Spectrum Argument for Abortion, Revisited

spectrum abortionAt the Secular Pro-Life Perspectives blog, Clinton Wilcox responded to my spectrum argument supporting abortion.

This is a good opportunity to address his challenges, particularly since we’re on the same page about religious pro-life arguments.

The spectrum argument

My argument is more fully discussed in this post, but I’ll summarize it here briefly.

Consider this figure of the blue-green spectrum. We can argue where blue ends and green begins, but it should be easy to agree that blue is not green.

The same is true for a spectrum of personhood. Imagine a single fertilized egg cell at the left of the spectrum and a trillion-cell newborn on the right. The newborn is a person. And it’s far more than just 1,000,000,000,000 undifferentiated cells. These cells are organized and connected to make a person—it has arms and legs, eyes and ears, a brain and a nervous system, a stomach and digestive system, a heart and circulatory system, skin, liver, and so on.

The secular pro-life response

Wilcox begins by praising the argument as having substance rather than simply demonizing pro-life advocates, so we’re off to a good start.

His first concern:

The immediate problem with this argument is that he gives no attempt to argue at what point we actually do become persons.

Yes, it’s important to get the OK/not-OK dividing line for abortion right, but legislators deal with tough moral issues all the time. Take the issue of the appropriate prison sentence for robbery. Six months? Five years? What mitigating circumstances are relevant? Does it matter if a gun was involved? What if the gun was used as a threat but it wasn’t loaded? What if some other weapon was used? What if someone was hurt?

It’s a person’s life we’re talking about, so the sentence must be decided carefully, and yet penalties for this and a myriad other specific crimes have been wrestled with and resolved in 50 states and hundreds of countries.

The same is true for the cutoff for abortion—it’s a tough decision, but it’s been made many times.

My focus here is not on the cutoff line. I’ll leave that to medical experts and policy makers who have more expertise and interest than I do.

Potential

Back to Wilcox:

He resorts to the tired old arguments that an acorn is not an oak tree (no, but it is an immature oak tree) ….

Nope. An acorn is not a tree at all. It’s a potential tree, and it may become one in 20 years, but it’s not a tree right now.

It may be true that a brain with one neuron doesn’t think nearly as fast as a brain with 100 billion neurons, but he misses the point that it is still a brain. It is just an immature brain.

No, it is a potential brain.

(Wilcox here is responding to my comparison of a brain with 100 billion neurons versus a single neuron. The single neuron doesn’t think 10–11 times as fast. It doesn’t think at all.)

Let’s consider the brain by first considering an analogous situation with water. A single molecule of water does not have the properties of wetness, fluidity, pH, salinity, or surface tension, but these and other properties emerge when trillions of trillions of water molecules come together.

Wetness is an emergent property—we see it only when enough water molecules get together. Similarly, thinking and consciousness are emergent properties of the brain. A single neuron doesn’t think slower; it doesn’t think at all. A “brain” that doesn’t think is not a brain—immature or otherwise.

It hasn’t had the chance to develop into a fully mature brain.

Bingo! That’s precisely the issue. Wilcox is making the Argument from Potential: the single neuron isn’t a brain now, but it will be. The single fertilized human egg cell isn’t a baby now, but it will be.

He’s right, of course—it will be a baby. But the point is that it isn’t now. A future baby is not a baby. It’ll be a baby in the future.

The vastness of the spectrum

The spectrum argument fails to adequately address the fact that there is a continuity of human development that begins at fertilization and doesn’t stop until after birth. Logically, that suggests that teenagers are “more of a person” than toddlers ….

I addressed this in the original argument, but let me elaborate.

To illustrate the issue, let’s play a quick round of “One of these things is not like the others.” Our candidates today are an adult, a teenager, a newborn baby, and a single fertilized human egg cell. Okay, candidates, raise your hand if you have a brain. Now raise your hand if you have a pancreas. If you have skin. Eyes. Nose. Bones. Muscles.

Now raise your hand if you have hands.

The difference between newborns, teens, and adults is negligible compared to the single cell on the other side of the spectrum, which has nothing that we commonly think of as a trait of personhood. The commonality across the spectrum is that they all have eukaryotic cells with Homo sapiens DNA. That’s it. That’s not something that many of us get misty-eyed about. Very little sentimental poetry is written about the kind of DNA in the cells of one’s beloved.

What do we call the spectrum?

The unborn may be less developed at the single-cell stage than the 100 trillion cell stage, but it is still a human person at that stage.

Take the spectrum from single cell to newborn. Wilcox argues that it’s not a spectrum of humanness because a single cell and a newborn are both human. But it’s a spectrum of something. I call it a spectrum of personhood, but I’m flexible. You tell me: tell me what a newborn is that a single cell isn’t. I say that a newborn is a person and the single cell isn’t, but I’m open to better terms.

Wilcox wants to skirt the spectrum and say that it’s irrelevant or meaningless, but it’s everything to this discussion. A newborn is something that a single cell isn’t. Surely English has a label that Wilcox will find acceptable for capturing the difference between the cooing, crying, pooping, sleeping, eating newborn and the microscopic, insensate cell.

Be honest with the facts. Don’t try to pretend that this immense spectrum doesn’t exist.

Miscellaneous arguments

[Seidensticker’s] comparison of the pro-life argument to PETA’s slogan of “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy” is simply a false analogy.

Sounds like Wilcox missed my point. PETA tries to collapse a spectrum with this slogan. They want to argue that, no, we shouldn’t put animals into bins along a spectrum (in this case: vermin, livestock, pet, and human). Animals are animals—all the same.

Does Wilcox accept this? If he rejects PETA’s attempt to collapse or ignore this spectrum, then perhaps he sees the problem with ignoring the vast difference between newborn and cell.

Seidensticker’s point about how evangelicals thirty years ago supported abortion is simply irrelevant.

Not to people who bring up Christian arguments! If it doesn’t apply to your secular perspective, fair enough, but I was addressing more people than just you.

I have … soundly refuted the “spectrum argument.”

Gotta disagree with you there. You’ve mischaracterized it and sidestepped the argument. If you want to address it squarely, I’ll consider responding to your reaction.

If my oven quits working in the middle of making a cake,
do I call the undercooked mess a cake?
Nate Frein

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Y. A. Warren

    “Logically, that suggests that teenagers are “more of a person” than toddlers ….” Bad choice of comparisons. Have you ever been the primary parent of either?

    • Pattrsn

      Have you ever been pregnant?

      • Y. A. Warren

        What difference could that possibly make? I have been primary parent to more than one child.

        • Pattrsn

          Sorry Y.A. I must have misread your comment.

    • RichardSRussell

      In fact, since humans are hard-wired to react gooshily to small, helpless critters with big eyes (slopping over into cooing over kitties and bushbabies), the pro-liferators have seized on this predilection to frame their hangups as involving “unborn babies”. It would be equally inaccurate to refer to these non-babies as “unborn teenagers”, but for some reason they never do.

      • Y. A. Warren

        Very few would be pro-life if they called them unborn teenagers. Sarcasm intended.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Are toddlers granted all the rights and considerations of a person? For example, are they allowed to get a driver’s permit?

      • Y. A. Warren

        No, and there is much scientific evidence that should keep teenagers from enjoying driving priviledges because their judgement centers are not fully formed.

  • Y. A. Warren

    My DNA and your DNA in perfect helixes;
    The defects in one, the other fixes.
    What a perfect dance we do in creation
    How is it that we haven’t created a perfect nation?

    Romantic enough for you?

  • Niemand

    Missing from Wilcox’s response: Any reference to the one definite, actual, currently living, breathing, thinking human being involved in a pregnancy.

    Also, it’s simple to refute the claim that a “pro-life” person holds their position because they believe that the fetus (embryo, zygote) is a baby: Just ask them what they would like done for the f/e/z who is threatened with spontaneous abortion. I have yet to see a “pro-life” person so much as express an interest in decreasing the rate of miscarriage, much less take active steps like, say, lobbying for more funding into research into how and why miscarriages happen or hold a walk to remember the babies (zygotes) lost to miscarriage (failed implantation) or dedicate their lives to being FMF specialists. In short, they reveal very quickly that they don’t believe that an acorn is an oak tree or a fetus is a baby. Why should anyone else take their argument that it is seriously?

    • purr

      Niemand, I sent you a message, with a medical science question on another thread, did you see it? Was a couple of days ago.

      It was about the brain.

      • Niemand

        I’m afraid I missed it. Do you remember which thread?

        • purr
        • Niemand

          There is no way that a 5- or 6-week embryo has brain activity. The brain is literally not developed at that point. I’d like to see what data they’re using to make that claim, supposing it wasn’t simply made up. I have serious doubts that an EEG even could pick up brain activity in a 5-week embryo through a uterus, fat, muscle, and skin, even if it were there, which the anatomy suggests that it is simply not.

        • purr

          Apparently a PET scan can pick up ‘the precursors’ to alpha and beta waves.

          But, until much later in pregnancy, a lot of what you get, even at 13 weeks, are just random neuronal bursts from the brain stem, right?

          And cardiac function etc all originate in the brain stem too, right?

    • purr

      They also say that:

      Abortion is ultimate child abuse.
      Abortion is ultimate discrimination.
      Abortion is ultimate intolerance.
      Abortion is ultimate inhumanity …
      Abortion is genocide
      Abortion is murder
      Abortion is infanticide
      Abortion is ultimate holocaust

      (quote from a guy on alternet)

      So I ask them…how much prison time for women who genocide their unborn babies? I either get ::crickets::, or ::forgiveness:: or ::regret:: or ::guilt::

      Well known Patheos commenter Norm Donnan even said, on CE, that women who ‘murder’ their unborn babies should take it up with God!

      If a woman took her 5 year old and dismembered it, I can’t see anyone saying ‘regret should be her punishment’. So *why* say that for embryos, if you consider embryos the equal of five year olds?

      • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

        Some, like Randall Terry, have advocated the death penalty as punishment for it.

      • Ella Warnock

        So, a woman who has no regret or guilt over an abortion, and is thus not suffering any “punishment” is pretty much getting away scot-free, huh? This should be especially troubling for the secular pro-lifer, as there’s no “final authority” to make sure she suffers for her sins at some nebulous later time, at the hand of a nebulous final judge.

    • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

      I’ve actually seen (religious) pro-lifers say that spontaneous abortions aren’t a concern for them, as it’s “God’s will.” Only when they are induced do they get upset over it. That doesn’t apply to secular pro-lifers of course. In their case, I guess they might say that being killed by natural causes is not as big of a deal as it happening deliberately, but your point is valid-it seems like they would be more concerned with lessening that.

      • Niemand

        Most religious people don’t refuse to give their newborns vitamin K because bleeding to death is god’s will. Or refuse them antibiotics because sepsis is god’s will. Or even refuse to give them bone marrow transplants for particularly nasty variants of leukemia because death from leukemia is god’s will. If they really believed that the embryo was a baby, they’d be saying “god helps those who help themselves” and trying to prevent failed implantation and other early miscarriages. They’re not. Therefore, I have a hard time taking them seriously on the “it’s a baby” argument.

        • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

          I agree, they are very inconsistent about that.

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

      Any reference to the one definite, actual, currently living, breathing, thinking human being involved in a pregnancy.

      He says that if there’s any doubt about the humanity of the fetus, we should err on the side of caution, but you’re right—he gives no notice at all to the relevant person we actually do know we have in the process.

  • RichardSRussell

    I once heard the difference between a series circuit and a parallel circuit described thus:

    “9 women gestating for 1 month apiece do not produce a baby.”

    • Machintelligence

      That is very similar to the definition of the Crash (priority) Program:
      If you can manage to get 9 women pregnant, you will get a baby in one month.

    • JT Rager

      This engineer loves the analogy!

  • Jakeithus

    Nice to see my own problems with the spectrum argument also being raised by another (although I try not to come at it from a potentiality argument). Of course judging from past discussions, I doubt either of us will get anywhere with our differences.

    It’s still my belief that the spectrum you say is determining personhood, is more accurately just determining complexity (or development), or some term along those lines. Although I don’t believe it is the case myself, Ill even grant that personhood may be an emergent property like you appear to argue. The problem is without a firm argument about what the property(properties) of personhood actually are, it’s impossible to say whether or not the spectrum is determining it at all.

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

      I doubt either of us will get anywhere with our differences.

      I don’t know about you, but hearing a new objection to my argument or problem with my logic would be valuable to me.

      It’s still my belief that the spectrum you say is determining personhood, is more accurately just determining complexity (or development), or some term along those lines.

      You look at the vast spectrum and you can’t think of any way to describe the difference? You have 1,000,000,000,000 cells on the right and one on the left. You have eyes and ears and arms and legs and on and on on the right and nothing on the left.

      You look at all this and all you can think is that the right has “more development”?

      Try again. What is it that the newborn is that the single cell isn’t?

      • Jakeithus

        The problem is, from everything I have seen, you fail to clearly identify the properties and traits that must be present in order to consider someone a person. The problem with this is that it doesn’t do much to convince those that don’t already agree with you.

        I’m sure I could come up with other terms to describe what a newborn is that an embryo is not (relatively massive, bipedal, thinking, etc). I assert that none of these properties equals person or are necessary characteristics of person, and in the absence of a better definition, personhood seems to be an intrinsic property we all share by the very fact of being human. One of my reasons for believing this is as follows; every time throughout human history when we have attempted to limit the recognition of personhood based on some physical, mental or social characteristic, it has opened the door to some horrific atrocities that reasonable and moral people have rightly condemned and repented of. These issues can be removed by recognizing the intrinsic value and personhood of all humanity, and so based on past history the burden of proof should lay on the person arguing for the limits.

        Without a clear definition and understanding of what the spectrum is supposed to represent, it doesn’t hold a lot of weight. In short, my argument boils down to this. Why should we view humans or personhood on a spectrum similar to the green-blue one you provide as an analogy, instead of the spectrum I have included? 01 is not 12, but all of the points are still blue. The very real differences don’t remove something that is part of an object’s very nature.

        • purr

          Well, if possessing human DNA is all it takes to classify a being as a ‘person’ then I guess it would be acceptable to kill an intelligent alien such as Spock from Star Trek because he doesn’t have human DNA right? Treat him like you would a cow ready for slaughter?

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

          you fail to clearly identify the properties and traits that must be present in order to consider someone a person.

          You’re stalling. You’ve got nothing but don’t want to admit it.

          The ball’s in your court. You don’t like “person”? Then, as I challenged you before, you tell me what the newborn is and the single cell isn’t. I’m sure that your excellent command of English gives you the resources to come up with something. I like “person,” but I’m flexible. Give me another term. (Or just accept “person.”)

          The problem with this is that it doesn’t do much to convince those that don’t already agree with you.

          I’ll agree with you there. Someone who holds a position dogmatically won’t be swayed by evidence.

          I’m sure I could come up with other terms to describe what a newborn is that an embryo is not (relatively massive, bipedal, thinking, etc).

          “A newborn is a person, while a single cell isn’t.”

          Your challenge: either accept this statement as is or find a better word for “person.”

          personhood seems to be an intrinsic property we all share by the very fact of being human.

          And you’re retreating into the dictionary. Again. “Well, that’s certainly not how I define ‘person,’” you say. Then I’ll repeat: give me a better term.

          it has opened the door to some horrific atrocities that reasonable and moral people have rightly condemned and repented of

          Oh, dear. Going down my path, I risk being lumped in with the slave owners and apartheid apologists.

          The difference between a white man and a black man is negligible, I’m sure we’ll agree, but ask a slave trader for how he’d describe the differences. Whatever that is, that’s is completely negligible compared to the difference between an adult and a single frikkin’ cell. You do know that that’s what we’re talking about here, right? Just one cell that you need a microscope to see.

          No, the slave owner analogy fails. But thanks for trying.

          These issues can be removed by recognizing the intrinsic value and personhood of all humanity

          So if we just sweep my concerns under the rug, we can all be happy in a pro-life mindset? Yeah, I see it, but I’d rather not drink that Kool-Aid.

          No, let’s stand tall and face the facts. A single cell is in no way identical to a newborn.

          Without a clear definition and understanding of what the spectrum is supposed to represent, it doesn’t hold a lot of weight.

          And you’ll continue to refuse to engage the question and propose a name for the spectrum (what the newborn has that the cell doesn’t). By putting your head in the sand … you win!

          If you’re determined to avoid the issue, I’m certain that you’ll succeed.

          01 is not 12, but all of the points are still blue.

          Does this seem like a good parallel to what we’re talking about? A single cell and a newborn are negligibly different?

          Again, if you’re determined to handwave it away in your mind, you’ll certainly succeed. Don’t pretend that this will be convincing to others, though.

        • Jakeithus

          “The ball’s in your court. You don’t like “person”? Then, as I challenged you before, you tell me what the newborn is and the single cell isn’t.” – I did provide something, “complexity”, which I feel is the most overarching and accurate descriptor of the difference. I could say it is “sentience” instead. Or saying bipedal, or biocular, or biaural all work as well(since you seem very enthusiastic about pointing to some irrelevant physical trait as evidence of personhood). If these are unacceptable, maybe you can point out exactly what my terms are missing that your use of “personhood” captures.

          I have never said a single cell is absolutely identical to a newborn, to claim that I have is just flat out wrong. What I would claim is that the differences ultimately have nothing to do with personhood. I do think my spectrum is a good parallel, because unless you can tell me what we’re trying to measure, you cannot determine whether the difference is negligible or not. If we are using my spectrum to simply determine “blue”, then the differences don’t matter. If we’re using it to determine “Toronto Maple Leaf Blue”, the difference between 01 and 15 is certainly not negligible for any knowledgeable or interested fan of the team.

          History has shown us that skin colour, sexual organs, number of limbs, material possessions, or intelligence are not good reasons to deny the personhood of others. Can you tell me what a good reason actually is? Despite what you might believe about me, I’m open to being convinced.

        • purr

          What I would claim is that the differences ultimately have nothing to do with personhood

          so human DNA = personhood?

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

          I did provide something, “complexity”, which I feel is the most overarching and accurate descriptor of the difference.

          “A newborn is a complexity, while a single cell isn’t”?

          No, try again.

          since you seem very enthusiastic about pointing to some irrelevant physical trait as evidence of personhood

          And I continue to be amazed how you’re able to look at the single cell and the trillion-cell newborn and see absolutely no meaningful difference. One’s just a little more complex.

          I have never said a single cell is absolutely identical to a newborn, to claim that I have is just flat out wrong.

          Whew! Good thing I never said that.

          My interpretation: you said that there’s no meaningful difference for the purposes of this conversation. Or if I’ve expressed that incorrectly, please correct.

          unless you can tell me what we’re trying to measure, you cannot determine whether the difference is negligible or not.

          Yep, we’re getting nowhere here. Perhaps we should cut our losses.

          Whatever I say to defend personhood will sway you not one bit. I encourage you to tell me what the difference is, and you refuse to do it. Or, you say that there is no meaningful difference.

          History has shown us that skin colour, sexual organs, number of limbs, material possessions, or intelligence are not good reasons to deny the personhood of others.

          And, as I’ve stated repeatedly, these kinds of macro distinctions are negligible compared to the difference that we’re talking about. If you refuse to see it, then you win. You’ve successfully withstood another onslaught with your beliefs intact.

          Despite what you might believe about me, I’m open to being convinced.

          Your right about my beliefs.

        • Jakeithus

          “No, try again.” – I also provided “sentient being” as something that a newborn is that a single cell is not. I would say that is far more meaningful than your definition of “person”. Of course, the very question you have asked is biased in that it presupposes a difference. It would’ve been more fair to ask “A newborn is a ____, and an embryo is a _________”.

          For the purpose of determining personhood, you are correct, I don’t see any meaningful difference. If one cell isn’t a person, but increasing to 1,000,000,000,000 is, what exactly changes in terms of how we determine personhood? Is it the number of cells, or the specific way those cells have organized, or the ability of those cells to think and feel, or something else I haven’t thought of? We’ve determined a number of trivial differences, I would just like to hear from you what the substantive difference is.

          Personally, I haven’t felt like my beliefs have been under that much onslaught. I believe personhood is an instrinsic quality present in humanity, no matter at what stage of development they might be on. If I don’t share your assumption that personhood emerges at some specific point, there’s really not much to the argument.

          Since you originally stated you like hearing objections how to improve your arguments, this is, from my perspective, how I would expect the argument to be ordered, and what we actually get. Take from it what you will. After this, I will “cut my losses” as you suggest.

          What we should get:
          1. This is what I mean by personhood.
          2. These are the characteristic/s that a newborn has/doesn’t have that determines whether they are a person using my definition.
          3. These are the characteristics an embryo has/doesn’t have that determines whether they are a person using my definition.
          4. Therefor a newborn is a person and an embryo is not.

          What we get instead:
          1. A newborn is a person.
          2. We can all agree that an embryo does not have the same characteristics as a newborn.
          3. The characteristics of a newborn develop on a spectrum between conception and birth.
          4. Therefor personhood develops on a spectrum between conception and birth.
          Surely you’re smart enough to see the problems in the 2nd argument.

        • purr

          I believe personhood is an instrinsic quality present in humanity, no matter at what stage of development they might be on.

          Why, though? You haven’t explained why you believe this. What makes human DNA a person? Why is personhood an intrinsic quality to all manner of human organisms?

          What makes it so special?

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

          I would say that is far more meaningful than your definition of “person”.

          I don’t usually go around saying, “Oh, there’s another ‘sentient being’ outside”

          the very question you have asked is biased in that it presupposes a difference.

          Correct. I’m sure we can find a good way to describe the vast gulf between single cell and newborn baby. Or do you see no gulf at all?

          For the purpose of determining personhood, you are correct, I don’t see any meaningful difference.

          ?? Uh, yeah. Obviously. Since you’ve hammered “personhood” to fit your argument, it isn’t useful now.

          I’m asking you to explore the difference and describe it in your words.

          If one cell isn’t a person, but increasing to 1,000,000,000,000 is, what exactly changes in terms of how we determine personhood?

          Personhood is an emergent phenomenon. Going from single celled-life to a complex multi-celled lifeform gives you far more than just “more of the same.”

          Personally, I haven’t felt like my beliefs have been under that much onslaught.

          No doubt.

          I believe personhood is an instrinsic quality present in humanity, no matter at what stage of development they might be on.

          Since we have different definitions, the p-word isn’t of much use anymore.

          If I don’t share your assumption that personhood emerges at some specific point, there’s really not much to the argument.

          Then tell me what does emerge!

          1. This is what I mean by personhood.

          Let me stop you right there. The typical antagonist responds exactly as you responded: “Well, that’s not how I define ‘personhood.’” End of conversation.

        • Jakeithus

          You can say that I’ve hammered personhood to fit my argument all you want, but as far as I can tell, I’m the only one providing a description of personhood to begin with. My understanding of a person is flexible, if it can be shown why it should be, I cannot say the same for yours.

          What does emerge? In my own words, here’s a vast list of traits that emerge at some point along the spectrum of human development: complexity, sentience, creativity, sex, gender, thought, feeling, desire, motion, independence, along with more physical traits than I know the names of, off the top of my head. I can look at any of those traits and see evidence to support their emergence, all I want to know is what type of evidence of personhood should I be looking for as a fetus develops.

          “The typical antagonist responds exactly as you responded: “Well, that’s not how I define ‘personhood.’” End of conversation.”

          The argument must be pretty weak if that ends the conversation. Yes, I disagree with your definition, but my response hasn’t been to end the conversation, it has been to say “try to convince me why your definition is more accurate than mine”. That’s what should typically happen when 2 people disagree over something like this. I must admit, your tactic of saying “You won’t accept my reasons if I do, so I won’t even try” is certainly easier than actually trying.

          And with this, I will cut my losses for real this time. I won’t claim victory like you implied that I would, because I’m pretty sure no one wins a discussion like this. What I am sure of is that you are either unable or unwilling to answer basic questions about what personhood entails under your model. You seem to be a smart guy, so the most likely inference I can take from that is you realize that your position is intellectually weak, but you’re too proud and/or closed minded to admit otherwise. You accuse me of putting my head in the sand in an earlier post, yet I’m the one who has attempted to answer your questions while all you have done is avoid and redirect. If that was your goal, you can certainly claim victory if you’d like, I won’t be offended.

        • purr

          You still seem to be basing your views on the belief that ‘human dna = person hood’

          Right?

          So clearly, it would be acceptable to treat an intelligent alien such as Spock like an animal and slaughter him like a cow, no? He doesn’t have human DNA, therefore, he can’t be a person. Right?

        • Niemand

          (Technically, Spock was (will be?) half human, so does, presumably, have human DNA as well as Vulcan genetics and I am desperately curious about how that might work because there’s no reason to think that Vulcan genes are even expressed on DNA much less able that they have 46 chromosomes that match human chromosomes well enough to produce viable–and implicitly fertile–offspring.) (/nerdy off topic rant)

        • purr

          I used Spock as an example because he is the most famous example of an intelligent alien.

          I guess that ‘Data’ from The Next Generation would also do. Would it be acceptable to end the life of an intelligent robot because it’s merely a machine, and not human?

          This cuts to the heart of what it means to be a *person*.

          Anyways, I have been reading old threads on LJF, and I believe that it was you who brought up some sort of genetic testing where human DNA is mixed with other cells, in rats or something? Do you remember?

        • Niemand

          I guess that ‘Data’ from The Next Generation would also do. Would it be
          acceptable to end the life of an intelligent robot because it’s merely a
          machine, and not human?

          No.

          some sort of genetic testing where human DNA is mixed with other cells, in rats or something?

          You’re probably thinking of the hamster egg assay: it’s a test of sperm viability in which the sperm fertilize a hamster egg. Usually, the resulting product does not divide. Occasionally, it does. In that case, do you have a precious little baby who needs to be protected or a creepy biohazard?

        • Kodie

          I find this a difficult example, because on TV, those are characters played by human actors and don’t actually exist. I think attaching personhood to a machine designed to think and act like a person is somewhat ridiculous, but then I also think human life is …. I mean, to be quite honest, not that big a deal. For example, if I kill a spider just minding its own business because I think spiders are gross, well, most people don’t have a problem extinguishing another life form. We assume that spiders don’t think and can’t suffer, so it’s ok. I disagree with Bob sometimes, I find just being a human doesn’t really give me any natural right to assume priority over a rat in my home. It is only a perspective. But once you’re dead, you’re dead. If someone killed you, you would merely cease to be. What is wrong with disabling a machine just because it resembles a person so closely even if it has been implanted with a mechanism to make it feel? It is wrong to take that friend away from someone else, if it is their friend.

          I was almost 2 weeks without a functional keyboard on my laptop – it didn’t render my computer non-functional, and I could still use an adjunct that just also happened to be so encrusted with crumbs and junk because I’m not neat when I’m at the computer. I should take a hint, replacing the keyboard cost me $20 I don’t have for something else, but parts is parts, essentially. My laptop didn’t experience suffering, I did. So killing someone’s android companion is an offense to the living. I assume if it is made of synthetic parts, it can be regenerated and resume being that person’s companion, just like replacing my keyboard.

          Aliens, on the other hand, are essentially another animal. We have that hierarchy with animals, like it’s not nice to kill someone’s dog, but it’s also abusive to dogs to engage them in fighting. We just care about dogs more than we care about spiders or even dolphins. The fishing industry feeds people the fish and all they want, at the cost of an animal we prioritize for its intelligence and because they amuse us. Some people care, but most people are, “well between me and the dolphin, I choose tuna at a reasonable price; sorry dolphin!”

          If, let’s say, a form of agriculture just happened to net a few Muslim terrorists, would we feel the same? Here is an intelligent animal that happens to be the same animal as us, but is not amusing. And by the way, terrorists, as far as I can tell, kill people incidentally. It’s our lifestyles they seek to threaten. Fly a plane into some buildings, kill a lot of people – which is shocking – but they didn’t kill me, they’re not immediately threatening my life, so you get this team of terrorists who haven’t done anything yet and aren’t threatening you personally, but they’re still a lot less amusing and interesting than dolphins. We can net them (as dolphins are, incidentally with our agriculture process) and put them in a torture prison. A lot of the same people who are against abortion are in favor of torture – you gotta do what you gotta do to send a message and find out what they’re up to, right? And if the government has to spy on you and me, that’s cool if it undermines a terrorist threat. Keep coming back to the “shock” of thousands or hundreds or dozens of people minding their own business at work or on their way, dying as a result, and it’s on, so to speak.

          Aliens are up for the same – if they are a threat to us, we are allowed to hunt them like animals. Their intelligence doesn’t matter. Only if they are friendly and amuse us or can cooperate peaceably with us can we reconsider what their value is to humans. Rats, we value very little. Chickens, some of us value more to the extent of not eating them, some to the extent of only eating ones treated and killed humanely, and most, not even a little bit. I can see we also can disagree as to the humanity of a humanoid robot or an alien or a beloved pet as opposed to an invasive, even if helpful “pest” (like a spider). Does a spider care? Fascinating to humans, murderous assholes to insects. A rational person also ranks spiders in their home higher than the bugs they naturally exterminate for us, but a lot of people spite themselves and just kill the spider.

        • purr

          I find this a difficult example, because on TV, those are characters played by human actors and don’t actually exist

          Yeah, but, well known, and a bit easier for people to empathize with. It’s possible that intelligent aliens might exist as blobs of goo:P

          I think attaching personhood to a machine designed to think and act like a person is somewhat ridiculous, but then I also think human life is

          Scientists are working on creating intelligent machines – it might very well happen someday. They are also working on mapping the human mind, and the dream, for lack of a better word, is to somehow figure out how to ‘transfer’ the neural mapping into a machine, just like in Sci-fi. Sounds crazy, right? But, kudos to them for trying to understand how it all works.

          Aliens are up for the same – if they are a threat to us, we are allowed to hunt them like animals. Their intelligence doesn’t matter

          Of course. Which is why I mentioned Spock:p Obviously, we wouldn’t want to kill peaceful, garden variety aliens. The thing is, we could *still* consider Romulans, for example, to be people – and we could kill them because they are a violent ‘race’ bent on destroying us. But, we aren’t killing them because they don’t share our DNA, or because they are not ‘people’ – we are killing them because they are trying to wipe us out.

          The point that I am trying to get at, is that we view animals as inferiors right? We can use them as pets, beasts of burden, etc. They are not rational creatures. But, an intelligent alien being would be a rational creature. So, would it be immoral to enslave them simply because they don’t have human DNA? If human DNA IS the definition of personhood, then that means that anything that doesn’t have human DNA can be treated like an animal, yes?

        • Kodie

          If an alien is trying to wipe us out, it would be like a plague of mosquitoes just trying to eat, but passing diseases while they do. I don’t see a difference in trying to defend the attack with violence.

          The thing we don’t know about mosquitoes is how they feel. If you attack a village of your enemies, you would be wrong to assume that babies and children or even 100% of the grown people agreed with the policies of that village. Let’s call that village “Christians”. Wiping out, exterminating a group of people indiscriminately because they belong, ostensibly, to that group, is not rational. You take a baby born to Christian parents, let’s also not say this village is merely Christian, but violently disturbed to the point where, for our own good, it seems like a good idea to just exterminate them. That’s genocide. Of course, being the aggressors, these people have no choice but to consider us as violently disturbed against them, and of course, defend themselves, like a normal person would try to do.

          Everyone thinks they’re in the right and their attacker is wrong. Christians think they have god on their side and are being persecuted for no reason. For efficacy’s sake, we can just wipe them out, assuming Christianity to be a local compulsion, so those babies and children are wastes of life who can only grow up to be Christians. Like I said, that’s genocide. If an alien group is genociding us indiscriminately, or say, Muslim terrorists, we can immediately go on the defense. We’re in the right, we’re Americans in the Western world which we prefer, and they’re crazy, right? As long as they make the first violent strike without getting to know individuals, this is a long-game genocide. Killing a relative handful of citizens is a method to shock everyone else into submission. They want to ruin our lives, but only if we can live with our lives ruined. Killing us and taking the land is not their way. Killing a few of us is just a message, it’s not their goal.

          But we never ask ourselves if maybe we are wrong. Everyone in the world ridicules America and Americans. I take that as a form of bigotry. Christians are always saying, “we’re not all like that (crazy other extreme group who gets it all wrong)”. Neither are Americans. We have some whacked out values as a culture that I disagree with, but it is merely prominent, like reality TV or believing in creationism. We’re not all Christians, and not all Christians are wacky, and even the wacky ones deserve freedom to be wrong. I value that freedom, and terrorists threaten that freedom. Christian theocratic ambitions also threaten that freedom. They don’t have the right to be free to be so wrong that I have to be wrong according to law.

          I am going off on a tangent, but whether a person or a village or a nation is attacked, people just get defensive. Violence is never really cool, so we approach it with that ideal. No matter what I might have done, I have the freedom to not be violently attacked because of it, and I have the freedom to never reflect on my choices and why we might have had a conversation instead of starting with violence. We don’t know any aliens, but we have a natural suspicion that they’ll probably have different values than we do, not just visiting, but plotting to inhabit by any means necessary. We have a hard enough time disagreeing with other humans over how to care for the environment, or parenting, or religion, or who gets to make a left turn first, or how to take care of the poor and why they are poor in the first place. I mean, put all that in the pot and add aliens of a culture we cannot probably understand. It’s just too overwhelming beside the problems we already have.

        • Jakeithus

          I would argue that being human = personhood. If you were to ask me what it means to be human, my question would be “it depends, based on the stage of development the human is at”.

          Under your hypothetical scenario, if what it means to be a Vulcan is shown to be of marginal difference to the state of being human, I would have no problem expanding my definition of personhood.

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

          Back to the spectrum argument, what would you say that a newborn is that the single cell isn’t?

        • Jakeithus

          I know I shouldn’t keep going with this, but I provided a large list of emergent characteristics that can differentiate newborn and single cell, none of which have been acceptable to you. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t in good conscience say person because, as our conversation has also shown, that term is off the table because neither of us knows what it means. Since you haven’t accepted my attempts at answering it, the only answers I can give honestly are either “I don’t know”, or “maybe there isn’t anything”.

        • purr

          Well let’s get back to the intelligent aliens. Why would we let Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons and Data (intelligent machines) exist as equals? Why not treat them like animals, they don’t have human DNA? What human *characteristics* do they have?

          If intelligent aliens can be classified as people…and intelligent machines can be classified as people..then surely we can look at what both have in common and decide what a ‘person’ is, no?

        • Jakeithus

          “If intelligent aliens can be classified as people…and intelligent
          machines can be classified as people..then surely we can look at what
          both have in common and decide what a ‘person’ is, no?”

          Although I wonder about machines, I don’t really have any big issues with that statement (although my own choice would be to say “discover what a person is”). The question, as I can see it, becomes does personhood cause these shared characteristics, do these characteristics cause personhood, or are both causes by some other factor entirely. That’s the hard part to determine.

        • purr

          What do you think it would mean to be an intelligent alien species? How could they be ‘similar to the state of being human?’ Looks? Behaviour? Intelligence? What?

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

          I’m the only one providing a description of personhood to begin with.

          Here’s how the game is played: I propose that we call it “personhood” for the spectrum. Then you complain about how I’ve defined it or that I’ve not defined it or say that you define it some other way. The nice thing about this game is that you get to avoid the elephant in the room, the spectrum and how insanely different a newborn is from a single microscopic cell.

          As I’ve made clear, I have no interest in that game. Drop it.

          here’s a vast list of traits that emerge at some point along the spectrum of human development

          Yes, good list. We agree that there’s a vast difference between the single cell and the newborn.

          The argument must be pretty weak if that ends the conversation.

          On the pro-life side? Yes, I agree. What an honest pro-life person would do is actually engage with it instead of playing dictionary games. But if the pro-life proponent refuses to participate, there’s nothing I can do about it.

          In our case, however, we’ve made some progress. We seem to be on the same page about the enormity of the gulf between single cell and newborn. I look at this gulf and feel justified treating the single cell far differently than we do the newborn.

          it has been to say “try to convince me why your definition is more accurate than mine”

          Haggling over definitions is a waste of time. Surely you agree.

          What I am sure of is that you are either unable or unwilling to answer basic questions about what personhood entails under your model.

          What’s hard about this? (1) Haggling over definitions is a waste of time and allows one or both parties to pretend to be engaging intellectually while actually remaining in a safe harbor, avoiding confronting the actual issue. (2) Instead of quibbling over “person,” I challenge you to provide a word that characterizes the difference. We didn’t make progress there, but we do seem to be on the same page about how very different the single cell is from the newborn. That’s not bad.

          the most likely inference I can take from that is you realize that your position is intellectually weak, but you’re too proud and/or closed minded to admit otherwise.

          Yep, yep. What other option remains?

          I’m the one who has attempted to answer your questions while all you have done is avoid and redirect.

          No, you’re the one who continues to wrestle with the word “person,” when I’ve repeatedly asked you to avoid it. If you prefer dictionary games, I can understand why, but it’s a waste of time.

        • Kodie

          Is a dog a person? When’s the last time you got your hair cut? Is it better to burn down a house or a lumber yard?

  • Jason

    I basically agree with this post, but I think there is a danger of falling into a semantic argument that is not nearly as important as it seems. Pro-lifers argue a fertilized egg is a person, and Bob tries to prove that their definition of a person is wrong. I say who cares what a person is and how exactly we define it. There is a clearly a spectrum of development and the stakes of killing that thing that is developing change over time (and with different species of animals). The more self-awareness something has and the more it is able to feel pain the more we should care about protecting its feelings and future. I would apply this to all animals, including humans.

    Bob, would you agree that a fertilized egg is definitely living? One might argue that it’s a ‘life’ (and not a person) that should be protected precisely because it’s alive AND has the potential to become a fully developed person. Why don’t you want to protect potential, Bob? That seems to be a point that’s overlooked since you assume proving a fertilized egg is potential personhood means it doesn’t have to be protected. If I were a farmer and I lost all my seeds, that’s pretty much the same thing as losing all my plants. Just trying to play devil’s advocate here.

    • Armanatar

      I think the importance of distinguishing between potential and actual persons is that the other party involved, the pregnant woman, is most definitely an actual person, and while a person vs person rights argument depends a lot on specific details and definitions and whatnot, a person vs potential person argument is a whole lot more clear-cut.

      • Jason

        I agree on the comparison with the mother, but then all that addresses are cases where the mother’s health or life are threatened.

        Clear-cut does not mean accurate.

        • purr

          There is no such thing as a no risk pregnancy. A woman is not better off, or even the same, upon becoming pregnant. In fact, she is worse off.

          And at any time a perfectly ‘normal’ pregnancy can go wrong. And problems often won’t show up until after birth – post partum hemorrhage (which can kill), various autoimmune diseases, and post partum depression and pscyhosis.

          Birth itself is extremely painful and traumatic. You might say ‘c-section’ but that is also major abdominal surgery and it carries it’s own set of risks.

          The fact is, an unwanted pregnancy is a violation of bodily autonomy. Even *if* there is no pain and discomfort involved. Imagine being raped – nicely – without any physical harm – you’re still being raped. you know? The mental pain of losing your freedom is pretty damaging in and of itself.

          I know 5 women on Patheos blogs who would rather kill themselves than be forced to remain pregnant against their will.

          “That means each year in the U.S., about 700 women die of pregnancy-related complications and 52,000 experience emergencies such as acute renal failure, shock, respiratory distress, aneurysms and heart surgery. An additional 34,000 barely avoid death.”

          Data modeling suggesting 21/100,000 US maternal mortality rate

          In 2004/2005, 1.7 million women per year suffered adverse health effects

          http://search.worldbank.org/data?qterm=us%20maternal%20mortality%20rate&language=EN

          http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/campaigns/demand-dignity/maternal-health-is-a-human-right/maternal-health-in-the-us

          http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/why-are-so-many-u-s-women-dying-during-childbirth/article_dd916b4b-38f0-5bae-ba42-ddee636e4cf4.html

          http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/dec/10/torn-apart-by-childbirth

          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.

          ——–

          Not all of these things can be reliably predicted. It’s best to put an end to the problem before it has the chance to become really bad. And, as I mentioned, birth *is* a certainty, and it is very violent and traumatic. I would rather die than go through birth.

        • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

          Not to mention that down the line I’ve read it raises the risk of breast cancer significantly, so every women who becomes pregnant potentially shortens their life. That’s not something any person should be forced to accept in my opinion.

        • wlad

          Please cite ONE reference for saying pregnancy raises the risk of breast cancer.
          And Google how birth control and abortion increases the risk of breast cancer.

        • purr

          http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/is-abortion-linked-to-breast-cancer

          Breast cancer risk is increased for a short time after a full-term pregnancy (that is, a pregnancy that results in the birth of a living child).

          Induced abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk.

          Spontaneous abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk.

        • wlad

          I guess it was not to smart of me to ask for that citation. I could quote the recent China study that says the opposite.
          The battle of the quotes solves nothing.

        • Niemand

          Don’t just quote the Chinese study, link to it! Then we can have a rational discussion about whether or not the study has merit, what its limitations are, and whether its conclusions are valid. (Not to mention whether it says what you think it does.)

        • purr

          The journal article contained a confusing error, one that helped to hide the study’s own recall bias shortcomings. Early on, the study authors say:

          “” The lack of a social stigma associated with induced abortion in China may limit the amount of underreporting.””

          But later in the study, the authors say:

          “” [T]he self-reported number of IA [induced abortions] will probably be underestimated, as the stigma of abortion still exists in China, especially when a woman has more than two IAs. Therefore, this underestimation will inevitably create spurious associations between IA and breast cancer, especially for more IAs.””

          These two contradictory statements should never have gotten past the peer reviewers.

          Out of at least nine cohort studies done since 1996, not one has found a statistically significant association between abortion and breast cancer, and some found negative associations—meaning abortion might actually protect against breast cancer.

          The Chinese study was not a cohort study or even a case-control study. It was a meta-analysis, which combines the results of numerous studies on the same topic to come up with a pooled average. The authors found 36 previous Chinese studies on the ABC association and combined their results to come up with an “odds ratio” of 1.44, which means a 44 percent increased risk of breast cancer for women who had one abortion. However, the authors used 34 case-control studies and only two cohort studies (not included in the nine mentioned above). Neither cohort study showed a statistically significant ABC association. Further, six of the case-control studies that were rated as having the highest quality methodology, according to the authors’ own evaluation, also showed no correlation. In other words, the supposed ABC association arose solely from the weakest 26 studies selected for the meta-analysis, some of which were not even published in peer-reviewed journals.

          http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/01/09/how-deeply-flawed-studies-on-abortion-and-breast-cancer-become-anti-choice-fodder/

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

          Wait–abortion (a little pregnancy) increases the risk but birth (a lot of pregnancy) doesn’t? How does that work?

        • Niemand

          In principle, it could work life this: A full term pregnancy leads to a baby that breast feeds and it’s the breast feeding that deceases the risk of breast cancer. (Which also explains the transient increase: hyperplasia of any cell type carries the risk of dysplasia and cancer). In that case, abortion interrupts the pregnancy and the normal changes in the breast, leading to a risk of breast cancer.
          Except that that’s not what happens.
          1. Pregnancy seems to have some protective effects (sometimes), regardless of breast feeding or not.
          2. Breast feeding isn’t protective 100% of the time.
          3. Abortion, spontaneous or otherwise, does not increase the risk of breast cancer.
          It wasn’t a totally crazy hypothesis, but it was wrong and it’s time to move on. The “pro-life” movement should just admit that it made a mistake and get on with arguments that still can be supported. If they can find any.

        • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

          Someone did it for me. The link between abortion and cancer has also not held up to scrutiny. I have not heard of any link between birth control and cancer.

        • wlad

          For God’s sake women!

          Stop having babies!

          Did you read the list of horrible effects of pregnancy above?

          No sane woman should ever have a baby.

          Does the surgeon general of the US know this?

        • purr

          You miss the point wlad.

          Pregnancy is risky. No person should be forced into it without *consent*.

        • wlad

          Are you saying that abortion is OK only when forced into pregnancy by rape?

          In every other case the woman enters into a sexual act willingly, knowing full well that a pregnancy is possible.

          If somebody dropped off a baby during the middle of the night in your tent while you were camping in a remote mountain site, would you have a moral obligation to take care of that child until you could give it to the authorities.

          Could you be forced to take care of a baby?

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

          In every other case the woman enters into a sexual act willingly, knowing full well that a pregnancy is possible.

          That’s what I say! And that’s why anyone who drives a car does so willingly, knowing full well that a car accident is possible. Show them the tough love that they need: when they get into an accident, send them home. How about a little personal responsibility, people?!

        • purr

          How about a little personal responsibility, people?!

          The argument they will use against this is that you *should* be forced to donate your body as life support to save a person you injure in a car accident because you *put them in a place of need, and if you do not offer assistance, you are guilty of homicide.” That “if you hurt someone or cause them to come into existence, you are therefore obligated to help them, even if that means using your body as life support, and even if it results in bodily injuries to you.”

          Or that, getting treatment for your car accident injuries, or your lung cancer from smoking, or your broken leg from skiing, do not result in the death of an innocent person

          I also came across this rebuttal to the car accident scenario:

          1) Roughly 99% of abortions are performed for pregnancies in which sex was consensual. Two people willingly participated in an action that carried the risk of making another life dependent on the woman’s body. This is distinct from being kidnapped and forcibly attached to someone. How would Thomson’s thought experiment change if you caused the violinist’s kidney ailment, connected your kidneys to his circulatory system, and then wanted to unplug?

          -See above, you put an innocent human being in harm’s way, your fault, you gotta save them.

          2) Once pregnant, the woman is already donating her body to the fetus. It is not a question of whether she can be compelled to donate, but whether she can rescind the donation. This may seem a meaningless distinction until we reconsider Shimp v. McFall. How would the Court react if Shimp had already donated bone marrow to McFall and now wanted to have it back?

          -utterly irrelevant. mcfall was not an undeveloped proto-human residing inside shimp’s body against his will. furthermore, she is not “already donating” any more than i, upon getting mugged, am “already donating” my wallet to someone.

          3) Unintended pregnancies occur at a far greater rate than comparable bodily donation situations. About 1-9% of women who use birth control pills and 2-18% of couples who use condoms experience unplanned pregnancies. Even the most effective form of female sterilization has a 0.3% chance of an unplanned pregnancy. For those of us who drive daily, that’s the equivalent of causing at least one life-threatening car crash every year.

          -key word: UNINTENDED. so you admit that there is no consent to pregnancy, and that it is an unwanted side effect. plus, you cite statistics that show that no matter how hard you try to avoid it, it can still happen – further reinforcing the need for the option of abortion. unless, of course, the anti abortion stance you take is covering up an “ew, dirty sluts, must stop this” attitude.

          4) For most of the pregnancy, the expectant mother is the only person who can keep the fetus alive. Imagine if our country had no infrastructure of blood banks and organ donors. Imagine that, during your annual life-threatening car crash, you were the only person who could save the life of whomever you’d hit. I doubt our laws would be unaffected by such frequent, extreme situations.

          -Wow! Imagine that bullfrogs had wings! they might not bump their asses so hard when they jump! … What is your point here, exactly? That undeveloped protohumans that a) do not (AND never have), and b) are physically incapable (AND never have been) of exhibiting a SINGLE CHARACTERISTIC that MAKES human life worth protecting,

          http://blog.secularprolife.org/2012/03/bodily-integrity.html

        • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

          I would like to point out that Thomson presented thought experiments to justify abortion besides the violinist one, some of which better cover the “pregnancy due to consensual sex” case. http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm

        • purr

          I remember reading the one about people seeds – that even if you lock your doors and cover your windows, a people seed gets in and impregnates you, are you forced to care for it?

        • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

          Yes, that’s what I was recalling too.

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

          The argument they will use against this is that you *should* be forced to donate your body as life support to save a person you injure in a car accident because you *put them in a place of need, and if you do not offer assistance, you are guilty of homicide.”

