Neonaticide refers to the killing of a newborn, usually by the mother, before it is a day (or month by some definitions) old.

From a 1997  Steven Pinker article in the New York Times article titled "Why they kill their newborns":

"it's hard to maintain that neonaticide is an illness when we learn that it has been practiced and accepted in most cultures throughout history. And that neonaticidal women do not commonly show signs of psychopathology."

In regards to the morality, he writes:

"No, the right to life must come, the moral philosophers say, from morally significant traits that we humans happen to possess.... And there's the rub: our immature neonates don't possess these traits any more than mice do. "

"It seems obvious that we need a clear boundary to confer personhood on a human being and grant it a right to life... To a biologist, birth is as arbitrary a milestone as any other."

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9,782 hits 3.3 (3 votes) Share Favorite | Flag 7 years ago by Floor Demon

Do you think neonaticide should be treated equally (legally and/or morally) to the killing of an older child or adult?
Neonaticide refers to the killing of a newborn, usually by the mother, before it is a day (or month by some definitions) old.

From a 1997 Steven Pinker article in the New York Times article titled "Why they kill their newborns":

"it's hard to maintain that neonaticide is an illness when we learn that it has been practiced and accepted in most cultures throughout history. And that neonaticidal women do not commonly show signs of psychopathology."

In regards to the morality, he writes:

"No, the right to life must come, the moral philosophers say, from morally significant traits that we humans happen to possess.... And there's the rub: our immature neonates don't possess these traits any more than mice do. "

"It seems obvious that we need a clear boundary to confer personhood on a human being and grant it a right to life... To a biologist, birth is as arbitrary a milestone as any other."

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7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 2:55:09 PM EST (GMT-5)
scary question. i didnt know this was a "practice".
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 2:55:36 PM EST (GMT-5)
I mean....yeah. It's still killing a live human being. I don't even really agree with abortion - even though I'm a liberal. This just sounds messed up.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 5:37:04 PM EST (GMT-5)
I'm curious as to why 75% of people think neonaticide should be treated as murder, but less than 50% of people agree that abortion is murder. WTF THEY'RE BOTH KILLING A FETUS.
Abortion results
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 5:42:06 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Thursday 4/15/10 - 5:37:04 PM bluedaisy11 wrote:
I'm curious as to why 75% of people think neonaticide should be treated as murder, but less than 50% of people agree that abortion is murder. WTF THEY'RE BOTH KILLING A FETUS.


Um, no they aren't... It says in the first line "Neonaticide refers to the killing of a newborn, usually by the mother, before it is a day (or month by some definitions) old. "
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 5:44:41 PM EST (GMT-5)
I can't figure out how to say what I think I want to say. Damnit.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 5:46:02 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Thursday 4/15/10 - 5:37:04 PM bluedaisy11 wrote:
I'm curious as to why 75% of people think neonaticide should be treated as murder, but less than 50% of people agree that abortion is murder. WTF THEY'RE BOTH KILLING A FETUS. [link]

Many people are against third-trimester abortions. And some people aren't strictly against abortions because of "her body, her decision", wants it leaves the woman's body, some people might think it's not her decision anymore.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 5:49:15 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Thursday 4/15/10 - 5:37:04 PM bluedaisy11 wrote:
I'm curious as to why 75% of people think neonaticide should be treated as murder, but less than 50% of people agree that abortion is murder. WTF THEY'RE BOTH KILLING A FETUS.
On Thursday 4/15/10 - 5:42:06 PM Floor Demon wrote:
Um, no they aren't... It says in the first line "Neonaticide refers to the killing of a newborn, usually by the mother, before it is a day (or month by some definitions) old. "


Yes you're right, it can be a newborn. But it can also be unborns.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 5:56:12 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Thursday 4/15/10 - 5:49:15 PM bluedaisy11 wrote:
Yes you're right, it can be a newborn. But it can also be unborns.


How/used by whom? Neonaticide is the killing of a neonate, a neonate is a newborn by definition. A fetus is defined as a stage pre-birth.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 6:22:50 PM EST (GMT-5)
Instinctively, I think it should be treated the same as any other murder. In my mind, the crime of murder doesn't take on extra significance because of the age/vulnerability of the victim. It's still the deliberate taking of one life by another.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 6:26:13 PM EST (GMT-5)
I think it's gross and disturbing to kill a baby, but not as bad as murder. I think it starts being a crime when the murdered person has enough consciousness to understand what the loss of life is.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 6:35:43 PM EST (GMT-5)
I guess in terms of depriving society and family of a contributing member or loved one, an adult or older child has more developed bonds but I think that a baby has more unexplored potential - it evens out to me.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 7:31:14 PM EST (GMT-5)
you don't think postpartum depression is an "illness"?
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 7:33:44 PM EST (GMT-5)
Of course. They are people.

