Stem Cell politics was Re: [extropy-chat] Proposal: was-AChilling Thought.

Brett Paatsch bpaatsch at
Wed May 18 07:17:58 UTC 2005

Mike Lorrey wrote:

> --- Brett Paatsch <bpaatsch at> wrote:
>> What I am trying to point out to you is that there are good
>> scientific
>> reasons for not regarding a five day old embryo as having the same
>> potential or moral significance as an embryo or fetus that has
>> developed to a substantially later stage.
> I never said I did.

Fair enough, but in political terms the stem cell debate often gets
conflated with the abortion debate. Some of the issues are similar
but to me embryonic stem cell research is a far easier moral call
than abortion. I thought that you might have had reservations about
deriving embryonic stem cells from embryos and destroying their
potential in the process.

I think that it would be possible to show you that it is in your personal
interest to support embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic
cloning with public funds. You and people close to you are likely to be
personally effected by how well and how soon embryonic stem cell
research gets moving.

In my opinion, interested laypeople do not get very good information
on *why* embryonic stem cell research and the funding of it matters.

I want to give The Avantguardian a chance to plug therapeutic cloning
if he wants too.  But if he doesn't want to and you are interested I

>I am entirely fine with aborting a fetus less than,
> say, two weeks old. It is incredibly hard for anyone to justify that is
> either an individual or with sensory capacity of any sort whatsoever. I
> am increasingly less fine as the fetus ages.

Okay but you spoke of three entities as having rights to choose, the
mother, the father and the child.

Up until two weeks is it your view that only the woman should have
the right to decide?  In practice I think it would be hard to enforce
much else.  The embryo has not brain to have an interest and the
male quite possibly might not even know that he was a potential

>> > .. Pro-abortionists become irate when pro-lifers truthfully
>> > display actual photography, cardiography, and other records of
>> fetuses before, during, and after they were aborted. Why are they
>> not proud of the butchery they do?
>> I don't think its realistic to expect that a woman would ever (or
>> often) be proud of having had an abortion, the process is too
>> unpleasant, what they are chosing is what amounts to a lesser to
>> two unpleasant choices.
> This is the real problem. The right to a pursuit of happiness does not
> include the right to feel pleasant, or even less unpleasant, at the
> expense of others rights or existences.

I agree that no constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness amounts
to that.  But I still don't get what you are referring to as the real 

Do you want to give an unborn independent legal child rights? Perhaps
that is not a bad idea, such rights do not need to be the equivalent to the
rights of a full citizen, but at what stage of its development?

>> As for photographs diagrams anything that makes clear what is
>> actually going on, for the most part I agree with you. Society should
>> make its moral decisions with its eyes wide open.
> Thank you.

Your welcome.

>> > I am a hunter. I kill animals. I do not deny or hide the blood and
>> > guts. Unlike abortionists, I do take care that my victims suffer as
>> > little as possible. I am the honest one.
>> I can respect your attitude as a hunter but I think you are being
>> harsh on the class of woman that choose to have abortions.
> Have you ever seen a man convicted in a tribal setting turned over for
> punishment by the victims female relatives? Women can be far more
> brutal than men.

Not personally no. I am sceptical that there are sex differences between
men and women wrt brutality but I have no doubt individual men and
women and some cultures would be at different positions wrt to the
universal mean.

>> > Feminists are arrogant in thinking that only their choice counts,
>> that they are responsible enough to objectively consider what is best
>> for their fetus independently of what they feel is best for themselves,
>> and sexist in asserting that man's choice lasts a few minutes but a
>> woman's choice lasts 9 months.
>> Perhaps you have a point but *practically* how could you have a
>> policy that worked differently than what we currently have?
> a) if a man wants an abortion, and the woman doesn't, she and the state
> should allow the father to relenquish all rights and future obligations
> wrt the child.

That is not unreasonable so far as I can see, but the critical question of
when in the stage of development the abortion might take place matters
otherwise the woman might not even inform the man. Further it might
be that the woman cannot be certain who the father is.

> b) if a pregnant woman leaves a jurisdiction to raise a child alone and
> separate from the father, she relenquishes all future claims against
> him for support of the child when she crosses the state line.

Thats potentially problematic. The woman might have to move to get
work to support the child. Slighting the father might not be a motive
at all. Or it might be to some degree. How could you tell?

> c) if a man does not want an abortion, and the mother does, she must
> either compense him the cost of a surrogate pregnancy, or have the
> child, and relenquish it to the father in exchange for fair expense for
> the term of pregnancy. When the father pays the bills, the mother
> permanently relenquishes all rights and obligations.

The principle is not unreasonable but to implement it would be
complicated as the womans health is intimately linked to the health
of the unborn child or fetus.

>> > Do I object to my tax dollars subsidizing such activities? No,
>> because I have no choice, my right to choose and my right to
>> keep my property have been stripped from me by the theivery
>> and thuggery of the state.
>> > They are the criminals and the accessories to death. A crime
>> > victim never gets a choice in the disbursement of that which is
>> > stolen from him. It is enough that I object to being robbed to
> >> begin with.
>> This seems a bit ranty Mike. That's a pity because, imo, you raise
>> some good points when you keep your equilibrium a bit better, and
>> resist the urge to color the opposing view to your own in the most
>> extreme light.
> Odd, I thought that the most tame paragraph of them all. I thought this
> and the idea that taxpayer being allowed to choose which programs their
> taxes go to is a rather moderate and conciliatory. You ain't seen extreme.

I've seen extreme ;-)

You seem to be equating taxing you with the crime of theft.  You are
calling the state "criminals and accessories to death", but "the state"
makes the law.  The state is not just the executive government.

Brett Paatsch 

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