Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tolerance Test

If Person A claims something MUST be tolerated, then let's see what Person A can tolerate.
  [vote for,

The proposed invention could be called a "Chinese Water Torture Hat". It is a hat containing a reservoir of water, and a little spout that drips water onto the forehead of the wearer, once every few seconds. It is known that when a person is immobilized, the experiencing of Chinese Water Torture can, within hours, be extremely stressful and intolerable (see link). The reservoir in this hat will, of course, need to be refilled at regular intervals, for the duration of any Tolerance Test.

Well, most people are not normally immobilized, while still being required to tolerate various things. Consider super-loud music in a bar, that can cause hearing loss, but the workers must stay there and attempt to understand customer orders. This why we need an invention like a Chinese Water Torture Hat, so that tolerance can be tested while a person is not immobilized.

Anyway, there are also situations in which Person A insists that Person B tolerate something, which Person B might not want to tolerate --and which Person A will never experience. A prime example of this comes to us from the Overall Abortion Debate, in which a male opponent of abortion insists that a woman must tolerate her pregnancy, regardless of what the woman wants.

So, let's see what Person A can tolerate, shall we? Like 9 months of physically harmless water-drippings, onto the forehead, no matter what else Person A happens to be doing. Any male abortion opponent who can handle that MIGHT be in a position to do the insisting mentioned in the previous paragraph. But if he can't handle it, then he certainly has NO business opposing abortion!

Vernon, Jul 01 2015

Chinese Water Torture https://www.youtube...watch?v=5vESKdr8uqE
As mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, Jul 01 2015]

Biofeedback Biofeedback_20ContraPregnancy_20Training
As mentioned in an annotation. [Vernon, Jul 01 2015]

Story of Chantek http://video.pbs.org/video/2365286726/
As mentioned in an annotation. [Vernon, Jul 05 2015]

How clever animals became people On_20the_20Origin_2...odern_20Mentalities
Something I posted a few years ago [Vernon, Jul 05 2015]

You are not-perfectly human... http://www.scientif...ia-protects-health/
As mentioned in an annotation. [Vernon, Jul 07 2015]


       This took a turn I wasn't expecting.
calum, Jul 01 2015

       bad logic [-] Let me count the ways.

Hasty generalization 1: Those who oppose abortion rights don't necessarily do so because of beliefs about what can or should be tolerated.

Hasty generalization 2: Those who oppose abortion rights don't necessarily even care about how pregnant women feel about it.

Hasty generalization 3: All people do not experience pregnancy -- or torture -- the same way.

Non-sequitur: Torture is not comparable to pregnancy.

Unwarranted assumption 1: Most pro- lifers may not mind wearing such a hat to save what they see as a life.

Unwarranted assumption 2: Such a hat would not be equally intolerable without restraint.

Appeal to ignorance: Someone who has not been pregnant doesn't have less of a right to speak about it.

Affirmation of the consequent: The idea that pregnancy must not be required does not follow from the idea, even if true, that it's unpleasant to a certain degree.
Voice, Jul 01 2015

       Apparently, some folks can have trouble recognizing that an invention, and how it might get used (or mis- used), are two different things. THIS invention, for example, could be used simultaneously by many people at a party, to see who is the last person (the winner and most tolerant) to rip the hat off his or her head.   

       Also, some folks don't realize that something called "torture" in some circumstances is not necessarily torture in other circumstances. The link, for example, shows that someone not tied down can mentally fare better than one who is tied down. That's an important point. So, at what point does REQUIRING that something uncomfortable be tolerated, become torture? This invention could let us find that out!   

       As a side-effect of such parties, consider bosses who are hypocrites. thinking their workers should be subjected to working conditions that the bosses can avoid. Exactly why should workers regularly experience more discomfort than what bosses can tolerate? How much might working conditions improve, say in a coal mine, if big stockholders in coal companies had to take shifts breathing coal dust, like the workers? This is a much safer way to find out such things!
Vernon, Jul 01 2015

       [Voice] Your HG#1 and #2 are both irrelevant, because no matter what abortion opponents believe or CLAIM they believe, forcing women who don't want to be pregnant, to tolerate pregnancies, is what abortion opponents want to happen --and every woman will talk about how uncomfortable pregnancy can be, and be, and be and be.... If nothing else, this invention can give men a better appreciation for women when they do choose to carry pregnancies to term.   

