Author Topic: Abortion debate  (Read 16942 times)

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Offline Ħ

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Abortion debate
« on: November 15, 2012, 12:10:25 PM »

Continued from the Republican thread.


If you cant answer what makes us different than an ant , a tomato, or a virus...like consciousness, sentience, or yes a soul, then it is impossible to have a reasonable stance on abortion.  If you are against it, then you must be against walking on the grass for fear of stepping on an ant hill, taking medicine to kill an infection, or eat a cheesburger, as all would be equal.  If one wants to argue what makes us "different", and specifically when that "difference" occurs, fine....but if you cant even articulate that position, much less the definitions, a discussion on the morality and legality of abortion seems more than a bit premature.
Agreed. That is why I can only fathom three coherent ethical positions on the abortion issue.


1. Life matters, and therefore abortion in all forms is morally wrong. The slippery slope leads us to eating meat and destroying plant tissue being morally wrong (as well as using antibiotics). Dead fruit, nuts, and animal products are the only things a human can morally eat.


2. Life doesn't matter, and therefore abortion in all forms is not morally wrong. The slippery slope here is that killing any living thing (including humans) is not morally wrong either.


3. Human life matters. Therefore, killing of any human life is wrong. The question here is "How do we define human life?" Then it is easy to determine the point in human development that abortion is wrong.


Clearly, everybody that's had something to say on the subject takes position 3. People have suggested "sentience" and "consciousness" as the dividing point. But to them I have two questions. 1) What gives objective value to conscious beings? 2) How would you define consciousness?
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Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2012, 12:52:05 PM »
I'm not sure how you can frame the discussion in such a way where the idea of "sentience" and "consciousness" portrayed in such an abstract and unrealistic way that the rest of us have to "prove" what it is because we can touch the main arguments of the thread. No offense, but "I see wat u did thar".

Offline Ħ

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2012, 12:55:12 PM »
Not sure what you mean. Even if we assume something like consciousness exists, then what is more valuable about the property of consciousness than, say, the property of being red?
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline rumborak

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2012, 12:55:35 PM »
1) What gives objective value to conscious beings?

Objective? Nothing of course. It's all subjective. That's why lions tear apart emus and don't think any of it.
Does the subjective element make it less "real" to you?

Quote
2) How would you define consciousness?

Wikipedia says

"Consciousness is the quality or state of being aware of an external object or something within oneself." Fish aren't conscious and thus it's cool to eat them. Dolphins, not so much.

Within reasonable limits of accuracy that is determineable. Zygotes are not conscious; fetuses are.

I don't know whether you notice, but our view is very self-consistent. We draw the line essentially where it becomes "cruel" to kill something because that something is aware of it being killed.
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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2012, 12:55:53 PM »
I think in the end you have to come down to one of two positions.

1. No abortions, under any circumstance should ever be allowed......ever. No matter what.

or

2. In some cases, such as X, Y and Z then abortion should be allowed.


Now if you chose 1, then fair enough. But if you chose 2.....like most of us would, then you have the problem of regulating those circumstances and not being able to properly assess/prove that they were there.
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Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2012, 12:58:27 PM »
Not sure what you mean. Even if we assume something like consciousness exists, then what is more valuable about the property of consciousness than, say, the property of being red?

Emergent phenomena aren't illusory, H.
I've gotta agree here. My whole goal in this thread has been to try and promote a less scientifically crude and philosophically lazy discussion of how human life should be handled from it's earliest stages to the point of maturity. If we're going to take the nihilistic approach toward sentience and consciousness, there's no point in going further.

In other words, we're not gonna get anywhere if treat this discussion like a Philosophy 1000 class.

Offline Ħ

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2012, 01:00:33 PM »
1) What gives objective value to conscious beings?

Objective? Nothing of course. It's all subjective. That's why lions tear apart emus and don't think any of it.
Does the subjective element make it less "real" to you?
Yes. We cannot therefore say "X action is wrong". We can only say "According to the common gut feeling in human beings, X action is wrong." And that's a much weaker statement.

It's like saying mint ice cream is really better than chocolate ice cream, versus saying mint ice cream is preferable to chocolate ice cream. The former is a belief about a fact, the latter is an opinion of preference.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2012, 01:01:15 PM »
Even if we assume something like consciousness exists, then what is more valuable about the property of consciousness than, say, the property of being red?
When you say things like this, it makes me wonder why you started a thread because you don't seem to really want to discuss or debate anything.
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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2012, 01:01:56 PM »
So should I assume that this is not actually a debate on abortion (since my post on abortion was ignored) and instead a philosophical discussion on what constitutes life?


