Thursday, April 25, 2013

Abortion morality on Lifeboat Earth

re: should moral policy be based on science, not religion?

Every religion espouses a unique set of rules for living. There are Many hundreds of religions with active congregations. It would be impossible to find a subset of rules they all agree with.

Science can encode morality to a degree because of basic principles that are hardwired into the human brain (humans violate those rules every second, but they pay a heavy inner price for doing so). Of course science has its limits, and we're only starting to grasp the nature of consciousness.

The Bible ascribes consciousness to the fetus of John the Baptist, but doesn't say whether that was a special case--he being a prophet and all--and elsewhere gives babies no legal rights until they've survived 30 days out of the womb.

We can say, though, that "life" can't be said to begin at the moment of conception--monozygotic twins and chimeras along disprove that--along with the fact that so many fertilized eggs have zero chance of turning into a born, survivable baby. Even the inception of a heartbeat or brainwaves are arbitrary, with nothing linking these events to what we know as consciousness.

The only sure measure we have is survivability without modern medical care out of the womb. I'd be willing to sign on to that as a measure. Survivability with hi-tech care is morally appalling, since it excludes all those denied such an opportunity.

But for me the overpopulation crisis trumps all these considerations. That's why I say the morality of a land with infinite elbow room, infinite drinkable water, infinite arable land, is different from the morality of the lifeboat. The movie Life of Pi explores this BTW.

India has literally hundreds of millions of "food-insecure" people, many literally starving to death, and their land cannot sustain their current numbers. China does not, though it's close to a water crisis even so. China's morality vs. India's morality illustrates what I'm talking about.

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