Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

Recommended Photo Store
 
Buy Through Our Amazon Link or Banner to Support This Blog
 
 
 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
    Email *
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Lex's Tweets
  • Jonathan's Tweets
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Abortion Costing Liberals Votes

    Posted by In-Cog-Nito on June 28th, 2004 (All posts by )

    Here’s an update to a comment I posted in Lex’s Gay Marriage post where I noted that Liberals don’t reproduce as much as Conservatives.

    Drudge has a link to this article in the Wall Street Journal’s Opinionjournal that quantifies it to an extent:

    “Abortion has caused missing Democrats–and missing liberals. For advocates so fundamentally committed to changing the face of conservative America, liberals have been remarkably blind to the fact that every day the abortions they advocate dramatically decrease their power to do so. Imagine the number of followers that their abortion policies eliminate who, over the next several decades, would have emerged as the new liberal thinkers, voters, adherents, fund-raisers and workers for their cause.”

     

    61 Responses to “Abortion Costing Liberals Votes”

    1. Lex Says:

      Religious conservatives have bigger families, too. So it cuts both ways. American liberals are own, domestic Europe — socialist, sophisticated, and DYING OUT.

    2. Steven H. Says:

      James Taranto, call your office!

    3. Knucklehead Says:

      SHHHH!!! Please don’t encourage them to breed. There is a method to the madness of the gene soup – those who would have the species commit suicide are not good for the species, ergo the species is diminishing them. Give Darwin his due, dude.

    4. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Seductive soundbite for those who are pro-life conservatives, but I don’t buy it. This would be true only if political bias was entirely, or mostly, inherited. In my experience, the larger the family, the more likely it is that half the kids end up voting for a different side than the other half.

      The second important factor to remember is that immigrant families are a large proportion of those with the higher fertility rates. Their children are no necessarily more likely to vote the way their parents than other children, assuming their parents even vote in the first place. That is especially true during the first few generations, when the social mobility of the individuals involved increase almost as fast as the volatility of their political affiliation.

      Third, it’s a bit silly to assume all or most of unborn children to be Democrats. Given the numbers involved, it’s most likely to be a 50/50 deal. In other words, a wash.

      Fourth, I’d say assuming the “new liberal thinkers” can only come from liberal families reflects more the conservative bias – ‘it’s all about family values’ – of the author than facts or logic. In fact, a significant number of the most liberally-minded people I know did grow up in large conservative families and rebelled/reacted by going the other way at one point or another.

      After all, how many late 60s radicals and hippies were born in radical/hippie families ?Many of the young people on the barricades of Paris in 1968 – and most of their leaders, who later came to prominence in Socialist governments – came from fairly conservative ‘bourgeois’ families….

      Last but not least, abortion has been around for a while. Is there any evidence of a statistically significant change of bias among those born since its legalization who can vote ? And how would we know whether that change has anything to do with abortion policy ? …..

      Still, it is fun to hear pro-lifers finding a political argument to support abortion…

    5. In-Cog-Nito Says:

      “Seductive soundbite for those who are pro-life conservatives, but I don’t buy it. This would be true only if political bias was entirely, or mostly, inherited. In my experience, the larger the family, the more likely it is that half the kids end up voting for a different side than the other half.”

      It’s an important part I think they should have adressed, ie they should have also asked, “do you identify/agree/subscribe to the same political ideas as your parents”.

      “The second important factor to remember is that immigrant families are a large proportion of those with the higher fertility rates. Their children are no necessarily more likely to vote the way their parents than other children, assuming their parents even vote in the first place. That is especially true during the first few generations, when the social mobility of the individuals involved increase almost as fast as the volatility of their political affiliation.”

      A good reason why both parties target immigrants. And why Democrats being more successful at it, are pushing for more immigration.

      “Third, it’s a bit silly to assume all or most of unborn children to be Democrats. Given the numbers involved, it’s most likely to be a 50/50 deal. In other words, a wash. “

      50/50 if you completely discount parental influence. Which goes back to point 1.

      “Fourth, I’d say assuming the “new liberal thinkers” can only come from liberal families reflects more the conservative bias – ‘it’s all about family values’ – of the author than facts or logic. In fact, a significant number of the most liberally-minded people I know did grow up in large conservative families and rebelled/reacted by going the other way at one point or another.”

      Again, I wish they quantified family influence on political bias.

      “After all, how many late 60s radicals and hippies were born in radical/hippie families ?Many of the young people on the barricades of Paris in 1968 – and most of their leaders, who later came to prominence in Socialist governments – came from fairly conservative ‘bourgeois’ families….”

      Funny thing about people who have kids. If I were a betting man, I would say new parents usually become more conservative because they don’t want bad things to happen to their kids.

      “Last but not least, abortion has been around for a while. Is there any evidence of a statistically significant change of bias among those born since its legalization who can vote ? And how would we know whether that change has anything to do with abortion policy ? …..”

      Another thing they should have done was to take the conservative liberal split in 1973 among 18 year old voters, and compare it to the 2000 numbers.

      “Still, it is fun to hear pro-lifers finding a political argument to support abortion…”

      I really wonder how can anyone support abortion after they’ve had kids. But that’s me.

    6. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Actually, in my experience, Republicans are more pro-immigrants than the Democrats. The latter have a union constituency who does not like immigration since it supposedly steals their jobs or brings in people who do the same work for less.

      I really wonder how can anyone support abortion after they’ve had kids. Maybe because they do not know the circumstances of others and do not presume to judge in a one-size-fits-all manner according to their own limited experience. And because, as parents who wanted and love their children, the concept of children growing up unwanted and unloved by both parents does not strike them as something that’s good for anyone, least of all the children involved. Lastly, they might not support abortion per se, but strongly object to state meddling in their, and others’, private lives. Among many reasons.

    7. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I wonder if this qualifies as social Darwinianim?

