The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Permutations

October 13, 2005 | 222 Comments

Atheists are generally speaking liberal (or at least libertarian) on social issues, but there

Comments

222 Responses to “Permutations”

  1. qedpro
    October 13th, 2005 @ 1:52 am

    If you examine history the anti-gay phenom in the Christian world is strictly due to Christianity. I’m pretty sure the Romans, Egyptians, Greeks had no problems with it. Certainly Sparta didn’t. Anti gay attitudes come from the missionary-position attitudes of Christianity as far as i can tell. So any atheist who is anti-gay, hasn’t quite cast off the influence of Christianity.

  2. Mookie
    October 13th, 2005 @ 3:40 am

    As I understand it, it was the Catholic church that poopooed homosexuality, because of property rights. A gay man could leave his holdings to his significant other, and the church would not get a drop. Women were not allowed to own property, and if there was no male heir, the holdings went to the church.

  3. Jason Malloy
    October 13th, 2005 @ 5:20 am

    Atheist totalitarians have been typically been socially conservative – so both Stalin and Castro were no fans of abortion and homosexuality. Stalin outlawed abortion to boost the birthrate. It’s legal and widespread in Cuba so it can’t piss Castro off too much, but he has made negative statements about it. Since totalitarians aren’t big fans of human life anyway, abortion is less likely to be a problem than individuality, so homosexuals are more likely to get the raw deal in such a system. Mao cracked down on the gays but loved the infanticide. Note though, that his rational was utilitarian, and was based on the inverse of Stalin’s concern, and that neither of them based their policies on “when life begins” or “a woman’s right to choose”. Those kind of concerns go out the door under dictatorship.

  4. Jason Malloy
    October 13th, 2005 @ 8:18 am

    “I’m pretty sure the Romans, Egyptians, Greeks had no problems with it.”

    This is pretty much bullshit. What some societies actually had no problems with were higher status men sexually preying on male social inferiors (slaves, younger adolescents, etc). Like having the misfortune of owning a vagina, being a male receptive to anal sex (i.e. a homosexual) was a huge drop in status in virtually every historical society. Here’s Greece:

    “It was certainly shameful when a man with a beard remained the passive partner (pathikos) and it was even worse when a man allowed himself to be penetrated by another grown-up man. The Greeks even had a pejorative expression for these people, whom were called kinaidoi. They were the targets of ridicule by the other citizens, especially comedy writers. For example, Aristophanes (c.445-c.380) shows them dressed like women, with a bra, a wig and a gown, and calls them eurypr

  5. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 9:27 am

    (did I ever mention this).

    *sigh*

  6. benjamin
    October 13th, 2005 @ 9:56 am

    I can’t say I’m pro-gay, the same way as I can’t say I’m a feminist, even though I believe in equal rights for both sexes. I would say I’m not anti-gay, or that I’m gay neutral. Pro-gay and feminist labels make it sound like you want special rights and considerations for gays and women. Some people who wear the feminist label certainly want extra rights and considerations for women.

  7. franky
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:29 am

    I think there are more atheists who are anit-choice that you (TRA) think. Me personally, I am pro-choice, and pro-gay.

  8. Viole
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:38 am

    I am the only one getting the impression that RA is now bored with atheism, and has decided on godless anti-choice being his new shock-value issue?

  9. BigBuddhaPuppy
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:51 am

    Why just pro-life?

    Can’t a person be pro-life and pro-choice at the same time? Are they mutually exclusive?

    I dig the life thing…we should do more in human/animal rights realm…but I also dig the choice of reproduction too…Abortion should have limits, rational limits…then it would helpful if birth control was more widely available like RU-486, etc…

    I could care less what consenting adults do…I do think they should be afforded the same rights as heterosexuals…

  10. The Raving Atheist
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:56 am

    Viole,

    I think you just fixate on it more any time I say a word about abortion. My posts on the topic are far less frequent than my posts on atheism (do a scientific survey of the past two months). I’ve written far more frequently on gay issues; you could as easily argue that I’ve become bored with atheism and converted into a gay blog.

  11. Viole
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:24 am

    Maybe. I have a tendency to render myself unconscious by repeated contact of my heat with a wall each time I hear you argue against the right to choose, which probably explains why the quality of my posts is decreasing. I’m sure that also increases my chances of remembering the incident.

    Of course you spend much more time on atheism than any other topic. I’ll point out that you’ve really not lived up to your mother’s day pledge with regards to frequency of anti-choice posts–You know, the one that caused half your comment-posting readership to up and leave? That was kind of pathetic of them, I admit.

    It isn’t post count I’m thinking of, though; it’s post content.

  12. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:39 am

    And Maybe RA, Viole and I both just note the trend of increasing frequent anti-choice posts. There is a definite trend.

    Maybe men get more and more worried about their swimmers as they age.

  13. AK
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:42 am

    I fit the first category. I am pro-choice because I favor humanity developing tools to control itself, including reproduction.

    I dont know about you guys, but if my Mom was unable to have raised me right and provided for me adequately, I would definitely have wanted her to abort me. I would rather not be born than be born into a life of misery. Societies with legalized abortion have less crime, less disease, less cripples, less welfare, etc…

    I am pro-gay in that I stand up for equal rights for all unions regardless of the gender composition of such unions.

  14. SteveG
    October 13th, 2005 @ 12:05 pm

    I dont know about you guys, but if my Mom was unable to have raised me right and provided for me adequately, I would definitely have wanted her to abort me. I would rather not be born than be born into a life of misery. Societies with legalized abortion have less crime, less disease, less cripples, less welfare, etc…

    What a beautiful view of life. I suppose that only those who are raised properly (however one defines that) are worthy of life. But since all people born into misery don

  15. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 12:11 pm

    What a beautiful view of life.

    I agree it is a beautiful view…he loves his Mom and he likes women enough to think that their welfare is of more value than a small lump of cells that I very likely have on a tampon right here.

    And wanting optimal life for one’s offspring is very forward thinking. Very evolved AK. Thank you for pointing it out Steve.

  16. Jim
    October 13th, 2005 @ 12:13 pm

    I don’t know, Steve… I think one can argue that it’s *at least* as enlightened as a view of life that says people who can’t help but love people of the other sex are subhuman, that women are subordinate to men, and that everyone who has not bowed down before the son of your godhead will burn in the fires of eternal damnation. :)

  17. Steve G.
    October 13th, 2005 @ 12:24 pm

    I agree it is a beautiful view…he loves his Mom and he likes women enough to think that their welfare is of more value than a small lump of cells that I very likely have on a tampon right here.

    Well, I love my mom too, but not just because she ‘raised me right’ (which is debatable), but because even though she considered aborting me (she admitted this to me) for lot’s of the common reasons given, I love her too because she didn’t snuff me out. Oh, and I really do love women, even my unborn daughter now in my beloved wife’s womb. I’d prefer that no one be allowed to snuff her out either, even my beloved wife.

    Oh, and Jennifer, you were once a clump of cells too, and I am very glad your mom didn’t dispose of you as with a tampon.

    And wanting optimal life for one’s offspring is very forward thinking. Very evolved AK. Thank you for pointing it out Steve.

    Surely we all want an optimal life for our offspring, but to equate their inherent value with whether that occurs or not is a different thing altogher. We can strive for that goal without discounting the value of the persons effected while we are still working at it. AK seems to say that aborting ‘those cripples’ is better for them. You likely need to talk to only a few of ‘them’ who were allowed to be born to see that despite their handicap, they probably prefer being alive.

  18. Steve G.
    October 13th, 2005 @ 12:32 pm

    Jim,
    I supposse so, but since the faith I adhere to doesn’t subscribe to such generalizations (though I realize that’s what your impression is), that’s no skin off my nose.

  19. Jim
    October 13th, 2005 @ 12:51 pm

    Steve:

    I’m glad you’ve moved beyond those specific words (not generalizations) in your text; was this a choice of yours, or based on the authority of Catholic leadership?

  20. Jim
    October 13th, 2005 @ 12:56 pm

    And I’m genuinely surprised that ol’ Chris Hitchens can get his nose out of the sauce long enough to form a position on abortion one way or the other.

    Perhaps after enough horrifying drunken rendezvous he’s become tired of watching women execute the results of his casual coupling, and decided he wants something meaningful to be remembered by in this life, other than being a willing cheerleader for the greatest strategic blunder in the history of the United States?

  21. Lurker
    October 13th, 2005 @ 1:00 pm

    And wanting optimal life for one’s offspring is very forward thinking.

    What is optimal life and how can you ensure it? You can’t control the future so aborting a baby just because it might not have an optimal life is just plain silly. What’s optimal to you is not optimal for another – including your unborn child. This gets back to the whole issue of ‘purpose’ I think. If one of the main purposes (rights?) of life is to live comfortably (optimally) then I can see why someone might abort rather than have the child struggle in life.

    I’m have second thoughts. Every child will die and feel emotional/physical pain in their lives – some of it very intense. Why would anyone want to subject their child to that misery? Better abort now.[/sarcasm]

  22. Jason Malloy
    October 13th, 2005 @ 1:18 pm

    “the greatest strategic blunder in the history of the United States?”

    I don’t know about that. What about the War of 1812? You think Iraq was a bad idea try invading Canada.

    Oh yeah and that whole Vietnam thing.

  23. Dave
    October 13th, 2005 @ 1:22 pm

    benjamen – It seems the conservative propaganda machine has been somewhat successful. Though there are man-haters out there, feminism is not about special rights for women. As the bumper-sticker puts it: “Feminism is nothing more than the radical notion that women are people.”

    The term has been maligned. Someone did a survey somewhere, where they asked young women if they were feminists. Most of them said “no”. Then they asked them questions like: Do you believe a woman should have the same legal rights as a man? Do you think that women should be paid the same as a man for equal work? etc. etc. They all said “yes”. Guess what? That means that they’re feminists. Duh.

  24. Mookie
    October 13th, 2005 @ 2:30 pm

    Good point, Dave. I was aware of this hijacking of terminology. A female does not want to be known as a feminist, because it is equated with “penis-hating lesbians”. The only example of someone even remotely like this is Viole, but she’s a commie, so I don’t see how she can take that stance seriously. Pro-gay has also come to mean anti-family or anti-children. Somehow homosexuals and females, if given the chance, will ruin our society. I think men have done a fine job of it already.

  25. Mookie
    October 13th, 2005 @ 2:51 pm

    Steve G,

    Try this out:

    A poor country in Africa, rife with violence, poverty, disease, and hunger. Catholic and other xian missionaries have repeatedly visited the area, doing what they can to alleviate the suffering, offering food and clothing. But this comes at a price. The people there must accept xianity and the doctrines of the church, one of which is no contraceptives, no abortions. So these poor, ignorant, indoctrinated females get raped, or become prostitutes to help pay for food, without contraceptives or proper abortion clinics in the area. They have another baby, another mouth to feed. Half of them have AIDS because they don’t believe in using condoms. More babies only means more mouths to feed, further reducing the share of food each child can receive. The children end up getting bloated bellies from starvation, yes, the kind you see on TV. They live in their own filth, in nests a rat would envy. There is no chance here for a good life, no chance here for a way out. Free condoms, education (to empower women), and an abortion clinic or two would PREVENT the suffering of thousands of children. If the idea of the church is to end suffering, why does it insist on promoting ideas that only increase it? Why insist a child be born so it can suffer and starve its whole life and die before it reaches the age of 10?

  26. SteveG
    October 13th, 2005 @ 3:20 pm

    Catholic and other xian missionaries have repeatedly visited the area, doing what they can to alleviate the suffering, offering food and clothing. But this comes at a price. The people there must accept xianity and the doctrines of the church, one of which is no contraceptives, no abortions.

    I challenge you to prove that the Catholic Church conditions its offers of food and clothing upon the people agreeing to accept Catholicism, or that it offers food, clothes and medicine to Catholics only. This is an outright falsity.

    Free condoms, education (to empower women), and an abortion clinic or two would PREVENT the suffering of thousands of children.

    Well now, according that thinking, you are saying that weeding out (by aborting the next generation) the herd would leave more resources for the remaining folks. True enough But if that’s the solution, why stop there? Why not just snuff out the little kids with bloated bellies? It would have the same effect, wouldn’t it? The suffering of the people you talk about is not due to the Catholic Church’s policies, but to the thuggery, evil, and lack of freedom, and resources in their countries.

    If the idea of the church is to end suffering, why does it insist on promoting ideas that only increase it?

    Sorry if the Church doesn’t think that the way to end suffering is by snuffing out the next generation by aborting them.

  27. qedpro
    October 13th, 2005 @ 3:37 pm

    Like most people, pro-life attacks the symptoms and not the source of the problem.
    We would have no abortion if we prevent reproduction and allowed only those that were approved to have children have them.
    i mean really there’s 6 billion of us on the planet. how many more do we need?

  28. rocketman
    October 13th, 2005 @ 3:42 pm

    Wow fucked up bunch of arguements.

    I’m a pro-life athiest. Having said that I would never criminalize abortion.

    It’s frankly a shitty choice. abort future potnetial or turn half of the world into beings subordinate to a biological function.

    As for homosexuality–acceptance of it is a hallmark of an advanced culture.

    The prohibition against it—when not extended by varoius religious/medical classifications seems to be a function of not requiring that everyone have kids to propagate society against the threat of extinction.

    Oh..and in most of Africa they didn’t need anyone to tell them to have more kids. Tell a subsistancefarmer to stop at 2 children in a situation where the children are the only ones whoare going to be looking after that man when he’s old is not adaptive.

    Especially when the chances of his children dying before twenty is enormous.

    Ah economics…run run as fast as you can you can’t escape it.

  29. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:15 pm

    SteveG said

    Oh, and Jennifer, you were once a clump of cells too, and I am very glad your mom didn’t dispose of you as with a tampon.

    Very disarming Steve, I see RA’s technique in that line. However, I also remember that you would be willing to sacrifice your daughter

  30. benjamin
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:20 pm

    Dave,
    I am not a victim of conservative propaganda. I refuse to label myself a feminist because I recognize that the dictionary definition is not the everyday definition. All those young women in the survey you wrote of understood the same thing that I do. I don’t believe it was conservatives who ruined the image of feminists for regular people, instead I believe it was feminists. The dictionary needs to be updated. I would say today a feminist is a person who is pro-woman. They might want to see a lot of money going toward breast cancer research. They might want to see women enrolling at top univerisites in high numbers, and acheiving important and powerful positions in the job market, regardless of whether or not there is actual sexual discrimination taking place. I don’t fit this discription. I want to see the best candidates getting each job, regardless of sex. It doesn’t make me any happier if someone of one sex or the other get’s the job. And if someone decided that it takes certain physical requirements to be a firefighter, I don’t want to see these relaxed for female applicants. You get the idea. I don’t want to talk anymore about this here, because this is supposed to be about gay and aboriton issues. If you want to further this discussion, make a thread in the forums.

