Closet survey #1

Here's something else I can't normally say in public:

Infants are not people because they do not have significant mental capacities. They should be given the same moral status as, say, dogs. It's acceptable to euthanize one's pet dog for many reasons, so it should be okay to kill a newborn for similar reasons.

In other words, the right to an abortion shouldn't end after the baby is born. Infants probably become more like people than like dogs some time around two years of age, so it should be acceptable to euthanize any infant less than two years old under any circumstances in which it would be acceptable to euthanize a dog.

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There have been several studies indicating that the neocortex is the part of the brain responsible for self-awareness. People with a lesion on the Visual 1 section of their cortex are "blind" but if you toss a ball at them they'll catch it. And if you have them walk through an obstacle-laden hallway, they'll avoid all obstacles, but be completely unaware of having done so. They can see, but are unaware of their own sight. So I would say the point at which a baby cannot be euthanized is dependent on the state of their neocortex. Further study needs to be done to determine that point, but I would say by two years old the neocortex is highly developed.

2[anonymous]8yMeh, this is why I tend to endorse speciesism. I mean I can pretend that I actually value humans over X in a situation because of silly reasons like "intelligence" or ability to suffer or "having a soul" or just mine one excuse after the other, but at the end of the day I'm human so other stuff that I recognize as human gets an instant boost in its moral relevance.
2Psychohistorian9yGiven that substantial variance may exist between individuals, isn't birth (or within a day of birth) a rather efficient bright line? I fail to see the gain to permitting more widespread infanticide, even taking your argument as generally correct.

Closet survey #1

by [anonymous] 1 min read14th Mar 2009676 comments


What do you believe that most people on this site don't?

I'm especially looking for things that you wouldn't even mention if someone wasn't explicitly asking for them. Stuff you're not even comfortable writing under your own name. Making a one-shot account here is very easy, go ahead and do that if you don't want to tarnish your image.

I think a big problem with a "community" dedicated to being less wrong is that it will make people more concerned about APPEARING less wrong. The biggest part of my intellectual journey so far has been the acquisition of new and startling knowledge, and that knowledge doesn't seem likely to turn up here in the conditions that currently exist.

So please, tell me the crazy things you're otherwise afraid to say. I want to know them, because they might be true.