Does society decide if a fetus is a human being?

Scientists can assemble a set of minimum requirements for life. They can use it say when a fetus is alive and when it is a human being.

Another group of scientists may have another set of criteria and will come to different conclusions.

We as a society ultimately decide how we use the expert opinions. We create morality and ethics from scientific facts and advice.

Spun off from this thread: … 0#p2406256

And another group of scientists may decide that Homo Sapiens are actually from the planet Jor-El.
And another group of scientists may decide that Homo Sapiens are actually dogs.
Try turning on your quack radar…

Yes, you can ignore them. That’d be a great idea, just listen to how nice it sounds… ignoring experts

No society decides what is the consequence, given that as the assumption.

So what are you saying? A group of scientists may actually do that?
Or a group of scientists could not do that because they are infallible?

You have substituted the words ‘scientist’ and ‘expert’ for the words ‘priest’, ‘rabbi’ and ‘oracle’. You are still turning off your brain and your own ability to chose.

I assume you say these things because you have limited understanding of how science works and the arbitrariness of scientific classifications.

I think we need to distinguish between thinking of the fetus as a “human-being” and according this or that right to the fetus. Some people have claimed that the fetus is not a human being. I’m simply saying that the fetus is not a canine.

I never said anything like that.

I have a good idea of how science works, thank you.

So what does that mean? The fetus is a human being which it has no rights until some point in time during the gestation?
Who decides when the fetus gets rights? Based on what?

I see what you’re getting at, phyllo. It’s a matter of definitions, and of the numerous definitions out there of life – definitions accepted by scientists – some may classify an x-month-old fetus as non-life, and others as life. Science has given us some cut-dry answers to some difficult questions, but ‘how to define a word’ is not really a scientific question. I’m not meaning that in any anti-science way, it’s just obviously true – there’s no scientific experiment you can do to prove that a word is defined as anything [independent of the people who use the words]. Definitions are standards, not facts.

Scientific experiment can prove other things, though. Like when a fetus is capable of feeling pain, or when it is capable of surviving outside of the womb, or various other empirical, factual questions that might inform a decision about the ethics of abortion.

But definitions are not empirical facts.

Again, never said anything like that. It’s a separate conversation. A new thread, possibly.

Legal rights? Or do you mean moral rights? If the former, clearly the legislature. If the latter, nobody really.

So scientists do not decide when the fetus has rights. Alive or not alive, human being or non-being - whatever its status - elected representatives decide whether the fetus can be disposed of or not.

The morality of the abortion is something separate from the assignment and enforcement of rights?

If the fetus gets a right to life at 24 weeks (by forbidding abortion past that date expect when the mother’s life is in danger), then surely we are saying that abortion is moral before 24 weeks and immoral after 24 weeks. Is there some other morality at work?

Clearly a sweaty rag under a teenager boy’s bed does not have any rights, nor a full condom.
Neither are the contents of a womb after a rapist has impregnated it.

A new born baby does have rights under the law.
Between the extremes there has to be an arbitrary, though carefully considered boundary.

It is the factors that go to informing that choice of the number of weeks that is the issue here.

Society shouldn’t decide anything of such highly scientific question, as most people are glaringly ignorent and will make horrenderous bad guesses, based on emotion instead of factual knowledge.

Just look at various philosophy sites where least 20% will reject science, 50% will make blatant bad parrot speeches, and rest will indeed have some intelligence but can only do liniar calculations, where only about 0.01 will be able to make great abstract thinking.

What do you propose?

Let the wisest do the judgement.

That’s an undeniable fact that the legislature determines legal rights, and the people by proxy, in a democracy. But that has nothing to do with moral rights, which it is up to no one to make up. Scientists don’t determine moral rights in the sense that they make them up. However, they help determine the moral rights that already exist in the sense that knowing more about what we are helps us uncover what morality is.


That is circular logic, and doesn’t equal what you say.

The limit has to be set somewhere, and it may be with guilty conciousness that we make an abortion.

Pretty simple - we study the facts and agree that aborting is moral before 24 weeks and immoral after. We construct this morality of abortion. Another society may study the facts and set another time limit. They also construct a morality.
That’s all rooted in dasein.

But you keep suggesting that there is a hidden objective morality. The completely correct morality.

I thought you might give us a few more insights into it.

Who are the wisest?

I’ve been around some very smart people and I don’t really want them to be making moral decisions on my behalf.

No system that involved humans, are perfect, yet we are better off than banana republics, rain forest people and other weird cultures.

In all our halpless folly we still have good guidance to cut a defining line that guide us.

If you can make up a better and stronger system than what we have, please do share.

Yes, I rarely agree with the eggheads, but least they have some kind of knowledge and not totally ignorent.

Why are you assuing that morality is whatever you make up?

If by dasein, you just mean a particular time and place, with particular facts, then yea. But if by dasein you mean the shit you make up in your head, then obviously not.

There are right and wrong answers to moral questions. I don’t think I’ve ever said it’s hidden, and in the past I’ve given you what I think are some very clear cases of when abortion is moral, and immoral----and I’ve claimed objectivity about them.

It’s not my fault if they go in one ear and out your other.

Didn’t I describe how a morality comes into existence? You can say that we discovered that aborting after 24 weeks is immoral. I don’t think that changes anything.