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60 Anti-Abortion Arguments Refuted (part 6)

11. "An unborn human is a person because there is no way to determine that it is not a person." FALSE. The key to proving it involves focusing on the characteristics that non-humans must possess to qualify as persons, and not as mere animals. It would be nice, after all, in the distant future, to avoid misidentifying strange-looking intelligent beings Out There Among The Stars.

For example, just one of the many characteristics of persons is an ability to identify self from "outside" self. While it is not the best thing to test, for reasons that will be obvious, it is an easy test for any organism equipped with a decently working vision system. Basically, many ordinary animals cannot recognize themselves in a mirror (they act like they think it is some other animal that they see, behind glass). Meanwhile, adults of some highly intelligent animal species, such as the chimpanzee, dolphin, and octopus, are very able to recognize themselves in a mirror. Most humans can also, of course --except that very young humans cannot.

Their brains haven't grown the capacity for self-recognition, even six months after birth. Logically, this means that unborn humans, with even-less-developed brains, don't have that capacity, either. Similarly, for any/all other species-independent characteristics of personhood that can be tested, very young humans fail to pass those tests, and so less-developed unborn humans will obviously fail them, also. And that small "growing" electronic machine will also fail this test after only a year of parts-acquisition, per the conditions of the thought-experiment.

12. "Personhood is associated with the human body, and since unborn humans have human bodies, they are persons." FALSE, the proof beginning by imagining a future scenario in which certain medical technologies, now under development, are perfected. The primary relevant technology is called "regeneration"; they are working on ways to encourage a human body that has lost a limb in an accident to grow a new one.

So let us imagine a horrible accident in which someone literally loses his head (decapitation), but rescue workers are able to arrive before brain-death occurs. Well, the head is on the floor over here, and the body is on the floor over there. Which part do the rescuers put into a regeneration vat, to save the person? Per the known Scientific Facts, personhood is associated with minds, not bodies, and the mind of a human person is always associated with the brain, which is in the head.

Note that this also explains why, for various humans who are on full medical artificial life-support, and have been verified to be "brain dead", the "plug" is allowed to be pulled. In those cases, the persons are dead, even if the bodies survive. Meanwhile, measurably animal-level are the minds that unborn humans have!

Likewise, the artificial-intelligence mind of that small "growing" electronic machine is not in the parts of its body that move about and make acquisitions and process that stuff to do such things as generate energy; its mind is in its electronic brain, of course.

13. "Abortion might kill an Einstein." UNBALANCED, since abortion might kill a Hitler. The two possibilities cancel each other out, leaving this argument Neutral, with respect to the Overall Abortion Debate. More, it hints how any other anti-abortion argument based on "human potential" is also flawed.

14. "Human minds are special, so when brain activity begins, that is when personhood begins." PARTLY IRRELEVANT AND PARTLY FALSE. The special-ness of a human mind, such as might be exhibited by the average human walking about, is not something possessed by an unborn human. The amount and type of brain activity it has, even just before birth, is purely animal-level, nothing more. And, how special they might become after birth is a matter of "potential", a flawed concept.

This is another reason why that small "growing" electronic machine keeps getting mentioned. Until it has acquired enough electronic brainpower to qualify as a person, hardly any technology-geeks on Earth would hesitate if told they could each have one of those machines, to disassemble for lots of cool parts, thereby "killing" it. Because it was just an animal-level machine. So, once again it is prejudice that gets exhibited whenever someone complains about killing an equally animal-level human, which has biological machinery instead of electronic machinery.

15. "Unborn humans have capacities that ordinary animals lack." FALSE, because this is like saying half-dollar coins can be stuffed into a coin-roll constructed to hold dimes. That smaller coin-roll has a strictly limited capacity, and so do unborn humans. Now, as time passes, the capacities of unborn humans can grow, to indeed exceed the capacities of ordinary animals. This is irrelevant to the Overall Abortion Debate; see above, regarding "human potential" and "human minds". (NOTE: there is a "stronger" version of this anti-abortion argument that will have its faults exposed later.)

16. "Unborn humans are equivalent to ordinary humans who might be asleep or in a coma, because eventually they can wake up and act like persons." FALSE. The lie here is to equate "potential" abilities with "actual" abilities. That is, the average sleeping or comatose human has certain already-existing abilities that simply aren't getting used during sleep/coma. The unborn human utterly lacks those abilities in the first place, and won't have them until it grows enough brain-power to accommodate those abilities. For the unborn, all person-class abilities are merely potential, not actual.

Now consider that in the distant-enough future an average individual person will probably experience death. At that time, then, the person will exhibit the traits of a corpse. Well, if we can claim an unborn human should be treated as a person now because in the future it will exhibit the traits of a person, then why shouldn't all abortion opponents be treated as corpses right now, because in the far-enough future they will all exhibit the traits of corpses? Since there's too many of them to embalm all at once, the simplest thing to do is just round them up and -- only because their own logic declares them to be equivalent of dead -- bury them in mass graves just as they are!

Well, let us first kindly give them a chance to recant that idiotic logic, before any such burials occur.... Meanwhile, measurably animal-level are the minds that all unborn humans currently have!

17. "Unborn humans are human beings." PROPAGANDA, a distortion and/or mis-use of the language. The word "being" has a number of definitions, one of which relates to "existence". So, in that sense, because an unborn human exists, it would qualify as a "human being". However, likewise so would a radish plant qualify as a "radish being". But since that latter phrase is not normally used in casual conversations, it logically follows that in those conversations, which so frequently include the phrase "human being", the word "being" refers to something other than "existence". The actual relevant definition can be inferred from other phrases that are used from time to time: "intelligent being", "extraterrestrial being", "alien being". The word "being" is simply a synonym for "person".

Since a radish plant is not a person, that is why the phrase "radish being" does not get used in ordinary conversations. The propaganda is now obvious; abortion opponents are claiming that an unborn human qualifies as a person, without offering any evidence other than the label "being". Note that because ordinary animals are also nonpersons, we don't use phrases like "rabbit being" in typical conversations, either. And, measurably animal-level are the minds that unborn humans do have! (How often do you encounter the phrase "fetus being"?)

Meanwhile, True Artificial Intelligences, when they eventually begin to exist, will qualify as "machine beings", even though their offspring, those small "growing" electronic machines previously mentioned, won't qualify as persons until after many months of acquiring parts. Abortion opponents had better start getting used to the concept of "machine beings"!
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