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Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator 2010-12-25T15:16:37.989Z · score: 0 (7 votes)

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Comment by 098799 on 2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2012-11-04T02:37:08.958Z · score: 28 (30 votes) · LW · GW

I took it and threw in on the ground!

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-30T15:21:45.451Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I think I understand it now, after reading your latest article and some other posts. Thanks.

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-27T11:57:39.424Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I never intended to state exactly that. Oh well, at least now I don't. I suppose TheOtherDave covered the argument "less human => wrong" extensively in the other comment.

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-27T00:07:00.529Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I like your reasoning. I think it clarified my outlook on the issue a lot. Thanks for taking time to over and over explain your view to a less rigorous thinker.

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-26T15:02:49.704Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Those are certainly valid points you've just made. I think there's not much to defend from my original statement when you consider Matt Simpson's reply.

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-26T12:51:08.403Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I might seem short-sighted but I see a huge difference between the generic "human lives" and "human dies". Of course I might reconsider when faced with the consequences of extending life of this exact human being, but generally, as a first approximation, I'm choosing his life over death. This is probably the point were we disagree. You refuse to provide any answer to this question without any further knowledge and I have a predefined answer which can be modified only in extreme cases.

Consider keeping a violent dictator of some small country in Africa alive. It's consequences are not only "one man stays alive" but most certainly also "many thousands of other men die". This might make me choose his death over life.

The worse part is I can't really say what happens after he dies (because maybe just some of his fellows take his place).

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-26T12:37:09.294Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

As of an example with an egg I have an easy answer. The probability of an egg becoming a human is much much lower without fertilization. Few hundreds eggs are being released throughout a woman's life but she has only few children, so following the logic of moral consequences being correlated to killing a certain percentage of a human being, killing an egg would be 100 times less bad than killing a fetus.

The latter argument seems to be from different topic. Every cell of my body is being replaced throughout a period of approximately 6 years. Does it mean I'm not myself anymore?

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-26T00:34:20.964Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I reluctantly agree. It seems that I need a little bit more time to process it, but I suppose you're right.

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-26T00:30:54.663Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

How do I exactly kill someone's past experiences? He already had them! What I can deprive someone of is only the future, isn't it?

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-26T00:28:33.313Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ok. It finally seems that we were arguing over words only.

What I originally tried to do was exactly to create a utility function but I wrongly connected it to "being a human in x%". Since there's one big feature that distinguishes humans from other living things, namely thinking, I tried to connect the case of not-thinking but someday-will-be-thinking-if-we-let-him-grow fetus with not-thinking but someday-maybe-will-be-thinking-if-awakens coma patient and compare the probabilities of both somedays actually happening.

I suppose I simplified the situation too much.

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-26T00:15:38.071Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Do we accept the view that "less human beings => worse"? If not, then why not kill people on sight? The only alternatives are "less human beings => better" and "less human beings => indifferent". Obviously one can claim the latter but it seems counterintuitive to me. Also, the sentence "less human beings => worse" seems logically connected with "more human beings => better".

I'm not quite sure if I understand your post correctly. Do you want me not to judge single separated action but considering all the alternatives and choosing the best one?

I fail to see any further consequeces of an action of "terminating a pregnancy" than "the pregnancy is terminated".

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-26T00:05:10.537Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for correcting.

Ok, you said that killing a morula is morally neutral, but after some time and development killing it definitely is wrong. There has to be a function that assigns moral evil of killing it through the time. The point of this article is to wonder whether this function is correlated with the fetus' probability of becoming a fully functional human being since it seems reasonable to me.

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-25T23:59:38.767Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'll try not to stick to wrong views of mine if that's what you suggest. In fact this thread is basically a way for me to get my weird opinions straight.

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-25T23:54:53.725Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I read one of his articles but I still don't see why shouldn't we just kill people according to this logic...

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-25T23:46:14.610Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's a very good point you've just made. There are always problems when you take a commonly shared but not precise belief and try to build upon it a coherent structure.

Yet, question stands, since a fetus and a coma patient are both distant from a typical adult individual.

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-25T23:32:30.921Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Polish.

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-25T23:32:09.406Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds ok. But the fetus is almost certain to have the desire to live when he develops. Isn't killing the fetus robbing him of that opportunity?

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-25T17:37:28.222Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, you're right; yet what really matters? The desire or the life itself? How many times more does the latter matter? Are past desires the only discriminatory factor between the two situations presented?

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-25T17:12:41.428Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

One might respond that killing a fetus frustrates the human's future desire to live.

Comment by 098799 on Probability of becoming a human being as the moral indicator · 2010-12-25T17:11:52.758Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We have to agree that a fetus is not a part of a woman's body but a standalone organism. It's backed up by our current knowledge of biology, I think. For example the fetus has different set of DNA.

Now, we want to save human lives, right? Can we let women decide about life and death of creatures inside their wombs even one day before the date of birth? The fetus is fully functional at the time and we should protect it just like the one day old newborn. No real difference here. That's the reasoning suggesting we cannot chose the moment of birth as a demarcation point.

Women have rights to control their own bodies, but not other human beings, which fetuses are.

Generally speaking the argument that we should weight the potential gain of a new life vs. the parents sacrifice + the missery that unwanted child and it's parents endure is the most meaningful I've found, but I'd like to focus on the part where we don't want a human life to perish and how is the fetus case different from comatose one.