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Carl Sagan - Abortion Debate - A Scientific View

Dragonfly

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The abortion debate - Carl Sagan <-- clicky

(there are multiple pages to read - sorry if it's too long for some)

I think Carl Sagan makes some extremely valid and highly intelligent points in this writing.

I love his points that "the right to life" only exists for human life, and only when we define it in terms we like. There are always exceptions to "the rule".

I love that he points out that each sperm and each egg is indeed "alive" - yet for many they are allowed to "die".

He mentions the hypocrisy among many "right-to-lifers" who also want to limit sex education and the availability of birth control.

There's some history of abortion in this piece, and the 4th (last) page is strikingly simple in it's scientific approach.

I know these abortion threads are highly emotional and will never change anyone's mind, but I also think Sagan knocks this out of the park.
 

wellwisher

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I like the scientific definition of life, which is used to define the beginning of life on earth via evolution. This is supposed to be one of the cornerstonef od atheism, at least with lip service. This definition covers the entire spectrum of all lifeforms. As such, the abortion definition is not really science, but is based on philosophy and would exclude bacteria from their definition of life.

Ironically, the atheist definition of life is basically the same as creationism, since according to its philosophy, life did not begin until the first human was born. Also ironically, the creationist definition of of life is actually is closer to the science definition of life as shown below. Which of the two are based on religion, and which is based on science?

Biology
Since there is no unequivocal definition of life, the current understanding is descriptive. Life is considered a characteristic of organisms that exhibit all or most of the following:[25][27]
Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells — the basic units of life.
Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.
Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.
 
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Dragonfly

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Ironically, the atheist definition of life is basically the same as creationism, since according to its philosophy, life did not begin until the first human was born.

Can you link a source to this claim please?

I've never heard about or read "an atheist definition of life".
 

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The abortion debate - Carl Sagan <-- clicky

(there are multiple pages to read - sorry if it's too long for some)

I think Carl Sagan makes some extremely valid and highly intelligent points in this writing.

I love his points that "the right to life" only exists for human life, and only when we define it in terms we like. There are always exceptions to "the rule".

I love that he points out that each sperm and each egg is indeed "alive" - yet for many they are allowed to "die".

He mentions the hypocrisy among many "right-to-lifers" who also want to limit sex education and the availability of birth control.

There's some history of abortion in this piece, and the 4th (last) page is strikingly simple in it's scientific approach.

I know these abortion threads are highly emotional and will never change anyone's mind, but I also think Sagan knocks this out of the park.

Actually, I think the greatest hypocrisy of those against abortion is that they are also for the death penalty and against universal healthcare.

This illustrates how they are not so much "pro-life" as they are "anti-choice".
 

wellwisher

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If atheist believe in science and evolution, and life began billions of years ago, then it follow that atheists could not support life a beginning at human birth. This would contradict the claims of evolution, which also says life was a single cell at one time. I was wrong, sorry. So it is not atheism, so is it part of the liberal religion?

I am not a lawyer, but separation of church and state has been extended to secular extensions associated with religion, like the Christmas tree and symbols. Since abortion begins life with the birth of a human, isn't this a secular extension of the teachings in Genesis?

Genesis was the first to come up with life beginning with the birth of Adam, on the second day of creation. If someone whines about this, will the civil liberty lawyers regulate this mythology via the separation of church and state?
 
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Dragonfly

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So it is not atheism, so is it part of the liberal religion??

I'm sorry, but once again I have no clue what it is you're posting.

Especially the part above.

Completely lost....I am.
 

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Actually, I think the greatest hypocrisy of those against abortion is that they are also for the death penalty and against universal healthcare.

This illustrates how they are not so much "pro-life" as they are "anti-choice".

I agree, Sam.

I've often argued that many who claimed to be "Pro-life" display a strange sense of what constitutes life after birth. It appears that for many Pro-Lifers - they suddenly adopt a very Darwinistic attitude toward all born individuals, regardless of age, as though once we are born...we're on our own. Quality and quantity of life for all who are born becomes inconsequential for some odd reason.

As I've often stated, we clearly know that despite the number of abortions that have occurred since the very first abortion - the human population continues to increase almost exponentially - and many Pro-Lifers claim that humanity is making "sufficient efforts" to protect and care for born children when we have clear evidence to the contrary.