       Your HG#3 ignores the fact that most pregnancies have very-common and well-known discomforts, usually starting with "morning sickness". So, if some women are less susceptible than others, to discomforts of pregnancy, then, logically, not all men should be required to experience long-term discomfort. Note that the main text of this Idea does not insist that all men be required to suffer...only some of them.   

       Your non-sequitur was addressed in another annotation. Not to mention that some pregnancies are far more torturous than unavoidable water-drips. Ectopic pregnancies can lead to extremely painful deaths, for example.   

       Your UW#1 fails to recognize the main point. Willingness to wear an uncomfortable hat is one thing; having the toughness to wear it for 9 months is another thing altogether. The linked video only covers part of 1 day! So, on what objectively valid basis can a man insist a woman be uncomfortable, long-term, if the man can't handle long-term discomfort himself? (The "a life" thing you mentioned deserves a separate discussion, because factors such as ignorance and prejudice are involved.)   

       Your UW#2 appears to be more of "missing the point". If a man can't voluntarily/continuously wear the hat for months, on what basis can he insist a woman must be involuntarily/continuously uncomfortable for months?   

       Your A/I statement fails to recognize that speaking from ignorance is less worthy of attention, than speaking from knowledge. We all have Free Speech in the USA (and some other places). But if speakers don't know what they are talking about, nobody needs to pay them any attention whatsoever.   

       Your A/C statement appears to be saying that personal opinions about pregnancy are irrelevant. Logically, that applies to abortion opponents as much as it applies to women who don't want to be pregnant...and perfectly- natural miscarriages tend to happen, regardless of anyone's opinion. Which reminds me (see "biofeedback" link).
Vernon, Jul 01 2015

       This is the "separate discussion" mentioned above, about "a life".   

       If the life was that of a parasite, there would be no objection whatsoever, regarding terminating it. So, because human life is involved, prejudice is also involved. So, go to a beauty salon, and observe all the manicures and pedicures, routinely killing human life (living cuticle cells).   

       According to what we know from cloning and stem-cell research, every one of those living human cuticle cells, because it has the full set of human DNA, also has the potential, just like a zygote, to divide many times and produce a whole human body.   

       The main difference is that the zygote is actually processing the DNA code for accomplishing that, while the cuticle cell is processing the DNA code that tells it how to act like a cuticle cell. But we know cells can be reprogrammed to process other blocks of DNA code (any virus can do that!). Therefore, due to ignorance about "human life", either zygotes are over-rated, or cuticle cells are under-rated.   

       Confirmed pregnancies involve a much greater magnitude of "human life" than single cells. The concept of "person" is now relevant. Thanks to religion and mythology and fiction, the word "person" refers to a different concept than the word "human". Anyone who liked "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" and "Short Circuit" and "Avatar" and lots of others is fully aware that the English language accommodates non-humans as persons.   

       Some people, however, still appear to be ignorant of that fact. But because "human" and "person" are indeed two different things, we can deduce that life- forms in general can be categorized as "persons" and "non-persons", such as ordinary plants and animals.   

       Next, since cuticle cells are human and killable, since hydatidiform moles are human and killable, and since brain-dead adults on full life-support are human and killable, we also know that "human" is NOT automatically equal to "person". It is very possible for something that is human to also be nothing more than entirely equivalent to an ordinary animal life-form.   

       Some people, however, still appear to be ignorant of that fact.   

       There is far more scientific evidence that adult dolphins qualify as persons, than do human life-forms inside wombs. Therefore, to force a woman to stay pregnant against her will is to subjugate her, in terms of "involuntary servitude" (forbidden by the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution), to an **animal**, WORSE than slavery to a person!   

       So again I say that men who want to force women to be pregnant deserve to experience 9 months of discomfort. Maybe some of those men will change their minds.
Vernon, Jul 01 2015

       [LimpNotes], you may be misinterpreting something. I say that only those who insist others must tolerate something, DESERVE themselves to tolerate something. In a way, my statement is a variation of the Golden Rule (you should be willing to receive that which you dish out unto others). "Members of the Ku Klux Klan, who have participated in anonymous assaults, deserve to be anonymously assaulted." Saying someone deserves something is not the same thing as saying they must experience the "something", regardless.   

