Mike Huckabee Defends Christian Campaign Ad on ‘The Daily Show’

Last night, Governor Mike Huckabee went on The Daily Show to discuss his forthcoming book.  Host Jon Stewart had a couple questions for him regarding a commercial he put out for the election, calling Christian voters to “vote the values” because their vote will be tested by fire.

Below is a transcript of their conversation — it’s not short, but there are some interesting points raised:

Jon Stewart: …I think what is an important issue is that when you keep demonizing these groups — whether it be single women, black people, illegal immigrants — it makes it impossible to work with them as a collaboration.  Why would you collaborate with evil people?  And when you convince them that they’re evil, why would you work with them?

Mike Huckabee: I’m not going to defend that. And I hope you wouldn’t defend that every time Christians are depicted on many of the talk shows, they are depicted as homophobic, racist, unscientific…

JS: Well, don’t confuse that, though, when people are not being scientific or when they’re against gay marriage.  You can argue with someone about gay marriage and not call them homophobic. You can challenge someone on climate change when they pretend that it doesn’t exist and say “That’s unscientific” because that is unscientific, that’s a fact.

MH: One of the most fundamental conservative views is that of being pro life, that every life has value and worth. That’s scientific because you know that, biologically, life begins at conception. That’s irrefutable from a biological standpoint. You can argue the theology of it, you can argue the philosophy of it; you can’t argue the biology of the beginning of life.

I wanted to jump in here, because I think what Huckabee is doing is a bit dubious.  Even if I grant him that life begins at conception (I understand that there is not a scientific consensus on this), it does not follow this life has value and worth.  That’s something that he attached to the meaning of “life” and it is most certainly not “scientific” as he claims.

JS: You can’t argue that something isn’t happening.  But I don’t know that… I mean that’s such a loaded… well here’s why I asked you.  Because I never know who you are anymore. I don’t know if you’re the nice grandfather who sits and writes letters to them…

MH: I am a wonderful grandfather!

JS: …and talks to me very respectfully or, there was a commercial that you made during the election that troubled me to some extent.

MH: Oh, I hope it’s the one I’m thinking of!

JS: Show it!

The ad (and transcript) that is shown can be found here.  Suffice it to say that there is a lot of fiery imagery, a blacksmith forging words like “FREEDOM” and “MARRIAGE” in steel, and Huckabee saying things in voice-over like “Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined” and “Your vote will affect the future, and be recorded in history.”

JS: Okay…

MH: I’m glad you brought that one up.

JS: Here’s… when I look at that I go “Are you saying that if you vote for the Democrats, you’re going to hell?!”

MH: No! Jon!

JS:  ‘Cause it sure looked like hell. I mean… I’m going to hell anyway. I’m a Jew… But my point is, can you understand how someone can watch that and go, “So wait, if I disagree with you about gay marriage, I’m going to hell?”

MH:  If they’re biblically illiterate, they would.  But if they knew 1 Corinthians 10, the whole metaphor of the Christian gospel they would…

*audience moans*

JS:  (to audience) Settle down, guys, this is not… we’re talking.

MH:  Listen to me!  Seriously,  that whole metaphor is that about that your works are tested by fire and that biblical passage is one that every believer — every New Testament believer — is gonna understand what that means.  And I heard people on television say: “Oh, Mike Huckabee is saying that if you don’t vote for Mitt Romney, you’re going to hell!”… never said that! Never said Romney, never said Obama…

JS:  I think there’s a pretty good connection between that and hell.

MH: No, there’s not!  1 Corinthians 10.  Read it, Jon, and it talks about our works are put through the test of fire just like you would put metal in the forge, and that was the imagery that you see.

JS: But you narrowed your works to two things: Pro-life or anti-gay marriage.

MH:  Not “anti-gay marriage.” There’s a difference between “anti-something” and if you’re “for” something.

JS:  What are you for?

MH:  I’m for the idea that marriage is that which is a biblical model.

JS:  Biblical model is polygamy.

MH:  No, Jon.  The biblical model is Adam and Eve. Polygamy came much later than that, and later was repudiated.  Because Jesus said: “A man shall leave his mother and father and a woman shall leave her home and the two shall become one flesh.”  That’s the biblical model.

