Objectivity vs Subjectivity

It is very easy for those of us with some kind of STEM background to appreciate objectivity. In the sciences and mathematics, subjectivity, generally, has no place. Things need to be objective, if we are to get at the truth of the natural world. Thus, many times in discussions subjective details are left out and seen as unimportant. However, subjective experiences are part of being human. Thus, I would argue that people should not see subjective experiences as irrelevant or unimportant in all areas of life.

Now, this is not to say we need to add subjective thinking into the STEM fields. That would be an extreme mistake. However, what I am saying is that humans are not robots, and there is a time and place for understanding people’s subjective experience and not simply pushing those experiences aside.

To say that a conservative’s subjective views on abortion doesn’t matter, would be a grave mistake. The conservative might know people that regretted having an abortion. Certainly, there could be objective studies showing how most women tend to feel about their abortions, whether it be positive or negative. This is where people in the conversation tend to want to point out studies and use other scientific tools, as this conservative doesn’t have a large sample size of women who  had abortions. However, how the conservative feels certainly does matter and so does the women who regretted having the abortion. Their feelings and experiences do matter whether or not they speak with the strength of a study.

In this case, the conversation is about social standards, morality, and the effects abortions have on women. Even if most women don’t regret abortion, it is certainly worth noting that some women do. Additionally, what is a good social standard and what our morality should be should be up for debate, and while, objective science can help one cannot forget the subjective experiences of all the people effected by this debate. A philosophy that cannot be practiced in the real world is useless, even if some like the particular arguments of the philosophy.

Note: I’m not trying to answer the pro-life/pro-choice debate.

As always, let me know what you think!


Planned Parenthood and the Selling of Body Parts

Rational thinking is important, especially for emotionally charged issues, and the abortion debate is certainly emotionally charged. Pro-life people see an unborn fetus just as deserving of protection as a grown adult. Most of them use soul-talk to support their views.( Although, there are other more philosophically sophisticated arguments they could use.) Pro-choice people, however, do not see an unborn fetus as a life, at least in the sense of being the same as an adult or a child. Due to this, pro-choice people see abortion as a women’s rights issue. So, as anyone can see, these groups could not be further apart. When they argue, they might as well be speaking two different languages, and outrage ensues. All of this, makes rational thinking all the more important; because, the outrage is clouding everyone’s thinking.

Now that the Planned Parenthood videos have been leaked to the media, the outrage is all over the media, but let’s remain objective and rational. Yes, fetal tissue is being used in research, and perhaps, planned parenthood really is selling body parts. However, using fetal tissue in research and the rightness or wrongness of profiting from body parts are separate issues. I submit to you that no matter what one’s position is with regards to abortion these fetuses (or babies) are already dead. Why not allow them to benefit research for illnesses? There, surely, is an ick factor anytime some discusses using body parts in research, but it is no different than allowing one’s body to be used for science or organ donation after death. Even for those who are strictly pro-life, there is no bringing these fetus back into existence, and those of us who are alive could greatly benefit from this research.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if the various investigations reveal that Planned Parenthood is actually selling body parts. If they are, that’s illegal. Still, we need to look at whether it is right or wrong for adults to sell their body parts first. Some people think people should be allowed to sell their body parts. I, think, the idea is that there would be more body parts available, which would be good for sick people, but then again, I would worry the free market would take over. Then, only rich could afford organs. So, I’m undecided. You tell me.