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What the Pro-Life Position Ignores

Who’s not pro-life? In the abortion debate, one side focuses on the life of the fetus, while the other focuses on the life of the woman and the quality of the life of her potential child.

One Christian view of life on earth portrays it as “the cramped and narrow foyer opening up into the great hall of God’s eternity” (William Lane Craig). What a dismal view of life—something simply to be endured as we wait for the real Life to begin. By contrast, the atheist, certain of only the one life we all know exists, is the one who lives life to the fullest. It can be argued that the atheist is the one who’s truly pro-life.

But let’s leave the conventional labels and consider the pro-life position. If there were no downsides of carrying a fetus to term, if carrying the fetus to term were nothing more than a minor inconvenience for the mother, then the abortion question wouldn’t be an interesting issue. But of course there are downsides—big ones. To bring a child into the world, poorly cared for in the womb, unwanted and unloved by its mother, abandoned by its father, neglected or abused, or growing up in squalor or in an abysmal home—for me, that potential harm eclipses the harm of denying a cell the chance to grow into a person. Demanding that the state step in and declare that it knows the consequences better than the mother seems an odd position to take for typically conservative Christians.

Long-time commenter Y. A. Warren speaks from personal experience:

We are arguing for the wrong rights. Every child has the right to be wanted and loved. As one of nine children of neglect and abuse, I stand for the right of a child to be given back to the energy of universal life rather than suffer the abuse and neglect that leads to fear and anger, which in turn lead to violence against oneself and others.

A similar view:

I love my mother, and having an abortion would have given her a better life.

Adoption?

The pro-life advocate has a quick answer: carry the child to term and give it up for adoption. But this does nothing to address the problem of the woman unable to or uninterested in caring for herself and the baby properly during the pregnancy. Or of the baby with identified birth defects. Unhealthy babies are far more likely to live out their childhood in foster care.

“Just put it up for adoption” is hopeless naïve when only two percent of all births to unmarried women ended in an adoption. For teen mothers, the rate is even less. Let’s not pretend that if the mother’s life and home situation aren’t conducive to raising a baby until adulthood that she’ll always put the baby up for adoption.

Even if a teen mother chose to have her baby adopted, the consequences of the pregnancy are dramatic. She’ll miss school, she’ll be ostracized, and she’ll go through an emotional meat grinder when it comes time to give up her baby. And since the statistics say she won’t and will almost surely keep the baby, she’ll have no chance to get back on track for the life she had planned.

I have a mental image of an anti-abortion activist looking with satisfaction on the girl he just talked out of having an abortion, with no understanding of the shackles he may have placed on her life or the hellish environment to which he has may have consigned that child-to-be. Infuriating.

A request for plain talk

Imagine hearing this from a pro-lifer to a pregnant 15-year-old girl: “Okay, an abortion would be a smart thing from the standpoint of your education, career, life, family, finances, happiness, and so on. I’ll grant you that. But it’s still morally wrong.” Oddly, they never do.

I don’t know if they don’t understand it or if they don’t want to admit it.

The alternative to abortion rights is compulsory pregnancy. My claims are simple: that (1) some lives are truly abysmal and (2) creating such a life (for the mother or the child) is a bad thing. I doubt that my argument has convinced any pro-lifers to budge in their position, but I do demand that they acknowledge the terrible burden that making abortion illegal would place on a million women each year.

Read more:The Spectrum Argument

Only in American can you be pro-death penalty, pro-war,
pro-unmanned drone bombs, pro-nuclear weapons,
pro-guns, pro-torture, pro-land mines,
and still call yourself “pro-life.”
— John Fugelsang

(This is a modified version of a post originally published 1/11/12.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia

About Bob Seidensticker
  • RichardSRussell

    More than that, consider what pregnancy does to a woman’s body. I won’t go thru the hemorrhoids, continual nausea, loss of sleep, backaches, etc. which get progressively worse over the course of 9 months, I’ll just focus on the final 24 hours, which are devoted to trying to force a bowling ball thru an opening the size of your anus, with associated rending of flesh, blood, screaming, etc.

    If you were some kind of crazy fanatic warlord (like, say, Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army) who tried to do that to a man with an actual bowling ball — not just once but repeatedly, for millions of men (all against their will, of course) — not a person on Earth would have a single qualm about branding you one of the most brutal, fiendish torturers of all time and wouldn’t blink an eye when you were hauled of to The Hague to stand trial for war crimes.

    And yet, force that same fate upon millions of women, all in the name of your benevolent religion, and you can actually have the gall to stand up in public and try to claim some kind of moral high ground.

    “Pro-life” is short for “proliferators”, as always, but it’s synonymous with “torturers”.

    • jejune

      They justify this position by falling back on gender essentialism.

      Biology is destiny.

      It’s what women are for.

      Women were designed to have babies.

      Humans would have gone extinct long ago if pregnancy was not safe.

      etc
      etc
      etc

    • Y. A. Warren

      The rending of our flesh doesn’t end after the birth is finished. I have undergone surgeries to correct problems caused by childbirth since the day of my son’s birth. The last was when I was 60 years old. This is my body; this is my blood, indeed!

      • smrnda

        I suspect that many men who editorialize on the issue are *not* very knowledgeable about female biology.

        • jejune

          If I had a nickel for every guy who has told me that pregnancy is healthy and that women were *designed* for it….

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

          It is pretty annoying to see the face of pro-life being mostly male. That they can never understand the issue personally doesn’t disqualify them from commenting, but it’d be nice if they had a little more humility.

        • Y. A. Warren

          Absolutely true.

  • jason

    I wish that pro-lifers would remember that pro-choice is NOT pro-abortion.

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

      Christians are presumably outraged at the idea of Sharia law. “Follow it yourself,” they’d say. “If it makes sense to others, they can follow it personally as well. But don’t impose it on society. What does it say that you must impose it?? Only that it’s not compelling.”

      Outraged, that is, except when it comes to their morality. That, by contrast, is quite reasonable to impose on everyone.

      • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Unfortunately, I think they’d probably just say “Sharia law should not be imposed because it’s wrong. However, our God’s law is right, and should be.” Perhaps not that blatantly, but that’s how it boils down I think.

    • jejune

      I have explained that you can be ‘pro-choice’ when it comes to hair dye, but 1) never dye your own hair 2) don’t care if anyone else dyes their hair

      And they say ‘but but, the fact that you don’t want to make hair dye illegal just prooooooves that you’re pro hair dye’

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

        It’d be nice if more pro-lifers were humble enough to not demand that their own views be imposed on others. If they think it’s wrong for themselves, great. If they want to share that view, great. But please don’t impose that view by law on the rest of us.

      • Itarion

        Please tell me you’re joking. You can’t NOT be joking. Is there never middle ground? Can no one say, “I cease to care on this subject!”? Why is someone always right? Why does someone HAVE TO BE right?

        • jejune

          You are 100% RIGHT in this case:)

        • Itarion

          *sigh
          Oh thank goodness.

          The fact that I could believe that someone, somewhere, would be so solidly stuck in that line of thought speaks poorly of myself, of people in general, or both. I sincerely hope that it is just myself.

        • jejune

          Yes. And one of the fellows arguing this stated that he was RIGHT because he works as a GENETICIST, and as a GENETICIST, he is always RIGHT that ‘pro-choice’ actually means pro-abortion!

        • Itarion

          Because people who get casual abortions are MORE likely to pass on their genes.

    • smrnda

      I suspect that many of them have a hard time grasping the notion of choice at all, that you can be *OK* with someone doing something even when you yourself don’t want to do it. It’s probably because they believe in One Right Way for Everyone.

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

        The “I hate big gubmint … except when it enforces the moral rules that I prefer” argument seems a bit biased. I don’t see why that’s not obvious to them.

        • Itarion

          Biases seem a bit biased… Except when they’re my biases.

      • Kodie

        To be fair, they think they speak for the innocent embryos. Since they decide they are people, people who can’t fight for their own rights, of course they have to impose this situation on everyone to save them from being aborted.

        • smrnda

          That might just be a bit of realpolitik. There’s no push to protect born children, but protecting a zygote/embryo/fetus means controlling a woman.

        • Kodie

          Just because it doesn’t make sense doesn’t mean it’s not true. It is an emotional argument for the people arguing it, one that involves the precious innocent pre-borns who can’t speak for themselves, and their slutty mothers who should get their shit together and get married or keep their legs closed, and stop begging the government to fund you, your sexual encounters and all your bastard children, etc.

          My suspicion is that they know damn well people will keep having sex, and if they take away all avenues to prevent unwanted pregnancies or make it more possible for women to have babies they otherwise could not afford, they can seize on the vulnerable women at the crisis pregnancy centers and broker all the healthy white newborns to Christians who can’t have babies of their own. Religion is all about how to make money. To motivate the front line pawns, it’s all giant posters of 6-week fetuses that look like newborns.

  • jejune

    I have a mental image of an anti-abortion activist looking with
    satisfaction on the girl he just talked out of having an abortion, with
    no understanding of the shackles he may have placed on her life or the
    hellish environment to which he has may have consigned that child-to-be.
    Infuriating.

    It’s the girl’s fault for ‘spreading her legs’. That’s what they always say.

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

      And that’s what the militant Muslims say. Isn’t it marvelous when religious people from different viewpoints can come together?

      Kumbaya!

      • Itarion

        Sure, Kumbaya My Lord and all, but as the question follows, (say it with me, kids) “Which Lord?”

    • GubbaBumpkin

      And if she was raped, she was asking for it.

  • smrnda

    William Lane Craig, who you quoted, argued that genocides in the Bible were okay since all the dead babies and kids went to heaven, since they couldn’t be brought up to worship false gods. By his own logic, abortion is *good* since it guarantees the baby goes to heaven.

    I suspect the pro life position, along with being against contraception, is just part of demanding that women (and men) live according to rigid gender norms.

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

      Yes, I can’t see how Craig wiggles out of this conclusion. Also, Andrea Yates, who drowned her children to save them from hell was correct–she did save them from hell. She should be a saint in Craig’s book.

      • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Oddly enough, the “age of accountability” idea isn’t in the Bible. So those children are in hell by a strict literal reading, although this has become unpopular in recent times, even by people who otherwise read it literally. Even they recognize how incredibly depressing that would be apparently, not that it stopped others claiming unbaptized infants were going to hell and further tormenting parents over the centuries before.

        • smrnda

          I’m just holding them accountable to their own theology.

          Also, heaven and hell are more NT ideas. The OT doesn’t really have much to say about it, and even the NT isn’t really that informative.

        • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

          I know, just pointing out its lack of scriptural support. And you’re right, OT had basically no afterlife, NT barely goes into what hell’s like, and heaven even less so.

        • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

          I know, just pointing out they aren’t Biblical. And you’re right, the OT doesn’t really have an afterlife, with the NT is vague on both, particularly heaven.

      • JT Rager

        Well who are we to question those killings that are mandated by God? God wanted those children to be in Heaven, part of his merciful way was to bring the children to him where they would otherwise be heathens. You can’t know as well as God, so you shouldn’t be able to abort like he did.

        Or some such nonsense. Not sure.

  • Y. A. Warren

    I am honored that you used my quote, but I’d like for you to give attribution to me. There is more like this on my blog OneFamilyManyFaiths.blogspot.com and occasionally re-posted on Patheos by Laura Paskell-Brown of Women of Spirit and faith.

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

      The source I have is “Y.” That was you, I guess?

      Sure, I can give attribution. Just “Y. A. Warren”?

      • Y. A. Warren

        Yes, Bob, Y is me. Y.A. Warren would be fine. Thank you.

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

          OK, change made.

        • Y. A. Warren

          Thanks, again.

  • tyler

    why is it that forcing a person to give birth is perfectly fine but paying into a welfare system to help support those people is a fundamental violation of our human rights

    • Itarion

      Because… umm… Jesus? That’s what my Sunday school teacher said to say. If you don’t know the answer, Jesus is an acceptable answer.

    • jejune

      Because, everyone is supposed to take *responsibility* for their actions.

      So, if a woman commits a crime like have consensual sex, and gets pregnant as a result, she should *be responsible* and have the kid.

      And if she can’t afford the kid, or multiple kids, too bad, she needs to suck it up and *be responsible* instead of stealing money from tea party pockets.

      And if her children are on the verge of starving because she isn’t getting any help? Well, she should *be responsible* and give all her babies to a nice white Christian family!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kodie

      Not having a safety net is supposed to be a deterrent to sexual activity. They refuse to have to pay more taxes so that other people can have an active sex life without consequences. Women should find a husband first, and he should take care of her and their child.

    • Scott_In_OH

      why is it that forcing a person to give birth is perfectly fine but paying into a welfare system to help support those people is a fundamental violation of our human rights

      Because neither of those positions forces the person advocating for them to do anything except feel morally superior.

      • jejune

        I think that the goal to eliminate poverty and provide the poor with welfare and other social programs is not so much a matter of ‘moral superiority’ as a matter of pure pragmatism.

        What do you think would happen to the crime rate if welfare and other associated social programs were eliminated? And how about the problem of child poverty? I hear that certain large South American cities are plagued by gangs of children who run around stealing and causing all sorts of trouble. The third world also has a good model – child labour. If the child cannot afford to feed itself, it can work, by hauling bricks. Or by selling it’s body for sex.

        EDIT: If I read you right. If I didn’t nevermind. Yeah I think I misread you, however, the pro-lifers do not seem to be concerned by *utility* at all, they seem to be worried about morals first of all. Even if it involves cutting off their own noses to spite their faces, morals first!

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

          The article below (from 2001) argues, “Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime.” The reason, of course, is that someone brought into the world unwanted and unloved will have a higher likelihood of becoming a criminal.

          I’d like pro-lifers to hear that they are content with the consequences of a post-Roe world. I’m not arguing that we don’t like potential murderers, so let’s kill them in the womb. Rather, I’m demanding that pro-lifers take responsibility for what they’re asking for.

          The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime

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

          Here’s the beginning of that article:

          Since 1991, the United States has experienced the sharpest drop in murder rates since the end of Prohibition in 1933. Homicide rates have fallen more than 40 percent. Violent crime and property crime have each declined more than 30 percent.

        • jejune

          Contraception has also played a role in lower crime crates, I believe.

          I was reading up on Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, and she was concerned about the health of miner’s families. These families would often have up to 12 children. With each successive child, the mortality rate rose. By the time you got to the 12th, the child had a very very high chance of dying within the first year. She also pointed out that such poor people could not easily afford to feed so many kids. So they sold their kids off into slavery – child labour and prostitution.

          If you look at developing nations today, you will also notice a trend of young children, specifically girls, getting married off aka sold at a very young age. The family has to eat, and they cannot afford to feed a daughter who will just drain them of resources.

          More children than people can afford inevitably leads to more poverty and misery for all. And that infanticide link that I posted last night is also relevant to this discussion.

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

          Contraception providing greater social happiness.

          Wow–who’d’ve guessed?

  • RandomFunction2

    To Bob the broken (yet fabulous) atheist,
    There is something you’re leaving out in your argument. Who are we to decide what life is worth living? I cannot decide for someone else if their life is good or bad. Everyone has to assess their lives themselves, and no one else has the right to decide that the life of their neighbor is worthless, even if the neighbour is going through hard times. Maybe the neighbour believes in something or hangs onto something that keeps him or her alive and satisfied despite all the problems.
    That’s the faulty premiss with this kind of pro-choice arguments. The idea that just because some conditions of life appear harsh to an external observer, everyone, should they be born in those conditions, would regret being born.

    • jejune

      The neighbour = a person

      A microscopic zygote = a potential person

      BIG difference.

      And just because YOU might think pregnancy is a minor inconvenience, you know, as an *external observer*, doesn’t give you the right to make medical decisions for people you don’t know.

      • RandomFunction2

        While it’s true that pregnancy is a big inconvenience for a woman (no question about that), I’m not sure it can be said to outweigh the wrong of killing a person-to-be.

        • jejune

          The right to life does not trump all other rights, and it does NOT trump the right to bodily autonomy.

          A microscopic zygote should not have de facto *ownership* of a woman’s body just because it MIGHT BECOME a baby in 9 months. Born persons don’t even have that right. And you think a single cell organism should have it?

        • RandomFunction2

          The right of an innocent person to life trumps all other rights in my book. I mean, what can be more important than life itself? To use your other rights you first need to be alive. To enjoy the goods of life, you first need to be alive.
          So the question is really whether a fetus is a person. But that’s not how Bob chose to argue.
          Besides, it’s misleading to speak of a fetus as being a single cell. A fetus is anything between conception and birth. Some ethicists say that abortion is wrong from conception on. Some others say it’s ok until the baby is born. And some say that at some point in the pregnancy it becomes wrong.

        • jejune

          Good.

          Then I hope you support mandatory organ donation.

          I hope you support forcing people to put their health and lives at risk to save others.

          After all, the right to life trumps all other rights.

          The ZEF is NOT innocent. 1) it’s not a person, stop begging the question 2) it is infringing on the woman’s body, and, regardless of intent, it is not an innocent party. Also, innocence requires sentience, and a microscopic embryo, and even a partially developed fetus, is not *capable* of guilt or innocence.

        • RandomFunction2

          There is a difference between forcing someone to do something without any fault of that person and holding a person responsible for his or her actions. Besides, making some actions mandatory requires much more justification than forbidding some actions.
          But I would still hold that abortion is morally unproblematic in cases of rape. Because the raped women cannot be held accountable for her pregnancy, so that it’s unfair to demand that she should complete it.

        • jejune

          Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.

          Because the raped women cannot be held accountable for her pregnancy, so that it’s unfair to demand that she should complete it.

          So a ZEF is only a ‘person’ with a life worth ‘protecting’ if that ‘person’ was created through consensual sex?

        • RandomFunction2

          Consent to sex is implicitly consent to whatever might predictably follow from sex, including pregnancy. Because birth control is not always 100% safe.
          I need to make another point: in a pregnancy, the male partner shares exactly half of the responsibility for it. It’s grossly unfair to blame the woman only. In some cases, if the male partner had been more supportive, there would have been no abortion.