JS:  Do you agree with this?:  That it is the height of man’s arrogance to presume what Jesus would vote for down the line for whatever it was?  As a value?  This is my point:  We can come on and have a conversation, but when I see that and I go, “Mike Huckabee doesn’t just disagree with me; he believes that my position — that gay people are members of the species and whoever they love, marriage strengthens traditional families because gay families are wonderful families, raising wonderful kids, and the value of them is not their gay-ness.  Marriage is about honest, trustworthy people working in a loving household having nothing to do with their sexuality is… how can you say that me believing that is registered in the book of fire.

MH:  It’s not the book of fire!

JS:  The anvil of fire, with the fire guy.  Do you know what I’m saying?

MH:  I’m going to have to teach you what it is to go to a blacksmith shop and how you create…

JS: You’re saying all of this is going to be in a metal book?

MH:  No!  Jon!  The point of all of this is, it is a message to Christian believers saying to them your vote cannot be separated from your faith and all of our works are gonna be tested as if by fire.

JS:  Let me ask you this:  What if they voted for someone they felt wasn’t good for poverty, wasn’t good for programs for the poor?  Is that going to be recorded in the same way as the gay marriage vote?

MH: Yes!  Every vote is going to be!

JS: Well, where’s that commercial?

MH: Well, we only had 60 seconds.  You pick and chose what you want.

JS: Here’s why it’s upsetting: When I speak with you, I always enjoy it; I always find it very respectful, I always learn an awful lot about points of view that I don’t share.  And when I see something like that, I think to myself, “Well that guy then leaves me, and turns around and goes, ‘I don’t care what he thinks, that guy is going to hell anyway.’”

MH:  Well if you had asked me — I’ll give you my number- I would have said, “Jon, this wasn’t about hell! It was about that our works are tested, and they’re tried.  And the way you create something of value, you get rid of all of that dross, the things that are impure, and you end up with something that has value.”  And that was the message coming directly from 1 Corinthians 10.

JS: I would say it is not an unreasonable interpretation of that commercial that if you vote for gay marriage or for a pro-choice candidate, God is writing it down, and he gon’ getcha.

MH: I think what you have to understand is, if you are a believer and if you have a biblical model and a biblical standard, then that biblical standard is what you want to apply. It may not be your standard, it may not be the standard that we ultimately end up with in this country, because people are going to vote.

JS: No, no, no, it is not the standard we have in this country, the Constitution is the standard in the country.

MH:  It is, but the Constitution is still based on what the people decide-

JS: It is not a literal translation of the Bible for the Constitution.  The Constitution doesn’t even mention God. It mentions welfare and unions, and it doesn’t mention God.

MH: Look, Jon, still the point comes that as we as society create laws, it is, in essence, the consent of the governed.

JS:  Yes!

MH:  And if the governed ever decide that things are going to change, they’re going to change.  But shouldn’t we have the opportunity to speak to people and give them our values?  And if they reject them, we reject them!

JS: But I think we have to have an honest and open conversation, and not one on one channel and one on another.  I think you have to open that conversation up and say… In the same way that when someone say’s they’re pro-life from conception, I think people need to know that that means the law would be if you’re raped, you have to keep the baby, but you don’t get an IVF baby, cause that’s against the law. Like, I think those kinds of things have to be discussed openly and honestly.

MH: I would love to have that discussion, you and I have had that discussion before, and I always welcome it.

JS:  We have.  In many ways… we love each other.  Do you know what I mean?  Alright, we’ll go.  But do you get, at some level, where my dissatisfaction is coming from?

MH:  No. I never will understand your dissatisfaction, Jon.

The most interesting part of this conversation, to me, is Stewart’s point about voting for candidates who aren’t good for poverty.  Jesus was pretty clear about the whole “take care of the poor thing”.  But there aren’t people standing on street corners saying that cutting social programs for disenfranchised families is an affront to God.

I think, if nothing else, this was a conversation between two men who, fundamentally, couldn’t seem to understand the other.  I found it really telling when Huckabee ended it with “I will never understand where you are coming from,” whether he said it tongue-in-cheek or not (I don’t think he did).

Because I could have said the same thing about everything he said.

I sincerely have no understanding of why a person thinks it’s so important to prevent a gay couple from getting married to abide by the word of the Bible, while there are kids who need loving families to be adopted into, or while there are people literally starving in the streets.

I think, though, that we do have to keep talking and trying to understand where the other person is coming from.  I just worry that the two sides will never see eye to eye.

About Jessica Bluemke

Jessica Bluemke grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Ball State University in 2008 with a BA in Literature. She currently works as a writer and resides on the North side of Chicago.