I don't see Pro-Life arguments being truly about saving a ZEF, but rather trying to continue to employ dark age dogmas, which are geared toward controlling all aspects of a female's life. We see this type of control as a common place practice in Middle Eastern countries, but there is a huge denial that he same attitude exist in Western nations where we are supposedly more civilized.
 

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Actually, I think the greatest hypocrisy of those against abortion is that they are also for the death penalty and against universal healthcare.

This illustrates how they are not so much "pro-life" as they are "anti-choice".

Then use "anti-abortion" instead of "pro-life"; It isn't as if "the pro-choice" supports letting people have many choices in their lives other than abortion since they want the government to force people to do things.
 

Dragonfly

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It isn't as if "the pro-choice" supports letting people have many choices in their lives other than abortion since they want the government to force people to do things.

Please explain exactly what pro-choice people want to force people to do?

Choice means options. Plain and simple.
 

Fisher

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Please explain exactly what pro-choice people want to force people to do?

Choice means options. Plain and simple.

Force people to buy health insurance would be the obvious starter, followed by <insert everything in the liberal agenda here>
 

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Force people to buy health insurance would be the obvious starter, followed by <insert everything in the liberal agenda here>

Fisher...I'd say it's time to change your LEAN category to "Conservative".

Forcing people to have health insurance? And that relates to abortion how?
 

Fisher

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Fisher...I'd say it's time to change your LEAN category to "Conservative".

Forcing people to have health insurance? And that relates to abortion how?

It was a response to a post that liberals do not try to force people to do anything which clearly they do try to force people to do things all the time. I am a libertarian liberal thank you. I do actually support people having choices, including the unborn people who never get a choice at all. It is the mandate in healthcare that I find offensive, not the healthcare itself. Autocratic liberals just simply cannot deal with libertarian liberals pointing out their hypocrisy--"If you are not with us, you are a conservative".
 

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If atheist believe in science and evolution, and life began billions of years ago, then it follow that atheists could not support life a beginning at human birth. This would contradict the claims of evolution, which also says life was a single cell at one time. I was wrong, sorry. So it is not atheism, so is it part of the liberal religion?

I am not a lawyer, but separation of church and state has been extended to secular extensions associated with religion, like the Christmas tree and symbols. Since abortion begins life with the birth of a human, isn't this a secular extension of the teachings in Genesis?

Genesis was the first to come up with life beginning with the birth of Adam, on the second day of creation. If someone whines about this, will the civil liberty lawyers regulate this mythology via the separation of church and state?

The issue regarding abortion has always been lives in the plural. Life has, effectively, always existed, but until one cell has completely divided, are there two cells or one? For me, a cell in the process of division, but prior to the complete separation into two cells, is only one cell. If a woman's body completely contains unfertilized ova, they are her bodily property. If a woman's body contains zygotes, embryos, and fetuses, and the embryos/fetuses are even biologically attached to her body and can't live without her, I simply don't understand how anyone can see these as not part of her body. When they are outside her body and unattached, then there are two persons. Before that, there is only one.
 

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I agree, Sam.

I've often argued that many who claimed to be "Pro-life" display a strange sense of what constitutes life after birth. It appears that for many Pro-Lifers - they suddenly adopt a very Darwinistic attitude toward all born individuals, regardless of age, as though once we are born...we're on our own. Quality and quantity of life for all who are born becomes inconsequential for some odd reason.

As I've often stated, we clearly know that despite the number of abortions that have occurred since the very first abortion - the human population continues to increase almost exponentially - and many Pro-Lifers claim that humanity is making "sufficient efforts" to protect and care for born children when we have clear evidence to the contrary.

I don't see Pro-Life arguments being truly about saving a ZEF, but rather trying to continue to employ dark age dogmas, which are geared toward controlling all aspects of a female's life. We see this type of control as a common place practice in Middle Eastern countries, but there is a huge denial that he same attitude exist in Western nations where we are supposedly more civilized.

Yes, and this is made obvious by the fact that so many "pro-life" people will make an exception for rape. Even if they do not like making such an exception, some people make this exception because they know how odious "pro-life" views are to the overwhelming majority (about 80%) if they don't agree to it, yet the difference between rape and other unwanted pregnancy is simply that the woman did not consent to sex. It is so clear that, if the woman consented to sex, those pro-life people want to punish the women rather than save the life of persons, because there is technically no difference between the rape embryo and the non-rape embryo. If you tell them that consent to sex =/= consent to pregnancy, they are furious: "She knew the risks," they say.