       I'm not making the sort of "you must" statement that certain others make, because I allow for choice, and they don't. If they did allow choice, then I wouldn't have an objection. --and I wouldn't be describing things they deserve!
Vernon, Jul 02 2015

       Didn't Red Dwarf do a pair of karma hats?
wjt, Jul 02 2015

       [LimpNotes], I'm saying they don't have any right to insist others do something they themselves aren't willing to do (tolerate discomfort for months, in this case). But if they actually did themselves tolerate discomfort for months, then I would not object to THAT single aspect of their stance against abortion. (There are plenty other ways to object, heh :)
Vernon, Jul 02 2015

       So the whole point of this palaver is to gain temporary respite from [Vernon]'s disapproval?
pocmloc, Jul 02 2015

       Wait. Surely a position on either side of virtually any argument can be re-stated in the form "X must be tolerated", for some value of X.   

       It's true that the use of this invention is not limited to torturing people who disagreed with you on one particular question; it could, with equal logical force, be used for torturing people who disagreed with you on *any* question. Furthermore it could be used, again with equal logical force, for torturing people who *agreed* with you on any question.   

       They had this as a means of resolving disputes in the Middle Ages; it was called "trial by ordeal". I'm not a fan of it.
pertinax, Jul 02 2015

       //"Star Trek" and "Star Wars" and "Short Circuit" and "Avatar" // One of these is not like the others.
Voice, Jul 02 2015

       [pocmloc], please remember that this Idea was created as a way to test anyone's ability to tolerate discomfort. Like any other tool, it can be used and it can be abused; it is itself a neutral thing.   

       It is widely accepted that tolerance is a generally better thing than intolerance. Some things are not supposed to be tolerated (like murders) because society as a whole suffers otherwise. Other things are sometimes not tolerated even though it doesn't matter to society (homosexuality doesn't matter because it has always been associated with only a smallish percentage of the total population).   

       Since intolerance has consequences, unnecessary intolerance should be opposed. For one particular type of unnecessary intolerance by one particular group of people, I suggested something that has the net effect of asking, "Which thing is MORE intolerable to those people?" (abortion* or months of discomfort) If I could think of an invention suitable for countering unnecessary intolerance of homosexuality, I would post that Idea, too.   

       *Opposing abortion is unnecessary partly because only pure-animal life-forms are deliberately killed by it, and partly because the world is overpopulated, resulting in things like deforestation, overfishing, aquifer drainage, farmland shrinkage by growing cities, mass extinctions of other species, and more.
Vernon, Jul 02 2015

       [Voice], are you unaware that molecular biology has been discovered to basically be "natural nanotechnology"? We have NO reason to think that intelligent entities, persons, must all be organic in their physical existence. And "Short Circuit" isn't the only movie featuring a machine being. There are the Terminator movies (even if we consider the main machine being in them --SkyNet-- to be evil), for example, and the "Matrix" movies, and "The Bicentennial Man".   

       In the Star Wars movies, R2D2 appears to exhibit more in the way of "free will" than C3PO --it is never made clear whether or not they qualify as true self-willed machine beings, persons. Also, there is the movie "I, Robot" where quite a few machines might deserve to be recognized as persons. In the Star Trek (TNG) shows, for Commander Data there was an episode specifically about his status as a person ("The Measure of a Man"). So, [Voice], if your focus regarding "not like the others" has been misinterpreted, please explain in a bit more detail.
Vernon, Jul 02 2015

       Avatar convinced me that James Cameron may be a person but is certainly not human.
RayfordSteele, Jul 02 2015

       If you can make a judgment about the future, without experience of those coming facts, then you should be able to judge others, right or wrong. My qualifier being that it must be on a case by case basis rather than a blanket blindness.
wjt, Jul 03 2015

       Oh, and be willing to say sorry.
wjt, Jul 03 2015

       //unnecessary intolerance should be opposed.//   

       Unnecessary intolerance will not be tolerated!   

       Why not?   

