Thursday, July 21, 2005

Does reason/logic have a role in moral debate?

I ask this question in all seriousness (and admit that I am a little bit in despair over its apparent answer).

In numerous discussions about abortion, it seems that we get to a point at which - very consistently - the pro-choice person admits that my science/biology is basically pretty sound, but that the 'answer' to the abortion debate depends, ultimately on the opinion one has of the value of human life. Obviously, it's portrayed as more nuanced than this - but seems to boil down to whether someone feels like it's worth valuing an early human life.

Does this seem as messed up to you as it does to me?

Consider the great company this opinion shares (I'm going from memory/interpretation - actual quotes would be welcome):
Women are not considered persons under the meaning of the law.
Black people are not legally persons.
Jewish people have no rights.

Maybe I'm just daft (okay, it's certain that I often am - but where in this issue?) - isn't society just repeating itself, again, when it comes to human rights abuses? Some group of people has grown comfortable at the expense of another, and justifies it with the flimsiest of excuses; when confronted with evidence to the contrary, retreats into a very adolescent, "I just want it that way, and don't care what you say."

Partially, it's part of a larger issue - "progressives" like (nay, are required by virtue of their view of humanity) to believe that human nature is improving itself over time - evolving, if you will. Unfortunately, human history doesn't neatly demarcate itself into early periods where men brutally killed each other for no apparent reason, and later periods where men are enlightened and, individually as well as societally, do all they can to nourish and protect human lives. Many of the worst human atrocities are also the most recent - often enough in the most advanced nations (if abortion is included, as I argue it should, then today's most horrific abuses are precisely in the most "civilized").

I don't have a neat way to end this, so bye for now.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really is a multi faceted debate. Myself, I would like to see more talk about avoiding the "Unwanted" pregnancies. I do not think that to be another issue, part of the same. I am sorry that abortion has become a political issue. It sould be between the woman, her minister, medical professional, and the father.
I think the reall issue is the question, when does a fetus become a person? When does it become aware of itself? This, we just don't know yet. I say, then, that we need to consider it to be from the very start! Life is life, and as soon as two cells join and start dividing - we have another life. Having said that - adoption is a far greater choice.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:39:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted the above anon. I meant to address the question in your header for this post. ( oops)

Does logic and reason have a place in moral debate. I think it certainly does. Morality is change for the better. Deciding change for the better requires information and application of these very qualities of the mind.

Gary

Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:44:00 p.m.  
Blogger Cyrano said...

Thanks for dropping by, Gary.

My point about reason is that many seem ready to disregard it when it doesn't suit their preconceived conclusions. When it comes to human rights (especially the right to life), the only logical starting point for that seems to be biological humanity. Historically, whenever we start clarifying why so and so shouldn't be considered 'human' or a 'person', we see the many different faces of oppression of certain classes of human beings.

It's disheartening to me to hear so many of the pro-choice ilk not even begin to notice this similarity between their own rhetoric regarding the unborn and other egregious human rights abuses. It's like it's not even on their radar screen because for them, abortion is a necessary part of society. I often look at them after my conversations and imagine what it must have been like for those against slavery to attempt to convince pro-slavery people that it was wrong. There, they too were met with slogans like, "if you don't want one, don't have one." And we all know how that issue had to be resolved.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 9:18:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes indeed! Mankind has a lot of waking up to do. This I know, they will; sooner rather than later if we all keep talking about these issues.

I have a spiritual slant on this one - if you care to know?

Gary

Friday, July 22, 2005 11:11:00 a.m.  
Blogger Cyrano said...

Go for it, Gary - I'm all ears.

Friday, July 22, 2005 2:38:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well heck!!!
I just lost 20 minutes of typing by trying to back out of preview.

I'll do it again later, not the time now - sorry.

