Timothy Dalrymple on abortion.

In preparation for my forthcoming move to Patheos, I started reading some of their other blogs today.  Suffice that there were a lot of opinions being expressed that I found bewildering, to say the least.

So I emailed Dan, who runs the atheist portal over at Patheos, to ask if the posts of my colleagues was fair game for dissection.  To my great elation he informed me that Patheos loves when that happens as long as it doesn’t get personal or vicious.  Sweet!  I suspect I’ll be doing a fair bit more analysis of religious arguments once I’m over there.

And since it’s on my mind, I came across this post by Timothy Dalrymple at Philosophical Fragments and thought I’d comment on part of it.

I hate that unborn children are exterminated before they have had a chance to enjoy the gift of life.  I hate that hundreds of millions of men and women, boys and girls are not alive today because of abortion worldwide, and the world has lost a treasure trove of creativity and joy and ingenuity.  I hate that women are sometimes pressured by men or by parents into abortions they mourn and regret; I hate that women are sometimes misled into believing that abortion for the sake of convenience is okay; as a father of two beautiful girls, I hate that unborn baby girls in particular are aborted in a twisted consequence of the “women’s rights” crusade for abortion.  But I also hate that so many women find themselves in terrible circumstances (I hate too that so many men are deadbeats) where they feel like abortion is their only hope.

Let’s take the first part, where he uses the argument about potential.

I hate that unborn children are exterminated before they have had a chance to enjoy the gift of life.

Tim, you say “exterminated,” but I want to make sure your connotation is clear.  Obviously there is a tremendous difference between exterminating a dandelion and exterminating a human being.  While a dandelion is certainly alive, it has cells that are moving about and what not, nobody really mourns the loss of that life.  This is why nobody would refer to the a dandelion’s loss of life as an “extermination.”  My position is that the destruction of a zygote is little more worrisome that the destruction of a dandelion.  Richard Carrier, I think, said it best:

“From a point of view outside of this affair, the killing of a neurologically inactive fetus is no greater a harm than the killing of a mouse, and in fact decidedly less–a mouse is neurologically active, and though it lacks a complex cerebral cortex, it has a brain of suitable complexity to perceive pain.”

Things that cannot suffer their own loss, though alive, have never really concerned us, whether they are trees, insects, mice, etc.  I see no reason to believe a zygote or a fetus is different in any meaningful way up until they reach that point.

I hate that hundreds of millions of men and women, boys and girls are not alive today because of abortion worldwide, and the world has lost a treasure trove of creativity and joy and ingenuity.

An argument that inevitably comes up in the abortion debate is that a zygote will one day become a child (perhaps the next Beethoven!) if left unchecked.  Tim, do you not realize that every sperm in the male body is a potential human being (it just needs the female egg, itself a potential unique, glorious human being).  Yet the prospect of this lost potential does not seem to frighten you into promiscuity.  Ditto for every other evangelical Christian.  Why not?  Don’t you worry that that particular sperm might have cured cancer one day, and you just let it slip away?

I am certain that if all human beings went Sodom and Gomorrah-style crazy with lust, we would eventually produce a physicist that would dwarf Stephen Hawking or Einstein, or a composer that would reduce the work of Mozart to child’s play. That’s no reason to do it. The dire consequences of augmented, unmitigated population growth are very well documented. A woman should feel no obligation to produce a child she does not want, simply because that kid might be the first John Conner.

Why then do we care about a particular set of cells in the female because they share a similar potential?  Instead of hating this lost potential, which could never even come close to being realized in reality, why not love the fact that an unwilling mother was not burdened with an expensive and lifelong roll of the dice she didn’t want, with equally small chances of making the next Richard Dawkins or the next Torquemada?

I hate that women are sometimes pressured by men or by parents into abortions they mourn and regret

I suspect you also hate it when women get abortions they don’t regret (if I am to take you at your word in previous sentences).  So why point this one case out specifically?  Is it to assure us that you have compassion for the victims of this pressure?  Cool.  How far does your compassion run?  For the ones who wouldn’t regret/mourn their abortion (read: most of them), would your compassion extend to those facing a life-long burden of being responsible for another human being when they know they’re unprepared for it?  Or is your empathy primarily available to the few who wind up regretting the decision?  Which do you think has the greater potential for lasting damage; regret over an abortion or raising a child you didn’t want?  For most people, that should tell them where the bulk of their sympathy should lie.

