The (im)morality of abortion

#21
In my experience of bringing my children into this world, I can honestly say that I believe that not only were they present, consciously in the womb, but that I knew them before they were born, their temperament and aspects of their personalities could be felt. Those temperaments and personality features are still present in them today. I will also say that I felt like I knew them before they were ever conceived, and by that I mean, I always felt like someone was missing. Like I knew, someone was supposed to be here, in this world, but wasn't. I no longer feel that, because they are here with me now.
This paragraph resonated with me as it reminded me the events that lead to my daughter's birth.

Anyway, true story ...
My wife and I were married for ten years before she got pregnant. During that duration of time we lived in New England close to my parents who are die hard Red Sox fans. My mom used to nag us as to when we are going to have children. Typical right? My mom didn't know that my wife would have had a difficult time conceiving (which makes my daughter's birth a little miracle in and of itself). Anyway ... my wife would constantly say to her ... "We will have children when the Sox when the World Series." This conversation happened at the time when the Red Sox haven't won a championship in over 80 years. Anyway ... the month and the year (October, 2004) when my wife was conceived, was just at the same time the Red Sox finally won the World Series for the first time since 1918.

Another weird thing was that my wife would have dreams and premonitions where she would see a little girl in various places in our newly purchased house months before she was pregnant. My wife claims that the little girl she saw in her dreams matches the physical features of our daughter when she was about three years old.

So, before that time ... I was always on the fence on the abortion issue. Now, I don't know. I, at least, know it would have been wrong for my wife and I if we had chosen to terminate the pregnancy. But that is our particular case. Everyone's paths are uniquely different I guess. I'm just joyful that my daughter is with us!

Anyway ... Congrats to Reece. That's awesome!
 
#22
This paragraph resonated with me as it reminded me the events that lead to my daughter's birth.

Anyway, true story ...
My wife and I were married for ten years before she got pregnant. During that duration of time we lived in New England close to my parents who are die hard Red Sox fans. My mom used to nag us as to when we are going to have children. Typical right? My mom didn't know that my wife would have had a difficult time conceiving (which makes my daughter's birth a little miracle in and of itself). Anyway ... my wife would constantly say to her ... "We will have children when the Sox when the World Series." This conversation happened at the time when the Red Sox haven't won a championship in over 80 years. Anyway ... the month and the year (October, 2004) when my wife was conceived, was just at the same time the Red Sox finally won the World Series for the first time since 1918.

Another weird thing was that my wife would have dreams and premonitions where she would see a little girl in various places in our newly purchased house months before she was pregnant. My wife claims that the little girl she saw in her dreams matches the physical features of our daughter when she was about three years old.

So, before that time ... I was always on the fence on the abortion issue. Now, I don't know. I, at least, know it would have been wrong for my wife and I if we had chosen to terminate the pregnancy. But that is our particular case. Everyone's paths are uniquely different I guess. I'm just joyful that my daughter is with us!

Anyway ... Congrats to Reece. That's awesome!
Very interesting, thanks for sharing! I wonder how many men or women have that same sort of, sense, or premonition of children that eventually find their way here. I'll have to do some searching on that.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#25
Thought these two articles might be of interest:

1. Atheist Pro-Choice Utilitarian Peter Singer’s says Abortion *is* Murder, but then offers defense of Infanticide

To the dismay of popular abortion advocates, Singer rejects birth as a relevant dividing line between person and nonperson, agreeing with pro-life advocates that there is no ontologically significant difference between the fetus and a newborn. True, there are differences of size, location, dependency, and development, but these are morally irrelevant. “The liberal search for a morally crucial dividing line between the newborn baby and the fetus has failed to yield any event or stage of development that can bear the weight of separating those with a right to life from those who lack such a right.”4

Instead of upgrading the fetus to the status of a person, however, Peter Singer downgrades the newborn to the status of nonperson because newborns, like fetuses, are incapable “of seeing themselves as distinct entities, existing over time.”5 They are not rational, self-conscious beings with a desire to live.6 Since, in Singer’s criteria, personhood hinges on these factors, killing a newborn (or fetus) is not the same as killing a person. In fact, some acts of infanticide are less problematic than killing a happy cat. If, for example, parents kill one disabled infant to make way for another baby that will be happier than the first, the total amount of happiness increases for all interested parties.7 Singer’s logic can be summed up this way: Until a baby is capable of self-awareness, there is no controlling reason not to kill it to serve the preferences of the parents.
2. The Bible's abortion spell

I don't know how I missed this before, but I did. There is a biblical way of having an abortion. A method that is not only approved by God, it was invented by him. He describes it himself in the book of Numbers (5:11-31).

