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Old 08-24-2014, 11:12 PM   #101
VeeDDzz`
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

From an economic perspective your standard of living rises and declines based on the productivity of the economy. Therefore, everyone's level of 'comfort' is increased and everyone's general level of suffering is reduced when the economy is doing better. I hope I don't need to quote any of the thousands of studies demonstrating this.

Given this truth, and applying the utilitarian perspective to this, we see that downs syndrome and certain other conditions create a cost to the economy (to the health-care sector in particular) without any significant contributions to the economy that can outweigh this. Some downs children are highly dependent on their parents as well - limiting their parents potential and time for additional contributions to the economy. Now I know that this is not the case for every downs syndrome child, but in large enough numbers and in concentrated areas this does create a drain on the economy, thereby indirectly helping to lower the standards of living and increase everyone's general level of suffering. As to the precise extent of this cost, I do not know, nor do I know whether they've measured something like this.

If you define moral actions by the least amount of suffering to the least amount of people then by this definition and simple macro-economics, the conclusion one would reach is that they do contribute to suffering, without giving back to the world in equal measure. We must contribute back to the society that gives us so much (e.g. cool technology we couldn't even fathom building ourselves) in order to maintain a functioning and progressive society. Every contribution or lack thereof can have significant trickle-on effects. Is giving back 'love' enough?

How does a scientist go about measuring the contribution of 'love' to the economy and everyone's standard of living? In which case, does the scientist compare the love provided by a downs child to its parents to a love provided by a pet to couples who can't have children - if they're equal in magnitude of effect on the economy then what?

P.S. I am solely concentrating on the economic cost of downs children to demonstrate the utilitarian perspective. I do not intend to agree or disagree with Dawkins as I don't believe I've experienced enough in my life to know the answer to such questions - i've never had children.

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Old 08-24-2014, 11:23 PM   #102
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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From an economic perspective your standard of living rises and declines based on the productivity of the economy. Therefore, everyone's level of 'comfort' is increased and everyone's general level of suffering is reduced when the economy is doing better. I hope I don't need to quote any of the thousands of studies demonstrating this.
Please, quote some studies. Pay attention to the definitions and the assumptions. I suspect you'll find that your characterization is incorrect.

Quote:
If you define moral actions by the least amount of suffering to the least amount of people then by this definition and simple macro-economics, the conclusion one would reach is that they do contribute to suffering, without giving back to the world in equal measure. We must contribute back to the society that gives us so much (e.g. cool technology we couldn't even fathom building ourselves) in order to maintain a functioning and progressive society. Every contribution or lack thereof can have significant trickle-on effects. Is giving back 'love' enough?

How does a scientist go about measuring the contribution of 'love' to the economy and everyone's standard of living?
Assuming your premise, what logic prevents us arguing that we should just kill the poor that aren't contributing to the economy? They do nothing to support the larger economy, but are a drain on economy because they take and do not give back financially.

The thing that most people do is recognize the underlying assumption that macro-economic principles should drive morality is false.
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:36 AM   #103
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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Please, quote some studies. Pay attention to the definitions and the assumptions. I suspect you'll find that your characterization is incorrect.
It's a fundamental truth of macro-economics that the economic contributions drive the standard of living. If you somehow seem to think that this is incorrect I'll refer you to a book on the fundamentals of macro-economics instead:
http://www.macrobasics.com/

I'll also refer you to the research done by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development linking economic productivity to technological growth and technological growth to significant increases in standards of living:
http://www.oecd.org/

I see no reason to dig for specific studies since you haven't specified what you disagree with in particular. Tell me what about this fundamental macro-economic concept you disagree with first and then I can point you to the resource you need.

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Assuming your premise, what logic prevents us arguing that we should just kill the poor that aren't contributing to the economy? They do nothing to support the larger economy, but are a drain on economy because they take and do not give back financially.
Well to begin with, killing people once they are alive is very different to abortion - if you disagree with this then I feel we can't continue this conversation. My parents chose not to have another child, because we were very poor at the time. More often than not, I think this is the correct decision to make - if you are struggling financially. A lot of societal problems actually stem from people having too many children when they can not afford to do so.

