Ownership and Duties

Generally in the argument for abortion I see the idea bandied about that ownership means I get to control the use of the things that I own. I need to add a caveat to this notion: ownership means you get to control the use of the things you own so long as you do not use the things you own to destroy what someone else owns.

For example, you may freely use your guns to shoot targets. You may freely hunt animals that no one else owns. You may not use your gun to shoot me or to threaten me.

RadGeek writes:

…how else [but involuntary servitude or slavery] would you describe forcing a woman to turn her uterine lining over to the use of a fetus (or, rather, a bunch of grown men purporting to act on the fetus’s behalf)? The only thing that could make the use of force here legitimate would be for the fetus, or someone else other than the woman, to own the woman’s reproductive organs. And for anyone to claim that just is to claim ownership over the woman’s body—which is another quick elucidation of what it means to claim that someone is your slave.

RadGeek makes an error here. He says that the foetus could only claim the use of the woman’s organs if the foetus had a claim of ownership in them. That’s not correct.

In libertarian theory, a person may compel a person to fulfill their duties, which includes what happens when person injures another person or places them in danger. The first duty of these two we call the Duty to Restore; the second we call the Duty to Rescue. When a person has acquired one of these duties, it is just to compel them to fulfill it. It it were not just to compel them to do it, they couldn’t be called duties!

Bound up in the notion of duty is the notion that one person may compel another to take particular actions. That means that, if I were to knock someone off a boat who couldn’t swim, it would be just to compel me to take actions to rescue them. If I could rescue them myself, I should take the action of diving in and saving them. If I can’t, I should take the action of dragging them back into the boat, or calling for help, or doing something to rectify the situation.

In all of this there is no claim that the drowning man has ownership over my body. What he does have is a claim on me due to my actions. There is no transfer of ownership here – my body is still mine – but I now have acquired a duty to use it in a certain fashion. My example at the top also illustrates this point: the person who is threatened with a gun by someone else isn’t claiming ownership over the threator’s gun or his body, simply demanding that his rights be recognised.

What this means is that RadGeek can’t use the argument that abortion ought to be outlawed because compelling a woman to carry a foetus to term is slavery. He instead needs to argue that the mother has no duty to the foetus. In light of how foetuses come to be, this is a much more difficult argument.

57 thoughts on “Ownership and Duties”

  1. He instead needs to argue that the mother has no duty to the foetus. In light of how foetuses come to be, this is a much more difficult argument.

    Your argument is good as it stands, but what is it about humans that creates a duty to respect their rights? I assume you don’t believe we have a duty to respect the rights of animals, so what is that distinguishes a full grown adult gorilla from a human fetus? Is it that a human fetus has the potential to one day be a human adult?

    One major problem with the potential argument is that if it is wrong to deprive the fetus of its future, it is also wrong to deprive the ovum and sperm of their future. Therefore, contraception must be as wrong as abortion, for both acts deprive a potential human of its right to life. Since most of us do not consider contraception to be equivalent to murder, this is serves as a reductio ad absurdum.

  2. On the other hand, there is a distinct qualitative difference between a single sperm and a single egg sitting together in close proximity and a small zygote; a Catholic, say, might argue that the egg-sperm system will not “naturally” develop into life whereas the zygote-system will, hence life begins at conception.

  3. But Stefan, the egg and sperm will develop into life if the parents have sex without contraception. Contraception thus prevents potential life from becoming an actual life, just as abortion prevents a potential life from becoming an actual life.

    This argument only addresses those who believe that a fetus is a potential life and not an actual life. Those who believe a fetus is an actual life will need to be addressed differently. But then those who believe a fetus is an actual life need to explain why a fetus, in its present condition, deserves protection while an adult chimpanzee does not.

  4. Micha, how about the fetus being human, and the adult chimpanzee, not being so?

    You’re not reading Micha’s statement in context. He said that *if* you argue that the fetus deserves protection based on its status as having actual life then logically a chimpanzee also deserves protection on the same basis since it is an example of life that is more intelligent and more developed than a fetus. You, on the other hand, are arguing that the fetus deserves protection based on its status as “potential life”, which is the argument Micha initially considered.

  5. “You’re not reading Micha’s statement in context.”

    No, I’m pretty sure I’m reading Micha’s statement precisely as he intended it. Furthermore, you’re assuming I’m arguing from the position that a fetus is a “potential life” whereas nothing in my question denotes whether or not I’m coming from the stance of “potential” or “actual” life. Incidentally, I believe the fetus is an actual life, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Micha stated: “But then those who believe a fetus is an actual life need to explain why a fetus, in its present condition, deserves protection while an adult chimpanzee does not.”

    He’s right, and I gave a reason for the distinction. One is a human, and the other is not. That is also a possible distinction between gametes and zygote. The zygote is a human life, and the gametes are not.

    Now one could of course argue that a zygote is not really a human life, or contrarily, that gametes really are. Or one could argue that something’s lack of humanity is immaterial to the justice of destroying it, but that would be by no means a universally-accepted viewpoint.

  6. He’s right, and I gave a reason for the distinction. One is a human, and the other is not. That is also a possible distinction between gametes and zygote. The zygote is a human life, and the gametes are not.

    What exactly do you mean by “human” here? Yeah, in a narrow biological sense the zygote is actual human life–namely in the sense that it has the same DNA coding you and I have. So do my T-cells, for that matter, or the gametes you allude to. Why is a zygote significantly different than my T-cells? (Hint: If you find yourself using the word “potential”, you’ve conceded the point). I think the problem here is that you think you’re advancing a claim for the fetus being actual life but in reality you’re arguing it is potential life.