It's a bit long and complicated, so I'll break it up for you.
 
#26
Wow. What a breathtaking example of the sludge that is Marxist Nihilism. It's......sick. Unbelievable the depths to which modern society and their absolute disregard for the sanctity of life has sunk.

Seriously. Anyone who doubts this needs to really fully understand what happens when Marxism and Fascism are taken to their fullest inculcation and read the Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Study, I mean REALLY study Nazi Germany, not just what happened but the philosophy behind WHY it happened.
 
#27
Wow. What a breathtaking example of the sludge that is Marxist Nihilism. It's......sick. Unbelievable the depths to which modern society and their absolute disregard for the sanctity of life has sunk.

Seriously. Anyone who doubts this needs to really fully understand what happens when Marxism and Fascism are taken to their fullest inculcation and read the Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Study, I mean REALLY study Nazi Germany, not just what happened but the philosophy behind WHY it happened.
With regards to ideology, I agree. The ultra far left and the ultra far right are practically the same thing. The only thing different is the 'excuse' for mass slaughter and the face behind it. Both use propaganda, indoctrination, institutions, and coercion to dehumanise and exterminate certain groups. For the left, it's class enemies or counter revolutionaries. For the right, it's often along arbitrary racial lines by which society is bifurcated.
 
#29
With regards to ideology, I agree. The ultra far left and the ultra far right are practically the same thing. The only thing different is the 'excuse' for mass slaughter and the face behind it. Both use propaganda, indoctrination, institutions, and coercion to dehumanise and exterminate certain groups. For the left, it's class enemies or counter revolutionaries. For the right, it's often along arbitrary racial lines by which society is bifurcated.
I agree with all this, but what do we do about it? Mainstream media and politicians use the politics of divisiveness to keep us from organizing. They use race, sex, class, clothing, sports, whatever they can get their hands on. And too many fall for it. I want a real movement, not a fake one. I think about how to do this, but I'm no genius, I can't solve the world's problems myself. I just recognize the problems, but I'm assuming other people see it too? (Obviously, by comments I see here and elsewhere.)

Maybe we can crowdsource it before the Powers that Be restrict free speech on the Internet, which is already happening. :)
 
#31
Wow. What a breathtaking example of the sludge that is Marxist Nihilism. It's......sick. Unbelievable the depths to which modern society and their absolute disregard for the sanctity of life has sunk.

Seriously. Anyone who doubts this needs to really fully understand what happens when Marxism and Fascism are taken to their fullest inculcation and read the Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Study, I mean REALLY study Nazi Germany, not just what happened but the philosophy behind WHY it happened.
Hi Vault313,

I say all of this very cautiously, because I'm well versed in neither Marxism, nihilism, utilitarianism nor Peter Singer's philosophy, so I'm open to learning something new from you here, but, that said:

Why do you associate Peter Singer's moral conclusions (which I agree are in this case breathtakingly sick) with "Marxist Nihilism"? I do know that Peter Singer is a utilitarian, and that these moral conclusions stem from his utilitarianism. Are you suggesting that Marxism and utilitarianism are linked? If so, how would you explain this link?

Are you also suggesting that Peter Singer is a Marxist, implicitly if not explicitly? To find out what his view on Marxism is, I turned to Google, and found that he has written a book titled "Marx: A Very Short Introduction". This book lives up to its name, and I'd recommend it to others as an accessible introduction to Marx's thinking, however, in it, Peter Singer makes it clear that Marx got a lot of things wrong, and he does not seem to identify as a Marxist; his view seems more nuanced than either blanket support or blanket rejection of Marx.

For example, in deciding whether Marx's theory of economics genuinely qualifies - as Marx claimed - as a "science", Peter Singer lists the major testable conclusions of Marx's theory, and finds them - over a hundred years later - to have been disproved in practice. He writes:

Peter Singer said:
More than a century after Marx made these predictions, most of them are so plainly mistaken that one can only wonder why anyone sympathetic to Marx would attempt to argue that his greatness lies in the scientific aspects of his work.
He suggests that it "is better to think of Marx as a philosopher – in the broadest sense – rather than as a scientist", and, in this respect, he says, Marx's work endures. His concluding remarks in the book are:

Peter Singer said:
Marx saw that capitalism is a wasteful, irrational system, a system which controls us when we should be controlling it. That insight is still valid; but we can now see that the construction of a free and equal society is a more difficult task than Marx realized.
As for nihilism, I struggle to see how it could apply to Marxist thinking: according to Peter Singer, Marx's ultimate aim was to end the alienation of humanity with the goal of freedom; this seems meaningful rather than nihilistic. How, then, did you come to link Marxism with nihilism?