  31. Jim
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:25 pm

    Jason:

    Last time I checked, neither the War of 1812 nor Vietnam, as colossally stupid as they were, motivated large groups of religious wackos to move from a teetering state of moderacy to full-blown fundamentalist stupidity, or completely destablized a region quite as thoroughly as we’re doing in the Middle East. Nor did they thoroughly bankrupt the United States as utterly as we’re doing with the War in Iraq.

    Neither of those excuse the abominations of our involvement in Vietnam or Canada, though.

  32. a different tim
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:28 pm

    Strangely, this is pretty much true.

    I’ve been reading a textbook on evolutionary psychology….to massively oversimplify, it seems that, if you’re poor, “breed early, breed often” is a good strategy for passing on your genes, whatever country you live in. You can see it in the fact that most of the teenage pregnancy in the UK, land of free abortion and socialised healthcare for all, is amongst the poorest sections of society. If you’re not likely to make much money anyway, might as well breed while you’re still fertile (poor people become infertile faster than rich people too. Life’s a bitch).

    If you’re wealthy, or born into circumstances that make it likely you will become so, the best genetic strategy is to wait, and have fewer children. This seems paradoxical, but it pans out that if you do, those children will get a greater share of the greater wealth you will make by breeding late, and are more likely to find strong and/or fertile mates.
    (Barrett, Dunbar and Lycett, Human Evolutionary Psychology, 2002. ISBN 0-333-72558-1)

    This surprised me, as I too had been inclined to blame it all on the Catholics. Although I’m not sure this explanation will get religious sanction…..

  33. a different tim
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:29 pm

    sorry, that first sentence referred to rocketman. sheesh, people sure are posting fast here…..

  34. The Raving Atheist
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:35 pm

    Jennifer,

    I’m also glad your mom didn’t quickly smother you to death with a pillow when you were a month old to protect you from this hard, cruel life. Do I get points for that, at least?

  35. DamnRight
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:36 pm

    Pro-life (given there are exceptions) early in the pregnancy… hate the “partial birth abortion”… not anti-gay (love double negs)… not sure how much hold-over I may still have from my Christian days (only been free @1yr)…

  36. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:40 pm

    RA, your and SteveG’s inability to distinguish a Baby from a dirty tampon makes me wonder if the two of you would like to play a little game. See these three shells. I take the shells and I put a pea under one….

  37. Lurker
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:41 pm

    Jennifer said:
    To both SteveG and Lurker are you saying that you do not believe in Family planning?

    Family planning is a really good idea, however my guess is our definitions are different. I say plan your family and if any unexpected difficulties/children arise then deal with it without resorting to abortion. I make one exception to this, and that

  38. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:43 pm

    RA and SteveG. Can you appreciate the humor of two smooth talkers taking an Anti-Choice position when smooth talking men are the reason Choice is necessary in the first place.

  39. Lurker
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:45 pm

    Jennifer said:
    RA, your and SteveG’s inability to distinguish a Baby from a dirty tampon makes me wonder if the two of you would like to play a little game. See these three shells. I take the shells and I put a pea under one….

    If you want to get technical, you and I are nothing but cells – just not on a tampon. Anyway, thoses cells are human are they not?

  40. The Raving Atheist
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:46 pm

    Jennifer,

    Are you saying that women are easily fooled? If that’s the case, how do you know it’s not Planned Parenthood that’s doing the smooth talking?

  41. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:57 pm

    RA, I’m suggesting that we all work hard to protect the unborn sperm. No more wasting.

    Lurker, you ignored my question about Family Planning. And yes, the cells are human, as are your sperm.

  42. Lurker
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:59 pm

    My sperm is from a human being, but is not a human being. See the difference?

    What about FP did I fail to answer?

  43. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 5:03 pm

    Laughing, why yes Lurker I do see the difference. Do you see the difference between a collection of cells from a human and a human?

  44. Lurker
    October 13th, 2005 @ 5:05 pm

    Do you see the difference between a collection of cells from a human and a human?

    Tell me what makes one collection of cells a human being and another not a human being? And how do you know this – medically speaking?

  45. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 5:11 pm

    The cells have grown to a viable size. Lurker, don’t baby talk to me. The condescension of Socratic questioning is offensive. Say what you want to say.

  46. Lurker
    October 13th, 2005 @ 5:25 pm

    Baby talk??

    I’m just trying to understand your position as there are many different viewpoints out there. A premature child on a ventilator is not viable, nor is an adult on a ventilator or heart machine. Anyway….

    Say what you want to say.

    There’s plenty of room for abortion demand to go down without making it illegal in all cases. I don’t want it illegal in all cases – just harder to get. Too many people do it for convenience and that’s a shame.

  47. SteveG
    October 13th, 2005 @ 5:53 pm

    Jennifer,
    However, I also remember that you would be willing to sacrifice your daughter

  48. SteveG
    October 13th, 2005 @ 5:56 pm

    RA and SteveG. Can you appreciate the humor of two smooth talkers taking an Anti-Choice position when smooth talking men are the reason Choice is necessary in the first place.

    No, I really don’t find much humor in the killing of unborn children. Don’t see much humor in the sanitized version of ‘terminating a fetus’ either.

  49. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 5:58 pm

    Yes, we have been through this before and as I said, you are choosing a point in the developement of the cells that puts the least burden on you, a male, and the most burden on the female.

    The younger a woman is the more likely she is to lose her life giving birth. I’m glad you’re here SteveG, but in answering that question positively you were one sick fuck.

  50. SteveG
    October 13th, 2005 @ 6:11 pm

    Yes, we have been through this before and as I said, you are choosing a point in the developement of the cells that puts the least burden on you, a male, and the most burden on the female.

    So you do admit that these points are the most rational? You just don’t like the one I choose, right? And you choose an even more arbitrary point that puts the greatest burden on the unborn child.

    The younger a woman is the more likely she is to loose her life giving birth. I’m glad you’re here SteveG, but in answering that question positively you were one sick fuck.

    Your question is so hypothetical it makes it hard to give an answer. If you say, my daughter WILL die, I might give one answer. If you say she might (ANY woman ‘might’ die in childbirth), I have a lot of question. What does ‘might’ mean. 10% chance, 50%, 90%. I’d have to get a medical doctors expert opinion (sorry if I don’t take your word for it) and see what choices are available in that situation.

    My gut reaction is that if the girl is old enough (and physically mature enough) to get pregnant, I’d suspect she’d be able to handle pregnancy. That may involve an early c-section, or something different. You can see me as sick, but believe me, I’d do everything to protect my daughter AND my grandchild, and never knowingly cause the deliberate killing of either if that’s what you imply.

  51. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 6:20 pm

    So you do admit that these points are the most rational?

    Well, since you remember that we have been through this before, you of course remember that my answer is no, I do not think it is rational.

    At what percentage of probability of death would you find it acceptable for your eleven year old to bring a child to term?

  52. Mookie
    October 13th, 2005 @ 7:12 pm

    “I challenge you to prove that the Catholic Church conditions its offers of food and clothing upon the people agreeing to accept Catholicism, or that it offers food, clothes and medicine to Catholics only. This is an outright falsity.”

    Yes, I conceded this, it is unlikely they give food only to the converted, but the main idea was that the church is out to bring more people into the fold, not to end their suffering. Were that the case, they would promote the use of condoms and education – NOT JUST ABORTION – as preventative measures. Please read ALL of my statements, and realise that abortion is not the ONLY solution, nor is it the most preferable.

    “But if that’s the solution, why stop there?”

    Because the problem is solved. You don’t keep looking for your keys after you find them, you don’t run the dishwasher once more if they’re already clean.

    “The suffering of the people you talk about is not due to the Catholic Church’s policies”

    No condoms? No abortions? These are Catholic policies. If religious charities were more concerned about people and not converts, or based their campaign on the needs of humans and that alone, there would be no need to have it be religious at all. In this case, it is advetising to the poor and downtrodden. The missionaries (operative word) bring food and clothing, wear religious symbols, carry bibles, and offer “spiritual comfort”.

    “Sorry if the Church doesn’t think that the way to end suffering is by snuffing out the next generation by aborting them.”

    We’ve been through this before. $.50 for a condom, $1500 for an abortion. Not everything has to be done with abortions. Fact of life: monkeys like to fuck. Here’s another: fucking makes babies. Here’s yet another: babies must be fed. Less babies, more food. It makes sense to use condoms, because its easier and cheaper than having abortions. But in cases of rape, abortion is a very good option. Condoms don’t work quite as well after the fact.

    I appreciate those who point out that subsistence farmers “need” to raise more kids, but they also “need” to point out that this strategy only works for the individual, in the short term, and dooms the next generation to repeating it. This was discussed by several people during the Irish potato famine. I don’t recall the name, but a writer posited humourously that perhaps the Irish peasants should eat their children, since they seemed to be able to grow more of them than potatoes.

  53. simbol
    October 13th, 2005 @ 7:15 pm

    Five excerpts from Freakonomics by E.D.Levitt:

    1)

  54. benjamin
    October 13th, 2005 @ 7:24 pm

    simbol, are you condemning the unborn for decisions they might have made?

  55. Mookie
    October 13th, 2005 @ 7:28 pm

    Lurker,

    “Too many people do it for convenience and that’s a shame.”

    How many is that, exactly? Do you know these people? Where did you find this information? Would using contraceptives be better?

    simbol,

    Nice. I’m sure a woman-hater will come along and say that unwanted babies can be adopted. Uh-huh. My father had to jump through hoops to adopt a little white girl, from friends of the family. Meanwhile, there are plenty of NON-white babies up for adoption. All you “pro-lifers”, go adopt some cute black babies. Do your part, folks. Don’t just tell women what to do or not to do, PROVE that abortion is unnecessary because the babies CAN have a better life – with you.

    http://statistics.adoption.com/information/interracial-adoption-statistics.html

  56. Mookie
    October 13th, 2005 @ 7:34 pm

    ben,

    I think the point was that people raised in those conditions are more likely to become criminals. A complete solution would be to prevent those conditions in the first place, but since people don’t like socialism, we’re stuck with preventing births.

  57. benjamin
    October 13th, 2005 @ 8:09 pm

    So mookie, instead of holding a criminal responsible for their actions and taking them out of society, you want to give them the wealth they were stealing? Where do you think that wealth is coming from? Socialism makes the government the theif.

  58. Lurker
    October 13th, 2005 @ 9:05 pm

    Mookie,
    The Alan Guttmacher Institute did an indepth worldwide study and continues to do so. Statistics for the USA are below.

    Wants to postpone childbearing: 25.5%
    Wants no (more) children: 7.9%
    Cannot afford a baby: 21.3%
    Having a child will disrupt education or job: 10.8%
    Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy: 14.1%
    Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy: 12.2%
    Risk to maternal health: 2.8%
    Risk to fetal health: 3.3%
    Other: 2.1%

    I’d be willing to grant abortions out of medical need or life/death situations. I favor revising Roe vs. Wade not eliminating it. There are PLENTY of people who want to adopt babies and would be willing to pay for the medical expenses.

  59. Mookie
    October 13th, 2005 @ 9:19 pm

    ben,

    Please read my post again.

  60. SteveG
    October 13th, 2005 @ 9:57 pm

    Well, since you remember that we have been through this before, you of course remember that my answer is no, I do not think it is rational.

    Where is the flaw, and what is your rational cutoff point? My cutoff is based on a difference in kind between the reproductive cells and the embryo. I think a good comparison is a computer and it

  61. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:11 pm

    Re: #55: Only African Americans are allowed to adopt black and biracial children, primarily because of pressure from the National Association of Black Social Workers. Their stance is that if the children go to non black families, they will be lost to the African American community. The result? The children languish in foster care. You can find their original position statement (1972) here:

    http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~adoption/archive/NabswTRA.htm

    Their current statement tones it down quite a bit but doesn’t budge a centimeter from this stance. If it hasn’t already been said, I should also mention that there are years long waiting lists for babies with handicaps too.

    I am afraid this is a bit mixed up: If religious charities were more concerned about people and not converts, or based their campaign on the needs of humans and that alone, there would be no need to have it be religious at all. In this case, it is advetising to the poor and downtrodden. The missionaries (operative word) bring food and clothing, wear religious symbols, carry bibles, and offer “spiritual comfort”.”

    They bring the food, clothing, medicine etc because they are Christians. They wear what ever clothes and symbols they deem appropriate to their calling. I don’t know if there are any explicitly atheist charities but there are quite a number of secular ones. Still, the best organized and best run tend to be the Christian ones since they have been at it the longest. In fact, it is Christians who “invented” hospitals. The very word comes from Medieval Latin “hospitale hospice” which is to say a guest house, said guest house being that run by nuns and monks who took in travellers and the sick. If you want a real eye opener, study the beginnings of nursing, as a career and who the first nurses were. Maybe the fact that the German word for nurse “Krankenschwester” (sister to the sick) contains a clue!

    The real question is “What are you (what am I) doing to help those in need?”.

  62. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:11 pm

    Re: #55: Only African Americans are allowed to adopt black and biracial children, primarily because of pressure from the National Association of Black Social Workers. Their stance is that if the children go to non black families, they will be lost to the African American community. The result? The children languish in foster care. You can find their original position statement (1972) here:

    http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~adoption/archive/NabswTRA.htm

    Their current statement tones it down quite a bit but doesn’t budge a centimeter from this stance. If it hasn’t already been said, I should also mention that there are years long waiting lists for babies with handicaps too.

    I am afraid this is a bit mixed up: If religious charities were more concerned about people and not converts, or based their campaign on the needs of humans and that alone, there would be no need to have it be religious at all. In this case, it is advetising to the poor and downtrodden. The missionaries (operative word) bring food and clothing, wear religious symbols, carry bibles, and offer “spiritual comfort”.”

    They bring the food, clothing, medicine etc because they are Christians. They wear what ever clothes and symbols they deem appropriate to their calling. I don’t know if there are any explicitly atheist charities but there are quite a number of secular ones. Still, the best organized and best run tend to be the Christian ones since they have been at it the longest. In fact, it is Christians who “invented” hospitals. The very word comes from Medieval Latin “hospitale hospice” which is to say a guest house, said guest house being that run by nuns and monks who took in travellers and the sick. If you want a real eye opener, study the beginnings of nursing, as a career and who the first nurses were. Maybe the fact that the German word for nurse “Krankenschwester” (sister to the sick) contains a clue!