          OK, but your actions injuring someone else isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the person who was in the right getting injured (got hit by a drunk or careless driver, was injured because of mechanical problems not his fault, got hit by a landslide, etc.). They should be sent home with a good scolding to be analogous to wlad’s “the woman enters into a sexual act willingly, knowing full well that a pregnancy is possible.”

        • purr

          Yes Bob, I know. And the way I described it is *how* they twist it. I have used the very same argument that you do.

          The problem with their car accident analogy in this case is that we do *not* force people, even criminals, to donate blood and body parts to those they have injured – even if they might be a match. We just don’t do it. Never have, never will.

          Women are the *only* class of people that they are ok with essentially *punishing* for ‘dangerous activities’.

          When it comes right down to it, everything leads back to sex. As if non-procreative sex is a criminally negligent act, and that if you wake up attached to someone because of your own immoral actions, too bad so sad!

          Its funny though, how they think it is completely ethical and moral to just ‘let someone die’ due to inaction, even a born child, but as soon as that ‘person’ is attached to you, and just happens to be a fetus, it’s murder!!

    • purr

      ne might argue that it’s a ‘life’ (and not a person) that should be
      protected precisely because it’s alive AND has the potential to become a
      fully developed person.

      So you are talking about subjugating an actual person in favour of something that only has an animal level mind, if that? In fact, in favour of something that is just, when most abortions occur, not much more than an insensate clump of flesh?

      Hey, this rare eagle is really valuable. Let’s take away Jason’s freedom for 10 months, because the eagle is a *life* after all, and force him to risk his health and his present life and future because hey, life, any life, is precious, right?

      • Jason

        You seem to be rambling and not to have read my post very carefully. Bob suggested that it is really important to distinguish between a person and a potential person, which he explains is not an actual person and thus abortion is not the same as killing an actual person. I agree. But a potential person is not the same as, say, a rock. Neither are actual people, but that suggests there are only two categories: actual people and everything else. If we’re simply asking if the life of a potential person should be protected over an actual person, then Bob’s argument is dead on. I’m simply pointing out that a potential person is more than ‘not a person’ and might deserve some special treatment somewhere between a rock and an actual person. I’m not saying because something is a potential person it should be protected at all costs.

        • purr

          I’m simply pointing out that a potential person is more than ‘not a
          person’ and might deserve some special treatment somewhere between a
          rock and an actual person

          My point is that when most abortions occur, the embryo is less than animal. It is just a mindless body, essentially. The *only* reason to protect it would be out of speciesism – the idea that human DNA is somehow intrinsically valuable because humans are special.

          Hence the comparison to an eagle. The folks over at Secular Pro-Life are quite fond of making the argument that a zygote is the equivalent of an infant, because of it’s humanity alone. (or rather, human dna). That human DNA deserves protecting, because humans are rational creatures (this is what makes us so exceptional and special), and that a zygote is also a ‘rational creature’ that just hasn’t had the opportunity to ‘express it’s rationality’ yet.

          I did misread you tho. I missed the part at the bottom about devil’s advocate. My apologies:)

        • Pattrsn

          I’m more than a little suspicious of Jason’s claim to be playing devil’s advocate. It’s a fairly common ruse among the forced pregnancy crowd.

        • purr

          Agreed.

        • Philmonomer

          I also see that Jason doesn’t let you see what other comments he has made on Disqus.

          I am suspicious of anyone who doesn’t let you do that–but then I am suspicious by nature. :)

        • purr

          I hide my comments as well. But, that’s because of the kind of people I usually debate:p (pro-lifers)

        • purr

          I can’t help but notice that you’ve posted at secular pro-life. They use religious arguments,but package them to sound secular:P

          And this is what an abortion at roughly 7 weeks looks like:

          http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ls6w7phG8f1qi68z9.jpg

          91% of abortions are before 13 weeks
          61% before 9 weeks

          Ru-486 and vacuum aspiration are used for early abortions.

          Later abortions do require that the fetus be taken out in pieces. But, that is the *least* traumatic way for the woman. As Niemand has pointed out before, in the case of obstructed labour, the *only* way to remove the fetus will be by dismemberment. When a woman’s health is in jeopardy, it would make sense to cause her body the least amount of trauma, yes? A c-section, when unnecessary, would be a great way to *kill* her. But that’s what pro-lifers want, because their delicate sensibilities are hurt by ‘gory’ medical treatments. I guess seeing a woman bleeding to death on a table isn’t as upsetting as seeing an innocent jellybean sized embryo lying in a dish, eh?

          Also, the pro-lifers succeeded in getting partial birth abortion banned – which was basically the least traumatic way of removing the fetus while giving the family a corpse to mourn. Now, those fetuses have to be removed piece by piece.

          They focus on dismemberment because it makes a good emotional argument.

        • Philmonomer

          I can’t help but notice that you’ve posted at secular pro-life. They use religious arguments,but package them to sound secular:P

          Yeah, it seems that Clinton Wilcox is a Christian (based on his blogs/you tube). I wonder why the blog “secular pro-life?” It seems odd to me. Maybe he figures he has more of a chance of changing the culture around abortion if he (not sure if just him or others too) uses only (ostensibly) non-religious arguments.

          Thanks for the info.

        • purr

          They have cottoned onto the fact that religious arguments will not be taken seriously by most people. Some of the users are atheist, but a majority of the arguments that are presented were written by theologians who were attempting to write secular arguments…

          The thing is, if you believe that every zygote has a soul…you’re going to base all of your arguments on that belief.

          I won’t go there and debate them, because they love to talk down to people. I find it interesting, however, that they don’t stray out of their safe space. They claim that their arguments are foolproof (Clinton and the folks at LiveActionNews basically accused Bob of being a moron), yet so few of them show up here, and to TFA, when abortion is up for debate:)

        • Jason

          I forgot my old password so have been registering as a guest. I assume that’s why you cant see my old posts. But I’m not sure why my ‘real’ position should matter. Argumentation and evidence can stand on their own. I just try to understand the issues as best I can even when it seems (at least tentatively) that I’m scoring a point for the other side. This is the danger of apologetics from either side. Everyone comes into the forum to disprove the other side rather than understand the issues. Believers are not the only ones who can lose sight of objectivity.

        • Philmonomer

          Fair enough.

        • Jason

          No problem. And my point may be more of a general/personal ethical point than a legal point. I agree that since the potential person is dependent on an actual person’s body, that actual person (i.e. the mother) should be legally able to decide. It’s just that zealous pro-choicers (which I am one), in an attempt to disprove the “personhood” argument of pro-lifers, work too hard to prove that a potential person is nothing. And this is precisely why it is important for people to consider their perspective on this and make a choice they can live with. At least for us as humans, a potential human is a special category, living and human but not fully a person.

          The speciesism argument sounds a bit silly. As far as I can see, our species is not in danger of disappearing any time soon. In fact, the earth is vastly over populated with actual humans.

        • purr

          FYI, I play devil’s advocate *all* the time. I like to see what arguments fellow pro-choicers can come up with. It’s fun.

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

          I read that DNA bit in the post to which I was responding, but my response was already quite long, so that got cut.

          I can’t fathom that thinking. Humans are rational, so their DNA is inherently important. A zygote is a rational creature, not a potential rational creature. Weird.

        • Pattrsn

          Depends on whether or not the woman wants to continue her pregnancy. If not then no there’s no reason to protect the embryo that could potentially become a person. If yes then her right to control her body would include the right to maintain her pregnancy and by extension the viability of the embryo.

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

          IMO, the key issue is the inherent value of the thing. For a person like you, you have much inherent value, and society steps in to protect you from harm.

          With abortion legal, society doesn’t recognize inherent value up to the date beyond which abortion is illegal. Of course, the pregnant woman could put a high value on that potential person, but that’s her valuation. Society doesn’t put a mandatory value on the fetus until that magic date, and then it uses laws to ensure that we all recognize its value.

        • Kodie

          Do you think your hair is more than ‘not a person’ while not quite a person? What about your sperm? What value does a fertilized egg have that must be preserved that just sperm or just egg does not? It is waste of the body at the same time it is a building block for making life. You can come into a sock and wash the sock or throw it away or let it get all gross until you jerk off again, it’s just come. I think if it’s not yet a person, the ‘yet’ is irrelevant. When someone wants to be pregnant, that fertilized egg is everything in the world to them, but that is an emotional response, not a valid rational response. If forced to grow your hair out might cost you a job or just make you uncomfortable, you know, “little inconveniences,” and we say, just get it cut and don’t worry about it. But say that is not hair but another shape of a similar material, a fertilized egg that will cost someone all the money and emotions and time and the course of their life*, not a “little inconvenience”, not to mention all the health risks aforementioned, what exactly are you in favor of hanging onto?

          *They say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but that’s a big fat stupid lie. Giving your life traditionally means dying, but if you had plans and dreams that had to go down the shitter and now you are a life-long slave to whatever this will become, and it’s not that yet, but society forces you to give your life, not die, but give over the whole rest of your life, to it, that is what doesn’t kill you now might make you regret being born in the first place. It’s a life sentence for some people.

          Your argument is emotional because you sense there is something more to an embryo that deserves consideration. You don’t consider hair, toenails, tumors, or jizz “something more than ‘not a person’. You might consider, say, your mangled foot to be more than ‘not a person,’ but if keeping it attached to your leg is going to kill you, you’d probably come to understand that amputation saves lives and what do you need to stay bodily intact for if it’s going to slow you down or kill you? Your argument is sentimental, because most people who find out they’re pregnant are happy about the indication of the presence of that actual thing, but it’s a projection of something they want in the future – it’s not that yet. They are putting the cart before the horse, and most of the time, it seems to work out ok. But it’s not their baby yet, they just think of preparing for it as a happy time, not a dreadful one.

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

      Pro-lifers argue a fertilized egg is a person, and Bob tries to prove that their definition of a person is wrong.

      Not really. Too many pro-lifers engage in the semantic wrestling match that we both dislike because that’s preferable than engaging with the argument.

      I don’t care what the spectrum is called, but English surely has a satisfactory word or phrase to describe what a newborn is that a single cell is not. If not “personhood” or “human being,” then I’m open to suggestions.

      would you agree that a fertilized egg is definitely living?

      Of course.

      that should be protected precisely because it’s alive AND has the potential to become a fully developed person.

      I have no respect for the argument from potential. Yes, it might be a five-year-old five and a half years from now, but it isn’t one now.

      Why don’t you want to protect potential, Bob?

      If you want to value potential, go for it. If the pregnant woman thinks of the fetus as the most precious thing ever, that’s great. Just don’t impose that view on the rest of us by law.

      My wife and I had 2 kids. We had the potential to have a dozen (that we cruelly smashed to bits by not having unprotected sex). With ten deaths on my hands, I’m clearly a monster, and yet I sleep like a baby.

      If I were a farmer and I lost all my seeds

      Say those seeds were worth $100 and the grain they would’ve yielded would’ve been worth $10,000. The farmer lost $100; he didn’t lose $10,000. If mice had eaten his seed, I hope he could get down to the feed store and buy another $100 of seeds.

    • Niemand

      would you agree that a fertilized egg is definitely living?

      Are you then arguing that an unfertilized egg is not living? That a sperm is not living? What are you doing to protect your little potentials?

    • Jason Wexler

      Your post eventually put me in mind of the Monty Python song “Every Sperm is Sacred”, because the logical conclusion of your argument is that since sperm and egg (among other insensate body parts and materials) are alive we have a duty to use them to their full potential to make babies. If we accept the premise that a fertilized egg is a living thing and that all living things should be permitted to achieve their full potential, we would be advocating for women to be constantly pregnant from puberty to menopause. Taken further we must also adopt the Jain attitude that we must be careful not to step on insects and we mustn’t treat disease or illness since bacteria and probably viruses are alive.

      Ultimately your argument (even if it isn’t sincerely held and is merely “devil’s advocate”) that we categorize the zygote/embryo/fetus as alive (regardless of if it is a person) is the same logical fallacy that Bob mentioned in another response wherein PETA didn’t recognize the difference between vermin, livestock, pet and human and classified them all as animals. If we were transcendent incorporeal beings we could justify ignoring distinctions like vermin, pet, zygote or baby, but we aren’t so we can’t. We live in a real biological environment, where our ability to continue living is dependent upon us consuming other living things (why do animals get special treatment but no one cares that plants are living things too (directed at PETA and “ethical” vegetarians)), we have to compete with other living things for resources, we have to make decisions about the suffering of our selves and fellow humans versus that of other living things such as bacteria or “vermin”. Finally we have to balance the rights of mothers against those of children or potential children, and needs of children or potential children against our ability or desire to satisfy those needs.

      The Pro-Life position is ultimately an unthoughtful one-dimensional proposition, it fails to recognize that a life of suffering may not in fact be better than not living, it fails to recognize that a potential person will have needs that it will be the responsibility of the parents to meet once it becomes an actual person; it fails to recognize that sex is and can be for something other than procreation; and finally it fails to realize that it is unjust to punish the potential child because the pro-lifer doesn’t like that the parents had sex for pleasure. Notice by the way no mention until now of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s life… I wish more pro abortion people would have the courage to defend abortion without resorting to hyperbole.

      • purr

        *Applause* Great post.

        Just one minor quibble..

        Notice by the way no mention until now of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s life… I wish more pro abortion people would have the courage to defend abortion without resorting to hyperbole.

        It’s worth it to bring these subjects up on occasion to get to the heart of the pro-lifer’s motivations. If they offer a rape exception..ask why. Do they oppose abortion based on belifs about the inherent wrongness of non-procreative sex? Or do they truly believe that every zygote is a homunculus? Furthermore, many of the bills being passed by republican governors are even making abortion impossible to attain in the case of rape and incest – so no, it isn’t hyperbole – it’s a real world problem that affects real people. With all of the clinic closures in Texas right now, if you happen to be a low income woman living on the border, and you get pregnant from rape, your chances of getting an abortion will be about zero unless you can get your hands on cytotec to induce a miscarriage.

        Life and health of the woman is also a good question, because if they allow no such exceptions, it shows that not only are they living in a fantasy world, but that they view women as less than human. We don’t force people to put life and limb on the line to saver others – so why should pregnant women be the *only* exception to that? Again, it comes down to assessing their motivations and also making an emotional appeal. And birth injuries are *not* rare, and roughly 2 women die per day in the USA from pregnancy. 300k worldwide. Again, real people, real #s, not hyperbole.

        I also like to ask them what the punishment should be for women who abort. If they believe, in their heart of hearts, that every zygote is the exact equivalent of a born person, then why not life in jail or the death penalty for women who murder their unborn baybeez?

  • calesuar

    I agree bringing up the difference between a potential person to an already person and its corresponding wide range between the two extremes. But the focus should be instead in the Real Person in whose body this potential person is being developed into a full born person. She owns this new life inside her, as she owns her body, and no one else (unless of course she has a valid contract to raise the child with a partner). This spectrum argument should actually be going on this woman’s head, and only her should be the one to decide whether she terminates or carries this life inside her all the way through. And WE, as a society, should work hard at giving her all the tools available so she makes this decision wisely, the best decision for her, and for the new born if she decides to bring it forth; we should just hope she does it as quickly and closer to the blue as possible, instead of forcing our decisions onto her. Most compassionately and responsibly raised women would come to the blue side conclusion, if they would decide to terminate this potential person inside of them. Come to think of it, we should strive for an environment where, in general, women have thought about this spectrum and made their decision even before they get pregnant. Let’s remember that a life is not necessarily a person, and we as a society always pay one way or another for unloved, unwanted, unprotected, abused little children (for that matter THEY always pay as well) who later become criminals or a burden on our state. I rather spend my money in preventing unwanted pregnancies, or raising children in a loving environment. One way or the other. But between unwanted children and aborted blue-sided cygotes, I much rather have aborted blue-sided cygotes.

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

      Yes, comprehensive sex education and convenient access to birth control would go a long way to getting pro-lifers what they want: fewer unwanted pregnancies. It amazes me that they don’t take the easy way.

  • wlad

    A sign on a billboard.

    I was born today. My life started 9 months ago.

    • purr

      There was no ‘you’ when the zygote that led to you was created. Just a little snippet of DNA. A zygote does not have an identity. Neither does an embryo, or a fetus.

      • wlad

        When did my life start?

        • purr

          When you were born.

        • wlad

          I wasn’t alive a minute before I was born?

        • purr

          I’m not even sure that you exist now, wlad. I think Bob invented you as a torture/comedy device.

        • wlad

          You clearly refuse to answer a simple question when you said a person’s life begins at birth and I asked you if that person (rhetorically me) was alive a minute before birth.

          So, is a baby alive a minute before it is born?

          Yes or no?

          And please don’t dodge the question.

        • wlad

          Defamate,

          I noticed that you have been responding to other commenters AFTER I posted my response to your comment above. Clearly you are avoiding the question.

          Is it really that difficult?

          Does it pose a problem to your narrative?

        • purr

          I find it rather ironic that you demand to be answered – but that you have spent a majority of your time on Bob’s blog here evading questions, and refusing to talk to people if they are not nice enough to you.

          You were certainly closer to ‘you’ at birth than months previously. But, are you a person at birth? That is one thing that has been debated. Babies fail the mirror test – they are not self-aware until at least 1 year after birth. But, they are sentient creatures, and, imo, think that that is enough.

          Even at full gestation a baby’s brain is not fully formed. It is the stimuli after birth that provides the final neural pathways to connect. The analogy would be an electric circuit. Until the switch is thrown, the circuit is not complete.

          A baby’s flailing at birth, as well as the movement while in utero, are due to autonomic reactions, not requiring conscious thought.

        • wlad

          You still refuse to answer a simple question.

          I asked when did my life begin.

          You DID say, “When you were born.”

          I asked if I was alive a minute before my birth. Yes or no.

          Not a difficult question for most people.

          But difficult for you. Why?

          If you say “No, you were not alive a minute before birth, people would be amused.

          And you can’t say “Yes, you were alive a minute before birth, because you already ruled that out when you posted that my life began “when I was born.”

          Did you misspeak and want to amend your response?

          So, was I, Wladyslaw, alive a minute before I was born or not?

        • purr

          You are trying to work backward, and say that well if your ‘infant’ self was alive…then so was your fetal self…and your embryonic self….and your zygote self…

          Hey. Let’s go all the way back shall we. If your mom’s egg and dad’s sperm hadn’t met, there would be *no* you. Well, aren’t you lucky that your parents had sex when they did. That one egg and sperm were truly *precious*. Without them, you wouldn’t exist!

        • wlad

          I, and I think most people alive on this planet, would heartily agree with you on that, and gratefully thank their parents.

          I certainly don’t think you are saying that your mother’s particular egg and your father’s particular sperm were absolutely not necessary for you to become you.

          .And so, the FACT stands–I was born on July 10, 1045, and my life began approximately nine months before that.

          My life certainly did NOT begin on July 10, 1945.,

          Any refutations, anyone, other than a simply assertion that my life began at birth, not around nine months earlier?

        • purr

          You were ‘alive’ as a mindless biochemical process prior to birth.

          At birth, we could say your real life started as a separate, viable autonomous individual

          Did you have an ‘identity’ at birth? No, but you were well on your way. You were already sucking up information, and working towards becoming a person. You were ‘complete’ – you were no longer just potential. You existed, at birth, as a separate entity, all your own.

        • wlad

          I was born on July 10, 1945, but my life–me, Wladyslaw, did not begin on that day.

          My life did not begin the second I emerged fully from my mother’s womb, as you said.
          I didn’t ask you to describe each stage of my life from conception to my 68 years.

          I did ask when my life began.

          My life did not begin a minute before I was born.

          My life did not begin 3 weeks earlier.

          My life did not begin 3 months earlier.

          My life did not begin 6 months earlier.

          It began around nine months earlier– a few hours, or a few days, after my Mom and Dad made love to each other.

          Not before they made love to each other.

          Not 5 months after they made love to each other.

          WHEN they made love to each other.

        • Niemand

          Um…you do know that fertilization doesn’t necessarily happen instantly during sex, right? And, for that matter, that it’s not an instantaneous, single step event but a process with many steps–that can and do go wrong. If something bad had happened in the fusion of the pro-nuclei and the egg that might have become you had died, would you have died or simply never have existed?

        • Kodie

          Just keep repeating yourself, nobody cares, it’s a shitty emotional argument. Also, they fucked.

        • wlad

          “You were ‘alive’ as a mindless biochemical process prior to birth.”

          Do you really believe that?

          Really?

          A minute before birth you and I were alive as a mindless

          biochemical process?

        • Jason

          Wlad, I’m pro-choice and I think you bring up a good point that has not been answered yet. The truth is all of life is a spectrum and the attempt by pro-choicers to make birth the crucial dividing line is false.

        • wlad

          Thanks for your observation. I totally agree with your definition of the spectrum of life. I am curious, though, on how you then justify abortion.

        • jason

          I’m pro-choice because I don’t think the the question of abortion hinges on the moment life begins. I don’t believe that the moment an egg is fertilized it should be legally protected like any other citizen, even though it is a human life. The truth is that all of life is a spectrum of development and independence. That tiny human life you want to treat like a citizen is not biologically independent and still a part of the mother’s body. So the sovereignty belongs to the mother since she is the actual person and her fetus is 100% dependent on her. After birth, we have a human life that is starting to function like a biologically independent human. This seems to me the only reasonable time to begin with legal citizen rights and protection of life under the law. This is in part a practical dividing line because it’s the first point at which a mother and child can be physically separated. However, even though the parents can’t legally beat or kill their child, we do allow the parents control of the child’s health and most aspects of his or her life. It is only once the child is 18 that the parents lose all of their rights and kid is finally a fully independent adult under the law. So what I’m trying to say is that I’m pro choice because I think this way the spectrum of development best matches the spectrum of legal independence.

          I don’t blame you for valuing life from its very beginning. I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life and think that all life deserves some respect, but the situation is just not as simple as you want to make it. Ultimately we’re debating a legal question here. And I think the question of how to treat a human life that is not yet an actual person and is biologically still a part of the mother should be left up to the mother. It’s a personal decision and not one the larger citizen body needs to weigh in on until the human life has reached a later stage of independence.

        • wlad

          ” Ultimately we’re debating a legal question here.’

          We do make legal laws about abortion, but that is not the ultimate question.

          We are debating a moral issue.

        • Jason Wexler

          The same way I justify eating, or fumigating a beehive, or not paying attention to whether or not I am treading on ants, or my willingness to pick flowers for my mom or my willingness to chop down a tree to make a table…. because I don’t value all life equally, and couldn’t exist if I did. A fetus isn’t any more valuable or important than a tree is to me (and may in fact be less so), and furthermore it isn’t as important to me as the child it would have become had it not been aborted. We live on a planet where unwanted children are abused by parents or societies which don’t have a way to care for that child, I would much rather see a fetus murdered, than see it become a tortured and abused human being. Finally even if we are talking about aborting the fetus of mature, healthy, financially stable parent who is just selfish I would still rather see them aborted than raised by a parent who would rather abort them, because the emotional abuse which that “potential child” would receive would be just as damaging as the torture and abuse of the poor unwanted.

        • Norm Donnan

          Or a fictitious concept like “personhood”.
          Notice how when you type the word spellcheck underlines it as wrong.

        • purr

          So spell check is the arbiter of whether or not arguments are valid?

          How compelling.

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

          You don’t want to call it a spectrum of personhood?

          Give me a better name.

        • Norm Donnan

          Human Development by Color….but after green its yellow then orange then purple until you cover every color of the rainbow.Now which color you choose to represent dying just dont pick black.Sooo predictable.

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

          So a newborn is a Human Development by Color and the single cell is not?

          English isn’t your strong suit, and that’s really showing now. Try again. “A newborn is a ___ and a single cell isn’t.”

        • Norm Donnan

          You asked me for another name thus HDbyC,reading isnt your strong suit.

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

          Do you understand the question now?

          Fill in the blank.

        • purr

          Norm’s arguments are above my pay grade. No really.

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

          the attempt by pro-choicers to make birth the crucial dividing line is false.

          The OK/not-OK dividing line for abortion in most jurisdictions is before birth.

        • Kodie

          So your parents fucked. You also presume for everybody on the entire planet that they love life and are glad they were born. This type of arrogance – that just being alive is the most important thing – is what gets you in the most trouble. Just being alive kind of blows, it’s all the other stuff, like eating and listening to music and having clean water and creating the course of your own life. You hate women because you would have them cut their lives short over a piece of DNA. That DNA doesn’t have a single FUCKING THOUGHT in their head about how awesome life is and they don’t have a single FUCKING THOUGHT about what they’re about to miss when they get aborted. They have the same thoughts in their head as a toenail has in its head. NOT A THING. It’s not a person. It’s nothing to be so sentimental about, unless you also think toenails cry when they get clipped and feel unloved and a life of potential crazy Guinness Book of World Records or bright polish and relaxing pedicures they’ll miss.

          Jeez Louise, you are a horrible person. I wish your parents hadn’t fucked.

        • Kodie

          Not without a brain, you weren’t; for all intents and purposes, you were a vegetable for a long time before you were born.

        • MNb

          You are only repeating a question BobS already answered in his article.
          If you think this a valid question you should also answer my question why you don’t grant zygotes voting rights at election day.

        • Norm Donnan

          dumb question

        • MNb

          Exactly. Wlad’s question is equally dumb – because of BobS’ spectrum argument.
          Thanks, Norm.

        • Norm Donnan

          truth is the spectrum argument is whats dumb.
          Thanks Mb

        • purr

          Explain how and why it is dumb.

        • wlad

          For the same reason a newborn can’t vote.

        • Norm Donnan

          good question

        • MNb

          Unsurprisingly you have problems being consistent as well.

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

          please don’t dodge the question.

          Why not? That’s what you do.

        • wlad

          I have decided to answer each question the best I can a little while ago, and I don’ think I have dodged any in this post. If I have, please point it out’

          So, is a baby alive a minute before it is born?

        • wlad

          Notice, that no one, not ONE of the commenters, dares answer that simple question–is a baby alive a minute before it is born.
          Obviously the baby is alive a minute before birth.

          What is the problem with simply saying yes?

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

          Yes. What else would it be?

          Now that we’ve got that meaningless question out of the way, do you want to join us at the big kids’ table? Or would you prefer to play rhetorical games and avoid the issue?

        • Jason Wexler

          No

        • Norm Donnan

          Why

    • calesuar

      True that, by itself with no implied meanings. Because “Life” and Human Beings are not the same thing. One depends on the other; a human being depends on life, but not the other way around. “Life”, in this case, as the union between two (or more) components, sperm and egg, seed and water, is a starting point in time in the process of forming a human being (animal or plant). The beginning and end point results in time are not the same thing. A fully formed human being (after 9 months) and cygote are not the same in any practical meaning, the only common denominator is that they are both alive, they both have *life*. But you can see that there is a spectrum of tranformation between the two. Now, lets look at it from a different perspective. A dead cygote and a dead fully formed human being (after 9 months) are not the same thing, even if they are both dead or lack “life”.
      As a society striving to be compassionate for the overall well being of our citizens, the question is, what do we prefer or rather have, ALIVE but unwanted, unloved, abused children, OR, aborted cygotes? Yes, we should mostly devote our resources to prevention of unwanted preganancies, AND promote the raising of loving children. But the unavoidable consequence of human beings is that there will be some porcentage of unwanted, unloved, abused children and abortions. Which of these two is worse? Which of these would you like to have less? And should it be someone else deciding for your daughter, your sister or mom, or should it be them?

      • Norm Donnan

        This is how adoption works,win/win.

        • purr

          Adoption isn’t the panacea you think it is.

          Over 100k children are stuck in the USA foster care system, for example, never to be adopted out.

          “”I have talked with adoptees who, earlier in their lives, wished they had never been born, so damaged were they by being relinquished or abandoned before being adopted into a family that did not nurture the hurt parts of their souls, that did not care to know who the child they adopted really was. I know adoptees who shed their adoptive families as soon as they became adults, because they never felt like they fit in with them. They hated having been forced into a religion in which they never believed; they hated growing up without diversity of any kind; they hated not knowing anything about their birth culture or family; they felt as if they could never be “grateful” enough to satisfy their adoptive families. There are so many reasons for which adoption ultimately proves difficult for the adoptees. I know many adoptees who are happy and dearly love their adoptive parents, and by them are loved beyond measure—but who nonetheless have never felt whole.””

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2014/01/a-home-for-benjamin-and-skye-adopted-into-hell.html

          “”Before my baby brother was 18 months old
          he had received daily, sometimes more often than that, beatings with the rods on his thighs, buttocks, feet, hands and face. My mom used the rod occasionally on my little sister too and tried to hit me with it once.
          It was about this time she started throwing me into walls, ripping out my hair, and digging her hands into my arms instead of hitting me with the rod. She claimed that if she was ever turned in for domestic violence that it would be my fault because I was a terrible adult child who refused to submit. She also said that I would cause any man who
          married me to beat me, if he didn’t divorce me first. Either way, she would side with him, when I left I would deserve whatever I got, my parents would have no place for me.””

          ————

          I don’t know about you Norm, but I would rather abort an embryo than force a child to suffer once it’s born.

        • Norm Donnan

          Thats crazy,most adopted children are dearly loved,abusive adults are assholes no matter weather the child is theirs or adopted.
          My sister has 3 handicapped children,2 in wheelchairs and tube fed and adores them,and after having 5 of her own and having fostered 60 more.
          There is a huge waiting list for couples wanting to adopt babies,its the laws that make it very difficult.

        • purr

          Yeah? Is that why there are over 100k children stuck in the American foster system who will never be adopted? And many thousands more handicapped children? Is that why black babies go for 10-20k less than white babies?

          People want healthy white babes. They are not entitled to them. If they desperately want to adopt, they can adopt a black 12 year old kid from the foster system (but they won’t which is why over 100k of these kids exist).

          And my point still stands. Adoption is not a win/win for anyone.

        • Niemand

          That’s great–good for your sister! But if there are tons of loving families out there anxious to adopt children with special needs, how was she even able to foster 60? One would think they would already have been adopted and she wouldn’t have the opportunity.

        • Norm Donnan

          Fostering is support until a home is found or the issue at home is sorted.Most of the children fostered are older children whilst most people wanting to adopt want babies.

        • Niemand

          Yes, fine, but presumably a person yearning for a child to raise would be willing to foster a child as well as adopt one. Not to mention that adopting 3 children seems excessive if there are thousands of people out there waiting to adopt special needs kids. But, of course, there aren’t, as you admit at the end. People want to adopt healthy babies. And there’s big money in selling healthy babies to rich couples who want a baby to play with. Hence, the adoption industry has an interest in forcing women to play incubator.

        • Kodie

          Most of the children fostered are older children whilst most people wanting to adopt want babies.

          So you see the problem yet? These are kids whose parents were probably forced to make a go of it. Poor infertile couples prefer a newborn, because a 10-year-old doesn’t need a family? You seriously can make this statement and not recognize the issues that campaigning against abortion like you do CAUSES CHILDREN TO BE WITHOUT ANY MOTHER AT ALL?

          Because asshole Christian couples have preferences la-di-fucking-da.

        • Norm Donnan

          You should try foster someone K,it might bring out the mother side of you ,try a 10yo you will be surprised they are not that independant after all.

        • Kodie

          Your condescension and hatred toward me as a woman is noted.

          Also, your missing the point is. You never miss an opportunity to skip the substance of someone’s reply and just stare at your toes with something stupid and irrelevant to say.

        • Norm Donnan

          Not at all its just that your a very rude person,your gender is irrelivent.
          Your replys rarely have substance,just bitter attacks that reveal your insecurity of a person with deep seated issues.There is nothing to hate about you Kodie, I dont feel threatened,angry or insulted only sad that I make you feel so hostile over an opinion. You have the law and the media on your side so you should feel un threatened but you dont,this is what you need to confrount and I encourage you to do so but as for me ,dont hold back,I can see behind the sun glasses lies a good person.

        • Kodie

          Keep evading and condescending – avoid all relevance! That’s your creed.

          I said, and you repeatedly ignored the substance:

          So you see the problem yet? These are kids whose parents were
          probably forced to make a go of it. Poor infertile couples prefer a
          newborn, because a 10-year-old doesn’t need a family? You seriously can
          make this statement and not recognize the issues that campaigning
          against abortion like you do CAUSES CHILDREN TO BE WITHOUT ANY MOTHER AT
          ALL?

          Because asshole Christian couples have preferences la-di-fucking-da.

          I’m not being rude at you. I am pointing out, relevantly, where you ignored what you said yourself: Adoption is win/win; couples prefer a newborn over an older child.

          Did you forget that you said those things and just come back to compliment me for being super? Address the contradictions in your comments that I pointed out! Please, don’t be such an asshole for once, stop talking down to me or trying to befriend me – you’re not my friend. I don’t care about you assessing and judging me, since it’s irrelevant. You are an ass and a plain troll. If you have nothing to say about this, then refrain from replying at all.

        • Norm Donnan

          It is really quite hard to filter out what exactly your point is between all the diatribe of insults and derogatory comments,if you can only state your point,then if I think it is rellevant I will address it,with dignity.And kodie I am not trying to befriend you,we will never meet,your not the sort of person I would choose to spend time with so relax,if at all possible.

        • purr

          Funny. I have asked you *plenty* of questions, in a calm and respectful manner, and you have utterly *refused* to answer these questions because they were inconvenient

          You are always looking for excuses to avoid anything that might show your inconsistent reasoning.

          Instead, you move goalposts, and belittle women.

          Why are you even here Norm, if you’re not the least bit interested in honest intellectual debate? You go to other sites and whine about how CE is so closed minded – yet you do everything in your power to avoid answering the simple questions that we ask you.

          You’re a joke.

        • Norm Donnan

          Sorry were you saying something Def?
          I dont recall you asking any worthwhile questions

        • purr

          Yeah, all questions relevant to the spectrum argument (which you admit exists).

          You won’t answer my questions because that puts you on shaky ground, and exposes the fact that you DO acknowledge the spectrum.

          Instead, all you do is belittle women to make up for your shortcomings.

          Pussy.

        • purr

          Your attitude towards women is rude. Your hatred and disdain for women is rude. Your unwillingness to answer tough questions is rude.

        • purr

          You never miss an opportunity to skip the substance of someone’s reply and just stare at your toes with something stupid and irrelevant to say.

          ^ THIS.

        • Kodie

          They are waiting for women and teens who had unplanned pregnancies to be duped into having them and handing them over, and given not even a thanks in return. That’s not a win for the pregnant woman. And it’s not a win for a child – think about how often you told your children how much money and pain they cost you just by being born. Oh, you haven’t? Young children who find out they’re adopted cannot grasp and aren’t let on to adult concerns of just why their mother might have given them away to someone else. They suffer self-esteem issues, they think, ‘normal families have babies and love them, but mine just threw me away – like they could tell right away I was garbage, ugly, stupid’. You know, they can’t comprehend that just by being born, they are a huge financial and emotional burden to anyone, as all children are, and that just being an adult does not guarantee security or stability. Children think adults have it all together – that’s what being an adult means. They don’t know about sex and money.

          Society trains us all to minimize all these concerns, by the way. Church uses threats. They don’t come right out and say what’s wrong with sex, they build a fairy tale of purity and marriage and magical stability therein – the woman depends on the man to choose her, marry her, and keep her, all for the small price of bearing all his children and keeping the meals hot, kind of a lot like a slave. Children are threatened against premarital sex for all the wrong reasons. The truth is, kids are expensive. Church is afraid of the truth. Adoption is not the way to solve any of those problems. You live in an imaginary world.

        • Norm Donnan

          You sound like your speaking from experience there Kodes.?That would answer a lot of questions what with all the anger and angst,maybe its not just your dutch heritage afterall.
          Point is children from good,normal families often have serious issues as well,its all part of growing up.
          Yes being adopted out will cause major issues for anyone but with good counciling and support which would be best by far through the church especially if you and the child is an integral part of a Christian community compared to a secular environment where darwins law of survival of the fittest apply,Im sure you would agree,yes?

        • purr

          You mean good Christian parenting and counselling like this?

          http://www.sott.net/article/268265-Parents-of-Hana-Williams-Sean-Paddock-and-Lydia-Schatz-train-them-to-death-following-teachings-of-Michael-Pearl

          Did you know that the homeschooling and christian adoption agencies pretty much *prevent* the authorities from checking on the welfare of these adopted children? That this is WHY they die?

          I wouldn’t wish a ‘christian’ home on any child. Fast track to abuse and a painful death, if they are really unlucky.

          Do you beat your wife and kids Normie?

        • Kodie

          I think you have no idea what I’m talking about and just spouting gibberish at this point, so, no. Your failure at reading comprehension means we’re not having a conversation. You’re making emotional and opinionated, narrow-sighted claims, I’m responding to them, and you’re going doodie in your diaper about that. Spectacular. I know it must not be your goal to convince or persuade anyone.

        • Norm Donnan

          I think Im comprehending you very well my dear,people with so much angst as you show have a lot of guilt and anger otherwise why the reaction??

        • Kodie

          Because you’re an evasive liar. And that’s me being nice. Take what you can get, you woman-hating terrorist.

        • purr

          Way to prove her point Mr too cowardly to answer inconvenient questions. Forced pregnancy = not inconvenient, to norm. Answering tough question on the internet = too inconvenient for norm.

          Pussy.

        • wlad

          “I don’t know about you Norm, but I would rather abort an embryo than force a child to suffer once it’s born.”

          I would hope, Defamate, that you would neither abort your child, nor force it to suffer.

        • purr

          An embryo can’t suffer, and it isn’t a child until it’s born.

        • wlad

          If you look, you said “once it’s born.”

          By the way, you still have not answered the question, was I, Wladyslaw, alive a minute before I was born?

        • MNb

          Btw, you still have not answered the question, were you, Wlad, capable of bearing the responsibility to vote a minute before your 18th birthday?

        • wlad

          What does voting have to do with abortion?

        • MNb

          In one case you accept the Spectrum Argument, in another you don’t. As long as you don’t make conclusively clear why your guilty of special pleading.
          As usual you aren’t going to answer my question, are you? That would imply intellectual honesty, totally not you.

        • wlad

          I never accept the spectrum argument.

          I do accept that Bob argues it, and I have repeatedly pointed it out

        • MNb

          Then you’ll advocate toddler rights to vote – according to you there is no reason to deny people those rights when they happen to celebrate their 18th birthday the day after election day – or a year, or 15 years. The limit of 18 years old is based on the very same Spectrum Argument.
          A zygote is according to you as much a person as an adult and must have the same rights to live.
          Then a newborn baby is as much a person as an adult too and must have the same rights to vote. In your line of thinking there is no room for gradual development.
          Reject the latter and you’re guilty of special pleading.

        • Philmonomer

          An even stronger parallel, to my mind, is statutory rape. (That is, a man can be charged with rape for having sex with a teenager who is 16 years and 364 days old, but not if she is 1 day older).

          That line is completely “arbitrary” and yet Wlad probably accepts it as appropriate.

        • wlad

          Lawmakers make prudential judgments when there is possible leeway, as in your case–no definite line.

          There is no leeway in the case of abortion. Human life either begins at conception or not.

        • Kodie

          Well, not.

        • Philmonomer

          Lawmakers make prudential judgments when there is possible leeway, as in your case–no definite line.

          Yes. That is why I support the trimester framework of Roe.

          There is no leeway in the case of abortion.

          Well, that is simply your opinion. Obviously, I disagree.

          Human life either begins at conception or not.

          Girls either become women at first menses or not. Any other line is completely arbitrary. Clearly, we have to do away with statutory rape.

        • MNb

          Excellent example indeed.

        • wlad

          All have an equal right to life once conceived.

          And that life proceeds from an embryo, through all the stages of pregnancy, and further changes in maturity after birth.

        • purr

          All have an equal right to life once conceived.

          With the exception of women. They have the right to die in pregnancy. As is their destiny.

        • purr

          You left out ‘isn’t a child’

          An embryo is not ‘born’

          A child is..

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

          So you can’t face Defamate’s question head on? You just want to handwave a more pleasant option into being?

          Reality doesn’t work that way. That’s part of what we’re trying to tell you.

        • adam

          Yes, suffering is god’s plan.
          IF you believe the story, god made his own son suffer and then snuffed out his life.

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

          Well, not really “snuffed out” if he was up and about after a day and a half.

        • adam

          Well yes, how do you kill a god?
          Just demonstrates the empty claim that god died for whole sin thing he created in the first place.

        • Kodie

          I would hope, Defamate, that you would neither abort your child, nor force it to suffer.

          You can’t dictate what someone else is going to do, but as soon as you limit their choices, you are backing them into a corner. Is that the outcome you like best?

          I.e., this isn’t about what Defamate may choose, it’s you choosing for Defamate, and it’s not about Defamate’s choice, either – it’s about Defamate thinking about the bigger picture, all the women forced to do what you choose for them, either don’t have an abortion and don’t forget to feed it with all the money they don’t have. You are really asinine, fella.

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

          What’s worse: killing an insensate fetus or forcing a child to grow up unwanted and unloved?

          Hmm …

        • wlad

          Bob,
          You could certainly choose not to kill an “insensate fetus.”
          And you could certainly choose not to force a child to grow up unwanted and loved.

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

          Here, again, Wlad makes shadow puppets on the wall instead of dealing with the actual options in front of us.

          “Mr. President! President Wlad! How will you respond to the military provocations of Blovokistan?”

          “I will go to my Happy Place and choose to imagine better options. Like me and the president of Blovokistan sharing cheeseburgers and becoming pals.”

        • wlad

          I see–killing the children is much preferable to the reality that some–or many, might choose to abuse them.

        • purr

          Yes, in fact, you said, on the last abortion thread, that you would prefer a little bit of infanticide to a lot of abortion.

        • wlad

          Please do not misquote me.

          Bring the quote up, please!

          I said that if abortion was declared illegal in China, it was a matter of certainty that a lot less woman would choose infanticide than those who previously chose abortion.

          If abortion would be declared illegal in America, a lot fewer women would choose infanticide than the prevailing number of chosen abortions. A matter of certainty.

          Everyone would say that. You would say it. You certainly would not say the number of infanticides would outnumber
          past abortions!

        • purr

          I am not misquoting you. Kodie and Bob will remember. You said that, given a choice between abortion being illlegal, and with infanticide replacing abortion, you would still choose illegal abortion over the infanticide that would result.

          In other words, a little bit of infanticide is ok if millions of embryos are saved.

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

          Perhaps this is the comment from Wlad that you’re thinking of.

          Jejune, Jejune.
          I was wrong when I said I preferred a little bit of infanticide. You know why?

          They’re both murder to me. The women who killed their infants if abortion was illegal would have killed them in abortion if it was legal. Murders would NOT increase. How they would be murdered would change.

          But the number of murders would drastically DECREASE. A whole lot of women would not choose to murder their infants if abortion became illegal.

        • purr

          One of them yes. If I recall we had managed to back him into a corner. Kodie even accused him of preferring quantity over quality..that life is just a numbers game to wlad.

        • wlad

          Here it is put simply. Abortion and infanticide are both murder to me. You know that.

          One is not different in degree from the other (only in visibility and cultural acceptance) Making abortion illegal would drastically cut the number of murders, even if some mothers decided to murder the infants they would have killed by abortion in the womb.

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

          Making abortion illegal will make infanticide increase (see Defamate’s comment about infanticide in the US here).

          I wonder how the number of abortions would decrease if it were made illegal. I think Kermit Gosnell’s operating room is what women would be facing instead of Planned Parenthood.

          And I continue to be baffled by the anti-choicers’ ignoring sex education. Unwanted pregnancy is the problem–reduce that and you (obviously) reduce abortions. You might get a bigger reduction that way than through making abortion illegal.

        • wlad

          All the women who would kill their children if abortion was made illegal would have killed those same children if it was legal. Same number of murders, either way.

          But most women who would have chosen abortion if it was legal would not choose to kill their born children.

        • purr

          Yeah, so you can’t distinguish between:

          1) evicting a brainless embryo from a uterus

          2) putting a baby in the microwave

          Keep holding onto that moral high ground wlad, you’re doing great.

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

          Same number of murders, either way.

          And an abortion at 2 months is morally equivalent to killing a 2-year-old toddler?

          Respond to my last paragraph above when I talked about sex education reducing unwanted pregnancies.

        • wlad

          Yes.

          Whenever Planned Parenthood entered a school system and did sex education, the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions rose, not went down.

          The same for other groups pushing sex education.

          And, don’t expect Planned Parenthood, or liberal media to publish that.

          Here is a conservative report on a situation across the sea.

          Teen pregnancies increase after sex education classes – Telegraphwww.telegraph.co.uk › News › UK News‎The Daily Telegraph

        • purr

          lrn2link

          April 2013
          http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/conception-statistics–england-and-wales/2011/sty-conception-estimates-2011.html

          The estimated number of conceptions to women aged under 18 in England and Wales in 2011 is the lowest since records began in 1969

          Clearly, PP is doing it all wrong.

          Pregnancy rates all across UK dropping:

          http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_HealthandSportCommittee/Reports/her13-05-4.png

        • purr

          Oh look, the Telegraph agrees with me, not you:

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/9899809/Dont-panic-the-teenage-pregnancy-epidemic-is-over.html

          “”Rates of teenage pregnancy are now the lowest they’ve been since 1969.””

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

          Whenever Planned Parenthood entered a school system and did sex education, the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions rose, not went down.

          Every single time? Wow. Show me the reference. I don’t believe you.

        • Kodie

          Most people would not commit murder, but they would rather have had the option of a perfectly safe and not at all murder, a procedure we call abortion. So you see, normal people can tell the fucking difference.

        • Jason Wexler

          Funny thing is the abortion rate isn’t dependent upon the legality of abortion. Making abortion illegal only pushes it underground, it doesn’t stop it, so no the murder rate doesn’t change or at least not significantly.

        • Kodie

          Except that abortion is not murder. To confuse the two is an emotional but unrealistic position. If you kill 5 babies but zero abortions, that is 5 babies dead. If you have 100 abortions and zero infanticides as a result, nobody died. 5 is greater than zero. If you imagine that this -o- is a person, you are merely deluded. What makes that a person to you? What makes that a person to anyone is several factors:

          – they want a baby, and that is a signal that in the future, they can expect the baby they wanted.
          – they are deluded that just because many people are happy to find out they are pregnant, that they already have babies (clue: it’s called “having a baby” i.e. in the future, not “have a baby”)
          – they are deluded and on a mission to force women to suffer the consequences of sex
          – they have been propagandized to believe that it’s a fully formed human infant, just microscopic, really no difference at all, and thus are pawns of a mission to either shame women, or subdue them to a position of shame and submission, i.e. “their natural place” or support the mission of shaming women out of having abortions to supply a maximum number of white newborns to infertile white Christian couples

          First of all, fuck that. No baby of mine is going to be raised by Christians. I would rather kill both of us. I think a lot of people are in agreement – they would rather keep their baby no matter what than give it to someone else. Why not abortion? Nobody has to live that terrible future.

          Secondly, and more to the point, your claim that “only in visibility and cultural acceptance” is false and opinion only. A rational look at what exactly gets aborted has no substance of a person, except DNA. It might be becoming a shape resembling any of a wide assortment of animals – mammals, reptiles, what have you. But if you are rational, and not let emotions cloud your judgment, there is nothing of a person there. I know you are not rational, but you are wrong. Abortion is not murder, so you are actually condoning a much worse act – murder – if it will save the scraps that aren’t really persons that nobody wanted. If it’s not a person yet, it’s not a person. It can be as alive as a cancerous tumor, but without a brain, it has as much substance as one too. You going to deliver an 8-pound cancerous tumor, or are you going to nip that in the bud before it becomes serious? How about you answer a question for a change.

        • smrnda

          No, they would all find back-alley abortionists and then the ‘babies’ would die, but also lots of women.

          making something illegal almost never stops it from happening.

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

          ?? Can you not see what we’re talking about?

          Sometimes the only two options are killing an insensate fetus or forcing a child into a life in which she is unwanted an unloved. You can’t just handwave other options into existence. They don’t exist in some cases.