Regarding the Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I have not read it, but have read the Wikipedia article on it, and I gather that it chronicles the horrors that were the forced labour camps in the former USSR. In his book, Peter Singer has this to say on those sort of evils (emphasis mine):

Peter Singer said:
Except perhaps for the brief period in which the economic structure of the society was in the process of transformation to social ownership, Marx never intended a communist society to force the individual to work against his or her own interests for the collective good. The need to use coercion would signify not the overcoming of alienation, but the continuing alienation of man from man; a coercive society would not be the riddle of history resolved, but merely the riddle restated in a new form; it would not end class rule, but would substitute a new ruling class for the old one. While it is absurd to blame Marx for something he did not foresee and certainly would have condemned if he had foreseen it, the distance between Marx’s predicted communist society and the form taken by ‘communism’ in the twentieth century may in the end be traceable to Marx’s misconception of the flexibility of human nature.
That seems fair to me. Over to you...
 
#32
Hi Vault313,

I say all of this very cautiously, because I'm well versed in neither Marxism, nihilism, utilitarianism nor Peter Singer's philosophy, so I'm open to learning something new from you here, but, that said:

Why do you associate Peter Singer's moral conclusions (which I agree are in this case breathtakingly sick) with "Marxist Nihilism"? I do know that Peter Singer is a utilitarian, and that these moral conclusions stem from his utilitarianism. Are you suggesting that Marxism and utilitarianism are linked? If so, how would you explain this link?

Are you also suggesting that Peter Singer is a Marxist, implicitly if not explicitly? To find out what his view on Marxism is, I turned to Google, and found that he has written a book titled "Marx: A Very Short Introduction". This book lives up to its name, and I'd recommend it to others as an accessible introduction to Marx's thinking, however, in it, Peter Singer makes it clear that Marx got a lot of things wrong, and he does not seem to identify as a Marxist; his view seems more nuanced than either blanket support or blanket rejection of Marx.

For example, in deciding whether Marx's theory of economics genuinely qualifies - as Marx claimed - as a "science", Peter Singer lists the major testable conclusions of Marx's theory, and finds them - over a hundred years later - to have been disproved in practice. He writes:



He suggests that it "is better to think of Marx as a philosopher – in the broadest sense – rather than as a scientist", and, in this respect, he says, Marx's work endures. His concluding remarks in the book are:



As for nihilism, I struggle to see how it could apply to Marxist thinking: according to Peter Singer, Marx's ultimate aim was to end the alienation of humanity with the goal of freedom; this seems meaningful rather than nihilistic. How, then, did you come to link Marxism with nihilism?

Regarding the Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I have not read it, but have read the Wikipedia article on it, and I gather that it chronicles the horrors that were the forced labour camps in the former USSR. In his book, Peter Singer has this to say on those sort of evils (emphasis mine):



That seems fair to me. Over to you...

Given the quotes you provided, I'd say Singer is being disingenuous. He *might* be one of those Stalinist/Maoist apologists that sort of hand wave away the absolute atrocity that was Stalinist Russia and Maoist China. However, I would argue that China is still very much a problem (it's like people forget that China is still very much an oppressive communist state). Just look to North Korea for a present day example of how brutal communism can be.

I concede, however, that I could be wrong about Singer. I don't know him at all and it would be unfair for me to characterize him in a way that may not be accurate. I'll have to do some reading on him before I can really approximate a decent analysis of his beliefs.

However, I do think that as far as his comments regarding abortion are concerned, this is post-modern thinking to a T. Post-modernism heavily influenced Marxist thinking. It's the post-enlightenment thought that took rationalism to the next level. This is where the nihilistic, mechanistic view of modern western thinking really stems from. The thing is, most westerners do think this way and don't even realize it. It's the basis for what is argued so much here, the almost irrational scientific rationalism that has permeated all of western culture, to our ultimate destruction IMO.

Marxism is all about the equality of outcome, not opportunity. So all things must be equalized. We are seeing this play out in a massive way today with most of the SJW stuff. Sweden is literally self-destructing because of this philosophy. Honestly, to really break it down would require a lot of space and time here. I will just recommend you check out Dr. Jordan Peterson's work. He puts all of his university lectures online. He has two courses, one is Personality and it's Transformations and the other is Maps of Meaning.
I think this one is a good one to start with, but I've watched almost all of his lectures and I've learned so much.
 
