Abortion - what's really being debated?

How do you stand on abortion?

I am in favor of abortion based on the woman's decision.
9
38%
I am in favor of abortion only in circumstances where there are determining factors.
8
33%
I am opposed to abortion in any circumstance.
7
29%
 
Total votes : 24

Postby Spacewolfomega on Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:51 pm

sun tzu wrote:I'm no biologist, but...even if you leave a safety margin, you're still going to get a part that isn't yet a shade of gray.


Granted (under the conditions you described for life and mind). So, I'm assuming that you would be in favor of embryonic stem cell research and morning-after-pills, but would draw the line at late-term and partial birth abortions?

Although I disagree with your opinion, I must say that I find it more reasonable that the "whole gamut of abortions" approach. At least it attempts to draw a line where human life is concerned rather than simply discarding life if it conflicts with the mother's wishes.
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Postby Tbolt on Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:59 pm

See now, this is what debate is. Omega, Sun Tzu I commend you on sharing your views without throwing furniture at each other. Good job, both of you! :D
Always tell the truth, that way you don't have to remember anything. -- Mark twain
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Postby Sun tzu on Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:26 pm

Spacewolfomega wrote:
sun tzu wrote:I'm no biologist, but...even if you leave a safety margin, you're still going to get a part that isn't yet a shade of gray.


Granted (under the conditions you described for life and mind). So, I'm assuming that you would be in favor of embryonic stem cell research and morning-after-pills, but would draw the line at late-term and partial birth abortions?

Although I disagree with your opinion, I must say that I find it more reasonable that the "whole gamut of abortions" approach. At least it attempts to draw a line where human life is concerned rather than simply discarding life if it conflicts with the mother's wishes.


Your assumptions are correct. Morning-after pill or stem-cell research? No mind hurt, no foul. Abortion late in pregnancy? Either close or equivalent to baby-killing; not sure if I would condone it even in instance of rape or incest.
To the very least, that's the way I see it.
A question, though. You did mention that you disagree. At the risk of being obtuse, I must ask...why, exactly? Is there a part of my logical reasoning that struck as incorrect? Do you disagree with the hypothesis I work under? Or am I completely missing something?

See now, this is what debate is. Omega, Sun Tzu I commend you on sharing your views without throwing furniture at each other. Good job, both of you!

Why thank you.
When watching abortion debates/posturing, I often get the feeling that the choice/life sides don't understand what the other side is talking about. (Most?) pro-choicers don't seem to get that, from the pro-life POV, there's infanticide at stake, and "a woman's choice" doesn't even enter the equation; (most?) pro-lifers don't seem to get that, from a pro-choice POV, there isn't anybody there to commit murder against, so all their arguments are moot.
Then again, perhaps that was the point of the thread.
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Postby Deckard Canine on Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:26 pm

sun tzu wrote:we are our minds, not our bodies.


Such marks a crucial difference from Christian doctrine, which focuses on the soul rather than the mind. Actually, my sect, at least, considers the body important even after death -- that heaven will resurrect and improve our physical bodies. I believe it was Lewis who said, "A corpse is not a man, but neither is a ghost."

Regarding the prevention of a known vs. potential future life, I am reminded of an early part of Minority Report. When questioned on the propriety of jailing people before they can commit their forecast crimes, John rolls a ball across a surface toward an edge. The questioner catches it.

"Why'd you catch that?"
"Because it was going to fall."
"You're certain?"
"Yeah."
"But it didn't fall. You caught it. The fact that you prevented it from happening doesnt change the fact that it was *going* to happen."
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Postby Sun tzu on Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:44 pm

*ponders soul vs mind question*
*hesitates*
*opens can of worms*
Define "soul", and how exactly it is different from "mind".
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Postby The JAM on Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:50 pm

I think the correct term is "spirit", that is, the "real" you. Christian doctrine teaches that the spirit is formed before the mind: at the moment of conception. I'll give you the Bible verses tonight, unless someone beats me to it :D
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Postby Spacewolfomega on Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:39 pm

Tbolt wrote:See now, this is what debate is. Omega, Sun Tzu I commend you on sharing your views without throwing furniture at each other. Good job, both of you!