Gary

Friday, July 22, 2005 5:32:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spiritualy speaking, I believe in reincarnation. Birth, life, death proceed as a cycle. I do not see birth as a end. No matter how long the life, in the cycle, an agenda is accomplished.
On the political side, abortion is an emotional tool used to manipulate people, particularly the "Faithfull" in this instance. It is used to draw attention from the greater problems.(politicians are the grandest manipulators)
I believe that if you want to solve the abortion issue, along with a host of other issues all we need do is solve the "warring" issue. In accomplishing that - all else will have faded away in resolution.

It all is summed up in His statement "Do unto others.........."

Gary

Saturday, July 23, 2005 10:41:00 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, in the second sentence, I meant I do not see death as an end.

Gary

Saturday, July 23, 2005 11:17:00 a.m.  
Blogger Cyrano said...

Gary, I'm going to be kind and say that you're 'eclectic'.

May I ask where your reincarnation belief comes from?

I see reincarnation as a cop out from doing everything we should do in the one life we get here on Earth. There is no support for it in Christian traditions, and Hinduism's version is not the romanticized image we in the West have.

In terms of moral debate - why should we care about getting rid of 'warring', if we all get to come back anyway? Let's just embrace warfare instead to help speed us on our way to the next incarnation.

My point here is that it's easy to justify doing nothing when we pretend like other peoples' suffering doesn't really matter - frankly, I think Hinduism's version of reincarnation is a philosophical solution to the massive poverty and 'caste' issues of those societies. In other words, it's an escape from actually trying to improve peoples' lots in life. It might be partially rational, in that it's impossible for any one of us to solve the big issues of our day - but we're not expected to, we just have to do our part.

I don't see the abortion issue as a manipulative tool for the religious - I see it as a grave human rights abuse, based on a scientific definition of when human life begins. Period.

Monday, July 25, 2005 9:31:00 p.m.  
Blogger Cyrano said...

As for solving the 'warring issue' before the 'abortion issue', I like what Mother Teresa had to say, "If a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell others not to kill?"

Monday, July 25, 2005 9:32:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eclectic is ok, however there is no need to judge. Remember 'Judge not, lest ye be judged'
I dont mean to preach, but so many forget that admonishmnet. It is paramount. Do you know why?

As for re-incarnation, I feel there is more evidence to support it than not. Many, more than you would care to guess, believe it well.
You:
In terms of moral debate - why should we care about getting rid of 'warring', if we all get to come back anyway?
Come on man, how could you say that? Man can not evolve in spirit and war at the same time.
You:
In other words, it's an escape from actually trying to improve peoples' lots in life.
I see that as just the opposite. Reincarnation is a journey of improvement - evolution - so effort is paramount.
You:
I don't see the abortion issue as a manipulative tool for the religious.
I was speaking of the political use, however you are right in that some religious are very political.

Finaly, you:
As for solving the 'warring issue' before the 'abortion issue', I like what Mother Teresa had to say, "If a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell others not to kill?"

I did not mean to say before, I mean to say that working on the big picture of man's intolerances will accomplish it all. How can we say stop abortion, and let war continue, as some necessary evil?

Man's journey is to come together in Brotherly Love. I say we need reincarnation, because so many just do not get it in a lifetime, despite the efforts of some. We all are a greater part of the effort than we know. So, yes, we all have to do our part!!!

Gary

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 11:29:00 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is kind of funny that even the politicians know abortion is a "devisive issue" - only when the other guys use it though!
Yeah Right!

Gary

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 12:14:00 p.m.  
Blogger Cyrano said...

Can you give me some common ground to work with you, Gary? Because I'm not going to be convinced in reincarnation. We don't get a second chance, despite messing things up in the one life we get. Where can we work together on this, with these different backgrounds?

Don't think of what I say as judgement, but rather as correction.

You mentioned there's 'evidence' of reincarnation - such as?

Your concerns about 'warring' and 'spiritual development' are fine enough, at face value - my point was that abortion is part of the violent tendency to problem resolution, the same way that warring is. We can't neglect the influence of abortion in maintaining/encouraging a violent life ethic. If we can kill others to solve our problems, what difference does it make that one takes place in a war zone, and one occurs in a hospital?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 11:52:00 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have common ground - so to speak. I agree with your last paragraph.
Perhaps it would have been more clear if I had said solve the causes of warring - in that all else falls away in resolution.

