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If Pro-Lifers Got into the Car Business . . .

Have you heard of Trinity Car Company? They’re new, and they claim to have a much more sensible approach to car buying. They’ve eliminated the showroom, and you go right to the factory. A friend of mine, who I’ll call Frank, told me about his experience. For his college graduation present, Frank’s father made the down payment. Frank wasn’t sure that Trinity was the right car or that now was the right time, but he went along.

Frank was greeted in the lobby by the salesman, a clean-cut young man with a big smile.

“I’m amazed you’re so quick,” Frank said. “I just put my order in two days ago, and yet here I am.”

The salesman carried himself as if he had found his dream job. “We treat every car for the miracle it is,” he said. “‘Every Design has a Designer,’ after all.” He pointed up to the large plaque on the wall that carried the same motto.

“Well, let’s go see your baby.” The salesman ushered Frank into a large room that appeared to be empty except for a car’s engine block on the floor. It lay on a fuzzy pink blanket. The pistons hadn’t been installed, and the six shiny cylinders were empty. “There you are,” he said. “You’ve made a nice choice. She’s a beaut!”

Frank looked around. “Where?”

“Right here.” The salesman took a step closer to the engine block and pointed.

“That’s not a car.”

“It is a car.” He put his hands on his hips and smiled, looking back and forth between Frank and the block. “Well, if we’re done here, let’s go wrap up the paperwork.”

“For what?” Frank said. “It’s not finished.”

“It will be.”

“Then get back to me when it is. I’m not paying $21,000 for that.”

The salesman cocked his head to the side like a perplexed puppy. “I must say, you seem to have a cramped definition of ‘car.’ Think about how fun it’ll be to drive.”

“But it’s not a car!”

“Of course it’s a car. What else would it be? It’s not a flower. It’s not a dinosaur. It’s a car. You’re just not familiar with the development process.” He walked over to the engine and pointed to the front of the block. “And take a look at this.”

Frank walked over and knelt next to him.

“See? It even has your VIN number—it’s unique.” The salesman ran his finger gently over the small raised digits as he read out the number. “You can touch it if you want to.”

Frank stood and waved his hands. “Look, this is not what I wanted.”

The salesman said, “Getting a car is big step, I’ll grant you, but I’m sure you want to see this process through.”

“I do not.”

The salesman’s smile dissolved. “I can show you what it’ll look like next week and the week after that and so on. Let me show you the pictures.”

Frank held up his hands. “Hold on. Maybe this is my fault. To me, a ‘car’ is what it’ll be when it’s finished, but I don’t want to debate definitions. A car that won’t be finished for months simply won’t work for me. This isn’t a fit.” He took a step toward the door.

The salesman ran his hands through his hair compulsively, erasing the clean-cut façade. “You knew about this when you signed up.”

“What’s the big deal? Sell it to someone else.”

The salesman looked at Frank as if he’d vomited on himself. “That’s not the way it works here. You saw the VIN. This is your car! Do you know what happens if you don’t take it?” He paused to catch his breath. “Let me show you.” He took out a small packet of photos from his jacket pocket.

“No, that’s okay,” Frank said, stepping back.

“I insist.” The salesman stood between Frank and the door. “They come with a crane with sharp tongs. They pick it up. They drag it out.” He flipped through photos of these steps. “They put it in here.” This photo showed some sort of grinding machine with enormous teeth. “Is that what you want? Can you live with that?”

Frank feinted to one side, and the salesman blocked him. Frank dashed around the other side and ran to the door. He looked back as he yanked the door open.

The salesman was holding up the photos as if showing a cross to a vampire. “Murderer!” he said, his eyes glistening. “Murderer!”

I was not;
I was;
I am not;
I do not care.
— Epicurus’s observation on death

Photo credit: Hemmings Daily

About Bob Seidensticker
  • RichardSRussell

    Aside from your probably wanting to include the bit about the VIN, for which you needed something the size of an engine block, this would actually have been closer to the pro-lifer* argument if the salesman had shown Frank a cotter pin or a blueprint.

    ––––––
    *”Pro-lifer” is short for “proliferators”.

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

      The analogy ain’t perfect. And that’s a good point about size.

      • wtfwjtd

        Good analogy Bob. Surprisingly, there is an actual business that uses this very model for real–a timeshare. People are promised dinners, vacations, and other amazing prizes for allowing a salesman the opportunity to show them the pitch. Oftentimes, they are taken to an empty lot, and told to imagine the fabulous resort that will someday be there…just sign on the dotted line, give us your money now, and– well, I think you get the idea.

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

          As with Frank in this story, I think I’d have a hard time with that resort pitch.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, there have been lots of folks that took the initial bait, the salesman can make it sound very enticing. Used to, they were stuck, and were obligated to pay no matter what. Then, some years back Missouri passed a law allowing people a certain amount of time after the initial contract was signed to nullify it, like 14 days. After that the rip-off horror stories dropped off, since people were allowed that time break to carefully consider their options without the pressure, and decide if it was truly right for them. Of course, I thought the law allowing the time to think about it was a great idea.

    • Highlander

      Perhaps it isn’t the size that matters, but where you start when building a car? According to pro-lifers, a human begins at a zygote. What is the equivalent in a car? Is it the raw iron ore and other minerals/petroleum as it dragged out of the ground? Probably not, since the raw materials for a zygote are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and a host of other trace elements. Is it the roll of sheet metal that will eventually be stamped, punched, pressed and folded into the various body parts? I’m going to go with not here either because a roll of sheet metal could become anything. We could go with the frame of the car, it would be the first thing that gets the unique VIN number in the car production process. The problem is, the frame is pretty recognizable as a car. The engine block with the VIN stamped onto it works much better because it’s just a hunk of metal and unless you know its the beginning of a car you could think it was something else entirely.

      • jejune

        The problem with a zygote is that it is a genetic blueprint, in one sense, but, it is also the root, for lack of a better word, of an embryo, which is just a ‘smaller’ fetus.

        This is one of the best explanations I have found so far, that explains blastocyst as blueprint:

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

        “You and I contain much, much more information, both
        genetic and otherwise, than a blastocyst. That’s why I can write this column and you can read it, whereas a blastocyst just.. .sits
        there. Indeed, that is the exactly the point of stem cell research:
        the stem cells in the blastocyst have not yet acquired the
        molecular programming required for differentiation, and so they
        remain pluripotent, awaiting the necessary molecular
        signals (the information) that will tell them whether
        to become nerve or muscle, skin or bone.

        Yes, once upon a time we were blastocysts, too. Nothing
        more than a little clump of cells, each of them a snippet of DNA
        surrounded by cytoplasm. But that DNA was later transcribed into RNA, and that RNA was translated into proteins. And some of those proteins were transcription factors that told other cells in the blastocyst what to do, when to divide, where to migrate. Transcription factors regulated the expression of still other transcription factors. Genes were turned on and off with clockwork precision. Some genes were methylated, so they could never be turned on again.

        In other words, the genome and the proteome of the blastocyst were changed as the embryo accumulated molecular information that the blastocyst did not have.

        The embryo became a fetus, with complex orientations of
        tissues–loaded with spatial, genetic, biochemical and mechanical
        information that simply did not exist in the embryo.

        The fetus became a child with a nervous system, and that nervous system sucked up information about the world, hard-wiring pathways for vision and movement, learning to make subtle distinctions between this and that, accumulating information that simply did not exist in the fetus.

        In other words, the blastocyst launched a genetic program that both extracted and acquired information. It didn’t start out
        as a human being. It became a human being, with a personality, feelings, attitudes and memories, by accumulating information that was not there before.

        Equating a blastocyst with a human being is like equating a brand new copy of an inexpensive spreadsheet program with the priceless databases that you’ll eventually build up with that program. It’s no less ridiculous than saying that a blueprint has the same value as a skyscraper–that it is the skycraper.

        No. They are not the same.”

        —————–

        The car analogy isn’t perfect, but it’s close. The thing is, what makes ‘you’ ‘you’ is not necessarily present in the zygote from the moment of conception. It isn’t even present in a very early embryo. As the pregnancy progresses, things change. Genes are turned on and off. Bacteria present in the womb can create, if not a different person, a different *version* of a person. Brains, organs, limbs, all manner of body parts can fail to develop. So, those who say that a zygote, or even an embyro, is a ‘whole, albeit smaller’ person, are wrong.

        It might be best to say that the blueprints to the car = zygote, and the car, at various stages = embryo/fetus. The zygote, btw, also contains instructions for the creation of the placenta. And, clearly, babies, and grown people, are not partial placenta.

        Hmm. Thinking about it some more, the fetus is essentially constructed using materials from the woman’s body. It’s not like you pour water on it, and it simply grows bigger. As just one example of this,the fetus will take calcium from the woman’s bones to build it’s own skeleton.

        I tend to look at the zygote as the frame, or, as in your example the engine block with the VIN is a better analogy. And there is no guarantee that the rest of the car will get built around that engine block. Windows might not get installed, or if they are, they could be bent, they could be opaque, etc etc. The car could end up any # of colours. And you won’t know until the thing is built in entirety, or close to it.

        So, in some ways it is similar to a car under construction, in some ways it isn’t. But, it’s really really difficult to find the perfect analogy for pregnancy and gestation.

  • smrnda

    I’ve often used an analogy to a building under construction – the exact point where a building is ‘finished’ is even more subjective than it is for cars. Is an unfinished basement ‘finished?’ Given that buildings stand for a long time and are often modified from the original plans it makes the ‘finished’ status even more subjective. Likewise on the status of no longer being fit for habitation.

  • jejune

    Brilliant!

    Many pro-lifers seem to think that a zygote is simply a smaller version of said car. And that with proper ‘nutrition’ the car will grow magically bigger:P

    I came across an interesting analogy recently, for fetal personhood. Please, tell me what you think:

    “Consider the species Charaxes brutus natalensis which is a type of
    butterfly. Now, a butterfly, I think we all admit, is not a caterpillar.
    Those are clearly not the same thing. However, both a caterpillar and a
    butterfly can be Charaxes brutus natalensis, and if for some odd reason
    Charaxes brutus natalensis were to become endangered and we wanted to
    protect them by passing a law against killing them, we could not do it
    effectively by saying “no killing butterflies.” Why? Because all the
    butterfly haters out there would get around this law by stomping out all
    the caterpillars. You must pass a law protecting the species.

    Now, you might want to say “But mike I am not protecting
    Homo-sapiens, I am protecting persons.” To which I lay down the
    following challenge: give me a definition of a person that is two
    things, ontologically objective (with a corresponding third-person
    ontology) and exhaustive (that is it applies to all and only persons).
    No one has been able to do that yet, and if you are like everyone else
    and cant meet my challenge your the appeal to a distinction betweens
    human and person fails. If that fails you then have to give me an
    account of why it is wrong to kill a one month old and not an 8 month
    old still in the womb without appealing to the fallacy of special
    pleading. Appeal to the rarity of 8 month abortions wont help you
    because I am making a conceptual point about why one is ok and one is
    not. The answer is going to turn on the question of bodily integrity,
    not on weak analogies about fetuses not being human.”