  7. Scott,

    Micha, how about the fetus being human, and the adult chimpanzee, not being so?

    That is indeed a difference, but it seems to beg the question. What is about humans, even human fetuses, that make them deserving of rights protection, while chimpanzees do not deserve the same rights protection?

    Another example: should we respect the lives of highly intelligent aliens, even if they are not biological humans? What if they are similar to humans in every morally significant way, perhaps even superior in every way, but are not biological humans – do we then have no moral obligation to respect their rights?

  8. Micha,

    Well would a consequentialist say we ought to recognize rights of aliens if failing to do so produced good results for our species at the expense of theirs?

    Suppose because of their peculiar nature these aliens had no motivation to trade with humans but they could be enslaved for human purposes at a profit. Humans cannot produce goods for the aliens but they can easily produce bads for the aliens. The aliens can thus be compelled to produce goods for the humans. Anything wrong with enslaving them?

    My answer: Men have rights as a consequence of their nature as rational animals. Human fetuses and rational aliens are by nature rational animals and thus share such rights. Chimps do not share such a nature.

  9. Human fetuses are rational? Since when? And if you say that human fetuses should be accorded rights because of their future potential to be rational, see my above argument for why that should also exclude contraception.

    As for consequentialism, that’s a whole ‘nother argument entirely. It depends on whether or not we should include the interests of certain groups within our moral calculus. Non-human animals? Aliens? Human fetuses? Infants? Difficult questions, but not ones that need to be answered in order to address Josh’s original argument.

  10. Your argument is good as it stands, but what is it about humans that creates a duty to respect their rights? I assume you don’t believe we have a duty to respect the rights of animals, so what is that distinguishes a full grown adult gorilla from a human fetus?

    Actually, I think more-intelligent animals ought to have greater protection under the law. Dolphins, parrots, chimpanzees, gorillas, and animals that approach human intelligence and self-awareness deserve appreciation of their individuality. They don’t get full human standing of course, but in proportion to their greater intelligence and individuality they get more latitude. Two examples I support:

    * Prohibiting development in areas where Great Apes live
    * Prohibiting fishing tactics that kill higher-order marine mammals

    As to your other question, the foetus gets protection because it is human life. It is not potential human life, it itself is already human and was at the moment of conception. Sperm and ova have the potential for human life under proper circumstances, but a fertilised egg is a human right now.

    – Josh

  11. Micha,

    I said human fetuses are by nature rational animals. The very same individual organism that is you was once a fetus. That individual organism always had one nature. It was never a sperm or an ovum.

    Why recognize rights for a sleeping or unconscious man? His rationality is only potential while he is unconscious but his nature is the same as when he awakens.

  12. Kennedy,

    A human fetus lacks rationality. It simply does not have it. Show me one fetus that does and I’ll concede the point. I don’t think you can.

    I’m not so sure its correct to say that a sleeping person lacks rationality. Is it that rationality requires the state of being awake? Can we not be rational in our dreams? And even putting that question aside, an adult human certainly doesn’t lose his rationality when he goes to sleep, only to gain it back later. Whereas a fetus never had it to begin with, and only gains it long after it is born.

    Josh,

    Since you accept some level of animal rights, I cannot use this particular argument against you. However, I am still not clear on what your argument is precisely. Is it that humans are intelligent and self-aware creatures? But that is certainly not true of fetuses. Kennedy argues that rationality is the important criterion, but I already argued why I don’t think that explanation works for fetuses. You also seem to say that a human fetus should be protected because it is a human life. But what is so special about human life in general? Do the fetuses of intelligent aliens also deserve protection? What about the fetuses of dolphins? If so, if intelligence and self-awareness are the important criteria, why should we protect the fetuses of species that will later be intelligent and self-aware, but are not themselves intelligent and self-aware during gestation?

  13. What is the difference between saying that an organism has a “nature” of rationality and that an organism has a “potentional” for rationality? You don’t seem to dispute that a fetus lacks rationality as it is, only that as a human, it has the “nature” to one day have rationality. Why should we treat a fetus as a class rather than as an individual? If an individual chimpanzee was born with a genetic mutation that gave it the ability to be rational, would you not say that this chimpanzee deserves rights, even though it is not in its “nature” to be rational?

  14. But what is so special about human life in general?

    Nothing, really, except that we were the first species to evolve high intelligence. Any species of slightly inferior intelligence or better is entitled to “human” rights. Species with higher-order but not quite homo intelligence are entitled to some lesser set of rights than sentient rights, such as the right not to be treated cruelly.

    If so, if intelligence and self-awareness are the important criteria, why should we protect the fetuses of species that will later be intelligent and self-aware, but are not themselves intelligent and self-aware during gestation?

    For the same reason you can’t shoot Granddad when he starts calling the lamp “Mildred”. Granddad might have lost his mind, but he’s still a member of a class that gets sentient rights protection.

  15. But maybe we protect the senile (or the more usual example of people in a coma or significantly brain damaged) because healthy people care about them, and not because they deserve rights on their own. Again, should rights be given on an individual case-by-case basis and not granted on the basis of one’s membership in a collective?

  16. >>I didn’t say a fetus was rational. I said an individual organism has one nature throughout it’s life cycle.