    8. In-Cog-Nito Says:

      Good point Knucklehead and Michael. I think this qualifies as social Darwinism. Liberal “culture” seems to have adopted abortion into their selectivity mechanism.

    9. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      So you’re saying it’s a good thing, right ? Or are you saying it’s a good thing if and only if those unborn kids are liberals ?

      Another French-style “principled position” is taking shape…

    10. In-Cog-Nito Says:

      No way, I think abortion is horrendous on every level. For certain I don’t think any political advantage gained is worth it no matter how its spun because I value life more.

      However, I do agree with the act of analyzing the dynamics of what’s going on. World War 2 was a human tragedy. But it doesn’t prevent me from analyzing the heck out of it.

    11. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      I don’t think we’re analyzing anything here. This is a wild, although funny at some level, assumption with no supporting evidence whatsoever. And if it were true, one can only wonder how we could get electoral results as tight as the one we got in 2000, after more a generation of legal abortion.

      As for me, people who want to assume what unborn children would vote – never mind that if they’re like their parents, about half of them would not even bother – are up there with those who tell me the rights of unborn future generations override mine in whatever way, shape or form fits their agenda. I’m happy enough to accomodate them as long as they’re buying the beer.

    12. In-Cog-Nito Says:

      It’s not a completely wild assumption. There are some holes in the study that I think should be adressed. But I agree with the underlying assumption that abortion is causing less voters simply because there are less people. You can never say for certain, but that’s the beauty of statistics, it’s an awfully good place to start.

    13. Knucklehead Says:

      This “liberals withering away due to abortion” thing started (at least as far as I am aware) as a tongue in cheek comment at Best of the Web (opinionjournal.com). I don’t believe Mr. Tarranto has ever made and serious claim to statistical correlation. Once upon a time, however, he did put up a table of data (by state if IIRC) showing that the # of abortions were highest in the “red” states and, again IIRC, some other number that somehow suggested that in the worst cases the trend was for fading “redness”. But none of it was a serious (as in “attempt to do anything but poke fun at the left”) analysis.

      BTW, I don’t want to provoke any abortion catfight, but regardless of what one believes on the topic, I find the “no child an unwanted child” argument for abortion to be particularly lame.
      If the aborted fetus/cytoplasm/blob/whatever could someday, someway, pose the question, “Why did you kill me?” would you REALLY want to be the one who had to answer, “Well, I just didn’t want you, that’s why.”

    14. Anonymous Says:

      If its NOT a baby, your not pregnant. Right??

    15. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Cog, I totally agree it results in fewer voters. (Just like car accidents, strokes, murder and who knows what else…). From that to “fewer liberals” is quite a stretch though. And that’s where I have you pick up that beer tab…

      Knucklehead, for the record, I find your argument equally lame. If you could ask that “blob”, “do you want to spend the next 20 years growing up without a father and with a mother who doesn’t want you”, what do you think it would say ? If you’re going to make an hypothesis, you can’t limit yourself to one particular subset of the consequences….

    16. In-Cog-Nito Says:

      Sure, I’ll pick up the beer tab if you’ll buy the plane ticket. The problem with accidents and strokes is of course that they are not a conscious choice as abortion is.

      I think Knucklehead has a valid point. From a religious point of view, abortion is an abomination.

    17. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      For starters, abortion is not always a choice. The health of the mother can require it. And unfortunately, not all pregnancies are a choice either.

      Second, there seems to be this implied assumption that if something is a “choice”, that makes it easy or casual. Which, for anyone who had to go through it – as a woman, or as the partner/significant other – is not only ignorant, but insulting.

      Last, why is the point “valid” ? Because it’s religious ? Is the assertion that a point of view is “religious” sufficient to make it valid ? Since when ? If we go down that road, radical Islamists have a valid point of view too, since it’s all religious to them.

      Knucklehead point can hardly be valid since it is based on a totally unverifiable premise, and an assumption of what a rather simple yes/no answer would be assuming that premise. Which means it’s no more valid than Tarranto’s line, which Knucklehead himself considers tongue-in-cheek and not really serious.

    18. In-Cog-Nito Says:

      For starters, abortion is not always a choice. The health of the mother can require it. And unfortunately, not all pregnancies are a choice either.

      Sure. But if I recall correctly, choice makes up greater than 90% of abortions.

      Second, there seems to be this implied assumption that if something is a “choice”, that makes it easy or casual. Which, for anyone who had to go through it – as a woman, or as the partner/significant other – is not only ignorant, but insulting.

      No implied assumptions. However, it can equally be argued that on the flip side of the coin, because the choice is readily available and actively promoted, life has become cheap.

      Last, why is the point “valid” ? Because it’s religious ? Is the assertion that a point of view is “religious” sufficient to make it valid ? Since when ? If we go down that road, radical Islamists have a valid point of view too, since it’s all religious to them.

      Knucklehead point can hardly be valid since it is based on a totally unverifiable premise, and an assumption of what a rather simple yes/no answer would be assuming that premise. Which means it’s no more valid than Tarranto’s line, which Knucklehead himself considers tongue-in-cheek and not really serious.

      For me, Knucklehead’s point is valid because when I face God at the Pearly Gates, I don’t think he will be too happy if I were a big supporter of abortion. No ryhme or reason, it’s just human nature and a reality of life that people believe in what they believe. What I should have added is that a good chunk of the voting population hold their faith as an important deciding factor of how they vote.

    19. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Sure. Before abortion, life was not cheap. Never mind that it happened anyway and resulted in butchery and death. Or kids were born and totally neglected, abandoned or worse. Nothing cheap about human life in those good old days.

      But you’re essentially avoiding my point. Just because it’s allegedly actively promoted and available – and a heck of a lot safer – does not necessarily make it any easier for a woman to decide and deal with an abortion. I have dealt with this situation, and know many, including within my family, who have, and people who go around claiming, implicitly or explicitly, that it’s “too easy” have, quite bluntly, no fucking idea what they’re talking about.