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

      give me a definition of a person that is two things, ontologically objective (with a corresponding third-person
      ontology) and exhaustive (that is it applies to all and only persons).

      I need this bit explained in more detail, if you don’t mind.

      • jejune

        Me too!

        I think this person is one of those ‘look at me I am smart, I use big words and convoluted thoughts’

        :P

  • Rilian Sharp

    “To me, a ‘car’ is what it’ll be when it’s finished”.
    At what age is a human “finished”?

    • RichardSRussell

      0!

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

      The difference between you and a newborn is negligible compared to the difference between the trillion-cell newborn and the single cell it started from. Sure, we can imagine that the spectrum continues after birth, but 99% of the fun has already happened.

  • KarlUdy

    Of course, anyone can write a one-sided analogy. Consider the abandoned masterpiece …

    Francis looked at the letter in his hand. It was an
    invitation to view the masterpiece he had commissioned. It was not finished
    yet, but he had the opportunity to see how the work was progressing.

    To be honest, he had a few misgivings about this whole process.
    It had been at a drunken party where he had commission the masterpiece and he
    was a little hazy on the details, but the letter was there in his hand, signed
    “J. M. W. Turner”.

    He turned up on the Wednesday, the date specified in the
    letter and was greeted at the door by Turner’s servant,

    “Ah, yes, the master said you’d be coming by today. I’ll let
    him know you have arrived.”

    Francis followed the servant inside to Turner’s workroom,
    and saw Turner there seated before the easel,

    “I’m sure you will love this when it is finished” said
    Turner.

    Francis looked closer. He couldn’t make out a single detail
    of what Turner was painting. It just looked like a mass of smudged and swirled
    paint. His earlier misgivings were coming back to him even stronger now, and he
    doubted that this painting would turn into anything he would want.

    “I’d been considering things” Francis said, “I’m not sure I
    want this painting after all.”

    “But I’ve already started!” Turner protested.

    “ I can see,” replied Francis, “but it’s hardly a
    masterpiece right now is it. And I’m not sure I can afford to pay for it.
    What’s more, I’m not even sure I have a space in my house to hang a painting
    like that. I’m just not prepared to rearrange things to make space for whatever
    that might turn out to be.”

    “But it will be a masterpiece” said Turner. “I’ve already
    seen it – up here” he said as he tapped his head.

    “No. I’ve made up my mind” said Francis. “I do not want
    this.” Please stop working on this right now and throw it away.”

    “If you’re so sure you don’t want it, I suppose I can find
    another patron to buy the piece when it is finished. I am sorry that you don’t
    want to continue. I am making this with you particularly in mind” said Turner
    as he looked somewhat gloomily at the floor.

    “No” said Francis. “ I want you to stop. I believe some
    money changed hands at the party” said Francis, referring to the deposit he had
    paid. “

    “But that was for my expenses and upkeep” said Turner. “I’ve
    already bought the canvas, as you can see. And I must have food to eat too.
    What’s more, you signed a contract. Surely I am already being generous to you
    in releasing you from anything beyond the deposit you have already paid?”

    Francis considered his predicament as he tried to find a
    solution. “What you have already spent, you can keep but you must refund me
    every penny you have not spent. And throw this painting away. I don’t want to
    be responsible for another day of your work. From here on in you must find a
    new patron.”

    I wonder, though, which is better, to view children as masterpieces or assembly-line productions?

    • jejune

      I wonder, though, which is better, to view children as masterpieces or assembly-line productions?

      I wonder though, which is better, to view women as people, or mere baby factories?

      FTFY

      • KarlUdy

        I completely support doing what we can to redress the imbalance in responsibility, shame, etc that is attributed to men and women re abortion and unplanned pregnancies.

        There are so many aspects of our society that are biased against women. Unfortunately, abortion has the twofold result of providing a pressure point for men who want to simply use women for sex without responsibility, and also heaping the blame for that solution upon the women. Prostitution presents very similar problems.

        • jejune

          Unfortunately, abortion has the twofold result of providing a pressure
          point for men who want to simply use women for sex without
          responsibility

          Oh please. Women enjoy sex too. And a woman has the right to enjoy sex *without* the fear of getting pregnant.

          You are just dressing up old-fashioned misogyny as ‘concern for women’.

          Did you know that the original arguments against *both* contraception and abortion were primarily concerned with female chastity? Yep. That if given access to contraception, women would get used by men, and men would escape from the ‘responsibility’ of a shotgun wedding! The same argument has been used with abortion. And the reality is, both men and women have the right to engage in sex for purely recreational reasons and walk away from it.

        • KarlUdy

          And the reality is, both men and women have the right to engage in sex for purely recreational reasons and walk away from it..

          I’m sorry, is this in the Bill of Human Rights, or some other document? I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

        • jejune

          Oh, you’re funny.

          That would fall under ‘liberty’ btw. As in, we don’t tell people how to run their *consensual* sex lives.

          This is why we no longer arrest gays for having consensual sex that we disapprove of. Or are you in favour of throwing homosexuals in jail for having sex that you disapprove of?

        • KarlUdy

          Does ‘liberty’ have any boundaries where sex is concerned?

          And how does it includes and walk away from it? It would seem that paternity laws disagree.

        • jejune

          Paternity laws are for the child – once it’s born.

          Men are not forced to take on the health and financial risks of a pregnancy. Women, like men, should be able to have consensual sex without the threat of forced pregnancy hanging over their heads. It’s that simple.

        • KarlUdy

          By your logic, a man could refuse all paternity responsibility by claiming his right to engage in sex for purely recreational reasons and walk away from it.

          After all, it is as you say a basic component of ‘liberty’. A man just ain’t free if he ain’t free to be a deadbeat dad.

        • jejune

          Your argument, if it can be called that, can be distilled to this: “women, if they engage in consensual sex, should be forced to remain pregnant, because a man might have to pay child support if she gives birth’.

          You are trying to say that sex should not be divorced from it’s procreational aspect by pointing out that men will have to pay child support *if* a child is born. And as I pointed out, above, child support cannot be compared to a forced *pregnancy*. Until a man takes on the health and financial risks entailed in a pregnancy, you have no room to speak.

          You also neglect to take into consideration the fact that the woman will *also* have to pay to raise the child. An women, in the end, suffer *more* than men from the unwanted pregnancy, because they have the double whammy of pregnancy/health/financial loss from pregnancy + the cost of raising the child. And no man has ever become maimed or disabled as a result of an unwanted pregnancy. No man has ever *died* from an ectopic pregnancy.

          Men can also choose to waive their parental rights, or, in many cases, move out of state and be free.

        • Niemand

          No man has ever *died* from an ectopic pregnancy.

          This may seem slightly fussy of me, but I’d like to clarify this a little: No cis man ever died of an ectopic pregnancy. Transmen can and probably have.

        • jejune

          Point taken. And I am aware that transmen can get pregnant.

          However, I try to keep things simple when talking to people such as KarlUdy.

          I even feel tempted to use ‘ze’ and ‘xir’ as pronouns, but I’m not sure if the more ignorant out there will even understand what I am talking about, you know?

          So when discussing abortion, at least, I keep it to man and woman.

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

          Maybe I’m far less informed about transgender medicine than I thought.

          Someone born XY can have a working uterus and Fallopian tubes and all that plumbing implanted? A trans man can get pregnant?

        • Niemand

          Maybe I’ve got my terms backwards. I meant someone born with XX and usual genitalia but who feels like a man not a woman. If he hasn’t had surgery he can go off hormones and get pregnant.

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

          Or maybe I have mine backwards! OK, I see your point.

        • jejune
        • tyler

          this is actually completely beside the point (you just had the terms backwards) but technically speaking you can get a genetically xy person with a working female reproductive system. the y chromosome basically tells the gestating fetus to begin producing androgens which starts male development, but certain conditions can cause the fetus and subsequent person to be immune which leads to the ‘default’ female development. i recall this causing a headache during the olympics with genetically xy athletes being barred from the women’s competitions.

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

          My confusion was with Niemand’s comment that a “trans man” has gotten pregnant.

          Starting from XY, that sounds pretty unlikely. But I got it backwards–starting from XX, I get it.

          I guess the rule is that you use the destination gender after “trans,” not the starting gender? I can handle that.

        • tyler

          oh no i understand, i just have that particular sort of verbal incontinence that causes me to drop random trivia whenever the opportunity presents itself.

        • jejune

          I am glad you did, because I had been wondering about that very thing. Had a vague recollection of hearing something along those very lines, but couldn’t place it.

        • phantomreader42

          Your wallet is not a part of your body.

        • jejune

          I would hazard a bet that most men would prefer to pay child support than be forced to donate organs/blood/bone marrow to a child they created.

        • Niemand

          Men OR women who “walk away” from a child are required to either give up their rights to the child or pay child support. Men have no obligation related to pregnancy.

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

          Does ‘liberty’ have any boundaries where sex is concerned?

          If it doesn’t hurt anyone, don’t worry about it.

          Simple, right?

        • Niemand

          How much child support are men required to pay to their fetuses? Nothing. Men have no obligations in the pregnancy and can, if they so choose, walk away from it.
          But suppose they don’t. Suppose a man takes custody of his child and the woman walks away and never pays child support. Know what happens? Her wages are garnished, she is ineligible for certain government aid, etc. In short, exactly the same thing that happens to a man that walks away. No equality there.
          The current situation does not put a higher burden on men or women, except for the risk the woman takes in trying to complete a pregnancy. You’re trying to impose a higher burden.

        • Pattrsn

          Well it ain’t in the bible

        • smrnda

          Last I checked, these things were mentioned in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

        • dance commander

          People have the right to privacy.

          That means the government should stay out of the bedroom, and out of people’s medical decisions.

        • Niemand

          abortion has the twofold result of providing a pressure point for men
          who want to simply use women for sex without responsibility, and also
          heaping the blame for that solution upon the women.

          What’s your data for this postulate? There is quite a lot of data that demonstrate that men who are abusive of their female partners sabotage birth control to get their partners pregnant and keep them under control. So by making abortion harder to obtain you’re definitely helping abusers keep their victims under control. If that matters to you.

        • KarlUdy

          This graph shows that a significant percentage of women indicate that partner objection is the main reason for the abortion. This is likely to be an under-reported figure, for obvious reasons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AGIAbortionReasonsBarChart.png

        • jejune

          Not a good reason to ban all abortion.

          You can’t deny people their right to liberty and freedom just because you think you know what is best for that ‘group’.

        • Niemand

          Why would you expect partner objection to be underreported? Also note that relationship issues and partner objection are combined, so that women having an abortion to escape an abusive relationship would likely be under this category as well as women whose partners did not want an abortion.

        • KarlUdy

          I’m sure you can imagine the situation where a man forces a woman to have an abortion, and the woman does not indicate this is the reason for fear of the man and what he may do to her.

        • jejune

          And I am sure you can imagine a situation where abortion is illegal and a man sabotages a woman’s birth control by poking holes in the condom and replacing her bc pills with placebos.

