After-Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?

Molech

It reads like an article from The Onion.

But it’s not.

It’s a serious pseudo scholarly article published in the supposedly serious journal Medical Ethics, whose tagline reads “An international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in medical ethics.”

I’ve long maintained that “ethics” as a scholarly pursuit is just the dressing up of the fine art of doing whatever you want to whomever you chose. Ethics, without God, is incapable of morality and shows no mercy or compassion. “Ethics,” as discussed in our learned journals and our various think tanks is an empathy-free zone; an elaborate mis-use of language to justify a world where the biggest and the meanest get to make all the rules.

After all, who makes these various judgements that “ethical thinkers” pass down but the biggest and the meanest? These ideas come from the royal jelly schools where a select few are groomed to take home all the prizes at the expense of everyone else. They are housed in enclosed, almost hermetically sealed environments where people never face the realities of the terrors they have wrought. They are sheltered and shielded, petted and pampered. And the “thinking” they produce is, far too often, an extension of the deep narcissism reflected in this kind of living.

“After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?” is a product of this kind of thinking and tawdry ethical posing.

This scholarly paper, makes the case for killing children after they are born if “circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion … we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the cases where abortion would be.”

In other words, they are saying that we should be able to kill newborns because we want to kill them. That this is “ethical.”

The authors of this paper take the same tack used by a lot of people who argue for abortion on demand on this blog: the “fetus is not a person.” They argue that newborns aren’t “persons” either. They say,

The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus, that is, neither can be considered a ‘person’ in a morally relevant sense.

It is not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a ‘person’ in a morally relevant sense.

… Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject to a moral right to life.’ We take a ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence is a loss to her.

This means that many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons, but that not all the individuals who are in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are persons. Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life.

… Although fetuses and newborns are not persons, they are potential persons … If a potential person, like a fetus or a newborn, does not become an actual person, like you and us, then … there is no harm at all … The alleged right of (fetuses and newborns) to develop their potentiality … is over-ridden by the interests of actual people (parents, family, society) to pursue their own well-being.

We take a ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value. In other words, you aren’t a ‘person’ as these scholars define it, and you don’t have a right to be alive, until you can speak up and fight for yourself. If you’re helpless, you aren’t a person, and anybody can kill you, anytime. The authors only apply this to newborns in this paper, but if you can’t see where this is heading, then you aren’t, as we say here in Oklahoma, “too swift.”

It’s interesting, but not surprising, that the authors also claim that “many non-human animals” have a right to life, which newborn babies do not. This same line of reasoning has been employed by other ethicists who have advanced killing babies after they are born, many of them until the child is up to a year old, but are vociferous in their fight for animal rights.

In fact, there is nothing new in this article. It references the deadly Groningen Protocol, concerning the practice in the Netherlands of murdering disabled newborns under the guise of euthanasia.

24Olmec

Here in the United States, this line of logic comes, as I said earlier, from the royal jelly portions of our society. It is the privileged set who keep pushing the boundaries on allowable murder, notably Peter Singer of Princeton University, Michael Tooley, who got his PhD from Princeton and now teaches at the University of Colorado. Dr Singer is famous for advocating for animal rights at the same time that he advocates killing children after they are born.

Despite the fact that these arguments read like they were written by a pro life comic who is making fun of pro abortionists, their authors are serious about them. We need to remember that most of the things we find abhorrent in our society today were sold to the general public in just this way. The demand for legal abortion did not begin in the women’s movement. It began in think tanks, composed almost entirely of men, many of whom were frank misogynists, who published scholarly articles.

Our society takes these royal jelly people far too seriously. We do not consider their remove from reality when we look at their ideas. The thinking in After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live? is just a hatched up bunch of nonsense designed to allow people who have the power to kill other people who can not defend themselves.

All this blather about “actual persons” belies the fact that the authors are creating a construct for killing people at will on the basis of the fact that the killer wants to kill them. It is a philosophy that justifies the biggest and the meanest, making all the rules, nothing more.

It is exactly what you get when we remove God and His Commandments from human decision-making. When we remove God from our considerations, we become what Dawkins et al claims we are: Beasts.

Life in this brave new world becomes, as Hobbes said, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Make no mistake about it, the same royal jelly people who are telling you that you can kill your own babies when they inconvenience you, will eventually be telling someone who is bigger and meaner than you that they can do the same thing to you.

