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Why and when does anything have a right to live? Morality and abortion:p

  1. Nov 29, 2005 #1
    This is originally a reply to a post in an abortion thread on another forum but this looked like a fun playground:D

    For the answer to this question I think everyone should look to morality.
    What's morality?
    Morality can be thought of as a way to decide what is 'right' or correct to do, no? Rights derived from morality as well. Right are, of course definite rules for actions towards X, where X is something like "human", "animal" or citizen"are .
    On that note here's what I think; I actually touched on this in my post.
    Morailty is a human conception made to enounce acceptable actions.

    On what is morality based?
    Some would say god but I take a more philosophic view: I think morality, a human cognative tool based *completly on empathy.

    What's empathy and why's it the answer?
    Empathy is the human cognative process that relates emotional states. This preexisting concept, when understood, provides a sound(ish) basis for the commonality and discontinuity of human morals. That basis is a blend of both neurology and cognative psycology.
    However I could also see a more psycological support based around Analytical psycology's archetypes. This more symblic approach to cognition, and more specifically it's health/maturity is very closely tied to morality.
    Either way cognative processes are the key and what follows stays true.

    The continuities are explained through human's similar emotional systems which are based on chemical reactions to stimuli.

    The discrepencies are explained by the cognative nature of empathy.
    Differnt than corperal feeling, emotional feeling is the product of cognition. Because of the cognition's dependence on the developed brain's memory and other learned reactions it's based exclusivly on past experiences, specifically ones that had a mental effect; weather realized or otherwise. So of course they will vary from person to person especially when they have differnt viewpoints; say differnt philosophic preference... that's a biggie.
    A person cries when they lose something and people can relate... That's empathy. They might even cry with their loved one because they so deeply understand their feelings. How well you know a person has a hand in your ability to empathize with them because you know more about their cognative principles and may even share some of the same building blocks.

    Problems can also be had when empathizing for morality can be had when a person has an immature set of preceptions about the world (emotional interference you might say) or an incorrect sense of the empathee's emotions.

    Just because I think it will help you understand and thus lear/practice empathy based moral blending and how much I love analogies here's a fun one that also underpins the issue at hand.

    The Tree Hugger example: How empathy can go awray.
    "How would the tree 'feel'?" you say. As far as we know tree's don't have a brain and therefore cannot feel emotions. This would be an example of a person having an incorrect sense of the tree's emotional capacity:p AFAWK they don't feel emotional fear so morality does not apply and they are not a moral issue.

    In short something has a right to life when it can be empathized with; remember empathy is emotionally and thus cognativly dependent based.

    However in the tree's defence it's possible that they can 'feel' 'discomfort' thought they do not have a conciousness to be aware of it... The activity caused by a wound could, perhaps be a rough equivilant. Or perhaps the disruption of water flow tree's transfer system that ushers water and nutrients from the roots to leaves) due to a wounding. And then there's always the more utilitarian view that a tree has worth as a environment cleanser and stablizer stable. Aide from the commonly recognized ability to "breath" C0^2 and relase oxygen, rainforest (read: tree societies:p) depeletion increases (greatly) levels of water concentration around the world... even minor rainforest deforestation. So with that I do agree that trees shouldn't be killed but I would not be convinced that trees have an equal "right" to life as humans. In fact I would say from the state of trees that while they do live dynamically they are not conciously alive, which again is the key to the Moral Grail.
    On a non-moral sympathetic note the tree's dynamic living makes me question if a tree has more right to life than say a rock. Rocks as we know are plain and simple matter with no intrinsic chemical recations or anything of the sort. Short of following the laws we attribute to all atomic matter a rock does nothing dynamic and therefore in no way shape or form is commonly considered alive. Unless you consider matter's actions as a form of dynamic life... then you can unify the right to life of all matter; human, stone, tree or bone.
    Just to be safe I think a good rule of thumb should be: Don't **** with stuff unless it's ****in' win you (ie. follow the Tao:p)
    In short don't kill trees or unborn fetus cells unless you need to:D
    In fact I'd say that's the generic rule to life and alas, we humans are just terrible people:P

    On a more awkward note I wonder if we should consider conciousness a alternate form of life (think... soul... except purely mental/l and dependent on material world... *looks around*). That might tip the 'right to life' scale which would, I suppose, measure accoring to mental 'mass' in to human's and to varying degrees all othe animals
    But I degress.

    So because I think the basis of right and wrong is empathy which is dependent on the existance of conciousness in an unborn babe I think that one of the two agreeable options is that abortion by choice be allowed only before conciousness is developed.
    And the second option; offered in the case of qantifieable conciousness being shown to develop after birth OR as a concession to bible thumpers and the nearly persuasive 'potential life' arguement":
    Abortion is allowed only before a baby would be able to develop reasonably outside the monther's womb (even with medical help).
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2005 #2


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    Some would say that takes 18 years.

    As a parent, I know there are times when I've wished abortion was legal up until their 18th birthday...
  4. Nov 30, 2005 #3
    Except a baby is taken out of the baby when it's born (That's of coures 0 years, days, minutes and seconds)...
    I think you misunderstnad me.
    Abortion is allowed only before when the baby could be removed from the womb and continue to develop into a reasonably functional human.
  5. Nov 30, 2005 #4


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    I'm not missing the point, I'm showing that the line is blurry and subjective (albeit in a notably tongue-in-cheek manner).

    A baby out of the womb cannot survive without its mother either. Where do you draw the line?
  6. Nov 30, 2005 #5
    nothing on this planet gets the 'right' to live, if a baby is lucky enough to be concived then it is up to the parents (excluding plants) to be a caregiver until he/she reaches reproductive age. i'd say the human instinct (for most)
    is as powerfull as an animals, but even animals will walk away from their young under certain conditions. that being said some people are incredibly selfish, to the point where they don't contribute anything to anyone else. our modern world and the things (some) people value enable this. (the i live for 'me' attitude)
  7. Dec 1, 2005 #6
    the people who are pro-aborition are usually the democrats, and they are the ones who disapprove the war in iraq becuase of the deaths of american soliders.

    more americans die in the womb becuase of abortion than in the war in iraq.

    those hiprocryits
  8. Dec 7, 2005 #7
    You say that nothing has the right to live? Fair enough but several well known scientists over the years have said that everything happens for a reason, Thre cosmological arguement put forward by sir Thomas Aquinas, states that everything has been created for a purpose (This would be running along the basis that a God existed). For example, Hydrogen atoms etc were created to bring life as we know it to the universe and thus a tree would have a purpose and as stone would have a purpose.
    Saying that tree's have no feelings is something that i personally would have to disagree with. Death hurts. No matterwhat creature you are, death hurts. You hit a human with a metal pole, it hurts. You hit a tree with a metal pole it also hurts. Living creatures in my opinion construct the basis and foundations of their societies around pain and danger. Why do we put fences up around electrical booth thingies (:p) so prevent us from harmin ourselves.
    Trees would therefor have to live around the same basis of pain and protection. They have hard bark to protect themselves from being destroyed and thus causing pain, if that makes sense :p
  9. Dec 8, 2005 #8
    Trees have no feelings, they have nothing to feel with. Do they have a brain to tell them they hurt? Do they have nerves to tell the brain to tell them they hurt? Do they have a mind that can understand these nerves and brain? NO! Animals feel pain, humans feel pain, but plants don't. Look it up in a biology book; bark is simply an evolution to keep them alive. They can't think "we need something to protect us, let's cover ourselves in bark!" I'd like to think, "I need another brain to be smarter and find a way to live longer", and then my children would have two brains. Science doesn't work like that, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Use some common sense man and think it through!
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