       ...because of necessity!
pocmloc, Jul 03 2015

       Doesn't this already exist at Guantanamo Bay?
xenzag, Jul 03 2015

       Unnecessary intolerance in a one off case maybe beneficial for all concerned. Life little quirks of domino effects is strange that way.
wjt, Jul 03 2015

       [pocmloc], if you take something out of context, you can end up with all sorts of nonsense. I quote a larger statement than you quoted: "Since intolerance has consequences, unnecessary intolerance should be opposed." Your question of "why" is explained in the whole quote! --although I admit that the consequences mentioned are assumed to be more negative than positive.   

       I probably should have been more specific, such as, "Since intolerance often has negative consequences, unnecessary intolerance should be opposed." -- hopefully making it clear that by opposing unnecessary intolerance, associated negative consequences can be avoided/prevented.
Vernon, Jul 03 2015

       [LimpNotes], CALLING the animal occupying a womb a "child" doesn't make it one. A child exists just fine without an attached placenta; inside the womb, a placenta is a vital organ, as important as the heart.   

       Sure, the dictionary lets you call a womb-occupant a "child", but that is simply because dictionary definitions come from "common usage", and not necessarily from actual fact. It wasn't known until modern DNA tests that much of the placenta is actually part of the overall womb-occupant. We are not responsible for dictionary definitions that were created without all the facts available; we ARE responsible for how we use words when we do have a very complete set of facts available. So, because of the placenta, the occupant of a womb is quite different from a child, and should not be called a child (or a "baby", either).   

       I've seen some other arguments about why the words "baby" and "child" should not be used to reference womb-occupants. One was about the natural miscarriage rate, and how if you call it a "baby" instead of a "baby under construction, with Murphy's Law a significant factor", you raise false hopes, like a con- artist claiming that a normal birth is 100% certain, and make the emotional suffering WORSE when a miscarriage happens instead. Another argument was about how we have lots of different words to accurately describe physically different humans (like "tall", "short", "chubby", "skinny", ...) and it would be hypocrisy to freely use those words in ordinary circumstances, but refuse to use an existing word like "fetus" to accurately describe one part of a life-form developing toward a goal of surviving outside a special environment (and is generic across many different species; look up "turtle fetus" or "kangaroo fetus" or "bird fetus" ...).   

       Moving on ... there is "murder", which applies to killing a person, not an animal. There is no scientific data of any sort that indicates that a womb-occupant, no matter how close it is to getting born, is more of a person than, say, an adult pig (which we routinely kill for food, even though pigs are smarter than dogs). Any "Man B" who claims something like what you wrote should PROVE the accuracy of the statement if Man B wants the statement to be believed by others; mere opinions are nothing more than worthless propaganda when they go up against solid facts.   

       [bigsleep], people do volunteer for the most bizarre things, sometimes....
Vernon, Jul 04 2015

       I disagree. I don't like this line of reasoning but I don't also find it "mad". Personally I prefer the notion that the individual owns their body and that that ownership extends to using lethal force, murder, within that sphere, if the person so chooses. The fetus has no native rights so long as they come at the cost of the rights of the body containing them.
WcW, Jul 04 2015

       [lurch], I don't see you offering any data that what I wrote is only "rationalizing", and not valid logic based on valid data. SImple claims are worthless without evidence.   

       [WcW], the placenta is constructed by both the woman and the womb-occupant. Part of it only has the woman's DNA. Since for her it is not a vital organ, no more important than her appendix, she could insist that her part of the placenta be removed from her womb. (In the early part of a pregnancy, the drug known as "RU486" can do exactly that.) The womb-occupant would then die as a side-effect, not as a direct killing act.
Vernon, Jul 04 2015

       It's silly to argue semantics about this. If someone is inside your body and taking their sustenance from your blood you have the right to kill them. You don't have to make a special provision for this other party or be forced to allow them to have a survivable birth. This attitude of women as the vessels rather than the elective and powerful arbiters of reproduction is based in the objectification of the female body and the repression of female election. The power of reproductive choice ends at the point of ejaculation for the male and is entirely the absolute domain of the female from that point forward. This is power, and it deserves respect rather than subjugation.
WcW, Jul 04 2015

       Just to throw in a curve-ball, what if the group needed numbers?. High loss habitation conditions such as a space colony or disease ravaged area. Would the moral obligation of the survival of the group outweigh an individuals rights?
wjt, Jul 04 2015

       Nope. That's what it means to have power.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 04 2015

       So... under this system, the more I can tolerate, the more I get to judge others?   