  • EMS

    “Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life.”
    Perhaps we should decide that those called ethical scientists/professors have no right to life. Right now, I’m having trouble believing they’re even human. What on earth is wrong with those people????? Can’t their “immense” intellects realize that they have in effect decided that no one, including them, has a right to life? Even so-called primitive peoples in the deepest jungles can see the fallacy of their “reasononing”.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      They are ALL too human. Just look at their self-regard and their adolescent need to shock. Unfortunately, they are rewarded and reinforced in their bad behaviour – I doubt they would have been published had they talked sense.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Thanks, I suddenly understand one of my heros better. Temple Grandin just made the correct logical leap that more humane practices in slaughterhouses make meat taste better (due to the lack of adrenaline marinade that used to happen in factory slaughterhouses). It is, after all, just euthanasia for animals.

    I’ve GOT to use that next time I see a pro-choice vegan.

    Oh, and BTW, You HAVE to add last week’s “Pat Robertson” videos from Mad Trad Michael Voris to this- talk about somebody from the royal jelly sect of Protestantism deciding that “appalachian ragamuffins” shouldn’t exist….

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Ethics is all relative. We in the Judeo-Christian believing world establish our ethics relative to God’s commandments. As you rightly point out and nicely phrase as royal jelly ethical thinkers have no relative basis to firm up their ethics. And so they “evolve” as time goes on to whatever. I put “evolve” in quotes because they don’t just evolve. They start with a historical precedent, which is Judeo-Christian ethics and then DEVOLVE from there. It’s a subset of evolution, devolution. Check out Canada’s infanticide permitting laws.

  • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com/ D. A. Christianson

    Actually, if we grant their premise, abortion, it’s difficult to disagree with them. And that’s why I became so strongly pro-life, there no ethical/religious basis for anything else. And that the fallacy in their thoughts, they’re based on sand, as somebody said, their ethics confer upon no one a right to life.

  • Jakeithus

    It’s a pretty depressing thought to think that at some point in my lifetime, or the lifetime of my child, we will likely have a serious debate about the legitimacy of infanticide and “after birth” abortion. Ethicists raising the issue like they have been is simply the first step, and eventually it will have to be seriously debated by the society at large. Because of the arbitrary and irrational determination of what constitutes “personhood” in our culture, attempts will be made to change it even further.

    On another note, the final picture used is truly disturbing. I can’t help but be curious about what is being represented, as my initial guess of Moloch looks to possibly be incorrect.

    • hamiltonr

      Jakeithus, I found the photo on Photobucket. It didn’t have an explanation. I think the things to the side of the main character are folded wings. What do you think?

      I think you’re right that these actions by “ethicists” are just first steps to what is coming.

      • Jakeithus

        Not sure if you were familiar with it, but this blog post from the Evangelical channel is good reading about the coming battle over infanticide. The author has written other posts on the topic as well, and it is worth checking out.

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/euangelion/2013/04/infanticide-the-coming-battle/

        As far as the picture goes, it certainly has an angelic/demonic component with the wings, while the knife and child-like statue speaks to child sacrifice of some sort. The broken legs are a mystery, as is the crown, although it could be some generic Satanic figure. I was just curious, as it doesn’t stick out from any mythology or modern day fantasy that I’m aware of.

        • Dale

          The final picture was drawn by Wayne Beslow, and his website identifies it as Moloch. It can be found about 2/3 down the page
          https://waynebarlowe.wordpress.com/artwork/hell/

          As for the article written by the two philosophers, I know there was some speculation that the article was actually a subversive defense of the pro-life position. This thinkin was based partly on the absurd conclusion of the article, but also how the two philosophers argue that their conclusion was a logical extension of the right to abortion.

          I am not sure if that theory was ever shown to be correct, however.

          • hamiltonr

            This is a YouTube interview with one of the authors. She parses all over the place, but she her only defense of this article that it is an “academic” discussion which the public should not be involved in. The interviewer does his best to help her out, but she never really backs off of her position in favor of post-birth abortion. She clearly is NOT pro life person making fun of pro abortionists. She also is on the faculty at the University of Melbourne, and this article was published in a peer-reviewed journal.

            Peter Singer, Michael Tooley, et al have written whole books and more than one of them on the topic.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deFJcKrkZ40

            • FW Ken

              I could not bear to listen to the entire interview. It’s evil. Simply evil. The premises are true: there is not “structural difference” between the fetus at various stages and the new born. Where she goes with that, dressed though it is in academic mumbo-jumbo, is where evil comes in. It is certainly rational, but only rational. I think someone said of Adolph Eichmann that he was insane because he was only rational, and nothing else. Reason without humanity is the first milestone on the road to true evil.

