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Old 2015-07-14, 16:53   #1486
Brian-E
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
Brian,

Thanks for your recent post, it helped clarify a few things for me.

I'd like to take two steps back and see if we can't build some common ground, or at least see how quickly our views diverge.

Do you believe, as I do, that children have a right to be raised by their biological parents in a stable, happy home?
Paul's answer above reflects my views too and I can add little to it. Yes, a stable and happy home is imperative for the well-being of children, but no, the two genetic parents (if a child indeed has two genetic parents, as Paul points out) are not always the most appropriate people to bring the child up in the child's best interests.

The key issue, to me, is that a child should ideally be wanted when it is brought into the world. And, if at all possible, the people who bring the child up should be the people who want him or her.

EDIT: That last sentence really does sound as if I look at things only from the adults' point of view and not from the children's, on the lines of what you were saying earlier. But I think you have to approach it on those terms when talking about a new-born baby. The baby has no say in anything, cannot express any preferences, and is dependent on love and care from adults. The best people to give that love and care are the people who want the baby, if that is possible (i.e. if they are able to bring up a child).

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Old 2015-07-14, 18:42   #1487
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I should perhaps point out that even if the genetic parents are identifiable, either or both may not be the people who subsequently raise the child, independently of adoption or fostering. Consider sperm and/or ovum donation for instance. Another case: rape of a wife where the rapist is not the husband of that woman and is also subsequently identified.

I don't know whether a surrogate mother is a "biological parent" in your terms, which is why I suggested clarification of that term might be desirable.

There are many more counter examples, as claimed earlier.
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Old 2015-07-15, 00:38   #1488
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Dear Brian and Paul,

To be honest, I was hoping for responses something like you both gave. And I agree.

In my view, there are very few things we might call "absolute rights". There are simply things that we as humans can choose to do, or things that happen in nature, which prevent what we might call the ideal from happening.

Not to mention the problem (which was given clarity in the Tron sequel) that sometimes there is no such thing as "ideal". It is nebulous, and changes as our understanding of the universe and life changes.

Edited to add: I almost forgot to mention the other problem, that sometimes different rights come into conflict (e.g. I can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, unless there really is a fire). This is another sense in which things are not absolute.

So, my next set of questions have more difficult answers (and I don't expect us to agree, I just want them as a sort of prelude to my next post).

(1) At what level should governments allow the creation of children away from their biological parents? We have laws against rape, but we don't seem to have any problem with sperm banks. This has led to situations like the Octomom. It can also give children to couples who are unable to procreate (which is a positive) but then prevents them from adopting (which is a negative). What rights do children have to guarantee that the government tries to create a society in which they are most likely to be raised by their biological parents? Or do we not really care whether or not it is their biological parents, even though there are numerous studies that show this is not ideal (in the sense that adopted children, even in loving homes, struggle with many issues)?

(2) At what level should governments allow the creation of children, with their biological parents, outside a stable home? Should anything be done at all? Rewards given to couples who do have children and have given a public announcement of their intent to remain together? Other thoughts here?

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Old 2015-07-17, 09:33   #1489
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The first part of your post, Zeta-Flux, meets with full agreement from me. The concept of absolute human rights does indeed become subjective when you delve into it, plus sometimes there will be conflict between the rights of one person and those of another. All very true.

Your questions are also indeed difficult to answer. Rather than attempt to answer each one specifically, I can only give a blanket view which applies, I think, to all the questions you ask. That is this: in general government must always tread carefully when allowing for both new family structures and for new embryo-creation technology. Tried and tested legal structures must not be simply thrown overboard in favour of a free-for-all. But: government must also be open to admitting new ideals and methods in family creation and structure when science can give assurance that it is in children's best interests to do so. That assurance from the scientific world is of course also subjective in practice because consensus will not always be achieved, so careful judgment by government will still be necessary.