       Sounds like one hell of a good way to hand the whole shebang over to the psycho/ sociopaths...

       I'm pretty sure it's easier to get people to reproduce when you want them to by making it wonderful and treating them like they are doing a community service. Our current policy of shaming sex, shaming poverty, shaming young mothers and providing a pathetic social safety net AND forcing reproduction on women is backwards nonsense. Until society finds the common will to care for every child that is born and every pregnant mother the shame is on us for our squandered wealth and not on the women who determine that they will not suffer to bring another child into that condition in that society.
WcW, Jul 05 2015

       [lurch], there are denials, and then there are denials supported by evidence. Of course, if you think you can make statements unsupported by data, then you shouldn't mind denials unsupported by data, right?   

       Still, you did say something about "redefining" a word. Let's examine that concept in terms of an analogy involving the word "arsenic", a famous poison. It turns out that the famous poison is actually a chemical compound, "arsenic trioxide". The name "arsenic" is now assigned to a particular chemical element (#33). If you look at a good dictionary, you will find both definitions for "arsenic", the element and the compound --but nobody really uses that OLD definition any more. We could probably assume that if modern chemistry had been known way-back-when, the word "arsenic" would *never* have been applied to the chemical compound.   

       So, with respect to "child" and the modern facts --if all those facts had been known way-back-when, on what basis would you claim that the word would have been used, back then, to describe a human womb-occupant?   

       When the Supreme Court overturns a Law, the *correct* interpretation of that action is to say, "That Law should be treated as if it had never existed in the first place."   

       So, logically, the question to ask is, "On what basis should a moral obligation *ever* have been associated with a womb-occupant, when it is provably so different from a 'child', and if those differences had been known way-back-then?"   

       I can now present some relevant data. In the Bible, Exodus 21:22, a miscarriage that is caused to happen can be associated with an *arbitrary* penalty, including ZERO.   

       The most well-known hunter-gatherers were the Native Americans of several centuries ago. It is known that most tribes almost routinely warred against their neighbors. We may reasonably extrapolate that back in time, before the invention of agriculture, when the whole world was populated only by hunter-gatherers.   

       We KNOW that the total global human population was relatively constant for tens of thousands of years (not counting the expansion into the Americas), before agriculture was invented. If all those tribes were routinely warring with their neighbors, that indicates the normal birth rate for humans sufficed to routinely replace the combat losses.   

       WHY was all that fighting happening? The answer should be obvious: hunting/gathering can only acquire so much from a specific territory; if you want to gather more, you have to take it from someone else's territory. But why would you want to gather more? Because the population of your tribe was growing! (And for tens of thousands of years, combat eliminated the excess and kept the total population stable.)   

       I once read that maybe we should thank Adolf Hitler for showing the world *just*how*morally*wrong*it*is* to do *blatant* exhortations to increase population, followed by using population growth as an excuse to steal the neighbors' territories for "lebensraum"/living-space. The POINT is, has it *ever* been morally valid, to push *unnecessary* population growth?   

       [wjt], you appear to be making the unsupported assumption that the reduced population does not want to all die. But they might be willing to do that, if they knew the species would continue to survive elsewhere. Now if the survival of the *species* was at stake, not just the survival of a group, and the survivors knew it, then...there could still be issues. I've read that one reason the Soviet Union collapsed in bankruptcy was, the political structure and overall culture was so horrid that large numbers of women chose not to raise offspring in that culture, and finally there weren't enough taxpayers to keep the system going. Most end- of-the-world scenarios don't include the survivors having political structures that are *that* awful, but we should keep in mind that it *might* happen; the species could become extinct if women are not respected enough (see a National Geographic article about how "Brazil's Girl Power" is defeating macho-ism).   

