Sunday, May 23, 2010


You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
Stranger: Hi.
You: Hey there.
You: How do you feel about abortion?
Stranger: I feel that people should be allowed to have an abortion under certain conditions.
You: Which circumstances would these be?
Stranger: For example, if the would-be mother is very young or is for some reason not fit to be a mother.
You: Does this apply through all 9 months?
Stranger: No, the abortion would have to be early on.
You: Why?
You: Why does the baby get more important as she ages?
Stranger: I don't know, but according to my country's laws it must be withing a certain time limit.
Stranger: And I figure that there must be a reason for that.
You: What's your country?
Stranger: Iceland.
You: Okay, I don't know much about Icelandic law.
You: But in the USA, slavery used to be legal.
You: The Holocaust was completely legal.
You: The law is a terrible yardstick for morality.
Stranger: Are you implying that you think abortion is wrong?
You: Sorry, I should've stated that.
You: I oppose homicide.
You: Abortion in and of itself is not wrong; it's the killing of the embryo or fetus, not the termination of the pregnancy, that I have a problem with.
Stranger: Well, I am not very opinionated on this matter.
Stranger: I do believe that under certain conditions, abortion can be justified.
You: Is this your view, or the view of Icelandic laws?
Stranger: It is also my view.
You: Why?
Stranger: If, for example, the would-be mother was the victim of rape, would you require her to have the child?
You: If a child was conceived of rape, would you punish him for a crime committed before he even existed?
Stranger: Well, I don't think the mother would love the child as much as she would love her own child.
You: So, it's okay to kill someone if their mother doesn't love them?
Stranger: So being born into these circumstances is punishment all of its own.
You: I have a few friends whose mothers were raped, and they're glad to be aliv.
You: alive*
Stranger: Well, if the fetus is only a few weeks old it doesn't really have a consciousness.
I don't think it can feel a thing at that stage.
You: Does that really matter?
You: The same thing can be said of anyone under general anesthesia.
Stranger: Well, the fetus is barely alive.
You: There's no such thing.
Stranger: Some consider the life to start when you're born.
You: You're alive or you aren't.
Stranger: True.
Stranger: However, there is a difference.
You: The embryo is growing, developing, reacting to stimuli, and requires nutrients.
You: Any high school biology textbook will tell you what that means.
Stranger: Yes, however, I do not consider a fetus to be a person.
That's just my opinion. Arguing about it won't change anything.
You: Do you consider a fetus to be a human being?
Stranger: Yes.
You: So, you think some human beings aren't people?
Stranger: If they are not yet born, have never had any contact with anyone, do not have a personality, then you could say they're not persons.
You: What do you mean by "personality" and "contact"?
Stranger: The fetus has had no impact on the world, other than on the mother.
I don't think I need to explain personality.
You: Because later-term babies can recognize their parents' voice.
You: Well, I'm not sure newborns would qualify, then.
Stranger: Well, as you said, "later-term babies can recognize their parents' voice." When they are just a few weeks old, they can't.
You: But you also said "If they are not yet born".
You: And my mother is pregnant with twins ATM. They have quite an impact on me.
Stranger: I said before that I do not approve of abortion after the fetus is months old.
I think that's morally wrong.
You: Why?
Stranger: Well, they are closer to being persons. I can't really explain it.
You: She's the same person no matter how old she is.
Stranger: She?
Stranger: And is "she" really?
You: Is she really what?
Stranger: Really the same person. Would you consider a group of cells that could be anyone the same person as when the individual is grown up?
You: Yes.
You: Even a newborn is a group of cells that could be anyone.
You: Who you are is constantly shaped until you die.
Stranger: Yes, but it starts after you're born.
You: Actually, that's not true.
Stranger: Okay, what the mother eats has an effect before you're born.
Stranger: But I don't think you could have a considerable impact on personality.
You: Things like music and food preferences are influenced by conditions in utero.
Stranger: Has that been proven?
You: Yes.
You: Not until 32 weeks, but yes.
Stranger: Aha.
