In this discussion I would like to talk about abortion. It is always something I have felt very strong about and would argue to the ends of the earth on. I have always been Pro-Life, always. Ever since I became an Atheist, this topic keeps popping up in my head. Since it is something I have not wanted to confront, I have been pushing it to the back burner. Now that I have given it some thought I would like to tell you where I used to stand and where I stand now. When I was a Christian my thought process was "Abortion is Never the right choice unless the mother and child will both die." So even if the child were to survive and the mother dies, abortion is still not the right choice. Some might even consider that murder, I guess. To answer this question I'm sure someone will ask, Yes I would have and still would give up my life for my child. Well, now I'm sort of seeing things a bit different. If a female gets raped and gets pregnant from it, abortion is ok, (sad all the way around - for everyone).  If a woman chooses to abort a baby due to the risk to the mothers life, Ok. If the baby will have a very very very difficult life and in turn make the parents have an equally difficult life, ok. To me abortion is a horrible thing, if someone wants to have an abortion just because oops I got preggo. That is horrible. If you don't want kids do everything in your power to NOT get pregnant. Simple as that. Life is a beautiful an precious thing, and yes I do believe it is special.  Any and All comments are welcome :)

Tags: abortion, pro-choice, pro-life

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@Unseen: Species either evolve successfully or die out. One could say that from the evidence that almost all species eventually die out, but that doesn't mean that no species survive. And this would be on extremely long time scales in which talking about individual species such as humans make little sense. The longer the time frame, the higher up in the taxonomic rank you'll have to move.

It's not really that hard to imagine and Synthetic Genomics is working hard on it. Venter believes that it will be possible for large scale production from algal biofuels by the end of the decade, and I find his opinion to be relevant to the subject. I have high hopes that genetic engineering will solve many of our current problems, and in the process probably create new ones. 

@Arcus, I would never hire you to manage a bioregion, you have too narrow a view and do not understand the fundamentals of population ecology. You cannot use a moving goal-post as a baseline for any measurement, it makes little to no sense. Humans are the ONLY animals to achieve global destruction, we are NOT like other species, but this will be my last reply on this, for you are the same as economists, you will use only words that favour economic and human growth, you ARE of that religion, it is a utopia. Good day sir, I'll go back to the abortion portion of this debate.

TAA, Everyone talks about overpopulation, but the only ones who seem to do anything about it tend to be horrible psychotic dictators. I cannot seem to find the research now, but as I understand it, the biomass of the dinosaurs were far more than we humans occupy now. (Wish I could find it, but sorry) 

What would you say the tipping point was 50 years ago? (Maybe its me--I was born right around then)

The charts reference UN figures regarding birth for 200 countries since 1962. The charts reveal 2 things to me

  1. The developed countries generally have a low birthrate--In places like France, the birthrate is fewer than 2 children per couple, meaning that over time, France is shrinking except for immigration. Which is exactly the lifestyle change you would want, but without undue regulation of sex by government sources.
  2. Smaller families seem to correlate with longer lives and prosperity. The entire world seems recognize this for the first time in human history.  Trends seem to indicate that naturally, perhaps evolutionarily, when the entire world falls below 2 children per couple, population decrease ensues. Worldwide. Mostly without fuss.

But the topic of the discussion is abortion, and abortion is a mechanism by which these changes can happen. What I appreciate, is that other tools are reducing the need for abortions. Prosperity is a pretty good tool in that respect. So is condom use and access.

You seem to be talking about the Malthusian concept of overpopulation. Not enough land to support a given population well. Today's world isn't overpopulated if you figure person per area of land. What are overpopulated are urban areas. Too densely populated for healthy living.

The world isn't overpopulated in the Malthusian sense. Take Brazil for example. Millions and millions of square miles with hardly any population. Even the United States isn't overpopulated or even near being overpopulated.

But today the real concern of overpopulation has more to do with pollution, climate change, overfishing the oceans, and so on.

Any comments on that?

My take on:

Pollution--Technology and recognition by governments that energy reduction is cost reduction is going to dramatically change our world in short order. The U.S. Navy is well on its way to being carbon neutral. 