I too hate that sometimes people are pressured into doing things they don’t want to do, but let’s not imagine that these are any more than a small minority of abortion cases.  The difference between you and I, Tim, is that I can be happy for the women who experience tremendous relief that they were not saddled with the responsibility for a child they did not want or for which they were unprepared.  Could you look me in the eye and tell me that you hate the ruining of somebody’s life less than you hate the loss of a some incognizant cells?  Would you even want to?  That would tell me all I need to know about the compassion of Christianity.

The whole idea of post-abortion trauma is mostly fabricated anyway.  You see, in 1987 Ronald Regan asked then Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to produce a report assessing the possibility of trauma in the would-be mother. Koop’s report concluded that “the available scientific evidence about the psychological sequelae of abortion simply cannot support either the preconceived notions of those pro-life or those pro-choice.” This was as generous as the highly conservative Koop could be without being flagrantly dishonest. However, Regan ordered the report to be re-written to say that women did typically suffer post-abortion trauma.  Though Koop separated himself from it both publicly and during investigation, it was from this re-written report that the idea that abortions induced trauma was born.

Since both the announcement of that one disingenuous paper and the resulting beat down from the scientific and medical communities, all of our credible medical bodies have been in perfect harmony on the facts. The American Psychological Association sums it up nicely:

“The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy.”

All the same, even if a higher portion of women did suffer depression after their abortions, you cannot shackle everybody for that.  Women should still get the choice.  Some people wind up regretting all kinds of things (many of which don’t have the same upsides that abortion does), but you don’t prevent other people from doing them because some regret it.  However, the science is conclusive that no greater threat to mental health exists for having an abortion, so the argument is moot.

I hate that women are sometimes misled into believing that abortion for the sake of convenience is okay

“Convenience.”  That’s an interesting choice of word.  The average cost of raising a child is almost $227,000.  And that’s just the money, this is not including the time you spend raising a child.  In this case, for women who do not wish to raise a child, the convenience of getting an abortion is similar to the convenience of not losing all your worldly possessions in a fire several times over.  At what point does “Holy fucking shit this is potentially life-destroying!!!” become differentiated from “convenience?”  Why would destroying a wad of unthinking cells for the “convenience” of not incurring these costs not be ok?

And even if it was just a matter of convenience, why wouldn’t it be ok then?  Potential?  That argument sucks.  God?  That argument also sucks.

as a father of two beautiful girls, I hate that unborn baby girls in particular are aborted in a twisted consequence of the “women’s rights” crusade for abortion.

Twisted?  She doesn’t want a child.  She shouldn’t be obligated to have one because of your strange moral attachment to that zygote’s potential.  You do not get to dictate what other people do with their bodies unless you’re protecting a conscious being from harm.  Often, it doesn’t even matter that the life form is conscious (this is why you can kill mice).

Look, lots of things are alive that we do not give the first damn about.  Even human life has varying values (if you doubt this, imagine you had to direct a missile to either a kindergarten or a prison).  I admit that a zygote has some worth (I think dandelions do too), but I think that worth is obviously negligible.  And if you’re going to suggest that the value of those unthinking, unfeeling cells is worth more than that of the conscious mother who has memories, a life she has built, love, and the ability to suffer the loss of all of it, as well as the ability to feel resentment at being forced to raise an unwanted child, you need to get a new definition of “twisted.”

But I also hate that so many women find themselves in terrible circumstances (I hate too that so many men are deadbeats) where they feel like abortion is their only hope.

At least we have one piece of common ground.  Of course, abortion doesn’t get you away from a deadbeat or an abusive partner.  I would hope that if a woman doesn’t want a child, she gets an abortion, and that if she’s with a guy who is no good for her that she leaves.

You know what I hate?  I hate that there are some people who think they have enough ownership over someone else’s life to dictate that they bear a child.  And I hate the religion that hands them that privilege as though it’s god’s will.

  • ‘Tis Himself

    Dalrymple, for you abortion is merely a philosophical concept. You will never have to decide for yourself if you should have one or not. Women might consider abortion with a different set of criteria than yours.

  • Andrew G.

    In preparation for my forthcoming move to Patheos, I started reading some of their other blogs today.

    Heh. Have you visited the Catholic cesspool yet?

  • Kryten

    I hate that unborn baby girls in particular are aborted in a twisted consequence of the “women’s rights” crusade for abortion.
    WTF? This is nonsensical, bordering on meaningless. He seems to be conflating social pressures to bear a male child with women’s push for equal rights. Never mind that the societies that prize male children tend to be the most patriarchal. I’ve known many feminists and supporters of abortion rights in my life, but none of them have supported sex-selective abortion.

    Not to mention, there is not and never has been a “crusade for abortion” – support for abortion rights is the support for access to abortion for those who need it.

