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Author Topic: The Sanguine Sex
Storm Saxon
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Dags, I can tell within about ten seconds of reading any of your posts whether the topic in question is something that you're going to argue about or dialogue over. (edit: I should also point out that I've noticed that whether or not you go into this mode depends on who you're talking to....)

When you get in argument mode, you don't listen. Your sole focus is on defending your thesis and undercutting the other person's thesis. I don't enjoy talking to you or anyone else when they're in this mode.

This is the last I'm going to say about it, as I have nothing more to say. As I said before, I'm just anwering your question on this because I believe I owe you an elaboration. I don't believe you'll listen.

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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Originally posted by JennaDean:
quote:
Yes, killing is wrong, but a very high percentage of females who become sexually active, whether after marriage or whatever, have at some point naturally aborted.
I've heard this point made before, and I've never understood why it was relavent. It's equivalent to saying that people die of natural causes every day, so what's the big deal if we choose to kill some?
That is how it may sound to you, but what it is saying is that there is more to the process of bringing a zygote to full term than 1-2-3 and there is life. "Life" is not that simple a thing to judge using an emotional evaluation.
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Dagonee
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That's not an elaboration, and it doesn't fit the facts of what happened at all. Here's the post in question:

quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
quote:
Does he really need to provide numbers?
At minimum, he needs to provide evidence that blue states provide more than $500 in care over that provided by Texas - something that would pretty much require numbers.

quote:
If women are having abortions because of cost, which is the premise of giving them $500,
No, it is not the premise of giving them $500. The premise of giving them $500 is that some people will choose not to have an abortion if given $500 not to do so. This might be related to cost, but it might not be.

quote:
then it is logical that the more they save, the more money they get when they're pregnant, then the less likely they will be to abort because of cost.

So, if the state offered some kind of medical insurance to pregnant women so they didn't have to pay for it out of pocket, a plan that is usually associated with 'blue state' liberalism, and this saves women more money, then they will be less likely to abort.

If this idea is not true, then I don't see how the $500 dollar idea is true.

Beyond the difference in how someone values $500 in cash and free medical care, the mere offer of $500 might make people investigate their options more thoroughly. In doing so, they might discover that, in Texas, adoption agencies can provide medical expenses, legal fees, counseling expenses, and living expenses.

Each of the nested quotes is something you said. My responses were direct answers that could not have been made had I not listened to what you actually said.

Apparently, when I have an opinion that differs from yours, I'm being argumentative. Even when my response is to YOU disagreeing with something I've said.

You stated that the premise of the entire plan was X. I disagreed. I contradicted you and gave a more general premise that fit the plan as well.

Your response? "Why do I bother. Jesus, it's like talking to a brick wall."

You then stated that if $500 won't make up the difference between the red and blue state medical aid, then the plan must fail. I gave two ways the plan might succeed even if it doesn't make up the difference.

Your response? "Why do I bother. Jesus, it's like talking to a brick wall."

So you say you're not going to comment any more. Fine. I just wanted to expose the hypocrisy in plain view. You chose to address me in that thread. You chose to disagree with me. Your disagreement motivated me to respond with actual analysis of the issue.

Your response? "Why do I bother. Jesus, it's like talking to a brick wall."

Yeah, I'm the brick wall here.

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Storm Saxon
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[Smile]
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Dagonee
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It's good cover anyway - "that's all I'm going to say about it" means you don't have to admit that you can't back up what you've said.

Edit to remove veiled profanity. Or vulgarity. I can never remember which is which.

[ April 11, 2007, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: Dagonee ]

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Jutsa Notha Name
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That is not a useful tactic. Or, at least, that is what I have been told. Also, you are condemning Storm Saxon for saying why does he bother, yet you post the following.
quote:
<snip everything I wrote because you're not worth the effort after reading this>
If you are going to condemn Storm Saxon for dismissiveness being a cop-out or a hypocritical, you may not wish to engage in such behavior yourself.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
When you get in argument mode, you don't listen. Your sole focus is on defending your thesis and undercutting the other person's thesis. I don't enjoy talking to you or anyone else when they're in this mode.
Well, this is a bunch of garbage. Setting aside the fact that in order to listen and undercut the opposition, you have to listen, it seems to me that the number of arguments Dagonee starts is very heavily outweighed by the number he participates in.

