Abortion’s Other Death

The fog of multiple deadlines and of recent foot surgery is clearing—barely, yet noticeably. I’m on final editing for my next book, which was unexpectedly difficult for a while, but got smoothed out when another editor took over at the publisher’s. I’m learning to walk again on a foot whose muscles are very unaccustomed to being asked to do anything.

Anyway, things are improving for me. I think this time (maybe!) when I pick up the pace on this blog again, it will be for real.

In the meantime, my latest BreakPoint column, Abortion’s Other Death, is bound to stir things up. Some people aren’t going to like what I have to say. I don’t know how they can evade it, though.

What dies in an abortion? A child, a human baby. That’s why abortion is wrong, in the plainest possible terms. It’s becoming clear, however, that that’s only a partial answer to the question, “What dies in an abortion?” Recent video revelations from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) reveal another kind of death going on at the same time.

….

What dies in an abortion? The baby isn’t just being treated violently, it’s being treated mechanistically, literally inhumanly. In their own minds, at least, the abortion and procurement team must strip the child of his or her humanness.

To deny someone his or her humanness is a very serious matter. It’s the same kind of thing that made the Holocaust stand out above all other 20th-century atrocities. Stalin and Mao both murdered many more people than Hitler did. The genocides in Rwanda and in Pol Pot’s “killing fields” were at least as thorough as Hitler’s anti-Semitic rampages. Hitler didn’t stand out for the number of bodies he piled up, but rather for the devastatingly dehumanizing way he did it.

Someone is going to try to cry “Foul!” on me for that. “Godwin’s Law—you lose!” It won’t work this time. Read the article and see why; and weep not just for the children but for the very humanity that’s dying every day in abortion clinics.

Comments

  1. SteveK

    What dies in an abortion? A child, and some part of the participants’ humanity.

    Yes, so true. This same appeal to our humanity – our human nature as God intended it – is what drives everyone’s desire to be more loving more kind more empathetic. If we engage in these things, sacrificially, then the entire human population benefits and humanity thrives. Sacrifice your immediate desires for others, the secular crowd will say, and we will all be better off.

    Why don’t we hear this reasoning when it comes to abortion? It’s because the pro-choice side chooses (ironically) to ignore it. When it comes to abortion the appeal to “our humanity” isn’t the highest calling.

    The higher calling is no longer sacrifice for others so humanity will be better off. The appeal is to let a woman do whatever a woman wants and to hell with HER humanity, the DOCTOR’S humanity, the NURSES humanity – and to hell with the rest of humanity because it’s none of your damn business.

  2. BillT

    “…and to hell with HER humanity.”

    And this is one more person that is maybe most sadly involved. We see this issue couched in terms of women’s health. We see this couched in terms of women’s choice. Just the other day the presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate was asked about this. Her reply:

    “This gets back to whether you respect a woman’s right to choose or not.”

    Notice the euphemism. “… a woman’s right to choose or not.” Choose what exactly. Choose to kill her unborn child. And this is supposed to be about for “women’s health.” And whether this is a human life isn’t even a question. It’s a medical certainty.

  3. bigbird

    @Tom

    From your article:

    No one is doing it on a scale approaching that of the Nazi death camps.

    No-one appears to be organ trafficking on the scale of the death camps. But the abortion holocaust long ago eclipsed the death camps.

    I find the Planned Parenthood expose interesting, as it shows the power of certain concepts. There’s been a lot of outrage about them selling organs, but that’s just a by-product of the real horror of abortion. Killing millions has become a routine part of society, and it’s taken organ trafficking of hundreds or thousands to shock people into what abortion means.

  4. scbrownlhrm

    So where is the supposed “problem”?

    After all this is about what’s right and what’s moral and it isn’t about all those outdated Theistic “hang-ups”.

    Organs are financially valued – and, since money is involved, if it’s the black market doing it over there behind buildings, well that won’t do, that’s im-moral, that’s part of what’s wrong. Better to regulate and contain said accounting that way it’s part of the good, part of the lovely, part of what’s right, part of the moral.

    So too with the womb. The human being therein can be sacrificed – but if it’s done on the black market behind buildings, well that won’t do, that’s im-moral, that’s part of what’s wrong. Better to regulate and contain said accounting. That way it’s part of the good, part of the lovely, part of what’s right, part of the moral.

    So too with suicide. The Adult there can be sacrificed – that’s not the issue – but if it’s done behind buildings, well that won’t do, that’s im-moral, that’s part of what’s wrong. Better to follow Belgium’s lead and the lead of a few others of late and regulate and contain said accounting. That way it’s part of the good, part of the lovely, part of what’s right, part of the moral.

    There is nothing good or lovely or moral or valuable about the life itself, about the organ itself, about the life itself there in the womb, about the adult himself, about a person himself – at any stage of development. Harvesting all such sacrifices is fine. That is not the issue and, in fact, that is part of what’s right, part of the good, part of what’s moral just so long as we do it in a few neatly circumscribed locations with the proper licenses nicely displayed at the reception desk and hence properly regulate and contain said accounting.

    There is no such thing as, what was it again? “Billy-Joe’s gumption” or “Keedwin’s statute” or “Goodwinner’s law”? Whatever. Not to worry – it’s irrelevant – it must have been some bygone relic from some other time – back there in the dark ages when barbarians roamed the earth. We’ve come a long, long, long way since then.

    Honest Philosophical Naturalism / Materialism at its Zenith.

  5. scbrownlhrm

    To preclude the unsophisticated who misses the actual point from muddying the waters: organ donation saves lives and as such serves a great good. To misread that point is to completely miss the essence of this whole thread thus far.

  6. DougJC

    Tom,

    Now, I’m actually convinced that moral personhood begins at conception.

    Premise A: personhood begins at conception
    Premise B: only bad people reject premise A

    Given these premises, I agree 100% with your breakpoint article, it’s well argued and thorough.

    That experience suggests another possible point where we could decide personhood begins: when the child is capable of being loved as a family member. Why should pain be the key indicator, rather than love?

    I’m sure many parents can attest that they fully loved their future child as a family member the moment they made the decision to have a baby. Thus, there is a real sense in which two gametes gained a particular significance at the moment of decision that other, less fortunate gametes did not. Imagine going back in time and viewing under a microscope the spermatozoa and ovum that led to a son or daughter, or to our own birth. Is there any way *not* to see enormous significance in these tiny particular cells? Not that I can see.

    But if we go that route, personhood must then be taken to start before conception at the moment two parents make the decision to have a child. Thought experiments such as these lead me to see no way to subtract actual conscious capacity from the definition of personhood and still make it a meaningful concept.

  7. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    DougJC, any silly argument can be made to look silly by any thoughtless commenter without expending any mental effort at all. Responding to what a person actually says takes a bit more work.

    Your premises A and B have nothing to do with the argument I made. It’s a silly argument you made up for the purpose of making something sound silly, and it worked, except it wasn’t my argument you made sound silly, it was your own made-up one. I’d be annoyed—straw-man arguments can be a pain, you know— if I didn’t feel so sad for you for apparently thinking they contributed something of value here.

    That probably sounds like snark, but honestly, it’s a grievous thing to see a fellow human being try to use such transparently weak methods to support his position. Seeing it as a sad thing is what keeps me from seeing it as an annoying thing.

    I’m sure many parents can attest that they fully loved their future child as a family member the moment they made the decision to have a baby.

    No.

    (How hard is this, really???)

    They loved the idea of having a future family member, but there was no existing or future family member to love. There was no organism there, no human being, no person, no thing even, by anyone’s definition. There was only the idea.

    When a woman decides to abort, however, it’s never a non-existent theory of some being, never a mere thought or idea. It’s always an existing human being, an actual, living future family member, whose future is being snuffed out—and this is true on anyone’s view.

    (In my view the baby in the womb is a current family member. We told our son that he had a little brother or sister—since we didn’t know which—growing inside of mom. The family-member language makes perfect sense in that context, because it reflects a perfectly sensible reality. But what I said in the preceding paragraphs would be true on anyone’s view.)

  8. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    If you can’t see any moral difference between a thought that doesn’t come to fruition—or even an idea or line of thinking that’s aborted—and a living human being that’s actively killed by its mother, then you haven’t given the matter enough consideration. You’re attempting an argument by analogy when there’s no analogy to argue from. This argument is a blazingly obvious non-starter.

  9. bigbird

    @DougJC

    I’m sure many parents can attest that they fully loved their future child as a family member the moment they made the decision to have a baby.

    No. When my wife and I decided we’d like to have children, like every couple we didn’t know if we’d be able to. We didn’t know if there would be a future child. It was only when my wife was pregnant that we knew our hopes were more concrete – that there was actually a child to love.

    Although if you are right, I really love my future Ferrari.

  10. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    You seem to have missed the theme of Tom’s OP.

    Reason is not, given Non-Theism’s constitutional composition of reality, un-reasonable should she shift such an arbitrary line off of your own transient norm’s location. Hume was right and today’s “actualizing” suicide clinics reasonably cohere with his and your premises.

    “Actual consciousness”?

    Your use of the word “actual” is, obviously, housed entirely within a materialistic epistemology, and that is fine. But that’s the whole point – the use of the word “actual”. There is an “actual” person – and the metaphysical chain of continuity fails, on Theism, to eliminate such – at any step – as the very unscientific idea of “emerging properties” isn’t part of the Christian’s metaphysics.

    Unfortunately Materialists are stuck with that fiction, which explains their common misuse of the word “actual”.

    Fortunately the new breed of up and coming new Atheists are more honest – thorough-going eliminativists – and hence are less muddied in their analysis. The future will be refreshing in that regard with these conversations.

    After all, Scientism can’t fault Theism for refusing to dance to its tune.