Stranger: Well, that's 8 months.
You: Yes, but that's before birth.
Stranger: I never said abortion was right after such a long time.
You: Okay, so take out the "are not yet born" part from your justification.
Stranger: Well, okay.
You: Okay, so someone needs to have an impact on the world to have rights?
Stranger: No.
You: Then why bring it up?
Stranger: I don't know. I wasn't sure how to define "person". I'm kinda tired.
You: Okay.
You: Well, you wanna email me when you're rested?
You: I think it makes sense to define "person" as "human being".
Stranger: I'd say a person is a "self-conscious or rational being."
You: Well, if that's your standard you're gonna need to support infanticide.
Stranger: Self conscious being the key word there.
You: Self-consciousness comes at 1 year after birth at the earliest.
You: 18 months possibly.
Stranger: Well, a new-born has feeling.
You: Some people do follow that standard to its logical conclusion.
Stranger: feelings*
You: I know a guy who considers infants and those with severe mental handicaps to be nonpersons.
You: I hope you don't.
Stranger: I don't.
You: Then clearly self-consciousness is a terrible yardstick.
You: You seem to be grasping at straws now and contradicting yourself in order to support a conclusion instead of building one from the facts.
You: You're following the logical process backwards.
Stranger: I admit, I do not think about the subject very much and I have not prepared myself for this argument beforehand.
You: Your conclusions should flow from your arguments, not vice versa.
You: Well, if you haven't thought about it, I would suggest not taking a stance until you do.
Stranger: I do have an opinion, it's just not one I think about often.
Honestly, I don't even know why I'm still here.
Stranger: It must be pure stubbornness.
You: There's really no reason I've found to deny someone their human rights because of age.
You: Must be.
You: How did you form your opinion?
Stranger: I'm not sure.
You: You should look at your beliefs.
You: Your standard of self-consciousness clearly fails when scritinized.
Stranger: How so?
You: Well, you do not support killing other human beings that fail that standard.
You: I'd say you only apply it prenatally, but you oppose late-term abortions.
You: I'm not sure how it comes into play to support your stance.
Stranger: All right.
Stranger: Well, would you say an animal is a person?
You: Depends on the animal.
Stranger: Is a chimpanzee a person?
You: No.
Stranger: What animal would you say is a person?
You: Humans.
Stranger: Okay. I meant animals other than humans. I should have specified that.
You: Personally, I do not.
Stranger: Because there is a difference between animals and humans, is there not?
You: Humans are animals.
Stranger: Again, when I say animals I mean animals other than humans.
You: Yes, there is.
You: DNA
You: Species.
Stranger: Okay. Would you say it is wrong to kill a dog? Or an ape?
You: No, I would not.
You: But if we're going by mental capabilities, we're back to the issue of newborns.
Stranger: Why? The only difference between us and them is DNA, as you said.
You: And species.
You: That's important.
Stranger: Different DNA, different species.
Stranger: It goes hand in hand.
You: Morality itself evolved as a sort of biological leash upon interactions within a species.
You: Not true; my sister and I have different DNA but we're both human.
You: All species have some degree of morality.
Stranger: Yes, but the amount of difference is what makes you a different species.
You: I guess.
You: I've gotta go soon; could you email me?
Stranger: So, the only real difference between you and a dog is DNA.
Stranger: Why? So we can continue arguing?
I don't see the point.
You: I'd like to expand on the basis of my morality.
You: This is much more interesting than 94% of the conversations here.
Stranger: Incidentally, 94% of statistics on the internet are made up on the spot.
You: True.
Stranger: Well, I guess you could have my e-mail, but don't expect me to e-mail you first.
I will most likely reply, though.
Stranger: Anyways, the point that I was getting at was that when the fetus is only a few weeks old the difference between it and the fetuses of other mammals is minimal.
Stranger: The only real difference is DNA.
You: There's a minimal difference up until 18 months
You: We shouldn't assign rights based on mental capacity.
Stranger: There is significant difference between born individuals.
You: I'll continue on email i g2g.
You have disconnected.
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