Thursday, October 09, 2008

Brazen uncaring heartlessness

I was hoping that I wouldn't see comments like these in the post containing the video showing the carnage of abortion. Perversely, they serve to make the point far more clearly than more reasonable and more humane comments would.

Chris from Oz said:
That's pretty gross.

Yep, that's abortion.

We could show the kids being torn apart by she-bears

1) This is the tu quoque fallacy. You don't bring up another wrong to relieve the horror or evil nature of a wrong.
2) Those weren't "kids"; it was a gang of teenaged youth, threatening a prophet of God by telling him to go on up like Elijah had. That is, to die.
3) There's not necessarily a connection between the curse of Elisha and the bears eating them in the text.
4) Why wouldn't you be totally cool with bears eating humans? Isn't that nat sel in action? Those kids were obviously from the shallow end of the gene pool - so what if they get eaten? Less competition from idiots for the rest of us.
5) We've seen over and over again your worldview's total inability to make any moral judgment that should be binding on anyone else. So what?


the genocide of whole tribes

See #4 and 5 from above.
And it shows your moral blindness to say this. Those tribes were engaged in gross immorality and horribly sinful living, yet you equate them with the murder of babies. What wrong have the babies committed? And it's the same to you? (One wonders whether you have or even like children.)


the stories of the families watching each other drown during the flood.

To exactly what stories of families "watching each other drown" do you refer? Quote them.
(Hint: No account like that exists in Genesis.)



The Jolly Nihilist said...
The images are gross, but, to my eye, no grosser really than this. Seeing bloody dead stuff is discomforting; no shocker there.

Yet another atheist equates humans with animals.
Of course, in the next breath he'll be cross with God about command the extermination of a tribe of people by another - natural selection in action. The inconsistency is amazing.


protesters should not be allowed to block people's entry into abortion clinics.

Should people be penalised by law, then, for wresting the gun from a guy who has aimed it at someone else's head? That would be the same thing.



Anonymous said...

Since I have experience dissecting bodies... All I can say is "Ooh, yummy!"

I'm glad you have something to say, b/c I have nothing to say to that.


I will make the decision whether it is wrong after I see the other evil.

One can only wonder what in the world you're talking about.

41 comments:

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Yet another atheist equates humans with animals.

This statement is bizarre, insofar as humans are animals. Not all animals are humans, but all humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) are animals. The relevant distinction, and the one with which you should be concerned, is between human animals and non-human animals.


Should people be penalised by law, then, for wresting the gun from a guy who has aimed it at someone else's head? That would be the same thing.

OK, here's an argument by analogy. Suppose that, right there in Oklahoma, a group of 100 atheists came to the conclusion that bringing children into church constitutes child abuse. So, they all decided to picket and protest at your church of choice. Suppose also that, when families tried to enter the church, these protesters tried to prevent the parents from bringing any children inside; they were a physical impediment, and tried to separate you and your wife from your child--because, in their mind, they were thwarting child abuse.

That's OK, too?

Rhology said...

Why "should" I be concerned about the diff between human and non-human animals?


And no, that's not OK, b/c taking kids to church is manifestly not child abuse. Abortion manifestly IS the murder of a baby. It's further evidence of your hard-heartedness to make such an analogy.

Lucian said...

Your detractors compare abortion (with which they whole-heartedly agree) with genocide, animal attacks, and natural disasters (with which they whole-heartedly disagree). :-)

Anonymous said...

How does one disagree with a natural disaster?

Anonymous said...

p.s. "Brazen uncaring heartlesness" - hilarious.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Why "should" I be concerned about the diff between human and non-human animals?

Because, when one engages in argumentation, it is in one's interest to avoid bizarre statements, such as, "Yet another atheist equates [pigs, dogs, cats, humans, etc.] with animals."

And no, that's not OK, b/c taking kids to church is manifestly not child abuse. Abortion manifestly IS the murder of a baby.

In the eyes of some individuals, taking children to church manifestly is child abuse. I disagree with those individuals, but they argue their case vigorously, and seem to believe it fully. And, I do not see abortion as manifestly the murder of a baby. Rather, I see it as life-termination of a partially developed Homo sapiens sapiens fetus.

Rhology said...

JN, you were the one who did the equating, not me.
But give me a good reason to think that human animals are qualitatively different from the non-human variety.


taking children to church manifestly is child abuse.

There would seem to be more room for interpretation in the definition of 'abuse' than 'murder', honestly.
The stopping points that people propose for differentiating "non-human fetus" from "human baby" are completely arbitrary most of the time. Beginning at conception makes the most sense.

What is the point at which a baby is a baby and not a non-human fetus?

The Jolly Nihilist said...

JN, you were the one who did the equating, not me.

I think you've misapprehended my point. Your original statement, which I classified as bizarre, was, "Yet another atheist equates humans with animals." I call this bizarre because humans are a species of animal. Just like dogs are a species of animal. Just like cats are. Just like cows are. In essence, you were saying, "Yet another atheist equates [insert a species of animal] with animals."


But give me a good reason to think that human animals are qualitatively different from the non-human variety.

Of course, humans are the dominant animal species at this instant in history, and we are highly evolved and quite amazingly endowed. However, in term of intrinsic worth, we are no different from our non-human animal brethren. Humans are subjectively more valuable to me because I am human, just like lions are subjectively more valuable to lions because they are lions. But, yes, we're just another species of animal.


