A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Post Natal Abortions

Post 61

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

A problem, I believe. is that many men only provide one and then forget about the second a few months later.


Post Natal Abortions

Post 62

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

As for crotch comfort - this is why I favour silky French knickers purchased from shops that cater for the fuller lady.

smiley - blushTMI?


Post Natal Abortions

Post 63

Otto Fisch ("Everything is awesome!")


Blog post from the original authors of the paper....

http://blogs.bmj.com/medical-ethics/2012/03/02/an-open-letter-from-giubilini-and-minerva/


Post Natal Abortions

Post 64

Dogster

Yep, their reply says more or less what was said here by all of us. smiley - smiley


Post Natal Abortions

Post 65

Maria

They say:

<<It was meant to be a pure exercise of logic: if X, then Y. We expected that other bioethicists would challenge either the premise or the logical pattern we followed, because this is what happens in academic debates.<<

Consequences of their exercise of logic:

abortion is the same that killing a newborn.

Pro-life: 1, Pro-choice: 0.
Euthanasia: -0

::

Do we need people using their time to say why or why not a newborn should be killed?
That´s sound frivolous.

I hope that academic debates have more useful aims than that one.I thought that that kind of debates were intended to have a consequence in our society. But according to those people, they were debating for the sake of it.
However I find it a bit disingenuous. If they didn´t mean it, why did it say it? If it was a reductio ad absurdum, they were refusing the Pro- choice option.

My opinion is that they really were meaning infanticide.




Post Natal Abortions

Post 66

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

I disagree, Maria.

The role of the ethicist is to try out a line of argument. Then they (and we in wider society) can take that argument and say 'Yes - but that's not the point.'

I feel it's important to be able to do such things to be able to unpick the various strands that make up opinion. Otherwise you get issues where people insist the answer is obvious when they've only considered one aspect.

*Why* infanticide is wrong is as important a question as (for example) why it is OK that some of us have plenty while others starve.


Post Natal Abortions

Post 67

Maria

Unpicking the strand is very healthy, I agree with you.

However, this exercise of logic adds nothing to society, on contrary it has given a lot of fresh air to pro-life groups.

They have been playing in their laboratory of concepts carelessly.

What was the point of their exercise of logic? Did they expect to be said that eugenics is wrong? Right? Only in some circunstances?

Does society really need a debate on eugenics?

It´s been a waste of time with negative side-effects on topics such as abortion and euthanasia.
They have been quite irresponsable with their logic games.


Post Natal Abortions

Post 68

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

So do we leave it to the anti-choicers to yell 'Abortion is infanticide!' - as at present - or do we unpick a series of arguments that helps us to articulate the difference between the two?


Post Natal Abortions

Post 69

Otto Fisch ("Everything is awesome!")


Maria, I'm not sure I follow your argument at all. Can I refer you to this article on 'How to be a Philosopher': A617843

"I hope that academic debates have more useful aims than that one. I thought that that kind of debates were intended to have a consequence in our society. But according to those people, they were debating for the sake of it."

Is philosophy and applied ethics 'useful'? Yes, I think it is, but its value and use is indirect. The uncomfortable truth is that most people's moral views are a mass of inconsistencies, special pleading, prejudice, arbitrariness, and unsupported intuition. And I include myself in this. If we want to come to the best possible decisions about ethical dilemmas, then we need to understand how the arguments work, we need experts to subject the arguments (rather than the rhetoric, the shouting, the disingenuousness, and the partisanship) to critical, rigorous analysis.

"However I find it a bit disingenuous. If they didn´t mean it, why did it say it?"

I'd suggest another read of the blog post they wrote. The intended audience for which they wrote the article would have understood their meaning because they would know the context. Because they would understand what an academic paper is. If they had been writing for a general readership, it would have been phrased differently.

"If it was a reductio ad absurdum, they were refusing the Pro- choice option."

Don't understand, sorry.

"on contrary it has given a lot of fresh air to pro-life groups."

It's not the role of ethicists to give or deny 'fresh air'. Although ethicists will have their personal views, they write argument and not polemic. The irony of all this is that the direction of the article is anti-abortion, as are most of the loons they've managed to annoy.

"Does society really need a debate on eugenics?"

Yes, we do. As screening becomes more and more advanced, it's increasingly possible to detect disability or a high likelihood of disability early in pregnancy. What disabilities and what percentage chance should inform decisions about whether to terminate the pregnancy? Should we allow sex selection, and if so, in what circumstances? Should we allow selection for other characteristics? What about human cloning? We *could* bury our heads in the sand and pretend that the technologies that we have now and are likely to have in the near future won't effect which babies are born. But I'd advise against it.