Edit:
quote:
(edit: I should also point out that I've noticed that whether or not you go into this mode depends on who you're talking to....)
Yeah, and you don't change your tone and style depending on who you're talking to? Such as to Dagonee, dismissing things he says with brick-wall remarks?
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katharina
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Dagonee listens and still manages to disagree cogently and intelligently.

It is possible for someone to understand completely and still disagree.

Trust your argument, Storm. If you're persuasive, you don't have to resort to ad hominems.

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MrSquicky
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I disagree. Storm is correct in what Dag does in some cases. He plays games that can be very tiresome. (edit: Or at least that's my perspective.)
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katharina
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Dagonee doesn't need to resort to playing games. He has clear positions with well-thought-out justifications.
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Scott R
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Dagonee--

It would actually help the situation if you didn't say things like "It's good cover anyway - "that's all I'm going to say about it" means you don't have to admit that you're full of s&^%."

Storm--

quote:
And, please, for the rest of the forum, don't turn this into a popularity contest. I know most of y'all get along with Dagonee and he's well liked.
I'm not sure what this has to do with anything. Unless you're implying that we agree with Dagonee merely because we like him.

That would be very silly.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by Jutsa Notha Name:
That is not a useful tactic. Or, at least, that is what I have been told. Also, you are condemning Storm Saxon for saying why does he bother, yet you post the following.
quote:
<snip everything I wrote because you're not worth the effort after reading this>
If you are going to condemn Storm Saxon for dismissiveness being a cop-out or a hypocritical, you may not wish to engage in such behavior yourself.
The big difference is that I didn't accuse Paul of anything and then refuse to elaborate after TWICE admitting that he was owed elaboration. Paul accused me of lying. I decided that there's no point addressing the rest of the discussion with that accusation present. I did, however, address his accusation.

Storm made a specific accusation. He admits I'm owed elaboration on it. He hasn't given it.

The hypocrisy is not that Storm won't answer. It's that he justifies his accusation of brick-wallness by saying he doesn't like behavior that 1) I haven't engaged in and 2) that he himself engaged in.

quote:
I disagree. Storm is correct in what Dag does in some cases. He plays games that can be very tiresome.
And yet, when you are asked to explain why answering the very questions you asked is a game, you don't answer. I'm going to assume it's because you're incapable of doing so until proven otherwise.
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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Storm--

quote:
And, please, for the rest of the forum, don't turn this into a popularity contest. I know most of y'all get along with Dagonee and he's well liked.
I'm not sure what this has to do with anything. Unless you're implying that we agree with Dagonee merely because we like him.

That would be very silly.

I know exactly what he is saying, and it isn't about agreeing. It is about this turning into a Storm Saxon dogpile because he had the gall to say something Dagonee found unacceptable.

I find your post refreshing, Scott R, in that it chides both to take a deep breath before continuing. That is an even handed approach, and probably the best in this case. I must admit to having slightly more sympathy for Storm Saxon in this case, though, and I am sure it is coloured by my own experiences (not with Dagonee, who has been generally consistently engaging with me even when disagreeing, but in general).

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Jutsa Notha Name
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Dagonee, I know the two are not the exact same, but just like has been told to me my behavior in one post affects how others are going to react to separate posts. Wouldn't that naturally apply to more than just me?
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Scott R
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That's me-- I'm as refreshing as an Irish Spring.
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Jutsa Notha Name
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Except I would not want you in the shower with me.
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katharina
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I think that's as close to flirting as you'll get, Scott.
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kmbboots
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Ooo...kat beat me to it.
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Scott R
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I'm apathetic.

Meh.