On a related note, poor people serve a very specific function for the economy, so I think it is disingenuous to equate their labor contributions to the contributions of those with crippling mental or physical disabilities. Moreover, poor people generally do not depend on their parents to the same degree as someone with crippling disabilities may. This results in an additional opportunity cost to the parents and their full potential.
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The thing that most people do is recognize the underlying assumption that macro-economic principles should drive morality is false.
I never intended to imply that macro-economic principles should drive morality, but simply that contributions to the economy drive the standard of living. If you're big on utilitarianism then this may be the only fact you need. The idea of a 'free lunch' in a capitalist system goes against the very tenets of such a system. I am not here to debate whether this is right or wrong, it just is the way it is. I will debate those who are disillusioned to this fact however.

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Old 08-25-2014, 01:45 AM   #104
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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Originally Posted by VeeDDzz` View Post
It's a fundamental truth of macro-economics that the economic contributions drive the standard of living. If you somehow seem to think that this is incorrect I'll refer you to a book on the fundamentals of macro-economics instead:
http://www.macrobasics.com/

I'll also refer you to the research done by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development linking economic productivity to technological growth and technological growth to significant increases in standards of living:
http://www.oecd.org/
In other words, you're not going to quote anything specific or take a look at the definitions and assumptions. Got it.

Quote:
I see no reason to dig for specific studies since you haven't specified what you disagree with in particular. Tell me what about this fundamental macro-economic concept you disagree with first and then I can point you to the resource you need.
The point is that you made a number of jumps in your terminology over the course of a few sentences and I want you to show your work. Using loose terminology to make a point that hinges on your terminology isn't going to work without defining your terms.

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Well to begin with, killing people once they are alive is very different to abortion - if you disagree with this then I feel we can't continue this conversation.
I'm not even talking about abortion, just the consequences of looking at the situation from a purely economic basis. If there were no poor people, we would be better off from a purely economic perspective, right? So we would be better off if they just died. Wouldn't that improve all sorts of economic measures?

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I never intended to imply that macro-economic principles should drive morality, but simply that contributions to the economy drive the standard of living. You take from this what you will.
Right... you never said:

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Originally Posted by you
If you define moral actions by the least amount of suffering to the least amount of people then by this definition and simple macro-economics...
I'm not exactly sure how else this is to be interpreted.
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:51 AM   #105
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

Catching your edits:

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Originally Posted by VeeDDzz` View Post
On a related note, poor people serve a very specific function for the economy, so I think it is disingenuous to equate their labor contributions to the contributions of those with crippling mental or physical disabilities.
What is their "very specific function"?

Also, how is that "very specific function" factored into the "thousands of studies"?

Edit: You keep editing...

Quote:
Moreover, poor people generally do not depend on their parents to the same degree as someone with crippling disabilities may. This produces an opportunity cost to the parents and their full potential.
You're dancing all over the place, and it feels like you're backtracking. Go back to your "thousands of studies" and tell me which one of those measures of "quality of life" (or "suffering" or whatever terms you want to use) are improved by the existence of poor people.
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:03 AM   #106
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
Catching your edits:



What is their "very specific function"?

Also, how is that "very specific function" factored into the "thousands of studies"?

Edit: You keep editing...



You're dancing all over the place, and it feels like you're backtracking. Go back to your "thousands of studies" and tell me which one of those measures of "quality of life" (or "suffering" or whatever terms you want to use) are improved by the existence of poor people.
In any economic system, without a lower-class, none of the more labor-intensive work gets done. A lot of Australia's (my country) GDP is in fact driven by lower-class Australians working in the services and trades industries. It just depends on the demographics and jobs available within the country, but overall, the lower-class serves a very important function - in doing the jobs that those of the middle and upper-class do not want to do, or may be over-qualified for doing.
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:22 AM   #107
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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The point is that you made a number of jumps in your terminology over the course of a few sentences and I want you to show your work. Using loose terminology to make a point that hinges on your terminology isn't going to work without defining your terms.
I am not writing a scientific paper. Your expectations are unrealistic. This is a forum for idea-exchange, not for the development and testing of scientifically-construed hypotheses. I do this all day long at work so I find no need to do it in my off-time as well.