    • Erista (aka Eris)

      It’s really hard for me to get upset about sex-selective abortions when I know that in the places that they commonly occur (and they DON’T in the USA), the alternative is infanticide. Yes, that’s right: Just because you can force a woman to give birth doesn’t mean you can’t keep either her or those around her from killing her baby directly or indirectly (via withholding things like medical care). Furthermore, in a chunk of these places, if the woman gives birth to another daughter, her in-laws will kill her.

      So! How about before we try to outlaw sex-selective abortions all over the world, we try to fix the above mentioned problems?

  • RhubarbTheBear

    I remember the last time a guy moved to a blog site and got in a scuffle with the other inhabitants. For the love of grilled tilapia with mango salsa, JT, please don’t be that guy. DON’T BE THAT GUY. Be you, just not… that guy. Pleeeeeeaaase. :)

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      There’s a great line between disagreement and being a dick to everyone. ;)

    • N. Nescio

      “got in a scuffle”

      That’s not quite at all what happened.

      • RhubarbTheBear

        Owing to my love of British-like understatement and my reluctance to use scatological language in public forums, I stand by the term “scuffle” and hope others will find it ironic and humorous rather than intentionally misleading…

    • John Horstman

      Well, as long as JT doesn’t immediately dedicate all of his blogging on the new network to making shitty videos about topics for which he has zero knowledge base and then leveling incoherent personal attacks against his fellow bloggers when they disagree, he should be fine.

      By the way, given some of the hate nested comments are receiving on other blogs, I’d like to throw out my support for them: one good feature is that they keep tangents contained to their own threads. I don’t have to worry as much about potential derails.

  • hotshoe

    JT, wonderful post.

    Looks like you’re practicing to be real popular among the other patheos bloggers. Err, not popular, what’s the other word? Hated! Hated by the other patheos bloggers for puncturing their blindly religious ideas.

    Take your hazmat suit. I’ve got a feeling you’re going to need it.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      *shrug* If someone disagrees with me in a blog post, I don’t get upset or think less of them (in fact, I generally think better of them for speaking their mind). If their arguments suck, it would probably impact my opinion of them, but not disagreement.

      If others don’t look at it that way, ah well. But I think most will.

  • b00ger

    Super post. Glad to see you back in top form.

  • bcmystery

    In other words, Dalrymple is another guy who frets that women might be having sex without receiving their due punishment. Noted.

  • Alukonis, metal ninja

    Not to mention the whole “some people need abortions so that they don’t die” thing. And if you make abortions illegal, then doctors won’t be trained how to perform them, so when someone comes in with a dead fetus going septic in their uterus it’ll be like “oh well too bad no one in this country knows how to help you!”

    Or preeclampsia.

    Or the pregnant person gets into a car accident.

    Or gets leukemia and needs cancer treatment immediately.

    Or like a million other reasons, really. Not to diminish at all that it should always be the pregnant person’s decision, even if there is no medical reason at all, just that the people who want to outlaw abortions either conveniently forget about all the people who need them to *live,* or else they just don’t care.

    • Azkyroth

      just that the people who want to outlaw abortions either conveniently forget about all the people who need them to *live,*

      Where could you possibly have gotten the idea that anti-choicers consider women “people?”

  • RickR

    I’d like to take Dalrymple’s statement line by line and rewrite it as a statement raging against the immorality of NOT forcing organ donation. But I think it would just make my head hurt.

    These people just REFUSE to see women as full human beings.

    • anteprepro

      Here, don’t say I never did you any favors:

      I hate that people who need organ donations are exterminated by greedy organ hoarders, deprived of the gift of increased life. I hate that hundreds of millions of men and women, boys and girls are not alive today because of organ hoarders worldwide, and the world has lost a treasure trove of creativity and joy and ingenuity. I hate that women are sometimes pressured by men or by parents into withholding organs that they regret not giving; I hate that women are sometimes misled into believing that refusing organ donation for the sake of convenience is okay; as a father of two beautiful girls, I hate that girls in particular are refused organ transplants in a twisted consequence of the “women’s rights” crusade for gender equality. But I also hate that so many women find themselves in terrible circumstances (I hate too that so many men are deadbeats) where they feel like organ hoarding is their only hope.

      I think it is clear that both versions can be summarized as “BAAAAAAWWW, ME ME ME ME ME, BAAAAAAW”.

    • John Horstman

      Yes! I’m so glad this analogy is gaining traction; we can even use blood donation (well, forced extraction – which is actually something a fetus does anyway) as a less-permanent bodily imposition to make the same point if someone objects to the analogy on the basis that pregnancy only last around nine months. Nothing would make me happier than to see the entire “right to life” debate vanish because we acknowledge that a right to life still doesn’t entitle one to use another’s body against hir will.

