Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Our Octopoid Brethren

Dave said...
The foetus is not part of the mother? Then you go along with the 'parasitic infection' school of argument, used famously - and I presume with some degree of irony - by radical feminists to argue in favour of abortion?

The parasite analogy is purely emotive. It is just an elaborate way of saying: ‘You wouldn’t like it if you were in that position!’

If there were a race of blameless parasites with such a high probability of achieving free-living sentience, contracted so frequently in such a well-known and easily avoidable way, my position would be exactly the same. It would be a great evil to kill them. I do not have any irrational reverence for human life in particular: our slimy tentacular co-sentients are equally deserving of our consideration.


Dave said...

'Well known and easily avoidable'.

You *know* you're drawing a long bow there, right? Just because it's true, doesn't make it an especially good point. It certainly doesn't have much to do with my observations of human sexual interactions.

All else, I agree with. Quite frankly, I look forward to the day when our Masters of Cephalopodos Alpha finally inveil their designs for humanity.

Marco said...

I am going to side with Chris on separation as I stated before - however I am going to side against both of you as far as the direction of technology is concerned. In my view the future technology to do with abortion will be "abortion kits". Available (semi-legally) off the internet, these will have the chemicals, disposal mechanisms, and instructions for safe backyard abortions (much as suicide kits for the elderly). Incubators will indubitably hit the law of diminishing returns as they move closer to the conception. Sterile humans will be using surrogates for centuries to come, because they will always get value for money there (the actual gestation is essentially free, you can't compete with that, no matter the technology)

Jenny said...

Here's just something to throw into the mix. I remember being startled at the statistics (which I can't remember and aren't willing to spend the time looking up) of how many spontaneous abortions there are (ie natural & non-human interfered with). The explanation was given that if something goes wrong with a foetus from a genetic point of view it usually aborts as non-viable. The ones who survive are just those who's issues weren't severe enough to cause abortion. At least that was my interpretation of the explanation.
My point is, what happens when we get incubators? At that time, how far do we take medical intervention? Many of the spontaneous abortion happen very early in pregnancy and mothers may not even know they were pregnant. Once there's an incubator involved, you know there's a foetus. How heroically do you try to take it to term? Who would make the decision to pull the plug when you aren't leaving it up to nature? This is an argument currently underway with improvements in medical intervention of live births, incubators will take it back one more step and increase the number of issues with which you must deal.

Marco said...

Yes, it is about one in three pregnancies miscarry within the first three months (as me and Chris had discussed somewhere a few months back) and extending the Bathtub curve as you would with engineering, this is definitely the "quality control" part. This is just one aspect of the diminishing returns that I am talking about. Already, with premature births, looking after the babies is extremely expensive, the children invariably end up disabled regardless of expenditure (although there are plenty of amazing counterexamples). At some level, it is not just about technology, but the economic reality of the reproductive system. I think it is entirely possible that the mother's body decides for itself whether the time etc. is right to have a baby. Artificial incubators will also take away the right of the subconscious decision systems of the mother to decide whether to carry to term.