        • jejune

          Consent to sex is implicitly consent to whatever might predictably
          follow from sex, including pregnancy. Because birth control is not
          always 100% safe.

          Consent to eating is implicitly consent to whatever might follow from eating, including choking. Because eating is not always 100% safe.

          Consent to skiing is implicitly consent to whatever might follow from skiing, including a broken leg.

          Consent to driving is consent to the possibility of a car accident…

          Consent to smoking is consent to the possibility of lung cancer…

          The above are all medical conditions.

          Pregnancy is a medical condition.

          We do not deny people health care because they ‘implicitly consented’ to a risk and got hurt.

          You want to punish women for engaging in consensual sex, and you see forced pregnancy as that punishment. (which is why you don’t consider abortion in the case of rape to be murder, the woman didn’t willingly ‘spread her legs’, so she doesn’t need to be held accountable for her slutty actions)

          It’s grossly unfair to blame the woman only. In some cases, if the male partner had been more supportive, there would have been no abortion.

          So what? The man doesn’t suffer ANY of the physical effects of pregnancy, so saying ‘I blame the man too’ means jack shit. Nothing more than empty words.

          And no, you assume that if the male had been more supportive, the woman would have reconsidered.

          Let me guess, you are one of those ignoramuses who believes that a 1950s style wedding is the ‘solution’ to the problems of casual sex and abortion.

          Here’s a newsflash cupcake – married women have abortions too. Sometimes a woman just doesn’t want to be pregnant – AND SHE HAS THAT RIGHT.

          Anyways, we all know that your opposition to abortion isn’t about your concern for the precious ‘unborn babies’ – if it was, you woudlnt’ talk about how a rape victim can MURDER HER UNBORN BABY because she wasn’t RESPONSIBLE for putting it there.

          You’re all about slut-shaming, and that is abundantly clear.

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

          Pregnancy is a medical condition.

          We do not deny people health care because they ‘implicitly consented’ to a risk and got hurt.

          To take the “You got pregnant, so you gotta live with it!” attitude in other areas, what do we do with the guy who accidentally shot himself? When he goes into the emergency room, do we say, “Deal with it, pal–maybe this will teach you a lesson”?

          The man doesn’t suffer ANY of the physical effects of pregnancy, so saying ‘I blame the man too’ means jack shit. Nothing more than empty words.

          Yeah, but think of the shame. Golly, he must feel awful. Kinda puts the woman’s plight in perspective, eh?

          And, admittedly splitting hairs, the “man” is quite often not technically a man (assuming that means 18+). To give a teen powerful drives and then pretend that they can just be discarded when they’re inconvenient? Unrealistic.

        • jejune

          To take the “You got pregnant, so you gotta live with it!” attitude in
          other areas, what do we do with the guy who accidentally shot himself?
          When he goes into the emergency room, do we say, “Deal with it,
          pal–maybe this will teach you a lesson”?

          I am expecting RandomFunction to come back with some bullshit about how surgery for a self-inflicted injury PRESERVES LIFE, whereas abortion TAKES A LIFE. Oh, and senseless reproduction is ALWAYS GOOD. MOAR BAYBEEZ MAKES JESUS HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

          RF2 would surely appreciate a spectrum of value in the animal kingdom. For example: slug < rat < lifestock < pets < people. Why not see the obvious parallel in human development?

        • RandomFunction2

          To Bob the broken, yet fabulous, atheist,
          I see what you’re getting at with your Spectrum argument, but it’s actually impratical because there’s no objective way of deriving concrete norms from it.
          It’s ok to kill a zygote (on your view).
          It’s wrong to kill an infant.
          But if there’s a perfect continnum between the zygote and the infant, how and when are we supposed to switch from right to wrong? Part of the problem is that you cannot derive an ought only from an is.

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

          I see what you’re getting at with your Spectrum argument, but it’s actually impratical

          Step 1: agree that there’s a spectrum of personhood. Do we agree?

          because there’s no objective way of deriving concrete norms from it.

          Politicians wrestle with tough moral problems all the time. What should the penalty be for a bank robbery? For a robbery with a gun (not fired)? For a gun (fired)? For a robbery where someone gets physically hurt? Mentally hurt? Does it matter how many people were threatened? What if no one was threatened and the theft was after hours? What should the penalty be for the driver who didn’t come in?

          And on and on. These aren’t academic issues. We’re talking about denying someone (potentially) years of their lives. Or maybe their life if someone was killed during the robbery.

          And yet legislatures throughout the world, large and small, have wrestled with and solved this puzzle. And thousands more like it.

          That doesn’t say that deciding the point at which abortion should be illegal is easy but that it’s no tougher than many, many other legislative challenges.

        • RandomFunction2

          I’d say the rationale behind penalties for crimes is how best to reduce them and to prevent second offenses. There are objective ways of knowing it, so the penalties need not be arbitrary.

        • jejune

          How much jail time should women get for procuring an abortion at 8 weeks?

        • RandomFunction2

          I’m not advocating imprisoning women who abort! Unless it’s clearly a case of selective abortion on the ground of the fetus’ gender.

        • jejune

          So you don’t consider abortion to be murder?

          Unless it’s clearly a case of selective abortion on the ground of the fetus’ gender.

          And why does this get special consideration? Do you have any idea WHY women abort based on gender? Do you? How ignorant are you?

        • RandomFunction2

          I don’t know if abortion is murder, but I do know that law cannot and should not try to punish whatever is immoral (and besides there is some room of disagreement among citizens over what counts as immoral).

        • jejune

          Why then the special consideration for gender selection?

          Do you even have a clue as to why gender selection occurs?

          Think really hard, cupcake.

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

          Huh? I can’t even tell if you see my point or not.

          Can we not cloud the issue?

        • jejune

          Dude, I can’t even parse what s/h/i/t said there.

          I’m still scratching my head.

        • jejune

          When the fetus is capable of sentience and of surviving outside the womb.

          The US Supreme Court compromised, and chose 24 weeks as the dividing line.

        • jejune

          Consent to swimming is consent to drowning – even if you are wearing a life jacket.

          http://i.eatliver.com/2012/9399.jpg

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

          Wish I’d said that!

        • smrnda

          I don’t buy the ‘consent to consequences’ argument because we don’t accept it in other areas. If I walk out of a store in winter I might slip on ice and fall, but we might argue that the store’s accountable to keep its premises clear.

          Pregnancy is also not the usual outcome of sex, statistically.

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

          Pregnancy
          is also not the usual outcome of sex, statistically.

          I read that the number of sexual encounters that result in pregnancy is about the lowest for humans (bonobos, too, I’m guessing?). Like 1 out of 1000?

        • Aureliano_Buendia

          “But I would still hold that abortion is morally unproblematic in cases of rape. Because the raped women cannot be held accountable for her pregnancy, so that it’s unfair to demand that she should complete it.”

          Why? Do only raped women not consent to pregnancy? You seem to think that sex = pregnancy. And thus, consent to sex = consent to pregnancy. But nowhere else in reality does anyone believe that.

          If I wish to drive a car, do I consent to dying in a car accident? Of course not! It is a risk – and one I can seek to minimize, or if an accident occurs, one I plan to ameliorate.

          As jejune said, consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.

        • smrnda

          That perspective makes me think it’s really about slut-shaming, since if it’s really about ‘innocent life’ they’d just be across the board no abortion.

        • Aureliano_Buendia

          Gallup polls have shown that around 20% of people DO think abortion should be banned across the board. It always seemed off that someone would call themselves “pro-life” and still accept any abortion.

        • jejune

          I also would suspect that there is a certain amount of ignorance regarding the biological realities of pregnancy.

          A few months back, before Savita Halappanavar died, a bunch of misogynist old men had a conference in Ireland, where they concluded that ‘abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of the woman’.

          So these people may actually believe that it is always possible to save both!

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

          There are lots of people who are pro-life just for themselves. They’re not arrogant enough to demand that their views must be binding on everyone else.

        • jejune

          And this is one thing that pro-lifers prefer to ignore.

          When the results of the gallup poll come back, and omg, 51% of Americans self identify as pro-life..this does not meant what they think it means.

          Many people *personally* identify as pro-life, but would never try to ban abortion.

        • Baby_Raptor

          So what about when birth control fails? What about men who lie about having had a vasectomy? Or cases of birth control sabotage?

          And, like jejune said, consent to sex is NOT consent to pregnancy. Keep your twisted ideas of responsibility in your own life. For me, having an abortion would be the responsible thing to do if I got pregnant now. I can’t afford a baby and I can’t afford to risk my job for a pregnancy. Nor do I think I’m obligated to go through the emotional trauma of losing a second child just so your warm fuzzy feelings are placated.

        • Ellie

          And there it is folks….”Because the raped women cannot be held accountable for her pregnancy”

          “Held accountable”. Yes we get it, a woman who has sex is the problem here according to you. And she needs to know her place and have a baby, rather then make the responsible choice that best suits her.

          And I’d like to also point out out…in response to “life trumps all other rights in my book.” Well lets go on your assumption that a fetus is a full individual human being like you and I, you and I do not have the right to use another’s body to keep us alive. We have laws against that, no forced organ donations, blood donations and so on. Even in death we do not make it mandatory for someones body to be harvested of healthy organs to save the life of another, it’s against the law. The fact is you are arguing that the fetus has more rights then you and I, rights that will strip the woman of her autonomy and bodily integrity all so she can “be held accountable”.

        • Aureliano_Buendia

          “The right of an innocent person to life trumps all other rights in my book.”

          Well… fantastic! Let your uterus follow the rules of your own book. Go and give birth as many times as you desire, though for the sake of your offspring I hope said desire does not kill or bankrupt you.

          “I mean, what can be more important than life itself?”

          New Hampshire says freedom. “Live free or die.” Or, assuming you are Christian, what about salvation? I mean, if you think nothing is more important than life, then “Christ dying for our sins” is less important than “Christ living forever on Earth.” Right?

          “So the question is really whether a fetus is a person.”

          Not remotely. Not only have you failed to support the idea that “life” is the most important feature of existence, the Christian religion denies such an idea, and now the goalposts have moved to the “personhood” of a fetus.

          It’s almost like you don’t believe in your own arguments, as you keep changing them :-(

        • RandomFunction2

          Well, you’re right that in some circumstances, a person ought to sacrifice his or her life to a higher ideal or to save the lives of other people. However, I fail to see how that applies to the abortion issue.
          So, yes, in some circumstances there are things more important than life. However, in those circumstances the person who is to sacrifice his or her life must have the choice and do it freely. But the fetus doesn’t have such a choice.
          Yet I agree that if the mother’s life is endangered, then abortion is perfectly fine.

        • jejune

          It applies to the abortion issue because you believe that women should be FORCED to sacrifice their health and bodily integrity to preserve the life of another.

          Here’s a hint, we don’t *force* people to donate organs or even blood – even if it means that lives will be saved.

          We don’t *force* people to rescue others from perilous situations if the rescuers life and health will be put at risk.

          Why do you want to give a right to fetii that no human has and subjugate women, stripping them of their bodily autonomy?

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

          But the fetus doesn’t have such a choice.

          The very idea of the fetus participating in this decision is
          ridiculous. Doesn’t this fact illuminate the issue?

        • jejune

          It makes sense if you take the view that the woman is a *slaveowner* and the fetus a *slave*.

          The ZEF didn’t ‘choose’ to be created, see, so to deprive it of the right to someday be a baby, the woman is guilty of extreme cruelty.

          Of course, this view fails to take into consideration that the ZEF is infringing on the woman’s rights, and not the other way around. It is using her body, and benefitting from the use of her organs. The woman does not gain any benefit from hosting a ZEF for 9 months. In fact, it is deterimental to her health in many cases.

          However, the pro-lifers view ‘denial of existence’ to be the cruelest punishment of all. They cannot understand that by creating a child that will be unwanted, one is necessarily imposing suffering on that child, and that to choose NOT to bring it into the world is preferable to giving birth and subjecting it to abuse and neglect.

          And they always think that a miracle will happen. Even if the fetus has no brain – as in the case of anencephaly. Nope, doctors are *often wrong*, and hey, I know a beautiful supermodel/nobel prize winner who was born without a brain but she magically grew up to live a normal life!!!leleventy!!

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

          And I keep coming back to the crux of the matter: imposition. If we were just arguing against what the other person thought right for themselves, it would be an academic issue. But that’s not the goal. The goal of the pro-lifers is to impose their view, by law, on the rest of the country.

          (Isn’t that kind of un-American? I thought we celebrated individual responsibility and all that.)

        • Kodie

          So, yes, in some circumstances there are things more important than
          life. However, in those circumstances the person who is to sacrifice his
          or her life must have the choice and do it freely. But the fetus
          doesn’t have such a choice.

          If you gave a fetus a choice, what would they say? They don’t have a concept of what life is (a lot of work) and what death is (nothingness). They already experience nothingness, and lack curiosity to know what their other choice would be like. So fuck that.

        • smrnda

          When my grandfather was in a coma, we didn’t ask him whether or not he should remain on life support; the doctors asked us.

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

          The right of an innocent person to life trumps all other rights in my book.

          We’re not talking about a person. We’re talking about various stages of fetus—maybe a single cell, maybe a clump of cells as big as a sesame seed (5 weeks), and so on.

          The right of a slug doesn’t trump all other rights, I’m sure you’ll agree, so what that living thing is is very relevant.

          So the question is really whether a fetus is a person. But that’s not how Bob chose to argue.

          As a single cell, no, it’s not a person. That’s the point I make in the spectrum argument.

          A fetus is anything between conception and birth.

          Right. It’s a spectrum of personhood.

        • Baby_Raptor

          Cool, you’re uneducated too. A fetus is not “anything between conception and birth.” At conception, it’s called a zygote. After 5 days, it develops into a blastocyst. After a bit more development, it becomes an embryo.

          A pregnancy is not considered a fetus until 8-9 weeks.

          Again, please educate yourself on how pregnancy actually works before you go trying to dictate what other people should have to do with their own bodies.

        • Kodie

          I think the problem here is assigning “innocence” to something that is not a person. It has no qualities of innocence or guilt. That is just an emotional argument that has no play when you really look at it (under a microscope).

        • Baby_Raptor

          An “inconvenience”? Women DIE from pregnancy. You’re aware of this, right? And that’s just the most extreme example of what can go wrong.

          Please stop talking about this until you’ve thought it through and can take it seriously. You clearly cannot now.

    • Baby_Raptor

      You know who gets to decide if a fetus should develop into a life? The person who has to give her body up to develop it. Also, the person (or people) who will sacrifice the next 18+ years paying for/raising/nurturing that potential life.

      The ~magic of baybees~ does not just make everything shiny. And until it’s your life, your pontification on what should and shouldn’t be done is immoral, intrusive and unwelcome.

    • Kodie

      It’s likely the parent would have some idea! It is their choice, not my choice. If they want to continue the pregnancy, that is ok, and if they think abortion is the better way to handle it, that is ok too.

      Now, the second part of this is a little more difficult. Society including religious mores may cause a pregnant woman to think she has to deal with being pregnant and having a baby when she otherwise would choose not to be pregnant in the first place. If there is societal pressure and guilt, even if the parent could rationally say “this will not work out well for all of us,” they end up having a baby they can’t care for properly, then, well, what was stopping them from choosing abortion? Why should the child suffer in life because someone was superstitious about abortion? Why should other people’s superstitions influence a person who could otherwise help herself and make her feel too guilty about that option to choose it?

      It should be up to the parent alone and not up to anyone else.

      • RandomFunction2

        The point I wanted to make in answering the argument of Bob the broken atheist was just that you can’t ASSUME that just because the life of a baby-to-be will involve a lot of suffering, his or her life will be wasted and worthless. There is only one person that can tell: the baby. If you kill the baby-to-be, of course you’ll never know his or her opinion. You’ll have acted on your own opinion instead, which is actually little more than a guess and a chain of more or less valid inferences.

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

          The “baby to be” doesn’t have an opinion. That’s the point.

          Right now, it’s not developed enough to have one. 20 years from now is just a fantasy that doesn’t exist. Neither one is as important as, for example, a newborn baby.

        • RandomFunction2

          That’s a different point. The argument you made at the outset was a counterfactual like “if we let the baby be born, he or she would then regret being born”. It was that very statement that I challenged. Because we have no right to make that decision as if we knew better than the baby.
          While we’re at that, we could decide that the lives of mentally challenged people, psychotic people or people with Alzheimer’s disease is not worth living and terminate their lives… It’s the same logic at work. The hubris of thinking for someone else.

        • jejune

          Because we have no right to make that decision as if we knew better than the baby.

          The pregnant person has every right to make that decision. I, for one, would rather prevent a child from being created than birth a child and give it up for adoption. It may have a great life, it may lead a terrible life, but I am not willing to take that chance.

          Besides, life involves suffering. When you create a child, you do not ask it’s consent. By creating a child, and forcing life upon it, you are essentially imposing suffering on it.

          While we’re at that, we could decide that the lives of mentally challenged people, psychotic people or people with Alzheimer’s disease is not worth living and terminate their lives… It’s the same logic at work. The hubris of thinking for someone else.

          These people already *exist*. They are sentient individuals. They can suffer. They can experience life. A non-sentient non-sapient ZEF isn’t even aware of it’s own existence. It won’t miss not existing, because until it’s born, it doesn’t exist except as a *potential* child.

        • RandomFunction2

          “Besides, life involves suffering. When you create a child, you do not ask it’s consent. By creating a child, and forcing life upon it, you are essentially imposing suffering on it.”
          Precisely. But then, it’s not for us to decide whether the child’s life is meaningful despite his or her suffering. The child is a unique life, a unique consciousness with a unique viewpoint and unique values. It means that no one else will see life exactly as he or she will.

        • jejune

          But then, it’s not for us to decide whether the child’s life is meaningful despite his or her suffering

          Correct. But a ZEF isn’t a child. Potentiality is not actuality.