            • Dale

              Okay, I listened to the radio interview and read the original paper.

              In the radio interview, she defends the paper as an intellectual exercise, similar to a “thought experiment” which a professor might challenge his undergraduate students with in the classroom. However, I agree with the interviewer that a published paper is widely read, and its influence is not confined to the ivory tower of academia.

              In the interview, and very briefly in the paper, she presents the controversy as a moral problem which needs to be discussed. In the radio interview, she repeatedly states that she is not advocating for post-birth abortion. Fair enough. However, the paper could have first been circulated in private and contrasting opinions solicited from other philosophers. Then, when the paper was published, it could have been presented alongside another paper which disagreed with its conclusions. That would have been a way to promote a discussion. But that isn’t what the journal editor chose to do. And the way the article is written, the authors do not seem at all troubled by their conclusions. It seems reckless, and calculated to cause public controversy.

              The central argument in the paper depends on very highly questionable premise The authors claim the personhood of an individual human being depends on that individual being aware of their existence, and also their experiencing a sense of loss if they were to be deprived of that existence. It is a very controversial premise, and yet the authors merely assert it as a given.

              And, as the radio interviewer noted, the argument opens the door to euthanasia, which Dr. Minerva seems to think is reasonable should an individual express such a desire and later slip into a comatose state.

              I think this issue was very poorly handled, both by the authors and by the journal editor.

              • hamiltonr

                I think she was parsing. She would say she was not in favor of infanticide, then cross her own bow when the interviewer tried to pin her down on specifics. Here’s part of the editor of the Medical Ethics Review’s defense for publishing the article. Notice he seems to think the authors meant it.

                As Editor of the Journal, I would like to defend its publication. The arguments presented, in fact, are largely not new and have been presented repeatedly in the academic literature and public fora by the most eminent philosophers and bioethicists in the world, including Peter Singer, Michael Tooley and John Harris in defence of infanticide, which the authors call after-birth abortion.

                The novel contribution of this paper is not an argument in favour of infanticide – the paper repeats the arguments made famous by Tooley and Singer – but rather their application in consideration of maternal and family interests. The paper also draws attention to the fact that infanticide is practised in the Netherlands.

                Many people will and have disagreed with these arguments. However, the goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the Truth or promote some one moral view. It is to present well reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises. The authors provocatively argue that there is no moral difference between a fetus and a newborn. Their capacities are relevantly similar. If abortion is permissible, infanticide should be permissible. The authors proceed logically from premises which many people accept to a conclusion that many of those people would reject.

                Of course, many people will argue that on this basis abortion should be recriminalised. Those arguments can be well made and the Journal would publish a paper than made such a case coherently, originally and with application to issues of public or medical concern. The Journal does not specifically support substantive moral views, ideologies, theories, dogmas or moral outlooks, over others. It supports sound rational argument. Moreover, it supports freedom of ethical expression. The Journal welcomes reasoned coherent responses to After-Birth Abortion. Or indeed on any topic relevant to medical ethics.

                What is disturbing is not the arguments in this paper nor its publication in an ethics journal. It is the hostile, abusive, threatening responses that it has elicited. More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  Oh yeah. First the cold-blooded development of intolerable premises, then the arrogance of one’s own supposed braininess, then the moral blackmail – people are being so naughty, they don’t understand me, I’m a really wonderful fellow. No moral anchor at all, and, behind the surface display of chilly rationalism, an untouched mountain of self-regard.

              • FW Ken

                Dale, you are a better man than me; I’m still stuck on “evil”. :-(

    • TheodoreSeeber

      Once again, sadly, it appears to me that conservatives are fighting the battles of the past- battles that have in fact already been lost.

      • Jakeithus

        If you take a look at the link I provided in my follow up post, that is exactly the argument made by the writer of that blog.

        I don’t think conservativism will ever totally move beyond fighting the battles of today (or of the past), but as long as a portion of thinkers are actually thinking about the battles to come, not all will be lost.

  • FW Ken

    First trimester abortions – check
    Mid and Late term abortions – check
    Post birth abortions – check

    What now?

    Well, let’s look at a related movement: euthansia.

    Ease their suffering – check
    Dying with dignity – check
    Euthanisia for handicapped children – in the Netherlands – check
    Euthanasia for dementia patients, without their permission – check
    The right to die has now become the duty to die.

    That, I believe, is where abortion goes next. As in China, the unwanted are to be aborted. We already see women pressured by the male to have the abortion, by their parents to have the abortion, by propaganda to have the abortion.

