January 19th, 2004


(no subject)


am a goth
am not a goth, but I like the music and wear black a lot
not a goth, but I like the music
not a goth, but I wear black a lot
not a goth at all

(no subject)

According to the BBC, Stephen Hawking was attacked today.

It can only have been a gang of rival physicists.

It's obviously rival gangs of scientists, trying to extract the secrets of
the universe from him.

"What's inside a black hole?"

"I don't know, nobody knows?"

"Talk, damn you Hawkings!"



Taking some of the thoughts brought up by the post yesterday, I'm going to try and sum up some of my thoughts on the matter.
(Disclaimer 1: when I say "everyone", I'm bearing in mind that there are bound to be some people that feel likewise and actually mean "nearly, but not quite everybody)
(Disclaimer 2: Legalised abortions are necessary, because otherwise women have illegal ones, in pretty much the same numbers, only the women die in much larger amounts.  Which I think we can all agree is a bad thing)

Everyone agrees that killing babies that are out of the womb is wrong.
Most people are fine with contraception, the prevention of the sperm and egg coming together to form a zygote.

In between it comes down to a clash between the right of the mother to self-determination versus the right of the zygote/foetus not to die.

For some people the answer is simple - at any point after conception the foetus is alive and has the same rights as any other person, including the right not to be killed.  To them all abortion is wrong.

For others the answer is equally simple in the opposite direction.  If the foetus is inside the mother it's not alive yet, and therefore has no right to life.  Abortion at any point is therefore fine.

For the rest of us, it's a little trickier - it rests on some measure of life/sentience.  If, for instance, at 25 weeks gestation a baby is born prematurely, is it alive and does it have the right to life?  If so, then presumably it would have the same right while inside the mother.  Could you remove it's right to life by putting it back inside the mother (one imagines a ceasarian taking place with the baby being alive and then pre-natal once again as the baby is raised and lowered).

The simplest measure in the last case is time - after all the complexity and intelligence of the foetus increases over time in a very well understood manner.  Deciding on how many weeks old a foetus needs to be before it's "really alive" is left as an exercise for the reader.

When it comes to abortion

All abortion is wrong, the foetus has an intrinsic right to life
All abortion is ok, the foetus has no right to life
all abortion is ok, the foetus has a right to life but it's always overridden by the mother's right to choose
At some point the foetus becomes sentient enough that it's rights override the mother's right to choose
I'm not touching this one with an eight-foot long pole

*feels nervous about hitting 'post'*
*awaits the end of the world*
  • Current Music
    The Chemical Brothers - Dream On

Scary figures

Four out of 10 white people do not want an Asian or black Briton as their neighbour, according to a survey published this week.

The Mori survey for Prospect magazine found that 39% of those asked would prefer to live in an area only with people from the same ethnic background. Forty-one per cent of whites and 26% of ethnic minority people surveyed wanted the races to live separately. Over half of all ethnic groups wanted to live in diverse areas.

The poll found older people were most in favour of living apart from other races. Only 40% of people over 55 disagreed with the idea, compared with 64% of 16- to 34-year-olds.

Mori said people had a "inflated view of the scale of the issue", with people overestimating the numbers of first generation immigrants by four times the actual amount. Britons think that first generation immigrants comprise 23% of the population, while the real figure is 6%.

One in five people believes immigrants should get less welfare provisions than British citizens, though there is a marked class difference. Just 12% of the top two socio-economic groups support less welfare for immigrants compared to 29% of the lowest two socio-economic groups. This is the group most likely to need welfare and most likely to read rightwing newspapers which have been accused of running a scaremongering campaign against asylum seekers and new immigrants.

More here
  • Current Music
    The Chemical Brothers - Dream On

(no subject)

Re: the previous post with the poll at the bottom.  If you say "other" then I'd be interested to know why, because I'd like to know which bases I didn't cover.

If you don't want to argue about it in public, feel free to drop me an email at andrew@ducker.org.uk and I _promise_ not to argue if you ask me not to.