My concern these days regards populous developing countries drawing resources so fast that "dirty" methods of manufacture become profitable again. This is China's problem with coal right now. Once a worker starts making a living wage, he or she all of the sudden wants electricity in his house. With an economy of a billion people and increasing production, if just 1% of them change from not using electricity to using it, the results are staggering. More on this, but maybe for another thread someday.

Climate Change--The forces against the recognition of climate change seemed to have dissolved from the mainstream this past election cycle in the U.S. So if we can all finally agree that it is happening (regardless of the cause) I think we can finally start doing something about it. Jury is out, but I think we will find a way through it.

Overfishing--thats the most important one, and why I mentioned biomass at all. I fear that technology has hurt us up to now in this instance, by providing super trawlers to the fishing industries of the world. Until we start growing and eating proteins similar to meat and fish grown in petri dishes, we run the risk of out-eating the oceans which is a truly scary thought. After all, Solent Green is people!

I have zero beef with the numbers in the third world. All they're trying to do is reach economic prosperity, AS WE'VE DONE (wrongly or not). Also, most of what we wear, use, consume, is now made by those very countries through outsourcing. Our government policies reduce international aid if they practice planned parenting, because OUR governments/tycoons NEED the cheap labour in the developing world in order to maintain our hegemony.

As for the oceans, we'll never out-eat them. Sharks and tuna get replaced by jellyfish, I don't think the oceans will ever empty.

Conversely, the biggest threat to ocean health is not fishing but CO2. Right now the ocean is absorbing ALL the extra CO2 that the above ground cycle cannot handle, which is massive. The ocean is becoming an acid soup. If when we kill our oceans it will be CO2 and not fishing. Mind you, I'm not letting overfishing off the hook (pardon the pun), I'm just second in line for deadliest human ocean effect.

As for the oceans, we'll never out-eat them. Sharks and tuna get replaced by jellyfish, I don't think the oceans will ever empty.

Why, then, do I find myself eating less tasty fish like tilapia and basa when I'd far prefer to be eating cod, which used to be the staple fish? Cod is still there, but in lesser quantities and far more expensive than it once was.

I'm not sure I want to force myself to try liking the leftover fish once the ones I truly prefer are too scarce to rely on.

Unseen, yes, I find myself making the same food choices (and they're short-lived, which means no mercury, an advantage in itself), but that's the human perspective.I have given up on sushi, one of my lifetime favourite food preparations.

Once our pallets are accustomed to crappier oceanic food, generations having not known the better stuff won't know the difference. This is not good for the ecosystem certainly, but the acid soup is deadlier.

Rightly said Unseen, and too rarely heard. I am in no way Malthusian, I am ecosystemic. Malthus was concerned with resource availability and distribution. To me that is irrelevant, Homo sapiens carrying capacity will ALWAYS be increased by technological advancements. My concern is for quality of life (air-water-space) for humans AND survival of all wild populations of flora and fauna.

Also from an economic perspective, supply and demand, the more humans there are... the more disposable we are, that is not attractive to me.

Abortion is actually one of the main culprits behind the decline in the population of Russia, where there are significantly more abortions than births. China has also used abortions, mostly voluntary but also forced, to control its population for a generation. It is also a widespread practice in India.

If I were to guesstimate a yearly reduction in births of 50m world wide due to abortions, I don't think I'd be completely off the mark. Compare that to around 140m births per year, and it definitely has an impact.

There is no such thing as "a" tipping point, tipping points are found in each system. Indeed, a great many of the important tipping points are already in our past: clean water, clean air, wildlife equilibrium. So everyone who talks about an "eventual" tipping point are really late on the science.

Low breeding rates in the first world are irrelevant, for you must multiply it by 10 or 20 to be able to compare it to the ecological footprint of any newborn on the third world.

Longer lives and prosperity are directly correlated to ecological footprint per per person, I find no joy in that.

Abortion is a wonderful, though second only urgency, to control pregnancies, the first is vasectomy, the third is tubal ligation... in order of degree of invasiveness.

@Melviniotis

The text link wasn't convincing, but the TED talk was absolutely brilliant, enlightening, entertaining and totally credible.  I loved the bit with the boxes, too.  I'm convinced, and thank you for sharing it.

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