    Choice it’s not.

    • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

      Without their permission? They have to consent to that option when the get diagnosed with dementia. E.g. They give their full permission, that at the point where the dementia patient has reached a stage where they can no longer communicate and their mental faculties have deteriorated so far as to be no longer even the same person.

      The same is true for the handicapped children. And if you suggest a slippery slope, they are currently on the path to revoke part of that law to ensure that the patient must be able to give verbal consent when the decision is being debated. I find the practice to have the utmost respect for human life and personhood.

      Retracted part of statement for tone-

      • FW Ken

        We have Altzheimer’s in my family, Davis. I am fully aware of the implications of what I have written. Killing someone without their explicit permission remains anathama to me.
        My grandmother sat in a chair and laid in bed for 3 years, not knowing anyone or anything. That was after 6-8 years after the symptoms because obvious. All through that time, the extended family helped my grandfather care for her on weekends and pay for an attendant to assist him during the week. Nursing homes were really not an option in those days.
        My dad had Altzheimer’s, but didn’t get that bad. So this is not theoretical to me. He did have a living will that stated extraordinary means were not to be taken and when his time came, he died.
        I would say that when the element of choice is not present, euthanasia is murder. Choice may be suicide, but not having a choice means you are murdered.
        One more story: at the probate hearing for Mother’s will and my youngest brother’s guardianship, we say through a family seeking guardianship of their adopted daughter (biological granddaughter). The girl has no mental function to speak of, and little bodily control. But she is the light of these folks lives, and the love she engenders makes this world a better place. At least, that is what I believe, and I spent a part of my younger years working with severely/profoundly handicapped people. That family gets an aide to help them, paid for by medicaid, and that’s the best tax money I spend. Full Disclosure: my brother also receives medicaid services through a local MHMR Center. We could not, as a family, provide that level of service and I cheerfully stand up to anyone who wants to make a blanket condemnation of Medicaid.

      • hamiltonr

        I’m going to stick one thought in here and then back off and let you guys have at it.

        Euthanasia is medical murder. Period.

        You may not kill people. You may not kill young people, not even pre-born people. You may not kill old people, even very feeble people. You may not kill the disabled, even those who are in the final throes of dementia or a vegetative state.

        You may not kill people.

        Why is murder wrong? Because human life belongs to God. We are made in the image and likeness of God and even the hairs on our heads are numbered.

        You may not kill people

        Without the morality of Christ, you can’t seem to wrap you mind around that, can you Davis? You are always searching for exceptions and ways to define the exceptions and hem them in to keep them from reaching out to snare you and your life.

        But the real truth is, you may not kill people.

        • pagansister

          Is sentencing a person to death for a crime he/she has committed also not to be done as punishment for a heinous crime committed by that person? Is the death sentence “killing” or punishment? Is war legitimate? Killing takes place during a war, in the name of a country or a god or some insane reason thought up by someone. Is that all wrong and immoral too? You state that “in real truth you may not kill people”. Centuries of killing has taken place and is taking place in many parts of the world as I write, so the world doesn’t seem to understand that. Some of that world is “Christian”.

          • hamiltonr

            Well … I’m opposed to the death penalty, so you know where I stand on that one. As for war, I limit it to matters of self defense. In fact, self-defense is the only time and the only reason I have ever thought killing people was something you might have to do. The Christian belief in the sanctity of human life is the source of this.

            As for war being “legitimate,” I don’t think so. Sometimes it may be a necessary means of national self defense, but only after every other option has been exhausted. Pre-emptive war is never justified and war for empire building is never necessary and so both are always wrong.

            Now let’s turn this around. Are you saying that war is a positive good? Are you supporting the death penalty?

            • pagansister

              As to war—-I tend to agree with you it may be necessary as a means of national self defense, and only if every other option has been exhausted. Won’t go into the wars that I find were unnecessary, (Viet Nam, Iraq for starters). The death penalty is, IMO, not always wrong. There are times when the crime is so horrible that the person proven (totally proven without ANY doubt at all, and with modern techniques that is now a bit easier to get)to have committed it doesn’t deserve to live, to be clothed, sheltered, fed and have medical treatment when necessary. Men (and a few women) sit on death row for 20-30 years many times before they are executed (at least here in FL) and once in awhile they may be proven not guilty, or a sentence commuted to life.

