Christian Terrorism

On July 29, 1994, a religious fundamentalist named Paul Hill attacked a Pensacola, Florida family planning center, murdering abortion provider Dr. John Britton and his bodyguard James Barrett with a single blast from a pump-action shotgun. With numerous eyewitnesses, Hill surrendered peacefully and confessed to his crime at the scene. Hill was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, convicted by a jury, and given the death sentence. On September 3, 2003, he was executed by lethal injection. He never once expressed any regret for his crimes, and urged others to do the same in his last statement before his death.

I’m against the death penalty in almost all cases, but this is one of the extraordinary few where I believe it was completely appropriate. The two crucial conditions for this sentence were satisfied: first, there was absolutely no rational doubt as to Hill’s guilt, and second, he had shown such a remorseless and cold-blooded indifference to human life that it was highly unlikely any prison term, no matter how long, would ever reform him. In such a case, I believe society is justified in putting the offender to death – not as a method of vengeance, but for the same reason we destroy rabid animals, as a means of self-defense.

But Hill’s legacy lives on in the radical fringes of the anti-abortion movement, where he is seen as a hero and a martyr. Appallingly, three Christian groups in Milwaukee are planning to stage “Paul Hill Days” (via), a celebration of this bloodthirsty fanatic’s killing spree that will include a re-enactment of the murders. The website, which other than its sincere praise of a convicted murderer is indistinguishable from standard evangelical right-wing rhetoric, speaks of its creators’ “admiration for Paul Hill and his act of love and mercy”, and wants to “recognize [him] as a hero”.

In my opinion, this is going too far. Anti-abortion activists should be free to claim that Hill was innocent of the charges against him, or that he should have been convicted of a lesser offense, or that the punishment he received was too harsh, or that the law he violated should be changed. What they should not be free to do, in my opinion, is to call an act of murder a heroic and praiseworthy deed and celebrate its occurrence. Free speech does not include the right to make threats or to encourage people to commit criminal offenses, and if this is not leaping over that line, it is at the very least straddling it.

If past experience is any guide, the mainstream media will maintain a deafening silence on this issue. Normally, the media is eager to promote sensational stories likely to produce fear and outrage. But when that story could reflect badly on Christians, or any other large, influential group which the powers that be are afraid to offend, it is obligingly swept under the rug and ignored. Politicians, likewise, will ignore it: Republicans because they count on the support of people like the ones who planned Paul Hill Days, Democrats because they are afraid to advocate any position that might be judged as anti-faith. Leaders of the religious right will keep silent, not wanting to damage their public standing by seeming to endorse violence, but also not wanting to alienate their fanatical pro-life followers for whom no anti-abortion action is too extreme. And this conspiracy of silence, this gentleman’s agreement to keep quiet, is exactly what emboldens Christian terrorists and makes it more likely that they will strike again.

This is not the first time such a thing has happened. On September 11, 2006, a Christian fundamentalist named David McMenemy crashed his gasoline-soaked car into a women’s health clinic in Davenport, Iowa which he thought provided abortions (it did not), intending to blow the clinic up and die in the fire. McMenemy’s attempted suicide bombing failed to destroy the clinic and he was convicted of arson, but it was striking how little media attention the story received. Had the perpetrator been a Muslim, there can be no doubt this story would have been in the headlines for weeks. Instead, it vanished with scarcely a ripple.

People like Paul Hill, McMenemy and other convicted fundamentalists (Clayton Waagner, Eric Rudolph, and others) are, in every sense of the word, religious terrorists. Exactly like Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, they use random violence against civilians to terrify and demoralize their enemies, hoping to impose their will on the populace and prevail in a battle they cannot win by open shows of force. Our society’s acceptance of the reckless, extremist anti-woman rhetoric of religious anti-abortion crusaders has created an atmosphere in which these fanatics can breathe, and until we cease to pay heed to these people and firmly avow our support for the right of all women to control their own bodies, we can expect Christian terrorism to continue.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Ric

    Someone needs to call the FBI and report them as terrorists.

  • Ric

    Someone needs to call the FBI and report them as terrorists.

  • Darren

    Ric, by that comment I assume you mean someone else needs to call the FBI. Why not you?

    Before you ask, I’m not a US citizen, or I would.

  • OhioAtheist

    What I find most disturbing is that, it seems to me, actions like Hill’s follow logically from the radical anti-abortion mindset. If you believe that all abortions are cold-blooded murders, the significance of the single issue becomes immense. To these people, the United States government has for over thirty years approved an atrocity several orders of magnitude worse than the Holocaust. And surely, if it is admitted that 50 million people (yes, people, in the eyes of those like Hill) have been slaughtered in cold blood since Roe v. Wade, the killing of a few abortionists could be justified as a form of humanitarian intervention.

  • Pi Guy

    An actual celebration is planned? UFB.

    Instead of and army, we now have a bunch of God’s al-Qaeda without any (appearent) centralized command but plenty of motivation and resources. They’re indeed terrorists and I don’t understand how this slips beneath notice by the MSM.

  • Polly

    @OhioAtheist:
    Slavery was an evil system that literally stole the lives of millions of Africans over 2 centuries in the land now called the USA. It was a terrible moral crime with no basis other than the the greed and racism of slaveholders.

    BUT, I would not have advocated taking a shotgun to unarmed slaveholders even to overturn a colossal injustice that cost plenty of lives. Turning an ideological battle into a terrorist campaign does NOT “logically follow” even when the stakes are as high as human life.
    Let’s be clear, there’s a reason these people are called “extremists.” People commit heinous acts of terrorism for all sorts of reasons, including environmental and even merely economic and political. It’s not the issue itself, it’s the mentality of the individual who chooses violence over non-violent persuasion.

  • Mrnaglfar

    I have an idea; let’s have a september 11th reenactment day. People can run through the streets and pretend to fly planes into each other, celebrating the Jihadists as heros. We can also celebrate the mass killings and suicide bombings that have gone on in the middle east, as well as all the fun little atrocioties the KKK have committed here too. We can all stone women to death for showing skin, and we can burn people at the stake as witches. Then we can take the rest of the day to be thankful of what a wonderful place religion has made the world.

  • http://spaninquis.wordpress.com/ John P

    I have mixed emotions about this. I’m in complete agreement that these people who are celebrating Paul Hill Days are celebrating Christian terrorism, and no rational person can believe such a celebration is laudable, or even desirable.

    But I’m not sure that media silence is all that bad. These people want media coverage, so why give it to them? It’s often I watch the media cover stupid people like these, giving them a platform in which to spout their nonsense, perhaps even convincing a few that would otherwise not think about it. So maybe the deafening media silence would actually be peaceful.

    I wouldn’t want them to mess up my otherwise enjoyable evening watching the news from Iraq :)

  • OhioAtheist

    Polly,

    Fair enough, I see what you’re saying. Still, given the premise that the US government has sanctioned the murder of fifty million “innocent babies” (to borrow the anti-abortionists’ language), I don’t think someone with the “wrong mentality” should have too much trouble, especially given the unlikelihood of a total illegalization of all abortion in the near future, convincing himself and even others that violence is the solution. And frankly, I think there’s a chance that that conviction might be justified (given the premise, of course).

    This is why I’m wary of the rising “evangelical left” and its leaders like Jim Wallis. Wallis subscribes to the position usually given the vacuous label “pro-life,” but believes that support for the Democratic Party is warranted because of other issues like poverty and social justice. While I think Wallis is far preferable to the theocratic right, I can’t get over the intellectual dishonesty I see in his position. If you really believe that the abortion of a zygote is on par with the murder of, say, a toddler, few other issues can approach the moral significance of abortion, and the evangelical left’s focus on social justice so as to mask their wishy-washy convictions on the abortion issue strikes me as willfully obscurantist.

  • Ngeli Mwenu

    I am against this curtailling of free speech. Let me use an analogy. Let’s assume that I want to start the Stauffenberg days. Stauffenberg also tried an act of terrorism (killing the leader of Germany), still, I guess it would be okay. So Where is the ethical fallacy here?

    (sorry, I am really tired)

  • http://elliptica.blogspot.com Lynet

    But I’m not sure that media silence is all that bad. These people want media coverage, so why give it to them? It’s often I watch the media cover stupid people like these, giving them a platform in which to spout their nonsense, perhaps even convincing a few that would otherwise not think about it. So maybe the deafening media silence would actually be peaceful.

    That highlights part of the problem, of course. After all, we wouldn’t have the same worries about reportage of, say, an attempted Muslim suicide bomber giving Muslims a “platform in which to spout their nonsense”. If it was Muslim terrorists, such a platform would barely exist in any reporting on the incident, and would definitely be drowned out by loud and probably often aggressive voices of condemnation.

  • Polly

    @OhioAtheist:

    given the premise that the US government has sanctioned the murder of fifty million “innocent babies” (to borrow the anti-abortionists’ language), I don’t think someone with the “wrong mentality” should have too much trouble, especially given the unlikelihood of a total illegalization of all abortion in the near future, convincing himself and even others that violence is the solution. And frankly, I think there’s a chance that that conviction might be justified (given the premise, of course).

    Yes, and the only way out of the logical trap of such thinking that I can see, on the part of a pro-lifer I mean, is to recognize the value of the lives that would be taken by turning to violence. Not committing murder is an ethic anyone who calls themself “pro-life” has to live by unless they want to become a walking embodiment of grim-irony. Also, there is the collateral damage that would be inflicted by killing a fully grown person vs. killing a baby in the womb.
    Even if you believe the doctor is killing innocent babies, given the reasonable amount of room for argument on both sides it’s really not his/her fault that they couldn’t come to the right conclusion ;) and they shouldn’t be penalized as if it were malicious. Killing grown people has horrific impact on society at large, too, much more so than killing “invisible” pre-persons.
    Bottom line, like a vegan would regard the neverending slaughter of livestock for food, this could be a futile battle but is nevertheless worth fighting (with words) for from the pro-life POV.

    Putting poverty above life seems like Wallis is paying lip service. Or, it could be that he’s picking his battles and will trade in a losing battle for one he can hope to win. Anyway, xians have the luxury of believing fetuses “go to heaven.”
    I just believe they never get to finish developing into people.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Is it justifed in killing a doctor to “Save” these fetuses from being “murdered”?(Opposing mentallity that women should be forced to have all children, regardless of their wishes and ability to provide and care for them) Of course it isn’t. If it is, you could use that logic for any cause. Is it wrong to murder the head of a major cooperation because of his pollutant’s effects on the environment? Is it wrong for that abortion doctor to murder religious folk who might get in the way of women’s freedom? Is it wrong to murder a cattle farmer for sending his cows off to be butchered for meat? Is it wrong for terrorist to murder Americans because of our involvement in their affairs? etc etc etc.

    Point being, there is always at least one person out there (probably many many more)who would kill someone for getting in the way of what they “believe” is right and justifed. Whether for eatting meat, opposing/supporting religion, having an abortion, or even treating a member of a different race as an equal/subordinate. To say it’s a justifed killing just lets all the other killers be justifed as well.

  • mithraman

    I think its better to do away with capital punishment in all cases, not just “almost all cases”. If Paul Hill is unlikely to be reformed and is a danger to society, then a life sentence should be imposed.

  • http://blog.dmcleish.id.au Shishberg

    @Ngeli Mwenu:

    Let me use an analogy. Let’s assume that I want to start the Stauffenberg days. Stauffenberg also tried an act of terrorism (killing the leader of Germany), still, I guess it would be okay. So Where is the ethical fallacy here?

    Personally I think it would still be in bad taste. But you’re right, it would be less distasteful than Paul Hill Days.

    The most obvious difference is this: re-enacting the murder of a doctor who performed abortions is a very thinly veiled threat against other doctors performing abortions. It’s endorsing future acts of violence. Re-enacting an attempt to kill Hitler doesn’t immediately translate to a threat against anyone still alive.