          Children are born entities. Fetii are not children.

        • Kodie

          You are making an exception for human potential. I have a problem with this. Nobody asks to be born, and life is hard. It’s 24/7 for a parent. To me, life is putting up with a lot of shit I would rather not put up with just for the few hours a week I can be free to do what I wish, and it’s not what I really wish, it’s just what I have time or money to do. I am not living my full potential, and you know what? I have come to terms with that. That is not a good reason to be born, but I was, so this is basically all there is. A thing that has no concept about what it will be like out here on the outside will not be missing things I miss. I would not put myself through that just to put someone else through this, on the off-chance they may like it more than I do.

          The parent knows that better than an embryo does. You are in favor of a unique individual emerging and experiencing – what is lost if they don’t? Why should you get to tell anyone that the fetus they are carrying should get to roll the dice in case life is worth living? You have no say and they have all the say.

        • Ella Warnock

          “The hubris of thinking for someone else.”

          Yes, quite.

        • Chuck Farley

          So, are you in favor of letting born people decide to end their own lives if they find them unsatisfactory?

        • jejune

          The point I wanted to make in answering the argument of Bob the broken
          atheist was just that you can’t ASSUME that just because the life of a
          baby-to-be will involve a lot of suffering, his or her life will be
          wasted and worthless

          By that logic, there is no excuse to not breed like rabbits and create as many babies as possible. After all, they could all lead wonderful lives full of fairy farts and rainbows.

          Why not create more kids than you can possibly feed? After all…there is no guarantee that their lives will *suck* due to malnutrition and neglect. A miracle could occur, and that poor kid born in the deserts of Somalia could be the next Einstein!

          So, let’s just create as many babies as humanly possible! Just think of all the potential!

        • RandomFunction2

          Nonsense. There is no obligation to conceive more babies. A nonexistent person has no right to exist. For someone to have any right, that one has first to exist. In some cases, it’s wiser not to conceive more lives. But ONCE a baby-to-be has been conceived, it’s morally problematic to just destroy it.

        • PNW

          It’s actually not.

        • jejune

          A nonexistent person has no right to exist

          Agreed. The ZEF is a nonexistent person. It is only a potential person.

          But ONCE a baby-to-be has been conceived

          I am GLAD that we agree that the ZEF is only a ‘baby to be’ and not an actual baby.

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

          I assume ZEF = zygote/embryo/fetus?

          Is that your term or is that standard?

        • jejune

          Standard.

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

          For someone who doesn’t line binary lines (“You can abort up to day x, but on x+1, sorry–too late”) you have a pretty dramatic binary line yourself.

          The twinkle in my eye? Not an issue. The fact that my wife and I had 2 kids instead of 15? Doesn’t trouble you at all. That I didn’t sow wild oats as widely as possible? We’re good.

          But at Day 0 on the spectrum? Bam–100% person. Killing that would be morally like killing a newborn, a 10yo, or an adult.

        • jejune

          . Killing that would be morally like killing a newborn, a 10yo, or an adult.

          Except RF2 doesn’t believe that such ‘murder’ should be punishable in the way that ‘murders’ are usually punished!

          /boggle

        • Kodie

          If you have a tree on your property, occasionally, seedlings of it will start to grow nearby. I assume you have no problem pulling them out of the ground, even after they start to look like little trees of their own, because you wish to have a yard and not grow a forest, and you want to keep the roots far from your pipes and the foundation of your house. Is that morally problematic to just destroy all the extra trees you don’t want on your property?

        • Kodie

          A non-existent person should not be forced to exist either.

        • Kodie

          So people who don’t have sex with each other are depriving a potential baby from being created who may just have a wonderful life, even if it seems unlikely, so they have to fuck just to make sure that person gets a chance to live and see if their life was worth living after all.

          That’s basically what you’re saying.

          You don’t care about people.

  • QueenMedea

    You are forgetting Christians think it is proper to suffer, that it is our place to suffer. They don’t care if the child born is abused because it is all part of God’s plan to lead that child to Jesus, they don’t care if the child starves or is murdered AFTER it is born because then it is a blessing and the child gets a pass into eternal grace. You cannot argue or reason with people who do not think rationally.

    • jejune

      “Suffering teaches compassion”

      And, from a story I heard on FTB: “A neonate was slowly dying. Born too early. The Christians present said ‘at least she got the chance to live, if only for a few hours’ and ‘her suffering will teach us compassion.”

      That SURE sounds like exploitation to me.

      If ‘god’ is all good, why does god permit the suffering of children? And if it is to teach us ‘compassion’, isn’t that still exploitation? And isn’t it wrong to exploit people? And even if we do learn compassion as a result, and the exploited youngster goes to heaven, that still does not *justify* the exploitation.

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

        Teach us compassion? That’s the best way that the all-powerful creator of the universe has to teach us compassion, by causing agony in a newborn? What kind of sadistic SOB is this guy, anyway?

        Indeed, we do our best to learn and grow from tragic situations, but the injection of “God dun it!” into the equation isn’t at all helpful. It just paints God as a jerk.

  • Matt

    Going off this logic, why isn’t it morally wrong for impoverished women – whose children have grim futures – to strangle their infants and toddlers?

    This entire argument presupposes that the life of a fetus is less valuable than the life of an infant. Otherwise, you surely wouldn’t be suggesting ending the subject’s life as a serious alternative to the problem of poverty, neglect, etc.

    • jejune

      Infants and toddlers = separate, sentient individuals. And if you are so impoverished that you can’t feed your kid, give it to someone who can.

      However, I would like to point out that infanticide has been practised as a method of birth control for thousands of years. *Especially* during famine, and times of stress.

      I recently read a book by anthropologist Marvin Harris where he talked about some people in South America who are vehemently anti-abortion. I think it’s an indigenous tribe that have converted to Catholicisim or something. Anyways, abortion is the greatest crime that can be commited!! So, what do the villagers do when they have too many children to feed? They starve the infants to death and write it off as unavoidable illness. The infant was just too weak to survive! And everyone pretends to be sad. They all do it, they all know they are doing it, but they pretend that everything is above board and that everyone is wonderfully moral and Godly.

      Edit:

      Going off this logic, why isn’t it morally wrong for impoverished women – whose children have grim futures – to strangle their infants and toddlers?

      How morally wrong is it to know with certainty that you will be bringing a child into the world and imposing suffering on it as a result? Is it ‘moral’ to give birth to a child you literally cannot feed? Would it have been moral for starving Somali’s to keep pumping out kids they know are going to slowly starve to death?

      Would it be moral to knowingly create a child that will suffer from a severe genetic disease and other disabilities?

      If it is wrong to walk up to a healthy child and 1) starve and neglect them 2) give them a disease or disability, then why is it moral to knowingly create something that will then suffer from 1 and 2 ?

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

      This entire argument presupposes that the life of a fetus is less valuable than the life of an infant.

      Yes, the life of the single cell is less valuable than the life of an infant (to take the extreme example).

  • RandomFunction2

    By the way, I don’t think that the solution is to outlaw abortion. The solution is to change the social conditions in which women live and the ways males relate to them, so that abortion may gradually become unthinkable.

    • jejune

      Not gonna happen.

      Your 1950s utopia isn’t the answer.

      In fact, it never existed.

      • RandomFunction2

        Sure it won’t exist perfectly, because people are intrinsically broken (especially males). Still, we may have ideals and struggle to get closer and closer to them.

        • jejune

          Why do you believe that males are ‘intrinsically broken’

          In what sense?

          Oh, and how misandrist of you. Really.

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

      If you want to make abortion unthinkable, your first step is comprehensive sex education and easy access to contraception. Who cares if teens are screwing like rabbits if the holocaust of abortion is reduced or eliminated?

      • Kodie

        I don’t know why the goal should be to make abortion unthinkable in the first place. Birth control can fail, and teens have a reputation of being unreliable and prone to peer pressure, as well as not often having a complete picture of the financial impediment having a baby poses to their future. What I’m cautiously supposing is that people, not just teens, at times, have romantic illusions as to what sex is vis-a-vis being in love and belonging together. Other people do not share this illusion yet are having sex with them anyway.

        As a society, we like to pretend teens aren’t having sex, and if they are, that they’ve listened to a single word you’ve said about precautions. In my opinion, it should not be the goal to make abortion unthinkable. Less common may be ok, but it pains me when people say abortion is fine, it’s ok, it’s a woman’s choice, but also maintain some aversion to it, as if it should always be a last resort and really rare. I think if abortion were to be rarer, it would have even a bigger stigma. Abortion should be normalized. I don’t know if that means more abortions, I just think people shouldn’t feel ashamed to have one, or monumentally disappointing to everyone who knows or could find out.

      • RandomFunction2

        I would agree that contraception is morally unproblematic (despite the views of the Catholic Church which almost no one else shares) and I would also agree that sex before marriage is not a big deal, as marriage has become so costly and complicated in our societies, without the sex instinct being any the less weaker.
        Of course, sex within a stable relationship is better than random sex.
        However, I would still like to make the following point: cheap contraceptive methods are not 100% safe, so people using them should be aware that there remains a possibility, however slight, of pregnancy.

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

          despite the views of the Catholic Church
          which almost no one else shares

          Well, let’s not dismiss this 800-pound gorilla. The Roman
          Catholic church alone has almost three times the membership of all Protestant denominations.

        • jejune

          Of course, sex within a stable relationship is better than random sex.

          Some cultures have no problem with lots of random sex. In fact, it’s a perfectly valid reproductive strategy.

        • smrnda

          Interesting point. On contraception, would you support subsidizing more effective methods for people who could not afford them?

          Sex within a stable relationship may be better, but a home-cooked meal is better than a lunch on the run, even though I eat “on the run” far more often. It’s a matter of availability. People who want sex are going to have casual sex when a long-term partner of choice is unavailable,.

    • Kodie

      Abortion should always be available and thinkable. What you are suggesting is imprisoning women to the men they have sex with just because they created “a life” together. Idolizing and idealizing sex as the marital bond is not the future. Marriage, in the religious sense where virgins are property and men seek to own them is a form of birth control. I would actually like to see the day when abortion is not that big a deal to people. It is probably the second least convenient form of birth control, next to marrying because you “have to”, but I hate how it is still taboo, and early pregnancy is fraught with this critical decision that affects your whole life.

      Clue: Having a baby affects your whole life. Not having a baby is the opposite of that, and people shouldn’t be made to feel like this is a heavy decision to make as early as possible. Pro-forced-birth agenda makes people think they have to deliberate over it several weeks until they’re absolutely certain it is right. A rational decision to end a pregnancy should be like a rational decision to pay your rent on time, not an emotionally heavy one, like whether to take a great job in another continent and be away from your family.

      If you want a baby, stop using birth control. I think it is like stepping off a mile-high diving board to do that. You know, oh crap, we’re really doing this now, we’re really risking everything we know to become new people and have a new role in life. On the other hand, if you are pregnant, and you are not willing to be, getting an abortion is not the last big decision you will make. If it turns out to be the wrong decision, just have more unprotected sex until you get pregnant again. There is just a giant superstition about that aborted life. You don’t know who that was going to be, and it doesn’t matter. Having an abortion is essentially reversible. Nobody should regret having one. Giving birth is not reversible. You can’t change your mind if it was the wrong thing to do, and it can be regrettable. I would like to see the day when abortion is not warned to be more regrettable a decision than having a baby.

    • smrnda

      Do you mean encourage contraception? Because, believe me, women enjoy casual sex and often don’t want to get pregnant. It’s not all men pressuring women from sex and then refusing to be a father – women sometimes don’t want to have kids, or at least don’t at the present moment.

      • RandomFunction2

        Education about contraception is indeed part of the solution. Though Catholics would disagree.
        But another part is to teach people not to see children as a burden and an impediment to self-fulfillment, but as a blessing.

        • Kodie

          But that’s a lie.

        • RandomFunction2

          What do you mean?

        • jejune

          Children are not a blessing.

        • Kodie

          I mean that’s already the propaganda. Nobody hasn’t had that message shoved down their throat their whole life, with the exception of men. Men are allowed to have the impulse to run.

          I mean that it would be more responsible to lay out all the pros and cons instead of just the myth that children are blessings and all parents don’t resent or regret them at all. We’re not allowed to talk about parenthood like it’s a job that actually does impede all other goals and aspirations a person might have. We are allowed to call people who don’t want to have children (whether just right now or ever) “selfish”. We’re allowed to make people feel bad because they don’t have what everyone else has, but we’re not allowed to broadcast how much life-long labor is involved in civilizing that animal called a baby.

          All you ever hear is that children are blessings, so fucking come on with this romanticized shit. Get real, it may be that they are to people who want kids, but they are also a lot of work, and they do have a tendency to get in the way of achieving other dreams. I think it’s likely that most people who want to have a kid and try to get pregnant are surprised to find out what nobody told them – it’s a goddamned lot of work too. You love them but you kind of wish you’d had a heads up and make a rational decision about it.

          You are making it sound like all people hear is how hard it is to raise kids and you wish people would understand the truth is that they’re a blessing and not work at all! It’s not true! It can be both, but you can’t leave out important information like that.

        • jejune

          Some people were not ‘meant’ to be parents, and teaching them that parenting is wonderful isn’t going to change any minds.

        • Kodie

          All people should make the decision to become parents with all the information available. It can be a blessing AND very expensive and a lot of work. It will always be the latter, no matter what your opinion of yourself or of children is, or where you are situated in life. But that is downplayed. People don’t need to be taught that children are a blessing because that’s all you ever hear. People need to be taught that children are expensive, needy, and hard work, and apparently worth it to some people. But no, we don’t need to romanticize it per RF2.

        • jejune

          There are a few sites dedicated to stories from people who regret having children:

          http://www.thecheers.org/Opinion/article_1027_Parents-Regretting-Parenthood–More-Common-Than-You-Think.html

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

          But even if no one did, saying to the single mother, “Look–you love your child, right? You wouldn’t want it gone from your life now, right?” is hardly proof that avoiding an abortion was a good thing.

          My wife and I could’ve had lots more children. We didn’t, and the thought of all those might’ve-been children that aren’t alive because of my selfishness doesn’t cause me to lose any sleep at all.

        • jejune

          Yeah, a common tactic used by pro-lifers. An appeal to emotion.

          My favourite is the one that goes like this: “yeah right, walk up to your child and tell them how much you’d love to see their skulls crushed, sicko!!” or “tell your kid you’d like to see them torn to pieces, this is why abortion is wrong!@!@!”

        • jejune

          And they really believe that this is a slam-dunk.

        • Kodie

          I’m sure that’s true too. Babies are cute and we’re trained to want them, but the novelty wears off and you still have to feed them and make sure they don’t fall down the stairs, etc. Your whole life becomes in service to them and I don’t think people should lie about that. If it’s still what some people think they want to do, then I don’t have a problem with that. I do have a problem with people being against their own abortion on the premise that society frowns on it, so they should “suffer the consequences” and “do the right thing”. I want there to be less stigma or hesitation about it, and less emotional appeals. Having a baby changes your whole life, and not having a baby doesn’t change it at all. Why are people concerned with what other people’s opinions are? If they can calculate their future financial situation, why should society callously add to their burden by making them feel guilty about doing what they really wanted or needed to do?

        • jejune

          People got really angry when Angelina Jolie said that her twin newborns did nothing more than shit and eat. That they were just lumps of flesh, basically. And that she could empathize more with her older kids.

          People went BERSERK. “How can you say a newborn does nothing more than eat and shit!!?” “You hate babies!!”

        • Kodie

          That’s really all anyone does though. I do think of babies as more sponge-like, mentally, than most people seem to. These people who opposed Jolie’s comments are the same kind of people who think little babies and children don’t remember things, when they are building everything they know on everything they experienced from the time before. These are the people who consider young babies and children as vessels for simple information like counting, colors, and ABCs but not everything else. By the age of 10, they will not specifically remember things or events, but certain fears we have come from early experiences and probably the adult “shh, shh, calm down, nothing’s wrong”. While the adult categorizes it into baby bullshit things babies over-react to, we tend to forget they are new here and without language. They’ll forget all about it, and they are still some kind of blank slate mentally, etc. I don’t think that’s true at all. They eat and shit and have nothing else to do but look around and absorb.

          So I tend to think there is nothing we humans do more than eat, shit, and, beyond a certain ability, keep the eating and shitting happening until we die with some sort of learned skill, and a few hobbies to occupy all the time between eating and shitting. In case you hadn’t noticed, food is a major cultural fixation! Meeting people over lunch or dinner, getting together for a holiday feast, snacks for football viewing on Sundays, and that’s pretty much all we live for, and it all turns to turds. Pretty much everything else we do is in service to making turds. Having a job so we can eat and not starve to death – is it really fulfilling? No, it’s for eating. Under a roof, with a stove and a fridge. Oh yeah, there’s sleeping too. Sleeping is weird because we love sleep but we deprive ourselves of sleep. We have babies on purpose and never catch up.

        • smrnda

          There’s lots of ‘forbidden thoughts’ when it comes to your kids. Nobody is EVER supposed to regret having kids for a moment, which is probably why there’s so much hostility towards people who choose not to have kids. If everybody has kids, you never see someone without a kid and think *wow, that seems like it might be nice…*

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

          We don’t tell victims of car accidents to suffer the consequences. They got into the car, knowingly. Didn’t they know that there was a chance that they’d get injured?

          Why should unwanted pregnancy be different?

        • jejune

          I have heard a few responses to this:

          1) you take ‘responsibility’ for your car accident by paying your hospital bills

          2) cars are meant for transport, you are not consenting to the risk of an accident. Sex is a reproductive act, driving a car is a transportive act

          3) when you receive help for your car accident, it is to preserve a life. when you receive ‘help’ for your unwanted pregnancy, you are KILLING a life

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

          1) And one way to take responsibility for your unwanted pregnancy by having an abortion. It’s not for everyone, but that’s the best choice for some people.