The stopping points that people propose for differentiating "non-human fetus" from "human baby" are completely arbitrary most of the time. Beginning at conception makes the most sense.
What is the point at which a baby is a baby and not a non-human fetus?


I never denied the basic humanity of the fetus. Of course, from conception, the fetus is human. However, I would call that irrelevant, because I see no evidential support for the concept of "human rights," other than those we invent for ourselves. The issue at hand is when arbitrary legal rights are bestowed. I think legal rights ought to come upon live, complete birth. Until live, complete birth occurs, I see the human fetus as, essentially, a part of the mother's body, to do with as she wishes.

By the way, your "murder" characterization seems baseless. Even your philosophical brethren, such as Huckabee and Palin, say that women who seek/procure abortions should not be jailed. However, if abortion is truly murder, in any sense resembling the legal one, then women who seek/procure abortions should be charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder or being accomplice to murder. That Huckabee and Palin don't want to charge them as such undercuts your own "murder" characterization.

Chris (from Oz) said...

Rhology,
I agree two wrongs don't make a right. What my comments demonstrated though (with your generous help in your last comment), is your standards. You care more for fetuses than you care for living people that your god supposedly wanted dead for imaginary crimes.

You make rationalisations for why it's ok to kill people, with blind faith that what your god says is alright.

And of course, I wasn't talking about any particular personal stories in the bible of the millions of people drowning during the flood. The bible is fairly silent on their individual fates. I was suggesting it would be interesting to correct that silence, and actually show the stories of all the millions of people drowning, and the horror that would have unfolded.

Anonymous said...

One can only wonder what in the world you're talking about.

You obviously did not watch the video.

Rhology said...

In essence, you were saying, "Yet another atheist equates [insert a species of animal] with animals."

Obviously I don't believe that humans are merely animals.
Fine, though - it was bizarre. That doesn't change the inconsistency of your positions with regard to how you advocate that non-human animals be treated vs how you advocate human animals be treated. Why the difference?


However, in term of intrinsic worth, we are no different from our non-human animal brethren.

So why criticise TGOTB for ordering a large slaughter of animals?


Humans are subjectively more valuable to me because I am human

Which doesn't mean there's any reason to place more value on humans. It's just that YOU do, but that doesn't pertain to anyone else.


Of course, from conception, the fetus is human.

And yet it's OK to kill a human without provocation?


I see no evidential support for the concept of "human rights," other than those we invent for ourselves.

Indeed. Yet, again, you just can't keep out of your own way. You're on record criticising TGOTB for Canaanite 'genocide'. You can't have it both ways.


I think legal rights ought to come upon live, complete birth. Until live, complete birth occurs, I see the human fetus as, essentially, a part of the mother's body, to do with as she wishes.

1) That is disgusting, and the obvious outcome of a godless worldview like you have. You bestow human rights, and you take them away. In what qualitative way is this different from the 3rd Reich's ideas about Jews?
2) Why do you choose live birth as your arbitrary moment of rights-bestowal? What is the qualitative difference between birthed baby and that same baby 10 minutes before?


Even your philosophical brethren, such as Huckabee and Palin, say that women who seek/procure abortions should not be jailed.

1) As if they are my standard for clear thinking. Far from it. I didn't even like Huck all that much.
2) It's simple. The baby is a human. He has committed no crime and made no aggressive move towards anyone in authority. Killing him is therefore without reason. Killing someone without reason is called "murder".
3) That doesn't necessarily mean I favor, say, the death penalty for a mother who has an abortion. I don't know if I'd favor jail time for one, but I probably would, yes, in the interests of serving notice that the law is serious and you're not supposed to murder people, even if they are an inconvenience to you and even if they are really small.
4) OTOH, I *do* favor the death penalty of aborticians.
(Note well - I said "death penalty", not extra-legal vigilante killing. That would not be justified, b/c Joe Citizen doesn't have the authority to dispense that penalty.)




Chris from Oz said:
You care more for fetuses than you care for living people that your god supposedly wanted dead for imaginary crimes.

1) Quote me putting more importance on an unborn person than on a born person. You can't.
Rather, I care equally for unborn people as for born people. You know, b/c they're both PEOPLE. It's not that hard to figure out.
2) Give me a good reason why God doesn't have authority to end life as He sees fit.
3) Those crimes merited the death penalty. What crimes have unborn babies committed?
OTOH, let 19 yrs go by, and one of these babies will no doubt commit a murder. I'll be in favor of the death penalty for that developed baby then, too.
4) The JN above said that human rights are bestowable by humans (apparently, he gets to make the judgment call). Is he wrong?
If he's right, why can't *I* just remove the rights from those that were ordered killed by TGOTB? Why wouldn't that be OK?


I was suggesting it would be interesting to correct that silence, and actually show the stories of all the millions of people drowning, and the horror that would have unfolded.

1) IOW, to rely wholly on induction and to speculate that these people probably experienced the horror of watching their families drown.
You have to assume a whole host of things to say that, very few of which you will be able to justify. I'm not impressed.
2) Give me a good reason to think, on your worldview, that the death of a human animal is a bad thing. Obviously, these humans hadn't evolved yet to a place where they were able to adapt to the change of environment wrought by the flood. Why should I care about their inability to do so?