      In a way, it’s like saying making the administrative process of adoption quicker and easier would make raising adopted children a lot easier. Well, not quite. The paperwork and the surgical/logistical parts might seem easy, “on paper” as they say. The whole decision process and its aftermath are anything but. Especially so in this country, given the stigma still attached to it by many who will happily brand you a bad, evil person without knowing anything about your motives and circumstances because you don’t conform to their absolutist Biblical/Koranic view of the question.

      As for your last point, you also conveniently skirt the question. A point of view is not valid by virtue of being religious. It can certainly happen to be both but if you accept the latter always implies the former, then the point of view of Islamist radicals on many questions is also valid. Never mind that not all Christians or Muslims agree on this one. Only small sects and cults hold a monolithic view of such complex issues.

      Besides which, I did not see anything explicitly religious in Knucklehead’s point.

      And even according to your beliefs, why are the questions that other individuals are going to deal with when they get to the Pearly Gates any of your business ? You’re a guy. You will most likely never have to deal with having an abortion or not; it’s just not an option. But according to the Bible, you’re supposed to forgive the sinners, aren’t you ? Or do you believe you have some kind of duty to enforce the rules you believe to be right, through state coercion if necessary, on others “for their own good”, or maybe their salvation ? How would such top-down social engineering be fundamentally any different than that advocated by hardcore socialists, who aim to legislate and “socialize” the ideal, perfect man, whatever it is they deem that to be ?

      a good chunk of the voting population hold their faith as an important deciding factor of how they voteSo what ? What does that have to do with the topic at hand or anything we have been talking about ? Because some chunk of the population bases its decisions on a set of religious beliefs and edicts, does that make their choice inherently valid, or more respectable ? That may be true in places like Iran. Around here, your vote counts the same and is no more valid than that of the pro-choice atheist next door.

      “Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it canít be taken on its own merits.”

    20. Knucklehead Says:

      I really didn’t wish to provoke an abortion debate. But I will hold to my point, and there is nothing religious about it.

      It is undeniable that one of the time honored slogans (among many) for the “pro-choice” side of the argument is “no child an unwanted child” or words to that effect. My position on abortion on the whole, which I have not stated here and will now state (I expect a resounding Thank you! give it up) does not matter to my point.

      All creatures of every sort, whether cognizant in any way a human can recognize or not, has a will to live. If given the choice, assuming somehow the creature could have a choice, all creatures would choice life, regardless of whether or not they were “wanted”, over death. I don’t think I’m on any sort thin ice there.

      One handy and useful method for making decisions which have some moral implication (or, perhaps, for maintaining integrity at moments of decision when complicating factors might make the decision seem difficult) is to devise a question from the point of view of whomever the decision impacts and ask that question of ourselves. If the honest answer we would give shames us, then there’s a good chance the decision is not moral.

      I repeat, if one chooses to abort a fetus and, should it somehow be possible for the fetus to ask, “why did you kill me?” and the best answer one has is, “you were unwanted”, one should probably feel some poignant shame. I didn’t invent that slogan. Whoever did should be ashamed of themselves.

    21. Ken Says:

      “Especially so in this country, given the stigma still attached to it by many who will happily brand you a bad, evil person without knowing anything about your motives and circumstances because you don’t conform to their absolutist Biblical/Koranic view of the question.”

      Really? Lots of people in this country will brand you as bad and evil if you carry your baby to term and give it up for adoption? Where do you live, anyway?

      Around these parts, all the wacko right wingers tend to call adoption “the loving option”.

    22. In-Cog-Nito Says:

      I like a quote, not quite sure if its Reagan or someone else that said, “I assume the people who are advocating abortion are glad that they themselves were not aborted.”

    23. Anonymous Says:

      Apologies, Sylvain. I failed to address this question you posed:

      “…If you could ask that “blob”, “do you want to spend the next 20 years growing up without a father and with a mother who doesn’t want you”, what do you think it would say?

      Do you believe for a moment it would say, “Gee, that situation doesn’t sound too great, why don’t you just kill me”? If the “blob” could somehow answer it would chose any number of things, such as “Hey, I don’t want to be a burden so why don’t you just drop me on a doorstep or at the nearest hospital or something” long before it got to “hey, no prob, Bob, just end my life here and now.”

      There are many arguments that can be made for abortion. “Unwanted” (and that privacy gibberish cooked up in Roe v. Wade) are particulary weak arguments. Those who wish to convince others that abortion is a good thing shoul abandon those, run away from them, emphasize the ones that make some sense. The problem, however, with making the case is that once you give up the “convenience of the mother” argument, the house of cards begins to sag and you paint yourself into cornercases which, while valid or tragic, don’t make much sense as matters of general law applied to all cases.

      The poor hemopheliac married to the abusive drug addict who was impregnated by rape and might die if she carries and delivers the child gets the same protection under the law as the woman who broke up with her boyfriend months ago, was getting increasingly randy, had a couple drinks, spotted the hunk, couldn’t bother sacrificing any spontenaety for silly birth control measures, so now needs to dump the lump she doesn’t want. Sorry, I said I wasn’t going to go here, didn’t I.

    24. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Knucklehead, you are actually on very thin ice. It is not proven that all creatures are fully conscious of themselves, or of their will to live; as for whether we have “a will to live” from conception, this is precisely the one thing that can’t be agreed on and at the crux of the debate so you can’t quite assert or dismiss any of this casually.

      If the honest answer we would give shames us, then there’s a good chance the decision is not moral.Well, the answer does not shame me at all. I guess I’m an immoral evil person. Burn me at the stake.

