Gay Marriage, Abortion, and Open Mindedness

Abortion and gay marriageSenator Rob Portman (R-OH) now supports same-sex marriage, a reversal he recently made public. What caused the turnaround was his son coming out as gay two years ago.

Portman’s record against homosexual issues was pretty consistent. He voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, he supported the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and he voted to prohibit gay couples in Washington, DC from adopting.

He said about his change of heart:

What happened to me is really personal. I mean, I hadn’t thought a lot about this issue. Again, my focus has been on other issues over my public policy career.

Dick Cheney had been a closet supporter of gay marriage for years because of his lesbian daughter but in 2009 he also came out on the issue.

Why the delay? Republicans are hesitant to do the right thing on gay marriage because it’s politically inconvenient? Since when do you put what’s best for the party in front of what’s best? Still, they have company. I’m sure that was behind the Catholic Church pedophilia cover up—doing what’s right for individuals took a back seat to what was best for the Church. But that’s a side issue. It’s a step forward, and let’s celebrate politicians who take a potentially unpopular stand.

Imagining it vs. living it.

Here’s my question. I see that having a relative makes the issue one you can’t just push away, but why does it take that? Isn’t one of humanity’s super powers the ability to imagine themselves in new situations? Why couldn’t Portman or Cheney speculate, “Gee, what if this issue hit me directly? What if my own child was homosexual? Would I still not budge on ‘traditional marriage’?”

The tide has turned, and many conservative legislators who are now against same-sex marriage will change their minds in the next decade, but why must it take so long? Why can’t they mentally put themselves in Portman’s position and change their minds next week? (And when they finally do change, will they think back on Portman’s example and wonder why it took them so long?)

I guess it’s harder than it looks. Speculating about something must be a poor substitute for it actually happening, and Portman and Cheney would probably still hold their old positions if not for the push from their children.

How does this apply to abortion?

Let’s broaden this observation. One of my recent posts on abortion received nearly 1000 comments, and I argued there with several pro-life advocates. I’m guessing they were older men (related post: Why is it always men advancing the pro-life position?). Their positions were pretty simple: a fetus is a human life, and it’s just wrong to kill a human. That’s it—no nuance, no exceptions, no consideration for the harm of not having an abortion. And why should there be? It’s murder—end of story.

It seems to me that these antagonists are like the pre-enlightenment Portman or Cheney. They’re smart, and they can marshal arguments to support their position. And their position isn’t insane—abortion does kill a fetus.

It’s the tunnel vision that’s the problem. Let’s broaden the view, Senator Portman, and imagine that your own son were gay. Let’s broaden the view, Mr. Pro-Life, and imagine that your own 15-year-old daughter had an unwanted pregnancy. All the plans that you and your wife have for your daughter—graduating from high school, then college, and then a satisfying career and a family—are in jeopardy. How much school will she miss? What teams or clubs must she withdraw from? What commitments will she have to cancel for decorum or out of embarrassment?

It will be an enormous bump in the road if she places the child for adoption. But girls in that situation almost never do—just two percent of premarital births in the U.S. are placed for adoption. Now we’re talking about, not a bump in the road, but a fork to a completely different life, a life with her as a 16-year-old single mom living at home trying to make a life from the constrained options available.

Problem one is that Mr. Pro-Life can’t put himself in this situation, or at least can’t do it successfully. Imagining it is a poor substitute for actually hearing his daughter sobbing in her room and finding out what the problem is.

Problem two is where the lesson from Sen. Portman fails. Portman understands that he can’t make his son un-gay, but Mr. Pro-Life can encourage his daughter to become un-pregnant. He could cite extenuating circumstances in his situation, take care of the problem, and then return to his pro-life dogmatism.

We see this situation in the stories of women picketers of abortion clinics who, being human, have their own unwanted pregnancies. Or their daughters do. They’ll slip in the back door, have the abortion, and then be back on the picket lines days later. When asked about the hypocrisy, they say that other women are sluts. They, by contrast, had a good excuse.

For this reason, pro-lifers may never be able to understand the difficulty facing the nearly one million American women who choose abortion each year. And perhaps we will never have a reasoned conversation on this divisive issue.

I was always looking outside myself
for strength and confidence,
but it comes from within.
It is there all the time.
— Anna Freud

Photo credit: Cafepress

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Helix Luco

    Say your favorite brand of popsicles suddenly starts to sell a brand new flavor that you don’t like alongside your old favorite. the existence of the new flavor doesn’t negate the existence of your favorite, neither does the fact that other people are happy with it, it has no effect on you whatsoever because you can just continue buying the same popsicles you always did. providing people in general with more options doesn’t force anyone in particular to choose a particular option, understand? broadening marriage can’t have any effect on your life at all.

  • asmondius

    ‘the Catholic Church pedophilia cover up’
    Since the great majority of victims were adolescent males who were molested by adult males, I am curious as to why you chose wallpaper it over as ‘pedophilia’.

    • 90Lew90

      Don’t. Fucking. Dare to start on this, talking about wallpaper. Just don’t even begin to try to explain this away with excuses. Do you think adolescents being molested is more “right”? By any standard, adolescents are still children. Children — pre-adolescent ones — in their tens of thousands were abused by your clergy. The verdict has been returned. I’ve had the grim job of having to go through a massive amount of the official reports from investigations carried out in Ireland. Just don’t fucking start on this one.

      • asmondius

        An elephant is not a giraffe – that is a fact.

        • 90Lew90

          Child molesting is child molesting. That too is a fact.

        • asmondius

          It remains that it is not ‘pedophilia’.

        • 90Lew90

          See above. Some “Christian Brother” climbs in your bed when you’re ten or eleven and fucks you till you’re 14? That’s not paedophilia?! Fuck off. Cunt.

        • asmondius

          No, it’s not.

        • 90Lew90

          You fucking what?! So now you want to redefine the term? Just what do you think paedophilia IS?!

        • asmondius

          The clinical definition is attraction to prepubescent children (that means prior to puberty).
          The term ‘adolescent’ in terms of human development refers to one who is past puberty. Males can experience puberty from 10-13 years old.
          Adult males raping adolescent boys are involved in pederastic predation, not ‘pedophilia’. That’s a homosexual activity, if you haven’t guessed.

        • 90Lew90

          Ah right. So it’s a gay thing. And you want to draw strict lines about what is and isn’t paedophilia for the purposes of defending your church. You were saying about semantics?

          I’m afraid that argument has been made and torn to shreds. Seething as I am now, I’ll refrain from expletives to rip it up again. The church has blamed, variously, gay people, the 1960s, the 1970s, the “sexual revolution”, the media, the devil and the victims themselves for what was perpetrated. You are stooping to utter outrageousness with this line. The reason why young boys were overwhelmingly the victims of catholic male clergy is because catholic male clergy were in charge of boys’ schools and institutions. It was a question of access. It was fully exploited by a bunch of desperate, usually young males who had taken a vow of celibacy. This has been established. Repeatedly.

          Nuns, who have their own litany of shame to deal with, including the venerated Mother Teresa, inflicted hideous abuse on young girls, but this was usually psychological abuse and sadistic violence rather than sexually motivated. This has been established. Repeatedly.
          The moral of the story is that your church can not be trusted around children. What it teaches is bullshit for a start. And left to their own devices, its clergy can’t be trusted to keep their hands to themselves.

          And frankly, as a homosexual, I find your attempt to make out that what your clergy did is in any way typical behaviour for homosexuals deeply insulting. And that’s putting it mildly. The honourable thing for you to do, intellectually and morally, would be to take it on the chin and recognise as some “brave” catholics do that your church with its backward rules created a perfect storm in which child abuse could run rife. It created a culture of fear and deference in which that storm could continue for generations.

          This is not just conjecture. This is the view held by everyone who has had the grim task of looking at what happened closely. To defend the church in this, no matter how dear it may be to you, is to defend the indefensible. No two ways. It should be beneath any decent person. The best way for you to go as an associate of that abomination is contrition.

        • asmondius

          Men on boys is a homosexual activity – I don’t know why we should be ashamed to state the fact.
          The point to remember is that the great majority of priests, regardless of their traits, were not involved.

        • 90Lew90

          Adults on children is paedophilia. The shame is on you.

        • asmondius

          Pedophilia is a psychiatric term, ‘adult’ and ‘child’ are either biological or legal terms.

        • 90Lew90

          Oh fuck off. Just fucking drop this. Don’t have the neck to try to say someone is playing at semantics again because I’m keeping these gems from you and you should be hanging your head. I really can’t believe that you want to keep up this prima facie, case-closed, fucking sickening attempt at a defence. It really just bears out alarmingly the little truism about how to get a good person to do a bad thing by giving him religion. That’s assuming you’re a good person. Maybe you’ve got some proclivity towards little boys yourself and you’re trying to argue you’re not really a paedo. Is that it? I think most people would beg to differ.

          Now. Once again. THE GENEVA CASE??? What was that about? I’m not letting you off the hook on it. I’m about to start quoting your claim and linking to where you made it. What gives?

        • Pofarmer

          Hell yes the vast majority was involved-in covering it up if nothing else. Every diocese in the U.S. bit a handful, 10 comes to mind, over 4000 priests involved. Bishops and higher covering it up and STILL covering it up.

        • 90Lew90

          Can you believe this guy? It’s pretty gutting when catholics start trying to defend the church on this one. Dignified silence and even a bit of contrition would be appropriate, but no. Can you imagine them defending any other organisation in these circumstances?

        • Pofarmer

          I try to imagine if it was, say, General Motors, with say, a worldwide education program, and the level of abuse, neglect, and sexual missconduct was uncovered, not just in one church, one school, one region, but world wide, what the outcome and outcry would be. I can’t imagine it being similar. I don’t think any other organization would be alllowed to still exist. At the very least it’s leadership would be on trial.

        • 90Lew90

          Exactly, and part of the reason the previous pope didn’t have to answer criminal charges was because of the Vatican’s ludicrous status as a statelet, so he travelled as a head of state, on “pastoral” visits, which confers a high level of immunity in international law. The gift of statehood from Mussolini also means the Vatican has “diplomats” who also enjoy a high level of immunity and engage in all sorts of political lobbying and campaigning and blocking at international level such as the UN and EU. I suspect very strongly that old Benny was advised that with every foreign trip he made the risk that he would be arrested increased, which is true. It would also render him something of a lame-duck pope. That’s the only plausible explanation for the almost unprecedented “retirement” of such an arch-conservative, traditionalist pope. As head of the Inquisition — sorry, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — he demanded to have these cases brought to his desk personally. He was Cover-up Meister General.

        • Pofarmer

          Speaking of diplomats. Do you think anything will be done with the vicar to tbe Dominican Republic that was accused of serial sexual abuse? Yeah, me neither. Why hasn’t Francis forced him to go face the music?

        • MNb

          Of course not. If that didn’t happen in The Netherlands, what do you expect from the Dominican Republic?

        • MNb

          I’m sorry for you, but Simonis and Gijsen (Dutch clergy), who did not enjoy such protection, were never brought to court. Only thing I can say in Dutch favour is that literally all the shit is exposed:

          http://www.onderzoekrk.nl/eerste-onderzoek/eindrapport.html

          Chairman Deetman is a protestant.
          But nobody is prosecuted.
          According to Deetman at least 10 000 children have been abused:

          http://www.onderzoekrk.nl/eerste-onderzoek/eindrapport.html

          Yeah, only a few baddies among a lot of goodies. No reason for Asmondus to make a fuzz. Plus screw the victims (again).

        • MNb

          Yes, I can believe this guy. The examples I gave just above show that this is common attitude. In fact when the scandal started this was my default attitude; I wanted to give the RCC a fair chance. Of course they totally spoiled it.
          No, I cannot imagine him defending an atheist organisation in these circumstances.

        • MNb

          Same in The Netherlands.

          2010: Kardinal Simonis hasst es nicht gewusst (yup, that’s a godwin – Simonis himself use these words).

          http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/church-sex-abuse-holocaust-denial-echoed

          2011: Cardinal still had not known anything, this time while under oath:

          http://nos.nl/video/214061-simonis-en-ernst-onder-ede-gehoord-over-seksueel-misbruik.html

          Later in 2011: Cardinal Simonis had to admit that he totally had known

          http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2011/12/16/deetman-kerk-wist-van-misbruik/

          and had protected pedopriests, as late as 1991:

          http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2011/02/10/35599/

          2012: Cardinal Simonis will not be prosecuted for perjury:

          http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2012/04/11/kardinaal-simonis-niet-vervolgd-voor-meineed/

          Overview:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrianus_Johannes_Simonis

          The ice on this poisoned cake:

          http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/04/12/uk-catholic-abuse-netherlands-bishop-idUKBREA3B0BS20140412

          Fyi: The Netherlands have seven bishops and one cardinal. That’s a score of 25%.
          Asmondus may figure out himself what’s worse – a culture of deliberately looking away by not wanting to know or a culture of child abuse.

        • asmondius

          4000 over the 50-year time period in question works out to about 5-6% of all US priests. Not exactly a ‘vast majority’.

        • wtfwjtd

          You don’t read so good, do you? “Hell yes the vast majority was involved-in covering it up if nothing else.”
          In other words, priests, cardinals,and other church officials, right up to the top, nodded their approval of the abuse that they knew was happening, by trying to hide it, or actually impeding investigations concerning it.

        • asmondius

          Have you turned over your solid evidence of this claim to the authorities?

        • Pofarmer

          That’s true, it works out to 5-6% of all U.S. priests, which is far higher than the rate of the overall population incarcerated for such crimes. It also involved EVERY U.S. bishop during that time, who would have been notified of the accusations. It includes the other priests who knew and said nothing. It includes the offices staff who knew and didn’t turn anyone in. How many were involved? One hell of a lot more than 5-6%.

        • MNb

          And you’re dishonest – that is a fact too.
          But if catholic pedophilia is not bad enough for you, try to google catholic baby kidnapping. Here is one for you:

          http://www.vaticancrimes.us/2011/10/300000-kidnapped-by-catholic-church-in.html
          There are reports from several other countries as well.

        • 90Lew90

          Sold in adoption to pro-Franco families in order to swell support for the fascist regime, because the catholic church has a soft spot for fascists. Sickening. There are no words.

        • hector_jones

          Well you gotta expect that kind of thing from a religion founded by uneducated fishermen.

        • asmondius

          Ask Joe Biden.

        • asmondius

          Facilitated by the fascist regime and carried out by individuals, some of whom were Catholic. Yes, your hyperbole does make the stomach groan.

        • 90Lew90

          This is recorded, unassailable *fact*. What were you saying about wallpapering? Stomachs groaning? You’re beginning to make me sick. What does it take to attempt to sugar-coat this shit? A fucking psycho? No, just some religious guy.

