"Instead of turning 30 reminding me that I'm getting old, it reminds me I'm living—and it's a wonderful feeling. I will wear every grey hair and every wrinkle as a badge of honour. I get to enjoy a life that's all too often left to 'choice' and deemed 'not worth living'—without even being given a chance.
"My mom is 'pro-choice' and believes it should have been up to her whether or not to abort me if she had known. I'm so thankful that my diagnosis was safe with me in the womb and that I'm alive—instead of my life being reduced to a statistic."A heart wrenching reality this woman has to live with, that her mom would actually say these things to her own daughter. But what really disturbed me was one of the commenters on the article. This man, from the UK, was a self-professed utilitarian. This was the first time I really was able to get into a deep conversation with one such person. While his ideas are scary, perhaps even monstrous, my interlocutor was pleasant throughout our discussion, never threw any personal attacks, and explained his point of view in an intelligent manner. But it's his worldview that is problematic. While reading through this dialogue, one will see that not only does he reject the personhood of most life in the womb, but also of some people who may be in a vegetative or comatose state, as can be seen by him saying they "often resume personhood". His comments will be in red, mine in blue, and various other commenters in different colors. My interlocutor's initial reply to the article itself is below:
Tom: This is merely confused counterfactual thinking. She'd never have suffered with the thoughts of having not existed or regretted her missed existence had she have been aborted in the first-trimester do it's a moot point.
Jo: Jennifer Christian Moeller Do you even understand how disgusting this comment is? She has a right to her life, and always has since the moment of conception.
Christine: Seriously? That is your take-away from this woman's story? If you had been aborted, you would not suffer from the stupidity evidenced in a statement like this. I think your life is the moot point.
Tina: So how aware of your own existence do you have to be to deserve to live? If I shoot you in the head while you're sleeping, you'd never know it happened, have no chance to suffer or think about what you are losing, so what's the big deal?
Tom: Jo do you have any idea how irrelevant emotional intutions (sic) like disgust are to determining the moral truths of bioethics? Many people find homosexuality disgusting but that in no way constitutes a good moral argument against it.
Nicholas: No one said an emotional intuition like disgust is an argument for determining that killing a human being is wrong. It's a reaction to an injustice. A comment either is or is not disgusting.
Your comment is disgusting because you are essentially telling a 30 year old woman that just because she may not have been cognizantly aware of her surroundings in utero, her murder would've been productive as it would have prevented her from suffering 30 years later.
Tom: Nicholas so you're contending that disgust is a reliable indicator of an injustice? People's level of disgust senstivity varies with personality traits though so are you saying that injustice is a subjective concept dependent on people's feelings? That sounds liable to decend into a flaky moral relativism to me. Justice and moral truth must be independent of how people feel about it.
Tina there are wider utilitarian considerations against killing the comatose/anethesised/sleeping that don't apply to killing first-trimester fetuses. The negative consequences for everyone's well-being are more pronounced being pretty much equivalent to allowing a murder amnesty every other half-day. Any anxiety and distress caused thoughout (sic) the population by knowing they can be killed with impunity should they become comatose constitutes a case against allowing it which doesn't apply for first-trimester fetuses which can't suffer psychologically under an awareness of the future they simply don't possess. There is also a quantitative difference in the likely suffering endured by family members, friends, and communities who are rightly much more attached to the average comatose adult than they are the average first-trimester fetus whose parents want to abort it. The consequences of shorter lives would mean less time to engage in intrinsically worthwhile projects and in instrumental projects like civilisation building and science which massively benefit everyone and whose loss would be too harmful to allow.
Further unlike a fetus a comatose/anethesised/sleeping adult has usually attained personhood status before. In the comatose personhood is merely suspended rather than as yet undeveloped as in the case of the fetus. If there is a prospect of them 'coming round' - on most conceptions of personal identity continuity - they can (often) resume the personhood and life they lost before becoming comatose.
