@Beany - I don't think the famous violinist argument is a good one. Personally I would sacrifice 9 months of my life to save him/her, but only assuming that he enjoyed his life/wanted to live. Without knowing the person or without contact with his or her family, that may be difficult to ascertain but, given the fact that he's become really good at something, and procured some fame for it, it's probably not too much of a stretch to assume that he wants to live.One direction is the violinist thought experiment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violini..._experiment%29
I never argued against a baby that was going to be brought up in a good, well-educated environment with a good family. Of course I support that.
Let's change the story a bit. What if instead of being hooked up to a famous violinist for 9 months, you're instead hooked up to a notorious drug dealer or child rapist? Or, to even tone down the extremes, a homeless man or a depressed person on all kinds of medications?
For many of these children, this IS the future of their lives. Would you still want to sacrifice 9 months of your time to save them? Most people would probably say no. I certainly wouldn't do it. That's basically what my argument boils down to.
I've never understood the "woman's choice" argument. It's just as much the man's baby as the woman's. He was just as complicit in the act of conceiving the child, therefore I don't see why it's any less of his say whether it lives or dies - unless it's going to cause some serious health complications for the woman.But I do think it should be the woman's choice in recognition that the decision can be difficult. Who is anyone else to usurp that choice and her rights. "But what about the rights of the baby!" they will cry. They rights of an individual matter so long as they don't infringe on another's. If the baby wants to take away the rights of its mother and then demand, vicariously, that its right to life be respected - fine. Only so long as it can live without hijacking another's body. The action is ethically permissible, in my view. Is it something people should do? Hard to say (and obviously context dependent).
Last edited by Hat_Truck; 07-25-2012 at 02:47 PM.
To say that a behavior is self-destructive I think you'd have to prove that the causation behind that behavior has the intent (consciously or unconsciously) of being self-destructive - which is to say, the person is knowingly diminishing their quality and quantity of life and admits the costs outweigh the benefits, on some level. That's no easy thing to prove and it's not universally applicable. Trying to do a qualitative and quantitative comparison is hard to do because large amounts of subjectivity are at work. It's always going to depend on the context and on the person. I think it's foolish to say that smoking is always self-destructive.
If you accept the violinist argument, then you must accept the conclusion - no one has the right to control the body of the woman (sans herself). If the woman were in a good relationship and wanted to be fair, she would discuss the situation with the father. But, ultimately, it's her choice because it is her body. If she chooses to let the fetus use her body to develop, then good for her. But no one can tell her what to do with her body besides her, that's the purpose of a right.
I've offered solutions that would help accommodate fathers since they don't get to choose by also relieving them of responsibility. For some reason, this change hasn't been implemented legally, but it should. Fathers may wish to have responsibility, but the unfortunate biological circumstances make that impossible.
Also, Libra is really strange. His (her? okay, his) CAI doesn't ever match up to his posts.
Actually I think I did which is why you're getting so defensive. I've already dealt with the fact that the people who I care about that smoke are trying to kill themselves on some level, so it doesn't bother me anymore. I can't make them want to live more so there's no reason to feel sorry for them.Someone you care about also smokes, so I also hit the hot spot. See what I did there? Actually I didn't do ****, neither did you.
Who said I like or dislike smoking? Once again you're turning this into a personal attack. I said stastically speaking it's very bad for you and even lowers the quality of your life (gives you all kinds of health problems). I dislike smoking in the same way I dislike guns - guns never killed anybody, neither did cigarettes, people kill themselves - so I have no hatred for an inanimate object like you seem to be suggesting.Just because you dislike smoking doesn't mean everyone on them is trying to kill themselves. Live and let live, or die whatever.
I never said all smokers are bad they ruin everything lol, where is this coming from?^ read that. What other people do does not concern you, and if you are a real pansy about smoking you'd stay clear of it. I don't get this "All smokers are bad they ruin everything blablabla"
Okay you're a smoker and I hurt your feelings. I apologize.The biggest whiners are those who smoked and quit.
Like I said earlier you know nothing about self-destruction...
For all intents and purposes this is basically the point I was trying convey to begin with. If your life is so miserable that you have to do something dangerous and unhealthy just to cope, you probably aren't that happy. In this scenario, I would think the parents/society have failed this person, and I would have supported abortion.Stastically, smoking lowers your years and lowers the quality of those years towards the end.. but you can't just discard the positive qualities associated with nicotine if you're going into a quality of life discussion. Nicotine feels good, takes off the edge from stress, and gives you a buzz. For some, that is the only thing that makes life bearable.