          You trot out the most ludicrous claptrap about angels and demons and whatever other bollocks, and then you turn around and try to make excuses for child rape and abuse at an institutional, pandemic level? What the fuck *are* you?

          You were urging introspection the other day to someone. Take a fucking look at yourself. You really are lower than a snake’s fucking balls. Intellectually dishonest? Moral cowardice? Check, check, check. You’ve got it all.

        • asmondius

          Where are you, Bob?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          On vacation. Back in 10 days.

        • MNb

          Have fun!

        • MNb

          Atheism wasn’t very popular under Franco, so it’s a safe bet they all were catholics. Some of them were nuns – ie representatives of the RCC. Also see the link I already gave above:

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8660249/Australias-Roman-Catholic-Church-apologises-for-forced-adoptions.html

          Yes, your attempt to downplay makes the stomach groan. So much for the 9th Commandment.

        • asmondius

          Yes, some Catholics do bad things.

          Many more do good,
          Perhaps we should also condemn the practice of republican democracy because some Americans owned slaves.

        • MNb

          Still downplaying, I see. Hundreds of thousands of victims imply a lot more than “some catholics”.
          The USA weren’t a democracy before 1863, exactly because the slaves had no non-violent means available to get rid of the authorities (Karl Popper). Once again you show your lack of rationality.

        • asmondius

          ‘The USA weren’t a democracy before 1863’.
          Well, it was never a democracy. It’s a democratic republic.

        • MNb

          My point still stands and your “perhaps we should also …..” comment is still debunked.

        • asmondius

          The ‘kidnapping’ you are probably referring to was not a practice of the Catholic Church. Al Capone was baptized Catholic, yet this does not mean that the Church ran bootlegging in Chicago.

        • MNb

          Yup, you’re dishonest. If you had googled catholic baby kidnapping indeed you would have found that it was a practice of the RCC indeed. You probably haven’t even read the link. Here is another one for you:

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8660249/Australias-Roman-Catholic-Church-apologises-for-forced-adoptions.html

        • Pofarmer

          There are also similar stories out of Argentina and Vietnam. And weren’t these Catholic Hospitals?

        • MNb

          In The Netherlands the stories about Argentina are well known because of Queen Maxima – her father was member of the junta. I’m not entirely sure, but given the collaboration of the RCC with the military regime it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
          Vietnam is new to me. I couldn’t find anything substantial by means of googling.

        • Pofarmer

          The Vietnam story i just found snippets of in blog postings, it seems like there were some obscure news clippings. I’m not entirely sure how reliable it is, but it would certainly fit the pattern.

        • asmondius

          ‘I’m not entirely sure how reliable it is, but it would certainly fit the pattern.’
          Anything fits the pattern here, what a riot.

        • MNb

          Nah, I’ll go with braindead. Nobody claimed that the Dutch RCC kidnapped children, for the simple reason that there is no snippet of evidence for it. That’s why Pofarmer wrote
          “I’m not entirely sure how reliable it is”.
          Fact is that in a few totally different countries (heck, not even on the same continents) RCC clergy did the same: kidnap a huge amount of babies from unwed mothers via hospitals run by that same RCC. That’s a pattern indeed.
          You not willing to recognize this is a perfect example how christianity destroys empathy. Though of course it’s still an open question what is cause and what is effect – or perhaps both are effect of a third factor.
          In any case you totally refute the claim that christianity is about love for fellow-people. Be assured you are far from the first christian who does so.
          While I usually don’t use Lew’s language be assured he totally reflects my feelings toward you as well.

        • Pofarmer

          Mnb had included links to news coverage, of both the Spanish baby scandal andnthe Argentinian one, but you may not wee them because of disqus being funky.

        • asmondius

          I’m sure Viet Nam became solidly Catholic after the fall of Saigon.

        • MNb

          I’m not sure whether you’re braindead or lame at sarcasm. In both cases your reaction is just irrelevant.

        • asmondius

          Such as……..?

        • asmondius

          Your article refers to forced adoptions in Australia. If you had taken your own advice and done some actual research you would have found that this was a policy of the Australian federal government (emphasis is mine):

          ‘Australian prime minister Julia Gillard delivered a historic national apology in parliament on Thursday to the thousands of unwed mothers WHO WERE FORCED BY GOVERNMENT POLICIES to give up their babies for adoption over several decades.

          ….A national apology was recommended a year ago by a Senate committee that investigated the impacts of the now-discredited policies.

          Unwed mothers were pressured, deceived and threatened into giving up their babies from the second world war until the early 1970s so they could be adopted by married couples, which was perceived to be in the children’s best interests, the Senate committee report found.

          The seven-member committee began investigating the federal government’s role in forced adoption in 2010 after the Western Australian state parliament apologised to mothers and children for the practices in that state from the 1940s until the 1980s.’
          – Associated Press, 03-20-13
          Because some of the forced adoptions occurred at Catholic hospitals, the Church apologized for the participation of Catholic personnel in the aforementioned policies.

          You are debunked.

        • 90Lew90
        • asmondius

          You should have done your work up front. I caught you flat-footed with that nonsense about Australia, I suggest you quit while you are ahead.

        • 90Lew90

          You caught me flat-footed with nothing. Keep up with who you’re talking to. There was only one reference to the Australian cases among the above referenced, and if you’d read that story, you would have seen that the policy of the Australian government was adopted out of assumed piety. The catholic hospitals were not obeying government policy, the government was obeying church policy, a policy which, it should be clear from the above, was imposed and recommended by the church worldwide. Children born out of wedlock in secular-run hospitals had a chance of staying with their natural mothers. Children born in the catholic-run ones didn’t stand a chance. And we’ve not even got into the children deported to Australia by via catholic organisations from Ireland and the UK not so very long ago.

        • 90Lew90

          Have a read at some excerpts I’ve dug out from one of the first of the four major Irish reports.

          7.124Witnesses repeatedly stated that co-residents who had no family contact were the most common victims of sexual abuse. They referred to these co-residents as orphans and ‘conventers’ and many witnesses remarked that they considered themselves lucky not to be selected for sexual abuse.

          There were 2 different types of boys, the outsiders who had parents and the orphans. The orphans were always on the lookout for danger, learning to survive. They had no one to look out for them. It was a constant struggle to survive, you would make no eye contact, you would keep your eyes down in order to avoid punishment. You were thinking “there’s no way out”. You blamed yourself.

          Anytime he got the opportunity he got access, he …(Br X)… used to masturbate himself over me and make me do the same to him. It stared when I was 10 and a half or 11 and it went on ’til I was 14. He used to swamp me with gifts, sweets, money. He said it was our secret. He stopped me going to my godparents, he was afraid I would tell. It was mainly the orphans who were abused bad, they had no one to turn to. I had no one. I was 2 years there before I ever went out. There was no one to tell.

           

          7.125There were 88 witness reports of sexual abuse and associated physical violence, 15 of these reports related to one School. Many of the reports heard were of witnesses being beaten while their abusers masturbated, or of the witnesses being beaten on their bare buttocks while they were held against the abusers’ genitals. Witnesses described physical abuse perpetrated in the context of sexual abuse as serving to both enforce compliance with the sexual assault and as a means of securing the silence of the witness concerned. Witnesses who reported being sexually abused, including being anally raped, named Brothers about whom the Committee heard a number of reports of sexual abuse:

          He was a very bad man, a very dirty man, he used to keep me back after school and do things to me, not very nice things. He used to lock the doors and put books up against the window, tell me to take off my clothes. He touched me, made me touch him, then beat me so that I wouldn’t tell anyone. He made me clean up after him. He hurt me very badly, forced himself on me. Then, when you’d go to school next day you’d wonder who is it going to be today? … Other boys were kept back too.

          Br …X… came and pulled me from my bed into his bedroom, he turned his wireless up to full volume and said “take that nightshirt off, you can scream now as much as you like, you little bastard”. He masturbated himself with his left hand while he was hitting me with his strap…. He just brought the strap down on me and kicked me with his boots on, that is all he was wearing…. He threatened that if I told anyone the same would happen again.

          One particular morning he …(Br X)… put me up against the wall because I was left handed, he put me hands up against the wall like that …indicated arms stretched above head… he started flogging me with the leather strap. This particular session I lost all control and soiled myself, he took me by the ear straight out, around to the showers. He wanted me to strip off and get into the shower, the water was freezing. … It’s very hard for me to tell this … but I want to tell it anyway … I was crouched down in the corner, he grabbed me by the hair into the cubicle, dragged me up off the floor, on the lats you know, lats for the seats and he buggered me again, and told me to shut up, I was screaming, I was in sheer pain you know. He had done it before in my bed and he made me bleed, he tore the skin you know. It could be once a week and then he mightn’t come near you for a month. It lasted for all the years I was there.

           

          7.129In relation to one School, four witnesses gave detailed accounts of sexual abuse, including rape in all instances, by two or more Brothers and on one occasion along with an older resident. A witness from the second School, from which there were several reports, described being raped by three Brothers: ‘I was brought to the infirmary…they held me over the bed, they were animals….They penetrated me, I was bleeding’. Another witness reported he was abused twice weekly on particular days by two Brothers in the toilets off the dormitory:

          One Brother kept watch while the other abused me …(sexually)… then they changed over. Every time it ended with a severe beating. When I told the priest in Confession, he called me a liar. I never spoke about it again.

          I would have to go into his …(Br X’s)… room every time he wanted. You’d get a hiding if you didn’t, and he’d make me do it …(masturbate)… to him. One night I didn’t …(masturbate him)… and there was another Brother there who held me down and they hit me with a hurley and they burst my fingers …displayed scar….

          http://www.childabusecommission.com/rpt/03-07.php

          That’s a fraction a couple of sections of a report that runs to 2,600 pages and that report is one of four which it took state apparatus and state money to investigate. More than 1,000,000,000 Euros in costs and compensation, which the Catholic Church said it would pay but as yet hasn’t. And that’s just in Ireland. A tiny country.

          I don’t know how you can manage to associate yourself with such a monstrous, perverted, disgusting institution.

        • asmondius

          Hmmm – seems to be homosexual predation.

        • 90Lew90

          Sadistic, predatory paedophilia. And your church is rife with it.

        • asmondius

          Pedophiles do not target teenage boys.

        • 90Lew90

          They target children. A 14-year-old is a child. Your argument is threadbare. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… Fuck you.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I know! Let’s not let homosexual predators adopt! Problem solved.

          Suggestion: focus on actual issues instead of inventing stuff.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Incredible information. Thanks.

        • asmondius

          Gives one pause concerning child adoption by self proclaimed homosexual male couples.

        • wtfwjtd

          No, it doesn’t. It gives one pause to entrust their children to the Catholic church or its priests and/or employees..

        • Pofarmer

          Many of which are closeted or self hating gays, according to the churches own numbers.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yes, valid point. The problem is much greater than I made it out to be.

      • asmondius

        Well, I certainly hope you have turned all of your concrete evidence over to the appropriate authorities.

  • asmondius

    ‘For this reason, pro-lifers may never be able to understand the difficulty facing the nearly one million American women who choose abortion each year.’
    Well for the one million children – and approximately one half of them are female – death is a difficulty they will never overcome.

    • MNb

      They weren’t children yet at their time of dying.

      • asmondius

        They were adults?

        • MNb

          Only a braindead can ask such a question and not be capable of finding the answer himself: neither.

        • asmondius

          If they were human and alive, but not yet adults, they must have been children.

          Right?

        • MNb

          Wrong. Braindead Asmondius will remain braindead.
          Here a child according to Mr. Braindead:

          http://www.stemedical.de/en/dictionary/zygote/

          Of course, as I pointed out before, but Mr. Braindead being braindead not being capable to remember, that logic also applies to the piece of skin he cut off. This piece was human and alive, not adult, hence must has been a child. So says Mr. Braindead – if he were rational, which he of course isn’t.
          Note that that little piece of cut of skin contains many more cells than the picture above. But we cannot expect from Mr. Braindead to address such a simple fact.

        • asmondius

          My dear friend, I regret you feel it is necessary to base your arguments around name calling. That does not speak well for the intellectual validity of your beliefs. There is no need to feel threatened or intimidated.

          Yes, that is a child – it is merely a snapshot at one moment in time. A short period of time later the person in that photo will have the same general body characteristics that you do. Right?

          I will repeat yet again an obvious fact for your benefit. A skin cell has the same DNA as every other cell in your body. The blastocyst has unique DNA, different from both the mother and father. See the diff?

          A piece of skin cut from your body will not develop into a brand new human being. If left alone, the blastocyst will, every time. See the diff?

          To utilize your line of thinking, ‘Note that’ an elephant contains many more cells than you do. I suppose that means that you are worth less than an elephant.

          Have a peanut.

        • MNb

          Don’t worry about the validity of my intellectual beliefs – rather worry about the validity of your own, Mr Braindead. Don’t worry about my feelings for you either – threat and intimidation don’t belong to them. Disgust varied with amazement (about your stupidities) and laughter do. I am perfectly capable of handling them.

          “If left alone, the blastocyst will, every time. See the diff?”
          Uh no. If left alone, ie without the body of the mother, on which it parasitizes, it will die in very little time. Moreover all kinds of things can go wrong, like abortus spontaneous. For some reason you don’t blame your imagined creator for this.

          “merely a snapshot at one moment in time. A short period of time later”
          Thanks for confirming the spectrum argument – because these two are typical features of a spectrum (in time).

          “The blastocyst has unique DNA”
          Reliably wrong. No – 50% of the father, 50% of the mother. And I suppose you have heard of sheep Dolly and bull Herman – perfect clones. Theoretically possible too with humans. I’m pretty sure even you are not braindead enough to apply your silly DNA-argument to hypothetical cloned babies.

          Let me give your some information to your benefit. Twins have exactly the same DNA. According to you it’s wrong to kill children because their DNA is unique (it isn’t, because it immediately can be traced back to the parents, but let me grant you this for the moment only). Birth doesn’t matter for your argument, according to you. That implies that according to you it’s morally right to kill half of a twin until they are 18.
          But of course you won’t argue that. You won’t even approve of abortion of half of a twin a split second after the zygotes split. So your DNA argument (which DNA, remember Mr. Braindead, for a twin is exactly the same) is not the reason you oppose abortion. You are only too stupid (because for lying people need to use their brains, which you by definition don’t do) to admit it.

          “I suppose that means”
          Why suppose if you can be sure? You can be sure that every time you write something like this a non-sequitur follows.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      One million children? I don’t think so. We’re using different definitions.

      • asmondius

        Then define for me what is a being who is human and alive.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Has H. sapiens DNA and is alive.

          But why change the subject? We’re talking about the definition of “children.” Sounds like you think that a child can be a single cell.

