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igr

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #165 on: July 18, 2017, 07:02:25 am »
Hi Bill #160,  wrt imposing beliefs, it seems (maybe I have this wrong) that you are ok with Catholic beliefs being the only beliefs that should be imposed.  If so, I would suggest that world history illustrates that imposition of religious belief usually ends badly.  Those on whom it is imposed generally resent the imposition and in some cases resist strongly/violently.  This is one reason for secular government (yes I know your preferences on this matter).  Arguably the least oppressive, least violent, least imposing, least sectraian (generally least worst) type of government is secular.  I would have thought that you might favour this.

As I said earlier, I expect that your morals and mine correspond for the most part - but on some issues (such as abortion) there is some difference.


#164,  When there is human intervention with the resultant abortion of a zygote, that which was aborted/killed is a single cell with (human) DNA dervied from the DNA of the biological parents.  Whether or not the single (human) cell is called a human being is a matter of which definition is used.  Likewise whether or not the single (human) cell is called a person is a matter of which definition is used.

On person/personhood, there are many varied definitions regardless of what anybody thinks.  Some people assert that their particular definition is correct - this is no more than an "I am right" assertion - I would be very careful if you are asserting that your definition alone is "truth" - because it is an assertion, everybody else can do exactly the same with the result a stalemate.  Virtually all definitions of person/personhood relate to post-born humans.  It is usually only in reference to the abortion issue (and only because of the abortion issue) that Abortion Prohibitionists (and nobody else) expand the definition to include the zygote. 

If what you see as truth and what you see as morally right/wrong derives from your faith, then under Freedom of Religion, you will respect that other people may have differing opinions about these - derived from their own faith or other sources.  You are given respect to believe whatever you like, and as a reasonable person, you also give the same respect to everybody else.

Whilst you say "progressives seem to want rights without duties", I would suggest that Abortion Prohibitionists want to impose their prohibitionism but accept zero responsibility for the consequences.  In some situations that is very irresponsible, but the Abortion Prohibitionists just dismiss that as not their problem.  rgds, igr.

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igr

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #166 on: July 18, 2017, 07:03:35 am »
Hi SPF #161,  I am familiar with the biblical passages quoted by Christian Abortion Prohibitionists.  None of these relates specifically to the zygote - if each passage is read/interpreted not in the context of a discussion about abortion, I suggest that the reading/interpretation would say nothing about abortion - any claimed relevance to the abortion issue is imposed on a particular interpretation (an interpretation manipulated to appear relevant) of the passages.

Now that you reference your religion/faith, as a reasonable person given the respect to believe whatever you like (under Freedom of Religion), you will also respect that everybody else has the same Freedom of Religion.  In a secular society where no particular religious version is given favour (such as the one you live in), a Christian view, a Muslim view, a Jewish view, a Mormon view, a Hindu view, a non-theist view etc are all treated equally (in theory).  And as you might expect, people who are non-theists give no weight to religious belief/assertion.  And because you are a reasonable person who believes in Freedom of Religion, you respect that non-theists may have a view that differs from yours.  And you will also respect that others may have morals that differ by varying degrees from yours,  rgds, igr.

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igr

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #167 on: July 18, 2017, 07:04:27 am »
Hi Thresh #162,  If you think that I said that "law is based on mere subjective human preference, and whatever the mob of society wants, that is what should be legal", you have seriously mis-understood and mis-interpreted what I said.  Would you say that whatever a mob of Christians wants should be legal?  Maybe you could also read my comments to Bill and SPF regarding respect and being reasonable.

When you say that "But there is no reason to think that their views are just as valid as the ones that they are diametrically opposed to others", this applies equally to your views.  I suggest that whenever you make a statement of this type, test it by reversing it to see how it would apply to you.  Maybe then you would not make such silly statements.  Unless of course you insist that "you are right and everybody else is wrong".