    The real question is “What are you (what am I) doing to help those in need?”.

  63. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:11 pm

    Re: #55: Only African Americans are allowed to adopt black and biracial children, primarily because of pressure from the National Association of Black Social Workers. Their stance is that if the children go to non black families, they will be lost to the African American community. The result? The children languish in foster care. You can find their original position statement (1972) here:

    http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~adoption/archive/NabswTRA.htm

    Their current statement tones it down quite a bit but doesn’t budge a centimeter from this stance. If it hasn’t already been said, I should also mention that there are years long waiting lists for babies with handicaps too.

    I am afraid this is a bit mixed up: If religious charities were more concerned about people and not converts, or based their campaign on the needs of humans and that alone, there would be no need to have it be religious at all. In this case, it is advetising to the poor and downtrodden. The missionaries (operative word) bring food and clothing, wear religious symbols, carry bibles, and offer “spiritual comfort”.”

    They bring the food, clothing, medicine etc because they are Christians. They wear what ever clothes and symbols they deem appropriate to their calling. I don’t know if there are any explicitly atheist charities but there are quite a number of secular ones. Still, the best organized and best run tend to be the Christian ones since they have been at it the longest. In fact, it is Christians who “invented” hospitals. The very word comes from Medieval Latin “hospitale hospice” which is to say a guest house, said guest house being that run by nuns and monks who took in travellers and the sick. If you want a real eye opener, study the beginnings of nursing, as a career and who the first nurses were. Maybe the fact that the German word for nurse “Krankenschwester” (sister to the sick) contains a clue!

    The real question is “What are you (what am I) doing to help those in need?”.

  64. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:11 pm

    Re: #55: Only African Americans are allowed to adopt black and biracial children, primarily because of pressure from the National Association of Black Social Workers. Their stance is that if the children go to non black families, they will be lost to the African American community. The result? The children languish in foster care. You can find their original position statement (1972) here:

    http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~adoption/archive/NabswTRA.htm

    Their current statement tones it down quite a bit but doesn’t budge a centimeter from this stance. If it hasn’t already been said, I should also mention that there are years long waiting lists for babies with handicaps too.

    I am afraid this is a bit mixed up: If religious charities were more concerned about people and not converts, or based their campaign on the needs of humans and that alone, there would be no need to have it be religious at all. In this case, it is advetising to the poor and downtrodden. The missionaries (operative word) bring food and clothing, wear religious symbols, carry bibles, and offer “spiritual comfort”.”

    They bring the food, clothing, medicine etc because they are Christians. They wear what ever clothes and symbols they deem appropriate to their calling. I don’t know if there are any explicitly atheist charities but there are quite a number of secular ones. Still, the best organized and best run tend to be the Christian ones since they have been at it the longest. In fact, it is Christians who “invented” hospitals. The very word comes from Medieval Latin “hospitale hospice” which is to say a guest house, said guest house being that run by nuns and monks who took in travellers and the sick. If you want a real eye opener, study the beginnings of nursing, as a career and who the first nurses were. Maybe the fact that the German word for nurse “Krankenschwester” (sister to the sick) contains a clue!

    The real question is “What are you (what am I) doing to help those in need?”.

  65. SteveG
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:13 pm

    Were that the case, they would promote the use of condoms and education – NOT JUST ABORTION – as preventative measures. Please read ALL of my statements, and realise that abortion is not the ONLY solution, nor is it the most preferable.

    So, the private money that they raise, and bring to the table must be spent the way you dictate, despite the fact that the Church actually believes contraception is immoral? You are asking them/us to violate our principles to meet an end you deem worthy. It

  66. Jennifer
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:21 pm

    I admit that both cutoffs are arbitrary, but the case for basing it on the more fundamental change seems much stronger.

    Stronger for what purpose. Life is triage Steve, your choosing between a non-viable lump of cells and a fully grown fetus. I choose the fully grown fetus every time.

    You

  67. Mookie
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:22 pm

    I visited the website and gathered this:

    “In 2002, 1.29 million abortions occurred”

    By the other stats, that means:

    Wants to postpone childbearing: 25.5% – 328950
    Wants no (more) children: 7.9% – 101910
    Cannot afford a baby: 21.3% – 274770
    Having a child will disrupt education or job: 10.8% – 139320
    Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy: 14.1% – 181890
    Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy: 12.2% – 157380
    Risk to maternal health: 2.8% – 36120
    Risk to fetal health: 3.3% – 42570
    Other: 2.1% – 27090

    So only around 78690 people have “necessary” abortions. The rest spent $1,816,965,000 on “unnecessary” abortions. Going by the cost of abortions ($1500), compared to $605,655 for $.50 condoms, it IS a shame that people have so many abortions. Still, some of those in the unwanted category are probably rape victims, and I could not imagine birthing a baby that was conceived out of an act of hate and violence.

    What it really comes down to, and I believe the ladies here will agree, is that the womb is in the woman’s body, and so is part of her. What goes on in her body is her business. I doubt any anti-abortionists would like someone telling them what to do with their body. That being said, there obviously should be a cut-off point for “frivolous” abortions, because after a while the “clump o’ cells” is more human-like. Besides which, it is FAR easier to abort earlier rather than later.

  68. Mookie
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:44 pm

    Mom,

    I did not realise that an NGO dictated adoption terms.

    “They bring the food, clothing, medicine etc because they are Christians.”

    So if they were not xian, they would not help end suffering?

    “In fact, it is Christians who “invented” hospitals.”

    In fact, it is Christians who prevented autopsies for anatomical research for centuries, and other health-helping techniques.

    “The real question is “What are you (what am I) doing to help those in need?””

    I try not to buy clothing made in sweatshops, I shop at the community-owned grocery store, I try to ride the bus, my bike or walk instead of driving my car, I don’t eat meat, I recycle, I try to conserve water and electricity, I learn what I can about what is going on in the world around me and use empathy, logic and reasoning skills so I can make appropriate decisions, I realise that gerin oil is a horrible drug and causes much harm to society, and my personal favourite: I think. There are lots of other things I do, too. Being influenced by religious dogma is not one of them.

    Steve,

    Mission goal: to end suffering.
    Mission plan: 1. give food and clothing, 2. denounce the use of contraceptives and abortion and 3. bring as many “souls” into the fold as possible
    Mission status: 1. Great job! Now people won’t be hungry or exposed to the harsh elements. 2. Hm, prevent the spread of AIDS, or stick to outdated religious dogma? Hm, prevent a life of suffering, or, again, stick with religious dogma? 3. Souls don’t exist, and this life is the only one we get. But, I can see then why you don’t support contraceptives – more babies means more “souls” to be “saved”. 2 out of 3 of those are actually going AGAINST the stated mission goal.

  69. SteveG
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:44 pm

    Stronger for what purpose. Life is triage Steve, your choosing between a non-viable lump of cells and a fully grown fetus. I choose the fully grown fetus every time.

    Stronger in terms of both logic and rationality. You don’t have to agree with me, but can you see that your argument rests on your emotion and intuition about the subject? The clump of cells is ‘essentially’ no different in its nature than the full grown fetus, only in it’s level of complexity. This is a difference in degree.

    Since you accept difference in degree as valid, now I ask what rational argument you can offer to the person who says that the child whose brain hasn’t yet developed to the point of producing speech is equally disposable. After all, speech is one of the hallmarks of humanity. It’s as good a marker of complexity as any other, isn’t it?

    I didn’t have to, you did it yourself.
    I don’t think so, but to the extent that I gave that impression, I utterly repudiate such a notion.

  70. SteveG
    October 13th, 2005 @ 10:49 pm

    In fact, it is Christians who prevented autopsies for anatomical research for centuries, and other health-helping techniques.

    In fact, this is incorrect.

    Stark on Catholicism and Science

  71. Mookie
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:04 pm

    From the link:

    “So, why does the fable of the Catholic Church

  72. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:19 pm

    Unelected groups and organizations have all too much power in our government. But where social work is concerned, social workers are the gatekeepers of our whole system of Family Services (or whatever it is called in a given state). They have the power to make or thwart an adoption no matter what the law says, take children out of homes, etc.) Their stunning failures to protect children are well known. But that is yet another topic.

    A few years back legislation was passed to break their stranglehold on black and bi-racial infants, but they are a very powerful lobby and I have heard of no stunning successes.

    I like most of your list. I had never heard of Gerin oil. Are you in the UK? That is where it’s use seems to be occuring right now (according to a very quick google look-up). If it is a problem here in the US, I am really clueless. I mean I live in a city with a substantial drug problem but I have never heard of the stuff. It sure doesn’t sound good.

  73. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:19 pm

    Unelected groups and organizations have all too much power in our government. But where social work is concerned, social workers are the gatekeepers of our whole system of Family Services (or whatever it is called in a given state). They have the power to make or thwart an adoption no matter what the law says, take children out of homes, etc.) Their stunning failures to protect children are well known. But that is yet another topic.

    A few years back legislation was passed to break their stranglehold on black and bi-racial infants, but they are a very powerful lobby and I have heard of no stunning successes.

    I like most of your list. I had never heard of Gerin oil. Are you in the UK? That is where it’s use seems to be occuring right now (according to a very quick google look-up). If it is a problem here in the US, I am really clueless. I mean I live in a city with a substantial drug problem but I have never heard of the stuff. It sure doesn’t sound good.

  74. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:19 pm

    Unelected groups and organizations have all too much power in our government. But where social work is concerned, social workers are the gatekeepers of our whole system of Family Services (or whatever it is called in a given state). They have the power to make or thwart an adoption no matter what the law says, take children out of homes, etc.) Their stunning failures to protect children are well known. But that is yet another topic.

    A few years back legislation was passed to break their stranglehold on black and bi-racial infants, but they are a very powerful lobby and I have heard of no stunning successes.

    I like most of your list. I had never heard of Gerin oil. Are you in the UK? That is where it’s use seems to be occuring right now (according to a very quick google look-up). If it is a problem here in the US, I am really clueless. I mean I live in a city with a substantial drug problem but I have never heard of the stuff. It sure doesn’t sound good.

  75. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:19 pm

    Unelected groups and organizations have all too much power in our government. But where social work is concerned, social workers are the gatekeepers of our whole system of Family Services (or whatever it is called in a given state). They have the power to make or thwart an adoption no matter what the law says, take children out of homes, etc.) Their stunning failures to protect children are well known. But that is yet another topic.

    A few years back legislation was passed to break their stranglehold on black and bi-racial infants, but they are a very powerful lobby and I have heard of no stunning successes.

    I like most of your list. I had never heard of Gerin oil. Are you in the UK? That is where it’s use seems to be occuring right now (according to a very quick google look-up). If it is a problem here in the US, I am really clueless. I mean I live in a city with a substantial drug problem but I have never heard of the stuff. It sure doesn’t sound good.

  76. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:27 pm

    Who was burned at the stake for saying that the earth revolved around the sun? The church did not burn people for having different ideas, but rather for heresy. While we find that incredible today, you must consider the times. Heresy was considered treason against God which could bring down his wrath on the nation. Just as treason against a monarch resulted in a death sentence, so too did treason against God. Of course, heresy charges were not always brought for honorable reasons. The snake of political expediency has ever plagued us mortals.

  77. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:27 pm

    Who was burned at the stake for saying that the earth revolved around the sun? The church did not burn people for having different ideas, but rather for heresy. While we find that incredible today, you must consider the times. Heresy was considered treason against God which could bring down his wrath on the nation. Just as treason against a monarch resulted in a death sentence, so too did treason against God. Of course, heresy charges were not always brought for honorable reasons. The snake of political expediency has ever plagued us mortals.

  78. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:27 pm

    Who was burned at the stake for saying that the earth revolved around the sun? The church did not burn people for having different ideas, but rather for heresy. While we find that incredible today, you must consider the times. Heresy was considered treason against God which could bring down his wrath on the nation. Just as treason against a monarch resulted in a death sentence, so too did treason against God. Of course, heresy charges were not always brought for honorable reasons. The snake of political expediency has ever plagued us mortals.

  79. Daphne's mom
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:27 pm

    Who was burned at the stake for saying that the earth revolved around the sun? The church did not burn people for having different ideas, but rather for heresy. While we find that incredible today, you must consider the times. Heresy was considered treason against God which could bring down his wrath on the nation. Just as treason against a monarch resulted in a death sentence, so too did treason against God. Of course, heresy charges were not always brought for honorable reasons. The snake of political expediency has ever plagued us mortals.

  80. Mookie
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:57 pm

    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=7036

    The socio-political contexts of the time does not make it “not so bad”. Heresy is as ridiculous now as it was then.

  81. Tenspace
    October 13th, 2005 @ 11:58 pm

    Is abortion the problem? I thought is was a solution… to unwanted pregnancy. What if a woman could decide just after intercourse whether she wanted to keep the potential child, or had the ability to turn ovulation on and off? (Same for the man with regard to a “fertile load”).

    Then, could we all stop arguing about killing babies? Only those who wanted to conceive in the first place would be pregnant.

    It’s not that farfeteched… and could be one of the positive benefits of genetic engineering.

  82. Tenspace
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:01 am

    Daphne’s Mom said:
    The church did not burn people for having different ideas, but rather for heresy.

    Umm.. Heresy is defined as, “An opinion or a doctrine at variance with established religious beliefs”.

    How is that different from “having different ideas”? Looks the same from where I’m reclining.

  83. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:17 am

    Oh dear. To expect 21st century thinking from 14th century men is … ahistorical. In fact, that is a big problem with too many of the commenters here. They don’t seem to have any sense of what we can call the intellectual evolution of humanity. It is really strange that you all have no problem accepting as dogma that man and ape evolved from a common primate ancestor but that man’s ideas and his understanding of the world might evolve as well, seems to be a totally foreign concept.

    Tenspace: We need to avoid loose terminology for maximum clarity. Ideas and doctrine intersect but do not overlap completely. For example: idea: Oak is harder than southern pine. Let’s build the altar from oak. Doctrine: Jesus Christ rose from the dead. See the difference?

  84. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:17 am

    Oh dear. To expect 21st century thinking from 14th century men is … ahistorical. In fact, that is a big problem with too many of the commenters here. They don’t seem to have any sense of what we can call the intellectual evolution of humanity. It is really strange that you all have no problem accepting as dogma that man and ape evolved from a common primate ancestor but that man’s ideas and his understanding of the world might evolve as well, seems to be a totally foreign concept.

