# Abortion vs Your Religious Beliefs

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I think this thread shows why the morality of abortion isn't as heated an argument as legality. I may think wearing bathing suits in public is immoral.

Who cares? Only when I try to apply my morality onto everyone else, that's when I need to provide some good reasons.

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In addition to Mooey's post, I would like to point out that this is in no way an argument based on logic, but a huge assumption on your part mixed with a seemingly limited knowledge of how pregnancy w

I'm not sure what you mean by "soul," but if you're talking about a supernatural entity, then what does that have to do with anything? Would not a soul also be a product of what it is "to begin with,"

I don't think anyone would argue that a raped woman should not be allowed to have an abortion. It seems clear to me that the emotional trauma is damaging enough to be worth the loss of the feotus. Of

Merely having a past isn't sufficient or having a future is not sufficient. My grandfather was alive in the past, but he's not now, in 2010. He isn't a person. And he wasn't a person in 1850, because he didn't exist yet. Though since it turned out he did exist at some point, you could say that in 1850 he "had a future."

Similarly, a zygote might exist now, but since I don't consider that a person already, then the person it might or might not become seems to be in fundamentally the same category as my grandfather in 1850. A future person is not.

I should point out, because it technically is the subject of this thread, that most religions seem to make this distinction, too. Belief in an afterlife doesn't necessitate belief in "pre-existence," does it? (Though some believe that both are logical necessities.)

Another thing to consider is that the zygote in fact doesn't have a future, unless it is brought to term. So the "future self" of an aborted fetus actually has less existence than my pre-grandfather. All it has is a potential future, but then so do my grandchildren. Or any of the other millions of combinations of sperm and egg that never came to pass.

But then you say, doesn't the comatose patient only have a "potential future" too? For that matter, don't we all, by the very nature of the future? Well, yes. But we can form a consistent system that allows to society to exist when we give rights to beings with a past and a potential future. We don't if we try to give rights to beings without a past. Ultimately, I think that's what it comes down to.

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It is not the same thing at all. You are surely not suggesting that the feotus is part of the mother?

I never said that. Are you concerned about the genetics of my skin cell? My skin cell is indistinguishable from the skin cell of my identical twin, yet it is not "part" of my twin. The only reason it's "my" skin cell and not his, is because it is in my body, and drawing nourishment from my body. Should someone transplant a skin cell from my twin to me, then it will become my skin cell. Should someone transplant a skin cell from someone else to me, it will also become my skin cell (though my immune system may have a different opinion). If that other person then dies, I still have a line of cells derived from them, with their genetics, living in me. But that other person is still dead if his brain is destroyed. Just because there are living human cells from him, does not mean he is alive. What I am saying is that being human and alive does not equal a "human life". A "human life" refers to the whole human, and usually in fact refers to the information contained in their brain.

Here's a thought: a zygote contains roughly the amount of information that can be contained on a CD. It has the DNA information, and a few other bits due to its internal arrangement. How much information do you have? How much information do you think it would take to store who you are, everything you know and remember?

Isn't it? How would you define a person? The feotus and the coma patient seem rather similar to me - they are both human, both currently incapable of conscious thought and in need of life support, but may at some time in the future be able to interact with the world as a functioning member of society.

I define a person as the information and computational capabilities similar to that of a healthy adult human. Whether or not they are in a human body makes no difference to me. Transfer this information to a robot body and you have a robotic person. Transfer this information to a computer simulating an avatar in an imaginary world and you have a person in a virtual world. Replace some of the human cells with another human cells, or an animal's cells, and you have the same person as a chimera. Replace all of their cells with animal cells without losing the information and computational capabilities, and you have a person made of animal cells.

Note that my definition allows degrees of closeness to personhood and contains no arbitrary cutoff. I don't think there can be a cutoff because something starts a non-person and eventually becomes a person through a process of development.

Why do you need a past to be human? Isn't having a future enough? If the coma patient had a head trauma which made him forget his past and changed his personality (but he is still expected to wake up in, say, 9 months) would he now not be worthy of being called a person?

Yet the coma patient still has a present. He still has a favorite color, a favorite flavor of ice cream -- even if he himself does not remember it. A lot of information is still present. He can still see for example, and do you have any idea how difficult it is to see? Go ahead, try to make a computer see and you will know just how hard. This requires a lot of information and computing power. Also he still has a personality, even if different than in the past.

A zygote has none of this, no nervous system, and no future (no more than any other cell that is). And yet before being born, a baby can have consciousness, a personality, music it likes or not, etc.

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I never said that. Are you concerned about the genetics of my skin cell? My skin cell is indistinguishable from the skin cell of my identical twin, yet it is not "part" of my twin. The only reason it's "my" skin cell and not his, is because it is in my body, and drawing nourishment from my body.

The zygote is never integrated into the body of the mother. It only accepts nutrients given to it from the mother. Would you argue that a baby suckling on its mother's breast is not a separate individual because it would not survive without the mother?

I define a person as the information and computational capabilities similar to that of a healthy adult human.