          These are the men who tie women to them by knocking them. This often goes hand in hand with abuse. And a pregnant woman cannot easily leave an abusive man if she is tied to him by children.

          Fuck, rapists have parental rights in close to 30 states.

        • KarlUdy

          The possibility of your scenario does not mean that the scenario I proposed either does not happen or does not matter. And the data shows that, as I said, abortion is used by (some) men to use and abuse women.

        • jejune

          People do lots of shitty things. The people who force a woman to abort are just as anti-choice as those who would deny a woman that right.

        • Pattrsn

          Wonder how that compares to the number of women who undergo forced pregnancies because of the use and abuse of women by men?

        • Niemand

          And the data shows that, as I said, abortion is used by (some) men to use and abuse women.

          Actually, the data you present show no such thing. They show that some women list relationship issues as the main reason for an abortion. In some cases, that relationship issue might be their partner forcing or coercing an abortion. Or it might be that the woman has a genuine regard for her partners’ situation and wishes and is willing to have an abortion because this is not the right time for either but especially not for him. Or she might have an abortion to make an escape from an abuser easier. Or maybe she finds it easier to “blame” her partner than to admit that she wanted an abortion. Any of these scenarios could account for the minority of women (<20% in any country listed and around 10% in the US) who cite relationship issues as the primary reason for an abortion. You are interpreting way beyond your data.

        • Pattrsn

          Ok thanks for spelling that out, the underreporting exists only in your imagination

        • Niemand

          I can imagine lots of situations. That doesn’t mean that they’re the norm or even that they exist.

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

          Yes, the man forcing the woman to have an abortion (she doesn’t want it) would be a bad thing. That said, I’m not sure why partner objection is always a bad reason. Unless you’re saying that there’s no problem with a woman going it alone.

        • Pattrsn

          Since the category is “Relationship issues or partner objection” the percentage would actually be lower. In the one study that allowed multiple reasons, and had separated the categories, relationship issues accounted for more than twice the percentage of partner objection. So, much lower.

        • jejune

          Prostitution presents very similar problems.

          Legalize it and regulate it. Don’t ban it and make criminals out of women.

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

      I’m not sure where you want me to go with the abandoned-masterpiece story.

      Sure, in the future, the painting may be a masterpiece. But right now, it’s not.

      If your anti-abortion argument is simply one of potential, I’m sympathetic to that.

    • Niemand

      Is it more likely that every child will be considered a masterpiece in a world where women and men can chose when and how to have children, have children only when they decide the time is right, and where society supports them both financially and emotionally or one in which women are forced to have babies as a grim duty and punishment for sex, where having as many children as possible is considered “good” and where if you can’t support your children it’s your own fault if they starve? The Quiverfull assembly line puts children in the light of cheap industrial products. Women who use birth control, including abortion as a backup and have children on their terms think of their children as masterpieces.

      Incidentally, every artist I know constantly evaluates their work and often decides that a painting just isn’t working out and paints over it. I don’t know or know of any that are arrogant enough to say, “It’s a masterpiece!” before it’s done. Many paintings don’t work out. Are you sure you want to continue with this analogy?

      • jejune

        Great point. Every child should be wanted.

        But we all know where karl is going with this.

        Every child is a miracle, even Hitler* was a miracle because he was given the gift of life blah blah. All Homo Sapiens are precious beings because they were created in God’s image blah blah blah.

        *I bring up Hitler because in a discussion from last week, some fella was trying to say that Hitler had the same value as, say MLK, due to the fact that Hitler is a member of the species h. sapiens.

      • KarlUdy

        Obviously you missed the opening line in my post, or you wouldn’t assume I think it is immune to criticism.

        You also seem to think that I am defending the Quiverfull movement. I’m not, and the fact you bring it up means that you are arguing against an extreme position that I don’t hold. One would think that if you had good arguments for abortion, you would use them, instead of pretending that everyone who opposes abortion being as widely available as it is now is some sort of crazy extremist.

        • Niemand

          Um…can I have some bread sticks to go with your word salad?

          Good arguments for abortion. Let’s see…
          Pregnancy is dangerous and forcing someone to take that risk is wrong.
          We don’t force people to allow the use of their bodies in any other circumstance. Why should pregnancy be different?

          What’s the difference between not allowing a woman to decide whether something goes in her vagina and whether something goes in her uterus?
          The concept of fetal pain is an extremely dubious one medically. Embryonic pain is medically impossible. There is no possibility of fetal thought until very late in the third trimester and the evidence for conscious thought in a fetus even then is minimal.
          Opposition to abortion is strongly correlated with opposition to birth control and to women having any role in society besides that of an incubator.

        • jejune

          instead of pretending that everyone who opposes abortion being as
          widely available as it is now is some sort of crazy extremist.

          And what does this mean exactly? You think that you, and the pro-life politicians you vote for, should have the right to decide *which* women *deserve* an abortion?

          Let me guess..if a woman chooses to have non-procreative sex, you don’t think she *deserves* to get an abortion.

        • KarlUdy

          What makes you think you know how I vote? I am sure you have never heard of any politician I’ve voted for, or know their stance on abortion

        • jejune

          It’s a good guess, given how you seem to feel that people should be forced into traditional marriages.

        • KarlUdy

          I haven’t said anything about marriage in this thread? And it was a bad guess.

        • jejune

          Your opposition to recreational sex and the belief that engaging in consensual sex ‘hurts’ women is proof enough of where you stand.

        • Niemand

          pretending that everyone who opposes abortion being as widely available as it is now is some sort of crazy extremist.

          Right. Just because you’re advocating rape, slavery, and murder is no reason for you to be labelled an extremist. Got it.

        • KarlUdy

          If this is how you frame anyone who disagrees with you, it’s pointless having a discussion with you. Goodbye.

        • jejune

          Jeez. You guys sure do hate it when people point out your misogynistic views.

        • KarlUdy

          No. I’m just not a masochist. Niemand obviously wasn’t interested in a real discussion, only in misrepresenting what I said. And it appears you are the same. I hope one day you can have a real discussion about this with someone where you actually listen to what they have to say. Obviously, neither of you are ready for that now.

        • Niemand

          You’re advocating forcing women to have a foreign object in their genitalia against their will. Why should I call that anything but rape? You’re advocating forcing women to allow the use of their bodies against their will solely for the benefit of others. How is that anything other than slavery? You’re forcing women to stay in dangerous situations that may kill them and which you know will kill some of them. How is that not murder?

          You’re proudly advocating rape, murder, and slavery, but you get insulted when someone points that out. Perhaps you should reconsider your views.

    • Pattrsn

      For the Forced Pregnancy Movement probably a mixture of both. An embryo is a masterpiece, assembled in the body of a baby machine.

  • RandomFunction2

    To Bob the broken, yet somehow fabulous, atheist,
    You don’t appear to realize the difference between the making of a thing and the biological process of development.
    A fetus grows into a newborn naturally, spontaneously, as if knowing his/her goal in advance, with no conscious help from the mother.
    A thing is not made naturally. It is people who design it consciously. There is no natural process, no law of nature, in the universe leading to the making of a television set, or a book, or a car. The laws of nature are merely compatible with them, but they don’t tend to produce them.
    So it could be argued that a fetus is not in the same class of beings as a car in the making.
    Another problem is that the newborn is no more complete than the car in your story. But people consider a baby to have the full set of human rights.

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

      You don’t appear to realize the difference between the making of a thing and the biological process of development.

      Perhaps I’ll surprise you. I doubt you can show me a non-parallel feature of my story above that I don’t agree with.

      So it could be argued that a fetus is not in the same class of beings as a car in the making.

      Yep.

      Another problem is that the newborn is no more complete than the car in your story. But people consider a baby to have the full set of human rights.

      No, the problem (as raised by Richard) is that I show (1) one component complete and the rest not even started and (2) this happens on Day 2. To get the scale right, his idea of starting with a cotter pin would make more sense. But problem (1) would still remain.

      The main point is that an engine block is not a car in the same way that a single cell is not a baby.

    • jejune

      A fetus grows into a newborn naturally, spontaneously, as if knowing
      his/her goal in advance, with no conscious help from the mother.

      It grows by feeding off another person’s body. Essentially leeching their body of nutrients. The fetus is literally constructed by taking nutrients from the woman’s body. Women often lose teeth and develop osteoperosis as a result of pregnancy because the fetus takes calcium from her bones.

      The building/car analogy is quite apt.

      The zygote is essentially a blueprint with instructions for the creation of an embryo/fetus. The zygote also contains instructions for the creation of the placenta and umbilical cord. The placenta and umbilicus = tools used in the construction of a fetus.

      The zygote can also split into twins, recombine…split into triplets…recombine…etc etc.

      Also, during the construction of the embryo/fetus, certain genes will be turned off, others on. Sometimes organs will simply fail to develop, or, for the case of this analogy, they will fail to be constructed. Brains will be absent, as in the case of anencephaly. If the pregnant woman happens to be extremely stressed during her pregnancy, those hormones will transfer to the fetus, and you will create an extremely anxious kid. And that kid, if it grows up to have babies of it’s own, will also create extremely anxious kids. But, if the woman isn’t stressed, she will create a non-anxious child.

      During the Dutch Hunger Famine of the 1940s, near the end of WWII, the Germans chose to punish the Dutch by taking all of the grain they had harvested. Hundreds of thousands of Dutch people starved. During that time, third trimester fetii that were exposed to starving mothers ‘learned’ (their bodies learned, as the fetii were not conscious) that life outside the womb was likely to be rough, and that food was likely to be scarce. So their bodies learned to become very very efficient in regards to how they store calories. All of those third trimester fetii are now adults, and they all suffer from obesity and diabetes. Fetii that were in the first and second trimesters at that period are neither obese nor diabetic.

      All of the above just goes to show you that the e/f really is something that is *under construction* while in the womb, and that it ain’t complete until it’s complete.

      Another problem is that the newborn is no more complete than the car in your story. But people consider a baby to have the full set of human
      rights.

      The newborn is actually as complete as the car in his story. I would compare the newborn to the car simply needing a wax job, some oil and some gas. But for all intents and purposes the newborn is complete. It has the arms, the legs, the brain, the fully developed lungs -everything it will need to survive on it’s own. The newborn doesn’t require a placenta and a umbilicus to take care of all it’s bodily functions. A newborn can eat, shit and breathe on it’s own. The newborn is still malleable, but, not in the same *fundamental* way that an e/f is malleable.

      • Pattrsn

        I love this line “with no conscious help from the mother. ” How ignorant of pregnancy can one person be.

        • jejune

          She’s just a walking incubator, don’t you know?

        • jejune

          Ignorance works for pro-lifers because they can pretend that pregnancy is all rainbows and unicorns and conveniently erase the woman and her health and feelings from the entire equation and make it all about the fetus. It also helps to pretend that a zygote is merely a much smaller infant.

    • Pattrsn

      “with no conscious help from the mother. ”

      I think this line encapsulates a lot of the forced pregnancy movement’s attitude towards women, mindless legged wombs.

