Defining Human - pt. 2

Reilly Jones (
Mon, 9 Mar 1998 19:36:18 -0500

Michael Lorrey wrote 3/6/98: <The Declaration of Independence states that
'men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among
these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'. Whether you regard
your 'creator' as god, nature, or merely your parents (which one?) seems to
be irrelevant, but the D of I is not looked upon by the Supreme Court in
the same manner as the USC.>

The D of I is America's Articles of Incorporation, the Constitution is
merely its By-Laws. The By-Laws have no meaning without organic reference
to the Articles of Incorporation. When the Supreme Court makes decisions
that are cut free from the D of I, it is acting as a law unto itself with
no legitimacy at all, simply brute force *if* it can get the executive and
legislative branches to acquiesce.

ML: <That the 'right to choose' is not mentioned is irrelevant, as it is
implied that it belongs to the people, unless they delegate it to the state
(which is where state laws can be used to outlaw abortion, and where Roe v.
Wade was an improper decision, in that it presumed federal authority to
restrict state rights which the poeple had previously delegated to them).>

You are correct about it being an improper decision and why it was
improper. You are incorrect that there is any 'right to choose to murder
an unborn child'. Prior to Roe v. Wade, it was unthinkable. Roe v. Wade
stepped in and redefined human in a most barbaric way for convenience's or
expediency's sake. The Justices deemed consequence-free sex to be an
equivalent value to the freedom to murder the weak.

Lee Crocker wrote 3/6/98: <I believe there is, however, another
responsibility that sometimes is overlooked: to actively resist, to the
extent of one's ability, those forces opposed to the values of life. I
vote, for example, because if I did not, I would feel some moral complicity
in whatever atrocities are committed by the government I failed to vote

Naturally you should be voting against abortion as being antithetical to
the values of life. The atrocities being committed by the government for
the last twenty-five years have stained the country and undermined any
moral logic America once had in service to those values of life. It's too
bad the Supreme Court has never allowed voters to determine the definition
of human in their separate jurisdictions, to see which consequences are
most favorable to life.

Arjen Kamphuis wrote 3/6/98: <Besides that there are certain safeguards
like a constitition (most western countries have one) that guarantees
certain basic rights (such as not to be killed and such).>

The constitution is just theory on paper. The guarantee of rights is
dependent on the moral fabric of the ruling class. Certainly unborn
children (developing selves) have no rights not to be killed.

AK: <if you get it in your head to interfere in any way with anyone else
who is excercising their right _not_ to have a child you'll be in big

Instead of "exercising their right not to have a child," you really mean
"exercising their right to murder their unborn child." Of course, there
are many, many individuals worldwide who cannot in good conscience grant
legitimacy to such a horrible thing. You'll have to get us all "in big
trouble," and we'll resist in order to save the values of life from your
brutality. You may try to ghettoize us, as you suggested, but we won't
make it easy for you.

AK: <the commercial usage of consious beings is totally unacceptable.
That's just my opinion.>

Hmm... Too bad it's "just an opinion," you will never counter John Clark's
much more coherent case that he made for the commercial usage of conscious
beings being positively good, to be sought for. You have no basis to fight
him, opinion or feeling does not stand up against certainty based on a
coherent worldview (even though that worldview is entirely based on false
metaphysical presuppositions of total digital existence). John and his
fellow travelers will prevail against you unless you can argue your opinion
sensibly and tie it to a coherent worldview based on true presuppositions.

AK: <50 years from now someone else might be at the top of the foodchain,
they could be fully _digital_, and they'll have web-acces to Exi archives.
And they will be aware of you utter disrespect for non-meat, non-analog
consious systems. Think about it.>

I'm not concerned about mythical "fully digital" conscious entities in the
future. I'm worried about fully digital killer machines set into motion by
conscious entities. The conscious entities will see my arguments for
protecting the rights of the weak against the depredations of the strong as
potentially crimping their style. They will not like me and I will not
like them. So what's new?

AK: <When you think about it rationally (whatever that still means in this
context...) it seems to me clearly immoral to allow all kinds of suffering
when we have the means to end it (or most of it).>

Does this include the suffering of the many individuals who are in terrible
pain helplessly watching the legal slaughter of the innocents? Why isn't
it immoral to allow this suffering to go on?

AK: <Under Dutch law the the status of fetus lasts untill several months (I
have no exact figures) before the child can survive outside the womb. The
overwhelming majority of Europeans citizens agrees with this law as being
ethical (are they all primitive barbarians?).>

The overwhelming majority of American citizens agree that European citizens
are primitive barbarians and have been for most of this century, we've had
to bail them out twice already from their barbaric squabbling. They
exported their barbaric ideas over here after WW II and within a generation
our slide into moral decay began in earnest.

AK: <On one side we have a group of people claiming that one is human after
conception because 'something' happens then even though they don't don't
know what that something is. On the other side we have a group of people
saying that somewhere during the growthproces a fetus becomes a human even
though they are not sure when precisely.

