Re: POL: Abortion-neutral Extropian Principles

Tim Hruby (
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 19:35:20 -0500

At 5:42 PM -0500 3/16/99, Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko wrote:

> But then, of course, a newborn baby is also inferior to a cat, so rationally,
> getting rid of them is ethically no worse than killing a cow - right?
> And then, there are mentally retarded folk who will never turn into anything
> sentient... But that's really different... right?

Sasha seems to be agreeing with my point, while having ignored it :-)

My point was that the morality of abortion is not easily reduced to a question of neurology and/or "sentience" in the mind of those who care about the question. To most, morality is more complicated than that.

I take no (public) stance on the actual morality of abortion. I have an opinion, but I don't care about it enough to risk being drawn into dealing with and/or debating those people who do _deeply_ care about the issue. Because of their passion for the issue, they (on both sides) demand far too much time, energy, money and other scarce resources, considering that my interests lie elsewhere.

I agree with Eliezer's post that the Extropian principles should not contain such a statement either, but I think his reason is flawed. My opinion for why the Extropian principles should be silent is closely related to my own reasons for silence. It's a pragmatic reaction to the risk on being drawn into a costly political debate over an issue (the morality of abortion) that is at best tangential to Extropianism.

A question more closely related to Extropianism (at least the political threads thereof) is the view of the Principles on whether the state should be imposing a certain view of morality on individuals. But that question is broader than and different from the issue of the _morality_ of abortion. I don't think that Extropianism, as I understand it, has much to say on the morality of abortion.