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Posts by Question_Assumptions

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  • A Throw Away Culture in Reproductive Medicine

    10/18/2013 3:53:21 PM PDT · 13 of 13
    Question_Assumptions to Pyro7480
    When does it become a human being? Is it justified to kill the clearly human organism before it becomes a human being?

    It becomes a human being the moment it becomes a distinct individual. Two parents become two parents and a child during fertilizatoin. Identical wins go from being one individual to being two individuals when the zygote splits. Chimeras go from being two individuals to being one individual when they lose a distinct individual identity. This works well even with the hard cases to define and strange science fiction examples, such as a Star Trek transporter splitting one person into two people.

    The key is understanding that "when does a human's life begin" is a trick question. The cells involved are never dead because dead matter does not spontaneously spring to live. That quaint idea went out with the development of microscopes and the discovery of bacteria, sperm, and eggs in the 19th century. The question isn't "When does the baby become alive?" because it's never dead. It's also never not human at any point. So the question here is, "When does it become a distinct individual?" which is what's generally meant by "human being" and the answer is typically at fertilization, which is the problem here.

    Now, if you want to try to draw a line somewhere between that zygote and an adult human where the human being in question develops some set of traits that you want to use to distinguish between what philosophers genererally refer to as a "person" and a non-"person", you are free to do so, but an honest assessment of any such characteristics will quickly lead one the conclusions reached by Michael Tooley and Peter Singer, which is that to accept abortion is to accept infanticide because there is no relevant difference between a child before or after birth nor at any particular phase before birth after fertilization. If you want to test that, ask yourself if finding the same characteristic in an animal or alien lifeform would be sufficient to consider it a person. And before considering the mental capacity of a newborn to be an obvoius distinguishing characteristic, please look into the true non-romanticized mental capacity of a newborn really is.

  • A Throw Away Culture in Reproductive Medicine

    10/18/2013 3:37:46 PM PDT · 11 of 13
    Question_Assumptions to RBStealth
    Wow, we know the conversation has sunk to low levels when the other pulls out a dictionary to win an argument, not even an appropriate medical or biological dictionary at that. Years ago, when I worked at Random House, they had a display when you got off the elevators on one of the floors illustrating how dictionaries are made, including how word definitions are derived. Let's just say that it's a subjective process that is subject to the opinions of the editor. And I would be surprised if every editor of working on a modern dictionary was not acutely aware of the relevance definitions of words like "person" and phrases like "human being" have to the abortion debate and would not be surprised if their personal opinions on the subject had an impact on their definitions. So using the dictionary definition is often essentially begging the question.
  • A Throw Away Culture in Reproductive Medicine

    10/18/2013 3:31:01 PM PDT · 10 of 13
    Question_Assumptions to soycd
    1. a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.

    A zygote qualifies as a child of the species Homo Sapiens. If you tighten the definition to the actual presence of "superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance" as opposted to membership in the species, you must logically reach the conclusion reached by Michael Tooley, Peter Singer, and others, when they not only defended abortion but also infanticide, because newborn infants lack any traits, other than species, that might usefully distinguish them from animals philosophically. To accept that it's OK to kill a zygote for any purpose or even limited utilitarian purposes is to accept that it's OK to kill an infant for the same reasons. Is it OK for parent to have a second child, only to kill that child to fatally be used as an organ doner for a first child in failing health?

    That, in a nutshell, defines the two logically defensible positions one may take concerning the personhood of an unborn child in the abortion debate because abortion is essentially prenatal infanticide and you can't logically separate the morality of the former from the later. There is no relevant trait that distinguishes the newborn from either an animal nor that same child moments befor birth, nor from the zygote. Oh, there are certainly differences, but none that would lead you to conclude an adult animal was a person if it exhibited the same characteristic. Animals have heartbeats, brains, feelings, and so on, too, and chimpanzees certainly look fairly human, so that the newborn has such characteristics and the zygote doesn't makes such things irrelevant as distinguishing criteria.

    Sure, you can then argue that even if the unborn child is a person that a woman has no obligation to take care of it, even if the results of her removing it are fatal to the child, but then you wind up having to support child abandonment. Several years ago, a woman in New Jersey wanted to go out partying. After several attempts to find a babysitter failed (she did actually try to get others to take care of the child for her), she decided partying was more important than her infant son so she tossed him off a bridge into the Passaic river. If you do't think a child has the right to force a woman to take care of it, then I find it difficult to see how you could find fault in this woman's actions (Perhaps it might have been better if she'd just abandoned him on the bridge and it would have been find if he fell into the river himsef?).


    10/16/2013 5:52:08 PM PDT · 187 of 368
    Question_Assumptions to bryan999

    While it’s very likely that Booker will win thanks to machine politics and voting corpses (Frank Lautenberg will be voting for Booker, no doubt), I did point something out to my wife that she hadn’t noticed and thought was interesting when I pointed it out to her. We live in a Democrat town and I’ve seen quite a few Lonegan signs. What’s more interesting, though, is that I haven’t seen any Booker signs. There were Obama signs in 2012 and I’ve seen Democrat Senate and Assembly signs, but no Booker signs. Suggests that maybe suburban Democrats have limited enthusiasm for the guy.