Thanks! I find that much more is accomplished when people can talk to each other like rational human beings... :)

sun tzu wrote:A question, though. You did mention that you disagree. At the risk of being obtuse, I must ask...why, exactly? Is there a part of my logical reasoning that struck as incorrect? Do you disagree with the hypothesis I work under? Or am I completely missing something?


Oh, no, your logical reasoning is quite sound! In fact, kudos to you, because I am quite impressed! Your argument is very solid and I'm especially impressed by the fact that you are arguing for the preservation of life. I have debated with pro-choicers before who argued from the standpoint of the woman's freedom and they never cared anything for the unborn child.

The point where I disagree is that you are coming from the standpoint of life beginning with the creation of the human mind. Of course, when I say life, I think we're talking about sentience... not the life that a tree has. I believe that humans have souls, which could very well precede the formation of the mind. This is a debate that you and I may well go in circles for for quite some time.
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Postby Kerry Skydancer on Wed Nov 22, 2006 8:20 pm

That debate would go in circles forever, Omega - because it's not the logic that's at fault. You're starting with different postulates, and as a result you come to different conclusions using the same data set.

As far as I am concerned, and I suspect Sun Tzu as well (correct me if I'm wrong, please - I'm not trying to put words in your mouth), there is no mind until the brain can support the electrical patterns that -make- the mind... or soul, or spirit, or what have you. The bare existence of a blastosphere doesn't strike me as sufficient humanity to worry about. You assume the soul is divinely assigned when conception occurs. Neither postulate has been arrived at solely through reason, so you can't argue each other out of it.
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Postby The JAM on Wed Nov 22, 2006 8:52 pm

[...unWARP!!!]

Good evening.

Yeremyah Bar Hilkiah wrote:Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Jeremiah 1:5

Shamuel Bar Elkanah wrote:For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
Judges 13:5

David Bar Jesse wrote:By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.
Psalm 71:6

Shaul of Tarshish wrote:But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.
Galatians 1:15-16

David Bar Jesse wrote:The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
Psalm 58:3

Isaiah Bar Ammoz wrote:Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.
Isaiah 48:8

David Bar Jesse wrote:I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:14-16

In the Bible, unborn fetuses are treated as "normal" people and are given assignments, names, etc., hence, the "real" person, with a spirit, is formed, and from before birth, the spirit already has a default tendency, and that being for evil (yes, that goes against humanistic teachings, but that's another story).

Interesting bit with that last verse 16. The phrase "substance yet being unperfect", given the context it's in, is also referred to as "unformed body". In fact, the Spanish Bible actually uses the term "embryo", which is probably why pro-choicers have an uphill battle in Latin America.


¡Zacatepóngolas!

Until next time, remember:

I

AM

THE

J.A.M. (a.k.a. Numbuh i: "Just because I'm imaginary doesn't mean I don't exist")

Good evening.

[WARP!!!]
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Postby Sun tzu on Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:26 pm

As far as I am concerned, and I suspect Sun Tzu as well (correct me if I'm wrong, please - I'm not trying to put words in your mouth), there is no mind until the brain can support the electrical patterns that -make- the mind... or soul, or spirit, or what have you.

Yes, that is pretty much it.

It would appear, then, that our disagreement comes from the belief in a soul independant of the mind and body vs. the belief we are are our mind, which is a product of our body's brain. The first is derived from Bible-inspired beliefs, while the second has its basis in a mechanist (is that the term?) worldview.
Since I do not believe in the Judeo-Christian God (and wouldnt believe in biblical innerancy even if I did), verses where the unborn are treated the same as the born convince me of nothing save the ancient Hebrews' ignorance of modern biology...But to someone who believes in (at least some level of) biblical innerancy, that constitutes precious clues as to reality.
But, this begs the question...If the soul is not the mind, then what is the soul without the mind?
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Postby RHJunior on Thu Nov 23, 2006 9:54 am

I have, myself, proposed the "no abortion after brainwaves detected" policy as a compromise, simply because it at LEAST has a legal precedent.