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ElJay
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I don't believe you are owed an explanation, Dags. I can understand why you're frustrated with what Storm said, and I think him saying he knows he "owes" you an explanation of his way of saying he understands you're frustrated, too. But if an explaination is something he doesn't feel he can give, or just doesn't want to give, that's his perogative. It's the same discussion that went on with kat in another thread in the last few days. . . if someone choses not to talk about a topic, that's their right. There are ways to do this that piss people off more or less than others, and of course it's everyone else's right to chose not to engage with that person anymore if they feel they are not acting in good faith. But there's no way to collect words you feel you're owed.
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Rakeesh
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I think he's owed an explanation because Storm himself said he owed him an explanation. Beyond that, I don't have an opinion except that Storm was hiding behind his brick wall comment before, and is hiding now behind his "you're not going to listen" and "popularity contest" now, neither opinion having any bearing on whether or not an explanation is owed.

I'm also pretty darn sure that Dagonee is not challenging Storm Saxon's right not to talk about something that he doesn't want to, or asserting that he's owed an explanation in the same way he'd be owed a couple of bucks.

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Glenn Arnold
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Reading through the article and the thread, I'm struck by Dagonee's initial comment that the article is necessarily biased, and by his later comment that the article "is an emotional appeal veiled in an assertion of balance," since amended to: "an emotional appeal that seems to be perceived by some as balanced."

The second set of comments put the first in a greater light. Dagonee's comment that the article is biased is in fact biased. I'm sure Dag will agree with this, as he acknowledges his bias against abortion.

But the article does something that violates pro-choice propaganda standards. It admits that numerous changes have taked place that will prevent society from ever going back to the back-alley coathanger abortion that is described.

To wit:

* Information availability. Abortion is a simple procedure if done correctly. It is possible to find instructions on the internet that can allow a non-professional to provide abortions that are comparable to licensed abortions.

* Availability of newer abortion techniques, particularly drug induced abortions. There is a black market for all kinds of drugs. If abortion is made illegal in the U.S., abortion drugs will remain available though black market channels. Abortions done this way are even safer than surgical abortions.

* Societal changes that remove much of the pressure to have an abortion in the first place. The High School in my district has a nursery so students with children can continue their education, for example. This never would have happened during the time period discussed, largely for reasons associated with religion. See The Madgalene Sisters for a better understanding of this mechanism.

This last change is the most important of the three in my mind. Hillary Clinton's slogan of "Safe, Legal, and RARE" can only be achieved if unwanted pregnancy can be prevented. If there is a part of the article that is disengenuous, it is the fact that the article fails to mention two things: Birth Control, and Abstinence education.
quote:
The real question is not how far a man would ride a bicycle to have sex. Itís how much ruin and butchery a woman will risk to have sexówhich turns out to be as much ruin and butchery as the world has in it. The heroic and audacious and mystifying part of the stories in these two books isnít how women got through abortions or adoptions; itís how they got the courage to have sex in the first place.

To begin with, of course, there is erotic desire. "Despite all of that terroróand Iím talking tooth-gnashing terror," recalls Rita Moreno,

quote:
I still now and then would give in, succumb, to those pleasurable moments. Itís astounding. When youíre that scared you usually stay away from the thing that scares you, but not with sexuality.
But women have always bound other emotions with their eroticism. To hear these women talk about sleeping with men for reasons that have nothing to do with sexual impulses is to understand something essential about women, and about why they have been so easily exploited by men for sex. "Nobody ever took into consideration feelings," writes Polly Bergen about the harsh lectures she was given about sex when she was a girl:

quote:
They never took into consideration wanting to be held or wanting to be loved or wanting to be cared for or wanting to not feel alone or frightened Ö putting out seems like such a small price to pay for not being lonely.

To me, this is the crux of the article. Abstinence education will never work for the reasons explained in the quote above. Yet the article does not make that argument, it leaves it up to the reader to fill in the blanks. The alternative to abstinence is birth control, but that isnít mentioned either. Perhaps those of the pro-life persuasion feel a discomfort similar to what Ms. Flanigan feels with the knowledge of what is destroyed during an abortion, when they consider how much suffering is caused by taboos against birth control. I donít know, but they should.
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Paul Goldner
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"Paul accused me of lying."


NOW I'm going to accuse you of lying. I didn't before. I said I wasn't going to believe you. The gulf between "I don't believe you," and "you're lying" is an incredibly large one.