  • Guest

    His ilk are becoming extinct. So be patient.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I look forward to the day (hopefully in my lifetime) when the socially conservative Christians simply retreat back to their own communities and worship and follow the beliefs they believe in without trying to set social policy for the rest of the country through politics. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/wdc1958 William D. Charlton

      We feel the same way about you Liberals. Our nation was founded by religious conservatives who came to this New World to flee persecution, but it seems you… uh, I mean “it” has followed us here!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephan-Goodwin/676660806 Stephan Goodwin

    That’s 1 Corinthians 3, not 1 Corinthians 10.    Let us look at the correct passage with some context:

     Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
    5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
    10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

    So
    1) mere humans can not know the true will of God.
    2) However your faith grows, it is the will of God.
    3) Even if what you build does not hold up to what God wanted, by trying to do God’s will you are still saved.

    I’m sure some Christian can pop in and tell me how wrong I’m reading this passage.
    Huckabee, you are an idiot, for this in no way supports your view.

    • Pseudonym

      You’re right that the passage doesn’t support Huckabee’s view.

      I think it’s a shame that Jon Stewart spent a lot of time on the “fire” thing. It’s understandable, given that he clearly got the “hell” vibe and took it personally, but I thought that Huckabee’s answer, that he was riffing on the metaphor of fire for metallurgical testing and refinement, to be credible and (under the circumstances, given the target market of the ad) reasonable.

      I got what he was trying to say the first time I saw it, without having to have it explained. Your mileage may vary.

      Why I think it’s a shame is because Stewart’s other points were far more insightful, and Huckabee’s “we only had 60 seconds, so we only had room for Republican talking points” was a total cop-out. That’s what I would have liked to have seen pressed harder.

      One day, I’d like to see a Republican who believes that the US was founded on biblical principles explain why they think that it should be legal to lend money at interest.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephan-Goodwin/676660806 Stephan Goodwin

        Another BS line from Huckabee was that Biblical marriage was Adam and Eve determined.  Adam and Eve were never married.  I’ve seen some websites claim that since they were “of one flesh” they were created already married.  

        So they were married against their will?  

      • Baby_Raptor

        Because those laws are Old Testament, and the only thing that matters from the OT are the rules about gays. The rest would inconvenience them, so it’s “no longer relevant.” 

  • Russian Alex

    Now, I know I am at risk of repeating myself, but I still haven’t found the answer. When they talk about the sanctity of human life, where’s the debate on the death penalty and aggressive wars? Where’s the talk of ending poverty and preventing people from dying of hunger? Where’s the defense of functional health care system? I remember the ex-pastor at the church I play at, talking in one of his sermons about how all human life should be respected and protected. I was ready to hear the above points, but all I got was, “abortion is murder.” Hypocrites.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      They are pro birth, not pro life. After the baby is born they could care less what happens.

      • Lagerbaer

         In the words of the great George Carlin: “If you’re pre-born, you’re fine. If you’re pre-school, you’re f*’d.”

      • RobMcCune

        Well it’s an inalienable right to life that begins at conception and ends at the vulva.

      • http://www.facebook.com/wdc1958 William D. Charlton

        You people are so full of hate and you continue to perpetuate a lie that we stop caring for others after they’re born. You see, while we Christians continually give money, clothes, food and more, you guys give… $-0-.

    • SeekerLancer

      Yes, the same people who are “pro-life” will complain about all the welfare babies they have to support with their tax money, completely blind to the irony in this.

    • Ksinglet76

      Really, they are pro-punish-women-who-have-sex-in-ways-we-disapprove-of.  

      • Baby_Raptor

        I prefer “pro-forced birth.” It’s shorter, blunter, and makes them angry to boot. 

    • Michael

      Their argument is that a fetus hasn’t committed any crimes and thus shouldn’t be executed until it’s at least old enough to masturbate. Then you can punish it for that because it’s unnatural.

    • http://www.facebook.com/wdc1958 William D. Charlton

      Scientific research has shown that you Liberals/Progressives actively discriminate against us Christians/Conservatives in hiring, in promotions, in career advancements, etc.
      So when you accuse of US of being haters, I find it hard not to laugh out loud

      The things you do to destroy us professionally are not done openly of course, they’re done deceitfully behind our backs, revealing that you are also more dishonest than others as well.
      The comments here are further evidence. For example, you accuse us of being hypocrites for being Pro-Life until the babies are born, then we could care less. This is one of the biggest lies.

