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March 04, 2012

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At one point women and people of african descent were not persons.

Yes, I thought about this earlier. As I recall, Weimar Germany had a "spectrum of personhood", too. Only they weren't content to just talk about whether human rights were universal--they did something about it.

As philosophers have noted from time immemorial, actions follow attitudes.

Hi Bennett, R.C. Sproul has a program that says the same thing, its called "The Consequence of Ideas". It's a good primer for anyone who's interested in philosophy and how we got to where we are today. It follows the progression of knowledge from the earliest philosphers to the more recent while discussing the effects of the philosophical consequences of believing certain things.

Here's the real question: if it does come to the logical result of what Dr. Koukl is presenting, then who among us will stand and be numbered with those who are "unworthy of life"? It's all well and good to talk politically or philosophically about what's going on, but when push comes to shove, how are you really going to react when "they" show up at your door, place you in handcuffs, and then you get spend the rest of your life as prisoner for being a Christian?

I submit that just as what we're seeing today is in part a result of a dramatic weakening and dumbing down and watering down of Christianity, that same weaking/dumbing/watering down will cause a lot of so-called "Christians" to suddenly realize that the bagel and coffee they get every Sunday morning isn't really worth going to jail, being tortured, or even being put to death over.

People in the West today get uncomfortable when confronted with a Bible passage like Romans 9; how much more so when they're confronted with a gun demanding they recant or go to jail or worse...I can only pray that God will give me strength like Stephen when faced with that situation...

+1 grh

In general, what can we tell about the world from the existence of a term or expression?

Take, for example, "centrifugal force" or "possible worlds".

No, you cannot use the existence of a term to imply the existence of the thing pointed to by the term.

RonH

Ron,

You aren't wrong (yet) but what are you getting after with that comment on etymology?

If having a baby is economically and socially problematic, one can very well take precautions to avoid such unwanted birth rather than killing the baby. Precaution is MUCH better than destruction in any aspect of life. My journey - to encourage people become more mindful and compassionate in their behavior, and to promote the evolution of all the souls that may be harmed through an abortion--the child's, the mother's, the father's, the abortion provider's.

I had a pro-choice woman tell me that I was confusing a biologically/medically human with a legal/social person, and to clarify she was against giving personhood due to biological/medical humanity because it's rights would conflict with her's.

She didn't like being told that this was an argument that I'd expect from a 19th century slave owner.

ie citizenship for those of african descent would conflict with his/her rights not to have their property confiscated by the government.

Bennet,

Add to the list of examples: "human rights".

Anybody a realist about human rights? Why?

RonH

The woman I talked to is against "human" rights.

Ron,

Add to your list "pencils", "Spanish", "dollars", "orcs", and any other words you like. What's the relevance? I don't think anyone, including the OP, made the claim that because the words "human" and "right" were conflated, the category "human rights" exists necessarily simply because there's a word for that. What exactly are you arguing for (and against, for that matter)?

In the section "The newborn and the fetus are morally equivalent," there seems to be a flaw in the logic from which this entire case has been being argued throughout the paper up to this point...

The authors write, "a necessary condition for a subject to have a right to X is that she is harmed by a decision to deprive her of X. There are many ways in which an individual can be harmed, and not all of them require that she values or is even aware of what she is deprived of." (I won't even go into the question of "What if 'X' is 'LIFE!?')

They go on later in the paragraph to give examples of such "harm" and even give the example of a mother who takes drugs while the fetus is in the womb. But, then they say, "...we are talking about a person who is at least in the condition to value the different situation she would have found herself in if she had not been harmed. And such a condition depends on the level of her mental development, which in turn determines whether or not she is a 'person.'"

How can someone say that a mother doing drugs while the child is in the womb is considered "harm" under this definition, but then later say that the mental development is what determines personhood when the claim is that "harm" cannot be done to non-persons?

If the claim is that the "person" need not be "aware of what she is deprived of." This entire argument (at least this portion of it...I am still reading the rest) does not seem to make any sense?

Am I just missing something here? Or is there some major slight-of-hand going on here?

Daniel,

I think you've noticed something wiggling around in the magician's sleeve, there. Consider how one might apply this logic to, say, the victim of a sniper who never even hears the shot. Or a millionaire being bilked out of relatively small sums. Or people whose spouses cheat without their knowledge.

Bennet,

Well, I guess we can just kill 'em all, then, eh? In fact, I have a neighbor who is really irritating and I think I can make a good case that he is a burden, not just to me, but to society.

Somehow, the quote "There can be only one!" comes to mind.

Daniel,

There ya go.

To mangle a cliche; if nobody has rights, it's just a question of who's left...

Prayer After Birth (Acknowledgements and Apologies to Louis MacNeice).

I am now born: please hear me,
Let not the debt collectors,
Or the rights protectors,
Or the seditious insurrectors come near me.

I am now born, comfort me,
Else I fear that the human-folk may:
With clever lies debase me,
With bad science un-race me,
And with strong drugs erase me.

I am now born: please bestow me,
Among the dancing grass, babbling brooks,
Swaying trees and singing rooks,
Undiminished bright light of grace and truth,
To restore me.

I am now born, with lullabies lull me,
With warm cuddles mull me,
With deep love sustain me, and,
With silence, not gainsay me.

I tried following the link to the JME, and I got a "not found" message. Did they pull this because they realized it hurt a pro-choice position?

Chris, it looks like they reposted it with a different URL. I tracked it down and changed the link. It should work now.

Parental human, actual human I see no difference!
Human is human no matter what age it is! Abortion is wrong because it involves the killing of an innocent person! EVERYONE should have the right to live!

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