  • Erista (aka Eris)

    Anyway! I have various mental illnesses/disorders/disabilities, so I decided to go get my medications to see how everything would go if I got pregnant.

    Anti-depresent: Significantly more spontaneous abortions and an unexpectedly high number of malformations of the heart and great vessels.

    Mood stabilizer #1: Increased risk of cleft lip or cleft palate, and other than (to paraphrase) “We don’t fucking know, but animal trials showed bad things.”

    Mood stabilizer #2: Possible withdrawal symptoms for the fetus, including breathing problems, feeding problems, fussiness, tremors, and limp or stiff muscle. Other than that, “We don’t fucking know, but animal trials show bad things.”

    Anti-anxiety medication: Associated with fetal damage, including congenital malformations.

    Sleeping medication: “We don’t even pretend to know.”

    As a side note, some of the meds I’m taking may not be good for the fetus, but my coming off them during pregnancy would also pose risks to the fetus.

    And I’m not even taking anything particularly extreme.

    I always wonder what these people think I should do if I get pregnant. Have an abortion? If so, how do they intend to make abortion illegal but still allow me to have one? Not have an abortion, keep taking my meds, and hope that nothing goes wrong with the fetus? Don’t have an abortion, don’t take my meds, check myself into a mental institution for the duration of the pregnancy and however long it takes me to recover (while knowing that high levels of stress can damage the fetus, too)? And what am I supposed to do if I DO have the baby? My list of medications should give everyone a hint that I’m not mentally stable enough to take care of a kid; I can barely take care of myself. So do we hope that the fetus is born without problems and adopted, knowing that the fetus might have issues and end up in foster care? Do I get to stay on my meds while I’m not pregnant, knowing that if I do become pregnant that coming off my meds could be damaging?

    But it doesn’t really matter, I suppose. I’d run off to another country to get an abortion if I had to. For me, that is the only option.

    • http://mamamara.wordpress.com Mara

      Heck yeah. I know several people who went off their meds to have a baby (including me) and it went…about the way you’d expect. Results ranged from bad to VERY VERY BAD.

      I also know people who kept taking their meds while pregnant (including me, for baby #2) and the results ranged from just fine to VERY VERY BAD.

      Pregnancy and parenting are not easy things to decide about and anyone who thinks they are can kiss my lily white tuchis.

    • neatospiderplant

      “I always wonder what these people think I should do if I get pregnant.”

      If you don’t want a baby, there’s no reason for you to have sex, so you really have no reason to worry about pregnancy. Just keep taking your meds and abstain. Problem solved!

      It absolutely disgusts me that I used to believe that crap.

    • Liberated Liberal

      These people don’t think any of those are viable options. If you can’t risk pregnancy but yet have sex anyway, then you are dirty slut who deserves the punishment of a child. And if the child has severe problems, good, because then you’re being punished even more for having dirty, filthy sex when you shouldn’t have. You and your husband should be absolutely celibate so then he can cheat on your with another filthy whore and get her pregnant. Then she can be punished….

      That’s how it all works in their minds.

  • Dantalion

    Good luck on the move to Patheos JT.

    As I’ve been hanging out there for awhile (mostly @Unreasonable Faith and Friendly Atheist), I have to give you the same warning I gave Libby Anne when she announced her move.

    You’re going to get a lot more christian commenters there than what you get here. A few surprisingly reasonable ones, a lot of randoms who show up because there are atheist links in their christian reading material, and a veritable army of straight up trolls.

    Whether you consider that a good or bad thing (it does offer a greater opportunity for direct atheist-christian debate) and what to do about it (I’m sure you’ll come up with something awesome) are of course up to you. Just wanted to let you know what you’ll see there.

  • Alverant

    I hate that hundreds of millions of men and women, boys and girls are not alive today because of abortion worldwide, and the world has lost a treasure trove of creativity and joy and ingenuity.

    I REALLY hate this argument. First it assumes that something just as good, if not better, would be created by someone that’s actually alive. Second it ignores the flip side. If a woman is forced to raise a child she didn’t want, how well do you think that child is going to be. Sure, some will turn out well, but chances are more would not be so well. So abortion didn’t just “cost” the world “treasure trove of creativity and joy and ingenuity” it also spared us from a “garbage heap of greed and hate and crime” and chances are there would be more of the latter than the former.

    If he were told that thanks to abortion the next Koresh, Bundy, and Capone were never born, would that change his mind?

