Thursday, October 16, 2008

Retard's Guide to Abortion Rights

The A-bomb was dropped in the debates tonight. I will now explain why choice is only logical.

Meat-eating humans choose not to eat dolphins or apes because they are immediately discernible as something special. They have self-awareness, autonomy, emotions, and complex communication. We don't need to look at their DNA because aside from opposable thumbs (dolphins ain't got em) and super smart brains (Gorillas ain't so smart), they're just like us. If you are a meat-eating human and found an embryo in the desert you would eat it to stay alive and wouldn't consider it murder. Cows, even according to very smart people, have a lower intrinsic value than humans; therefore, most people eat them. That doesn't mean they don't like cows or think that they are worthless, but they are worth less than human beings, and that has nothing to do with DNA. Cows are pretty dumb, and it's hard to tell that they have as complex a hierarchy in their herds as dogs do in packs and a fairly complex form of communication; thus, people feel OK eating them.

What I'm driving at is that "human" is not an elusive thing. We almost immediately see things as human or nonhuman. If we were on an alien planet with species we've never seen before, we wouldn't be thinking about DNA when we were wondering what would ethically be OK to eat. We'd make very quick decisions on who to talk to or befriend and who to eat. For meat-eaters, it seems like the big criterion is self-awareness. Even though cows feel pride and experience an ah-ha effect when they accomplish goals, most people don't think that they are self-aware, and OK, therefore, to eat. It would be the same thing on another planet. The things that seem to know who they are and want to communicate are spared; the things that just mull around eating grass turn into burgers.

The thing about embryos is that they fail every test when it comes to being human except that they have 100% human DNA. Everyone knows that embryos aren't really human, but that DNA thing gets people. If you have 100 per cent. human DNA, doesn't that mean you deserve 100% human rights? No more than Chimpanzees, who have 99% human DNA, deserve 99% human rights. Chimpanzees deserve rights because they behave very much like human beings; that's it. Their DNA is irrelevant. An embryo meets none of the criteria by which we judge something as deserving rights. An embryo is no more human than a head of cabbage, and it behaves no differently.

Some say that its potential is important, and it is important to consider that potential, but that's where the right to privacy comes in. I hope that everyone considers the potential of all things, even wood that can be turned into houses or old aluminum that can be recycled into new computers, but since the consideration of an embryo doesn't affect society, it isn't up to society to impose any regulation. The right to privacy, protected by, I think, the fourth amendment, supersedes what you or I think about what a person should or should not do, and it would take an impossible scenario to make it otherwise (Children of Men).

Late term fetuses become more of an issue for almost everyone because of the self-awareness catch and the perception of pain. If something feels pain that is like yours or mine, it's wrong to kill it because we are ethically obligated to reduce or prevent pain and suffering. The conversation of fetuses is much more convoluted. But even a retard could understand the embryo thing.


LM Rivera said...

All that time at Berkeley and you really did not let postmodernism touch you... incredible... simply incredible...

Jack Morgan said...

Ummmmm, what's post modernism again?

LM Rivera said...


Jack Morgan said...

I'm sooooooo post-post-modern.

We can get there fast and then we'll take it slow.
That's where we wanna go-o-o:
Way down to Po-po-mo!

I'm also a technologist.

Wait, Lucas. Are you post-modern? I'm not sure I'm allowed to talk to post-modernists anymore.

LM Rivera said...

I am a post-modern ethicist but I have no real concern with post-modern philosophy (with a few exceptions: Derrida, Luhmann, and some others). I live and die with Martin Buber, Emmanuel Levinas, and Helene Cixous. Damn I sound like a postmodernist.

Jack Morgan said...

Nahhh, just a stodgy academic who likes to drop names.
I wonder if Joe the plumber knows any of those smart peeps you be talkin bout.

LM Rivera said...

Oh... I forgot: you are a liberal. I am just supposed to pat you on the head and tell you everything is okay. Don't worry I am writing all of this down.

LM Rivera said...

Oh and Jack: don't forget that you are white... really white!

Jack Morgan said...

Yes, I am white, but I'm not dead.

You sound mad.
I hope you aren't.

Seriously, I think that I believe in objectivity and populism too much to be a post-modernist. Sometimes I think I am post-post-modernist, but all categories are always treacherous.