              FL still carries out it’s death sentences. Those that kill children are top on my list of those whose life isn’t worth saving. They shouldn’t be alive when they took a chance at a full life away from a child (and their family). There may be sanctity of life but those that choose to foul that by deliberately taking another persons life deserves to pay. Not talking self defense here—or protecting ones family/child etc. but setting out to kill. I tend to be on the side of the victims(s) before that of the perp. Do you think that those that place bombs (Boston for instance) shouldn’t face the death penalty? Random killing such as that should allow the person(s) proven responsible to life the rest of their days in a cell, while the permanently maimed live very changed lives, and the families of those that died, sometimes children, have to cope forever with the loss? I have no sympathy for a murderer or bombers . Guess all the above adds up to , yes, I am a supporter of the death penalty in certain cases—not a blanket sentence, but specific depending on the case.

  • FW Ken

    On a related note, here’s interesting news for people who actually care about the well-being of women:

    http://personhoodeducation.org/2013/08/11/study-abortion-is-not-safer-than-childbirth/

  • Didacus

    Read the article…
    Quote
    They do not even consider the well being of the baby as a basic criteria for its elimination! This is incredible!

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    These guys are Italian. I will say this for my people, whatever we commit ourselves to, we do better than anyone else. And this includes evil. We invented Western science (Galileo), music, art – and crime. Political crime (Fascism) and organized crime (Mafia) both bear Italian brand marks, after all, and while we did not invent Communism, we perfected it. As I said on a different issue, ” I am a patriot, but hardly blind to my country’s flaws; and there is something about my countrymen that means that, when they are scoundrels, they are scoundrels with a kind of uncomplicated willingness, a cheerful and sometimes downright sentimental selfishness, an undisguised and heedless greed, that make everyone else look honourable.” Or, in this case, a willingness to follow bad premises all the way to monstrous conclusions. I doubt whether any other country has a Foreign Minister (Emma Bonino) who, four decades ago, carried illegal abortions with her own hands to prove a point!

  • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

    Hello, Davis here, I’m sorry if I come across as irritated, I will fully acknowledge that I’m posting with some slight anger, so feel free to disparage me with accusations of fulfilling a stereotype on that front. BUT I feel I’m a justified for being a little upset. So hear me out.

    I am not a pampered individual. I didn’t go to an ivy league school nor was I brought up in a world of “ethics”. I also don’t arrive at the same conclusion as the authors highlighted, and frankly I will stand against anyone who would say that a post-birth abortion is acceptable, regardless of the “consistency” of the criteria used. But to characterize anyone who discusses ethics like this is the “natural” conclusion is completely false. Yet, I believe that discussions of ethics are vital.

    I’m getting slightly irritated that you continually seem to imply that if you do not have God, then you can’t behave morally, or inevitably become a murderer or desire to terminate human life. I do not feel that way at all, and like others have pointed out there are countless atheists who do not support abortion. Give me 24 hours and I’ll return with having all of the atheist bloggers on patheos publically renouncing these “ethicists”. What can I do to show you that “Atheism” doesn’t lead to any moral philosophy. Atheism, isn’t anything, its a description of the absence of one belief. and only one belief. Many Atheists are humanists, who work alongside almost every charitable organization in the world to better our species.

    Rebecca, previously you asked me Who says murder is wrong? What say you or the other commenters? Is it God? If so, how do you access his system of morals? You mentioned in a previous post, that it’s not the Bible, so there must be some sort of way that you access this moral code that allows you to determine what is right or wrong. This system must obviously be accessible by all people on the planet (regardless of whether they believe in God or not) because countless cultures across all people groups behave morally.

    • hamiltonr

      Davis, are you under the impression that I was writing this article about you? I was not.

      Of course people are not capable of behaving morally. We are fallen creatures, living in a fallen world. Not just atheists; all of us. You’re correct that atheism is an absence, or a lack. i call it the big zero. It’s a dead end philosophy that takes its believers nowhere.

      • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

        I know you weren’t writing this article about me so let me try and restate my question. I took issue with the generalization that you made, “this is what happens without God” and that “Ethics apart from God” always result in a person desiring the death of human life or at the minimum the devaluing of human life. You explicitly stated as much in a previous comment to me, so with that in mind, I let my own self-righteousness get the best of me and deployed my rant :) for that I apologize.

        But now I’m confused. You state that people are not capable of behaving morally? I would agree with that statement if you meant that we weren’t capable of behaving perfectly, But morally? Everyone behaves morally, just as they also behave immorally at times. But why is that an excuse? That’s like saying, the presence of God makes no difference in a persons life, which I know you don’t believe.