    You haven’t shown, by argument, a coherent metaphysical chain of continuity by which Reason – given Non-Theism’s elementary properties of reality – cannot reasonably disagree with you and simply shift your transitory norm’s slice to some other foci, perhaps a few months later, a few years later, a few decades, or whatever, just as you have not shown that, should Reason do so, she must factually be (given Non-Theism’s constitutional structure of reality) un-reasonable.

  11. JAD

    I still distinctly remember as an eight year old boy being traumatized watching my mother trying to drown some prematurely born kittens. She kept holding the kittens underwater in a plastic bucket but she didn’t hold them under long enough. When she relaxed her grip the kittens struggled back to surface crying out with high pitched mews, desperately gasping for air, trying to survive. She had to do this several times. I was horrified.

    Of course, now as an adult I understand these kittens had no chance of surviving and would have been dead in a day or two anyway. However, kittens (cats) are not human beings– neither are dogs, dolphins or chimpanzees. Nevertheless, Darwin, we are told by secular progressives, demoted human beings and put us in our place. We are no different or better than any of the other animals living on our planet. So does that make disposing of human babies like we would kittens ethical?

    But the problem is worse than that. Most of the babies aborted in America would be born normal and healthy, if given the chance. My family never euthanized any of the kittens that our pet cat, Smokey, gave birth to if they were born healthy. And the incident I described above is only time I remember my mom or dad euthanizing any of Smokey’s kittens. In the ten years we had her, she gave birth to a litter of three to four kittens about once a year. That means that over her life Smokey had 30 to 40 kittens. Apart from the three my mother euthanized we found homes for every one of Smokey’s kittens.

    Human beings, living in an advanced modern civilized society, can’t treat human babies better than we treated those kittens? Why not?

  12. Billy Squibs

    What do people think about this article? (The url gives you a good idea about the subject matter.)

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/22/i-set-up-shoutyourabortion-because-i-am-not-sorry-and-i-will-not-whisper

    Leaving aside emotive language such as “rightwing, misogynist crusade”, I was struck by the following tweet referenced in the article.

    “if ever pregnant, i will have an abortion. i lay claim to my own life. that life will not include giving birth.”

    I think this is an excellent example of how the pro-abortion/ pro-choice movement thinks. Abortion is no longer a morally complex issue that should be “safe, legal and rare”. It now seen as morally equivalent as having a tooth pulled.

    I was also struck by this sentence written by the author because it mirrors the tweet but then expands on it.

    “There are no “good” abortions and “bad” abortions, because an abortion is just a medical procedure, reproductive healthcare is healthcare, and it is a fact without caveat that a foetus is not a person. I own my body, and I decide what I allow to grow in it. ”

    There is a lot to unpack there. But I think it offers a more complete picture of the arguments for abortion that I’ve encountered.

    1) Abortion is defined as a “medical procedure” and therefore it’s morally neutral.

    2) The unborn is not a “person”.

    3) “My body. My choice.”

  13. Billy Squibs

    Looks like my comment slipped thought the cracks and into a parallel universe. Rather than type it again from memory I’ll give a brief outline.

    I’d encourage you all to read the following short article by the woman who created the #shoutyourabortion hashtag.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/22/i-set-up-shoutyourabortion-because-i-am-not-sorry-and-i-will-not-whisper

    I was particularly interested in this remark because I think it presents the most common arguments that you will hear from the pro-choice/abortion side.

    “There are no “good” abortions and “bad” abortions, because an abortion is just a medical procedure, reproductive healthcare is healthcare, and it is a fact without caveat that a foetus is not a person. I own my body, and I decide what I allow to grow in it. “

  14. Billy Squibs

    OK, I just tried the site in another browser. Tom, I think there is perhaps something up with comments caching on your site. (Though I can’t be sure it’s not on my end without spamming your com box.)

    Feel free to delete this and the previous comment.

  15. SteveK

    “There are no “good” abortions and “bad” abortions, because an abortion is just a medical procedure, reproductive healthcare is healthcare, and it is a fact without caveat that a foetus is not a person. I own my body, and I decide what I allow to grow in it. ”

    If someone says “it’s a fact that the person who wrote this statement is not a person” would they be wrong? What facts would be offered to prove them wrong? It certainly wouldn’t be empirical/ medical / scientific facts.

    It wasn’t too long ago that nobody thought this. Where did they learn this so-called fact? College I suspect. You have to be taught to think like this. It doesn’t come naturally.

  16. Post
    Author
  17. BillT

    …and it is a fact without caveat that a foetus is not a person.

    Of course, the facts actually say just the opposite. But it’s foolish to talk about facts to the postmodern or even try argue rationally. Facts and truth are what you make them out to be. We live in a world where truth is suspect. Where even rationality is denied. Here, we argue with the modernist atheists that without God there can be no truth or right or wrong. The postmodern person agrees with us. But they’ve taken it a step further. Because they know there is no God they know there is no no truth or right or wrong. Joseph Bottum at First Things writes brilliantly about this. It’s worth the time.

  18. JAD

    Notice how the “pro-choice” –pro-abortion—side can’t handle the truth. Instead they have to hide behind euphemisms, fallacious logic, bad analogies and other rationalizations. If they were really honest they would come out and just say that a woman has a right kill her baby. But you never hear them saying anything like that. Why not? Because that is the truth and they can’t handle the truth.

    The truth is that the abortion movement is based on a world view that is self-righteous, self-centered and narcissistic. How does such a world view benefit the rest of mankind? It doesn’t because it can’t.

  19. Billy Squibs

    Well, I think it is safe to assume that the author of this article would promote the idea that personhood – the one thing that makes human life sacred – is tied to concepts such as self-awareness, sentience and so forth.

    We are then left asking the same questions about anyone wh asserts that personhood is something bestowed by time and development. When exactly is it that a human life becomes a person as opposed to the type of thing that can be killed and tweeted about.

    This is personally the question I struggle with the most. So much of the pro-choice/pro-abortion case is built upon emotive arguments that assume we know the answer to the question of personhood.

  20. BillT

    JAD,

    Actually, the pro-choice side isn’t above admitting that abortion is murder. They know and even sometimes admit they’ve lost that argument. They just go on to say it’s justified. There is always a way out if you deny there are any rules to begin with.

  21. BillT

    So much of the pro-choice/pro-abortion case is built upon emotive arguments that assume we know the answer to the question of personhood.

    It’s the bait and switch. If you can get them to admit it’s murder, they say it’s justified. If you say it’s about human life they say it’s about personhood. If you ask them about personhood they say “they know it when they see it.” Mostly they just do whatever they like and don’t care whether they can explain it or not. The whole “explaining” thing is just so 50 years ago.

  22. DougJC

    Tom,

    Your premises A and B have nothing to do with the argument I made.

    Premise A: personhood begins at conception

    This premise has nothing to do with your argument, really?

    Premise B: only bad people reject premise A

    This premise has nothing to do with your argument? Then why did you invoke Mengele, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler? I don’t think you’re arguing good people reject premise A, are you?

    Again, I see that both these premises are assumed in your article with very little supporting argument. With the lack of supporting arguments for those premises, there’s little to say.

    They loved the idea of having a future family member, but there was no existing or future family member to love. There was no organism there, no human being, no person, no thing even, by anyone’s definition.

    Okay, now advance that point to a stage in time right after a procreative act by two potential parents. From that point on to a successful pregnancy test, an organism may or may not exist. Even a fertilized egg will be naturally aborted two thirds of the time. Are parents allowed to love without certain knowledge of the existence of baby? If they love and no baby exists in that interval between procreation and pregnancy test, is this somehow vastly different than their love when a baby does exist?

  23. DougJC

    bigbird,

    It was only when my wife was pregnant that we knew our hopes were more concrete – that there was actually a child to love.

    But that implies that there was a child to love that you could not love until you were certain it existed– that a human life existed that was not loved for a brief time.

    Even if so, was it somehow less of a person for not being loved? I think not.

  24. scbrownlhrm

    D.JC,

    On Christianity, God being love, the metaphysical chain of continuity factually obtains Tom’s stated nuance.

    Everybody dies.

    100%.

    So your point about such in the whom is metaphysically vacuous.

    So we’re back to Reason – and your failure to show how, given reality’s elemental constitution, Reason must be factually *un*reasonable should she shift your own transient norm’s slicing foci.

  25. scbrownlhrm

    D.JC,

    As a matter of fact, Tom’s stated nuance actually succeeds in grounding the person’s value in Immutable Love.

  26. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    DougJC,

    This is still sad to me. You say,

    This premise has nothing to do with your argument, really?

    The answer to that is yes, really.

    Now, I do believe that personhood begins at conception, and yes, that fact enters into the way I approach this discussion. The problem comes in the way you use it:

    Premise B: only bad people reject premise A.

    I didn’t make that argument. More specifically, I didn’t make an argument that ill-conceived, poorly crafted, and obviously illogical.

    You can’t logically and legitimately take two of my beliefs, scrunch them together with alphabet labels, and call them the premises of an argument. They have something to do with my beliefs, but presented in this way they bear no relation to the line of reasoning I followed. You’ve made it look as if I followed that line of reasoning, when I didn’t. Therefore what you have committed is a blatant, yet effete and ineffectual straw-man fallacy.

    I’m sorry you felt you had to try that. I cannot escape the responsibility of pointing it out to you, though.

    Your comment 23 supports my thesis. I would feel more hopeful for you if I thought you were actually aware of that fact.

    This much is a little more interesting:

    Okay, now advance that point to a stage in time right after a procreative act by two potential parents. From that point on to a successful pregnancy test, an organism may or may not exist. Even a fertilized egg will be naturally aborted two thirds of the time. Are parents allowed to love without certain knowledge of the existence of baby? If they love and no baby exists in that interval between procreation and pregnancy test, is this somehow vastly different than their love when a baby does exist?

