April 21, 2017
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[Trigger warning: Abortion.]
“Life begins at conception.” The classic refrain forms the cornerstone of the pro-life ethic, which at its best seeks to extend basic human rights to those who have the least power to claim them themselves, the unborn. The principle enjoys broad popularity when pollsters ask; YouGov found in 2015 that 52% of Americans believed it (as opposed to “when the fetus is able to live outside the womb” or “at birth”). There’s a certain elegance to it: Along the complex and awe-inspiring journey of human development, a natural starting point would be that first biological step.
But I don’t think that nearly that many people actually believe it.
To explain why, I’d like to describe some of the most surprising features of a world where we treated every fertilized egg as a human being worthy of the same rights as the rest of us, someone we could empathize with, a playable character in this video game of life. Under that ethic, how would we think, act and feel differently?
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July 16, 2015
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Many of you are probably familiar with the Trolley Problem, a classic ethics problem phrased something like this:
There is an unstoppable trolley hurtling down its track towards three innocent victims tied to the track. You’re fairly certain they will be killed instantly if the trolley reaches them. Fortunately, you find yourself standing next to a switch which can alter the route of the trolley away from those three people, saving them. Unfortunately, there is another innocent victim tied to the alternative stretch of track, and you’re fairly certain that the trolley would kill him if you diverted it. Do you flip the switch? Read more of this post