      Not only do we have ministries that give to poor expectant Mothers, but we also give to poor infants after they’re born, and their families. Our Churches have free groceries, free clothing, etc. My particular Church has
      a “store” with many household goods, furniture, etc, ALL FOR FREE.
      And the funniest thing about that is that Liberals/Progressives usually give NOTHING, zero, nada, zilch, EXCEPT you want to give more of other people’s money in taxes. Obviously you’re a bunch of phonies.

      Then Crazy Russian, you accuse us of being hypocrites for not caring about world poverty. Again, scientific research shows that Christians/Conservatives give more… no, FAR more than Liberals/Progressives ever dream of giving.
      You are phony, lying hypocrites. How do you look yourselves in the
      mirror?

      • Crazy Russian

        The evil liberal atheist majority is keeping poor, oppressed Christians down. Yup, that’s the ticket.

        You talk of your church providing services for free, yet you are opposed to rendering the same services to everybody using “other people’s money in taxes,” which would be rendered by religious and non-religious, conservatives and liberals alike. Gee, I wonder why that would be…

        > scientific research shows that Christians/Conservatives give more… no, FAR more than Liberals/Progressives ever dream of giving.

        Progressives don’t tend to give as much to churches, who spend most of the money to build even bigger churches, that’s true. Yet, when, for example, states vote to legalize same-sex marriage, NOM and their ilk whine that those pesky liberals have vastly outspent them. Maybe it’s not the amount that counts, but the cause?

        I look at myself in the mirror just fine, thank you. I give what I can to charity, while struggling to pay my bills. I pay my taxes, which get me jack shit in medical coverage, but fund faith-based initiatives and military invasions. So, kindly, take your self-righteousness and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

  • SeekerLancer

    Then Mike Huckabee leaves the show and tells his followers, “Just kidding it really is about Hell.”

  • Ronlawhouston

    Well, I hope I don’t violate the comment policy.  But Mike Huckabee is seriously full of sh**.

    • Reginald Selkirk

       O Noez! Asterisks! I am deeply offended.
      Ban this mutherfukin @$$hole.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Well Mr. Huckabee a large majority of us living in Maine just shit on your bible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=608057740 Greg Scott

    I dont get Christianity. its utter lunacy. bronze-age myths– im actually embarrassed for people like Gov. Huckabee, who seems like a decent enough man, but hes obiously deluded.

  • pagansister

    I too agree that we have to keep talking and try to understand where the other person is coming from.    I’m the only one of 3 sisters who left Christianity—-one sister understands me (and she is a devout sister) but doesn’t worry about me after I die—the other sister?  Is worried that I won’t meet our parents and other relatives in “heaven”.  Fortunately we do all get along however.  I just avoid talking religion (and politics) with  my sister who worries about my afterlife.    Guess that isn’t a very good attempt at understanding where she is coming from—but I respect her enough to not disrupt our family due to her beliefs. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    And this is what convinces me over and over again that the right is just using religion. There are the candidates that aren’t that passionate about the Christian social issues, but they see them as useful so they’ll be pro-life and anti-gay for the votes. Then there are people like Huckabee and Santorum who focus mainly on the social issues and when they can’t win, they make sure to let every Christian know that the right thing to do is vote for whoever likes fetuses and hates gays. People like Huckabee and Romney definitely focus on different issues, but they understand that they have no chance if they don’t team up on their issues.

    And seriously, people like to vote on the economy, health care, poverty, and other issues. And pro-life people should vote for democrats if they want to see lower abortion rates.

  • The Captain

    I think the really important point here and one Stewart missed is that Huckabees reasons for his political views, and the reasons he thinks others should hold those views all come from his religion. Thus all his political views are in effect just FORCING OTHERS TO PRACTICE HIS RELIGION. I hatted to do that in all caps, but it’s a point that gets lost in the details. Huckabee and those like him are just religious thugs who use the force of law to force others to follow their religion. Voting no on gay marriage for others because your religion says so, is no different than voting no to others eating meat on fridays because your religion says so. Or voting that others must go to a church on sundays. 

    Huckabee is a theocrat in a friendly face that does not fundamentally believe in the freedom of religion for others if he has more votes.

    • Stev84

      He is nothing but a Christian Taliban who won’t rest until America has been turned into a Christian Saudi Arabia or Iran.