After all, most courts recognize a complete cessation of brain activity as the legal moment of the end of life. Shouldn't logic and consistency dictate that brain activity be recognized as the BEGINNING of life?

One would think that both parties at least get something of what they want out of such a compromise. I know most anti abortionists would gladly accept even this, on the grounds that at least SOME innocent unborn lives would be saved, and it would give at least SOME figleaf of recognition to the sanctity of human life...

And the abortionists would still get to keep the majority of their millions of abortions a year "legal and rare."

But I'm yet to see a single pro abortionist who will even give THAT much.

Out of selfishness, pure vile selfishness, and yes--- greed. Abortion is a <I>nine hundred million dollars a year</i> industry. Those providing the service, you know where THEIR interests lie. Do you honestly think they will countenance a critical look at their money cow?

Others here argue that abortions prevent "unwanted babies." I observe and know that <I>the abortion industry is the CAUSE AND AGGRAVATOR of the "unwanted babies" syndrome.</i> They have spend 30+ years propagandizing and convincing women that motherhood is a hateful enslavement imposed on them by a loathsome patriarchy--- rather than a result of their own actions and choices, and a sacred institution; they spent decades pretending that abortion is a heaven-sent "easy out" with no consequences; decades drilling home the mantra that it is THEIR body, THEIR rights, THEIR this and THEIR that, and perdition take the baby and the father and <I>their</i> rights and bodies and lives...

We permitted all this, and yet we have the temerity to act <I>surprised</i> when they find newborn babies thrown in dumpsters, or strangled and left in a toilet, or tossed in a bathroom trashcan the night of the prom.... we cry "how could she do it?" when a mother straps her two toddlers into a car and pushes it into a lake, or drowns all four of her children in a bathtub....
<I>Or when a prominent "bio-ethicist" begins arguing that it should be permissible to kill babies up to a month after their birth....</i>

We spend 30 years telling people that babies are THINGS, lecturing and lobbying and proselytizing and turning the hearts of mothers--- MOTHERS!--- into cold, hard, selfish, hateful lumps.

WE have only begun to reap what we sowed.
"What was that popping noise ?"
"A paradigm shifting without a clutch."
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Postby Tbolt on Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:54 am

Sun Tzu, the biggest impasse we have here is a definition of terms. You do not believe in the Judeo-Christian God, and I can understand that, you have your reasons for your faith.

I believe in that God, and I have my reasons for that faith as well.

We can start to argue philosophies, proofs, truths, logic, etc. But it still boils down that we come from different perspectives.

I walked in on an English as a Second Language class, and the sight boggled me. How do you talk to someone who has no concept of what you are saying? There were children from Korea, China, South Africa, and Mexico. Many of them could speak not a word of english.

How do you surmount that initial barrier? When the words that I would use to teach are meaningless? How can I understand your questions when your words are empty syllables to me?

I think the same applies to core philosophies as well. "Conception" is too simple a term for lawyers to bear. it allows no room for arguments or wrangling. It is so simple anyone can understand it. Conception, the beginning of life.

But we seem to need to keep things "open" and allow loopholes for whatever agenda one desires to push. We make a new arbitrarily defined point. We'll call it "personhood" A useful term that can be argued over. Yes, a Zygote is alive, but it is not a person until _____ (fill in the blank)

It is X period of time old.
It looks human.
It has brainwaves.
It is proven to be free of physical defect, and the parents indeed decide they wish to keep it.
It is proven to be free of physical defect, and the government decides the parents are allowed to keep it.