    Whoa. That’s a big statement.

    I’m not sure that T.J.-02/21/2005 has the same nature as T.J.-02/20/2005, much less as a infant or fetus.

    I think I’m going to go with Robert Anton Wilson on this one.

  17. But maybe we protect the senile (or the more usual example of people in a coma or significantly brain damaged) because healthy people care about them, and not because they deserve rights on their own.

    It is universally recognised to be wrong to shoot Granddad when he goes senile. It’s not just a matter of “we care about Granddad” but “this is murder.” And it’s murder because Granddad is human.

    Again, should rights be given on an individual case-by-case basis and not granted on the basis of one’s membership in a collective?

    An extraordinarily intelligent chimpanzee would get full human rights, but since chimps don’t have homo intelligence, chimps as a class don’t get sentient protection. (They do, however, get enhanced protection like dolphins.) By contrast, homo intelligence is the founding characteristic of humanity, so everyone in the class gets it, even those who by age or mental defect do not have full sentient powers.

  18. It is universally recognised to be wrong to shoot Granddad when he goes senile.

    Universally recognized? Opposition to assisted suicide, advanced directives, and even euthanasia is far from universal and is gradually becoming less so every day. In some cultures, where resources are extremely scarce, euthanizing the weak — especially the elderly and infants — is commonly accepted practice, and for good reason. It would be idiocy to allocate scarce resources in order to save the lives of those who either have little chance of long-term survival and quality of life when those same scarce resources could be used to save the strong and healthy.

    This is not universally recognized as wrong, and even if it was, that alone would not be reason enough to reject it.

    An extraordinarily intelligent chimpanzee would get full human rights, but since chimps don’t have homo intelligence, chimps as a class don’t get sentient protection. (They do, however, get enhanced protection like dolphins.) By contrast, homo intelligence is the founding characteristic of humanity, so everyone in the class gets it, even those who by age or mental defect do not have full sentient powers.

    But why this class discrepancy? If we are willing to treat chimps as individuals and grant rights based on the presence of intelligence, why not treat humans as individuals also and deny rights based on lack of intelligence?

  19. “That is indeed a difference, but it seems to beg the question. What is about humans, even human fetuses, that make them deserving of rights protection, while chimpanzees do not deserve the same rights protection?”

    Yes, it does beg the question, but no more than any moral position. If I say it is wrong to kill someone, that only begs the question, what is it about people that makes it wrong to kill one?

    One possible reason is that humans probably have a bias towards their own species, for the same reason any species does.

    “Another example: should we respect the lives of highly intelligent aliens, even if they are not biological humans? What if they are similar to humans in every morally significant way, perhaps even superior in every way, but are not biological humans – do we then have no moral obligation to respect their rights?”

    Personally, I’d say yes. But I can foresee people feeling differently.

  20. True, Scott, you and I both agree that all moral claims must at some point beg the question, but most (all?) of the writers at No Treason do not agree, and instead hold that moral claims can be grounded on objective fact.

    And even putting that question aside, the special distinction granted to humans over other similar beings could use some explanation. Yes, we are biased towards our own species, but is that bias justified any more than racism or sexism?

  21. but is that bias justified any more than racism or sexism?

    Well since as far as I know there are no intelligent aliens I’m guessing it’s a moot point.

  22. True, Scott, you and I both agree that all moral claims must at some point beg the question

    Kind of like, oh, scientific claims? (Someone made a similar comment in that Aristotle link.)

    most (all?) of the writers at No Treason do not agree, and instead hold that moral claims can be grounded on objective fact.

    Goodness yes. I wouldn’t feel comfortable arguing for an idea I thought had no more validity than my favorite flavor of ice cream.

  23. Well since as far as I know there are no intelligent aliens I’m guessing it’s a moot point.

    Well, the point of using hypotheticals in philosophy is to help us examine our intuitions and justifications for them and see if they are in accordance with reason and compatable with our other beliefs. So even though we have never met an intelligent alien, we can still imagine what it would be like if we did, and analyze whether our current beliefs make sense given that new information. And if for some other reason you object to hypotheticals, we still have the problem of non-human animals; namely, the existence of non-human animals with much greater cognitive abilities than human fetuses or even human infants.

    Kind of like, oh, scientific claims? (Someone made a similar comment in that Aristotle link.)

    Kind of like them, but not exactly. Moral claims must at some point rest on intuitions absent empirical evidence, whereas scientific claims can rest on our empirical observation of the world. (I guess if you want to claim that whether or not we should trust our empirical observations is itself an intuition, you might have a point, but I still see a significant difference between the two sorts of claims.)

  24. But why this class discrepancy? If we are willing to treat chimps as individuals and grant rights based on the presence of intelligence, why not treat humans as individuals also and deny rights based on lack of intelligence?

    Because the nature of humanity is such that intelligence is our founding characteristic, as I just explained to you.

  25. Weak argument, on two grounds:

    The latter ground, that man must be designed to have an innate best use, is fundamentally flawed. Evolution is just as capable of producing a moral sense as is a god or gods. Moreover, in quickly perusing Ta Ethika, I don’t see where Aristotle even says explicitly that man is designed. You want to say that Aristotle is making the watchmaker argument here, but Aristotle doesn’t go that far. Moreover, since he talks about the internal workings of organs, it’s obvious he’s using statues to illustrate “something with form and function” and not “something designed.”

