Deb’s Facebook post “Some important questions that need answering about constitutional rights and exceptions and decidedly gray areas –
 If you favor exceptions for rape and incest, “life begins at conception” isn’t a hard and fast rule is it?
 When you create exceptions”…
The simplistic idea that all things can resolved down to binaries is a nonsense.
Complex systems are complex by definition.
We know of nothing in this universe more complex than human beings.
It seems beyond reasonable doubt that all human beings are part of a continuum of life with all other cellular life on this planet, but that the specifics of the histories of our particular cellular ancestries have given us as individuals the power to experience and think and speak and write and have abstract conceptual thought (at least to the degree that we each do).
Of course it is more complex that life begins at conception.
Is anyone going to charge a pastor who so terrifies a parishioner with a hellfire and brimstone speech that she miscarries, as a biochemical result of the chemicals generated in her body by that fear, with murder?
How about a miscarriage after a few drinks at the office Christmas party? Does that require an equal life sentence to the premeditated murder of men, women and children at prayer?
Of course there are differences.
Only minds forced to believe in simple ideas that can be relatively easily disproved just by taking the time to look around and actually see what is present could believe that all things have a simple answer.
Reality is complex.
Reality has many different classes of complexity.
Some things do very closely approximate simple systems.
Some things are more complicated.
Some things are really complex, and cannot be accurately predicted.
Some things seem to be truly random – utterly beyond pattern or prediction; but these are the hardest things for our human minds to grasp, because our brains are so keyed to finding simple pattern, we tend to see pattern even where it does not exist (hence the vast array of conspiracy theories, not that there are not real conspiracies, of course there are, but far fewer than many people believe, and more than some believe).
For me respect for individual life becomes absolute when an entity can name itself as a player in its own model of reality. Up until that point, it is a matter of degree.
And human life is sufficiently complex and special that it pays us to be very respectful of it, even of the possibility of creating it in anything less than the best context we can provide for the future of that entity we create.
And of course evolution does not care about our abstract thoughts and justifications, it was working with the survival of our brains and bodies long before they developed the capacity for language or self awareness, or culture and abstract thought. So we all have urges that worked in the past to perpetuate our species, even if they aren’t a good fit to our particular culture.
Nothing about us is simple.
Trying to over simplify us will always create systemic failure at some level.
And a deep understanding of the evolution of complexity shows clearly that in complex systems like us evolution is far more about cooperation than competition, and at higher levels that translates into ideas like compassion and justice and love and respect being far more important than competition and rules.
We are very complex.
The more stressed and deprived we are, the more our brains are evolved to simplify complexity down to simple binaries (like true/false, right/wrong) to allow us to make survival oriented decisions with the small amounts of time and energy we have available. That is how we are constructed (beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt).
The only way to break out of that cycle is to create systems that ensure that everyone has the time and resources to develop their understandings of just how complex we really are.
To develop a deep understanding of the essence of ethical ideas like the value of individual life and individual liberty and the absolute requirement for responsible actions in social and ecological contexts.
That cannot generally happen in a competitive market based system.