    • Alex

      I agree; these arguments always seem to assume that producing more people is a good thing, but never demonstrate why. In the face of all the problems the human race is causing the world and each other, they just blindly assume that adding more people will help.

      • Alverant

        Right. We don’t need more people. We need less. I can’t advocate mass killing no matter how good the ultimate result might be. The best we can do is to cut down on the new people being born and making sure those are born have enough food, water, a chance at a decent future, etc. It’s the Cold Equation. It’s easier to find enough food and water for 2 children instead of 4 or more.

        Dalrymple speaks from a position of privilege. He does not have to worry about providing enough for his kids and thinks that no one has that kind of struggle. What do you want to bet that he’s never seen the inside of a food bank or soup kitchen (as a client or as a volunteer).

    • smrnda

      I could add that I have no children, and that if I had been forced to have them I wouldn’t have written millions of lines of functioning code over the course of my life, wouldn’t have gone to graduate school and wouldn’t have done a lot of other things. Someone could counter that *if* I had had a child, the child might have gone on to do more than I did, but to me, that’s measuring a potential good outcome against a known good outcome. It’s like arguing it’s better to get paid in lottery tickets than wages since one of them might be a winner.

  • Cafeeine

    I have a rumbling dislike for the “think of all the people that never were” argument.
    Consider this: A woman gets pregnant, but can’t keep a baby at that time. she has an abortion. Eventually that woman has another child.
    This kid would never have been born if it wasn’t for that initial abortion.
    This is my situation.
    So my response to people who make that argument is:”Why do you wish I were dead?”

    • Randomfactor

      I hate that hundreds of millions of men and women, boys and girls are not alive today because of abortion worldwide,

      He’s really gonna hate how I prevented tens of thousands of babies from being conceived last night, then. But he can take solace that they’d have turned out to be atheists anyway.

    • ButchKitties

      My dad’s first fiancee was killed by a drunk driver shortly after their engagement. If that driver had decided to call a cab instead of trying to drive himself home, neither myself nor my brother would have ever been born. We both owe our existence to a drunk driver.

      When your anti-abortion argument can also be used as a pro-drunk-driving argument, that should be a sign that your reasoning is crap.

  • Beth

    Pressure to get an abortion does happen. My first Christian pro-life boyfriend found out I was pregnant and suddenly wasn’t even pro-choice he was pro-abortion. Our baby was an inconvenience to him. When he wanted premarital sex his Christian beliefs went out the window, and again when he didn’t want a baby they went out the window. I refused but he lucked out anyways as I had a miscarriage.

    My third pregnancy years later was with another Christian pro-life man. He also wanted me to have an abortion. I told him if he didn’t want the baby he could leave and I would raise him on my own. He choose to stay and we had our son and latter a daughter and now we are married.

    There are many reasons I should never have had children, but I do not believe abortion is a moral option. Maybe men should have the option of legally giving up their child even if the mother chooses to give birth. Perhaps this would stop men from pressuring women to have unwanted abortions.

    • Cafeeine

      Beth, I’ll simply keep one point from your comment. Under a pro-choice mentality you are absolutely entitled never to have an abortion if you didn’t want to. Your first Christian boyfriend didn’t cross some barrier from pro-life to pro-choice to pro-abortion. From what little we can glean, he apparently never cared about your choice in the matter.

      If and when someone opposes the right to abortion for other women, they are doing to them what your boyfriends tried to do to you.

    • Alverant

      One thing that’s been pretty consistant when it comes to the anti-abortion crowd (I won’t say pro-life, the label is fundamentally flawed), they only approve of three kinds of abortion rape, incest, and theirs. Your boyfriend’s attitude is pretty common unfortunately.

    • kraut

      , “but I do not believe abortion is a moral option”

      I don’t give a shit what you believe, for hundred of thousands of women is it the only moral option in view of health, economic reality and an oppressive society.

      Nobody should force you to abort against your will, neither should anybody force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term against her will.

      My daughter had an abortion, despite my wife and me offering to raise the child, no strings attached. She made the choice, no regrets for her, however some regrets on our side. BUT – it was not our child and not our choice, our choice was to supply options.

      Canada has no law that concerns abortion, it is a situation that as of now not even conservative politicians dare to approach. That is exactly as it should be.

    • DaveL

      I do not believe abortion is a moral option

      I do not believe abortion bans are a moral option.

      As a husband and soon-to-be father, let me tell you: starting a family in en environment that doesn’t allow abortions is a terrifying proposition. It is positively sick that some people would let my wife die, go into organ failure, or seizures, or whatnot out of fear saving her could mean losing control over the sexuality of some other woman.