You should have already realised that it is my view that "humans shouldn't be killed, raped, enslaved, etc", but these are matters about post-borns.  And I am very aware that there are unanswered questions.  By most definitions of person/personhood, sentience plays a part - even if somebody "loses" sentience, there is the emotional and memories aspect that allows for that.  rgds, igr.

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SPF

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #168 on: July 18, 2017, 07:20:07 am »
igr:
Quote
I am familiar with the biblical passages quoted by Christian Abortion Prohibitionists.  None of these relates specifically to the zygote - if each passage is read/interpreted not in the context of a discussion about abortion, I suggest that the reading/interpretation would say nothing about abortion - any claimed relevance to the abortion issue is imposed on a particular interpretation (an interpretation manipulated to appear relevant) of the passages.
The passages I referenced from Scripture provide us with principles that are clear.  In the passage from Exodus, we have a clear teaching that if a woman, who is pregnant, miscarries because of a physical altercation, the wrong-doer must pay life for life.  This is a clear example an acknowledgment of the moral value of a human located inside a womb.

Secondly, King David makes a statement that his sinful nature began at conception, or from the moment of his beginning.  I don't expect you to understand this as you are not a Christian, but the Biblical narrative is that humankind alone is unique among God's creation in that we alone are created in His Image, and we alone possess an inherited sinful nature.  Humanity is innately morally valuable from its beginning.

There is no fabricated distinction in Scripture between a human being and a human person.  It's simple - if you're a human, you have moral worth and value.  Human life begins at conception. Thus, human life is morally valuable from conception.

Quote
Now that you reference your religion/faith, as a reasonable person given the respect to believe whatever you like (under Freedom of Religion), you will also respect that everybody else has the same Freedom of Religion.  In a secular society where no particular religious version is given favour (such as the one you live in), a Christian view, a Muslim view, a Jewish view, a Mormon view, a Hindu view, a non-theist view etc are all treated equally (in theory).  And as you might expect, people who are non-theists give no weight to religious belief/assertion.  And because you are a reasonable person who believes in Freedom of Religion, you respect that non-theists may have a view that differs from yours.  And you will also respect that others may have morals that differ by varying degrees from yours,  rgds, igr.
Different views can be wrong.  You see igr, there is something called truth in the world.  Truth is that which corresponds to reality.  So if it is true that God exists and that He has revealed Himself to us through Scripture, then it is true that abortion is morally wrong and a form of murder. 

Do I respect other people's freedom to believe what they want? Sure.  Does that mean I should therefore not stand up for what I believe is truth? I surely hope not.  I believe rape is wrong, so I'm going to do my best to make sure that it's always illegal. Why would I not do the same with abortion?

Again, the only reason people have fabricated a make believe distinction between a human being and a human person is so that some action can be committed against the non-person that would otherwise be considered immoral.  That is the essence of your anti-life position. 
"It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Thresh

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #169 on: July 18, 2017, 12:03:25 pm »
Hi Thresh #162,  If you think that I said that "law is based on mere subjective human preference, and whatever the mob of society wants, that is what should be legal", you have seriously mis-understood and mis-interpreted what I said.  Would you say that whatever a mob of Christians wants should be legal?  Maybe you could also read my comments to Bill and SPF regarding respect and being reasonable.

When you say that "But there is no reason to think that their views are just as valid as the ones that they are diametrically opposed to others", this applies equally to your views.  I suggest that whenever you make a statement of this type, test it by reversing it to see how it would apply to you.  Maybe then you would not make such silly statements.  Unless of course you insist that "you are right and everybody else is wrong".

You should have already realised that it is my view that "humans shouldn't be killed, raped, enslaved, etc", but these are matters about post-borns.  And I am very aware that there are unanswered questions.

We need to get back to the main issue. What is the morally significant difference between an adult human and an unborn human, that would allow you to kill the unborn for arbitrary reasons?

Quote
By most definitions of person/personhood, sentience plays a part - even if somebody "loses" sentience, there is the emotional and memories aspect that allows for that.  rgds, igr.