    Okay, you might be able to argue that it could be seen as a threat against neo-Nazis, or other dictators who are still in power. (In fact, there’s a good chance they would see it that way.) But the threat is much less direct.

  • Ngeli Mwenu

    Actually, I see it as a threat against the German government, which rather paranoidly wants to implement measures worse than the PATRIOT Act and not limited in duration (data retention, online razzias of computers of suspected criminals with a trojan, the meassures aainst the G8-protestors…)

  • Mr. Eddie

    Actually, I see the problem more as a peotentially societal problem. There are after all extremist kooks in every group. I remember the Weathermen when I was coming of age in the 1960′s and 70′s. They had a noble cause in mind, too – getting the U.S. out of Vietnam. And eventhough they just blew up buildings, innocent people did get hurt or killed; and they actually hurt their cause. Their resort to violence frightened people and rightly so.

    Relatedly, I fear that these Christian extremist would not be above starting another civil war over the issue of abortion. They are treading very close to stirring up anger and hatred towards themselves. And given that they are not the only people in America skilled in the use of weaponry, it would not surprise me if some sociopathic personality attacked their churches or their offices.

    They live by the sword and will die by the sword.

    GE

  • http://www.johnnysstew.com/cool/coolwet J

    This is why I’m wary of the rising “evangelical left” and its leaders like Jim Wallis. Wallis subscribes to the position usually given the vacuous label “pro-life,” but believes that support for the Democratic Party is warranted because of other issues like poverty and social justice.

    There’s a weird hollowness at the middle of Jim Wallis and his Sojourners organization/magazine. With what is happening right now in the world, there’s just something collossally beside the point to be claiming that the most important thing a person of conscience–religious or otherwise–can do is to argue for increases in social services funding. He’s so obsessed with being a “uniter” who “builds bridges” that he ends up diluting virtually all his viewpoints down so as to offend nobody. He sort of vaguely, obliquely criticizes the Iraq war, but it never comes to down anything more substantive than “Pray for peace”, which even if I was a religious person I think I would still find rather inadequate as a total response.

    Plus, maybe in the vein of “throwing a bone” to conservatives he wants to enlist as allies, he’ll sometimes issue a non-sequiteur criticism of a television show or other media event for being immoral. Again, all he gets from me–and, I suspect, a lot of other people with very different viewpoints from mine–is a huge yawn.

    Wallis is partying like it’s 1997.

  • RiddleOfSteel

    Our society’s acceptance of the reckless, extremist anti-woman rhetoric of religious anti-abortion crusaders has created an atmosphere in which these fanatics can breathe, and until we cease to pay heed to these people and firmly avow our support for the right of all women to control their own bodies, we can expect Christian terrorism to continue.

    I was with you until your final concluding sentence, where you indicate part of the fix is that we accept abortion under the euphemism of bodily control. I think rather the fix is to condemn religious inspired violence, and to condemn whatever “reckless, extremist anti-woman rhetoric” might be employed. Because well meaning people can disagree on the abortion issue, without invoking religion or violence.

    Also I am wondering what you mean by “control their own bodies”? Do you advocate that a woman may abort for any reason at say, 8 months – or would you advocate control over their bodies?

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    I think we need to stop calling these people “pro-life” and start calling their movement the “forced birth” movement. Because ultimately that is what they are all about.

  • Alex Weaver

    I’ve always thought “anti-choice” was a succinct and objectively accurate description.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    I am against this curtailling of free speech. Let me use an analogy. Let’s assume that I want to start the Stauffenberg days. Stauffenberg also tried an act of terrorism (killing the leader of Germany), still, I guess it would be okay. So Where is the ethical fallacy here?

    In any act of speech, context and intent are everything. There is no rule that can be mechanically applied to determine whether a given statement constitutes a threat.

    However, I feel it is more than obvious that, in this case, the purpose of Paul Hill Days is as an implicit threat against doctors who provide abortion (similar to the anti-abortion “Nuremberg Files” website which listed the names and home addresses of those doctors, and crossed out the names of each one that was murdered by religious fanatics). If the intended purpose of your hypothetical festival was to encourage people to go out and kill neo-Nazis or racists, then I would also be against it, for exactly the same reasons.

    Also I am wondering what you mean by “control their own bodies”? Do you advocate that a woman may abort for any reason at say, 8 months…?

    No. (Although I find it curious that anti-abortion advocates repeatedly bring up that hypothetical despite it never having actually happened that I’m aware of. No one who’s borne the rigors of pregnancy for eight months is likely to suddenly decide to terminate on a whim.) The right to control my own body also does not extend to the right to use it to punch you in the face. Nevertheless, abortion is an issue of whether we will grant women the right to control their own bodies, or whether we as a society will attempt to force them to carry a pregnancy to term against their will.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    I am against this curtailling of free speech. Let me use an analogy. Let’s assume that I want to start the Stauffenberg days. Stauffenberg also tried an act of terrorism (killing the leader of Germany), still, I guess it would be okay. So Where is the ethical fallacy here?

    In any act of speech, context and intent are everything. There is no rule that can be mechanically applied to determine whether a given statement constitutes a threat.

    However, I feel it is more than obvious that, in this case, the purpose of Paul Hill Days is as an implicit threat against doctors who provide abortion (similar to the anti-abortion “Nuremberg Files” website which listed the names and home addresses of those doctors, and crossed out the names of each one that was murdered by religious fanatics). If the intended purpose of your hypothetical festival was to encourage people to go out and kill neo-Nazis or racists, then I would also be against it, for exactly the same reasons.

    Also I am wondering what you mean by “control their own bodies”? Do you advocate that a woman may abort for any reason at say, 8 months…?

    No. (Although I find it curious that anti-abortion advocates repeatedly bring up that hypothetical despite it never having actually happened that I’m aware of. No one who’s borne the rigors of pregnancy for eight months is likely to suddenly decide to terminate on a whim.) The right to control my own body also does not extend to the right to use it to punch you in the face. Nevertheless, abortion is an issue of whether we will grant women the right to control their own bodies, or whether we as a society will attempt to force them to carry a pregnancy to term against their will.

  • http://atheisthussy.blogspot.com/ Intergalactic Hussy

    Wouldn’t executing him let other demented minds think of him as a martyr? As far as the death penalty goes, any religious person (who commits such a heinous crime) should get life so they have to suffer here and now. And not get what they want!

    Abortion will happen whether it is legal or not. Let’s just be safe about it by letting doctors and not rusted wire hangers do the job.

  • Polly

    OK, Tommykey and Alex Weaver. If you want to start a name-calling campaign how about pro-lifers refer to your position from our P.O.V. – “Pro-pre-natal-Death”?

    I think this kind of ranting is childish and counterproductive. You purposely obfuscate the motives of most, if not all, Pro-lifers by saying we want to control women’s bodies. Much like the lever conundrum in a recent post “The Doctrine of Double Effect”, the goal is to save a life, and in this case no life is even considered being sacrificed. If future technology allows for the removal of the embryo safely from the woman’s body then what? Now it’s not even her body anymore (beyond the initial procedure).

    If a woman wanted to have an abortion beyond your own requisite time limit, would you agree to it or would you want to “control her body” at that point? Some (very few) Pro-choicers advocate terminating pregnancy at any point. Would you then step in as the “Pro-forced-Labor”/”anti-choice” voice?
    It’s where one chooses to draw the line.

  • Polly

    OK, Tommykey and Alex Weaver. If you want to start a name-calling campaign how about pro-lifers refer to your position from our P.O.V. – “Pro-pre-natal-Death”?

    I think this kind of ranting is childish and counterproductive. You purposely obfuscate the motives of most, if not all, Pro-lifers by saying we want to control women’s bodies. Much like the lever conundrum in a recent post “The Doctrine of Double Effect”, the goal is to save a life, and in this case no life is even considered being sacrificed. If future technology allows for the removal of the embryo safely from the woman’s body then what? Now it’s not even her body anymore (beyond the initial procedure).

    If a woman wanted to have an abortion beyond your own requisite time limit, would you agree to it or would you want to “control her body” at that point? Some (very few) Pro-choicers advocate terminating pregnancy at any point. Would you then step in as the “Pro-forced-Labor”/”anti-choice” voice?
    It’s where one chooses to draw the line.

  • Curiosis

    Polly,

    No one I know of who is pro-choice is pro-abortion. I think people should be free to smoke if they choose, but that doesn’t make me pro-smoking.

    The rhetoric of the “pro-life” groups rings hollow because of their stance on sex education and condom use. If you want to reduce abortions, these are the two best methods for doing that, but the “pro-life” movement fights sex education and condom use at every turn.

    The “pro-life” movement comes down to sex. It is about controling who can have sex and how. Abortion is looked at as a way out of paying the price for having sex when one shouldn’t.

    The fact that there aren’t more Paul Hill’s is proof that most “pro-lifers” don’t fully believe that abortion is murder. If there were offices where millions of 5-year-olds were being murder every year, I might use lethal force to stop that. But most recognize that there is a world of difference between a fetus and a five-year-old.

  • Curiosis

    Polly,

    No one I know of who is pro-choice is pro-abortion. I think people should be free to smoke if they choose, but that doesn’t make me pro-smoking.

    The rhetoric of the “pro-life” groups rings hollow because of their stance on sex education and condom use. If you want to reduce abortions, these are the two best methods for doing that, but the “pro-life” movement fights sex education and condom use at every turn.

    The “pro-life” movement comes down to sex. It is about controling who can have sex and how. Abortion is looked at as a way out of paying the price for having sex when one shouldn’t.

    The fact that there aren’t more Paul Hill’s is proof that most “pro-lifers” don’t fully believe that abortion is murder. If there were offices where millions of 5-year-olds were being murder every year, I might use lethal force to stop that. But most recognize that there is a world of difference between a fetus and a five-year-old.

  • Polly

    @curiosis:

    their stance on sex education and condom use.

    (Mainly, only Catholics oppose condoms.)
    Unfortunately, much of the Pro-life movement (although not all) is comprised of the religious. I disagree about it coming down to sex. Sex ed. and condom use are merely related issues. Obviously, I think condom use is a great practice (but not a 100%guarantee) and the youth should be given all the facts.

    I realize Pro-choice is not pro-abortion which is why I never make that claim. The reason for my statement above was partly to show that defaming the motives of those you disagree with can just as easily work in the opposite direction.
    Disagree all you want. But don’t attack a strawman by claiming it’s about control.

    I certainly don’t see pro-choicers as seething, infanticidal maniacs. I understand the rationale behind “Choice” and though I disagree, I don’t blame anyone for coming down on the opposite side. As a result I don’t caricature them or their position falsely. So, it would be nice if the guys on the other side could extend the same courtesy and acknowledge the true difference in our position instead of baiting the issue with talk of control and power.
    I think I’m being pretty damn reasonable in this.

    I will stand by what I’ve already explained regarding why violence is not a rational option even given my premise about life. (Though my reasons for being pro-life are somewhat different from xians’)

  • Alex Weaver

    I realize Pro-choice is not pro-abortion which is why I never make that claim. The reason for my statement above was partly to show that defaming the motives of those you disagree with can just as easily work in the opposite direction.
    Disagree all you want. But don’t attack a strawman by claiming it’s about control.

    I certainly don’t see pro-choicers as seething, infanticidal maniacs. I understand the rationale behind “Choice” and though I disagree, I don’t blame anyone for coming down on the opposite side. As a result I don’t caricature them or their position falsely. So, it would be nice if the guys on the other side could extend the same courtesy and acknowledge the true difference in our position instead of baiting the issue with talk of control and power.
    I think I’m being pretty damn reasonable in this.