And the "pro-life" people who don't make an exception for rape often don't even make an exception for the woman's health, not even in cases where, say, she would be permanently paralyzed by continuing the pregnancy. They honestly don't believe that a person has a right to anything but vegetative biological life. Because she had sex, even if coerced. They have no understanding of the degree of hatred of women they communicate unwittingly to others.
 

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Yes, and this is made obvious by the fact that so many "pro-life" people will make an exception for rape. Even if they do not like making such an exception, some people make this exception because they know how odious "pro-life" views are to the overwhelming majority (about 80%) if they don't agree to it, yet the difference between rape and other unwanted pregnancy is simply that the woman did not consent to sex. It is so clear that, if the woman consented to sex, those pro-life people want to punish the women rather than save the life of persons, because there is technically no difference between the rape embryo and the non-rape embryo. If you tell them that consent to sex =/= consent to pregnancy, they are furious: "She knew the risks," they say.

And the "pro-life" people who don't make an exception for rape often don't even make an exception for the woman's health, not even in cases where, say, she would be permanently paralyzed by continuing the pregnancy. They honestly don't believe that a person has a right to anything but vegetative biological life. Because she had sex, even if coerced. They have no understanding of the degree of hatred of women they communicate unwittingly to others.

Good points, ChoiceOne. They're worth repeating.
 

choiceone

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Force people to buy health insurance would be the obvious starter, followed by <insert everything in the liberal agenda here>

Hey, I'm pro-choice and I thought the mandatory health insurance thing was a big mistake, even though I recognize that in civilized society, a person who has no health insurance and falls down unconscious in public is a social nuisance, because the society feels obligated to help the person, and, unable to demonstrate spiritual healing, takes the person to the hospital, where somebody has to pay. What we should have implemented was optional low-cost national health insurance for people who could not afford private health insurance. But the insurance companies would have a fit over that, as it would be "bad for business," according to the conservative agenda.

And trust me, conservatives are an extremely important component of the "anti-smoking" movement, just as they were for the "Prohibition" movement. Conservatives are an extremely important part of the "anti-contraceptive" lobby. Conservatives make up the "anti-gay" lobby. Conservatives were the bulk of the anti-ERA forces. Conservatives like to force people to do many, many things and not to do many more. The good thing about liberals is that they pretty much only want your money and don't want your pollution affecting their air, water, and property. Conservatives want to manage your personal body, i.e., your person, and often your mind, speech, and religion, much more private things.
 
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Fisher

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Hey, I'm pro-choice and I thought the mandatory health insurance thing was a big mistake, even though I recognize that in civilized society, a person who has no health insurance and falls down unconscious in public is a social nuisance, because the society feels obligated to help the person, and, unable to demonstrate spiritual healing, takes the person to the hospital, where somebody has to pay. What we should have implemented was optional low-cost national health insurance for people who could not afford private health insurance. But the insurance companies would have a fit over that, as it would be "bad for business," according to the conservative agenda.

And trust me, conservatives are an extremely important component of the "anti-smoking" movement, just as they were for the "Prohibition" movement. Conservatives are an extremely important part of the "anti-contraceptive" lobby. Conservatives make up the "anti-gay" lobby. Conservatives were the bulk of the anti-ERA forces. Conservatives like to force people to do many, many things and not to do many more. The good thing about liberals is that they pretty much only want your money and don't want your pollution affecting their air, water, and property. Conservatives want to manage your personal body, i.e., your person, and often your mind, speech, and religion, much more private things.

And Liberals want to force me to decide how much to pay and to whom regardless of their talents and contributions, and want to force me to pay people to take months off to have babies and give them a month of vacation to every employee in addition to all of that. Liberals want to force me to give up my guns that have never been used in a crime; the list goes on. I am quite progressive---I am just not into the forcing people to do things. We should provide opportunities, but should not force outcomes for people who willfully refuse to partake in those opportunities.
 

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It was a response to a post that liberals do not try to force people to do anything which clearly they do try to force people to do things all the time. I am a libertarian liberal thank you. I do actually support people having choices, including the unborn people who never get a choice at all. It is the mandate in healthcare that I find offensive, not the healthcare itself. Autocratic liberals just simply cannot deal with libertarian liberals pointing out their hypocrisy--"If you are not with us, you are a conservative".

"OFF TOPIC"

Thanks for the reply.