I know you're notorious for being nit-picky but in a forum-scenario it will be more beneficial for you to try harder in interpreting where I'm coming from and what I'm saying (despite little inconsistencies) than to apply high levels of rigor concerning definitional nuances as would be expected in the development of a scientific hypothesis.

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Old 08-25-2014, 08:46 AM   #108
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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Yes, which is why I'm asking you this question. There's somehow this "most important human ability" that they're lacking. Hence, you wouldn't want to be one of them, and would think it's better to not be born at all.

We're not even at the more general abortion discussion. Presumably in this conversation, when we're talking about you being born as a person in a different situation, that actually means you were born.

Indeed. Be as careful as you need to be. You're the one who has introduced this "very important human ability" without which you would feel that non existence would be better than being born without it. It's now on you to explain what you mean by this.
I've waited before I answered because I wanted to be careful how I answered. I think that most people can agree that all states of life are not equal. We can rank it in some sort of way where you can have a person who is physically and mentally "perfect" in terms of height, intelligence, attractiveness, free from disease, etc. These are all somewhat subjective but in this example let's just agree there are certain characteristics that are desirable.

If we look at it in terms of physical and mental attributes, we must have a bottom if we have a top. So we can try to come up with some really bad scenario like being born without a brain, or horribly malformed.

Somewhere between the two most people would make a decision what constitutes a "healthy" or "desirable" life. I would think most people would say a baby gestating without a brain and horribly malformed would probably be better off being aborted. I'm well aware that there are people who would not take that option and be happy with any result, and that's absolutely fine. That decision is personal, but I don't think that the ability to have an option should be taken away.

Personally, I think that a physical issue such as a baby missing a hand is something that can be easily overcome and isn't even a big deal, but when it comes to a mental issue I think that is what uniquely makes us human. The ability to think and reason and be emotional are what makes us what we are. For me, and I think for most people, when those capacities are taken away it takes away from our quality of life to a point where we may view it as less than ideal, and maybe less than worth living. I don't think that view is extreme or callous.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:07 AM   #109
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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In any economic system, without a lower-class, none of the more labor-intensive work gets done. A lot of Australia's (my country) GDP is in fact driven by lower-class Australians working in the services and trades industries. It just depends on the demographics and jobs available within the country, but overall, the lower-class serves a very important function - in doing the jobs that those of the middle and upper-class do not want to do, or may be over-qualified for doing.
But those aren't the poor I'm talking about. There's another level of poor below those people.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:09 AM   #110
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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I am not writing a scientific paper. Your expectations are unrealistic. This is a forum for idea-exchange, not for the development and testing of scientifically-construed hypotheses. I do this all day long at work so I find no need to do it in my off-time as well.
You said that there were thousands of papers. I'm asking you to cite a couple and look at what they actually say because I don't think they say the things you think they say when you make the various jumps in language that you do. That's fundamental to your premise that this is all out there already and you're merely reporting what thousands of papers say.

Quote:
I know you're notorious for being nit-picky but in a forum-scenario it will be more beneficial for you to try harder in interpreting where I'm coming from and what I'm saying (despite little inconsistencies) than to apply high levels of rigor concerning definitional nuances as would be expected in the development of a scientific hypothesis.
I have challenged your premise on the most simple of bases. Under your formulation, it would be better for poor people to die than to live because their contributions to the macro-economics is a net negative.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:12 AM   #111
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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I've waited before I answered because I wanted to be careful how I answered. I think that most people can agree that all states of life are not equal. We can rank it in some sort of way where you can have a person who is physically and mentally "perfect" in terms of height, intelligence, attractiveness, free from disease, etc. These are all somewhat subjective but in this example let's just agree there are certain characteristics that are desirable.

If we look at it in terms of physical and mental attributes, we must have a bottom if we have a top. So we can try to come up with some really bad scenario like being born without a brain, or horribly malformed.

Somewhere between the two most people would make a decision what constitutes a "healthy" or "desirable" life. I would think most people would say a baby gestating without a brain and horribly malformed would probably be better off being aborted. I'm well aware that there are people who would not take that option and be happy with any result, and that's absolutely fine. That decision is personal, but I don't think that the ability to have an option should be taken away.