      Whoever did should be ashamed of themselves. Kindly spare me the condescending judgmental finger-pointing blather. And when you get off your pedestal, there is this big bar tab you and Cog have to settle….:)

      Cog, if that’s from Reagan, it’s a pretty darn stupid quote. I could retort that those people who are against abortion didn’t grow up through a shitty childhood with a single mother too young to deal with the responsibility, spending half of their young lives through foster homes and who knows what other “social services”. And then maybe you’d see how dumb it sounds. But if you do like quotes, here is a fun one : “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament”.

      As for Mr Anonymous, you are making up conclusions based on an unverifiable premise. Since the consciousness/state of a fetus is in fact at the core of the debate, we can hardly argue based on your arbitrarily deciding that life starts at conception, by assuming the ‘blob’ can think and talk and reason; if we do, you’ll make it say what you want, and so will I. And back to square one. Nothing will be proven that way.

      Your second point is a gross stereotype in my experience and that of doctors I know who deal with this issue day in and day out. Do you also believe that most sexual harassment cases are brought by female sexual predators who make up stories to cash in on the system ? Just so you know, between the basket cases and the insensitive self-centered freaks, there is a huge gap; you know, that big bulge in the bell curve. But somehow, in this whole debate, all we talk about is the outliers, as if everybody had to be defined according to them.

    25. In-Cog-Nito Says:

      Cog, if that’s from Reagan, it’s a pretty darn stupid quote. I could retort that those people who are against abortion didn’t grow up through a shitty childhood with a single mother too young to deal with the responsibility, spending half of their young lives through foster homes and who knows what other “social services”.

      I had a pretty shitty childhood, comfort wise. Wasn’t the most terrible in the world, but wasn’t paradise either. Given the choice, I’d pick living any day. Better shitty than dead.

    26. Ken Says:

      “Knucklehead, you are actually on very thin ice. It is not proven that all creatures are fully conscious of themselves, or of their will to live; as for whether we have “a will to live” from conception, this is precisely the one thing that can’t be agreed on and at the crux of the debate so you can’t quite assert or dismiss any of this casually.”

      We can prove quite easily that we don’t have a “will to live” or a will to anything else at conception, because there is no brain present. Without a brain, there cannot be a person with any sort of will at all.

      And if there is no person present, the “morning after” pill and stem-cell research can morally be done with impunity on the organism.

      After a brain is present, no matter how small, we should apply a precautionary principle and protect the developing fetus on the grounds that it might be a person and it is therefore just as wrong to harm it as it is to knock down a building when someone might be inside. They might also not have a will to live, since they don’t really understand the possibility of death, but that doesn’t make it alright to kill them.

      “I could retort that those people who are against abortion didn’t grow up through a shitty childhood with a single mother too young to deal with the responsibility, spending half of their young lives through foster homes and who knows what other “social services”. And then maybe you’d see how dumb it sounds.”

      No, yours sounds a lot dumber. Living people who have gone through a shitty childhood with a single mother, spending half of their young lives through foster homes and who knows what other “social services”, still don’t seriously wish they were dead; if they did, they’d had plenty of opportunity to make that preference come about. Not too many people with a shitty childhood wish they had been killed instead.

    27. Anonymous Says:

      “Knucklehead, you are actually on very thin ice. It is not proven that all creatures are fully conscious of themselves, or of their will to live; as for whether we have “a will to live” from conception, this is precisely the one thing that can’t be agreed on and at the crux of the debate so you can’t quite assert or dismiss any of this casually.”

      Now, Sylvain, now you know very well that I made no claim that all creatures are fully conscious or that human embryos are cognizant of anything from the moment of conception. I slathered more than ample “ifs” and “somehows” into my post to make clear that the “question/answer” session was purely hypothetical/rhetorical. If you wish to deny that any but the simplest living organism (and even those) has some inate drive to survive, I’ll leave that to you. It seems perfectly rational and quite obvious. Nothing that is alive “wants” to die. If you wish to make the opposite case, well, go right ahead.

      Insistence on some “will to live” as some sort of cognitive behavior is merely an attempt to narrow the terms of the discussion so as to preclude any potential for disagreement. At the moment of conception a relentless biological process is set in motion. That process will proceed with every “fiber of its being” and against many challenges toward becoming human being. The process may fail for any number of reasons, but it will never volunteer to do so – it will not just shut itself down out some sense of altruism or “it would just be better”. And the process will not yield anything other than failure or a human being. No carrots, no earth worms, no rocks, no giraffes. A fertilized human egg relentlessly “wants” to be a living human being. There is no scientific proof of any portion of this “debate” other than that a fertilized human egg will, short of failure, become a human being. That is the ONLY indisputable fact in the entire debate.

      When the fertilized egg becomes cognizant is, apparently, still a matter of disagreement even among scientists. When it becomes subject to the protections of law is somewhat arbitrary – delivery. We don’t distinguish delivery through surgery or with the aid of drugs, so “natural” delivery is not among the criteria.

      “If the honest answer we would give shames us, then there’s a good chance the decision is not moral.Well, the answer does not shame me at all. I guess I’m an immoral evil person. Burn me at the stake.”

      Actually, my assertion was phrased from precisely 180 degrees of what you seem to claim. If the answer leads you to feel shame, then there is a good chance the choice was not moral. This is not always necessarily the case (see “Sophie’s Choice”) since it can be the case that the choice leaves no moral alternative that wouldn’t induce some sense of shame. If, on the other hand, no shame is felt, then we have a different set of questions to ponder.

      For example, why don’t you feel shame. Perhaps you feel no connection. Apparently there are religions or philosopies who are shamed by inflicting death upon anything. Can’t swat a fly or a mosquito. I have no idea if that is true or even possible, but I seem to recall that being a purist Buddhist sort of notion. I feel no shame for killing weeds, or mosquitos, or varous household pests. Therefore I can certainly fathom that someone would feel no shame for giving the hypothetical answer to the hypothetical question. If the common housefly were somehow able to ask me, “why did you kill me?” I would feel no shame answering, “because you annoyed me” (assuming, of course, that the sudden appearance of a talking housefly did not cause me to hastily review all of my previous held notions of what “morality”).

