Re: Defining Human
Fri, 6 Mar 1998 06:31:26 -0800 (PST)

Reilly Jones [] wrote:
>Why should the public listen to individuals who represent themselves as
>extropians, supposedly holding to principles of protecting and enhancing
>intelligent life, when they condone cannibalism, when they condone the
>murder and arbitrary use of developing selves until those selves are
>capable of standing up and shouting "I claim rights for myself"?

Uh, most of the people I know who are receptive to Extropian ideas are
pro-choice; I don't think that those ideas will last long in
fundamentalist christian anti-abortion groups. If we want to spread ideas
then linking them to an anti-abortion agenda would be really dumb.

Not that I think that there's anything wrong with individual Extropians
taking an anti-abortion stance, since it does depend so strongly on your
idea of when a person acquires rights; equally I don't have any problem
with people voluntarily subscribing to legal systems which do ban
abortion. But your claim that people won't listen to us unless we
as a group are anti-abortion doesn't hold up to the slightest scrutiny.

>Think of what 53 million
>Chinese women might have thought of to improve and enhance life; the
>abortion fanatics just think of 53 million stomachs to fill and 53 million
>bowels to empty.

Duh... this is an issue that I find personally distressing, but the
simple fact is that if there were 53 million more Chinese women there'd
be 53 million *less* Chinese men. This is not a result of the legality
of abortion, but the Chinese government's stance against multi-child
families. Remove the government limits and most of those women would
be alive.

>The arguments for rape, incest, life-of-the-mother and fatal defects are
>rational, even if they prescribe tragic consequences.

But your argument seems to be that a fetus acquires rights at some
objectively-determined age. In that case, how can an abortion be
justified after that age even in these instances, and how can an
abortion before that age not be justified for any reason?

>When I drive by the local abortion "clinic" every day, I am acutely aware
>that I am driving by a Nazi or Stalinist death camp.

I think that just about ends the discussion, don't you?