    The problem, however, is that for all the interest it might hold in some context, I don’t know what good it does in the current discussion. Whether parents are “allowed to love” has nothing to do with what we were talking about. You had said, “I’m sure many parents can attest that they fully loved their future child as a family member the moment they made the decision to have a baby.” I answered that what they loved wasn’t any really existing thing but only an idea of a thing, and that there is no moral equivalence between the way we treat ideas and the way we treat living humans.

    So the question isn’t whether someone is allowed to love. (My answer to that is yes, and so what? For the question at hand was, *what is it that they love?* Your answer here seems to demonstrate that you didn’t realize that was the question.

    But I have to address one thing just a bit further. You say, “If they love and no baby exists in that interval between procreation and pregnancy test, is this somehow vastly different than their love when a baby does exist?”

    The answer could go either of two ways, neither of which support your position. One is that their love really is different, because what they’re really loving isn’t a baby but the idea of a baby, or the hope for a baby. That kind of love is obviously different than the love of an actual child.

    The other logical possibility is that they are really loving a child. (I don’t know how that’s psychologically possible, but it’s at least logically possible.) In that case there’s really a child there to be loved, and if it’s true in that case, that means that abortion is the killing of a child who could potentially loved but is murdered instead. I support that logical possibility.

    In neither case does your line of reasoning end up where you seem to want it to end, at a point where you’ve undermined what I suggested about lovability as a line of demarcation for personhood.

    But all of that is fluff anyway, because the point you’re responding to is one that I raised for one reason only:

    That experience suggests another possible point where we could decide personhood begins: when the child is capable of being loved as a family member. Why should pain be the key indicator, rather than love?

    Now, I’m actually convinced that moral personhood begins at conception. I raise this alternative so that I can make a point about the way the “pro-choice” crowd makes its moral determinations. Their standard is negative and deathly: pain, instead of love.

    All you’re demonstrating with your questions about this is that you’ve missed the point.

    Here’s the sum of it, DougJC: you seem to think you’re defending a logical position in a reasonable manner, but you aren’t. Is logic important to you? Is reason? What will you do with the reality that your logic and reason don’t hold up here? Will you even see it? Will you allow yourself to see it?

  27. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC

    The more we unpack Tom’s cut-off point of “That which is loved…” the more we realize that it actually succeeds in affirming the Christian’s entire metaphysical chain of continuity over its full span – right up to the full stop of all value there in the God Who is love.

    The immutable love of the Necessary Being instantiates within said metaphysical line (chain of continuity) and finds the person’s value firmly planted in *Necessity*. It is not this or that *ability* in the person where value is found, but rather we find such in the only possible location *ACTUAL* ontological value can factually exist.

    As necessity’s immutable love presses in upon Reason we discover here that should Reason contradict *that* then it is the case that Reason factually contradicts the paradigmatic shape of The-Actual and thereby Reason becomes the factual contradiction of Reality – that Reason in fact has become *un*reasonable.

  28. bigbird

    @DougJC

    But that implies that there was a child to love that you could not love until you were certain it existed– that a human life existed that was not loved for a brief time.

    Well, of course. How you truly love something if you have no knowledge of its existence? As Tom says, until you know the child exists, you only love the idea of a child.

    The reason why a miscarriage is so upsetting is that you knew there was a child you lost.

    Even if so, was it somehow less of a person for not being loved? I think not.

    I think you’ve missed Tom’s point on being loved – he said “when the child is capable of being loved as a family member”. And a child is capable of being loved from conception. I’m sure couples using IVF can testify to that.

    It is irrelevant when exactly the child is actually loved, because that depends on when you find out it exists.

  29. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    1) On your materialism and scientism – Hume agrees and the emerging suicide clinics are ethically *reasonable*. In fact, it is *equally* reasonable for us to bypass the individual and determine that he needs such a clinic for him – whether he wants to participate or not.

    2) On the Christian’s metaphysics, the person is *both* capable of being loved at conception and in fact *is* loved at conception as God transposes said love.

    Your various false identity claims and conflations of Tom’s *actual* metaphysical premises fail, while #1 and #2 stand intact.

  30. DougJC

    Tom,

    Let me quote from your article.

    What dies in an abortion? A child, a human baby.

    This is only true if personhood begins at conception (A). If personhood begins at other, later, times, it is simple false to say a child or human baby dies in an abortion without any qualification. You appear to understand this point later:

    “It’s okay. Those were just cells. It isn’t really a human person until it’s developed enough to be able to register pain.”

    But if you reject this point for any reason, you can only do so with the argument that personhood begins at conception, not when the fetus is developed enough to register pain. That is the premise that you assume but do not explicitly defend (except perhaps in your argument regarding love, but I’m not sure if that was meant as a rigorous defense of personhood at conception; more below).

    Then, I added a second premise I surmise you hold from your article: only bad people reject premise A. Quoting from your article:

    They call them “specimens.” They have to speak of them that way; otherwise they would humanize the dead bodies they deal with, and be forced to face their guilt.

    In their own minds, at least, the abortion and procurement team must strip the child of his or her humanness.

    They correctly call them “specimens” because they don’t hold your premise A, that personhood begins at conception. But your paragraph implies that they secretly agree that these are human babies and don’t want to face guilt. You article implies they secretly know that they must, in their own minds, strip the child of his, her humanness.

    Your article describes a monstrous evil that claims to reject premise A but secretly believes it and goes about killing human babies for the sake of … sheer evil I guess. This is premise B: only bad people reject premise A and they do it not because they disagree with premise A, but out of sheer nefarious evil. This is the other premise I see that you need to defend.

    If I merely accept both these premises as given, I agree with your article. There’s nothing to disagree with. All the crucial areas of disagreement are embedded in two premises that are not unpacked and defended in the article.

    And, further, I fail to see why you seem offended by this observation. Isn’t this article mostly aimed at believers anyway?

    On the next topic, I’m trying to understand if “capable of being loved” should necessarily be a criteria for personhood.

    You say, “If they love and no baby exists in that interval between procreation and pregnancy test, is this somehow vastly different than their love when a baby does exist?”

    The other logical possibility is that they are really loving a child. (I don’t know how that’s psychologically possible, but it’s at least logically possible.)

    Even though one does not exist? That suggests that the connection between love and the object of love, at least in the early stages of life, is quite a bit more tenuous than I think would be needed to strongly support the idea that “capable of being loved” is a criteria for the start of personhood.

    you seem to think you’re defending a logical position in a reasonable manner, but you aren’t. Is logic important to you? Is reason? What will you do with the reality that your logic and reason don’t hold up here? Will you even see it? Will you allow yourself to see it?

    I try not to get involved in meta-arguments– arguments about the argument. I think you should do the same, it saves a lot of time and space.

  31. DougJC

    bigbird,

    I think you’ve missed Tom’s point on being loved – he said “when the child is capable of being loved as a family member”. And a child is capable of being loved from conception. I’m sure couples using IVF can testify to that.

    No, I understood it. To review, I’m exploring Tom’s argument whether “capable of being loved” is a criteria for the start of personhood. We know a child is capable of being loved and since I agree a child is a person, that doesn’t tell us anything useful. The question is whether an embryo is capable of being loved in a way substantially different from a pair of gametes seconds away from joining. Biology introduces two problems: most embryos die, and most surviving embryos are never loved since pregnancy is only known after the embryo becomes a fetus.

    There are two ways I can think to interpret those observations in a framework that does not assume a soul joins an egg on fertilization. Either only a fetus is capable of being loved or all cells that are involved in the process of creating a new being are capable of being loved, gametes, embryo, fetus included but (also) in a way that substantially includes the parent’s hopes and dreams regarding the nature of the new being. So I’m not persuaded “capable of being loved” points unerringly to conception, it seems more complex than that.

  32. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    DougJC,

    I said those premises had nothing to do with my argument. An argument is a connected series of propositions leading to a conclusion, not a mere list of beliefs.

    I do believe that your “Premise A” is true, but it still has nothing to do with my argument. I believe something a lot like your “Premise B,” but I would word it with a lot more thought than that, and even then it would have nothing to do with my argument–my connected series of propositions leading to a conclusion

    Maybe it would help you get where you need to be in this by answering this question: What conclusion was I arguing toward?

    On the next topic, I’m trying to understand if “capable of being loved” should necessarily be a criteria for personhood.

    Go ahead and try. It doesn’t have anything to do, however, with what I was trying to say—as I’ve explained to you already—so there’s no need to involve me in it.

    you seem to think you’re defending a logical position in a reasonable manner, but you aren’t. Is logic important to you? Is reason? What will you do with the reality that your logic and reason don’t hold up here? Will you even see it? Will you allow yourself to see it?

    I try not to get involved in meta-arguments– arguments about the argument. I think you should do the same, it saves a lot of time and space.

    That wasn’t an argument about the argument. That was a question I was encouraging you to answer about yourself. I encourage you now to examine yourself and answer it for yourself, if not for anyone else here.

  33. BillT

    What dies in an abortion? A child, a human baby.

    This is only true if personhood begins at conception

    No. It’s true if human life begins at conception. Personhood doesn’t enter into it. It’s an undefinable, made up word that people use to try to deny the fact that abortion is murder. Just where and by who’s authority is it said that human life is defined by personhood? It’s not in Roe v. Wade.

  34. SteveK

    Doug,

    What dies in an abortion? A child, a human baby.

    This is only true if personhood begins at conception

    No. In addition to what BillT said, you know this is true given the fact that you are the same human that was conceived. Your life began at conception. If not your life, then which human life?

    By your logic a different human being existed prior to you existing. Do you have evidence for this?

  35. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    You stated: “I’m exploring Tom’s argument whether “capable of being loved” is a criteria for the start of personhood”

    The Theistic / Christian criteria for personhood is not the premise put forth by Tom. Rather, the premise put forth is a criteria for something else. That you think the Christian stating “I love that book!” is involved in his metaphysical criteria of personhood such that the book has at least ONE property of personhood is pretty sad.