To me, the "perceptions" of liberalism and conservatism are basically political propaganda mind****s to distract, distort, and control our great citizens by political machines and/or special interest groups. People who claim to be one of the other, IMHO, are victims of the same game that religions perpetrate on people.

For example: people who subscribe to beliefs related to the "Bible" often reconstruct their beliefs around a core religious doctrine. In other words, those core doctrines are basically altered to fit each individual's own belief system...things that make sense to them and fill up their comfort zone. So you have a lot of people claiming to belong to XXX religion while actually they will use a small set of a given religion's creeds and spin them until they fit their own belief system.

IMHO, the same dynamics apply to political philosophies.
 

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And Liberals want to force me to decide how much to pay and to whom regardless of their talents and contributions, and want to force me to pay people to take months off to have babies and give them a month of vacation to every employee in addition to all of that. Liberals want to force me to give up my guns that have never been used in a crime; the list goes on. I am quite progressive---I am just not into the forcing people to do things. We should provide opportunities, but should not force outcomes for people who willfully refuse to partake in those opportunities.

This post is awesome it exposes exactly what type of dishonest, biased, illogical, irrational and hypocritical type of political real world thinker you are, thanks.
Grouping people so inclusively, stereotypically and in such blanket form is almost always a sign of being uneducated about said group.
 

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And Liberals want to force me to decide how much to pay and to whom regardless of their talents and contributions, and want to force me to pay people to take months off to have babies and give them a month of vacation to every employee in addition to all of that. Liberals want to force me to give up my guns that have never been used in a crime; the list goes on. I am quite progressive---I am just not into the forcing people to do things. We should provide opportunities, but should not force outcomes for people who willfully refuse to partake in those opportunities.

I think you're way off base - but most importantly - OFF TOPIC
 

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Good points, ChoiceOne. They're worth repeating.

Here is what else is worth repeating: The vast majority of abortions are not performed because of rape/incest or to save the life of the mother.

Further, there is a difference between executing an innocent whose only "crime" is being alive and executing a convicted criminal (who, BTW, had legal representation).
 

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Here is what else is worth repeating: The vast majority of abortions are not performed because of rape/incest or to save the life of the mother.

Further, there is a difference between executing an innocent whose only "crime" is being alive and executing a convicted criminal (who, BTW, had legal representation).

And what effect or effects have abortions had on human population regardless of the reason for an abortion?

And I can clearly guess what crimes would be committed against women, who now, by law, have the right to maintain control over their bodies and reproductive system, if you and others who share your beliefs regarding abortion, had legal control over women as you'd wish.
 

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And Liberals want to force me to decide how much to pay and to whom regardless of their talents and contributions, and want to force me to pay people to take months off to have babies and give them a month of vacation to every employee in addition to all of that. Liberals want to force me to give up my guns that have never been used in a crime; the list goes on. I am quite progressive---I am just not into the forcing people to do things. We should provide opportunities, but should not force outcomes for people who willfully refuse to partake in those opportunities.

You say you are
not into forcing people to do things.
..and yet you want to FORCE all women into continuing a pregnancy even when that pregnancy might do great bodily harm to the woman.
 

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And Liberals want to force me to decide how much to pay and to whom regardless of their talents and contributions, and want to force me to pay people to take months off to have babies and give them a month of vacation to every employee in addition to all of that. Liberals want to force me to give up my guns that have never been used in a crime; the list goes on. I am quite progressive---I am just not into the forcing people to do things. We should provide opportunities, but should not force outcomes for people who willfully refuse to partake in those opportunities.

On the pay issue. what are you talking about? If you need workers with talents who make contributions, you're talking about more than minimum wage, because people with talents can sell those talents for more than that wage. If your workers have no talent and make no contribution and your jobs require those things, then fire them. I'm not a family leave fanatic, since, as a single person, I'm one of those workers who has often picked up the slack of people with spouses and kids absent from group work. However, if there were no policy that a woman can receive paid leave for a couple of months to have a baby, few intelligent women would reproduce in this country because it would put them at too great a disadvantage for survival. I have never received a months' vacation with pay in the US - where are all these good jobs? I'm not a gun control freak, either, though I fail to understand why anyone not in the military wants an automatic assault rifle able to shoot more than ten rounds - perhaps it's more dangerous where you live. I am liberal precisely because I don't want anybody to force anybody to continue a pregnancy and give birth against her will.
 
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