Anonymous said...
You obviously did not watch the video.

I don't know if you're a native English speaker, but honestly the line "I will make the decision whether it is wrong after I see the other evil" sounds very strange to this native English speaker.
And no, I didn't watch the vid. I said that. But I did watch the guy speak until the pictures began rolling, and I listened to the last 2 minutes and didn't hear any "other evil" mentioned. What did you mean? And why is it justifiable to reserve judgment on the evil of abortion until you've witnessed a different kind of evil? Why not just be against all evil?

Seth said...

Why not just be against all evil?

Well, the abortion advocates here have demonstrated the answer clearly. By 'valiantly' volunteering to be the hypocracy police, throwing around smoke screens, and pointing enough fingers, they never actually have to deal with the real questions:

1) when does a fetus become a person?
2) under which circumstances is it evil to kill a person?

I think I could at least respect the opinion (whether or not I agree) of a person who would honestly answer those questions.

Rhology said...

I think we've seen the liberals' answers to those questions clearly too.

1) When we say so.
2) When we say so.

Dr Funkenstein said...

I think we've seen the liberals' answers to those questions clearly too.

Out of interest, how would you answer that question? The most common answer I've seen amongst conservatives seems to be 'at the point of fertilisation'

But this seems equally arbitrary/subjective too, as

a. not all fertilised eggs end up being born
b. Some 'morning after' contraceptive methods (eg Plan B) act after sexual intercourse has taken place but before fertilisation happens, which could have resulted in a baby being born otherwise - why not push the boundary back and say 'the point where sexual intercourse occurs and sets in motion events leading to a baby being born'?

But then of course, someone could easily say 'well what about condoms or oral contraception? Aren't they preventing life too - how do you decide that the point sex occurs is the boundary line?'


I think everyone has the problem that the boundaries are subjective, conservatives and liberals alike.

Rhology said...

Correct, at the point of conception.
that's when the human is begun, the DNA is formed, the person is different from his mother.

a. not all fertilised eggs end up being born

Humanity is based on ontology, on being. Not on doing, or ability, performance.
"Being born" is the latter, which we reject for many reasons.

why not push the boundary back and say 'the point where sexual intercourse occurs and sets in motion events leading to a baby being born'?

I'm pretty sure that

incidents of unprotected sexual intercourse / incidents of pregnancy < fertilised eggs that end up being born / fertilised eggs

And there's no human formed at time of intercourse.
Of course, the morning-after pill is meant to kill the fertilised egg by denying it implantation in the placental wall. Birth-control pills have the same as a tertiary effect, if its primary effect of suppression of ovulation and 2ndary effect of increased viscosity of vaginal mucus fail to prevent fertilisation. That's why the pill is pretty much a no-no as well.

well what about condoms or oral contraception?

The pill - see above.
Barrier methods and the like PREVENT fertilisation. That's far from the same thing as killing a fertilised egg (aka a baby).

I think everyone has the problem that the boundaries are subjective, conservatives and liberals alike.

Let's say for the sake of argument you're right. Is it more justifiable to say "we don't know what it is - let's kill it" or "we don't know what it is - let's protect it"?

Paul C said...

1) when does a fetus become a person?

Define "person". Personally I think a fetus acquires "rights" when it becomes a viable entity physically and/or mentally independent of any other entity. But that's a complicated question which doesn't easily boil down to a one-sentence answer - which is why I distrust a "pro-life" position that claims that it boils down to exactly that.

2) under which circumstances is it evil to kill a person?

Define "evil". I don't subscribe to the idea myself, so my answer would be that it's never "evil" to kill a person. If you rephrase I might be able to answer it.

Paul C said...

Correct, at the point of conception.
that's when the human is begun, the DNA is formed, the person is different from his mother.


I always find this argument interesting. So is possessing DNA the characteristic of a person? Is "difference" (from the mother or anybody else) the characteristic? What exactly is it that makes a cell a person?

Rhology said...

Personally I think a fetus acquires "rights" when it becomes a viable entity physically and/or mentally independent of any other entity.

More ability/performance/doing, not being.

If I can do more than you, am older, am bigger, am stronger, and you are a serious inconvenience to me, is it morally permissible for me to kill you?
If not, in what way would that be different from abortion?

So is possessing DNA the characteristic of a person?

It's one, yes.

Is "difference" (from the mother or anybody else) the characteristic?

It certainly means that the baby is not a body part/organ of the mother. So what is the baby then, if not an organ?
When was the last time someone cried about excising their appendix? Suffered emotional trauma? The last time their appendix looked an awful lot like a small version of a human?

And again, let's say we can't answer this. Do we default to killing, or protecting?

Dr Funkenstein said...

I'll use an analogy to better illustrate what I'm getting at Rho:

Let's say the speed limit is 50mph. Now 50mph is obviously more dangerous than driving at 10mph and less so than 100mph, both for drivers and pedestrians.

But there's no obvious distinction in safety between 49.5mph and 50mph, or 50.5mph and 50mph (or the values in between each of those figures being compared). Likewise, there's no greater safety in going 49mph than there is 49.5mph or 48.5mph vs 49mph, and so on and so forth.