Again, I can understand and respect your points, Sun Tzu. We just come from two different perspectives. I can try explain to you the Christian concepts of body, soul, and spirit, but if you reject Christianity on principle, we are wasting our time.

All I can do as a Christian is lead a life that shows that I have something better to offer. Your decisions and conclusions are your own to make.

Again, it has been a pleasure watching you debate.
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Postby Sun tzu on Thu Nov 23, 2006 11:44 am

Tbolt wrote:Sun Tzu, the biggest impasse we have here is a definition of terms. You do not believe in the Judeo-Christian God, and I can understand that, you have your reasons for your faith.

I believe in that God, and I have my reasons for that faith as well.

We can start to argue philosophies, proofs, truths, logic, etc. But it still boils down that we come from different perspectives.

Perhaps. However, just because I'm an atheist and you're a christian, it does not necessarilly mean any further debate is fruitless. For instance, I am still waiting for anyone to explain how "soul" is not actually synonimous to "mind" (and thus could, conceivably, be present in a person without an active brain).

I walked in on an English as a Second Language class, and the sight boggled me. How do you talk to someone who has no concept of what you are saying? There were children from Korea, China, South Africa, and Mexico. Many of them could speak not a word of english.

How do you surmount that initial barrier? When the words that I would use to teach are meaningless? How can I understand your questions when your words are empty syllables to me?

I do not think the divide is quite as large in our peculiar instance. So far, we've managed to explain our respective viewpoints reasonably well...Or at least, that was the impression that I got.

I think the same applies to core philosophies as well. "Conception" is too simple a term for lawyers to bear. it allows no room for arguments or wrangling. It is so simple anyone can understand it. Conception, the beginning of life.

But we seem to need to keep things "open" and allow loopholes for whatever agenda one desires to push. We make a new arbitrarily defined point. We'll call it "personhood" A useful term that can be argued over. Yes, a Zygote is alive, but it is not a person until _____ (fill in the blank)

It is X period of time old.
It looks human.
It has brainwaves.
It is proven to be free of physical defect, and the parents indeed decide they wish to keep it.
It is proven to be free of physical defect, and the government decides the parents are allowed to keep it.

Here, allow me to disagree. This isn't a matter of loopholes; rather, a matter of defining what's important and meaningfull from a moral perspective.

Again, I can understand and respect your points, Sun Tzu. We just come from two different perspectives. I can try explain to you the Christian concepts of body, soul, and spirit, but if you reject Christianity on principle, we are wasting our time.

I do not reject it on principle. I have seriously considered the possibility that it might be true, and have even had some doubts for a time. But until I consider it correct - which does not seem likely to happen at this point, and even less so within the limited frame of this debate - then I cannot consider it "evidence" for anything, true.

All I can do as a Christian is lead a life that shows that I have something better to offer. Your decisions and conclusions are your own to make.

Again, it has been a pleasure watching you debate.

Likewise.
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Postby Tbolt on Thu Nov 23, 2006 1:06 pm

sun tzu wrote:... However, just because I'm an atheist and you're a christian, it does not necessarilly mean any further debate is fruitless. For instance, I am still waiting for anyone to explain how "soul" is not actually synonimous to "mind" ...


Ok, fair enough. From my understanding we as individuals consist of three essences, body, spirit, and soul.

The body obviously is the corporeal essence. The physical blob that is typing this message. =^^=

The Spirit gives life to the body, without a spirit, the body dies.

The soul is the defining spark as to what I am. My personality and tendencies. If you look over The JAM's post you can see that God knows who I am from the moment of conception. The zygote is me at my first stage of development. Therefore, God has assigned a place for my soul. If that embryo is destroyed for whatever reason, my life is ended.

After death The spirit leaves the body and the soul goes to face judgement. The soul is immortal and does not die. It can exist independent of the body, but is incomplete without the body. On the last day we will be given new, incorruptible bodies to spend eternity in.

sun tzu wrote:
Tbolt wrote:I walked in on an English as a Second Language class, and the sight boggled me. How do you talk to someone who has no concept of what you are saying? ...