          Sometimes you’ve got two bad choices, and one is far worse than the other. You say that the abortion is the worse choice? Knock yourself out. Just don’t impose your beliefs on the rest of us.

        • wlad

          Being killed is far worse than being unloved or unwanted.

        • purr

          That’s your opinion. If it were true, people wouldn’t prefer to be dead rather than endure torture.

          Besides, a ‘someone’ isn’t being killed in an abortion. A potential someone is being prevented from existing, because existence will bring about *harm*.

        • wlad

          Does a “potential” being exist in real life? Yes or no?

          I know actual beings exist in real life.

          But potential beings?

        • purr

          A zygote exists as a zygote.

          An embryo exists as an embryo.

          A fetus exists as a fetus.

          None of the above exist as a person with an identity. They merely exist as mindless biochemical processes.

        • wlad

          “A potential
          someone is being prevented from existing, because existence will bring
          about *harm*.”

          YOU brought up a “potential someone.”

          Potential beings do not exist. Actual beings do.

          And how can you prevent something that does not exist from existing?

          So please do not bring up something that does not exist for our discussion of life.

        • Kodie

          Its being a zygote at the time, and zygotes exist. Why you insist that it has consciousness and fears, and fears dying, or wishes and plans ahead to a life it can imagine and will, you assume, be grateful to have, I just think you have your ass as a hat. Its potentiality as a person is for the person the zygote is inside to determine, not you. I find it funny that you have this idea where the zygote is making future plans, while the woman it’s inside of is a complete zombie. She actually has a brain, she can see where this is headed, um, realistically, and she can put a stop to it so it doesn’t go there.

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

          Since the former causes no pain and the latter causes a lifetime of pain (some of it inconceivably profound), I’m puzzled by your opinion. And in your cockiness to want to impose that on the rest of the country.

        • Kodie

          No it isn’t. When you’re dead, I know you believe you can be conscious and know stuff is happening to your soul and suffer and miss out on all the stuff that would be happening if you were alive, but I promise you, you don’t know anything – just like an embryo.

        • smrnda

          How do you guarantee children will grow up wanted and loved? That seems totally beyond your power to do so, or my power to do so. Plenty of parents don’t love their kids, or say they do but do a really lousy job of being parents.

        • wlad

          Can’t guarantee. You’re right.

          So, when in doubt, abort. Right?

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

          ??

          When in doubt, give the benefit of the doubt to the person who understands the issue best–the pregnant woman.

        • adam

          Depends on if you are human or god,
          The whole flood issue and armaggeddon are about the unwanted and unloved that god mass murders.

        • smrnda

          Tell that to Hanna Williams. Adoption worked out pretty shitty there. Her adopted white Christian parents killed her.

      • wlad

        There certainly is a spectrum of life, from it’s beginning in the womb after conception, to it’s end, whether it ends a few hours after conception, or three months after conception, or eighty years after conception.

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

          I already addressed that in the post. Don’t simply restate your position; respond to my comments.

          Let’s advance the conversation.

        • wlad

          No Bob, you simply argued that an embryo and a zygote and a fetus at different times are at very different stages of development.
          No one disputes that.
          What you won’t talk about is when my life began, or yours.

          My life did not begin on July 10, 1945. Because a minute before birth I was still alive.
          And you refuse to say that it began when my parents made love and conceived me.

          It destroys your narrative.

          When did your life begin, Bob?

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

          No one disputes that.

          This is a difference of kind, not of degree. A newborn is a very different thing than a single cell.

          What is the newborn that the single cell isn’t?

          What you won’t talk about is when my life began, or yours.

          I dunno and don’t much care. Your DNA was first formed with the union of the sperm and egg, but they were alive, too. Hours before you were conceived, those two components were already alive. That egg cell was already years old. And before that sperm cell was alive, it came from other living cells.

          How that advances your argument, I guess I’ll never understand.

          It destroys your narrative.

          Wrong again. You just like to change the subject when things get a little too hot.

        • wlad

          Me–“What you won’t talk about is when my life began, or yours”

          You–“I dunno and don’t much care.”

          Well you may not know, and you tell me you do not care.

          But science knows and spells it out clearly. Science tells me that MY LIFE became viable (I am able to live outside the womb!) around 24 weeks after conception (but that time frame is shrinking).

          Does science tell me that my life just BEGAN at that point?

          Absolutely not. Just viable at that point.

          No, science says my life began around 24 weeks earlier, at conception.

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

          Do me the courtesy of responding to each point that I make. Try on “Yes, I agree with you there,” since that’s what I assume when you ignore a point.

          Well you may not know, and you tell me you do not care.

          I don’t know because you could answer the question many ways. I don’t care because you’re off on some tangent, hoping that no one notices that you’re unable to respond to my challenge that you tell us what the newborn is that the single cell isn’t.

          Science tells me that MY LIFE became viable (I am able to live outside the womb!) around 24 weeks after conception

          So you’re proposing that abortion be made illegal after that point. OK, that’s not an unreasonable position.

          No, science says my life began around 24 weeks earlier, at conception.

          As another commenter noted, “life” really isn’t that big a deal. If a tree is in your way, you’ll cut it down and no one charges you with murder. Ditto a mosquito, fly, or slug.

        • wlad

          “Science tells me that MY LIFE became viable (I am able to live outside the womb!) around 24 weeks after conception

          So you’re proposing that abortion be made illegal after that point. OK, that’s not an unreasonable position.”

          No. I was very clearly saying that although MY LIFE became viable around 24 weeks after conception, it did not BEGIN there.

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

          And so the point about 24 weeks was just idle chatter? Or did it actually mean something?

        • wlad

          It meant that science says that a human life is ONLY viable at that time, but did not begin there. Some people think it begins at viability.

        • purr

          It can be said that ‘personhood’ begins at viability when the fetus is capable of living outside the womb as an autonomous individual.

          Until then it’s human life alright, but human life that is not nearly as important as the woman in which it resides.

          You expect women to DIE for a microscopic cell.

        • wlad

          “Ditto a mosquito, fly, or slug.”
          Why all the fuss about spectrum of pregnancy for humans?!

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

          It’s a spectrum of personhood.

          If you don’t understand the fuss after all this time, I’m sure I’m unable to explain it to you.

        • wlad

          “life” really isn’t that big a deal. If a tree is in your way, you’ll
          cut it down and no one charges you with murder. Ditto a mosquito, fly,
          or slug.”

          No spectrum argument for killing them.

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

          So you don’t have a particular regard for life, then. You’ll kill a mosquito without a second thought.

        • wlad

          For all life? No, not all life.

          Absolutely not. Live bacteria causing disease–nope.
          Mosquitos carrying disease–or biting me while I’m trying to sleep–nope.

          I could go on.

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

          I’m glad we’re on the same page.

          You are happy to see a spectrum in some situations; it’s just that you’re inconsistent and refuse to see it when that would upset your narrative.

        • wlad

          We’d be on the same page if I agreed with you that ALL life needs to be equally regarded to be consistent.

          You seem to believe that all life is equally importrant–or equally unimportant.

          I don’t. Human life is absolutely differrent from all other animals.

          And no, I don’t believe that just conceived mosquito is less important and can be killed, but not a adult mosquito. No spectrum.

        • purr

          And why is human life intrinsically more valuable than that of other animals?

          We are just animals after all, you know.

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

          You seem to believe that all life is equally importrant–or equally unimportant.

          Sorry–I don’t speak jibberish.

          I think that there is a spectrum of value of different life forms. I prefer a dog to a shrew, for example. Sounds like you agree.

          This same thinking applies within the development process of H. sapiens. A single cell? Not much value.

        • Kodie

          Absolutely, in what way, be very specific. “It just is” has been your argument thus far.

        • Kodie

          It’s just trying to eat. Honestly, it’s not at war with you, so why do you think you have a right to kill it? Why do you oppose abortion – it doesn’t even have what a mosquito has, and it will bite you every day and night for the rest of your life! You have arbitrary preferences.

        • Kodie

          Ideally, it’s better to prevent an environment where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. It’s much more effective at avoiding such things as malaria, Triple E, or West Nile Virus than waiting until the mosquitoes are alive.

          Ideally, it’s better to pull a sapling than cut down an entire tree. We can see the problems ahead if we can plan – we don’t want a tree growing up through the driveway or too near the house or the pool or the septic tank. Root systems can cause all sorts of problems, and you might like trees just fine, where you want them, but you don’t want too much shade on the north side of the house, or even a tree close enough to damage your house if it should fall. So pull that fucker when it’s a sapling to avoid major problems in the future. Just like abortion!

          I don’t know what to do about flies – throw out the garbage and scoop up after the dog’s leavings in the yard. I don’t know about slugs either. I just think if you want to step on one, it’s your sidewalk, and oops. No biggie.

        • MNb

          What you won’t talk about is when the responsibility to vote in presidential elections begin and why exactly on that moment iso a minute before.
          You’re inconsistent.

        • Greg G.

          You’re committing the Beard Fallacy. One whisker is not a beard. We may not be able to define the minimum number of whiskers in a goatee but that doesn’t make one whisker a beard.
          There’s a big difference between a fried egg and a fried chicken.
          The English language uses “life” for different concepts and you are conflating the biological sense with the self-awareness sense. A fertilized egg is alive only in the biological sense. The transplanted cornea from a corpse is biologically alive. The question is when the ability for self-awareness (or some other distinction) develops.
          But that’s just an academic question. No biological life-form or completely self-aware person has the right to take nutrients from another person’s blood nor dump bodily waste products into it without that person’s consent while introducing hormones into that person’s system to affect their feelings and actions. In many states, it’s legal to shoot a person who comes into your house without your consent no matter if it’s to take your TV or the leftovers in your refrigerator.

        • purr

          The pro-life rebuttal to this argument would be:

          1) infants are not yet persons, but they have the potential to be, so we protect them

          2) zygotes are not yet persons, but they have the potential to be, so we must protect them

          Of course, that is ignoring the fundamental differences between insensate zygotes/embryos/fetuses (when abortions occur) and autonomous individuals such as infants who are already growing and learning.

        • Greg G.

          Disqus removed some of my line breaks that separated my paragraphs. The last paragraph is where I argued against that. Whether it is a person or not, they do not have the right to use another person’s body for an incubator without that person’s consent.

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

          Is this Argument from Potential ever used in a valid way? That something doesn’t have a property but we universally act as if it does because it will?

        • purr

          I have no idea. They just say that our ideas are flawed, however, because we are guilty of using *functionalism* to make our decisions, and apparently, functionalism is horribly weak, and no philosopher worth his salt will even give it the time of day – but they won’t explain *why* this is.

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

          I see a lot of that. We’re lucky that they deign to do a facepalm in our presence. They certainly don’t have time to waste pointing out the many, many elementary mistakes in our arguments.

          We get a drive by, and we should be satisfied with that.

        • smrnda

          Let’s compare that to a word like a ‘house.’ A house takes a while to build. A pile of building materials is not a house. Blueprints are not a house. A foundation is not a house. Wooden frames are not a house. But at some stage, before construction is complete, we’d start to say ‘hey, they’re finishing up that HOUSE.’ In fact, some tasks can be left off and the house can still be inhabitable. Plenty of things exist on a fuzzy development spectrum.

        • purr

          I love pro-life rebuttals.

          smrnda, you are wrong. A house doesn’t build itself…but a zygote does build itself! It self-assembles! It’s a person!!!

          /facepalm

          I have put together a few computers over the last 10+ years, and I never had a new computer until all of the part were in place and I was installing the operating system. At any point during construction, static could have shorted out any of the electronics. I can’t sit there, with all the parts, and say ‘I have a computer’; and I certainly can’t say that I have one if the parts short out as I am screwing them into place!

        • smrnda

          True. Computers don’t even have a spectrum. If you try to root say, a Kindle Fire you can accidentally brick the device, and it ceases to be a useful computer at all, so you can even go backwards. Nothing but the complete system can COMPUTE at all.

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

          A house is a good parallel. Thanks.

        • wlad

          Pro-lifers never as far as I know, talk about potential beings.

          We talk about actual beings.

        • purr

          Just because you think it’s an actual being does not make it so.

        • wlad

          And just because you think it’s only a potential being does not make it so.

        • purr

          A ZEF has no identity.

          Where do you get off saying it’s a person? You want to give personhood to DNA.

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

          So when the original post that I was responding to says, “It hasn’t had the chance to develop into a fully mature brain,” you must reject that thinking as quickly as I do.

          Who cares what kind of brain it’ll get, am I right?? All you care about is what kind of brain it has right now.

        • Kodie

          Did you see the spectrum? You are focusing on “late-term”. What about when it was a minute after implantation? Do you remember that far back, how you felt and what you dreamed your life would be like?

        • angharad

          Speaking as a mathematician and former physicist, your misuse of the word ‘spectrum’ here is setting my teeth on edge. You are not talking about a spectrum. You are talking about a continuum – a thing that is the same across an extent (especially a continuous or non-discrete extent). That is what you are proposing – that someone is equally as alive across the whole time from conception to actual death.
          A spectrum is something that varies over a continuous extent.
          Also you’ve noted several times in places that you were conceived at the time your parents had sex. You probably weren’t you know. At best it would have happened several hours later, but it could have been several days.

        • wlad

          You’re right. A continuum of life expresses it a whole lot better. My life, and yours, was a continuum from conception to today, and any interruption of this continuum for either of us would have killed you and me, at ANY point.

          Nobody killed you in the womb. You are alive, here.

          Nobody killed you after birth. You are alive, here.

          And the difference between the two is …?

        • Greg G.

          Your wombmates are not here because you killed them.

        • wlad

          ??

        • Greg G.

          Explained in another comment. In the blastula stage, the cells are a hollow ball. In the blastocyst stage, the structure has divided into embryonic cells and placental cells. Any of the cells in the blastula were capable of becoming embryonic cells. Those that became you were at the expense of the cells that became afterbirth. If they had separated sooner, any one of them could have been an identical twin sister. The cells that became you caused your sisters to not become human beings and to die when you were born.
          Identical twins come from the same fertilization event. If it became you, it also became many potential clones of you. Those clones died because you killed them by using their cells as your placenta.
          There is more to life than you think.

        • Pattrsn

          murderer!

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

          You bastard!

        • smrnda

          So, according to YOU wlad, are all the fertilized eggs that don’t implant and get flushed down toilets actual REAL PEOPLE who are dead? According to you, they are as equally alive as you. The same as if you, tomorrow, got hit by a truck?

        • wlad

          Yes.

          But at different points of their life.

        • smrnda

          So every fertilized egg that does not implant is a REAL PERSON as real as you right now?

          By that logic, there exist about 10 books that I have really written because I got a few sentences down, but somehow the process was interrupted, sometimes by the accidental erasure of the text. But, I had an idea of how the books would end, therefore they are as real as Don Quixote.

          If you really believe that, you are absurd because no, those 10 books are not completed volumes like Don Quixote. Those fertilized eggs never became people – those ‘people’ don’t exist, any more than chapter 3 of one of my unfinished books does not exist.

          Or you can be sensible – my unfinished books are not books, they are only fragments at best.

        • wlad

          The life of the person that came into being (through fertilized eggs) certainly is as real as the same human life that I have, but short-lived. I certainly have developed in my life a lot more, and am much older.

        • smrnda

          The life of a cell that is incapable of any kind of thought is the same as your life? That is ridiculous. We’re talking zygotes here. Not even a brain yet.

          So, if a zygote is equal to a person, given that it is a few cells with no brain, is it morally wrong to kill an animal for any reason? They can suffer far more than zygotes can.

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

          It’s hard to imagine anyone thinking that the death of an insensate human zygote is inherently morally worse than killing a living, breathing, terrified cow.

        • purr

          I was talking to a pro-lifer yesterday who said that the decision to let someone torture a pet cat to death vs. kill a freshly fertilized zygote was ‘a really close one’.

          I didn’t have the heart to ask him how old the zygote had to be before he would let the cat be skinned alive and burned to death (I try to think of really graphic scenarios to get the point across).

          He seems to think that there is nothing wrong with speciesism. And I guess there isn’t. TO A POINT. The point comes when you cause other animals to suffer and elevate human DNA over them and everything else.

        • angharad

          The difference is that killing a single (or few) celled organism is just not that big a deal. We do it all the time. Wash your hands? Kill some things. Brush your teeth? Killed stuff. Your immune system is a massive murder machine.
          And sure there are lots of points at which my life could have stopped or been ended. But if it had happened whilst I was an embryo I wouldn’t have noticed. ‘I’, the person who has thoughts and feelings, who wants to stay alive because the world is such a very interesting place, did not exist then. That embryo had the potential to become me, but a little tweak in uterine conditions, a few random changes in childhood experiences, and I would be another person altogether.

        • wlad

          ” But if it (end of life) had happened whilst I was an embryo I wouldn’t have noticed”.

          I strongly suspect you would not have noticed it a minute after you were born.

        • adam

          wlad, it DOESN’T begin in the womb, it begins in womens egg follicles when females are BORN.

          You would really be as old as your own mother.

        • purr
        • adam

          Then demonstrate life in women who have a womb, but have no eggs.

        • purr

          Not sure what your point is. I am agreeing with you. Without a healthy egg, there is no life. The potential for ‘life’ begins when the egg is created.

        • wlad

          When was the last time you read a science book about conception?

        • purr

          I suggest you read this one, wlad:

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

          It all depends on the egg…

        • adam

          Just following the reasoning and logic that you are giving.
          What does an ad hominem have to do with the subject matter?

        • wlad

          Science clearly says that a new human life begins with conception–the fertilization of the egg with the sperm.

          His comment clearly says my life began with my mom’s egg at her birth.

          I could have just said the above instead of an ad hominem remark.

        • smrnda

          We did not get that in biology class. In fact, the prof discussed the fact that we start with the fertilized egg, implantation, zygote – and that eventually, we get a fetus and possibly a baby. I never was told ‘life begins at conception.’

          Now, maybe if you’re educated by say, religious fanatics they’ll sneak that in.

        • adam

          Merriam says:
          Full Definition of LIFE
          1
          a : the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body
          b : a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings
          c : an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction
          2
          a : the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual
          b : one or more aspects of the process of living
          Science is not clear.
          clearly an embryo is not a life any more that than your mom’s eggs.

        • wlad

          Merriam is not the ultimate standard of truth for me.

        • adam

          What is then?

        • adam

          “I was born today. My life started 9 months ago.”
          Your life started when your mother was born.
          No follicle in your mother, no egg, no you.

        • adam

          What is the ultimate standard of truth for you claim that science says a new human life begins at conception.

        • wlad

          Science (and religion–but I will stick to science for your sake.)

          If you do not accept science, please answer the following question.

          If not at conception, when did you, Adam, begin to exist?

        • adam

          When the egg follicles formed in my mother when she was born.

        • wlad

          Don’t tell that to Bob. He thinks it happens at viability.

        • adam

          Eggs are viable
          Almost all of them are killed off by nature, or god as one would have it.

        • wlad

          And…

        • adam

          god must like abortions, since he does so many…..

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

          Good rule of thumb: when you try to characterize someone else’s position, you infuriate them and you make a fool of yourself. Like this time, for example.

        • wlad

          I asked Adam when he–Adam–began to exist.

          Not a potential Adam.

          He told me, when he, an actual Adam, began to exist.

          I asked you several times when YOU–Bob began to exist–did NOT ask when a potential Bob began to exist

          I think that I, Wladyslaw, an actual being, not potential, began at conception. You didn’t agree.

          You say you do not know or care.

          But you do care when a “potential” being becomes an actual human being–viability, after which point abortion is not OK.

          I assumed you were an actual human being.

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

          Look at the single cell under a microscope. It’s not a little person, it’s just a cell. Only if you have an agenda that you simply must follow will you say that a cell is a person.

          You can call a cell a potential person, though. Indeed, the blogger whose post I was responding to called it that.

        • Kodie

          You were once just an egg, that’s what he’s saying. You were alive and an egg. Is it ok for women to have their period and kill all the people in their ovaries?

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

          Perhaps you understand now why the beginning of life can have several answers.

        • smrnda

          I think life began a very long time ago, like nearly a billion years or so?

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

          The transition from nonlife to life (at which point evolution could kick in) was about 3.5 billion years ago here on earth.

        • smrnda

          Off by a large factor then. Oops for me. That’s why I leave the biology to professionals.

        • purr

          Pro-lifers always make fun of us for bringing that up. It’s because they idolize the zygote.

      • smrnda

        You also have to take into account the potential lost on women who go through with pregnancies they don’t want. I kind of feel that already living people get priority over people who don’t even exist yet.

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

      Then you follow the Chinese approach of counting your age from conception instead of birth?

      • wlad

        That certainly makes more sense in counting age. But I use the conventional way of determining when I was born and how many birthdays I had since then.

        But I’m pretty sure you would say today is January 25, 2014, even if you did not believe that Jesus existed and died around 2014 years ago.

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

          Yes, we use a year in which Jesus wasn’t born as year 1. What’s your point? We gotta use something. In lieu of something astronomical (I’d prefer using a solstice for the beginning day of the year, for example), we might as well use something cultural.

        • wlad

          And so I use the cultural use of the age of a person.

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

          OK, I see your point.

    • adam

      Actually, with that kind of definition your life began when the egg folicles formed in your mother WHEN she was born, along with the other million or so ‘lives’ that your god murdered or let die.

      • wlad

        No, the life of the egg began, not my life.

        \\\\\\\\

        • adam

          that egg did not become a dolphin or a monkey, it became you and you alone,
          Without it, like in your claims you would have never been born,

          Using YOUR logic, THIS is the beginning of YOUR life.

    • Pattrsn

      You see all kinds of idiotic things on billboards

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

        And our old buddy Wlad believes ’em all!

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Spectrum Argument for Abortion, Revisited

    What? Are you suggesting we only allow colored babies to be aborted?

  • David Chumney

    Good post–far too many bloggers these days fail to respond to their critics in a timely fashion or do so in such a way that sidesteps the issues/criticisms raised. Here, you’ve responded in a civil tone and taken seriously the ideas put forward by your critic. While I (like most readers of your blog) agree with your position, it’s refreshing to see a real debate/discussion that doesn’t devolve into name-calling, etc.

  • MNb

    Thanks for complying with my request (regarding the Argument from Potential). Of course I totally agree.

    “Logically, that suggests that teenagers are “more of a person” than toddlers .”
    But that’s spot on! Wilcox is not going to argue that babies should have the same responsibilities as teenagers, is he? Or adults for that matter. If he wants to use this as an argument against abortion he also should grant babies – even zygotes – the right to vote at the presidential elections. If he wants to be consistent, that is.
    Still we allow people only to vote at 18 exactly because they are “more of a person” (ie capable of bearing the responsibility needed for voting) than toddlers. That age of 18 is exactly as random as the 24 weeks at which abortion still is allowed. Yup, when election day is exactly the day before you turn 18 (or any other fixed age) it’s kind of shitty. Arguing that this is a false analogy because elections are not the same as murder only results in a circular argument.

  • $27334126

    Why do you say a newborn is a person?

    • Jason

      Good point. A newborn is not independent.

      • Philmonomer

        But it can be independent of the mother.

        • $27334126

          Why does that matter?

        • Pattrsn

          Yeh what’s the difference whether the newborn is inside or outside the incubation unit?

        • $27334126

          There isn’t one.

        • Pattrsn

          And there you have the “pro life” position in a nutshell, it’s entirely dependent on making the woman irrelevant, but then that’s the goal isn’t it

        • $27334126

          Is it wrong to “abort” a prematurely born fetus in an incubation unit?

        • Pattrsn

          I wish you’d stop referring to pregnant women as incubation units

        • $27334126

          I was referring to incubators.

        • Pattrsn

          Can’t help it can you

        • $27334126

          Since you don’t understand words, this is what an incubator is:

          http://nibletz.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/incubator.jpg

        • Pattrsn

          Not terribly astute are you.

        • Philmonomer

          It seems like an important factor in determining whether the woman’s right to her own bodily autonomy outweighs the fetus/baby’s right to life.

        • $27334126

          That’s a different discussion.

        • smrnda

          Yes, true, which is why I think bodily autonomy is a better topic, because it justifies a clear dividing line at birth.

        • $27334126

          Why should there be a clear dividing line at birth?

        • smrnda

          Because previous to birth, the zygote/embryo fetus is INSIDE of a woman.This require kind of a lot of commitment from the woman who is pregnant, and I don’t think the woman should be forced to be pregnant if she does not want to be pregnant.

          Once a baby is born, the baby can be kept alive without requiring anything from the mother. Therefore, once the baby is born, bodily autonomy ceases to be an issue.

        • $27334126

          Location doesn’t determine personhood.

        • smrnda

          I don’t think personhood is a coherent concept.

        • $27334126

          If women are not persons then forcing them to carry a fetus is no different than forcing a cow to carry a fetus.

        • smrnda

          I believe in persons. However, ‘personhood’ is a label invented that really has no meaning outside of the abortion debate.

          Human beings are sentient beings, entitled to some level of self-determination based on a more or less mutually agreed to social contract. One of those agreements is bodily autonomy. If you would like to live in a world without bodily autonomy, you may advocate for that position, but it seems to work out badly for everyone.

        • $27334126

          You make a lot of assumptions, and we have many limits on bodily autonomy.

        • smrnda

          I tend to be mostly a Hobbesian with my political views. In that way, I believe the only appropriate limits on bodily autonomy should concern harm to others.

          Recreational drug use? Okay. Recreational drug use and driving a car? Not okay.

        • $27334126

          Other persons, correct? Which means we are back to whether or not a new born baby is a person.

        • smrnda

          I’m willing to accept all born persons as persons. Though I’ll admit this can cause problems on the other end, where you have someone who is brain dead but whose body can be kept alive.

        • $27334126

          So you’ve drawn an arbitrary line at birth.

        • smrnda

          It seems like the most sensible and least problematic line, and I have to draw a line somewhere.

          It’s kind of how we let people vote at 18. We are probably being sensible to have some age requirement, but why 18? Why not 17? or 19? Sometimes you have to pick an age. 18 makes sense since, normally, people are finished with their mandatory schooling by that age, and, ostensibly, education includes education on civics, and the federal and state constitutions.

        • Philmonomer

          Ok. I was answering your question “Why does that matter [to the abortion debate]?”

  • rg57

    “do I call the undercooked mess a cake?”

    I don’t know about you, but I’d still eat what I could of it (yum!) and freeze the rest.
    :
    :
    :
    What?

  • wlad

    Bob argues for the spectrum argument–except that he presents it only as a spectrum of PREGNANCY, and states the obvious truth that an embryo, then zygote are at very different levels of development from a 4 month old “fetus,” or a 24 week old “fetus,” or one minute before birth “fetus.” No one disputes that.

    The REAL discussion is in the spectrum of LIFE.

    NOT the spectrum of pregnancy.

    The spectrum of life stretches continuously from conception until death, not just to birth. Any interruption–ANY interruption, of this continuous life, results in death.

    I am 68 years old. My life could have ended few weeks after my parents made love and conceived me, and I, Wladyslaw, would not be alive today.

    I could have died at birth, and I, Wladyslaw, would not be alive today.

    I could have died yesterday, and I. Wladyslaw, would not be alive today.

    At ANY point in my life, if my life was interrupted, I, Wladyslaw, would not be alive today.

    Did not matter when.

    And that’s the spectrum of life.

    • purr

      So, if an embryo named Sideshow Bob was created, and put on ice for 70 years…then placed inside a woman, and she gestated it to birth, and it lived for 70 more years, would you say that Sideshow Bob was 140 years old?

      • wlad

        Interesting thought experiment. If that was scientifically possible, I suppose that the continuous life of that “Sideshow Bob.” did in fact last 140 years. His body certainly would just show the normal age after birth, as now happened after a 20 year old frozen embryo was implanted–the kid did not look 20 years after birth.
        But the embryo was not dead, but alive. If it died, no baby.

        So yes, that life would have lasted 140 years.

        • Niemand

          Ok, let’s look at the opposite side of it…suppose Sideshow Bob had a massive stroke at age 70 or 140, whichever way you look at it. Unfortunately, he experienced brain death. But at the time of his death, it was illegal to stop medical care on anyone who still had heart function, even if it was artificial, so he “lived”, supported by multiple machines, for another 70 years. Did he live 70, 140, or 210 years?

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

      The REAL discussion is in the spectrum of LIFE.

      When you avoid engaging in the actual argument, we take off points. You realize that we notice when you do it, right?

      • wlad

        Right Bob, just keep arguing the spectrum of pregnancy, or gestation. It’s safe.

        But you avoid at all costs to discuss the spectrum of life.

        I was born on July 10, 1945, but my life began nine months earlier, when my parents made love.
        It didn’t BEGIN a few weeks later after they made love,
        Or BEGIN at 24 weeks.
        Or at birth, as Defamate says.

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

          Right Bob, just keep arguing the spectrum of pregnancy, or gestation. It’s safe.

          Yeah, it seems to be. I keep presenting it, and you keep avoiding it.

          I’ll take that as a point for me.

          But you avoid at all costs to discuss the spectrum of life.

          I have no idea what this means and little interest in finding out until you address the question on the table.

          Or perhaps you’ve already accepted the spectrum of personhood as an accurate description. I might’ve missed that.

        • Greg G.

          Did your life begin when Dad shot his wad or when a sperm happened upon the egg sometime later? Or did your life begin an hour after that when the DNA from the sperm reached the DNA of the egg about an hour later? After the fertilized egg divided into eight cells, one of them became the fetus while the other seven became the placenta and ended up as after birth. Did your life begin when those seven potential twins died?
          If two fertilized eggs happen to implant close enough they can fuse together to become a single person with different parts of the body have separate DNA. Is that one person or two.
          Monozygotic twins come from one fertilized egg where a group of cells separate from the other group. Did both lives begin at fertilization or when the separation occurred?
          You are alive today because you ended the potential for several twins to be born in your place.

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

          And it’s not like the egg and sperm were dead before.

          Maybe Wlad wants to go back to abiogenesis?

    • John Hodges

      The sperm is alive, the egg is alive. So at one time was everything we eat, and the grass we mow. “Life” does not raise the same moral questions as “personhood”. Killing a person is morally wrong to some degree, depending on circumstances. Killing living things is routinely done on an industrial scale, and probably essential to our survival. Re. abortion, one side is saying “a potential person is not a person yet; killing a potential person is not in the same moral league as killing an actual person. ” The other side replies “Yes, it is.” The absurdities that would follow from the second position persuade me to take the first.

      • wlad

        If you, or my mother killed me when I was 19 weeks old, I, Wladyslaw, would not be alive today, I, an actual person. I am the one she or you would have killed. Not Bob or Francis. I am an actual person, and guess what, I would not be here. Exactly the same if I was killed the day after I was born.

        Please tell me what difference it makes whether I (or you) was killed at birth, or killed six months earlier.

        Why AM I here now?
        Because my mother did not kill me. And nobody has killed me since.

        And you are alive today because your mom did not kill you. And nobody has killed you since.

        • Niemand

          If John Hodges had interrupted your parents when they were about to conceive you, you would not exist. If your mother had decided she wasn’t in the mood that night, you would not exist. Is anything that ever interrupts sex therefore evil?

        • wlad

          Obviously, if my life did not begin, it did not begin.

          Your point?

        • Niemand

          You’d be equally non-existent and never existent as a thinking, conscious, independent being if John interrupted your parents before they had sex or slipped your mother some RU-486 when she was 5 weeks pregnant. OTOH, if he killed you yesterday, you’d be non-existent (now) but there would be a past in which you lived, thought, and cared about your own continuation. That’s the difference or at least a difference.

        • wlad

          And if he killed me a day after birth…what?

        • Niemand

          A day after birth you would be breathing air instead of absorbing small amounts of oxygen through the placenta. Your brain would have been exposed to enough oxygen to work fully and you would have at least some level of cortical function. Furthermore, you would be an independent living being, not a parasite attached to and dependent on a particular person to survive, and have undergone quite an extensive list of physiologic and biochemical changes. If he’d killed you then you would have experienced sensation and suffering, though how much is debatable. But your death would clearly be the death of an independent organism. Can you really not wrap your head around why that distinction might be important?

        • wlad

          The ability to do ALL that you so nicely presented was absolutely there in the baby a day before birth.

          Late term abortionists discover this much to their chagrin when they try so hard to kill the baby in the womb, and the baby survives and does all the things you say.

          Your point?

        • Niemand

          Um…huh? The day before birth a fetus is most certainly not breathing oxygen, eating food, experiencing the rich stimulus of the extra-uterine environment, and using its cortical neurons fully. True, if it were born, it could do all that (assuming we’re talking a late fetus–it’s not at all clear how much an extreme premie experiences), but it hasn’t.

          An analogy might be the difference between designing an advanced, Turing capable AI, testing all the parts, and then never turning it on versus turning it on and then turning it off. I’d argue that the latter was murder, but the former was just failure to complete a project.

        • Kodie

          Yay?

        • adam

          That if someone interrupted your parents before you were conceived it is equivalent to murder, as it would have caused you to cease to exist.

        • wlad

          Murder is the killing of a live being.

          Before conception I was not a live being.

          Therefore, no murder.

          Simple.

        • adam

          It CERTAINLY is.
          1be·ing

          noun
          : a living thing

          : the state of existing
          Both the sperm and egg are beings.
          Failing to get each and everyone of them together seems to follow your logic for life and therefore murder.

        • wlad

          You are free to continue pushing the idea of murder for not having sex.

        • adam

          It would seem to be the logic as you are describing it.

        • wlad

          You certainly are free too say that.

        • adam

          And you are free to correct me if I am mistaken about what you are posting.

        • wlad

          You say–“That if someone interrupted your parents before you were conceived it is
          equivalent to murder, as it would have caused you to cease to exist.”

          That is your proposition, not mine.

          Please! I cannot CEASE to exist if I never existed. I can only cease to exist if I first existed, and then something killed me.

          OK?!

        • Kodie

          If someone interrupted your mother’s pregnancy, you would never have existed. Seriously, there is a “before you” after your parents fucked then this whole conversation could have been avoided.

        • John Hodges

          What do you eat? Live beings are killed all the time. Killing “life” is not ethically the same as killing persons.

        • wlad

          Absolutely agree.

        • Niemand

          Before conception “you” were two living beings: a sperm and an egg, each with unique DNA distinct from its host. Then “you” became one living being, the fertilized egg. Who did you kill to become you?

        • wlad

          Nice try. You and I and every person who ever lived were never two.

        • Niemand

          Why not? The egg and the sperm were both alive before they combined. Simply stating by fiat that they can’t be considered living human cells but fertilized eggs are is…unconvincing.
          Not to mention chimeras, which were once two zygotes and then merged. Were they two souls? What happened to the other one?

        • wlad

          An egg will never ever in a million years become a human being, by itself.

          A sperm will never ever in a million years become a human being, by itself.

        • purr

          Neither will a zygote. It needs a uterus for that.

        • wlad

          Concur.

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

          … and the union of the egg and sperm will never ever in a million years become a human being, by itself.

        • wlad

          Agree.

        • Niemand

          If you’re arguing that a sperm and an egg are different from a zygote because they will not (by themselves) become a human being then you must be arguing that a zygote is not a human being, but only capable of becoming one.

          Which is, of course, nonsense. A zygote by itself will never become a human being. It requires significant input of mass, energy, and support to become a human being. An unfertilized egg requires only one further trivial step to have its chance of becoming a human being some day. So clearly a fertilized egg is much more similar to an unfertilized egg than to a baby.

        • John Hodges

          The difference is that six months before birth you were not a person. You were a potential person, but not an actual person. If your mother had killed you then, you would not exist; she would have killed a potential person, not an actual one.
          If we must never deliberately cause the non-existence of potential persons, then celibates are morally equivalent to serial killers. I consider this absurd.

        • wlad

          An actual person exists. By definition. Actual.

          A potential person does not exist. By definition. Potential, not actual yet.

          Can’t kill a potential person, something that does not exist.

        • purr

          There was no ‘you’ when the zygote/embryo/fetus existed. Only a potential you. If at any point that zygote/embryo/fetus had failed to develop properly, or miscarried, YOU, your identity, would NOT exist today.

          Sand in a quarry is a potential CPU. Every cpu starts with silica. However, that silica is NOT a cpu. It has the potential to be a cpu, but it isn’t one until it has gone through the necessary changes to become one.

          If I take a handful of sand, and throw it in the garbage bin instead of in the cpu factory, that sand will still have the *potential* to be a cpu, but, it will only ever EXIST as sand (until it comes out the other end as a *working* cpu).

          Get it?

        • wlad

          Like I said above–a potential person does not exist!
          It’s a rational concept.

          Actual persons exist.

          A potential storm is a rational concept.

          An actual storm gets me wet.

        • Kodie

          A zygote is not actually a person.

        • smrnda

          If I had been aborted, then there would never have been me. I’d have no status. I’d never have been around, and nobody would have ever missed me as a real, living person. That’s a huge difference.

        • wlad

          “If I had been aborted,”

          Please tell me who is the “I.” in your sentence.

        • smrnda

          If I had been aborted, there never would have been ME, so that abortion would have been a crime against nobody.

          If the argument is that I’m here because someone didn’t abort me, my parents had to have sex to have me. Is celibacy also murder, because it denies potential people the right to exist?

        • wlad

          “If I had been aborted.”

          How could “you” have been aborted if there was no “you.”

          Can’t abort something that doesn’t exist.

        • purr

          wlad…since you have trouble keeping up…let me explain this to you one more time..

          smrnda is talking about IF the potential ze had been aborted, ze would not exist.

          get it?

        • wlad

          Can’t abort a potential ze, only an actual ze.

          A potential ze does not exist, by definition.

          An actual ze does exist, by definition.

          A potential war does not exist.

        • purr

          Until the embryo progresses to the point where it has a functional brain and a personality, it has no identity.

          Hence ‘potential’

          Are you trying to tell us that your zygote had your exact same personality as a single cell?*

          *I guess that’s possible, given your intellectual contributions to this blog.

        • Kodie

          You know what a potential person is? It’s that couple having sex because they want to have a baby in the next year. They are already thinking of that person when they will be born and what to name it and maybe even where it might go to school. If they can’t have children, are they murderers because that idea can never be fulfilled? Let’s say, the woman is ovulating and her partner is coming home early from work so they can have a romantic night and hopefully conceive the baby they hope for. But … the man falls asleep on the subway and ends up at the other end of the line. He calls home and says sorry but he’ll be later than he expected. He hails a cab. So far, only an hour behind schedule. But then they hit traffic. There’s been an accident, and it takes a while to clear up. A mother carpooling her kids and 3 of their friends to soccer were hit by someone texting and rolled over into a ditch. Everyone died. But it gets cleared up, and eventually the man gets home to put his seed in his woman, as they had planned. But she’s not there when he gets home. There’s a note. She has gone out to pick up a pizza, and while she waited, she tried to get the high score on the zombie pinball machine.

          By the time she gets home, they both just try to watch something on tv. It was a nice plan, but the day just ended up too rough and they said, maybe later, maybe tomorrow, maybe not again until next month.

          So Wlad, how many people died?

          You are saying a fertilized egg is the beginning of a life of a fully realized human being, not a potential. How is that fertilized egg that different from a couple with a standing appointment to have procreative sex? They are both projections of a human baby. You are saying once the sex happens, it’s a fact and not an imaginary thing. But say, you have a seed. You can keep it in an envelope in a drawer for a long time, planning. You don’t know where you would like to put a tree, maybe you want to move first, but you carry around that seed. That’s an actual seed, not plans to acquire a seed. That has as much information about the tree it may be someday as a zygote has a human. Maybe you never have the perfect yard for it, and you just keep it in a drawer.

          WTF am I thinking, you’re too dense for this.

        • wlad

          No, only an actual ze can cease to exist.

          A potential storm cannot cease to exist.

        • purr

          Yes, it can. The conditions that create the storm can disappear.

        • smrnda

          I would never have been. It’s sort of like this : I planted a vine by my house a few years ago. There is a vine there now. If I had not planted that vine, it would not exist. It’s kind of how the tomato plants I did not plant last year do not exist. However, to consider the tomato plants and the vine as equally plants in the present is ridiculous.

          If I had been aborted, I’d be like the children of Samuel Beckett. Never had any.

        • wlad

          Sorry, can’t abort something that does not exist.

        • purr

          You keep saying that. But you have done nothing to back your point up logically, kiddo.

        • smrnda

          If I do not plants some seeds, then the plants do not exist.

        • Kodie

          Abortion has to do with pregnancy. You abort, say, a space launch, or a spy mission, those are processes, actions. It’s putting the brakes on pregnancy. If you don’t want to end up with a baby and all its disastrous vomiting, pooping, incessant crying, doofy problems with their teachers, and needing to go to college someday, abort the pregnancy. It’s just like not going to space when something’s wrong with that.

        • wlad

          The analogy does not work. You planted an actual vine, not a potential vine, and it exists.

          The abortion analogy works if you had planted the tomatoes, and then uprooted them. They would no longer exist.

        • smrnda

          Fine. Let’s say I uprooted them. Then they do not exist. There may have been a plant, but it never grew any tomatoes. Therefore, the ‘tomatoes that grew on the plant’ did not exist, ever, even though they might have potentially existed.

        • Kodie

          Why do you think this is an argument not to abort?

    • Niemand

      At ANY point in my life, if my life was interrupted, I, Wladyslaw, would not be alive today.

      Are you sure? What if you went into ventricular fibrillation? Fortunately, you did so right in front of a fire station and the EMS team stationed there immediately rushed out and defibrillated you and, yay, you came back with no neurological damage at all. Are you dead? You were, briefly, clinically dead so your life was interrupted, but I’d hesitate to say that someone who is walking, talking, breathing, and thinking is “dead” in any meaningful sense of the term.

      • wlad

        I don’t think that science has the full explanation of what happens in that situation when you are “clinically” dead, and then revive.

        And I don’t know if it has ever been tried in utero, but I seriously doubt it.

        • Niemand

          So you don’t actually know what you mean when you call something “alive” or “dead”?

        • wlad

          Well, I believe that I have a soul that can exist apart from my body, an eternal soul. This soul is infused at the moment of conception.

          So a soul leaving the body for a short time is not inconceivable for me.

        • purr

          I have some questions for you, wlad, about souls:

          Firstly, about 60-80% of conceptions fail to survive until birth –and God most certainly knows that. Furthermore, God has direct access to the DNA, and can “read” the genetic code, and will know exactly which zygotes will die from fatally flawed code. If God can see into the future, why would such a God make souls for known-to-be-doomed zygotes (what do they need souls for)?

          Secondly, let’s talk about twinning. Imagine God creating a soul for a zygote at conception, but a few days later the organism splits into triplets. Since souls are immune to merely physical events, this means only one of the three will have a soul, that God has to return to the scene to create two more souls. On the other hand, God is supposed to be omniscient and omnipresent. If God knows in advance that there will be twins–or even that there might be triplets– then isn’t the smartest thing to do is simply wait for the splitting to happen, before making any of the extra souls? Yet this violates the claim that God creates souls at conception! But so what? And what if the twins/triplets recombine, what happens to the extra souls! Aren’t souls supposed to be immortal! Do they immediately go to Heaven? If so, why did God bother with all of the above??

          Thirdly – what about chimeras? They each start with two conceptions, and days later two human organisms merge to become a single organism, in just one human body, without death happening to either original organism –so chimeras should have two souls, right?

        • wlad

          A soul has a beginning, but is afterwards eternal. Whether it was in a body one second or 120 years, it lives for eternity. Life on this earth is a minute fraction of your life and mine on this earth.

          I guess I’ll ask God that when and if I go to heaven. Science is unable to tell us about souls. Some NearDeathExperiences hint at it.

        • purr

          If God knows that a soul will only survive for a few short hours in the newly fertilized ovum, then why doesn’t he just sent it straight to heaven?

          And what happens when one zygote splits into three…then recombines? What happens to the extra souls? Since God can peer into the future, since he *writes* the future, why bother at all? Why not create souls and send them straight to heaven?

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

          My vote: each of the triplets gets 1/3 of a soul.

          (Did I win?)

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

          A fetus is aborted, and the soul goes to heaven. That’s the good place, right? Then why all the hand wringing?

        • Niemand

          So how do you tell which identical twin has the soul? Given that they split after conception and that’s when you say the soul is “infused”. And do chimeras have two souls or does one get destroyed in the process of the merger of the two embryos?

        • Kodie

          Ah. Where in the zygote is the soul infused? The reason you are against abortion is because you believe it has a soul and what does the soul do while hanging around in the uterus attached to an insensate blob of cells?

        • smrnda

          The other thing is, if you believe in the soul, isn’t abortion guaranteeing the soul goes to heaven?

        • MNb

          Ah, you’re underestimating christian masochism – they want to suffer before their souls go to heaven!
          Nuts, really.

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

          That’s certainly Wm. Lane Craig’s spin on the Canaanite genocide–the Israelites were doing the children a favor by skewering them.

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

        Jesus died, and he’s walking and talking now.

        Wait a minute–maybe Wlad is Jesus!

    • smrnda

      If your ‘spectrum of life’ had ended with a miscarriage at an early state of pregnancy, you would never have existed. This is the fate of most fertilized eggs.

      Abortion is a crime against nobody, since the person who *potentially* could have existed never exists anywhere. It would be like saying not having sex is murder, since it could have conceived someone.

      • wlad

        “the person who *potentially* could have existed never exists anywhere.”

        Show me a potential person.

        I see, you can’t. It never existed. Right?

        Oh, this sixteen week old fetus is a potential person, you say?

        Can’t be. A potential person “never exists anywhere.”

        So please stop referring to something that never exists.

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

          The single cell has the potential to become a person. Said another way, it’s a potential person.

        • wlad

          Bob, you don’t buy the potential person argument, remember?

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

          I have no idea what you’re talking about, yet again. (And I fear that you’re about to attempt to tell me again …)

        • smrnda

          What is the difference between a movie and a potential movie? A script is not a movie. It is a potential movie. An hour of takes of one scene that occurs halfway through the movie, a script and some sound recordings are still a potential movie and not a movie.

          The fetus is a potential person, in the same way a pile of unedited film is still just a potential move.

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

          Script :: movie is a great analogy to cell :: newborn.

        • smrnda

          I think that there are lots of fairly good analogies with that, but which anti-choice people will all just ignore when you point them out. There is almost nothing that we don’t have a spectrum for, except maybe elements? One atom of hydrogen is hydrogen, but a brick is not a house, a seed is not a tree, a foundation and some wooden frames are not a house. Aside from elements, anything else that doesn’t go on a spectrum?

        • purr

          They ignore everything and just repeat, over and over, that the embryo is a self-assembling human being, magic!

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

          Emergent phenomena applies. You can’t get fusion with just one atom of hydrogen, but a bazillion of them will collapse and ignite as a star. You move from a difference in degree to a difference in kind (hydrogen turning into helium and more).

        • Kodie

          It’s not a person, so …. if it will become a person, but it’s not yet, why isn’t it potentially a person? If you think it is a person, you just can’t keep saying because you think so. You have no other argument. Oh yeah, “souls”. Let’s entertain those as not an imaginary thing you wish were real. A soul isn’t a person. And if it never dies, then what is murdered? Just that minute of eternal life on this shitty planet that nobody wants to live on anyway since they just can’t wait to get to heaven and badger god with stupid questions. Am I wrong? I don’t see what’s wrong with abortion from your perspective, given any of your arguments so far (including prior threads).

  • Norm Donnan

    This is just how any dominant hierarchy would paint a picture to justify their own position.
    How about black on the left and white on the right,you know like Sth Africa under apartheid,black,colored and white only.
    The blacks,well their black so they are only suitable for menial tasks,the colored,they are to be trusted a bit more but white,come in my friend.
    Maybe thats why Bob chose blue and green eh Bob!!

    • purr

      The blacks,well their black so they are only suitable for menial
      tasks,the colored,they are to be trusted a bit more but white,come in my
      friend.