  • Bo Diddly

    When you pit a young woman’s parent’s plans for her against a human life, you breeze over it like it’s no big thing. Therein is the fundamental difference between the pro-life and pro abortion position. To the abortionist, the born trump the unborn, the faces beat the as yet faceless humans. Heaven forbid, a court should decide for you that a fetus is a real human, and not an “unviable tissue mass”. Again, anyone with allegiance to our God clearly understands from His Word, that it is indeed murder, as He has told us He has knowledge of us in the womb. (Jeremiah 1:5) Or for instance, a suspect can be held responsible for a murder if a baby is outside the womb, but kill it before it’s head is fully exposed, and it’s abortion. Show a graphic video of an abortion, and watch people object equally on both sides of the issue. Although the pro abortion folk may be angry the had to witness such an atrocity, but I think you get the picture.
    The same applies homosexuality, I cannot speak for Mr. Portman, or Dick Cheney, but I can say that the Bible, is clear in many places that homosexuality is a sin and those that practice it will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven. If my child were to announce they were a homosexual, it would have no bearing on my love for them, I would feel no different toward them than if they had openly said they were an atheist. This is not just a Republican-Democrat issue, this is a morality issue. There’s no hatred, no “getting even”, no malice at all in either the anti-abortion, or the anti-homosexual stance Christians hold, it’s about believing in God and His commands to us or not. And yes there are hypocrites that call themselves Christians, as I am sure there are the same in the ranks of the atheists camp as well. (I think they’re called agnostics)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

      In fact, a single cell isn’t (inherently) that big a thing. If the pregnant woman wants to say it is, great. But there’s very little inherent value in a single cell.

      As for the court, I doubt that overturning Roe would give the drop in abortions that you pray for. Reducing unwanted pregnancies is the way to go.

      You’re saying that the Bible unambiguously says that killing a single cell is murder? Show me that.

      Show a graphic video of an abortion, and watch people object equally on both sides of the issue

      How about a graphic video of a woman taking a morning after pill. Is that just as horrible? If not, what does that tell you?

      About the Bible and homosexuality: I disagree with the claim that the Bible has anything to say about same-sex marriage (more here).

      it’s about believing in God and His commands to us or not. And yes there are hypocrites that call themselves Christians,

      And what are his commands for us? There are 42,000 denominations within Christianity. That’s a lot of disagreement over what God commanded for us. One man’s hypocrite is another man’s clear-thinking Christian.

    • Pofarmer

      The homosexual kids thrown out of their own homes tells a different story. I think abortion should be early and safe. Do you oppose plan B? Do you support comprehensive contraception planning and useL

      • hector_jones

        Of course he does not. He supports what everyone of his ilk supports – Women aren’t allowed to have sex until marriage. If they do have sex before marriage and get pregnant (no birth control allowed), then they must bear the child as their punishment. Pregnancy is a public mark of shame that allows the rest of us to point and shout ‘Slut!’. If it weren’t for unwanted pregnancies how else would we know which women to slut-shame?

  • KatieL

    Wow, do you actually know any Mr. Pro-Life’s who did that with his daughter? What about the women pro-lifers who “slipped in the back door”? Do you know any of them? Or are you just making this stuff up??? Find some real arguments, puh-leese, these are woeful.

    • Dys

      You can’t be this sheltered. Get out in the real world, read some news. There’s plenty of so-called pro-lifers who made special exceptions for their own circumstances.

      http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/anti-tales.shtml
      http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-tales.html

      • MNb

        Wow, this hypocrisy appeals to my sick sense of humour.

      • KatieL

        Both those links point to the same stories.
        I apologise to Bob for my ‘making this stuff up’ comment. I personally do not know any pro-life people who would take their daughter in for an abortion. I do know quite a few highly religious, pro-life people who have supported their daughters through their unplanned pregnancies and love their “illegitimate” grandchildren.

        • Dys

          My opinion on the matter is that if the so-called pro-life movement were truly serious about significantly lowering the number of abortions in the country, they’d stop trying to pass laws outlawing the procedure (and personhood amendments) and start pushing for comprehensive sex education and affordable and accessible contraception. They also need to understand that consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.

        • KatieL

          Have a look at what a former abortion clinic owner says about sex ed and contraception: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/we-created-demand-for-abortion-by-pushing-sex-ed-on-kids-former-abortion-pr

        • Dys

          Yes…she’s yet another fundamentalist insisting that contraception availability leads to a decline in morality and that it creates demand for more abortions. And I’m willing to bet she’s a firm believer in the failed idea of abstinence only sex education as well.

          I don’t find slut-shaming and parroting the views of one’s religion as particularly compelling, especially coming from someone who admitted to being corrupt and greedy (and having a serious credibility problem).

        • KatieL

          She was actually talking about a time when she firmly believed exactly as you do – and she made money out of it. She had a vested interest in sex ed and contraceptives so that she could make a living. I don’t know about her views on abstinence sex ed, so I can’t comment on that. Neither should you. Don’t you believe that people can change and repent from bad things they have done? Don’t you believe in forgiveness when they do?

        • Dys

          “She was actually talking about a time when she firmly believed exactly as you do”

          Absolutely not. I read what she said about her time there, and even if true, her views do not reflect mine at all. According to her own testimony, she gave defective birth control and lied to her patients to encourage repeat visits.

          “She had a vested interest in sex ed and contraceptives so that she could make a living.”

          Yes, she’s a self-confessed fraud that lied to her patients. To extrapolate that to encompass all clinics is extremely dishonest (but that didn’t stop her from doing it). And since she didn’t have any participation in formal sex education, she shouldn’t be commenting on it either. She’s just conspiracy mongering.

          The fact stands that Carol Everett has made false statements about Planned Parenthood, lied about the motives of abortion providers, and has a serious credibility and integrity problem. There’s also an issue as to whether her ‘conversion’ is due more to religion or being terminated from the clinics she managed.

        • 90Lew90

          A fraud and a hypocrite. And you’re gullible.

        • KatieL

          Wow, what a reply!!! You are obviously very biased.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Exactly. Indeed, if abortion were illegal in every state, there would still be abortions–just illegal ones. Pro-lifers could make much better progress on the number of abortions with the route you suggest. That they don’t take that route says that ideological (religious and political) pressures are what take precedent, not reality.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If any abortion is a problem for you, that’s fine. It’s your imposition of your opinions on the rest of the country where we run into problems.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker
      • KatieL

        Sorry, Bob, that link seems to take me to the post about Paul not knowing Jesus.

        • Dys
        • KatieL

          I’m a bit disappointed by the link. It takes me to another blog by another ex-Christian. Not exactly what I’d call unbiased.

        • Dys

          Not to belabor a point, but you previously brought up Carol Everett through a link from a “pro-life” website.

        • KatieL

          I also linked to the Center for Disease Control for abortion stats. I have linked to another non-pro-life site just today on pregnancy. I put that link in because it was directly related to what you said, DyslexicDNA. The blog site linked was simply one woman putting forward her point of view, not any real stats on what we had been discussing.

  • kenodad

    Your argument is that there could be nuanced reasons to kill a fetus. To kill a human. Does this apply only to humans on the inside of the womb or on both sides? If so, why? It might be hard for the caretaker? Does that give license to kill the elderly grandma because she is a burden on a young newlywed? Like the newborn might burden the poor mom?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      My focus is on the dramatic difference between the two ends of the spectrum–a single cell on one end and a trillion-cell newborn 9 months later. That’s a big change, and I argue that somewhere in that period, the fetus becomes a person and is no longer killable. Society must draw a line somewhere.

      If you’re asking me where that line is, I have no opinion on the subject. Legislatures have drawn that line hundreds of times–it’s not that hard.

      • kenodad

        “a single cell” You left something out here. It is more accurate to say “a single cell”ed person. You don’t have to have an “opinion” on this, just acknowledge it; it is accurate scientifically and common-sensically. A “fetus” is a developing “person.” Every person is on a “line” of development. There is a “big change” from a newborn and a 20 year-old. Why isn’t there a line in THERE somewhere? It seems arbitrary to decide it has something to do with brain activity or level of consciousness. Your line of reasoning is not very convincing here. If even the single cell is a single-celled human, and killing a human is wrong, it seems reasonable to err on the side of avoiding killing a human. Sure, there can be exceptions, but, in general, rules and laws are not based on exceptions. Stealing may be right in certain circumstances, but we still have a law against stealing.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I don’t know of any single-celled people. I’d call that thing a “single cell.” If you want to call it that, that’s fine. However, I object when you want to impose that opinion on the rest of us by law.

          just acknowledge it; it is accurate scientifically and common-sensically.

          Uh, no. Calling something you need a microscope to see a “person” is ridiculous.

          There is a “big change” from a newborn and a 20 year-old. Why isn’t there a line in THERE somewhere?

          Heck–we have words to describe the differences between newborn, infant, baby, toddler, and lots of others for just young children. Surely we can find a name for what a newborn is that the single cell is not. I nominate “person.” If you have a better term for the spectrum, I’m all ears.

          If even the single cell is a single-celled human, and killing a human is wrong, it seems reasonable to err on the side of avoiding killing a human.

          Nope, this fails, too.

          Suppose you’re in a legislature and you’re deciding on the penalty to impose for armed robbery. 1 year in prison? 5 years? 6 months? This is someone’s life we’re talking about here, so forcing them to stay in prison any longer than is reasonable is bad. And there are lots of complicating factors–what kind of weapon? Was anyone hurt? Was the gun loaded? And so on.

          And yet we’ve got books full of laws like this. No one argues, “We’re taking months of people’s lives away here; let’s err on the side of avoiding too much and impose no penalty at all.”

        • kenodad

          That thing is called a “single-celled”…. person; as opposed to a single-celled dog or cat or elephant. The “thing” is on the hypothetical “line” of personhood, just like the fetus, newborn, infant, teenager, adult. That is not opinion or law, that is science.
          What does having to have a microscope have to do with it? Size doesn’t matter, remember? Why should size be a criteria; are Jason Alexander and Tom Cruise less valuable, less human, than Michael Jordan?
          Why is the newborn a person outside the womb, and not inside? How did 5 inches make such a big difference?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That thing is called a “single-celled”…. person Homo sapiens; as opposed to a single-celled dog or cat or elephant.

          Fixed that for you.

          The “thing” is on the hypothetical “line” of personhood, just like the fetus, newborn, infant, teenager, adult. That is not opinion or law, that is science.

          I don’t understand this. Rephrase.

          What does having to have a microscope have to do with it? Size doesn’t matter, remember?

          For what kind of DNA a cell has, no, the number of cells doesn’t matter. To be a person? Yup, size matters.

          That whole thing about really tiny people in Horton Hears a Who? That was just pretend.

          Why should size be a criteria; are Jason Alexander and Tom Cruise less valuable, less human, than Michael Jordan?

          Michael Jordon has 150 trillion cells, Tom Cruise has 100 trillion cells, and a single cell has one cell. Which of these things is not like the other?

          Why is the newborn a person outside the womb, and not inside? How did 5 inches make such a big difference?

          Not my argument.

        • kenodad

          Ok, so lets call it a person at 14 cells. Why pick 14, or one, or 100 trillion?
          Wherever the thing is on the developmental line, it is on the homo sapiens line. Not the dog, cat or flower line.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, it’s a Homo sapiens. If you get misty-eyed at the thought of how beautiful a single microscopic cell is, that’s your business. The rest of us don’t. Again: do you propose to impose your beliefs on the rest of us by law?

          Why pick 14, or one, or 100 trillion?

          New to how laws are made? Let me give you a brief primer.

          Legislators have to draw the line somewhere. Does someone go to jail or get fined for hundreds of offenses. The term in jail. These are people’s lives we’re talking about, and legislatures draw the line all the time. The line for abortion OK/not-OK is just one more line.

        • kenodad

          I am curious as to your thoughts on my guiding principle:
          Human dignity is conferred on persons by virtue of their human-ness, not their utility, size, color, strength, intelligence or age. Even if we call the thing in question an embryo, zygote, blob of tissue, fetus, newborn, toddler, etc., the thing in question is a HUMAN zygote,
          blob of tissue, etc. Since the HUMAN part of the description is the valuable part, ALL those things deserve protection.

          I even offered to compromise to a criteria YOU offered; the
          presence of a circulatory system (which seems arbitrary to me given the previous-stated principle), which you ignore. What, then, IS your guiding principle for personhood (if NOT the criteria you listed earlier?

          With respect to your efforts to protect the 15 year old
          pregnant girl, you neglect to mention that she had a CHOICE several months prior to avoid the situation she is in. She also has the CHOICE to give up the baby to the thousands of families on waiting lists to adopt babies.

          And, your “swerving” around the box that may have a baby only supports MY postion: When in doubt, avoid the potential disaster.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Human dignity is conferred on persons by virtue of their human-ness, not their utility, size, color, strength, intelligence or age. Even if we call the thing in question an embryo, zygote, blob of tissue, fetus, newborn, toddler, etc., the thing in question is a HUMAN zygote, blob of tissue, etc. Since the HUMAN part of the description is the valuable part, ALL those things deserve protection.

          You can define “human” any way you want. The game you’re playing is to take the inherent reverence we have for the concept and then widen the definition so that you oblige us to give that same respect to something that doesn’t deserve it.

          No, a single cell isn’t entitled to the same rights and privileges you are. And in the case of that cell’s life and the well-being of the pregnant 15yo girl, the girl wins.

          I even offered to compromise to a criteria YOU offered; the presence of a circulatory system (which seems arbitrary to me given the previous-stated principle), which you ignore.

          You didn’t offer a compromise; you changed the subject. The differences between you and a newborn are insignificant compared to the differences between that newborn and a single cell.

          What, then, IS your guiding principle for personhood

          Don’t have one. This issue is complicated, so I’m simply focusing on the spectrum. If we don’t agree on that, there’s no point in blundering off onto another subject in the hope that that will help.

          With respect to your efforts to protect the 15 year old pregnant girl, you neglect to mention that she had a CHOICE several months prior to avoid the situation she is in.

          Are you consistent about that? I doubt it. When the car accident victim comes into the ER, would you tell them to go home and think twice next time before going into so dangerous a vehicle as a car? How about the guy who shoots himself by accident? “Maybe now you’ve learned a lesson, pal,” Dr. Keno said. “Now drag your ass out of here.

          Maybe the 15yo took all the precautions available to her and still got pregnant. Maybe she got raped. Who the hell cares? Nature made sex fun. People will engage in it. Accidents will happen. As a society, let’s find the least harmful way through the problem.

          She also has the CHOICE to give up the baby to the thousands of families on waiting lists to adopt babies.

          Clueless much? What fraction of women with unintended pregnancies, who carry them to term, give them up for adoption.

          Surely you wouldn’t make this suggestion without doing the research, right?