    The former ground isn’t particularly convincing either. You want to argue that humanity specialness gives no guide to human morality, but that’s exactly what every society everywhere has done, and the rules they have come up with across nearly every society have been the same at their core: you don’t kill anyone, you don’t take or break their shit, you don’t interfere with their business, you don’t break oaths.

  26. “True, Scott, you and I both agree that all moral claims must at some point beg the question, but most (all?) of the writers at No Treason do not agree, and instead hold that moral claims can be grounded on objective fact.”

    Ah, well sorry, Micha, I just followed a link here for the first time a few days ago.

    “And even putting that question aside, the special distinction granted to humans over other similar beings could use some explanation. Yes, we are biased towards our own species, but is that bias justified any more than racism or sexism?”

    Yes, for I imagine we have much more genes in common with different human races and sexes than we do with chimpanzees. Ah, but you argue, does that make those with very close genes somehow more worthy of protection than others? And to that I’d say yes–many people do feel an affinity for their relatives over others, and I imagine there are cases when I’d be the same.

  27. For those who have an issue with calling a zygote a human, please explain to me why it is not acceptable to kill a 1 month old child. Their powers of “rationality” are far less than a fully developed chimpanzee, or even a dog for that matter, yet we treat them as a human and consider it murder when they are killed.

    The same is true with a baby 1 day after birth, 1 hour after birth, 1 second after birth. I hope no one here is seriously saying that the only reason why I can not go and kill a 1 day old baby is because it is the property of its parents, and thus I do not have a right to destroy it, while the parents have every right to destroy it because it is not a fully rational human.

    This kind of “scale” would make the moral claim that a 1 year old was more acceptable to kill than an 8 year old who would be more acceptable to kill than a 25 year old. Such a claim is ridiculous.

    Destroying a developing zygote is different than destroying a t-cell of an adult human because the destruction of the t-cell does not destroy the organism while the destruction of the zygote does. A zygote is not a potential organism, potential living thing, or even a potential human. The only thing potential about it is the fact that is has potential for further life, but this is no different than any other living thing in any other stage of development.

    A gamete does not have any more potential for life than a rock, or any other collection of random atoms. It does not matter how close it comes to an egg, it is by definition not alive, and thus has no potential for continuing life, unlike a zygote.

    If you want to make the claim that using birth control is morally the same as having an abortion because it stops the potential for life, then explain to me why choosing not to have sex at every opportunity you can is any different. After all I am sure if a guy worked at it he could easily create hundreds of offspring in his lifetime. Your logic would say that any man who did not was clearly stopping potential life. Such a claim is ridiculous.

  28. For those who have an issue with calling a zygote a human, please explain to me why it is not acceptable to kill a 1 month old child.

    No one here made that claim. I did claim that it lacks the attribute that people here claim is grounds for moral treatment; namely, rationality.

    I hope no one here is seriously saying that the only reason why I can not go and kill a 1 day old baby is because it is the property of its parents, and thus I do not have a right to destroy it, while the parents have every right to destroy it because it is not a fully rational human.

    I’m willing to consider that idea. It follows directly from the claim that moral treatment depends upon rationality. Only by thinking in collective, and not individual terms, has anyone been able to distinguish between humans and non-human animals.

    If you want to make the claim that using birth control is morally the same as having an abortion because it stops the potential for life, then explain to me why choosing not to have sex at every opportunity you can is any different.

    I accept the ridiculousness of your reductio, which is why I reject these “potential” arguments. Our concern must therefore only be will actually rational life, not potential-in-the-future rational life.

  29. I hope no one here is seriously saying that the only reason why I can not go and kill a 1 day old baby is because it is the property of its parents, and thus I do not have a right to destroy it, while the parents have every right to destroy it because it is not a fully rational human.

    Well that is one reason, but nobody suggested it was the only one. It’s natural for parents to love their children, and it would be morally wrong to destroy something you love.

    This kind of “scale” would make the moral claim that a 1 year old was more acceptable to kill than an 8 year old who would be more acceptable to kill than a 25 year old.

    Why would an eight year old not possess the same rational nature as a 25-year old? Because he hasn’t graduated high school?

    Destroying a developing zygote is different than destroying a t-cell of an adult human because the destruction of the t-cell does not destroy the organism while the destruction of the zygote does.

    I won’t bother replying since you refute yourself in the next paragraph:

    After all I am sure if a guy worked at it he could easily create hundreds of offspring in his lifetime. Your logic would say that any man who did not was clearly stopping potential life. Such a claim is ridiculous.

    Indeed it is. That’s why Micha and I both reject it.

  30. Chadeo,

    Correct except that life does not begin with conception. Life is continuous. Gametes are just as alive as you or me. They are the haploid stage of human life. In some organisms the haploid stages reproduce. In fact in some the sexes are determined by this. By your argument both human males and human females are not alive since they cannot by themselves continue life. They are dead ends as surely as gametes if they cannot

    I have never bought the idea that “life begins at conception”. That is unscientific nonsense. One can say that the diploid stage of life begins at conception.
    Now the question arises do haploid organisms have less rights than diploid. So as long as we are talking about aliens, lets suppose we meet intelligent beings in which the sexes are differentiated by males being diploid and females hapliod. I don’t think anyone would think one is better than the other.

    What is different about gametes for humans is that they are produced in sacrificial quantities by both males and females. I imagine we would look quite differently upon them if we only produced one or two per lifetime.