Meh. Have fun with that I guess. I'll be back in a few pages when none of you have gotten anywhere.



Edit: Actually it looks like another "subjective vs objective" debate.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2012, 01:02:35 PM »
To take the shortcut, this in the end will come down to "subjective is bad. My god's rules are objective."

Or so you tell me. Never met your god. Only ever hear it from other people who try to pitch it to me.
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Offline Ħ

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2012, 01:04:14 PM »
Not sure what you mean. Even if we assume something like consciousness exists, then what is more valuable about the property of consciousness than, say, the property of being red?

Emergent phenomena aren't illusory, H.
I've gotta agree here. My whole goal in this thread has been to try and promote a less scientifically crude and philosophically lazy discussion of how human life should be handled from it's earliest stages to the point of maturity. If we're going to take the nihilistic approach toward sentience and consciousness, there's no point in going further.

In other words, we're not gonna get anywhere if treat this discussion like a Philosophy 1000 class.
Do you advocate that we not take a scholarly approach that is particular about its claims? That seems far better than pedestrian discussion.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2012, 01:04:44 PM »
Even if we assume something like consciousness exists, then what is more valuable about the property of consciousness than, say, the property of being red?
When you say things like this, it makes me wonder why you started a thread because you don't seem to really want to discuss or debate anything.
I think the problem is, instead of yesh or another staff (like you) moving the entire discussion into a new thread, Ħ (who was without a doubt the holder of the minority opinion) decided to start the new thread on his own, and in doing so has clearly attempted to re-frame the discussion in a way that's advantageous to his position.

Offline theseoafs

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2012, 01:06:23 PM »
To take the shortcut, this in the end will come down to "subjective is bad. My god's rules are objective."

Or so you tell me. Never met your god. Only ever hear it from other people who try to pitch it to me.

This.  This is why I won't be participating this time around; H has already decided that he's correct and everyone else is wrong.

Offline eric42434224

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2012, 01:09:39 PM »
This is merely Objective vs. Subjective version 3.0.
I am still surprised how someone rooted in the Objective camp has so much trouble understanding (or just plain refuses to) how we can easily operate subjectively.
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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2012, 01:11:35 PM »
Do you advocate that we not take a scholarly approach that is particular about its claims? That seems far better than pedestrian discussion.

No, I'm advocating that we not bog ourselves down in nihilism and relativism. Saying things like "consciousness is an illusion" is for kids who've just seen the Matrix and are taking Philosophy for the first time. It's not a constructive way to start a discussion on ethics.

From what I've gathered, the majority of the developed world determines the legality of abortion based on the basis that, "souls" withstanding, a developing early human life gains more and more human properties through the process of pregnancy and infancy. One of these properties is "sentience", which is a real thing, not just some theory designed to trick you.

If you think something different than that should be done, the argument is yours to make. "It's all an illusion" isn't an argument. And, if that's where you want to take this thread (since you've already decided on doing so in your re-framing of the discussion above), you can count me out. Sorry buddy, but I've been in higher education for too long to want to rehash whether it's all a dream or the billionth time.

Offline Ħ

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2012, 01:19:34 PM »
Even if we assume something like consciousness exists, then what is more valuable about the property of consciousness than, say, the property of being red?
When you say things like this, it makes me wonder why you started a thread because you don't seem to really want to discuss or debate anything.
On naturalism/materialism, the intrinsic value of consciousness is gone. Look - that's the whole problem with having a debate on abortion on the naturalist platform. It's just what you fancy. So the discussion dies there. Ultimately, the view that abortion should only be administered in the first trimester is grounded on nothing - its advocates in this thread haven't offered a single thing other than subjectivity which is admitted to be groundless even by its proponents.


@ eric. Enough with the ad hominems. I have no problem understanding how humans "operate" and that it's "easy" to do so. Of course it's easy. You just follow your gut. Embrace nature. Yadda yadda. But if you desire knowledge about the way things actually are, you have to think outside the box.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline eric42434224

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2012, 01:22:50 PM »
How is objective morality....the rules set forth by a god of which there is absolutely no evidence, and the rules written by man....a way to determine how things actually are?  Talk about not thinking outside the box.

My point was not an ad hominem, but merely a point.  I cant understand how someone has such a hard time understanding that something does not need to have one single intrinsic value....it can have several values of varying degrees that can be in a framework agreed upon by people and society.  I just cant understand why that is so difficult to understand....not to accept yourself...just to understand that it is possible, and occurs all the time.  It is possible because it happens.
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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2012, 01:25:08 PM »
We're not there yet, but let's head off a pissing match between you two right now.
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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2012, 01:25:36 PM »
Brother H, I think a problem with this thread is you have already dismissed all opposing views as nonsense and started this thread with the sole intention of trying to convince everyone else that your opinion is the correct one.