    • Niemand

      A fetus grows into a newborn naturally, spontaneously, as if knowing
      his/her goal in advance, with no conscious help from the mother

      Also, with no conscious help from the fetus. Which is a good thing since the fetus isn’t capable of conscious thought. Nor does it know its “goal”, each gene simply does what it is programmed to do under the given circumstances. In fact, it goes wrong not infrequently. How do you feel about helping those fetuses that don’t “know his/her goal”? Just let the sick ones die?

  • jejune

    Just putting this here, for those who are interested:

    http://fightforsense.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/manyargs/

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

      And I thought I’d seen a lot of anti-abortion arguments. Thanks.

  • wladyslaw

    Bob,
    Your car story is another way to illustrate your abortion spectrum argument–a zygote is very different from a 24 week fetus and different from a 32 week fetus (or baby).

    Why do we in our society think it is VERY wrong for a woman to take illegal drugs, or even certain legal drugs, drink alcohol, and smoke cigarettes as SOON as a woman finds out she is pregnant with a fetus?

    Very wrong to hurt the fetus throughout the WHOLE pregnancy, the whole spectrum.

    But not very wrong or illegal to kill it in an abortion.

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

      Your car story is another way to illustrate your abortion spectrum argument–a zygote is very different from a 24 week fetus and different from a 32 week fetus (or baby).

      Yes. Someone calling an engine block a “car”? Weird, huh?

      Why do we in our society think it is VERY wrong for a woman to take illegal drugs…

      But not very wrong or illegal to kill it in an abortion.

      Is that a serious question?

      Sometimes a thing is good in one context and bad in another. This will apparently be news to you, but learning that they are pregnant is very rarely a blah kind of thing for a girl/woman. That will either be incredibly good news or incredibly bad news.

      If she wants to have a baby, then she should take care of it. If she doesn’t, then she should consider an abortion.

      • wladyslaw

        Bob,

        OK, let’s assume the woman is happy to be pregnant.

        But why do we consider it wrong for her to hurt the fetus by smoking marihuana, for instance, in VERY early pregnancy, when drug use is most dangerous.

        She is not hurting a baby, right?

        Certainly it cannot be very wrong to kill a clump of cells–like a bacteria sort of.

        • wladyslaw

          I meant:
          Certainly it cannot be very wrong to hurt a clump of cells–like a bacteria sort of.

        • jejune

          She is not hurting a baby, right?

          Because, it is going to be BORN. And if something is going to be BORN, you want it to be healthy when it is BORN.

          If you are going to abort, the health of the fetus does not matter because you are not creating a future person.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          In 2004 Texas passed a law that made it a felony for a pregnant woman to smoke marihuana, with a penalty of 2-20 years.
          So a Texas officer arrests a pregnant woman smoking marihuana. In court she says “Your honor, obviously you must let me go. I never wanted the child, and as a matter of fact, was going to get an abortion in two days.”
          Do you think she would win?

        • jejune

          You asked the wrong person, however, to answer your question:

          http://norml.org/news/2004/06/17/texas-mother-sentenced-on-felony-drug-delivery-charges-for-smoking-pot-while-pregnant

          They generally file charges *after* the baby is born. They do drug tests AFTER it’s born.

          “Currently there are no states that holds prenatal substance abuse as a criminal act of child abuse and neglect. But many have expanded their civil child-welfare requirements to include substance abuse during pregnancy as grounds for terminating parental rights in relation to child abuse and neglect. The laws that adress prenatal substance abuse are as follows:

          Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota’s health care providers are required to test for and report prenatal drug exposure. Kentucky health care providers are only required to test.
          Alaska, Arizona, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah, Rhode Island and Virginia’s, health care providers are required to report prenatal drug exposure. Reporting and testing can be evidence used in child welfare proceedings.
          Some states consider prenatal substance abuse as part of their child welfare laws. Therefore prenatal drug exposure can provide grounds for terminating parental rights because of child abuse or neglect. These states include: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
          Some states have policies that enforce admission to an inpatient treatment program for pregnant women who use drugs. These states include: Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
          In 2004, Texas made it a felony to smoke marijuana while pregnant, resulting in a prison sentence of 2-20 years.

        • wladyslaw

          Sorry, I meant to ask Bob.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          “It’s only a clump of cells” you say louder and louder to pro-lifers. Like bacteria. Not wrong at all to eliminate them.

          If it’s OK to kill a clump of cells–potential life, it must be OK to only hurt a clump of cells– potential life. It’s OK to kill bacteria, after all. It must be OK to hurt bacteria. Bacteria, after all, can’t become something more important, right?

          Your intention does not change the reality of those cells–they are EXACTLY the same cells in either case.

        • jejune

          Again, you are responding to the wrong person.

          Let’s say you don’t want to build a car. But, someone drops an engine block off in your front yard. You can do whatever you want to that engine block, because it is NOT going to become a car.

          Understand?

        • wladyslaw

          Sorry, I meant to address Bob both times.

        • jejune

          Bob’s gonna give a similar answer, sweetcheeks.

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

          Same cells; different interpretations. No, one interpretation doesn’t fit all situations.

          You struggle to point out some difficulty or contradiction, but you really need to up your game.

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

          Because she’s doing something counter to her stated intention.

          (Just trying to see if there really is no dumb question?)

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,

          Look, but why is it wrong to hurt the clump of cells and not wrong to kill them? You asked me if I was serious. But you keep saying to pro-lifers with exasperation that in early pregnancy it’s nothing more than a clump of cells. Like bacteria. Obviously you meant you could treat them like you do bacteria.

          It’s OK to kill bacteria, but not hurt them?

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

          More dumb questions, I’m afraid.

          Look, but why is it wrong to hurt the clump of cells and not wrong to kill them?

          Why is it reasonable for me to diet when there are starving people in the world? Why is it reasonable to lay outside in a bathing suit in Hawaii but not in Greenland?

          Context, my friend. It makes a difference.

          It’s OK to kill bacteria, but not hurt them?

          Because you said that the woman is happy to be pregnant.

          One of us is being stupid here.

        • jejune

          One of us is being stupid here.

          Before I started to put any thought into the whole abortion debate, I asked the same question that wladyslaw is asking.

          I think that, if you really don’t *think* about it, the stupidity of the question will not be immediately obvious;)

        • wladyslaw

          And Bob,
          Pro-choice people say what counts in the INTENTION of the woman–does she intend and want the child, or does she not intend and want the child–that is most important.

          Right?
          Well, a woman can want and intend a child all she wants, or she can not want and intend a child intensely.

          Guess what–once pregnant, their INTENTIONS change absolutely nothing.

          The clumps of cells keep growing merrily along, on their way to birth.

          It doesn’t matter what she THINKS or INTENDS. Nothing changes.

          It only changes when somebody kills those cells.

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

          Is there one objective, absolute, characterization of those cells? We’ve already been over this. To the person who counts (the woman), the cells are either “Something fantastic!” or “Something terrible!”

          See the difference? One size fits all is a ridiculous attitude to come into this conversation with.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          Yes, absolutely. One objective, absolute characterization of that clump of cells would be that if left alone, barring disease, or accident, or genetic defect, they would ALWAYS multiply and grow according to a predetermined pattern that resulted in the birth of a child. Not always healthy, but still a child. Scientifically true. Check with a biologist.

          Woman know that very well and know that killing that clump of cells will shurely stop that inexeroble process. Also objectively, scientifically, absolutely true.

          AND guess what? Those cells are absolutely the SAME cells, merrily on their way to becoming a person, no matter what a person FEELS about them. No matter how much they feel it’s “something fantastic!” or “something terrible! it does not change the REALITY of those cells. You could examine those cells and see that their feelings don’t change a single thing.

          Killing them does change them, Science.

        • jejune

          Those cells are absolutely the SAME cells, merrily on their way to becoming a person, no matter what a person FEELS about them

          No, they are not the ‘same cells’ pumpkin. I suggest you pay special attention to the bolded parts.

          Here is some science:

          You and I contain much, much more information, both
          genetic and otherwise, than a blastocyst. That’s why I can write this column and you can read it, whereas a blastocyst just.. .sits there. Indeed, that is the exactly the point of stem cell research: the stem cells in the blastocyst have not yet acquired the molecular programming required for differentiation, and so they remain pluripotent, awaiting the necessary molecular signals (the information) that will tell them whether to become nerve or muscle, skin or bone.

          Yes, once upon a time we were blastocysts, too. Nothing more than a little clump of cells, each of them a snippet of DNA surrounded by cytoplasm. But that DNA was later transcribed into RNA, and that RNA was translated into proteins. And some of those proteins were transcription factors that told other cells in the blastocyst what to do, when to divide, where to migrate. Transcription factors regulated the expression of still other transcription factors. Genes were turned on and off with clockwork precision. Some genes were methylated, so they could never be turned on again.

          In other words, the genome and the proteome of the blastocyst were changed as the embryo accumulated molecular information that the blastocyst did not have.

          The embryo became a fetus, with complex orientations of
          tissues–loaded with spatial, genetic, biochemical and mechanical information that simply did not exist in the embryo.

          The fetus became a child with a nervous system, and that nervous system sucked up information about the world, hard-wiring pathways for vision and movement, learning to make subtle distinctions between this and that, accumulating information that simply did not exist in the
          fetus.

          In other words, the blastocyst launched a genetic program that both extracted and acquired information. It didn’t start out as a human being. It became a human being, with a personality, feelings, attitudes and memories, by accumulating information that was not there before.

          Equating a blastocyst with a human being is like equating a brand new copy of an inexpensive spreadsheet program with the priceless databases that you’ll eventually build up with that program. It’s no less ridiculous than saying that a blueprint has the same value as a skyscraper–that it is the skycraper.

          No. They are not the same.”

          John Sullivan md phd

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

          Good point. When I talk about the spectrum, I note that the fact that the newborn has a trillion cells is just the beginning of the difference between it and the single cell it started out as. The newborn isn’t just a Petri dish of a trillion totipotent cells, but those cells are specialized and interconnected in a marvelously complicated way.

        • jejune

          Yep.

          The pluripotent stem cells might be the sheet metal, the paint, or even the raw silica used to make glass in your analogy.

        • wladyslaw

          I don’t understand why you continue to respond to my comments.

        • jejune

          Because you’re wrong.

          And besides, there are people reading other than you :)

          I will continue to respond to your comments and point out the error in your thinking.

          Have a good day.

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

          Yes, absolutely. One objective, absolute characterization of that clump of cells would be that if left alone, barring disease, or accident, or genetic defect, they would ALWAYS multiply and grow according to a predetermined pattern that resulted in the birth of a child.

          Wrong. God, the Ultimate Abortionist® kills half of all conceptions. Clearly, this doesn’t bother the Big Man. Why should it bother you?

          You just gonna ignore my point about context? That taking a certain action might be wise in one context but not in another?

          Wlad, I don’t know if you’re bringing your A game or if you’re just winging it here, but I wish you’d think about this stuff more thoroughly before you post. Silly comments make you look silly and annoy the rest of us.

