficiently like the babies that grow into human beings, or does our science know enough to deem it human? If yes, or if we are not sure, let's say it is immoral to kill it. As it grows, for those still unsure whether or not this construct is human, let us not kill anything that resembles human beings enough that there is a question. When it has achieved the sufficient qualities that allow even the most ardent pro-abortionists to allow that the construct is, in fact, human, let us deem that causing its death without justification is immoral. Being unsure of its humanity or not is not a justifiable reason for its killing.

Daron,

>> "Logic and facts are enough for me"

They work on me too!

So you should paste them below when you get a chance.

It's what the white box is for.





""They work on me too!""

Obviously not. I put them in the white box and you don't care.

I thought the point you were trying to make was there was no objective answer, and now you claim there is one? Are you trying to play both sides of the fence.

You are still arguing for murder based on semantics.

As per the OP, oft-times those who pretend to believe that the fetus is not human are confronted with the facts when it comes to destroying one of the twins. The two are practically identical, yet one is known to be a human baby at a stage and time when the other is deemed disposable - ostensibly, in other cases, because it is not a human being.

If I were to say I was the standard for humanity, and the variation was 3%, and I lost my legs in an accident am I human?

Even if someone answers your question, where does it get you? It is not relevant to the conversation at hand, and you keep refusing to explain why it is.

Explain to my why your argument isn't just pure sophistry. As I said your argument reminds me of a second year student who wants to show how smart he is but hasn't got the skill to back anything up.

Trent,

>> "I thought the point you were trying to make was there was no objective answer, and now you claim there is one? Are you trying to play both sides of the fence."

It's called a premise and an argument.

e.g. Does the conclusion follow from the premises?

This is, of course, regardless of whether or not the parties agree with the premises.

Geesh, its like being back in freshman Philosophy...

Daron,

>> "Obviously not. I put them in the white box and you don't care."

Really?

If the argument is printed up there, then it would be oh so easy for you to copy and paste it here.

But you won't.

You know you can lose the battle without losing the war man.

Trent,

>> "If I were to say I was the standard for humanity, and the variation was 3%, and I lost my legs in an accident am I human?"

Are you referring to variation in the genome?

>> Even if someone answers your question, where does it get you?

I do sympathize with your take. The philosophy of biology sounds horrendously odd to people at first glance. I don't think I really could see its importance until 5 years in.

But its important because it comes down to understanding if the prolifers are merely offering their opinion (like what side of the road should Americans drive on), or if they are talking about something that is objectively true.

So, to recap, you think the question:

"Which configurations of matter are of the set of humans?"

does indeed have an objectively true or false answer.

Now the next step would be to ponder the question:

"Which configurations of matter are of the set of planets?"

Do you think this has an objectively true or objectively false answer?

Really?
Yep.
If the argument is printed up there, then it would be oh so easy for you to copy and paste it here.
Wouldn't matter. Logic and facts are wasted on you. Finally you have said something that passes muster. When I lose battles I am the first to admit it. My idea of "winning" just happens to be a little different than yours. Mine has to do with aligning to the way the world really is, where yours necessarily is indifferent to reality.
Really?
Yep.
If the argument is printed up there, then it would be oh so easy for you to copy and paste it here.
Wouldn't matter. Logic and facts are wasted on you.
You know you can lose the battle without losing the war man.
Finally you have said something that passes muster. When I lose battles I am the first to admit it. My idea of "winning" just happens to be a little different than yours. Mine has to do with learning truths and alignment with the way the world really is, where yours necessarily is indifferent to reality.
Now the next step would be to ponder the question:

"Which configurations of matter are of the set of planets?"

Do you think this has an objectively true or objectively false answer?

This is not the next step. It's not any of the steps.

Usually you state your premise and show how it leads to the conclusion.

You however are not doing that. You just keep repeating the same two things over and over again.

1- You don't think the definitions that others use for human meets a criteria that would get you to stop asking about which subset of material constructs are human, a question I believe is not relavent to the conversation.

2- Every single thing seems to be speciation, according to you, but you refuse to define what definition you are using to define species, which makes the assertion completely useless.

Unless you define what YOU are using for species, none of your posts mean squat.They contain lots of words, but contain no actual use in approaching the question.

