Cultureshift And Atheism

rcsolstice:

Rebuttals to your assertions…

“I am an atheist and I have always approached life from a scientific and logical perspective. It is crystal clear that life begins at the moment of fertilization. It is also clear that removing a living human being from his or her mother’s womb during gestation is an act of killing. The application of science and logic prevents me from being anything but pro-life.”

From a scientific perspective, sure it’s alive, I won’t try and contest that. And sure, ending something’s life is an act of killing.

But from a philosophic point, so what? What does that mean? What are the consequences of that?

Here, all you are claiming is that:

  1. Life begins at fertilization and
  2. It’s wrong to remove a living human being from his/her mothers womb because it’s an act of killing.

No actual conclusion can be drawn from these two premises even granting that they are correct.

Claiming that life begins at fertilization does nothing to prove that the life should be considered a human being. Nor does labeling something as “an act of killing” automatically make it wrong either. The same thing could be said of killing bacteria and plants, but obviously you don’t intend to make that claim.

To solve this problem you would actually have to explain what makes killing wrong and how it applies to abortion differently than it would to thing such as sanitation.

You could claim that it’s only an act of killing when it’s done to humans, but that still doesn’t entirely solve your problem as that would mean that killing under any circumstances is wrong even if it would save a thousand other lives.

You could also make a claim about the sanctity of life, but  you’ve already stated that your worldview is secular.

Now, obviously I’m not saying that killing isn’t wrong, but you certainly need to explain your worldview a little better if you’re going for a secular and logical approach.

“By evolutionary process, a mother must gestate her child. The mother and child share the mother’s organs until her child develops his or her own.”

Here, you seem to be claiming that because a function is created by evolution, it must be mandatory. But again, what does that really mean?

Does that mean people should become pregnant every time they have the chance?

Are we morally obligated to smell because evolution had given us that ability?

Again, you need to be more specific and explain yourself.

Pregnancy is the natural function of reproduction where two or more human beings temporarily share a common body, each gaining or re-gaining use of their own bodies following birth. Intentionally terminating a pregnancy is a disruption to this naturally occurring process and results in the unjustifiable death of one or more living human beings.

Here, there are some rather interesting things being said. You seem to be saying:

  1. Pregnancy is natural
  2. During pregnancy the embryo / fetus and the pregnant person are sharing one body.
  3. It’s wrong to terminate natural processes.

Firstly, I have no idea what that second point has to do with the first or the third.

Secondly, since when does natural process = moral obligation?

Death is often a natural process, but surely you don’t intend to imply that medicine is immoral.

So yet again, you fail to properly explain yourself. This leads me to believe that it’s not so much logic and science that lead you to being pro-life, but rather a very shallow understanding of them.

If you’re looking to convince a skeptical secular crowd, you might need to try and work a little harder.

cultureshift:

I will begin with rcsolstice…

From a scientific perspective, sure it’s alive, I won’t try and contest that. And sure, ending something’s life is an act of killing.

Since you agreed with my premise that life does begin at fertilization, which any embryologist will validate, and that abortion is an act of killing, the only stance you can morally take at this point is that abortion is not the act of killing anything worth value.

Claiming that life begins at fertilization does nothing to prove that the life should be considered a human being. Nor does labeling something as “an act of killing” automatically make it wrong either. The same thing could be said of killing bacteria and plants, but obviously you don’t intend to make that claim.

This is where you went on to compare a living prenatal human being to bacteria. The new life formed at the moment of fertilization is human, it’s not a shark or a rhinoceros. Now that this is settled, you either have agreed to or must logically agree to the following:

  1. Life begins at fertilization.
  2. Abortion is killing.
  3. The life growing inside a human female is a human being.

So your only remaining point is that in some circumstances, it is acceptable to kill other human beings, especially if it saves the lives of many others at the expense of a few. Or, as Leonard Nimoy’s character, Spock, put it, “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one.” And I totally agree with this logic. Using this logic, you now admit that a mother should never abort a multiple pregnancy. So you are now in agreement with the following:

  1. Life begins at fertilization.
  2. Abortion is killing.
  3. The life growing inside a human female is a human being.
  4. A pregnant female should never abort a multiple pregnancy.

You then move on to address my premise of the immorality of interrupting the evolutionary process of reproduction.

Secondly, since when does natural process = moral obligation?