Neither side seems to be able to bring 100% solid scientific or ethical
'proof' for their opinion (at least I have't heard it). It then becomes a
question of who's is going to force their opinion of who. No-one is forced
to have an abortion (AFAIK). I respect the fact that some people would
never have an abortion because they feel 'it would not be right'. That's
OK. However, I do not think that gives anyone the right to enforce their
opinions on others. The _problem_ is of course that those who are against
abortion feel that the fetus being aborted is a human who is killed based
on the opinion of others. And then we're full circle. I do not know if
it's possible to break this so I'll choose for individual freedom of

This seems like a fairly reasonable recap. A couple of points to ponder.
You'll choose for individual freedom of choice, do you mean the unborn
child's freedom of choice? I didn't think so. The developing self is weak
and the mother is strong, not an equal standing, and the damage to society
being able to uphold the values of life is due in part to the very obvious
fact that the mother lays down her guardianship role, the keystone of civil
society, to "choose" to murder her own unborn child. When the keystone
falls, society falls. When mothers don't value their own unborn children,
no moral logic persuades anyone to value any children at all.

When you say "one is human after conception because 'something' happens
then even though they don't know what that something is," you are
misrepresenting my position. Conception initiates the development of a
self. From conception onward, we can alter the environmental factors and
the genetic makeup that largely determine individuality. Before
conception, any alteration to environmental factors or genetic makeup
associated with any constituent biological precursors are allowed because
there is no assurance that conception will occur. It is only when
conception occurs that "selection" has taken place - success. We are no
longer tampering with our own developing self, we are tampering with
another developing self without that self's consent. Because it is without
consent, society has a right, through the political process, to ensure that
the tampering is in the best interest of the unborn child according to the
wisdom embodied in society's ideals and accumulated experience. It is a
similar situation to how society deals with resident non-citizens and with
individuals mentally or physical unable to enter into contracts.

Harvey Newstrom wrote 3/6/98:
RJ: <I read recently where China has 53 million missing females, they are
statistically expected from normal demographic trends but simply not

<You think something is true just because you read it.>

C'mon, you can insult me more cleverly than this. I have closely read many
accounts over the years of the Chinese death-lords in their effort to
manage their population growth. This statistic accords well with the depth
of these accounts. Go do your own research if you're really interested, it
makes for really gruesome reading.

HN: <Abortion laws restrict abortions by trimester. Please reference a
specific law that allows abortion on the due date while the baby is 2/3 out
of the birth canal.... Ninth month abortions are not legal, even though
you argue that they might as well be. You can't legally find a place that
will do this for you, even if you can easily find such a place with little
risk of prosecution. Roe vs. Wade did not legalize what you discribe, even
if what you are discribing is actually happening in the same clinics that
are legalized by Roe vs. Wade.>

Let me clarify this. I am going to quote from "Before the Shooting Begins"
by James Davison Hunter (1994) pgs. 247-249: "In 1973 Justice Harry
Blackmun wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court, arguing that a
woman's decision to terminate or continue her pregnancy is a fundamental
right, part of a 'right of privacy.' [...] In Roe itself, abortion was
proscribed after viability, yet after viability (measured typically at the
end of the sixth month) states must permit abortions that are necessary to
preserve maternal life or health. In Roe's companion decision, Doe v.
Bolton, the court defined 'health' as 'all factors... relevant to the
well-being of the patient - including emotional, psychological, familial
[factors] and the woman's age.' [...] Subsequent decisions not only
reaffirmed Roe but extended its interpretation, overturning virtually every
effort to restrict the practice of abortion. [Examples incl. Planned
Parenthood v. Danforth (1976), City of Akron v. Akron Center for
Reproductive Health, Inc. (1983), Thornburgh v. American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists (1986).] What was so unique about this
evolving law was that it forbade *any* state regulation of abortion for the
sake of preserving the fetus until viability. Even after viability there
would be no federal regulation oriented toward protecting the fetus until
birth. [...] In practice, then, a pregnant woman could get an abortion at
any time during pregnancy if she desired it and if a single doctor (who
might be the one performing the abortion) judged the abortion necessary to
preserve her health (broadly construed to include a notion of well-being).
In sum, Roe was a 'compromise.' It did not technically permit abortion on
demand for the full nine months. On the other hand, by defining abortion
as a 'fundamental right' and striking down efforts 'to protect the
developing fetus' in challenges subsequent to Roe, the Supreme Court did
provide a foundation for the practice of abortion on demand for the full
nine months."

Mark wrote 3/6/98:
RJ: <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?>

By all accounts, German and Russian citizens living next to their own death
camps did not engage in much discussion about them, either. Nasty topic,
not very comfortable.

den Otter wrote 3/6/98:
<For the record, here's part of my ideology:

Pro: Abortion (pro choice, not squeamish about number of months of
Con: Murder...>

Hmmm... Something's fishy here.

Berrie Staring wrote 3/6/98: <don't do to anyone/anything what you don't
want to be done to you. I think it's almost a natural law.>

Then mothers most likely shouldn't murder their unborn children since they
probably don't want to be murdered themselves.

Doug Bailey wrote 3/5/98: <As I see it, the abortion debate has very little
to do with the value of life or what it is to be human. Its purely about
individual freedom.>

Individual freedom for the unborn child? Only if freedom = death.

Arjen Kamphuis wrote 3/9/98: <As long as no coercion is involved it seems
to me that figuring ou ways te prevent people from dying, even if we don't
know them and they are living thousand of miles away, is a very Extropian
thing to do.>

I am trying to figure out how to keep millions of unborn children
(developing selves) from being coerced to death each year. I don't know
them and they are living thousands of miles away, is this a very Extropian
thing to do?

Reilly Jones | Philosophy of Technology: | The rational, moral and political relations
| between 'How we create' and 'Why we create'