Those definitions, as I have shown, are inconsistent. Also, are you suggesting that having emotions and memories make you valuable, when you lose sentience? This is starting to sound very ad hoc, IGR.

As suggested by you so far, we have (1) being a human, (2) having emotions, (3) having sentience, and (4) having memories as the things which make someone valuable enough not to kill arbitrarily. (1) has been shown to be the only thing that we know to be required for a human right to life, as compared to animal rights. What evidence do you have for (2) and (4) being true? They seem like bare assertions, contrived to allow a pro-choice agenda. Also, as we have seen, (3) is unnecessary, so you can leave that one out.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 02:43:20 pm by Thresh »

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Nunovalente

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #170 on: July 18, 2017, 12:52:07 pm »
Hi Bill #160,  wrt imposing beliefs, it seems (maybe I have this wrong) that you are ok with Catholic beliefs being the only beliefs that should be imposed.  If so, I would suggest that world history illustrates that imposition of religious belief usually ends badly.  Those on whom it is imposed generally resent the imposition and in some cases resist strongly/violently.  This is one reason for secular government (yes I know your preferences on this matter).  Arguably the least oppressive, least violent, least imposing, least sectraian (generally least worst) type of government is secular.  I would have thought that you might favour this.

As I said earlier, I expect that your morals and mine correspond for the most part - but on some issues (such as abortion) there is some difference.


Igr,

I take it you don't live in North Korea, or China, or the historic Communist block?

In your dreams if you don't think secular states do not impose their views on their people. Including Western states.

Its a myth to suggest religion is the only medium of imposing beliefs. Secularism is rife with imposing its own thinking with regard to life issues upon its subjects.
Faith is being confident in things hoped for, the conviction of facts not yet seen. Hebrews 11.
Everyone exercises faith in something. What is your faith in?

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Bill McEnaney

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #171 on: July 18, 2017, 01:50:37 pm »
Hi igr,

Maybe you'll define the word "impose" to help me understand what you're telling us?  You seem to worry that when I say that I believe that everyone ought to be Catholic, I want non-Catholics to be forced to become Catholics.  That's not what I'm even implying.  In other posts in other threads, I've already reminded everyone that Catholic Church teaches that it's immoral to make someone convert to Catholicism.  So no, I don't want a Catholic police state where the police convert people at gunpoint.  I believe that God obligates everyone to be Catholic.  But you already know that forced conversions probably will be insincere.  Suppose that a woman aims a machine gun at you and yells, "Tell me you love me, or I'll blow your brains out."  Then you probably will obey to try to save your life, though I doubt that if you survive, you'll take an engagement ring from your pocket, kneel on one knee, and ask her to marry you.

Remember the difference between an obligation and whether someone deserves blame because someone or something prevents him from fulfilling it.  Maybe I don't know that I ought to be Catholic, since I haven't even heard of the Catholic Church.  Still, I can mean at least implicitly to do each thing God asks of me and therefore mean implicitly to become a Catholic.  That's partly why I suggest that some fundamentalists would oversimplify if they said that Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle went to Hell because they hadn't accepted Christ.  How can you blame them for failing to do that when you know that they lived and died before he incarnated?  Ancient Jews learned from the Old Testament that they needed to expect the Messiah.

If you read the documents from the Council of Florence you'll know they teach that there's no salvation outside the Catholic Church.  But in another thread, I've already explained the difference between being in the Church as a member of it and being in it as a nonmember of it.  What's non-negotiable is that for anyone to go to Heaven, he must have God-given holiness in his soul when he dies.  Anyone who dies without that holiness, even a lifelong practicing Catholic, goes to Hell.  If I go there, it'll be only my fault.  No one else will be to blame then.  Lord Bertrand Russell said that if God asked him why he didn't believe in him, he would have replied, "Not enough evidence."  God might have told him, "Bertrand, there was plenty of it.  But you were too proud to look humbly for it.  I don't grade people on their successes.  I care about how sincerely and how hard they try."  Remember the passage in Romans 2 where St. Paul writes about those who obey the natural moral law written in their hearts.  They haven't learned the 10 commandments, but they still obey them because they "intuit" them or because they "know" them almost instinctively.