        • oregon catholic

          My observation from reading a lot of posts from atheists is that their morality is relative and therefore ultimately corruptible. Atheists rarely have any objective basis for their morality aside from the laws that for the most part came from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Atheistic morality is far more often subjective and feelings based and easily influenced by political winds. Feelings are rarely a solid basis for determining morality since we can legitimately feel good about all kinds of wrongs, especially when they are our pet wrongs.

          • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

            As an atheist, you are kind of right in that our morality is based on a semblance of relativity. I’m not sure the % but many Atheists I know, don’t believe in objective morality at all! It kind of makes sense when you think about it though. If we don’t believe in God, we wouldn’t believe him to be a source of morality, and thus morality would then be based on our relationship to this life. I would argue however that we don’t base our morality on “feelings” per se. For me, I base morality on some sort of measurable criteria e.g. suffering, and argue moral values should stem from an effort to reduce that suffering.

            • hamiltonr

              Waaayyyy too long Davis. Shorten your comments plz.

              • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

                Ok, last comment I promise! :) I really only have one core question that I’d like to have answered by the readership here. As an outsider looking in, I’d like to know how Catholic Theology has developed over time to become what it is. I’m very hesitant to read the Bible for myself at this point, because I’m clearly biased against anything it might hold, so I’m looking for a brave soul to dialog with me and help me answer these questions. I recently started my own blog, but it’s virtually empty and I plan to remove it and start from scratch, but I’ll pose this question over there, and if anyone wants to jump there and tackle this question, I’d be down to just listen. I’m expecting long comments so don’t be afraid to post an essay :) http://selfrighteousb.wordpress.com/

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  I for one am quite willing to discuss things with you. I am a historian and know a few things about this field, and I find it refreshing to have someone who asks for the views of others instead of assuming that his/her idea of history is enough to pass final judgment on others.

            • oregon catholic

              The problem is that lack of objective criteria leaves you with mostly subjective criteria which almost always = feelings or opinion. I will venture to say that 10 people asked to “measure” another person’s suffering (if that is even possible) and how to alleviate it will have 10 different opinions about it. That is a very poor place from which to make moral decisions that need to stand up across a wide population of people in order not to have the anarchy of every person deciding for themselves what is moral.

              The right not to have your life taken from you is one of the strongest and most universally agreed upon moral imperatives we have and it’s based on plenty of objective criteria, yet decisions to abort are based on some of the flimsiest of subjective criteria. AND for added insult, the criteria is NOT the criteria or the decision of the one losing their life but of the one whose life will be relieved at the death of another whose existence is too troublesome.

              Moral relativity is slowly destroying our culture because it always tends to move to the lowest common denominator rather than the highest. That’s because that is where human nature frequently takes us. We need something higher than our (fallen) nature to go by in setting the bar for moral behavior.

      • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

        Btw mind if I retract parts of my initial post? I did that a bit hotheaded, and I’d like to correct some things that I said.

        • hamiltonr

          I don’t know which one it was. Why don’t you just add an addendum below it?

      • pagansister

        I must ask, Rebecca, how you can implicitly state that people are not capable of behaving morally? I disagree. Those folks who happen to not believe in a divine being (no matter what version/denomination that would be) are basically immoral? That they don’t respect life, etc. My children were raised, as you know, without my husband and I stating emphatically that there was a God, because neither of us was willing to lie to them. They are as moral as some of those that have been raised in a Christian faith. My son-in-law was raised in a VERY conservative Christian family—he is now a total atheist. However, he is very moral also–I understand human beings are by no means perfect, but to state that we are not capable of behaving morally seems to be a very strong and to me, wrong statement.

        • Joseph O Polanco

          All healthy human beings are born with an innate moral sense, a conscience. This is why since time immemorial, even the most primitive cultures, irrespective of their metaphysical beliefs, enforced laws against murder and other acts of evil.

          However, much like our language skills, our conscience needs to be refined, calibrated, made more robust. If not, it becomes stunted, or worst, perverted such that evil actions are perceived to be good and good ones viewed as evil.

          This is why the eternal well-being and happiness of mankind is inextricably bound to the objective moral values and duties lovingly furnished to us by our Creator. Without them there is nothing to protect our conscience from being disoriented or corrupted.

          Tragically, Atheism corrodes and destroys this protection leaving its adherents stranded in moral ambivalence. This naturally explains why the overwhelming majority of serial murderers, rapists, totalitarians and other sadists have been atheists.