        • jejune

          I will point out that:

          1) these cells are not simply ‘left alone’. If they were ‘left alone’ they wouldn’t grow. They are constructed by taking nutrients and various minerals and sugars from the woman’s body. The embryo suppresses the woman’s immune system in order to do this, and to extract the majority of the sugar from her blood before she can use it for her own energy needs.

          2) the ‘barring disease accient or genetic defect’ thing is bullshit because there is NO GUARANTEE, as I outlined below, that the fetus will even grow all of the necessary organs. It ain’t complete until it’s complete.

          Silly comments make you look silly and annoy the rest of us.

          This is why he is no longer responding to Kodie and I. We were big meanies for pointing this out.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob.
          By genetic defect I meant spontaneos abortions that we do not know the reason of. Those cells, barring the conditions I mentioned, will ALWAYS grow to a child.

          My absolute characterization of those clumps of cells still stands.

          You may not believe that truth about the clump of cells. But guess what.

          Women certainly do.

          Women would NEVER have an abortion if they did NOT believe the science–that if that clump of cells is not killed, that clump of cells will inexorably lead to a child that they do not want. Their feelings won’t stop the growth of a child. They know the science.

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

          Those cells, barring the conditions I
          mentioned, will ALWAYS grow to a child.

          So: those cells that will always grow into a child, will
          always grow into a child.

          That’s a tautology, but OK. Thanks for that. I’m not sure how that informs the conversation, but whatever.

        • jejune

          y genetic defect I meant spontaneos abortions that we do not know the
          reason of. Those cells, barring the conditions I mentioned, will ALWAYS
          grow to a child.

          You don’t know that they will grow into a child until they do.

          And I have already shown you the science.

          You are WRONG.

        • Niemand

          By genetic defect I meant spontaneos abortions that we do not know the reason of

          If we don’t know the reason for the abortion, then we don’t know that there was any genetic defect at all. It could quite easily have been an acquired issue: teratogenic exposure, maternal viral exposure, autoimmune phenomena, and many, many other issues. Biology is messy and it does not all come down to genes.

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

          Biology
          is messy and it does not all come down to genes.

          It’s almost like there’s no benevolent supernatural designer after all …

        • Niemand

          I occasionally like to claim that looking at biology there’s no way to justify a designer because no one in their right mind would make something this messy and prone to breaking with the slightest provocation on purpose. Then I think…Microsoft.

        • Niemand

          (I bring the Microsoft example up when I’m in the mood to get myself into trouble with believers and atheists simultaneously. In fact, it’s a false equivalence: Microsoft products show clear evidence of design, if sometimes faulty design whereas biology shows every evidence of no design…except, of course, when it is designed, i.e. domesticated animals.)

        • wladyslaw

          “You just gonna ignore my point about context? That taking a certain action might be wise in one context but not in another?

          Does context ALWAYS matter?

          Sometimes context matters, and what you say is true, that something could be wise in one case and not in another.

          Sometimes it does NOT matter.

          No context justifies rape. If you know of one, please let me know.

          BEFORE you get into rape-abortion context comparisons, we first need to establish if context ALWAYS matters.

          So, if you have one, please let me know what context would justify rape.

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

          Does context ALWAYS matter?

          ?? It does in the situation at hand. We could puzzle about
          some esoteric situation that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about, but why? This conversation is already far too random.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          “It (context) does (matter) in the situation at hand.”

          I have heard you say–fine, abortion may be wrong for you, but don’t force your values on me. Moral relativism–context always matters in important moral decisions–it depends on the situation, not for all, not for all situations.

          In absolute moral values–context never matters. Always, in every situation, doesn’t depend on anything..

          Even though you speak the moral relativist language-wrong for you but not necesarily wrong for me–I don’t think you realy live it.

          I believe, and I think you do also, that today rape is always and everywhere, for all men and women, wrong. Wrong for you personally. But also wrong for me. Wrong for the Moslem whose Qoran says that in some cases it’s not rape (like in marriage). I believe you think it is wrong in every situation–no context justifies it. “Personally believe otherwise” does not count!

          You could possibly come up with an esoteric context justification for rape, but in the real world, you believe it is always wrong.

          In other words, the Moslem could say to you “Rape in marriage is wrong for thee, but not me. Rape is impossible in marriage. And that goes for me and a whole lot of my 1.6 million fellow Moslems.”

          I don’t think you would say–”you know, you’r right, I can’t force my values on you. It’s perfectly OK for you to disagree with me on this issue. I won’t rape in marriage, but you can.

          You can’t have it both ways.

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

          in the real world, you believe it is always wrong.

          Correct. That’s not absolute moral values.

          You can’t have it both ways.

          You seem to imagine a contradiction here. Show me.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          “in the real world, you believe it (rape) is always wrong.
          Correct. That’s not absolute moral values.”

          You believe it is always wrong, regardless of any circumstances.

          Wikipedia (not the most reliable source) says:
          Moral absolutism is an ethical
          view that certain actions are absolutely right or wrong, regardless of
          other circumstances such as their consequences or the intentions behind
          them.

          You believe that rape is “absolutely right or wrong, regardless of
          other circumstances such as their consequences or the intentions behind
          them.”
          But you believe it is not a moral absolute?

          A contradiction, No?

        • wladyslaw

          My above comment should have read–”Absolutely wrong.”

        • Niemand

          Wrong for the Moslem whose Qoran says that in some cases it’s not rape (like in marriage)

          Wrong for the Christian whose Bible says that in some cases (like in forced marriage or slavery) it’s not rape?

        • Niemand

          rape is always and everywhere,

          So why are you advocating legalizing rape? If you prohibit abortion then you are attempting to force women to keep an unwanted object in her genitalia. That’s rape, whether you want to pretend otherwise or not.

        • wladyslaw

          Niemand,
          Try that argument on someboedy else.

        • dance commander

          What is wrong with that argument?

          Birth involves penetration, without the woman’s consent. Often very very painful penetration. The kind that can rip a woman’s vagina apart, and cause her pelvic floor to collapse.

        • Niemand

          Why? Just because you can’t come up with any good counterargument? The technical term for what you’re doing is “denial”. But closing your eyes to the reality won’t make it go away.

        • jejune

          If the human race was on the verge of extinction, does wladyslaw think it would be acceptable to rape women and force them to create more humans?

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune,
          I take you seriously. I think some of your comments are very good, well thought out, and even researched– and some are pretty weak.

          Why do you keep commenting on my comments, and even on some comments addressed to Bob (“Bob would answer you the same way as me”)? You spend a lot of time writing long complicated answers, do research, paste your findings–on comments to me. Why waste serious your time on someone you do not consider serious?

          I read your comments anyway, and would love to respond to them. They’re good. But would you respond to me if I said I did not take you seriously and called you cupcake? I don’t think you would bother.

        • dance commander

          Why waste serious your time on someone you do not consider serious?

          Because, I can still point out faulty logic and bad reasoning. And the comment that your arguments are ‘silly’ is just that. That’s what Bob said, too. Gonna ignore Bob too?

        • wladyslaw

          Bob can certainly believe that some of my arguments are silly. I believe some of his arguments are silly. He points out if he thinks they are silly. I chose not to point that out to him or to you or any other commenter.

          Looking back, I believe that some of my comments are silly. Yet Bob pretty much tries to answer respectfully. Probably with a sigh.
          Bob may, or may not, appreciate that often my comments generate a lot of comments and visits to his posts, more than usual, as silly as those comments sometimes are.

        • dance commander

          I apologize earlier for saying that I didn’t take you seriously.

          However, it is within my rights to consider your arguments to be silly, and to point that out ;)

          And do keep one thing in mind – if you do get negative pushback, it is from non-males who are *offended* by your views. People tend to get angry when they are told that their moral values lies between their legs. That their only worth on this earth is as a walking incubator for a precious microscopic zygote. That they are LESS THAN a zygote.

          Imaging having a debate as to whether or not slavery is all that bad? Hmm, we should reopen the slavery debate. Perhaps slaves aren’t real people after all…

          When you talk about restricting abortion, you are talking about enslaving women to their biological functions. Turning them into gestational slaves. And people are, rightly I think, offended by that.

        • wladyslaw

          Thanks Jejune.
          I replied to one of your comments above.

        • Ron

          No context justifies rape

          Not according to the Bible:

          Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.” Num. 31:17-18

          If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her.” Deut. 25:5

          Yahweh not only condones rape, he commands it.

        • jejune

          Hey, we both got thumbs down by apparent Christians who don’t like the fact that there is rape in the bible?

          /facepalm

        • Ron

          Strange, isn’t it? I guess they don’t like their Middle Eastern tribal god’s moral edicts as much as they profess.

        • wladyslaw

          Ron,

          I was asking if there was any context that Bob (or YOU or anyone else alive right now) could produce that would ever justify rape for you or anyone else alive right now.

          Do YOU right now believe that a context exists that could justifies rape for you, or for any other human being alive.

          I’m not asking if the Bible thousands of years ago, or a Moslem today justifies it in some circumstances.

          Can YOU NOW say “rape is OK in the following context?”
          And show me the context.

          Or do you believe it is always wrong in all circumstances.?

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

          I was asking if there was any context that
          Bob (or YOU or anyone else alive right now) could produce that would ever justify rape for you or anyone else alive right now.

          OK, I think you misspoke here. I think what you meant to say to Ron was, “Wow. You got me there. I said that no context justified rape, and you showed me a rather embarrassing pro-rape passage in my own Bible. My bad.”

          You forgot to wrap that up and instead tried to sweep that
          under the rug and hope we didn’t notice.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          I did NOT ask you if the Bible justifies rape, or a Moslem, or a psychopath.
          You, and Ron, and Jejune, pointed to the Bible.
          Gotcha! Right?

          Well, maybe my question was not clear enough.

          I did NOT ask if any one ever in history came up with a context for ever justifying rape. It’s in the old testament, a lot of Moslems, and psychopaths, college kids–she was drunk, etc.

          I said that I believe that you, Bob, TODAY, (and I think Ron and Jejune too–I’m not sure about them)–would say that rape is never justified under any circumstances. You and they could possibly eke out an esoteric and incredibly implausible context, but in the real world, no context

          I think YOU believe that it is always wrong, not just personally for you, but also for me, the Moslem, the psychopath, and the college kid. No context, no exceptions.

          No wrong for me and not thee– No “don’t force your morality on me.” Wrong for me and thee. Always.

          An absolute moral standard, no?

        • dance commander

          If an evil person has threatened to destroy the world, and the only way to save the world is to rape a stadium full of people, would the rapes be justified if it is in service of a greater good?

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune,

          Absolutely not.

          Evil is NEVER justified in the service of a greater good. The most atrocious deeds possible have been done for that reason. We can’t torture a suspected terrorist to save innocent lives.

        • dance commander

          So you’re saying that it is wrong to enslave people, even if it will save lives?

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune,
          It is never permissable to do an evil thing for a good intention.

          The greatest evils in the 20 centuries were not possible because people liked evil. The greatest evil was possible because evil things were permitted for good intentions.

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

          I did NOT ask you if the Bible justifies rape, or a Moslem, or a psychopath.

          You, and Ron, and Jejune, pointed to the Bible.

