Archive for the ‘question’ Category

reasons against abortion

May 23, 2011

One opposed to abortion posts to me:

my point is that there is absolutely no reason to grant non-person status to the unborn except to justify killing them

My reply:

How can one bestow nothing yet call it something?

Do you mean, “There are reasons to grant the unborn the status of ‘person’.”? I’ve heard a couple (e.g. “life begins at conception” and “you are killing a soul”), but these are not convincing. Human life is meaningless without personhood. If however, one were to present a case for a “soul”, I would reconsider my thoughts on abortion law. And I don’t mean anecdotal “past lives” stories, I’m talking about verifiable evidence.

Another “argument” I’ve been given is the linking to pictures of a destroyed fetus. Another is pointing out other people (i.e. persons) while implying that we should feel upset because, “See? If he was aborted, he wouldn’t be here now!”. I’ve even had some try to convince me by bringing notice to the fact that I would not be alive if I had been aborted. These are appeal to emotion fallacies.

If you have other reasons I’m not listing, I would like to hear them if you’re willing to offer.

I think I’m missing some. What are other reasons commonly given?

why economics is considered a social science (or, what’s “ceteris paribus”?)

August 11, 2010

Economists adore their numbers. For example, demand curves capture a relationship between product price and quantity demanded. However, this isolation comes by exclusion of all other influences upon demand, often resulting in predictive statments like, “they’ll demand this quantity of X if the price is set at Y”. That’s shakier ground compared to predictive statements regarding, say, a relationship between temperature and a volume of water.

Wanna Be

abortion: when does life begin?

January 25, 2009

This post by Daniel Florien links to a revealing video where anti-abortionists are perplexed by the question: If abortion were against the law, what should be the penalty for those convicted?

In the comments, an anonymous person counters this with, “HOW TO STUMP AN ABORTIONIST WITH JUST ONE QUESTION – When does [human] life begin?” Though I’m one who supports the legalization of abortion, I don’t find this question difficult to answer:

My response:

Life begins sometime during fertilization. I don’t know when exactly…but sometime in the middle of that process. Clearly, at the very start of fertilization, life has yet to begin. But life has started once the fertilization process has ended.

The value/significance of life is dependent upon mental development. If a human life has yet to become a person, I don’t see any problem with the mother exercising her right to destroy it. Clearly, an embryo/fetus is not a person and therefore, abortion rights should be protected. On the other hand, personhood begins sometime soon after birth. But because personhood is an emergent process that occurs over time (like life during fertilization), we cannot determine *exactly* when personhood begins. Therefore, society should play it safe and simply make infanticide illegal.

short-circuiting can be good. very good.

August 24, 2008

So I’ve been learning/teaching Java recently. The neophyte in me is asking all sorts of questions the pros take for granted.

My question was, “What is the difference between & and && in Java?”

In an e-search, I found others who had asked the same question. I began learning how the language expresses bitwise operations and discovered that “&” stops short-circuit evaluation. I thought I’d share this clever demonstration passed on by JosAH in 2007 of why doing so could be disastrous.

PowerPlant harrisburg = new PowerPlant();
if (harrisburg.isSafe() && harrisburg.switchOn())
System.out.println("plant is operational");

Change the && to & and we have a problem.