I do not think the divide is quite as large in our peculiar instance. So far, we've managed to explain our respective viewpoints reasonably well...Or at least, that was the impression that I got.


True, but the fact that our core beliefs are different does make finding common ground difficult. But you are right, we can at least expound our respective cases.

sun tzu wrote:
Tbolt wrote:..."Conception" is too simple a term for lawyers to bear. it allows no room for arguments or wrangling. ...

... But we seem to need to keep things "open" and allow loopholes for whatever agenda one desires to push. ...

Here, allow me to disagree. This isn't a matter of loopholes; rather, a matter of defining what's important and meaningfull from a moral perspective.


Sorry, perhaps I spoke in too broad terms. You do seem to be a genuine seeker of the truth, but there are those that do have a political agenda to promote on both sides of this issue, and different people have different motivations for their stance on certain issues.

The abortion industry is a multi-million dollar industry and there are those who wish to see business as usual. Some people would like to see certain races self-destruct. Convince girls to abort their children, and you don't have to deal with messy concentration camps.

Again, I do not mean to ascribe any of those motivations to you. Please forgive me if I sounded cynical.

sun tzu wrote:
Tbolt wrote:Again, I can understand and respect your points, Sun Tzu. We just come from two different perspectives. I can try explain to you the Christian concepts of body, soul, and spirit, but if you reject Christianity on principle, we are wasting our time.

I do not reject it on principle. I have seriously considered the possibility that it might be true, and have even had some doubts for a time. But until I consider it correct - which does not seem likely to happen at this point, and even less so within the limited frame of this debate - then I cannot consider it "evidence" for anything, true.


Hee, hee, which again brings us full circle;

“Spirit” and “Soul” are not scientifically definable quantities. Soul and mind sound similar, but it is impossible to prove that a soul pre-exists the body, or even post-exists it for all that matters. Here we are talking almost strictly within the realm of faith. Without agreement here, we merely end up talking past one another.

Yes we can measure brainwave activity at a certain point of a child's development, but outside of general reaction to external stimuli, we have no clue as to what is going on in the “mind” of an unborn child.

One's original DNA is established at the point of conception. That DNA will determine the size and shape of the ultimately ensuing brain that houses the mind. Therefore, that DNA has impact on the formation of the mind? And perhaps the precursor to the seat of the mind?

Hmmm, I don't think I can tack anywhere constructive from this point, as the DNA does not bear any activity associated with sentience.
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Postby Sun tzu on Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:18 pm

Ok, fair enough. From my understanding we as individuals consist of three essences, body, spirit, and soul.

The body obviously is the corporeal essence. The physical blob that is typing this message. =^^=

The Spirit gives life to the body, without a spirit, the body dies.

Is that not contradicted by certain coma victims whose mind has been irrevocably destroyed, yet whose bodies still function?
Not to mention plants. Though admittedly, I would be hard-pressed to actually prove plants have no mind.

The soul is the defining spark as to what I am. My personality and tendencies. If you look over The JAM's post you can see that God knows who I am from the moment of conception. The zygote is me at my first stage of development. Therefore, God has assigned a place for my soul. If that embryo is destroyed for whatever reason, my life is ended.

Wait wait wait. Now I'm confused. Let me re-read what you said...
So, the spirit you mentioned earlier is not what includes the personality. You assign that to what you call the soul. This makes me wonder what the spirit is supposed to be then, but back to the soul: Last time I checked, our "personality and tendencies" can, in fact, be affected by physical means. Drugs, exhaustion, electrical simulations of the brain which all have effects on the mind. If the soul is independant from the body, then how do you explain this?

The abortion industry is a multi-million dollar industry and there are those who wish to see business as usual. Some people would like to see certain races self-destruct. Convince girls to abort their children, and you don't have to deal with messy concentration camps.