      “”The women, well their women so they are only suitable for baby-making””

      FTFY

      • Norm Donnan

        So being a blue woman must really suck to you

      • Pattrsn

        Yes but unlike the embryo the woman doesn’t even have the potential to become fully human, just the potential to create the fully human.

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

      So my position is equivalent to apartheid? Show me.

      • Norm Donnan

        Your the upper class white man,the black man is a human at an early stage of development and in no way equal in value to you,(doesnt meet your qualification of personhood)
        The colored man is a later term human,some say he qualifies some dont ,(person to some,not to others)
        Birth,now your white and shiny.(to most)

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

          Nope, I’m not seeing the analogy.

          People in years past could’ve had all sorts of nutty beliefs. I’m not bound by them.

          A white man and a black man are pretty much identical.

          A single cell? Not so much.

        • Niemand

          So blacks (and, I presume, other minorities) are no more than helpless, brainless fetuses in your mind, waiting to be saved? Thank you, O Great White Savior. That’s not dehumanizing at all!

        • Norm Donnan

          No, un born infants are the disposable sub human parasites that the slaves were to people with the same attitude as the pro abortion crowd of today.

        • Niemand

          Slaves and ex-slaves famously spoke of and wrote about their experiences after being freed or escaping, O Great White Savior. People of minority ethnic background are capable of suffering, attempting to escape their suffering, and describing their suffering to others. An embryo is incapable of feeling anything (literally: no myelinated nerves yet), much less suffering. Again, you really just don’t get why being compared to a single celled organism might be insulting to a black person do you?

        • Niemand

          Actually, on reflection, I suspect that Norm really does think that he’s honoring black people by the comparison with zygotes. He cares for zygotes, doesn’t this also prove how much he cares about minorities, women, and other beings inferior to his white male self that he compares them to zygotes which he considers worthy of protection (sometimes–at least, when it hurts women–if the zygote is dying of disease, eh, who cares)?

        • purr

          Bingo! He has even bragged about his aboriginal friends.

        • purr

          And you would choose to subjugate women to a microscopic cell. No matter the disastrous effects on their lives and health.

          Hm. That sure sounds like a good way to treat women as the subhuman property of embryos, doesn’t it?

        • smrnda

          You should actually talk to some Black people Norm. I do not know any pro life Black person, and any Black person I know would be very offended by your line of reasoning here. You’re pretending that a woman choosing not to be pregnant is the same as someone enslaving them.

          Again, there exists a spectrum in which EVERY zygote becomes and embryo becomes a fetus and is born and is an infant. Black people don’t turn into white people.

        • purr

          I have already shown Norm photos of a) black person b) indian person c) zygote and asked “which one of these is not like the others?”

          He has pointed out that they are all the same, and that the zygote might cure cancer if given the chance.

        • Niemand

          the zygote might cure cancer if given the chance.

          Indeed it might. Embryonic stem cell therapy shows great promise. Too bad Norm is against allowing it to do so.

        • wlad

          “Indeed it might. Embryonic stem cell therapy shows great promise.”
          Yeah, right.

          “great promise”? Not one therapy in actual use came from embryonic stem cell therapy. Cite one in actual use–not trial

          Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adult_stem_cell to see the various therapies in actual use at present from adult stem cells, even the first transplanted human organ grown from adult stem cell!

          Geron, the largest embryonic cell researcher, recently abandoned it’s research.

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

          Not
          one therapy in actual use came from embryonic stem cell therapy.

          Yeah, that’ll happen when religious dictates are applied in political situations.

          I’ve got an idea: why don’t we give it a try? This seems to be yet another area of interesting research that you’re eager to cede to other countries. (And no, the few years that it’s had isn’t enough.)

        • wlad

          “I’ve got an idea: why don’t we give it a try”

          Because people were unwilling to kill an embryo, and chose a method that did not kill a human being.

          Even if ESC provided therapies that far outstripped adult stem cell therapies, we pro-lifers would still not give it a try.
          People’s lives are never a moral means to a good.

        • purr

          People’s lives are never a moral means to a good.

          Those excess embryos are either gonna die of freezer burn or be incinerated.

          It’s not like stem cell researchers are ripping viable embryos from women’s wombs.

          At least, by using the embryos before they are incinerated, the suffering of *actual* people will be relieved.

          But no. You are worried that a vial of embryos stored in a freezer might ‘suffer’ from the torture of being used in research.

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

          Imagine being diagnosed with a disease and given 2 years to live. You do research and find an embryonic stem cell technique is looking promising to cure that disease, but widespread availability won’t happen for 5 years.

          At least you could die knowing that no cell died so that you could live. That would provide much comfort, I’m sure.

        • Niemand

          Not one therapy in actual use came from embryonic stem cell therapy.

          That’s not at all uncommon for a new therapeutic approach. It was at least 30 years from, for example, conception of antibody therapy for cancer to the first commercial product. ESC research is way behind due to political issues like people deciding that the embryonic culture is worth more than actual people. It’s likely going to take even longer because of that.

        • wlad

          But you did not check all the therapeutic therapies that exist right now–even an organ transplant! Adult stem research started AFTER embryonic stem cell to deal with the ethical issues, and are now helping people in a variety of ways. Not trials–actual therapies.

          Embryonic stem people say it’s “promising” that they could have actual therapies in five years.

          The adult stem cell research was a rejection of ESC. Even if ESC started producing more actual therapeutic therapies in the future.

        • Niemand

          Adult stem research started AFTER embryonic stem cell to deal with the
          ethical issues, and are now helping people in a variety of ways. Not
          trials–actual therapies

          Such as…

        • Norm Donnan

          Youve totally missed the point here Smrna.When slavery was ok in America,colored people wernt considered fully human as whites are and that justified treating them more like livestock rather than a person in the same way you do with an un born human.

        • purr

          Because zygotes and embryos are *not* fully human. You can’t dehumanize something that 1) doesn’t look human 2) is incapable of functioning like a human

          *You* want to treat women like livestock in favour of DNA, Norm. YOU are the slaver here, not women.

        • purr

          And your analogies fail because during slavery, female slaves were 1) raped 2) forcibly impregnated 3) they often aborted their pregnancies.

          By your faulty logic, female slaves = slavers

        • smrnda

          That’s a very good point.

        • smrnda

          But the difference is that all of these were based on completely faulty notions. The unborn human IS NOT fully human, but a non-white person IS fully human.

          Your problem is that you want to argue that Z/E/F are the new oppressed class and that it’s a fictional that they are not fully human. But they are not fully human.

          Seriously, here’s a test – if a white racist says “non-white people are not fully human” plenty of non-white people exist who will argue with that quite persuasively. No Z/E/F has a point of view yet.

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

          Ask a slave owner what the difference is between white people and Africans. Whatever he says will be insignificant compared to the objective differences between an adult (whatever race) and a single cell.

          Your analogy fails. (But thanks for comparing pro-choice advocates with slave owners.)

        • smrnda

          I recall that historically, there have been many attempts to find some *real difference* between white people and Black people – you can find pseudoscience about the ‘distinctive Negro big toe’ written in the past. You get pseudoscience like ‘The Bell Curve’ now.

          Racists have always grasped at straws to argue that non-white people were inferior.

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

          But even if we grant racists’ craziest claims, their white/black difference is negligible compared to the newborn/cell difference that we’re talking about here.

        • Kodie

          Racism claims, let’s assume for argument’s sake there are differences. Racism claims these differences make one race better than another for arbitrary qualities. It would not be unusual for white people to prefer the qualities of the white race, since that is what racism is. Those non-white people doing things different that I don’t like, having another culture, looking different, etcetera. Who cares if they run faster, that’s not as important as straight hair, or something. It’s ranking arbitrary qualities that, even if there were quantifiable differences, are not objectively better or worse.

          One of the big problems with these attempts is that it arbitrarily chooses “white” race as the standard to beat. If a black person scores low in a white-authored-and-oriented IQ test, then he is “not intelligent” as a white person, and deemed “less intelligent” as a firm quality. A lot of the problem is that even attempts to reduce racism is to “bring” non-white people “up” to the white standard, or be color-blind and see them as if they are “as good as” white people, and diminish their cultural differences (as much as anything, a product of racism). We want them to assimilate to us, we value non-whites who assimilate to white values as having achieved the white standard, and we look down on white people who are attracted to other races or adopt cultural behaviors of other races.

          And then again, racists would also resent non-white people acting white (just like we hate when women act like men- getting jobs, earning their own money, not getting married, and controlling their own sexuality) as “trying to take over”. If you may own a legitimate business and not be some drug-dealing gangster, then you don’t know your place or your race and you are trying to take over… is what a racist says, and a racist arbitrarily avoids doing business with them so they can earn a legitimate living. They want black people to stay hateable – impoverished and criminal, etc. and don’t like them having a piece of the pie, working hard, and employing people.

        • Kodie

          So just happen in somewhere, make yourself comfortable and proceed to make dangerous and expensive demands. You seek to enslave women, trap them, hold them hostage. All for what? Intruders don’t have any rights.

        • smrnda

          But… the fetus develops into a child into an adult. There IS a spectrum.

          People’s race does not change except relative to other people’s perspective. I know some Puerto Ricans who are simply labeled ‘Black’ most of the time in the US.

      • Pattrsn

        I think he wants to give embryos the vote

    • smrnda

      Here is the difference – Black people don’t start out as single-celled organisms inside of white people, and they don’t grow up in the white person, get born, and then (if we’re taking your analogy) develop and eventually become white people. You do see that your analogy is absurd because the 2 situations are nothing like each other.

      No, Black people are separate individuals. This is why imperialism is bad – white people don’t get to show up and impose their will on someone and make them do what they want them to do. In the same way, women shouldn’t have someone show up and impose their will on them when it comes to reproductive choice.

      A fetus is not a *supposedly* inferior class of person, it’s not even a person yet. A brick is not an inferior house, it’s just one brick and not a house yet.

      • Norm Donnan

        When slavery was socially acceptable blacks and colored’s were looked at as less than fully human,( your personhood).
        And no a brick will never be a house and a sperm will never be a baby on their own.

        • adam

          Slavery IS socially acceptable in the bible.

        • smrnda

          My point was that the analogy is not a good one, because ‘fetus : human’ is not like ‘Black person : white person.’ I’ll present another analogy

          “brick : house ” as “wood : ship.” however “brick: house” and “car : ship” – that analogy doesn’t work.

          I could just say that Black people are not less persons than white people, but that OBVIOUSLY a zygote, embryo or fetus IS less fully human than an infant that has been born.

        • Norm Donnan

          This is purely your criteria for a person be covered by your personal approval.A new born or a young child for that matter OBVIOUSLY has nowhere near the value of a healthy,educated,employed adult in all ways.So if your handicapped or old,too bad your MORE disposable and less valuable using your criteria.Me I think all people at what ever stage of life they find themselves in,they deserve support and protection.

        • smrnda

          First, I’m actually disabled myself, so the idea that supporting reproductive choice is deciding that ‘disabled people are disposable’ is probably not the right argument to use with me.

          I also support reproductive choice because a pregnancy would risk my life, and I’m unwilling to let that happen. I do not have sex with men (I’m not heterosexual) so it only would happen if I got raped, but I don’t want to be forced to pregnant if I do not want to be. I also don’t think consenting to sex means consenting to being pregnant.

          My take is that it’s always wrong to force a woman to be pregnant if she does not wish to be pregnant. I’m far less concerned with the spectrum argument since I think the bodily autonomy argument settles the issue.

          If we have to decide between a Z/E/F and the woman who is pregnant, the woman should always take precedence. The spectrum just points out that people are considering something that is clearly not fully human as equally important as a living human.

          The disabled and elderly can be supported without having to hook them up to other people’s bodies to keep them going. Therefore, no bodily autonomy issues.

          So, what do you tell women who end up pregnant who don’t want to carry to term?

          I would also add, in the US, it is allegedly PRO LIFE Republicans who cast the disabled as unworthy moochers who are parasites on society.

        • purr

          Here’s a question Norm.

          Is a baby worth more than an adult, because the baby has a longer life ahead of it?

          Is a pregnant woman worth more than the person standing beside her, because she is TWO people?

          What if a woman is pregnant with quints? Is she more valuable than the woman who is pregnant with only one child?

          Does a zygote have more value than anyone else because it is youngest of all? How about a box of 100 zygotes?

          Is a chimera (a person composed of two fraternal twins that joined during pregnancy) worth more than the person with only one DNA set?

          Now, pretend you’re a fireman, and you have to evacuate a burning building. Which do you save first?

        • Norm Donnan

          Is my wife and children worth more to me than yours?.Yes.
          Is an educated,healthy,good looking,personality plus person worth more than a sick,ugly,bum? Yes
          In case of fire,yell FIRE and save yourself is the smartest thing to do.
          None of these things are morally right just like most abortions are done not because there is risk to a womans health,yes but mostly her social,financial and relational life will be affected.
          When my wife fell pregnant with our first son she thought abortion was ok.She had just started a new job,was just starting to get over cronic fatigue,her doctor said she should abort.We had been married 3months and had just bought a house so we needed the money,all good reasons to abort.
          I said no,we got through with difficulty and now he is the father of our grandaughter.
          He zygote we would have aborted,no one else.
          You are killing your children.

        • purr

          You ignored my question. I don’t care about any of what you have wrote (other than you seem to have no problem deciding that some people are worth less than others)

          Just tell me…which people get saved first in the options that I presented to you.

        • Norm Donnan

          I say all are the same in my examples.
          Your the one deeming others less worthy.

        • purr

          You can’t save them all at the same time. You have to save some first and others later.

          So tell us, please, what the sequence will be for saving. Which ones first, which ones last?

        • smrnda

          Would you defend the right of a person to save themselves in a fire first? You agree that this is just typical human behavior, not necessarily right, but I don’t think you support making ‘not making huge sacrifices’ a crime. So even if the abortion is simply for convenience (as you say as if quality of life was not a relevant issue) why isn’t it the same? I don’t like everybody’s choices, but I don’t criminalize them.

        • Norm Donnan

          Simply because you getting out of a dangerous situation and not doing the heroic part of searching for trapped people is in no way similar.
          What you would be doing is knowing there are children in there and locking the door behind you to ensure their death…a big difference.

        • smrnda

          The problem is, again, you are equating Z/E/F to ‘children.’

        • Norm Donnan

          Well when zef are born as a puppy then you have a point,until then she is giving birth to a child.

        • Kodie

          Not killing anyone that wouldn’t exist if you had used a fucking condom, either. If you don’t want to be pregnant, don’t be pregnant anymore. You say she “fell” pregnant. If you didn’t have your son, you wouldn’t miss him. Your argument is 100% emotional. If you had financial problems, you might have thought about that before you spread your wife’s legs.

        • Norm Donnan

          Mostly true Kodes except my son would be dead,nobody else,no emotion, a fact.And i like spreading my wifes legs and will continue to do so.with gusto.

        • purr

          Your poor wife.

        • MNb

          “You are killing your children.”
          That’s your personal story and your personal view. You don’t have the right to enforce them by law.

        • Norm Donnan

          Thats true,this is a blog discussing different points of view so feel safe I will not prosecute you,I do not judge you,but I will disagree verbally if I find it offensive,and abortion is highly offensive.

        • purr

          You don’t discuss anything. You avoid answering difficult questions and you talk down to women just because they are women. You expect women to risk life and limb in childbirth, yet you are too much of a pussy to answer tough questions on the internet.

          You are a spineless coward

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

          I have a different view of what’s offensive.

          I’m offended with people wanting to impose their moral views by law on others.

          I’m offended by a focus on the insensate unborn instead of on real people.

          I’m offended by the political Right shanghaiing Christianity to achieve their political ends with Chicken Little appeals.

          I’m offended by the pro-life movement focusing on abortion, when they could actually achieve their ends better if they focused on comprehensive sex education and convenient access to contraception.

          I’m offended when they pretend that abstinence is actually a practical approach, given the realities of adult sexual needs.

        • smrnda

          If these people were really pro life, they’d be for contraception and real sex ed, since those things actually reduce abortion.

          Instead, they oppose both of those much of the time. It’s clearly more “I want to judge your sexuality” and not “I care about the unborn.”

        • Kodie

          A zygote will never be a baby on its own either, you dipshit. It involves enslaving a woman to its bidding, and you are all about that guilt trip.

        • Kodie

          Will be =/= is. If it’s not yet, then it isn’t. Who are we biased against? Not anybody, it hasn’t got one yet and it isn’t. If you have to use “yet” or “will be” to describe something you equate presently to a person, then as we discussed before, you have no idea how time works. A brick will be a house, if people decide to build it. A zygote will be a person if a person allows it, but it ain’t built yet, so it can’t be a person until it is one. Not the same as calling black people inferior. A black person is not a “will be” a person, they are a person.

          A person = a person
          Will become a person =/= a person.

          It’s ok to throw out a blank sheet of paper. It isn’t a picture yet.
          It’s not ok to force anyone to donate their organs, even if they are dead. You are saying a woman has less value than a cell not-yet-a-person, AND a dead person, and if she doesn’t like that, she ought to find her mothering side, or just be natural, or should have thought of the consequences before she spread her legs. You have no sympathy until someone comes crawling to you with the reaction and submission and regret that pleases you in your cause to enslave women.

          Because at the root of it, “pro-life” is a game and you are a pawn. They use fake clay fully formed infants that can fit on the fingertip, amongst other lies, to turn you emotional. It’s the hook. The real cause you fight for, at the root of it is not to save babies and lives, but to enslave women and make them guilty for everything and act like you think they should act and stop trying to be free, sexually or otherwise.

          Like slaves! Exactly like slaves! Don’t try to act like you have a rational argument, Normie. Like, you feel so bad for slaves. ‘Cause ya don’t.

        • Norm Donnan

          Who released this slave,you need to be bound you wonton woman you.You out spoken wench,your the reason the world is in peril.Hows that for you,feel better??

        • purr

          The sad thing is you actually believe the hateful misogynist tripe that spews forth from your semi illiterate paws.

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

          (Hmm … that’s a bit worse than “little woman.”)

        • Norm Donnan

          But relevant to this foaming at the mouth lady.

    • purr

      Sharing the Truth about the Unborn with Your Friends and Neighbors

      Norm Donnan


      5 days ago

      Ive just been having this same discussion on the atheist blog “cross
      examined” under the heading “Why is it men speaking for the pro life
      movement”.For a group of people who say they are free thinkers,who
      follow science and reason,that all goes out the window when it comes to
      abortion. They deny science ,are un reasonable and are annoyed if you
      dont think like them.

      • Norm Donnan

        Good to see you get around Def,and yes I do as well.
        Its also good that you might be a little more free thinking than your average closet atheist.

  • John Hodges

    Another way to approach this (pardon me if you’ve already addressed this): If you encountered some strange life form that you had not seen before, how would you determine if it was a person or not? If some alien crashed its spacecraft in the woods and staggered injured and naked to the nearest town, how could it convince you that it was person and not freak? Bigfoot, Giant Octopus, bottlenose Dolphin, supercomputer AI, what test would it have to pass before you would grant it personhood? And then, WHEN would a human be able to pass the same test? I propose, a sufficient condition for personhood is the ability to learn a language with abstract concepts and flexible grammar. So humans don’t actually become undisputable persons until they are toddlers. (Hastily, I must add that I support an “adopted honorary person” clause in the social contract, which allows any person to adopt an animal or “pre-person” as a member of their family, taking responsibility for their care, behavior, and education…. the adoptee thereby gaining at least some rights in law and custom.)

    • wlad

      I understand that you support “an adopted honorary person” clause in the social contract, which allows…(not mandates)

      However, since you don’t make the clause mandatory, it is perfectly permissible for you to kill newborns until they are toddlers. Correct?

      • adam

        As long as they are disobedient and are killed by stoning, what is the problem.

      • John Hodges

        Two points- First, there have been cultures that allowed a family a week after birth to decide whether to keep a newborn, and would quietly accept infanticide if the family so chose. Second, after birth, adoption becomes practical, so if other people (or the State) choose to they can exercise the “adopted honorary person” clause for the newborn that is unwanted by their parents. If nobody wants the newborn, then yes, correct.

      • smrnda

        Killing newborns and toddlers was fairly common in the past. Even some Christians (Martin Luther) promoted the idea that deformed or disabled babies were ‘changelings’ and advocated leaving them out in the woods, with the hope that the *real baby* would be given back. The idea that infanticide is bad is a pretty recent one.

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

          Indeed, legal abortion has been credited with reducing infanticide. Where abortion isn’t an option, infanticide had become one.

    • Niemand

      I’d say “when it can pass the mirror test”*, but there are non-human animals that don’t, so I guess we’re not accepting that one. I’d pretty much take the space ship as proof that the alien was sentient and the equivalent of a human in terms of rights, though I suppose all it really proves is that it comes from a place with sentient creatures (it could be the alien equivalent of a cow, for example, being shipped).

      But what about considering it from the other direction? Suppose you were an alien investigating earth incognito and trying to decide whether humans should be invited to join the interstellar community or not. How would you feel if you say humans arguing that a single-celled organism should be considered a person if it had human DNA? Personally, I’d run in the opposite direction as quickly as possible and put up beacons all around the solar system broadcasting “beware: crazy beings live here” if I were the assessor. Because if we fetishize HUMAN DNA to that extent, we allow ourselves to ignore all sorts of other intelligent life as not worthy and probably can’t get along well with other sentient species. As dolphins, chimps, elephants, etc, know all too well.

      *Humans pass at about 12-18 months. But the mirror test only proves self-awareness. Failing it doesn’t disprove self-awareness. So setting the bar at birth is reasonable and cautious. But setting it before birth when you are definitely harming a definitely mirror test passing human is not.

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

      We can draw lines along development for all sorts of reasons. The one that I’m interested in here is the OK/not-OK line for abortion. I don’t think that either of us want your test to define that line.

      • John Hodges

        “Capable of learning a language” is a sufficient condition for personhood. I would suggest that a necessary condition for personhood would be “Having a functioning brain at least as large as the living things we regularly kill for food.” My point is that the relevant test to pass is not “life”, it is “personhood.”

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

          That’s fine, but how do we define personhood? I’m not cool with infanticide.

        • John Hodges

          What would you suggest?

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

          I haven’t studied the issue enough to have much of an opinion.

        • adam

          Let’s stick with the bible.
          When they are no longer the property of their father.
          When they reach the age of emancipation….

        • purr

          I think that being born is enough. The infant is now a separate viable and most importantly…autonomous individual.

          I like to emphasize *autonomous*. They can now live without the placenta. They are an individual.

          Furthermore, since all children mature at different rates, it makes sense to make birth the dividing line. They will acquire personhood in a matter of time. They are sentient beings now, and their brains are already in operation, sucking in information, learning, growing. All things that a fetus is incapable of doing.

        • smrnda

          I agree too, and I think it fits with bodily autonomy as well. The infant can survive without any further contribution from the woman who was pregnant once it’s born. That’s a pretty big difference.

      • wlad

        Bob,
        ” The one that I’m interested in here is the OK/not-OK line for abortion’

        But,

        You have said in so many places you do not know where that line is, and have little interest in it.

        • adam

          Then do if for the rest of us.
          Ad hominem noted.

        • wlad

          Are you asking ME where the line is?

          There is no line OK?not OK for abortion.

          All abortion is wrong.

        • Pattrsn

          Then don’t have one

        • purr

          yeah? even in the case of life and health of the pregnant person?

        • wlad

          Yes.

        • purr

          So you believe that it is moral to let women die in pregnancy? Wow.

        • wlad

          It is immoral to kill an innocent person to save an innocent person. The end NEVER justifies the means. The greatest evils in the history of the world have been perpetrated in the name of a great good.

        • purr

          Yes, of course. Letting a woman and fetus die is definitely preferable to the greater evil of saving her life so that she can live to try again and have children. Indeed. That is the kind of thinking that killed Savita.

        • wlad

          Actually, you’re wrong bout Savita. Early hypotheses were that an abortion would have saved her life. Further studies after her death found that she died from septicimea, and an abortion would probably not have had any affect on it since it had not been diagnosed early enough.

        • purr
        • Niemand

          She died of sepsis because she had a nidus of infection in her abdomen, namely the decaying fetus. If you don’t remove the source of infection, sepsis is deadly. End of story. The doctors in Ireland refused to treat her appropriately and she died. That’s malpractice and arguably murder. An early abortion would have prevented the infection, saved her life, and probably saved her fertility. As anyone with the slightest understanding of medicine would know.

        • Greg G.

          The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) published a report into the incident on 9 October 2013. It found “a failure in the provision of the most basic elements of patient care to Savita Halappanavar”, noting 13 “missed opportunities to intervene”.

          From Death of Savita Halappanavar

        • smrnda

          They should have aborted to increase her chances. It’s either both of them or possibly just the fetus.

          Wlad, given that you don’t believe that an innocent life should ever be taken, no matter what, are you a pacifist? It’s impossible for innocent bystanders NOT to get killed in a war. So, nobody should have fought against the Nazis since it’s better to let the Nazis kill everyone than say, bomb a city in Germany where there might be kids?

          This isn’t intended as a godwin – you can pick any nation, any war, the same point would be made. For Wlad to be consistent, you must be a pacifist and you must oppose all war.

        • purr

          I am glad you asked that! I had been wondering something similar myself. Is it wrong to go to war to defend your country if you *know* that innocent civilians will be killed in the process.

        • smrnda

          Totally, and if the allies hadn’t have been willing to fight, my whole family would have probably been killed.

        • smrnda

          Other problem is you never totally know that they cannot be killed in the process. That risk is always there, no matter what, which is why the whole idea of a clean ‘smart war’ that only takes out the bad guys is a ridiculous fiction.

        • wlad

          Directly targeting civilians is always immoral, and the allies were absolutely wrong in the carpet bombings of Germany–Dresden etc. and the carpet bombings of Tokyo etc. (My father was buried by an Allied bomb in Germany, where I was born in 1945, but survived).

          And especially the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

          However I disagree that you have to be against all war to be against abortion.

          I was declared 1-O (against all war) consientious objector in 1970 ( a difficult thing for a Catholic), and served two years in a hospital in Ann Arbor.

          I have since then realized that I would defend my wife and kids if attacked, even if it might result in a loss of life, and became a selective consientious objector–All wars declared by a government are not necessarily moral. Iraq was an absolutely moral travesty.

        • purr

          So you can kill someone if they are attacking you, but a woman can’t defend herself against a fetus.

          Nice double standard.

        • smrnda

          So, you are allowed to kill when it works for you, but you pass judgment on everybody else?

          There is no war that won’t possibly kill civilians. Never has been. Your so absolute when it comes to abortion, but you seem more flexible with war.

          So you can kill for your wife and kids, but a woman can’t have an abortion to save her life. Nice to see you playing favorites there. Why not just ditch the moral posturing and say you value certain people’s lives more than others?

        • purr

          As I have pointed out numerous times already, wlad has a knack for continually claiming the moral high ground:P

        • smrnda

          “Hi, I’m a selective conscientious objector. Unless someone is trying to kill me or someone I like, I’m a pacifist. You see, I have morals.”

        • purr

          And the thing is, wlad could have gone to war and simply refused to kill anyone. If someone came at him with a big gun he could have just let them kill him. You know, kind of like what he expects a woman to let a fetus do to her.

        • smrnda

          It is so easy to stand on a principle about what someone should be willing to die for when it isn’t YOU who is going to die.

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

          I’m confused–you’re for or against the war in Iraq?

        • wlad

          Absolutely against.

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

          It would also help (for consistency’s sake) to be against capital punishment. If Wlad rejects any line because it just might be a person by that time, surely he must reject any capital punishment because the person just might be innocent.

        • wlad

          I do reject it. Modern penal systems are pretty much able to protect society from predators without killing them.

          In extreme cases–where incarcerated criminals were able to kill others–it has happened– and the prison system unable to contain them, then I would support the penalty.

        • purr

          Since you believe that abortion = murder, what should the penalty be for women who kill their 7wk embryos?

          30 years?

          Life in prison?

        • wlad

          Abortion illegality will not happen overnite, it’ll happen only after a long time of pro-life activity. Last year was the year when the greatest number of pro-life legislation was passed, and a record number of clinic closures.

          Pro-choicers worry about the greying of the movement–not attracting young people.

          Young people are increasingly more pro-life. Check the last large pro-life march in Washington.

          Polls indicate the changing public opinion about abortion.

          It will not become illegal until the consensus is that abortion is wrong.

          If it finally became illegal, abortionists would be targeted–like Gosnell–and prudential decisions would be made about punishments.

          And finally, and all clinics would be closed.

          We already have legal consequences for self-induced abortion by women.

          http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/12/06/abortion-is-legal-so-why-is-self-abortion-care-crime/

        • purr

          We already have legal consequences for self-induced abortion by women.

          Yeah, because laws meant to protect fetuses and women from criminal actions are now being used almost exclusively to target women and throw them in jail.

          Some women have even been jailed for miscarrying.

          And one woman, a heroin addict, recently went off the drug when she found out she was pregnant, and was arrested for using methadone (which doctors said was safe).

          What you are looking at is the persecution of women because fetal life is thought to be *more* valuable than women, by people just like you.

          Anyways, you didn’t answer.

          Tell us what YOU think. 30 years for self-induced abortion? Or life in prison?

        • smrnda

          I agree that drug use during pregnancy can be a bad thing, but at b we should try to provide positive incentives since criminalizing any behavior by pregnant women just opens up the door to pretty much a ‘guilty till proven innocent’ status for pregnant women, and given how many things can go wrong, we’d be heading to some kind of totalitarian state there.

          And in some cases, women who can’t do what is considered necessary for a healthy pregnancy should be allowed to abort.

        • smrnda

          I see no evidence that younger people are more pro life, aside from your assertion.

          There is a planned parenthood in my area. Every now and then, I see 1 or 2 protestors wandering around with signs against abortion. They seem so unenthusiastic, and are usually very old, and I sometimes wonder if they have been paid to protest since they seem so unenthusiastic.

          Most abortion restrictions are being passed in Republican strongholds where I doubt that the opinions of the politicians actually represent the people, mostly since conservatives do what they can to create barriers for the wrong type of people voting.

          the other deal is many allegedly ‘pro life’ people end up having abortions when convenient for themselves.

          Another issue is the pro life crowd tends to be less educated, more religious, more Christian, and religious conservative white people in the US is a dying demographic.

          Just wondering Wlad, let’s say you met a woman who wanted to have an abortion. What would you say to persuade her not to have an abortion? Or do you hope for abortion restrictions because you know that women will choose abortion because your arguments seem rather weak to them?

        • purr

          yeah. what smrnda said..and I will add that in blue states abortion rights are being *strengthened* not eroded. Nurses are being taught to perform abortions in California for example.

        • smrnda

          The anti-choice victories are mostly confined to Republican strongholds which aren’t exactly bastions of civilization. The demographic fueling that is dying out. The main push for anti-choice legislation are people in the Christian right and some Catholics, and with Christianity losing young people the trend seems to be more pro-choice.

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

          Yep, polls do indicate a changing public opinion. It’s ever more in favor of keeping abortion legal and in empowering our citizens to make the choices that’s right for them rather than have Big Government dictate morality.

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

          And it is rather cute to hear you pretend that there will be no more abortions if Roe is overturned. If you don’t like Gosnell, you’d better open your eyes to the direction you’d like to see the country go.

        • wlad

          Where did I say that?

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

          Say what? You do want to overturn Roe, don’t you?

        • wlad

          You said:”And it is rather cute to hear you pretend that there will be no more abortions if Roe is overturned.”

          WHERE did I say that there will be no more abortions after overturning RvW?

          “If it FINALLY became illegal, abortionists would be targeted–like
          Gosnell–and prudential decisions would be made about punishments.”

          And of course clinics would be closed if it became illegal, just as many clinics closed after more restrictive laws in the past year.

          So where did I say “there will be no more abortions after RvW?

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

          OK, thanks for that correction. So you do acknowledge the dystopian conditions that your paradise would bring?

        • wlad

          Are you kidding me?

          We already live in a radically dystopian society, world.

          Over 1 billion two hundred children murdered since 1980 alone! And people acting as if that reality wasn’t really happening.

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

          1,200,000,000 abortions? Gee, I thought it was 14 quadrillion.

          Give me your source for this number.

          We already live in a radically dystopian society, world.

          That’s nice. I’m simply asking you to face the new dystopia that you’d love to see. It ain’t pretty.

        • wlad

          http://www.numberofabortions.com/

          It’ actually 80 million higher.

        • smrnda

          Are you counting the estimate of the number of fertilized eggs that don’t implant as well? I mean, nature/god would be the biggest killer of the unborn.

          All said, I’ve traveled a bit. Nations that are pro choice are better places to live than nations that are not. Pro choice states tend to be better than pro life ones.

        • Kodie

          Your shitty goal is to close clinics on technicalities to spite women. It’s not to save babies like you think, pawn.

        • smrnda

          Apparently, anti-choicers are finally being honest that they just hate women having sex they don’t like:

          http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/01/27/anti-choicers-drop-life-pretense-increasingly-admit-theyre-angry-sex/

        • purr

          smrnda:

          A few of us have been ‘debating’ Calvin Freiburger of LiveActionNews over on Bob’s other article about Men in the Pro-Life movement.

          Anyways, Calvin has taken the moral high ground, and accused everyone at RHRC of being fanatical baby killing neo-nazis who had to be banned for immature behaviour on LAN and LifeSiteNews…

          To make the story even more fun, Calvin’s morally and intellectually superior commentariat at LAN decided to:

          Post that link on a bunch of conservative sites in order to get that RHRC article trolled and…

          Certain LAN regulars sockpuppeted themselves and came over to troll us.

          The kicker? They complain that we are too ‘cowardly’ to debate them on LAN and LSN! (after we’ve been banned, natch)

          Out of curiosity, do we sound like neo-nazis in that comment thread? Because that’s what Calvin said. An echo chamber not unlike Stormfront!

        • adam

          I think you meant in the name of a great god…..

        • wlad

          Yes, even in the name of a great god.

        • adam

          Isaiah 45:7

          King James Version (KJV)

          7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

        • Greg G.

          That verse and the lame explanations of my Christian mentors initiated my escape from faith.

        • purr

          So basically, what you are saying is, an acceptable penalty for having sex while female (or simply being female, because you wouldn’t allow abortion in cases of rape) should be death and/or injury.

          Keep that moral high ground wlad, so far you’re doing a great job.

        • wlad

          Pregnancy is never a penalty.

          Staying alive is the natural result of eating.

        • purr

          You expect women to die from pregnancy, without receiving medical help.

          So yes, to you, death from pregnancy = natural penalty for women. Of course, losing your life as a natural consequence of sexual activity is something that you, wlad, will never have to face.

          As I said, keep on truckin’ with that moral high ground.

        • wlad

          My wife and I have six children. During the last pregnancy my wife almost died. She went through several total blood transfusions and five operations. Never, absolutely never, did she or I regret her pregnancy with Helena, now 18 years old.

          Was it an extremely difficult hardship. Absolutely.

        • purr

          Yeah,and you’d put her through another pregnancy even if it killed her, wouldn’t you?

        • wlad

          I would practice NFP. If I was told that the next pregnancy would kill her, I would stop having sex.

          Killing a child–very bad.
          Not having sex–I can live with that.

        • smrnda

          Why not get a vasectomy? That is way more reliable than NFP, and it’s a very minor surgical procedure.

        • wlad

          Because I believe that a vasectomy is immoral.

        • smrnda

          Why? It does not kill any fertilized eggs. It also prevents the possibility that a sperm might fertilize and egg and it might not implant. You said all of those eggs that don’t implant are people who die. If you got a vasectomy, the possibility of that would be removed. In fact, a man who tries to have kids, there will be many fertilized eggs that do not implant, meaning many deaths, even if he has many kids. Net result, more dead unimplanted eggs than live kids. A man who gets a vasectomy before becoming sexually active would prevent all such deaths, which you consider the same as full grown people dying.

          Or are you, the stereo typical man, just obsessed with the sanctity of your Unit and cannot bear to have it’s virility and potency and fertility compromised! “O NO! I’ll be shooting blanks! I’m not as masculine as before!”

          Seriously, I think Xtianity is nothing but a huge penis worship cult. I see little evidence for anything else.

        • adam

          Isnt wasting all those eggs and killing them, by NOT fertilizing them just as immoral?

        • wlad

          Adam, I’m pretty sure you would not accept the Catholic theological teaching on sexual matters, so I won’t waste my time.

        • adam

          I wasn’t asking for the Catholic theological teachings.
          I was trying to follow your ‘reasoning’ in a logical fashion.

        • wlad

          OK,
          “Isnt wasting all those eggs and killing them, by NOT fertilizing them just as immoral?”

          Absolutely not. Having a vasectomy is an active decision to surgically harm a properly functioning organ of my body.

        • adam

          And just what part of that properly functioning organ’s function is damaged?
          The part needed to fertilize those eggs.

        • Kodie

          If you don’t need it anymore, why is it different than scheduling sex around your wife’s least horny times of the month? That’s breaking her properly functioning organs and shelving them, while you can pretty much go any time. Your religion is so selfish.

        • adam

          What part is surgically harmed?
          ONLY the part NEEDED to fertilize all those VIABLE eggs and cause their DEATH….

        • purr

          That is hypocritical. You waste Bob’s time.

        • Kodie

          What is the difference between Catholic theological teaching and uh, superstition. Not getting a vasectomy because god says is the same logic as not stepping on a crack or it’ll break your mother’s back.

        • Kodie

          Snipping your balls is more immoral than chancing your wife’s life? And what of all your motherless children? You suck. Your moral priorities are out of whack.

        • purr

          NFP isn’t foolproof. You could still get her pregnant and kill her. Hope that makes you proud.

        • wlad

          Did you not read:

          “If I was told that the next pregnancy would kill her, I would STOP having sex.

        • purr

          Awww. But, what you don’t realize is, even if you’re not told ahead of time if it could kill her, she could still die:P And by that time it’ll be too late! The thing with pregnancy is, a relatively ‘normal’ pregnancy can go from 0 to life threatening in little to no time at all. And if it’s your wife’s life or an abortion, well, you’ll just have to let her and the embryo die:)

          How charming.

        • smrnda

          Tell that to Savita’s husband and surviving kids. Your wife can choose to risk her life, why impose it on everybody else?

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

          Think of the children you didn’t bring into the world. Mrs. Duggars had 20, didn’t she? It’s a wonder you can sleep at night.

          Or perhaps frustrating potential lives is actually OK in some situations … ?

        • smrnda

          How can you decide that pregnancy is never a penalty or something bad? So, if a teenage girl gets gang-raped in some war zone and becomes pregnant in a nation that’s falling apart where survival is uncertain and things like food, medical care and shelter are in scarce supply, she would be “Great! With all those bad things going on, at least I’m pregnant!”

        • wlad

          Rape is one of the most horrible of crimes.

          Pregnancy is never a penalty, and is never bad. The baby is never bad because the father is a rapist. Every pregnancy is good.

          Is pregnancy often a hardship–absolutely. But never bad.

        • purr

          Really? Pregnancy is *never* bad? Even when the woman dies?

          Even when, in the words of Ella Warnock, describing a very common birth injury (which wlad will never have to face)

          Abortion is safer than a vaginal birth that could result in a 4th-degree perineal tear that shreds the fourchette, perineal skin, vaginal mucosa, muscles, anal sphincter, and rectal mucosa. It also frequently results in fecal matter exiting the vagina rather than the anus because it’s basically a structural free-all in there and waste is going out wherever it can with the least resistance.

          There are limited, somewhat inferior medical procedures used to attempt repair the mess; but success is iffy, at best, and while a woman might end up with a degree of pain or discomfort that she can ultimately learn to live with, it certainly isn’t the relatively (and I say that because it is SO fraught with design and practicality issues) well-running reproductive system it had been prior to childbirth.

        • smrnda

          So if a woman is raped, and does not want to be pregnant, tough shit for her? You think men have a right to impregnate women by force, and to force the woman to carry the pregnancy to term? So, in the end I am an incubator. If someone ends up overpowering the *incubator* the *incubator* just loses.

          There is no fucking ‘baby’ wlad, at best a few cells in the beginning that have no functioning brain. Quit calling a lump of cells a ‘baby.’ A pile of bricks is not a house.

          If I was raped, I would want to be able to terminate the pregnancy. I have no desire to be pregnant, and owing to my health, pregnancy would be a very bad idea. I also cannot function without medication that can cause harm to a fetus. Nice to know you fully support men’s right to rape me and force me to have their kids. I am nothing but an incubator to you. I have no right to control my own body or decide not to be pregnant.

          One thing, if I were raped I would prefer fewer people know rather than more. Given that I’m *not heterosexual* and also not that healthy in some ways, there is no chance I would ever get pregnant of my own free will. So if I get raped, and am impregnated, now everybody gets to know I got raped and I can get retraumatized all over again as I have to explain that. On top of that, now I’m obligated to take choices (including possibly very risky ones) because as an incubator I exist only for whatever I’m incubating.

        • wlad

          How do you get “You think men have a right to impregnate women by force,” and “Nice to know you fully support men’s right to rape me.”

          from my statement: “Rape is one of the most horrible of crimes.

        • smrnda

          You say rape is a horrible crime. But yet, if a woman gets raped and becomes pregnant (which, I would assume, you would agree is a crime against her because she has been FORCED to have sex against her will, and is now FORCED to be pregnant against her will) but you think ‘well, she should have to have the baby, no matter what she wants or what the circumstances.’

          So it is a horrible crime to force a woman to have sex, but it is not a horrible crime to force a woman to become pregnant. If it were a horrible crime, you would be against it, no?

          Simplified – forcing a woman to have sex is a crime. Forcing her to be pregnant is not a crime.

        • wlad

          Well, don’t accuse me of supporting rape!

          The resulting child does not deserve the death penalty.

        • smrnda

          There is no child. A zygote is not a child. Not even close. It doesn’t even have a brain yet, which is kind of the distinctive feature of human beings. You are basically looking at a microscopic clump of cells, and deciding that it’s more important than the woman.

          So, what are women who are raped and impregnated supposed to do? Have a party?

          More direct, what should I do? I have quite a few health problems. Being pregnant would be a huge risk. Because of a clump of cells (which I reject as a child or person, since a few bricks is not a house) I’m supposed to risk my life.I’m less important than the clump of cells. The person who exists, who already has thoughts, feelings, memories and such, is the same as a zygote without a brain. Meaning that I’m about equal to an amoeba.

        • wlad

          ” You are basically looking at a microscopic
          clump of cells, and deciding that it’s more important than the woman.”

          Do you support abortion at any time, or just when it is a “clump of cells that you keep bringing up?

        • smrnda

          I support it at all times. Mostly since I think that the actual woman who is already alive should always take precedence over a *potential person.*

        • Kodie

          Holy shit, but you hate women. Does your wife and daughters know how much you hate them and wish them the worst?

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

          Oh, yeah–nothing bad ever comes from bringing a child into the world, unwanted and unloved.

          It’s all good.

        • Kodie

          You stick your fingers in your ears and go la-la-la-la! Pregnancy is absolutely a life ruiner for some people. Like, maybe your wife… other people’s wives, and their motherless children. If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you wish you were dead.

        • smrnda

          A hardship is bad by definition, unless you have a very peculiar definition of ‘bad.’

        • Kodie

          It is immoral to kill an innocent person to save an innocent person.
          The end NEVER justifies the means. The greatest evils in the history of
          the world have been perpetrated in the name of a great good.

          That is exactly what I would expect to hear from someone who was parroting an authority and never learned to think for himself. It makes everything so simple so you never be confused again.

        • adam

          Then why would a god abort so many after they are fertilized?
          http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001488.htm

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

          Then why all the blather about 24 weeks and viability?

  • wlad

    “Yes, it’s important to get the OK/not-OK dividing line for abortion
    right, but legislators deal with tough moral issues all the time.”

    It seems that legislatures in most jurisdictions, and the medical profession, says that the life of human beings is viable at around 24 weeks, and make 24 weeks the cutoff date for abortions. You say you are content to leave that question to the “medical experts and policy makers.”

    But Planned Parenthood, and more and more feminists, are saying abortion is OK at any time before birth, for any reason.

    “You can’t tell me what I can do with my body at any time, and it is not for you to tell me what is a good reason.”

    They admit that even if it is viable after 24 weeks, even if it the killing of a baby, the bodily autonomy of the woman’s life always trumps the life of the baby.

    The two positions are radically different. The spectrum argument makes that very clear.

    But you seem to support both positions. I have NEVER seen you tell a woman’s bodily autonomy proponent–expressed many times in your previous posts, that her position is wrong. and I don’t think you ever would.

    What gives?

    • wlad

      Mary Elizabeth Williams, a pro-choice writer for Salon, cuts to the chase.
      :
      So what if abortion ends life? – Salon.com

      http://www.salon.com/2013/01/…/so_what_if_abortion_ends_li…‎

      Salon

      by Mary Elizabeth Williams – in 58 Google+ circles

      Of all the diabolically clever moves the anti-choice lobby has ever pulled, surely one of the greatest has been its consistent co-opting of the word “life.” Life! Who wants to argue with that? Who wants be on the side of … not-life? That’s why the language of those who support abortion has for so long been carefully couched in other terms. While opponents of abortion eagerly describe themselves as “pro-life,” the rest of us have had to scramble around with not nearly as big-ticket words like “choice” and “reproductive freedom.” The “life” conversation is often too thorny to even broach. Yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.

      As Roe v. Wade enters its fifth decade, we find ourselves at one of the most schizo moments in our national relationship with reproductive choice. In the past year we’ve endured the highest number of abortion restrictions ever. Yet support for abortion rights is at an all-time high, withseven in 10 Americans in favor of letting Roe v. Wade stand, allowing for reproductive choice in all or “most” cases. That’s a stunning 10 percent increase from just a decade ago. And in the midst of this unique moment, Planned Parenthood has taken the bold step of reframing the vernacular – moving away from the easy and easily divisive words “life” and “choice.” Instead, as a new promotional film acknowledges, “It’s not a black and white issue.”

      It’s a move whose time is long overdue. It’s important, because when we don’t look at the complexities of reproduction, we give far too much semantic power to those who’d try to control it. And we play into the sneaky, dirty tricks of the anti-choice lobby when we on the pro-choice side squirm so uncomfortably at the ways in which they’ve repeatedly appropriated the concept of “life.”

      ADVERTISEMENT

      Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. ALWAYS.

      When we on the pro-choice side get cagey around the life question, it makes us illogically contradictory. I have friends who have referred to their abortions in terms of “scraping out a bunch of cells” and then a few years later were exultant over the pregnancies that they unhesitatingly described in terms of “the baby” and “this kid.” I know women who have been relieved at their abortions and grieved over their miscarriages. Why can’t we agree that how they felt about their pregnancies was vastly different, but that it’s pretty silly to pretend that what was growing inside of them wasn’t the same? Fetuses aren’t selective like that. They don’t qualify as human life only if they’re intended to be born.

      When we try to act like a pregnancy doesn’t involve human life, we wind up drawing stupid semantic lines in the sand: first trimester abortion vs. second trimester vs. late term, dancing around the issue trying to decide if there’s a single magic moment when a fetus becomes a person. Are you human only when you’re born? Only when you’re viable outside of the womb? Are you less of a human life when you look like a tadpole than when you can suck on your thumb?

      She never the less concludes.

      My belief that life begins at conception is mine to cling to. And if you believe that it begins at birth, or somewhere around the second trimester, or when the kid finally goes to college, that’s a conversation we can have, one that I hope would be respectful and empathetic and fearless. We can’t have it if those of us who believe that human life exists in utero are afraid we’re somehow going to flub it for the cause. In an Op-Ed on “Why I’m Pro-Choice” in the Michigan Daily this week, Emma Maniere stated, quite perfectly, that “Some argue that abortion takes lives, but I know that abortion saves lives, too.” She understands that it saves lives not just in the most medically literal way, but in the roads that women who have choice then get to go down, in the possibilities for them and for their families. And I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time — even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing

      So Bob,
      Does the life of the mother ALWAS (even unto birth) trump the rights of the “fetus?”

