When is it okay to kill?
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20-05-2015, 04:46 PM
When is it okay to kill?
I know this is opening a huge can of worms, but I have a sincere desire to hear the different perspectives of those of you on this board. This is a serious question for which I am seeking serious consideration.

First, some background on my question. I grew up and have lived my entire life in Alabama. Most of that time I attended Southern Baptist churches, with the exception of the last 7 years where I attended a United Methodist church until my recent de-conversion. The political viewpoints of the majority of Alabamians are influenced by a hodgepodge of the old southern democrats who supported farmer subsidies and state's rights and right wing Christian conservative republicans. Both of those groups have demonstrated a mastery of the art of appealing to fear and faith to polarize and solidify their constituency over the years. Willful ignorance, nationalism/patriotism, left-over racial tensions, and poverty also play a significant role in molding the mentality of the American southerner.

I have always been much more of a moderate in my political leanings. On some subjects, e.g., gay marriage, I have political stances that are in stark contrast to most of my conservative neighbors. However, I readily admit that on other subjects I have internalized biases that I, until now, have not even realized I needed to examine. Due to my participation in a recent thread on the death penalty, I realize that the topic of the death penalty is one of those heretofore un-examined biases, which leads me to the question:

Under what circumstances is it acceptable to take the life of another?

This will be my first time to really think through this topic with the religious constraints removed from the equation. Theists are welcome to respond with the caveat that biblical references or other divine revelations will not be considered legitimate arguments.

Some discussion starters:

Politics: Why is it that the conservative agenda supports the death penalty yet vehemently opposes a woman's right to an abortion while the liberal agenda passionately opposes the death penalty yet views abortion as a fundamental right?

Is it ok to kill one to save the life another? Who determines which life is more valuable?

Self-defense: What if the other person perceives you as a threat to their life?

Abortion: Is it ever ok to abort a healthy fetus five minutes before a healthy woman would have gone into what would be considered a routine labor? Are there certain identifiable thresholds in the development, consciousness or awareness of any living thing the crossing of which renders the killing that living thing acceptable or unacceptable?

Infanticide: If a child is born to a mother with no access to birth control and in extreme poverty, under what circumstances would infanticide be considered merciful or at least an acceptable act of survival of the mother and/or her other children?

Mercy: Are there conditions where a person should take the life of another to alleviate pain and suffering? I.e., if a person is in extreme pain and their death is imminent and unavoidable would giving them a quick death be acceptable, or even preferable?

Assisted Suicide: When should a person be allowed to determine the time and means of their own death?

Capital punishment: Does a group of people who live together have the right to determine when one member of the group offends and is no longer allowed to be a part of the group? If exile is not feasible, is it acceptable to deprive the offender of life or liberty (for the remainder of their life?)

I just wanted to let you know that I love you even though you aren't naked right now. Heart
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20-05-2015, 05:13 PM
RE: When is it okay to kill?
(20-05-2015 04:46 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Abortion: Is it ever ok to abort a healthy fetus five minutes before a healthy woman would have gone into what would be considered a routine labor? Are there certain identifiable thresholds in the development, consciousness or awareness of any living thing the crossing of which renders the killing that living thing acceptable or unacceptable?

It was too much work to answer all the questions, so i'll just pick one.

I'm not sure why permissible abortions end when the fetus is outside the womb. In reality we should consider extending abortions rights up to 28 days after birth. Even pigs, chickens, and fish have more signs of consciousness and rationality at this stage. Parents should have the right to infanticide at least up to 4 weeks after they've given birth. I see no rational bases, for why their rights should be denied.
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20-05-2015, 05:30 PM (This post was last modified: 20-05-2015 06:02 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: When is it okay to kill?
(20-05-2015 04:46 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Self-defense: What if the other person perceives you as a threat to their life?

That's an easy one. One of us is gonna die and we have identical legal defense whoever lives. Had Trayvon Martin lived and Zimmerman died, Martin had even more legal standing for a "Hold your ground" defense than Zimmerman. 'Course he would have gone to jail 'cause he's black and shit.

#sigh
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20-05-2015, 05:30 PM
RE: When is it okay to kill?
(20-05-2015 05:13 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  I'm not sure why permissible abortions end when the fetus is outside the womb. In reality we should consider extending abortions rights up to 28 days after birth. Even pigs, chickens, and fish have more signs of consciousness and rationality at this stage. Parents should have the right to infanticide at least up to 4 weeks after they've given birth. I see no rational bases, for why their rights should be denied.
I have hunch you are merely appealing to extremes here. But let's run with it... Why draw the line at 4 weeks instead of 3 or 5?

I just wanted to let you know that I love you even though you aren't naked right now. Heart
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20-05-2015, 05:39 PM (This post was last modified: 20-05-2015 05:43 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: When is it okay to kill?
(20-05-2015 04:46 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Assisted Suicide: When should a person be allowed to determine the time and means of their own death?

Another easy one. Anytime I want. And I don't need no assistance thankyou very much. ... Well, except for cleanup.