From someone who argues the way you do over many of teh Bush administrations actions (i.e. "I'm not going to argue whether this is right or wrong, I'm simply going to show how it could be considered to be legal") you not only should be able to recognize the difference between the statement "I'm not going to believe you," and the statement "you are lying," you hold yourself to that standard of expectation.

Lying means deliberate attempt to deceive by spreading false information.

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Dagonee
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I stated I had seen it here. I pointed out a specific example of someone justifying abortion even if it kills a human being due the right to life. The example itself showed used an entity specifically chosen as inarguably a person - to remove the element of personhood from the points in dispute.

The entire purpose of the analogy was to demonstrate what an argument you chose to "not believe" existed.

You didn't just disbelieve the general contention that some people have argued as I said they have. You also disbelieved a reference to a specific such argument.

The only way what I said would not be true is if I either made up the violinist example or the violinist did not meant what I said it meant. My intent to say what I meant was clear. My claim was such that error is not a credible defense to the charge of lying. There's no credibly way for me to wrong about my claim and not lying.

Either way, you are terribly, terribly mistaken that no one has argued "legal abortion is constitutionally required even if an unborn child were considered a person morally or legally." People have, and the argument is still a significant thread of the various justifications for legal abortion.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
The gulf between "I don't believe you," and "you're lying" is an incredibly large one.

If someone makes a carefully considered, deliberate statement and then you reply with, "I don't believe you," just how big is the gulf?
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Paul Goldner
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Pretty big, when the conversation is about people here on hatrack, and he makes reference to someone who wrote an essay 35 years ago (and doesn't link it, just makes refernece too. I'm fine doing my own reserach, but I'm not always going to, especially if the way the question is presented is done in such a way that its not apparent what is being referenced).
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Rakeesh
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I saw that edited post, Paul.
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Paul Goldner
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Edit: Yup, you did. The full thing is here.
End edit.

Storm is basically right about what you do, Dagonee.

You didn't read what I was saying, you read the peice of what I said that allowed you to go into attack mode.

You did it the last time we got in a fight, and you're doing it now again.

You aren't interested in what people say. You're interested in how you can show them to be wrong. Unfortanately, that means you often show yourself to be an asshole because you don't take in the peice of what people say that shows how your proof of incorrectness is irrelevent.

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Rakeesh
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Hey, you've got more in common with Storm Saxon than disagreeing with Dagonee [Smile]
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Dagonee
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quote:
You aren't interested in what people say. You're interested in how you can show them to be wrong. Unfortanately, that means you often show yourself to be an asshole because you don't take in the peice of what people say that shows how your proof of incorrectness is irrelevent.
You really are incapable of civility. That's twice you've called me that now, Paul.

What's really rich about this, though, is the bold part. Consider your statement about the word "humane":

quote:
"I disagree with your definition of humane"

Thats nice. The vast majority of english speakers don't disagree with me. Go look around at some of the organizations that seek to legislate humane treatment of animals, or humane treatment laws. By far the majority of them use humane in such a way that it is not incompatible with humans killing animals. In fact, most of them are asking that we be humane in how we kill.

It would be a fine statement - a good refutation of my argument - if it, in any way, shape, or form actually addressed my argument.

Let's look at what it was actually in response to:

quote:
I disagree with your definition of humane if it allows intentional killing of a human being with no finding of danger or culpability.
Seems to me you left out "the peice of what [I] said that shows how your proof of incorrectness is irrelevent" - you know, the part where I specified human beings, not animals.

Fine, you disagree about the personhood of the unborn child. But that's kind of my point. If one speaks of the humaneness of abortion, one is not taking into account the personhood of the entity killed.

So before you accuse me of ignoring the part that makes a proof of incorrectness irrelevant, take a look at your posts.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
If one speaks of the humaneness of abortion, one is not taking into account the personhood of the entity killed.
Or one who speaks of the inhumaneness of abortion is not taking into account the lack of personhood of the entity killed.

Your assertion that they are, that they have a soul, etc. simply doesn't hold any water when you are arguing with someone who believes that a soul cannot exist without adequate nerve function and connectivity to achieve self-awareness.