Personally, I think that a physical issue such as a baby missing a hand is something that can be easily overcome and isn't even a big deal, but when it comes to a mental issue I think that is what uniquely makes us human. The ability to think and reason and be emotional are what makes us what we are. For me, and I think for most people, when those capacities are taken away it takes away from our quality of life to a point where we may view it as less than ideal, and maybe less than worth living. I don't think that view is extreme or callous.
Stop talking about babies. I'm not talking about babies. I've already made that clear.

I'm talking about people BORN with mental deficiencies. You have made a statement that is roughly equivalent to calling them sub-human because they are missing this "most important human ability."

What you are saying is that an adult person with mental deficiencies is not human because they lack these things. And for this reason, you would not want to be BORN as one of those people.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:34 AM   #112
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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Stop talking about babies. I'm not talking about babies. I've already made that clear.

I'm talking about people BORN with mental deficiencies. You have made a statement that is roughly equivalent to calling them sub-human because they are missing this "most important human ability."

What you are saying is that an adult person with mental deficiencies is not human because they lack these things. And for this reason, you would not want to be BORN as one of those people.
Sub-human isn't the way I'd describe it. I'd describe it as not being able to have the human experience. Yes, I think that people who have serious mental disability miss out on that experience, and I'd rather not have been born into that type of life.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:48 AM   #113
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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Sub-human isn't the way I'd describe it. I'd describe it as not being able to have the human experience. Yes, I think that people who have serious mental disability miss out on that experience, and I'd rather not have been born into that type of life.
Although sub human has connotations, you are basically saying that they arent human. You keep saying

"they miss out on the experience [of being human]",

" The ability to think and reason and be emotional are what makes us what we are [ ie human]"


so it seems pretty clear that you are categorising them as not human.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:51 AM   #114
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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Sub-human isn't the way I'd describe it. I'd describe it as not being able to have the human experience.
Maybe you don't like "sub-human" but there's clearly a sense that you're saying they're "not-fully-human." And for that reason, you would rather not be one of them (whatever they are).
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:56 AM   #115
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

These have been my posts:
Post 1)
Mr. Dawkins, from a logical point of view (you seem to like logic a lot), happiness is based on morality and not morality on happiness. And morality is based on humanity and not humanity on morality.
Can you disprove this logically? Never ever.
This means:
If someone wants to sum happiness (how well you did express yourself), he must act morally, to act morally, he must act with dignity.
I give an example:
One plans to marry to sum happiness, one should marry someone with a down syndrome, not an actress.
Post 2:
Although abortion must not be the same like genocide, it is absolutely wrong to assume that a DS child means an increase in unhappiness and the abortion means a minor decrease in unhappiness.
Either Dawkins doesn’t know much about happiness and suffering or he is misleading because the truth about happiness and suffering is not going hand in hand with his other interests.
I have already write about this in my reply to H3000. But even a simple look at it, makes Dawkins mistake clear: Suffering is caused by not accepting when something doesn’t go the way we did expect it and sooner or later everything ends up in a way we didn’t expect it. Happiness is caused by growing (especially mentally and morally) on the situations which did end up in a way, we didn’t expect it. Although there are or might be some extreme situations where we cannot do anything about it, but a DS child surely doesn’t fall under those categories.
From DS child’s point of view, one might just ask a DS child, if it would rather “be or not to be”. The point is, being alive is intrinsically such a beautiful feeling (I guess, this did never came to Dawkins mind), that even in most extreme situations, ppl still prefer to be alive than death. The only exceptions are those who commit suicide and those who commit suicide they are usually handicapped with depression in the first place and not with DS.
One of the most important things which produce happiness, is the feeling that people care for you. Meaning that DS children who have parents who care for them, who did grow on this situation mentally and morally, might be/are way more happy than most children who don’t have really the feeling their parents do care for them appropriately.

Did get the following reply which remembered me on 2+2 replies:
I’m sorry, but this is nonsense. You are welcome to your opinion if that makes your life more bearable, but please don’t try to pass it off as anything rational or statistically valid.

I did reply:
English is ofc not my first language and I also didn’t intend/want to write a long analysis. As Mr. Dawkins should be a master in rational reasoning, I thought insinuations will be enough to show him his mistakes.
Still if anyone shows me where I am doing any logical mistakes, I will happily correct myself.