          Gotcha! Right?

          Right! And your response is … ?

          I did NOT ask if any one ever in history came up with a context for ever justifying rape.

          The Old Testament claims of a justifiable context for rape is ridiculous. You don’t accept it, do you?

          Or are you saying that morals are relative?

          I said that I believe that you, Bob, TODAY … would say that rape is never justified under any circumstances.

          Yes, I would. That’s my opinion, not absolute moral truth.

          An absolute moral standard, no?

          No! You haven’t heard my summary of objective (or not) morality often enough? Look it up on this blog for many posts on that topic.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          I don’t know how to find your views on this topic on this blog.

          “I said that I believe that you, Bob, TODAY … would say that rape is never justified under any circumstances.

          Yes, I would. That’s my opinion, not absolute moral truth.”

          I don’ think that in confronting any rapist –Moslem, college kid, psychopath–you would say–”my opinion is that what you are doing is wrong, l and please stop. It IS my opinion.

          Rapist–I am entitled to my opinion, right?

          Rapist–Your opinion is not binding on me–my opinion is that what I am doing is OK, and your opinion doesn’t bind me in any way.

          You Bob–My opinion is that it IS binding on me and you and everybody.

          Rapist–just an opinion.

          Rapis

        • dance commander

          Do you believe that rape is justifiable if the human population were to drop to very low levels, thanks to say, an asteroid impact.

          And humans desperately needed more babies. Would it be acceptable to rape every female when she reaches puberty?

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune,

          I thought I made it perfectly clear. Rape is never justified.

          Even if the human population were to drop to very low levels. It used to be very low once, remember?

        • dance commander

          Why don’t you think rape is ever justified?

          What if it’s to save a life?

          What if the ONLY way to prevent a woman from killing the embryo inside her is to rape her?

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune,
          It is NEVER permitted to do an evil deed for a good intention.

          NEVER.
          No matter how many lives you may save, torture of a terrorist is never justified.

        • dance commander

          By that logic, a fetus should not be permitted to use a woman’s body against her will.

          The side effects of pregnancy are not pleasant. In many ways, its worse than rape. Putting a person through the below qualifies as torture:

          Normal, frequent
          or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:

          exhaustion (weariness
          common from first weeks)

          altered appetite
          and senses of taste and smell

          nausea and vomiting
          (50% of women, first trimester)

          heartburn and indigestion

          constipation

          weight gain

          dizziness and light-headedness

          bloating, swelling,
          fluid retention

          hemmorhoids

          abdominal cramps

          yeast infections

          congested, bloody
          nose

          acne and mild skin
          disorders

          skin discoloration
          (chloasma, face and abdomen)

          mild to severe backache
          and strain

          increased headaches

          difficulty sleeping,
          and discomfort while sleeping

          increased urination
          and incontinence

          bleeding gums

          pica

          breast pain and
          discharge

          swelling of joints,
          leg cramps, joint pain

          difficulty sitting,
          standing in later pregnancy

          inability to take
          regular medications

          shortness of breath

          higher blood pressure

          hair loss

          tendency to anemia

          curtailment of ability
          to participate in some sports and activities

          infection
          including from serious and potentially fatal disease

          (pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with
          non-pregnant women, and
          are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)

          extreme pain on
          delivery

          hormonal mood changes,
          including normal post-partum depression

          continued post-partum
          exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section
          – major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to
          fully recover)

          Normal, expectable,
          or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:

          stretch marks (worse
          in younger women)

          loose skin

          permanent weight
          gain or redistribution

          abdominal and vaginal
          muscle weakness

          pelvic floor disorder
          (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers
          and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal
          incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life — aka prolapsed utuerus,
          the malady sometimes badly fixed by the transvaginal mesh)

          changes to breasts

          varicose veins

          scarring from episiotomy
          or c-section

          other permanent
          aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed
          by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)

          increased proclivity
          for hemmorhoids

          loss of dental and
          bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)

          higher lifetime risk of developing Altzheimer’s

          newer research indicates
          microchimeric cells, other bi-directional exchanges of DNA, chromosomes, and other bodily material between fetus and
          mother (including with “unrelated” gestational surrogates)

          Occasional complications
          and side effects:

          complications of episiotomy

          spousal/partner
          abuse

          hyperemesis gravidarum

          temporary and permanent
          injury to back

          severe
          scarring
          requiring later surgery
          (especially after additional pregnancies)

          dropped (prolapsed)
          uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other
          pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele,
          and enterocele)

          pre-eclampsia
          (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated
          with eclampsia, and affecting 7 – 10% of pregnancies)

          eclampsia (convulsions,
          coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)

          gestational diabetes

          placenta previa

          anemia (which
          can be life-threatening)

          thrombocytopenic
          purpura

          severe cramping

          embolism
          (blood clots)

          medical disability
          requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of
          many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother
          or baby)

          diastasis recti,
          also torn abdominal muscles

          mitral valve stenosis
          (most common cardiac complication)

          serious infection
          and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)

          hormonal imbalance

          ectopic pregnancy
          (risk of death)

          broken bones (ribcage,
          “tail bone”)

          hemorrhage
          and

          numerous other complications
          of delivery

          refractory gastroesophageal
          reflux disease

          aggravation of pre-pregnancy
          diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5%
          of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment
          prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)

          severe post-partum
          depression and psychosis

          research now indicates
          a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments,
          including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors

          research also now
          indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity
          in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy

          research also indicates
          a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary
          and cardiovascular disease

          Less common (but
          serious) complications:

          peripartum cardiomyopathy

          cardiopulmonary
          arrest

          magnesium toxicity

          severe hypoxemia/acidosis

          massive embolism

          increased intracranial
          pressure, brainstem infarction

          molar pregnancy,
          gestational trophoblastic disease
          (like a pregnancy-induced
          cancer)

          malignant arrhythmia

          circulatory collapse

          placental abruption

          obstetric fistula

          More
          permanent side effects:

          future infertility

          permanent disability

          death.

        • Ron

          With all due respect, you asked Bob:

          “So, if you have one, please let me know what context would justify rape.”

          I provided you with two instances where such context is given in the Bible — a book which over a billion people on this planet claim to follow.

        • Niemand

          In his defense, neither example was a situation where I would consider rape justified. But then again I don’t even claim to follow the Bible.

        • wladyslaw

          Ron,
          I explained in a long subsequent comment that I knew what the Old Testament said, I knew what a lot of Moslems believe, I knew what some psychopaths believe, I know what some drunk or not so drunk college kids say.
          Bob, said that he personally believed that rape is always wrong in all circumstances, and I wondered if he could think of any possible context that would justify rape for HIM, because it seemed that context for him could possible change the nature of a mora act.

          He allowed that esoterically, it was possible, but in the real world, no context could make it moral for him.

        • jejune

          When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will
          not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.
          (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

          Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city. (Zechariah 14:1-2
          NAB)

          (Deuteronomy
          20:10-14)
          As you approach a town to attack it, first offer
          its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the
          LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

          (Numbers 31:7-18 NLT)
          They attacked Midian just as the LORD had commanded
          Moses, and they killed all the men. All five of the Midianite kings – Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba – died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. Then the Israelite army captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as plunder. They burned all the towns and villages where the Midianites had lived. After they had gathered the plunder and captives, both people and animals, they brought them all to Moses and Eleazar the priest, and to the whole community of Israel, which was camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho.

          Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the people went to meet them outside the camp. But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded. “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

          (Judges 21:10-24 NLT)
          So they sent twelve thousand warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children. “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin.” Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.

          The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to the little remnant of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon. Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the four hundred women of Jabesh-gilead who were spared were given to them as wives. But there were not enough women for all of them. The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had left this gap in the tribes of Israel. So the Israelite leaders asked, “How can we find wives for the few who remain, since all the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead? There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel will not be lost forever. But we cannot give them our own
          daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God’s curse.”

          Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD
          held in Shiloh, between Lebonah and Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem. They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, “Go and hide in the vineyards. When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in
          protest, we will tell them, ‘Please be understanding. Let them have your daughters, for we didn’t find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.’” So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried
          them off to the land of their own inheritance. Then they rebuilt their towns and lived in them. So the assembly of Israel departed by tribes and families, and they returned to their own homes.

          —————

          Your precious Yahweh loved him some rape and pillage. Forced pregnancy was part of that.

        • TurelieTelcontar

          One objective, absolute characterization of that clump of cells would be
          that if left alone, barring disease, or accident, or genetic defect,
          they would ALWAYS multiply and grow according to a predetermined pattern
          that resulted in the birth of a child.

          Additionally to Bob’s point, you are wrong in another way. Left alone, it will do nothing. Because it actually needs to take te sustaenance out of the mother’s body. The pill to abort doesn’t kill the cells that “ALWAYS multiply and grow [...] resulting in the birth of a child”. The pill makes sure the cells are out of the woman’s body, and can’t get her body to give up the nutrients to it. And, oh miracle, it doesn’t result in a child.

        • TurelieTelcontar

          One objective, absolute characterization of that clump of cells would be
          that if left alone, barring disease, or accident, or genetic defect,
          they would ALWAYS multiply and grow according to a predetermined pattern
          that resulted in the birth of a child.

          Additionally to Bob’s point, you are wrong in another way. Left alone, it will do nothing. Because it actually needs to take te sustaenance out of the mother’s body. The pill to abort doesn’t kill the cells that “ALWAYS multiply and grow [...] resulting in the birth of a child”. The pill makes sure the cells are out of the woman’s body, and can’t get her body to give up the nutrients to it. And, oh miracle, it doesn’t result in a child.

        • jejune

          yeah to be more precise, most early abortions remove the embryo WHOLE

          so, it is simply separated from the woman’s body and ‘left alone’

        • wladyslaw

          By left alone, I meant with no conscious intervention of the mother (or abortionist or angry male, etc.)

        • dance commander

          Immaterial.

          It isn’t ‘left alone’

          And without ‘conscious intervention’ of the mother, the woman is likely to become maimed/die and lose bone density and develop other health problems due to lack of proper nutrition, amongst other things.

          If a woman starves herself during pregnancy, and the fetus dies as a result, would you consider that to be murder?

        • Niemand

          One objective, absolute characterization of that clump of cells would be
          that if left alone, barring disease, or accident, or genetic defect,
          they would ALWAYS multiply and grow according to a predetermined pattern
          that resulted in the birth of a child.

          In that case, why aren’t the freezers of IVF clinics full of babies and children? They’re being left alone and presumably at least some are free of disease and genetic defects.

        • wladyslaw

          Freezers of IVF clinics ARE full of human life.

          Humans intervened to hold that human life in suspended animation. They are still alive, not dead. If they were dead they could never be used for an infertile woman to bear a child.

        • dance commander

          Only a tiny minority of IVF embryos are donated to other infertile couples.

          The majority of IVF embryos die of freezer burn, are incinerated, or used for stem cell research.

          And if they don’t die of freezer burn right away, the freezing process does harm them.

          You believe that embryos = infants.

          Would you put an infant in a freezer? That would be CHILD ABUSE.