The article in question demonstrates the inhumaneness of a society that would put women through the trauma of a back alley abortion. That inhumaneness demonstrably exists regardless of whether the fetus is self-aware.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Or one who speaks of the inhumaneness of abortion is not taking into account the lack of personhood of the entity killed.
Glenn, you need to read the whole context as to why I posted this. It is NOT an attempt to argue about the morality of abortion. It was an attempt to demonstrate that the article was not balanced, but very definitively taking a side.

In other words, the fact that you say this is a demonstration of my point, which is that a pro-choice person speaking about the humaneness of abortion is presenting the world from their premises.

This is a perfectly proper thing to do given those premises - it's not dishonest, it's not manipulative, it's not rhetorically tricky.

But it's not balanced, anymore than an article that states that abortion is killing a human being is a balanced.

"Not balanced" <> "bad." It just means it's not balanced.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
In other words, the fact that you say this is a demonstration of my point, which is that a pro-choice person speaking about the humaneness of abortion is presenting the world from their premises.

This is a perfectly proper thing to do given those premises - it's not dishonest, it's not manipulative, it's not rhetorically tricky.

Fair enough, but...

quote:
It was an attempt to demonstrate that the article was not balanced, but very definitively taking a side.
And that's actually where I disagree with you, hence my first post. The article concedes points that are rhetorically deadly to the standard pro-choice arguments, and also concedes emotionally damaging points that allow the pro-life side to make exactly the claim you're making: that they are disregarding the humanness of the fetus. While it's clear that her perspective is pro-choice, she's going to great lengths to be balanced. I don't think it's fair to discredit that.
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Paul Goldner
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It would be very easy for someone moderately, or more, acquainted with the english language and how it is used in the united states, to apply the word "humane" to abortion, even if that person believed a fetus is also a person.

Which means that the presence of the word does not unbalance the article.

Which was the original point I was making.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
It would be very easy for someone moderately, or more, acquainted with the english language and how it is used in the united states, to apply the word "humane" to abortion, even if that person believed a fetus is also a person.
I disagree. When we talk about humane killing in the United States (in my experience), generally we're speaking of a few very limited things. Either animals, or convicted human criminals. I can't recall ever reading a newspaper headline about someone murdered 'humanely' in their sleep.
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Dagonee
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quote:
While it's clear that her perspective is pro-choice, she's going to great lengths to be balanced. I don't think it's fair to discredit that.
We may simply be using a different definition of balanced. The article recounts several tales of hard choices made and hardships suffered by women choosing to abort or having children taken for adoption either against their will or at least without informed consent.

The effect of the other entity involved in these stories is not addressed at all except to recount one mother who thinks aborting is better than sending her child into the woods and to mention the unwelcome nature of the knowledge presented by 3d ultrasound - knowledge that doesn't change her opinion.

The article is powerful because of the personal stories. That power is specifically and intentionally not applied to the other half of the decision.

She's not going to great lengths to be balanced - she's taking a side. She is going to great lengths to demonstrate her understanding of the other side - a good thing, but not balance.

quote:
It would be very easy for someone moderately, or more, acquainted with the english language and how it is used in the united states, to apply the word "humane" to abortion, even if that person believed a fetus is also a person.
Vacuum aspiration, injection of caustic solution into the uterus, intact dilation and extraction, and sharp curettage. These are not humane.
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
That power is specifically and intentionally not applied to the other half of the decision.
I don't understand what you mean here. She specifically and intentionally left out stories told from the perspective of a fetus?
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Belle
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No, she left out stories of women who, facing an unplanned pregnancy, decided instead of abortion to carry their children to term and give birth to them. That is the side that is not represented.

Edit: I realize the article mentions women forced to go to "maternity homes" but what I'm referring to are the stories of people who made a conscious choice, who wanted their babies and raised them and/or lovingly gave them up for adoption and don't regret that decision. Not those that were forced into homes against their wills. That's decidedly lacking here, as Dag said, the one woman who spoke of adoption said she preferred the idea of abortion.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
quote:
That power is specifically and intentionally not applied to the other half of the decision.
I don't understand what you mean here. She specifically and intentionally left out stories told from the perspective of a fetus?
Yes, she left out all those stories. She didn't even represent the other perspective of children given up for adoption - the vast majority who will, if asked, probably say that they prefer their mother's choice to the alternative being lauded as humane in this article.