I completely disagree. I am the whole of myself. I am not just my mind, or just my body, but the combination, and to separate the two would make me no longer who I am.

Yet the coma patient still has a present. He still has a favorite color, a favorite flavor of ice cream -- even if he himself does not remember it.

Does he? How can you know? Does "favorite color" even have a meaning to him?

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The zygote is never integrated into the body of the mother. It only accepts nutrients given to it from the mother. Would you argue that a baby suckling on its mother's breast is not a separate individual because it would not survive without the mother?

You could argue, that if the zygote is taken out of the natural mother and implanted in another one (substitute mother), but a new born baby sure doesnt need its natural mom, it can be nourished by a substitute one (eg. in the bible : Moses), or even nourished by a diferent specie as in the case of Romulus and Remo, who were nourished by a wolf. In the case of the zygote, considering that among diferent species, the forms of implantation (hormone mediated) and development of the placenta are diferent one from another, I dont think that this is possible (Im not certain though, with the actual technology).

Edited by Rickdog
completing of idea
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In the case of the zygote, considering that among diferent species, the forms of implantation (hormone mediated) and development of the placenta are diferent one from another, I dont think that this is possible (I`m not certain though, with the actual technology).

Even if it is not technologically possible at the moment, I am sure in the not too distant future we will have the technology to bring a zygote to maturity outside of the womb.

Then one could imagine even extracting the zygote from a reluctant mother and having it raised by a (possibly mechanical) surrogate, rather than it being aborted. The mother could then have no complaint at all since she is no longer inconvenienced by the child's existence.

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The zygote is never integrated into the body of the mother. It only accepts nutrients given to it from the mother. Would you argue that a baby suckling on its mother's breast is not a separate individual because it would not survive without the mother?

So what if I take my skin cells and grow them in a nutrient broth or on a gel? There's no reason my skin cells need be integrated into my body either.

Oh, and I'm sure you must agree with embryonic stem cell usage -- after all, it keeps these precious cells alive.

I completely disagree. I am the whole of myself. I am not just my mind, or just my body, but the combination, and to separate the two would make me no longer who I am.

So if someone amputates your leg, or gives you a haircut, you are no longer Severian, perhaps no longer own your house? Or if you get paralyzed? I simply consider my body one of my most prized possessions, but definitely not part of "me" as a person -- just the vehicle "me" drives in. Sure, having a healthy body allows me to do more things, in a sense affecting "me", but likewise replacing my ancient barely-working car with a helicopter would similarly affect "me".

But I think you are speaking of the self, rather than of personhood. Were someone to transfer your essence to a different body, your self would be different even if you are the same person.

Does he? How can you know? Does "favorite color" even have a meaning to him?

Well I'm pretty sure he still has an arrangement of nerves that, given nervous impulses corresponding to various colors, would result in one being preferred. I suppose that with enough brain damage he could become a completely different person though.

Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
Then one could imagine even extracting the zygote from a reluctant mother and having it raised by a (possibly mechanical) surrogate, rather than it being aborted. The mother could then have no complaint at all since she is no longer inconvenienced by the child's existence.

Seems perfectly fair to me. I've previously considered a similar idea, that people could offer to adopt a child from an unwanted pregnancy, instead of having it aborted. The pregnancy after all is not the hardest (nor most expensive nor most disruptive) part of raising a child. I'm sure some women would appreciate having that option.

Edited by Mr Skeptic
Consecutive posts merged.
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I've previously considered a similar idea, that people could offer to adopt a child from an unwanted pregnancy, instead of having it aborted. The pregnancy after all is not the hardest (nor most expensive nor most disruptive) part of raising a child. I'm sure some women would appreciate having that option.

That was sort of my point as to why I disapprove of abortion. For every (healthy) child you want to give away there is a queue of potential loving parents wanting to adopt. So the only real "inconvenience" to the mother is the pregnancy itself (and the physical and emotional consequences).

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That was sort of my point as to why I disapprove of abortion. For every (healthy) child you want to give away there is a queue of potential loving parents wanting to adopt.

Indeed, like gay couples.

Oh... wait....

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Indeed, like gay couples.

Oh... wait....

Being brought up by a gay couple is presumably better than being dead (if only marginally).

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Being brought up by a gay couple is presumably better than being dead (if only marginally).

Mmm.. if only the lawmakers thought that, ey?

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Of course, I still think an abortion should not be allowed beyond the first trimester, but what raped woman would ever wait that long on discovering herself pregnant?

1) A poor one 2) struggling with the decision and 3) in a sub-optimal mindet when facing that important decision.

I am the whole of myself. I am not just my mind, or just my body, but the combination, and to separate the two would make me no longer who I am.

Prosthetic limbs, artificial teeth implants, genetically engineered babies, mechanical hearts, organ donors, complete blood transfusions, fake eyes, hip replacement, metallic substitutes for bone parts, silicon enhancement,

, bone marrow transplants.

And some day we might even have brain transplants from one person to another body.

Defining self will likely get more tricky in the future.

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