    The uniting premise of the anti-abortion movement is a unilateral opposition to the legal right of women to choose not to continue a pregnancy. Thus it is not unfair–and certainly not inaccurate–to characterize the movement as “anti-choice.” The overwhelming majority of anti-choicers are not accurately described as “pro-life” since they support wars of aggression, capital punishment, limiting the abortion options in practice to illegal and dangerous back-alley procedures (this is the only effect that banning abortion had before, and it is the only effect it would have if it were banned now), and in some cases would not even allow an abortion when a woman’s life was in danger (see the graphic here), and as such the label, as a depiction of the movement, is as accurate as the label “Ministry of Love” in Orwell’s novel. If you object to being called on the rammifications of your position, I would suggest re-evaluating it.

  • Alex Weaver

    I realize Pro-choice is not pro-abortion which is why I never make that claim. The reason for my statement above was partly to show that defaming the motives of those you disagree with can just as easily work in the opposite direction.
    Disagree all you want. But don’t attack a strawman by claiming it’s about control.

    I certainly don’t see pro-choicers as seething, infanticidal maniacs. I understand the rationale behind “Choice” and though I disagree, I don’t blame anyone for coming down on the opposite side. As a result I don’t caricature them or their position falsely. So, it would be nice if the guys on the other side could extend the same courtesy and acknowledge the true difference in our position instead of baiting the issue with talk of control and power.
    I think I’m being pretty damn reasonable in this.

    The uniting premise of the anti-abortion movement is a unilateral opposition to the legal right of women to choose not to continue a pregnancy. Thus it is not unfair–and certainly not inaccurate–to characterize the movement as “anti-choice.” The overwhelming majority of anti-choicers are not accurately described as “pro-life” since they support wars of aggression, capital punishment, limiting the abortion options in practice to illegal and dangerous back-alley procedures (this is the only effect that banning abortion had before, and it is the only effect it would have if it were banned now), and in some cases would not even allow an abortion when a woman’s life was in danger (see the graphic here), and as such the label, as a depiction of the movement, is as accurate as the label “Ministry of Love” in Orwell’s novel. If you object to being called on the rammifications of your position, I would suggest re-evaluating it.

  • Polly

    they support wars of aggression, capital punishment, limiting the abortion options in practice to illegal and dangerous back-alley procedures (this is the only effect that banning abortion had before, and it is the only effect it would have if it were banned now), and in some cases would not even allow an abortion when a woman’s life was in danger

    I find this part of your response difficult to take seriously. Because many of the same people who are pro-life also have other opinions you disagree with, it’s OK to mischaracterize their view on abortion?

    Regarding back-alleys: This is a valid concern and I would hope that there would be some efforts made to ensure that quacks don’t take advantage of desperate women. Though, I have no data backing it up nor do I know where I could get any, I would surmise that medical technology nowadays is a whole lot better even in the black market and illegal abortions would probably be safer than they were 40 years ago.

    Referring to the graphic:
    I don’t oppose contraception and am very much in favor of it.

    It’s true I am contradicting my stance by saying rape and incest victims should be allowed to abort. The only reason is that the pain of such horrendous acts are too extreme and there’s no telling what kind of psychological damage can be done to a women by forcing her to carry her rapist’s child.

    I’ve already stated my opinion on this forum about the irrationality behind banning the partial-birth abortion procedure.

    I think what I said above applies equally well to sanctioning women from “legal consequences” should abortion be illegal. Unlike slaughtering 5 year olds, there is enough gray area that I don’t think women or their doctors should be considered equally culpable of murder. Just as there are extenuating circumstances even in murder trials. You think I lack conviction in my position because of this? So be it.

    I’m getting a lot of questions, yet no one answered mine.

    If a woman wanted to have an abortion beyond your own requisite time limit, would you agree to it or would you want to “control her body” at that point? Some (very few) Pro-choicers advocate terminating pregnancy at any point. Would you then step in as the “Pro-forced-Labor”/”anti-choice” voice?

  • Polly

    they support wars of aggression, capital punishment, limiting the abortion options in practice to illegal and dangerous back-alley procedures (this is the only effect that banning abortion had before, and it is the only effect it would have if it were banned now), and in some cases would not even allow an abortion when a woman’s life was in danger

    I find this part of your response difficult to take seriously. Because many of the same people who are pro-life also have other opinions you disagree with, it’s OK to mischaracterize their view on abortion?

    Regarding back-alleys: This is a valid concern and I would hope that there would be some efforts made to ensure that quacks don’t take advantage of desperate women. Though, I have no data backing it up nor do I know where I could get any, I would surmise that medical technology nowadays is a whole lot better even in the black market and illegal abortions would probably be safer than they were 40 years ago.

    Referring to the graphic:
    I don’t oppose contraception and am very much in favor of it.

    It’s true I am contradicting my stance by saying rape and incest victims should be allowed to abort. The only reason is that the pain of such horrendous acts are too extreme and there’s no telling what kind of psychological damage can be done to a women by forcing her to carry her rapist’s child.

    I’ve already stated my opinion on this forum about the irrationality behind banning the partial-birth abortion procedure.

    I think what I said above applies equally well to sanctioning women from “legal consequences” should abortion be illegal. Unlike slaughtering 5 year olds, there is enough gray area that I don’t think women or their doctors should be considered equally culpable of murder. Just as there are extenuating circumstances even in murder trials. You think I lack conviction in my position because of this? So be it.

    I’m getting a lot of questions, yet no one answered mine.

    If a woman wanted to have an abortion beyond your own requisite time limit, would you agree to it or would you want to “control her body” at that point? Some (very few) Pro-choicers advocate terminating pregnancy at any point. Would you then step in as the “Pro-forced-Labor”/”anti-choice” voice?

  • Marco

    I´m a Christian.

    Think about it. If women don´t want a baby to interfer with their lives, well intead of killing them with abortion, why not stop getting pregnant? “You´re crazy, How can women stop getting pregnant?” you ask. Well, How about not having sex before marriage?. That´s exactly what God Wanted to say when he said not to commit fornication, or adultery. Of course, we don´t want to obey, and when the logical consequense of sex comes about, we don´t want to accept our RESPONSABILITY, so we try to kill it.

    Yes, you can say it´s totally legal for women to abort when the “creature” is under 20 weeks of age. But think about it, Just because the congress says it´s ok, and that they aren´t going to put you behind bars for doing it, does not mean it´s still ok to do it.

    MR. HILL WAS A FOOL by killing the abortion doctor. He commited the very crime he was trying to avoid by killing the doctor. Get it? He killed to make others stop kiling, whis is wrong. But that was only his idea of what´s right, not ours, in most christian communities.

    But you wrote the article saying that this guy was cold blooded, and that his acts go againts human life. So, Abortino Doesn´t? You are getting angry at a guy who killed a doctor you don´t know, and are ok to kill your own child? C´mon, you´ve got to be kidding me! If you don´t want a baby to come across your perfect life STOP DOING THE VERY THING THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BRING HIM TO LIFE! It´s like buying a sofa on credit and latter on not wanting to pay for it.

    We live outside the principles of God, and when traggedy strikes, we argue “if God exists, why does he let this happend?” please understand and for every action, there is a reaction, and for every cause there is an effect, Even if God didn´t move a finger, if you do something you´ll see consequenses.

    Women want to go about their lives, but when they get pregnant, they want to kill the baby because it inteferes withe their lives. Sounds right to kill a Person (YES, BECAUSE CONTRARY TO EVERYTHING ALL DOCTOROS SAY, THEY ARE PEOPLE)who I brought to life, so the guilt is mine, just because I don´t want it to come accross my perfect life? What´s worth more to you, your child or your job? C´mon, your answer should be obvious.

    If you are for abortion, then you are willing to kill your own child. If you are willig to kill your own child, you are worse than the father thata rapes his own son. You say “that´s what abortin is for, an act of compassion for children not to come into a life of suffering” YEAH RIGHT! If you wanted to be compassionate, YOU WOULDN´T HAVE SEX you you don´t get pregnant and latter have to kill that infant.

    Just because we have agreed to pass a law that makes it “ok” to kill, and we have peace in our conscious, does not mean it´s ok. We are lieing to ourselves. Thing About it, Don´t you care for the children you bring to life? They didn´t come alone, you had to do something to bring them here.

    This is exactly what atheism does, makes people belive we weren´t made by God, giving us little value, which means we can go around killing and it´s ok, because, who says it´s wrong?

  • Marco

    I´m a Christian.

    Think about it. If women don´t want a baby to interfer with their lives, well intead of killing them with abortion, why not stop getting pregnant? “You´re crazy, How can women stop getting pregnant?” you ask. Well, How about not having sex before marriage?. That´s exactly what God Wanted to say when he said not to commit fornication, or adultery. Of course, we don´t want to obey, and when the logical consequense of sex comes about, we don´t want to accept our RESPONSABILITY, so we try to kill it.

    Yes, you can say it´s totally legal for women to abort when the “creature” is under 20 weeks of age. But think about it, Just because the congress says it´s ok, and that they aren´t going to put you behind bars for doing it, does not mean it´s still ok to do it.

    MR. HILL WAS A FOOL by killing the abortion doctor. He commited the very crime he was trying to avoid by killing the doctor. Get it? He killed to make others stop kiling, whis is wrong. But that was only his idea of what´s right, not ours, in most christian communities.

    But you wrote the article saying that this guy was cold blooded, and that his acts go againts human life. So, Abortino Doesn´t? You are getting angry at a guy who killed a doctor you don´t know, and are ok to kill your own child? C´mon, you´ve got to be kidding me! If you don´t want a baby to come across your perfect life STOP DOING THE VERY THING THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BRING HIM TO LIFE! It´s like buying a sofa on credit and latter on not wanting to pay for it.

    We live outside the principles of God, and when traggedy strikes, we argue “if God exists, why does he let this happend?” please understand and for every action, there is a reaction, and for every cause there is an effect, Even if God didn´t move a finger, if you do something you´ll see consequenses.

    Women want to go about their lives, but when they get pregnant, they want to kill the baby because it inteferes withe their lives. Sounds right to kill a Person (YES, BECAUSE CONTRARY TO EVERYTHING ALL DOCTOROS SAY, THEY ARE PEOPLE)who I brought to life, so the guilt is mine, just because I don´t want it to come accross my perfect life? What´s worth more to you, your child or your job? C´mon, your answer should be obvious.

    If you are for abortion, then you are willing to kill your own child. If you are willig to kill your own child, you are worse than the father thata rapes his own son. You say “that´s what abortin is for, an act of compassion for children not to come into a life of suffering” YEAH RIGHT! If you wanted to be compassionate, YOU WOULDN´T HAVE SEX you you don´t get pregnant and latter have to kill that infant.

    Just because we have agreed to pass a law that makes it “ok” to kill, and we have peace in our conscious, does not mean it´s ok. We are lieing to ourselves. Thing About it, Don´t you care for the children you bring to life? They didn´t come alone, you had to do something to bring them here.

    This is exactly what atheism does, makes people belive we weren´t made by God, giving us little value, which means we can go around killing and it´s ok, because, who says it´s wrong?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    If you are for abortion, then you are willing to kill your own child.

    This kind of hysterical nonsense is why religious anti-choicers are so rarely taken seriously. Abortion does not “kill a child”, any more than contraception does. Rather, it prevents one from coming into being.

  • ex machina

    Marco, most pro-choice advocates hold that position on the basis that the organism growing in the womb is not yet a person, and therefore, there is little or no moral consequence for terminating it.

    I have never (nor have you) heard a pro-choice advocate say that it is alright to kill what they believe to be a human being in the womb because humans lack any kind of greater authority (God) as you propose. To say so would be disingenuous, and make a meaningful conversation on the topic almost impossible.

  • ex machina

    Marco, most pro-choice advocates hold that position on the basis that the organism growing in the womb is not yet a person, and therefore, there is little or no moral consequence for terminating it.