          2) Sex is lots of things, one of which is a reproductive act. Making babies will be a goal for some people and a tragedy for others. Humans have 1000 sex acts (I’m drawing from a fallible memory here …) for every delivered baby. Sex is clearly a lot more than making babies.

          3) The girl/woman with an unwanted pregnancy needs our help to preserve her life as well. True, she likely won’t die if she has the baby, but that would likely put her on a very different road than the one she’d planned for herself. In a sense, you are killing a life–that fork in the road that is no longer open to her. As for the fetus, would anyone say, “But you’re killing a life!” if the life were of a slug? Clearly, there’s a broad spectrum to “life.” Show me that the woman is inherently wrong for valuing the life of a tiny clump of insensate cells less than her own.

        • jejune

          1) responsibility should not involve killing

          2) sex is still a reproductive act, and you can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. sex evolved to create babies, that’s what it is for, and you shouldn’t be having sex unless you intend to procreate. don’t disobey evolution

          3) unless the girl is bleeding to death, she has no right to take the life of an innocent unborn baby. and you can’t kill a person on the off-chance that they *might* hurt you sometime down the road. besides, what is wrong with you bob? would you really demand that your right to an education, or a good job, overrides someone’s right to LIFE. boy, you are selfish!

          ———

          Sorry Bob. It’s actually easier to argue pro-life than it is to argue pro-choice. The pro-life stance is not very nuanced. It boils down to two points 1) killing is always wrong 2) unborn babies are innocent

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

          1) responsibility should not involve killing … anything? Not a tsetse fly? Not a guinea worm?

          I don’t think most pro-lifers are Jains. “Killing is always wrong” is obviously not what they believe.

          2) “Sex evolved to create babies”? So our imaginary Christian is down with evolution, apparently. (Well, that’s a good start.)

          You gotta eat to live … but eating to an extreme or eating poorly is bad for your health. Yes, eating feels good, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good meal, but let’s have some common sense. To take an extreme case, someone who gets Type 2 diabetes gets care treated.

          I see a parallel here with sex/pregnancy.

          3) Abraham Lincoln once said: “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

          If you want to call your single cell a “baby,” that’s fine. Just don’t impose that view on the rest of us.

          ———

          If you’re saying that, by throwing out any semblance of logic, common sense, and reality, a pro-lifer can weave together a story that makes him happy, OK.

          I hardly find that a compelling argument and feel no need to abandon the high ground.

          It boils down to two points 1) killing is always wrong 2) unborn babies are innocent

          And 1 (and variations that would make it less ridiculous) fail.

        • jejune

          They really have a problem when asked ‘is killing always wrong?” “is it always wrong to kill children?” then, when they say ‘why yes, of course’ you ask them to justify the Amalekite genocide:P

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

          Yeah–you can’t kill a single cell but you can kill an adult.

          And yet, in their minds, it makes perfect sense.

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

          RF2: good to hear your embrace of education. That’s what baffles me about the traditional pro-lifer: he demands both no abortion and minimal sex education and access to contraception. And that 100% of people are supposed to be celibate until they get married at–what’s the average age of marriage now?–27 or so?

        • RandomFunction2

          I don’t find myself at home in either the conservative or the liberal side. I think both of them are limited.
          Marriage is indeed an issue in our modern societies. Religions have taught rules against sex before marriage since the Antiquity, but they have failed to notice that the institution of marriage has undergone very deep changes in the modern world without the sex instinct becoming any the less weaker. The invention of safe and cheap contraception has also changed the picture.

        • smrnda

          I’ll vote you up for realizing these changes have occurred. Religious views of marriage, sex, and relationships are just outmoded.

          I suspect that marriage will more or less fade out of the picture for a larger and larger segment of the population.

        • smrnda

          I’m all for education about contraception.

          On the latter point, it isn’t going to happen, since the reason why women choose abortion is because having children *does* conflict with their self-fulfillment and well-being. You’d have to re-engineer reality for that one.

        • RandomFunction2

          Self-fulfillment isn’t self-evident. It’s to some extent a social construct. It’s the culture that chooses to value some ways of life more than some others and that dictates what is the good of each social group. So for example a male teenager is induced to want to become a rock star or a top athlete.
          That same culture has chosen to put a premium on money, luxuries and professional advancement and to belittle whatever personal relationships are not rooted in utility.

        • jejune

          However, forcing 51% of the population to all have the same job – homemaker/mother – because they happen to be born with a uterus, uhm, that’s bullshit.

        • jejune

          And replace self-fulfillment with self-determination.

          Anatomy is not destiny.

          At least, as a guy, having a wide variety of professions open to you, you can improve your lot in life. Not so much if you’re a homemaker. As a homemaker, you are tied to the house, and to your fertility. Your DESTINY is determined by everyone but yourself. Your value is tied to your role as helpmeet to your husband. And, traditionally, in patriarchal societies, women have the same status as the farm animals. They exist as property. to clean house, prepare meals, and create babies for the husband.

        • smrnda

          You seem to be assuming that you can either want marriage and kids, or else it’s all about status, money and other shallow things in which people exist only as pawns to be exploited.

          Child-free people, who are often not monogamous, still have other people they love and are deeply committed to. They still give back to their communities, they do volunteer work, create art, pay taxes, and I don’t see why we have to bash any interest in a career as ‘materialism.’ I design software for a living. I don’t sit around thinking *wow, money status* I’m thinking of “how do I solve this interesting problem?”

        • jejune

          Child free people can love their pets.

          They can love nature.

          But hey, you only think that ‘love’ can be expressed by shitting out babies, amirite?

  • wladyslaw

    Nothing in the world, not the greatest art work, not the greatest piece of music, not the most fantastic invention, not the most incredible discovery, not the most wonderful good work of mercy and compassion, nothing — is as important, as impossibly powerful, as unbelievably astounding, as what happens when a man and a woman unite sexually to produce an entirely new human. Nothing.

    • jejune

      ::yawn::

      • wladyslaw

        ::yawn::
        That “yawn” is exactly the reason that divides the pro-life argument from the pro-choice view.

        We believe that you, Jejune, your conception and growth to your present age, are more important than any invention in world history, more precious than any work of art, more incredible than any discovery.

        You possibly may not believe that about yourself, or others.

        • jejune

          No, what divides us is that we hold the radical view that women are people, not just incubators.

        • wladyslaw

          That’s strange. I also hold the radical view that women are people, not just incubators.

        • jejune

          If you believe in forced pregnancy, you believe that women are mere objects to be used by fetuses.

          It’s called reproductive objectification.

        • wladyslaw

          I don’t believe in forced pregnancy.

        • Kodie

          You believe in consequences which is the same thing. Stop being such a fucking liar.

        • jejune

          You believe in forcing women to remain pregnant against their will.

        • Kodie

          You are a liar. You can’t have it both ways.

        • jejune

          And lemme guess…you’re anti-LGBT too, aren’t you?

    • Kodie

      Oh, wladyslaw. You are so brainwashed.

      • wladyslaw

        It’s easy to name call and make fun of the other person’s view when you choose not to address, or can’t address the argument.

        • jejune

          Here is a newsflash sweetie – all animals can have sex and reproduce.

          Big.Fucking.Deal.

          It’s biology, not magic.

        • wladyslaw

          “Big.Fucking.Deal.”
          Absolutely the biggest deal in history. The possibility of ANY life on this earth, and the reality of conscious human life, is
          absolutely astounding. Evolutionists and theoreticians are now resorting to “multiverse” or life came from aliens, or Mars, as answers to the miracle of life. And conscious human life is the greatest miracle of them all. And so are you.

        • jejune

          yeah, you lost all credibility when you started talking about how life is a ‘miracle’

          BTW, a zygote/embryo/fetus isn’t a conscious human life:P

        • wladyslaw

          “Life is a miracle.”

          Yeah, I forgot.
          To you it merits a yawn.

          To us it’s a miracle. I guess it’s easy to understand why abortion would not be a problem for you.

        • jejune

          That’s great.

          Think it’s a miracle all you want. Just don’t impose your view on others.

        • Kodie

          It’s only a miracle if you ignore how every other thing on earth reproduces. A real miracle would be if every animal on earth fucked to mate, but people were still made of dirt like in Genesis.

        • jejune

          I just want to say, I love your posts Kodie and agree with everything you’ve written.

          Even IF you don’t believe human beings are miracles :PP

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

          If you see life as a miracle, great. Just don’t impose that view by law on the rest of us.

          Selfish, no?

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

          No, scientists point to the multiverse (1) because it is a consequence of physics that is well established and (2) because it resolves the fine tuning conundrum.

          Yes, panspermia is a plausible explanation for how early life got on earth, but it doesn’t help us with the development of that first life. But there are some tempting hypotheses there.

          Being a living thing, yes, life is pretty cool. But why single out human life? Yes, obviously, as humans we value that highly. But that’s hardly an objective conclusion. In the entire web of life, humans are important only in how destructive we are.

        • wladyslaw

          ‘In the entire web of life, humans are important only in how destructive we are.”

          And so the abortion of 55 million Americans in the past 40 years is at most, a hiccup.

        • jejune

          I can’t wait for you to compare abortion to the holocaust.

        • wladyslaw

          I won’t even try. If ” humans are important only in how destructive we are.’ why should the holocaust matter.

        • Kodie

          It’s not different information than you brought up a few months ago in the last round. You were stupid then and you’re stupid and uninformative now.

        • jejune

          OH gawd you know this idiot?

        • Kodie

          He kept two thread going to about 900 or so posts with the same idiocy.

        • jejune

          We are past 3,000 posts over here http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/08/and-you-wonder-why-i-see-the-right-as-anti-woman.html#comment-1062792107

          because a wladyslaw style idiot keeps saying lalaalala women who ‘kill unborn babies’ are selfish sluts lalalalala

          over and over and over and over and over

          use your best argument on her, and she will say ‘WOMEN WHO KILL THEIR UNBORN BABIES ARE SELFISH! UNBORN BABIES HAVE FINGERS AND TOES AND THEY ARE CUTE’

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

          Well … not really all that cute. Here’s a fetus at 6 weeks (and 1/4 inch long):

          http://www.baby2see.com/development/5w2d.jpg

          If that’s yours and you think it’s the most fabulous thing ever, great! Just let someone else have their own opinion when it happens to them.

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

          That was my first (and only) 1000-comment post, if I recall.

          Kind of worth celebrating. In a bizarre way.

        • jejune

          I said I’d give you a couple of links, so here goes. This is based on the little bit of reading I did last night – you appear to have spent some time debating conception.

          So, I figure you might find these articles to be of interest:

          There can be no ‘life’ without a healthy egg:

          http://discovermagazine.com/2004/may/cover#.Ukc8Tz9GKHs

          I am constantly referencing this next article. This guy explains epigenetics, and how a zygote really is NOT a carbon copy of what you will become.

          http://www.sullydog.com/sullysites/qm/classicmeat/10-01.htm

          I have also found this article to be really interesting:

          http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/When_does_life_begin%3F

          I had no idea that conception can take up to 4 days. My question for the pro-lifers would be…at which point during that 4 days is a ‘new unique human being’ magically created? And once you read that Discover article, you will see that if the egg is defective, fertilization will still complete, however, the zygote/embryo will spontaneously abort 100% of the time.

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

          Are you saying that this bothers you? That surprises me–I thought you weren’t keen on comprehensive sex education in public schools plus straightforward access to contraception. Correct me if I am misremembering.

          Abortion can’t be that big a deal if you can’t trouble yourself to take the steps to fix it.

        • Kodie

          You didn’t make an argument. You made an unsupported assertion.

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

      Wlad: uh, OK. If that’s your personal view, that’s fine.

      Just don’t impose your personal view on the rest of us.

      • wladyslaw

        Bob,
        What act of man do you believe is more important than you?

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

          More important than me as a person?

          I dunno. The invention of the computer. The internet. GPS. Airplanes and cars. Trains and steamships.

          The printing press.

          (Unless I misunderstand your question,) I’m flattered that you’d ask a question that would even suggest that I might be near the top of the list. Sadly, I’m not.

        • wladyslaw

          I, and pro-lifers, do believe that you are incredibly more important than computers, or the internet, or GPS.

        • Kodie

          You aren’t making any arguments, still. Just unsupported assertions. You believe this or that, doesn’t mean you are correct!

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

          Do you feel the same way about the uncountably many babies who haven’t been born, but would’ve, if a different combination of egg/sperm/parents happened?

          My wife and I had 2 kids. We could’ve had 10. Are we murderers of 8 not-children as a result?

          Now that I’m born, it’s nice that you think I’m important. I think you’re important. I don’t want you killed; vice versa, I’m sure. Group hug.

          But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about a single cell. Or a tadpole-like embryo under a microscope, of course) the size of a sesame seed at 5 weeks. And that, I’m afraid, is less than a person.

        • jejune

          Richard Dawkins made the point that we are the ‘lucky ones’ because we have been born.

          That there is essentially an *infinite* number of genetic combinations that will never exist because everyone ever born can’t fuck everyone else :)

          Because Bob was born, another potential ‘miracle’ was not.

          I think that people such as wladyslaw are obsessed with *potential* life. With ‘what could have been’.

        • Kodie

          Contrarily, I think people like Wladyslaw are even further behind. He’s obsessed with the chance meeting of Bob’s father’s sperm and Bob’s mother’s egg that would not turn out to be any other person. That particular occasion of fucking (sorry Bob), was predestined to create Bob, and not Rob, or Bo, or Roberta. Bob is a magical creature, we are all magical creatures. Since we exist, we are meant to be, and thus, according to Wladyslaw’s beliefs, essential to the current population of the earth. We’re not just pieces of a puzzle, we’re not interchangeable, or replaceable, we’re a unique and predestined pot of DNA who have to live until god says we die, then we have free will and every fertilized cell has DNA so they have to live until god says they die. They’re unique and not interchangeable or replaceable, and they have to live until god says they die.

          Wladyslaw does not give a single fucking shit if that DNA has any quality of life. It is only the uniqueness of their DNA that he worships. He doesn’t care if they eat, or if they work, or if they love, or get an education, or anything.

        • jejune

          Bob is a magical creature

          Bob, that should be your tagline :P

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

          I think that people such as wladyslaw are obsessed with *potential* life.

          With an earlier commenter on this topic, I had a long (and polite) conversation. Though he tried to sidestep it, it seemed clear that his was an argument from potential.

          His argument, in effect, devolved into: I have human DNA, and that single cell does, too. That’s it. That’s the commonality. That’s why it’s absolutely wrong to kill that single cell.

          Not very compelling.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,

          No, I am not obsessed with “potential life.” I’m very interested in actual life.

          Evolutionists believe that at some point in history of the world there was NO life, but there was POTENTIAL life in the primordial soup. AFTER that moment all life was actual.

          ALL your ancestors were actually alive.

          The US government has the same punishment for destroying an eagle and destroying an eagle egg. Why?

          Destroy a living eagle–one less ACTUAL living eagle in the environment.

          Destroy an eagle egg–one less ACTUAL living eagle in the environment.

          (NOT just one less egg). Government doesn’t care about less eggs, they care about less eagles.

        • jejune

          No, I am not obsessed with “potential life.” I’m very interested in actual life.

          Then be careful where you walk, and don’t kill any bacteria next time you clean your counters.

          Government doesn’t care about less eggs, they care about less eagles.

          Eagles are endangered. Humans are not.

          And an eagle egg is a potential eagle. Just like a human ZEF is a potential person. More eagles is good for a balanced ecosystem. We don’t need more humans.

        • wladyslaw

          I think when Bob said “potential life” he was speaking of human potential life in the context of abortion, and not bacteria.

          The government doesn’t care about less eggs. If the government knew I had an egg that was certifiably dead, not alive, and I destroyed it, nothing would happen.

          They care about less eagles.

        • jejune

          Bacteria is *actual life* however. Stop trying to deny it.

        • Olive Markus

          The difference is here is that by forcing a woman to “carry potential life”, you are devaluing her life and her bodily autonomy.

          That is very much valuing potential life over actual life, via valuing the fertilized egg over the woman’s body, mind and life.

          We are punishing others that would destroy an Eagle egg. We wouldn’t punish the Mama Eagle for destroying her own egg. We would also punish somebody who performed an unwanted abortion on a woman, correct?

        • Kodie

          You know, if humans were endangered, they might have something to say about intruding on people’s lives and forcing pregnancy and birth. We endangered eagles, so it’s kind of our fault and we should try to preserve them. To be honest, I would not be in favor of forced birth under any circumstance. It should still be up to the individual if they want to play a part in repopulating the earth with humans, and not a crisis in which the government has the right to intervene. Pretty much “oh well”.

          We’re messing up humans too – we’re letting people go hungry and not having good-paying jobs or healthcare. We shouldn’t be trying to increase the population if we’re not interested enough in caring for our neighbors once they are born. You seem to think their value is their unique DNA, and why does DNA matter to you so much? Why doesn’t feeding that DNA matter to you, why doesn’t caring for that DNA’s mother matter to you?

          You only care about the empty sentimental value of a unique individual being potentially anyone, after which, you are in favor of making them conform. Why does their DNA matter to you? I know you like to avoid using the word “soul,” but that’s what you mean. You mean a particular egg and a particular sperm made a particular SOUL in the instance of fertilization. What the fuck other difference could there be between my DNA and another sperm getting to that egg a little faster.

          Wouldn’t I be missed? Wouldn’t the world be such a sad place without KODIE because someone else usurped my birth?

          You keep dodging these questions and making up answers to other questions.

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

          No, I am not obsessed with “potential
          life.” I’m very interested in actual life.

          Actual life … of slugs? Of mosquitoes? Of rats?

          Or are some beings more valuable than others in your mind?

        • jejune

          Appeal to emotion.

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune,

          If what I said about Bob is not a FACT, just emotion, you then think that Bob is not as important as computers, the internet, or GPS.

        • jejune

          No, he isn’t. And neither am I.