        • wladyslaw

          Jejune,
          I couldn’t resist.
          Of course freezing an infant is child abuse.

          As a Catholic I and the Church believe that IFV is absolutely wrong, and obviously the freezing of embryos.

        • Niemand

          So you’re against giving children born from IVF a chance to live? Only children who you find convenient have a right to life?

        • wladyslaw

          Niemand

          No, if a baby is born from IFV, of course I wouldn’t kill it.
          As a Catholic I believe IFV is very wrong and would work for legislation to make it illegal.

        • Niemand

          So you’d just regret that the child ever existed. And work to make sure that no other such children ever exist. Because you’re only in favor of SOME children existing.

        • wladyslaw

          Niemand,
          I would bless any child that was born, even through immoral means–premarital sex, adultery, rape, IVF.

          But I think the ABSOLUTE best possible way, and only moral way, for a child to be conceived is through the voluntary sexual union of a man and woman committed to each other and to their children for life.

        • dance commander

          Should those who pay for IVF and their doctors be charged with child abuse?

        • wladyslaw

          Some moral laws could never be made law, punishable in the criminal court. I believe that pre-marital sex is wrong. I believe adultery is wrong. I believe acting out homosexually is wrong. All seriously wrong. But all impossible to legislate and enforce. And I would not obviously criminilze them.

        • dance commander

          Should someone who abuses their newborn, by sticking it in a freezer (just to torture it) be punished for child abuse? Or should we just wag our finger and say ‘that isn’t right, it’s morally wrong.’

        • wladyslaw

          Some morally wrong things and legally unenforceable–adultery,premarital sex, privately drinking to excess.

          Some things are morally wrong and enforceable–child abuse, torture, kidnapping, etc.

        • Niemand

          Whether you consider the frozen embryos human life or not, they are NOT full of living, breathing babies. Because, in fact, they don’t develop if “left alone”. You made the claim that zygotes develop into babies if “left alone”? Well, you can’t get much more “left alone” than being suspended in liquid nitrogen. Why aren’t they babies yet?

        • wladyslaw

          Niemand,
          Human embryos CANNOT develop to be born, if they are killed or put into a state of suspended animation.
          Simple science.

          If the embryos die in that suspended animation, they’re dead.
          Science.

          If they are alive after taken out of the freezer, and implanted in a woman’s womb, the woman, with all her heart, hopes that the freezing did not affect the cell and that it would implant safely in her uterus, and truly develop to be born. Science

        • dance commander

          If it is child abuse to freeze a newborn, then it is child abuse to keep an ivf embryo in suspended animation.

          Freezing causes harm.

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

          A single cell is not at all identical to a newborn baby.

          Science.

        • dance commander

          I have always found it interesting that many religious folks, especially creationists, reject science except when it suits them.

          My favourite was the interview with the ‘physicist’ from the Creation Museum, who had scientific *proof* that God created the universe.

          It’s kind of off-putting to read arguments where the creationists are using string theory and the theory of relativity to ‘prove’ that God exists. Hurts my brain, and I often don’t understand any of it.

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

          My favorite example is Wm. Lane Craig, who points to science when it suits him (Big Bang) but rejects it when it doesn’t (evolution). You’d think a smart guy would have a harder time doing that tap dance.

        • Niemand

          I thought creationists rejected the big bang too.

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

          Young-earth Creationists reject the Big Bang. Old earthers don’t. They share a common hatred for evolution (hence the “Creationist”).

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

          (They fight among themselves, which is pretty hilarious.)

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,

          “A single cell is not at all identical to a newborn baby.
          Science.

          Not only science but common sense.

          But both have human life. Both are alive. And if either survives, both may ending up living to a ripe old age.

        • Niemand

          both have human life. Both are alive.

          Ok, I’ll ask. By what criteria are you claiming fertilized eggs are “human life”?

        • wladyslaw

          Well, they are alive, and they are human. They’re certainly aren’t alive bear eggs.

          Alive and human.

        • Niemand

          Human embryos CANNOT develop to be born, if they are killed or put into a state of suspended animation.

          So you do understand that being “left alone” is not enough. Embryos need the proper environment and nutrients for growth and development. Very good, except that it leaves the fact that you’re obviously lying, at least to yourself, when you say that embryos will develop if “left alone”.

          And stop saying “science”. It sounds rather ridiculous and isn’t what you mean at all.

        • wladyslaw

          Niemand,
          Wow! I can’t believe that you thought that “left alone.” meant the mother somehow consciously stopping nutrients to the baby. I think I clarified that to another person who asked about it. I said “left alone” meant “no CONSCIOUS intervention by the mother or any other person.”

          Supplying nutrients is not conscious intervention.

        • dance commander

          What if a woman wants to be thin, so she doesn’t eat enough food? And becomes malnourished as a result.

          And the fetus dies, because there are not enough nutrients in her body to sustain it’s life.

          Is she guilty of manslaughter? murder?

        • wladyslaw

          If she diets to purposefully abort a child, it would not be any different than plan B or an abortion, or a can of rat poison.

          But she is morally wrong to hurt her health.

        • Niemand

          “No conscious intervention from the mother” is a…nonstandard…definition of “left alone”.

        • Pattrsn

          Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy
          It’s not very complicated.

        • wladyslaw

          Is bodily autonomy in the abortion issue an absolute moral value, so that in EVERY instance when discussing abortion, in EVERY case. for WHATEVER reason, for ALL women, bodily autonomy ALWAYS trumps ANY other consideration?

          Before legalization, pro-abortion people said abortion is OK in cases of rape. incest, or health of the mother–and in very short order health of the mother was broadened to be practically meaningless–I want to go to college, and it would really bother me, etc. The majority of today’s cases fall in this category. Relatively few are for rape or incest.

          Now pro-abortionists even will not speak out against sex- selection abortions that kill 1.5 million woman a year–oops, let’s be politically correct–kill 1.5 potential women a year.
          The world, however doesn’t know the difference.

          I just saw a recent Planned Parenthood sign that said: Abortion, for any reason. And in a recent Reproductive Health Health Check column, Amanda Marcotte said women who want an abortion for any reason should be able to do so.

          And they say this right is absolute–and their justification is bodily autonomy.

          Abortion is now absolute morally justified by bodily autonomy?

          Where does this absolute moral value come from?

          Do you believe in absolute moral values?

          Do you personally believe in absolute moral values? Where does this absolute moral value come from?

        • jejune

          Yes, pre-viability, for ANY reason. You don’t get to make medical decisions for a woman based on how YOU think she should be running her life.

          and in very short order health of the mother was broadened to be practically meaningless

          Here are ‘health of the mother’ side effects that can cause a woman to lose her job, get kicked out of college, lose her house, and end up with thousands of dollars in a medical bills, homeless, and with a baby. Oh, and permanently disabled.

          Normal, frequent
          or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:

          exhaustion (weariness
          common from first weeks)

          altered appetite
          and senses of taste and smell

          nausea and vomiting
          (50% of women, first trimester)

          heartburn and indigestion

          constipation

          weight gain

          dizziness and light-headedness

          bloating, swelling,
          fluid retention

          hemmorhoids

          abdominal cramps

          yeast infections

          congested, bloody
          nose

          acne and mild skin
          disorders

          skin discoloration
          (chloasma, face and abdomen)

          mild to severe backache
          and strain

          increased headaches

          difficulty sleeping,
          and discomfort while sleeping

          increased urination
          and incontinence

          bleeding gums

          pica

          breast pain and
          discharge

          swelling of joints,
          leg cramps, joint pain

          difficulty sitting,
          standing in later pregnancy

          inability to take
          regular medications

          shortness of breath

          higher blood pressure

          hair loss

          tendency to anemia

          curtailment of ability
          to participate in some sports and activities

          infection
          including from serious and potentially fatal disease

          (pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with
          non-pregnant women, and
          are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)

          extreme pain on
          delivery

          hormonal mood changes,
          including normal post-partum depression

          continued post-partum
          exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section
          – major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to
          fully recover)

          Normal, expectable,
          or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:

          stretch marks (worse
          in younger women)

          loose skin

          permanent weight
          gain or redistribution

          abdominal and vaginal
          muscle weakness

          pelvic floor disorder
          (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers
          and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal
          incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life — aka prolapsed utuerus,
          the malady sometimes badly fixed by the transvaginal mesh)

          changes to breasts

          varicose veins

          scarring from episiotomy
          or c-section

          other permanent
          aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed
          by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)

          increased proclivity
          for hemmorhoids

          loss of dental and
          bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)

          higher lifetime risk of developing Altzheimer’s

          newer research indicates
          microchimeric cells, other bi-directional exchanges of DNA, chromosomes, and other bodily material between fetus and
          mother (including with “unrelated” gestational surrogates)

          Occasional complications
          and side effects:

          complications of episiotomy

          spousal/partner
          abuse

          hyperemesis gravidarum

          temporary and permanent
          injury to back

          severe
          scarring
          requiring later surgery
          (especially after additional pregnancies)

          dropped (prolapsed)
          uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other
          pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele,
          and enterocele)

          pre-eclampsia
          (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated
          with eclampsia, and affecting 7 – 10% of pregnancies)

          eclampsia (convulsions,
          coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)

          gestational diabetes

          placenta previa

          anemia (which
          can be life-threatening)

          thrombocytopenic
          purpura

          severe cramping

          embolism
          (blood clots)

          medical disability
          requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of
          many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother
          or baby)

          diastasis recti,
          also torn abdominal muscles

          mitral valve stenosis
          (most common cardiac complication)

          serious infection
          and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)

          hormonal imbalance

          ectopic pregnancy
          (risk of death)

          broken bones (ribcage,
          “tail bone”)

          hemorrhage
          and

          numerous other complications
          of delivery

          refractory gastroesophageal
          reflux disease

          aggravation of pre-pregnancy
          diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5%
          of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment
          prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)

          severe post-partum
          depression and psychosis

          research now indicates
          a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments,
          including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors

          research also now
          indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity
          in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy

          research also indicates
          a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary
          and cardiovascular disease

          Less common (but
          serious) complications:

          peripartum cardiomyopathy

          cardiopulmonary
          arrest

          magnesium toxicity

          severe hypoxemia/acidosis

          massive embolism

          increased intracranial
          pressure, brainstem infarction

          molar pregnancy,
          gestational trophoblastic disease
          (like a pregnancy-induced
          cancer)

          malignant arrhythmia

          circulatory collapse

          placental abruption

          obstetric fistula

          More
          permanent side effects:

          future infertility

          permanent disability

          death.

        • dance commander

          And I would like to add, we don’t value ‘life’ so much that we *force* people to undergo severe physical and emotional trauma in order to preserve a life. We don’t force people to put their livelihood and future in jeopardy to save a life.

          Bodily autonomy IS the very foundation of liberty. Because without it, you’re nothing more than a slave.

          Yet you want special treatment for fetii because you think every zygote is a miracle from God.

        • Pattrsn

          Morality is something we come up with, like god, law, religion, art, literature, etc. It’s a product of the human mind.