          And, your “swerving” around the box that may have a baby only supports MY postion: When in doubt, avoid the potential disaster.

          And your continued ignoring of the points I make supports MY position: that you have an agenda and don’t much care about facts that get in your way.

          Avoiding a box is easy. Demanding that a girl/woman who doesn’t want a baby to carry it to term anyway is very, very difficult. I know you don’t care and will ignore this, but I’ll make a clear case for the thoughtful lurkers here.

        • kenodad

          “Don’t have one” [a principle for personhood]

          “This issue is complicated, so I’m simply focusing on the
          spectrum.”

          I agree that the issue is complicated, but that is all the
          more reason to focus on a principle, because laws get based on principles, not exceptions..so focusing on the “spectrum” just complicates things.

          “The game you’re playing is to take the inherent reverence we have for the concept and then widen the definition so that you oblige us to give that same respect to something that doesn’t deserve it.”
          I am trying to get at WHY it doesn’t it deserve the respect of every other human____? Because it is quantitatively different in what way…smaller, less cells, what? My point is that it is still HUMAN, unless you are going to provide another definition (you implied circulatory system, among other things, but when I grant you that, you change your position when you realize it doesn’t help much). It seems the key to the whole issue is WHAT is a human. I don’t see any good reason to deny a blob of tissue protection if it is a blob of growing human.

          “When the car accident victim comes into the ER, would you tell them to go home and think twice next time before going into so dangerous a vehicle as a car” No, I wouldn’t do that..that is a terrible comparison. The 15
          year old does not need medical attention, so is not anything like a car accident victim or the guy that shoots
          himself. Your “spectrum” seems to include irrelevant thought experiments.

          “Maybe the 15yo took all the precautions available to her
          and still got pregnant. Maybe she got raped. Who the hell cares?” Well, with respect to moral issues, normal humans care. It is the same kind of question we
          ask in murder cases: was it self-defence? Was it premeditated? Even the language of the courts (premeditated) demonstrates the importance of intent.
          Maybe the 15 year old just shouldn’t be having sex until she is prepared to handle the consequences….shoot…we don’t even allow her to vote or drive! I don’t think
          it should be illegal, but wouldn’t you encourage abstinence to avoid having to deal with ANY consequences? I will grant you rape as an exception, that doesn’t affect 99% of abortions.

          “And your continued ignoring of the points I make supports MY position: that you have an agenda and don’t much care about facts that get in your way.”

          Your point is that I have an agenda…brilliant. How did you figure that out? And YOU don’t have an agenda? Let’s be consistent. At least I have provided a guiding principle. So far your only guiding principle seems to be that woman should have a choice.
          Unfortunately, they ALREADY don’t have a choice after they produce a newborn, so your principle doesn’t work AND opens the door to post-term murder (because,
          of course, why SHOULDN’T she have the choice, ANYTIME she wants?).

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “Don’t have one” [a principle for personhood]

          Personhood is a spectrum. Have I not made clear that that’s my point? A newborn is 100% person and so are you. The single cell is 0% (or some vanishingly small percentage). The amount grows over time. At some point, society (government) steps in and says, “Beyond this point, the inherent value is too much. It’s sufficiently a person that we can’t allow abortions.”

          so focusing on the “spectrum” just complicates things.

          No, focusing on the spectrum destroys your argument, hence your pushback. When I invite you to provide another word besides “personhood” that the newborn has that the single cell doesn’t, you give me nothing. You avoid the issue rather than overcome it.

          I am trying to get at WHY it doesn’t it deserve the respect of every other human____? Because it is quantitatively different in what way…smaller, less cells, what?

          I’ve made this clear repeatedly, so, again for the lurkers who are actually interested in the ideas and paying attention: To say that a single cell is a person is ridiculous. To say that a single cell and a trillion-cell newborn are identical on all important criteria is ridiculous. The anti-abortion camp admits this when they show on their signs a chopped-up third-trimester fetus rather than a box of Plan B. (But why, since you claim that there’s no inherent difference?)

          An elderly person, you, and a newborn all have arms and legs, eyes and ears, and all the rest of it. The single cell is a single cell. Really, really different. Hence the spectrum.

          My point is that it is still HUMAN

          By which you mean, has H. sapiens DNA. Yes, that’s true. And boring. How many living skin cells do you scratch off every day and don’t give a second thought to?

          you change your position when you realize it doesn’t help much

          Actually, I’m the one focused on the subject: the spectrum. Yes, I agree that “when is the cutoff point?” is an important question; it’s just now our question.

          It seems the key to the whole issue is WHAT is a human.

          I’m a flexible guy. You could define “human” as those things we see walking around within society. Or you could define it as things with H. sapiens DNA in their cells. The first is inherently important.

          I don’t see any good reason to deny a blob of tissue protection if it is a blob of growing human.

          Growing? So then your argument is an argument of potential. It ain’t a person … but it will be—is that it?

          No, I wouldn’t do that..that is a terrible comparison. The 15 year old does not need medical attention, so is not anything like a car accident victim or the guy that shoots himself.

          The 15yo has a problem that can be solved by medicine. She can’t solve it herself. Ditto the accident victim. My vote: let’s help them. It’s not like it’s difficult. We know how to do it.

          Your “spectrum” seems to include irrelevant thought experiments.

          The issue includes several thought experiments that put you in the hot seat. But no, they’re not irrelevant.

          Well, with respect to moral issues, normal humans care.

          She had some sex. People do that. Where’s the problem?

          Even the language of the courts (premeditated) demonstrates the importance of intent.

          “Miss, did you intend to get pregnant?”

          “No, I did not.”

          There you go. Glad we could clear that up.

          Maybe the 15 year old just shouldn’t be having sex until she is prepared to handle the consequences….shoot…we don’t even allow her to vote or drive!

          Maybe the idiot who shot himself in the foot by accident shouldn’t have a gun, but he did. Should we have a harm-reduction approach when he presents himself in the ER? Or just say, “Sux to be you, pal”?

          Nature gave us sex drive. “Just say no” might work for some people. If it helps some people avoid sex when they’re too young to handle the consequences, that’s great. It doesn’t work for all. And (hilariously) the red states with their eviscerated sex ed have a worse problem with unwanted pregnancies than the rest of the country (but the poor state of sex ed is a different topic).

          Suppose she had sex and neither she nor the boy were coerced. They just enjoyed it. They used the sexual knowledge they learned from school as well as they could. And she got pregnant. Where’s the problem?

          wouldn’t you encourage abstinence to avoid having to deal with ANY consequences?

          And how’re those kids doing who get abstinence-only sex ed? You getting good results where it counts, in the unwanted pregnancy stats?

        • kenodad

          “Personhood is a spectrum”

          But WHY are you asserting this? Because of your
          (arbitrary) decision that the person needs to LOOK like a fully formed human. Why NOT use DNA evidence of a distinct human? Why NOT use evidence of a circulatory system, as YOU suggested?

          “To say that a single cell is a person is ridiculous” But
          why? The single cell is the single cell of a COMPLETE human in the making. It is a one minute old human. Your assertion seems arbitrary. You haven’t “made
          this clear repeatedly.” You have even admitted you don’t have a principle guiding your thinking. The only principle you have provided is mom should have
          a choice, which I have shown is indadequate, because she does NOT have a choice AFTER producing the newborn.

          “By which you mean, has H. sapiens DNA. Yes, that’s true. And boring” Here by “boring” you mean destructive to your argument, yet it IS relevant. Ignoring the relevance seems short-sighted and unscientific.

          “ How many living skin cells do you scratch off every day
          and don’t give a second thought to?”

          Here is where you don’t understand the biology. The growing blob of cells that is going to be a human is not like a skin cell, or kidney cell, or liver cell. It is the ENTIRE human. That is why if it splits early,
          you get TWO humans, not half of one.

          “The 15yo has a problem that can be solved by medicine.” I have a problem with my neighbor that can be solved by a gun. This is where
          principles and morals become relevant. She would have a “problem” with a newborn as well, but she does not have the choice to have “medicine” “solve the
          problem then; why is it different inside versus outside the womb? So, again, “choice” is not the guiding principle here. We are arguing about WHEN the human
          is a “person.” You have arbitrarily decided it is when the human has arms, legs, brain, looks like an ADULT. Yet science tells us the human is a DISTINCT
          human VERY early (not a dispensible skin cell, as you have suggested).

        • MNb

          Excellent arguing for giving unborn babies voting rights.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “Personhood is a spectrum”

          But WHY are you asserting this? Because of your (arbitrary) decision that the person needs to LOOK like a fully formed human. Why NOT use DNA evidence of a distinct human?

          I’m doing my best to embrace the word “person.” You think “person” means simply “has H. sapiens DNA in its cells”? Fine—then give me another name for the spectrum.

          You’ve avoided this challenge several times already because it defeats your argument. I predict a repeat performance.

          “To say that a single cell is a person is ridiculous” But why?

          Because that’s not what “person” means.

          But if the p-word gives you hives, then respond to my challenge above.

          The single cell is the single cell of a COMPLETE human in the making.

          So then you’re making the argument from potential: it isn’t a person/human/whatever now … but it will be. If so, make that explicit and I’ll slap that argument down as well.

          It is a one minute old human. Your assertion seems arbitrary.

          Then give me a word that describes the spectrum better!

          You haven’t “made this clear repeatedly.”

          Give me another word for the spectrum.

          The only principle you have provided is mom should have a choice, which I have shown is indadequate, because she does NOT have a choice AFTER producing the newborn.

          Because you’ve shown that there is no meaningful difference between a single cell and a trillion-cell newborn? Wrong again.

          “By which you mean, has H. sapiens DNA. Yes, that’s true. And boring” Here by “boring” you mean destructive to your argument

          Wrong again. “That has H. sapiens DNA” could indicate an inherently important living thing (a newborn, for example) or not (a single cell).

          The word “inherently” is important here, because you can assign any value you want. If you just found out that you’re pregnant and that delights you to pieces, call it whatever you want, and good for you. Only your decision is relevant. But a legislatures goal in this case is to decide when there is inherent value. Beyond this point, it says that abortions are illegal.

          “ How many living skin cells do you scratch off every day and don’t give a second thought to?”

          Here is where you don’t understand the biology. The growing blob of cells that is going to be a human is not like a skin cell, or kidney cell, or liver cell. It is the ENTIRE human.

          I’m not sure that it’s me who misunderstand biology. You’re the one who got all misty-eyed at the thought of a precious, precious cell with H. sapiens DNA. A single skin cell has it.

          Don’t argue for H. sapiens DNA being the test if that’s not what you actually mean—someone might just understand what you’re saying.

          “The 15yo has a problem that can be solved by medicine.” I have a problem with my neighbor that can be solved by a gun.

          Kill an insensate, microscopic cell? Not a problem. Kill a fully grown (though obnoxious) person? Problem.

          See the difference? It’s not that hard if you actually try.

        • kenodad

          “Kill an insensate, microscopic cell” You mean an insensate, microscopic one celled HUMAN.”

          “give me another name for the spectrum” Ok, the “human developmental line”.

          “Because that’s not what “person” means” So, you have
          decided that a “person” means a sensate,
          multicellular creature? If that is the case then “I’ll slap that argument down as well.” I sarcastically use your language to demonstrate how egotistical and
          non-productive it is.

          I don’t disagree that there is a “meaningful difference
          between a single cell and a trillion-cell newborn.” I am arguing that the difference is not as important as the similarity; they are both on the “human
          developmental line.” It is not “potentially” on the line; it is ON the line. It is only “potentially” a “person” as you have arbitrarily defined.

        • Susan

          “Kill an insensate, microscopic cell” You mean an insensate, microscopic one celled HUMAN.”

          I’m gong to reorganize the last part of that sentence in a way that seems perfectly reasonable to me.

          You mean an insensate, microscopic human cell.

          It’s a cell.

          So, you have
          decided that a “person” means a sensate,
          multicellular creature?

          That seems to be Bob’s position and it’s quite reasonable. If you are going to argue ethics and insist that a single cell should be considered a human, then you’ll have to defend your position and address Bob’s.

          I don’t disagree that there is a “meaningful difference
          between a single cell and a trillion-cell newborn.” I am arguing that the difference is not as important as the similarity

          So far, you haven’t argued it. You have asserted it. If you’d like to ignore the moral implicatons of nervous systems vs. not nervous systems, then you’re not making an argument in the field of morality or of ethics in any way.

          What is your argument?

          It is only “potentially” a “person” as you have arbitrarily defined.

          As you have arbitrarily defined it a person.

          What is your argument?

        • kenodad

          “You mean an insensate, microscopic human cell.”
          This is not accurate. An example of a microscopic cell would be a skin cell or kidney cell or liver cell. All these cells are quantitatively different because they are fully differentiated. The “cell” in question is the beginning of a human, NOT any cell.
          My argument has been stated earlier based on a principle listed above: essentially at any stage in the development of a human (zygote, blob of cells, fetus, newborn, teenager, adult, etc), protection and the right to life is conferred to it because of its humanness, not its size, age, color, intelligence, etc. Earlier posts flesh this out a bit.
          Bob has offered no guiding principle in response other than moms should be able to choose (which doesn’t hold outside the womb, so another principle needs to come into play) and that I shouldn’t push my belief on others (but we are BOTH trying to push our views on each other, so this principle invalidates itself).
          I guess the other principle offered is that the early human is very different from the older (ie one cell versus multiple cells or defined organs), but my response is that, again, it is not the AGE of the human that confers humanness, but the fact that it IS a human…it is certainly not just the cell OF a human…it IS a human (based on unique DNA).

        • Paul B. Lot

          it IS a human … based on unique DNA

          “Unique” human DNA is found in all sorts of situation where we do not confer personhood; apart from the examples I listed earlier: cancer.

          Non-unique human DNA is found in situations where we do confer personhood; see monozygotic twins.

          Your criterion has failed in both directions.

        • kenodad

          I disagree. A pathologist can distinguish between a cancer cell and a stem cell and an embryo. They are quantifiably different.
          Twins are an interesting example…you are right, we don’t call them the same person, but what then, defines them as “human”…the fact that they have human DNA.
          I still argue that my principle holds more validity than what has been offered…mom should be able to choose, and a blob of cells is not human enough (whatever that means).

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          A pathologist can distinguish between a cancer
          cell and a stem cell and an embryo.

          So? You’re the one who says “has human DNA” = person.

          Do I smell a redefinition coming on?

        • Paul B. Lot

          You “disagree” with…what?

          That your criterion fails both ways?

          Your criterion was “unique human DNA.”

          I gave you situations where unique human DNA exists, yet we do not attribute personhood, and I gave you situations where unique human DNA does not exist…and yet we do.

          There’s nothing to “disagree” about.

          You need a new criterion.