    • Interrobang

      Why on earth would you stay with a man (never mind have a second kid with him) who wanted to force you to do something you didn’t want to do with your own body?! Your husband doesn’t think you’re actually a human being. If that’s ok with you, I feel sorry for you, but I would have been out of there like a shot. (Not to mention that I would have had the abortion, because being permanently tied to someone who thinks he owns you is not something I’d want, either, if only to avoid the inevitable custody battle when he decides to salvage what he can of what he sees as “his property.”)

  • Joven

    Oh no! Some women may become depressed after having an abortion, we should therefore outlaw it so they can get postpartem depression instead…

    • Randomfactor

      I suspect lots of women get depressed after having sex with or even marrying the wrong guy, too. Better put a stop to THAT as well.

    • ButchKitties

      Yep. If abortion is wrong because women (rarely) get depressed afterwards, then continuing a pregnancy and giving birth is extra double plus wrong because it has a much higher correlation with depression than abortion ever has.

  • Erista (aka Eris)

    @13

    Yeah, pro-lifers always seem to forget that. They’re always all, “How would you feel if you were aborted?!” and not “How would you feel if your mother hadn’t had an abortion and had a kid other than you instead?!’

    There are thousands of children who exist today because their parents had abortions. Hell, my sister is here because my mother had a (medically necessary) abortion (the fetus was dead). If that fetus hadn’t died, or if she hadn’t gotten the abortion because, hey, nature will take its course like on the farm (*sigh*) my sister wouldn’t be here.

    • smrnda

      Might as well ask how would I feel if my parents had decided to join holy orders and live a life of celibacy instead of having me.

  • http://youtube.com/watch?v=E37zYztf95I Anderson Santhuff

    I truly believe that breed specific legislation needs to be illegal. A dog turning out to be vicious isn’t according to the breed, but on who brought up the puppy, and for what purpose.

  • xandrasings

    This post made me so very excited to follow you to Patheos. Just saying.

  • pipenta

    Well said!

    I’m going to be reading you over on Patheos.

    Count me as a fan!

  • kraut

    Reading at patheos I can assure you I will never visit that cesspit of adulterated by atheist sprinkling christian website ever again.

    Fucking christ almighty – did you really have to stoop that low? I guess money speaks – from one working stiff to the next…I sorta understand…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=641090103 j.p.hollembaek

    wicked good post, this

  • http://subjunctivemorality.wordpress.com Collin

    Oh please keep this stuff coming. It’s going to be so much fun.

  • billyeager

    Jesus Fictional Christ JT, what about the bits of text from that article you didn’t post:

    I hate that I fall short of the imitation of Christ. I hate the sin that threatens to consume me, and hate that I so often take for granted the grace that refuses to allow me to be consumed.

    Given the tone of much of what else the skeevy Dalrymple has also written, I’m extremely concerned as to the nature of the ‘sin’ he claims threatens to consume him. Perhaps he is in need of heavy-duty medication to ensure the ‘hated sin’ doesn’t make it past the wondrous ‘grace’ that is holding it in check.

    Even ignoring, with herculean effort, the fucking awful “I hate that my theism is just so wonderful” subtext of the piece, the clunking fallacies and dishonest argument, in this article alone, is nausea inducing.

    In fact, here’s some more of his passive-aggressive word vomit:

    I hate that many gays feel that, without access to marriage, they are second-class citizens. But I hate too that the homosexual debate has been defined in such a way that there is no space for loving disagreement. I hate that I’m told that my view, that marriage is a sacrament and a covenant defined by God for the union of male and female, is hateful by virtue of the fact that it oppresses a people group. I don’t believe that’s true, but I hate that the traditional Christian standpoint has been framed as hateful, and I hate that there are gays who hate the “hateful” Christians.

    I.Hate.The.Hateful.Dishonesty.Of.This.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.schuldt Ben Schuldt

    “the prospect of this lost potential does not seem to frighten you into promiscuity”

    Yeah, why aren’t Christian dudes scared stiff? [rimshot]

    • http://andythenerd.tumblr.com The Nerd

      *sad trombone*

  • Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    The way he describes his problem with women’s autonomy is very telling: I, I, I, I, I, I, I.

    it’s all about him. is the entire post about himself? (the link doesn’t go to that post).

    Is “concern” for women in tough situations that lead them to chose abortion the very last on his list of problems?

  • Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Jesus Fictional Christ JT, what about the bits of text from that article you didn’t post:

    Wait, that IS the same post? My eyes glazed over once I saw the jebus nonsense.