          The question is, apart from the dictates of your personal religion, why do you think that people’s bodies can be used by others against their will?

        • wladyslaw

          Pattrsn,

          “Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy Bodily autonomy
          It’s not very complicated.”

          You did not answer my two questions.

          Do you personally believe in absolute moral values.

          Does bodily autonomy trump all other values in the abortion discussion?

        • Niemand

          Does bodily autonomy trump all other values in the abortion discussion?

          Does bodily autonomy trump all other values in the organ donation discussion?

        • dance commander

          Ignore, as usual, Disqus told me that you were wladyslaw.

          Sigh.

        • wladyslaw

          Niemand,

          I’ll answer your question to me, simple yes or no.

          YES, bodily autonomy trumps all other values in the organ donation discussion. I believe in ABSOLUTE values. Violating bodily autonomy is never allowed to make organ donation possible. There is a movement afoot I read yesterday by doctors who say a person does not have to be dead for taking out organs–New England Journal of Medicine,

          And now answer my question– does bodily autonomy trump all other values in the abortion discussion?
          Is that an absolute value for YOU.

        • Niemand

          If bodily autonomy trumps all else in organ donation then of course it trumps all else in abortion. What is pregnancy but a uterus donation?

        • wladyslaw

          Niemand,
          I have NEVER heard it defined that way, in any scientific, dictionary, verbal etc.

          Other than your opinion, please give references.

          BTW, I did hear of a uterus donation. It WASN’T a pregnancy. Doctors successfully transplanted a uterus, and I think the woman actually got pregnant, but not sure if baby lived.

        • Niemand

          So you don’t think that the woman’s uterus is undergoing any use during pregnancy? I know you were talking about the embryo being “just left alone” but I didn’t realize you were taking it that literally.

          In a pregnancy, the woman’s uterus is being used by the fetus for its support. She is donating its use to the embryo and fetus. What else could you call it?

          Incidentally, pregnancy is more dangerous than kidney donation using modern nephrectomy techniques, much more dangerous than bone marrow or blood donation. The constant stress of the time limited donation of pregnancy is far more dangerous than simply removing the organ for another to use.

        • Niemand

          Doctors successfully transplanted a uterus, and I think the woman actually got pregnant, but not sure if baby lived.

          No go this round. It sounds pretty shaky at this point, but new technology always does.

        • wladyslaw

          Niemand, you notice I answered YOUR question.

          You carefully avoided answering mine

        • Pattrsn

          1. No

          2. Yes

          How about you, do you believe that the dictates of your religion trump all other values in the abortion discussion?

        • wladyslaw

          Pattrsn,

          2. Yes.
          If you don’t believe in absolute moral values, then you certainly CANNOT believe that ” bodily autonomy trump all other values in the abortion discussion.” That is an absolute assertion of moral values.

        • dance commander

          He can, because not all rights are absolute, but in certain cases, they trump other rights.

          The right to life, for instance, is not absolute. You lose your right to live if you are in the process of killing someone. The person you are attacking has the right to self-defense.

          If you are raping someone, and the only way the victim can escape is to fatally injure you, well, the victim has that right.

          Unless of course you think that the right to life is so sacrosanct that the rape victim just has to grin and bear it?

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

          (I hope it’s OK to respond to email addressed to someone else.)

          Now pro-abortionists even will not speak out against sex- selection abortions that kill 1.5 million woman a year–oops, let’s be politically correct–kill 1.5 potential women a year.

          Good catch! You and I know that “woman” is an appropriate label for a single microscopic cell, but those politically correct pinheads are always raining on our parade.

          I just saw a recent Planned Parenthood sign that said: Abortion, for any reason.

          I just read an article by an anti-choicer. It was talking about parental autonomy—how parents’ rights trump the government teaching them about sex or religion and so on.

          And they say this right is absolute–and their justification is bodily autonomy.

          And do they justify their claim to absolute grounding? You don’t, so I doubt they would. I even wonder if they use that phrasing.

          I say it’s a right, not an absolute right (because they don’t exist).

          Where does this absolute moral value come from?

          Whaaa … ? How does it feel to be pulling your hair out at a ridiculous claim about absolute moral truth?! Shoe’s on the other foot, isn’t it?

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,

          “Good catch! You and I know that “woman” is an appropriate label for a single microscopic cell, but those politically correct pinheads are always raining on our parade.”
          I was trying to be sarcastic. I am bad at it. I won’t try again.

          “I just read an article by an anti-choicer. It was talking about parental autonomy—how parents’ rights trump the government teaching them about sex or religion and so on.”

          Absolutely correct. My parent came from Russia, and they could absolutely not teach about religion even in their own home–their kids may squeal.

          Parental autonomy in the field of EDUCATION is absolute, and it is recognized in America–homeschooling, for instance–but not recognized in Germany.

          Parental autonomy is obviously not absolute in case of life or health of the child–refusing blood transfusions.

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

          I was trying to be sarcastic. I am bad at
          it. I won’t try again.

          You were highlighting the word “potential.” Yes, I
          understand how you see that word.

          I was highlighting the word “woman” to make clear that a
          single cell is really, really, incredibly different from a woman.

          My parent came from Russia

          Wait … so you do support parents’ rights? You want to give the benefit of the doubt to the parents and let them raise their kids the way they see fit? Then I wonder how you’re happy to trample the rights of women about their potential kids.

        • dance commander

          Now pro-abortionists even will not speak out against sex- selection abortions that kill 1.5 million woman a year–oops, let’s be politically correct–kill 1.5 potential women a year.

          And this is done in cultures where women have absolutely no value other than as homemakers, helpmeets and bay factories.

          Cultures where women are property.

          Cultures where a woman does not have the right to choose contraception or abortion for herself.

          And because of this, women are naturally viewed as worthless beings compared to boys. Because boys can grow up and get a job. What an a worthless girl do? Cost a lot of money in dowry, and become a wife that shits out more kids.

          I suggest you read this article, it explains the reasoning behind female infanticide:

          http://www.infanticide.org/history.htm

          “Despite the clear theistic prohibitions against
          child-murder by the three major Western religions, female infanticide has been forcenturies a prominent and socially acceptable event in two related areas of the world:
          India and China. Even today, the extent of the problem is measured in frighteningproportions: “at least 60 million females in Asia are missing and feared dead,victims of nothing more than their sex. Worldwide, research suggests, the number ofmissing females may top 100 million. ”

          The data is truly astounding, Estimates indicate that 30.5 million females are “missing” from China, 22.8 million in India, 3.1million in Pakistan, 1.6 million in Bangladesh, 1.7 million in West Asia, 600,000 in Egypt, and 200,000 in Nepal.

          It is clear that the onerous costs involved with the raising of a girl, end eventually providing her an appropriate marriage dowry, was thesingle most important factor in allowing social acceptance of the murder at birth in India. In China, economics also played a significant role since it is a poor country with one of the lowest rates of agricultural output per acre of arable land in the world. With an extremely high infant and child mortality rate, because of sparse food supply and medical care, a married couple needed to raise three sons in order to ensure the survival of one into adulthood. Females were only consumers and a serious financial burden to a
          poor family. They were therefore often killed at birth”

          ———–

          Denying women the right to self-determination in the form of contraception and pregnancy termination will only increase the rates of female infanticide, not decrease them. When a woman’s only value is in her ability to produce babies, she has no value other than as a farm animal.

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

          Ask an anti-choicer whether he would prefer infanticide or abortion. I’m sure he’d say that he hates them both. But if he had to choose, and he didn’t have to lose face in front of you, I’m sure he’d choose abortion, as early as possible.

          More evidence that we all see a spectrum of personhood.

        • dance commander

          The most stubborn of them would, unfortunately, argue that plan B is infanticide.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          I am an “anti-choicer.” If I HAD to choose between infanticide and abortion–do you mean someone is FORCING me to choose to abort my child or kill my child after birth? I would absolutely choose neither and be willing to face the consequences.

        • dance commander

          That isn’t what Bob was asking.

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

          So you see no meaningful moral difference between killing a one-year old baby and a 1 day old zygote?

        • wladyslaw

          Bob,
          The moral obligation to refuse either is exactly the same.

        • dance commander

          If you had to choose between voting for Politician A, who makes abortion illegal, but infanticide legal, or Politician B, who makes abortion legal, but infanticide illegal, which would you choose?

          And in this thought experiment, voting is mandatory.

        • w

          You are posing an impossible to exist Politician A– a square circle.

          I can’t respond to an impossible situation.

        • Niemand

          1.5 million woman a year–oops, let’s be politically correct–kill 1.5 potential women a year.

          I know this was just a typo, but it’s rather symbolic that it was “1.5 million women” when wladyslaw was thinking about embryos and suddenly down to “1.5 women” when he was thinking about actual women. Actual women and girls are made to disappear by the “pro-life” movement, both literally (as in Esperanza or Halappanavar) or metaphorically as above.

        • Pattrsn

          Not because of the effect on the fetus but the effect on the child once it’s carried to term. Abortion doesn’t affect the health of the child because there is no child. A better question is why do forced regnancy politicians cut social services to children if they are forcing women to maintain pregnancies?

        • wladyslaw

          I’m not sure. I personally would never vote for any law that would cause harm to a child.

        • jejune

          Would you vote for a law that would cause harm to women?

          Why yes, you would…forced pregnancy.

        • Pattrsn

          A forced pregnancy advocate who won’t vote republican, good for you.

        • Niemand

          So you’re voting for SCHIP and the ACA, I presume. Or at least for politicians who support same. And standing with teachers when their employers try union busting or cutting their pay. To not do so would cause grave harm to many children.

        • Niemand

          Yeah, it’s probably wrong. Smoking’s dangerous. So what? I consider lots of things “wrong” without thinking that they should be illegal. I don’t like drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication: people act really stupid when they’re drunk and they can endanger others. I think Shimp was a real jerk to refuse to donate his marrow to McFall. But I recognize that my judgement of these acts and millions of others is no basis for a law. If I were her friend or her doctor I might counsel her about the risks, but beyond that, it’s none of my business.

          Incidentally, the risks of marijuana are probably not as great as you’re implying. See for example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24075896
          But I agree that it’s a bad idea. Especially in countries with prohibition and therefore no quality control on the substance.

        • jejune

          Fu Disqus!!

          All of your comments were showing up as being authored by ‘wladyslaw’

          And I’m thinking…why is wladyslaw arguing AGAINST himeslf?

        • Niemand

          Weird. They’re showing up as by me to me.

        • jejune

          I think it has something to do with the fact that both your names are unclickable – as your accounts were carried over from the old forums before they switched to Disqus.

    • Ron

      The same way it’s perfectly acceptable for automobile manufacturers to scrap entire vehicles before leaving the assembly plant, but not acceptable for them to smash cars already on the road.

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

    Off topic (except if the topic is the joys and tribulations that are
    Disqus): if you put your cursor over the faint gray name of the responded-to
    person, you get hover text of the comment that it responds to. That’s handy in
    a long chain where indents don’t help tell you which of the many comments this
    is a response to. FYI.


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