None of this is helpful to discussion and is probably why most of us aren't enjoying the discussion. You're basically saying "Your ideas are obviously crap, and since my ideas are right.....then you should realize that your opinions are crap and that my opinions are correct because obviously, my opinions are correct".
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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2012, 01:26:56 PM »
How is objective morality a way to determine how things actually are?  Talk about not thinking outside the box.
Because if objective morality exists, then we have definite grounds for making ethical judgments (eg "stealing is wrong").

Quote
....the rules set forth by a god of which there is absolutely no evidence, and the rules written by man....
Talk about the bait from hell.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2012, 01:27:26 PM »
Brother H, I think a problem with this thread is you have already dismissed all opposing views as nonsense and started this thread with the sole intention of trying to convince everyone else that your opinion is the correct one.

Thanks. This is the point I was trying to make in my last two posts. The idea of a new thread was cool. I get the feeling Brother's just used it as a chance to reboot the discussion putting his ideas at the forefront, though.

Offline eric42434224

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2012, 01:29:22 PM »
We're not there yet, but let's head off a pissing match between you two right now.

Its not a pissing match.  I am not addressing only him, but the Objective camp on this point:  I understand your Objective viewpoint and respect one feels that way.  I see how you think it works.  Why cant the Objective camp even understand and respect how the Subjective camp works....especially when tyhe proof of it is all around us everyday.

I have no ill will toward H, and do not want anyone to think I am attacking him.

Thanks  :)
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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2012, 01:31:32 PM »
I didn't and you're welcome.
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Offline Ħ

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2012, 01:32:38 PM »
Brother H, I think a problem with this thread is you have already dismissed all opposing views as nonsense and started this thread with the sole intention of trying to convince everyone else that your opinion is the correct one.

None of this is helpful to discussion and is probably why most of us aren't enjoying the discussion. You're basically saying "Your ideas are obviously crap, and since my ideas are right.....then you should realize that your opinions are crap and that my opinions are correct because obviously, my opinions are correct".
You're right. But the problem is if we throw objective standards down the gutter, then we can't determine where to draw the line on the abortion issue.

If person A says, "Well, a fetus becomes a human at sentience," and person B says "No, a fetus becomes a human when the heart starts beating," then you're at a stalemate. That is what halts progress. That ends the debate right there.


If you want to have your staring contest, then go ahead. I'm out.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2012, 01:35:49 PM »
Staring contest? Me? I never even offered an opinion about abortion except for my initial post in this thread which was completely disregarded in favor of more "objective vs subjective" stuff that obviously won't go anywhere since you just admitted to dismissing all opposing view points as nonsense.


I mean, I say this thread either starts discussing ABORTION and not subjective vs. objective, or it be closed.
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Offline eric42434224

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2012, 01:37:39 PM »
How is objective morality a way to determine how things actually are?  Talk about not thinking outside the box.
Because if objective morality exists, then we have definite grounds for making ethical judgments (eg "stealing is wrong").

Quote
....the rules set forth by a god of which there is absolutely no evidence, and the rules written by man....
Talk about the bait from hell.

Not a bait.  You want Objective morality to exist....its pretty clear.  I get that.  You want there to be this concrete foundation to base your ethical decisions on.  Again, I get why you want that.  But we do not agree....we dont see the authority for the objective morals as existing....or at least existing in the form that would hand down objective morals.  So we use our judgements, experiences, and social interations to create our own moral framework.  I really have a hard time understanding why that is so hard to comprehend.  Saying it just cant be is like closing your eyes and saying it isnt there.  The evidence is all around you every day.  That doesnt discount your view, as it technically is possible.  If you need those rules to make your moral decisions for you, that is cool....others want to take respoonsibility for our moral desicions and the reasoning behind them.  I just wish you could accept that.  So...no bait...especially no bait from hell....as I obviously dont believe in hell.
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Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2012, 01:38:56 PM »
...Yup.

No chance my criticism of the direction of this new thread is ever getting answered now.

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Offline Ħ

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2012, 01:43:27 PM »
PC, you can go your own way with this thread. I don't own it.

Eric - I absolutely see and comprehend the moral framework all around us. Why are you continuing to suggest that I don't? That's getting annoying. The difference is that you identify the morality as subjective and I identify it as objective, but we both see it.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline eric42434224

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2012, 01:48:55 PM »
Brother H, I think a problem with this thread is you have already dismissed all opposing views as nonsense and started this thread with the sole intention of trying to convince everyone else that your opinion is the correct one.