  • anteprepro

    I hope you keep this up, JT. Just watch yourself. I’m sure it will tempting to just spend your time arguing with the inanities spewed by others as Patheos. But that might be a route to burning bridges. Play carefully and don’t get kicked out!

  • Epinephrine

    My thoughts on abortion are really clear at the time period during which it typically happens. To be clear, based on some older statistics Canada data, the only abortions that I might have ANY problem with essentially don’t happen, and when they do it’s probably only when the result of NOT doing it is worse. Any objection I have are to theoretical rather than actual conditions. Of the abortions recorded in this data, there were !30,000 in the first trimester (meh), ~5,000 in the second trimester (again, meh), and 39 in the 25-33+ weeks period (probably all very well justified!). I’m not writing because I think that we should be restricting abortion, but because the argument comparing to animals, dandelions is open this way.

    I do see the argument about where to draw the line of “human life” as a reasonable thing to discuss – I don’t think that magically a “human life” happens at the moment of birth, nor at the moment of conception – these are both horrible attempts to set a boundary/line on what is really a spectrum – a blastula is (in my mind) clearly less of a human life than a T-1 minute baby, which I would also argue is less “human” than a 4 year old child. If you believe that the fetus/child only has rights after birth, obviously the rational stance is that all abortions are perfectly acceptable. If you take the view that the developing fetus approaches personhood (or attains it) during gestation, does there come a point at which it is unethical to terminate the pregnancy?

    Given the difficulty of setting a time point for personhood and the variability of development, I can see why the moment of birth is a very convenient point from which to begin counting, but I certainly feel that a fetus when ready to be born is farther along than the dandelion or mouse in the examples, which makes those arguments suspect. I continue to side with women, not fetuses, as I think that the cases in which I would have moral qualms are largely philosophical, and that any restrictions on abortion would be used to oppress women, but I do think that if one accepts that humans develop in a gradual sense, the point at which they attain personhood isn’t necessarily after birth, and that to place it there as a matter of convenience is problematic philosophically, while possibly being the pragmatic solution to prevent abuses.

    • Dez

      Most abortions happen in the first trimester because it’s safer and less expensive than a second trimester abortion. The fact that the further along the pregnancy is, the more potential danger to the health of the woman if she elects an abortion. After a certain point in pregancy giving birth is a safer option than an abortion. I’m pro-choice for all trimesters because I know that most women who choose abortions do so in the first few months of pregnancy and abortions done further along are for health of the woman.

    • John Horstman

      The entire debate around when “life” begins is a derail – it simply doesn’t matter because even (actually, especially) a full-grown person doesn’t have a right to use another person’s body against hir will, even if it’s necessary for one’s survival. A woman (technically, a person capable of becoming pregnant – some people who identify or are identified as men or as neither can also become pregnant) ALWAYS has the right to end a pregnancy, at any point. Whether that results in “birth” or “abortion” is pretty much just a function of whether the zygote/blastocyst/embryo/fetus can survive both the process of extraction and without using the woman (qualified as above) as a life-support system. Death during extraction of an otherwise-viable fetus is covered by the concept of self defense (for example, is someone is trying to forcibly extract a lobe of your liver and the only way you have of stopping hir is killing hir, you are entirely justified in doing so).

      • Epinephrine

        I imagine that asymmetric conjoined twins would present a case where one person has a right to benefit from the body of another. In one case where it happened they terminated one twin in the process, but it was a case where they would both die if not separated. If both could survive, could the twin who “owns” the heart decide at any point to end the life of the other, by deciding to separate?

        I get that it is hypothetical in this instance, but I don’t believe that no person has the right to use another’s body, even if necessary for survival. This is something you assert, but I don’t see it working in the hypothetical situation (which could actually occur, as we see from conjoined twins), and I don’t think that it’s a necessary position from a morality standpoint. It makes me think of Good Samaritan laws, where we insist that people have a duty to act to rescue another if the risk is sufficiently small to themselves. The degree of the imposition, its duration, etc. must in my mind be weighed against the benefits. To be fair, I do agree that in general the life argument does derail things, but I think it is a fair argument to make, as I don’t think it is black and white; that you never have a right to use another person’s body. If dangling from a perilous drop, needing to hold onto another person for a few seconds while rescuers get a net in position, I don’t think the grabbed person has any right to dislodge you, despite their right to autonomy.

  • dorcheat

    JT, you will be a great addition to Patheos! You will have to work hard to keep up with Hemant who averages some half dozen blog posts a day. He may slow down when school starts again in Illinois, but then again he is very industrious and committed.