      “Whoever did should be ashamed of themselves. Kindly spare me the condescending judgmental finger-pointing blather. And when you get off your pedestal, there is this big bar tab you and Cog have to settle….:)”

      Well, I suppose you are entitled to feel that my comment was “judgemental finger-pointing blather”. While that is inaccurate there is some hint of a point there, but you might consider being a bit less hypersensitive. I will, nonetheless, withdraw the “should be ashamed” portion. I’ll try rephrasing…. “Whoever thought that the ‘no child unwanted’ argument was convincing and could not possibly be disagreed with by a rational person without reference to religious faith and needs to revisit his smug sense of intellectual rigor.” How’s that?

    28. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Knucklehead, if it’s you, kindly put in your name. First, I don’t see how the ‘undisputable fact’ has anything to do with the abortion debate. Nobody has ever denied that a fertilized egg can become a human being. That’s never been the question. The question is whether a fertilized egg is a human being. And it’s a bit more complicated than that, I’m afraid. No offense to rocks and giraffes.

      Second : Nothing that is alive “wants” to die. Well, except for those conscious beings who choose to commit suicide. About one million a year worldwide. Oops. Oh well. But what’s a million between friends ?

      Anyway. Soooooo….the egg wants to be a human being…right…the egg is conscious. I remember when I was an egg. Was kind of dark. I couldn’t find the light switch, it was very frustrating. Would explain a few things.

      If the answer leads you to feel shame, then there is a good chance the choice was not moral.Not quite. It only proves I find the said choice shameful, nothing more. How could my individual shame prove immorality for all of us ? There could be many reasons for that shame – I might have been taught from a young age that it was bad and immoral, for starters.

      I’m glad you point out it’s only a “good chance” though. It’s nice to know you justify moral certainty based on a “good chance”. That’s always comforting.

      but you might consider being a bit less hypersensitiveHypersensitive ? Some stranger hiding behind a nickname – to your credit, you wear it well – comes here to imply I should be ashamed of myself for having an opinion different from his/hers. Since he/she is a guest, I ask him to shove the self-righteous banter. That’s being hypersensitive ? And so what if it is ?

      And of course, anyone who disagrees with you “needs to revisit his smug sense of intellectual rigor”. Right. I’m obviously the hypersensitive one around here.

      After all, I don’t have the intellectual rigor to admit what fertilized eggs want.

      What about scrambled eggs ? What do they feel about the whole thing ? That’s what I want to know.

    29. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Not too many people with a shitty childhood wish they had been killed instead.Of course not. The fact that so many end up in psychiatric care after suicide attempts – never mind the tens of thousands who succeed – are there by pure coincidence. It’s the color of the sky they couldn’t take anymore. Blue is so stressful.

    30. lindenen Says:

      Wow. Big abortion debate. Side-stepping the abortion debate, I’d like to add that in Pinker’s book The Blank Slate he actually claims that political views are largely heritable because of the influence of genetics on personality.

      I’m looking at it now. Yep, Chapter 16.

      “When identical twins who were separated at birth are tested in adulthood, their political attitudes turn out to be similar, with a correlation coefficient of .62 (on a scale from -1 to +1).”

    31. lindenen Says:

      Also, if there’d been no Roe V. Wade, would those 40 million aborted babies have been enough to prevent the coming fiscal disaster regarding SS and Medicare?

    32. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      lindenen, let’s not get overly excited; first, it’s a .62 correlation factor. Second, their political opinions correlates with one another. But how does it correlate with that of their parents ?

    33. Anonymous Says:

      i agree that this argument is silly and the effect is probably somewhere between zero and microscopic, but as a pro-abortion republican you can bet i’m going to use this argument to try and convince my fellow conservatives to shut the F up about outlawing abortions…

    34. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      And by the way, it’s nice to know we should bring children into the world so they can pay for our retirements through a financially broke state-sponsored system. It’s nice to know we finally have our priorities straight in the 21st century.

    35. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Re: the precautionary principle…Well, are we 100% sure the animals we eat are not conscious of their situation? Shouldn’t we all go vegan until we’re certain ? And global warming ? Until we’re certain, shouldn’t we stop driving cars ? I mean, we only have one planet….

    36. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      All right. I was going to say, let’s abort this thread. But it obviously wants to live. And who knows, one day, at the Pearly Gates, it could come back to haunt me and scream : “why did you want to kill me ?”….”WHYYYYY !! I wanted to live !!”

      On this frightening prospect of potential after-life guilt, I’ll show myself out and bid you all good night.

    37. Knucklehead Says:

      I apologize for failing to fill out the name field. It was an oversight.

      “Knucklehead, if it’s you, kindly put in your name. First, I don’t see how the ‘undisputable fact’ has anything to do with the abortion debate. Nobody has ever denied that a fertilized egg can become a human being.”

      It is not a matter of “can” become a human being. The biological process may fail, but it cannot become ANYTHING other than a human being if it does not fail. Claiming that a fertilized human egg is anything but human is sidestepping the issue. It is human. A fertilized chicken egg is chicken. Whether it survives to delivery (or hatching in the case of our chicken) is irrelevant to whether or not it is human. You may attempt to frame the terms of the discussion however you like but to claim that a fertilized human egg is anything but human is nothing more than an attempt to frame the discussion in terms more favorable to your argument.

      “That’s never been the question.”

      Never been the queston for whom? How can you make any such assertion?

      “The question is whether a fertilized egg is a human being. And it’s a bit more complicated than that, I’m afraid.”