#33
Given the quotes you provided, I'd say Singer is being disingenuous.
I don't think he is - he's simply saying (paraphrased) that Marx would have been appalled by that which was done in his name.

I concede, however, that I could be wrong about Singer.
Thank you for acknowledging that possibility.

However, I do think that as far as his comments regarding abortion are concerned, this is post-modern thinking to a T.
Perhaps it is, but it is utilitarianism, and not post-modernism, that motivated those comments (emphasis mine):

https://www.utilitarian.net/singer/interviews-debates/20010209.htm

Peter Singer said:
Well I was a utilitarian long before Post-Modernism had been heard of.

I think I first started thinking about utilitarianism when I was an undergraduate studying ethics at Melbourne University, and I’m now talking about the mid-1960s, and I had a lecturer who was hostile to utilitarianism and stated the view and then gave his criticisms of it, his objections to it, and I thought that the objections had reasonably obvious answers, or at least that they could all be answered, so I just started working out answers to those objections and ways of defending it, and having done so I guess I persuaded myself that it was right, or at least that it was the best and most defensible ethical view around that I had found at that time, and you could say that I’ve spent the last 30 years waiting for someone to come along with something better, but I haven’t found it, and certainly I don’t find it in the Post-Modernists that you mention, I find them just immensely obscure really, and insofar as they say anything that I can follow, it doesn’t really lead you to conclusions about what you ought to do.
Post-modernism heavily influenced Marxist thinking.
I'm not sure how that could be when post-modernism began after Karl Marx's death, and seems opposed to Marxism: it denies the existence of objective meaning and narrative, whereas Marxists see history as an objective narrative in which mankind overcomes alienation and gains freedom.

Do you have any sources to back up your claim?

It's the post-enlightenment thought that took rationalism to the next level.
Did it? Or did it fundamentally (and perhaps incoherently) critique rationalism?

This is where the nihilistic, mechanistic view of modern western thinking really stems from.
Nihilistic: maybe. Mechanistic: I'd guess that that's more connected to lingering positivist trends than to post-modernism - but again, I'm not well read in these areas.

Marxism is all about the equality of outcome, not opportunity. So all things must be equalized.
Marxism is mostly about achieving human freedom from alienation and exploitation. I don't think Marx elaborated on exactly what a society based on human freedom would look like, or how it would be achieved, but yes, he did advocate for the principle: From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs. There is a justice in this principle: so long as one contributes what one is uniquely able to contribute, one is entitled to the satisfaction of one's unique needs.

It can be argued that a society implementing this principle cannot be constructed due to human nature, but I don't think it can be argued that the principle itself is not a noble and just one.

We are seeing this play out in a massive way today with most of the SJW stuff. Sweden is literally self-destructing because of this philosophy.
No offence, but don't you think this is way too hyperbolic?

I will just recommend you check out Dr. Jordan Peterson's work.
I've seen several of his videos/debates. I have a sense of what he's objecting to, and to some extent I'm sympathetic to his cause. I wonder though whether he, too, is over-reactive at times - for example, I thought that Dr Brenda Cossman made a strong case that the changes to the law to which Dr Peterson objected were relatively minor and did not entail the consequences that Dr Peterson claimed they did. His voice, though, is valuable - we need people critiquing and policing cultural trends to ensure that they don't become dangerous.
 
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#34
For me, unless there is a medical reason, you should only have an abortion before the foetus is capable of feeling pain:

http://www.livescience.com/54774-fetal-pain-anesthesia.html

I definitely think abortion before the foetus can feel pain should be legal though, it being illegal simply pushes abortions into the black market or makes women seek riskier ways of doing it. If anyone here is against abortion full stop, the best way to reduce it is to prevent unwanted pregnancies, that comes from education, good sex education, reducing poverty (poorer people have more children and are less well equipped to take care of them). I also do think that it's wrong to force a woman to carry a foetus full term against her will if the conditions above are met.
 
#35
I will just recommend you check out Dr. Jordan Peterson's work. He puts all of his university lectures online. He has two courses, one is Personality and it's Transformations and the other is Maps of Meaning.
I think this one is a good one to start with, but I've watched almost all of his lectures and I've learned so much.
Just a quick P.S. to say I've now watched that video, and I'm hugely impressed by it. He's an eloquent, articulate and inspiring thinker and speaker. I'm going to be sharing that one.
 
#36
For me, unless there is a medical reason, you should only have an abortion before the foetus is capable of feeling pain
I don't understand why you use that criteria. Would it be OK to kill an adult human if that adult human could not feel pain? If the answer is "No", then why do you answer differently for a foetus?
 