Similarly, with defining the moment when a sperm/egg turns into a person, since reproduction is a spectrum of events rather than a selection of well-defined and distinct snapshots, just like it's hard to point to one particular speed limit and say 'that's safe, while anything faster is not', it's quite hard to (objectively) point to one particular part of the reproductive process and say 'right there - that's where life has started'.

"we don't know what it is - let's protect it"?

But then this just opens up more problems - say in the instance where continuing with a pregnancy is putting the mother's life in danger, then not intervening puts two lives rather than one at risk. If simply saving/protecting lives is the main point, then there are times where abortion would clearly be the sensible option.

Paul C said...

More ability/performance/doing, not being.

No, it's clearly being - it's being physically and/or mentally independent. I don't think you're making a meaningful distinction when you talk about being/doing.

If I can do more than you, am older, am bigger, am stronger, and you are a serious inconvenience to me, is it morally permissible for me to kill you?
If not, in what way would that be different from abortion?


Because an abortion is not justified on the basis that the mother is older, bigger or stronger. It's justified on the basis that the fetus is a different category of entity to the mother, one that possesses less rights.

It certainly means that the baby is not a body part/organ of the mother. So what is the baby then, if not an organ?
When was the last time someone cried about excising their appendix? Suffered emotional trauma? The last time their appendix looked an awful lot like a small version of a human?


People used to be deathly afraid (ho ho) about surgery, and in many places they still are. It's a wholly "unnatural" act from the perspective of many people - it just takes some getting used to. So I don't think that's a useful comparison, particularly if (like me) you don't believe that the fetus is an "organ" per se.

By the way, you could happily stop calling a fetus a baby - they're too distinct things. This semantic confusion may be the source of your philosophical confusion.

And again, let's say we can't answer this. Do we default to killing, or protecting?

But we both think we can answer this, so your argument fails.

Paul C said...

funkenstein - while I agree with you on the whole "life is a continuum" thrust, I am unconvinced by the speed limit metaphor. For one thing, there are clear markers in the development of life; for another, until recently we were unable to identify many of these markers, yet still managed to muddle through. Probably some other objections too - primarily I just found it a bit glib.

Chris (from Oz) said...

Quote me putting more importance on an unborn person than on a born person. You can't.
Rather, I care equally for unborn people as for born people. You know, b/c they're both PEOPLE. It's not that hard to figure out.


You think it's OK to kill some, but not others. That's not caring equally.

Give me a good reason why God doesn't have authority to end life as He sees fit.

The main reason is that he doesn't exist. The genocides commited in his name were therefore just barbarism operating under the false claim of a divine mandate.

And if he does exist, might does not make right. You don't have to go along with what the guy with the gun says. Even if he is your Dad.

Those crimes merited the death penalty.

Says your book.

What crimes have unborn babies committed?

I don't know. How about original sin ? God likes making up sins nobody can escape from. But let's say you're right, and babies haven't sinned. Do they go to heaven or hell when killed ? If it's heaven, then killing them is the kindest thing a person can do. Better die young and go to heaven than live your life and probably go to hell.

IOW, to rely wholly on induction and to speculate that these people probably experienced the horror of watching their families drown.
You have to assume a whole host of things to say that, very few of which you will be able to justify. I'm not impressed


I'm sorry, are you seriously denying that in a flood which kills more than 99% of people on the planet, that there wouldn't be many examples of this ? Now you're just being disagreeable for no apparent reason.

Give me a good reason to think, on your worldview, that the death of a human animal is a bad thing.

I would, but despite considerable explanations of my position previously, you have shown a very high ability to misrepresent my "worldview", and I see no reason why you'd suddenly get it now.

Obviously, these humans hadn't evolved yet to a place where they were able to adapt to the change of environment wrought by the flood. Why should I care about their inability to do so?

You should care, so that you appear to be consistent in your supposed desire to be a nice person. And, so that you can realise that your god does not have the qualities which you find commendable in real life. That realisation might snap you out of your dreamworld.

Seth said...

Define "person"...
Define "evil"...

Paul C, this is exactly the point. There's a whole lot of rigidity from a perspective that purposefully remains unequipped to handle the most fundamental questions on any practical level. Though trivial, at least it is consistent (commendations to you) to affirm that there is no such thing as a 'person' and 'evil' doesn't exist. I wonder why most pro-abortion people won't accept that.

Paul C said...

There's a whole lot of rigidity from a perspective that purposefully remains unequipped to handle the most fundamental questions on any practical level.

This doesn't seem to reflect the way things actually are, Seth. Can you identify for me where in these discussions any of the pro-abortion advocates have demonstrated excessive rigidity in their positions?

Seth said...

Examples of rigidity in being fundamentally unequipped? Sure. Refer to my two questions, then:

1) Paul C argues that "the fetus is a different category of entity to the mother." When does the human fetus fall into the same category as the mother? Why?

2) Chris (from oz) argues against "barbarism" as a "false claim of a divine mandate." Quite a loaded sentence in the necessary absence of evil.

Rigid? Yes, quite rigid to shun the fundamental questions by stating their irrelevence, and then a bit nonsensical to return to the essence of the question to make a point.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Obviously I don't believe that humans are merely animals.
Fine, though - it was bizarre. That doesn't change the inconsistency of your positions with regard to how you advocate that non-human animals be treated vs how you advocate human animals be treated. Why the difference?