I think most states now have Baby Moses laws, so there's a much easier solution to the problem of an unwanted newborn.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 7:53:01 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Thursday 4/15/10 - 7:31:14 PM mysocks wrote:
you don't think postpartum depression is an "illness"?


If you're talking to me, I don't know why you think that is claimed/implied.

1) I am not Steven Pinker
2) As it says in the sentence after, "neonaticidal women do not commonly show signs of psychopathology". That includes depression.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 8:13:01 PM EST (GMT-5)
"...the right to life must come, the moral philosophers say, from morally significant traits that we humans happen to possess.... And there's the rub: our immature neonates don't possess these traits any more than mice do."
By that rationale, moral philosophers would accept a hierarchy based on who possesses those traits in greater abundance. That doesn't strike me as moral at all. It might make sense from a biological approach, in that dogs, for example, won't nurse the runt sometimes in order to conserve resources for its puppies who have a greater chance to live, but reproduction also has its biological role, and humans don't have litters.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 8:41:38 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Thursday 4/15/10 - 6:26:13 PM Mispelled wrote:
I think it's gross and disturbing to kill a baby, but not as bad as murder. I think it starts being a crime when the murdered person has enough consciousness to understand what the loss of life is.

So killing a mentally disabled person shouldn't be a crime?
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 8:43:23 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Thursday 4/15/10 - 6:26:13 PM Mispelled wrote:
I think it's gross and disturbing to kill a baby, but not as bad as murder. I think it starts being a crime when the murdered person has enough consciousness to understand what the loss of life is.

What age is that?
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Thursday 4/15/10 - 9:58:59 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Thursday 4/15/10 - 8:43:23 PM HaroldtheBat wrote:
What age is that?

It's a sliding scale. Killing a 7-year-old with two parents and his own room in the suburbs who likes skipping down the sidewalk isn't as bad as killing a 26-year-old in a doctoral program who has seen "Pink Floyd's The Wall" 4+ times and taken mushrooms twice or more.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Friday 4/16/10 - 9:29:16 AM EST (GMT-5)
On Thursday 4/15/10 - 7:33:44 PM HaroldtheBat wrote:
Of course. They are people. I think most states now have Baby Moses laws, so there's a much easier solution to the problem of an unwanted newborn.
Also known as "safe haven" law. yeah in Californoa you can leave a newborn baby in a fire station or hospital. So long as the baby has not been abused or neglected it is no questions asked.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Friday 4/16/10 - 12:38:45 PM EST (GMT-5)
wtf...I don't even know what to say to this...there are a lot of screwed up people out there. Don't get pregnant if you don't want a kid...there are ways of preventing that...maybe we should "abort" the adults that abort their babies.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Friday 4/16/10 - 5:59:48 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Thursday 4/15/10 - 8:13:01 PM IRLIteach wrote:
By that rationale, moral philosophers would accept a hierarchy based on who possesses those traits in greater abundance.


I don't know any who do, nor do I think its a necessary extension in regards to the traits usually referred to. The differences between personhood and non-personhood are generally qualitative rather than quantitative.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Friday 4/16/10 - 6:02:10 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Friday 4/16/10 - 5:23:33 PM Shredder249 wrote:
thats really disturbing...so young kids, pretty much all animals, mentally disabled people you could just go around killing them all and think it doesn't really matter?


Mental disabilities, or severe ones at least, have been debated in that context. As have animal rights/ethics (there are some quite prominent campaigns arguing that great apes should be treated as persons for example).

But in regards to the meat industry, it *is* generally considered to "not really matter" (or it is acceptable at least) if animals are killed, as long as they are otherwise treated humanely.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Friday 4/16/10 - 6:10:11 PM EST (GMT-5)
Neonaticide should only be allowed if the child was severely disabled/ill in some way.

Other than that, it's murder and the woman should seek some kind of psychiatric help.

Right now there's some woman in my town completely breaking down because she killed her 20 month old and isn't getting away with it.

A day old infant's death should be treated the same way.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Friday 4/16/10 - 6:22:49 PM EST (GMT-5)
Re: age and mentally disabled people comments:

Not sure what age. I guess the age where the wee one feels fear and regret at not being able to live anymore. And mentally disabled people? I think most would want to live, so no, don't kill them. But, like, someone in a vegetative state with no real thoughts? meh.
Keep in mind, you shouldn't kill OTHER peoples' families. That would cause suffering.
I guess I mean that if someone kills their OWN tiny offspring,I DO find it disturbing and wrong, but the baby doesn't care if it lives or not. You wouldn't be causing the same amount of terror and suffering as you would killing an older child or an adult.
7 yrs ago, 7 mos ago - Saturday 4/17/10 - 12:19:42 AM EST (GMT-5)
It should all be the same

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