      Or per your spectrum argument–the rights of the mother trumps the life of the baby –until the baby is viable–determined by legislatures and medical expertrs?

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

        Here’s a link that works:

        http://www.salon.com/2013/01/23/so_what_if_abortion_ends_life/

        Wlad, what’s your point? I liked the article. My only point was that she seemed to think that “pro-life” was a lot stronger than I do. I kill stuff all the time, and so do you.

        • wlad

          I’m not sure if you are saying you agree with Mary, but I’ll assume that you have no problem with her view.

          Then why do you continually refer to the spectrum argument–that there is a profound difference between the embryo and the birth of the child, and that viability (leaving the definition to be determined by legislatures and medical doctors) is when human life begins. (you not being sure when it happens or caring).

          If the life of the woman ALWAYS trumps the life of the fetus–Mary’s view–and you agree, the spectrum argument is absolutely useless. No matter where the cutoff point is–20 weeks, 24 weeks, 30 weeks, 36 weeks, a minute before birth–the rights of the life of the woman ALWAYS trumps the life of the fetus. According to you then, the profound differences in the spectrum of pregnancy don’t rally matter.

          So simply announce that as clearly as Mary does-the rights of the woman ALWAYS (even unto birth) trumps the life of the fetus and the spectrum of abortion doesn’t really matter.

          Why play with the spectrum argument–that there is a spectrum of development that matters in decisions concerning abortion?

          Why, if the spectrum argument absolutely does not matter if you accept that that spectrum argument is simply trumped by the bodily autonomy of the woman?

        • smrnda

          Maybe Bob sticks to the spectrum argument rather than the bodily autonomy one because (as far as I know) Bob is a man who will not get pregnant?

        • wlad

          I really don’t know why Bob continues to use the spectrum of pregnancy argument.

          He says that it’s important to get the OK/not OK dividing line for abortion–the spectrum argument.

          But then says he doesn’t know (or care–“has little interest”) when that line is. “Important” for everyone except Bob).

          And then he supports women who say that there is no OK/not OK dividing line for abortion, just bodily autonomy.

          Why is the OK/not OK dividing line important if what really matters is not that line, but the bodily autonomy of the woman that ALWAYS trumps the life of the fetus– all through pregnancy? What use is the spectrum argument?

        • smrnda

          Just because there is no obvious exactly right line doesn’t mean you can’t draw one. In most nations, there is an age where you can legally vote – in the US, it is 18. It’s an arbitrary age and it has been different in the past (it was 21 for a while) but I would imagine that it’s sensible to have some age for that. 18 is the age for lots of things as well – you cannot be drafted for the military before 18 (though we have not had a draft in a while.)

          I think the spectrum argument isn’t as good, but not a terrible argument. I mean, how do we decide when someone is dead? Heart? Breathing? Brain activity? What if we artificially keep the heart beating but the brain is dead? Is the person alive or are we just using technology to cheat death?

        • wlad

          But if Bob accepts the bodily autonomy argument for abortion, which argument does not accept ANY line until birth, why is he still interested in the line, important in the spectrum argument?

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

          Pro-lifers point to how tough picking the abortion line is, but the law has thousands of similar tough calls in sentencing guidelines.

        • smrnda

          I know. I mean, why 18? I found out that you can actually sign up for the military at 17 provided that you actually graduated high school (could someone check that? Still true?) So you could, hypothetically, serve your country and not be able to vote. Or, you can vote at 18, join the military, and sometimes OWN GUNS in some states, but you can’t buy booze. I mean, I think guns require more responsibility than alcohol. I think some of the lines are silly, but lines have to be drawn somewhere. I think the drinking age is kind of ridiculous, but I don’t think it would be responsible for a bartender to pour a 10 year old kid a double scotch.

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

          How many tough decisions like this are on the books for any one state? Surely thousands. Penalties for various crimes under various circumstances; age of consent; age for guns; age for driving various vehicles; amount of education for a food handler’s license; and on and on.

          Where to draw the line for abortion is another tough decision that has been resolved many times.

        • wlad

          “Where to draw the line for abortion is another tough decision that has been resolved many times.”

          “Bodily autonomy proponents reject ANY lines.
          Abortion is ALWAYS OK.

          Bob, you accept the line for abortion that has been resolved many times, by those “wiser” than you, by legislatures and doctors. After this line, abortion not OK.

          You cannot hold both positions at the same time.

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

          You really should keep your confused ideas to yourself. It’s just embarrassing.

          (1) You accept the idea that there’s a spectrum of personhood–not a person as a cell, and fully a person as a newborn.

          (2) Where do we draw the line? Some draw the line at birth, some at conception, and some somewhere in between.

          But why am I wasting my time with you when you’re determined to get your little mind in a confused lather again?

        • wlad

          Because you draw the line at viability determined by experts, and then say you support bodily autonomy, which erases that line.

          In all my reminders to you about this contradiction, you refuse to respond to it, and resort to ridicule.

          Because you can’t support both positions at the same time–abortion cannot be wrong and not wrong at the same time.

          Ridicule does not get you off the hook.

        • Dean Young

          The issue, Bob, is why the law is passing sentence on the child at all. What wrong has the child done?

        • purr

          Use someone’s body without consent, for one thing.

          Hint: it isn’t a child.

        • Dean Young

          Who uses the mother’s body without consent?

        • purr

          zef

        • Dean Young

          Nah, don’t know him. If you do, report him to be punished to the full extent of the law.

        • smrnda

          Zygote/embryo/fetus. It’s shorthand that we resort to in these debates so we don’t all get carpal tunnel.

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

          Child? What child?

        • Dean Young

          The child in process, Bob. Do you stop being Bob when you sleep and awake renewed?

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

          Oh, the child-to-be. Now I get it. See, when you said “child,” I thought you meant it literally.

          Argument from Potential.

        • Dean Young

          Nope, a child Bob. Calling the child a potential child doesn’t do justice to the child. We’ve touched on this before in the Plantinga debate. A pregnant mother is beaten. Her child, developing normally, is destroyed. Is this an argument from potential?

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

          Nope, a child Bob.

          You can call a zygote whatever you want. Call it a balloon animal, if that works for you. We may have difficulty communicating, however, especially when you demand that your definition is the only valid one.

          Calling the child a potential child doesn’t do justice to the child.

          Sounds good to me. I don’t call a zygote a child.

          A pregnant mother is beaten. Her child, developing normally, is destroyed. Is this an argument from potential?

          No, it’s a change of topic.

          The argument from potential says, “Well, it’s not a child yet, but it will be.” You’ll respond, “Well, I think it’s a child from day 1,” but that won’t convince anyone.

          I interpret your puzzle here to be: suppose a pregnant woman has a miscarriage because of violence; what should her reaction be?

          If she was on the way to a clinic to get an abortion, she would see the result as a silver lining. If she wanted the baby, she might think this was the worst day of her entire life. People see the fetus differently in different situations.

        • Dean Young

          You’re right Bob, Me saying the fetus is a child won’t convince anyone who embraces materialism. But, perhaps there is another mom who rejects materialism. Are you (or the abortion clinic) going to respect her doubts about abortion and counsel her with honesty? Or will you bite and swallow her into your own dark mouth?

        • purr

          OH puh leez? Really?

          Abortion clinics and PP will routinely ask women if they are *sure* about what they are doing, and if they are being coerced into it. They will even help with women adoption if they choose to have the baby, and will do what they can to help her if she chooses to have the kid.

          Pro-choice is about respecting a woman’s decision to determine her own reproductive future – and that includes choosing to have the kid.

          /eyeroll

        • Dean Young

          So, you’ve been to one, had an abortion and talk from experience?

        • purr

          http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/pregnancy/abortion-21519.htm

          “”Millions of women face unplanned pregnancies every year. If you are deciding what to do about an unplanned pregnancy, you have a lot to think about. You have three options — abortion, adoption, and parenting.””

        • Dean Young

          I asked you a simple question. Have you had an abortion or consulted at an abortion clinic? You never answered me, but you have a lot of “pamphlety” advice for women who don’t know their options.

        • purr

          Have you had an abortion or consulted at an abortion clinic?

          That’s irrelevant. Because it’s anecdata.

          However, I will answer. No. However, I know women who have. They are on these boards and others. And they have talked about their experiences – the clinics always make sure that the women really wanna go through with it. They aren’t, as you imagine, in your fevered mental masturbations, wringing their hands together furiously thinking about how they wanna kill every unborn baybeee like NAOW!!

        • Dean Young

          Nope, it’s not irrelevant. First hand experience is highly prized. I’m sure that some agency is tingling to get their hands on you.

        • purr

          I prefer to go by the services that PP ACTUALLY provides, over anecdata. Anecdata is helpful, but, like I said, I prefer to with stuff that can actually be proven.

          Like what the organization DOES.

          Adoption:

          http://www.ppin.org/healthcenters/patientservices_adoption_services.html

          http://www.plannedparenthood.org/illinois/AdoptionReferral-37683.htm

          http://www.plannedparenthood.org/ppmh/adoption-32816.htm

          Donations for diapers and other things, so they can give to new parents vs. mercilessly murdering unborn baybeez and taking the money and running:

          http://www.plannedparenthood.org/greater-ohio/kind-donations-39558.htm

          Here is a tumblr about everything PP does:

          http://fuckyeahplannedparenthood.tumblr.com/post/15095467722/what-is-this-true-story-planned-parenthood-does-a

          “”Planned Parenthood also provides a shit ton of prenatal care. Young parents in need of vitamins, diapers, clothes, and ultrasounds go to PP.
          PP can hook you up. They can also provide child care. As in, if you’re super tight on money and can’t afford a pediatrician (we all know how expensive that is), PP can provide your little one with checkups.

          And guess what? They can do adoption referrals!

          Planned Parenthood can also provide you with information, should you be in an abusive relationship or just coming out of one.

          Oh, and they provide sex ed!””

        • smrnda

          I have never had an abortion, but I know of at least 5 women I can think of offhand who did. I live in a state with few abortion restrictions, so the women I know who lives in this state got abortions at early stages of the pregnancy with no difficulty, and none of them seem to regret it. In 1 case the woman was married, and her husband accepted/supported her decision, partly because at the time they didn’t have the resources to take care of a child.

          I also know 1 woman who had an abortion in S Korea, but there’s less stigma attached to abortion there. In that case the woman was in college, so it was accepted by about everybody she told as the sensible thing to do.

          I know women who were faced with unplanned pregnancies which were both out of wedlock and sometimes not even at a time when they or the father could have supplied adequate financial support to a child, and I know a few of these women got prenatal care at planned parenthood because it was affordable.

          You see, the name is PLANNED parenthood, meaning someone deciding whether or not to be pregnant rather that totally leaving it up to chance. Once you’re PLANNING on becoming a parent, that’s what support you get.

        • Dean Young

          There are other ways to make those choices without playing fast and loose with an unborn baby. Or, are you telling me that abortion is the only way to prevent having children? I know there are many women who respect their reproductive future and practice safe sex. It’s not difficult to do and nobody gets harmed.

        • smrnda

          A few issues – first, even with contraception there is some potential for failure, however rare.

          The other problem is anti-choice politicians often fight any measures that would make contraception readily available, including giving employers the right to demand that insurance companies *not* offer contraception is insurance plans (even though insurance companies know this is a benefit, and employees want it.) Or defunding organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide contraception access – $$ is a factor in access to contraception. I mean, I think contraception should be free and readily available at every street corner.

          Another deal is that social conservatives in the US (don’t know where you are from) fight against having accurate sex education in schools. You can’t fault people for not practicing safe sex when they haven’t been taught in the first place.

        • Dean Young

          Thanks smrnda – I don’t know much about the politics of abortion in the USA, but you are quite right regarding sex education. Imagine if young people were taught that having a child is a big responsibility. Imagine if they were taught that life begins at conception, so don’t take falling pregnant lightly. Unfortunately, the popular message is that a fetus is just a bunch of body cells that can be easily and painlessly sloughed away. If you make a mistake, no worries, just abort it. Unfortunately, the child is almost always killed and sometimes, after complications, the mother too. But, this is just swept away under the carpet of pro-choice materialism.

          The phsycological and physical damage of abortion to pregnant women is a secret. This is quite odd considering how much business the abortion clinics generate. For such a busy practice, you would think that statistics would be easily accessible, but they aren’t. Not in SA, anyway. Why? Because who cares? She came in, filled out a form and had the abortion. Here, abortion is basically on demand. In our popular media, a figure of about 5% maternal deaths is sometimes bandied about. Of those, perhaps 50%-57% are from illegal (backstreet) abortions. But, nobody (john or jane public) knows for sure.

          So, illegal and legal (clinic) abortions are practically on a par in terms of abortion related deaths for the woman. Is 5% an acceptable death rate for women having abortions? Is 1%? Some women already have kids, so they are also impacted. If a woman dies after aborting her third or fourth chid, that leaves thousands of kids without a mom in SA accumulating and struggling desperately year after year. That doesn’t help the kids. So, whose benefitting? Must be the abortion clinics. It’s a greedy capatilistic flesh trade that doesn’t care about women. They saw a niche to make money and they filled it.

          The Mary Stopes clinic in SA does a roaring trade and they are a multinational organisation. Stopes grew directly out of the early 20th century eugenics movement and operates in 43 countries. In 2009 there were 626 Marie Stopes abortuaries worldwide, including 29 in South Africa. In 2009 Marie Stopes SA launched ten micro-clinics, offering contraception and abortions in townships in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal. They carry out over a third of the officially recorded abortions in South Africa and rake in over R160 million (conservative estimate of gross income) each year. (this info from http://joymag.co.za/newsitem.php?newsID=115)

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

          Imagine if young people were taught that having a child is a big responsibility.

          While we’re imagining, imagine that young people were taught how sex works with the goal of minimizing unwanted pregnancies. Also, contraceptives were easily available. My guess is that that would reduce U.S. abortions more than making abortion illegal.

          So, whose benefitting? Must be the abortion clinics. It’s a greedy capatilistic flesh trade that doesn’t care about women.

          I know nothing about the conditions in S. Africa. But in the U.S., you won’t find any pro-choice advocate eager to see the abortion clinics ring those cash registers. That’s why Planned Parenthood always has its hand out for donations. They subsidize their work for the benefit of their patients.

        • Dean Young

          Sure, sex education is vital but here’s the rub; if youngsters are taught (a) abortion is safer or better than being pregnant and (b) the unborn child is just a clump of easily-removed cellular tissue, where’s the incentive to always practice safe sex?

          Once you’ve got people to accept those beliefs, no amount of education is going to stop unwanted pregnancies.

        • adam

          A. So if abortion IS safer, do you want people being lied to?
          A. Better is subjective, some people want to be pregnant
          B. So if the unborn child IS just a clump of easily removed cellular tissue, do you want people being lied to?

        • Dean Young

          It’s definitely not safer for the unborn child and it not safer for the woman. Are you saying the unborn child is a mere tissue of cells? Well, that’s materialism for you, isn’t it? It’s an absurd philosophy.

        • adam

          A. Around half of all pregnancies are aborted naturally, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001488.htm

          So do you have evidence that it is not safer for the woman?
          http://realchoice.0catch.com/images/2004CDCChart.gif

          http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-relatedmortality.htm

          Not fertilizing all eggs is definitely not safer for all those potential human beings.

          B. It is self-evident that is a ‘clump of easily removed cellular tissue’. It doesn’t appear to be all that difficult to remove.
          So IF those are true,

          Do you want people being lied to?

        • Dean Young

          Nope, do you want people to be lied to?

        • adam

          Of course not, my search is for the TRUTH.

          So do you have evidence that it is not safer for the woman?

          It is self-evident that is a ‘clump of easily removed cellular tissue’. It doesn’t appear to be all that difficult to remove.

          Can you demonstrate that it is more than that?
          And significantly more than the egg and sperm that created the cellular tissue?

        • Kodie

          Are you saying that a clump of insensate tissue of cells is a child? Well, that’s delusion for you, isn’t it? It’s an absurd philosophy to attribute personal human qualities onto, say, a turd or your hair, isn’t it? What is magically a person about it?

          And you do like people being lied to. You believe propaganda and conspiracy to enslave women, and you actively spread it.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think people are being taught that abortion is safer than being pregnant, as in, most people take the risk not thinking that there are any. If people are taught that it’s a person they are now irrevocably obligated to, that’s a lie perpetuated by the pro-life agenda to enslave and threaten women. You don’t care about the little tiny baby waste-people, you want “incentives”.

        • Dean Young

          Kodie, maybe you’re enslaved to your point of view. You keep harping on about enslavement. You also seem to know a lot about my motives without even knowing me. Get off your high horse and stop shrilling at everyone.

        • Kodie

          I am talking about one “person” as you call it being allowed to take over the life of another person. While I don’t call that thing a person, you are on behalf of it, enslaving women to the contents of her uterus. That’s what you’re in favor of. Why don’t you face the questions instead of crying that you’re getting beat. What is the vast difference between an egg or a sperm, and a sperm+egg. I’m not “enslaved,” but you are a pawn of propaganda. You are meant to be hooked by wittew baybays, but it’s really about punishing women for having sex. That’s slavery. That’s considering women less than a cell, even. Not even less than a man, less than a microscopic insensate combination of recently bio-waste material.

          To hold her down for the rest of her life in service to it!

          Before you go saying that it’s “nature” and what she’s built for, and that she should have maternal instincts kick in and get sentimental, you still haven’t answered the question. A vile form of sexism is the patronizing enslavement of women by telling her what you think she should be and think about pregnancy or motherhood. You’re still taking away her choice, and enslaving her to a magical cell you equate with a born person.

          So, Dean. What’s so magical that the course of her life needs to be determined by it.

        • Dean Young

          A baby doesn’t take over your life, Kodie. It changes it let’s make no mistake. As for crying that I’m beaten, believe what you want. I’ve made up my own mind about what’s important to me.

          Also, what’s so wrong about being in service to another person? I’m in service to people every day of my life to make a living. Sometimes it’s rewarding and other times it’s frustrating. So what? That’s life.

          As for telling people what they should or shouldn’t do, that happens in every aspect of life. Some advice is good and other advice is not so good. But, you insist that abortion for any and every reason is good. That’s your opinion and I don’t agree with it. Are you so sure that you are right?

          Why should I, or anyone else for that matter, have to accept that Kodie is right? The short answer is that I don’t. You can scream “enslavement” until the cows come home, but that’s just your opinion.

        • Kodie

          You have your choice, it’s yours. Your choice isn’t mine. You are magically defining something, across the board for everyone to adhere to, because you believe it’s true, and “so what”? So what? People have to serve others all the time, what’s the big deal??????

          SLAVERY!

          It can kill her, and even if it doesn’t kill her, her life is no longer what she wants it to be – YOU STILL HAVEN’T SAID FOR WHAT MAGICAL INSTANT TRANSFORMATION.

          Why should anyone be enslaved to this ‘it’. Show us how that becomes a person instantly and forevermore. Even if we hypothetically grant that it’s a person, why is an intruding parasite allowed to, MUST TO, live, and why does that take over a woman’s body and life from here on out? You are demeaning a woman’s value below a fertilized magical cell that is somehow everything that a sperm or an egg is not. And you still keep avoiding answering that question.

          “So what”?? It’s the definition of slavery.

        • Dean Young

          Intruding parasite? Once a parasite always a parasite I think. But, perhaps, you still believe that a baby develops according to Haeckel’s scientific fraud. It’s human from the get go, Kodie.

          So you never accept service from anybody, including waiters in a restaurant, or a bank clerk or a doctor because that enslaves them to fulfill your needs? Have you ever offered service to someone else’s needs or is it just about Kodie? Why are your needs more important than anyone else’s?

        • Kodie

          You are very dense and evasive. It’s slavery for you to dictate that women must live in service to the fertilized egg, the conception. People who get paid for a living are in an economic agreement, just like the many women who agree to host their fertilized egg through gestation.

          And you EVADED that magical event: what happens, Dean? What happens between a sperm and and egg, unsentimental bio-waste, after they meet, that’s more precious than a woman’s body or life or future or self-determination? Why is that a baby now?

          What you are promoting is slavery.

        • Dean Young

          Life is not just an economic arrangement, Kodie. If it were, that would be the ultimate slavery. But, you are value loading the terms yourself. Why is it unsentimental bio-waste but a precious adult body? Why can’t both be precious?

        • Kodie

          We’re not talking about adults with jobs. Why did you once again not answer my question? We’re talking about a fertilized cell and what makes that so magical and precious that an egg or a sperm does not by itself have?

          ANSWER THAT or STFU.

        • Dean Young

          So a job defines a human being’s value? What about a mentally disabled child? Maybe we should just line them up against a wall and shoot them for taking up space. Your worldview is what I detest, Kodie. It’s materialism at its worst. Go whine about your slavery to someone else.

        • Kodie

          STFU it is, I guess. You missed the point and you evaded the #1 most important question you should be only too eager to answer. You are useless to this conversation. You detest my “worldview” when you jump to conclusions about what it is. All you want to do is insult and take the heat off the fact that you keep talking and say nothing.

        • Dean Young

          Sounds familiar, because that’s my impression of the people here too. I say life starts at conception, you say demonstrate it. Well, it’s quite easy, nobody developed from just an egg, or just a hair or toenail or whatever other ridiculous example you’ve used. Human life needs both sperm and egg to take. Its not magical, but it is quite marvelous.

        • Kodie

          “Marvel” is not an answer either. If you are working backwards from what a person is to what they used to be, an egg all by itself needs a sperm, and a zygote needs a willing human host. You are not getting to tell me what makes A FERTILIZED EGG (not what it would become) effectively more precious material than an egg or a sperm by itself or a turd or your hair or your skin cells that you wash off, or any other part of you, or a cockroach, or a rat, or a carrot.

          Human DNA is not an answer, you have to be more specific. You can say “life begins at conception” and I agree that if you want it to, that’s the sequence of events. But you fail when you say that it is already something we can’t dispose of and must be enslaved to. What makes that already a person who is allowed to enslave another person bodily, financially, and emotionally, or determine the course of someone else’s life? That’s slavery. What gives a single fertilized cell the right to crack the whip on anyone?

          What gives you the right to force your delusions, calling “materialism” absurd, on anyone? If it’s not materialism, what is it that an egg becomes after it gets together with a sperm?

        • MNb

          “if youngsters are taught (a) abortion is safer or better than being pregnant”
          Who tells them so? You? Not me. Or anybody in The Netherlands, where abortion has been legal since 1981 and only fringe christians complain now and then (not even the orthodox protestants in Dutch parliament).
          Of course this organization has done a lot of good things too.

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

          “Once you’ve got people …..”
          Once you’ve got people convinced that arsenic is healthy human overpopulation will be much less of a problem.
          Makes about as much sense.

        • Dean Young

          I’m not sure how you can draw parallels between a materialistic worldview and convincing people to take arsenic. Maybe it makes sense to you, but not to me.

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

          abortion is safer or better than being pregnant

          Yes, abortion is safer than a conventional delivery. Think about the size of what we’re talking about, and this is obvious.

          where’s the incentive to always practice safe sex?

          What world are you living in? Show me someone with an unwanted pregnancy who’s totally sanguine about it. Not an issue at all. The process is less stressful than having a pedicure.

          Safe sex is way easier than an abortion. The argument is easy to make.

          The abortion situation in the US is either a holocaust or it’s not. If it is, you should demand that government hand out contraception like candy along with top-quality education so that everyone knows how to use it. Who cares if teens screw like rabbits as long as there is no unwanted pregnancy?

        • purr

          The phsycological and physical damage of abortion to pregnant women is a secret

          All of the studies purporting to show a negative affect on women’s mental health after abortion – post abortion syndrome – have been debunked.

        • Kodie

          For one, you believe a lot of anti-choice propaganda. Anti-choice seeks to oppress women as slaves to their uteruses, and the men who would choose amongst them by the features and virtues of the women who have them. Cashing in on abortions is absurd. “They saw a niche to make money and cashed in”, bullshit. Who told you that? You are saying as if every 12 minutes on tv, they are advertising to women to rid themselves of their fetuses, like an Oreo commercial that features only fit, healthy, and social young people scarfing down fattening cookies nowhere near an internet or a stained t-shirt, or a personal injury lawyer. Riiiiight.

          You have a vivid imagination. In the US, you could hardly know if there was a Planned Parenthood in your neighborhood if you didn’t drive by it or it was never on the news because of protesters. Being pregnant is a life sentence that drastically changes someone’s course in life, and abortion serves a need – a need that has existed since the beginning of ever. Children take up more resources immediately, and not everyone has this ideal circumstance or obligation to care for one. Being pregnant is a secret crisis – you’re supposed to be ready, you’re supposed to have enough money, you’re supposed to want babies. You’re not supposed to have sex, you’re not supposed to be ambitious. Of course, people will want to end their pregnancies! Forever!

          If someone somewhere in the world is finding a way to profit exorbitantly from this crisis, shame on them. But that’s not what this is about. If you oppose abortion on some other principle than “abortion clinics take advantage and monopolize women like the mafia loan shark”, then that is different. You seem to have a list of objections to abortion that have nothing to do with ending a pregnancy. You oppose scammers and greedy businesses, and you oppose women dying (whether they really are or not, you don’t care) from abortions – hey guess what? We’re against corruption too. We’re against the butchers who cannot perform an abortion so women are not disfigured or rendered infertile or die from the procedure.

          If you’re against something else, that has to be a separate issue. Being opposed to the termination of a ` will bring about more butchers, not less. Abortion will always be needed and sought.

        • purr

          1) All known forms of contraception have known failure rates, including surgical sterilization. A woman could theoretically get pregnant even if her uterus has been removed – as long as her ovaries are producing eggs, one can become fertilized, and it could attach itself to her internal organs

          2) Are you acting obtuse on purpose? Abortion is the *last* resort when other methods fail. And yes, sometimes people DO make mistakes, and have sex without protection, but life is very complicated. You are assuming that dirty slutty sluts just want to have teh free sex and kill their ‘babies’ so they can continue having more free sex, right?

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

          I don’t see how materialism fits in. I don’t have to believe in a soul to value a cow more than a rat. Many people who don’t believe in souls see an enormous difference in inherent value between a newborn and a single microscopic cell.

          Or will you bite and swallow her into your own dark mouth?

          Well, all atheists are Satan worshippers and regularly eat babies. I thought I’d heard it all, but this phrase is new to me, I’m afraid. But it sounds like destruction. Atheists love destruction.

          Now, back to (my interpretation of) the issue at hand. I can’t imagine what kind of counselling you imagine I or any other pro-choice person would want to give someone with an unexpected pregnancy. I’d want all the facts laid out honestly. If she wants to go through with it, great; if she doesn’t want to; great. What other approach is there?

          Y’know what? That gives me an idea: we should call our side of the debate the pro-choice side, because we respect the choice that the woman must make. (That was just top-of-my-head. I don’t know if it’ll go anywhere.)

        • purr
        • Niemand

          I never understood this argument “pro-life” people make about sleep. Sleep is a very active state with distinct EEG patterns that an embryo is incapable of making. Also, it’s not completely unconscious. Don’t they have dreams?

        • purr

          Drew Hymer from Personhood USA argued that when a person is sleeping or in a coma that they have ‘lost’ the capacity for sentience, and that they *only* regain it when they awake. Therefore, sleeping people ONLY have the potential capacity for sentience, just like sleeping embryos!

          These people abuse logic *and* words. it makes my head hurt.

        • Niemand

          Does Hymer not dream or what? Or does he not think that he is sentient when dreaming? When I dream I have a distinct viewpoint persona and often recognize that I am dreaming. Not to mention the occasional lucid dream, which is tons of fun because I get to play god and make the world do what I want it to. How is this not sentient behavior?

        • Dean Young

          When you say distinct are you saying distinct from adults or no EEG patterns in embryos?

        • Niemand

          Wha…? EEG patterns in adults or babies look different depending on if the person is awake, asleep, or in another mental state. In none of these conditions is the EEG “flat” or absent. Embryos don’t have any EEG pattern for the simple reason that they don’t yet have stationary neurons. Do you seriously not understand that people’s brain activity changes during sleep?

        • Dean Young

          Seriously? How convenient for me! EEG patterns in adults and babies look different but they both have EEG patterns. Well, I would have expected that, considering they are human beings in different states.

        • Niemand

          EEG patterns in adults and babies look different but they both have EEG patterns

          Eh, not really. There are minor differences, more alpha/beta in adults, for example, but not huge ones. So have you decided to abandon your argument that people who are asleep don’t have brain activity (or whatever it was you were arguing)?

        • Dean Young

          Crumbs, no. That’s not what I’m arguing. Where did you get that idea? I’m arguing that babies are human life forms from the beginning of conception.

        • Niemand

          Crumbs, no. That’s not what I’m arguing. Where did you get that idea?

          Probably from your comment, in which you said, “Do you stop being Bob when you sleep and awake renewed?” That implies that you think that people’s brains simply stop when they sleep or maybe that their souls leave their bodies or something like that. What did you mean, then, and what relevance does it have?

          I’m arguing that babies are human life forms from the beginning of conception.

          Why? In what way are single celled organisms “babies”?

        • Dean Young

          Niemand, babies are not single celled organisms.

        • Niemand

          I quite agree. Just conceived zygotes, however, are. If you can’t tell one from the other, there’s something wrong.

        • smrnda

          Good point. Nothing in the uterus looks like ‘baby’ for quite some time.

        • smrnda

          But a zygote is clearly not a baby. Have you seen many picture of embryos?

        • Dean Young

          Wait brother. Are you the same Niemand that argued that cells naturally sloughed are the same as embryo’s aborted?

        • Niemand

          Yes. If a cell capable (under the right circumstances) of becoming a person is a baby then the cells sloughed in your intestines are also babies. Too bad about those multiple murders you’re committing every day.

        • Dean Young

          Are you insane? How do you draw a parallel between an ageing body and a fertilized egg?

        • Niemand

          What does age have to do with anything? Do you imagine that digestion is something only old people do?

        • Dean Young

          Once born, we age. Is that a new concept for you?

        • Niemand

          Again, what does “an aging body” have to do with anything? You’re kind of just throwing out key words without explaining what you mean.

        • purr

          Deepity.

        • Dean Young

          Niemand, when I was 5 I went to school, when I was 18 I went to the army, when I was 23 I went to university and so on. Life doesn’t stop at some ideal age mate. What is so difficult to understand?

        • purr

          Why didn’t you join the army at 5?

        • Dean Young

          I couldn’t carry the machine gun. Are you South African or a Dutchman?

        • purr

          What do you have against South Africans and Dutchmen???

        • Dean Young

          Just that if you are a South African or Dutchman, you must be a hairy, cross-eyed, white baboon!

        • smrnda

          Yeah, the fertilized egg is much less a human than an aging human body. No brain, not even most of the major organs yet.

        • adam

          Eggs are a child in process
          As is a sperm

        • Dean Young

          Nope, the child is a being with 50% DNA from his mom and 50% DNA from his dad. Nevertheless, you are a moron completed! Congratulations, mate.

        • purr

          Really? That all it takes to make a child? Then that means that clones can’t be children right, because they don’t have DNA from a father?

          And read this:

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

          In 100% of cases there will be a spontaneous abortion if the egg is bad. That egg is create 3wks prior to fertilization. Fertilization can occur on these ‘bad eggs’. And they can even implant. But they will still die iIf the egg is bad.

          So simply saying ‘50% DNA from both parents = person’ is pretty laughable.

        • Dean Young

          Nope, making a child or a human being also takes love and patience. We are not just material things. But, I was responding to your absurd “a sperm is a child in process” comment. If you find my comment laughable mate, imagine how laughable I find you. Aah, but that’s beyond your imagination I suppose.

        • purr

          That wasn’t my comment. It was adam’s.

          Nope, making a child or a human being also takes love and patience. We are not just material things

          We are not just mindless single celled organisms, you mean?

        • Dean Young

          Apologies all round. I just clicked the respond button. We are not mindless single or even multi-celled organisms. We do have minds despite what materialists preach in their closed, tight hats.

        • purr

          Does a zygote have a mind?

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

          Are minds more than what brains do? Not as far as I’ve heard. Further: I see no evidence for souls.

          (But that’s probably a tangent.)

        • purr

          I like a tight hat. Good when exercising.

        • Niemand

          I think that there must be some internet rule that in any comment or post in which someone calls someone else a moron, they must make a basic mistake that opens them to the same accusation. In this case, basic biology: female babies get 50% of their genomic DNA from their mothers, 50% from their fathers. Males get a bit less of their genomic DNA from their fathers due to getting a Y-chromosome without much information on it. Both get their mitochondrial DNA from their mothers and no one else (at least in the absence in vitro manipulation as is performed in women with mitochondrial diseases). This is high school biology stuff, maybe grade school these days.

        • purr

          Are you a doctor? Biologist? How about Anat? The two of you seem to be the most knowledgeable about all things biological from LJF.

        • Dean Young

          How precise and buttoned up you are Niemand! Well done. Nevertheless, the comment that a sperm is a baby in process is moronic. The baby typically requires two sets of DNA. So maybe it’s 49.975% from dad and the rest from mom. Who cares? It’s half and half, or do you measure everything precisely even when it doesn’t add anything to the argument? But, I’m interested now! How much DNA does the baby get exactly from the father?

        • purr

          A clone is 100pct DNA from it’s donor. Is the clone not a ‘baby’ because of this?

        • Dean Young

          Well, does the donor share the double gift of DNA? Think about it. Obviously it still has both sets of DNA from the mother and the father.

        • purr

          So does this mean that a white blood cell = a baby? Because it has 50/50 DNA from both parents?

        • Dean Young

          No, a white blood cell or any cell for that matter, belongs to the baby. The baby doesn’t begin as a white blood cell, he or she manufactures it.

        • purr

          You are saying that 50/50 DNA = a baby.

          The that the 50/50 DNA in a clone = a baby

          Where do you think pre-clone cells come from? The original cell. from the donor’s body, will have that 50/50 DNA…

          Therefore, somatic cells = babies

          By your definition.

        • Dean Young

          Yes, a cloned cell will have the 50% DNA input of both original parents. Cloning is not putting anything new on the table. It’s taking what is originally there and duplicating it.

        • purr

          Yeah, so white blood cells = babies.

          By your definition.

        • Dean Young

          Are you saying that white blood cells are used to clone human babies?

        • purr
        • Dean Young

          Don’t evade the question. From your own reference: The cloning technique involves replacing the nucleus of an unfertilized egg with the nucleus of an adult somatic cell, such as a blood or skin cell. The egg is then placed inside a surrogate mother.

        • purr

          I was kind enough not to evade your question. But you should extend that courtesy to Kodie and stop ignoring her.

          She did ask you a question, which you declined to answer.

          And you need to cool your heels – not everyone is at the pc every minute of the day hovering over disqus.

        • Niemand

          The technique described produces embryos (babies, according to you) using WBCs (or skin cells or whatever) and unfertilized eggs. No sperm needed, all genetic information from a single parent–and from a somatic cell source. Surely then the WBC nucleus is a “baby” since it is capable-under the right circumstances-of producing a “complete” human being.

          Sigh. That horrible massacre in your blood, bone marrow, spleen, and lymph nodes…

        • Dean Young

          I asked you a simple question: Are you telling me that white blood cells are used to clone human babies?

        • Dean Young

          But, I’m interested, how does cloning work and what somatic cells are used in the procedure?

        • purr
        • purr

          And this, with human skin cells:

          http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/about/news_events/news/2013/05-15-ohsu-research-team-succe.cfm

          It’s possible to make a zygote out of many of the cells in the human body.

        • Dean Young

          Did you read my last reply? You skip over the details entirely. But, you said, somatic cells = babies and your own reference worked against you. How does cloning work again?

        • purr

          http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/16/us-science-stemcells-idUSBRE94E0V220130516

          In succeeding with humans, the Oregon team
          toppled the dogma that there is something odd about human eggs or embryos, said stem cell expert Rudolf Jaenisch of the Whitehead Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Published data said there was a difference in principle between humans and the mice and
          other animals that had been cloned, a difference that presented an insurmountable barrier to human cloning” for either reproduction or stem cells.

          The Oregon team figured out how to get the egg to act as if it had been fertilized. The secret was
          to keep the eggs in the phase of their growth cycle called “metaphase,” which is when DNA aligns in the middle of the cell before the cell divides. The scientists got the best results when they grew the eggs in a little of a substance that tends to be abundant in labs: caffeine.

          When conducting the same experiment with monkeys, the Oregon scientists stopped at the production of stem cells and never implanted the ball of cells into a surrogate mother. Mitalipov said reproductive cloning is “not our focus, nor do we believe our findings might be used by others” to do it with humans.

          “Reproductive cloning hasn’t been advanced by this new paper,” agreed MIT’s Jaenisch. “If you implanted these embryos, which would be illegal, I think you would get the same results as in mice: Most of them die at birth, and the others encounter big troubles as they age.”

          ————

          It’s only a matter of time before they perfect it. Give it 10 years. And believe me, someone WILL try to clone a human.

          Furthermore, as has been explained to you, a successful fertilization, in the ‘natural’ world, does not automatically lead to a baby at the end. As I explained with that one article, if the egg is bad, fertilization can occur, but the embryo will always die at some point. Doomed from the beginning. So, 50/50 DNA is not ‘magic’ as you seem to believe.

        • Dean Young

          Who said anything about magic? Now I have to sleep. Good night.

        • Niemand

          The baby typically requires two sets of DNA.

          So does the transgenic mouse. So what?

          Then again, as I mentioned, sometimes the “baby” requires more than 2 sets of DNA. Are babies born after transplantation of the fertilized nucleus into a healthy enucleated egg to avoid mitochondrial disease not babies? And then there’s the ever popular identical twins: they require the input of only one “parent”. Chimeras, in contrast, require input from two zygotes, each of which required two parents to create. (Though, of course, the two can be identical.)

          Finally, there’s artificial cloning. It’s not typically done, but that’s a social decision, not a biological one. Would an artificial clone be somehow not human? What about a baby born from oocyte fusion? How far from the sacred “two parents giving 50%” can one be and still be “human” according to you?

        • Dean Young

          Get real, Niemand. Identical twins are not identical to the mom or dad. They share the same DNA and are identical to each other. As for your other questions, couldn’t make head or tail of them. Refer me to some science fiction book, perhaps.

        • Niemand

          Identical twins are not identical to the mom or dad.

          You REALLY don’t know anything about biology, do you? A natural clone (aka identical twin) is the product of separation of the zygote into two zygotes. Both of which have identical DNA and neither of which is the “original” zygote. They are identical to their “parent” zygote.

          As for your other questions, couldn’t make head or tail of them. Refer me to some science fiction book, perhaps.

          Try a biology text. High school, maybe junior high level. These aren’t hard questions. They require only a minimal amount of understanding of biology to answer.

        • Kodie

          What is so exceptionally preservable about 1/2+1/2. It’s still sperm and egg gunk that you have no feelings either 10 seconds earlier.

        • Dean Young

          So you think it’s unimportant, Kodie. So what? Doesn’t change my mind that people are important.

        • Kodie

          I was ASKING you why you find a big irrevocable and significant difference between the material. I didn’t ask you or tell you to change your mind. Try not to miss these things.

        • adam

          But that child would could NOT exist without either.

          And that egg grew up to be a specific person, not a shrimp, or rat or dog, but a human being.

          Eggs and sperm are a child in process.

          Unnecessary and childish ad hominem noted.

        • Dean Young

          No, but it’s the joining of them that’s crucial. Sorry for the personal attack. It was unwarranted and I apologize. I can be a plonker sometimes.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know what the joining has to do with making it different, first from waste to something we have to save even if it kills a woman.

        • Dean Young

          Kodie, are you really equating your eggs with waste? I find that difficult to reconcile. Also, abortions sometimes kill the women along with the baby too.

        • Kodie

          You equate eggs with not a person that suddenly becomes a person when introduced to a sperm. I don’t know what you call an egg that goes down the toilet because a woman ovulated but didn’t get pregnant. I call things that go down the toilet “waste”. Maybe you call it something else.

          As for abortions “sometimes” killing the women – you exaggerate, and it’s tu quoque, since bearing a child kills way more women. You pretend to care about the life of the women, but you enslave them.

        • Dean Young

          You are right about naturally eliminated bio material being waste. But you said eggs are waste, not unfertilized and naturally eliminated eggs. Unfortunately, some newly-borns also find their way into the toilet. Are they waste?

          As for abortion being safer than pregnancy, that really depends on what you read and who you believe. As I’ve never enslaved a woman I wouldn’t even know how to go about it.

        • Niemand

          You are right about naturally eliminated bio material being waste.

          This sort of statement is the type that demonstrates to me that the average pregnancy slavery advocate has no interest at all in the survival of embryos. “Naturally eliminated bio material”, i.e. miscarried embryos and fetuses, is dismissed as “waste”. Would the average “pro-life” person be so facile about the death of a newborn? Up to 80% of fertilized eggs fail to make it to viability and birth. That’s a lot of dead “babies”–and no concern at all from the “pro-life” movement. If the people involved really thought that just fertilized eggs were babies, they’d be horrified (at least, I hope they would)! The very fact that they aren’t, that they dismiss these “babies” as “waste” is a strong indication that they have no belief in fertilized eggs as babies.

        • Kodie

          Yes, I said eggs are waste. Eggs are regularly sent to hang out in the uterus and then leave. I don’t know how you make a leap to infanticide from that. But the question was how you make a leap to an egg is not a person to an egg + sperm is a person.

          Being pro-save that waste+waste combo enslaves women. You have not told us what is so precious about that thing that it is already a person.

        • MNb

          “Being pro-save that waste+waste combo enslaves women. ”
          Yeah, I can hardly imagine a worse torture than a woman being obliged to carry every single egg she produces during her life unto the complete fullfillment of birth.

          http://www.advancedfertility.com/embryos.htm
          First picture, totally a human person, according to Dean Young and co with a fully realized potential of personhood. Give it voting rights now!

        • Kodie

          Here’s what I don’t really understand – if you go in the opposite direction, Dean obviously agrees as any rational person would, that an egg is expendable, sperm are expendable. But if you think like Dean, that egg is destined to be someone, so you better fertilize it before it gets expelled. To do so denies that egg the right to live and it just gives me tears in my eyes to think about all the babies who die every month. Dean’s just not thinking about the babies as much as he could.

          He still hasn’t said what’s so different that expelling an unfertilized egg is as emotionally wrought as clipping toenails, while an abortion is like infanticide.

        • Niemand

          Abortion is over 10x safer than completing a pregnancy (mortality of about 14 per 100,000 versus <0.5 per 100,000 for completing pregnancy versus legal abortion. The risk of abortion is, of course, lower in the first trimester.)

        • adam

          NP
          Why is the joining of them crucial?
          Are they no less potential?

        • Dean Young

          I suppose there must be some sort of potential, but to my mind, life begins at conception. If the egg is never fertilized, the potential remains unrealized.

        • adam

          Ok, so, IN YOUR MIND, on the spectrum of life this is where you choose for the beginning of life.
          You do realize that about half of fertilized eggs never have their potential realized either, by natural (or godly means, depending on your interpretation).
          So at conception there is still only half the potential.
          Just as eggs are half the potential.

        • Dean Young

          Nope, at conception you have conception, not a potential conception. What happens thereafter is immaterial to the argument.

        • adam

          But both are still ONLY potential human beings.
          Conception does not guarantee a human being.

        • Kodie

          Why is it immaterial? What is material about conception that equals a baby, when it’s just an egg meeting a sperm? What happened there that the rest of gestation is immaterial? Can you take it out and swaddle it and sing it to sleep and take it for rides in a stroller to introduce your baby to its aunts and uncles? Isn’t it adorable? Who wants to push an 8-pound baby out their crotch with a face and stuff, when they can just have a microscopic blob of cells to cuddle?

        • MNb

          If the zygote gets aborted in say the first week the potential remains unrealized as well. Heck, if kids die before 18 their potential (to vote for presidential elections for instance) remain unrealized.
          Once again you don’t make sense.

        • Niemand

          And if the fertilized egg is not gestated then the potential remains unrealized.

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

          life begins at conception

          Not much of a slogan. Some life is valuable, and some isn’t.

          I can imagine this as an ad on the inside of the bus with the next ad saying, “Raid–kills bugs dead!” or “Roach Motel–roaches check in, but they don’t check out.”

        • Dean Young

          It wasn’t meant to be a slogan, Bob. It was part of a reply to adam. Were not talking about roaches but babies. But, I can understand that it might be confusing to your worldview.

        • Kodie

          We’re not talking about babies, you’re talking about -o- is a baby. You can tell the difference between a person and a cockroach, but you can’t tell the difference between a baby and a microscopic recently bio-waste blastocyst.

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

          It wasn’t meant to be a slogan

          What is it then? “Life begins at conception” is certainly a slogan for some people. It’s appeared on the sides of buses.

          If it was just a throwaway observation then I’m wondering why you thought it added to your point.

          Were not talking about roaches but babies

          Nope.

          You were not talking about babies, you were talking about life. Remember?

        • Dean Young

          Context, Bob.

        • Kodie

          What context? A roach is not alive? A roach is not a baby? Roaches are pests, but an embryo cannot be a pest to someone? It’s going to eat, drink, and poop you out of house and home. What’s so magical about the zygote that is higher order than a living roach with a family? Or the living woman it’s building itself out of?

          You’re being irrational, just like you would say it’s irrational to hoard toenails. Before you continue to respond with evasive comments like “context, Bob,” why don’t you tell us what magical event fertilization infers upon an egg that without which, it could be considered monthly bio-waste? So far, that’s all you said is that you believe this. You believe it’s different. You believe life starts at conception. You don’t say why, or what happens or why it’s different.

          Do you not understand why your beliefs don’t count? It has to be in evidence, real, demonstrable. If I were to say (merely) that I believe that toenails are sacred live human cells and nobody should clip them, you would call me delusional. I am calling you delusional in your effort to insist everyone hang onto these things without ever saying why.

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

          Unhelpful.

          What you may be saying is that “life begins at conception” is a meaningless slogan because we happily kill some life forms while we cherish others. Are we on the same page then?

        • adam

          And if the fertilized egg never attaches, then the potential remains unrealized.

          And if the fertilized egg is naturally aborted, then the potential remains unrealized.
          Conception is NOT enough.

          Around half of all pregnancies are aborted naturally, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medline

        • adam

          NP
          Why is the joining of them crucial?
          Are they no less potential?
          If we are to examine the spectrum of life, shouldn’t we follow it through it’s natural path?

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

          Have you even read my stuff?

          The OK/not-OK line is not part of the spectrum argument.

          And then he supports women who say that there is no OK/not OK dividing line for abortion, just bodily autonomy.

          Of course there’s an OK/not-OK line! In this case, it would be at birth.

          Please think before you click on “Post.”

        • wlad

          “The OK/not-OK line is not part of the spectrum argument.”

          Are you kidding me?!

          The spectrum argument is the LYNCHPIN of the spectrum argument for abortion.

          Title of this post–The Spectrum Argument For Abortion.

          It is not an argument against all abortion throughout pregnancy.

          It also does not say abortion is OK throughout pregnancy either.

          The spectrum argument says that abortion is OK–sometimes, at some line, even if that line cannot be exactly defined.

          It is an argument for WHEN, at what line, is abortion OK. When it’s a clump of cells? When it’s a 4 week old fetus? A 18 week old fetus? It says “C’mon pro-lifers, a clump of cells is NOT like a baby a minute before birth.”

          In other words, a clump of cells is not a human being
          but eventually it becomes a human being.

          So, It says abortion OK sometime after conception (not yet a human life), but not OK sometime before birth (now a human life). Where is that line? OK how long after conception? Not OK how long before birth.?

          Bob says he doesn’t know where that line is.

          But he says that the OK/notOK line for abortion is important to him (several times in this post), and he will leave the determination of that line to experts wiser than him (legislatures and doctors)–24 weeks in most jurisdictions in the US.

          And then Bob says: “”The OK/not-OK line is not part of the spectrum argument.”