She also didn't give any stories of the few survivors of botched abortions - and by that, I mean children born after failed attempts to kill them in utero.

She also didn't give the stories Belle mentioned, either.

Balance means more than having two things on the different sides of the scale. It also means those things being equal in weight (not precisely in this kind of situation, but at least close). Personalizing large issues is a powerful rhetorical technique. She only used it to represent one set of perspectives.

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dkw
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
It would be very easy for someone moderately, or more, acquainted with the english language and how it is used in the united states, to apply the word "humane" to abortion, even if that person believed a fetus is also a person.
I disagree. When we talk about humane killing in the United States (in my experience), generally we're speaking of a few very limited things. Either animals, or convicted human criminals. I can't recall ever reading a newspaper headline about someone murdered 'humanely' in their sleep.
1) Convicted criminals are people.

2) I recall the word humane being used in reference to the nursing home and hospital patients killed during the Katrina evacuations.

I'm not arguing whether or not the procedure is humane, but it is clear to me that it would be possible for someone to use the word while still acknowledging that the fetus is a person.

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Dagonee
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It's not just the personhood, it's the procedure. While an injection that lets someone peacefully drift off to sleep might be considered humane by some, I doubt actual dismemberment - even of a completely anesthetized person - would be considered humane. Nor would chemical scalding.

Further, both the criminal and the nursing home patients had some form of justification (I'm not saying it's valid justification, but it's present). Absent the circumstances that made someone consider the actual killing a moral act - that is, either moral desert on the part of executed criminals or an imminent, more painful death on the part of the nursing home victims - I doubt most or any people would consider those acts of killing humane.

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Rakeesh
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dkw,

Of course they are...but they're a very specific set of people. If fetuses are actually human beings, though, then they're totally random human beings. Not the same thing at all.

You're right about Katrina, that is one instance that made the papers...but it certainly wasn't a universal application, either.

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dkw
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Again, I am not arguing whether the procedure is humane. I am saying that the use of the word does not exclude the possibility that the entity being killed is a person.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
Again, I am not arguing whether the procedure is humane. I am saying that the use of the word does not exclude the possibility that the entity being killed is a person.

I don't think I was clear - I'm not saying that the use of humane in connection with a killing automatically means the person saying it is denying the humanity of the killed entity.

If all we know is that entity A was killed by person X, (edit to add: and that entity A is a person) we do not necessarily know that the act of killing was inhumane.

However, we know more than that here. We know the entity killed has committed no moral wrong. We know that, in the vast majority of cases, there is no imminent threat of physical harm to another person and there is no imminent death or pain to the entity killed which is averted by the killing. We also know the method of killing.

I'm saying that the use of the word humane in connection with an abortion means the person saying it is denying the humanity of the killed entity based on 1) the fact that few people would consider analogous methods of killing a person humane even if performed while the person killed is under anesthesia and 2) the lack of circumstances that are generally considered to morally justify the act of killing a human being.

Either of those is enough to remove a specific act of killing of a human being from the category humane. And each of those is present in the thing the author called humane.

[ April 16, 2007, 11:28 AM: Message edited by: Dagonee ]

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dkw
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I think we must have differnt connotations for the word humane. I don't see how your "2)" is relevent. Whether or not the killing itself is "humane" has nothing to do with why the animal/person is being killed.

Wait . . . rethinking . . . I guess that isn't true. I've heard it used to justify euthanasia (of animals and people) as "the humane thing to do." So the reason for the killing can come into the choice to use the word. I don't think it always does, though.

