Re: Arguments from Nonexistence. Was: Extropians and animal rights

Samael (
Fri, 15 Jan 1999 09:00:55 -0000

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
>I understand but disagree with the arguments that yield the "conservative"
>stance. It seems less a simple inconsistency than a skewed prioritizing
>of the lives of potential beings over existing ones. As for the corollary
>"liberal" inconsistency, notice that the whiff of paradox vanishes if the
>"liberal" permits abortions for both human and nonhuman animals, while
>also pooh-poohing the consumption of either human or nonhuman animals as
>food. Again, existing beings have priority over nonexisting ones. No
>inconsistency at all. Best, Dale

The basic argument is

  1. Killing people is wrong.
  2. Foetuses are people.

Most people would go with statement 1, less people with statement 2.

The problem being that it's hard to define when a foetus becomes a person. For instance, my father is a neonatologist specialising in premature babies. I know his NICU has dealt with babies down to 22 weeks gestation and they have survived. This would seem to indicate higher personhood than the ball of 8 cells that they are a teensy bit earlier in their gestation. Only counting people as people when they are born seems a tad arbitrary.