    On the question of aliens. What if the aliens were as good as or superior to us mentally plus they despised humans. Suppose they had no use for us and did not consider us to be protected by their system of rights. Why then should any human respect the aliens rights? Ala, Independence Day. Now suppose they have attacked some people but have not yet trespassed against you. The ones you have contacted express that you have no rights but have not yet acted because they could not be successful against you. Do you need to wait to protect yourself?

    Let’s try another one. It is a fact that if one species occupies the same niche as another and is superior in that niche it will drive the other species extinct. Given the scenario of Alien Nation where an intellegent and in all ways superior alien race crash lands on earth. Are we obligated not to exterminate them before nature takes it’s course and they drive humans extinct?

  31. Given the scenario of Alien Nation where an intellegent and in all ways superior alien race crash lands on earth. Are we obligated not to exterminate them before nature takes it’s course and they drive humans extinct?

    Of course Brian. You have the right, nay, the *obligation* to exterminate any hostile superior aliens you find. Go get ’em.

  32. I was just wondering how you guys would handle it under a fundamentalist liberatian society. You know with open borders, dolphin rights and all, deduced directly from libertarian axioms and objective morality. Do aliens and humans share a common objective morality? If they are more intellegent do they have more rights on the gorilla, dolphin, human, alien rationality ladder? Perhaps they have the right to keep humans as pets as long as they simulate our habitat sufficiently, or even as livestock.

  33. Brian, if these aliens are that much more intelligent than you and want to do you harm, why are even worrying about it? They’ll kick your ass and put you in their specially designed human fish bowl whether you try to defend yourself against them or not.

    Luckily, “spics” and “ragheads” aren’t as intelligent as these other sorts of aliens, so at least we have a chance of “defending” ourselves from these lesser “aggressors.” Right, Macker?

  34. I was just wondering how you guys would handle it under a fundamentalist liberatian society. You know with open borders, dolphin rights and all, deduced directly from libertarian axioms and objective morality.

    If I recall the movie correctly, the aliens were perfectly peaceful so long as they stayed away from that goop. But would it really be so horrible if a group of peaceful people with IQs of 300 were to enter human society? That’s basically what’s going on in Alien Nation, and the likely result is that human science and technology would accelerate under their leadership. Curses!

    Do aliens and humans share a common objective morality?

    I dunno. It would depend on the alien race.

    If they are more intellegent do they have more rights on the gorilla, dolphin, human, alien rationality ladder? Perhaps they have the right to keep humans as pets as long as they simulate our habitat sufficiently, or even as livestock.

    More intelligent aliens might have rights we cannot fathom within our limitations.

    However, I don’t think a more intelligent alien species would have the right to hold us as pets. Notice that the heightened-animal rights of dolphins and gorillas is a moral constraint on the action of clearly more intelligent animals: namely, humans. By extension, I conceive of homo rights as being a moral constraint on species superior to us: our right to liberty cannot be rightfully abridged by any alien race, no matter how superior, just as no other race may torture dolphins, no matter how superior.

  35. “But would it really be so horrible if a group of peaceful people with IQs of 300 were to enter human society?”

    Nothing if they were people. But that wasn’t the scenario.

    Even if aliens were to land, I do not think the scenario laid out in Alien Nation is very likely. I don’t think the Aliens would be mental equals to humans and physically superior in every way. My scenario was a little different than Alien nation in that I tweaked it a little. The Aliens in that show would dissolve in salt water. Which is not a superior trait on a planet covered 75% by oceans. So in the Alien Nation show I would think what would occur it the Aliens would reproduce to the point where they displaced humans in most habitats except those around the seas.

    I think it most likely that we would become symbiotic with any alien culture we encounter. That likelyhood increases with an increase in differences.

    The Alien Nation scenario was not such a scenario however. The Aliens were pretty much human in their temperments, meaning they are in for a good slaughter like any human. I am ignoring the goop. So assuming they didn’t dissolve in salt water. Were superior in our ecological niche. Which means they would eventually out compete us. Can we then defend ourselves against our ultimate demise. Be aware that it need not be the intention of any single alien that this be the outcome. It’s just a fact of the situation. We can destroy the couple thousand aliens now or we can accept them into the society and seal our ultimate fate.

    Micha, is wrong in saying “Brian, if these aliens are that much more intelligent than you and want to do you harm, why are even worrying about it? They’ll kick your ass and put you in their specially designed human fish bowl whether you try to defend yourself against them or not.”. One can easily defeat superior opponents with superior numbers. In Alien Nation it was only a matter of a decision and they could have been wiped out. Any aliens reaching our planet would do so in numbers and resources far inferior to what we have here.

    You might read “A Mote in Gods Eye” sometime. Which has another similar scenario where the humans decide to bottle up the aliens in their own system.

  36. One can easily defeat superior opponents with superior numbers.

    True. Just look at Iraq.

    But if these aliens are so much more intelligent than we are, and yet hostile, there are only two foreseable options: if they do not think they can defeat us decisively with the resources they have, they will not attack us. If they do attack us, that means they have a justified, reasonable belief that the foreseable benefits outweigh the costs. I, for one, welcome our alien overlords.

  37. Micha,

    “Luckily, “spics” and “ragheads” aren’t as intelligent as these other sorts of aliens, so at least we have a chance of “defending” ourselves from these lesser “aggressors.” Right, Macker?”

    What’s your problem? Seems you are doing the same straw man arguments made in the other thread. I knew that was where you and several of your fellows were going so I terminated the discussion. I’m not going to bother explaining myself if you are going to pull the same thing you pulled on Hoppe.