    You stated: “The question is whether an embryo is capable of being loved in a way substantially different from a pair of gametes seconds away from joining.”

    That’s not the question at all and has nothing to do with the premise in play. Theism does not find gametes in that natural chain of continuity – so you’re far afield. Also, the metaphysics of which do not stop at material – as Scientism cannot expect to capture such ontology.

    You stated: “Biology introduces two problems: most embryos die, and most embryos are never loved since pregnancy is only known after the embryo becomes a fetus.”

    Everybody dies and the physical location of where that is does not impact the Christian’s metaphysical accounting here. It is really sad that you can’t see that. Also – on Theism – the statement that each person *is* loved throughout his or her existence is factually true. Such love instantiates via God – and that you miss that brings you far afield in assessing the premises in play.

    You stated: “Either only a fetus is capable of being loved or all cells that are involved in the process of creating a new being are capable of being loved, gametes, embryo, fetus included but (also) in a way that substantially includes the parent’s hopes and dreams regarding the nature of the new being.”

    As already noted in your earlier mistake, gametes are not part of the Christian’s natural theology here. Nor can hopes and dreams – on the Christian’s natural theology – make a non-person become a person.

    The premises you are discussing have nothing to do with the premises involved in “That which his loved” nor with “That which is capable of being loved”.

    Perhaps you’d like to address Tom’s *ACTUAL* premises there?

    So far you are failing by two apparent deficits:

    1) You’re obviously unfamiliar with the Christian’s metaphysical accounting within Natural Theology where the womb/person is concerned.

    2) You want to define the Christian’s epistemology by a Materialistic ontology.

    The more we unpack Tom’s cut-off point of “That which is loved…” or “That which is capable of being loved” where Person is concerned, the more we realize that it actually succeeds in affirming the Christian’s entire Natural Theology where the womb/personhood is concerned – where that unique metaphysical chain of continuity is concerned – and all of that succeeds over the full span of said chain – right up to the full stop of all value there in the God Who is love.

    On Natural Theology, the immutable love of the Necessary Being instantiates within said metaphysical line (chain of continuity) and finds the person’s value firmly planted in *Necessity*. It is not this or that *ability* in the person where value is found, but rather we find such in the only possible location *ACTUAL* ontological value can factually exist.

    As necessity’s immutable love presses in upon Reason we discover here that should Reason contradict *that* then it is the case that Reason factually contradicts the paradigmatic shape of The-Actual and thereby Reason becomes the factual contradiction of Reality – that Reason in fact has become *un*reasonable.

  36. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    Bill T and SteveK are technically precise.

    Science tells us that the embryo is homo-sapien, is a human being. A recent thread here already exposed the fallacious appeals to twinning and chimerism and how they scientifically fail (and Theistically fail) to change such.

    On Scientism the buck stops there as she must stop at the end of physicality and “emergent properties” is unscientific, a mere fallacy, where chemistry and physics (etc.) is concerned.

    On Theism the buck stops there regarding the natural “half” of “Natural Theology”.

    On Science the buck stops there as she must stop at the end of physicality and “emergent properties” is unscientific, a mere fallacy, where chemistry and physics (etc.) is concerned.

  37. JAD

    From a Christian perspective personhood is not defined by consciousness or awareness but by destiny. For example, Jesus was destined to be the Messiah from his conception not his birth. That’s why abortion is so evil. Man has no right to determine another person’s destiny, prior to birth, only God does.

  38. bigbird

    @DougJC

    To review, I’m exploring Tom’s argument whether “capable of being loved” is a criteria for the start of personhood. We know a child is capable of being loved and since I agree a child is a person, that doesn’t tell us anything useful. The question is whether an embryo is capable of being loved in a way substantially different from a pair of gametes seconds away from joining.

    Haven’t you forgotten that it is a prerequisite for personhood that the entity is a human being?

    A pair of gametes are potentially a human being, but they are not a human being.

    Many things are capable of being loved, but are not candidates for personhood because they are not human.

  39. DougJC

    Tom,

    Maybe it would help you get where you need to be in this by answering this question: What conclusion was I arguing toward?

    That if personhood starts at conception, that if everyone recognizes this fact in some implicit sense, then not only are innocent lives lost during abortive procedures, but those who participate in them are losing their own humanity in a sense.

    On “capable of being loved”:

    It doesn’t have anything to do, however, with what I was trying to say—as I’ve explained to you already—so there’s no need to involve me in it.

    I’m fully aware you used this as a sub-argument in support of a point “about the way the “pro-choice” crowd makes its moral determinations.” But it is still an argument and it must be a valid argument to support your point.

    (Also it’s an interesting one since it raises questions about the nature of love and being during the early stages of life under naturalistic assumptions)

    I have one correction for that point, though:

    Their standard is negative and deathly: pain, instead of love.

    No, the standard is positive: *freedom from* pain (instead of love).

  40. DougJC

    BillT,

    No. It’s true if human life begins at conception. Personhood doesn’t enter into it. It’s an undefinable, made up word that people use to try to deny the fact that abortion is murder. Just where and by who’s authority is it said that human life is defined by personhood? It’s not in Roe v. Wade.

    If your premise is that “human life” subsumes the term “personhood” than your premise is that human life begins at conception, that’s fine. But that would be where we disagree; I would say human life with rights of personhood begins only with conscious capacity.

    SteveK,

    In addition to what BillT said, you know this is true given the fact that you are the same human that was conceived. Your life began at conception. If not your life, then which human life?

    I have the same DNA, yes, but I do not share your premise that personhood is present when embryo DNA is present. My consciousness began at some point much later than conception and prior to consciousness I see no reason to believe I was a being or person in any sense except that of strictly having human DNA.

    bigbird,

    Haven’t you forgotten that it is a prerequisite for personhood that the entity is a human being?

    If you adopt the premise that only a fertilized egg is a human being, then my critique is a dead-end, yes. But I’ve approached the “capable of being loved” argument as an attempt to argue on shared ground with shared premises. Recall my first comment was that I couldn’t find anything to disagree with in Tom’s article as long as I threw out all my premises and accepted Tom’s. But I then wondered if this particular argument was an exception. I see it isn’t.

  41. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    DougJC,

    Good answer to the first question.

    As to your second subject here, what point was I trying to make with that sub-argument?

    I have one correction for that point, though:

    Their standard is negative and deathly: pain, instead of love.

    No, the standard is positive: *freedom from* pain (instead of love).

    Oh. You’re saying that the standard for when the organism in the womb becomes a person is *freedom from pain.*

    Who knew?

  42. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    You say,

    I see no reason to believe I was a being or person in any sense except that of strictly having human DNA.

    I’m confused. Did you have human DNA then? Did you have human DNA without being a being in any sense?

    But I’ve approached the “capable of being loved” argument as an attempt to argue on shared ground with shared premises.

    The problem with your saying that is that you’ve steadfastly ignored all reasoned discourse demonstrating that this is not an argument on shared premises. In actuality you’ve adopted this argument not as an attempt to share but to shove.

  43. BillT

    If your premise is that “human life” subsumes the term “personhood” than your premise is that human life begins at conception, that’s fine. But that would be where we disagree; I would say human life with rights of personhood begins only with conscious capacity.

    DougJC,

    And just when does “conscious capacity” begin and how is it defined. How do you know if an unborn child has “conscious capacity” or doesn’t. How do you know if a born child has “conscious capacity” or doesn’t. Can you give me a specific time either during of after gestation when “conscious capacity” begins. When did you get your “conscious capacity”. Just what branch of medical science is tasked with determining “conscious capacity” and what test determine it. Seems that all the above are legitimate question given you think “conscious capacity” is the dividing line between life and death. Can you answer any of them?

  44. DougJC

    Tom,

    Oh. You’re saying that the standard for when the organism in the womb becomes a person is *freedom from pain.*

    A possible pro-choice standard at where to draw the line on abortion would be to not inflict pain on a being, but as a standard for personhood this would include not only the ability to experience pain but necessarily the ability to experience positive feelings and emotions as well.

    You say,

    I see no reason to believe I was a being or person in any sense except that of strictly having human DNA.

    I’m confused. Did you have human DNA then? Did you have human DNA without being a being in any sense?

    In a sense of continuity of biological organism, I can trace myself back to fertilized egg (and before). In the sense of continuity of consciousness and my first conscious moment, I suspect I could trace it back to some period in the womb, although I’m not sure if those memories exist except in trace form. But is the conscious capacity sense that is most critical to person or being in my view.

    The problem with your saying that is that you’ve steadfastly ignored all reasoned discourse demonstrating that this is not an argument on shared premises. In actuality you’ve adopted this argument not as an attempt to share but to shove.

    Again, meta-arguments are not helpful to me and you should find them useless as well. If you think anything I’ve said is unreasonable or if I’ve ignored anything, just point it out. In the same amount of time you can write a contentious and controversial meta-argument you can also identify the exact issue or logical flaw I’ve made. And, no, I don’t see any flaws in my argument, I’ve not ignored anything, and I’ve not attempted to shove rather than share.

  45. DougJC

    BillT,

    I believe all your questions are answered the same way: the point at which a human nervous system is advanced enough to function in such a fashion that pain/pleasure or other emotions and sensations might be felt is the point at which abortion should not occur except if the mother’s life is endangered. A conservative medical consensus seems to be around 20 weeks. Some background is here.

  46. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Quick! Hurry! Pick up that fumble! Improvise! Type this!

    A possible pro-choice standard at where to draw the line on abortion would be to not inflict pain on a being, but as a standard for personhood this would include not only the ability to experience pain but necessarily the ability to experience positive feelings and emotions as well.