I am inclined to award humans particular protections, and a certain standard of treatment, because I, myself, am human. Thus, I feel considerable empathy for my fellow humans—more empathy, certainly, than I feel for non-human animals. But, yes, this is subjective…pure speciocentrism.


So why criticise TGOTB for ordering a large slaughter of animals?

Because, looking at the world through my eyes—that is, from a subjective standpoint—genocide against humans is horrific and sickening, whereas mass slaughter of cows or chickens is simply the way of the world. In my judgment, the god character of the Old Testament is an evil one, given his incitements to human butchery. However, again, as with all moral statements, I can merely articulate my opinion.


Which doesn't mean there's any reason to place more value on humans. It's just that YOU do, but that doesn't pertain to anyone else.

Correct. There is no evidence-founded reason to think that, objectively speaking, human animals have a higher intrinsic worth than non-human animals. There is only one evolutionary Tree of Life, and our species is simply a branch of a branch of a branch. In the most literal sense, non-human animals are our brethren…not foreign things from which to distinguish ourselves.


And yet it's OK to kill a human without provocation?

In the case of abortion, yes. As previously articulated, I see the human fetus as, essentially, a part of the mother’s body, to do with as she wishes. I have no moral objections to abortion.


Indeed. Yet, again, you just can't keep out of your own way. You're on record criticising TGOTB for Canaanite 'genocide'. You can't have it both ways.

I have never waffled on this issue; you simply are working from a deeply strange premise. You seem to believe that, unless one’s opinion can be classified as fact, it is not worth having opinions. I fundamentally disagree. I have thousands of opinions—none of which purports to be fact—and I state them anyway. Simply articulating an opinion does not equate to making a truth-claim. I find the Yahweh character despicable for urging on genocide, but, as stated, such is merely my opinion. (Just like, to me, the best film of 2007 was Lust, Caution.) It is not a fact. It is opinion.


1) That is disgusting, and the obvious outcome of a godless worldview like you have. You bestow human rights, and you take them away. In what qualitative way is this different from the 3rd Reich's ideas about Jews?

In no way is my particular view of abortion rights the obvious outcome of a godless worldview, because many atheists have much more restrictive ideas about reproductive freedom than I have. On this issue, I recognize myself to be an extremist. The broader atheist community ought not to be lumped in with me, because I stand on the far end of the opinion spectrum.

I would be happy to find evidential support for a notion like universal human rights. However, I have found no such support. Rights of any kind are merely social conventions that can be overthrown at the whim of the society that sets them.


2) Why do you choose live birth as your arbitrary moment of rights-bestowal? What is the qualitative difference between birthed baby and that same baby 10 minutes before?

The moment of rights-bestowal is to some extent arbitrary—arbitrary in much the same way, in fact, as the rights being afforded, which, at heart, are utterly confected. However, in some respects, my chosen moment has been recognized as important. For example, would an unborn fetus be counted in a national census? Not to my knowledge, no.


3) That doesn't necessarily mean I favor, say, the death penalty for a mother who has an abortion. I don't know if I'd favor jail time for one, but I probably would, yes, in the interests of serving notice that the law is serious and you're not supposed to murder people, even if they are an inconvenience to you and even if they are really small.

I still sense considerable inconsistency on your part, at least with respect to deeming abortion an act of murder. Consider the following analogy. Jane Roe approaches her doctor with a proposition: If you go into the Main Street Bank, walk up to the first teller you spot and shoot that teller in the face with a rifle, I will give you $500. The doctor agrees, grabs his rifle and does so. Clearly, that would be an act of murder, for which you would probably like to see the doctor executed by the state. But, in that case, would not Jane Roe also be fully culpable for the killing, and deserving of being charged with murder? If you view abortion as an act of murder—fundamentally no different than the bank teller example—then clearly you must support a very long prison term—if not outright state-sponsored execution—for women who procure abortion services.

Huckabee and Palin might be floundering in intellectual incoherence, but, from you, I have come to expect consistency.

Paul C said...

Paul C argues that "the fetus is a different category of entity to the mother." When does the human fetus fall into the same category as the mother? Why?

As I stated quite clearly, it's "a complicated question which doesn't easily boil down to a one-sentence answer". That doesn't sound particularly rigid to me - that sounds like somebody who's willing to acknowledge there's a lot of fuzziness around the answer, and is quite careful to point out that this particular answer is a shorthand response.

What puzzles me is why anti-abortion advocates such as yourself seem to struggle with basic concepts. A fetus is (and I quote from Wikipedia, unfortunately, but you can look it up in other resources) "a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate, after the embryonic stage and before birth." It's human, but it's in a different category to both an embryo and a baby. What about this do you not understand?

There isn't a single cut-off point for the change in category. It's going to be different for each embryo > fetus > baby development, and it may well be interpreted slightly differently by different people. My argument is against rigidity; my problem is that the law is a blunt object applied to a subtle problem.

2) Chris (from oz) argues against "barbarism" as a "false claim of a divine mandate." Quite a loaded sentence in the necessary absence of evil.

