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Old 09-15-2014, 01:36 PM   #201
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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 Zeno View Post
I have very much enjoyed the high quality of recent exchange in this thread.

I own a blue car, Ford Escape for those that require particulars. I find the coincidence to have no meaning but I still felt compelled to mentioned it.
The Ford Escape attribute is probably more relevant to your morality than the blue attribute
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:00 PM   #202
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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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What do you mean by moral reality?
Moral reality = the reality of the moral claims. I'm not sure how else to describe it, much in the same way I have a difficult time describing "physical reality" as something beyond "the reality of the physical state of the universe."

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What framework are you using to define what "moral" is? its not clear to me from reading what you wrote.
I assert the existence of a moral reality in much the same way I assert the existence of a physical reality. That moral reality is established in a mind-independent way like the physical reality is established in a mind-independent way.

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The car is blue, is only true if we all agree on what blue is, and can all equate an experience we have as the experiencing of "blue".
That's a language issue, not a reality correspondence issue. I doesn't matter that we call it "blue" or "red" or "bazinga." The word being used corresponds to some feature of reality.

If you don't like colors because of the subjective nature of experience, then we can make other claims like "THERE ... ARE ... FOUR ... LIGHTS!" (TNG reference.)

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Are you saying there is a similar thing where we all agree on what "moral" is? If so, this doesnt make it correspond to the universe in any way. I mean, "I am in the UK" is only true in the sense that we are all agreed that a specific part of planet earth is called the UK, and we all have an understanding of what "country" means. It only very loosely ( if at all) corresponds to the universe.
As above, this is a much broader question about language. Once the terms are defined and understood, your sentence makes sense.

But regardless of the terms we use to define the situation, there's an underlying physical reality about your position. As long as the words we use match that physical reality, we would have true statements.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:01 PM   #203
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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 have very much enjoyed the high quality of recent exchange in this thread.
Sorry for the error. I thought I was in SMP.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:38 PM   #204
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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 seem to have intuition doing the work here which is consistent with a non natural realism.
Thanks for the link. I'm not familiar with "non-natural realism" but from my skimming of that article, it seems to be pretty consistent with my approach. I'll read it in more detail later.

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I tend to think that our moral intuitions are important and give me reason to agree that moral statements can be true or false but the question is whether our intuitions track moral facts, and if they do what are the actual properties to which they refer, or somehow define them which seem implausible given the psychological and environmental factors that guide our moral intuitions.
I would push back on this in exactly the same way that I push back on people who reject our general experiences of the universe as being a meaningful starting point for drawing conclusions about the universe. This usually comes from the scientism perspective (that the scientific method is the only acceptable means of gaining knowledge).

My objections are that scientism isn't functional or a realistic reflection of how we actually understand things. We make many, many decisions about all sorts of things that aren't built on the basis of repeatable, controlled experiments. And we seem to navigate our way around the universe in at least some basic kind of way. So even if we're wrong (and even if we're often wrong), there's enough truth there to allow us to interact with the world in a way that seems to suggest that we have a meaningful grasp of the universe around us.

In the same way, I believe our moral intuitions are sufficiently grounded in a moral reality. Despite the variety of cultures that exist, there does seem to be a general sense of right and wrong, and even though there may be difference in those details, we do all seem to have some type of respect for life (at least within in-groups) and other types of moral principles (reciprocity).

I draw an analogy in mathematics using Pascal's Triangle, which was a pattern that was independently discovered in multiple cultures and different moments in history and somehow points to a mathematical universe of objects that seems to have an existence of its own. If multiple cultures are arriving at some moral principles that seem similar in their general expression, I don't find it unreasonable to think that there is some moral reality that's out there, and that various groups are catching glimpses of the same thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_triangle
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Old 09-15-2014, 07:07 PM   #205
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Re: Idiot Richard Dawkins opens his mouth again: "It's immoral not to abort Down's Syndrome bab

Why the big debate on abortion? If it's legal you can do it, if it's illegal you can't do it. Not really anything to discuss IMO
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:05 AM   #206
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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 would push back on this in exactly the same way that I push back on people who reject our general experiences of the universe as being a meaningful starting point for drawing conclusions about the universe. This usually comes from the scientism perspective (that the scientific method is the only acceptable means of gaining knowledge).