    It’s “A possible … standard,” you say. Bravo for finding a way to fit that into your long-established insistence that the ability to feel pain was the standard. Bravo for slipping in a beautifully vague variant on, “Someone could argue that,”–the grand universal refutation whose universal validity rests in the fact that no one need bother showing that it’s valid!

    In other words, DougJC, do you have a new position you’re advancing here? Do you believe what you wrote about this, or are you just trying to string us along with possible positions? If you believe it, could you give us some reason to think it’s worth believing? If it’s worth believing, how does it translate into actual abortion decision-making?

    You thought you were tossing a dart back. It was a piece of lint instead, and it flew as far as lint flies.

    In a sense of continuity of biological organism, I can trace myself back to fertilized egg (and before). In the sense of continuity of consciousness and my first conscious moment, I suspect I could trace it back to some period in the womb, although I’m not sure if those memories exist except in trace form. But is the conscious capacity sense that is most critical to person or being in my view.

    I take it you don’t think you had human DNA then, since you wouldn’t give a positive answer to the question I asked. Is that correct? Or would you say that there was some organism that wasn’t you that had human DNA? I’m trying to figure this out, you see.

  47. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Your “meta-argument” deflection fails badly here. I wasn’t meta-arguing. I was pointing out that you were using an argument that was failing repeatedly. I was pointing out that you were ignoring that fact. The first is no meta-argument by any definition, and if you think the second is unhelpful, then you’re wrong. I’m not projecting when I say that your insistence that you’re not ignoring this is another instance of ignoring it.

    I assume you know what in impasse is in the game of chess: an ending in which a player who is not in check cannot make any legal move. It’s a form of a draw, a tie, so to speak.

    Now consider the opposite: the player has lots of legal moves he could make with every piece but his king, which is in check and has nowhere to go to escape it. That’s checkmate.

    Now consider that player saying, “Hold on, the game is still on. I can move my knight. I can move my bishop.”

    That would be a case of a player acting as if he were playing chess, not knowing enough about the game to recognize that he didn’t know enough to know he didn’t know how to play.

    I think that describes where you’re at with respect to this very, very silly game you’re playing with your supposed argument on shared premises.

    The player who doesn’t know he doesn’t know how to play may very well sit there and move his knight and his bishop. He will probably declare himself the winner if the other player gets up and walks away.

    I’m getting up and walking away. If you’d like to declare yourself the winner, by all means do so. Your king is still in checkmate.

  48. SteveK

    I believe all your questions are answered the same way: the point at which a human nervous system is advanced enough to function in such a fashion that pain/pleasure or other emotions and sensations might be felt is the point at which abortion should not occur except if the mother’s life is endangered.

    Phantom limb pain occurs without a limb so how sure are you that a nervous system is needed to experience pain? I say this coming from the position that the mind/soul/spirit are not wholly dependent on physical substances. I don’t claim to have the answer to the question of pain, but you seem certain enough. Where did you get your information?

  49. BillT

    Doug,

    It’s really hard to believe that you or anyone would consider the argument you put forward as a legitimate standard for the determination of life or death. Let me ask you this Doug. Would you be willing to stand trial for murder for all the abortions performed before 20 weeks based on the defense of abortion you have just provided?

  50. DougJC

    Tom,

    Quick! Hurry! Pick up that fumble! Improvise! Type this!

    Why do you find it necessary to say this? Shouldn’t a focused argument be enough?

    It’s “A possible … standard,” you say.

    It’s the one I hold, but I don’t want to close the door to other standards whatever they may be.

    In other words, DougJC, do you have a new position you’re advancing here?

    No, just the position I’ve already presented.

    If you believe it, could you give us some reason to think it’s worth believing?
    If it’s worth believing, how does it translate into actual abortion decision-making?

    My premise is that personhood starts with rudimentary consciousness and that rudimentary consciousness starts with the development of biological nervous system. Absent evidence of a soul or other metaphysical arguments for some sort of identity of biological form and conscious form, I think this is a reasonable position.

    But keep in mind that I’m not as interested in defending my position as I was in understanding why you thought your Breakpoint would “stir things up” and that “Some people aren’t going to like what I have to say”. The implication is that you’ve offered good reasons for someone who is pro-choice to reconsider but I observe that you’ve used premises that no pro-choicer would hold. Effectively: were you “preaching to the choir” with this article or was there supposed to be shared common ground with the pro-choice position?

    I take it you don’t think you had human DNA then, since you wouldn’t give a positive answer to the question I asked. Is that correct?

    Your question “Did you have human DNA then” contains an ambiguous “you” since I pointed out that I’m both a biological organism as well as a conscious being; however, those two forms come into existence at different times. Both forms are currently necessary for personhood although consciousness may eventually be possible without a biological substrate. But the form of conscious awareness is what I see as crucial to personhood. Certainly as a biological organism I have and had human DNA, but human DNA will only be part of the requirement for personhood.

    Your “meta-argument” deflection fails badly here. I wasn’t meta-arguing. I was pointing out that you were using an argument that was failing repeatedly.

    You’re arguing that my argument is failing but providing no hint at to what is actually failing so that I can address it and either admit it or correct it. It’s unfalsifiable, then, because nothing is offered to be falsified. It’s a waste of my time and yours, except perhaps as a way for you to vent your spleen.

  51. DougJC

    BillT,

    It’s really hard to believe that you or anyone would consider the argument you put forward as a legitimate standard for the determination of life or death. Let me ask you this Doug. Would you be willing to stand trial for murder for all the abortions performed before 20 weeks based on the defense of abortion you have just provided?

    Well, it shouldn’t be that hard to believe, this poll shows that at least 60% of Americans think abortion should be legal in the first 3 months of pregnancy. They must be thinking of the nervous system argument in some form.

    But specifically you’re asking me how confident I am that an organism without a developed nervous system also lacks a human soul (either dualistically-speaking or as a metaphysical unity). Confident enough that I would support the legality of abortion up until the development of a nervous system, but at the same time recognizing that abortion (at least after a week or so) should be a last resort and decreasingly common in a good society. The best society has no abortions because all children are planned.

  52. DougJC

    SteveK,

    Phantom limb pain occurs without a limb so how sure are you that a nervous system is needed to experience pain? I say this coming from the position that the mind/soul/spirit are not wholly dependent on physical substances. I don’t claim to have the answer to the question of pain, but you seem certain enough. Where did you get your information?

    I think this question boils down to how confident I am in my position as an atheist, believing that the natural is all there is. Pretty confident, although as I told BillT, any form of violence against life does not fit with my philosophy so I would like to see abortions fade. However, much of abortion politics are closely related to feminism and the right to abortion has been seen as a necessary tool for equality of the sexes, so this is not just a matter of violence.

  53. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    DougJC:

    Why do you find it necessary to say this? Shouldn’t a focused argument be enough?

    It’s enough for some purposes, but it doesn’t accomplish everything. It’s good for content but doesn’t always catch process. I was commenting on your process, and frankly trying to get your attention. Apparently it didn’t work. For example:

    It’s “A possible … standard,” you say.

    It’s the one I hold, but I don’t want to close the door to other standards whatever they may be.

    If it’s the one you hold, why did you wait all this time to say so? This is noticeably different from the position you’ve been telling us you hold.

    In other words, DougJC, do you have a new position you’re advancing here?

    No, just the position I’ve already presented.

    When? Where? You never said anything about positive feelings or emotions as your standard prior to this.

    But keep in mind that I’m not as interested in defending my position as I was in understanding why you thought your Breakpoint would “stir things up” and that “Some people aren’t going to like what I have to say”

    Because I was pointing out the dehumanizing aspects of what’s been found to be going on in at least some PP offices, and noting its similarities to Nazi dehumanizations efforts.

    Effectively: were you “preaching to the choir” with this article or was there supposed to be shared common ground with the pro-choice position?

    The BreakPoint audience is principally Christians who are seeking more insight and understanding of what’s going on in the world. That’s who I wrote it for.

    Your “meta-argument” deflection fails badly here. I wasn’t meta-arguing. I was pointing out that you were using an argument that was failing repeatedly.

    You’re arguing that my argument is failing but providing no hint at to what is actually failing so that I can address it and either admit it or correct it.

    Oh, DougJC, the hints are there. They’ve been there all along. Go back to comment 26 for a refresher.

  54. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    Your argument that you’ve been seeking common ground is demonstrably false, as Tom noted #26 as a good example. Also, as pointed out several times, you’ve consistently been fallacious with your description of Christian premises, so it is impossible that you’ve been looking for premises to *share*.

    Your argument that neurons logically (ontologically) equate to value fails (logically) as Hume agrees and hence adult suicides are perfectly “good, moral, lovely” vis-a-vis your stated means.

    That you describe an unplanned and joyous pregnancy as less than ideal (perfect societies only have *planned* pregnancies) is another statement which reveals the logically fallacious nature of your means.

  55. BillT

    They must be cthinking of the nervous system argument in some form.

    Doug,

    I would very much doubt it. I don’t think many people think very much about any of this at all. They’ve been told it’s legal and thus it’s ok. End of story. We saw just recently an abortion advocacy group make the statement that it is certain fetuses aren’t human beings, period. That’s the kind of disinformation that’s been constantly disseminated by the media and pro choice groups for decades now. People don’t want to think of the moral implications. It’s unpleasant and since the vast majority of them aren’t prsonally having abortions they just ignore it all.

  56. BillT

    And Doug, the support for abortion by the general public has been steadily shrinking for a long time now. Seems reasonable to believe that the more people actually do think about the moral implications of abortion the more people find it problematic.

  57. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    PAIN RECEPTORS:

    Some of late are advocating intrauterine anesthesia for the fetus during abortions.

    That’s fact.

    And it factually satisfies any and all Pain-Based-Moralities.