    Actually, this is quite dispicable behavoir on your part. I don’t find your tactics any more appealing than some of the other posters here.

    I have hard evidence for my concerns about Islam. It has nothing to do with racism. I just spoke to my Muslim friend today. We had a conversation where he, an Indian, and I were talking about what good movies we had seen lately. He doesn’t normally watch movies and I was surprised when he said he had seen a whopping four movies this year. American movies are inappropriate you see. In any case the conversation shifted to this: http://web.mid-day.com/hitlist/2005/february/103336.htm. I don’t have time to give you all the gems on that but his essential point was that was done by “uneducated people” (uneducated in Islam). His response being that anyone can issue a fatwa. I responded, “Anyone? You mean any cleric”. His response was yes but these are uneducated. I told him that there were scores of muslim coutries and I am sure they are many differences. However, I had read a book of a professor from Egypt in which he related an attempt on his life merely for saying he was not sure if he believe in Islam anymore. He said, “you mean Al Azhar University”. I said yes (he knew because it is famous). Well my point was that these were not “uneducated people” and yet here they are killing someone for deciding a personal issue for himself. I also when into several others who had been killed by their own families. His response was, “Well that is the law of Islam”. I told him that was “not right to just kill someone like that”. He said, “That’s only because you cannot live there”. He knows I am an Atheist.

    Now keep in mind that before 9/11 the issue of Islam had never come up. He seemed the most reasonable of people, he is very smart, IQ north of 130 I am sure, and he is quite responsible and peaceful. Yet, now I would not trust him not to point me out and get me killed in his native Pakistan. You see there really is no reason for me to live, I am a Kafir. He finds nothing wrong with the idea of me being put to death in these countries. That is the will of Allah. Furthermore, he believes that Islam should be accepted by everyone everywhere. You connect the dots.

    I know other people who have similar stories. One person related how her muslim friend didn’t think Allah would have any problem with his family killing her family.

    Don’t assume you know a Muslim merely because you have an acquantance, or even a close friend. They don’t live by American cultural standards, or even western ones. For instance, Mosques are perfectly acceptable as ammo dumps and military locations unlike our traditions. Why? Because, Islam is both a religion and a political system, and a military system. If you think of their religious scholars as prudish warlords you are getting closer to the truth than if you think of them as priests.

    I really do not feel as close to my freind after I had discussions with him after 9/11. I was totally wrong in my assumptions about the tolerance of Islam. I am considering giving him my copy of “Islam and Terrorism” and a yellow marker so he can tell me exactly where the author gets things wrong. I am afraid he isn’t going to need the marker. He has already essentially verified most of the stuff in it by assenting to the fact that I would be killed in Islamic countries and rightfully so according to the Koran. Not only that but to kill any Muslim who converts is also perfectly acceptable. He laughs like this is no big deal and is as it should be. Seriously, he thinks it is nothing to worry about. Charming isn’t it.

    So my beliefs on this is not based on prejudice but cold hard facts. I intend to buy more books by apostates and to also read the Koran. I am also going to give the book to my friend. Perhaps he will “wake up” to the evil that is Islam, and in the worse case I will get an inside prespective. I want an insiders look at the religion and not some ill informed western perspective on it.

    BTW, I talked with the Indian fellow afterwards and he understood my perspective.

    I have serious problems with any philosophy that requires pacifism in the face of religiously sanctioned extermination. I don’t however think that Libertarianism requires that.

  38. I’m not that interested in “connecting the dots.” If it was true that allowing any Muslim to immigrate to this country would be an invitation for a criminal to murder us, why don’t we see American Muslims constantly committing murder? Are they just biding their time, waiting for the right opportunity? “Connecting the dots” to a ludicrous conspiracy theory is a waste of my time.

    Further, which do you think is more likely to perpetuate anti-social beliefs: using immigration law to segregating ourselves into two separate societies, where there is no cultural transfer, no coming to terms with what it means to be a Muslim and what it means to a non-Muslim American, no way at all to influence each other’s belief systems apart from all-out war or the occasional terrorist getting through the cracks; or, alternatively, a policy of open immigration which allows these activities to take place? I’ve come to radically change a large number of beliefs I had held in the past, many of which I now consider evil and dangerous. Why should I assume Muslims are any different? Is there a “Muslim gene” that explains this discrepency?

    I have serious problems with any philosophy that requires pacifism in the face of religiously sanctioned extermination. I don’t however think that Libertarianism requires that.

    And I have serious problems with any philosophy that requires violence, war and statism in the face of peaceful immigration. I don’t think that Libertarianism requires that.

  39. “If it was true that allowing any Muslim to immigrate to this country would be an invitation for a criminal to murder us, why don’t we see American Muslims constantly committing murder?”

    Nothing it what I believe makes me come to the conclusion that Muslims would be constantly committing murder here in the US.

    “Are they just biding their time, waiting for the right opportunity? “Connecting the dots” to a ludicrous conspiracy theory is a waste of my time.”

    It’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s a historical fact. Islam has a long history of conquest from within and without. How the hell do you think they spread the religion? I really do think you need to read up on the religion a bit more.

    Here’s from the apostate Islamic professor, Mark Gabriel, PH.D Al-Azhar University Cairo Egypt.

