In total there are 2 users online :: 1 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 60 minutes)
Most users ever online was 616 on Thu Jan 18, 2024 7:47 pm
Has anyone read Carl Sagan's essay on Abortion in his book Billions and Billions?The middle ground stance that Sagan takes in this essay pretty much describes how I feel about the abortion debate."Pro-life?" Not so. "Pro-human life." Yeah.We humans seem to be pretty chauvinistic when it comes to the laws. I mean we don't call it murder when someone stabs their dog to death, yet we call it murder when someone stabs a person to death. What do you all think about the abortion issue?
I remember reading an essay by Sagan like the one you describe, possibly quoted from the book, and it made me very queasy. I don't like to think about the question you raise - I guess because I feel personally and socially helpless when I think about it. I don't want to give up eating beef, or worse, pork; yet I am horrified at the way food animals are treated. And I don't really think personal vegetarianism would have a whit of impact.I watched "Animal Cops" where they arrested a guy for being inhmane to squirrels. Now, I don't support inhumanity to squirrels; and yet, at the same time, millions of pigs, which are far more sophisticated and self-aware than squirrels, are being tortured every day so I can have cheap bacon. Are all animal lovers hypocrits? Is PETA right, that we should be taking up arms on their behalf? (I don't think so, I'm throwing out related ideas).As far as abortion itself, I'm against it. I am not sympathetic to fellow pro-choice travellers who talk about how unpersonlike the fetus is; frankly, I don't find it relevant. We don't respond emotionally to what a brain scan will or will not reveal. I think that trivializing proto humans can only degrade our humanity in general, AND, although I don't think a bastula or zygote is a 'person', I also think that the people who do deserve our respect - that is, the fact that millions of people do feel that a zygote is a person is very relevant to me. Just because they are thick-headed and leave no room for the pro-choice view, does not entitle ME to be thick headed and disregard their feelings.What distinguishes humans from all other animals, more than anything else, in my personal opinion, is our level of cooperation. Yes we have other stuff going for us but we are surrounded by a truly remarkable level of cooperation; generally it is like water to fish for us and we don't notice. Every time we drive, every time we walk by another person without fearing an attack, is an unusuall evolutionary acomplishment. So in my ethical heirarchy, us all getting along is more important than saving a bastula or zygote, which may or may not be a person, or even than saving a chimp, which IS a person to me. And, I recognize that other people have other viewpoints on all of these issues... and that we have to live on this planet together. So, when it comes to abortion, I know that the moral thing to do is allow the woman carrying the fetus to make the decision; and if I disagree, express my opinion, but not get in the way.The same logic keeps me out of PETA. I may disagree with the industrial farm operator who treats pigs in a way I consider unconscionable; and yet, I recognize that he has a legitimate point of view, albeit one I disagree with. And the MOST important thing is that we share our little planet together and resolve our issues in the long run. If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984