Thread: Abortion
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:43 AM   #216
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Stephen Kahn wrote View Post
Thank you, Michael. When I was young, I got a lot of crap for being an atheist (to be fair, fell short of persecution, but nobody likes to be surrounded be people saying/implying "you are stupid; you are bad; etc.), so I am very pleased to see atheism come into its own as a serious category of thought and inspiration.
I too am happy to see atheism on the rise, however I would rather see atheism rise out of a proper application of skepticism, rather than a distaste for religion, as we often see.
I would suggest that too often people are atheists and pat themselves on the back, believing themselves to be above being fooled, then go off and buy into things like holistic medicines, homeopathy and acupuncture without giving it a second thought.

I believe that a rise in skepticism instead would be preferable- as I believe atheism comes about as a natural result of skepticism to religion - but would also influence the large number of atheists who also believe other ridiculous claims.

It's arguable. I just don't think animals "think" abstract thoughts in a way similar to how we humans do. Evolution drives us to survive and mate. "Higher" animals react to danger with "fight" and "flight." As much as we have striven to communicate with other animals; notably attempts to communicate with primates with sign language, and people such as Dr. Lilly trying to communicate with whales, I am very skeptical.
Fair enough. I do remember a story - and this is anecdotal at the moment, as I can't find the information (though i haven't looked that hard), about one of the apes that was taught sign language having a dog friend, and when s/he was told about this fact, mourning over the dog's death.
I will hopefully find the information at some point, as if that is true and not warped by my memory, it would suggest at the least that some animals can understand the mortality in other animals, if not themselves.

I think what you say about "fairness" is valid. Children start saying, "That's not fair," at a very early age. Many years ago I studied and worked in child development and education, but I haven't kept up so I can't throw a lot of references at you.
Perhaps 'fairness' was the wrong word for me to use, but it was the first that came to mind.
The fairness referred to by children I would suggest is more about equality - in a situation such as a playground or classroom, where all kids are essentially on even ground, all kids being treated equally - to which there is some validity.

There have been studies done also on this idea in animals - for instance this study, where researchers gave one capuchin cucumber, and a second capuchin (in sight of the first capuchin) grapes. The first capuchin was happy with cucumber until he realised the other was being fed grapes, then he had a fit.
There is also this experiment where two capuchin monkeys were forced to work together to unlock some food, but unlocking that food would result in only one monkey having access to the food. However, after unlocking the food, the monkey with access voluntarily gave the other monkey an equal share.

These experiments lend a lot of weight to the idea that an idea of fairness - ie equality between members of a social group - may indeed be an inherent trait in some animals (though not all).

I meant more fairness in the idea of "I've been good, therefore the universe owes me good things", and "You have been bad, therefore the universe owes you bad things". We as a species especially don't like to think that someone who does bad things can escape unpunished, hence this idea of karmic judgement with things like heaven and hell.

You may be correct. Post WW II China, in my opinion, one of the more brutal and unpleasant countries of the 20th Century, adopted abortion as a primary method of birth control. They were realistic and sensible to realize that their explosive population growth was a problem and to strive to slow it down. From what I've read about China and its evolution away from the worst of Mao's excessive brutality and megalomania they have backed away using abortion as a main method of birth control. For one thing, forcing it on people is not a very wholesome or admirable activity. By and large, as living standards rise and as people depend less on having lots of children as an way to provide for retirement, population growth drops pretty quickly without imposed abortion. Also, although modern medicine makes abortion much safer than it used to be, it still is a major medical procedure. It also has a strong psychological effect on many women. It's part of our empathy evolution to care for and protect children. Even for people who are not religious, especially women, our drives are to protect and nurture children, and I think it is perilous to mess with that carelessly. I've known irreligious women who had to have abortions for medical reasons and they seem to be affected by (not traumatized, but impacted) the experience.
Certainly good points about the invasiveness of a procedure such as abortion, and one that should be taken into consideration when discussing this sort of thing.
Mandatory abortion would subject half of the population to invasive procedures against their will, and subsequently is not a viable option in my opinion.

However, actively encouraging the procedure - perhaps with strong penalties for those that wish to have more than, say, 2 children - combined with universal free access to birth control options such as condoms and the pill, along with public campaigns to remove the stigma associated with both abortion and birth control could prove effective.
Regardless, abortion should not be relied on as a population control on its own, however when used properly in conjunction with other solutions I do believe it can be effective. are correct
- selliedjoup
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