  • Christie swings back at Rand Paul: It’s your state that’s vacuuming up federal tax dollars, not mine

    07/30/2013 2:45:34 PM PDT · 6 of 43
    Question_Assumptions to JerseyanExile

    Note that I’m not defending Christie overall. I’m not sure I’m going to vote for him the next time and am currently leaning heavily against it. I didn’t vote for Whitman when she ran for reelection, either. I voted libertarian, instead, despite not being all that libertarian on some issues.

  • Christie swings back at Rand Paul: It’s your state that’s vacuuming up federal tax dollars, not mine

    07/30/2013 2:42:44 PM PDT · 4 of 43
    Question_Assumptions to JerseyanExile

    Over the past decade or so, New Jersey has gotten back somewhere between 50 cents and 75 cents for every dollar it sends to Washington DC. Part of that is because New Jersey has a lot of rich people living there and they pay a lot of Federal taxes but an awful lot of money is spent in red states on things like rural infrastructure, farm subsidies, and even welfare and food stamps that are not as obvious in red states as they are in blighted urban neighborhoods in blue states. That’s why the federal money machine is so hard to reduce. It’s been carefully crafted so that even red states have a stake in perpetuating it. If you give every congressional district a slice of the pie, nobody wants to be the one taking that slice away from their district, even the Republicans.

  • The Civil War movie 'every conservative needs to see' (Copperhead)

    07/30/2013 2:31:43 PM PDT · 108 of 839
    Question_Assumptions to Sherman Logan

    This article has a nice graphic that illustrates which states rely on Federal money:

    Quite a few conservatives seem to believe that the bulk of Federal interstate money transfers take place in the form of welfare payments and aid to cities but they miss the federal money spend on things like farm subsidies, dams, and rural infrastructure as well as the welfare and aid to the poor that goes to rural areas because it’s not as concentrated or easy to see. Also, all those retirees who retire in the south and west and all of those military bases in blue states are supported by a lot of Federal spending, too. A lot of that makes sense, because it’s cheaper to live and operate a military base in those places than the Northeast, Upper Midwest, or California, and a lot of it is simply because the people are richer and have more money in blue states and tax rate takes more of their money. But it also means more money is flowing from blue states to red states than the other way around and fantasies about how much better the red states would financially do without the blue states are fantasies.

  • The Civil War movie 'every conservative needs to see' (Copperhead)

    07/30/2013 2:16:25 PM PDT · 107 of 839
    Question_Assumptions to Gay State Conservative

    Contrary to what some believe, seccession is not Constitutional, at least not without the permission of Congress. Not only did the Articles of Confederation, which created the United States, call it a “perpetual Union between the states but Article 1/Section 10, Article IV/Sections 3 & 4, and Article VI make it clear that states are not permitted run their own foreign policy or create their own confederation, that Congress has final jurisdiction over the territory of the United States, and that the states are bound by the Constitution and all state legislators, executive officers, and judicial officers are required to take an oath to support it. Further, the Habeas Corpus clause of Article 1/Section 9 makes it pretty clear that the Constitution intended the federal government to have the power to put down rebellions, which is what the Civil War was.

  • Dresden deserves to be remembered

    02/13/2013 2:48:22 PM PST · 256 of 441
    Question_Assumptions to Kid Shelleen
    Two quotes about war that I think are relevant to this:

    "War is not a contest with gloves. It is resorted to only when laws (which are rules) have failed."

    (Major George S. Patton, Jr., from The Effect of Weapons on War, Cavalry Journal, November 1930, concerning the use of poison gas in war)

    "Death, destruction, disease, horror. That's what war is all about, Anan. That's what makes it a thing to be avoided. You've made it neat and painless. So neat and painless, you've had no reason to stop it. And you've had it for five hundred years."

    (Captain James T. Kirk, from the Star Trek episode A Taste of Armageddon, explaining his justification for turning a sanitized computer war that had led to the deaths of three million people a year and had lasted for 500 years into a real shooting war.)

    Leftists have been pushing the idea of proportional war and Robert McNamara advocates the idea in the movie The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from The Life Of Robert S. Mcnamara. That movie is worth watching, even if he some of the conclusions he advocates are wrong (transcript here), and has a segment on Curtis LeMay's firebombings in Japan that nicely illustrates that Japan suffered the equivalent of dozens of Dresdens before Hiroshima.

    The problem with proportional war is that it makes war safer for agressors because they can assume the retaliation with be proportional to their agression, which makes war more thinkable and a rational option rather than unthinkable and an irrational option, which means that (like so many things advocated by leftists), the "cure" means more of what they are trying to prevent, not less. If you want war to be unthinkable, you need to make it brutal and disproportional, not sanitary and proprortional. Dresdens and Hiroshimas are terrible but the horror of modern warfare during WW2 is a big part of why the Cold War remained cold rather than turning hot. The dangers comes from low information voters who forget history and thus may be cursed to repeat it.

    I also highly recommend the essay Thank God for the Atomic Bomb (which you can find here) by Paul Fussell, the source that made me aware of the Patton quote above.