    I have never (nor have you) heard a pro-choice advocate say that it is alright to kill what they believe to be a human being in the womb because humans lack any kind of greater authority (God) as you propose. To say so would be disingenuous, and make a meaningful conversation on the topic almost impossible.

  • MK

    Ebonmuse:

    Abortion does not “kill a child”

    Maybe this has been answered elsewhere, but at what point during a pregnancy or afterward does a ‘fetus/blob’ become a child?

  • Alex Weaver

    I have never (nor have you) heard a pro-choice advocate say that it is alright to kill what they believe to be a human being in the womb because humans lack any kind of greater authority (God) as you propose. To say so would be disingenuous, and make a meaningful conversation on the topic almost impossible.

    You’re being too kind. The word you want is “slanderous lie.”

    Maybe this has been answered elsewhere, but at what point during a pregnancy or afterward does a ‘fetus/blob’ become a child?

    The consensus seems to be at the point where it is able to survive outside the uterus, presently around the beginning of the third trimester. My criteria are available in one of the other threads; I’ll look for them in a bit.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    My criterion is the point at which the fetal nervous system is sufficiently developed for characteristically human brainwaves to appear.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    My criterion is the point at which the fetal nervous system is sufficiently developed for characteristically human brainwaves to appear.

  • Alex Weaver

    I´m a Christian.

    Not much of one, since you apparently missed the entirety of Matthew 5, 6, and 7. But ok. What’s your point?

    Think about it. If women don´t want a baby to interfer with their lives, well intead of killing them with abortion, why not stop getting pregnant? “You´re crazy, How can women stop getting pregnant?” you ask. Well, How about not having sex before marriage?. That´s exactly what God Wanted to say when he said not to commit fornication, or adultery. Of course, we don´t want to obey, and when the logical consequense of sex comes about, we don´t want to accept our RESPONSABILITY, so we try to kill it.

    1) If God wants us not to commit fornication, why did he create us (granting, for the sake of argument, your implicit assumption that he did so at all) with such a strong drive to do so, and given that he did, what logic is there in blaming us for the way we were made?
    2) Telling women to not have sex before marriage is unrealistic and irrational; no one should have to wait until they’re already married to experience that kind of intimacy and find out whether they and their partner are even compatible in bed. The result of this attitude is a lot of people experiencing a lot of guilt for no good reason, and/or jumping into marriages they’re not ready for just so they can screw without feeling guilty, driving up the divorce rate when those marriages predictably fail.
    3) If God is so opposed to abortion, why does the Bible not even mention it?
    4) What about women who are raped or victims of incest? (Or are you one of those psychos who believes this is the woman’s fault as well?)
    5) For that matter, what about women who are married but don’t want or can’t have any (more?) children?
    6) Have you ever been pregnant (guessing not, since the screen name and barely veiled disdain for women strongly suggest you to be male)? Have you ever known someone who had an abortion or dealt with an unintended pregnancy? Then on what grounds do you make such cavalier pronouncements about what it means to people who have abortions, and how they feel?
    7) Any chance you’ll provide some evidence for these assertions?

    Yes, you can say it´s totally legal for women to abort when the “creature” is under 20 weeks of age. But think about it, Just because the congress says it´s ok, and that they aren´t going to put you behind bars for doing it, does not mean it´s still ok to do it.

    So, on what grounds is it not ok?

    MR. HILL WAS A FOOL by killing the abortion doctor. He commited the very crime he was trying to avoid by killing the doctor. Get it? He killed to make others stop kiling, whis is wrong. But that was only his idea of what´s right, not ours, in most christian communities.

    So get out there and make some noise about it. If you object to being lumped in with these psychos because most of you behave in a fashion that’s indististinguishable from tacit approval, there’s a very simple solution.

    But you wrote the article saying that this guy was cold blooded, and that his acts go againts human life. So, Abortino Doesn´t? You are getting angry at a guy who killed a doctor you don´t know, and are ok to kill your own child? C´mon, you´ve got to be kidding me! If you don´t want a baby to come across your perfect life STOP DOING THE VERY THING THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BRING HIM TO LIFE! It´s like buying a sofa on credit and latter on not wanting to pay for it.

    If you were serious about wanting to reduce abortions you’d be pushing for greater access to contraception and comprehensive sex education, rather than the idiotically unrealistic demand that people simply stop having sex. Your motive, instead, is transparently a hatred of sex and a desire to make women suffer for having sex (see the link I posted earlier in this thread).

    We live outside the principles of God, and when traggedy strikes, we argue “if God exists, why does he let this happend?” please understand and for every action, there is a reaction, and for every cause there is an effect, Even if God didn´t move a finger, if you do something you´ll see consequenses.

    Even if that were sound, what the hell does it have to do with the argument?

    Women want to go about their lives, but when they get pregnant, they want to kill the baby because it inteferes withe their lives. Sounds right to kill a Person (YES, BECAUSE CONTRARY TO EVERYTHING ALL DOCTOROS SAY, THEY ARE PEOPLE)who I brought to life, so the guilt is mine, just because I don´t want it to come accross my perfect life? What´s worth more to you, your child or your job? C´mon, your answer should be obvious.

    A blastula, an embryo, a pre-viability fetus is a person? And what evidence would you provide for that, given that the only sensible conclusion from the available scientific data is that the capabilities and qualities we consider indicative of personhood are completely dependent on the development of certain brain structures that are not in place and functioning at the point in a pregnancy where the overwhelming majority of abortions, and virtually all elective abortions, are performed?

    If you are for abortion, then you are willing to kill your own child. If you are willig to kill your own child, you are worse than the father thata rapes his own son. You say “that´s what abortin is for, an act of compassion for children not to come into a life of suffering” YEAH RIGHT! If you wanted to be compassionate, YOU WOULDN´T HAVE SEX you you don´t get pregnant and latter have to kill that infant.

    You are absolutely and abysmally wrong, since I’m pro-choice and love and value my daughter deeply, and this kind of vicious slander is despicable. If you’re going to pretend that people who oppose you aren’t human, perhaps you should display something resembling humanity yourself.

    Just because we have agreed to pass a law that makes it “ok” to kill, and we have peace in our conscious, does not mean it´s ok. We are lieing to ourselves. Thing About it, Don´t you care for the children you bring to life? They didn´t come alone, you had to do something to bring them here.

    And we owe them a life worth living, if we’re going to give birth to them at all. Nor should we have to stop living ourselves just because hysterical little trolls like yourself have a phobia about sexuality and want to punish people for engaging in it.

    This is exactly what atheism does, makes people belive we weren´t made by God, giving us little value, which means we can go around killing and it´s ok, because, who says it´s wrong?

    Will someone PLEASE take this misconception outside and shoot it? The basis of atheist morality has been elaborated on so many times only willful ignorance or a skull literally filled with concrete would explain your inability to grasp the concept.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Polly, I would argue that a pregnant woman’s decision whether or not to have an abortion is primarily between her and her physician, and should not be a societal concern.

    Personally, I would be pleased if there was not a single unwanted pregnancy and the number of abortions dropped to zero. But we live in an imperfect world, and for some women or teenage girls who are pregnant and are not prepared to carry the pregnancy to term and raise children, an abortion is the best of a limited choice of bad options. Comprehensive sexual education and access to birth control need to be part of the equation. We need to give children and young adults the facts about sex. Americans are schizoid about sex. We live in a culture where we are saturated with sexual imagery and where getting laid is considered a right of passage for young adults, but many parents can’t bring themselves to say words like penis and vagina in the presence of their children.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Polly, I would argue that a pregnant woman’s decision whether or not to have an abortion is primarily between her and her physician, and should not be a societal concern.

    Personally, I would be pleased if there was not a single unwanted pregnancy and the number of abortions dropped to zero. But we live in an imperfect world, and for some women or teenage girls who are pregnant and are not prepared to carry the pregnancy to term and raise children, an abortion is the best of a limited choice of bad options. Comprehensive sexual education and access to birth control need to be part of the equation. We need to give children and young adults the facts about sex. Americans are schizoid about sex. We live in a culture where we are saturated with sexual imagery and where getting laid is considered a right of passage for young adults, but many parents can’t bring themselves to say words like penis and vagina in the presence of their children.

  • Polly

    @Tommykey:

    I would argue that a pregnant woman’s decision whether or not to have an abortion is primarily between her and her physician, and should not be a societal concern.

    So, up to the day before birth would be OK if the doctor and the woman in question agreed? I know it’s extreme, but many here prescribe a limit – nervous system development or viability outside the womb – usually around the end of the 2nd trimester. Why am I trying to “control women” when I move that limit to conception? (no one answered me directly, but I see the answers in other posts and on pharyngula)

    I would be pleased if there was not a single unwanted pregnancy and the number of abortions dropped to zero. But we live in an imperfect world, and for some women or teenage girls who are pregnant and are not prepared to carry the pregnancy to term and raise children, an abortion is the best of a limited choice of bad options.

    Why would you care if abortions were routine forever? If it’s safe and not wrong, it shouldn’t matter. It’s not a bad option, it’s a minor inconvenience; like getting a boil lanced. Honestly, if I didn’t consider embryos to be human life, I wouldn’t care one whit.

    Comprehensive sexual education and access to birth control need to be part of the equation. We need to give children and young adults the facts about sex.

    Couldn’t agree more. You said it, “schizoid” describes our idiotic tendency to get shy about sex only when it comes to providing accurate and useful information and the tools to help kids be safe. When it comes to kids under 18, I am actually in favor of municipal curfew laws. Strong parental involvement and oversight of their children would also be ideal. And, yes, I’ll say it: I think teenagers are too immature to deal with sex. Adults, generally, ought to do whatever they can to discourage and prevent it. 18′s a good cutoff, arbitrary though it may be.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Dear Polly,

    I think teenagers are too immature to deal with sex. Adults, generally, ought to do whatever they can to discourage and prevent it. 18′s a good cutoff, arbitrary though it may be.

    So if it’s arbitrary why is it good? Likewise, I don’t think you’re mature enough to deal with sex either. So from here on out, until you prove to me you can deal with sex you’re not allowed to have it. Fair? After all, being an “adult” in the eyes of the law doesn’t make you mature in my mind. I know it’s arbitrary for me to decide you can’t have sex, but I think it’s a good cutoff.

    Why would you care if abortions were routine forever? If it’s safe and not wrong, it shouldn’t matter. It’s not a bad option, it’s a minor inconvenience; like getting a boil lanced. Honestly, if I didn’t consider embryos to be human life, I wouldn’t care one whit.

    First of all, I would guess it was more meant to say “If people didn’t want to get pregnant they wouldn’t, and then all the stress and procedure involved wouldn’t be needed”. And it’s not exactly like getting a boil laced; there are other consequences for the woman’s body.
    But quite frankly, the idea of routine abortions doesn’t bother me. And not routine as in “every fetus has got to go” I mean in the sense of “I don’t want this pregnancy” (after all, women aren’t looking to get pregnant so they can go get an abortion and then an after-abortion party). I honestly don’t see the problem with it. Ask yourself this question; if the option was available for YOU to carry as many fetuses of other people as you could full term, give birth to and care for them, would you do it? And if you would, how many would you try to ‘save’ from being ‘murdered’? If your answer to those were ‘yes’ and ‘any number above 0′ you should ask yourself why you haven’t adopted as many children as you can. It’s one of the closest things you can get to that; unless it’s ok for a child to go without care after it’s born.