None of this is helpful to discussion and is probably why most of us aren't enjoying the discussion. You're basically saying "Your ideas are obviously crap, and since my ideas are right.....then you should realize that your opinions are crap and that my opinions are correct because obviously, my opinions are correct".
You're right. But the problem is if we throw objective standards down the gutter, then we can't determine where to draw the line on the abortion issue.

If person A says, "Well, a fetus becomes a human at sentience," and person B says "No, a fetus becomes a human when the heart starts beating," then you're at a stalemate. That is what halts progress. That ends the debate right there.


If you want to have your staring contest, then go ahead. I'm out.

A 10 and 12 year old kid are arguing about something.  H, its like you want Mom to come in and lay down the Rule and be done with it.  You want the kids to defer, but we feel that the kids, while disagreeing initially, can come to some sort of group consensus.   The other issue with your view is if one of the kids isnt the child of the parent...that kid may have different values. 

You want to use objective morals from a god that many people dont believe in, believe in a different god, or no god at all.  Objective morals, to me, would only work if everybody believed in the same source for those morals.  We all obviously dont, so we have to make compromises and work to put together the best agreed upon framework we can.
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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2012, 01:52:03 PM »
PC, you can go your own way with this thread. I don't own it.

Eric - I absolutely see and comprehend the moral framework all around us. Why are you continuing to suggest that I don't? That's getting annoying. The difference is that you identify the morality as subjective and I identify it as objective, but we both see it.

Did you not say subjectivity is groundless?  That there is no real value?  That wa cannot say something is "wrong"?
If that is how you feel, you do not comprehend.  You are not just stating your view is correct, you are saying ours is incorrect.

And relax.  Dont get annoyed.  There is no reason to.
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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #30 on: November 15, 2012, 01:58:52 PM »
A 10 and 12 year old kid are arguing about something.  H, its like you want Mom to come in and lay down the Rule and be done with it.  You want the kids to defer, but we feel that the kids, while disagreeing initially, can come to some sort of group consensus.   The other issue with your view is if one of the kids isnt the child of the parent...that kid may have different values. 

You want to use objective morals from a god that many people dont believe in, believe in a different god, or no god at all.  Objective morals, to me, would only work if everybody believed in the same source for those morals.  We all obviously dont, so we have to make compromises and work to put together the best agreed upon framework we can.
In this thread, the only person that is talking about God is you. I haven't invoked God at all.

Regarding working together, I agree. However, when someone votes for a candidate for his pro-life policies, people like rumborak come out and say "Stop legislating religion!" If morality is subjective as you say, then we should all vote for what we think is true. That's the beautiful thing about democracy. So a person that believes humanity begins at conception (whatever his basis for that belief) should vote in a way that prevents all types of abortion.
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Offline eric42434224

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2012, 01:59:43 PM »
Where does objective morality come from then?

And I agree...all people should vote how they feel on a subject.  My view is that someones "objective" morality and views are merely interpretations and judgements made from their own observations, interations, and thoughts about what they see as the objective source...ie their god and religion.  I dont see where another source for objective morals can come from.  Their views on morals are their subjective interpretation of what they think objective morals are.  Im cool with that.  In the end, to me, its ALL subjective.
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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #32 on: November 15, 2012, 02:00:58 PM »
PC, you can go your own way with this thread. I don't own it.

Eric - I absolutely see and comprehend the moral framework all around us. Why are you continuing to suggest that I don't? That's getting annoying. The difference is that you identify the morality as subjective and I identify it as objective, but we both see it.

Did you not say subjectivity is groundless?  That there is no real value?  That wa cannot say something is "wrong"?
If that is how you feel, you do not comprehend.  You are not just stating your view is correct, you are saying ours is incorrect.

And relax.  Dont get annoyed.  There is no reason to.
By "real value", I mean objective value. Of course subjective truth claims ("my favorite ice cream is vanilla") have no objective truth value.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Ħ

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Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2012, 02:03:18 PM »
Where does objective morality come from then?
Doesn't matter. If we can identify that objective morality exists, then we don't need to find its source of origin to prove that it actually exists. Your principle leads to an infinite regress.
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  • Wilson
Re: Abortion debate
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2012, 02:05:40 PM »
Where does objective morality come from then?
Doesn't matter. If we can identify that objective morality exists, then we don't need to find its source of origin to prove that it actually exists. Your principle leads to an infinite regress.

So you dont know what exactly the objective morals are or where they come from?
Oh shit, you're right!

rumborak

Rumborak to me 10/29