And got the following reply from Elizabeth Liddle, who is a PhD on the university of nottingham:
I didn’t see any.

Ofc my posts are free for discussion. Unfortunately I don't get RD for any discussions, as he already knows that I know that he knows, he is misleading with superficial and easy to refute arguments lots of people for the sake of making money.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:06 AM   #116
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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Maybe you don't like "sub-human" but there's clearly a sense that you're saying they're "not-fully-human." And for that reason, you would rather not be one of them (whatever they are).
You're asking me to define it and I'm not sure where I draw the line. Of course they are human, but they aren't capable of having all of our experiences, or are very limited in that way.

I'm unsure what your ultimate purpose is in this line of thought. If there's an ultimate question you'd like to ask me, then just ask it.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:39 AM   #117
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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but they aren't capable of having all of our experiences, or are very limited in that way.
This is debateable, but say it was true. Does that mean you then abort all deaf, blind, or dumb foetuses? They are even less capable of having all of our experiences
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:50 AM   #118
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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You're asking me to define it and I'm not sure where I draw the line. Of course they are human, but they aren't capable of having all of our experiences, or are very limited in that way.

I'm unsure what your ultimate purpose is in this line of thought. If there's an ultimate question you'd like to ask me, then just ask it.
The ultimate "question" isn't really a question, but a challenge to the fundamental arrogance of your viewpoint. You want to say "of course they are human" but you're also saying that they lack this thing that you thing is fundamental to human-ness. How do these two pieces reconcile into a meaningful perspective of humanness?
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:17 PM   #119
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

To push the abortion part of the conversation along a bit...

The basic argument for abortion is that the birth of the child is generally utilitarian.

One argument is that somehow, the birth of the child is viewed as a negative quantity by some measure, and hence abortion is an option to avoid that outcome. This is essentially VeeDdzz's argument. The birth of a child is a net economic outcome for the parents as the child is highly dependent upon the parents well beyond the time period that most children are. But this argument falls short in the analysis, as the moment the child is born, those future prospects remain unchanged. In this understanding, it is still sufficient to say that the net negative exists, and so it must still be moral to kill the just-born child under the same logic. It's impossible to argue that the sunk cost of being born is large enough so that now having the child hang around in a living state is starting to contribute in a positive manner to the stated economic outcomes.

I do not know of any successful argument on the utilitarian basis that distinguishes between a just-unborn and just-born child (though it's possible that one might exist).
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:12 PM   #120
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

I'm convinced. We should abort all fetuses that don't appear to have Down's Syndrome. Then every baby born will have a meaningful and productive life and not wish that it was never even born. Soon every human alive will be like a happy child, no matter their age!
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:24 PM   #121
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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The ultimate "question" isn't really a question, but a challenge to the fundamental arrogance of your viewpoint. You want to say "of course they are human" but you're also saying that they lack this thing that you thing is fundamental to human-ness. How do these two pieces reconcile into a meaningful perspective of humanness?
I think you are being insufficiently charitable here. wil318466's viewpoint is an old and common perspective, found in Aristotelian virtue ethics and even in parts of the Thomistic natural law tradition of morality. For instance, Aristotle claims that what makes humans unique--their essence in his terminology--is that unlike other animals they are rational, thinking beings. For him, being a virtuous person means that you fully embody your nature--that is, your nature as a thinking, rational human. If you fail to do so, whether because of physical, psychological, or character defects, then you are in that sense a less virtuous person and thus embody less of what it means to be human (this is all tied into his teleological understanding of essence). Wil318466 is obviously right to resist the usage of the term "subhuman" because of its fascistic overtones, but really, how does what he say here differ in principle that much from the Christian idea of the fallen nature of humans?
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:29 PM   #122
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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Originally Posted by neeeel View Post
Although sub human has connotations, you are basically saying that they arent human. You keep saying