    So, up to the day before birth would be OK if the doctor and the woman in question agreed? I know it’s extreme, but many here prescribe a limit – nervous system development or viability outside the womb – usually around the end of the 2nd trimester. Why am I trying to “control women” when I move that limit to conception? (no one answered me directly, but I see the answers in other posts and on pharyngula)

    Those types of abortions rarely, if ever, happen, as was mentioned above, so the example is kind of silly. But I do still believe it’s a choice to be made between a woman and her health care advisor, even until late in the pregnancy. If they feel the baby could survive outside the womb (and likewise enough money is available to keep it alive and it wouldn’t suffer developmental definicenies because of that), then they could choose to have the abortion or go to some other alternative. But so long as the woman is carrying the fetus or whatever it is at the time, it’s her choice in my mind.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Dear Polly,

    I think teenagers are too immature to deal with sex. Adults, generally, ought to do whatever they can to discourage and prevent it. 18′s a good cutoff, arbitrary though it may be.

    So if it’s arbitrary why is it good? Likewise, I don’t think you’re mature enough to deal with sex either. So from here on out, until you prove to me you can deal with sex you’re not allowed to have it. Fair? After all, being an “adult” in the eyes of the law doesn’t make you mature in my mind. I know it’s arbitrary for me to decide you can’t have sex, but I think it’s a good cutoff.

    Why would you care if abortions were routine forever? If it’s safe and not wrong, it shouldn’t matter. It’s not a bad option, it’s a minor inconvenience; like getting a boil lanced. Honestly, if I didn’t consider embryos to be human life, I wouldn’t care one whit.

    First of all, I would guess it was more meant to say “If people didn’t want to get pregnant they wouldn’t, and then all the stress and procedure involved wouldn’t be needed”. And it’s not exactly like getting a boil laced; there are other consequences for the woman’s body.
    But quite frankly, the idea of routine abortions doesn’t bother me. And not routine as in “every fetus has got to go” I mean in the sense of “I don’t want this pregnancy” (after all, women aren’t looking to get pregnant so they can go get an abortion and then an after-abortion party). I honestly don’t see the problem with it. Ask yourself this question; if the option was available for YOU to carry as many fetuses of other people as you could full term, give birth to and care for them, would you do it? And if you would, how many would you try to ‘save’ from being ‘murdered’? If your answer to those were ‘yes’ and ‘any number above 0′ you should ask yourself why you haven’t adopted as many children as you can. It’s one of the closest things you can get to that; unless it’s ok for a child to go without care after it’s born.

    So, up to the day before birth would be OK if the doctor and the woman in question agreed? I know it’s extreme, but many here prescribe a limit – nervous system development or viability outside the womb – usually around the end of the 2nd trimester. Why am I trying to “control women” when I move that limit to conception? (no one answered me directly, but I see the answers in other posts and on pharyngula)

    Those types of abortions rarely, if ever, happen, as was mentioned above, so the example is kind of silly. But I do still believe it’s a choice to be made between a woman and her health care advisor, even until late in the pregnancy. If they feel the baby could survive outside the womb (and likewise enough money is available to keep it alive and it wouldn’t suffer developmental definicenies because of that), then they could choose to have the abortion or go to some other alternative. But so long as the woman is carrying the fetus or whatever it is at the time, it’s her choice in my mind.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Marco, this one’s all for you:

    That´s exactly what God Wanted to say when he said not to commit fornication, or adultery. Of course, we don´t want to obey, and when the logical consequense of sex comes about, we don´t want to accept our RESPONSABILITY, so we try to kill it.

    Your god or mine? My God says he wanted everyone to have lots of sex before marriage and within marriage. My god wins because I say he does. Score one for me!
    And kudos on using the word “our”. It implies that the burden is shared equally between all people, except in the case of pregnany it’s all put on the female in question. But you’re right; I think the world needs more teenage mothers who can’t properly care for their children. Oh wait, no I don’t.

    Yes, you can say it´s totally legal for women to abort when the “creature” is under 20 weeks of age. But think about it, Just because the congress says it´s ok, and that they aren´t going to put you behind bars for doing it, does not mean it´s still ok to do it.

    Kudo also on saying “think about it” – it’s something you don’t seem to be doing much. After all, faith and thinking are two seperate ideas normally. But hey, who needs congress when we have the bible huh? Oh, but not your bible, my bible. My bible says abortions for everyone who wants them, and that’s backed up by god.

    MR. HILL WAS A FOOL by killing the abortion doctor. He commited the very crime he was trying to avoid by killing the doctor. Get it? He killed to make others stop kiling, whis is wrong. But that was only his idea of what´s right, not ours, in most christian communities.

    Of course! Taking a shotgun to a fully grown doctor and his bodyguard who didn’t wish to get shot and who probably had families and loved ones of their own is exactly the same as a woman going to the doctor with the beginning of a pregnancy who wishes to terminate it.

    If you don´t want a baby to come across your perfect life STOP DOING THE VERY THING THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BRING HIM TO LIFE! It´s like buying a sofa on credit and latter on not wanting to pay for it.

    Oh, of course again! Because here, no one buys things on credit that they can’t afford; it’s not like our nation is in a crippling debt problem. Telling people to just stop buying on credit would solve the problem; why has no one thought of that earlier! And others are right; that just drips with the idea of pregnancy being a punishment.

    We live outside the principles of God, and when traggedy strikes, we argue “if God exists, why does he let this happend?” please understand and for every action, there is a reaction, and for every cause there is an effect, Even if God didn´t move a finger, if you do something you´ll see consequenses.

    Your Logic: God created everything
    My Logic: Therefore God created Abortions
    Answer: God wants abortions to be possible and are within his principles
    and I managed that one without even needing to talk about how wrong religious morality is or the existance of god being a myth. Score two for me!

    What´s worth more to you, your child or your job? C´mon, your answer should be obvious

    So why are’t you adopting as many children as you can? Is it ok to let a child go without parents to care for it? Which is more important to you, people or your life?

    This is exactly what atheism does, makes people belive we weren´t made by God, giving us little value, which means we can go around killing and it´s ok, because, who says it´s wrong?

    Wait a second, did you just say you’ll do whatever god tells you to? Where’s YOUR morality? If god said abortions were ok tomorrow, would you be advocating everyone get as many as they could?

  • Polly

    Dear Mr naglfar,

    So if it’s arbitrary why is it good? Likewise, I don’t think you’re mature enough to deal with sex either. So from here on out, until you prove to me you can deal with sex you’re not allowed to have it. Fair? After all, being an “adult” in the eyes of the law doesn’t make you mature in my mind. I know it’s arbitrary for me to decide you can’t have sex, but I think it’s a good cutoff.

    Fine. Just get about 150million more people on your side, and you can enact that little piece of legislation. While we’re at it, why shouldn’t 10 year olds drive if they can reach the pedals. And what’s with making kids wait until 18 to join the army? If they can carry those heavy backpacks, they can handle bandoliers.

    But quite frankly, the idea of routine abortions doesn’t bother me.

    Good to know. That answer is what I would expect. And if you are in fact, the one who made the original statement, then I can consider that particular issue closed.

    why you haven’t adopted as many children as you can

    Perhaps, if we want to have any children at all, we may end up having to do just that. Happy?

    But so long as the woman is carrying the fetus or whatever it is at the time, it’s her choice in my mind.

    I don’t think it’s a silly example because if you believe, for example, a 32 week fetus should be legally susceptible to abortion for any reason (in principle even if unlikely in practice) then my next question is, do you regard a 3rd trimester fetus “or whatever” as a non-human? You see where I’m going with this.

  • Polly

    Dear Mr naglfar,

    So if it’s arbitrary why is it good? Likewise, I don’t think you’re mature enough to deal with sex either. So from here on out, until you prove to me you can deal with sex you’re not allowed to have it. Fair? After all, being an “adult” in the eyes of the law doesn’t make you mature in my mind. I know it’s arbitrary for me to decide you can’t have sex, but I think it’s a good cutoff.

    Fine. Just get about 150million more people on your side, and you can enact that little piece of legislation. While we’re at it, why shouldn’t 10 year olds drive if they can reach the pedals. And what’s with making kids wait until 18 to join the army? If they can carry those heavy backpacks, they can handle bandoliers.

    But quite frankly, the idea of routine abortions doesn’t bother me.

    Good to know. That answer is what I would expect. And if you are in fact, the one who made the original statement, then I can consider that particular issue closed.

    why you haven’t adopted as many children as you can

    Perhaps, if we want to have any children at all, we may end up having to do just that. Happy?

    But so long as the woman is carrying the fetus or whatever it is at the time, it’s her choice in my mind.

    I don’t think it’s a silly example because if you believe, for example, a 32 week fetus should be legally susceptible to abortion for any reason (in principle even if unlikely in practice) then my next question is, do you regard a 3rd trimester fetus “or whatever” as a non-human? You see where I’m going with this.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Fine. Just get about 150million more people on your side, and you can enact that little piece of legislation. While we’re at it, why shouldn’t 10 year olds drive if they can reach the pedals. And what’s with making kids wait until 18 to join the army? If they can carry those heavy backpacks, they can handle bandoliers.

    I don’t think anyone who can’t reach the pedals should be allowed to drive, but that’s because they can’t reach the pedals. With kids joining the army, the actual age they can is 17 with parental consent, but that’s besides the point. When it comes to the army, they are being hired for a job by the government, and there’s no right that says people need to be hired into the army if they want to be there, so they government can restrict who they want. Likewise, there is no intrinsic right of people to drive cars; it’s a privilage granted to them. Sex, however, is not a privilage someone gives out to their children or anyone else’s; that’s a right of people.

    Perhaps, if we want to have any children at all, we may end up having to do just that. Happy?

    If you choose to adopt because of me, that would put a smile on my face. There’s more to life then just seeing a child born; they need to be cared for as well and many aren’t being cared for. So yes, if you decide you want a child and adopt one or more that would make me happy.

    I don’t think it’s a silly example because if you believe, for example, a 32 week fetus should be legally susceptible to abortion for any reason (in principle even if unlikely in practice) then my next question is, do you regard a 3rd trimester fetus “or whatever” as a non-human? You see where I’m going with this.

    It’s not that I see fetus’s about to be born as “non-human”, but so long as the woman is still carrying the fetus in her body I still believe it’s her choice as to what she chooses to pursue. The actual occurance of such things happening are so low I consider it a non-issue. Not because I fancy the idea of terminating a 32-week old fetus, but because since it happens so extremely rarely as to almost not happen at all, there are far more pressing issues that have a much higher real toll attached to them. If the discussion is about “pro-life” it shouldn’t just be about fetus life, it should be about all human life, and even further, to all life in general. War, captial punishment, murder and such all fall under “life”, and far more life could be ‘saved’ by trying to resolve the bigger issues instead of “is this fetus that probably in 99.99% of the cases won’t be even considered for abortion make it illegal for people have to abortions they won’t have anyway?”

  • Mrnaglfar

    Fine. Just get about 150million more people on your side, and you can enact that little piece of legislation. While we’re at it, why shouldn’t 10 year olds drive if they can reach the pedals. And what’s with making kids wait until 18 to join the army? If they can carry those heavy backpacks, they can handle bandoliers.

    I don’t think anyone who can’t reach the pedals should be allowed to drive, but that’s because they can’t reach the pedals. With kids joining the army, the actual age they can is 17 with parental consent, but that’s besides the point. When it comes to the army, they are being hired for a job by the government, and there’s no right that says people need to be hired into the army if they want to be there, so they government can restrict who they want. Likewise, there is no intrinsic right of people to drive cars; it’s a privilage granted to them. Sex, however, is not a privilage someone gives out to their children or anyone else’s; that’s a right of people.

    Perhaps, if we want to have any children at all, we may end up having to do just that. Happy?

    If you choose to adopt because of me, that would put a smile on my face. There’s more to life then just seeing a child born; they need to be cared for as well and many aren’t being cared for. So yes, if you decide you want a child and adopt one or more that would make me happy.

    I don’t think it’s a silly example because if you believe, for example, a 32 week fetus should be legally susceptible to abortion for any reason (in principle even if unlikely in practice) then my next question is, do you regard a 3rd trimester fetus “or whatever” as a non-human? You see where I’m going with this.