      • pagansister

        I’m sure you saw the post below, and am a little surprised you didn’t respond. I’m assuming you believe that there must be a religious background in a person’s life in order to have morals? In your case, that would be an upbringing in the Catholic Church or even in another Christian denomination, or perhaps the Jewish faith. Just curious.

        • hamiltonr

          You talkin’ to me?

          I thought you were in a discussion with someone else.

          I think that it is impossible for people to develop a consistent moral code without God. They can and do respond to the natural law, which is to say the innate understanding that is built into all of us — again by God. But, much of the time, when people decide to make themselves gods, what they end up with is anything goes.

          • pagansister

            Thanks for responding, Rebecca. I know you have a lot to read! Your answer was what I anticipated. However, my adult children, as I mentioned below, were raised without a belief in God. They have a moral code even though neither has developed a belief in God. You believe they are responding to the natural law given to them by God. (and perhaps their upbringing minus God?). That could be a possibility, I suppose. Neither child believes they are a god(or goddess). :-)

            • Rebecca Hamilton

              Pagansister, your kids grew up in a Christian culture. What that means is that the soup they swam in reflected the moral values of Christianity. Without God, people everywhere just go along with the culture. That is why we have turned so quickly to various forms of legalized murder here in the West as soon as our acceptance of His authority waned. It is also why, if children grew up in a society of headhunters, they would be headhunters. Without God, the film-flam of the larger society rules.

              People — including Christians — can not longer rely on the larger culture to teach their children to have a moral code. You raised your kids in a different time. In fact, things are degrading so rapidly, that children who are only, say, four or five years old were born in a different time.

    • FW Ken

      If I may jump in… well, first… Davis, consider yourself disparaged. Okay, that’s over with, let’s talk. :-)

      I’m taking a bit of a different tack than Rebecca, in that I’ll say that Christians and Atheists can behave morally in about the same degree. Without Christ, a person may see the right thing and do it, because I believe, the law of God is written on our hearts (the dreaded Natural Law), and a natural goodness adheres to the human condition and it enables us to perceive and fulfill that law. That’s why Papa Francis could say that Christians and Atheists can have a common meeting point in doing good.

      But, all of us are certainly fallen, and at a certain point the Christian says: I can’t, but you, Christ, can. We cry out, with St. Paul (Romans 7),
      I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
      In the surrender at our weakest points, we face the possibility of transformation, and certainly receive forgiveness. As an aside, transformation is hard since it strikes at our gluttony, lust, sloth, avarice – you know, the fun stuff. But forgiveness is unmerited: it strikes at our pride.
      You ask where ethics come from. Fair question, since it was asked of you. Actually, I’m not sure who said it was not the bible, but it’s true that Catholics read the bible within the context of the community of faith which is the Church. We have 2000 years of experience to draw on when we need it, although often enough the scriptures are quite clear. As much as we like to act as though the bible is indecipherable, large parts of it clear as a bell. The 10 Commandments are pretty clear; the Levitical laws have been filtered through the life of the Church (particularly events such as St. Peter’s vision in Acts 10). The Sermon on the Mount is not gibberish.
      And with all of this, when things aren’t clear, we have trusted elders to call on. And we have our own hearts. When all of these things line up, it’s pretty clear what is the moral thing to do. When they don’t line up, I guess that’s another long-winded comment.

      • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

        :) thank you, this answers my questions a bit more in
        line with what I grew up with, as far as a theological framework. Makes me feel at home really :). Anyways, I think what remains unclear to me, and we touched on this previously, is that 2000 years of tradition seems to implicate a progressive development of theology. My question is, is there still room for change or does this generation in the here and now get the final say? :) I guess what I’m looking for is the tools that the eldership uses to view and
        interpret the scripture. I don’t have the luxury of being an elder or clergy, so I don’t have that tradition at my disposal.

        But I agree with you that the scripture seems clear, at least for the most part, I understand to a degree the dance which plays out utilizing the filters of St. Peter’s vision but I feel like that opens up a can of worms with the law. What particularly does Peter’s vision apply to? What has been made clean? Is it just food? I know that it applies to people, and that gentiles were admitted. But at the same time wouldn’t that also apply to certain types of people? I hate to bring up another hot topic but, homosexuality for instance is something that is not something that people “choose” to be but rather are born with. Even the church has acknowledged as much. Wouldn’t it be beneficial for them to be able to enter into the sacrament of marriage so that they wouldn’t “burn with passion?”