"they miss out on the experience [of being human]",

" The ability to think and reason and be emotional are what makes us what we are [ ie human]"


so it seems pretty clear that you are categorising them as not human.
No, that doesn't follow at all.
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:39 PM   #123
Aaron W.
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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I think you are being insufficiently charitable here. wil318466's viewpoint is an old and common perspective, found in Aristotelian virtue ethics and even in parts of the Thomistic natural law tradition of morality. For instance, Aristotle claims that what makes humans unique--their essence in his terminology--is that unlike other animals they are rational, thinking beings. For him, being a virtuous person means that you fully embody your nature--that is, your nature as a thinking, rational human. If you fail to do so, whether because of physical, psychological, or character defects, then you are in that sense a less virtuous person and thus embody less of what it means to be human (this is all tied into his teleological understanding of essence). Wil318466 is obviously right to resist the usage of the term "subhuman" because of its fascistic overtones, but really, how does what he say here differ in principle that much from the Christian idea of the fallen nature of humans?
Much is tied to the underlying logic of "Therefore, I would rather not exist than be such a being."

If all he is saying is that "this faculty is lacking" then there really wouldn't be much of an objection. We can both agree that this faculty is lacking, and that the absence of this faculty in some form diminishes the overall capacity of that person. And I'm okay with that. I see students all the time who don't apply themselves fully and make other poor decisions and hence not fully embody what it is to be human (with that understanding).

But that's not the full implication of his belief. The full implication of his belief is that this state is so lowly that merely existing in that form is sufficiently negative to reject that existence entirely. I do not believe that this would follow from the Aristotelian ethic you describe.

If you want to look at the more theological side of this, the underlying suggestion of the non-existence claim is that there's nothing worth trying to redeem in a person that lacks these faculties. Their state is so poor that Wil would rather not exist than be one of those people. Fallenness is a redeemable quality, and this is worth pursuing in all people.

Last edited by Aaron W.; 08-25-2014 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 08-25-2014, 04:09 PM   #124
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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To push the abortion part of the conversation along a bit...

The basic argument for abortion is that the birth of the child is generally utilitarian.

One argument is that somehow, the birth of the child is viewed as a negative quantity by some measure, and hence abortion is an option to avoid that outcome. This is essentially VeeDdzz's argument. The birth of a child is a net economic outcome for the parents as the child is highly dependent upon the parents well beyond the time period that most children are. But this argument falls short in the analysis, as the moment the child is born, those future prospects remain unchanged. In this understanding, it is still sufficient to say that the net negative exists, and so it must still be moral to kill the just-born child under the same logic. It's impossible to argue that the sunk cost of being born is large enough so that now having the child hang around in a living state is starting to contribute in a positive manner to the stated economic outcomes.

I do not know of any successful argument on the utilitarian basis that distinguishes between a just-unborn and just-born child (though it's possible that one might exist).
Two points. Some philosophical defences of abortion acknowledge that in some cases infanticide might also be morally justified (e.g. Peter Singer and Michael Tooley), so some people will bite that bullet.

Second, I think you can construct rule utilitarian arguments for using birth as a cut off point. Essentially, you would use standard utilitarian arguments that governments should protect basic human rights and then argue that birth is the best starting point (probably for mostly practical reasons) for when these rights should be protected. On this view, you have rights because governments that respect human rights are more utility-maximizing than governments that don't. However, since this justification for rights is not based on the nature of the people involved (as with deontological theories), the fact that there is no morally significant difference between a newly-born infant and a late trimester fetus doesn't mean that the law making infanticide illegal while permitting infanticide is wrong.
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Old 08-25-2014, 04:25 PM   #125
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

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Two points. Some philosophical defences of abortion acknowledge that in some cases infanticide might also be morally justified (e.g. Peter Singer and Michael Tooley), so some people will bite that bullet.
I'm aware that some people have bitten that bullet, though nobody here has yet done it and have desire to do so (as far as I can tell).

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Second, I think you can construct rule utilitarian arguments for using birth as a cut off point. Essentially, you would use standard utilitarian arguments that governments should protect basic human rights and then argue that birth is the best starting point (probably for mostly practical reasons) for when these rights should be protected. On this view, you have rights because governments that respect human rights are more utility-maximizing than governments that don't. However, since this justification for rights is not based on the nature of the people involved (as with deontological theories), the fact that there is no morally significant difference between a newly-born infant and a late trimester fetus doesn't mean that the law making infanticide illegal while permitting infanticide is wrong.
To be clear, under this formulation, the protection of basic human rights is merely a fiat, as is the line being drawn as to when human rights should be protected. Is the a correct interpretation?
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