Since Chris didn't mention "evil", I fail to see how the question is loaded or Chris' position rigid. Perhaps you could explain, because I'm simply not seeing it. It's not "rigid" to call something barbarism, or to claim that something is a false claim. It seems more like an accusation designed to obscure the debate rather than advance it, to be honest.

Yes, quite rigid to shun the fundamental questions by stating their irrelevence, and then a bit nonsensical to return to the essence of the question to make a point.

I'll speak for myself only. I'm not shunning the fundamental questions, I'm simply pointing out that the way you have framed them makes certain assumptions about the world that I do not share. You have a choice, really; you can either re-frame the questions, in which case I can answer them as you request, or you can question how useful your moral discourse is if it automatically precludes a significant number of other people from taking part.

Rhology said...

Chris (from Oz) said...
You think it's OK to kill some, but not others.

But I don't think it's OK to murder some and not others. Let's make the argument as clear as it can be.
It's not OK to murder ANYONE.


The main reason is that he doesn't exist.

Then you concede the point.


The genocides commited in his name were therefore just barbarism operating under the false claim of a divine mandate.

Which, as we've seen over and over again, you have no way to condemn in any manner beyond "I don't like it". Spare us, please.


might does not make right.

On your worldview, there is no right at all, so you're correct.


I said: What crimes have unborn babies committed?

I don't know. How about original sin ?


You know, you don't have to be like this. You're acting intentionally dense. I can only assume it's a cheap debating trick, b/c I don't think you're an idiot. But it's one or the other.
"Crime" =/= "sin".
The answer, obviously, is that unborn babies have committed NO crimes worthy of the death penalty.


are you seriously denying that in a flood which kills more than 99% of people on the planet, that there wouldn't be many examples of this ?

I see no reason to speculate. These people were reportedly very, very wicked. No telling how they acted.
Do you really want to base your argument on such a huge assumption that no one could ever prove one way or the other?


I would, but despite considerable explanations of my position previously

On the contrary, your explanations have led me to that very conclusion I restate here.
Anyone can read back thru our convos.


You should care, so that you appear to be consistent in your supposed desire to be a nice person

Where does the Bible command me to "be a nice person"?
It doesn't.
And if the Bible is a load of garbage, if evolution is true, there is no reason to care. You are having trouble following when someone is arguing within your own worldview for the sake of argument.




The JN said:
But, yes, this is subjective…pure speciocentrism.

Concession acknowledged.


Because, looking at the world through my eyes—that is, from a subjective standpoint—genocide against humans is horrific and sickening, whereas mass slaughter of cows or chickens is simply the way of the world

Well and good, but looking at the world through my eyes—that is, from a subjective standpoint—genocide against humans is fantastic and praiseworthy, whereas mass slaughter of you and your family is simply the way of the world. Looks like we're at an impasse. You'd better hope that might makes right, no?


There is no evidence-founded reason to think that, objectively speaking, human animals have a higher intrinsic worth than non-human animals.

Indeed, not on your worldview.


I see the human fetus as, essentially, a part of the mother’s body, to do with as she wishes.

Presumably, then, you find abortion no more sad than someone's eating a carrot is sad, or an tonsillectomy is sad.

And how sad for you. Sometimes you can only shake your head.


You seem to believe that, unless one’s opinion can be classified as fact, it is not worth having opinions

Close. Unless one’s MORAL opinion can be classified as fact, ie, as something other than 100% subjective and individual, it is not worth EXPRESSING THEM to anyone else.


Simply articulating an opinion does not equate to making a truth-claim.

Then you don't believe it's true, then, that abortion is fine.
You don't believe it's true that the Canaanite massacres were reprehensible.
I don't know whom you're trying to convince here.


Clearly, that would be an act of murder, for which you would probably like to see the doctor executed by the state.

Correct.


would not Jane Roe also be fully culpable for the killing, and deserving of being charged with murder?

Yes, or whatever it is they charge those people who order hits.


then clearly you must support a very long prison term—if not outright state-sponsored execution—for women who procure abortion services.

But many women have been misled and don't understand that their unborn baby is a person. I don't want to tear society apart and jail a bunch of women just for the heck of it. I want abortion to be stopped. Executing aborticians is a far better way to do that than the in many cases desperate women. It's rarely like you describe it; else YOU would be out of step with your pro-death compadres in analogising a woman who gets an abortion with someone who orders a hit.


from you, I have come to expect consistency.

Well, I appreciate that. In general I see, in turn, far more consistency with your stated views than I think any other atheist I've ever encountered.
And yes, one could only wish public evangelicals like Palin and Huck would work just a TAD harder at being consistent...



Paul C said:
There isn't a single cut-off point for the change in category. It's going to be different for each embryo > fetus > baby development, and it may well be interpreted slightly differently by different people.

So it's arbitrary.
Let's say I have the power to decide the law here. Why can't I say that YOU have not met my cut-off point and thus you can be killed if you are inconvenient to me? (Which you are, BTW, you take up time on my blog. ;-) ) This is not a rhetorical question.


I quote from Wikipedia, unfortunately, but you can look it up in other resources)

It is my understanding that major medical textbooks consider the fetus human life from conception. I prefer them to Wikipedia.

Dr Funkenstein said...

The answer, obviously, is that unborn babies have committed NO crimes worthy of the death penalty.