        The bible seems to me to have competing voices, and it appears that different assumptions underpin Paul’s writings in the new testament based on the cultures he wrote too. I find each individual passage clear. But when I look at the whole of scripture I find apparent contradictions. A plain reading of the
        scripture through my protestant eyes led me to conclude that the God of the Bible was immoral. I know I know, don’t judge God or anything but still. Why do I find that?

        • FW Ken

          Going to be brief, to respect Rebecca, and, honestly, I’m a little burned out right now. I would suggest that the issue here is not Catholic/Protestant. Examine where you get your ideas, and the roots of them. Perhaps you are expressing American/Western cultural ideas more than those of Christianity. I’m not judging that, but you should. Heck, it’s part of our common humanity to interpret everything through the matrix of our heritage. That’s why I don’t believe in sola scriptura : it’s not wrong, it just doesn’t exist. The Tradition – the common life of the Church – is the filter through which Catholics interpret scripture and live our life in Christ. That Tradition includes a hierachical structure of actual authority. Personally, I believe that God speaks to all of us all the time. But the world, the flesh, and the devil also speak. As a Catholic, I can look to magesterial teaching to “test the spirits”, if you will.
          As to same-sex attraction, the issue isn’t causality or whether it’s a “choice”. Down Syndrome is not a choice. Here’s where you say “It’s not like Down Syndrome”. And that’s the issue. Actually, alcoholism is a more apt comparison.
          As to the immorality of God, I will say this: if God allows the United States to continue killing 1 million plus unborn babies a year, he does owe the Canaanites an apology. But of course, this degraded culture will collapse. They always do.

          • hamiltonr

            I think we’ve done this enough for now. When one of the commenters says he’s tired, then I imagine the whole readership is tired, too. Let’s pack it in on this particular thread. Feel free to comment elsewhere.

  • Grotoff

    The question, as always, is who counts as a full human being. I applaud your condemnation of these “ethicists” who pretend that a baby is not a person because it does not have a fully developed brain. Are the mentally handicapped permanent sub-humans? No. Far better to say that any sapient organism with an active brain is a being with rights. Whether that is a chimpanzee or a 24th week old fetus.

    • Dale

      The conclusion reached by the two philosophers is odious and it is evil. It needs to be opposed. However, to refute them we need to accurately describe their argument.

      They do not argue that a new-born infant is killable because it’s brain is not fully developed. Their claim is that anyone, or any creature, which lacks self-awareness or which doesn’t want to live, is killable. This is why they argue that a newborn can be killed with impunity, but a chimpanzee can not. From that argument, I think they would defend the right of a mentally handicapped person to live. But I believe their argument would also defend euthanasia, which Dr. Minerva indicated she agreed with.

      • Melissa

        You will never find these people defending the right of the mentally or PHYSICALLY handicapped to live (regardless of what they say).

        The political left does not value human life, period. The only value placed on human life by the political left depends on the ability of the human to produce tax revenue.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Actually, my brother is, a), an agnostic, b), decidedly left wing in his views, and, c) the leader of Italy’s disabled movement. Your view of what is “left” is somewhat narrow.

          • maxime1793

            Her view of the left may be narrow. But do understand much of the contemporary Left, or the closest thing to it, in the Protestant/secular countries has this pseudo-scientific anti-humanist tendency.

            It is nothing new. It comes and goes – eugenics was certainly associated with Progressivism in the US (1900 to WWII) as much as anything else. Now, it has resurfaced with a green shell.

  • pagansister

    Why should the baby live in an “after-birth abortion?” BECAUSE the little one survived the attempt on it’s little life and deserves the right to live! There should not be late term abortion attempts anyhow—-but IF someone is foolish enough to do so—-don’t kill the little one, help it survive and let someone take him/her home to love and care for.

  • desire

    This is so damn stupid! I’ts just a collaboration of “big words” trying to confuse ppl …of course they should live

  • Melissa

    It’s pretty sick hearing people like this speak of “morality” when they have no standard for what is moral. The standard for morality is whatever they say it is.

    In that case, anything can be moral. Which is pretty much what has happened.

  • Joseph O Polanco

    And Atheists wonder why people mistrust them or think they’re inhuman …

  • Joseph O Polanco

    And Atheists wonder why people mistrust them or think they’re inhuman …

  • Serenity G.

    Too bad someone didn’t feel that way about Dr Singer. When he was a baby, he wasn’t a real person despite the fact that baby and fetus has a heartbeat, all the body parts, can cry and eat. What an idiot that guy is. I love all of my kids and they were real people from the moment they began developing. Anyone who kills a live baby, should get death as well because it is in fact murder


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