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All > Social Issues > Abortion > Pro-life  

Abortion is Unconstitutional

Revision History - v1, v2, v3, v4, v5

Published by soc, June 7, 2005, 8:12 pm GMT
Participation: default  
Type: Deductive  

This topic has been revised. View Revision.



1) PREMISE:   
The unborn are human persons.

CRITIQUE by LazarusLong (c4), Jun 28, 2005, 4:04 pm GMT   
From R3 & R4 it demonstrates they are not persons and have only demonstrated the potential to become persons.

They are human, but so is my skin.

Being a person is not definable from potential but from the presence of sentience.

A cadaver is human; it is also no longer a person thus being human dos not a priori demonstrate that a person is present by a biological definition alone.

This argument is a bait and switch.


Sentience is not a *function* of being human person. This position is an example of the naturalist fallacy and dualism as described by authors such as Chalmers.

Sentience is a PROPERTY of being a human person and only one of a collective group of characteristics that combine to define what it s to be a human person and all need to be present to adjudicate a person *present* and thus deserving of rights.

What do you mean by *being* a person?

Are you distinguishing between mind and soul for example?

I include the presence of mind but not the impossible to describe define or identify property of a soul. Being a person is based on presence of these characteristics or properties not simply on how these properties function.


Sentience is not a function of being a person. A person's sentience is *who* the person is; the awareness, memories, feelings and thoughts that define the person.

Cogito ergo sum

The sleep state issue is really an irrelevant red herring. It does not destroy a sentient being to rest this is silly. There is not even a destruction of consciousness in a dreamless sleep. When you awake you are still you, the same you.

I already stated that sentience is not directly equatable with consciousness anyway as consciousness is only one property of sentience. So is a *conscience* and you have a conscience even in a dream state as it directly influences dreams.

When suffering from a degenerative mental state like Alzheimer's one feels like they are losing pieces of *themselves* along with their memories and that is because they are losing what defines them as a PERSON or a human being. They can feel this pain as analogous to the losing of a limb.

1. The quality or state of being sentient; consciousness.
2. Feeling as distinguished from perception or thought.

Sentience is also about feeling and we can feel even in our sleep. You do not stop feeling (or thinking) completely even in dreamless sleep and diminished capacity is not equatable with no capacity.

Sentience also includes the: "state of elementary or undifferentiated consciousness" and this is not lost while asleep.

You have not destroyed the sentience issue at all and you have not demonstrated why the potential to develop a brain should be treated as the same as the presence of a brain.

If I have to sever a limb to protect my life is it valid to do so?

Well abortion when no brain is present is no different. You are severing tissues that pertain to the mother more than any potential child. The mother has rights too after all and you are attempting to make her a slave to *potentiality* not responsible for the child present.


Soc said:
"At what point are you going to face the fact that we can not function as persons if we are not conscious at a given moment? You can not be sentient or aware when you are in a dreamless sleep, when you are under anesthetic, when you lose consciousness from a sharp blow to the head or are otherwise comatose. You keep ignoring this plain fact which undermines your entire position."

At what point are you going to realize that your claim is completely specious and without merit concerning the test of sentience you offer. It does not disqualify a standard at all. If we are understand and recognize scientific validity for the association of mental states with brain function then your appeal to a naturalist fallacy is nothing more than a distraction. One that you keep proposing in the face of far stronger evidence that I have repeated offered and you ignore.

And then you go on to say:

"Again, sentience is how a person can function but it does not define what a person is because we can be unconscious and therefore lack sentience and yet still be persons. Again, it is only as persons that we can function as persons; it is being a person that is important here and not whether we can function as one at any given moment"

Again this is an empty tautology that is making an appeal to some form of indescribable metaphysical or essentially SUPERNATURAL quality in order to have any validity at all.

If being a person is not only about your biology as you have tried top assert then it is also about the questions of mental capacity and there is nothing about the immediacy issue with respect to a resting phase argument that diminishes capacity in any intrinsic manner.

Again this is straw man and you are shadow boxing. Without sentience you can describe no quality of *humanness* other than flesh to describe a person.

Without sentience you are not human, you are a thing.

If your argument rests on the flesh then it is a defense of a process not a person.