I still am at a loss to understand why you would build a framework that can justify mass murder, including referring to Nazi death camps as simply being something that seems to make me sad, just to avoid letting us discuss this subject.

Hi Trent,

Every single thing seems to be speciation, according to you, but you refuse to define what definition you are using to define species, which makes the assertion completely useless.
This is exactly right. But it is even worse for ToNy; it's not merely that he can't tell you which definition he prefers, but he has actually denied himself access to any definition.
Somehow he privileges himself the ability to deny the most common, which I used to destroy his claims.

Unless you define what YOU are using for species, none of your posts mean squat.They contain lots of words, but contain no actual use in approaching the question.
And Bingo was his name-o.

I'd be willing to bet I know what his answer will be.

No one will tell him what subset of material constructs are humans.

However he refuses to define material constructs, of which he wants us to identify a subset.

Human. - Me +- 4.2% based on genetic analysis

If I was referring to the genome, why would I be talking about cutting off of legs? Are you saying if my leg gets cut off, my genome changes?

Are you even paying attention? Do you even understand what a genome is?

And how can itemizing members of a subset of a larger set of objects that haven't been defined be a Boolean operation?

I thought you were basing your argument on semantic exactness?

Really if you have been studying philosophy for over 5 years, I would think by now you'd know how to argue your case rather than just keep repeating the same question ad nauseum.

Daron,

Your bons mots, nor your animadversions phase me - you mercurial plebeian.





any time

Trent,

that's a lot of posts...

The question was:

"Which configurations of matter are of the set of planets?"

Do you think this has an objectively true or objectively false answer?

philosophers disagree on the answer to this question.

I would need to know your opinion before proceeding.

Amy-thank you so much for posting this article. I have gone through the reduction question with a relative in my own life. She had made an appointment to proceed with the procedure. Ultimately she backed out. Before the event, she was a dyed in the wool femenist. When faced with the weight of the matter, she couldnt' go through with it. I think when the cards are down, events like what the slate.com author referred to really bring the heart of the matter to life.

Your arrows pint the wrong way, ToNy. Look up, way up - back to where you more recently lost phase.

"point"

tony-I have conversed with you before. You spent several pages debating Darron on a non-issue here. I looked at your kitten picture. I don't see anything wrong with it. It should be obvious to anyone familiar with evolution. Do you want a cookie.?!

I hope you understand that you haven't won a victory against the pro-life movement. Darron doesn't represent the pro-life movement. I've heard Steve Wagner comment on similar issues. I myself have used a similar statement like that. But in a debate, I never know if i'm talking to someone who believes in evolution or not. So I often preface my claim about biology with:

"generally, like produces like..."

See.

"generally"

Yes Tony, if evolution is true, sometimes a species will birth a different species. Generally they don't.

So even if some people are not familiar enough with evolution to understand how it works, I hope THAT YOU WILL UNDERSTAND that people trained in prolife persuasion often debate biologists. And we would be more careful.

And Darron I do think you are being disingenuous.

Anyway, I do admit I got a kicker out of the kitten. It is actually one of the better ways that I have seen to look at the Darwinian model. I might steal/borrow that image from you.

You don't need to know my answer unless you can show that my statement concerning planetary status is related to fetal reduction. You do remember the original point, right?

How many years of philosophy do you need to have before they show how to present a basic argument, because you haven't made one yet? You just keep posting you are waiting for other people to answer questions you can't/won't show are relevant to the original question.


Oh Sam truly you jest.

What precisely about my kitten did you like?

Well, in the way it conveyed a thorough defeat of your very odd and quite uninformed candidate.

Sam,

Can you please tell me more about what you like about me?

ToNy,

I should say, that you do have amazing hair.

Sam,

Oh Sam you are truly a wise man.

[sorry moderators, i'm bored]

:)

alright signing off now. Trent i'll check out your post soon.

The kitten thing might work better if you chose something that naturally evolved, rather than a product of selective breeding.

You won't state your position, so your absence isn't going to harm the discussion much.

Perhaps you need time to actually determine what it is you are trying to say.

Maybe I wasn't supposed to notice that, or is selective breeding a knockdown blow to anti-evolutionists?

I'm not doubting evolution, but how does going out of your way to do something prove it happens in nature? Does ore refine itself if left alone?

Trent I think you should be nicer to Tony.

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