    Tenspace: We need to avoid loose terminology for maximum clarity. Ideas and doctrine intersect but do not overlap completely. For example: idea: Oak is harder than southern pine. Let’s build the altar from oak. Doctrine: Jesus Christ rose from the dead. See the difference?

  85. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:17 am

    Oh dear. To expect 21st century thinking from 14th century men is … ahistorical. In fact, that is a big problem with too many of the commenters here. They don’t seem to have any sense of what we can call the intellectual evolution of humanity. It is really strange that you all have no problem accepting as dogma that man and ape evolved from a common primate ancestor but that man’s ideas and his understanding of the world might evolve as well, seems to be a totally foreign concept.

    Tenspace: We need to avoid loose terminology for maximum clarity. Ideas and doctrine intersect but do not overlap completely. For example: idea: Oak is harder than southern pine. Let’s build the altar from oak. Doctrine: Jesus Christ rose from the dead. See the difference?

  86. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:17 am

    Oh dear. To expect 21st century thinking from 14th century men is … ahistorical. In fact, that is a big problem with too many of the commenters here. They don’t seem to have any sense of what we can call the intellectual evolution of humanity. It is really strange that you all have no problem accepting as dogma that man and ape evolved from a common primate ancestor but that man’s ideas and his understanding of the world might evolve as well, seems to be a totally foreign concept.

    Tenspace: We need to avoid loose terminology for maximum clarity. Ideas and doctrine intersect but do not overlap completely. For example: idea: Oak is harder than southern pine. Let’s build the altar from oak. Doctrine: Jesus Christ rose from the dead. See the difference?

  87. Tim
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:30 am

    I find it kind of perplexing that persons of faith seem to have clung on to these two issues as there very reason for existing. What happened to poverty, spousal/child abuse, government corruption, irreversible environmental damage, to name a few. Abortion is a necessary medical procedure in some cases, as a form of birth control, it is not as desirable, but nevertheless if a woman does not wish to carry a baby to term, it is her right to abort her pregnancy.
    As a gay man, I will never except that I am not equal to my heterosexual counterpart. It seems to matter to religions that they focus on causation of homosexual orientation and correct it, but fail to recognize you cannot correct an innate individual trait, even if it was possible, what justification is there for not granting equal rights to gays? Biblical justification doesn’t wash because of the thousands of other alleged sins that go ignored and unpunished by christians, not withstanding that the book is fiction and god and jesus and those portrayed in the bible also never existed.

  88. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:42 am

    Herod never existed? Pilate never existed? Caesar never existed? Paul never existed? Jesus never existed? Must be kinda lonely out there on that limb!

  89. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:42 am

    Herod never existed? Pilate never existed? Caesar never existed? Paul never existed? Jesus never existed? Must be kinda lonely out there on that limb!

  90. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:42 am

    Herod never existed? Pilate never existed? Caesar never existed? Paul never existed? Jesus never existed? Must be kinda lonely out there on that limb!

  91. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:42 am

    Herod never existed? Pilate never existed? Caesar never existed? Paul never existed? Jesus never existed? Must be kinda lonely out there on that limb!

  92. Tenspace
    October 14th, 2005 @ 1:46 am

    Daphne’s Mom said, For example: idea: Oak is harder than southern pine. Let’s build the altar from oak. Doctrine: Jesus Christ rose from the dead. See the difference?

    To equate the “idea” that the earth revolves around the sun with the “idea” that oak is harder than southern pine somewhat trivializes the original meaning of what Mookie quoted. The bible never created a contentious issue with trees like it does with science.

  93. Mookie
    October 14th, 2005 @ 3:59 am

    “They don’t seem to have any sense of what we can call the intellectual evolution of humanity.”

    I understand what you mean, that ideas progress, and so it would be difficult for a person of the past to transcend the dominant ideas regarding the nature of the world. This is fair enough, at first, but then what about slavery? What about racism? Brutalizing the poor and disenfranchised? Women and children? To me, these things are bad in any age, regardless of the morals or prevailing views at the time. Most people “knew” blacks were inferior to whites. Most people “knew” it was only rational and proper then that they should worship and slave for the superior white race. God so declared in the bible.

  94. a different tim
    October 14th, 2005 @ 7:05 am

    “It is really strange that you all have no problem accepting as dogma that man and ape evolved from a common primate ancestor”

    Come on, DM, we’ve discussed this (lots!). A well supported scientific theory is not, I think, dogma.

    Now the intellectual evolution thing is interesting, because the thing you were calling “ahistorical” (seeing past decisions from a present point of view) is what got called over here in the UK “whig history” (may have had a different name in the US). It fell out of fashion in the mid 20th century because it implied judging past events as if we had a superior perspective. But your comment on intellectual evolution seems to imply we do, in fact, have a superior perspective. So there seems to be a contradiction in what you’re saying.
    When I did history of science, I had a long discussion about this with one of my tutors, and finally got him to agree that since scientific knowledge seems to be cumulative, we could in fact exercise such judgement, since we know more (scientifically) than people in the past. But, he maintained, this could only apply to scientific history, and even then it was of limited use as it doesn’t help us discern motives or thought processes of past scientists.
    Now what I want to ask is if we have scientific evolution, surely we have to accept that a) modern technology can throw up moral choices that are simply not covered by biblical or biblically derived moral systems? b) if we have intellectual evolution on any other level (as your post seems to imply) can we not make a case that we are better able to arrive at moral solutions than the bible or those working from it?
    Just kinda spinning some wheels here…..

  95. Sloopy
    October 14th, 2005 @ 7:10 am

    “Herod never existed? Pilate never existed? Caesar never existed? Paul never existed? Jesus never existed?”

    Jesus, no, but the rest, yes except the highly suspect multiple sources on Paul. The rest of the true historical characters, are manipulated in utter falsity as straight religious propaganda, and mentioned only slightly. The entire story’s similar to conjuring up any fictional tale using factual characters today, mixed with fictional characters in a ficitonalized scenario. Kind of like the true stories of Superman, or any other modern comic book character.

    For further clarification, try the following article:

    http://www.sullivan-county.com/news/paul/j_myth.htm#h2_2

    “Must be kinda lonely out there on that limb!”

    Actually, its very comfortable being at home with a loving family who agrees. It’s also very comfortable to come here, as well as to visit various other places on the web to converse with secularists from all walks of life ;-)

  96. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 8:22 am

    ADt: No more time this a.m. to discuss anything but a quick remark will have to suffice til tonight–I carefully wrote “intellectual evolution (change)” because knowledge is cumulative and we do learn from experience, experiment, etc. I carefully and deliberately leave moral evolution out of it because I do not believe in it…(to be continued)

  97. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 8:22 am

    ADt: No more time this a.m. to discuss anything but a quick remark will have to suffice til tonight–I carefully wrote “intellectual evolution (change)” because knowledge is cumulative and we do learn from experience, experiment, etc. I carefully and deliberately leave moral evolution out of it because I do not believe in it…(to be continued)

  98. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 8:22 am

    ADt: No more time this a.m. to discuss anything but a quick remark will have to suffice til tonight–I carefully wrote “intellectual evolution (change)” because knowledge is cumulative and we do learn from experience, experiment, etc. I carefully and deliberately leave moral evolution out of it because I do not believe in it…(to be continued)

  99. Daphne's mom
    October 14th, 2005 @ 8:22 am

    ADt: No more time this a.m. to discuss anything but a quick remark will have to suffice til tonight–I carefully wrote “intellectual evolution (change)” because knowledge is cumulative and we do learn from experience, experiment, etc. I carefully and deliberately leave moral evolution out of it because I do not believe in it…(to be continued)

  100. a different tim
    October 14th, 2005 @ 8:26 am

    But what I’m proposing is that if (and it’s a big if except in fairly narrow scientific terms) we have intellectual evolution, we should be able to address moral problems with greater clarity and thus get better answers to moral questions……

  101. Sloopy
    October 14th, 2005 @ 8:43 am

    “we should be able to address moral problems with greater clarity and thus get better answers to moral questions……”

    Of course. They’re called laws, and they’re disputed in the courts.

    “Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy hang on”

  102. Jody Tresidder
    October 14th, 2005 @ 9:29 am

    SteveG,
    Why do pro-lifers like you invariably seem to want to force pro-choicers like me into taking a walk in silly city?

    Why do you want to visualize me metaphorically waving a gun around deciding whether to take a pop at some kid who can’t speak because, apparently, I must agree with the idea that “the child whose brain hasn’t yet developed to the point of producing speech is equally disposable”.
    My pro-choice views don’t extend to babies after birth. Nor to old folks on life support. Nor to logical problems with the plot of the movie “Flightplan”. Nor to…I think you get the point.

  103. Steve G.
    October 14th, 2005 @ 10:02 am

    Mookie:
    The article I passed you was by Professor Rodney Stark who is a professor of comparative religion and well respected in his field. He was an agnostic at the time he wrote the article, and is no apologist for the Catholic Church. His comments are well supported by unbiased historians who have a more balanced view then yourself of history.

    Sorry Steve, but the church did prevent autopsies on religious grounds.

    Offer proof of this from an unbiased source if you can. I am sorry, but I won’t accept you word on it as I know it to be generally false.

    It seems from your comments that you are more interested in finding any stick to bash the Church, because of your contempt for it, then in getting a balanced, factual account of both the good and bad that occurred. I can admit the bad, and won’t defend it. Can you admit that the picture you are painting is one-sided and excludes the good that the church has done?

  104. Steve G.
    October 14th, 2005 @ 10:18 am

    Why do pro-lifers like you invariably seem to want to force pro-choicers like me into taking a walk in silly city? My pro-choice views don’t extend to babies after birth. Nor to old folks on life support. Nor to logical problems with the plot of the movie “Flightplan”. Nor to…I think you get the point.

    I am not saying that YOU take the position that your views extend beyond birth. What I am trying to point out is that the logic you use to try to keep it inside the womb is faulty, and leaves you no rational grounds for countering people who would take it outside the womb. There are already people starting to make such arguments

  105. Jody Tresidder
    October 14th, 2005 @ 10:29 am

    SteveG,
    How about ‘I don’t agree with Singer et al?’. How about I think it is semantically specious to argue that the logic of abortion CAN be applied post-birth.
    Bouncing on my branch here – and it seems pretty firm, thanks.

  106. Jody Tresidder
    October 14th, 2005 @ 10:30 am

    SteveG,
    How about ‘I don’t agree with Singer et al?’. How about I think it is semantically specious to argue that the logic of abortion CAN be applied post-birth.
    Bouncing on my branch here – and it seems pretty firm, thanks.

  107. Steve G.
    October 14th, 2005 @ 11:08 am

    Jody:
    I know you don’t agree with Singer. You’ve stated that, and now restated it. But protesting his view as semantically specious doesn’t cut it as a refutation. Let me play the part of Singer and let’s get some details on what you actually do think.

    Jody – Do you have a cutoff for when you think abortion should be allowed, or do would you allow for it until birth? If you have a cutoff, what is it based on?

  108. a different tim
    October 14th, 2005 @ 11:11 am

    Singer also thinks, as I recall, that violence against medical researchers is justified to stop medical experiments on animals. There’s lots we don’t agree with Singer about. Atheism is not a monolithic position, nor is pro-choice, and no fair quoting a guy we don’t agree with as evidence against us.

    I mean, you don’t let us get away with quoting Torquemada as evidence against Catholicism, even though we try…..

    Personally I don’t think you have the right idea saying “there has to be a line, it has to be here”. The line between a ball of cells (which I don’t think has rights) and a small human (which I do) is blurred. We try to set the best legal compromise we can beteen the interests of the mother and the fetus, bearing in mind that we only think the fetus can legitimately be said to have “interests” at a certain point in development, which is hard to define. Most human laws – which I agree with Sloopy about, are the best social expressions of our morality that are practicable given the multitude of competing interests and moral viewpoints that make up a society – are a compromise of one kind or another. Even our (and your) homicide laws make distinctions between degrees of murder, manslaughter etc, rather than take the absolutist “thou shalt not kill” position that seems the obvious one.

  109. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:01 pm

    Singer also thinks, as I recall, that violence against medical researchers is justified to stop medical experiments on animals. There’s lots we don’t agree with Singer about. Atheism is not a monolithic position, nor is pro-choice, and no fair quoting a guy we don’t agree with as evidence against us.
    I accept that, but I wasn

  110. Jody Tresidder
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:09 pm

    SteveG,
    Hello “Prof Singer”. My views on abortion refer to the expulsion of a fetus. Goodbye Prof Singer.
    Otherwise I refer you, SteveG, to a different tim’s remarks above.

    There is, I notice, a recurring problem with many of your arguments here. You keep demanding dogmatic absolutes from the pro-choicers. In their absence, you charge off into ridiculous “what ifs” or absurd faux-horrified conclusions: “gee, why not start culling starving kiddies then?”.

    This is all solid grist for debate, I suppose. But not much use otherwise.

  111. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:24 pm

    Otherwise I refer you, SteveG, to a different tim’s remarks above.

    Fine by me, ADT and will discuss it while being very tolerant (of course using TRA

  112. Jody Tresidder
    October 14th, 2005 @ 12:51 pm

    SteveG wrote: “I am only requesting someone, anyone, to defend the view you are espousing on anything resembling logical grounds that don

  113. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 1:01 pm

    A human being is deserving of the right to life from conception to natural death.

  114. Jim
    October 14th, 2005 @ 1:09 pm

    Steve:

    The breakdown takes place when you refer to “a human being” and “conception”. A zygote isn’t a human being. A clumping of sperm and egg isn’t a human being. A pre-fetal mass isn’t a human being.

    The idea of deserving of life to “natural death” seems rather silly; are you saying that humans are perfectly deserving of death by others?

  115. Jody Tresidder
    October 14th, 2005 @ 1:21 pm

    …and – a “natural death”? Does that okay a newborn deprived of available high tech care?

  116. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 1:22 pm

    Jim:
    The breakdown takes place when you refer to “a human being” and “conception”.

    I was responding to Jody

  117. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 1:38 pm

    …and – a “natural death”? Does that okay a newborn deprived of available high tech care?

    Totally different topic. I didn’t say guarantee of life, only protection of life. This means nothing being done to intentionally cause death.

