10th Anniversary with WordPress


Today I got a notification I have been flying with wordpress for 10 years now. To celebrate, I will share links and a question.

First, the question. On the abortion debate, is it possible to make an argument for personhood and when it begins without making a religious argument? What is life, when does it start?

On links, the first one is on history. The post is quite long but is worth a read. The comments are also quite good.

The last link is from WEIT on god and mathematics and maybe Neil will have something to say as he is this site’s to go mathematician.

Tell us your thoughts.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

49 thoughts on “10th Anniversary with WordPress

  1. jeannejam40 says:

    It really is not when humanity starts! No human has a right to use another persons body (no matter how young or how urgent their need) without the consent of the host. It is certainly the law for other body organs and it is what should be for the uterus! Using another person’s body without their consent is SLAVERY! I am particularly adamant because my granddaughter just delivered a WANTED baby after a horrible 9 months, nothing earth shattering just one minor pain, discomfort and inconvenience after another, do NOT pretend this Accumulation of problems is not a problem. She told her husband that in no way will there be another one!
    PS. In no way is consent to sex consent to pregnancy !

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      I agree, consent to sex isn’t consent to pregnancy.

      Like

    • john zande says:

      Fun fact — a foetus shares the metabolic rate of the woman. It behaves, therefore, as an organ, part of a larger whole, rather than an individual. A mammal the size of a foetus has a metabolic rate equal to that of, say, a possum. At birth a switch is thrown and the baby’s metabolic rate goes through the roof (becoming that of a mammal its same size). In this sense, babies literally transition from being an organ to being an individual in mere hours.

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      • makagutu says:

        This is interesting.

        Like

        • john zande says:

          It is, isn’t it. I’ve never presented it as a stand-alone argument, but it’s a fun one to drop when some dimwit who knows bugger-all about foetal development starts talking about an ‘individual person’ in the womb.

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          • makagutu says:

            It does look like a good argument

            Liked by 1 person

          • E UVA says:

            Rationalizations are powerful. Similarly, believers of religion X, Y and Z try to legitimize the cosmological components of their particular faith by drawing all sorts of overstretched analogies between their myths and real science. I am not concluding that religion is nothing but tales, but their origin-stories are symbolic at best. Given that they all contradict, there is only one that has a chance of being factually correct. Most likely none are. With the abortion debate, it’s not entirely a biological issue; when the beginning of personhood occurs carries at least as much weight.

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            • john zande says:

              Personhood begins the moment the necessary biological (in this case neurological) hardware is in-place, and working. That’s week 28, after full-bilateral synchronisation.

              That’s just a hard fact. It’s not up for debate.

              The only way the religious can open this subject up to meaningful debate is if they can 1) prove the existence of a soul, and 2) clearly establish the moment the soul enters the foetus. If they can’t do that, they are simply making noise.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Nan says:

                HA! That “soul part” is pretty hard to prove even in adults!

                Liked by 1 person

              • E UVA says:

                I understand your point, but you say, “Personhood begins the moment begins the moment the necessary biological (in this case neurological) hardware is in-place,” . The boundary for personhood is that clearly defined? 🙂 If you want to win the anti-abortionists over, you may have to sound less certain,

                Liked by 1 person

                • john zande says:

                  But I am certain, and I’m not here to win any anti-abortionists over. That’s a futile endeavour. They’re not interested in facts. They’re not concerned about actual foetal development. They have their pantomime ideas regarding foetal development, and they’re going to stick to that pantomime. I present information so rational people may learn, and then use that information. This is especially true for those folks in the United States. Elsewhere in advanced countries abortion is simply health care, it’s not controversial, there is no debate, but in the US it’s beaten about the head by ignorant evangelicals and radical Catholics. The noise of misinformation is deafening, and the debate rarely centres on facts. Case in-point: the so-called “heartbeat” bills. Pure and absolute nonsense, but it’s an effective misinformation campaign.