"It´s been a waste of time with negative side-effects on topics such as abortion and euthanasia."

Whose time has been wasted? What negative side effects have there been? Why shouldn't there be debates about abortion and euthanasia?

"They have been quite irresponsable with their logic games."

Er... no. There's nothing irresponsible about publishing an adequate (but not brilliant) article about medical ethics in a journal about medical ethics for an audience of academics and students of philosophy and applied ethics.

What is irresponsible is taking that article out of context, wildly misrepresenting its contents and context and intentions, leading to death threats and some pretty vile racist abuse against the authors.


Post Natal Abortions

Post 70

Maria

<<<If we want to come to the best possible decisions about ethical dilemmas, then we need to understand how the arguments work, we need experts to subject the arguments (rather than the rhetoric, the shouting, the disingenuousness, and the partisanship) to critical, rigorous analysis. <<<

I agree fully on that. What I´ve said is that that article fails completely on achieving that role of ethics.

I doubt they had in mind to shed any light on euthanasia, abortion or eugenics. It´s true that the target audience were experts that would have understood the context and considered that the authors were just exploring the issue.


But that paper has reached all kind of audiences. I´m that part of the lay audience that don´t understand why they have choosen those starting points for the debate: the definition of person and the mix of the causes allowed for abortion with infanticide. I think there´s more biased ideology than debate with that choice.

::

You´re right about having the eugenics debate. I didn´t think of the issues that the topic involves and that you have brought here( genetic selection)
I was thinking of killing alive people, nor about A Brave New World, which could be possible.



Post Natal Abortions

Post 71

Maria


<<There's nothing irresponsible about publishing an adequate (but not brilliant) article about medical ethics in a journal about medical ethics for an audience of academics and students of philosophy and applied ethics.<<

I haven´t read the answers of those academics and students. So, I retract myself when I said that the paper has failed completely.

It´s failed for me, because I think that there should be a line that shouldn´t be surpassed in the premises you use to debate if you intend to be useful for society.
To kill a baby is to kill a baby, I don´t need more logic to understand that, other thing would be to discuss euthanasia, which wasn´t their point.

It has also failed for me because it has affected negatively to the Pro-choice option.

Ed, because of that, says that we should define the arguments to make clear the difference between abortion and infanticide.

Maybe, but that topic is exhausted, I don´t think there would be any advance. It´s a women´s right. It´s about women bodies and lifes, so abortion is up to them. Religious or philosophical considerations on that topic seems to me quite paternalistic.

In any case, we didn´t need that article to debate, again, abortion.





Post Natal Abortions

Post 72

Otto Fisch ("Everything is awesome!")


Well.... I guess the paper and the ensuing fuss have made it very clear that academics need to have one eye on what might happen if their paper is read out of context by people for whom it was not written. The authors have explained and apologised for any offence caused. I think if this happens *again*, there will be much less excuse for the author and the journal. They're now more than aware that they can no longer consider the pages of the JME to be a private conversation between people who understand the conventions they're writing in. Having said that, I suspect that a similar paper which had all the caveats and disclaimers that lay readers apparently require would still get a comparable reaction from those determined to misunderstand it - by which I don't mean anyone here, but the angry mob that's been whipped up somewhere by someone.

As I've said before, the 'if abortion, why not infanticide' argument is not new. But in my view it's just not enough just to say 'don't make that argument, it'll only harm the pro-choice position' or 'duh, it's obvious, why ask the question'. It's an argument which poses a challenging question. It's one that those who are pro-choice need to have an answer for - not just in academic journals, but in political discourse and public debate more generally. At root there's a choice here - do we want to subject our own moral views to rigorous, challenging, analysis, or don't we?

Actually I don't think there's a great deal of interest in academic circles in the abortion debate - or at least there wasn't when I was paying more attention about 5 years or so ago. Most of the arguments had already been made, and there wasn't a huge amount to be said. There was some stuff around speculations about future directions of technology and what the ethical implications of an artificial womb would be. Similarly with euthanasia - not much new to be said. More topical areas such as sex selection, cloning, research ethics etc are (or were) given more attention.


Post Natal Abortions

Post 73

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

Yes - there's a politically important question we should ask ourselves:

'Why am I wrong?'


Key: Complain about this post