...
The multi-million dollar industry argument has its merits, but is the second part linked to any real-world trend I'm unaware of?[/i]
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Postby BrockthePaine on Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:51 pm

sun tzu wrote:
The abortion industry is a multi-million dollar industry and there are those who wish to see business as usual. Some people would like to see certain races self-destruct. Convince girls to abort their children, and you don't have to deal with messy concentration camps.

...
The multi-million dollar industry argument has its merits, but is the second part linked to any real-world trend I'm unaware of?[/i]

I have certainly heard undercurrents to that effect. It doesn't catch a lot of airtime, though I'm sure just a bit of research should find you one or two examples of it.
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Postby The JAM on Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:25 pm

I thought I had my notes here, but I think they're at my other place. I'll get them tomorrow and give you a more detailed explanation. It's hard to separate spirit, mind, and body from one another because all three of them compose ONE person. A spirit, even the spirit of a Christian, without a body, would very much be in distress, yes, in distress, if it were not in a place of refuge while it awaits the redemption of the physical body, hence: God's provision for Heaven, but if you read Revelation, Heaven is NOT going to be our final resting place.
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Postby StrangeWulf13 on Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:23 pm

sun tzu wrote:Is that not contradicted by certain coma victims whose mind has been irrevocably destroyed, yet whose bodies still function?
Not to mention plants. Though admittedly, I would be hard-pressed to actually prove plants have no mind.


Well, see, that's the thing... when we say "brain dead", we're going on a definition created by doctor's trying to determine point of death. Yet even that term is being heavily debated by people who feel we're terminating people who could eventually recover and live, even with brain damage. Terri Schiavo is an example, and it's hard to argue whether she was "brain dead" or not. The period at which we should've gotten more evidence was lost when her husband got the family and video cameras banned from her bedside. So we don't know.

In any case, it's fairly possible that the soul is still present in "brain dead" people, but it's trapped due to a problem with the mind and body.

Think of a human being as a computer. You have the body, which would be hardware, the actual physical component. Then there's the spirit, which would be like the power source, going on Tbolt's description of it. And the soul would be sort of the core program for the whole thing, the most important part of the machine. All that's left is the mind, which probably functions as something like the "machine language" that interprets the soul's commands and moves the body in whatever way it needs to. It'd also handle instinctive functions, like throwing up when there's poisons or toxins in the digestive track, as well as serving the function of memory storage (though it's not so good at that).

As such, we have this incredible machine called a human being, functioning and living so long as all parts work together.

This is where injury to the brain comes in, as it likely serves as the base for the mind. When the brain becomes damaged, the mind loses some of its functionality, which affects the rest of the machine. The soul may not be able to interpret the mind's data appropriately to make the same decisions it did before, or at least not in the same way. Plus, the body may receive false signals, or none. Memory might also be lost. The link between body and soul would be damaged. This is, of course, assuming my allegory is even half correct. :roll: I don't pretend to understand it; I'm not even in medical school. But with the knowledge I do have, this is the most accurate description of how things work I can come up with.

If anyone else has something to add, please feel free. I've probably made a mistake somewhere and it helps to have others review things. Especially when handling a subject like this.

Least I've avoided throwing any proverbial furniture around... :wink:
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Postby Sun tzu on Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:49 am

StrangeWulf13 wrote:
sun tzu wrote:Is that not contradicted by certain coma victims whose mind has been irrevocably destroyed, yet whose bodies still function?
Not to mention plants. Though admittedly, I would be hard-pressed to actually prove plants have no mind.


Well, see, that's the thing... when we say "brain dead", we're going on a definition created by doctor's trying to determine point of death. Yet even that term is being heavily debated by people who feel we're terminating people who could eventually recover and live, even with brain damage. Terri Schiavo is an example, and it's hard to argue whether she was "brain dead" or not. The period at which we should've gotten more evidence was lost when her husband got the family and video cameras banned from her bedside. So we don't know.