SO out of interest, what crimes had the children/babies of the Canaanites, Hitiites etc committed that necessitated the death penalty being handed down from on high?

Rhology said...

Sin.
God is justified in putting any human to death at any time.
Humans, only under circumstances, such as capital crimes.


In specific, since you asked about Canaan:

Gen 15:13 {God} said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.
Gen 15:14 "But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.
Gen 15:15 "As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.
Gen 15:16 "Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete."

...


Lev 18:1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 18:2 "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'I am the LORD your God.
Lev 18:3 'You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes.
Lev 18:4 'You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, to live in accord with them; I am the LORD your God.

...

Lev 18:27 (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled);
Lev 18:28 so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you.
Lev 18:29 'For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do {so} shall be cut off from among their people.
Lev 18:30 'Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the LORD your God.' "

Rhology said...

I meant:

Humans, only under *certain* circumstances, such as capital crimes.

Seth said...

Paul C said:
...you can either re-frame the questions...or you can question how useful your moral discourse is

Noted. How unfortunate, but since the moral conflicts make up 99.99% of my dissent on abortion, you are correct, it wouldn't be useful (esp. a good use of my time) to belabor the other 0.01%.

Paul C said...

So it's arbitrary.

Well, it would be arbitrary in the sense of based on individual will, but not arbitrary in the sense of being unreasonable. You - of course - are conflating the two senses in which the word can be used.

Let's say I have the power to decide the law here. Why can't I say that YOU have not met my cut-off point and thus you can be killed if you are inconvenient to me? (Which you are, BTW, you take up time on my blog. ;-) ) This is not a rhetorical question.

As a supporter of capital punishment you in fact do say that. The irony appears to be lost on you - that you are perfectly happy with an arbitrary decision when it fits with your personal beliefs, but violently object with an arbitrary decision when it doesn't agree with you.

I didn't mention anything about ending human life because it's "inconvenient", of course - this is yet another feeble rhetorical ploy. We are talking about the principle of abortion, not the specifics of any given case.

It is my understanding that major medical textbooks consider the fetus human life from conception. I prefer them to Wikipedia.

Try reading what I actually wrote: the fetus is "human, but it's in a different category to both an embryo and a baby." What I object to is your calling a fetus a baby in an attempt to bolster your argument. "Major medical textbooks" will refer to it as a fetus and not a baby, of course - but I suppose you only cite them when they agree with you.

Paul C said...

Seth: I don't understand what you're trying to say. I'm not saying there's no such thing as a "person", only that definitions may differ. I don't understand what people mean when they use the word "evil", but I might be able to if you defined it. Neither of these obstacles are insurmountable, if you are prepared to help me out.

Rhology said...

As a supporter of capital punishment you in fact do say that.

Wrong. It is not that capital criminals are inconvenient, it is that they have committed a capital crime.
The fulcrum is not arbitrary - commit a capital crime, death penalty. Don't commit one, no death penalty. Not that hard.
Nothing like the "fetus=baby when I say so" argument you're employing.


I didn't mention anything about ending human life because it's "inconvenient", of course - this is yet another feeble rhetorical ploy.

That is why the vast majority of abortions are performed - b/c having a baby would mess up the mother's/parents' life/lives. You are defending it, so defend it already.
Answer the question. Why can't I say that YOU have not met my cut-off point and thus you can be killed if you are inconvenient to me? You, like a baby, have not committed a capital crime (that I know of), so what's the difference? And why is it not arbitrary, and thus based on what the most people who are in power happen to think at that point in history?
If it is arbitrary, you don't have a good reason to hold to ANY cut-off point, do you?


What I object to is your calling a fetus a baby in an attempt to bolster your argument. "

I haven't seen a decent argument for not calling the fetus a baby from the moment of conception. Perhaps you could provide one.


"Major medical textbooks" will refer to it as a fetus and not a baby, of course - but I suppose you only cite them when they agree with you.

If there are some that agree with me, that serves to bolster my case, for those who are not so seared of conscience. That might be expecting too much of you.
If you are driving down the highway at night and you see some unusual movement ahead of you, do you not slow down? Why? You don't want to damage your car; you also don't want to run over a kid. Since you think some major medical authorities are in your favor and I know others are in mine, why not err on the side of life? Or are you in favor of shooting first and asking questions later? Does that mean you are in favor of the invasion of Iraq?

Seth said...

Paul C said:
...definitions differ...

Waiting for concensus? That sort of agreement is unlikely to happen. In any case, would you really subject yourself to a moral code even if it was based purely on scientic discovery? I'd wager that its more likely you'd still only consent to the aspects that didn't ruffle your feathers.

...don't understand what people mean (by "evil")...

As for me, I opt for biblical definitions, but I'm not asking for a back-seat driver critique of how the bible defines things. As you say the bible is loaded with presuppositions anyways (I agree) - so what's the point?

Rhology said...

There can be no moral judgment based on scientific discovery. Science is designed to say what IS and what probably will be and what probably was. Not what definitely was, not what definitely will be, and certainly not what ought to be.

And of course, a naturalistic worldview like Paul C's is loaded with presuppositions too, so...

Dr Funkenstein said...

I may be missing something here, so if I am obviously point it out, but in the space of two responses, you've said this:

"Crime" =/= "sin".

and in response to my question [regarding what crimes the children etc had committed]:

Sin.