If you are basing your position on the flesh then the rules of biology apply and determine the legal (and ethical) decision. If you are basing your argument on qualia (in this case psychosocial phenomenon) then the rules of validity for such qualia apply.

However you are trying to have it both ways and hence this aspect of your argument is a bait and switch. You are trying to claim the rules of the flesh are disqualified by *qualia* when challenged on your biology and then in turn claim the rules of qualia don't apply when discussing a *biological processes* of the flesh.

The fact of the matter is that what doesn't apply is your argument. The paradox you are trying to assert is not one predicated on fact and thus does not deserve to be considered as a legal challenge for the granting of rights. This leads to the third catastrophic failure of your position in a legal sense.

Your assertions fail logically, legally, and scientifically.

You keep expecting me to see your logic but what I see is someone fixated on preserving an obsolete *worldview* (hence the analogy to Flat Earth Doctrine) in the face of overwhelming, growing, and consistent empirical evidence to the contrary.

Your passť paradox is under the very best of circumstances moot for it is begging the question predicated on ignorance of what what defines a person in order to assert *a benefit of doubt* dependent on proving a negative. You keep saying a *person isn't a function* but you are not able to define what a person is without and appeal to qualia that have little or no legal merit.

Under the worst of circumstances your assertion is simply primitive superstitious fallacy defending incorrect notion and bias with respect to the biology and psychology of what defines *a person*.

A person is clearly for legal purposes defined by the presence of *mind* in relation to the body and that is now much better understood. The sleeping (resting) argument never violates this position legally or scientifically.

The *materialist* associates the physiology of body with the ability for a mind to exist. The brain does not cease to function when asleep or you would die by forgetting to breathe. Again your counter point is specious.

However we can describe objective necessary conditions to assert when we can consider a person rationally *present.*

A sleeping person is still person and arguing that a resting sentience violates the *presence of mind* within the brain is just silly. The resting phase of the mind/drain does not mean sentience has disappeared because of your obsolete definition of consciousness.

You might as well be trying to separate space/time in the same manner of brain/mind. Without space there is no time and visa versa. Without a brain there is no mind and visa versa.

Without a mind there is no person.

You have countered this basic logic by offering *qualia* that have no legal basis and cannot be rationally supported. You then go further to argue with yourself about what describes a paradox (only in your opinion) for the characteristics of said qualia that is like arguing with you about the characteristics of griffins or other mythical beings.

In this case you seem to suggest that human *persons* are equatable with such mythical beings but the fact of the matter is that you are offering a standard, which regardless of being commonly believed is as false as suggesting that the Sun orbits the Earth.

Just because you want to insist the perception of things should take precedence over what has become a far more available greater understanding developed by science allowing us to wipe away the self delusion of such ideas, doesn't lend them any truth.

Credibility is not the same as validity and people have all sorts of such beliefs in this world but the making of Law is held to a much higher standard.

I respectfully offer that you are deluding yourself, perhaps because it is difficult for you to give up a cherished belief but you are not arguing for a proposition predicated on factual rational challenges. Nothing you have presented constitutes a Constitutional challenge in support of conception as the beginning of a person.

Nothing you have rebutted defeats the scientific materialist challenges to your qualia argument of attributes for a fertilized zygote.

Nothing in your qualia argument describes what a person is with criteria that can be tested themselves as objective but in turn rely upon belief systems, which are not supported by evidence but rather reflect your personal preferences.

Nothing in your argument offers objective criteria for determining when a person is present but instead is entirely dependent on proving a negative or ascribing values to a process that confuses the result with the means.

If I bake a cake and gather all the ingredients, correctly mix the recipe, place the entire concoction in the oven under the right conditions it doesn't make the process of baking equatable with the cake.

It also doesn't mysteriously convert the batter to the result till conclusion of the process. The qualia of the cake does not exist a priori if it is not present. Inherent capacity is irrelevant.

You are arguing the cake is somehow present when it is still nothing more than batter. Having the potential to be present once the process concludes does not grant the same qualia to the batter as the cake. Remove the mass from the process before a critical point and there is not and never will be a cake present.