My objections are that scientism isn't functional or a realistic reflection of how we actually understand things. We make many, many decisions about all sorts of things that aren't built on the basis of repeatable, controlled experiments. And we seem to navigate our way around the universe in at least some basic kind of way. So even if we're wrong (and even if we're often wrong), there's enough truth there to allow us to interact with the world in a way that seems to suggest that we have a meaningful grasp of the universe around us.

In the same way, I believe our moral intuitions are sufficiently grounded in a moral reality. Despite the variety of cultures that exist, there does seem to be a general sense of right and wrong, and even though there may be difference in those details, we do all seem to have some type of respect for life (at least within in-groups) and other types of moral principles (reciprocity).

I draw an analogy in mathematics using Pascal's Triangle, which was a pattern that was independently discovered in multiple cultures and different moments in history and somehow points to a mathematical universe of objects that seems to have an existence of its own. If multiple cultures are arriving at some moral principles that seem similar in their general expression, I don't find it unreasonable to think that there is some moral reality that's out there, and that various groups are catching glimpses of the same thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_triangle
I agree with a lot of this, I tend to realism with regard to morals and numbers but in some respects I'm not sure how much importance I give to meta-ethical questions. This may just be a reflection on my lack of understanding but there are a number of plausible positions and none of them, that I am aware of, defeat all the challenges to them. It's also a year till I have that module in college so I have some time.

It's also notable that some ethicists have defended a normative ethical position while denying moral realism. RM Hare defends prescriptivism a type of non cognitivism in meta ethics, while simultaneously presenting a type of preference utilitarianism. In fact the non cognitivist that wants to make a normative claim needs to distinguish normative and metaethics domains.

Like you I think there are intuitive reasons to support the existence of moral facts but I do understand our intuitions can be wrong and these facts seem pretty hard to identify, I disagree in that I want moral claims to represent truth, I'd prefer for them to be useful because if their truth aptness is ever resolved in the negative or the error theorist is correct, that our moral claims are all systematically false given the lack of existence of the property to which they refer, then utility is what we have left.

I do think that Dewey's moral pragmatism is worthy of consideration as well given it replaces the goal of identifying this elusive property with the goal of improving the method we use for value judgments. #

I will say that the existence of widespread moral intuitions is an argument against the basic depravity of man in my estimation and despite what atrocities do exist I hold out hope for continued moral progress.

I do enjoy seeing what numbers can do so thanks for that. I remember a poorly written piece of code taking down a server, and all the attached terminals, when someone failed to provide an exit to a loop tracking fibonacci.
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:06 AM   #207
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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 other words, morality is whatever you think it's supposed to be at any particular moment.
No. I've just explained to you what it is. Our pursuit of moral behaviour should be in line with changing circumstances. If our planet is over-populated and there is a scarcity of food or water, reproducing more and 'preserving life as much as possible' isn't going to be a very 'good moral principle'. Do you know what happens to bacteria when they over-populate a petri dish? Likewise, if a mother already has 5 children and can hardly afford to provide enough resources for their well-being, she is morally justified in having the 6th child aborted, as she is morally justified in keeping the 6th child. Her individual freedom of choice - as a value - does and should outweigh most other moral values, including the value of 'preserving life'.
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The "false" operates in the same manner. If it is true that killing someone is the most humane decision in some circumstance, than it is false that not killing them is the most humane decision in that circumstance.
I still don't believe that a moral behaviour can be false or true because this implies the presence of some ethereal realm of existence where morality resides and shines its glorious truths down onto us. Yes, morality may be a mathematical system that pervades reality, just like geometric systems, but the evidence of lacking moral truths when comparing species goes highly against this point of view. If this system does exist however, it is far more flexible than what you're implying. Depending on resource availability, predators and a whole lot of other factors, this system would be HIGHLY flexible.

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Old 09-16-2014, 04:15 AM   #208
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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 assert the existence of a moral reality in much the same way I assert the existence of a physical reality. That moral reality is established in a mind-independent way like the physical reality is established in a mind-independent way.
well, assert away, but what are you basing it on? With a physical reality, we can at least point to "stuff" as evidence of a physical reality. What are you pointing to as evidence of a moral reality?
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:21 AM   #209
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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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well, assert away, but what are you basing it on? With a physical reality, we can at least point to "stuff" as evidence of a physical reality. What are you pointing to as evidence of a moral reality?
He seems to believe that cross-cultural correlations imply the presence of some underlying mathematical system of morality. Yet he fails to take into account other species, apart from humans.
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:33 AM   #210
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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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Likewise, if a mother already has 5 children and can hardly afford to provide enough resources for their well-being, she is morally justified in having the 6th child aborted, as she is morally justified in keeping the 6th child.
huh? So she is morally justified in both cases? That does sound like a case of "morality is whatever you think it's supposed to be at any particular moment."