          Even though I hear he’s written a pretty good book :)

        • Kodie

          Wladyslaw,

          If you are trying to be rational and not emotional, you fail at it. By restating someone’s argument to find out if they believe Bob is more important to them than the internet, (Big SAD Eyes begging the answer) – yes the internet is more important than Bob.

          Except to Bob and his family.

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

          In terms of value to humanity, as I made clear, I don’t count for much compared to the advances science has made.

          Surely you’re not saying that, to save my life, you’d vote for all of Western society to return to the squalor of 1800. Seriously–I’m just not worth it.

        • wladyslaw

          Yes Bob, I would never kill you, no matter what was promised in return. And you are worth it.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          Your value is in BEING a human person. Einstein, or Mr. Salk, is no more important, or less important, than you

        • jejune

          How about Hitler? And Charles Manson? Mao? Stalin?

          Abortion doctors – you know, the people who get paid to MURDER BAYBEEZ

          Do they all have the same value by virtue of possessing human DNA?

        • wladyslaw

          Yes, “all men are created equal, and endowed with inalienable rights–life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

          Not all people live out their life equally well.

        • jejune

          You didn’t answer the question.

          Are Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Bob, Einstein, Salk, Reagan, and the Pope, all EQUALLY VALUABLE ?

        • wladyslaw

          EVERY human is EQUALLY valuable. Their intrinsic worth lies not in what they do, but in their being human.
          Otherwise the caste system in India would make sense. Or any society that deems people to be unequal–slavery, apartheid–would make sense.

          Hitler is not less human than Einstein. The Pope is not more human than Pol Pot.

          But they certainly lived out their lives extremely differently, and you and I judge them by our moral standards.

        • jejune

          Wow, what a bunch of bullshit.

          I don’t even know what to say to this.

          Is Hitler, because he was born human, of more worth than a puppy dog, which is not born human?

        • jejune

          1) Their intrinsic worth lies not in what they do, but in their being human.

          2) But they certainly lived out their lives extremely differently, and you and I judge them by our moral standards.

          You appear to be contradicting yourself here.

          Let me try to get this straight though…

          Hitler and Bob have the same intrinsic value because they are both human. Hitler is not worth less than Bob simply because he murdered about 6million people and caused the death of many more millions. However, because Hitler ‘did some mass murderous things during his lifetime’ we can safely judge him as having less value than Bob.

        • wladyslaw

          Hitler was born with the SAME human value as Mother Theresa.

          Hitler wasn’t born a monster–Mother Theresa wasn’t born an angel.

          What they each did with their life is incredibly different.

          If Hitler was born less than human–born an evil monster–could we fault him?

          If Mother Theresa was born more than human–an angel of goodness–could we praise her?

        • jejune

          We aren’t talking about the relative innocence of ‘fetal Hitler’ vs. ‘fetal Mother Theresa’.

          We are talking about Bob, as he is now, vs. Hitler when he was murdering tens of millions of people.

          You are saying that Hitler, mid-murders, has the same value as Bob, mid-blogging, because both have human DNA.

          i call bullshit on that.

        • Kodie

          You are not making your point any better by bringing Mother Teresa into it – she was a fucking piece of shit.

          But you are also not even making a relevant point. You were asked a question and you haven’t answered it yet. You keep trying to answer some other question.

        • jejune

          I’m still not sure wtf the point is.

          Perhaps I am too dumb to understand?

        • Kodie

          He wanted to compare a human life to a machine, now could we say that Hitler, because he was a human being, was more important or less important than an MRI scanner? Be careful of how you answer it, since abortion=holocaust, that is where Wladyslaw is going with this.

        • jejune

          Yeah, that’s what I suspected all along, and just wrote upthread to Olive.

          The thing is, he’s doing a piss poor job of explaining himself.

          I guess he’s trying to be ‘clever’ about it or something?

          Besides, that kind of reasoning doesn’t apply to ZEF’s.

        • Kodie

          He’s not trying to be clever, he’s just incoherent and throws a bunch of stuff in the way when he can’t answer a question and changes the subject. He knows a lot of talking points and brings them up randomly and can’t stay on topic.

        • jejune

          I guess ‘confuse your foes’ is a valid debate…tactic?

          Perhaps ‘tactic’ is too strong of a word :)

        • Kodie

          I guess it’s a tactic to keep saying things until one of your emotional arguments traps someone into saying something adjacent to what you expect them to say, giving you the opportunity to say more irrelevant things that are both false and emotion-based. I don’t plan to go down this road with him this time. He is basically an ass.

        • jejune

          Yep Olive and I have one just like that. We’ve been dealing with her for 5 weeks. I mentioned her earlier.

          They are worth a few laughs, but not much more than that. However, I hate so say that the annoying one over at LJF kinda has us by the short and curlies:P MUST WIN ARGUMENT ON THE INTERNET

        • Olive Markus

          I don’t think she’ll ever go away.

          Most of them do after a short period of time, but I think she’s in it for the long haul.

          Her arguments are just so silly that I have a hard time letting them go….

        • jejune

          She has been at this, 6+ hrs a day, on yahoo, for more than two years :)

          It’s her hobby.

          Ok, it’s our hobby too, but at least we are capable of varying our arguments…

        • Kodie

          Yeah, last time we saw wladyslaw, it went on for a few weeks at over 1000 posts between him, me, Bob, and Nate Frein (I don’t know where else he goes, haven’t seen Nate in a while, but he’s cool).

          He will let you know when he has to go to bed.

        • Olive Markus

          My thoughts and opinions have changed a lot in two years. It seems maybe hers haven’t…

          This has definitely become my hobby. I don’t know why I love it so much :).

        • jejune

          I feel *compelled* to do it. It’s fun, but it’s also stressful and induces anxiety.

          I get really worried when I run out of rebuttals, or feel that I can’t quite understand someone’s ‘argument’.

          The people who are ‘good with werds’ and play semantic games really throw me for a loop. I like to say things directly, and I tend to understand things directly. A bunch of flowery language and dancing around a point tends to confuse the hell out of me. They also intimidate me because they ‘sound smart’. Even if they aren’t all that intelligent, they can give the impression that they are, and once I am intimidated, I lose my ability to reason, cuz I feel dumb:(

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

          Enjoying it and jumping in is a great way to get past that anxiety.

          I find that people like to hide behind big ideas. “Ah, yes, but of course we must discuss the ontology of that idea before we get to the epistemology. From your question, it’s clear that you are a moron.”

          Much of the time, there’s no there there. Ask questions and you may find either (1) you’ll learn something because there actually a good point that you weren’t aware of or (2) it’s all bluster and you can enjoy watching the shrillness of the responses ratchet up when your interlocutor can’t make you back down.

        • Kodie

          You will come to recognize that wladyslaw finds it impossible to sound smart.

        • jejune

          That made me LOL irl.

          /chuckle

        • Olive Markus

          I’ve had the same experience. I’ve learned that when I start getting anxiety (and I really was for a long time) I had to walk away. And then I had problems with my glasses and couldn’t really come back :P.

          Yes, when people play word games, I get confused easily. I get the same anxiety you do about these things. I believe the entire foundation of Catholicism is “Gourmet Word Salad.” They are the masters of it. They say nonsense with convoluted big words and it’s intimidating. It is still nonsense, but it becomes harder to pick out. I believe this is their biggest feature :) and I’m pretty sure that 99% of theological studies concern turning bullshit into poetry.

        • jejune

          Yeah, remember harveydude?

          He was intimidating at times. Especially when he tried to confuse us all with his ever changing definitions of what ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ mean.

          He did a good impression of the condescending intellectual. But, once I let the anxiety wear off, and thought about his points, it gradually became clear that he was just trying to confuse the issue and weasel out of giving a straight answer.

          Veiled_in_Dance was a tad intimidating today, because she decided to get all ‘lecturey’ with me on science. Science *proves* that an embryo is a human being, and how dare I say otherwise, and if I disagree, it’s cuz I don’t know shit! And like, even though she said that ‘life’ begins at conception, don’t I dare accuse her of assigning personhood to zygotes, because she didn’t actually say that!

          I love Captain Cassidy, who came in and told her that she is entitled to her own opinions, but not to her own FACTS:)

          Feminerd rocks too, she is so *confident*.

        • Olive Markus

          Yeah, I kind of feel that harveydude was being “coached” by someone after awhile, as his posts when he first showed up were vastly different than what they became. I could be wrong, though.

          If you read Bad Catholic’s blog, you’ll see the perfect example of the Word Salad in training. Often, it’s extremely painful to watch as he sorts out ways to convolute, dress up and elongate every single point he’s trying to make. But that is what they learn to do. Intimidation is the game.

          I want to be Feminerd when I grow up. I really do.

          I lack confidence, as well. I don’t think I could even have these conversations with somebody in person. My brain doesn’t work fast enough and I’m easily intimidated.

        • jejune

          I lack confidence, as well. I don’t think I could even have these
          conversations with somebody in person. My brain doesn’t work fast
          enough and I’m easily intimidated.

          Well, it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one!

          I do wonder if those who ‘think on their feet’ are necessarily more intelligent, or if it’s more of a skill/talent than anything. I mean a super street smart salesman can weasel his way out of anything – however, that doesn’t mean he can actually arrive at *truth*, you know?

        • Olive Markus

          Absolutely. I know a lot of people who can “think” on their feet who aren’t more intelligent than I am. However, I have memory issues, anxiety, self-esteem and intimidation issues… these don’t lend well to asserting myself. I tend to freeze when I’m on the spot. I would not be one to depend on if somebody needed emergency care! It’s been a life-long problem, but as certain things get worse, the confidence wears down even more…

        • jejune

          I wanna give you a big *hug*.

          We are so much alike.

          I started following fiona around to various message boards because she is so uber confident – I feel more confident if I am with people who are confident.

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

          Some of the experienced debaters are skilled mostly in rhetoric (Wm. Craig comes to mind). It’s one thing to win a debate with fancy footwork and quite another to convince the audience with a compelling case.

        • jejune

          gish gallop!

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

          Ah, Creationist Duane Gish. Or “Dr.” Kent Hovind. They were experienced speakers who played games to make their points.

          They could’ve used evidence … but they didn’t have any. So they fell back on Plan B.

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

          Pet peeve: spending lots of time on a long comment, then finding that it’s moderated, and then coming back a few days later to see that it never showed up. (Sorry–off-topic rant. But I seem to see that at Catholic sites often.)

          I enjoy face-to-face discussions, but I’m better at writing. Hey–if you don’t like doing it in person, focus on your strengths. Comment at blogs or write your own or write letters to the editor or …

        • Olive Markus

          Oh, yes. Catholic sites moderate heavily. Of course everyone agrees with you when you block all of the ones that don’t! :P

          I started commenting as a way to get over my fear of others. It has helped some. I’ve actually learned a lot.

        • jejune

          fiona and i were banned from LiveActionNews within a couple of days.

          And after I posted pictures of zygotes on Newsbusters.org those posts were deleted.

        • Olive Markus

          It is incredible, isn’t it? They claim, as always, that they are the ones that are intellectually superior and welcoming and honest, but they aren’t. They simply shut out those who disagree with them. If they are so right and so good about proving they’re right, why won’t they welcome any and all adversarial comments?

          Look how long conversations go on these blogs. It takes a lot to be banned, and simply posing arguments doesn’t do it.

        • jejune

          They can ‘justify’ it by claiming that we are just trolls.

          Or that they just feel so sick, listening to our ‘pro-death’ propaganda.

          One homeschooled teen even made a point of telling fiona and I how utterly DISGUSTED he was by us, and another poster bragged about how he was ‘holding his tongue’ because we were just so,so reprehensible (like Hitler, no doubt).

        • Olive Markus

          Well, how can you argue with such convincing arguments as that!! They sure showed you :D.

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

          I’m surprised at how easily such an argument comes to these people. They may indeed have a strong argument. Perhaps they are time constrained and can’t write it just yet. But it makes their “I can’t believe you think your childish argument is actually powerful!” look pretty empty.

          I get a lot of that.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Aww, you are not dumb! You have lots of good arguments.

          And I am ‘good with werds’, and have a big vocabulary, and lots and lots of edumacashun, so I can play word games with most people if they decide to go play in that space :)

        • jejune

          Olive and I both admitted that we wanna be you when we grow up :)

          Captain Cassidy is also seriously impressive. And I am loving Kodie here. There is just so much to learn from each person’s perspective. In many ways everyone is saying the same things, but the way they frame it, the nuanced points they choose to highlight, the way they argue their points…

          I am learning *a lot*.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Heh. I hardly feel grown-up :/. I learn a lot from you and Olive too, though! You’re right, everyone brings their own perspective and their own life experience to what they say, and I, too, am learning a lot.

          I wish I could meet you all in real life. We could get together, mix some drinks or open some wine, eat spaghetti (I make a killer sauce!) and just chill.

        • Olive Markus

          Sorry, I’m having trouble with his statements, and I feel like my brain isn’t quite catching up the conversation.

          I feel as though he’s saying all babies are human therefore worthy, but they’re only worthy because they’re “innocent” and not necessarily because they’re human (when we get to the talk of judging people by their adult actions and their questionable morality).

        • jejune

          Yeah, Kodie gave a good explanation below.

          She wrote:

          “He’s not trying to be clever, he’s just incoherent and throws a bunch of stuff in the way when he can’t answer a question and changes the subject. He knows a lot of talking points and brings them up randomly
          and can’t stay on topic.”

          “He wanted to compare a human life to a machine, now could we say that Hitler, because he was a human being, was more important or less important than an MRI scanner? Be careful of how you answer it, since abortion=holocaust, that is where Wladyslaw is going with this.”

        • Olive Markus

          Ok, it’s starting to come together for me now :).

        • jejune

          Yeah, it’s confusing because he is contradicting himself.

          He says, we judge people on their humanity, not their actions.

          However, once they kill lots of people, we judge them on their actions.

          But, they are still equally valuable, cuz they are human.

        • Kodie

          The thing to understand wladyslaw better is that he doesn’t seem to realize, no matter what you say, that he’s contradicting himself or serving a bad argument. He is not arguing, he is making assertions based on his beliefs. You might as well phrase your replies in another language (or ignore him, or make fun of him!) He is impenetrable, repetitive, and suffers from a great deal of cognitive dissonance. He keeps a polite tone but once in a while tries his hand at sarcasm – he’s really bad at it.

        • jejune

          I like the ‘make fun’ part.

        • wladyslaw

          You’re right. I am bad at sarcasm. You are much better.

        • Kodie

          You are even evasive like a cockroach. How are you not seeing the comparison?

        • jejune

          Is Bob either *more* or *less* important than vaccines and advances in healthcare?

        • jejune

          Is Bob either *more* or *less* important than vaccines and advances in healthcare?

          Answer pretty please.*

          *i can’t fucking believe that I am having a discussion about the relative worth of a blog owner vs. advances in science medicine /facepalm

        • Pattrsn

          I wonder how many pro lifers would consider Bob more valuable than god, that other human creation.

        • Kodie

          And what does that have to do with anything? Why does it have to be an act of man?

          We’re just animals. We FUCK like animals, and we give birth like animals. We are not more special than any other life on this earth except by virtue of perspective, arrogance of species, and power. We have a gun, we can kill a tiger. Does that mean we’re more important than tigers? NOT TO TIGERS. We have a shoe, we can kill a spider. Does that mean we’re more important than spiders? NOT TO SPIDERS. We have antibiotics, we can kill an infection. Does that mean we’re more important than bacteria? NOT TO BACTERIA. We kill life all the time. We can’t stand life if it’s not convenient to us. If there are bed bugs, or dust mites, or houseflies, or mold, or dandelions, or mice, we kill those motherfuckers before they get the best of us. If there are chickens or pigs, or cows, or salmon, or shrimp, we kill those motherfuckers so we can eat them. We hate life. It is so arrogant to prefer humans only, to decide that only human life has any value. Humans are the cockroaches of primates.

        • wladyslaw

          “Humans are the cockroaches of primates.”
          Kodie,

          You are a very passionate person, very strong in your beliefs.
          Why are you–a “cockroach of primates” spending so much time and energy trying to convince another “cockroach of primates” of your point of view?

        • jejune

          I do it for the entertainment value.

        • Kodie

          You think I’m trying to convince you? It’s not surprising you have a high opinion of yourself.

        • wladyslaw

          No, I suppose you are trying to convince yourself then.

          Kodie, for real. Do your friends know that you consider yourself and them as “cockroaches of primates?”

        • jejune

          My god you are one histrionic little creep.

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune,

          According to you It’s just fine if Jodie uses that term to describe humans– she’s not a creep.

          I ask her if she really means that–it really shocked me–does she really mean her fellow humans–and I’m one histrionic creep

        • jejune

          Yeah. She isn’t the one that is pretending that life is all magical fairy farts and unicorns.

          She’s a realist, and it’s ugly, but she’s correct.

        • wladyslaw

          If you really believe life is ugly and that you and your friends and family and I are “cockroaches of primates,” why are you having a discussion about abortion?

        • jejune

          Life might be ugly, and full of misery, but that doesn’t give us the right to enslave others.

          And forced pregnancy is slavery.

        • Kodie

          If you really studied human behavior, it would be obvious to you. You are stuck with misplaced idolization of the human animal. You do know we’re animals, right????

        • Kodie

          Hey asshole – I take care to spell your name correctly every fucking time. It’s a hard name to type because it’s not English, it’s not familiar, but it’s your name. Mine is KODIE, with a fucking K.

        • wladyslaw

          Kodie,

          Forgive me–it’s unexcusable.

        • Kodie

          Because I don’t enjoy the company of so many people, I’ve gone to the trouble of collecting a lot of friends, and we all pretty much agree that humans are the cockroaches of primates.

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

          Heck, when you look at mankind’s impact on the world, who could object to negative conclusion?

        • jejune

          I like Kodie precisely because she believes that humans are cockroaches.

          If she said we were miracles I’d be sneering at her.