                  I understand what you’re saying about ‘boundary,’ but for the purposes of the abortion ‘debate’ it’s as good as it gets. A simple question: is the hardware necessary for consciousness there, or is it not? That question can be answered very easily, and with complete confidence. But yes, if a ‘person’ is the sum of their experiences and memories, then we really can’t call anyone a ‘real person’ until after arborisation, at which time the brain can finally begin to store and retrieve memories.

                  Liked by 2 people

              • makagutu says:

                John, your #2 gives the antagonist so much wiggle room. They might say they can’t tell exactly when but insist it does. The first task is not proving the existence of a soul but tell us what it is in a coherent way.

                Liked by 1 person

            • makagutu says:

              With the abortion debate, it’s not entirely a biological issue; when the beginning of personhood occurs carries at least as much weight.

              When personhood begins is hard to determine and most of the commentary on the subject are religious in nature.
              On religion and whether any of the many we have around us is the true one cannot be determined.

              Like

        • john zande says:

          And bear in mind, every individual has a unique metabolic rate: the rate of life. No two are exactly the same.

          Like

  2. On the abortion / personhood question, I think in terms of empirical data and logic, there is no fact of the matter on when personhood beings. It’s a category with hazy borders, which can only be made sharp by convention.

    Of course, here in the US, we’ve apparently decided one religion’s particular convention can be imposed on people.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Neil Rickert says:

    I got my 12th anniversary WP notice a couple of days ago.

    On personhood, I agree with SAP — it is a vague category with hazy borders.

    On women, yes they likely have been far more important than the history books report.

    And you particularly asked about mathematics. Yes, I saw that Jerry Coyne post, and considered commenting. But others had already made good comments. I am a mathematical fictionalist, which means that I take the view that number don’t really exist except as useful fictions. I’m okay with the idea of God as a fiction, although I might question the usefulness of that particular fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      So to determine personhood, it has to be arbitrarily set by law?

      I think many people are left out in history books, but while trying to rewrite history, I think care should be taken to remain true to the particular period.

      I found that post on math quite interesting. Are irrational numbers even numbers? Would the religious person be willing to think of god as irrational?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Neil Rickert says:

        We don’t need an arbitrary definition of personhood. We can live with the ambiguity. The problem comes when religion tries to interfere.

        I agree with your comment on history.

        Yes, irrational numbers are numbers. That’s because “number” is our word, so we get to decide what it means. Religious people already think of their god as transcendental, so they ought to be able to accept that their god is irrational.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. maryplumbago says:

    Kinda like when an acorn becomes a tree…the potential is there but not the tree. A chicken egg, even if it’s fertilized is not a chicken and so on and so forth. But to me that’s not the point. It’s the rights and privacy of the host.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Archon's Den says:

    One of my two children had an abortion. It was my Son. When he was six months old, we noticed a pea-sized lump on his right temple, beside his eye.
    Doctors do not like to operate on children under 1 year. By the time we got him in, it was approaching the size of a marble. They made an incision, and it popped out like the proverbial pea.
    It was his twin, which his fetus had engulfed. The doctor said that it could have caused blindness, insanity or death. It puts the situation in quite a different light.
    Infected tonsils and appendix, as well as various cancers, are routinely removed for the good of the patient. Evangelicals protest, “He might have been the next Einstein, or Hawking.” In this game of What If, he might have been the next Hitler, or Jeffrey Dahmer. 😯

    Liked by 3 people

    • makagutu says:

      This puts it in a very different light.
      The argument that someone could be the next great personage of the time usually ignores the many sociopaths walking amongst us.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Ron says:

    Personhood is a legal concept. Morality pertains to value systems. I think it’s possible to formulate a moral framework without reference to religious arguments (which are little more that appeals to obey the edicts of a “higher authority” that they just happen to agree with)

    Like

  7. What do I get for following you for ten years? And it better be an island off the Kenyan coast.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. john zande says:

    What is life, when does it start?

    Life started on earth 3.8 billion years ago and hasn’t been interrupted since. A foetus was never inorganic and suddenly becomes organic.

    Liked by 1 person

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