Since presumably babies that are incapable of feeding themselves or walking hadn't committed any capital crimes, it's hard to see what behaviours they might have engaged in that required their extermination (other than original sin, which you have suggested here isn't a crime in and of itself, yet in the past have also suggested that all of us are capital criminals because of sin eg in this thread here here ), where you state:

"God could conceivably commit murder if there were an extant being who had never committed a sin, but He never has done that since all humans have committed capital crimes."

Furthermore, if everyone is a capital criminal, then how can anyone be a murderer when they kill someone when you then go on to say its acceptable that

"Humans, only under *certain* circumstances, such as capital crimes." [referring to when it is legitimate for one human to kill another].

therefore, if humans are justified in killing for capital crimes, logically it follows that if everyone is a capital criminal then you should have no objection to anyone killing anyone else.

God is justified in putting any human to death at any time.

I have to ask why God uses such obviously human means to achieve his goals - why not just snap his fingers and click them out of existence, as opposed to requiring some sort of bloody slaughter? Additionally,you have expressed distaste at abortion for reasons not restricted to its perceived moral wrongness - but on the other hand, you seem more concerned in defending the biblical acts of God as matters pertaining only to dis/obedience, the gruesomeness of slaughter seems to be no concern whatsoever when you agree with it. So is it merely following commands that is the important thing here?


If I've correctly interpreted your previous statements, since we're all (biblically speaking) guilty of sin regardless of whether we follow God's laws or not, how does/did God choose between one group of sinners and another - after all presumably the Israelite children were as guilty therefore as the Hitiite children? Or is it simply a subjective decision on his part? Many of the OT prophets discuss God's displeasure at his followers too, but ultimately he promises to protect them as the chosen people. It seems very relativistic rather than objective.


There can be no moral judgment based on scientific discovery. Science is designed to say what IS and what probably will be and what probably was. Not what definitely was, not what definitely will be, and certainly not what ought to be.

I agree with you, but this thread here again seems to contradict the opinion you are putting forward.

Rhology said...

babies that are incapable of feeding themselves or walking hadn't committed any capital crimes

Not such that a human being would be justified in executing them, no.
But for God to do so is a completely different matter. He has authority to do that; we don't.

then how can anyone be a murderer when they kill someone when you then go on to say its acceptable that

B/c humans only have permission to kill other humans under certain conditions. Wartime, self-defense, and punishment for a capital crime are 3 examples.


if everyone is a capital criminal then you should have no objection to anyone killing anyone else.

Your problem lies in equivocation between the executing authorities. Yes, I am a capital criminal before God, but not before any human authority. God can justifiably put me to death whenever He wants, but no human would be justified to do so.


I have to ask why God uses such obviously human means to achieve his goals

He wanted to.


why not just snap his fingers and click them out of existence, as opposed to requiring some sort of bloody slaughter?

B/c it pleases Him to involve His people in the means of carrying out His plan on earth.


defending the biblical acts of God as matters pertaining only to dis/obedience, the gruesomeness of slaughter seems to be no concern whatsoever when you agree with it. So is it merely following commands that is the important thing here?

No, it's doing what is right that is the important thing here.
You who have never defended any moral basis other than "I like it or don't like it/a group of people who are kinda like me in general like it or don't like it" are hardly in a position to criticise. Show me a wider basis for moral judgments in your worldview and we can talk.


how does/did God choose between one group of sinners and another - after all presumably the Israelite children were as guilty therefore as the Hitiite children?

Side note - the Hittites weren't part of the Canaanite conflicts. But anyway...
Some of the OT prophets declare that the Israelites actually were worse sinners than the Canaanites, even worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. But God states in Deuteronomy that He chose them simply b/c it pleased Him to do so.
I admit it sounds a little strange to me too, but that doesn't mean He didn't have any other reasons. I know some reasons why it ISN'T that He chose them (they were purer, holier, greater, more numerous, etc) and I can guess at a few why He did (by choosing an insignificant people like them to bring the Messiah into the world, He causes more glory since it was all Him and not the greatness of the people).


Or is it simply a subjective decision on his part?

Yes.


It seems very relativistic rather than objective.


Well, you should probably be careful about your terminology here. Relative to what?
I grant that it's subjective to God. But since He's God, it's quite different from saying that it's subjective to Joe.


but this thread here again seems to contradict the opinion you are putting forward.

Hmmm, to what statement(s) do you refer?

Dr Funkenstein said...

Evening Rho

I'll (hopefully if I get a bit more spare time soon) reply to the bulk part of your comment on the separate thread you set up, but just to clarify on your last question-about halfwayish down on the comments thread it opens up a discussion about the role the ToE played in the holocaust, and how it enables or leads to 'master race' and similar policies generally. Just your point on this thread seemed to be saying the complete opposite.

Just had a brief look at your latest post too - some people take their internet debates a little bit personally it seems!

Rhology said...

You know, I'm just not seeing the connection; I'm very sorry. If you'll elucidate a little further, I promise to try my best to understand.
{embarrassed}


And yeah, that guy could really use a vacation. I feel sorry for him. It's not like I tracked him down at his physical address, knocked on his door and threw a Bible in his face when he opened it.