From: Jeff Bone (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 15 2001 - 10:13:12 PDT
> WElcome to the human race, where decissions are not easily drawn on a
> blackboard so the dorm denizens can play disention games with it.
Tom, that's too easy. When the defense of something is "well, the real world is too messy
to yield to reason and logic" you know something's gone awry with the argument.
> Now lets follow the train one more time. Any life is pretty cool. Human
> life is really cool in that it appears that given some time it becomes
> conscious enough to interact with.
Or, I would put it this way: human biology is really cool in that it appears that given
some time it becomes human life. The biology is necessary but not sufficient, IMO, for
the grand notion of "humanity" or "human life."
> HEnce Each life is of value, and each death of that life ends that life,
> so if you have anything to do with ending that life you must either accpet
> the ending of the potentioal or be oblivious and just end it.
So you're arguing for "potential," and you readily admit that we have no way of knowing
when life's potential ends. Hence, you must therefore believe that pulling the plug is
wrong --- just think of all the cases of flatlines coming back. Except, you don't believe
that pulling the plug is wrong. Your argument is inconsistent, hence your belief
structure in this context is inconsistent.
> Therefore... I value life and recognize that death ends it.
So now we not only have to define "human life," we've got to define death, too? Oh,
> It is not black or white.
You should just say what you mean, i.e., "I can't make my belief structure make logical
sense." I'll readily agree with that. I'm not sure these are sensible questions to be
asking at all, when dealing with these icky concepts like human life and human death. We
can be logical, arbitrary, and consistent, or we can agree that this is outside the domain
of what can be reasoned about. If we're making laws about this stuff, it's got to be on
the basis of the former.
Given the ambiguity, IMO one of two things should obtain: either that the definitions we
must use for constructing laws about these things are necessarily arbitrary, and therefore
should be maximally "liberal" in preservation of individual liberty, or that we should
recognize that arbitrary definitions in this area are dangerous and therefore we should
carefully steer clear of these kinds of things in our body of law.
> Both? you see just two? I see a few billion ways.
Sorry, let me put it more specifically. It's about body or mind or both. Those are
really the only three general permutations by which you can define "human life." Either a
viable biological unit is a life, or a mind is a life, or the combination of the two is a
life. We can't actually discuss the issue rationally until you're consistent in applying
the same standards in all cases of determining when human rights apply and when they
> How is it you see the multitude of life as an either or thing. I dont
> think I have thought that way since maybe the age of 5 or so. No dig, its
> just things become, upon living around them, more and more
> individualistic, decissions seem more multifaceted and multi impacting,
> then just THis or THAT. Yes multifaceted complex equations can be borken
> down into smaller parts, but even those parts hold a Mandelbrot set of
> complexity. Patterns emerge, fade, and morph and this can help us from
> decissionto decission..but until your there then doing, its all conjecture
> and spec... it might be good conjecture and spec and given the
> patternization might even hold up to be valid, but the cat is still
> unkown while its in the box.
Yeah, yeah. Tom, you're dangerously close to one of the great ills of our age, i.e.
spiritualizing science. Life's ambiguous, I'll admit. Law is, too, unfortunately, but
should not be in an ideal sense. Whether or not there's ambiguity, it is possible to
reason logically about things. Law should strive for logic, and logic is all about either
> Ther are those who will say "whats all this emotional crap, its a yes or
> no answer" and to that I gota say "how little do you value life?"
I value (human) life too much to cheapen it by calling a little clot of diploid cells a
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