Monday, November 5, 2012

Two Issues I Have No Personal Experience With

Mostly the point of this post is to show that philosophy gets its fingers into everything, and is useful in certain places where it is currently ignored. There was a time when our questions could be answered without knowing how to detect a soul, or whether the world was designed purposefully. That time is beginning to pass. I have never had to act on the basis of my conclusions here, and for that reason they may be somewhat suspect, but the line of reasoning is still at least useful.


The abortion issue rests on the question of what makes a collection of cells have those rights which we hold in the United States Constitution to be endowed to us by our creator, specifically, what makes a collection of cells have a right to life? For a dualist, the question is, "how do we know what has a soul, and how do we know what sort of soul it is?" Why do humans have a right to life? If we do not know that, then there is no hope of agreeing on whether a fetus is also a human to the degree that it, too, has a right to life. It cannot be a part of the genetic makeup, or we cannot scratch, among other things. We do not know where consciousness arises from, though there are theories. But what if someone is sleeping? If it is some property of the brain, then it must be one that exists whether the person is awake or asleep, and whether they are under the influence of drugs or knocked unconscious. Can we even provide a reason why we ought to have this right to life from a materialistic world?

There is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation "The Measure of a Man" where a judge notes that determining whether or not Data, an AI, is sentient (and thus not property), is a problem for philosophers, not for a judge. By the Turing test, he is sentient, and is ruled to be so. The problem with fetuses is that they cannot speak, nor do they seem able to provide other turingable materiel.


Suppose that the world was designed purposefully, which Christians, it seems to me ought to assume at the very least at a basic level. Well, then, there is a reason that there is male and female, and it goes beyond just reproduction. As evidence: there exist some hermaphrodite species. It seems to me that if males and females are equals in every way shape and form other than those differences necessary for reproduction, then it is a rather redundant system, apart from there being two. So, is it kidney-like, such that we donate one to a friend who has lost both of theirs, or are these parts interdependent so that they are two parts of a whole? Certainly, they may be redundant in some aspects, but I would at least expect that these two sorts of human would be different in as much as possible while still able to exist separate, and together be expected to create some sort of synergy. Systems seem so much more beautiful when they interact so that it appears so complex yet arises from simplicity, should we not expect that God created our relationships in that way? It seems to me that simply from the premise that God created human beings in two genders it follows that homosexuality at the least misses out on some blessings God imparted, and that there are no complementary blessings to be found in homosexuality.

Further, bringing in the Christian faith, in all that we do we ought to be portraying the likeness of God, since we were made in his image. Therefore, our greatest happiness will be found in doing that which glorifies him, since that is what we are fitted for. So, then, what picture is displayed by abortion, that it glorifies God? Tell a story where it does, in both the intent and the act of aborting the fetus. What picture is displayed in marriage that it glorifies God? Does not Paul say that it is an image of Christ's relationship to his Church? It is not Christ and Christ, nor the church and the church, but this image of Christ patiently, lovingly sanctifying, guiding, holding, his Church who is holding up her Christ, interceding on the world's behalf, praying that he return to make things right, and accomplishing his will until he comes. The image is affected by the fact that those enacting it are fallen, but not so much, I would think, that it is unrecognizable.

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