    And it factually contradicts the Theist’s Love-Based-Morality.

    Neurons are funny things, as is anesthesia. Hence the goodness of, morality of, loveliness of, *reasonable-ness* of, euthanasia. At any and all stages of life, vis-a-vis the intellectual honesty of Hume and others.

    Perhaps you may want to consider changing your philosophical terms to something which can coherently constrain Reason to chase your stated goal of fewer such events (abortions, etc.).

    Your claim of having such a philosophical goal is commendable, even if intellectually vacuous.

  58. DougJC

    Tom,

    If it’s the one you hold, why did you wait all this time to say so? This is noticeably different from the position you’ve been telling us you hold.

    When? Where? You never said anything about positive feelings or emotions as your standard prior to this.

    I’ve always talked about conscious capacity as key to personhood, but someone did bring up the ability to feel pain as particularly significant to the abortion question. They’re the same thing effectively. Conscious capacity (even in rudimentary form) not only includes the ability to feel pain but by definition includes the ability to feel a host of other things as well. Likewise, if one has a nervous system sufficiently developed to feel pain, one can certainly feel many other things as well.

    The BreakPoint audience is principally Christians who are seeking more insight and understanding of what’s going on in the world. That’s who I wrote it for.

    Okay. But note that invoking “similarities to Nazi dehumanization” doesn’t particularly stir me up unless I feel that doing so follows from reasonable premises. Then and only then might this stirring cause me to reexamine my beliefs carefully for logical or empirical inconsistencies.

  59. DougJC

    BillT,

    And Doug, the support for abortion by the general public has been steadily shrinking for a long time now. Seems reasonable to believe that the more people actually do think about the moral implications of abortion the more people find it problematic.

    I agree that support for late term abortions (> 3 months) is shrinking and will continue to shrink (and that’s good in my view). But I would be suprised to see the pre-3-month position lose support as well.

  60. DougJC

    scbrownlrhm,

    Your argument that you’ve been seeking common ground is demonstrably false

    You misunderstand. I was asking Tom if he was seeking common ground. Anyone is free to seek common ground or not, I am perfectly okay with either approach. But obviously common ground has more potential for successful communication.

    Also, as pointed out several times, you’ve consistently been fallacious with your description of Christian premises

    I have not, to my knowledge. Or at least, that hasn’t been pointed out to me. If I have been fallacious, I am more than happy to correct my error and even apologize for it if the error is egregious.

    Your argument that neurons logically (ontologically) equate to value

    I haven’t made that argument. Could you outline what you think that is?

    That you describe an unplanned and joyous pregnancy as less than ideal (perfect societies only have *planned* pregnancies) is another statement which reveals the logically fallacious nature of your means.

    And what about an unplanned but non-joyous pregnancy? You can’t just define such events out of existence. It is a simple fact of existence that some couples have sex without the intention, desire or means of support for children. In those cases, they are indeed dismayed at a pregnancy. In those cases, society clearly failed to either educate them about sex or failed to provide the means to prevent procreation.

  61. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    Atheists have all sorts of common moral grounds with Theists.

    Anthropology 101 and all that.

    They simply lack the ability to logically justify the claim that Reason must – to disagree – factually contradict the constitutional shape of reality.

    For example:

    Your statement was simple. In a perfect society there are no unplanned pregnancies.

    That’s a categorical statement about perfection.

    Your means can’t justify any such statement.

    And:

    If you didn’t mean to be logical and factual about nervous systems factually equating to “Reason Should Draw Line Here”, that is fine. It’s simply another statement (your slicing point) which you cannot justify.

    And:

    Tom’s premises must embrace gametes as part of his metaphysical definition of personhood.

    That’s fallacious.

    Either intentional or out of being uninformed.

    So, again, no means to justify your statement.

    And:

    Fetal anesthesia ontologically fits into your definitions as neurons are funny things, as is anesthesia. Hence the goodness of, morality of, loveliness of, *reasonable-ness* of, euthanasia. At any and all stages of life, vis-a-vis the intellectual honesty of Hume and others.

    Perhaps you may want to consider changing your philosophical terms to something which can coherently constrain Reason to chase your stated goal of fewer such events (abortions, etc.).

    Your claim of having such a philosophical goal is commendable, even if your own stated philosophical goals cannot be ontologically justified, despite *SHARING* the Theistic goal of decreasing such events.

    It’s bizarre that YOU SHARE and affirm the Christian’s goal of decreasing such events all the while affirming means which expressly affirm the reasonableness of such events. At *any* stage of development.

  62. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    To clarify, by reasonable we of course mean good, lovely, moral, right.

    It’s nice that you share the Christian’s goal (decreasing said events).

    But that your means expressly affirm the goodness of, beauty of, rightness of said events isn’t helping us find your premises and conclusions valid – or even pseudo-valid.

  63. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    You said this to Tom:

    Okay. But note that invoking “similarities to Nazi dehumanization” doesn’t particularly stir me up unless I feel that doing so follows from reasonable premises. Then and only then might this stirring cause me to reexamine my beliefs carefully for logical or empirical inconsistencies.”

    Your premises, conclusions, and philosophical goals are logically incompatible. Empirically speaking, those who affirm your premises logically and (ontologically) coherently affirm the beauty of, goodness of, fetal anesthesia in abortions to erase the problem of pain. Euthanasia at *any* stage of development casually, logically, and even EMPIRICALLY, follows.

    It’s bizarre that YOU SHARE and affirm the Christian’s goal of decreasing such events all the while affirming means which expressly affirm the reasonableness of, goodness of, lovliness of, such events – at *any* stage of development.

    Tom’s point does NOT follow from reasonable premises. But it DOESS follow from YOUR premises. BOTH logically AND empirically.

    Clinics of peculiar sorts are, in the real world, ever so subtlety emerging, actualizing, and all built atop your premises and conclusions.

  64. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    DougJC, you have persistently refused to pay any attention to the reason I included that bit about capacity to be loved. Persistently. Steadfastly. Astonishingly. I sincerely wish you would give up this annoyingly irrelevant crusade to prove me wrong on a point I didn’t try to make.

  65. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    Hmmm…

    I said this:

    “Tom’s point does NOT follow from reasonable premises. But it DOES follow from YOUR premises. BOTH logically AND empirically.”

    That’s sloppy.

    So let’s try this:

    Invoking “similarities to Nazi dehumanization” on Tom’s points should particularly stir you, bother you, move you to reexamine your premises given that you SHARE in Tom’s goal of wanting to reduce such events (abortion, euthanasia…. at *any* age, including adults, etc.) because all such events, and hence Tom’s point, follow from the fact that your premises, your means, and empirical data all support the identity claim, or the sameness, of that association. Both on premise (your premises) and on empirical outcomes. Clinics of peculiar sorts are, in the real world, ever so subtlety emerging, actualizing, and all built atop your premises and conclusions.

  66. BillT

    Given the discussion has involved a supposed distinction between human life and “personhood” or “conscious capacity” it might be good to again look at what medical science quite unequivocally says on the matter.

    “Human life begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo).” (Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. pp. 16, 2.)

    “Fertilization is the process by which male and female haploid gametes (sperm and egg) unite to produce a genetically distinct individual.” (Signorelli et al., Kinases, phosphatases and proteases during sperm capacitation, CELL TISSUE RES. 349(3):765, March 20, 2012.)

    “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte” (Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Mueller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000, p. 8).

  67. SteveK

    I find it interesting that naturalists are relying on an argument that says at some point in time meaning/value/significance comes into existence. I suppose some will push back and say they are not doing that, rather that at some point in time THEY assign meaning/value/significance to things that actually have none.

    That argument is the same moral relativism that we hear all the time. It’s entirely subjective so what is the point in (them) trying to figure it out by way of reason? There’s nothing to figure out. There’s no combination of meaningless facts that you can assemble to reach the conclusion you WANT (key word).

    Just pick a point in time that YOU find meaningful and run with it. There’s no need to justify your reasoning. You can’t possibly be wrong. That’s how subjective (anti) realism works.

    If you’re looking for actual meaning/value you have to abandon naturalism.

  68. scbrownlhrm

    Chess Engineering fails for all the same reasons DougJC’s goal-based philosophy fails.

    It is the Naturalist’s philosophical goal to see fewer abortions / euthanasia and so on.

    So we have:

    Objective Goal + Subjective Want = Objective Morality

    That ends being entirely fallacious.

    We find in this thread that the Objective Goal (fewer abortions / euthanasia) combined with a subjective want (fewer abortions / euthanasia) employs and houses all the same premises and conclusions that are (justifiably) used by those favoring the exact opposite ends.

    Now – it can be the case that one of the sides has gotten their ontology all wrong and is therefore misusing premises.

    But that is not the case as, ontologically, no one can be wrong – one only needs a goal and a want. You want A, well fine, but I want B. That the Premises within Naturalism are used (justifiably) to affirm goodness, beauty, loveliness, moral-ness, rightness, and so on in expressly contradictory fashions regarding the same set of counterfactuals / events begins to show another layer as to “why” the Naturalist cannot combine Goal + Want and declare that Objective Good/Bad factually obtains.

    In the ontology (objectively real) of Naturalism, all its available premises turn out to work this way – regardless of this or that assigned goal. Because A cannot “really” be or “factually” be or “ontologically” be both A and Non-A. But that is what is needed if the Premises within Naturalism are to at once (on the one hand) affirm A’s loveliness, goodness, rightness and (on the other hand) affirm A’s wrongness, badness, ugliness.

    The philosophical goal of fewer abortions / euthanasia and so on – at any stage of development – from conception to the 90-something year old, is a good goal – but all the same premises used by the Naturalist to argue against such events are logically, ontologically, and factually found justifiably affirming yet more and more anesthesia at yet more and more stages of development at yet more and more clinics in yet more and more locations.