      Oh, and Adam and Eve weren’t married. Who performed the marriage? The snake?

      • And

        And then they procreated and created all mankind. So, some serious incest went on somewhere back there.

        • Baal

           I always want the Christians to point out that there are people outside of the garden of paradise (land of Nod, though the xtians assert that Cain’s wife mysterious appearence is not a mystery and stop there) and they could be used to avoid incest (thought the genocide of the flood doesn’t have the same out).

          • Russian Alex

            It’s either incest all the way down, or it’s possible that not all of us came from Adam and Eve, thus kind of invalidating the original sin.

      • Mairianna

         And Adam didn’t “leave his father” and Eve didn’t “leave her family” to become “one”.  They didn’t HAVE families to leave!  Oh, the interpretation is strong but the logic is weak! 

    • http://www.facebook.com/wdc1958 William D. Charlton

      Another lie of the left, we want a moral (as opposed to an immoral) society, but as far as our religion, we Conservative Christians are fiercely critical of how the Catholic Church tried to force others to convert, because we recognize that someone has to WANT to follow Christ, or it’s disingenuous, false, phony. And we do NOT like phony religious people!

      So, your lie that we are”FORCING OTHERS TO PRACTICE (OUR) RELIGION” is absurd and proves that you like to attack others with lies so you will feel more righteous about yourself.

  • http://twitter.com/cwebb619 Chris Webber

    He said that not all conservatives are unscientific and tries to use science about life starting at conception then says that marriage started with Adam and Eve, like they actually existed.  WTF?

  • ortcutt

    There is basically no difference between the Republican Party and Evangelicalism (and the Bishops’ Catholicism) at this point.  If you ever go over to the Evangelical Channel on Patheos, you’ll see what I’m talking about.  It’s all about deploring “The Culture” 24/7.  I’m not even sure whether there is “The Culture”, given that there seem to be many different cultural beliefs and practices in the US, but conservatives are horrified by “The Culture” and they swing back and forth between hoping that the Republicans will fix “The Culture” and the desire to withdraw from the rest of society and build a cloistered Evangelical world of homeschooling, CBN, etc… in which to keep “The Culture” at bay.

    • Octoberfurst

       I know what you mean. Evangelicals are obsessed with “the Culture.”  (I know because I used to be one.)  In their warped view society is wicked and is on a slick pole to hell and ONLY true Christians can save it. But they do bounce between wanting to “save” society and retreating from it. Personally I wish they would just retreat and form their own communities like the Amish do and leave us sane people alone.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Huckabee pretends to believe that Christians viewing that commercial won’t think of hell.

    He knows damn well that when you say their votes will be “recorded in ETERNITY” and must “stand the test of FIRE”, while the image shows FLAMES in the background, that’s just about every cue you can signal for Hell, Hell, Hell.

    The only hellish-signal he could still add would be a goat headed man with a pitchfork (which Huckabee would say just shows that livestock farmers should vote too).

  • jdm8

    Huckabee’s ad is a thinly-veiled dog-whistle, if we can say it is veiled at all. Yes, it doesn’t really say “vote Republican” or “vote Romney” and “because God is watching” in those words, but that specific denial is pointless when most capable of voting would be able to understand that’s what the ad means without having to saying it directly.

  • rg57

    Life doesn’t “begin”.

    You take a dead egg and dead sperm, and see what you get.

  • newavocation

    It’s always about dollars! You have to be against something or have a cause to get support. Unfortunately for the Xians they are running out of things to demonize and are having trouble making payments on their temples.  Fortunately, for guys like Stewart and Maher these Xians keep their ratings up.

  • Paul Paulus

    I sincerely have no understanding of why a person thinks it’s so important to prevent a gay couple from getting married to abide by the word of the Bible, while there are kids who need loving families to be adopted into, or while there are people literally starving in the streets.

    Cognitive dissonance – or – why soaking a human brain in religion turns it into a pile of mush.

  • machintelligence

     People like Huckabee and Romney definitely focus on different issues, but they understand that they have no chance if they don’t team up on their issues.

    Judging from the results of the last election, they don’t have much of a chance when they do. I truly believe that this was the high water mark for the influence of the religious right. Changing  demographics of the electorate are not in their favor and if the economy continues to recover, they will have lost that talking point too.

  • C Peterson

    Even if I grant him that life begins at conception (I understand that there is not a scientific consensus on this), it does not follow this life has value and worth.