And I think it's possible that someone could believe that current medical/surgical abortions are more "humane" even toward the fetus than the earlier illegal methods described in the books/article. And I have heard the argument that aborting unwanted children is better than being born into unloving and therefore likely abusive homes. Which seems to me to be the same rationale as the Katrina killings -- "the alternative would be worse." The Katrina situation was just a "stronger" case of that argument.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
And I have heard the argument that aborting unwanted children is better than being born into unloving and therefore likely abusive homes.
This is an argument that has always seemed pretty laughable to me. My thinking is (and I know you're just mentioning it as an argument you've heard, dkw) that if the argument were merit-worthy, we'd be seeing a much higher suicide rate among children who lived in abusive homes, or adults who came from abusive homes.
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katharina
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I think it is a convenient fiction people tell themselves to make themselves feel better.

That's just guessing, but the original quote is as well.

As long as there are more parents longing for a baby than there are babies put up for adoption, it doesn't work.

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Dagonee
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quote:
I don't see how your "2)" is relevent. Whether or not the killing itself is "humane" has nothing to do with why the animal/person is being killed.

Wait . . . rethinking . . . I guess that isn't true. I've heard it used to justify euthanasia (of animals and people) as "the humane thing to do." So the reason for the killing can come into the choice to use the word. I don't think it always does, though.

Are serial killers who kidnap victims unaware via chloroform and then kill them while unconscious acting humanely? Assuming he is actually preventing all pain, is this a humane killing?

I don't think so, and I think the inability for it to ever be humane is the choice being made, including the reason for it.

quote:
And I think it's possible that someone could believe that current medical/surgical abortions are more "humane" even toward the fetus than the earlier illegal methods described in the books/article.
Is there a threshold for humaneness?

Certainly the serial killer referenced above is acting more humanely than one who waits for the victims to awake and then dismembers them alive. But is the first humane, even though he ensures there is no pain felt by the victim?

In a sense, any act that is less inhumane is more humane, so that shooting someone so they bleed out in 5 minutes would be more humane than burying them alive. But even those who would say "the shooter was more humane than the burier" would be unlikely to say "the shooting was humane" absent some other factor.

quote:
And I have heard the argument that aborting unwanted children is better than being born into unloving and therefore likely abusive homes. Which seems to me to be the same rationale as the Katrina killings -- "the alternative would be worse." The Katrina situation was just a "stronger" case of that argument.
But the word "humane" wouldn't have been applied to Katrina victims who wouldn't have died had adequate rescue been available. And, in the vast majority of cases, there is adequate rescue available in the form of adoption.

It's also clear the author isn't making this argument - her use of the word humane was related solely to the mother. It was inhumane prior to legal abortion (at least for poor or unconnected women); it was humane after. The humaneness was emphasized by the effect the rug would have on the women undergoing abortions - this is central to her point.

Her whole calculus of humaneness is from one perspective only - the mother's. And the triggering event is a set of decisions that allowed abortion for any reason at all - that is, with no moral justification required for the specific act.

It's undeniable that her use of "safe" in the same sentence is from the perspective of the mother only. No one can say that abortion is safe for the unborn child. The only way abortion can be "safe" as a whole is if it's not harming anything we would consider capable of being in danger.

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Dagonee
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quote:
This is an argument that has always seemed pretty laughable to me. My thinking is (and I know you're just mentioning it as an argument you've heard, dkw) that if the argument were merit-worthy, we'd be seeing a much higher suicide rate among children who lived in abusive homes, or adults who came from abusive homes.
I don't think this is necessarily true, because it assumes suicide is a decision usually made rationally. Few people actually stop to think "is the net amount of suffering in my life worth the benefits my life gives me."

If people are generally unable to actually make that decision - especially if the act of examining the issue actually causes pain - then it would be possible to view another person making that decision for the abused child as doing something the child is unable to do for itself, for its own good.

I think it's obvious I don't agree with that perspective, but I also don't think the perspective can be disproved by the relative absence of suicides.

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dkw
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Dag, I think your post (edit: two posts up) makes the point I was trying to make -- there is no specific value or technical measurement to the word "humane." Yes, cholorforming the murder victim is more humane. I'm pretty sure I've even read about mafia killers who prided themselves on how humane (meaning in this case quick and clean) their murders were. The usage of humane does not always include the componant of morally justifiable.
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