Grey Thoughts
28.6.06
 
Humanists and Rationality
Humanist Roy Hattersley feels that he has a rational approach to when abortion is okay. Like most Humanists however, his logic is incredibly poor. Humanists seem to have this blind spot where they simple assume they are rational and everyone who has religious beliefs in irrational. This is just another case. Let's look at what he says
The date on which an unborn child can be destroyed is not a matter that can be decided by popular suffrage. It is a question of right and wrong.
Wierdly enough, this goes completely against moral relativism, the main humanist ethical system. Roy seems to be pointing to some objective morality here that transcends personal opinion. Yet, for someone who claims his ideas are rational, where does this objective morality come from? According to his humanistic beliefs, it can't come from anywhere. What Roy is really doing here is using double-speak and rhetorical tricks to reach an audience who does believe in objective morality.
Humanists should fill the moral vacuum. We put respect for human life at the heart of our creed and we pride ourselves in pursuing that central tenet of belief with uncompromising logic rather than reliance on mysticism or magic.
It's here that Roy's irrationality and rhetorical tricks truly come to the fore. Note the disdain for religous moral truths. Roy is a devout believer in his own worldviews rationality and rightness, but he never asks himself why anyone should respect human life. Religious people, like Christian's have a rational answer to that question. Humanists however do not. They instead must arbitrarily decide what is right and wrong. This means in the future, they can modify this arbitrary decision to something different. So much for rationality.
The rules that should govern an ethically acceptable policy on abortion are not difficult to define. Metaphysics aside, it is reasonable to conclude that the new human being begins when the foetus is capable of independent life. Before that, an abortion is undesirable but tolerable. After that, it is only acceptable in the most extreme cases. They do not include the psychological trauma of the expectant mother. A civilised society does not kill one person in order to alleviate the distress of another, no matter how traumatic it may be.
"Metaphysics aside"? Roy is essentially saying it is irrelevant what really is the case. So he is saying it is rational to believe something whether it is real or not. But look closely at how he continues that a "new human being begins when the foetus is capable of independent life". So now we have moved from a central 'respect for human life' to a respect of only independent human life. So much for "we pride ourselves in pursuing that central tenet of belief with uncompromising logic". This is what Roy and other humanists call logic, reason and rationality?

Humanist morality can never be rational as there is no foundation for it. Roy has just deftly demonstrated this irrationality and also how the humanist blind faith in their own rationality is just plain wrong
Comments:
By this rationality, Should CPR and other Emergency medical procedures be carried out. (The patient isn’t capable of independent life.)
 
Nicely analyised Alan. Thanks.
 
analyised = analysed
 
Yeah heath. That's correct. But it is much worse than that. There are many situations when we are not capable of independent life. Can we grow our own food or are we dependent on others to do so? How many toddlers would you class as independent? What about the person who has an accident and has broken both their arms?

Hardly a criteria I want to endorse
 
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