    Muslims believe that war means deception, so lying is an important element of war in Islam. In this chapter we will look at the particular circumstances in which Muslims are permitted to lie.
    Lying to Non-Muslims While Living In A Non-Muslim Country
    Philosopher Ibn Taymiyah, wrote a book titled “The Sword on the Neck of the Accuser of Muhammad”. In it he descibed how muslims should live in the weakened stage.

    Bellievers when in a weakened stage in the non-Muslim country should forgive and be patient with people of the book when they insult Allah and his prophet by any means. Believers should lie to people of the book to protect their lives and religion.

    In other words, it’s OK to lie to non-Muslims to protect yourself when you are a minority in their country.
    There is a simple Islamic proverb that says, “If you can’t cut your enemies’ hand, kiss it.”


    Summary
    As you can see, lying and deceit are a part of the Islamic mind-set. This fact can be difficult for the Western mind to accept. Another difficult concept for the Western mind is the fact that a mosque is not just for religious activity. Mosques are used to support jihad, which was even made evident during the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan.

    I don’t see why you think their actions require “a conspiracy”. It’s quite clear that what is happening to Israel doesn’t require a conspiracy, nor Sweden, nor India, nor the hundreds of other places of Muslim on non-muslim conflict throughout the world.

    It only requires that they follow the tenets of their religion.

  40. On the African Serengeti, wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, and buffalo live in abundance, often grazing on the same plains, often in herds adjacent to one another. None of the four has competed the other out of existence. There’s little reason to think that 1000 peaceful albeit superior aliens would wipe out 6b humans.

  41. Islam has a long history of conquest from within and without. How the hell do you think they spread the religion? I really do think you need to read up on the religion a bit more.

    Christianity has a long history of conquest from within and without. How the hell do you think they spread the religion? I really do think you need to read up on the religion a bit more.

    Bellievers when in a weakened stage in the non-Muslim country should forgive and be patient with people of the book when they insult Allah and his prophet by any means. Believers should lie to people of the book to protect their lives and religion.

    Judaism has similar rules, which are frequently quoted on various anti-Semitic websites to make Judaism look bad. Some of those who use this tactic against Judaism are themselves secular Jewish apostates who are fighting a political battle in Israel against religious Jews. This is then picked up by non-Jews who wish to use this as evidence that all Jews are evil liars who must be stopped at all costs. You are doing precisely the same thing here, but to Muslims instead of Jews.

  42. Micha: “Christianity has a long history of conquest from within and without. How the hell do you think they spread the religion? I really do think you need to read up on the religion a bit more.”

    Not a Christian myself but there are huge differences in the way the two religions initially spread. The first three hundred years of Christian existence it was spreading through the Roman empire and was on the persecuted end of the stick. Remember it’s base tenets are love, turn the other cheek, etc. It was a slaves religion and not a state one. It spread extensively by missionaries prior to any aggressive stage, which BTW, occured after it’s initial invasion by, … you guessed it, Islam. Yes the crusades were a response to an Islamic invasion.

    Islam on the other hand was a state religion from the get go. It’s tenets are summission to Allah, and to convert or kill non-believers, with the exception of “people of the book” who are to be kept as a permanent source of revenue.

    Once Christianity got married to the state also it became oppressive also. However, this had more to do with the nature of the state than the religion. One doesnâ??t have conquest by turning the other cheek. One does by Jihad.

    The most important difference between the two is that christianity has lapsed out of it’s intolerant phase and has dropped it’s intolerance in most places (less so where in contact with Islam). Christianity has gotten back to it’s roots.

    Islam however is still in the 17th century. Itâ??s followers are still practicing forced conversion, slavery of christians, executions for heresy, etc.

    Hereâ??s an example. Mohammad Younas Sheikh is in a “the Death Cell, Central Jail, Rawalpindi in Pakistan” charged with blasphemy. Sheikh said that before he was 40, Muhammad was neither a prophet nor a Muslim, as there was no Islam. Turned in by university student.

    A little touchy of them donâ??t you think?

    Believers when in a weakened stage in the non-Muslim country should forgive and be patient with people of the book when they insult Allah and his prophet by any means. Believers should lie to people of the book to protect their lives and religion.

    Micha: “Judaism has similar rules, which are frequently quoted on various anti-Semitic websites to make Judaism look bad.”

    There is a very big difference between lying to someone to protect yourself from persecution and lyinng about you intentions to persecute. The difference between not telling the robbers where the vault is and telling a little girl you only want to give her some candy.

    Judaism does not have any rules that require them to convert non-believers by force of death. Whereas, Islam is hiding the concept of Jihad, forced conversion of Kafirs (Infidels), the Jiyza, total intolerance of the smallest insult to their religion (and they are quiet sensitive see the story of the guy facing death for saying there was no Islam before Mohammed received his relevation at age 40).

    In order to smear Jews the anti-semites have resorted to creating false documents like â??The protocols of the Elders of Zionâ??, or false stories like â??Jews use muslim childrens blood to make their Matzoâ??. On the other hand one need only turn to the Koran to get the scoop on Islam. The majority of which has to do with religious military tactics, and how to get people to submit and what to submit to.