  118. a different tim
    October 14th, 2005 @ 1:41 pm

    Steve G “I am not sure I follow. Are you saying there should be no line at all? I understand you may not agree with my line, but the necessity of one seems obvious”

    You seemed to be saying that, if we have a continuum with “a clump of cells” (descriptive purposes only, I accept that you recognise it/him/her as human with rights etc even if we don’t) and a newborn child at the other, the only rational places to draw a line for the purposes of e.g. abortion legislation are at the beginning and at the end of the process; in this case conception and birth (and you aren’t so sure about birth). So if we have a continuum we can only draw a line at the ends of it. And I am saying that, regardless of the position you hold on abortion, that as a general reasoning principle is false.

    If I may make a general analogy here, let’s imagine we have a a strip of paper which is white at one end and black at the other, which grade into each other via shades of grey (black and white have no moral significance here, it’s just a visual analogy that is easy to imagine). You seem to be saying that, if we are asked to draw a line where black becomes white, we should rationally only draw it at either end of the paper and say “it’s all black” or “it’s all white”. And in this example either would obviously be absurd.

    Now the analogy isn’t perfect because in the abortion case it is possible to draw a line at conception and not be absurd. But I think from this analogy you have to recognise that it is possible, if we must draw a line (and for legal purposes I accept that we must), to rationally draw it at other places as well. Exactly when is something to argue over, but when the CNS has formed, when the fetus can feel pain etc are all morally viable suggestions, and because these lines don’t fall at the beginning and end of the process they aren’t necessarily irrational.

    DM – as some time has gone by I feel I’m probably not spoiling Mookie’s fun if I let the cat out of the bag by telling you that gerin oil is indeed bad stuff, and indeed causes much harm to society and even more to individuals but is probably more of a US problem than here in the UK. It’s an anagram coined by Richard Dawkins…….
    (Sorry if I spoiled it for you, Mookie)

  119. Jody Tresidder
    October 14th, 2005 @ 1:49 pm

    Then, if doing nothing is the cause of death – is that “natural”?
    And when the right to life of one human being conflicts with that deserved by another – how do we assess which death is the more natural? (Ectopic or similar.)

  120. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 2:05 pm

    ADT:
    So if we have a continuum we can only draw a line at the ends of it. And I am saying that, regardless of the position you hold on abortion, that as a general reasoning principle is false.

    Remember again that I am attempting to argue this from the materialist view. I will keep admitting that any line is arbitrary under that paradigm. I am not saying the ONLY place the line can be draw it is at the beginning and end, but that it makes the most sense to draw it at the beginning. I am taking that position because any other point on the continuum that is picked (accept maybe birth) seems to me to leave you in a quandary as to why

  121. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 2:11 pm

    Then, if doing nothing is the cause of death – is that “natural”?
    Strictly speaking yes. But personally I

  122. a different tim
    October 14th, 2005 @ 2:30 pm

    “I am not saying that they are totally irrational, but that they are less rational than than conception”

    But I don’t think they’re less rational than conception, because I think a human is defined by being able to think, feel, and exist independently, which a ball of cells can’t do. So I think that either being able to be viable outside the womb, or recognisable CNS activity, whichever is first, are reasonable points to draw the line. So I think you’re in the position of saying white is in fact black (if I have it the right way round – when I made the analogy I must confess I was thinking of black as conception and white as birth).
    So although you can make that case, I don’t think it’s very good, because it seems to me your precautionary principle doesn’t seem to recognise that the mother also has legitimate interests which may not be the same as the fetus’s (if you want the materialist rationale, they only share 50% of their genes. It would make evolutionary – and perhaps moral – sense for a mother to sacrifice her fetus for the sake of two of her other children, in the hypothetical case that she knew she would be endangered in childbirth and unable to care foir them). I accept that the result is a messy compromise which someone will start exploiting to say “we should kill the disabled” or whatever but as a materialist I think all legislation on moral issues is going to be a messy compromise, because as you pointed out in an earlier thread we atheists have no real basis for moral absolutism. We just do the best we can to make what seems to us to be a good society to live in.
    So Singer can try to draw it where he wants, and try to get his view accepted, and if I disagree with him (which I do) I will vote against any such measures because that is my right as well, and if he tries to stop any more medical experiments (scientific research being a cause I feel rather more passionate about, because I want to live in a society which values knowledge) I will try to stop that as well.
    That’s how it works.
    Hope this clarifies my position.

  123. Jody Tresidder
    October 14th, 2005 @ 2:39 pm

    Are you seriously saying, Steve, that a surgeon thinks: “I am only unintentionally sacrificing this fetus” when the fetus is removed to end a mother’s-life threatening ectopic pregnancy?
    Moreover, if a ‘natural’ death is doing nothing “strictly speaking” – in your words -to prevent death, then your moral precept remains unviolated by all manner of situations begging for qualification.

  124. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 2:53 pm

    But I don’t think they’re less rational than conception, because I think a human is defined by being able to think, feel, and exist independently, which a ball of cells can’t do.

    But do you know this? Or is it rather an intuitive claim? We do know for sure that a human organism has come into existence at conception. Albeit, not fully developed human organism, but a human organism nonetheless. It can not be accurately described as anything else.

    Also, it could easily be argued that newborns can not think, or exist independently outside the womb? I can only continue to ask, not how you answer me, but how you answer someone making an argument for infanticide. You can answer them by saying you disagree, but you have truly cut yourself off from claiming a superior position in that hypothetical debate. I am suggesting that the precautionary position based on the beginning of the continuum is clearer, and allows you to somewhat inoculate yourself and society against such arguments as Singer is making.

    So although you can make that case, I don’t think it’s very good, because it seems to me your precautionary principle doesn’t seem to recognise that the mother also has legitimate interests which may not be the same as the fetus’s.

    But the same can be said about the newborn as well. Does the legitimate interest of the mother that is in opposition to the life of the child grant her the right to drown the child in a bathtub?

    So Singer can try to draw it where he wants, and try to get his view accepted, and if I disagree with him (which I do) I will vote against any such measures because that is my right as well, and if he tries to stop any more medical experiments (scientific research being a cause I feel rather more passionate about, because I want to live in a society which values knowledge) I will try to stop that as well. That’s how it works.

    I understand, but it seems to me that when one takes a starting position that is logically indistinguishable from other measures of development, you make it all that much easier to slip down the slope.

  125. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 3:07 pm

    Are you seriously saying, Steve, that a surgeon thinks: “I am only unintentionally sacrificing this fetus” when the fetus is removed to end a mother’s-life threatening ectopic pregnancy?

    Of course, and that

  126. a different tim
    October 14th, 2005 @ 3:27 pm

    Last one tonight as it’s a bit later here than it is over there, and it’s Friday so I’m going out….so I’ll try to answer your points.

    “But do you know this? Or is it rather an intuitive claim?”
    Yes, I think we do know this. It isn’t possible to think or feel without a central nervous system. If you grew an adult body with no brain or CNS in some kind of weird cloning experiment it would not be human.

    “You can answer them by saying you disagree, but you have truly cut yourself off from claiming a superior position in that hypothetical debate”
    But I don’t claim a “superior” position because I have no basis for moral absolutism, as I believe I explained in my post. I stake a claim for the kind of society I want to live in, and hope enough of the other chimps agree to make it so.

    “I am suggesting that the precautionary position based on the beginning of the continuum is clearer”
    Clearer, but (I think) less accurate, as you seem to be saying that as a precautionary measure we should take black to be white (to return to the original analogy). And it still asumes that the mother’s interests count for nothing (this, I think, is what truly offends the feminist posters here).

    “But the same can be said about the newborn as well. Does the legitimate interest of the mother that is in opposition to the life of the child grant her the right to drown the child in a bathtub?”
    No, because a baby has a nervous system, can feel, and can function independently so on every one of my criteria it counts as human. I would actually go for recognisable CNS activity as the decider, so I would stop abortions at an earlier stage than that, except in medical emergency.

    “It seems to me that when one takes a starting position that is logically indistinguishable from other measures of development…..”
    But they aren’t logically indistinguishable unless you’re a moral absolutist. Black is distinguishable form white, or to be more apposite to this particular post shades of grey are distinguishable from each other even if there is a continuum between them. That was the point of my analogy.

    “…….you make it all that much easier to slip down the slope.”
    We avoid slipping down the slope by constant vigilance. This is why this kind of argument is valuable – we, or you, might be wrong and debating provides some kind of check. Any society can slip down the slope, even Christian ones. Societies which espouse moral, political or any other absolutism do not have a great record in avoiding this.

  127. Jody Tresidder
    October 14th, 2005 @ 3:28 pm

    Steve,
    c’mon: it is the intention of the surgeon to remove the fetus in order to save the mother’s life. And your definition of a ‘natural’ death crouches in a thicket of ambiguities, both moral and legal.
    Though, on the bright side, I expect we both know perfectly well what each other means:)

  128. mike
    October 14th, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

    It continually amazes me that people who are otherwise reasonable can be so dogmatic on the subject of abortion.

    Isn

  129. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 4:05 pm

    Last one for me to.

    But I don’t claim a “superior” position because I have no basis for moral absolutism, as I believe I explained in my post. I stake a claim for the kind of society I want to live in, and hope enough of the other chimps agree to make it so.

    I didn

  130. benjamin
    October 14th, 2005 @ 4:57 pm

    I can say for my own part, that my anti-abortion position wouldn’t change one bit if men got pregnant. Even Jennifer can attest that my position is consistent.
    Steve, I really enjoyed reading your comments in this thread. Keep up the good work.

  131. Mookie
    October 14th, 2005 @ 5:17 pm

    Steve,

    That link was garbage. Read this (again):

    “Recent historical research has debunked the idea of a

  132. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 7:02 pm

    Joseph Campbell? You are seriously using Joseph Campbell to try to argue with me and ‘enlighten’ me? You must be kidding?

    You only think the link is garbage because it doesn’t agree with your preconceived notions.

    And you utter lack of following what I was talking about with ADT (evidenced by you claiming that I said a embryo was not human) makes me think your reading comprehension is somewhat lacking.

  133. Zed
    October 14th, 2005 @ 9:23 pm

    “You only think the link is garbage because it doesn’t agree with your preconceived notions.”

    Well, couldn’t one say the same of your views? In fact, your link is rather specious, as most apologetics generally are. The Church generally repeats the same three-step process whenever confronted by a threatening scientific discovery:

    1) First, the Church tries to crush the “heretical” view, often through censorship and persecution of the scientist.

    2) But as the evidence supporting the scientific viewpoint inevitably grows, the Church struggles to find a compromise position that incorporates both viewpoints.

    3) Eventually, the scientific victory is complete, and the Church is left to indulge in apologetics, a field of study that explains away and defends the Church’s actions. In this stage, it is common for apologists to claim that there is not, and never was, any conflict between the Church and science.

    Read the non-apologetics article here:

    http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-sciencechristianity.htm

  134. SteveG
    October 14th, 2005 @ 9:44 pm

    Zed,
    Well, couldn’t one say the same of your views? In fact, your link is rather specious, as most apologetics generally are.

    The link is on a catholic site, but the author is an agnostic, well respected professor of comparitive religion at a major University. It’s not an apologetic. And the comments he makes that Mookie slams (but provides no actual evidence to refute) are well within the current understanding of modern mainstream historical understanding. Go to any non-catholic, but unbiased up to date history book or site and read up on the ‘dark-ages’, or medieval history, and you’ll find that Stark is far closer to current understanding then Mookie is.

    Try here….
    Medieval History

    For heaven’s sake, even Wikipedia basically agrees. Try here….
    Wikipedia entry for ‘dark ages’

    …which has this quote in the section titled ‘Modern Academic Use’ (of the term dark ages)…

    However the early 20th century saw a radical re-evaluation of the Middle Ages, and with it a calling into question of the terminology of darkness. A.T.Hatto, translator of many mediaeval works for the Penguin Classics series, exemplified this when he spoke ironically of “the lively centuries which we call dark”. It became clear that serious scholars would either have to redefine the term or abandon it.

    When the term “Dark Ages” is used by historians today, it is intended to be non-pejoritive, namely to express the idea that the events of the period often seem “dark” to us, due to the paucity of historical records compared with later times. The darkness is ours, not theirs.

    …But this is not restricted to the web. Any up to date history text, or encyclopedia will say much the same.

    There are a lot of misconceptions and myths regarding this period that simply don’t hold up under any serious scrutiny.

    Read the non-apologetics article here:
    http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-sciencechristianity.htm

    Guys, really come on. You’ll have to do beter than that. Did you even bother to read the endnotes? This is endnot number one from Zed’s ‘unbiased’ article…

    1. Unless otherwise indicated, all history concerning the Church’s conflict with the natural sciences comes from Andrew White, The Warfare of Science with Theology (1895). This excellent and exhaustive work, whose scholarship has stood the test of time (and been enlarged by modern scholars), can be found online at http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/andrew_white/Andrew_White.html.

    So now a polemic piece written over 100 years ago, has been repudiated by modern scholarship, and housed at http://www.infedels.org is a legitamate unbiased reference? hmmmm.

    I’ll let folks check out the links I’ve provided, and compare to yours and then draw their own conclusions.

  135. Zed
    October 14th, 2005 @ 10:56 pm

    Oh give me a break. Stark’s still an apologist! The guy was raised Lutheran, and likes the Christianity regardless of what anyone says. The guy has a noticeable adherence to principles of faith, even thinks miracles are a veritable thing to note. He even hopes that someday he returns to his faith, I’m guessing once he’s gone through having his fair share of the secular lifestyle? Pleeease!

    “So now a polemic piece written over 100 years ago, has been repudiated by modern scholarship, and housed at http://www.infedels.org is a legitamate unbiased reference? hmmmm.”

    The Stark link was from a Catholic site! The links you posted in your most recent post are PC non-controversial. Of course you’re going to find any Christian support material on Christian sites. Would you like another few links from Wiki? Okay sure,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition

    “Although the actual charge against Bruno was docetism, adherence to the doctrine that Jesus did not actually have a physical body and that his physical presence was an illusion, the world of science has long claimed Bruno as a martyr. Like Galileo Galilei, his Copernicanism was a factor in his heresy trial. Unlike Galileo, some of his theological beliefs were also a factor. Also, unlike Galileo, he refused to renounce his beliefs.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giordano_Bruno

    Copernicus, Bruno, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Halley, Darwin, Hubble, even Bertrand Russell are also all in Wikipedia. Should I also bring up writings by modern scholars also refuting faith claims, or how about ex-priests who also have much to say about denouncing faith?