Yes, I know that many people disagree on the nature of personhood.  But its nature is independent of what they believe about it.  It's not relative to what anyone believes.  That's partly why I think progressives who support abortion support it imprudently.  I think it's best to say, "When in doubt, too much caution is better than too little caution."  Too many progressives seem to say, "When in doubt, do anything you please."  That would have been foolishly dangerous advice early last winter when Lake George had only begun to freeze.  Had I wanted to ice fish then, the ice might have broken.  Then after I fell into the frigid water, I might have frozen to death.  Abortion supporters want to put babies on cracking ice when those supporters are sitting on something they'll float on if they ice breaks under them.  They'll survive.  The babies will die.

I respect people, but I don't respect any falsehood that anyone believes.  How much I respect other people will depend on whether they earn my respect by showing their competence, their knowledge, their still, their sense of duty, their moral virtue, and more.  As Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre teaches, "There are two kinds of human dignity, our inherent God-given dignity and the dignity we earn by behaving virtuously.  Even if we'll have the inherent duty forever, we can lose the moral dignity through our own wrongdoing.  The more evil I do, the less respect I deserve.  If I'm culpably ignorant about the nature of personhood, that can decrease my moral dignity, too.  Although I respect progressive people, I don't respect progressivism. 

« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 01:57:11 am by Bill McEnaney »

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Trinity

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #172 on: July 18, 2017, 02:55:00 pm »
That term, progressivism, is ambiguous. It is an arrow without a target. Or, it is an arrow with numerous targets with only one being the right target. The other targets may be harmful when struck with an arrow. Not every target hit is progress, it could very well be regress. You may hit the wrong target and harm people as a result. Is causing harm progress? It would seem so, at least some progressives would argue that such harm may be necessary, or 'that it is the lesser of two evils. That is the probem of progressivism, it condones immoral choices and targets.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. - Psalm 19:1

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Bill McEnaney

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #173 on: July 18, 2017, 03:46:09 pm »
That term, progressivism, is ambiguous. It is an arrow without a target. Or, it is an arrow with numerous targets with only one being the right target. The other targets may be harmful when struck with an arrow. Not every target hit is progress, it could very well be regress. You may hit the wrong target and harm people as a result. Is causing harm progress? It would seem so, at least some progressives would argue that such harm may be necessary, or 'that it is the lesser of two evils. That is the probem of progressivism, it condones immoral choices and targets.
I agree with you, Trinity.  So I should have told everyone that when I talk about progressives, I mean people who at least act as though change is good in itself.  But if I'm going to change something, I need to know whether the change will serve a good purpose.  To tell whether you're progressing in a good way, you need to know what goal you're trying to reach.  Like other anti-modern reactionaries, I believe that most change should preserve or restore what undergoes change, not to add novelties to it.  Sometimes there's genuine progress when we take something back because it's superior to what replaced.  It's often good to say, "Out with the new, in with the old."  For example, if I went to a church with a huge gorgeous pipe organ sounded heavenly, I'd hate to replace it with an electronic one merely because the electronic one is up to date.  Replacing the pipe organ with, say, an electronic piano would be a huge step in the wrong direction.

In my high school days, I attended vernacular Masses in a modern church that seemed almost ugly compared to others I had been in that were hundreds of years old with elegant stained glass windows, ornate statues, marble floors, and candles.  To help a seemingly poor, i.e., non-wealthy, sculptor, the pastor commissioned statues from him.  Sadly, they looked like black melting wax figurines that didn't represent any saint I knew.  In a church that was little more than a banal auditorium, we needed to look at distractingly ugly art(?). 
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 02:00:55 am by Bill McEnaney »

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Trinity

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #174 on: July 18, 2017, 04:01:38 pm »
To be fair to progressives, the term 'conservative' is perhaps equally ambiguous. As you pointed out, progress is good if it improves upon the old. Change for the sake of change is regress, but so is conserving for the sake of conserving. Progress/conserving is good if it serves the good, progress/conserving is bad if it serves the bad. This raises the question of what is good and what is bad.

