Thanks for the reply, Joey. About this part:
Now the problem is, the arguments are still just as valid if you are talking about a one or two year old infant as opposed to an unborn fetus. If these statistics are true, then we can lower crime rates even more by allowing parents who aren't "ready" or "best able" to raise children beyond the age of two, to terminate them at that point. Then the children who grow beyond that age are less "anti-social." If the best outcome for future generations is the first priority AND the data shows that this will accomplish that goal, then why would that not be a good thing to do?
Complicated subject (and somewhat off topic but it's meandering) --
Yes, you could
make the argument that a strictly Darwinian social order might be the most superficially effective, but that's only assuming you want a very limited level of human experience to hold sway (Few people in their right minds want to live in a strict Darwinian model; humans have evolved to something beyond "nature red in tooth and claw").
As a Reasonist, I don't disallow for human emotions and needs of sympathy, empathy, and compassion, the feelings of fear, love, desire, and self-awareness. Reasonism is not simply cold logic. I would argue that the needs of an extant human being, fully formed, able to feel pain and other emotions, trumps a conscious-less life-form in utero
. So right out of the gate, the needs of a born and growing human being (a two year old) delivers a whole different set of criteria than does that of a 6 week old fetus. The two are only superficially comparable.
It is this divergence that supports the pro-choice/anti-death penalty argument; it's not a blanket respect for life or disrespect for life, it's understanding the nuances. For me, killing criminals lessens us
as a civilized group of people; it's a call to barbarism that we simply have to move away from for reasons far more greater than the crime vs. punishment paradigm any individual criminal presents us with. The greater good comes in not
executing such lifeforms, even if those lifeforms are difficult and even dangerous people (incarcerating, yes; killing, no).
The same cannot be said for zygotes and preformed fetuses primarily because they are not
fully formed individuals with minds, awareness, and emotions. In fact, the opposite seems to hold sway: Allowing those pregnancies to terminate allows the people not ready to be parents to await better circumstances, and this translates into a better existence for children born to them under better options. As to the fetus itself, well, even nature will abort fetuses and there seems to be no great outcry from people about this, and there's certainly no complaints from the darkened embryos. From even a spiritual perspective, if one believes a soul is encased in a fetus at conception, it seems that the options for an aborted embryo would merely be to recycle the soul into another body, or it just "goes to heaven". I don't get the whole religious argument regarding life and death anyway, but that's a whole other topic. But in the "greater good" scenario, the fact seems to be that wanted children create a safer, more productive society, and unwanted children creates misery for all-- the parents, the children themselves, and the society that has to deal with the anti-social children who are born under miserable circumstances.
Now, obviously the rule doesn't apply in all forms at all times-- what rule ever does? Some humans will never
be "ready" or have good circumstances, or be decent people in any permutation, but there are things we can do to mitigate these social problems (and that's what they are-- not moral problems, but social ones).
I can envision a society that values wanted
babies and puts its money there. Parenting classes, social safety nets, and education being held at its highest level. Jobs for the parents, and a decent standard of living. Clean air, food, and water. Maximize these things, and regulate the minorities innate desire for greed, and you'll have a vastly better society. It's a classic case of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If we invested in our children properly, we wouldn't be dealing with them as criminals later. It's a clear cut formula that has been shown to be the case in study after study.
But we would not
be adopting nobler principles by killing 2 year olds simply because the parents weren't/aren't ready. If they aren't ready, and there were programs to help them, we wouldn't have to consider (in your theoretical model) killing sapient, sentient beings who have a vested interest in their lives protected (which translates to us having our own lives likewise protected).
So I think your argument fails because you're adopting a broad brush approach that has a terrible ROI -- ending an unwanted 3 month pregnancy has its positive consequences, especially if such is a conscious decision by the mother. There will be emotional baggage of course, but it's limited for the most part; studies show that such women do go one to have families. Killing a two year old merely endangers all of society in that it is truly a dismissal of conscious, sentient, and sapient life which is not in our interests to do as a thriving species. It means no one is safe from murder.