I will, however, make a couple of specific points:
  1. I believe that we have long achieved sufficient scientific consensus that children do just as well with same sex parents as opposite sex parents.
  2. Not everyone wants to be a parent, and not everyone would make a suitable parent. I see no good reason to deny the legal acceptance of different sorts of relationships between adults who have no intention of being parents.
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Old 2015-07-18, 02:09   #1490
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Brian,

Let me respond to something that is only tangential to my point first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
I believe that we have long achieved sufficient scientific consensus that children do just as well with same sex parents as opposite sex parents.
See this article for more information. To put it another way, I don't dispute, and have repeatedly affirmed, that same-sex couples can make just as good parents as heterosexual couples. But no other situation compares to children being raised by their married biological parents. All of the studies which show no difference are comparing same-sex couples to those in similar situations (such as opposite sex adoptive parents). They correct for the fact that the same sex couple is not composed of both natural biological parents. (You might remember that this was one of the main criticisms people had with the Regnerus study; that it compared apples to oranges.)

-------------------------------

Now, to my main point. I'd like you to carefully read your response to my questions, keeping in mind what started this latest discussion. I kept expressing anger that people don't seem to be doing anything about the huge problem in our society, that more than half the children in my country (and many others) are being raised in broken homes. You took umbrage at my anger, since I directed it at your posts as well. But please re-read your latest post. And then answer these questions.

Did you give even one way in which we could help children in this problem?

Or did you instead give two points, wholly unrelated to this plight, but focused (once again) on the needs of adults and their role as parents?

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Old 2015-07-18, 06:04   #1491
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Zeta-Flux,

Reading your posts I get the impression that your only remaining argument to homosexual marriage is the possibility that if such a couple would have children there might be the possibility that their environment might not be optimal. Your newest argument, insistence about the need for children being raised by their biological parents, has little to do with the debate.

The very recent possibility of homosexual marriage has nothing to do with long existing high divorce rate, teen-age pregnancies and mono parental families. The American trend to marry very young is most probably one of the main causes of early divorce. want-to-avoid-divorce-wait-to-get-married-but-not-too-long

Finally people do not live only to raise children. But even if raising children was the main reason for forming relationships, I am sure you will agree that parents happy with their relation will make better child carers than parents remaining together only for the sake of the children. And this implies that, for the sake of the children, one should allow marriage between people that will be happy together and thus form a stable relationship.

Jacob

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Old 2015-07-18, 08:53   #1492
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post

Did you give even one way in which we could help children in this problem?

Or did you instead give two points, wholly unrelated to this plight, but focused (once again) on the needs of adults and their role as parents?
[referring to the problem of children growing up in broken homes]

Let's see.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
I will, however, make a couple of specific points:
  1. I believe that we have long achieved sufficient scientific consensus that children do just as well with same sex parents as opposite sex parents.
  2. Not everyone wants to be a parent, and not everyone would make a suitable parent. I see no good reason to deny the legal acceptance of different sorts of relationships between adults who have no intention of being parents.
Number 1 offers the chance to more children whose families have broken down to be adopted by loving alternative parents, because allowing same sex couples to do that will increase the number of adoptive parents in general, of which there is a shortage.

Number 2 directs society's attention to the fact that not everyone should be a parent, and those unsuitable parents who nevertheless become parents are obviously more likely to cause a broken home for the children. Too many people marry and have children when they are not cut out for it.
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Old 2015-07-18, 18:35   #1493
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
Dear Brian and Paul,

To be honest, I was hoping for responses something like you both gave. And I agree.

In my view, there are very few things we might call "absolute rights". There are simply things that we as humans can choose to do, or things that happen in nature, which prevent what we might call the ideal from happening.

Not to mention the problem (which was given clarity in the Tron sequel) that sometimes there is no such thing as "ideal". It is nebulous, and changes as our understanding of the universe and life changes.

Edited to add: I almost forgot to mention the other problem, that sometimes different rights come into conflict (e.g. I can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, unless there really is a fire). This is another sense in which things are not absolute.

So, my next set of questions have more difficult answers (and I don't expect us to agree, I just want them as a sort of prelude to my next post).

(1) At what level should governments allow the creation of children away from their biological parents? We have laws against rape, but we don't seem to have any problem with sperm banks. This has led to situations like the Octomom. It can also give children to couples who are unable to procreate (which is a positive) but then prevents them from adopting (which is a negative). What rights do children have to guarantee that the goverTo be honest, I was hoping for responses something like you both gave. And I agree.
nment tries to create a society in which they are most likely to be raised by their biological parents? Or do we not really care whether or not it is their biological parents, even though there are numerous studies that show this is not ideal (in the sense that adopted children, even in loving homes, struggle with many issues)?

