Answering "Liife Begins at Birth"

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by LP, Feb 20, 2002.

  1. LP

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    Feb 20, 2002
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    Everyone has heard the argument that Viability outside the womb is an inherent property in defining a human life; hence, life begins at birth. How do we answer it?

    As backdrop, consider that it is foremost a circular argument. The argument starts at this assumption, and then goes back to it. Said specifically, "viability outside the womb is an inherent property in defining a human life" seems the starting point, from which arguments are made to the ending point, which point is the same as the starting point. Thus, the matter of when life begins is ultimately a matter of one's starting point assumption.

    On the surface, the quality of the starting point, Viability outside the womb is an inherent property in defining a human life, hence, life begins at birth might be seen as,

    (1) An objective conclusion drawn from objective facts.

    (2) An arbitrary, subjective choice, since lines need to be drawn somewhere.

    (3) Some combination of the above.

    Let us assume for a moment that the discussed starting point is based upon an objective conclusion based upon objective facts, since that would seem to give arguments based upon it the most weight. Concomitantly, let us assume that it is one of the other two options (option 2 and 3).

    But is either assumption correct? Might how one comes to starting points really be much more complex sometimes? I will argue that it is. I will argue that the choice of one's starting point frequently has exceedingly more to do with one's internal choices based upon their own past external experiences and actions than upon objective, subjective, or objective-subjective criterion alone. In the process of making such internal choices, starting points based upon what may be more the reality of a matter are suppressed, and are even discarded altogether.

    Frequently, people want to bring internal rationalizations to bear upon some past external act or acts they have done. These internal rationalizations are undertaken to bring internal justifications for the act or acts. For example, people who have lied to avoid responsibility for a harm they created by a rash action may wish to diffuse their moral responsibility for both acts (the harm they caused and the lie they told). To do this, they will frequently come up with all sorts of internal rationalizations. The goal within them, though not always in full conscious view to the person, is to internally avoid moral responsibility for their external actions. It is thus an internal coping mechanism that is chosen, rather than the usually harder choice of facing up to the harm caused by their rashness, and later, the lie they told to try to suppress knowledge of the truth. Internal suppression of conscience happens concurrently. By all this, internal moral responsibility for past external actions can thus be psychologically avoided through a suppressing, justifying, "rationalizing," and discarding process. A bigger problem is then created.

    The problem created is what some philosophers might call "false consciousness," or what some psychologists might very loosely term "delusions." Applied to the case of lying, our parents might have described it to us as "once you tell a lie to cover something up, you will never stop telling other lies until you fess up to the first one. It all just grows and grows and spirals downward." In other words, after a while, one begins to live in a bit of a self-created false world based upon certain self-created internal constraints, which were created by a series of internal choices/rationalizations taken in response to an initial choice/act that they sought to avoid moral responsibility for. This state is then maintained by adhering to a certain starting point and its "rationale," which become externalized in arguments used to justify the internally created state when it is externally threatened. Thus, a fourth possibility for quality of starting points can be deduced.

    (4) A self-defensive conclusion based upon self-created internal constraints, which were created by a series of internal choices/rationalizations taken in response to an initial external choice/act to which avoidance of moral responsibility was sought.

    Noteworthy is that such will generally be continued in until one undertakes a deconstruction project, which first entails reevaluating the initial event that started the process.

    Now, apply in your minds the principle illustrated in lying to abortion.

    Admittedly, the dynamic I have just explained is not empirical in the sense that one can actually see, for example, the conscience and rationalizations taken to suppress it. It is an ontological argument based upon effect relations to inferred causes that we intuitively understand in the nature of being. It goes a long way into describing why certain people become "bad," or less categorical, why certain people develop the pockets of "bad" that we all have in some measure or another, but are hopefully confronting within ourselves.

    I would suggest the possibility that the dynamic I have just explained perhaps brings great understanding (not exculpation) into the formation of the starting point of many who hold to the position of life begins at birth, which extends into the arguments they base upon it, which argument circle back to the starting point. If it does, the position that life begins at birth fails greatly on epistimological grounds.

  2. Barnabas H.

    Barnabas H.
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    Jul 1, 2000
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    LP, this forum is reserved for Baptists ONLY. Kindly consider posting your threads in the Free For All forums, ok? Thanks! [​IMG]

    Now if you want to cut & paste and move this question there, you'll be ahead of the rules. ;)

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