Tina: Utilitarian was all you had to say. When you begin assigning value to an individual human life based on the interests of a wider group, I know there is nothing left to say. I will never accept that anyone's right to life depends on the feelings or desires of someone else. I've lived my whole life under that system, being physically and emotionally abused and being expected to be grateful for it because I was "allowed" to live and I refuse to ever support that idea in any way. I will never accept that the value of a human life is dependent upon the will or interests of anyone else (self-defense scenarios excluded). An emotionally based decision? Perhaps, but I own it.
Nicholas: Tom, that is not my contention. You've misrepresented what I'm trying to say. It's implied that Jennifer, myself and many others find your comments disgusting. You and others do not. In saying this, I'm not making an argument, simply an observation. I agree with you, "Justice and moral truth must be independent of how people feel about it." Let's stop going off on this tangent since we're in agreement.
Let's get to the crux of your argument. You believe that a human blastocyst and human embryo in the first trimester of pregnancy do not have the rights that are particular to all human beings, is this correct?
Also, is the blastocyst or embryo growing in utero a distinct member of the species homo sapien?
Do all Homo sapiens have a right to life? My contention is that all humans have a right to life, despite their age. The "quantitative difference" between embryos and comatose patients falls apart when a comatose person is homeless and has no ties to family or community. But apparently, in your view, he has "personhood status". How does one attain this "personhood status?"
Jo: Ah, utilitarianism. No wonder your comment drips with evil. See ya.
Tom: Nicholas, it's more that I don't think anything has moral status by virtue of being a human being.
As I'd defend the utilitarian position that only creatures which can feel pleasure or pain (physical or psychological) in their conscious experience are appropriate recipients of moral consideration. It's by this that I'd either define personhood or defend this sentence criterion as the moral point rather than personhood. 'Human beingness' is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for deserving moral treatment. Yes a blastocyst is a member of the homo sapien species but I don't see why that has moral importance. No I don't accept that all homo sapiens have a right to life. There are cases where it's morally better - even with respect to the homo sapien killed themselves - for them to be killed.
Nicholas: Tom said, "Nicholas, it's more that I don't think anything has moral status by virtue of being a human being."
That's unfortunate. I reject utilitarianism as being correct and true. I believe all human beings have worth because they possess, or have the potential to possess upon maturation, sentience and can determine between right and wrong in a way that other animals cannot. You can teach a chimpanzee sign language and teach it how to express some of it's primal feelings, but an animal like a chimpanzee will never possess the ability to understand the difference between "man bites dog" and "dog bites man". They don't possess that capability. Human beings do.
Therefore, we use science to determine when the life of a human being begins. Human development begins at conception, when the gametes come together to form a separate organism, a zygote. A zygote is the earliest stage of human development, a member of the species homo spaien in its own right. And since it is a human and cannot be anything else but a human, that organism, the human zygote, has moral status and rights to be protected as all humans do by virtue of their capacity of sentience given to them.
Every human life has worth, and the only case where it is "morally better" to kill a human would be in the case of capital punishment. But I'm also against capital punishment except in the most extreme cases where an aggressor cannot be separated from the masses; a case almost nonexistent in the Western world today. My point in mentioning this is that the organism growing in utero (zygote, blastocyst, embryo) is not an aggressor, and as a human being with the capacity for sentience, actively killing that human (murdering that human) is morally wrong and objectionable.
Just because that sentience is not visible yet, this does not mean the human being growing in utero can be killed without their right to life being violated. For instance, if one sees a sapling of an oak tree growing, a sapling that was just planted a few days ago, would one be correct in saying "This is not an oak tree!" simply because it has no leaves to provide shade? Of course not! The sapling is an oak tree because of its nature; it's just at a different point of development. It can't not be an oak tree, simply because someone says it doesn't resemble a mature oak tree.
The same is true with human beings. Just because this human being in utero cannot feel pain or emotion at this time, this does not take away it's nature as a human being. The human zygote/blastocyst/embryo is not a potential human being; it IS a human being. A sperm cell or egg cell is not a human being; it is a component of a human being, just like my skin cells are. There is no comparison between a human blastocyst and an unfertilized ovum. There is certainly a comparison between a human blastocyst and a human infant because they share the same nature and substance.