Of course you can never know these things in advance, but statistically speaking, you can have a very good idea.
But yeah like I said live and let live or die whatever floats your boat.
The topic of abortion is well tread and my views should be readily guessed. The other portion of the OP, however, I completely disagree with and wonder why it was part of the post, since it doesn't really relate directly to abortion.
You claim that people who smoke and do other unhealthy things are trying to die in some way, that they don't really value their life.
First I'll point out that people who value their life above all else are by definition cowards. To do almost anything great you need to do things that aren't safe. As far as drugs go, the majority are relatively harmless and I think it speaks more to a curious mind than a self destructive one. I'm not trying to destroy my body when I do ____, I'm trying to learn a new thing.
Food addiction is a very complicated thing, and I don't think that at the root of all of that is the desire to destroy yourself. I don't know the exact psychology of it but that's a heavy thing you're claiming.
Oh, and abortion should obviously be legal. It's only illegal because women are not yet our equals.
Secondly, why should we measure a life based on happiness? Why is it okay for you to say that an unhappy life or a life full of suffering is not worth living? Even if these things are what we strive for, are these the things that we find meaning in, are these the metrics by which we universally justify our existence? I don't think a person can judge the worth of a life. Hell, I don't even know if we're able to judge the worth of our own lives with any accuracy.
I haven't conceded anything, I just think we're going to get into a large debate over smoking that is off-topic of the original discussion.Well, then you've conceded that smoking can have a purpose that is not self-destruction. Sometimes people just smoke because it feels good. Sometimes people eat because they don't want to be hungry.
Smoking is not the only way to cope, nor is it even the best way to cope. Everybody knows the health risks of cigarettes if they can read the warning label on the box. If you're having trouble coping why not eat better, or sleep more, or exercise, take vitamins, go on long walks, have more sex, etc.? There are so many ways to deal with stress and hardship while not killing yourself in the process.
It's my personal opinion that a life full of suffering isn't worth living. Some people may have another opinion. If you've never suffered enough to beg for death, then it would be hard to understand this perspective, but people like Tyrando (and I) could probably vouch that death is far from the worst fate that awaits life. That's not me trying to be emo - quite on the contrary, that's me trying to be a realistic, compassionate human being.Secondly, why should we measure a life based on happiness? Why is it okay for you to say that an unhappy life or a life full of suffering is not worth living?
To kind of turn your argument around on you: If we can't judge the quality or worth of life, then what makes it valuable?Even if these things are what we strive for, are these the things that we find meaning in, are these the metrics by which we universally justify our existence? I don't think a person can judge the worth of a life. Hell, I don't even know if we're able to judge the worth of our own lives with any accuracy.
I thought you agreed with Sam Harris' notion of objective morality - that we should do whatever it takes to reduce the amount of suffering for humanity. If that's true, then aborting a child who, statistically speaking, is going to have a terrible life, is one of the best ways to reduce human suffering, and therefore by far the most moral action.
Life isn't valuable. It just is.
I've gone through some really messed up **** but I would never say that I would prefer to have not been born. People only think that in passing periods of mental instability or depression. I think most people do not look back on their lives and say "man, it would have been a better use of my time if I hadn't been born at all. I've got nothing out of all this!"
You're what, 22? For you to say your life hasn't been worth it is DUMB. DUMBDUMBDUMBDUMB. If you let it your life could go awesome places.
I'm not saying I know, all I have is my opinion. I prefer not to pass judgment on what kind of life is worth living.To kind of turn your argument around on you: If we can't judge the quality or worth of life, then what makes it valuable?
Ethics doesn't necessarily relate to meaning or worth, though. I only ask why you say that a life was not worth living. When I was explaining anti-natalism, I didn't say life wasn't worth living, or that the cost of life outweighed whatever benefits we percieved. I said that naturalism allowed us to assign an objective value to suffering and we couldn't find an objective value for 'thriving' as it were, since it was ultimately pointless. Thus, benefits were a net zero while suffering was a net non-zero. I came to an impasse where either the conclusion had to follow or the premises had to be flawed - either naturalism or consequentialism (although, I have found problems with both). This question, what makes a life worth living, is a little different. I'm not exactly sure how to even frame it.I thought you agreed with Sam Harris' notion of objective morality - that we should do whatever it takes to reduce the amount of suffering for humanity. If that's true, then aborting a child who, statistically speaking, is going to have a terrible life, is one of the best ways to reduce human suffering, and therefore by far the most moral action.
I don't even understand how one can say 'I'd rather have never been born, to have never existed." No one here, or anywhere, who is alive, can relate to such an experience.