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20-05-2015, 05:42 PM (This post was last modified: 20-05-2015 05:49 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: When is it okay to kill?
(20-05-2015 04:46 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Politics: Why is it that the conservative agenda supports the death penalty yet vehemently opposes a woman's right to an abortion while the liberal agenda passionately opposes the death penalty yet views abortion as a fundamental right?

Yeah, I'm gonna defer to the late great Carlin for this one.




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20-05-2015, 06:12 PM (This post was last modified: 20-05-2015 06:16 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: When is it okay to kill?
(20-05-2015 05:30 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  
(20-05-2015 05:13 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  I'm not sure why permissible abortions end when the fetus is outside the womb. In reality we should consider extending abortions rights up to 28 days after birth. Even pigs, chickens, and fish have more signs of consciousness and rationality at this stage. Parents should have the right to infanticide at least up to 4 weeks after they've given birth. I see no rational bases, for why their rights should be denied.
I have hunch you are merely appealing to extremes here. But let's run with it... Why draw the line at 4 weeks instead of 3 or 5?

I draw the line when they develop a sense of consciousness and rationality superior to that of fishes. Which is about 4 weeks after birth.

And I should say that for most part I'm just repeating the bioethicist Peter Singer's argument.
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20-05-2015, 06:13 PM
RE: When is it okay to kill?
(20-05-2015 04:46 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Mercy: Are there conditions where a person should take the life of another to alleviate pain and suffering? I.e., if a person is in extreme pain and their death is imminent and unavoidable would giving them a quick death be acceptable, or even preferable?

Another easy one. They shoot horses don't they?

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20-05-2015, 06:17 PM
RE: When is it okay to kill?
(20-05-2015 04:46 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Politics: Why is it that the conservative agenda supports the death penalty yet vehemently opposes a woman's right to an abortion while the liberal agenda passionately opposes the death penalty yet views abortion as a fundamental right?

Because they are all nuts. Tongue

Quote:Is it ok to kill one to save the life another? Who determines which life is more valuable?

That is subjective. There is no answer.

Quote:Self-defense: What if the other person perceives you as a threat to their life?

Then I am dead meat. The reverse is true too - if I was afraid for my life I would do whatever it takes to defend myself.

Quote:Abortion: Is it ever ok to abort a healthy fetus five minutes before a healthy woman would have gone into what would be considered a routine labor? Are there certain identifiable thresholds in the development, consciousness or awareness of any living thing the crossing of which renders the killing that living thing acceptable or unacceptable?

No, I don't think that given a healthy mother and fetus that abortion is ok 5 minutes before labor. If labor is unacceptable, there is a caesarian.

The earliest point in development I would consider a crossing is when the central nervous system is functioning, when the fetus feels pain. At that point, other criteria come into play, such as health of mother or child. So, there is no definite answer.

Quote:Infanticide: If a child is born to a mother with no access to birth control and in extreme poverty, under what circumstances would infanticide be considered merciful or at least an acceptable act of survival of the mother and/or her other children?

Primitive peoples with no way to nourish infants have been known to kill them. Usually under the guise of religious sacrifice. Most societies today have alternate ways to raise the child.

Quote:Mercy: Are there conditions where a person should take the life of another to alleviate pain and suffering? I.e., if a person is in extreme pain and their death is imminent and unavoidable would giving them a quick death be acceptable, or even preferable?

This is entirely up to the suffering person. No one has the right to decide this for another person. That is why it is so important today to make your wishes known by completing living wills and DNR forms. Lacking that, people in hospitals are being afforded that favor every day - they are overdosed on pain killers. Routinely. It's a taboo and a no-no, but even I have witnessed it. It is usually only done when death is imminent and painful. It is not legal.

Quote:Assisted Suicide: When should a person be allowed to determine the time and means of their own death?

Suicide is always an option. If you don't own your own life, what do you own? People can try to talk someone out of suicide, but ultimately, it's up to oneself. With "assisted suicide", do you mean the right to death with dignity? These are not actually assisted, one has to take the meds oneself. But they can be prescribed, according to the laws, which usually state that a terminal illenss needs to be present. Assisted suicide was covered above.

Quote:Capital punishment: Does a group of people who live together have the right to determine when one member of the group offends and is no longer allowed to be a part of the group? If exile is not feasible, is it acceptable to deprive the offender of life or liberty (for the remainder of their life?)

Some people do need to be removed from society as they cannot help themselves and will continue to be harmful. For instance people born with a lack of empathy and inhibitors. I don't see this as punishment but a necessity. So I think a person should be able to choose one or the other - the effect on society is the same.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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20-05-2015, 06:24 PM (This post was last modified: 20-05-2015 06:31 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: When is it okay to kill?
(20-05-2015 04:46 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Capital punishment: Does a group of people who live together have the right to determine when one member of the group offends and is no longer allowed to be a part of the group? If exile is not feasible, is it acceptable to deprive the offender of life or liberty (for the remainder of their life?)

No. "Drink this hemlock or go on walkabout and never come back old man." should always be Socrates' choice. Exile is always feasible. Just requires some creativity sometimes.

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