(2) At what level should governments allow the creation of children, with their biological parents, outside a stable home? Should anything be done at all? Rewards given to couples who do have children and have given a public announcement of their intent to remain together? Other thoughts here?
Sorry, too busy catching up after vacation, storm etc. Much more substantive response later.

In the meantime, could you explain your term "biological parent(s)" please? Might avoid some discussion at cross porpoises. I distinguish between genetic parent(s) and, for want of a better term on the spur of the moment, social parents. The difference is profound in the presence of gamete donation, rape, surrogacy, adoption, etc. My guess is that what you term "biological" is what I call "genetic". If so, there are other areas which we could explore productively.
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Old 2015-07-19, 14:48   #1494
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S485122 View Post
Zeta-Flux,

Reading your posts I get the impression that your only remaining argument to homosexual marriage is the possibility that if such a couple would have children there might be the possibility that their environment might not be optimal. Your newest argument, insistence about the need for children being raised by their biological parents, has little to do with the debate.
Your impression is wrong.

Quote:
The very recent possibility of homosexual marriage has nothing to do with long existing high divorce rate, teen-age pregnancies and mono parental families.
I agree.
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Old 2015-07-19, 14:53   #1495
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
Sorry, too busy catching up after vacation, storm etc. Much more substantive response later.

In the meantime, could you explain your term "biological parent(s)" please? Might avoid some discussion at cross porpoises. I distinguish between genetic parent(s) and, for want of a better term on the spur of the moment, social parents. The difference is profound in the presence of gamete donation, rape, surrogacy, adoption, etc. My guess is that what you term "biological" is what I call "genetic". If so, there are other areas which we could explore productively.
Paul, if it helps, then yes think "genetic". I don't think of it in those terms so much as in the terms of "what is the method most often employed that creates new human life?". In other words, I'm focused rather on what happens for a vast majority of children; rather than on the exact details of that process.
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Old 2015-07-20, 18:14   #1496
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
Paul, if it helps, then yes think "genetic". I don't think of it in those terms so much as in the terms of "what is the method most often employed that creates new human life?". In other words, I'm focused rather on what happens for a vast majority of children; rather than on the exact details of that process.
Ok, that's made things clearer. AFAICT, you agree with me that the genetic parents may have little or no connection with social parents: example, adoptee raised by others; surrogate parents, and so forth.

This is such a big subject that I can't really do it justice in one or two posts so it will take time. This one will attempt to set forth my present views on what the child can reasonably expect from a modern civilized society. If I understand you correctly, that's also your primary concern.

First off, I think it completely irrelevant, from the child's point of view (and should be from society's too but society appears to be well behind me in this respect), whether the child has zero, one, two, three or more genetic parents. To explain: two parents is the classical, and oversimplified view; three parents include those having maternal nuclear DNA and maternal mitochondrial DNA; one parent corresponds to a clone; more than three is beyond current technology but I see no reason why chromosomes can't be selected from a number of different individuals which provide for up to 47 parents (23 nuclear pairs and mitochondrial); pick-and-match genes, some of which may be entirely articial, allows the possibility of many more genetic parents. By "classical and oversimplified" I mean various degrees of in-breeding amongst the child's ancestors. Having zero genetic parents deserves a paragraph of its own.

At the moment, organisms with no genetic parents are remarkably primitive, barely reaching the beetle level of interaction with their environment, though a few almost idiot-savants exist, the most advance being Watson (AFAIK). Before too much longer AI's with self-awareness and human-level IQ >= 50 will be created. I'm firmly of the opinion that they should also be granted sapient rights. For that matter, I believe bonobos and chimpanzees should be given much greater protection than they currently are in most (all?) jurisdictions.

I haven't even started on the situations of ETs, cyborgs, chimeras, inhabitants of virtual universes, ...


In summary I believe that all young sapients should be entitled to a supportive upbringing, regardless of their method of creation. What's important is sapiency, roughly defined as self-awareness and the minimum level of intelligence needed to attain that state.


An excessively brief answer to both your questions: governments should have no say in how sapients are created. They should restrict themselves to how they are subsequently treated. I'll probably expand on this at greater length in future. Excessively brief includes not yet considering the consequences of rape, etc.

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2015-07-20 at 18:18 Reason: Fix sndry tyops.
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