    There is an absolute scientific consensus that a new human life begins at conception. I’ve never heard anybody with a shred of biological science education argue otherwise. Life itself, of course, begins before conception, since both the egg and sperm are living cells.

    Any suggestion that life doesn’t begin at conception reflects badly on the person making that claim. The argument should never be about whether life begins at conception, which is given, but about whether that life rises to the level that it can or should be granted any rights.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      There is an absolute scientific consensus that a new human life
      begins at conception. I’ve never heard anybody with a shred of
      biological science education argue otherwise. Life itself, of course,
      begins before conception, since both the egg and sperm are living cells.

      Um, so you yourself just refuted what you referred to as an “absolute scientific consensus. This is your first clue that you’re doing it wrong.
      Also, see the comment in this thread by rg57.

      I’ve never heard anybody with a shred of biological science education argue otherwise.

      Also, see a comment by me elsewehre in this thread, and know that I have a Ph fucking D in molecular biology.

      • C Peterson

        I think you didn’t read what I wrote. I said that it is an absolute scientific consensus that a new human life begins at conception. I said that life itself could be seen as continuous.

        If you disagree with either of these statements, you should send your PhD back to whatever mail-order school you got it from!

        • Reginald Selkirk

          I think you didn’t read what I wrote. I said that it is an absolute
          scientific consensus that a new human life begins at conception. I said
          that life itself could be seen as continuous.

          Yes, I did read what you wrote. I merely pointed out that it didn’t make sense.
          If life can be viewed as continuous, or cyclical, then it is folly to point to a “beginning” of the cycle without understanding that the selection of a starting point may be arbitrary. It is hubristic to insist that one’s arbitrary choice is backed by “absolute scientific consensus.”
          I can recall as far back as grade school science classes, discussing the life cycle of ferns. Let me quote Wikipedia: “Like all other vascular plants, they have a life cycle referred to as alternation of generations, characterized by alternating diploid sporophytic and haploid gametophytic phases.” So which is the “real” generation? All sexually reproducing organisms have such divisions, but vary greatly in how much of their life is spent in the different forms. It doesn’t take much education at all to understand that the wish to impose black and white distinctions on a grey world leads to arbitrary labeling.
          Where does a circle begin? There is “absolute mathematical consensus” that it begins at the right horizontal axis. And yet this consensus is merely convention.

          • C Peterson

            What doesn’t make sense? Surely you don’t disagree that a new human life begins at conception? This has nothing to do with the nature of the cells that came together to create that new life. Conception (syngamy) is defined as the fusion of gametes resulting in a new organism. To suggest that a new human life doesn’t come into existence at conception defies all reason.

            • Reginald Selkirk

              Surely you don’t disagree that a new human life begins at conception?
              This has nothing to do with the nature of the cells that came together
              to create that new life

              Run a few hundred fertilization experiments without utilising eggs or sperm, and get back to us with the result. Of course it has to do with the nature of the cells that came together to create that new life.

              And, as you your self have already noted, the relevant debate is about personhood, not “human life”

              • C Peterson

                Neither eggs nor sperm are human organisms. Neither an egg nor a sperm by itself can remotely be considered a new human life. I don’t see your point.

                • The_agnostic

                  I will argue that life does not begin at conception. If life began at conception, then what about fertilized eggs that do not implant in the wall of the uterus? Is that still life?

                  Potential life begins when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. (And in many religious traditions, life does not begin until a baby takes its first breath independent of its mother.)

                  For humans, a uterus is necessary for life. If a fertilized egg never implants (or implants improperly), then no life has begun.

                • C Peterson

                  Well, I didn’t make that claim for life, but for a new human life. And biologically, that occurs at conception, not when the zygote implants. If it fails to implant, it dies. In order to die, it had to be alive to begin with- and genetically, it was, by definition, human. A uterus is not necessary for a new human life to be created, only (given current technology) for it to develop to a viable human being.

                • The_agnostic

                   A uterus is not necessary for the CREATION of potential life–as modern technology shows; yet in order for that potential life to grow beyond being a clump of cells, it needs a uterus.

                  Life does not begin until live birth. Anything before that is potential life and TOTALLY DEPENDENT on its host’s life for survival. Fertilized eggs do not survive outside of the uterus  beyond a certain number of cells. That is why IVF zygotes are frozen (as I’m sure you know).

                • C Peterson

                  That’s even more absurd than Reginald’s claim that you don’t get a new human life following fertilization.