        • Olive Markus

          The unfortunate thing is that I don’t think cockroaches would have been able to destroy our home planet, other animals and other humans as profoundly and thoroughly as we have managed.

          Humans are lower than cockroaches. By a long shot.

        • Kodie

          I don’t believe we’re destroying our planet, we’re affecting it. We are definitely an invasive species. Aside from enjoying a little tv and being able to understand the sly jokes, we just are running around like cockroaches with no value for anything else, just food and fucking. Roaches are opportunistic, but I doubt they understand that we don’t like sharing our apartments with them. They are just like people who don’t give a fuck.

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

          People = honey badgers?

          In case you don’t get the reference:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHMg5Yjg

        • jejune

          I love that video Bob;)

        • Kodie

          I may have been too broad. Humans give way more shits than honey badgers, we’re prone to forming an opinion about everything and believe that it matters. It’s the same kind of arrogance that is related to not giving a shit about anything or anyone that also gets really shitty and reacts when anything or anyone gets in the way. It is on tv, that’s why you care. If it wasn’t on tv, you wouldn’t even know. Does anyone ever wonder what might be important that they’re not showing on tv?

    • smrnda

      “An intellectual is someone who has found something more interesting than sex.” – Aldous Huxley.

      Sex is good. Chocolate is also good, but let’s not overrate them here…

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Seriously. I like sex and all, but give me a good book, especially one with lots of new and fascinating things to learn … mmm, better than sex.*

        *Assuming I’ve been laid in the past few weeks and am not in one of my super-horny periods of time. Then sex may trump book. Maybe.

    • Itarion

      Value comes from scarcity.
      Unique items are valuable, not merely because they are desirable, because they are desirable and unique. Without uniqueness they lose value.

      Value is equatable to importance.
      An important person is valuable. Something that contributes worth is more important than something that does not.

      Thus, common things are less valuable, and therefor less important.

      More than 99.99% of humans can have sex. Therefor, sex is common. Because sex is common, it is less valuable, and thus less important.

      So I have shown that sex, including sex that makes babies, is less important than many unique discoveries.

      • jejune

        Zygotes are also incredibly common, and also incredibly cheap. Close to 60-80% spontaneously abort somewhere along the line.

        I remember watching a video on natural selection a few years ago, and the one phrase that stuck out in my mind was ‘life is cheap’.

        Life is abundant, and it is cheap.

        • Itarion

          Life’s also damned persistent.

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

          Close
          to 60-80% spontaneously abort somewhere along the line.

          And baby Jesus lives with it without even crying. I wonder why Christian pro-lifers don’t do the same.

        • jejune

          I showed you a bunch of other links earlier today Bob.

          Did you catch them?

          I am compelled to make sure that everyone has science to back up their claims.

          I think it’s because, even if I don’t trust my debate skills, I can always trust FACTS.

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

          Yes, thanks for sharing. I haven’t read them yet. I like working with reliable information.

        • jejune

          Good deal.

  • avalon

    So what really is the pro-life position? Is it that unborn babies have a right to be born or is it that inescapable pregnancy is the proper punishment for
    illicit sexual activity?

    Here’s how we could find out: Approach a pro-life rally with clipboard and official-looking forms in hand. Say the following:
    “Did you know that a pro-life doctor has perfected a fetal transplant operation that is quick and painless? He’s approached a number of abortion clinics and has a growing list of women who have agreed to give their unborn babies up for transplant rather than abort them. What he needs now is volunteers to serve as fetal recipients for those transplants. This would involve no financial cost to you. Dr. Smith is certain that a healthy young woman could carry to term as many as four transplanted fetuses. And this procedure could be repeated again just three months after the birth. Would you please sign up to be a fetal recipient and help us save babies and end abortion?”

    If you get lots of women signing up, then they really do think that the down-side of pregnancy is really outweighed by the life of the baby. But if they object to the idea and say, “Why should I suffer for someone else’s mistake?” then they’re probably more interested in righteous punishment for sexual misconduct.

    So which do you think would happen?

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

      Awesome gedankenexperiment!

    • jejune

      Heh, I and many others have been debating one such woman on another blog for the last month.

      This woman believes that women who will not agree to blindness/diabetes/disability in order to give the precious gift of life are selfish sluts.

      However, this woman refuses to gestate an ivf embryo. Apparently, giving the precious gift of life to an ivf embyro would be too much of an ‘inconvenience’ for her.

      • Kodie

        Well of course, she’s not the one who spread her legs.

  • Olive Markus

    “I have a mental image of an anti-abortion activist looking with satisfaction on the girl he just talked out of having an abortion, with no understanding of the shackles he may have placed on her life or the hellish environment to which he has may have consigned that child-to-be. Infuriating.”

    I’ve been having a lot of “conversations” with pro-lifers lately. They understand the shackles they are placing on a woman’s life. They consider this a feature, not a bug.

    You have to remember that most pro-lifers have a very narrow of view of a woman’s purpose: She exists as a sex-toy for men and an incubator for fetii. There is literally no other use for her. If she fails to do these things, she is defying God’s reason for creating woman. The important thing is that she is put in her place.

    The goal is never to give life to a baby. They don’t care if the baby is born into poverty, disease, abuse or neglect. They don’t care if that baby dies a horrible death 5 days after it’s born. That they rarely care to do anything about children that are enduring these things makes that very clear. They are the first to punish and vilify the adults that suffered consequences of this kind of upbringing. The goal is always to make sure a woman is punished for daring to think she has a right to her own body and her own life. The ultimate sin is that a woman dares to choose pleasure and not pay the consequences.

    • jejune

      I just got a message from a loser on Rawstory who said that making a man pay child support is equivalent to forced pregnancy, because child support = forced labour for 18 years.

      • Olive Markus

        I think our friend myintx said exactly the same thing.

        I’d like to point out: 1) Giving a few dollars is nothing like forced labor and having your entire life and body turned upside down and inside out. Period. 2) Most men I’m aware of don’t pay jack shit for kids anyway. When they do, it’s almost always way less than what the women must contribute.

        Movies and TV shows that show men barely scraping by because they give their selfish slut of an ex-wife all of their money to raise their beloved children don’t show the truth. Surprise, surprise :).

        I’m of the mind that if a man doesn’t want anything to do with the kid, then he has absolutely no rights to that kid. No rights to talk, interact, claim or interfere with that kid. If he doesn’t want to contribute, then he child is no longer his.

        • jejune

          Help me out here Olive.

          wladyslaw is trying to make a point about the value of human DNA, but fuck me, it’s going over my head

          something about Hitler vs. Mother Theresa and how Hitler has the exact same value as Mother Theresa cuz he’s human, cept he doesn’t, cuz he did bad things.

          it’s giving me a sore head:((

        • Olive Markus

          Well, to be honest, I find Mother Theresa as reprehensible as Hitler, so I see them as having equal value :P.

          I’ll try to read up on what you guys are talking about :).

        • jejune

          Yeah, I know she’s a piece of shit.

          He’s trying to make a point, but I’m not quite sure what it is. I am sure it has something do with how human DNA = miraculous. The innocence of fetii, the miracle of human life…

          Edit: I know what he’s trying to get at. That we shouldn’t discriminate against people based on the colour of their skin, or their social class…however, he is doing a SHIT job of it because he is trying to apply that to fetuses:)

        • wladyslaw

          Let me see if I understand you.

          Do you believe that what makes humans valuable is their utility, not their humanness?

          A doctor is a more important, more valuable person than the store clerk or janitor, or the homeless refugee in a camp in Jordan? More human? Less human? Equally human? You tell me what you think.

        • jejune

          I believe that what makes Kodie valuable is her ability to point out your idiocy.

        • Olive Markus

          Earlier in the conversation you said that we judge people based on what they do with their lives…

          What did you mean by that exactly?

          And if you feel that they are equally worthy regardless of what they do or have done, then why are you judging at all? And by what means do you even have the capability to judge?

          I would say your example is very superficial. I don’t judge based on profession, per se, but I do judge based on many things. Child abusers and rapists are pieces of shit in my mind and not worthy of much. Do you believe people who abuse children are worth as much as you are?

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

          One point that I keep coming back to is why the single cell at the beginning of this process must be so celebrated. If you want to, if this baby-to-be is the best thing ever, that’s great.

          But (1) I can’t fathom the arrogance of forcing that view by law on everyone who doesn’t share it. And (2) how am I supposed to work up much enthusiasm for the inherent value of a cell just because it has human DNA? I’m allowed to kill a slug cell or a sponge cell or a bacterium, but if that cell has human DNA, that makes it not just valuable-in-9-months but inherently valuable to me and society right now.

        • jejune

          This article is brilliant, it really opened my eyes, and answered a lot of the questions that you are wondering about:

          http://www.abortionreview.org/index.php/site/article/864/

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

          I’ll take a look, thanks.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,

          After re-reading your comment in a much earlier comment when you said: “In the entire web of life, humans are important only in how destructive we are, ” I realized that any discussion with you about the goodness or badness of abortion at any stage is absolutely impossible, if that’s how you view the importance of human life. “We’re important because we’re so destructive.”

          Your viewpoint on abortion is now understandable to me.

          If we can’t agree on the value of human life, we certainly will never agree on the value of “potential” human life.

          I enjoyed my discussion with you. But…

          Are you the moderator of this site? Some commenters have called me and others “pieces of shit.” You have a nice site and often post interesting questions, but these types of comments really lower the quality of your site and the level of discussion, and even violate the terms of agreement for posting. Do you agree?

        • Kodie

          Wladyslaw, you know everything that lives has DNA, but you are biased to human DNA. You don’t give a shit about life.

        • jejune

          No one called you a ‘piece of shit’ that was directed at Mother Theresa.

          You really get off on being a martyr, don’t you?

        • Itarion

          So, then. What is the value of life? Of human life?

          Does every human life have an equal value? Is the value of one potential life greater than the value of a life already existing, and partially over? Why is this so?

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

          I realized that any discussion with you about the goodness or badness of abortion at any stage is absolutely impossible

          It probably is.

          But I should’ve avoided the word “only” in that sentence.

          Are you the moderator of this site?

          I write the blog posts. Comments are unmoderated.

          Some commenters have called me and others “pieces of shit.”

          I would prefer less animosity from all sides.

        • jejune

          I’ve toned down the language.

          However, I don’t believe anyone called him a piece of shit:P

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

          My own view is that vulgar words can be just the thing to make a point, so they don’t bother me much in comments.

          And, just to be clear, there have been plenty of insanely unpleasant Christian commenters here (Wlad, it must be admitted, is polite).

          So there’s blame to go around.

        • Kodie

          I wouldn’t be averse to toning down the celebratory reaction either. It is treated like god made something happen for you, like you won the lottery. It is sometimes used as a measuring stick and if you don’t measure up, you’re not a winner. I get that if you want to have a child, finding out you can and (most likely, if everything turns out like you want it) will is positive news. But it’s hardly an achievement! Congratulations, you just got the hardest job you’ll ever have, here some presents, good luck with that. You got sexed and what do you expect to happen?

          I don’t know why people congratulate others when that happens, I just don’t, given that they also speak of sex as a dirty thing and consequences are natural and happen all the time – exactly – what did you expect to happen? They don’t mind putting it like that when someone doesn’t want to be pregnant.

          People who want to have a baby and just got pregnant think of that thing already as a person, and its potential, and all the hopes and dreams and the good parts. That is why abortion is so taboo, because getting pregnant is of the top 3 best news a woman is supposed to hear in her life. It might even be #1. Yay, I’m not barren! I’m not a miserable single loser, I got one of those man-people to my bed and give me the gift of motherhood! I have proof of my worth now! And everyone else treats the news just like that. I don’t mean to take joy away from expectant parents so much as just – what did you really do that deserves this much attention from everyone else?

          It is at least partially to blame for the ugly reaction to women who choose to no longer be pregnant. She is vile, slutty, a murderer. She does the opposite of winning at life, and how dare she?

        • jejune

          I remember reading an article on a conservative blog, and the author made the argument that:

          1) Conservatives are mature. They grow up, have kids, and become responsible parents. They *contribute* to society by becoming parents. specifically.

          2) Liberals are silly people who don’t want to grow up. They just want to keep having lots of responsiblity free sex, and not contribute to society by producing lots of children. Because Evil Libtards don’t immediately start a Duggar style family, this is proof that they have no morals, will never grow up, and that they will DESTROY AMERICA. (or country of your choice).

          I’m not using hyperbole btw.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know how it’s contributing to society to make so many more people. I thought it was obvious that human resources were in lower demand lately. I also don’t understand why, if their special DNA is so important, it’s better for them to grow up and live to a strict standard, be like everyone else, and do what everyone else expects you to do. What society are we contributing to if your individual choices don’t matter as much as your willingness to fit in? Why do they insist they value life more than we do, if it’s all to beat the individuality out of someone until they become a dutiful cog in the machine? If they admire the ways of ants so much, why do they resist the comparison to animals?

        • jejune

          I think that it comes down to a belief in a 1950′s style utopia where everyone (apparently) was moral and conformed to strict gender roles and lived in houses with white picket fences.

        • Olive Markus

          Yup. You watch one TV show suddenly history is completely rewritten. Magic!!

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Do you think if everyone watched Downton Abbey and saw, um, relevant pregnancy-related stuff (trying hard to avoid spoilers …), they’d stop making stupid arguments about how pregnancy is safe and easy and women are made for making babies so it’s just a minor inconvenience?

        • Olive Markus

          Exactly.

          They take what they want to take and leave the rest.

        • jejune

          Lizzie and I are ignoring myintx now.

          She just keeps using the same talking points,and we are going around and around and around in circles.

          Perhaps if more people join in, it might be worth it. But it’s pointless if only a couple of us are engaging her.

        • Olive Markus

          I was just going to say the same thing. I replied to her today, but I’ve had it. She just talks in circles and ignores everything she doesn’t like. I’m so tired of her nonsense.

        • jejune

          According to some of the conversations I have had lately, no, you would be wrong.

          The earth can, apparently, support up to 1 trillion people.

          Also, there is one resource we will never run out of – human ingenuity.

          Yep.

          And. food production is going UP, not DOWN, so, this means, logically, that it will just keep going UP, right?

          So, by the time we are on the verge of running out of a particular resource, scientists will have invented a new one.

          Oh, and don’t be worried about running out of water. See, a large aquifer was just discovered in Kenya. Therefore, future water shortages will not be an issue.

        • fiona64

          Thanks you x1000. Every time I hear about pregnancy being a “Miracle,” I point out that miracles are by definition rare and unusual … and pregnancy is neither. I didn’t understand the “whoo! congratulations!” stuff when I was pregnant (and my pregnancy was so awful with hyperemesis gravidarum that I became determined never to go through it again … hence, my 27-year-old son is an only child). I felt like I was being celebrated for barfing.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          If your mother killed you one day after you were conceived, you would not be here.
          If your mother killed you a month after you were conceived, you would not be here.
          If your mother killed you three months after you were conceived, you would not be here.
          If your mother killed you eight months after you were conceived, you would not be here.

          If your mother killed you one day after you were born, you would not be here.

          In EVERY single case, you, Bob Seidensticker, would not NOW be alive, RIGHT NOW. That’s why it’s important. Right now.

        • jejune

          Bob wouldn’t be alive right now if his parents had sex one hour earlier.

          Bob probably wouldn’t exist right now if not for WW2.

          WW2 killed millions of people. But, without it, his parents probably never would have met. So, thanks to the murder of millions of people, Bob now exists.

        • Kodie

          So what? You know how many people don’t exist? You are too emotional and egotistical to have this argument.

        • jejune

          It’s just so precious. He is trying to convince Bob to get all teary eyed and emotional over the scary thought of non-existence.

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune.
          See my post above.

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

          As Mark Twain said, he didn’t exist for a billion years before he did, and it didn’t cause him an ounce of trouble.

          Same for all those might’ve-been people.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob’s abortion rights spectrum argument is basically that there is a profound difference between a one day old zygote and a 24 week old fetus, and 9 month fetus (baby) and that it is a different matter to kill a zygote than a 24 week fetus.

          I was addressing his abortion rights spectrum argument.

        • jejune

          Even if Bob was killed as a newborn he probably wouldn’t give a shit because newborns lack basic self-awareness.

          The reason we *don’t* kill newborns is because, if one is unable to feed or care for their newborn, the newborn can be handed over to someone who can.

          In the Middle Ages there were no social services, so, if one to many children were born, the families usually let them die of exposure. Seems cruel no? But, a subsistence lifestyle demands that people do not exceed the carrying capacity of their environment.

        • Kodie

          You still don’t fucking understand shit, Wladyslaw. When you don’t want to be pregnant at 4 weeks, getting un-pregnant is not a big deal. If you wait until you are 8 months pregnant to make a decision, perhaps you should have not been susceptible to emotional threats insisting you think it over a long time and feel guilty about it. There is nothing to feel guilty about or any good reason to delay.

          Why waste our time on you – make a good case why it’s in all of our favors that YOU exist.

        • jejune

          Why waste our time on you – make a good case why it’s in all of our favors that YOU exist.

          Great question.

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune,

          No one, NO ONE, not you, not I, exists as a favor for someone else.

        • Kodie

          Hit a nerve!

        • jejune

          Well then why don’t you stfu?

        • wladyslaw

          I don’t think Bob gave you the right to moderate this blog, as much a you would like.
          When you run out or arguments– call names, denigrate your opponent, try to silence him.

        • jejune

          You misunderstand.

          I am not trying to moderate anything.

          Since you are saying that you don’t exist as a ‘favour’ to anyone else, then why are you talking?

        • wladyslaw

          Humans aren’t favors.
          You are not a “favor” to me, but a human being that has a very different view of what human life is.
          This issue (abortion) is profoundly important to me, and it seems to be at least somewhat important to you as your argue your point here in you many, many comments on a +300 comment blog.
          Perhaps you would only like to discuss this issues only with those who agree with you–I don’ think that’s the case.