Death is often a natural process, but surely you don’t intend to imply that medicine is immoral

Here, you are equating the extension of life with the creation of life. The protection of a growing human embryo or fetus and the medical intervention to sustain life are not morally at odds with each other. Life, once conceived, is destined to die. My argument is that nothing should be done to interfere with that process if it results in the intentional killing of an innocent living human being prior to his or her natural death. I have never argued that we should not help this process along when required. It is the natural intent of all life to survive, so working to prevent death is not at odds with evolution. We are simply applying our evolved intelligence to ensure survival, which is, after all, the best survival mechanism evolution has ever provided and is the reason we are at the top of the food chain.

So, to conclude, you should now agree with the following:

  1. Life begins at fertilization.
  2. Abortion is killing.
  3. The life growing inside a human female is a human being.
  4. A pregnant female should never abort a multiple pregnancy.
  5. Evolution intended survival, so a pregnant female should never abort.

I know that you don’t really agree with this, but I feel after careful consideration, and logical analysis, you should. And I hope you will.

Now on to rebuttals received from your-choice-your-rights…

If as a group we can condone even one instance of taking a human life…the argument that abortion is wrong simply because it ends a human life becomes null.

This argument is devoid of logic and is also of great concern. I am careful to use the term ‘innocent’ when arguing for the Right to Life. Some human beings forfeit this right by intentional acting to deny others this most basic right. Unfortunately, killing is often necessary in this world based on a culture of death. Very few people today would want to live under Nazi German rule or under Taliban and Al Qaeda sanctioned Sharia Law. To prevent this, armed conflict was necessary. You are arguing that because we defend our way of life from enemy combatants, people who want to take your life away, that by default, we can now freely kill our innocent prenatal children. Like I said, this argument is devoid of logic.

I think it throws people off that humanity is a two-fold concept, and can be viewed as both biological and philosophical.  This is where I most often encounter the “slippery slope” argument, and comparisons to genocide and slavery.

Life can be viewed from both a scientific and philosophical perspective. However, in order to remove moral ambiguity, only the scientific view should be considered when determining the morality of killing innocent human beings. People make all kinds of arguments about when they should be able to kill a prenatal child:

  1. Prior to implantation into the endometrium.
  2. Prior to the first heartbeat.
  3. Prior to initiation of brain activity.
  4. Prior to viability outside of the womb.
  5. Prior to birth.

Only the last point is free of hypocrisy and ambiguity. The only other hypocrisy-free stance is that life begins at fertilization and an innocent prenatal child should not be killed from that moment forward. This is, of course, my position.

The comparisons to genocide and slavery are not about the human suffering involved, it is about the ideology that permitted these atrocities to occur and the incredible scale of human lives destroyed.

Spontaneous abortion exists, and it is quietly accepted as a natural bodily process also accredited to evolution.

Yes, miscarriages do occur. But they are not the same as induced abortion. They are a natural end to life and are not consciously initiated to destroy that life.

As the original poster stated, sanctity of life is far from being a secular or logic-based idea.  It is a completely subjective, inconsistent argument.  Sanctity is indisputably related to concepts of spirituality, divinity, sacredness, and religiousness.  In fact, these are all terms deemed as synonyms for the term ‘sanctity’.  Where is the logical atheist in this?  He doesn’t exist.

If you refer to the original asks that I linked to above, you will see that I never used the term ‘sanctity of life’ for the very reasons you stated. The OP never said I used that term either, you simply misread his post.

When we talk about the concept of being innocent, it can be used in two ways:  to convey a tangible lack of culpability, or to assign the traits of absolute cleanliness, chastity, purity, or virtue…

…We cannot fully ascribe complex concepts to a life which in and of itself is at the most basic of stages. The latter issue of innocence is, once again, purely subjective and often imbued with spiritual context.  There is nothing logical or secular about it.

The second statement is not logical at all. You are stating that someone cannot possess the status of innocence because they have not had a chance to do anything wrong. By this thinking, we can never attain innocence until we are capable of malfeasance. So most animals are not innocent, since they do not intentionally do wrong, they only act on instinct.  Infants and toddlers do not possess innocence either by your definition. I prefer the common English definition of innocence:

in-no-cence

noun

1. the state, quality, or fact of being innocent of a crime or offense.

synonyms: guiltlessness, blamelessness

You finished your argument with a personal attack…

If a person claims to be a secular, logic-driven individual, they might fare better by not continuously relying on subjective, spiritual, and shallow arguments.

Please see my remarks above. Case closed.

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