    Would you like other more public links to the White book? Sure thing:

    http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/whitewtc.html

    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/505

    http://history.hanover.edu/courses/excerpts/111white.html

    “I’ll let folks check out the links I’ve provided, and compare to yours and then draw their own conclusions.”

    I’ll let you continue with your specious arguments. :P

  136. Fros
    October 15th, 2005 @ 12:38 am

    If the god believing or “scaredness of human life” folks, (who appear so prevalent on this site) are so concerned about fetuses, they should arrange to take the aborted fetuses and provide for them, in whatever test tube or bowl they wish. But, they should not with their ridiculous self rightgeousness pretend to care sqwat for “all the unborns” when the borns appear to be of so little concern to them; and so many of them opt for killing and the death penalty, for the borns, that they apparently deem unfit to continue to live.

  137. Heretic Slayer
    October 15th, 2005 @ 2:33 am

    #118; There have been an enormous number of stupid comments on this thread but yours is in a class of stupidity all by itself.

    As for the death penalty, whether it is just or not is a completely different subject. Try to stay on topic.

  138. GCap
    October 15th, 2005 @ 3:22 am

    “#118; There have been an enormous number of stupid comments on this thread but yours is in a class of stupidity all by itself.”

    The banality of #119 is staggering. Give that one the black hole prize!

    Death penalty is still a related issue in the question of life/death social laws.

  139. a different tim
    October 15th, 2005 @ 5:31 am

    If I may –
    Generally, Steve, I am a little sceptical of the current Catholic stance regarding Galileo et al, which seems to be “there was never an argument, and if there was it was for political not religious or scientific reasons, and the people that brought the indictment were our identical twin brothers of whom we have never heard”. Whatever the politics, Galileo was after all indicted for heresy because of his Copernican views, and the indictment did attempt to use what I guess we would these days call proof texting aganst him. But I feel I have to intervene on your side in the matter of Bruno.
    Bruno was burned for heresy and sorcery. It is often held that this is because of his belief in a multiplicity of worlds, but may have had more to do with the fact that he viewed (and wrote about) Christianity as a degenerate offshoot of the true ancient Egyptian religion (definitely heresy), and believed he could animate ancient Egyptian statues and have them stomp around the landscape like Godzilla (which is surely sorcery). I hate to say it, but it was a fair cop. Not that burning at the stake’s a good idea under any circumstances, of course.
    Most of this can be found in Frances Yates, who although not always totally reliable, and occasionally straight out batshit, seems to have her sources pretty straight on this one. Bruno’s surviving writings are reasonably unambiguous about his views on Christianity…..

    To (hopefully) finish the earlier argument, re yr post 111 you seem to be left saying your posistion is better because it is clearer and better for arguing with the likes of Singer (I understand you are taking a materialist stance even though you don’t believe in it as you are trying to prove your case on our terms, and that you personally have what you believe are better reasons). But I think I did address this in 108 (paras 4 and 7).

  140. Zed
    October 15th, 2005 @ 7:39 am

    “I hate to say it, but it was a fair cop. Not that burning at the stake’s a good idea under any circumstances, of course.”

    It was NOT a fair cop! The entire act was despicable. They apologized, which was a good thing:

    Cardinal Ratzinger prayed that Catholics would recognize ”that even men of the church, in the name of faith and morals, have sometimes used methods not in keeping with the Gospel.”

    The Pope replied, ”Christians have at times given in to intolerance and have not been faithful to the great commandment of love, sullying in their way the face of the church.”

    Buch the memories of those wronged by the church should never be forgotten, as priests involved in whatever modern child sex abuse scandals also must pay their fair dues in the name of the law, and I’m not talking bible laws.

    Still, the demonization of gays, and just adult sex in general by the church is nothing to respect.

  141. a different tim
    October 15th, 2005 @ 1:59 pm

    Well, I think I did say that I didn’t support burning at the stake under any circs….I (carefully) said a fair cop, not a fair punishment. They got him for heresy and sorcery, and he was in fact a heretic (I mean, saying the Egyptians were right and the NT wrong isn’t a minor doctrinal quibble) and claimed to be a sorceror. I know scientists like to claim him as a scientific martyr, but he wasn’t actually martyred for his scientific views (which your quote seems to confirm).

    But, although I’m an atheist science enthusiast, I have to recognise that the church’s attitude towards science has not been uniformly hostile, and the church played a key role in the instigation of the scientific revolution (I guess it got a little out of control, from their point of view….). Most of the early scientists were in fact churchmen. For every Roger Bacon who was imprisoned, You’ll find a Grosseteste or Albertus Magnus who was honoured. There is a strong tradition of trying to come closer to God by understanding his works.

    The thing I do agree with you about is that the church seems to have trouble when the results of that enquiry lead to conclusions which seem to go against dogma, as with Galileo and more recently Darwin (the pronouncement on evolution from Ratzinger/Benedict is worryingly ambiguous if you ask me). I don’t find this attitude surprising, even if I do find it disturbing.

    I would agree with you re the demonisation of gays and sex in general, but that wasn’t really what I was arguing with Steve about. I do think he’s in trouble trying to predicate an absolutist stance on materialist grounds and I reckon he’ll have to justify it from the church eventually, but he hasn’t actually tried to do so yet, because he understands that theological justification cuts no ice with atheists. Even though we all know he’s a Catholic, he’s arguing with us on our own terms here, so I’m not sure attacks on the church actually address what he’s saying – even if everything that we throw at his church were 100% true his arguments stand until we refute them on materialist grounds (which I think I’ve done in 108, but you never know….) because he is making materialist arguments. This is why as far as I can see he hasn’t gone into the contraception issue on this thread – he’s working from our premises, not those of the catholic church. And we have to address him on these terms, because if his logic is sound, and he’s working from premises we agree on, we are wrong on this issue. On one occasion I argued with him for about 100 posts before figuring this out. This kind of thing is why he gets to be theist of the month….

    I guess the bottom line is I don’t see Steve as the enemy any more (and haven’t for a while), as although I disagree with many of his conclusions he is willing to enter into rational debate, and my major objection to religion is its irrationality. Maybe I should shut up and let someone else have a go…..

  142. Zed
    October 15th, 2005 @ 8:56 pm

    Fair enough. Though another thing to mention is Leonardo Da Vinci’s studies, which heart surgeons have found useful even to this day, were also found objectionable to the church, so he had to continue his studies in secret. It’s also to bad much of his works were done away with by the same church for the same dogmatic reasons. So much progress lost. But these are no longer times of heresy, and dogmatic authority, so much progress is yet to be made.

  143. SteveG
    October 15th, 2005 @ 9:06 pm

    ADT:
    Generally, Steve, I am a little sceptical of the current Catholic stance regarding Galileo et al

    I wasn

  144. Zed
    October 15th, 2005 @ 9:42 pm

    “In an age, where everything seems to move at light speed, the church

  145. Retarded Clown
    October 15th, 2005 @ 9:49 pm

    Daphne’s mom seems to think that the existance of the man Jesus somehow bolsters her absurd claim that this man was the son of god. She is wrong. If you are a lying prick (like matthew, luke, paul, and all those assclowns) and you are going to make up a story about some guy you are not going to make up stories about a fake one when you can pick a conveniently dead guy that people know. This is then very good evidence of two things:

    1) Jesus was just a dude and not the son o god

    2) Daphne’s mom is a spastic of some kind

  146. SteveG
    October 15th, 2005 @ 10:50 pm

    Responding to post #108 (but I suppose you knew I

  147. SteveG
    October 15th, 2005 @ 11:03 pm

    It should be disturbing if they feel they should receive special privilege in any sense above anyone else who doesn’t choose their dogma. I have nothing against conservatism. Indeed, it comes in all form. But to intentionally impose this on others through general law is insufferable, and is not something to respect.

    I am not sure what you are claiming here? Where is the Church doing this? Or are you saying that Catholics (from pope, to bishops, to laity), shouldn’t be allowed to live by our convictions by advocating our positions, and by how we vote, and or use our time and money?

  148. SteveG
    October 15th, 2005 @ 11:09 pm

    Post #128. Didn’t close the tag. Everything after …

    Yes, I think we do know this. It isn’t possible to think or feel without a central nervous system. If you grew an adult body with no brain or CNS in some kind of weird cloning experiment it would not be human.

    …is mine.

  149. Zed
    October 15th, 2005 @ 11:11 pm

    “Shouldn’t be allowed to live by our convictions by advocating our positions, and by how we vote, and or use our time and money?”

    If you vote, only “Catholics shall be allowed x rights no one else should have”, then no. If you vote, “Because Catholics feel x rights don’t follow dogma, then all should not be allowed to them”, then also suspect, and no.

  150. atheistfundamentalist
    October 16th, 2005 @ 1:45 am

    This argument about abortion is really silly. The only reason we even ponder as to its morality is because it has become a medical procedure. Women have been aborting their fetuses on their own for centuries. With herbs, hard spirts or falling down stairs. Now with the morning after pill it becomes even safer. My moral is, you made it you can break it. I say allow retroactive-abortions within 24 hours of birth. After all, do we really want a child raised by such a fiend in the first place?!

  151. atheistfundamentalist
    October 16th, 2005 @ 1:49 am

    Regarding gays: I see no problem with gays. Sure they may be abnormal but they are natural because based on all I have read they are born that way, not by gentics but womb based so to say. How can we deny such people full human rights? A study of those born with ambigous genetalia would be an eye opener in this regard.

  152. Zed
    October 16th, 2005 @ 4:00 am

    “Regarding gays: I see no problem with gays. Sure they may be abnormal but they are natural because based on all I have read they are born that way, not by gentics but womb based so to say. How can we deny such people full human rights? A study of those born with ambigous genetalia would be an eye opener in this regard.”

    The thing that should also not be demonized is the act of sodomy, not necessarily just gays. If it’s consentual, then let the people involved have their way. It’s their choice.

  153. a different tim
    October 16th, 2005 @ 7:49 am

    “What is a recognizable CNS? Can we ACTUALLY determine that, or is this a hypothetical (I ask because I am honestly not sure)”

    Yup, that’s a tricky one. I think it’s one of those where we can tell if it’s definitely there, and we can tell it’s definitely not there, but exactly when it appears is one of those shades of grey again.
    This seems to imply that what is morally right will change as our scientific knowledge of nervous system function increases (and there are huge advances in neuroanatomy taking place right now – it’s a fast moving field). Which is a position I have no problem with, and it seems to follow from a non absolutist materialist position.
    Shucks Steve, I wuv you too…..

    “The thing that should also not be demonized is the act of sodomy, not necessarily just gays. If it’s consensual, then let the people involved have their way. It’s their choice.”
    Yeah. I must admit I felt uncomfortable when the gay gene thing came out, and a lot of gay activists started using it. I feel it’s not an “it’s unnatural” issue but a freedom of choice issue. By saying “it’s genetic” gay activists seemed actually to be conceding the freedom of choice argument.

  154. SteveG
    October 16th, 2005 @ 11:21 am

    Yup, that’s a tricky one. I think it’s one of those where we can tell if it’s definitely there, and we can tell it’s definitely not there, but exactly when it appears is one of those shades of grey again.

    This seems to imply that what is morally right will change as our scientific knowledge of nervous system function increases. Which is a position I have no problem with, and it seems to follow from a non absolutist materialist position.

    I keep running through the logic on this, and to me there appears to be a fatal flaw in the position you

  155. a different tim
    October 16th, 2005 @ 12:06 pm

    I think we’re back to the black and white thing here. I’ll copy and paste from 108 as 1) I think it does at least provide a starting point for this, and 2) I’d like to see you answer the question at the end of the paste.

    Now if only the embryo’s interests were at stake, your analysis would be correct, but we have to balance the mother’s interests as well. So if you are asking “does the right to life of a ball of cells outweigh other interests of the mother” I’m answering no. But if you then say “does the right to life of a newborn infant or near term fetus outweigh other interests of the mother” I would answer “yes” (depending on those interests – it certainly outweighs convenience, but not necessarily the mother’s own right to life). Because the two are not equal – we are speaking, generally, of economic and “right to happiness” interests in the mother, as opposed to right to life of the fetus – we should weigh the scale down at one end, so to speak, so the fetus/infant gets that right at some point even if not fully developed.

    So I don’t think I’m relying on potentials, or I would have to concede your argument. I think (to coin a slightly different metaphor here) I’m trying a rather difficult balancing act of actuals, and our view of where the balance point is will vary with what we actually know scientifically of those actuals. But in my view (which I’ll try to persuade other chimps to accept etc) we would be less moral if we let the scale overbalance whichever way it did so. And, because I think that we don’t have morals handed down from an external authority, I think that this kind of negotiation and compromise between interests is, in general, the human condition whenever we speak of moral and many legislative matters.

    I think that you possibly do the same – if you accept that removal of a fetus in a medical emergency may be justified in order to save the mother’s life, you are carrying out a similar balancing act. (I’m not sure you do but would like to know – you discussed ectopic pregnancies but that’s not quite the same as the fetus has no chance of survival in that situation)

  156. a different tim
    October 16th, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

    Crap! for some reason half the copy/paste got left out of that. Here is the complete copy/paste including your quote at the start:

    Steve: “I am suggesting that the precautionary position based on the beginning of the continuum is clearer”
    Me: “Clearer, but (I think) less accurate, as you seem to be saying that as a precautionary measure we should take black to be white (to return to the original analogy). And it still asumes that the mother’s interests count for nothing (this, I think, is what truly offends the feminist posters here).”

    This may make a little more sense of my quote above…..

  157. SteveG
    October 16th, 2005 @ 12:39 pm

    Clearer, but (I think) less accurate, as you seem to be saying that as a precautionary measure we should take black to be white (to return to the original analogy). And it still asumes that the mother’s interests count for nothing (this, I think, is what truly offends the feminist posters here).”>

    I don

  158. a different tim
    October 16th, 2005 @ 1:29 pm

    Pushed for time, so I’ll be (relatively) brief, but there are plenty of times when we in fact do balance someone’s right to life against a lesser right. You may not agree with this (*) but it happens.

    Briefly, you are assuming (I think) that my argument for right to life past a certain point depends on an embryo being “fully” human at that point (and I may have implied this at some stage in which case I have to thank you for clarifying my thinking). But you are then insisting that I shouldn’t, by my argument, admit anything as “fully human” until everything is present for a mature adult, and I never said that. My shades of grey analogy implies to me that we can recognise a fetus as human de jure before that point. There are some actuals that we can define – motor activity, pain reception, nervous activity (by definition of my suggested CNS criterion) are all actually there. We can say an entity is “developed enough” to be human even before it is fully developed. I’m not fully developed – I still intend to carry on learning stuff and developing my mind until I die. But I consider myself human.