       [2 fries], not quite. The more you actually tolerate, the more you have a right to think others should tolerate something roughly equivalent. Even so, there are limits --no marathon runner expects a quadriplegic to run a marathon.
Vernon, Jul 05 2015

Voice, Jul 05 2015

       [WcW], semantics are important. Many problems can have their origins traced to inaccurate communications. A Debate in which people use the same words to mean different things is a Debate that just-about-never will be resolved. So, it is logically essential that we all be on the same definitions-page --and know exactly why we should be on that particular page, instead of some other definitions-page.
Vernon, Jul 05 2015

       // I've read that one reason the Soviet Union collapsed in bankruptcy was, the political structure and overall culture was so horrid that large numbers of women chose not to raise offspring in that culture//   

       Just out of interest, [Vernon], was that in Martin Amis' novel "House of Meetings"? For the purpose of the current argument it doesn't matter one way or the other, but I was tracking the propagation of that idea for reasons of my own.
pertinax, Jul 05 2015

       [WcW], I was just doing a quick catch-up on this thread, when these two passages from your annotations jumped out at me:   

       1. // If someone is inside your body and taking their sustenance from your blood you have the right to kill them. //   

       2. // Until society finds the common will to care for every child that is born and every pregnant mother the shame is on us for our squandered wealth //   

       The reason they jumped out at me was this: they both seem to start from the same observation - of a dependency relationship - but they draw the most extremely opposite conclusions imaginable from that dependency relationship.   

       On the one hand, according to #2, because an under-resourced mother is dependent on society and draws resources from society, it is unacceptable for society even to make disapproving remarks about her. On the other hand, according to #1, because a fetus is dependent on its mother, and draws resources from her, it is entirely acceptable for her to kill it.   

       I realise no-one ever wins this kind of internet argument. I just thought the mirror-image symmetry was striking. Are we being the love-child of Nietzsche and Ayn Rand - "Blood-suck on me, and I'll kill you!", or are we singing kumbaya - "There, there, of course I'll help; what do you need?" Whichever one it is, why aren't we doing it consistently?
pertinax, Jul 05 2015

       Surely the basic points are:   

       (1) An individual has the right to do as they please, as long as it does not harm another individual   

       (2) Subject to proviso (1), society should work for the greatest net good.   

       (3) An early-stage foetus is not considered an individual in this context; a born baby is; the transition point from non- individual to individual is open to argument.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 05 2015

       //The more you actually tolerate, the more you have a right to think others should tolerate something roughly equivalent. Even so, there are limits --no marathon runner expects a quadriplegic to run a marathon.//   

       I would think that someone who is quadriplegic tolerates far more than the marathon runner.
I'm just not sure that tolerance is a good criteria for judging. Most of the people I've met who could tolerate extremes of pain or deprivation or what-have-you are pretty much assholes.
I knew a guy one time with burn scars up his forearms from burning holes through dollar bills with cigarettes as a prison betting game to see which man could withstand it the longest.
It was like his 'thing'.

       Now there's a man who would be more than happy to subject himself to all sorts of tolerance tests if it meant he got the right to judge others.
Very strong in will but almost nonexistent empathy.

       Now that there is a good criteria for judging. Empathy. It's really hard to judge someone when you can't help but imagine walking in their shoes.   

       ...although I suppose that is also a form of tolerance.

       I don't actually see any conflict there. Individual freedom and collective action are not the same thing. I can simultaneously want for a society that is nurturing for all individuals while accepting that we do not have one; I can imagine a society where abortions would be less frequent while accepting that criminalizing them does nothing to address the underlying factors.
WcW, Jul 05 2015

       [pertinax], no, I'm sure I read that thing about the USSR somewhere else. I wouldn't bet on this next thing, but it is possible I read parts of the data and then deduced the connection between the parts, myself. It was years ago....   

       The bodily-autonomy argument has the primary flaw of assuming that two persons are involved. While the original formulation of that argument (by Judith Jarvis Thomson) did involve two persons, applying it to pregnancy is a mistake because it default-accepts a primary premise of those who oppose abortion. As long as it is possible to show that that premise is flawed, it should *never* be accepted by anyone on the pro- choice side of the Debate.   

       [MaxwellBuchanan], there is significant additional data, of which a great many people are unaware. There is a *major* claim that human DNA alone defines us as persons, but that claim has been *proved*false* by the data about "feral children". Without significant Nurture, all any human ever becomes is just a clever animal, incapable of creatively manipulating abstractions, or doing other things that distinguish persons from animals.   