      No, it is not any more complicated than that. Assigning “humanness” to a fertilized human egg at any point beyond fertilization is completely arbitrary. It may be the question as you prefer to see it, but it is hardly the question as others see it.

      “No offense to rocks and giraffes.”

      I’m sure no rocks or giraffes took offense.

      Beyond this, however, you have a tendency to assert that I said or implied things I never said or implied. That, unfortunately, is why attempting to discuss abortion is never a good idea. You are acusing me of making claims and assertions about you that have nothing to do with any words I ever typed here and then someone goes over the top and starts throwing around “shut the F*** up” arguments.

      Believe what you want to believe. Nobody is kicking in your door. But kindly refrain from making insupportable accusations and inferring insult when there is no evidence and certainly no intent. Frenchman! Can’t talk to any of them.

    38. Ken Says:

      “Not too many people with a shitty childhood wish they had been killed instead.Of course not. The fact that so many end up in psychiatric care after suicide attempts – never mind the tens of thousands who succeed – are there by pure coincidence. It’s the color of the sky they couldn’t take anymore. Blue is so stressful.”

      How many? And how many, just for comparison’s sake, endure a shitty childhood and do not ever try to kill themselves? Surely you’ll admit that those people, at least, do not wish that they had been killed instead. Since the ones that do wish they were dead but aren’t can fix their problem much more easily than the ones that don’t wish to be dead but are, I’d say that the morality of not killing people who aren’t threatening someone or being outrageously evil is pretty much a no-brainer.

      “Re: the precautionary principle…Well, are we 100% sure the animals we eat are not conscious of their situation?”

      No, but I’m 100% sure that they’re not people.

    39. Ken Says:

      “No, it is not any more complicated than that. Assigning “humanness” to a fertilized human egg at any point beyond fertilization is completely arbitrary. It may be the question as you prefer to see it, but it is hardly the question as others see it.”

      Assigning “personhood” (which is what really determines the morality of killing an organism… brain-death means that the organism is no longer a person, even though it is human; on the other hand, a spacefaring alien, assuming he exists, would not be a human but would be a person) is not completely arbitrary in humans. Simply put, it can’t be a person unless it has a brain. In fact, the brain itself really is the person; the rest of the body is there to feed him nutrients and data and carry out his intended actions. Grow a clone body without a brain, and transplant the brain into it, and the same person wakes up with a new body (this may be how we end up beating the aging process).

      Now how big does the brain have to be before it’s really a person? Beats me. To be on the safe side, we shouldn’t let people kill a human organism that sports any kind of brain, no matter how small.

    40. Andy Dolberg Says:

      So now it is okay to kill brain dead people because they aren’t people. Killing humans is okay aslong has they dont have a brain? Do we now have an arbitrary definition of what a brain physically is or do we define a person who can “use” thier brain? I bet that if we look close enough at a fertilized egg we can find a brain…but I fantasize about the defining “using the brain.”

    41. Anonymous Says:

      ?

    42. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Frenchman! Can’t talk to any of them.Intellectually superior reader teaches author how to not infer insults.

    43. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Ken, if they’re conscious beings, what right do we have to kill them, or breed them for our feeding ? The precautionary principle, my friend, can be used to justify any and all statist rules. That is why it is so popular in the EU these days. Incidentally, it is also why stem cell researchers are moving out of this country but that’s a topic for another day.

    44. Andy Dolberg Says:

      The debate isn’t about conscious beings, its about human beings who are the only beings on earth that can actually take actions, not just react to thier environment.

    45. Knucklehead Says:

      “Frenchman! Can’t talk to any of them.Intellectually superior reader teaches author how to not infer insults.”

      Actually, Sylvain, up until that statement it was a case of this reader presuming some level intellectual inferiority or, if I were to flatter myself, a mismatch – in your favor – in the art of communication.

      Based upon your comments in this thread, however, I am revisiting those assumptions. You seem to me prone to sophomoric and emotional argumentation. Have a nice life. I won’t further disturb your blog.

    46. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      After uttering a bigoted comment based on his opponent’s nationality, the morally righteous reader further asserts the inherent superiority of his argument by qualifying those who disagrees with him as ’emotional’ and ‘sophomoric’. And threatens punishment of the inferior beings in these part by withholding his benevolent and masterful presence…

      As to how and why anyone would care about what some anonymous stranger thinks of them, especially after implying their country of origin has anything to do with the topic at hand, well…I don’t know. I guess I’m too emotional and sophomoric to care.

      On top of being an immoral atheist person, I guess that rounds it up pretty nicely. So I’ll drink to that.

    47. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Andy, of course it is about consciousness too…

      To the extent that one argues that a bunch of undifferentiated cells that cannot survive or develop into anything on their own do constitute a person, it very much comes into the picture. There is no scientific or logical basis to assert a fertilized egg is a person. It’s not. It’s a fertilized egg. A bacteria can live and die on its own. A fertilized egg cannot. The former is a living creature. The latter is not. Yet.

      But some argue that if a person can come out of a fertilized egg, then the latter, by extension, extrapolation and much arm-waving, is a person and deserves all the rights thereof. (One positive side-effect is that it solves the old chicken-and-egg puzzle very nicely. An egg is a chicken, so move right along…)

      Some accept this; that is, the process and the person are one. I don’t. And if you don’t, the question then becomes : when, during the process, do we indeed have a complete person ? At birth ? Before ? When ? And the argument has been cornered there for decades. Scientifically, it is a fascinating one. Politically, it’s pretty lame, if not downright abysmal.

      As to your specific point, there are more and more experiments – The Economist has reported quite a few this year in their Science section – that show that animals have a heck of lot more free will and wits than we credited them with before. Including, for instance, the ability to creatively and purposely deceive other creatures, which is hardly the kind of unconscious or plainly reactive trait we associate with those evolutionary paths. You can argue such an ability, by conferring an advantage to these individuals, could have been selected. Well, OK; but clearly, so were ours (unless you refuse Darwinian selection, in which case we’ll just have to talk baseball). So where and how do you draw that line between creatures ? Pretty soon, you’ll find yourself arguing the consciousness issue all over again.