I think it's telling that you said this earlier: "If there is a prospect of [the comatose person] 'coming round' - on most conceptions of personal identity continuity - they can (often) resume the personhood and life they lost before becoming comatose."
It's telling in that you believe there are cases when such people lose their personhood. Since you believe a person can "lose" their "personhood" at any time, it will be hard for you to understand that a human embryo in the first trimester of pregnancy possesses it. I find such a view deplorable, as all human beings have dignity and rights by virtue of being human since, by nature, humans are sentient. Whether an accident takes away that sentience or not does not affect the nature of the human being in question. A deviation from the natural order cannot cause someone to "lose personhood". And surely, one human being still developing in utero does not find itself devoid of personhood because it hasn't fully yet matured.
Harriet: Testing for Turner Syndrome isn't typically done in the first trimester, and suspicions of it don't come about until the baby is more developed around the second semester, which would then lead to possibilities of testing. Testing, such as an amniocentesis, isn't done until between 15 and 18 weeks of gestation. So, in the event that her mother would have found out while pregnant, she would have had her aborted around the second semester. It's been proven that babies feel pain as early as 20 weeks, and abortions after the first trimester involve pulling each limb off of the baby's baby, and then crushing the skull. Sounds totally humane to do for a rare and survivable diagnosis.
Tom: Harriet, who advocated aborting those with Turner's syndrome?
Harriet: In your initial comment, you said that she'd have never suffered because she would have been aborted in the first trimester. She has Turner Syndrome. So in your initial comment, you advocated for the abortion of people with Turners Syndrome.
Sarah: A separate argument of Tom's appears to be that an unborn child has never "existed" because he has never been "sentient." Of course, sentience is not "on or off" or "black or white," but rather a spectrum. One cannot logically say that a fetus has never existed as a sentient; one can only say that the fetus has never been *as* sentient as a toddler. A toddler has never been as sentient as a 30-year-old, so the same can be said of toddlers, unless science can definitively point to the exact moment the sentient "switch" turns on. So that particular wording, at least, of a fetus "never having existed" is faulty (just as a separate point from the other argument he made).
The greatest good of society touted by utilitarianism also poses a problem due to its vagueness and its basis on individual perspective, regardless of how many scientific studies and computer calculations are run. According to some perspectives, euthanizing all of the mentally disabled could certainly be seen as the greater good, based on the calculations of certain economists and scientists.
Tom, Harriet, no because homeless people and foster children not only have been sentient conscious beings they continue to be.
The point about infanticide is well made though. There's no reason to think it's always wrong.
The spectrum of sentience is also a fair point. Once you're on that spectrum you get gradually increasing moral consideration of your interests proportional to your ability to suffer or benefit. The important point is that prior to the activation of the connections to the thalimus around 20 weeks the sentient pain architecture isn't really live so you don't start climbing that moral ladder so to speak.
The vagueness of what consitutes the greatest good of the greatest number doesn't mean there isn't a right answer about it. If it were the case that there's be much more happiness were the disabled euthanised (which let's face it seems unlikely given all the people who enjoy caring for them and the impact on their families) finding it distasteful wouldn't mean it was morally wrong. I don't think there's any doubt (except in some ludicrous SJW circles) that a non-disabled life is of prima facie higher moral value to the experiencer than a disabled one. That's a position unconditional human rights models struggle to take account of.
Nicholas while I agree that sentience and reasoning capacity are necessary to be a morally comprehending and morally responsible AGENT I don't accept that it's necessary for being worthy of moral TREATMENT.