        • MNb

          “but we are BOTH trying to push our views on each other,”

          Eh no. You want to force women not to have abortions. BobS does not want to force women to have abortions. It’s a right, not an obligation. The difference is crucial.

          I’ll let Susan respond on the humanness of that particular “an insensate, microscopic human cell”. I’d like to know how much respect you have for facts (prediction: zero). The Netherlands have legalized abortion almost 35 years ago, with the active political help of a christian party no less. Louisiana has outlawed abortion. Still Louisiana relatively has an abortion rate about 3,5 times as high as The Netherlands. When comparing southern states with the states from New England the conclusions are about the same.
          It looks like you advocate a policy to actually stimulate abortion, don’t you think?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          This is not accurate. An example of a microscopic cell would be a skin cell or kidney cell or liver cell. All these cells are quantitatively different because they are fully differentiated. The “cell” in question is the beginning of a human, NOT any cell.

          If you change your argument, you need to admit that. Otherwise, we think you’re either stupid or deceptive.

          Bob has offered no guiding principle in response other than moms should be able to choose (which doesn’t hold outside the womb, so another principle needs to come into play)

          Principles can never have qualifications? “You can shoot someone … but only in self-defense” won’t work because it has a caveat?

          I shouldn’t push my belief on others (but we are BOTH trying to push our views on each other, so this principle invalidates itself).

          As MNb observed, “You can’t do this” and “You can do this” are different. Your pathetic quest for symmetry fails. Again.

          it is not the AGE of the human that confers humanness, but the fact that it IS a human…it is certainly not just the cell OF a human…it IS a human (based on unique DNA).

          It’s the development. But, hey—if you have a silly idea that a single cell is equivalent in all meaningful ways to a pweshush widdle baby, that’s great. Just don’t impose that on the rest of us by law.

        • Susan

          This is not accurate. An example of a microscopic cell would be a skin cell or kidney cell or liver cell.

          And the cell in question.

          My statement “It is a cell.” is accurate. You mean it ignores specific qualities unique to the cell in question. I hope I got that right and that we can make progress.

          essentially at any stage in the development of a human (zygote, blob of cells, fetus, newborn, teenager, adult, etc), protection and the right to life is conferred to it because of its humanness,

          No. It isn’t.

          What is your argument?

          Personhood

          You can’t simply declare a specific cell a ‘person’. You have to show your argument.

        • kenodad

          Do you not understand the argument or are you just clueless about discourse?

          Just saying “No. It isn’t.” is not a helpful response.

          Did you even read the link you provided? :

          Here is one provided definition:

          “What is crucial morally is the being of a person, not his or her functioning. A human person does not come into existence when human function arises, but rather, a human person is an entity who has the natural inherent capacity to give rise to human functions, whether or not those functions are ever attained. …A human person who lacks the ability to think rationally (either because she is too young or she suffers from a disability) is still a human person because of her nature. Consequently, it makes sense to speak of a human being’s lack if and only if she is an actual person.”
          If you would try to read carefully and be somewhat open-minded, you might get the argument. I am arguing that ALL HUMANS AND PERSONS, are conferred their basic right to life because they are HUMANS, not because they are PERSONS. Why? Because, as outlined in the article YOU PROVIDED, personhood is controversial and poorly defined, but HUMANNESS is not (unique DNA is typically used to define HUMANNESS).

        • Susan

          Do you not understand the argument or are you just clueless about discourse?

          I asked for an argument and you didn’t provide one. You provided an assertion:

          essentially at any stage in the development of a human (zygote, blob of cells, fetus, newborn, teenager, adult, etc), protection and the right to life is conferred to it because of its humanness,

          I responded with “No. It isn’t.” for two reasons.

          1) To respond to a mere assertion by asserting the opposite in order to highlight how unacceptable it is to make a mere assertion.

          2) The right to life is not conferred at any stage of development. Not where I’m from and not where you’re from either.

          Did you even read the link you provided?

          Yes. I’m not in the habit of linking to things I haven’t read. How’s that Nagel book coming along?

          Here is one provided definition:

          And you cherry picked one that agrees with your position from a pageful where many don’t and many completely disagree, thus completely missing the point.

          If you would try to read carefully and be somewhat open-minded, you might get the argument.

          I’m getting a little tired of being accused of ‘not understanding’ by someone who’s missed or ignored so many key points in his discussions, preferring to hit the reset button instead so I’ll generally ignore your misplaced sarcasm and skip ahead. .

          are conferred their basic right to life because they are HUMANS, not because they are PERSONS. Why? Because, as outlined in the article YOU PROVIDED, personhood is controversial and poorly defined, but HUMANNESS is not (unique DNA is typically used to define HUMANNESS).

          So, your argument is that the moral, ethical and legal implications of ‘conferring’ rights are complicated so we should just go ahead and give a cell rights.

          This means forced pregnancy, labour and childbirth for another ‘person’ but let’s keep things simple because kenodad says so.

          Compared with other species, human childbirth is dangerous. Painful labors lasting 24 hours or more are not uncommon and sometimes lead to the death of the mother, the child or both. This is because of both the relatively large fetal head circumference and the mother’s relatively narrow pelvis. The chances of a successful labor increased significantly during the 20th century in wealthier countries with the advent of new medical technologies. In contrast, pregnancy and natural childbirth remain hazardous ordeals in developing regions of the world, with maternal death rates approximately 100 times greater than in developed countries.

          DNA is typically used to define HUMANNESS

          This brings us back to skin cells.

        • kenodad

          I read Nagel’s book. Did you want to quote from it to bolster your argument?

          Oh wait, you haven’t made an argument.

          Of course I picked the quote to supports my position. It demonstrates that you did not read the article and are not aware that personhood is controversial and that you don’t seem to be engaged enough to defend a position with respect to personhood. But again, I am arguing that rights are conferred based on HUMANNESS, not PERSONHOOD. Why? because personhood IS controversial because, as your article says, all kinds of criteria have been used. I am only digging into what criteria confers the right to life.

          I have argued that rights are granted because of humanness, not age. Your response would reasonably be “well, I don’t agree because I think rights are granted because of” ….here you would provide some other reason that rights are granted….

          A skin cell COMES from a human… a zygote IS the human. This is an important biological distinction. A zygote is a very early human. A skin cell is just that…a skin cell…biologists can tell the difference.

          “The right to life is not conferred at any stage of development. Not where I’m from and not where you’re from either.”

          Sure it is. As soon as the newborn pops out it is granted the right to life. Throwing a newborn in the trash is grounds for murder. My question is why is it not grounds for murder 1 hour earlier, when it is in the womb?

          ” This means forced pregnancy, labour and childbirth for another ‘person’ …”
          As opposed to forced child-rearing and support? Once a baby is born, the (forced, legal) expectation is support…physically and emotionally…. Again, why not support the child before exiting the womb? He/She is only minutes older and outside the womb? So, again, age and location do not confer the right to life, right? I am wondering what criteria you are using to deny the pre-newborn the same rights as the post newborn.
          Pregnancy can be dangerous…so what? So is skiing. One more thing to think about before having sex, I guess, or putting on skis. I guess sex could be dangerous too, especially if you are skiing at the time. But I digress.

        • Susan

          I read Nagel’s book.

          Curious then, that you never explained (on the other thread) how Nagel supported his argument although the request that you do so was made more than once.

          You haven’t made an argument.

          I haven’t made an assertion about the rights of a cell over those of a sentient human.

          A skin cell COMES from a human… a zygote IS the human. This is an important biological distinction.

          You haven’t shown that it is an important ethical, moral or legal distinction, all of which have been central in every single subject of rights of which I’m aware. You are talking about conflicting ‘human’ rights. Now, you’re in ethical, moral and legal territory.

          Sure it is.

          I was responding to your comment in which you said, “essentially at any stage in the development of a human… rights are conferred”. They are not conferred at every stage in the development. Read the context of my response.

          As opposed to forced child-rearing and support?

          No. Because I know you would willingly adopt the baby.

          Another human would still have to go through forced pregnancy, childbirth and labour. So, these are separate issues, one of which you would happily take responsibility for because of the personhood of the zygote you think should develop into a bonified baby.

          Go science. I eagerly await the day when you can take responsibility for the pregnancy, childbirth and labour part. I know you would do that too if only you were able.

          Pregnancy can be dangerous…so what? So is skiing. One more thing to think about before having sex, I guess, or putting on skis.

          Oh, so you’re an ignorant cold-blooded son of a bitch as well. That means you can effortlessly glide over the moral and ethical issues involved and proclaim a zygote a person without having to do any real work. Arguing for your position in the face of real moral, ethical and legal issues is one thing (and I’m urging you to do so).

          Dismissing most of the issues is another.

          It demonstrates that you did not read the article and are not aware that personhood is controversial

          I linked to the article exactly because the subject of personhood is complicated (controversial is a strange choice of words. I don’t care if you choose easy answers over ‘controversy’. That is your problem, not the problem of people who have to weigh these things).

          It is (if you read the article) always a moral, ethical and legal issue. Your ‘biological’ pinpoint makes no effort to address those issues.

          It’s a shame that you didn’t take the trouble to consider any point in the article except the one that supports your own.

        • kenodad

          I said: “essentially at any stage in the development of a
          human (zygote, blob of cells, fetus, newborn, teenager, adult, etc), protection and the right to life is conferred to it because of its humanness,..”

          Your response:

          “1) To respond to a mere assertion by asserting the opposite in order to highlight how unacceptable it is to make a mere assertion.

          2) The right to life is not conferred at any stage of
          development. Not where I’m from and not where you’re from either.”

          This is not a response to my assertion. A response is: In
          your view, WHEN are human rights conferred?? I have made an assertion BASED ON OBSERVATION…when a newborn pops out, it is conferred with the right to life (it
          is protected and care is obligated by parents, doctors, etc). My question (based on this observation) is WHY do we not confer those rights BEFORE the baby comes out?

        • Susan

          This is not a response to my assertion.

          It is. “I don’t accept your assertion.” is the response.

          You declared a zygote a person because DNA and have provided no reason to accept DNA as a single standard of ‘personhood’.

          I am not required to elaborate on an entire, impeccable system of ‘person’hood in order to reject your assertion.

          Sorry to be so pansy about it but it’s a very complicated moral issue as development progresses. “Person”hood is complicated.

          But I feel quite confident in saying that when something lacks a nervous system, it should score low points on the scale of personhood.

        • kenodad

          “Sorry to be so pansy about it but it’s a very complicated moral issue as development progresses”

          I don’t disagree here. That is why a more deliberate, principled approach is in order, instead of the invective I have been getting.

          “But I feel quite confident in saying that when something lacks a nervous system, it should score low points on the scale of personhood”

          But is personhood something that should be scored? And if it is the nervous system, how developed must this nervous system be? A criteria like the presence of a nervous system raises many more questions…nerve cells are present at 5 weeks…is THAT being deserved of protection? Does someone with a compromised nervous system deserve protection? All here seem to make me out to be some kind of black/white monster, but I am just trying to come up with a criteria of protection that is workable, like we all are, right? A principle to apply in general, realizing that exceptions are necessary…Murder is illegal, but exceptions are allowed …self-defence, etc.

          I am still curious to your response to this:

          I have made an assertion BASED ON OBSERVATION…when a newborn pops out, it is LEGALLY conferred with the right to life (it is PROTECTED and care is OBLIGATED by parents, doctors, etc). My question (based on this observation) is WHY do we not confer those rights BEFORE the baby comes out?

        • Paul B. Lot

          For my part, I see the “is a developing child a human person @ time _____” question as beside the point.

          If corporations can be legal “persons” with some sub-set of inalienable rights, then I am happy to call a zygote a legal “person” with some sub-set of inalienable rights as well…maybe even the full set of rights.

          Society allows one human adult to kill another human adult in certain situations. *Having* the legal right to life does not mean that person A) is incapable of presenting a clear and present threat to person(s) B) and their inalienable rights.

          If a burgler breaks into your house, in some situations/jurisdictions society says that you have the right to end the burgler’s life.

          Having a biologically parasitic human inside you is a unique practical and legal situation. While society *might* grant that developing entity a range of rights, in my view the rights of the mother should always be paramount.

          Therefore, it is my view that up until the stage of development where a medical doctor would state that the child is viable outside the womb; a woman has the right to end her pregnancy.

          Once, however, that child is considered viable by a medical doctor, I believe that society should recognize and enforce the child’s right to life.

          This is, at any rate, my view at the moment. It has changed before, and I don’t doubt that an appropriate argument/set of data could alter it again.

        • kenodad

          “Therefore, it is my view that up until the stage of development where a medical doctor would state that the child is viable outside the womb; a woman has the right to end her pregnancy”
          I appreciate a clear, thoughtful response, even though I don’t agree. I don’t agree because it seems to me that “viability” seems an arbitrary marker. And viability is getting earlier and earlier as medicine advances. In my view, before and after the medically-determined “viability” point, this creature is human and because of its human-ness it deserves protection.
          Nonetheless, I understand your position and it is a reasonable approach, so I am willing to accept that.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          natural inherent capacity

          Your argument is the Argument from Potential–it ain’t a person … but it will be.

          I wish you’d admit it.

        • MNb

          “My point is that it is still HUMAN”
          Yup. And only HUMANS (ie PERSONS) get voting rights. So unborn babies according to you should get them too.

        • kenodad

          Only humans over 18 can vote. By your logic then, does that mean humans under 18 can be murdered? Your logic is faulty here.

          Newborns are protected. Why not protect them 3 minutes and 5 inches earlier?

        • kenodad

          Again, what does needing a microscope have to do with it? The thing in question is a microscopic……person, as evidenced by the DNA. This is what the LAW uses to identify personhood….the DNA.

          “And yet we’ve got books full of laws like this. No one argues, “We’re taking months of people’s lives away here; let’s err on the side of avoiding too much and impose no penalty at all”
          This falls very flat. The argument and discussion you refer to is about an APPROPRIATE penalty, not NO penalty. (BTW, I thought you said it would be most noble to just forgive them). Whereas the abortion discussion is about life and death.
          Here is a better analogy: If someone sees a box in the middle of the road, and that box MAY contain a baby (for whatever reason), would it not be most reasonable to not run over the box, just in case.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The thing in question is a microscopic……person, as evidenced by the DNA.

          Show me that human DNA in a single cell means “person.” I mean, besides just in your head—show me in the dictionary.

          It’s a microscopic H. sapiens. But (as I’ve said over and over) if that’s how you roll, that’s fine. (1) Don’t impose your opinions on me by law by overturning Roe v. Wade and (2) give me a term that describes what a newborn has that the single cell doesn’t. I say the newborn is a person and the cell isn’t, and I await your term. Perhaps I’ll be able to use it instead of “person.”

          the LAW uses to identify personhood….the DNA.