    It’s not that I see fetus’s about to be born as “non-human”, but so long as the woman is still carrying the fetus in her body I still believe it’s her choice as to what she chooses to pursue. The actual occurance of such things happening are so low I consider it a non-issue. Not because I fancy the idea of terminating a 32-week old fetus, but because since it happens so extremely rarely as to almost not happen at all, there are far more pressing issues that have a much higher real toll attached to them. If the discussion is about “pro-life” it shouldn’t just be about fetus life, it should be about all human life, and even further, to all life in general. War, captial punishment, murder and such all fall under “life”, and far more life could be ‘saved’ by trying to resolve the bigger issues instead of “is this fetus that probably in 99.99% of the cases won’t be even considered for abortion make it illegal for people have to abortions they won’t have anyway?”

  • Polly

    Sex, however, is not a privilage someone gives out to their children or anyone else’s; that’s a right of people.

    Then I predict you’ll have some very happy kids…in the short run.

    that would make me happy.

    Well then my life will be truly complete. :)

    Re: babies. Rare but still wrong. Shirking one issue doesn’t add anything to the other causes. It sounds to me like trading in ethics for consistency and using the happy coincidence that the unpalattable position is also rare to get away with it.

    It’s late here.
    Enjoy the remains of the night/day/whatever.

  • Polly

    Sex, however, is not a privilage someone gives out to their children or anyone else’s; that’s a right of people.

    Then I predict you’ll have some very happy kids…in the short run.

    that would make me happy.

    Well then my life will be truly complete. :)

    Re: babies. Rare but still wrong. Shirking one issue doesn’t add anything to the other causes. It sounds to me like trading in ethics for consistency and using the happy coincidence that the unpalattable position is also rare to get away with it.

    It’s late here.
    Enjoy the remains of the night/day/whatever.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Then I predict you’ll have some very happy kids…in the short run.

    And you’ll adopt some that will lie to you about their sex lives, heh

    Re: babies. Rare but still wrong. Shirking one issue doesn’t add anything to the other causes. It sounds to me like trading in ethics for consistency and using the happy coincidence that the unpalattable position is also rare to get away with it.

    I’m not shriking the issue; my vote is still for abortions so long as it has all been discussed. I also feel that it’s another slippery slope argument that we all love so much (i.e. taking everything to it’s most extreme and assuming that will be the norm. Like how gay marriage raised the issue of whether people can then marry their pets). If all abortions were legalized up until the woman gave birth, those abortions of 32 week old fetuses just wouldn’t happen.

    Stats. http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html

    Interesting enough:
    “Who’s having abortions (religion)?
    Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as “Born-again/Evangelical”.

    over 80% of all abortions are obtained by religious women. I don’t think this is a concidence.

    Also:
    At what gestational ages are abortions performed:
    52% of all abortions occur before the 9th week of pregnancy, 25% happen between the 9th & 10th week, 12% happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions (16,450/yr.) happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Then I predict you’ll have some very happy kids…in the short run.

    And you’ll adopt some that will lie to you about their sex lives, heh

    Re: babies. Rare but still wrong. Shirking one issue doesn’t add anything to the other causes. It sounds to me like trading in ethics for consistency and using the happy coincidence that the unpalattable position is also rare to get away with it.

    I’m not shriking the issue; my vote is still for abortions so long as it has all been discussed. I also feel that it’s another slippery slope argument that we all love so much (i.e. taking everything to it’s most extreme and assuming that will be the norm. Like how gay marriage raised the issue of whether people can then marry their pets). If all abortions were legalized up until the woman gave birth, those abortions of 32 week old fetuses just wouldn’t happen.

    Stats. http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html

    Interesting enough:
    “Who’s having abortions (religion)?
    Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as “Born-again/Evangelical”.

    over 80% of all abortions are obtained by religious women. I don’t think this is a concidence.

    Also:
    At what gestational ages are abortions performed:
    52% of all abortions occur before the 9th week of pregnancy, 25% happen between the 9th & 10th week, 12% happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions (16,450/yr.) happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.

  • The Vicar

    Polly:

    Your arguments against abortion are totally irrelevant to my perspective. I take the following view on abortion:

    At the present time, there are far too many people in the world; our existing systems of food production and distribution rely to an amazing extent on unsustainable farming methods and the use of fossil fuels, both as actual fuel and as an ingredient in fertilizer. As far as anyone has been able to tell, replacing existing systems with sustainable ones, even if everyone switched to more ecologically-friendly (read: vegan) diets, would only be able to feed the world’s current population if the overwhelming majority of land in the world were turned over to farming (last estimate I saw was around 80% — that’s not “80% of arable land”, that’s “80% of all land, including deserts”). This is not actually feasible, but even if it could be accomplished it wouldn’t guarantee the survival of the population, because it would destroy the world’s ecology and probably end up killing humanity anyway. It also would be rendered impossible by global warming, which will put a lot of land underwater. And it ignores the fact that the human population is not just growing, but growing at an ever-increasing rate.

    Therefore: at some point in the not-too-distant future, humanity will undergo a mass dieoff. There’s no realistic way around it*; the only question to be settled on the subject is the form the dieoff will take. It could be a messy war over the last of the resources (in fact, the Pentagon’s own released documents have suggested that the war in Iraq is the beginning of this process); it could be the suicide of the noble willing; it could be a slaughter of the old or the sick or the stupid or all three; it could be mass famine with billions starving to death before the pressure eases enough to allow a resurgence of farming; it could be a plague that kills most of humanity before we start to suffer. Whatever it’s going to be, it’s coming, and it’s going to be horrible.

    *Uniformly, possible ways to avoid a dieoff rely on factors beyond human control, and often on things of dubious possibility, such as the invention of both easy mass faster-than-light spaceflight and high-speed terraforming, or divine intervention. Not things to plan on, in other words.

    If we attempt to bring every fetus conceived to term, we make the problem dramatically worse; not only will we be adding even more people to the population, we will be further straining the capacities of our education systems, precisely at the time when humanity will need good reasoners the most. Rather than condemning people who choose to have abortions, we should be thanking people who choose not to bring extra children into the world, and removing as many obstacles from the paths of those who do so. If fact, we should start coming up with incentives to encourage people not to have children. We could, for example, remove tax deductions for all but the first child, or introduce mandatory sterilization after two live births.

  • Polly

    @The Vicar: You’r absolutely correct, my arguments mean nothing in that scenario as the value of human life in general would be lost in the throes of mass extinction.

    Your unwarranted confidence in prognostications of Malthusian proportion aside, I’m going to continue saving for retirement just in case.

    Prior to the Green revolution which shamed the doomsayers of yesteryear, I would have agreed with you. But, I think we will develop the techonology to meet our growing demand.

    Also, our growth is not without bound. There is a strong correlation between developed nations and low birth rates. The inverse is also true. As more of the world becomes industrialized and populations become more educated, putting off raising a family until later and having fewer children, the global population will shrink, anyway. Either way, I don’t see planetary exodus as our only hope for survival.

    And, yeah I agree, tachyons can’t carry the luggage, so we’re pretty much bound to this solar system, even Earth-bound, for now.

    and removing as many obstacles from the paths of those who do so. If fact, we should start coming up with incentives to encourage people not to have children. We could, for example, remove tax deductions for all but the first child,

    Good good…

    or introduce mandatory sterilization after two live births.

    What?!!

    Your responses were interesting and certainly unexpected. :)

  • The Vicar

    Polly:

    The “Green Revolution” is when we started using oil to make fertilizer. Even if we start using electric vehicles powered by solar or nuclear power to reduce the rate of fossil fuel consumption, it can’t last forever.

    I think sterilizing people after they have had two live children is justifiable. You have a counterargument?

    Although we share some of the same conclusions, my perspective is very different from Ebonmuse’s. For example, I’m not anti-death penalty; I just think it’s wrongly applied. I think any crime which involves the loss of someone’s life or over ten thousand dollars in money or goods should automatically receive capital punishment, one one condition: the prosecution would have to prove it was premeditated. (Obviously, you would have to include some sort of lifetime total as well, otherwise you’d have criminals defrauding people of nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine dollars repeatedly.) And since any financial crime in that league is pretty much automatically premeditated (you don’t accidentally transfer a million dollars to yourself — it just doesn’t happen) all cases of embezzlement and fraud in that league would have instant death penalties attached to them.

    Think about it: traditionally, the argument has been that the death penalty is a deterrent to people contemplating capital crimes. That is probably true, but most capital crimes are often committed on the spur of the moment — one person is infuriated by another and acts on the fury immediately. There’s no contemplation going on there, hence no deterrent. Premeditated crimes, on the other hand, are precisely where deterrents come into play. Think the jolly folks at Enron would have been so casual about destroying the life’s savings of so many investors if they would have automatically have been killed if found guilty?

  • Mrnaglfar

    I’d also agree with the overpopulation point. Perhaps not that extent, but as of now, the planet’s population is only sustainable through our consummuntion of fossil fuels. In my lifetime, I have little doubt I will see the end of fossil fuels our source of energy (mainly because we’re just going to run out of enough to use with any sort of economy). What damage has already been done, how much can be undone is still to be seen.

    As more of the world becomes industrialized and populations become more educated, putting off raising a family until later and having fewer children, the global population will shrink, anyway.

    The correlation is more between educated and few children, not so much developed countries or not. That aside though, the world’s population is somewhere around 6,602,224,175 (according to google at least). Waiting for people to become more educated and leave fewer children just isn’t going to work to curb overpopulation, and here’s why. The uneducated are leaving more children, and intelligence has a high correlation to genetics. While some improvements can be made, if current trends continue the overall intelligence of our population will continue to decrease precentage wise while the *dumber* portion of our population grows. The undereducated, I believe, are also less likely to use contraception mainly because of a lack of wanting to do or, no knowledge of how (which abstience only health education isn’t doing shit for), or no money to afford it consistently.

    The long and short of all that is that there are a lot of real consquences we’re going to see to the way we live our lives in our lifetime, not some distant point far off, and if we don’t start taking steps as soon as possible, we’re in a for very real wake up call. Not a doomsday I would think, but certainly consequences.

  • Mrnaglfar

    I’d also agree with the overpopulation point. Perhaps not that extent, but as of now, the planet’s population is only sustainable through our consummuntion of fossil fuels. In my lifetime, I have little doubt I will see the end of fossil fuels our source of energy (mainly because we’re just going to run out of enough to use with any sort of economy). What damage has already been done, how much can be undone is still to be seen.

    As more of the world becomes industrialized and populations become more educated, putting off raising a family until later and having fewer children, the global population will shrink, anyway.

    The correlation is more between educated and few children, not so much developed countries or not. That aside though, the world’s population is somewhere around 6,602,224,175 (according to google at least). Waiting for people to become more educated and leave fewer children just isn’t going to work to curb overpopulation, and here’s why. The uneducated are leaving more children, and intelligence has a high correlation to genetics. While some improvements can be made, if current trends continue the overall intelligence of our population will continue to decrease precentage wise while the *dumber* portion of our population grows. The undereducated, I believe, are also less likely to use contraception mainly because of a lack of wanting to do or, no knowledge of how (which abstience only health education isn’t doing shit for), or no money to afford it consistently.

    The long and short of all that is that there are a lot of real consquences we’re going to see to the way we live our lives in our lifetime, not some distant point far off, and if we don’t start taking steps as soon as possible, we’re in a for very real wake up call. Not a doomsday I would think, but certainly consequences.

  • Polly

    @Mrnaglfar:

    and if we don’t start taking steps as soon as possible, we’re in a for very real wake up call. Not a doomsday I would think, but certainly consequences.