Your examples relate to aesthetics and beauty. Post-modernism has done away with those things, that is called progress, modernists would argue.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 04:05:41 pm by Trinity »
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. - Psalm 19:1

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Bill McEnaney

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #175 on: July 18, 2017, 05:24:18 pm »
To be fair to progressives, the term 'conservative' is perhaps equally ambiguous. As you pointed out, progress is good if it improves upon the old. Change for the sake of change is regress, but so is conserving for the sake of conserving. Progress/conserving is good if it serves the good, progress/conserving is bad if it serves the bad. This raises the question of what is good and what is bad.

Your examples relate to aesthetics and beauty. Post-modernism has done away with those things, that is called progress, modernists would argue.
I agree with you, Trinity, when you say that "conservative" is ambiguous.  When I think conservatism, I'm reflecting on something inherited: knowledge from the past, institutions, ways of life, high culture, common culture, a form of government, especially hereditary monarchy where the sovereign rules, and more.  I'm rarely even thinking about what members of the American Republican Party call "conservatism," i.e., Lockean classical liberalism.  I'd agree with Edmund Burke, Joseph de Maistre, Juan Donoso Cortes, Louis de Bonald, and Roger Scruton much more often than I'd agree with, say, conservative(?) Republicans and much, much more often than I'd agree with members of the American Democratic Party.  For me, conservatism implies a desire to preserve continuity with the past.

That desire to preserve continuity helps explain why I hate most modernist productions of operas.  When I go to a modernist one, I wonder whether the producers, set designers, costume designers, and other even try to respect what the composer and the librettist intended and what they wanted.  There's room for creativity and imagination.  But should have Peter Sellers have turned Don Giovanni into a cocaine-snorting addict who wore only his briefs when he "did a line" on a Harlem sidewalk?  Not in any production I would want to watch.  So I would love to ask my favorite soprano, Natile Dessay, why she would prefer to perform on a stage without scenery.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 08:45:33 pm by Bill McEnaney »

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Trinity

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #176 on: July 18, 2017, 05:40:44 pm »
Modernists would argue that those things are in the eye of the beholder. Truth, aesthetics, beauty, these things are subjective, personal, even unknowable. What you perceive as true and beautiful someone else perceives as false and ugly, and vice versa. You interpret things one way, someone else interprets things another way. The modernist's mistake lies in assuming that because people can perceive and interpret things in different ways that therefore all ways of perception and interpretation are equally valid. This modernist reasoning of course doesn't follow. Not all ways are equally valid.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. - Psalm 19:1

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Bill McEnaney

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #177 on: July 18, 2017, 09:11:29 pm »
Modernists would argue that those things are in the eye of the beholder. Truth, aesthetics, beauty, these things are subjective, personal, even unknowable. What you perceive as true and beautiful someone else perceives as false and ugly, and vice versa. You interpret things one way, someone else interprets things another way. The modernist's mistake lies in assuming that because people can perceive and interpret things in different ways that therefore all ways of perception and interpretation are equally valid. This modernist reasoning of course doesn't follow. Not all ways are equally valid.
That depends on what kind of modernism you mean.  Today's scientistic scientists would be modernists in the sense I learned about at the State University of New York at Albany.  But they clearly believe that there's truth, even if they doubt that any argument can be conclusive.  In the theological sense, a modernist is one who believes that doctrine, even dogma, needs to change.  Any true religion is a changing one because a static one would die out.  Theological modernists are empiricists who believe that there's no way to tell whether there's anything genuinely supernatural.  If they talk about revelation, they mean something that begins in them.  It's a sentiment that becomes a religion, not something objective that God gives in the Bible or through any Church authority.  They, including Dr. Paula Fredriksen, believe that though Jesus was a mere man the Early Christians came to think that he was divine because people made up stories about him that they told other people.