I don't see it as acceptable to torture a higher primate on the grounds that it can't do moral reasoning. The idea that's relevant is to me an error serviced from Kant which Bentham rightly objected to when he said 'what matters is not can they reason but can they suffer'. Note that without your argument about potential a fetus certainly can't reason either. A brain damaged fetus doesn't even have the potential to develop the ability to reason.
|Allegory of the morality of earthly things- Tintoretto|
The argument about potential development of capacities I'd argue doesn't work as applied consistently it'd have bizzare consequences. If we had to take account of creating a hypothetical or potential person who would be a valuable conscious experiencer if allowed to develop and be born we'd have to go back much further in the causal chain than to when they were gestating. Why stop at conception? Admittedly some religions oppose contraception for these reasons of 'preventing the emergence of a valuable life' but even that doesn't go as far as the principle requires. If bringing hypothetically positive lives to fruition is so morally good then there would be a moral obligation to have as much casual sex as possible to conceive as many of those lives as possible. Then, nevermind using contraception, why wouldn't me doing some work at uni instead of impregnating a female classmate be an immoral denial of the right of our hypothetical offspring to life? The argument could go further to mandate rape to facilitate the actualisation of such valiable hypothetical lives.
I agree on the science of where life begins but being alive is not sufficient for moral status. I also agree that a fetus is not a moral aggressor culpable for anything but I'm not sure anyone claims otherwise.
Being a member of a natural kind like the human species has nothing to do with the sentience matter. Humans are not by nature sentient.
Euthanasia, war, and terrorism aversion are all cases where it's morally better to kill humans (I'm also against capital punishment). Those are cases where killing fully sentient human persons are morally permissible so the case that it's always wrong to kill human beings is even weaker.
Anna: Tom do you think using big words is going to change our minds. As an atheist the scientific community is clear when life begins. Here is one of 45 quotes from various textbooks I've read. My grandfather is an OBGYN of 45 years and he instilled in me that science cannot be argued against
"The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote." [Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3]
Opinions cannot be a basis for morality because biology is clear and , moral, and philosophical ideals point to personhood at conception.
Tom: Anna, I know. Nothing I'm arguing is inconsistent with the scientific fact that a new life begins at conception. I really cannot grasp why pro-lifers seem to think that argument gets them anywhere. It would only matter on theological premises that all (human) lives are sacred or on an implausible conception of personhood (philosophical argument here does not favour the from conception position) coupled with deontological human rights ethics. I'm not disputing when life begins. I'm disputing the claim life has intrinsic moral value. Sentient conscious life has moral value. Not life, or human life, or distinct human life.
Nicholas: Tom, you said, "Why stop at conception? Admittedly some religions oppose contraception for these reasons of 'preventing the emergence of a valuable life' but even that doesn't go as far as the principle requires. If bringing hypothetically positive lives to fruition is so morally good then there would be a moral obligation to have as much casual sex as possible to conceive as many of those lives as possible. Then, nevermind using contraception, why wouldn't me doing some work at uni instead of impregnating a female classmate be an immoral denial of the right of our hypothetical offspring to life? The argument could go further to mandate rape to facilitate the actualisation of such valuable hypothetical lives."
You're using your utilitarian lenses in an area that makes your vision very cloudy. Many of those religions you speak of see contraception as a moral evil. They also see casual sexual intercourse (fornication) outside of the bonds of marriage as morally evil as well. In addition, those same religions and "philosophical ethical frameworks" also see rape as a moral evil. These religions teach that one may not do evil that good may come of it.
Therefore, having a lot of casual sex or raping as many people as possible to "facilitate the actualisation of such valuable hypothetical lives" runs contrary to bringing about moral good. Again, in short, no one may do evil that good may come of it. The argument you've put forth is ridiculous on its face and is a utilitarian corruption of the ethical framework put forth by many of those religions you mentioned. Only a utilitarian such as yourself could reach the conclusion you made by bastardizing the ethical framework those religions work with.
Tom, you've [also] been talking about how you recognize that a zygote/embryo/fetus is a human being, yet you do not believe that they have acquired personhood. The former point is a qualitative, scientific fact. The second point, that said humans do not have personhood and are therefore not "worthy of moral treatment" (that is, you claim they have no worth), is NOT a scientific fact or claim, but is a metaphysical claim.
You have given no scientific evidence as to why you believe a lack of sentience or a capacity for reason necessarily dictates that a human life is not valued because of its nature.
So I'd like to ask you: Who is the arbiter in deciding that a human being has value? Do you believe in a Creator, or are you yourself religious? I don't mind if the answer is yes; I myself am a theist. But I'd like to know where you're coming from and know how you can dictate who possesses moral value and who does not.