    Therefore, to self-assign “meaning” to “A” when one’s premises (actually) fail to justifiably make “A” beautiful, and lovely, and good, and right, then one cannot retain one’s premises and conclusions but by one of two modes. Either reject one’s stated goal, or, plow ahead, eyes closed, fists clenched within the throws of auto-hypnosis and wish-fulfillment.

  69. DougJC

    Tom,

    DougJC, you have persistently refused to pay any attention to the reason I included that bit about capacity to be loved.

    That’s not true. I explained in #39 that I fully understood that your sub-argument regarding “capacity to be loved” was to make a larger point contrasting pro-choice with pro-life moral determination: pain rather than love.

    But I then noted two things. 1) It’s always reasonable to critique a sub-argument in support of a sub-claim (because a sub-claim serves to support a claim) and 2) part of the claim itself (“Their standard is negative and deathly: pain instead of love”) was not accurate. Rather, the pro-choice standard in question is also positive: freedom from pain.

    I sincerely wish you would give up this annoyingly irrelevant crusade to prove me wrong on a point I didn’t try to make.

    What point is that? The only correction I’ve argued for is the one above regarding negative standard.

    With regard to “capacity to be loved” as a criteria for personhood sub-argument, I never said it was wrong, I questioned whether personhood by this criteria leads exclusively to conception (as opposed to earlier or later). I also observed that the argument seemed to be true by definition: only a person is capable of being loved.

    If you focus on the substance of my comments, all should be clear. If you continue to question and devalue my character, you’ll certainly appear to get the upper hand every time since I won’t respond in kind. But I will take the time and space to refute your accusations.

  70. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    #6 & #22 & #23 are fairly clear examples of your dishonest manipulation of Tom’s initial (actual) premise.

    You know he’s a Christian, right? Then you know why and how you’ve been dishonest.

    It’s either that or you really have no idea about the Christian’s metaphysical claims on the womb/human being (etc.).

    Now, you could have built *your* case for *your* premise that *your* worldview “ontologically contains” gametes in a line of continuity – because on Materialism there are zero “actual” distinctions, just that one, seamless particle cascade…. mereological nihilism and all that…. (Etc.).

    But you didn’t argue *that*.

    You argued that *Tom’s* premise must thusly be full of gametes and unknown conceptions being unloved (did you forget God?) and pre-conceptions and so on – all the while knowing that the Christian would never offer such premises.

    In your typical style it was all well written and crisp and engaging, but it did put words and premises into places they clearly didn’t fit.

  71. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    I took your driving point to be to assert a layer of immunity against your philosophy aiding “dehumanization” via the fact that you have *un*shared* premises with the Theist.

    Obviously the ontological premises of different worldviews differ – so it’s unclear why you think it matters in a way which grants you immunity . True, “dehumanization” is just as floppy and arbitrary as is any other “slicing point” in that seamless stream of particles, but that only means your appeal for immunity works because there is no such (ontologically actual) Human Nature / Value to *de*value in the first place.

    Fine.

    So we’re back to the sharing bit as a stand-alone.

    You tell us your philosophical goal “shares” (there’s that word again) the same goal as the Christian. Then (as described already) you affirm all the same premises which justifiably affirm the goodness and beauty of yet more and more anesthesia to yet more and more stages of development (in-utero euthanasia, adult euthanasia, etc.). On the steam of *your* philosophical terms the definition of “life quality” merriting said deaths is ever broading – inching towards an uncanny numbness at the reception desk. Just sign here please.

    You need to change goals, or, premises.

    Or just close your eyes amid autohypnosis.

  72. DougJC

    scbrownlhrm,

    You don’t seem to understand what I was arguing so I will urge you to use caution before leaping to accusations of “dishonest manipulation” because doing is not only false but bearing false witness.

    I have never claimed Tom’s premises were invalid or incorrect. Rather, I pointed out that not defending them explicitly means the article does not rationally challenge the pro-choice position. A valid argument with unshared premises is still a valid argument but not a sound argument from the perspective of those who don’t share the premises. I came away from this discussion with the understanding that the article was aimed at a Christian pro-life audience anyway so there’s nothing more for me to say about it.

  73. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    There are Christians who hold that conception isn’t when the soul/person actualizes.

    Tom knows that.

    And you know he’s a Christian.

    Yet you assert that he asserts that only evil people think that way.

    Yes DougJC, the premise of Tom (of our faith) is that Christians who hold that view about conception are on par with Stalin.

    And you’re still defending that.

    The assertion was cheap, it’s false, it’s a claim agsinst a Christian’s (our Faith’s) character which you leveled while knowing it isn’t true, it’s unsophisticated, it’s dishonest, it’s sophomoric, and it had nothing to add.

    *OR* you’re ignorant of even basic things about a faith and therefore you should have been asking instead of asserting.

    And still now you persist in defending it.

  74. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    In #30 you persist in accusing Christians of Hate, accusing Christians of actually equating other Christians who don’t affirm that the “embryo begins the person” to STALIN:

    Your article describes a monstrous evil that claims to reject premise A but secretly believes it and goes about killing human babies for the sake of … sheer evil I guess. This is premise B: only bad people reject premise A and they do it not because they disagree with premise A, but out of sheer nefarious evil. This is the other premise I see that you need to defend.”

    No, we *don’t* have to defend *that*.

    Don’t you find it strange that you *share* the Christian’s premises about defining “evil Stalins” on something OTHER than their belief about conception, just as you share his premise about fewer events being better than more events.

    What you don’t share, or what we don’t share with you, are premises which grant moral justification for that eerie numbness slowly emerging at that reception desk.

    Creating false character flaws vis-a-vis (knowingly) inventing premises of Hate fails to show just how it is the Non-Christian *differs* in his premises from the Christian’s premise – as *neither* equates Stalin’s horrific evil to people who do not hold that the embryo equates to person.

    That’s a common tactic of course, to subtlety equate that kind of hateful thinking to a Christian’s discussion. Especially if it isn’t there up front – in which case just inject it – and cast it in such a way….. where there’s smoke there’s fire.

    It’s dishonest.

  75. DougJC

    scbrownlhrm,

    There are Christians who hold that conception isn’t when the soul/person actualizes.

    You’ve raised an interesting point.

    But Christians who believe this would actually claim “just cells” for a significant period between embryo and their preferred stage of fetal development for personhood. Christians who believe this way would call these stages “cases” and “specimens” rather than “babies”. They may also agree with my position that neural development defines a cut-off for abortion.

    Where do you see in Tom’s article moral exceptions made for this position? I don’t see it anywhere. I think you’re plain wrong: Christians who deny humanness to a fetus until neural development are dehumanizing a child. I see no other way to interpret the Breakpoint article.

  76. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    That was not the point on which you accuse Christians of HATE.

    Well, they say repeating something in different forms of syntax helps when the first form doesn’t get through. Therefore:

    Do you HATE Christians and feel that Tom is and Christians are “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) because they have a view which YOU both assert and feel WILL at some point – if pushed far enough – add to harm? Do you actually feel and mean to assert that Tom is and Christians are “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) in and by disagreeing with you? MUST you assert and prove (to be VALID on your OWN points) that Tom is and Christians are “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) because they have a view which YOU assert WILL at some point – if pushed far enough – add to harm?

    Those questions cut to the heart of your entire fallacious injection of HATE into this discussion.

    The disagreements in these sorts of discussions are many and MOST of them are of the sort of premise which each side feels that if pushed far enough such COULD bring real harm and yet no one ever puts words into the other person’s mouth the way you’ve done in this thread – and yet no one ever injects HATE into the other’s platform the way you do here:

    Your article describes a monstrous evil that claims to reject premise A but secretly believes it and goes about killing human babies for the sake of … sheer evil I guess. This is premise B: only bad people reject premise A and they do it not because they disagree with premise A, but out of sheer nefarious evil. This is the other premise I see that you need to defend.

    No, DougJC, we *don’t* have to defend *that*.

    Don’t you find it strange that you *share* the Christian’s premises about defining “Evil Stalins” on something OTHER than their belief about conception, just as you *share* his premise about fewer events being better than more events.

    See if you can both follow this next paragraph and simultaneously appreciate the absence of the HATE you think MUST be there IF concerns about harm are to be VALID:

    The premises we do not share are premises which we feel grant moral justification for what is an eerie numbness slowly emerging at that reception desk discussed earlier. You have those premises. Some Christians have them too. NOTICE that you share the OPPOSITE view – a view that pain and suffering WILL come about IF too many restrictions arise and IF another’s premises IN FACT become mainstreamed – and YET the Christian does NOT tell YOU that “you must defend” (your words) a sound proof that the Christian is going about doing what he’s doing in these discussions and in trying to decrease abortions out of sheer nefarious evil (your words). Why on earth would the Christian tell YOU that YOU have to establish THAT about the Christian IF you want your concern about possible harm to be VALID? And *IF* you should FAIL to establish that the Christian *IS* in fact motivated by “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) well THEN your arguments and concerns CANNOT be VALID? Really?

    Is HATE the only way for your concerns to be validated?

    A repetition of syntax:

    Do you HATE Christians and feel that Tom is and Christians are “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) because they have a view which YOU both assert and feel WILL at some point – if pushed far enough – add to harm? Do you actually feel and mean to assert that Tom is and Christians are “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) in and by disagreeing with you? MUST you assert and prove (to be VALID on your OWN points) that Tom is and Christians are “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) because they have a view which YOU assert WILL at some point – if pushed far enough – add to harm?

    And here are your (not our) terms in a repetition of syntax:

    You must defend (your words) that the Christian is acting out of “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) *IF* you want your arguments about possible (REAL) harm and your concerns about possible (REAL) harm to be VALID. You implied HARM/PAIN/BAD about your concerns on outcomes and events and “therefore” YOU must establish those SAME qualities in the MOTIVES and INTENTIONS and WANTS of the other side *IF* you want to have a VALID stance. Or – in the reverse direction – the Christian must defend (your words) that you are acting out of “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) *IF* he wants his arguments about possible (REAL) harm and his concerns about possible (REAL) harm to be VALID.