          Not really. Not many tears are shed over the skin cell that’s scratched off even though it has human DNA.

          Whereas the abortion discussion is about life and death.

          If you’re about to be sent to prison, I bet 1 year of your life behind bars sounds very, very different than 5 years.

          Here is a better analogy: If someone sees a box in the middle of the road, and that box MAY contain a baby (for whatever reason), would it not be most reasonable to not run over the box, just in case.

          I’ve seen sucky analogies, and that’s certainly one of them. There are no consequences to avoiding running over the box that you suspect might have a baby in it. There are huge consequences forcing the 15yo girl to have a baby instead of having an abortion.

          But why am I trying this argument on you? You don’t much care, just like you don’t much care about the guy sent to prison for 5 years instead of 1.

        • MNb

          So according to you a single human cell – ie a fertilized egg – has the right to live (or not get killed), because it’s human. Right?

          Why doesn’t this apply to voting rights? According to you a single human cell is as human as you and I. Still it doesn’t have the right to vote.
          Note that BobS’ spectrum argument applies in exactly the same way. At an arbitrary age (21, 18, 16 depending on the country) law declares human beings developed enough to vote.

        • kenodad

          Because voting rights are not uniform; there are criteria established based on age. That is not a good comparison. And voting rights are not part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The voting age does not determine personhood, only a civic privilege.

        • MNb

          “Because the right to live is not uniform; there are criteria established on age.”
          Same difference.

          “And voting rights are not part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
          Weird. People in dictatorial countries generally seem to disagree. Plus in many dictatorial countries the right to live are not part of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness either. And since when does a christian care about liberty and happiness? It’s all about afterlife, not about earthly life. You’re incoherent.

          “The voting age does not determine personhood, only a civic privilege.”
          The right to live does not determine personhood either.
          Major fail, Kenodad.

        • kenodad

          “Plus in many dictatorial countries the right to live are not part of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness either.”

          How is this relevant to anything? Why don’t you move to a dictatorial country, if I suits your philosophical bent? I live in a country founded on the principle that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights.

          You don’t understand Christianity if you make a comment like this:

          .”..since when does a christian care about liberty and happiness? It’s all about afterlife, not about earthly life.”

        • MNb

          “How is this relevant to anything?”
          That rights are man given, not god given.

          “Why don’t you move to a dictatorial country, if I suits your philosophical bent?”
          If. It doesn’t.

          “You don’t understand Christianity”
          Then explain.

          “I live in a country founded on the principle that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights.”
          Exactly! And outlawing abortion puts those three rights in grave danger for many women. Thanks for confirming my point.
          Question: if you think this principle so important I take it that you support same sex marriage?

        • kenodad

          “That rights are man given, not god given” That is
          not what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence. Actually his first draft was “We hold these truths to be SACRED, that all men
          are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,…”

          “…outlawing abortion puts those three rights in grave
          danger for many women.” No, it protects the rights of a developing human. Women give up some of those rights right after they produce a newborn, in deference the rights of the new human. How is it different 3 minutes before birth? Or 3 months, or 8 months?

          I don’t support same-sex marriage because marriage is
          protected because as a rule, as a group, and by nature, traditional marriage produces the next generation. No one’s rights are being infringed upon now. Same-sex marriage is not BANNED. Same sex couples can get married anytime they want. That relationship is just not given special privileges.

        • Ron

          1. The USA is a constitutional republic, not a Christian theocracy. That means the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, not the Bible.

          The DOI is not a legal document; but even so, it clearly states that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”—not gods.

          2. There are clearly discernible differences between a zygote, blastocyst, embryo, fetus and fully formed child. Most nations prescribe strict limits on when abortions may be performed. (Usually 21 weeks or less where there is no immediate danger to the woman’s physical and/or mental health—which is well before the time the fetus reaches full consciousness.)

          3. On SSM, see point #1. The constitution prescribes the limits of government in the affairs of the people. To date, ten separate Federal District Court cases have unanimously found that bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional because they violate due process and equal protection under the law.

        • kenodad

          “The USA is a constitutional republic, not a Christian
          theocracy”

          Never said it was.

          The DOI is founded on a principle; a principle of natural
          law derived from…not men…but their Creator.

          “There are clearly discernible differences between a zygote,
          blastocyst, embryo, fetus and fully formed child” Yet they are all differences
          in the development of….a human. Really young, young, older,and older still. We
          don’t distinguish between them (with respect to their basic right to life)
          outside the womb, so why make a
          distinction inside the womb?

          Whatever the supreme court decides does not preclude the
          discussion of its merits.

        • Ron

          1. The “Creator” mentioned in the preamble to the DOI is the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”—not the the Middle Eastern tribal god worshiped by Jews, Christians and Muslims. And none of those holy books mention “Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness” as God-given rights. In fact, the Bible states the opposite: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccles. 12:13)

          2. The question is at what stage of development the fetus should be considered a functional human being afforded protection under the law. Current legal opinion holds that this occurs when the fetus remains viable outside the womb.

          3. The Supreme Court hasn’t weighed in yet. And when it does, the only thing that will matter is whether or not state laws prohibiting SSM are constitutional.

        • kenodad

          1. The “Creator” mentioned in the
          preamble to the DOI is the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”—not the the Middle Eastern tribal god.

          Yes, but it is also not man. The point is that Natural Law is above man, transcendent.

          2. “Current law” is determined by public discourse,
          which is what we are doing. You cannot use that to support your argument. The question is WHY is there a difference: A viable fetus outside the womb and one that is inside the womb. What is the PRINCIPLE at work here and does it make sense.

          3. The Supreme Court may be wrong. That is why we
          have discourse

        • Ron

          1. Natural Law is a philosophy that posits universal laws can be derived from nature. Utilitarian philosophers disagree. And claims of Natural Law’s transcendence remain to be demonstrated.

          2. Sure, public discourse informs legislation (which can be challenged). And what we are discussing is points on a continuum — i.e., at what stage of development should the fetus be granted protection under the law. The current position represents an uncomfortable compromise between two conflicting rights guaranteed under the constitution: personal autonomy vs. the right to life.

          3. In what way do you feel the Supreme Court might err?

        • kenodad

          1. Yes, natural law is a philosophy and an assumption that assume basic human dignity derived from a “Creator,” at least in the Founders minds.
          2. I agree.
          3. How could the Supreme Court err? See the Dred Scott decision, for just one example. You think the Supreme Court can never err?

        • MNb

          1. Incoherent, because that creator by definition is not natural but supernatural.

        • MNb

          I don’t care about Thomas Jefferson. He is of zero relevance for me. The same for the Declaration of Independence and American Constitution. They mean nothing to me, have zero authority on me, unless you send your Marines, which is not likely to happen. So shrug.

          “Women give up some of those rights right after they produce a newborn”
          Exactly in line with the spectrum argument. Thanks for confirming again.

          “I don’t support same-sex marriage …..”
          So this

          “I live in a country founded on the principle that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights.”
          is just an ad hoc argument. How unsurprising.

        • kenodad

          “I don’t care about ….the Declaration of Independence…”

          Then you are an ignorant fool.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          My dear Kenodad, give me one reason why I should care about those things. Because all Americans should? Hint: there are more people in the world than only Americans. Even on BobS’ blog.
          It looks like you’re the ignorant fool, not me. So I gladly repeat:

          “Rights are man given, not god given”
          The DoI only confirms that, or would apply to the entire Universe. It obviously doesn’t.
          Simpleton.

        • kenodad

          “..give me one reason why I should care about those things”

          Well, from a historical perspective, the DOI was a turning point in history as the first document to outline the rights of a nation to be represented by the people and not a monarchy. The DOI has been cited several times in the evolution of civil rights: Women suffrage, and black civil liberties (Martin Luther King).
          The DOI was the justification for the start of the longest running constitutional government in history.
          Certainly there were precursors (Magna Carta, British Parlimentary rule), but the DOI started something different.

          So, the one reason is that we should ALL be students of history, and the DOI was a landmark document that impacted the world’s politics and civil and human rights.

          References: The Great Courses:

          Turning Points in American History, Edwin O’Donnel, PhD in American History from Columbia

          History of Freedom, Rufus Fears, PhD. from Harvard in Classics. Former G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty.

        • Paul B. Lot
        • kenodad

          Well-articulated response. See above references.

        • MNb

          “the first document to outline the rights of a nation to be represented by the people and not a monarchy.”
          No, it wasn’t.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_of_Abjuration

          But soit. It’s about one specific nation to be represented by one specific people. And I don’t belong to that people; neither did my ancestors.

          “Women suffrage, and black civil liberties (Martin Luther King)”
          You’re a true champ repeating your errors over and over again. My country already had full black civil liberties before MLK even became active. Him referring to the American DoI is again totally irrelevant to me. Plus MLK was not god, so this not by any means makes clear that rights are god given.
          I guarantee you that the American DoI was not once quoted when Dutch women suffrage was an issue about 100 years ago.

          “the DOI started something different. So, the one reason is that we should ALL be students of history, and the DOI was a landmark document that impacted the world’s politics and civil and human rights.”
          Granted. And by not any means this shows that rights are god given iso man given – rather the contrary.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          One other important first that you’ve not mentioned: the U.S. Constitution was the first such document not imagined to be grounded in the supernatural.

          As for grounding in the people (which the DoI certainly does, in contrast to grounding in God), the Magna Carta (happy 800th birthday, BTW) may be the more revolutionary document in limiting the king’s power.

        • kenodad

          You may be right, but the historians above confer much more importance to the DOI (not discounting the importance of the Magna Carta, of course).

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          More importance on the DoI over the Constitution?

          I suppose that’s yet another thing we could argue for, but the Constitution as a governing document, unlike the DoI, makes it the bigger groundbreaker in my mind, given its firsts.

        • kenodad

          The US Constitution certainly unique in many arenas; just its staying power alone is amazing.
          But the above references put more weight on the DOI for its foundational human rights elements; its use by woman suffragists, MLK, etc.
          But I am not prepared to summarize their arguments of one over the other…in any case they are both landmarks. Maybe we can agree on that.

        • Pofarmer

          “If even the single cell is a single-celled human, and killing a human
          is wrong, it seems reasonable to err on the side of avoiding killing a
          human.”

          So, is it reasonable to call a blastocyst a human?

        • kenodad

          “So, is it reasonable to call a blastocyst a human?”
          Ummm. that is what we are arguing here. What is a blastocyst? A very early stage of…….a person. Just like a fetus is the early stage of a human and a newborn is an early stage of a fetus. The criteria in a criminal case for identifying a human is their DNA, not size, or stage of development. If a blastocyst has the DNA of a person, by the court’s (law people’s) definition, this thing is a person.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’ve not answered a question that I’ve asked. I imagine it’s because it makes you uncomfortable. I like making you uncomfortable, so I’ll ask it again.

          There’s a spectrum with a single cell on one end and a newborn on the other. I call this a spectrum of personhood because the newborn is a person while the single cell isn’t (and it becomes more like a person over time).

          If you think that it’s 100% person all the way along, that’s fine–then tell me what property the newborn has that the single cell doesn’t. If not personhood, what? We have names for subtle distinctions between very similar stages of development–newborn, infant, baby, etc.–so surely we can find a name to express the enormous difference between a newborn (with arms and legs, eyes and ears) and a single cell (with none of the above).

        • MNb

          “I like making you uncomfortable”
          LOL! Do I recognize my bad influence here?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          :-)

        • kenodad

          “what property the newborn has that the single cell doesn’t. If not personhood, what? ”
          More cells. My argument is that the single cell is a singled celled homo sapien.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          More evasion. Give me a name. “A newborn is a ___, while the single cell from which it started 9 months ago isn’t.” We have lots of English words for subtle distinctions in post-birth development. Surely you can find one for this far-bigger gap.

          Yes, I agree that the single cell is a Homo sapiens. If you declare that every cell with Homo sapiens DNA is a person, you won’t have much company.

          Do you want to impose your beliefs on the rest of us by seeing Roe repealed?

        • kenodad

          I am not trying to be evasive. I guess I don’t get where you are going with this.

          “Yes, I agree that the single cell is a Homo sapiens. If you declare that every cell with Homo sapiens DNA is a person..”
          I am not. In a fully developed Homo sapien, every cell has a distinct function (kidney, liver, etc). In the pre-fully developed Homo sapien (depending on when you check) the cells are not specialized or are less-specialized.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I am not trying to be evasive.

          Then fill in the blank in the statement above! I couldn’t have made it easier for you.

          In a fully developed Homo sapien, every cell has a distinct function (kidney, liver, etc). In the pre-fully developed Homo sapien (depending on when you check) the cells are not specialized or are less-specialized.

          And how does that help us decide if it’s immoral to kill a single fertilized human egg cell?

        • kenodad

          I answered the statement with the question mark at the end.

          Oh, I see. The fill in the blank format is strange.

          A newborn is a “more fully developed homo sapien”, while the single cell from which it started 9 months ago isn’t.

          Does that help?

          “And how does that help us decide if it’s immoral to kill a single fertilized human egg cell?” I don’t know. You asked the question: ” tell me what property the newborn has that the single cell doesn’t. If not personhood, what?”

          “Do you want to impose your beliefs on the rest of us..”

          Isn’t that what you want? To impose your beliefs on the rest of us?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          A newborn is a “more fully developed homo sapien”, while the single cell from which it started 9 months ago isn’t.

          Does that help?

          Nope. More evasion. I want a term that the newborn is and the single cell isn’t. Isn’t at all.

          “A newborn is a person, while the single cell from which it started 9 months ago isn’t.” See how that works?

          Now either give me a better term or admit that it challenges your worldview too much to do so.

          I don’t know. You asked the question: ” tell me what property the newborn has that the single cell doesn’t. If not personhood, what?”

          ?? And you answered talking about the cell differentiation that people have. Yeah, I get it. That’s precisely my point. A newborn has arms and legs, eyes and ears, a brain and a nervous system, a heart and a circulatory system, a stomach and a digestive system, skin, liver, bones, and on and on. It has a trillion cells, each differentiated and interlocked. A single cell has none of this. Except that it’s a single cell. Oh—and it has H. sapiens DNA.

          See the difference? That’s why some of us look at you equating the two and wondering if you’re playing with a full deck. Or just following some evidence-denying agenda.

          Isn’t that what you want? To impose your beliefs on the rest of us?

          Precisely! My belief is that everyone should have a choice. Which is exactly like your view that everyone should do it your way and only your way.

        • kenodad

          “My belief is that everyone should have a choice.”

          That is my belief too,…. unless it causes the death of
          another person. Pejoratively calling MY view exclusive and not yours is inaccurate
          and non-productive.