And I agree that society and parents (generally) have caused their fair share of issues. But really, at what point do you take control of your own life? Really, at the end of the day, the blame game only goes so far.
Nothing better to start a morning than with a glass of orange juice and some scrambled fetus.
I think you're misunderstanding my position. I'm 25, and now, after struggling, fighting, and clawing tooth and nail through all my obstacles, I'm finally at a point where I'm finding happiness and success. I had to fight for it every inch of the way though. And when I look at my life compared to others, it wasn't even all that bad, so I can't even imagine how hard it is for people who are much worse off than I was.You're what, 22? For you to say your life hasn't been worth it is DUMB. DUMBDUMBDUMBDUMB. If you let it your life could go awesome places.
The lion's share of the work is already finished for me, my happiness is but a step away and I will have achieved it. I'm simply saying that it wasn't worth the price I paid, and compared to others, it was a small price.
This is why I'm saying it is absolutely selfish and unfair to bring a human being into the world just to satisfy OUR irrational moral values. Putting somebody against all the odds on purpose is (in my opinion) one of the worst things you can do as a human being. Sure, they may make it against all the odds and become a wonderful, successful person, but chances are they're going to fail and live a life of misery and regret because that's what most people in their situation do. I feel like the people in this thread are guilty of not putting themselves in other people's shoes and realizing that however bad they think they may have had it, other people have had it 100x worse, and haven't had the resources to escape their situation.
You're changing the subject, you keep making this about blame and responsibility. Nobody is saying to not take responsibility for your own life - by all means. What does that have to do with any of this?And I agree that society and parents (generally) have caused their fair share of issues. But really, at what point do you take control of your own life? Really, at the end of the day, the blame game only goes so far.
Then don't pass judgement on it. Let's ask the people who have been born in statistically disadvantageous situations and had miserable lives whether or not they would have chosen life. If the answer is more often "No" than "Yes" (I think it would be), then I think we have a responsibility to prevent this from happening again.I'm not saying I know, all I have is my opinion. I prefer not to pass judgment on what kind of life is worth living.
Point being, who's to say whether life is worth living? Alan Turing committed suicide and didn't think his life was worth living.. but his life was worth living to me. Are we the proper judges of our own life's worth? I don't think there are any who can judge. This is why I avoid the question. There's too many ambiguities, too many undefined quantities that are simply asserted.. I don't think this question is the right question to ask in the first place because I don't think we're capable of providing a meaningful answer, at least not without an entire book full of examination.
You're trying to say that "It's better for people (or people ought) to have been aborted than to be born into a bad situation." But this question presupposes a spectrum by which to judge what is better and worse, and I don't know how to evaluate this. I'm not sure how to make better sense of this. I think we might agree that, ethically, it's better to have a child in the best conditions that you can get, but when we try to compare life to nothing (neverlife), we're trying to evaluate life as a whole. But we're trying to evaluate a whole life, the whole of human experience, and then assign value to it ethically and this is a very serious ordeal. I don't really know how to do that evaluation, which is why I stay out of it. I think ethics should avoid these kinds of questions, honestly. Perhaps it's best served for another thread.. What is the meaning of life? What does it mean to say that a life was worth living? Can any life be worth living when all worth is subjective and temporal? Blah blah.
Without a careful examination of these things, it's just people slinging opinions.
Nothin' like coming back to a thread and having multiple people say "THIS" at my posts. <3
In my experience, people who have had bad lives think that having children is immoral, and people like me who have had pretty much awesome lives don't see why you wouldn't have kids. My suspicion is that this fear stems from a belief that history will repeat itself, when it doesn't have to.
If I have kids, I will do it when I have the money and a stable relationship so that I can trust the child will have two loving parents. And I will love that kid to death. I'll be firm and harsh when needed, kind and gentle when needed, and always self sacrificing. I have no doubt that I will be a great father and that my child(ren) will have good, successful lives. So to me, claiming that having kids is wrong or "playing them against the odds" seems very strange. I can't relate to that belief at all.
Yes, you want your child to be happy. But what if they can't be happy? Is there anything that says a life lived 'correctly' must lead to happiness? Why should we try to be happy. All happiness and fulfillment comes from within, it seems, but what if it doesn't come? For myself, I'm at an impasse. Do I live for my own happiness and fulfillment or do I live for knowledge? Most of the time these two coincide, but, should they not, which do I choose?
I'm not saying that's important, in all likelihood you children will be happy (provided the environment holds up).
Also, on success.. I think it's overrated and doesn't correspond to fulfillment very often. I'll leave this video of one of my favorite people, Diogenes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5fNCyqo7NI