          HUH??! It is the guts of the spectrum argument FOR
          abortion.

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

          The spectrum argument lays the ground work for step 2, which is to decide where to draw the line.

          It’s possible to accept the spectrum argument and still conclude that abortion is never moral. A Jain would take this approach, for example.

        • wlad

          The spectrum argument is an ARGUMENT–an argument FOR when abortion is OK, not a disinterested explanation of pregnancy.

          The following is logical impossible.

          I accept the argument that says abortion is OK after this line , and then say I conclude from this same argument that abortion is never moral.

          Cannot say abortion is OK under these circumstances, and then say under these circumstances it is never moral.

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

          an argument FOR when abortion is OK, not a disinterested explanation of pregnancy.

          Wrong again. It’s hard to imagine that you’ve been following along at home all this time and are this clueless.

          I accept the argument that says abortion is OK after this line

          … and some people draw that line at conception. Why is this a hard concept for you?

        • wlad

          Because after you say you do draw the line (determined by experts), you really don’t, because you support bodily autonomy, that doesn’t draw any line.

          Why draw a line that says abortion if wrong after you cross it, and then dismiss that line?

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

          Because you draw the line at viability determined by experts, and then say you support bodily autonomy, which erases that line.

          So you’ve got no substantial argument and are instead trying to find some petty misstatement on my part. And then you wonder why your antagonists get frustrated with you …

          The spectrum argument shows the enormous difference (in kind, not simply degree) between the single cell and the trillion-cell newborn. What you do with that is step 2. You can argue for drawing the line at many dates and for many reasons.

        • purr

          So you’ve got no substantial argument and are instead trying to find some petty misstatement on my part.

          Hey! Didn’t he try this last time, on the other Spectrum debate? I do believe he was trying to find holes in your understanding of ‘morality’

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

          Yeah, this is a common game. I’d be happy to cut to the chase and admit that I make mistakes and that I change my mind.

          That said, whatever it is that he’s talked about lately, if I understand it correctly, is without merit. And this does nothing to respond to the spectrum argument, the topic at hand.

        • wlad

          “Yeah, this is a common game. I’d be happy to cut to the chase and admit that I make mistakes and that I change my mind.”

          OK, so you changed your mind about also supporting the bodily argument for abortion and mispoke?

          Or do you still support the bodily autonomy argument for abortion?

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

          The confusion is only in your mind.

        • wlad

          Look Bob,
          You are quite pleased with being the author of the spectrum argument for abortion–that there are OK?not?OK lines for abortion in that spectrum of gestation because there is a spectrum of development.

          You ACCEPTED that the OK/not?OK line is viability agreed by experts. Not birth.

          But how can you then deal with bodily autonomy arguments for abortion, who say there are no lines–abortion is always OK. (Or as you say, draws the line at birth.)

          So which is it, viability or birth. Can’t be both.

          The problem for you is:

          If you say you do support bodily autonomy (which you did) you face the problem–abortion is always OK– but not/OK after viability.

          How you deal with the problem? Simply announce that accepting both viability and birth OK lines is not contradictory!

          If you would DARE say you don’t accept the no line bodily autonomy argument for abortion, you know you would bring the wrath of the feminists upon you. “It’s my body.!”

          Much safer to say you accept both lines at once, even at the cost of looking illogical.

          And when challenged for an explanation, refuse to offer one, or refuse to cite the explanation, refuse to even admit it’s a problem. Or deride.

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

          You ACCEPTED that the OK/not?OK line is viability agreed by experts. Not birth.

          Wrong. I said that experts define the line. (But I’ve already said that before. Pretty naïve to imagine that it’ll make a difference now.)

          Tell me why this is so important to you. Just have a lot of time on your hands? Wouldn’t you prefer to confront something interesting?

          If you discover that I did state a contradiction, I’ll simply correct the error. Why are you wasting our time?

        • wlad

          “Wrong. I said that experts define the line.”

          Two questions:

          Have YOU (not me) accepted the decision of the experts on the line as expressed in law in most of the United States?

          In the past you said you do not care about the line.

          Would you CARE if the Supreme Court upheld a 20 week line–or a beating heart line–or fetal pain line–cases heading to the Court? Or your state legislature?

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

          Have YOU (not me) accepted the decision of the experts on the line as expressed in law in most of the United States?

          No, I never accept the expression of any law in the United States. I’m an atheist, remember? Morality as encoded in law doesn’t apply to me.

          When I’m a little short on cash, I walk into banks and take what I want. Too bad about you and your “morality.”

          In the past you said you do not care about the line.

          I’m sure you and I could wile away many pleasant hours arguing over whether the line should be here, or perhaps there, or perhaps a week earlier. But that would be a complete waste of time.

        • wlad

          OK, I get it. You accept the decision of the experts on the line. No precise line–but a prudential decision, give or take a few days. or weeks.

          It sure took an incredible effort on my part to get you to say you accept the line decided by the experts.

        • wlad

          “Yes, you can draw the line at many dates and many reasons.. ”

          But you Bob, drew the OK/not?OK line at viability, wrong after viability, leaving it to be determined by those experts wiser than you.

          You also supported bodily autonomy, which rejects any lines.

          You can’t hold both views at the same time–the line matters for determining when abortion is OK–and then say there really are no lines–it’s OK always.

          Unless you really don’t hold the second view, even if you said you supported it.

          What petty statement are you talking about?

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

          Wrong again.

          Viability is one plausible line. Birth is another. Conception is yet another.

          The spectrum argument doesn’t involve itself with where the line is; it simply justifies the idea of drawing a line.

          What petty statement are you talking about?

          This entire conversation. “Yeah, but you said X and now you’re saying Y, and X and Y don’t make sense. You’re contradicting yourself!!!!!!! I win!”

        • wlad

          But Bob, “the spectrum argument doesn’t involve itself where the line is, it simply justifies the idea of drawing the line.”

          The problem is that you said the OK?not?OK line is important to you, and you DID draw that line –at viability determined by experts. Don’t pretend you didn’t.

          And so you can’t say in the next breath, but really, I also believe that the line is at birth.

          Birth or viability. Can’t be both.

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

          Still here, wasting my time, aren’t you? What’s the end game here? “See! Bob made a boo-boo! Gotcha!! God is great!”

          No, Wlad, you’ve failed again. (Except for the time wasting part–you’ve succeeded there.)

          Your problem is that you think there is just one expert opinion. There aren’t.

        • wlad

          The problem is that the boo-boo you made is saying that you support bodily autonomy argument for abortion.

          .

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

          Wrong

        • wlad

          OK, you admitted making a boo boo–that I was playing “gotcha.”

          Correct me about the boo boo.

          What was the boo-boo?

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

          I made no error, sorry. It was all in your head (a common problem, I’ve noticed).

        • wlad

          “The spectrum argument doesn’t involve itself with where the line is; it simply justifies the idea of drawing a line.”

          Well, in your post Wilcox challenged you on precisely that:

          His (Wilcox’s) first concern:

          “The immediate problem with this argument is that he gives no attempt to argue at what point we actually do become persons.”

          You countered:

          “Yes, it’s important to get the OK/not-OK dividing line for abortion right, but legislators deal with tough moral issues all the time…My focus here is not on the cutoff line. I’ll LEAVE that to medical experts and policy makers who have more expertise and interest than I do.

          Well, you left it to medical experts, and policy makers, and they have spoken–not/OK line is viability, at 24 weeks, in most jurisdictions.

          I assumed then that you did not challenge their decisions–they were smarter and have more expertise than you.

          To say then that viability at 24 weeks is not your not/OK
          line is disingenuous at best.

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

          Well, in your post Wilcox challenged you on precisely that:

          Ah, your favorite hobby! You can disregard the actual topic at hand and try to show that the atheist made an error. Yeah, that sounds like fun.

          Well, you left it to medical experts, and policy makers, and they have spoken–not/OK line is viability, at 24 weeks, in most jurisdictions.

          So you’re saying that there is no consensus. Yeah, I know.

          I have no idea why tripping me up on a tiny point of consistency gives you a boner, but I’m afraid I must frustrate you yet again.

          I have no interest in debating the line. I’m happy to let the legislature and their experts discuss it. Some people could use the spectrum argument and conclude a line anywhere from conception to birth.

          (But, of course, I say that only for the observers. Wlad is far beyond my feeble words. He’s made up his mind before I’ve even written a reply.)

        • purr

          I have no idea why tripping me up on a tiny point of consistency gives you a boner,

          Cheaper than viagra.

        • smrnda

          We’d probably all agree that it’s ridiculous to get much jail time for stealing a candy bar, but we’d probably also feel that some Madoff like character who steals MILLIONS ought to go to jail for a long time. I kind of feel like violent crimes should always be treated more seriously than property crimes, but should 2 guys busted for fighting at a bar over a call in a football game get more jail time than Madoff? Lines are tough, but we draw them.

        • wlad

          “Of course there’s an OK/not-OK line! In this case, it would be at birth.”

          You absolutely cannot mean that!

          In this case the OK/notOK line is at birth?!

          In this case abortion is OK before birth, but abortion after birth is not?!

          Abortions cannot happen AFTER birth.

          In bodily autonomy, addressing pregnancy, there is no OK?notOK line.

          Abortion is ALWAYS OK.

          Absolutely NO NotOK.

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

          I have no idea what your problem is here, or how to get you untangled, and I have little motivation in doing so.

          All I can suggest is that you go back and read the relevant posts. Let them speak for themselves instead of reading into them what you want.

        • wlad

          You cannot hold the spectrum argument for abortion that says abortion is OK before a line (a line drawn by a prudential decision resolved several times by experts), but not after.

          And then say, BTW, I also accept the bodily argument for abortion that says there are no lines–abortion really is always wrong.

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

          You’re a waste of time.

        • wlad

          When you can’t answer the question, dismiss it–or attack your opponent.

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

          No, when it’s been explained to you and yet you’re determined to misunderstand, I get a bit irked.

        • wlad

          Cite where in this post you explained the reason you could hold these contradictory views at the same time.

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

          I hold no contradictory views.

        • wlad

          Plain assertion does not cut it.

          I asked how you can hold two contradictory views–Abortion wrong after viability, and abortion never wrong– at the same time.

          Wrong sometimes, and never wrong is not conrtadictory?!

          You said “It’s been explained to you.”

          Where? When?

          I asked you to cite where it’s been explained.

          Should not be so difficult. You managed to cite a quote of mine from a post weeks ago.

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

          Why are you so slow to pick up on the obvious explanation: you’ve misinterpreted things yet again?

          I asked how you can hold two contradictory views–Abortion wrong after viability, and abortion never wrong– at the same time.

          Those aren’t my views.

          Where? When?

          Words can’t express how little interest I have in playing games with you. Give me something substantial. Make an argument. Do something besides blather on about teeny misunderstandings.

        • wlad

          Wlad–“I asked how you can hold two contradictory views–Abortion wrong after viability, and abortion never wrong– at the same time.”

          Bob–“Those aren’t my views.

          Problem:

          Wlad–“Well, you SUPPORT the bodily autonomy argument for abortion being always OK–her argument.

          Bob–“Yeah, that’s one reasonable approach.”

        • MNb

          Oh Wlad, please go play with yourself. To everyone but you BobS’ views are perfectly clear. What you perceive as contradictions are only so in your childish imagination.
          The Spectrum Argument makes clear that there are huge relevant differences between a zygote and a newly born baby. It defeats the “zygote is a person” argument. Next question is where to draw the line when abortion should become illegal. BobS doesn’t have an opinion on that one and can imagine that someone argues for drawing the line 5 seconds after conception.
          If you try to read more to it you’re nothing but an annoying mosquito buzzing in our ears. On second thought, persist. You’re perfect antipropaganda for the anti-abortion movement.

          To spell it out for you, dumb and/or dishonest as you are: writing “that is one reasonable approach” doesn’t mean “I totally agree with it”.

        • wlad

          “that is one reasonable approach” doesn’t mean “I totally agree with it”.

          You forgot the first part of that quote “Yeah” when I asserted that he supported the bodily autonomy argument.

          How can one say that bodily autonomy is one reasonable approach if it says abortion is always OK?– If his position is that it is only sometimes OK?

          What would say to me if I said “MNb, I’m arguing that abortion is always wrong–and also support it being also only sometimes wrong.
          It’s “reasonable” for me to support both at the same time?

        • MNb

          Thanks for confirming what I wrote above. You’re too dumb to understand and/or too dishonest to accept that “that is one reasonable approach” doesn’t mean “I totally agree with it”.
          Apparently you’re done playing with yourself and still not satisfied.

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

          There’s nothing I like more than seeing my words quoted. I could read my stuff for hours!

          Thanks.

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

          Then why do you continually refer to the spectrum argument

          Was there a question here? I just saw a restatement of my position.

          No matter where the cutoff point is–20 weeks, 24 weeks, 30 weeks, 36 weeks, a minute before birth–the rights of the life of the woman ALWAYS trumps the life of the fetus.

          Huh?? In that case, the cutoff point would be birth.

          So simply announce that as clearly as Mary does-the rights of the woman ALWAYS (even unto birth)

          That is one approach that would be satisfactory to me.

          the spectrum of abortion doesn’t really matter.

          Huh?? Mary’s point stands because of the spectrum argument.

        • wlad

          “Huh?? Mary’s point stands because of the spectrum argument.”

          Huh?? Mary says drawing the OK/not/OK line for abortion–the lynchpin of the spectrum argument and important to you as you have often stated–is stupid.

      • Kodie

        She has it backwards –

        Why can’t we agree that how they felt about their pregnancies was vastly
        different, but that it’s pretty silly to pretend that what was growing
        inside of them wasn’t the same? Fetuses aren’t selective like that. They
        don’t qualify as human life only if they’re intended to be born.

        It is exactly the same, but how you feel about it changes the projection. When you’re happy to find out you’re pregnant, it’s a projection of a future with a child. When you’re unhappy to be pregnant, it’s just as easily reversed and should not be sentimental about it. Sentimentality is what most people feel, projecting on something they want and a future they can now plan on, why it’s devastating for a miscarriage or some fetal or maternal illness that indicates an unwanted abortion. Difficult decisions to cut short something that was supposed to be an easy and common thing to do, and crush all the joy with the pain of a child you wanted to meet someday. That’s emotional, that’s like … I don’t know what it’s like, but I know what disappointment is like, when you think something is for sure and then it doesn’t happen.

        If you don’t want to have a child, it’s the same materially. Nothing yet. Its value is in what it can be. To someone who wants a child, it’s everything in the world, and to someone who can’t handle or doesn’t want those circumstances, it’s as devastating to consider that future destroying and overriding your own as it is to parents who suffer a miscarriage. It’s a blank, loaded with projected emotions. The author of this article has it backwards, thinking the projection is reality and every other reaction has to acknowledge it.

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

      It seems that legislatures in most jurisdictions, and the medical profession, says that the life of human beings is viable at around 24 weeks, and make 24 weeks the cutoff date for abortions.

      Do I hear you right? You’re proposing 24 weeks as the cutoff for abortion? I didn’t expect that from a pro-life advocate.

      But Planned Parenthood, and more and more feminists, are saying abortion is OK at any time before birth, for any reason.

      Experts disagree on an issue. Oh, dear, what shall we do? I guess this issue is undecidable.

      They admit that even if it is viable after 24 weeks, even if it the killing of a baby, the bodily autonomy of the woman’s life always trumps the life of the baby.

      Read up on why women have late-term abortions. Then tell me that those reasons are trivial.

      But you seem to support both positions.

      I have little interest in the cutoff date.

      What gives?

      What gives is obviously that you like to snipe around at the edges, trying to cause disharmony, without admitting that your argument is weak.

      • purr

        But Planned Parenthood, and more and more feminists, are saying abortion is OK at any time before birth, for any reason.

        Most of the pro-lifers that I meet try to switch the convo to abortions at 30 weeks:P

      • wlad

        I absolutely do not accept the spectrum argument, that abortion is acceptable after viability.

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

          Then I have no idea what you were trying to say. And, I’m afraid, little interest in finding out.

        • wlad

          “They admit that even if it is viable after 24 weeks, even if
          it the killing of a baby, the bodily autonomy of the woman’s life
          always trumps the life of the baby.

          Read up on why women have late-term abortions. Then tell me that those reasons are trivial.”

          I never said those reasons were trivial.

          I did say that a woman’s bodily autonomy, according to you and Mary, always trumps any spectrum argument.

          Then why use it?

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

          Uh … because it doesn’t trump the spectrum argument; it’s built on the spectrum argument.

          Or was this a trick question?

        • wlad

          Bodily autonomy absolutely trumps the spectrum argument. If the bodily autonomy argument is BUILT on the spectrum argument, proponents would have to accept the spectrum argument– that there is a difference in human life between an embryo, and 24 week old baby, and a baby a minute before birth, and that it is permissible before viability.

          Bodily autonomy absolutely rejects that argument–does NOT build on it.

          As Mary, a pro-choice proponent says:

          “When we (pro-choicers) try to act like a pregnancy doesn’t involve human life, we wind up drawing STUPID SEMANTIC LINES in the sand: first trimester abortion
          vs. second trimester vs. late term, dancing around the issue trying to decide if there’s a single magic moment when a fetus becomes a person.
          Are you human only when you’re born? Only when you’re viable outside of the womb? Are you less of a human life when you look like a tadpole than when you can suck on your thumb?

          She admits the spectrum argument (drawing OK/notOK lines for abortion) is stupid.

          Yet you say you liked the article. “I liked the article. My ONLY point was that she seemed to think that “pro-life” was a lot stronger than I do. I kill stuff all the time, and so do you.

          And then say, the bodily autonomy argument is BUILT on the spectrum argument (emphasis yours).

          Mary admits it is stupid. One does not build an argument on “stupid.”

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

          Bodily autonomy absolutely trumps the spectrum argument.

          WRONG. Seriously, dude, you need to stay at the kids’ table if you can’t even express the ideas correctly after months of trying.

          The argument of bodily autonomy is built on the spectrum argument. If the spectrum argument were irrelevant, and a single cell were identical in every meaningful way (including legal and ethical), then bodily autonomy loses. Important though it is, it doesn’t justify murder.

          There’s nothing in the spectrum argument about viability or bodily autonomy. Those come in Step 2, where (given the spectrum) we decide where to draw the line.

          She admits the spectrum argument (drawing OK/notOK lines for abortion) is stupid.

          (1) That’s not how I read the article.

          (2) If Mary and I disagree, quel dommage. I’ll just have to make do without her.

        • Niemand

          If the spectrum argument were irrelevant, and a single cell were
          identical in every meaningful way (including legal and ethical), then
          bodily autonomy loses. Important though it is, it doesn’t justify
          murder.

          If every cell in the body is morally identical, we’re all completely screwed. For example, consider what happens in your intestines: Intestinal cells are sloughing off your intestinal wall all the time, being digested, and the remains end up in your colon. Murdered, cannibalized, and flushed: that’s the fate of all those poor little Bob clones. Horrible! And I don’t want to even discuss what’s going on in your testes or liver and spleen right now. Abortion is the least of our moral issues.

        • wlad

          “The argument of bodily autonomy is built on the spectrum argument. If the spectrum argument were irrelevant, and a
          single cell were identical in every meaningful way (including legal and ethical), then bodily autonomy loses.”

          Body autonomy absolutely does not lose if the spectrum argument was irrelevant.
          Bodily autonomy rejects the spectrum argument for abortion–that abortion is OK in some instances.

          Bodily autonomy says abortion OK in all cases when chosen to deal with a pregnancy. It does not care at ALL for the developmental stage of the pregnancy. Her life always trumps the life of the fetus, no matter how far along development, a single cell, or a minute before birth.
          Does not care at all about the differences the spectrum argument points out.

          Bodily autonomy would absolutely stand if the spectrum argument totally disappeared. It is not at all dependent on it, certainly not built on it.

          So bodily autonomy would lose–how?

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

          Lay down and catch your breath. I’m not bound by what some columnist writes.

          If you have an issue with her column, contact her. Don’t waste my time with it.

        • purr

          I have been reading all of wlad’s replies to you, and tbh, I have NO idea what is going on!

        • wlad

          Well, you support the bodily autonomy argument for abortion being always OK–her argument.

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

          Yeah, that’s one reasonable approach.

        • wlad

          I see. You really don’t believe your spectrum argument, that abortion is not OK after a certain line, if you agree that abortion is always OK.

        • Kodie

          Abortion always has to be ok. The line is for people who have the luxury of deciding to get an abortion without suffering the trauma and delay of the pro-life movement policies intended to jerk women around and keep them from having abortions when they want them or need them. If you want to draw a line at 24 weeks, just for argument’s sake, and then you say too bad for the woman that laws prevented her access to an abortion earlier but now it’s too late!, If you want to pretend to be a decent human being and allow early abortions but meanwhile seek to traumatize and shame women into making the decision that you make for her, making sure she takes all the time in the world to be absolutely sure, raising money, making travel plans to go out of state, being made then to wait another 48 hours, paint a nursery, name the fetus, and invade her privates with ultrasound to make her look at it, then abortion needs to be fully legal up to birth.

          You are the one making that line way out there. It can be as emotionless as picking up condoms at the drugstore the very day you find out you’re pregnant and not a minute later, because when you don’t want to have a baby right now, you just don’t. Why turn it into a horror story for the woman, other than you disapprove of her sexual activities?

        • Kodie

          Did you read the part where she says “stupid lines in the sand”? You are the one doing that. You are the one trying to hammer out exactly when that final moment is and then trap people into what about a minute after that? and all that kind of bullshit. You didn’t comprehend the article and now you are abusing it.

        • adam

          Full Definition of VIABLE
          1
          : capable of living; especially : having attained such form and development as to be normally capable of surviving outside the mother’s womb
          2
          : capable of growing or developing -viable seeds -viable eggs

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

          It can apply before viability as well. Do you accept that?

        • wlad

          Obviously I meant before viability. That’s the spectrum argument -that abortion is OK when the fetus becomes viable.
          I reject that argument– I reject abortion throughout the pregnancy.

        • adam

          So your mothers follicles and eggs are ‘viable’

        • wlad

          I absolutely have no idea what you are talking about.

        • adam

          Beginning of life argument wlad

          Eggs are viable. therefore any unfertilized egg is murder.

        • wlad

          Check the definition of murder.

        • adam

          Since abortion is legal it s not murder…..

        • wlad

          Since slavery was legal it was not wrong.

        • Kodie

          Abortion is objectively not even close to murder in the first trimester. If you want to label your own zygotes to be people, that’s a personal perspective. You want everyone to share your perspective about how to carry through their own lives. But you don’t seek to outlaw abortion, you only seek to prolong pregnancy by diminishing and delaying access to early abortions. You want people to be pregnant up to the line and past it so they have to go through with it.

          If you have a different perspective that you think is urgent and we listen to it, you’re going to have to go so far as to prove souls exist. The material of pregnancy that ends its life in an early term abortion is not worth more than spit, except for this soul you were talking about. When is it, and how is it infused in the fertilized egg but doesn’t exist before the sperm and egg meet? You have already said it’s not life – it’s not an animal that you preserve, it’s the supernatural quality of it that separates this precious wad of goo from a tumor that you’d have removed as soon as possible. Tumors cause harm to your insides and you would remove one, and they don’t have souls, but they are living human tissue. So how do you differentiate between the two? How do you expect to convince us now that you’ve made an outrageous claim that you can never back up?

        • adam

          Certainly not according to the god of the bible.

          This is perhaps one of the best demonstrations that we don’t get our morality from god or the bible and that we are better than that.

          Of course this whole beginning of life issue could be easily resolved if the god of the bible was still making humans the way he was at the start.

          And eggs are VIABLE by definition.

        • fiona64

          Murder is the unlawful (illegal) taking of a person’s life with malice aforethought.

          There. Now, explain how abortion fits in there at all since a) it’s legal and b) a fetus is not a person.

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

          Do us all a favor: avoid sentences that try to explain the consequences of the spectrum argument. It’s quite simple, and yet you’re determined to confuse yourself. I’ve had to correct your last bunch of comments.

        • Kodie

          Then get one earlier.

    • Kodie

      I love how you shift this to late-term abortions and ignore the spectrum. I love it every goddamned time you change the focus to what you want to talk about.

    • fiona64


      But Planned Parenthood, and more and more feminists, are saying abortion is OK at any time before birth, for any reason.

      Citation needed.

      • wlad

        Here’s one from RH REALITY Check, a pro-abort action group:

        Every reason for an abortion is a good reason

        http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/07/15/every-reason-for-an-abortion-is-a-good-reason/

        Author gives ten reasons for abortion, then says”

        And For whatever reason.
        This list is by no means inclusive, and I could have probably easily come up with a hundred or so more reasons why someone should have an abortion

        Read more: http://www.mommyish.com/2013/10/29/10-reasons-to-have-an-abortion/#ixzz2rkUsupON

        • purr

          The regular commenters at RH Reality Check are known Neo-Nazi babykillers.

          HINT: fiona64 is one of them!!!111

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

          What does “pro-abort” mean? I’m not sure I’ve met such a person. This would be someone who’s eager or even determined to see pregnant women get abortions?

        • purr

          I like it when they use pro-death.

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

          In my very brief tenure at that other site (forgetting the name), they like to use “pro-abort.” When I replied in kind with “anti-choice,” there was some blather about how only their turnabout was correct.

          Bullshit.

        • purr

          Secular Pro-Life Perspectives.

          There is a fellow there now who makes very detailed posts, kind of like Kodie – but with more science – and they are accusing him of being a troll. Clinton won’t even engage him, he just says ‘troll’

          I only consider people to be trolls when they fail to deliver any sort of argument. Heck, i don’t even consider Norm to be a troll, he’s just a dipshit.

          But anti-choicers have a distinct habit of accusing those who disagree with them ‘trolls’.

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

          You’d think that secular people would be more skeptical, open-minded, and so on. They don’t have a religious dogma that they have to defend at all costs.

          I guess there are jerks in every category.

        • purr

          Authoritarians?

          Karl Rove is an atheist…

          and lest we forget, even atheists can believe in bigfoot and ghosts

        • purr

          All right, Calvin has refuted the spectrum argument.

          You’re toast:

          http://liveactionnews.org/smashing-the-spectrum-of-preborn-personhood-denial/

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

          I keep hoping that someone will give me a real challenge to my arguments. Calvin wrote a long post, and (for time’s sake) I only responded to one small point, but there’s nothing new there. Nothing challenging.

          Lots of bile, though. I thought the new fad within Christian circles these days was being winsome. No? He seemed barely able to contain his hatred.

        • purr

          Good counterpoint, Bob. I love where he writes about Joseph Merrick not ‘looking human’. He is proud of that one, but it stinks.

          I think, however, that animals are different in degree, more so than kind. At least, when it comes to emotions, capacity for suffering, etc. This is one reason why I value a cat more than a zygote, for example. The cat can suffer, the zygote cannot. Animals have been shown to exhibit more complex emotions than previously imagined, and will certainly get upset if they are not treated fairly, and will even help one another in times of need. (there was one case where a billy goat led a blind horse to a field every day for many years)

          Anyways, your point still stands, under that context. A zygote/embryo doesn’t even have an animal level brain pre-viability.

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

          Worse is their pious big-heartedness when they wag their finger and imagine parallels between racism and the pro-choice stance.

          I agree–cows, bears, dogs, humans, and so on are all quadrupeds. They all have hearts with a circulatory system. Eyes and ears. Stomach and digestive system. Skin. And on and on and on and on. And yet Calvin himself emphasized the difference between humans and other species.

          OK, Calvin, granted. But if you’re impressed by that gulf, the one between single cell and newborn is mind-bogglingly more vast.

        • wlad

          “I agree–cows, bears, dogs, humans, and so on are all quadrupeds. They
          all have hearts with a circulatory system. Eyes and ears. Stomach and
          digestive system. Skin. And on and on and on and on. And yet Calvin himself emphasized the difference between humans and other species.”

          It seems most people on this site see no essential difference between humans and other species.

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

          But you do? If you see those differences (even though an adult human and an adult cow has a huge list of similar body parts), then the differences between a newborn and a single cell should be far greater in your mind. Heck–all they share is DNA.

        • wlad

          Well, ANTI-abortion are people who are trying to make it illegal.
          PRO-abortion are people who are trying to keep it legal.

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

          So you’re cool accepting the label “anti-choice”? If you give yourself the freedom to assign labels to the opposition, they should have the same privilege, I’m guessing?

        • purr

          You are pro forced birth.

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

          And thanks for the links. They add to the pro-choice case.

        • wlad

          At least they’re starting to be openly honest for any reason for abortion being good enough, instead of pretending there is a spectrum of gestation that really matters, like some people on this site.

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

          Not an argument.

        • fiona64

          I’ll take “Wlad is deliberately disingenuous” for $1000, Alex …

  • Niemand

    Query for the pro-lifers: A person who is a vegetarian, but not vegan, is making eggs for breakfast one day. He cracks an egg in the pan and finds that it contains a small fleck of blood, indicating that it has been fertilized, i.e. that is a tiny embryo. Should he:
    1. Shrug and cook it anyway.
    2. Toss it out because he doesn’t eat chickens.
    3. Toss it out and refuse to buy free range eggs any more because they might be fertilized and therefore be chickens and therefore it is better to eat eggs from chickens who live in overcrowded cages and never come into contact with roosters?

    • wlad

      Ask a vegetarian.. I don’t have the slightest idea how they would respond.

      • Niemand

        No? So you can’t in fact imagine anyone else’s position or what their needs might be if they’re a little different from you? So how do you expect to be able to determine the needs of pregnant women? Or fetuses, for that matter?

        • fiona64

          Of course not … I’ve yet to find an anti-choicer who was bright enough to comprehend that ::gasp:; there were people out there with different situations from their own.

    • Niemand

      And…no one else is even willing to pretend to address this issue. I can’t say I’m surprised: few “pro-lifers” have any argument past screaming “BABIIESSSS” but it’s a bit disappointing.

      • adam

        It’s already viable before fertilization.
        So it is a personal choice without distinction.

  • wlad

    TAMPA BAY – Federal authorities arrested a local doctor’s son, who
    they say tricked his pregnant girlfriend into taking an abortion pill,
    killing their unborn CHILD.

    John Andrew Welden, 28, is now facing first-degree murder and interfering with interstate commerce charges.

    Read more: http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/region_tampa/fbi-agents-arrested-the-son-of-a-tampa-doctor-for-the-murder-of-his-unborn-child#ixzz2regjs1Mr

    His girlfriend was about six or seven weeks pregnant–a clump of cells according to pro-choicers.

    John Welden was charged with first degree murder!

    How can anyone be charged with first degree murder for killing a clump of cells!

    “Lee has spoken out about her heartache over the termination saying: ‘I
    wanted this baby more than anything. Not because it was Andrew’s, but it
    was my baby as well.’

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2547135/Fertility-doctors-son-gave-girlfriend-abortion-pill-woman-sentenced-14-years-jail.html#ixzz2rejDhOrg

    If Lee was a pro-choicer and had taken the same pill herself, at the same time– all she did was kill a clump of cells. Right? According to the spectrum argument for abortion. Not a good time to be pregnant, she said.

    Her boyfriend believed the pro-choicers–that it was just a clump of cells and slipped her that same pill. Not a good time for Lee to be pregnant, he said.

    Imagine his surprise when he was charged with first degree murder– killing their unborn CHILD.

    Lee takes the pill, kills some clump of cells–there’s no baby. No problem.

    John takes the same pill, slips the pill to Lee, killing a clump of cells, and is charged with first degree murder! Killing an unborn child!

    Killing a “potential” child is definitely not murder, according to pro-choicers.

    Pro-choicers defend Lee’s choice to kill the clump of cells, if she wanted to. It’s not a baby. It’s her body. It’s not murder. She did not want it! It’s OK. It’s just a potential baby.

    But what happened here. Lee did want her baby.–John was not charged for murdering a “potential” baby, or a clump of cells, but murdering an unborn baby–what we pro-lifers would acknowledge.

    How in the world does it matter WHO wants to murder the unborn child?

    How in the world does it matter WHO wants to murder the unborn child!

    Murder depends on who does it!??

    Mother wants to kill the unborn child with a pill–no problem.
    Father wants to kill the same unborn child with a pill–murder,

    • purr

      Now, after pleading guilty to consumer product tampering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, he faces no more than 15 years.

      Yeah..helps to get your facts straight.

      • wlad

        My facts were straight–he was charged with murder.

        90 to 95 percent of federal court cases are resolved through plea bargaining. The defendant is charged with the maximum charge–and the court hopes that the defendant accepts a lesser charge and pleads guilty to avoid a costly trial.

        The maximum charge has to be CREDIBLE and DEFENSIBLE–the defendant may decide to plead not guilty.

        That’s what happened here.

        The charge of murder was CREDIBLE AND DEFENSIBLE.

        • purr

          Yeah, and if it HAD been 1st degree murder, of say, a 5 year old, do you think they would have handed out a 15 year sentence?

          Give me a break.

        • wlad

          Given the general attitude toward abortion, you are probably right. BTW,the mean average sentence just for murder is 20 years.

        • purr

          Not for 1st degree are you kidding. It would be 20 years to life for 1st degree.

          And for baby killing? you are probably looking at NO parole.

          Dream on wlad.

          It was an assault against the WOMAN and her PROPERTY, the fetus. Hence the sentence.

    • Norm Donnan

      This was a shocking example of the double standards of the law and hypocrisy of the pro abortion crowd.
      If the woman had taken it no one would have raised an eyebrow.
      He was only exercising his right to choose not to have a baby at this point in his life after all,If he wanted the child and she didnt everyone would laugh at him if he tried to stop her taking that pill,but to be charged with murder by the same law courts that say she is totally free to kill her child is appalling.

      • purr

        It’s because it was an assault on the *woman* not the fetus.

        Sheesh.

        • Norm Donnan

          When you have a headache and you wife says “here,take a panadol”did she assault you ?no.
          He saved her from certain death according to the opinions around here.
          Not to mention all the pain and heart ache,her career and 18 years of child support for him.
          You all should be cheering for him and giving him legal aid

        • purr

          No. It was an assault on her. We are PRO CHOICE. He took away HER CHOICE by ASSAULTING HER.

          Taking away a woman’s right to give birth is as bad as forcing her to give birth.

          Try to keep up Normie.

        • Norm Donnan

          Oh please,the only victim here was the child.
          No one is against choice,you can choose not to have a child, its called contraception.

        • purr

          Again, you miss the point. This was a *wanted* pregnancy, and she lost it, because he *assaulted* her.

          I’m not sure who is dumber, you or wlad. Or even who is the bigger asshole.

        • smrnda

          Well, at least you’ve expressed acceptance of contraception. However, the main issue with this case is whether the woman WANTED to have the child or not.

          Let me provide an analogy. If I leave a chair out on my lawn, and go inside to use the WC, and come out, and someone has taken my chair, it is theft.

          If I leave my chair out on the lawn with a sign that says “FREE” on it, and you take the chair, then it is not theft because I’m giving it away.

        • Norm Donnan

          Usually I would totally agree with you except he was charged with killing a child,yet if she had taken the pill there is no issue.
          The law carnt have it both ways,did he murder a child or not.Is he innocent or guilty?

        • wlad

          Sorry, I know you believe that John did nothing to the unborn child–just took away Lee’s choice by assaulting her.

          Unfortunately for the pro-choicers, the fetal homicide laws of 38 states beg to differ with you, and John was charged with murder of the unborn child.

          And the Federal “Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004” differs with you:
          The Unborn Victims of Violence Act was strongly opposed by most pro-choice organizations, on grounds that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade
          decision said that the human fetus is not a “person” under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and that if the fetus were a Fourteenth Amendment “person,” then he or she would have a constitutional right to life. However, the laws of 38 states also recognize the human fetus as the legal victim of homicide (and often,
          other violent crimes) during the entire period of pre-natal development (27 states) or during part of the pre-natal period (nine states).[8] Legal challenges to these laws, arguing that they violate Roe v. Wade
          or other U.S. Supreme Court precedents, have been uniformly rejected by
          both the federal and the state courts, including the supreme courts of
          California, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.[9]

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

        • purr

          Pro-choice advocates say such laws grant a fetus legal status distinct from the pregnant woman – possibly creating an adversarial relationship between a woman and her baby.

          Women are already being jailed for miscarriages, dumbass. Do you REALLY want to live in a world where every miscarriage is investigated as a crime scene?? Do you? These laws end up being used *against* women, not criminals.

          Welden could have faced a mandatory life sentence without parole if he had been convicted of murder under the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” a charge that was brought when he was first arrested in May.

          And this was passed, I might add, by *republicans* who are hoping to get people to start thinking of fetuses as people, thereby eventually criminalizing abortion. It’s nothing more than a sneaky trick. And it’s being used to jail women!

          Here you go, women facing jail time for stillbirths and miscarriages:

          http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jun/24/america-pregnant-women-murder-charges

          http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/05/23/conservative-controlled-mississippi-seeks-to-toss-women-in-prison-for-miscarriages/

          http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/jailing-a-woman-for-a-miscarriage/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

          This is exactly what happens when you give personhood to fetuses, wlad. Women get treated like prisoners and thrown into jail for pregnancies gone wrong. Is this the future you want if RvW is overturned? Because it’s the future you’re gonna get. Criminalizing pregnancy.

          Alabama has prosecuted over forty women. Among them is Amanda Kimbrough, who opted to carry a fetus with Down’s Syndrome to term (since she’s anti-abortion). When the baby died 19 minutes after birth, she was charged with “chemical endangerment.” She denies having taken any drugs. But again, this is beside the point. Here is a woman who tried to abide by the spirit of the anti-abortion crusade, and having done so, was punished for her “good deed.” (It does give us
          pause: If prosecutors are intent on going this route, it’s in a woman’s best interest to have an abortion to avoid possible jail time.)

          This is all academic to you wlad. But your life will NEVER be affected by this legislation. You want to force women to have a kid no matter the costs, and then you support laws that punish them and send them to jail if they choose LIFE.

          You’re a heartless asshole.

        • Kodie

          You keep saying “pro abortion” like that’s a thing. Assaulting a woman to force her to keep her pregnancy or assaulting her to abort her pregnancy is taking away her choice. You’re a monster who favors forcing women to stay pregnant against their will, just like the man who forced a woman to end her pregnancy against her will. You don’t see a difference because you believe in “pro abortion” as a concept. None of us would force someone to end their pregnancy or condone someone who would trick someone into ending theirs. You’re a fucking douchebag asshole, Norm. You terrorize women and love when they live a life of regret. This warms you that they’ve been properly propagandized to give you the reaction you prefer. But you are more similar to the man in this story than any of us are.

        • Norm Donnan

          Hi Kodes,we havnt seen you round for a few days,what you been up to,we all miss your warm smile and friendly banter along with your sharp wit.

        • Kodie

          You’re not my friend, ok, asshole?

        • Norm Donnan

          Are you flirting with me??we do go back a long way!!

        • purr

          I don’t think anyone would want to flirt with a semi-illiterate creep such as yourself, Norm.

          BTW, does talking down to women give you a boner?

        • Niemand

          When you have a headache and you wife says “here,take a panadol”did she assault you ?

          It depends. Do you have liver failure? Did she encourage you to take panadol to try to knock you over from compensated to uncompensated failure? Did she give you a “panadol” capsule that was really filled with cyanide? Or even one that was really filled with aspirin when you thought you were taking panadol. If so, she assaulted you, yes.

          He saved her from certain death according to the opinions around here.

          Sigh. I know you’re just pretending here, but really, this sounds so dumb. Yes, he actually did decrease her chances of dying in the next year. But he “saved” her from a risk she wanted to take. If your wife destroyed your car on the grounds that she was “saving” you from the risk of an auto accident, she did reduce your risk of dying, but she still committed vandalism against your property (unless, of course, you gave her permission to destroy your car, in which case I applaud both of your decisions. Evil things, cars.)

        • fiona64

          I don’t know … did she shove the panadol down your throat? Tell you it was something else?

          You’re ridiculous.

        • wlad

          Are you kidding? In THIS case?
          He was charged with first degree murder charges of killing an unborn child!
          Not assaulting a woman.

          I think that there are some jurisdictions where killing the unborn child is considered as aggravated assault on the woman.

          38 states have fetal homicide laws. Pro-choicers have a problem with such laws:

          “Those on the other side feel that laws to protect a fetus could become a “slippery slope” that could jeopardize a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Pro-choice advocates say such laws grant a fetus legal status
          distinct from the pregnant woman – possibly creating an adversarial relationship between a woman and her baby. They are also concerned that
          the laws could be interpreted to apply to a woman’s behavior during her
          pregnancy (such as smoking, drinking or using drugs).

          They prefer criminalizing an assault on a pregnant woman and recognizing her as the only victim.
          http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/fetal-homicide-state-laws.aspx

        • purr

          Pro-choice advocates say such laws grant a fetus legal status distinct from the pregnant woman – possibly creating an adversarial relationship between a woman and her baby.

          Women are already being jailed for miscarriages, dumbass. Do you REALLY want to live in a world where every miscarriage is investigated as a crime scene?? Do you? These laws end up being used *against* women, not criminals.

          Welden could have faced a mandatory life sentence without parole if he had been convicted of murder under the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” a charge that was brought when he was first arrested in May.

          And this was passed, I might add, by *republicans* who are hoping to get people to start thinking of fetuses as people, thereby eventually criminalizing abortion. It’s nothing more than a sneaky trick. And it’s being used to jail women!

          Here you go, women facing jail time for stillbirths and miscarriages:

          http://www.examiner.com/article/another-woman-facing-prison-for-the-crime-of-miscarriage

          This is exactly what happens when you give personhood to fetuses, wlad. Women get treated like prisoners and thrown into jail for pregnancies gone wrong. Is this the future you want if RvW is overturned? Because it’s the future you’re gonna get. Criminalizing pregnancy.

          Alabama has prosecuted over forty women. Among them is Amanda Kimbrough, who opted to carry a fetus with Down’s Syndrome to term (since she’s anti-abortion). When the baby died 19 minutes after birth, she was charged with “chemical endangerment.” She denies having taken any drugs. But again, this is beside the point. Here is a woman who tried to abide by the spirit of the anti-abortion crusade, and having done so, was punished for her “good deed.” (It does give us
          pause: If prosecutors are intent on going this route, it’s in a woman’s best interest to have an abortion to avoid possible jail time.)

          This is all academic to you wlad. But your life will NEVER be affected by this legislation. You want to force women to have a kid no matter the costs, and then you support laws that punish them and send them to jail if they choose LIFE.

          You’re a heartless asshole.

        • Kodie

          Fetal homicide laws apply to assault against a woman. If her boyfriend punches her in the stomach because she burned dinner and mouthed off to him, that’s domestic abuse. If he punched her in the stomach because she just said she was pregnant, well, a lot of states actually still only count that as domestic abuse. Not fetal homicide. I think a lot of what you are reading about fetal homicide laws are mistaken and exaggerated, since we’ve been over this the last couple times and I posted links then. I don’t have the time now.

          Some states do consider it fetal homicide, but state laws vary. Of the 38 states, you claim, that have fetal homicide laws on the books, most do not start at conception, but viability. NONE consider it 1st degree homicide with penalties for 1st degree homicide that they would receive for killing a born person. Abortion is exempted under these laws in ALL 50 STATES.

        • fiona64

          Fetal homicide laws only attach as special circumstances when a WOMAN (you know, the person you keep trying to erase) is harmed and loses a wanted pregnancy as a result.

          What is it with you people and your complete failure to comprehend medico-legal matters?

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

        Nope, no hypocrisy. Wrong again, I’m afraid.

        • Norm Donnan

          Then why arnt you standing up for this mans rights to choose?And to see him charged with murder of someone who in yours and the laws mind doesnt exist reeks of hypocrisy to me,the silence is deafening.

        • purr

          Not his body. Not his right. ( we are talking about the woman’s body, the one you ignore)

        • Norm Donnan

          The child is not her body,not her right.

        • purr

          Not a child. Just a mindless body. Not even a complete body. It has no rights. Its just a parasite.

        • Niemand

          If it’s not her body then it’s something using her body without her permission. We do not grant people the right to use others’ bodies without their permission. Therefore, the spectrum argument is irrelevant, at least for purposes of law, because the fetus has no right to illicit use of anothers’ body even if it is a person.

        • Norm Donnan

          Ah yes the old “parasite” argument.This horrable zygote came buzzing around looking for a host,please spare me.

        • purr

          1) it is a functional parasite

          2) the woman does not force the egg and sperm to meet. She does not force the zygote to move down the fallopian tube. She does not force it into her uterus. She does not force it to implant. She does not force it to stay there.

          3) the zygote’s mode of survival *is* to behave just like a parasite in order to wrest as much material as it can from it’s mother to promote it’s own survival. It doesn’t care if this hurts her and shortens her lifespan – it is biologically programmed to grow as big as possible.

        • Norm Donnan

          seriously you call this an intelligent argument,this is plain stupid

        • purr

          It’s above your pay grade, I can say that much

          (but then again, most things are)

        • adam

          It is certainly a different take on the process than yours, it certainly seems factual, what is stupid about it?

        • fiona64

          Yes, actually, the z/e/f is part of her body. You might want to look up the umbilicus and its purpose.

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

          And to see him charged with murder of someone who in yours and the laws mind doesnt exist reeks of hypocrisy to me,the silence is deafening.

          The silence is deafening because you have your fingers in your ears.

          No, there is no hypocrisy. There was an anti-Obama cartoon some years ago showing him running after a pregnant woman with a knife. Obviously, no one has that attitude. It’s called “pro-choice,” remember? If you want to consider the fetus very valuable, you may. If you want to consider the fetus a burden, you may (up to a point).

          Not really a hard concept if you drop your presuppositions.

        • Norm Donnan

          I can imagine when slavery was legal someone saying the same thing,”If you want to consider a primitive nigger very valuable you may,but to me theyre just a damn nigger”.

        • fiona64

          Flagged.

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

          Oh, snap! You’ve cleverly turned the situation around so that I’m the bad guy. Ouch, nice one!

          Oh, wait a minute. I’ve already addressed this ridiculous argument several times. Maybe if you read my stuff we wouldn’t have to go in circles. Or if you pay attention in general, I wouldn’t have to publicly school you in how this comparison gets you an F.

          Ask the slave owner the difference between himself and his least-human slave. Get the whole list. Now you make a list of the differences between a trillion-cell newborn (with arms and legs and eyes and ears and so on) and a single microscope cell with none of those. Then tell me if the situations are in the least bit comparable.

        • Norm Donnan

          Women dont know they are pregnant when they are carrying a single micrscopic cell,thats why most abortions are between 7-9 weeks when the people you dismiss have arms,legs and a brain,your still in denial master Bob.

        • purr

          And there you are, acknowledging the spectrum.

          If a single cell is a person, then it doesn’t matter WHEN the abortion occurs, dipshit.

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

          Ah, I think I understand your point. You concede that a single cell is very, very, very different from a newborn, but that’s an uncomfortable admission. You wouldn’t be able to deny abortions even at day 1. So you’d rather move the goalposts.

          Yeah, that sounds like the best you can do in this situation. Alternatively, you can just admit that denying abortion at day 1 is ridiculous. I really think that’s the more honest approach intellectually, don’t you?

        • Norm Donnan

          The single cell thing is crap and you know it,no abortions are done on single cells.
          The concept only makes you feel better by saying they do,that is what is ridiculous.
          Try some intellectual honesty Bob.

        • purr

          Would you still be opposed to abortion if every abortion was on a single cell? Since you say that the single cell IS a person?

          Or are you going to ignore this question too..pussy?

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

          I didn’t think it was all that complicated. I’ll type slower to make it easier for you.

          The issue isn’t abortion; it’s the spectrum. I know you’re eager to surge ahead to the abortion, but let’s focus back here on Step 1: understanding the spectrum.

          If the single cell is not a person, then aborting it causes no moral problems. We can then ask ourselves when it does become enough of a person that abortion becomes immoral.