          Back to the gymnastics you are trying to pull to deny that a pre-arms, legs, brain, circulatory system embodied pre-human is worth respecting:

          So how many cells does it need to be called a worthy person? And how will we decide? I am not trying to “equate” an early form of a person with a later form. I am arguing that the thing IS an early form of….a human
          person…and it is wrong to kill human persons, anywhere along the developmental line. And I thought my thought experiment was pretty good. If there is a box in
          the middle of the road, and it MIGHT contain a baby, would it not be more prudent and rational to err on the side of caution and NOT run over the box?

          Shoot, I might even concede to protecting the fetus when it has…I don’t know,..a circulatory system…is that closer to a “real person” for you? As soon as a circulatory system appears it is a “person.” Four weeks is when a heart beat is detectable. At least it would uphold the basic principle that a pregnant woman cannot always “choose” to remove the person she is
          carrying; that would be pro-life over pro-choice, in the current rhetoric.
          So are you ok with outlawing post 4 week abortions?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That is my belief too,…. unless it causes the death of another person.

          Sounds like we’re back to square one.

          A single cell isn’t a person. But perhaps we disagree.

          Pejoratively calling MY view exclusive and not yours is inaccurate and non-productive.

          And yet I do so. Weird.

          So how many cells does it need to be called a worthy person? And how will we decide?

          How do we decide any difficult point of law? It ain’t easy, but it happens. Zillions of times. The OK/not-OK line for abortion is just one more.

          I am arguing that the thing IS an early form of….a human person

          If you say that “an early form of a human person” (whatever the hell that is—is it a person or not?) has identical rights to you, that’s terrific. Just don’t impose that belief on the rest of us.

          I thought my thought experiment was pretty good.

          Yet another point of disagreement. It didn’t come close.

          If there is a box in the middle of the road, and it MIGHT contain a baby, would it not be more prudent and rational to err on the side of caution and NOT run over the box?

          And I repeat myself: sure, what the heck. Just swerve. Not a big deal.

          Which is in stark contrast to the 15yo girl who you tell, “Sux to be you, honey. Abortion is now illegal.”

          So are you ok with outlawing post 4 week abortions?

          Change of subject. Let’s try to focus.

        • Dys

          Every coherent definition of what constitutes a person that I’ve ever heard includes consciousness as a prerequisite. I’ve no idea how kenodad’s getting around that, unless he’s stuck with the ludicrous notion of ensoulment (which is where I think most of the anti-abortion actually comes from).

        • Paul B. Lot

          Hmmm…

          While I’d agree with the idea that a child born lacking a brain was not a person…I think I’d want to be less restrictive than saying “consciousness is a prerequisite.”

          Maybe “the biological possibility of consciousness” is a prereq?

          I’m thinking here of “vegetables” or people in comas…or indeed sleeping people.

        • Dys

          I get your point…not sure I’d extend it to those in vegetative states though, at least the permanent persistent ones. I’m not well informed enough to make a call on coma patients, although there is apparently evidence that at least some of them are minimally conscious.

          I think the issue with “biological possibility of consciousness” is that it leads to kenodad’s silly notion of a zygote being a person, since there is a possibility that it will eventually be conscious.

          I agree that strictly using consciousness as the determining factor isn’t possible, but it’s certainly an important consideration. But yeah, if there’s no brain, there’s no person, so the notion that a zygote is a person is ridiculous. kenodad is confusing potentiality with actuality with his personhood argument. Because souls, I guess.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I’ve been thinking about these subjects for 15 years now and I’m still not sure 100% of what I think.

          I’ll add one more thought to the mix though: if we determine that zygotes are logically/legally unconscious, yet fully human, persons, I’m not sure we arrive at the conclusion that abortion is wrong, or should be illegal.

          The objection to that which immediately comes to mind is: what about vegetables, what about long-term coma patients?

          An addendum to those objections might be the idea that if 0% consciousness == no absolute right to life, then is there a sliding scale? Do stupid people have less of a right to live than intelligent ones? (maybe this is what has kenodad’s dander up, as a matter of self-preservation)

          Eugenicists used to say things not unlike “unfit people can/should be eliminated.” If a simple lack-of-consciousness is the gateway to destruction, who protects the vulnerable ones outside the womb?

          I think what the above-objections miss is that a zygote/blastocyst/embryo/fetus/unborn child exist on a continuum of parasitic dependence.

          Once an unborn child is viable outside-the-womb, for example, I find myself much less amenable to the idea of pregnancy termination.

          IF we determine that the zygote (et al.) is a human person with defensible rights equal to ex-utero child/adult…we must consider whether or not we would allow a mother to kill similarly unconscious persons…who were attached to her parasitically.

          When two persons’ rights overlap and conflict, which shall prevail? The mother’s right to life/liberty/pursuit of happiness, or the parasite’s?

          It seems to me to be an eminently defensible position that for the duration that the unborn person can not survive outside the womb, that un-born-person’s rights are trumped by the rights of it’s host.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I someone insists on expanding the definition of “person” or “human” to include single cells, that simply waters down the definition. Keno would say, “But surely no person can be killed!” My reply: well, that depends. Some persons you can’t (an adult) and some you can (those you can only see with a microscope).

          He imagines that he’s solved some sort of problem with his redefinition, but he’s only removed the word from the discussion.

        • kenodad

          So those in a coma do not have the right to life? What is your definition of consciousness? In what sense is a newborn conscious?

        • Dys

          Try reading the rest of the conversation. We discussed it days ago.

        • kenodad

          I am sorry. Right after I posted I did see that you have been discussing this. I tried to delete the comment, but it didn’t work. Again, I apologize.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “So are you ok with outlawing post 4 week abortions?”

          Are you okay with allowing pre-4 week abortions?

        • kenodad

          Not ideally, but I am willing to compromise. Are you?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Yes.

        • adam

          So YOUR morals are not objective or absolute?

        • kenodad

          What’s the matter? Can’t stay on topic? Do you always get your information from billboards and strawman photos? Again, I have not invoked the Bible, so why are you?

        • adam

          The topic is morals, why cant you address that?

          What ‘strawman’ photos.
          No strawman from me.

        • Rudy R

          Why is it wrong to kill human persons, anywhere along the developmental line? Is it wrong to kill a chimpanzee anywhere along the developmental line? If it’s not wrong to kill a chimpanzee anywhere along the developmental line, why the difference between the human and chimpanzee?

        • adam

          “and it is wrong to kill human persons, anywhere along the developmental line.”

          The bible ‘god’ disagrees with you:

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Keno always follows the Bible, so I anticipate a change in attitude after this revelation.

        • adam

          Nope, just avoidance and that river in Egypt.

        • kenodad

          Building strawmen by taking verses out of context. Funny, as I have not invoked the Bible at all. Not sure what the tact here is. My argument against same-sex marriage does not invoke they Bible, just like my argument against abortion. Accusing me of invoking the Bible allows me to accuse you of evoking SCIENCE or EVOLUTION, which do not grant humans any dignity at all and have no grounds for objecting to human rights abuse, slavery, women’s rights, and on and on.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I appreciate arguments that don’t presuppose God.

          Science doesn’t grant dignity to humans; humans do. The rights of Americans are grounded in the manmade Constitution, not God.

        • kenodad

          “Science doesn’t grant dignity to humans; humans do.”
          Which humans? Hitler-like humans? Kings? Your sentiment is that which Jefferson sought to overthrow with the DOI, that grants human rights not from other men, but from the Creator. Funny how Jefferson did not just say “we holds these truths to be self-evident: we should be able to govern ourselves.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The DoI doesn’t grant rights; the U.S. Constitution does.

          Funny how Jefferson did not just say “we holds these truths to be self-evident: we should be able to govern ourselves.”

          Ah, but he did. You really should read the DoI sometime.

          “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” That’s right: the power comes from us, not from Jesus or Yahweh.

          Feeling empowered?

        • kenodad

          “When in the Course of human events, it becomes
          necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.”

          “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
          created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
          Entitlement comes from God. Rights come from the Creator. Without that, it is just one man against another; the powerful over the less powerful.
          The right of self-government was established and grounded in the DOI (1776). The Constitution established details of government, established years after we became independent (1787).

        • adam

          Yes and my Creator is my parents.
          The rights are birth rights, not ‘god’ rights.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The DoI doesn’t grant rights; the Constitution does. The Constitution is the law of the land; the DoI … isn’t.

          And the Constitution is a 100% religion-free document. You do appreciate how amazingly good that is for someone like you, right? No risk of Sharia law, no Satanic prayers at your kids’ public school. And you get to believe and worship how you like, and you can proselytize in public.

          Thank you, secular Constitution!

        • Paul B. Lot

          I don’t think it helps your case to put so much emphasis on what Jefferson, a deist, in particular wanted to express in the DoI.

          Here’s how his original version of the document began:

          A Declaration of[1] the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress assembled.

          When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people to advance from that subordination in which they have hitherto remained, & to assume among the powers of the earth the equal & independant station to which the laws of nature & of nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the change.

          We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable;[2] that all men are created equal & independant, that from that equal creation they derive rights[3] inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness;[emphasis mine]

          Jefferson’s original verison places less emphasis on “the Creator”, allowing more of the emphasis and moral weight of the declaration to come from it’s observations about human equality, nature, an inherent rights.

          Jefferson’s version comes much closer to saying what you should’ve claimed he didn’t “our rights we claim for, and grant to, ourselves.”

          I say that that’s a better encapsulation of what I think you were trying to contrast against, because what you actually claimed that “Jefferson did not just say”…he actually just said.

          …to secure these ends, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

          https://jeffersonpapers.princeton.edu/selected-documents/jefferson%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Coriginal-rough-draught%E2%80%9D-declaration-independence-0
          http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/rough.htm

          All of the above to one side; your argument t hat “Jefferson sought to overthrow with the DOI” the idea that “humans grant humans dignity” is…on shaky ground.

          What Jefferson, and the rest of the founding fathers, sought to overthrow was the systematic tyranny of a Monarch whose “right” to govern came directly from God’s mandate; a Monarch who was a) the head of state, b) the head of the armed forces and c) the head of the Church of England.

        • adam

          First, demonstrate that they are out of context.

          And of course, using the bible you have no grounds for objecting to human rights abuse, slavery, women’s rights, and on and on.

        • kenodad

          I have not invoked the Bible. Why are you? Can’t deal with the other arguments? Have your own agenda?

        • adam

          So what if the bible ‘god’ disagrees with YOU on killing human persons.

          I bet you disagree on a lot of issues:

        • kenodad

          Are you trying to make a point, ask a question, or just be annoying?
          Or should I just point out that evolution’s goal is survival, so same-sex marriage is definitely one behavior that will not benefit the gene pool.
          How about a sign that says: Evolution says we should make as many more of as possible.
          If you are willing to believe in Evolution, you should not support same-sex marriage because you get NO offspring.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Same-sex marriage? So not the problem. If you’re concerned about propagating the species, deny marriage to those couples who don’t pull their weight by remaining childless. And why should empty-nesters be able to call themselves married? They’re not contributing to the population anymore.

          We need more tough love, I say.

        • kenodad

          ” If you’re concerned about propagating the species…”
          I am not the one concerned about propogating the species…those who hold to evolution SHOULD be ONLY concerned about it. Should that not be the ONLY guiding principle?

        • adam

          It is not just about propagating the species but insuring its survival against the followers of the ‘god’ of Abraham.

          You are still missing that non-breeding guards against over population.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Catch your breath. It’s really not that big a deal.

          Evolution has principles, and we can discover them. Those principles mean nothing when it comes to human morality.

          It’s like saying, “Well cyanide kills people, and cyanide is natural. I’m going to take my moral principles from chemistry!” I hope you’re sitting down, because atheists don’t do it that way.

        • Paul B. Lot

          How about a sign that says: Evolution says we should make as many more of as possible.If you are willing to believe in Evolution, you should not support same-sex marriage because you get NO offspring.

          You misunderstand Evolution.

          If we down at the gene-level as the abstraction-layer operated on by natural selection, we can see the error of your logic.

          Natural selection favors genes which reproduce themselves, not organisms. Thus, given the correct social structures and organizational relationships, non-reproductive members of a population can add to the adapativity of the society in which they find themselves.

          Evolution doesn’t occur by nature selecting for individuals which manage to reproduce, it occurs because nature selects for genes which manage to reproduce.

        • kenodad

          “Thus, given the correct social structures and organizational relationships, non-reproductive members of a population can add to the adapativity of the society in which they find themselves.”
          But how does this relate to same-sex MARRIAGE? Shouldn’t then we be advocating communal child-rearing…I don’t see that coming up in the arguments anywhere…It is all about fairness…evolution does not care about fairness, only survival.

        • Paul B. Lot

          But how does this relate to same-sex MARRIAGE? Shouldn’t then we be advocating communal child-rearing

          Is not one of the aspects of the union of two individuals the fact that their families often co-mingle?

          Is not marriage a mechanism of social cohesion which produces groups of individuals whose goals and activities are aligned in a way that they were not before the union?

          Are these two conjoined family structures not better able to provide the diversity and stability of inputs which children need for their maximum development?

          I don’t see that coming up in the arguments anywhere…It is all about fairness…evolution does not care about fairness, only survival.

          What do you imagine “fairness” is?

          What makes you think that genes which promote empathy and eusocial behavior could not be acted upon by natural selection?

          If genes for “fairness” cause phenotypic changes in the population which increase the genes’ reproduction…then they will be selected for. If “fairness” is adaptive in a social environment, then it can evolve.

          Now the question is: can you imagine a social structure wherein “fairness” genes would be adaptive enough to thrive? Put another way; can you imagine that not-being-a-psychopath could cause you and your family (ie. the population which contains the relevant genes) to survive and reproduce more successfully than being-a-psychopath?

        • Cognissive Disco Dance

          If you are willing to believe in Evolution,

          You’re conflating “believe” with “worship” or “mindlessly obey”. For understandable reasons. One of the reasons being the ability to have a strawman to “gotcha” people with. Better than nothin I guess. And before you play any equivocation games with “believe”, be on alert that it’s already expected that you will, if you haven’t already. On second thought I guess you just did. “Mister reasonable” turns out to be a creationist. How surprising.

        • car/sta

          you, my friend, have rather unfortunately found (most likely edited) bible quotes from billboard and tried to use them (most likely painfully out of context) in a completely unrelated discussion.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “most likely”? It’s not hard to look these verses up. Show us that they’re edited. Show us that they’re out of context.

          You lose points by making ungrounded accusations.

        • adam

          It is certainly related to the discussion and in the context of the discussion.

          Why would you think otherwise?

          Do we know each other?

        • Paul B. Lot

          “In a fully developed Homo sapien, every cell has a distinct function.”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adult_stem_cell

        • Pofarmer

          Just because something has DNA doesn’t make it “a” human. Just like because something is Human doesn’t make a person, or conscious, even.