You said earlier that only "sentient conscious life has moral value. Not life, or human life, or distinct human life." How do you determine when "sentient conscious life" begins? Is this an answer science can find? Because if not, then the killing of the human organism in utero is morally reprehensible. It's objectively wrong. You can't even be sure if you are murdering another human being, even if you have narrowed it down to a period of a few days.
|God the Creator and Angels- Pietro Perugino|
I totally reject your premise of course, that only sentient conscious life has moral value. That is why I am disturbed that you haven't been able to admit that all of those in a vegetative or comatose state are persons. You said on more than one occasion in this thread that not all in these states are persons: "they [those in vegetative states] can (often) resume the personhood and life they lost before becoming comatose." The "often" is what I find disturbing about your arguments. It seems that human beings (homo sapiens) can lose "personhood" in your view. But that can never be scientifically proven. You're essentially arguing for a metaphysical soul. Or if you want to call it something else, go ahead. That's why I'm curious about your view on a Creator.
Anyways, since I reject your premise, I want to affirm my own. To quote one author:
" I reject the whole idea of humans who are biological-but-not-metaphysical (or vice versa). It's immoral, and ought to be illegal, to murder those that we recognize, scientifically, as human beings. Furthermore, any sort of metaphysical definition of 'human' that fails to capture the entire set of all humans is a bad definition."
When I speak of humans I mean that they are both biologically human (as you affirm) and metaphysically human (which you deny). You cannot divide the two, and without bringing in a morality that comes from a higher power, you cannot prove to me that some human beings (homo sapiens) do not have moral worth, that is, a metaphysical person.
Tom said, "The argument about potential development of capacities I'd argue doesn't work as applied consistently it'd have bizzare consequences. If we had to take account of creating a hypothetical or potential person who would be a valuable conscious experiencer if allowed to develop and be born we'd have to go back much further in the causal chain than to when they were gestating."
Again, I reject your premise. All biological human beings have moral worth, thus they are not "potential" persons, but actual persons. Therefore, there are no "bizarre consequences".
Tom said, "Why stop at conception?"
Because there is a difference between a human organism, which comes into existence at conception, and a sperm cell or ovum. An embryo is an early stage of development, just like the acorn and oak sapling in relation to the mature oak tree. The potentialities between a human organism and a sex cell are completely different. A human organism isn't a potential life. It is a life that has the potential to be a fully functioning member of society because it is already developing. A sex cell is simply a component of a mature human organism.
The points you've brought up in the last few [posts] don't raise scientific questions, but metaphysical ones. I'd like to quote from that same author again, and I'll post the link here, as it's a great read. Much of it is pertinent to what we've been discussing, though a few points do not apply to your position:
"[A] good argument is that there is a threefold distinction between plants (which have metabolism), animals (which can sense), and humans (who can reason). The bad argument is in how [we] understands this distinction. When Aristotle first proposed this distinction (In Book II, Chapter III of De Anima), he was looking at types of things. That is, a plant is the type of creature that can metabolize, an animal is the type of creature that can move and sense, and humans are the type of creature that can reason. In each case, the higher creatures also have the powers of the lower ones.Tom: Nicholas, indeed sentience or personhood is a non-empirical question. It's a moral question that can't be determined scientifically. There is no scientific reason to value sentience as science is simply not a moral domain. Some do take the position that any metaphysics including morals beyond the material world science deals with is implausible without god but I'm not convinced - maths and logic are examples of these kind of facts to which I'd add moral facts.
"By this standard, you're a human even when you're not reasoning, even when you're incapable of reasoning, as long as you're the type of creature that's capable of reasoning (which, of course, you are)."
The arbitration has to be by humans. I take theism to be untenable but even if it were there's no way to know what any universe creator would deem ethical anyway. We're on our own. All we can do is work with the best philosophical ethical frameworks we've developed for various reasons I take the best of these to be utilitarianism.