                  It is arguments alike his, and yours, that provide ammunition to the anti-choicers. If those who support access to abortion display such profound scientific ignorance, there’s no reason to take your other arguments seriously, either.

                • Reginald Selkirk

                  Neither an egg nor a sperm by itself can remotely be considered a new human life.

                  Which qualification do they fail to meet? An egg or sperm is certainly new, containing a new assortment of genes from the parent due to recombination.
                  A human egg or sperm is certainly human. It’s the only species we are discussing at the moment.
                  An egg or sperm is alive.
                  So, I return the favour by failing to see your point. Whatever you’re trying to say; either you’re failing to say it properly, or else you’re just plain wrong. Like Mike Huckabee, you want to claim science is on your side, but unfortunately you don’t actually know any science.And remember: every sperm is sacred.

                • C Peterson

                  There is no accepted definition within modern biology that either an egg or a sperm can be considered an organism of the species that created them. To suggest that either an egg or a sperm constitute a new human life is simply wrong.

                • Reginald Selkirk

                  There is no accepted definition within modern biology..

                  1) How the bleep would you know? I doubt your familiarity with the subject matter.
                  2) Those with actual knowledge of biology wouldn’t feel bound by definitions, which are arbitrary anyway. Example question: are viruses “alive”? Once you start learning all the sordid details, such black-and-white questions seem entirely artificial and insignificant.

                • C Peterson

                  I’m a physicist who spent a number of years working in a biology lab (neurophysiology), who has taken many graduate biology courses, who has worked for biomedical companies, and who is current with the research in many areas of biology.

                  The fact that you don’t place value on definitions, which are key to all areas of science, tells me that you are either not a scientist, or you are a poor one.

                • Reginald Selkirk

                   Since I’m such a nice guy, I will point out one of your problems to you. You are trying to use “life in two ways in the same conversation. There’s the technical usage of life to refer to a functioning biological entity. In this sense, bacteria, fungi, plants animals etc. are all alive, including some of the things you ate for lunch.But you also are using “life” in a different sense. Note the distinction between “human life” and “a human life.” This second usage is not scientific, and you need to get over that. The added significance is generally attributed to religious or other magickal notions which will not impress most participants on this blog.
                  I have been noting all along that the issue which needs discussing is not life but “personhood.” This would be preferable because it is a different word and therefore we can clarify the different meaning, and because we both understand that the added significance of “personhood” is a legal, social and political issue, not a scientific one.

                • C Peterson

                  I disagree that there is anything unscientific about “a human life”. This means nothing more or less than a living organism that is genetically human. That is perfectly reasonable usage. And its what you get once a zygote is created.

                  Of course, the morality issues center around personhood. But all I’m complaining about in this side discussion is the very wrong assertion that was made with regard to life starting at conception. To suggest that isn’t the case is scientifically wrong (and I don’t buy the argument about eggs and sperm being alive, since the claim is always made in clear reference to a new human life, not life in some general sense).

                  Discussions about abortion will always be better if the basic biology isn’t misstated by those who support abortion rights, because that merely provides a handle for the anti-choice people to dwell on, at the expense of a rational discussion about the morality of the matter.

            • Duane Kilian

              The part omitted from your discussion is this: when does the state obtain a “compelling interest” in keeping the embryo/fetus alive? Fundamental rights are in conflict here, correct? The adult has a right to liberty, correct? When is that right subordinate to the right to life of the embryo/fetus? That is a decision for society (since we are ‘the state”) to make.

              • C Peterson

                Yes, deliberately omitted since it is irrelevant to the point. The issue of the morality of abortion hinges on questions about personhood, rights, and the things you mention. I was only pointing out that biologically, it is quite certain that conception is the beginning of a new human life, and that point is not in debate scientifically.

                • Reginald Selkirk

                   In which you cluelessly continue to repeat mistakes that have been pointed out to you in detail. Goodbye.

                • Erikagillian

                  What you have at conception is a single cell with a new (one assumes)  arrangement of DNA. It’s not a new human life, it’s the possibility (quite distant at that point) of one.  Just like every act of sex is the possibility of conception.  And every at bat is the possibility of a home run. And a strike out.

                  Which is what makes that stupid argument so very annoying.  It takes you a few seconds to figure out ‘life’ didn’t begin with a human conception.  And a human is more than a single cell with unique DNA.