          Look, if I argued that “abortion is red” or something idiotic, you would have stopped talking to me a long time ago.
          Either you personally care about me, which I doubt, because you don’t know me, or my remarks may have enough validity to merit a response.
          If your responses were without merit, I wouldn’t have continued either.

          Abortion as an issue will not go away, and is continually fought in the courts, legislatures, and forums.
          You obviously don’t have to continue this conversation.

        • jejune

          Either you personally care about me, which I doubt, because you don’t
          know me, or my remarks may have enough validity to merit a response.

          You are somewhat entertaining.

          But, you are completely ignorant about how biology actually works, and your incoherent posts make me scratch my head.

          I really don’t think that anyone here takes you very seriously.

        • wladyslaw

          Kodie,
          If you really believe that the comments I make do not reflect genuine differing pro-life positions, please DON’T respond to any further comments I make on this blog. I like Bob’s blog, and will continue make comments on his interesting posts.

          I will let others decide whether to take me seriously.

          In Bob’s longest comment section on his blog–over 1000
          comments–enough people were interested enough to carry on a good long discussion with me, and their points were serious.

          Again, please don’t respond to my comments if you are not serious. It’s wasting both of our time.

        • wladyslaw

          OOPS!

          OOPS. I forgot I was addressing Jejune, and not Kodie.

          Sorry, Kodie.I suppose I would say the same thing to you as I did to Jejune.

        • jejune

          They can respond to you seriously – as I have, by giving you a lecture on fetal development -and still not take you seriously.

          Dude, you’re not that important.

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune,

          Fine. Thanks for sharing that.
          I will choose not to respond to any of your future comments on this blog. You can waste your time giving me future lectures, but I won’t waste my time on a non-serious discussion.
          I enjoyed most of my back and forth with you.

        • jejune

          yeah, sure, take the easy way out

          I can’t help but notice that you were incapable of refuting the science I presented you with

        • Kodie

          Your arguments are really shallow and emotional, can’t I comment on that? Or are you attempting to moderate someone else’s blog?

        • jejune

          That was meant for me.

          Apparently, he can’t talk to me anymore because I don’t take him srsly enough:(

        • wladyslaw

          OK Kodie,
          Thank for sharing your opinion of my arguments. I will no longer have any further discussions with you, and conclude that you certainly won’t want to waste your time on “shallow and emotional” arguments any longer with me. OK?

        • jejune

          You’re such a coward.

        • jejune

          Let’s have a pity party for wladyslaw!

          People don’t take him seriously!!

          waaaaaaaaaaah

          You’re just pissy because you think you’re more important than you really are and you believe that you are *entitled* to more respect than you deserve.

        • Kodie

          It was explained to you that you are not making any arguments, just baseless emotional assertions, and you just keep going like nobody tries to explain it to you. Where’s your respect for me or jejune? Listening to other people’s input and responding directly relevant to the responses is how to have an engaging conversation. If you disagree that your “arguments” are shallow and emotional, why not talk about that? Why can’t we talk about that, and why can’t you take a criticism and try something new, like listening and engaging? If you don’t understand why your assertions don’t move anyone, you ought maybe to examine what the criticisms of your argument are instead of ignoring everyone and repeating yourself.

        • Kodie

          He really thought he could get through to you on the basis that we wouldn’t even be having this argument if Bob didn’t exist. What would we do with our day.

        • Kodie

          Nobody took you seriously then either. Hate to break it to you.

        • Ella Warnock

          Kodie sounds pretty serious to me. That you view her as insincere frankly says more about you than it does her.

        • Kodie

          I am sincere, I sincerely believe wladyslaw’s argument is based on nothing. As soon as he can construct something coherent, we’ll have a discussion about it.

        • jejune

          wladyslaw is just engaging in a more sophisticated form of tone trolling.

          It’s a flounce.

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

          Let’s not be too hard on Wlad and other pro-lifers. Let’s make conservative views welcome here (subject to any appropriate criticism, of course) so the comments don’t become just a liberal echo chamber.

        • jejune

          Was I being too hard on him?

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

          I don’t censor anyone (OK–there have been one or two exceptions). I just suggest we focus on the issues and not the people.

        • jejune

          I am in complete agreement with you about the ‘liberal echo chamber’. I too hate echo chambers. I have visited conservative sites where they accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being a 1) troll and then 2) ban them.

          Now that’s just dishonest.

          However, Kodie and I simply told wladyslaw that we didn’t take his arguments seriously because they were silly arguments. He feels *entitled* to much more than that, and I pointed it out. It was, in all honesty, a flounce.

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

          OK

        • jejune

          Bob, you’re so easy-going:P

        • Brian Frang

          Honest (hypothetical) question (based on taking a situation from my own birth to an absurd extreme for the purposes of proving a moral point) for you. There are two potential children from the same mother. One will be a genocidal dictator, who will kill millions of innocent people; the other will save millions of lives as a doctor. However, the genocidal dictator will be conceived 3 months before the doctor. This means, only one of the two will be born. Should the mother have an abortion, so that she can conceive the doctor, or give birth to the genocidal dictator?

        • Brian Frang

          Oh! Forgot the most important part, the sons are from different fathers, so there is no chance that it’s the same DNA or the same person.

        • Kodie

          Look, if I argued that “abortion is red” or something idiotic, you would have stopped talking to me a long time ago.

          Look, you don’t know how this works. You are essentially offering an idiotic argument. Why do you think we would stop responding to you, if that is the case? We are free to show you how idiotic your argument is, but you keep evading and repeating yourself. Bob wouldn’t exist if his mother and father had sex 30 seconds later or sooner, and you fail to give us any reason why that’s important. Bob is incapable of missing himself, if he didn’t exist. That is not a valid argument, and you are gullible and emotional if you think it sways anyone.

          But you don’t care about life, you care about DNA. You know cockroaches also have DNA, but you don’t weep over the cockroaches who don’t exist if I kill an egg-bearing mother cockroach.

        • Kodie

          It’s a valid question – why are you here, and why is this world better with you in it? We don’t like you, and you’re not smart enough to argue your position. You’re completely emotional and evasive. Nobody has run out of arguments, just patience. If you had an actual argument to make, you still haven’t put it forth. Just because you are too simple to understand why your emotional pleading doesn’t move anyone but yourself doesn’t mean we have run out of arguments or are trying to silence anyone who feels a special need to blather on.

          Besides which, your reading comprehension is for crap. I don’t think you are doing anyone any favors, I asked why you think you are doing anyone any favors. We could live perfectly well without wladyslaw.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          I am sure you realize that this is about the abortion rights spectrum argument, and would like to hear your view.

        • jejune

          He has already given his view and from what I have read, Bob seems content with the idea of non-existence.

        • wladyslaw

          Let’s say Bob is content with the idea of non-existence. Fine.
          I’m not arguing that.

          I was asking him what was the difference WHEN a person is killed. He seems to think it matters when. I’m saying it would not have made ANY difference when his mother chose to kill him after conception (if she had so decided). At any moment
          she killed him, the person now named Bob Seidensticker, would have died.
          I supposes the earlier you kill, the less messy and bloody, but dead is dead.

        • jejune

          Actually, it does make a difference WHEN.

          When Bob was at 9 months gestation, he was, for all intents and purposes, complete and fully formed. He just needed nutrients from that point on to ‘grow bigger’.

          However, when Bob was a zygote, and an embryo, there was no ‘bob’ to speak of. Just a mass of undifferentiated tissue.

          You could take Bob’s zygote and implant clones of it in the same woman. And each and every clone would end up different, because not every pregnancy is the same.

          Bob could have red hair in one pregnancy, and blonde in another.

          One pregnancy could create an anxiety ridden future Bob, another pregnancy could create a psychopathic Bob.

          I am over-simplifying this, but, basically, this is how epigenetics works. The zygote is not ‘who’ or even ‘what’ you will become. It is a very basic set of instructions, and during the 9 month gestation period, a human being is created. You don’t start out as a human being, you become one.

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune,
          “However, when Bob was a zygote, and an embryo…

          Exactly, at one time Bob was a zygote, and an embryo.

          You certainly wouldn’t recognize him as Bob ,but wait long enough, and you would. It would never be Henry Smith or Frank Jones.

        • jejune

          It would never be Henry Smith or Frank Jones.

          Actually, it could have been.

          If certain bacteria were, or were not present in Bob’s mother’s body while he was gestating, you very well could have ended up with Henry Smith or Frank Jones.

          When Bob was a zygote, the zygote was POTENTIAL Bob, POTENTIAL FRANK and POTENTIAL HENRY.

        • wladyslaw

          It was only potential Bob when the particular sperm of his father and the particular egg of the mother were separated. Potentially he existed.
          Afterwards at conception, his life began to actually exist, and unless someone, or nature, killed his life…Bob lives.

        • jejune

          NO, dumbass, it was potential BOB even AFTER the sperm and egg fused.

          Because at any point during the 10 months gestation potential Bob could have easily been formed without a brain, without organs, or split into twins, or triplets, or quintuplets…

          And during that 10 months gestation, due to things like how genes are transcribed, methylated, and due to something called ‘epigenetics’ you would end up with someone COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM BOB.

        • jejune

          And anywhere from 60% to 80% of zygotes spontaneously abort.

          And, fertilization takes 4-10 days. So, tell us, at which magical point is ‘bob’ created during those 4-10 days huh?

          And here is a little known fact. The female egg that is created 3 weeks prior to ovulation can be damaged in a certain way. Something known as ‘polarity’. Well, if such an egg has defective polarity, it can STILL BE FERTILIZED. However, it will, in 100% of cases, die. It can die en route to the uterus. It can die when it connects to the uterine wall. And it can die when it gets large enough to be called an embryo. All because the original egg, created 3 weeks previously, was a bad egg.

        • Itarion

          Well… Unless his name was already picked out. Parents who plan pregnancies tend to pick stuff out in advance (you know, plan it). Not trying to make any sort of assumption one way or another, it’s just that the name is not the person. Bob would likely have been named Bob, without any sort of regard for his personality, though he might have ended up preferring Robert, or Robbie, or Bert.

        • Kodie

          30 seconds before the zygote futurely known as Bob existed, there wasn’t a Bob. What is your fucking deal with that magical moment that creates something that would one day (BUT NOT YET) become Bob? If it’s not Bob yet, there is no Bob. If you think this is convincing, that’s your deficiency of intellect.

        • jejune

          The zygote that became Bob could also have separated to form monozygotic twins…

          And then re-joined to form potential bob…and then separated again to form triplets!

          Also, there could have been a coding error during the ‘creation’ of potential bob, and the fetus could have failed to develop a brain, in which case, you would have wladyslaw.

        • Kodie

          Zing!

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

          but wait long enough …

          Yes, this is the key thing, isn’t it? It’s all an argument from potential.

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

          Yes, it matters when. There’s a spectrum of personhood, remember? At Day 1, what the heck? It’s a single cell. At 8 months, wow–you better have a great reason.

          But you know all this already. That’s what the Roe decision gave us.

          If I didn’t exist, no one (particularly me!) would care.

        • Itarion

          or really even notice. But if you died, well… That would suck for many people. (But you’d not notice, unless you were wrong.)

        • jejune

          It is about the absence of what used to be, a change from what is to what once was. Not from what might be to what no longer will be.

          ^This!

          I have such problems articulating that. Ty!

        • Itarion

          Words have flavor, and that’s what death tasted like to me.

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

          We’re not talking about me dying; we’re talking about me not existing and never having existed. Removed from the fabric of reality.

          You could go all “It’s a Wonderful Life” on me here, but that’s just speculation that could just as well be applied to any of the billion humans that might’ve happened “if only.”

        • Itarion

          Death is exactly what we’re talking about. Or rather, the difference between dying, and having never existed.

          If you, Bob Seidensticker, had been aborted rather than birthed, no one would have noticed that you weren’t born. There would have been no expectation that you would have been born. As you said, no on would care. Because no one would even notice.

          However, if you died, your family, friends, and commentors would all notice and be affected in some way, great or small.

          This difference, and the meaning of what it is to die, is the very heart of the abortion debate, and the different viewpoints on abortion stem from a different belief of what life and death are.

          Without life, there can be no death. One who has not lived cannot die. So, where does life, and thus the ability to die, begin?

          That is the central question.

        • Itarion

          Death is not about what might have been. It is about the absence of what used to be, a change from what is to what once was. Not from what might be to what no longer will be.

        • jejune

          Though of course, the problem lies with the fact that the most obsessive of pro-lifers believe that the zygote ‘IS’, and not a ‘might be’.

          Or at least, that’s what they say.

        • Kodie

          Well, they argue back from the child that already exists. They don’t understand probabilities or anything. If you have a 2-yo child, how could you possibly live in a world where he didn’t exist at all – after the fact that you did decide to have him and got to know him and love him and all that stuff. They’re also really protective of the innocence of children. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but children are supposed to live in a world where they have no notion that they could have been unwanted.

          Of course, adopted children seem to, without a lot of pushing, figure this out on their own. It’s not necessarily a life-long existential crisis, but it seems to be fairly common for them to understand the brutal reality of the conditions of their birth. I guess it comes back around to a gratitude for the sacrifice of their birth mother – it might not have been the birth mother’s choice to relinquish a child, especially if they were a teen at the time. That is to say, an adult can comprehend this, while a child cannot. Children don’t understand they are expensive and require constant vigilance and responsibility. They have no understanding of finances or responsibility, so they can’t relate to how much work they are to care for.

          So, adoption is the answer? To put a child through this, even with the best adoptive parents and the best intentions, they live with the burden of knowing they are (as far as they can figure out, even after it’s explained in loving tones) unwanted. They take it personally, they think they are rejected because of something else they did and have no idea how expensive and needy they are just by being children.

          What is hard for them to understand is there are children who are never born at all, but you’re supposed to think of a kid you know and imagine an alternate existence where they were never born. I have this. I had a nephew who died in infancy, and I never met him. Sometimes, we live in an alternate version of the world where he would be the age where he might be starting college this fall. In this alternate universe, he has a different sister or brother close to his age, and not my niece and another nephew who were born almost a decade later. How can you ask what they would rather put the kids they have now never existed? It is exactly like that. They like to act horrified that a world without children you already know is unthinkable, so how can you undo that reality from their conception? There is a world without some children we already know, and the resulting children are totally different beings who would never have existed. We can put them back and live in a world without them where we still have my nephew, and is it really horrifying to undo them? We already live in a world where some children are born and some are imaginary. We can’t fucking tell the difference!

          [EDIT]: I did put adoption in the most optimistic terms, but I would also add that we are conditioned to think giving a baby up for adoption is for the life of the child, it’s really to fulfill people’s need to be parents. Even pro-forced-birth people will use those prospective parents as a selling point to save the zygotes.

        • jejune

          Well, they argue back from the child that already exists. They don’t understand probabilities or anything.

          Precisely. One very common emotional appeal that I hear goes like this: “yeah sicko, tell your brother/sister/cousin how much you want to see their brains sucked out of the skull”

          and the latest one: “my sister is alive today because my mom chose not to get her sucked out and shredded into little bits”

          Of course, they are imagining that their *sister*, as she is now, is the one getting her brains sucked out, and her body ripped apart. And that is understandably horrifying. But they can’t see that their sister isn’t truly their sister until she has reached a certain point of viability on Bob’s spectrum:P

          And until then, anything could happen. Miscarriage. Anencephaly. Hydrocephaly. Potters syndrome. Any and all organs could fail to develop. Conditions in the womb could create an entirely different person. One version of the sister could be a sociopath, another could be obese, and another could be fearful and anxiety ridden.

        • Itarion

          Even past the “point of viability”, whatever and wherever it might be, there is still a significant chance of death during birth and shortly thereafter. Babies are fragile creatures.

          As an aside, does anyone else have a problem with the root of “creat-” in creatures, indicating that all living beings are, in fact, created? Made by a loving god-thing? It’s been bothering me.

        • jejune

          Even past the “point of viability”, whatever and wherever it might be,
          there is still a significant chance of death during birth and shortly
          thereafter. Babies are fragile creatures.

          Yep. In the past, and in certain societies, babies are not considered ‘people’ until they can survive up until the age of 5.

        • Itarion

          Infant mortality: redefining “person” since way before you were a person.

        • jejune

          http://www.infanticide.org/history.htm

          Interesting read. According to the author, without abortion, parents will just kill their unwanted children. And that this has been the case throughout most of history.

          I am of course familiar with infanticide as a form of population control. But, well, this offered a very interesting perspective on the subject:

          “Despite our predilection for considering modern
          civilization “advanced,” the crime of infanticide has continued to pervade most contemporary cultures. The major difference between the nature of infanticide in the
          twentieth century, when compared to the rest of recorded history, however, is due to the impact of one modern medical advancement: the widespread availability of safe, and legal, means of abortion. The ability to easily terminate a pregnancy, and thereby eliminate an
          unwanted child before it is born, has had a profound effect on the prevalence of infanticide. The human species has killed almost 10% – 15% of all children born. The majority of these murders have been associated with reasons of necessity at least in the minds of the infanticide parent – or with untoward reactions against an unwanted birth. With little ability to abort an unwanted pregnancy safely, troubled parents have had little choice but to wait until full-term delivery before disposing of the conception.”

        • Itarion

          So… If abortion is not murder, then I am morally obligated to accept abortion in order to reduce the homicide rate.

          I’m okay with that.

        • jejune

          “The characterization of the type of parent that is likely
          to kill their child has changed little over the years. As far back as the middle ages, the children of the poor “Were by far the most common victims of the parental negligence and despair.” Today, infanticide is still most commonly seen in areas of severe poverty.”

        • Itarion

          Yeah, that too. I’m curious about the socio-economic standing of pro-lifers though. Pro-life correlates to religion, and religion correlates to poverty, both to some extent. Funny, that.

        • jejune

          Well we know that some religious tend to abuse their children. Perhaps poverty + religion leads to more abuse, and even death.

          Those “Train Up Your Child” books by the Pearl’s for example.

