Archive for March 2007

Sowing Seeds

March 2, 2007

First, a little background piece about the difference between subjective and objective knowledge.

The key part of the pro-lifer’s argument is in this paragraph: “Plainly, the complete human organism that is now you, the reader, was once an adolescent and before that an infant. Were you once an embryo? If Silver’s view is correct, the answer is “no.” But the truth is that the answer is “yes” — you were once an embryo, just as you were once an adolescent, a child, an infant, and a fetus. The human organism that is now you is the very same organism that began in the embryonic stage and developed by a gradual and gapless process of self-directed growth to the mature stage of a human being.”

First, I see no reason at all to grant that a rational agent existed when my body was just a blastocyst. So they can drop their unproven assertion that “I” existed in the earliest stages of development. Nor can they begin to claim that I had access to all the rights of human dignity as an infant. In fact, nearly all of my intrinsic rights at that stage depended on the whims of my parents.

Second, their argument takes on a hefty degree of metaphysics. This is more clear in their earlier exchanges, where they claim a fetus has died when its development arc has been halted, even though the cells are still fully alive. If they want to gaze into the future at the direction of fetal growth, they had better be willing to grant a similar look into the woman’s future. Since there is absolutely no question of her possession of all the legal rights and moral status of personhood, to posit her right to self-direction be seriously curtailed to preserve the life of “epigenetic primordia” is stretching moral equivalence to its breaking point.

Third, what on earth is extracorporeal location supposed to mean? This is some sort of meaningless contrivance that obscures the matter. If they mean to say soul or spirit or whatever, just come out and say it.

Fourth, the rebuttal to their main argument boils down to a simple science fiction scenario. If it is essentially our human genotype that confers moral and legal status to us, rather than our phenotype of cognition, why should we grant any rational extraterrestrial any rights at all? After all, it is only the human genotype that taps into personhood, disconnected from the ways which our emergent consciousness understands and shapes the world.

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War on Contentment

March 1, 2007

Since we are currently engaged in the final war to end all wars, because a war against nouns has literally no place for conflict, I thought I would announce my fight against the crime of contentment.

Clearly contentment is not meant for humans, since it is most often (falsely!) associated with bovines. Who knows what wickedness will come knocking at the door if we give in to contentment? Surely God intends for us to embrace our misery and suffering while in this mortal coil, since only in the hereafter can we find an eternity of blissful peace. Contentment is too good for living folks, it can only be miserly postponed for riches in the afterlife.