I agree it's somewhat tricky to establish exactly when sentience is present but it is a problem amenable to science. The general consensus now is that the neural connections needed for feeling pain and starting to become conscious aren't established until around 20 weeks. Just as the developing fetus can cross into sentience based on the material factors of its brain so can the brain damaged lose it. Then unless there's reasonable hope of regaining it I don't see the case for keeping them alive.
Notice that sentience and personhood do not require humaness there's a plausible case that some higher primates are persons. The notion of personhood has to be metaphysically distinct from being human.
Note that the Aristotelian notions in the quote are metaphysical distinctions. Valuing based on the capacity to reason is just as metaphysical as when based on sentience.
|St Thomas offering his works to the Catholic Church- Ludwig Seitz|
Tom said, "Some do take the position that any metaphysics including morals beyond the material world science deals with is implausible without god but I'm not convinced - maths and logic are examples of these kind of facts to which I'd add moral facts."
I'd say I take this position. In my view, complex mathematical theories and the laws of physics reveal God's existence, and even point to a Creator being a necessary being for the creation of the universe which is contingent on said Creator.
I believe that morality is fixed like mathematical equations, but it is different in kind from math. 2+2 can only equal 4. Nobody believes that 2+2=5 because this is apparent and obvious. However, some people believe that intentionally killing a fetus does not equal murder. Some people do believe that killing a fetus is murder. The answer to who is right is not obvious. There can only be one right answer. How do we determine which system of morality is correct? You have put your faith in utilitarianism: " I take the best of these [philosophical ethical frameworks] to be utilitarianism."
I put my faith in a different "philosophical ethical framework" than you do. Whether you affirm this or not, you are putting your faith in something just as the theist puts his faith in Something. You have no way of knowing your framework is the ethical one just as you claim we can not know what a Creator deems ethical. You have no way pf proving your framework as the correct one without appealing to your faith, since it can't be empirically determined. It's the same with me, and if we were to go deeper into a conversation, we could try and discuss who's "faith" is more tenable. That may be where our discussion is leading, but I don't think this is the proper forum to get into that.
Tom said, "I agree it's somewhat tricky to establish exactly when sentience is present but it is a problem amenable to science."
I'm glad you can see the difficulty with your position here. It's possible the general consensus could be mistaken, and my point still stands. You cannot pin down the exact moment of "personhood" without accepting the fact that a person's life begins at conception, biologically and metaphysically.
Tom said, "Notice that sentience and personhood do not require humaness there's a plausible case that some higher primates are persons."
I disagree there is a plausible case. The case is not plausible. Again, primates other than humans cannot reason. Again, a chimp will never be able to understand the difference between "man bites dog" and "dog bites man". They don't have the capacity for reason.
Tom said, "The notion of personhood has to be metaphysically distinct from being human."
Sure. There could, theoretically, be extraterrestrials that possess personhood. However, saying that some humans are not persons does not follow from this notion you've presented. I, and many many others, contend that all humans ARE persons. Personhood can, theoretically, be distinct from humans. But it can also be held that all humans, regardless of age or location (i.e., a zygote in the womb) possess "personhood".
And I wanted to mention, thank you for being cordial in your discussion here. Despite vehemently disagreeing with your position, you've been very amicable in talking.
I agree with you about moral realism. I'm not sure it's a matter of faith which normative ethical framework to follow though I admit it's not entirely clear what rational criteria underpin the right choice. I don't think that simply because logic can't be empirically determined that belief in it is a kind of faith.
I agree that conception is a scientifically clear point of demarcation but that doesn't make it anymore relevant as nothing if what gives human life any value is any more present after than before conception. Morality being objectively true wouldn't mean it was easy to demarcate and straightforward to us.
Again the capacity to reason is necessary for moral responsibility but not for moral entitlement. The brain damaged fetus which will never develop the capacity to reason and will live a life of forever diminished responsibility does not seem to have no personhood. Or more pertinently it's still conscious and sentient and deserving of moral treatment because of that. You'd say it was entitled to it by virtue of being part of a species whose adult members frequently can reason I suspect but I'm skeptical of treating entities by the average of the group of which they are a member. Elsewhere we treat entities on their individual competence not that of a typical member of their group (whether it be race, sex so why not species too).