        • Norm Donnan

          Person is the word your all confused by,not by accident.
          Try..what…human being,embryonic human being, are humans those mythical”people”?

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

          I’d call it human, but not a human being.

        • purr

          So you are ok with abortion at the single cell stage then, right?

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

          Yeah, that’s pretty cool. Looks like Norm is coming around. He makes clear that he sees the difference.

        • Norm Donnan

          No

        • purr

          BTW Norm, women have been known to have abortions at 4 weeks and below…

        • purr

          Here you go Norm…women have performed abortions, and can go back to that if you get your wish and abortion is illegal…from the single cell stage up to the first 4 weeks:

          http://www.sisterzeus.com/hsp4wbw.htm

          Herbal Abortion: Weeks 1 & 2 Implantation Inhibitors and Emmenagogues.

          Herbal abortion is easiest and safest to accomplish during the first two weeks. The use of implantation inhibiting herbs like Queen Anne’s Lace, Rue/Rutin, Cotton Root Bark, or Vitamin C, block, alter, or interfere in the production of progesterone. Thus preventing implantation and a woman menstruates as usual.

          Other emmenagogual herbs are believed to be teratogens, substances that cause the development of
          abnormal structures in the embryo. Teratogens in the woman’s system during the first two weeks of pregnancy usually cause the pregnancy to
          terminate.

          The appearance of the menstrual blood is usually normal to heavy, possibly with more clotting than usual. The very tiny ovum usually passes unnoticed amidst the menstrual blood.

        • Norm Donnan

          wow,so we dont need abortions at all.If a woman thinks she is pregnant she just has to take vitamin C

        • purr

          So, should abortion be legal in the first week? You’re ok with that?

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

          Why would you recommend vitamin C? So she can have an abortion?

        • Norm Donnan

          Def listed it as one thing used in the old days to cause an abortion.

        • purr

          Still used to cause abortion.

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

          Which is why I’m wondering why you’d recommend it!

        • Philmonomer

          Norm,

          That’s not true. 64 percent of abortions take place by the time the embryo is in its 7th week of development. [2009 statistics]

          http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/

          (statistics taken from a pro-life website).

        • Norm Donnan

          You know what they say,there are lies,damn lies and statistics. So my guess is the other 36% are after 7 weeks,yes?

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

          What I’m getting from you, Norm, is that you’re OK with abortion before 7 weeks but object to it afterwards. Is that right?

        • Philmonomer

          You know what they say,there are lies,damn lies and statistics

          Ok. But you are the one putting forward that “most abortions are between 7-9 weeks.”

          So my guess is the other 36% are after 7 weeks,yes?

          9.3 percent happen in the 7th week of development.

          26.8 percent happen after 7 weeks.

          (I edited my comment for clarity.)

        • Norm Donnan

          So you all know this whole”what ,you call a single cell a person” argument is a load of rubbish.
          Abortions arnt done on single cells, you all know that those you are in favor of aborting have arm,legs and a brain!

        • Kodie

          Many abortions are done the day or two after sexual intercourse. You’re acting like a crazy nut here, Norm. You’re the one who said it’s a person as soon as it’s conceived. You agree with the spectrum argument, you say it’s nothing and then gradually becomes something. Your timetable is off on body parts and organs, but you are saying once it has arms, legs, and a brain, it’s too late. What about before that? Like, uh, 7-9 weeks? When it doesn’t have any human features, is abortion ok?

        • Norm Donnan

          Taking the morning after pill isnt having an abortion,you dont know if your pregnant and at no stage have I said I agree with Bobs spectrum at all.
          The arms and legs are irrelivent to me,they are only signs to some that they really are going to be people after all,suprise,suprise.
          And Kodie can you please reply to me without some sort of dig or insult would be good.Have a great day.

        • purr

          Here is an idea dumbass. Don’t talk down to kodie just because she does not have a dick and maybe we will be nicer to your sexist, woman hating self.

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

          they really are going to be people after all

          The Argument from Potential: they ain’t people now, but they will be. Yep, everyone agrees with that. And we also agree that they aren’t yet. That’s the elephant in the room.

        • Norm Donnan

          The elephant in the room is that they dont have potential to become everything even you label as person hood, the elephant is that they have no option but become recognizable humans,that is what you all pretend is optional.

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

          Oh, so you embrace the argument from potential? OK, great–we’re on the same page then.

          My wife and I had the potential to have a dozen children. We didn’t. We heartlessly killed those persons-to-be by only having two.

          How can I sleep at night?!

        • Norm Donnan

          Not potential to be a human at all,rather no potential to be anything other than human.
          Abortion and miscarriage is the death of a child.
          Choosing not to have more than two is not.
          You being an interlectual does know that but those in denial dont listen to reason but me as a freethinker and open to science look at the evidence and see nothing other than a person under development,as we all are.

        • Kodie

          It’s no more past the point of no return than abstinence. You seem to think letting the sperm meet the egg makes a person, but that’s all you say. You don’t say why it’s a child. It’s as much a projection as an imaginary child – an imaginary child you hope for, or an imaginary child you know will destroy your future plans and do what you can to prevent. What is the ethical issue for you, it’s 100% emotional, and not freethinking at all. You are bound to superstition and superstitious reasons to avoid having sex – you are emotionally hooked by the “dead babies” but it’s a cause to diminish the freedoms of women. You hate women, you love single cell organisms with human DNA, you know who else has human DNA? Women. You hate ’em.

        • Norm Donnan

          So lets just project a few months ahead,hows my wonderful lady who abstained from a sexual relationship or my smoking hot babe who loves adventurous sex,but uses contraception going compared to the awesome woman who’s egg met some dudes sperm creating my imaginary child going???
          No emotion, 3 random ladys,all happily married to avoid the slutty whore stereo type we apparently see all abortion seeking women as?
          Two are going along with life and one is in her 2nd trimester.
          The only difference is she chose not to abort,there is no emotion or imagination or potential involved,she is having a baby that she is going to call Bobby if its a boy or Kodie if its a girl.
          Women in the west know all about contraception,what sex will lead to,have easy access to contraception.
          If you were fighting for the poor and oppressed then you might have a point for sex ed ect,but here …no

        • Kodie

          You are the one perpetuating the “whore” stereotype. You are a sexist pig when you think the only good outcome for a woman is to be married, chained to a man, have his babies, that’s what a “good” woman does. If you have to imagine what it will be, it ISN’T YET. It is ethical to dispose of it unemotionally. It is possible to end a pregnancy unemotionally. Just YOU and others like you put a woman to shame by labeling her and not leaving her decisions hers. You are a judgmental and very sexist asshole.

          Also, your writing is incoherent. You are lucky anyone can figure out your dribble to have the courtesy to carry on this idiotic conversation with you. You have, so far:

          JUDGMENT
          EMOTION
          LIES

          on your side. You don’t have evidence of what that life is that you think is so precious. You have dismembered 8-month fetuses. That’s not equivalent to a 7-week fetus.

          And when we say you hate women, you are not exactly standing up for yourself with these stories where you judge and condemn women, you’re just judgmental. You don’t have facts, you have opinions. We don’t have to live in a world where we have to check what Norm thinks – am I a good woman or a whore? You don’t revere women, you label them and put them in confined roles that are just your judgment. That’s not a nice way to regard women, that’s a disgusting way to regard women. It’s a good thing nobody with sense and self-esteem cares what you think (or basically repeat and don’t think), but I feel so sorry for all the women you’ve damaged by judging them and making them draw tears because you shamed them and then have the fucking gall to “forgive” them. They have done nothing wrong and they don’t need your forgiveness. You’re the one who damaged them in the first place. You want women to feel like dirty filthy whores and then redeem themselves. It’s abuse, it’s sexual abuse that you incur on women with your judgement.

          I am so done with talking to you, so please don’t make up some stupid new troll to respond to me and needle me anymore. Next time I accidentally step in dog shit, I will think of you.

        • Norm Donnan

          If you feel like a murderous whore for things youve done in your past that is something you will need to deal with but Im not making any judgment on you personally or anyone else for that matter.
          Its because your trying to convince yourself that your fetus wasnt a person is really the issue here because you know your not being honest with your self.That is why you are such an angry person deep down.
          Next time I find an injured bird I will think of you.

        • purr

          That entire post was not only an ad hominem attack, it was a failed attempt at misdirection because you have no argument.

          When are you going to accuse the rest of us, including Bob, of being whores? Or do you only like to insult female sexuality?

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

          accuse the rest of us, including Bob, of being whores?

          Norm thinks that he’s made me his bitch. Does that count?

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

          Methinks thou doth protest too much.

          Your eagerness to avoid the single cell makes it clear that you see the difference. Great! You’re not as stupid as you make yourself out to be. Seeing the spectrum clearly is a good thing–it only makes your arguments more sensible.

          (And I’m sure that if you take and abortifacient when the zygote is just a single cell, you will have aborted a single cell.)

        • purr

          A non functional brain and all other organs.

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

          Norm has pretty low standards …

        • Norm Donnan

          And???your point is?

        • purr

          Non functional brain= not a person. Just an empty shell. But still smarter than your dumbass!

        • Philmonomer

          So you all know this whole”what ,you call a single cell a person” argument is a load of rubbish.

          If you oppose the “morning after pill,” and any other drugs designed to be taken right away, I fail to see why this argument is a “load of rubbish.” If you are ok with abortions before week 7, then we can move the conversation to “7-9 weeks.”

        • purr

          So? Aren’t you the one who says that a zygote has the same value as an embryo as a fetus as a newborn as a boy?

          is this you acknowledging the spectrum argument?

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

          I think the differences are becoming too obvious for even Norm’s tiny dinosaur brain to ignore.

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

          At 7 weeks, the fetus is an ugly tadpole the size of a blueberry. It’s got a lo-o-o-ong way to go.

        • Norm Donnan

          Please read below Bob,as Phil points out 64% of abortions are done at7weeks and the rest later.
          Those little people are all well past your mythical single cell rubbish.

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

          You’re just frantic to avoid dealing with that single cell, aren’t you? Who’d have thought that a single cell could give you such fits?

          Welcome to the spectrum. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

        • Norm Donnan

          Not at all.
          Where we are diametrically opposed is that to you a person has to have fullfilled your criteria for them to be considered a person to you personally.
          Your elitist,you consider it smart,common sense,obvious,interlectual,call it what you may but they havent met your criteria.
          Others think until they are born they are not a person, that is their criteria,then there were those who considered blacks to not be fully human,their criteria.
          To me the only honest truth is that no matter what stage of development,what they look like,what their inteligence or the color of their skin is they have value and should be protected,not financial value but enough to be stood up for.

        • purr

          And you are a sexist pig. You view women as the ‘blacks’ – non people whose only value is in how they can benefit others as baby makers.

        • Kodie

          That’s right – Norm values a woman’s value as too low to be stood up for. They shall be enslaved by a microscopic blob.

        • purr

          Someone just replied to a very old post of mine on LJF – where Norm was saying that it’s a woman’s job to satisfy her husband sexually – regardless of whether or not she is in the mood – if the man needs to satisfy his sexual urges.

          So, let’s amend your statement. In Normie’s world, women are:

          1) cum dumpsters

          2) baby factories

        • Kodie

          An unformed human is unformed. A black person is human with a different color of skin than a white person. It’s not merely an age difference, it’s a difference in total substance.

          If you have some reason that you feel a single fertilized egg is a person, you have to demonstrate what it is about that blob that IS a person, rather than WILL BE.

        • Norm Donnan

          It all comes down to your opinion,an new born is irrelivent when compared to a productive adult.One day they too might fulfill society’s desire to be a worthwhile person, then again they may only archive drug addiction or being handdicapped.Unformed and unfit to be of any use some would say.
          The blob on the other hand will look just like that same newborn in a short while and they also to may become a productive adult.

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

          Where we are diametrically opposed is that to you a person has to have fullfilled your criteria for them to be considered a person to you personally.

          Yeah, I guess I’m old fashioned that way. I figure that words have meanings, and we have to stick fairly closely to society’s definitions so we can communicate.

          You’re more a free spirit when it comes to definitions, I guess?

          Your elitist,you consider it smart,common sense,obvious,interlectual,call it what you may but they havent met your criteria.

          Yeah, “interlectual” is my goal. But you set the standard.

          then there were those who considered blacks to not be fully human

          Ah—nice strategy! I’ve already slapped down this ridiculous pro-choice = racism argument … but you just ignored it! Oh, that’s clever. That’s clever.

          I’m looking at the chess board, and I gotta confess that I didn’t see that coming. I pretty much assumed that you’d either admit that your argument was laughably flawed or respond head-on to my argument. But you just kicked over the chess board and pretended that there is no argument at all, hanging in the air, making you look stupid.

          You’re a shrewd one, my friend! I’ve been underestimating you.

          To me the only honest truth is that no matter what stage of development,what they look like,what their inteligence or the color of their skin is they have value and should be protected,not financial value but enough to be stood up for.

          And that’s that. You don’t have to defend that or convince anyone else or justify your position. You’ve got your opinion, and that should be good enough for the rest of the country. If they don’t like having your views imposed by law, then tough.

        • purr

          *chortle*

          Free spirit when it comes to definitions

          Haha

        • Norm Donnan

          Ouch it seems to me like I touched a raw nerve there Bob.
          Hey…good news,you have achieved your goal of being intellectual,well done, much more than I could ever hope to match but your wrong.
          This isnt a philosophical issue its a moral one and your wrong.

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

          Yeah, see “you’re wrong” is a clear statement of your position (good), but it does nothing to show why it’s correct (bad).

          If you ever come up with anything, drop by again and let us know.

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

          Wrong again. Philmonomer said:

          64 percent of abortions take place by the time the embryo is in its 7th week of development. [2009 statistics]

          Since you responded to that comment (enough to do the math to figure out the percentage after 7 weeks), I’m surprised you’d make this mistake.

          So you’re saying that abortion before 7 weeks is OK, right?

        • Norm Donnan

          No,not at all

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

          Perhaps I can be forgiven for my misinterpretation. You stressed the difference between a single cell and a 7 week-old fetus just like I would. With you flogging the dramatic difference in this short time, it sounds like the spectrum argument makes sense to you, too.

        • Norm Donnan

          Where you are wrong is the lie that “it dont look like me so lets get rid of it before it does”.
          My point is neither does a baby look much like me either,so what,they all will be given time.
          I havent flogged the difference at all,they are people from day 1.

        • purr

          Its not just looks dumbbass. Its very substance is different. No mind! A zygote is a clump of dna. An embryo is a mindless body. A fetus is not even sentient. These stages are lower than animal level consciousness. A fly has more going for it than a clump of human dna.

        • purr

          So you accept the spectrum argument then?

          And no 70% of zygotes do not become babies. So don’t pretend that just given enough time every zygote will become a baby.

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

          Where you are wrong is the lie that “it dont look like me so lets get rid of it before it does”.

          No: it isn’t like me, so we can leave it to the woman to decide.

          My point is neither does a baby look much like me either

          What?! You’ve never heard anyone say, “Oh, she had her mother’s eyes!” (or ears or nose or whatever)??

          The baby has all the external features that you do. The cell has none. Oh yeah—you can’t even see it.

          See the difference?

        • Norm Donnan

          yes your right I did read it wrong ,but it doesnt change one thing for me.

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

          it doesnt change one thing for me.

          Good for you, bro! You know what you want to believe, and you’re not going to let anyone else’s argument sway you. You’re a man of conviction.

          Stand your ground, pardner!

        • smrnda

          The man isn’t the person who is pregnant. So he doesn’t get to choose, the same way YOU don’t get to decide whether or not I put cream in my coffee.

        • Norm Donnan

          Ah but you dont require me to fund your coffee for the next 18 years

        • Niemand

          Ah, yes, the old “child support is the same as pregnancy” argument. No. Both parents are required to support a child after it is born. The non-custodial parent can be sued for support by the custodial parent, regardless of the gender of either parent. Men have no obligation to support a woman that they made pregnant through the pregnancy. And at no time except pregnancy is either parent required to put his/her life on the line for the child.

        • fiona64

          Please explain, with scientific references, how provision of monetary support (which, in some cases, is as little as $1/month … if it is collected at all http://www.nbc12.com/story/21416300/judge-orders-1-a-month-in-child-support) is even remotely equivalent to risking life and limb to gestate a pregnancy. Pregnancy is NOT a state of wellness.

        • fiona64

          As soon as the man is pregnant, he can choose whether or not to gestate.

        • Norm Donnan

          So why carnt he be allowed to decide against gestation if he is then required to fund the result?

        • fiona64

          Once again, as soon as he is able to gestate, the man can make all the decisions he wants about the result.

        • Niemand

          And any man who gets pregnant by a woman and delivers can sue her for child support of the child once it is born. But not before.

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

      Why are basic ideas so startling to you? Haven’t you thought about this?

      The question is: what is the inherent (that is, applied by society) value of the fetus? Said another way: at what point does the state overrule the pregnant woman?

      If you don’t want a baby, you can call the fetus a clump of cells. If you do (as in this case, I guess), you call it a baby or a baby to be.

      • wlad

        in·her·ent
        inˈhi(ə)rənt,-ˈher-/
        adjective
        1.
        existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.
        “any form of mountaineering has its inherent dangers”

        synonyms:intrinsic, innate, immanent, built-in, indwelling, inborn, ingrained, deep-rooted; Mo

        Therefore:
        Value of the fetus CANNOT be applied by society. Value of fetus is permanent,essential, innate,built-in, inborn.

        Society recognizes the value, does not apply it.

        Society applies value to the dollar. It has no inherent value. It does not recognize the value. It applies it.
        ,
        Just as we can’t apply or grant the inalienable right of man to life, liberty, or happiness–we RECOGNIZE this intrinsic right–no king or society can grant this right or take it away.

        Society tried to APPLY non-humanity to slaves by LAW–slaves are sub-.humans. We want it.to be. Check the law It’ LEGAL! Society proclaimed.

        Abolitionists said humanity is intrinsic, not what we may WANT it to be for our purpose.

        Not-WANTING the value of the humanity of the slave for a purpose changes nothing in the intrinsic value of its humanity.

        Not WANTING the humanity of the fetus for our purpose–changes nothing in the intrinsic value of the life of the fetus.

        • Kodie

          Just posting a definition you wish applied to a z/e/f does not make it applicable. You have done zero to demonstrate the inherent qualities you see there that none of us do. You believe in souls, that doesn’t make souls real. What else do you have? Nothing… it’s been hundreds and hundreds of posts in only a few days and you have only been repeating claims of your beliefs, not making any progress.

        • adam

          The same applies to all those eggs the female carries and the sperm from the male.
          Failing to get each and everyone of those together means death to those potential ‘persons’.

    • fiona64

      The word “consent” has no meaning for your ilk, does it?

      Forcing someone to terminate a pregnancy against her will is just as anti-choice as forcing her to remain pregnant. He was charged with *assaulting* his lady friend, not with murder.

      Nice try, though.

  • Niemand

    Here’s my basic problem with the spectrum argument: I’m not sure what use it is.

    If we accept the argument then if we assign the fertilized egg a “humanity quotient” of 0 (not human) then presumably it gains humanness over time until a 40 week fetus can, I presume, be assigned a value of 1 (definitely human.) So far so good.

    But then…so what? Does the humanity of the fetus ever go above 1? If not, then at best its humanity is equal to that of the mother’s. It is never greater. And there is clear precedent, at least in the US, that a person can not be forced to give or loan their bodies or organs for the good of another person. Not even if that other person would die without those organs or bodily functions. We don’t kidnap people off the street and steal their kidneys, not even when someone’s going to die without a transplant. We don’t take people’s hematopoietic stem cells (NOT totipotent stem cells) without their permission, not even for use in their own children. What is so exceptional about pregnancy that the fetus should, at any point, have more rights than the mother?

    • purr

      hat is so exceptional about pregnancy that the fetus should, at any point, have more rights than the mother?

      You put the poor innocent thing in harm’s way by being a slutty slut and having teh sex.

      Consent to sex = consent to pregnancy, and abortion is the equivalent of taking a person who can’t swim onto your boat and throwing them off to drown if you find them to be ‘inconvenient’

      Of course, they ignore the numerous deleterious side effects of pregnancy, and still argue that a fetus right to life overrides a woman’s right not to suffer unduly. I have heard them admit that, ‘yes, pregnancy is really hard, and we know you suffer, but hey, that innocent life overrides your health’.

      And they say that since the woman is the *only* person who *can* help the fetus, that she should, by default, be forced to carry it to term (even in the case of rape).

      Yet, when you ask them if women should be prosecuted as criminals for abortion if it is illegal, they will simply say that women must be forgiven, that guilt is enough punishment, that they will take it up with god etc. They wouldn’t say that about Susan Smith, would they?

      So basically, in conclusion, they don’t *really* view zygotes and embryos as people, but they still want to subjugate women to them anyways. They accept Bob’s spectrum argument, whether they admit it or not. And in the end, it all comes down to sex and misogyny.

    • Kodie

      I tend toward the spectrum argument, but when that fails, it’s the mother’s right all the way through. I wish more people had education instead of romantic illusions about the process of pregnancy and child-rearing – for everyone, not just teens or poor women. When you can rationally see where that road leads, the decision is easy. Pro-life tries to make it as hard on the woman as possible, and spreads lies and propaganda to make her feel as if the decision is so monumental and horrifying, or to make her feel obligated to fulfill her biological function, and delude her into “it will be hard but sooooo rewarding!” Once they have convinced her to be a hero for her child, and that, given other circumstances (like age, experience in life, or money), she would probably choose to carry a pregnancy, just like we’ve all been trained from birth to consider our ultimate purpose and achievement anyway, they can go back to shaming her, calling her delusional to think she can manage, and attempt to separate a child from its mother and give it to someone else.

      I’m against the system that, from birth, from “It’s a Girl!”, women are trained to “achieve” something as if it’s not societally expected of them. You have a uterus, and your life story is written – protect that uterus and all accessory body parts and then sell it to your husband. Most women expect to get pregnant and have babies eventually, and are socialized to be especially happy about it. What’s so “exceptional” about pregnancy is that society expects women to naturally assume their role as a mother as soon as it happens and not to have control to plan out their own lives. And for so many, it is what they want and when they want it. The roadblock comes when people are horrified that some women do not want to be mothers right now or ever or to any more children, and have the gall to break down the “order”.

      If I can make a comparison to marriage equality – as they see it, two men or two women marrying and even raising a family threatens and mocks their own marriages somehow. Essentially, when some other woman somewhere does the opposite of what they would do when they find out they’re pregnant threatens and mocks “the order,” their children, and their choices. Perhaps they never really thought they had a choice before, either. We’re so-called built to procreate heterosexuality inside of a protective relationship/household and not try to stop a man from impregnating his wife, or a wife taking control of her own body, since it belongs to her husband. If she doesn’t have a husband, she is going out of order. Purity is all about birth control – it fails, but it’s the only one they consider valid. Don’t let a man have sex with you since this jeopardizes your whole future, i.e. finding a man who finds you worthy of enslaving forever with a ring so can have all his babies, like we should all naturally want.

      Anything different, any other values a person might have, are a threat to “the order” where there are no other choices, you just get married, then have sex, and then see where the dice land as far as how many children you have. This is also why there are plenty of women opposed to abortion and choice – being in “the order” means you believe it is morally superior* and gives you the high horse to judge other women for making other choices, as well as men who make other choices, like staying home with kids while their wife works, and other stuff like that.

      *I’m not saying that people whose lives and relationships resemble this order are all in it or consider their lifestyles morally superior. When you choose the option that is best for yourself, that just happens to be one of them.

      • purr

        Thoughtful as all of that may be, you’re a woman, so shut up will ya?

  • wlad

    Bob,

    Several times in this long comment section you mentioned you did not know or care where is the OK/not/OK line for abortion, leaving it to experts.

    Would you CARE if the Supreme Court upheld a 20 week line–or a
    beating heart line–or fetal pain line–cases now heading to the Court? Or
    your state legislature?

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

      Uninterested. Will we get into boxers vs. briefs next?

      I got better things to do, thanks.

      • adam

        But if briefs really kill innocent unborn babies…..

        There are already millions and billions of VIABLE eggs DYING for lack of sperm…

        Can we as a society let the evil brief makers interfere with gods plan?

        It is Fruit of the Womb, not Fruit of the LOOM!

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

          Good point. Briefs can decrease sperm count.

          Briefs make baby Jesus cry.

    • Kodie

      I am against those lines because pro-forced-birthers would only use these to gauge their next strategies to delay women from obtaining the legal abortions they seek well ahead of that line. Mind your own damned business. You’re the reason abortion needs to stay legal all through pregnancy.

    • Niemand

      If a beating heart is a criterion for calling something human, what are we to say about all the people with cardiac transplants? Are they dead (their own hearts have stopped) zombie killers with a stolen heart (from a person whose brain has died but whose heart still beats) in their chests?

  • fiona64

    Your interlocutor seems to not understand something very important … which is that personhood is a *legal* status, not a medical one. It confers, along with its attendant rights, at birth.

  • wlad

    Bob,
    You argue the spectrum argument for abortion–all of pregnancy is NOT the same–that there IS a prudential line decided by experts–not precise–(OK/not OK) in the course of pregnancy. Then explain the following.

    Some pro-lifers deny any such lines–abortion never OK.

    Some pro-choicers deny any such lines–abortion always OK.

    How come you always argue with pro-lifers who say NO lines,

    And never argue with pro-choicers who say NO lines?

    • MNb

      “Some pro-choicers deny any such lines–abortion always OK.”
      Names, quotes? Percentage of American (or Dutch, if you prefer) population? Social and political relevance of the NO NO NO lines pro-choicers?
      If you have answered these questions even you might figure out the answer to your last question.

      • wlad

        Here’s one from RH REALITY Check, a pro-abort action group:

        Every reason for an abortion is a good reason

        http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/07/15/every-reason-for-an-abortion-is-a-good-reason/

        Eva Vawter gives ten reasons for abortion, then says”

        “And For whatever reason.
        This list is by no means inclusive, and I could have probably easily come up with a hundred or so more reasons why someone should have an abortion”

        Read more: http://www.mommyish.com/2013/10/29/10-reasons-to-have-an-abortion/#ixzz2rkUsupON

        • wlad

          MNb,

          You wanted percentages–because you MNb correctly asses that the position of MOST pro-choicers would say that abortion for any reason at any time is extreme, that there IS a line for abortion, and that a no-line position on abortion is an extreme position of a FEW.

          Most pro-choicers are very indignant when pro-lifers suggest that the reasons for abortion are trivial. “Women have very SERIOUS reasons for making the
          difficult abortion decision,” they object.

          I have never heard any pro-choice politician ever dare publicly declare that abortion OK for any reason, any time, knowing how extreme that position would appear.

        • MNb

          “Some pro-choicers deny any such lines–abortion always OK”
          So you sucked this out of your big fat dumb, as we Dutch say. Thank you for admitting. I must grant you that that is honest.

        • MNb

          “Every reason for an abortion is a good reason”

          is not the same as

          “abortion always OK”
          Once again I wonder if you are dumb, malevolent or both.

        • wlad

          Excuse me?

          A woman says: “Every reason for an abortion is a good reason”

          Explain carefully to her and to me why it is not always OK.

        • purr

          When is it not OK wlad?

          Do you really think that women have abortions at 30 weeks because they suddenly discover that their pants are too tight?

        • wlad

          You did not answer the question!!

          No, I assumed that ALL women asking for an abortion would have a serious reason. They never ask for a trivial reason. So then they could never be refused at any time.

          Since all women could be never refused, abortion would be always OK.

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

      … and some pro-choicers say that abortion is never OK for them. It’s a choice, remember?

      I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before (oh, yeah–about a thousand times) that I have no interest in the argument over where the line goes for legal purposes.

      • wlad

        “I have no interest in the argument over where the line goes for legal purposes.”

        Are you kidding me?

        You would have no interest if the Supreme Court drew the legal line at conception?! Or your state legislature?

        You would not object, using your spectrum argument?!!

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

          Yep, boxers vs. briefs is next. Mark my words.

          You’ve got a lot of time on your hands. I’d have thought that you’d be more interested in finding arguments to shore up your case.

        • wlad

          “You would not object, using your spectrum argument?!!”

          Look Bob. I understand you can’t and refuse to answer the difficult question–because it would hurt your narrative.

          YOU know and EVERYBODY else on this site knows that you would not simply keep quiet if YOUR state legislature would move that line, presently at viability, to fetal heartbeat, or fetal pain, as has happened in several state legislatures. You would not say “don’t care or have little interest in the way it goes in my state.”

          I suspect (strongly understated) you would revisit your spectrum argument on your blog.

          Except you can’t admit it. Hurts your narrative.

          Your response–boxer and briefs.

          Boxers and briefs=I can’t admit that I would care if my state legislature was about to move that line to fetal pain or heartbeat.

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

          For the love of the god that doesn’t exist–give me a difficult question! You toss out tangents (that I guess you feel more comfortable discussing than something interesting) and then whine when I don’t feeling like chasing the ball?

          Make a clear statement showing how you’ve attacked the spectrum and I’ll be all over that. As it is, you’re just a waste of time.

        • wlad

          “give me a difficult question!”

          “If this WAS NOT a difficult question, you would simply say, “I really don’t care and would not object if my state legislature tried to move the legal line presently in use to fetal pain or heartbeat line.”
          Saying NO I don’t care, wouldn’t object, ruins you pro-choice credentials.

          Or: ” I do care and would object if my state legislature tried to move the legal line presently in use to fetal pain or heartbeat line.”
          Saying YES I do care ruins your credibility–you are already on record saying you really don’t care.

          I understand why you “don’t feeling like chasing the ball.”

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

          You’re talking about a world in which choice was removed? Wouldn’t care for it.

        • wlad

          “No, I was talking about a world that exists today, which DOES have a choice option after a prudential line for abortion.

          Would you care if the line was moved closer to conception now, not would how you would feel after the repeal of RvW.

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

          I want choice. Removal of choice (like overturning Roe v. Wade) would be a bad thing.

          But perhaps you already knew this?

        • wlad

          Obviously you want choice. I didn’t ask you how would you feel about repeal of RovWade. I kinda knew that.

          I simply asked, would you care if the present line was moved closer to conception (like at fetal pain or fetal heartbeat).

        • purr

          No fetal pain until 35 weeks, and heartbeat is kinda meaningless

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

          No opinion.

        • wlad

          “No opinion.” OK, we now have it on record!

          Bob confirms he has NO opinion if the availability of abortion in his state was drastically reduced by his state legislature pushing the present abortion line back to fetal heartbeat or fetal pain, as has happened in other states.

          And you can decide if it rings true.

  • MNb

    It just occurred to me – I had forgotten the whole incident – that according to Wlad, Norm, Dean Young and co I am guilty of murder. You see, the first time I not only had sex with my first girlfriend (we were both 18) but actually came we didn’t use contraception. Now neither her parents nor mine were religious bigots. Neither did we live in a community dominated by religious bigots. Moreover we had had excellent sexual education. So we did the only reasonable thing: I brought her to my family doctor. I asked him (she was a bit shy and it was my doctor anyway) for emergency contraception (we Dutch call it the Morning After Pill for obvious reasons). Now it was Sunday, so it took some effort to find him. More than 12 hourse had passed; rather close to 18.
    That’s more than enough time for an egg to be fertilized, especially considering my strong semen (couldn’t resist the opportunity to display some silly machismo). And a fertilized egg is according to Wlad and co a person with a soul.
    So my question is, especially to Wlad, who loves to trouble people with meaningless questions himself: which punishment should my girlfriend and me have received for murdering a human person by chemical means? Please take into consideration that neither she nor me ever showed any remorse and up to today are fully convinced we did the right thing. In courtroom that attitude is a guarantee for the maximum penalty.

    • Niemand

      Ooh…good thing the Dutch don’t have the death penalty. Premeditated murder with no remorse? Sounds bad…until you realize that you’re talking about the “murder” of a maybe 8 celled organism. That may or may not exist, strong sperm or not.

  • wlad

    Perhaps I don’t understand the spectrum argument for abortion.

    So I will state it as I understand it, and correct me if I am wrong at any point.

    I assume that since the spectrum argument is a spectrum argument FOR abortion (as in your title of blog), abortion is OK sometimes. OH so far?

    The argument says that there is a broad spectrum of development from conception to birth–a zygote, an embryo, a clump of cells, a four week fetus is not yet a human being, and very different from fetus a minute before birth. OK so far?

    The spectrum argument says abortion is OK at some point between conception and a second before birth (can’t be after birth–it’s infanticide then). OK so far?

    The spectrum argument acknowledges this line, but makes no claim on where it is. OK so far?

    The argument also says this point or line obviously cannot be precise, but that abortion is OK after this imprecise point or line. This imprecise line can be prudentially arrived at by medical experts and legislatures. OK so far?

    The next statement is not a part of the spectrum argument, but I think we can all agree on the following. Some pro-lifers say the point is conception. Some pro-choicers say the point is right before birth. Medical experts and legislatures
    have made a prudential judgement and placed that line at viability (24 weeks in most states. OK so far?

    Bob, the author of this argument says he does not care or has little interest in where the law posits this line. OK so far? Has little or no interest whether the law posits it at conception, at heartbeat, at fetal pain , at viability, or right before birth.

    OK so far?

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

      Perhaps I don’t understand the spectrum argument for abortion.

      OK, good for you for trying to understand the other guy’s argument.

      The spectrum argument says abortion is OK at some point between conception and a second before birth (can’t be after birth–it’s infanticide then).

      The spectrum argument illustrates the enormous difference between the newborn and the single cell it started as and shows that applying words that we use for the adults, teens, children, and babies we see every day—human being, person, and so on—may not work for the single cell.

      It doesn’t enter the debate about where the line should be. It highlights the enormous spectrum of development and leaves that line to legislators, citizens, and the people most relevant to this discussion, women with an unwanted pregnancy.

      Some pro-lifers say the point is conception. Some pro-choicers say the point is right before birth.

      And, quite relevant to this conversation, some pro-choicers say that the line is at conception. (I’ve already stated that once. Why omit it?)

      • wlad

        ” some pro-choicers say that the line is at conception. (I’ve already stated that once. Why omit it?).

        Yeah, right. Some pro-choicers do say “I personally would not have an abortion (wrong for me), but I wouldn’t take that choice away for anybody else.”

        A hundred years ago–I personally wouldn’t own any slaves, but I wouldn’t take that choice away from anybody else.

        • purr

          wlad, why are you so obsessed with late term abortion and when the ‘line’ will be drawn?

          If you believe that every single zygote is an infant, then it should not be of concern to you. At all.

          You sure do like to focus on 40 week fetuses A LOT for someone who believes that a zygote is a baybee.

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

          Agreed. Wlad has made clear that there is no meaningful moral difference between an 8-month-old fetus and a single cell. I’d prefer seeing consistency–he should just focus on defending that single cell.

          That he doesn’t makes me wonder about his resolve.

        • MNb

          ” Wlad has made clear that there is no meaningful moral difference between an 8-month-old fetus and a single cell.”
          That’s exactly why I’m curious what penalty he has in mind for me, for the murder I just so proudly and shamelessly confessed.
          Wlad?

        • purr

          I always knew you were a bastard

        • wlad

          I’d prefer seeing consistency–he should just focus on defending that single cell.

          I have always, always been absolutely consistent–abortion always wrong from conception to birth. No focus on any point being more important.

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

          Consistency is good. I encourage you to emphasize your consistency by focusing exclusively on the single cell.

        • adam

          But you keep leaving out those precious VIABLE eggs..
          There is a direct continuum from egg to birth.

        • wlad

          Of course I believe that that human life is one continuum from pregnancy to birth, and abortion is wrong at any point. Not obsessed with late term abortion.

          But Bob doesn’t believe that, and claims there IS a line when abortion is wrong, that an abortion at six months is not the same as at one cell–but also claims in several places that he doesn’t care where it is.

          I challenged Bob about his claim he doesn’t care where it is–asked him if he would care if that line, presently at 24 weeks in most states, and probably in his state, would move closer to conception, like to hearbeat or fetal pain line.

          Bob certainly would challenge ME if I said many times that I do NOT care where that line is. He knows I would want that line to move ever more toward conception

          And so I challenged him, if he cared if that line moved that way.

        • adam

          It is one continuum from egg to birth as well.

          Unfertilized egg deaths is a MUCH MUCH bigger problem.

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

          Boxers vs. briefs is next.

        • wlad

          Like I said earlier–boxers vs. briefs=I am too afraid to admit that I really do care if the abortion line is moved closer to conception.

          Bob–“I will talk about anything, anything, even boxers and briefs–just don’t ask if I care if the abortion line is moved closer to conception.”

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

          My advice: find someone who wants to discuss it with you.

          Pro-lifers like to change the subject when their own position is eroding under their feet. I think we see an example here.

        • wlad

          I won’t ask again.

          The conflict is over!

          In a comment below, in answer to my above question, Bob affirmed he had–

          “No opinion.”

          OK, we now have it on record!

          Bob confirms he has NO opinion if the availability of abortion in his state was drastically reduced by his state legislature pushing the present abortion line back to fetal heartbeat or fetal pain, as has happened in other states.

          And you can decide if it rings true.

        • Kodie

          Do you know what a spectrum is? It’s not a thin, definite line. Why do you keep asking for Bob to define a thin, definite line?

        • Kodie

          What you don’t grasp, and I know I pointed this out to you before but you ignored it, is that if we were to name a thin, definite line between ‘not a baby yet’ and ‘a baby’, jerk-asses like you would propose technical laws not to outlaw abortion but to make them difficult to get at an earlier stage, before that legal line had been crossed, so everyone would be too late and forced to continue.

          Fetal development doesn’t work like that. You’re the reason abortion has to be made available beyond such imaginary thin, definite lines. Why would you move the line closer to conception, and you’d be happy with it, if you still think aborting a fertilized egg is murder? Because you’re a jerk-ass. You want to limit options, and you never say why. You never say what is so precious about that single cell or an insensate clump of cells except you believe it has a soul. You have to provide evidence, demonstrate that your opinion is correct and not just an opinion or a feeling you have – else why should everyone else listen to you and do what you say?

          That’s another good reason nobody wants to stay in this circular conversation with you that’s going nowhere. You evade the questions, you want to know where Bob thinks the line should be, and you badger him and awkwardly set about to trap him so you can change the subject again.

          WHY is “closer to conception” acceptable to you? Why are you satisfied with legal abortion? I thought that you think it’s murder, but you seem to be saying that if a woman has early enough access, it’s ok? Maybe you do understand there is a big difference between a fertilized egg and a newborn? Maybe? Or maybe it’s because that means you can slam the door on women seeking early abortions because with all the unnecessary hassle your laws have created, you can block access? What’s the difference between today and tomorrow when you want an abortion? But you dicks will say, sorry, you should have come in yesterday, and yesterday, you would tell her she has to wait 48 hours. Because you’re dicks.

          I mean, it’s illegal to block the door of an abortion clinic so the woman can’t get in, but you block the door in so many other ways. Since you can’t overturn Roe v. Wade, you just be a dick about it instead.

          That’s why nobody wants to talk to you.

        • Kodie

          100 years ago, slavery had been abolished for about 50 years. Then why is it still ok for a zygote to hold a woman hostage and enslave her?

      • wlad

        “OK, good for you for trying to understand the other guy’s argument.”
        Was I wrong in my understanding at any point?

        “It doesn’t enter the debate about where the line should be.”
        Never said it does.
        “The spectrum argument acknowledges this line, but makes no claim on where it is.”

        ” some pro-choicers say that the line is at conception. (I’ve already stated that once. Why omit it?).”
        OK. Some pro-choicers DO say “I personally would not have an abortion (wrong for me), but I wouldn’t take that choice away for anybody else.”
        A hundred years ago–I personally wouldn’t own any slaves, but I wouldn’t take that choice away from anybody else.

        “Bob, the author of this argument says he does not care or has little interest in WHERE the law posits this line. Has little or no interest whether the law posits it at conception, at heartbeat, at fetal pain , at viability, or right before birth. Correct?

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

          I’ve already slapped Norm silly when he used the racism/slavery argument. Go see that slap down, ’cause it applies to you, too.

        • wlad

          You really, really, really, are afraid to say that you do really care if the present abortion line in your state was moved from 24 weeks to closer to conception, like heartbeat or fetal pain, as what happened in several states recently.

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

          How does that address the fact that the slavery argument is ridiculous when used as an analogy to abortion?

        • wlad

          Folks, Bob has finally answer the question–do you care if the abortion line OK the analogy is ridiculous.

          Now, do you care if the present abortion line is moved closer to conception?

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

          I’m glad we agree. Go tell Norm.

          I have no interest or energy in the conversation about the line, as I’ve made clear. Go annoy someone else.

        • wlad

          I won’t ask again.

          The conflict is over!

          In a comment below, in answer to my above question, Bob affirmed he had–

          “No opinion.”

          OK, we now have it on record!

          Bob confirms he has NO opinion if the availability of abortion in his state was drastically reduced by his state legislature pushing the present abortion line back to fetal heartbeat or fetal pain, as has happened in other states.

          And you can decide if it rings true.

        • purr

          It is particularly amusing that you think you have won something here. You have defeated Bob. Grats. You and norm should go start your own blog. I am sure that it will be wildly successful.

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

          The guy’s got some weird turn-ons. Good thing he can’t see the sexy shoes I’m wearing.

  • wlad

    I was thinking about a lot of my comments to Bob and several other commenters, and realized that although I expressed arguments I believed, the way I presented them in this post have not been charitable or respectful.

    They were often snarky, said in a way to mock rather than debate. “The battle is over” cry was especially egregious. And in two places I accused Bob of being dishonest. I ask him to forgive me. And I ask all the other commenters whom I disrespected to forgive me for the ways I disrespected them.

    I would like to be able to continue the dialogue at future posts. If you feel I have added nothing useful to the conversations we had, I will refrain from posting any future comments.

    As it was, I was challenged in my pro-life views and had to do research to more fully understand them and state them to others. For this I am thankful.

    Wladyslaw

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

      Nicely stated, thanks.

      I have no problem with an opinion different than mine. I’ll learn nothing from someone who agrees with me.

      In the future, you’ll be better received if you focus on substantive discussion.

      This post (with over 1000 comments–yipes) had quite a bit of not-so-substantive discussion.

      • purr

        Wlad is a much better person than Calvin, btw. Speaking of which I just defended your honour:P

        Not so sure about Norm, however, his treatment of Kodie is pretty despicable.

        • wlad

          Thanks guys.
          Hope to see another post that I find myself itching to answer.

    • MNb

      Well, I’m a nasty guy myself, so I don’t mind a considerable amount of disrespect. There is one rule though (actually there are more) I always follow: if you ask your opponent what he/she means, accept his/her explanation. It’s OK to point out a (possible) contradiction, but when the other explains “I meant this or that” just assume that there was some kind of misunderstanding. That happens all the time anyway. Vice versa when somebody says you’re contradicting yourself assume you expressed yourself poorly and try to do better.
      Pressing people like you did with BobS doesn’t get you anywhere but endlessly running around in circles.

  • wlad

    I’m back.
    Bob, You know I believe contraception is wrong–even if it was 100% effective.

    But how would you explain the following information given by the Guttmacher Institute.

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html

    • Eight percent of women who have abortions have never used a method of birth control; nonuse is greatest among those who are young, poor, black, Hispanic or less educated.[8]

    Only eight percent of women who have abortions have NEVER used a method of birth control;

    • Philmonomer
      • wlad

        How do you answer the fact that only 8% of women who had abortions had NEVER used contraception?

        • Philmonomer

          I don’t understand what needs to be “answered.”

          Did you read the link?

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

          What’s the puzzle? Many sexually active women use contraception. Also, the results of such surveys are suspect when there’s pressure to give the “correct” answer.

      • MNb

        It also reduces teen pregnancy.

        http://www.infoportaaltienermoeders.nl/Kennisbank/bfa0d521/12/Cijfers.aspx

        Less than 0,5% in The Netherlands.

        http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/reproductive-health/states/la.html#.UurksrHNjIU

        Slightly more than 4,5% in Louisiana – almost 10 times as high.
        Why? Overall pretty good sex education and easy access to contraception in The Netherlands and no rabid christians like Wlad having influenced politics for about half a century.
        Let’s also compare HIV in The Netherlands with Uganda. The first Dutch victim – I remember it well, because I personally knew one of the first victims – was from the early 80’s, say 30 years ago. Still unlike Uganda the number of patients is about 25 0000 – about 0,15% of the total population. Why? Pretty good education and general information from the very beginning on. Hence it wasn’t necessary to change behaviour in the first place.
        Before we conceived our son both my ex-wife and I took an AIDS-test.

      • MNb

        The Netherlands have one of lowest abortion rates in the world. It has slightly declined since it became legal in 1981.

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

          Perhaps the good ol’ U. S. of A. could learn a few things.

    • wlad

      I guess what that means that 92 percent of women who have an abortion have used SOME method of birth control (consistently or not).

      Even if I supported contraception, I would not support their use as a way to lower the abortion rate.

      • Philmonomer

        Even if I supported contraception, I would not support their use as a way to lower the abortion rate.

        Huh? I don’t understand. Don’t you want fewer abortions?

        • wlad

          “Bob,You know I believe contraception is wrong–even if it was 100% effective.” My first comment.

          The comment above–“even if I..” was unnecessary–a bad attempt at irony. I was told to avoid irony for that reason.
          The short answer is you cannot do one evil to avoid another.

          I was surprised by the 8% figure of women who had never used contraceptives, but after thinking about it, it made sense.

          Does it make sense to you? How would you explain it?

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

          If abortion is no worse than using contraception (I assume that because you’ve made them identically bad, and you won’t use one to offset the other), I wonder why you think baby Jesus cries at abortion. Seen this way, it doesn’t seem like that big a deal.

          The status quo in many states is the paradise that you imagine: abstinence encouraged and contraception discouraged. And the abortion numbers are outta sight.

          The person you should be wagging your finger at is yourself. (Try it in a mirror.)

        • wlad

          “I wonder why you think baby Jesus cries at abortion.”
          Bob, I never said that. Can we keep those kind of comments out?

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

          But what do I say when you say something ridiculous? I’ve gotta lighten the mood somehow.

        • Kodie

          You said that you are against birth control and against abortion. While you say abortion is murder (which you insist but never elaborated or demonstrated why), what could you possibly have against preventing abortions? You are just demanding people run their private sex lives by your judgment first. Why are you right? Why do you think your way is right? Let’s get this together now and deal it out.

        • MNb

          He is standing in the proud tradition of the abrahamistic anti-sex attitude. Think of Augustinus of Hippo (who had had lots of sexual fun before he turned anti-sex at the age of 40). Though it must be stressed that worshipping virginity is much older than christianity. See the Roman Republic.

        • wlad

          Can we ever ask or expect our children to be abstinent, or delay sexual activity, or have less sex, or expect monogamy?

          Bob, I may be wrong, you seem to think to think this is a practical impossibility.

          Is our youth unable to substantially change their sexual behavior? Is our youth different from the youth of Uganda.

          The country was experiencing a horrendous HIV problem –around 15% of the population was HIV infected.

          They tried a three-pronged program –Abstinence, Being Faithful, Condoms. Here is what happened with abstinence and being faithful:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1564179/

          According to Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and other research, median age at first sex rose by 1.2 years for girls and 1.7 years for boys between 1989 and 2000 [31].The percent of 15–19-year-old women ever having sex dropped from 74 percent to 51 percent; among men of the same age, the figure dropped
          from 68 percent to 42 percent. The percentage of Ugandan women aged 15–24 reporting premarital sex also declined from 53 percent to 16 percent; among young men, the decline in premarital sex was from 60
          percent to 23 percent [28].Data from Uganda’s 2000–2001 DHS show a remarkably high 78 percent of
          unmarried 15–19-year-old men and women reporting ZERO sexual partners in he past year [31].

          Awareness of the danger of dying from AIDS did not change their behavior.

          A massive, society supported Abstinence, Being Faithful, Condoms program did change behavior.