    One need only open the newpaper to get the scoop on Islam. Hereâ??s the tip of the iceberg, in only one country. In others there is wholesale slotter and enslavement of non-muslims:

    Pakistani Elderly Sufi man sentenced to death for blasphemy
    http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news/press/13160.shtml

    Man sentenced to seven years in Pakistan for insulting Qur’an
    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=3&art_id=qw1109233980103B212

    Mohammad Younas Sheikh is in a “the Death Cell, Central Jail, Rawalpindi in Pakistan” charged with blasphemy. Sheikh said that before he was 40, Muhammad was neither a prophet nor a Muslim, as there was no Islam. Turned in by university student.
    http://www.wam.umd.edu/~stwright/rel/islam/pakistan-blasphemy-law.html

    Christian gets jail for asking about a beard
    http://www.worthynews.com/christian-persecution/pakistan-christian-arrests-blasphemy.html

    It’s also my understanding that Christians are not allowed to be witnesses against Muslim testimony in Islam which is born out by the story. “Although the police official recorded statements by three Muslims who were not present at the disputed incident, he refused to accept statements from two Christian eyewitnesses.”

    Christian beaten to death
    in hospital by Muslim cop
    Policeman: ‘I have offered my religious duty … I’m spiritually satisfied’
    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38716

    Execution-style massacre of seven Christian Aid Workers
    http://www.worthynews.com/christian-persecution/pakistani-police-stumped.html

    Muslims can use loadspeakers but Christians can’t, they are killed.
    http://www.worthynews.com/christian-persecution/protestant-pastor-assassinated-pakistan.html

    Madrissa members torture/kill christian in attempt to convert
    http://paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=63923

    Pakistani Pastor Escapes Islamist Captors
    http://www.worthynews.com/christian-persecution/pakistani-pastor-escape.html

    Seven Pakistani Protestant Pastors receive death threats and are missing
    http://www.worthynews.com/christian-persecution/pakistani-pastors-kidnapped.html

    Pakistani pastor shot and killed
    http://www.worthynews.com/christian-persecution/pakistan-pastor-killed.html

  43. I swear to god if people don’t stop typing “it’s” instead of “its” for the third-person singular neuter possessive, I’m going to hole up in a clock tower and start shooting.

  44. Hear’s, some other typos you are likely to see in my posts, amoung other things my judgement, on how things are I spelt is poor, as is my grammer. You see I type fast and I dont proofread. Can I use its instead of it’s? Like its ok with me if you jump off that clock tower as long as you don’t land on any infidels.

    Actually I think the main reason that I abuse “it’s” is because the rules are not exactly consistent. Apostrophes are used to denote missing letters. They are also used to denote possession. As in “Don’t eat the dog’s bone” respectively. The possessive version of ‘it’ is an exception only because consistent application the rules cause a conflict. I know the proper usage but my fingers do the walking when I type.

  45. Joshua,

    Your statement below shows you are just not up on your biology regarding this issue.

    “On the African Serengeti, wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, and buffalo live in abundance, often grazing on the same plains, often in herds adjacent to one another. None of the four has competed the other out of existence. There’s little reason to think that 1000 peaceful albeit superior aliens would wipe out 6b humans.”

    The fact of the matter is that these animals are not actually competing in the same niches as each other.

    They are adapted to eating different plants and different parts of plants. Some have no upper teeth and therefore eat only certain parts of grasses they can pluck off with pressure of their upper lips on their lower teeth. Others browse on the lower parts of the plants. They have been engineered by natural selection NOT to utilize the same niche.

    In addition to the issue you brought up about food resources by mentioning “grazing” there are other aspects of the environment you didn’t think of that define an animals ecological niche. Another such aspect is predation. I think it is quite clear that a gazelle does not face the same predation issues as a buffalo, or an elephant. More generally any type organism that feeds on one species in preference to another species can be considered a difference in habitat.

    These feeding relationships are very important in maintaining ecological diversity precisely for this reason. If they were not present then the organisms would indeed inhabit the same niche and would tend to wipe each other out. There are many cases where a particular herbivore has been removed from an ecosystem and certain plants will take over what now becomes a common niche from another plant. The same thing happens when a plant introduced outside its range to where it has no natural enemies. It tends to share many niches with native plants but can out compete them in each niche because it has the advantage of no grazing. Some herbivores are naturally adapted to be most efficient at eating the plant that is best adapted to a niche.

    The reason man has and is driving so many animals extinct is because we have adapted to their niches, and are superior to them in using their natural resources, and are generalists. Any such animal that finds itself in direct competition with humans, unless it by happenstance can find a symbiotic role with man, is doomed to extinction. That role can be as simple as giving us pleasure as a food source or in other ways such as a zoo, or nature preserve. We are currently not at any sort of equilibrium point so I imagine this will just continue.

    In the case of Alien Nation we would be forced into what are marginal habitats for the superior aliens. The fact that there are 1000 of them and that they are peaceful (they weren’t all peaceful in the show) has no bearing. You do understand the concept of replication don’t you? You do understand what superior means in the context of biology? It means they would out replicate us. So one thousand would become two, and two four, and so on. In addition if they truly were occupying our niche they would be utilizing resources that would reduce our rate of replication, plain and simple. So our populations would not remain in constant equilibrium.

    I really don’t see a way out of our most likely extinction other than trying to help them get off the planet but in the meantime forcing them not to reproduce. Which is certainly different than merely exterminating them , which might have consequences if their fellows have a way of projecting themselves in any numbers across the vast expanses of space. Inviting them openly into the society and giving them full rights is a path to almost certain destruction for humans.

    I only gave this example to show there is often no clear-cut ethical solution to an issue. What is your most important responsibility here if you had to make the choice? Is it to offspring of your own species or to the aliens? I personally don’t see any provably correct ethical solution.

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