      Could it be we have been wrong all along when it comes to animals ? I don’t know. Would it be the first time ? For decades, it was asserted that life could not possibly happen in the dark, under high pressure and with little beyond foul sulfuric gases and incredible heat. Yet it does…

    48. Knucklehead Says:

      Oh, sorry to come back after saying I wouldn’t, but I neglected to mention, in addition to being emotional and sophmoric in your arguementation, you are humorless. Did I mention hypersensitive? Surely somewhere above. You aren’t much fun to talk to, Sylvain. Does anyone who might potentially disagree with you ever hang around and chat with you or do you find them wandering away when you start getting all emotional and finding insult in every statement they make? BTW, you haven’t actually bothered to wonder whether my course of thinking might lead to the same place yours does, have you? Nope, it started with different premises so, therefore, it cannot have validity. Well, its your blog, have fun.

    49. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Now, this is the best part of the troll-tossing game : when people get all pissy and moany and tell you that since you don’t have a sense of humor and are all ’emotional’, they’re going to take all their toys and go play elsewhere, you stupid hypersensitive person from country XXX !! And then they stomp their little feet and storm out in a fit.

      Riiiiiight.

      Thanks for the childhood memories. I miss kindergarten too. Especially the sandbox.

      Bottom line : on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a gopher. Until you start digging yourself deeper and deeper….

    50. Lex Says:

      Here’s my two cents. Don’t get into it with Sylvain unless you are prepared for a war of attrition, and have a nice thick skin. If you can get past those entrance criteria, the dialogue can be rewarding.

    51. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I’ll second that. I’ve never had Syl make any sort of personal attack on me, though I’ve had him attack my views with guns blazing. That’s fine. That’s why we’re here. He makes you defend your position. That’s damn useful, assuming you’re here to think and learn and you have an open mind, not just an idealogical line to spout and cling to. On more than one occasion, he’s made me seriously reconsider my position. Though I still think invading Pakistan is one dumbass idea.

      I’d say the best advice is to bring your ideas and opinions but leave your ego at the door. Keep yourself open to debate and other peoples ideas. None of us have claim to perfect insight on any subject. When you think you do, you’re in serious trouble.

    52. Ken Says:

      “So now it is okay to kill brain dead people because they aren’t people.”

      They aren’t living people. The bodies that they wore are still okay, but the persons themselves are dead as the proverbial doornail. So it’s really physically impossible to kill brain dead people – all you can do is shut down the body that they no longer have a use for.

      “Killing humans is okay as long has they dont have a brain?”

      Yes, of course it’s okay. In fact, it might be the way we end up saving ourselves from the ravages of old age – have yourself (your brain) removed from your old body and transplanted into the new one. The old body can indeed be disposed of at that point (given the technology to grow new brainless bodies, there won’t be any sense in transplanting any organs from the old body).

      “Do we now have an arbitrary definition of what a brain physically is or do we define a person who can “use” thier brain?”

      It’s pretty easy to recognize the presence or absence of a brain. It’s not so easy to figure out when a brain is actually a full-fledged person, rather than a “proto-brain” – so prudence requires that we lay off of it and its life support system once it’s present.

      “I bet that if we look close enough at a fertilized egg we can find a brain”

      I’ll take that bet. A newly fertilized egg is one cell, and it ain’t a brain cell. No brain is present. That’s a no-brainer. :)

      “…but I fantasize about the defining “using the brain.”

      That’s hard. But that still leaves open an opportunity between fertilization and brain appearance during which stem cells may be extracted, the “morning after” pill may be used, and so on. It’d call that a “good enough” solution.

    53. Anonymous Says:

      Ken, i think you’ve been reading a little too much science fiction.

      Peoples brains still function even when they are non-responsive. In a coma, is a person not a person anymore? the flesh and the mind are one, a person. Is a retarded “man” not a person? Can we kill them without moral reprieve?
      What about small children? Because they dont use thier brain as much as adults, are not living?

      Should we have a vote on what point of the process makes a human?

      If a human brain wasn’t “there” at fertilization, how did i get there? We know that from two completly healthy adults genetic mutations due to dna can occur. The mutation was there from the point of conception, and so was the brain.

    54. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Hey, I never said I was easy to deal with. I will admit there is a cultural thing involved; debating back home is like a boxing match. There is a certain level of abuse involved. It’s definitely not the part of the game that matters or settles the argument but when things run in circles or people talk past one another, that’s how you get some movement in the fight. It’s the reset button. Some people can’t take it. I accept that. And I let them know there is nothing personal about it.

      And then there are the Lex’s and the Michael H’s who regroup and come back with the major cavalry. That’s where it gets fun. Noisy. Messy. Somewhat wasteful. But good. I hope.

      Michael, how about invading Pakistan to bring them civilization and abortion ?

      (Run, Forrest, run….)

    55. MatyaNoBaka Says:

      Yay! The return of the mind / body duality!

      Could we but detect when the mind separates from the dull flesh making the brain, Ken’s position from 30 June 06:04 would be absolutely correct. In fact, then Sylvain’s post from 30 June 12:38 agrees with it, using “consciousness” rather than “mind”. In fact, that post sort of hints that some minds (animal, but conscious) are not regarded as having souls, but perhaps should.

      I think it would take a Wittgenstein to straighten this one out.

      Unfortunately, we have to work on it. As Sylvain points out in the same post, it is a political problem, not just one of science, religion and metaphysics. People are going to go to jail because they refuse to agree with the current law. People are going to die trying to change it. Doesn’t matter what the current law is.