    As for Christians who write about atheism, Dwight Longnecker from the catholic side at Patheos can be snotty at times. The evangelicals at Patheos are surprisingly and seemingly cagey about atheism; that is not in your face.

    As for the comments, there are a few Christian “debaters” such as “RW Law Office” and “guest” who hangout in Hemant’s forums who can be boisterous at times. I am sure they will show up much sooner than later in your new comment forums at Patheos as well.

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  • Azkyroth

    and the world has lost a treasure trove of creativity and joy and ingenuity.

    Doesn’t this, um, let’s say “naively” assume that environmental influences play no role in human development? Influences like, say, growing up as a burden to parents who were unwilling, incompetent, or both, let alone the economic effects that tend to accompany it?

    • Azkyroth

      …and for that matter, that the creativity and joy and ingenuity that such a burden restrains or crushes has no value?

  • Azkyroth
    I hate that women are sometimes pressured by men or by parents into abortions they mourn and regret

    For the ones who wouldn’t regret/mourn their abortion (read: most of them), would your compassion extend to those facing a life-long burden of being responsible for another human being when they know they’re unprepared for it? Or is your empathy primarily available to the few who wind up regretting the decision? Which do you think has the greater potential for lasting damage; regret over an abortion or raising a child you didn’t want?

    I suspect that what Dalrymple is really saying here is that he’s incapable of seeing women as conscious beings with their own agency and therefore assumes that no woman can genuinely desire to not be pregnant any more or have a child.

  • Ryan Dyne

    I loved your ~paragraph~:

    “Things that cannot suffer their own loss, though alive, have never really concerned us, whether they are trees, insects, mice, etc. I see no reason to believe a zygote or a fetus is different in any meaningful way up until they reach that point.”

    , because (of course) my view is pretty close to that.

    (That was primarily from your “suffer their own loss” — although now I’m not completely sure what exactly you meant by that – since one who has died no longer suffers anything. So you probably meant ~is of a species that can suffer from the passing of another individual~. But then that brings up elephants, who allegedly can. But then they don’t have ethics.)

    Hopefully, you all will “suffer” that stream of consciousness.

    Another aside:
    (Jeez!)

    I assume that all opposition to abortion is from people who believe that ~”God” owns all of us, including as soon as union of sperm with egg.~
    Craziness, but it does bring up the valid issue of when a fetus/infant ~becomes human~.
    (which I understand as )

    My best thinking on that is that it’s at one of two times:
    o when it realizes that it’s mortal (& so could be killed)
    (& so whose ~quality of life~ would be seriously degraded did it not have the RtL)
    o when it is able to think and plan long-term
    (since w/o that ability, the duration of one’s life … (don’t shoot!) … doesn’t matter in the same way that it does w/ – and w/ it, the issue arises that it makes less sense to think and plan long-term if one’s life is not protected via recognizing his RtL)
    (“think and plan long-term” since that’s the sine qua non of human life (on a human level) )

    …but that’s at the level of (the philosophy of) ethics..
    ..we still have to get to the level of law

    …and there, I haven’t found any way to get past the moment of birth as satisfying the requirement of objective determination.

    …so it looks to me like that has to be what the law is.

    …unless the law could accept a range of age w/in which it’s obvious that the infant hasn’t reached either of my two philosophical criteria.

    …say 0 to 2 years?

    (I’d love to hear thoughtful comments.)

    • Azkyroth

      I assume that all opposition to abortion is from people who believe that ~”God” owns all of us

      No, it’s from people who believe they own women’s bodies. God is just an excuse. Anti-choice sentiment is invariably, inevitably, and inextricably misogynistic.

  • Ryan Dyne

    I forgot to mention a couple of things:

    I was very happy to see Epinephrine’s comments!
    (again, because they’re similar to my conclusions)

    In his first comment, he addressed many of the things that I did in my first.

    In his second, though, he gets into “lifeboat situations”, where IMHO, ethics just can’t be expected to apply (give us any guidance).

    Finally, I find his “Good Samaritan laws” very difficult to come to a conclusion on.

    Individual rights cannot include receiving something from another person; rights address an individual’s freedom of action.

    And that although ~anyone non psychopathic~ would /choose/ to help out in those situations.

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  • Icy Cantu

    A worthless person, a wicked man,
    Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,
    Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet,
    Who points with his fingers;
    Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,
    Who spreads strife.
    Therefore his calamity will come suddenly;
    Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.
    There are six things which the Lord hates,
    Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
    Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    And hands that shed innocent blood,
    A heart that devises wicked plans,
    Feet that run rapidly to evil,
    A false witness who utters lies,
    And one who spreads strife among brothers.
    -Proverbs 6:12-19

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