                • C Peterson

                  No, a human is not more than a single cell with unique DNA, if that cell is a zygote. A zygote represents the earliest developmental stage of a new human being. It is certainly human by any terminology used in biology, and it is certainly alive. If you dispute that, you need to go back to school.

                  There should be no argument here. The argument that matters concerns the point at which we want to consider a human to have rights. Anti-choicers believe that a zygote has rights. Most people believe a fetus acquires some rights during gestation. A few people believe it has no rights until birth, or maybe even after. That choice- when a human becomes a person- is central to the abortion debate.

  • Reginald Selkirk

     
    MH: One of the most fundamental conservative views is that of being pro life, that every life has value and worth. That’s
    scientific because you know that, biologically, life begins at
    conception. That’s irrefutable from a biological standpoint. You can argue the theology of it, you can argue the philosophy of it; you can’t argue the biology of the beginning of life.
    JBI
    wanted to jump in here, because I think what Huckabee is doing is a bit
    dubious.  Even if I grant him that life begins at conception (I
    understand that there is not a scientific consensus on this), it does not follow this life has value and worth.  That’s something that he attached to the meaning of “life” and it is most certainly not “scientific” as he claims.

    What he’s doing is extremely dubious. I made this point a few days ago in a thread on abortion. Life on Earth began ~ 3-4 billion years ago. It has been continuing since then. The egg from which a zygote is derived was alive. The sperm from which the zygote was derived was alive. As were any eggs which didn’t get fertilized, and any sperm which didn’t fertilize an egg. Cancer cells are also alive; I’m guessing Huckabee isn’t concerned overly with their fate once they are excised from a body.
    But all that is simply the wrong question. The question is when does personhood begin, now when does life begin. And that is a legal and political question, not a scientific question. So Huckabee’s attempt to pervert science to his own ends is entirely off the mark.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    MH:  No, Jon.  The biblical model is Adam and Eve.
    Polygamy came much later than that, and later was repudiated.  Because
    Jesus said: “A man shall leave his mother and father and a woman shall
    leave her home and the two shall become one flesh.”  That’s the biblical
    model.

    This is a clear case of overinterpretation. The verses in question are in Mark chapter 10.

    [2] And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
    [3] And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
    [4] And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
    [5] And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
    [6] But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
    [7] For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
    [8] And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
    [9] What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
    [10] And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
    [11] And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
    [12] And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

    This is Jesus speaking clearly against divorce, which is pretty common among Evangelical Christians. But where does it say that a person should not marry more than one spouse? Please, could someone point it out to me? Jesus seeks to prohibit the “putting away” of a spouse, not the acquirement of another. That part is clearly Huckabee’s interpretation, not a straightforward reading of Mark 10. (which continues with Jesus having little children brought to him “that he should touch them.”)

  • Baal

    ” I just worry that the two sides will never see eye to eye.”
    I see myself trying and the atheist commentariat here and else where do reach out and try to understand.  All I see from Huckabee (and friends) is endless repetition of a specific set of mental binders (binders full of bible verses).  It’s not a bilateral issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/agni.ashwin Agni Ashwin

    Spermatozoa and ova are alive.

  • kalimsaki

    Here  is  good  news  for  you!  

     

    Death  is  not  destruction,   or  nothingness,  or annihilation; it is not
    cessation or extinction; it is not eternal separation, or non- existence,  or  a chance  event;  it  is  not  authorless  obliteration.  Rather,  it  is  to  be discharged by the Author
    who is All-Wise and All-Compassionate;  it is a change of abode. It is
    to be despatched to eternal bliss, to your true home. It is the door of union
    to the Intermediate Realm, which is where you will meet with ninety-nine per
    cent of your friends.

     

     

    From Risalei Nur collection by
    Said Nursi.

    http://www.nur.gen.tr/en.html#leftmenu=Risale&maincontent=Risale&islem=read&KitapId=499&BolumId=8783&KitapAd=Letters+(+revised+)&Page=265

  • Pastor Dave Clark

    Huckabee picks and chooses to ignore the poor to advance his own political agenda. Why don’t evangelicals ever pick and choose to side with the poor and disenfranchised? They’d gains some credibility if they did.  http://goo.gl/eJgd2

    • Stev84

      Because that would cost them money instead of earning it.

  • kaydenpat

    Huckabee must be communicating only to White Christians in that ad because Black and Latino Christians have absolutely no problem voting for Democrats.


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