       Almost as interesting is the apparent fact that humans have exhibited person-type behaviors for roughly 60,000 years, while anatomically modern humans have existed for about 200,000 years. ALL humans were "feral", non-person animals, back then! Meanwhile, it appears that the potential to act at least somewhat like persons has existed for FAR longer than it has been actualized. When Washoe the Chimpanzee, Koko the Gorilla and Chantek the Orangutan (see link!) were raised like human infants, receiving human-style Nurturing (with sign-language lessons), they became as competent as average 3-year-old humans, in terms of person-abilities. Human ancestors have had about that much person-potential-brainpower since the days of australopithecus!
Vernon, Jul 05 2015

       Or, rather than making sophistic arguments we could just accept that the whole female thing is an awesome reponsibility with life/death implications and dictating what other people do with their bodies is a special form of repression. If you feel a moral compunction to make more humans then get about it, similarly I'm not going to try to stop you from using the most modern technology to help make more humans. You could devote your life to this calling if you chose and produce many offspring which, if there is a moral good in it, you would be obliged to carry it out.
WcW, Jul 05 2015

       //the potential to act at least somewhat like persons has existed for FAR longer than it has been actualized.//   

       Actually we have no idea whether that is true or not.   

       Even if we had the fresh corpses of a normal human, and a human with very severe mental retardation, we generally wouldn't be able to tell which was which from any anatomical clues.   

       To say that the earliest anatomical humans had the same physical brains that we have, is a bit like finding the rusted remains of an engineless car body and inferring that it had the same horsepower as a current model.   

       Given that more genes are involved in brain development than in any other structure, it's highly likely that significant evolutionary changes in the brain continued long after the skeletal anatomy became recognisably human.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2015

       [MaxwellBuchanan], one of the things we do KNOW is that brains don't have to be as sophisticated as primate brains to be able to learn a great deal. See the "Alex the Parrot" link I attached to the page that I linked here ("How clever animals became people"). Do remember that birds have (mostly) the basic reptilian brain, that dogs have the mammalian brain piled on top of that, and that primates have another type of brain-structure piled on top of the mammalian brain. Then note that australopithecus was a primate with about the same size of brain as a modern chimpanzee, maybe even a bit bigger.
Vernon, Jul 06 2015

       In the past society has a leaning that more individuals is a net good. As a collective, the anti abortion sentiment whether ignorant, knowledgeable or legal, acts as an activation energy barrier on an individual for society.   

       The individual always is free to act, but is faced with increasing decision/consequence pressure by society.
wjt, Jul 06 2015

       [wjt], one of the things that has been learned, but hasn't been applied everywhere it needs to be applied, is the fact that too much of ANY good thing is always, always, a bad thing.   

       [LimpNotes], the simplest arguments are the best. In this case, it could be stated that abortion should be legal because there is no valid argument for making it illegal in today's world. If there was such a valid argument, it would be impossible to poke holes into that argument.   

       The closest thing I've ever seen to a valid argument for illegalizing abortion involves the possibility of the human species becoming extinct from too-small a gene pool --but that does not apply to today's world. All the other arguments I've encountered are based on incomplete information, or actually-wrong information, or prejudice, or hypocrisy, or some other fatal flaw.   

       In another message I invited [lurch] to basically explain why it was ever a valid moral thing to oppose abortion, without actually denying the claim. The point is, if no valid explanation can be offered, then it would be perfectly sensible to deny the claim!
Vernon, Jul 06 2015

       If I don't want to tolerate this idea, and intend to [marked-for-deletion] on grounds that it's little more than thinly veiled advocacy, what kind of hat should I wear?   

       To support my argument, I can state that I've read and fully experienced the entire thing, and while it's clear that there are two diametrically opposing views, I've not heard anything particularly new on the matter - which seems to be more about the example used to illustrate the idea, than the idea itself - which appears to be an uncomfortable hat.   

       If the idea did work, and removed from the argument pool those gentlemen who failed the ordeal, what then? Would the remaining people all be able to reach a consensus? Or would this issue remain a thorny one? I suspect we'd be very much in a similar situation, resolution-wise, only with a rather glumly resigned population of people no longer participating in the argument, on account of their proven aversion to wet- hats.
zen_tom, Jul 06 2015

       [zen tom], a lot of annotations could be deleted from this Idea, without actually deleting the idea. Did you not read my very first annotation here? There IS an actual invention. How it gets used, though, can certainly be debated.
Vernon, Jul 06 2015

       [lurch], various things can be interpreted different ways. When someone wants an abortion, that someone (and possibly anyone who thinks abortion should be allowed) is saying that that unborn representative of population growth is unnecessary. To oppose abortion is thus the same thing as promoting unnecessary population growth. Not to mention that it might be interesting to think about whether or not ANY amount of population growth, beyond the point where the gene pool is diverse enough for long-term survival, is TRULY necessary, in the strictest sense of the word.   