        • Kodie

          This article might be interesting to you:

          “The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion” by Joyce Arthur

        • jejune

          I have seen that before.

          Crazy, isn’t it?

          Their reasons are always valid, and moral, but anyone else who has an abortion is a filthy slut.

          I also find it curious that for some of the women, the cognitive dissonance was too much to handle. In the middle of the abortion, she is accusing them of being baby killers and handing out pro-life pamphlets heh.

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

          Etymology keeps you up at night?

          The word means what it means. It’s fun and sometimes enlightening to see the path a word has taken before it came to have our present meaning, but that isn’t in the least binding. The dictionary tells us what the word means at the moment.

        • Itarion

          I wouldn’t say keeps me up at night. There’s caffeine for that.

          Language is just fascinating, and I could spend a lifetime tracing one word to its root.

        • Kodie

          I never really thought about it before, but it’s not wrong. Creatures are created, they’re not eternally existent. I don’t assume they’re created by the creator. Cake is created by mixing ingredients and spreading them in a pan to bake at (I don’t know at what temperature to bake cake).

          The issue they have is the intelligent creation of cars, so this analogy just “fits” that everything that doesn’t get made in a factory must have been made by an invisible person. This reminds me of the story of the Brownies.

        • Itarion

          That name comes from there? fascinating.

          Yes, cars are creatures too.

        • jejune

          When people talk about pregnancy, they tend to assume that the ZEF is this:

          “I tried to specify that embryos are living, distinct, and whole human beings.
          So what I’m attempting to say is that personhood requires a living, distinct, whole organism (not just a part of an organism) that has the inherent (by which I mean it is already part of its very nature. It does not need to be fundamentally changed, like differentiated/body cells.
          It only needs nutrition, environment, and time to grow) capacity for consciousness/sentience/etc. Sperm, body cells, skin flakes, cancer, etc. do not fit this definition. ”

          —————

          What they don’t realize, of course, is that no, the embyro doesn’t simply ‘get bigger’ and it most certainly isn’t a ‘whole individual that simply get grows larger over time’.

          The fetus, and eventual baby, is literally *created* from the mother’s body. It’s not like you feed a baby milk, and it grows bigger. The ZEF is literally *constructed* using materials taken from the woman’s body. Women, and especially teen girls, lose teeth and develop osteoperosis as a result of pregnancy. The fetus will take the calcium from her bones and use it to build it’s own bones.

          The EF is like a building that is under construction. It doesn’t start out as a tiny building and magically grow bigger because you’ve poured fairy dust on it.

        • Kodie

          Remember that story how he had two kids and that means he didn’t have 8 other kids? That went over your head?

        • jejune

          Kodie, remember what you said about societal expectations in regards to having children?

          Well, this is germane, and funny to boot:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj7cJIiFAp4

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

          My wife and I could’ve had another 10 children. But we didn’t.

          I don’t know how I live with myself.

        • jejune

          One of the 10 children you never had could be writing a blog someday and we will never get to read it because you’re a murderer!

          Caesarius of Arles

          “Who is he who cannot warn that no woman may take a potion so that she is unable to conceive or condemns in herself the nature which God willed to be fecund? As often as she could have conceived or given birth, of that many homicides she will be held guilty, and, unless she undergoes suitable penance, she will be damned by eternal death in hell. If a woman does not wish to have children, let her enter into a religious agreement with her husband; for chastity is the sole sterility of a Christian woman” (Sermons 1:12 [A.D. 522]).

          Jerome

          “You may see a number of women who are widows before they are wives. Others, indeed, will drink sterility and murder a man not yet born, [and some commit abortion]” (Letters 22:13 [A.D. 396]).

          John Chrysostom

          “Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth? You do not even let a harlot remain only a harlot, but you make her a murderess as well. . . . Indeed, it is something
          worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God and fight with his [natural] laws? . . . Yet such turpitude . . . the matter still seems indifferent to many men—even to many men having wives. In this indifference of the married men there
          is greater evil filth; for then poisons are prepared, not against the womb of a prostitute, but against your injured wife. Against her are these innumerable tricks” (Homilies on Romans 24 [A.D. 391]).

          “[I]n truth, all men know that they who are under the power of this disease [the sin of covetousness] are wearied even of their father’s old age [wishing him to die so they can inherit]; and that which is sweet, and universally desirable, the having of children, they esteem grievous and unwelcome. Many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have mutilated nature, not only killing the newborn, but even acting to prevent their beginning to live” (Homilies on Matthew 28:5 [A.D. 391]).

          ————-

          Pro-lifers today try to distance themselves from ‘contraception = murder’ but you know that is what some of them are thinking, on some level. They just can’t come out and say it because they’ll look crazy.

    • wtfwjtd

      I see most all of this abortion “debate” as being pretty much about 2 issues: Retaining male privilege, and enforcing the patriarchal religious culture. After all, wasn’t organized religion invented and tailored for control? Whether it be control of other people, control of people’s money, or control of women, it’s just all about control.

      • wladyslaw

        Does Buddhism qualify as an organized religion, or is it exempt from your criticism?
        If not exempt, show me how it controls people.
        If exempt, why.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes and no. As a practical matter, I’m not aware of any Buddhists that are trying to cram their views on abortion down our collective throats here in the states, and I’m really not interested in a “philosophy or religion” debate about Buddhism.

        • wladyslaw

          So why make a statement that the WHOLE abortion debate is pretty much about two issues, and that one of them is:

          “After all, wasn’t organized religion invented and tailored for control?
          Whether it be control of other people, control of people’s money, or control of women, it’s just all about control.”

          if you don’t want to be questioned about it.

          Or do you just want your readers to accept that statement as true and not to be b challenged.

        • wtfwjtd

          Actually, the original post used the words “pretty much”, not WHOLE. And, if you are interested in debating which of the world’s thousands of religions are or are not “really” an organized religion, I would suggest maybe starting a blog post of your own with that as the subject matter.
          The current topic of discussion here is “What the Pro-Life Position Ignores”, and I stated that I feel that it’s “pretty much” just simply an issue of control.

        • wladyslaw

          No, it wasn’t just “just simply an issue of control.”

          One of your issues was specifically “enforcing the patriarchal religious culture,” and that religion was invented for control.

          Please prove your point besides just stating it.

        • wtfwjtd

          In this context, organized religion would mainly refer to Christianity, since most people pushing for anti-choice abortion laws in the United States call themselves such. For a great reference on the Patriarchal nature of this religion, I refer you to the Holy Bible. Pay particular attention to the books of Genesis, Exodus, Judges, and Deuteronomy in the Old Testament, for starters. If you’d like a little New Testament Patriarchal flavor, try I and II Corinthians for starters, and oh heck, pretty much anything that is attributed to the apostle Paul. Enjoy!

        • wladyslaw

          Please be more specific how religions were “invented” for control. Some proof please.

        • wtfwjtd

          Wow, that was quick! Hmm…I view Christianity as just another man-made religion. In this context, man-made and invented have very similar meaning. Don’t you kinda get the feeling after reading Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and the like, that there’s a whole lot a controllin’ goin on? Man, all those rules and regs….how is that not tailor-made for control? Or do you see a different use for all those rules besides control?

        • jejune

          Kodie had a great post on another article about how societal expectations, more so than anything, are the engine behind the ‘control’ of people.

          I think, however, that it starts with the simple economics of survival. And those ‘economics of survival’ all get encoded into whichever religion happens to be popular at the time. Back in the day, religion = government = law. Civil, moral and ceremonial laws were all under the control of the church. And it’s far easier to tell people ‘don’t eat pork, God doesn’t approve’ than to explain why keeping pigs is a bad idea.

          So, power is then concentrated among the leaders of religion. They want to keep their power, expand their power, and so on. So, they will do whatever they can to remain powerful, and to increase that power.

          And there you have it. Religion is all about control.

          It is interesting also to note that kings have had disagreements with the pope. Most famously, King Henry VIII. The King says his power is divine, because he’s been appointed by God. The Pope disagrees, because HE has been appointed by God.

          Interesting site here, btw:

          http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/

          I learned a lot about the early history of the Christian church, and how the consolidation of power really is what it was all about…and still is today.

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

          Thanks for the link–good stuff.

          My problem with going down the “religion is about control” path is one of usefulness. I am persuaded by the arguments, but as a weapon, it’s not very effective. It might take hours to simply explain the points, depending on the knowledge of your listener. I prefer 5-minute arguments, where I can show a contradiction or other error quickly and ambiguously. And, of course, even then the well-informed Christian will have heard some nutty rationalization. But at least we can get into substantive discussion.

          This is just a small point about my own preferences. FYI.

        • jejune

          Yes, as you can see with wtfwjtd and wladyslaw…it is not going to end well:)

          Already, it is getting convoluted (with the latest point about Jesus and love) :P

          I just made the point that I did because I find environmental determinism to be really interesting, and I think that this is what lies behind a lot of human behaviour. Religion has a *role* in this, to be sure, but it is an aspect of it, and not the single controlling factor.

          It’s all very complicated, but I figure it goes like this:

          environment –> humans –> religion –>environment/humans

        • wtfwjtd

          Thanks for the link jejune, looks like I have some more reading to do :-) As for the ending, I think you and Bob have covered things pretty well…

        • jejune

          Yeah, I found it really interesting to learn that the RCC is modeled on the Roman government.

          The Pope is the stand-in for the emperor. The hat, the clothes, all taken from the Holy Roman Emperor.

          Even ‘diocese’ is a Roman name.

          And of course, the best jobs in the RCC were only available to the rich and powerful:P

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, I can see where a religion like Christianity would appeal to the Roman government. It already had quite a few followers, and by making it the official religion you could do away with all those other gods in one fell swoop. This would make crushing religious dissent much easier and more palatable to the masses, and then it’s only a baby step to crushing political dissent as well. Tailor-made for authority and control.

        • wladyslaw

          I think that Scientology was invented for control and money.
          The founder said as much.

          Jesus was never controlling–he even allowed himself to be crucified. He founded the church with the twelve apostles–and everyone except John suffered a horrible death. So did the early church. Controlling? Not so much.

          He established the law of love–the New Testament–to replace the Old Testament law of many precepts.

          Ford created the car and issued instructions for the best possible running of the car–change the oil, replace the spark plugs, use a certain kind of gas and don’t put things like sugar
          in the gas tank.

          God created us and gave us his revealed instructions, His laws, on how we could “run” our lives the best possible way.
          We could ignore His instructions and put “sugar” in our gas
          tank–who does he think he is to tell us how to live our lives!
          But we will suffer the consequences.
          Controlling? No, just helps to run our lives the best possible way.

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

          I think that Scientology was invented for control and money.

          The founder said as much.

          I agree about the purposes. Though I have heard L. Ron Hubbard quoted as saying that inventing a religion would be cool (my words), I don’t know that he said precisely what you’ve claimed.

          Jesus was never controlling–he even allowed himself to be crucified.

          I do remember the New Testament having something about “If you don’t believe the right thing, you’ll have an eternity to regret your lack of faith with a hot poker up your bum.”

          Something like that.

          He founded the church with the twelve apostles–and everyone except John suffered a horrible death.

          A popular notion, but you really need to make sure the lines you’ve been handed are history and not tradition. You might look a little silly if you mix the two up.

          If you want my take, go here.

          He established the law of love–the New Testament–to replace the Old Testament law of many precepts.

          Huh?? Who’d want that? Who’d not want the law of the loving creator of the universe?

          And if Jesus gave a Law 2.0, what does that say about the knucklehead who thought he’d had the last word on the subject with his Law 1.0?

          God created us and gave us his revealed instructions, His laws, on how we could “run” our lives the best possible way.

          I already know the theology. If you have some evidence, however, that’d be interesting.

        • jejune

          I do remember the New Testament having something about “If you don’t
          believe the right thing, you’ll have an eternity to regret your lack of
          faith with a hot poker up your bum.”

          I remember reading something along the lines of “leave your family if they won’t follow Jesus”, and didn’t Jesus say that all of the laws of the OT were to be carried forward. I have heard conflicting information on this, but from the translations I have studied, it would appear that Jesus did in fact approve of all the old laws from the OT.

          Isn’t there also some disagreement as to whether or not the ‘prophecy’ of Jesus’ sacrifice has been fulfilled? Some say the OT no longer applies, because he died on the cross and the prophecy was fulfilled. Others say it won’t be fulfilled until he comes back to earth..

          I tend not to discuss religion very often because the reality is, I only know a smattering, and if called upon to defend my arguments in any great detail, I will fail, because I just don’t know enough:P

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

          “[Jesus said,] If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

          “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew
          5:17–20)

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

          Prophecy of Jesus’ sacrifice? I don’t know what you might be referring to. Let me know if you have more details.

          As for prophecy fulfilled by Jesus, if you search at this blog for “prophecy,” you’ll find my critique of Ps. 22, Is. 53, and Is. 7, three of the biggest prophecy claims.

          Spoiler: I wasn’t impressed.

        • jejune

          I’ll check it out tomorrow. On my way to bed.

          I did a quick google search to show you what I was referring to, and I found this:

          http://www.truthmagazine.com/archives/volume32/GOT032282.html

          “Jesus recognized that the Old Testament would have binding force “till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18). When all things were fulfilled, then the Old Testament would no longer have binding authority over the Jews.”

          The author goes on to write:

          “Jesus came to fulfill the law. Several times the inspired writers designate something having happened to Jesus in order that the law may be fulfilled (Matt. 26:56; cf. Lk. 24:44; Acts 13:29; Rom. 10:4). Here are some of the ways Jesus fulfilled the law:

          —————–

          Of course, since the Bible offers so many differing interpretations, there is disagreement on whether or not the right prophecies were fulfilled.

          So according to some folks the OT laws should still be in effect, because Jesus has not yet come back to earth to punish all the sinners.

          According to others, all of the prophecies have been fulfilled, so we can ditch all of the laws from the OT with the exception of the ones that we really like, such as the right to hate on gays:P

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

          Right–that’s the trick. Did the sacrifice of Jesus eliminate all the OT laws? No more animal sacrifice, no more not-cutting-your-beard, no more prohibition against lobster bisque or blended fabrics? Cool–then don’t point to the OT to hate the gays.

          And vice versa–if you can hate the gays because of the OT, then let’s see you follow all 613 OT laws.

        • wladyslaw

          You are right Bob. The accounts of the deaths of the apostles are tradition. They don’t have the authority of scripture. But you well know we take tradition seriously.

          The accounts of how they died is certainly not a matter of faith.

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

          Huh? It’s tradition. It’s not history.

          When you say, “11 of 12 disciples were martyred, y’know!” do you wonder why people laugh at you?

          Not, it’s not a matter of faith, but it’s not a matter of history, either. Educate yourself, please.

        • wladyslaw

          C’mon Bob, you know from my previous comment I meant apostles.

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

          I mistyped a word. I think the point still stands.

        • wladyslaw

          Look Bob,
          If I took all the teachings of the Catholic Church as contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and tried to show evidence how these teachings help make our lives run the best possible way, it would take thousands of pages, and it probably still not be evidence enough for you.

          You may not consider people staying faithful to their married partner for life a best possible way of living a married life, but some people do. Consider this:

          Catholic married couples who contracept divorce at about the same rate as non-catholics. I think around 50%, but I could be wrong.

          Catholics who are faithful to ALL the teachings of the church and use Natural Family Planning have a 97% rate of staying faithful to their partner.

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

          show evidence how these teachings help make our lives run the best possible way

          Given your track record so far, I suspect it would be very, very light on evidence and so not helpful.

          But is your argument now that Catholicism is useful? I thought it was that it was true.

          You may not consider people staying faithful to their married partner for life a best possible way of living a married life, but some people do.

          My third-of-a-century anniversary is coming soon.

          Catholic married couples who contracept divorce at about the same rate as non-catholics.

          What did you mean here?

          Catholics who are faithful to ALL the teachings of the church and use Natural Family Planning have a 97% rate of staying faithful to their partner.

          Am I understanding your point? You’re comparing a 50% divorce rate to a 97% rate for something else? I’m not sure what point you could be making here.

          “Staying faithful” simply means “no adultery”—is that it? Presumably anyone who gets divorced wasn’t faithful to the teachings of the church and so is out of the cohort, right?

          Hey—I’ve got an idea. Why not say that adultery isn’t faithful to the teachings of the church so that your number can be 100%?

          Who rules?! The Catholic church and baby Jesus! Woo hoo!

        • wladyslaw

          “But is your argument now that Catholicism is useful? I thought it was that it was true.”

          Because Catholicism explains the truth about human reality and purpose, living it’s truths out would be the best possible way to live. (I don’t know why this is coming out in italics)

          “My third-of-a-century anniversary is coming soon.”
          Congratulations.

          Catholic married couples who use artificial contraception divorce about the same rate as non-Catholics.

          No, by staying faithful I did not mean no adultery. I should have been more specific. I meant until death do us part.

          People practicing NFP have a 3% divorce rate.

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

          living [Catholicism’s] truths out would be the best possible way to live.

          This is built on yet more theology, not evidence. Show me that your religion is true first.

          People practicing NFP have a 3% divorce rate.

          I’m skeptical. Show me the study.

        • wladyslaw

          “But is your argument now that Catholicism is useful? I thought it was that it was true.”
          I never believed that Catholicism was good because it was useful. I found it to be true and therefore it explained well how human life works.

          Here is the site that talks about NFP and divorce rates, noting that more studies are needed to see if NFP is the causal difference in the divorce rates, or just a correlation.

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

          You’re right–all we have is correlation.

          And to change a 50% divorce rate to 3%? That’s a huge, huge change. The idea that the avoidance of contraceptives might possibly be the reason is laughable. My skeptical alarm bells are ringing, as should yours.

        • jejune

          Correlation is not causation.

          People using NFP are probably so devout that they will stay together even in *abusive* relationships.

          Doesn’t mean a thing.

        • jejune

          Controlling? No, just helps to run our lives the best possible way.

          Depends if you believe whether or not God gave man free-will.

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