#37
I don't think he is - he's simply saying (paraphrased) that Marx would have been appalled by that which was done in his name.



Thank you for acknowledging that possibility.



Perhaps it is, but it is utilitarianism, and not post-modernism, that motivated those comments (emphasis mine):

https://www.utilitarian.net/singer/interviews-debates/20010209.htm





I'm not sure how that could be when post-modernism began after Karl Marx's death, and seems opposed to Marxism: it denies the existence of objective meaning and narrative, whereas Marxists see history as an objective narrative in which mankind overcomes alienation and gains freedom.

Do you have any sources to back up your claim?



Did it? Or did it fundamentally (and perhaps incoherently) critique rationalism?



Nihilistic: maybe. Mechanistic: I'd guess that that's more connected to lingering positivist trends than to post-modernism - but again, I'm not well read in these areas.



Marxism is mostly about achieving human freedom from alienation and exploitation. I don't think Marx elaborated on exactly what a society based on human freedom would look like, or how it would be achieved, but yes, he did advocate for the principle: From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs. There is a justice in this principle: so long as one contributes what one is uniquely able to contribute, one is entitled to the satisfaction of one's unique needs.

It can be argued that a society implementing this principle cannot be constructed due to human nature, but I don't think it can be argued that the principle itself is not a noble and just one.



No offence, but don't you think this is way too hyperbolic?



I've seen several of his videos/debates. I have a sense of what he's objecting to, and to some extent I'm sympathetic to his cause. I wonder though whether he, too, is over-reactive at times - for example, I thought that Dr Brenda Cossman made a strong case that the changes to the law to which Dr Peterson objected were relatively minor and did not entail the consequences that Dr Peterson claimed they did. His voice, though, is valuable - we need people critiquing and policing cultural trends to ensure that they don't become dangerous.

Just a question: Are you sympathetic to Marxism?

I don't have the time it would take to really counter you intelligenty right now, so I'll be glib.

No, I do not believe my above comment to be hyperbole. Sweden is self-destructing.

And I do not believe at all that Dr Peterson is making something from nothing. He's spent decades studying this stuff so I don't think he would blow up his life over nothing. Again, to really tease this out I need more time, so let me get back to you.
 
#38
I think all the arguments pro and con Marxism fly past each other, generally. This was going on in another thread, as well. There seem to be many aspects, but from the surface, those who argue against either communism or capitalism do so from the reality of how they play out. And they argue for them based on how they ideally work.

From the surface, either can sound great. From a John Adam's quaint little world of honest cobblers and blacksmiths, I think capitalism looks great. But what really happens is that very, very few end up at the top with one then multiple monopolies and almost total control of the banks and government. The capitalist argues that that's not really capitalism because capitalism doesn't have monopolies! But in truth it is, because that where it's bound to end up.

Share everything more or less fairly and not allow corporations and uber rich families to control endless billions while elsewhere lower class, working families can't afford to get by? Sounds great! But in the end (or beginning) you end up with a top down dictatorship that's really anything but that and actually just resembles the other above situation. The idealist socialist says, but that's not socialism! But unfortunately it is, because that's just how it works out in the end in the real world.

Then with Marxism, there's also the thing where a lot of noble sounding values are nothing more than sneaky Trojan horses for the agendas of those with all the wealth. Back when I was a far left leftist with SJW tendencies, I simply could not / would not believe that what seemed (to me at the time) clearly good, humanitarian values - those I firmly believed in - could be pushed for other reasons by - I hate to use this phrase - "the elite" for other ends. One of the many - most being much worse - consequences of this is is that it's now impossible to even weigh with an opinion on the simplest of issues anymore.
 
#39
Just a question: Are you sympathetic to Marxism?
I don't know enough about it to answer that question. I am, though, sympathetic to socialism - an idea that predates Marx - but I recognise that, as does capitalism, it comes with its own set of problems. It's the problems with capitalism that lead me to entertain the idea of socialism. I don't know how many of the problems of each are soluble. It's not something I've studied in depth. And, having just seen Reece's post after typing out the preceding, I can wholeheartedly say that I agree with his insights - nicely put, man. [edit: one clarification of partial disagreement: I don't seem to feel as threatened by SJW censorship and cooption as Reece, and, I think, Vault313 do - perhaps because I don't participate in forums where they are present]
 
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#40
I don't understand why you use that criteria. Would it be OK to kill an adult human if that adult human could not feel pain? If the answer is "No", then why do you answer differently for a foetus?
That's the criteria the medical community uses. An undeveloped foetus also isn't the same as an adult human!
 
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