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

          Can we ever ask or expect our children to be abstinent, or delay sexual activity, or have less sex, or expect monogamy?

          Can we ever ask children to delay getting their driver’s license? Or drinking diet soda? Or eating bagels? Well, sure, we could, but what’s the point? It’s not like those (in the appropriate way) are a problem.

          You’ve seen my defense of premarital sex?

          Bob, I may be wrong, you seem to think to think this is a practical impossibility.

          In all cases? Yep, that’s impossible. It’s also pointless. Why go against the stream?

          Is our youth unable to substantially change their sexual behavior?

          As that article makes clear, what we’re asking youth today to do (10+ years of abstinence) is a new thing as of just decades ago. It’s not natural.

          They tried a three-pronged program –Abstinence, Being Faithful, Condoms.

          I like it.

          We’ve tried abstinence-only in this country, and you probably know as well as I do what an unsurprising failure it’s been.

        • wlad

          ‘In all cases? Yep, that’s impossible. It’s also pointless. Why go against the stream?’

          Who said ALL cases?..

          The Ugandans refused to believe that “it can’t happen here,” went against the stream, and had a success rate of changing sexual behavior unmatched in any other African country, and I think, in the world.

          “Data from Uganda’s 2000–2001 show a REMARKABLY HIGH 78 percent of unmarried 15–19-year-old men and women reporting ZERO sexual partners in he past year [31].’

          Can’t happen nowadays? Impossible to expect 15-19 year olds to refrain from sex? This happened four years ago, not in the 50’s.

          Seems impossible, Can’t happen nowadays? Thankfully they went ahead with ABC.

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

          Who said ALL cases?..

          The person who advocates for abstinence-only sex education. If that’s not you, help me in slapping some sense into those people.

          had a success rate of changing sexual behavior unmatched in any other African country, and I think, in the world.

          We’ve been over that. Yes, it’s great. Comprehensive sex ed and convenient access to condoms can do wonders—I agree.

          Premarital sex isn’t a problem by itself. The consequences can be–let’s work to avoid those.

        • wlad

          “We’ve been over that. Yes, it’s great. Comprehensive sex ed and convenient access to condoms can do wonders—I agree.”

          No.

          In the Abstinence, Being Faithful, Condom program, the Condoms (the “comprehensive sex ed” part of the program) had absolutely NO effect on 15-19 year old men and women having ZERO sex.

          People having zero sex don’t use condoms (or contraceptives).

          The Abstinence, Being Faithful, had ALL the effect in drastically changing sexual behavior–78% of 15-19 yr old having ZERO sex.

          Those 78% have no STD’s, No unwanted pregnancies, No abortions, No children with one parent, No HIV.

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

          What’s your point? That abstinence works for some people?

          Yeah, obviously. It’s when abstinence is applied as the sole part of sex ed that you get the outrageous unwanted pregnancy rates you get in the US.

        • wlad

          78% of 15-19 yr oldsis not “some.” It’s a phenominal number of people, with only abstinence, being faithful sex education, just four years ago.

        • Kodie

          In the Abstinence, Being Faithful, Condom program, the Condoms (the
          “comprehensive sex ed” part of the program) had absolutely NO effect on
          15-19 year old men and women having ZERO sex.

          You miss the point of the program, not surprising. Abstinence=ZERO SEX, that’s a method. I thought the goal was to lower the rate and stop the spread of Hiv and AIDS. You think the goal of the program is to keep people from having sex.

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

          My read is that Wlad is eager to see teens taught a healthy attitude toward sex.

        • Kodie

          My read is that Wlad is happy to see AIDS put to good use in his quest to abstinize the world.

        • MNb

          That’s my read as well.

        • Niemand

          The Abstinence, Being Faithful, had ALL the effect in drastically changing sexual behavior–78% of 15-19 yr old having ZERO sex.

          Reference? I’ve never seen any studies of abstinence only ed that showed any effect, but am willing to believe that I might have missed something.

        • wlad

          “Premarital sex isn’t a problem by itself”

          IT CERTAINLY IS! ABSOLUTELY

          Let’s put aside the bad consequences–unwanted pregnancy, abortion, and std’s you want to try to avoid, and just look at the premarital sex by itself.

          Wikipedia, no bastion of conservaticism, says:

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

          Research shows that two-thirds of sexually active girls wish they had waited longer before having sex.[59] Of seniors in high school, 74% of girls regret sexual experiences they have had.[60]

          Sexually active teenage girls are more than twice as likely to suffer depression compared to those who are not sexually active.[62]

          Sex therapists have found that the roots of sexual issues facing adults often date back to regretful teenage experiences.[11] Research has also found that being abstinent in the teen years was associated with better mental health at age 29.[63] Girls who were virgins at age 18 were also less likely to have a mental illness at age 40.[64]

          Girls are “at particular risk for experiencing negative social and emotional consequences of having any type of sex,” including oral sex.[10]Girls are more than twice as likely as boys to say they felt bad about themselves and more than three times as likely to say they felt used as a result of engaging in sex[11] or hookups.

          Girls are “at particular risk for experiencing negative social and emotional consequences of having any type of sex,” including oral sex.[10]Girls are more than twice as likely as boys to say they felt bad about themselves and more than three times as likely to say they felt used as a result of engaging in sex[11] or hookups.[6][11]

          However, the study found that both the girls and the boys who were hooking up often were depressed and didn’t feel very good about themselves.[66]”All the experts who talk about teen sexuality maintain that … it’s impossible” for girls to enjoy meaningless sex as much as boys.[66] “[Girls] particularly are suffering from the new regime [of casual sex] and are having some lasting problems” as a result.[59]

          Girls who have engaged in sexual intercourse are five times more likely than their virgin peers to be the victim of dating violence.[72]Girls who were intentionally hurt by a date in the past 12 months are at a “significantly elevated risk for a broad range of sexual health
          concerns and for pregnancy.”[72] Girls who have been victims are also twice as likely to report high levels of multiple sexual partners.[72]

          There are more. But you get the picture.

        • Kodie

          I would not say that’s a result of having sex. I would suspect that’s a result of a little propaganda, a lot of a lack of education, and a load of societal shame from busybodies like you for no reason whatsoever.

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

          Sure, we could whip ourselves into a frenzy. But why bother? There’s nothing there.

          Wikipedia, no bastionof conservaticism

          Did you note that the article has been flagged? Maybe we should be a little hesitant to take it as gospel.

          The issue is only whether they’re married or not. Don’t bring in factors that are tangential to this—rape, STDs, unwanted pregnancy, etc.

          Research shows that two-thirds of sexually active girls wish they had waited longer before having sex.

          Did I mention sex ed? Oh yeah, many, many times. There’s your answer: sex ed. When it’s just “DON’T HAVE SEX!” this is what happens.

          I’ve seen no agreement on my points about the value of comprehensive sex ed. I assume that you agree with those points that you let slide.

          you get the picture.

          Yes, I do! American teens have very poor sex education. Sounds like you’re eager to see it broadened.

        • wlad

          Don’t bring in factors that are tangential to this—rape, STDs, unwanted pregnancy, etc.”

          I specifically set those issues aside. I did NOT bring them in.

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

          You brought them up to set them aside. But marriage is the only variable under consideration.

        • MNb

          Dutch teenagers are about 16,7 years old on average when losing virginity. In 1980 it was 17,3. There are no reports of increasing mental health issues.

          http://gemiddeldgezien.nl/sex/gemiddelde-leeftijd-ontmaagding

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

          I have little patience with “sins” that can be made “not sins” with just a redefinition. Premarital sex is one of them.

        • Kodie

          In every state plus D.C., except for Nebraska and Mississippi, marriage without parental consent may take place at the age of 18. In Nebraska it is 19, and in Mississippi, it is 17 for boys and 15 for girls. Many states have no waiting period, and among states with a waiting period, the longest is 5 days. The youngest with permission is 14 for boys and 12 for girls in Massachusetts, and 15 for boys and 13 for girls in New Hampshire. There are a lot of other loopholes for a minor with no parents living in the state, according to some of the footnotes. Most states are at 16 with parental permission, but many of those grant licenses below that age in the case of pregnancy or having a child.

          http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/table_marriage

          Basically, all Wlad cares about these teenagers is that they are abstinent until marriage, or else monogamous in marriage. He doesn’t seem to care about their maturity level or financial stability. As if marriage confers all that a couple will need in life to stay right and have all they need to provide for children. He doesn’t care about babies having babies. What’s wrong with his religious beliefs is that they only address one issue, how to make it very ok to have sex. Marriage is not a magic spell that makes sex have all the best outcomes, out of the so-called damage that might be caused by actually being educated about birth control, or actually being comfortable with sex instead of shamed.

          According to the list, it looks almost like marriage is a punishment for having sex. If a parent of a child of as young as 12 permits marriage, it simply has to be because that child has been naughty. Determining the rest of someone’s life because they had sex sounds like the worst authoritarian punishment of all.

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

          Wait a minute–how does that affect the idea that marriage is fixed and unchanging? Marriage was set down, unchanging, by God in Genesis! Next thing ya know, they’ll be having boys marrying boys and girls marrying girls!

          According to the list, it looks almost like marriage is a punishment for having sex.

          Reminds me of the quote by Butch Hancock that I used recently: “Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in Hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth and you should save it for someone you love.”

        • purr

          I was thinking about this a couple of weeks ago. An oft-heard argument against abortion is that ‘people will just have lots of free sex’ – that abortion enables women to have sex and be party girls.

          Ok. So? What’s wrong with that? No really. What’s wrong with it? If consenting adults (even teens) want to get down and have as much sex as they want, who is getting hurt exactly? I mean, other than STD’s, and some hurt feelings, who exactly is getting injured by teh sex? STD’s are treatable, as is a broken heart. But, there’s this idea that ‘free sex’ will lead to moral decay. But they won’t explain HOW it will. Just that it will! These ideas have been so thoroughly inculcated that people don’t think twice. They just think sex without repercussion = bad! And that may have made sense – back n the days before reliable birth control. When life was really hard. But, nowadays, that doesn’t matter. Technology has come to the rescue. People can have sex and walk away. So what’s the big deal? No one is getting hurt.

          Of course, they will make the argument, that every time you have sex, and get pregnant, you are hurting babies! (with abortion). So now, sex is something that results in MURDER. Which is really just ridiculous. And of course, it’s always the woman’s fault -by choosing to have sex, she is putting an innocent human being in harm’s way and MURDERING it! The horror!

          The way they make it sound, sex (at least for women) is a downright criminal act.

        • Kodie

          Marriage is only one solution to the problem, essentially. We’re animals and we’re going to have sex. Marriage secures that sex act, but it’s not a magic spell that cures diseases, or keeps partners from having sex with anyone else. It’s a pact designed to minimize problems that could occur, not if, but when people have sex. That’s why it’s a moral issue – because generally speaking, when someone doesn’t honor a pact, they’re a piece of shit, right?

          Even now, most people get married, and mostly for the same reasons – because they are in a stable relationship, and because they want to start a family. Whether or not they should is irrelevant. You can be a terrible person, but if you manage to get someone to like you enough, you can set that relatively in stone. The difference between now and then, most people are not financially stable until they are older. And another situation is that, for some reason, older conservative people can’t remember being young. They think if you don’t talk about sex that they’ll never know, that getting intimate only occurs to people on their wedding night.

          Yes, you’re right. Technology against diseases and pregnancy is only a sophisticated form of marriage. It’s not doom. It’s better than getting married at 15 or 16. It’s getting to have a life, an education, and choose better (hopefully?) who to marry, or if to marry at all, and choose whether and when to have children. Marriage was only a solution then, it is not a sacred holy thing. It’s idealistic and superstitious to hold to it, it’s merely a preference of birth control. But it has infused and influenced our society. It’s fine as a religious right, and it’s wrong to dictate to rational society what form of birth control they must practice.

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

          You say that no one gets hurt with premarital sex? Then ask yourself this: What fraction of heroin users drank milk as a child?

          I think the cause-and-effect connection (or lack thereof) is obvious. Or not.

        • Niemand

          Wlad: Thanks for providing links and references, but there’s a basic problem here.

          1. The citations reporting bad consequences of sex all seem to be about girls (that is, female people under age 18) having sex. It doesn’t say anything about the consequences or lack thereof of two 30 year olds who aren’t married having sex.

          2. Cause and effect are very unclear in most of the cites. Do girls who have sex in HS suffer more mental health issues because they had sex? Or did they have sex because their self esteem was shaky and they wanted to prove themselves desirable? Or did they have sex because they were forced to or coerced and are now dealing with the consequences of that act? Or maybe just they had sex because they felt like it and then found that they were told that they were horrible sluts who deserved to feel horrible and eventually internalized that view? It’s telling that boys don’t seem to suffer the same negative consequences–perhaps because male sexual activity isn’t stigmatized in the same way?

          In short, it’s not clear to me that it’s the premarital component that’s the issue, but more the age and social attitude.

        • Niemand

          Another point: People who marry young are more likely to get divorced and have other marital issues. So marriage is clearly no protection against the issues that develop when teens have sex.

        • MNb

          Yet another point: religious bigots and liberals tend to agree that young men have strong sexual urges. Psychological research indicates it is unhealthy to suppress them (frustration). The solution is clear: stimulate young women to become sexual active based on equality. The first step indeed is to get rid of the social stigma – the word slut must become a compliment, so to say.
          In this respect I envy my son. Contacts with girls of his age are much easier for him than it was for me 30 years ago.
          But I guess Wlad prefers his table legs being covered.

        • Niemand

          Um…young women have strong sexual urges too. Women are less likely to be interested in casual sex for two reasons: 1. the taboo against women having casual sex is stronger than against men having casual sex and 2. they’re less certain that they’ll have a good time with a new partner. But the same urges are there.

        • MNb

          Yes, I suspect so, but as an old male geezer I did not want to talk for women. I only remember my time as a young man, not as a young woman.
          All the more reason to get rid of that social stigma.

        • MNb

          “IT CERTAINLY IS! ABSOLUTELY”
          Thanks for the warning. I have had plenty of it before I married at the age of 27. Until today I wasn’t aware of any problem; neither was my ex. Neither of us was virgin anymore when we met the first time.
          Frankly I had the apparently wrong idea that our past experiences helped us to have excellent sex – we knew which blunders to avoid.
          But now I know that we had big problems. I am not aware which ones, but still thanks for the warning. Let’s see which problems you mention.

          “unwanted pregnancy,”
          My ex and I had learned from our past experiences, so after we met she went immediately to Stichting Lobi (Foundation of Love) and asked for the pill.

          “abortion’
          Never had it, because the pill was so easily available.

          “and std’s you want to try to avoid”
          Yeah, we discussed that one at a very early stage and decided that we ran no such risk. I already told you that doing an AIDS-test was easy too.
          Nope, I still don’t see any problem except those deliberately created by bigots like you. Let me continue.

          “Girls are “at particular risk for experiencing negative social and emotional consequences of having any type of sex,””
          which is obviously the result of social stigma put on girls (ie using the word slut in a negative way) by religious bigots like you. What you have shown is how a culture infested by religious bigotry like the USA has serious negative consequences for the mental health of women. Congratulated – you provided an excellent reason to get rid of religious bigotry.
          That’s something The Netherlands have done in the 60’s with the sexual revolution; Suriname never needed to because chastity and virginity never have been seen as virtuous in this country.
          You can bet your head that in these two countries sexually active girls don’ suffer from those mental consequences. They are not caused by premarital sex but by social restricions.

        • Kodie

          The problem as you see it is people are having sex and you don’t want them to. No, we can’t expect monogamy and abstinence, not because they are actually unattainable goals, but because to do so is to make having sex a bad thing. In the case where there is a vile disease going around with no real cure or common access to treatment, and people can actually die from having sex, it might be a good idea to be afraid of sex. I’m not sure about that, but I’m still thinking about a good answer to that. If drinking the water can get you sick, it’s a good idea not to drink it no matter how thirsty you are.

          In the US, you want to prescribe abstinence as if there is something wrong with having sex. There isn’t. As with drinking water, you usually find that you need water, and there’s no morality warning against drinking it – only if it can kill you, the region puts out a warning and you have to get bottled water from outside the area to drink.

          It’s too much to expect because there’s not really anything to be afraid of as long as you’re careful and abortions are available. It’s people like you, you’re not against abortion or birth control, deeply, those are just devices to get you to moralize over people’s sex lives and personal choices.

        • MNb

          This was basically the approach of Dutch government when the AIDS-epidemy had reached The Netherlands in the early 80’s.

          ” the region puts out a warning and you have to get bottled water from outside the area to drink.”
          ie take precautions, even if it robs you from fun like dark rooms.

        • MNb

          No, pro-lifers actually don’t. They are not interested in what works and what doesn’t.
          Kodie is completely right here. They want to reduce women again to housewives and brooding machines.

        • Norm Donnan

          So its not about the killing of unborn children its all about the “bring me a beer bitch” slave we want eh?How about women should wear burkas as well,now your talking.

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

          Just a grammar tip to make your execrable comments more easily tolerated: you need a space after punctuation marks.

        • purr

          I like how he uses commas instead of ellipses. It’s his trademark.

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

          And e. e. cummings thought that he had clever idea by not using capital letters.

        • Norm Donnan

          Cool I didnt realize I had a “Trademark”.
          I carnt find ellipses on my computer,what do they look like?

        • purr

          They look like your tiny tiny brain.

        • Norm Donnan

          So that would make you a full stop then!

        • Norm Donnan

          Thanks Bob…and what does execrable mean ?

        • MNb

          You want less abortion? Like me? This works:
          1) Legalize it.
          2) Make contraception easily accessible.
          3) Organize good sex education.
          Three things you are dead against, which means that you in practice promote what you argue against. The reason why is indeed “the bring me a beer bitch” and “give birth to at least a dozen babies” slave you want at home.

          “How about women should wear burkas as well
          Fyi: I’m not exactly an advocate of burqa’s. The attitude behind it is the same as yours and Wlad’s.

        • Norm Donnan

          Your dreaming and in denial.
          All these things are available in America,so tell that to the 50million people aborted since roevwade.

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

          MNb is right. If you actually cared about reducing abortion numbers (you do see that they’ll never go down to zero, right?), you would take the steps he recommends. That is the best way to reduce abortion rates.

          You have allies that you’re slapping away. It’s almost like you have a political or religious dogma that must be followed and which is blinding you to reality.

        • Norm Donnan

          What backward country do you live in?
          These are all standard procedure where I live and are taught in school from year 7(12yo)and still have around 100,000 abortions a year,they dont work.

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

          What is the way to have the minimum number of abortions?

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

          Norm has all the answers. I wonder if he agrees.

        • Niemand

          What is the way to have the minimum number of abortions?

          I glanced at this question, saw the bit about “minimum number of abortions” and that it was directed to Norm and somehow the idea flashed through my mind that Norm was demanding that there be a minimum number of abortions that each woman should be required to have in her lifetime. Or maybe that zero was ok, but if you’ve had one abortion you’d better meet your minimum requirement of 3 after that…It was a startling thought, especially given the debate so far.

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

          Norm is certain that he has all the answers. I’d like him to make plain (1) his goal (which I assume to be a minimum number of abortions, or you could be right that he wants zero) and (2) how he thinks we an achieve that.

          The route that he’s going down seems to be pretty clearly not the minimum number route.

        • Norm Donnan

          I would think contraception No.1 plus the lifestyle choices that are portrayed as normal need to be challenged

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

          Fact #1: people in their teens and 20s almost universally like to screw. We’re stuck with that fact. Finger wagging (which is my interpretation of your “lifestyle choices”) is not effective. We’ve tried that.

          Good for you for wanting to make contraception available. You forgot comprehensive, world-class sex education.

          And you forgot abortion. Making it illegal drives it underground; it doesn’t eliminate abortions.

        • MNb

          Then why do they work better in The Netherlands than in your country?

        • MNb

          You’re the one who is dreaming. The Netherlands do a pretty good job on these three points; I knew theoretically how an intrauterine device (we call it spiral) worked when I was 13. There is a lot wrong in my country, but we have about the lowest abortion and teen pregnancy rates in the world. These rates are almost ten times as high in Louisiana.

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

          Y’know, if the pro-lifers actually did want to stop abortions, they would look around to figure out what reduced them the most and do that.

          That they don’t makes me think that there’s something else going on here. Leading candidate: the pro-life citizens simply haven’t thought it through, but the leadership is being manipulated for conservative political reasons. And, of course, they don’t want to solve the problem. If the problem is solved, they can’t run around screaming that the sky is falling.

        • Pofarmer

          I think most pro lifers are sincere, I just think that they are blinded. They think that their high minded moral preening will somehow overcome biology, although there’s no evidence that it really ever has. I think the sentiments are somewhat noble, if misguided. The problem I have is like Mnb. We know what reduces abortions, but it doesn’t fit their mold of morality, so they shun it, when what they should do is look at how their outlook is flawed and adjust it.

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

          And yet when you go back 30-40 years, in aftermath of Roe v. Wade, you see lots of churches having no problem with abortion. If you want to find a Christian pro-choice spin, it’s easy to do.

          I don’t know if that’s hopeful (they did it before; they can do it again) or discouraged (they’ve deliberately moved [or been moved, by politicians] and are content in their new anti-choice position).

        • purr

          I have heard, well actually seen ,examples of where a church will send out a mailer 100 babies will die if you do not forward this mailer (along with a 100$ donation to the church!!)

          I have wondered what will happen if they get their way, however. If RvW is overturned. If a new law is enacted that gives peronshood to zygotes, embryos and fetuses. If women will go to jail for illegal abortion.

          What then? Not only will there be a huge backlash, but a large source of their funding will go poof!

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

      I’m asking you to compare the “holocaust” of abortion with sex education and contraception. You’ve got your head in the sand if you imagine you can have your cake and eat it too. Teens ain’t gonna wait until they’re married to do it. You insist on abstinence, and you reap the high unwanted pregnancy rates that you see in the U.S. You’ve helped make the problem if abstinence is your “sex education.”

      FIFTY FOUR percent of women who had abortions USED some form of birth control–a majority using it incorrectly and inconsistently.

      There’s your problem–improper sex education. Sounds like we’re on the same page.

    • Kodie

      What’s the shocking part?

  • purr

    If abortion is ever made illegal again , we can look forward to this:

    “”For doctors and medical workers, the woman bleeding from a botched abortion was a familiar figure in hospital emergency rooms in the 1950s and ’60s. Entire wards were given over to patients suffering from septic abortions. Women tried to abort themselves with abortifacients or irritants administered as douches: Lysol, soap, kerosene, vinegar, powdered mustard, bleach, among others. They used, or others on them, garden hoses, syringes, telephone wire, coat hangers, nut picks, pencils, catheters, and chopsticks. They were brought into hospital wards by the hundreds, bleeding from perforated uteruses. In 1962, for instance, Cook County Hospital in Chicago treated nearly five thousand women for abortion-related complications. Police crackdowns forced women to self-abort or resort to untrained specialists, with the result that deaths increased, doubling in New York City between 1951 and 1962. In the 1960s, they accounted for nearly half of maternal mortality.””

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

      That’s the post-Roe world that pro-lifers are eager to see.

      • MNb

        Yes. Frankly I don’t understand why they are called pro-lifers. They are against pretty much everything that makes life more pleasant. I guess that’s the point – life on Earth has to be a vale of tears, to make afterlife more attractive.
        There is point in saying that their mentality is medieval.

        • purr

          It’s also about identity politics and feeeling that you are a morally upstanding citizen.

          This is why they fuck like rabbits, have lots of teh gay sex, and engage in adultery – and abortion.

    • Niemand

      One of the most passionate pro-choice advocates I know was an OB who was old enough to remember and have been practicing in the pre-Roe era. He talked about the difference pre- and post-Roe, going from seeing women dying of septic abortions daily to never seeing it almost overnight. He deeply wanted to avoid ever seeing that again. I hope he managed to retire before Texas’ harassment laws started to make people show up in the ER with post-illegal abortion complications.

  • Norm Donnan

    Strange that to destroy an eagles egg you are up for 10 years jail and a $250,000 fine but a human,your choice!!

    • Philmonomer

      I feel pretty confident that if someone injected an eagle egg into my body, I wouldn’t be going to jail or paying a fine for destroying/removing it.

      • purr

        That chick who’s talking to you about fetal dismemberment on SPL – notice how she is ONLY citing abortions AFTER 13 weeks? yeah.

        Also, a good question to ask the ‘fetal pron’ folks is, would they object to abortion if every abortion was a c-section? Of course the answer would still be YES…so why talk about the ‘ick’ factor at all?

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

          I’ve not hung out at wherever this place is. What’s “fetal pron”? Why would a pro-life person bring up the ick factor?

        • purr

          Secular pro life had an article on fetal dismemberment. Philo here had questioned it. Many pro lifers are like norm, and they think that endless pictures of aborted embryos and feti will convince everyone to switch to prolife.

          It doesn’t work. People just think its offensive and nutty.

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

          Worse, every photo of a 8-month-old fetus dismembered demands lots of questions: why show that when a 2-week-old would be morally equivalent? Why not show that to show your consistency with your message? Or are you as hypocritical as it seems, preferring to show the more person-like examples?

        • Niemand

          Any 8 month old fetus that is aborted is likely to be a horror show, no matter how the abortion occurred. Because abortions at 8 months just don’t occur unless something went drastically wrong. Ever seen a fetus with anencephaly, with or without hydrocephalus or with external growth of the organs, and so on? They’re gross, no matter how they came out of the uterus (or, even, if: the ultrasounds look like something Hollywood made up for a horror film too.) I’d post some links, but I think I’d rather not be responsible for anyone losing their lunch. Put “fetal anomaly” into google image if you must.

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

          I used the photo of an anencephalic fetus for a post once. Scary.

        • Niemand

          And that’s one of the more normal looking ones.

        • Norm Donnan

          Its the science part of an argument you as atheists should understand the best,you know the observable repeatable thing that science is renowned for,(except for the evolution thing that is).A bin full of babies does kind of look different than microscopic cells.

        • purr

          You and your brethren talk about dead babies because even you know that a clump of human dna isn’t a person.

        • Norm Donnan

          Until we show you babies that you and yours deny that this is what your killing.

        • Kodie

          This just shows how stupid you are. This is not what we’re “killing”. You are amazingly stupid, Norm. You just want to be provocative, but irrational. When you look at the clump of cells, this is what you’re hanging onto, and determining other people’s lives for. It doesn’t have to gestate and build itself out of a woman’s blood and tissue. It can be disposed of with no conscience whatsoever, just like a goldfish you don’t want anymore, or a cabbage that you want to make into cole slaw. Holy shit, have you seen the gore involving cole slaw? They shred the shit out of a perfectly live organism and then smother it in mayonnaise and vinegar! And then they eat it!

          You require people become emotional about it, but you’re emotional over a parasitic tumor. That’s all fine if it happens to be your own parasitic tumor, but don’t try to make people feel guilty as child-klllers by portraying it in a disingenuous way.

        • purr

          OH gee why? Because zygotes aren’t *actually* babies?

          As Kodie said, you hate women. You view women as nothing more than sex slaves and baby factories.

          That’s pretty despicable Norm.

        • Norm Donnan

          Def in Australia your what we would call a wanker.
          I , like Bob chose to stop at 2 children,not a very productive factory Im sure you will agree and if my wife doesnt want sex she will tell me to go away.
          It is only people like you and Kodie who are the ones labeling women as whores and baby factories to justify your position to yourselves.
          Nice girls and married women find themselves un expectantly pregnant,if a woman is a whore,I call that a prostitute.

        • purr

          I look at how you belittle Kodie, and I don’t believe you. And I look at your comments on LJF where you say women owe their husbands sex.

          Why do you hate women norm?

        • Kodie

          He calls women prostitutes if they are having sex and aren’t married. So good women, the women he reveres (a form of sexism, i.e. hatred of women) have to be chained to a man to be any good to judgmental Norm. Norm only likes when women behave like he thinks they should behave, only have sex with a husband, and not try to prevent pregnancy, because they’re married, there is no shame there! But still all the other problems. .

          Norm, it’s not up to you. You and Wlad are delusional about what marriage achieves – very little. It’s unnecessary. We can be free! Women can actually be free! Sex is not the dirty dirty thing you think it is. It’s not the sacred act of a married couple only. It’s not just for making babies. Grow up!

        • purr

          One last thing. You only talk down to women. Never to men.

          And it is amazing that this conversation has gone on as long as it has. You are an idiot. Half the time I can’t even decipher your dribble. Oh, my boyfriend and I have a good laugh about ‘ the sexist moron who uses commas instead of ellipses’.

          You are an imbecile. What are you even doing here? Do you enjoy being laughed at?

        • Niemand

          The majority, indeed the vast majority, of abortions are performed before the 12th week of pregnancy. Some info on what a 12 week old fetus looks like–and what it doesn’t look like.

          The “bin full of babies” is a “pro-life” fantasy. It’s purpose is to make themselves feel better about advocating the rape, torture, and murder of pregnant women. And to deceive others into believing that their motives are anything other than advocating the same.

        • Philmonomer

          I was mostly replying to their banner-“Call me an extremist, but I think DISMEMBERMENT is wrong.”

          My observation was silly–“if it isn’t dismemberment, does that mean it isn’t wrong?”

          It was the first thing that popped into my head after seeing the banner. Obviously, the banner is just an emotional appeal–as a commenter noted.

    • Kodie

      Murder carries a sentence much longer than destroying an eagle egg. Nobody pays when they catch a rat in a trap, though. Except the rat and its family, probably. And the person who has to touch the rat to dispose of it.

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

      Thanks for the tip. If he raises any new points, I might respond with a post. After a very brief scan, I wonder if there’s anything new there.

      Have you read it? Any good points?

      • Philmonomer

        I did read it–and left a couple comments below. I didn’t/don’t have the time to spend (much) mental energy on it.

      • purr

        Well Clinton made an argument the other day that anencephalic feti are persons who are simply prevented, by external forces, from actualizing their inherent capacity for person hood!

        Which is no different from a person who has lost their sight one day getting a cornea transplant. I guess we just have to wait for scientists to cure anencephaly right? Therefore, anencephaly is just a temporary problem in need of a fix!

        Edit: we are all murderers who are simply prevented from actualizing our inherent capacity for murder by those mysterious external forces.

  • ignorance_is_curable

    I’m as much against the nonsense spouted by abortion opponents as anyone can possibly be, but that doesn’t mean I can accept nonsense posted by the pro-choice crowd.

    Human personhood is associated with birth only because of the Law. In terms of Science, we need to think about a particular Question, “What Generic and Objective characteristics do persons possess, such that they can be distinguished from mere animals anywhere in the Universe?” The Answer to that Question will have nothing whatsoever to do with “human DNA”. Totally non-human person-class beings could be building a civilization right now a billion light-years away in another galaxy. A True Artificial Intelligence would be a person, and the current rate of technological progress hints that we will probably be able to build one of those in less than 20 years from now, simply as a consequence of the fact that the more we learn about how the human brain works, the the more we are copying that functionality into computer hardware –and our ability to miniaturize hardware will make it easy to match the physical data-processing capabilities of the human brain in less than 20 years.

    So, now study up on the topics of “feral child” and “Koko the gorilla”. The evidence is that personhood is an acquired characteristic, and it is quite possible for humans to fail to acquire it —and it is possible for gorillas to acquire significant aspects of it. Yes, this can lead us back to the notion of a “spectrum”, relating to the period of time associated with the acquisition of the characteristics that allow persons to be distinguished from ordinary animals.

    Counting from human conception instead of birth (because times of birth can vary widely relative to conception, while overall physical development between different humans is more comparable when birth is ignored), the most-relevant time-range for the acquisition of Objective/Generic/Universal traits associated with personhood appears to be “from 15 to 45 months after conception”. Feel free to talk about a spectrum during that time.

    Then note that it has absolutely nothing to do with unborn humans! They basically have Zero magnitude of personhood, all the way from conception until the normal/average time of birth after 9 months! Then, at birth, the Law grants them full personhood. In Science, such a change is known as a “discontinuity”, and they are common enough to be well-understood. In this case the thing that matters is that the legal assignment of personhood has nothing to do with Scientific Data about the Objective Generic Universal characteristics that separate persons from ordinary animals. To Science, the newborn human is still just an animal, and nothing more than an animal.

    However, that has nothing to do with the abortion debate, since abortion only targets unborn humans. Fortunately, here the Law and the Science both agree: Unborn humans are not persons, period. Abortion only targets animal organisms, period.

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

      that doesn’t mean I can accept nonsense posted by the pro-choice crowd.

      Ditto.

      Human personhood is associated with birth only because of the Law.

      Huh? Abortion isn’t legal up to birth.

      A True Artificial Intelligence would be a person

      That’s a very broad definition of “person.” I don’t necessarily object, but this gets into areas that are beyond our conversation here.

      we will probably be able to build one of those in less than 20 years from now

      Optimistic IMO, but again off topic.

      our ability to miniaturize hardware will make it easy to match the physical data-processing capabilities of the human brain in less than 20 years.

      Software is what holds us back, not hardware.

      However, that has nothing to do with the abortion debate, since abortion only targets unborn humans.

      Uh, OK. Not sure what you’re talking about, and I’m not much eager to find out. Seems like you’re tackling interesting issues that are far afield.

      • ignorance_is_curable

        I was trying to show how even a non-biological entity can, in the not-too-distant future, qualify as a person quite equivalent to the average adult human. (By the way, the human brain is a self-programming computer, so you can expect a person-class Artificial Intelligence will need to be self-programming, too –which will solve much of the software problem that you mentioned.)

        Abortion is not currently fully legal up until birth because of something known as “the State’s compelling interest”, not because of any fraction or spectrum of personhood. After all, every viable unborn human is a potential future taxpayer!

        On the other hand, because the State is willing to pay attention to relevant scientific data, it is possible that a relaxation might occur, of rules against late-term abortions. This is because of recent sociological studies linking unwanted children to the crime rate. We shall see….

        There are too many abortion opponents who, the moment they learn that just-born humans can’t qualify as persons in terms of Objective Generic Universal Facts, they start wailing about “infanticide”. They ignore the Fact that the Law protects those infants, and they are trying to distract people away from the much-more-relevant Fact that all unborn humans, even right before birth, are mere animal organisms, not in-the-slightest-sense persons –and the abortion debate is only about unborn humans. Pro-choicers must not let themselves be distracted away from the Main Issue by those Debate-losers, the abortion opponents.

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

          Abortion is not currently fully legal up until birth because of something known as “the State’s compelling interest”, not because of any fraction or spectrum of personhood.

          Why does the state have a compelling interest? Because beyond some point it’s too much of a person to cede that right to the woman.

          This is because of recent sociological studies linking unwanted children to the crime rate.

          Seems like old news to me. Freakonomics made that point.

          all unborn humans, even right before birth, are mere animal organisms, not in-the-slightest-sense persons

          Few would agree with you, including me. You have a curious definition of “person.” Is that what your dictionary says?

        • ignorance_is_curable

          Dictionaries only record “common usage”; they do not prevent the language from mutating (they do slow the mutation rate down, though, as compared to the time before dictionaries began to exist). Thanks to science and technology and things like science fiction, nowadays we know that the prejudiced and parochial association of “human” with “person” is eventually going to change, even in common usage. Here’s an example of the beginning of the end of the current definition of “person” (prepend the http): http://www.geekexchange.com/india-declares-dolphins-non-human-persons-100671.html

          As that definition changes, one of the foundations of many anti-abortion arguments is going to be majorly eroded –and so I choose to take the however-distant future viewpoint, in which that foundation has utterly collapsed, thanks to alien persons and artificial persons. Meanwhile, the State has two things that together indicate that “partial personhood’ is not assigned to unborn humans.

          First is some original text of the Constitution, associated with the Census. Each slave was to be counted as three-fifths of a person. While that got superseded by an Amendment, the point remains that the Law was willing to employ the partial-person concept. However, and the second thing, that concept did not get employed in a certain aspect of the rest of the Law associated with the Census.

          See, the Constitution requires that all persons be counted, and that Congress pass a Law to see that it got done. The Founding Fathers were right there in 1790 to write the first Census Law, and therefore we know exactly what they thought “counted” as a person, and what did not. The Census Law has been tweaked many times in the decades since, but there is a notable common thread (prepend the http): http://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/

          In no Census has any unborn human ever been counted as a person, and not even as a partial person! Which means that, like I previously wrote, the “State’s compelling interest” in the viable unborn has nothing to do with their personhood, and is only associated with the “future taxpayer” thing.

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

          ?? The definition of “person” will change? That’s nice. I have no interest in linguistics for this conversation. Let’s try to perturb as few things as possible to focus on the issue at hand.

          Any anti-abortion argument that depends on the definition of a word at this moment isn’t much of an argument. This doesn’t sound like a valid attack on any interesting anti-abortion argument I know.

          The Constitutional argument is an interesting one, and you’re the first person to bring it to my attention. Thanks. Still, I don’t find it very compelling. Any interesting anti-abortion argument will not build itself on subtleties of definition.

        • ignorance_is_curable

          Definitions are important; various specialties have specialized jargon with specific definitions specifically to ensure accurate communications among members of those specialties.

          So, here is something about the phrase “human being”, which abortion opponents seem to enjoy using everywhere (even though too much of a good thing is always a bad thing!).

          So, with respect to the Overall Abortion Debate, let us consider a foundational flaw in the document posted at “The Public Discourse” site, March 23, 2011 (hereinafter referred to as “the PD document”).
          http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/03/2920/

          We begin with this phrase: “… some argue that not all human beings are persons.” This qualifies as a “loaded” phrase, analogous to a “loaded question”. To see why, we need to think about two things, “human”, and “human being”. Both of them can be nouns, referencing a member of the species Homo Sapiens. Why do we have two different-yet-so-similar ways of referencing that entity? Is there possibly a subtle difference in their meanings?

          To investigate that possibility, suppose we picked a member of some other species, perhaps Sphaerodactylus ariasae, less formally known as “gecko” –and tried using it in the quoted phrase above, “… some argue that not all gecko beings are persons.” We may now take note of the fact that while we might use “gecko” in a casual conversation, nobody ever uses “gecko being”.

          Similar, we could try some other species (without digging up their formal scientific names), and deduce a pattern: We use “rabbit” and “frog” and “spider” and “worm” in many casual conversations, but we never use “rabbit being” or “frog being” or “spider being” or “worm being”. This implies that there is something special about “human being”, that makes it different from “human”.

          If we sought other places where the word “being” is at least semi-casually used similarly to “human being”, we actually can find a few: “intelligent being”, “extraterrestrial being”, and “alien being”. We may now conclude that “being” is getting used, casually, as a synonym for “person”. So, if we go back to and change just one word in the original quoted phrase, the “loaded” thing about it becomes obvious: “… some argue that not all human persons are persons.”

          The trap of a “loaded question” involves a detrimental assumption that is built into the question. The only “answer” to such a question is to expose the detrimental assumption. So, suppose we modified that original quoted phrase again: “… some argue that not all humans are persons.” If such an argument can be made, at least it wouldn’t start out by accepting a detrimental assumption!

          In a Debate, semantics need to be agreed-upon. In this particular case, agreement could be difficult. Most dictionaries, after all, tend to equate “human” and “human being” as if they were always exactly the same thing. On the other hand, if you investigated the details of how dictionaries are assembled, you would discover that they do not create/define words, they only record how words are used in the population. (The bigger the dictionary, the smaller the population might be associated with a particular word-usage.) And as a result, word-definitions tend to mutate as the centuries go by (though this is less common now that dictionaries exist to add stability to a language).

          If it was possible to argue that not all humans are persons, then we would need to make a semantic distinction between “human”, sometimes a non-person, and “human being”, always a person. The preceding paragraph implies it could be difficult for obtain concensus on that. Is there an argument which might sway the consensus?

          Perhaps. Consider again “intelligent being” and “extraterrestrial being” and “alien being”. If these are also considered to be persons, then what exactly do they and human beings have in common, which Objectively and Generically and Universally distinguishes them from ordinary-animal non-persons like geckos and rabbits and frogs and spiders and worms? It should be obvious that whatever all possible types of persons do have in common, human DNA is not involved.

          Logically, if something other than human DNA is associated with “personhood”, then it should theoretically be very possible for some rare humans to fail to have the Objective/Generic/Universal whatever-it-is that actually distinguishes persons from ordinary animals. In turn that would mean we need a descriptor like “human” to be able to reference a rare human non-person, even while “human being” continues to always reference a human person.

          More, it means that while conducting the Overall Abortion Debate, it has to be recognized that merely calling a human a “human being” doesn’t automatically prove that the human possesses the Objective/Generic/Universal characteristics that can distinguish persons from ordinary animals. Nevertheless, over and over again one side of the Debate “loads” statements with “human being”, while the other side seldom tries to point out the detrimental assumption.

          No longer! At least not in this message. Here every single human is just a human, and nothing more than that, until proven to qualify as a person, by possessing those Objective Generic Universal characteristics, whatever they are.

          The preceding now takes us pretty straight to one of the other things in the PD document, “… some argue that until certain characteristics necessary for personhood are present, we do not have a person …” We are literally forced to consider that argument to be valid for as long as it is possible for non-human persons to exist somewhere in the Universe. How else might future star-farers distinguish some extraterrestrial alien animal from an extraterrestrial alien person, when we have absolutely no prior knowledge about that organism or its world?

          We may now examine what is claimed to be a flaw in the preceding, and we can start by observing a now-obvious flaw in the claim: “… the central philosophical challenge is to identify non-arbitrary criteria for personhood that manage to include all those human beings that are undoubtedly persons and exclude only those that might plausibly fail to be persons.” –while the statement is “loaded” with “human beings”, that is not so important as what we end up with by rephrasing it relevant to the previous paragraph: “… the central philosophical challenge is to identify non-arbitrary criteria for personhood that manage to include all possible person-class organisms, and exclude all ordinary animal organisms.”

          Logically, any human that fails to qualify as a person would have to be classed as an ordinary animal organism. So, what might qualify as a non-arbitrary set of characteristics for Objectively, Generically, and Universally distinguishing persons from animals? Here is a proposed partial list:

          1. Persons are self-aware.
          2. Persons have Free Will.
          3. Persons are able to understand the concept of “the future”.
          4. Persons are able to creatively manipulate abstractions.
          5. Persons are able to mentally place themselves into the situations of other entities.
          6. Persons are individuals who transcend their organic individuality in conscious social participation. (Sir Julian Huxley)

          It is possible that the list is incomplete, just as it is possible that the list is already more-than-complete (it might contain something unnecessary). And since we persons involved in the Overall Abortion Debate are able to mentally place ourselves into the situations of other entities, suppose we considered the “alien perspective” on what might be a qualifying characteristic. Let’s take a paragraph to explore the bizarre….

          There are a lot of “cases” in which various humans claim to have been abducted by aliens, and two common things seem to run through most of those “cases”. There is a claim that the aliens are telepathic. And there is the claim that the humans were examined much like we might examine ordinary animals. So, if the claims are truthful, what of the possibility that the alien definition of “person” requires the presence of telepathy as a crucial characteristic? Practically all humans would fail to qualify, and our cities are nothing more than fancy anthills, to them!

          Back to Earth, and our current lack of complete information about the subject of personhood –we have to do the best we can with what we know. It should be noted that the above list is a list of “abilities”. It also should be noted that there is a significant distinction between “having an ability” and “using an ability”. For example, if you have a small folding pen-knife, you can use its ability to cut something, or you can fold it and put it in your pocket and do something else. You do not lose possession of the knife just because you don’t happen to be using its ability to cut something.

          Similarly, once an entity exhibits the abilities associated with personhood, that entity does not lose possession of those abilities just because they stop getting used when the entity decides to take a nap. Which brings us almost to the end of this message, because now we can ask a Relevant Question, “When do humans exhibit the Objective/Generic/Universal abilities associated with personhood?”

          While we are not able to test humans in the womb, we are certainly able to test them shortly after birth, and they always fail to exhibit any of the Objective/Generic/Universal abilities associated with personhood. Logically, with respect to the Overall Abortion Debate, all less-developed humans still in the womb can only qualify as mere animal organisms. It doesn’t matter at all if post-natal humans also qualify only as mere animals, because abortion is not done to any post-natal humans. Abortion is only done to pre-natal human animals, not human beings.

  • Michael Conard

    There’s a problem with the idea behind this spectrum.

    If you use ‘blue’ to stand for zygote, and ‘green’ to stand for newborn, I would agree that a gradual transition occurs. However, just as the spectrum is always dealing with the mutation of a color, I would say we are always dealing with the mutation of a human being. To better illustrate your point, you would have to make a spectrum where a non-color at some point becomes a color.

    Also, you avoid giving a clear definition of personhood. You make some suggestions through counting body parts, noting that a zygote doesn’t have the parts that, say, a newborn does. But that obviously can’t be the criteria for personhood. What about people who were born without hands? Or a pancreas? Or any limbs? What is the list of body parts that determines a person?

    I hope you would agree that the lives of ‘people’ should be protected, so we need only ask “Are the unborn people?” to see if abortion is acceptable. But to answer that, you have to first answer “What is a person?”

    • purr

      Also, you avoid giving a clear definition of personhood. You make some
      suggestions through counting body parts, noting that a zygote doesn’t
      have the parts that, say, a newborn does. But that obviously can’t be
      the criteria for personhood. What about people who were born without
      hands? Or a pancreas? Or any limbs? What is the list of body parts that
      determines a person?

      What if they are born without a brain?

      • Michael Conard

        I understand your point, but with this you run into the same problems. Why is the brain the criterion, is it because it generates our thoughts and feelings? What about ‘people’ who have brains but which do not do this, such as the comatose? Or which only do it in a limited way, like the severely retarded?

        This still does not provide a positive answer to the question “What is a person?” which is the defining question of the whole debate.

        • purr

          Never having a brain is completely different from having a brain, and having said brain injured. The severely disabled, and the comatose, are whole, just broken. And a coma is not the same as clinically brain dead!

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

          And that’s the point of the spectrum argument. Since we can go round and round on heartbeat, brain function, and so on and never get anywhere, if we can look at the extremes–single cell vs. newborn–and see the difference, we can eliminate the pro-life demand that it’s a “baby” at every stage of development.

        • Michael Conard

          Bob, I have to apologize that I didn’t see your original reply to my comment.

          Yes, I definitely agree that a newborn and a zygote are very different. What I do not agree with is that one is a person and the other is not.

          I’m glad we both agree that a zygote is a member of Homo sapiens, i.e. a human. So then, at what point does a human attain personhood, if it isn’t a fundamental feature?

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

          I definitely agree that a newborn and a zygote are very different. What I do not agree with is that one is a person and the other is not.

          As I’ve made clear, I’m not wedded to the word. You tell me—what category is a newborn that the single cell isn’t? I’d say “person” or “human being.”

          I’m glad we both agree that a zygote is a member of Homo sapiens

          You’ve met someone who disagrees??

          at what point does a human attain personhood, if it isn’t a fundamental feature?

          Why the eagerness to move on? Let’s get agreement on the spectrum thing first.

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

      Blue and green are two colors, but blue is very different from green. Similarly, a single cell and a newborn are both Homo sapiens, but a single cell is very different from a newborn. Seems like it makes the distinction to me.

      But if you prefer a different phrasing, that’s fine.

      Also, you avoid giving a clear definition of personhood.

      I can’t even reach agreement with pro-lifers on the spectrum; I’m certainly not going to muddy the waters by adding yet another thing we’re not going to agree on. I’d rather focus.

      What about people who were born without hands?

      The difference between an adult and an adult without hands is negligible compared to the difference between a newborn and a single cell.

      We have lots of terms for differences between people at various stages: newborn, baby, toddler, infant, child, boy and girl, preteen, teen, etc. Surely we can find a word to describe what a newborn is and a single cell isn’t—that’s the point I’m trying to make with pro-lifers.

      But to answer that, you have to first answer “What is a person?”

      Can we agree that the newborn is a person and the single cell isn’t? The goal of the spectrum argument is no more than that.


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