    That’s a far cry from The Vicar’s POV and not too far off from mine. There are things we can do.
    Genetic engineering is helping to improve yields and nutrtion. Other alternatives are hydroponics (which I know little about).

    The uneducated are leaving more children, and intelligence has a high correlation to genetics. While some improvements can be made, if current trends continue the overall intelligence of our population will continue to decrease precentage wise while the *dumber* portion of our population grows

    Re:intelligence. Your argument rests on the assumption that the uneducated are also less intelligent. Seeing as how the population problems stem from the 3rd world lagging behind, I can only infer from this that you think 3rd world people are stupider by genetic predisposition. How many parents or grandparent have seen their children become the first in their family to go to college? Is that because of an improvement in genetic stock or because of increased opportunity? Do these non-legacy co-eds go on to make the same choices as their uneducated forebears? I think not.

    @The Vicar: Why stop at $10K? Perhaps we should include traffic violations and drunk driving as capital offenses, too. In fact, why don’t we make the consequence for ANY crime, death? If it is a true deterrent, then we should be just fine.

    My counterargument for forced sterilization? None, go for it. (Just don’t start with me.)

  • Polly

    @Mrnaglfar:

    and if we don’t start taking steps as soon as possible, we’re in a for very real wake up call. Not a doomsday I would think, but certainly consequences.

    That’s a far cry from The Vicar’s POV and not too far off from mine. There are things we can do.
    Genetic engineering is helping to improve yields and nutrtion. Other alternatives are hydroponics (which I know little about).

    The uneducated are leaving more children, and intelligence has a high correlation to genetics. While some improvements can be made, if current trends continue the overall intelligence of our population will continue to decrease precentage wise while the *dumber* portion of our population grows

    Re:intelligence. Your argument rests on the assumption that the uneducated are also less intelligent. Seeing as how the population problems stem from the 3rd world lagging behind, I can only infer from this that you think 3rd world people are stupider by genetic predisposition. How many parents or grandparent have seen their children become the first in their family to go to college? Is that because of an improvement in genetic stock or because of increased opportunity? Do these non-legacy co-eds go on to make the same choices as their uneducated forebears? I think not.

    @The Vicar: Why stop at $10K? Perhaps we should include traffic violations and drunk driving as capital offenses, too. In fact, why don’t we make the consequence for ANY crime, death? If it is a true deterrent, then we should be just fine.

    My counterargument for forced sterilization? None, go for it. (Just don’t start with me.)

  • The Vicar

    Polly:

    In order:

    –> Genetic engineering is a fairly dangerous prospect to begin with (see Denise Caruso’s book Intervention for a cogent argument about the unpublicized dangers) and the companies doing it have terrible track records on safety and regulation. (Want some completely non-GM corn? You probably can’t have it in North America any more; investigators have found that even isolated wild corn now has GM genes mixed in; even relatively heavy corn pollen has managed to escape. If, in 30 years’ time, it turns out that GM corn causes cancer in the long term, it will be too late to go back.) At the very least, people who are currently investigating GM food ought to be stopped, because they’re the wrong people to do it, and are doing it for the wrong reasons.

    As for hydroponics: I am unwilling to wager the future of humanity on future developments of a technology that looks promising. Consider a relevant example: when computers were first invented, it was assumed that artificial intelligence would soon follow. If in 1960 the fate of humanity had depended on the invention of a true AI by 1985, most experts would have been willing to bet on the result. Here it is 2007 and you still can’t hold a conversation with your computer. You can, however, do all sorts of things which, in 1960, most computer scientists would have dismissed as being far more difficult, such as play just about any 3D game.

    –> Stop at $10K mainly for two reasons. First the practical: a law which made all financial crimes capital would not be enforced at the low end of the spectrum, which would eventually lead to it ceasing to be enforced anywhere. Better to pick a limit and stick with it.

    Then there is also a moral reason: the justification for capital punishment for premeditated crimes is that they end up contributing to people’s deaths. I am a believer in the concept of actuarial murder — wipe out someone’s livelihood, or their savings, and even if you don’t actually kill them, you are still a major cause of their death. Ten thousand dollars could easily be the difference between life and death, even for several people at once. People have died for the lack of far less than that.

    –> Why not make all crimes capital? Because there will be no deterrent effect for non-premeditated crimes, and not all crimes are causes of death. If I jaywalk (I may as well be our hypothetical criminal) I’m almost certainly not going to be a major factor in anyone’s death, unless I do it at the wrong time and end up getting killed myself. The prohibition against jaywalking mainly protects convenience and order — if everyone crossed the street at any time, traffic in any urban area would slow to a halt. But if I go out and wipe out your bank account, you might very well starve, or be evicted, or be unable to pay for necessary surgery, or be unable to support yourself sufficiently to keep your job. Drunk driving is on the border, actually — one could argue that getting drunk without first preventing one’s self from driving while drunk is premeditation, but on the other hand poor judgement goes with drunkenness and that includes the ability to tell if one is drunk. Perhaps capital punishment for drunk drivers who cause fatal accidents?

    –> Sterilization: just a side note — obviously one would have to include some sort of limitation on this, related to human population. Since not all people have 2 children, and not all children survive long enough to reproduce, keeping that rule in place permanently would eventually lead to extinction. But it’s safe to say that there would be plenty of time for a compromise to be hammered out on the question of when to stop, before the stopping point would be reached.

  • The Vicar

    Polly:

    In order:

    –> Genetic engineering is a fairly dangerous prospect to begin with (see Denise Caruso’s book Intervention for a cogent argument about the unpublicized dangers) and the companies doing it have terrible track records on safety and regulation. (Want some completely non-GM corn? You probably can’t have it in North America any more; investigators have found that even isolated wild corn now has GM genes mixed in; even relatively heavy corn pollen has managed to escape. If, in 30 years’ time, it turns out that GM corn causes cancer in the long term, it will be too late to go back.) At the very least, people who are currently investigating GM food ought to be stopped, because they’re the wrong people to do it, and are doing it for the wrong reasons.

    As for hydroponics: I am unwilling to wager the future of humanity on future developments of a technology that looks promising. Consider a relevant example: when computers were first invented, it was assumed that artificial intelligence would soon follow. If in 1960 the fate of humanity had depended on the invention of a true AI by 1985, most experts would have been willing to bet on the result. Here it is 2007 and you still can’t hold a conversation with your computer. You can, however, do all sorts of things which, in 1960, most computer scientists would have dismissed as being far more difficult, such as play just about any 3D game.

    –> Stop at $10K mainly for two reasons. First the practical: a law which made all financial crimes capital would not be enforced at the low end of the spectrum, which would eventually lead to it ceasing to be enforced anywhere. Better to pick a limit and stick with it.

    Then there is also a moral reason: the justification for capital punishment for premeditated crimes is that they end up contributing to people’s deaths. I am a believer in the concept of actuarial murder — wipe out someone’s livelihood, or their savings, and even if you don’t actually kill them, you are still a major cause of their death. Ten thousand dollars could easily be the difference between life and death, even for several people at once. People have died for the lack of far less than that.

    –> Why not make all crimes capital? Because there will be no deterrent effect for non-premeditated crimes, and not all crimes are causes of death. If I jaywalk (I may as well be our hypothetical criminal) I’m almost certainly not going to be a major factor in anyone’s death, unless I do it at the wrong time and end up getting killed myself. The prohibition against jaywalking mainly protects convenience and order — if everyone crossed the street at any time, traffic in any urban area would slow to a halt. But if I go out and wipe out your bank account, you might very well starve, or be evicted, or be unable to pay for necessary surgery, or be unable to support yourself sufficiently to keep your job. Drunk driving is on the border, actually — one could argue that getting drunk without first preventing one’s self from driving while drunk is premeditation, but on the other hand poor judgement goes with drunkenness and that includes the ability to tell if one is drunk. Perhaps capital punishment for drunk drivers who cause fatal accidents?

    –> Sterilization: just a side note — obviously one would have to include some sort of limitation on this, related to human population. Since not all people have 2 children, and not all children survive long enough to reproduce, keeping that rule in place permanently would eventually lead to extinction. But it’s safe to say that there would be plenty of time for a compromise to be hammered out on the question of when to stop, before the stopping point would be reached.

  • OMGF

    @ Alex Weaver,
    [stands up and applauds]

    Sir, your last post was brilliant. Hats off to you.

  • OMGF

    @ Alex Weaver,
    [stands up and applauds]

    Sir, your last post was brilliant. Hats off to you.

  • Mrnaglfar

    That’s a far cry from The Vicar’s POV and not too far off from mine. There are things we can do.
    Genetic engineering is helping to improve yields and nutrtion. Other alternatives are hydroponics (which I know little about).

    Acutally it’s closer to his. I’m not saying it’s going to be flat out doomsday if we don’t start actting but that’s not to say A LOT of people won’t die and suffer because of it. I do like the idea of genetically engineered crops, because even if they do give us cancer in the long run (which I think it’s fair to say there is no evidence for), it still feeds lots of people who would die within a few months or years anyway from starvation. When you have to worry about where you next meal is coming from, 20 or 50 years down the road isn’t even in your mind. But I don’t think that’s enough. We still need to worry about fertilzing the farm land (oil products), harvesting, cleaning, and transporting food, as well as refirgeration and cooking (oil/ coal products), as well as the manufacture and transportation of every level of construction for all our other non-food goods (again, oil and coal products). At our current level on consumption, the US uses about 120 million barrels of oil a day (42 gallons per barrel), and that’s not even counting how much coal we burn. It’s an incredible amount, and if we want to replace that with new energy sources, the sooner the better.

    Re:intelligence. Your argument rests on the assumption that the uneducated are also less intelligent. Seeing as how the population problems stem from the 3rd world lagging behind, I can only infer from this that you think 3rd world people are stupider by genetic predisposition. How many parents or grandparent have seen their children become the first in their family to go to college? Is that because of an improvement in genetic stock or because of increased opportunity? Do these non-legacy co-eds go on to make the same choices as their uneducated forebears? I think not.

    I use dumber for lack of a better word in my mind at the time. Fact is, stats will show that if a woman doesn’t graduate from highschool, she will on average, leave twice as children as one who does. Now I’ve been through high school, and I can only see three possible reasons for not graduating.
    1) Lazy
    2) Legimately too stupid too (I recently read in TIMES I believe it was, that only about 25% of high school seniors are reading at an 8th grade level, and another 25% are just about functionally illerate. I’m not sure how valid those are, but if they are accurate, or even close, that’s just plain scary)
    3) Pressing family concerns, such as poverty, that require someone to work instead of going to school to get by.

    In the case of third world countries, they fall under number 3, many needing to work to survive instead of going to school.
    In the case of most people, they fall under both 1 and 2. In the case of religion, number 2 is aided (I haven’t found any cases where religion has been said to make people smarter).

    As for people going to college, it’s not so much about education anymore sadly, but it’s the place were kids go after high school to party and drink, and many don’t do very well there. There’s nothing wrong with partying and drinking, but it’s not education. Besides, it’s not just that people GO to college. Almost anyone can GO to college so long as they can pay, but when it comes to doing well and learning, only a small percentage will.

  • Polly

    I’ve been to high school in the US and unless they are suffering from a chromosomal disorder, they are not “legitemately too stupid.” (A capuchin monkey is arguably not too stupid.)
    I don’t think intelligence varies across populations an appreciable amount. I don’t have support for that, but seeing as we’re all members of the same species, the onus for proof rests with anyone trying to demonstrate intellectual deficiency in ANY particular group of people, AND while controlling for all the other factors that we agree can have an impact.
    BUT it doesn’t matter, by attributing 3rd world problems to #3, you’ve made my point. Development will alleviate those conditions. It has, and is, in every 1st world and developing country – China, India, Korea, Southern Europe, etc.

    I’ve wandered way off the reservation at this point. I do look forward to reading anything else y’all have to say on the subject(really) but for my part, I’m done.