    Now, if you want to contest CNS activity as a balance point I am open to countersuggestions that do not totally ignore one of the sets of interests at stake. When pain receptors are working might be a good point. But I’m not suggesting it as a magic point, just a place where different interests may be able to reach a compromise for moral/legislative purposes. It’s no more magic than a national border – just somewhere where competing interests may be able to agree to hand over sovereignty (another extended metaphor I’m afraid…..).

    “But how do you measure equality?” Well, this is a special case of a general question that goes something like “in all cases how do we measure/ensure equality before the law?” and it’s difficult which is why we have huge complicated expensive legislative apparatus to try to figure this, and questions like it, out. But in the absence (from my viewpoint) of divine authority I don’t see we have any option but to try. That’s why I said all that human condition stuff. This is what I think we’re stuck with, we try to find a good and workable solution in a complex universe. People have different interests and views, so we have to negotiate, and we have a social apparatus to let us do that, but absolutist positions preclude negotiation.

    You’re still trying to get me to say that it HAS to be black or white. And I’m gonna keep on saying it’s grey…..

  159. SteveG
    October 16th, 2005 @ 5:25 pm

    Briefly, you are assuming (I think) that my argument for right to life past a certain point depends on an embryo being “fully” human at that point (and I may have implied this at some stage in which case I have to thank you for clarifying my thinking). But you are then insisting that I shouldn’t, by my argument, admit anything as “fully human” until everything is present for a mature adult, and I never said that.

    No, I am understanding you, but only insisting that until everything IS

  160. SteveG
    October 16th, 2005 @ 5:34 pm

    BTW, sorry if that seemed overly curt. I too am pressed for time. Gotta run!

  161. Donna
    October 16th, 2005 @ 6:47 pm

    Hi Raving Atheist. I must say, if you don’t have a uterus, you don’t have the right to voice an opinion on the topic of abortion.

  162. Retarded Clown
    October 16th, 2005 @ 6:51 pm

    Donna, if you don’t have a brain you ought to shut the fuck up about all topics

  163. Zed
    October 16th, 2005 @ 10:42 pm

    “Yeah. I must admit I felt uncomfortable when the gay gene thing came out, and a lot of gay activists started using it. I feel it’s not an “it’s unnatural” issue but a freedom of choice issue. By saying “it’s genetic” gay activists seemed actually to be conceding the freedom of choice argument.”

    Even if being gay is genetic, this still says nothing of the right to sodomize a sexual partner, even heterosexually, provided both parties are willing. If some people like it, because it’s sexually stimulating, then let em’. It’s their choice.

  164. a different tim
    October 17th, 2005 @ 1:52 pm

    Well, on Donna’s point, I have tended to stay off the abortion posts in the past for just this reason. Not that I think I have no right to comment, but as someone who is neither a mother, possible mother, fetus, or father, I have no interests at stake here.
    I blame Steve G. He tempted me, and I fell.

    Steve, I still think that on that one, I have to go back to the black and white thing. You reckon that because I don’t think that the fetus has rights that override the mother’s at the “ball of cells” stage, I should maintain that position until it grows up and becomes an adult, or fold. And I don’t see why I have to do either.

    We routinely grant rights at various stages of development. We grant the right to have sex at 16 (UK law – I know it differs state by state in the US), The right to vote at 18, the right to drive at 17, the right to drink and smoke at different ages…..by your logic it seems we should grant these rights either to the fetus or only at 21, or whatever arbitrary age we deem someone to be an “adult”. We can be human before we are adult, with some of the rights and privileges that come with it, and I honestly don’t see an inconsistency. I picked CNS as a reasonable seeming point. I think I covered why it’s not a “magic” point in 140. Ability to experience pain might be another one, except that you’d have a hard time proving this could happen without a CNS…..
    I think we’re going round in circles. I mean I’ll carry on if you like as I don’t want to be accused of backing down, but I think the last few posts have gone over the same points again and again. I keep coming back to what I said in 100. I can explicate it and tease out corollaries and whatever but I think I stated my basic position as well as I’m going to there.

    I have however begun to suspect that the guy I should be arguing with is Singer, rather than you. However he doesn’t post on this site……

  165. a different tim
    October 17th, 2005 @ 1:58 pm

    Zed – I think we agree on this. My problem was that by focusing on the genetic thing gay activists (certainly in the UK) seemed to be letting the freedom of choice thing go. I agree that it’s a freedom of choice issue to which the genetic question is essentially irrelevant.

  166. SteveG
    October 17th, 2005 @ 2:49 pm

    I blame Steve G. He tempted me, and I fell.

    Here take a bite. What will it hurt? ;-)

    I agree that we are starting to go round and round a bit. I promise to make this my closing post on the topic and if you respond you can have the last word (I too have a difficult time standing down). I

  167. a different tim
    October 17th, 2005 @ 5:38 pm

    “I understand that you are placing a value on it in your balancing act, but can you quantify WHY you

  168. Jody Tresidder
    October 17th, 2005 @ 5:39 pm

    SteveG,
    Since you cleave to scrupulous rigor in your arguments: can you have another go at the troublesome ectopic abortion problem we touched on earlier?
    I say: it’s the doctor’s choice to intentionally sacrifice the fetus in order the save the mother’s life in an ectopic pregnancy.
    And that therefore this violates your unambiguous all-circumstances moral precept. Doesn’t it?

  169. SteveG
    October 17th, 2005 @ 8:57 pm

    Jody:
    I’ll address this tomorrow. I want to attempt to educate myself as to what this involves before pontificating without any real knowledge of the details of the circumstances. Fair enough?

  170. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 10:59 am

    Jodi:
    After looking into this a bit, it seems to me that this is actually fairly straight-forward, but I suspect it won

  171. jahrta
    October 18th, 2005 @ 11:24 am

    “One is never allowed to INTENTIONALLY take the life of another innocent person. But the principle of Double Effect works in the case of ectopic pregnancies. The removal of the fallopian tube where the fetus has been implanted is the moral way of taking care of the mother; however, the fetus does die (note, the fetus itself is not

  172. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 11:47 am

    Taking your argument to the extreme, I would be justified by taking a large group of evangelical fundamentalists, trapping them in an airtight hangar, and sucking all of the oxygen out of it so that I could transport that fresh air to inner cities, where the air has become so polluted by capitalists who receive cutbacks from the government that it has been rendered toxic. We could then suck the blood from the corpses while they

  173. jahrta
    October 18th, 2005 @ 12:16 pm

    Steve

  174. jahrta
    October 18th, 2005 @ 12:32 pm

    actually, to be fair and as impartial as possible, there were theists on both sides of the schiavo case, including heir bush himself. so mea culpa…feel free to address the rest of the post

  175. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 12:55 pm

    Steve

  176. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 12:56 pm

    actually, to be fair and as impartial as possible, there were theists on both sides of the schiavo case, including heir bush himself. so mea culpa…feel free to address the rest of the post

    Your honesty is appreciated. I addressed this part already before I saw this admission.

  177. Jody Tresidder
    October 18th, 2005 @ 1:22 pm

    SteveG,
    Don’t want to accuse you of being “naughty”, but…let’s drop the apparently reasonable preclampsia 24-week gestation analogy, shall we? We both know, I think, that you are inching into “edge of viability” territory for the fetus, where a C-section COULD be an appropriate medical procedure. which respects both lives in question.
    I imagine you will however continue to argue that the “indirect” death of the pre-viable ectopic fetus separated from the fallopian tube satisfies your benchmark moral precept.
    Perhaps obviously, I don’t accept this. I think you’ve bent the word “indirect” out of all reasonable shape in order to dodge an exasperating ‘what if’.
    (Ironically, a similar subterfuge of “indirect consequence” is sometimes used by squeamish or canny pro-choicers; when a “d & c”, or “womb scrape” doubles as an abortion to get around insurance exemptions.)
    I only want to leave this debate square in my own mind that there are murky logical areas on both sides. Which is not necessarily a dishonorable position.

  178. jahrta
    October 18th, 2005 @ 1:35 pm

    Steve – what if it were revealed that the organism somehow suffers more through the fallopian tube procedure than if it were aborted outright? would you still support the fallopian tube procedure as a viable means of dealing with the ectopic abortion?

  179. SteveG
    October 18th, 2005 @ 1:42 pm

    Jodi:
    Don’t want to accuse you of being “naughty”, but…let’s drop the apparently reasonable preclampsia 24-week gestation analogy, shall we? We both know, I think, that you are inching into “edge of viability” territory for the fetus, where a C-section COULD be an appropriate medical procedure. which respects both lives in question.

    I used 24 weeks intentionally for that reason. But then I think it

  180. SteveG
    October 18th, 2005 @ 1:55 pm

    Steve – what if it were revealed that the organism somehow suffers more through the fallopian tube procedure than if it were aborted outright? would you still support the fallopian tube procedure as a viable means of dealing with the ectopic abortion?

    What if a child needing a bone marrow transplant suffered more during the procedure attempting to save their life, but still died were found to suffer more than just putting a bullet in their head?

  181. jahrta
    October 18th, 2005 @ 1:57 pm

    Steve

    I was recently accused of “attacking” you – do you think I’ve done any such thing?

    This happened on a different thread

  182. Jody Tresidder
    October 18th, 2005 @ 2:17 pm

    Nope, won’t wash, Steve – and you MUST know I was going to pounce.
    The doctor does not accidentally run over the fetus (oh, heck – this is getting Monty Pythonesque!!).

    In the ectopic pregnancy example, the fetus is – if you like – “intentionally” in the way of the mother’s survival. Doesn’t matter if it’s located in the spleen, the nostril or – let’s be sensible – the fallopian tube. The point is removing the abnormally embedded fetus itself. And that’s no accident. And this IS your murky area.
    If you wish to argue that medical advances are likely to further whittle away at the minimum viability of the fetus, fine. That’s simply shoring up your old argument with ADT, not countering my present one. (In the very rarified atmosphere of science fiction theory, let’s bring on the viable zygote while we are at it!)
    The flaw in your logic is “intention”. The pre-viable ectopic fetus comprises the Shakespearian ounce or so of flesh required for removal to save the mother’s life.

  183. a different tim
    October 18th, 2005 @ 2:23 pm

    “But the principle of Double Effect works in the case of ectopic pregnancies” etc.
    Well, we said I could come back if something needs answering….

    I know the principle, but I’ve never been happy with it. It seems like a cop out. My feeling is that we cannot avoid responsibility for the secondary effects of our actions, and that therefore the cases are the same.

    If we can clearly foresee and predict a secondary effect of an action, we are just as responsible for it as for a primary effect.

    I’m not arguing that ends do or do not justify means, just that the chain of responsibility does not stop at the first effect. You should either allow both or neither.

    This seems especially the case as the death of both mother and fetus if you DON’T remove it is likewise a secondary effect. Are you seriously suggesting (if we’re talking hypotheticals) that if the fallopian tube removal were not available, we should not intervene using methotrexate because the mother’s (and fetus’s) subsequent death would only be a secondary effect?

    Please clarify…..

    PS the platypus does quite well. For a real screw up you can’t beat the giant panda.

  184. a different tim
    October 18th, 2005 @ 2:25 pm

    PS bit of a gut feeling post, that one. I fully expect you to come back with some hypothetical which will force me to concede double effect. But I’m interested to know what it will be…..

  185. Ann Boleyn
    October 18th, 2005 @ 2:27 pm

    Jahrta: For heaven’s sake, no one accused you (individual, singular person) of attacking Steve. That was supposed to be you understood as y’all (plural) as in a lot of people here. You are usuallly just fine. But Steve can answer for himself.

    Ann Boleyn

    (new, non offensive handle for Heretic Slayer (too Old Testament); Weenie Slayer (funny but not everyone here is a Weenie))

    Now, if anyone is offended by Ann Boleyn speak now or forever hold your peace. This is becoming hard to keep straight!

  186. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 2:30 pm

    I was recently accused of “attacking” you – do you think I’ve done any such thing?

    While it gets rough here sometimes and no one pulls any punches, the responses I get fall into two general categories….

    1. Those who are civil and can be engaged in real converstaion with.
    2. Those who seem to have a real hostility to religion and simply will bash away despite nearly whatever I say or how I frame things (I could rattle of a list of names but will refrain).

    I think it’s pretty evenly divided overall, but you definetely fall in the first category.

    There have been a couple times where it’s gotten extremely ugly towards me for no real reason I could see (the discussion on the historicity of Jesus is a good example-I think it came out of the “More On” post from October 3rd), but overall I get as many compliments as insults.

  187. Debbie
    October 18th, 2005 @ 2:46 pm

    Hmm, Anne Boleyn?

    Given that Anne Boleyn conceived Henry VIII’s child before their secret marriage, was later accused of adultery and incest (and executed), I look forward to hearing from Choobus why he/she thinks you chose that name.

  188. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 3:01 pm

    Nope, won’t wash, Steve – and you MUST know I was going to pounce.
    The doctor does not accidentally run over the fetus (oh, heck – this is getting Monty Pythonesque!!).

    I am really not trying to be nitpicky here, but the devil is in the details as they say. In surgery to save a mother during ectopic pregnancy, the ‘fetus’ itself is not removed. Instead a section of the fallopian tube containing the fetus is removed.

    The fetus is not actually touched or damaged in the procedure. If the Dr. were to rip the implanted fetus out, I supposse there’d be no difference, and you’d be correct. But there is a difference. From a medical perspective, the issue is that the fallopian tube is technically infected with an improperly implanted fetus. The removal of that ‘infected’ section is necessary to save the mothers life. While the fetus will surely die, it is not directly being killed. In fact the Surgeon IS ‘accidently’ running the fetus over in his attempt to remove the infected section of the fallopian tube to save the mothers life.

    The point is removing the abnormally embedded fetus itself.

    As I explained, this is not what’s done from a technical standpoint. As I indicated, I actually researched the treatments before answering you. I think you should read up on the procedures and you’ll see indeed that I am explaining things accurately.

  189. simbol
    October 18th, 2005 @ 3:31 pm

    “I am really not trying to be nitpicky here, but the devil is in the details as they say. In surgery to save a mother during ectopic pregnancy, the ‘fetus’ itself is not removed. Instead a section of the fallopian tube containing the fetus is removed. ”

    Surgical treatment of ectopic pregnancy

    The possible procedures for ectopic pregnancy can all be done by laparoscopy (same day surgery) or by laparotomy (bigger incision).