Perhaps you would like the discussion to be about the existence of a *person* by virtue of the developmental process but the fact is that you have fallen into a self imposed trap ( not one I must grant) because you have really established a *test* that relies upon a legal standard for the *presence of a person* so conversely all I have do do is to prove that a person is NOT present and you have already granted that by depending solely on the inherent capacity argument to begin with and ignoring valid physiological criteria.

Obviously you tacitly *know* that the person is not present without a brain but you want to *believe* it is sufficient to argue that at some point the person will appear as a result of the process.

A process does not deserve the *benefit of the doubt* defense regardless of the intended (or unintended) result.

You are trying to attribute qualia to the process by virtue of the results of that process and that logically does not follow. Ends do not justify or rationalize means. If the person is not present they do not have rights. Process does not trump presence for this consideration.

The criteria you have offered along with all supporting argument is simply rationally insufficient to support your conclusion.

You are clearly defending the process not the person and I turn can demonstrate with powerful objective evidence that the *person* is not present at conception.

The daily growing body of empirical independently accrued scientific evidence is on my side and your essentially superstitious paradoxes are the basis of arcane and esoteric debate but not germane either scientifically or juridically.

I go further and argue that basically you are not consistent as I point out by suggesting you are dodging the qualia concern apart from disagreeing between us on specific qualia, by trying to have it both ways and switch back and forth between psychosocial aspects of a person to biological aspects of a person when the basis of your claims fails consistently when held to the consistent appropriate standards.

REBUTTAL by soc (r5), Jun 23, 2005, 6:58 pm GMT   

[This rebuttal addresses an earlier critique version
and has not been revised.]

Again, sentience is how a person can function but it does not define what a person is because we can be unconscious and therefore lack sentience and yet still be persons. Again, it is only as persons that we can function as persons; it is being a person that is important here and not whether we can function as one at any given moment.

A cadaver is a dead member of the species Homo sapiens and since he/she is dead they therefore no longer have any inherent capabilities of a person and so they are not a person any longer. The definition holds just fine.

And after conception/fertilization there is a new human being, meaning a new member of the species Homo sapiens. Your skin is not a member of this species; it is just skin cells from a member of the species and not an individual member of the species, of course.

Critique (Rebuttal) history: c1 (r1, r2, r3, r4, r5), c2 (r6), c3 (r6), c4 (r7)


2) PREMISE:   
The equal protection clause of the 14th amendment of the US Constitution states that all persons are granted equal protection under the law:
"nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"

CRITIQUE by LazarusLong (c2), Jun 24, 2005, 3:24 pm GMT   
This does not follow as you have not proved that a fetus is a person.


The critique is not pointless it is in fact the same one you are making of it. You are simply inserting and repeating criteria here that are not supported by logical inclusion earlier.

We have not agreed what a person is OR whether a fetus qualifies.

If we the qualities of being a person you apply are not germane to the legal standard this assumption of fact is inappropriate.

If the qualities of being a person you ascribe ARE appropriate to the legal definition but they don't apply to a fetus then the argument is still false.

REBUTTAL by soc (r2), Jun 23, 2005, 2:58 pm GMT   

[This rebuttal addresses an earlier critique version
and has not been revised.]

This critique is pointless because it makes no new claims and is simply a repetition of your above points which do not stand.

Critique (Rebuttal) history: c1 (r1, r2), c2 (r3)


Abortion is a direct violation of the 14th amendment and is therefore unconstitutional.

[The founders of the feminist movement were opposed to abortion and slavery as well as being for the equal treatment of women because they were true believers in the equality of all persons without exceptions. They had it right.]

CRITIQUE by tps12 (c1), Jul 26, 2005, 1:45 pm GMT   
An individual act, such as abortion, cannot be "unconstitutional." Only a law can be unconstitutional. To argue constitutionality, you must limit the scope of your discussion to a specific law (or class of laws) that fails to protect zygotic rights.

REBUTTAL by soc (r1), Jul 26, 2005, 8:01 pm GMT   

Roe v. Wade, of course.

CRITIQUE by LazarusLong (c2), Jun 25, 2005, 10:10 am GMT   
See R#3, R#4, R#5 and R#6 hence this too is a false conclusion.