       As for the data you previously presented regarding rationalizing, you MIGHT notice that I didn't outright- deny that data; instead I asked about why it might be valid. That is, to change an existing "moral obligation" by redefining a word is one thing, but to ask why the moral obligation was created in the first place (and whether or not creating it back-then was a valid thing to do) is another thing altogether.   

       There is *nothing* of lunacy in asking core questions! Most people know a little about the legend of Isaac Newton and the apple, except they mostly don't seem to know that there was a core question involved. "Why does the apple fall toward the Earth, and not the Earth fall toward the apple?" Newton formalized the concept of "mass" in natural philosophy (the original name for what we now call "physics"), to answer that question.   

       Next, Hitler is often introduced *inappropriately* in various arguments, but I most certainly had an argument in which it *was* appropriate to mention Hitler. It is well-documented how he wanted German women to have lots and lots of babies, and his speech about "lebensraum" is quite formally Historical, what with Neville Chamberlain's failure to oppose the land- grab that followed (and prevent war in the long term), by signing the Munich Pact. Even if Hitler had not been a megalomaniac, simply by continuing to encourage population growth, *additional* lebensraum would have eventually been sought, until other nations decided to put a stop to having their territories get given away. THEY needed lebensraum too!, see?   

       Next, why should the concept of "pushing" population growth be needed with respect to any woman who *wants* to have a baby? Are you somehow assuming that women want babies *only* because of a social "push" for it? Think again!!! The phrase "nest-building instinct" would never be applied to human females if there was no truth to it.   

       Thus my question had no need to differentiate in the manner you described. But just to be clear, I will define my usage of the phrase "push population growth" as encouraging (even insisting) women have MORE offspring than they might normally choose, without pressure. Will the human species survive if there was no pressure? In terms of a stable gene pool, any geneticist would probably agree that 10 thousand births a year would be sufficient. There are currently roughly 130 million births a year, worldwide. You would have extreme difficulty showing that of those 130 million, less than 10 thousand are *wanted* (and thereby be able to claim the survival of the species is at risk, if population growth wasn't pushed).   

       Next, DON'T put your words into my mouth. A human womb-occupant is 100% human; it is impossible for it to be "sub human". In fact, it is MORE human than YOU! (Of all the cells in your body, about 90% are bacterial, non-human --see the link!-- while the amniotic sac in the womb is a fairly sterile bacteria-free environment.)   

       I made an effort to show that "human" and "person" are two different concepts, and you offered NO information to the contrary. A womb-occupant is, *measurably*, ZERO% person, especially when compared to adult dolphins.   

       Next, DON'T put your words into my mouth! I said nothing about "should be killed". I have only indicated that if killing a womb-occupant is desired by the owner of that womb, there is no reason to forbid it in today's world. Plus I'm not seeing anything in what you wrote that qualifies as a rationale, or even a rationalization, for forbidding it. Indeed, that last thing you wrote, about "supporting the person", could be stretched so far as to include publicly paid-for abortions.
Vernon, Jul 07 2015

       Humans are a plague on the universe and should be eradicated. That goes for all life-forms actually. And while we're at it, stars are pretty messy, get rid of them, and all the rest of matter. Too untidy.
pocmloc, Jul 07 2015

       [lurch], it was great that you were able have both your boys and keep your wife alive.   

       Most people aren't presented with that potential outcome.   

       Agree with your general principle that the hard and fast rules here are frankly useless.   

       My wife had an ectopic and would have died without an immediate d&c, which unfortunately meant disturbing the twin growing inside as well as the ectopic.   

       The halfbakery is not the place for an abortion debate. Both of you know this.
RayfordSteele, Jul 07 2015

       [MaxwellBuchanan], your post should have been made in the other Idea space ("On the Origin of Modern Mentalities"). I'm going to copy it to there and delete it from here, and I will reply to it there.
Vernon, Jul 08 2015


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