        • Paul B. Lot

          a newborn is an early stage of a fetus

          I imagine you meant to say “a fetus is an early stage of a newborn.”

          If a blastocyst has the DNA of a person, by the court’s (law people’s) definition, this thing is a person.

          Then are women two different people because some of their cells express one X chromosome and others express the other, resulting in stripes?

          Are mitochondria human persons?

          What about chimeras? Should people with heterochromia be allowed two SSNs and two ballots for the general election?

          What about monozygotic, unconjoined twins? Are they only one person?

          What about monozygotic conjoined twins?

        • Paul B. Lot

          It seems clear to me that you believe that a fertilized egg, a “zygote”, is a person. Whether you’re right or wrong, whether or not society should or should agree, that’s what you believe, no?

          What has Bob just expressed, right or wrong? He’s said:

          a single cell on one end and a trillion-cell newborn 9 months later. That’s a big change, and I argue that somewhere in that period, the fetus becomes a person [emphasis mine]

          Which means that he believes (correct me if I’m wrong Bob) that a zygote is not a human person.

          1 cell < –??-X-??— < 1 trillion cells

          X is where "personhood" occurs in Bob's view.

          So when you state ‘”a single cell” You left something out here. It is more accurate to say “a single cell”ed person.’…you are lying.

          Bob didn’t “leave out” anything; he simply disagrees.

          Don’t worry, it’s nothing new to you or us. I just wanted to let you know that we know you’re lying.

          *EDIT*
          Bobs says further down:

          I call this a spectrum of personhood because the newborn is a person while the single cell isn’t (and it becomes more like a person over time).</blockquote

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, that’s a good summary.

          Keno is plying the typical trick of insisting that “person” can be broadened to include a single cell. We can go back and forth on that (I think the dictionary supports my position), but I dislike dictionary arguments. Rather, I’ve encouraged him many times to give me a better word. Give me a word that describes what the newborn is but the single cell isn’t. Not “person”? OK–what then?

          Since it would undercut his argument to admit to the spectrum, Keno won’t do it. Or admit his failure. Unfortunately, that’s typical.

        • kenodad

          That was a hodge-podge of nonsense. And you misquoted me.

    • MNb

      “Does this apply only to humans on the inside of the womb or on both sides? If so, why?”
      Both sides. Euthanasia is legal in The Netherlands. Why? Because life can become unbearable.

  • MK22

    Isn’t it true that you are “imagining” instead of “living it” when it comes to parenting the pregnant teenager? I don’t want to seem insensitive or disrespectful as you may have been the father of a child that found herself in this situation, but it occurs to me that having a baby and giving it up for adoption is far less traumatizing than the route of abortion. The term “unwanted pregnancy” is what has to be taken to heart. When parents find themselves with their teen age daughter in this situation – the ones who “allowed” her to live or be born (hypocrisy is setting in fast) – are to counsel their daughter to eliminate the pregnancy as if it will stop, cure and restore everything from that point? I’m here to say that you in your own imagination can only “suppose” that the dilemma stops at this point. I am here to tell you as a fact it does not. When a pregnancy occurs, birth occurs and a girl becomes a mother with or without a live birth because a soul is involved. These girls that abort are HAUNTED by what they have done to their baby and now that these horrific accounts against Planned Parenthood are hitting the news, I’m sure that there are countless women and girls in this nation that are horrified by what they have chosen. Many of these girls are so broken emotionally and spiritually after abortion and do we hear the statistics on these events? I don’t hear them in the news, but I do hear them as a person that works in ministry. When we as a nation turn our backs on Holy God, hellish priorities arise and it is a high price we pay to live in an autonomous (self – governed) culture. When self is promoted as one’s god – morality is all relative and society declines and becomes corrupt because we deviate from the source of all truth. We ignore the reality that we are naturally bound by a theonomous culture (ruled by God) and go against that rule, we all are left in turmoil because our minds are never settled. We then we look to see if there is one that can dictate as an expert to delineate actual truth regarding a given problem and then we transfer, if our autonomy allows it, to the rules of a heteronomous (ruled by another) culture. The problem is that we as promote another as an expert (Darwin or whatever leader or religion you follow) until our flesh desires reject them and we try to become their heteronomous dictator. It is a vicious cycle. Almighty God rules – always has, always will. Our consciences are seared by the atrocities we see today and we are sickened by the sin of all mankind (ourselves included) to the point of exhaustion because we are by God’s design craving peace. Our choices are decided based on our free will, but the consequences of our choices are irrevocably bound to our own decisions and we all will kneel and give an account for each decision before God either this side of eternity or beyond. It’s all about time and where time is no longer measured, it will be too late to decide. My prayer for you sir is that you will deeply consider the truth of God and His word and know that Jesus came that you can have an abundant life, not one filled with constant searching and unrest.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      No, I am not the father of a child who got pregnant.

      Isn’t it true that you are “imagining” instead of “living it” when it comes to parenting the pregnant teenager?

      If your point is that being the pregnant 15-year-old girl is different than being the father of one, I certainly agree.

      I’m using “living it” to refer to the father of the girl. True, it’s not his life at the crossroads, but it’s a lot more on the front lines than being an armchair philosopher, happy to dismiss the plight of a million women in America each year because it doesn’t affect him.

      it occurs to me that having a baby and giving it up for adoption is far less traumatizing than the route of abortion.

      And you get this from polling of women who’ve had abortions?

      A girl who carries an unwanted pregnancy to term is almost certainly not going to give it up. Sounds like adoption must pretty damn traumatizing.

      These girls that abort are HAUNTED by what they have done to their baby

      I realize that pro-lifers are indeed doing their best to haunt these girls. My suggestion: stop it. It’s just a medical procedure that has unfortunately become politicized.

      That’ll go a long way to solving this problem.

      now that these horrific accounts against Planned Parenthood are hitting the news

      And what did PP do that was horrific? I’m in Europe at the moment and haven’t been following the story. All I do know is that pro-lifers have exaggerated what actually happens. But perhaps you have information that I’m unaware of—please summarize.

      I don’t hear them in the news, but I do hear them as a person that works in ministry.

      Show me the (unbiased) statistics of women who have had abortions and what they feel about them.

      When we as a nation turn our backs on Holy God

      Our Constitution is very clearly and very deliberately secular. God had no role to play in the legal discussion.

      I’ve written other articles on abortion, so if you’re interested in pursuing this further, you probably should search for them and read more (so I don’t have to repeat myself).

      When self is promoted as one’s god – morality is all relative

      I see no evidence for objective morality. Don’t presume it before you show that it exists.

      we are naturally bound by a theonomous culture (ruled by God)

      We (in America) are ruled by a secular Constitution. Sorry.

      God is just pretend. If you have good reasons to think otherwise, share them. Dogma is useless.

      Our consciences are seared by the atrocities we see today

      Thank you, evolution.

      It’s all about time and where time is no longer measured, it will be too late to decide.

      Wow—what a screwed-up religion. And you worship the guy who made up those rules?

      • MK22

        start with looking at this and going to the website that is doing the investigation http://liveactionnews.org/planned-parenthood-baby-parts-scandal-grows-as-new-tape-released/

        • MK22

          And thanks for talking with me.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Where’s the problem? Planned Parenthood can either discard the fetus or help research so that someone–I dunno, maybe you–can benefit. PP has expenses, and that’s what the research pays to them.

          More.

        • MK22

          The problem is that “fetus” is a baby with a soul that never got the chance to live and to have it’s body dissected like a common frog in a science class is beyond horrific. #imagodei

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Do you ever eat hamburgers? Do you know where they come from? “Horrific” is pretty subjective.

          If you want to imagine that a 100-cell blastocyst is a baby with a soul, that’s fine, just don’t impose that by law on the rest of society.

        • MK22

          Let me ask you a simple question: Did you have to travel through this 100-cell blastocyst to become the person you are today?

        • Greg G.

          No, I didn’t. “I” developed at some point when my brain began to function. Most of the cells in the body are replaced every seven to fifteen years. Are you the cells you have now or the cells you had fifteen years ago? Neurons in the brain are not replaced but they weren’t present in the 100-cell blastocyst.

        • MK22

          Honestly, I’d check on your brain function…

        • MNb

          Nothing as great a rebuttal as the Ad Hominem. Unfortunately for you it makes the one look bad who pulls it off, ie you. It demonstrates that your target wrote some good things and you can’t answer them.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ll go with Greg G’s answer. But even if we say I did, so what? Is this where you say, “Aha! Then if someone had aborted you at that phase, you would exist, and you wouldn’t like that, would you?”?

          You’re getting into “what if?” territory. I have 2 kids, but what if I’d had another one? I’d love that one just as much as the others, right? So therefore I should’ve had 3 kids! And so on until I have a dozen.

        • Greg G.

          You should have been the Duggars.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I like how they “let God decide” how many kids to have.

          I might go into a bank waving a loaded gun and let God decide if I go to jail.

        • MK22

          I’m saying the portal from which we come is a sacred place and that we are made in the image of Almighty God. I’m genuinely just trying to get you to think about eternity and life and the value of it. It takes so much more faith to believe that we came from nothing and will return to nothing. Have you read the Bible and truly thought about creation and that a loving God came to provide a way for you to experience eternal life? That we all will one day answer to God for our lives and our choices? God is real. #imagodei

        • MNb

          What you’re saying is as relevant as what the dog barks to a caravan.
          You’re the one who needs to start thinking.

          “It takes so much more faith to believe that we came from nothing.”
          It doesn’t take faith at all. It takes science.

          “truly thought”
          Ah – the No True Thinking fallacy.

          “a loving God came to provide a way for you to experience eternal life?”
          I don’t want eternal life. I never asked for it. If your god still forces me to have one he is not a loving god, but a nasty bully.

          “That we all will one day answer to God for our lives and our choices?”
          Booooh! Mama, I’m scared now!

          “God is real.”
          Under your skull.

        • MK22

          Why so hateful?

        • adam

          “Why so hateful?”

          Could be your threats

          “That we all will one day answer to God for our lives and our choices?”

          Without demonstrated that this ‘God’ of yours is anything but imaginary.

        • MNb

          When is the last time you beat your children?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          the portal from which we come is a sacred place and that we are made in the image of Almighty God.

          Hey, if you believe that, that’s swell. Knock yourself out. I fully support and will defend your right to say it.

          But that’s it. When you want to impose your beliefs on others by law, then we have a problem.

          I’m genuinely just trying to get you to think about eternity and life and the value of it.

          Life is valuable. Yeah, I get it. I have a family.

          It takes so much more faith to believe that we came from nothing and will return to nothing

          Who says we come from nothing? We don’t. We come from nature and return to it. Our atoms are recycled.

          Have you read the Bible and truly thought about creation and that a loving God came to provide a way for you to experience eternal life?

          No. How about you? Have you read the Koran and truly thought about your obligation to Allah, the god who created you? And ditto for another thousand religious books.

          Don’t elevate your own holy book without doing the same to all the others—or showing us why your book is history and the others are mythology.

        • MK22

          My friend, there isn’t enough time for me to lay all of it out for you – all I know is that Jesus loves you, He died for your sins because He was the only one that could. He is God in the flesh and there are vast amounts of proof of His existence for the person that wants to find it. HE made it that way – you have to WANT to find Him. He says in His word, “If you seek Me, you will find Me if you seek Me with all of your heart.” My prayer if for you to do just that. Honestly I say this to your heart of hearts. I’m sure you could debate me openly for days and keep firing back which is fine, I’ll talk to you as I time permits. You are valuable to God and He would like for you to take some time to know for yourself. Of all of the world religions, He is the only one with prophecies that have been fulfilled to the finest of details – but you have to want to find them – HE is ALMIGHTY GOD and doesn’t play games, He doesn’t need any of us – He wants our respect and HE wants us to honestly search our hearts before Him. May the peace of God visit you today sir.

        • adam

          “May the peace of God visit you today sir.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you have no reply to the arguments I laid out? Noted.

          My friend, there isn’t enough time for me to lay all of it out for you – all I know is that Jesus loves you

          My friend, it’s all make believe. Christianity is just one religion of thousands, and humans obviously invent religions that aren’t based on reality. Christianity is just one more.

          He died for your sins because He was the only one that could

          This is the dogma of your religion. I’m familiar with it, because I grew up with it, too. Open your mind to the incredible fact that it might not be true, just like all the other religions.

          there are vast amounts of proof of His existence for the person that wants to find it

          Wait—is this the “believe and you will understand” kind of “proof”? I have no use for that, thanks.

          you have to WANT to find Him

          Right. He likes playing hide and seek. It only looks like this is all just made up and there’s paltry evidence to support the incredible supernatural claims, just like all the other religions.

          God knows how critical it is for me to believe that he exists and believe all the Christian claims, but he doesn’t feel like providing me evidence of his existence. What a fun religion.

          He says in His word, “If you seek Me, you will find Me if you seek Me with all of your heart.”

          And there are ex-Christians who will tell you that the desperately begged God to reveal himself to them as their faith dribbled away, so God must be a liar. Or nonexistent.

          My prayer if for you to do just that

          Done. Search for “Atheist Prayer Experiment” on this blog.

          Of all of the world religions, He is the only one …

          I see this attempt to show how Christianity is different frequently. Of course it’s different; otherwise, it’d simply be some other religion.

          with prophecies that have been fulfilled to the finest of details – but you have to want to find them

          Tell me what these prophecies are (after looking them up to see if I’ve already replied to them). Or are you saying that they are only evidence to believers?

          HE is ALMIGHTY GOD and doesn’t play games

          Maybe it’s just that Christians do.

        • Ron

          How is this a bad thing? Aborted babies would also remain “sinless” babies and proceed straight to heaven.

          You should thank God for the abortionists who’ve devoted their lives to saving millions of innocent souls from experiencing the horrors of eternal damnation.

        • MK22

          Here is what God says: There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:
          17 haughty eyes,
          a lying tongue,
          HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD,
          18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
          feet that are quick to rush into evil,
          19 a false witness who pours out lies
          and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Proverbs 6:16-19
          How are you going to thank God for something He hates?

        • Ron

          Would this be the same God who struck David’s son with a deadly illness and commanded Saul to “put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” to avenge a wrong committed by their ancestors centuries earlier?

        • Greg G.

          A blastocyst doesn’t have blood.

        • Rudy R

          Why does “baby with a soul” have more meaning than just “baby”? And where do they dissect fetal humans in science class? You do realize that you are on an atheist blog and that type of hyperbole only works on theist blogs.

    • MNb

      “These girls that abort are HAUNTED by what they have done to their baby”
      Then I suppose Sweden is a psychologically thoroughly unhealthy country.

      http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/ab-sweden.html

      Or perhaps Swedish women are not haunted.