Here's the list of 65 modernist falsehoods that Pope St. Pius X condemned.

http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius10/p10lamen.htm

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Trinity

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #178 on: July 18, 2017, 10:32:09 pm »
There are different flavours of modernism, I agree. But they seem to be united in their desire for change. Change for change's sake. If I could describe modernism in one sentence, it would be ''change is progress''. Modernism is in that regard alluring and elusive. Modernism is alluring, because it speaks to people's desire for novelty. Modernism is elusive, because it constantly changes.

Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Truth is not modern and changing, but ancient and unchanging.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. - Psalm 19:1

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troyjs

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Re: How serious are you about abortion?
« Reply #179 on: July 18, 2017, 11:15:23 pm »
Hi Bill #130,  The way I am approaching this issue now is to consider the argument only as applied to the zygote - because the anti-abortion arguments will succeed/fail only if the zygote is included in the argument.  Your reference to raping women or murdering six million Jews relates to post-borns - I am not arguing about these people.  This avoids unnecessary distraction.  rgds, igr.

btw, Believing that an action is morally right does not make it morally right - to say that something "is morally right" is a statement of absolute truth.  But belief does not make it so.


Hi Thresh,  The reason that anti-abortionists exclude reference to sentience in their arguments is that the zygote has no sentience.  To include sentience would cause the argument to fail.  Hypothetically, if a zygote had sentience, anti-abortionists would use this as a very strong argument against abortion - we would probably all agree with that.  But because this is not the case, anti-abortionists have a significantly weaker position from which to argue.  And from this position, anti-abortionists substantially exaggerate the significance of abstract and other arguments.  This is exactly what I would do.

The difference between a post-born and a zygote is substantial - much more than location.  To say that the differnce is only location takes no account of the developmental stage.  The zygote has no sentience, has no awareness of anything, has no (physical) feeling.  Please refrain from calling a zygote a child - that is a gross mis-representation.  rgds, igr.

For example, animal rights ethicists might argue that certain animals may not be sentient, but could possibly have experiences of pain. Eg., oysters.

Do you have a link to someone arguing this? I've never heard someone say pain is possible without sentience.

Some ways of defining sentience have self-awareness included, I believe. To see one's self over time or something.

Yeah I've literally never seen anyone say that.

Mae,

You are right that sentience merely means the ability to feel, and nothing more. In that case, sentience is had by 2 month old foetuses no less than oysters, clams, or invertebrates. You had asked a question implying that a 2 month old foetus does not have sentience. I understood you to mean that such a foetus does not have consciousness, rather than the mere capacity to feel. Have I understood you correctly, or do you believe a 2 month old foetus does not have the capacity to feel?

Kind regards

Troy,

From what I've read, the earliest I see sentience being said to arise in the fetus is in the second trimester (though many think not until the third).

An interesting point I heard Dawkins make, is that we can't exactly say which animals feel and which do not. With respect to oysters, Dawkins said that although oysters do not feel in the same way that we do insofar as we understand them, they do still have a nervous system which may be sufficient for the capacity to feel, regardless of how meagre. Since a foetus a nervous system in the first month, it is impossible to conclude that they do not feel at all. But you are correct that they have a comparable sentience to ours by the 2nd to 3rd trimester.

Personally, as someone who wants to take the suffering of animals seriously, I see a parallel argument to be made with respect to the unborn. If I maintain that fish and invertebrates have the capacity to feel, and Dawkins argues that even oysters may have some capacity to feel since they have a nervous system, I can hardly deny that a foetus after 4 to 5 weeks also has the capacity to feel to some degree.

Kind regards
“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
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