    I really just wanted to say that abortion is about something besides controlling women’s bodies and I ended up talking about hydroponics!
    Well, I’m going to return to my homeworld now, in my interstellar warp-speed craft. I should be home in time to enjoy a nice dinner of roasted antelo-tiger-ox with a side of caulibroccomaize exported from Earth, naturally.

  • Polly

    I’ve been to high school in the US and unless they are suffering from a chromosomal disorder, they are not “legitemately too stupid.” (A capuchin monkey is arguably not too stupid.)
    I don’t think intelligence varies across populations an appreciable amount. I don’t have support for that, but seeing as we’re all members of the same species, the onus for proof rests with anyone trying to demonstrate intellectual deficiency in ANY particular group of people, AND while controlling for all the other factors that we agree can have an impact.
    BUT it doesn’t matter, by attributing 3rd world problems to #3, you’ve made my point. Development will alleviate those conditions. It has, and is, in every 1st world and developing country – China, India, Korea, Southern Europe, etc.

    I’ve wandered way off the reservation at this point. I do look forward to reading anything else y’all have to say on the subject(really) but for my part, I’m done.

    I really just wanted to say that abortion is about something besides controlling women’s bodies and I ended up talking about hydroponics!
    Well, I’m going to return to my homeworld now, in my interstellar warp-speed craft. I should be home in time to enjoy a nice dinner of roasted antelo-tiger-ox with a side of caulibroccomaize exported from Earth, naturally.

  • http://www.anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Polly,

    Abortion is an intrusive surgical procedure and if more people chose abstinence or borth control, it could be avoided. Most people cannot even stand to have their finger pricked with a needle, so an abortion for a pregnant woman can be a cause for great anxiety.

    Gonorrhea can be cured by antibiotics, it does not mean that I think people should have a casual attitude about contracting it.

    As much as I support a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, I recognize that it is a contentious issue in this country, though I feel that it is unnecessarily so. Would that all these anti-choicers who pontificated about a “culture of life” devoted a fraction of the energy from their anti-abortion activities to help combat malaria, which kills tens of thousands of children in Africa every year. There is a good article on it in the July 2007 issue of National Geographic that you might want to check out.

  • Polly

    GOD DAMN MOther!@#$%ING SPAMguard check BOX!!!!!!
    OK, take 2.

    @Tommykey:
    We had malaria in Africa virtually beat, until Carson, “The mother of environmentalism” pushed her unfounded claims that it caused cancer to the point that it was outlawed. See DDT
    You can also check out Wikipedia.

    RU-486 and better abortion pills will render abortion as casual an act as taking a vitamin. I’m not even sure why it’s not already legal in the US. This will also make illegal abortions a whole lot safer, you know, in case that ever really happens ever again.

  • Alex Weaver

    We had malaria in Africa virtually beat, until Carson, “The mother of environmentalism” pushed her unfounded claims that it caused cancer to the point that it was outlawed.

    Here‘s a rather convenient hub site, since I don’t have time due to work pressures to address this particular claim at length. The little “#”s in each square are the relevant links.

    RU-486 and better abortion pills will render abortion as casual an act as taking a vitamin.

    Is there any actual evidence that, in countries where it is available, pharmaceutical abortion leads to this kind of attitude? And do you have any conception (no pun intended) whatsoever of the magnitude of physiological changes involved in a pregnancy even in the early weeks? Somehow, given the hormonal fluctuations involved, I can’t imagine any sane woman approaching pregnancy and abortion in a casual fashion, regardless of the physical mechanism. And what kind of parent will an insane one make?

    I’m not even sure why it’s not already legal in the US.

    Because our present administration is riddled with right-wing nutjobs?

  • Alex Weaver

    See also here.

  • Alex Weaver

    See also here.

  • Alex Weaver

    A few additional resources.

    (Adam, feel free to merge the last few posts if you prefer. x.x)

  • Polly

    @Alex Weaver: Fine, it’s not casual. I didn’t intend for this to become a focal point.

    What does this pharmaceutical option do for the dire rusty-hanger scenarios? Does it alleviate any of the concerns about “back-alley” abortions in your opinion? Remember, technology is always progressing.
    For lack of time, I can’t check out the links right now. So, if you’ve already answered this, I apologize. I will look later.

  • Polly

    Re: DDT (and this is the last I’m going to talk about it) thanks for the link but it’s already lost credibility in my eyes by claiming (after I clicked at a random #) that Rachel Carson was worried about DDT resistance, when in fact her claim was that DDT causes cancer-a claim that seems to have been disproved. (See Wikipedia, not exactly a repository of right-wing nut job thought.) That guy clearly had an axe to grind and I doubt I’m going to find anything in his site that I won’t find counterarguments for elsewhere. And frankly, it’s not worth my time.

    OK, more to follow. Haven’t gotten to the abortion links, yet. Just wanted to look at that quickly.

  • Polly

    Re: DDT (and this is the last I’m going to talk about it) thanks for the link but it’s already lost credibility in my eyes by claiming (after I clicked at a random #) that Rachel Carson was worried about DDT resistance, when in fact her claim was that DDT causes cancer-a claim that seems to have been disproved. (See Wikipedia, not exactly a repository of right-wing nut job thought.) That guy clearly had an axe to grind and I doubt I’m going to find anything in his site that I won’t find counterarguments for elsewhere. And frankly, it’s not worth my time.

    OK, more to follow. Haven’t gotten to the abortion links, yet. Just wanted to look at that quickly.

  • Alex Weaver

    As I recall, “DDT causes cancer” was one of Rachel Carson’s claims, and the only major one that wasn’t vindicated by subsequent research.

  • Mrnaglfar

    I don’t think intelligence varies across populations an appreciable amount. I don’t have support for that, but seeing as we’re all members of the same species, the onus for proof rests with anyone trying to demonstrate intellectual deficiency in ANY particular group of people, AND while controlling for all the other factors that we agree can have an impact.

    Across what people consider to be different races, the average intelligence does not differ significiantly if that’s what that meant. We all area members of the same species, but within our species there is a wide degree of differing intelligences. Like any other trait that can be passed genetically, there’s a mean out from which the scores deviate in either a positive or negative direction. I know using graduation from highschool/college and rough grades aren’t the most accurate way I have to measure intelligence at my disposal currently, but it’s the best I can do right now. When it comes to women who don’t complete high school, women who do, women who don’t complete college, and women who do, and women who complete grad school, and those who don’t, we can see their relative rate of birth slowly decress as it goes up the list. Last time I saw stats on the issue, it was that women who did not finish high school were having on average twice as many children as those who go to college. Since I think it’s a safe bet that in the US (where poverty isn’t as big a problem as it is the third world), few of those women did not graduate high school did so for reasons that weren’t needing to work to support their family. So I think I can say the average intelligence of those who didn’t graduate is lower, versus the average intelligence of those who did. How much that of that differing occurs in which areas of intelligence I can’t say for certain; what I can say is there is, right now, a selection towards lower overall intelligence. If I can find more research on the topic I’ll put it here.

    BUT it doesn’t matter, by attributing 3rd world problems to #3, you’ve made my point. Development will alleviate those conditions. It has, and is, in every 1st world and developing country – China, India, Korea, Southern Europe, etc.

    Development could certainly allievate the 3rd problem, but then it would just leave the first two. I guess you could say development would more accurately show intelligence rates. Development doesn’t make the population smarter, it just gives them more ability and time to pursue ‘intelligence’ interests, like school or music.

  • Mrnaglfar

    I don’t think intelligence varies across populations an appreciable amount. I don’t have support for that, but seeing as we’re all members of the same species, the onus for proof rests with anyone trying to demonstrate intellectual deficiency in ANY particular group of people, AND while controlling for all the other factors that we agree can have an impact.

    Across what people consider to be different races, the average intelligence does not differ significiantly if that’s what that meant. We all area members of the same species, but within our species there is a wide degree of differing intelligences. Like any other trait that can be passed genetically, there’s a mean out from which the scores deviate in either a positive or negative direction. I know using graduation from highschool/college and rough grades aren’t the most accurate way I have to measure intelligence at my disposal currently, but it’s the best I can do right now. When it comes to women who don’t complete high school, women who do, women who don’t complete college, and women who do, and women who complete grad school, and those who don’t, we can see their relative rate of birth slowly decress as it goes up the list. Last time I saw stats on the issue, it was that women who did not finish high school were having on average twice as many children as those who go to college. Since I think it’s a safe bet that in the US (where poverty isn’t as big a problem as it is the third world), few of those women did not graduate high school did so for reasons that weren’t needing to work to support their family. So I think I can say the average intelligence of those who didn’t graduate is lower, versus the average intelligence of those who did. How much that of that differing occurs in which areas of intelligence I can’t say for certain; what I can say is there is, right now, a selection towards lower overall intelligence. If I can find more research on the topic I’ll put it here.

    BUT it doesn’t matter, by attributing 3rd world problems to #3, you’ve made my point. Development will alleviate those conditions. It has, and is, in every 1st world and developing country – China, India, Korea, Southern Europe, etc.

    Development could certainly allievate the 3rd problem, but then it would just leave the first two. I guess you could say development would more accurately show intelligence rates. Development doesn’t make the population smarter, it just gives them more ability and time to pursue ‘intelligence’ interests, like school or music.

  • Halie

    The first thing I want to say is that I was really shocked when I read “Pensacola, FL.” See, I live there (well, for the past ten years). I just had no clue.

    Also, I would like to register my amusement at:

    YES, BECAUSE CONTRARY TO EVERYTHING ALL DOCTOROS SAY, THEY ARE PEOPLE

    Oh yes, because doctoros (love the Latin feel) know nothing about medicine.

    I agree with many of the people who talked about the woman’s right to abort, but I think that the measures suggested by The Vicar, like

    introduce mandatory sterilization after two live births.

    is not something I see in a good light. I certainly don’t want it to come down to something like the Chinese policy or over-population, but that’s what it seems like.

    I’m not anti-death penalty; I just think it’s wrongly applied. I think any crime which involves the loss of someone’s life or over ten thousand dollars in money or goods should automatically receive capital punishment, one one condition: the prosecution would have to prove it was premeditated.

    Well, I am anti-death penalty. I don’t see why we have to resort to killing people to keep things in control. That there’s no afterlife just makes it worse. Why take away someone’s only chance at life? I think it makes more sense to have a life in prison, without chance of parole policy.

  • http://www.skeptictank.org/ Fredric L. Rice

    So many Christians think that their cult is some how superior to all the other deadly cults out there when in fact Christianity is zero different than all the other deadly cults. Christian terrorism is equal to Islamic terrorism — and yet Christanic fascists among us want to pretend they’re some how different.

  • http://www.skeptictank.org/ Fredric L. Rice

    So many Christians think that their cult is some how superior to all the other deadly cults out there when in fact Christianity is zero different than all the other deadly cults. Christian terrorism is equal to Islamic terrorism — and yet Christanic fascists among us want to pretend they’re some how different.

  • Alex Weaver

    Development could certainly allievate the 3rd problem, but then it would just leave the first two. I guess you could say development would more accurately show intelligence rates. Development doesn’t make the population smarter, it just gives them more ability and time to pursue ‘intelligence’ interests, like school or music.

    Given that brain development is affected by environmental influences such as pollution (I’m sometimes tempted to suggest that leaded gasoline might have been partially responsible for the cultural climate in the 1950s and the growth of the religious right later on), nutrition, probably various diseases, and the presence or absence adequate stimulation (notably, in childhood there are many skills, such as language and I believe reading, which are readily acquired within a narrow window of opportunity and much harder to learn later on), and so forth, the improvements in living conditions that accompany a developed country with a first world standard of living, welfare policies, and public safety regulations might well increase the intelligence of a population.