  • Exit polls: Obama's winning coalition of women and nonwhites

    11/07/2012 9:09:06 AM PST · 80 of 186
    Question_Assumptions to gotribe

    The problem is that Romney’s answer about equal pay in the debate, about job flexibility so that women could take care of children and other family members, is actually much of the reason why there is a pay gap between men and women. Women choose jobs that have shorter hours and give them for flexibility. So Romney actually was speaking to the problem in a far more sophisticated way that advocating a mandate, but the narrate has been so controlled by the left, I’m guessing few people got that. You apparently didn’t.

    As for paying for college, he spoke to that, too, including talking about the policies that they had in Massachusetts to help kids go to college but, again, it didn’t fit the media narrative where the only write answer was that the government should just pay for it all.

  • Exit polls: Obama's winning coalition of women and nonwhites

    11/07/2012 7:03:27 AM PST · 12 of 186
    Question_Assumptions to KeyLargo

    The problem isn’t women so much as the problem is single women, who want the government to be there to take care of them instead of the husband they don’t have. I think Romney actually won married women but lost single women by a huge margin.

  • Romney wins white vote by same margin as Reagan did in 1980 landslide

    11/07/2012 6:58:52 AM PST · 8 of 50
    Question_Assumptions to MNDude

    One of the things that this observation inevitably fails to bring up is that there are people who considered themselves “white” in 1980 who are now counted as “Hispanic” and there are plenty of “Hispanic” people who are every bit as “white” as plenty of other people who are counted as white.

  • Romney wins white vote by same margin as Reagan did in 1980 landslide

    11/07/2012 6:58:41 AM PST · 7 of 50
    Question_Assumptions to MNDude

    One of the things that this observation inevitably fails to bring up is that there are people who considered themselves “white” in 1980 who are now counted as “Hispanic” and there are plenty of “Hispanic” people who are every bit as “white” as plenty of other people who are counted as white.

  • Vanity: You Can't Overcome the MSM

    11/07/2012 6:48:45 AM PST · 26 of 30
    Question_Assumptions to Portcall24
    Andrew Breitbart said that politics is downstream from culture, and so long as the left controls what kids hear in school and pop culture, conservatives are swimming upstream against a narrative that leaves people assuming they are racist, greedy, backward, selfish, and hate women and that's a huge handicap to overcome before anyone will even listen to what conservatives have to say. It's one of the big reasons why they spend so much time demonizing Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. They know if people actually sat down and listened to or watched them that they would hear the unfiltered conservative message, and they don't want that.
  • Vanity: When was your first time and how was it?

    11/06/2012 3:46:27 PM PST · 90 of 122
    Question_Assumptions to DManA

    Ronald Reagan in 1984 and it felt great. I’d liked him since I saw his speech at the 1976 Republican convention, when he challenged Ford when I was 10 years old and would have voted for him in 1980 had I been old enough to vote. I never went through that stupid liberal phase a lot of kids go through.

  • Fat man and Little Boy (Vanity)

    11/06/2012 12:58:09 PM PST · 17 of 19
    Question_Assumptions to Cyber Liberty; Roklok

    He’s not pandering to this NJ voter. In response to his Tweet today about getting 500 busses from the federal government to help with the commute, I sent back a reply telling him that I hope he enjoys his 500 pieces of silver and told him that I didn’t vote for Whitman the second time around and she was able to win without my vote, maybe he can, too. While I think he’s probably about as conservative as we are going to get in New Jersey, I’m seriously annoyed by his pandering to Obama and will hold him at least partially responsible of Obama wins today.

  • How I rigged the Democrats' vote

    11/06/2012 12:06:44 PM PST · 25 of 32
    Question_Assumptions to FreeAtlanta

    Even if it turns out that Romney wins the popular vote and Obama wins the electoral vote, I’m going to support the electoral college system.

  • FRAUD: Democrat- "Already Voted Twice Today, Once in MO, Once in KS"

    11/06/2012 9:20:25 AM PST · 12 of 20
    Question_Assumptions to rightistight

    I think deliberate voting fraud (knowingly voting multiple times, vote tampering, tampering with voting equipment) shoud be considered treason and, if proven, punishable by firing squad. That might put an end to this nonsense.

  • How I rigged the Democrats' vote

    11/06/2012 9:02:32 AM PST · 6 of 32
    Question_Assumptions to Wiser now

    I know someone (a Democrat) who had to rip her dead first husband’s page out of the voting book in Hudson County NJ, aftr repeated repeated requests to have it taken out. She could see signatures that he was voting, even though he was dead. The poll workers objected and she dared them to call the police. I’m sure it happens in some Republican strongholds, but I find it difficult to believe it happens with the machine precision that it happens in urban Democrat strongholds.

  • Judge issuing order to reinstate booted Philadelphia election officials, Republicans say

    11/06/2012 8:59:16 AM PST · 55 of 58
    Question_Assumptions to MNDude
    If you want to understand why it's so important for the Democrats to keep Republican poll watchers out of the polling places in Philadelphia, particularly when they open, see the article I posted here about a Democrat poll watcher's experience in the 1976 Democratic primary in Philadelphia.