      Like slavery, and religious freedom, this is tied up in “What does it mean to be human?” We all know what a disaster the world will be if our feeling for human is not respected. And if our position is respected, the other guy’s can’t be.

      Me? I can do math. Math is not decidable. Brain is a machine, so can only do decidable things. So the mind is not the brain, but something more. So late term abortion does not simply excise a grub. How about the day after conception? Umm…

      Here i’m on shakier ground. Exactly when does Allah breathe “Hu” and form the soul? Koran says
      (surah XXXII, “The Prostration”, Pickthall translation)

      (7) Who made all things good which He created, and He began the creation of man from clay;
      (8) Then He made his seed from a draught of despised fluid;
      (9) Then He fashioned him, and breathed into him of His spirit; and appointed for you hearing and sight and hearts. Small thanks give you!

      My memory of the Bible says that similarly man was fairly formed before Allah gave him a spirit, but not fully formed. And the Tibetan Book of the Dead also seems to indicate that the wandering spirit should find a womb close to giving birth. Other scriptures i have read don’t seem to give as specific a rendering of the soul / body division.

      Yet Islam, Catholic Christianity and Buddhism all give an orthodox position that the soul and body are united at conception. This is at least slightly supported by surah III “Women”

      (1) Oh mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women.

      So like orthodox Buddhism and Hinduism, the soul is created before the body.

      So as i said, the ground is shaky. If you want to be sure, go with conception. But if it still looks like an amphibian, and you excise it, and it is an error, perhaps your error is forgivable.

      But others will not take the Koran as a guide. (The Koran says so.) And i think, well, what is their criterion? I have never read a discussion on why the moment of birth makes the difference.

      And i don’t think it does. But i am not Allah, to look into their hearts and see what they believe.

      Matya no baka!

    56. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Well, I’m not sure the problem and its answers are political per se. But since the problem and its answer(s) are so extremely individual and collective at the same time, religion and politics just cannot be avoided.

      And that is where 99% of the friction occurs. Because I’m afraid we take the issue from the wrong end. Instead of starting from first principles and working from the science up to the political, we tend to go for the big political/religious stick and look for scientific carrots as backup. This one is going to be a vexing issue for a long time to come.

      It might sound perverse, but as nasty as it gets around here at times, I’m happier being in the U.S. than in Europe on this one. Back home, it’s just not an issue at all, even though it ought to be, regardless of your position.

      This one is just not settled and deserves constant challenge, prodding and abuse. It’s painful yet healthy. Societies that do not deal with or consider such fundamental issues on a very regular basis cannot progress much, imho.

      Which brings up a question I have for those of us who wish to make abortion illegal. One I just never got a good answer for. Here is one of my problems. Assume abortion is illegal; at this point, a young woman essentially assumes all the risks and responsibilities. A guy can get someone pregnant and walk. No legal, personal or financial risks involved. And women assume 100% of the burden. That’s the way it was, and the way it still is. And would be, from conversations I’ve had with people on both sides of the debate.

      But there are two people involved. If a woman cannot abort, why should the father be able to wash his hands and get away with it ? If the collective wisdom does hold that individuals should be accountable, I’m just not comfortable with only some of them bearing the entire weight.

    57. Andy Dolberg Says:

      In the US a man is liable for supporting the child. If the woman happpens to remember whom impregnated her, that man bears the weight of finacing the childs dependancy. What if the man wants to keep the child and the woman wants to abort?

      This is where science goes wrong Sylvain. I was having a long debate defending economics as a science, where my friend was saying that it wasn’t because it depended on the individual with “random” free will. So we take that as the ultimate given in all other areas of hard science, as a variable of little consequence of the physical results of the experiment. Science does not address the issue of soul, free will or life. What is the difference between a cell that is alive, and one that just died an infentesible time later? Nothing so far as we can detect, but it is pretty clear the differences. There is a moment when life is created. We dont know how life started, but we know that only other living things, (or God), can beget the living.

      An animal that decieves, kind of like a chameleon?

    58. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Andy, is that a federal or a state rule ? How is it enforced ?

      Actually, scientists do deal with it, and debate it at length in seminars, conferences, white papers and books all the time. And there is quite a bit of difference between life and free will, which is something that is being glossed over in our own thread here. As for the concept of soul, what it is is hotly debated even among those non-scientists who absolutely believe in it.

      And nope, not a chameleon at all. That’s not conscious deception, it’s called mimicry and is obviously evolved for protection from predation. There is nothing creative nor even necessarily conscious about this one. We are talking about a bird pretending to find food in one container among a set so that a dominant, stronger individual comes over and wastes time with it while he goes get food from the container that really contains food. In other words, physically weaker individuals compensating with wits and tactics.

      In the rest of the experiment – with ravens – the other bird figured it out and started looking for food on his own. Which pissed off his wise-ass competitor who got mad and started throwing things around….

      Reminds you of a particular creature ?

    59. Andy Dolberg Says:

      I know that washington and oregon are pretty strict, but i dont believe its a federal law. Guess it depends on where you get knocked up : )

    60. Jay Manifold Says:

      I’m late to this party, but I’d point out that the original article makes some pretty clear falsifiable predictions. If the hypothesis is correct, ceterus paribus
      Bush will be re-elected by a comfortable though not overwhelming margin;
      A majority of Senate seats up for re-election will be won by Republicans;
      Republican victory margins in subsequent elections will be larger; and
      By the election of 2020 the GOP will enjoy approximately a 3:2 margin nationwide and be winning landslide after landslide.
      So, really, all we have to do is watch and see what happens. The trend should be clear by the time the 2008 elections are over, in any case. If it’s not, then the hypothesis will need to be dropped or modified; I suggest one possible mitigating factor here.

    61. John Doe Says:

      The Republican Party’s insane love of open borders is the mitigating factor. By 2050 the Latinos will run everything. Want to see the future? visit Mexico.