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Her individual freedom of choice - as a value - does and should outweigh most other moral values, including the value of 'preserving life'.
Why?
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:39 AM   #211
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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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Why?
If the mother thinks she'll be able to cope with the 6th child, and she's motivated to work more or find a resourceful partner, her ability to choose and shape her future in the way she wants to is a fundamental right of being a human being. The more we infringe on that, the less moral behaviour you will begin to see. Freedom of choice is not just a slogan, it is fundamental to human happiness and progress.
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Old 09-16-2014, 05:15 AM   #212
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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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Why the big debate on abortion? If it's legal you can do it, if it's illegal you can't do it. Not really anything to discuss IMO
Spot the sheep in the thread.

Baaaahhhh!
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:05 AM   #213
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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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No. I've just explained to you what it is. Our pursuit of moral behaviour should be in line with changing circumstances. If our planet is over-populated and there is a scarcity of food or water, reproducing more and 'preserving life as much as possible' isn't going to be a very 'good moral principle'. Do you know what happens to bacteria when they over-populate a petri dish? Likewise, if a mother already has 5 children and can hardly afford to provide enough resources for their well-being, she is morally justified in having the 6th child aborted, as she is morally justified in keeping the 6th child. Her individual freedom of choice - as a value - does and should outweigh most other moral values, including the value of 'preserving life'.

I still don't believe that a moral behaviour can be false or true because this implies the presence of some ethereal realm of existence where morality resides and shines its glorious truths down onto us. Yes, morality may be a mathematical system that pervades reality, just like geometric systems, but the evidence of lacking moral truths when comparing species goes highly against this point of view. If this system does exist however, it is far more flexible than what you're implying. Depending on resource availability, predators and a whole lot of other factors, this system would be HIGHLY flexible.
It seems though by the first paragraph that you are committing to defending the idea that freedom of choice is of greater moral value than preserving life. From this you need to be able to agree with the statement "It is true that freedom of choice is of greater moral value than preserving life." But you can't if moral questions aren't apt for truth?
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:05 AM   #214
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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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If the mother thinks she'll be able to cope with the 6th child, and she's motivated to work more or find a resourceful partner, her ability to choose and shape her future in the way she wants to is a fundamental right of being a human being. The more we infringe on that, the less moral behaviour you will begin to see. Freedom of choice is not just a slogan, it is fundamental to human happiness and progress.
Again, this says nothing as to why "Her individual freedom of choice - as a value - does and should outweigh most other moral values, including the value of 'preserving life'."

It sounds like you are only supporting her individual freedom of choice if she chooses the "right" thing ( right as in, what you believe is right), ie having the child if she can support it, or aborting it if she cant support it. What if she chooses to have the child but isnt able to support it?
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:07 AM   #215
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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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Again, this says nothing as to why "Her individual freedom of choice - as a value - does and should outweigh most other moral values, including the value of 'preserving life'."

It sounds like you are only supporting her individual freedom of choice if she chooses the "right" thing ( right as in, what you believe is right), ie having the child if she can support it, or aborting it if she cant support it. What if she chooses to have the child but isnt able to support it?
Is she having the child because she can't support it?
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:08 AM   #216
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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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Again, this says nothing as to why "Her individual freedom of choice - as a value - does and should outweigh most other moral values, including the value of 'preserving life'."

It sounds like you are only supporting her individual freedom of choice if she chooses the "right" thing ( right as in, what you believe is right), ie having the child if she can support it, or aborting it if she cant support it. What if she chooses to have the child but isnt able to support it?
I think your criticism in the first paragraph is reasonable I'm not sure the second paragraph is, it may be that VeeDDzz thinks individual autonomy important enough that mistakes made in it's execution less important than infringements against it.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:12 AM   #217
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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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Again, this says nothing as to why "Her individual freedom of choice - as a value - does and should outweigh most other moral values, including the value of 'preserving life'."

It sounds like you are only supporting her individual freedom of choice if she chooses the "right" thing ( right as in, what you believe is right), ie having the child if she can support it, or aborting it if she cant support it. What if she chooses to have the child but isnt able to support it?
Why would she choose to have a child because she can't support it?

