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The Hogfather's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by The Hogfather

Whilst I agree with the general thrust of Richard's argument on Abortion (which is so elegantly espoused in both The God Delusion and in this article), I can't honestly say that I am that convinced by what he says about "potential".*

It seems to me that it is reasonable to postulate a sliding scale of potential on which the "unborn ghosts" would be at one end and more fully developed foetuses at the other. In other words, the unborn ghosts had the potential to become full human beings with developed nervous systems, yes, but surely the late aborted foetuses came a lot closer to realising that same potential. Another way of saying this is that the closer the foetus gets to being a fully fledged human being, capable of suffering, the more likely it is to actually become that human being. Surely the unborn ghost isn't the exact equivalent of the aborted foetus as far as the "potential" stakes are concerned.

Despite this I must hasten to add that I am still a "pro-choicer" and still think that the "potential" argument is a pretty bad one (even with the sliding scale).

*Although I might have misunderstood his argument in fairness, so please point out if this is the case.

Wed, 03 Feb 2010 21:11:00 UTC | #438233