    Usually, if the tube is not ruptured it is done by laparoscopy. Cases of rupture with significant hemorrhage into the abdomen are almost always done by laparotomy because it can be done much faster.

    Procedures:

    Salpingotomy (or -ostomy): Making an incision on the tube and removing the pregnancy.

    Salpingectomy: Cutting the tube out.

    Segmental resection: Cutting out the affected portion of the tube.

    Fimbrial expression: “Milking” the pregnancy out the end of the tube.

    In general, the procedure of choice will be salpingectomy if future fertility is of no concern, if the tube is ruptured, if there is significant anatomic distortion, or if there is overt hemorrhage.

    There is no evidence that suturing the incision on the tube closed or leaving it open is better.

    http://www.advancedfertility.com/ectopic.htm – 35k – Oct 17, 2005

  190. Jody Tresidder
    October 18th, 2005 @ 3:36 pm

    Boy, Steve. The devil IS in the details. Unfortunately, not yours…

    “The ectopic pregnancy may be able to be taken out without removing the tube and ovary. This is called a salpingostomy. If not, the tube has to be taken out and possibly the ovary as well – salpingectomy or salpingo-oophorectomy . ”

    I have to hope this is a genuine error in your part. Because I found my original concept of the operation confirmed in two clicks. All this “not touching” or damaging the fetus is sheer misunderstanding – at best.

  191. Jody Tresidder
    October 18th, 2005 @ 3:49 pm

    Simbol,
    Mine crossed with yours – didn’t mean to look as if I was jumping over you.
    I have to dimly wonder if there’s a moral option medical procedure (tube segment AND ectopic fetus) – but that seems madness in terms of future fertility?

  192. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 3:52 pm

    I know the principle, but I’ve never been happy with it. It seems like a cop out. My feeling is that we cannot avoid responsibility for the secondary effects of our actions, and that therefore the cases are the same.
    If we can clearly foresee and predict a secondary effect of an action, we are just as responsible for it as for a primary effect.

    But we are talking here about how to put into effect the principle I proposed earlier to Jodi. She is saying that there are moral ambiguities inherent, and so far I am not convinced. I am proposing double effect as a logical tool for making a clear moral decision in a complicated case without violating that principle. I don

  193. jahrta
    October 18th, 2005 @ 3:53 pm

    I feel like I need to go to med school now … must…study….anatomy

    :)

  194. Jody Tresidder
    October 18th, 2005 @ 4:01 pm

    “The fetus is not actually touched or damaged in the procedure. If the Dr. were to rip the implanted fetus out, I supposse there’d be no difference, and you’d be correct.”

    Steve, you wrote the above.
    We have shown that the Dr. does indeed “rip the implanted fetus out”.
    This is reality.
    This is the murky area that pops up in your supposedly unambiguous moral precept.
    And it’s not, I venture, an unimportant one either?

  195. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 4:07 pm

    Jody:
    As you can see, you were mistaken and I was correct. Either..

    Salpingectomy: Cutting the tube out.

    Segmental resection: Cutting out the affected portion of the tube.

    …qualify as I’ve been explaining.

    The Segmental resection in particular has been what I’ve been referring to (as I think my description confirms).

    I have to hope this is a genuine error in your part. Because I found my original concept of the operation confirmed in two clicks. ;-)

  196. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 4:14 pm

    We have shown that the Dr. does indeed “rip the implanted fetus out”.
    This is reality.
    This is the murky area that pops up in your supposedly unambiguous moral precept.
    And it’s not, I venture, an unimportant one either?

    You

  197. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 4:20 pm

    Jody:
    In addition at least one small study said that segmental resection is the ‘treatment of choice’ if future fertility is to be desired while Salpingectomy is the treatment of choice if futuer fertility is NOT of concern.
    National Library of Medicine

  198. Jody Tresidder
    October 18th, 2005 @ 4:39 pm

    Steve,
    I am confused by your confusion.
    Simbol posted the definition: “Salpingotomy (or -ostomy): Making an incision on the tube and removing the pregnancy.”
    I read and noted that definition.
    In your #152 post, yes, you did refer to ONE surgical option for treating an ectopic pregnancy. But it wasn’t the one Simbol included, or I referred to.
    I have not misunderstood a single thing.
    Moreover: “Linear salpingotomy by laparoscopy remains the treatment of choice for tubal prengancy[sic] (Pouly et al., 1986). ”
    Just in case you were going to argue that salpingotomy was really, really unusual!!!

    So, what I wrote still stands:

    We have shown that the Dr. does indeed “rip the implanted fetus out”.
    This is reality.
    This is the murky area that pops up in your supposedly unambiguous moral precept.
    And it’s not, I venture, an unimportant one either?

  199. Debbie
    October 18th, 2005 @ 4:41 pm

    Steve,

    I thought I’d chime in with a slightly tangential topic. I was reminded of this by Steve the devout Catholic in his postings about intent being more important than the secondary consequences:

    The Catholic priests who sentenced to death and executed Giordano Bruno declared that they would show mercy in killing him by not spilling his blood … so they burned him.

  200. Jody Tresidder
    October 18th, 2005 @ 4:47 pm

    Steve,
    Quick ref to your #179.
    Perfectly understood.
    No one here is, for the moment, talking salpingECTOMY.
    Okay? Fine!
    We are only talking salpingOTOMY or OSTOMY.
    (Or Fimbrial expression – which covers, I believe, the same moral ground which began all this).

  201. Ann Boleyn
    October 18th, 2005 @ 4:58 pm

    LOL, Debbie. There is no mystery if you read (and frankly, you might really rather not) the thread where I talked about taking the handle: Henry the 8th (as in Defender of the Faith) That naturally led me to think of poor Ann who stuck her neck out and got her head chopped off. Not unlike what happens here to anyone who disagrees with y’all.

    Now what Chooby makes of all this will be interesting to hear. In fact, I feel a little ditty coming on…

  202. SteveG
    October 18th, 2005 @ 5:01 pm

    Jody:
    I am confused by your confusion.

    I reread #152, and I can see that indeed I caused the confusion. I referred to two

  203. SteveG
    October 18th, 2005 @ 5:02 pm

    Steve,
    I am confused by your confusion.
    I reread #152, and I can see that indeed I caused the confusion. I referred to two

  204. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 5:03 pm

    double post. sorry!

  205. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 5:07 pm

    Steve,
    Quick ref to your #179.
    Perfectly understood.
    No one here is, for the moment, talking salpingECTOMY.
    Okay? Fine!
    We are only talking salpingOTOMY or OSTOMY.
    (Or Fimbrial expression – which covers, I believe, the same moral ground which began all this).

    But you are leaving out segmental resection. That’s the morally acceptable choice that does not violate my principle (whatever that is as I forget at this point ;-).

  206. Steve G.
    October 18th, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

    One final post (hopefully) to clarify…

    Salpingotomy (or -ostomy): Making an incision on the tube and removing the pregnancy.
    (i.e. ripping the fetus out)

    Segmental resection: Cutting out the affected portion of the tube.
    (i.e. not touching the fetus, but cutting the tube at two separate places that includes the infected portion (fetus), and then suturing the ends of the tube together).

  207. Noah Veil
    October 18th, 2005 @ 10:28 pm

    The bible says do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I would have others suck my cock, so the bible is instructing me to suck the cock of others. Far from banning homosexuality, the bible actually demands it. So if you’re gay, you’re doing PRECISELY what the bible asks of you.

  208. a different tim
    October 19th, 2005 @ 5:48 am

    “Give me a hypothetical that is potentially real and analogous, and I

  209. Jody Tresidder
    October 19th, 2005 @ 7:42 am

    Steve,
    It would have been a darn sight quicker if I’d simply googled “catholics and ectopic pregnancy” in the first place rather than following your steps as if it were a genuine exercise in ethics and logic. However, that’s my stupidity.
    Now I can see – and it’s a counter-intuitive insight , to put it mildly- that your original moral precept holds good only if you dehumanize the fetus.
    Your bottom line is that a fetus is a human being, never a disposable thing – right?
    It is not currently possible to fix an ectopic pregnancy without killing the fetus.
    When two human beings (mother and misplaced – or ectopic – fetus) cannot both survive, one has to go.
    Therefore, one human being has to be reassigned. Hence the misplaced (ectopic) fetus becomes – in your vocabulary – part of the pathological condition of the mother – i.e. it is reassigned to become the “infected tube”.
    So the only legitimate treatment, in your view, is one that destroys the tube segment and non-viable fetal mass/fetus together. Ruled out, irrespective of whether it is better for the mother who is host to a fetus developing in the wrong place, is any treatment – like drugs – or use of an “aquadissector” in the tube itself which targets the fetus.
    What fooled me was thinking the sanctity of life was your sticking point. And not – as it turns out – its definition under morally exasperating medical circumstances.
    Even the theologians nervously concede that destroying the tube, essential to the existence of the pre-viable fetus, and finessing it as being qualitatively different from destroying the fetus, is an extremely fine line.
    So I would conclude that your unambiguous moral precept FAILS without a whacking great caveat pointing out the fetus, (your human being) only dies “indirectly” when it is destroyed within the context of its “infected” life support organ, the fallopian tube, in order to save the mother.

  210. Steve G.
    October 19th, 2005 @ 11:45 am

    Jody:
    It would have been a darn sight quicker if I’d simply googled “catholics and ectopic pregnancy” in the first place rather than following your steps as if it were a genuine exercise in ethics and logic. However, that’s my stupidity.

    I don

  211. Steve G.
    October 19th, 2005 @ 12:15 pm

    Jody:
    A few further comments. I am truly disturbed by your swipe, but I suppose I am mostly to blame for it. I want to clarify something here that may help. Indeed this has been nothing more than an exercise on my part. Go back to the genesis of this conversation

  212. Jody Tresidder
    October 19th, 2005 @ 12:20 pm

    Steve,
    Then we CALL it “pulling the plug [on the person]” or “bashing [the person’s] skull in with a hammer”, and not “dealing with the infected area” as if it is purely a matter of medical precision. Calling a misplaced fetus an infection is jolly well dehumanizing because – as you say – it is now being redefined in relation to the mother’s body, and not discretely.

    Absolutely no intention of my part to play “nasty”.
    I genuinely felt foolish – and out of my depth – trying to understand the arcane details of tubal segmentation versus fimbrial expression. Then I googled – as I said – with more basic terms and simply started following the contours of your philosophy. There is a certain amount of gaming in these discussions – trying to polish the best “what ifs”, or blocking analogies that throw up too many distractions, but – no – no “deception” was implied.

  213. Steve G.
    October 19th, 2005 @ 12:30 pm

    Ok, ectopic pregnancy etc, but amongst survivors of an air crash. No surgical inistruments, no anaesthesia, but a supply of drugs as one of the passengers is a doctor, who also has expertise in the area.

    OK, that’s a good one. I think I addressed this in post 193.

    Like in “Lost” :)

    OK, now on a more serious topic….Are you enjoying season 2? I kinda got hooked last season about mid-way through, but I am getting totally pissed this year. I want answers! What the hell is going on? All they’ve done through 4? episodes is complicate things more. I am getting ready to tune out. What says you ADT? Where do YOU stand on Lost-season 2?!

  214. Jody Tresidder
    October 19th, 2005 @ 12:46 pm

    Steve,
    Your #193 is totally honorable.
    I refuse to get more smarmy than that.
    I also hit that “prayerfully discern” sub-clause late last night, which is either a)a bloody typical Catholic cop-out when the going gets tough and why the Reformation caught fire in the first place, if you ask me or b) a respectful and responsible response which unerringly acknowledges that very human problems are at the heart of faith. Or something.
    Lucky for you I don’t watch “Lost”!;)

  215. SteveG
    October 19th, 2005 @ 12:46 pm

    Jody:
    I do hope you didn’t miss post 193. I fear we may have been posting at the same time. If you did miss it, please take a look.

  216. Jody Tresidder
    October 19th, 2005 @ 12:53 pm

    Indeed we were, Steve. At 12.46 – which is probably one of those dumb numbers in “Lost” I keep reading about…

  217. SteveG
    October 19th, 2005 @ 1:02 pm

    Lucky for you I don’t watch “Lost”!;)

    Last year,I’d have said ‘Oh, you have to watch!’, this year I say, ‘you aint missin much.’ Guess I’ll have to stick with the Simpsons if I want quality TV. :-)

  218. a different tim
    October 19th, 2005 @ 1:14 pm

    I’m in the UK. We’re still only about half way through season 1 here. I don’t know what the creature in the woods is yet, or where the polar bear came from. I have to say I’m beginning to lose interest as my friends who have downloaded the lot (not that I’d ever do something so unethical, and besides I don’t get my broadband sorted in my new flat till next week) are confirming what Steve says – that it doesn’t really get explained.
    I must say I was disappointed to hear there would be a season 2 at all.
    If I hear that there’s going to be a season 3 I’ll stop watching altogether. It’ll be like the later series of X files – is it aliens? is it the government? etc. And in the end you just stop caring……

  219. SteveG
    October 19th, 2005 @ 1:27 pm

    If I hear that there’s going to be a season 3 I’ll stop watching altogether. It’ll be like the later series of X files – is it aliens? is it the government? etc. And in the end you just stop caring……

    Agreed. They better start wrapping things up soon. I am at most one or two episodes from the ‘stopped caring’ point. At least with the X-files, for a while anyway, the subject matter was so broad (the supernatural) that they were able to make each episode somewhat complete in and of itself. But with this type of premise, they don’t have the same opportunity and they are beginning to beat a dead horse already.

  220. a different tim
    October 19th, 2005 @ 1:48 pm

    I liked the X files when it was like Scooby Doo. They go off, investigate something, find out it was the janitor (except he was a werewolf or something instead of having a cheap costume)……I went off it when it became clear that they were never ever going to allow Scully to be right. I always saw Mulder as the theist (“I want to believe!”) and Scully as the atheist (“If science can’t explain it it isn’t real!”) in that one ;)

  221. SteveG
    October 19th, 2005 @ 1:58 pm

    Yeah, but who ended up being right? The aliens WERE real after all. ;-) ;-)

  222. Jody Tresidder
    October 19th, 2005 @ 3:46 pm

    Steve is incorrigible.

  • Basic Assumptions

    First, there is a God.

    Continue Reading...

  • Search

  • Quote of the Day

    • Fifty Random Links

      See them all on the links page.

      • No Blogroll Links