What I'm saying is that once you recognise that being human is not necessary for personhood status it looks a lot less plausible that it's sufficient for personhood status either. The moral metaphysics of personhood is then completely seperable from the biology of being human.
Yeah you too. Too many people assume others are barbarians or idiots without getting a grasp on what they're claiming. It encourages people to speak only with people who agree with you then and you're much less likely to learn anything you hadn't considered then.
Nicholas: Tom, you said, "I'm not sure it's a matter of faith which normative ethical framework to follow though I admit it's not entirely clear what rational criteria underpin the right choice. I don't think that simply because logic can't be empirically determined that belief in it is a kind of faith."
Well let's define terms real quick. I have faith in scientists who have determined that the heliocentric theory is true and that the Earth revolves around the sun. I have not tested this, and I don't claim to be able to intelligently explain the argument from Parallax. But I have faith that the argument is correct, and it's a deep conviction I hold. Since I haven't tested this theory myself, I put my faith in those that have taken the time to test this theory. So here's what I mean by "faith", as defined by Merriam-Webster:
"2.b.(1) firm belief in something for which there is no proof
"3. something that is believed especially with strong conviction"
Would you not agree that you have faith in your ethical framework, based on the definition of "faith"? You have no proof that your ethical framework is correct, yet you believe it to be correct with a strong conviction.
As for the rest of your comment, I think we've reached an impasse here. We both reject each others premises. I think we've explained to each other why we feel we are right. I think what you said here is merely an assertion:
Tom said, "What I'm saying is that once you recognise that being human is not necessary for personhood status it looks a lot less plausible that it's sufficient for personhood status either."
Why is it less plausible? Again, I reject your premise, and you apparently reject mine. It will be difficult for us to progress any further as my main objection to your ethical framework now encompasses not just your reticence to call unborn humans "persons", but your reticence to call certain mature humans "persons" as well.
|The Three Theological Virtues- Giulio Clovio|
On the contrary, there are several space-time geometry proofs that provide evidence for the existence of a Creator. To postulate that a Creator exists does not complicate things, as it does give a reasonable explanation for the creation of the universe, as well as mathematical and moral truths. Are you familiar with the Borde, Vilenkin, and Guth (BVG) Proof? (I call it the "Guth Proof" because it rhymes) The proof states that the average rate of expansion of any possible universe be greater than zero. A universe with an average expansion rate not greater than zero would at some point cease to exist and could not be recreated except by a transcendent Creator. But again, this goes outside the scope of our discussion and this isn't the best forum to delve into this conversation.
Instead, I'd like to provide you a paper to read on this subject by Dr. Robert J. Spitzer, to show that I have not made an unjustifiable leap in postulating that a Creator exists, from which we derive all laws both scientific (e.g., relativity, gravity) and moral. He goes into more detail on the Guth Proof. I'll leave you with this selection with the link at the bottom. As you mentioned learning about things one hasn't considered in conversation, I hope you've learned something from our conversation, and can learn something from this paper as well. I do hope you read through it when you have the time:
"In this paper we have discussed three kinds of evidence for the existence of an intelligent Creator:
"1. Space-time geometry proofs for a beginning of physical reality (implying a causative power transcending physical reality).2. The evidence from entropy for a beginning of our universe (and physical reality) implying a causative power transcending physical reality.3. The fine-tuning of the initial conditions and constants of the universe at the Big Bang (implying supernatural intelligence)... "When we speak of a beginning (a point prior to which there is no physical reality), we stand at the threshold of metaphysics (beyond physics). Even though science cannot be validly used to prove a metaphysical claim (such as, “a Creator or God exists”), it can be used (with the qualifications mentioned above) to maintain as highly probable a limit to physical reality (such as a beginning). This scientific evidence for a beginning can be combined with a metaphysical premise (such as “from nothing, only nothing comes”) to render a metaphysical conclusion that there must be something beyond physical reality which caused physical reality to exist (i.e. a transcendent cause)."