I still like you, though, Lucas.

LM Rivera said...

I am not mad... well maybe that isn't true but not at you.

I guess the main distinction to be made is that alliance to "objectivity" (I honestly have no idea what that even means) and "populism" (which I take to be a kind of humanist gesture) and my personal preference for pluralism, heterogeneity, and non-normative ethics (via, and yes I am dropping a name, Emmnuel Levinas).

One thing we can certainly agree on is that "all categories are treacherous," except I might transmogrify that statement and say that all "normative" categories are treacherous.

Poetry is my religion, how about you?

community prevention said...

i like that cows mull and you are not as white as "self portrait in a convex mirror" (nth white)

Jack Morgan said...

The thing about post-modernism and dead white people is that they're sooooo old.

I've read more Derrida and recognize more of the names you listed than 99.99% of the world. I've read a lot of old dead smart white people. But I'm kind of "whatevs" about most of them. It's kind of fun to read that crap sometimes, I guess, but it's pretty irrelevant. I feel dumber knowing all the names on your list.

Objectivity is just a goal.
Populism is just a myth I believe in.
I don't understand the getting pat on the head for being liberal thing.
My next blog post will be about poetry and religion.

LM Rivera said...

Like I said: I don't really care about postmodernism in particular but I do have a vetted interest... no no: an existential interest in the results of postmodernity and art (or aesthetics aka esthetics aka a way at getting at ethics).

To say it is old and crap and fun, at least to me, is just uninformed and, at minimum, missing the point.

Helene Cixous is still alive!

Jack Morgan said...

Lucas, I don't know what a vested interest in post-modernism could be.

The only way to get at ethics to to base it on logic as firmly as possible.

I like our back and forth, but so far you have insulted my Alma Mater, UC Berkeley, from which I graduated with highest honors in two departments; my race, and I still don't know what my being white has to do with anything; and my intelligence--calling someone uninformed does not help your point. If I were darker-skinned, went to CSU Hayward, and swallowed everything my professors fed me, would you like me more?

In the end, I am unsure what your point is. I am unsure of this, not because I am uninformed, but because your statements are unclear. So far your formula is this:
1. Say something nebulous that sounds like smart people talk.
2. Insult Jack Morgan in some way.
3. Drop some names in retreat.

The thing, though, is that I am never impressed by language that tries too hard to sound smart but doesn't say anything, I am only mildly annoyed by insults, and I don't trip over the names you leave in your tracks.

But you are right: Cixous is alive; she's 70. I've only read her "Medusa's Laugh." It was kind of fun. I don't think I should read anymore.

LM Rivera said...

First, I said "vetted interest," not "vested interest," that is one of accuracy rather than one of
"having a dog in that race."

Second, I am more than willing to say to an uniformed person, even someone I dearly respect, that they are uninformed. They are uninformed, in my estimation, in a certain area. This is not a blanket statement about their overall ignorance or overall intelligence. I have yet to go there.

Thrid, As far as ethics being based in some normative logic... well we can just agree to disagree. I say that that notion is logocentric and you might say that it is just necessary in order to make a foundation for ethical appraisal. Again, we can agree to disagree.

Fourth, I was merely pointing out that you were white as a reference to something inferred. That something being that you are white, male, and privileged (and there was a point to that, if you look back over what you have said). I don't remember saying something against UC Berkeley, it was probably something more directed at you. If I was swallowing what I was being taught at CSUEB than I would be a common sense/fence riding/Modernist (none of which appeals to me).

Fifth, Your argument against my argument is a tautology (ad absurdum): "your "intelligent" remarks are nothing more than intellectual fodder." Nothing happens and surely nothing is thought of in a vacuum, so I use the names as reference points. If you want to call that pedantic than our conversation will not go very far.

Lastly, I feel that you like to hide behind milquetoast barriers in order to safeguard yourself against intellectual opponents. That may be fine for some but for me that is merely cowardice. Again, I am calling the action cowardly... NOT YOU! I thought we had enough respect for each other to carry on a discourse of this nature but now I am pretty sure I was in error, so barring anything more that you would like to say I will plead the fifth from here on out.


LM Rivera said...

I just realized my first paragraph has a pun between the vetted and the dog in the race. NICE!