As for reincarnation, give me a day. I want to clarify something with a friend.

In the mean time let me ask you this "What is this life?" You say we only get one. What is it. Define life.

Gary

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 5:14:00 p.m.  
Blogger Cyrano said...

Life is our time spent on Earth - in terms of our biological lives. One life per person is all we can reliably say our experience supports.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 10:50:00 a.m.  
Blogger just sayin' said...

My question has always been why do we consider the fetus as the beginning of life? That little squiggly sperm is sure alive, wouldn't you agree? I can go along with anonymous who spoke of avoiding "unwanted" pregnancies. But I think the solution instead of adoption would be a different operation performed on male babies. Let's do away with circumcision (which most nations have) and substitute vastectomy. When male babies have grown into proven responsible men, then they can choose to have their infant operation reversed so they may produce offspring. This way, females don't have to put harmful chemicals in their bodies for years and years nor is there likely to be an influx of unwanted children. What do you think about that?

Thursday, July 28, 2005 11:14:00 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morgan, I understand your intent, but that sounds too Big Brother for me! Man is, and needs to be responsible for his behavior.

Cyrano, if you are talking of biological life, our body, our vehicle, then of course there is the one shot. What part of you do you think goes to heaven after death? That is the part I speak of. Is it hard to see that the spirit could pick up a new vehicle?

Evidence, well many people give accounts that support the belief. I know a person who made me a believer. I thought I was before, but Her experience made it real. For some the vail of memory is thinner that the rest of us.

Gary

Thursday, July 28, 2005 11:45:00 a.m.  
Blogger Cyrano said...

Is there anything verifiable about your friend's story? Or could it be just a well-spun (though possibly believed) yarn?

As hilarious as Monty Python's "Every sperm is beautiful" sketch is, the one thing that always bugged me is its misrepresentation of the Catholic teaching in Humanae Vitae. What will happen if we let a sperm (by itself) go on living by itself, versus, what will happen if conception occurs, and we let it continue as it naturally would? There is obviously a world of difference between the two.

Biologically, life never 'begins', it is only transmitted (a bit of a problem for those scientifically-inclined who don't believe in spontaneous generation) from parent to child - life comes from life. OTOH, an individual human life begins at conception - which is why we should start protecting individual human rights at that point.

Theologically, it's our soul that goes on to heaven. I'm not saying reincarnation isn't possible - just horrendously unlikely, and incompatible with Christianity.

Hinduism's view of reincarnation isn't what you seem to be promoting - in fact, that view is a relatively recent innovation.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 8:27:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right(!) about life being transmited - very good. There is a cell to cell connection from us all the way back. The biological torch is passed on. At some point the soul takes on the body, incarnates. Is it not arrogant for us to think a soul could not want to do it again? How can we presume to know about what souls want?

Another question: If the cell to cell connection goes way back, as we see it must; are we not all connected?

I say we are both biologically and spiritually connected as one - thereby............well, what is that implication?

As for the evidence or a well spun yarn, the evidence is real. I have still not gotten permission from her to elaborate, but I feel she would be happy for me to do so. It is a short story, but I want her authority first. I'll try to talk to her again today.

Gary

Friday, July 29, 2005 11:18:00 a.m.  
Blogger Cyrano said...

There is a certain connectedness - although it's also very true that we are distinct from each other. It's more true to say that we are made of the same 'stuff' of life than that we are all from the same life. There's no need to become pantheistic is my point.

Friday, July 29, 2005 6:54:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are we not all from the one Omnipresent God?

Gary

Friday, July 29, 2005 7:32:00 p.m.  
Blogger TheDevilIsInTheDetails said...

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Sunday, November 06, 2005 10:20:00 p.m.  

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