    Really?

    Are you really so eager to *find* hate? Then don’t make it some sort of sickening logical necessity in an argument which you happen to disagree with or in someone else’s premises, concerns, and hopes. We know that you are *not* eager to find hate. We know you are *not* out for that sort of thing. And you and all of us know that the world stage right now has enough hate.

    The problem isn’t that DougJC – we affirm that you’re *not* out to paint a platform that you disagree with as full of hate – we affirm that you are *not* telling us that UNLESS we give proof that you and your concerns about REAL HARM are laden with “sheer nefarious evil” then our points and concerns CANNOT be valid. That is not the problem. The problem is your persistence here – the problem is TODAY……. As in this: You still today accuse us of HATE as you – again today – still today – interpret this entire discussion along the lines (to reverse the direction of your own assertion onto you) that YOU (DougJC) must defend (your words) that the Christian is acting out of “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) *IF* you want your arguments about possible (REAL) harm and your concerns about possible (REAL) harm to be VALID. You implied HARM/PAIN/BAD about your concerns on outcomes and events and “therefore” YOU must establish those SAME qualities in the MOTIVES and INTENTIONS and WANTS of the other side *IF* you want to have a VALID stance.

    Again, is HATE the only way for your concerns to be validated? Do you HATE Christians and feel that Tom is and Christians are “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) because they have a view which YOU both assert and feel WILL at some point – if pushed far enough – add to harm? Do you actually feel and mean to assert that Tom is and Christians are “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) in and by disagreeing with you? MUST you assert and prove (to be VALID on your OWN points) that Tom is and Christians are “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) because they have a view which YOU assert WILL at some point – if pushed far enough – add to harm?

    Creating false character flaws vis-a-vis (knowingly) inventing and then injecting premises of HATE fails to show just how it is the Non-Christian *differs* in his premises from the Christian’s premise – as *neither* equates Stalin’s horrific evil to people who do not hold that the embryo equates to person.

    It’s impressive – the many attempts to inject HATE onto the Christian platform of discussion because he has a different stance than the person making that attempt to inject the hate.

    Tell us, DougJC – do you inject HATE into ALL disagreements with Christians? CAN a Christian discuss and define moral opinions WITHOUT being full of HATE – full of – what were your words….. full of the burning conviction that the person sitting across the table in these discussions just must be speaking and acting out of “sheer nefarious evil”?

    Do YOU have to prove THAT about US in order for YOUR points and concerns about HARM to be VALID?

    Of course not. And yet still………

    It’s common tactic by a handful of those who disagree with Christians – to word-smith and makeup false premises as we watched you do in this thread and then equate HATE filled thinking with a Christian’s discussion. That handful interprets these disagreements the way you have done here in this thread – along the lines that the Christian MUST, since he is discussing and defining moral opinions contrary to theirs, be full of HATE for those “sheer nefarious evil people”.

    Repetition, syntax, your terms:

    You must defend (your words) that the Christian is speaking and acting out of “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) *IF* you want your arguments about possible (REAL) harm and your concerns about possible (REAL) harm to be VALID. You implied HARM/PAIN/BAD about your concerns on outcomes and events and “therefore” YOU must establish those SAME qualities in the MOTIVES and INTENTIONS and WANTS of the other side *IF* you want to have a VALID stance. Or – in the reverse direction – the Christian must defend (your words) that YOU are acting out of “sheer nefarious evil” (your words) *IF* he wants his arguments about possible (REAL) harm and his concerns about possible (REAL) harm to be VALID.

    Again – are you really so eager to *find* hate? Then don’t make it some sort of sickening logical necessity in an argument which you happen to disagree with or in someone else’s premises, concerns, and hopes. We know that you are *not* eager to find hate. We know you are *not* out for that sort of thing. And you and all of us know that the world stage right now has enough hate.

  77. scbrownlhrm

    “That was not the point on which you accused the Christian of HATE.”

    1) Meaning the obvious fact that the Atheist who thinks the Christian/Atheist is wrong in doing X and that X will yield the undesirable effect of X2 claims that such is the state of affairs *regardless* of whether or not the Christian/Atheist agrees or disagrees. Some people KNOW that X will rob their child of a parent and STILL do it. Some DON’T KNOW and still do X. It’s *irrelevant* to the Atheist’s discussion about X.

    2) Only a one dimensional and undersocialized recluse thinks the Atheist’s assessment of the Christian’s goals and motives just stops there, as if it all takes place in a vacuum. One must be even more pathological to think the true/false status of the Atheist’s claim about X *hinged* on the Christian’s belief – that his case against X *fails* unless the Christian has a particular view about X.

    3) Even more bizarre is the idea that should the Atheist publish a piece about X and someone Christian *or* Atheist who thinks X is just fine reads it, the Atheist is wasting his own time since that person can’t be moved on any plane – emotional, moral, intellectual – because THAT never happens. Or, that person certainly couldn’t find new information, and that person certainly couldn’t gain insight. So it is IMPOSSIBLE to impact ANYONE who doesn’t share the Atheist’s view on X. THEREFORE the Atheist’s thought that those Christians or Atheists (who favor X) out there will be MOVED for better *or* for worse is a baseless thought because arguments can ONLY impact people who AGREE with the argument.

    4) The best part: People who like to do X and believe X is good NEVER NEVER get *upset* when reading a critical piece against X.

    It’s just ridiculous to first assert #4 and then state that #4 is a kind of proof of #3.

    The sickest part:

    “You MUST think he does X just for the pure evil of it…..”
    “You MUST think he does X just for sheer nefarious evil…..”
    “IF you DON’T think THAT about “THEM” then shut the heck up about X because your whole discussion FAILS and you’re NOT going to impact ANYONE who likes X.”

  78. scbrownlhrm

    It seems some one-dimensional and undersocialized people think that the Christian must affirm you, and if he isn’t affirming you then he MUST be – since he’s a Christian – DAMNING you and must HATE all of it because clearly Christians cannot love sheer nefarious evil (you).

    A patient of ours had lung cancer in his 20’s and the diagnosis was that such was from 20-something years of second hand smoke from his mom’s smoking.

    She outlived her son.

    Her actions did it.

    Now, as a rational man who affirms science and as a Christian who affirms Scripture all my views here affirm the badness of, the wrongness, smoking.

    It harms one’s self and it harms OTHERS. It took the life of her own son. Loving others is a peculiar affair, far more weighty than pain – love’s arms out-distancing the lines of pain. In fact, when pain is done informing us, love’s incantations carry on. This mother knew this all to well. Love out distances pain.

    Science and Scripture affirm that such an X that damages children, others, and one’s self is WRONG. (Well, assuming a Theistic view since “Bad” and “Wrong” and “Ought Not” are ontologically vacuous definitions otherwise)

    The woman involved here either:

    1) Was a person of privilege and had a thourough understanding of the data

    2) Lived in an environment submerged in far, far worse than smoking and had no idea whatsoever about this issue – and in fact she even felt the fumes were calming/helpful for her son.

    3) Approved of smoking in general

    4) Disapproved of smoking in general.

    NONE of those 4 impact the following:

    As a Christian I affirm the value of each person and assert that her actions, and her beliefs, damage children.

    Now, DougJC would have me, and all of us, shut the heck up because, say, she clearly DIS-agrees with what I am preparing to say to her.

    Even worse, DougJC demands that we assert, and affirm, that this mother did what she did to her son for the sheer evil of it, for sheer nefarious evil, and that what I am preparing to say to her about smoking is intellectually vacuous if I FAIL to affirm that AND that we are all WASTING OUR BREATH in speaking with this mother SINCE she DIS-AGREES with what we are about to say – because we CANNOT impact her 45 year old life GIVEN her disagreement.

    So we have a few options:

    A) Affirm to her what DougJC tells us in his one dimensional and undersocialized approach: “Mam you clearly MURDERED your son and you clearly did it for the sheer evil of it, and you are clearly moving in and by your chosen sheer nefarious evil. I’m not going to tell you one damn thing about smoking either, because NOTHING I can do or say can POSSIBLY impact the horrific likes of you. And since you DISAGREE with the data on smoking then CLEARLY I can stop talking NOW. Goodbye mam.”

    Or,

    B) Do and say what rational, compassionate, and socially multidimensional Christians and Scientists and Physicians do all the time in the REAL world with REAL people with REAL lives. That is to say, be truthful with her, affirm her love for her child, and empower her with more perspectives.

    DougJC’s attempt to inject “DAMNING MURDEROUS MONSTER MOTHER” here as we seek to speak TRUTH to this mother is perhaps one of the most sickening and misguided attempts at painting Christians as HATEFUL and/or as DAMNING that I’ve ever seen.

    NOTHING in me as a scientist or as a Christian or as a physician finds in this mother ANYTHING which merits those definitions.

    DougJC is well meaning, only, he is a victim of a milieu which is forever painting Christians as the HATEFUL DAMNING DANGER sitting across the table in all attempts at dialogue.

    It seems others these days buy into that hateful stereotype.

  79. scbrownlhrm

    Given recent events in the northwest, maybe if people stopped promoting that sickening stereotype of Christians then there wouldn’t be so much fuel readily available for the fire. Young minds flock to the call.

    What a travesty.

    One wonders what to call it when someone sells books, earns money, by promoting such fuel for such fires.

    Someone said people SHOULD treat Christians with RIDICULE, and with….. and with…. because it’s a VIRUS that needs to be EXPUNGED, and because…. and….

    Expunge.

    Must. Expunge.

    That will be $15 please.

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