In any case, it's fairly possible that the soul is still present in "brain dead" people, but it's trapped due to a problem with the mind and body.

Think of a human being as a computer. You have the body, which would be hardware, the actual physical component. Then there's the spirit, which would be like the power source, going on Tbolt's description of it. And the soul would be sort of the core program for the whole thing, the most important part of the machine. All that's left is the mind, which probably functions as something like the "machine language" that interprets the soul's commands and moves the body in whatever way it needs to. It'd also handle instinctive functions, like throwing up when there's poisons or toxins in the digestive track, as well as serving the function of memory storage (though it's not so good at that).

As such, we have this incredible machine called a human being, functioning and living so long as all parts work together.

This is where injury to the brain comes in, as it likely serves as the base for the mind. When the brain becomes damaged, the mind loses some of its functionality, which affects the rest of the machine. The soul may not be able to interpret the mind's data appropriately to make the same decisions it did before, or at least not in the same way. Plus, the body may receive false signals, or none. Memory might also be lost. The link between body and soul would be damaged. This is, of course, assuming my allegory is even half correct. :roll: I don't pretend to understand it; I'm not even in medical school. But with the knowledge I do have, this is the most accurate description of how things work I can come up with.

If anyone else has something to add, please feel free. I've probably made a mistake somewhere and it helps to have others review things. Especially when handling a subject like this.

Least I've avoided throwing any proverbial furniture around... :wink:

Not going to get into the Schiavo thing (I mean, I have an opinion that I'm pretty certain of on the matter, but that one particular instance of the larger problem is too emotionally charged). At least not for now.

I also see the brain as the "computer" and our mind (what most of you seem to call "soul") as the "program" running on it (though I don't see the need for a "spirit power source". Our brain gets its energies from chemical reactions, so where's the need for an undescript spirit?)...But, see, that's the thing: When you destroy a computer, you destroy the program on it (unless you're keeping a backup somewhere else). If the mind is the product of the brain, then brain-death is the end of who we are.
Unless you mean that the "soul" is something different from the "mind" (personality, memories, intelligence, likes and dislikes), which seems too closely linked to brain activity for me not to assume it's a product of the brain?
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Postby Spacewolfomega on Fri Nov 24, 2006 6:05 am

Wow... a lot of discussion going on here! I have to begin by commending Sun Tzu for hanging in there in this debate, especially considering that I think numerically the odds are against him. ;) I also have to thank everyone else for keeping the debate at a level of discussion free from insults and hostility. Thanks again, everyone.

It seems to me that what we're into now is the discussion of souls and how that influences the decision on abortion. I'm sure that if Sun Tzu believed that an embryo had a soul, his opinion on abortion would be different. However, coming from a view of humans as biological machines, his definition of life, specifically sentient life, is based on the formation of mind, which in his opinion will be a by-product of the brain. (Please correct me if I am misrepresenting you in any way, Sun Tzu... I was an agnostic for years and so I feel like I've been down that line of reasoning before.)

The discussion on abortion as being morally justifiable when taking life seems to have reached a conclusion because we all appear to be on the same side of the issue. Specifically "if a human life will be destroyed by abortion, it should not be done, regardless of the mother's desires". Am I correct on this?

I find Sun Tzu's desire to preserve life a refreshing take on the pro-choice stance because so often pro-choicers are not concerned with the life of the unborn. They choose to ignore it. If all the pro-choicers in the world were like Sun Tzu, I think we'd have a much better world than we do now because society's respect for life would be much elevated.

So, the only point of contention now would be to pursue the notion of whether or not an embryo has a soul and to do that we would first need to convince Sun Tzu that souls exist. Now, gang, I'm up to debating a lot of things, but I don't know how well I think I can convince someone of what I believe by faith. The experiences which brought me out of agnosticism are very personal and while they serve as concrete evidence for me, I don't think it would be too helpful for others.
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