Abortion does not violate the 14th Amendment because you have not established that an early term fetus is a person and alternatively I can demonstrate that it isn't.

REBUTTAL by soc (r2), Jun 23, 2005, 2:58 pm GMT   

[This rebuttal addresses an earlier critique version
and has not been revised.]

This critique is pointless because it makes no new claims and is simply a repetition of your above points which do not stand.

Critique (Rebuttal) history: c1 (r1, r2), c2 (r3)

CRITIQUE by Rogerborg (c2), Jul 27, 2005, 9:13 am GMT   
Excuse me, I typed "verbuse" when I meant "verbose and obtuse". You seem unable to even explain clearly what it is that you are arguing, let alone support it. Your rebuttal to the first critique of your first premise actually contradicts the premise. Your second premise (and rebuttals) says: "Either A or B. If sometimes not A, therefore always B." I can see no logic in most of your statements, nor anything like a sound chain of reasoning. Your premises rely on accepting the conclusion; you are begging the question in the most blatant way.

REBUTTAL by soc (r2), Jul 28, 2005, 5:14 am GMT   

I don't wish to offend but your critique is without content and is nothing but generalities.

Critique (Rebuttal) history: c1 (r1), c2 (r2)


4) PREMISE:   
The end of human conception/fertilization marks the point at which the sperm and the egg have combined into a new, living, single organism with a unique, human genetic structure; this new being belongs to the species homo sapiens.

CRITIQUE by spelchek (c1), Jul 20, 2005, 7:52 am GMT   
The zygote (sperm + egg) starts dividing through a process called mitosis about 30 hours after fertilisation. Twins/triplets etc can and occasionally do form after this point through a process of cell division.
The important thing about this is it refutes your claim that this is a 'single organism', and can be treated as 'a' person. Yes, the zygote has the potential to become many people. But to give it individuality at this stage is unsustainable on a medical basis. Surely to be counted as a person, individuality is a prerequisite?

REBUTTAL by soc (r5), Jul 21, 2005, 3:57 pm GMT   

Individuality is not compromised at all through the act of asexual reproduction that you describe for twinning simply results in a new individual member of the species. You claim that since "the zygote has the potential to become many people" that it therefore cannot be an individual but the very same thing could be said about you and I for the technology exists today to clone human beings at any time (also asexual reproduction) but even if we were cloned many times it would certainly not mean that we were not individual members of our species before the cloning occurred.

This is not just a theoretical argument for the sheep from which Dolly was cloned was most certainly an individual member of that species before Dolly existed; Dolly was simply a new member of that species that shared the original's genetic material which is the same thing that occurs naturally with identical twins. The individuality of a being is unaffected by any later act of asexual reproduction, natural or otherwise.

The process you describe is simply another way that humans can reproduce that while less common still also results in a new individual member or members of the species.

Critique (Rebuttal) history: c1 (r1, r2, r3, r4, r5)

CRITIQUE by daksya (c3), Jul 26, 2005, 11:43 pm GMT   
Individuality is not compromised at all through the act of asexual reproduction that you describe for twinning simply results in a new individual member of the species.

Only if the original zygote is considered an individual. The cloning analogy doesn't work because after cloning the identity of the source remains intact. Not so, after twinning. The new zygote is not an "Adam's rib" of the original zygote.


The point is, none of the derived zygotes share identity with the source zygotes.


If the original zygote is O, and the new twins are T1 and T2, ~(O = T1) and ~(O = T2). During cloning, the original individual is destroyed, and two new created, in their place. So, individuality is 'impacted', when the zygote splits. In the overall scheme, this is a semantic point. The critical issue is, wht's your basis for the personhood of the zygote?

REBUTTAL by soc (r2), Jul 26, 2005, 7:49 pm GMT   

[This rebuttal addresses an earlier critique version
and has not been revised.]

The cloning example only shows that one can be an individual and still reproduce asexually without impacting one's individuality.

The new zygote may not be an "Adam's rib" but this is not relevant for the new zygote is and remains a new member of our species that happens to share all of it's genetic material with the original and the original zygote is also just such a member. Both of these new beings are members of our species.

Critique (Rebuttal) history: c1 (r1, r2), c2 (r3), c3 (r4)


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