Her choice to keep the child would be made under the mindset that she'll be able to cope with it.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:12 AM   #218
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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 your criticism in the first paragraph is reasonable I'm not sure the second paragraph is, it may be that VeeDDzz thinks individual autonomy important enough that mistakes made in it's execution less important than infringements against it.
To a large extent, yes.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:16 AM   #219
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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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It seems though by the first paragraph that you are committing to defending the idea that freedom of choice is of greater moral value than preserving life. From this you need to be able to agree with the statement "It is true that freedom of choice is of greater moral value than preserving life." But you can't if moral questions aren't apt for truth?
I am not saying "it is true that freedom of choice is of greater moral value than preserving life". I am saying that "it is more useful to the collective good of the human species in this particular example, that the value of 'freedom of choice' outweighs the value of 'preservation of life'.

It's frustrating that near to everything on these forums needs to be worded scientifically. Either nit-picking has hit a whole new level or people are getting worse at interpreting information, haha.

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Old 09-16-2014, 06:17 AM   #220
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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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Why would someone choose to have a child because they can't support it?
I didnt say they would choose to have a child because they cant support it

I said they choose to have the child, even though they cant support it. That is, their desire to have a child overrides any worries or doubts about being able to support it, or their ability to support the child plays no part in their decision as to whether to have the child or not

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Her choice to keep the child would be made under the mindset that she'll be able to cope with it.
huh? Why would it? Yes it could be that way, but thats not the only way choices are made. Again, it seems like you are only allowing rational choices in your freedom of choice scenario.
The mothers opinion of whether or not she could cope doesnt automatically mean that she would be able to cope
People have children all the time and arent able to cope.


You still havent said why "Her individual freedom of choice - as a value - does and should outweigh most other moral values, including the value of 'preserving life'."
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:21 AM   #221
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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 your criticism in the first paragraph is reasonable I'm not sure the second paragraph is, it may be that VeeDDzz thinks individual autonomy important enough that mistakes made in it's execution less important than infringements against it.
He is going to be drawing pretty arbitrary lines for where the mistakes are less or more important. And the lines are going to agree with his views on morality.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:26 AM   #222
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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 didnt say they would choose to have a child because they cant support it

I said they choose to have the child, even though they cant support it. That is, their desire to have a child overrides any worries or doubts about being able to support it, or their ability to support the child plays no part in their decision as to whether to have the child or not



huh? Why would it? Yes it could be that way, but thats not the only way choices are made. Again, it seems like you are only allowing rational choices in your freedom of choice scenario.
The mothers opinion of whether or not she could cope doesnt automatically mean that she would be able to cope
People have children all the time and arent able to cope.


You still havent said why "Her individual freedom of choice - as a value - does and should outweigh most other moral values, including the value of 'preserving life'."
As Dereds said. In my particular example "individual autonomy is important enough that mistakes made in it's execution less important than infringements against it.".
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:28 AM   #223
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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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He is going to be drawing pretty arbitrary lines for where the mistakes are less or more important. And the lines are going to agree with his views on morality.
I tend to agree but then I also tend to think that morality starting with some notion of personal autonomy is perfectly reasonable. Often much is made of the distinction between liberty and assigning appropriate value to others but JS Mill seems to have reconciled his views On Liberty to his Utilitarianism.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:33 AM   #224
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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 saying "it is true that freedom of choice is of greater moral value than preserving life". I am saying that "it is more useful to the collective good of the human species in this particular example, that the value of 'freedom of choice' outweighs the value of 'preservation of life'.

It's frustrating that near to everything on these forums needs to be worded scientifically. Either nit-picking has hit a whole new level or people are getting worse at interpreting information, haha.
Unfortunately in certain areas it is important to be specific with language, I don't want to get nitty but unless we are clear with how we describe our beliefs others will think them inconsistent or incoherent, if we wish to defend against that we have to be careful.

Why is something being useful to the collective good of the human species something I should care about? Is then the collective good of the human species the goal of moral philosophy and moral statements? If so then why isn't a moral statement true if it corresponds to contributing positively to the collective good of people?
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:34 AM   #225
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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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As Dereds said. In my particular example "individual autonomy is important enough that mistakes made in it's execution less important than infringements against it.".
Thats not saying why. Thats just restating your original premise in different words.

Why is individual autonomy so important that it outweighs other considerations?
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